Saturday, April 3, 2010

Horse For Sale

I've come to the end of my rope with Red. You've all heard me talk about him, and I've been honest. He's a pain in the butt.

Yesterday, he became a far more literal pain. When we bought him he was sweet on the ground, wanting petting and attention. The longer he's around the other horses, though, the more bad habits he's picking up.

Yesterday, while I was walking all seven of the horses we have on that place back into the pasture, since the wind had taken out a stretch of fence and they'd decided to wander a bit, Moonshine, my buddy S's young mare, decided that she needed one of the treats I was carrying, coming around in front of me and stopping broadside. Well, she's been started on cows, and that's how you do it. As a result, I had to pause my march and get her to move. The other horses were behind and to the sides of me, all stretching their noses to try to reach the bucket and grab a bite.

All, that is, except Red. He'd been pushed and jostled aside by the larger horses, and relegated to the back. Apparently he decided to remedy this by being a little asshole and kicking his way through. He must've connected with a tender spot on whatever horse was behind and to my right, because I felt a mighty shove from that direction and the next thing I knew, I was down on the ground.

As much as horses hate unsure footing, and people definitely are that, being quite squishy in most spots and not all that stable even where they aren't squishy since skin and clothes tend to move, accidents happen, especially when there's a lot of pressure behind and not much room to maneuver in front or to the sides.

I got stepped on, twice from the look of the bruises on my lower leg. I'm sore and the bruises are still developing, and are tender as all hell, but I'm fine. The worst I suffered is maybe a hint of a bone bruise in the spot that I actually remember feeling.

But Red... Red has got to go. He's not for us, but in a one horse family, or perhaps with a gelding buddy, he'd do all right. He's not for a beginner rider, but would make an excellent project horse for an intermediate rider.

He's butt ugly, to be frank, but strong as all hell and has the stamina to go all day long. He'd make an excellent endurance pony, as I have seen him lope for three hours straight, blow for five minutes (about the amount of time in a vet check in an endurance race if I'm not mistaken) and be shifting and dancing with his rider, ready to go again. He just doesn't wear out.

Here's a picture of him with a classmate of mine in one of the shows at the college, more pictures can be taken on request if anyone is interested:

I'm asking $400, since that's about what I paid for him to begin with, and I'm offering him on the blog in hopes of finding him a new home without having to take him to auction. If he's not sold by April 29th, though, he is going to auction. I'll be riding the hell out of him until then, so he'll be reminded of the things he may have forgotten.

I don't expect to get an offer from this, believe me, but free advertising is free advertising. Contact me at my email address on the right if you're interested.


Old NFO said...

Sorry to hear you got stepped on, and sorry things haven't been going well with Red. Good luck with the sale!

Crucis said...

When I was in high school, our neighbor's mule stepped on my foot. Broke three bones and I ended up wearing a cast all summer.

I still remember the crunch and how much it hurt. My neighbor tried to convince me it wasn't intentional. I still don't believe him.

Farmgirl said...

Ah well feet are a different matter, really. I've had horses intentionally step on my feet, they're not nearly as treacherous as a body as far as the horse is concerned, and it does tend to make a rather clear point.

But as far as a downed person goes, barring true psychosis or a clear reason (i.e. abuse) a horse will generally go to great lengths to not step on anything that squishy.

Buckskins Rule said...

Too bad you're in Colorado. I know a gal that would take Red in a heartbeat. Oh well, that doesn't help you much.

Taking into account the fact that I wasn't sounds a bit like normal herd behavior to me. For all that we try to convince them that we are bigger and more dominant, when push comes to shove (pardon the pun) they outweigh us by eight or nine hundred pounds.

I understand it being the final straw. It's that human contact with the ground causes many a horse to be for sale, and that I can say from personal experience. It's always a bit sad when it doesn't work out, but no one can say you haven't tried.

Hope you find a good buyer.

Farmgirl said...

Buckskins Rule- In a way it is normal herd behavior. I don't blame him for having his touch of small horse complex, I just don't want to deal with the effects it's having on the herd. It's not the fact that I hit the ground, it's the way it happened. Lord knows Monkey has landed me in the dirt many a time, but he's not going anywhere.

All of my horses respect my dominance, even Red, when he's facing me. The fact that he was able to drive one of the others over the top of me is not a good thing. Along with the fact that he's smart enough to understand that he got one of the other horses to knock me down, and the treats I was carrying were spilled and he was thus rewarded, and might try it again.

I'm good with horses, but I don't have eyes in the back of my head, as this episode duly proves.

I would love to keep him until I can work some sense into him, I feel like I'm failing him somehow getting rid of him over this, but if I don't send him on to a more suitable home it's too likely that something worse will happen. His attitude might wind up getting me, or one of the other horses, seriously hurt.

If I could afford to keep him penned and away from the others, I'd work on him as long as it took, but I just can't afford to feed him that way. So, he gets a month in a pen, while I work the crap out of him, and then he goes to auction. If someone buys him before then I may work something out on putting some more work on him, if they want, but at the end of the month, he will belong to someone else.

I just can't take the chance that he'll seriously injure one of the other horses, or one of the family. Me, I make my choices, and if I get hurt, it's my own fault. The horses didn't get a choice about him though, and if it had been Farmmom leading them in instead of me, it could have been far worse, with her knee.

Buckskins Rule said...

I hope I didn't come off as criticizing or questioning your decision. I agree that you are making the right decision for the situation. If his presence in the herd is causing disruption, or worse...well, I agree with your thoughts and decision 100%.

Jon said...

That's too cheap. Somebody will buy him for the slaughter and that's not a good way to go. I've seen too many good horses go to the dinner tables in France, or the family pet.

Find a local kid that needs a horse and is willing to pay over time, or work the cost off.

Farmgirl said...

Jon- with the way the market is, anyone who pays four hundred dollars for a horse on top of the costs to ship it to Canada or Mexico to slaughter, they're an idiot.

I think I've made my views on the slaughter ban clear before, but in case I haven't: I don't like it. The lack of a profitable avenue for disposing of unwanted horses in a humane manner (and yes, I realize the ban was instated because the slaughter process was considered "inhumane"... I disagree, especially in light of the consequences) has caused the abuse, neglect, starvation and slow death of entirely too many horses. I don't know numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if it counted in the thousands.

I don't like the idea of a horse of mine, even such a pain in the ass as Red, going to slaughter, no. But I like less the absolute knowledge that without the US slaughter plants the horses that would have been put to as humane a death as we give any of the animals we eat will instead suffer, either at the hands of ignorant or cruel owners or in the Mexican slaughter houses, which do not have the kinds of regulations that governed the US establishments.

At least before the ban, horses that were injured beyond use, or unwanted for whatever reason, had a hope of a swift end, because being efficient in the process increased productivity, and profit, for the owners of the slaughter houses.

Not to mention the loss to the economy of the export of horse meat to countries that consider it a delicacy, or the rising price of dog and cat food because the makers are forced to pay more for meats that humans will eat, in order to provide the protein.

As for a kid... no. For an intermediate or experienced rider, Red is a pain in the ass, but manageable. He could seriously injure a kid that didn't have the experience to deal with him.

My asking price is not too low. It's more than I expect to be able to get for him at auction. The horse market is split so far it's not even funny. Well bred papered horses are still selling for thousands of dollars, yes, but last month I could have bought a two year old Thoroughbred with good local racing lines for twenty five dollars, and not a damn thing wrong with him but that he wasn't quite as muscled out as you might expect by that age.

Jon said...

Thoroughbreds were what I'd usually see go to slaughter when I used to frequent auctions. They were beautiful, strong horses; some over 16 hands; and as dangerous as an angry bull. I knew there was an intended purpose, but it always seemed like a waste.

I didn't know there was a slaughter ban, which lets you know how long I've not owned a horse. While I would never want a horse I raised to end up in a slaughterhouse, I would rather see the demise of any animal as swift, instead of left in a pasture to die due to poor care or injury.

phlegmfatale said...

I know it was tough coming to that decision, but it sounds like Red is not safe in such a large group. Good luck finding a new place for him. :)