Sunday, November 23, 2008

It Was Bound To Start Happening

My big ears heard the whispered rumor today that a couple of ranches have resorted to euthanizing horses that they are unable to sell.

Ranch #1-people that raise fine futurity cutting horses. No junk there-what didn't make it in the cutting pens went on and made nice ranch and rodeo horses. I had heard a couple years ago that they had reduced the number of colts they were raising because their market was drying up. Last year, they prepared a group of young stuff for a catalog sale and ended up bringing quite few of them home. I suspect they were reducing their number of older broodmares??

Ranch #2-raised a few running QH and TB's. He held back some nice potential broodmares. They never got bred, due to the crumbling market. Not exactly sure what out of that herd was euthanized-but I know nearly everything he had, had at least been to the track.

I don't know what else people can do...

Where these horses that were suffering? Not in the least. Without a doubt these were sound, healthy, probably hog fat, usable horses. The owners are not newbies in over their heads, nor mass breeders who failed to recognize that they needed to reduce numbers. Both are responsible horsemen who have had horses their whole lives(both are in their 60's). They have lived with the ups and the downs of the previous horse markets. They strove to raise winners. They raised, trained, promoted and used the horses they raised. They both had consistent markets for their foals, their prospects and finished horses.

These are experienced horse people who looked around and decided...

If you can't sell them...

And you can't give them away...

And you can't let them bankrupt you...

Or let them eat your pastures to dust...

What else can you do?

I wonder how many more are going to be following suite??

13 comments:

Train Wreck said...

Tragic! I hate to hear such horrible stories. Both the for horses as well as the ranchers. It is so awful to think of this happening, I pray this economy picks up soon. Prayers to you as well my far away friend.

Laura said...

Oh man, that is terrible to hear. I really wish I could get my hands on a nice little mare. Although - what would buying one horse really accomplish? *sigh*

It's doubly sad that these people are like you said - the experienced ones who actually breed decent animals. The ones that really need to stop have no clue. What a crappy state of affairs.

Andrea said...

It's sad but it's a good thing too. The Ranchers are at least not sending them to the KB and or then letting them starve to death.

We have a weanling right now that I am not sure what we are going to do with. Right now we are feeding her and I am hoping to keep her until she is two. Then I hope that I will be able to break her out and maybe sell her as a trail horse at 3 or 4. But that is hoping feed doesn't go up a whole lot more.

Beet pulp went from 16.95 a bag to 21.95 a bag. Hopefully disel will go down soon.

SunnySD said...

Sad... I'm a "keep them until they die" person for the most part, but realistically, if you have more than you can support, and can't place them somewhere they'll be well cared for.... I don't know of another good answer.

And I'll admit, I said just the other day about a very nice senior mare that really just needed a place to live out her life in peace - it would have been far kinder to euth her then to sell her to someone who's going to use her for a baby factory. But the (former) owner didn't want the mare to die on her property - not that the mare was unhealthy or any more likely than any of the other horses to drop dead. Just that the owner couldn't bear to have this mare die of old age on her place - but she could sell her for almost nothing to someone who's going to pop out foal after foal.... Personally, that makes me a bit ill, too. I just don't get some people.

SkyBar Farm said...

What a very sad state of affairs. I have to commend them for doing the right thing given their choices. I would much rather them go a quiet death, then chance the unknown. I have always been of the opinion that I would never breed for a foal that I was not willing to keep forever. There have been times I have been tight on funds, but I have never short changed those I have brought into the world, and if circumstances forced my hand, I would do the same thing those ranches did.

Natarojo said...

I do admit given the circumstances, they likely did the right thing, but it is still so sad to hear. Especially when there are spo many 'mutts' (pardon the expression) out there and taking up space that could go to these very useable horses. The sstate of economy in the States, as well as up here in Canada, is a little scarey in all aspects right now.

Trailboss said...

I have a good friend that is giving away 6 horses because she doesn't have the time to care for them anymore. Her father in law and her mother live with her and her mother is bedridden and has to be turned every 2 hours. It was so hard for her to decide to give them away, esp since they are all rescue horses, but she will. I have been trying to find a good home for them and may have come up with one. She also has about 30 head of minatures. She has her hands full, that's for sure.

It is sad to hear of responsible owners euthing good horses. I am thankful I have my two.

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

I think it is safe to say that we all love horses here! But the sad truth is that horses are not simple creatures to keep...not like dogs, that require very little financially and can sleep where we sleep. I think that we all have to face the fact that regardless of the economy, the world around us is changing and the market for horses will change with it. I personally feel that over time there will less need for the broodbands that we have seen in the past. Even now "production sales" are not as common as they used to be. In the past, I didnt question the ethics of breeders that were producing quality stock but I think that time has passed and there is no longer a market to support the use (and care) of those animals. I would much rather see a horse put down than see it starve. Is it sad? Of course, it hurts me heart to think of what those families are facing and the nice horses that were lost...but...I hate to say it in this crowd..... How many children were just killed in Darfur while I was writing this? more than 1? Less than 5? What child in the UNITED STATES just watched his mother die because they could not afford health care? What family just became homeless? I dont want to see horses die any more than the next person but the humane culling in times such as these, while tragic and sad, is a responsible action. Their death is not a punishment, their neglect would be.

Flying Lily said...

I respect this choice a great deal. It must be so hard to cause the death of a perfectly sound horse; but the alternative (such as a bad sale) is so much worse for the horse. But to have to put down a horse you have personally raised - oh how that must ache in the heart.

Karen J-S said...

You titled your post most appropriately...it started years back. We'd go to a sale and folks would bring 4-6 mares, bred back, with foals by their sides...they couldn't give them away.

These folks have done the humane thing, even though it's such a sad thing to see. It'd be a total tragedy to see them sell the horses to the KB. We've got many people dumping their horses off in the National Forests and out in BLM areas around here.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. But, I believe it will get better over time.

OneCowgirl said...

I'm the kind that will keep my horses until they die but lets face it there are too many horses and not enough people to care for them. Horses are livestock not cats & dogs. I think Congress did a grave injustice when they closed the slaughterhouses in the US. The statistics are staggering with the number of children that die of hunger everyday - why not feed the hungry children of the world? Many countries consume horse meat and its actually got more protein than beef cattle. There are many folks dumping horses on ranches, BLM land etc..shouldn't we get some use out of the horse instead of dumping them to starve to death?

Vaquerogirl said...

This is the saddest post I've seen yet. You are brave to broach this subject- and not go all crazy doing so. I agree with Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind- bravo for saying that. This is a sad state of affairs. Too few people are responsible owners of any animals- if you can't even get people to spay and neuter their dogs and cats- what chance does a horse have to be looked after properly?
But it is a slippery slope we tred- if we declassify horses as livestock- putting them in the 'pet' catagory we would have an even bigger mess. Horses are livestock- and should remain that way. Responsible livestock breeders will have to euth the crop that no longer is viable. Sad- Entirely! Necessary? Absolutley. All we can do as Backyard horseowners is not to breed and advocate that stance to all.

Rising Rainbow said...

Ohhhh, this gives me chills. There's nothing scarier to a breeder like me than reading something like this.

So sad for these horsemen too. I can't even imagine how they must feel. The very thought of having t do something like that here makes me sick to my stomach.