The more the problems in the horse industry unfold, the more a person has to ask themselves "the tough question"...Should I put this horse to sleep?
There are black and white times when a person has to make this decision. It doesn't usually make it any easier, but we can justify it and live with our decision. As was the case for my little mare, Okie...
This morning I had Okie put to sleep. It was the best thing for her. Sad...but bearable. And, while I don't know how politically correct it is to say this...it brought a deep sense of relief. I have worried about her welfare for some time and now the worry is relieved. I know that she cannot be in pain or suffer the effects of the next frigid weather headed our way.
I know most people will understand and sympathize...but there is always someone who wonders if it was necessary? Wasn't there something else I could have done? Yes, I suppose I did have options. I could have brought her to town, put her in a small pen and fed her....for the rest of her natural life. With daily care, she could have lived another 10-15 years. Because she was just a youngster really. She was only 10. But maintaining a horse that cannot benefit anyone? Believe me, I though of other options-the pasture pet market is gone and she was not a kid's horse. Most of all, I worried that if I actually found someone else that promised to take care of her, that she would come to a bad end. That is something that would have eaten at me.
More and more we see ads for horses like Okie...Horses with problems that people are trying to find homes for. What they are really looking for is someone else to take over making the decision for them. As responsible horse owners/breeders WE are going to have to start making the decisions ourselves. It is no longer profitable to dump unwanted, not quite perfect horses at an auction or rescue and kid yourself that someone else will give it a good home. I think these people have every right to advertise their horses...sometimes you just never know who might be looking...but when there are no takers???
The time of the Old Cowboy philosophy is dying and now the New Wave horseman philosophy is going to have to come to an end too. There is no longer enough homes or enough knowledgeable horse people left to take care of the number of horses in this country. People are going to have to love and appreciate their horses for what they mean to them and they are going to have to start realizing that no one else wants their problems. They are going to have to be the ones to deal with making sure that their horses don't suffer. They are going to have to be the ones making the decision and asking themselves "the tough question".
Rest in Peace my sweet little girl. I will miss your beautiful face!!