Blog .:. April 2008 2 Entries

Responsibilities

27 April 2008 Comments

Over the past few weeks I have received an unbelievable number of “Wow, you shipped an eleven-year-old cat all the way down here? You must really love her, huh?”

Aside from the obvious (I need to stop talking about my cat…), why is this so unbelievable? She’s my cat. She’s not a bookshelf or a mattress or any other inconveniently large and ultimately expendable piece of furniture. Just what do people think I was going to do with her? Drop her off at the shelter? “Bye, sweetie. You’re a nut when you’re in a kennel, so it’s an absolute certainty you won’t get adopted. Enjoy your injection!”

I know people can be stupid about their pets, and I am stupid about my cat in particular, but there’s more to it than, yes, being rather attached to her quirky little furballness. She’s my cat, and I’m responsible for her. (It would be nice if she felt any joint sense of responsibility, and took on, say, the task of killing spiders and other insects in the house, but no. I have the most passively dependent cat in the world. She will come and get me, show me the spider, and wait for me to kill it. Wimp.)

So, here’s a question for everyone: just how responsible are we, really, for our animals? I think we all realize people will answer with anything from “OMG! I bred this baby myself so her mother could experience the joys of motherhood and I’ll never, ever sell her because selling animals is cruel and no one can take care of her like I can!” to “Horse, meet auction house. Have a nice day!”

Notwithstanding the fact that I’m a little too close for comfort to the first example with regards to my cat, I think both extremes are a little nuts. If a person and an animal (any animal) genuinely do not suit each other, I think it’s unreasonable to expect the person to assume complete responsibility for the animal for the rest of its life. Find it another, more suitable home. On the other hand: dropping a horse off at a low-end auction is not finding another, more suitable home.

People who insist all horse selling is evil mystify me. Where do they get their horses, then? And then they won’t sell their horses; they will only send them out on leases. Except they won’t, really, because all leases go bad and the horse gets hurt. At least, if you believe anything you read on an internet forum, they do. (And if you believe what you read on internet forums, let me talk to you about this bridge I have for sale.)

I don’t have a problem with buying and selling horses. I honestly don’t care why a person feels the need to sell their horse, as long as they take the time to ensure the horse is going to a good home.

But here’s a question for you: what if you sell a horse to a good home, and in a few years the owner is ready to step up to a more complicated horse. The horse is sold on to another home, where it packs around a beginner. Then the horse is sold to what is supposed to be a retirement home, but after a while the retirement home is tired of feeding a horse they can’t ride, and the horse ends up at an auction. Who’s responsible for that?

I know there are people who will castigate every single owner the horse has ever had, blaming every single one of them for the horse being at the auction. Which is nonsense, as far as I’m concerned. The only one responsible for the horse being at the auction is the person who put them there, and, maybe, if that person has a history of actions like that, the owner who sold the horse to them—they should have checked references better.

But what about all those previous owners—are they now responsible for going to the auction and picking up the horse?

Me? I’m a bleeding heart and I’d go if it were at all possible, even if it meant all I could do for the horse was give him a dignified end. For what it’s worth, I am on the retirement list for a horse I rode in college—didn’t even own her, but Project Pony helped me through some tough situations, so if I get a phone call saying they need a home for her, I’ll move hell and high water to give her one.

Would I get up in arms against every former owner of an auction horse who didn’t show up to buy the horse? I don’t know about that. I mean, who is the most responsible, then: the person who bred the horse, the first owner who had him at the peak of his career, the one who had him as a packer? The retirement home that copped out? Trying to figure out who I should blame and how much blame they should get is exhausting, and this is a completely hypothetical situation.

Yes, ultimately I think one of them should do the right thing, but I’m not going to blame them for the horse being there in the first place. Which is another way of saying I think you can sell a horse responsibly, and if you find out down the line that the horse ended up in a bad situation, you can choose to take responsibility for the horse again—but you are not responsible for someone else being a jerk and doing the wrong thing.

I have a feeling that’s not going to be a popular statement, so let’s have it: where do you stand?

Tagged:

Back in the saddle again

26 April 2008 Comments

Oh, wow. It’s been a while.

News: I’ve started lessons again, and it’s all Lynda’s fault. For which I’m very grateful, of course.

I was going to wait a month or two, let the financial fall-out of the move, you know, fall out, and get over the electric bill sticker shock before I took lessons. After all, it’s been so long since I’ve ridden—what would a month or two more matter?

Then Lynda invited me out to her barn (and gosh her horses are cute), and a lovely family there let me ride their very sweet horse, and… obviously I wasn’t waiting months to start lessons after that.

You know the best part? All the pain issues I was dealing with in the frozen north are gone. I knew the cold was a contributing factor, but I didn’t realize how much of a factor it was. Sure, I had the expected “Hi, remember us? We’re your thigh muscles” soreness, but not the “Take four Aleve and hope for the best” pain I was dealing with after every day at the barn up north. I think this climate is going to be great for me. (Never mind about the heat and humidity that are just around the corner. I’m ignoring them. La la la la!)

At any rate, I think I’m pretty much moved in and settled down. My living room still looks like someone tried to build a cardboard maze in it, but my cat seems to like having places to hide, so who am I to argue?

Tagged: Horses, Riding, Riding - Lessons

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