Normally, I enjoy talking about positive subjects, keeping the material light and fun, and teaching some sort of lesson (usually based on my own experience).
But today I want to talk about something that happened that is not so positive and may be a touchy subject for some. It is something that is near and dear to my heart and I want to talk about “what NOT to do”.
The subject is Senior Horses.
I was recently looking at a Facebook horse group discussion that I’m a member of and was shocked at some of the responses people were giving this one person. And I realized that age discrimination isn’t just about humans.
This person had put up a video of her riding her horse and was just saying that she was happy to be spending time with her horse. It was a very happy, simple, positive post.
She was a woman over 50 and she was riding her horse who was over 30. She and her horse were both in good health, they weren’t doing anything strenuous, and they were just happy together.
It was only a quick, under a minute, video. You could see that the horse was happy being ridden bareback and without a bridle and they were only going at a slow walk in a safe grassy area. It was very sweet.
There were a few nice responses about how good her horse looked and how sweet they were together. They obviously had a great relationship and they loved each other.
Then the nasty posts started.
- Someone said that she needed riding lessons as her seat was wrong (she was bareback and relaxed and was doing this for fun, not a show)
- Someone said that her horse was too old to be ridden (the horse looked healthy enough and obviously was enjoying the experience)
- Someone said that her horse was crippled (the horse had some arthritis and an old injury that was being managed, but was far from being ‘crippled’)
- Someone else said that she was an idiot and didn’t know anything about horses since she didn’t see that her horse was injured. (Name-calling is never acceptable and if they had asked her, they would have found out that she knew he had been injured, that she had taken care of it, and that she had received the ok to ride from a vet.)
OMG! The comments were so cruel to both the owner and her horse.
No one asked her any background on her horse, no one asked her about her story, no one asked ANY questions… they only bashed without understanding or care, viciously.
It turns out that her horse had arthritis and was sickle hocked, but was in good health, especially for a senior horse. Her horse had been injured in the stifle early on in his life by a nasty kick and was further injured by “poor training” before he even reached 1 year old.
She rescued this horse and had taken exceptional care of him so that despite his injuries he could live the life of a ‘horse’, happy, healthy, and loved beyond belief. No one or no horse could ever ask for anything more in life than that! We are all lucky and blessed to find that in a human or a horse.
So, back to the video. All she was doing was posting how happy she was and sharing her and her horse’s loving relationship. What she received was a few niceties, but mainly hurtful, ignorant comments from people that never asked her, or cared to ask, about her or her horse. They assumed she didn’t know AND they assumed they knew better.
You know the saying about what happens when you assume something…
Anyway, she had never received so many bad comments about her horse and many of them said her horse was too old for this or that.
She had a comment saying she should give her “old” horse away and get a younger horse and even had a comment telling her to “put her horse down” because of his age.
She couldn’t believe how badly people were talking about her horse just because he was “old”.
It was sad to hear that so many horse people out there that were willing to discriminate against “old” horses, even talk about putting them down, or just giving them up when they became a senior horse. That is a real sore spot with me.
What is “too old”? Some people think 28 is too old, but there is a 40-year-old Arabian at my barn. Age is relative. It should be about the horse’s quality of life and the health of a horse, not their age.
I am a strong believer that when you get a horse, you are together forever. It is a responsibility, a commitment, and a blessing. So, you should make sure to be thorough when you are looking to get a horse and do your research to find the right horse for you.
You also have to know and understand that they will get older and they will need more care. Your horse is a part of your family and just as important. You wouldn’t give your grandmother away because she is old or sick, so why is it so easy to do with a horse?
I’m not trying to chastise anyone for making that tough decision. I know and understand that sometimes it’s not possible when there is financial hardship or the horse is just not the right match for the owner. And for the sake of the horse, sometimes it is better for the horse to go to a different owner who can take better care of him or her for a multitude of reasons.
I’m just talking about this one particular situation.
I have been called the “crazy horse lady” by a few friends because they know that I will feed my horses before I feed myself. They just don’t understand me, as the ones that have said this are not “horse” people.
And that is not just ‘talk’. At the worst part of my life when I was down and out… I moved into a room in the barn where I was boarding my horse. It was a stall in the barn that had been converted into a very small room with a cot and a dresser. I was very thankful the barn room was available and it actually was nice living with my horses. Plus, at that time I did a lot of fasting as I fed my horses before myself. But, that’s a whole other story for another time.
My horses have always come first, as would any of my family. I would, and have, done anything to make sure they had the best care.
I now have two senior horses and love them to death. I will be there until the end for them. If you have senior horses as well, I applaud your dedication and love for your horse and wish you the best with their care. You can always reach out to me if you have questions about caring for a senior horse.
If you are on a horse Facebook group, I ask that you PLEASE –
- Be a hater online
- Assume you know someone else’s horse or their situation without asking
- Give up on your horse or someone else’s horse just because they are ‘old’
- Be kind and understand there is always a story behind a picture or a video
- Be grateful to have a horse in your life, no matter what age they are
- Care for your horse like you would a family member with love and understanding
Thank you for listening to my frustration and I hope and pray that you and your horse are happy and safe at this time.
In case you were wondering… the lady in the Facebook Group I mentioned with the senior horse…
That was me and the horse was Jazz.
I hope you dropped out of the FB group. Sounds like a lot of ignorant people. None of us need that kind of negative energy, especially at this time.
Your horse is beautiful – a reflection of your heart, I’m sure.
I’m sorry for your attack but be rest assured that you are well loved by those who are loving. The “nasties” are obviously not well loved and need our love to help them come closer to the light.
I have a 19 year old gelding who has compromised feet and so I stopped riding him a few years ago, as he asked me not to ride him. He does however have a great life and is very happy living with his two mares and going on lots of walks together with my husband and I. I learned to do barefoot trimming from Pete Ramey and I never give up on trying to improve his condition. He was born a PMU foal and was compromised even before birth. That doesn’t change my determination to help him. As long as his quality of life remains good, I will continue to take care of him.
I wish you all the best. Keep on loving those horses of yours.
With love to you, Lindy
Thank you for your support and your care and love for your horse. It really is all about listening to what your horse needs and wants and then giving them the best “quality of life” we can.
Unhappy people simply are not satisfied to follow the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Thank you for this blog. It is unlikely to change the attitudes of the negative posters but at least shows needed support for the unfortunate recipient of those ugly reactions to her video. Keep up your positive work! I love it! But don’t hesitate to post this kind of a blog as your reaction to very bad behavior. We can all learn what not to do along with what to do!
I know this won’t change the haters, but hopefully, people will realize this happens to lots of us out there and they aren’t alone.
I applaud you for writing this about yourself & your senior horse. So sad that you experienced this (online) cruelty. I don’t have words because I am trying to use the 3 gates – is it necessary, is it kind, is it true before I speak or write.
I was a member of a woman’s group of horsewomen online. The opinionated cruelty & unsolicited advice was overwhelming. I had to discontinue my participation. My horse is 20 now, needs extra TLC & I am happy to give it to him. He holds my heart & I his.
Beautifully said, Teddie!
You should post this on the Facebook page. I noticed people have comments, usually not nice, about everything.
I admire what you do with horses. I wish we still had my granddaughters 22-year-old, we had to put her down last July and are still heartbroken over it.
It is so difficult to practice love, kindness, gentleness, caring, towards certain people’s remarks (I’ll chalk it up to ignorance) ~ I am on a couple of FB horsey groups and have chosen very carefully which ones. I am so new to this and hypersensitive that I sure don’t need anyone undermining me or my partner. I love when people give you suggestions with love and care.
When we first moved here, my neighbor down the street asked if I wanted her “elderly” horse…I just really couldn’t even believe my ears. She was looking for someone to take him before he passed on her property. When I first got my OTTB rescue, I made a commitment to him and me that if ALL we ever do is have a relationship together, on the ground, at liberty, that will be more than enough. He came with lots of baggage and injuries and I couldn’t have asked for a more courageous, smart, intelligent, handsome, smart, thoughtful, sensitive, smart, brave, caring, (and did I mention smart?) guy.
I know that he was Heaven sent, just for me, to teach me ALL about life, what matters…what’s important. It has been a long 5 years for his injuries, feet, metabolic issues, no sweat etc…etc…etc.. to finally get under control naturally where he is happy most days. Lots of trial and error and really trying to listen to what he tells me (like, no shoes…). We are just starting into the transition from the ground, liberty to riding bareback, and bitless. to me, this shows a true partnership of trust and love.
If they allow you to ride them this way, they REALLY REALLY love you and are in tune with you and it is the REAL dance. ANYONE can make a “horse” do something, but it takes listening and having a special bond with a partner that offers…now that is something that has rocked my world… I still can’t get over that he wants to be with me ~ such love.
Thanks for all the insight as always!!
You have a great bond and an amazing relationship with your horse. Keep up the good work and love. <3
There are some terrible, judgmental people in this world. I am sorry that people have said those hurtful untrue things. Those people couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are a few horses at the farm where I board my horses when I arrived there I thought to myself, “Do they care”, they are never here, etc. But when I met them, I realized their situation, and how much they loved them. People were judging them too.
I have had 2 horses before Barney and Gracie. They both were with me until they passed at 30 yrs. and yes they are and were a big part of the family. Thank you for sharing that story Teddie
Belonging to three Facebook equine groups has made me realize that the old saying about asking a question to five horse people will get you five different answers. It will also get a lot of negativity, sometimes for asking the question in the first place! I don’t post anything because of that.
My husband and I had three older horses that each had a reason that they couldn’t be ridden. We recently lost one to a serious colic at age 27. The other two are 30. They are indeed part of our family and will be with us until the end of their lives. Yes, they get fed before we do (a fact that my husband loves to tell everyone!), they get regular farrier and veterinary care, time with us, and are happy horses. That’s what matters.
Kudos and love to you for taking such great care of your family. 🙂 Thank you!
These noisy children don’t even need time of day 😀
The fact we’re commenting on this now continues to empower them.
You can’t let badly behaved inconsiderate children get under your skin, their opinion is worthless.
Feel sorry for them, next time react with non reaction
Think of them as remedial horses you’re glad you don’t have in your herd,
Unless they’re willing to play fair xx
I have had my horse since he was 5, he is now 20 and I love him with all my heart. I have made many mistakes but wouldn’t part with him for the world. I don’t understand people who feel the need to be negative or critical … Horses are emotional sentient beings that deserve to be treated with love and respect not like they are disposable or a piece of equipment. The negative people you encountered aren’t worth your time or anyone’s time … Especially those who love their animals and would do anything for them.
I agree wholeheartedly Janet. Thank you for your support and strength.
I was touched by your story as I recently joined a horse group (will not name). I too posted a picture of my horse and I received hate mail saying similar things to me and my old friend 24yr old gelding. It was brutal and hurtful both to me and about my horse. Yesterday my horse passed away just fell asleep and I couldn’t wake him up. I loved my horse. I promised myself that I wouldn’t post anymore but I read your article and it touched a chord with me. I am sorry it happened to you. Thank you for the article. 🌹
Oh, Teddie. That is so sad. Facebook is both a blessing and a curse
Glad you are strong in your own self to not let the haters get you down, you can only feel sorry for them being so ignorant and self-righteous
You are inspiring. All the best.
Thank you, Wendy. I just hope my experience can help others know that it’s not just certain people the haters go after…it’s anyone and for no real good reason.
Thank you for your support and kindness.
Thank you for sharing that experience. Very sad that people speak that way and fail to ask. I am sure I have thought negatively at times, in a weak moment, failing to ask the understanding questions. I hope to continue to grow out of that self centered way of thinking! I also have a senior horse – Breezie just turned 20. She will be our forever horse. And I hope to continue to grow in asking /looking and understanding what she is saying.