In the past decade I have seen a trend rising of people treating their horses with more care and concern. With people looking into ways to naturally work with their horse and see the world from their horse’s perspective.
Natural horsemanship has evolved and more people are looking at ways to be softer, gentler, and more compassionate in their horsemanship. The latest trends show that training has become less forceful and more people are working towards a partnership with their horse.
There are more people talking about this, sharing their ideas, and even more people building long-lasting friendships with their horses. It has been a blessing to not only see this rising trend, but to be a part of it.
However, there are still people out there who feel horses are objects, possessions, or things to use for their own selfish reasons. And when I come across one, thankfully it is more of an anomaly than the norm.
But, they are still out there.
In last week’s blog I mentioned that I was negotiating a deal to purchase Kit. The beautiful black Arabian stallion I trained for a year. He is one of the stars of my Stallion Series Program.
Well, I went out to the boarding facility that he was moved to and was absolutely shocked at what I saw. It had been 10 weeks since Kit had been moved to this location. Here is a picture of what Kit looked like before he was moved…
And this is the Kit that I saw this weekend…10 weeks later.
I couldn’t believe it.
When the owner of the boarding facility saw my reaction she said, “He looks a lot better than he did. He didn’t eat for the first 6 weeks he was here.” So this picture was Kit after he had been supposedly eating again for 4 whole weeks. Can you imagine what he looked like four weeks ago?!
Not only was Kit’s skin different shades of grey, but his eye sockets were extremely sunken which says he had been emaciated. You could not only see all the bones and points on his shoulders and rump, but you could see his entire rib cage very distinctly. His eyes were very weak and sad and his face had turned mostly white. He obviously had been through a war and his body was showing the signs.
She also said, “If he hadn’t been in such good shape when he came here, he would have starved to death. And it’s not my fault. If the horse doesn’t want to eat what I give him, he can starve.”
OMG! She didn’t just blame the horse for starving himself did she? Wow.
I asked her if she gave Kit the feed that the owner provided her when he first came. She said, “No. I only feed the best grain money can buy and all the horses learn to eat it or they don’t. Their choice.”
Again, I was shocked. How could she knowingly and purposely watch a horse starve? 6 weeks of not eating (that she admitted to).
I couldn’t hold my tongue and I said, “You’re the owner of this facility. You’re being paid to take care of this horse. How could you not feed this horse for six weeks?!” She could see my anger and disgust for what she had done.
Proudly, she said, “I didn’t starve this horse, he did it to himself”! Sorry but, what the hell?! Seriously?
Then she started to backtrack and cover herself. She told me that she had tried all different types of feed, grain, and hay and that he refused all of it. I asked her why she didn’t just feed Kit the feed he was used to and that was sent with him when he arrived. Kit’s owner had sent three bags of grain with him on day one.
This lady said she didn’t feel like feeding him “that crap”. Obviously, she had no concern for the horse or his welfare as he was in great shape when he got there and that was from eating “that crap”, as she called it. And trust me, it was actually good stuff.
Any horse person worth his weight in gold, especially one who runs a boarding facility, knows that you don’t just change a horse’s food supply cold turkey. If there needs to be a change, you ease them into it by slowly mixing foods and shifting them into a new feed if at all possible. And she had the ability to do that since the owner had sent three bags of his feed with him.
You watch a horse closely on a new feed to make sure they don’t get diarrhea and get dehydrated or have an allergic reaction to it. You also have to watch and see if they gain or lose weight on the new feed to be able to adjust the amount. Plus some horses can’t digest certain grains and aren’t used to grain at all. Then you get into what is best for the horse depending on his age and health issues.
Changing food cold turkey can hurt their digestive system, cause intestinal distress and even cause a horse to colic. What makes this worse is that this lady had no idea of Kit’s background, no idea if he had any health issues or food allergies, and she still changed his food supply based on what she wanted, not the horse.
Then she dropped a bombshell.
But I’m afraid you are going to have to click on the link below to read it as there’s a whole lot more to this story…
Including what finally pushed me over the edge to lose my temper with her!
Oh my word. I can't believe the difference in the two pictures. I bet Kit's owner is thrilled you turned up. And isn't it interesting that if it wasn't for your beloved Apollo passing on, you may not have been out to visit Kit until it was too late. It does bear thinking about, does it.
So Jazz was a rescue? and now Kit becomes another rescue. Wow. Can't wait to hear more of this new journey for the both of you.
I agree Sarah. I’m hoping for a happy ending too.
Poor Kit… I was so sorry to hear about Apollo. It is hard when it is planned, much worse when it is not. It is poor reasssurance, but losing him likely saved Kit's life.
A short story:
I moved my guy to another barn for the spring/summer showing season. He was super bad to load on Saturday and I was frustrated when I dropped him off. On Sunday we had a freak snowstorm in April. Roads closed, unable to go see him. I went out Monday morning before work. Waded snow to get to the barn. The barn owner was there tending and she told me he hadn't touched his food. He was standing in the back corner of his stall, head hanging down, totally depressed. I spoke his name and he whirled around, ran to see me and then started eating. I am sure he thought I dumped him there or sold him. No problems eating or being depressed after that. I told him I would never sell him, no matter how badly he behaved. It was a year ago September 18 I laid him to rest, peacefully. I will be forever grateful for that.
Someone should have checked on Kit, to make sure he was OK in his new barn. Horses are very sensitive, as you well know, and Kit may have also been upset by the move. He is a lucky boy to have you take care of him the rest of his days. Hugs.
I agree losing Apollo actually saved Kit. Good things can come out of bad. And yes, I wish someone had checked on Kit and the owner hadn’t trusted this lady’s word when she kept saying Kit was great. But things seem to be going in the right direction now. I’m still hoping that I can be in Kit’s life for the rest of his days.
One thing people, even the best people with the best intentions, don't consider enough is the trauma of taking a horse away from his home and his "herd". Horses form very strong bonds with other horses. I've heard it said, not sure if it's true and can't recall the source, that the bonds horses have with other horses can be 10x what humans have with other humans. If true, that is incredible really. I would guess that Kit was in major depression, as in my mind that's the only way he would have deteriorated this quickly, not eaten his food, etc. . I know sometimes there is no other recourse then to move a horse (and sometimes, as I describe further on, it can be in their best interest), but then the human responsible for the horse has the responsibility to fully vet the new facility, interviewing the owners, understanding their philosophy/values surrounding horses, as well as talking to other boarders, and actually visiting to see how the horses are being treated. I have also found that different boarding facilities have different "energy" about them that has a real effect on the horses. When I moved one of my own horses many years ago from a facility that had a strong negative energy, to one where the boarders got along well and were supportive of each other, even though they had very varied disciplines, my horse almost immediately improved mentally and physically.
I completely agree. Kit was depressed to be in this new facility and then with other things that happened there, he went down fast. Unfortunately his owner believed what she heard about this current facility and trusted this person. If I had seen the place myself I would have known right away it wasn’t a match. But not being the owner, I had no say in the matter. Nor was I asked. But now that I’m in the mix, I am doing everything I can to help Kit.
That is disgusting and so distressing. She should NOT be allowed to care for horses, especially other peoples. I do hope you could get him away from there. Did Kit recognise you?
I’m still working on it. Kit recognized me right away and was happy to see me. This is the reason he’s eating again. He’s helping me with my heartbreak and loss of Apollo and I’m helping him with his heartbreak and loss of his buddy Danny. But he’s still not out of the woods yet.
Did you buy him, get to it !
I’m still trying.
This is unbelievable! And from someone who I am sure is certain she actually cares about horses. This happened to me with my mare Folly. I had her at a stable for a couple of years and things were going well, until one winter the boarding stable owner set up all the horses, and 5 cows, into one large movable pen in the middle of a field for the winter – in Minnesota! The pen had one small shelter that was dominated by the cows, and the local hay was very bad and expensive . By the spring, my mare, a robust Haflinger, was skin and bones. This owner was not the least bit concerned. After tearing a strip off that woman for allowing such a thing to happen, I got Folly out of there as fast as possible.
Yes, they are still out there!
It really is scary when you leave your horse in someone’s care. You always have to double check and keep tabs on their care, just in case. And yes, I honestly think this facility owner cares about horses, but Kit’s different and she doesn’t know how to do different.
That happened to my horse at a boarding stable too. She didn't even have water because the automatic waters weren't bolted down as they should have been and the stable owner knew my horse was prone to tipping it over. She put two horses on 1/2 acre at the beginning of May in Minnesota with no hay and both horses were in terrible shape after four days that I was unable to go see them. So sad 🙁 I'm glad you found out about Kit before it was too late.
When I got to Kit, he had stopped eating again. So, he wouldn’t have lasted long. With me there every day he is eating ‘like a horse’ again, but with other things going on there, he is still in danger. He should be moving to a new place within the week if everything goes as planned. Fingers crossed. But then he will need to gain his weight back.
OMGOODNESS Teddie!! You can’t leave us hanging for a whole week!! Is he ok? Is back in your loving arms, please God 🙏🙏. The tears ar running down my face as I read this & write this. How in God’s name can any sane person treat an other sentient being this way? My heart is breaking for Kit….and for you. I can only imagine the self control you would have needed to get through that conversation. MY mommy claws came out & they haven’t shown themselves for a long, long time.
Please…..is he ok? 🤗🙏🙏🙏
I’m doing my best Pat and the vet has been out. He is extremely thin but his bloodwork came back all good. He is only 676 lbs. – half his normal weight. He’s still not out of the woods, but getting there. There is so much more to the story. I’m there every day and the more I’m there, the more I see and I can’t wait to get him to safety. Soon, very soon. It’s even harder to hold my tongue so I don’t get kicked off the property. I need to be there for Kit.
I trust he is safe and sound at your place now?????
and…..possibly she now has her jaw wired.
Not yet. I’m still working on getting him out of there. I found him a place, and have hired transportation, but they are fixing up the fences right now for him. Every day he’s at the boarding facility he is at risk. There’s so much going on there.
This is horrible story of blatant abuse by both the owner of the boarding farm and Kit's owner who clearly did nothing to help Kit while he is there. I hope you are able to buy Kit soon and start restoring him to his prior health and happy self.
I’m trying my best Frances. Kit’s owner had no idea and had actually been told by the facility owner that Kit was great and everything was fine. She lied! Kit’s owner is now working with me to help get Kit out of there.
OMG! I would have lost my temper with that person, also….even before I know what the bombshell she dropped is! How did Kit's owner end up boarding him there?????
Sue, it is unbelievable and I’m still trying to make sure Kit survives. His owner had no idea of his treatment because she couldn’t go out to see him due to her being disabled. The boarding facility owner said she had 30 years as a professional trainer and knew about how to handle stallions. That’s why it sounded like a good location to Kit’s owner. It’s always a risk when you are trying a new boarding facility. And because it is a private facility visitors like me weren’t allowed. Kit’s owner had to get special permission for me to go out. That’s how I found out about Kit’s treatment.
I can only imagine the different emotions that must have hit you all at once. Her indifference to his condition would have put it over the top for me!
I look forward to next weeks update.
The more I was there, the more I found out. Not good. And Kit’s not out of the woods yet.
OMG Teddie – I am very sad to see that Kit in that condition!!! Unfortunately, I find this more than not. These boarding facilities just want to make the money, but have NO concern for the horse at all. They seem to miss the concept that if you keep the horse in good condition , that the horse thrives, the horse owner is happy and they get to keep the horse longer. I am so surprised that Kit didn't die during this experience. Glad he was strong, but sorry that this had to occur at all.
Most owners think that the boarding facility is taking care of their animal – My ? is "Where is this owner? Did she not visit the horse once? If he is still a stallion, most boarding facilities are NOT equip to handle a stallion.
This is complete disregard of this boarding facility (which should NOT be called that at all)- Again which I hear about at boarding facilities across the nation. Good hearted people leave their horses in the care of these ignorant people. Again, my statement is: If you do not treat your horse like part of the family, You should NOT have a horse. Would you leave your child at at a boarding school and NOT go see them, are you NOT concerned how they are getting along?
If the answer is that you would go and check on them – Then WHY would you not go and check on your horse? If you were NOT going to ride him after having training – then sell him, geld him if you are NOT going to use him as a stallion!
I am so glad that you went to visit Kit, but disappointed that you found him in this condition, because I am sure 'He wanted to die being in the care of this woman and very surprised he didn't. Cause she would have NOT even called a vet. I would not have been able to leave him there, and the owner would have to be called immediately as well. If no one wanted to do anything – I would have had to do something immediately. But, that poor horse would of had to be moved from this facility immediately and after I got him out – I would have this boarding facility investigated. I wonder how many horses have perished because of such mismanagement.
I will wait till next week to here your answer, but I know you TOOK ACTION.
I am NOT a boarding facility but many customers have had situations like this or worse and begged me to take their horses in, which I have done successfully and turned their horses around. Some customers had lost a horse at the hands of one of these types of individuals, or so called boarding facilities (which they should NOT be called). These are torture facilities, these people must of come from slaughter house mentality. I do NOT know what is wrong with them, but this is a pretty common practice still.
A true boarding facility takes care of the horses needs, # 1 is following the instructions of the owners who left them in your care! If you cannot do this simple task – Do NOT call yourself a boarding facility! That means giving him the feed he came with, minerals, turnout, simple basic care. If you see he's dropping weight – let the owner know immediately. Does he need his teeth floated, have the vet come in to take blood tests, etc…
Whatever is necessary for the horse to THRIVE!
I feel the exact same way Pam! I, of course took action, but Kit #1 was not able to be moved as he was so weak and #2 there was no place to move him to. I have frantically been looking and finally found a solution. A place that houses stallions here is few and far between. And since he is 28 years old, gelding him is not a possibility.
And his story is not finished yet. I’m writing these blogs as they are happening. But in the mean time I am there every day and he is in my care 100%. I’ve had the vet out, which of course she never did. I talked to the owner, which she never did. Everyone on that farm has been told they are not allowed to touch him, let him out, or feed him. I am in charge of his recovery. The vet is also taking a personal interest in this “rescue” as he calls it. A project of love.
And I’m working with the owner to resolve this nightmare ASAP. Unfortunately, there is only so much I can do not being the owner, but you better believe I am making my voice heard and not taking no for any answer! The horse is always first in my book. I am doing everything in my power and I’ve already contacted animal control.
Horrifying! I don’t know why Kit was sent to a livery yard or the reasons the owner was unable to monitor what was happening to him, but if I were them I would be suing that yard and get animal welfare involved. Didn't anyone else there notice his condition? There are no excuses for a professional establishment allowing a horse in their care to get in this state. Poor Kit. After all you have done to get his confidence and trust back in the human race, you have every right to "lose it" with the yard owner. Kit's mental state as well as his physical body have been damaged by a callous uncaring person who thinks they know best and are blind to the evidence to the contrary. Unbelievable!
I followed your Stallion series and I hope you will be able to quickly get Kit back into your care so he can recover from his ordeal in a loving and understanding environment.
I completely agree with you Juliet. There were a few other people around who should have done something. At the very lease contact the owner and let her know. And his trust in humans has been destroyed. It took him 7 days to even “speak” to me again. He was happy to see me, but pissed at the same time. I don’t blame him. It broke my heart that no-one else took care of him. But I have promised him that I will never leave his side for the rest of his life and I won’t let anyone else tell me otherwise. He knew what I was saying too. He just put his head on my shoulder and stayed there relaxing into me for about 5 minutes. You could feel his relief. He doesn’t trust humans, but I’m glad he still trusts me.
Poor Kit, it must have broken your heart to see him like this ☹
… please tell me you took him home right there and then???
I sure hope he will be all right, this is such a case of horrid cruelty.
Teddie, you can’t leave us hanging like this!!!
It was heartbreaking. I wish I could have taken him then and there, but I had no where to take him. I’ve finally found a place, but things have changed. I am taking the best care I can of him and he is progressing nicely. Still has a way to go though. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel and he should be moved in a week or so. Fingers crossed.
My first question is: where was the owner? Why would anyone board a horse somewhere new and not go check in weekly to make sure your horse is receiving the absolute BEST care?
Why would you completely trust a stranger with your animal and never come and check on him or her?
Second question is: why is this person still in business? Why hasn't she been turned into authorities?
If you are going to own a horse and board it somewhere, then be a proper owner and check on your horse. Spend time with your horse or give the animal to someone that can and will!
My point is that Kit would never have been in this condition had his owner taken proper responsibility! You can give a trailer full of feed to a boarding facility but it is your responsibility to make sure they are feeding and caring for your animal!
I absolutely agree with you.
Mark has reposted this article. Is there an update to the owner of the barn. Did she have to go to court to explain why Kits condition got to be so bad?