This week has been pretty stressful with work and worrying about a lame horse. Last Friday night my 4 year old filly came up with a mysterious lameness in her hock that is keeping her from putting much weight on her hind leg since Friday night. I had a vet come out and look at her Saturday morning. The vet took x-rays which were clean, because I was worried that she might have broken something. The vet used a sweat wrap on my filly and I’ve been giving her bute (pain killer) since Saturday. On Monday, I took the sweat wrap off, and the swelling is now down at her fetlock- above her hoof. I plan on calling the vet today to figure out what else we need to do, since she is not putting a lot of weight on it still and her leg is swollen.
Let’s just say I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been worried sick about her. With all of this going on it has made me realize how many people do not understand how much a horse really means to a horse lover especially when their beloved equine is sick or injured. So I have decided to write a letter to those who just don’t understand the bond between a horse and their rider/owner.
Dear Non-Horse Lovers,
There is nothing more stressful and devastating for a person who is “crazy” about horses than to see her horse come up sick or injured. Unless the horse ends up dying which trust me, that is literally the end of a horse persons world! Regardless, I feel like you do not understand the true bond between a horse and its rider/owner. You might think you are that person’s closest friend or lover, but I guarantee you the horse surpasses you and anyone or anything for that matter. One common misconception is most non-horse lovers consider a horse to be similar to a pet- like a cat or a dog. If you want to annoy and make your horse loving friend irritated feel free to use this reference. However HORSES ARE NOT PETS! They mean so much more to a horse lover then a pet does to a pet owner. Don’t get me wrong, us horse lovers love our cats and dogs, they just are not the same as our horses.
Horse lovers spend hours and hours each day feeding, grooming and caring for their horses. They spend multiple hours each week training and riding their beloved horse. They spend many hours driving to competitions or fun trail riding areas every weekend. Not to mention, your friend spends a lot of money on these beloved animals and I mean a lot of money! We have to pay for feed, grain, grooming supplies, riding tack, vaccinations/warmer’s, payments on a truck and horse trailer, riding lessons, training fees, competition fees, fuel, boarding fees or payments for your own barn/pastures, veterinary bills, chiropractor bills, farrier bills, and the list goes on and on! How awesome would it be to only have to buy dog food, a collar, a leash and a chew toy!?!! So next time you complain about a vet bill that is less than $75 for your dog, consider that a $100 is usually a bare minimum vet bill for a horse! An word to the wise, never question your horse loving friend on why they spend half of their monthly paycheck on their horse(s)…
Not only does a horse lover have a major time and finance investment in their beloved animals they have a strong emotional attachment. This attachment is the strongest and usually is the one that means the most to the rider/owner. A horse is composed of the riders dreams, their aspirations, trust, hope and never-ending love for the horse. A horse is what keeps your friend sane, keeps them together and helps them through all of their life struggles and turmoils. There seriously is nothing more comforting then hugging your horses neck while bawling your eyes out. There is nothing more therapeutic than just simply sitting in the saddle after a long day at work. There is nothing that smells better than the essence of a barn full of horses. There is nothing that beats a “fun” workout of lifting hay bales and cleaning stalls while jamming out to some great music! Horse lovers thrive off of all these things! Throughout their day at work they are constantly thinking about which competitions to enter for the weekend, researching bloodlines, trainers, and stallions, browsing horse and tack advertisements, and wondering about what trouble their horse is currently getting into in their stall/pasture! Whenever they get a chance, they dream of how far they can go with their horse, what improvements they can make to help those dreams come true, and developing a game plan to accomplish those aspirations. They have tons of dreams and wishes for their horse, hoping that their beloved equine will be the next big champion, one that will win many competitions, lots of prize money and tons of buckles/trophies. All of these things keep your horse loving friend going and living in a positive and cheerful way. They help them wake up and drag themselves to work, because we all know deep down inside they would much rather spend all day with their horses- but need to pay for their expensive habit!
So when their horse comes up sick and lame, try to be understanding that your horse lover’s world is literally falling apart. It affects their whole lifestyle, their current routine, their social life and their work ethic because they are worrying about that horse 24/7. Try to also remember that your horse loving friend is
scared more like terrified that their horse may never come back to be 100%. That all of those hopes and dreams they have created might be washed away if their beloved equine does not make it through their sickness or lameness. Try to be patient and understanding that your horse loving friend may seem a bit short, distressed and depressed until her horse pulls through. Their mind will be full of worries until that horse pulls through so hang tight and try your best to support them. You do not have to know everything about horses, just listen to your horse loving friend and try to help them if you can. Try to come out to the barn and help them doctor their horse, just show you care. Trust me they will appreciate it!
Horse Lovers Anonymous