“Found: Large Animal, Hooves, Mane, Long Tail…”

“Found: Large Animal, Hooves, Mane, Long Tail…”

Funny title, not a funny subject. We recently received the following note here at Our First Horse:

“My sister lives in Cumberland City and recently found four horses left on her property. She is not familiar with the horses and does not recognize them as any of her neighbors’ horses. They appear to be in relatively good health with a few minor wounds and they haven’t been groomed in a long time. No one has come to look for them they have been there for four days now.”

The writer was looking for information on how to find the owner or legally keep the horses. I’m not really sure about either one but the situation brings up a timely subject: how horses are faring these days, with the current economic climate and the ban on slaughter. I have to say, things are not looking good.

In addition to the above letter, I personally know of two cases locally of abandoned horses. The first one is that of a neighbor of the vet clinic where I work. A woman called to ask us to post a notice on our board – like the writer above’s sister, she had found a horse on her property and had been unable to identify an owner. The consensus around our office, staff and visitor alike, was that the owner intentionally “lost” the horse. The second case supports that theory. One of our clients, who has cattle but not horses, brought a horse trailer to a stock auction to haul equipment home. He was inside for a while and when he came back out to his trailer, he found two horses inside with a note saying something along the lines of, “I can’t feed my horses – please take care of them.” They were thin, but otherwise in good condition. So sad.

I’m sure there are many more stories like this, here and everywhere else. I know Bill has written before about the horses being abandoned in the Arizona desert. It seems to us that things will get worse before they get better. We are blessed here in East Tennessee with a good hay crop this summer, so we’ve been able to get hay this year for decent prices. Others are not so lucky. Also, while hay was cheap and plentiful for us, everything else is going way up. We are literally paying twice as much for oats as we were a year ago. We’re fortunate to be able to absorb the extra costs, so far, but we know that there are a lot of people out there who can’t do so, at least not for long. We’re concerned about what will happen to those horses.

Just another reason to hope that things will get better very soon.

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