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ForMyACDs

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I've owned my 3/4 Thoroughbred 1/4 Percheron mare ("Sophie") for 12 years now (from the time she was 3). During these years we grew a lot together. I showed her VERY successfully in dressage and a little low-level eventing and she could kick some serious butt! At one time while we were showing regularly I was offered $13,000 for her and I turned it down. I just wasn't ready to sell her. She produced two drop-dead gorgeous foals for me. One was sold at 7 months (he went on to be a National Top 10 Hunter Pleasure Horse and a multi-Regional Champion and Reserve in Hunter Pleasure) the other sold before she was born and although she was never shown I do think she was the nicer of the two.

I then had some major life changes and tho' I STILL wasn't ready to sell Sophie I decided that leasing her out as a broodmare would be an option (I wasn't willing to take the risk of leasing her as a riding horse). I received over 100 applications to lease her so I had plenty of people to choose from. I chose a lady that bred Performance Mules (dressage and jumping) because I thought that would be an excellent place for Sophie. Sophie left in the early spring 3 years ago. Well, apparently the lady who leased her "changed her mind" and bred her to a butt-ugly mustang stallion. Then, a year and a half later called me to tell me to come get my mare (and her foal) because she was getting a divorce and all the horses had to go. Sophie was skinny (after all, she had a weaning age foal on her) and was needing some foot care, but she wasnt' in horrible shape. One of the other applicants BEGGED me to consider allowing her to lease Sophie so I let her go once again. The exchange happened last fall. The foal was sold to a friend of the family for cheap (looked just like the stallion) and Sophie was slated to breed performance horses. Well, that too was not to be.

I recieved a call a few weeks ago from the lady saying that she was getting out of horses and I needed to come get Sophie. She hadn't attempted to breed her at all and had actually been boarding her (against the lease rules). I went to pick up Sophie last weekend and was APPALLED at her appearance!! To say that I'm angry is an UNDERSTATEMENT! When I questioned the leasee as to why she didn't contact me sooner she claimed that she was trying to keep her house out of foreclosure and didn't want me to take Sophie from her. WHAT!?!?! If her house was heading for foreclosure she shouldn't have MY horse!!

Because of my situtation (no longer have the funds to board her and don't have the facilities to keep her) I'd finally decided that selling her was probably the best option. I'd put out some ads before I picked Sophie up and had 18 people begging me to be the first one to see her because they all wanted her. Well guess what.......in her current shape they have all backed out!

So, here's the rundown:

1. Kick to the left buttock left a lump. I was told this was within the last week, but there is hardening already (some scar tissue development) so the injury is NOT new. There is some healing left to do and the swelling should go down but it will not go down completely. The result will likely only be cosmetic as there seems to be no muscle damage. She claimed a vet looked at this injury, but the owner of the facility said that she had tried to drain the lump herself the day before with a needle/syringe!

2. Left leg swollen down to and including the hock. I was really worried about this but there are no bony changes as I expected to see on the xrays. The injury is to the thoropin. She currently moves sound at the trot but does not pass a flex test on that leg as the injury seems to be pretty fresh. The injury is not a tear, but a seperation to the tendon sheath. It should heal with time tho' a bit of swelling to the thoropin will always be visible. The xray of the hock itself appeared as a normal 15 year old hock (the other hock was not xrayed as we had no reason to do so). Again, no vet saw this before......she claims it must have happened overnight.

3. This one is the biggie. A general swelling to the left front knee was xrayed revealing a bone chip. This injury too is not new as the chip has begun to fuse to the knee. I work for a vet and he quoted the surgery as $1000 (this is something he performs regularly.....his prices are far lower than most despite the fact that he's a VERY skillful surgeon). Without the surgery she will likely wind up with severe arthritis in that knee in anywhere from a year to 3 years. With the surgery she could possibly go back to being ridden and would likely have several good years use as a broodmare.

4. Despite the fact that the leasee's nephew is a farrier Sophie has not had any foot care in some time. Her feet are dry, cracked (superficial cracks) and broken. She'll see the farrier here next week, but it's going to take several trims to get her feet back in good shape. Her feet have NEVER looked this bad!!

5. Rain rot across her back and a fungus growth up her hind legs. There was a smallish shelter (about 10'x20') for 15 full-size horses Apparently, Sophie spent most of the bad weather time out in the rain/snow. She got a fungal shampoo bath and will get another in a week.....already it looks better.

6. Wormy appearance (dry coat, a bit on the thin side - she's an EASY keeper - with a big "hay belly and cow pattie-like poop). Fecal definitely showed worms......she's been wormed and will be wormed again in 10 days.

It's taking ALL I HAVE not to go down and strangle this woman. My $5000 mare is now basically worth nothing! NO animal deserves this!!

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that I'll even get vet bills paid out of this woman much less the $3500 she owes me according to the contract due to her negligent care of Sophie.

I guess you live and learn......I'm just sorry Sophie had to suffer for it.

Okay.......end of rant.
 

Magic

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Oh man, that's BAD. Your poor mare.
 

Marty

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I have a lot of things that I would like to say, but I won't.

I will say that I feel so bad for this horse that it has brought me to tears. When I think of all the times Sophie was in the ring working her heart out for you at her best, and what she has been reduced to now is simply sickening and unacceptable.

This is why my loyal retired show horse sits in my field under my nose no matter what. When the day comes that I can't take care of him any longer, I would rather lay him to rest peacefully and let him retain his pride than to ever trust someone with him in his golden years.

I can't stand what has happened here to Sophie. And yes you should strangle the woman.

Maybe you can donate her to a therapy program or a place that accepts retired horses.
 

bfogg

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That poor poor mare, i feel so bad for her. Glad she is back with you and hope you let her stay.

Bonnie
 

mcharr36

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Is it the 'norm' now to lease a horse so you have an animal to abuse? A friend leased me 3 broodmares to help me get my herd started with bloodlines I don't have. I am returning them to her next week in very good shape.

She leased 3 or 4 mares to another friend for the same reason. They were returned to her this past Spring in deplorable condition. Wormy, starved, etc.

She also leased a stallion and mare to another woman, again, to help her get her herd started. she had to send in a rescue group to get those horses back. They were in such bad shape no one thought they'd survive the trip home.

Now, I will never lease a horse to anyone and I'm thinking about stopping breeding completely. At least with a lease I may have some control over my horses and with a sale they are completely gone.
 

nootka

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That is, indeed, a sad story.

I hope it has a very happy ending, though, and I know the feelings of betrayal that you are experiencing.

Focus your energy on rehabilitating your mare, though, and do write a letter to the woman who did this to her. Whether you send it or not, it will be therapeutic for you. If you do send it, make copies and send it registered mail so if you need to use it for legal reasons, you have proof that she got it.

Liz M.
 

ChrystalPaths

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Thank heaven you got her when you did, healing thoughts coming for you both.
 

Bess Kelly

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I am so sorry for your mare and you.

It is necessary for anyone who leases to make a visual check upon that animal(s). There are those who take care of them, fortunately. Mcharr posted her own exposure and I can say that I have 5 here who belong to others.

Every one is in great shape! They are here for me to breed and keep foals but, were originally placed because the owners had some reasons to not be able to care for them. To date, I have not bred them -- my choice & not an issue with the mares, simply my desire to restrict numbers of foals -- however, any of the 3 owners could drop in at any unannounced time and I would be gladly show them their well-kept mares
Now, they aren't brushed daily and bathed each week
but they are feed, handled, loved daily....receive vacines, vet care, hoof care and occasional grooming as my OWN do. (at my expense)

Sorry for your mare. I wish you could have had to options to check on her more often. It's even more of a concern for so many repetetive unresponsible owners to be involved.
 

Minimor

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There are people who will look after a leased horse properly--I was going to say "as if it were one of their own" but then rethought that. Unfortunately there are plenty that don't look after their own horses properly, so if they looked after a leased horse the same way, that's not saying much. Here the horses are all well cared for--doesn't matter if we own them, lease them, board them, if they cost us $5000 or $250. I do know people who are equally caring for all the horses in their possession.

Unfortunately there are also plenty that figure if the horse isn't theirs, well, it doesn't much matter if they look after it right or not. We leased a mare out to a friend many years ago--at the time her own horses were in nice shape and we hadn't known her long enough to know all the facts about this lady. As it turned out, the horses' condition was a hit or miss thing, sometimes they were well fed, other times hardly fed at all. Our mare, because she was just on lease, was in the least favor & this gal would actually go out of her way to be mean to her. Learned something from that experience.....
 

ForMyACDs

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Well, here are the photos:

Injury to left buttock:



Injury to left hock:



Injury to left knee:



General condidtion (this is AFTER trimming off all the dead mane/tail, LOTS of grooming and 2 weeks of good food):



(this is what she USED to look like):



Because of these findings and due to our situation we've decided we will be putting Sophie down. We don't have the funds to pay for the surgery, the food to winter her over, nor the facilities to keep her during her rehabilitation. At this point the only interest in her has been for meat and we won't do that to her. There was the possibility that the surgery might restore her to the point where she could be ridden competitively, but no one has been interested in giving her that chance because as with any surgery there was no guarantee.

As much as I would love to give Sophie a home for her remaining days, when I stated that we do not have the facilities I really do mean it. We have one acre fenced.......ONE and no facilities that will accomodate a full-size horse. We have divided off an area for Sophie temporarily (so the area she has is in actuality less than 1/4 acre). Due to her condition she's hoarding food and will run over our dairy goats and pony to keep them away from any/all feed so she has to be kept seperate as they can not hold their own against her size. She isn't happy and neither are her "companions".

I'd decided to lease Sophie out as I felt I would have more control over her care than if I'd outright sold her and her care was more important than anything to me. I just no longer had the kind of money it took to show any more or to raise/sell foals after leaving my job as an engineer (due to sexual harrassment and descrimination that nearly sent me to a breakdown). We also had to move....making keeping Sophie nearly impossible. I just didn't like to see Sophie's talent wasted by not being used and wanted to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy her and treat her like the princess she was.

Unfortunately, due to this situation I will never again trust ANYONE with an animal of mine.
 

nootka

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I am SO SORRY that you and Sophie both were put through this. I do know the feelings of betrayal you are experiencing, and I do understand your decision, as well. I have one very old mare here that I am convinced I would probably have to do the same thing for if for some reason I could not keep her.

I know how much you wish there were options, too.

Please know that my thoughts are with you in this difficult time.

Liz M.
 

Miniv

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I am one who does not tear up easily....but your mare's condition brought me very close.

I would be FOAMING MAD!!!!! But since that doesn't solve anything -- I'd have a vet examine her and document all of her injuries and problems.

Then, I would send a copy to the the woman who leased her with a letter saying that another copy is being sent to the local humane society.

I would also follow through and write a letter to the local humane society explaining the lease agreement (perhaps even enclosing a copy of the lease) PLUS the vet's report.

By doing this, the humane society has her on record and hopefully no other beautiful animal will be NEGLECTED by HER.

I know you are being forced to stable her, but I'm sure it's going to be much better than what she had before!

Blessings,

MA
 

ForMyACDs

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nootka said:
I do know the feelings of betrayal you are experiencing, and I do understand your decision, as well.  I have one very old mare here that I am convinced I would probably have to do the same thing for if for some reason I could not keep her.
Well, the thing is, Sophie really isn't that "old". She's 15, but because she's been used "gently" she sure doesn't act her age.

Right now she's not lame. When the vet I work for came out to see her and she decided to go prancing around the field he thought I was probably overexaggerating her injuries because she sure didn't look lame......she produced a beautiful floating trot and his comment was "I didn't know your mare was THAT nice!" (he'd never seen her before). However, once we caught her up and looked at her injuries together he noted that she was sound on all 4 until a flex test was done on the left hock. She doesn't currently pass a flex test on that hock. The knee doesn't have arthritis yet, but it will......without the surgery she will develop crippling arthritis.....it could be 6 months, it could be a 2-3 years, but it will happen.

Miniv said:
I know you are being forced to stable her, but I'm sure it's going to be much better than what she had before!
She's not being stabled.....she is right here at home, but has to be confined in too small a paddock for long-term.

Yes, I'm angry beyond belief, and it's taking everything I have not to take it out of this woman's hide.
 

runamuk

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contact me privately ...I know of a forum member who has had an eye out for a companion/walk trot and this person takes exemplary care of their horses........I also know this person is offline until the end of nationals.....
 

bfogg

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ForMyACDs said:
nootka said:
I do know the feelings of betrayal you are experiencing, and I do understand your decision, as well.  I have one very old mare here that I am convinced I would probably have to do the same thing for if for some reason I could not keep her.
Well, the thing is, Sophie really isn't that "old". She's 15, but because she's been used "gently" she sure doesn't act her age.

Right now she's not lame. When the vet I work for came out to see her and she decided to go prancing around the field he thought I was probably overexaggerating her injuries because she sure didn't look lame......she produced a beautiful floating trot and his comment was "I didn't know your mare was THAT nice!" (he'd never seen her before). However, once we caught her up and looked at her injuries together he noted that she was sound on all 4 until a flex test was done on the left hock. She doesn't currently pass a flex test on that hock. The knee doesn't have arthritis yet, but it will......without the surgery she will develop crippling arthritis.....it could be 6 months, it could be a 2-3 years, but it will happen.

Miniv said:
I know you are being forced to stable her, but I'm sure it's going to be much better than what she had before!
She's not being stabled.....she is right here at home, but has to be confined in too small a paddock for long-term.

Yes, I'm angry beyond belief, and it's taking everything I have not to take it out of this woman's hide.

464085[/snapback]

 

ForMyACDs

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runamuk said:
contact me privately ...I know of a forum member who has had an eye out for a companion/walk trot and this person takes exemplary care of their horses........I also know this person is offline until the end of nationals.....
Sophie has never been a horse for a beginner. Even so, after all that she's been thru I'm just not sure I want to send her yet one more place. Like I said, I just no longer trust anyone.

When I was still considering placing Sophie it was only if the surgery was prepaid and performed at MY vet clinic BEFORE she left. This was to prevent anyone from getting ahold of a "free" horse they could then dump at the auction for a few bucks or a nice broodmare (she is an excellent broodmare after all.....her first foal was a multi-regional champion/reserve and Top 10 Hunter Pleasure horse) they could use up until her knee gave out and then dump. Of course everyone that contacted me about "giving" her to them changed their mind when they realized the surgery was mandatory.

Sorry, nothing against y'all, but I guess you can understand why I'm sceptical after what's happened.
 

runamuk

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I understand......I have been kinda helping look for this person for a horse that isn't completely broken down but needs a great lifelong home.......I have been through this myself and have recently placed a horse in a life lease so far the care is amazing the horse has the best of everything......she deserves it she went through he_l_l ...I also recently gave(actually a trade eventually) a mini to a very good friend as a companion to a horse she bought from me years ago......I did it because I know this person cares for her animals as if they are her children....... and she would never hesitate to put her animals needs before her own......

I just thought I would throw it out there as I do know this person if even interested would come with a small army of personal references and vet references........

I have another friend who agreed to lease a bunch of starving mares as she couldn't stand the condition they were in....it was supposed to only be for 2 years it is going on 3 now and the owner has no interest in getting them back as she has no where to put them and no way to feed them...yet she refuses to let them sell to good homes because they are "worth" more than that
 

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