How do you tell someone

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Marsha Cassada

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We went to visit friends over the 4th in NM and I was shocked at her horses. Had not seen them for a year. One had a bout of colic this past week and the vet came out for her twice. My friend asked the vet how her horses looked, weight wise, and he said they looked fine. She asked him about teeth and he said they were fine. This is outrageous, as the litte mare has not had her teeth done in her life--she is about 8 now, and even I can tell by looking that they need work. These hroses seemed extremely thin to me--backbones sticking up and tummies hanging down. I rubbed my hand along them and handfuls of loose hair came off.

The mare is the thinner, as the gelding pushes her away to finish off her food.

My husband and I (He is not horsey and was shocked also) tried to politely suggest that they should be seperated while they eat, and maybe be fed more. I also suggested she find another vet, as this one obviously seems too lazy to bother, or doesn't like to work on minis. (It IS a little hard to find vets in her area; they are very busy.)

I am thinking, that my friend does not see other horses, to compare, so she doesn't know hers are unthrifty. And if the vet says things are fine, she naturally takes his word.

They have regular hoof care, and she worms regularly and adds the stuff for sand colic. She feeds half a flake of alfalfa and a can of sweet feed a day. No free choice hay.

Why should she take MY word over the vet's? How does one suggest a change in care without seeming to accuse the owner of carelessness/ignorance? These are pets, not working horses.

If I lived close to her, I could make a difference easily, but we are a day's drive away.
 

sundaymom

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Tell her about this site.

Of course delete this thread if you do. Ha!

Seriously, the things I have learned by reading and listening to others on this thread, have helped me so much. It still does. Not a week goes by I don't seem to learn something else.
 

Genie

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I am not speaking for other horse owners, but for myself, I can not imagine me asking a vet, " how do my

horses look"

Maybe you could offer to outline a feeding program that might make a difference in the conditioning of their horses.

After being in a situation for a long time things start to look normal and people become complacent.

It's the "frog theory"

If you put a frog in a pot of cold water and turn the heat up slowly. The frog sits there till it cooks to death. Throw a frog in a pot of boiling water and it immediately jumps out a saves it life.

These people's horses have likely slowly gone "downhill" to this condition and they are now looking normal to them.

If they saw well conditioned horses and walked directly back to their barn they should immediately see they have a problem.
 

[email protected]

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Good luck with that one! It's hard to tell someone that they need to make changes - but as she's obviously a caring individual, as she did at least ask her vet how they were doing - I would do as others had suggested: send her here!

She's not feeding them enough though if they're only getting 1/2 flake a day - you could point out that could be part of the problem with colic. Horses need to graze continually keeps things moving - so upping the hay and spreading out feedings would help. If they're just pets I'd likely cut out the sweet feed, and double the hay to start. Coming from the land of well rounded (ie. fat horses on primarily hay diet), I hate to see skinny and be told it's good shape between the two. There is a difference!!!

As for the vet lazy or incompetent if that is her only choice that is what it is, but she needs to be more vigilant and educated to protect herself and her horses.
 

minimomNC

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Vet problem is hard to solve if they are hard to come by there.

Horse problem, explain it to her, tell her exactly what you said here and be very polite and understanding. Friends should not have to worry about what they say to other friends. You should be able to tell her the truth and she should be a good enough friend to know you only mean well. Show her pictures of other healthy horses and talk about how they look different from hers. Ask her what she thinks about the pictures and if she can see the difference herself. Some people never notice how their horses truly look because they see them every day. Don't let her think that you think she is starving them, but that there is a issue. If you talk to her truthfully, sincerely, and politely, she should understand.
 

Keri

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That's funny you said that about the vet. I took my gelding to the vet trying to figure out what was the matter with him. He was losing weight, etc. and I knew he shouldn't be at that weight. When I took him there, my vet said he looked great weight wise. Told him no, he's about 50lbs thinner than he should be. But he said, he sees so many overweight minis, that he looks nice. But I think a lot of vets aren't educated when it comes to minis and some vets won't work on them becuase of their size. I had a tough time finding a vet to float teeth. I think she should either educated herself and then the vet or just find a new vet.

I know you don't want to hurt her feelings, but I would personally just say your mare looks bad. She may take it bad at first, but in the end, she'll realize it was best to save the mare's life. I would suggest to her a feeding program that would help her mare and also suggest stalling her separate during feeding time. I would also just show her the mare's teeth. Anyone can tell they are bad when they are getting scrapped by teeth while running their fingers along the sides by her cheeks.
 

Vertical Limit

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How do you tell someone, Their horses don't look good
This is a tough one. Especially if they do not ask. It could really jeopardize a friendship.

Friends should not have to worry about what they say to other friends. You should be able to tell her the truth and she should be a good enough friend to know you only mean well.

If you talk to her truthfully, sincerely, and politely, she should understand
I certainly agree but it doesn't always work out like that. People can get their feelings hurt quite easily and foolish pride is a hard thing to get around.

I personally would have a go at it anyway. I can't stand to see animals in poor condition or seeing things that I know could be detrimental to them without saying something.

Again, you "could" be jeopardizing your friendship......but all in all you "should" be able to be honest. To be real blunt, I would not care as long as the person "HEARD ME" Maybe they will never thank you but at least you will know you tried. Nothing worse to me than knowing you could have helped when you didn't. And if it does ruin a friendship there wasn't anything there to begin with. They will eventually know deep down that you were right and you were trying to help.
 

capall beag

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Well, depends if she wants to listen.

I recently offered to take back a horse I sold because I feel his living conditions are awful.

The people simply don't want to hear.

They are offended that I would think that and yet they lie about it to avoid admitting the truth.

Very frustrating, he has food and water but is living alone locked in a small dark area for the majority of his day.

If I feel an animals wellbeing is at stake I think it is wrong, very wrong to say nothing.

Offer some helpful advice, perhaps explain a similar situation. Try not to appear judgemental and that is the best you can do.

Good Luck!
If you really think the horses are in need of food don't be afraid to speak up for them. They have no voice.
 

Miniv

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Repeating what was just posted above ---

"If you really think the horses are in need of food don't be afraid to speak up for them. They have no voice."

If you feel the horses are in serious trouble......and I would also be thinking of them when cooler weather comes, I would speak up. Yes, it may cause some discomfort with the friendship, but if you do NOT speak up and their horses suffer for it, how is that going to make you feel? Even if she doesn't listen, at least you will have tried.
 

Bozley

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Fiona,

I know exactly who you are talking about and I agree with you 100%. The horse you are referring to is in an awful situation and you can talk until you are blue in the face to these people and they will not listen.

This poor mini is a stallion and he is kept in a very tiny stall in the back of their garage. He does have food and water. But he has no turnout. They take him out 15 minutes a day on a lead rope to eat grass on their lawn and often times that doesn't even happen. He is not groomed, he has no socialization. He does not get an annual vet check up, nor regular hoof trims or wormings. If you go in to visit him he has his head down in the corner like he is very depressed. If you try to pat him he turns around to try to bite you. He looks miserable. But you know it is one of those border line situations. He has shelter, food and water. I honestly don't think authorities would do a darn thing.

I also tried talking to these people. They just wouldn't listen. Once I went over and they had no hay. I asked them how long they had been out and they said a week or so. "They just hadn't gotten around to picking more up." I was furious. I went home, loaded up my van with as much hay as I possibly could and dropped it off, no charge. I think they were really offended but I didn't care.

Then I suggested maybe they could get on the same schedule as me with my farrier since it was obvious their horse hadn't been trimmed in a very long time. They agreed. I asked my farrier if he could kind of give them helpful hints on the care of minis. I thought maybe they would listen to him. The farrier did mention things about horse care but he too said they just wouldn't listen.

Then I thought maybe if they had more information on minis that would help. So I sent them a FYI email with a bunch of links to informative websites including Lilbeginnings. They thanked me but nothing changed.

Their daughter takes riding lessons at a Morgan Farm and shows the farm's horses from time to time. So I thought, maybe if I could get them interested in showing their mini and they saw how other people care for them that they might make some changes in his care. I was able to get them to come to a show and a few of my mini friends talked to them and gave them great advice about feeding, care and showing. But when they got home nothing changed so obviously they still didn't listen!

So you know, you can talk to people all you want and it may not make a difference. But what if you don't say anything? Then the situation definitely will not change. If there is a slim chance it could, it is so worth giving it a try.

You know what the kicker is about this family. They are very wealthy. They live in a multi-million dollar home on the ocean. Their kids go to a very expensive private school. So it isn't like these people do not have the money and are not educated. They just don't want to listen!

Sue
 

Marsha Cassada

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I emailed her today and told her we had bought some nice timothy hay bales at a feedstore on our way home and how pretty it was. I suggested she give her horses some hay to munch on during the day as being hayless might have contributed to the colic episode. Also mentioned timothy pellets. So I will talk to her again in a few days and see what she thinks. Some nice, plain hay may not make make the bossy gelding so possessive and hopefully the little mare will get her share of it.

I think, in her heart, she knows the horses don't look just right, but when the vet said they were fine she became uncertain. It takes a lot of confidence to argue with doctors. And we all know that everyone you talk to has a different idea of feeding!

Thanks for the ideas and support. I have sent her the link for this forum before, but she is on the computer all day with work, and doesn't want to use it once she gets home.
 

bevann

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Photos are an eye opener.Often times we don't see things with the naked eye,but looking at a photo makes us sit up and notice.If there is some way to get her to take photos and then compare with healthy well cared for horses it might work.She just might see it .good luck
 

Marty

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I'm going through something like this with two people right now.........

What do you do or say when they simply do not see it???? They are totally blinded to an underweight horse.

It's just hard to explain but they cannot see there is a problem when you stand right there and touch the horse's backbone sticking up and say "LOOK FEEL THE BONE"! It is absolutely crazy.

Another case going on is when a person referred to a certain horse that is "up in the show barn"

Well that is wonderful but first, there is no show barn, no barn, no decent leantu ......just a roof set on 4 poles and 2 X 4's around it, barely a shelter and that one horse is being fed. But what about the others standing out there with no shelter that look like crap? Only one gets to eat good and look good and to heck with the others. It just boggles the mind.
 

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