Another crazy day at work, but that’s the norm lately. While browsing on Facebook on my commute in (only in heavy traffic or a red light of course!), this story on the world’s oldest horse caught my eye. Shayne, a 51 year old Irish Draught/Thoroughbred cross, was put to sleep after he couldn’t get up in late feb.
I love this story.
It’s not because the horse was really old (because he is), but that he was cared for well and thoroughly and was happy when he lived to be a ripe old age. The article states he was in a sanctuary his last years, and although I would prefer he was with private owners instead of a donation based sanctuary – I still love the story.
This is how we should treat horses. We are responsible for them, and that means caring for them well into their old age and letting them get to an old age. I’m not suggesting keeping a horse alive just because you can, sometimes it’s kinder to put them down for a variety of reasons, but I mean stop treating them like objects.
A horse is not a vehicle for you to win ribbons on. A horse is not something to be upgraded when they can’t perform anymore. A horse is not a commodity.
I’m not saying you should never sell a horse, because there are tons of scenarios where selling a horse is best. But know that when you take on ownership of this animal that serves you, you also take on a responsibility to serve them. To me, this includes providing care however you can so you can see them to an old age.
That’s why I love the Shayne story, or why I felt both sad and warm/fuzzy when the old Arabian at my barn died last year. She went from Arabian Nationals to aged retired school horse with the same owners, who had her best interests at heart the whole time.
That’s the kind of horse owner I want to be.