Cute N Cool

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are you concerned that I may have not made the right choice with the move of Betsy and Zoe?

My life as 
a horse owner all came to and end yesterday, as my two girls got into that shiny silver slant load trailer, and headed down the road to their new home...Equine Life Solutions

They left with a signed contract agreement between both parties in my hands, to start the process of their new life.

It is true I still have the antique pony, who is 40, but that is a rescue/quality end of life mission we are giving him, so that is different in my mind.

Let me kind of bring you through the process that got us here. My second chapter as an adult with horses started with Ken and I getting a horse, after we got together in 1989. I had had many horses over the years, previous to my divorce and had thought that they were no longer an option in my life.

Ken and I had gone together in high school..and after high school had gone separate ways in life ending up married to others, had children...and divorced. We ran into each other in 1989, each of us divorced and single. The rest is history there.
Ken had loved being around my horse when we dated in our teens, and now encouraged me to get one again.  That "one" led to 15 more (including foals) over  the years. 

We were involved with a Paint Horse Club in our area, raised some foals, had some horses shown, and sold some good young horses to some good homes. 

We had one foal leave Washington to a new home in Florida, and another (our favorite, Zoe's first foal "Robin Fort Knox", aka Bailey) go to Wisconsin where he was the most loved youth horse in the barn he was in and did very well as a youth Western Pleasure horse.

Now to the current situation, which is the two horses we have had long after the others have found new homes long ago. 

We found Zoe,  a palomino APHA mare, in Oregon in 1993 when she was two. We bought Betsy, also APHA , as a weanling when she was 6 months old in 1995.

Zoe will be 20 on 6/9/2011. Betsy will be 15 soon, on 4/5/2011.

So, Zoe has been my "girl" for 18 years, and Betsy almost all of her 15 years. They are very bonded, as you can imagine, and that was what made the re-homing option very challenging. I was not willing to sell or give either or both of them to anyone I did not feel extremely good about, and know how they took care of the horses they were responsible for.

It was a comment my husband made to his brother and sister in law, that started this whole thing. Ken mentioned that we were hoping to find safe good homes for the horses, and my sister in law mentioned her cousin volunteers for a barn that may be interested. The networking started, and it was this person we did not even know, who told Robyn at Equine Life Solutions, (ELS) about our mares.

As all of us have stepped into this agreement, we are all on the same page as our number one concern is the horses and their future. We have been honest about the mares, their personalities, quirks, and abilities.

Did I mention previously that Zoe is deaf? They is actually something they are excited about. She will help kids who have disabilities to see how well she does with hers. She is also one of the most honest horses I have had, and (don't tell Betsy) but one of the most loved one's we have had. Everyone seems to be drawn to her. She is bred to be a reining horse, so her 14.1 size is ideal for kids.

Betsy is sired by a well known Paint who has sired champion youth horses, known for their good minds. She also is a kind mare, with no meanness in her, though she can be kind of tricky. For example she will open stall doors, and considers herself alpha, at least over Zoe.

So fast forward to today. I do not want to be that person that later hears a horror story of the horse I released in good faith to someone. 

I look back and think of the stories I know personally of some horses I have known that were owned by friends, and the outcomes of these horses. I have seen horses I knew that ended up at the local horse auction in Enumclaw, Wa.

I myself saw horses that had at one time been owned by my 4-H friends, and sold at some point to end up at this auction later. One horse I know went  to the slaughter buyer, and I was horrified to think what my friends family would of thought if they knew this was her end. 

Another horse who was called Belle Star,  was a wonderful little gaming mare when owned by my 4-H friend Bill.  I saw her at the auction years later, being sold by a local horse trader I somehow doubted Bill's family had sold her to. I contacted Bill's folks, who said they actually never sold her as she had been pastured at a friend of Bill's and just disappeared. They followed up with the auction to find out the new owners name and follow up to make sure she was in good hands.

I also have a friend who had two very nice high quality Paint horses, that were less then sound, and needed expensive foot care to keep them as sound as possible. She didn't feel anyone would care for them as they needed, and did not want to risk their potential outcome by releasing them to others who may not really spend the money required to keep them as sound as they could be, and comfortable. 

After years of expensive maintenance of their feet and health, they were both humanely put down at their home.  It broke her heart, but she felt that after exhausting all her options, this was the only solution for them.

Another Paint breeder I know of made the blog "Fugly Horse of the Day" when they took many of their older well bred broodmares to the local horse auction. I understand that the Canada slaughter buyers come to our auctions. 

Unbelievable, that after these mares with world champion bloodlines, were just cast aside when the owner did not even offer them a humane ending to their lives. The  blog Fugly Horse of the Day, which is vocal watchdog for horse related cruelty, did a blog on them last August. They work with an Auction Horse Message Board to catch this type of neglect.

So, to give you all as well as myself, peace of mind for the future of these two mares, I think we did our homework as best we could.

We checked the references, our vet knows they are going to ELS and gave them a good reference. We have gone through the facility. We observed the lesson program in action, with the clients and employees.

We saw their feeding program, the feed rooms and special need feeds and records. We saw their new stalls, and paddocks, as well as outdoor field areas. 

Our own farrier is now their farrier. 

We have a signed contract with a holding period for final release. 

Their philosophy for the program is a nice match to ours..don't know what else we could of done.

These are good horses, and they need a job that is appropriate for them. They need more attention and "loving" on them, than we have been able to provide due to our schedules. With all the youth in this barn, I think they will get all the attention they could hope for!

On top of all of this, we will be coming by to see them, as my granddaughters want to take riding lessons here as well. 

Both parties are viewing this as an open adoption!

I feel good about this..look at their website, and tell me what you think?


  1. Jan, it's a tough thing to do, but I don't think anyone can fault you on the "due diligence" part.

  2. I'm glad it all worked out. I don't ever trust websites (have rescued many horses from people with beautiful websites), but it sounds like you did your homework and visits for sure. Nice that you will have constant contact with a second party that will see their place on a regular basis, too--the farrier.
    I hope you accept my apologies for voicing concern. I have horrid memories and regret of leasing out my 20 year old mare (trying to keep ownership of her to keep her safe) to the next door neighbor of my family and finding out she was moved to a pasture out of town and starved to death. Let's just say I'm to the point of being like your friend with my old ones. I have a 24 year old mare that I sort of co-own/protect with a trusted friend. She thought she might not be able to keep her and my facilities wouldn't work for her, so I offered to bring her here and put her down--we just couldn't chance it, especially since she's not broke. No matter what you do, it's hard. Congrats on finding the perfect solution for you!

  3. It is always heartbreaking to say good-bye, like losing a part of yourself, but you have done the loving, generous thing - both for your beautiful horses, and for the wonderful facility you have found. They will be happy and fulfilled in their new home and that is a very good thing.

  4. it must be such a sad thing to have to do...i cannot even imagine. but it does sound like you have gone above and beyond in terms of making sure they are in a good place and being well taken care of. your conscious should be clean....

  5. I have 6 horses left and I can relate to the decision you made for Betsy and Zoe. I love the fact that you will be able to visit anytime and that your beloved horses will have a job and be cared for until the time comes to humanely end their life. Such lucky horses as many are not.

  6. Oh my, they are beautiful! I think you made the right decision.


Thank you for your comments...I mean really...Thank you for taking the time to do that.. how nice of you!