Friday, September 28, 2012

Thinking of Patti and Padre

Parenting must be tough, and worrying must be 80% of parenting. Moms and dads everywhere live with the fear that at some time when their children are off at school, or at the mall, or playing a sport, they will come in harm's way. You can't watch them every minute, and you can't protect them from everything. It's something that I suppose parents learn to live with. The thing they have going for them is that it's a cultural norm to value and protect children. People look out for kids.

"It's just a horse"
We horse owners, though, have some of the same fears, but even friends and family don't always understand. Many people don't feel one way or another about animals -- they just don't see them as meriting concern.  It's a weird kind of society, isn't it?  Animals get hurt, maybe they get neglected, maybe they get killed.  "It's just a dog," "it's just a cat," "it's just a horse." And as if that's not disheartening enough, horse owners have an added burden -- when something awful happens, horse owners are stuck with the vet bills and care of are very big, very expensive animal.

 There are many awful stories of horses harmed by ignorance or malice...

  • On COTH, one poster described how her family came home from a concert to find her young filly dead in a paddock. Her next door neighbor's teenager had thought it would be fun to use his paintball gun on the horses confined in a paddock.  She was so terrified she ran into the side of the barn at full tilt.
  • I posted once about horses shot by hunters tresspassing on their property. The legal picture? Legally the responsible owners get fined or hands slapped. Not much to be done.
  • And now Padre. Thank heavens it looks like he is out of the woods, but his prospects as a riding horse are uncertain. Patti has shown grace and restraint in describing what happened and her feelings toward the people who trespassed her property and changed her horse's life.

I hope Patti is able to recover some of the costs of her ordeal, and I have to believe Padre will recover fully.

Not everyone understands
For any given tragedy there are people that like to assign blame without knowing the facts, and people that like to critique the actions of the victims. Those of you who are not so sympathetic -- what happened to Patti and Padre could happen to any of us. The difference is, Patti has a horse that she loves, but he is more than someone's horse -- he is an American icon, a mustang, that represents an ideal of his breeding/ancestry. In my mind she has a national treasure, and she is show responsible stewardship. I think we should support her.


  1. We can all pray that Padre's mustang hardiness and strength will allow him to recover completely. He is an amazing horse and both he and Patti deserve a miracle.

  2. In a society where the welfare of children, the elderly and the impoverished isn't always a priority, sadly it's not surprising where animal welfare often stands.

    I hope that Padre recovers fully. I have had the privilege of working with the east coast equivalent to mustangs - the banker ponies - and they are special.

  3. If Padre were any other horse, and Patti were any other horse owner, we might have all just said "how sad!" and carried on without another thought. For me, however, the fact that Padre is so accomplished, and Patti is such a wonderful owner, I follow their story closely. They are going through what none of us should have to...the pain, stress, and frustration of having to deal with a situation that someone else caused, but is neither paying or taking responsibility for. It's a horse owner's worst nightmare! Bottom line: it doesn't matter that "it's just a horse". It's someone else's horse...someone else's pride and joy...and they need to take responsibility for their stupid actions. What a mess for poor Patti. I commend her on being able to hold her tongue (in the cyber-world, at least) when talking about what happened; I don't think I'd be able to do the same!

    I agree with Jean (comment #1): Padre is from a hardy ancestry, and I'm confident he'll recover completely. I have a feeling that Patti is pretty hardy, herself!

  4. I agree completely with your calls for sympathy and support. Patti and Padre inspire so many of us.

    Padre's injury resulted from someone's incompetence and indifference to the consequences of their actions. I find that part of the story so heartbreaking!

  5. Are there really people critical of the owner in this situation? That is shameful.

    Someone once made the "it's just a horse" comment to me while I was watching a beloved horse experience a nervous system failure. He passed away right in front of me. I could not believe that this "horseperson" said this in the heat of such a traumatic event. What is that supposed to mean, anyway? I have lost human family members and it does not make the loss of an animal, especially a horse, any easier.


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