Friday, July 12, 2013

The waiting list, 2

Harv, July 6 2013

So Bob and I toured the retired horse sanctuary on July 4 (for background see the Waiting list 1 blog post). We spent about an hour or so meeting the staff, walked around the property, and asking questions. We concluded our visit with the promise that we would call in a few days with our decision.

As we drove away from the farm, neither of us said anything right away. As we passed the herd of retired horses grazing near the road, I said tentatively, "Wow, what great people." Bob's first sentence: "If only it were ten minutes away."  Bob had hit the nail on the head. The sanctuary is an hour drive on rural roads. I'd be visiting on weekends only -- and Harv would no longer be mine.

 If I grouse about the time it takes to visit and "putz around" with Harv, I get deep enjoyment out of seeing him and caring for him. He's like a polite old man, so appreciative of the visit and such a gentleman. And he is  a hoot to interact with--expressive and sensitive, and easy to read -- it's like interacting with a person. The thought of seeing him just once a week...well, I just can't see it.

And relinquishing ownership? If I were going to do this, this organization would be the one.

But I just can't.

I do feel just a tidge of guilt, knowing that this place is *designed* for the older horse and tons of grassy pasture. I know I'm making the selfish decision. Harv is at a boarding barn now, and he does not have the extended turnout the retirement farm offers or the endless grazing. He does have overnight turnout this summer, and daytime turnout in winter.

If Harv seemed unhappy in his current situation, I might take another look. But he is thriving where he is, all fat and sleek and enjoying a big stall with a cross breeze and a panoramic view. The staff seem fond of him and treat him with care. He is turned out with two saddlebreds. They are so chummy they move together like a school of fish! You'd think they were tied together with rope, and they even drink out of their water bucket all at once. I can't believe their heads all fit in there.

I like having him close to me, and ultimately he needs to stay my responsibility. And, bottom line, I don't know how long I have with him. I don't want to squander our time.


  1. It sounds like you have made a decision that works for today. Wasn't one of the options to defer for a while, perhaps revisit the decision next year?

    Both you and Harve are comfortable with the current living conditions. This might not be the right time for a move.

    M in NC

  2. That isn't selfish at all! If you don't take his spot it will go to another horse, maybe one who would benefit even more.

    For the Southwest USA a full half day of turnout is nothing to scoff at. Harvey is a lucky guy and I hope that when my horse is in his twenties, I will be able to look after him as well and responsibly as you are doing for Harvey. What with all the "companion only" horses looking for new homes... that they should all be so lucky to be loved after their working years are over.

  3. It sounds like you've made a great decision. If you, DH and Harv are all happy in the current situation, no need to change it, right?

    I love the close bond you have with you sweet old guy :)

  4. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Clearly Harv is the king of the castle in his bar, he's fat and happy, and he has his person. No need for even the slightest tidge- all horses should be as well loved.

    ( my iPad is having a seizure. He is the king of the castle at his BARN )

  5. Harv would miss you too much. He is used to seeing you all the time and I am sure that means as much as green pastures.

  6. I can hazard a guess as to what farm you visited, and yes - it DOES have a phenomenal reputation and history. I'm glad it's just as nice as you'd thought! However, I think in your case you are absolutely making the right decision to keep Harv where he is. He's happy, he loves seeing you, it seems to be working okay financially for you, and he's still Your Boy. Hugs to Harvey!

  7. I agree, I don't think I could ever relinquish ownership of my horse, no matter how great the facility. It sounds like Harv is already in a near-ideal situation, and of course I'm sure he enjoys being able to see you often. If it works for him and for you, there's no reason to change.

  8. On Monday at 9:16 a.m., I lost my wonderful 11-year-old cat Henry to a blood clot that lodged in his spine, paralyzing his back legs. The vet was unable to save him, and after the injection, I watched, hysterical, as the life left his gentle green eyes. I would give anything to see him just one more time, just one more minute. I thought of that as I read the last two lines of your wonderful blog. We never know how much time we have with our beloved pets. Don't squander a single second. You made the right call in my book. I have to go wipe my eyes now...can't stop crying. I don't think I ever will. Next week I will get him back in an urn, green to match his eyes.

  9. I'd have made the same decision. My ooooooooold gelding, Ink, is living the life of Riley at my mom's, but there's no way either of us could relinquish ownership of him. Maybe we're all selfish, but Harv needs you. I'd have been sad for you if you'd relinquished ownership of him, though I'm very glad that place exists for the people who need it.

  10. I'd have made the same decision. I appreciate the fact that there are places like that, to take care of the them a good rest-of-their-life. It's a great option/opportunity for someone. I wouldn't be able to relinquish ownership, that's for sure, but not being able to see him every day? That would kill me. What if I couldn't make it out there one weekend, and it was two, three, four weeks between visits? I'd have guilt I'd never get rid of. I'm a very hands-on person; I prefer self-care to full-care, so I can't see handing him over to someone else and walking away (sort of). As long as Harv is happy where he is, and you're happy with his care, why move him? I'm sure he loves seeing you as much as you love seeing're his person. :)

  11. I honor your decision. Your relationship with Harv is strong and giving him away would have been hard. I'm sure, too, that he appreciates your companionship and care even much more than you appreciate his. He sounds happy where he is, so no need to change things.

  12. I was pretty darn sure you'd make this decision, given how bonded you are with Harv. I think it's the right one. Horses don't love change and if he's happy now and has good friends (equine and people) why uproot him and force him to reintegrate into a herd/new barn?

    And it's nice that Bob is so perceptive about your relationship with Harv.


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