Thread: Hard decision
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:55 PM
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Re: Hard decision

The best decision usually isn't the easiest. I have had horses my whole life, and I have trained and retrained all manner of behaviors. I rode for the race track, started babies, rehomed a number of horses with behavior issues, and I never met a horse I didnt like or couldnt work with until my mom bought my sisters a draft cross while I was in University. He seemed like a perfect fit, he had show experience, he was quiet, well trained, and had fantastic conformation. That summer we took him to a show and he started bucking. This isn't uncommon and we felt we could deal with it, but the behaviors started getting worse. One of my sisters gave up and decided she couldnt ride him. My other sister the following year got launched about 6 feet into the air the next horse show. We tried multiple coaches, we tried multiple vets, we tried join-up, I tried punishing him, he got worse and worse, meaner and meaner. This went on for two years, my sister started getting sick at the thought of riding and so we free leased her another horse. He was intimidating in every aspect, in his stall, in the field, it didnt matter what you did, he wanted to hurt you. I got a group of experienced trainers together and we worked him regularly but he got scarier the more we worked with him no matter how gentle we were. He started attacking one of our other horses in the field, and was threatening other horses and people regularly. One day after working him I went to turn him out to his field feeling good about our ride and then he came at me teeth barred and hooves flying. I couldnt believe it. We had all thought we were making progress, but here he was trying to kill me. had to make the decision to get rid of him. I posted him for sale with a heavy heart. Turns out this horse had a reputation for being dangerous, and I was honest about the behaviors, and so no one wanted him. We pay to board our horses and I was terrified he was going to attack someone. I decided to sell him to a horse trader and people were so angry with me. I talked to the vet but he wasnt interested in euthanasia and assured me someone would want him. I was sick to my stomach and cried and cried. People were not supportive or understanding. I felt like a failure. Ive never given up before, and our pets are ALWAYS forever. I had to protect my sisters though, and my other horses. Luckily I found someone willing to take him despite his behaviors. She has indicated to me that he bucks her off and threatens her on a regular basis, but she loves him anyways. No matter what I would have sent him on his way though, because he was a danger to our other horses, and every person who came in contact with him. As humans we have to make the difficult decisions. You have other animals and people that you are responsible for, and you made the decision to protect them even though it was hard. Nothing anyone says will make you feel better, its a horrible thing to do. Im sorry you had to do it, but you did the right thing. It feels terrible now, but once you come to grips with it you will realize it was the best for everyone. It sounds like your dog was very anxious and aggressive. This can set a terrible mood for the whole house for so long you forget how to relax. You gave it a real honest try, you did what you could, and then you did what you had to.
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