Can You Take Another Horse'

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With the posting on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/horsejournal) about more abused horses needing rescue?and the plea to find a home for Grace, also on our Facebook page?I can't think about anything more than how many horses desperately need homes. I'm actually sort of glad we decided on a three/four stall barn. I would probably fill it up with horses very quickly, with very little thought to their true value to our farm and our needs.? I know most of us feel that way, too, especially when we hear of a horse needing a home. A friend said that her husband told her it was a good thing they had a four-stall barn or they?d have more horses than Breyer! Well said. Like any horse lover, I can't look into a homeless horse's eyes. Actually,?I won?t, because you see that hope there. The hope that maybe you can?help them; maybe they can trust you; maybe you have some hay to share . . .? It makes me want to take them home, care for them, and prove to them that they are valuable. But I know I can't ?save the world,? as they say. It's just that admitting that and acknowledging that I have to be??practical? or ?realistic? doesn't make it any easier. The fact is horses cost money. A lot of money, compared to a dog, for instance. I see ads in the newspaper for boarding for $99/month and I can only assume that's just for the stall rental. Our horses certainly cost us more than that per month?our SmartPak bill is more than that each month for the three of them?and we own the facility and do our own labor. My March editorial ?Horses Are Expensive? got quite a few letters in support of it. The editorial ended with, ?If you can't provide your horse with proper care, you shouldn't own a horse.? Several people told me they routinely tell horse-crazy girls with parents that can't afford to buy a horse that ?buying a horse isn?t the expensive part; keeping them is.? ?Several others were quite unhappy with my conclusion, saying that if that's the case many people wouldn?t have horses and that they have a right to have horses and do the best they can for them. I wouldn?t discourage any horse lover who wants to sacrifice other things, like vacations or going out to eat frequently, in order to have a horse from doing it.? My whole life has revolved around my horses, and it's not always been easy to pay for them, especially after I left home. I expect to?always?have horses, and I always will make financial decisions based on the needs of our horses first?(if you don't believe me, ask my husband what he could have bought instead of building a new barn!). But if you're going to take horses into your?barn,?you have to do it right, and that means good feed and good care. That horse is at your mercy, and he deserves proper care. that's why when a friend who has fallen on very hard times told me that sHe's had?to make a decision and find a home for one of her two horses (sHe's praying she can hold on to the other), I wanted to help her find the mare a good home. I cannot imagine being forced to do something like this, but it could happen to almost any one of us. One never knows what might behind the next curve, especially when it comes to financial and physical health. Medical expenses can quickly put you in the poor house. When I told my husband about my friend, he asked something that totally blew my mind: ?I can understand that this can happen, and I feel terrible for her. SHe's right that the horses must be cared for. But how do you choose which one goes' I couldn't do it.? Since I'm a keep-them-forever kind of horse owner, I?can't answer that question. And I pray every day that I never have to.