In May 2003, I purchased my first horse, a QH cross, named Buddy. He was an older horse, but that was ok with me since I needed something dependable to learn on. He made a great first horse and I learned a lot from him. Unfortunately arthritis in his back leg became progressively worse and I didn’t feel it was fair to him to be ridden anymore.
We decided to find a forever home for him as a companion horse. We thought we found a great home for him and gave him for free in May 2007, to person #1 (we’ll call her Kathy). However, just in case, we had the person who took him sign an agreement that if she couldn’t provide a home for him, we’d have the first opportunity to take him back for free.
We would periodically contact her to see how Buddy was doing and one day later that year, was told that she had decided to move him down to her cousin’s house in AZ so it would be easier on his arthritis. She assured us that she still owned him and that she’d never give him up.
Well, unbeknown to us, in Oct.’ 2007, five months after we gave Buddy to Kathy, she sold him for $700 to person #2 (we’ll call her Susan) as a riding horse. Up until Jan. 2009, Kathy maintained Buddy was in AZ until my wife discovered an ad for a horse for sale that sounded and looked just like Buddy, but was for sale not too far away from where Kathy lived.
Upon further investigation, we found that it was indeed Buddy! We confronted Kathy and she confessed selling Buddy and said she had forgotten about the agreement she had signed until we had contacted her again asking for an update. She had then gotten scared at what we might do and since Susan seemed really happy with Buddy, she had decided to lie instead to try to keep everyone happy.
She agreed to return the $700 to Susan so we could take Buddy back. All things considered, Buddy was in great shape, but I was concerned over how hard he had been ridden. According to the story, Kathy, as well as Susan, had deemed Chief to be rideable.
Susan told us that he didn’t complain when he was ridden and that he was fast and had been clocked at 43 mph. My reply to that was why would anyone have the audacity to ask a 20+ year old horse on 3 good legs to run at an all out gallop?!
When asked if he limped after being ridden, we were told that he did after being ridden for a while, but “that was his way to get out of doing work.” I don’t get it. Would you ask your 70 year-old grandfather (Buddy’s age in human years) to run as fast as he could? I wouldn’t.
Personally, I don’t feel it is right to ride him very hard. Buddy is one of those horses though who has quite the heart and he’ll do it if you ask him to. So that begs the question – if a horse can physically run with a minimal limp but it is uncomfortable, do you make him run anyway? Again, that is why I am so worried about him and want him to go to a place where he doesn’t have to work so hard.
Both person #1 & person #2 took very good care of him weight-wise, but I feel he was worked harder than I think is necessary. He’s not a young buck anymore. I think light exercise is good for him to keep him from getting completely stiff, but I just don’t feel it’s right to have him run as fast as he can either.
What do you think? Thankfully on Feb. 28, 2009, Buddy was moved to the stables we board at and will enjoy having an easier life