Saturday, December 3, 2011

Suppressing the Crazy Hoarder Within

If you are like me, you regard animal hoarder shows with horror and disgust.  You see an obviously mentally ill person, usually a woman, who has more pets than she can handle, and the animals and her family are suffering.  Meanwhile, the hoarder maintains stubborn denial that there is anything wrong with keeping, say, 173 balding chickens in her living room.

But for me, these shows are even more horrifying because I worry that, if one of the screws in my head were turned just a little bit one way or the other, I could become one of those hoarders. 

The appeal of adding one more critter sometimes nags at meal like a sugar craving.  This desire is usually activated when I am offered a horse for free or nearly free.  Just this week a temptress at work, who shall remain anonymous (Wendy Youmans), pressured me gently to get me to take this pony:
She's a trained, riding pony and look at those cute black ear tips!

It was really hard to say no, but I did.  And the pony has found a good home, by the way. 

I also torture myself on a regular basis by perusing the off-the-track thoroughbred and standardbred sites, the BLM mustang auctions, Camelot auction web pages and, of course, Craigslist.  I see many horses I would love to bring home, horses that need good homes and horses that would do better in my pasture than where they are now.

Needs a home.
Better, yes, but that doesn't mean I give a perfect life to my horses.  Every day, I'm excruciatingly aware that I am not giving them my best, for the simple reason that one human can’t ride five horses as often as they need it and work a full-time job (unless the full-time job IS riding five horses a week).   

When the majority of them were young, it was easier, because they just needed some ground work and manners training, grooming, hoof and vet care and plenty of turnout.  Now, they are all more than ready to work under saddle and that’s where I need to focus.

Needs a home.
Not only would it just be wrong to bring more home, I actually have plans to decrease by two.  In my mind, I have loosely identified the two I will likely sell.  But it will all depend on how training goes this winter with Dee and Stormkite, how they come along under saddle.  I plan to keep the three that best match my riding temperament and are most able to do the types of activities I ask of them, and I won't know fully whom they are until they all have confidence in themselves while carrying a rider. 

Half of me asks the other half of me, whom do I think I'm kidding—how can I sell any of them?  But I think I could sell them to the right homes (maybe. I hope) and the only way they will attract the right homes is by being good riding horses. 

So, when I see a horse out there who needs a better home, I suppress that crazy hoarder nut in my brain and turn my focus to what I have right here.  It's my job to give it all to the five, beautiful, intelligent horses that are up in the barn right now, playing musical hay piles as the sun comes up.

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