If you have a horse your heart has likely been broken…

Horses are like toddlers. No really, they are. They are always in need of attention, constantly getting themselves in trouble and you must put their needs ahead of yours. Horses also have a knack for breaking hearts, I know mine has been broken plenty of times. It is just hard having horses. With a cat you can just up and leave for the night.  With a horse in your back yard if you want to go away for the night you need to hire a pet sitter and have them come 3-4 times in a 24 hour period. Horses are just difficult animals, or as one commenter said, they are not difficult in the wild, but we have made them difficult by how we have domesticated them. Regardless of they why, they are creatures with a lot of needs.


Horses needs come before your needs, at least they do if you are a responsible horse owner. I board my horse so I do not have anywhere near the obligations of a person who has horses in their backyard, but I still have obligations. Gen being a needier horse than most, I know that I have to make time to visit him. I started off 2015 with the flu…and it was terrible. I was a miserable and contagious mess for about 10 days. I had waited a few days to go to the doctor and by the time I went I was pretty sick. He ordered me to be home and in bed for 5 days and to wait to spend time in the cold for 10. Clearly that doctor has never owned a horse! I did miss the barn for 2 days, but by day number 3 I knew I had to check on Gen or suffer the potential consequences from him not feeling loved, so I sucked it up and went to the barn. Was that a good medical choice? Absolutely not. But it was what it was because I am a horse owner. When you care for your own horses it is even worse, you don’t even get 2 days to rest without it being an issue.


Horses also have a knack for getting themselves in to trouble. I can honestly not think of another animal that has such a habit of getting hurt or getting themselves in to a situation that they cannot get out of. If there is something amiss in the field a horse will go over and investigate…without thinking of any consequences. The day that Gen hurt himself there were people at the barn and they watched him running and carrying on, take the step that hurt his tendon, stop, look down at his leg, hold it up and look at them for help. There was no thought in my horses mind as he was running around that he would get hurt and the second that he did it he was, “crap…humans help me”. I feel like that phrase has been thought by my pony time and time again. He creates the problem, I need to fix it.

And can we talk about what heartbreakers horses are?? I have had Gen since late 2005…and he has been retired since early 2008! I have had him longer retired than he was my show pony! When you get a horse (Gen was my first) you cannot help but dream of all the amazing things you will do with them one day and then bam…career ending injury. Dreams crushed. So I went on to lease other horses, and each horse has come with its own set of heartbreak. I honestly cannot think of a single horse/rider pair where there was not some major issue either in training or injury wise. There are always setbacks in rider. Always. 

So why do we pour countless hours and thousands of dollars in to something that will break our hearts in the end?

The simple answer? Because we love them.


2 thoughts on “If you have a horse your heart has likely been broken…

  1. I bought my first horse just a few months before I turned 20. In April of 1999, I met this crazy nutty TB mare that hadn’t been ridden or touched in almost 2 years. She was 18, and I got in WAY over my head because I loved her the second I saw her.

    I took that burr-ridden, thin, and utterly hot mare and loved and doted on her and clumsily learned my way around owning a horse. I had been riding lesson horses for 7 years, but I did not have a lot of experience – not even leading them – especially when the horses at the lesson barns get tacked up and walked out to the mounting block for you. The few horses I did tack up myself were dead-head old trusted mounts, not this wild and crazy thang.

    She bolted with me on our first adventure out of the indoor arena and down the driveway, which was 1/4 mile long. I could barely survive a canter, and yet, I clung in “jockey position” to that bolting mare with no control at all.

    1 month into it, Lady tore loose from me instead of going into her paddock and took off running free on the property. She tried to jump a barbed wire fence and missed. Her right front leg went in between the top & middle strands of wires. Lady was mutilated right before my newbie eyes. She was pulled to the ground, up rooted the vertical fence posts on both sides, and as she got up, she shredded her body with barbs. She degloved her entire right front leg, right down to the radius bone and ran several laps before she finally stopped and let someone catch her. With her skin hanging down to her fetlock & blood pouring everywhere, I was quite sure that mare was going to bleed to death on the spot.

    There was not enough skin left to stitch up and the vet assured me the mare would never walk right again. 2 months later, she healed up without a scar, and was sounder than the dollars I paid for her and slowly I started getting up the nerve to jump her. She quickly turned around and became my trusted, special, and sacred friend. We bonded over those 2 months like words cannot express.

    Then, nearly a year after I bought her, she was found down in her stall. It wasn’t colic, though. Her heart was failing. 6 months later, she had a stroke, lost use of both left legs and our lives together ended in October 2000. I had a very special 18 months with her, but allllll these years later – yes, my heart still breaks for her.

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