Hard Lesson Learnt – What happened to You Little One?

I want the whole world to read this, so nobody else makes the same mistakes. I also wish with all my heart that people would realise their duty of care towards any animal they have responsibility for. As Human Beings we have the ability to make choices and decisions that not only effect us, but can, either positively or negatively, effect those around us, human or animal. . With some exceptions, people are more than capable of making their feelings known when they are effected by another persons actions. By and large, animals aren’t. That’s why, if you are privileged enough to have any kind of animal in your life , you are obliged to look after them and treat them fairly,. This is applies equally whether things are going well or badly, and especially if that animal becomes I’ll or injured. Sadly, in the horse world, there seem to be a lot of people who don’t share this opinion, and who see horses as merely vehicles for making a quick buck. If there’s a problem, then bounce it on, at a profit, to the first mug to come along.

So, many of you will remember how excited we were when, last July, Hal bought his first horse Leonie. She was only 5, quite green, but basically kind and safe. It was love at first sight. Hal bought her there and then – No Vetting! This last point is crucial. We bought Leo from a dealer (another salient point), and other than her passport being drawn up in Northern Ireland 6 weeks earlier, , we know nothing about her background. Privately, my biggest worry was that she might be in foal.

When she arrived, and we began getting to know her, we discovered that she had some impressive, and intreagueing scars. For example, she has 3 very clear, very straight, parallel white lines across the top of her head, behind her ears, where the headpiece of her bridle goes. She also has a huge one on her back. She’s such a friendly, people loving horse though, that it would be hard to believe that these scars are the result of direct cruelty. Leo loves to be the centre of attention, and will stand for ages to be groomed. However she cannot, at I thought, will not, pick up her feet very easily.. Some of you will remember that, A few weeks after she came to us, we discovered that she is blind in her left I. I specialist who has looked at her is of the impression that this is as a result of blunt trauma.. On the back of a conversation with my vet, vet, about Leonie’s in ability/on willingness to pick her feet up, we had her neck x-rayed to rule out the possibility of her having Wobbler’s Syndrome. As I have reported in a previous post the results came back negative. The consensus was that the symptoms she was showing may be neurological, but definitely not Wobbler’s. It could potentially be something that we could ride her through. Or it may be something that exercise would make worse. We were advised to proceed with caution. We had her fitted with a new saddle, well new to us anyway, and started preparing to get her rideable again. She also had a couple of sessions with a Masterson method practitioner, which really helped with the hoof picking up problem. However even walking her out in hand seemed to be problematic to her. She cannot walk down hill without dragging her back feet.

Our riding instructor offered to take her for a few days, to assess her potential ability to be ridden. In the meantime she had her second session with the Masterson method practitioner. While she was working with Leo this time, The practitioner pointed out that Leone’s pelvis didn’t feel like it should. It is not symmetrical, and there appears to be some kind of a lump or swelling that should not be there. She let me have a feel, and both sides Felt different to me, not the same as they should be..

On Wednesday Leone went over to our instructor Melissa for a few days assessment. Bless her, she walked up the ramp of the Laurie like a seasoned traveller, and settled in to Melissa’s yard like she owned it. We went over to see her on Thursday, and Melissa had already ridden her twice. However, Melissa was fifty-fifty about Leone’s prospects as a riding horse. The first thing that Melissa did when we got onto her yard was point out the asymmetry in Leone is pelvis.

This morning I had a phone call from Melissa. Leone is coming home tomorrow. The more work that she has been asked to do under saddle, The more uncomfortable and unsound she has become.

Nobody really knows what has happened to Leonie. Except of course Leonie her self that is, but the smart money is on her having been involved in a catastrophic accident.. It must have been a biggie to have blinded her in one I and calls what most probably is a broken pelvis. Of course there is somebody else, somewhere, most probably in Northern Ireland, Who has a fairly shrewd idea exactly what happened to Leone, and what the extent of the injuries are. That of course is the person who, when they realised that they now had an injured horse on their hands , off-loaded her as quickly as possible. I shudder to think how many hands Leo has passed through in her short life. . Well one thing is for sure. It stops here! Leonie has a home with us for the rest of her life.. It’s not her fault that we made a foolish mistake in buying an unsound horse.

Leone is the only horse that I have ever bought without having a vet check done beforehand.. I I certainly wish that I had stuck to my guns and insisted on having Leo vetted, or just walked away and called the dealers bluff when he went into the full, Horse will be sold to somebody else in the morning, routine. It would have saved us a lot of money and heartache in the long term. It wasn’t actually my decision to make though. However, The whole experience has underlined and reinforced my belief that, it doesn’t matter who is selling the horse, or what kind of horse it is, if the vendor is reluctant for you to have the horse checked by a vet, they probably have an extremely good reason. Walk away from that particular horse and save yourself a lot of heartache. Please never make the mistake that we have.

Hal and I are lucky, we have our own land and stables, and so will be able to accommodate Leone for the rest of her life with very little bother. Most people are not in this position
Though. Most of us by one horse and we keep it on livery on somebody else’s yard. When something goes wrong with that horse some very difficult decisions have to be made. If Leone had been sold into a home like this I shudder to think what the owner would be going through now. . And impossible decision. Keep her as an on rideable paddock pet, and give up on those dreams you had of competing on her or going for those long luxurious rides. Tried to sell her on. Have her put to sleep. Of course, if she had been vetted before purchase she would not have been bought in the first place.

I have no idea if the dealer knew that Leone had problems, or whether he was just doing the usual, trying to make a quick buck, routine. If I sell it quickly, I don’t lose too much of the profit on it’s keep, and I can get another one in to sell in its place. To be fair, he did offered to take her back when we approached him about her I, but we already couldn’t bear to part with her. My advice to anybody buying from a dealer is, proceed with caution, don’t believe the general ball that they will feed you, and walk away if they don’t want you to have the horse vetted. Actually that’s exactly the same advice as I would give anybody buying from a private seller as well.

Please learn from our stupid mistake.
Never never never buy a horse without having it vetted first

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