Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall sale ads

I usually try to leave the Fugly blog alone (and have, for awhile now, to my credit), but I felt Cathy's latest was just over the top, especially posting the individual in question's phone number and information.

I don't understand who you think you are, Cathy, that you can criticize people for selling their horses because they lack the financial ability to care for said horses? What do you want??! They keep their horses and said horses starve due to lack of financial means, you cry foul. They sell their horses because they lack the financial means to care for them, prior to said horses receiving inadequate care as a result of lack of funds - you cry foul. Hell, you even post their numbers on your blog, in case the ad is removed from CL, so as to ensure your sheep have the right phone number to chew someone a new one.

The ad, from the Fugly blog:

“MUST SELL NO FOOD FOR THE WINTER!!! Quarter Horse Buckskin Mare. 6 yrs old, has been used as a trail horse. This mare has been ridden at the big Carolyn ride a few years ago. Was registered but I never got the papers She is truly worth taking a look at her! $100.00

Also, a 2 yr old Warm Blood. Not gelded. Has had a saddle as a yearling and we have lead children around on him. Asking $400.00 will consider all offers.

I am posting this for the neighbor next door so please refer to his phone # for any questions or make an appointment to come and see them. Emails will not be answered. Wausau Area. Phone Josh at ###-###-####″

She even has the audacity to post the following:

A rescuer friend of mine got a call yesterday from some folks who wanted her to take a mare off their hands because she was skinny because of the four month old foal at her side. And they couldn’t afford the vet because they had just taken in two other mares, one of them pregnant!

Yes, cuz heaven forbid someone take a skinny mare and foal to a rescue!! What's the history of said mare, did they rescue her originally? Did something change financially for the individuals so that they could no longer care for said mare? Are these types of situations not what rescues are for?? Now, I do not quite understand that last line - does Cathy mean the individuals could not afford the vet because they had just taken two other mares (one of them pregnant) into the vet for care or (more likely) because they had just taken in two other mares into their care, one of which being pregnant? So, did they take in or purchase these other mares (cheap) ie. rescue them, or did they buy them for some ridiculous price? Because if that (preceding reason) be the case, how could we blame someone for taking on three mares and sending one of them to a rescue because they could not afford vet care for three mares, one nursing and one pregnant? I mean, they could have turned all three mares into the rescue, yet are instead choosing to care for two of them out of their own pocket??!! Am I missing something?

I did look up hay in Wisconsin. Not sure yet why I don't live there, as hay is fairly cheap, lol. Some of the bales are $1.50 each first cut. Average price though is $2.50 (take note where I am hay is at minimum double that) it seems. I looked up small squares only because not everyone has the equipment necessary to feed round bales. So let's assume you have to start feeding now (Oct) through until the end of April. At minimum. That's 7 months of feed, which is 210 days of feeding. Minimum. Say you pay the average of $2.50 per bale and let's just say each bale weighs in at 50lbs. Horses should eat approx. 1-2 percent of their body weight which equates to roughly 10-20lbs per day per horse. So let's say one bale per day to feed both horses in the ad above (I always over-budget because chances are you will have to throw out hay, hay will be more expensive than you anticipate, horses will waste hay, etc). That means about $525 to purchase what is hopefully good horse hay (timothy or grass mix with alfalfa), assuming the bales are 50lbs apiece and assuming you only started feeding yesterday and will only feed until the end of next April. Though $525 is not much itself it still is a substantial amount to someone selling their horses for only $100 and $400. Then you are also looking at farrier ($25-$40 per trim per horse in my area), deworming ($15-$30 per horse at least twice between now and the start of spring), and any vet care between now and next spring (like gelding that colt, any injuries, etc). That is also assuming you are able to keep the horses on your property (ie. no board) and thus feed them every day too (ie. no labour costs), and that you are equipped for winter (ie. shelters and waters that do not freeze, or at least some way to get water to your horses).

That is a lot of assumptions.

Cathy assumes they cannot come up with $100 a month however that is assuming there are no other expenses on top of feeding (which simply is not true) and that is assuming also that they must only come up with $100 per month....and as anyone who has ever had to purchase hay knows, that is often not how it works - you often need to pay for the hay upfront. You often purchase all your winter hay at the commencement of fall, before all the hay is sold elsewhere. Unless it somehow works differently in Wisconsin?

Then Cathy questions why the man would even have horses in the first place, if he cannot afford $100/month to feed them. Well, news flash, that's why he is selling them! D'oh! His selling them now however has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not he could afford them originally! Has it ever occurred to her that perhaps this man's situation has changed since he originally purchased these horses?

And maybe it cost less to geld a horse in Wisconsin, but out here it is $150 at my clinic if you do it during a specific week in March and in September, when the clinic fee is waived, if you bring your youngster in. Nevermind if you have to call the vet in to your farm, if there are any complications, or you do not take advantage of that one week in either spring or fall. Plus, to be honest, if I could no longer afford my horses, I certainly would not be gelding my colt - sorry, but the new owners can invest in that, since they are the ones keeping said horse long-term.

As far as being unable to feed a horse over the winter, a) circumstances change and b) how long have these horses been up for sale prior? Who knows, maybe these horses have been for sale for the past several months yet have not sold, hence the price drop (etc)? Maybe it has something to do with the reason the neighbour is posting this ad as opposed to the actual owner? But just because he cannot afford these horses come fall is not sufficient reason, in my eyes, he should not have gotten them in the first place - as I said, we know nothing of this individual's situation. Heck, my situation has changed since spring and I now have 6 horses (which cost me an easy $950/month in board alone, and that is with one of them on lease, so no expenses for him) - 1 of which is for sale and the other (my dream horse) I am contemplating having to sell for financial reasons. It will be tight financially keeping them all winter however I do not regret any of the decisions I made at the time I purchased any of the last four horses (the first two are homebred 16 and 11 years ago); I made intelligent and sound decisions based on my situation at the time. I can swing it provided I sell the one come spring however I am just lucky my situation has not changed so much that I can no longer afford to keep any of them. Lucky. Lucky that I can hold onto my sale mare till spring when it is a better time to sell - both for me and for her. Others are not so much, especially given this economy. Besides, who is Cathy to judge whether this man can sell his mare and colt in the fall or not, as opposed to waiting until spring?

Should this man be leaving a 2yo colt with a 6yo open mare? Well, probably not. However I still fail to see the reason for such criticism, particularly given we have no idea of the owner's situation (or even the colt's - hello possible undescended testicle?).

Just saying. It's easy to judge from the comfort of our chairs, however how can we possibly accurately judge someone's personal situation - and should we, even? For all we know, this individual is doing the best possible in the situation given. Let's not sic our dogs on him.

I promise a more educational blog in your near future, as opposed to a vent ;)

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