Along for the ride:

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Sister Bought a Pasture Ornament

My sister lives in England. Horses have always been a part of our lives. Horses may be the only thing we have never argued about, as we are very different. We can talk "Horse" for hours and feel completely in tune.

Fiona's last horse broke his leg in a stable accident and had to be destroyed. During the four years since that devastating event she has continued to ride, sharing exercise and schooling commitments with several horse owners.

Megan is a pretty mare who belonged to a teenager at the barn. Her young owner liked to gallop and jump and Fiona would work on flat-work, which was a good partnership. Fiona describes Megan as "beautiful from ears to knees". I haven't seen her and there is no chance of a photo, until I go there next. My sister still has an un-developed Kodak throw-away camera containing baby pictures of her, now, eleven year old son.

Last November Megan came up lame with a tendon problem and was put on box-rest with walking out exercise, being led not ridden. Fiona has walked many miles with this little horse, through all kinds of wonderful English weather. Megan is still lame.

I spoke to my sister on the phone, a few days ago and she said, "Oh, by the way, I bought Megan". The horse was to be sold so that her owner could move on and get a horse that was able to compete and even just be ridden every day. Megan's future prospects were dim. Now they are shiny bright again.

Fiona paid a very low price for the horse; she has spent more with the vet this week than the purchase price of the animal. The plan is to turn her out for three months to let the cortisone shots have a chance to work. If they don't, she will remain a happy, well-loved pasture ornament. Breeding from a horse with wonky legs is out of the question, so she'll just have to be a maiden aunt to the other horse's foals.


  1. Why is it a horse with a broken leg has to be shot? Is it not possible to let the leg heal and keep the horse as a pasture horse perhaps?
    Good news for the lame horse though. I bet she's breathing a sigh of relief!

  2. What a lucky horse. I hope she comes sound for your sister!!

  3. That is one lucky horse! A well-loved pasture ornament is a nice way to "retire".

    I spotted your blog name and had to stop by. Nice to meet you. I'll be back again soon!

  4. I saw something once, that I still can't stand to bring to thought, briefly, it was the training of a "mean" mule, I saw it -by accident- walking into a friends new barn- I called the authorities and have never even looked at them again. The poor animal was suspended above the ground and streched out in a full harness device.

    I have often wondered myself, why something similar, could not be used to mend a horses broken leg, a gentle device with special care given to the lungs....please explain, destroying such a loved creature has been a forever thing, there must be a good reason us know nothing horse people would be glad to know.

  5. we have 5 equines , three of which are exclusively pasture ornaments for one reason or another

    but so cuddly and sweet
    and such good company

  6. Mending "broken" horses is not always easy. (Witness the efforts to save the US racer care possible, tragic ending.)

    However, if a horse can get around with a limp and still be happy, then becoming a pasture ornament is a wonderful solution. Megan is one lucky mare to have found your sister.

    And who knows? Maybe the natural life and "just being a horse" might help heal her.

    Now, if you could just convince your sister that a digital camera is very inexpensive and saves the whole problem of developing the film....and, if she has a computer....Internet...then...then...then...we could all see this "beautiful from ears to knees" little mare.

    Come on, Fiona!! We need some pics.

  7. I have a hard time addressing this as it is such a distressing subject. Horses are heavy animals on slender legs. They are not meant to be inactive or lie down for extended periods. Other problems ensue. Attempting to repair a broken limb in a horse is lengthy, painful and very expensive with no sure outcome. The usual equation is that a stallion or mare who might reproduce valuable offspring, even if they are never again rideable, is worth taking a chance on. Geldings don't have much future. In the case of valuable race horses and competition horses, if they are insured the insurance pays out if the horse is a goner, not to rehab a gimp. That is also part of the reality.
    In my sister's case, her horse, "Spirit" was obviously suffering and she had him relieved of his pain. His story is my first post in Dec 2008, if you want to read that.

  8. Thank you for trying English Rider: I fancy myself pretty hard core old woman, I can deal with and have the messiest murder/death scene of your nightmares and eat a sandwich while I rubber glove one hand and food in the other...can't stomach the death or abuse of Gods creatures...will have to avoid your first post like a case of the bubonic plague.

  9. yay!!.... that is one lucky horse!... If only there were more people like your sister out there... I love happy stories :-) cheers!

  10. There you are! Who said kindness to dumb animals is a thing of the past! Makes a huge change to the dreadful story in the news not long ago about the farmer and his family who neglected an untold number of horses, many of whom had to be destroyed. Thumbs up to your sister.

  11. How fortunate for Megan that Fiona is now in her life, and vice versa.

  12. Your writing is a pleasure to read, and when writing about riding, even better... I would be willing to bet that you have as good a touch with horses as you do with the words you use to write about them. I can only echo the sentiments already expressed here... lucky horse that Megan. Makes me think of the story The Horse Whisperer, which I would guess you've read ??? What did you think of it ? I read it while my daughter, who loves horses, was in the hospital in the UK last year with a ruptured appendix.

  13. Owen, my sister introduced me to The Horse Whisperer. She raved about his methods and went to one of his seminars in England. Funny thing is that his home base is here in California. Monty Roberts' Flag is Up Farms is in Solvang. North of Santa Barbara. Not far from Neverland, to be topical. You can arrange for your daughter to attend for a weekend, if you want. I do subscribe to his email newsletter.
    I don't know the age of your daughter, but there is a book called "She Flies Without Wings" I just started reading it one more time. The whole way through I find that someone has put into words what I was thinking or feeling, if I had only been able to articulate it myself. My copy is brand new. I have given away about two dozen of these books since I heard the author on a radio interview a couple of years ago. This is one of those things I would save from a fire.