Thursday, January 29, 2009

An update on the treat situation

A while back I blogged about the barn owner giving neighbors permission to treat the horses — without asking me or any of the other owners whether it was okay.

I've been thinking about it a lot, and ultimately I decided I wasn't comfortable with strangers feeding my horse. Virtually every horse person I talked to immediately commented on how they could inadvertently (or intentionally) make a horse sick by feeding him something he shouldn't have. Then too was the issue of Panama acting more pushy and mouthy with me since the treating started.

On Tuesday I finally had the opportunity to talk to the barn owner about it. Of course, he immediately suggested the exact solution I was trying to avoid: that he just tell the people not to feed Panama, because it was teaching him bad habits. I don't like this idea because it still doesn't account for other people seeing passersby feeding the horses, and thinking it's okay for them to as well; they wouldn't know not to feed Panama. However, I also don't like the idea of Panama feeling left out while the other horses get treats.

Despite my feelings about this solution, though, I don't think I have the right to tell the barn owner what to do with his property and the other horses — even though technically the treating is teaching all of them bad habits. (One horse belongs to the property owner, by the way, and I never see the owners of the other two.) I did try to explain why letting people feed horses at the fence wasn't a good idea, and I asked that he'd put a sign up asking people not to feed the horses if it got to be too bad. I don't feel right about asking any more than that, though.

I guess in another week or so, I'll follow up and see if he's talked to the neighbors about it yet. I hate feeling mean, but the fact remains that Panama is my horse and I shouldn't have to worry about him getting overly mouthy — or, worse, sick! — from someone else feeding him.

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