The Rehomer’s Dilemma | The Chronicle of the Horse

The Rehomer’s Dilemma | The Chronicle of the Horse.

This article in The Chronicle shines a spotlight on a very tough question facing the horse world. The good work of those rescues, particularly ones re-homing the OTTB, can be quickly undone by adopting out a dangerous or unsuitable horse. When is enough enough when you have tried everything to change a behavior? What to do with an animal which will never have a future?

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About lrtrovi

I am a writer in Howard County, Maryland who spends free time practicing the art of dressage on my horses, haunting the local bookstores and libraries for the next great read, and working on my own novels.
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3 Responses to The Rehomer’s Dilemma | The Chronicle of the Horse

  1. saraannon says:

    I had a OTTB with very similar behavior to the horse in this article. I never got on his back as he had unpredictable brief episodes of being unresponsive and/or explosive. It turned out he had brain damage from head injuries. He was a J. O Tobin colt and between seizures he was a truly exceptional being which made it all the more tragic that he was so badly injured. When I called the vet out to euthanize him, she said his was one of the quickest quietest deaths she had seen. It seemed that for him, death was a relief and a release from intractable misery.
    Neurological injuries are as real as any other type of injury and should be suspected in any horse that has intractable and/or repetitive behavior problems along with ‘crushed withers’ or other signs of abuse or head/neck/ back injuries. Euthanasia may not be any easy decision, but it is the right one as dementia and seizures in a 1200+ lb animal bred to gallop for a couple of miles and then have enough reserves to sprint for the finish line is exceedingly dangerous for both the horse and the handler.

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    • lrtrovi says:

      Sara,
      Thank you for sharing this story of your experience, and my sincere sympathies over the decision you had to take with the horse. I believe you are absolutely correct, but it is tough under any circumstance. Brain/nervous system injury is so difficult to diagnose and treat, but can be so devastating. And the poor horse cannot speak with anything other than his behavior/responses.

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      • saraannon says:

        Yes, and my vet said that the official line is that brain damage, dementia, and seizures are rare in horses so there is not a whole lot of research going on or information available for the veterinarians. Persuading a vet school to at least do autopsies on these horses would be a great help to all concerned.

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