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Monday, April 16, 2012

post 'round up

Yes, it's a muwumps post again.  I bought Farley because she gave me the same clear message during my test ride.  "I can do 100 miles and I can do Tevis".  It was sincere and it was STRONG.  It's amazing when a horse speaks that clearly, and it can come from the most ugly, unassuming ponies (which is what I thought of her when I saw her for the first time).  And it's amazing to see them keep that promise. 

Thoughts like these are why I read Muddy Paw's blog. Just goes to show that there are other people in other sports whose priority in the well being on their animal.  Every time I read something like this, it renews my commitment to do what's right for my horse and my dog. 

Didn't have a chance to get through my entire blog roll today, so more features soon! 


  1. "Lame" animals - that's really a can of worms, though. Obviously you'll do the right thing by Farley & Tess, but what IS the right thing? What if Farley starts out a little short and moves out of it? What about when Tess gets creaky and old and still wants to PLAY HARD?

    Muddy Paws might know (probably knows) the details of her fellow competitors. If you're running your dog on a torn shoulder ligament, that's shortsighted and cruel on your part no matter how much the dog loves it. But I wouldn't want anybody giving me dirty looks if I had to pull for an acute injury, or if I was letting my arthritic old beast creak through a 25 cause she still wants to go. Looking at other people, it's really easy to disparage their choices.

    LOL, Dixie never gave me any telepathic messages of greatness. Just "FFS, get me out of here!"

  2. I think that doing "the right thing" is something that's internal between me and my animals and doesn't necessarily have anything to do with other's perceptions. I think performance often pushes animals (and their people) to the limit, and it's easy to ask too much. At the end of the day I don't want to have any regrets of pushing my animals too hard. The exception of the "mind your own business" part of my philosophy is that I do think that an animal should not be asked to perform while in pain/discomfort.

    My definition of pain that I don't think is acceptable? A consistent lameness that does not resolve after a warm up, but shows resolution after giving pain meds. IMO - this demonstrates that the gait compensation is from pain, and not purely mechanical. And, competing and asking this animal to perform with alleviating that discomfort isn't fair.

    If you can warm up an animal and have them "warm out of it", and then perform, then I think that's acceptable - especially in the case of AERC where NSAIDs are not allowed. However, if the animal isn't comfortable doing it's job, than I think something has to change. In the case of AERC where a horse cannot compete with NSAIDs, than perhaps that horse should no longer be asked to perform/compete.

    I'm not sure what the rules are for agility organizations, BUT if NSAIDs (like the metacam that was mentioned) are allowed, and I knew what was bothering my dog wasn't going to be made WORSE by competing/performing, than I would administer them in order for my dog to be comfortable and continue to compete as long as the NSAID controlled pain and I wasn't creating any adverse long term effects by doing so.

    HOWEVER - all this being said - is it the business of fellow competitors to judge? No. I think that these decisions should be made between the owner, the animal, and the vet. If someone has a concern, than I think most animal competitions have a vet on staff. If you are really concerned but don't want to go to someone that might make it "official" than I see no problem in striking up a friendly conversation - hi! How's your horse running for you today? I noticed he seemed a little stiff, is everything OK? You might find out it's a retired 100 mile horse that just takes 10 minutes to warm up on the trail. And that his vet said the best thing for him was to keep him moving on down the trail.

    1. oops - obviously I meant "...And, competing and asking this animal to perform withOUT alleviating that discomfort isn't fair. "

  3. I must say that I do relate to Muddy Paws comment of wishing sometimes that I didn't care so much. I know I could get another 1-2 100's out of Farley this season or next if I didn't care about her long term soundness. If I gave a bunch of fancy drugs, some of which are allowed at some level during competitions I could compete so much sooner. I see other people do it and yes, I am jealous. But then I remember how heartbroken I am when I realized I hurt my horse. Or how mad I am when I finished a ride that I realized I never should have asked for. Because let's face it - there are some people in the sports that care more about the short term than the long term. And I'm not saying that they are bad people - but I am saying that sometimes I'm a little jealous.

  4. Ooh, I like your definition of unacceptable pain! Thanks :)

    1. Thank you :). As a vet student we talk about pain, end of life issues, and "perception of pain" etc. and I've had to really think about where I stand on it from an ethics stand point both professionally and personally. It's a working definition to be sure - it will probably morph into different things over the years, but for now it works for me. :)

      And thanks for asking, and bringing up such a great point! I really glossed over it in the post and it deserved a better discussion than I gave it.

  5. Yeah, I know where I stand pretty instinctively, case by case, but I hadn't managed to come up with an articulated rule like that.

    I know you want to breeze in here and slap down a quick post and go do something more fun, but I'm not having it! Quality discussion goes here! ;)

  6. Well, I like listening to both of you, and I, too, like Mel's definition. We've been in the awful position of having to watch misconduct being allowed of horses - even to their death - and being told our hands were tied because it was their 'livelihood' (means of making a living). That's true cruelty to me! Hang tough with the discussions.
    Bionic Cowgirl


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