Help? Or Handout?

I just read a long post on Facebook about a teenage girl whose horse got its leg hung up in a panel. Long story short: the vet bill was extremely high and a friend of the family was asking people to donate money to help pay it.

A woman made a comment, asking if the girl could sell one of her other horses to pay the bill. The response from the neighbor? No, they’re like family; she couldn’t do that. The woman commenting thought that was selfish and irresponsible. The woman posting the request quickly took the other woman’s post down.

I have to agree with the woman’s comment. Anyone who is involved with horses knows that they get hurt. They can be the dumbest animals on the planet at times. Knowing that, if a person cannot afford vet bills or other maintenance on horses, they really shouldn’t own them.

I see these types of posts daily. Someone is broke and needs money. They ask other people to donate to help them. The reasons are ridiculous. They don’t have a job, but won’t work fast food. They are sick and don’t have health insurance. They need to buy presents for their kids, but they don’t work.

And those posts make me angry. I get so tired of people with their hands out, asking for money. It’s like the people who can’t afford the children they already have, but they are continually pregnant and looking for others to help support them.

I have had horses all my life. And they get hurt. For example, when Cyris was a senior in high school, his calf horse stuck his front foot through a panel. He almost sliced the bulb of that foot completely off. The vet had to stitch up his foot and cast it. Fritz had to have shots for about two weeks. It was a very long recovery. And the bill was extremely high!

But I never asked anyone to help me pay the bill.

Sometimes, when you have responsibilities, you do what you need to do in order to pay bills. I’ve had to sell things. I’ve had to make arrangements to make payments. And I’ve had to make the tough decision of letting some of my animals go rather than spend a ton of money on a frivolous procedure.  Sometimes you have to weigh the reality of their injuries to the expense and likely outcome. Frankly, if a horse is hurt to the point of not being able to be sound again, it makes more sense to do the humane thing and put them down.

That isn’t a popular decision, but sometimes it is necessary. I love all of my animals, and even my horses become part of my family. But a horse a very large pet who can live into its twenties or thirties. It doesn’t make sense to spend several thousand dollars repairing severe injuries on horses that won’t have a useful purpose again.

But some people think every animal deserves the most extreme care, regardless of whether the owner can pay for that care.

I’m not sure exactly when this entitlement state of mind started, but it is prevalent in our society now. GoFundMe accounts and similar online fundraising sites have made it commonplace for people to ask others for money. And honestly, I don’t know why people are gullible enough to give to some of those ’causes’.

The tear jerking sob stories have gotten out of hand. Everyone has a story. Everyone struggles at time with money and unexpected expenses. Instead of expecting other people to dip into their pockets and save the day, people need to return to a sense of self-respect and honor. Figure out a way to pay their own bills without turning to handouts.

Contributing to these types of requests just makes the problem bigger. Adults have to act like adults and take care of themselves. And as the woman commented about this teenager: if she can’t afford to care for horses, she shouldn’t have them. Why aren’t her parents stepping in and helping her pay the vet?  Why isn’t she finding some type of job herself?

Injuries to horses can be heartbreaking and grisly. But that’s part of life when you share it with horses. They are always unexpected. They are never at a good time financially. But if a person wants to be a horse owner, then she needs to accept that risk.

And when the time comes that she needs a vet, its on her to pay the bill. Not her neighbors. Not her friends. Certainly not strangers. I’m tired of others asking for handouts. The kindest way to help them is to ignore their pleas and force them to find the money another way.



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