By Ellie Woznica
Lately I have found myself spending too much time on animal rescue websites, thinking about all of the horses that need homes. My biggest struggle of adulthood thus far has been knowing when to stop—when to stop worrying about whether or not I vacuumed this week (because who cares about a little extra dog hair), when to stop playing the “I-can-beat-the-GPS” game, and most importantly, when to stop bringing rescue animals home.
As someone who has rescued three horses, eight cats, two dogs, and even three mice throughout her lifetime, it is hard to say “I can’t” when I see an animal who is in need of a home. Especially a sweet-looking senior horse, who you know just by his picture has survived more than any horse should be asked to.
But I have reached my capacity. Not only will my boyfriend leave me if I bring home another animal, I have reached the point where if I bring home even one more critter (of any species) I will be spread that half-inch too thin, and snap.
” I can safely say that four horses is too many for one person to handle.”
I have always been the kind of person who agrees to do too much, without realizing how long various tasks are going to take and how little time there actually is in a day. This being said, I went to college with one horse and when I finished my four years of undergrad, I had three. I do not regret my decision to grow my personal herd, but I can safely say that four horses is too many for one person to handle. I have to be very strict with my rotating schedule to make sure that each horse is getting an ample amount of exercise and TLC. I manage it and my horses are happy and healthy, but sometimes I manage it so well I think to myself “I should bring another home.”
These are the moments where I am grateful to have a realistic man by my side to tell me: “You’re absolutely insane.” He might be a little too blunt, but he is right. The idea is crazy. Working two jobs, going to grad school, and taking care of my zoo, doesn’t leave much time for riding three horses, let alone adding another one to my daily care list.
There comes a point in ever rescuer’s life where they have to take a look at the quality of care they are truly able to give to each of their adopted critters. If they think it is possible to give each individual animal the attention and care it deserves if another one comes into the mix, then they should totally do it. But if, like me, you know that your current animals would suffer with a new addition, then it is not fair for you to adopt. Not only is it not fair to you, but it isn’t fair to the animals you have already agreed to care for and love forever. I have to remind myself of this when I see the ASPCA commercials on TV, or when someone shares a post of a homeless horse on Facebook.
I believe we, as horsemen and horsewomen, owe it to horses to save as many as we can, but not at the expense of the horses we already have in our care. As much as I would love to bring in 20 more senior horses with special needs and medications, I do not have the time or the budget to give them the care they deserve. I don’t turn a blind eye to the animals in need, I try to re-home as many as I can, but I know I owe it to my horses (and all my other creatures) to put them first. I might not be able to make every horse’s ending a happy one, but I can make sure that my three have long, happy, and healthy lives where they are spoiled beyond repair.