I am angry. Very angry. I really try not to judge people for their lifestyle, but when their animals are suffering, then I can't help but judge. And be angry.
Earlier this summer I called animal control on my neighbors and made an anonymous report about the condition of their three horses. I never heard anything about the report and the horses are in WORSE condition now than they were over the summer. One fairly young paint mare looks absolutely horrible, she looks more like a walking skeleton than a horse and she has heaves. I've seen what these people feed their horses, I know what kind of conditions they live in and I am completely NOT surprised this poor mare is in as bad condition as she is. The two ponies are a bit better, but not much. I think that if they weren't easy-keeper ponies, they would look just as bad as the mare.
In the past I have tried to casually bring up horse care and feeding with the owner and she's pretty much of the mind that horses can be treated like cattle: Feed 'em whatever, they'll get by. They feed no grain, which isn't a big deal if your horses are in good weight, and they feed round bales, which is fine if the bales are quality hay. These bales are black on the outside, and me (being probably more nosy than I should be), stuck my hand in one of the bales as far as I could go and I pulled out a fistful of black, moldy, dusty, crappy hay that was more weeds and rot than edible substances. They kept their round bales lined up near a fence in a pasture I ride in, so it was pretty easy to check 'em out. They haven't had ANY round bales anywhere on their property for a couple of months, so I don't know if they switched to squares or what. Hay isn't hard to come by this year, but you do have to make an effort to get it, for this family, "effort" is a four-letter word. Their pasture is 100% dirt and weeds, so I know the horses aren't getting any nutrition there. I am afraid to bring up horse care/feeding with these neighbors again. They could be vindictive if they found out I reported them this summer and I worry about my critters being the target of that vindictiveness.
Their horses are fenced in barbed wire, four strands. The two bottom strands are no longer connected to the T-posts in most spots and some of it is just stretched out in the pasture. God. My heart skips a beat or two whenever I see those horses out there walking around the downed wire. I've seen barbed wire wounds...they aren't pretty. They can be absolutely devastating. They have junk, rusting vehicles and various other crap in their pasture. Their yard looks like a used parking lot with two of the vehicles barely visible behind the overgrown weeds.
Okay, so my oldest daughter is friends with this owner's daughter. They are both 16. They used to be really close friends, but a falling out over a boy changed that and they are just casual friends now, they still talk, but I don't see the girl as often as before. Yesterday Alexis (my daughter) tells us that the bad owner's daughter told her the paint mare can no longer be ridden because of the heaves (I'd guess because of her absolute lack of weight, too) and the girl is getting a new horse.
A Thoroughbred. Off. The. Track. The girl NEVER rides, and she's not a very good rider and not a very good horseperson. She obviously doesn't have a very good horseperson to learn proper horse care from if her mother let's their current horses get to the state they are in now. This is a disaster waiting to happen. I can only imagine how bad this poor animal is going to look after he (or she) is in their custody for a month or two. If they can't keep weight on easy-keeper ponies, a Thoroughbred is going to starve to death. Or, she's going to get seriously hurt or killed. She is NOT a good rider. Not at all.
I am pulling my hair out. Obviously animal control has done nothing. I don't know who to call next for the current situation. I really DON'T think I'm overreacting in this case. I know skinny horses and I can definitely tell a skinny horse from a nearly-starved horse. They are nearly-starved, not just skinny.