I’ve been struggling with inspiration this week for blog posts, so apologies for being quiet. I think I’ve got a couple of thoughts now, so let’s get started with today’s.
Being on the brink of becoming parents: responsible for the survival of an actual human being, whilst terrifying enough, also makes you think of planning for the future. Suddenly, you’re more aware of the impact of plastics on the planet, reducing your carbon footprint, having your life insured (we’ve had so many adverts for the latter since we became pregnant. By the way, it is the royal “we” because I seem to be doing the hard work at the moment!) and ensuring the financial security of your child.
Now this post isn’t meant to be morbid, and you’ll see the equine link soon, but recently we’ve been thinking of the future and how to make our wants known. But what are our wants?
First and foremost, there’s the question of who will take over from us and care and provide for our child if we’re unable. For those who are christened, you have three godparents. My brother and I have (or is it had, now that we’re adults?) one godparent in common because she promised my parents that if necessary she would give up her life and move to our house in Wales in order to keep our lives as stable and normal as possible. Regardless of whether she had to make the sacrifice or not, it’s a very honourable thing to offer and it makes me realise how lucky we are.
We are deliberating over guardianship – after whittling down our friends and family by those who are too old, too young, too busy, too strict – there are numerous filters.
Whilst I was mulling over who to honour with the job, it occurred to me that it’s not just children you have to provide for, but the fur babies as well.
Cats and dogs are slightly easier in that friends or family will usually adopt them and the transition is straightforward. In the worst case scenario, they end up in a rescue centre, but if they’ve come from a stable and happy house they’re unlikely to have behavioural problems so would be easy to rehome. Penny’s only requirements is that she’s fed dinner at 7pm sharp, and that it’s Sheba. Oh and there must be lots of boxes to play in. Grizabella just wants to be with Penny and in a home that plays Fetch with her.
So small pets are easy. It’s the horses that could be problematic. After all, you aren’t bequeathing a lump sum, or a property. In fact, you’re giving a financial drain.
Someone once told me that they had put in their will that in the case of their death their horse was to be humanely euthanised because no one else would be able to keep him in the manner he was used to, nor as well as his owner. Which is rather an arrogant thing to say really.
There are various aspects to consider though. Does your estate have enough to keep the horse on basic livery for a couple of months until the will has been read and acted upon? You don’t want to give someone a huge debt, after all.
Then there is a question of age, health, quality of life. If your horse is retired yet has quite a lot of demands in terms of medicine, feeding and shoeing, then perhaps it is better to not pass them on to a friend or family member, who may be busy enough with their own affairs. In which case there is a risk that they get sold or loaned and become neglected, or end up in the already overloaded rescue charity system. So perhaps it is better to request that they go over the rainbow bridge when you do.
However, if your horse is in their prime, fit and well, then it is unfair to end their life because yours has. After all, they’ve still got a lot to give and a lot to get out of life. In which case perhaps it’s s good idea to nominate someone to care for them in the short term, whilst drawing up an advert and finding them their next forever home. Then they can make someone else as happy as they’ve made you.
The next question is of course, who do you trust with this job. It’s as important to us equestrians as it is to find the right guardians for the two legged babies. However, there are fewer family members who are interested in horses, so friends may need to be enlisted. And then you have to ensure your chosen friend knows your horse and has the same approach to horsemanship as you do.
So my question to all my readers is; have you ever considered your horse’s future if you couldn’t look after them any more? And if so, what plans have you put in place? And who did you chose to become your equine guardian?