Originally Posted by Pinenot
I got new neighbors this last spring and a couple months later they bought 3 horses. Well I never saw them interact with them. They don't get riden or petted. I asked my husband this last summer if they just ate grass? I really don't know a lot about horses. We do have goats and I assumed they were a like. My husband said yes they will eat the pasture and maybe some pellet, if they give them to them. I saw the horses break down a potty pond gate to get to the water. This winter I never saw any hay, on this 2-3 acre lot, for them to eat. I never saw anyone come out to water them...well they just burried the 2nd horse. The other one was burried a few weeks ago. Now I feel really bad for not listening to my gut feeling. They have the third horse in their barn. I don't know if they are feeding it in there or not. I am just sick to my stomach. I just can't stand this!
How can I approach this situation? I don't want to just let it go but I don't want to but in someone elses business, if it is a very innocent happening. What should I do?
Well, on the one hand, many horses can do fine on just good grass in summer and hay in winter. And of course, horses do die sometimes. Especially if these are perhaps very elderly.
Were the horses outside 24/7 or were they put in the barn at night (at which point they presumably got hay). And if so, how *long* a night -- it is one thing for a horse to go without hay for 6-8 hrs, it is another thing entirely for him to go without hay for 10 or 20 hours. I will tell you that my horses, who are healthy and happy, live outside 24/7 and this time of year I out out measured amounts of hay 3 times a day, it takes them something like 1-2 hrs to mostly finish it each time, so that if you looked at the pasture inbetween times, or if you didn't look closely, you might easily not notice them getting hay.
OTOH, having no water available is a BIG PROBLEM, and losing two horses in a month, along with the other issues, certainly makes me go Hmmmm.
Under the circumstances, I think I'd personally be inclined to call the local SPCA or equivalent and see if they can send someone around. Just tell them what you told us, explain that you don't know enough about horses to tell whether they were thin but given that you haven't seen hay or water and two have died, you feel perhaps they should check it out. They probably will. Your neighbor will probably not like it. However, SPCA type folks generally will not divulge who made the complaint, and as long as the horses are visible from the road, it could have been anyone, right? And I *do* think there's a good enough chance the remaining horse may be in trouble that it's worth calling.
You *could* talk to the neighbors yourself. The difficulty, aside from the obvious social awkwardness of course, is that if you're not used to horses enough to be able to tell whether they're healthy or not, then even if you got to SEE the horse in the barn, it wouldn't necessarily tell you anything one way or the other.
Good luck to you, and to your neighbor's horse, and bless you for caring about them,