Monday, December 31, 2012

Mouthy Monday

Hey dog trainers. What is the difference between "Wait" and "Stay?"

This story comes from Cristy in Wyoming. I don't want to whine...but please send me your stories printed in
 your email. I had a bear of a time getting this off the link. 
It screwed up my page etc.
I don't want to become computer savvy enough to handle this. 
Serious.
I don't.
Cut and paste. 
Nothing else. Ever.
OK?

Now that I'm done being stern, this story really hit me. A green horse owner who still meets reality, 
responsibility and (in my opinion) becoming horsaii head on.

Paint Me Navicular

I’m an amateur.

A 40 something mom new to horses, enjoying the learning process and watching my daughter
(now 11) become a surprisingly confident rider, and trying to keep up (I would like to be a
surprisingly confident rider too, but I’ve got a ways to go.)

So...

 This story begins with Dan - a 10 year old ranch paint who’s rancher had become old and sold
off the rest of the herd, keeping back Dan who was his favorite.  The rancher realized that he
wouldn’t/couldn’t ride anymore, had no more grandkids to lead around, and parted with Dan.
(that sounds like a smarmy bunch of baloney, but I’m pretty sure it really went something like
that.) 

 He was our first ever horse, and Dan was everything the old boy said he was for a couple
of years.  Made us laugh daily, taught our kids to trust and then to love horses, then began
wringing his tail at a trot and it went downhill from there.  Navicular diagnosis, and a slow
downward spiral.   “What do I do?” from panicky me... “You shop for a new horse.”  from my
tell-it-like-it-is vet.  

Tricky shoeing, supplements, injections, even trickier shoeing, ‘bute, more
‘bute, and finally acceptance, careful trimming and the constant opportunity for long laying-down
naps twice a day, which at the end seemed to be the only thing that really helped Dan feel better.
And thunderstorms, which made him buck like a movie-star horse, and then take an extra long
laying down nap.  

We loved Dan, and even though we only had a couple years of real use from
him, we devoted four more (expensive) years to prolonging his comfort and keeping his clownish
personality cheerful for our own selfish benefit, and because Dan really seemed to enjoy his life.
Eventually, it was clear that one more winter would be way too tough on him, we did what
seemed right, and at the not-too-ripe age of 16 Dan went to the meadow in the sky.

Fast forward through another good kid’s gelding in which more skills were learned and
confidence built, then to a “ready for a “real horse” ‘nother paint.  In contrast to the heavy boned,
rangy and anvil-headed Dan, this was a petite little 14.2h  dumpling with a silky smooth trot that
grandma could sit bareback.  He had an adorable, youthful head, thick, curly white mane and
quiet demeanor.   The old-school cowboy stressed that he was selling him as a “trail horse” and
let us know that he “sometimes pinned his ears”, but we were sure that he’d be a 4H kid’s
dream, and that his cinchyness and grumpy attitude would go away with some love and gentle
handling.  (Did I mention we were green?)  To some extent we were right - he learned to face up
politely, lost his ear-pinning at saddling, but was always reluctant to lope.  More and more, he
found ways to make himself hard to ride for my little “I want to learn to ride an english saddle”
Chica, and he’d slam on the breaks, switch directions, drop his head as if to buck (never really
turning the crank) and find ways to make her fall off, or at least fear falling.  A confident (and
larger) rider could push him through the resistance, but he never really looked comfortable.  I’d
bought him in November, lessons weekly all winter, by spring we started wondering if it was pain
rather than spoiled-ness that made him resist.  (I know, I know, but we did have two different
chiropractors work on him, and did I mention that we’re green?)

So - while we’re figuring and diagnosing and round-penning-for-respect with the paint, the
Horse-Of-Her-Dreams dropped out of the sky, (amazing things happen sometimes) and she
cantered off into the sunset on her new gray arabian (who has an english background and a
western skill set)  exuberantly jumping and dressaging on odd days, sorting pairs and moving
yearlings on the even ones.  This horse was clearly a horse of a lifetime - they were a perfect
match, and the paint was now un-needed.

I felt uneasy offering the cute paint for sale without being sure that he was sound, (and I had
doubts) so I hauled him to the vet against my friends admonishments.

“Let the buyer pay to vet him!”

I just needed to be sure what was up with him.

The hoof tester foretold, and the Xrays confirmed my deep dark (but unvoiced) suspicions.  I’d
watched the unhappy tail swish, noticed the odd head-bob, thought I’d seen stiff-legged turning
and there was that uncomfortable step out of the trailer.  I thought I might have recognised it, but
how unlikely is that?  Two in a row?   I’m being a horse-o-chondriac, I told myself.
Nope.  It turned out to be  pretty obvious, and sadly familiar.

Trailering home, I thought about the vet’s advice.  “get him stood up, square those toes and see
if he goes sound.  A navicular horse can lead grandkids around for lots of years.  He might even
dude or trail with the correct shoeing.  He’s still a sell-able horse.  Get him walking sound, and if
your farrier can’t, let me know and we’ll talk about what else we can do.”

I got home, made a sale video, took some photos, wrote up an add, but when I looked close at
the vid and saw a slight head bob, I just - well... I couldn’t go through with it.  That person that’s
looking for a pasture ornament?  That grandpa that wants a quiet horse to lead his grandkids
around on?  Those people are myths.  There are sound horses that can do that without being in
pain.

Across the dinner table, my husband and I looked at each other.
“What do you want to do?”   He asked.
“Selling him is wrong.  I know he won’t last.”
“What do you want to do?’
“Is the track-hoe home?”  (My husband is a dirt contractor)
“Yep.”
“I think there are some starving worms by the east fence.  (deep breath.)  I want to feed the
starving worms.”
(a pause)
“Okay.  Keep the kids in town for an hour or so after the 4H meeting tomorrow.  (another pause)
Are you sure?”
“Yes...  Please.”
Worms are happy by the east fence.
Was that right?  I don’t know.
I’m certainly not bragging it around... not the sort of thing I’ll post on facebook, ya know?
But looking out at my current herd of two sound horses that we ride on a regular basis, one old
gelding that loves parades and a donkey that’s the neighborhood mascot, I know that I can afford
to feed what I have.
I’m sorry, little paint.  I really do hope you’re enjoying the meadow in the sky.


55 comments:

Tina said...

My hat off to this person. I think they did the right thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her decision. She was all for the horse and not the money she could have gotten from some unknowing person.

Becky said...

No.

No, no, no, no, NO.

You do not apologize for this.

You did right by your little paint, and he was very, very lucky to have you.

Would that everyone was as brave, and as loving to their horses as you were.

sorrel pony said...

It takes courage and heart to do the right thing.

Well done.

kabbage said...

The horse decision was an entirely reasonable one. She ensured the horse did not go into a bad situation down the road and stopped his pain.

For the dog thing, "stay" and "wait" mean whatever you want and train them to be :-). Some people use them interchangeably. Some use Stay to mean "hold your position and location" with Wait meaning "hang out in this general location but you can move your feet and shift from sit to to down to stand as you wish." Some serious (want high scores in addition to titles) obedience people will use Stay if they will be leaving and returning to the dog while it holds a position without moving its feet (like the long stay exercises or Stand for Exam) and Wait if they will be leaving the dog and then asking it to move from a distance (example would be the recall exercise). Stockdog people probably tend to mean something different than obedience people, and agility people something else.

As a first approximation, Stay tends to be more formal, rigid, and serious than Wait.

mugwump said...

Kabbage -Thanks!

Nicole said...

Stay means stay in that exact spot untill I tell you to move. Wait means just that wait. They can move around and get comfortable, but they should stay in the area. However if they do move I wont put them back. In a stay I will make them go back and do it again. I use stay in the beginning only when I can enforce it.

I want a dog to know each seperately. If I need a dog to not move I know I can have them stay. Such as if I dropped a glass in the kitchen and it shattered. I can tell them to stay and know they wont get cut until I can get them out.

RuckusButt said...

Great honesty both in handling the situation and the telling of the story. You made sure that horse didn't end up in a bad situation and there's never a fault with that in my book!

Regarding "stay" and "wait" I was basically going to write something similar to kabbage. For me, "stay" means she is not to move from her current location, period. I find "wait" useful in many situations such as letting me catch up to her, putting something in the car before she jumps in, letting people come in or out of the house before she does, that kind of thing.

I also use "come" and "this way" in a similar manner and find the distinction useful. Come means come to me now...no, NOW. All the way! But sometimes I don't need her to come but want her to either get closer or change direction, so "this way" is handy. It was really just taught through hours in the bush, unlike "come" which required more formal training for us.

Camryn said...

When I use "stay" I mean stay until told to do otherwise. If told "stay" at a sit, they should remain sitting. If in a down, than they remain in a down. With a "wait", they should feel free to assume whichever postion is most comfortable for them. I also use "wait back" to simply tell a dog I don't wish to be followed, they can do whatever, so long as it isn't following me out the door/gate...

rockymouse said...

That's a brave and good decision by the paint owner. The right thing to do.

In our household, wait is what we use when going out a door or opening the truck door when I want them to pause until I give a signal before jumping out. Wait is for a few seconds and no more, like you'd say to a person "wait a moment." Or sometimes I say it as I'm getting food bowls organized. Wait is broken by us saying "okay."

Stay is more formal. Stay in one spot. Stay is also for practicing obedience; we don't use stay in our everyday lives, come to think of it. Stay is broken by us saying "come."

SquirrelGurl said...

I'll second kabbage, for my dog stay means root yourself to that spot in the position I put you in and do not move. Wait means hang out in the spot I left you but be ready to come when I call.

In my obedience classes I use "stay" for the long downs and sits but "wait" for the recalls. Same in the agility ring, "wait" is used to let me get some distance between us before he crosses the start line.

SquirrelGurl said...

I'll second kabbage, for my dog stay means root yourself to that spot in the position I put you in and do not move. Wait means hang out in the spot I left you but be ready to come when I call.

In my obedience classes I use "stay" for the long downs and sits but "wait" for the recalls. Same in the agility ring, "wait" is used to let me get some distance between us before he crosses the start line.

Ozhorse said...


The well trained cattle and sheep dogs I work with have similar commands. They have a working stop, and a shut down. The working stop is for them to hold the stock, but dont move forward on them. So If a beast breaks out of the mob, or the stock come back on them they are to work them as they see fit. So the dog is still working, it means hold position on the stock. Mine happen to be trained to "stay there" the words dont matter. Whistles are easier for dogs than verbal commands.

The shut down is just that - Stop - and dont move even if the stock run away.

I think that was the right thing to do with the navicular pony. I have done the same with a healthy horse with behaviour problems. One day it was going to hurt or kill someone and If it was not going to be me then I was not going to make it someone else either.

Ozhorse said...


According to the top stock dog trainer who i got my best dog from constantly shutting the dog down on stock and then re-starting them can rev them up. Using the working stop is easier on the dog and has them calmer in their work. This advice was for an over-keen dog.

The working stop for the dog would be pretty much the same in practice to what a cutting horse does, block but don't move in on.

My super keen top working dog uses "stay there" for the working stop and "lie down" for the shut down (which also includes getting the dog off its legs, and also the stock relax a bit and will turn away from facing the dog and walk where you want them to go rather than facing off the predator).

HorsesAndTurbos said...

The right choice, for sure. I can't tell you how many horses that were in pain were offered to me..."sound if you bute them". That is not sound to me.

Ditto Wait & Stay..but I think you have that by now :)

Carrot Top said...

Definitely the right thing to do!

tosoonold said...

You did right- the heartache is the part that shows you cared about the pony. How often have we heard about the "good home" gone bad? You know he is now pain free, and no child will cry at night over him.

Seeing Spots said...

She did right by her little paint. Navicular sucks for the people and the horse, and I have seen people take it waaaay too far. I'd rather see it happen the way she did it.

As for "Stay" and "Wait", Stay is a longer term, stricter command while Wait is a looser short-term command. Kabbage had it exactly right, at least the way I use them.

Ridgerider said...

This post hits a bit close to home for me: I have a 32-year-old that is a very hard keeper, and is somewhat arthritic (I have to keep her separated from the other two so she can have feed 24/7 without the two "vacuums" eating it all up). One of the other two has an "iffy" hock -- sound at the dog walk but "off" any faster (which doesn't keep her from charging around the turnout occasionally). My husband isn't ready to put anyone down... Any suggestions on how to tell when it is really time???

Joyce Reynolds-Ward said...

You did the right thing. Hard thing, and not the choice others would have made...but the right choice.

Breathe said...

Lucky horse. Good story.

Lily, our horse with shoulder issues, seems to be doing better with square up shoeing. Hopefully it'll be enough to keep her comfortable for occasional riding. So far so good.

Anonymous said...

Stay - generally used at the end of a command ending motion - sit, down, stand.
Wait - generally used while in motion

Stay really means put your butt there and do not move. Wait means stop moving until I say ok, but you don't have to be perfectly still. Wait is great at doors, when giving treats, into and out of the crate. Stay means do NOT move, breathing is the only thing you can do.

I also use "this way" and "come" as two different things. This way is more... stay a leash length around me, whether I change direction or I am standing still. Come means you come NOW to the font of me, plop your butt and be within arm's reach. Come is formal, this way is not.

As for the story, way to go, having the resolve to do the right thing and not pass off a problem to someone else who might not have the moral fiber to do right by the horse.

Anonymous said...

A cue can mean whatever you want it to mean, as long as the dog understands.

I use 'stay' for 'remain where you are, in that position, and I will come back to you'.

'Wait' means 'hold that position until I release you'.

redhorse said...

It's a tough decision to make, but I know I would do the same. You already knew your options. I would do the same, as much as I love my gelding, and even though I've raised him from a weanling and trained him to suit my riding style in my old age, I would make the same decision.


When my dogs were younger and I was into training them, stay was for Obedience. It meant don't move your butt or your feet, or change position, even if I leave the room for 5 minutes. Wait was a household obedience or agility, wait for me to go through the door first, wait for me to put your leash on, wait for me before you run to the next obstacle.

Val said...

I like that this story was candid rather than sappy. The situation is serious and the message is a worthy one, but I appreciated that it wasn't overly dramatized.

I made this decision for my cat years ago. He was older and had probably already burned through about eight lives when we learned that he had cancer developing on his scapula. We ended his suffering before it began, as he was not yet caused any pain by the growing mass. Of course, he was not a resale animal, like a horse might be, but the sentiments with this story were the same.

Anonymous said...

*sigh* I definitely agree with the decision regarding the cute little paint. When I was 14 I had an awesome QH mare who I LOVED. 6 months after we bought her, she wasn't sound anymore for the same reason(s). My mom gave her to our farrier who wanted to breed her. He bred her to a no-name, unaccomplished paint stallion. Awesome, right??

Surprisingly, the foals turned out quite good looking but I'm sure they ended up in the same predicament as adults. When the farrier had to get rid of his breeding stock, I never heard of her again.

"Oh, plenty of people like having a pretty pasture puff," my mom said. I still feel guilty that I didn't do anything. Sure I was just some punk kid but she was my horse. I was mad then, and I'm still mad now. I still haven't found her and I still haven't convinced my mom that she probably met with some highly unpleasant end.

shadowlake2005 said...

As the recipient of two---yes, I was a slow learner---"not quite sound enough for my discipline but will be fine for a little trail riding with your husband" specials, I commend this person for being so responsible both to her horse and to other people. I kept both those horses as happy pasture ornaments to the end of their lives largely because I couldn't see buting them up or nerving them and passing them on, but the other option sure was in my mind.

And to me "wait" is a command I use far more often than stay. It's perfect for when you're waiting to cross the street, or if the dog is pulling on the leash. "Stay" means you're likely to be there for a while and you'd better not move until further notice. "Wait" is a little more like a strong half-halt. .

RussianRoulette said...

Powerful story. I think she did right by the horse.

I use wait for when I want my dog to remain where I have placed thrm and await further instruction. I may or may not be near them when I utter my next request. I use stay for when I do not want them to move, regardless of where I go/what I do. The next time I ask something of them, I will have returned to them. There is a very big difference for me and I try to make that as clear to my dogs as possible.

Heidi the Hick said...

You're so brave to share this. And I would do the same thing. Sometimes a horse can be rehabilitated and sometimes all you're doing is prolonging the agony. Keeping him alive as a pasture pet and paying a lot to do it... Well it just isn't doing anybody a favour. There might be people out there who would call you cruel for for this decision but I'm not one of them.

Glad you have a little herd you can enjoy!

DarcC said...

What Becky said. You did exactly right.

An Image of Grace said...

Not a dog trainer but I have both a "wait" and a "stay" command for by Blue Heeler. Wait means stop forward motion and let me catch up. I use this out on the trail when she gets too far ahead. When I catch up to her I then use "behind" so she falls in behind the horse. Stay means stop moving and don't move again until you are told you can. When I use wait she keeps moving but just stops moving ahead of me, she will usually circle back towards me. Not sure if that makes sense but so far it works for us.

GreyDrakkon said...

How very sad...Sad that you were forced to make that decision, when the prior owner probably knew full well what the issue was, and fobbed the problem off on you instead of doing the right thing like you did. Chronic pain is exhausting in humans, who can rationalize the pain. To an animal who just knows that it hurts nearly all the time, it must be hellish. Quality of life is a big issue, as well as balancing it with what you can realistically do as a human being with your own life to live.

LadyMuleFarrier said...

I'm so sorry for the poster's loss. Navicular can be heartbreaking.

Not to be a booger, but think this through - if you've had two horses head down the road to Navicular, perhaps you should reevaluate your farrier. I actually specialize in rehab farriery. "Setting him up and squaring the toe..." is NOT an appropriate protocol for navicular syndrome or disease. Poor farriery is a leading cause of navicular syndrome, I'm very sorry to say. Navicular is caused by a toe-first hoof landing as opposed to the correct heel first landing. Raising the heel excaberates the issue and is a poor bandaid. Anyhow, not to hijack, but I don't want this poster, who I TOTALLY respect for her very difficult decisions (really - I'm sending you huge hugs if you're a huggy person, that is!)to go down this same road again in the future. Get those feet healthy, get those heels down!

For the poster who asked "How will I know?": You'll know. Trust me! One day you will walk out and say "Oh, my - it's today, isn't it?". And your horse will tell you yes :( If you're having a really hard time, ask a friend you trust, or your vet or farrier to give you an honest, horse-centric answer. Good luck. We lost two this year :(

Anonymous said...

It's a very tough decision, but the right one if they are in pain and can't enjoy life. I fear I'm gonna have to make that decision in a few years. My 19 going on 20 year old mare with arthritis in her shoulder, is happy and running around with supplements, but she still has her bad days. When she starts having more bad days than good is when I'll have to say good bye to her. I feel your pain, but you did do the right thing.

Dani said...

My wait and stay are pretty similar to most people above. Stay is "do not move from this spot until I release you." Wait is much more fluid, but it is mostly just a pause. In our household it has pretty much evolved to mean stop a second and focus on me for further directions. I didn't mean to train it (not a dog trainer), but it has come in handy. Usually we use it for things like wait at the open door/gate until I tell you to go through it, wait for me to catch up, wait to rush the other person and/or dog, just wait.

Anonymous said...

I think you did the right thing.. I also had a horse who had feet issues. He would stumble and almost fall from stepping on a pebble, so I kept him shod. And then he just kinda went lame from there. Gave him time off and he was still lame on a sand arena 6 months later. My vet did hoof testing etc. and navicular was in the process. He just turned 5 when I decided to put him down. I had offers to buy him and "fix" him, but I was terrified he would end up in bad hands, in pain and possibly the meat truck. I chose to put him to rest.
So good on you. Too many people dope them up and sell them sound when really they are lame and then they suffer it out..

Scamp said...

Besides my 14 year old grey with occasional (usually play time injury induced, though his conformation lends itself to problems) lameness issues, I've got a 29 year old, arthritic, "navicular syndrome", cushingoid horse who wheezes, sometimes not bad, other times it's close to roaring. I don't ride him. He has egg bars and his toes are all squared off.

Every year (and in-between, when something really alarming with him seems to be happening) I get the vet out to look him over, draw blood, assess his condition and try to get him to tell me when it's *time*.

He won't - as a matter of fact, the last time he was out he said that except for needing a fix to his shoes (the farrier had changed him to straight bar shoes, the horse was really lame, and the vet said that the problem was completely shoeing related, and he needed to be back in the eggbars - and he was right), he was in great health.

I won't go into details of all the times I thought "this is it - I have to give the vet THE call" only to have the old boy come back to his usual, happy to see the carrots and eat his hay self. I joke that he's had 49,000 lives.

Whenever I'm there, I let him loose to roam the property (he get's "special dispensation" at the barn and is the only horse allowed to do this). When any new boarder comes in they're told "He's Dusty - he's not going anywhere." He visits the other turnouts, saying hello to mares and geldings up and down the path, and sometimes teases up little incidents (he's like Paul McCartney's grandfather in "A Hard Day's Night", an old instigator). I grab him and lead him away when those times happen, but I swear he has a little gleam in his eye. He was always a good boy, and he and I are both lucky that he's somewhere where his old man persona is looked upon with affection.

But I know I can afford to do this (I board my boys). If I couldn't, the decision would have been made years ago, because I probably couldn't have afforded the vet bills, meds, and supplements either. He deserves all I can do to keep him comfortable, and if I can't do it, then he deserves a peaceful death. This horse gave me a lot of joy, and I know they have no concept of tomorrow", but while I can keep him going and he seems pretty happy, I'll continue to do it. It's always in the back of my mind though - his clock is running down.

My circumstances allow me to do this. I know not everyone can. I would not and don't criticize anyone who makes the decision this writer made - it was the right thing to do for this little horse. Kudos to her for not passing her problem down the road,and prolonging the pain and suffering for this horse.

Shadow Rider said...

I applaud the writer for making the best decision for the horse. I have seen people pay thousands to 'fix' navicular horses. There is no fix, despite what the farrier/trainer/salesman says. As a person with heel spurs and old leg fractures, whose every step is pain, I can empathize with a navicular horse. Just because the horse still wants his carrots, or is still eating doesn't mean every other waking moment of their lives isn't torture. I would always rather release them early, before they are in too much pain, than wait until they plainly 'say' to let them go.

Stasha said...

I 100% support the author and applaud her for making this decision. Not an easy one, but the right one, I think.

Ridgerider, regarding "when is it the right time..."

I had to put my dog down in November. She had extreme skin alergies that made her break out in hives frequently. We tried all the shots, pills, everything and were unable to do anything but keep her comfortable with steroids. I knew the steroids would eventually cause organ damage, so the day we halted all other treatments I made a list of symptoms that would cause me to make "that call."

A year and a half later, she started showing some of those symptoms. She was still happy and her appetite never diminished, but I'd rather euth a week too early than a day too late, and I knew that if she was acting depressed or off her food that meant she was in pain. I stuck with the committment I'd made to myself and to her on a day when I was clear headed and thinking with my head and not just my heart.

So my suggestion to you would be to think of the behaviors that would signify that you'd waited too long, then take it back a step. Maybe for you it's having to up their med dosage, or being able to step into your trialer comfortably. Whatever it is, write it out and stick with it. It's a lot easier to make that call when the decision was made long ago when everything was much clearer.

Sarah said...

RE: Dogs stay vs wait
In my world Stay means stay there don't move until I direct you different. Wait is used (on leash) to slow a dog down when we are not in a formal heel, or (off leash) to catch up to the dog. Example, walking through the park/field etc dog is off leash and wandering up ahead somewhere, wait means stop moving until I catch up, then as you were.


Because we also do formal obedience my dogs learn, Front and Come. Front means come in, sit straight and as close to me as you can and await further instruction. Come, means get close enough that I can touch you.

Cristy said...

Wow - what a surprise! First that my story didn't hit the round file, and second that there's no wolf pack tearing me to pieces over here in the comments! Thank you. The story was written with my desk space and floor covered by soggy kleenex, and I held the story back for several months because I wasn't sure I could take much bashing over my choice. (not that I've seen any bashing go on in horse blogs...) So, thanks, Muggs, for sharing airwaves to display my ineptitude, and to you kind commenters for supporting my tough call. (Slushy hug arms extended.. visualize teary voice) Man, I love you guys!

Unknown said...

With both commands I want them to freeze in place.

Stay I use for long sits and downs where I don't want them to be coiled waiting for action.

With wait, I use it as a cue that I want them primed to anticipate another action cue. In other words, I want them to stop, pause, and hold still knowing that there will soon be a redirecting command.

I find it helpful to differentiate these two things so that the dog has a bit of an awareness as to when you want them to be extra keyed into you as opposed to just freeze and exhale.

My breed is Newfoundlands who do obedience, water rescue, and draft work, so there are different reasons that I want to be able to cue them in this manner.


mugwump said...

Cristy -- Your story is a gift to all of us horsaii struggling to do the right thing.
Look at what we gain with the no bashing policies!

Analise said...

I agree I think the right thing was done by the horse. I know someone with a navicular horse who's only pasture sound (and sometimes the horse is even ouchy walking around outside so you know...) and I told them long ago that they aren't going to be able to find anyone else to take the horse, no matter how attractive it is in the field and that it would be better to euth it before the bad days outnumber the good ones. As far as I know, the horse is still in the field. :/

(I'd usually use better pronouns but I'm trying to keep the story anonymous since the extra details don't matter)

It would break my heart, but I'd like to think if the same thing happened to me and my horse, I'd make a similar decision, particularly since he's so large and has so much weight on his feet.

Greenie said...

I was given a slightly different explanation of wait and stay. Stay ment don't move until I come back to you and release you from the stay. Wait ment don't move until I release you by calling you back to me. So they both ment don't move but the release was different.

Anyway as far as the horse story, well done. Feeding the worms is so much better than getting passed along, living in pain and potentially getting shipped for meat.

jenj said...

As others have said, the poster made a hard decision and it was the right one. That took guts, and even more to post the story on a public forum. Hugs to you.

RE "wait" and "stay", my answer is going to differ from everyone else's. I have never used "stay," because all of my stop-motion commands (sit, down, bed, kennel, etc.) have an implied "stay" to them. If I tell a dog "down," he/she better stay there until I give another command. If I used "stay," I'd be saying "Down, stay" or "Sit, stay" every time. Easier to just use one command and then you don't end up being repetitive.

"Wait" is used when I want the dog to stay standing where he is but wait for me to give another command. For example, if I open a car door but have to move something so there's room for the dog, I might say "Wait!" while I rearrange, then say "Car!" to ask the dog to jump into the car.

Darcy Jayne said...

Late answering, but I use "Wait" to indicate that my dog has to be patient for just a little bit. In practice, "wait" means he has to hold still while I do something like put his leash on, put his food bowl down, or let someone pass us. I use it only when I'm close enough that he knows something is about to happen.

"Stay" is for "park your butt here and expect to not be allowed to leave for a while". If I tell my dog "stay", I'm letting him know that I'm going to walk away and he has to stay put until I or somebody else comes back and releases him from the stay.

Darcy Jayne said...

Almost forgot - "wait" also means "wait for me to catch up" when he's off-leash.

Like RuckusButt, I also use "come" for "come here right now, no option!" and "this way" for "finish what you're doing, then come to me".

Anonymous said...

Stay is Whoa. Wait is Easy. :)

KD said...

Kudos to you Cristy and thanks for sharing your story.... my best friend didn't have the space you have and allowed her old horse to be "repurposed" into big cat food when it was time. The big cat rescue has a good reputation and treats the donations with respect. I hope I will make the right decision when it is time.

Anonymous said...

@KD - are you on the Olympic Peninsula?

KD said...

@Anon - I'm in North Florida. You can email me privately for additional info.

Jessica said...

Wait VS Stay, the only difference is the sounds the words make!

I got reamed out by a petsmart trainer once (Stupid me was inquiring about classes and was going over the skills my dog had mastered at home)

I was told that I am teaching my dog all wrong and was ruining her. I was using Wait, when I should be using Stay.

I advised that I could use the words Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches as long as I still had the correct behavior (That I wanted) paired with the phrase

That should have ended my search for a dog trainer but sadly it did not. We then suffered through a jerk who insisted my dog had been abused and that is why she wouldn't take treats while at his facility. Had nothing to do with the fact, she was nervous! He missed all the classic body language of her uncomfortability, stress drooling puddles, panting, lip licking, averting her head to avoid... I figured someone that stupid was not a professional to trust.

So I'm not a fan of dog trainers. We operate as our own pack at home and my dogs are perfect! If they need to learn something I figure out how to teach them until the lightbulb goes off.

Candy'sGirl said...

I would have euthed the navicular horse too if corrective farriery couldn't fix it (depends what caused it in yhe first place). No argument from me.

As far as wait/stay goes. Wait in my house means pause in whatever you're doing. Don't run out that door. Hang on while I move something off the seat in the car (followed by 'load up'. Often 'wait' is followed by another command. The dogs aren't required to hold any one position while waiting.

Stay means stay where I put you how I put you there until I tell you otherwise.

jennygoat said...

I am coming to the same decision with one of mine. Not navicular but reasons I hesitate to pass her on to be someone else's problem. There is no market at all for most horses around here - except the meat buyer. A quiet last walk out to the back field seems better than a long ride to a Canadian slaughter house.

Snipe said...

In the fairly recent past, my family acquired two horses that were meant to be riding horses. One turned up ouchy on her flexion test. She was only three. They bought her anyway, and she is no less ouchy now. She requires bute in order to be riding sound, and they are stuck with her.

The other was extolled by another family member as sound and riding horse, but she was mentally and physically a basket case. Within a fairly short time, she was diagnosed with a heart murmur.

I would have euthed them if it was my call, and I wholeheartedly agree with the little paint's fate. It was the best thing for everyone involved. Some would call me heartless, but it's my honest opinion.

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