I just got home from the movies. I saw the new "Life As We Know It". If you aren't sure what it's about, the basic story line is about couple who have just had a baby. They each have a best friends and of course, they hate each other (don't worry I give anything away). The couple is killed in a car accident and in their estate and will they leave guardianship to these two singles who can't stand each other. Their lives are suddenly turned up side down with this huge responsibility, and they are forced to make a decision that will effect the rest of their lives. Their friends trusted them so immensely, they put their most important part of their lives in their hands.
I got to thinking about this scenario and my horses. I have often thought what might happen if I were killed suddenly and what would become of my boys. I am lucky in that my parents are horse people and we have a farm and the means to be able to keep extra horses if need be. I still wonder though, would they keep them? Would they give them away? Sell them? And if so, to whom? I am kind of anal about my horses and their care and who rides them. The thought of not having a say in who they would go creates great anxiety in me. I know I won't care if I'm dead, I mean how could I? Just the thought of them falling into the wrong hands really irks me. I need to get this sorted and have some guidelines for my animals if something were to happen to me.
So, what about those who do not have the benefit of having horsey relatives? A barn in their back yard? Would your family be willing to keep your horse, pay board, vet bills etc? Would they know where to turn for help in the event they needed help to sell your horse? I just think about all the horse people I know who have no family with knowledge in the horseworld. I fear people just taking the horse and throwing it into the local auction and the horse getting shipped off for meat for a measly $300. Or perhaps the horse is sold to the most innapropriate buyer and lives a miserable life because of it. I guess these are quite scary and negative thoughts, but sometimes you have to think about extremes to make sure you and your loved ones, in this case your animals, are protected.
The solution, take some time to think who you would put in guardianship of your animals if you were to lose your life suddenly. Are they knowledgeable? Trustworthy? Would they do what YOU wished and not what THEY wish? Would they be the very next best thing to you for your animal? If you have found the person who you think is fit, have a talk with them and tell them you would like them to be the guardian for your horse, dog, whatever. Talk about what you want in the event you were gone and whether they would be able to live up to it. If they are comfortable with the situation, get it in writing. The most important things need to be put in writing. If possible, legally stated on your will and testament is the best, but obviously is not always feasible for everyone. A written note with both signatures is a good start, kept on file by both parties.
It may seem depressing, or unnecessary. However, in the small and tragic chance something does happen to you, your animals will be forever grateful you took the time to think about them, and ensure their happy futures.