Sorry that this is so long winded…
TLDR: I feel compelled to ask my neighbor if she needs help with her horses, but am afraid of her. Need ways to screw up my courage.
I am extremely introverted. I leave my home for specific things that I am accustomed to, anything else takes a lot of “working myself up” for it. Often, even then, many times I just can’t leave and end up finding another way or just not dealing with the issue.
My neighbor is a 20yo woman w/4 under age kids in her home (one is an infant). She lost both her aunt and mother in the first half of last year. I met the woman when she was a 10yo riding in the back of a truck, cheering on her mom’s current drug addled, drunken boyfriend as he intentionally drove through my new fencing on my farm. The girl at 10yo cursed worse than a sailor and has a truly vicious streak just like the women (her mother and aunt) who were raising her. I have never seen her or spoken to her since that time 10 years ago because I was afraid of the women and their drunken/druggy boy friends.
Fast forward to 2010 she was involved in a shooting that she sort of instigated it because she wanted to continue drinking at 2am at the house of a guy who didn’t want them there. Separate incident - the people living in her house were arrested for robbing a gas station. Separate incident - three non-local thugs who specifically wanted to talk to this girl, came to the house, held the people there at gun point while they ransacked the place looking for something. This is the sort of crowd that she was running with (and is still friendly with).
Fast forward mid 2012. Both the aunt and her mother are dead. The aunt in her sleep of natural causes and the mother was thrown from a horse. No gun play.
Late 2012. There is a noticeable change at the property. They went from 14 horses down to 4, dogs that used to run as a pack are either now contained or have been sent on to other places. The girl has settled down with a guy that holds a job and is called a “nice guy” by the locals.
Fast forward last month: The four horses seem to have been moved into the barn and are never left out. But there is a new horse on the property who stands right next to the closed barn doors and doesn’t go anywhere. I believe this has been going on for about three weeks now. (Again, I only leave my farm about twice a week and usually at night, so I’m guessing that is how long). My theory is that the four horses are inside the barn, otherwise, they could let this horse inside the barn.
Today, I left the farm during daylight and when I came back in, I slowed down to get a good look at the horse. There is snow on the ground and based on that, the horse does not leave the back of that barn and the other horses (if they are inside the barn) are not let out. The barn is the only wind block in the pasture, so that could explain why the horse stays there. There are buckets nearby, so he is probably getting fed grain. There is a water tank, but water would be frozen fairly quick, but there is also snow (not a good source of water). But there is no signs of adequate hay for this horse and he is very thin. I’d put him at a Body Score of @3.
My fear: There are five horses down there starving.
Tomorrow I am supposed to call a farmer for round bales and I was planning to pick up round bales for my critters. NOW, I’m thinking that I will stop at her place on the way back through and offer a round bale for the horse standing outside and try to ask to see the horses inside the barn.
If they just need a truck to haul hay, I can offer them to haul hay. I don’t know their financial situation and mine is not the least bit good. Round bales are running $90/bale because of drought (they are usually $40). I’m hoping they can reimburse me at least part of the money for a bale tomorrow, but even if I have to give it to them free, I’m prepared to do that because it will provide hay for the horse until I can figure out my next step. One round bale could feed five horses for almost a week.
This family (from when the other women were there) has a history with the Humane Society. But the Humane Society also sucks and won’t be interested in helping these horses (they’re more interested in dogs and cats). So, IF they offer any help, I’m believe it will be slow in coming and that will be a combination of political issues and lack of staff to do anything.
But, now that I’ve seen this horse in daylight, I can’t sit by and let him starve over my fears or some principle or stupid politics.
SO… I need courage because I’m afraid of making this woman angry and bringing her thuggish friends down on me or that she’ll turn out to be as much of a **** as her mother was (her mother threatened my life on multiple occasions and the local law enforcement had 30 calls to that home over a four year period… so I took the threats seriously)
How do you screw up courage to do something that you’re absolutely afraid of doing? Just thinking about stopping down there makes me start to break out into tears over fear that she’ll tear into me. I crumble at the slightest hint of confrontation.
I expect her to be defensive. If I had the money, I’d just offer the hay for free… but I really need to at least ask if she has money to pay for even part of the cost of the hay because I need to feed my own animals. I have wormer here, so I can take that as well in case that is part of the problem.
I don’t want to call the HS if this girl is trying to get her stuff straight. Hay is at insane prices right now, few could have guessed that it would get this bad. Its possible that she was weak and took this additional horse because someone else wasn’t able to keep it, but didn’t realize that she wasn’t able to keep it either. (But it is also possible the other 4 horses are in just as bad shape inside the barn).
Neighbors are supposed to help each other. If all they need is a way to haul hay, I can help with that. They just need to get through the next 3 months and the pastures will be coming back (they have about 15 acres fenced in). It doesn’t look like she’s on the internet, so maybe I can help them post the horses to find them new homes.
So… if anyone has magical chants that give them courage… please, please, please share.
I’m turning to this community because it is way too late to be calling people on the phone and (honestly) most of the people that I would call would tell me to keep my nose out of her business. If there weren’t a living creature involved, I would totally agree.