Frank J. Buchman

Cowboy • Horseman • Writer

Living Impaired Forever Worthwhile

“Cowboys always used to shoot their horses when a leg was broken.”

That’s morbidly, sadly true.

Generally there was thought to be no alternative. Treatment and recovery were considered impossible or nearly so from physical, financial and logistics standpoints.

Truly from kindness of heart, love of mount, stopping misery, pain, inevitable death after long suffering, bullet seemed best.

Today is different than decades gone by fortunately in certain situations. With modern medicine, knowledge, technics, before untreatable leg injury can be doctored back to normal or nearly so.

Very regrettably, despite modern sophistication, education, research and equipment, recovery is still sometimes thought impossible.

Again, after every resource and effort has been exercised, life end is deemed only humane action.  Simple painless prick injection puts suffering to sleep peacefully.

Yet, those with permanently injured and even completely missing limbs can often continue onward with most useful lives.

A repeated reflection of several permanently lame horses. Still, they’d run their hearts out and win in many speed competitions day after day among the stringiest runners.

Science and medicine will contradict it, but other always unsound horses unable to move without gimp go sound in rail classes. Hurt completely unknowable by the best of horsemen and judges, they win too.

Many say it can’t happen, but proof is in performance all because that horse has so much try and such a big heart.

Horses missing a leg, even two, have still been very productive. Not completely uncommon are outstanding stallions with gone or deformed limbs breeding and siring offspring under various management procedures.

Especially memorable is hearing about and seeing photos of Shetland pony stallions with only two rear stubs. They were used for heavy mating when those small equines were so highly in demand six decades ago.

Additionally, mares with missing or deformed limbs successfully reproduce, while limb-missing-impaired geldings can become caretakers themselves human rehabilitation and nurturing.

Three-legged and two-legged dogs and cats are frequently seen, enjoying lives with no reserves.

Other red meat animals, cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, are producing with limbs missing and deformities.

Many people have lost fingers, hands, arms, feet, legs, bear other most serious issues, and are still serving.

There is never right to end life in name of humaneness.

Reminded of Psalm 92:12: “The lame can still flourish long-lived, upright and useful.”



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