Today, I received a phone call from one of the mare's previous owners. Turns out Ms. Previous Owner works as an assistant trainer in California and this mare very recently showed up at the barn where Ms. Previous Owner works. She was very concerned because the mare is obviously unsound and her new owners, reportedly new to horses, have been riding her. I told Ms. Previous Owner that while I was of course concerned about the mare's well-being, I was a lot more concerned about her new owners' safety. I explained I had given the mare away as a broodmare and was very specific and unequivocal, both in the documentation and in my conversations with Marisa Brooke, the person to whom I gave the mare, that the mare isn't safe to ride because she has a history of flipping over backwards. Ms. Previous Owner added that when she owned the mare, the mare had "launched" her and broke her tailbone (funny how this never came up when Ms. Previous Owner sold this mare to my friend!). Ms. Previous Owner said that when she expressed her concerns to the new owners, they insisted the mare was sound and that they had purchased her from "trainers in Oregon."
Now, I can't really complain that Ms. Brooke didn't keep this mare. I didn't include a right of first refusal in the contract I used when I gave her to Ms. Brooke, because I didn't want the mare back. So, regardless of what Ms. Brooke told me she was going to do with the mare, Ms. Brooke was within her legal rights to sell the mare or give her away. What IS a problem is that this dangerous and unsound mare is now in the hands of novice horse owners who are now very likely to get hurt. And being ridden without any kind of support for her hock arthritis, this mare is most likely suffering.
As difficult as it is to say, I now wish I had euthanized this mare. If I had, she wouldn't be suffering, and she wouldn't have the opportunity to hurt another person. As I tell my clients, the only reliable way to control a horse's destiny is to maintain ownership of it.