“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It’s Not What You Know It’s Who……….Or I Guess Fugly Does have Ethics After All

She may, but I don’t have this kind. This may be impressive in some places but not on mine or for that matter the barn of anyone I sell horses to. We are funny about making sure our horses learn and never forget lateral and vertical flexion. If you don’t know what that means….look it up……We don’t teach remedial horse training here and I don’t intend to start.
This code of ethics has to be what has spared this horse and rider from her venom, excuse me education. Can’t attack those on your side even though they look to be a poster child of all that you rant against. I’m a redneck horse killing, white trash, ***** so I can stab at both in one blog. Life is really lovely sometimes or I love Saturday Satires for this reason…..can’t make up my mind…


I have never owned an appy, and virtually all the other nonsense here is just tripe. Below is a link to a photo of me and my stud Traveler some years ago. It speaks to why I love to ride stallions! He was like riding lightning, but we rode many a trail behind mares without a single problem.

I have. Both very nice geldings and point earners. They looked nothing like this fine specimen thankfully. In the fugly code of ethics for redneck horse owners this horse is what we breed to fill the double deckers going to Mexico……..swear….reference to the owners education, swear…….reference to their barn, swear……reference to their, swear……

It speaks to why I love to ride stallions!

No, it speaks to why you are a male trail rider who read one too many Walter Farley books suffering from a bad case of testosterone poisoning. …….

He was like riding lightning, but we rode many a trail behind mares without a single problem.

Don’t know about the lightning thing but, hey, whatever floats your boat…..the best calving horse I ever rode was a ewe necked, roman nosed gelding….doesn’t mean I want to run out and start breeding ewe necked roman nosed horses…..
I know of several studs who work like geldings. Never make a sound at mare, gelding, whatever is near them. One of the founding members of the American Horse League day works (that means he rents himself and his horse by the day to help other ranchers work cattle) and ponies colts on a 16.2 hand stakes winning thoroughbred stud. So what is your point?
God tends to take care of fools and children. I know If I were a trail rider having the man and stud pictured behind my mare……..or my child’s gelding….….would scare the (insert word of choice ) out of me…
What discipline of riding is that? We have what looks to be either $5.00 low port grazing bit, or $10.00 walking horse bit with no curb strap, a horse braced all the way from his lower jaw back through the poll, his whole neck, into a hollowed out back, with no concept of how to properly yield to the pressure of the bridle. The rider is sitting on his back pockets in a posture that looks to be a watered down version of saddle seat equitation in what may or may not be a dressage saddle, feet braced forward in the stirrups lugging on the reins. (Fugly imitation) ….WTF discipline is that even supposed to be? I know……it’s the “I am a recreational rider, the number one demographic in the horse industry so I don’t have to conform to any riding or equitation standard ….we’re number one so we can make up our own form style”. Too long? Yeah, thought so too…..Let’s just shorten it to NORiDES……Number One Rider Demographic Equitation Seat. There I kind of like that. It’s catchy, kind of like BYB or who is missing their herd sire?
Bottom line, my friends, this is the “style” of training and type of horse, right or wrong, better hope to heck he has a lifetime home. In the open market he’s on the short list….. Horses either rise or fall to the level of their owner’s ability. I am only pointing out what I feel should be obvious to anyone with an eye for horses or horsemanship. Hey, this is a lot easier than looking at the “big breeder” websites trying to pick out expensive trendy horses with soundness hampering conformation faults as we did earlier. Back when no one gave a crap what we had to say. Back when we were actually trying to spread some knowledge and make a point that mattered no one gave a crap or had enough knowledge to comment…..

He really really wanted to get going and I ride with the gentlest possible bits.

Lateral flex is our friend….A horse must lower his head and round his back to bend his neck in response (proper response) to direct rein pressure. Rounding his back, tipping his nose, and softening his jaw are the first steps to collection. This should be instilled as a “no questions asked ever response” BEFORE the horse is asked to carry a rider and especially before any type of shank bit is introduced. I would suggest this horseman do some reading on the mechanics of how bits work on the pressure points of the mouth to obtain what responses. Quite possibly the worst bit to use on a horse braced up and avoiding the bit like this is a solid jawed shank curb bit. If you don’t understand why, don’t comment……look it up…… Perhaps he should eat less shrimp and buy better bits. But good tack doesn’t work either if you don’t how to use it.
If you don’t think all that is important…fine. You are entitled to ride whatever you see fit in any way you can sit on them and not get bucked off. I’ve set my sights just a bit higher over the years. Those who expect good performance from our horses, understand the mechanics of how a horse balances himself, and how he uses his body feel safer when everything is where it should be. It feels better to the horse and the rider. Working situations encountered in the daily lives of feedlot horses, ranch horses, and most competitive event horses require proper positioning of their bodies to perform, remain sound, and not fall over their own feet. It’s not a “looks” thing that doesn’t matter.

We are both a good bit older now, but he is still beautiful and still my best buddy. Plugs hey? I think not.

I haven’t seen anything to suggest any great above “plug” quality, but hey, it’s just my opinion.......Beauty is in the eye of the beholder that is of course if you’re a rescuer and not someone who needs to be outed……for educational purposes……for the cause……for the horses……..

He's retired now, but I still ride him around bareback from time to time.

Oh I get it now…….it’ s a dressage saddle masquerading as a McClelland saddle so you can sit like the General Lee does on Traveler in the paintings and statues……I can be a little slow, that redneck crap and all…..

Stallions aren't robots like geldings, that is what makes them so much fun.

We did an interesting blog on stallion management and behavior. I believe it says one of those horses was hauled and used like a gelding too. It might be a good read for someone who keeps a stud because he thinks they are fun to ride. The article is written by people who make their living horseback, handling all types, and it explains why good horsemen realize it best for all concerned (the horse included) any stallion not used for breeding be gelded. It generated no comments from the Friends of Barbaro either, although I thought it had lots to say. Back to Traveler…..have a go at trimming those hooves and standing him up off those under run heels.
I am sure he is beautiful to you. He would, as fugly says, make a cute gelding, if someone had the sense to whack off his balls. I won’t go into a conformation analysis. I can’t with his head all cranked up and his back hollowed out but from what I can see…….he is just a horse….kind of cute colored and chromed up…..looks like he may be a tad low in the pasterns. Little scant in the forearm and inside hind leg muscling. He may be some sort of gaited horse cross???? Being out of The Country by Truck ,it’s hard to know what he really is……. His owner “just likes to ride stallions”, doesn’t breed, and is anti-slaughter, rescues so it’s okay.

Now before everyone goes rabid…..I generally don’t make comment on pictures like this…….I really don’t care…… I’ve said before this type of horse and rider are not going to set the breeding or horsemanship trends of the future, but don’t show me this……expect me to be impressed, shut up, and go away quietly…..We had a commentator who mentioned the rescues were a way for those who couldn’t make it in the real horse world to have a “horsie” career……think?????
I really do feel sorry this rider. He will never know how good it feels to have a talented young horse lope down the pen, give his face to your hands, drop his hocks in the ground, sweep his shoulders around and lope off the other way soft, smooth, and rounded. I personally like the feeling of having one under me feely, framed, and under control from his nose to his tail. That’s my Lightning.
Anyone going to volunteer to prove your NORiDES status by telling me I have no idea what I am talking about? I don’t care what you ride or how you ride it but don’t present this image and comments as an example of good…. As Dr. Phil says that dog don’t hunt.
Pissy? Rude? Cruel? No sir….it’s honesty, educating people so horses don’t have to suffer…..that’s what we’ve been told ……for the cause…..for enlightenment……for the horses……B.S. it’s for the same reason I wrote this…….someone/something pissed me off and I needed a whipping boy……. I chose to insult the same someone who insulted me…..my intelligence…..my morals….. my horsemanship….doesn’t make it right for me to be an insulting ***** , just a bit more honest…

Written by RH 1

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For…….

When I started out to write a column on how the New Humane Horse Culture felt about Jason Meduna of the now infamous Three Strikes Mustang Ranch before he was prosecuted I ran across the Wild Horse Preservation Society’s website. That led to the 41 Mustangs column, that column led to the Now That You Mentioned It Column, and that column plus some other things tied into the Here’s What I Think Column we all had so much fun with a few days ago. When we first began this blog I wrote an entry called How Can This Make Sense. The column examined Mrs. Pickens plan to fund an eco-tourism/sanctuary for not only 30,000 mustangs, give or take a few but other rejected horses as well. All of these columns have been interrelated, one leading to the other. We can’t expect any choice we make involving the care of our livestock or wildlife which inhabit our lands both public and private to have no impact on something else. We have to balance the cost with the emotion.
The balancing act going on everyday between managing our natural resources and expecting our land and landowners to produce the food supply of a nation illustrates this point vividly. It’s why Madeleine’s Mustang Ranch is not cost free to the nation even if she foots the entire bill. It’s why the mustangs have to be managed in the first place. The BLM must manage them but……they shouldn’t round them up…….they shouldn’t keep them in captivity…….they shouldn’t kill them to avoid keeping them in captivity……in short they should be allowed run free…..free to die a natural humane death………to live in harmony with the other creatures of their habitat……and the federal government is reintroducing indigenous predators once eradicated back into that habitat.
I am not sure how this all ties together. I don’t mean this to read we should do away with wolves, mustangs, conservation efforts, or jump all the way to the right or the left. I am going to put this out to the blog because nothing we do, no matter how well intended, is without consequence. Sometimes we don’t see those consequences as well as we should. We are caught up in what feels good to us. It feels good to us to know wolves are wild and free in the west. It feels good to know the mustangs are there too. If it feels good and we don’t personally have to live with the cost we sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture.
This was recently forwarded to me. Keep in mind this person is not asking all wolves be destroyed, only that they be removed from the protected species list so the ranchers can kill the ones causing the damage. The following is the email accompanying the ad in the Missoulian paid for by the Montana Cattlemen’s Association, the Montana Woolgrowers, and several private ranches. I haven’t passed on the worst of the pictures. I believe we all have a good imagination and I don’t particularly care for the animal people using shock photos to get a point across ……
Who's really paying for these carnivorous wolves?If you have a heart at all and like being able to eat meat produced here in the USA then you need to read this and look at each and every picture and read each and every account written by these Montana ranchers!I DO NOT apologize for forwarding on such graphic pictures! It is reality and reality will hit all of you someday in one way or another...like it or not!It must be stopped and the wolves MUST be de-listed (like they promised us they would) so that we can protect our livestock and our own lives! They (animal right's activists/PETA/Etc.) have gone way over their goal and are fooling you and lying to all Americans! It is well past time for the good people of this great country to take control of our future before there is nothing left in the West for tourist to see...whether it be ranches or our beautiful wildlife. It is high time that we/you start thinking about what your children and grandchildren will survive on. We need to save the meat from both livestock and wildlife now so that our children and grandchildren will be able to eat and survive in the future. If you think that your businesses that are safely tucked away in the city won't be affected by rancher's loosing livestock in the west then you are sadly mistaken. Take a look at 2008 and 2009's financial economy mess for a reference to that fact! It all starts with a little loss here and a little loss there!
The ad copy which is personally written accounts by the ranches involved and a few of the pictures it contained.

Dear Readers:
Here are some photographs that ranchers have submitted for this ad which are verified wolf kills. These are not pretty by any means; however, they need to be shown. Many times the carnage is not visually recorded as we do not always have cameras with us when wolf kills are discovered. Ranchers have paid dearly for the reintroduction of wolves, both financially and emotionally, as you can see from these photos submitted by ranchers throughout Montana. Ranchers were never in favor of reintroducing the wolf on our public lands. We feared the wolf reintroduction plan would not only be detrimental to livestock and pets, but we were certain other wildlife populations would be seriously affected as well. That fear has proven to be well-founded. Our ranches are home to moose, elk, deer, bear, coyotes and a host of smaller animals. Montana ranchers pride themselves on preserving the natural habitat of these wildlife populations and enjoy seeing them as they roam across our lands. However, the reintroduced gray wolf has viciously decimated Montana's wildlife numbers. Young animals are no match for a stealthy wolf!
The facts of wolf reintroduction: The original recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain region consisting of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming was for a total population of 300 wolves and 30 breeding pair. That goal was attained in 2002 and has been exceeded every year since. At the end of 2007 there were approximately 1500 wolves and at the end of 2008 the estimate was 1645 wolves and 95 breeding pairs. This is more than five times the number of wolves called for in the reintroduction plan! A total of 102 wolf deaths were documented in 2007; 73 were related to livestock, depredations, seven were killed illegally, and six were struck by vehicles or trains. Others died from a variety of causes common to all wildlife species, including poor health and old age. Fish, Wildlife, & Parks documented a minimum of 163 pups at the end of 2007. In 2008 there were 155 deaths with a minimum of 147 pups. Despite the death loss of these wolves, the wolf population is still very secure, is well above the recovery criteria, and continues to increase by a minimum of 18% every year. It is clear the northern Rocky Mountain’s gray wolf population has exceeded all recovery goals. The out-of-control explosion of wolf population growth has been devastating to wildlife and livestock as hungry wolves compete for food. For livestock producers, so far the confirmed death loss in 2008-2009 has been 130 head of cattle, 183 sheep, 13 goats, 2 guard dogs, 2 horses, and 8 llamas. These numbers may not seem alarming until you take into consideration that for every confirmed kill there are three or four more that are not confirmed for various reasons.
Unfortunately, producers are only reimbursed 1/8 of the actual loss value. Ranchers support the delisting of the gray wolf so they may be managed properly to maintain an eco-friendly existence with other wildlife species and livestock. “The Ranch at Wolf Creek has used guard dogs and herders for over 10 years as non-lethal deterrents to predators. Five guard dogs fighting against four wolves did not stop the savage killing of Duke. The wolves were not deterred by the guard dogs or the presence of the herder. Statistics recorded by Wildlife Services and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks show a continued increase in the population of wolves throughout Montana. Consequently, there has also been increased predation by wolves on livestock and domestic pets. The presence of wolves also causes a very substantial monetary loss to livestock producers. Livestock stressed by the presence and harassment of wolves have a lower conception rate, abort their pregnancy, and show reduced weight gain. Wolves can be a part of the eco system but should not be allowed to destroy Montana. Since their reintroduction they have not only had a very serious affect on livestock throughout western Montana, but they have had a devastating effect on Montana's wildlife. If the wolf population is not controlled, not only will Montana's livestock producers lose, but Montana's wildlife will be decimated." - Ranch
"Our family has been ranching in Montana for over 140 years. Never before have we seen such savagery to defenseless animals as we have seen since the reintroduction of the gray wolf. To kill, a wolf will grab hold of the animal and hang on until there is enough blood hemorrhage underneath the skin that they die. We have also had a calf that they ate the hind end while he was still alive. We brought the pair home, but the calf died from its wounds and the mother died from stress. We realize that wolves are here to stay, but we need to be able to protect our property, our family, our pets and our livelihood. We would like to be able to say 20 years from now that we are on the 6th generation of ranchers in our family, but wolves can put any rancher out of business." Ranch, Drummond
“On the Ranch of Dillon we raise both cattle & sheep and have done so for many years. We began to see losses shortly after wolves were released in 1996. We have seen many opportunistic killings by wolves. Many times they will kill an animal and not eat it. We have seen an increase of wildlife on our home pastures during the winter months due to the predation of their populations. This we feel is a very fair trade off as we share their mountain pastures in the summer. The use of our ranges have been severely reduced due to the wolves; it is very hard to manage our summer pastures and continue to be good stewards when our animals are chased from these areas. They, like everything else, just want to be safe. Ranchers do contribute greatly to the circle of industry and life in a very important manner. What it takes for us to supply our product to consumers is open spaces, clean air, water, sunshine and lots of hard work. Dealing with the wolves just makes it that much harder and more discouraging". Ranch, Dillon

"The Ranch in Phillipsburg was a pretty, peaceful place up until three years ago. It was home to content cows, deer, elk and other wildlife. That all ended when the wolves moved in. They have killed our livestock and wildlife in close proximity to our ranch headquarters. The picture of the wolf shown above was taken without a telephoto lens! These animals have gotten so bold they have absolutely no respect for humans. There is no place on our ranch that is safe anymore. As the wolves increase in numbers, we have also seen a steady increase in the loss of our calves and the decrease in our cow conception rate due to stress. We wish for the return of the peaceful days we once had!” - Ranch, Phillipsburg
"This spring at the Ranch we had 7 confirmed kills on the calving ground and 60 first calf heifers aborted due to the stress from harassment of the wolves. So this spring alone the ranch has lost $50,000.00 worth of cattle. And this is before we put our cattle out to summer pasture! I'm not looking forward to counting the losses when we bring them home this fall. The Montana Livestock Loss Reduction & Mitigation Board has paid us on the 7 confirmed kills, but we have a bigger loss on the unconfirmed cattle for which we are not being reimbursed. With the hits we are taking from the reintroduced wolf, how do we pay our bills? And who is going to bail out the ranchers from these losses when it was our own government that reintroduced the wolf in our backyards?" - Ranch, Niarada
"We raise both cattle and sheep. During the past year we have witnessed more "joy" killing by wolves - animals that were alive with their guts hanging out or torn up so bad in the hind quarters they had to be euthanized. We've lost two yearling steers weighing over 600 pounds. We've lost several ewes and over 25 lambs. These brutal attacks have brought lots of tears. I had to look at my ewes that had their guts torn out and lying on the ground still alive and tell them there was nothing I could do. We live only 100 yards off Highway 1. These attacks occurred within 1/4 mile of our house. We have elk on our property, and the wolves passed right through them to come down and kill our livestock; so NO, wolves don't just prey on wild game." - Ranch, Drummond
"Wolves have attacked our sheep in Sweet Grass County, killing three and maiming one so badly that we had to put her down the following day. Wolf recovery people would like you to believe that wolves only prey on the old, weak, and crippled animals. These ewes were all under 3 years of age, their most productive, healthiest years. We as producers find it very discouraging and disheartening to be forced to euthanize our own livestock, all for a wolf recovery program that we didn’t want nor seem to have any control over. Lambing is a family effort that takes hard work, long hours, and good management. We are working even harder since the attacks. Ultimately, all of this work will make NO difference when the wolves 'find' the sheep again! We also understand that there were so many livestock deaths to wolves last year that the recovery program has no more money to compensate the hard-working producer " - Sweet Grass County
"We've lost 4 times more livestock in two years with wolves than we have in 10 years with coyotes, bears, fox and lions. Predators such as coyotes and bears consume their kills; the wolves have yet to eat what has been killed on our ranch. I have not received any compensation for our livestock losses. I feel our tax dollars are going DIRECTLY towards the destruction of our own livestock with the wolf reintroduction program." Ranch, Two Dot
" Livestock is a family owned, fourth-generation sheep and cattle ranch. We have been using all non-lethal methods available in an attempt to keep the wolves away from our sheep. Lately, due to the growing wolf population, they seem to be more aggressive. The wolf kills started in the spring of 2004 and are increasing every year as the wolf population grows. In many cases it seems the wolf just kills for
the fun of it. We run cows and calves on forest and BLM lands during the summer months and we always come up few head short every fall. Unless something is done to control the wolf population, they will continue to increase at an alarming rate. It will be hard for the Montana rancher to stay in business because of the wolf predation on livestock and the resulting financial burden. Wildlife have also changed their habits to try and survive wolf attacks. Instead of living in their natural habitat elk, deer, and other herbivores are congregating in large numbers for protection, thus impacting private property of land owners. At this rate the wolf harvest of wildlife will result in the near total elimination of the animals we have all learned to admire." Livestock, Dillo

I have taken the names out of all these in the interest of privacy. You might say I have no faith in my fellow man. I have been involved in enough discussions and research in my short experience with this blog to learn to keep some of the animal people safely at cyber arm’s length. I wish to allow others the same courtesy while still trying to make a point. This is a list of the damages incurred so far:
Avon, 3 confirmed wolf kills, 34 missing calves, 2 ranch dogs, Since 1995 lost $30,000 +
Niarada, 7 confirmed wolf kills, 20 missing calves, 60 aborted 1st calf heifers, 50 lbs. lost weight, $50,000
Two Dot, 3 separate kill dates, 22 confirmed wolf kills, 30+ unconfirmed kills, $500 vet bills, 66 open ewes, 3 year total $28,000
Hot Springs, calf and 3 others were confirmed wolf kills last summer, 12 animals missing- 40 dry cows, 50 lbs. per calf weight loss, Total cost $25,000 +
Phillipsburg, 7 confirmed wolf kills, 18 missing, 60 open animals, 25 lbs+ weight loss, 3 year cost $88,500
Big Timber, 4 confirmed wolf kills
Drummond, 8 confirmed wolf kills, (2 steers, 4 sheep), 25+ missing lambs, Total cost 2008-2009 $40,000
Reed Point, 31 confirmed wolf kills, 13 missing ewes & lambs, 100+ head dry ewes, $78,000 +
Drummond, 6 confirmed wolf kills, 100 missing calves, 45 lbs. per calf weight loss, $150,000 in the last 3 years
Lonepine, 1 confirmed wolf kill, 2 missing, 2 dry cows. Left summer range 2 weeks early, $4,500 +
Dillon, 24 confirmed wolf kills, 250 missing, 4 guard dogs and 2 stock dogs killed, $1000+ vet bills, Range that is not utilized due to wolves, $120,000 since 1996
Kila, 2 confirmed kills, 2 dry cows, 25 lbs. weight loss, Total $5000
Wolf Creek, 4 confirmed wolf kills, 2 dogs
Dillon, 38 confirmed wolf kills, 35 sheep, 2 calves, 1 yearling steer, 20 head of sheep wounded and 1 yearling steer., 1 Guard dog seriously injured
I am looking forward to comments. What do you think? Mustangs, wolves, the balance of nature, greed, profit, family business, food supply, making a living versus the warm fuzzy feelings, natural selection, and what need are we trying to satisfy? What cost are we willing to bear ourselves or impose on others to “do the right thing”? And in some cases what exactly is the right thing?
We went to Pluto and back in the comments on the Horse Market Opinion column. Internet experts, humanitarians, and champions of a safe world food supply all chimed in. Didn’t necessarily have anything much to say but they chimed in. So what’s the answer in a perfect world? As in any other good cause how much cost is too much? We are trying to answer that in other debates too by the way.

written by RH1

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Need Some Information - Facts

Just a quick post today between barn work and riding. I have seen over and over again people posting that USDA does or does not classify horses as livestock, that the FDA does or does not classify horses as livestock. I have tried to find an actual classification of animals on USDA, FDA, and thomas law websites. I have found no formal classifications on any of the Federal Gov. websites. My State has a very black and white classification but from what I hear not all states are as informative as mine.
In looking for the information I did find several places on the USDA site that refers to horses as livestock, as seen in a previous post. I spent time last night and early this morning, waiting for daylight, on the FDA site. I find several places where "horses, mules, and other equine" are refered to as meat or food animals. I also saw a publication about goats being called pets but are livestock much like horses. So can ANYONE please find and provide some links to the official classification of equines by the USDA and FDA? You can email them to me or post them in comments.
Thanks to all so far who have participated in our poll, and thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some info on Animal classifications.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Horse is a Horse of course...but.....

A Horse is a......?????

While reading on a message board recently, I was struck by a comment about a horse that was in the process of being rescued. Along with the almost required tale of abuse at the hands of her previous owners, it was stated that this horse "did not like to be ridden".Fortunately, a home was found, and this young mare will be able to live her days out as a "Pasture Pet", getting lots of hugs and kisses, and just being allowed to "be a horse" as someone commented. Nothing will be required of her, she will not be ridden, and apparently, this is just fine. I found this a little odd, but what was even more bothersome was that this is not the first time, nor the first situation where I have read of a fairly young horse entering into retirement.Is it a problem? I think so. As we move towards the horses as companions mindset, I read more and more comments that concern me as to how we view horses.I understand that there are those few horses that have, in fact come from a situation so abusive they cannot be rehabilitated. They are often dangerous, and should not be handled by those unfamiliar with the issues and danger they bring with them.But in many other cases, the horse has not been abused, but kept as a pet, and would rather not listen, or has never been taught that there is anything required of him or her. When these horses are finally sold or given away, they, too present a set of challenges for their owners. Oftentimes a story is made up as to what type of abuse could have befallen the poor horse to make him or her behave this way, and the behavior is then excused. Or it is decided a traumatic event has occurred, and the horse has been damaged by it. They are allowed to behave badly, at times dangerously, and are often given human attributes to explain their actions. But I feel it is unfair to simply allow them to remain large lawn ornaments. Those who choose to own these horses should take on the responsibility of working with them. And if they don't feel confident to do it on their own, they should find someone to help. At the very least, Ground manners are a requirement, and a broke horse always has a chance at a better home, should the owner find themselves in a situation where they must sell the horse, or give him or her away.Even more frustrating is when the good broke ones are considered pets. I saw an ad for a broke to ride horse about a month ago, and someone said "this is the kind of horse I'd just like to have in my pasture to give carrots and kisses to". What a waste of a good horse. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with giving treats, and loving your horse, I find it disheartening that a perfectly well broke horse would be relegated to someone's pasture doing nothing all day, and that some human would feel that this is okay.I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm watching my horses, they seem to get pretty bored if they have nothing to do. They like to have a job, and left to their own devices, I see a lot more destructive behavior, and fighting within the herd.And the bigger downside is that when we begin retiring young horses, we displace the older ones who have earned those homes, and are ready to take it easy. Somewhere along the line, horses went from livestock to pets, and I don't think it's such a good thing. A 1000 pound animal that's been spoiled and allowed to do as he or she wishes because "mommy" thinks it's cute is not only dangerous, but it de-values the horse. Many horses are bred for specific disciplines, and they actually enjoy performing those skills they were bred to excel in.And the only thing worse than an unbroke, ill mannered horse is a well broke, well behaved one that's going to waste in someone's pasture being "loved", and being "allowed to be a horse" by standing doing nothing. The intention may be good, but it's not what's in the best interest of the horse.
Written by RH2