Thursday, December 15, 2011

Horse of a different color

Ms is taking riding lessons at a local show barn. Her mount is an older, well seasoned leopard appaloosa named Rocky. He's big, he's clunky and he likes to pull stuff on all the students. Except for the Ms. Of the students, she's the only one that gets him to take his left lead, drop his head at the poll, do a nice pleasure jog, etc. And we get the joy of watching her lessons, which also include watching other's work their horses.

So here's my beef for the day. Horse people suck. Okay, not all horse people suck. Those with money, those who are in it only for the win and those who really don't care--suck.

I witnessed the following things over the last couple of lessons:

Girl riding a lovely pinto. Reiner from what I was told. Crippled. He only does reining because in any other event, he'd be dead last. Beyond being ring sour, the horse can not break at the knee, watching this animal perform circle after circle, spin after spin, it makes me wonder why winning at the expense of the future of the animal is so important to these people? Give that horse a couple more years of competition and it'll be on bute the rest of it's life.

Another paint comes in, gorgeous standing there all saddled up. Then it moves. I asked D what the hell was going on? It won't take a right lead because it's heavily favoring on the front left. It's got a lot of head bodding going on, seems cranky. Feel for the kid, sort of. Well, the horse was a futurity horse and was broken down by age 2. Has arthritis in all four legs now at age 6 and in order to show, it's started on twice a day bute two days before the shows and throughout the shows.

Walking the stalls after the lessons, pretty little walking horse with cushings, thing's like 22 or so, very handsome dude. And curly from the tip of his nose to the bottoms of his feet. And the owners are treating it, the horse is in good shape and he's retired. Enjoying life. The exception to the rule it seems.

Three stalls down, mare has her butt to the stall door, head in the corner and is swaying back and forth. Guess what, another former futurity horse and halter champion. 14 yrs old, front legs are totally buckled, broken down and you can see the pain in her eyes as she sways. Had been dumped in a pasture when her halter days were behind her, never able to get her bred, so she's now in a stall under lights to try to get her to come in and be bred. You can tell she hasn't seen a kind hand in years, unwilling to take treats, marks on her head where her halter sat too tightly on her nose. So if the breeding takes, this poor mare who can't carry her own weight will have to endure more pain as she gets heavier with foal. And if she can't be bred, she's going to the kill pen.

It ate me alive last night watching all this unfold. How can people be so inconsiderate of the future of these animals? The saddest part is that I see it just as much in the dog world.

How many times do we hear about a dog getting regular chiro treatments to keep it sound and moving correctly? How many times does a trainer talk about fattening up the dog to show as in a working realistic weight, it won't win? How many times do we see dogs get injured and still show when it should be on crate rest?

Now I have used chiro treatments on my dogs-1 dog, 1 treatment after an injury where she was on crate rest, leash walking for 4 months! To me if a dog is correct structurally, there's not need for dr's appts to fix things all the time. Fattening up a dog? My dogs better be able to go right from the conformation ring to the obedience ring without the beat of an eye, if the judge doesn't like it's weight, then tough-but feel that dog, it's solid and well muscled and can work.

What I think bothered me the most is that these people seem to think they are doing this for the well being of the animal, but is it that important to have the wins and the ribbons that we ruin the animal from having a decent long lived, fairly pain free life?

Hum, I must be doing something wrong. My last three horses lived to be 30 plus years and died of old age issues. Well the third one is 32+ strong now, looks like he's just 20, retired fully now and without a serious issue coming up, I bet he's around for another 4-5 years. And he's not on bute, no chiro adjustments or banned to a life of neglect. He's worn down his teeth so he gets special pelleted feed. He fell a couple of years ago on the ice so he goes in a stall when it's icy out and wears a blanket. Gosh darn it, where did I go wrong?

later gators...


Liz said...

What a sad story for all those horses. My daughter rode throughout high school, and we saw a lot of bad things happening, but nothing like this.

Cindy said...

Just kills me. I grew up showing at the local level but the stuff at the breed specific, regional and such levels is unreal. What I hate worst-futurity horses. They grow them so fast, at such a young age, so many go on to be broken down by age 3 or 4. Sad.