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About Horse Culture

Horse People
Would we do it again?
Are there different kinds of horse people or do people just do different things?
Are there good horsepeople and bad ones?
Are there gentle ones and rough ones?
Are there kind ones and mean ones?
Are there compassionate and apathetic ones?

Are there good horses and bad ones or is it easier to call them bad and ‘get rid of them’ when they “don’t work out”. If they’re sick or lame or old, do we keep them, get rid of them or do we even try to sell them?

If we sell them, Are we honest or do we lie and hope a prospective owner doesn’t notice? Do we try to get around a vet check, have a ‘fire sale’ or throw in a saddle that doesn’t fit, or a dirty blanket, to sweeten the deal?

Do we tell the new owner that he is mean and will bite and kick, and is dangerous, And do we tell them that he is this way because of the abuse by so many for so long, that he has given up and no longer likes people ……. and that is why he is the way he is, ….Or do we say that he is good under saddle, a great dressage horse and has won many ribbons, has an unbelievable blood-line, and can jump too. Do we tell them that we were a part of the abuse and he just has to go, because we need the money and it’s time ‘to get out of horses’.

What if they’re not performing up to ‘our standard’, Not getting the blue ribbon, or enough of them, not jumping high enough, running fast enough – Do we push them, get mad at them, hit them with crops, kick their sides, or use a stronger bit. Do we risk injury or are we responsible, and back off. Do we think about the horses enjoyment, Or is it all about us.

Are we so jaded that we think hurting horses is normal, or necessary, Or Did someone tell us it was ok, and we didn’t question it – we’ll maybe, just a little…..

Do we give them the time they need to figure it out, even if it takes years, Or do we figure “he’s just never gonna learn”, Or do we just force him & make sure he knows, “we’re the boss”. Are we flexible and consider changing disciplines in order to accommodate the horse we’re “in love with”, Or do we make him do it, Or else.

Do we trade horses like we trade spaces, husbands, … and ultimately ourselves OR do we invest in relationships and act as stewards. Do we protect our horses from harm, Or do we allow someone to mistreat them, What about other horses, If we see it do we say something, do we tell –-who do we tell, Or do we look away.

Do we take away the things they need or are accustomed to, like shoes after the ground is hard, just to save money, Or do we save money on other things, OR do we try to make more money to take good care of them ?

What about after we’ve ‘outgrown’ them – (as if we’re such good riders that we can’t be challenged more). Do we kiss them good ‘by or give them a pat on the neck and let someone else retire them ? Or do we try to make some money on them – (since if it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be so well trained and worth so much), Do we send them to auction knowing they may end up in slaughter, Or do we skip that step and sell them to the kill buyer ?

Do we do the ‘right’ thing and give them to someone who says they’ll keep them forever, and if we do, do we stay in touch to make sure we can help the horse that gave us so many rides, so much joy, so many babies to sell, and tolerated so much for our sake, just in case….. …………….. Or do we hope for the best and ‘not go there’ ?

Do we flip horses like we flip houses, rent them, lease them, sell them like cars ? Or do we realize that they are living beings. Are there people that care and people who could care less ?

What kind of horse person are you ? And if we did not know then, And did it once, but know now, would we think twice before doing it again?

We will………. if we want to be a better person

Love 'em & Leave 'em

Why do we do it ?

How can we say that we love something that’s real, until something better comes along, Or until someone offers us the right price, Or until the horse gets injured and we just have to find another home – and get another horse.

Of course we are very sad about it and we may even cry – for awhile, and say we are devastated - And then, do we forget Or do we just ‘want to go forward’ – with our lives………. but what about their life ?

What is their value ?

Do we trade horses like we trade partners, bff’s, boyfriends, husbands & wives.

Is their value only in what they can do for us ? at the moment, for a year, for 10 ? Or is their value in how good they can make us look when we are in the ring or on the trail ? Do we expect the horse to do all the work without putting in the time to become a skilled rider, and not hurt the horse.

Do we do what we do because the trainer said so, OR do we question their judgment when it comes to our horse, Would we do the same with our dog, our child ? Do we sell the horse and get another, Or do we follow our conscience and find another way with the same horse. Do we have a conscience or have we lost it.

Are we that cold hearted, especially those of us that are, supposedly, the softer/nurturing sex? And what about men, what is their excuse ?

Are we so insecure or unhappy that it takes a horse to gives us confidence and joy, just to turn around and sell it, when we have reached the point where we don’t feel we need it anymore ?, even if we know they helped us to feel good ? Or do we realize that we got more than we know.

Is our life all about the jump or the side pass or the show or is it just a big part of it ? Interesting how in all the celebrations, there is never a horse around, even though it was the horse that did the biggest part of the work, if not all of it. Are we then thinking of the next step, the next horse, a more expensive one that can make us look even better. Maybe we should try being a better person and keeping the horse.

Do we take great pleasure in watching our horses run without us on their backs, as much as we like being there ?

Do we enjoy watching them eat, sleep ? Does it make us happy that they are safe & secure or is that not at the top of our agenda ?

Are we fearful of our safety and want the safest horse, the one that’s ‘bombproof’, because we want to ‘have our cake & eat it too’, Or are we really looking for something else, something inside ourselves, Do we realize that the safest horse is the one we have, the one we know, because we invested our time and emotion, and built a relationship, Even if he’s not the prettiest or most talented, Even though we’re scared sometimes because he bucks like a horse, or gets an attitude once in awhile. Do we remember that we made the choice to get the horse,… not the other way around ?

Would we sell our dogs, if they misbehave or do we do what we do with children, and parents and people we love, and keep trying ?, a commitment ?

Why are our horses expendable, especially when we claim to love them. What kind of love do we have to give?

From the mind of a kill buyer:

“I mop up. I clean up the mess left by morons who just have to breed their mare.”

~Kill buyer Manny Phelps