What Horses Can Teach Human About Life-Intro

Humans have, over the centuries, learned to become worshippers of the warriors and predator mindset. In doing that, we’ve lost a great deal in being able to know ourselves and those who love us, live with us, and work with us. I find that incredibly sad.cave painting

But-and this is important-horses can bring this back to us. They have always held this wisdom. They use it every day in their interactions with each other, with humans, and with other species. All we have to do-incredibly enough-is open our eyes, ears, and minds to learn.

How is this possible?

Watch how a mare teaches her foal. She’ll nudge the baby towards her udder. But in a couple of weeks, after the baby has learned to nurse and found out that bumping her hard and pulling hard will make the milk come down faster, she’ll object if the baby bites and hurts her. She’ll nip it in the rear quickly-but if the baby does it again, she may deliver a fast cow kick AND a nip to the butt plus a total refusal to allow junior access to the diary bar. There’s no loud “boo-yah”, fist pump, or anything else. It’s quick, quiet, and Junior is just left standing some distance away from mom wondering what the heck just happened. The lesson?  Treat me right or you don’t get what you want-and you get left socially isolated. Not fun-but it is surely effective.

Likewise, as young horses mature, they interact with each other and adult horses learning to find their own place within a herd’s hierarchy. A ear position, the gesture of the head and neck, the whipping of the tail or a tail held high or in a clamped position, rearing, striking, a single or a double hind leg kick-all of these translate to messages that horses use to convey emotions, warnings, and information. They are masters of reading body language. Not just equine body language-but that of their entire environment-which includes that of other animals, both prey and predators (including humans). In fact-they are ‘hard-wired’ for the job then trained by their dams and herd mates into black belt masters. Even the dullest is good at it. We are the dullards. 

 

 

EU Standards, Canadian, Mexican, and Possibly USA Packing Plants

Please note: I do not and never have advocated for equine slaughter. I know that there are those that do and I fully understand the arguments pro and con. I am not going there-not because I can’t argue the points, but because that ground has other people willing, able, and with the time, passion, and patience to do so. I consider it a fight I’m not willing to engage in. Plenty of others fighting those battles-I have other agendas. Just for the record-the first known recorded use of a horse was-dinner. Cave horse hunting

My reason for putting this up is informational in purpose. As my followers know, I volunteer fairly heavily with Stolen Horse International. Some of the horses we locate will be located at sales or headed for these plants. So we do have an interest in what is going on internationally in this realm. It impacts what we do.

For example: the European Union (EU) embargo against the Mexican plants cut their production significantly-and that meant they had to find different customers if they wanted to stay open. They have managed to rebound to some extent, but not all the way. (The embargo there had to do with the cleanliness of the plants, the methods used, as well as residues of drugs in the meat.) We are still shipping ~100,000 animals/year there.

Contrast that to Canada where the EU doesn’t have the same problems with the plant operations, but does with the meat being tainted with drug residues. Hence the order that too, effect on March 1, 2017, that all equines processed there must have resided in Canada for a minimum of 6 months prior. Before this, the USA shippers were shipping ~60,000 animals/year across the northern border. Now, granted, horses can still be processed-just not for the EU. They can still be shipped live to Japan, for example, for the same purpose. No problem there at all.

The USA also has a couple of plants making noises about tooling up to start processing horses here-which has certain groups in loud protests. So far, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not turned loose of funding for inspectors for that purpose, and, until they do, noise is all we’ll get out of those plant owners. With the climate change in Washington, D. C., however, it is anybody’s guess how long the FDA can hold out. Standards of other agencies are being gutted by the new administration wholesale. Will this one go as well? No one knows.

For us, we are watching and waiting to see how this all shakes out. We will move in response to the actions of the KBs and the trucks. We go where the horses and the trail leads us.

Paulick report on Canadian plants

on eating horse meat

horse meat scandalJackBlackBand

 

They Used To Hang Horse Thieves…

…and many people still wish that they did-along with the abusive folks. Personally, I’m not one of them. I think hanging is a waste of good rope. It doesn’t really solve the problem anyway-it only drives it further underground.

Now whether you agree with me or not, the bald-faced fact remains-people are still, in this day and age, stealing horses, cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules, and just about any other kind of livestock you can name. The truth of the matter is-and they don’t like to admit it-law enforcement is waging a losing battle in this. They simply cannot cover so much ground, so many miles, and track down property that MOVES.  What’s worse for them is-this property can be trucked across state lines within 24 hours, slaughtered, and it is just GONE. 

Very, very little or none of these animals are permanently identified in any way. Oh, back in the early 80’s I think it was, there was an initiative by the US Agriculture Department to  microchip all livestock. The conspiracy theorists got their hair up and starting claiming that the ‘guv’mint was going to track our movements from outer space’ and ‘they’d know what we were doing in our homes with our dogs and cats’.  Another pet theory was that ‘next they’d be implanting chips in humans to track them’.

Considering that the Feds cannot seem to keep track of anything of their own-never mind what the population is doing or they would have prevented the OK City bombing, 9/11, and a whole rat of other calamities, I can’t, for the life of me, see why they’d care that I was taking my horse for a trail ride in the state next door. It just boggles my mind. Either I’m just not that important or the conspiracy folks are and I missed the memo.

Anyway-the huge elephant in that ointment was the fact that microchips are just there. They just sit in place and do absolutely NOTHING until somebody comes along with a scanner that has the right software. Then the scanner ‘tickles’ or ‘excites’ the chip which then responds with the encoded number that is unique to that chip. Then it goes back to doing NOTHING. They are incapable of causing cancer (somebody started passing that one around-no, they don’t), they can’t migrate to some place else (the covering encourages the tissues to actually grow INTO it which anchors it in place), nor can they ‘transmit’ to outer space (that requires a power source which they do not have.)

So what was the point of doing it? Well, at the time, we were having the ‘mad cow disease’ scare and the disease specialists thought-rightly-that being able to know where animals were and being able to track them would be a good thing. That way, if they got sick, you’d be able to know where they came from, where they’d been, and all the animals they might have infected. But the Tin Hats got in the way (my term for conspiracy people).

It is now nearly 40 years later-the rest of the civilized world is microchipping and tracking their livestock but the United States stubbornly and stupidly does not. Oh, we will get dragged kicking and screaming, shouting curses the entire way into it. We have to act like toddlers who don’t want to eat their spinach, wind up wearing most of it, then ordering spinach salads as adults.

One of the facts about the microchipping abroad is-where it is being done as a matter of course-theft plummeted. You cannot sell a horse without the ‘passport’ associated with the chip. No vet will treat a horse without scanning it and using the chip number-so they will know immediately who the registered owner should be. You cannot show the horse without being scanned. Breeders use the chips to ensure the identities of sire and dam. Racetracks use the chips to confirm the horses’ prior to and after the races. And Customs require chips to ship out/into a country. It is nearly impossible to steal a horse and get away with it in some areas.

So forget the rope-let’s focus on making it impossible for these people to FUNCTION and MAKE MONEY at our horses’ and our expense. Identify our horses and stop them before they load up.

 

Sharing a Favorite

I had the pleasure of talking with a young man yesterday. He’s a friend of a friend and came into the office. Let’s call him Gary, OK? Gary has been in the United States for 9 years. Prior to immigrating here, he was an attorney in his home land. He has no intention of being […]

via The immigrant from Jerusalem. — idisagreecompletely

This is a lady that I enjoy reading immensely. I hope you do as well.

The Curse of Perfectionism

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First of all, a reminder-these are my opinions and they are based on 50+ years of working with all kinds of horses. However, if you disagree, feel free to keep on going. I know not everybody is going to agree with me. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life out of  step with the rest of the world so it is nothing new to me. But do not attempt to change my viewpoints by charging in and ‘correcting’ me. It simply will not work. I’ll ignore you.

This photo is on top because I see a lot-no, make that TONS-of horses wearing snaffles and flash nose bands. I did it, too, for awhile with a young horse until he made it quite plain that the arrangement pissed him off to no end. (Always pay attention to what your horse is telling you, folks. My riding instructor kept telling me to do this or that, but I listened to HIM. He was shaking his head, pulling on the reins, opening his mouth, not listening, dropping his shoulder, etc. The problem lay in the bridle-it hurt.) So I set about learning about bits, nosebands, hands, and why they are used. It isn’t pretty the majority of the time.

Nose bands were originally nothing more than a way to tie your horse without using the reins in the military/driving days. They had a ring underneath and were always fairly heavy leather worn loosely enough that the horse could chew his ration in a nose bag. Some person somewhere along the line got the ‘brilliant’ idea that they could force a horse’s mouth closed by putting a few more holes in the thing. Why did they want to?

correct-snaffle-bit-horse_s-mouth-1-8-800x800

This is why-if you put something into a mouth and it can be steel, plastic, rubber, leather-you can find ways to create pain. Now I’m NOT saying that you shouldn’t use bits-but you should understand that ALL bits are capable of creating ENORMOUS pain. There is no such thing as a ‘mild’ bit. All that varies is the knowledge and skill of the hands that use it. A thick snaffle in the hands of a fool can be the instrument of extreme torture to a horse. By the same token, there are some people who can get horses to perform world class dressage bridleless. I’ve ridden a finished spade bit horse that could be handled with a feather’s touch on the reins and the nose band was for decoration only.

People want the end-without the work involved to get there. 

Now I’m a perfectionist myself-and I  can get as frustrated as the next person about my horses’ performance as anyone else. So don’t even start down that road with me. You do have the time to work with that horse-you just don’t want to take it. You’d rather take the shortcut of hurting your horse-causing pain-and justifying it to yourself as ‘but everybody else does it’, ‘my trainer recommended it’, ‘my horse wasn’t listening to me’, blah, blah, blah. Go ahead-add any you wish-I’ve heard them all-and they are all EXCUSES FOR POOR HORSEMANSHIP. That’s unacceptable.

The third photo is another type of nose band being marketed. Notice that it is supposedly more ‘humane’ because it avoids the jaw bones covered only with skin. Well, isn’t that nice, folks? But now we have a strap higher on the jaw to help hold the jaw closed and better bracing across the nose bridge. The horse loses even more. (Actually, you do, too.
The thing is pricey.)noseband

 

 

 

 

I didn’t put any Western, endurance, or other disciplines in this-mostly for space reasons. They are just as much at fault as the English branch. If there is a way a human can inflict pain and suffering on a horse, by golly, they’ll find it and do it.

Am I one of those nuts who thinks horses shouldn’t be ridden? Oh, heck, no. I do think that a great many of the gizmos (chambons, draw reins, martingales, gambons, tie downs, etc.) should be recognized for what they are and thrown in the land fills. If you think you need something like that-get a motorcycle or ATV and leave the horse alone. As one person puts it “If you keep getting the wrong answer, then you aren’t asking the right question.”  See the last photo for an example of that-the rider isn’t getting the ‘frame’ that was desired so rollkur was resorted to to achieve it. The wrong question was being asked so the wrong answer was given. The horse is paying the price for the humans’ quest for perfection.

rollkur_flailing

Now I Don’t Know Much…

Cave horse hunting But it seems apparent to me that in some ways, humans have no evolved much since the days when we hunted horses down purely as a source of meat. Certainly the paintings on the walls of caves support this conclusion.

We still-in some places-consume their flesh, although most in the USA consider this practice to be abhorrent. Some cases of outright brutality-beatings, stabbings, shootings (guns and bows), dragging with ropes/chains, and various other tortures are described in news articles on the internet-and we now know that individuals who do this sort of thing will go on to bring that hell on humans sooner rather than later.

But what about the lesser evils we inflict? Can we address those?

  • Horses are open range animals-they live in herds and depend on being able to see and able to move to get away from danger. But what do we do? We do the very opposite-we lock them up in solitary in small boxes for our own worry-free existence-not theirs. It’s no wonder they acquire ulcers and bad habits such as cribbing, weaving, wall kicking, bolting their feed, and such. They are our prisoners.
  • We cut their body hair off-and then put blankets on them. I understand why you would-and have done so myself for medical reasons. But ordinarily, no, I would not. The body hair does a fine job of protecting the horse from the elements and needs little else unless the weather is really poor. I will help them in foul weather, but on the whole-they do fine au natural.
  • Shoes-ah, you knew I’d get to this one. This is a hard topic. To be sure, the ‘modern’ horse has been bred mostly for what is above the coronet band-and that’s a crying shame. After my first horse-whom I treasured, I vowed to look at the hooves first. The Sports Model Jackass had LOUSY feet. They were big, dinner plate size, and they chipped. Moreover, they had flattened due to repeated foundering. He was a mess. He had to be shod-no way around it. Problem was-couldn’t keep steel on him. The wall would crumble. Fortunately that was when the plastic shoes came out-and the blacksmith grumbled but he put them on the horse-and they worked.

Since that time, I have carefully acquired a herd that is totally barefoot-and needs no shoeing at all-with the possible exception of boots on occasion. They all have thick heavy hooves and go sound over most surfaces.

My suggestion to horse owners? Use the old desert way of looking at potential horses. Start at the ground. They’d sit in a tent and roll up one side of the tend about four inches. Horses would be led up-and those that looked good would be brought back for additional passes as the tent wall rose slowly to pastern, then knee/hock, then full leg, then shoulder, belly, hip,, then topline, and finally-head and neck. That way-you don’t get caught in the ‘but he’s just so beautiful’ or ‘she has such a sweet face’ nonsense.

  • Nosebands-why do you use one? Why are you pulling that thing so tight? Think about it. If you say “my horse is opening his mouth to evade the bit”, go grab a dressage whip and give yourself a beat down. I’m serious. The question is NOT How do you keep your horse from opening his mouth, but why aren’t you doing something about the pain you are causing in his mouth that causes him to open his mouth? What kind of owner are you that you are ignoring the pain you are causing?? Okay, that’s a harsh question, but since I see an awful lot of it, and 11/10 times it involves a rider hauling back on the reins, feet braced in the stirrups, horse’s mouth foamed, eyes white rimmed, and the rider’s jaw set-well, damn it, somebody needs to say something. Take the time to learn to ride properly, loosen that noseband, and, if you have to, throw those bits away. You do not need metal to control a horse.
  • Learn to feed properly. Ditch the molasses. You heard me-it is not good for horses. Do you eat candy at every meal? So why are you feeding the equivalent to your horse? Likewise, corn is not horse food. GRASS is horse food. Roughage is horse food. Learn what makes good horse food.

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Taking Disaster Precautions

Nobody believes in the word ‘disaster’. It isn’t real. It is that thing that happens to somebody else. It never happens to me. Except it does. Sometimes it is just little disasters-a flat tire when we are in a hurry, a broken pipe when it freezes,  a clogged toilet (particularly when company is there), but there are also the big ones-a car accident, a house fire, the death of family members, loss of jobs.

It’s tough to plan for everything. So we don’t. It’s easier not to. Except that doesn’t work-and the results REALLY suck.

Now I realize that it takes effort, but, like most things, the front end effort makes the back end worthwhile. This is a terrific article that has some wonderful ideas on exactly what you need in your arsenal of ‘tricks’ to come out on the other side in as good shape as possible.

Personal disaster tips

One minute disaster tips

FREE listings for LOST or FOUND animals

It’s work-I won’t lie to you. But it beats the expense and heartache of losing what you have if you don’t. Just make a list and get it done.