A Great Horse Will Do Whatever You Ask, A Great Horseman Will Never Ask

I read some equestrian news yesterday that Sinead Halpin retired one of her top mounts, and she quoted her husband, Tik Maynard, as saying, “A great horse would jump through fire for you if you asked, and a great horseman would never ask.” I can think about this for hours. It might be one of […]

via Never Ask — Patently Bay

I’m sharing this because I love the quote-I love the wisdom in it.  I think you will, too.

 

 

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

 

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

The Way We Think About Equine Reproduction Sucks

It really does when you get down to brass tacks.

Now everybody thinks that “my horse doesn’t have any flaws”. Yeah, well, every cotton-picking six year old girl with My Pretty Pony thinks the same darn way and, if you are still in THAT mode, brothers and sisters, we’ve got a serious problem. I haven’t seen much in the stallion or broodmare catalogs lately to write home about. Conformation flaws abound in every breed-and I’m not going to pick on any particular one because I don’t feel like starting WWIII.

Don’t go getting into that huffy ‘well, if you had a stud or a mare….” thing either. I’ve owned stallions and I currently own five mares. I’ve raised foals-the five mares I raised from foals actually.  Don’t go there. I speak from experience.

Breeders of all stripes-commercial and backyard-need to totally revamp the thought process. You should not put the stallion to the mare unless and until you have somebody committed to raising and caring for the resulting life for the next 25-35 years from beginning to end including breeding, mare care, etc. If we  did so, all of the over breeding and excess  horses would simply cease. There wouldn’t be any. There would not be any horses available to be abused or go to slaughter. Quality would be better because people would think about the matches more. They would care-I would think-for the horses better.

Why are we breeding and breeding and breeding horses when we are simply shipping them out to auctions?