It’s the holidays, and I have a huge list for Santa this season. It’s not saddles, horse blankets, bits or breeches. My Wish is to see less horses going through my local auction and ending up in the kill pens, waiting to be rescued. Horses are a business. Period. The harsh reality is that there is a large number of horse people that depend upon what they make to survive in the industry. Unfortunately, the horses do not always come out on the better end of the business. So Santa, hear me out, and spread the word. It is time to put an end to horses going into auctions, and let’s start getting them the homes they deserve! Santa, I do not expect you to help every single horse out there, but we need to start with the horses and owners we can reach.
Santa, I would love for every foal produced to be from sound, well built, good tempered individuals that can produce horses that can have a successful long term job. I wish that every foal born into a breeder’s program with those genetic qualities can have the basic skills taught before the age of two. I would love for that mare owner to have the proper skills to train their foals to be caught, groomed, tied, have their hooves handled, accept basic vet care, and to be polite to humans. Young horses should have the ability to know that horses need to leave the horseplay in the pasture with their buddies. Those immature foals deserve an education that is built upon proper foundations so that they may have a correct start in life. That’s my first wish Santa, for horses to be bred with thoughtfulness, and that they are trained in the basics.
Next Santa, please make sure those lovely horses are trained and educated to have useful long term jobs. After going through the basics, It would be a huge bonus if those horses could have professional trainers work with them for at least one year under saddle or in harness. Once a horse reaches an age to be ridden or driven, Santa, let’s give those horse the best education available. Let them have access to humans that can teach them useful long term life skills. I would love it Santa, if those horses could get experience in different situations that build their confidence and their exposure. Maybe they could go out to shows, or on trail rides, anything to build their resume. Oh Santa, how awesome would it be if all foals born were usable, good minded, sound horses at the age of five.
Also Santa, let’s not stop there. Maybe we could have those five year olds get paired up with owners that continued to do something with them for the next 10-15 years. There are a lot of trails to be ridden, shows to be shown, and back yards to hack in. The more mileage those wonderful horses receive, just add to the value at the end of their careers. As long as they were bred to be sound and were taken care of, I see no reason why they can not go into their late teens. Those precious horses, can make wonderful mounts to lesson and learn on once they are trained in the discipline that suits them. Santa, can we help the owners realize that their education will be a direct reflection on the horses happiness. Maybe, we can stress the importance on the riders abilities to maintain that good natured horse, and that it does not take many poor rides to ruin the horse.
Santa, can we then take those well cared for, older horses and get them fresh jobs in their increasing age? Therapy barns, college equestrian programs, young children starting to ride, instructors teaching lessons, are always looking for suitable horses to teach the next generation. I personally have helped placed six horses over the past five years into programs that fit the horse. Even though I might not have had the proper job for those horses, they were so well trained that they were usable to another program. Can you have the owners stay in touch with the next homes, and check in on their horses throughout their life, to insure their safety? It is wonderful Santa, when you can find a proper place for the older horses to go and that they are useful to someone else at the end of their career.
This is a tough one Santa, but can we take the shame out of humane euthanasia? If at some point the horse is not sound of mind, sound of body, or for some reason unable to be safe along the process of becoming a useful aged horse, can the owner opt to euthanize without guilt or judgement? It is never an easy decision, but sometimes it is the best decision for the horse and it’s owner. I wish, Santa, that more people saw this as the best option as not everyone can afford to house every horse for the remainder of their long term life. Horses are extremely costly to care for properly, and a useful horse has the best chance to be taken care of in the real world. Santa, not many horses get a good home when they are listed as unusable pasture companions. The kinder option is to speak to your vet and do what is of the best interest for you and your horse.
Santa, last but not least, can you help horse people resist the urge to save horses unless they have the funds to care, train, and re home those horses. It can be tough to take a horse that has training issues and to fix them without the proper skills. It is expensive to feed a toothless horse, and if you are unable to care for that horse properly, just pass on it. Saving, retraining, or rehabbing horses should be left to people that possess the proper skills and financial ability to do it correctly. It is a very large responsibility, and not everyone is able to do it successfully.
Santa, I know after many years that I, as one person, cannot save all of the horses that need saving. I wish I could, but alas, without winning a large lottery, I cannot. I CAN however, breed carefully, train thoroughly, and care properly for the horses I own. I CAN make a difference for the horses on my farm to do everything in my power to keep them safe throughout their life. I CAN make a small difference in a large way to the horses I love, and if more people would do the above Santa, I think it would be a better for many of the horses out there! Thank You Santa, and have a wonderful holiday.
Written By Amanda Pierce. Share this on Facebook if you’d love to see more horses in wonderful homes 🙂