What if I suggested that Horse Overpopulation May not be the MAIN Problem Equines Face?

I’ll start by saying I didn’t always consider “this” to be named problem the main issue faces horses. That said, it has become increasing clear.

The “unwanted pet” problem is more straightforward than the “unwanted” horse problem. Cats and Dogs. . .there are simply too many due to over breeding.: they have far more offspring per birth, cost less, have more humans involved in the handling and mishandling of their care and so forth.

Sheer population and wanton breeding are MASSIVE issues in the pet kingdom.

I think it is vital to understand is when it comes to horses, our issue really isn’t the same. This probably shocks some, angers others and leaves some pondering. . . then a few will just assume as I’ve been long working in the trenches, so I may actually have first hand knowledge. I digress. . .

The MAIN issue facing horses probably is not slaughter, over breeding or not properly caring for your old horse. It actually isn’t even neglect. These are often (not always) secondary issues.

The real issue is unqualified people keeping attempting to own a horse they cannot control. 

Before I go further, let me offer a parallel of equine ownership and airplanes.

What if in America, you didn’t need training to fly an airplane. What if planes could be purchased easily? Say you could just cheaply (or even at great cost) buy a highly complex piece of machinery that took thousands of years to invent. What if you could just try to fly it on your own natural ability? What would happen? How often would there be success? How often would there be crashes? How many folks and planes would land okay, totally unharmed? How many would really succeed because they have natural ability, were bright and self taught? If you really had a thirst for flight but failed with the first or 4th plane(s), and then you learned there were more “auto pilot” friendly models out there, what would the odds be you would sell, give away or discard the more crude plane for a more advanced plane? Instead of learning to properly use and fly the plane you have, instead of looking for education and knowledge about what you already own, you might decide an easier “model” would be simpler, right?

It is the same in horses. If more people understand horses, riding and training, FAR fewer horses would end up exchanging hands, the market for selling would be smaller, soundness issues would happen less and behavioral problems would decrease greatly.

Horses are highly complex creatures with minds of their own, and they have been cultivated to work with people through a relatively short span of time in the scope of the world. Why do so many suppose to just hop on and go, not giving a care to gaining knowledge?

Sure, I know you cleaned stalled for a year one summer and have been on 12 guided trail rides, but just because you ride in a plane or watch “TOP Gun” doesn’t mean you can fly fighter jets, does it? Do you really not think when you lack a true understanding of how the animal works, moves, thinks and feels both with and without you, love alone will prevent you from creating issues within the animal? You are putting the horse at grave risk of being ruined, passed around and eventually neglected.

Let me add to this point by saying. . .

What I’ve found through 8 years of rescue work, and what I hear endlessly from rescues across the country, is there is not a shortage of homes for beginner friendly, healthy horses.

Did you know there are around 9 million horses in America (to learn how those numbers are broken down in terms of breed, use and so forth, visit here). Of that number, a bit over 125,000 were slaughtered over the borders in 2015. The number has been more or less relatively stable for about 20 years, even decreasing in the last year. That means under 1.5% of horses in our population are slaughtered yearly (too many, but it is a fraction in the scope of the numbers here). It can be assumed 3 to 5 times that number end up in need, unwanted and/or neglected. What we still see is horses are not nearly at the “homes available” deficient pets are, and while there is no rhyme or reason to the animals going through shelters, as they are purebreds, young, old, gentle, aggressive and everything between, statistics and my experience show most horses slaughtered are young, healthy, untrained or poorly trained or mishandled. Sure, some sick, aged horses go, but that isn’t and never has been typical.  Those types of horses also describe the typical lower end sales horse.

If every single horse in the rescue was beginner safe and sound, they would be adopted in 3 days, 3 weeks or, at the most, in 3 months time.

If every single potential adopter or buyer was a true intermediate horse person or working toward that sincerely, most horses in rescue COULD and would be adopted in the same time frame. More importantly, far fewer horses would cycle through homes, so average and backyard breeders would find, in short order, there were fewer “new buyers” each year. It is all supply and demand. While more are bred than needed, the buyers are there  to some degree each year because they are discarding that “crazy horse” they mishandled the previous year and buying ANOTHER, thus creating the same old “new” buyer over and over.

Far fewer horses would ever recycle back through rescue or end up posted for resale if people were taking the “I will be a good rider” route.

Fewer would end up with damaged mouths, less would be head shy, rude and be poor loaders. Fewer would end up lame. Less would be unable to stand for a farrier or try to bite. Fewer would buck, bolt or rear. Mishandling or lack of understanding medical issues create almost all of these issues in most horses. These are the most common reasons horses are sold, given away or discarded in any number of ways.

Horse people who wish to continue learning truly cultivate more safe, friendly equine partners. Yet, beginner friendly horses rarely make intermediate riders, and much more importantly, beginners who do not try to continue to learn often turn beginner horses into dangerous equines.

Learning is a partnership between horse and rider, and learning that your horse is only as good as you are is a hard, difficult lesson. A lesson that often isn’t learned until a willing, potentially good horse is ruined and sold.

By leaving horses untrained or ruining lovely horses out of ignorance, we unwittingly are creating a large portion of the “unwanted” horse population. The unwanted horse issue is about mishandling the population we have over and over more than the secondary issues mentioned earlier.

This puts the burden in all of our laps. . .OUCH!

Us: the new horse owner, the interested horse enthusiast who doesn’t yet have a horse, the trainers, the experienced riders and rescues. . .not nearly as much in the laps of breeders who work on supply and demand more than we like to think, and that is a painful truth.

So, can we please tell more new horse people or uneducated owners that LEARNING from those who already know WITH their horse or before they get a horse is VITAL.

I can tell you for every 10 people I suggest taking lessons as a good first step, 9 snap at me that they already know enough. . .and folks, it simply isn’t true.

I’ve had horses in my life for 30 years. I’ve operated a rescue for almost ten of those years. I know a fraction of what I need to know.

Please never think you’re above learning or able to get around gaining knowledge, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of horses willing to be partners if handled right depend on this right now. You can damage a horse to the point she will never end up safe. You can end up injured yourself. You can be the reason a horse rides a trailer to a very cruel death. They deserve a qualified handler, owner and rider.




42 thoughts on “What if I suggested that Horse Overpopulation May not be the MAIN Problem Equines Face?

  1. Every word of this is so, so true! Way to many horse owners have little clue about the magnificent creatures that they say they love.

    When i see a frown on a rider, i want to say , and sometimes do, when u learn to ride better, your horse will act better!

    But riding is really only the tip of the iceburg. Horses are not dogs or cats, and their care and needs are so different.

    It should never be a do-it-yourself project!

    You are right on, Tinia

    1. You are so right, I’ve owned and rode horses for a long time, and I still learn something new about every day!

  2. I belong to a humane organization, worked at the shelter, and have rescued several horses. I don’t know where to begin my vent. Just saying that the “me” generation is part of the very big problem! If child or grandchild wants a horse, they get it. Never mind no one in the family knows how to handle or care for the animal. “Uncle Jack has a barn, we can go out every week”. Weeks turn to months with minimal care and excercise, and the animal suffers in the long run! My heart goes out to you and your organization! Keep working for these horses, you will question yourself sometimes, but in the quiet times you know there’s no choice. From someone with 45 yrs. experience, you can never retire, but I wouldn’t have changed any of it!

    1. Mrs. Oelschlager was My 5th grade teacher in Inglewood, CA in 1970! Haven’t seen that name since.

  3. this is so true – I bought a thoroughbred mare with issues – she was blind in one eye and had a severe case of ear fungus – I asked the person that I bought her from if she is able to be ridden – woman said “well she runs away with me” – and she is hard to handle – the mare made 130 bucks at the race track – so either she had a head/eye injury or she was mishandled at the track or in training – she surely runs and plays with my other horses – she is extremely smart and likes life on her terms (like one of my other mares) and she is not the alpha in the herd – she was sold as a broodmare (having three foals) – she loves being in an in and out situation and loves attention and being brushed by a friend of mine – there is an old saying – If you want a machine get a car, if you want a horse get a horse – I leaned a long time ago that horses don’t think like humans so humans having a brain have to think like horses because horses cannot think like humans – my other mare was ruined by the race track – she is so spoiled and loves taking selfies with people – if I need her to do something – I ask her to do it and she does – I never interrupt their nap time (summer it is in the am because they are out all night) winter they are in and don’t like to get their feet wet – see I am just the waitress around the barn – and the doctor, head and butt itcher – as horses love to be groomed or they would not do it with their buddies or a post – the article is right on – and they are not meant to be ridden – their shoulders are set up to be a driving animal – we ask them to allow us to sit on their backs and do things that we teach them to do – horses can see behind them – protect them from predators, they can smell as cat and may not see it – they can hear you come into the barn yard and park your truck & wait for a meal – as they associate you with food – they are wonderful creatures and it is to bad the people are in such a hurry to accomplish something like satisfying their own ego with a ribbon – leaning about them is a lifelong experience – Podasky once wrote “my horses, my teachers” and they surely are & I learn from them each day –

  4. A very valid point, a large part of the problem is that becoming a good rider/horseman takes time and effort and for many they just don’t want to put in the time. If we had more riding schools and fewer show trainers that would be a beginning.

  5. ABSOLUTELY – horses are not sports equipment but are invariably treated as such, which fosters a disposable mentality in the people who “own” them, and one that lacks accountability. We ALWAYS have more to learn, and we have a responsibility to build a relationship with the sentient being we are asking to partner with us. Human hubris is boundless and unfortunately the animals pay, always.

  6. Oh so true. I work at a camp where we used to raise and train our own horses. We stopped breeding 6 years ago and I now have a herd that is mostly 18 + in age. Of the 18ish horses/ponies we had donated last year, TWO are ones I can use. The ones that”just need a little work” I would rather have had them be just halter broke two year olds. Much easier to train a blank slate than have to figure out what happened to the horse prior to us getting it. One pony mare we got from a rescue. She had been abused and turned out to be pregnant. Her baby is as sweet as can be, loves attention, and has taught mom that humans are good. Mom is coming around, if there’s food involved I can now do anything including trimming her feet, not gonna give up on this challenge!

  7. T. Creamer, I wish you had asked someone to edit your essay before you published it. It is hard to follow at times. Having said that, I agree that beginners should take lessons. There are not enough “beginner” horses out there for the demand. However, the horse community cannot requirre that everyone be at intermediate level. If that were to be a requirement, many people would never adopt.

    1. I agree that the article should have been proofread by someone prior to publishing. I think understand what she means by *intermediate.* Before purchasing a horse, one should read/study and take lessons to prepare for owning one. Of course, my dad rode a 20 yr old dead broke horse home to give me for Christmas when I was 11. I had “rented” horses for about 3 years prior. I was horse crazy and I’ve always been a learner, so it was a good fit. I was pretty much self taught and managed okay, but I know I made a lot of mistakes. Things were different back then and not as kind toward horses as they are now. Western riding is no longer just sitting in the saddle for a trail ride. The nuances are many and has opened up a whole new world for me. I’m taking lessons now that I’m in my 50’s and I’m watching online training videos. Horses require life-long learning and I hope I make fewer mistakes as I continue to learn what is better for the horse.

      1. My brother has no idea what a “dead broke horse” is. lol

    2. Ms. Brown, while having the luxury of someone to proof would be nice, I suppose it is worth mentioning that everyone could use and enjoy having someone to proof, even in your own few sentences above with the misspelled word: “requirre.” Typos happen. I did finally get a few minutes to try to clean up my own typos, and there were quite a few, in my blog above, so it should ready more easily.

      There are not enough beginner horses out there for demand is the point, and if there were, the “unwanted” horse issue would be very close to being solved IF riders did continue to learn when they brought a horse home and if trainers, as well as breeders, produced more well trained horses.

      The horse community (as a whole) can certainly set higher standards, and they should.

  8. It took years to find someone who was willing to help me work with my horse. Not for lack of trying. My vet never even recommended anyone and when I finally found someone who would actually help, my vet said – oh, she’s my best friend. Are you kidding me?

  9. Without a doubt, the value of a horse is measured mainly by it’s training. That is because training is time, and time is money. Unfortunately, there are not enough hours in the day for most people to do it themselves, with or without help, unless said person is unemployed. It takes a lot of hours to get a horse even to a beginner level that an intermediate rider could safely go on with. I miss the relationship I had with my childhood horse and wonder why I can’t seem to achieve that level now. Then I thought, wow, it’s because I spent hundreds, if not thousands over 25 years, of hours with that horse. I can’t do that now that I have to work….cook, clean, etc. God bless all the trainers working with rescue horses.

  10. Well, I’m a dressage rider. (Please have head out of box. Not talking about the high end dressage where they use the “Rolkur” for Fancy movement.) Dressage in it’s purest sense is the training process that leads to a happy and healthy athlete. Here in the US, western movies give people the notion that they are born cowboys and born to ride!! If you mention taking lessons, they wrinkle up there faces. I agree that Americans in particular n3ed to respect the concept that to be around horse. You need to LEARN!!

  11. I have owned horses most of my life. I am 64. I think the fact that lessons are so expensive is why so many people shy away from them. Myself included. I propose that people share as much knowledge as they are capable for free. You help the person below you and the person above you helps you. Read all you can, watch videos, attend clinics. Love is love and if it is truly, and honestly shared this world would be a better place.

    1. I agree many people can’t afford training especially if they have to haul the horse somewhere. But there are options if they are serious. Now with FB there are so many trainers that offer a monthly fee and all the videos you can watch. If you can’t afford that, then you don’t need a horse. Another good solution to the lack of funds, especially if there are children involved is to join the local 4-H. Kids will learn so much thru that program besides for learning self-confidence and leadership skills. I am 62, and am still learning and loving every minute of my journey with my 2 horse.

    2. If you can’t afford lessons how are you supposed to be able to afford a horse? It costs more to upkeep a horse than lessons.

      1. Ally Davaris, that is not a “fair” assumption. Lessons are expensive. If someone has a job, owns a barn/pasture, and has enough money to buy feed/hay/wormer, etc., and an emergency fund for vet work, then they can afford a horse. That does not mean they can ALSO afford a “trainer”. They should not be expected to cheat their horse out of hay/wormer, etc., simply to put the money in the pocket of a trainer. Not everyone has access to unlimited funds. Many have to save/budget to be able to afford their horse(s). Any “extra” money just either is not there, OR goes to the “betterment” of care for their horse(s).

  12. Many things have changed over the course of the past century. NO, I’m not that old yet, LOL> However my point is horses were an important part of everyday living during the early 20th century. They have lost their value as all around farm/carriage/draft horse.

    Horses are still the main mode of transportation to both check and move cattle, fix fences and the like on the huge cattle ranches. These horses have important jobs and they are a critical part of the ranches operations.

    Many avid horse people ride for showing/pleasure/competition and trail and on the lookout for specialized, well bred horses that are bred for specific . I am a professional horse and dog breeder. Our mare herd is quite small; hand picked or bred,raised, broke and trained by us from past generations (4 th generation now) of our breeding program. We had a public training stable for many years and decided early on the type of horses we received for trainer were not what we wanted to sell to others. So many problems with temperaments and conformation but I knew as I was a Hall of Fame Rottweiler breeder I could do better as a horse breeder too. It has been a long and arduous journey but worth it. Yes, we/I made many mistakes as a breeder but we have learned from every one of those mistakes.

    Now there is no way to avoid the tomatoes from my next comment but I think after 42 years of breeding I am entitled to this opinion. Sad to say there are some horses that need to make a thousand cats happy. Unfortunately their temperaments are beyond repair, mostly from breeding bad disposition to bad disposition. I saw it in the Rottweilers and avoided those dangerous bloodlines with a passion. It should be the same for horses. Bad temperaments begets bad temperaments. Poor conformation begets poor conformation. Most horse owners are not willing to accept they may have a horse with one or more of these characteristics and therefore should NOT be bred.

    Another problem we encountered over our many years in the horse/dog business, people give more thought to buying a $4 box of breakfast cereal than buying an animal that will or SHOULD be a part of their lives for a decade or more. Some people are just impulse buyers, decide they want or need an animal then find the cheapest one they can buy. The problems only begin there.
    Some of these impulse buyers are not qualified to own a goldfish let alone a horse or a dog. Others will ‘humanize’ their animals. NEW FLASH….dogs will rut in public and breed to anything of their own kind that is in heat, they will lick their own genitalia, roll in a dead animal carcass, drink out of mud puddles and the TOILET, and eat disgusting, putrid meat/food that would put us in the ER.
    Horses, while not quite as bad will nevertheless BREED their own mothers, daughters if available and in heat, eat their own poop, LAY in their own poop, eat grain until they explode and founder, and chew on disgusting dirty wood. These animals are exactly that….ANIMALS. They are not children to be dressed up in clothes and carried around in an infant seat, fed people food, or allowed to bite, kick, buck, or become a danger to their human owners. Sorry that is NOT inappropriate and dangerous behavior that always has a bad outcome. There needs to be established boundaries the animal is not allowed to cross. PERIOD. No excuses. Remember they are ANIMALS and we human are their masters. If you can’t accept this premise let someone else own them.

    I think it is wrong to legislate who can breed and who cannot. The only way I attained the coveted title of Hall of Fame breeder was to be allowed to breed when I had little knowledge of what I was doing. It took years but I LEARNED. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary. One requirement I would agree with, EVERYONE who breeds should be required to take back the horses or dogs or??? they breed if the buyers no longer have use for the animal or can not control it. This alone would make people who consider breeding to pause and reflect ‘What am I producing and WHY?’ These breeders would do a much better job of screening new buyers. Another issue, I would make it a requirement that ALL breeding stock have all the necessary health clearances. I know in our quarter (AQHA) and paint (APHA) horse breeds there are 5 genetic diseases that are devastating. At the present only breeding stallion are required to have the genetic testing done. Although they may carry a positive/negative marker they are still allowed to sire foals. If it were up to me, ALL stallions who were carriers would not be allowed to reproduce and ALL mares/breeding stock would be tested. We chose to have ALL our breeding stock, mares and stallions tested. ALL are negative/negative for all 5 genetic disease. The only way to eradicate these terrible diseases is to QUIT breeding the carriers.

    Rant over. The opinions are mine alone. I’m not interested in getting bashed because you may have a different opinion. So…as I said earlier; NO TOMATOES.

  13. I frequently have met horse owners over the years who are unaware of their ignorance. They do not believe they need lessons.
    They go to a Clinic and suddenly they are an expert on all aspects of horsemanship and horse ownership. They become obsessed with having all their horses barefoot, not discerning what is best for each individual horse.
    They do not learn that a bad mouth is about the hands holding the reins, not the bit in the mouth.
    They make no effort to understand the message that the horse’s “bad” behavior is sending them.
    They search endlessly for the perfect saddle or pad, or bridle, but do not take the time to listen to what the horse is trying to tell them.
    They feed them too much rich, high protein food and hay and then wonder why the poor horse is jumping out of it’s skin. It’s like giving a kid candy and caffeine all the time and wondering why the child is so hyper. They do not understand that as owners it is not their job to spoil the horse, but to care for it within the boundaries of what the horse truly needs to keep it healthy.
    They frequently do not have the patience and/or understanding to take the time to work through a specific issue with a horse. Sometimes teaching a horse not to be barnsour, requires you to ride back and forth in front of the barn for an hour. It’s boring. It’s not exciting – it’s not galloping across an open field looking cool.
    Sometimes detailed work with a horse can be tedious. You can’t do it when you’re tired or upset.
    I am 68 and ridden most of my life. I continue to take riding lessons on and off, read books, study techniques of different trainers, etc. But it is a lifelong, ongoing process that will never be complete. My best teachers have been the different horses I’ve ridden. Looking back now I can see so many mistakes I made with horses I loved, simply because of my own ignorance. Not understanding what the horse needed, … and my inability to correctly ask the horse what I wanted. Not understanding that I needed to learn the correct amount of pressure to apply to each individual horse to get my point across. How to learn which methods of pressure were most effective with individual horses. So much to learn.
    And it’s very frustrating to see horses experiencing poor or ignorant handling by people who think they already know it all. something as simple as holding the reins poorly, and putting most of your weight on the horse’s mouth to balance, can cause endless problems and create chronic behavioral issues. But the horse is blamed for being an idiot, instead of the rider learning to improve their riding techniques.
    Or they don’t feed their horse before a 4 hour strenuous mountain trail ride because they didn’t wake up on time. They think that jerking on the reins continually and repeatedly saying “slow down will stop a horse from jigging.
    I am glad you have finally come to this realization. Until more owners make the effort to improve their riding skills, to understand that adult riders need lessons, too, their horses will continue to suffer on a daily basis.

  14. This is a very insightful and well thought out explanation. Having had a love of horses most of my life; having had , what loosely can be termed ‘riding lessons’ as achild, and then owning a horse, which I cared for from when she was about 6years old, until she died at age 25, I can really agree with this. Instructions for caring for her came from a couple of old timers and was very basic. Only after I got her did i learn that a) she could not be ridden on roads as she was terrified of 18 wheelers, and b) my riding style (English) and her training style (Western) did not make for a good partnership. I gave up riding her as there was no-one locally that could help me with these issues. Nevertheless, I refused to give her up and continued to love and appreciate her character, so much so, that I found her an ideal therapy horse for breaking the ice with young clients. Whenever we moved, i found a pasture and barn for her and went daily to feed her. When she got sick, she got a weatherproof blanket and vet care until she died. She always came to me and walked with me back to the barn for her feed and hay in winter, and would whinny a greeting. We aren’t willing to make time to learn appreciate the horse for what it can give us. We want everything to be instant.


  16. I think a large problem is our changing environment. When I was a kid (12 and up) this area was a typical small town/city with lots of horses around, horse shows, riding clubs, lesson stables, a tack store, etc. There was room for people to have horses at their houses so that kids grew up around horses, riding every day, caring for them, PRACTICING. Now suburbia has taken over, you have to drive 30 miles to get to most stables so at most one lesson a week and very little non riding time, very little trail riding or “play time”. If you have room for horses, you no longer have safe places to ride. Even if a rider is proficient in their form they often cannot handle a horse on the trail or if the horse takes off bucking or rears because they rarely get that going around a ring. They lack basic horsemanship skills (many if not most can be learned from reading books on horses) and know little about breeding, color, breeds, or other disciplines because they don’t want to read! Now these same kids, now adults, decide they want a horse except they do not have the practice in handling different horses or the knowledge to build a training program on or indeed, very little insight into the mind of a prey animal. They then go out and get taken by some dealer and end up with an unbroken or spoiled horse they can’t handle. Sometimes the horse lucks out and ends up a pasture pet forever but other times they get moved on down the road. Except whereas before horses were outgrown and sold to another person to learn from or enjoy trail riding with, these horses are not fit for beginners or trail riders. And there is nobody now who grew up on their grandparents farm breaking horses for fun and riding them all over every summer. Most of these horses will never be beginner safe and there are not enough intermediate or higher people who could handle them, that would even WANT them. As was pointed out above, it is so much easier to start with a blank slate than try to erase the past. Lack of training combined with irresponsible owners condemns most of these horses to slaughter.

  17. Amen! Ignorance has probably led to the deaths of many horses and don’t get me started about cats and dogs. If people only would learn what it really takes to be a responsible pet owner before they get a horse and have the knowledge of knowing what the animal’s needs, we would have alot less horse owners. Thank you for your guts in tackling these issues.

  18. This article is so true. People see horses in parades and stuff, and all they see is the pretty horsie that looks fun to ride, but they don’t know what goes on behind the scenes with those pretty horses, to make them ready to be ridden in a parade (or at all). The time, the training, the care, the cost, ect. Horses are extremely time consuming in order to have a good and healthy horse, and they are so complex. I’ve been around horses for years, and every single day I learn something new. You can never know too much about horses.

  19. We require a trainer when adopting a CANTER horse, it’s amazing how many people get upset about this. On this website alone I cringe when I see all these first time OTTB owners with no trainers wondering why their new horse isn’t what they thought it would be. We have learned through the years that you always have something to learn!

  20. I do not agree with this article. You cannot begin to compare dogs and cats to horses. Owning 2-3 dogs/ cats is barely different then owning one. You don’t need acres and acres of land to keep smaller animals healthy. It’s simply the cost of owning a horse that makes it impossible to keep them. Most people don’t live on acreage any more so that leaves boarding. Try the cost of boarding more than 1! I’d own 10 horses if I could. I don’t have to ride to enjoy them. Although, I would like to continue bye dressage riding with one. It does not mean I couldn’t enjoy other horses just for who they are. If everything wasn’t so overpriced in the industry and land was more plentiful, more people would be able to own horses for just what they are… beautiful animals. If there were less breeding, people would be forced to shape the horses that are already out there into what they want them to become. Instead, they want the east way out of buying something new and different. It’s no different than he people who refuse to buy an older house that you have to repair a few things vs a newer house with no problems. Laziness.

  21. The article seems a little one sided, as far as wanting to put the blame on apparently lazy newbie owners.But I understand her heartfelt article as having been in the saddest side of the horse world, one not many people talk about. I just believe that this reason, while it can be a problem, is not as common as other reasons. Just my opinion as I’ve known so many people who have gone through I what I did.

    I have had too many horses. My first, an obviously newbie mistake of too young and too green. But I kept her, paid for training and leased her out until I found a suitable buyer. I’ve had a few others because of mismatched training/mindset and my goals, but have always made sure they had more training than when I bought them. In fact to find them good homes and improve the odds of selling, I put more money into their training than mine, even more than I paid for the horse, which wasn’t cheap. Maybe the sellers could have been a little more truthful, especially if they know a person is new and/or green to the horse world, or looking for something specific. It’s hard to judge a horse as suitable in a day or two for anyone, even a trainer.

    I also have bought horses from “reputable” breeders that had hidden health issues they wanted to keep hidden because they didn’t want to tarnish the bloodlines. Did everything right,had Vet Checks etc., 2 horses had metabolic issues that made them unrideable, but passed prepurchase exams with flying colors. And yes the breeder knew, admitted it much later.

    Seriously, I’m in the process of buying a horse after many years off because of health issues, and frankly I’m terrified. I’m too old to take chances on bad behavior, and am retired so I can’t afford to take chances of misrepresented horses with health issues. I’ve not had as much training as I would have liked because it all went into my horses. I would love to have a horse I can learn on, but who do I trust?

    Do I go for a rescue that may have hidden health issues that the rescuer hasn’t seen yet? A youngster that needs lots of training and may not end up being the horse I need in the end? Or bite the bullet and pay lots more money for a “made” horse from a hopefully reputable trainer?

  22. You are entirety right. I have been saying this for the last few years The average horse person is just plain stupid. They are too know it all and too lazy to educated themselves. At horse event I attend I sometimes get into hop water. I try to be pleasant about it. But show people how to tie their horses so they do get tangled in lead lines,.. Also adjust bridles. I see bits in upside down or backwards, hanging in the front teeth, or way to tight. The lists go’s on. I just a nice old lady that can’t stand to see the horses is danger or pain. I have worked professional with horses most of my life. I have offered to give horsemanship and basic riding lesson for free, for our local riding club.
    No one was interested.

  23. So true! I can’t tell you how often people tell me that I am so lucky, that I have 3 good horses! Never mind the countless hours I have spent going to clinics and taking lessons. Still so much to learn!!!

  24. It’s the same with Dogs…… If people had to get a permit that was issued after taking training to own a p pet dog or cat (and the training was free/gov’t supported in an effort to empty Shelters) there would be a lot fewer dog related injuries and dogs would be adoptable.

  25. Goodness, I am the poster girl for this article.
    At 60 I was donating to rescue horses from killpens. It was to honor my Mother who passed early this year and gave me comfort and happy memories of summers in Kentucky on my Grandfathers farm
    But had’nt been on a horse in 45 years. My husband 1x when he was 10.
    So, why does this article resonate?? Well, Because there is sooo much learning which is either done with love.. or run.
    There was deciding to save a 15 yr old Halflinger mare ..on a video in a feedlot then. Quarantine, Vet, Farrier, transport to Chicago,(clean load..will she load??) stables, turnout, trainer horse eval, ..training me..OMG. tack decisions. Snaffle o ring sweetbit, briddles, saddle for a halfie, and it goes on.
    Eve gets half day turn out mornings and an hr riding/training from a wonderful 17 yr old who is an amazing young horsewoman. Met her walking 2 Paso’s.
    So, yesterday I got to see Miss _Eve guess who can open a padlock do figure 8s. And. There is soo much love. Liz.

  26. Intelligent and well spoken essay, but you seek to cure ignorance. It seems to me that was part of Anna Sewell’s grief in the 1800’s.

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