Horses are art in motion. When still they are the calm and peace of the world. When they run, it’s with invisible wings. When they trot, it’s as if each step springs them into heaven. Few things in nature compare to the beauty of the horse.
How many a child has felt the call of the wild horse who responds only to them? How many feel they could win any kind of battle when astride a horse? How many dream of the moment that they and the horse become one with the same zeal as many dream of a championship?
Many, I know. They inspire and empower us. And most of all they instruct us: listen, watch, become one with them and their gentle calm or their wild nature or their joyous run.
From the shy autistic child to the recovering drug addict to the soldier with post traumatic stress, the horse has stepped up time and again to aid in their healing. Their beauty alone is a balm to our hearts. To brush one soothes us. To befriend one is to have a stalwart companion through the worst of times. And to ride one is to gain a glimpse of heaven.
Those who cast aside the horse as a mere ‘animal’, an object to dispose of as they will without regard for it’s nature are diminishing humanity as well as the horse. We need them now. We always have. We need the reminder that to tame all of nature means to lose some of it’s beauty. To cast aside a companion who has stood by someone through all is to toss away a piece of one’s existence that was as important to them as a limb.
We need the horse. We need the horse even more than the horse needs us. For the things you would trade it for: wealth, land, money or power, don’t last forever. But friendship, hope, faith and courage do. They must.
In this last video, the situation between those who under rate horses is largely summed up with : :The heart of the problem is there is no value put on wildness.” Or, I would add, on beauty. Or anything that truly matters. Far too many would sell it out, destroy it for money. But the inspiration that is the horse is worth far more.
I’ll admit, I don’t know too many veterans. My Grandfather was one, a WWII vet, but he didn’t really talk about it. We only realized from a letter from one of his friends to my grandfather after his death that he had been a real hero.
My world has always been all about horses. I live in a country were I can live free and hang out with horses and my gender and religion doesn’t affect that a bit. You can’t say that of everywhere. You can say though, that our veterans, for better or worse, are ambassadors to the world. Sometimes I imagine all they rest of the world knows us by is Hollywood and that is a scary thought!
But so many of these people come home scarred, and our nation does far too little to support them on return. Physical after effects are one thing. But the psychological ones are worse.
“I said, ‘I have heard people talk about war as if it was a very fine thing.’ [Black Beauty]
Ah!’ said [Captain], ‘I should think they never saw it. No doubt it is very fine when there is no enemy, when it is just exercise and parade, and sham-fight. Yes, it is very fine then; but when thousands of good brave men and horses are killed, or crippled for life, it has a very different look.’ Do you know what they fought about?’ said I. No,’ he said, ‘that is more than a horse can understand, but the enemy must have been awfully wicked people, if it was right to go all that way over the sea on purpose to kill them.” ― Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
And I know for sure, if there is one thing horses excel at, it’s therapy. It doesn’t have to be a program with ‘therapy’ in the name. Just being around a horse is therapy. It’s difficult to keep your mind on your own problems when you have a soft friend to brush, who never judges what you say to them, who lets you take a ride and exercise but still needs care and watching less they ignorantly plant a hoof on your foot.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” ~Winston Churchill
Or, I would add, a woman.
Here is a sample list I found of LOTS of place involving horses and the military (as of 5/24/2014):
It just makes sense really, that horses should be there for the aftermath of mankinds traumatic battles. For many centuries they were there through them. From General Sheridan’s Winchester to Sgt. Reckless, horses, for better or worse has shared humanities battles. It only makes sense they would also share in the healing.
“This one isn’t just any old horse. There’s a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be? I tell you, my friend, there’s divinity in a horse, and specially in a horse like this. God got it right the day he created them. And to find a horse like this in the middle of this filthy abomination of a war, is for me like finding a butterfly on a dung heap. We don’t belong in the same universe as a creature like this.” ― Michael Morpurgo, War Horse
May you, your family and all the veterans have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.
It is amazing how somethings never change. Tales of cunning, greed and even politics somehow seem as ageless of tales of heroism.
This is one I’ve found, which has the virtue of being miraculously well done in spite of it’s age. Before CGI or modern film techniques, The Tale of the Fox look many years to create. It’s been uploaded in 6 parts onto Youtube, complete with subtitles as it’s originally in French. Most of it, you can figure out without any words at all.
The fox is a con artist and all suffer under his tricks. What’s more, they suffer because he knows their weaknesses and plays off them. The lion is King (of course) and must figure out what to do about this trickster who is causing such a ruckus. His solution left me slack jawed with shock.
So watch the videos and see if you can figure out what will become of the fox. What will the king do? Who will best him?
In the end, I felt blindsided by a commentary of how politics work, whether in a company or a government.
Beware your weakness…for the fox will prey on it, even if you are a Lion or a King.
The Tale of the Fox – Wladyslaw Starewicz (1930) was uploaded by MissBillieDove
This is one of those cases where I have to ask: “What would Black Beauty say?”
I believe he would say that what makes a job good or bad is largely up to the human and whether they are cruel, kind or indifferent. Horse and human are in this together, sharing the environment, the reward and the punishment.
From the horses view, (allowing for modernization) no doubt the streets are even harder. The temperatures may be more extreme, due to the tall buildings affect on the weather. And then the cars add in a new element, complete with greater speeds, reckless drivers and car horns.
From the drivers point of view, the driver has to worry about steering, traffic and weather too. The driver may also have family to think about.
What they have in common is that this is their livelihood: the food, shelter and all rely on this job.
Here are the laws as of now:
Horses can’t work in 18 degrees or below weather.
In winter, they must wear blankets
They can’t be driven faster than a trot,
For every 2 hours working they must rest at least 15 minutes.
During rest, they must have fresh water available.
They must have enough food and water at reasonable intervals.
Horses can’t work when lame, ill, injured or in poor condition.
No working in adverse slippery weather.
Must obey traffic laws
not allowed in tunnels
may not be abused and driver may not fail to provide food/water as required.
What is lacking:
Factoring in wind and humidity in weather and temperature conditions.
Recently, the NYPD was put in charge of this and seem to feel it a burden. I fail to see how checking if the horses are blanketed (should be obvious) or lame (again, should be obvious) is difficult. And a big enough stall, clean, with sufficient food and water are again, easy to check. Of course, the issue might be they don’t have enough man power (which is hardly a carriage horse only issue.)
How many of those demanding the carriages be made illegal actually know anything about horses? Have those protesting met the horses and drivers, ridden in carriages or been to the stables? Or is it just a wave of well meaning but false information? Or for that matter, does someone profit? Like, for instance, whoever would provide the electric antique cars they suggest should replace them? Or the politicians who may or may not care about animals, but probably would not hesitate to use them to earn votes and points for their political agendas.
In the midst of this apparent compassion, where is the consideration for what comes after? Yes, they claim the retired horses would go to rescues. But even if you believe that, doesn’t that just bump aside horses that would otherwise be rescued from a worst fate? And what about the humans? No one is volunteering to ‘give’ them the electric cars. They apparently are not offering to replace their livelihood.
I love horses. I love riding them and would love to try a carriage. I do believe a city is not the ideal place to live, at least for a horse. A horse should have room to relax and stroll during their time off. But then again, horses are not the only ones who should have it. How many kids have nowhere to play but asphalt? In the city, those horses may be the closest thing the country some kids will ever see.
I would never wish harm or a cruel handler on any horse. But few people live in ideal circumstances either. People end up homeless and their pets do too. And not all of them are given a choice either: ask anyone with a physical or mental disability. Will these horses handlers also be consigned to the unemployed or homeless? Is that fair, if they were good and kind handlers who cared for their horses as they cared for themselves?
Banning the carriages seems like taking the easy way out at the expense of the innocent. It’s like swatting a fly with hammer. Not all of the drivers can be breaking the rules, or they wouldn’t have their licenses to be renewed. We are a people who have a million gadgets to measure how far we run or walk, how fast our heart beats. We can measure our health on the go. There is even a teddy bear designed to monitor a child’s health. And we are supposed to believe there is no way they could find a way to measure a horses health on the go while pulling a carriage? No way to measure if it’s getting enough rest, water or food? Because I can’t for a moment believe that. What I can think, is that horse, human and family will be without work and tourists, too, will miss out on a piece of history, just because the mayor want to take the easy way out.
Well, here it is. The summation of much of the world’s woes, as once again, revealed through the horse world. The fox guarding the chickens. The corrupt judge sitting over his son’s trial. The blind man driving the automobile (no offense to the blind intended, the way technology is headed, it’s only a matter of time).
The first is that the BLM went back on it’s word and went ahead with a mustang roundup they’d promised and sworn was cancelled. Color me shocked. A branch of the government, lie to it’s citizens? Of course they would. What bothers me is that no other branch of the government seems interested in holding them accountable. You have perjury and animal cruelty in one fell swoop, yet no one ever arrests them. What does it say about our government, that it is no longer being held accountable to it’s citizens for such misuse of funds and power?
The second is this bit of news of the confusion over slaughterhouses. Now the Native nations – and for the moment, I won’t try and sort out which ones – are apparently divided, with some in favor of it. Some still believe the horse is sacred and are firmly opposed. But the others claim ‘overpopulation’ and ‘overgrazing’ and insist that slaughter would solve their problems.
I can’t help note that if so, they should be trying to get the slaughter plant, with its associated environmental hazards on their own reservation land. Apparently they don’t mind foisting it off on someone else. They don’t seem to be vying for the jobs associated, they just want the horses gone.
I don’t claim to know what the ratio of horses to other livestock is on the Native reservations is, or whether they have a problem. I do know slaughter isn’t the answer. But it’s a sad thing to think that people some of whom have been called ‘people of the horse’, and for some of them, still think it sacred, would consider this an acceptable solution. What is it about today’s society that people are so ignorant and determined to remain so in the name of greed and convenience?
Third, is the trial of the Tennessee Walking Horse trainer. Now what makes me shake my head at this is on the Ethics committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association. Ethics. Oh, really, ethics. The man thought nothing of soring and intentionally injuring these animals for a ribbon, prize money, or trophy. I can’t imagine why anyone would reward anyone for cruelty. But the idea of the man being on an ethics committee!! It’s incomprehensible. Talk about the blind leading the blind!
It can be kind of discouraging to see so many bad reports in the news about police officers. To be fair, if all of the police were bad, then it would no longer be ‘news’. Therefore, it must not be the rule (I hope) but rather the exception. We have fifty states with heaven knows how many cities, towns and counties. Some are better than others. We need to say thanks more often for the good and heroic service as well as objecting to the abuses.
Nonetheless, when I see the reaction of their fellow officers, their chiefs, and the rumored ‘thin blue line’, I get concerned. An unchallenged poor code of conduct is unlikely to change. This should not be ‘us against them’. We are the citizens that pay the salaries of these people. Unchecked, the attitude may spread and grow. It may even get worse, as people go from military (fighting ‘America’s enemies) to police (fighting civilian bad guys) they may label the wrong people and apparently, forget they are still in the US and subject to our Constitution.
Here are the areas these bad apple cops are falling short (in no particular order):
Ignorance of Dogs
First off, I keep seeing dogs shot or attacked for just being dogs. This suggests an ignorance of both dog behavior and the law. Clearly they need some training in telling ‘attacking’ dog from ‘scared dog defending it’s turf’ and better ways to deal. Dogs are everywhere, one of our favorite two pets and it’s too easy to correct for this. Surely, a volunteer from an animal welfare group could come in and give a few tips?
Ignorance of Mental or Physical Illness
This is understandable, but not acceptable. Yes, there are lots of bad guys. But if in a crisis, the guy or gal who refuses orders might be mentally ill and literally be incapable of answering. Good grief, what if they are not on drugs or alcohol, but are diabetic, having a stroke, or having a bad reaction to honestly prescribed medicine? When they are full of bullets, tasered, or even dead, ‘oops’ is not an acceptable answer! Even if the 99 people before fit the ‘addict’ label, number 100 could leave a dead or injured victim for all the wrong reasons.
That kid apparently staring at the police may be thinking anything, but that is not illegal. But they may also be autistic or something. Going tough guy on them will only aggravate the situation.
Ignorance of the Law.
This is kind of ironic, given that police are supposed to be law enforcers. How can they do that if they break it themselves? Sadly, dogs are considered property, not family members. Still, killing an animals is at least, ‘stealing’ it from the owner. You cannot replace it if you find you made a mistake. Therefore, you are now no better than the guy you were pursuing to that family.
Worse, things like attacking someone who you ‘suspect’ or demanding to use someone’s house as a base of operations and attacking him/her on refusal, mistreatment of prisoners and/or similar behavior is illegal. Period. No exceptions. As in, not ‘local’ illegal but ‘nationwide unconstitutional’.
Extreme Short Sightedness.
People call the police now for things previous generations would’ve just sent kids to the principle’s office or called their parents. A kid looks at the police a certain way and gets hassled for how they look at police. Then there is the officer that just opened fire and killed a bunch of kittens in front of little kids.
These all have one thing in common. They fail to take into account how the kids or people involved will feel about the police and react to them in the future. The police are supposed to deal with criminals, not discipline a kid, who hasn’t yet matured enough to outgrow some stuff. The guy that shot the cats could easily have insisted the little kids be taken elsewhere, or called for help moving them to a new location. (No, I don’t like that they were killed at all. But that’s really not the point.) The fact that he wasn’t even seen to try and find another solution has left an indelible memory on those little kids. Cop = animal murder. I don’t see them calling the cops when older, do you?
The question: why do we need petitions for this stuff, why don’t their fellow officers take a stand? I can hope they do without doing it publicly, but sometimes it needs to be public. After all, doesn’t the entire department suffer if a lawsuit is filed over it? Doesn’t the job of the other officers become harder, because those kids grow up fearing or hating cops?
It takes courage, and a lot of it, to stand up to peers. Someone, preferably one of their own, needs to remind them they are not gods, not always right and always have something to learn. Everyone does. Pinning on the badge is supposed to show you are going to be strong for those who need you. It’s not a sign that you are not an ‘official bully in power’. It’s a hard job, and if it’s thankless, sometimes it’s because the few make the rest look bad. And it certainly can’t be easy on families. Switching between ‘strong and in charge’ to ‘compassionate’ and avoiding falling into the gaping hole of being a bully can’t be easy. And I’m sure the best way to do it is for the police to check each other, rather than wait for public opinion to bash them over the head.
Cameras are even in phones and freedom of internet and press are part of our country. Those colleagues and in charge should remember this. Instead of throwing up a wall, they should encourage education. Got someone who doesn’t deal with dogs, who shot the pet? Enforce a leave involving some ‘dog’ education in animal behavior for alternatives to shooting. Got someone who has a furious parent because their autistic child was misconstrued as disobedient and got hurt? How about some education about that kind of illness. That way, we would see progress. I’m sure there are volunteers who would be happy to help. We’d only be calling for the heads of those who don’t care, who keep insisting on ignorant, bullying behavior, rather than the ones who made an honest but tragic mistake.
And for those who do stand up and do the right thing, for those who resist letting another officer get away with something that a regular citizen would be arrested for, Thank You!Thanks for saying no. We aren’t asking you to be a rat or a snitch. We are asking you to step in and stop that infection before it starts: give it an education and consider it another way to polish the badge.
The Bad Ones: (I won’t even try and list them all!)
Horses were high on the list of what the earlier settlers needed. They were needed to pull the plow, take the family to church on Sunday or go to market. They were also the means of entertainment, giving rise to the challenge of which horse was best at his job. Which horse is fastest? Which pulls the buggy or runs under saddle fastest? Which does the fastest and best job pulling the plow.
Which breeds began first in America?
The Morgan was one of the first. He hailed from Vermont and the prolific little stallion became known as ‘Justin Morgan’ after his owner. He was also called Figure. He was described as a tough little all around horse, able to pull the plow during the week and participate in races on the weekend. These were both in saddle and in harness. These days he’s still a strong show horse, and many other American breeds show traces of him in their ancestry. During the Civil War, they were used as calvary mounts.
The Quarter Horse is one of the most popular breeds in the world. This horse is often synonymous with western events. But did you know his ancestry starts in Virginia? His ancestors include the thoroughbred and the morgan. The most famous thoroughbred sire for the breed was Janus. Eventually, he moved west and met up with the mustang, which contributed to his lineage. The breed was standardized out west.
Plantation Walker AKA Tennessee Walker
Originally born for the southern plantation owner to ride his land in smooth gaited comfort. This horse went on to become a prized show horse. He is also a wonderfully smooth trail and pleasure horse. His show career however is tarnished by the horrors of a practice called the big lick. That high stepping walk comes naturally, but some trainers use boots, chains and chemicals to make them step higher. It’s a shameful thing, because this is truly a lovely breed, sturdy but refined. The breed is most famous for it’s association with Tennessee, where the breed standard was finalized.
Claims to Fame: Of Morgans: One of them was General Sheridan’s Rienzi, AKA Winchester. Another one was named Ethan Allen. Rex was a silent film star.
Of Quarter Horses:
Buttermilk (from the Roy Rogers show: added note for those watching the horse slaughter debate. This beloved horse was taken off the slaughter truck!)
Justin AKA Doc’s Keepin Time (Black Beauty, The Horse Whisperer)
Trigger Jr. (One of Roy Roger’s horses) and Champion (One of Gene Autry’s) were Tennessee Walkers. Note that there was more than one ‘Champion’ and more than one ‘Trigger’, they were not all walkers.
Champion (Gene Autry’s original) was half morgan and half quarter horse.
Obviously, these are only a few of America’s horse breeds. More on the others later.
Looking back on our founding father’s woes, its not a shock to realize that we have been a nation divided almost from the start. In order to get all the colonies to agree on the Constitution, they had to let a few things go. The biggest thing was slavery. Pretty ironic, that in order to get a free nation, the founders had to agree to leave some enslaved. Of course, the natives of this land were not considered at all.
The division is there to this day. Getting rid of slavery did not get rid of the problem. The real problem was greed, people putting their business over human life. They might be more subtle about it, but they are still at it. Whether it’s conniving land from mustangs and wild life for cattle and mining, or cutting corners to stuff more animals for slaughter into a farm, they care more about money than their fellow beings..
That’s the real secret of American freedom. That freedom’s cost isn’t just sending people out to defend it. It’s about defending it from greed right here. It’s about saying no to something because it curtails freedoms. But it’s not so easy to identify it. There is so much demanding our time and attention, it’s easy to just focus on issues we believe affect us.
That’s what the sophisticated greedy think. If they throw enough one sided info at you, maybe you won’t notice they are not telling you everything. Maybe you won’t notice the lies.
For instance, I hear all sorts going on about jobs and the big pipelines. On the other side, I hear about environmental risk. Truth be told, I’ve yet to hear or see anything that told both sides at once. Now the truth is, they are both right. We need jobs, but that doesn’t mean we’d be willing to literally pay with our health or the destruction of our land. Some things, you can’t pay to fix. So the real question is, if these people want to be helpful and run their business and create jobs, why do they think the pennies they save are worth the cost of safety?
My point here is, when it comes right down to the wire, America has two spirits vying for control. One is that wonderful spirit of freedom, independence, help others and creativity that inspired it in the first place. The other is that stubborn pride in money that refused to sign the Constitution if slavery was banned.
That second spirit has new forms now. It hides in businesses that say ‘we are creating jobs’ while cutting corners for profit and dumping toxins that make people sick. The people with those jobs lose either way, because even if you earn money and have health insurance, you end up spending on health care, assuming even that will cure them! They also claim that while dumping huge amounts of money into their account they can’t pay the workers any more.
What’s terrifying is how these people respond to challenge. They take advantage of their funds to pay for lawyers to get them out of it. Worse, some government agencies are in cahoots. The way the Bureau of Land Management is run, you’d think that land all belonged to them personally, rather than the citizens of America.
I believe when the average person celebrates the Fourth, we are celebrating our freedom, the hope of that chance to not only have a job, but a fulfilling life. But do we? I hope so. But we have to keep battling that other spirit. Gunpowder can make for fabulous fireworks. Our country is full of magnificent creatures, wild and free. It’s up to us to do our best to see they are their for future generations. It’s up to us to save that gunpowder for the fireworks and not waste in blowing each other up. It’s up to us to keep our authority figures reminded that we elected them to serve us, not their own wallet. To remind the big corporations that without their workers and buyers, they have nothing. To remind the police that they are there to protect and serve, not bully the people who essentially are paying them.
So here’s to the Fourth of July and our continued fight for independence. May the right spirit win!
There was a time when I believed the argument that it was better for the horse to be put down at slaughter then suffer neglect or abuse. Many still believe this.
But then facts struck me in the face. It’s evidence, not emotion, that rules on these issues, contrary to what the pro horse slaughter lobby claims. This is not just a bunch of bleeding heart horse lovers.
The reasons why American’s should ban horse slaughter are not just about caring about horses, it’s also in our own, best interest as well as the best interest of our neighbors.
Three prime reasons why American horse slaughter is dangerous to our welfare:
Our health: – between the hormones and the medicines equine athletes are given, American horse meat is unsafe for human consumption.
Our environment: – reports of communities near these plants include such horrible affects range from blood backing up the sewers to the smells of the plant cast offs contaminating the entire area.
Our ethics: – ‘humane’ means compassionate. And the word comes from human.
By denying the horse – or any other animal – a compassionate means to an end comes back and bites back by adding stress hormones to the meat, as well as possible virus and bacterial infections due to a stress weakened immune system.
By allowing the slaughter plant into the neighborhood, we are risking the safety of that neighborhood. Far from creating jobs, it will send quality jobs away because no-one wants their business in sight or smell of a slaughter plant.
Our economy: – In order to prevent cruel stress causing treatment during shipment and slaughter, we would have to fund inspections. We would have to enforce and prosecute those who use cruel transport and slaughter techniques to save a quick buck. We would have to be willing to pay for the clean up and enforce the environmental protection as well.
It may seem complicated or contradictory, but it does begin with ethics. Ethics about both our own food safety and our neighbors. Ethics about the right way to treat any living thing, even one destined for slaughter.
Why are horses NOT food animals: Due to their anatomy and high spirited nature, horses are not killed as easily as cows.Here is the process:
The Sale: Maybe it’s a retired racehorse or outgrown pony. But it’s not always in poor health to begin with. The buyers want meat, not skin and bones. Also it has to be in good health, at the very least not obviously sick. Slaughter plants don’t want obviously sick animals. However, they can’t tell at auction if the animal has been given medication.
The Feed Lot: The owner cares little for the animals health and the reports of treatment in these places is appalling.
The Transport: The horse is crammed into a truck with multiple other horses, if it resists it may be forcibly subdued and injured. Reports include mention of intentional maiming and use of electric cattle prods. They then face a horrible, pain filled journey to the plant.
Here is a big red flag.Due to European union guidelines, the slaughter plant isn’t going to just take obviously sick animals or those with no meat value. Some are actually TURNED BACK or TURNED LOOSE. To die on their own at the slaughter plant. This means the whole ‘overabundance of neglected, sick horses’ is moot. These are exactly the horses they don’t want.
At the slaughter plant: The stun bolt used on cows doesn’t work, often neither does the gun. In Mexico, sometimes they use a knife which only paralyzes, but does not render the horse unconscious.Meanwhile all the horses in line behind hear and smell the panic of the horses before them. This means that when killed you get the meat of a panicked, stressed out animal.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEOS
Horses and Stress: Obviously all these facts add up to one load of meat filled with stress hormones. Stress also weakens the immune system, and makes it more susceptible to disease and infection.
Horses and Drugs
Horses are not considered food animals. Look in the medicine cabinet or trunk of you average horse barn and you’ll find proof. They are treated as athletes or companion animals.
The labels of bute and other medicines do warn against use in food animals. Bute is proven to cause liver failure and other issues when combined with standard house hold drugs in humans. This is only one medicine but I focus on this because it’s as common as aspirin.
In order to be assured the horse doesn’t have drugs in it’s system, you’d have to have a complete record of the horse’s life. You’d have to have drug testing done.
The Economy and Environment: Locally speaking, horse slaughter plants have been disastrous for the local economies. They leave a swath of environmental contamination behind them. No-one wants their town associated with a slaughter plant. It ruins the local tourist industry. Far from giving jobs to locals, they usually hire illegal immigrants and criminals. There are reports of the blood leaking into the sewage! Would you want this in your neighborhood? Let alone house?
And where exactly does horse meat go?
Americans in general do not eat horse meat. In some European countries it may be a delicacy. But even they don’t want our hormone and drug tainted horse meat. In fact, they are already embroiled in scandal as horse meat has found to have been illegally sold in place of beef in multiple countries and leading to recalls in such big companies as Nestle and Burger King. Everything from school lunches to prepackaged TV dinners has been affected.
Now considering the health risks, do we really want this in America? Why should we pay our tax money on USDA inspections for foreign investors and a few fat cats to slaughter horses and sell the drug laden meat to foreign criminals to pass off as beef?
It won’t stop animal neglect or cruelty. That involves the human heart. And it won’t get rid of the already sick or neglected. Even if it did, selling sick animals for meat is unconscionable.
We can’t afford it financially. We can’t afford it morally. You want less horses? Stop over breeding. But we are not going to find the solution in a slaughter plant.
It’s no secret to horse lover’s that horses make excellent therapists.
They have some of the essential skills built right in. To name a few:
They are excellent listeners.
They speak only with body language, which encourages awareness.
The movement of the horse helps the rider, particularly those who have physical difficulties. It stimulates the movement of the rider’s muscles.
These natural traits make a horse an ideal creature for helping the disabled, or those wounded physically or emotionally wounded. Learning to guide and ride the horse gives confidence. The rider has muscles that may otherwise not be stimulated working, and helps overcome atrophy, and or improve balance. They influence posture, for heads up and heels down isn’t just an old proverb. A horse isn’t truly or primarily controlled by reins, but by body shifts and leg pressure. So the posture matters.
Then there are the psychological benefits. Autistic children, people with various social challenges, and the just abused find that the gentle communication of the horse may be just what they need. The horse is totally nonjudgmental. Those who find trouble talking and sharing difficulties with a councilor may find talking to a horse a lot easier. Even the autistic have been known to respond to horse therapy, perhaps because in a way, the horse and they speak a similar ‘body language’. That is, for instance, people with autism may be very shy and have trouble staring people in the eye and be wary of new people. This is similar to horses behavior as ‘prey’ animals.
Some horses – miniature horses – are even being trained as seeing eye horses. Yes, that’s right, seeing eye horses. The virtue of horses aside from dogs is that, for one thing, someone may be allergic to dogs.
Riding a horse requires ‘in the moment’ awareness. This is an automatic relief from those burdened with worries, cares or fears. The ride of the horse itself requires there attention. And there is something in the brisk rhythm of the walk or the power of the canter that seems to clear the body and mind of stress and obstacles, leaving a clean tired feeling and giving room for the energy to face the challenges of life.
Not just any horse can be a therapy horse. It’s temperament that matters the most. They may be any shape and size, from that miniature ‘seeing eye’ horse to the big draft horse that carries that big rider with PTSD. They may be no special breed at all. But they are special: they heal hearts and lives.