Monday, March 26, 2012

And One More Thing

I've been really moved by the comments that you are leaving me about the horse racing article I mentioned. What they wrote has really haunted me all day, and I just wanted to say one more thing regarding the use of horses by people in any kind of sport.

As Silk grows older, I see the ravages of her training in the Western Pleasure Show circuit. My farrier says that she has legs like a 40 year old horse from all her old injuries. I have know ex-racehorses who face similar problems with their legs and other physical ailments due to being started too early and worked too hard. Every time I feel like I didn't really give Siete a chance to prove what she could do in the show ring - She has the lineage to be a superstar - I remind myself that this is a human being's choice not a horse's for what to do with the lives of these beautiful, talented creatures. At least Siete has been happy and well-cared for, even though she's got no AQHA points like her mother has.

And Silk has had fourteen years of no stress, kindness and easy living, after the ten years that almost killed her and made her afraid of people. There are many people who have told me that I have spoiled her. I don't care because I know that they just don't get it and never will. Tonight, when I put her in her stall, I had to put her blanket on because it will be 25 degrees at 3 a.m. after being in the 70's last week, and I know that it will be a hard change for her and Siete. I expected that she would be annoyed that I was dragging out the dirty blanket again and strapping it on her. Instead, she was so affectionate, and I remembered how I used to be afraid to go in with her some days when I first got her because she would try to kick out at anyone who entered her stall.Not now. She knows who loves her.

We must be advocates for horses. They give us so much and it's the least we can do for them.


Lori Skoog said...

I agree with you 1000% We must advocate for our horses. My stomach aches over the rotten things that have happened to so many. What are people thinking? Don't ever let anyone make you feel guilty over "spoiling" your horses. Being sensitive to their needs and treating them with respect is what they deserve.

Oak in the Seed said...

If taking care of and loving an animal means it is "spoiling it," then bring it on. I am grateful for the lives I have been able to pluck from the world's cruelty so they can sleep on my bed and cuddle under my chin. There is something to be said for the "least of these" who manage to escape society's greed and never know the meaning of neglect or cruelty. I can go to my grave happy because I made this difference in a few innocent lives.

Anonymous said...

Glad she has you and you have her. Many horses are physically and mentally wrecked by people, usually in the name of competition and winning. That's one reason I no longer show - it involved spending too much time around bad stuff happening, although there were good, considerate horse people in the show world too.

billie said...

I wonder if someone analyzed AQHA points and compared with injuries/chronic lamenesses whether there would be a correlation. And not to pick on the AQHA - ribbons, etc. in general.

Even in the life of a brood mare, I think there must be lots of stress and turmoil - I see that in Salina, who imo was probably one of the luckier mares in terms of getting good care. But still - to go through multiple pregnancies, Hannoverian inspections, etc., and having your babies taken away again and again... she does not trust that the donkeys are here to stay. I have to remind her repeatedly and we go to extraordinary lengths to keep her with them so she doesn't get stressed by even the idea that they might be loaded up and driven off.

I have such strong feelings about the use of the phrase "spoiling your horses" when the person doing the spoiling is in fact being an advocate for their needs. And treating the horse as a sentient being instead of a vehicle or as "livestock."

Thank you for posting about these things - it is a thankless "job" but I do think that every bit we do to speak out adds up and perhaps shifts things a little every time someone reads it. I know on my blog I get visits many times a day from people all over the world googling rollkur and various other key words. If they read what I've written they at least get something to think about - another piece of the overall picture l- and not the mainstream party line.

I have to think we as humans are evolving to a different way of being with the animals we choose to live with. Sadly it seems to be taking a REALLY long time to get there.

Victoria Cummings said...

I suppose that the people who say that I "spoil" my horses would also tell me that I'm preaching to the choir to write about this issue as often as I do. But thank you, my friends, for backing me up and agreeing with me.

I hope that BIllie is right that the tide is turning and that there might be some people who if they read and hear it enough will change their harsh treatment of horses. I couldn't believe the chart in the NY TImes article that showed how many horses die racing each year. California had over 600! Hopefully, if enough attention is given to this, to the rolkur issue and to all the other cruelties, some day things will change.

juliette said...

Wonderful post again, Victoria. Your Silk and Siete are so lucky to have you. I remember you trudging through the deep snow last year to care for them. You gave Silk a new life and saved Siete from the nutty things humans do in pursuit of points. Ugh.

I have been working furiously on a book project that tells how rewarding the work I am doing with my ottbs has been without ever entering a ring or being timed or judged. My only goal is that my horses enjoy our daily rides as much as I do.

I don't spoil my horses and neither do you. Kindness is kindness. It is not species specific. I am proud to be kind to all animals, and I am so very glad to have "met" fellow bloggers who are also advocates for horses.

Sarah Leon said...

bless you and may more follow your kind example. Having no horse to talk to I take great pleasure in hearing about yours. Thanks for your writing and the insight that comes from kindness.