The other day when I posted a note on Facebook about my soon to be released book, “It’s For The Horses—Musings about their needs, spirit, gifts and care from a horse advocate,” I was asked a question. “If you are a horse advocate, what is your position on horse slaughter and why don’t you write about that?”
Why have I never written about horse slaughter? As a horse advocate I have written about many negatives regarding horses. Pregnant mare Urine farms, and horrible pee lines, TWH Soring, and the torture, Nurse Mare Farms, and the heartbreak, the Bureau of Land Management and the wanton mistreatment of our Wild Horses, to mention a few.
I could write many more stories of horrendous treatments of the noblest animal God ever created, almost every breed of equine suffers at the hand of man. I’ll not delineate the long list of horrors here, but we all know them. Each of us can name breeds, showing and techniques, bits, and other mechanical devices, management, care and use. These stories are painful and difficult to write, and it is not really my style. I prefer to write positive. I subscribe to the belief, the hope—that by sending out positive thoughts the positive energy may help make a change.
A friend once told me, “When horses and money compete, horses lose.” Sadly this is all too often proven true. And of course the horses pay the price, with their pain, mental and physical, their freedom, their contentment, and even their very lives. For that reason I try to write stories in support of humane, fun and healthy for the horse, care and management—in the hope that more folks may begin to consider a new dynamic. A paradigm shift to, in everything they do, consider the horse’s point of view first. Ask themselves, “Am I doing this for me? For the ribbon? The glory? The money? Or am I doing it for the horse. What will the horse get out of this?
I believe if all horse caregivers considered the “horse first” in every aspect, so much would change. It would have to.
How could a person who thinks, “horse first,” even consider torturing a magnificent TWH with chemicals, chains, stacks and plantation shoes? How could BLM management chase horses and foals to near death, (and death) with helicopters and stack them in corrals to suffer unsheltered in backing sun or frigid cold? How could trainers employ tail sets, rollkur, and a plethora of other horrible training techniques and mechanical devices? How could they breed nurse mare foals? How could they stand mares in pee lines for 8 months a year and deprive them of water to produce rich urine to create a drug known to kill the very women they pretend to help? How could they start horses at such a young age their bones, and minds, are damaged for life? How could they bred so many horses in the hope of producing a money maker, and toss aside the ones who don’t make the count? How could they ride a horse in a saddle that doesn’t fit? How could they stand a horse in a stall for days on end? And yes, how could they support horse slaughter? I’d wager if they thought “horse first” there would be changes.
I suppose I could write story after story detailing the negatives, abuse, neglect and horrors horses endure at the hand of man. And I will from time to time...But I’d rather do my best to write happy—to write stories suggesting better ways—ways in keeping with a “horse first” paradigm, and work to help more folks realize the exact same goals can be achieved, and achieved at even higher levels, if the horse comes first.
Where do I stand on horse slaughter? I reckon you can guess.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry