Too Many Horses!!!
I’m trying to think of something different to write about but my brain always ends up thinking about something that I talk about and write about, all the time. And, those of you who know me know that I like to talk about it! So, without further adieu, I’m climbing up on my soap box to talk about a serious problem that’s in our face EVERY day. TOO MANY HORSES!!! And, people are STILL BREEDING!! Please know, before I step on too many toes out there, I’m not talking about you if you have a market for your babies and have the time and resources to ensure that they receive training at a reasonable age.
I just received a call yesterday from a guy who told me that he was taking in sixteen horses that a seventy-five year old man was giving him because he could no longer take care of so many. Keep in mind that the older gentleman owns the stallion that produced every single foal on his farm. The sixteen horses include five foals and eleven mares, several of which are again in foal. The youngest foal was only three weeks old. Several of these horses have never been handled and are not social and so their babies are also not social. The man is going to keep the stud and a few mares! What is wrong with this picture?
I meet very educated people who talk about breeding horses as if they’ve been living under a rock for the past five years. I now realize that is the norm. Unless you are associated with horses at the rescue level or just happen to live near, or witness horse neglect, most people are oblivious. Many ignore it, hoping somebody else will do something. I do know that people have a hard time believing that you can buy a horse for ten dollars. Heck, let’s be honest…you can usually get one for free! When the market is flooded with a product, the value goes down. This is simple supply and demand. This is not rocket science! We need more people focusing more attention (and money) on how to reduce the number of unwanted animals. This is a distressed market and lots of things need to be fixed right now, especially with our country and our economy. Meanwhile, the number of horses continues to grow at an alarming rate of 300,000 per year.
As a result of the extremely low horse purchase prices, there are people owning horses who can’t afford to feed themselves and their families, much less a horse. This is much more rampant than one would think. Why would they even want to own a horse, you ask? Because they can! And, when they see that the horse is losing weight, they pretend not to notice. Most won’t even take the time to let their skinny horses out of their dirt lot to graze in a grassy area for a few hours a day. Most don’t work so it’s not like they don’t have the time. They always say they’re feeding their horse but we know otherwise. And, let me say this about that, these people are wired differently than we are and I believe that the only hope that we’ll ever see change is to strongly promote education and prosecution.
Many of us have been tuned in to Facebook to check on Buck, a 4 year old stallion that was impounded by Thomas County (extreme South Georgia) in early June. GERL Area Coordinator Director, Debora Hines transported Buck to Anita Meison and the rest of the volunteers at Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue. Buck has been struggling for his life because of the neglect he endured at the hands of his owner. At first, one might think that the owner was just ignorant about how to feed and care for a horse, but after offering him assistance, he chose to continue to ignore the problem. I was very disappointed when I heard that Buck’s owner was not going to be punished. However, after Buck was picked up and transported to Dancing Cloud Farm he went down. As a parting gift, the owner had bought a bag of feed and had given Buck at least half of it before he left. The fact that he ignored their advice and dangerously overfed a horse in such a starved condition, must have angered a few of the right people because the next bit of news I heard was that Thomas County WAS going to prosecute him, after all. This was really great news and we thank law enforcement in Thomas County!
I realize that getting all of the counties to emulate Thomas County and the other counties who get involved in animal abuse cases is going to take a long time. GERL is in the trenches with the animal control officers, GDA Inspectors and law enforcement agencies, but there are typically no decision makers involved with our efforts. If only they would attend our training seminars, etc. By decision makers I’m referring to county commissioners, sheriffs, city councilmen/women, judges, district attorneys and the like. These are the people who can really make things happen. Too many people are looking the other way when it comes to prosecution. That needs to change!
Georgia Equine Rescue League
P.O. Box 328
Bethelhem, Ga 30520
To report a case of equine abuse, call the
Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Division
Monday - Friday | 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM
404-656-3713 or 800-282-5852