Is this ok?

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Is this ok?

This is a discussion on Is this ok? within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    12-04-2011, 03:28 PM
Is this ok?

Let me start by saying I know practically nothing about horse care. Occasionally, I drive by a group of horses whose mains and tails are constantly tangled in burrs (from weeds). I've been driving this particular route regularly for a few years, and the burs are there across all seasons. The burrs in particular are common for the area. My dogs sometimes get them and I find that they need to be removed immediately or else they become so entangled that it interferes with movement or contorts their tails in unnatural ways. I'm concerned that the constant presence of burrs on the horses is evidence of a lack of regular grooming, which may be evidence of neglect and possibly abuse. Today, I was driving by once again and had my camera in the car so I stopped to take some pictures. I know these allegations are serious and many people may object to "sticking my nose" in other people's business. So, I am posting here to learn if this kind of thing is generally considered acceptable to people who know things about horse care (i.e., this community). Is this ok?

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    12-04-2011, 03:51 PM
Horses are in good flesh and look healthy. They need their manes and tails shaved off, and those burrs probably are uncomfortable, irritating, and unsanitary, but no, that does not constitute abuse. Perhaps the owners are elderly and are unable to get out in the pasture and groom them.
    12-04-2011, 07:52 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
It's also amazing, how fast those burrs can accumulate in a horse's hair. A lot of times if you have a lower quality hay (which many have had to resort to lately, what with the prices being so high in some areas) that happens to have burrs in it. It's possible that the owner is pulling them out, but they just keep coming back. They're a complete pain to get out without ripping too much hair, and it can take hours- only to have the horses come back in the next day with the same amount in their hair as before! Very frustrating.

I'd say as long as the animals are looking healthy otherwise (good feet/weight) there isn't too much to worry about.
    12-04-2011, 07:59 PM
As Bubba stated, the horses appear to be healthy and are at a good weight.

I have a friend who has burrs like that in her horses' pastures. I've personally watched her spend hours getting them out of her 3 horses' manes and tails, and within a day or two it looks like she never touched them.

No, it's considered neither neglect nor abuse to not groom your animals. If it were, I'd have been in jail long before now. I try not mess with my horses too much in the winter, except to fluff up their coats if they get matted.

Neglect and abuse are based on not providing proper food, water and medical/hoof care. Burrs in their manes and tails are neither.
csimkunas6 and xxGallopxx like this.
    12-05-2011, 11:17 AM
Thank you for your quick and informative replies! I appreciate it.
    12-05-2011, 03:56 PM
"No, it's considered neither neglect nor abuse to not groom your animals."

Ever seen one of those pathetic little dogs that when it gets shaved the matted hair and feces and urine literally comes off them like a suit of armor? Yeah... that's neglect and/or abuse...
Corporal and mystykat like this.
    12-05-2011, 05:58 PM
Originally Posted by arrowsaway    
"No, it's considered neither neglect nor abuse to not groom your animals."

Ever seen one of those pathetic little dogs that when it gets shaved the matted hair and feces and urine literally comes off them like a suit of armor? Yeah... that's neglect and/or abuse...

I have to agree with the cats and dogs, however unless in a stable, a horse doesn't tend to lie in its own business unless its a pillow ;)

Horses are different in that sense, and the pictures show that they're in good condition. They may have slight discomfort, but they look like they've been turned out au natural for winter. So messing around with coats, burrs and rugging up is going to cause more problems, as you'll strip the oils out of the coats of the horses they need to keep warm and dry.
    12-05-2011, 06:00 PM
Originally Posted by arrowsaway    
Ever seen one of those pathetic little dogs that when it gets shaved the matted hair and feces and urine literally comes off them like a suit of armor? Yeah... that's neglect and/or abuse...
Yes, but we're talking about horses, not long haired dogs. We're also talking about burrs in their manes and tails, not long body hair matted with fecal matter.

Apples and oranges.
    12-05-2011, 06:18 PM
I guess I'm the only one appalled by the burrs. I would be pretty upset if I saw that. Yes, they look to be at a good weight, but gee, the only way to get those horses de-burred would be to shave them!

I am not the type to stick my nose into anyone's business. I don't even turn in loose dogs (because the humane society up here tends to euthanize them). So I don't know if I would talk to the owners, but I would sure hope someone would. Maybe they can't keep up with the burrs. But I don't think the horses should be left like that either. What a nightmare.
    12-05-2011, 06:25 PM
Green Broke
I agreed, I was a little "put off" by those pictures but yet, we don't know anything about these horses. They could perhaps be horses that aren't used to being handled, which would mean that it might be safer for them and their owner, not to mess with trying to get the burs out. I know this sounds awful, but could be the case.

It could be the burs keep coming back, or maybe the owner is currently ill or otherwise unable to take care of them immediately, but normally does take good care of their horses. Because they seem otherwise healthy, I would probably just keep an eye on them.

Look for things like overgrown, strangely formed hooves, and the horses started to look thin or have wounds or sores that seem to not be cared for. If this starts happening, then I might speak up or possibly maybe knock on their door and ask if they need help grooming or caring for them, etc.

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