The Wild Horse Cop-Out
 
 

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The Wild Horse Cop-Out

This is a discussion on The Wild Horse Cop-Out within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Why dont wild horses need their teeth floated
  • Why do wild mustangs have minimal dental problems related to eruption of teeth

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    03-10-2011, 05:37 PM
  #1
Banned
The Wild Horse Cop-Out

You know what I'm talking about. People compare domestic horses to wild or feral horses, and use this to justify their (lack of) care.

A whole list of fallacies:
  • Mustangs don't get shod or trimmed. Therefore, minimal hoofcare is perfectly acceptable, particularly if you ride or board on hard ground. If you do need the fix up your horse's feet, never use shoes, as they are unnatural. Any trim should seek to emulate the natural Mustang model. Any deviation from this model will harm the horse, but following the guidelines will cure all lameness problems.
  • Mustangs don't get vaccinations or deworming. These medical "interventions" are only mildly beneficial at best and downright dangerous at worst. Healthy horses have natural immunity to many pathogens are are extremely unlikely to come into contact with most others. Even if they do get sick, they'll recover just fine with minimal supportive care, so there's no need to risk the dangerous side effects of the vaccine, or pay your vet the high cost.
  • Mustangs don't get special feeds. Grass is enough for them, and they are perfectly healthy. Never grain your horse or give him supplements. The former will make him hot, and the latter are unnecessary.
  • Mustangs don't get their teeth floated. This is another ploy to transfer money from your bank account to your vet's wallet. Very rarely will a horse need his teeth floated, and all dental issues are man-made from artificial living environments. So long as your horse is at a good weight, his teeth are fine.
  • Mustangs don't _________, so fill in the blank.
While there are some grains of truth in the above list, most of it is completely false, yet many people tout it as gospel. Whether they actually believe the above or simply hope to legitimize being cheap on horse care is a mystery to me.

Wild life isn't necessarily better, even though it is "natural." Domestic horses live longer and are healthier than their feral counterparts. Yes, some things should be made as "natural" as possible, such as continuous access to forage and room to move about. This is undeniably more healthy than confinement to a box stall 24/7. But other things, particularly those related to farriery or veterinary medicine....come on, we have knowledge and technology now, so we should use it. Our horses will thank us for using all resources available to us to better their lives.

Thoughts?
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    03-10-2011, 05:38 PM
  #2
Banned
Also,
  • Mustangs don't have blankets or sheets...
(but our horses often fail to have a winter store of fat or an adequate coat or the warmth-generating diet to stay sufficiently warm in the winter)
  • ...or shelter.
(but our horses, again, need windbreaks, and in some climates must have at least three-sided shelters or even barns with stalls)

And,
  • Mustangs don't have to have good conformation. Or rather, they get around just fine, so their build must be perfect for what they do. Therefore, riding horses, which have far less strenous lives than wild ones, don't need to fit any mold of "correct" conformation.
Not so much. The roaming, grazing, and rugged-terrain navigating that Mustangs do isn't very comparable to dressage, jumping, barrel racing, or much of anything else. They aren't even all that suited to true endurance. The enormous strain that we put on competitive horses' legs is nothing like the movement that a wild horse normally undergoes of its own volition. Plus our horses live longer, meaning that arthritis extends into a crippled old age. And Mustangs who have conformational problems that lead to issues such as navicular still survive until breeding age in order to propagate that trait and flaw. In reality, domestic horses must have good conformation to remain sound under the demands of their chosen disciplines, or even to do well at a particular event.
     
    03-10-2011, 05:40 PM
  #3
Banned
I think I love you bubba, but I'm afraid you've just opened a really big can of worms.
     
    03-10-2011, 05:43 PM
  #4
Banned
I seem to be good at that, don't I? Even when I'm honestly *trying* to behave myself....
     
    03-10-2011, 05:49 PM
  #5
Trained
This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Our pampered little horses who live in fields =/= wild mustangs
     
    03-10-2011, 05:49 PM
  #6
Banned
I have the same problem, so I hear ya. But then, I rarely behave myself, so it's probably mostly my own fault.
     
    03-10-2011, 06:03 PM
  #7
Weanling
My mustang does not wear shoes but sees the farrier every 10 weeks, I wormed him today in accordance to his regular worming schedule, he will being getting vaccines in the spring when he is due. He is not ever blanketed but has 24 hour access to a stall he is also never given grain but is fed a high quality hay. I treat him like any other horse he just happened to be born in the wild. I hear people make these excuses all the time for the inadequate care of their mustangs its truly silly.
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    03-10-2011, 06:24 PM
  #8
Showing
I must say that I have 2 mustangs and they honestly seem to really like the care that they get. I'm sure that it must be torture for them to see a farrier, get shots and de-wormed, or (God forbid) see a vet when they need it .

Yep, people always gripe about how "mustangs are fine with no care" but what those folks don't realize is that the average life expectancy of a mustang in the wild is what, 12-15 years old? I don't know about ya'll but I would much rather have my horses up into their 20's, or better yet, their 30s or 40s.
     
    03-10-2011, 06:51 PM
  #9
Banned
Yup...what a quality of life the Mustang has out on the range. If they get hurt, they must suffer through. No one is going to come out, stitch them up, give em a bute and keep them in. Even a nasty cut can be deadly without human intervention. Infection and the vulnerability to predators being the cause.

You see these huge herds of mustangs running wild and think that they are so very happy and free. For every ten that you see, there is one in the woods dying from a simple infection or being taken down by a mountain lion.

Froggy is a tough horse but turn him out on those rough plains...he would be lion meat in days. Most of our horses would be.
     
    03-10-2011, 06:59 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Awesome post, fully agree. I've heard that from my parents my ENTIRE life when it came to expenses for my horses. Needless to say, I've been working and paying for all the EXTRAS (aka. Necessary care to prevent DEATH) since I was 15.

This doesn't really fall into the "wild horse" category, but a HUGE pet peeve of mine is people who refuse to trim any sooner then 8+ weeks. Like, somehow it became gospel that a horse only needed farrier attention every 8 weeks. We routinely have ours done at 6 weeks, and RARELY ever get to 8 weeks except in the deep cold of winter on occasion. Oh sure, they'll live, but I'd rather have that chip taken care of NOW thank you, before it comes a vet bill!

Survival of the fittest! Conformationally weak Mustangs don't survive. Flaws are one thing, but most older Mustangs are actually built pretty darn decent or they wouldn't have survived so long. However, our IDEA of perfect conformation differs very greatly from functional structural good conformation a lot of the times.
     

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