Originally Posted by HorsesRForever View Post
I went to this trail riding facility that I had overheard a trainer at my stable recommend to a person. I didn't like what I saw.
This is what I saw:
At first, I saw a stable that wasn't that well kept, but it didn't bother me that much because I had been to stables that did not look the best on the outside, but all the horses were well cared for and it was an overall good facility. It was my first time there, so I didn't want to make my opinion without giving it a full try.
I went and asked a lady who made me sign a liability sheet then just sent me further back. They did not, at any time, ask me my level of riding. There is a pen that is filled with more than, I would say, fifteen horses (if not twenty). Most with their tack already on. The pen had no shade at all or anything comforting about it. It was right in the scorching sun. I was a little nervous, but I decided to see how everything went.
My horse right away tried to turn around and tried to go back to the stable. She kept on spinning and trying to run to off the forest as well. I though was able to get her under control and continue on calmly with her. Now, imagine if that was a first time rider?
We rode for two hours, but I made sure to keep the horse cooled and in the shade. I had no idea what was in for my horse at the end. If I did, I would have never ridden at all.
Once we went back, they grabbed my horse, and I thought they were taking her to go cool down. I had another hour to blow, so I figured I'd help tire out one of their horses that needed a good run. I said those word, and they handed me the same horse that I had been with on the last trail. Well, the guide's horse that is, which got scared of everything, and they still did not know my level of riding. For all they knew, I had never ridden before that day. That wasn't my problem. My problem was that the horse had just gone for a long ride and was still heated and had it's tack on in a way that is not even suited for just walking around a pen. I said something, and I was hesitant, but I am just a teenager, so I didn't want to disrespect anyone. I figured that maybe I was wrong. They insisted that the horses were great and needed a good trail ride. So many thoughts raced through my head.
My guide took the horse that I was riding, which was also still heated. I did my short ride and was freaking out the whole way back. I realized what was going on and I right away asked to cool down my horse (I wanted to hose her down).
The people looked shocked. Apparently, the horses are tacked from 7 A.M to 8 P.M without ever getting cooled off or any breaks. Now it is about ninety degrees outside or more, with an awful sun, which is okay to ride in as long as the horses are properly cared for after. I realized that the horses are stuck in that hot pen without getting cooled off, and my horse was drenched in sweat from the heat. Also, the water looked hot that was available to them. Anyways, the volunteers, which are other teenagers, were so shocked that they went and asked again. It wasn't that they were letting a customer do it that was freaking them out more the fact that they were actually taking off the tack and attempting to cool it off.
My horse had marks all over it, and was very timid. A huge chunk of hair fell out from under her saddle, leaving a bald spot. It didn't do that anywhere else on the body, I tried to make her feel better and would have taken care of her longer, but their halter, which is made out of rope, snapped and let her get loose. Luckily, she went back to an area where she could be contained.
I read other reviews and most of the people had the same thoughts as mine, except they usually had a much worse experiences there. A kid has even died at this place, but they have been running it since 1988. I even read that they put some starved horses in another stable that I know of, which I will check with when I go down there.
I could go on and on, and I feel so bad about how those horses are getting cared for it. It is bothering me every second of everday since I went. I feel awful that I contributed with those two simple rides, but now I know and will never go again, besides to make sure those horses will have a better life.
All of the horses are for sale, and what broke my heart the most was how I was able to walk away from the stable but those horses would never have the choice.
Any advise, and what do you think about this?
I had a problem like this at a very near by park that offered short pony and horse rides. And also a place that offered one hour, untended rides on their property.
Skip animal control, they won't do a thing. BBB didn't help me either. Write and/or call your congressman.
If you can possibly contact anyone else that has the same thoughts as you, go in on it together and write a few letters.
I know it might sound drastic, to write a congressman who probably won't care about 'mere horses', but believe me, it works just the opposite way you would think.
This is something that they have the capacity and the means to take care of and/or look into. In essence, it's a simple fix, and anything that they can do to please constituents AND it's easy, they will jump to.
I did this in BOTH of my cases. One place is no longer in business and the other is a VERY nice facility now, lots of water, they actually BUILT a canopy for the horses to stand under, etc.
Again, I know this might seem drastic and also, I am in Michigan, no where near you, but, if you are THAT concerned, write, write, write! Make a nuisance of yourself.