Well said as usual Kevin. I am not closing my eyes about this, but its a reality of where some folks live.
I live in Wyoming and right now we are fence high with snow, but guess what? In a few months(hopefully) the snow will start melting and since the ground is still frozen, my field, especially where the horses hang around most the time will be under water in dirty mud, the horses will be muddy and look like something the cat coughed up. There is no place to keep them dirt/mud/water muck free until the winter thaw is over. They are well fed, fresh water and the best vet care, yet if someone who thinks they know better would assume my horses are living in an inhumane situation.
My dog kennels/yard where my show dogs are will also be a pool of dirt and mud and water. They have the best of care and dry dog houses, but I can't keep them locked up inside the house to poop and pee because they are going to get filthy dirty during the spring thaw.
Alot of us living in some states don't have boarding facilities to keep our horses in box stalls. Heck even if I had the facilities close by, I couldn't afford it. Just because someone's situation LOOKS like inhumane treatment, that doens't mean it is.
My best friend lives in Northern California close by where these ponies are. Her dog kennels during the rains and sun, rains and sun are a mess, the dogs are muddy, the kennels are sloppy, just as her yard is where her goats. Are. Does this mean she is inhumane? Does this mean she doens't go out daily and clean up and put down straw and gravel and such? No, it just means that sometimes you can't keep up with mother nature.
Because my horses live in muddy gunk during the thaw, does that mean that I should not own my animals? Not in your life does it mean that, it just means I can't tell the snow/mud to go away, I have to deal with it an a daily basis. My horses have shelter to get under during the bad weather, they don't go in it, they stand outside in the snow and mud. On a ranch or farm, mud, dirt, manure, and messes are a part of daily life. Just because some do gooders decide to butt into a person's life and get on TV doesn't mean the person should have his animals taken away. Maybe those do gooders should send the guy money to help, hire tractors to bring gravel and stockpile gravel and straw and quit trying to make a person look inhumane.