Originally Posted by kitten_Val
If you think about it we can ask exactly same about pretty much anything. For example what about child/elderly abuse (and some other stuff I don't even want to bring on public forum with kids access)? Yes, there are those among us who indeed do all those horrible things. Does it mean ALL of us are like that? Definitely not. Most of us treat horse as a partner (and a friend). Moreover those POS (excuse my language) treating horses the way you posted are the minority. And lots of people stand up against such actions.
I agree with what you say, in that this might not be the majority. I also understand that the discussion of abuse of horses is one which can become quite heated easily. However coming from the perspective that none of us in this discussion want to abuse horses if I may just pose some questions for genuine discussion.
Firstly I agree that many people do not treat there horses this way. However whenever I have seen posts such as this with the photos, the reaction surprises me. Personally even one case of this is too many, and I have to say that it's more common than perhaps we want to admit, it's all a matter of degree.
For example, whenever we discuss bits the answer will always come back with it's not the bit that harms it's how it's used. If we assume agreement with that statement, then we also take responsibility for not causing pain via a bit to a horses mouth. Yet every time I watch any horse sports (and please I am not attacking any sport here I am just raising questions for genuine discussion) I see horses with gaping mouths or raised heads trying to avoid the discomfort of the bit.
I have been to reining competitions in the Uk, Germany and the US (including Oklahoma). Every time I have been to a competition I have seen trainers bumping horses mouths with a serious leverage bit such as a curb to make the horse lower it's headset before the ride. Now I've had people saying I'm sorry all you see is the negative, but that's what I see. It's a fact, and seeing as how it's seems most of the trainers are doing it, I have to consider it widespread.
If I can give an example of my position. I retrain ex racing greyhounds in my spare time. I recondition them not to chase cats so they can live as pets. They make wonderful pets, but the normal standard they come to us is shocking. My own greyhound (RIP Ben the greatest dog I have ever had the privilege to meet March 2011) actually failed drugs tests on his last day and when I got him he was an addict! Yes he was addicted to Codene and cough mixture! Behind the rescue kennels is a trainer who brings in the dogs from Ireland as pups. In a lorry with 100 pups at a time I see 20-30 die en-route. It's a money and numbers game. Now on the other hand I know a couple of people who race greyhounds. They live and train only as pets. The dogs enjoy it, and when they retire they still have a loving home until they die. I have no problem with them. That is how it should be to me. However I will not step foot at the races, because by doing so my money is supporting the people like that trainer I talked of.
This is why I do not personally compete with horses. It is a personal choice, but ultimately I have taken the responsibility I mentioned, and I cannot promise I will meet that responsibility in the heat of competition. It is too easy in the flash of a moment to pull on the horse, perhaps fight with it more than I want, even use a whip whatever. All things that would undo everything I work towards and stand for with any horse I meet, so I just wont put myself in that position.
So my first question is - do we not want to discuss these things because we feel it might threaten what we love to do ourselves I.e compete? Genuine question for discussion, not to cause offence or single anyone out.