Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
Handling this kind of situation is always hard. You want what's best for the horse, but a lot of times you will end up ruining your friendship by saying something. All I can give you are a few suggestions.
1. You can be blunt and tell her she is abusing her horse. Of course you can only do this if you don't mind taking the risk of losing the relationship you have.
2. You can also try a more subtle tactic and suggest different ways to get the horse to do what you want. You can say, "I bet we can find some trick videos online that will teach you how to have your horse rear," and see if she goes for it. Or you can say, "Maybe she will go along nicer if you do this," etc etc. As a side note, I don't necessarily mind if horses rear on command, but rearing itself is a very dangerous habit, and unless you really know what you're doing about it, I wouldn't encourage the behavior, and would try to prevent it.
3. You can talk to a mutual party and have an "intervention" of sorts with her. Tape her working with her horse and show her the video tape. You and the mutual party can explain to her how she is scaring her horse, and they would have a lot better of a relationship if they could gain each others trust and respect. It may not work, but it's something.
4. You can simply have a mutual party talk to your friend and keep you out of the conversation. Like a parent.
5. You can call animal control on her. It might not work out like you want, because if the horse is relatively fit and isn't neglected, they may not be able to do anything. The animal control will keep you anonymous.
6. Do you have a barn owner, trainer, manager or anything? Or is this just in the backyard? Any kind of owner or trainer should have nipped your friend's behavior in the bud a long time ago. You can even talk to her vet and see if they can look for signs of abuse on the next check up.
I hope you find something that will work out for all of you involved. It's a very tough situation, and someone's feelings are going to get hurt. The horse, though, has no control of how she is being treated. She can't explain how much it hurts her. I'm surprised she hasn't turned aggressive by now, but if she keeps being treated like she is, eventually she will turn on someone. Hopefully you can fix the situation before the horse gets to that point. Best of luck!
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."