After reading this and other forums for several years, I think I'm seeing a trend in horse hoarding.
Years ago, those of us who wanted a horse, usually saved for quite a while, took an extra job or even more than one extra job, to purchase the horse we had desired for a long time. Then came the excitement of purchasing all those necessary items our horse needed to be comfortable. No internet, so we purchased many books and subscribed to the appropriate magazines for the breed we had chosen. We joined our local breed club and enthisiastically devoured every bit of information we could, from those who went before and were knowledgeable.
With the downfall of the economy, I see things have changed considerably. We constantly see people with little knowledge of horses in general, gathering up every cheap or free horse, they come across. Little or no thought to just how expensive each horse might be, to feed and keep healthy. Just throw the new one out in that meagre pasture with the others. Who cares if they have already been half starved in their previous home. They are in a pasture now and have new friends. Who cares if none of the colts or mature horses are gelded. Who cares if none of them are registered. Who cares if any of them are even close to breeding quality. it might be fun to raise a few babies anyway.
And besides, several of them were free, so I could probably make money by selling some foals. Oh, and even better, some of the free mares, were already in foal. What fun! Of course, I know nothing about foaling, but most mares do ok by themselves - don't they? And of course, it will be huge fun to show pics of the new babies on the net and ask others what breed they think the babies are.
Now don't get me wrong here. I'm all for rescue. I'm all for trying to rehab a horse who has fallen on hard times. But that takes thought, a lot of work and usually, quite a lot of money.
Maybe I'm rambling a bit here, but I constantly see people with little or no knowledge of horses, who have gathered several free or nearly free horses and are (of course often) thinking of breeding. I think our economy has rather added to the hoarders out there. It seems incredibly easy to get a horse these days. It is rather like seeing the cute puppy in the pet shop window and buying it, with absolutely no thought to the breed, how it was bred, knowing nothing about bring up a pup and not even having anything prepared at home. It is always the animals who suffer in the end, when anyone takes home an animal, on a whim.
And these people are usually the ones who don't realise horses need their teeth floated, hooves trimmed, worming, vaccinations, etc.
I know a girl with a gelding who, I kid you not, asked me "What is a sheath?" when I asked when she'd last cleaned his sheath (he was stretching at a weird angle when he urinated). When I explained it she actually laughed and said "no way am I ever doing that!" Poor boy :(
Someone else I (unfortunately) know is convinced that horses do NOT need their teeth floated if they're fed hay, because the hay wears down sharp edges naturally... Hmm...
I agree with you! There are way too many people, and it seems to be growing, who don't really grasp what is needed to own a horse, and do it properly.
I would love a horse - but know that I'm not knowledgeable enough, nor can I afford to buy and look after a horse like it deserves. Instead I'm taking lessons, and hopefully once I've finished uni/my fiance has finished his apprenticeship I will get my first horse.
You can't buy a few books, watch a few videos on youtube and read some posts/articles on the internet and be knowledgeable on horses - let alone training or breeding them!
This is not a new situation, but it has become more obvious since we see it on the internet. When an unqualified person had a horse before, the only ones who knew were the people who drove by his house.
Seven years later, we now have 10. So one could say we are hoarders. We think of ourselves as animal lovers. Besides the horses, we have 6 dogs and 5 cats, hence the name usandpets (us and pets).
Copper was $400. Lucy was free but vet bills ended up being around $1500. Ghost was $75. Sheba was $800. We wouldn't have bought Harley except we loan a fried money to get him out of a bad barn. Then he decided to sell him and we were sceptic of getting our money back. We paid $3300 for him which was way too much. Chloe was for $400, again helping out a different friend. Jackson was bought for $60 at an auction raising money to fight cancer. Star was bought for $1, basically given to us but paid that to make it an actual sale. He was being sold for $2200 but didn't get any takers because he bucked a few people off. We knew the trainer selling him and she knew he would be well cared for. The last two were rescues set up by the same trainer. One does happen to be pregnant possibly due in about a month.
Like I said we had no horse knowledge at first. I did get books and magazines, watched YouTube, and watched shows on RFDTV. I did ask a trainer for help only twice that I can remember. I have already started two horses on my own with no help. I have trained other people's horses to fix problems.
I do agree that for the general public, you can't learn what you need to know by reading books and watching videos. BUT, it is possible for some. I have been told that I'm a natural with horses, so maybe that's why it worked for me. I won't say I know it all because I don't think anyone could. There's always more to learn.
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Oh I definitely think more people with little knowledge are getting horses.....ironically, in so many cases, they actually think they are "rescuing" them.....since they think that none should go to slaughter. Since the market is what it is right now, there are just so many "free"/cheap ones out there to "rescue".
I think there are different categories of hoarders....there's also the breeder hoarder.....it's like a lucky dip, lets breed X with X and let's see what we get and oh that didn't work so let's try again and so forth.....and usually these baby's end up being breeding stock too and never leave the property and are very seldom handled or worked with......yup, man playing mad scientist...
I think there is a big difference between those who do this just to have a horse and those who truly want to learn. You took the initiative and educated yourself; where as others, assume they know what they're doing. After all, they can take care of a dog/cat, so a horse can't be that much harder. These are the same people who, no matter how hard you try, you can't not tell them what they are doing is either wrong or dangerous.
Unless you're willing to go buy up all the "unwanted" horses yourself and take proper care of them ..
All I can do is take the best possible care of the horses that I own and use whatever opportunity I have to educate -- without being preachy or condescending -- those who will listen.
At the end of the day I have to realize that not everyone looks at things the way I do and unless it's a life or death situation or the opportunity arises to educate, it's none of my business.
I have several horses in this area that I "watch" .. if they reach a point where the authorities "might" do something, I'll call ..
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