What is Horse Abuse?
Okay so this may be controversial, but I need to vent. :?
I am new to the forum, but I have noticed a couple of threads that say something about how a horse is being treated horribly or "how could someone do that?!" I then open the thread thinking oh no a poor horse got hurt, only to find someone overreacting.
Thus I am going to attempt to define horse abuse, or abuse in general.
Abuse, in my opinion, is a willingly harmful act done by a person to (in this case) a horse.
So this is a vague definition, but it does rule out a couple of things.
In most cases, You cannot say something is abuse by watching a 2 minute clip or analyzing pictures of someone training a horse that looks otherwise healthy.
You cannot use abuse in place of the word "mistreated." In my opinion, there is a big difference between a lapse of judgement (an accident, or an uneducated person) and a person who really just doesn't care or those who want to hurt the horse.
For example: Using a whip is NOT always abuse (although a whip can be a tool for abuse, it is not always abuse), same with spurs. if the owner or trainer misuses the tool, but then realizes their mistake and corrects it, once again, not abuse.
Just because you wouldn't train a horse the way someone else would does not mean that it is abuse either. The horse is fed, kept warm, worked with, watered, kept clean, had regular care, ect., and some complain because the horse is "jabbed in the flanks" with spurs (or something along that line, you get my point).
One examples of the difference between ABUSE and other cases, just to try to make my point clear(mistreatment, uneducated handler, ACCIDENT, mistake, old horse, ect.)
The first, definitely abusive. The second is INCONCLUSIVE (you never know, could be an old horse that the owner is struggling to get weight on). You just can't tell from the picture. (so it cannot be accurately labeled abuse)
Im not saying don't post on what your opinions are on certain matters.Just try to stay away from lumping everything as abusive. Everyone has a different way to train, everyone makes mistakes and accidents happen.
Okay I feel better now :lol:
Im not going to say what my definition is as I feel that This thread will cause arguements. Just wanted to say, That first pic is horrific!
The second pic is not too bad, sure he needs a little more weight but to me it looks like it could be breed characteristics and he has an ewe neck. But other than that I don't see how it could be horse abuse.
I think asking what is Horse Abuse is similar to can I hit my child.......I dont think there is a clear line in the sand for wither. Of course the example you provided is abuse thats an obvious one but the closer you look at the line the blurry it becomes because who here, be honest hasnt lost their cool? If not your lying because horses, like kids try our paitence/temper from time to time.
I know myself I have lost my temper with my horses, but I always feel terrible about it. Of course thats different to when your horse needs discipling. Some horses do have difficult personalites and need the occasional whack.
At the same time I would never use a whip or spurs because I could never trust myself not to misuse them if I lost my cool....
Thats my two bits worth xD
I couldn't agree more! I just got sick of all the "wow that's horse abuse!" without even looking into the situation. You are right, every horse, person, and situation is different and needs to be taken into account.
Abuse can happen without intent too in the form of an uneducated handler. I suppose it is clearer to handle it as neglect. When we decide to own or care for a horse, that horses life becomes our responsibility. Ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse because it is then the humans job to educate themselves through any and all means.
Sure all beginner horse owners make mistakes that aren't abusive.
But I know people who genuinely believe you don't have to water the horse in the winter because it will eat the snow. Or they don't notice signs a more educated horseman would see that their horse is in distress. Plenty of people that would not beat or obviously abuse their horses can neglect their horse. If the horse is suffering, the human needs to alleviate that in some means. Just another form of abuse.
Some people call abuse everything... Even using a bit... :roll:
And I agree in many situations, watching 2 mins clip (or listening to whatever some stranger on Internet says) is not a basis for judgment.
Personally, I'd call abuse the continues conditions horse lives/works in, which are life threatening.
I think there is a rather large difference between abuse and neglect/ignorance. Yes the second often has drastic consequences but to me abuse is the intentional causing of harm to a horse. Whether the intentions be better training or a quick fix, its the fact that the action is undertaken deliberately, regardless of the reasoning behind it. Neglect to me is not so much actions taken, but actions not taken.
So to me using an a harsh bit in an inappropriate and painful way (that causes harm to the horse) is abuse, but not feeding your horse is neglect. Abuse is intentional action, neglect is in-action.
I don't want to post something long. But like spastic dove said it might not always be with the intent to be abusive. The owner might have some disorder of some kind as well and think that there's nothing wrong with his/herhorse that is skinny as a stick.
Like another thread about a guy who had a mental disorder and stole horses from people cause in his mind he thought the horses were abandoned and he thought he was helping them. And took them to his "rescue" and a l few ended up starving.
There is always going to be a fine line between abuse/neglect as I kind of see them hand in hand. As well as different situations.
BUT I have noticed that some people on here cry "abuse" A little too much.
Bits are not abusive.. but they can be in the wrong hands (ANY kind of bit)
Not giving food and water will always be abusive... but a horse that is hard to keep weight on OR breed characteristics such as TBs or STBs (or any others) Tend to be ribbier and hard to keep weight on without shoving fatteners down their throat.
Training tech. can be abusive and some aren't. Forcing a horse to the ground or repeatedly whipping/spurring/hitting is abusive. And just some training tech. well some people just cry "abuse" because in their perfect world things/training doesn't happen like that.
So again... fine line between Abuse-not abuse
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