Pampered too much? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Pampered too much?

I keep thinking this belongs in the 'Horse Care' section, but I can't decide which board would be best, so I'm posting it under general.
I'm posting this in it's own thread, because I find the topic interesting and I'd like to see it discussed further. The post below is what has had me mulling over this subject for the better part of two days:

Originally Posted By EILEEN - Today's horses are so pampered and please their not worked harder today I know that for a fact. Now they are mostly used for show and light pleasure and I mean light. Before the motorized vehicle they were the main form of transportation, worriers and workers. Was their life span shorter yes we have vets for everything from a itch to broken legs. Even back in the 50's an 60's they worked harder. We worked our horses no less then 6 hours on SLOW day all year long no heated indoor arena with super soft ground. They built up mussel, and stamina. Today I see most horses in our area just standing in pasture turned out for a few min chased around by someone to make them move a little. Our horses years ago were ready to go when we did and were still fresh when we were through for the day be it winter or summer, today They show for a few min, train for a hour or so a day and heaven for bid even the riders can hardly take a 4 hour ride. There are exceptions, thank God that there are some riders who still do the long trail rides and still use their horses as horses and not just show pieces.
Read more:
Personally, I both agree and disagree with this statement:
The work pressures of the modern horse are completely different to the work pressures that horses had say three hundred years ago.
NOW: Horses are made to perform in high stress environments. Especially any kind of 'race' horse. Any horse that's competing at the very top of an English discipline like Dressage or Showjumping. I'll admit right off that I know very little of Western riding or the types of competition that horses are used for.
But by using the word 'competition' in conjunction with horses, automatically implies some kind of 'stress', because as far as I know, there's no such thing as relaxed competition. Not really. Not if you're absolutely serious about your sport and wanting to succeed in it.
Agreeing with the below statement:

Originially posted by FAYE - Show jumping Now is far more technical and far higher then it used to be (at top level).
Eventing has deffinately gotten harder with more strain being put on the horses.
Dressage has also moved on and more is expected of the horses then it was 20 years ago.
They may not be worked for as long but often the work that competition horses do is harder on thier legs.
I think in some ways, over the years as the owning of horses turned from a necessity to a luxury, we - as humans - have perhaps made our animals weaker. Because now, yes, many people will provide their horses with blankets in the winter, regardless of whether they're allowed to grow a coat or not. We put shoes on them if they need it and they see a vet when they need to as well. Because we love them.
Maybe we do over-pamper them sometimes. I've seen horses who have absolutely everything that opens and shuts, they bat an eyelash funny and the vet is called. They're supplemented up to their eyeballs, because the woman who owns them is a homeopath and gives them everything under the sun. These horses still get sick, and colicky and lame. They're not allowed to BE horses. And that's the kind of pampering I disagree with.
I like to think that most people provide their horses with what they need, when they need it. I had a horse with the most horrendous feet (His pedal bone had rotated slightly and this had led to dropped soles). So, he had a specialized farrier, frighteningly expensive shoes, and was on a number of hoof supplements included in his feed. Not to mention having his feet towel dried after a wet day. Maybe some people would call that excessive, but I call it keeping him comfortable.
Just some thoughts I've cobbled together, I'm sorry they're not terribly cohesive. But basically I'm interested to hear other people's opinions, but let's try to keep personal insults and flaming to a minimum. :)
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 12:03 PM
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I agree that horses are not worked as frequently or as hard, in some cases, as they were back then. Their health is more closely accounted for because they are pets. But is this really bad for the horses?

The pampering horses are given today -- supplements as needed, well fitting tack, good quality food, medical care-- is, in my view, a good thing. Some "pamperings", however, aren't so good. Like the OP posted, it can go too far. There is a fine balance between looking out for their health and welfare and over indulging them. Such is the art of horse keeping.

Depending on the horse's age and personality, he should be worked, in an ideal world, 4-6 times per week. Being worked frequently makes for a good riding animal. I'm not sure if working him as hard as they did in the "old days" would be the best, because I don't have much knowledge about the exercise horses were accustomed to back then.

In summery, I definitely agree that they should be worked more often and the balance between being a horse and being a pet should be, eh, balanced.
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 12:21 PM
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I agree with Brighteyes and Faye. Yes some horses are pampered way to much, they get treats and the vets called out the stupidest things and they get layers and layers of blankets and hundreds of differant boots, etc. etc. etc. I do not agree with over pampering but blanketing a horse and giving them supplements is not pampering it is taking care of your horse.

I ride at a competition barn. Everyone there does 3-Day Eventing except for 2 older ladies. Most of the horses are TB's or WB's. Almost everyone at the barn shoes their horses in the summer, usually so they can put corks in. The people with frnt shoes take them off in the winter and the people still with shoes get snow pads. Now is that overpampering? Making sure you take care of their feet and giving them the ability to walk without 3 inch ice balls. Everyone at my barn blankets and that's because TB's and WB's don't get thick coats. And the ones that do get coats get clipped. Is that over pampering? We need our horses to stay in top athletic form so when show season comes we can do our best. Some of the indoor horses get supplements wether they be hoof minerals or Hoofman's minerals or fat supplement. We give the these things so that they can stay in top form through all our work.

Most of the rider's at my barn come out 5-6 days a week. We work our horses hard. When Eileen said that horses don't work as hard these days I have to disagree a little bit. Yes there are lot's of people out there who's horse gets ridden once a week and sits in the field most of the time, hell, the horses I have at home don't get ridden as often as they should. But there are A LOT of horses out there that get worked HARD. Just look at all the olympic eventer, jumping and dressage horses. Come to my barn and look at the horses. No they don't plow the fields for 6 hours a day but we work them hard in other ways.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 12:37 PM
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Personally I don't see what the issue is? I'd rather see a horse overly pampered with a pair of differently coloured boots for every consecutive day of the week than a horse who is starving with slipper feet standing in layers of it's own filth...or a horse who is just given the barest minimum to survive while having it's **** worked off...or a horse who is unfortunate enough to live with an owner who yanks it's mouth around and whose idea of a good ride is running it into the ground.

Seriously. Nowadays we see a wide range of uses for horses...light pleasure mounts, "useless" horses who just sit around doing nothing else but keeping their people company, hard working ranch types, top level athletes, pets, and so on. Their jobs have changed quite a bit...they are no longer something reserved strictly for the elite, or widely seen as little more than transportation, or what have you. And along with this change of course there are going to be discrepancies in care and what is required of them. I would say that in general, there is a lot more expected of many horses nowadays who are in performance than ever before.

Though I couldn't care less if some weekender lets their beloved pony get fat in the pasture only to take him out for a light trail ride now and then, or if someone neurotically manages every little aspect of their horse's wellbeing.

Now, do I agree with people who don't actually treat their horses LIKE HORSES as another poster stated? No. But there are worse things.

Last edited by Cheshire; 11-21-2010 at 12:44 PM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 03:38 PM
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Horses are sOOOOO much stronger than most people realize. The kind of rides most folks do are not even scratching the surface of what a horse CAN do.

I just don't like seeing horse care becoming so artificial that horses are never allowed to be horses. The worst part, for me, is that they are often never allowed to be in a herd. I know that horses are valuable, and the risk of injury is real, but it's sad when they spend their whole lives seperated into little boxes.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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I just don't like seeing horse care becoming so artificial that horses are never allowed to be horses. The worst part, for me, is that they are often never allowed to be in a herd. I know that horses are valuable, and the risk of injury is real, but it's sad when they spend their whole lives seperated into little boxes.

Oh I agree so much!
There's nothing worse than seeing horses kept in individual paddocks that are the same size as their stable.
I realise that there are situations and circumstances, but I think if the means are available, horses should at the very least be paddocked in pairs. Or be given a companion like a sheep or something.
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-22-2010, 01:49 PM
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I completely agree, horses can handle more than many people think. i go on day long trail rides, on light days i ride for hours & break for lunch, then get back on and go again, i do different things with my horse & most of it is just for fun, i show western pleasure, but that's not all i have my horse for, she is EXTREMELY versitile and can handle whatever i may throw at her in stride. She can ride english, western, bridleless( still working on that though), she can run barrels or show pleasure, & she can take to a trail & lead for hours & not miss a single step. I think many people simply forget that just because you have a pleasure horse doesn't mean it's tied down to that, horses are capable of more than they remember.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-22-2010, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Horses are sOOOOO much stronger than most people realize. The kind of rides most folks do are not even scratching the surface of what a horse CAN do.

I just don't like seeing horse care becoming so artificial that horses are never allowed to be horses. The worst part, for me, is that they are often never allowed to be in a herd. I know that horses are valuable, and the risk of injury is real, but it's sad when they spend their whole lives seperated into little boxes.
I totally agree with this.

Horses are like therapy ~ and almost as expensive
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-22-2010, 02:37 PM
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I agree that we should let our horses be horses. I've ridden up to 14 hrs (though not intended) in one day on mountain trails. I do give my horses supplements...but not because I want to, because I have to in order to keep them healthy. I also call the vet when needed...but he comes out twice a year regardless to give vaccines so they remain healthy, and the Coggins so I can take them out to ride them. I also have them on a 6 week rotation with the farrier. I keep shoes with borium on them year round because I don't give them the winter off and I may ride trails one day and hardtop road the next; although I did pull Rosie's before she had her surgery. Rosie is in a 12 x 12 stall right now, but that's because I don't want her to rip her stitches out...and Rookie is being kept outside by himself because he has tried to kill the mini donkeys. But, as soon as those stitches come out, Rose will be right back out there with Rook.

My guys do get blanketed when it's really cold and raining, and I do plan on keeping them in while snowing...especially if this year is anything like last year. But when the snow melts, they will be right back out there.

I also agree that most horses aren't worked the way that they used to be. With the exception of ranch horses. I remember summers that my grandfather, then dad, worked them 12 or more hours a day / and most of the time 7 days a week (no matter what the temp was) to plow the fields and cut the hay...and if we were lucky, we'd ride them out of the field. And if we were real lucky, we'd ride them on days that they weren't being used. They got no grain or supplements, and I didn't even know there were equine vets or farriers until I started working at the show barn. With the work they did, I don't ever remember their feet being over grown, or even chipped out for that matter. Not to mention that I had never seen a saddle close up until I was 24 or 25. That's just the way it was when I was growing up.

Honary "HFA" member...That's right, I'm admitting it!

BTW....That's NOT rain on your windshield!!!!
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