Thursday, February 16, 2012

Which thing in this picture is different?

(so don't get all sensitive)

I included this heading because this is a tough topic to talk about without someone feeling like these types of conversations"attack" beginner riders.  No one should ever "attack" a beginner rider, because we all were one at some point, and we should all remember that.  However, in my years of horse rescue and trying to pair good adoptive matches, I've found again and again that beginners are the hardest type of horse person to help out, and it frequently doesn't matter how nicely you try.  And despite owning horses for over 30 years, I'm still not quite sure why that is.

What confuses me the most about some riders is the apparent inability to recognize when one thing does not look like the other things they are seeing.

I'm the first to admit I'm not a very good rider and lord knows I'm not a confident rider.  I've been riding near my whole life and I still place myself as a lower level intermediate rider.  I take lessons every week.  I will need lessons until the day I die, and even then I'm sure I'll still suck.  I am watching and learning from everyone around me, ALWAYS.  Sometimes that watching is because I see someone doing something that for me is hard, but for them looks effortless.  That's something I want to learn, so I study them and ask questions. Sometimes I learn because I see someone do something I don't ever want to do, so I make a note of that, too. I've always done this and I don't think I will ever stop doing this.  I'm not sure I could if I tried.

So, that being said, why does it seem like so many beginners fail to look around and recognize when one thing in the picture is different? 

If your saddle looks like this sitting on your horse:           

But all your friends saddles look like this sitting on their horses...     Don't you wonder why?  Wouldn't you ask once you noticed that more than a couple saddles didn't fit like yours? 

And, if you go riding in a group and everyone else looks like these folks on their horses:

But you look like this... 

or this......
Don't you wonder why?  And wouldn't you want to try to fix it?  The same thing if you take a short canter with your trail buddies, and they are sitting deep and secure in their saddles looking nice and relaxed, while you fly all about your mount slamming up and down and narrowly escaping death with every stride... ---------------------->

Wouldn't you begin to notice that one thing here is not like the other?  And wouldn't, naturally, you want to find out WHY?

This isn't about giving anyone advice.  It's about why some people fail to look around and NOTICE.  If my horse looks like a hairy Yak, and yours gleams like a shiny new penny...  I'm going to ask you WHY, or at least HOW yours looks different than mine.

So, for discussion... is the issue that beginners don't know what they should be noticing, or is it that they simply truly do not recognize the one thing that is different?  And how do we get that to change?

I'm assuming part of this phenomenon is how one person sees this:
When the reality is this:
And, just for fun, some guys think they look like this:

 And we're all wincing because we see this:

Friday, February 3, 2012

So would slaughter really be better here? Are you sure?

There's been much fuss since PETA and a few other animal welfare groups have come forward stating they support the return of horse slaughter to US soil, based on the belief it would be "more humane".

I want to explore that notion today.  Would it be more humane?  Would horse slaughter really be better if it happened in the US?

I know my opinion and I stand firm on it.  HELL NO.  And I'm happy to explain why.  Here's the most common excuses I hear trying to rationalize bringing back horse slaughter to the US, and my feelings about why these statements just don't fly with me. 

1.  It will be more humane, better regulated, and have more oversight.  
Is the public really dumb enough to buy this line?  I sure hope not.  It's only been since 2007, and already people have sadly long since forgotten the collective OUTRAGE over the atrocities suffered by horses because of US slaughter. What most people do not understand- or don't want to understand-  is that the methods used to slaughter horses in Canada are the same methods utilized in the US to slaughter horses.  When US slaughterhouses were open, humane laws were not enforced, and humane practices did not occur.  Horses were treated inhumanely prior to transport, during transport, at the facility, and especially during their death.  The outrage over these barbaric offenses and the utter lack of enforcement is what moved Americans to push for a ban on US horse slaughter in the first place!!!   

For the love of God... I just can not wrap my mind around how people can pretend that the very same offenses that currently occur in Canada, and that used to occur in the US, will not occur again.  Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different outcome?  If so, then the option of US horse slaughter is insane. 

*The slaughterhouses proved to the US that they would cut corners and skirt regulations for the sake of the almighty dollar. 

*They already proved to the US they would disregard EPA standards and pollute their surrounding areas. 

*They already proved- again and again- that having veterinarians present and random inspections does not prevent the shortcuts that lead to horrendous suffering! 

*They already proved that slaughter benefits no one but the foreign fat cats who sit by and get rich off your old lesson horse! 

*Hell- Dallas Crown was in Kaufman TX, and it sure sounds nice and American- but it's a Belgian owned company.  It nearly left Kaufman city bankrupt after years of fighting it over 29 different fines for wastewater violations.  And according to the mayor between 2002-2004, Paula Bacon, Dallas Crown had an income of 12 MILLION DOLLARS...  and it paid $5 in federal taxes, and created 42 jobs. 

But lets just let them keep telling us horse slaughter will be better here...

2.  It saves the horses from having to be transported hundreds if not thousands of miles in horrible conditions.
Does anyone own a map?  Salt Lake City- Beltex= 1300 miles.  There were only 3 slaughterhouses in the US:  1 in Illinois and 2 in Texas.  This is a pretty big country.  Horses were already traveling long distances in cramped trailers under horrible conditions.  Horses were arriving trampled to death, with missing eyes and broken legs.  Regulations for how long horses could be transported without food, water, or rest went ignored or unenforced as a common practice.  That all happened here, too. 

A Freedom of Information Request of the U.S.D.A. regarding violations of the “Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Act" resulted in a 906-page document including almost 500 separate photographs of severe and alarming cruelty of horses due to the horse slaughter industry that happened on U.S. soil.- (animal angels)

Doesn't anyone recall that the movement to ban double deckers started in the US because they were USED here to transport horses to slaughter? 

Saying that horse slaughter would be "better for horses in the US" is like saying that guy who used to beat you won't do it anymore because he changed .

Some leopards never change their spots. 

Christine Hajek, President of Gentle Giants