We view horses differently than a lot of people. Your horse should be treated like he is an employee in your business. The horse is a key player in the task or goal you want to accomplish. He has a job to do in exchange for his food, water, and care. If he’s doing his job, then he continues to work for you. If he won’t work or doesn’t get the job done, then he’s fired. Just that simple.
To some folks, it sounds harsh, even mean-spirited. We don’t know why? Do you work? Are you paid because you work? What happens if you decide not to work? Do you keep the job? Not most places we have been employed. Simply said, if you don’t put in a full day’s work, you shouldn’t have the job.
Just because your horse works for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like him as a co-worker. In fact, just the opposite. Some of the best jobs we ever held involved working for someone who we viewed as a friend, a mentor, a partner so to speak. The job was far more enjoyable because we had a good relationship with the supervisor. We still knew the hierarchy or the pecking order, but that was an insignificant and unimportant detail. Respect was mutually present and the goal was doing the best we could as a team. It wasn’t about who was in charge, but getting the work done in the best way possible. Even though it was a rewarding place to work and everyone got along well together, there remained one underlying component of the relationship; get the job done or find a new one. No one was unfair or inconsiderate about it. There was never even conversation about it; everyone just understood the company had to get the job done.
There’s been a real push in this country for entitlements for all. The attitude seems to be if you want to work, then go ahead. If you don’t want to work, then no worries. The government or someone will take care of you. The logic has trickled down to animals including the horse industry. There’s a lot of folks with grand ideas about horse care and ownership who don’t know a whole lot about it. In times past, animals were kept for a purpose. They had a job to do. Nowadays society tells us that animals have rights; maybe that are superior to the owner ( you almost can’t say owner ). The “owner” is obligated to care for the animal because the animal is entitled and has rights in the matter.
This “animal entitlement” trend has grown to the point that you hear about horse rescues whose goal is to save the life of a horse no matter what the circumstances. We even heard of about one lady attempting to raise thousands of dollars for a surgery for a horse that would have been better off euthanized. It made absolutely no economic sense to do the surgery. The horse had been “rescued” so it wasn’t as though there was a long emotional attachment by the individual raising the money. The horse had just been picked up and there was a good will mission to raise donations.
As we have said and will continue to say, part of what we do is educate. This means we challenge the fads, the trends, and the generally accepted beliefs of people if the reasoning doesn’t make sense to us. It’s not an indication we don’t respect the rights of others to have their opinions. We just believe there should be a logical discussion and not an emotional reaction to the proper care and treatment of livestock.
Do we endorse animal abuse? The answer is no we don’t. Do we support horse owners starving them? Definitely not. By the same token, we disagree with the concept of placing horses or any other animal in a “rescue ” for life. The horse, abused or not, isn’t “entitled” to room and board. He needs to work for his keep just like we work for ours. So what about the horses that aren’t receiving proper care. It’s the same response we have for people down on their luck. If we see someone having a hard time or in a bad way, we’re willing to help out. Everyone deserves a chance so to speak. On the other hand, we also expect the person to help themselves and do their part. We don’t just set up a social program for lifetime care.
We suggest the same approach with a horse. Sure if he has been abused and there’s hope to rehabilitate him in short order and it makes you feel good, then do it. By the same token, if the situation is to the point that the horse can’t be trained to do a job, then he’s not entitled to his keep. No doubt, there’s a number of folks who disagree with us. No problem, feel free to feed and care for as many horses as you can afford to keep. Spend your time fund-raising so people can donate to a good cause. But, don’t ask us to help support a life care plan for man or beast that won’t get up in the morning and go to work. It’s like asking a company to fire a hardworking employee so some poor, down on his luck individual can have the position.
Sorry, we aren’t throwing away our hard-earned money at social concepts seemingly viewed as noble by a large part of the world. We prefer to just keep our “working horses” employed and productive instead of firing them so we can use the money to feed a horse that can’t work. Call us uncaring if you like, just seems to make sense to use our resources for those horses that serve a purpose in society other than giving someone an “emotional feel good” because they have a “worthy cause”. Someone will say, why not rehabilitate the horse from the rescue? Glad you asked the question.
It takes us two years to develop a quiet, calm, well-broke trail horse if we start with no issues to fix or correct. A horse that needs an extra two years to recover from abuse costs a lot more money. You don’t take an abused horse and spend three or four hours in counseling to resolve the problems. We run a business designed to make a profit. If you run a business, you hire the best person for the job, not the one most down on his luck. We select the best horse for the job, not the one that needs the most help. Like we said at the beginning of this post, a horse should be treated like an employee. Right or wrong, good or bad, these are our thoughts, as respectfully stated as we know how, in a country that is still hopefully big enough for differing opinions.