Responsible horse owner
Are you committed to looking after a horse or pony?
Owning and caring for a horse or pony is a
considerable responsibility and one that must not be taken lightly.
Having a horse or pony of your own is
an opportunity to build a wonderful partnership with these magnificent animals
and enjoy all they have to offer however, they require attention many hours of
the day, 7 days of the week, in all winds and weather and you must keep up a
good solid routine for them.
It is very important to choose the
correct breed of horse for the type of job it is required to do, also you or
someone else who helps you, will require sufficient knowledge and experience to
care for and work with your horse or pony every day of the week.
Your horse or pony will require the
attention of professionals such as veterinary surgeons for all their aches and
pains and general health, Farriers to keep their feet in good order and on
occasion’s physiotherapists to work those muscles and the like, also Dieticians
who will “sort the wheat from the chaff” when special diets and additional
supplements are required.
Your horse or pony will require
plenty of good quality food in the form of a balanced diet, lots of good clean
water, a place to graze on grass if possible and somewhere to get away from the
weather, also to rest and sleep, or be in if not feeling well.
They will require daily care in the
form of; picking out feet, grooming the coat, tending to their mane and tail,
wiping over, sponging and bathing, health checks, first aid, application of
topical treatments and much more.
If your horse or pony has turnout
available, you must ensure; it is safe, they cannot escape, fall down holes,
eat anything that is poisonous, be injured by falling tree branches, not be cut
by barbed wire or other protrusions, not catch infectious diseases or pass
diseases onto other animals, have adequate shelter from the cold, wet and heat,
be able to escape annoying bugs and have a good supply of fodder and clean
fresh water, not be in places with excessive airborne dust particles, pollution
or things that may cause persistent alarm or distress.
Keeping your horse or pony confined
to a stable for long periods of time, (unless as instructed by a vet), should
be avoided. Horses and ponies require turnout, to socialise with their own
kind, and not just for a few hours at a time. Some owners may be prepared to
stay in confined spaces for 12 to 18 hours a day, but do not expect your horse
or pony to stay in its stable for many hours of the day and not react
negatively to this.
Your horse or pony will require their
own kind for company (other horses & ponies, or perhaps a Donkey or even a
sheep or two as companions). They will require proper clothing in the form of
rugs, blankets and often face masks to keep out the bugs.
If you intend to ride them, your
choice of horse or pony must be suitable for what you intend to do with them,
you must also ensure you have the level of skill and experience to help them do
this job. You will require a range of proper fitting tack and other
accessories, then you will require proper transport if you want to visit other
places beyond the range of hacking.
You must choose the right breed of
horse to match your experience and skill. Don’t choose a plodder because it is
relatively safe and expect to train it for cross country because you are likely
to be bitterly disappointed, likewise don’t choose a thoroughbred or similar
HOT BLOOD, because it looks flashy, you want to show it off to your mates and
you only want to hack out in places with lots of Dragons hiding in bushes and
sharks in puddles of water – you will get shaken to your core, also you and the
horse will be at risk of serious injury or worse.
It is sensible to plan and be
prepared for that day every owner dreads, the day your horse or pony crosses
the Rainbow Bridge. We all plan for our end of life and it is important we do
the same for our horses and ponies. If you are truly committed to your horse or
pony, don’t leave it until after the event to decide who will do what and when.
There is no shame in being sensible
and protecting your horse or pony and yourself from injury or even death.
We have them to enjoy them and seek
to form a lasting partnership of mutual trust and understanding, or any other
genuine and good reason for keeping them.
So remember: Choose the right one for
the right reasons
onset of winter sees the emergence of those horse and pony owners who contact
Baxters Rescue to take their unwanted horses and ponies and they have a myriad
of reasons for being unable to keep their animals. With the arrival of spring,
we see the same people advertising for new horses and ponies.
This practice goes on repeatedly
every year and these irresponsible owners continue to pass on to others, horses
and ponies that were unsuitable for them from the outset, yet undeterred they
are back out in the market place looking for their next summer ‘hottie’ to
acquire and show off.
The result is; equines that are being
systematically passed from one owner to another, with little or no opportunity
of finding a proper home with someone who understands and is committed to
offering them the stable environment they need and deserve.
The consequences are often dire for
these equines, with many being euthanased because they are considered by many
people to be out of control.
Some could say the same for the
behaviour of children and young adults, who have been passed from home to home
or abandoned by those they trust. These issues in humans are acknowledged
globally as a very real problem.
If these owners / keepers actually
knew anything about horses and ponies, they would identify equines suffer the
same problems as humans. It is universally acknowledged equines take time to
trust and until this phase has been completed, they are apt to be flighty and
often difficult when in strange surroundings and rightly so!
Just when they are getting used to
their home, the serial offender has them on a trailer and away they go to
another person at another place, so the process begins all over again and it is
little wonder horses and ponies have these problems.
The solution to this ongoing problem
is simple however, achieving it for some people appears to be next to
So this Seasonal Silliness will
continue unabated, until additional legislation is introduced that stops the
behaviour of these irresponsible owners outright.
Until then, we continue to say a
silent prayer for those poor lost horses and ponies.
of the weather conditions or the time of day / night, the horses and ponies
welfare takes priority.
If you are not prepared to do what it
takes when it is needed, throughout many hours of the day, 7 days a week, and
you still want to own a horse or pony, you should consider placing them in
assisted or full livery, where help is available from other residents and yard
is your responsibility to fully understand your horse or ponies welfare needs
and what the law requires you to do, to meet those needs.
Welfare Act 2006