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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

and be;

HORSE SAFE!



SEASONAL SILLINESS:

The 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 impossible.

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.


Regardless 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 owners.


It is your responsibility to fully understand your horse or ponies welfare needs and what the law requires you to do, to meet those needs.

Animal Welfare Act 2006