EQUUS - - Special Report -

Dur­ing my years in equine res­cue, I’ve heard a num­ber of com­plaints that are based on mis­un­der­stand­ings. Here are a few cases that are not con­sid­ered ne­glect or abuse:

1. It’s not nec­es­sar­ily ne­glect when some­one else’s horse-care prac­tices dif­fer from yours.

Ex­am­ple: Your own horses may have a run-in shed and plenty of shade in their pas­ture, but not all states re­quire that horses have shel­ter.

2. If horses haven’t been re­moved after you called in a com­plaint, it doesn’t mean law en­force­ment is ig­nor­ing the case.

Ex­am­ple: Horses may re­main on a prop­erty weeks after you filed a com­plaint for sev­eral rea­sons: An of­fi­cer may have in­ves­ti­gated and con­firmed the owner’s story that the horse in ques­tion is re­ceiv­ing proper care, or the of­fi­cer may be giv­ing the owner time to im­prove con­di­tions on his own.

3. Not all skinny horses are ne­glected.

Ex­am­ple: Horses may lose a great deal of weight when ill or in­jured, and the owner may be work­ing with a vet­eri­nar­ian to treat the horse and put weight back on him. Or the owner may have ac­quired the horse only re­cently and is re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing him.

4. Fail­ing to ride a horse reg­u­larly is not abuse.

Ex­am­ple: We hear many com­plaints about horses who are be­ing ne­glected be­cause they’re not be­ing rid­den. The horses may be re­tired, too young or not broke to ride. The owner may ride when you aren’t around.

5. Train­ing pro­ce­dures you don’t like are not au­to­mat­i­cally abu­sive.

Ex­am­ple: You may not like to use crops, spurs or harsher bits, but if they’re used prop­erly, many train­ers con­sider them aids. If the horse is not be­ing in­jured, the law will not con­sider him abused.

Not all skinny horses are ne­glected.

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