Horse meat on your dinner plate.

Follow up to “Horse slaughter in the USA.”

I have had some interesting comments on the slaughter issue. You can read them by clicking on comments. The most interesting is the response from visitors to my blog from outside the United States.

While we find the consumption of our equine charges and friends inconceivable, there are other places in the world where it is more common.

We are all aware of the nightmare that horses endure on their trip across our boarders to slaughter. But what about the unsuspecting end user? What is in that horse meat sitting on their dinner plates? Does anyone in their Countries inspect the meat destined for their families?

We worm our horses every sixty to ninety days. Every worm medication I have ever used, in the past five decades, warns not for use in horses destined for human consumption.  With the increase of the equine population, and competition horses traveling the globe, inoculations for transmittable disease have become a way of life.

If you show you know that a negative Coggins has become a must in most cases, especially if you are traveling interstate. If you are old enough who can forget the panic of the VEE outbreak in the early 1970’s.

Equine medicine has come a long way since then, and prevention is the name of the game. In our area of Ohio it is common to inoculate our horses in the spring. At our farm we get rabies, tetanus boosters, eastern and western equine encephalitis, strangles, flu and rhino, as well as additional shots required to travel to other areas, or combat occasional outbreaks.

Because of the medications in our horses systems the EPA has stepped in to monitor the disposal of our horses. Twenty years ago you could donate your expired equine partners to the zoo to feed the big cats, or inter them at home, if you had the land. Not so today. Dead horses whether they died naturally, or had to be put down, go to a designated EPA burial site.

The question here is if our horses are not safe to feed to the cats at the zoo, or rest in the ground at a farm for fear of contaminating the ground water, how in the world could they be safe for human consumption?

It cost just short of two hundred dollars, to have your horse picked up and carried to an approved site. Another one to two hundred dollars to have an equine friend humanely put down by a Vet. Is it any wonder that folks struggling to keep their homes, and feed their kids have sent their horses and ponies to the killer auctions?

Let me hear your opinions on this topic. Leave a comment.

Horses and their favorite treats

All responsible horse owners, or care givers obsess about their horse’s diet.

We all know they can founder if given too much grain, or drink too much water after they they have become overheated.  We worry about colic, ulcers, and a host of other equine nightmares.

I had a couple of comments from folks who have read my blogs, and I want to thank them. We have always fed our horses three times a day. Less grain when they have access to pasture during the summer. I have already covered some of these issues in the blog “Apples as Horse Treats.”

Processed horse treats are not ever given to our horses. They like alfalfa cubes, not well soaked in water before feeding, can swell in the esophagus and choke your horse.

Okay enough of that, hopefully we all know the proper care of your equine partner.

On the Lighter side!

No. You can’t feed a horse once a day like a dog!

Strange treats, and behaviors.

Horses love apples, carrots, and some even like peppermints.  Some unusual treats that I have observed over the years.  A longtime Saddlebred owner, and trainer that I spent a lot of time with in the late 1960’s and early 70’s rewarded his two stallions with a small bucket of beer when they won a big event. Around that same time period my horse of the time was boarded with a Quarter Horse that begged beer from his owner.

I had an Appaloosa that loved German plums, watermelon rinds, and would constantly mooch crushed ice from my drinks at horse shows. Another horse that I knew was into rum and coke, as well as ham sandwiches! To my knowledge none of these strange treats resulted in harm. My Appaloosa gelding lived to the age of twenty four when he was put down due to old injuries.

Note: I am not recommending any of these. I just thought that they were interesting

At the time I thought the ham sandwiches were unusual. After all horses are grazers, vegetarians.  Then I read about horses in a drought stricken area that became carnivorous. They adapted to their new reality.

New Horse blog I found Interesting  Take a look at this blog, if you are an avid horseperson. Also if you are interested in dressage or starting a young horse, the joys and the pitfalls!

I think that little Bella is destined to be a dressage horse! So, I pay a lot of attention to the dressage riders at our winter boarding stable, and will probably be taking in more of the clinics offered there. Most of you know that since 2000 reining has been my sport and focus. After my bout with cancer in 2010. I am just struggling to get back in the groove again. I have two years to accomplish getting fit again before I have to tackle Bella under saddle.

She is very smart and willing to please. I am looking forward to starting her ground work this coming summer. Any of my long time horse friends starting a young horse?

Slaughter of horses in USA

Slaughter of horses in the states is a big controversy among horsemen across the nation.

Many horse lovers, like me, have made the tough decision to have our equines humanely put down, if they can no longer take care of them. My horses are all well trained, and could successfully compete in the show ring, trail ride safely, and bring many hours of pleasure to a potential new owner. They will never be sold. I could not live with myself, if they became abused, neglected, or starved like so many of their peers.

Slaughter is a sad end to so many hapless equines. They travel for miles packed in trucks terrified and injured by their equally panicked companions, only to end their lives brutally killed in Mexico, or Canada.  We used to have facilities here in the US that were regulated.Is it time to reopen these slaughter houses?

I grant you, it is abhorrent to most equine lovers and horsemen. Much of what I hear is regulate the breeders, and that may be a long term possibility. Here is the rub, large breeders are not necessarily horsemen, or equine lovers. They are first and foremost business men with a bottom line. Out of hundreds of foals maybe three or four will sell for mega bucks as two to four year-olds, but what happens to the other foals, the collateral damage to their greed?  It is not fair, but either is the corporate structure and Wall Street. Trying to regulate large breeders is just about as impossible as tackling these others.

Who is really responsible? Well, try some of these: My kid isn’t winning, so get rid of first horse and get a more expensive horse.  I need a new horse, the problems have to be its fault, after all I am a good rider. Mommy and Daddy I want a horse, or a pony until I loose interest. Gee, my mare could have a foal, then I could raise the baby. For decades these scenes played out across this country creating the market for the never ending supply of horses. But what happened when the economy went bust beginning five or six years ago?

Horses were, if they were lucky, sold. For the unlucky they have been, and are being abandoned at boarding stables, dumped in peoples pastures, tied to strange trailers, or just turned loose in a park, or rural area to fend for them selves. Some make it to rescue shelters, but then what? These facilities are overcrowded, and struggling. Then there is the stories of horses starved to death, found in stalls or pastures in various stages of decomposition.

So which is more humane?

Unfortunately, you can’t regulate who can own a horse anymore that you can who should be a parent, or who can own a dog, cat, or other animal.

Let me know what you think the solution is to the expanding numbers of unwanted equines.

Apples as a Horse treat

To feed, or not to feed?

Is a topic of conversation that frequently comes up among horse owners, and opinions are as varied as the people spouting them.

I am not going to get into the fact that a lot of these people feed processed treats that are available from local tack stores to feed dealers. (That is another topic for a later blog.)

My horses love apples! With the exception of our new arrival back in October. Bella was five months old at that time. I split an apple between our two Quarter Horses, but saved two small slivers for Bella. She didn’t have a clue what they were, and was unwilling to try the strange fare.

I guess that I should explain. Bella followed me home from the Haflinger auction in Ashland, Ohio. She was raised by an Amish family in Indiana, and I doubt that she would have known what an apple was even had she been an older horse.

I gave her small apple slivers to her foster mom, Anna, who had already inhaled her share and looking for more. I fed the rejected apples to my husband’s mare through the bars on the upper part of the dividing stall wall with Bella looking on. This went on for a few days until she decided that she would try them. Now she looks forward to her quarter to half of an apple.

It was a big relief when she began to look forward to her apple treat. In the late summer and early fall apples are abundant in our pastures. At one time our place was an orchard, and I hate to admit how many apple trees we have had to destroy over the years to make the pastures safe for the horses, and minimize the front end loaders of fallen apples that needed to be hauled out of the pastures, before we could turn out our equine charges. Even with that precaution apples fell with every stiff breeze, or just from their own weight.

The remaining trees have grown quite tall over the past three decades, and provide ample shade during the heat of the summer. Horses have delicate stomachs. Any abrupt change in diet can bring on a deadly bout of colic. I feed apples year round to keep them accustomed to the delicious fruit they can’t seem to get enough of.

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