Sunday, June 14, 2009

Musings over P&P news

Wow, spent a sweet afternoon at Spruce Meadows (riiiight before my car broke down...for the second time in 3 months...yaaay! *roll eyes*) - both exciting and inspiring! Check out my other blog at Through The Eye of Equus for photos and details - it was pretty wicked!! So I returned home to read my May edition of Pacific and Prairie horse journal (yea I'm behind, I know), which sparked a few thoughts for todays' blog.

First, donkey roping? Who's ever heard of donkey roping? I found this blog with photos whilst searching for photos of donkey roping to post here. I grew up on the ranch and have no problem with most rodeo events - they originated as a way for cowboys to practise skills and to compete against one another. It exists as such to this day, for the most part. I obviously have no issue with calf roping - it's what is still practised to this day on ranches. It's proven to be a less stressful way of branding/vaccinating/tagging/etc your calves in the spring as well as a better (and sometimes only) way to doctor cattle out on the range. But donkey roping? To what end? At first, I thought nothing much of it, but the article in P&P (written by First Donkey and Mule Club of BC president Eric Herbert) went on to describe the author's first-hand experience with a former roping donkey, previously used for "cowboy" practice. She was absolutely terrified of humans. If you do a little research on the net, you find this isn't the only story of traumatic mental/emotional damage inflicted on donkeys used for roping. Not to mention roped donkeys can suffer lasting physical injuries that can be carried throughout their 40-50 years of life. I have to admit I have yet to know enough about this particular activity, but I have to say that I don't like the sounds of it. Why can't ropers simply practise on something like, you know, maybe calves?? Call me old-fashioned but...

2 horses were found dead and 11 suffering from starvation, neglect, and parasite infestations in a field on the Skeetchestn First Nations Reserve in Savona, BC in early April of this year. Charges are pending. What a sad case! I hope these horses recover nicely and find good homes. Article and contact info (at the bottom of the page) here for anyone interested. The BC SPCA has a number of animals, including numerous horses, up for adoption!

Jock, after 4 months of rehab care in the hands of the BC SPCA

Mark Marohn and Carol Schoyen-Marohn, two Langley veterinarians, have been charged with 2 counts of animal cruelty. 6 emaciated horses were found on their farm (1 of which was euthanised on-site and another died soon after being rescued). Good news is that they will end up with a prohibition on owning animals if they are convicted and that the remaining 4 horses are up for adoption (check out the BC SPCA website)! But really, vets?? *sigh*

The BC SPCA reports it has seen a rise in horse neglect over late 2008/early 2009. They currently have (or had, at the time of this magazine article printing in May) 50 horses in their care - an unprecedented number, with 10 mares ready to drop foals. I wonder why the sudden spike in horse neglect? Economy, perhaps?

3 wild horses were found shot to death just west of Sundre, Alberta, April 28, 2009. Right in the area I'll be doing some riding in this year. A yearling colt, a pregnant mare (trying to give birth), and a stud 2-4 years old. Police believe the horses were shot with a high powered rifle from the road in the late afternoon. WHOAS (Wild Horse of Alberta Society) is offering a $21,000 reward for information. Isn't this just sad? What's our world coming to? These are not the first wild horse killings here in Alberta, and specifically, Sundre, either. Studies prove that the same types of people who engage in animal cruelty are also more inclined to also engage in human abuse. The individuals who shot these horses should be caught even if just for the reason to possibly prevent abuse to other people, nevermind the fact that they should be punished for taking the lives of 4 horses. I hear that it is legal to capture these wild horses, too? If that is the case, I would love to pick one (or a few, lol) up in the future (and I know of an outfitter in the area who would help and who knows how to do so), but I'll have to check out the legalities first.

On a more improved note from all these cases of neglect, abuse and killings...P&P featured an article on US Olympian Guenter Seidel and his student Elizabeth Ball's Phantom of the Opera performance on horses Fandango and Orion. It was a brilliant Grand Prix pas de deux. Awesome!!

I've got a few blogs in the works on three different issues - watch out!

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