Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Happy Canada Day!!
So through my research on gaited breeds and atrocities within the horse industry, I ran across the following youtube video:Now, I am not always a fan of the SPCA nor the HSUS (that's another story for another time), but they are absolutely correct in this situation. On the other hand, there is always another side to a story...but I am having great difficulty determining a supportive side to this. Most disheartening...the crowd. As the commentator points out, they cheer hardest for the worser the fall to the horse - the most damage and pain incurred by the horse. I fail to see anything to cheer about? What is wrong with these sick, sick people?
I hear also a rumour that this sport is touted, by its supporters, as "tradition" - thereby making it ethically acceptable (of course!). Well, I have to point out that slavery could be considered tradition. So could soring horses (which has been occurring for a good 60 years or so). Or scalping. What about genocide? I mean, seriously, where do we draw the line? Does tradition automatically trump ethics?
Roping horses is, for the most part, no longer a necessity (not this way, anyway - a wrangler quietly roping his mount for the morning, with no struggle, is a different story - even wild horses can be roped more efficiently with dramatically less harm to the horse). Most horses can be herded into a smaller area and worked gently. I can personally attest to this, having done it with several untouchable horses recently. I never roped a single one, despite them being in large fields at the time. If I had, it still could have been done in a much quieter and more beneficial manner, with a goal of keeping the stress level of the horse as low as possible. If a horse must absolutely be roped, it can certainly be done quieter! Furthermore, roping any horse - particularly as dramatically and unskillfully as this - is not only stressful to them emotionally but also physically and is something that should be kept to a minimum. Practise roping skills on a sturdy older steer, a wooden sawhorse, etc.
Horse tripping, however, is an entirely different story. Most of the horses in the above video were roped head first, then taken down by the fronts. That was bad enough. With horse tripping (Mexico), the horse is roped, while running full-out, by his fronts. Well, according to physics, all that energy has to go somewhere with a sudden stop. It does. Into the horse's spine. This not only sets the horses up for permanent, or even fatal, spinal injury, it also almost guarantees misalignment. Just from a human perspective, when my neck is misaligned, I experience 10/10 pain migraines, to the point where I can barely function. The back of my neck will feel swollen and sore and I avoid using my neck as much as possible until I can make my way in to my chiropractor. That happens when I so much as sleep on the wrong pillow!! Nevermind if I was tossed, heels over head, with my neck smashed into the ground!
All in all, a dangerous "sport" that, in my personal opinion, should be abolished, not encouraged. We can start with the crowd.