All the Pretty Little Ponies

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Neglected or Free - A Rescue Horse Debate

What is a rescue horse? Lately, I have been posing this question to myself and others. One of the replies I received bothered me, so I thought I would explore the topic a little more on here.

We all have different thresholds of tolerability regarding animal treatment. Some people tend to believe that a horse should only be rescued if they are getting abused and malnutrition. Yet, others seem to believe that a horse needs to be rescued if it is getting simply under-utilized.

Should we be defining what purposes people can have for owning horses? The comment that concerned me indicated this person’s belief that if a horse is well-fed, but neglected attention, the horse should be taken from them. In a way, I feel sorry for the horses, and in a way I feel they are lucky. I think we take for granted that they are beings in their own right, and perhaps being well-fed and having safety provided to them is almost nicer than the standard alternative of feeding, grooming, and working.

To me, these owners were merely offering their horses freedom in a safe environment. Granted, they are not wild, so they are not totally free in every sense of the word, but as free as security lets them be. Is this really neglect or rather acknowledgment of a different species? Horses are herd animals, and since these couple of horses had other horses to interact with, they were not alone, either. Plus, they were in a pasture, not pens.

What am I missing? Generally, there are two sides to every argument. So, am I missing something that should be rather obvious?