Sunday, May 10, 2009

another horse dies on x-country

I couldn't bring myself to write about this after Rolex last month, and I'm not going to write much now after Jersey Fresh, except to say that I am APPALLED at what is happening in eventing. I have been appalled for several years now, and I'm not seeing anything change for the better. And if I hear one more person say "the horse died doing what he/she loved to do" I think I will scream.

The day I see a horse die while free-jumping an advanced course with no bit, no rider, no spurs, and no whip, I'll concede that point.


Victoria Cummings said...

Amen! I can't even bear to read about it or watch it anymore- and I feel the same about horse racing.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well said, I wholeheartedly agree with you and am not willing to concede the point yet either.

billie said...

Victoria and Arlene, I of course knew both of you share the extreme concern about this issue, but I so appreciate the comments.

I'm in an odd position with this. We don't support racing in any way, but with our participation in Pony Club, my daughter's riding includes schooling x-country, and her tests to move up the PC levels include x-country jumping.

We've been asked to jump judge upper level events before as part of our volunteer service in PC. I'm just not sure I can continue that kind of association with a sport that feels to me like a crowded bus flying around dangerous curves with no driver.

I have forced myself to read and watch the videos in order to educate myself as much as possible so I can decide what my bottom line is with the sport.

When I read eventing advocates defend the riders whipping and kicking horses forward when something is clearly wrong, and those horses end up dead b/c they were made to jump, the fact that they might have died anyway (in cases of aneurysm, etc.) is no consolation.

I recently read a post in which someone said "horses are livestock, they are not people." And I guess that's the difference. I don't categorize my horses as livestock.

But it's clear that for many people, horses are tools/vehicles to be used in sport. I find that notion so unevolved it makes me ill.

So there. I wrote more than I meant to, but it feels good to say it.

AnnL said...

Oh, dear, I hadn't heard about these. I refuse to watch eventing and racing for just the reasons you stated. Horses are not "just livestock". They are living, breathing, feeling beings. I can't stand it.


billie said...

I encourage everyone reading here and feeling distressed/angry/outraged to email your comments to USEA.

It's a start.

Anonymous said...

"The day I see a horse die while free-jumping an advanced course with no bit, no rider, no spurs, and no whip, I'll concede that point."

SO well put. In fact, so well put that it started an argument between me and my event-happy daughter. I still think I won.

billie said...

I wrote two thoughtful, questioning emails to safety committee chairs and have yet to receive acknowledgment or response.

If I had the resources, I'd rent out a big event course and invite folks to come test my theory.

Groom your horse who loves cross-country. Get him ready like every other cross-country day. Put him in the start box without rider or tack and give him the signal to go.

I've been on a fair number of cross-country courses during schooling days and competitions, and when riders come off, I've never seen a horse do ANYthing but stop or head wildly back to the barn area at full gallop. The ones that head back to the barn seem to me to be giving a very clear message about what they want to be doing.