Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the lifestyle of totilas

I had a really upbeat, November Hill post to write this afternoon (and I will, tomorrow) but this came to my attention and I'm sorry but I feel I have to post it here.

This is how Totilas, and all the other horses on this farm live. Apparently this is typical.

It literally makes me sick. It looks like a prison.

Where is the pasture? Where is a horse ever allowed to be a horse?

I read that the horses are considered to be livestock, and treated as such.

Should any animal be housed and kept this way?


Grey Horse Matters said...

Unfortunately,that's the way the breeding/training business is done in lots of places. They are nothing but livestock and are treated as such by the breeding farms and show barns.

I personally think that's why my horse Erik was such a spooky horse. He spent the first three years of his life at a farm like this in Holland where he was born and where their only business was breeding and selling their livestock. J's horse Nate came from the same place but he's not as spooky.

We all know this is an unnatural way to keep horses but it's all about the money. There's no way it's going to stop either.

billie said...

I'm not taking it on as my personal cause, but I do plan to write about it and try to create change by example.

I've done my share of ogling warmblood lines from that area - never again will I consider importing a horse if that's how it was bred and raised.

I have to think there is possibility for enlightenment and change - the alternative is too upsetting for me to contemplate!

Matthew said...

Yes, that really does look like a prison-farm.

Seeing the baby horse living there was even worse!

billie said...

I know. It was nice seeing the herd enjoying their hay out this evening to enjoy the gorgeous weather and the moon.

Even though the Big Bay *did* demand (and was given) access to his stall. :)

jme said...

sadly that's the norm for competition barns and foal factories. and maybe worse, the people who put them in those situations actually think their horses are lucky to be so pampered :-(

i love when people pull their horses out of their prison cells and wonder why they are so wild and difficult to handle once they are free to move after the equivalent of 23 hours of standing in a closet - bad horse! and i have come to really hate the term 'stable vice' as if the horse is somehow defective or it is some bad habit the horse just picked up. i think when you see something like this, you know those 'vices' are a cry for help and coping mechanism for dealing with the unnatural living conditions forced upon them.

it makes me so sick. our barn is open and airy and the horses can all see and touch each other and hang their heads out, etc., and i still feel bad for them when the weather is bad and they're in for 12 hours. i think i'd rather not have horses than keep them someplace like that.

CharlieHorse said...

This is just too sad....
and here's some food for thought - in terms of our OWN children - I've often said that public school is a form of child abuse in that it is, at least in my mind, unnatural and unwholesome for children to be commanded to be indoors, to sit in chairs for hours - they are growing and their big muscles demand use - I think boys, especially, suffer. Seems our children are "warehoused" until of working age...then a new kind of confinement begins...Prisons, indeed, to the heart and spirit of Nature.

billie said...

j, I agree - I'd not have them if that were my only option to keep them.

billie said...

Beth, exactly why we chose to homeschool, from the very beginning.

I've made the connection between attachment parenting, which is what we consider our major parenting influence, and humane horsekeeping/riding. I guess what we do with our horses is attachment horsekeeping, since I do consider their feelings, needs, and natural horse behaviors all the time.

Claire said...

looks like the investment group needs to invest some more.. in some fields....and windows...

billie said...

Claire, the darkness and lack of anything to look at freaked me out most of all.

It again reminded me of those rows of Siamese fighting fish in tiny containers in pet stores.

ponymaid said...

Billie, these poor horses are kept in the same conditions that junior royalty was a century and more ago. They live in a palace but have no access to all the things they can see outside. They are "too valuable" to risk playing with other horses and are kept instead like battery chickens. No dust baths, no play fights, no sunbathing and no unsupervised laps around a grassy field. It's a very sad tale and one that seems to make the humans money, so I doubt we'll see change any time soon.

billie said...

It was plainly bizarre to me that some of the barns were appointed with gold knobs and things but there were no windows or "creature" comforts.

Clearly a warehouse that was meant to look nice for the people in some areas.

That horse-walking contraption made me ill too.

Marian said...

Modern, civilized man has created a culture where everything only and solely exists for the benefit of the ego. Just look at the way we talk about nature: it's a resource - for us to exploit. Animals are described as livestock, yeah. In some languages it is even more explicit. The German word for "weed" is "Unkraut", which translates into "non-herb", the Danish word for livestock is "produktionsdyr", "production animal". Nature doesn't exist in its own right. As the "Crown of Creation", it is our right to determine whether a plant, an animal, even a stone, has a right to exist, or not, and what we can't exploit, we destroy.

Most of the year, my horses live out in their pasture with a run in barn where they can find shelter from rain and sun. I don't even groom or train them on an everyday basis. People have asked me what I do that makes my hoses' coats shine like they do, and keeps them as supple to ride as they are. Well, nothing, basically. Nothing but that I allow them to be horses. If I mention that I feel grateful that they accept me mount and ride them, I risk to be given "The Look": Isn't it a matter of course for a horse to submit himself unconditionally to our mastery? As it, supposedly, is a matter of course for nature as a whole to submit itself to it?

We've created a culture of alienation. We've waged war on nature. While we've forgotten that we ourselves are (a part of) nature, and that, in fact, we're exploiting and destroying ourselves with every single blow we strike against nature. And whenever nature rebels against the violence, we call it a vice yes. - BTW, have you heard of "Kick-Stop"? Oh, it's only for the horse's own good, of course! - If it is our own inner nature which rebels against the violence, we even go as far as to label it a disorder, a (genetic) defect. While the violence itself is called "love" and "care", and we try to keep up this delusion with lots of exclusive and expensive things like gold knobs, yeah, trying to make the seclusion cells we confine the horses to look like a luxury suite. As if a golden knob miraculously could turn violence into love.

"From the moment of birth, when the stone-age baby confronts the twentieth-century mother, the baby is subjected to these forces of violence, called love, as its mother and father have been, and their parents and their parents before them. These forces are mainly concerned with destroying most of its potentialities. This enterprise is on the whole successful." -R.D. Laing

It's so sad, and I wonder if we ever will be able to transform these destructive forces into something constructive, into real love, before it's too late.

billie said...

Marian, loved reading your comment and am eager to sit down and explore your blogs.

The way we treat our children, elders, people outside the "norm" for lack of a better way to put it, and animals is a litmus test of our society imo. We have a long way to go, but I am hopeful.