Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Poor Horse

I have been reading many horse articles lately, I have a search set up through Google that brings up the hottest horse topics. It is so sad to see some of the stuff that I am seeing. The animal rights people are calling for an end to horse racing, rodeos, trail riding, and horse ownership.

The anti-slaughter people want all breeding stopped to control the horse population. I have written other blogs about how I feel about end of life issues with horses, so I won't go there again. But it certainly is a sad day to be a horse, the horses haven't won any victories here. They have just lost their value.

We received a questionnaire from the Appaloosa Horse Club of which we are members, wanting to know why we didn't register a foal or foals that we had sent a stud report in on. I don't know which foal this is talking about but it must have been from last year, probably one that the mare just came up empty.

We do register all of our horses that qualify. But many horse owners have stopped this practice. The foal crop from last year and probably this year as well, will consist of many pure bred horses that will just not have their paperwork done or fees paid.

I can fully understand not registering a foal, because when a weanling will only bring $10 - $25, with or without papers, and you have already paid out lots of money to feed it, plus Stud, Vet and Farrier fees, it doesn't make much sense to spend $50 to $80 to do DNA and registration papers. Unfortunately we have arrived at a time when registration papers just don't add much to the value of the basic horse; that is, the horse with no training or with mental or physical problems.

This survey asks if we would register these foals if registration fees were lowered. Then it asks several questions about the reasons why we aren't registering our foals. Some of the answers that you can check is "Cannot afford at this time" and "Waiting to make a decision regarding foal's value".

When the basic horse has no value and all breeders stop breeding, which is already happening because of the price of hay and grain, has anyone thought this through to an end conclusion? Well trained horses still do have value even if it is somewhat deflated, but young stock, old stock and horses with problems are facing a bleak future.

A foal in today's market has to be really special to have any value at all and breeders have to keep their foals at least three years, train them and find a buyer in order to even hope to break even. It is little wonder that horse breeders are becoming a thing of the past, an endangered species. That should make the anti-slaughter people happy.

Since the Government is getting so good at breeding and selling Mustangs, maybe one day all horses will be raised on factory farms just like cattle, hogs and chickens are now. All small farms and ranches will be a thing of the past, like the decaying wooden barns scattered along the countryside, just a memory of when you played in the loft as a child.