Letters From Our Readers

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Indiana Horse Rescue
I just received the September issue and would like to thank you for the research and work that was put into the article about the Indiana Horse Rescue.

I have visited the rescue organization and was appalled at the care given to these horses. The organization doesn’t seem to be interested in volunteers or donations except for monetary ones. I also have friends who have been schemed by their so-called research on parasites and EPM. To my knowledge, there is no person qualified at the horse rescue that should be going to people’s farms and drawing blood from horses and diagnosing diseases and recommending treatment plans.

I feel they are preying on innocent people trying to find a cure for possibly an incurable ailment their beloved horse may have. People need to be aware that there are individuals without good intentions using a rescue as a means to benefit themselves. It saddens me to think how many horse owners have fallen victim to this organization and their website.

Thank you for the enlightening article with such sound advice. As horse owners, we should never hesitate to contact our veterinarians and our universities any time we have questions.

Brenda Christenson, RN, MSN
Internet

Bucking For No Reason
I am responding to the Ask Horse Journal question in the September issue concerning the 3-year-old who is bucking ”for no reason.” I specialize in training horses that people have trouble with and there is always a reason. Though the owner says there ”are no health problems” after being checked by a vet, I have found horses who buck generally have sore backs or a saddle that does not fit. Many vets do not check the back thoroughly and do not understand saddle fit.

A while back a woman called me with the same problem. She was an experienced rider who was starting her 3-year-old under saddle and the horse was bucking. She had started horses before but had not had this problem. She sent the horse to two different trainers. Each time the horse came back worse than ever and after the second time in a state of near mental break down. The owner loved the horse and was very upset.

She called, told me the problem and the first thing I said was ”Have you checked his back'” Puzzled, she said, ”No.” I told her the back should be the first thing that is checked when a horse is bucking, then the fit of the saddle. I suggested she have her horse seen by a vet who was a chiropractor and acupuncturist. The horse’s back was sore. After two sessions with the vet, the horse was fine. I worked with the horse once and checked the fit of her saddle, which turned out to be correct. After that, the horse was fine.

I see this all too often. Trainers miss the physical reasons horses are resistant and sometimes resort to harsh methods to make the horse behave. The aforementioned horse has permanent white hairs along his girth line probably from a saddle left on him for a long time by the second trainer.
Horse owners and trainers need to spend more time doing the detective work necessary to figure out why a horse is uncooperative and must resist the current fad of rushing horses through training quickly. In the end, by spending a bit more time and effort, all will benefit.

Jan Snodgrass
Marshall, Va.

Desensitizing
As a massage therapist, I would like to add a few other considerations to your July article on trail-riding safety. I believe many horses are easily over stimulated because they get too much energy from their feed. I believe this makes horses spookier than they need to be. Pathological changes will also makes horses more reluctant to work, such as EPSM issues. This is also true for certain diseases than can affect equines.

I always stress with my clients to never force a horse through an issue. This greatly increases the risk of serious injury to horse and rider. Most, if not all, resistance issues are either due to physical issues or mental overstimulation. The horse should at least be given the benefit of the doubt first before a behavior is strictly addressed as a training issue. Physical and mental causes should be eliminated first.
Thank you for the article on de-sensitising. This is another area many horses often lack training in, also leading to safety issues, as you pointed out.

Ute Miethe
Internet

Addressing Issues
First I want to express how much I rely on the Horse Journal. I keep every copy, creating my Bible on everything concerning horses. I have found it to probably be the most useful of any of the monthly literature I receive. A month doesn’t go by where I don’t learn several new and important things, and often on topics I didn’t even know existed (like the concerns of the National Animal ID program). I also believe you must reach the broadest cross section of horse owners because you don’t limit yourself on the issues to be addressed. This is really appreciated.

Annie Berry
Tucson, Ariz.