Professional Equine Managers

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I was in total agreement with Margaret Freeman’s July editorial entitled ”Black Monday” and am prompted to respond to the letter to the editor in the September issue that took a contrary position. That letter rested on the proposition that, unlike the horse owner, the barn manager is a ”professional” who knows better than the horse owner about what is best for the horse.

As a lawyer, I know a little bit about what it means to be a ”professional,” and mucking stalls doesn’t cut it. It’s just too easy for barn owners and staff to appoint themselves as ”professionals” without the need for any credentials.

Even many of those who had some sort of credentials at some point years ago don’t keep current with equine health and management. There are so many facilities where the barn management does not even read magazines such as yours, let alone take continuing educational courses. They manage stables in the same way that they learned many years ago, and much of their knowledge is based on old wives tales.

I found the letter ironic since, in August, I had been lambasted by professionals with ”100 years of combined experience” because I filled a horse’s water bucket on a hot summer night.

That ”professional” leaves the horses with no more than a half of a bucket of water after 4 p.m., so that the bucket won’t be too heavy to take down the following day. Additionally, the horses may play in the water and urinate more, creating more work to muck out.

As can be seen from the above scenario, often the concern of barn management revolves around easing the work load or the expense without regard for the proper care of the horse. These are the ”professionals” who are to be trusted on Mondays when the barn is closed'

The letter writer suggested that if the horse owner cannot trust the barn management, then the horse owner should move her horse. I agree. I would move the horse to a barn where ”professionals” remain open minded and continually educate themselves, where they put the welfare of the horses first and do not treat the horse owners as idiots. Oh, and I would move the horse to a barn that is open on Mondays.

Valda Winsloe,
Washington

Recycling Feed Bags

I think feed manufacturers should have a feed-sack recycling program. I know some people use them for garbage and yard waste, but I bet most people burn or trash them. How about a dime a bag deposit, which we get back when we take them back to the dealer' (Bags must be in fair shape and dry.) It would be good for advertising for the feed company, and it would be better for the environment.

Gabrielle Gordon,
Texas