Little Lunga

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Horse Industry

The horse industry as we know it spans the globe. Anyone in this business knows somebody who knows somebody who owns a horse. It could be a quarter horse in Texas who is a half brother to a horse in Germany, it could be a thoroughbred raised in Kentucky and sold in Dubai. I even believe disciplines are just as connected no matter how different. The only boundaries I have experienced in the horse industry are the social boundaries. This leads me to the conclusion that to be a true horse world, we must follow the lead of our horses and recognize no border, no social status and no price to be a true horseman or to own a real horse. We will always be a horse industry but we will be a true horse world as well.

Not too long ago we realized the danger our wild horses in the West. They were facing the danger of vanishing from the range. The ranchers and farmers managed the herds the way they managed their own private stock, but in the end this was not enough. They did in some cases improve different herds of horses in different areas and this lead to the many different areas of beautiful and very usable horses of all shapes and sizes. As a result of the gathering and sorting and protecting theses herds, the BLM developed an adoption program for theses horses which spawned a new type of trainer and horse owner but the industry has yet to grow or to accept this new kid on the play ground. In some ways this is good and in some ways very bad. We have a culture of “Mustang Trainers” but the demand for such horses is low and this keeps the economic growth for the horses very low. We all know that it is a supply and demand world and without the demand we have too much supply. This must change.

The horses that are wild on the range and in Government possession are labeled as Mustangs. I understand this but I have to admit that implies that they are a breed just as the Thoroughbred or the Quarter Horse. We must remember that the Mustang is our recent history’s modern horse. We used them for gathering wild cattle on the open range, we used them to breed our “pure bred” stallions to, to raise our foals; and now they are an icon with very little value and misled respect. Just as the Quarter Horse is our Ranch Horse, the Thoroughbred is our Race horse and even now the Warm Blood is our Dressage Horse, what is the Mustang? The trend is sadly training them to do tricks or to just be owned by someone wanting a piece of the American West in their back yard. I believe these horses are very useful and very trainable and I will refer to them as wild horses. I say this because once you take the wild out of them they are a HORSE and they have the potential and the capability to perform in our horse world and our horse industry. Let us work hard to be horse trainers of wild horses and have a mind that the sky is the limit and that the boundaries that are open to the rest of the horse world include the wild horse.

I can and will make this argument on a personal level because of one particular mare that stands in my pasture and travels with me wherever I go. She was wild as of the spring of this year and she had no identity and now she ceases to be wild and as the identity of a horse as versatile as the man who rides her. I must now rely on the horse world and the horse industry to help make this a legitimate venture and true success. We are now in your hands.

Making the Choice to Stand Out is Making the Choice to Stand Up.

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