Think of the Poor Horses
Horses at the zoo
I remember when I was a teenager and trained to become an animal keeper. When we did our training at the zoo, a classmate took me out for a ride on the horses there. The one I was going to ride was a beautiful, white Icelandic Horse mixed with some other breed, so he was a little bigger than an ordinary Icelandic Horse. His name was Mestur, and he looked majestic! My classmate rode a black North Swedish Horse named Hervar. He was charming.
She and Hervar led the way as we were riding along on the paths inside the zoo area in newly fallen snow. It felt nice to sit there on the horseback, trying to do what she told me to do when he was walking 🙂 Then she gave me an amused look, and I wondered what she was up to. Suddenly she started galloping with Hervar uphill and the snow swirled around them.
Obviously, Mestur thought it looked fun because he decided to follow his friend Hervar, so he too started galloping. That was the first time I galloped, and it felt like I was flying over the ground, it made me feel like I was in seventh heaven! I loved it! I love horses! It was a magic moment, the ground and the trees were covered with a soft layer of snow and I was riding a white horse. It felt like a scene from a fairy tale.
Riding Mestur at the zoo and taking care of him and the other horses there was my first experience with horses. Except from when I was about six years old when my parents and my grandparents used their black horse Pia during the haymaking. That was a sweet memory too, sitting on a wagon loaded with hay and listening to the soothing sound when the hooves touched the ground.
Later during that education, we were given some riding lessons for free at the local riding school, but that wasn’t a pleasant experience. It was a middle-aged man who was in charge of the riding lessons. I didn’t get a good feeling from that man who used to smoke around the horses, and his loud voice made me nervous when a few of my other classmates and I were going to ride the horses Helge, Pascal, and Pamela, in the riding stables. It started badly for me because I didn’t like that I was forced to hold a horsewhip since I didn’t want to hit the poor horse.
When I was sitting on the horse, and we started to walk around in a circle, I decided that I should pretend that I dropped the horsewhip on the ground, so I did that. Then he got angry with me and told me that I had to hold it. So he picked it up and gave it to me. I took it, but I didn’t use it. I felt miserable on the horseback and just wanted to stop riding because I didn’t like his way with the horses. I started to dislike riding, so I never rode again.
Horses aren’t always treated well
So I have seen with my own eyes that horses aren’t always treated well regardless if we’re talking about riding horses or trotting horses. I noticed a lot of bad things during my education. For instance, a trotting horse was led with a chain in his mouth. It hurts for the horse when it gets a chain on his tongue at the same time someone is pulling at it. Another horse got hit with a plank on its head. The person who hit the horse was one of the horse girls who was a couple of years older than me and who claimed that she loved horses. And I heard a lot of talk of how people saw horses just as a thing and not a breathing creature. It appeared as it was very easy for people just to get rid of a horse if it didn’t suit their needs any longer, and then buy a new one, it made me wonder where the love for the horses was since this was people who claimed to love horses.
I feel sorry for the poor horses
And betting on trotting is a pretty big sport here in Sweden. I feel sorry for the poor horses because they are forced to wear painful equipment that forces them to trot and not gallop. People use to say that trotting horses are well taken care of and that they feel terrific. The truth is that horses are not adapted to run at a high speed when they trot. And because of that, they get injuries in the front knees and the back. Research show that the majority of the trotting horses have ulcers, and some of the horses have bleedings in their lungs. These poor horses often get respiratory ill-health, and since they get taken to different racetracks across the country, they are exposed to a high risk of infection. Infections like these are hard for the humans to discover which means that a lot of horses compete with hidden infections in their bodies. This is believed to be one of the most common reasons why some trotting horses die on the racetrack.
Vets have testified that many trotting horses run with pain
People say that they can tell if the horse is feeling sick, but that is not always the case. There are lots of examples of horses that has gotten dissected where they have found internal injuries despite that they have been successful on the racetrack. For instance, they discovered that a successful gallop horse had lived his entire life with just one lung. That horse died in his box after a competition. And vets have testified that many trotting horses run with pain in their back, legs, and/or mouth.
Horses run at max speed because they are bred and trained for that
People use to say that trotting horses and gallop horses love to run and love to win. The poor horses run because that is what is expected from them. It’s only natural for them to run at max speed when they flee in panic and that is nothing that horses are enjoying. They are bred to get an extreme great escape instinct, so they run at max speed because they are bred and trained for that. And horses are not interested in winning because there is no self-worth for a horse to be faster than another horse in the flock, they don’t compete in that way with each other. Horses like to play with each other so sometimes they chase each other on the fields, but they never compete in max speed for several hundred meters.
Trotting horses get sold to countries where the price for horsemeat is higher
And when a trotting horse doesn’t run fast anymore, or when it’s injured, and it takes too much time to recover, it is sent to slaughter in 80% of the cases. If the poor horses are lucky, they get killed in Sweden, but it’s also common that trotting horses get sold to the Mediterranean Europe since the price for the horsemeat is higher there. And the 20% of the horses who aren’t sent to slaughter right away can be taken care of by a person who likes trotting horses, or they get sold to for instance Malta where they can continue to compete as a trotting horse until they are 15 years old.
Swedish trotting horses get used in Malta
In Malta, they often train the poor horses on asphalt among the traffic and they arrange street races on the city streets. Hard surfaces are appalling for the horses’ joints, it’s painful, and sometimes these horses are involved in severe traffic accidents because of the training and the races.
And after these poor horses have been finished using in the trotting industry they are used to pull wagons with tourists around Malta. I urge people to stop get involved in this horrible industry! Have a heart and think of the poor horses who are getting used until the day they die.