Musings of an Alternative Equestrian

The Wasted Horse

The Wasted Horse

How many times have we seen these adverts! ‘Horse wasted with current owner’ or ‘Horse needs to fill its potential’ or ‘Horse too good to be a field ornament’?

Well here’s the thing, these horses have no agenda to be top competition horses, or to be with owners with more knowledge, experience or ambition. These horses want to be horses. That’s all.

Horses want freedom of moment, to be able to socialise with other horses and to have access to appropriate forage feed. It is true that many enjoy human interaction but they don’t have ambitions to be the best jumper, eventer, dressage horse.

Some people say that their horse loves competing, but how many of those horses are kept in isolated, constricted environments where their only interactions with other living things are to be excercised or to compete? I imagine that competing would feel pretty exciting then, but they are the ones being wasted, wasted from being allowed to be a horse.

Sadly, one of the reasons people say their horse is wasted is that they don’t feel good enough themselves, they don’t feel they can help their horse achieve that wrongly perceived potential. But they are good enough. They can let horses be horses, allow them space, company and forage, be supportive and authentic. Those are the measures of success that are important to horses, not ribbons.

Once we see horses as sentient beings and not commodities of our own success, then horses are not wasted, and we are good enough. And all we need to do is go and have an awesome time with them, even if that is just sitting and sharing space.

9 Responses to The Wasted Horse

  • Brilliant post. Love it!

  • I agree and I don’t agree. No horses don’t understand their potential but I do believe that horses can love having a job and competing. My boy goes out everyday with other horses, he interacts with people and various other animals every day. I genuinely believes he enjoys learning something new and going to competitions. He doesn’t have an understanding of if he has won or not, but I do believe they know when they have done well and they can be pleased with themselves.

    I know that if I had the next Valegro in my stable, I would feel like he was wasted pottering about at local level with me. Whether that would make me sell them I don’t know. But I think I would feel some sort of guilt.

    • Thank you for commenting. I am not having a bash at anyone riding or competing their horse, I am saying it is ok for people who choose not to. There is an incredible amount of pressure on people who do not ride their horses to sell them, or if they keep them they are looked down upon as second class equestrians. I hope to raise awareness and redress that balance.

  • Thunderhooves I love this! And I agree 100%. A horse, no matter how talented just wants to be a horse, as you say. Including Valegro, especially with the abuse they endure with training. Ive had my horse 10years, out of the Grade A showjumper Nelson Z.. she is pretty much a field ornament. Not through my choice, through hers, because of her unpredictability. I never sold her, although I was advised to. She has taught me so much over the years and now we concentrate on in-hand classical training and she loves it. Her Spanish Walk is improving daily. I may one day ride her again (you can read our story @ http://www.urbanfraggle.com) but I am happy building our groundwork and being best friends.
    Don’t get me wrong, she loves learning. But she doesn’t wear any constricting tack, I lunge in a rope halter and her bridle has no noseband. I cant bear all these flash nosebands done up so tight its painful to see!
    All my art depicts the horse in freedom. As this is how horses should live. Im not saying we shouldn’t have relationships with them, I’m saying we should not give up on those less destined for rosettes, or those that are ‘wasted’ in a field. If you love them it doesn’t matter.. there are too many horses on the way to slaughter because we are breeding excessively and giving up on them to easily

    • It is so inspiring to hear from others who ‘get’ it. I love that your outlet is art, which is beautiful and yes catches the freedom perfectly. Thank you for taking the time to reads my post.

  • This is a beautiful post. One I feel so connected to and inspired by myself. I often write about similar feelings on my blog because I couldn’t live without my horses – but I can happily live without ‘riding’ them. This is so inspiring. Thank you. Xx best wishes

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