Category Archives: Ethical Issues

Hay Prices Go Up, Many Horses Seek New Homes

As you may have heard recently, hay prices have been going up due to high temperatures this year, making it increasingly harder to feed and maintain horses. In a recent article by WTRF.com, it is estimated that it can cost as much as $1,000 to keep a horse fed: a price many Columbus, Ohio residents are finding they cannot afford.

Image courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch

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The Horse Before The Carriage: Oreo’s Wild Ride

As you may have heard, Columbus Circle experienced a bit more drama then usual when a draft horse named Oreo bolted into traffic, dumping his carriage and passengers. The terrified horse made it to 9th street before being caught.

Sadly, Oreo was so upset that he had to be tranquilized. Image courtesy of NYC Class.org

For a long time, many equestrians have questioned the safety and ethics involved with city carriage horses. Though the rustic charm often sways people’s opinions on the topic, something we must ask ourselves is how many cases like Oreo’s happen and end differently? In several instances rather than simply ‘clipping’ cars and trucks, horses have completely collided with them, often causing life-threatening injuries or death. Certain lawmakers have called for a ban on horse carriages in New York City, while others maintain that it is a necessary tourist attraction.

The aftermath of a less-fortunate carriage horse in NYC. Image courtesy of Animal Law Coalition.

As the 13th accident in the past 12 months, perhaps enough is enough.

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Modern Pentathlon: What Did I Just Watch?

Perhaps its because I rode in the IHSA during college, and have witnessed similar “oh crap” moments when riders pull ‘that horse’ whose description reads something to the tune of “hold on and Jesus take the reins”, but after watching a clip sent to me by a friend of the 2012 riding portion for the Modern Pentathlon…I am genuinely curious to know why the riding is that horrifically bad.

Um….What…The….Shit? Image courtesy of VC Star.

If you are offended by pictures of terrible riding and some foul language….yea just keep reading anyway.

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Attack of the Clones

The legendary Gem Twist has a clone! Did you know? Image courtesy of Tuesday’s Horse

Confused about the title? Well here’s the skinny: clones of former olympic champion horses have no been approved to compete in future olympic endeavors! In a recent ABC article, the The Fédération Equestre Internationale(FEI) confirmed that though these clones would be too young to compete in the London 2012 olympics, they would be allowed to compete in upcoming events. The decision came after an inquiry into whether or not these clones of equine superstars would have an advantage over their un-cloned competitors. The result? Clones were deemed only 98% accurate copies of their originals, but it was decided that the training and upbringing of the horse was what determined its ability to compete, not genes. Perhaps in the next olympics we might be able to sneak a peek at Gem Twist’s clone.

Get a good look! This is Gemini Twist, the rumored clone of Gem Twist who has been training under equestrian legend Frank Chapot. Image courtesy of Young Jumpers.

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Omak vs. Redstone: Am I Being Too Sensitive?

As an equestrian, I have to wonder what kind of horse sports ESPN is supporting with their recent choice to profile the Chilcotin Nation’s downhill race. In the wake of plenty of other horse sports shunned by the Humane Society of the United States, America’s ‘Suicide Race’ phenomenon is among one of many that are quite unsavory to watch. It seems the ESPN loves writing about speed, speed, and speed when it comes to horse sports, but doesn’t seem to care much for tactical merit and adrenaline rush of show jumping or cross-country (I genuinely understand that dressage would be too slow). In a recent article, the tagline reads, “Mountain racing riders only know one way to go: all out” but what exactly is meant by “all out”?

Although not as steep as the famed (and feared) Omak suicide races, the horses are still galloped top-speed down rocky hills that are awe-inspiringly steep and quite precarious. The race, exactly like the Omak suicide race, involves galloping in and out of a body of water, and a lot flat gallop home over even terrain. So is this race comparable? Unlike the Omak, this race is only run with 4 horses (the Omaha is run with more than 10). Additionally, the inclined running space is remains the same width and incline for the entire ‘mountain’ portion of the race. I’m not actually sure how deep the water is where the Redstone Stampede mountain race is run, so I cannot speak to that, however there is no “chute” that racers must funnel through and the race is only held once a year (rather than 3 nights in a row). You’ve seen the Redstone stampede, now here is what the Omaha suicide race looks like:

So I guess what I’m wondering it, is ESPN unknowingly promoting an inhumane sport? Or are the two races distinctly different enough that I’m just being too sensitive?

Let me know in a comment!

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What is ‘Horse Tripping’ And Why Should We Ban It?

YouTube seems to be the most effective medium for getting attention for major issues this season: after ABC aired footage from Celebration, a storm of videos from YouTube depicting inhumane behavior towards horses have gone viral and brought more attention to major injustices in the horse world. One of these injustices is ‘horse tripping’. Check this video to learn more:

Most recently, it has been argued whether or not the sport should be removed from rodeo shows in Oregon. Already having been pulled from rodeos in Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas, it has been argued that the practice should not be used for entertainment. Its roots originate from a need to quickly capture and contain animals that were not fully tamed yet. In ranch work, an emphasis on humane practice and due diligence is encouraged, but many argue the sport in the show ring is often not humanely pursued: horses sometimes fall directly on their faces and snouts.

What do you think?

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Helicopter Herdings Temporarily Grounded

An actual photograph of a typical BLM helicopter roundup. Image courtesy of Animal Rights.about

Before I say anything, I will say that I am highly biased in this matter. This article will have a noticable slant. Apologies.

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Trainer With Ties To Cartel In Court

Allegedly, Eusevio Huitron was being paid unusually high amount to train horses, and has since been accused of laundering money for  Mexican drug cartel. Huitron, who trains racing Quarter horses, has been accused of laundering money for the Zeta cartel through a real-estate business and trained their horses for competition. Authorities confiscated property from Huitron,including one of his prize racing horses, Tempting Dash. This horse had won several races such as the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas, in October 2009.

Tempting Dash, one of Huitron’s winning horses. Image courtesy of 440 Post.

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UPDATE: Wallis Sets Her Sights on Rockville

You may remember previously that I had mentioned an ‘undisclosed’ location for the proposed Unified Equine slaughterhouse. Well, it has now been confirmed that Sue Wallis intends to end horses lives in Rockville, MO.

A horse like this one, could be chopped up and shipped to Europe sooner than you think. Image courtesy of the LA Times.

It has been alleged that Wallis has chosen this city, whose population is only 150, to reduce the chance of retaliation; the city may be too small to fight back. The building, which was once a beef slaughterhouse was formerly owned by Sharlene Mott. After being purchased by Hormel, then put out of business, it has been noted that this plant could offer up many new jobs to a town. When the original beef plant was closed down, a significant number of employees lost their jobs. Apparently, the citizens of Rockville are ‘excited’ for this business opportunity. In a public statement, Wallis stated that “We are excited to be bringing jobs and opportunity to rural Missouri” adding that they were also “even happier to provide a humane and viable option to the horse industry, decimated by misguided efforts to end humane horse slaughter.”

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Walking Horse National Celebration Scandal Rages On

You may have heard a while back about Pepsi pulling its sponsorship after controversial footage about the Walking Horse National Celebration was aired. If not, take a quick peek at the Humane Society video most of the clips were gathered from below:


After ABC aired the controversial footage, Pepsi pulled its sponsorship from the event entirely and stricter penalties were put in place to prevent further abuse of these horses. The method referred to as ‘soring’ causes these horses to step higher due to stifling pain, resulting in a more ‘fancy’ high-stepping gait. It it important to note, however, that not all Tennessee Walking Horses are trained with this method. Thus far four Tennessee Walking Horse handlers have pleaded guilty to horse abuse, and it is expected that this number may steadily rise.

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