Basing knowledge on preconceived beliefs can be detrimental to the welfare of many animals. The horse is likely one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet that has carried a biased reputation for centuries – a reputation for being a working animal and existing for mere human entertainment.
For those fortunate enough to understand the simple joys of spending time with a horse, form a connection with one – especially so in the case of animals that have suffered at the hands of human necessity and greed – watching these docile animals learn to trust again is a truly incredible experience.
Horses quiet, gentle souls that thrive on companionship (both human and horse) and yet, we have exploited them, used them and tossed them aside when they no longer meet our needs. In this manner, horses are not viewed as companion animals, but often find themselves in the demoted category of livestock commodities. This marginalization of horses causes them to suffer gravely, all at the hands of our preconceived notions and misunderstanding of these beautiful creatures. We can all strive to help horses by breaking these notions, but first we must identify them and acknowledge their existence.
1. Horses Need a Purpose
One of the first questions I get on a regular basis when people come to visit the horses in my sanctuary is “which ones do you ride?” My answer is straightforward – none. To most, this is almost incomprehensible. They cannot understand the point of having a horse if it cannot be ridden. It is almost as if they have been programmed to believe that a horse must have a job, a purpose.
A stigma exists that horses are here to entertain, to meet human necessity and always be useful. This is far from the truth. and thankfully, more people are beginning to see this. It is a rare opportunity to see them in a more natural environment, bonding with others of their kind without always having to please their human counterparts. If two horses form an inseparable bond, it is seen as a negative behavior which must be corrected, however, horses are herd-bound animals; they do not do well when separated from others of their kind. Keeping a horse stalled for a long periods of time goes against all of their natural instincts. They require grazing space to explore and friends to socialize with on a regular basis.
A horse is not a toy that can be “put away” when not in use. A horse is a living, breathing creature and has every right to enjoy freedom as we do. Seeing them as mere object rather than emotional, sentient beings causes great risk as many are “disposed” of once they are no longer useful. This leads to the next big misunderstanding – “rehoming”