Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The last of the backyard ponies

I chose to geld my beautifully bred Arabian stallion so that no one would be pointing a blaming finger at me.

So much talk now a days about the death of the horse industry as we know it. The small time breeder has been put to blame in more than one publication. The big time breeder is still off the hook. We’re still letting them go. We’re still letting them breed the same names over and over, monotoning the colors of the horse world, saturating us with the same names and lines until we see them all intertwined and ultra related.

Where is diversity?
Where are the horses for you and me?
Or are there only meant to be the elite left riding?

I see it as the end of the back yard ponies. The rural world is changing, shrinking, going farther away, and less are going there. There are fewer folks relying on horses, owning horses, growing up with horses.

The very industry meant to support horses are helping to kill the hopes of those of us who just want a horse - not a $25,000 cutting horse prospect named Doc Peppy Bueno O’Lena from Texas.

Here’s the truth, harsh as it sounds, humble as it makes me seem: Some of us don’t NEED those horses. Some of us prefer other breeds, lesser names, the “mutts” and the horses that don’t all claim the same darned name as their sire or dam. Diversity is essential! Both in horse and in rider. Or have we forgotten?

Riding and horses are becoming elite. Let’s not encourage this elitism and discourage the responsible but smaller (oh my, but yes, perhaps lesser quality) breeder. Furthermore, I don’t know if the responsible breeder of a few horses a year is the one we should be pointing our finger at when you and I both know the large outfits keep hundreds of broodmares and produce factory “ranch colts.” But… they have known names and bloodlines so that’s all ok? I don’t think so.

Where does the problem really lie? Breeders? Maybe, but I don’t think that’s it. A shrinking industry? Hmmmm….