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  1. #21
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    I do know what Amish is and indeed I spent a very enjoyable time in a Mennonite community near Waterloo, Canada. Whilst there I spent time watching and videoing an elderly man working with a young light harness horse - quite simply it was a rising 4 year old entire t/b x standard bred and he was gathering cattle with it put to a light 2 wheel trap.

    I would not hestitate to send any of my horses to him - he was actually schooling to a high level - but in a practical no fuss sort of way - the horse was backing in the carriage - moving over by half-passing etc etc. The driver had light hands and to be honest was probably the best driver I've personally seen on the American continent!

    In the town there was a supermarket with places marked out for horses and carriages and the horses were all well trained - they stood quietly and were clearly biddable but yet forward going and attentive when driven. I'd have no problem with any of the ladies I saw driving one of my horses. They drove lightly and used their voice and hands showing distinct understanding of the horses they were driving.

    The bits I saw used were Liverpool driving bits, buxton bits and the riding bits were eggbut and loose ring snaffles. And I ALWAYS notice bits!

    Oh and by the way I bought a very nice made to measure driving bridle from an Amish harness maker.

    I also saw heavy horses working in the fields - one farm was ploughing and all the neighbours had brought their horses to help and there were 8 pairs working the field - predominently begian draft and sort of shire cross but even a pair of suffolk punch. And I know for certain that the bits were clean and not covered in rubbish. How many owner riders/drivers do you know that honestly truthfully wash the bit EVERY time they take it out of the horse's mouth?

    I hasten to add that on my trips to Canada and America I'm never failed to be horrified at some of the bits used over there and when in Oregon I virtually had arguments with 2 dressage trainers about their use of bits.

    And as for pulling on the reins - well don't get me going on that one - because I've never yet seen a carriage driver in America that doesn't drive two handed and heavy handed and I'm yet to discover someone who truly understands that the whole point of driving is you give with one rein whilst you take with the other! And so far I've never yet seen a two handed driver do that!

    I see absolutely NOTHING wrong at all with kids racing horses for fun nor riding bareback and whilst of course its NOT schooling a horse it actually does the horse good. Too many nowadays back a horse and do nothing other than ride it round in circles in a small arena - and I'm definitely against that for a youngster!

    You talk about unlearning and not proper schooling - well I'd say that 95% of horses are never PROPERLY backed or put to harness or brought on. The vast majority are what we call rough-backed, done by amatures - often learning with the horse, often doing their own horse. Furthermore many so-called trainers do not have nationally recognised qualifications, have never actually done anything particularly proven high level with their horses and are just youngsters with limited knowledge and competence.

    In the UK we have an ethnic minority Romany community - who use horses as modes of transport, for haulage and for pleasure. A heck of a lot of them are exceptional horsemen and excellent horse trainers. They are continuing to pass what is a dying skill down through their generations and they are continuing to use that skill.

    Regrettably though all too frequently they face prejudice and stereo-typical views and opinions from those whose knowledge is often somewhat limited and who think that the world of horses should be somewhat fancier and more elite.

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors
    They just don't use horses like we do, their end result wanted is seldom the same result I would want.
    I see the Mennonite (of which Amish is merely a branch) as being in the same category.
    Last edited by Thomas_1; May. 28, 2006 at 12:42 PM.



  2. #22
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    Youngster is back at his regular barn, bro. picked him up last weekend. Suposedly pretty much the schedule they had planned. Sis-in-law said they bought a harness off of eBay when I last talked to her. I think I'm gonna' stick with letting Mom field the phone calls and only talk to the kids (unless it's finding out what things oldest niece is in need of for herself or pony for Christmas and B-days). Perhaps my brother's "more luck than sense" history will hold and all will be well.... Otherwise, I guess we'll just watch this trainwreck unfold.
    Member: "Collector of Quirky Equines", "Incredible Invisibles", "Proud to be a Mushroom Head", and "Addicted to Howrse" cliques.

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  3. #23
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    Mar. 18, 2006
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    The fact that they bought the harness off of Ebay concerns me more than the amish farmer and his kids teaching him to drive! The leather is mostly cheap, and weak, and can literally fall apart while you are driving, when you need it most. (Don't ask me how I know this!)

    I am moving to the heart of Lancaster County and I have lots of friends down there, and see amish horses more than I see cars on my street. (food locker is right next door, they don't have fridges, all the wives come to get the evening meal out of the locker, I see LOTS of horses)

    I think that an amish started horse, is a godsend. It has learned what it means to WORK, and not fuss around, rear, back up like an idiot, paw when asked to whoa, and boy oh boy, a horse that can patiently stand tied!

    I love my amish started ponies and horses. That being said, I do like to buy them younger, as they haven't been on the road long enough to really damage their legs. An older horse WILL have leg work, as we call it.

    I have seen amish kids riding. It is a laugh, but they sure do know how to balance. I could never ride a horse bareback like they do! They don't have a clue what heels down is, though! The boys like to canter and race, but I really dont think those boys would have "ruined" this horse for a future in dressage to be honest. The biggest problem is that they will have driven him in an overcheck and that is going to be the biggest hurdle to overcome while driving or riding, if your sis in law doesn't use one.

    The horses I get in, are very used to a tight overcheck and really "stargaze" . I love it when I take the check off, their heads go up , go down, go up , down, and then eventually (20 minutes to 2 days) they figure out that they are no longer tied to their tails and can carry themselves in a frame.

    I think that this young horse, is probably pretty bombproof about cars, trucks, noisy carriages (ever driven a horse that is used to a bike tire jog cart, for the first time in a real cart that rattles??? An amish horse is used to that already, and usually the metal rimmed tires, even MORE noise)

    Now, we "english" conventionally start a horse a little sooner, but if you notice, most old timers will say a horse needs a wet saddle blanket to really train it. Meaning, ride that critter till it is TIRED, then let it think on it a while. If he is stupid next time he gets ridden, well, same thing, a good sweaty tired horse will do the trick.

    Same thing with the driving horses. IF a young horse starts to act really skitzy or stupid starting out, you can be after a 6 mile drive in the hills of amish country, he will for sure be less stupid when he gets back.

    Contrary to what I have heard here, I have never seen an amish man take a "fresh" horse (one right out of the show ring or a youngster) on a 20 mile trip, until they are built up to it. As I do livestock hauling down in PA, I can tell you, I go to pick up quite a few "broke down horses" and their carriages in the summer time. These aren't youngsters, often they are draft crosses that don't cool down as well, or older horses that have tied up. An amish man doesn't want to be broke down with a family in the buggy, they sure do try to take a horse that is "tough" to ensure that they don't have to!

    When we go to the sales, the horses are sold as right off the track (literally taken off the track, still in racing plates), Fresh (usually off the track a week or so, or long enough to have race plates pulled and be in "road shoes" and started in a regular two wheel cart, instead of a race bike) , In the spring wagon (next step from cart), Started in the carriage, or Ready for Miles ( a horse that has been consistently driving 12-15 miles, is toughened up on the shoulders for a collar, and has been pulling the enclosed heavy carriages.

    What you DON"T want to buy, is a horse that "Needs Miles" (in other words, a screwball that will take 4 people to hitch it and might calm down after about 15 miles or a "Boy's Horse" (a little less of a screw, but likely a VERY hot individual)



  4. #24
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    I was kind of surprised to hear she had bought the harness off of eBay also for the exact same reasoning. She has boatloads of family (her mother's side is of Menonite heritage, though not all still "practice" including her mother who married a career Army man) that lives in Springs, PA and sis-in-law knows of a really good leather guy back "home" who charges reasonable rates for quality workmanship. I had pretty much assumed that she would have ordered a harness from there esp. since they are very good about giving instructions on how to measure for custom items and will do additional consults over the phone until you feel confident you have it right. If the $$ was a concern, I would much prefer to wait until I had saved enough to buy the better tack. She's already had one majorly scary incident during this pregnancy and we don't need another. I think she's letting her desire to do "something horsey" besides grooming and ground work while she's pregnant override her thoughts toward safety.
    Member: "Collector of Quirky Equines", "Incredible Invisibles", "Proud to be a Mushroom Head", and "Addicted to Howrse" cliques.

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  5. #25
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    Please don't take this offensively as that is not the spirit in which it is meant, but it seems that in your eyes your sister/brother can do no right. I know it is out of concern for them, but probably biting your toungue and saving the advice for a real serious situation would be best, and might actually have a chance of being heard. In the sake of family relations, I agree that stepping aside is called for. You have your horses to enjoy to get the horse fix, and your nieces etc to get your kid fix. Play it cool to keep it that way.

    If her family has a mennonite heritage, that is probably one of the reasons they sent it there. Not all amish trainers are equal, and a good one provides one of the best educations I think you can give to a young horse. Most horses aren't contenders for the Olympics, but there will always a big demand for a sensible, well mannered and exposed horse ... pretty to boot is just icing on the cake, basically an insurance policy for the horse in the future should his career aspirations run short.

    Tom: We live near the waterloo region. I agree with most that you have posted. We have had some well-broke amish trained horses and they are a pleasure to have around.

    LazyDacres: I am afraid I have also bought one of those "needs miles" horses . He was sold to me as not broke or touched ... certainly not the case, pulled the shoe nails out of his foot to prove it. The "not so good amish trainer" had abviously had a go at this guy and made quite a mess of it. I have had him now for a few years, it takes quite a commitment (from the horse and me) to overcome alot of the baggage that he came with, we're still not there yet (my own time constraints) and probably never will reach his potential because of deeply ingrained trust issues.



  6. #26
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    I had a reply typed out but you obviously only read the replies posted by other posters so I'm not going to continue to waste my breath on a dead issue.
    Last edited by TBsRgr8; Jun. 14, 2006 at 06:25 PM.
    Member: "Collector of Quirky Equines", "Incredible Invisibles", "Proud to be a Mushroom Head", and "Addicted to Howrse" cliques.

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  7. #27
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    Jul. 11, 2004
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    Default Glad the horse is back home....but?

    They blew a lot of money on a Friesian and are going cheap everywhere else? This is very odd.

    You don't want to come back reincarnated as an Amish owned horse. They use and abuse them, especially the carriage horses. Just take a look at these poor animals at a market on shopping day. Miserable heaving horses, poor care, sores under the harness and not clean....and please, no whining about how they "work horses for real" etc. they're abusive to their horses. They're also some of the worst "puppy mill" producers of miserably bred dogs.

    Friesians are slow maturing horses (as are all draft horses...even though they're minimal drafters). They really need to get a decent harness and good training with a sensible and knowledgeable trainer.

    Sounds like they're the type who buy an expensive car and never change the oil.



  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner
    You don't want to come back reincarnated as an Amish owned horse. They use and abuse them, especially the carriage horses. Just take a look at these poor animals at a market on shopping day. Miserable heaving horses, poor care, sores under the harness and not clean....and please, no whining about how they "work horses for real" etc. they're abusive to their horses. They're also some of the worst "puppy mill" producers of miserably bred dogs.

    .
    What a prejudicial stereotype! I once looked after a horse for the International League of Protection to Horses whilst it was awaiting for its owner to be prosecuted for cruelty and abuse. The owner was a priest. Does that mean all christians abuse their horses



  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner
    They blew a lot of money on a Friesian and are going cheap everywhere else? This is very odd.
    It's true to form for sis-in-law's decision making processes; and not only horse issues. She asked me to critique the video of the critter from when he was still at his mother's side and had a little bit of footage of the sire. Other than a little tiny snippet of where the dam trotted, a v. nice trot that was a bit unexpected for a Pinto/ Paint, I told her that the only thing I could tell her for sure from the footage presented was the color of the horses. The sale video was not well done. I also told her of some of the concerns about the breed for the goals that she had stated at the time. I also asked if she honestly thought that she would have enough time for another horse (she frequently had issues with getting in horse time because of my bro. being gone so much, 2 young children, and not wanting to hire more babysitting) at that point in their lives with the two young children and talk of possibly expanding the family by one or two more. I only brought it up once and dropped it.
    Member: "Collector of Quirky Equines", "Incredible Invisibles", "Proud to be a Mushroom Head", and "Addicted to Howrse" cliques.

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  10. #30
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    TBs, you seriously need to butt out of your sister's life. It's not up to you what she does. She has every right to make her own choices without you there telling her what she is doing wrong IYO.



  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner
    You don't want to come back reincarnated as an Amish owned horse. They use and abuse them, especially the carriage horses. Just take a look at these poor animals at a market on shopping day. Miserable heaving horses, poor care, sores under the harness and not clean....and please, no whining about how they "work horses for real" etc. they're abusive to their horses.
    How many Amish horses have you seen like this? Like was stated earlier, there are good Amish trainers and bad ones. Don't sterotype the whole group based on what you might have seen once or twice. The Amish depend on their animals to not only get them around, but for the trainers the horses are their way of life. Just because they make them work and don't take any crap off the horses doesn't mean they're abused.

    I'd rather drive an Amish trained team that I know is bomb-proof and broke rather than some lightly trained horse who's been coddled and allowed to get away with stuff.



  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by silvia
    TBs, you seriously need to butt out of your sister's life. It's not up to you what she does. She has every right to make her own choices without you there telling her what she is doing wrong IYO.
    She specifically friggin' asked me to evaluate the video. Honestly, the only conversation I have had with her since the incident was one time to get more information because my brother and I didn't get far enough into the conversation before he either had to go or the cell signal was lost. I let her do most of the talking when I called and I asked about all of the horses and how niece's lessons were going. It had been several months since I had actually talked to her on the phone prior to that. I guess I'm just a total biotch for being concerned about the health/ safety of my unborn nephew and for wanting to stick up for a horse that was put in what sounded like an abusive situation. I've expressed much more on the message board than what I said on the phone. I wanted a chance to sort out my thoughts and feelings before letting my anger take over and telling her off. I bite my tongue alot much of the time when on the phone with them (which does not stop them from trying to tell me how to live my life with a condition neither of them has any experience with). I guess I put higher expectations of taking extra safety precautions when participating in high risk activities on parents of young children so that their kids don't have deal with the death of a parent and have to grow up with out them. How selfish of me.
    Member: "Collector of Quirky Equines", "Incredible Invisibles", "Proud to be a Mushroom Head", and "Addicted to Howrse" cliques.

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  13. #33
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    Thanks, Mels, for sticking up for the Amish as horsepeople. Nobody's perfect, and there are certainly Amish as well as English (meaning not-Amish) who do poorly by their horses. But as a community they still depend on their horses in ways that we never will, and they use their horses for tasks that most of us have forgotten even exist. I've seen many a horse and mule spoiled to the point of being dangerous by hobby owners, and then given a new life and a new usefulness by an Amish farmer.

    I also learned a lot as a kid watching Mennonite relatives farm with horses and later attending horse auctions where Amish and Mennonite buyers and sellers gathered. I learned early on to watch for the very subtle signals a plain bidder would make, and studied the harness piece or horse they were bidding on, because it was sure to be a good one.

    And then there's my own personal little mantra when I lose confidence about my driving: "Uncle Joe (Slaybaugh) did it. I can do it too." Amazing how that cheers me on.

    Dale



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBsRgr8
    She specifically friggin' asked me to evaluate the video. Honestly, the only conversation I have had with her since the incident was one time to get more information because my brother and I didn't get far enough into the conversation before he either had to go or the cell signal was lost. I let her do most of the talking when I called and I asked about all of the horses and how niece's lessons were going. It had been several months since I had actually talked to her on the phone prior to that. I guess I'm just a total biotch for being concerned about the health/ safety of my unborn nephew and for wanting to stick up for a horse that was put in what sounded like an abusive situation. I've expressed much more on the message board than what I said on the phone. I wanted a chance to sort out my thoughts and feelings before letting my anger take over and telling her off. I bite my tongue alot much of the time when on the phone with them (which does not stop them from trying to tell me how to live my life with a condition neither of them has any experience with). I guess I put higher expectations of taking extra safety precautions when participating in high risk activities on parents of young children so that their kids don't have deal with the death of a parent and have to grow up with out them. How selfish of me.
    In that case I offer my sincere apology. It sounded like you were saying a lot of this to her already. I have three sisters



  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mels
    How many Amish horses have you seen like this? Like was stated earlier, there are good Amish trainers and bad ones. Don't sterotype the whole group based on what you might have seen once or twice. .

    Glad someone else has posted to this effect. I can't stand prejudicial stereotype no matter who its aimed at. However with regard to horsemanship: generally the Amish community have a much wider and deeper knowledge base and with skills daily utilised and this is not as general amongst the majority of the horse owning population. Indeed I'd say that Amish folks were more likely to have better trained horses, better cared for horses and better access to assistance and advice. Quite simply they are reliant and dependent on their horses for transortation, pleasure and work. I very much doubt you'd get an Amish driver having to resort to asking on a forum (even if they had computers!) how to pretty basic stuff like harness/bit/shoe/feed a horse. Sadly all too many folks nowadays get horses and then set about learning with them through things like forums.

    Horsesmanship is a practical, physical skill and not something you can meantingfully learn about other than by practical demonstration and application. In my view you should learn first and then get the horse and the Amish community certainly are blessed with folks who have real practical knowledge of successfully training and working, riding and driving horses . I would lay my money down that most of them will have forgotten more than many 'pet' single horse owners will ever know.

    As I posted earlier, the sort of biggotry and prejudice expressed is no different to what we hear over here regarding the Romany community and it has no place on any forum and certainly not on a horse forum where driving training is being discussed.



  16. #36
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    Default Amish and their horses

    I repeat, you don't want to come back as an Amish owned horse...especially one of their buggy horses.

    Their Belgians plow horses are necessary to run the farm, they get decent treatment.

    The retired standardbreds they get off the tracks have a bad life. Not just one or two, a lot of them (or to be more accurate, the Maryland and Lancaster/Shippensburg area Amish...both of which I have a lot of experience with).

    Look into the American Humane Society and Humane Society websites for stories and commentaries about puppy mills and who are the worst abusers of these sad dogs...it's the Amish, especially the GAP, PA area for some reason (outside Lancaster). The guy who built a carriage for me had a barn with at least 20 wire cages of toy breeds for his wife to earn money with. It's the new "egg money" business.

    That someone drives a horse for their daily transportation doesn't mean they know any more about the horse than the average driver knows how to repair the car. There is no magical knowledge they possess, they aren't somehow closer to the earth etc., they're a fairly backwards religious insular sect that is becoming horribly inbred with increasing birth defects due to the shallow gene pool. This isn't bias, it's based on data on their demographic group.

    The Amish are not some version, as in the movie "Witness," of quaint people who are so colorful and cute. Ask a Brit or Irish about the Gypsies, a Southwester about the local Indian tribes or the Lancaster people about the Amish...you'll get a different perspective based on actual observation vs. a hagiographic picture from TV and afar.



  17. #37
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    Default I don't know how many people live in Amish Country but....

    Out here in Northeast Ohio draft breeds usually get started at a young age.

    It's not uncommon to see a "team" of a two year old and a three year old (Mares and geldings) for sale, they just start them and sell them as dead broke, quiet, farm work horses.

    However, keep in mind that it's not necessarily as hard on a horse's joints to be driven than to be ridden (yes, there are exceptions, this is a generalization).

    But I agree with most of the people on this thread that this horse was driven too hard for a three year old, just saying it's not uncommon...
    Sometimes it's just not worth it to chew through the ropes in the morning....



  18. #38
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    Default Crouching Cheese...

    Not to divert from the subject (very far) but please explain the history of your screen name. There's got to be some kind of interesting story there. Most of us drivers seem to have fairly easy to discern screen names, although mine should probably be DrivesAHaflinger. But I originally registered on COTH to respond to a thread about Haflingers in dressage and then I wandered over here and found some of my Florida buds inhabiting this forum.



  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner
    I repeat, you don't want to come back as an Amish owned horse...especially one of their buggy horses.

    Their Belgians plow horses are necessary to run the farm, they get decent treatment.

    The retired standardbreds they get off the tracks have a bad life. Not just one or two, a lot of them (or to be more accurate, the Maryland and Lancaster/Shippensburg area Amish...both of which I have a lot of experience with).

    Look into the American Humane Society and Humane Society websites for stories and commentaries about puppy mills and who are the worst abusers of these sad dogs...it's the Amish, especially the GAP, PA area for some reason (outside Lancaster). The guy who built a carriage for me had a barn with at least 20 wire cages of toy breeds for his wife to earn money with. It's the new "egg money" business.

    That someone drives a horse for their daily transportation doesn't mean they know any more about the horse than the average driver knows how to repair the car. There is no magical knowledge they possess, they aren't somehow closer to the earth etc., they're a fairly backwards religious insular sect that is becoming horribly inbred with increasing birth defects due to the shallow gene pool. This isn't bias, it's based on data on their demographic group.

    The Amish are not some version, as in the movie "Witness," of quaint people who are so colorful and cute. Ask a Brit or Irish about the Gypsies, a Southwester about the local Indian tribes or the Lancaster people about the Amish...you'll get a different perspective based on actual observation vs. a hagiographic picture from TV and afar.
    Ok, I just read your post (we posted at the same time, both from Amish Country...ironic)

    Not all Amish are the monsters you are making them out to be. Many are, yes, and the trend seems to be continuing, but there are very respectable and honest Amish out there, you just have to look.

    Case in point, I visited an Amish farm once where they were hosting a seminar on a new vitamin supplement. There were at least 50 men in attendence (I was the only girl, well, me and my friend) and all were very interested in the vitamin (I believe it was something to strengthen the hoof wall). Anyway, even after the whole hoof discussion, a lot of talk opened up about feed and such. These guys were talking about proper horse nutrition, not just "throw 'em a handful of grain and walk away."

    I agree that many of the buggy horses are treated like crap. One of my dear friends' jobs is to visit the hitching posts around town and inspect the horses tied. If a horse looks to be too lame, or in too much pain or whatever she is to immediately report it to the local Animal shelter (or whatever it is, I can't remember the name, not ASPCA, but similar).

    She reports many horses a year, sadly enough.

    However, I've lived here all my life, and I've known quite a few amish people and their horses. Many of the horses we pass on the road (or see in a field) are fat, happy, and healthy. A lot of Amish take at least some pride in their horses, and will try to keep them healthy (if for nothing else because if they don't have a horse, they have to pay to get carted around by an Amish taxi driver).

    Just my two cents worth.

    Oh yeah, if you ever want to see the most caring Amish community ever go down to Millersburg, Ohio. I was amazed at the level of care and just the beauty of the place. Definitely somewhere I'd visit again.
    Sometimes it's just not worth it to chew through the ropes in the morning....



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1
    Glad someone else has posted to this effect. I can't stand prejudicial stereotype no matter who its aimed at. However with regard to horsemanship: generally the Amish community have a much wider and deeper knowledge base and with skills daily utilised and this is not as general amongst the majority of the horse owning population. Indeed I'd say that Amish folks were more likely to have better trained horses, better cared for horses and better access to assistance and advice. Quite simply they are reliant and dependent on their horses for transortation, pleasure and work. I very much doubt you'd get an Amish driver having to resort to asking on a forum (even if they had computers!) how to pretty basic stuff like harness/bit/shoe/feed a horse. Sadly all too many folks nowadays get horses and then set about learning with them through things like forums.
    Have you driven through Lancaster PA on a hot, humid summer day? I have and the I've seen many distressed, lame horses pulling the Amish buggies down the road. Have you been to New Holland sales where the cast off Amish horses are being sold for slaughter?

    No, not all of them treat their horses like this, but quite a few do and it is general knowledge in our area (we are less than an hour from Lancaster) that the Amish horses lead a very rough life.
    Kelly Soldavin Harvest Moon Farm
    www.harvestmoonfarmpa.com



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