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Long term consequences for the American horse market.

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  • Long term consequences for the American horse market.

    So... The JC registers about 35,000 a year, most of which do not make it on the track and have to find another home.

    The BLM wants to dump the 45,000 currently in holding pens.
    http://www.mustangmillion.com/homepage/ (And how many of us experience with wild horses, so they are essentially looking to place these horses with folks who have never dealt with a mustang before...)

    The AQHA registers over 100,000 per year, and holds the distinguished title of being the most well represented amongst the slaughter bound population.

    And I lets not forget the Arabian and Standardbred racing industries, and all those who "backyard folks" who breed without a purpose or a plan.

    On COTH, we have an active population of people trying to push the convoluted ideology that 1) many/all of these horses are 'valuable' prospects while simultaneously 2)claiming they are in "need" of homes immediately. Oh and, while the pushers don't want the horses themselves, they are SURE that everyone else is 'missing out on an opportunity' by not running out to 'snatch one up' immediately!!

    So what is the overall effect on the horse industry in the USA of having an ever increasing group of people dedicated to 'rehoming' horses for free/super cheap? Do we think this will make the industry better overall? Is it helpful in the long run to invest ever more energy into cleaning up the messes left by segments of the industry that produce so much equine waste product?

    How about they 1) clean up their own mess 2) don't make so much mess in the first place?

    The AQHA is 'pro' slaughter. They know that if they are going to burn through horses at the ages of 2-4 then they have to have someplace for all that horseflesh to go when they are done. (Personally, I think the AQHA should open up their own slaughter plant. They make they mess. They clean it up. They take responsibility for their way of 'doing business.')

    But since we all know that ain't gonna happen..... What will the long term consequences be of

    1)Continuing to produce so many unwanted horses.

    2)Directing the industry's energies NOT towards the development of skill in riders, trainers, organization of breeding, competition, licensing, etc BUT instead towards dealing with the garbage heap of the thousands upon thousands of horses that are left to 'trickle down' to the folks willing to clean up the garbage pile? (Currently that garbage pile includes 45,000 BLM horses, hundreds of thousands from the racing and QH industries, and God only knows how many that are unaccounted for.)
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  • #2
    Registrations are definitely down since the economy tanked. JC only expects to register ~23000 in 2013, and other registries are expecting fewer numbers as well. That's been pretty well documented over the last few years.
    Caitlin
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    • #3
      Arabian horse registrations are down for the last several years as well. I don't have the numbers, but a quick Google would find them.

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      • #4
        I think you just want a platform to bash the AQHA one more time.

        Where do you get all that information?

        Horses going to slaughter don't come with papers and many grade horses look like a qh maybe, but many are really crosses or other breeds anyway.

        Do you really know anything about AQHA horses?
        There are many, many more working into their old age than your accusation there about running thru horses at 2-4 years old.

        Good job, keep on bashing, but you may want to change the title to reflect your real topic.

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        • #5
          On my facebook page and webpages, I see rescues as basically saying anyone who buys a quality horse, rather than adopt is somehow less moral, less caring. The idea behind actually riding a horse, driving a horse -using it for performance seems to be less and less important for most horse owners. It is kind of scary for the horse industry.

          But I also see slaughter (that is transport to slaughter) for any horse in the USA as not viable and not appropriate. The idea of hoist and shackle and poor slaughter practices in Mexico should be enough to outlaw transport to Mexico for slaughter. period.

          What is the answer? It has to be more efficient slaughter/rendering/de-centralized options for horse carcasses in the USA, as well as options for efficient euthanasia (maybe more like the knackerman in the UK). Veterinarians should be encouraged to use a gun for euthanasia, for people that can't afford euthanasia and euthanasia should be offered as an option for unsound animals. That requires leaders at the USDA to actually give a flying fart about the issue.

          It also requires that veterinarians be trained in safe (gun) euthanasia techniques and understand why it is important to be able to offer low cost options (to stop horses going to kill auctions). Ergo: vet school training needs to change.
          Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
            I think you just want a platform to bash the AQHA one more time.

            Where do you get all that information?

            Horses going to slaughter don't come with papers and many grade horses look like a qh maybe, but many are really crosses or other breeds anyway.

            Do you really know anything about AQHA horses?
            There are many, many more working into their old age than your accusation there about running thru horses at 2-4 years old.

            Good job, keep on bashing, but you may want to change the title to reflect your real topic.
            Bluey, I think you have a bruised spot near the AQHA part of your anatomy and are mistakenly reading the OP has having looked for it.

            The OP did take the JC and also backyard breeders to task as well. And you must admit that the breed registry has been magnificently successful in creating a show industry in order to make breeding more AQHA horses profitable. You can't find that in USEF hunter world, hence the lack of a big breeding industry for those horses in the US.

            But the OP's point was different and took a different set of people to task as well. Those were the people who insist that every horse is valuable (though they'd like someone else to feed it). And the OP wondered what this attitude will do to horse breeding and prices.

            Man, I wish we could go back to the days when horses were Toyotas and you had no qualms about euthanizing them when their useful life was over. I'm sure people will consider me callous, but so long as the horse is treated well and has no sense that his death is immanent, isn't his quality of life pretty good?
            The armchair saddler
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            • #7
              I don't have a problem with the JC or the AQHA, let alone the Standardbred registry--they're breeding for a purpose, to get what you want there'll always be culls. JC used to assume that riders would want their washouts, and some still do (though the specialty-bred and import market is hurting them there, more than overbreeding. People in the market for horses want purpose-bred animals without the perceived down sides of race-bred horses. That's not the JC's fault.) AQHA *has* a plan for overstock, people squeamish about slaughter just don't LIKE it, which is not the AQHA's problem nor should it be. Note that 'what's to be done' with a piece of personal property that happens to be breathing is only your problem if you MAKE it your problem.

              As for the BLM, they're not an industry, they're stuck dealing with a prolific feral species that people happen to be sentimental about. If it were rabbits we'd have borrowed Australia's bio-weapon solution already. The solution is more slaughter, especially for edible carcasses like the mustangs, reduced laws about rendering, composting and burial, and more vets learning to use small-caliber guns and humane killers (hand-held bolts) so the bodies are easier to dispose of.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                Bluey, I think you have a bruised spot near the AQHA part of your anatomy and are mistakenly reading the OP has having looked for it.

                The OP did take the JC and also backyard breeders to task as well. And you must admit that the breed registry has been magnificently successful in creating a show industry in order to make breeding more AQHA horses profitable. You can't find that in USEF hunter world, hence the lack of a big breeding industry for those horses in the US.

                But the OP's point was different and took a different set of people to task as well. Those were the people who insist that every horse is valuable (though they'd like someone else to feed it). And the OP wondered what this attitude will do to horse breeding and prices.

                Man, I wish we could go back to the days when horses were Toyotas and you had no qualms about euthanizing them when their useful life was over. I'm sure people will consider me callous, but so long as the horse is treated well and has no sense that his death is immanent, isn't his quality of life pretty good?
                I thought that was an unfair representation of the AQHA by far, more than the other comments.
                I think it is not I who has a problem here, but the OP, with her way too exagerated, not true words about the AQHA.

                By the way, the AQHA is NOT for or against slaughter, as they have stated many times.
                The AQHA was against the ill worded "ban horse slaughter bill" of 2007, that 200+ other horse organizations were against, as they should have.
                That is the only time they have spoken as an association about this.
                That they are for slaughter is another misconception that some keep repeating, as here.

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                • #9
                  Gotta get the farmers' markets to start selling "local free range" horse steaks, I guess.

                  But seriously, don't you think the economy being $#*% , not to mention widespread drought and rising feed costs, has more to do with it than breeding practices and rescues?
                  "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave

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                  • #10
                    well, I don't know where to start.
                    1st - I would like a free horse that is a good age and healthy for free. I have yet to find that. all the horses I see looking for new homes are aged and/or used up from lessons or whatever.


                    2nd I hate that slap at backyard breeding, maybe they produce a few, but where are the ammy's getting their 3' jumpers? Not from your average backyard breeder.

                    These horses are coming from professional breeders.
                    I suspect when those high-quality, hot headed horses get used up from all that jumping they don't have an easy landing. Why are those breeders getting a by?They need to stop breeding.

                    Look at the Giveaway Forum here, there are a few used up show horses, maybe their owners should put them down instead of passing them on.

                    how about stopping the racing industry - they are producing horses by the dozens.


                    these kinds of threads make me crazy!!!!

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                    • #11
                      FWIW...most AQHA are not burned up/used up by ages 2-4. That's only for a small minority of them. JC...same thing.

                      The more horses of a particular breed in general will mean a higher percentage of those making it into slaughter. Has zero to do with mean old registries. Has to do with numbers.

                      I think a common misconception with QHs in general is that people on BBs like this seem to be most familiar with halter horses and show pleasure horses. Which would pretty much make anyone outside of those areas dislike the breed/registry in general if they thought this was what they commonly produced.

                      An enormous percent of AQHAs aren't doing either discipline, do not have giant bodies on teeny feets and can actually move faster than a crippled fart.

                      The lack of interest in OTTBs has mostly to do with people assuming it's impossible to show any discipline unless the horse has a European registry.
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                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!
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                      • #12
                        I have come to the conclusion that those 45,000 BLM horses are never going to find homes. They've tried every marketing scheme under the sun and don't really make much of a dent in the captive population. Me, Ms Anti Slaughter, gasped when I read how much it costs to keep them all alive. Came to the realization that the only rational solution is one more push to find any of the re-homeable ones homes, and sad, to say, the rest should be sent over the bridge. I really regret saying that, but I think it's the only rational solution. I don't think the current horse market can absorb them, and that's why they are still standing there, eating our tax dollars.

                        I think *all* the registries bear some blame for the continuing push to breed, breed, breed as that is one of their main sources of income. For example, this situation has the Arabian registry in a sort of panic as they are experiencing a drop in entries in main ring showing (and honestly, probably all types of showing) and a drop in registration. They are at least sensibly cutting back their expenses. Not sure what other registries are doing but I suspect some still have their heads in the sand and are hoping for a rebound.

                        Demographics and economic upheaval are working against us folks - that's a hard cold reality.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post
                          I have come to the conclusion that those 45,000 BLM horses are never going to find homes. They've tried every marketing scheme under the sun and don't really make much of a dent in the captive population. Me, Ms Anti Slaughter, gasped when I read how much it costs to keep them all alive. Came to the realization that the only rational solution is one more push to find any of the re-homeable ones homes, and sad, to say, the rest should be sent over the bridge. I really regret saying that, but I think it's the only rational solution. I don't think the current horse market can absorb them, and that's why they are still standing there, eating our tax dollars.

                          I think *all* the registries bear some blame for the continuing push to breed, breed, breed as that is one of their main sources of income. For example, this situation has the Arabian registry in a sort of panic as they are experiencing a drop in entries in main ring showing (and honestly, probably all types of showing) and a drop in registration. They are at least sensibly cutting back their expenses. Not sure what other registries are doing but I suspect some still have their heads in the sand and are hoping for a rebound.

                          Demographics and economic upheaval are working against us folks - that's a hard cold reality.
                          Thank you! Euthanasia is not cruel! Jeez folks -how do you think you get that beef steak on your table? Someone killed an animal. We all die, some sooner than others... for those wild horses now in BLM control: locked in a tiny pen without good care, without understanding that humans don't want to eat them, losing their herd, their social structure, etc. How can that possibly be a quality of life worth living?

                          What I don't understand is how we, as a society have come to have such strong feelings about euthanasia? We would rather send those poor horses to auction, transport them to Mexico to die a horrific death, than just do what is right by the horses AND the environment. And yes, for many, un-adoptable horses, that means euthanasia. It is a kindness - and culling a wild herd to make it stronger is not evil.
                          Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by mvp View Post
                            But the OP's point was different and took a different set of people to task as well. Those were the people who insist that every horse is valuable (though they'd like someone else to feed it). And the OP wondered what this attitude will do to horse breeding and prices.

                            Man, I wish we could go back to the days when horses were Toyotas and you had no qualms about euthanizing them when their useful life was over. I'm sure people will consider me callous, but so long as the horse is treated well and has no sense that his death is immanent, isn't his quality of life pretty good?
                            Agreed.

                            I am pretty sure that one of the ways that other countries excel at horse sports is they put more focus on the development of the people in the horse industry. It scares me to see amateurs and young people I know focused on Camelot ("meat" auction in my area of NJ) and saving and rescuing, etc. They are not focused on improving their riding, teaching, training, etc. They are focused on all the poor-baby leftovers that populate Craig's List, the 'every animal/horse deserves a home networks and websites,' racing rescues/adoption/networking sites, etc.

                            What are the long term consequences to 1) the economic health of the industry to flood the market with so many cheap horses (which, hysterically, so many advocates insist are quality animals.) 2) the long term development of horse sports if so many of our young people and amateurs are spending their time and dollars cleaning up the leftovers from ill managed segments of the industry?
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                            • #15
                              45,000 mustangs x 800 pounds = 36,000,000 (36 million pounds) / 2,000 (1 ton) = 18,000 tons

                              Think about if the government put out a contract to have 45,000 horses killed humanely and turned into 36 million pounds of good, clean horse flesh made into pet food. No antibiotics, no growth hormones, no rendered dogs and cats-full of drugs rendered into meat meal. Just clean meat...
                              Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                                Agreed.

                                I am pretty sure that one of the ways that other countries excel at horse sports is they put more focus on the development of the people in the horse industry. It scares me to see amateurs and young people I know focused on Camelot ("meat" auction in my area of NJ) and saving and rescuing, etc. They are not focused on improving their riding, teaching, training, etc. They are focused on all the poor-baby leftovers that populate Craig's List, the 'every animal/horse deserves a home networks and websites,' racing rescues/adoption/networking sites, etc.

                                What are the long term consequences to 1) the economic health of the industry to flood the market with so many cheap horses (which, hysterically, so many advocates insist are quality animals.) 2) the long term development of horse sports if so many of our young people and amateurs are spending their time and dollars cleaning up the leftovers from ill managed segments of the industry?

                                Oh my goodness -reasonable people posting! It makes my heart sing.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                  I think you just want a platform to bash the AQHA one more time.

                                  Where do you get all that information?

                                  Horses going to slaughter don't come with papers and many grade horses look like a qh maybe, but many are really crosses or other breeds anyway.

                                  Do you really know anything about AQHA horses?
                                  There are many, many more working into their old age than your accusation there about running thru horses at 2-4 years old.

                                  Good job, keep on bashing, but you may want to change the title to reflect your real topic.
                                  If you check with the folks on the Eventing board, they will be happy to inform you that I hate Thoroughbreds. Not QH.

                                  In point of fact, I hate neither. Have ridden and owned and foaled out and worked on farms dedicated to both.

                                  Overall, I am pretty concerned about the tone that COTH is developing as a 'rescue this poor baby' board. The push from certain groups for 'somebody go get this horse' is getting ridiculous.

                                  Is that where the industry is headed? Two groups. One who uses horses and the other who 'saves' horses from the people who use them/don't want to use them anymore?
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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Cielo Azure View Post
                                    On my facebook page and webpages, I see rescues as basically saying anyone who buys a quality horse, rather than adopt is somehow less moral, less caring. The idea behind actually riding a horse, driving a horse -using it for performance seems to be less and less important for most horse owners. It is kind of scary for the horse industry.
                                    Yes, this is part of what I mean. An entire culture of 'rescue' is taking root in the horse industry. Where a certain group feels it is their obligation to 'rescue' horses from another group. Whether it is that charming chick who made the documentaries of Cloud the mustang. Or the 'second chance' off the track folks. Or my local Camelot group.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                                      Agreed.

                                      I am pretty sure that one of the ways that other countries excel at horse sports is they put more focus on the development of the people in the horse industry. It scares me to see amateurs and young people I know focused on Camelot ("meat" auction in my area of NJ) and saving and rescuing, etc. They are not focused on improving their riding, teaching, training, etc. They are focused on all the poor-baby leftovers that populate Craig's List, the 'every animal/horse deserves a home networks and websites,' racing rescues/adoption/networking sites, etc.

                                      What are the long term consequences to 1) the economic health of the industry to flood the market with so many cheap horses (which, hysterically, so many advocates insist are quality animals.) 2) the long term development of horse sports if so many of our young people and amateurs are spending their time and dollars cleaning up the leftovers from ill managed segments of the industry?
                                      Eh, I won't go this far. There is nothing mutually exclusive about wanting to become a better rider, taking lessons, etc etc and at the same time making the effort to give horses one more chance. I've put in my little dribble now and then and networked to help out horses and still manage to take lessons, clinic, show, and trail ride. I bought a $300 horse off CL to do it too, and he's turned out to be a great horse, far better than his purchase price would lead you to believe. And I will never denigrate the efforts of TBFriends, Saddlebred Rescue, Mid Atlantic, CANTER, New Vocations - they've helped some super quality horses find a new purpose in life. So I feel that cull to slaughter without any attempt to re-purpose to be a bit too harsh in my book - way too much wasted horse talent in that route.

                                      And why do you care if people spend their time this way? To each his own.
                                      Last edited by oldernewbie; Jan. 27, 2013, 07:48 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post
                                        I have come to the conclusion that those 45,000 BLM horses are never going to find homes. They've tried every marketing scheme under the sun and don't really make much of a dent in the captive population. Me, Ms Anti Slaughter, gasped when I read how much it costs to keep them all alive. Came to the realization that the only rational solution is one more push to find any of the re-homeable ones homes, and sad, to say, the rest should be sent over the bridge. I really regret saying that, but I think it's the only rational solution. I don't think the current horse market can absorb them, and that's why they are still standing there, eating our tax dollars.
                                        I'm not surprised that it is hard to find homes for all those mustangs - it takes a special person to work with, and train, a horse who hasn't been touched by humans prior to being rounded up and sent to an auction (or several auctions). I have a mustang here for the rescue who I adore - but he's NOT the horse for everyone. He has a strong self-preservation instinct and his reaction is to flee first and ask questions later. I like his energy, but the run of the mill horse person wouldn't. And while I think he's cute as can be, he's not built to be a show horse. He's going to end up as a trail horse for an experienced rider or maybe a working ranch type horse.

                                        I don't think we can blame the state of the horse industry on any one thing. We have a bad economy, drought, and the cost of horse keeping continues to rise as land for horse-keeping becomes less available. We also have fewer people entering the horse market, and more and more people leaving it. We have people who want horses for showing or some kind of competing, and for the most part those people are going to buy the type of horse that will excel in their sport (some will adopt or rescue a diamond in the rough, but not that many will). We have another segment of the horse industry who pleasure rides/trail rides who won't mind getting a good deal on a rescue horse (whether from a rescue or elsewhere). And a segment of the horse industry that considers their horses their pets and rarely ride (if ever). They like rescuing a horse or giving a horse a place to live out his life.

                                        There are no easy answers - just a lot of questions and worry.
                                        Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                        Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

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