On the edge


blackandwhiteorskewbald

Following on from my blog Dumped to Die. The little lady that I rescued was balancing on the edge of life. With a body score of 0.5.

Now hydrated and receiving all the medical and nutritional requirements that she needed to stay alive, despite this her life was still on a knife edge. The fight was with her now. It took 3 days to get her dry. Her coat so dense and no heat lamp. Wrapped in oversized rugs to wick the wet away. A deep dense straw bed to protect her frail emaciated body. She had no to urge to stand, she just lay there slowly giving up. I could not describe the feeling of your heart so wanting for something to live. A living breathing animal so carelessly discarded and unwanted. There was still a little hope of her surviving. The only hope moisture in the eye. This…

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The Condemned Culture


These are the people whom are the most noted when it comes to equine welfare. Horses grazed on grass verges, urban green space within housing estates. “Fly Grazers” Some that I have worked with have grazed horses on one particular plot of land outside their houses for more than 45 years. Tethered Monday to Friday, generally free to roam on weekends when the council offices are closed. They have had horses for generations, its part of their social status, life, livelihood and lifestyle.
In communities where there is so much unrest, drugs, crime and social deprivation these urban communities have a reason? They exist in a community not meant for horses. Shunned by people whom judge them or hold themselves in a higher social and moral standing.


The pressure is on, the horse bill has been passed and these people, the horse owners who care are being forced financially to lose horses that have been a part of the family for years. Children have grown up with them, learning to ride, handle, break and love horse. In times of certain insecurity these horses have provided rest bite from the family quarrels, understanding in times of distress, calmness in a chaos. Transport when money is not available. Most importantly peace and tranquillity in today’s stressful world.
These communities were built for social housing, everything that was required was provided without any need to strive to attain anything. Many of the owners do not even drive. They do not have a car licence, the community provided everything. From a pay points, post offices, public houses, fast food, library’s , children’s schools, parks, play clubs , social clubs the list is endless. The community was built to enable everything that could ever be required to be there.


The community has adapted to the cultures that live in them, Mosques, churches, polish supermarkets, these to name but a few amenities being provided to enable all cultures to thrive and live in these communities. Evolution has provided what is required. Drop in centres for clothing, needle exchanges, and therapy.
All needs are catered for. Expect those whom belong to the urban horse culture. These are the stigmatised, the unwanted the blight on the perfect, sustainable communities. There is no room for this culture. No room for horses, room for the owners should they wish to practice religion, play bingo or go to the skate park. No room to learn the love of the horse, no space to ride. Or to see their horse free to run, no planned environment for them.
Horses have been in these communities for 100’s of years, they are part of the heritage. The unwanted heritage. A culture that is being outlawed and driven underground. A place that is dark and not good for the horses.
When there is a social problem, we as a society need to address it, seek out the solutions and not condemn.
Budgets wasted on collecting horses when the owners just buy more. This is not the solution. There are more cheap and free horses than there are spaces in the sanctuary, or the green yards. This is not the answer. This is not the solution.
The urban horse owners that I have worked with would love the opportunity to have an area for their horse. They are willing to pay, build, maintain and govern.
In order to learn we have to create the environment. Allow them to have their culture. Cut the costs to local governments; reduce the horse numbers by providing areas for horses to care for in safe environments. Governed by park wardens, charities and horse owners. Give them a chance to live as they wish safely. Enable them to adhere to the laws and legalisations.
Most importantly provide the resources to enable them to live as they wish and enhance the welfare of the horse.
Provide the environments for learning and better practices.
I am not a great believer in tethering, nor do I believe that horses that should be stabled 24/7. The horse has many lessons to teach us all, they provide a service for individuals who seek out their company.
Who are we to stigmatise and judge. When we should be putting both the needs of people and horses first. If we care for both work with both. Allow them to harmonise together, giving comfort and education to those who need it.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2180474/Philadelphias-Fletcher-Street-Urban-cowboys-tackle-gang-violence-drugs-inner-city-America.html

All images in this post are obtained from google search engines.

Social Media


blackandwhiteorskewbald

Everyone has a view on what horrors occur in this cruel world we live in, but how many horse owners, have become habituated to throwing stones in glass houses. Is it that there is a tolerance? Or ignorance of bad welfare practices?

We as a nation do not avidly look for reason as to why something could be deemed as a bad welfare practice unless it is visual  or within our knowledge. There are not many whom would not read a study on the mental suffering of stabled horses because our culture has always portrayed a horse that has a stable to be well looked after.

Welfare has always been portrayed as denial of something, as is seen in the five freedoms:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  4. Freedom to behave normally
  5. Freedom from fear and distress.

The Five Welfare Domains  I…

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Pride without Prejudice


One of the proudest moments under my remit, was fulfilling a lifelong ambition of being able to hold a vet day, where assistance could be given to horse owners whom do not have ability, resources, social stature or life skills to enable their horses to be compliant with the laws, of pass porting and microchipping, something which they were persecuted for. Nor do they have the confidence to enable them to complete the requirements. The lack of confidence comes from learning disabilities or social shyness, which appears whenever someone whom could potentially be judgemental about the way the horses are kept. For these individuals, recognising that assistance is required is a brave transition. Being trusted enough to provide that assistance without judgement is inspirational.

https://www.gov.uk/horse-passport/overview

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/ahw/horses/guidanceforhorseowners/?lang=en

All this being done without prejudice and judgement. Many horse owners do care for their animals no matter where they live, their ability to read or write or how much money they have. The fear of presenting a horse that requires assistance without judgement is crucial, to breaking down barriers and allowing people to gain the confidence to ask for help. All this has to be done in a friendly, reliable and understanding way. This is essential to equine welfare. There are many organisations that try to enter into this line of assistance but the stigma that has attached itself to them, within these communities is unbreakable and open to abuse. The task forces sent in to provide the service may well be open- minded but the organisations that offer the service is mistrusted. Despite the discounted pricing structures AND false smiles that are offered the mistrust is evident. The stigma that has attached itself on both ends of the scale, the large organisations and the horse owners is difficult to penetrate. This is due to the heavy media that follows these events. The people who attend these events will not bring a horse or pony who really needs the help, they will attend with the best stock that they have, the healthy appearance of that horse is important to them when attending any event held in this way, a chance to show with pride to others what they own.

To be a mediator within this environment is crucial. A clean slate and a way forward. Enriching the lives of the horses and the people who own them, is crucial to  giving the people to tools to care for them. Be that with information, education or assistance with form filling that is what must be done.

In order to build a bridge to further education and better welfare standards it must allow for two way traffic, be fit for purpose and have the ability to provide many routes to progression. Maintenance and foundations essential. You cannot build something with mistrust. To sweep in and then wave the flag of conquering is foolish. Appearances are deceptive and condemnation unwise. These communities are aware of the reports and box ticking practices that go on and find them most fun. They will pander to them in order to get what they want.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-H4weNsn_0

Any moment that changes the life of a horse or a human is important. But to open the doorways to allow further changes to be made is skill.

http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership?language=en

This was my lollipop moment. I have a never ending supply of desire to change the lives of the horses and people who I help.

Not a target.

In any community, because Equine Welfare is not something that should have double standards as correctly titled from one of my previous blogs.

https://blackandwhiteorskewbald.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/double-standards/

To be in a position , any position where you can help is admirable, but do it without seeking status and glory. I am humble.

If others seek to follow , than please , do so without Prejudice and allow for pride.

Wall of Text – Behind the sales pitch


I received some feedback from one of my blogs which basically, tells me that my grammar is bad and that my blogs are like a wall of text. WOW!

They also suggested that I am doing my topic which is Horses, or more so, equine welfare, is dis-service. This was a blow to the heart.

They suggested that I do my research!

These suggestions that have been put to me, made me feel like I was in school again. The last recollection that I have of feeling like this, is when I was in Primary School. When we were asked to do a Holiday Brochure for the area that we live in.

This is Llanmorlais Primary School (courtasy of Google)

The task of setting out to produce a holiday brochure was an exciting one for my class mates; (In fact I was sitting in the classroom with the largest windows when this task was given to us)

I had never been on a holiday where you would look at a brochure and choose your destination. Local attractions were not really prominent in the 1970’s

But I knew just what I was going to do.

Below is an extract from http://www.visitswanseabay.com/destinations/gower-peninsula/

Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Gower Peninsula covers 188 sq km and was selected as the first AONB for its classic coastline (much of it is Heritage Coast) and its outstanding natural environment (33% is National Nature Reserve or a Site of Special Scientific Interest).

The Peninsula’s richly varied natural environment is renowned for its heathland, limestone grassland, fresh- and salt-water marshes, dunes and oak woodlands. Its mixed geology has given rise to a wide variety of scenery in a relatively small landscape area. Dramatic limestone cliffs, interspersed with sandy beaches and rocky shores, dominate its southern coast. In the north, the coast is low-lying with extensive salt marshes and dune systems.

My brochure was to going to sell the real Gower Peninsula. How I saw it through my child like eyes. So I set about with great gusto, telling the story of the ponies, how they would graze the salt marshes and play.

Above  is a picture of my view point. I would spend the most of my childhood, here, playing and watching. The park now, has new fencing, but the ponies used to come into the park when I was a child. It would flood at high tide and you could have great fun sliding directly into the water.

So my brochure, rather macabre actually was going to depict the ponies, their lives and explain to people what it was really like. I could not see why anyone would want to come here; I had no intention of glossing over the truth. Rather opinionated even at the age of 9.

I told of the high tides, the rain and wind, the lack of shelter, the ponies who didn’t make it, due to ill health, drowning or hunger. How I would see them dead and decaying, or herded onto the Lorries to go to market. All of the things that are in my previous wall of text blogs.

Needless to say the teachers did not like my brochure and I had to rewrite it with nice things, not what I actually saw. That being said I have learnt that not everyone will like what I write. You can gloss over the truth and paint pretty pictures. But behind the scenic shots there is a story.

These ponies have been here for centuries, they are the reason for my passion. They are semi feral ponies, part of the Welsh Heritage and blood lines that are shipped all over the world and not just as meat. The classic Welsh Cobs and Welsh Mountain Ponies.

http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1272866/llgc-id:1276482/llgc-id:1276522/getText

They belong here, but they deserve to live good lives, to be managed and tended when needed. What my childhood brochure did not depict was the greed. The reasons why they died, why there were so many or the lack of care.

Recently there have been many press stories and campaign groups set up, focussing on the suffering and calling for the removal of the horses and ponies. There has been suffering for many years in this area, but with the market for horses previously being good, the breeders got greedy. Bigger horses were turned out onto the marshes, the ones who would fetch a higher meat value. They were not given the chance to establish themselves into herds, who knew when the tide was coming to head for higher ground. Once probably loved and cared for, bought as part of a bulk sale, to graze until the time came when the value was greater. Thoroughbreds, gypsy cobs and children’s ponies no longer wanted. Left to fend for themselves, once tended to, or loved now abandoned on the harshest terrain in Wales.

So the campaign groups set about calling for the removal of all the horses.

Which is not the solution; it is a quick fix to obliterating heritage. The solution should involve managing the herds, providing shelter from the storms. Working with the dealers and breeders. Embrace the breed, our heritage, save it for the future generations whom might, just might, become inspired to become horse people of the future. Govern the land, enforce legislation put the value back into an area, that has become an embarrassment and blight on an area, of outstanding natural beauty. Enveloped by marsh lands and commons where ponies graze.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-26625340 this link 9th in worlds best beaches, surrounded by hills that are grazed that ponies, destined for a long journey, highlighted by some of our welfare organisations. Not all of these ponies will make this journey but the majority of them will. Breed for one thing now. Not heritage or bloodlines, just greed.

http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/Live-transportation

This is equine welfare, this is my blog, and this is my research. This is what drives my passion. Creates my goals. This is the changing environment of greed that is stealing the heritage for future generations.

I hope that this blog does my cause, good and not a dis-service, my research is my life, my goal better understanding, working solutions resulting in better equine welfare standards.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/ponies-feel-chill-wind-change-2257529

http://www.swansea.gov.uk/article/9149/Marsh-ponies-at-centre-of-animal-welfare-operation

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-25006452

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/number-abandoned-ponies-gelligaer-merthyr-9028101

http://www.swhp.co.uk/latest-news/update-on-contraceptive-programme/

http://www.passinglight.co.uk/inland/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/nature/sites/species/mammals/mountain_ponies.shtml

Work In Progress


Many of my blogs are highlighting the problems with society, government, policing the list is endless. The negative impacts on the Horse and the impact on the communities where they are kept in urban surroundings.

The People in these communities are affected by the issues and stigma attached to where they live, but after scheduling meetings within these communities it is apparent that they do not oppose the horses being there. They do not begrudge the youths having horses, WHY? Because they can see that in today’s society there are lot worse things they could be doing. With illegal substances in abundance, vandalism and boredom, the horse gives them focus. Responsibility, time out from family problems, freedom. Raw talent trying to hatch out of the bad egg community. With all the stigma , media and persecution they continue. Amidst all this pushing them away from their desires.

I have hosted community meetings, where there have been moments when I just wanted to shut the doors and go home. But giving them a chance to talk, the horse owners and the non-horse owners and for views and grievances to be discussed was an opportunity for the people and the kids to learn about what bothers them the most. What the effects are on their lives and to find solutions on how to fix it.

What was apparent, understanding, from both parties? Truly inspiring. On attending a large community meeting where the police and government bodies attended to discuss horse issues. I was truly inspired by the mass collection of youths and youngsters, residents of these areas, horse owners appearing around our feet, like a flock of sheep. The cringing effect of a pending riot apparent in my whole body. These kids are passionate about their horses. They addressed the guy who took their horses and impounded them with respect and gave knowledgeable precise answers to the questions that were put to them. One seriously proud moment for me.

These meetings are important as they are a milestone on the path to solution. In order to fix a problem you need to understand the problem, look for the solution, provide the environment and give them the tools. This train of thought is not a new incentive it has been used for many years in third world countries. We as nations assist with problems. We support charities to provide schooling to third world countries, donate money for vaccines and the purchase of cows, wells and even in some instances provide arms to fight wars.

We have our own wars, in our country issues that need to be addressed. This is what my blogs are about the problems and the train of thought that drives me to the solutions. The barriers and blockades along the way. The challenges ahead. The best solutions are not always the easy to solve. But the most rewarding.