Our horses, our lives, and what matters most

As America faces unprecedented health, economic and social challenges, how can we preserve what’s best about the horse world while addressing problems that have persisted for decades?

The horse world has always been a study in contrasts. It brings together people of vast wealth and those who struggle to make ends meet. Horses live on multimillion dollar properties, managed by armies of workers, and they also roam roped off corners of muddy backyards scrounging for grass to graze. Some horses have lineage that can be traced back centuries, others have parentage of unknown origin.

It’s a place where there is great love for horses, where nothing is spared to help keep them healthy and make them comfortable, and it’s one where horses are subjected to cruelty, whether as an incidental consequence of greed or narcissism or as a manifestation of the darker aspects of human nature.

This is nothing new, of course. But in 2020, unprecedented health, economic and social pressures may come together to change the horse world forever. Yet like all crises, this one comes with opportunities—to remedy past wrongs, to focus on important issues that have long been overlooked, to address problems that before seemed at best intransigent and at worst permanent. In other words, we have the opportunity to make the horse world a better place, one that is welcoming to all and in which all people and horses have the chance to flourish.

In the future we’ll ask you to share your views about horse ownership as the horse industry grapples with four major developments: the Covid-19 pandemic, social unrest and protests against racism, the horse world’s “Me, too” scandals and the economic downturn.

This week, with infection rates spiking in many parts of the country—but with good news just release about a potential vaccine—we want to focus on the pandemic: 

• How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your horse activities? 

• What about the pandemic and the resulting restrictions has most surprised you? 

• What has worried you? 

• Has anything positive to come out of the crisis so far?

• Will your experiences in the pandemic change how you do things in the future when things get back to normal?

We’d love to hear your answers to these questions and more. Go to the post on our Facebook page about this column to comment and we’ll get the conversation going!

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