Looking for a horse? If you “rescue” your own emaciated horse from the sale barn or the neighbor down the road, expecting it to be perfect for your children or non-riding spouse, you are often in for a shock when after a few months of good care and food, the horse suddenly becomes an animal with much more energy and a mind of its own! Let us at Noah’s Ark Society help you make a match that will last a lifetime.
Written by a respected trainer:
Find me a Kids Horse
Throughout my many years
Of working horses for public demand…
I have been stumped by a common request
That I’ve been asked both by woman and man
‘I want you to find me a kids horse
Something for little Jimmy to ride
And his younger friends Sarah and Molly
For its time that all of them tried’
So as usual I’d ask several questions
Like ‘What breed, how old and how much?
And they say ‘I don’t really mind bout the first two
But I’ll only break two hundred dollars a touch’
Well I can’t help but gasp at their answer
As my jaw nearly drops to the floor
I protest ‘That kind of money won’t buy one
That’s what you’d spend on a Mother in law’
It would constantly cause me concern
That they valued their children so low
For they are our country’s future
And our love and care for them should show
I myself have found several gems
That will melt at the touch of a child
And the education I gave them
Was far beyond meek and mild
I have ridden them in traffic
Led street parades amidst sirens and bands
For it will be their precious duty
To hold a child through the reins, by the hand
Now I am, in a lofty position
That affords me theses chances to train
And the bloodlines and breeding I have
All help bring success to the game
But a true ‘Kids Horse’ is no particular shape
Or breeding or size or age
But a special being sent into this world
To help in the immature stage
For they’re more than a horse, they’re a partner
A babysitter, a teacher and friend
The decisions they make are important
From the first ride to the very end
They are often born to the craft
And show small desire for anything other
But once with a child on their back
They take over the role of ‘Big Brother’
Protecting and watching over
Whilst handing out a lesson or two
Of how you should sit and be calm
And what you should and shouldn’t do
They may have some quirks and baubles
Just like the children they care for
But you know in their heart that they’re honest
And the child’s the whole reason they’re there for
It seems more than a job but a calling
A chance to take care of another
With the love and patience of family
And the dedication of a Mother
Now I’m not talking of every horse
That a child has sat upon
But the special true ‘Kids Horse’
Who would die, to see them live on
I myself rode a mare named Sunny
That very few adults could ride
But she’d soften to me as a four year old
And carry me home with pride
I’d often fall asleep on her
After two hours on the track
And she’d sway left and right beneath me
To keep me safe on her back
Then a special pally mare called Flick
Who was running wild until she was three
She was one of the very first horses I trained
She has now taught our whole family tree
All of the nephews and nieces
And my own precious daughter as well
Have fallen for her tender touch
And the way that her own heart swells..
At the privilege of teaching another
Of caring for those small and weak
She has worn many a child on her back
And many a warm kiss on her cheek
They stand tall in my heart and mind
With the Champs of Arena and Track
And not for the trophies they’ve won
But for the precious gifts held on their back
The true ‘Kids Horse’ is priceless
So save up your Pennies and Pounds
For they are born to this precious vocation
And are not just readily found
For their hearts are destined for a child
And they’ll put their all behind them
And the greatest parents on this earth
Will take the time and effort to find them.
Written by Guy McLean, July 2013
SHould I breed my mare: things to consider before breeding your mare.
Are you breeding to sell or for your personal enjoyment? Many people own a mare that they love and would like to raise one foal out of. This decision is usually made more from an emotional level than from a selling stand point.
I personally made this decision with my mare when I was 17 years old. I loved her and wanted one foal out of her. I had no intention of selling and was willing to make a lifetime commitment. As much as that is possible anyway. In my youthful ignorance I never considered financial difficulties, unseen health problems or death.
Because I made the decision from an emotional level and was not well informed I bred a horse that would not have had much resale value. In hindsight, it is in the horses best interest if he is considered ‘valuable’ to a larger group of people than only me…that way if something happens to me he has more of a future.
A horse will be dependent on a human for the rest of his life.
Some people breed with the intention of selling. All people should consider what would happen if the horse needed to be sold. Even people with the intention of keeping the horse forever should consider the fact that the future may surprise them. Job loss, financial difficultly, unforeseen health problems, job change, divorce, drug use and death affect many people, and horses, each year.
What will happen if you die? Try to imagine where the horse you create will or could end up. The larger number of people the horse would appeal to the safer the horses future will be.
Breeding has risks. That includes the breeding and the foaling process. There is a risk of a rectal tear during artificial insemination which leads to death. Older mares that have never been breed have a higher risk of uterine artery rupture. Delivering a foal that is not positioned correctly can be dangerous or deadly. Retained placentas can be deadly. Maiden mares are often confused by the process. My roommate from college nearly lost her mare to a uterine torsion which she caught early (colic type symptoms). The mare had to have emergency surgery to prevent death. Shortly after this surgery, similar to colic surgery, she went into labor and gave birth (c-sections are risky). The foal then required intensive care and medications that have had long term negative effects. And lots of money.
We nearly lost one of our mares during foaling just due to confusion on her part. She refused to lay down and was repeatedly beginning to deliver, pushing the feet clear and between contractions the foal would slip back inside. Three of us, with foaling experience, were unable to help her until she finally laid down. She quickly delivered but the damage had been done.
In six hours it became evident that she had damaged all the nerves to her hind end causing the inability to pass manure or urine. Not good.
We were informed this could be permanent damage. We were advised that if it was permanent that the mare would require daily removal of the manure by hand; literally reaching inside to clean her out.
Thankfully she responded to IV drugs administered at Ohio State University.
If you have read this far you can do the math and see that often the stud fee is the cheap part. Artificial insemination, sexually transmitted disease and infection from live cover, cost of ownership and potential problems all need to be factored in beyond just the stud fee. Increasing the horses value also involves training as they get older which is also costly whether it costs you in time or cash.
Information is power. Planning can also be prevention. Please use this article as a starting point and continue to gather information before making this decision.
As for me, I have bred and foaled out ten mares that we personally owned. Of that ten we still own five, one died as a weanling and we sold four. Three of the four we sold are in their forever homes…as much as that is possible. One has been trained and is currently for sale. We haven’t bred any mares in the last three year.
If we choose to breed again we will do so because we think we can improve the equine industry with the resulting foal.
But what if you really, really want one of those cute foals! Have no fear, there is still another answer. Adopt.
Check out somewhere like The Last Chance Corral. Victoria and the staff can show you how you can have the emotional experience of both raising and SAVING the life of one of those cute little foals.
Courtesy of Stacy Westfall Horse Blog.