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New Year's Resolutions for the Horse World

By Leslie Potter

Friday, December 30, 2010

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I always make New Year's resolutions, and sometimes I even remember what they are long enough to stick with them for a few months. But I'm not going to bore you with my pledges to eat more vegetables or go to bed earlier. Instead, here are my thoughts on what I think the horse industry should work on in 2011.

1. Get enthusiastic about equestrian activities. One of the hopes for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is that it would introduce more Americans to horse sports. Now we need to keep up the momentum. Most non-horse people never see equestrian events on TV, and why is that? I mean, aside from the sometimes-entertaining commercials (especially those featuring Clydesdales), you can't tell me that the Superbowl is more exciting to watch than top-level cross-country or freestyle reining. Let's get it together, horse world, and work together to promote any and all breeds and disciplines to all those people who think horseback riding is nothing more than just sitting there in the saddle. From trail riding to show jumping, there really is something in the horse world for everyone, whether they want to spectate or participate. They just need to find out about it, and that's our responsibility. Spread the word!

2. Quit bickering and work on solutions for the so-called unwanted horse problem. I'm so tired of the horse slaughter debate. No horse lover actually wants to see horses meet their end in a slaughterhouse, so whether you think slaughter is a reasonable solution or not, let's just drop it for half a second and figure out some better ideas. In my mind, it makes more sense to reduce the stream of homeless horses at the source rather than increasing the capacity of the garbage disposal to get rid of them all at the end of the line. Maybe that means more regulation of the horse industry, but that seems like a small price to pay to keep horses from being slaughtered or starving to death when owners get overwhelmed. The point is, everyone who cares about horses needs to quit what has become just another political debate on a single issue and come up with some alternative solutions. We can do this, guys. I'm sure of it.

3. Make friends with like-minded groups. Trail riders are often at odds with mountain bikers, hunters, and other participants in outdoor activities. Our activities aren't exactly compatible and coexist precariously or not at all. But we all have a shared interest in preserving wilderness for recreational use, so let's put aside our differences for the moment and work to save the public lands we still have before there's nothing left to fight over.

Those are my thoughts; now I want to hear yours. What do you want to see the horse industry work on in 2011 and beyond? Click "Submit a Comment" below and share your ideas.

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John    Lemoore, CA

12/31/2010 2:28:25 PM

I would like to attend rides that are not show related. I would like to be able to find places that a person can take his or her own horse and spend a weekend or a week. Trying to find listings for these kinds of places is difficult. When you do find something you can't take your horse, you have to use theirs. This could be one way like minded people can get together and make a difference.

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