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Wisdom Wednesday

The average age of rehab horses at my house right now is 8yrs old. The equivalent to a 24yr old human. They are plagued with multiple career altering injuries.

Why? Because they were started between 2yrs old and 4yrs old. They were put into moderate to heavy work. No thought was given to physical maturity or postural strengthening. They were the equivalent to 6-12yr old humans. Would you expect a 6-12yr old human to play college or professional sports? Then why do we expect our horses to do it? Would you expect a 6-12yr old child to carry a backpack with 10-20% of their body weight while running, jumping, turning? Then why do we expect our horses to do it at 2-4yrs old?

I used to do it. I started 18 month to 2 year olds. I galloped racehorses. I still have some horses in my pasture with maladies I created. I didn't do it with malicious intent. I did it out of ignorance. But now I know better so I try to do better. I try to educate those around me and make life better for horses one human at a time.

In the last two weeks I have had calls about rehabbing 4 and 6 year old horses that already have significant pathology, behavioral expressions of discomfort or are showing the beginning signs of breakdown. That is the equivalent to a 12 to 18 year old human already having orthopedic issues requiring physical therapy or medical intervention. Some of these horses were checked sound by veterinarians. But that topic is for a different day. I will quickly just say that we never take our sound horses to the vet to evaluate. We only take our painful ones. So many vets don't truly see what a sound horse is. Just what a "less lame" horse is. So don't be mad at your vet. Just advocate for your horse and get more professionals on your equine wellness team.

There are days it is overwhelming and heavy to think about what humans do to horses. There are days where I need two of me to help the horses and humans that are seeking answers (anyone want to be an apprentice? Not joking...)

I will do my best to help the horses I get to be involved with. I will do my best to educate the humans I come in contact with. I will do my best to never be too comfortable with my current knowledge and recognize that I also leave holes in horses because of what I don't yet know. I will always look for ways to better my education and change the equine culture for the betterment of the horses.

I hope one day we don't have a need to rehab these young horses. But until that day comes, I will keep showing up for the ones that are placed in my path.

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