Horse & Rider Mail Call Online

Each month, Horse & Rider readers voice their opinions about editorial content, horse-world issues and topics touching on their horse lives. This month, we share some of the letters we received from readers about Western pleasure, gunshot euthanasia, etiquette for buyers and sellers, riding a swaybacked horse, selling to the highest bidder and respect for the ultimate bond.

Defending My Event
I read H&R’s Mail Call section almost every month, and most of the time it just makes me mad. As a Western pleasure exhibitor, I want to know why there aren’t any other readers out there who want to defend their discipline of choice. It seems like I only see letters from people who complain about it. Why is it that those who detest certain events so much find themselves watching and writing letters about them? Do some people go out of their way to find something to complain about?

All I know is that at the end of the day, the only horses I can be held accountable for are my own. Let’s all try to be more supportive of the things we do like and maybe try to educate ourselves better about other disciplines.
Teresa Wiens

What Every Owner Needs to Know
After reading recent material about the subject in H&R, I’d like to add my comments on the subject of euthanasia by gunshot.

Last September, at daybreak, I found my yearling filly with a horribly broken hind leg and her forearm muscles and tendons torn away–the result of her struggle for life against a cougar. Though I’ve had horses put down by vets, this filly’s suffering needed to end immediately. Because I hunt game and know how to handle a firearm, I put her down myself as the quickest and most humane means of doing so.

As far as I’m concerned, every true horse lover should know how to perform this task. We truly never know when it may be necessary.
Kari Frolander

Etiquette for Horse Buyers
I was thrilled to open the December ’09 issue of H&R to find “Horse-Shopping Etiquette” (Bob Avila’s Winning Insights). As a horse salesperson, I’ve often complained to my family and friends about “bad buyers”–people who waste my time and insult me, or the horse being considered. I was sure I couldn’t be the only victim of this bad behavior, but I’d never heard anything from anyone in my position that confirmed my suspicion.

This article, which even classified annoying buyers into their own categories (and I’ve had personal experiences with people from each category), had me laughing ’til I cried!
Sara LaFlamme

Etiquette for Horse Sellers
As a follow-up to Bob Avila’s “Horse-Shopping Etiquette,” I’d like to offer some tips for horse-selling etiquette.

First, don’t exaggerate the horse’s athleticism, training or show experience. Many buyers are willing to develop an inexperienced horse, but become wary when presented with a horse that isn’t as well trained as the seller initially claimed.

Second, please respond to my e-mail or voicemail message, even if it’s a short statement telling me the horse has already been sold. If you won’t respond to email inquiries, state that in your advertisement.

Third, provide high quality photos or video of your horse. It will save everyone time if potential buyers can pre-screen your horse on a Web site before calling you.

Fourth, do not show me a lame horse. (Do I really even have to say this?)

Fifth, please be polite, on time, and have the horse ready for my scheduled appointment.

And finally, the old adage “do unto others as you’d have done to yourself” still holds true. Be honest.
Angela C. Sondenaa

Riding a Swaybacked Horse
Thank you very much for the advice on riding a swaybacked horse (Whole Horse Q&A, December ’09). I own a 21-year-old Paint gelding whose back is beginning to sway, and I was worried that I shouldn’t take him on trail rides. The article made me feel so much better about riding him, and I even ordered one of the saddle pads you mentioned. Now I can look forward to more years of riding my wonderful horse.
Candace Armstrong

For Sale to the Highest Bidder
Balance is key in everything in life. Logic tells me that 100,000 horses created or not wanted every year must have a means to an end. Period.

Celebrities have jumped on the anti-slaughter campaign bandwagon. One in particular is famous for using and possessing illegal drugs and for evading taxes. That’s some spokesperson.

I would like to remind the anti-slaughter supporters that most of the horses going to slaughter are sent through a public auction. They are sold to the highest bidder. If a horse ends up at a processing plant, it’s because no one but a kill-buyer wanted it.

Let’s bring a balance back to the horse world. Right now the scales are tipped heavily.
Nikki Davis-London

Respect for the Ultimate Bond
I was touched by Sue Copeland’s column, “The One That Got Away” (This Horse Life, December ’09), and her offer to be a horse’s “last loving caretaker.”

I really, really wish there were more people like this who respect and feel the ultimate bond with their horses. It seems there are many people on the show circuit who regularly “trade up” after a couple of years–kind of like buying a boat that’s two feet longer than their old one, just to keep up with their neighbors at the marina. Winning supersedes their responsibility for the horse. Whatever happened to the “forever” mentality?

We still have the two horses, who were our long-ago show rides, and they’ll be here until it’s their time to leave forever.
Carol Barker

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