There is a growing problem here in the United States with unwanted horses.

Every day, I read horrid stories about abandoned horses. I can understand how something changes and you are no longer able to afford them or take care of them. What I don’t understand is why you would just abandon them.

Last week, I read a story about a couple who were hiking in the southern United States, where they came upon a horse tied to a tree in the middle of a national forest.

All I can say is, seriously? This was your idea of how to deal with a horse you didn’t want any longer? This was the best way to dispose of it? I’m sorry, but there is no excuse to do that to any animal.

The horse reportedly died before the couple could get it help.

Another story I’ve read recently mentioned horses that are being let go into the woods and they run onto roadways and get hit.

By letting go of that horse, you are endangering its life and motorists. I’ve read multiple reports of this happening and it baffles me.

I mean, it is one thing when an accident happens and a horse gets on the road. It’s another to be irresponsible.

And a third terrible story I read was about a horse left at an animal shelter 400 pounds underweight. I don’t understand! How does an animal get that far underweight and you don’t do something about it sooner? OK, so you can’t afford to feed the horse, but you don’t wait until it is at that point to realize you have a problem!

Don’t get me wrong, my senior horse is starting to show his age and weight is an issue in my barn. However, I’ve consulted with the veterinarian, had his teeth floated and have changed his diet to increase weight and, believe me, it’s starting to work. But I didn’t wait for it to be a huge problem. After all, Montana is 31 this summer.

Maybe we should consider opening the horse slaughterhouses back up. That may help move some horses in the market and give pathways to help those who need to get rid of their horses somewhere to do just that.

Something has to be done in order to avoid stories like these from happening. I know everyone wants to think they can run free and have good homes, but there is a limit to what can be done. Some people would rather be irresponsible than face the possibility of euthanasia. They think by running away, the problem is solved.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my horses. And I will do whatever I have to keep them because I take my responsibility very seriously, but I also know not everyone is as lucky as me. But if anyone thinks that tying a horse to a tree in the middle of the forest is any more humane than slaughter, then I think you are crazy!

By the way, I feel I can write this blog, because I recently gave a pony a home. Her family had decided to get out of horses and the children she had been bought for had grown up. There wasn’t a market for her and they wanted a good home for the miniature horse.

Her name is Jetta! And three little girls have found the love of their lives with her.

I’ll be the first to say is that, yes, some of the free horses can get good homes, if you just look for them and, yes, the free horses can be great additions to your farm.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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