Horse sense

Those who follow this blog know that Pairodox is situated in a fairly rural part of north central Pennsylvania. Although just ten percent of folks who live near us list farming as their primary occupation, many more of us who hold day jobs raise livestock. Horses, in particular, have had some local bad press this week and I write sympathetically and in support of both equines and of their owners. The event of which I speak resulted in the death of a women after being dragged by her horse as she was grooming, not riding, it. I write to point out the obvious, that raising animals brings with it significant risks. Healthy animals rarely, if ever, lash out to harm. People get hurt when they force animals to do something they would rather not do, such as walk into a livestock trailer or treatment chute. People get hurt when they work animals out of their routine and forget to use that routine to advantage. People get hurt when working with intact males, especially if there is a female of the species in heat and within sniffing distance. And sometimes, as in this local case, people get hurt when the unpredictable and unexpected co-occur. Animals are beautiful and can inspire. It has been an honor and a pleasure for us to have been able to raise, get to know, and live with so many different species, breeds, and individuals in our many years as livestock farmers here at Pairodox. That being said I must observe that being around animals brings with it genuine responsibility. It’s that way with all things, isn’t it? Driving a car is a wonderful thing. But can you deny that there are responsibilities that go along with car ownership and operation? Would you conclude that those responsibilities detract from the positive aspects of automobile ownership to such an extent that you would choose not to drive? I think not. Reading and hearing about unfortunate accidents cannot and should not condemn a species or an individual animal. We are always careful to never, ever, take good animal behavior as given. This is just one of those many lessons learned down home. The image below shows Peace, our 33-year-old (and very much retired) Lipizzaner, at the withers as she enjoyed a very sunny afternoon on pasture yesterday.

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