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Basing knowledge on preconceived beliefs can be detrimental to the welfare of many animals.  The horse is likely one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet that has carried a biased reputation for centuries – a reputation for being a working animal and existing for mere human entertainment.

For those fortunate enough to understand the simple joys of spending time with a horse, form a connection with one – especially so in the case of animals that have suffered at the hands of human necessity and greed – watching these docile animals learn to trust again is a truly incredible experience.

Horses quiet, gentle souls that thrive on companionship (both human and horse) and yet, we have exploited them, used them and tossed them aside when they no longer meet our needs. In this manner, horses are not viewed as companion animals, but often find themselves in the demoted category of livestock commodities. This marginalization of horses causes them to suffer gravely, all at the hands of our preconceived notions and misunderstanding of these beautiful creatures. We can all strive to help horses by breaking these notions, but first we must identify them and acknowledge their existence.

1. Horses Need a Purpose


One of the first questions I get on a regular basis when people come to visit the horses in my sanctuary is “which ones do you ride?”  My answer is straightforward – none.  To most, this is almost incomprehensible.  They cannot understand the point of having a horse if it cannot be ridden.  It is almost as if they have been programmed to believe that a horse must have a job, a purpose.

A stigma exists that horses are here to entertain, to meet human necessity and always be useful.  This is far from the truth. and thankfully, more people are beginning to see this.  It is a rare opportunity to see them in a more natural environment, bonding with others of their kind without always having to please their human counterparts.  If two horses form an inseparable bond, it is seen as a negative behavior which must be corrected, however, horses are herd-bound animals; they do not do well when separated from others of their kind.  Keeping a horse stalled for a long periods of time goes against all of their natural instincts.  They require grazing space to explore and friends to socialize with on a regular basis.

A horse is not a toy that can be “put away” when not in use.   A horse is a living, breathing creature and has every right to enjoy freedom as we do.   Seeing them as mere object rather than emotional, sentient beings causes great risk as many are “disposed” of once they are no longer useful.  This leads to the next big misunderstanding – “rehoming”

2. Sending My Horse to Auction Will Guarantee a New Home

Whether it is ignorance or denial, a large number of horses find themselves in search of a new home.  Some will be advertised on local classified ads or equine groups; others find their way into a livestock auction house.  It is a common scenario – a horse once used for riding is no longer fit enough to carry on their career and therefore dumped rather than provided a peaceful existence.

Believing that a horse run through auction will end up in a loving home is a naive one.  The reality is many of them will be bought by the lowest of low, the kill buyer.  This scenario ends with a grueling, horrific trailer ride to the slaughter plant and an inhumane death.  Thousands of horses end their lives in this manner every day.  Horses are no different than your cat or dog – you choose to make them a part of your life, you offer them protection, love and care; they are a lifelong commitment however are rarely viewed this way.

3. Only Lame and Ill Horses Are Sent to Slaughter

Although there are no legal slaughter houses operating in the United States, there are several in Mexico and Canada.  Horses are often shipped for days in horrible conditions to the plants.  Kill buyers are frequent attendees of auctions, looking to fill their trailer load and make a profit.  For those unaware of how vast and deep the veins of the slaughter industry run, any horse can find themselves caught up in its web.  No horse is safe.  Young, old, lame, pregnant, healthy and fit horses all have equal chance of being slaughtered for meat.  The horse once ridden by someone’s child is just as likely to end up on a dinner plate as a worn-out racehorse no longer making a profit.

How You Can Help



Horses are highly social and emotional animals.  They feel just as we do, they form bonds, build friendships just as we do, they deserve respect, understanding, and compassion.  And above all, they are not machines which must be replaced when broken or worn out.  Look past the saddles, bit and bridle.  Look at the horse as nothing more than a horse with their own life to live, their own freedoms to enjoy.  By changing the hearts and minds of a few people at a time, the perception of the horse will hopefully improve.

It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.” – Joaquin Phoenix


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55 comments on “3 Misconceptions That Cause Harm to Horses”

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J. Harper
1 Years Ago

Wow! All I can say is that the people whose comments I read know absolutely NOTHING about horses. Don\'t get me wrong, there are plenty of abuses out there, but there are more individuals out there who see horses as their companions, whether they ride them or not. They are an extension of the individual and are in fact individuals themselves. There are many horses out there who deeply enjoy their human companionship and their activities with those humans.

Val Kerry
1 Years Ago


Mona Iqbal
1 Years Ago

I agree with all of you. I am dealing with an exact same issue presently . I have just shifted to my new house last November . My neighbourhood is semi rural and cattle and horses are a common sight . Since i came here I noticed a young mare feeding on the adjacent land. I did not pay much attention until i realized she was had a damaged foot , was abandoned and seemed to be in depression with her head hanging low . She was out in the freezing cold, in the snow and rain sometimes seeking refuge under trees and roof overhangs of houses . Though all in our family love animals and have always had dogs and cats in multitudes and I personally love horses ,but having lived in an urban environment do not know much about horse behavior and their needs., But yes instinctively understood that this was a creature who needed help. so since the past twenty days or so I am giving her maize soaked in water and what ever tidbits I can scrounge for her. Presently I myself am strapped for money and can\'t afford to feed her so well , but we are doing whatever best we can and I promise that I wont let her die of starvation. I will cut down my own expenses to arrange food for her, so please pray for me .The poor girl even had an ugly purile sore on her back which is now healed with Betadine wash we are giving her .
Where I live there are no organizations for feral and abandoned animals and that is a very sad statement . Any useful suggestions are welcome. Stay safe and blessed.

21 Sep 2017

thanks for helping that horse,about feeding it corn,corn has too much sugar in it to be feeding to a horse all the time, there is a feed called sweet feed that is corn and molasses, it is only fed to racehorses that have to expend a lot of energy, if you can, get that horse some grass hay or some grass/alfalfa hay, they need lots of fiberous food going though their system

john pasqua
1 Years Ago


Katie Cather
2 Years Ago

Many horses are treated well, but the majority are “exploited” for profit and treated like a commodity. Rodeos, horse racing, fox hunting, horse “soring” (for the “Big Lick” walk with Tennessee walkers), carriage pulling, and horses ridden in bull fighting events are all examples of cruel exploitation. In some bull fights, horses eyes are covered with a mask so they can’t see or run from bulls that gore them (many die horrific deaths with entrails falling out), and NO, there is no euthanasia in some of these events. They may wear so-called “protection,” but once the bull gets under that, it’s over for the horse. All of these activities use horses and exploit them to the full extent of the word.
And then there are the countries that “wrestle” horses for fun.
The U.S. and a few other countries have wild horses, but now, even they are being cruelly rounded up, kept in pens with no protection, and eventually sold to kill buyers. What we do to horses is criminal, and anyone who doesn’t do their research, read the testimonies, and watch the videos, such as one commenter in these threads, does not know what they’re talking about.

Michelle Smith
2 Years Ago

No animals need a job. Horse drawn carriages need to be banned! One of the many 'jobs' that exploit horses. Disgraceful treatment of them here in cbd of Melbourne. Protesting and raising awareness will continue until it is banned!

Kelly Riley
2 Years Ago

I agree, except the part about riding them. There are plenty of really great people who ride their horses in a kind manner and build a wonderful relationship in doing so. It's totally unfair to imply that riding a horse immediately puts them in the commodity category for the owner. We can do both. I have my horse in a herd, I play with him, hand walk him around the neighborhood and trails, groom him, spend quiet time and generally love all over him. And we enjoy riding the trails too. He is my heart and I don't think I'm abusing him for riding him.

Monica Ball
07 Sep 2016

No living being exists to be ridden by anyone. If a horse approaches a human, kneels down and uses his head to nudge the human toward his back, that might be interpreted as "please oh please oh please climb on top of me so I can haul you around." Of course, this doesn\'t happen and that\'s why we humans must "break" the horses we enslave so they\'ll give up and submit to our domination.

Pandora Tadefa-Everett
2 Years Ago

Right, keep your fat asses off those poor horses backs,,

nancy watts
05 Nov 2016

Monica Ball: Where do you think the world would be today if not for the horse? You are about as dumb as a bucket of dirt.

Angela Sankovich
2 Years Ago

When I lived in Chicago I absolutely hated to see the horse drawn carriages downtown. There are so many cars honking and extreme weather conditions. I always fantasized about protesting for the horses. Such ignorance and outdatedness for such a major city. Chicago, city of Shame!!

Geda Abera
2 Years Ago

Makda LY Wassihun


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