In today’s society, animal welfare is sadly not prioritized over entertainment and profit. Our current system chooses to keep animals in captivity to gawk at them instead of observing them from afar in their natural habitat. We choose to exploit animals for our own selfish advances in medicine and beauty products. And we choose to use horses as props and call it a “sport.”

One of the most popular competitive events that exploit animals are equestrian sports. This includes but is not limited to endurance writing, show jumping, polo, horse racing, and rodeo. To participate in these events, horses are typically equipped with stacks which are built-up pads between shoe and hoof, usually held on by a band over the front of the hoof. These stacks can be painful for horses and often lead to swelling, bruising, and sometimes, significant wounds.

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Thankfully, there are a number of organizations in existence who are fighting to give horses forced to participate in these so-called sports a better life.

A few months ago, the Horse Plus Humane Society, came across a severely injured “walking” horse that appeared to have hair loss, injuries on his hooves, and was chained and being forced to stand on stacks at an auction.

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Knowing that the Horse Protection Act prohibits injured horses from participating in shows, exhibitions, sales, or auctions, the humane society knew they had to save this horse.

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And they did! The horse, now named Dreams, is currently safe and away from his former life of competitive equestrian sports. 

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Over the past few months, Horse Plus Humane Society workers have been slowly transitioning Dreams off from his stacks.

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What a relief that must have been! 

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In fact, just recently, he was given a wonderful gift: a heavy flat shoe that would allow him to walk and frolic like a regular horse! 

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Dreams was very patient and let the farrier do his work. He must have known the end goal would be worth it!

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And it was! Dreams’ hooves are looking way more normal and while there are still a-ways to go before they are shaped right and in the proper position, he is definitely more comfortable with his new shoes!

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Tawnee, an employee at the shelter, helped Dreams get accustomed to his new shoes. He’s been walking on stacks for so long that he was confused as to how to walk! Poor thing.

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Things got even more confusing when Dreams was given a wide open field to walk around in. Typically, stacked horses need to stay in pens so they do not hurt themselves. 

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Eventually, Dreams started getting more accustomed to the whole walking thing. Having some friends to follow around also helped. 

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He is even partaking in typical horse activities like munching on hay and grazing. What a beauty. 

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We’re so glad that Dreams is finally getting to live like a horse should. He is walking freely, he’s not as clumsy, and he seems comfortable in his own skin. Yay, Dreams!

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While it’s true that not all competitive sports operations involving horses abuse animals to this extent, any sport that involves exploiting animals is unideal in our book. If you think that all horses should be able to live in peace without being forced to compete in sports, share this article!

All image source: Horse Plus Humane Society 

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