Abused horses: a widespread phenomenon that requires constant effort

Abused horses and, more generally, all abused animals are many in Italy and around the world; this is a phenomenon that is very difficult to control, to regulate, and, even more, to reduce.

Maltreatment is a very serious and widespread problem that causes injury, suffering, and illness that takes its toll on the animal’s body and mind.

The team at Harrison Horse Care has taken the protection and care of abused horses to heart and, driven by the love that binds us to these animals, stands alongside associations and individuals fighting these situations. The common goal is to raise awareness in the equestrian world and the public by explaining how each of us can do our part.

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The most common horse mistreatments

Abused horses are many in Italy and around the world.

There are also numerous causes that lead to situations that are not compatible with the welfare and care of the animal; ignorance, lack of knowledge and respect, economic interests, and lack of control are just some of the aspects that are repeated in cases of abuse.

Generally speaking, mistreatment crimes refer to failure to comply with the principles of the five freedoms formulated by the ‘Farm Animal Welfare Council’ FAWC:

  • 1. Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition through easy and free access to clean water and a suitable diet
  • 2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an ideal environment with shelters and rest areas
  • 3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease through prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment of diseases
  • 4. Freedom to express behavior according to nature through sufficient spaces and facilitating social contacts
  • 5. Freedom from fear and stress through living conditions and treatments that avoid psychological suffering

A quick reading of these five principles makes it easy to see how little attention is needed for often serious consequences for the health or psyche of the horse, which can bear indelible marks in the memory or pathologies that can lead to death.

The devastating effects on abused horses

Mistreatment can have unimaginable consequences on animals’ lives, both on the physical health and the emotional side.

People who put self-interest ahead of horse welfare do not care about the consequences their actions may bring in the future.

Lack of knowledge and disrespect for horses leads to disregard for their relative living conditions or, for example, the conditions under which the animals are transported.

The study of horse behavior confirms how these animals are able to associate negative events and bring them back to memory with association mechanisms that make them complicated to rehabilitate, especially in severe cases.

Mismanagement leads to anxiety, fear, aggression (always due to fear) and depression on the emotional level of an animal that, in the wild, is instinctively preyed upon and therefore requires security and confidence in communicative management; in addition, carelessness also leads to physical problems that can become chronic.

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How to help abused horses

Fortunately, associations like Progetto Islander intervene in limiting the damage from mistreatment and are on the front lines to combat abuse and watch over the welfare of horses.

Progetto Islander recovers equids from mistreatment situations by subjecting them to physical and psychological rehabilitation in order to start a path of adoption; the association’s team is supportive of anyone committed to helping horses recovered from mistreatment, organizes fundraisers in support of abused horses and always looks for the best after rescuing animals from difficult situations.

Some of the seized horses with the help of the authorities have begun a journey of relating to their fellow humans, others even had to learn to eat grass in the meadow, all as part of a path toward naturalness with an ethical outlook and respect for their needs.

Reporting each and every abuse to the appropriate authorities is the first step; supporting associations like Progetto Islander allows for concrete help against mistreatment and the rehabilitation of abused horses.

Progetto Islander is a nonprofit organization aimed at the protection of horses and equids in general. The association works to rescue and psycho-physically recover abused horses.

The project is based at “La Mia Terra,” which houses the animals free of charge by taking care of all the expenses necessary to maintain them, rescue them, care for them and more.

Harrison Horse Care periodically contributes through the donation of horse feed and Forage to support the important cause of protecting and rehabilitating abused horses.

Adding to this commitment is advice for all horse lovers to follow.

Find out Progetto Islander and support the cause too!
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