September was a busy month for Carol and I, meaning that not a lot of new material has been added to the website in the last few weeks. However, although we would liked to have gone to the WEG, at least we didn’t spend hours waiting in queues and experiencing the poor weather and organisation of it! Maybe next time though.

Some of the local shows (including the dressage show at Ripe that Carol is organising), have been postponed lately due to a horse in the area having Equine Flu’. Fortunately it seems as if it was an isolated case, as no other cases have been found nearby yet (West Sussex is the nearest), but the vets are frantically vaccinated horses whose vaccination programmes have lapsed or who are more than 6 months out from their last vaccination. For more information on flu’, including signs and whether to vaccinate, check out the article on the free articles page.

October has rushed in without us realising it. The horses are starting to complain because the apples have dramatically reduced and it is back to rationing, but autumn is definitely coming with the leaves starting to fall or change colour and this includes the apple trees in the orchard. It is one of my favourite times of the year as not overly hot or cold and very pretty to go with it. It also means xmas is getting closer! However, not everyone likes it getting colder – remember that horses do not feel the cold the same as humans (they get a lot of heat from digesting hay and grass) therefore just because you are cold does not mean your horse is!

Carol has been looking for another potential dressage horse and it is absolutely amazing the for sale ads that people put in. For many horses there is a valid reason for sale, but for some it seems to be just because the horse has now developed a problem that the rider does not want to deal with. This includes things like tendon injuries, arthritis, cushings, and other health issues – yes they are expensive to deal with, but either fork out the money for treatment or have it euthanased. Other people won’t take on a horse needing vet treatment either, so the horses must just sit around in paddocks or stables in pain until someone finally decides what to do with them.

Horses going cheap because of behavioural issues are also a concern. Many of these just need to be ridden correctly, though some have obviously never been checked to see if there is a physical reason (e.g. a horse that had a month of and then didn’t want to be ridden at all). Half the time the photos and videos show someone riding with rigid hands, or jumping with really poor balance. If your horse has an issue that isn’t being resolved: firstly get the vet (or other professional e.g. saddle fitter) to check for pain; secondly get professional help to see if it is your riding; then thirdly consider if the horse would be genuinely better off with a new home (and will it actually get one that can help it) or would should you make a tough decision to prevent the horse ending up worse off.

Professor Pony would like to comment on something we discussed the other day, and which relates to one of his recent advice letters. He is well-read and has spent many years working alongside and researching humans. However, he was very surprised to find that humans have ‘Laws of War’ (sometimes called the ‘rules of war’).

The concept sounds very bizarre when you try to explain it, and Professor Pony has trouble understanding why we have wars in the first place, and why there is not just a law saying not to have any wars. However, as we agreed that stopping humans from killing each other was probably impossible, he is now going to begin a campaign for three new ‘Laws of War’. They go as follows:
• No animal should go to war without full understanding of the risks and consequences, (these to be explained to them in their own language to remove ambiguity and ensure that informed-consent occurs).
• War is not allowed in any area where animals live and work, due to the risk of injury to innocent bystanders (there are plenty of deserts for people to kill each other in without making a mess elsewhere). As an addition to this law, no animals in surrounding areas are to be distressed by loud bangs or low flying aircraft, and no animal is to suffer food shortages due to troop movements over pastures etc. while travelling in and out of war zones.
• Any members of the Blue Cross (animal veterinary services) to be given safe passage at all times (even if they are human) to attend to the needs of animals.

Humans breaking these laws would be subject to international courts that would grant the animals the right to sue the offenders. Lawyers will work on a ‘no win – no fee’ basis and are not allowed to charge more than 10% of any settlements thereof. (NB: this does not give lawyers the right to make multiple unsolicited text messages and emails to stables, kennels etc. of possible horse, dog, pigeon, or other victims. Any horse lawyers or humans found to be doing so would be fined).

As the warring humans could be stripped of all their assets during this process, which would of course be made available for animal conservation, it is likely that they would see that there was no benefit to going to war anyway and this alone may be sufficient to end all wars (or so Professor Pony hopes). The alternative is that the lawyers will end up with so much money that they will buy up all the available land and stop all the wars so that they can retire in peace (more likely).

Professor Pony would like to start a campaign called ‘Ponies for Peace’, but of course it is humans that need convincing not the ponies!

Hope that everyone has happy horse days with no disasters (human or otherwise).

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