Horse Welfare
Horse Safety
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Pine, CO  80470


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Horse Welfare

The vast majority of horse abuse and horse neglect cases stem from lack of knowledge.  Many people dream of owning a horse.  Yet, unlike generations ago, the common man of the 21st century is unfamiliar with horse care and handling.  Due to the owner’s lack of skills and experience, it is the horse that is blamed for not fulfilling the owner’s dream of blissful obedience.  Through human ignorance, the horse suffers.


Centaur Rising (CR), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located near Denver Colorado, helps children (and their parents!) to understand what is required to fulfill ones dream of owning a horse.  Horse riding lessons enable some people to “rise to the occasion” to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to successfully manage their own horse.  Others come to realize that fulfilling their dream requires more work, attention, courage and money than they are willing to muster.  This is OK too.


At CR we try to impart to the human an appreciation for the animal rights of the horse and the responsibilities of equine ownership.  In addition to food, water, shelter, hoof and health care; horses need exercise.  They need a partnership commitment from their owners.  They need consistency.  It is highly unfair to a horse to think he can be cooped up all winter in a tiny manure-laden corral and then be expected to successfully carry his rider on mountain trails in the spring time.  If the horse is frisky when spring breezes scare up plastic bags from the brush, if he refuses to leave the barn, if he turns and bolts for home; it is the horse that is blamed, then sentenced to many more months – if not the duration of his life – in the corral.  Owners have a responsibility to learn to understand horse behavior and the needs of horses.

Buying a Horse

Many people think horses can be purchased as bargains.  They end up with 1) a spoiled horse - that becomes even more spoiled, 2) an untrained horse – that has little chance of any useful or meaningful life or 3) a horse that has been discarded after abusive hard work and is no longer sound.  We help people to become knowledgeable about selecting the right horse for them – when the time, in our opinion, for horse ownership comes.

Combating Abuse

“Violence begins when knowledge ends.”
Animal abuse comes in many forms.  When a horse comes to be regarded as an extension of one’s ego or when considerable financial risk (or perception of gain) is involved, compassion is often sacrificed in the name of performance.  At CR we, as instructors, hope to offer the correct role models that demonstrate that violence is not necessary and not tolerated.  We try to help young people understand that, away from CR, the horse industry is, on the other hand, not all gentle compassion.  We continually strive to encourage education – both in understanding horses and in giving young people alternatives to a career of horse training.  If a horse trainer is under pressure to perform and has few options for an alternative career, he/she can fall into the trap of believing that horses are a means to an end and are disposable.  CR seeks to constantly deter anyone from developing this frame of mind.

Long-term Commitment

If a horse-and-rider team does not advance and grow in their relationship, the novelty of horse ownership may soon wear off.  Teenagers get their drivers’ licenses and discover a bigger world.  Old trails become boring.  A horse becomes a burden.  At CR we give riders the skills, goals and motivation to keep working on their partnership.  Often financial calamities, divorce, death, illness or childbirth make horse ownership problematic.  We help prepare our students to understand that they, regardless of everything, have a commitment to seek a better home for their beloved companion if they cannot provide the commitment and care that the horse needs.

Committing to a New Life

photoAnother factor that greatly contributes to the number of abused and neglected horses is the misguided dream of raising a foal.  Many times we hear someone excitedly proclaim that he/she has bred their mare.  Does this mare owner have the time, commitment, skills, knowledge and resources to insure that the foal can grow up to be someone’s beloved and useful companion?  Can he/she guarantee that this horse will always have compassionate and responsible care?

When humans give birth to a child, responsible parents try to insure that the child will grow up to take care of himself one day.  This cannot be said for the animal welfare of the horse.  A horse will always be dependant upon humans.  Any responsible horse breeder must be committed to not just bringing a life into the world but a life that has every chance of long-term success and happiness.  Every day CR instructors educate students on the responsibilities and commitments of potential horse owners.

Please Help!

photoCR seeks to maximize the development of positive relationships between horses and their owners.  One cannot lose sight of the dark “flip side” of this story.  Numerous horse rescue organizations shelter horses from abusive and neglectful situations.  Equine rescue groups work tirelessly to liberate horses destined for inhumane transport to slaughter and eventual consumption by humans.  Whereas rescue work is vital and necessary, CR also believes that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Please support our cause in teaching horse care, compassion, commitment, skills and knowledge – and in convincing casual people that they are not prepared to take on the responsibility of owning a horse.

For a recent Denver Post about this subject, please click here or pages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 here.

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