In Youthreach we do lots of project especially for our PIPDS class and this year we were asked to do a social issue project. For my project on a social I decided to pick the topic of Horse Cruelty and Neglect in Ireland. I do horse riding myself, help out in a local riding stables and I am interested in doing a level 5 in Equine Studies in Galway Community College so this subject is very important to me.
I started with gathering information and examining the problem of mistreatment, carelessness and absolute disrespect for these beautiful animals in our country, this took weeks as it is a much documented area and I really wanted to look at what was very personal to me.
What did I find?
Well the first was how many horse adoption centres there are in Ireland. How many you many ask well lots especially in Dublin which is no surprise. There is a Galway based charity committed to the care and welfare of feral and abandoned horses. The group has been running since 2012.
- Uncontrolled breeding is a serious problem.
- Intentional Neglect and abandonment:
- Intentional Cruelty and Abuse:
What are the causes of these issues?
Ireland is in the middle of a financial recession and that combined with two consecutive wet summers, harsh, cold winters and a never ending cold spring has resulted in a fodder shortage and a huge increase in feed prices.
Problems these horses face:
- Lack of basic husbandry; working, shoeing, trimming of hooves.
Particular problems for young horses
- Poor handling skills-frightened horses
- Bad conditions at markets and fairs.
- Lack of food and water.
- Dangerous/ overcrowded pens.
- Stallions penned too close to mares.
- Mares and foals separated.
- Non enforcement of passport and microchip laws
- Bad breeding leads to poor quality foals for sale- no market for badly bred horses.
Approximate cost of keeping a horse or pony:
Full livery (approx. €100-150 per week)
DIY livery (approx. €50-75 per week)
Grass livery (approx. €30 per week)
Own stable at home
Obviously, all costs fall on the owner, including:
- bedding – between seven and 10 euro per bale; you’ll need approximately two bales per week
- feed – an average of €10-12 per week, depending on the size of the horse
- hay – small square bales cost around three euro and last about two days; a large bale costs around €25 and lasts about six weeks
Horses are expensive to buy and to house, but that’s only the start of it. There are ongoing costs to ensure your horse’s health and wellbeing, which you’ll need to keep on top of.
These include shoeing, vaccinations, worming and dental care. For these additional essentials you should be prepared to spend another €800 per year.
Of course, finances are just one aspect of loving and caring for your four-legged friend. You’ll also need to set aside a great deal of time, as horses are emotional creatures that need company and plenty of exercise.
The amount of time you actually get to spend with your horse each day will depend on the accommodation they’re in:
- Full livery – you’ll just need to ride the horse, so about two hours a day
- DIY livery – this involves mucking out the stable and feeding your horse as well, so around three hours a day
- Grass livery or keeping the horse at home – you can spend as much time as you want with your horse
It’s important that your horse gets enough attention. You can help to develop a strong bond with your horse by including plenty of grooming, chats and cuddles in the time you spend together.
Think it through before you buy that horse or pony.