Our work as an organisation covers four main areas. Community outreach; environmental protection and paddock enrichment for our seven horses; force-free training and handling both taught and practiced; and our volunteer programmes:
Horse Training and Handling
Beyond basic care, we also need to give good examples of handling and training. Even experienced horse owners and riders may have much to learn. Many people have a perfunctory relationship with the horse where they just turn up to the stables and ride. Horse owners, too, often just ‘use’ their horses rather than develop a relationship with them.
Astonishingly, these methods of equine keeping are more due to ignorance rather than an intentional wish to harm. One old man proudly showed me the many patches of white hairs around his mule’s withers, sides, under her girth and around her chin (all caused by ill-fitting tack and bad loading), boasting that these were a sign of what a good worker she was!
Here in Andalusia, equine care is out-dated and often brutal. It is common to see horses tethered or hobbled (usually two front legs tied together) all day and without accessible water.
Those you don't see are often permanently confined to a small windowless stable which may only be cleaned once a year.
It is common practice for horses here to be put in a serreton: a nose-band with metal spikes set low on the horse’s nose so that it presses on the soft cartilage, causing bleeding and scarring. If you look closely at the carriage horses in Malaga, you will often see this characteristic scarring.
Hoof care is rudimentary at best and this causes pain and long term problems. Veterinary care is basic and colics are a regular occurrence because of a lack of knowledge around correct feeding and exercise. Dental care, de-worming and other treatments are unheard of.