The Value of Serviceability

As an advocate for the horse, there has always been a fire in my soul for horses who live in situational vulnerability. Looking at horses who end up in places of last resort (neglectful homes, abuse situations, kill pins, rescues if they’re lucky) we see a pattern of inserviceability. Whether it be from unsoundness, sickness, age, or behavioral issues, often times the life of a horse who does not bring money, pleasure, or convenience to a person becomes vulnerable.

As harsh as it sounds, this reality is quite reasonable, as horses are expensive, time consuming, and widely available. Ever heard the phrase, “There are a lot of good horses out there”? What people really mean when they say this phrase is that there are a lot of serviceable horses out there who fit a specific need. The horses that get in trouble are the ones that no longer fit into a specific need. So what in the world can we do about this issue? Bring along serviceable horses!

~Calling all horse owners and trainers~

I like to think about serviceability as a check list of three items

__ Are They Sound?

Owners & trainers should be dedicated to preserving a horse physically. This means optimizing a horse’s soundness and body condition. While simple in statement, this task involves being educated in warning signs for chronic conditions like arthritis, laminitis, and navicular, and addressing them early. It means keeping a horse built up over his back through proper nutrition and fitness. It also means knowing a horse’s limits and knowing when to stop pushing a horse beyond his physical and mental ability.

__ Are They Easy to Handle?

Ground manners and reasonable reactions in stressful situations make a horse safe and easy to handle. If a horse is not respectful on the ground and does not handle stressful situations well, they compromise people around them and thus become undesirable, not matter how fancy they are. Think about it, even if a horse is a $150,000 performance hunter, if he is difficult and dangerous to handle, as soon as he injures himself and loses his ability to perform, his living situation is vulnerable. This is even more true for horses who do not have big money value, as they are more or less ‘easily replaceable’. So, owners please, please, please, put ground manners on your horses and work with them on handling stress because reasonable individuals living longer and happier lives.

__ Do They have a Skill Set?

Providing a skill set is likely the biggest favor that anyone can do for their horse. And here is the kicker- almost every horse has potential to be valuable to someone. Whether the value comes from athletic potential, upper level training, beginner safeness, the ‘baby sits others in a field’ title, or the ‘trustworthy pet’ title, horses can be valuable to people in many different facets. What we have to do is nail down what the horse’s skill set is and solidify it so that he has value to others if we ever need to put his life in someone else’s hands.

About Madison Maavere

Hello, I am a young professional in the equine industry with a passion for improving horses' physical health and emotional wellness. I grew up riding horses in north Georgia and by the time I was 10, I decided I wanted to ride professionally. This dream grew into the mountain that I climbed every day, striving to reach the top. Until I was 16, I did not have my own horses, so I began diving whole-heartedly into any barn that would allow me to work off rides, training, and showing. While this path may not have gotten me the most blues in the show ring, it opened my eyes and my heart to the vastness of the horse world and how perception based it can be. When I was 16, my family moved out on 6 acres so I could have my horses at home (IE, so my family could see me on a daily basis), and for this, I am truly grateful. Running my own farm, albeit small, was liberating and humbling, and it revealed to me that my passion was not so much for riding sport, but for the love of the horse. Fast forward 6 years, and I am well into my final year as an undergraduate Equine Science/Management major at the University of Kentucky. I have been so fortunate in the opportunities I've received here and the relationships I've been able to build. The cutting edge research, quality horsemanship, and innovative businesses located around Lexington, KY have given me a strong sense of reality, and inspired me to really look at where I can make an impact in today's horse world. What I've realized is that while I like equestrian sports, I love the horse. Moreover, I love to help the horse. I want it to be happy and relaxed, to be sound and comfortable, to eat well and be healthy. I want the horse to have every defense against pathalogical disease, and I want it to have skill sets that people value so it can live a long, loved life. In this love, I feel called to advocate for the horse. I want to learn everything I can about how to improve horses' sustainable wellness, and I want to share what I learn so that horsemen of all experience, backgrounds, and goals can feel inspired and enabled to improve their horses' lives. It is my true desire to initiate and spread a dynamic in which horses are not for the industry, but the industry is for the horses.

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