Horse Traders vs. Horse Traitors

A horse like this would be a likely prospect for a horse trader. Fortunately, this time, a rescue organization got to him first!

A horse like this would be a likely prospect for a horse trader. Fortunately a rescue organization got to this horse first!

I think we all know what a horse trader is. That’s the person who buys horses like this poor fellow here, cheap, usually because they’re in a bad way. They then pump them up cosmetically, often masking weaknesses with drugs, and resell them for a profit.  There is no thought given to the true welfare of the horse OR the buyer, for that matter. The end result is a horse who gets passed around, often unsuccessfully and unhappily.

A horse traitor, on the other hand, is the category some people fall into unknowingly when they pass off or sell a horse who they have somehow convinced they will keep forever. The results, unfortunately, are often the same as with the horse trader, even though that would be the last thing the seller ever wanted or intended.

I’ll never forget one of my first cases many years ago. I was called to a barn to talk to a show horse who was colicking, not eating, and not showing well. This horse had been a champion show horse for many years and had just recently been bought by his current owner. In our conversation he showed me how hard it had been for him to go through previous changes of ownership, and how much he feared he would be passed on again. I explained that this had happened because he was such a brilliant show horse, so more and more people wanted him and paid higher and higher prices for him because they valued him so much. This didn’t help. What mattered to him was connection and partnership. He loved his new home and wanted to stay there forever; he wanted the cycle to stop. After a quick consult with his new owner, who avowed that this would be the case, I conveyed this information to him. He heaved a huge sigh of relief and, long story short, began doing very well thereafter. But . . . lo and behold, about a year later the new owner did indeed sell him!

I was shattered when I heard. This was my first experience of this phenomenon, and I vowed never to convey this type of message in exactly this way to a horse again. Horse owners who love their horses often want to reassure them that they have a “forever” home, but I have learned the hard way that this message needs to be conveyed carefully and with a few caveats. For instance, since horses can have very long life spans, they can sometimes outlive their owner, so even this scenario presents a reason for couching the “forever” message with great care. I like to tell them that their person/owner hopes to be able to keep them forever, but that sometimes things can happen that make that impossible, so their person will try to make sure they have the best situation possible should another alternative ever become necessary. (I’m paraphrasing here; what I tell each horse depends upon their particular circumstance, but this is the gist of it.)

Horse people often buy horses thinking they’re the “be all/end all” and that they will be keeping them forever, and wittingly or not, do convey this message to the horse. Horses, just like people, come in all different personality types, so some horses do just fine with this. In fact some never really bond with an owner. Others, however, are emotionally delicate and can have their heart broken when they have to leave someone they love.

Considering that horses are such huge animals (therefore potentially dangerous) and are so expensive to keep, re-homing them is definitely a viable and desirable option when they are not in the right circumstance or are ill-matched with their owner. So there is no moral judgment here. But horse folk would be well advised to be cautious about their intent with their horses, especially if they “talk” to them or have one of us animal communicators talk to them, and should definitely try to match the horses they acquire to their true desires and needs.

There is a wonderful book, Horse Harmony–Understanding Horse

Horse Harmony - Understanding Horse Types & Temperaments

Horse Harmony - Understanding Horse Types & Temperaments

Types & Temperaments, that identifies 11 types of horse personalities based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine model of constitutional typing. I would urge any serious horse person to check this out in order to better understand the horse they have or when looking for a new horse to buy. Each type’s particular needs, strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits are described in detail. Considering factors like these can help head off a heartbreak and keep you from falling into the “Horse Traitor” category!

Meanwhile, DON’T tell your horse you’re going to keep him forever unless you’re absolutely positive!


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