Sunday, May 25, 2008

Internet vs. Reality redux

I'm still thinking about yesterday's wild crazy ride.

Everything I know about horses I learned, basically, from two places: The Internet and my redneck friends. These two sources are pretty much diametrically opposed. I, personally, hang out somewhere in the middle.

Vet Checks
The Internet says you MUST ALWAYS get a vet check or you will end up with a foundered pregnant yearling with a torn suspensory. Rednecks look at a horse, determine if it's limping, check to see if it looks stoned, and buy it if they like it. Obviously, the truth is in the middle. Not all horses that aren't vet checked are going to be foundered or injured. And honestly, we don't all need Grand Prix level horses. Healed injuries, or unsoundnesses that only come out under extreme pressure, aren't dealbreakers for most of us.

The Internet is like a giant lawyer disclaimer, without the disclaimer language. Nobody wants to put up that one website where you say "Go ahead and buy a horse without a vet check if the price is right" because some idiot will read that statement, get hurt because of it, and sue / internet stalk you. But really, there's some ratio involved. What rational horse person who wants a light use trail horse would pay $200 for a vet check on top of a $400 horse? What if it's a $1000 barrel horse? Maybe. What's the magic number for the rational horse buyer? I don't know.

Barbed wire
Rednecks think barbed wire is cheap and effective. The Internet tells me that barbed wire and uncapped T-posts kill more horses than every slaughterhouse in Mexico. And rationally, I know that barbed wire is horrible stuff. Two of my own horses have gotten nasty cuts on their fetlocks from it, a horse at the barn is blind in one eye from a barbed wire encounter as a foal, and probably 80% of the horses I've met in my redneck horse owning career have some scars from the stuff. But it doesn't leap out and kill every horse that encounters it. My horses are eating grass right now behind a barbed wire fence, and I don't lose sleep over it. When I move them up from Como, I'd very much like to find a place with board or hot wire fencing... but if it's otherwise perfect, I wouldn't turn down a barbed wire pasture.

More (inhumane and controversial) thoughts later.

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