For Love of the Horse

Partner or Machine?

For Love of the Horse had the opportunity to attend the Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, PA over the weekend.  I have to say that our experience there was enjoyable as well as frustrating!

The vendor across from us (I won’t mention their product name, but it is well known in the performance world, particularly with barrel racers…..) sold a product that claims to “cure” a horse who has problems with bleeding lungs, ulcers, and joint issues.  Wow, a 3-in-1 product that can do all that??  A performance “enhancer” so they call it.  It made me cringe.  If my horse has a lung bleed because I am running him too hard, I think I’d stop before I tried to give him a “bleed stop”!  I’d feed more hay, stall less, and reduce stress to prevent ulcers, and I’d stop running AND pull shoes if he had arthritis or other joint problems.  Is winning and hurting your horse REALLY worth it? machine horse

It seems like some owners will treat their horses like a machine.  Run them until something breaks and then just get a replacement.  Even a particular feed company next to us had a large picture of a horse with “mechanical parts”.  If you just look at it, it looks cool, but if you think about it, it’s a sad way to depict a horse.

The enjoyable part was talking to the people who stopped to ask questions about how to recover their horses.  These people had a different “feel” about them than the ones who stopped across the aisle.  I felt their connection with their horse, and not as a performer, but as a partner.   Frequently, they referred to their horses as their “best friend” or their “heart”.  I like that feel and their horses will live long and happy lives because of it.  That makes me feel good and it made the whole experience well worth dealing with the frustrations.

Pat Parelli

Pat Parelli 

Well known trainer, Pat Parelli was there also, giving clinics throughout the day.  Pat is an amazing trainer who truly cares about the partnership with the horses.  So much so that he no longer will sell his “tools” unless you become a member.  He stated that he “got tired of seeing people use the tools without the guidance” and hurting the horses.  It was refreshing to hear him reiterating the importance of becoming a partner with your horse, gaining his trust so you can work together.

It was nice to get home to my horses.  I could look at them and feel the connection as a partner, not a machine.


  1. floftis

    Well put and I can’t agree more. Just had a heated discussion about horses not having a choice as far as participating in dangerous sports and how if they don’t perform or get hurt they are tossed aside and often end up in kill auctions headed for slaughter. It is so sad to see this treatment of one of the greatest treasurers and friend to mankind, the horse. Who gives us their all.

    I am so grateful for your product and your concerns. My horses’ health, welfare and happiness will always come first and you are there to help me achieve this goal.


    1. Melissa Tankersley (Post author)

      That’s the thing. They don’t have a choice. Horses are so willing to please and they try to do what we ask, as best they can. It seems like when a horse resists something, it is always FIRST looked at as a training or attitude issue. In SO MANY cases, it’s not that at all, they are trying to tell us something hurts or is uncomfortable. All of these training “aids” have been created (whips, spurs, etc) to push the horse to its limits and these “aids” are not being used as tools, rather they’re being used as crutches. I wish that more people would work as hard in creating a partnership as they do in creating a “winner”. It might just be shocking to see how much better a horse performs when they are one with the rider.

      We are also grateful for you, Francesca, for your love of your horses. We are so thankful that you consider your horses’ health and welfare FIRST as well. It is all about the love of the horse……and we’ll always do what we can to help a horse.

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