The Path in Poland
by Berenika Bratny
It is a great idea, this OurHorses kind of approach to the problems that you are addressing. This is exactly what we have been thinking and discussing recently in our Okiem Konia association.
We just had an experience that made us rethink our strategies again. As you know we were engaged in the fight for taking the horse off the list of animals who can be slaughtered and promoting the horse legally as a companion animal. This idea was close to the hearts of some horse welfare organizations and together we went to a horse fair to make a demonstration and protest. This action was prepared quite carefully over the year. Many, many people volunteered to take part. Also participating were many horse shelters and animal welfare organizations. When we arrived at the place on the day of the demonstration we realized that there were only 80 people there and … no riders in general (some horse welfare organizations decided not to join being afraid of losing “sponsors” – that is equestrian organizations). Equestrians decided it was too “dangerous” even to demonstrate for the lives of horses. What’s more – on one of the natural horsemanship (NH) forums in Poland where one journalist tried to promote the action and ask horsemen to join the cause many people replied that there is nothing wrong with breeding horses for meat!
This experience was very painful for many people there, as they felt betrayed – all of those who were seen in the parking lot with nice trailers wearing riding pants came to the fair to buy whips or bits or spurs and they did not even bother to look at what the demonstration was about. One of the horse traders, who threw stones at us, shouted: “You don’t even know horses, you don’t even know what to do with them or how to ride them!”. And I realized he was right – those brave, incredible people who were there were not riders, none were “horsey” people – they were people who were devoted to animals in general. Many of them came in the middle of the night to photograph horse abuse and then to make it public. They risked their own welfare, it was dangerous to go there, but they did it in the name of love for animals.
After this experience I realized that we might be talking into the void, looking for understanding among equestrians. I decided to look for animal rights people, vegans and those who think that using animals for our pleasure is wrong, that animals are sentient beings who have the same right we do to live on this planet, breathe the fresh air, enjoy the company of other animals the same species and have families and friends.
I started to look at the animal rights websites and you know what? They fight for the freedom of all kinds of animals but rarely mention horses in sport (if so, they talk about racing) and never write about the harms of riding. But I am sure those are the people who would understand our cause, who would support us and spread the truth about the horse’s fate. If only they knew. This is my hope and my plan for the future. Finding those who are already evolved in thinking about the animal kingdom in general and adding horses to the list of those who need our help the most.
I want also to ask if you would agree that we could translate part of the OurHorses blog into Polish – I mean the posts about the training techniques. I think it is very very important for Polish people to read them, and many of them simply do not know English. Such things are so important as they show what is hidden behind those nice white gloves and all those ribbons. This is especially important for those who have never ridden horses and they do not see anything wrong in such. These people send their children to riding schools and I am sure many of them would not do it if only they knew the truth.
|Berenika with an old friend
I am very happy that so many wise people are joining together to think about those difficult subjects and that we can share our ideas and this way spread the truth. Thank you for that.
Thank you Berenika for your report from Poland. Everyone may translate and use freely any information from OurHorses and this blog. Send us links of where you use the translations so we can direct people there.
Tomorrow is the last day of March and the last day of our daily blog. In the month since we began, we have gathered many new friends and brought our old friends closer together through the power of the Internet and social networking. We will continue to pass along important information through this blog as it comes to us and also continue to ask for your help in creating this new world.
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