Wiregrass Czarina is a purebred Arabian mare. She joined us 4 years ago this summer and will be 19 years old this spring. She is very handsome and very well-bred. You can see her pedigree here. Most of the time, she is very sweet. She nickers hello to me in the morning. She likes to go riding (as long as you’re not near the road; cars frighten her). She loves carrots and treats and is absolutely devoted to her buddies Louis and Mousie. But when it comes to visits from vets, blacksmiths, or other unwanted administrations, she is defiant and very difficult to work with. Aging has yet to mellow her!
Ponygirl rescued Czarina from a Kitchener stockyard auction, where she stopped in while waiting for her laundry to finish at the laundromat. (Yeah, I thought that was odd too.) It became clear that somewhere along the way, Czarina’s life had gone off the rails. We don’t know what her story is. Perhaps she was abused, or perhaps her strong will just clashed with that of a previous owner and led to her defiant behaviour. In any case, landing at the Kitchener stockyards isn’t usually a good thing for a horse. Ontario is the horsemeat capital of North America.
There are simply too many unwanted horses. In the U.S., a ban on horse slaughter has led to new problems with maintaining unwanted horses. Horse rescue organizations such as Heaven Can Wait are often working at capacity with minimal funds. Horsekeeping requires a longterm commitment, as horses often live to be 25 to 30 years old. If you are only interested in showing or riding a young up-and-coming competitor, what is to become of your partner as he ages? Responsible horse ownership doesn’t end when the horse loses his competitive edge.
There are many sources of unwanted horses. The standardbred racing industry produces many cast-offs and has spawned the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. The premarin industy produces many foals every year, although the popularity of premarin is now waning. An aging babyboomer population may also be a contributing factor as older owners can no longer afford to maintain or are forced by ill health to part with their horse. Czarina, at least, is enjoying her senior years.