|During the course of my life with horses I have encountered 4H participants numerous times. I have seen things done to the 4H horses that would be considered by genuine horsemen to be unethical. I have often asked what 4H is about and was amazed with the answers I received; especially as to the extent that they contradicted the promotional aspects of the organization.|
thought that the 4H is supposed to teach our children, through the care
for farm animals, certain virtues like integrity, honesty and
responsibility. As it is, 4H teaches our children none of those virtues
but in fact it shows them the way to deception and falsehood, thus
corrupting their minds. The 4H not only condones fake health presentations
of the animals, but actually encourages the practice.
Some examples of how poor health conditions in 4H show horses are covered
up are described below:
I have asked over and over why the kids put such garbage on horse's feet such as "hoof black", which is actually detrimental to the health of the hoof. For the most part folks replied that if they don't put it on, they could not win the show. I have seen horses that won 4H shows that had hooves covered up with black paint and sprinkled with some sparkly stars, while the feet were afflicted with a major case of thrush (in some cases they’ve even won).
Condition of Coat:
When I was a young horseman, I had never seen anyone using spray to make
the horse’s coat shine, nor any suplements were fed exclusively for such
purpose. Among the horsemen it was understood that a shiny coat
represented the good health of an animal. No one would even dare to use
“show sheen” to deceive other horseman. Just like in humans, the poor
health of an individual will often show in the appearance of his hair.
Most sick people’s hair lacks a healthy shine. It is the same with
horses, yet we allow our kids to cover it up.
A short coat does not necessarily represent a healthy horse, yet the
immense emphasis on short coats drives 4H show participant to unnecessary
clipping, use of blankets and unhealthy heated barns. In a long shiny
coat, one can see the health of the animal better than in the short summer
A healthy mane lies down because it is combed every day but by letting the
kids do all sorts of braiding, that particular negligence can be easily
The condoning of various cosmetics in the 4H shows only demonstrates to
the children our real values and encourages them to cover up poor health
of the animals, e.g. spraying the coat with various shine enhancement
sprays or using black paint to easily cover a hoof that has cracks and was
poorly taken care of during the off-season.
The influence of the 4H organization can be seen later in all the
equine disciplines as the same grown up “kids” neglect their horses
during the off season and often provide only the meager necessities for
the horses to survive.
The proper care for an animal should be emphasized by 4H. The children should be responsible for the continuous daily care of the animal and not only when preparing for a show. The priority of all 4H participants should be the presentation of a healthy animal and not in some fake showmanship presentation. This of course, would require the leaders and judges to be qualified, caring and genuine horsemen (which the 4H obviously does not have) and a lot of work on the children's' part.
The only truth we are teaching our kids is that we are a highly corrupted society, which is reflected in the way we use and present our horses. Solution? Other than reestablishing our system of values, there isn't any, since corrupted minds cannot teach virtues. The horses pay for it now and our children will inevitably pay later as we leave them deceived. The truth about caring for horses needs to be learned by the 4H leaders and taught to our children.
truth is very simple; we have accepted fake and phony things as real, use
deception as a form of art, and have become masters of covering up the
truth. Where are we? Where will our kids end up?