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A Horse's View on Overpopulation!

Updated: Jan 5, 2019

Well, haaayyy there friends! My name is Ed, which is short for Education, and I am excited to tell you a little about me and my horse pals. In your Kids 4 Critters (K4C) lessons you learn the #1 problem facing pets in Wake County is OVERPOPULATION!! The horse population in Wake County is very small – Why is that you ask? Wake County is filled with large cities and towns leaving little space for horse farms. BUT we do see an issue in the overpopulation of horses in our county and especially in our neighboring counties.

In the K4C program you learn about how cats and dogs multiply very quickly (and can have litters of 4 to 10 babies). If they are not spayed or neutered, that causes a big overpopulation problem. But horses only have one foal (baby horse) at a time. So, why do you think we still have an overpopulation problem with horses? Kids, I want you to turn to your parents and ask them, “is it ever difficult to take care of children?” The average 4th grader weighs about 70 pounds, and the average horse weighs about 1200 pounds… So imagine taking care of an animal that is about 17 times your size! That CANNOT be easy!

Reasons for horse overpopulation are very similar to dogs and cats. Taking care of them can be expensive, and some owners have to give up their horses because they cannot pay to take care of them. This often happens when the horse has health problems because treating sick horses is very expensive. Horses can also suffer abuse and need to be surrendered, just like dogs and cats.

A brown horse eating grass
Sarge is a kind horse who lives in Efland, NC after being rescued by Saddlebred Rescue

I would like to tell you a story about my buddy, Sarge. His previous owner did not want him anymore because Sarge could not pull a cart/wagon well enough. Sarge is a Saddlebred, a dainty breed of horse, which is not built to do hard labor, like pulling a heavy cart. Unfortunately, Sarge’s previous owner should have known that Sarge would not be able to do the work he required. That would be like asking a Chihuahua to pull a sled– just not possible, or fair to the animal. Saddlebred Rescue Inc. in New Jersey took Sarge in when his owner would no longer care for him. This rescue organization takes care of the horses’ feeding and health needs, and also has a team of trainers to work with the horses, so that they can be adopted. A stable in Efland, NC adopted Sarge, and he has become part of their lesson program. Sarge is a very kind horse, and he loves his new home! Here is a link to learn more about the Saddlebred Rescue Inc..

In the K4C program you learn a lot about the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) and how it helps cats and dogs, but do they ever have any horses? WCAC tries very hard to work with an owner prior to removing the horse as some horse owners just need guidance and to learn how to properly feed and care for a horse. When WCAC does have to remove a horse, they work with local facilities to stable the horse and provide the horse with the care it needs while any legal action is ongoing. WCAC does have to pay to board the horse and provide the medical care it needs while the horse is in the custody of the animal center. Fortunately, taking in horses doesn’t happen very often.

If you want to get involved with a horse rescue nearby, you can ask your parents about Pasture Pals Equine Rescue is located in Clayton, NC. There are only a handful of horse rescues in North Carolina, but there is a national horse rescue called United States Equine Rescue League, Inc.

that helps horses from all over the USA.

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