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2010-11-28 04:15 am (UTC)
Personally, (granted I have generally very low opinions about 90% of journalists these days), I think it's exactly what I'd expect from a writer for a newspaper. As little actual research as possible, even for the discussion on dogs (though that was a little better). Using data from Big Cities really skews things, especially because they were talking to the larger business ends of those Big Cities. And notice that most of their figures came from racing? Lazy.
I think it was mostly aimed at the "flim flam" parents--the parents who are likely to dive into something without actually knowing anything about it, which while it's a larger group than one would hope for, still exists. Regardless, I can't see anyone just buying a horse for their family without having ever been around horses or taking lessons, unless you own your own horse-capable property. Chances are they'll at least have some equine professionals or quasi-professionals that should (hopefully) be able to offer good advice. This is probably different when talking about dogs or cats, because they're not a specialty animal, you know?
As for the figures...again, Big City perspective makes it hard. Our barn is one of the more expensive barns in the area. Not *the* most expensive, but we're 375 for a month's full board, and the most expensive barns in the area are still under 500 for a month's full board. Lessons in this area are generally 45-55 per hour for private. And you can, if you want to, find very reasonably priced tack. What they don't mention is that tack isn't a one-time-buy, and that was a big omission in their article. We all know you can't get buy on just one blanket for the next six years, for example.
The other was that they talked about leasing. At a barn like mine, where there are a LOT of barn-owned horses, there isn't a problem with leasing. But most barns are not like mine. Most people would have to find a horse and owner from the great beyond to lease, and chances are the horse wouldn't be suited for a child like the article makes it out to be--too advanced, or otherwise the owner would probably want someone to keep the training going strongly, which is not really going to happen with anyone under ~15.
So, yeah. I think the intent of the article was in the right place--don't do something unless you know exactly what you're doing--but the wording was really awful, and overall, not something the industry needs in circulation among the public right now.
Horse ownership isn't only for the rich people. No one at our barn is rich by any standard. We're all middle to lower class backgrounds. We all have horses in the 2-8k range or cheaper (with a few exceptions) that we have bought and trained ourselves, and even from this background, a lot of our riders have National Championships within the Arabian Sporthorse world. You don't have to be rich. You just have to have a head on your shoulders and be dedicated. On that front, I think the article should have been more about being dedicated and responsible for the animals you buy or intend to buy, and if something happens, giving some options--rescue organizations, etc.
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