According to Anne Patterson of the Langley Times, the dedicated volunteers at the Langley-based Horse Protection Society of B.C. have decided that the best way to prevent the growing number of equine abuse and neglect cases is to educate prospective horse owners before they buy their first equine.
“We are seeing people buying horses like they would a puppy. And then when they realize the enormity of owning a horse they often either abandon them, send them to auction, simply don’t care for them, or they call a rescue to take them on. We want to offer people a course that can help them understand the huge responsibility it is to own a horse,” said Sharon Wells-Ackermans, managing director of the society.
The non-profit has developed a program where people can come for riding lessons using some of the rescue horses in their care. While the course material can be tailored for children as young as 10 years old, the majority of students at the moment are adults. The program will take students through four levels, each with a practical and written test, and will most likely take about a year to complete. Students can come once or twice a week.
The Langley riding program is more comprehensive than the average school can offer. In addition to riding lessons offered by a professional instructor, the volunteers will provide hands-on training in all areas of horse care and handling. In addition to covering barn management, feed and nutritional needs, students in the horsemanship program will get advice on purchasing suitable mounts and planning for their future.
“We will also show people some alternatives to buying their own horse, if that suits better, like leasing or just continuing on with riding lessons,” said Sharon.
For more information on the Horse Protection Society of B.C. and its horsemanship program, go to http://www.horseprotectionsocietyofbc.com.