Horses as Family?

The subject has come up lately about bringing in new horses and selling others. I’ve been faced with students, parents and supporters who feel like this reduces our horses to commodities to be bought sold or traded at will. It seems like time to debunk this train of thought.

First, for every horse for whom we find a wonderful home, we are able to receive, rescue, care for another soul. The number of horses in America who end up at slaughterhouses is staggering. This year, the number of horses sent to slaughter in the US and Canada is expected to be 100,000. The work we do at Square Pegs is committed to be “one horse, one student at a time.” This is important work to us here.

Currently, with staff (that’s me) and volunteers at this level, the 9 horses we are caring for today is about all we can handle. This means that each horse is cared for, groomed, vaccinated, has regular vet and hoof care, special diets and exercise and lesson plans appropriate to their mental and physical needs are attended to. If you have spent any time at the barn, you know that there is ALWAYS work to be done. During the short days of winter, darkness seems to fall about 20 minutes too soon. Our board bill would make you cry. And our board just recently went up!


Our vet and shoer are always patiently waiting for their payment checks. Horses don’t understand a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday work week. When they are sick or injured, you can’t just bring them in your warm house and take care of them. You get to stay in the cold, dark rainy, muddy barn and care for them.

So when the perfect home comes along for one of the school horses, it’s our responsibility to let them go once we ascertain that it is indeed, a wonderful home. But, it’s not easy for us here. Not easy at all. These horses aren’t just the tools of our trade or a means to achieve our goals. They are our pets and our friends. We spend every day, all day with them. My connection to each horse runs deep. These transactions are never taken lightly.

I welcome your thoughts and comments, I urge you to vent your frustrations about a horse that may have left SquarePegs in the past that you miss or that you wonder where he/she might be now.

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”

~Sharon Ralls Lemon

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