The horse world’s reaction to the recession has not been monolithic. On the one hand, much of the industry has held firm as people go on spending money on their horses. On the other, the number of horses abandoned or turned over to welfare organisations has increased, and people are, for once, facing up to the problem of what to do with so-called “surplus horses”. Probably no surprise to horsekind, who’ve long known that their fate depends entirely on the human hands that hold their halter rope.
This week brought a series of stories from Ireland that illustrate it neatly – although I could easily have dug through my filing cabinet and found earlier articles that show the same thing happening in the UK. Here’s the Irish Independent saying that the Dublin Horse Show (which opens today and has been running since 1864) is holding its own, albeit with lower champagne sales, while the Irish Times writes up proposals for a one-off horse cull, with the government covering the costs of slaughter.