OH my gravy, it's been a tough day to be a horse lover today! And I guess, a tough day to be a horse.
First, I'm a little blue because I am finding it difficult to find someone to ride with. My son is 13 and just too cool to ride with his Mom. My husband just doesn't feel the love the way I do. Friends are busy. Family is too far away.
Then I awake to the news that the State of Virginia is now requiring you carry a proof of negative Coggins if you are riding in a State park. Seems okay on the surface. BUT, here's where I have a problem with it...
If a horse contracts Equine Viral Anemia AND manages to survive it, that horse will be a carrier of the virus forever right? A Coggins test is good for a year. If someone is so irresponsible as to try and bring an infected horse in contact with other horses then a requirement like this, won't keep them in the confines of the law. Your horse could have a negative Coggins, contract the disease AND still be in contact with other horses within a year, still being within the law. Meanwhile, if a responsible horse owner goes for a ride, maybe through a State park adjoining private property, and they don't have their Coggins paperwork on them... they could be fined and charged with a misdemeanor. As with most laws, the law itself cannot force good behavior or responsible ownership... instead it punishes those who ARE responsible and causes more trouble and heartache for those like me who are being limited more and more in my ability to easily access public land with my horse! :( BY the way, the State of Virginia recently opened up hunting on Sundays. This thrills my husband but for me, it's the one day I could ride in hunting season... gone. Sure, the responsible hunter wouldn't shoot a horse but the drunk redneck hunter (who can't tell if that's a horse or a deer through his beer-goggles,) just might!
Now for my personal little riding saga.
Some people in my neighborhood have been real jerks about me riding through.
One neighbor asked that I not ride through a corner of her property to access the road.
Because she didn't want me to "crush the plants" (read weeds here) on the (already beat down) game trail.
Okay. It is her property and she can do whatever she wants. And we won't even mention that her free roaming dog has destroyed the carpet on my screened porch and ripped the door off the hinges...
Then I had a neighbor call and pitch a fit because my horse pooped in the (public) road, in front of, her house. hmmmm?
So, I have moved my horses into a barn and pasture that I'm renting away from my neighborhood.
I have been asking neighbors around the barn for permission to ride through their property.
All are afraid of lawsuits (even though I have said I would sign a liability waiver) or that I might crush some newly planted trees. (Certainly I am capable of riding around the saplings.)
Again I understand that they have the right to handle their property however they see fit.
It just makes me sad that open spaces are disappearing, neighborly behavior is obsolete and distrust remains supreme in this day and time. Am I alone in these seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing horsemanship?
My little rant is over now. I think I'm gonna go read about horses, while it's still legal and no one seems to find it too offensive. :)