2009 Year in Review: Staff Picks

Of the nearly 2,200 horse health, care, management, and welfare news articles posted on TheHorse.com in 2009, which ones stood out to our editors? Here are their top picks:

Adopted Thoroughbred Pointer

Pointer found a new home through TheHorse.com's Adoption Service.

Kimberly S. Brown (Editor/Publisher)

In November 2008, TheHorse.com took a giant proactive stance in the area of unwanted horses. In conjunction with sponsor Gainesway Farm, TheHorse.com created a free bulletin board-style adoption service for Thoroughbreds at the height of the recession since so many of those horses were in need of new homes and careers.

But the staff of TheHorse.com wasn't finished helping horses. In early June 2009, TheHorse.com teamed up with U.S. Trotting to create a Standardbred Adoption Service. Then, just before Thanksgiving, TheHorse.com launched an all-breed Adoption Service to enable anyone to take advantage of this opportunity to place unwanted horses.

The caveat: Horse owners cannot charge for horses; they must try to find forever homes for these at-risk individuals.

As of Dec. 14, a little more than a year since the launch of TheHorse.com's Adoption Services, a total of 248 horses of various breeds and disciplines have found new homes

There are 196 horses still up for adoption. This is the tip of the unwanted horse iceberg in the United States. But we agree with the phrase: There is no such thing as an unwanted horse, just one that isn't in the right home. And with the help of TheHorse.com users, we'll continue to fight the unwanted horse problem one animal at a time.

Chad Mendell (Executive Editor)

Who can forget the incredible story about a horse that might have saved its 14-year-old rider? or how our horses' have mysterious cravings for vehicles? the discovery of an equine pseudo-hermaphrodite? and of course, what about the zedonks (oh yes, the zedonks)? There were many strange things that happened in 2009, and, thanks to the "Weird Horse News" blog, we were able to read about the weirdest of horse happenings. So raise a glass to more weird news in 2010 (just remember: friends don't let friends ride drunk)!

Freeway recovered

Thompson took Freeway to a nearby country club for an "after" photo op following six months of rehabilitation and recovery.

Stephanie L. Church (Managing Editor, Print)

 My favorite story of 2009 involved an unassuming bay gelding named Freeway and his owner, Sue Thompson. Sue's compassion in intervening and saving this horse from a neglectful situation was admirable. The story was not only inspiring to me, I think it gave readers a chance to learn the realities of what it takes to refeed and rehabilitate a horse who has been starved/neglected. Sue's no-nonsense, assertive approach to getting Freeway back to health, with the help of several talented veterinarians and a chorus of encouraging supporters on an online forum, was a memorable story. The pictures of a happy, healthy Freeway were a testament to the good work that Sue did, and I loved the fact that she was humble about the endeavors, never asking to be celebrated for the time and energy that she and her husband put into rehabilitating the gelding. I hope that their compassion inspired readers to consider opening their barns or pastures to horses in need, because there are a lot of them out there these days.

Erin Ryder, News Editor

Some of my favorite stories in 2009 included coverage of equine behavior, cognition, and handling/riding methods. While some of these might make horse owners say, "duh, I could have told you that," having these studies published in the peer-reviewed literature gives real weight to the casual observances that we hands-on horse owners take for granted. This means that further research can be built upon these findings, potentially guiding scientifically-supported methods of training, handling, and riding that complement our horses' intrinsic natures.

These are some of the articles that have influenced how I interact with my own horse:

Megan Arszman (Photo/Newsletter Editor)

The economy was a big story in the national headlines, and it was equally as big for horse people. My favorite stories from 2009 provided some insight for horse owners in this recession who were desperate to save money. These stories included "Where Not to Pinch Pennies" as well as "Vaccinations Not a Place to Cut Back, Vets Say" because I know, as a horse owner, that in order for us to keep our beloved equine family members, we're always looking for those corners we can cut without putting our horses at risk. Another big help for myself and other horse owners in a pinch was the introduction of our Thrifty Horsekeeping blog. This project, used as a building block for an upcoming Eclipse Press book, was a great way for our readers to get cost-cutting tips, as well as share their own experiences and tips. Everything from buying/selling a horse, selecting the right boarding barn, coupons and online deals, etc., was covered in hopes of easing the pain of our pocketbooks.

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