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Re: “Unhealthy Horses

I am currently an Equine Science major at the University of Arizona. I volunteered at the Equine Center for a year feeding the horses and cleaning stalls under the supervision of Laura Walker and the assistant manager of the horse unit. I have also attended several classes taught by Dr. Arns.

During my time volunteering at the Equine Center, I witnessed the care and respect given to the horses by Dr. Arns, Laura and the assistant manager at the U of A Farm. The horses are on strict diets that are carefully documented so that the students feeding them know precisely what feed each horse is supposed to receive. They make sure that the students know that even a small section of mold on hay can wreak havoc on horse’s intestines and that it is to be disposed of properly. At no point during my volunteer work did I see any mishandling or abuse of the horses.

I would also like to address the comments made by the "anonymous student" about Ellie. That horse was very special to Laura. Laura took excellent care of her, including cleaning the stall herself when she had a full days work to do, very little help and students getting paid to clean it for her. Laura did it herself often because she wanted to make sure that Ellie had a clean stall and plenty of shavings to make her as comfortable as possible given the fact that she had chronic laminitis. On several occasions, I witnessed Laura caring for the horse's hooves by placing booties on them and administering treatment to help with her foot ailments. As Mr. Richardson pointed out in his comments on the article, there is only so much that can be done with a horse that has chronic laminitis, even with extensive treatment.

This article also mentions nothing about the fact that one of the foals euthanized this season was put down because he was missing bone, which was evident when a licensed vet took x-rays of the foal. There was no chance the foal would grow the missing bone and recover, therefore he was euthanized.

Perhaps the people posting comments in regards to this article have a “defensive tone” because they believe that Equine Center is worth defending. My name is Renee Bartlett and I don’t wish to be anonymous because I stand by my remarks. The Equine Center has professional, compassionate staff caring for the horses residing there and I believe their side of the story should also be presented.

Posted by ReneeKathleen on 06/25/2010 at 9:40 PM

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