Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ranger Jim's Ramblings for February

Okay, this may show up twice, so if it does I apologize. I wrote this and scheduled it for posting at 1:00 a.m. but it hasn't shown up.

Most of you are aware of my rantings about the ridiculous court decision in Connecticut that horses as a species are "inherently vicious animals, with a tendency to do mischief and bite." The whole thing goes back to 2006, when a father put his two year old son up against a horse's face, despite signs warning "do not pet or feed the horses". So, even though it was his fault, being a responsible parent he sued the farmer. The CT Superior Court, which first heard the case, rightly tossed it out, saying the father was responsible for his son's injuries. So the father appealed, and somehow convinced the Appellate Court that not only was the horse who bit his son vicious, but all horses are. The farmer, CT Horse Council, and CT Farm Bureau appealed to the CT Supreme Court, who heard the case in September, but has not issued a ruling. If the decision is not overturned, horses will be classified the same as wild animals kept in zoos in CT (the only state where horses will be declared "vicious". That means horses in CT will be uninsurable, and will basically disappear from the state. Luckily, Governor Malloy has finally done something right. He's introduced a bill in the legislature which will declare that "domesticated horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules ARE NOT inherently vicious". If the bill passes, and no one can see why it won't (unless the lawyers, seeing a chance for more money disappearing, get their hands on it), it will nullify any adverse court decision.

What does this have to do with horses in the Old West, you ask? Simply this. Horses have been humankind's partners for centuries. Without the horse, the West would never have been settled, and the Native Americans like the Comanches would never have become one of the world's greatest cavalries. It's a sad state of affairs that our society has come to when horses, which have served us so nobly, can be declared "vicious".


  1. Jim, I have been following that situation and it has me floored. Horses are certainly not the same as wild animals--anyone should know that--I never owned a horse, but even to my "untrained eye", there is a DIFFERENCE. Good grief, what are these people thinking, anyway? It boggles the mind, doesn't it? Good post. People need to be made aware of this.

  2. Jim,

    You're the expert! Hope the law goes the right way.

    For seventeen years I spent the better part of a day in a court room, petitioning the court, bringing in witnesses, presenting evidence, and testifying. I quickly learned that the process can be greatly flawed.

    If I said horses are like people---only that each has their own personality, would I be correct?

    I've known quite a few mean people, but for the most part, they settle down once you get to know them!


  3. Charlie,

    You're absolutely right. Each horse has his or her own personality, just like dogs or cats or even birds like parrots and parakeets. All the horses in my stories are based on the ones I have owned. There was Sam, my first, who did have a bit of a temper, but who loved me and me him. There was Mr. T., Ted in my books, who was steady and loved to jump. Sizzle, rock-solid, fazed by nothing, a gentle sweetheart who could be kinder than a kitten. He died way too young. And finally Yankee, the clown and jokester, who came a long way from the skittish greenbroke rescue he was to the therapy horse he is. That's why he and I get along so well... we're both slightly off-center.

  4. It is just like any person who gets rid of an animal for 'harming' their child, despite the fact that they have not taught the child how to behave with said animal. This father is one of them. What people won't do for money. It harms not only those who cannot 'fight' back, but sends horrible messages about ourselves as humans and a society. May clearer heads prevail. Doris