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Medieval Europeans used to put 'bad' animals on criminal trial...

Since as early as the 13th century, animals of all sorts across Europe were eligible to be charged with "criminal offences, assigned lawyers, and be given sentences, including death." 

It could be argued, that today, for some horses, not much has changed, only they don't get a defence attorney anymore

Behaviour - 'Sin of the Century'

We have all come across horses that are accused of:


‘Just being lazy’
‘Got no manners’

‘Bit of a dork’

'They are just being dominant'

'They have always been tricky’


In 2009 I came across a new one:

Grace (Pic 1)

'Born evil'


The farrier I recruited to help de-shoe her declared this mare 'arrogant' as he smacked her in the face. It was her breeder who declared her evil.

Do you think she looks evil or arrogant in that top picture to you?

No me neither.


Not backed/ridden without medication aged 9. 

This is a few months on.

Grace (Pic 4)

Grace (Pic 3)

Grace (Pic 2)

Still neither evil or arrogant, but a joy to work with.  In the second photo (Pic 2) she is having a blast around the school wearing her tack.  Notice the change in colour - this was from getting her diet right, which also took away a lot of her pain.

Third photo (Pic 3) - backed with no meds at all. (Yes I used to ride her too)

Fourth (Pic 4) my other half, not at all horsey, used to lead her round for me when I couldn't.  He didn't find her evil or arrogant either.

When we got her, aged 9, this 'evil', 'arrogant' mare was just in pain.

Beth A. Valentine, DVM, PhD from the US helped mend her.

Big dietary changes and consistent exercise routine.  Probably PSSM but never tested, Beth was practical to the core.  Her suggestions worked.

Thanks also to Ben Chilvers BVMS, CertEM(IntMed), MRCVS for helping get her shoes off and to both Dodson and Horrell, and AllTech for helping get her the feed she needed at a time when this was so much more difficult than now.

This is just one case.  I come across instances of horses being dismissed as having behavioural issues all the time.

And they get punished for it.  All the time.

All of these horses have some sort of pain. 

NB - I do work with horses that have been taught really unhelpful 'tricks' and often unwittingly, but these are easily trained out. EG biting/nibbling/begging/posturing - usually for treats.

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