Bad Parent Award or “The Horse That Kicks You Has Warned You First”

by admin on January 11, 2016

The video below, despite being several years old,  is making the rounds of Facebook and a few web sites devoted to “cute”, “precious” videos. One web site described the video as follows:

Her parents surprised this one-year-old girl with a tiny horse. The two playmates instantly hit it off and went frolicking in the grassy field.

Both were extremely excited and joyful, while her parents looking on in the background to ensure safety. Such a great memory for this young girl, surely one she will never forget!

There is nothing cute about this video. Those of us who own equines just about can’t watch this because of the very imminent danger the toddler is in.   Equines, regardless of the size, have a very definitive etiquette which is communicated via non-verbal behavior.   The toddler is understandably ignorant of the signals the pony is giving but there is no excuse for the parents who have placed their child in extreme danger.  It’s cringe worthy, not cute.

 

When the pony chases the girl in the first few seconds, this is a dominance action, as in, “he who gets the other to move away is the leader”.  My dominant pony “herds” her subordinates every day.

At .40 seconds the toddler squeals and waves her arms at the pony who interprets the behavior as a challenge to the pony’s perception of who is herd dominant and turns her butt towards the child.   At .44 the toddler runs after the pony who aims her back end at the toddler again.  At 1:24 the chase is on again, 1:32 the pony momentarily had her butt in target range,   1:36 the pony is swerving her butt towards the child again.   At 1:42 the pony squeals and lashes out at the toddler…there is nothing playful about this, it’s all dominance and turns her butt towards the toddler again.   1:56 the pony yet again turns her butt towards the child as she approaches and at 2:03 the child is in perfect target range to get her head or chest kicked.

Had the child been kicked, the pony would have been destroyed as dangerous when in reality it was just being an equine, doing what equines do and giving plenty of warnings.   Had I been witness to this, there would have been no polite or civil discussion with the parents as to why this was dangerous because tragedy can happen within seconds.   Repeat, there is nothing cute about this video.   It is child endangerment because the ignorant parents did not understand equine manners and behavior.  The horse that kicks you has politely warned you first.

 

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Mojo January 11, 2016 at 3:22 am

My first thought was ‘don’t let that one-year old pick her own berries!’. You pick the berries and hand them to her, until she’s old enough to remember which ones are good.

At that age you can’t trust her not to wet her pants! You certainly can’t trust her not to put pretty red berries in her mouth and as you say, you can’t trust her not to annoy that horse.

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Amanda H. January 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm

The berries thing didn’t even occur to me. But this is why, from a young age, we drilled into our kids that unless we tell them a particular bush is safe, all berries they find in the wild are “bird berries.” They’re there for the birds to eat, not little kids. It’s worked so far.

All I could think during the whole video was, “Hey, I don’t know that much about horses myself, but even I would be very leery of letting my 1-year-old continue to run loose around a pony that keeps sticking it’s rear end in her face. All it takes is one kick….”

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LadyV January 11, 2016 at 6:17 am

THANK YOU, Jeanne! I haven’t had the equine experience you have, but even I could see this was a disaster waiting to happen. I found it especially incredible that the parents let their little girl go back to petting the pony after it had lashed out at her. And as you said, if anything had happened, the innocent pony would have been put down.

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LeeLee88 January 11, 2016 at 6:35 am

UUUUUGGGGHHHH, I had to stop after less than a minute, it was making me too anxious. These parents are killing me.

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Frances January 11, 2016 at 7:08 am

I am horrified by this video. These parents know nothing about horses, and as Miss Jeanne has said, are not teaching their child how to approach animals with respect.

I also often think this about dogs who bite small children. Again, the child should be taught canine etiquette before being left with a dog. Especially one outside the immediate family.

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kylynara January 11, 2016 at 8:55 am

Admittedly, I know nothing whatsoever about horses, nor am I a fan of animals in general, but that does not seem to me like a horse that is having fun.

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GeenaG January 11, 2016 at 4:12 pm

While this is a small animal, a well placed kicked is capable in leaving that girl in a permenant vegetative state from profound brain damage. That animal is capable of easily killing that girl. We used to have horses and children were just simply not welcome to be around them, ever. The parent’s negligence and stupidity is absolutely stunning to me.

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@just4kicks January 11, 2016 at 8:55 am

I too, couldn’t watch this video.
While I certainly won’t win any Mother of the year awards, I was horrified the mom/dad just filmed happily….the berries? Standing BEHIND the horse/pony?
I have never had the pleasure of being around horses, and even I know it’s dangerous to let a child stand behind one.
One good kick, and there goes her face, teeth, still forming brain. Sheesh.
You can’t keep your child from EVERY danger, I’m sure every parent has tried to, but when you CAN keep your kid away from getting seriously injured….Well, I think you’d WANT to.

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stacey January 11, 2016 at 9:02 am

This comes from a wrong view of daily life- one that’s driven by the need to “create” special moments and has an agenda. “Oh, isn’t she the cutest thing in the world and if we add in a PONY…! (gasp, squeal!)”. It’s fine to let children take controlled risks as they mature. It’s just too stupid for words to endanger an infant for the sake of being “stupidly fond”. If I may be permitted a PSA… It’s actually NOT necessary to “go big” with your relationships. Kids can play and interact and create beautiful memories without any bells, whistles or staged photo-ops, fiances can propose without elaborate props or expensive settings, your “big 40” or “big 50” birthday/ anniversary/ retirement party doesn’t have to be over the top. It’s the consumerist mind-set that has folks in search of “the perfect” moment/ experience/ relationship/ job/ friendship that leads to this kind of mistake… where unimportant things (like a cute photo-op) trump essential things (like due regard for safety, budget, feelings of others…).

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Dee January 11, 2016 at 11:53 am

Stacey – I couldn’t agree with you more. Well said. It’s quite nauseating how people want complete strangers to “ooh” and “ahh” the events in their lives, as if public applause makes them meaningful. It’s actually the opposite, and cheapens each event. As with the pony, many parents think it’s cute to give a dog to a child. How is that even logical? A creature, in the care of someone who is not yet able to even discipline themselves? Animals aren’t objects, to be given and taken and ignored on a whim. They need adults to care for them and be the ones responsible for them, not children. Marriage proposals, milestone events, they, too, are not objects to be handed out for maximum shock value. I wonder what would happen to this world if people were more concerned about living authentically than as if they were players in a sitcom or soap opera? How refreshing that would be.

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Bern821 January 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Stacey and Dee – I am with you!! Now we have viral videos showing over the top ‘prom-posals’, and people seem to think they need to have elaborate, expensive birthday parties for 2 year olds!
I think your comment (Dee) says it all: live authentically, not like you’re filming an episode of Keeping up with the K…’s or any of the ‘Real (seriously??) Housewives’! I’d rather pluck my own eyeballs out than watch one minute of these ‘real’ people on ‘reality’ TV!
I also wonder if these parents purchased this mini horse. Do you think they have any idea what the lifespan of a horse is? Owning one is a huge responsibility – unless of course they will just ‘get rid of it’ when it’s no longer convenient for them to care for.

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@just4kicks January 12, 2016 at 5:05 am

My two oldest son’s and their friends have launched the most elaborate Prom/Winter Ball “proposals”….It’s astonishing to me.
I’ve told them, “you’re father didn’t put THAT much thought and planning into his MARRIAGE proposal to me….which got me a “HEY!!!” from my husband. 😉
Of course, they are all videotaped and put on Twitter, or whatever they post stuff these days….I can’t keep up.
I told them if you put HALF the thought, creativity and time into your STUDIES, you’d be ahead of the game.
I only went to my Junior Prom, and if I remember correctly, the boy who I went with waited by my locker in between classes and said, “Hey….the prom is coming up….you wanna???” 🙂

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Devin January 12, 2016 at 11:33 am

I think part of it is people are too worried about appearing to have ‘Authentic’ lives. #Authentic or #AuthenticLiving have hundreds of thousands of posts on twitter and instagram because everyone wants to be seen ‘Living Authentically’. I’ve tried to join those social media platforms, and I find that I spend more time trying to upload the pictures and tag them that I miss out on the actual event. I still follow my friends, but some of their posts remind me that while they were posting they were missing what was in front of them.

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Just4Kicks January 15, 2016 at 7:18 am

@Devin: My son’s and their friends came up with very sweet and creative Prom proposals (btw: when did it become just “Prom” and not “The Prom”?!?), but it soon turned into who can out do the last kids proposal….they just got crazier, and in a few cases, dangerous.
Reminded me of the ALS water challenge….who can do it bigger and better.

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ketchup January 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

Wow, there are so many stupid people on this planet, believing bad stuff will never happen to them, because they’re magically safe or something. That horse could have done some serious damage to the little cutie, and who knows what the results would have been.
Any time you interact with animals, at least make sure you do your research! I would never let my child (3-year-old) play with small dogs (I’m not very good at reading dogs). We always ask owners whether their animals can and may be petted. I’d be careful with hamsters even!

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Michelle January 11, 2016 at 9:30 am

Videos like this just annoy the heck out of me. It’s pretty obvious the horse isn’t playing with the child, it’s warning the child. But these parents probably thought “OMG it would be so cute if we got a miniature horse for our child! It’ll be totally awesome and we’ll get a million likes on Facebook and everyone will think it’s cute, too, and we’ll be the best parents ever!”.

I don’t think it’s a good decision to pick out pets for small children, especially larger animals like a horse (even a miniature horse is large for a small child) or certain breeds of dogs. It has potential disaster written all over it. All it takes is one wrong move, harsh touch, that one second the child is out of your sight and something bad can happen. Then a child is injured and an animal that was just defending itself against what it interpreted to be a threat to be put down. I guess that doesn’t matter to some people as long as they get a “cute” video out of it.

Why am I so angry about this? Because I’ve seen to many stories of children been severely injured or killed by a pet or animal that had “never shown any signs of aggression before. They baby was just playing with it and all of a sudden it just attacked”. No, it’s never that simple. Unless the animal was trained to attack without provocation, it’s responding to a threat (perceived or real).

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Aunt4god January 11, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Actually, there are rare instances it can happen. We had a collie mysteriously snap one day and go after the son of our guests one day. No warnings, nothing….come to find out, he had a brain tumor that caused him to do a complete 180 of a normal collie’s temperament. So, yes, it can happen, but it’s not the norm.

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Mal January 12, 2016 at 8:30 am

It doesn’t even have to be something as seldom as a brain tumor. Friends of mine had a cat that all of a sudden fiercely attacked its owners – turns out the vet botched the operation while neutering it so it had been in pain and eventually snapped. Animals have neither speech nor ratio – you can never predict 100% how they will act in any given circumstance.

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LaconicLola January 12, 2016 at 11:32 am

Similar story. My cat, who I got when he was all skin and bones found by my dog, was a very loving cat. He had broken his leg somehow and when I picked him up to put him in the carrier he just purred and rubbed his head against me. I know he was in pain but he still was trusting me to fix it. After the surgery, the vet gave us pain mess for the first couple days and said after that he should be fine. I was sitting on the floor petting his head and scratching all those little places under his chin and ears when he lost it. He started growling and hissing. I tried to get out of his way but my leg was caught in the crossfire. He latched on with fangs and front claws. When he dropped off he went scurrying behind the dresser. Turns out the vet had placed the pin so every so often it would rub his sciatic (sp?) nerve. He thought he was being attacked. He went back to being a big ball of lazy loving fluff after it got fixed but man I should have sent the bill for my antibiotics to the vet.

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Vicky January 11, 2016 at 10:10 am

I totally cringed at this. My DD has been riding since 7 (she is now almost 16). We have leased a few horses and have owned 3. As she is older and very tall, the horses we are around are often very large.

We have a tremendous amount of respect for these animals, regardless of the size. I have been stepped on and thrown (never kicked). We have learned how to read behavior. These animals can react and do damage regardless of the size. This is such a cute horse and it is not a toy as it seems to be treated here as such. Shame on these parents for putting this child and this animal in a horrific position.

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Vic January 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

I’m also someone who hasn’t spent much time around horses, and even I could see how dangerous this situation was. At one point, I would have bet money that the pony was about to kick this child. I wish people were required to take a parenting class before they’re allowed to raise a child. Although, in this case, it looks like common sense is lacking.

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Wild Irish Rose January 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

Wow. The ignorance displayed here is just palpable. That child is very lucky, but not because she got a pony.

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AnaMaria January 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

Just last week, a federal judge ruled that a monkey could not own rights to a series of “selfies” he took when he got his paws on a camera (granted, if you google the story, the monkey-selfies are pretty dang cute!). It enrages me to see stories like this- a child could have been hurt and an innocent animal killed- but animal “rights” activists are concerned about a monkey getting copyrights because he was curious and pushed a camera button.

As previous posters have said, people do dumb stuff like this all the time- let toddlers grab at dogs or cats, fail to train dogs as puppies not to bite, feed dangerous wild animals to get a picture- and then the animal hurts someone and has to be destroyed. Animals do not exist for our entertainment, people! Show them some respect!

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stacey January 11, 2016 at 5:04 pm

“Animals do not exist as entertainment”- I concur! Off-topic, but if you have animals in your care, custody and control, then they should be well cared for. Orca whales in tanks that don’t allow for a full range of natural behaviors? No. Zoos? It depends on the animal and the habitat- but in an ideal world, more space, more privacy/ down time/ more “enrichment”. Nature preserves that protect habitats and populations of animals? Yes. **Disclaimer- I still consume meat and don’t consider animals as equal to humans, but do believe they merit more consideration when domesticated.

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Dear! January 11, 2016 at 10:53 am

Hi Everyone,

I will start this by saying I know nothing about animals. I am a vegetarian, and I respect them, but I don’t understand their behaviors or why they act the way they do. I assume anything with teeth can bite me, babies included lol, so I give them their space and respect boundaries. The only exception to this rule is when I’m in the ocean, where you just accept that you don’t have much control since you are in the fishies’ territory.

That being said, these parents are very much ignorant to the dangers that their child could have been in. Given the same situation, I am not sure many parents would know that a pony would pose a threat. Some of the posters mentioned “child abuse” and called the parents every variation of ignorant/idiot/stupid or asinine, and questioned their mental capacity to care for a child, but I think that is uncalled for, and helps no one.

Education and awareness is key. Not using a car seat or sitting in the front seat of a car with your child on your lap drives me crazy, and are actions that every parent is undoubtedly aware are dangerous due to education and awareness, so that is a willful action. There is no excuse for that. However, many parents often don’t know the risk that certain actions pose. That doesn’t mean that they don’t love their kids, or that they don’t take every known precaution to protect them – it just means that they are uninformed.

Being a bully and using derogatory language in this case is uncalled for. I agree, if you see an obviously ignorant parent, inform them of the dangers of their actions. At the end of the video, when the pony lashed out, I think the parents realized their mistake and bid their farewells to the pony. THANKFULLY that adorable baby was safe and no damage was done.

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Dear! January 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

Sorry. Just realized the video froze, and they did let the baby go back to play with the pony after it lashed out. O___O Yeah, there is no defense for someone who realizes a mistake and continues the same action.

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YersiniaP January 11, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Sorry, but I’ll have to respectfully disagree with what you said towards the end there.
Nobody here is bullying anybody. Nobody even used strong language. Bullying would be to find out these people’s website and go there and leave threatening or mean messages. Or even harass them in real life.

Please don’t trivialize bullying by claiming that talking about people who are doing something horribly stupid, is being a bully.

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GeenaG January 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

You do realize you are talking about a video showing a pony who is capable of a well aimed kick that could literally split that child’s skull open? There is no bullying going on in this thread, you can’t bully someone who will never see the remarks! Please leave correcting other posters up to the mods.

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YersiniaP January 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm

I never said we here were bullying anybody! I said we were NOT bullying anybody.
If you read the comment by Dear! that I replied to you will find that they said there was no need to bully anybody. Were you maybe trying to reply to them?
And I also did not correct anybody. I told Dear! that there was no bullying going on here.

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LadyV January 13, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Yersinia, I think Geena’s remark was in response to Dear,not to you.

Rod January 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Negligence is child abuse. Negligence can be wilful, but also derived from ignorance.

Lack of knowledge in facilitating a “plaything” to your kid is negligent.

So if you don’t know your kid is not safe on the front seat – it’s on you. If you don’t know your kid shouldn’t play with matches, is on you. If you don’t know your kid can drown in less than 4 in of water, it’s still on you. If you don’t know your toddler can choke on a hot dog, it’s on you. If you’re not familiar with animal behaviour and your kid gets hurt by the animal… it’s still on you. So before you procure anything to a kid, you prepare yourself and your toddler.

It’s not just kids – you might ignore that your “all season” tires don’t behave as well in the snow as winter tires. Guess what? Still on you, for not preparing properly and/or failing to operate your vehicle within its limitations.

I’m a parent, and yeah, $#!+ happens. And if it does and I ignored the risks, guess what? It would be on me (and my wife).

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YersiniaP January 11, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Where you meaning to reply to me? Because I have no idea what you are talking about, I’m sorry!

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Dear! January 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Hi YersiniaP,

That is the beauty of discussions. Through civil disagreements and conversation we can learn and grow.

I think it is bullying. It is not just this site that has had this discussion. Once I read the article, I did a bit of research to educate myself, since I know little about horses, and what I found is that this couple has been the target of some vile hate, trolling and venom. I am not saying they are correct to let their child play with the pony, especially after getting a glimpse of the potential threat when the animal indicated that it was not amused – my point is that they were ignorant to their actions and to attack them serves no one. Many people have searched them out online and berated them and sent threats…..and that is bullying. There is no trivializing that.

I am all for education and awareness, but not berating others who are not informed.

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admin January 11, 2016 at 6:10 pm

You would not like my behavior had I been there to witness this. There are five instances of that pony turning her butt towards the toddler and it can be over in a second. There are youtube videos of older people getting kicked in the head and it happens so rapidly the person never saw it coming. I really do not care if I offend some adult’s fragile ego when the situation is extremely life threatening to a child. Hmm…choices, choices….dead or severely injured child or preserve the parents’ self esteem? Only after the pony and child are separated can there be a civil, informative discussion as to the dangers.

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NostalgicGal January 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

An ex-neighbor a few down, they owned a few pretty expensive show horses. She met him because she was the nurse receptionist when he came staggering in because a horse got him in the shin with a rear hoof. When I met her, he was just at retirement age, she’d been begging him to quit messing with horses, and one reared in a metal confining stall and split his skull. She now had a man that needed at home nursing care and barely knew who she was for the last two years; instead of retirement medical bills had eaten everything and when I met her she was in the process of moving to where two of her sons lived to get some help, plysically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. She went through bankruptcy, let them have the house in town, the part ownership in the three horses they still had, loaded a small trailer with what they had left (mostly his medical stuff like his bed) and headed out.

Putting a todder in the same danger? stupid parents to begin with.

remi January 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

On top of the Admin’s very valid points regarding equine etiquette, basic child safety, and terrible parenting, I have to scoff at the text accompanying the video, specifically the line “Such a great memory for this young girl, surely one she will never forget!” She is one year old. Does anyone remember anything from that age? For most people the earliest we can remember is age two and onwards. This might be a great memory for her parents, provided that they don’t get their child killed pulling this stunt, but the child won’t recall this day at all when she grows up.

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Amanda H. January 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

This exactly. She’s not going to remember this, only have the video to prove it actually happened. And she’s probably too young to be riding, given that she’s likely only been *walking* for under a year. So what was the point, other than showing off, “Hey, we got our toddler a pony!”

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David January 11, 2016 at 6:18 pm

I have a memory of my mother in a black bathing suit and a white bathing cap with that seaweed stuff all over it diving off of a rock into water. That is the entire memory. It’s very relaxed and peaceful.

My mother remembers turning her back for a moment and then there I was being swept away by the river as her and the man she was dating heroically dove in after me. Her memory is very tense and scary. I guess I was a fast crawler.

If she remembers anything of the day it will be some little flash that may be completely different from what happened.

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Alli January 11, 2016 at 11:10 am

I worked with kids and horses for years. This video made me want to vomit. The only reason I could watch it was because it was described as being cute. Therefore I assumed it did not show the child getting kicked in the head, or bitten. The parents are very, very lucky because that had disaster written all over it.

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Lisa H. January 11, 2016 at 11:17 am

If you don’t know much about horses you just don’t know what they are capable of. When I got my horse I had very little riding experience and zero experience about caring for one and during one unfortunate grooming session she kicked out at me. Completely my fault. Thankfully the woman who owned the stables I boarded her at taught me what I needed to know, but horses are smart. My horse (Kira) had me figured out immediately and knew that I wasn’t in control. While riding she would bolt like lightning if she wanted to run up a hill or wherever she wanted to go. At first if was fun, then it was scary. I spent one whole summer just working with her so we could re-establish a mutual respect for each other, but that didn’t happen over night. That little girl was lucky.

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Twik January 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

Unfortunately, when people don’t know stuff, they usually don’t know they don’t know it (if that makes sense). These parents obviously aren’t familiar with horses. They’re not *choosing* to put their child in danger, they’re just completely ignorant of the signals that people who do know horses see immediately.

I hope they haven’t bought this poor little horse. If they have, the seller shouldn’t have sold it to them without making sure they understood the risks. If they haven’t bought it, the owner should have been there to oversee the situation.

The berries, though – goodness, adults should know that some berries are deadly, and a child won’t know the difference. I was staring at the screen going, “Are those raspberries? I really hope they’re raspberries.” Certainly the parents weren’t paying any attention.

The child is one year old. I can’t see how anyone thinks this is creating memories for her. She *will* forget it, because she’s too young.

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JAN January 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm

I don’t think you have to “know” horses to be cognizant of the danger of any large animal and a toddler. Toddlers aren’t the calmest of people (I have a two and a three year old currently) and I don’t let them out of arm’s reach with animals of any size because of the potential of damage to them or the animal.

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Amanda H. January 11, 2016 at 3:45 pm

I’m pretty sure they’re raspberries. The plants look right, and the berry shape looks right.

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Coralreef January 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

Some people do not differentiate between cute animals and plush toys. Even fluffy, cute and cuddly rabbits can be hellish critters when they feel cornered. I fear what happened to the baby and the horse when the camera turned off. I can only hope they both are OK.

I’ve had to stop an adult from petting my dog when the dog started sending signals she had enough of Ms. Touchy McFeely. The woman just didn’t understand that raised lips and low volume growl meant “Get away from me!”.

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JD January 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

I just couldn’t watch it all. I couldn’t do it. This just horrifies me. That child was in danger, and I wonder what’s happened since then with the horse and child. Even the best of animals can be dangerous. I knew of a man who was kicked one time by a usually calm horse he was unloading from a horse trailer, a horse he knew well. The horse kicked him right at the heart, and the man died instantly. Another man was simply leading a horse when it suddenly shied at something and clipped him in the head as it reared. He had quite a concussion, but lived, thank heaven. Even a very small pony is quite strong, much too strong for a tiny child. And I know a little boy whose face will never look the same, after one of his granddad’s dogs bit him for no obvious reason. Things happen. Parents are to look out for their children, and they should NEVER purchase an animal they have no idea how to handle.

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TKD January 11, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Definitely. I have had the chance to handle a couple of miniature horses, i.e., something about the height of a large dog. The ones I’ve dealt with are for the most part sweet and docile little creatures, but they *are* strong and pretty heavy for their height. One got startled while I had him on a lead rope. I’m a fairly strong grown woman, and I still had to dig in and put some muscle into keeping him under control. He could easily have run right over a little kid when spooked, even though he’s usually gentle.

I also recently watched a full-size horse panic and break through a fence when spooked–and the trigger was something that multiple adults with at least moderate experience working with horses did not foresee being a problem. In fact, it was one of the aforementioned miniature horses. The mini himself was much smaller, completely calm (until the big one panicked), under the direct control of a human, and not particularly close to the bigger horse–sounds completely non-threatening, right? But the full-size horse had apparently never seen a tiny one before and decided the unfamiliar fuzzy thing was a terrifying monster. To make it even less logical to humans, the same horse doesn’t seem threatened by the slightly smaller resident dog running loose–it’s more scared of a restrained tiny version of its own species than an unrestrained predator species of similar size. No one got hurt, human or equine, but thank goodness there were no children or even novice-horse-handler adults in the middle of that incident or someone might have. These are prey animals–initiating fight-or-flight in response to “threats,” including unfamiliar things that humans don’t see as threatening, is part of how they survived as a species.

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Cat January 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm

I was having an earth mover at my stable to take down some trees. I left my mini horses free to run as I didn’t want them to get hurt trying to escape their stalls if they were terrified by the huge, loud machine.
The earth mover’s operator came to get me. My horses were fascinated by the big machine and by the loud noise. They were following behind him. Being so small, he could not see them and they were so close that he was afraid he’d back over them. I had to lock them up.
You know what did make them run? My Royal Palm tom turkey. He would chase them around and around the stable. A friend was over working on its roof when the turkey took after the horses and the race was on. I was afraid he’d fall off the roof, he was laughing so hard.

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LovleAnjel January 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

My friend worked at the stables in college. One of the horses was terrified of its own gas. A fart would make it bolt. Talk about unpredictable!

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Annie January 11, 2016 at 11:57 am

This comes out of the perception that animals are playthings for humans. They are not. Children must be closely supervised around ALL animals, because the risk to both animal and child is enormous.

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utknat7 January 11, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I’ve been a horse owner for some time. Anytime the DH and I have been hurt, including but not limited to: Thrown, kicked, bit, it has ALWAYS been our own fault. Even the most experienced horse person can get hurt due to letting their guard down for one min. Even a horse that you’ve known and loved forever can have a bad day. I don’t know about mini horses, but ponies are notorious jerks anyway.

I don’t know these folk’s story, and don’t like to judge…. but this video makes me crazy. The part where the horse struck out at the child with its hoof made by stomach drop.

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Cat January 11, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Mini horses differ widely. I took mine in to be gelded as they can bleed heavily and the vet didn’t want to do it at the stable. He took me to see my horse when he had recovered and pointed to another mini in an adjoining stall.
“Look at the difference between the two horses. It takes four of us just to catch the one in the other stall, even in a 12 x 12 space. Yours would sit in my lap if I let him.”

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EchoGirl January 11, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Not to mention, acting carelessly around a horse can also cause danger to others in the area. The one riding accident I’ve had that was adamantly not my fault was caused by another rider who was watching my lesson jumping up and screaming because she saw a wasp (and this was someone who had been around horses most of her life and really should’ve known better) spooking my lesson horse who threw me off. I was lucky, I walked away with a couple of bruises and limping for a few days, but if it had happened a few seconds later, all three of us (me, her, and the horse) could have been seriously injured.

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utknat7 January 12, 2016 at 8:52 am

EchoGirl I feel your pain, I had someone that started hammering on metal gate panels while i was coming back into the barn. Spooked my horse and she took off like a shot leaving me hanging from one stirrup. Would have looked like one of those old fashioned western comedies if it hadn’t been so painful. Not the horses fault, plain old human error.

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EveLGenius January 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

There’s a very interesting book called “Death in Yellowstone,” which of course talks extensively about bears and other wildlife. One ranger who was interviewed by the author said that animals usually give a gentle reminder that you’re bothering them, instead of truly attacking. The problem is that a bear’s gentle reminder, or a bison’s gentle reminder, or in this case a pony’s gentle reminder, is enough to kill or maim a human being.

I really hope that pony has been sold to a good home by now.

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babba January 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm

When I visited Yellowstone a ranger told me how he had seen some parents trying to put their kid on a bison’s back so they could take a picture of it . No end to stupidity.

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JO January 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

I will admit to being woefully unaware of horse “etiquette.” I assume the folks saying how ‘cute’ this video is are, like myself, ignorant of how a horse displays dominance. That said, shouldn’t the PARENTS be aware that this is what the pony is doing? If not, then they don’t know enough ponies to own one. Not to mention that, come on, how can anyone (horse-savey or no) not see that this is dangerous?!

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Amanda H. January 11, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I suspect it’s a mentality of “It’s just a cute, fuzzy pet animal, right? They’re harmless!” without thought for repercussions or long-term care or anything like that. The same sort of mentality that leads people to get their kids pets for Christmas or get a pet woefully out of a small child’s ability to care for or about.

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YersiniaP January 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm

I don’t own a horse, never have, I am not a particular fan of horses and the last time I rode a horse, or even been near one was at least 20 years ago.
What I mean to say is I am definitely NOT an expert on equine behaviour.
And even I can see that this mini is acting very aggressively and dominantly. I mean…. isn’t that absolutely obvious if you just use your common sense?

What strikes me worst about this video is the reaction of the parents though, because the DO seem to realize, and interpret correctly, whenever they horse turns it’s rear. So they can’t be completely clueless.
Yet they are willing to endanger their child for a cutesy video?
I really have to wonder what is going through these people’s minds!

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Cat January 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm

I have a lot of experience with horses and a horse turns its rear because it is setting up to kick you if you don’t move out of its territory.
Those of us who grew up watching, “My Friend, Flicka”, got the impression that horses will rear up and kick out with their front legs at a human. Nope, it’s the back end you need to watch out for if you don’t want to be kicked. The front end bites.

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YersiniaP January 11, 2016 at 8:17 pm

You misunderstood me completely I’m afraid! 🙂
I was not looking for someone to explain to me what the horse was doing; Jeanne did under the video in minute detail.
My point was that I am not an expert by far, since my riding lessons are probably around 25 years in the past and I never really got into this whole horse business, and even I can see that the horse is aggressively herding the child and turning its rear end to get into a position to kick.

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Cat January 12, 2016 at 11:50 am

I didn’t mean that. It just reminded me of my first experience of horses. the mistakes I made with them, and I thought I’d share if some folks had never owned a horse. You just jogged my memory. It’s been a long time.
I was past fifty when I was able to afford my first horse. I knew nothing about them at all. I had just always wanted a horse and I finally had the money to buy one. I started with minis because I thought I’d start out with something I could physically handle.
I grew up on “Black Beauty” and “My Friend, Flicka”. I had no idea that you have to watch out for both ends. My first year of horse ownership was a learning experience. Fortunately, the lady who owned the stable was married to a large animal vet and her daughter did show jumping. She was a tremendous help to me in understanding what to do and how to do it.

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YersiniaP January 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Fair enough, sorry for taking your comment the wrong way then! 🙂

Weaver January 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm

I don’t know much about horses, but even I can see this is a bad idea. There’s nothing wrong with introducing children to animals at an early age, but it needs to be done gradually, under the supervision of adults who know what they’re doing with specific animals and specific breeds and species.

The relationship we humans have with domesticated animals is an important one, and the responsibility is on us to maintain that relationship with the utmost care and respect for all parties. Animals are not toys, or things to provide us with momentary joy. They are living beings who need and deserve our care and respect.

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Melissa January 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm

I don’t know anything about horses, but this stuff happens all the time with dogs. People don’t teach their children to respect the dog’s boundaries and don’t know how to read the dog’s body language. Then when the child gets bit, the dog pays the price, sometimes with its life.

Someone recently posted a picture on Facebook of their child sitting on their dog. The dog was laying down and the child was a bit larger than the dog (older than the child in this video). I commented that the picture wasn’t cute and was called all kinds of names.

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Cat January 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I have miniature horses and miniature donkeys. I would not leave a small child alone with some of them, but one has a lot of experience with small children and they can ride him bareback with me holding onto them and leading Merlin, who is one of my mini horses.
He loves children and will stand stock still if one is next to him. One toddler who had braces on both legs was able to hold onto him and to pet him.
A lady brought her toddler and her sister out to see Merlin. I had him in a halter on a lead rope and had his head under control. The baby walked up to him, spread her arms out as far as she could, and gathered in all the horse she could reach. She laid her head against his side and let out a contented sigh. Mom said, “I have to get my camera” and dashed off to her car, leaving me with Merlin, the toddler and the toddler’s aunt.
I had carrots in my pocket and asked the baby if she wanted to feed the horse. She wanted to so I knelt down next to her to make sure she held the carrot where she could not get nipped by accident. Merlin is very careful and many children have fed him.
What I did not expect was her to give Merlin a bite of carrot and then to take a bite of carrot herself. Mom came back to see the baby sharing the horses’ carrot with Merlin waiting patiently for his turn at the carrot.
I didn’t feel she should eat after the horse, but I felt it was the aunt’s place, not mine, to say something to her. Mom gave us a very strange look.

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Vicky January 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm

One additional point/fear with regard to people and their interaction with horses: while I love the latest Amazon commercial with the mini horse and large horses because I am a sucker for horses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU_c8aabw2Y), I am concerned that people will be ignorant enough to think that mini horses can be treated like house pets. And as a result, we will see more of the type of video showed in the post or a gluttony of abandoned mini horses.

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Cat January 12, 2016 at 11:56 am

Minis are cute, but I have to have door knobs rather than levers because Merlin, my mini, can open a door with a lever. He will come into the house, eat all the cat chow, and I once caught him heading outside with a 25 lb bag of peanuts he was going to have for a snack. Colic is not a good thing for the horse or for the owner who as to pay the vet’s bill.
I’ll have to watch the video. I know that people get mini horses for their children and don’t realize that a mini can live to be forty. The child is long gone, but the horse will still be there.

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Elynns January 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Cat, you have to see that video is so cute! I thought of it after reading TKDs post. It is a cute version of what they went through, sort of. Big horses afraid of the little horse!

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Jade January 14, 2016 at 7:37 pm

I used to do some work on a property with Shetland ponies and they were the most amazing cage breakers I ever saw. You would turn your back for just a moment and suddenly they’d all be on the wrong side of the fence… it was astounding how smart and quick they were.

We caught one who had let herself into the kitchen and was placidly eating the apples from the dish on the table – that was actually a problem since she’d wedged herself in with her back end against the only door and none of us were keen to go in from the back and get kicked. In the end I think someone went in through the window and backed her out the door.

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Lenny January 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Humans blaming animals for acting like animals always makes me incredibly sad.
When I was about 4 or 5, my parents and I visited some friends who had a lovely, friendly dog, who had never hurt anyone.
While the adults were watching, I reached out and hugged the dog around the neck, which I’d done many times before. What none of us knew was that the dog had injured himself earlier that day and had an open wound on his neck, which I squeezed.
The dogs response was to lash out. He bit my face, narrowly missing my eye. My parents immediately swept me off to the hospital, where I received stitches and we were told a few mm difference and I would have been blinded in one eye.
The family who owned the dog were incredibly apologetic, and asked if we wanted the dog destroyed. My parents were horrified- the dog hadn’t done anything wrong, and even if I had been blinded, or worse, the dog had acted exactly how an injured animal would act. Of course, they said no.
Sadly, a year or so later, the dog family had another family visit. They were wary of the child being near the dog, just in case, and asked the parents to make sure their kid didn’t go near the dog. The parents ignored the instructions, and the mother took her son out to the dog, where she watched as he tugged, kicked and hit the poor creature. The dog lashed out to defend himself, biting the boys leg.
Despite it being their own fault, the boys mother made sure the dog was destroyed, using the argument with authorities that he’d done something similar before, despite my parents insisting that it had just been a terrible accident in our case.

People need to treat animals with respect, and listen to the owners for any warnings about behaviour. And owners should be required to fully understand the dangers of whatever animal they own. In the video in question, there’s no excuse for an adult to be unaware of the danger the child is in here. Either the parents, or another adult, should be responsible enough to know.

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NostalgicGal January 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I hate the ‘cartooning’ and the ‘disneyification’ of animals to show them friendly, amicable and with humanlike traits. They don’t. They’re animals. When we live with them in in our world we have to teach them how to behave and also what they will do and why. Both sides have to modify their behavior to be able to live together.

Ex: a wolf is not a normal domestic animal. I have known a number of them kept as house members in the ‘house pack’. This is people that have taken the time to learn to communicate with, control, and read their animal so they can be with people. In this case I have no problem with someone having one or a few as long as they are living as a hybred/human pack. A few friends would bring over one or two of their wolves at times and I would tell their human to tell me what to do. I do not know their animal or how to interact, and followed what I was told. I never had any issues because they knew their animal and told me how to ‘behave’. In that sort of case by same token they would not walk down the street with their wolf on a leash but. If you truly learn to live with your animal or animals then it is good.

For awhile we had two housecats and a Keeshond. We had the bratty phase of about six months where we had to teach her pack dominance and hierarchy and where she ranked (below the cats, she was bigger than they were) and how the humans ranked. (I was alpha and I actually snapped my teeth at her as my right as alpha, mostly while we were having a brush out session.) and such. I would hand out treats and she had to wait for hers in turn. I would give my DH one in turn, because of where he ranked in the pack. The cats usually refused theirs, THEN she could have hers (DH often snuck his back in the bag but it was required.)

And that’s the summary, if you keep a pet you have to keep it properly. Cats are actually social but usually get along solo fine; dogs are pack animals, and humans can be part of the pack. The pound is often full of dogs about a year old because nobody ever taught them their place, and if nobody else is going to be alpha THEY will. And start snapping and biting to put the rest of the pack in place.

This video makes me want to have social services remove the child and sterilize the parents. And the last three words are pretty (cussing) words when used in context of a human and their right and/or choice to reproduce.

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magicdomino January 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm

First off, for those worried about the berries at the beginning of the video, those are red raspberries. I would hope that the person holding the camera (the father?) would have stopped the little girl from eating ornamental berries.

Like other posters, I know very little about horse etiquette. My first thought was that the mini horse was following the child hoping for some raspberries. After that, though, the way that the horse kept swinging its hindquarters toward the child was certainly a threat. As I understand it, a horse’s primary weapon is kicking with its powerful hind legs (not that the teeth and forelegs can’t do some damage).

This reminds me of the people who walk up to bears and bison, or climb into zoo enclosures, apparently thinking all animals are harmless Disney creations.

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YersiniaP January 11, 2016 at 8:26 pm

What’s wrong with the raspberries?
Not trying to be snarky, but this is how raspberries look, at least here in Central Europe. And I have never heard of such a thing as ornamental raspberries.
Source: growing up with my grandpa trying to keep the raspberry bushes from overgrowing the rest of the kitchen garden and my grandma trying each summer to at least save enough berries for some jam before we children ate all of them off the bushes. And raiding those bushes was painful, but it so worth it.

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Kate January 11, 2016 at 11:43 pm

I don’t think people were talking about how the berries look, they weren’t sure if the berries were raspberries or not, due to the distance, and were worried that she was eating berries that would make her sick.

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YersiniaP January 12, 2016 at 6:30 pm

I was specifically replying to Magicdomino, not other people, and they said:
First off, for those worried about the berries at the beginning of the video, those are red raspberries. I would hope that the person holding the camera (the father?) would have stopped the little girl from eating ornamental berries.
To me that sounds like Magicdomino identified these berries as raspberries, but believes they are not edible for whatever reason. Maybe I got it wrong, but this is how I read that comment. 🙂

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YersiniaP January 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm

*LAUGHS*
Okay, apologies, I did get it wrong apparently.
I reread the whole thing, and I am now a lot less tired than I was yesterday. You are right, Magicdomino pointed out that if the berries were ornamental, the father would have stopped the child. I got the comment completely wrong… 😀
Sorry to both Magicdomino and you! It’s been a hellish couple of weeks at work, apparently I am losing reading comprehension! 🙂

Amanda H. January 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

As Kate said, most people mentioning the berries in the comments are either concerned because they can’t tell what kind of berries they are, or are concerned because they think a 1-year-old shouldn’t be allowed to pick berries, even from a safe bush under adult supervision, and should instead have the berries picked for her. Magicdomino is simply reassuring people that the berries are, indeed, raspberries, which are safe to eat, and stating that if they were ornamental berries instead (which wouldn’t be raspberries and wouldn’t be safe), that the adults on hand should at least have the sense to stop her from eating them.

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NostalgicGal January 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm

One of the rocky mountain area parks, a mother had her three year old daughter and some marshmallows and wanted to take a picture of the girl feeding the bear they’d found near the road. My friend’s brother, the ranger, who happened on this picked the girl up and carried her straight to his pickup truck and put her in. Mom screamed all the way about the ruined picture/photo op but got in, the ranger managed to get the campsite number and drove them back. Calm all the way, mom having a fit. Dad got to hear about how this ranger came along and ruined this once in a lifetime shot (leaving out it was feeding a bear). Then the mother finally slowed down and asked how they tamed the bears in the park. Ranger says we don’t, they’re wild. You almost fed your daughter to that bear. That truly would have been the picture of a lifetime. He tipped hat, got in truck and left. I hate the humanization of animals especially in animated stuff (especially Disney)

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Melissa H. January 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

My Great Uncle Glenn, still farmed with draft horses in the early 1940’s. One morning, he went out to the barn to get the horses ready to plow, walked up behind his largest male horse and slapped it on the butt while hollering “Mornin’ Bear!”

Bear proceeded to kick my Great Uncle across the barn. He was laid up for several months with several broken ribs and bruised internal organs. He was lucky he wasn’t killed. All because he forgot a cardinal rule of equine etiquette: Never startle a horse!!

It doesn’t matter if a horse is a Clydesdale or a Shetland pony, all horses have the ability to injure, maim, or kill to varying degrees. You should always be respectful of a horse’s space, particularly around it’s rear end. The parent’s in this video were very negligent. What they called a “special memory” could have just as easily ended up a tragic one.

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Semperviren January 11, 2016 at 7:04 pm

I actually watched the video before I fully read the blog post and the whole time I kept thinking “that pony is going to kick that kid”. I am not very experienced with horses but could see that pony was agitated and getting ready to kick (and one of the forst things you’re told/taught if you spend ANY time around horses is – don’t walk behind them).

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Jared Bascomb January 11, 2016 at 7:43 pm

My different take, in addition to the comments above: Assuming that the introductory email is correct and that this pony was a gift to the one-year-old . . . parents should NOT be giving “gifts” of living creatures to small children! Kids that age can’t appropriately handle puppies, kittens, bunnies, or chicks let alone a pony!

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Amanda H. January 11, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Exactly!

My nine-year-old keeps asking for specific pets. I keep reminding her that pets are a responsibility, she’d have to be willing to help take care of it (and probably isn’t quite ready to), and that there’s a good chance it’d fall on me to have to take care of the pet when she forgot and I’m not willing to do that with a snake, spider, or cockroach. And dogs are a LOT of work that Hubby and I aren’t willing to provide, so no dogs either until DD is old enough to purchase her own and show responsibility. We *are* planning to get a cat in a handful of months, but the cat would be Hubby’s and my pet and therefore our specific responsibility, which I’ve explained to DD.

I never understand the people who think not only that a pet (whether it’s a simple cat, dog, guinea pig, etc. or something bigger like a mini horse) is easy to take care of, but an appropriate gift for very small children. Very small children don’t know how to act around animals, let alone take care of them. And all I can figure is the people who say, “Oh, dogs are easy, we had one when I was a little kid!” never had to actually take care of a dog themselves. We had a dog when I was a kid too. I remember it being easy, right up until the point I was old enough to help care for her and she was added to my chore list, at which point all the work dogs take caught up to me. Surprise!

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Kate January 11, 2016 at 11:56 pm

Yes, this exactly! When I was 5 or 6, my parents got my older sister and I (and the family) a puppy. I was really enthusiastic then, but as I got older I realized that dogs didn’t really mesh with my personality. By which I mean that dogs in general tend to be needy and very affectionate, unlike cats who are more independent. I loved our dog, but I didn’t like her very much, if you know what I mean. I felt absolutely awful about it. I was so guilt ridden.

I know that the dog was for my sister and my parents as well as for me, and that they were trying to do something nice, but I kind of resented them for making the choice for me. I felt really bad about admitting that I didn’t like dogs. I never said so while she was alive, and after she died I just said that I like cats better and that I don’t really care for dogs. I like dogs for a short time, I enjoy petting them for a few minutes, but I really couldn’t live with one.

In addition to what others have said, that would be my concern, that the child would grow up and dislike the type of pet that was chosen for them.

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NostalgicGal January 12, 2016 at 2:52 am

I used to raise three kinds of small hamsters, two large, and gerbils to the edge of commercial breeding and sold some to pet stores and some that came to my house. I had some old gentle put up with anything retired breeders and would bring one or two of them out to introduce kids to the animals. THEN if I felt okay about it I would bring out the ones that needed homes. Some families I refused to place an animal with because of how the first part went. And gently explain why this wasn’t a good pet with kid or kids that age in the house. I never had a kid temper tantrum when I carefully explained that everyone in the house had to be a certain age first. They could ask Mom and Dad to come the next year( or whenever) and pick one. Hamsters could get cantankerous and I always was wearing a perfect puncture. (two upper, two lower, bite wounds) healing somewhere. A couple of set of bite marks to show off usually reinforced they had to treat their critters a certain ways always. 2-4 oz pets are nothing like horses (mucked cages and stalls for both) but they can hurt a small child or the other way around very easily.

As for Amanda’s comments, the critters I had over the years, most pets the child should be a mature 10 and showing they can take of other responsibilities.

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NostalgicGal January 11, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Lordie I have had my share of flying lessons administered by a horse. If I have to work at the rear end of one I take precautions.

I’m in that sorta retired age bracket now, a good friend through a club, (they could be my parents) are retired gentlemen farmers. He has a quarter horse and my first questions, was he a kicker, jumper, biter, or wants to stand on your feet. My next question was when was the last time he had his hooves picked (just recently.) So with treats I went right in making gentle noises and managed to go all the the way around him without a problem, he gave me a rear hoof on command and stuff like that. He said it didn’t like to trailer and I showed him I could trailer it.

It’s been a decade, and he has had no excuse he can come up with, so his wife loves it, she can go on holiday family trips now and he can trust me. At the same time I do keep the third eye peeled on that horse. That video, I still want them to take the kid away from those parents. A horse is a powerful animal and unpredictable because they ARE an animal. Even one that small against ME I could get hurt pretty bad and permanently.

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Ashley January 11, 2016 at 11:53 pm

I know next to nothing about horses and watched the video before reading the post that went with it and right away I could tell “That pony is chasing that child” and not for fun but for dominance. I’m actually surprised the child DIDN’T wind up getting kicked during that clip.

It drives me absolutely bonkers when an animal acts like an animal after being provoked, and somehow people want to blame the animal.

For example, my nieces have been taught to fear my parents cat. Their mother places the blame entirely on the cat. It’s not the cats fault. Imagine you are an average size house cat and suddenly two shrieking children under the age of 5 are running around in your territory, and trying to pet you roughly. You’re gonna go and hide eventually but you’re going to go on the defensive first.

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LadyV January 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Or, you’re going to be like the cat I had many years ago that hid first – and then when my son, after multiple warnings, decided to go after her, took a swipe at him. Scared him more than hurt him, but he learned fast NOT to go after Sherry when she hid from him.

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Rebecca January 12, 2016 at 12:21 am

I do not know horses (not that well anyway – I was around them somewhat at riding camp as a child), and I can still see how dangerous that is. I do not know horses, but I know general animal behaviour and I also thought everyone knew it was dangerous to be right behind a horse. Those parents are out to lunch.

The child is cute. The pony is REALLY cute. The video is not.

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FunkyMunky January 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

This reminds me of a video I saw of a littel girl hugging a Rottweiler. The poor dog was trying to communicate “LET GO” in the clearest possible way – baring its teeth and growling. The parents thought this was ‘cute’ and a ‘happy’ growl (https://www.facebook.com/briana.aguon/videos/10205458692848705/?pnref=story). The child was at imminent risk of needing plastic surgery and the dog would have been put down, because apparently we’ve managed to breed a batch of humans who don’t understand danger signs should be run away from, not filmed.

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Horse's Rear January 12, 2016 at 1:57 am

How surprising that they disabled comments on the video. I wonder if they’ll stubbornly ignore the advice and information they received before they decided to delete the unpleasant truth and that poor kid will end up injured. I just hope that if/when it happens they’ll sell the pony to someone with some sense instead of having it euthanized as dangerous.

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Marozia January 12, 2016 at 2:13 am

Some parents are clueless. I think there should be a licence to parent.

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Jade January 12, 2016 at 2:31 am

I couldn’t watch that all the way through because as anyone who has ever spent any time around horses knows Rule Number ONE is that you NEVER stand behind a horse. No matter how little or cute it may be.

I have been kicked, when I was an adult and it hurt. A lot. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a child but yeah, this is simply failing to recognise that a pony is not some inanimate object you buy to match the curtains.

In our youth (early twenties) I had a number of friends buy horses, in some cases expensive thoroughbreds, without any clear idea of exactly how much work is involved in owning a horse. They would stable them at properties which were an hour drive from their house each way. And at first they would get up at 6am on Saturday morning and drive down to the stables, saddle their horse exercise them for a couple of hours, groom them etc etc… but then it started to get hard and they didn’t feel like it and they were hungover from the night before and eventually these animals were left in their paddocks all week, not exercised or groomed enough, if at all, and the results were fairly predictable.

This kid would have been just as happy (and much safer) with a stuffed pony, and that’s what her parents should have bought for her…

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LonelyHound January 12, 2016 at 10:47 am

My husband has a coworker how keeps and breed Percherons, probably the biggest horse I have ever seen. He has invited us to come look at his horses whenever we feel like it. Our children have been watching a family friendly show centered around a horse ranch, and the kids have been interested in seeing cows and horses up close. I told him to set it up so we could see the horses in the stable. He said we should wait until the horses can be cleaned and outside, with a maybe they could get a pony ride. I told my husband outside for the horses would be better. If we make them upset they have some place to go; but these are not ponies, they are draft horses, so under no circumstances will anyone get on one until we are properly acquainted, however long that takes. I also suggested the local stock show so the boys can see cows and horses that have been specifically groomed to be ogled (but definitely not touched!).
Which actually leads me to another point that I do not get. Now, the stock show I mentioned is a place where horses, sheep and cattle are shown, some are sold, and rodeo events are held. It is also the general public’s ability to meet and talk with ranchers and owners. With the exception of a petting zoo, that has goats and sheep, you are constantly advised by signs NOT TO TOUCH any creature unless the owner invites you (and, yes, periodically they do). However, people still stick their hands into the stalls, especially that of horses. I know they are beautiful animals, but when they are hiding in the backs of their stalls it is not because they are shy, it is because they are getting stressed and have no where to go. My husband and I are constantly baffled by why people ignore signs written by humans meant to keep them safe, and signs broadcasted by animals meant to keep them away.

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TKD January 14, 2016 at 11:40 am

“[T]hese are not ponies, they are draft horses, so under no circumstances will anyone get on one until we are properly acquainted, however long that takes.”

You’re right to be cautious and should not be pressured to get on a horse you’re uncomfortable with. However, I think your perception of the risks may be a bit off. Draft horses are huge, but they are generally docile, calm, and gentle. Ponies, on the other hand, are small but often have more of an “attitude.” (Which makes a lot of sense if you think about breeding working horses. If you’re creating an enormous, very strong horse breed, a calm and docile temperament would be a high priority to keep everyone safe.) When learning to ride, I rode some ponies, some light (non-draft) horse breeds, and some Percheron/Thoroughbred crosses–the Percheron crosses were big and strong but were wonderful to ride and often easier to handle than the ponies.

I’m certainly not saying you should hop right onto an unknown draft horse, but don’t assume a pony would be safer just because of its size. Follow your instincts and the owner’s advice.

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FB January 14, 2016 at 2:10 pm

People just think somehow they are magic and not at risk. I volunteer at a place with horses – and most people listen and follow our instructions. We have one horse that’s fine 80% of the time then he gets tired of being fussed over and starts to nip at people, so then we put up a rope to keep people away from his stable and tell people why. for some reason a small minority decide to play ‘chicken’ with the bitey horse. Either they think it’s funny, or they think they are special and won’t try to bite them. He does. (actually he won’t really hurt anyone, just nips in their direction without making contact, but we rope him off for his benefit as he needs a break). I can’t understand why people being told ‘you can pet any horse but that one’ HAVE to go and try to pet the one they shouldn’t.

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kgg January 12, 2016 at 7:14 pm

We got a trainer for our adult rescue dog as the dog was having trouble adjusting to new people who came into our house (loved us, just not new people). The dog would growl and bark, and generally appear possessed whenever someone new would come in. The trainer talked endlessly (she was paid by the hour) about pack mentality and being the alpha whatever. We got rid of the trainer when she insisted that we not let the dog growl at anyone (she only really growled at the trainer and the mailman). There’s a pretty popular saying that goes: “The dog that growls doesn’t bite.” Our dog was warning people that she wasn’t comfortable. So instead of disabling this warning system she had in place, we worked to make her comfortable.

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ArtK April 29, 2016 at 10:05 am

Catching up on back posts (life got in the way) and ran into this one. I’m cringing at the video.

For many years I taught basic horse care and safety at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Usually a half-hour class on how to enter a stall, catch and tie a horse, groom and tack. Somewhere in the first 5 minutes of the class I would say “This end kicks. That end bites. If either happens to you, it’s your fault.” Of course then I’d launch into how to avoid those things.

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admin April 30, 2016 at 10:59 am

Art, I didn’t know you were a horse person! I have two driving ponies.

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