The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom. — Sharon Ralls Lemon
This quote is beautiful and really expresses the reason why horses are so important in our lives despite the fact we no longer need them for day-to-day survival.
Last week when I was at the library doing family history research, my path lead me through some 1950s newspapers in search of an obituary. Now, I don’t have to read the interesting items between obituary listings — but I never seem to be able to resist. It’s part of the reason I love researching the family history so much, all these wonderful side trips into our country and culture. Anyway, I ran across this little news item in a 1956 KC Star: CENSUS BUREAU FINDS ERA OF HORSE AND MULE FAST FADING. I won’t bore you with all the details, just the numbers. 1910 was the highpoint for the horse when the equine population of the US was a little over 19.8 million animals. By 1950 the number had dropped to a little over 7 million. By 1954, the number had been reduced to only 4 million.
According to the 2002 Ag Census numbers there were 6.9 million horses in the US. According to another source, there were a whopping 9.5 million horses in the US in the mid-2000s — the most in the world.
So, why would a culture that doesn’t really need them, create a growth curve in the horse population? For the very reasons listed in the quote. We may not now need horses, but we do want them in our lives. And for the most part that’s a good thing for all!
Go here to see the USDA report: http://www.igha.org/equids02.html
Go here to see the DVM360 post on US Horse Population: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Veterinary+Equine/US-has-95-million-horses-most-in-world-report-says/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/460976