Having just spent a long weekend in the Domincan Republic about a month ago, I have seen firsthand the skinny, poorly shod equine inhabitants that dot the DR's otherwise idyllic beach paradise landscape. Compared to the pampered existence that my own equine leads, turned out in retirement on verdant Kentucky pastures, and to that which most American horse owners provide for their horses, seeing Domincan horses tied in small dirt lots with no forage, or left along roadsides to fend for themselves was quite a shock.
It therefore pleases me a great deal to see TheHorse.com's recent report on the "equitarianism" movement that just finished up its second yearly visit to the country. Bringing with it vets, farriers, and crates of vaccines and dewormers, members of the dispatched equitarianism group provided much needed medical and hoof care to the Domincan's "working equids" for free, and also touted the benefits of breeding horses responsibly. As the article reports, "like humanitarianism, equitarianism is meant to promote sympathy and benevolence towards individuals, but in this case, the individuals are the equine inhabitants of developing countries." While I have never heard the concept labeled as such before, I am glad that those who toil to make lives better for the often overlooked horses in economically stressed countries are getting the publicity they are due.