Thursday, 25 April 2013

This has nothing to do with horses

In a shock move, Horses-4-U  has closed one of its two smithies in Leicester and announced that as leases come to an end they will close further smithies in towns where they have more than one branch. Earlier news indicated further a decline in independently-owned smithies for the tenth year in a row. A spokesperson for Horses-4-U said "Our business is still very healthy, especially as some branches are now selling automobiles. Our in-store Ford dealership will have no impact on our commitment to horses." In a related story, published in the Foalbreeder, it was reported that H4U had closed many smithies at veterinary colleges saying that students were no longer interested in farrying any more.
Nobody is completely sure why the public is no longer interested in horses, and horseriding circles are popular. Many local authorities are selling off their horse stock despite a huge demand for ponies.  The one growth area is rodeos, with something like 140 rodeos now operating each year in Britain. For many people going to a rodeo is the only time they see horses in the flesh, together with their riders.
Meanwhile, courses in horseriding, horse maintenance, blacksmithery and advanced equestrian studies continue to proliferate. Within an hour of where I live there are universities with equestrian courses at the University of Nottingham (two courses), Nottingham Trent University, De Montfort University, Derby University, Sheffield Hallam, Bishop Grosseteste (Lincoln) as well as a voluntary college of horse riding in Leicester and an overall agency for the area called Riding East Midlands which helps aspiring jockeys and those already involved in horseracing.
Manufacturers of saddles and horse blankets are reporting declining sales, leading to mergers and a reduction in employment for riders and a slowdown in sales of horseshoes. The industry is increasingly dependent on unpaid labour from stablelads and lasses.

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