Horseproblems Australia
Post Office Box Victor Harbor
SA. 5211
(61) 0418814029






John O'Leary



You don't have to read this page of course and please forgive me. Here,  I think out aloud about the short comings of the Horse Industry in Australia. The route cause of the problems that I meet  at the 'Coalface' on a daily basis.

You may not like it but I hope it prompts debate and makes people think. There is not enough of that in our Industry. 


14th September, 2009


Excuse me for sounding passionate when I talk about subjects such as this, but about the only thing that brings my Blood up these days is the 'cruelty to Horses' and it is still about at plague proportions via a lack of education. Once again, Pony Club has to have a bashing for this and the next subject as well.

There is a Horse and I had to go in it's yard. (something I would not be doing normally) Always rugged and always looking depressed when I drive past.

It has been manuring into it's water trough and I was asked to rectify the situation. I walked into the Stable and reeled back for two reasons. 6 inches of 'Barley Grass' seeds stacked upon each other was my first observation and as a result, having undone the rug to investigate condition, saw the back bone sticking up like 'the last of the razor backs" Well of course he would be, wouldn't he? You can only starve on 'pure weeds"

So how can a young Lass with all the gear and plenty of years under her belt, be starving a wonderful Horse and causing me thousands in damage re weed control on the pristine property? How can that be??? Go figure that???? The mind boggles.!!!

Well once again, no education in the Horse Industry about THE THINGS THAT BLOODY COUNT@%^&*(+_|+*(&^%%#*+|_ Number one 'Cab off the Rank' has to be Pony Club and number to is Equestrian Australia who are responsible for the fate of this Horse. They just don't get it Folks. They are big on Cocktail Parties in the South of France but small on Horse Welfare. Their Curriculums are a joke and that is the sum total of the cause why this poor Horse with the depressed Look and the razor back inherits his fate. We may talk about the Racing Industry and the flogging of Horses with Whips for trying harder, we may talk about Rodeo but I can tell you Folks, the rampant Cruelty caused by the disorganization of the Equestrian Australia, the Horse Industry Council and Pony Club pales that into insignificance. Isn't ironic though, how the Bodies who are 'Holier than thou' are inadvertently to blame for more cruelty than the Sports with the worst reputations.

So tell me this Folks???? How on God's Earth can anyone in the Horse Industry, not see that a Bale of Hay is 100% pure Weed???????? What is that? and now some corroberation about my comments re the Royal Halter the other day

Hiya John, Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

I too was at the Royal on Saturday and was appaled by the handling by some of the err handlers, I was most appaled by one lady leading a 07 born baby bay/brown (TB)  she was repeatedly yanking it's mouth whilst smaking it in the head with her whip???  Oh how I wish I'd taken some pictures for you, I felt like jumping the fence and smacking her in the head!!! that poor little baby, these people need to get their heads read!!  Grrr

Not sure if you noticed the darling hackies that had put so much what looked like errr lip gloss above their horses eyes that it was leaking into said horses eyes and making the horses blink like crazy.  Poor buggas, they looked so sad.   I don't know where they get the idea that it looks great???  It makes me so mad!!  They get on then while standing there yank their horses heads onto their chests, kick them in the gut with spurs and force them to hold this position for goodness knows how long... what a sad bunch of people! 

Sorry rant over! Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Thank you ever so much John you are the single best thing that has ever happened to me in relation to horses!!!!


Lauren and JD 


I saw her too and clearly the Horse hadn't been prepared to be at a Show. The Jaw Jagger with the Standardbred was worse though. The Educational systems are big on teaching the things that matter not to Horses, like make up in their eyes, Chemicals that burn their Tails out as happened to one of our clients recently, terrorizing Horses with lights on and off all night, feeding arsenic to thin the coat, over rugging to a cruel extent but they absolutely fail in teaching about the things that are important to feeding, veterinary, trough cleaning, stable management, fodder selection, working, teeth and here is another one for the weekend.......

A Royal Show Competitor was housed at our place from the Country. It was then shifted to an another agistment facility for about 4 days last week, during the 30 degrees heat. It was picked up by another one of our clients yesterday and brought back here for a trial. It had not been given any water and was in severe danger of kidney failure and death........the things that matter most???????


14th July, 2008

Once again thank you. The more involved we are becoming in the horse world (and now pony club with our children) the more astounded we are that no one really teaches you how to care and understand for your horse. It is as if the whole world revolves only about riding. Maybe we are weird but we like to understand as much as possible what is going on inside their head, and the best way to communicate with them, and how you care for them can influence their behaviour. There is not a lot of information out there about that.

You have made a difference to our lives, you have converted a whole family (middle aged though we maybe) and have helped us enjoy and be able to do something we have always wanted ride, and own horses

Kind regards

Stephen and Gina

I was only asked about this two days ago and it is a mind boggling thought, isn't it? It is the in fact the foundation stone for a lack of "Horse Welfare" and the trigger for "Cruelty to Horses" that is rife throughout this Country and caused by the Horse Industry Peak Bodies NOT seeing that anyone is taught the things that matter.
I started this website for one reason only. To try and undo the wrong that I was having to deal with on a daily basis, because I saw the Internet as a fabulous Educational Tool of the future. I was therefore the first to have a blog on the Planet. The word Blog hadn't been thought of when I started.
How difficult would it be Stephen and Gina? With the stroke of a Pen, the President of the Pony Club Association of Australia, the EFA or the Horse Industry Council, could instigate a proper Curriculum for the young, those entering the Horse Industry and so on. Not "Rocket Science' Are they blind?, deaf? How dare they prepare and send thousands of Mouth Rippers out to terrorize the Hell out of Horses, without ever teaching them how to look after the Animal, let alone what Horses need to be Happy under Saddle?
Just last week, I saw a Blackhill Pony Club person drive out of my driveway with a Horse in the Float, the fastest I have personally witnessed in my 15 years of living here. It is a 90 degree turn onto an 80k road. In fact, this is what triggered the conversation here in the first place. So anyone can go buy a '500kg Lethal Weapon", put it in a Tin Can on Wheels, without any education whatsoever. Oh, and I forgot, not be taught how to feed the poor Bugga. How bout that? What a Mickey Mouse Industry this still is?


14th July, 2003

What a wonderful institution it is, but I see some terrible deficiencies in the management of it. In South Australia at least, which is where I come from and from where I have watched things very closely over the years both as a father of a Pony Clubber, as a husband of a Coach of kids and as a sponsor. I deal with the horses of Pony Club kids every day. Other States may differ. Here are some areas that those in charge should urgently take on board.

  • An serious lack of attention to safety and risk management
  • A lack of teaching in the most important thing of all, 'Horsemanship'. Horse injuries and accidents are frequent due to a lack of basic knowledge being passed on.
  • Horse Care, another highly important area of required knowledge, is often forgotten. As a result, horses are the ones being neglected, treated cruelly and hurt. Anyone can go and assume ownership of a horse and they need zero knowledge. I rarely meet Pony Clubbers that are educated  in this issue. Veterinary and feeding is another area of concern.
  • The floating of horses is a forgotten subject. Anyone can attempt it but horses are the losers'. The injured horses that I see due to a lack of knowledge of Mums' and Dad's is a real worry. Road Safety and the towing of horse floats should be on the agenda of Pony Club. I am yet to hear of it.

Imho, one of the major reasons why people reach for the needle, which is most predominant in the extension of Pony Club, the Hacking World, is their lack of knowledge of how to handle the tough asks of horse ownership. That of controlling horses when horses do not want to be controlled or the training of horses rather than taking the edge off them with a drug or the all night lunge at the Royal.

If your Club is on top of those subjects, congratulations.

In short, the big issues of horse ownership are not tackled. What a missed opportunity? What a shame?



I must admit that I only observe the state of care for horses within the State of South Australia but here at least, I have to say that it is rather appalling. I have carefully watched for years. There are a number of reasons for this sad phenomenon

  • The severe lack of teaching by the Education Institutions in this State.
  • The fall down of Pony Club to address these issues.
  • The actual reasons why people own horses in the first place.
  • Just plain bad upbringing of people.

What we see on a daily basis is simply disgusting. The surprising thing is that they all act as if they love their horses so much but it is a fake, selfish love. So let me attempt to break this down into percentages.

  • Only 20% of stabled horses would get exercised more than twice per week by their loving owners. Of those, most only lunge to make themselves feel good as they haven't got the energy. It is a conscious thing.
  • At least 70% of people who own horses do so either as a status thing, to partake in the Stable Relationships or because they always dreamed of having a horse.
  • Only about 30% of horse owners mean business in a competitive sense and actually carry it through.
  • Of the Competitive riders' only about 10% would put the amount of work in to achieve results.
  • Of the Competitive riders' less than 1% would put the amount of effort in to achieve say F.E.I. Dressage.
  • Over 50% of stabled horses would never get exercised at all, other than a pick of grass during a gossip.
  • I don't know the percentage of Mum's riding through their kids who wish they were roller blading instead.

In so far as true proper care of a horse goes, the percentages would be very low indeed. I don't mean enough feed or a rug, I mean true, proper care. Worming, Feet, teeth, grooming, exercise, riding, time out in paddock and so on.

What prompted me to write this was a rider I saw today. They are at State level and yet their horse was 50kg under weight, the tail had been trodden out because it was never trimmed and the feet were so bloody long it just wasn't funny. Oh, and mother drives the float too fast. How on earth can Pony Club allow these riders to come and go and no-one says a thing about the horse.

So, the romantic Horse Industry is not so. It is a worry indeed and the horses are the losers'



We live in an age of the 'throw away product' The purchaser has been nicely brainwashed to this by stealth. It has been accepted. However, when it comes to rather expensive items which are purchased by the Equestrian Community, 'throw away' is becoming a little unfair.

In Australia, we are going through a drought. The price of horse feed has gone through the roof, fees and charges of the various Associations and the EFA have risen dramatically, not to mention the Insurance crisis. The last thing horse owners need is to be ripped off by substandard products or a negation of their Consumer Rights under the Law.

I have watched the status of the Equestrian World for a lot of years. It has always been obvious to me that the numbers of participants' in it remains pretty well stagnant and that the size of the cake does not increase. 

The reasons for this is the constant rate of attrition and one of the main causes for this is the expense. Young people cannot afford to carry the increasing financial burden to be able to remain horse owners. They certainly cannot afford to be paying good money for quite expensive Saddlery items, only to have them break down, be faulty or become throw away within weeks.

The large Saddlery Chains have quite a responsibility imho. In some cases and for some products, they don't appear to be accepting this responsibility all of the time. They are allowing obvious faulty and substandard items to be sold and in doing so are doing a grave injustice to their clients, their 'bread and butter' I had a lady tell us this week that she had a new horse rug give away in the stitching around the shoulder area. When she took it back she was told by the attendant at Horseland that she must have a heavy rolling horse.

Even the Elite Riders' who put their names on product should conduct quality control investigation into those products prior to putting their names on them. There are horse rugs being promoted right now, with Elite Riders' names on them but those rugs are faulty in certain areas. Not good. That in turn, must reflect upon the reputation of the rider.

The Consumer Laws aims to protect the consumer in as much as the product must be fit for the use that it was purchased for. In quite a disturbing number of instances right now, this is not happening.

If you have horse rugs that stretch around the neck in a week, take it back. If you have Velcro not doing the job that it was designed for, take it back. Make the Importers' take notice by hitting them in the pocket where it will get attention. You deserve better and your horses deserve the extra funds at your disposal for their care. Not in some sweat shop owner's pocket.



Here in Australia, (probably not in America) it is surprising how many people knock the 'Tall Poppies' meaning people who achieve from their hard work. This is brought upon by what we call, 'The Cultural Cringe' left over from being sent out here as Convicts from England when Australia was first Colonized.

Anyhow, it has always amazed me and I must say, hurt me, how many people make the comment, "I heard he is a bit rough" when asked about the ability of any Horse Breaker. It doesn't matter whether they have ever laid eyes on him, the fact that they heard it is enough. On the other hand however, most think that anyone who wears a set of jodhpurs, must be 'as gentle as the driven snow'.

Surprisingly though, the moment they run into a real problem with a horse, they can't wait to shoot it off to the nearest Breaker and in fact, they try to choose the most Cowboy one they can. I get to know of all of the seriously naughty horses that get secretly sent out Bush for a good 'tune up' and it is all done on the sly.

I can tell you that roughness on horses comes from every corner of the Equestrian Community and some of the most severe that I have seen has been dished out by people who wear joddies. So please judge people as you find them and more importantly, as your horses find them. They are the best judge of all.


2nd October, 2003


There has been much said on here about the plight of the Standard Bred horse.  All horses deserve a second chance at life but I think that this breed deserves special attention due to their magnificent temperament, honesty and obedience no matter what.

Many more could be sold into the Equestrian World if only the Harness Racing Control Authorities would show some leadership and get with the times by removing the rule that installs that ugly and defacing identification mark they call a brand.

In this day of technology that knows no bounds, I just wish that they would find a better way like a microchip. Then, a large part of the current buyer resistance would be removed, thus giving these horses an improved chance at a life they so richly deserve.



Recently, a horse that I started, reared in the Show ring, the first time it had put a foot wrong in 12 months since breaking in. I have been told that the horse had a calming paste administered to it as that's what some riders do as a matter of habit and course. I defy any human, be they Chemist, Scientist, Priest or Horse Person to prove to me that such Chemicals cannot adversely affect the behavior or even the health of a horse. I find it dis-appointing indeed that horse riders' cannot find it within their minds to have confidence in their horses and confidence in themselves. The world is littered with the results of poisons that were paraded as healthy. Just look at the arthritis drugs in the News this week. As a Horseman who has never administered anything to a horse to assist training and never ridden in anything but a snaffle, I find this practice sad and an insult to the horses that people are supposed to love so much.


16th October, 2005

I have to say it again. The Horse Industry are not catering for those that most need it. The Horse Industry Council, the EFA, The Pony Clubs Association must be completely in-active in the education of those entering the Horse Industry because they get involved with basically NONE OF THEM. People stumble into this Industry 'blind as a bat' and take on 'lethal weapons' with zero knowledge, never know where to go to get help and worse, of the Riding School type institutions that are available these days, you can't get into one. Even if they knew where to look, which they don't because there is no promotion of it. The most surprising thing is that the most important set of skills that any new horse owner needs, that of Horsemanship, is basically not taught and completely dismissed by those in the Champagne Tents with their Tweed Jackets. Meanwhile, people are being injured, killed and horses are being treated cruelly Australia wide. We lovem em though. Wow.
Yesterday, I was called to yet another one of these helpless families because a horse was basically running the property. Rearing and attacking them and running backwards at them whilst attempting to kick their heads off. If they tried to rug it it would bite their arms off. The owner did not even know how to properly and safely catch the bloody thing. Then I get this letter here today.
Just wanted to say Thank you so so much for all your info, I did mail you with a couple of questions then I found the website ! All the answers and more were there.

I have had horses for about to years, After reading your info I can see so clearly where I am going wrong. We have not long come home from a Pony Club camp and a few people said my daughters horse has bad head manners. I want to own a good horse and people are quick to tell what's wrong with him but not one person could tell me how to fix them and its so frustrating for a novice, I want to fix the bad habits but need the tools and advice. THEN I FOUND YOUR WEB SITE ! just in a few days I can see my horses changing, and myself. I now have a horse that when being lead walks with me and stops just because I stopped, not because I made him . I have never thought about the importance of putting Myself at the top of the pecking order !

Anyway many thanks Deanna

Here is my answer Deanna. Blame them and thanks for your letter and glad to hear you are getting on the right track. Excuse me
What in the Hell is a Web Site doing being the savior of countless people across this fair Continent doing????? Is that how bad the Horse Industry is? Yes it is. I bet they all think it is going swimmingly. Get out of the White Tents and come out here with me for a week and learn that it is a bloody shambles. Read my lips. The number one important link in the Horse World are HORSEMEN AND WOMEN AND TRAINERS. Not Dressage Coaches. Start to give them the respect that they deserve and actually put them into your systems rather than hiding them under rocks. Include Horsemanship into your Coaching Curriculums. Your EFA Level One Coaches know bugga all in the area. They can't therefore teach people the things that count. When people enter the Horse Industry, they don't need the priority of 'looking pretty in the saddle'. They need to learn how not to bloody well get killed, to not give the horse a terrible existence of cruelty through ignorance. They need to learn about Veterinary, Feeding, Shoeing, Worming, Teeth, Sand, Fencing, Safety, Control, Horsemanship. For the sake of the horses, please take a good look at your systems. They do not work.
Meanwhile, we have knocked back around 100 new pupils this year. Where do they go? No-Where. Where the hell is the damm Horse Colleges, set up by the Industry. Thing outside the square for Gods sake.
Why is it, Horse Industry bosses, that there are thousands of horses going around every day and as we speak, being smacked in the mouth by bad handed riders who were never taught how not to be cruel to horses. Do you realize this is 'cruelty to horses'? Sanctioned cruelty. Why is it that such riders' are allowed to compete in Shows? Why don't the bosses single these riders' out for help? Blind? I video'd a couple of these poor helpless horses at the Spring Champs the other day. One had his ears flat back on his head the whole test. I wish to God he had bucked the rider off but no, too long suffering is the horse. How can Judges all this to go on? The system does not work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!