The Year in Horses: 1986



    In the Pages of Horse Illustrated
    In case you thought the current hot-button issues in the horse industry were the product of recent years, here’s some evidence from 1986 to show you that some things in the horse world never change.

    1986 helmet letters
    Horse Illustrated readers weigh in on the issue of helmet use in 1986. Click for larger image.

    We devoted a fair amount of time discussing helmet use back in 1986, as did our readers and the horse industry at large. In 1986, one of our readers wrote in with the opinion that helmets weren’t really necessary.

    “I’ve been riding for about six years and I have never had a head injury,” wrote reader Ponyboy Schirmer. “Am I supposed to wear protective gear for my toes? I broke one of those last year. I’m sorry, but I think that unless you’re going to be jumping, protective headgear is a bit silly.”

    Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and most of our readers disagreed with Mr. Schirmer, as you’ll see in the column to the left. And yet, the debate still rages on 25 years later.

    1986 editors note
    Click to read the November 1986 editor’s note

    Need a little more vintage controversy? In November of 1986 we featured the Tennessee Walking Horse in our breed profile. Then as now, few horse people have neutral feelings about the breed thanks to a set of exhibitors that started using cruel methods of training in the mid-20th century, leading to the 1970 Horse Protection Act. Unfortunately, the breed and the idea of soring began to go hand-in-hand, leading many horse lovers to steer clear of this wonderful breed. In her editor’s note, Jill-Marie Jones addressed the issue, asking if the breed can be separated from the controversy. Click the image to the right to read the full article.

    In 1986, did horse enthusiasts think that we’d still be discussing these same issues in 2011, or did they assume we’d have it sorted out by now?

    << The Year in Horses: 1985

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