When it comes to caring for horses, ignorance is not bliss

Datuk Awang Kamaruddin Abdul Ghani was emotional when speaking about how some horse owners treat the animal in the country.

The former world No 1 endurance rider, who has won numerous medals in international competitions, said he is saddened by the “abuse” carried out by some of the owners.

“I travelled nationwide before the latest Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect. I was shocked to see so many horses being ill-treated and poorly fed,” said Kamaruddin.

“Many horse owners are neglecting their animals as they do not know how to take care of them properly, with horses undernourished or given the wrong type of food and treatment when injured.

“What is happening can be classified as animal abuse. My heart bleeds every time I see a horse being ill-treated.

“When I try to voice out, some owners gang up and try to shut me down.

“Some friends have also reported cases to the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) but no action has been taken.”

He said under the Animal Welfare Act (2015), those found guilty of neglecting or abusing animals could face a fine of RM10,000 and a three-year jail term.

Kamaruddin said he also tried contacting people within DVS but to no avail.

He added one of the reasons for the poorly cared horses is not cruelty but ignorance. Some owners who listened to his advice were able to nurse their animals back to fitness.

“I am here to help if anyone needs me,” said Kamaruddin.

“I understand that perhaps not many are well-versed in how to care for horses. I do not claim to be ‘know-it-all’ but I do have sufficient knowledge based on all my years as a rider, coach and official.”

The 76-year-old Kamaruddin, who has taught Sultans, prime ministers and other dignitaries as well as commoners in and outside the country to ride, said he wants to create awareness and a sense of responsibility among horse owners.

“I also hope we can have a proper registration centre for horse owners. It is not just about owning a horse. We need proper certification so we know where a horse or pony comes from,” he added.