Friday, August 31, 2007

As promised...a backyard full of fugliness!

Those of you who have been reading the comments today see that someone has finally figured out that I am, indeed, someone named Cathy Atkinson. I am surprised it took this long and am still waiting to figure out which pissed-off group managed to operate the "Yahoo Search" feature. While I understand that this is nowhere near as interesting as, say, finding out that it was actually possible for Nicole Richie to get pregnant at that ridiculous weight she was at, it does allow me to do something I have been wanting to do for some time and show you all the fugliness that currently resides in my backyard in living color.

Of course, I did not breed any of these nor are they going to be reproducing. They are rescues and/or retirees and their job demands currently consist of (a) eating (b) tolerating bimonthly hoof trims and (c) making cute faces when I scratch their withers in the right spot. (We are trying for (d) behaving ourselves for paste deworming, but we are still having some issues with that one.) However, they are glorious examples of many of the things I've bitched about here over the past summer.

First: The AQHA Halter Horse industry at it's finest! This is Kit, a daughter of a Big Name Stud - Obvious Conclusion. Kit was fortunate enough to win the HYPP lottery - she's N/N. She is also as long as drivin' through Texas, and good God look at that front end!

Overfed much as a halter baby? Ya think? Then there's her topline, that looks like a hammock, and her big old head with floppy ears.
A friend of mine found her at the Yelm, WA auction a few years ago and was convinced to purchase her by the ever so sensitive phrase "if she ain't in foal, I'm gonna can her." I bought her early this year because she's just the sweetest old horse on earth, and she takes good care of my blind mare.

Speaking of said blind mare, here's the "before and after" on her which shows two things - (a) that it is not that hard to put weight on an old skinny mare (these are 4 months apart) and (b) you can change condition, but you can't change conformation. Hers is hideous.

The shoulder is awful. It's upright and leads to withers best described as a "shark fin." In this picture, I think she may be trying to look back to see if her butt is still there, because it is so far away that there is no way she can see it with the 10% of vision she has left in one eye. This second picture is actually a good picture in some ways - her pasterns look worse than that in real life. She wasn't built to stay sound, and she is neither sound nor sighted. She does have a huge wither scar which shows me that someone rode the shit out of her and then dumped her with a killer buyer on a lot full of other horses. With 10% vision in one eye. Yeah, really,if we ever find out who owned this mare, I'll bring the tar and you guys can bring the feathers! She was dumped in Yakima, Washington. I'd just LOVE to know who dumped her. Scumbags.

I have lots more fugly pictures to post, particularly of past rescues. For anybody who is new to the blog (and particularly those too lazy to read the FAQ, the important points are: This is an opinion blog and it has a humorous component. Much like a blog about how much (insert politician of your choice) sucks, you may agree and you may disagree but I have the right to my opinion and you have the right to yours. Bad language and politically incorrect humor are the norm; this is not a place for anyone too young to watch an HBO Comedy special. I do not think I am some kind of supreme authority; I am merely someone who has been involved in horses a long time, has a lot of opinions based upon my experiences and enjoys venting about the various things about the horse world that annoy me in a place where I will not be censored or have to "play nice" as I do on various other message boards. My goal is to keep the comments a censorship free environment as well, but I will not hesitate to assign moderators if people clutter the comments up with posts that are off-topic and are merely personal attacks, because that is just boring for everybody else to read. Trust me, I get it - you BRB's hate me. But please take it to e-mail, or better yet, start your own blog about how much you hate me. Blogger is free, and freedom of speech is a privilege we all enjoy equally.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everybody!

Forget the Welcome Wagon...

Buy land in our subdivision and get a FREE HORSE!

I know the image is kind of small, but I believe that phone # is 207-214-9008 if anybody wants to call them and find out if there is any screening process whatsoever, or if they are just handing out horses to anyone who can qualify for a mortgage.
Oh bonus. I found their web site, which does not seem to include this amazing offer. It does include pictures of some mixed breed fuglies, which I am sure are the victims of this ill-advised marketing campaign. And he's bragging about his free horse deal on Craigslist, too!
I swear, words fail me...

Now we know where they get some of those loony prices from

Check it out - !

It's like the Kelley Blue Book of horses!

Except for the fact that you can put your horse in as being 15.8 hands high, and that a horse who is safe for an experienced rider is more valuable than a horse who is safe for an intermediate rider, and a horse who is trained for english riding is always more valuable than a horse who is only trained for western...

But hey, I am positively thrilled to find out that the horse I paid $1000 for is really worth $5,426. Not to mention the $400 horse who is now worth $1075 because she got major brownie points for being a sabeeeeeno. ;-)

What in the hell were you trying to create here?

Warning: HORSE PORN. But besides that, can you imagine 2 animals that are further away from being breeding quality for their particular breeds?

The person's justification is that "Gentle mid size ponies are in hot demand for kids, will be breeding her again" It's true that well broke mid size ponies are in demand, but you can get them at any slaughter auction for $200 or less and then break them and resell them. This is a better way of making money, and a more ethical one, than populating the world with stumpy little horses with straight shoulders and fat necks.

And what is WITH all the horse porn on Youtube? Is it all posted by 13 year olds who are in the Beavis & Butthead stage of development?


Parent of the Year, Today's Edition - Thanks to a guest blogger!

She did a great job adding to this wonderful ad, so I'm going to put it on the blog! Her comments are in blue.

This is the first time that he {yes, the stallion of course} has been ridden in two years, and (child's name) {looks about 13} chose to ride him bareback {wearing flip flops and without a helmet, naturally}. She thought (actually hoped) that he would challenge her riding skills {which is why she rode bareback without a helmet} and after a 20-minute workout with no misbehavior for her to practice her horse whispering on, she couldn't decide whether to challenge him herself or hug him, so she did both {by wrapping her arms and legs around his neck and hanging underneath}"

FHOTD: *big sigh*

If you'd like to submit a guest blog, feel free to do so at this e-mail. Send your text & pictures and if I like it, I'll put it up for all to enjoy. Please note whether you would or wouldn't like to be credited in some way (name, screen name, or just Mystery Guest Blogger of the Day).

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...or a racing purse

Owning a racehorse is a dream of many. Unfortunately it's a dream of many people who have no other horse knowledge, and may not even ride. The dream really isn't so much about horses - it's about the glory of standing in the winners circle with the champagne and the flashbulbs going off when your horse wins. It's about basking in limelight you could never earn on your own merits. (Kind of the same thing that makes Dina Lohan get up in the morning.)

And the racing industry - as even those who love it will admit - is chock full of con artists. It's full of guys who will tell you that this $4000 colt is going to win so many races he'll fund your retirement. There is a lot of money to be made and more to be lost in racing, an expensive sport where you can lose your shirt not just gambling, but also owning, if you don't know what you're doing (and sometimes even if you DO). Believe the wrong people, and you too will wind up breeding crappy quality Thoroughbreds that don't hold up to race, win nothing, cost you much more than they ever win, and leave you with a lame four year old that you don't know what to do with. While there are nowhere near as many broken down racehorses filling the slaughter trucks as there are overbred stock type horses and mustangs, it is still a problem. Too many people are not breeding for soundness, almost everybody is riding them too early, and almost no one has a plan for what to do when it becomes apparent that Miss Winners Circle is never going to see the inside of one. And so they wind up all over the Internet, looking for new homes. Some good - some not so good.

This mare is "broodmare only" because she fractured both knees on the track. You don't say! I'm sure her conformation had nothing to do with that, right? She's got a straight shoulder, one of the lowest set necks I've ever seen on a Thoroughbred, a short croup and a weak, poorly muscled hip. Everything has conspired here to throw this mare's weight onto her front end. She would be a nightmare to collect. She is built to go heavy in front. It's not that big of a surprise her knees couldn't hold up to racing and I would not pick her as a broodmare prospect. Unfortunately, her owner doesn't agree - she's a baby machine who has been popping them out like clockwork. By the way, the "I desperately need deworming" look to the tail really adds to your sale picture!

While this filly is clearly still "racing weight" and would look better with a few extra pounds, she's another example of a filly that is not put together to hold up to serious work. Look at those loooong, weak pasterns. Those are always bad news. They stress the tendons, and increase your chances of a bow or other issues. While I'm not that particular about cow hocks, she does have quite a set, and this is another very short croup with a weak loin attachment. This filly may do just fine for light work and she sounds like a sweetheart personality, but I wouldn't breed her or try to do anything high impact with her. Of course they are selling her as a "broodmare prospect." Yack.

Here's one that I do like. This is a long yearling filly. This filly is just the way I like to see a Thoroughbred - compact and balanced. While she is a yearling and is downhill, the way she will look as a mature mare is apparent. She has a powerful hip and a beautiful shoulder. Her neck is set on right where you want it - not too high or too low. I would like a bit more definition between the neck and the chest, but I'm being picky. She also does toe out a bit, but as I've said before, that usually is not the soundness problem that being pigeon toed is - unless it's extreme, and this isn't. Her very cute head doesn't hurt her overall appearance a bit. I do wish they weren't marketing her as "ready to break now." Ugh.

For those of you who enjoy these, I found another conformation clinic to test yourself. I like this one because it forces you to see past poor posing and really evaluate the horses. Also, it is a close call between #2 and #3...I picked as the judge did, but basically went ewwwww at both of them. Fortunately they are all geldings!

And a crazy mini owner responds!

And it is every bit as good as I knew it would be, complete with poor spelling and the usual lack of legal knowledge that always characterizes these e-mails.

First e-mail:

Hey there, I'm here to request that you take ALL the stuff about the miniatures off your website. If you have not done so in 3 days I will be taking legal actions for slander and for stealing. Not only will it be me you will be dealing with Little Beginnings also. I will also be contacting the blog company your using.

I will be waiting....

Second e-mail:

I'v decided that If you just take the first part off and picture about my pinto, Scotch, Off I will not press charges... Of course you have 3 days to do that. If you have been around bare foot horses ? you would have known that their feet are a little long. and he is NOT a breeding stallion. he is gelded, He is not reg, Nor is he wild. Nor have I ever said he had the most perfect confomation. I rescued him from a lady that bought them from a auction. I have never BRED or had a breeding take place on my property, but I did buy a mare that was bred this year.

All I wish is to have this Unture statement taken Off... Save both of us the trouble...

My response:

What exactly would you be "pressing charges" for? Any dispute you have with me would be a civil matter, necessitating a civil suit. If you wish to sue me in civil court, you may of course do so.

When did I ever say hers was a breeding stallion? Or wild? I just said his feet were overgrown and he had a humpback. Read for comprehension, people. It's not that hard.

So shall we discuss the justification du jour, that barefoot horses are always a little long? Really? In my experience, the bat shit crazy branch of the barefoot Nazis trims them so short they are lame for days if not weeks afterward. To clarify: I'm a fan of leaving horses barefoot if at all possible, it's just the extremist "it's ok if they're sore, they'll toughen up" garbage I take issue with.


Oops, I did not realize there was yet a THIRD e-mail from her that I've come across as I read through my inbox. In the interests of being completely fair and presenting both sides, here is e-mail #3.

Second oops, they aren't the same person. They just have the same (uncommon) first name. But hey, I'll leave it up, it's equally entertaining and misspelled.

Third e-mail (may have been first, timewise)

I have been watching your website for a few weeks, i am a miniature horse trainer-handler-exhibiter and yes ..breeder. My horses have achieved National-World and ASPC Congress titles and i have all and more knowlege of conformation/ballance/structure and training. I just have to say, i am appalled by the lack of knowlege you have about the miniature horse breed and you have honestly just put your foot in your mouth. What gives you the right to take someones pictures (without their noticed btw) and post them on your 'website'??? You know what, i have found the minis are more conformationally correct then the big horses. You big horse people are sad, okay if it will carry me from point a to point b, who cares what it looks like. HAH. Well, us mini people who do halter horses actually choose our horses upon conformation. You guys, if you can ride it and stay on it for 3 seconds, its a catch. Who cares what it looks like as long as it rides, and if it doesnt ride ..throw it aside and pass it along to another auction house. I can 100% garentee you my miniature horses are more conformationally correct then anything in your barn. My minis have WON and went GRAND in classes with big horses ..what about that? Breeding minis is not about breeding tiny, the heights go up to 38'' ..most people shoot for the b size which is 34''-38''. I'm willing to bet you are also one of those uneducated shetland people as well. What do you think a shetland is, prob you picture a short fat pony ...HAH. Nope, basically a small saddlebred or arab ranging up to 46'', most about 40''-44'' and extremely fine boned and hackney type movement.

Your website is a perfect example of an uneducated horse 'lover'. I take pride in my breed and have competed (and won!) at the highest levels and i am only 19 years old. Its people like you that have more issues then the rolling stones. How dare you make a website like that? Did a mini beat your big horse in a halter class? Is that it? :)

You have quite the bad reputation on (visit to see how everyone really feels about you. We have been keeping tract of your worthless ramblings and if you wantt o see some REAL horses, visit there. I also suggest you make a username and explaine on there what your issues are. A member on there EVEN FOUND HER horses pics of your website. Let me just say RIGHT NOW, if i ever find a picture of one of my horses on your website you will be turned in as i have copy right on all my pictures considering most are by professional photographers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

But we looooove our precious little deformed angels!

I've been researching and contemplating this post for a while. First, because it's about a kind of horse I've had very little personal exposure to, and second, because it has already become obvious that the breeders of these horses are, on the whole, stark raving mad. But hey, we all need some excitement in the middle of our boring work weeks, so today I'm going to tackle this topic.

I am pretty sure Miniature Horses became hot in the 1970s. I say this because I was an inveterate reader of the "Arabian Horse World" at that point (my closet door was just covered in Arabian pictures, much to the dismay of my mother, who pointed out that scotch tape leaves marks and I was in big trouble), and I still remember the little ads in the back that caught my eye for miniature horses. Here was a horse that could live in your yard! And they could be potty trained! OMG! For a horse crazy kid stuck in suburbia, this sounded like the perfect compromise. It was like a dog that whinnied! Awesome! Unfortunately for me, my mom didn't think that was such a great idea, and probably correctly surmised that our picky neighbor Mr. Huebner, who had a shit fit if we let the lawn go 2 extra days, would not tolerate livestock grazing on said lawn. Ah well. I continued to read the AHW and get trucked out for my weekly visit to a riding academy that I now recognize, in retrospect, I was lucky to have survived. But I digress...

I grew up, acquired a normal sized horse, and forgot all about those little midget horses for many years. Oh, sure, every once in a while I boarded somewhere with a mini and had to go through the desensitizing process all over again. I remember one boarding barn in particular where there was a mini that got hooked up to a cart and driven around the premises. Invariably, that went something like this:

Normal Sized Horse: What the FUCK is that? *snort* *scramble* *snort some more*

Me: It's just a mini. It's not going to eat you. It's like a dog.

Normal Sized Horse: The hell you say! It's a teeny little DEMON with WHEELS! Get me out of here!

Me: Knock it off, you're 10 times its size, relax!

Normal Sized Horse: Tell you what, I'll throw you in the dirt and you can relax and look at the little shaggy DEMON with WHEELS while I get the hell out of here!

Mini Horse: *little gay whinny*

Normal Sized Horse: It's speaking in tongues! It's possessed by Satan! *wheel and bolt*

So at least until recently, I mainly thought of minis as an annoyance. I had only a vague realization that people actually bred them, and I had NO idea there were horseshows for them. In the past year, I have received an education that I'm not sure I wanted. You know, kind of like when you're a teenager and you find out what guys really want you to do with your mouth, and it's not kissing! Particularly since I've started this blog, I've gotten e-mails that go like this:

"My pet peeve is in regard to miniature breeders. It’s become an absolute abomination in the miniature horse community that the only goal seems to be to produce more of them regardless of their futures or quality. It seems that every fool with two intact horses of each sex consider themselves a breeder these days an almost EVERYONE who has minis breeds them or plans to breed eventually. Doesn’t matter how horrendous the fault, dwarfism, fixated patellas, severe tendon laxity, red bag births--hey no matter, because after all you don’ t ride 'em. IDIOTS! Doesn’t matter that minis have the highest mortality rate for foaling, probably due to the low IQ of their breeders, and other brood-related complications because if they die, oh well they will just get another set of culls and breed some more."

"I think the whole Miniature Horse thing is strictly crap! I believe they're all just selectively bred-down ponies and the smaller they get, the more deformed they seem to come out. The dwarf gene is compounded, or something. Anyway, I've argued with people that they're just very small ponies, but those same people absolutely argue that they're horses, not ponies."

"I would love to see a FHOTD on miniature horses. These people are breeding just to breed and are producing some really unfortunate looking things. Then there are the ones that look like they have acrodysplasia! These poor dwarfs have some really sad health issues especially with their feet and yet the breeders do it on purpose!"

"Miniature horses are a dime a dozen and yet because Sassy has really pretty pinto markings she should be bred to Bob’s stallion to produce yet another horse that will end up in Aunt Jessie’s back yard cause it was cute. But does Auntie know that these are actually horses and need feet trimming, teeth floating, grooming… Nope not a chance."

This last comment is totally on-target. Much like I did when I was, um, seven, people get confused and think this is like owning a DOG. It's not. A miniature horse still requires all of the same care a normal sized horse does, and if you think the prices are going to be downsized like the horses, you are in for a surprise. Check out the long feet on our mini at the left. The truly appalling part is that he is allegedly owned by a farrier. Um, do you ever trim your own horse's feet? Let's add to this the fact that this thing is the Humpback of Mini's got a topline like a donkey, not a horse. Conformation is conformation, regardless of size. I have seen minis with good conformation. This isn't one of them.

Here's another. I guess we are supposed to look at the baby and not look at Momma Mini's positively appalling looking feet, but they were the first thing that caught my eye.
I mean, other than the fact that I personally think this little creature looks like a mutant. To each their own...but the hoof care, that's not optional.

Poor li'l mutant though...he's being auctioned off on the Internet in something called the "last chance" auction. Eeek. Nothing like screening your potential homes!

Lest you think I am just prejudiced against minis, I have found some examples online of good looking ones with good conformation. It just seems like there is a VAST range of quality, and although you see that in every breed and type, I am pretty sure the facts that you can keep a mini damn near anywhere and they don't eat as much as the big horses contribute to the low end being so...damn...low.

Here's a nice one. If you blew him up to 15.2 or so and kept all the proportions the same, he'd be a usable, attractive and athletic horse. His feet are done and everything! I still don't quite get the appeal of the teacup horsies, but I suspect a repeat viewing of "Best in Show" might remind me.

Here's a good article on irresponsible breeding of miniature horses. This article points out that the foaling death rate in minis is OVER THIRTY SIX PERCENT. WTF? And you mini breeders don't think you have a problem here?

Dozens of starved minis. You mean, they have to eat? We thought were like big stuffed animals!

And you are supposed to pick up their poop too? Well damn y'all, that's WAY too much work!

Here's an ad for a mini "stud." Gotta love it.

Okay, Here's the deal. Serious inquiries only. I am lazy about paperwork and Pepper is not registered at this time. So you can have one gorgeous unpapered stud for $300, or for $1000, I will catch him up with his paperwork and you can have a fully registered handsome little stud. (FHOTD: Does anybody EVER geld these things?) He has an excellent pedagree behind him with several champions on both sides. His mother taught my then 2 year old daughter how to ride. The disposition is rock steady and calm. He's never been off our farm (except to experience trailering) in his life. I love this little guy, but now he's making eyes at his mother so if someone wants a vise-proof little stud who stand for vets and farriers, leads, loads, grooms like a pro, this is your guy! OMG YOU INCREDIBLE DUMBASS. This is a 3 year old (foaled 5/04, ad posted 8/07). HE HAS ALREADY BRED HIS MOTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEPARATED THEM. I really hope she has separated them and is just whining about having to keep two separate pastures. I hopeihopeihope...

Despite all of these lovely examples, to really get the flavor of the low end of the mini horse business, you absolutely must proceed to Youtube to see them in action.

Here is a video of a mini stallion attacking the family dog and the owner's foot. How KYOOT! But the best part is the owner's own description of this unfortunate creature. "He is almost two years old, now, but this is an older video. Any way, he's still a stallion so he's kinda rascally. Enjoy! P.S. He is deformed, he is a braciocephalic dwarf and was born without tendons in his hind legs. Thats why his feet look like that, not becuase we don't trim them. We have a ferrier come out every 3 weeks to trim them. He is not fat due to over feeding, but becuase his organs are too big for his frame making his belly distended." All I can say is, I sure hope they don't own any mares!

This is priceless - the mini at liberty class. You have to watch til the end to see him wing kicks at the handler who is trying to catch him. Disposition plus!

This parent admits her daughter is a "little" big for the mini. WTF, it should be riding her!

Jesus, it's just a sea of stupid when you start searching for mini horses!

It's the Redneck Olympics Bronc Riding! (but seriously, these people should be arrested for cruelty...)

OK, I saved the WORST for last. They have an
entire web site devoted to minis that suffered from dwarfism and died young! I kid you not. And they have the nerve to say breeders shouldn't be embarrassed when this happens, that it's just "a fact of life" when breeding minis. Edited to add: Make sure you look at the second page of that site. That is where they hide the pictures of all the really deformed ones.

In closing, I must share this lovely poem from that site.

"Tiny Imperfections"

Giants in miniature, look like Arabs, Quarter Horses,Thoroughbreds, Drafts, yet through our quest for perfection comes Mother Natures unseen forces.

A mishappened foal is born, neck too short, toes pointing in odd directions,mare was almost lost, foal not much better. Her tongue hangs out, nearly lifeless, cannot stand.

Foal was born on a cold stormy night, she shivers getting wetter.I blanket and stall mare and foal, nothing else I can do 'till morning, I pray for the best.One week later, foal is better, a dwarf, but no less a blessed foal.We call her "Miracle", the name suits her, she's an Angel sent for a reason.

She was here, momma mare was proud, she stood by her no matter what.This is one heck of an end to mare watch and foaling season,her survival is our only care, her comfort is our goal.She is beautiful, the time we share will be special,in my eyes she is perfect, nowhere near a mutt.

~ Christina Golubski - Pierce City, MO

I will leave you all to comment on that. Just duck while you do it - I am sure we are about to be invaded by crazed mini horse breeders.

*sits back to enjoy the show*

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just because it's stunted, doesn't mean it's a stud pony prospect!

Ad text:

Cozmo is a stud pony.
(No, Cozmo is a fugly stunted stock type 2 year old who needs to be gelded)

He's very figity.
(It's amazing how they don't magically get gentle when you ignore them. Turning them out with goats doesn't make them tame, you know.)

Will take alot of time to gentle him down.
(He's had plenty of time. It will take a lot of WORK, which you are clearly not willing to sign on for, hence the reason you're ditching him for $200 on the Internet.)

Gelding might help.
(Ya think???)

Or would make a great stud for a pony farm.

OK, Mr. Brain Donor? Your little Quarter Horse or solid Paint or Appy or whatever he is is only small because he got poor nutrition and is full of worms by the look of him. He was not destined to top out at whatever pony sized height he is (which you are afraid to post). Not only is he 3,000 miles from being "stallion quality," but there is absolutely no reason to suspect he will sire ponies, when he was genetically destined to be a normal sized horse and you just screwed it up. The only way any foals of his are going to be ponies is if they, too, get turned out with the goats and ignored.

C'mon folks, I'm not exactly talking Mendelian genetics here...I'm starting to think everybody who didn't finish high school is out there breeding horses!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dear Judges: If you want the world to stop making fun of your breed...

STOP placing fillies in halter with legs like this! 3rd place in a big futurity...WTF?

Good God! Look at those pasterns! They're completely upright! Awful! She's the poster filly for navicular disease!

This filly has a gorgeous neck, shoulder and hip...but the legs are just shitacious. This should not be placing at halter. I will be shocked if she's still sound at age 5.

She's N/N, I'll give her that, but she's selling as a broodmare prospect and I find that thought horrifying.

I know, this is what those of you who say shows are no indication of quality are thinking about when you say that. But I swear to you, this really isn't typical of show quality horses in general or even halter horses in general. I know many, many halter point earning AQHA horses who have good legs and are sound and ride.

The standard has GOT to change. Nothing with those legs should EVER place in halter. EVER. I cannot say that strongly enough. That filly is the equine equivalent of a car with 4 flat tires and a broken axle.

I had to edit this post because I thought she was AQHA. She's not. She's a breeding stock APHA. Same thing. Same goofy judging.

Auction Report - Florida

From a reader. This one is of PARTICULAR note to those who think Haflinger crosses are the new hot thing!


I went to the horse sale this past Saturday and it was HORRIBLE.
Here is what the horses where going for:
**NOTE: A known kill buyer was there. He bought the majority of the horses. I don't know for sure if he is hauling them to the slaughter house but he has in the past*****
13 yr old reg. arabian mare/ kid broke very calm nice mare sold for $200.00
7 yr old grade gelding/ green broke lead through the ring sold for $200.00 (kill buyer)
4 yr old reg mare/ green broke grand daugther of Seattle Slew $225.00 (kill buyer)
2 yr old Haflinger/Paint cross stud barely halter broke. $200.00 (kill buyer)
2 yr old Haflinger/Paint cross stud barely halter broke. $175.00 (kill buyer)
1 yr old Haflinger filly barely halter broke. $75.00 (kill buyer)
3 yr old Haflinger colt barely halter broke $100.00 (kill buyer)
6 yr old Belgian mare / doesn't ride , drives only $200.00 (kill buyer)
5 yr old reg. mini mare/ supposed to ride and drive $100.00
4 yr old paint gelding reg. , started, very nice gelding bid up to $500 NO SALE wanted $1500.00
8 yr old spotted donkey jack, rides and drives bid up to $550 NO SALE wanted $750.00

9 yr old reg. paint mare/ anyone can ride, very laid back problem with eye? $400.00
8 yr old reg. arabian mare/ kinda hot rode fair not a beginners horse $175.00

Needless to say it was a very depressing day. There were several really nice horses but the owners refused to sell for those crappy prices.

Yes, I discovered the "poll" feature

The longer I do this blog, the longer I see that careless breeding and lack of training go hand in hand and they're the combination that puts horses on those double-deckers. I really think we all have to think very seriously about who is going to train the horses we produce. The consensus from our trainer thread is that good training is hard to come by, and getting pricier every day. If you can't train your own, and can't afford the cost of paying a competent trainer, should you really be breeding at all?

I was thinking about the Appaloosa train wreck from yesterday...let's assume maybe 7 of those are broke (potentially the old broodmares she got from another farm). So let's say 50 need to be broke. 50 horses times $500 (probable monthly cost in rural Idaho) for at least 60 days, and that's being conservative but she does claim they are handled and have basic manners. That's FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. Who has FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS to train those horses? I think it's a safe bet she doesn't. Who is going to pick up the tab? And are those horses going to be worth $1000 after those 60 days? In this market? Some are. Some aren't. And some aren't going to be very safe and solid yet after 60 days, either.

When I was shopping for a beginner lesson horse for my friend a few weeks ago, I looked at a truly sweet little grade Arabian mare. She was green broke. She was cute. She had bad conformation, there was nothing special about her, and no papers. She was $500. I felt bad for her because she'd been abandoned for back board, and clearly had been ridden by yahoos who cowboyed her around. I thought about picking her up as a resale, but then the light of reason and logic came on and I realized that 60 days of training later, she was going to maybe be a $700 horse. That was where her value was going to top out in this market, no matter what I did with her - she was trail quality only. That's why I say these horses shouldn't be bred in the first place. Whether you like it or not, your breeding operation has to be economically viable. There's nothing in it for anyone to invest the time and money to train a horse who is going to be worth $700.

Monday, August 27, 2007

For those who "can't find hay"

Find hay for sale in Kentucky!

Buy hay online in Texas!

Buy hay online in Washington State!

These people appear to ship darn near anywhere

TONS of listings for hay and hay at auction!

More nationwide listings of hay for sale!

And yet more!

Now, I don't want to hear from anybody that they can't "find" hay. Hay is out there. It's just that, much like filling up your gas tank, it is going to cost more than you were hoping it would.

OK, those of you who like to argue with me...

...that there is something rare, special and desirable about "foundation" Appaloosas (read "hammerheaded, stick tailed and no hip") ya go. Sounds like these are going to starve to death or go to kill if you don't go buy them up. There are a couple of you that swear lots of people just love these horses and are dying to buy, ok, go for it. 57 to choose from.

Ad text in bold below.

FAR Ranch in Harvard Idaho has 57 registered foundation appaloosas. I am 60, we are both disabled. I have only enough hay to feed till Christmas. I cannot find more hay because of the weather. I need approx 40 ton for the winter. I would sell these appys, at least half, but there is no market due to severe hay shortage. I could get maybe $25 each from the Lewiston slaughter sale, but cannot even get help to take them, God forbid it comes to that. I have spent 25 years to bring back these old time appys, and they are all colored. Imprinted, haltered, people friendly horses. I have saved some cash from our pension checks to buy hay, it won't be enough even if I can find hay.. We live in an old motorhome on 150 acres. All the grass has died from the heat. I don't know what kind of help to ask for. Homes for appys, hay to feed them?? Someone who can deliver hay and unload it? A good person sent me to this site. Thankyou for you time and interest, ahead of hearing from anyone. Fran website for my appys, old but I work on it often now.

As I frequently say, 57 horses did not just happen. From a look at their site and their sales site, I think they have about 10 different stallions! I can't find a gelding to save my life. Holy crap. And now you have a crisis. How the hell do you think that happened? If I were 60 and my spouse and I were both disabled, I sure as shit wouldn't be BREEDING HORSES. Especially not horses that clearly ARE NOT SELLING.

Don't get me wrong. I feel sorry for those horses even if I do think they 're fug. I sincerely hope those of you who like them go and rescue them. I have no sympathy for this dimwit who kept breeding them without knowing for sure that she could afford hay to feed them all winter. If you read their site, they don't have a trainer so you know nothing is trained to ride. This is just a typical BYB train wreck and we're going to see more and more of it as fall approaches. I really do hope they don't wind up at the auction going for $25, but if they do, I sure hope these folks take a good long look in the mirror and see how their poor planning led directly to that outcome. Unfortunately, now that they are begging online, I'm sure money will flow from heaven, aka paypal, and they'll relax, having dodged a bullet - and breed every damn mare back again in the spring.

Again, let's repeat for anyone who may be confused:






OK you can all now commence calling me a meanie for picking on the elderly disabled folks...but you know what, THEY'RE not the ones who are going to end up going to slaughter.

It's not a problem. Now lightning, there's a problem!

HERDA stands for hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia. It is a horrifying disease where the horse's skin basically starts sloughing off its body. Here's a good description from the folks at Bringing Light to HYPP, who are also trying to address other genetic defects on their site.

"When a horse has HC, there is a lack of adhesion within the dermis, the deep layer of skin, due to a collagen defect. Think of it like glue holding the skin layers together, only with HC, the glue is inferior. Because the layers are not held firmly together, they separate. When the horse is ridden under saddle or suffers trauma to the skin, the outer layer often splits or separates from the deeper layer, or it can tear off completely. It rarely heals without disfiguring scars. New damaged areas arise continuously, sometimes even without obvious trauma.

It is, thankfully, more rare than HYPP, and it's harder to pass on. "The genes that cause HC are recessive, and it takes two to tango. This means that both sire and dam must possess the recessive gene in order for an offspring to possibly be afflicted with HC. " There are cases where horses with HC have lived to a fairly old age, says Rashmir, but they are treated as pets and great care must be taken to prevent trauma that can rip the skin. In dramatic cases, says Rashmir, the skin can split along the back and even roll down the sides, with the horse literally being skinned alive. Generally speaking, she says, the average lifespan for an HC horse is two to four years. "

Like HYPP, this defect has been traced primarily (95% in one study) to the Poco Bueno line of Quarter Horses. Like Impressive, Poco Bueno is a line that has also been incorporated into breeds that allow QH blood, like Appaloosas, Paints and Quarabs, not to mention an untold number of grade horses.

The horse at left was most likely a purebred AQHA stallion. He was rescued, treated and mercifully euthanized by Save A Forgotten Equine. His previous owner dealt with his condition as many of these breeders do - he dumped him with a horse dealer to go on a double-decker bound for slaughter.

"Ernie" was about 15 years old and appeared never to have had any hoof or dental care either.

There is no telling how many carriers he sired, and I don't think any of us can even imagine the kind of pain he was in.

Unfortunately, just like HYPP, many breeders do not want to accept that their horses may have this problem and take steps to ensure they do not pass it on. Many horse owners and breeders tell stories of colts born with what used to be called "Doc O'Lena disease" ditched at auctions and without papers, to go to the killers with no trail left to lead back to the big money cutting horse operations they came from. That is most likely what happened to Ernie.

The NFQHA, which just loves to brag that they don't have HYPP because they don't register Impressive bred horses, does a quick 180 on the topic when you suggest that their beloved Poco Bueno was carrying something equally undesirable. They released a statement on HERDA in 2004 full of silly justifications like "It would be easier to produce a foal that will be killed by lightening than a HERDA foal." Well, guys, unless someone is breeding horses with metal ears, that's not really an issue now, is it? You're comparing apples to oranges. You can't control Mother Nature, but you can control what you choose to breed.

They stridently announce that "does not give credence to pedigree research based on 100 pedigrees with no scientific DNA tests to support their theories." OK, it's 3 years later and we have a DNA test. Are you going to stop breeding your carriers now? A google site search of turned up not a single link to the term HERDA. (AQHA comes back with 10 hits. They at least seem to be discussing this very serious problem, even if nobody has got the cojones to call for mandatory testing yet)

An excellent article on HERDA at

Information about the genetic test for HERDA, which just became available in March of this year, at Cornell. I think it will be VERY interesting to see who tests and who doesn't. For those of you who breed cutters, reiners, etc. - remember to vote with your pocketbook and only breed to stallions who have been tested negative.

Horse owners can also send pedigrees involving potential matings to Ann Rashmir, DVM, at Mississippi State University and she will analyze them and seek to determine the degree of probability of the offspring inheriting either the gene or the disease itself. A fee of $25, which goes directly into the HC Research Fund, is charged. The address is College of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 6100, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762.

I will stop making fun of you "sport horse" breeders when you stop doing things like this

Yes, my in-box just keeps filling up with examples of irresponsible "sport horse" breeding. 9 times out of 10 it is "colored sport horse" breeding. Here we go yet again!

Note the lovely fence on the left. Here, I've got a "sport" for you, Miss Sport Horse breeder. It's called getting off your dead ass and fixing your fence.

Original ad in bold, my comments in blue.

Super nice mare, 100% dilute color with dun in her backround as well. Rides easy, neckreins, very quiet, trail and road safe either riding alone or with a group, nice family type horse. Proven producer, good mother, easy breeder and keeper. Impressive breeding, HYPP N/H asymptomatic. You know, there really isn't any such thing as asymptomatic. All that means is "hasn't had an attack yet." Breed her, ride her or both...kid safe with supervision, hubby safe for trail riding, very smooth jog, and a naturally slow-going horse. Wear boots for trails on her front feet, new pair of Old Macs go with her when she sells. ( her soles bruise easily on rocky trails...dosen't need boots for riding on grass or in arena) OK, those are worth about $200, at least you'll have something left when the mare keels over! Will NOT sell to a "gamer" home!!! But you'll sell her to one that breeds on a deadly disease. Your concern for horsekind is touching. OTOH, I guess I should be glad she won't end up flopping around on a barrel trying to breathe with some kid pinned underneath her. Please e-mail for additional pictures...I have lots, including pics of her 2006 Buckskin Warmblood colt. **NOTE**I am going to breed her in June 2007 to my Bay Sabino Clydesdale if she remains unsold, for a 2008 Buckskin Sporthorse. My usual question, exactly what sport does a half Clydesdale half Quarter Horse with HYPP excel in? We had a half Clydesdale half Quarter Horse lesson horse at the barn where I grew up. He excelled in rooting, tripping and rubbernecking, but I don't think any of that has been turned into a competitive discipline yet (though with the prevalence of draft crosses, it really ought to be.) Maybe if this one pops out HYPP positive, which it has a 50% chance of, you can add "falling over and thrashing." Boy it'll be fun dealing with a big old draft cross having a HYPP attack! That will be even MORE fun than dealing with it in a normal sized Quarter Horse. She will sell in foal for the same price, and the foal will be a rare color and worth what I am asking for her alone. Foal will be registerable with SHOC, AWS and PHR to name a few...her 2006 foal is also for sale. Not one, not two, but THREE made-up bullshit registries!

Upon further examination and finding her web site, damn near everything is for sale. Like our friends the other day, she blames the drought on her skinny horses. Who knew that horses needed to be rained on to be proper weight? I think she should take this significant veterinary discovery to the AVMA for their next convention. All sarcasm aside, just another BYB who is too fucking cheap to buy proper hay. Don't tell me you CAN'T get it...people in places like L.A. and Phoenix are currently buying good hay for their horses. You live in the Midwest where it's GROWN. It just costs MONEY you don't want to spend. Check out the emaciated Thoroughbred mare behind this fat warmblood colt and that LOVELY fence line.

She also blames them being skinny on nursing. Yes, I've seen mares get a bit ribby but look at that mare's topline. She is seriously underweight. That's a sign you needed to up the nutrition so she could DEAL with nursing. This is not brain surgery. She needed more calories, you needed to give them to her, you failed miserably.

I think the TB is for sale. She has 3 on equinehits she is apparently afraid to put pictures up for. Guessing this is one. Remind me again that the inn is full...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

$16,000 of horse behind $50 of fence

One of my favorite humorous websites is one called Great Mobile Homes of Mississippi. It's a hoot, check it out. In that spirit, I'd like to dedicate today's blog to horses living in trailer trash paradises all over.

Here we have a 3 year old grade stallion (why? why? why?). His pasture is decorated with a classic car that has not moved since Eisenhower was President, and a huge heap of scrap. You will also note if you look closely that one strand of loose wire fence falls just above his pasterns. In what world is that safe? I'm not sure what the beige thing in front of his water tub is, either. Is that a storage bin from someone's pickup truck?

Poor little stallion of indisciminate origin...only $300 takes him home. I suspect they might throw in the car, though!

Here's another winner. This is a color breeder (who's surprised?) and two 2005 colts that are for sale for a combined total of $16,000. We can all hear the "squeal and strike" coming when we look at this picture. Now look at that lovely fence! Gee, I wonder what they are worth when they stick their foot through the fence and cut their hoof half off?

Folks, running a string of hotwire - not so hard. Get off the couch, turn off the TV, go outside and do some work.

While you are out there fixing the fence, could you do something about your stallion's mane? I suspect the problem here is your motivation, not your inability to purchase a comb and some Show Sheen.

Seriously, people. When you put up a web site, it's for marketing purposes. You are trying to look good. That is why Carl's Jr. hired Paris Hilton to scarf down a burger, and did not simply use of the people I see waddling in and out of Carl's Jr. every day. If you are going to put your stallion up in a fugly nylon halter with a mane that hasn't been combed since 2003 and his eyes closed, you might as well just not do it at all.

WTF? Is this like some cracked-out person's idea of an art project? It's not a fence. It's kind of just a big accident involving lots of stitches waiting to happen.

Hey, I'm not saying everybody needs white vinyl fence, but the last time I fenced - which was not long ago - t-posts were $3, hot tape was $29 a roll and I think the t-post caps were about $8 a bag. You are not going to go broke putting up safer fence. It is not all that hard to do. Again, get off your butts and clean up your scary, unsafe horse properties!

Finally, the Irresponsible Breeding Sweepstakes for today...hell maybe for the YEAR...goes to this ad:

"I am looking for ANY breed w/good confirmation stud, to breed to my mare, yes even donkeys. hehe. I just want a foal in the barn. dosnt matter what cross breed. my mare is a AQH. ponies, anything. just anything $50-150 dollar stud fee. my mare can come to you, or your stallion can come to us and we would pay the days your stallion is at the barn. probly a couple of days. please I would like to breed her before the middle of september. thanks so much. ANY BREED WELCOME. just good conformation. thanks. Wilton, ME"

If you want a foal in the barn, go to your local slaughter auction. I am sure there will be one available for $25 or less. Probably a selection. I suspect you are too dumb to own and train a foal, but I would still rather have you do that than just breed your mare to ANYTHING...and for an August foal, dear God, my head hurts...

Friday, August 24, 2007

A video of a mare having a HYPP attack

I have discussed the HYPP problem in Quarter Horses and horses with QH blood here in the past. However, today I found a video that I need to pass along as case anybody is reading this and thinking, oh, I will try to breed my N/H horse, the baby has a 50% chance of being normal, I bet I'll be lucky!

I warn you, the video is upsetting. The horse does not die and is standing up after being treated at the end, but it is still very hard to watch.

Watch Video

Again, for anybody who did not get the memo, not all Impressive horses have this problem. It is only carried by horses who test N/H or H/H. There are many excellent horses with Impressive in their pedigree - but it's important to choose ONLY the ones with a clean N/N test result for breeding (and for riding, as far as I'm concerned - I sure wouldn't want to take a header off one having an attack!)

The good, the not-so-good, and the fuuuuugly

Upon request, I'm going to do a little series showing a really good example (breeding quality), a mediocre example (riding quality) and an oh-my-god-please-sterilize-it example of the same breed. I've been meaning to do something on Paints, because this is a variety of horse that has been severely, severely overbred with little thought given to conformation or quality. There is an absolute cornucopia of crap out there with big patchy spots of color.

Let's start out with the bottom of the barrel. This colt (selling uncut, of course) is so badly conformed that I question his usability for riding much less breeding. Seriously, those front pasterns qualify as a disability in my book. They are super long and weak. It is hard to evaluate the rest of the leg because they are so bad, they throw everything off. His hind end isn't much better. I don't mind mild cowhocks on a performance horse, but these aren't mild. Both hind feet point out like a duck's. That neck is as bad as bad can be - short, thick, no throatlatch. I know it's a bad pose and he's on a hill, but there's no way to pose him and make him look like even a mediocre horse. This one is just plain bad.

You are going to be right when you say that some of this is bad photography. Some of it is. But no matter, one look confirms that this is not a $3000 stallion prospect. It is a rather sad, underfed little 16 month old yearling, who - the ad brags - has been ridden by a 4 month old baby and did great! (Say it with me now - "WTG Mother of the Year!") This poor little creature is narrow and has no butt. I think those back legs are posty, too. His head's not as big as it appears from these pictures, but it's not a typy little stock horse head, either. This guy is screaming "please take me home, chop my balls off and make me into your 4-H horse." Unfortunately, for $3000 he is going to sit in that field 'til he rots. C'mon folks, you really need to have a passing acquantance with equine values to get a horse sold. I can pick up a colt just like this at a sale for $150 any day of the week. Unless he poops diamonds, yours is not worth three grand.

Moving into what I'd classify as mediocre horses, this is the same horse featured side by side, two years apart. I am using him to illustrate that not everything grows out of its awkward yearling/2 year old stage. Some goofy looking young stock grow up to be goofy looking adults! I'd classify this one (still a stallion and has mares in foal for next year!) as riding quality. He is downhill, he has a very short croup, short neck, and he toes out in front. Nothing about him is spectacular or stunning. He could make an OK trail horse, low level show horse, etc. He is not going to be a great athlete, ever. He should not still have his testicles attached. They swear this horse was reserve champion at an APHA show. I am wondering how many were in the class, aren't you?

Another unspectacular Paint colt. I will say that his owners are much more realistic - they have him priced at $400. OK there you go. For that price, he will find a home and hopefully with some kid who wants to make him into the open show horse of her dreams. With that low set neck, he'll western pleasure like a champ on the low end of the open shows/4-H level, he's got pretty good bone, and I suspect he's going to mature out to be level backed and not downhill. Unfortunately, the ad says he's a "stallion prospect." No, he's not, unless of course you read "stallion prospect" to mean: someday we believe his testicles will drop and he will be fertile. But for this price, geld him and you'd probably have a nice enough little youth horse.

(Still shouldn't have been bred, as the market is FLOODED with nice enough little youth horse prospects)

All right, now it's time to look at breeding quality paint stallions!

I'm going to give you the real names on these, because, in my never-humble-opinion, they appear to be doing things right. This is Impressive Proposal. He is an APHA Champion, which - short version - means he both halters and rides. The long version for him means he has points in western pleasure, hunter under saddle, trail and - are you ready? working hunter. Yes, he can JUMP too. See, here's what deserves to be a stallion - a horse who is not only correct conformationally for his breed but can also perform. His owners, Platinum Paint Horses, also get high marks for selling AKC (yes, really!) dogs and having tons of cute candid photos all over their site showing that their horses are allowed to go outside, roll in the mud and be horses, even if they are show horses.

Here's another APHA stallion that deserves to have his balls. His name is Windell. You know how I like to say breeding isn't magic? That you don't get great horses by clicking your heels together three times? This is a great example. He came into being because someone crossed TWO APHA Champions. Yes, both sire and dam could halter and perform with the best. And this is what you get - size, color, APHA honor roll hunter o/f and PtHA world champion dressage. They event this horse against non-stock breeds - he goes up against the warmbloods and fancy TB's and places well. This is what breeding quality looks like.
Yes, I would have loved to have found halter shots of these horses so we could look point by point at their conformation, but one thing that I have learned is you can't find halter shots of performance horses, so you'll just have to make do with what you have here. Besides, I know a lot of you aren't fans of halter horses, so I wanted to show you an excellent performance type.

Hmmm...maybe we DO really need to have a FHOTD get-together

I get a lot of e-mails that go "look me up if you're ever in X and let's have a beer!" This started to make me think that it would actually be a LOT of fun to have a FHOTD get together...maybe early next year?

I'm thinking Vegas...something where we'd have some guest speakers during the day on topics of interest to responsible breeders like conformation, genetics, avoiding genetic defects, weanling and broodmare nutrition...and of course at night we'd just party like rock stars. :-)

Thoughts? I am thinking maybe January when it's not the show season and most mares aren't too close to foaling yet, so you can get away without too much worry.

Cost would be enough to cover expenses, whatever that worked out to be, and we can take a vote on which rescue to shoot any overage to.