Thursday, September 27, 2007

Singing pigs and other things...

"Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig." - Robert Heinlein.

Lately, I see that everybody wants to promote their particular breed as an all-around horse, even though it has been bred for hundreds of years to do one or two things, and do them well. This has resulted in a flurry of positively hilarious sale photos.

This is a Tennessee Walking Horse jumping. Now, I have to give this girl some credit - she has better form over fences than I usually see posted proudly on the web, and she is wearing a helmet. I must now observe that it's a good thing she's wearing that helmet, because OMG this thing is scary over fences. It looks like it is going to climb the x. Look at it's back legs. WTF? Folks, this horse is not a jumper. It is a gaited horse that has no idea how to collect itself up and pop over a jump. It is a sweet horse making a good attempt to do as requested, but it is not a jumper.

This 15.0 hand roan AQHA mare is advertised as a GRAND CHAMPION in suitability for dressage...hey, congrats on that 4-H show, bet that was fun! However, in the real world, dressage riders do not go out looking for 15.0 hand roan AQHA mares with straight shoulders, and even if they did, your brag that she "been trained for three years, and ridden though snow and all kinds of weather" at the age of four would send them screaming and running. P.S. The dressage folks love those kimberwicks too. Those are just their favorites to ride in.

She "knows how to rollback, spin, neck reign, counter-shoulder, stop and back up" and while I am not sure what neck reigning is (what precisely are you reigning over?), it seems to me that is a pretty good resume for a western event prospect. For heaven's sake, she's a sports car, stop advertising her as a limo and you might get her sold!

Then there's Saddlebred western pleasure, or as it is usually called, the William Shatner Western Pleasure Class. That alone is enough to make most of us giggle, but if the visual of an obese D-list celebrity hitting on a hotel clerk in a really skeezy way in those horrid Priceline commercials isn't enough, just look at the picture on the left.

Please. Western riding is a discipline that has sprung out of working cows, you know, those things that milk comes from. Can I let a little heifer loose in one of these classes and see what happens? Pretty please? We can take bets on who stays on the longest. Most of the Saddlebreds I know have spent their lives being chased with fire extinguishers and hooted at. I can only imagine the reaction to mooing.

Since by now all of you Saddlebred fanciers are here to tell me you don't chase your horses with fire extinguishers (or attempt to logically explain the necessity of doing so), or are here to tell me your horse is not the least bit scared of cattle, can you do me a favor and answer a question for me?

I freely admit my involvement with Saddlebreds is limited to trying to avoid the arenas they were using as the chains and fire extinguishers scared the bejeesus out of the polo ponies, so I will not begin to attempt to critique this filly.

But is this what you guys want, for real? Because I think it looks like a llama.

Actually, I think the llama has a better topline.

P.S. I am off to work on a live, televised event, the type that will actually force me to turn off my Crackberry and everything, for the next two days. So when I don't post, there is no need to assume that I've been offed by a rabid BYB or sent to jail and charged with Offending Someone. I am merely attempting to keep my old mares in the best hay money can buy and my old cat in sub-q fluids. :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Five Gazillion Served, Just This Year!

A friend of mine made what I consider to be the Best Comment Ever about some horse rescues on another board today. Allow me to quote:

"They like sitting around and saying I saved X many horses. If they could they probably would put a sign out front like Mickey D's."

She goes on to point out that those who are into the numbers game are the same ones who get in over their heads and then wind up whining for help all over the Internet, or worse yet, wind up getting raided by Animal Control. They are the ones who will later excuse the rain rot and the thrush and the low body condition scores and the bad feet by whining that they're a rescuuuuuuue and they don't have any heeeeelp and it's so haaaaard and hay is so expensive...

*passes out cheese to go with whine...*

Well, you know how you deal with high prices and needing help? It's called getting a J-O-B. Possibly more than one. Many of you who spend your time whining all over the Internet for money somehow think that having 10 or 20 horses at home is a full time job. Um, no. Having 10 or 20 horses at home means you have to get up at 5 AM before work and feed, and it means that after you come home at night, you have feeding and cleaning and doctoring and perhaps exercising to do. It is not easy. It is exhausting. But it is also a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to rescue horses.

Of course, you have to WANT to get a job (or at least accept that you don't have a choice in the matter!). I notice a lot of rescuers are on disability a.k.a. "leeching off our tax dollars." Here's one report from a visitor to Choctaw Ridge rescue in Missouri: "I heard Beverly mention that they were going to have to postdate a check to pay for hay and that she was counting on her disability check to cover what she was planning on buying at the next stock sale on April 29th. My friend and I were both thinking that she should forget the sale and put the money toward some quality feed and foot trimming for all of the ones we saw." Touche. And ya know what, if you're healthy enough to stand around in pictures holding various horsies, YOU ARE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO WORK. Stop cheating the taxpayers and get off your duff!

Now we need to address what proper rescue is. Again, usual disclaimer, this is my opinion. You may feel free to disagree. I think rescue means rescuing for life. By that I mean that you don't just overpay a killer buyer to gain a horse's freedom and then scream all over the Internet "WE SAVED HIM FROM THE TRUCK!" and bask in the glow of your gullible donors telling you what an "angel" you are. Instead, you actually make your very best effort to fix everything that's wrong with Punkin and make sure he's still in a good home ten years later!

1. First of all, stop financing the kill buyers, you fools! Rescue straight from the auction, the prices are 1/3 what you pay Chuck Walker and Charlie Carter and guys like them, who have got your number and are laughing all the way to the bank. Or rescue from Craigslist and the local papers. Plenty of free horses there who need your help. Plenty coming off the racetracks too - often for free. LOPE in Texas puts out alerts on free TB's quite frequently. They can hook you up for sure. It is not hard at all to find a rescue project, and you should not have to pay more than $300 for one EVER.

2. Second of all, you need to do ALL the vet work and get the feet done and evaluate the behavior/riding potential BEFORE, BEFORE, BEFORE you adopt out. You lazy jackasses who just flip horses left and right and send unhandled stock to people who have no freakin' clue how to manage something more complicated than their 15 year old AQHA gelding or horses with severe health issues to novice suck. You are not rescuing those horses. You are merely pocketing money as you set them up for a detour where they wind up hurting someone or their health issues go untreated out of ignorance and eventually they go right back on another double-decker. This is NOT rescue. The horse on the left is shown as confiscated from a "rescuer." Yeah, good job there. Asshole. (To clarify, Blaze's Tribute, which rehabbed this horse later, is a good rescue. They got him from an A.C. seizure from a bad rescue.)

3. Third, you need to have a CONTRACT. I am amazed at the number of rescue horror stories I hear where the rescue has to admit they did not get a contract before handing the horse off to the horse neglecter/horse abuser/bestiality practitioner. My God people, this is basic. Get a contract, preferably one drafted by a lawyer. Get it signed by an adult, before the horse goes anywhere out of your sight.

4. Fourth, you need to SITE CHECK. And see, I know you people who are adopting out 300 horses a year probably aren't doing that. Maybe one or two rescues like that, particularly well staffed ones, have devised a system to accomplish this - but most of you have not. You accept photographs (could be the neighbor's property) or references (hey, Susie, when they call, tell them my place is a showplace and make sure you don't mention those two horses Animal Control took last year!) over checking things out yourselves. And so horses go off to barbed wire hell with a pond for water and some moldy hay that was on sale for $1.50 a bale. Again, this is not rescue.

5. Fifth, you need to FOLLOW UP. Again, this means getting off your butt and going for a visit. And if you see things aren't right, you have to put on your Big Girl pants and request changes, and if your instructions aren't followed, repo the horse per your contract This means making sure that you are not already so overwhelmed that you cannot possibly take the horse back because you have no place to put him. Any rescue horse should be considered as a potential boomerang. If you cannot or will not take back a horse you have adopted out, that's not rescue.

Now, potential adopters, it's also up to you to use your head. Just because something has a 501(c)(3) does NOT mean it is a good rescue! Here's a lovely pic of conditions at Sleepy Hollow Horse Rescue in Washington State. Sleepy Hollow HAD their 501(c)(3). It bears noting that the treasurer of SHHR who used to host their web site at her personal domain is now president of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, another 501(c)(3). (More info here) The bad rescuers NEVER get out of business...they change their location and name but the b.s. continues. (Much like sleazy used car dealers). I can name two rescuers in my immediate area who are being investigated by Animal Control and I'm praying they lose every one of their horses - it's a long time coming in both cases. And that's just my area. Good God, people. Here's a clue, if Animal Control is on your doorstep and it's not to drop off a horse and thank you profusely for your help, then you've become part of the problem.

Of course it's hard to say no. I rescue on a small scale and right now, I cannot take a horse. I am at capacity with horses that must be permanent residents due to physical issues. However, I help network horses, I'll haul if needed, I'm going to be doing some training for another rescue, and I've done a follow up visit on a previous placement just today. There are a lot of ways to help without taking on another horse when you know you cannot afford it/do not have room for it.

I'm sure someone will take this post as bashing rescues, but I'm not at all. I'm saying USE YOUR HEAD...don't patronize a bad rescue any more than you patronize a backyard breeder. They are equally bad news. If you want to rescue a horse, go to your local auction OR choose a rescue that can tell you everything about the horse you're considering, including the results of a vet exam after his rescue. Instead of being offended if a rescue checks you out thoroughly, be appreciative of the fact that this is a rescue that actually cares where the horse goes and is not just looking for you to write them a check and get another horse out of their hair. If you have money to donate, choose a rescue that is very public about their financials and where the money goes. Do a little research, just as with buying from a breeder - don't pitch your money at some sloth who doesn't want to get a job just because the pictures on their web site look pretty and the stories make you cry!

Hey, you morons at Carsley Horse Ranch and Rescue? RESCUERS DON'T RIDE FOALS! For fuck's sake, are you smoking crack down there? This baby's back end looks bad enough! ARE YOU PEOPLE COMPLETELY INSANE???

This is our Grand Prize Award Winner for today though. Meadow Haven Horse Rescue . As an alert reader points out (bullets are hers):

* They are a 501 3c horse rescue facility.

* They take in horses and ponies of any breed or mix.

* They CREATED their own TWO registries to then put select rescued ponies in. No, I'm not kidding.

1) American Pocket Pony
2) Standard Pocket Pony

* Their "assistant trainer" as they call him, is 5 years old. (I think you'd call him a guinea pig)

* They then BREED these mixed ponies to sell the offspring, or sell the now "registered" ponies for a PROFIT.

" A portion of the profit goes to "feed the rescue horses".

* They also charge for anyone to register their ponies in these new registries, hence making more money.

* They ALSO breed CKC registered Dachsunds and sell them to "fund the horse rescue"!! They sell the pups online via paypal and will ship them by plane. (In case you did not know, the CKC lets you register ANY dog as long as you sign a paper that says you "swear" it's purebred!!!! You can print the form right from the CKC web site...I did.) In other words, they are also a backyard breeder of mutts too!! But with a good cause of course!!

I agree with my alert reader. Although I am not opposed to a rescue sharing quarters with a legitimate breeding or training operation, WTF is a pocket pony? These people are just breeding mutt ponies and not very good looking ones at that. Not to mention the Crackerjack Kennel Club registered doxies. I will let their own words speak for themselves (with my comments in blue, of course!)

"We are now on 58 acres (mostly underwater per pics on the front page of the site) but we are still limited as to how many horses we can accept because we are lacking fencing at this time. (That's because we are also lacking jobs and lacking any motivation to acquire jobs. Hot tape and t-posts are cheap, you twits.) We average 2 new horses a week and have to turn away just as many because we do not have stalls or pastures area to rehabilitate them in. We are opening a building fund for anyone who would like to contribute. At present only 10 acres are fenced and we do not have a barn, only 2 run in shelters. (Because god forbid you have the good judgment to wait to rescue 2 new horses a week until you have the proper facilities first) Since we rely entirely on donations we need your help! (Why do you rely entirely on donations? Too lazy to get a job or too stupid? I think Mickey D's will take just about anybody with a pulse. Give it a shot!) If you can donate to our building fund, we can happily give you a tax reciept so you can get a tax break at the end of the year (please check with your acountant to find out more), as we are a non- profit 501 c 3 corporation. We have an attorney who can help you with this bequest anything you may like to donate. " (You sound smart enough to get jobs, even if you can't spell 'receipt.' You sure do understand tax breaks! Amazing how you can afford an attorney but not fencing, isn't it?)

*sigh* Ridiculous. I could keep writing this post all night but I'll stop here...

Monday, September 24, 2007

And finally the truth comes out...

I absolutely love it when people are so damn dumb that they are not only crooked, but they are totally honest about being crooked and it doesn't even occur to them that there is anything wrong with it! Kind of like the chick who used to work for friends of mine in their cafe but brag to everybody that she was on disability and they'd never find out about that job. (Unsurprisingly, she got turned in. No way! OMG!)

You see, most of the HYPP apologists put on a smiley face and spew out a bunch of claptrap about improving the breed and top quality halter horses and how lots of genetic defects exist, not just HYPP, blahdeblahblahblah...but these folks, in their Craigslist ad, don't even try to lie about the GREAT benefit to having a positive horse! Just read the text of their ad, below. I added the bold, just in case you could have possibly missed what I am referring to. And no, this time I am not even redacting the name. Shit, I didn't post the ad with this brilliant statement. They're the ones who put it right on Craigslist for all to see! Sue me if you want, selfish greedy loser bastards.

"This guy will be your next all-around horse! Kid can halter and excel in performance events! He is a great mover and shows potential in western/english pleasure, hunter under saddle, your class! With limited showing Kid was the 2005 Pinto Reserve World Champion Yearling Halter Horse and in 2006 he was the Rocky Mtn. Paint Horse Assoc.Year End Reserve Champion Two Year Old Gelding. PRIME TIME KID will be the ultimate amateur or youth all-around horse! This is an excellent opportunity to buy a VERY NICE horse at a TERRIFIC price! Kid has the talent and looks to take you as far as you want to go! Kid is sound and healthy, UTD on shots, worming, trimming and is ready to continue training and begin winning for you! He is also Breeders Trust Enrolled. Prime Time Kid is HYPP positive, but as a bonus he is insured for more than 3 1/2 times his sale price! Don't miss this chance to buy a winner!!"

YAY!!!! So when he keels over DEAD, you will MAKE MONEY! BONUS!!! AWESOME!!!

OK, this clueless wonder owner is not going to learn. APHA and PtHA, it is time for YOU to draw a line in the sand and kick these selfish greedy losers OFF THE ISLAND. Is THIS what you want people to think of when they think of top winning horses in your breed show associations?

Ban the H/H's and ban the N/H's and end the insanity already!

The verbal equivalent of a bag of chicken feet

You'll have to read this to understand the reference in the title...

Today, my friend and I, in an enthusiastic moment of motivation to make yet more money to support our large collection of old, fucked-up discarded and useless horses, decided to haul a horse for someone. We should note that I am somewhat new to the state I live in, and my friend's geographical knowledge of her lifetime home state had suffered a momentary lapse. (She later shared that she had drank her way through her 6th period high school Washington State history class). At any rate, we were thinking we were signing on for a three hour tour but, sadly, it instead shipwrecked into a twelve hour ordeal greatly resembling a Gilligan's Island reunion, except without the rich and educated characters or the coconut shell short-wave radio.

Our first inkling that something had gone horridly wrong was when we agreed to let the new owner of said horse (elderly Arabian gelding who had not been ridden in two years and was now being sold to a beginner teen - hereinafter the "Horse") and her child ride in the truck with us the entire way. Now, don't get us wrong. We are friendly girls. We like to chat, under normal circumstances and with reasonably normal people. We can even stand a fair amount of abnormality and laugh about it later. But this went right over the fucking top. We were originally informed that we'd be hauling the Horse to a boarding barn. Once on the road, we learned we would be hauling the horse to this lady's backyard, which is also populated with goats and chickens and an ill-tempered rooster which will stab his spurs right through your teenaged son's deck shoes when he kicks him- imagine that. (Interestingly enough, the family cat had about the same reaction when said son dragged the dog in to meet her newborn kittens). A backyard which was described as being approximately one quarter of an acre in an allegedly rural area, with picky neighbors who object to her dog running all over their property (but she can't get the hang of using a leash 'cause she's a "farm girl" and the invisible fence allegedly does not work, although she installed it herself so she can't imagine what the problem is, and now, darn it, she has been cited and has to pay a $1,000 fine, and you know, that dog is a little sensitive on the one side because he lost the ball joint of his hip when he got hit by a car...)

So down the highway we went, to collect said Horse, being treated along the way to the following stories.

1. The proper minerals are the cure for everything. Deworming is not necessary. You can scare all worms away merely by using copper! Who knew?

2. You can cure your father's abscessing, gangrenous, maggot-laden leg merely by smearing a generous layer of garlic on it and this cure will happen within 3 days. Over the course of the next 7 hours, we also learned that garlic is a cure-all for (a) congestive heart failure in humans so severe that the person was unable to lie down and instead stood by the kitchen table all night as he thought he would drown (b) a cat who was attacked by wolves and had a rib sticking out (c) a goat who was attacked by their own dog (who was probably angry about his missing hip joint) although they argue the dog was corrupted by the influence of a marauding neighborhood Husky dog.

3. Speaking of marauding neighborhood dogs, you can cure a visiting Beagle from any desire to kill chickens (after it has killed 3/4ths of the flock) by walking it around and telling it "no no bad dog" while pointing at the dead chickens. If it is still tempted to kill the last remaining live chicken, which is hiding in a bush, all you need to do to complete the cure is place the dead chickens one by one on the Beagle's head and reprimand him strongly. After this, he will not even want to look at the chicken, let alone come back in your yard ever again. My friend and I do believe this works, as the mere telling of the story, had the same effect on us. We will never be seen in her yard again!

4. Family History: Her father was basically a fringe element of society type who responded to the fact that her brother got a speeding ticket in Burns, Oregon, by uprooting the entire family and moving them to Florida to pick fruit for a year so as to avoid paying the ticket. During this time, our heroine did not attend school. We are shocked. Shortly thereafter, they returned to the PNW, but then their father kidnapped their mother and took her to Nevada. After that, he tried to get her to move to Texas with him and said if she did not move, she had to sign divorce papers. Finally, after some ridiculous multiple-decade marriage length, she called it quits.

5. Moving on to more current and relevant family history: The father, while in Texas, refused to collect his social security benefits or see a doctor, which resulted in him having a gangrenous abscessed leg with maggots living in it. At some point, he decided that perhaps his daughter could fix this, and agreed to come live with her, bringing his 12 goats with him. She went down to Texas and moved in with Dad and the goats in a boarding house owned by a lady who had lost her leg after an abscess caused by a horse stomping on her foot. This lady lived on disability and played online games all day, and also took in extra income by housing numerous old Mexican cowboys who were also on disability. Enterprising woman that our heroine is, she started planning their trip north with a Cadillac but soon realized that a school bus was a more appropriate mode of transport for two people and twelve goats. So she removed the seats, piled the goats in the back (goats that could not be let out for potty breaks because they were totally wild ass goats) and headed for the PNW with Dad, goats, and gangrenous leg. Somewhere in Colorado, she was finally pulled over for not having a license plate but fortunately for her, the police officer made an executive decision not to detain her, her father, or the collection of goats. Oh happy day! Sadly, this was not the happy ending for dear old Dad that we all might have wished. Never the sort to gather moss, Dad moved on and eventually found himself living under a bridge. Meanwhile, our heroine's underaged teenage daughter is expecting her first child, sired by someone for whom English is a second language, but he is not such a bad guy as he will haul hay.

6. One time she was hired to drive 40 goats to California for $1000. To do this, she rented an old Isuzu truck from a multi-millionaire for $300. They installed some panels on the side of the bed and threw a tarp over the top, stuffed it full of shavings and goats, and she proceeded on her way to Petaluma. After losing all of her interior and exterior lights, she was yet again pulled over by police in a snowstorm who, yet again, made the mysterious decision not to detain her or any of her 40 goats, despite the fact that she could not find registration or proof of insurance. Will wonders never cease. All 40 goats made it to Petaluma alive, and our heroine pocketed a grand total of $400 profit for this enterprise. We learned from this that you can drive any old way you want, in any sort of unregistered vehicle you want, as long as you are packing a herd of goats. Good to know!

We eventually arrived in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowhere - at least 3 hours past where we thought we were going and the last few miles on gravel road next to a sheer drop off cliff leading to somewhere far more pleasant than the interior of our truck or the intellectual hell we were currently experiencing. The highlight of our trip was our discovery that the unhandled-for-2-years Arabian was a rather good tempered, if morbidly obese, fellow who sported a large Circle W brand and had a history of "packin' elk" and being ridden by "tourists" into the high country. Mr. Ay-rab cheerfully followed into the trailer at the first sight of a hay net and we were on our way for another five hours of fascinating stories. And so it continued...with a slight detour to pick up hay in a place called Touche (but pronounced "Tushy") at a hay dealership complete with horrific barbed wire fence and overweight horses with godawful long feet who were practically screaming to be taken away to somewhere people obtain farrier care. Back on the road and the stories continued...

7. They wanted some cats so they got some from a lady who had too many cats and they weren't that friendly. So one cat decided to crawl up into the duct work and wouldn't come out for three months. For three months, he lived in there, with no food or water! (At this, I expressed my opinion that he probably had surreptitiously, in the dark of night, left the duct work to find food and water...but I do not think they believed me) They tried to find him, could not, and assumed he died. Then one day, like the Second Coming, she heard a rattlin' and a commotion and what do you know, that cat was still alive up there, just real dehydrated. So they drug him out and gave him some garlic and in only 3 days he puffed right up again in the manner of a Sea Monkey. However, he (probably after hearing a few of her stories) elected to crawl back into the duct work and hopefully die this time. (We totally related and would have joined him there, if only there had been such an easy way out!) She drug him out once again by wrapping him in a sleeping bag and pitched him out in the yard, but she did see him a couple months later in the neighborhood - no doubt from a substantial distance.

8. Her other kitty had either one or two litters in her dresser which she encouraged. The daddy was a Ragdoll so the babies were tortoiseshell but long haired. Clearly "spaying," or as her socioeconomic group typically refers to it, "spading," had never crossed her mind. Again, we wished we could have been spaded repeatedly at this point in the trip.

It was like a Best of Jerry Springer special on pay-per-view, except people choose to watch that. The variety of the subject matter was truly impressive but the overall level of shock value never wavered. I started wondering if Jerry and Maury pay finder's fees for truly impressive guest stars.

Don't get us wrong, we were not derelict in our duty. We did our best in the twelve hours we spent together to educate her that copper will not deworm a horse, that elderly fat geldings who have rubbed out their tails probably need their sheaths cleaned, that dentistry on a horse that age is mandatory, that he never needed to see a flake of alfalfa or a pellet of grain ever again, that it is important to slowly condition a horse who is the equine equivalent of Chris Farley, that finding a boarding barn with a GOOD 4-H/Youth instructor would be a REALLY GOOD IDEA, and that finding a barn quickly was probably a VERY good idea as the home turned out to be in the middle of the city and the front portion of the fence was a picket fence approximately 3.5 feet high. Also, the goats were none too thrilled with their new roomie, and he barely fit through the gate, banging his substantial gut on both sides.

And in all fairness, she was a nice lady who paid us more than we asked for, in cash, and seemed to have good intentions. It was just a stunning example of the many things I talk about on this blog...all in one the same time...for twelve a small space.

Note to selves: No more hauling when the end destination is someone's backyard, no more permitting owners to ride in the truck with us, no more failure to Mapquest, and this is probably a good time to review the comparative risks and benefits of simply advertising in the Craigslist "Erotic Services" section as an alternative source of additional income, as we believe that might be far less painful and humiliating.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A classic example of exactly what I talk about every day...

One of my readers sent me this story and pictures and it definitely deserves to be shared. It is just a classic example of what I talk about here every day - yet another tale of a stallion that shouldn't be a stallion, fencing that isn't stallion fencing, and a moron owner who is breeding horses willy-nilly for absolutely no reason. Allow me to quote:

"This email is just to confirm that you are so right about idiot owners and their stallions.
Today I caught a horse running across a major roadway near where I keep my horse. On closer inspection after getting the frenzied animal off the road I found him to be a 6 year old (TB i guess) stallion, the bay in the photo. The property he is kept on is disgusting, barbed wire everywhere, at one point while I was there he managed to rear up to fight the stallion on the other side of the fence and got his forleg stuck in the wire. A friend and I had to try and free him, thankfully he had enough brains not to struggle too much.

He has been kept in a box (photo included), without water i imagine, for most of the day, while another stallion and a group of mares run in the paddock the box is in. His moron owner has no clue, rejected veterinary attention for his bleeding horse (we had a vet there), and hurried us from the property. Yep, this A grade asshole has 2 stallions, a bunch of mares and most of them underweight. All that seperates horses from main road is a dodgy barbed wire fence, and there are rolls of the stuff just lying in the paddock. All all that seperates 2 stallions is a wooden door to the most disgusting stable ever.

I have called animal protection, but my guess is this horse will be at the slaughterhouse by now. Or in his words (owner) "I have someone to take him, I guess they'll geld him and hack him around". Hmmm, 6 years old and still entire, he ain't gonna be anyones hack is my guess. He also claims his vet told him his horse is skinny because it had scours, and to stop "soft" feed. He says the horse must have got some bad hay, my guess is he just started to eat his own manure that is 6 inches thick on his stable floor. I can only hope he gets his own back, threefold. I feel so bad for the horses, and can't wait to see next years foal crop!!!"

OK, everybody. We see this every single day. Do you think there are any real solutions? What is the best way to discourage this kind of careless horse (or animal in general!) ownership? Is there any real way to educate someone like this or is praying that animal control will confiscate the animals our only hope?

Is the only solution to teach kids what is and is not responsible animal care/husbandry when they're young, because by the time they're adults, it'd take a lightning bolt to get a new idea through their heads?

Have you ever successfully changed someone's mind about their sacred right to breed all of the fugly animals they want? What about converting someone from a poor horse owner to a good one?

P.S. Apologies for the slow week, I can't seem to get my Internet hooked up where I live now. The folks at CenturyTel are clearly not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I've only had my Blackberry, and I can't post from that - posting requires Java.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A good horse is never a bad color, but a bad horse can be a good color: Part IV, Grullas

I've been meaning to do this one for a while. I admit I've personally always wanted to own a grulla, and haven't yet. It's a beautiful color. Like cremello and palomino, it has quite a following and plenty of people trying to breed specifically for the color...sometimes without a whole lot of thought to anything else.

Let's start with a nice example of a grulla. This is a young filly who's still growing, so the fact that she's downhill is understandable. She's got a great shoulder. She's compact and well balanced with a nice hip, and a neck that is well defined and elegant. It's low set, but you want that in a stock breed pleasure horse - it makes it easy for them to carry themselves as desired for western pleasure. She has an attractive head and her pasterns are pretty much ideal - sloping and not too long. She is a bit tied in below the knee and looks like she may toe out a bit but it's not extreme. Overall, I really like this filly and her excellent coloring is just the icing.

By the way, it's also a good example of a non pro picture where the horse still looks good - she's not clipped or posed - in fact, she's sleeping, but she's still a quality horse in good weight and condition and that shines through.

I'd place this guy in the middle of the pack. If you like foundation quarter horses, he's a pretty decent example of one. He's compact (which many foundation breds are not), he's got a great shoulder (which many foundation breds do not), his neck is attached nicely though it's short, and he's got good bone. Although I can't see the feet, I can pretty much tell you those aren't 00's down there. He looks like he is built to last and built to work.

I have to knock him down for being back at the knee and downhill (look at the pic - his back hooves are lower, he's on a hill to make him close to level). Stallion quality? Well, he's not necessarily my cup of tea but I'd sure rather see him siring little grullas than many of the straight-shouldered, painfully long foundation horses I see standing at stud out there!

All right - now on to what this blog is all about. Fuuuugly grullas!

All I can say about this 3 year old is that hallelujah, he is a gelding! Despite the strong resemblance to some inbred mustang off an indian reservation, this is a registered Quarter Horse. Um, eek.

He is straight shouldered, short necked (in fact I think his head may actually be longer than his neck), and did he steal that tail off an Appaloosa? He stole the position of it off an Arabian. He's got no butt and he's got this weird super long gaskin with his hock set way out behind him.

Ah well. He is a gelding...but who bred this critter? This is a QH/Fjord/Standardbred/Arab cross broodmare. Are you wondering WHY? WHY? WHY? Oh trust me, we all are.
I will let the sale ad speak for itself:
"[name] is for sale husband made up his mind [full name] 2002 Grulla Qh X Fjord x Arab X Standerdbred was trained to ride[ trainer redacted] and since then she had a grulla stud colt[her first one sire by our stud [name] -sorrel] ,she has had her teeth done by [dentist][june 30] and upd on her deworming ,stands around 15.1hh she is eligable for registeration by ABRA and IBHA and NQHR.we have owned her since she was born.she has a wonderful attitude she needs more training and miles.she might be in foal to my stud [name][AQHA Palomino stalion] for 2008 her sire is Pocos sunny boy one [Sunny- Dun] Abra eligable too and her Dam is Mickey [QHX Fjord- grulla]Her Grandsire is Poco King Shook[AQHA Buckskin] and her Granddam is Sargeants Rocs[CPAR 50% Arab x STB]she has a good personality and trails well.she normally is great with her feet and with a farrier.[name] would be a good ranch horse and good for roping ,team penning.this girl is not affraid of anything"

I don't know about her, but I am affraid she is pregnant and reproducing her fugliness! Be affraid, be very affraid!

And who are these people who post that the mare MIGHT be in foal? Call out the damn vet, you freakin' cheapskate. It's not exactly a budget buster to check for pregnancy.
*sigh* Seriously, people. Who thought crossing those four breeds was a good idea? I can't think of anything more off the wall that you could throw in there. Shit, just breed her to a Peruvian Paso...there ya go.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Research v. Experience: Where do you draw the line?

First of all, yes, I have finished moving. I have learned many valuable lessons, such as: At 2 AM, when you bring a rescue horse home from the auction, do not borrow a bale of the neighbor's straw for bedding so that poor Pookie can lie down and relax after the traumatic auction. Pookie could have lied down and relaxed in the grass and it would not have then resulted in having to remove twelve, twelve, twelve !$&$!& wheelbarrows full of straw from one box stall when you move and have to leave the barn swept spotlessly clean! So, my back is trashed and my car is still full of most of my stuff and the end result is, you are not getting a great, well thought out and complicated blog post today.

I do however, have an interesting topic for you all to discuss - sparked somewhat by the comments yesterday and somewhat by conversations I've had lately with other horsepeople. My question today is: Where do you draw the line between research/what the vet says, and your own years of experience?

It's interesting because there are things we were taught 30 years ago that have very clearly been debunked. Example: Letting hot horses drink. The truth is, they really can drink all the want, although lukewarm water is better than cold. The first time I saw someone let a hot horse drink its fill, I almost fell over, but the truth is - the research is right. I've let many, many hot horses drink gallons and gallons of water now, and nobody has ever gotten sick.

Then, there are things where the veterinary wisdom has changed but, based upon my experience, I just won't change. I don't care how many studies you do, I know what I feel is the right thing to do. Two examples:

1. Many vets these days say you don't need to wrap both legs (i.e. both fronts) if you are wrapping one for support purposes. I don't care what the vets say. I was taught that you have to support the non-injured side because it's taking more strain because of the injured side, and I'm always going to wrap both no matter what any vet or research study says.

2. I hate this trend - these days the vets will tell you it's OK to let a colicky horse lie down and rest. Oh, HELL NO. I'm very old school on this. You walk, walk, walk, walk until they show NO sign of pain. You walk all damn night if you have to. You do not let them lie down, ever. They can run 15,042 research studies and I don't care. I have never (knocking wood as I say this) lost a horse to colic, and I'll be damned if I'm going to change something that works. I had someone on a message board tell me a horse at their barn died of exhaustion from being walked for colic. OH COME ON NOW! IT DID NOT. Where do you people even come up with this crazy shit? It probably had a heart murmur and the colic pushed it into a heart attack. It did not die of exhaustion from being hand walked.

OK, so let's discuss: Which elements of equine health care/health management have changed that you agree with? Has anything changed that you disagree with, and if so, are you still doing what has worked for you all along?
(I will pop in today's Craigslist can own this mare for the low low price of just $400...WITH PAPERS since I'm sure you'll be wanting to breed her!).

Ad copy: "Clue needs a new home soon! My other mare beats her up daily & I'm afraid for her. She has bent cannons, but is ridable. 15H 900lbs & very sweet natured horse. I have had to lock her in a small pen to keep her safe & I hate to do that. Also she is reg. with APHA & I have her papers to go with her! Conclusive & trple Image on top, War leo & Bobcats Super Stud on bottom. Might concider a trade in part or equal value $400 OBO.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Guest blog - A Few Words on Child Labor

I'm moving this weekend and very busy (nothing like moving with horses and cats who do not like cat carriers, fun, fun...) so I'm grateful to our guest blogger "SS" for providing this terrific guest blog on pushing horses too early and the sad results of that practice. I really agree with this. While I've ridden 2 year olds lightly (and by that I mean 15-20 minutes of weight on their back MAX, mostly walk and jog, or a little trail ride around the back hayfield), I have seen people ride the crap out of them (45 minutes loping to get them tired enough to go slow in the big money futurity, or doing high impact activities like jumping or gaming. Then there's the racing industry which insists upon riding them at 15-16 months and has a long list of fatalities every year to show for it. I'm not against racing or gaming or jumping or futurities...but let the poor things grow up first. The world would not end if we banned 2 year old riding futurities and races and personally I'm 100% in favor of that!


I see it time and time again in almost every horse advertisement I come across:

“Hello my name is Diego and i'm a 3 year old Arab X. I trailer, tie, love baths, can go english or western. I have been on trails, sorting and jymcanna, I am a baby so i will need somone that knows how to ride but with a little work i can be a good boy.” – Craigslist

“Foaled March 2005, Great Riding horse, works off leg pressure and gives to poll. currently has been being hauled to shows and time onlys, going to be a great Futurity horse. Smooth gaits. Good stop. Loping barrel pattern. Solid and Sound.Goes on trails by himself, streets,etc. No issues. No Vices. . Don't let this horses age get you.” – Dreamhorse

I know you have seen it too, people who start horses when they are too young in order to make a quick buck.

In various horse groups I am in, I get idiotic posts like these:

“so i'm trying the traditional way of teaching side passing, with a fence, and for three weeks it hasn't helped her learn, she crow hops and rears becuase she's frustrated so i was wondering if anyone knew any other ways of teaching her to side pass, she's only three so i have plenty of time, i just don't want her to get hurt on a fence.”

The above post in and of itself was not THAT bad, but it followed with this response from the same girl…

“i suppose this is my fualt for not stateing this in the first place, first off she's been under saddle for nearly two years, and before anyone calls me a monster she is a draft/quarter x she was 16 hds when i bought her, she's heavily muscled and very strong, never had a sore spot since i've owned her, i've done all her training myself, i've worked with many stallions but she is my first mare, i know the rules of smaller horses, and if i didn't think she was at the right level i wouldn't have started her side passing. although i do appreciate everyone's point of veiw, it is very helpful.”

The fact that these are just SOME examples of what I see daily deeply saddens me. No matter how experienced you think you are with horses, if you plan on riding a horse at the ages 1 and 2, you shouldn’t own a damn horse!

At the Equine Studies Institute (, they dedicate their time to, “fostering higher education in horsemanship.”

One of their articles, “The Ranger Piece,” is dedicated to the timing and rate of skeletal maturation in horses. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest the read. In this particular article, it states that ALL horses mature at the same rate. No particular breed is a slow or fast maturing breed. However, males are slower to mature than females.

You try explaining this to, what I like to call, “The Futurity People.” Those individuals think that starting a certain breeds (namely Quarter Horses) at the age of 1 ½ or 2 is perfectly alright because they think the horse is a faster maturing breed. When confronted with articles like, “The Ranger Piece,” they are quick to reply with things like, “I love my horses,” or “Our horses have yet to have any problems.”

I will stop my rant for one moment to say that a lot of young girls (and some boys) think they really do know a great deal about horses and feel they can train a horse on their own. Majority of the time I see ignorance as the problem with these kids, well – that and parent’s who have NO idea how to take care of a horse themselves, so they let their 16 year old handle it and make the decisions. Ignorance can be fixed with educational information.

Then there are the trainers of the world who simply feel starting a horse out at any age is appropriate because they want to turn a profit as soon as possible. I had a girl tell me that she trained with [insert big name trainer here] and they start horses under saddle at 1 ½ or 2 to get them finished by 3, so if they do it, it must be absolutely right and correct. I will say it now, and keep repeating it again and again and again and again (you get the picture) until people understand that just because some big name trainer does it – it doesn’t make it right!

Again, I come back to the point that a horse’s skeletal structure is not mature enough to start at 2 years old!

Now why am I all bent out of shape about this? I have volunteered a lot of time at various rescues, some for thoroughbreds and some for all breeds. At EVERY rescue, there have been over a dozen horses that were once solid gymkhana/reiner/dressage/jumper/etc… horses. Why are they at a rescue? Because they were ALL lame and could only be used to pasture pals. You try watching a horse that was started too young, lame at 7; have its knees blow out at the age of 8. You watch it writhe around in pain until you can get the vet out there to put it out of its misery. Once you do that a dozen or so times, then you tell me that it is OKAY to start you horse young and cause overcrowding in rescues.

It seems as though the time and rate of skeletal maturation in horses is scientific fact, there are plenty of breeders and “trainers” who feel that starting a horse out young is perfectly alright. Really, if these people were in it for the love of the animal and *not* for the money, you would think that they wouldn’t be starting these horses until they were 5 or 6 years old. If they loved their horses as much as they claim, they would do the right thing and start their horses out at a later age as a preventative measure. And to those who claim that they have horses that have yet to have a problem, how old are they 11 – 20ish? Do you know that a horse’s life expectancy can be over 35 years? How many of your futurity horses have lasted an entire 35 years with absolutely no lameness issues?

Please everyone spread the word that starting horses out too young is NOT acceptable. Educate others, do not support those people who believe that it is alright to chance a horses suffering in the long run just to make a quick buck for themselves!

SS of SS Training Stables

Friday, September 14, 2007

Celebrity guest blogger!

I am extremely honored to present to all of you a guest blog today by the famous Bazzy Boy. If you haven't already seen his web site, you can find it here. If you think I am funny, I just have to tell you, I have nothing on this horse.

As Fugly Horses Go....

Hey Fugly, loves ya site, Dad was telling me about it the other day whist I was pretending to work out with him and I thought, Hey I know a Fugly Horse so I thought I'd send him over. I know your site is not just about Fugly horses but when you know one this Fugly it would be wrong not to send it in.

This here strange fellow on the right is "Bobby" the woofty coloured, no knackers shortarse. He's a TB (Yawn) albeit a very small one :) I just call him "Nobby no-nuts" it sort of suits him.

He's very much into dressage and can often be seen running around the paddock in a tu-tu or three.

He thinks he's pretty hot to trot with the girls and is trying to hit on my girlfriend Cherry by poking his nose in her bum. He's so small he never made it to the track, oh and so slow too. Unlike me of course who is a legend of a racehorse, well sortta, maybe.

I can't make my mind up whether he has a small head or a fat tummy, don't suppose it matters really either way he looks Fugly and stoopid, which might be ok if he had some personality, but alas, no. He's short in that department too.

Anyway if you could pop this on your site so I can get my Dad to print it off and stick it on Nobby's head that would really make my day :)

And if you want some more dirt on Nobby there is plenty of stuff on my website ( cos I'm always hanging it on him for trying to muscle in on my Cherry.


Neeeeiigggghhh! Bazzy boy (and his hapless humans)

p.s Dad wants to know if he can put a link up on my Blog to Fugly horse?
FHOTD in: I would be honored!

I give up...

Good GOD how many you do have??? It's a sea of legs!

Horses Must Go - $250
Date: 2007-09-11, 6:51AM MDT
Selling older mares and geldings unbroke lots of potential just to many all rasied on the ranch. 20 miles west of Caldwell. Beautyful easy drive to see these beautiful animals. 208-861-0683
FHOTD in : I think we should start requiring an IQ test before anyone is allowed to purchase more than 5 acres of land. It might nip some of these situations in the bud!

The HYPP apologist of the day!

Believe it or not, the American Halter Horse Association actually does have a sponsor who intended to sponsor them (as opposed to the other companies that were shocked to find out that they were on the web site). It's a company called USA Embroidery which customizes things like shirts and jackets and caps.

Here's their representative Ric Banks' e-mail to someone who complained about their endorsement of an organization that bars nothing from registration based upon its genetic defects (although he seems to be using someone named Wendy's e-mail). I will let his writing style speak for itself. My comments in blue.

Dear (name),

Thank you very much for taking the time to email us and we have noted your concerns, HOWEVER i also bred and show halter horses and i test every one of them before breeding as do most of the top breeders in the USA and other countries. (You test them but does that make you stop breeding them? There's the question.) Education is a much better tool than slander. (For the one millionth time, it is only slander if it is not true. The AHHA has their rules on their web site for all to see, I didn't make this stuff up about them gleefully registering horses with genetic defects.) The American Halter Horse Assoc. takes pride in promoting Top Quality breeders and trainer. (If by top quality, you mean those who breed HYPP positive horses!) IN ALL events and breed of animals there will always be those sthat do not care and will always do as they please regardless of the outcome. (You're right, but if you bar them from registration and showing, there will be no financial incentive for them to breed genetically defective animals and they will stop. The AHHA is doing the opposite.) Stopping to purchase items from me has no affect on the industry , I am here to educate the pros and cons of the industry, (If you care about the industry, you do not endorse organizations that allow the registration of horses that have been banned from their OWN registry for a REASON) I can help you however are hurting the industry with your all negative ideas (Like that horses shouldn't have to flail around on the ground gasping for air when it's totally avoidable? Why, how very negative of her.) , First find the problem then find the solution, case closed. (We have found the problem and the solution is NOT BREEDING any H/H or N/H horses. However, the AHHA provides a way to AVOID the solution, and you have endorsed them by advertising proudly on their web site.) HH horses are no longer allowed to be used in a breeding program if you had all the fact you would however already know this. (You are the clueless one. AQHA does not allow H/H horses to be registered anymore. Other registries still do, and the AHHA allows them to breed and show with no restrictions.) And not all NH horse show signs, should we put them down because of the lineage? (No, but we should not BREED them and having an association that encourages that is ridiculous.) Do we do that to our children when they have health issues, or defects, I think not, we love them anyway and we care for them for the rest of their lives and beyond. (Um, apples and oranges but if you want to get into a debate with me about whether or not it's ethical to reproduce if you know you carry a severe genetic defect, I'd take the same side I take with the horses.) If given a CHANCE The American Halter Horse can and will make changes to the industry to help promote good and quality breedings among their members. (By their policy that they will register horses with any genetic defect at all? That promotes good and quality breeding?) I AM VERY PROUD TO BE A MEMBER AND A SPONSOR for The American Halter Horse Assoc. (Potential customers: Take note!) This is a group that can make a difference, you ask me why?or how? (No, I don't ask how. I know how they will make a difference - they will help perpetuate a fatal genetic defect well into the future that we could stamp out in thirty years except for people like you.) Because this group is made up of concerned adn caring breeders like myself. (Your concern is touching. It makes me want to tie you to a chair and watch that video of that mare gasping for air while her foal runs around her about 65,216 times in a row.) Again Thanks for your time and i request your spend more time finding answers to the problems rather than writing evil emails, as we know they serve no purpose. (WE HAVE AN ANSWER TO THE's called NOT BREEDING any N/H or H/H horses. It's not like this is a MYSTERY!) Just for the record I work for over 20 years for the State Vet. (No...comment) I know somewhat about what i am writing about..Again Thanks Ric Banks USA EMBROIDERY.( Proud Sponsor of AHHA..)

FHOTD: It's just unbelievable, isn't it? They don't get it. They don't get it at all.

One generation of not breeding these things and the ENTIRE DISEASE would be GONE.

There are no variables here. No mysteries.

Just greedy jackasses that don't want to do the right thing when there's money to be made doing the wrong thing!

Can I make her the official veterinarian of the FHOTD blog?

Geld 'em!

OK, I LOVE her. The part about "proud cut" is freaking HYSTERICAL. She is a woman after my own heart - she does not mince words!

She is SO being invited to speak at our FHOTD convention (which yes, we are still going to do...I'll probably get those details finalized next month but for those of you who are newcomers, we were talking January in Vegas).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An inconvenient truth...about horses

I know this blog entry is going to open up a can of worms and the comments will probably be more drama-filled than the last 2 hoochie mamas fightin' fo' they man Flavor Flav in the series finale...but I'm going to say it anyway, after reading the drama about the vet who doesn't make house calls and the broken down truck on the other thread.


To clarify: there are basically 2 kinds of things any of us pay for with our paychecks: necessities and luxuries.

Necessities are things like rent/mortgage, food, clothing, insurance, car payment if we don't have it paid off, gasoline to get to work or bus/train pass, tuition if we have kids in school, taxes, garbage bags, utilities.

Luxuries are everything else. A pumpkin spice frappucino. A bracelet. Shoes that don't come from Famous Footwear. Bags that don't come from Ross Dress for Less. Extra gasoline for five hour drive on the weekend to see a friend or family member. A playstation. Pokemon cards. Cable TV. Tickets to something. New towels for the bathroom because the old ones are ugly, not because the old ones are threadbare.

When we are short on cash, anything that can be cut out - that does not interfere with our actual survival is a luxury. Therefore all pet ownership, including horses, is a luxury. Luxuries are not just things like Vuitton purses. They are anything that is not a necessity.

When I say this -
read carefully now
, I don't want to read that I said otherwise - I do not mean that you must be wealthy to own horses. And I am not saying that wealth equals good horse care. We've all seen exceptions. However, you must have the financial wherewithal to provide proper nutrition, medical care, equipment and a safe, healthy and clean place for your horse(s) to live or you should not own horses.

I don't think that all horses must live on 40 acres of white-fenced beauty in Virginia. Sure, they'd
like to. I'd like
to live in a Malibu mansion, too. Horses, like people, are not all going to have A+++ standards of living, but some things should never be a compromise.

For example - if your horse needs the vet and the vet cannot come to you,
you must be able to get your horse to the vet, even if that means paying someone else to haul him. This is totally not negotiable
. If your budget does not provide for this, you are not providing responsible and acceptable ownership.

Another example - if you are going to own a stallion, you must have appropriate stallion facilities. While some stallions do fine in hot tape (some really do!), if yours does
not and has broken out, you must be able to provide something more sturdy, panels for example, to keep him confined. It is not responsible horse ownership to let him get loose and run around the neighborhood. What if he runs out in front of a car and the driver dies? You absolutely must be able to confine your livestock and the law requires
that you do so.

Extreme vet bills are a tricky topic. I really do understand someone choosing euthanasia over a $5,000 colic surgery. I do, and I don't judge that person. The horse doesn't know or care that he's not going to be alive next week. He is just not that advanced a creature. Euthanasia puts him out of his pain, and that's all he cares about at the moment. What I do not understand is
calling the vet, like that asswipe in Florida who tried to bury the colicking horse still alive.

Almost everybody who is not Paris Hilton will go through
some point in their life where money is tight. Maybe you lose a job. Maybe you get a divorce. Maybe you get sick. Life happens. There are OK ways to economize during those periods and still keep your horse and be responsible. Most horses can go barefoot. Most can live comfortably in the right pasture board situation, with safe fence and a herd that has been put together intelligently to minimize drama. No horse is going to die from the yearly tooth floating being 6 months late, or his hooves going 3 months instead of 2 between trims. It's not ideal care but it's not abusive. If you have to cut costs for a while until things improve, I get it.

However, when money is tight, there is absolutely NO excuse to produce more horses! For god's sake! They don't just fall from the sky!
STOP BREEDING and you won't HAVE so many mouths to feed and you won't BE so broke. ALMOST NO ONE MAKES MONEY BREEDING HORSES, in case you somehow didn't get the memo! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE THE EXCEPTION TO THAT RULE!

I am so tired of hearing the excuses about why you have to ditch all of these horses when you are the one who made them happen. And common sense will tell you that horses sell better in the SPRING, not in September. If you have any doubt in May that you will be able to afford hay all the next winter, put them up for sale OR get off your butt and get a second job while you still have time to earn the money. Don't sit on your butt and la la la keep letting your stallion breed everything on the property. Don't wait 'til October and then beg someone to buy them because you can't afford to feed them, especially when you have them BRED. That just makes me, and everybody else, want to clock you one upside your stupid head. (Yes, we understand it is not legal to do so. However, in my opinion, it should

The showing question is an interesting can of worms because I think everybody here agrees that showing on the breed show level or the A/B level is
extremely expensive. It IS. Training is expensive, good training is hard to find. Merely purchasing a saddle good enough to go to the breed shows with is several thousand at the very least. However, I've said before that showing isn't the only thing that counts to me. There are other forms of competition/performance/use that are equally valid. I'd rather breed to a stallion who cleans house at the open shows than one that isn't broke. Or goes to local team pennings or barrel races and comes home with a check. Or spends his days chasing cattle as part of the team on a working ranch. If you can't afford to show, what about a video of your stallion being ridden on your web site? Just something
that shows that he has a talent other than impregnating mares. You can do that, and it will not break the bank.

Everybody finds it challenging to balance their budget and horses are a very expensive hobby. If you are reading this and think other people just have more money than you do, it's generally not true. I'm a typical horseowner who has a decent income that is pretty much totally annihilated by my horse expenses. A big vet bill will send me to Craigslist to hunt down some freelance work. I can't remember the last time I only had my full time job and no other source of income. I'm not bitching - it's a choice
I make in order to afford horses. If I got rid of the horses, I could sit on my butt all weekend and shop for cute shoes and get my nails done. But, we all have our priorities. And no, I don't expect you to put your horses above necessities for your kids, but when I see people make those remarks, it proves my point that your budget is so tight that you probably can't afford horse ownership period, much less breeding. A lot can go wrong with breeding. Mares have bad deliveries - they tear, they have breech foals, they NEED the vet. Mares who are not ultrasounded may be carrying twins and mares are not designed to pop out twins with no problems. Something is probably going to die - could be a foal, could be both and your mare too. There's no excuse for that to happen. It's 2007, not 1807.

In closing, you don't have to make $200K a year to afford horses, but you do have to honestly look at the budget you do have. If you can't keep up with basic care - hoof trims, deworming,
quality feed, supplements as needed, safe fencing, adequate shelter - or if you can't afford to call a vet and have to just let something suffer, you are overwhelmed. You need to either sell some horses or increase your income by getting a better job/second job or cutting back on some other luxury like canceling your cable TV, and you absolutely need to STOP BREEDING.

This isn't being mean or elitist. It's just being realistic.

P.S. The other thing about some of you who refuse to admit you can't afford horses? You keep stiffing barn owners and trainers and farriers and hay suppliers and
that is just a shitty and unconscionable thing to do
. Those people are all working hard to earn a living and they don't deserve to have to waste their time chasing you for money and getting stableman's liens on your horses and taking you to court and trying to collect on a judgment when it's obvious that your assets consist of fifteen fugly, ribby, wormy, untrained Araloosatekes, a mobile home, a collection of velvet based works of art and a broke down 1972 F-150. Everybody in the horse business has had to go to CASH UP FRONT and a TRUST NO ONE policy because of people like you. You're ruining the business for everybody. STOP IT.

All right, those of you with no reading comprehension skills may now begin ranting about how I hate poor people, and I'm an elitist bitch, and I'm probably fugly and the reason I don't have a bunch of rugrats to complain about having to take care of is because no one would want to have sex with me anyway...have at it. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You know where you can stick that?

I don't know if this is a genuine Parelli TM carrot stick but I do know this guy got EXACTLY what he was asking for!

Mexican truckers blocked by Senate...

Good news!

For those who wrote Congress and complained, it worked! This is a very positive step in curtailing the trafficking of horses across our borders to die a horrible death in Mexican slaughterhouses. If you read the TB Friends blog, you know that many of the slaughter buyers these days are illegal immigrants and killing horses is a very lucrative business that is easy to conduct under the table.

Kudos to the Senate for making the right call!

Blogging: Sometimes it is not such a good idea

Every once in a while, you come across a blog that makes you shake your head in wonder and think "you probably shouldn't have shared all that on the Internet." An alert reader sent me one in which a BYB details her backyard breederifficness in all of its glory...and it is a doozy!

Here's her stallion, who she is very very proud of. Now, what did your eye jump to first? If it wasn't the nontraditional, ha ha, attire of the "trainer," I'm guessing it was the horse's godawful crooked front end. Does he neigh or quack? Yes, he's a cute horse. He'd make a darling gelding. But of course, he isn't one. He's instead popping out so many babies that they have their own blog.

(Again, I will stop making fun of the NFQHA when it stops attracting so many backyard, color obsessed breeders like this one.)

Allow me to share her own story of Mr. I Need To Be Gelded's 2 year old year:

"As a two year old, [horse name] developed quickly, learned he was an intact stud and got all hormonal on me. Oyyyyy, Veyyyyy! He was a Mess! Although he would listen intently, he would still do things just to irritate me it seemed. Like break out and go visiting the neighborhood. And break down the fence so he could visit the mares here. He was really making things difficult and every morning, he was not where I put him at night. He learned quickly that he could take down the gate that separated him and the mares, or he'd just plow through the fence like it was a string. So the bugger got all the mares pregnant here, even one we had actually hoped he would get pregnant. [horse name]. My husbands mare that had a hard time catching and keeping. Seems she'd catch, then abort by the 5th month. So we were really surprised to learn that she was in foal at her 9th month in April of this year. "

Oh, where do I even BEGIN?

* Yes, the horse was breaking down the fence JUST TO ANNOY YOU. He must be related to that horse in Texas who gets hurt in the fence because he wants drugs! You are a moron. He was breaking down the fence because your fence sucks and he was full of hormones because you are too stupid to realize he's not breeding quality and geld him.

* So he got everything on the property pregnant? Hell, he probably got some of the neighbors' mares too. Glad you're not MY neighbor. (Isn't it amazing how fertile low quality stallions and high school boys are? It's like a cruel joke of nature.)

* You were SURPRISED to learn she was in foal at NINE MONTHS? Do you people ever call a vet? Ever? Do you think that might be a good idea when you know a stallion had been running loose? Ever hear of pregnancy checking? Ever heard of ultrasounds? I'll wait for the sequel blog, "Our Little Memorial Page for Gracie's Twin Angels." Of course you are so dumb it will probably be on Marestare for all to see, like that other dipshit this year. (Edited to add: Apparently the mare either was NOT pregnant or lost the foal by the time a vet finally did see her. Wisely, the vet told them not to try breeding her anymore. I guess that'll hold as long as the fence does!)

* Here's another brilliant thought. Did you KNOW that when mares get accidentally bred, you can call out the vet and get them a horsey abortion? It's true, you can! For those of you who think there's something morally wrong with that, most of you EAT baby animals, so don't start telling me it's not OK to terminate a mare's pregnancy a few days in.
Of course, the blog goes on to cheerfully report that the first foal was out of a grade mare. Who here is surprised? She goes on to say she wishes she had more mares JUST LIKE that one because everybody liked that baby! Well, hey, I'm sure more JUST LIKE that one are at the local auction...probably going to be selling for $50 by Christmas.

Also unsurprisingly, Breeder of the Year also thinks she is Trainer of the Year. Of course she has her young stock doing silly NH type stuff, but with the added element of danger to make it more exciting. And I quote:

"Now in this picture, I had set up some boards to similate a "bridge" of sorts. They are not nailed down, which would have been the best way to go, but it is freakin HOT out there and I was being extra lazy...At first she was tenative to put her foot on there, she'd put one up, then take it down, then the other, and so on. Each time I praised her heavily. I could see she was up to the challange and really wanted to please me, so she actually walked accross these loose boards about 5 times total. Sorry the picture isn't centered, I was tripping on one of the dang boards. LOL "

Oh yeah. LOL. That's just freaking hilarious.

Sadly, she is not alone. This is her friend's cremello stallion, which OF COURSE was left turned out with every single thing they owned (What, a young stallion will breed when you turn him out with mares? No shit! Who knew?) and now has impregnated the fugly Morgan-Percheron cross at the right, which they want to sell anyway because she is aggressive and beats the shit out of other horses (as detailed on the blog).

OK, here's a good game. Can we predict what the baby is going to look like? Well, he is cremello - so that means we are going to get a buckskin, right? He's got a straight shoulder coming from both parents. The mare has a better neck and neck attachment, but both have a low set neck so that'll be on track for sure. Baby might get daddy's "nest," I sure wouldn't be surprised. I'll predict the baby follows the parents with a short croup, goose rump and high tail set. The head is a crap shoot - he could get mom's hammerhead or dad's foundation QH head with the cute ears. Then there's the disposition question. If it's a filly, bet you anything it has the same alpha hell-beast attitude as Momma. I've seen that many times!
Guess we will have to keep reading the blog to find out the answer...of course they'll probably both make their blogs friends-only after discovering that, OMG! - Anybody on ther Internets can read what we write! Not just our friends! OMG! OMG!