Thursday, November 29, 2007

It won't take no ridin' to get that hair off of him!

My comments are in blue...and properly capitalized.

"LAST PRICE REDUCTON (or what? You give up and geld him? One can only hope.) EXCEPTIONALHORSE $2,000

HE HAS BEEN RIDDEN SEVERAL TIMES HE JUST NEEDS THE HAIR RODE OFF HIM" (Eh, if you want the hair off him, that shitty fence ought to do the job just fine. I can see a bunch of it hanging on there already!)

"HE IS VERY GOOD NATURED. FERIER HAS NO TROUBLE WITH HIM, (farrier farrier FARRIER, it's not that fucking complicated, use a dictionary if you're that confused!) TAKES BRIDLE, AND SADDLE VERY WELL WE HATE TO LET HIM GO BUT HE NEEDS SOMEONE TO TAKE HIM AND GIVE HIM A JOB HE WOULD BE HAPPIER BEING RIDDEN EVERY DAY (and living with someone who doesn't have such shitty, dangerous fence. He'd really think that was awesome!) ANY QUESTIONS CALL anytime OR EMAIL US"

FHOTD in: This horse is a good example of the fact that you gotta have eyes, too, and not just look at a pedigree like you would a car. I mean, bloodlines-wise, this is a well bred horse. If all I saw was his pedigree, I might think "sure, that could be a breeding quality stallion."

However, we have other information here - like the pics, which show that he's back at the knee and has a fuuuugly neck. There are some very nice things about his conformation otherwise - he's got a nice hip, a good shoulder, he's deep through the heart, not downhill and well balanced. Despite being of halter horse breeding, he has good pasterns. He'll make a very cute gelding and for the price ($2000), somebody ought to have had the brains to have gelded him already. Folks, there should never be a $2000 stallion. If it's worth $2000, it's not a stallion. Stallion quality weanlings are $5000+ in any breed. I've never seen a good adult stallion selling for less than $7500 minimum and usually more. If you can't get that kind of money for them, that right there is pretty much a foolproof sign that what you have isn't breeding quality and you ought to lop its balls off.

But before you spend money on that...for the love of all that is holy, replace the goddamn fence. When I see babies behind barbed wire, and I think of all the godawful, disgusting, bloody, pussy, proud-flesh, permanent injuries I have seen on babies turned out on barbed wire, I want to fly to Missouri and chase you into the fence a few times so you can see how it feels.

Hot tape - $30 a roll. If you are too damn lazy/cheap to replace that fence, sell your horses and get cows which is what that fence was designed for. Then at least you can barbecue them when you can't sell them despite your "last price reducton!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Discussion: True Horse-Related Confessions

In case you're wondering, I'm home sick with bronchitis so I'm going to be a posting fool until I recover enough to go back to work! (Anyone with a great cure for this, please feel free to share. I'm hacking up my lungs and I can't get enough breath to push a wheelbarrow, which is really interfering with my life.)

So here's tonight's discussion: What's your true (horse-related) confession? What would your horsey friends give you shit about forever if they only knew?

Here's mine. My friends who read this blog are going to laugh so hard they'll choke but...every time I go to an Arabian show, I think it would be kind of fun to have an Arabian just to get to go in Native Costume.

I love the blingy outfits, and you get to gallop around like a fool. It looks like fun. They don't do anything that fun at the hunter or the AQHA shows. At least not in this country.

OK, my secret is out - what's yours? Are you harboring a secret desire to own a driving mini? Or do you sadly admit you really DO want a Gypsy Vanner? Or, even though you think his training methods are retarded, you think Pat Parelli has a nice ass?

Now's the time - pour yourself a drink and 'fess up, we're all going to look silly together!

What's wrong, er, not wrong with this picture?

I am starting to think we need to take up a buy people ATV's.

Clearly they should not have horses, and equally clearly, they are self-destructive and trying to qualify either themselves or their child for a Darwin Award. So why don't we take the equine misery out of the equation and have Santa bring them a brand new, "easy flip" ATV?
Heck, we can have a contest where they can write 500 words about why they are too stupid to own living animals and therefore really need an ATV!
(You can click on the pic to enlarge it)

Need a winter project?

You know, like cleaning the crawlspace with your tongue? That might be more pleasant than working with one of the twenty seven unhandled Arabs and half-Arabs these absolute morons in Utah have managed to create and are now dumping. Here's the ad copy:

"My parents just told me they are going on a mission. They have 27 horses "pets" that now need to find new homes. These horses have little or no training done on them. They have been around humans but really haven't been worked with. They range in ages from weinlings to 11-12 years old. They are arabian or half arabian. There are mares, geldings and studs. Some are registered. NONE are rideable DO NOT ASK most are barely halter trained so experienced horse people are needed. We have until January to get rid of them any offer will be considered. They are located in Duchesne County. We will be having an open house/auction starting at 10 am next weekend Dec 1st weather permitting. So bring your trailers and come get them. We will give these horses away if we have too to find new homes for them. Call for more information. P.S. For those of you who feel the need to judge, critisize or otherwise be mean. Please keep your opinions to yourself this is not a message board. We know what the situation is we don't need your nastiness."

Here's the link for all of you who don't wish to obey Christy and keep your opinions to yourself!

Hey, Christy? Your parents are irresponsible fuckwits and from the sound of you, you're no better. TWENTY SEVEN HORSES did NOT JUST APPEAR. They were not dropped into your parents' backyard by terrorists! Surely SOMEONE had a clue that they did not have time or knowledge to work with horses BEFORE there were twenty seven! Do you even know which studs fathered the weanlings? Have any of these horses ever been near a trailer? How the hell are you going to sell them? Maybe the ad should read "bring your tranq dart gun!"??? And now they have to be gone by January? And "some" are registered but some aren't? Let me guess...the older ones are registered, the ones who just, whoopsy, happened while your selfish, idiot, bottom-feeder parents owned them aren't registered? How close did I come? Right on target, I'm guessing!

How DARE you tell people to keep their opinions to themselves. You know who is getting those horses next weekend? THE MEAT MAN. Those "pets" are going to die in a Canadian slaughterhouse and it's YOUR PARENTS' FAULT because THEY SUCK. They collected 27 horses, did nothing with them, and now they are on a "mission" to get rid of them?

Are you ashamed of yourselves at all?

Do you even care?

Did any of you stop to think how this situation was going to turn out? Did you think that maybe the Training Fairy was going to visit overnight and break out those horses so they could be good for something? Or maybe you were waiting for a visit from the Gelding Fairy! Or maybe you're just so goddamn stupid that you liked watching the pretty Ay-rabs run around behind the house and did not care if more were born, at least until the price of hay went up.

I see this daily and I never get any less angry about it. As far as I'm concerned, Christy's parents need to be tied to a chair and be forced to watch as those horses are slaughtered. Maybe then they'd "know what the situation is," because right now all I see from that ad is more delusion that somehow there are "good homes" for twenty seven Arabs that are wild as March hares. Lalala, this nice man came and bought them all, lalala, he said he would sell them to children, lalala, I am sure they will love that, lalala, he had a really big trailer so I'm sure it's a good home...

*head explodes*

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hope springs eternal!

"We try to keep alive the Love and harmony between Horse and Human and so doing so hope to breed Perfection."

Ah, hope. The thing that allows me to believe I may still meet a multi-millionaire who will feel compelled to buy me a state-of-the-art equine rescue and rehabilitation facility. Frighteningly enough, a review of today's subject shows that hope is somewhat more realistic than this breeder's hope that they will ever achieve perfection.

They title their farm a "western pleasure and performance horse stud." OK, so do they have a western pleasure horse? Well, they have a medicine hat Paint stallion and they were able to mount him the first time after working with him for, and I quote, "half an our." Now, "Paddy is now being ridden at a walk around our small yard learning western pleasure."

In case you need a look at their advanced training methods (or their lovely fence), there are plenty of pics! Yes, the search for perfection definitely includes a 4 year old stallion built like a yearling, doesn't it?

Here's an idea: Part of the path to perfection involves hoof trimming. Really! Look at the toes on that poor mare. Yeeek.

Here's our heroine. Let's just call her Princess Dumbass. The Princess is pictured "breaking out" one of the fugly yearlings she created. Yay! Now it can both be fugly AND crippled. That's definitely another important step toward perfection.

The Princess is quite sure she knows how to create "western pleasure and performance" horses. She has a fugly Paint stallion and she's breeding him to the following: (a) grade Pinto pony mare (b) hideous nasty Standardbred mare (pictured below) (c) nasty little short-crouped breeding stock Paint and (d) dun AQHA mare. Ah, Princess. You are to horse breeding what Britney Spears is to child rearing!

Here's today's lesson on the FHOTD blog: The love and harmony between horse and human doesn't have a goddamn thing to do with good horse breeding! Someone who hates animals could do a good job horse breeding if they simply sat down and did the research and learned about conformation and genetics and bloodlines. Conversely, Princess Dumbass, the fact that you loooove your horses and that grade pinto is your "soulmate" (wonder what your husband thinks about that?) does not make you a good horse breeder, or one who has any chance of attaining perfection. You are breeding shit to shit and making MORE shit. Why? Why? Why?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seven games I can totally get behind!

Funniest link ever.

Do you have to wind them up with their tail to get them to do that?

Before I even begin this topic, I want to clarify that I have no experience with dressage.

Well, actually, I have kind of a funny story about it. I was riding at a barn that had both indoor polo and h/j/dressage horses in Chicago in my late teens. I became pals with another girl around my same age. She had an amazing big dressage horse. I would ride with her on the 14.1 hand Appendix QH polo pony I was taking care of. We were buddies even though she said things that made me roll my eyes at the time, like "you shouldn't get on from the ground, it's bad for the horse's back." (Admittedly, with age and experience, I have accepted that there probably was a kernel of truth to that, although I'm guessing that launching my 19 year old 112 lb. self onto a 14.1 pony mare was probably not throwing her spine out of alignment). Anyway, she thought the polo ponies looked like fun to ride, so one day she asked me if I wanted to switch.

Sure! Why not?

Well, all I can say is that someone should have been videotaping. I had never ridden anything but polo ponies at this point in my life. I had no leg, because you only use your leg in polo when you want to turn or go faster, and a lot of polo ponies overreact to any lower leg contact at all. I had never ridden on english-style contact. I pitched Big Dressage Horse away and rode with my lower leg off of him and he was hopelessly confused. He wouldn't go forward, and he started bucking. Meanwhile, my friend on the little polo mare said HO and got a slide stop that nearly pitched her over the neatly pricked set of pony ears in front of her.

We quickly elected to switch back! And that was my experience with dressage horses. For years, I rode at various barns that had some dressage horses boarded there, and while there were some exceptions (and I did ride a really awesome, happy Hungarian Warmblood mare some years down the road), I started to see a theme: Pinned ears, swishing tail and an overall unhappy look on the horse's face. Oh, they might be doing absolutely beautiful maneuvers, but they were pissed. They rarely got turned out. They stood in their stalls and snarled at passers-by. The barn help were afraid of them. They had a lot of lameness issues, they had a lot of back problems. I'm not saying all of them, don't have hysterics now, but to the eye of a casual observer with no dressage training, a lot of them simply weren't happy horses.

In the past few years, I've learned that even among dressage riders, there's a huge amount of debate over training methods. Apparently a lot of people who do dressage do not care for the pinned-ear, cranking tail, death-grip-on-mouth look either. In fact, there is a name for it - rollkur. Now seriously, how educated of a rider do you have to be to see that these are pissed off, unhappy and physically uncomfortable horses? I've taught 10 year old kids who would be able to recognize the look on this horse's face. When I hear that Anky whateverthehell got her ass bucked off, I think good for the horse. I'd buck you off too if you cranked on my face like that in a double bridle. (Before you all have a shit fit that I made that comment, yes, I think she is a beautiful rider, far more talented than I will ever be, and I've seen some video of her rides where the horse doesn't look unhappy in the least...but I've seen others where the horse looks like it wishes she would fall off so it could stomp her dead.)

A story from another board - I'd love video of this. Anybody got the video?

"This makes me think of a discussion I read recently on another forum where I go to remind myself just how stupid people can be. The discussion was about Anky's horse freaking out during an awards ceremony and not only did he spook and bolt, he would NOT stop and she could not stop him and was yelling for help even as he ran into the band that she had steered him into hoping they would stop him...and finally a mounted policeman stopped him with the police horse. So the argument on the forum was all about how everyone's horse might bolt in those circumstances, and all kinds of ridiculous attempts to defend the number one dressage rider in the world who can't even stop her horse where's she's supposed to in her test, much less stop him if he's on the way to killing innocent bystanders. "

Again, I am not a dressage rider. But if the people riding in the Cavalia show can accomplish movements like passage on horses who are not wearing bridles at all, it stands to reason that it is not necessary to pull something's jaw off in a double bridle to do it, right? I will say, those Cavalia horses looked perfectly happy doing it. I never saw a tail crank or an ear lay back. Feel free to enlighten me - why exactly is it necessary to crank the horse's jaw into its sternum to win the Olympics? If you think you can explain/justify it, please comment. Or if you are a dressage rider and think it's crap, feel free to say that, too!

I mean, come on, would you want to do this with your chin?

This is one unhappy horse. So are these.

What I think is funny is that I know the folks who do this (hehe, I'm picturing them having a cow that someone called them "folks") can probably rag all day on AQHA training and how unnatural the head set is. Um, this is just as unnatural and if you think about how a horse's spine is built, way more uncomfortable for the horse than peanut rolling. (Yes, peanut rolling is stupid too...but really all the horse is doing is trotting around with his head in the grazing position. This overflexed bullshit does not occur in nature. A horse would never choose to do this unless you were holding a carrot between his forelegs!)

Now, I have to give the FEI some credit. They are holding workshops and trying to figure out how to deal with training methods that may be abusive and may not be in the horses' best interest. However, when they say that they need "A more detailed definition of what is to be considered as abuse is required, e.g. stress factors, pain or discomfort," I can solve that one for them. Just trot 'em out for soundness at the end and have a good vet and chiropractor assess them. Disqualify them for soreness. Everybody will figure out how to train without it in a big hurry if you do that! It's like in AQHA...when they started dropping bits in the classes, voila, it pretty much solved the illegal bit problem! Nobody likes to look like an asshat in public, no matter how much of one they are in private.

Now, before you all think I'm just anti-dressage...absolutely not. In fact, one of the riders I've seen that I'm most impressed with is a dressage rider. I know many of you have already seen her videos on Youtube, but if you haven't, go watch. Watch the absolute softness and lack of any temper this girl rides with. She is clear, consistent, has beautiful balance and as a result has been able to work through problems that I have a feeling a lot of the "Big Names" would have dealt with using a quiet call to the horse dealer.

Those of you who are so inclined may now commence having hysterics that I'm a lot more impressed with a 19 year old kid than Anky whatsername...hey I bet this girl knows how to stop a runaway without screeching for a man to save her!

I've always been a horse-centric rider. I want the horse to be happy and comfortable and willing. I'm a hell of a lot more impressed with someone who can accomplish that than with anything else in the world. I love riding, I'm grateful that horses allow us to ride them, and I want them to enjoy the experience every bit as much as we do.

Every time I see people making horses miserable because of money, or fame, or ego, it makes me want to puke, and I don't care if that's a pleasure trainer tying a horse's head up over a rafter or a race trainer running a lame horse trying to make back someone's investment, or a Big Name Trainer on a horse who has that long suffering look of a child star with a pushy mother.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Buy our farm and get six head of horses FREE!

OK, I was going to wait 'til tomorrow to snark but then I saw this positively painful ad.

I was looking at properties online for a potential retirement/layup facility tonight and I found this absolutely classic ad. Could these horses be more fugly? Not to mention wormy and generally like they haven't seen a vet in their sad little lives? But hey! Buy the farm and you get them for free, too!

"Turn key horse ranch or farm includes six head of horses. Enjoy remarkable views of the Clockum and incredible sunsets over the west. 200 acres includes year round stream, two wind turbines that generate income with the PUD, horseback ride, hunt, snowmobile, four wheel off of property. Elk, Deer and Chuckar roam this amazing property."

It's actually a darn good price for a whole lot of acreage, but I'm tempted to write the realtor a note and point out that 6 horses cost around $600 a month to feed right now, minimum, so she really should be offering a discount to the person who buys the farm and agrees to keep these sad little creatures fed and cared for.

Seriously, people...for shame. You're just trying to ditch your herd of fugly to someone who has more money than sense and has some kind of fantasy about buying a bunch of acreage and living their wild west dream. Someone who is not a horseperson and does not understand they are not going to hop right on these critters and ride off into the sunset. Someone who thinks these poor little things have a value. These horses are going to wind up nowhere good, the way this is heading. :-(

I'm thankful, aren't you?

Happy Thanksgiving! I know I'm late but I have been busy entertaining the previous owner of one of my retirees, who is visiting from out of town this weekend. This morning he is coming out and his girlfriend has decided he should have a new experience and help scoop poop. Hee hee, I love her, she is a hoot!
So here's the late Thanksgiving post:
I am thankful to all of you who have written in to tell me that you purchased colts-that-shouldn't-be-colts and promptly whacked off their testicles, and now they are geldings who are loved and cared for and snuggled in safe this cold winter morning with custom blankets and a job to do and who, despite their conformational imperfections, will never, ever go without.

I am thankful to all of you who have a "lifer" (or more than one) that you will never abandon. A horse that you will keep no matter what, the horse for whom you'll eat ramen from the dollar store all month before you buy crappy hay. This is Tex. This is what Tex's mom has to say about Tex: "He is 22. I am 25. I got him when he was 5 and I was 8. Yes, usually I would NEVER suggest anyone this young get a young green horse (green and green make black and blue!) =]
but I was ALWAYS under capable, adult supervision. I grew up with this horse, and through the years did everything from western pleasure to eventing. He is still a solid 3rd level dressage horse, but will also pack around a young child or a complete beginner. He is the best school horse in the barn.

He came up for sale simply because he was standing in a field doing nothing. I paid for him myself ($400.00) and I worked all summer at a local barn cleaning stalls and tack. (Granted, I was too little to dump the wheelbarrow, so my mom helped me with that part!)

I've been offered ungodly amounts of money for him, but people always got the same answer: I would sell my house and live under a bridge, WITH my horse, before I sold him
Well, bless you...Tex has a lot to be thankful for today, and every day, because of you.

I am further thankful for those of you who rescue...those of you who take your own money and time and effort and use it to clean up other people's messes. You take money that could go toward a nice vacation, or a massage, or a pair of absolutely killer shoes, and instead you use it for beet pulp and tooth floating and corrective shoeing for a horse who was not even yours until he was already broken and elderly and someone else had abandoned him.

Here's the story on the guy above: "Here are some Before & After photos of my beloved old T-bred. I found him at a so-called riding academy, being leased to 2 trainers for lessons. I was not planning on buying another horse but I couldn't walk away. I knew they would find him in his stall dead in a matter of weeks. When I purchased him (yep and according to the owners I got a real bargain for $1k), the wife told me he looked considerably worse when he first came to their so called academy. Unbelievable. He was in full retirement the second I signed the check, so no more lessons or riders. Just constitutionals and lots of playing. He even gets massaged on a regualr basis.To make a long story shorter, the major probelm was poor dental care -he had 3 rotten molars and no worming. (not rocket science) The molars came out, proper feed and supps and he started putting on weight. I ran his lip tattoo, which put him at 28 (now 29) and a great/great/great/great/insert more greats) grandson of Man O War. He has a forever home now, and will live the life of Riley until it's time to cross the Rainbow bridge.The before photo was taken 9/06 when he first arrived. The after was taken Feb 2007."

I am thankful for all of my friends, many of whom have also given up the luxuries they once enjoyed and instead spend their money making horses comfortable and happy. Some of the rehabs they have accomplished are nothing short of miraculous. If I live to be 100, I will never understand how my friend saved this horse - but she did. He is 30 years old. He has few teeth left. When he started eating again, he pooped gravel and bits of glass and pieces of old clothing that he had eaten in a desperate struggle to stay alive. When I saw his first pictures, I did not think he could be saved - and thankfully I was wrong. Now it is a year and a half later, and he is happy and fat and babysitting my 8 month old weanling. I honestly think that somehow they know when someone is pulling for them, no matter how awful they feel.
If you take great care of your horses, and you only breed quality horses there's a market for - if you breed at all - you are my heroes. I wish you were a little more contagious. I hope we find a way to make that happen in the coming years. Thanks for reading and I promise the snark will be back tomorrow, for those of you who hate it when I get mushy. For those of you who love mush, go read TB Friends today...I guarantee you will cry (but it's a happy ending).

Happy Holidays!
P.S. I heard we got a mention in Horse & Rider. How cool is that? Thanks, folks at Horse & Rider!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For anyone totally mystified by what a quality horse looks like...

Here you go! Holiday special on Craigslist. I am sure it is just adorable. And it is supposed to look like a yak! :-)

Baby Yak

Reply to:

Date: 2007-11-20, 10:33PM

Lilly is a beautiful, 6-month-old baby female yak that is exceptionally friendly from bottle feeding and handling. Well bred from a great bull and mother. Will only sell to qualified buyer.

Location: Issaquah

Sorry...Internet troubles again

No Internet last night at home!

I love you guys but I'm not logging in 350 posts on a spreadsheet on a Treo. Even love has its limits. :-)

Hope to get this resolved soon. You may resume sending evil, evil thoughts to CenturyTel, which has not yet supplied me with a requested modem in TWO MONTHS AND SIX DAYS NOW.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm taking requests today...

With all of the horses in trouble with winter coming and skyrocketing hay prices, I thought now would be a good time to start a thread with horse requests. Are you looking for a horse? Is someone you know looking for a horse? If so, please post exactly what you are looking for and your location and give an e-mail contact address. If you know how to do a HTML mailto link, that will work - otherwise I'm sure everybody knows how to copy and paste.

I also think this will be highly educational regarding the horse market. I bet we are going to see some real patterns here for what you want to buy and can't find to buy!

So here's what I need for a friend:

In SoCal or nearby:

Draft cross or big built horse that can carry weight - big bones, solid feet, short coupled.
NO MOTOR. No motor AT ALL. Likes to plod along on trails. Very happy doing that. Extra credit for a nice jog.
Would not take off running if a truck drove by with a cheetah wrapped in a tarp and fighting to get out, capische?
Does not have to be highly educated. Just good basic trail broke with no motor and no soundness/health issues.

The home is the one we all want to sell to...fabulous care, 100% safe, light trail riding only, a decent piece of land for SoCal (you know what that means, but at least the horse won't live in a 10 x 15 pipe corral all the time), excellent nutrition, excellent farrier. Just can't find the right horse. If you have it, e-mail me.

OK, what does everybody else need to find? Maybe we can do some matchmaking here!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hey! Decorum!

Did you guys manage to get that little QH-Morgan colt? Inquiring minds all want an update!

If it's in my 263 unread e-mails, just post it here anyway, would you please? It's momentarily not raining and that means I've got to go do real life horsey stuff instead of blogging!

Also, the rescue that was going to try to get the mare who fell out of the trailer...any update on that?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Genetics: It's really not like playing roulette!

There will always be someone who will argue with you forever that they got the BEST BABY EVER out of their fugly mare or sired by their fugly stallion. They have 50 stories at their disposal about how the best breeders get all of these crappy cull babies and you just don't see them because they ship them to slaughter and never register them. (This practice exists, but it's not that widespread and if you're having a "whole bunch" of culls, clearly you're not one of the "best breeders" to begin with) They have 50 more stories about superstar horses that came from humble roots.

(BTW, if I hear one more person use Teddy O'Connor as a justification for breeding grade horses I am going to throw up...THE DAMN PONY IS MOSTLY THOROUGHBRED. THAT'S WHAT HE IS. 3/4ths THOROUGHBRED! The fact that he is 1/8th something off the wall (Shetland pony) is NOT TERRIBLY RELEVANT. He's a pony with a big jump and a lot of heart, good for him, that kind of athleticism is impressive and admirable, but he's MOSTLY THOROUGHBRED. He is not proof that your Appawalkeresian is EVER going to be good at ANYTHING. And by the way, that pony was bred by one of the top pony farms in the business...people who are VERY knowledgeable about conformation and movement and show their horses and know what can perform and what the judges are going to like. It's like COOKING. If you put ME in the kitchen with a bunch of off the wall ingredients, I sure as hell wouldn't recommending eating what came out of there. Rachael Ray, hey, she'd probably come up with something tasty. Some people are experts and can get good results with slightly unconventional beginnings, MOST people AREN'T. **end of rant**)

OK, back to what I was saying...They use this repetoire of bullshit to defend their breeding program, which seems to consist of breeding Crap to Crappier - a breeding program predicated solely upon what someone gave them for free, or what they could pick up at the auction for less than $300. And often involving the justification "but he/she has such a good disposition!"

Let me enlighten you. The vast majority of horses, if they live in your yard and are not asked to do anything more than eat carrots and get petted, are going to have a good disposition. It is actually quite rare for a horse, particularly a horse living on turnout, to be a snarling demon beast. Most of the crabbiness I've seen is among stall-kept, overgrained and overtrained, sore, sour and pissed off horses. Often it's horses who have an undiagnosed health issue like a sore back or ulcers. Wouldn't you agree? Disposition is important, but without conformation and athleticism, it is not a good enough reason to breed.

All right, let's start with a great example of how excellence equals excellence. Here is a really nice black and white tobiano APHA stallion. Note that while he is a halter champion, he has a great shoulder, good pasterns and can move freely from the shoulder. He has points in, like, a zillion events. Significantly, HE STAYED SOUND to get a zillion points - which to me is a HUGE reason to breed to him. If you want soundness, start with soundness. He has a lovely neck with a clean throatlatch, a cute head with little foxy ears, and overall he's just extremely balanced and nice. Unsurprisingly, so is his filly. Look at her - she got it all, the balance, the shoulder, the hip, good bone, nice neck, cute expression and little foxy ears. This filly has what it takes to have a bright future ahead of her. A horse with good conformation like this can be suited for a wide variety of events, and that really helps it find a great home for life. As I've said before, a versatile horse can learn new events and disciplines with his owner. His owner doesn't have to pass him along when they decide to try something new. We talked about horses we have as "lifers" and a common theme was the horse who could change along with the rider - the horse who transitioned from showing to trail riding when the rider got sick of showing, or from jumping fences to team penning when the rider wanted to try something new.

Now let's look at the opposite!

A friend sent me this yesterday and my first reaction is WTF is THAT? Yes, of course, it's a stallion. Why, you might ask? Yes, I think we are all asking that question. The best I can tell, this is because it happens to be a "double homozygous black and white."

LISTEN UP: TOBIANOS ARE NOT THAT SPECIAL! It's not like it's some rare color you can market just off of that. The kill pens are FULL of tobianos. I honestly cannot find anything about your stallion that is OK. Well, hmmm. Maybe his front pasterns are decent? Hard to tell. This is, bar none, the worst neck that I have seen on a stud while doing this blog. Then we have his back end, with his sickle hocks, crappy hip and tail set on like an Arab's. And I have to say one thing for him...he is shockingly prepotent. Almost every baby on the site looks JUST as bad as HE does. Look at this one! It's his little twin. It's going to grow up and look just like him.

People often accuse me of picking just the bad pictures of a horse. OK, here is a whole different pose on the other side. STILL HIDEOUS.

You know, I will give them this. They did get him broke out and he rides now. OK great. Can you please geld him now? I am sure he is a sweetie and will make a nice gelding. Please stop offering to breed grade mares for only $250. Please stop proudly showing off his grade mares and foals on your web site as though this was something to be proud of.

While you're at it, can you please do the feet on that poor chestnut mare above?

Just out of curiosity, I looked up homozygous yak horse's sire. Is anybody here at all surprised to see that I found he's at the Wal-Mart of breeders...tons of quantity, low prices and no quality! Here is their ad. Come one, come all, come kill buyers. We bred a million of 'em just running the range! But hey! They are cheap! 45 of 'em, GUARANTEED priced between $575 and $975. Come and stock up and start your OWN crappy backyard breeding operation.

Seriously, if we could just stop the "mass production" breeders like this, we could put the kill buyers out of business. There would BE enough homes if not for people like this endlessly shitting out huge quantities of low quality horses and throwing them out into the world to any moron who thinks it's a cute idea to buy a baby.

Since I'm sure some representative of the Lazy Ass Ranch will show up here and have a tantrum, let me ask you a question in advance: Why don't you be responsible and change it to Pick a Gelding Day? If they're weanlings, they're old enough to geld. What exactly is your justification for not only breeding so many horses in this market, but also letting your culls - and if that critter above isn't a cull I don't know what is - go out into the world able to breed?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Spinoff: An entire farm full of horses who need to be upgraded!

I've said before that I don't have a problem with a rescue also having a breeding operation. Let me give you a hypothetical example of that:

Let's say Gretchen Jackson, who we all know has done a lot to stop horse slaughter and is a great, loving and caring owner, with boatloads of money, decides to start a Thoroughbred rescue. Every rescued horse gets all of the care they need to return to health, training and evaluation and is placed in a carefully screened home - she shows herself to be a textbook perfect rescuer. Gretchen goes to a horse auction and rescues a skinny mare who looks like death. A tattoo search reveals that the mare is a stakes winner of over $250K. The mare is conformationally correct and sound -she just fell into the wrong hands. Gretchen rehabs her and decides to keep her as a broodmare. She receives excellent general and reproductive care and lives on a beautiful facility. What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. Lucky mare, as far as I'm concerned!

Where I take issue with rescues breeding is exactly where I take issue with anybody else breeding...when they are breeding mixed breed fugly crap that is likely to need rescuing itself. "Indelusion" on my message board found this sterling example of what NOT to do and I'm sharing it with you all today!

Here we have your typical, low end breeding stock Appaloosa. She has an upright shoulder, a long back, a "nest," and all the muscling of a housewife who spends her days on the couch watching the Oxygen channel.

Here is her sale description - it includes almost everything I bitch about here - breeding crappy grade horses, not knowing if mares are pregnant because you are too damn cheap/ignorant to call the vet, ditching horses because you can't afford hay, even though you bred MORE HORSES which is why your damn hay bill is so high, blah blah...

"Brood mare only
15.1 hh. 20 years old. Brown/Black. Good weight .Good teeth.
Solid black Appaloosa mare (branded but no papers ) may be in foal to my Arab
has had 8 foals all coloured. We are retaining last filly from B&W clydie sire.
Both her filly foal and the Arabian stallion "Reverence" are here on view
we are cutting right back so we can cope through this summer."

It is interesting that now you have the mare on your sale page, when it still states on your rescue page that you are going to be keeping her

In case you were wondering what the Arab might look like, here ya go. Yes, he's kind of a cute little shit, with the emphasis on little. We are breeding grade Araloosas why? I just saw one in the "canner" pen at Moses Lake. I could have sent you that one and saved you the trouble, and that one was leopard spotted!

No comment on the lack of tack and the presence of spurs on the unbroke three year old Arabian stallion. The Darwin Award was invented for a reason.

Here's a view of the stud's conformation. Again, he is kind of a cute little shit but he SCREAMS "geld me, please!" His shoulder is as bad as the mare's and the hip/croup could not possibly be further from the Arabian horse conformational ideal if he were a sheep.

In fact, I am not sure he is a purebred Arabian. I can see no verification of that on the page. What do you Arab experts think?

Here she is "teaching Rebel to rear on command,
as he spent too much time with his front half in the air anyway and 27 is a bit old to fix, so i worked with him instead of fighting him"

Do ya think he might stop rearing if you took the long shanked bit out of his mouth and tried riding him in a bitless or a plain snaffle? Just maybe?

I wonder if there is an extra special gold merit division of the Darwin Award? I mean, she certainly gets the most points for trying to qualify!

But hey, she's out of the rescue business: "I will no longer be rescuing any horses, due to our lack of finances from
the drought and loss of over $600 per rescue once they are rehomed or sold on to a new "for ever" owners."


She's parent of the year, too. Here's her kid barefoot in the foal pen, sleeping on a foal. Because that is safe/healthy. You know it.

Isn't it amazing how consistent they all are? I mean, 90% of the subjects of this blog have the same quality of horses, same unsafe handling practices, same weird sense of what is "cute," etc.

Remember my recent comments about how you can overload a horse and it has nothing to do with being overweight? Well, here ya go. Everybody in this picture is at a normal, healthy weight. Slim, in fact. But FOUR of them PUT TOGETHER is WAY past the 20% of body weight that a horse should reasonably be expected to carry.

It's not okay, and I don't care if you "just did it for a cute picture." Subjecting a 1000 lb. horse's back to a 400 lb. load isn't cute, to say nothing of the danger for the kids. You are not the Flying Wallendas. Stop with the theatrical asshattery.

She breeds minis too. Didn't you just see that one coming?

Classic example of horses who need upgrading. You know what? She feeds GREAT. She has fattened up some rescues VERY well and she DOES get points for doing that. I am thrilled they get to eat now!

Unfortunately, she is:
1. Creating horses who there is no market for. Horses that are likely to need to be rescued in the future.
2. Doing the opposite of "improving the breed."
3. Encouraging dangerously bad habits that will give the rearing appy a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse if her finances continue to deteriorate and she has to get rid of him.
4. Allowing, encouraging and participating in unsafe behavior around the horses that is likely to result in human injury, horse injury, as well as horse soreness and sourness.
5. Breeding more horses while she admits it will be a struggle financially to feed the ones she has over the summer. BREEDING MORE MEANS YOU HAVE MORE TO FEED! It is no better of a money making scheme than a MLM. GET A CLUE!
And that, for those of you who are new and don't get it, is why she is today's FHOTD topic!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

*sings* He ran calling...Clinton and Stacy!

Because this is just the "What Not To Wear" of Horse Sales.

Wildfire, a Thorougbred, looks embarrassed in these well he might. The first page is titled "Wildfire and Scary Things." Are the scary things her pants, her turquoise saddle or her form over fences? I'm thinking all three!

Man, that Wildfire is some kinda bombproof. I'm a human and I spooked at those pants!

Am I evil if I suggest that this needs to be our next "Caption This" picture?
Poor pony. Those saddle horns aren't very flexible.

You know how everybody wants to call a horse they buy from someone like this a rescue? Only it's not exactly that because it was fat and healthy, just owned by someone with highly questionable equitation? Well, I think we need a new term for purchasing a horse just so that it can go to a more knowledgeable home. I think we should call it "upgrading." I.E. "I upgraded that poor Thoroughbred in the ad and my daughter is going to show him in short stirrup next season." Or "I upgraded that poor Arabian that they were gaming while she was lame and my farrier fixed her right up and she's sound and trail riding now!" Or "I upgraded that nice Quarter Horse gelding and, what do you know, he doesn't rear when you have GOOD hands!"

What do you think? We TOTALLY need a word for these situations!

To paraphrase Jay Leno...

Jay Leno once said "It's not that everybody on the Internet is nuts, it's that all of the nuts are on the Internet." Well, sometimes I think the same can be said of the horse industry!

Woman on tractor tried to slam cops, police say


POUGHKEEPSIE - A Union Vale woman was arrested for attempted assault during the evening hours on Wednesday after she allegedly tried to run police officers down with a tractor.

The Dutchess County Sheriff's office responded to 1927 Bruzgal Road in Union Vale on Wednesday evening to assist the Dutchess County ASPCA on a warrant to seize horses from the location, police said.

Upon arrival, Sandra Kistner, 62, became violent and uncooperative toward both deputies and ASPCA officers. Police said Kistner ultimately attempted to run officers down with a tractor.

Kistner was taken into custody. There were no injuries as a result of the incident, police said.

Kistner was charged with first-degree attempted assault, a felony. She was remanded to Dutchess County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or a $50,000 bond.

OK, so apparently this wacko bitch has been running a scaryscaryscary "nurse mare" operation for years and the humane authorities finally caught up with her. So she tried to run them over with a tractor. Nice! If you google her, you can find her ALL OVER the Internet posting like she's some kind of freakin' authority on mare and foal care. Um, maybe she's a pro at starving them - you have to be doing quite the job of that before the ASPCA shows up with a seizure order.

This is a good opportunity to discuss the "nurse mare" industry in general. Early this year a friend of mine lost a mare to a torsion colic when her baby was four days old. We googled and found some kind of "nurse mare network." How great, we thought! We thought it was a service to match up mares who had lost their foals with foals who had lost their moms. It honestly never occurred to us (damn, 30+ years in horses and still naive) that it was an equine rent-a-center, asking thousands of dollars for the loan of a lactating mare whose own baby had been, so they said, pulled off of her early in order to get her into the cash-producing rental string (OK, they didn't say it quite that way but that was the gist of it!). After we heard the base cost, daily cost, additional costs, etc. we decided we would give Little Squirt a try on the milk replacer. After an interesting first evening of syringing milk replacer into a colt that was already showing phenomenal jumping talent by jumping over the top of us, Little Squirt figured out how to drink from a bucket. At 8 months and 13.2 hh, I'm thinking he suffered no ill effects.

Nevertheless, this did cause me to do a little more research into this odd little corner of the horse world. Turns out there are entire rescues devoted to cleaning up the colossal mess made by the less-ethical nurse mare providers. Here's a page explaining how the nurse mare industry works. Here's another. Still more - a pretty good FAQ on this page. And that rescue is actually trying to link up motherless foals with foal-less mothers as a public service, too!

While I'm sure some of our discussion today will be from those of you who have had prior experiences with Ms. Kistner (doubt that's the first time she's chased someone with a tractor), the other thing I'd like to discuss is the ethics of the nurse mare industry in general.

If a foal can be raised perfectly fine on milk replacer and milk pellets, and given that there are other alternatives that do not create an orphaned foal, such as putting 2 foals on a quiet old mare who is a good milker (a friend of mine used to do that every year to get her show mare back in the ring and it worked out fine for the mares and the foals), or actually finding a mare who has genuinely lost her foal to natural it ethical at all to pull apart a mare and her foal just so that some other baby can benefit from natural milk?

Has anyone actually proven that a foal raised on milk replacer will not perform as well as an adult as a foal raised on mare's milk?

I understand how much money is at stake with a high dollar foal, but I still think there are better ways to deal with an orphan other than creating another one. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Craigslist Wall of Shame

Lots of purebred Arabs, cheap (Not handled, of course!)

Cannot afford to feed ponies

Will trade for chain saw!

Buy my AQHA mare this week and I will throw in a lame Thoroughbred FOR FREE!

My horse IS sabino and I don't care what you say!

Take my TB, we are not able to be financially stable (OK, I gotta give them honesty points!)

Can no longer afford fugly badly-built filly who shouldn't have been created in the first place

Can no longer afford skinny gelding and don't e-mail me and tell me how to fatten him up, I'm telling you now, I won't listen!

Got stuck with grade colt because my neighbor was going to shoot him (Neighbor sucks, no criticism here of the actual poster)

Lost my job so I need YOU to pay the rent on my horse sanctuary!

I olso have cheaps miniature for $20.00 each

Moving in 10 days, gotta sell horses, ponies, goats and dog

Scrawny ex-broodmare that kicks, just $250!

Mare with a defored mouth

Very scrawny old Saddlebred mare

Proud cut not for beginners gelding (with my 2 little kids double bareback and helmetless on him)

Hey sporthorse breeders! Mare with half Friesian filly, $1000 for both.

Come get an Appolusa stallion!

He has a really good conformation! (Um actually, he's about a 2 on a scale of 1-10.)

Looking to trade 2006 APHA tobiano gelding for a golf cart

Free foundered mare - Great lawnmower! (Yes, I know, this is just painful, isn't it?)

We want out of the horse business!

Train Horse - needed new home last week

Unsound grade broodmare

Yearling, great for the kids to ride and would make a good beginner horse!

We love her, but not enough to call the vet!

Jeez, this is ridiculous. I could do this all day.

Well, damn, I thought that bump was the beer keg in the back fallin' over!

Horse falls out of trailer; asshat owner doesn't notice.

Check out her feet. They should NEVER give her back!

LOL! When fugly grulla breeders attack!

Someone alerted me to the fact that the breeder of the grulla yak featured here one day is on the attack on message boards. I simply HAVE to republish her comments about me and respond to them. They are beyond priceless. My comments are in blue, as usual!

"This american dont like Grullas thats her opinon there lots of people out there that likes Grullas and Duns,im very partial to Duns and grullas.yea you always try to breed the best to the best and get better but i havent seen a lynch mob like this."

Honey, if you go back to my original post, you will see a grulla that I love and a grulla that I think is pretty good. As a matter of fact, I've always wanted to own a grulla and may buy one someday. However, it will not look anything like your conformationally flawed yak.

"and what gets me is that this american has never seen these horses or met the owners and she attacks them."

You put the picture on the Internet so of course I've seen it. How would meeting you have anything to do with my opinion on whether or not your horse is fugly? Do you think that if only I met you in real life, I would somehow see the light and start thinking your yak is good looking and it should have, like, ten more babies and populate the earth with Quarter Horse-Fjord-Arab-Standardbred crosses?

"theres lots of grades out there that are of mixed blood,there warmbloods that have 2-4 kinds of breeds in them and they sell for the price of your house."

Warmbloods that sell for the price of a house do not look anything like your fugly yak.

Also, they are good at something...typically at the A show level. What, pray tell, is your yak good at?

Warmbloods also have approvals. How far do you think your yak would get toward a breeding career if she had to prove her athleticism and conformation first? I'm thinking not too far.

"and so does the draft x that do have 2-3 kinds of breeds in them."

Lots of them are pieces of shit too. I've featured them many times!

"but what pisses me off about this american she takes a picture and makes up a story about that picture she has no clue"

What story did I make up about the picture? I quoted your ad. You wrote it, not me. We know that you wrote it, because I know how to spell "afraid."

"i have seen pics of her horses and they dont look like a million bucks."

No, they don't. I have frequently noted that my personal horses are mostly fuglies because I rescue. I do have one cute, correct mare. She's produced 3 AQHA point earners, one an AQHYA Champion. And even she doesn't have to breed anymore because she's old and retired now. Has anything you own ever produced a point earner in anything?

"even proffional breeders has a few grades."

OK, "proffional" breeders reading this. Do YOU have a few grades? Are they something that just happen to the best of us, like zits?

"She should work for President Bush......."

As soon as he starts a Commission To Combat Crappy Horse Breeding, I will be honored to serve as its leader! Sadly, that would not stop you from breeding your yak as you're in Canada.

Again, these people don't need me to make them look bad...they do a GREAT job on their own!

If you can't feed it, DON'T BREED IT!

Memo to horsepeople everywhere:


Most buyers want a horse TO RIDE. The last thing they want is a mare that is going to get too pregnant to ride and then pop out a foal which prevents you from doing damn near anything with the mare for the next FOUR MONTHS or more.

By breeding your mares, YOU ARE MAKING THEM LESS MARKETABLE. Basically, you have infected them with a condition that causes vet bills and prevents use of the mare! It's like selling a mare with a freshly bowed tendon, as far as MOST buyers are concerned.

MANY PEOPLE BOARD. Their barns may not even ALLOW foals. And their budget certainly isn't looking for that monthly cost to DOUBLE.

And if YOU can't afford to feed them, why do you think someone ELSE can afford to feed TWO? Do you not comprehend that breeding a mare is like saying "I would like my hay bill to double, please!" Not to mention your farrier bill, your vet bill, the cost of dewormer, etc.? What if you don't get the mare sold, a very real possibility with a low end mare in this market. YOU JUST DOUBLED YOUR EXPENSES, YOU IDIOT!

Low end horses are not like caramel frappucinos...NO ONE is going to get all excited that they are getting two for the price of one!

And it is to you, the author of this next ad, and everybody like you, that this post is directed:

I'm looking for a good home for a registered purebred arabian mare that needs more time/attention/help than I can give her. She has laminitis due to a retained placenta. She's currently on Bute daily for it. Some days she barely limps and others she can hardly walk. I'm also having a hard time getting weight on her. I think she'd recover in a home where she could be stalled at night and had access to a good farrier and a good vet. Her baby is due to be weaned around thanksgiving, so she could be taken after that. My only other option is to have her put down as I don't have enough time to take care of her the way she deserves.

$90 OBO
Yearling POA/mustang pinto cross colt.
Very cute and sweet, LOVES kids and would make a great best friend for someone. There's absolutely nothing wrong with him - I just don't have the time to spend with him and not enough hay to last the winter. Willing to deal for 4H/kids home.

$250 OBO
Morgan cross mare. Exposed to mustang pinto stud for May 08 baby. I can't guarantee it (the stud is sold), but she looks bred. Very sturdy, stocky and an extremely easy keeper. She was very broke for trail riding, but hasn't been ridden in a few years, so she'd need a refresher course. Horses are located south of Mauston. Email for more information and/or pictures. Thanks."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How you can tell if someone's photoshopped their pictures...

Ok, it is not always this obvious but it is REALLY funny when it is! Sheesh, people, could you make your site look more cheesy?

At least this one admits it!

"Nate is a must see. Has beautiful markings and color. Will make a horse person a nice horse. I have absolutly no horse training ability and am not a horse person at all. Didn't realize horses were different than dogs so he needs somebody that knows what to do with horses. I want him to have a good home."

This is a yearling paint colt whose only advertised skill is "stallion prospect." I'm pretty sure I know who is wearing the pants in your family from your ad, and it's this colt. Even as a non-horseperson, you would have had way fewer issues had you removed 2 non essential parts of his anatomy right off! As it is, I shudder to think what his manners are like. I'm guessing his barn name is "Jaws."

Unfortunately, I do not think this is a rare scenario. I think a lot of people get a horse and do not understand that they are higher maintenance and harder to train and way more expensive to feed and that their health is more precarious than that old yellow lab who's been living behind the house for 10 years. Now, dog people, don't get all over me. I know the yellow lab would like some vet care too but the fact remains that you can get away with a lot more careless care with a dog or cat than you can with a horse. Horses colic. They panic. They run through fence. They can be harder to keep weight on. Their feet have a multitude of issues. They are much more complicated to keep than a small pet animal, but people often don't realize it until they've made the purchase and had a rude awakening that involves a painful founder episode for the horse, multiple stitches, or worse.
So here's my question: How should someone prepare to own their first horse? How can they stay out of trouble and enjoy horse ownership if they weren't raised with horses and/or they're a youth whose parents are not "horsey?"

My recommendations would be:
1. Lessons for at least 2 years with a decent trainer. My definition of a decent trainer is: An adult who has trained riders who are successful in their discipline. I know shows aren't everything, but if you have 5 riders out there winning ribbons, it's at least some kind of proof that you can, actually, teach someone to ride to a commonly accepted standard of performance. However, riding isn't all of it. Also pick a trainer who teaches horse care, grooming, etc. - or get involved in Pony Club or 4-H or another group that will teach you those skills.

2. READ! There are a ton of horse books out there. As with books on anything else, for example politics, you will have to read everything and evaluate what makes sense and what does not. However, reading 20 horse books will give you a base of knowledge that will prove invaluable to you. Read books on care and books on training and horse owner's veterinary guides. You will never regret doing this!

3. Your first horse should not be home kept if boarding is an option, even if you have land. It is invaluable to have a trainer or barn manager there to ask if something just doesn't seem right with your horse. Think about it: As a first time horse owner, do you know what good hay looks like? Would you recognize the first signs of colic? How will you know if your new saddle fits your horse? A good boarding barn can really ease your transition into horse ownership. It can also be very hard to get a farrier to come to your house and do one horse, particularly if you don't have an indoor place for them to work, another fact that I don't think most people think about. And if you work traditional hours, a barn that will handle your horse for vet and farrier can be a godsend.

4. I absolutely love it when a horse gets rescued BUT...a rescue is probably not right for your first horse unless it's already been in the care of a rescue that actually rides them and evaluates them. I cannot tell you how many sad tales I am hearing of first time horse owners who gleefully sent off money to get a horse from one of the "feedlot rescues" and quickly found themselves discouraged and overwhelmed with a horse that had massive behavioral or soundness issues (not to mention the horse was overpriced in the first place). Rescuing "unknown" horses is for experienced riders and trainers who can afford to take a total loss on the horse.

All right, those are my tips. What are yours? I got my first horse at 17 and while I was a decent rider at that point, there was so much more that I needed to learn about care, which fortunately I did learn thanks to working in the industry and learning from some really top people. Still, looking back, I wouldn't have sold a horse to me at 17! I'm sure I'm not the only one here who thinks that about their younger self.