Monday, March 31, 2008

Which one of them do you suppose had the back surgery?

I love Craigslist. My comments in blue, as usual!

"Extremely gentle, 12 hand, gelding, 9-10 years old. Used for pony parties but to big for me to put kids up on him. Had back surgery. (You or the pony? Keep riding him and I'm sure he'll need it!) Wonderful gate (is it metal or panel and are the latch and mounting hardware included?), loves to be petted. Prefers children and women to men. (Can't IMAGINE why.) Can take up to 170lbs. (Didn't fall down, anyway. Tough lil shit!) I jumped on just to make sure he wouldn't buck with heavier people. (Because it is easier to buck with more weight on your back!) Used to small children. Doesn't buck, kick or bite. Learning to kiss, takes food out of my mouth. (Come here so I can whap you upside the head) Will take $1,000 rehoming fee. Want someone who will let a child grow up on him and keep him forever. Call if you can give him a good home. Has had West Nile, Influenze combo, regular hoove care, wormed, and current coggins. "

Now, before someone gets their panties in a bunch and says I'm picking on anybody who's overweight, no, I'm not. I'm picking on people who ride equines that are inappropriately sized for them. If you do pony parties, one would think you could have found a conveniently located child to put on the pony for your marketing pictures.

P.S. I think that halter fringey whatsit is just about blinding the pony, also. He might prefer you didn't sell that with him!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Natural selection simply isn't working anymore...

I honestly would not believe this was real if they didn't have an address and phone numbers. I would think someone put this up JUST to be blog fodder and to attention-whore. But no! It is apparently for real. It's just about every single thing I have a problem with...all in the same place. Sorry, Kentucky, but apparently it's pick-on-Kentucky-Day here on the Fugly Blog.


What? A Paso Fino? Why? And what are you talking about? Do you mean she's been tacked up but not ridden? And as they say, it's not like you can be a little big pregnant. I suspect you're belong to a socioeconomic group that can't even spell "ultrasound" much less call the vet out to do one.


Probably the best example of "not stallion quality" I have EVER found to post!


Wow. 30 days broke and you are putting 1-3 year olds on him? Awesome. Would it be wrong to pray for the Lord to smite you with sterility at this point?


Wow. RIP "Dinamite," I am sure I know where you went after that advertising campaign and with that price tag...

OK, if the equine management program here isn't bad enough...


Nobody reading this is even surprised by now, right? You KNEW they were BYB'ing dogs too, right?

I'm not done...

While you all know that I'm pained by the spelling just know they were trying for "Phoebe" and it was too tough for them...but it pains me far more that this poor cat will pop out litter after litter until she dies. No wonder she is covering her eyes. That is not a future I would want to look at either!

Hey, I normally support freedom too...but in this case, forget it. I want these people and all of their animals sterilized immediately.

Entitlement Mentality Gone Wild!

"This is not a thoroughbred farm. We don't have millions of dollars," Maness quoted Sharon Clagett as telling animal control officers.


Instead of seizing animals and bringing charges, the government should help people by finding and providing hay, Maness said.

OMFG! Isn't it bad enough we've created a gazillion welfare witches in this country by handing out paychecks for breeding children you cannot afford to care for? Now you'd like to do the same for irresponsible horse breeders?

I hope both Clagetts rot in jail. Maybe they will actually learn something from the experience, though I am not holding my breath.

Repeat after me:

Horses are a luxury.

You do not have to own horses.

You certainly do not have to breed horses, and should not even consider it if you are financially unstable.

You do not have a RIGHT to own horses. Check the Bill of Rights. Horse ownership - not in there.

Acting like someone else's tax dollars should be helping feed your SEVENTY horses is ludicrous. There's a reason we have criminal penalties for neglect. Look in the mirror, you're it.

A great update on the no-longer-starving Arabians in Alberta

I just received a great update on how things are going with the 100 rescued Arabians from the Polish-Arab-Breeder-Gone-Wild in Alberta, Canada. I know this is going to make everybody's day, so I couldn't wait to post it. For all of the naysayers who say that slaughter is necessary and that the equine community will not step up to care for these this. It is a great example of the fact that the good horsepeople really can and will step up and give freely of their time and money - at least as much as they can. We can never clean up all the messes in the horse world, but we will clean up what we can.


I know you and many of your readers are currently curious as to the state of the horses that were seized and found to be severely neglected in Northern Alberta. I was lucky enough to be contacted by some good friends of mine, and it turns out the lady who is rehabbing more than 94 horses was actually my first instructor. Her stable is not far from me, so of course we went out to help.

I just want to say I am so glad that everyone raised so much awareness with this. I just went out yesterday afternoon, and there had already been more than 50 (!) people out there helping out. Feeding, mucking, grooming, tracking markings, making notes on personality, etc.

As for the horses, they are doing a completely 360. When most arrived here, they were sorry looking things. Ribs everywhere, wormy bellies, bald patches from lice, matted manes and tails, runny noses... It was hard to imagine what they would look like after some care. Some looked in real bad shape. Unfortunately, they've lost two to date now, but it could have been far worse.

Most of the colts got their balls cut off just the past day and they are working on getting the rest done. Of course, the boys still think they are hot stuff and keep trying to show off to the mares on the opposite side of the fenceline. Silly boys.

Everyone has been putting on weight, and most noticably have been the full grown mares. My jaw just dropped the other day. All but about four of the mares still had ribs showing when I went out just this past Monday (March 24). After having their feet done many of them have shown a major attitude improvement as well. They were also de-wormed when they had their feet done. Now, I can only see about 8-10 that DO have ribs showing. The rest have really bulked up. Some of the bloated looking bellies are gone now too.

So many great people are coming out and just being with the horses, which has further improved their attitudes. Several horses will now willingly approach people, and the other younger ones are learning from these brave ones and coming up closer and closer each day. Some that were too wild to even think about getting an identification collar on them (to record their number. Each are assigned numbers) are now pocket ponies. The sad eyes seen all around are gone now, and they are eagerly starting to play. Just yesterday the whole herd spooked and went for a nice run around the paddock. Many of the horses were kicking up their heels and looked so great.

Here is a picture of the worst case of hooves that was on the property. She had to be tranq'ed slightly to get them off, since they had grown out so far that the blood supply had also gone further out into the hoof. She is doing much better now, although still tender. She's currently housed up in the indoors with the miniature horse that was with these horses as well.

The adoption process is still far off on the horizon, but all the help pouring in is doing great good for such a bad situation. The horses are much happier now (who wouldn't be?!) and their personalities are really starting to shine. So many are sweet and gentle despite what they've been through... I would not hesitate for a moment to adopt one. The oldest mare out there (by the vets guess) is only 16 years. They look far older than they are. Many of them will likely return to being sound with some more care and attention. They are a little smallish, but they are well put together. Not great, but not all are as fugly as you might guess.

Just wanted to keep you updated!

Here is the website set-up by Susan Fyfe Details will be announced here once the horses get closer to being adopted out.

First few days after arriving:

The herd yesterday:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Discussion: The point at which you say, he's just NOT for sale to YOU

An alert Fugly reader found this gem posted to her local classifieds:


Hi everyone,I am looking for a very cheap horse or foal! I would preferably like to bring up my own horse and train it (so nothing over 9 thats not trained) but am willing to look at something that is trained and for sale for cheap!! my price range is from free lease - $150 - $500 at max!(and a payment plan would be great as well!!) I can offer this horse a great home and lots of attention!! please no horses with lameness issues! I don't have a proffered sex,breed, or color just something that I can love and spoil!! If you think you have what im looking for please send me an e-mail as I would really like a horse before summer comes!! Thank you


You know, even if she had all of the money in the world, just reading this, there is no way any horse of mine would go there. I doubt I need to detail all of the potential problems revealed in one simple paragraph (folks, really, you are what you write...this is a classic example) know exactly what I'm objecting to here. And, as with many things, it makes for a good discussion.

For those of you who buy/sell or have sold personal horses in the past, have you turned down a sale because you did not feel comfortable with the home? I'm not talking about rescues where all homes have to pass muster. I'm talking about those of you who are in it to make money - where do you draw the line? Do you draw a line? Tell me specifically what you've seen someone do/heard someone say that made you say, I don't need the money that badly...they are just not getting my horse.

P.S. For those of you also in the PNW...OK what is with the weather? We had hail today. I got a lot done anyway but I am tired, look like something the cat dragged in and my hair is sticking straight up. I got through the Old Broodmare Deworming Rodeo (why are they all so darn beastly about it? Seriously, is it because nobody ever deworms their broodmares or what? My 23 year old was just a nitwit about it.) and tried to work with my three year old, but he had the attention span of a gnat due to the weather outside, and while hunt seat pads and polo saddles are fine, we determined that western saddle pads are vicious and will eat him. *sigh* Horses, gotta love 'em...

Friday, March 28, 2008

TGIF! What are your weekend plans?

Enough serious stuff! Spring is here, the weather is getting better and I'm guessing most of you have some horse-related weekend plans. What will you and your horses be doing this weekend?

I am having lunch Saturday with a horsey message board friend I've never met before IRL. I may be helping her with one of her horses in the future, and didn't realize she lived so close by until recently.

Sunday, we are toying with going to a schooling show. We have green horses that could use the experience but we also have plenty to do at home so that's still up in the air. I have been busy, busy, busy grooming the heck out of everything - most of mine are shedding enough to stuff a mattress, and I am still working on the recently-acquired OTTB broodmare's hideous fungus-laden coat. Hoping for warm enough weather that I can give her a proper bath! You know Thoroughbreds, if water touches her skin and it's under 60 degrees out, I am sure she will shake, shiver and basically make me feel like a horrible horse abuser for getting her wet. :-)

Speaking of Thoroughbreds, there is an absolutely amazing story on the COTH board that you should all read. What a horse and what a lucky owner to have the honor of having her in their barn!

I think I may start putting up a rescue horse needing a home every Friday, since it seems like a number of you are shopping. What do you think? And no, don't send them to me - I'm gonna pick and choose from what I see on the Internet. I already have 500 unread messages. This mare's been on the blog before, because she was a spectacular rehab, but I see that she is still looking for a permanent home. She is in Indiana with Friends of Ferdinand and is a 28 year old TB mare who is still sound for light riding. I have a thing for red TB mares anyway and this is a lovely, high quality mare who would dress up anybody's pasture. If you're in Indiana, and would like to know more (they have younger ones too), check out Friends of Ferdinand.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A few words about ostriches

I have mentioned the TB Friends blog here before. I don't know Joe personally, but he has been doing a very good job educating the public about horse slaughter and the perils of giving away horses for free since long before I came up with the Fugly blog. His blog is G-rated and suitable for kids, unlike this one, and his readership is full of people who aren't so sure they wanted to be educated - which is all the more reason the education is needed!

Joe was kind enough to give the Fugly blog a mention today and I just want to say that I appreciate everybody who is spreading the word about slaughter, and responsible breeding, and not giving away horses for free to people who "seem nice." We cannot say these things too much. We need to say them to our friends, our neighbors, even people we think may never own a horse. We never know how our words may impact a life.

(Much as I'd like to one day, I can never meet Joe, unless we do so in neutral territory like a Starbucks. If I ever went to Joe's ranch, I guarantee you that a half-dozen small senior TB mares with snuggly personalities and snips on their noses would follow me home. The first step is admitting you have a problem...)

So this brings me to the point I wanted to discuss...what do you do about the people who want the world to be all sunshine and roses, who do not want to hear about ugly things like horse slaughter or the reality that nobody thinks their Clyvandazteca foal is cute except them? The folks who stick their heads in the sand like ostriches and say, oh, that would never happen to a horse that I bred! I sold those babies to such a nice lady. Yes, I've never heard back from her again but it's ok, I am sure she is busy and maybe her Internet isn't working and, come to think of it, that phone number she gave me never worked, but gosh, I just had a good feeling about her when I met her and I know those horses are loved!

I got into the stupidest argument ever with a pro-slaughter person on Craigslist once. She ranted at me that she had her previous horse euthanized and she was never going to do that again. It was horrible, she told me. It was sooooo hard on her watching her horse die! Next time, she was totally going to take it to an auction.

(I am serious. So was she. It scared the hell out of me, the selfishness inherent in those statements. I felt like saying, were you raised by wolves? What kind of parenting produced someone who thinks that makes sense?)

But I don't think that lady was all that unusual. I think a lot of people, when confronted with an animal that has a physical condition guaranteed to get worse, or behavioral issues they don't know how to fix, just want the animal to disappear so they can pretend it had a "happy ending"...somewhere else, somewhere where they don't have to pick up the monthly expenses. They don't even want to know what happened to it. I have a friend who's an animal control officer and oh, the stories she tells.

I have a friend in Los Angeles who cannot hear about an animal who has been abused or neglected. It freaks her out to hear the details. However, she has numerous rescues and they receive outstanding care. OK, fair enough. You do not have to hear the details. This is different from the person who cannot hear the details because they themselves may have been guilty of putting an animal in that position. The latter kind of person needs to hear the details - it may be the only thing that stops them from repeating the behavior.

I have probably wandered a little bit this morning but my question is: How do YOU deal with ostriches? What has worked for you? What hasn't? Honestly, sometimes I think the ostrich is harder to educate than the person who was raised on a farm where if it ain't workin', ya shoot it. At least the latter kind seems to soften up with age and exposure to more evolved horsepeople. The first kind, you can't even talk to them, so how DO you educate?

By the way, I know a lot of Joe's readership is 10 years old, and I do understand that when you're 10 years old, the last thing you want to hear about is horse slaughter. I will say that I wish I had known about it earlier than I did. I grew up riding at - and giving plenty of my mother's hard earned money to - a lesson barn that shipped their old horses to slaughter. It makes me sick. I wish I had known, or at the very least, I wish someone had told my mother, so we could have taken our money elsewhere. I found out about it when I was 15 or so and they shipped my favorite horse, for the unforgiveable crime of being lame for a whole three weeks. The riding instructors, most of whom were barely in their 20s themselves, were furious - and they told a bunch of us the truth. I was frustrated and angry and called the owner's bitchy girlfriend/barn manager and reamed her out. She of course told me that I was kicked out of the barn if I ever talked to her like that again. And that was that.

Pictured today is Macart, barn name "Samantha." Sam was a 1973 Thoroughbred mare who ran 93 races, mostly low level claimers, and produced four registered foals. In 1992, her owner defaulted on her board and left her starving in a pasture in Iowa. She was sold to a dealer, made her way to Wisconsin, and in probably the luckiest moment of her life to date, trotted across the arena she was turned out in and caught my eye. I bought her the next day, 30 minutes before she was headed for an auction. She was emaciated and pus ran from her eyes and nose. Her attitude made it clear that she had long since learned not to expect much from the human race.

A few years later, Sam and her new owner, Sherry, were end of the year champions in Short Stirrup Equitation in our local h/j circuit. Sam never took a lame step, never wanted for anything again in her life, and died a peaceful death in the pasture at age 25.

I didn't want to hear the truth about what happened to my old friend when I was 15. I cried my eyes out. But I suspect that incident had a lot to do with the fact that I grew up to become the person who saved Samantha, and other horses. Sometimes we have to hear things we don't want to hear in order to become the people who will change the future, who will be angry enough to get off our butts and make things different. If you're one of those people who doesn't like to hear about the ugliness in the horse world, I hope you'll think about that. And if you're a kid who's upset and frustrated that you can't do anything yet - just wait. Your time will come and your help will be needed, and I'm glad so many of you are out there just waiting for your turn.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More people the horse business doesn't need...

From the article:

"It used to be I could take a horse that is unbreedable, untrainable, injured or unwanted and sell it for anywhere between $200 to $700," says Sheila Harmon, who has bred Arabian horses in Eagle, Idaho, for 28 years. "Now I have to pay a euthanasia fee to a veterinarian and a disposal fee to have the animal taken away."

A ban on selling animals to a meat processor will "drive another nail in the coffin" of her business, Harmon says.

Ms. Harmon's web site is here. She has a stallion for sale for FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, yet is pissing and moaning about having to pay for euthanasia and disposal.

Sheila Harmon, you're the kind of person I sincerely hope anti-slaughter legislation drives out of the horse business. You need a new hobby, one that does not involve living creatures.

Hey, I wonder if you are the breeder who dumped my friend's (obvious to my eyes) Egyptian mare that wound up at a feedlot in Yakima waiting to become a steak? Look familiar?
(P.S. This mare is available for adoption now. Goes hunt/western, intermediate or better rider, sensitive and kind, lovely ground manners. No history of course - some asshat dumped her. E-mail me if you want info.)

Craig, I'm sorry, your list is getting too weird even for me...

Looking for a good spoonin' horse

Reply to:

Date: 2008-03-21, 1:34PM PDT

I'd like to rent a horse for a couple of hours this weekend.
I won't need a saddle or anything, I really just want to spoon with it.
I'm not even sure if horses lay down, but if they do, I'd like to pencil in some stabel time for some horse spooning. Please let me know if this is possible. I just want to take a nap with it for a couple of hours.

thank you,


Fugly, fugly, fugly horses of the day!

For those of you who hate it when I diverge into discussions on training and ethics and that kind of's blog is for you. An alert reader has found a veritable warehouse of Fugly Horses for our viewing, um, pleasure? And of course - you guessed it! - there is a "partial dispersal" sale going on with prices starting at just $450! FORTY HEAD are available. Forty head just like these...

Yes. It's a stallion.

The breeder proudly proclaims "He is homozygous for the tobiano gene (he will never produce a solid foal), and homozygous for the black gene (he will never produce a sorrel or chestnut foal)." Well, I am not surprised you are bragging about that because I can't imagine what else you could say about this critter that wouldn't make your nose grow. Downhill, goose-rumped, short fat neck...blech. And of course we did not bother to clip him up or wash the white parts for the pic. Does he pass on the nasty yellow urine stains to his foals, too? (Hint: Don't stand your filthy tobiano up next to your very white vinyl fence. The comparison makes him look even dirtier.) He does have a nice shoulder but that's about all I can say.

When I see a front end like this, I say to myself "poor guy, someone really ran the shit out of him on the racetrack." In this case, bzzzt, I am wrong. He is only green broke and only 6 years old and his front legs look like that! Not sure if he is just that way or someone really f'ed up on the nutrition as a baby, but either way, not what I'd keep a stud. Also a good example of weak loin attachment. Better neck than #1 but still not a pretty one.

Again, we are bragging about color, color, color here - he's black! I guess that is why they think he is worth nine thousand dollars. No, that is not a typo. They honestly think their green broke, over at the knee stud is worth 9 grand. *headshake* Oh, did I mention he is that ever-so-desirable 14.3 size? Black green-broke hony - just $9,000!

While I will say that this palomino three year old stallion is a huge improvement over #1 and #2, I just about swallowed my tongue and snorted hazelnut iced coffee out my nose when I read the price. FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. With 30 days of cutting training and 65 days of reining training on him (yeah, he's not three until JUNE...good job y'all ruining his legs, I love it when people do that). Now, for comparison's sake, for $40,000 you can buy a gorgeous Holsteiner mare who is a finished jumper or a 17 hand AQHA gelding with THREE Superiors or a gorgeous Oldenburg mare who's a finished eventer or (sticking to the same disciplines), a stallion who is ALREADY a World Show qualifier with an extensive record in reining and cutting. Why is old yeller here worth $40K with NO show record? Come on!

If that wasn't enough for you, you must see their APHA Mares Page. I was going to feature one of them here, but I couldn't decide on which one. 90% of them are screaming to be barren trail horse mares, and the other 10% are not photographed in such a way that I can really see what they look like. A bunch of them are ribby. Honestly, they look like they were collected for about $500 each at auctions all across Texas and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that was their history. After all, with such great stallions, why spend money on quality mares?

OK, I changed my mind. I have to show this one. Check out her topline. Do you think you might have a weight issue here? Just maybe?

*sigh* Another day, another forty or fifty head of completely unremarkable horses being dumped...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Field of Starvation...another breeder bites the dust

This was forwarded around the Internet last week:

Subject: [RC] FREE HORSES QH & PAINTS- KY Contact Glenda....directly. NOT ME. Info from the KY Horse Council: There is a breeding herd of Quarter Horses and Paint Horses in Breckinridge County that are hungry. The owner is struggling to provide feed for the 55 horse herd and wants to give away about 25 horses. The herd includes stallions, mares, and young stock of various ages. Some of the stallions in the herd are Breeder's Incentive Fund stallions. Please note: the horses are not trained and do not have current coggins. If you would like to give a hungry horse a home please contact the breeder directly: Breeder: Glenda Wright Phone: 270-547-3000 (h), 270-617-0022 (c)Email:

*sigh* Too many horses? Check. Can't feed 'em? Check. Didn't lift a goddamn finger to train them? Check. What else is old. The place is called "Field of Dreams." Well, no shit, it's obvious it's not the Field of Reality and Good Planning.

So I did a little research. Glenda, according to the QH Directory, has FIVE stallions. Why do you need FIVE stallions? I guess so that you can breed lots of horses YOU CAN'T FEED. The stallions are Kys Command Finale; Kys King Fritz Too; Kys Nu Chex To Cash; Mo Poco Leo; Reminics Magic. Here's one of the products of her breeding program pictured at left. While I have to say he certainly does not appear to be starving, when you breed something with this back end, you have to ask yourself: What am I doing wrong? It does not appear Ms. Wright ever asked that question, and instead kept on breeding until she had 55 horses she was unable to feed and apparently equally unable to sell.

Here's a filly Glenda's had up for sale. It's out of a grade mare. WHY??? Why did you breed a grade mare? She is by your stallion so I can only assume you're the responsible party here. And WTF is that out with the babies, an old kitchen appliance with sharp edges? Awesome.

This is a cute filly but lots of cute fillies grow up to be awkward 2 year olds and wind up packed into double-deckers. Now she is for sale for $500. Or more likely free. Sure hope she still looks this curvy!

Ah, apparently that was the appliance department up there. Now we're on to the used car lot!

People! Your horses do not belong turned out with all kinds of crap that they can get hurt on.

This is a 2006 colt. Why it is a colt is anybody's guess but my money is on "no money to pay for gelding." God knows it's not stallion quality. It was $1500 in the ad but I am
guessing that it's now free!

You guessed it - another stallion. Bleah. This is everything I don't like about the low end of foundation bred QH's. Nest? Check. Long? Check. No hip? Check. Basically just looks like some little grade horse off an indian reservation.

Look at all of these damn horses. Everywhere. Not trained, my money's on haven't seen the farrier in way too long. No, nothing is starving in the pictures but is anybody surprised they are starving now? I just do not understand how people keep popping out dozens of horses, failing to sell them, and fail to understand that they are creating a huge problem someone else will have to clean up. You know, if you had a widget factory, and you realized after a few months you couldn't sell the widgets, and they were just piling up, wouldn't you have enough sense to change your business plan? In ANY other business, you do not see this stubborn refusal to accept that there is no market for the product being produced. It's just the horse business where people plow merrily forward making more and more horses without a thought to the reality of training and marketing those horses, or even if a market exists.

Someone asked me this morning how, how, how do we educate and make this stop? Beats me! I really would like to sit down with someone like this and pick their brain, see how this happens, but I have a feeling I know what I would hear...they have great bloodlines! Their father was worth a kazillion dollars! I paid a lot of money for them! What it comes down to is that you really have no business breeding if you can't also supply training. Unless you are breeding something so rare and special that they all sell prior to weaning (and really, who is doing that consistently?), you need to be able to provide training. If you're a middle aged person with a lot of fear about handling young stock, and you are not successful enough to be able to afford outside training, maybe you need to accept that breeding is not for you. Really, why can't you people find a different hobby? Something that does not involve live animals? C'mon. Beanie Babies! Breyer Horses! Troll Dolls! Something else. Anything else.

Wouldn't molasses on the bit have been easier?

An alert reader sent me this actual Darwin Award nominee. I wonder what happened to the poor horse?

I really think a minimum of two years of regular riding lessons that include instruction on safe horse handling and horse care in general should be mandatory before owning a horse - both for the sake of the prospective owner and the horse they will buy!


(8 March 2000, Nevada) On Thursday afternoon, 29-year-old Andrea was working with her young and spirited Arabian horse, which she had won in a lottery the previous year. The animal was only partially trained, and still a bit spooky. Every time Andrea tried to don its bridle, the horse threw back its head and frustrated her efforts.

Then Andrea had the brilliant idea of tying a rope around the Arabian's head, and fastening the other end around her waist to keep the horse from throwing its head back. That way, she would have both hands free to fasten the bridle.

But horses are 500 times stronger than people, according to Deputy Sheriff Lance Modispacher, who reported that the horse spooked again, threw Andrea off her feet, and began running around its paddock, dragging its erstwhile trainer by the rope around her waist. And the rope was short, so she was trampled right under the horse's feet as it ran.

Her father noticed the commotion and ran to help. Unfortunately his two dogs came with him, and started chasing the horse, nipping at its heels. This did not improve Andrea's situation. He finally managed to lock the dogs away and fetch a knife from the house. With the help of a neighbor, he chased the horse down and cut the rope, freeing the lacerated lass.

But Andrea had already spent ten minutes under the hooves of her horse, and she died a few hours later at a local hospital, a victim of internal injuries and head trauma, the result of her lamentable decision to tie herself to a skittish horse.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Follow up on the double-decker accident horses from last year

First of all, good for the Longmeadow Rescue Ranch people. They have truly done a great job rehabbing these horses. If you aren't familiar with the original story, here you go. That's the rescued pregnant TB mare with her baby at left. Now for some parts of the article I'd like to comment on:

“It’s not the bigger breeders doing most of this,” said Don Treadway, an executive with the American Quarter Horse Association. “At the bottom end, it’s hard. You can’t regulate it. You get ol’ Joe down the road who has a stud and someone else who has a mare and they want to raise a baby. You get a lot of unwanted horses that way.”

OK, Don? The bigger breeders are doing a lot of it because ol' Joe is producing A BABY but some of your big ranches are producing FIVE HUNDRED BABIES. While neither is right, I am sick of AQHA's defensiveness about the big ranches/breeders. No one needs to make 200+ foals a year. NO ONE. Seriously, how many people have the staff or money to ensure that more than a couple dozen foals get properly socialized, trained, dewormed, feet done, etc.? The fact is that most of these big ranches are doing things on a shoestring and that stuff is not BEING done or it's being done half-assed (cheap feed through dewormer ring a bell?) These days, it seems like more foals than not get a bad start in life. The less socialized they are, the fewer homes are available for them. How many horse owners really know how to deal with a weanling or yearling that is wild as a March hare? Or want to?

"Almost everyone involved hopes that eventually the market and plain, old common sense will serve to diminish the excess numbers."

I hope one day to have a black Jaguar convertible, but I am not holding my breath. I still say the only thing that will diminish the excess numbers is social disapproval of overproduction and dumping horses for less than meat price. Most human behavior is controlled by social pressure (and or fear of reprisals from the deity of your choice, but at this point it's too late to put "stop breeding crap horses!" into the Bible...although I've heard a number of good interpretations about the responsibility of stewardship that I like - it just never seems to be interpreted that way by the folks breeding Gypsy Spotted Vandalusians and thinking their breeding operation is blessed by the Lord. But I digress...)

“We don’t recommend or prefer slaughter,” Treadway said. “But is it AQHA’s business to find a home for every member’s horse when they’re done with them? I don’t think it is. Maybe some people will contribute to a managed facility with the right requirements. But I don’t think there’s nearly enough resources to take care of 100,000 horses in 2007 if the slaughter bill passes.”

Translation: There ain't no money in finding homes for horses when people are "done with them" but there is a LOT of money in registering the new ones they create to replace the ones they just dumped off at the auction. If the AQHA doesn't recommend or prefer slaughter, why doesn't the AQHA come out against it and tell owners on their main page that they have a responsibility to their animals? Ooooh how scary and controversial...

Not that AQHA is the only problem here, it's just that it seems like every time someone at AQHA opens their mouth, something stupid comes out. Remember Tim Case suggesting that the only people opposed to slaughter were over-emotional women? Oh yeah...Can't you people hire one spokesperson who can represent the views of the majority of your membership who are not OK with slaughter as a fate for horses whose owners "are done with them?" The AVMA's got the same problem. I know so many anti-slaughter vets and nobody is speaking for them.

"When Cole contacted Carter in the aftermath of a wreck, he told her he could have another truck there within four hours to load the surviving horses back up and point them toward their final destination."

That Charlie Carter, what a guy. *eye roll* If you've never seen the pictures from his feedlot before, here you go. (Warning: graphic and upsetting).

Happy endings from the Charlie Carter lot:

Desert Spark (go to the last page to see updated pics - horse looks fabulous now!)

Champion Lodge (SW of over $300K, almost shipped from Carter lot)

Trinity (WARNING: MUSIC ON LINK) (badly injured filly - made a fantastic recovery thanks to Celtic Rein Rescue)

A Horse's View of Natural Horsemanship

For those of you who need a laugh this Friday morning, this was sent to me and I think it's a hoot! I do not know who wrote it, but you rock, whoever you are!

A Horse's View of Natural Horsemanship

Hello, my name is Flicka and my Owner's a clinic junkie.

Yes, it's true. She went thru her mid life crisis and came to the sale barn and bought me. I spent my whole life misbehaving and being passed from greenhorn to greenhorn till someone finally got smart and sent me to the sale barn. I was seriously hoping to be picked up by one of those show horse fellas so I could live in a fancy barn and stand around and look pretty, but they told me my butt's too small, my heads too big, and the crest on my neck from a bout with grass founder (thanks to owner number 2) is not desirable, and in general I was just not that capable of looking pretty, so I went home with Phyllis instead.

She pets me and loves me, and in general I had a pretty good life at first. Then she heard about those guys who whisper to horses. Life has never been the same. First there was Pat. At Pat's clinic Phyllis learned to twirl a big stick and chase me around a round pen till I was wringing wet with sweat. Once I had quote "calmed down" (I was never really fired up in the first place till that guy came at me with the stick like an idiot) she began learning to ride me with no bridle. Talk about giving an old spoiled horse an opportunity to have some fun!

Initially I went along with it. I'd lope around the pen real nice like, and everyone would oooh and cooo over my "natural horse" abilities. Then, just when everyone had gathered around to watch, I would see the SCARIEST!! (tehehehe) Shadow in the history of scary shadows and switch directions and take off with my rider clinging terrified to my back. Every other horse on the place was envious of me because their owners would take them out back and beat them with that overpriced stick when no one was watching, but I knew my Phyllis would not.

Eventually Philly (as I like to call her) gave up on the whole natural horse idea when Pat tried to talk her into jumping me without a bridle over some barrels. Off we went in search of another guru. In our search we found Monty. He threw a string at a horse and talked to the horse with winks and stares. I spent some time with his clinic horses. I saw the demonstration where an unbroken 2 year old became an overnight Reiner. Later I talked to the 2 year old. He was actually 5 and had been doing this same routine for about 5 clinics now.

The first time Phyllis broke out the string I again, went along with it. Well, until she got tired of me stopping and looking at her like she was stupid. When she went to get herself a glass of water and refer to that chapter in Monty's book, I grabbed the string and chewed it to pieces. And this is how I got my Jolly ball!

Then there was the Indian fella with a name I can't pronounce. To get the full effect of his clinic Philly painted stuff on my body and put feathers in my hair. I looked like I was in a Costume class, but hey whatever floats your boat. I thought maybe at least with this guy we might get to play Indian pony games and have mock battles or something but no. More round pen work and gimmicks. This time there was a fire in the middle of the round pen and they danced around it while praying that I would become a good horse and always mind my owner. He only took her for a couple thousand pelts and a bottle of firewater.

There's been the Australian guy. Training with a Boomerang while he hopped around like a kangaroo and called me his mate... "Sorry fella, your cute and all but my mate has 4 legs. I just don't' swing interspecies." A horse psychic who told Phyllis my momma didn't lick me enough when I was born. A guy who used his hands like ears to talk to me and of course the touchy feely lady.

I can't complain though I've got an owner who loves me and has devoted her time to trying to make me a better horse. I really should behave, really I should, but I think I am contributing to her youth by giving her a reason to take me to all these clinics. Maybe the next clinic will involve turning me out with the mustangs so I find my inner wild stallion.

Sincerely, Flicka

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dallas County Auction Report

Interesting. Again, we're seeing the high end go pretty high, the low end go very low, and I'm encouraged to see HYPP N/H yearlings fail to sell. Hopefully that sends a message! I am also encouraged to see so many owners saying no sale at low prices and protecting their horses. Just for effect I put all the no-sales in bold - check it out. A LOT of people said no and took their horse back home.
Again, this was sent in by a reader - thank you! I did not rescue any of these horses because I was not there. The comments on the horses are hers. All pictures here.

1) 9 yr old Jack donkey NS at $450
2) Ginny donkey NS at $300
3) Paint jenny mule 12 yr old well broke NS at $1200
4) Bay TB – type stud, bad tendon, NS
5) 3 or 4 yr old Dun mare, 15h, NS at $375
6) 1995 AQHA mare, rode quiet, NS at $1000

7) 3 yearling colts, $130 for all (FHOTD in: whoever bred these, I hate you.)
8) 2007 AQHA colt, HYPP N/H, NS
9) 6 yr old Palomino, big, NS at $900

10) 1985 Chestnut AQHA mare, $100
11) 2002 red roan AQHA mare, rode nice $185 12) Yearling colt, broke to ride, NS (pictured here)
13) 1986 AQHA mare $175 (pictured here)
14) 15.3h Chestnut gelding $200
15) 10 yr old buckskin gelding, 15.2, looked lame $650
16) 1986 Chestnut AQHA mare, $210
17) 5 yr old 15.2h Palomino AQHA gelding, pony horse at track, NS at $1600, owner wanted $2500 *this was a NICE horse*
18) 2007 AQHA yearling bay colt .. very homely looking
19) 2007 AQHA yearling bay colt, NS at $150, owner wanted $450
20) Lot of 3 AQHA pending yearling colts, all 3 sold for $180 each (FHOTD in: Yeah, you suck too, AQHA breeder asshat)
21) Blk/wht kid gentle APHA mare, 2003, 15h, cute and sweet $900 *also very nice*
22) Chestnut/white APHA paint mare, 1990, wind broke and bitchy, tried to buck, NS, owner wanted $500
23) 1985 AQHA chestnut mare $100
24) 2005 chestnut TB gelding, JC papers, 16h … really cute, and I think I heard he was a polo pony?? Would have bought him. $170 *polo pony*
25) 7 yr old AQHA gelding, 15h $700
26) Mini chestnut stud, rides/drives, 2005, $195
27) 2005 dun AQHA mare, $385
28) Bay yearling TB colt, JC papers, $175
29) 1985 AQHA roan mare, missing one eye, $160
30) Jack donkey $20
31) 2 yr old Half Arab tobiano filly, very small $160
32) 2001 AQHA and Foundation dappled grey gelding, 15.2h, very cute, NS at $750, owner wanted $1500 *gorgeous horse*
33) 20 yr old grade bay mare, beginner friendly $220
34) Grade bay mare, 2 yr old, $225
35) 2006 AQHA Palomino filly, small, NS, owner wanted $1000

36) 1983 AQHA chestnut mare, looked half her age, rode nice, 15h.. not sure if she sold? 37) Chestnut mare with a long back, NS, owner wanted $550
38) Chestnut AQHA yearling filly, daughter of 1983 mare, homely $150
39) Grey TB filly, saddled but not ridden, about 15.2h, seemed very quiet and cute $375
40) Chestnut gelding.. no info, raffled off, ugly
FHOTD in: Good thing I was not there. Old chestnut mares are my personal weakness and it looks like I'd have come home with five new ones!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Weirdest horse-related injury ever?

OK, another discussion question:

What's the weirdest way you've ever gotten hurt around horses?

This came to mind because last night, I was brushing a horse and I cut my finger open on a sharp edge of the chestnut on his back leg. I mean, I really put a gouge in it and bled all over the place. It takes real talent to hurt yourself brushing, LOL! So I thought it might make for an entertaining thread to ask who else has gotten hurt in some funny/stupid/weird way while working around horses?

Oh, and just to stay somewhat on Fugly is what $3400 will buy you in Los Angeles. No, I am not kidding. Folks, if you live in L.A., come horse shopping in Oregon or Washington. The $800 you will spend hauling the horse south will be well worth it...the prices around L.A. are simply ludicrous and this Araloosa is a classic example. Straight shoulder, upright pasterns, post legged, so long he looks like two men in a horse suit...but hey! He's "natural horsemanship" trained. How did we know? :-)
If you live in one of these overpriced areas of the country, it really does pay to shop outside your geographical area. Just make sure you actually look at it before you send a check, not like these folks who got a surprise.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Horse Sense: The horses aren't the ones who need it!

I've been meaning to write this blog for a long time!

We've all met people who have not been riding for a long time, yet seem to have a natural understanding of horses. The horse respects them. They don't seem to experience the usual beginner problems. And horses LOVE them. The shy horse who avoids people comes up to them for scratches. Unhandled horses are more likely to come to them first than anyone else, even people with far more years of experience. They frequently hear the shocked phrase "she let you do that?????" after they've done something with a horse.

We've also met people who have been doing this for twenty, thirty, forty years and still don't seem to have that basic understanding of how a horse works. They are either constantly bullied and buffaloed by their horse(s), or they get hurt a lot (often not even riding-related, but ground accidents), or they've resorted to abusive methods and gimmicks to try to obtain control.

The difference is whether or not you possess this intangible sense for what the horse is thinking and feeling, what he is going to do next, and what you should do based upon that information.

I have said before, I am not a great rider. I have a myriad of equitation faults I'd love to pay someone to help me fix one day. I can't jump anything big because I can't "see" distances worth a crap. I am not terribly courageous, particularly outside the arena. I will definitely refuse to ride a serious bucker or a rearer at this point in my life. However, I will say that I have good instincts. I can tell you which weanling is going to pull back and panic when tied, and which is just going to wiggle around some and then accept it. I can put anything in a horse trailer with a minimum of drama. I have always been the one who can get the standing wrap on the unhandled two year old with a wire cut, or get the headshy horse clipped without twitches or drugs. I've never been hurt in a ground accident, despite doing things like helping load unhandled stock into a trailer in a parking lot at 2 in the morning. (yes, knock on wood!)

As I say, I'm not horsewoman of the year otherwise, and like everybody else I have stupid moments where I do things I knew better than to do, but my point is that some people do have a set of instincts for how horses think, behave, and which direction they are likely to rocket next - and that's something I'm not sure you can teach or train into someone. I've seen eight year olds who have it naturally and 40 year olds who've been in lessons with top trainers for 20 years who don't.

This is not the same as being a natural rider - the kid who is cantering on their third lesson, hands quiet, sitting the gait, no problem. Yeah, we're all jealous of that person. I am not that person. I wish I was! Some of you probably are! But being a natural rider is an athletic thing - this is more about mental connection with horses, a certain sense of what's going on (that you don't have to consciously think about)'s like a continuous low-grade awareness of what is going on with the horse that tends to give you the ability to accomplish things others may not and avoid injury to yourself and the horse while doing it.

Why is this important? Well, it's something that affects everything you do with horses. It tells you how far you can push a young horse that you're training without freaking him out - how much you can expect, if he's ok or if he's getting fried. It tells you whether or not to try something on horseback that could get you seriously hurt if it went all wrong. It tells you that something is physically wrong with your horse even though your trainer is saying he's just stubborn and get after him. Sometimes it tells you that it's time to get the hell out of the way really fast - and that saves you from a very bad accident.

I've tried to analyze what it is - is it just about paying really close attention to the horse's body language? Watching for the tensing of muscles, the look in the eye, the position of the ears? Or is it more than that - some "sixth sense" that really does give a special insight? I remember many years ago, watching a trainer install side reins on a pony that was pulling on her young rider...and thinking, this is a bad idea, based upon the look on the pony's face the trainer should just get on it and sort it out...and not five minutes later, the pony flipped over and crushed the kid's pelvis. Now admittedly, side reins on a pony with a rider is something I would normally think was a bad idea anyway, but in retrospect it is interesting to me that I could tell that pony was at the about-to-blow point from 30 feet away and the trainer (who was a far more accomplished person, show-ring wise, than I will probably ever be) and certainly knew the pony better completely missed it.

I honestly think this is what the whole Natural Horsemanship fad is all about. People who don't have horse sense want it SO badly and many of the NH practitioners are feeding into that. Just come to our clinic $$$$$$$ buy our videos $$$$$$$ buy the special bit $$$$$$$$ and you too will be able to communicate with horses. You know, it doesn't work. This is how people get into trouble. They are being taught methods but many of them are learning them by rote as if you add action A to action B and horsey will always, 100% of the time, give you response C. We all know that is not how it works. Training a horse is not like programming a computer, and never will be.

So let's discuss this. Trainers/instructors, do you think there IS any way to train horse sense into someone who doesn't have it naturally? Do you think you've got good horse sense and that it gets better every year you work with horses (I do believe this...)? OTOH, have you been frustrated by the fact that you seem to lack horse sense? Are you sick of trainers/clinicians promising to give you these skills, and failing? Do you think is is 100% about experience and paying attention, or do you believe there is more to it, that it's almost about having some kind of (I hate to use this word, but you know what I mean) psychic connection with the animals? I really believe that if there was some way to teach horse sense, you could reduce horse-related accidents by 90% not to mention drastically reducing the number of horses who end up going to kill. What do you think?

Monday, March 17, 2008

OK, fess up, were you just trying to make the blog today?

If so, you succeeded!

"Registerd 6 YO Appendix QH mare. 16 hands.. Very sweet horse. This is a real pocket pony. She will follow you any where. I saved this horse from going to the action. (And now the poor thing is bored to death!) The person I purchased her form just could not afford to keep her. She is so sweet and a very pretty horse. I just could not let her go to action. (You sound like a nice person but just FYI, it's aUction.) So I need to find her a really good home. She was ridden by a 13 you girl (a you girl? Is that like a yes man?). Very calm horse. She has done trail riding and was ridden in the sand dunes in Mosses Lake. Not too much seams to bother her. (Don't you HATE when horses have those seams that rub you when you ride? Despite the FrankenHorse conformation, this one is guaranteed to have no seams anywhere! I think they used SuperGlue.) Help me find her a good home. I had my vet check her out and she is sound and healthy. But she is a little under weight. I can not keep her. She would make any one a great horse. I think an Intermitted rider would be best for her. (I'm sure many horses would like an intermittent rider. I know I would like an intermittent job - just as long as the pay kept on coming!) She has no bad hobbits. (She only has sweet, cheerful, friendly singing hobbits! That clean the bathroom at 3 AM! And bake cookies! She used to have evil hobbits but I had them exorcised by the animal communicator.) I am selling her for the price I paid for her. $1,200 firm Sire Raz Hug Bug Tonto Dam Plano Miss "

(I am also posting this as an example of a mare who, though "registerd," is Not Breeding Quality. In case anybody needed a reminder of what that looks like!)
I am sure she is sweet and I see nothing about her that would preclude normal pleasure riding use, so don't think I'm bashing on the horse...this was merely a case of far too funny typos to ignore!

And a seasonal reminder

Just because I saw someone do this the other day and just about died...

It's spring. In many parts of the world, the grass is greening up and the horses are staring longingly from their sacrifice areas waiting for the moment when you'll open that gate.

If you don't want a foundered horse, you have to introduce grass gradually. You can't just throw them out there on long, green, new spring grass all day the first day! Especially if it's a horse with a history of founder (like the one I saw).

Good advice on how to gradually start your spring turnout here.

C'mon everybody - I know it is a PITA to bring them in after 15 minutes, but you want them sound, don't you? Nobody wants to spend their evening packing hooves in ice and praying no permanent damage has been done, right? So take it easy on the grass!

(And no, if they've been tearing up the one pasture you own all winter and a few sprigs of green are starting to come through the mud, this isn't about you. This is for people who keep their horses off the pastures until the pastures are lush.)

The sea of free horses

Just in case anybody is looking for a free horse! (C'mon, you know how it goes...some of you have space and are looking for a new money pit, I just know it!)

In Hawaii, a 4 year old "male" QH (stallion? gelding? Who knows?) "Tends to be unruly for the younger riders."

In Oregon, somebody blew out this mare's knee barrel racing her, so you guessed it, she's free!

Is this the same mare or yet another mare with a "blow knee"

In Virginia, Arab cross grade gelding admittedly behind on everything:
"Behind on coggins, vaccinations, feet, underweight. Due to job loss I have been unable to properly care for him. Barn manager is kicking me out at the end of the month and I have no where to take him."

Come to our Natural Horsemanship Clinic and Win A Free Horse! (giggling...and I bet a very special horse it is indeed! Probably flunked out of the last clinic!)

Near Seattle: Free TB mare. I've seen pics on this one and she's skinny. "Has had a lot of foals," and god knows that didn't finance HER retirement, did it?

In Massachusetts - free Standardbred. No details, apparently owner is not capable of operating Craigslist herself:

In Portland, Oregon - Free horse "for retirement only." Julie, let me tell you something about retirement for a horse. It's something I write a check for every month. You should too. Sounds like Joe has been through enough.

In Colorado - 17 hand TB gelding. "Serviceably sound" - LOVE that term. AKA kinda trots sound, on a straight line, on really good footing, wearing $125 bar shoes and pads, so long as there's no weight on his back and the weather is dry and it's an even numbered day during the waxing moon.

In Fresno, California - free horse to "anyone who will come get her." So that'd be the kill buyer.

In Kamloops, B.C., Canada - free 2 year old "mix filly" that "was a rescue."

In Sacramento, California - yet another old lesson horse who needs to retire - but we are sure as hell not paying for it ourselves!

Appaloosa with an inoperable bone chip in Washington - of course, free free free! "Pooh was dealt a bad hand 10 months ago in an accident with a gate. He has an inoperable bone chip in his left front fetlock. While it is possible the chip may be absorbed over time, it has not significantly improved." So, you owned him, he got hurt in your ownership, but somehow you do not think it is your problem to care for him for the rest of his life. Typical. You know who dealt him the bad hand? YOU.

In Texas, another old lesson horse getting dumped. Because god forbid YOU keep him and care for him after he spent years tolerating beginners and putting money in YOUR pockets.

Blind araloosa in Ohio that they can't afford to care for, and are hoping they can foist off on someone else:

In California, broken down 24 year old barrel horse "ONLY TO A GOOD HOME WHO WILL HAVE HER FOR THE REST OF HER DAYS"...since heaven forbid I keep her myself and don't get to run barrels for a couple of years.

And on a more positive note, I found this in my searching and all I can say is HOORAY for responsible parenting.

My point, as usual is - if you broke it, as far as I'm concerned, you bought it - for life. If you break a horse down showing it or gaming it or the horse has an accident while in your ownership, then in my opinion you owe it a home for life. And certainly if it just plain gets old and develops chronic issues like arthritis or blindness while in your ownership. I have no problem with re-selling sound horses. I have no problem with doing care leases on horses with issues to a more appropriate light use home. What I take issue with is breaking it and then letting it out of your ownership so that virtually anything can happen to it down the road. Uh-uh. You broke it, now take responsibility for it. If you showed it for five years, it deserves better than to wind up on a double-decker while you proudly tell people you "found such a good home!" (that for some reason, is just too busy to send pictures or updates...but you're sure everything is OK!) As we've discussed before, some kill buyers are better actors than you'd find in Hollywood, and absolutely can convince you your horse is going to a good home. If you must rehome an old/crippled horse due to finances, do it like a rescue - site check, check references, and get a proper, legal signed contract. Yeah it is a pain in the butt, so are many things in life - do it anyway. You owe it to your horse.