Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Obese Cob at Stud: We take Credit Cards!

This started out as another color breed feature, on chocolate palominos, but when I found this farm's web site, I was left gaping in horror.

Folks, nothing should be this fat. Nothing. This is the equine version of a resident of the "Brookhaven Obesity Clinic." If this critter isn't foundered yet, it is a miracle. To me, the way this stallion is being maintained is every bit as negligent as that mother who let her 10 year old girl reach 600 lbs and the kid then died (remember that one?). This isn't pretty. This is gross.

You people who own this horse should be ashamed of yourselves. NOT HEALTHY!

I sent this to a friend and her first comment was "is he pregnant?" Pregnancy is probably the only thing that would explain this belly, though even a full term mare shouldn't have a butt like that. Who knows what the feet look like, since we can't see them under all the hair.

They brag that he is "super, super gentle." Of course he is. He's morbidly obese and he can't see an inch in front of his nose! I'd be gentle too.

Seriously, WTF is this animal supposed to be good for? Maybe they can spray the feathers and the mane with Lemon Pledge and use him to dust the barn!

But hey, if a disgustingly obese equine with more hair than a 1980's rock star is what you crave, never fear - you can for sure afford it! They take credit cards! No money down! They give discounts to "non-feathered" mares! You don't need any money, just come and breed or buy! We won't worry about how you are going to take care of the resulting foal or pay vet bills. Just come on down and get a brand spanking new Hairy Obese Cob of your very own!

Send y'alls friends and neighbors down too and we'll pay you a $50 referral fee for every breeding they buy! The more the merrier, 'cause you know the embryo transfer foals out of that chocolate behemoth are just $12,000! Ye gods, and some of us go to work every day... *insert massive eye rolling*

One final comment...it's hard to see but is that the kind of fence I think it is behind the baby? If so, there ya go. $12,000 baby in front of horse-eating fence. Only in Missouri...

By the way, if you're going to photoshop your pictures, learn how to do it so it doesn't look so fake.

OK, getting back on what I meant my topic to be, here's a nice chocolate palomino stallion. I know the halter horses aren't everybody's cup of tea, so here's something different and equally excellent as the last golden palomino stud I posted. This AQHA stallion was bred to barrel race, and that is indeed what he is doing at the moment. Again, we see the elements of an athlete here - a compact build, a perfectly sloped shoulder, a powerful hip, correct legs and nicely sloped pasterns. He isn't as highly muscled as the halter type, and he doesn't have as cute of a head, but he is still an excellent example of a Quarter Horse stallion.

He'd be just as excellent if he were plain bay - the fancy color is as it should be - an extra bonus!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fugly person of the day

Had to pass this one along. Check out today's Craigslist asshat. In a previous posting, he noted that little kids can ride her but that is it because "her feet are too sore." Lovely.

25 yo mare needs retirement home NOW!
Reply to:
comm-385285473@craigslist.orgDate: 2007-07-30, 10:45AM PDT FREE!!! My mare needs somewhere to go where she can retire! She is registered, so you could try to breed her, but no guarantees that she will take with her age. If I had a big pasture to put her out on, I would keep her, but I dont.. and I dont wanna feed her through the winter.. I have too many young horses who need the extra feed. I am donating her to the local Tiger Park if no one comes to get her by the weekend. Shes a sweet mare, and I dont wanna do that.. but I dont really have a choice! Thanks! SHE IS FREE!

I posted in response and told him he was an asshole and he then e-mailed me and said "why are you sending me this, I don't even own a horse." Um, no one sent YOU anything. I posted on Craigslist. You are responding to my posting because you do, in fact, own a horse - one which you are going to send to the Tiger Park because you are a cheap asshole who has too many horses and did not plan for winter, and are upset I called you on your evil, irresponsible behavior. Will Romaine at handofman@msn.com, you are not one of this century's great thinkers.

If any of the rest of you agree with my thoughts on Mr. Romaine, feel free to let him know your thoughts on his posting!

And if anybody in the Grants Pass, Oregon area has space for this poor mare, who sounds absolutely crippled and I suspect may even be an actionable neglect case, please head on over with a trailer - and take a lot of pictures.

$100 says he's got at least one baby out of this mare...

Backyard breeders, you suck.

(Back to our regularly scheduled programming later today)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rescue me...

As I search around for snark fodder, occasionally I find pictures of horses and ponies that seem to be sending out one simple message "Please buy me and get me out of here!" Today I'm going to share some of these for your amusement.

Hi there! I am a perfectly nice Arabian. I have a lovely flat croup like I am supposed to. I have a beautiful head and neck and a terrific shoulder. I cannot, however, jump my way out of a paper bag and this lady doesn't get it. And her death grip on my face is not helping me do better.

So could you please buy me and put me to work doing something I can actually do? This is kinda scary.

Maybe if I take a big enough jump, they will fall off and hit their head on a rock and then I will be freeeeee! Freeeeee! Freeeeee! I will go live with the mustangs. At least they won't have this death grip on my mouth and be sitting on my kidneys like a sack of potatoes while I try in vain to navigate terrain that you couldn't get through with a 4wd.

Can you just buy a freakin' ATV and leave me alone?

I am a nice pony. Truly I am. I am not a freakin' couch. You, your girlfriend and the dog are all TOO old and TOO big to be sitting on me.

Aren't you supposed to be at the mall hunting for boys by this age? I'll sit here and eat grass until your kids are old enough to start riding. Capische? I didn't realize this was so difficult, but y'all are blonde so I guess I have to spell it out.

I am a Thoroughbred. I am totally humiliated by this. Look at the long-suffering look on my face. Please buy me and take me to your nice hunter/jumper or dressage barn. I am supposed to have color coded blankets based upon what temperature it is, a chiropractor and someone needs to pull my shaggy mane. I swear I can be beautiful. Please get me away from these people and their silver ferrule 1970's western show tack. Those boys are going to get older and think they can make me barrel race or goat tie or something, I just know it. I am a princess. I do not belong here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My new hero!

Check this out - it was written by a vet.


A good horse is never a bad color, but a bad horse can be a good color - Part II, Palomino Quarter Horses

Palomino is such a pretty color. Ever since Roy Rogers rode Trigger, generations of American horsepeople have wanted a golden horse of their very own with a flowing mane and tail - and this stallion does not disappoint. Unfortunately, most Breyer models are better put together than this guy. He's downhill, even though he's a mature stallion - he's not going to level up.

He's as long as a 1979 Lincoln Town Car, and those back legs are posty as posty can be! Like the horses we looked at a few days ago, this one is in excellent condition and weight and presented nicely - but structurally, he's just not stallion quality.

This colt is still a yearling, so I can both hope that he'll become more level and that he'll become a gelding. Wow, check out how that neck attaches! Won't have to worry about this one picking up his head too high in the show ring. He can't. Unfortunately, that thick necked look is not what they want to see in the pleasure ring, either.

He's calf kneed, straight in the shoulder and there's no wither there to hold a saddle in place. But hey, all he needs is time and a "brain surgery" and I'm sure he'll be the pretty colored horse of some 11 year old 4-Her's dreams. He'll never be stallion quality.

OK, here's what they are supposed to look like. Yes, this is a world champion and I know not everything can be a world champion, but you can get a whole lot closer to the ideal than the two above!

Look how compact this stallion is. Compact is good. It allows a horse to stop and turn quickly, a skill that is needed in a wide variety of disciplines. Although his hocks are obscured by his tail, I can still see that his hock is where it belongs and not located weirdly underneath him like the Okapi-like halter horse I posted previously. He has withers - the saddle will not roll off his back. His shoulder angle is exactly where it should be, at a 45 degree slant. He has a well defined throatlatch and an attractive and classic QH head. By the way, he's 91% foundation bred so those of you who think I just don't like foundation QH's, take note. I like them when they look like this. I just don't like them when they look like the one above this.

I'm going to do something I don't normally do and post a link, because quite frankly, I find this too appalling not to. You know, I'm pretty open minded. I'm not even opposed to rescues also having a breeding operation - IF they're breeding quality individuals that aren't going to wind up as rescues. Not the case here. Hey, I'm glad you folks are rescuing, but when you advertise this colt as "stallion material," that tells me you need to stay out of the breeding business, because clearly you do not possess even a passing acquaintance with the AQHA breed standard and market. And yes, that colt is in crappy condition but he won't look a whole lot better when he's not. He will make a nice GELDING. Please GELD him. Immediately.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A good horse is never a bad color, but a bad horse can be a good color - Part I, Sabino Thoroughbreds

I like exotic colored horses as much as the next person. Truly I do. But like any horse, they must also have correct conformation, athletic ability and a good disposition. Let's look at Trendy Color #1 today. These are two sabino Thoroughbreds...but what a difference.

This is a 2004 stallion (we will hope and assume this is not a 2007 picture) that is a red roan sabino Thoroughbred. A friend of mine likes to say that a true stallion prospect screams at you that he's a stallion when you look at him. All I get from this colt is the high-pitched nicker of the wimpy gelding who gets his ass kicked by the mares in the pasture. You know the one I mean!

Here we have a scrawny upside-down neck (he's scrawny in general, again, I hope this is a yearling picture), hocks that are camped waaaay out there, possibly in a different zip code, and what exactly is going on below the hock on this side? This isn't an awful colt. I like his shoulder and that he's compact. But when I look at him, the only thing he is screaming is GELD ME! at the top of his lungs.

Ah, here we go. Here is colored AND drop-dead gorgeous for you. This is also a 2004, a buckskin sabino Thoroughbred filly. I love this filly. What is not to love? Beautifully balanced, exemplary shoulder, gorgeous neck, defined throatlatch, compact build, pretty head, cute ears, good legs with good pasterns. The feet are somewhat obscured by being in sandy footing - they do look smallish but I suspect they look fine on solid ground.

I can see this filly excelling at a variety of disciplines. If she can do that and be a cool color, I am all for the cool color! It is just the icing on the cake with this filly, who is absolutely broodmare quality when her show career is finished.

I'll do more of these. I have some great examples coming up of palominos, paints, grullas, and more! Again, thanks for all the e-mail, yes, I'm behind reading it. Lots to do in the real world lately!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Your comments...

I have to take a moment to share some of my favorite comments from my readers, found far and wide across the web. My responses are in blue.

"The breeders should be flogged, covered with bacon fat and tied to a fire ant nest which you then stir with a stick." I like you. You're very creative! Want to guest blog?

"Not every horse who is fit only to be an ugly pasture ornament is lucky enough to be a pasture ornament; bless the ones who are, and God help the ones who aren't. " Truer words were never spoken. I could fill 500 pasture ornament spots if only I could find them. These days, people can get a broke, rideable horse for free. It is only a small percentage of special people that are willing to take in the elderly or crippled from an injury horse - nowhere near the number of not so special people who are dumping those horses daily.

"Based on her comments about Gypsy Vanners, I looked on one of the sale sites - I found a blk/white Gypsy Vanner colt (2007) for $45,000! Don't they know these horses are a dime a dozen in the U.K., and have very little breed status here? The colt's parents didn't even have a show record! Yikes! Wonder if there were a few too many 0's, then I found an ad from the same person advertising a bay Gypsy cob for $12,000! Jiminy Cricket . . . " It's a good idea to do a bit of market research and comparative pricing before buying anything in this world. This is a perfect example.

"IF the mare owners would RIDE THE MARE instead of breeding her, it would be a better horse world all the way around." True, unfortunately a lot of times she is bred because she doesn't ride, or rides poorly! Hence perpetuating the cycle of unrideable crap.

"If you don't know what you are doing, you need not breed... exactly the reason I have 4 geldings- I don't know anything about breeding, so I'll leave it up to the people who do... " If only everyone had your self-awareness, we wouldn't have this blog. I suspect that if you ever do breed, you will educate yourself and be the sort of breeder I respect.

"If they see that their peers ie: other horse people, are upset with their decisions regarding breeding inferior animals and horses with known genetic defects, maybe it will help effect some change in the breeding habits of people and get them to STOP having Missy the grade mare with terrible conformation bred to Junior an auction reject just because they think babies are cute." Exactly the point of this blog. Shame does affect human behavior. We all need to gather up the courage to tell people NOT to breed Missy and Junior. Sure, it's a free country and they may ignore us! But if you SAY it, at least you are doing your part and they may think twice.

"Just because it has a uterus or balls and you are emotionally attached to it does not mean it needs to breed." Correct. It's the year 2007 and we can make these choices. Birth is not as uncontrollable as it was 500 years ago. I don't want to hear "oops my mare got pregnant because I turned her out with my 2 year old colt, WOW, I didn't know he could breed already!" C'mon, please. We have the internet. Call your vet. This information is so easy to come by. There is no excuse.

"I am still in awe that people think it is okay to breed a horse who is not a good representative of its particular breed. I am not saying that these horses should not be a loved companion, but for goodness sake do not breed them! " Exactly the point.

"My street alone is FULL of horses, and owners, like that. Pity me. Please. " Yes, they are all over.

"I think that is absolutely the greatest thing since sliced bread. I love it. Backyard breeding sucks." Thank you.

"They will either A) go to kill somewhere, B) be bought and bred again creating some other sort of conformational nightmare or C) misguided souls like us will keep trying to find them homes." That's about the size of it, and the "misguided souls" are all broke, stretched too thin and far more upset about the fates of these horses than the people who created them and dropped the ball.

"As much as I would have *loved* to have bred my first horse and hoped for a baby with her temperament and amazing hocks, we just couldn't look past her poor neck, long back, and well less than spectacular front end. " Perfect example of someone who LOVES a horse and yet can EVALUATE that horse objectively. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

"As the owner of FUGLY crooked legged horses, I could be offended. But I'm not because I'm not breeding them. Reality is people need to STOP breeding horses whose legs can not stay sound for a long healthy life, whose backs are so wonky a saddle will never fit, and who are just plain ugly and bad movers. " Absolutely. What I've seen is that the knowledgeable people are not offended, and know the point I am making, and the BYB's are horrified and write posts that go OMG FUGLY HORSE IS SOOOOO MEAN! ALL HORSES R BEATEFUL! (Sometimes followed by "Barbaro Forever"...lol. Sorry, folks, great horse, sucks what happened to him but he's gone and he's not making spirit visits to any of you...if you want to honor his memory please go rescue a $200 OTTB from the auction that doesn't have rich owners who love him...but dear God stop blathering online about seeing Barbaro in your backyard, you sound like you need to be committed.)

Of course, there are also many, many comments from people that think I am (a) rude (my 2nd grade teacher would agree) (b) don't know what I'm talking about with their particular breed (certainly possible, though I try to note which breeds I haven't had as much experience with and I have been thinking I may bring in some guest bloggers who are experts on, say, gaited horses to put in their 2 cents' worth) or (c) mean and going to hurt someone's feelings (as I've already said, I don't care about human feelings as compared to horses' lives. The pain of hurt feelings is hardly comparable to the pain of being hauled for 3 days in a double decker, no water, bitten and kicked, chased down a chute...you all know about the slaughter process by now.)
(By the way, you think I'm rude? Google fugly horse and you'll see how many people write things like "Elizabeth Hurley is a fugly horse faced cow." Oh, come now. You wish you looked like Elizabeth Hurley. I wish I looked like Elizabeth Hurley. Give me a break.)
For those of you who hate me and disagree with my opinions: Just think, for once you can talk back! After all, at the shows you pretty much have to accept the judge's opinion with a smile, even if you think he or she is stone blind and wouldn't know a good horse from My Little Pony. Not so here! Here you can comment and say exactly what you think, even if you think I'm a fucking moron. You will not get in trouble with any breed association or saddle club, and you can do it anonymously. Nifty!

Keep up the comments, whether they're good or bad, they all make for interesting reading!

PSA of the day: Why is it I know horse rescuers who have unfixed dogs and cats? Small animals are no different from large ones in this regard: If you don't have a top quality registered animal, it does not need to have babies. There is an endless supply, and I do mean endless supply, of cute orange kittens, Lab mix puppies, etc. at your local shelter. You do not need to produce more, and it is totally irresponsible to do so. Failing to spay or neuter your small animals is inexcusable. Get off your dead, lazy butt and get them to the vet. It's a myth that spaying/neutering early is bad for them. And don't tell me they're registered with TICA or CKC unless you're standing close enough that I can smack you upside your silly head. Those are like the American Warmblood Society, which I will address in a future post.
One final question today: Is this a new therapeutic riding thing for people who can't handle a regular saddle?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When will it end?

Update: see Monday for Monday's "new" post. I started writing it on Monday and it posted as Monday even though I published it today. Sorry, a Blogger genius I am not.

The promised "real" post is in progress, but in the meantime here's today's detour into the land of crazy, irresponsible horse breeding. Can I go put banners in front of their farms saying "The National Kill Buyer's Association Thanks You For Doing Your Part To Keep Up Our Supply!" ???


$200 and up Herd Reduction - 17 horses Vernal, UT 84078 - Jul 23, 2007 My husband passed away and now I just have too many horses to care for alone. These are good horses at excellent prices - some are grade and some are registered. The moms are pretty skinny right now. (in JULY? wtf? What, are they on a 1 acre dirt lot?) Daisy - beautiful 4 year old palomino mare, grade pasofino/thoroughbred/quarter, broke to ride, but hasn't been ridden in several year (when the hell did you break her? Oh, of course, 16 months, right?) = $200 Tawny – registered sorrel overo paint filly, coming 2 year old, blue eyes, should mature at about 15.2 hands, halter broke - $350 Nyla – Unregistered Spanish Barb mare, exposed to SMR/AIHR dun stallion for 2007 foal, 15.1 hands – big sturdy mare with a gentle, loving personality, halter broke - $300 OBO dun filly on side - $100 with mom Cappacino – Spanish mustang/appaloosa cross long yearling filly, bay, may color as she gets older, sweet disposition, – should mature at 14 to 14.1 hands – $200 OBO Sierra – Registerable Spanish mustang mare, 14 hands, sweet but a little shy, has not been halter broke - $200 OBO Peaches – Registerable AIHR zebra dun yearling filly, should mature at 15 to 15.2 hands, she is already a big beautiful girl with a great mind and wonderful disposition, ready to start (yearling, ready to start? Bing, bing, I guessed right about their training philosophy!) - $300 Midnight - yearling registered black and white varnish Appaloosa colt; sweet disposition; halter-broke - $200 Snowman - Pure white long yearling Mustang stud colt; amber eyes; should mature about 14-14.2 hands; personality plus; loves his behind scratched, ready to start - $500 Dash - registered 2 year old Appaloosa gelding; he's a pocket pony; loves attention - $400 Trixie - Registered AIHR 6 year old blood bay Mustang mare; bred to SMR/AIHR zebra dun stallion for 2007 foal, she was an orphan foal that my husband raised and loves men - $300 dun filly on side - $100 with mom Clover - 4 year old Sulphur Spanish Mustang Mare - Dark grullo - Not bred (Thank you, Jesus!) - $200 Shasta - Mustang filly- Black with Chrome - 9 months - $200 Bonnie - Registered Appaloosa filly - 4 year old - broke to ride - loves to go $900 Smokin' - Registered AQHA black gelding - 4 years old - broke to ride - very gentle - probably make a great kid's horse as he matures - $500 Star - weanling stud colt, zebra dun, may go grullo (what do you have there, the Harry Potter Magikal Color Changing Sword? He's either a dun or a grulla, the two colors are totally different) , ready to go end of August - $200 Celine - weanling filly, zebra dun, may go grullo, ready to go end of September - $200 Hopscotch - weanling filly, zebra dun, ready to go end of August - $200


Got a migraine yet? It gets better.

Beautiful Egyptian Arabian mare 12 years 14 1/2 hands - $250
Reply to:
sale-379367005@craigslist.org : 2007-07-21, 10:25PM PDTHorse for sale (Egyptian Arabian , mare)Beautiful Egyptian Arabian horse for sale. She is about 12 years old and has never had a halter on her, though she has been in a trailer at least once. ('cause we know she wasn't born here, hell if we know how someone got her here. She come with the farm when me and Maw bought it.) She has mainly been a pasture ornament for the last four years. (Mainly? She's not even halter broke. WTF else has she been, unless of course you bred her, which I suspect with GREAT horror from looking at her that you did.) She has a beautiful gate (I'm sure she has a beautiful fence, too, otherwise she would have left and found better owners by now) and is certainly show quality. (Are you on crack?) She is so pretty when she runs. (They don't have a show class for "bolting in fear at the sight of humans.") Perfect for someone who has time to train her. (And excellent health insurance!) She is friendly and loves attention. (As long as you are carrying food and don't try to touch her)

All joking aside, I feel awful for these horses.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Good condition, bad horse/Bad condition, good horse

Sorry about the delay on this post but I discovered it was very, very hard to find side conformation pictures of horses in bad condition. Rescues seem to have a fondness for the 3/4 from the front shot and that doesn't work for this blog. My own rescues have all been to conformation what Lindsey Lohan is to sobriety, so I couldn't pull from my own photo collection. :-)

Several people have tried to explain away this blog by saying that I like horses who are in good condition and and the horses I criticize aren't really bad, they're just victims of poor condition/grooming. So today we are going to look at horses in good condition with bad conformation and in bad condition with good conformation. This is a useful lesson if horse shopping is in your future. Look at structure - not condition - and you will bring home a bargain.

The good condition/bad structure pair first.

You can't criticize the owners of this TB mare for not feeding her. She looks great. Maybe even be a bit too heavy. They stood her up square in front, one leg back and did their best to show her off. However, what they have shown off includes an unattractive totally unfeminine head with a pig eye, a short neck, and an unusually muttony pair of withers on a TB (might be better with less weight, but still, that mare's conformation is destined to land a careless rider in the dirt if they don't have their girth tight enough). She is over at the knee. I am still trying to find her shoulder to critique it...there is no definition there. She has a short croup, not terrible, but not ideal. Her tail obscures her hocks but I suspect she's quite straight even if she's not standing that way. She isn't an awful mare, but she's not a breeding quality mare, and unfortunately that's exactly what she's been doing. AND you can buy her with a breeding to either a homozygous black Arabian or a 17.3hh Dutch/TB-Clydesdale stallion. Good grief. Can you imagine a Clydesdale cross on this mare? May as well order the supersized halter and bridle in advance and you might need a sling to hold up the head of the baby until his body grows big enough to support it!

I would love to believe this AQHA stallion was standing on a huge slope, and I do believe he's standing on a bit of a downgrade...but not nearly enough to explain the position of his hip in relation to his shoulder. A classic FrankenHorse, his hind end seems to have been removed from an entirely different horse and attached to his incredibly weak loin. His pasterns are painfully upright and his shoulder is nearly vertical. He's sickle hocked and stands like he's in pain. (I bet his back hurts. Doesn't it look like it would be sore?) He's in good condition - a bit ribby but reasonable for a teenage stallion at the end of breeding season, his coat is beautiful and he's got a gorgeous tail and a cute head. Again, you can't fault these people for their horse care - but you can beat them over the head about the fact that this creature still has his testicles!

Now, the horses I like that are in terrible condition.

This old girl is 30 and she looks every minute of it. However, I would bet money this is a very well bred mare and that she was a hell of a horse in her day. She is very deep through the heart and I will bet she could run like the wind. Although her tail is high, the hip itself is long and powerful in appearance. She has an elegant neck, her front legs are still straight and her pastern angle is ideal. Those back legs look like they have been through a war and she is standing as though they barely hold her up, which I will bet is the case. She is definitely standing "funky" - that is not her hind end conformation but an attempt to keep her hind legs underneath her enough to hold her up. She's very thin and she's swaybacked but at her age that's not even an issue. It looks to me like she is someone's old broodmare (who was good enough to be a broodmare) that someone dropped the ball with. I am pleased to say this mare is in the care of a rescue that is giving her exactly what she needs. With that round bale in front of her, she will be back looking great (for her age) in no time.

Another rescue, this AQHA gelding is very thin but his structure still looks good. That is a textbook perfect shoulder, again we see a nice long hip that just needs 100 lbs. on it, good pasterns, good hock angle, compact frame, slightly upright build, neck set on properly and a cute face with small ears. No, I don't think he's 100% perfectly straight legged but I don't see anything there that would impair normal use.

All this nice boy needed was good feed, deworming and proper care and I am glad to say that he got it. See below.

Bet none of you Quarter Horse fans would kick this one out of your barn. He's a gelding but he's much nicer than many, many pictures I have posted of creatures who are reproducing. By the way, this transformation took one month. And he is over 20 years old, so any of you who truly believe old equals inevitably skinny can stick that moronic belief where the sun don't shine.
I should note that his rescuers are breeders, and the horses on their web site are breeding quality. Their stud is a 26 years old APHA Champion and looks great, still sound, riding and breeding. All of their studs are ridden - by youth riders. They do not have a bunch of rank, nasty, unbroke pukes reproducing like half of these sites I go to. They get two thumbs up from me.

Link of the day - check out this excellent page on Stopping Irresponsible Breeding. (I don't agree with everything she has to say about auction buying but I do think it's a good guide on auction buying for beginners. Her guidelines would keep you out of trouble, but as a knowledgeable person looking for a rescue, you could go against them and get a diamond in the rough.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And now a few words about DSLD

The ad: (why is it none of these sellers seem to have graduated high school? They don't need a horse, they need Hooked on Phonics). On the plus side, she does seem to have mastered addition.

hi i have an own daughter of bunny bid for adoption, she is a foal of 1986 so that makes her 21 years old. she is open at the moment but takes to foal very easily, she has 120 AQHA points and has won almost $11,000 on the track. i am having to move out of my pasture and do not have the money to board 3 horses. and i was planning on breading her but i do not have the money this year, so here is my offer so she does not sit and go to waste or end up going to the aution :( i am asking a $300 adoption fee. i can send you pics and her blood lines. i will give you all her papers also. i will not haul unless she is paid for first. can haul if close. she is healthy and up to date on all her worming and shots. her hocks and fetlocks are shot, she can not be used as a riding horse unless they are very little, she is on just pasture right now and is doing great. she stiffens up when she is stalled. she wintered great with a mid weight blanket last winter and trees for shelter. her teeth were done a little over a year ago

Unfortunately, the odds are excellent this mare is going to wind up being "breaded" and served with onions, because this moron who owns her is trying to make $300 off of her instead of spend the $300 she should spend putting her to sleep. Looking at those dropped hind fetlocks, this old girl has a very obvious case of DSLD (Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis), "a condition where there is inflammation and faulty healing of the suspensory ligament, resulting in typical thickening or hardening of the mid-body of the ligament or the suspensory branches resulting in loss of integrity of the suspensory ligament and its ability to do its intended job of supporting the horse. In advanced stages the fetlocks seem to be sinking more when the horse moves. As the condition worsens, the pastern area becomes increasingly parallel to the ground, and ringbone can develop. In later stages, one of the most telltale signs of DSLD is in the horse affected in the hind legs; the pasterns level out making the fetlocks appear dropped and the stifle and hock gradually straighten, making the horse reticent to move even to its feed or water. Some horses will dig a hole in their stall or paddock and stand with their toes pointing down and the heels elevated. On hard surfaces, horses may rock back and forth, relieving one leg and then the other. Some horses find the condition painful enough to spend a more than normal amount of time lying down." (veterinary information quoted from horseshoes.com)

Right now researchers are trying to determine if DSLD is genetic. They suspect it may be, in which case breeding an affected mare would be absolutely irresponsible (as would "breading" her but that is another debate). Regardless, why would you take a horse already suffering from a debilitating, uncurable condition that makes every step painful and breed her? And if your finances are so shaky that the loss of your pasture means you must get rid of a horse, why were you contemplating producing another horse? It's shortsightedness and bad decisions just like these that keep the killers in business, everybody. It needs to stop. This old mare has more than done her time. If her owner is unable to finance her retirement, euthanasia is the kindest option.
Apologies to those who were hoping for more humor today, but I did feel the need for a Responsible Breeding PSA. Tomorrow we will have the long-awaited Bad Horses In Good Condition versus Good Horses in Bad Condition comparison, with some terrific examples thanks to all of you who send me pictures!

Friday, July 20, 2007

No, we cannot get you one that's blue like "Eeyore"

Welcome to the world of Designer Horses. Today, weird mixes of completely unrelated breeds are not only deliberately produced (in my day, they were more likely to result from someone's stallion jumping out of the round pen), they are also enthusiastically marketed via the creation of high-falutin' names that make them sound like they actually are something other than weird mixes of completely unrelated breeds. I thought I was going to talk about some of those today, but this is going to veer off into Designer Horse-Donkey crosses since I found pictures that had my mouth hanging open in horror (a common, if not daily, event).

I was checking out the "Spanish Jennet Tiger Horse." I pointed out yesterday that a jennet is a mule, and I am right, by the way (well sort of, it's a donkey) although the term was used in literature to refer to a small Spanish horse. Now, the folks breeding these animals seem to be equally confused - they are breeding Spanish Jennet Tiger Horses, Walkaloosas, and - apparently - mules. From their sale page, this is a "Spanish Jennet Paso Mule." Good God, it's homely. Look at that head! Looks like Ashlee Simpson before she had her nose done. Yes, mules can be cute but this one got beaten with the fugly stick. Hard.

I guess the fancy schmancy marketing b.s. works though, as this one was apparently sold in utero - clearly a fantastic marketing technique as it meant the money changed hands before the prospective owner saw what it was going to look like. But hey, it's got tiger stripes on its legs so I'm sure it is still worth a lot of money.

I am also amused because they have posted both parents and I want to point out that this is a great example of a baby getting the worst characteristics of the sire and dam, not having them magically draw just the ones you want from the available DNA. Check it out -instead of getting Mom's elegant neck and head, we got the donkey head and fat upside-down neck on the baby! Both parents have straight shoulders, so we had pretty much a 100% chance of a straight shoulder and that is exactly what we got. I will say that he does seem to have daddy's bone, which is a good thing, but they have a lot of pictures posted and he shows potential to be every bit as narrow as Mom. Ack. I am not an expert on Paso Finos, but are their legs supposed to be that close together??? She looks like if she tried to trot, her knees would bang into each other and the weight of her belly would tip her over on her side, leaving her flailing around on the ground like a fish out of water.

Editorial comment: How many here have tried to train a mule? It is not like training a horse! I see mules being marketed left and right because they're so surefooted and such great trail mounts and have such good feet and nobody ever bothers to note that mules do not have the same disposition as a horse and do not think/respond the same way. There are people who love mules but many more who do not understand them and will get frustrated. I have seen a lot of mules at the auctions over the years and I suspect this is why.

Yes, I know the part about the mule actually killing the mountain lion is an internet rumor; however, the picture is verified as not fake. The lion was already dead. I ask you, how many of you own horses who would beat the shit out of a dead mountain lion? Again...the mule personality is not the same and you need to know what you are doing or get professional help from someone with mule experience when you take on owning and training a mule.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

With apologies to Dr. Seuss and my former professors...yes, more Horses of Color!

Do you like a colored horse?
Of course I like a colored horse!

I like it with a great big head!
I like it better gold than red!
I like it with a neck that's short!
I like the most post-legged sort!
I like it with a fluffy tail!
We'll look so pretty down the trail!
Do you want a horse with some panache?
Better bring a lot of cash!

I like it fat, I like it bony!
I like it if it's just a pony!
Crooked legs? I do not care!
As long as it's got lots of hair!
I like it short as well as tall!
I like it with no hip at all!
Camped out hocks? No cause for gripes,
Just focus on the tiger stripes!

I like it with a neck that's stumpy
And withers that are really lumpy
I like it with a pie-shaped head
If it's got spots, it should be bred!
Got babies now, all set to go!
Got to sell before the snow!
Bring your trailer, don't delay!
(I need the money to buy hay)
Three in one, what a steal!
Don't miss out on this great deal!
Come and buy, if you fail
I'll have to take them to the sale
The market's bad, no one's buying
It's not my fault if they wind up dying
Anyway, never fear...
Got twelve more foals on the way next year!

The last horse was sent in to me to be featured by someone who was kind enough to rescue him, geld him, and make him a riding horse. Two thumbs up to her for both removing him from the gene pool and giving him a good home where he can be useful!

Tomorrow: An alert reader sent me the web site of someone who is breeding Paso Finos to Appaloosas. Yay, it's the Passaloosa! No, actually, she has a fancy schmancy name for them and is calling them - are ya ready? - Spanish Jennet Tiger Horses. The last time I checked, a Jennet was a mule. This is going to be entertaining.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Baby got back...but it ain't a good one!

This creature is not being marketed as a breeding animal, I just thought it was one of the best examples ever of a severe swayback! While swayback is not a condition that keeps a horse from being pleasure ridden, it does make it difficult to find a saddle that fits the horse comfortably, leading to an increased likelihood of back soreness and related problems. Therefore, it's a fault we should attempt to avoid breeding on. If a horse only develops this fault at an advanced age, it is understandable, but I've seen young stock that already have a back shaped like a big U. Not good.

(See, you all thought I was going to make a crack about the rider but I am taking the high road...for the moment...)

Now this one, alas, is being marketed as a potential "sporthorse broodmare" and they brag that "She produces foals with size, great temperment and athletic ablility." Dear sweet Jesus, look at that back! I have seen ladybugs that are less convex. Hey, I guess you'd save money on not having to buy riser pads, since she has one built in! Seriously, though, a roach back is a severe defect. It makes is hard to fit a saddle properly and restricts the horse from being able to bring her hind legs under herself and use them effectively. It is a much more serious defect than swayback, in my opinion, as it is always there and is not something that merely develops with age and may not appear until the horse has been retired anyway. Obviously if you are choosing a broodmare, you want a horse that has neither flaw. There are plenty of them out there!

The gray mare is probably a nice sweet mare but not breeding quality. What is so wrong with marketing a mare like this as a nice, low-level youth horse or Pony Club horse? Why MUST we try to throw in that "you can breed her!" as an additional selling point when that is totally and completely inappropriate?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And the Oscar for most blatant attempt to market a severely flawed animal for breeding goes to...

Here's the ad:

"Misty was a rescue because she has a crooked nose when she was born.She is 5 yrs old.She is broke to ride.She could possibly be bred to a red/white paint but not sure.She gets along great with other horses unless it is feeding time.She would make a excellent horse for someone that just wants one to give attention to or as a field companion for another horse or even breeding.Both her parents were registered but i never got her papers since she had a birth defect.Her birth defect is not genetic either."
OK, let's evaluate these statements. "She could possibly be bred to a red/white paint but not sure." Um, so your fences suck or you deliberately bred this poor thing, even though you know she is (a) not registered or registerable (b) seriously deformed and (c) has bad conformation even if you don't look at her poor nose?
"Both her parents were registered but i never got her papers since she had a birth defect.Her birth defect is not genetic either." Let's think about that. Why would a breeder withhold the breeder's certificate unless he was afraid her birth defect was genetic and he did not want his farm associated with it? And exactly which vet determined this definitely was not genetic? Breeders, feel free to chime in - have you ever seen anything like this pop out of one of your mares??? I honestly don't know. I just know I wouldn't want to roll the dice to see if it might have a baby with a nose like that!
Besides the nose, this mare is not breeding quality anyway. She has a terrible short croup, the back is just funky, almost thinking about being a roached back, and she has a short ewe neck. They claim she is an unregistered Hanoverian but I have to say, I find that difficult to believe. (Hano experts, care to chime in?) Her tail set looks like that of an Arab, but there are other parts of her that look like a stock breed, like her neck. She looks to me like a low end Quarab. This entire ad just screams "we don't know WTF to do with her, but we definitely want some money for her, so we bred her!"
Can I mention that gray is one of the colors you are LEAST likely to get spots out of? I know this, and I have never bred a Paint or Pinto in my life. I am picturing this unfortunately gray creature giving birth to an equally unfortunate small red creature next spring. I just hope it can breathe.
The longer I do this blog, the scarier the pictures that are sent to me. I hope this mare lucks out and gets a good companion horse home, but I know there will never be as many of those as there are horses who need them.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Blue unicorns

When you get to the web site for a breeder, and there is a painting of a blue unicorn on the main page, you are put on alert that this is a person who may perhaps live in the world of fantasy, romanticize their horses, and refuse to apply any logical reasoning to their breeding program, or, well, anything else. The blue unicorn smiled at me from the main page before I got to the "homozygous Perlino tobiano stallion" within. Alas, the unicorn had better conformation.

The picture on the left is proudly hailed as the stallion's first ride. Although this stallion does nothing for me as a stallion, I must say he is a saint to have tolerated the riding seen at left. Unfortunately, the overall effect is "shaggy mixed breed beginner friendly pony" as opposed to "APHA stallion I would want to breed my mares to." I don't care if he's double dilute, homozygous and can walk and chew gum at the same time. Not breeding quality.

I know some of you will say I am picking on him because he is poorly presented. OK, let's look at some of the foals he has sired!

I have never seen a baby before that looks like it should come complete with a lifetime supply of Pergoglide. This truly is the most hideous neck I've ever seen on a baby in all these years. Definitely a case of "nest" but weirdly topped off by a huge thick crest normally only seen in Cushing's horses and elderly ponies. *shakes head in wonder*

Think that was a fluke? Want to give the breeder the benefit of the doubt? Believe they are breeding for something other than color? Here's another!

Yes, another hideously ugly thick, short neck flowing into yet another nonexistant set of withers. But hey! It has spots! Because when you breed to Mr. Homozygous Perlino Double Dilute, you can only get things with spots that are colored. This is a grulla! Isn't that just the most exciting thing ever?

This breeder is my classic example of Everything That Is Wrong With People Who Breed ONLY For Color. They have 2 stallions with totally undistinguished bloodlines, no show records, and significant conformation faults that should have turned them into nice geldings. I counted 22 mares on their broodmare pages. They have a dozen or more foals for sale. And now the announcement comes, and I quote "Unfortunetly due to circumstances out of my control, I am forced to sell a large portion of my herd as quik as possible." No! Really? I can't believe it, a backyard breeder of crappy horses getting into money trouble and having to dump a ton of horses quik-ly? All sarcasm aside, this happens all the time. They will desperately try to sell horses. They will sell some, but not enough, and not at the prices they had thought they would sell them for. They will learn that people who have $3000 to spend on a baby can buy a baby out of parents who are proven show horses. Fall will approach, and with it, the cost of expensive hay. And sure as shooting, some of those babies are going to the auction. This is the kind of thing I've seen happen a lot, and it's why this blog exists.

To review: If you don't have excellent conformation, excellent disposition and proven athletic ability, don't breed it and I don't care if it's a double dilute purple stripped leopard print with irridescent streaks! Breeding animals merely to get a trendy color with no thought to any other consideration of responsible animal breeding is as irresponsible as it gets.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

By popular request: A few words on genetic Russian Roulette

Here we have two 2-year old sorrel registered AQHA fillies. They are both AQHA breed show halter quality. In fact, the one on the left has already proven herself by qualifying for the World Show and earning 40 points. The one of the right is just a prospect but I do agree she'd probably do well if someone got out there and showed her. Their bloodlines are actually quite similar. Both are advertised as prospective broodmares.

Here's the difference:

The filly on the left is HYPP N/N. (Negative) The filly on the right is HYPP H/H. (Positive).
HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis) is a genetic defect that traces back to a popular Quarter Horse sire named Impressive. Not all descendants of Impressive are afflicted and there is a simple test to determine which are.

Here is a description of the disease from the web site bringinglighttohypp.org:
"HyPP affects the sodium channels of afflicted horses and overloads the system with high potassium levels that cause episodes which may include: mild muscle twitching that is undetectable to the human eye; noticeable muscle twitching; "crawling" skin, ranging from slight to very noticeable and usually from the back flank area forward; hind quarter paralysis; excessive yawning; and paralysis of the muscles surrounding the heart and/or lungs, causing death due to heart attack or suffocation."

Lovely, huh? The good news is, it's very easy to eliminate this disease forever! All we have to do is stop breeding any Quarter Horses except those which test N/N.
Unfortunately, it's not so simple, because stubborn, greedy morons - and yes, I think you are all downright EVIL if you do this - insist upon breeding these horses, giving stupid reasons like saying it takes a positive horse to win in halter. Really? I suppose no one told the filly on the left. And even if that were true...how much more shallow and shortsighted and downright EVIL can you get than to deliberately produce horses who may be doomed to die a horrible death in order to make a profit?

Am I exaggerating about the horrible deaths? Let's look at one description of a HYPP death, fro the same web site.

"The rest of the clinic went on until the lunch break of the second day, when the whole group of parents and kids were outside having a bbq, while the horses were put up in the stalls. All of a sudden the little girl comes screaming down the barn aisle saying that something is wrong with ‘scooter’ she was crying, so all immediately jumped up to find out what was going on. When I got to the stall, my heart was taken aback. ‘scooter’ was down in the stall amidst in a full blown attack. Not a little muscle on the side attack, his whole body was racked with spasms. I recognized it immediately, and had one of the parents call the vet from the cell phone. Meanwhile this horse is literally screaming for breath. I have never seen the fear and panic that was in that horses eyes. Luckily the Vet was only 3 miles away, and we thought he should be here in time. We had no Karo, no acetazolamide. I asked the owners if he had ever had an attack before, they asked an attack of what? They knew nothing about the disease, and had never seen the horse show symptoms. Of course they might have, but just not known what it was.

To make this long story shorter. The Vet never made it in time. About a minute after getting off the phone, his eyes went glassy, and the muscles stopped. I will also never forget the look on the faces of the parents and the kids who were there. I won’t go into details into how they had to get the horse out of the stall."

Fugly can be on the inside, too. Fugly is a horse that is a ticking time bomb. Yes, some positive horses live to a ripe old age. Some never have an attack. But others suffocate alive and aware, unable to move, unable to be helped. And this is something breeders could completely eliminate in the next 20 or 30 years. We could ensure it never happens again to another horse. People are choosing to continue to breed carriers of this defect, as well as others I could name. This is irresponsible breeding at its finest and it is not helped by a breed organization that is too much of a bunch of pussies to do what they should do and refuse to register any offspring of a N/H or H/H horse.

For those of you who prefer the humor, sorry about today's moment of seriousness, but now that everybody and their brother seems to be reading this blog, I felt the need to take advantage of the soapbox. Back to your regularly scheduled snark tomorrow!

A short note on reason v. emotion

Emotion is what makes you have an immediate reaction like "What a beautiful horse!" No matter how much you know, you may continue to have this reaction to a horse who appeals to you on some intangible level.

It is also what makes us look at our own horses and think they are beautiful no matter where they would place in a halter class. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the reason is that we're all susceptible to falling in love. Other qualities like a good disposition may make us see beauty where another person would not.

Reason is what makes you take a step back, and realize that the object of your affections has ears like a mule, isn't built to stay sound for anything more strenuous than weekend trail rides, and is so thick-necked that if he tried to set his head properly, he'd suffocate.

Believe me, I have a collection of fugly to rival anybody's living at my house. But they will not be bred. Ever. They have a good home, they are loved and spoiled, but they are not breeding quality. Fugly horses can be great horses but it is much more of a crap shoot for them. Half of what I own was headed to slaughter when I intervened. Beautiful horses with great conformation may wind up in bad situations, but folks, it just doesn't happen anywhere near as often. Please go to your local low end horse auction and see for yourself if you doubt me.

If you can't separate your emotions from your reason, and you are not confident you will remain so wealthy that you can care for every horse you produce until its natural death, then you should not be breeding. If you think I'm just doing this blog merely for the sake of being a big meanie, you totally do not get it. Yes, I'm trying to entertain - but I'm also trying to educate. There is a real problem here, and it exists in most domesticated animals. I could do this blog on dogs just as easily. Plenty of you are willy-nilly breeding those.

Hmm, maybe I'll do that next.