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.