Thursday, August 2, 2007

The American Warmblood Society: Registering Goofy Mixed Breed Shit Since 1981

As I mentioned in a comment yesterday, warmbloods were one of the few types of horses that used to be immune from the perils of being bred by folks like the lady who wrote yesterday's ad. This is because they were just too damn expensive. You couldn't pick one up from Honest Tom's Used Horse Dealership down the valley, and well hell, they were just too much trouble anyway. Inspections? Dressage? Riding? Huh? We just want to breed hosses and make some money! That all is too much work. We'll just breed us some Quarabs instead. We kin get us some Ay-rab mares at the auction for $100 a pop and my uncle Jimmy has got hisself a foundation Quarter Horse that goes back to Doc Bar!

But then, everything changed in 1981 with the formation of the American Warmblood Society. That sounds high-falutin', doesn't it? But the truth is, it was designed so anyone can register any sort of silly shit combination of breeds and make it sound like it's not only a purebred, but a high-priced warmblood!

You think I'm exaggerating? Let's look at their standards for registration. This is taken from their own web site.

"To be eligible for registration a horse/pony can be of any breed stock or combination thereof, except 100% hot- blood (Thoroughbred or Arabian) or 100% cold-blood (draft breeds), which can be nominated (see below)."

OK, let's see below.

"To be eligible for nomination a horse/pony can be 100% hot-blood (Thoroughbred or Arabian) or 100% cold-blood (draft breeds). All AWS benefits are the same as registration."

OK, so basically - it can be anything so long as it is not a sheep. Awesome.

But hey, they pretend to have performance requirements for registration! You'd think that would be a step in the right direction, hey? At least until you consider some of the achievements that would fit into their guidelines. Here are some examples:

1. Scoring a 62 in a training level dressage test. OK, I'm not a dressage rider. But I distinctly remember hearing about a friend's horse that blew sky-high bucking and still scored in the low 60's - because dressage is scored piecemeal, you don't get knocked totally out if your horse goes ballistic on one maneuver like you would in a pleasure class, correct? So I'm going to guess that this is not a supreme accomplishment. Also, if I am not mistaken, Training Level is the level at which you begin adding complicated maneuvers like...cantering. There is no lateral work required. There are no higher level movements. Basically, you have to be able to walk-trot-canter and do circles, right? Feel free to comment, but that does not sound like a complicated test of athletic ability to me.

2. Placing 15th out of 15 in a USA Equestrian recognized show jumping class. (What does that exactly mean? USEF? I am confused.) But anyway, they only care that you place anywhere between 1st and 15th. No comment on how many horses that has to be out of. At least the stock breeds only give you points when you beat other horses. The way I am reading this all you have to do is find a little show and not get disqualified and, woo hoo, your horse is an American Warmblood! Correct me if I'm wrong.

3. (Here's my favorite) You can be registered if three of your offspring have passed the performance requirements! YES! So even if my stallion is a fugly knothead who can't get out of his own way at the trot, I can breed him willy-nilly and hope that three of his babies will be able to place last in a jumper class, because that will make him a registered American Warmblood!

I believe this last option explains the marketing tactics employed for our first horse.

These folks are my favorite. They win the irresponsible breeding sweepstakes. They have actually purchased the domain name "" YES! It's true! You can breed to their cremello tobiano American Warmblood Stallion for FREE! It's a backyard breeder bonanza!

This is their stallion. He is 1/2 Saddlebred and 1/2 Quarter Horse. We had one of those when I was growing up. We all sat around joking about how something must have jumped the fence, because no one in their right mind would breed those 2 things together deliberately. Ah, I miss the 80's. These days, someone did indeed breed those two things together deliberately, and this is the result. They actually got a pretty decent horse, if you don't look at the front legs from the knees down. But did I mention that this is a 2 year old with no performance record? Yay, let's book a zillion mares for free to a 2 year old who hasn't done shit. I particularly like the way they did his youtube video in slo-mo to make it look like he has suspension at the trot he actually does not possess. Their ad brags that he "has the potential to sire colored warmblood foals that will excel in the dressage arena." Hey, my test scores in grade school showed I had the potential to run Microsoft and possibly rule the world. Didn't happen.

I have a suggestion for this gelding's AWS registered name: "Heinz 57." This, you see, is a 1/4 Oldenburg, 1/4 Paint, 1/4 Thoroughbred 1/4 Quarter Horse and I hve to say, he has managed to get the worst of each of those! He got a big old warmblood head, the straight shoulder and post legs of a low quality Quarter Horse, and we have a weird combination up front of over at the knee along with straight pasterns. Now there's a funky look. But hey! He is a warmblood. Registered and everything. AND, as they have to brag, his paternal grandsire also sired Anky van Grunsven's Olympic horse! Woo! He's practically royalty. So you're gonna have to fork over $8000 to put this green broke gelding (who trail rides and has been over cavaletti...again, woo!) in your barn.

(Remind me to do a feature on how having a famous grandsire does not mean anything if the rest of the pedigree is totally undistinguished crap. I can post an endless sea of fugly that has 1 stellar grandsire.)

Finally, while I was searching, I found this listing - obviously submitted by one of my fans! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am ROTFL. You are funny. But maybe you will get someone 's attention with that, so kudos to you! It's particularly funny that "Shame, Maine" shows up on the map. Is there a Shame, Maine? Maybe we can use it for a penal colony for people who threaten to send their horse to the auction if a rescue does not come and get it RIGHT NOW.