Thursday, September 6, 2007

Much like a peanut butter and fried banana sandwich...

putting some things together has just never made any sense to me. I mean, who really thinks that sounds good? Ew. Well, getting back on topic, several alert readers have pointed out a new cross that seems to make as much sense as Liza Minnelli marrying that gay guy -- an Appaloosa-Akhal Teke cross known as the "Nez Perce Horse."

Those of you who read every horsey book at the library when you were 7 like I did will recall the Nez Perce are the tribe responsible for breeding the original Appaloosa horse. They basically wanted a sturdy little horse that they could jump on with a piece of rawhide and go into battle on. I will say that they were very successful in what they were selectively breeding for. To this day, those who ride Appaloosas will note that most have fabulous feet that rarely need shoes and it's unusual to meet one that is not an easy keeper. These horses are often alpha in personality and you can easily see that they would not hesitate to charge into battle and kick some settler ass. (Now Appy folks, don't get all up in arms. You know you have a lot of pushy Appies out there. It's one of those stereotypes that exists because it is based in truth).

Anyway, the Nez Perce want to get back into the breeding business and therefore have decided they need to infuse some fresh blood. From one article:

"Meriwether Lewis of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition to the American West, noted the grand horses of the Nez Perce in a February 15, 1806 journal entry: "Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, elegantly formed, active and durable; in short many of them look like fine English corsers and would make a figure in any country." ...The Nez Perce are striving to regain that fine horse through their Apaloosa-Akhal-Teke cross."

Am I the only one that thinks the image of spotted horses that conformationally resembled English racehorses roaming through Indian herds in 1800s America just might be based more in romanticism than truth? Okay, but the part I'm not getting here is why, if your goal is to return to a traditional type Appaloosa as existed in the 1800s, you are crossing them on a Russian horse known for its angular build and metallic coloring? I'm totally confused at what the breed ideal you're going for is, unless the ideal is "funky colored horses we can sell for a lot of money to stupid white men who think they're getting some kind of rare, "native" horse." There is nothing native about the Akhal Teke, unless of course you live in Turkmenistan.

So I guess our next question is: What does this unusual cross produce? Well, from the looks of the web sites displaying them, it seems to be producing a spotted horse with an ewe neck and a long back and ribby build. The horse world is just going to snap those up like hotcakes!

Here's a breeding stallion they're using. This is an Akhal Teke. Needless to say, he's not the best example of one, although he is a pretty color. I like the emaciated one I posted about a month ago much better, structurally. I will say that this one appears to have good bone, and a nice slope to his shoulder, and good sized feet, but I can't get past the fact that he is downhill and long/weak backed and just not balanced/appealing looking in general.

Here's a Nez Perce stallion. While this is not such a bad little horse, I really don't see "stallion quality" here. I see a cute little guy with pretty good legs and feet and a decent shoulder. I like that he's pretty compact. However, he's got a stumpy neck, not much of a hip, and a very high set tail. But apparently - even though he has no accomplishments to date (he is currently being trained as an "endurance racer") - he is worth a $700 stud fee.

It must be because he has, and I quote, "mysterious eyes." Jeez, people, if you didn't put these silly things on your site, I couldn't quote them here.

Why am I not surprised that these folks also brag about breeding "PUREBRED, Unregistered, Working Komondor Livestock Guard Dogs?" 'Cause you know, those registries are just for those hoity-toity show people. I have to laugh at the idea of Komondors as guard dogs. Really? Dog people, enlighten me. An old friend of mine with a tack shop in Wisconsin had a Komondor. It looked like a big mop and would lick you to death. The only thing it guarded was the couch. By the way, I think they are supposed to have ropes like the one on the left. Not big, dirty mats like the one on your web site, pictured at right.

No foray into the world of new, nifty, made up registries would be complete without the obligatory picture of the baby standing behind loose, nasty barbed wire, woven wire twisted around with sharp ends poking out all over, and a fallen down board.

Again, do I put these pictures on these peoples' web sites?

You're not seeing things, either. Some of those strands are on the other side of the baby's legs. I can't figure out if this is a very narrow aisleway of fence or what, but it looks just as unsafe as you think it does.

For comparison's sake, and in answer to those who think I hate all crossbreds, here is an Akhal Teke/TB cross gelding that I think is a nice horse. These are two breeds that make some sense together. The TB side has resulted in a horse that is more compact and has a stronger hip than the Akhal Teke. I'm guessing this guy came out of a pretty nice quality TB mare. He's got good overall balance and they have another shot of him up showing he has a big and well balanced trot.

The irony is that he is a better horse that that Akhal Teke/Appy above, but he's been gelded and that one is being bred.