Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I've never seen a horse more in need of being rescued

(This has been in the comments before, but I just rewatched it and it really does need the spotlight of the main page.)

I know lots of horses are starving. But this one is going to get his neck broken or these redneck idiots are going to get pissed and shoot him or something. Probably stuff his head and hang it on the wall with a beer can between his ears after that!


Their "friend" updated since posting with the following explanation:

"Well, we found out why this horse is going over backwards when we took him too the vet to get shots. The trainer there felt him and said he's still too young to have a lot of weight on him, he's tinder in some spots around his back legs. So, no more riding until he's a little older. I guess 2 1/2 isn't old enough. Let me say for the record: I don't know anything about horses, nor do I have any desire to learn more....they are dangerous as far as I'm concerned. I can't say anything about what happened here, because I don't know what was done wrong. I can say slapping him on the ass to get him to go over the fence looked pretty damned stupid though. This isn't the first time this horse has done this. He's not a bad horse and he isn't abused. None of the horses are abused. This horse has already had 3 different owners. That's something to be said. I guess no one has the patience for him. I think he will be ok. He isn't going to be ridden for a long time yet... "

1. Tinder? Is that like TIMBER! He's going over again!?

2. The vet has a trainer there? Well for god's sake hire them and stop it with the abusive DIY training. I bitch about silly Parelli stuff but even that would be better than what you are doing to this poor little colt.

3. "he isn't abused" - um, you admitted you know nothing about horses. This statement is proof. He IS abused. He's being BADLY abused. HEINOUSLY abused. The horse is going to BREAK HIS NECK OR HIS BACK if this continues. Your friends are NOT capable of training him and they need to give him up.

Good God, thanks to this video, about 12,000 youtube viewers are willing to give him a better home. I know we all have different opinions about training and various ideas of what is or is not excessive, but I'm going to guess there is absolutely not one person reading this who agrees that this isn't abuse.

Not even vaguely horse related...

But I HAD to post this because it seems like a lot of my readers are from my, erm, vintage and will remember all of this stuff when we...somehow...inexplicably...didn't realize how fugly it was.

J.C. Penney 1977

I was 10 in 1977 and recall wearing such atrocities as an aqua plaid pantsuit of the type that now would only be seen on ladies over 70 years of age with at least some degree of dementia. What was my mother thinking? The mind boggles.

(I wonder if this is the same phenomenon that causes people to breed furry little yaks and think they are beautiful? If enough people tell you an aqua plaid pantsuit is cool, do you eventually believe it, despite all evidence to the contrary? Hmmm...)

Yak Attack!

While I freely admit it's not my favorite cross, it is possible to breed a nice looking, athletic Quarab.

Sadly, that did not happen here. Here's the description:

"Ginger is a cutie and very gentle. She was a late fall baby, she is a little over 5 months old. So she is very young.! She has Arabian in her. She would be an excellent 4h project or something to do in your spare time. She is a chestnut, she could be darker when she sheds out too! She has a darker red main and tail. For only $150, this is a horse for anything you want her to be. For you, grandkids, or your own children. She is very tame too! Email for more information or pictures!"

Where do I even start? First of all, who breeds for late fall? That breeding has "that gol-darn colt, we just can't keep 'im in the fence!" written all OVER it. Secondly, could this critter be ANY worse put together? Holy crap, she has virtually no hip, no butt, shortest croup ever, she's got a stumpy neck, she's back at the knees, and she's got a fugly head. There's no way the parents were much better. Finally, everything in these pictures looks like it needs a good deworming.

I am going to assume this was an accidental breeding and give the person the benefit of the doubt that she did not produce this on purpose. Here's what may be a news flash for some of you: Even when there is an accidental breeding, all you have to do is give them a shot and prevent a foal like this from happening. It is not rocket science. Even if you don't do that right away, a vet can pinch off the embryo at any time in the first few months. There is no excuse anymore for a filly you have to sell for $150 to be born in the first place.

However, now that she is here, you might want to talk to these folks and try to get her a job. She will fit right in, and hell, you can't beat the price!

Monday, October 29, 2007

News of the Day: Things You Write Online Are Not Invisible!

Selling due to lack of feed!

(On the same forum)

But I want pictures of your gelding for sale and are you willing to take trades?

I see this stuff ALL the time.

Oh, and look what ELSE she has for sale under the same e-mail address and phone number?

"Shih Tzu/Chihuahua/Terrier Puppies, 2 female, 1 male, will stay very small! $250/300 cash only. 1st shots & wormed; Sheltiepoo puppies 4 males, 1 female, 1st shots & wormed. $250/300 cash only. Can meet or deliver. For pictures email."

Lady, you are a sack of shit. Get a damn job, you loser, and stop breeding things.

Hey, you people who told me I was spreading misinformation about the PMU problem?

I seem to recall a few months ago commenting on the PMU industry and how the mares are kept pregnant and then they ship the foals off to slaughter at 6 months, and being told that I was ignorant and misinformed, that doesn't happen anymore, the PMU farms are out of business, blah blah b.s. b.s...

OK, whoever told me that. How do you explain this? 59 draft and draft cross PMU colts flipped over in a double-decker in Wadsworth. What, did they fall from the sky? They were going to nice riding homes in a double decker?

So apparently about 45 are still alive and breathing and got transported to a horse dealer's in Wadsworth (I'm guessing Fred Carney, though I haven't seen it confirmed). The insurance company now owns them and is deciding what to do. I haven't heard who the insurance company is yet.

Here are the pictures. Warning, dead/dying horse pics. Don't look if you can't deal.

Yeah, that PMU industry? It's cleaned right up. There's no problem anymore. They're not still up there killing baby horses left and right and keeping mares pregnant forever just so some menopausal woman can have fewer hot flashes. No, that doesn't happen at all anymore...

Sorry. You can somewhat arguably (although I don't agree) justify animal research and animal assisted drug production when a human life is at stake, but it's different when all you're doing is relieving totally non-fatal symptoms (for which there ARE other remedies and medications!). As far as I'm concerned, the entire PMU thing is completely impossible to justify. It's about greedy drug companies making money off the pain and suffering of mares kept confined and pregnant, and foals born to be disposed of as a unneeded by-product of production...the same greedy drug companies that throw their political donation dollars at people like Bob Goodlatte. Follow the money!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Equine Mythology 101...class #1

I'd like to do a little series talking about classic equine myths that I grew up with (and you probably did too if you're around my age). These are things that are absolute fallacies that horsepeople believed for years, and bad horsepeople still do believe. The only difference between us and them is the willingness to be educated (and of course, the brains to pay attention over our years with horses and learn from what we observe).

Here's a big one this time of year:

He's just skinny because he's old. He doesn't put weight on no matter what I feed him. You know those Thoroughbreds!

I've been through this myself - the horse who did not put weight on no matter what we fed her. She is a late 20's Thoroughbred. Actually, what she did - and what is very common - is fatten up all summer and then drop 100 lbs. over the winter. I did all of the obvious things - she got a good waterproof blanket, she got her teeth done, we brought her in at night, we grained her. It didn't make much of a difference. She never looked awful, but she didn't look great.

This is the point at which I have seen people throw up their hands and say, oh well, she's skinny because she's old. And to that I say...nonsense. They're always skinny for a reason and it's not merely because they are old.

Here's what I did with my mare:

1. Ran a blood panel which revealed some thyroid issues. Put her on appropriate meds.

2. Moved her to a warmer climate where she wouldn't have to deal with temperature extremes. (Ontario, Canada to Tennessee)

3. Moved her to a farm where state of the art nutritional care was provided and even the soil was analyzed to determine what kind of nutrition the horses get from the grass. They experimented with different feeds to find the magic combination to puff this mare back up to weight.

Well, voila, another year has passed and while the mare is 28, coming 29, she has returned to perfect weight. She still looks 28 but her weight is just where I want it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, an alert reader sent me this photograph of a school horse. The girl was upset because she went to a show and the judge knocked her for the horse's condition. Well HOORAY for the judge. Wish I knew who she/he is, I'd like to award them the First Annual FHOTD Gold Medal For Responsible Professional Horsemanship. The girl feels like she got screwed, because the horse's condition isn't her fault and the horse is getting plenty of feed. To quote her: "he's over 23 years old, gets 3 or 4 scoops of grain PER DAY! (which is a lot, our grain is like 25% fat) 3 flakes of hay per feeding, beet pulp, and supplements to keep his weight." She also describes how she had to ride in spurs because he was dead sided ("like, complete breakdown right before the fence, basically landed in halt mode, so i'm crazy digging my spurs in him trying to get the six in"), how he refused, and how he was starting to get sore at the end of the day. And how her trainer was going to go yell at the judge for not placing him because he's skinny "because that's how cool my trainer is."

Gee, I wish your trainer would go yell at the judge and can you video that and put that on Youtube for us, because I see a seriously amusing smackdown coming down the pike! (I am guessing Trainer figured out this would only make her look like the world's biggest asshat and settled for pouting the rest of the day with her student.)

I understand you're a kid. But your trainer has you showing a horse who is seriously underweight and it sounds like plenty sore to boot. The horse is not being a bad horse by refusing and "landing in halt mode." He probably hurts like hell. He's another good old boy that some greedy trainer is going to bute to the gills and wring the last possible $50 or $60 or $70 lesson out of. He doesn't deserve that. He should be standing in the 20 acre field next to my mares enjoying his last years, but he's not that lucky. So at the very least, kid, you might want to have Mom and Dad lay a little pressure on the trainer to get a damn blood panel run and see what is going on here. This is not normal. Not for a 23 year old. Not for a Thoroughbred. The fact that he eats a lot and doesn't gain does not give your trainer the Oscar for Good Senior Horse Care...there is nothing noble about throwing tons of food into a horse that is not gaining because something is wrong with him.

FYI, chronic pain can be a major factor in inability to gain/regain weight.

He needs a vet exam. He may need a good dental, if that hasn't been done. He needs a blood panel. Find out what is going on here and fix it, and until you do, stop using the poor thing for lessons and shows. Honestly, taking out a horse like this makes your barn look bad and it makes horseshows in general look bad. It just provides fodder for the extremist animal rights folks who don't think horses should be ridden when they see your lame, skinny horse struggling around a course. Trainer, stop treating this poor old guy as some kind of carnival ride that earns money for you. He needs rest and care and I really do hope this post embarrasses you into giving it to him...although if I know your kind as well as I believe I do, we will probably just find him at the next auction.

I'd love to be wrong.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The weekend potpourri of fugly horses and stupid owners!

My mailbox is so full that I am just going to spotlight a whole bunch of the worst of it for you! By the way, if you are going to send me a Craigslist post, try to save the page and send that or screen cap it. Craigslist expires pretty fast and often the post is gone by the time I get to it.

Let's start today with another parental Darwin award. Observe the lead rope made into a noose around the horse's neck. That will be a great means of restraint if something startles him - hey, it may even tighten enough to choke him and throw him to the ground! He won't be going anywhere. Now add the child with no helmet and the badly, badly fitting hunt saddle sitting RIGHT on the horse's withers. The horse doesn't look happy and I can't say I blame him. When you have an old coot horse with high withers, you must invest in a saddle that fits and a proper riser pad. Otherwise you just wind up on horse boards posting "my hors bucks and I dont no why?!" and annoying the shit out of the rest of us.

Here's the ad text: "shy is a sweet and easy keeper.she stands for farrier and loads,clips,and loves to have a bath.she is a good mother to her babies. she is trail broke and will go any where you want her to. any level of rider can ride her. "

Well of course they can, she is too weak to protest! Easy keeper? Yeah I guess it is EASY for you to not FEED her. OMG. And she has babies? With that horrific shoulder and hip? And of course NO mention of registration. Arrrrggggh. Someone please buy this poor mare, feed her and make her your trail horse. She will never have good conformation but I bet she would be very grateful to you.

I actually kind of like these little tanks in the picture, until I get to the ad copy and want to strangle the breeder with my bare hands.

Just some excerpts: "due to the fact that this mare is OLWS H/N & the stud she was bred to (see bloodlines below) is also H/N it is a 25% chance the foal could be OLWS, we are not offering a live foal guarantee...The mare has ringbone and thus limps, however she was a working cowhorse as a young horse and recently one of my girls rode her bareback in the arena for about a half hour..possibly could do light riding or trails, very quiet but does limp "

STOP breeding for babies that may DIE!

STOP breeding your LAME mare that is crippled up at age TWELVE!

I think I should do a "guess the breed" on this one. This is a breeding stallion who is allegedly a futurity winner. Can anybody even begin to guess what breed he is supposed to be? I swear, you won't get it...I just stared in shock.

I will tell you that, and I quote the ad, "He is a magonhany bay stallion." I do not know what a magonhany bay would be. I just know that this thing needs its balls off ASAP, a good deworming, its teeth done, and someone to get off the couch and clean up the paddock it has to live in.

OK, after I found this in my comments, I HAD to add it to today's post. This is NOT a LITTLE UNDERWEIGHT. This is HOLY SHIT, CALL ANIMAL CONTROL UNDERWEIGHT. Ad text: "Thunder Is a large older pony that was an awesome show pony in his younger days. He is around 27+ yrs old. He is a little underweight now and a hard keeper But if your willing to do that, He will make some little kid very happy! He was Grand champion English and preformance pony 2006 and Reserve Champion Western Pony. He is VERY sadly for sale But I cant have 3 Horses! And he is the one thats not getting used! Price Is Neg to the right Home... He is ONLY FOR SALE TO APPORVED HOMES!"

APPROVED HOMES? What, like YOURS? I don't give a SHIT if he's 27+. Here's my friend's THIRTY FIVE YEAR OLD for comparison.

Call the damn VET, do a blood panel and see if he has any TEETH and find out what to feed him if he doesn't! I cannot believe you think this is a "little underweight." The other picture shows him fat and shiny in the show ring, was that a year ago? Do you honestly think he dropped like this in a YEAR because he is ONE MORE YEAR older at his age?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gee, I sure hope not!

I get tons of Craigslist ads sent to me but this one might be my absolute favorite! I bolded my favorite part.

"8 Years old ARAB and THROUBRED mix. This is a Flaxin chestnut gelding never been bred. Pro trained by Del Raymond out of Delhigh, Ca. 15.1 hands tall and is bomb proof, Loads, Clips and is high spirited and loves to run. Hasn't been road for about a year. Very friendly. Experienced rider perfered. "

I sincerely hope no one hopes to breed this gelding in the future, and that no one will be "roading" him. He is a cute guy who looks like he has some potential. Maybe his next owner will be literate!

We FINALLY have a solution to the problem!

From an alert reader. I think she's absolutely right!

"Fugly, this is great:


It's an online game for virtual horse breeding! That way, you CAN BREED ALL THE HORSES YOU WANT and you won't have any fuglies that end up as rescues or in the slaughterhouse! Not only that, but you can " Take responsibilities and manage an equestrian center!" DUDE!!! So people could like, actually learn how to buy good hay and what to feed so their horses don't DIE OF STARVATION!

And best of all, it's FREE!!! It's practically the perfect answer to our fugly horse problem!"

There you go, everybody! Try it in the VIRTUAL world first and see if you can keep up with it. I'm guessing most will see what a pain in the butt it is just having to regularly click on activities like grooming and training, much less getting off your couch to do it in REAL life.

This is kinda like that baby doll that screams bloody murder that they make teenagers carry around for a few days to remind them to use condoms. Brilliant!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thank you for proving my point...yet again

Frequent readers of this blog know that I often characterize the breeders of fugly horses as illiterate rednecks. This breeder's response makes that point for me. Enjoy!

(My comments are in blue, as usual)

and how can you sit there and write about a horse you have never seen or met or no anything about.you should be ashamed of your self.

I am merely commenting on pictures on the Internet. Many people comment on their opinion of President Bush, and they have not met him or seen him in person, either. I am not ashamed of myself, but I would be ashamed if I could not spell simple words such as "know" and "yourself."

this picture of Annie was taken in march which was still winter and her baby was sold she has a winter coat which we get up here in the north.

I honestly don't remember who Annie is, but I am quite sure I never criticized a horse for merely being furry.

and yes she might be pregnant again so what. she is healthy and happy .

The Mexican slaughterhouses thank you for keeping supply up and prices down! By the way, if you call a vet, you might be able to resolve the "might" issue. Just a thought!

do you think i care what you say about us when you have never met us of our horses,

Well, obviously you do or you wouldn't be e-mailing. Duh.

figures a yankee has to cause shit once again.

Damn yankees! Ever since those bastards freed our slaves it's been nothing but trouble! On behalf of my Southern friends, please stop embarassing the South.

i am still pressing charges of Theft.

OK you go talk to the cops about that, sweetie pie. You might learn something.


You bet I know what copyright means. I can spell it, too. Did you know you cannot press charges for copyright? You have to sue me in Federal Court for that. I hope that helps!




FHOTD in: And these people think I'm the one making them look bad...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today's 5 Things I Hate About Horsepeople

Still busy, but wanted to share just a sampling of what is in my e-mail box...in case you thought the equestrian community had become any smarter overnight...

1. They ride yearlings.

This is a yearling mini colt. This is not cute. This is abusive. Minis need to grow up before carrying weight, too.

2. They post pictures that make me want to jump through my computer screen and save the horse before something awful happens.

Do you really need more than 10 I.Q. points to see that this is not a good idea? Particularly with a 3 month old colt that is described as, and I quote, "pretty much halter broke, I think."

3. They keep things like this a stud because his great grandfather was a cutting champion and, hey, he is yellow.

And then they expect me not to make fun of them on this blog. OMG. Those post legs! That fugly short neck and mutton withers! Downhill! Virtually NO muscles. The only thing good about him is his head and you can't ride the head.

4. They can afford a sleazy hood and a big poofy waterproof blanket for the mini, but they can't get off the couch and replace the barbed wire with hot tape.

P.S. Turning out in a nylon halter? Also stupid.

5. They
do not feed their horses and then provide lame excuses. They should be starved to death themselves. I will volunteer to supervise. Evil miserable scumsucking bastard. Bet he managed to afford food for HIMSELF.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Southern California Fires

First of all, for those of you who just can't go a day without seeing something snarkworthy, here is some dimwit who needs to sell one hundred and thirty horses NOW because she is pregnant. Of course, they are "foundation bred," most are colored and nearly all are as long as Britney's hair extensions! Bet nothing is broke, either. My head hurts.

Now on to today's topic:

Most of us know about the wildfires in Southern California right now. Evacuation facilities for horses are overflowing already. If you can house some horses (or other pets!) temporarily, or if you have a truck and trailer to move horses for someone who may not have transportation, here are some places you can post so that those in need can find you.

Here is a blog about the fires in the San Diego area with more information.

For those in danger from the fire, from the blog:

Horse stables for 1,700 available in Indio

Posted @ 7:17 PM
Evacuees are invited to stable their horses at a horse farm in the Thermal-Indio area.A private citizen, recommended by a California Department of Food & Agriculture veterinarian, has volunteered enough property, staff, food, and water resources to care for up to 1,700 horses. For more information, County residents can call (760) 399-2716.

From Peggy on COTH:

According to the OC Fire authority website (http://www.ocfa.org/ocfamain.asp?pgn1=3), Industry Hills is taking horses.They list the following under "Animal Evacuation"

OC Fair Ground is closed to animals at this time.

Industry Hills Expo Center will take 125 large animals (626) 330-0324. They are located off of the 60 Freeway between the 57 and 605 freeways

Orange County Animal Shelter off of The City Drive will take 150 dogs and 75 cats.


The Chronicle of the Horse message board has a number of threads going with some updates from people actively involved in the rescuing. That is another good place to post if you can offer any kind of assistance.


Please feel free to post additional information about where to find help/those in need of help to the comments. I am happy to be able to say that I just learned all of the horses I used to care for in Topanga have been moved and are safe tonight, but many others - particularly those owned by people who have only 1 or 2 horses - may not have any transportation or a way to get to safety.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A match made in Heaven, or a match made in Hell?

I want to talk a little today about what kind of stud you choose for a mare who is good but not great. I am somewhat of a realist. I will never say that the ONLY mares who should be bred are the perfect 10's. You are going to be able to fault most horses in some way. The point of selective breeding is to improve, so if you have a mare who's a 6 or a 7, it's entirely possible to get a baby who is an 8 or a 9 out of her if you breed intelligently (and yes, a bit of luck helps). You are not likely to get a 3 or a 4 (the kind of horse who shouldn't get born in the first place) out of her unless you make a really bad breeding choice. These mares are registered APHA mares that I do not think are 9's or 10's but I think are fine to breed from if you make intelligent choices.

This first mare was priced at $3500, and has sold (sounds like to a riding home). Here's what I really like about her: First of all, you could see from other pictures in the ad that she rides, so she's not just a baby machine. She is in beautiful condition, so kudos to her seller for that. I love her hip. She's slightly sickle hocked but that's not a flaw that bothers me much as it usually does not impact performance. Her tail is set on just where it should be for an APHA mare - she will carry it low and flat. Her back is a nice medium length. It's appropriate for pleasure but not so long that she would be unable to do something more athletic than the rail classes. Her neck is low set but it's not a "nest" - it comes out high enough that you can still see where the chest begins, and low set is what you want in an APHA pleasure horse. Her head is nice enough. It's not super fancy but she has cute little ears and that always makes for an attractive look. You can't fault her color - she's got nice overo markings dressing up a pretty dappled dark bay. The main flaws here are that the shoulder is upright and she's slightly back at the knee. She's got a nice pastern angle which is going to compensate somewhat for the shoulder.

While I would not call this mare a top broodmare prospect, she is the sort of mare where I wouldn't be upset if someone bred her, assuming they chose the stud wisely. For this mare, you definitely want a stallion with a great shoulder. Looking only at conformation, I do not have time to look at the bloodlines and see if these would indeed be a match, if I were breeding for halter, an example of something I might choose would be
Skips Rio Grande. The only thing I do not like so much about him is his neck, and she has a thinner, prettier one. If I were breeding for pleasure, an example of something I might choose would be Red Riot. This is a half-Thoroughbred overo with awesome bone, awesome feet and a lovely shoulder. She's got a better hip than he does. With any luck, you'd get his front end and her hip. (Obviously, more research goes into it than this. Again, I DID NOT LOOK AT PEDIGREES and if I were really breeding, I would, as well as looking at pictures of these stallions' existing foals.) Now, if you bred her to say, one of these stallions, then I would come to your house and beat you with a wet noodle.

J.K. Kind of.

This mare is quite the bargain - a Reserve World Champion selling for $2500 on DreamHorse. Yes, she's older and in pasture shape, but it's still a good deal. This is a bad picture, and I suspect it was taken out in the horse pasture with other loose horses and we could certainly comment about the wisdom of that, but I'm talking mares today. Even from this terrible picture, I can see that this mare has an awesome hip and a beautiful shoulder. I do not like how high her tail is set on. Her neck looks short due to the angle but I think it is average length. The head is a very classic type with a big cheekbone and small muzzle. You can't see her feet but you can see she's got good bone. Since she's old fashioned looking and I suspect not the world's greatest mover (a lot of halter horses from this era and with this look move with a ton of knee, I own one of them and that's how she moves...it ain't pretty), if I were going to breed her, I'd want to breed her to something modern, more elegant, and super good moving. Again, looking only at conformation and type, not trying to match up the pedigrees intelligently, I absolutely love The Big Sensation (video here - scroll down to find). Wow, what a nice horse. He's half Thoroughbred, too, and if you're thinking I'm partial to that cross, you're right.

What you don't want to breed her to is something like this. (video) Mind you, I think this stallion is a total SAINT and probably deserves a MEDAL (check out the first jumping picture at top, and then watch the whole video to see the appalling o/f form of the rider), but he is short, stumpy, old fashioned looking and has a ton of knee when he moves. He does appear to have a cute jump, and probably would be even cuter with a rider who didn't get left behind and whap all over his back like a sack of potatoes. I'm kind of thinking a better niche for this guy is as a hunter pony sire. The APHA world isn't interested in 15.0 hh high-kneed hunt seat horses.

This one is more borderline. Again, it's an awful picture. (I'm kind of deliberately choosing these today, it's a good drill to try to see through bad photography). And it's a cheap horse. $700 papered mare. You know what, I don't hate her. Admittedly she's got the croup, hip, and tail set of my rescued $500 blind mare, but the rest of her isn't so bad. This mare's got a pretty head and neck, good bone, good sized feet (pic was taken down so you have to account for that - that is why her head looks so big, it's not), nice sloping pasterns. She looks like a mare who'd stay sound for some serious work. I don't think a mare like this should be chosen for someone's breeding program, but if she winds up with an owner who loves her and really really really wants a foal out of her with at least the intent of keeping it, I won't be horrified so long as they choose a good registered stallion with an awesome back end. She isn't breeding quality in my opinion but I bet she's a sweet mare and I do have some understanding for those who say their mare is the best damn mare they've ever had and they want a baby out of her. Note, ONE baby. Don't get all excited after that and decide you're breeding her every year just because all of your friends think she is awesome. Note that they are your friends, and will also not tell you that you look like a stuffed sausage in those jeans. Your friends are not an unbiased source of information. If you want a genuine opinion on your horse's quality, take her to a horse show or better yet three horse shows and see what the judges think.

OK, you knew I would draw the line somewhere. Of course, this is the one that IS pregnant! Aaaaack! Ye gods, why did this mare have to take? Ewww! Ewww! Ewww!
The ONLY good thing about this mare is her color. Other than that, I can find almost nothing to like about her. Yes, she's somewhat underweight but that's not all of it. She's got a short little croup, no butt to speak of, posty hocks, straight shoulder, short neck, mutton withers, terrible topline, long back, ears like a mule, back at the knee and weak pasterns. On top of that, I think something ate her tail off. Poor dear. Oh, did I mention she is a whopping 14.0 hands?
*sigh* Of course, she's only going to run you $1200. If she's quiet, which they claim she is even though she's coming seven and nobody has bothered to break her out, she might make a flashy 4-H pony for a kid too young to need something competitive. If you can think of what to do with her foal (no idea who the sire is, only that he's "red and white"), you have more imagination than I do at this moment.

All right, enough procrastinating. It is still raining and either I have to go out and muck in the rain or go ride the filly that likes to grow roots but I can't sit here on the computer all day, much though I'd like to read the 421 e-mails I have left to read. Sorry, everybody. I just can't keep up. For those of you who are newer, no, I can't critique your personal horses, again, no time. Please take them to a show next season and they will get critiqued just fine. That's the best way to do it, particularly if you are thinking about breeding. A halter judge will be happy to tell you what's good and not so good about your mare. As I said before, 3 shows or 5 shows are even better. Not everybody has the same tastes but you will start to hear patterns in their comments and you can extract the truth from that, as well as from how you are placing. And if you're thinking of breeding, I mean go to the BREED show or the RATED show, not the local Yee Haw Riders Spring Fun Show.

While I'm writing open letters to celebrities...

Dear Mr. Terry Bradshaw,

Why exactly are you breeding this HYPP N/H creature with totally upright pasterns, post legs and a nasty set of forelegs? Look at them. He is back at the knee and rotated out at both knees. Ew. Yes, I know his foals are winning, but that to me is proof positive the system is fucked. You guys are deliberately breeding horses with a known, often fatal disease. Do you think that is something your fans would respect?
I do understand that making the famous quote "I may be dumb but I'm not stupid" was a shout-out to greedy unscrupulous horse industry types on the same level as calling pigs to feed, and I understand that you've probably been told that HYPP isn't a big deal or even is necessary. I understand that, as far as you know, winning means they are good. I would encourage you to read Bringing Light to HYPP and talk to some veterinarians (not the one that works for the people who sold you the big money, defective horses, by the way) and educate yourself. Prove to us, Mr. Bradshaw, that you are not, indeed, stupid.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An open letter to Ellen Degeneres

(Yeah, I know, slightly OT but we do discuss rescues and rescue ethics here a lot and I think this is in keeping with that. Also, I have a strong opinion on the matter and this is what I feel like typing about this morning so this is what you get.)

The news this week is full of stories about how the mean, mean rescue people took a dog back because Ellen DeGeneres gave it to her hairdresser. Clearly there is nothing more important to discuss, as neither Lindsay Lohan nor Paris Hilton has felt the need to flash their crotches this week (thank you, Jesus). Well, I'd like to have a word with Ellen, and while I doubt she reads the Fugly blog, I think it's a good topic for discussion so I'm going to write it up.

Yes, I stole the pic from TMZ.

Dear Ellen:

I read the rant on your official web site about how terrible you think it is that Mutts & Moms took back the dog they adopted out to you because you violated the contract by giving it to someone else that you think is a good home. I have read elsewhere how your girlfriend signed the contract, you didn't read it, blah blah.

Well, Ellen, let me tell you a few things about rescue. I've done small animal rescue (in Los Angeles, as a matter of fact - but cats instead of dogs) and I've done large animal off and on over the past 20 years. I have seen pets dumped because they bit someone, pets dumped because they scratched someone, pets dumped because they scratched a piece of furniture, pets dumped because of allergies, pets dumped because of moves, pets dumped because of human pregnancy, pets dumped because of their own pregnancy, pets dumped because they got sick, pets dumped because they shed, pets dumped because they are too expensive, pets dumped because they did not magically become trained with no effort put forth on the part of the owner, pets dumped because a new boyfriend or girlfriend did not like them, pets dumped because they got old and were not any fun anymore and pets dumped to punish a child for failure to clean their room. The vast majority of those pets are dead today. In Los Angeles, more animals leave the shelter dead than alive. This has, understandable, made most rescuers - and particularly those in places like Los Angeles - more than a little cautious about someone's good intentions.

You see, Ellen, most of those homes who dumped their pets to die started off with the same joyful enthusiasm about owning a pet. The kids were excited, Mom and Dad were excited, everybody was on the same page. The kids said they'd love the pet forever! Well, forever did not happen. Instead, those pets ended their lives on a metal table in the back room of one of those horrifically smelly Los Angeles shelters. (I am not kidding about this. Go take a walk through North Central sometime. The nasty smell will hang on your clothes til you wash them.)

And among the pets who do not get dumped, there are pets who get beaten for peeing in the house, pets who have their tails pulled and ears poked by unsupervised toddlers, pets who are lit on fire by sociopaths of various ages, pets who die on the road because no one made the slightest effort to confine or train them, pets who wind up as bait for fighting dog operations...the list goes on. The public does not often understand how widespread horrible deaths among small animals truly are. They grew up watching "Lassie" and firmly believe most dogs and cats live in these great, loving homes. Well, many do, but many do not, and you cannot tell from knowing someone socially whether or not they are a good home. How many of us have been shocked to learn a friend has ditched an animal at the shelter, someone we thought was "too nice" to do that? Or learned that someone with a Master's Degree, who should be "too smart" for this, has a cat that is not fixed shooting out unwanted kittens at an alarming rate? Most of us, I'm guessing. And of course said friend has rationalizations...because, you know, they are the only person ever to have to deal with moving with a pet, or allergy shots, or whatever, and it's just so hard and they really feel awful.

Ellen, speaking of feeling awful, may I point out that most of your post on your blog is about your feelings? I'm going to be absolutely honest with you, so listen up: No one in animal rescue cares about your feelings. They have one intent: To ensure the dog is never in peril again and lives as good a life as possible, including proper medical care, until he dies of natural causes. That is the only intent of most rescuers. That is why they are called ANIMAL rescuers, not human psychiatrists. Their only interest in you is how well you will take care of the animal. That's it. That's the goal of animal rescue. If you take great care of the animal, we don't care anything else about you. You can be in a polygamous relationship, worship trees and hold radical political beliefs, but if you keep your pets forever and take them to the vet and don't let them get dragged down the street by the UPS truck, you get five stars from us.

Ellen, you are not trained in screening adopters. I am. The ladies at Mutts & Moms are. Screening adopters is very enlightening and teaches you a great deal about human nature you would have preferred not to know. You will learn that people will lie about anything they can lie about. A family member with a conviction for animal abuse? Well gee shucks, we didn't know about that, even though it's our kid. A landlord that does not allow animals? Well, who knew that was on our lease! Golly gee. A drunken, loud, abusive family member that greets the rescuer doing the site check at the door? Damn, where did he come from? People lie to get animals, and they learn the right answers to give. They learn that they cannot say that they have ever dumped an animal at a shelter, that they should say the landlord is TOTALLY cool with that fourth cat, and that all of their animals are fixed, of course they are, the pregnant cat in the back room is just a stray they are oh-so-kindly taking care of. So, rescuers have learned to screen more carefully. We background check. We call the landlord. We ask to see the lease. Every rescue I know forbids rehoming without prior permission. This is not an unusual condition. It is absolutely standard. Some people think we're overdoing it but we take the steps we feel are necessary to protect the pet. And that's why we have a legal contract that you, the adult, must sign before you get the pet. Your hairdresser may be a great home, but you didn't give her the chance to prove that. Or perhaps you knew she'd fail the screening and therefore took matters into your own hands? We will never know.

Ellen, legal contracts are not foreign to you nor are they foreign to your girlfriend. Neither of you is a cashier from a Quik Stop in East Texas. You two sign legal contracts for every single thing you do in your professional lives and many things in your personal lives. I am sure you have a lawyer. Why did he or she not review the contract before Portia signed it if you were unclear about the terms?

The fact is, you weren't unclear. You just didn't read the contract OR you knew what was in it but you decided you knew better than the rescue and you were going to place that dog - which did not work out for you for some reason you have not disclosed, but I'm guessing it's a reason that could also cause your hairdresser to want the dog gone, it usually is. Well, Ellen, you didn't have the legal right to do so, and it was NOT the best decision for the dog to be placed in an unscreened home.

If your hairdresser wanted to adopt the dog, all you had to do was return the dog to the rescue and tell them that someone else would like to apply for ownership. Not hard. You didn't do that. Instead, you just skipped the process - much like Britney not bothering to get a California driver's license, perhaps you thought the rules did not apply to you. That was a choice. Now you have made a further choice to act like a 5 year old. You went online and trashed the rescue and whined about your hurt feelings and emotionally manipulated the public in an attempt to get the dog given back to the home you picked out for it. Well, that went a little too far. You forgot that some of your audience is crazies that sit at home all day watching daytime TV and now they are sending death threats to the rescuers. Wonderful. See, this entire situation could have been avoided if you had simply taken the time to read what I am sure is a one page contract. And if you didn't want to be bound to any terms, for god's sake get a dog off Craigslist or from the animal shelter. Again, you had a choice. If two little girls are sad today, YOU, Ellen DeGeneres, are the person who is at fault. Look in the mirror, sunshine. Nobody should have given them that dog and represented to them that it was their dog when legally it could not have been their dog. You gave them the legal equivalent of stolen property.

I've repossessed animals, and I've also taken them back - again per my contract - when the owner honestly came to me and said it wasn't working out. I just took the cat shown back this year when the owner suffered a stroke and had to go into a home. In fact, I decided to keep that one - he's a nice cat and he's already been in the actual euthanasia room once - a friend of mine pulled him at the last second for me, as I frantically texted her while at an arbitration hearing in Century City. He's not going there ever again.

The goal of responsible rescue is ensuring the animal's safety forever, not on the day you pull them from the shelter, or off the slaughter lot. You, Ellen, interfered with that goal - and you got called on it. Grow the fuck up and stop whining already.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There are simply no words...

Before I address our topic of today, a $58,000 sterile Gypsy Vanner stallion, I want to point out that I have purchased a small horse farm on 5 acres with a house for $67,000 and, while it was not exactly Southfork, it was a hell of a lot better use of that kind of money that this critter would be to anyone. Seriously, if you are dumb enough to fall for this and have this kind of cash to spend, come sit next to me. OK, I'm kidding, but at least I'd spend it rescuing sweet old Thoroughbred mares and that would at least be useful.

Text of the ad: "Arkan was purchased from Black Forest Shires and Gypsy Horses. Arkan is Sterile and son of Lion King. He has never settled a mare and no proof exists of his fertility. The price is negotiable and includes loss of income from 4 gypsy mares that he was unable to breed. "

Um, sir? First of all, this sounds like a you have a lawsuit with Black Forest Shires and Gypsy Horses. Why would you think you should pass that expense on to a potential buyer? Loss of use, are you on crack?

Second, did you not get the memo about how people in the horse business typically lose money? Especially when they pay too much money for a stallion without bothering to fertility test him. Not that I think the Earth needs to be populated with shaggy legged colored cobs, but if I were going to pay some ri-fucking-diculous amount of money for one, I would damn well make sure he wasn't sterile first. Did you find out if he had foals on the ground or you just merrily signed a ginormous check because he was REALLY hairy and that's just nifty?

But hey, forget trying to go after the seller (other than talking smack about them on Equinehits: memo to you, No One Cares), let's just try to get someone buy the world's most overpriced gelding.

(Has anyone here read this Cali Canberra novel "Trading Paper?" I just started it and it's a thinly disguised account of the sale of NH Love Potion in the 1980s Arabian world. Was that really the story, some dumb rich guy who got bamboozled into signing a contract for $2.4 million for a mare? I'm sure we have some Arabian insiders here, fill me in. Although really that should be another post because I heard how that mare ended up and it pisses me off big-time. I met that mare, by the way. She licked my hand when I was 15. Your trivia for the day.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

But his horses are all pedigreed!

I thought about this guest blog today because the guy sitting next to me at computer training said his brother in North Dakota can't sell any horses right now even though they're all "pedigreed Quarter Horses!" I pointed out to him that AQHA papered horses are approximately as common as mosquitoes and the low end is not selling. Not in North Dakota, not in Florida, not in California, not anywhere.

A friend of mine has a great expression to describe alot of the pedigrees we see among the fuglies online...she says they are by Truck out of Town. Meaning, their only likely destination is that double-decker parked behind the local auction house that they load in the dead of night. Sadly, this is true. As we've discussed before, the low end horse market is dead. People are still buying quality show horses, but those people want certain bloodlines that are proven to win.

So now, without further preface, here's another guest blog by Forthefutureofthebreed.

Since we found out earlier that horses are “by” stallions and “out of” mares, let’s explore how to look at and read a pedigree correctly. If the pedigrees on some of those free online pedigree sites are any indication of their author’s knowledge, this information is of paramount importance. Proper pedigree format and terminology is not breed-specific.

First, before we get into the boring stuff – It is essential that if you’re doing any sort of pedigree research, or documenting their bloodlines in any way, the horses’ names MUST BE SPELLED CORRECTLY. Don’t put an apostrophe or an “s” where there isn’t one. It just screws things up for everyone else. Many times, just an apostrophe or an “s” in the name is the only thing that separates two entirely different horses. If you can’t spell the names correctly (as they are documented by the breed associations), you probably shouldn’t be messing around with pedigrees - at least, not anywhere where someone else is going to refer to your work.

In this illustration, you will find a 4-generation pedigree. (That would be the subject horse PLUS four generations of ancestors.) No, the subject horse doesn’t count as a generation, contrary to what the foundation Quarter Horse and foundation Appaloosa “registries” will have you believing. If, for example, you WERE to count the subject horse as a generation, would that make the dam the “first dam in the second generation”? And the grand dam would be “the second dam in the third generation”? How confusing is that? The DAM is the FIRST DAM in the FIRST generation. The fourth dam is the fourth mare back on the mare line in the fourth generation. (That would be INFRA RED in the pedigree shown). It’s so much easier to understand when used correctly.

In most accepted pedigree formats, the sire is always shown on the top half of any pair; the dam is on the bottom. That’s easy enough to remember, for obvious reasons. Sometimes you will find pedigrees showing the opposite, or a pedigree that goes to the left instead of the right. Whatever…as long as you are proficient in reading a pedigree and are familiar with the names, I guess you can read it that way, too, although the above pedigree is the standard, accepted international format for pedigrees. Pedigrees have been formatted this way for many centuries worldwide. The ones who had the money (and the education) that bred the high class horses, were usually the ones who got it right. We probably should pay attention and not change it to suit our silly preferences. You can’t change who the ancestors are anyway, no matter how you format a pedigree.

Within each pedigree are sections, called “quadrants”. If you were to separate each quadrant, you could isolate and look at the pedigree of each of those horses in those quadrants. Each section can be divided equally, all the way back. You can divide the pedigree in half, then divide those two sections in half, etc. In this pedigree, the quadrants would be NASRULLAH, LALUN, PRINCEQUILLO and VIRGINIA WATER. You can see two generations of ancestors on each of THOSE horses. (I don’t see “three” generations of ancestors behind them, do you?) I don’t know about you, but when I ask for a 4-generation pedigree, I want to see four generations of ancestors I didn’t know about, not three. So we do not count the subject horse as a generation.

Since the number of horses double in each generation going back, the numbers are equal - meaning they can be divided in half infinitely as you go further back. For example, there are 2 horses in the first generation, 4 horses in the second generation, 8 horses in the third generation, 16 horses in the fourth generation, and so on. (There are a total of 30 ancestors in a 4-generation pedigree; there are 62 ancestors in a 5-generation pedigree; 126 ancestors in a 6-generation pedigree; 510 ancestors are in an 8-generation pedigree; there are 2,046 ancestors in a 10-generation pedigree; there are 8,190 ancestors in a 12-generation pedigree. A 20-generation pedigree has 2,097,182 ancestors! We must keep in mind, though, that many of those ancestors are the same horses.

When calculating blood percentages (such as for one of the foundation QH or Appy registries), you will see a pedigree chart illustrated as 50% for each parent, 25% for each grandparent, 12.5% for each great-grandparent, 6.25% for the great-great grandparents, etc. Each horse, in each generation, does not represent equal INFLUENCE on the subject horse. For example, in the above pedigree, BIMELECH and INFRA RED do not equal 6.25% each in influence on the subject horse. Infra Red probably DOES has more influence, if a genetic test could prove that. (It sort of HAS been proven, with the recent MtDNA studies on Thoroughbred mare families).
In the Thoroughbred pedigree at left, there is no inbreeding/linebreeding (duplicated ancestors or common ancestors) in four generations. The possibility of duplicate ancestors within the NEXT couple of generations after that is quite high, and it increases as you go further back. Thoroughbreds rarely show a lack of inbreeding/linebreeding within the first 6 generations of their pedigrees, and they rarely have any linebreeding/inbreeding within the first three generations. One look at the pedigree of Mill Reef further back, we find many duplicated ancestors. The sire of MUMTAZ MAHAL, and the sire of the sire of INFRA RED is The Tetrarch. QUICKLY’S dam is also by a son of The Tetrarch. That is three crosses to The Tetrarch in 7 generations. In this particular pedigree, there are 157 crosses to Pocahontas, the highest number of duplication in 12 generations of any ancestor in this pedigree. Next is Touchstone, at 150 crosses, Stockwell at 140, and so on.
The sire, the sire’s sire (grandsire), the grandsire’s sire (great grandsire), etc. on back along the very top of the pedigree, is called the TAIL MALE LINE, SIRE LINE or MALE LINE. On the bottom side of the pedigree, the dam’s dam (granddam or 2nd dam), the granddam’s dam (great granddam or 3rd dam), etc. on back along the very bottom side of the pedigree, is called the TAIL FEMALE LINE, FEMALE LINE, or MARE LINE. Each horse in the pedigree also has a tail male and tail female line if you looked at their pedigrees individually.

Many breeds consider the influence of the female line to be greater than any other lines in the pedigree. Many breeders will tell you that the dam influences her foal to a greater extent than the sire, in most cases, and that influence can be as high as 85%. Some sires can be dominant, but mostly it’s the mares. In most prominent sale catalogs for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, for example, the female line and its performance and produce are given priority and take up most of the catalog page (see illustration). The difference in prices realized between two horses going through that sale (who might even have the same sire), can be huge, depending on how successful the mare line is. An obscure, unsuccessful mare line will usually continue to produce nothing (regardless of the sires they are bred to), whereas a successful mare line will usually continue to produce successful horses.
Reading a sale catalog page is pretty self-explanatory if you read enough of them, are familiar with your breed, and know the horses in the pedigrees. Usually, a 3-generation pedigree is given, a little blurb on the sire of the horse selling, and then as much information that will fit is given on the female line of the horse. If the female line was a good one, sometimes only one or two dams are shown so their best performers and producers can be highlighted. I’ve seen poor quality mare lines in a sale catalog, going back 6 generations of females, looking for something decent to highlight in that family. The highest quality foals are always shown. On this catalog page for a running Quarter Horse, note that there are three foals listed under the first dam, yet she produced 7 foals (including the one selling). Those three foals (all half-siblings to the horse going through the sale) are her best three. Note that it mentions at the 2nd dam that she’s a half-sister to BUZZ TE and SUMPIN SILLY. Rita Seis, Buzz Te and Sumpin Silly all share the same dam, but have different sires. (I looked them up). They are HALF-SIBLINGS. If the compiler of the catalog were to use half-siblings to mean “same sires”, there wouldn’t be room to list even the best ones. Buzz Te’s sire is Easy Jet. Easy Jet sired 2,505 foals! Which ones would you identify as Buzz Te’s “half-siblings” if you believe half-siblings mean they share the same sire? Since Buzz Te and Rita Seis share the same dam, now that is telling us something. Rita Seis is a big time mare, and a half-sibling to her tells us a lot about that half-sibling.

The BLACK TYPE (bold type) indicates horses who have achieved higher levels of success. All bold caps denote horses who were stakes winners; lower case bold indicates horses who were stakes-placed. In other breeds, the black type indicates other levels of achievement such as AQHA Champion, ROM, Superior Event, and others. The more black type, the better quality the family is. The colt going through this sale is out of a mare whose full sister is one heck of a producer. This is good. While his dam didn’t produce any black type foals (yet), HER dam sure did.
Back to pedigree characteristics…There are other features of a pedigree that could give us a clue about the quality of the subject horse. Aside from the obvious successful or famous horses in a pedigree as opposed to poor quality ancestors no one has ever heard of, the SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS are important. These are the duplicated ancestors and their full and half-siblings. This can intensify the influence of that particular blood. It might be something you want, and it might be something you want to stay away from, depending on the success of those horses and your preferences. For example, those of you who hate IMPRESSIVE in a QH pedigree might want to also steer clear of any horses in a pedigree who were SIBLINGS to Impressive. (You need to know your pedigrees in order to spot them). Siblings are not equal. They may share the same parents, but they are not equal, in phenotype, performance or production ability (but they can be similar), so that’s another thing to keep in mind. Unsuccessful siblings to successful horses are also not recommended. They didn’t do well themselves, and probably don’t have the genetic strength to pass on their good breeding. There are exceptions, but not many.
Another important aspect of a horse’s pedigree chart is the positions of certain ancestors in that pedigree. For example, you wouldn’t want a stallion sired by a horse that is a known, successful sire of broodmares, but doesn’t have any good siring sons. Likewise, you wouldn’t want a mare whose sire isn’t known to sire good daughters. These are “ingredients” of a pedigree that can be analyzed throughout the whole bloodline; as far back as you want to research. You don’t have to be a breeder to know your pedigrees. When you are well-versed in the bloodlines of your breed, you are able to analyze a prospect’s pedigree well, with knowledgeable insight into the potential of that horse. Knowing this, it is easy to see why a horse with a pedigree full of obscure, do-nothing horses (his genotype) most likely is NOT going to have the ability to perform at high levels or produce anything of real quality. His “phenotype” (conformation and class) will confirm that.

With “ancestral influence” in mind, we can see that a 43.5% Poco Bueno “blood percentage” doesn’t mean a whole lot (other than the horse needs to be tested for HERDA). Linebreeding to one ancestor does not equal a quality individual, nor does it mean a whole lot if all of those crosses are through SONS of one particular ancestor. A pedigree needs be BALANCED in order to be improved upon and predictable, which means any siblings in the pedigree should be of opposite sex, distributed equally throughout the pedigree among all quadrants, and not all clumped together in one area of the horse’s chart. Linebreeding methods of breeding are used to set a type, or at least, maintain a type, but it can only be predictable when using sons AND daughters of certain ancestors. Take a look at any Hank Wiescamp pedigree (whose horses were virtual cookie cutters), and you will see that he linebred to stallions AND mares equally.

Pedigrees are only a small part of knowing horses, breeding them, showing them, etc. Pedigrees are the only tool we have that we have some control over, and there are documented records to draw from. Check out some of the pedigrees of proven horses, and you will find successful ancestors, and lots of sibling relationships in the pedigree, (even if they’re 12 generations back). We can’t always predict the outcome of a mating, but we CAN give the potential foal the best chance at having a quality life if that foal is born from quality individuals and successful, quality ancestors.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Conversations with the vampire...er, kill buyer

So, yesterday was a typical Adventure in Horse Rescue. It began with the alarm going off at 4 AM and trying to get out the door to wake up the horses and feed them. As I opened the door, the barn cat rocketed in like a furry black missile, causing me to dive after him while simultaneously attempting to make no noise that would set off the three large dog-shaped alarm clocks and wake up the completely innocent non-rescuer type person sleeping on the couch.

Believe it or not, I actually accomplished this, and also accomplished getting 200 miles away to pay for the elusive Futlooseanfancyfree mare from last week's auction, who had been spotted the previous night by an alert friend, who unfortunately was not an alert friend in possession of $350 or a paypal card. While I did not have any spare cash either, I did have a paypal card, and another rescuer kind enough to send money to it, so off I went to save the Way Too Nice To Can mare.

(I confess. I'm a bad rescuer. I don't think all horses are equal and beautiful. I do think some horses are Too Nice To Can and for others it is unfortunate and cruel, and I wish they'd have been euthanized instead if there was no home for them, and I wish slaughter by the current methods was illegal, but I am not sorry they are out of the gene pool. Yes, I know, this is against the Rescue Oath and I'm going to Hell now, but at least I am honest about it.)

We finally got there and Ole's assistant cheerfully led us to the pen where they'd separated out the mare. Only, it wasn't the mare. It was a big fugly flaxen chestnut mare that looked nothing like our mare. "Oh shit," she said, "I was afraid of that. We loaded up in the dark last night.

Argh! 4 hours drive and no mare? Did we just miss her by 10 hours? I began asking if there was any way at all to pull a mare off that truck once it got started. I said I could probably hop online and get someone to pick her up pretty much anywhere in the USA. We then began searching the pens of horses. In the last one we looked in, I saw a cluster of horses grouped around a plentiful supply of hay. I looked down and saw an old bowed tendon on the right front. Suffice it to say, I have never been so happy in my life to see a bowed tendon.

So here's the lucky girl on the left. I had to back up in a 10 x 15 pen to take this picture, so it is an example of really bad photography, but you can still see what attracted us to her. This is a big mare with a hip like a Quarter Horse, big bones, big feet and deep through the heart. Her neck is longer than it looks in the pic, and her head isn't fancy but she is still a super mare and (also important) a multiple race winner with a sweet and friendly disposition. She is just one that fell through the cracks - she got traded around a bunch lately and wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I actually had a nice chat with the buyer. He says he tries to resell the ones that ride well and he works with various other resellers to do that - he has guys in various cities who put riding time on horses, fatten them up and try to resell for a profit. He did, however, and listen up, all of you crossbred breeders who think I am picking on them, say that "if a mare don't have papers, I can her." Well, yes. That is what most of these guys do. Because, for the one millionth time, there is NOWHERE NEAR the market for these horses that the delusional crossbred "sport horse" breeders seem to believe there is. Most people want to buy a good broke AQHA or Paint gelding. That is the VAST MAJORITY of the low end, under $2500, market. I don't mean "most people at YOUR barn." I mean most people who buy from auctions and horse dealers. So those of you who think your 1/4 Friesian, 1/4 Clydesdale, 1/4 Arabian and 1/4 TB is special, just so you know, you better keep her forever because Mr. Kill Buyer does not think so. A fugly AQHA mare with AQHA papers is much more likely to get on the trailer to the resale-for-riding guy than your part-draft "sport horse" is.

Now I'm going to put forth an opinion that may be unpopular (ha ha, 'cause that never happens here!) Ole or any other dealer who sells some to slaughter is not the villain here. The villain here, in this particular case, is a girl named Dawn. Dawn had this mare last, according to her papers.

Dawn has big, round, perky handwriting. It's the handwriting of a young girl. She's probably under 25, if not under 21. Dawn had written a note on the pen at Enumclaw to say that this mare rides well, trail rides, goes english, blah blah. Well, you know what Dawn? You are full of shit. This mare isn't riding sound. I can see it in the hind end when she walks. You knew that. Now, you only owned her for two months so maybe the person who sold her to you lied to you, too, but I don't care. This nice mare was pushed on a floodtide of lies down the wrong path and you, Dawn, had the chance to change that path. A little time and effort and a good pic on DreamHorse, and she would have had a broodmare home. Or you could have listed her with a rescue and tried to place her as a companion. But I guess that was too much work for you, Dawn, or maybe you just HAD to have her gone and HAD to have your $200 (shit, less than that, the auction took their cut), because you left her at the auction with no reserve and she was in the ring for maybe 30 seconds and went straight to the dealer. She didn't have a mark on her at the sale; now she has numerous little bites and scrapes from being thrown in a trailer with strange horses and then out in that pen. You, Dawn, are the one who sucks here. Slaughter isn't the problem, not really. It's irresponsible, cheap, heartless, careless and/or just plain ignorant ownership that is the problem.

Or as I like to say, the slaughter buyer is merely the garbageman. He is not the one who put the horse out with the trash.

Thanks to Marilyn of High Desert Equine Rescue in California, who fronted the cash to make sure this mare didn't become a steak. My understanding is the mare's breeder wants her back and we will be coordinating that today. I have another interested party if he doesn't want her.