Friday, February 29, 2008

The Friday Picture Show: You're NOT Ready To Do That!

I am completely baffled at why parents let their kids do things they are clearly not ready to do on horseback. It stuns me how many parents AND instructors simply cannot comprehend that learning to ride takes a long time and that the process is not exactly scintillatingly exciting.

Still, you would think it would be common sense to require someone to build solid skills at a walk, trot and canter before progressing on to galloping or jumping...but the memo simply never arrived for those responsible for these children. So today, let's have a tribute to pushing kids FAR BEYOND THEIR ABILITIES and/or refusing to set boundaries and tell little cutie-pie NO, YOU CAN'T.

What do you mean, running barrels takes more skill than just hanging on?

You gotta steer too? They don't just automatically run the pattern?

Is she a damn noodle? LEARN TO RIDE! ARRRRGGGGHHHH!

Then we have jumping:

I'm still posting with my hands, but my instructor thinks I am ready to jump...CRASH

If this were my student, she'd still be on a longe line with no reins

Painfully loose accident waiting to happen.

Off topic,but upsetting in general. This is not a kid but an adult I'd like to clock upside the head:

This just makes me incredibly sad. I hope this poor little QH gets upgraded.

This is making me cold just to look at

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did they not bathe their fugly foundation QH stallion and then lead it out in the snow and chase it around in the dead of winter to take these bad pictures? I guess letting it dry off properly in the barn with a nice wool cooler on and then taking the pictures would have taken too much time and cut into the start of the football game on TV???

It's also important to make sure you got you a chain on him! You know them stalyuns is wild and if you ain't careful, he mought grab yer fugly camo cap and shred it or somethin'!

But I think the best part is the video - get to the middle of it and you can see him buck on command. Marketing genius! After all, don't you want to breed to a stallion who can really pitch a good fit? I know I do!

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)

Of course, his pedigree also sends a clear message - "I exist because of color breeders." His ancestors haven't accomplished jack shit, but there sure were a lot who were grulla!

Did I mention he is for sale for $9000?

Then again, maybe the best part is the riding picture. You should definitely market your stallion by putting some chick on him in shorts who has to hang on to the horn at a trot with her rein hand in the air. Yeah, that'll make old Gunner look like a world-beater!

What is baffling is they actually have pics on their web site where the horse is going a lot better than this. Why not use one of those?

I swear people. Basic marketing, is it that difficult? If you read a FAQ on how to sell a car, you'd learn some principles to help you do better than this!

LOVE it. Joe's going to go for it!

Joe is going to start posting pictures of kill buyers.

GOOD. You go, Joe! You are doing the right thing, even if some 12 year olds don't understand why.

They will get it when they're 40 and remember everything you did to make a difference.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dealers who ship horses to kill: Let's have the names!

Joe over at TB Friends has been talking about putting up pictures of kill buyers on his blog so that people will be on the alert as those kill buyers have been going to homes pretending to be "a good home" for unwanted horses. They pick them up for free, and days later the horse is dying a horrible death in a Mexican slaughterhouse.

I think it is a great idea, but I don't know that Joe is actually going to do it.

Joe seems to be afraid of legal action and/or of upsetting/offending the hordes of children who read his blog. (Who as far as I am concerned, had better learn about the realities of life NOW before they get old enough to contribute to the irresponsible breeding/ownership problem).

Along the same lines...I have a friend who does a web site in L.A. where she takes better pictures of the South L.A. shelter dogs and cats and tries to help get them adopted. She also honestly indicates on the page if they are euthanized. I remember a few years ago, some parent had a fit about her site as their child had read it and gotten upset. My response was, lady, you are mad at the WRONG person. Get mad at the asshat who dumped that dog or cat! Get mad at the asshat whose inability to GET OFF THEIR DEAD ASS and spay/neuter created it. My God, in L.A., spay/neuter is FREE if you make less than $40,000. FREE! Don't get mad at the person who is trying to educate the public so that they will change their behavior. And if your kid is old enough to use the Internet unsupervised, she ought to be old enough to deal with realities like pets that die in the shelter because their owners were asshats. I digress, but honestly it's the same thing with Joe's blog. Saving horses from slaughter is what Joe does. If your kid isn't old enough to handle the fact that slaughter exists, she should not be reading Joe's blog. You are the parent - either set boundaries or don't expect the world to do it for you.

Anyway, let's chat today. Who are the known kill buyers in YOUR area? I've said before that I don't hate the KB's and I don't. They are the garbagemen - they are not the ones who put the horse out with the trash. However, sellers need to be making informed choices. When a KB comes to your doorstep and pretends to be interested in your horse for a riding horse, that is not cool. One day at Woodburn I was in line to pay and had to hear this girl telling one of KB's all about what kind of bit her horse liked, what he ate, etc. It was horrible. He told her he wouldn't have any trouble with him. No, I'm sure he didn't.

(Yes, I should have spoken up but the auctions are weird things. You will get your ass banned if you start coming and causing trouble or having hysterics, as others have learned. The auction is like being in enemy zones in a really have to shut up and smile if you are going to rescue anything. If you haven't been there and done it, don't start with me.)

Here is a list of known kill buyers in Texas as of 2004.

In the Pacific Northwest, I know of Ole Oleson and Chuck Walker. Both of them also sell riding horses, so it is not a guarantee they will sell to slaughter, but if the horse fails to sell for riding or is unsound or unmarketable (mares with no papers tend to go straight to kill) that is where they go.

In Colorado, Charlie Carter is the big one.

Who else do you know about? Let's name names. You can post links to any other lists of who to watch out for, or posts on the Internet mentioning kill buyers. HTML works for posting links - here's how to use HTML to post a link. Joe talks about Manny Phelps in northern California...who else?

Sellers, especially those of you giving horses away for free or under $300, do a site check and get a contract. It is not that much extra work.

*headshake* What???

What are you even thinking? Do you think at all?

Another day, another moron about to produce more slaughter bound horses...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

For those of you who like happy endings...

Readers of this blog save another one - great job, ladies!!!

And don't forget to check out the updates on Scarlett - she is doing great and looks so much happier. Thanks to all of you who contributed to her vet expenses and care. You can really see the difference...she's picking up steadily and is going to look great by summer!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

All right, back to conformation critiques!

Just because you guys have sent me such GREAT material...and because some of you are novices and really need a refresher on conformation, here are some WORST OF pics from the Internet!

This is what "over at the knee" looks like. Now, this is not a bad horse otherwise, but he does not look like he has led an easy life. This is an aged TB stallion who is a stakes winner and you see the effect that racing his butt off at an early age had on those front legs. I like his neck, I like how deep he is through the chest, and the back is only showing the effects of age...but wow, what a GREAT example of over at the knee that anybody can see!

Now, here we have BACK at the knee, aka calf kneed. See how the front of the leg under the knee actually goes out in front of the knee, almost as if the knee was double jointed and bent both ways?

That's what back at the knee looks like, and it's more likely to impair a horse's ability to stay sound than over at the knee. Every time that leg comes down, stress is put on the knee and tendons because the leg just isn't in alignment. The effect on the knee joint is like you trying to walk with a pair of high heels on backward.

And here we have just a beauteous example of an upside-down neck. Look at that muscle! This little guy is built to spend his entire life straining against a cable tie-down. He couldn't put his head down and go like a pleasure horse if his life depended upon it.

GodAWFUL shoulder. See how it is pretty much vertical? This mare is going to ride like sitting on a jackhammer, and she is extremely likely to become arthritic or develop navicular disease as a result of the concussion on her (equally terrible) pasterns. Of course the "rescue" that owns her has already bred her! They stand an unbelievably fugly tobiano stud for just $100 since "the price reflects todays market for foals sold i dont want people to be out 700-1000 for a foal that sells for 50 at a sale that would be rediculous" Don't want y'all losing money when you sell them foals to slaughter!

And now...another GREAT idea from our bad parent du jour in Illinois:
"I am looking for a foal for my 10 yr old daughter. She has been asking forever. We decided that it would be a good summer project. Would like a colt but would consider a filly. Reasonably priced please. If you have the perfect baby please let us know. We are located in Springfield, Il and would like it to be within 100 miles. Thank you."

You know what, I've been riding and around horses for 32 years and this past weekend, my yearling freaked out at something, ripped the rope through my hands and got away from me. It was not good. I was in the middle of removing his blanket so it went under his neck and I ended up having to untangle him after he hung up a front leg in the neck hole. (I assure you I am totally mortified I lost my grip on him and that he got hurt - radial nerve injury, apparently he'll be fine but it scared the crap out of me as he was dragging the leg like a limp noodle.) However, the point is that this is not exactly unusual behavior for baby horses, and while I was able to unbuckle his blanket and get him free without getting kicked myself, it is highly unlikely a ten year old could accomplish the same. Parents, young horses and young kids don't make a good match! Don't do it! Your ten year old will have WAY more fun with a 20-something horse that she can walk-trot in 4-H this year.

Hello, RFD-TV? Is anybody listening?

I saw a PSA on RFD-TV last night that left my head spinning. I am not sure who the woman was who was speaking, I didn't catch that, but it was during their "horses for sale" show, aka "overpriced, overridden three year old cutting horses for sale" show.

(Dear God people, stop cutting with these things so young, do you really think their hocks can take it? I mean, I love cutting horses, I'd love to ride one sometime or even own one, but it does not take a genius to see that it's a high stress job for their legs and they shouldn't be doing it at a young age! What is wrong with trail riding and easy arena work with them until they're grown up? Oh yeah, futurity money. Man, I HATE futurities. I want to see someone fund a big-money senior horse maturity where the horses have to be 15+ years old, trot out sound in-hand (vet to judge soundness) and then compete. If anybody rich is reading this, could you do that, please? Give these greedy asshats SOME motivation not to ruin horses young? OK end of rant...)

Back to topic: RFD-TV lady actually made the statement that we should put as much care and thought into breeding our dogs and cats as we do our horses. WTF? LADY, THAT IS THE PROBLEM! A lot of people aren't putting care and thought into ANY of those things! HORSES ARE NO DIFFERENT!


Yes, I am GLAD you are stumping for spay/neuter but HORSES ARE NO DIFFERENT and it is LUDICROUS to make that comparison. People are overbreeding/indiscriminately breeding horses willy-nilly JUST LIKE BARN CATS and THAT IS WHY we have so many going to slaughter! That is the MAIN reason! That is what I have been screaming about on this blog for nine months now!

RFD-TV, everybody is watching you. Let's see a PSA on indisciminate breeding of horses. Better yet, let's see a SERIES on choosing breeding stock. You can have experts from each breed do shows and tell people what to look for, what not to look for, what is selling, what the market wants right now. I could name some good experts for you to choose from. I'm sure my readers could, too.

Let's see you guys do something truly educational instead of one more show where some doofus in a cowboy hat shakes a rope at a horse's face and then wonders why she is hard to catch.

Agree with me? Tell Jeremiah Davis, their Program Director, what you'd like to see!

P.S. Who thought that thing at AQHA World where they put trainers on horses they didn't know to compete in totally different disciplines was downright painful to watch? OMG the jumping. Holy shit EEEEEK. That one guy was smart to pull up, he was about to take a header. What kind, tolerant horses! I LMAO when the one mare started bucking in the western riding - ya think the gaming guy gave her a little more leg than she was used to? The people who did well were the ones who were smart enough to pitch the horses away and let them just do the job they knew how to do. Jim McKillips should stick to halter. That poor barrel horse. He was all over like a sack of potatoes and popping on its mouth. Poor pony. However, I love the trainer who stuffed her bra for western riding - that was freakin' hilarious. Who was she? She was a hoot.

In a way though it sends a good message - the best riders are the well rounded riders. There was one guy who was a pleasure horse guy but he didn't have any problem getting on a barrel horse and making one HELL of a run. He planned ahead, he rode very well through the turns, and I'm sure he won that segment. There was another guy and I can't remember what discipline he normally rode, but he just NAILED it in the breakaway roping, which I have to respect as I personally cannot rope my own foot from a standstill and am terribly impressed with those of you who have mastered it!

Monday, February 25, 2008

We thought we'd get the kids a maybe something bigger!

WTF? Painful, just painful.

3yr old Stud Horse maybe a Paint? - $300
Reply to:

Date: 2008-02-22, 9:53AM CST

We have a 3 yr old Stud horse for sale. He is black with a little white and blue eyes. Please email for more information. We bought this guy for our boys and then learned that we don't know enought about horses and our fences are not in good enough condition to take care of him. We just want to find him a great home. You may contact Kim at (I'm going to redact her info because I really don't think she needs to be flamed here and I'll explain why, below).

FHOTD in: You can all see the lovely falling down barbed wire behind this sadly crooked-legged critter that looks like it hasn't had any proper nutrition...ever. Now as tempting as it is to yell at this parent and ask her WHAT was she thinking, my REAL question is, WHO SOLD ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS A THREE YEAR OLD STALLION FOR THEIR TWO BOYS?

Breeders and sellers in general, you have to have SOME ethics here. This is just not cool. I am sure these people genuinely did NOT know what it took to take care of a horse (or handle a stud!) and somewhere, out there, some greedy bastard sold them this horse anyway - I am sure with MANY assurances of how child safe he was. How do these people sleep at night?

Another day, another b.s. faux rescuer...

Another winner. I know this sounds like a joke or someone TRYING to set someone else up to look bad, but the woman is a registered user on the ad site and has a long term posting history and this ad is consistent with others in tone...she really DID post this!

Cheap, all fat n purdy, bring cash bring trailer!

$50. (yes really) to $500!

LOCATION: Plant City , FL , United States

TELEPHONE: 813-489-0464

DESCRIPTION: Im TIRED of horses I dont use, Im tired of the incredible feed bills. Im NO longer taking in rescues. SO THEY GOTTA GO and IVE about reduced prices to NEXT TO NOTHING. I dont care if your a trader who wants to make a buck, haul them to a sale (Im lazy) or someone looking for a cheap horse, I just dont want to spend $75 for another roll of hay!!! LOL! TOO MANY MUST GO NOW-bring trailer, cash talks, prices FIRM. All horses fat and easy on the eyes.

Pony-$50 blind in one eye 12 yo and 12h, used to ride-companion only or tune him up for lead line-REALLY $50.00 cash u catch u haul.

(FHOTD in: Good god look at the front end. CUTE pony but what has happened to him in his life? Poor little munchkin...)

Arab gelding, tall, sound, SWEET, aged but not even close to dead (around 16-18 years old) Was riding beg safe last May, been to pastures since then. Real doll, people horse. Selling as a companion at this price $300 cash bring trailer u load and he is YOURS!

2 Broodmares with one in the oven-QH types-both are broke to ride, neither one is sound so would be suitable as light riding only-both around 12 years old or younger. Both very fat, healthy n pretty. IF you take BOTH $600 cash and you own them-seperate $600 for M in F and $400 for M not in F. THIS IS A STEAL IF YOU TAKE BOTH!

QH Gelding-had been used to work cows, has some boot n scoot n spunk would be GREAT barrel horse, about 13 years old, grey, personality but not for the faint of heart, not ridden in about 5 mo now will need tune up, fat pretty sound all the way and a people horse. $500 and he is a BARGIN.

Now those are the ones that I want GONE-I have NO USE for any of them-I need a break from the feed bill and they GOTTA GO. I have 2 others that we can talk if you were seriously interested but they are not cheap! Take em all and Ill knock anther $100 off. I am not a trader just have too many horses that I dont need or use and THEY GOTTA GO-avail most eves. SERIOUS will not play around with email-I dont check it but about once a week so if you want you WILL CALL ancome see-bring trailer bring cash they will not last at these prices. 813-986-5724 if no ans casll 813 489-0464 NO TRADES unless its a M pug or a F boston terrier or a large exotic bird or the most perfect broke to ride n drive draft horse in the whole entire world. LOL CASH WILL GET MY ATTENTION!

What a worthless - I know what word I WANT to use for this woman, we'll use what they called it on "Sex and The City" - "See You Next Tuesday" ... here is her web site. You know what, nothing's starving. I'll give her that - she's fed them. But for what? To fatten them up for the kill buyer? And the Sheriff's department GAVE some of them to her? I don't even know WHAT to say to that. AND WHY IS THE MARE BRED?

You know, it's a topic near and dear to my heart. I've had a bad, bad winter financially with lots of vet bills and other unexpected bad surprises. (Cutie pie yearling tried to kill himself this weekend...fortunately the vet thinks it's just radial nerve damage and he'll be ok. Another $250 vet bill though!) Trust me, I have HAD the moment of thinking "I just want them gone. I want them gone and I don't want to have to come up with this ludicrous amount of money every month anymore."

The difference between being human and being a bad person is the actions you take. I have my moments of frustration like everybody else who rescues, but in the end, I'm not going to ditch any horses, I'm not going to euthanize something for convenience, and I'm not going to quit. I'm not taking on any more horses, but I'll do what it takes to care for the ones I have, and if you were to call me at 11 PM and tell me you were 2 hours away and couldn't get some free, starving horse you were trying to rescue into the trailer, I'll come and lend a hand.

I just don't know how someone gets to this "dealers, come on down!" point. What IS that?

I have a much worse story coming. Just waiting on the person to be prosecuted, and then I can write a freaking book about all of the stuff they have done while playing the "BUT I'M A RESCUER!" card. Blech. I swear, there's a special place in Hell...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is it Darwin Day or what?

Why is my mail just full of stuff like this? This makes the bareheaded 3 year old barrel racer look like she's got really careful, safety-minded parents by comparison!

You just have to ask yourself why...

Why exactly would anybody think this was a good idea? I mean, are you trying to decapitate yourself?
The Internet gets weirder and weirder by the day.

A challenge for you all, if you choose to accept it!

I thought this would make for an interesting post this time of year...

Foaling season is coming! If you have foals due, post the details - breed, who the sire/dam are and what they have accomplished, and what your goal was in doing the breeding - i.e. which discipline(s) you expect the foal to excel at. Second part of the question: If you regularly breed, how many foals did you produce in 2007 and how many or what percentage of those have sold?

I know some of you feel you need to be anonymous here, so feel free to omit details as necessary to preserve that. I'm not trying to out anybody.

Let's see who's got the guts to do this. ;-)

At left is my yearling, last year as a weanling. He's sired by a palomino HYPP N/N AQHA stallion out of a 17 hand TB mare - goal was to produce an Appendix QH hunter/jumper prospect and that's exactly what I am targeting him toward in the future. He is very compact and long legged and I'm thinking I may have a jumper on my hands, which would be fun as I haven't had one of those since the early 90's. Not that I have the guts to ride jumpers, mind you, but I am very good at cheering them on from the stands (and they are the MOST fun to watch, in my opinion!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Excuses, excuses!

Posted to Seattle Craigslist's pets section. AMEN!

I lost my house
I lost my job
my boyfriend thinks
the pets are slobs
I didn't know
they'd need the vet
and shelter when
outside was wet
they were so cute
when young and furry
but now they must go
in a hurry
they're big! they eat!
and require care
I'm getting allergic
to the hair
what was a lark
is now a bore
I don't want to do
any more pet chores
I've let them get
out of control
they have no manners
help save their souls
I can not wait
to get them out
I swear I'll take them
to the pound
if you don't fix
all my mistakes
and take them in
and let them stay
so please come now
and pay a fee
to care for
my responsibility.

Stallion Management for Dummies...on second thought, just geld it!

I've commented before on this topic and it's long overdue for a serious blogging. This Craigslist ad provides the perfect intro to today's topic of stallion management...or lack thereof. My comments are in blue.

2yr old reg APHA solid black stud colt because there is such a demand to breed to solids that you should keep one a stallion!

Reply to:

Date: 2008-02-06, 7:41PM

I have a 2 yr old plus REGISTERED APHA solid stud colt that is getting a bit too "studdy" for my liking. I bought him with the hopes of raising a calm mellow stud for a mare I have so I could raise lil horses. Please tell me you're no older than seventeen. Please. I got him at 1 year old and halter broke him and he was relly mellow fellow. I even sat on his back, no problem. As a yearling. GREAT. He ran with the mare this summer AND YOU'RE WONDERING WHY HE FIGURED OUT HE IS A STUD? but this winter he is coming of age and has this desire to bite and is just relly obnoxious. Yeah, because you ran him out with a mare and didn't work with him or set boundaries. What did you THINK was going to happen, sunshine? I have got to the point I relly dont like him and dont want him arround. Now that I've created the monster, I want the monster gone! He would I am sure calm down and make a good gelding but I am not into geldings. My head hurts. He may work through this with a lot of one on one and alone time and a place to blow off energy because he sees me as a competitor for his mare. NO HE DOES NOT. OMG. Where did you even get THAT? Here's what he thinks - he's a baby stud and he wants to chew on shit and you've NEVER sent him a clear message that you're not another horse to be chewed on. DUH. I dont know. I have seen worse stallions, some pretty scary. And clearly you think that is normal. It's not. I have alot more than this into him. I adv him for $500 in locl paper and n-ads and cap press but only one bite who didnt keep the appointment so now hes lower price.He will be listed in the papers next week for this new $395 price. I will accept bids/offers in the event he does not sell. I would also be intrested in trading, maby for a gentle brood mare or mini or 9-10h stocky pony mare. So I can pursue my dream of breeding some "lil horses." Yes he is papered and they are transfereable. Father was a solid black so foals would prob have 50% chance of being black. I have pics of some of his bloodlines you can have also. You have pics of some of his bloodlines? I live 1 1/2 miles from Cathlamet, WA which is between Ranier and the coast next to puget island. Its 1.5 to 2 hrs from portland area 70-90 miles depending where you live. I will only hold long enough for you to get here, otherwise its first come basis. his name is ANOPE (reverse of epona, celt horse goddess) 895430 he came from linda smathers, napivine,wa and they DO have a website and pictures of at least the father, Linda, for real, stop selling ungelded colts to people like this. You have a responsibility as their breeder. Nip their nuts off! I am local to you and have a vet who will do it for $80 if you need a referral! You can see I am selling him for half their breeding fee (sigh). He is solid black with a white star/snip almost a blase he's blase? except if it would be joined. According to the previous owner he should mature a large horse. I have no idea about the bloodlines temperment. As I said he WAS relly gentle as a yearling but is now a handfull especially that he is penned up and has a lot of excess energy so get off your ass and longe him if you can't turn him out! plus he dose not like me playing with HIS mare. We're anthropomorphizing, yes, we are. He doesn't have thoughts that complicated, trust me. It sort of looks like he might have bread her as a yearling. NO SHIT, SHERLOCK! And "bread" is probably a good term for the future of that foal, as in breaded, fried and part of a sandwich in France. I can not find the only digitalized pic of him I own but that was of him as a foal with mama so he has changed. sire = henza denero skip- blk/solid 411645 siressire=jkl bo jangles- blk/ovo 205357 siresdam=dixons skip a star- blk/solid 240952 dam=smokeystwotonewindy- blk/ovo 329109 damssire=twotone impressive -blk/ovo 145295 damsdam=smokey del rio -(quarterhorse 2376005) I will not deliver, my horse trailer is full of hay which I am too lazy to unload. If you want him I suggest you act quickly as he wont be here much longer, one way or the other. The ad's gone, bet he went to meet his maker at the Woodburn Auction. I am generally available every day all day except sundays by appointmant only.

OK, now you're all going to get to hear about my opinions on stallion management. I know some of you will violently disagree with me on some of this but again, they are my opinions based upon what I have seen over the past thirty years and I'm sticking to them. You are, as always, free to post your comments!

1. ISOLATION IS BAD Nothing, but nothing, ruins stallions mentally more quickly than being isolated from other horses from weaning onward. There is absolutely no reason stallions can't be raised with other stallions or geldings, be turned out normally, and lead normal lives. Yes, they will "play hard" when they are young - rearing and playfighting and elbow-biting is normal. Yes, they may put a scrape or two on each other doing it. I understand that may be a crisis of immense proportions during the show season, but you do not show year round, so the rest of the time - throw him out and let him be a horse! A stallion who gets to play and socialize and burn off steam is going to be a lot more amenable to training the rest of the time.

I have personally seen a halter horse stallion who had always been stall kept and turned out individually go from being a snarly, snappy beast that I admit I was wary about handling to being a sweet, kind horse who leads quietly next to you without a chain, with a loop in the lead. It took about six months of turnout with other horses. At first, he hated it. He was scared of them. He didn't know how to interact. But he learned, and it improved his disposition a thousand percent. He is a happier horse. The almost palpable aura of stress and tension has left him. A horse is a herd animal, and there's no reason to deprive him of normal social interaction.

2. CONSISTENCY IS KEY From weanling age onward, enforce manners. Nipping is not okay. Kicking is not okay. Dragging you down the aisle, NOT OKAY. If you are too intimidated by these behaviors to consistently discipline, please believe me, you can't be a stallion owner. If you can't get respect and proper behavior out of your yearling or two year old stallion, you certainly will not get it out of him at adulthood and after he starts being used for breeding.

3. EVERY STALLION NEEDS A JOB THAT IS NOT JUST HAVING SEX I have seen people keep stallions in a box stall and the only time they are haltered is when it is time to breed. Then they wonder why they have a fire-breathing dragon on their hands. Well, duh. Your stallion needs a job. First of all, you shouldn't be breeding something that does not perform in some way, so figure out what his niche is, break him out, and get him out there competing/working. Secondly, stallions need exercise and a stallion you can take out and ride or drive is much more likely to get the exercise he needs. A properly trained stallion should have no problem being ridden with mares in the arena or on trails. Again, if you find yourself having trouble with this, or you're intimidated and unable to enforce proper behavior, it is probably a clue that stallion ownership is not for you.

4. TESTICLES ARE NOT AN EXCUSE FOR BAD BEHAVIOR If I hear one more person use the "oh he's like that because he's a stallion" excuse, my head really WILL explode. No, he's not. He's like that because you failed miserably to train him. A stallion should lead, straight tie and cross tie quietly. He should be able to walk down the aisle past mares without whinnying or dragging you. He should be able to stand close to mares in the show ring without acknowledging them. If everybody scatters when you lead the stallion down the aisle, you have failed to train him properly. I have seen an otherwise knowledgeable AQHA breeder need a BASEBALL BAT to lead her stallion down the aisle. WTF is that? I know this is not always a popular opinion, but if you cannot control it, GELD IT. I don't care how athletic or pretty or special it is. If I can't lead it around like a well mannered horse, if it refuses to be trained, if it's aggressive and snarly, GELD IT. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it - I don't care if it's World Champion Everything and the fastest racehorse on the planet. If it bites people, I'd cut off its balls.

Here, I'll give you an example of what I think a well behaved stallion is like. I used to live in Wisconsin and there's a breeder there who's got this gray AQHA stud named Supremocist. Here's what I like about this horse. First of all, it's not surprising he's got a brain, because his dam was her amateur all-around horse and has points in all kinds of different events. She bred this colt and he was expected from day one to have manners. I saw him frequently as he grew up. I do not remember him EVER screaming, rearing, or dragging anybody. He was never beaten or abused, but he was expected to pay attention to his handler. It makes a huge difference. Bad stallion behavior is always lack of respect and inattention. He's for sale now, and that video was taken this year at age 18 - sound, jumps, swaps leads, sire of many successful show horses including World Champions, and most of all, QUIET with a BRAIN. This is the kind of horse who, in my never-humble-opinion, should be a stallion. He deserves to be a stallion. He has traits you want to see passed on. Just as I've said that bitchy mares produce bitchy foals, you can bet that aggressive, idiot stallions produce aggressive, idiot foals. Anybody care to chat about the Storm Cat line in Thoroughbreds? Uh-huh, yeah...

And of course we only have to go as far as Youtube for examples of bad stallion handling!

If he would have done that to me, he would have been sorry. But not this lady - she just ignores it!

He's a stallion and bucks but we are going to use him in shows for the small beginners! Why is this thing not gelded?

You have a grade Percheron stallion why? And that shared fenceline with the mares...that's just a GREAT idea.

I don't even know if this is a stallion or they're joking, but it's a GREAT example of how NOT to lead something that is screwing around. There you go. Leave that line about 10 feet long so he has plenty of space to get far enough away from you to kick you in the head. And don't expect him to behave! It's so KYOOOT when they fly in the air!


But we couldn't possibly traumatize them with gelding...

I am still laughing about the evils of microwaving. I am imagining someone out there, somewhere, with their head wrapped in aluminum foil to protect them while they use the scary, scary microwave...I swear the comments here are just comedy gold sometimes.

(Why hasn't anybody written a sitcom about horse people? I mean, they are so wouldn't have to make shit up! It would write itself!)

All right, you knew I had more fodder coming about questionable rescues, since your e-mails come in daily on this topic. Let's start with this Australian rescue which claims it has "feral ponies." I'm going to copy their post and insert my comments on it. Try to follow it from beginning to end and you'll see logical holes big enough to drive a truck through.

"These are correctly managed feral ponies. They are checked daily, they are brought into the yards regularly so they have no fear of being confined, any animal that is not well gets a vet immediately, they are all in superb condition and the people who own them know each by name, know their history from the moment they came into their ownership and you won't find healthier horses anywhere in WA."

That sounds good, doesn't it? OK let's continue.

"The 'mostly' mares & geldings is because there are 3 newborn (well, within the last couple of months) foals. That are colts. The remaining mature-age entire males (I think there's 3 or 4) actually have the Vet coming to perform the castration this week. The reason that these couple of stallions haven't been castrated prior is because guess what - you can't castrate without sedation. Ever tried sedating a mature unhandled stallion??? It is stressful and terrifying on the horse and potentially dangerous for the poor Vet that has to do it."

Gelding is a procedure that takes, what, 15 minutes maybe? Let's look at this. 15 MINUTES of stress for the horse as opposed to creating three foals that someone is going to have to be SIXTY TO NINETY YEARS OF CARE INTO. Ever look at it realistically like that? Three foals times a normal lifespan of 20-30 years is SIXTY TO NINETY YEARS OF CARE, total. OK, Aussies - you can see what those ponies look like, conformationally. Where are the homes that will invest all that into one of these badly conformed, non-show-quality fuglies?

Now let's go on. If you can't give it a SHOT, I am guessing you can't do it's FEET. That sounds logical, doesn't it? And how exactly would you do something like treat an injury? Wrap a leg? You claim in the first paragraph they're getting vet care. EXACTLY HOW? They are unhandled and you claim potentially dangerous.

"The family that owns these horses has them running on hundreds of acres. Rather than stress and frighten her ponies with a mass round-up and enforcing immediate acceptance of humans to mature age stallions she has spent the last couple of years gently getting them used to a routine of being brought up to the yards and accepting a certain level of handling. As each stallion has accepted human interaction without fear she's had them castrated."

Folks, I have worked with completely unhandled horses. It does not take YEARS to get them tame enough to give a shot to. It just doesn't. Who watched that $25,000 Mustang Challenge? I rest my case. If you do not have the skills or the time to train wild horses, STOP ACQUIRING THEM. By the way, I have had horses who never accepted shots without fear. Hey, shots hurt. I don't accept them without fear! Sometimes you have to be responsible and do what is best for the horse even if the horse would prefer you didn't. Who is making the decisions here?

"THEY ARE NOT BREEDING WILD HORSES and should any foal be born next year it will be the last. "

No, they are breeding fugly unwanted ponies in captivity. That is much better. And they're all "living as nature intended" - no training, no attempt made to make them usable or give them a future. Great.


OK, now let's talk about one of my favorite wacko rescues - SWAP. These people are NUTTERS. You can go to their web site and read their crazy "black list and legal troubles" page. Or you can just read this letter they recently sent out to all of their supporters. Sweetie, can you say and/or spell "unprofessional?" No one wants to hear about your personal drama! NO ONE! I don't know what happened with you and Ed but if I believed every man who ever told me he was going to support me and my horses forever while he was drunk, I'd be living in a refrigerator box right now and my horses would be on a plate in France! How stupid can you be?

As you read this, I want you to think about the advice SHE has posted for OTHERS on the main page of HER OWN WEB SITE: "Make a plan for emergencies or financial bumps along the way for your horse."

"Dear Friends,

SWAP, our executor, the barn manager, all the horses, dogs, cats, all office equipment and supplies, all the barn supplies, all the hay we have stored, all the executors stuff in the garage and house.... over 38,000 lbs of household goods and equipment, not counting the horses have to be out of this property by 1 March 08.

Honestly I have no idea how we are going to do this as we have 29 horses, 12 dogs and 3 cats on top of all the equipment. Obviously this is a major mistake as we trusted and believed that Edward P. Hogan would be caring, honest, certainly not a drunk and at the very least do the right thing for our program. He has been just the opposite. We have realized our worst fears, even more so because our trainer, Trina and her family of 6 are living in the house at the old farm, so the house is not even vacated to move into. Indy will probably founder more and have to be put down and two of our older dogs will never survive another move.

FHOTD in: I do wish I could insert sounds into this blog. Like a little violin playing!

I don't know what else to do but ask for help to get moved. We have about $100. right now and of course, nothing coming in from adoptions.... I mean who is adopting in February?? We don't even have the money to drive somewhere to get boxes. Every penny anyone can spare will be applied to getting us moved home and set up there. You can send paypal donations to this email address and send donations through the mail to the address below. As soon as I get the address moved I'll let everyone know. Every penny will help. Also, any day, weekend or week anyone can give us to help. Please, please, please come and help us get packed and move and I swear I will never believe another man who will tell us anything to get me to move in with him.

How you can help:
1. Donations paypaled to
2. Donations sent to the address below
3. Help packing, trucking stuff over to our old farm, moving horses/dogs/cats
4. We are looking at getting a modular home for our trainer, anyone know of one or a trailer for sale, please let us know. Right now her family of 6 has no place to go now.
5. Adopt one of our horses, we will have a huge adoption special coming up on the next day or so, probably even better than our Christmas special
6. Adopt one of our rescue dogs. We really need to reduce our numbers there as well.
7. We are looking for a lawyer licensed in WV that can do some pro bono work to go after this guy.

I am going to attach to you all what I wrote to my lawyer/the courts so you can see all the stuff we have had to live with. Ed gave me 4 long pages explaining how great he is, he told me he would move me and cover everything, that he would be me on the deed here, put me in his trust, be loving, honest, caring and supportive and give the program a no cost lease for life, even after we died. He has reneged on everything because he is an alcoholic and a liar. He actually put in an order of protection against me and had the nerve to say he was scared of me. Ludicrous!! We have court for that protection order next Thursday, I don't expect much change. The lawyer is charging us $1000. just to have a lawyer for this court date which will probably not change anything except allow me to go into the house.

Thank you all, I'm very sorry I let everyone down. Celeita"

Oh well, what do you expect of someone who's got crazy shit like this all over her web site: "Get used to using favorite mantra's and visualizations every day, simple ones that are easy to remember, like 'I can do this, I will do this', 'this isn't going to get the best of me' or even, 'I deserve the best' or 'the gift of love, caring, and support always comes back' and take two minutes every morning as you wake and at night as you go to sleep to visualize the life you want, the you you want to be." OMFG! People like you make me CRAZY! Stop visualizing and GET A JOB if you want to fix your problems. Visualizing money doesn't make the hay truck arrive - believe me, if it did, I'd be chantin' and dancin' all the live-long day!

GET A DAMN JOB! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR ANIMALS! STOP BEGGING! AND STOP GUILTING EVERYBODY ELSE! According to your amazingly egotistical bio on the site, you've got a PILOT'S LICENSE and you're a FARRIER. There is no excuse for you to be destitute with $100 to your name except laziness, addiction, or mental illness. Which exactly is it?


Finally, if anybody is near St. Louis and up for a challenge, this is really bothering me. I would love to help with this one if I could but he's just too far from me. Sounds like this person is just a concerned citizen TRYING to help, SO PLEASE DO NOT FLAME HIM/HER. I'm sure all the poor horse needs is a few months of turn-out and to get gelded and he'll be a perfectly reasonable animal ready to be trained.

Horse - URGENT !!
Reply to:

Date: 2008-02-20, 7:44PM CST

Need a rescue group or someone that can save a thoroughbred stallion from being put down due to owners inexperience in handling him over the years. He is approximately 13 years old , was in training at the track , but because he has been kept stalled all his life, he has became hard to handle. I am hoping for a group that specializes in rescuing thoroughbreds and will know how to handle him. His time is up on Friday the 23rd , so if anyone can help , please let me know ASAP . I have contacted 2 organizations already , still waiting for a response. And I know people will email and say he would be better off due to his nature , but I have been around this horse since he was born and I remember when he was able to go outside and run , his attitude was a whole lot better . Now , he stays cooped up in a small stall standing in waste and looks out the window all day . He is humanely treated as far as food and shelter goes , so he is not considered "abused" . Please help with suggestions if you can ! THANKS !!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bad Parent Du Jour!

This got forwarded around the Internet with a bunch of "ooooh isn't that KYOOOOT" drivel attached.


I don't think it's cute.

She's TOO young to go THAT fast and the lack of a helmet only compounds it.

It won't be cute when you are in the E.R. hoping she starts breathing again. And yeah, I know she may dodge the bullet and grow up to be a bad parent in her own right, but why would you gamble this big with your kid's future?

This picture screams "parental ego" to me. Oooh look what a natural my kid is! She rides just like her old man/momma! She can ride anything! She's not scared of anything!

Nope, at three, you're not scared of anything. That is why your parents are supposed to lend you their good judgment until you have some of your own. Sorry to see that did not happen here.

If your three year old wants to barrel race, put her on a MINI/PONY and LEAD HER at a TROT. WITH A HELMET, DAMMIT. I've seen parents do this at some of the BNR4D stuff around here and you know what, the kid has JUST as much fun. They are THREE. They do not care if they look cool or not!

Some observations from a younger reader of the blog

This was sent to me and it's well worth sharing with all of you. See, there is hope for the next generation - and a huge thank you goes out to those of you who are doing your part to train the next generation.

While I don't personally have a problem with rehoming rescues, I firmly believe in contracts and reference checks to ensure that a horse hasn't gone "out of the frying pan into the fire."

Overall, a good and well-written guest blog that really does prove that responsibility and age are not synonymous. There are many 18 year olds that are a better home for an animal than many 40 year olds. I've seen rescuers get prejudiced against adopting to college-aged kids on the grounds that they're unstable, but you know what, some of them aren't. Some of them are going to be more reliable, responsible homes than you could imagine. Try to evaluate on a case by case basis.


I have noticed in my time reading your blog that a lot of people much older than me are not much smarter. I have to believe that these people haven’t bothered to take the time to really learn about horses, to read book after book and bum around the barn mucking out stalls and tacking up horses just for the simple privilege of being around horses and other people who share the passion. So here is a little essay about what I’ve learned in ten years of never having enough money for more than one lesson a week, starting from the first day taking a lesson.

For every one thing you know about horses, there are about 10,000 things you don’t know. Read books. Talk to people around your barn. Ride with several different trainers. Attend clinics. You can always be learning something new. There will always be someone who knows more than you. It is one of the really amazing things about the world, that you can always learn new things. Take advantage of opportunities, and if ever anyone tells you that they know everything about hunters, or about saddles, or about feeding, listen to their ideas, but take it with a grain of salt. In your mind, constantly be evaluating your knowledge, adding new things and taking out what isn’t important.

Horses cost money. Horses cost a LOT of money. If you aren’t spending a lot of money, you’re doing it wrong.For people who don’t own horses, but ride regularly, this includes the cost of lessons, the cost of well-made attire and gear, show entry fees, trucking, etc. There’s not an easy way around it, unfortunately. Fortunately, if you don’t own a horse, you can pretty much always take a break to stockpile some more cash.Once you own a horse, unless you are very well off, you should never find yourself with a large surplus of money. You are now in charge of a living thing with very specific needs. Unless the horse lives at your house, you need to pay board. This can be anywhere from $100 a month for rough board to upwards of $2000 for full board at especially fancy facilities. If you’re shelling out a lot of green, make sure you keep an eye on your horse. Full board means you shouldn’t worry about whether his stall is clean or whether he’s getting good food. If you’re rough boarding, or keeping a horse at home, you’re going to have to pay for shavings, grain, and hay. For one 15-hand, 1200lb horse eating 4 quarts of grain and five flakes of second cutting hay a day and getting a stall change every day, it will cost about $150. Add more if you’re feeding a more specific diet, or timothy hay. Add more if you get horse cookies and carrots. Whether you’re doing full or rough board, your horse needs hoof care from a good farrier and vet care from a reputable equine veterinarian.

None of the aforementioned horse care expenses are negotiable or optional! There is absolutely NO REASON a horse should EVER go without food, without hoof care, or without vet care! Budget your money! Eat Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese for a week and save up for a hoof trim! If even cutting down on your own expenses doesn’t help net money for your horse, you shouldn’t have it. It's as simple as that. He is a living animal, and if you can’t provide for him, he can’t fend for himself.

You don’t know enough about horses to breed them. What’s that? You think you do? Well, you’re wrong. Now obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. But don’t kid yourself – do research, study genetics, go to college, talk to vets and reputable breeders, intern at an AI lab, or apprentice with a great breeder. If you find yourself head-over-heels in love with one specific breed, and all you want is to breed a few horses to improve the genetic makeup, overall conformation and longevity of the breed, if you have a significant amount of expendable income, time, and space, if you have the talent and desire to take the get of your horses to rated shows and win – if all of these things fall into place for you, you might be ready to breed. But never underestimate the power of a registered horse or overestimate the demand for your horses, or you’ll just be breeding food for Europeans like every other asshole with a stallion and mare.

Clean is never clean enough. If you spend enough time in a barn, you understand that they’ll never be truly clean. There’s always dust, cobwebs, errant wads of hay, broken tack pieces, etc., lying around. But you don’t have to live there – your horses do. So do your best. It’s not impossible to make it very comfortable and livable. No horse should ever have to lie down to sleep in his own poop (Unless it’s an otherwise clean stall and he’s just dumb). Horses’ stalls should be picked out every day – that means: take out all the poops, the pee, the wet shavings under the water bucket, the old hay. There should be several inches of clean, dry, shavings on the floor of the stall, and small embankments around the edges to make the corners okay for sleeping. Most horses will forgive you if you miss a day or two, but never make your horse stand in his own feces, it’s not fair to him and more often than not make YOU look stupid.

Not only should stalls always be clean, turnouts should be, too. There shouldn’t be any poop, big rocks, branches, tractor parts, old shoes, nasty rotting hay, or gopher holes in the place where your horse is going to run and play. If you’re keeping your horse at home and your yard is a mess, clean it and fence it. If you can’t afford a dumpster to take your trash or hot tape and t-posts, you should not be keeping horses. It just isn’t fair to the horse. The best thing you can possibly do for any horse is give them a forever home where they will never be bred, or sent to auction, or hurt intentionally in any way.

It’s really nice that you “rescued” that mare from the feedlot, but if you’re just going to resell her, what’s the point? Adopt a horse and keep it forever, making sure that for the rest of its life it has food, a clean stall, thorough brushings, and good friends. There is nothing kinder, and you will have a friend for life.

Like I said, I’ve taken lessons for ten years. My family is on the low end of the income scale, and I have worked very hard to be able to be a part of the horse world. I leased one horse for two years, and she taught me more than any other horse I’ve ever encountered. The second year I had her, my parents couldn’t help me, so I worked very hard and made enough money to pay for her board, vet, and farrier bills. It isn’t very hard to learn a lot of things about horses, including what is necessary to keep them healthy and happy. It drives me crazy to see people complaining about how “the price of hay has gone up” and using that as an excuse for their skinny-ass horse, because I managed to make $250 a month plus $90 for shoes every six weeks and $140 for vet bills, and I was seventeen years old, dealing with my senior year. It’s hard sometimes to make the money, but it’s not impossible. And there’s no excuse for not taking care of your animal. There just isn’t.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

$3500 unsound f'ed up three year old, anyone?

This is just a sad tale.

Go to the ad to see the pictures (blech!) but here's the text. These folks are getting out of breeding - HALLELUJAH! - of course not until after they've produced God-only-knows how many HYPP positive f'ed up legged horses with no future. But at least they are getting out! My comments in blue, as usual.

"Valentine Be Cool has that pleasing blood-bay color with a profile enhanced by a tremendous top-line. The pictures say it all! Valentine would have made a great show horse. If we hadn't f'ed up her legs and/or if she hadn't suffocated to death having a HYPP attack. She got off to a good start by winning at the Iowa Futurity as a weanling as evidenced by the picture above. F'ing up her legs was totally worth it, she won a futurity! Certainly had a lot of compliments about her at the show. Bet you haven't heard many lately. Then, she started growing so fast that she developed contracted tendons in her front legs. Yes, that happens ONLY because they grow so fast. This is why it happens ALL THE TIME with warmbloods and TB's that are going to top out at 17-18 hands, right? (Yes, I'm dripping with sarcasm when I say that) Supposedly, she had been on and continued on the best feed program available, grooming her for the futurity. Bet you're still using that same feeding program. Wanna bet? Working with equine nutritionists, we tried to retard her rate of growth. (She reached 16 hands before reaching two years of age.) So did one of my OWN horses. His legs are fine. Finally, last fall, we decided to cut her tendons to relieve the contraction. My head hurts. In our opinion, she is about 85% normal now. Yeah, those pics look 85% normal. And I am 85% similar in appearance to Natalie Portman. We started training her earlier this summer, saddling, driving, etc. Thought we would train her just for some easy trail-riding, nothing hard and strenuous. What about those forelegs made you think she could/should EVER bear weight? We had other horses to train, so we put her on the back burner and didn’t continue with our plan. She could be used for trail-riding, but at this time we are advertising her as “broodmare sound.” Translation: We don't think we damaged her uterus! Valentine could be a great broodmare for halter and performance. She certainly has the size, pretty and profile. Plus, a great disposition! She has three siblings who are 16 hands or will be. Her yearling sibling, a bay colt, Splash Be Cool, for sale, with the same striking profile, stands 15-1, weighs close to 1100 pounds, and NO leg problems. No fancy, expensive feed, either. Just ate with the broodmares and after weaning got oats, minerals, and alfalfa hay. This summer, oats was substituted with a pelleted grain ration. Still no leg problems. Go figure!! Go figure nothing, perhaps eating with the broodmares instead of having ridiculous amounts of grain pumped into him was actually a good idea? Do you think? If we weren’t retiring from the horse business, we certainly would keep her for a broodmare. Well thank God you are, maybe someone else will have better sense than you do and won't breed her genetically defective, HYPP positive self! We reflect on a broodmare, Skipa Tuff Miss, we had that had won the Minnesota Futurity thirty years ago and later developed similar front leg problems. Been f'ing up horses legs for 30 years huh? Maybe that should be your farm slogan! She went on and became our matriarch and produced many foals who later sold for $10,000 to $20,000. Hobbling all the way. In fact, we turned down $75,000 for her first foal, Skippa Splash, when he was ten years old. FYI, Skippa Splash is the maternal great grand-sire to Valentine and she also goes back to Skipa Tuff Miss on both the top and bottom sides of her pedigree. So, don’t be reluctant to purchase Valentine for a broodmare. Because even if she hobbles around in agony for life, she'll put money in your pocket! The leg problem is not an inherited characteristic. It’s usually nutritional and pushing them too fast. And you admit to that. Awesome. Having raised close to 500 babies during forty years, experience has taught us that pushing them can have negative results. Enough said. It took thirty years to learn this? And too bad experience hasn't taught you not to breed HYPP positive horses that are going to suffocate to death! Chances are that you don’t have as pretty profiling mare in your barn because looks are everything and who gives a shit if they can trot, so don’t hesitate another minute and contact us. You will be glad you did. She certainly is priced fairly. Are you smoking crack? Oh, by the way, if you haven’t guessed already, she was born on Valentine’s Day. I just found out that her HYPP status is NH. I was sure that she was NN. Her two full siblings are NN. Because I am such a goddamn idiot I refuse to accept that the only way to get NN's for sure is BREED TWO NN's and not play the goddamn HYPP lottery!!! If I haven't sold her by mid-February, I will breed her to a 17-2 hand huntseat stallion, who is also registered with the American Warm Blood Association. 'Cause they don't care about HYPP status! She will then be offered for sale, but at a higher price. Bet she'll be even lamer with a baby in her belly, too! Also, we have others on this website and more to come, so please check them out. Just click on “more by this seller.” WIND’S REACH QUARTER HORSES cell 952-212-7661 home 952-892-6370. Lakeville, MN"

I get SO angry and SO frustrated reading this stuff. 500 foals. They produced 500 foals. How many HYPP positive? How many suffocated to death? How many were slaughtered because they were unsound by age 8? Yeah, you're getting out of breeding now. About 29.9 years too late, in my never-humble opinion.

Since I know you all love wasting time as much as I do

Just forwarded to me today...Myspace for horsepeople!

Barn Culture

I will make a FHOTD page when I get a chance. :-)

Edited to add here you go, now we can all waste time together!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yet more theatrical asshattery and a comment about "having fun with horses"

My FAVORITE part about these pictures is that the ad states "He is not a beginner kids horse right now, but definately has the potential to be one."

It's bad enough when people do this silly, theatrical bullshit to try to show a horse is a bombproof, been-there, done-that sort, but doing it on a horse you ADMIT is not a beginner horse? Are you TRYING to land someone in the emergency room?

This is just stupid, stupid, stupid. You haven't shown me you're a great trainer, Kelly. You've just shown me that your judgment is for shit.

What typically happens after I post something like this is that two of you crawl out of the woodwork to argue that kids should "have fun" with horses and there's just nothing at all wrong with it, and we all did it and survived, and blah blah blah... so let me respond to that in advance.

There are a lot of ways for kids to have fun with horses. I do agree that it's a bad idea for every ride to be "work" and practicing for the next show - that does burn kids out and sour them on riding and showing. So here, for those of you who are confused, is a list of fun things to do with horses that are not freakin' suicidal.

1. Egg and spoon. As long as you have horses that neck rein, this is a fun game to play - you use hard boiled eggs balanced on a spoon. Rider must hold the end of the spoon and never touch the egg. Instructor can call all the gaits and transitions she wants! Last one with the egg wins.

2. Ride a buck. You place a dollar bill between the kid's knee (or just above) and the saddle. They can't touch the dollar bill with their hands. You call all the gaits, transitions, drop stirrups. Last kid with the dollar bill wins. It's really fun if you can get everybody to agree that the winner keeps all the dollar bills!

3. Musical Sacks. As long as the kids are big enough to mount/dismount safely, this is an easy game where they walk around the arena as music plays. You put empty grain sacks on the ground. When the music stops, they get off and lead their horse so that they can jump on the nearest sack. They cannot go backwards, only in one direction around the circle. They also can't cut through the middle (use cones). Each round, you take away a sack. You can also have parents help hold horses for remounting for added safety.

Feel free to post your own examples of fun things for kids to do with their horses that are not as likely to lead to skull fractures as today's pictures! :-)

(I also must insert this gem from Kelly's web site. Why do these people freaking ALWAYS byb dogs, too? "Australian Shepard(3/4), mix pups. These puppies are the cutest. They are 5wks old as of Feb. 10, 2008 and ready to go new homes." OK, first of all, why do you have Aussie mix puppies? Secondly, FIVE WEEKS IS NOT READY TO GO TO A NEW HOME! *head explodes*)