Sunday, April 27, 2008

Repost: The FHOTD FAQ

I know the regulars are sick of seeing this, but we get newbies all the time and I see the same statements being made over and over about this blog by people who don't get it or read things into it that are not here you go!

Fugly Horse of the Day!

Q. What is the point of this blog?
A. To amuse, to entertain, to educate. Overall, to discourage irresponsible horse breeding, but I do address other topics, typically by popular request. I am always surprised at how many people breed horses using less planning and forethought than they put into planning their kid’s birthday party. They will breed a horse because they like its color or they think it is a nice friendly horse and there’s nothing deeper than that going on. Then they are surprised when the foal doesn’t sell. The complaining starts about the expense of keeping all of the horses. The ads get more and more desperate. Next thing you know, here they come to the horse auction and there go three yearlings on Mr. Kill Buyer’s trailer. But you know, this is so hard for them. They didn’t want to sell the horses this way, they just had no choice. Bullshit. Everything right down the line has been a choice - they’ve just made bad ones and it’s the horses who suffer.
Q. Can I e-mail you?
A. Sure. It’s and I’m usually way behind reading it because I’m getting so much mail so don’t hold your breath on a response.
Q. Can I send you my horse to critique?
A. I just don't have the time, but you can post to the conformation forum on the message board. There are tons of people equally or more qualified than I am to critique your horse. Take them to a show, go in halter/in hand, and ask the judge for feedback.
Q. Are you opposed to horse breeding?
A. Not at all. I fully support the breeding of horses with good conformation, good dispositions and athletic ability by breeders who are knowledgeable horsepeople well-versed in bloodlines, genetic defects, and the proper care of mare and foal including nutrition. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people breeding horses who do not meet these simple standards.
Q. Is it wrong to breed a horse who was a rescue?
A. It depends on the horse. I believe it's completely irrelevant if the horse was a rescue. If you are the lucky winner who finds the stakes winning, gorgeous mare or a Superior western pleasure horse or a NCHA money winner in crappy condition at a low end auction because they fell through the cracks, it doesn't bother me a bit if you fatten them up, breed them again, and they proceed to have a cushy life at your nice breeding facility. Now, if the horse was a rescue because it is fugly and lame, then of course I am opposed to breeding it.
Q. Why are you so mean?
A. Being snarky is funny to many people and has made many comedians rich. If you think I’m mean, turn on a Sarah Silverman special sometime. (I love her, by the way) I’m not making money here, but the snark does keep people’s attention more than a boring daily lecture on conformation. If it upsets you to read, you might note that you are not in any way required to visit the blog. Look next to your head – no gun.
Q. Why do you make fun of fugly geldings if the point is to criticize breeding?
A. I make fun of fugly geldings because someone bred them. I give kudos to the person who recognized they should be gelded and carried that out.
Q. I think it’s wrong that you take pictures of people’s horses.
A. I think it’s wrong that those horses exist.
Q. What should people do with fugly horses? Do you want them sent to slaughter or something?
A. Of course not. I am 100% anti-slaughter and I’ve worked with many victims of abuse and neglect, both small and large animals. Fugly horses deserve a good life and proper care every bit as much as quality horses. They simply should not, under any circumstances, reproduce.
Q. If you're opposed to slaughter, what should someone do if they can't sell or even give away their horse and can't afford to feed it?
A. Euthanize. It always amazes me how uncomfortable people are with this option (calm, humane death at home, assisted by a veterinarian) and would rather choose slaughter (horrible, terrifying, painful death in a scary place, after days of traveling with no food or water and getting the shit kicked out of them by other horses, by a low paid employee who isn't skilled enough to do anything else but knock horses in the head for a living).
Q. If we only bred really good horses, people who don’t have a lot of money would never be able to afford horses.
A. Biggest load of bull crap I’ve ever heard. Even the best breeders have enough culls to keep every Pony Club and 4-H and trail rider in horses forever. Look at Secretariat. Great racehorse, gorgeous, indisputably breeding quality, but he sired a whole lot of mediocre horses. Nice minds, at least the ones I’ve met, but they didn’t cut the mustard on the track. You can breed wonderful horses to wonderful horses and still produce a fair share of mediocre horses that will have to be sold for substantially less money. Not to mention all of the fabulous horses that suffer an injury and need to retire to a lighter use home. There will never be an actual shortage of affordable horses.
Q. You’re wrong about just the fugly horses going to slaughter. We rescued Blah Blah Racehorse who won 8 zillion dollars on the track from New Holland!
A. There is an exception to every rule. Yes, some excellent horses take a wrong turn in life. But every time I go to an auction that has killer buyers at it, I see that the vast majority of horses going to his trailer are really horrid looking young stock (3 and under, typically barely halter broke, often without papers) or horses 15+ years old who are totally broken down and crippled, often as a result of having conformation that predisposed them to conditions like navicular disease. People like to talk about the rare “celebrity” rescue horses because it results in more attention from the public and more donations for the rescue. I’m not begrudging the rescues this – it’s a good fundraising tactic. Still, it doesn’t mean that your typical horse heading off to become a steak is a stakes winner. Most of them are sad little horses who have had sad little lives full of poor care, irresponsible ownership, and in some cases, serious physical deformities.
Q. I’d like to see a picture of you! You’re probably fugly!
A. And I’ll put that up just as soon as I start criticizing how human beings look. (Actually, since I wrote this, I have put up my own picture - feel free to critique. I stopped caring what other people thought around age 30, like most women.) If you want to criticize horses I’ve owned or own, I already did that post – July 4, 2007. Much of what I own is fugly. Nothing I own is pregnant.
Q. But you have a stallion and I think he's a piece of shit.
A. And you are welcome to your opinion! Most people who have seen him disagree with you, but you are very welcome to post your opinion, and you will not be deleted or edited. He has not bred a mare, nor will he until qualified, experienced AQHA judges have shown me by their placing decisions that they believe he is superior to most of his peers. (By the way, you people posting that he isn't going to ride because he has one cross to Impressive? Do you truly understand how ignorant that sounds? Do I really need to make you a list of all of the top ten or better performance horses at last year's World Show that had at least one cross to Impressive? His dam's a full sibling to a horse with over 2000 performance points. I think he's gonna ride just fine.)
Q. You just don’t like my breed!
A. I try to balance pictures of horses I don’t like with horses I do like of the same breed. And just because I don’t personally care for a breed doesn’t mean I don’t know what a good one looks like. If it’s a breed I truly do not know anything about – I don’t critique it unless it’s got some really obvious flaw that would be a problem in anything that whinnies.
Q. Who the hell are you that you think you can judge everybody?
A. I’m just another citizen of the Land of the Free, where we are all free to judge anybody we like. You can start your own blog and criticize me, if you’d like. It's been done! Blogger is free to use and simple to set up! And yeah, I know I suck about formatting posts...I just haven't had time to figure out why the HTML on this thing is so wacky.
Q. You’re not very Christian!
A. You’re right.
Q. You’re just some amateur with a bad attitude!
A. In this context, I’m just another horseperson with an opinion. If you disagree, feel free to comment. Again, I am not blocking anybody from commenting, nor do I delete comments. No one has ever been banned. I have only ever deleted someone who posted the same thing like 100 times in a row (c'mon now, grow up) and I did delete someone once for just being over-the-top racist. But for the most part, your comments will stand.
Q. You think you know it all!
A. Actually I have posted many times that I don't know X or Y and I'm interested in hearing from people who do.
Q. Sometimes you're wrong!
A. I'm sure I am, like everybody else. That's why you can use the comments to tell me so. No, I am not going to go back and edit posts every time someone corrects me on some minor detail. And no, I honestly don't think there's such a thing as a naturally gaited (as in, something other than w-t-c) Arabian. That is something I am going to have to see in real life to believe it, and I haven't seen it yet. Send me a video of your yearling Arabian slow-gaiting across a field, then we'll talk.
Q. It’s not fair to criticize so-and-so for sending their horse to auction. Not everybody is rich like I am sure YOU are, they had no choice!
A. I’m not rich but I do have enough money management skills/motivation to work to ensure that I don’t have to send horses to auction, because, shazam, fall came and what do you know, hay costs money! Sure, hay has gone up. Gasoline has gone up too, do you use that as an excuse not to go to work? I have two jobs right now and, no, I'm probably not going to buy your excuses why you can't get a job/a second job.
Q. How would you feel if a horse didn’t get sold as a result of your blog!
A. Ha ha, first of all I’m not so egotistical as to think the whole equestrian world reads my blog and takes it as gospel – but I’m flattered you think I have that kind of power. Second of all, if someone walks away from a horse featured here and instead rewards a breeder who has done their homework and bred a higher quality horse? I’m thrilled.
Q. How dare you say that about my horse? I’m going to sue you!
A. Whatever floats your boat. You may wish to speak to an attorney about whether or not you have a case. Two key concepts – “Fair use” and the fact that you have the right to respond to your heart's content in the same public forum. As I said, I do not censor comments. Come on over and call me every name in the book and defend the honor of your Andafriesanwalker if it makes you happy.
Q. All the bad rescues featured on your site are PROOF we need slaughter!
A. That's ridiculous. First of all, of course you're seeing bad rescues here - just like the nightly news doesn't feature the guy who didn't kill someone. Do you get it? Of course I have now started to feature good rescues on Friday for a bit of balance. Secondly, in what world is the solution to cruelty and neglect killing the victim? Ludicrous. We have humane laws and we ARE enforcing them. Ol' photoshopped ass, Dean Solomon, has four counts pending right now. It's not like it's the wild west and there are no laws and nobody ever gets in trouble for cruelty/, it's not as consistent as we'd like but what is?
Q. How dare you make fun of children and how they ride!
A. I'm not making fun of them. I'm making fun (actually it's not really fun, I'm usually pissed as hell) of their idiot parents and trainers who let them do things they are not ready for, like jump and barrel race when it's blatantly obvious they are not ready to do so. You should not be jumping until you can trot and canter without your stirrups with proper equitation. I will argue this with ANYONE. You, as the parent, or the instructor, are charged with the responsibility of keeping the child as safe as possible. That means saying NO until the kid truly can ride well enough to progress to the next level. I'm not going to back down on this.

Q. You're making money selling Fugly Horse Swag! That's not right!
A. No, CafePress is making money selling Fugly Horse Swag. I marked everything up a dollar or less and so far have made around forty dollars, with which I bought some dewormer and some berry treats for the moneysucking four hooved critters I'm responsible for. If that disturbs you, don't buy anything!
Q. I can't believe you made fun of X! I'm not reading your blog anymore!
A. As I always say, you are not Elvis and nobody really cares if you leave the building. Truly, few things look sillier than the Grand Pronouncement on a message board or blog that "I'M LEAVING AND I'M NEVER COMING BACK!" If you think people are going to come running after you to soothe your hurt feelings, all I can say is don't hold your breath.
Finally, to the lady who asserted that I was to blame for the entire world becoming more looks-ist or something, you are working too hard on your thesis. Step away from the computer. Go get a beer. You’ll feel better.