Monday, June 30, 2008

We love horse! Especially with onions!

If I ever run out of material for this blog, I swear I am going to do one on the sad state of our educational system and how many people are running around as marginally literate as the folks at the NP Ranch.

From their Craigslist ad: I do not what to feed all of the horse so I have told the kid they are selling some of the horse so you have a grate chase to get a good kids horse and it just in time for summer fun $1500 your chose i have a white 10 year old grade arabin mare. I have a 3 year old gelding green brock. I have a saddle bread gelding 18 and a mini colt but i will take 300 for him. you can duble click on this wed side and see more info. email me and we will set a time for you to come see.

So I couldn't resist double clicking, of course!

Let's start with their headline:

"NP Ranch it about the horses"

Brain bleeding already!

Now here's their main page paragraph. My comments, as usual, in blue.

NP Ranch is a small farm. We love horse.

Breaded, baked or fried!

We belive you can build a strong foundation of trust, confidence, between, you and your horse.

I believe you could use a few less commas there!

For a lasting partnership. Whetcher the horse future lies in, or out of the show ring.

Whetcher? Really? What about the way that word sounds convinced you there was a "c" in it? By the way, I see your commitment to that lasting partnership by the way you are ditching them so you don't have to feed them. Were you unaware they were going to require food?

If you would like us to help you find a good horse, or start the horse you have. We think we can help. We are locaten in Scio Oregon.

I think I can help you learn to spell, perhaps I should visit.

We have a 6 stall barn, and a round pin.


We only take 2 or 3 horse at a time. So the horse get lots on time with the trainer.

Good thing, I was really hoping someone could cure my horse's punctuality problem.

The trainer Phillip Nelson is a 23 year old Man, that come form a long family history of horse people. He works with the horse in steps.

And here I was thinking Phillip was a chick! And who does not work with the horse in steps? I really don't know of anybody who gets on them the first time at the horse show. This isn't exactly special.

Phil is a new trainer to Scio. So the price is low. If you would like he to find you a good friendly horse. Or start your horse. We have a good programe for you.

You guys even F up the easy words, don't you?

"This is a 10 year old mare 4 sale. She is $1500 obo. She has been in 4h, love the trails, has been used in may leadling class love to go. She has been game, she is being used by a 13 year old now. For more info. email me at this is a nice framily horse about 14 hands She is not to big the kids can get on with out to much help. But still big enuf an adult can ride her this horse has been a baby setter. and lots of fun need new kid."

Well...on the plus side they got "sale" right!

I know you guys are just dying to get over there, so I wanted to mention you are allowed to "houl in" and take lessons from Phillip! Here he is with "Sweet Pie" the mini!

"This is Sweet pie he was born 7\7\07 This if Phil with him phill is 5'8 so you can see sweet pie is small. He will be the same color as his mom Chestnut Flaxen. She is 32inchs mom is regusted AMHR101427A Pillow Talk Sunlite. There a photo of her, but she is not for sale, but sweet pie is $300 or a good saddle 16 or 17 incher would do. This little guy is a sweet little man come see him."


I just hope they are not homeschooling!

OMG! OMG! OMG! See, we CAN change the world!

Not just us at the Fugly blog but all of us who have fought to make sending horses to slaughter illegal AND flat out socially unacceptable.

I admit it. I NEVER thought I would see the freakin' day when a major track took a stand like this!


I seriously am just astounded and thrilled. This brought tears to my eyes, and you all know I'm pretty cynical. We can change things! Someone is listening! Lots of people are disgusted at these trainers who throw horses out like that trash and they want it to stop!

Those of you who enjoy the races, PLEASE vote with your dollars - please patronize Suffolk Downs, plan a vacation with a trip there, show them that the horse community appreciates their responsible and courageous stand - one that I hope will be a trend setter! Send them some fan mail!

Then write YOUR local track and tell them to follow suit. Particularly if you do enjoy and attend races, your opinion matters. Suffolk Downs started the ball rolling - now let's snowball it!

Pictured today is Good Thing, a fourteen year old daughter of stakes winner Morning Bob, with her new child. She was recently rescued from slaughter by SOS Equines.

Discussion: Your dream horse - then and now!

Oooh, I just thought of this and I've been meaning to ask you guys!

How has your concept of your "dream horse" changed from when you were a horsecrazy child until now? Has it changed or has it stayed the same?

When I was a kid, I looooved Arabs. I got the AHJ and my walls were plastered with pictures of Arabs. I mean, I was obsessed. When I was 12, I could have talked about bloodlines and strains and the characteristics of each and what was a good cross on what like a pro. I desperately wanted a little Egyptian mare with a really pretty head. Something like this.

Then, I gotta tell you, seven years into my riding career I went to another barn to take lessons and one of their horses was an Arab. A bird got into the arena and spooked it and it bolted and I ended up going ass-over-teakettle into a wall and pretty much ruining my lower back for life at age 15.

Thus ended my love affair with the Arabian horse! Yeah, I've met a couple since then that are nice enough to ride but it's just not a breed that I'd ever, say, buy for myself. On top of the spookiness (yeah, I know, some aren't, but a lot are), the way they move just doesn't do much for me. I don't find it as comfortable as, say a typical TB.

Now, my ideal is a Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse that is light sided (that's a big one for me, I just hate horses you have to push push push), easy to deal with and has a love of human beings and attention. And I admit I always wanted a buckskin, my whole life, so owning this gorgeous metallic-coated buckskin is a thrill in of itself. (But hey, I really could have looked past it if he'd been shaped like a yak. I promise, I could.)

So tell me about your dream horses - now and then!

NHR but too good not to share!

(Busy day at work but I'll try to get a post up later) This really is too good not to share!

You might remember when this accident happened 6 years ago this March.

This Southwest Airlines flight from Vegas overshot the runway at Burbank. The plane smashed past the airport fence, careened across the street and ended up with a collapsed landing gear, right next to a gas station.

But that's not the amazing part!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A few vocab words for the newbies

Since I know this stuff always confuses the newbies...

You may have heard someone here refer to a horse having a "nest." This is a word I invented here on the blog! It means that the horse's neck is so poorly set on and/or the chest is so weak that the neck runs straight down between the front legs with almost no definition. (like "cankles" where someone's ankles are so fat they appear to be part of the calf)

Here's a LOVELY example from our friends at Rocky Hollow Ranch! Yup, it's a stallion. Of course it is. What is with that neck? He looks like a dude with a goiter.

Another term coined by this blog refers to stallions that clearly are only stallions because they are guaranteed to produce color - hideozygous. This is a classic example of hideozygous. Paint him brown and tell me who'd want to breed to him? He's got a straight shoulder, one of the shortest croups I think I have ever seen, no hip and I'll bet money those forelegs aren't straight when viewed from the front.

Thanks, Painted Blessings Ranch, for giving me a classic example of what I mean when I use this term!

Finally, in my search, I found this paragraph on a breeder's site that I just have to repeat here for your entertainment:

"We breed Poco to some of the Finest Ledgend Quarter Horse Blood there is out there. We have the best mares and we get the perfect foals that will excell in every disipline."

*headshake* The best part is, they tested him for HYPP even though he doesn't have Impressive in him (so it's impossible!) but they DIDN'T test "Poco" for HERDA (which he totally COULD be positive for).

Oh, and they named a foal "Bean Dip."

Now here is an appropriate farm name - Broken Bones Cattle Company, breeding Hancock bred horses. No shit, you don't say! Wonder how they got their name? I have a guess...for you newbies, we've discussed here before that the Hancocks have a rep for being broncy.

P.S. We didn't make up "aghasted." We stole it from the Chronicle of the Horse message board.

Hey, you people who still have barbed wire?

You people who e-mail me and comment here and defend it and say you've never had a problem?

Read this. And I'm warning you now, don't click if you're eating.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The current owner rescued this filly. She is NOT the person who had the barbed wire! So don't go after her. She does not use barbed wire and the filly will never be subjected to it again.

Kudos to the current owner and the vet...this is impressive work. I am astounded and amazed.

For the one millionth time:


Discussion: Amateur Classes

I've wanted to talk about this for a long time.

Under the current amateur rules in AQHA, I'm not one. I never have been, even as a youth, since I started teaching lessons at age 15 at the broken-down barn I mentioned yesterday.

I don't have any AQHA points. I've never owned a horse good enough for AQHA competition before now. Had a student who had one that was good enough and we did some of that with him and he earned points, but that is as close as I have ever come.

Most of my professional (i.e. paid) work in the horse industry has consisted of:

1. Teaching beginner to intermediate lessons (i.e. when they got to where they could jump bigger than 2 feet, I handed them off to a Big Name Trainer)

2. Exercising polo ponies

3. Green breaking horses (mostly hunter pony prospects, in the past, since I'm petite)

4. Grooming (polo, show, whatever)

5. Show and event management (my favorite, I really do wish I could get a job doing just that)

6. Hauling horses

7. Stall cleaning and general barn management

Now, I don't see where any of those things really have much to do with my ability to compete in, say, an AQHA working hunter class. Yet, they have effectively barred me from any ability to show with people who are actually at my riding level. If I wanted to show AQHA at all, I have to go out there with, like, Hilary Carrel and Linda Crothers, and look completely ridiculous and get my ass whipped. I don't ride as well as people like that, and I never will. I kind of figure the zenith of my riding career was winning a lot of open show high points fifteen years ago.

I've always thought that instead of having the divisions based upon whether or not you've ever made money in the horse business, they should base them on your total # of points earned - since that is actually proof of ability. That would also be more fair for pros who are trying a new discipline - let's say the hunt seat rider who is learning to cut.

But what do you think? Do you think the rules as they stand are fair and people like me should just suck it up and realize we chose to make money in the horse business and now that means we have to go up against the big guns or not show at all? (I understand that opinion and it's a perfectly fair one to have) Or do you think a point based system is more fair and would make it so that activities like, say, breezing racehorses or leading guided trail string rides didn't mean you have to show against the pros in western pleasure? I just think there is such a broad range of activities that can make you a "pro" based upon the current rules, and they don't really relate to what I assume is the intent of the divisions - putting riders of similar abilities up against each other.

The other thing I've always thought is just dead-ass stupid is how ammies and youth have to own the horse they ride in AQHA. What is the point of that? Why make it so difficult? If I have a super nice pleasure horse and want to let my friend's kid show it, why is that a problem? And wouldn't more amateurs be able to afford AQHA showing if they could co-own a good show horse and both ride it in a few classes on the same day? Are we trying to exclude people who aren't wealthy from showing?

Also interested in hearing what your breed association has for ammie rules, and comparing AQHA with AHSA rules.

Friday, June 27, 2008

If that is a levade, I am Angelina Jolie

I know I say this daily but...WTF? Professor? What, you have a Ph.D. in bad horsemanship? Who gives that out, Merideth Manor?

Really, sometimes I think the horse world is populated by little girls who never grew up. Eternally 7 years old, their web sites are full of unicorns, rainbows, glitter and poneeeez with long pretty manes!

(And really funky wrapping jobs. Huh? What were you trying to do there? Bandage bow a tendon? I think you're gonna succeed at that one!)

The best part of her whole ridiculous site is her advice about how to choose a riding academy, in which she puts forth pearls of wisdom like "You should ride the same horse each time." Yeah, if you NEVER want to improve and learn how to deal with different equine personalities. If that's the plan, then yeah. Great idea. And " I, personally, wouldn't take lessons from a school that was was less than 5 years old." Considering how trainers hop around, isn't it more important to look at the trainer's experience and track record than how long the farm has been around?

I learned to ride at a place called Joy Farm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that had been around since 1914 - and it was unsafe as all hell. All the lesson horses were ex-polo ponies or horses given to the school for free because they were rank sons-of-bitches. They kept the dust down in the indoor by dumping used motor oil in there. They ran every lesson the same way - 10 walk, 10 trot, 5 walk, 5 canter, reverse, 5 canter, 5 walk, 10 trot, 10 walk. So the horses knew exactly what to expect and just for extra added fun, the instructors called out the gaits, i.e. "Canter, HOOOOOOOOO!" So after 5 minutes of jigging, they ALL bolted and/or ran into the middle of the arena to crash into the beginner horses who were standing there waiting out the canter. It was awesome. All the instructors were 15 years old. Hell, I was an instructor there when I was 15 years old, LOL! They thought it was okay to deworm horses every six months and then only with that crappy alfalfa pellet feed through wormer. Lame horses went out routinely. I have home movies where I am showing a horse who had heaves so badly she was hacking away with every trot stride and pulling me halfway down her neck. (Hey, I was 10, I didn't know any better and apparently neither did any of the adults in the vicinity). It was 9,000 kinds of unsafe but DAMN it had been in business for a hell of a long time! What does that prove?

Seriously, parents, you need to get some pro advice from friends who ride before you pick a riding academy. Please don't do it the way my mom did - by calling everybody in the yellow pages to see who was the cheapest!

Today's Friday Featured Rescue:

This little guy is a yearling Thoroughbred colt with a mild roach back. He isn't Miss Camel, but he's not going to race. He's got a very sweet disposition and should be fine for pleasure use with some care and attention paid to saddle fit. He is free to a good home and located in the Seattle area. E-mail me if you'd like to meet him and check him out. The farm has several other free Thoroughbreds including broke three year olds.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I sure as hell HOPE he has a stifle in his leg!

"I have a beautiful bay roan stud about 18.2 hh, He has a stifle in his leg from growing too fast and no supplements, so he is mostly a pet so I want to try studding him out before I geld him. Awesome manners and temperment. If your looking to breed size into your herd or would like a little heftier foal, this guys your bet."

WTF? On just EVERYTHING! W...T...F???

I love Craiglist.

How hard DO some of you need to get hit with the clue bus?

The idiots are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And I know some of them are learning, but they're not learning fast enough! What part of "hay is going to be $25 a bale in this area next year" do you asshats not understand? No one is going to want any more $500 horses! I don't care what color they are! I don't care if they're fluorescent PURPLE!

From Albany, Oregon. Not registered, started under saddle at two AND in foal! And again:

I need to SELL a horse

I don't want to take her to the SALE

This horse is for SALE

It is not that fucking complicated!

"Need to Sale this really pretty girl, So I have reduced her price! Real Pretty little grade Palomino Appaloosa mare. 3 years old. She has been started under saddle, but has not been rode in over 8 months, she needs a tune up before she can be rode. She has been out in a pasture all winter long, so She really needs someone to start her all over again. Allen Hicks can get her going for you again at an additional cost. She has a real nice neck, pretty face and long mane. . She will make a nice Western Pleasure horse and nice little trail horse. Shawnee is a real sweet little mare. Will make someone a wonderful life long partner. She has been bred to our AQHA Buckskin Stallion for a 2009 foal. 500.00."

From Syracuse, Kansas. Not registered (because apparently they did not want proof of their fuck-up in the AQHA records!), lame and popping out babies like a bunny!

"Sue was an oops! Her dam was bred by the dam's sire so we did not register the foal which is Sue. She is a nice mare that has had one palomino filly and is bred to a palomino for 2006. Sue's dam is an excellent all-around horse, her dam has been used in the feedlot, in barrels, poles, western pleasure, halter, showmanship, horsemanship, reining, flags, goat tying and is also my main heading horse. Sues dam is an athlete that has a ton of speed. Sue injured a knee last spring but will make an exceptional broodmare."

I am really having a busy week at work (they changed our entire computer system and it's all glitchified) and so it's GREAT that I so QUICKLY found an un-toppable Asshat du Jour for today's post. WHO THE HELL posts a picture of their stallion breeding? Even if it wasn't a grade puke?

Why, our friends at the Circle H Ranch in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada do!

"Grade Stallion to our knowledge (could be registered?) throws gorgeous foals. Got him as a 2 year old, he was very distrusting of people, but has come along way. Extremely mellow stallion, sometimes you actually have to persuade him to mount the mares lol"

Even HE knows he shouldn't be reproducing!

Cavel, International thanks you for your support!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I was being too kind just calling him an ignorant cowboy this post.

Apparently, he's a sex offender! Yes, more wonderful judgment from our friend $am at Columbia Basin Equine Rescue. She has had Jeff the Cowboy, aka Jeff the Sex Offender, riding her rescue horses for quite some time now. $20 a pop.

I won't begin to speculate on the exact nature of their relationship, but they go to horseshows together, out drinking together and travel together. This has been confirmed by numerous people. She's taken him to parties as her date...parties that children were at. Nice!

And yeah, just look at the pic...asshat.

Oh awesome. Someone just sent me $am's Christmas Card. What a cute pic of her, her dog, her horse, and her sex offender.

(Thanks, $am! You just made me feel AWESOME about MY ability to pick 'em. Boy, I have never F'ed up this bad, even when I was really drunk!)

White Male - Age 27 - DOB: 9/18/1980
6'2" - 210lbs
Blue eyes/Black hair

Jeez, $am, learn how to use Google and you can avoid those bad boyfriends! This one's been in trouble with the law for a while now. I'm sorry you're such an endless target for me, but really - people come look at horses at your farm and bring their small children. They should know what kind of people may be hanging around.

This actually does beg a bigger question for discussion...we've all seen this happen in the horse biz, because quite frankly, the horse biz is notorious for sloppy hiring. If you have a boarding or training barn, particularly one with youth clients, have you started checking out your help, both to protect your clients and to protect yourself from liability? These days it's pretty easy to do a criminal check online for a reasonable price, so are you doing it? Has it helped you to avoid hiring someone with a record of violent crimes or sex offenses? Conversely, have you had a bad experience with an employee you wish you'd have checked out? I certainly did - I had someone come back and try to strangle me after I fired them, way back in the early 90s. Turned out he had a long record of violence towards women. I don't think these incidents are all that unusual, but back in the early 90s we didn't have the Internet. Now we do - so be smart and use it!

All right, now for today's edition of "Cut His Balls Off!" (actually that applies to the whole post, doesn't it now?)...from Utah, an AQHA stallion you can buy for the low, low, price of just $300!

"Im Freds Schroeder is a beautiful three year old black stallion. He is a grandson of Dash For Cash and has Blue Valentine and Deregulate on his papers as well. You can see his pedigree at He is broke to lead, tie and load. We have bred him to our mares and he is quite the gentleman with the ladies. He is a little shy of people until he gets to know you. He is priced so low because we have way too many horses and we have to keep him in our round pen. He does have a crooked back leg. The previous owner said that she had him from birth and that it was broken when he was a foal and it healed crooked. It does not seem to cause him pain or any trouble. Please call to come see him or if you have any questions."

If you've ever wondered what a horse looks like when it's painful just standing around, here's a great example! See how tucked-up he looks through the barrel? And how he stands with his hind end kind of tucked under him? To me, this is a textbook example of the chronic pain look. Actually, forget gelding, just put the poor boy to sleep already...

Monday, June 23, 2008

New poll for everybody

I am just curious about hay prices. We've talked about this before, but the situation is getting worse and worse. Last summer, I could still find decent alfalfa for $12 a square bale. This summer? Ha. $14 a bale will buy you crap alfalfa. Decent stuff is $17 a bale, and that's with a dollar a bale discount for buying a ton at a time.

How bad is it where you are?

What are you doing differently to make ends meet (you all know by now about my 2nd job, I whine about it enough, ha ha)?

Has JUST the price of hay caused you to breed fewer mares this year?

Has it curtailed your showing or competing?

Have you switched to alternative feeds like pellets?

What are you sacrificing to keep paying for your horses? (All I can say is, I really miss HBO)

What do you think is really going to happen here? I'll tell you, I'm scared to watch. I keep hearing we're going to hit $25, $30 a square bale. Other people say that's just alarmist thinking, but look at the price of gas. Who would have believed 10 years ago that diesel would be $5 a gallon and regular gas $4.35?

Our salaries are not going to escalate at the same rate hay prices are escalating. The marginal horse owners are going to slide into being neglectful horse owners, and some of the good horse owners are going to become marginal.

Is there any solution here? I'm particularly interested to hear from those of you who grow hay, but all thoughts are welcomed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Welcome to the FHOTD Film Festival!

A quick note: I have 1500 emails stacked up. I am not deliberately ignoring any of you - I am just out of time. I have no time to read e-mail and my company blocks Yahoo. I'm sorry but the odds of me ever reading your e-mails are getting slimmer and slimmer until one of you decides to pay me to maintain this blog and I can quit my day job :-) Please post to the comments if you think you really have a crisis.

Another thing I can't do during the week is look at Youtube I looked at them today. OMFG. Youtube, showcasing completely idiotic riding and training for all the world to see! Allow me to present the 2008 FHOTD Film Festival nominees. You guys can vote on who you think are the winners! I should send them all Breyer horses as prizes and suggest they stick to those.

Category: Bad Parent du Jour!

2 year old child brushing tail standing directly behind horse while parent films

Stupid People - Always Fertile

The only good thing about this video is that Mom needed the exercise You dumbass, what did you think was going to happen here? This is NOT CUTE.

Smart enough to disable the comments, but not to take the video down! I really don't think the pony appreciates the human bucking strap...

Even the Horses Look Worried Seriously, doesn't that horse at the beginning just look concerned, like, um, I know this is a bad idea, why don't you?

Did you really think all of the disclaimers were going to keep you off the Fugly Blog?

Category: Making Linda Parelli look like an Olympic Dressage Trainer by Comparison

I just can't watch this shit with a straight face. She looks like she is doing the hokey-pokey! And why exactly do we want the horse in a two-horse straight load backwards???

Why not jump our TWO YEAR OLD pony over 2'6 with a kid who can't ride her way out of a paper bag? You mean that is a bad idea? (FYI we know the pony is 2 because this was linked to a CL ad selling her)

Hector, You're an Asshat!

I would laugh so hard if this dude gelded himself on the saddle horn

You don't suppose the anklebiter dogs running under the horses had anything to do with the bucking, do you?

Category: Riding Lessons? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Riding Lessons!

The Spurs on the Tennis Shoes are a Nice Touch

I Think The Horse Was Trying to Commit Suicide OK, the exciting part is over, don't you think someone should stop filming and call an ambulance now?

Category: Darwin Aspirations

OK, so it's not a horse...

Chris, you an asshat too!

OMG! You mean, it's alive and it can kick you? I thought it was a prop for this shoot!

How you have made it to the age you are at astounds me

Category: Great Mobile Homes of Mississippi - Equine Edition!

Loose wire, hot tape, uncapped t-posts and a stallion!

Deworm your damn horse and replace your damn fence, you asshat!

Category: Breeding Ignorance

Proud of our Speshul Kolored Weaving Horses!

It's Really Big! It's Really Hairy! It's Really Disunited!

Category: Your Culture Sucks, Dude

Horse Fighting in South Korea ... is it bad that I want to put this man into a round pen with a couple of angry pit bulls and film that? Preferably naked with his dick wrapped in bacon.

The User Name That Posted This Just Says It All ... it is good to know you have a skill, honey. That will get you far in life. Did you pick up these two asshats with it?

This was filmed when she hurt her back leg, so I only asked her to dance with the front half Yet another feature from everybody's least favorite poster on the FHOTD board.

Category: Just, WTF?

Human Arena Footing

RFD-TV Trainer's Starved Horses - Yeah, another score for the Really Fucking Dumb horse channel. Inside Reining? Looks like he should have been OUTSIDE FEEDING!

I have to post one that I actually liked... this is a cute little pair and they look like they are having a blast together. Yeah, you could hyper-critique it all you want but I wanted to give it a thumbs up because the kid is happy and the pony is happy and that's nice to see in the sea of pissed off horses and ignorant idiots that is Youtube.

And this is just adorable. What a nice horse.

On another note, I have a great short-term project for one of you folks who is in my area (Seattle to Portland) and loves to do ground work. In case you missed this report on the VLC blog, I worked with Lucy, the mare from the Enumclaw Auction, a few days ago. While she's clearly broke and had some work done past the track (longes both directions), she has fairly serious fear issues. She looks at you like you are going to eat her sometimes. She tacks up fine, but when I patted her butt, she took off crowhopping (hence my decision not to get on that first night). She has good manners, she ties, she loads and hauls fine, she's not rank or stupid, she's never shown any aggression, she's just got quite a bit of trepidation about human beings. Clearly someone was not so nice to her, and I also think she's got a bad case of broodmareitis - where they only get caught for breeding or the vet and otherwise run wild like mustangs. I would very much like to find someone who has more time than I do to take her for a month or six weeks and just love on her. Petting, grooming, ground work, teaching her to eat treats. Just lots of handling. Ground driving would be a huge plus if you are experienced with it. If you want to help a rescue horse but don't want a long-term commitment, this could be a perfect summer project for you, and it would really help me. I am too overscheduled to spend serious time with any one horse, and that is what this mare needs - an hour or two of your time on a regular basis. She has no special needs - is living well on pasture and a scoop of grain with supplements once a day. Contact me if you think you might be interested.

All right, hope everybody is having a great weekend! Good luck to those of you competing. Three more hours and I can leave work and go ride my wonderful, wonderful Very Large Colt :-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trail Riding for Dummies

I get a lot of e-mail about questionable trail riding establishments - places that provide substandard care and instruction, where horses are suffering and riders often get hurt. These places exist and thrive because beginner horsepeople go into their experiences with horses without the basic knowledge necessary to make good choices. For that reason, I am writing this blog which you may feel free to provide to any non-horsey friends thinking about going riding while on vacation, or just renting horses for the afternoon.

The first thing to know about renting a horse is that it is not like renting a car. The brakes and steering are not guaranteed to work consistently, if at all. If you want to safely learn to ride a horse, go to your local equestrian supply ("tack") shop and ask for recommendations on a good instructor. I am assuming that if you are reading this, you are not trying to learn anything and simply want to yahoo down the beach or the trail. Okay, let's try to talk about how to do that in a morally responsible manner - assuming you, like most people, believe yourself to be kind to animals.

First of all, trail string horses work hard for a living. Like anyone doing hard physical work, they need to get adequate nutrition in order to do their job. The horse pictured here is starving. See the bones on the side of his butt and how they stick out? That is not normal. Neither is seeing all of the ribs clearly outlined, or a spine sticking up from the back. Now, a healthy horse can have a shoulder that sticks up further (the part right under the front of the saddle) and that can be normal - but the back and butt should be round and filled in. This dude thinks he is having fun, but he has unwittingly been made a party to horse abuse. He looks like a nice guy. I am sure it was not deliberate - simply lack of knowledge. Don't be him.

Now let's move on to feet. Feet should look neatly trimmed. The edges should not be all broken off and ragged looking. If they look like the feet shown here, do not ride. Tell them that the horse's hooves aren't in good enough condition to be ridden and you will not give them your business. When you do ride, if the horse is tripping frequently or taking short little steps and seeming to have trouble, he is hurting. Get off. Please refuse to ride a horse in this condition. It is up to you to take a stand. (And better yet, take pictures and report the establishment. That's why you have a camera phone. It is not just for sending pictures of your butt to your friends when you are shitfaced drunk!)

If you have dogs or cats, you're probably familiar with some of the other signs of illness in an animal. Yellow discharge from the eyes or nose, for example, is a sign of a problem. Coughing or heaving when trying to breathe is hard to miss and something that even a novice should pick up on. When you see these things - do not ride.
Look around the premises. Horses that are not being ridden should have free access to drinking water at all times, particularly in the heat. If you know how to check for dehydration in your small pet animal, the same goes with a horse - pinch the neck skin. It should snap back in no more than 1 second or so. More than that, and the horse probably is in desperate need of a drink.

OK let's say we're good up to this point and you decide to ride. Once they get you mounted and your stirrups adjusted, put your hand under the front of the saddle. Can you fit 2-3 of your fingers under the front of the saddle, between it and the horse?

If you can't, the saddle does not fit and the horse will be in great pain as you ride. That may cause him to act up or even throw you, so your safety is also an issue here! Complain and ask that a better fitting saddle be found. If they refuse, do not ride. The picture shows the area you need to stick your fingers into.

The bridle is also an issue. It is not normal for a horse to throw his head around as he is ridden unless you have a death grip on his mouth (more on that later). If that is happening, something is not right. Complain.

All right, we've gotten that far. If you don't know how to ride, how do you survive a trail/vacation riding experience? Here are a few tips you MUST remember:

1. Those reins are attached to a steel piece stuck between the horse's teeth. Imagine how that feels. You don't want to pull hard on it. If the horse is throwing his head, you are probably being too stiff with your hands. Your elbow is a hinge - use it that way. Give and take and try to "follow" the horse's head. You can pull and release, gently, to slow speed. Keep your hands low - if they are low (around the front of the saddle) they will be more effective. High hands just make the horse angry and irritated.

2. If the horse runs away with you or gets faster than you are comfortable with, LEAN BACK and make SURE you are not hanging on with your lower leg. Your lower legs are your accelerator, and when you hang on with them, you are STOMPING on the accelerator, making things worse! Even if you pull on the reins, gripping with your lower leg will override that. So LEAN BACK, get your feet out of the horse's side, shove your heels DOWN (this will keep you from losing a stirrup) and then, if you have space to do so, pull on only one rein and make the horse circle. This will slow his speed safely. Make sure you are ready to circle and lean into the turn a bit so you don't dump yourself off via centrifugal force :-) If you are on a narrow trail and the horse has gotten out in front, just lean back and pull-release, pull-release and say HO in as deep and non-shaky a voice as possible given the circumstances. Most horses do not want to leave the other horses, and while they may have a short burst of speed, trail string horses are simply not going to run for 50 miles. If they are heading for the barn and blasting full out, you NEED to circle. One rein and ONLY one rein will accomplish this. Just wind them right around and they will have to slow down. A horse who is bolting for the barn WILL run under things you don't fit under and through gates only big enough for him and not your legs. Circling will save your ass.

3. If the horse feels lame to you and/or is bobbing his head with every step, ask about it. If you are a beginner and can tell that the horse is favoring a leg, guess what, he's hurting pretty bad. When you've been riding for 30 years, you may pick up on very minor pain because it just doesn't feel exactly right to you. At your stage of the game, shoot, if YOU can feel a limp, that poor horse is in major pain. Complain. Ask for another horse and if you see them put the horse out in the string with a different rider, throw a fit. One exception to this rule is gaited horses - horses that do not trot. These horses may bob their heads as part of their normal gait but the gait itself will feel even and not like they are "ouchy" on a particular leg. If you aren't sure, better to be safe than sorry. Again, this is also for your safety. A lame horse is prone to tripping and falling and that can mean a bad accident for you. You want to have fun - not wind up in the ER in some third world tourist trap.

4. Sure, you are going to bounce at the trot. It hurts your butt and the horse ain't too fond of it either. You feel like a sack of potatoes banging on their kidneys when you bounce. If you have a rough gaited horse, try standing slightly in your stirrups at the trot. You can hang onto the horn, or the mane. It does not hurt a horse when you pull on their mane, not at all. This tactic will save your butt and the horse's back!

5. Dress appropriately to ride. Loose pants will mean a painful rub or blister. You have no idea how painful. Shorts - are you nuts? The best pants to ride in are jeans that are snug through the thigh and knee. You want to be wearing completely closed shoes that have at least a small heel on them. That will keep your foot from getting stuck in the stirrup - it's a big safety issue. A boot like the one shown here is really the best choice. These kind of boots are $20 at Wal-Mart - just go grab a pair before you head out! And of course, most western boots are just fine, if you want to look like a cowboy. :-)

Again, I am not recommending that ANY of you do this. I don't think trail string riding is safe and can tell you horror stories all day. But if you are going to do it, at least educate yourself and try to do it in a non-abusive way that does not end with you bringing a couple broken ribs and a crutch home from what was supposed to be a fun vacation!

(Comments on other tips and tricks and things to look for and avoid are VERY welcome!) Remember, we as the humans have the choice - and we choose with our wallets! Make a humane choice that is safe for yourself and your family.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And this person wants to know why I think she is a bad horse owner!

When you post the following on the Internet...YES, I am going to call you out as being a BAD HORSE OWNER (and the lovely pics of your horses with loose hose on the ground, uncapped t-posts sticking up in the middle of the field and loose wire everywhere do not help!)

"Buttons (Mare #3) is a psycho! I am about to shoot the mare despite not foaling yet! I caught her last night after tricking her into a pen! I haltered her but that was about it, maybe 11pm I did this. Today I took her out of the pen to brush her and look her over and she freaked out! I hadn't even touched her with a brush yet and she reared up, punched a hoof through a window on my trailer, might i add she got it stuck and then punched the other front foot through the window! My trailer is in serious need of some body work now ad the panel that the window is on is now all dented and damaged from her struggling! After the foot got loose she did a serious pull back and broke her halter, adn was running loose! Keep in mind this mare does not like being caught lately and won't let you within 10 feet of her out in a pasture! I was able to corner her and catch her, then I worked her butt off on the lunge line. She is dripping sweat and is VERY tired. Even as tired and sweaty as she is she is still putting up a fight. i can't get close enough to even LOOK at her udder! Any suggestions on a mare like this????? She is spending the rest of the day tied to the trailer, keep in mind there is no shade at the trailer and we are pushing 100 degrees."

"...she should not get worked that hard so soon before foaling. I honestly didn't care! She is a mare that lately is doing stupid things out of stubbornness and she is defiant! She knows what I was going to do, and she freaked! I move slow with this mare and I talk to her, adn when she was started last year, she was literally an in your pocket horse! We used Clinton Anderson methods and she was perfect! Even stood quietly without being tied for feet. Now she won't even let you LOOK at a foot. if she thinks you are staring at it then she will rear and flip over backwards! I have cleaned her udder and vulva before about a month ago and this much has changed in a month! in my honest opinion with how she is changing and acting, she really doesn't EVER need to be bred again! She is acting irrational and there was no excuse for her to pull back and screw up a whole side of my trailer! After her stupid pull back I put a new halter on her and tied her back up and she did it again! She did not break this halter. So I worked her lightly at this point and she worked in my space too much then started striking at me. At this point ihad to go potty, i tied her back up. She pulled back and broke her halter when I came back. I worked her again and this time she was rearing and lunging at me, so I continued to work her until she was tired. I tied her back up and then hosed her off. Then she stood there, tired until dark. I let her think about it. Tonight she is resting comfortably, and is back to her nipping, "threatening to kick you" self. Keep in mind she only became this way about 2 months ago. before that she was a perfect angel that was easy to catcha nd wasn't even jumpy!"

Hey, Becky? You have no understanding of equine psychology, and should not be breeding as you think this (pictured left) is stallion quality. Good god, it's a little red yak with a goose rump, weak loin, shallow heartgirth and an upside-down neck. Even if your horses were great, your horse care is frightening. The above doesn't even get into the stuff you posted about how you let your old mare get the hell beat out of her by your stallion. I could quote from your posts all day, and that is not a compliment!

When you post these things online for all to read, people like myself are going to call you out for being a bad horse owner. Are you aware that HorseTopia is a public board and not just open to your buddies to view? If you really cared about changing what people think of you and learning more about horses, you'd sell all your horses but one riding horse and get into lessons with a good trainer and educate yourself. There are good trainers, even in Eastern Washington! But you won't. You will just stay on the sunshine-and-butterflies message boards and post pictures of your fugly foals for people who don't know the difference. And when you lose foals because you're ignorant, you'll get sympathy and {{{hugs}}} When you get hurt because you're ignorant, you'll get sympathy and {{{hugs}}}. When you ruin a horse and just HAVE to send it off to the auction to "protect your children," you'll get more sympathy and {{{hugs}}}.

Guess what, sunshine, this ain't the sympathy and {{{hugs}}} board...I have no sympathy for people like you. You are the problem. You should not be breeding. You should not be trying to "train." And while I am not the world's biggest Clinton Anderson fan, I believe I can speak for him when I say that he must be appalled beyond belief at the mere idea that what you have described are his methods.

Monday, June 16, 2008

So just WTF is going on in Los Angeles?

I got this hysterical e-mail and am curious to find out what is actually going on from a local. What IS going on?

(Rescuers, when you write like this, everybody assumes you are hysterical and wacko. I don't care if the sky is falling, try to write in a slightly less emotion-filled style. I can't get much that is coherent out of this but, thanks to your writing style, it screams "AC is finally doing something about a hoarder" much louder than it screams "AC is murdering 100 horses.")

So those of you in L.A...WTF is going on and what's the story here? Fill us all in!

Hysterical e-mail follows:

Mass murderer Marcia Mayeda and her band of bloodthirsty killers of LA county animal control obtained an illegal warrant from a corrupt court to raid Equus Horse Sanctuary in Juniper Hills (animal control has no right to apply for or execute search warrants). They are there RIGHT NOW slaughtering horses--they have already slaughtered 5 or 6 horses and thrown them in a dumpster and they will continue to murder 99 more horses!!! They will continue to kill the old horses until all are dead. The monsters have generators and lights, they will continue their kill fest all day and all night.Some of the co-conspirators in the mass murder: Chris, George, someone with the last name Scott, someone with the last name Rachel, and Sherry Koenig of LA county animal control all were spotten on the premises of Equus Sanctuary today sadistically enjoying the kill fest. There are six vets there, in vehicles that say "veterinarian", doing nothing but killing horses. The horse-murdering sadists have been slaughtering the poor equines at Equus since 8:00 this morning, and as horrendous as that is, on top of it, the sadists are being paid to perpetrate the atrocity with your tax dollars! DA investigators and swat team running around in their costumes trying to be big shots by murdering senior citizen horses horses, like the horses were going to shoot them or something! .These precious horses are all rescues and some are 30 years old. Since they were rescued by Equus, these horses have lived their lives in rustic contentment, and until today they have been safe in the loving care of their sanctuary and caretaker Janet. But now their safety has been shattered, Mayeda and the rest of her thugs have invaded the safety of the sanctuary, and because the old horses are thin--that's the way that old animals get--Mayeda hauled poor Janet off to jail, claiming, what else? Animal cruelty of course. The killers regard animals being old and thin as a crime punishable by death, and imprisonment of their caretakers. The bloodthirsty killers of LA county animal control are so blatantly out of control, so intent upon perpetrating and escalating their mass murder of precious animals, that for today's bloodfest, they even set up tents and have catered food--they are making a party out of mass murdering these 105 innocent horses!A woman named Gail Kaye is responsible for the death of every horse on that property, that Mayeda murders. Kaye was at the Equus Sanctuary last week, trespassing, she was seeking to get free horses, and representing herself as an employee of LA animal control. She wouldn't leave the property and had to be forcibly removed by the sheriff's office. In retaliation for not obtaining free horses, she conspired with Marcia Mayeda, Sherry Koenig and the rest of the killer crew to go out and destroy the whole sanctuary. Kaye is there right now with her horse trailer picking out the cream of the crop, and picking up free horses in her white ford F350 long bed pickup truck with a horse trailer, with tape on her license plate so that no one will know who she is, all of which is illegal and they should arrest her for it. Kaye, along with her buddy, Mayeda, is responsible for the slaughter.The U.S. has now shut down and officially banned all horse slaughterhouses. But horse slaughter is alive and well, and continually escalates, perpetrated by the sadists of LA county animal control, and other murderous pounds. When is the slaughter going to stop, when will people demand an end to the reign of terror by the Nazi animal controls, SPCA's, "Humane" Societies, and othersadists who continue and keep escalating their total victimization of innocent animals and their caretakers???Please contact the press, no one is out there to witness this horror being perpetrated by the psychotic killers who will never be content until every animal in the world is dead. Also, please call the LA county DA's office at (213) 974-3512, and demand that these monstrous sadists of LA county animal control, especially Marcia Mayeda, be stopped from continuing to perpetrate their crimes, and be brought to justice.Call Linda of Equus at (818) 935-7477 cell phone. You can also try the sanctuary office number but that may not be a working number anymore: (530) 260-0148.Please call all the TV stations and demand they cover this story. Channel 4 refused, saying, oh, well, the horses are old, so they are not bothering to even go out to cover the slaughter! The horses need help, Equus desperately needs an attorney. Also go and see what you can do to stop the killing, or at least to document it and bear witness, take your cameras and video recorders. The sanctuary is located off the 14 freeway, exit at Pearblossom, then ask one of the local businesses for directions to the sanctuary.

FHOTD back in: $20 says whoever wrote this e-mail doesn't know anything about horses (the fact that she thinks it's normal for old horses to be thin is a big tip off right there) and is incapable of financially or physically taking on even ONE of these horses. A.C. euthing old horses in poor condition is not, normally, either a bad idea or cause for hysteria. I don't know anything about this situation or who's in the wrong, but again, I know how batshit cray-zee this e-mail reads!

Good grief, it sounds like she needs a marriage counselor!

What exactly did you think stallion ownership was going to be like, sunshine? I can't figure out if this refers to the horse being hard to handle or if the promised fountain of money from stud fees has failed to materialize...

(Click to see a larger version)

Could some Saddlebred experienced person please come pick up this poor horse? Clearly he got lost...

Two Fuglies for the Price of One!

I KNOW you guys won't want to miss out on this one. Just $1200 puts this outstanding two in one package in your pasture!

Here's Momma! They claim this is a registered AQHA mare. I don't know, sure looks to me like an Arab from an auction that has had a very unfortunate flipping over backwards incident...about 25 times or so. And could she be any longer? Do you suppose that tail set is where it started, or a result of whatever happened to her? Eeeeek. The only things I like on her are her head, neck, pasterns and feet...everything else is just scary.

And jeez, at least comb the huge knot out of her mane before you take a picture. Lazy much?

(I am picturing the scenario they always warn you about where if you don't close the toilet seat, your cat can drown himself and you can find him ass-up stuck in the toilet. How exactly does a foal perish from an accidental drowning? Did he fall in a bucket? I mean, seriously, how does this even happen?)

Here's Daddy! Well, at least he looks like a Quarter Horse. Not a very good one, but a Quarter Horse. At least he is shorter backed than Momma! Hey, I'm trying to say something nice.

Regarding both of these horses: One of the MAIN breed standard conformational points of the AQHA horse is the HIP. Neither one of these horses has one. Actually, this horse's back end resembles a greyhound dog's. He has a cute face, I'll give him that. He'd be a darling gelding.

Today's ill-considered breeding decisions were brought to you by Alexander Farms. Now, please stop breeding. Please.