Sunday, November 30, 2008

Like watching an episode of Cops...

You know, where there's some 17 year old girl living in a trailer with 3 kids and a meth-head boyfriend...

Click on the ad to see it bigger.

5 years old.

3 foals on the ground.

A clubfoot (yes, this IS a hereditary defect!) Not always - it can be caused by injury - but it often is.

And now she's free on the Internet!


I know this is just a crazy idea, but what is wrong with training them before you start using them as baby factories? I mean, who looks at a 2 year old filly and says "let's breed it?" And in the past three years, was there no one that these people knew with enough common sense to suggest that breeding her back yet again might not be the best idea? Gee, surprised she's not in foal for 2009, too!

Excellent article written 11 years ago by a vet about why NOT to breed two year olds.

From the Complete Foaling Manual - more common sense!

Submitted by J.D. in the USA on March 3, 2000:

My question - How old should a horse be before breeding her? I've gotten mixed answers, some say two, others three. Oh by the way these are miniature horses.

Hi J.D.,

I would NEVER breed a two year old. They are just babies themselves. Some mares are okay to breed at three, depending on their physical and mental maturity. With some mares, it's better to wait until they are four. The minis would be just like the bigger mares--evaluate them on their physical and mental readiness.

Hope this helps!

FHOTD in: Hope they LISTENED!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Feature your banner ad on

Just leaving this bumped to the top... is close to launching and we are auctioning off the top banner ad for the first month, with 10% of the proceeds going to all breed equine rescue Save a Forgotten Equine. (That is the rescue that rehabbed the Jean Elledge horses).

Check it out!


Many years ago, John Lennon wrote a song about his perfect world, envisioning a place where people got along and no one suffered. I'm often asked what I realistically think can be accomplished by my campaign against horse slaughter, neglect and abuse. I'm often asked this by people who think the world can't and won't change.

Here are some things that have already happened (and those of you who are my age or older, c'mon, admit it, you never thought this stuff would ever happen!)

  • Major racetracks BANNING trainers known to have sent a horse to slaughter - even when the trainer has more excuses than a drunk-driving celebrity as to, gosh, how ever did that horse get there when I sold it to a children's camp? (Memo to liars: Children's camps don't want OTTB's. Trust me on this. Bad lie.)
  • Actual, substantial JAIL TIME for people who starve horses - even when they have more excuses than an 8 year old with a baseball bat who doesn't know how that window got broken. But I loooove them, but I'm just poor, I lost my job, I'm sick, I'm old, they're skinny because they are old, it's not my faaaault. It's not working any more. Judges are putting them behind bars anyway and sometimes feeding them bread and water -- gotta love it!
  • Retirement farms springing up all over the place and city-dwellers with no land paying for their elderly or injured horses to enjoy the retirement they deserve. How much of that did we see in 1980? Uh, yeah...
  • Everywhere I look, it seems like people are stepping up. The horse feed companies are sending folks around to do nutrition seminars for free at our local feed stores. When did that start? I think it's great but I know it's a fairly recent development. Sure, it helps sales but it also helps horses.
  • Here's another cool development - groups like Horses for Clean Water that are doing things like helping horse owners create environmentally friendly horse properties and deal with things like mud (always a concern here in Western Washington).
  • For animals in general - major corporations bragging on their packaging and in their ads that their product is not tested on animals. They realized it made a difference in sales and that such testing was not necessary and there were alternatives. Imagine that in 1980. You would never have seen it. Nor did we see our A-list movie stars of 30 years ago campaigning against wearing fur. The only one back then was Brigitte Bardot and everybody thought she was a wacko. My, how times have changed!

I could go on all day but I'm going to move on to what I can envision happening in the next ten years. We'll see if I'm right. I also want to hear your predictions!

  • I believe we'll see all animals being microchipped and hopefully a brand/microchip combo on horses so that any former owner who cares about them can log into a central database and put themselves on file as being willing to care for the animal if it is in need. Right now, we have chips like Avid, but one problem is that it's not all that easy to update the information. You have to fill out a form and mail it in - it's a pain, not up to date with our Internet age where you should be able to do this online. I see all of this getting streamlined and improved to where we simply aren't losing track of animals like we do now.
  • I believe that we're going to see more and more breed organizations banning people from showing and competition for bad behavior. I just heard the Rocky Mountain folks kicked someone out of the organization for being convicted of abuse. HooRAY! An abuse conviction should mean THE END of your right to show and compete FOR LIFE. It is not easy to get convicted of abuse and I don't see innocent people getting convicted. If you got convicted or pled guilty, I think you need to be out and I think it needs to be permanent. I used to see that Illinois asshat Ron Mueller still showing at the AQHA shows after he torched those horses in the trailer for the insurance money and I always wanted to run him over with my truck.
  • I believe we're going to see transport out of the country for slaughter made illegal, and while I do agree with those of you who say good luck enforcing it 100% since we can't enforce our borders period, I think proof of a violation can and will be grounds for prosecution here as well as being banned from your breed organization, racetrack, etc. I absolutely believe this will happen within the next ten years.
  • I believe that public opinion is changing and that breeding horses carelessly will be as socially unacceptable in ten years as breeding kittens carelessly is now. I also see the social stigma of breeding small animals carelessly increasing -- I think that in ten years, it'll be just as common to get a bad reaction to that in rural Tennessee as it is now in Santa Monica, California. See, what happens is that areas change. The city folk go looking for more land, better air quality, cheaper housing...and they start to migrate into areas that are full of people who shoot squirrels for fun. They bring with them their ideas and their children talk to other children and learn that not everything Mom and Dad believe is necessarily right and before you know it, change happens. The squirrels are safe and the 20 year old girls are in college instead of married with three kids...

I think the world in general is full of naysayers. Hey, how many people said that the American people would never elect a black President? Uh-huh. Change happens despite the naysayers and I think it will continue to happen for animals. If you're stubbornly stuck in your 1950s thinking where you can breed whatever you want, and it's nobody's business but your own and we need slaughter because dammit it's too expensive for you to have to euth horses and you want that $100 from the dealer, or you think nothing will ever change in your rural area, or you think you're too much of a big shot in your discipline to ever get in trouble for all the shady shit you do - well, watch out, 'cause you're gonna get run over by the Progress Bus whether you like it or not.

By the way, I'm so tired of hearing that people aren't being punished for neglecting horses and that's why we need slaughter. Yes, they are. Every day. And every news story like this warns others that this behavior is no longer being tolerated by the courts. Think about seat belts. Look, I hate my damn seat belt (it hits me right in the side of the neck and I'm constantly pulling on it or trying to rig it up with baling twine so that it doesn't do that) and it's a classic example of something I think is a stupid law. But I wear my seat belt because I don't want to pay a fine. I am a classic example of the law's ability to control the behavior of someone despite that person's belief that the law is wrong. The more people get convicted, the more you're going to see people being responsible about feeding their horses OR simply not having horses in the first place (which is just fine by me!)

Convicted - fine, five years ban from owning horses

Convicted - 90 days in jail (legal max), four years ban from owning any animal

Convicted - 180 days in jail, $10,000 fine, banned from owning any animal

Convicted - Two years in prison, three more on probation

Convicted - One year in jail. Good grief - 400 wild horses? Should have shot him.

Convicted - Four months for violating ban on keeping horses. May not lease horses, either!

And now for a happy update - Falcon's Fury was a racehorse that was narrowly rescued from slaughter. Here's his page showing how he is doing today! Read the rescue story - as SOON as the trainer got busted by Delaware Park, he hustled down to the auction in a hurry trying to bribe his ass out of the fire. Didn't work. Heh, heh, heh.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The natural look - it doesn't work for everybody!

I am totally in favor of horses getting daily turnout, if not living out. I am also totally in favor of slopping around at home in my sweats being comfy! However, when it is time to go on a job interview, for example, I also know that I can't show up like that. No, it will be necessary to do my hair, my makeup, put on something attractive and clean and present myself in a lot better shape than I look right now.

It is the same with your horses. If you are trying to sell a horse, or sell breedings to a horse, he should NEVER be seen looking like this. Sure, he's happy as a pig in mud - and that is just what he looks like.

The description isn't helping him. "BEDROOM EYES & READY TO BREED!!" Gack. Good God, where do you people come up with this crap? He's a fugly hairy two year old, not Fabio.

Here's another. $2500 and the manure all over her is included for free! Maybe you can use it to fertilize your garden?

Seriously, I've seen free horses on Craigslist cleaned up more than this. Also, she's an unregistered Quarab and they bred her. Yay! The stupid thing here is that this mare allegedly rides great, has done pony club, etc. SO WHY NOT MARKET HER AS A RIDING HORSE? Why don't you have riding pictures? Why? Why? WHY?

As I've said before, if you were trying to sell a car, you'd wash it. Why, why, why do horsepeople think it's ok to put up sale pictures like this? It really only takes a little human effort to clean up a horse. Drag a pail of hot water from the house if you don't have it in the barn. Put that muddy horse in a stall for three hours and the mud will dry and then you can brush most of it off. It really is NOT hard. Make a little effort or don't complain when you wind up on the blog!

Some good news from the Standardbred world...Hanover Shoe Farms takes care of 100 old Standardbred, most retired broodmares (and don't they look fat and happy!)

Now for those of you who wanted to see more of our cover boy from yesterday - here is his 32nd birthday picture! His mom posted and yes, he is alive, well and still being ridden regularly.

For Californians - your Governor has come up with the world's dumbest idea to put a 9% tax on veterinary services. Um, Governator, we have enough people who can't afford the vet as it is. If you think this is a horrible idea and live in California, write the Governor's office and tell them why.

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
916.558.3160 Fax

It's Friday, so of course we have a Friday Featured Rescue!

You've heard me talk before about how you absolutely CAN geld an old stallion and ride him the rest of his life, and this guy is an example of that! This cutie is an AQHA gelding named Cutter Late Bar. Since he was gelded this year, at age 23, he has done extremely well. He's being ridden and has been shown at a schooling show in both halter and performance. How cute is he? He's in Winterport, Maine at Spirit of Hope rescue, so if you are looking for an adorable older horse, check him out!

I also wanted to mention this wonderful retirement facility in Florida. Look how great their old coots look! Locals tell me this is a great place to direct your holiday donations. I also like how they tell private owners to take care of their own horses. YES.

All right, hope everybody here in the U.S. is enjoying their long weekend and having some time to escape and enjoy the horses!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It only seems appropriate to show a happy ending story today...

This story was sent to me last year, so hopefully his owner will pop up with an update. The picture was taken at age 31. Don't you just want to kiss his little white diamond on his nose? I bet that's been kissed a lot!

"I am lucky enough to own a 'lifer'.

Harry was 31 last May - and I was 40 when I bought him. He is a Polish arabian and I bought him 20 years ago from a friend for the sum of $2000. which at the time was a lot of money for a horse. He had, however shown sucessfully at halter and buggy at many top shows in this country (Such as the Royal in Toronto) before his owner got out of showing and moved out west. Harry was six when I met him and had the chance to ride him but he was definatly 'not for sale'. The time finally came when my friend needed to 'downsize' - she also owned Harry's sister and full brother. Harry became mine with a rider on the bill-of-sale stated she had 'first refusal' if I ever wanted to sell him. Fat chance!

Harry has done three weddings (carriage horse) and also pulled a cutter in winter. I have ridden him thousands of miles I'm sure, some of them 10-day pack trips. I have ridden him western and English, taken him to lessons, jumped him, put beginners and kids up on him. He is the most fantastic, brave, sure-footed trail horse - actually tests any questionable footing before committing to it. I ponied my young horse from his back for a year, have used him to babysit many other nervous horses........etc. etc. He is still sound and active - hacks several times a week and loves a gallop and jumping logs and small creeks. His other job is keeping my thoroughbred hunter calm and relaxed. What else can I say? He's one in a million and when the time comes there is a place under the trees for him along with my old mare (she was 26) and my lovely young gelding whose heart failed when he was only 6. I love my hoses and have only once ever sold one. And I know how blessed I am to be able to say that. And BTW, his registered name is Zanhar. "

Thank YOU to all of you who are making your horses thankful they own you today!

And for those of you with equestrian related businesses, if you are interested in having the top banner on for the first month of its launch, you can bid on it - I have it up on Ebay. 10% of the proceeds will also go to Save A Forgotten Equine, which I've mentioned here many times before - a reputable and responsible Seattle area all-breed rescue. So happy bidding and I can't wait to see who the winner is!

To my U.S. readers - Happy Thanksgiving! To my non-U.S. readers - hey, it's almost Friday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So which one is the ass?

Today we have a guest blog from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous. I'm glad to get this because I've been asked for a blog about mules and my mule knowledge is limited to the following incident:

In the 80's I was at a horse auction where I was grooming and tacking up for a dealer. I was sent back to get the next one - a 16 hand mule mare. When I tried to put the split ear bridle on the mule, the mule resisted, raising and throwing her head. Now, I was a tough little shit and not about to give up - that bridle was going on that mule. I climbed partway up a panel and got the one ear through and then attempted to put the other ear through the loop side. I wouldn't let go and the mule wanted no part, so she simple raised her head, knocked me off the panel and started swinging me from side to side in the air as I wrestled with her ear. By now, people were starting to notice. I got the bridle on the mule, saddled her and attempted to drag her to the auction ring. She wanted NO part of that. She planted herself, ala "Eeyore" as I dragged from side to side, trying desperately to get her a few more inches forward with every step.

By now a crowd of old dealer types had gathered around and were showing their appreciation for the show by making cracks like "you havin' a little trouble with your ass?" and "that's a mighty big ass ya got there!" Oh yeah.

So that is the sum total of my experience with mules and it pretty much convinced me I did not ever want to do that again!

And now for our guest blog...

Recently I was up during the wee morning hours and couldn’t sleep. Flipping through the channels and not finding anything on, I decided to punish myself and see what was on RFD, or as many of us here know it- the Really Fucking Dumb channel.

They have a program called Rural Heritage. It is usually interesting and insightful as far as farming techniques, harnessing and using draft horses, mules, oxen and different types of farming machinery. Out of curiosity I pressed the “Info” button to see what the episode would be about. “Surcingling your mule.” No info as to who was featured or anything else.

I decided this could be interesting and set it to auto tune. I am always curious as to what other people do with their animals and how they go about training them for their endeavor of choice. I know what a surcingle is, and figured surcingling a mule might be no more than long lining or ground driving, just that someone had decided to call it something different in an attempt to make money off of it. Who knows, but I was about to find out.

When the program finally came on, amid all the damn commercials, it showed a little man wearing a helmet and a mule tacked up with a work type, collared harness on. They didn’t show any close enough face shots of the ‘trainer’ so I didn’t recognize him, but wondered if it was the local guy who does clinics and has his own set of videos and even some tack.
All I can say is this half hour was a train wreck from the get go, and no more than an accident waiting to happen!

What is it our Fearless Leader of the Fugs, always says? Those of us who know, please say it with me now: “When you claim to be a professional, you are automatically held to a higher standard.” You will be scrutinized for your actions more harshly than others. You cannot claim ignorance and there are no free passes. You should know inside and out, backwards, forwards and in your sleep, what you are doing since most likely - You are teaching others.

I will start with the tack. This is the first thing I noticed, well, because I just DO. It did NOT fit. At least not any of the important parts, like say the collar and the bridle. The collar was too big and looked as if it would slip right off over the mules head, should the mule decide to put its head down to grab a bite to eat, rather than work.

The bridle was an issue in and of itself. It was an open bridle, meaning there were no blinkers, blinders or however you wish to refer to them. It had a browband, which on the right side was so high up, it was actually behind the mules ear, rather than resting just below it where it should be. The left side where the bridle adjusted, seemed to be in the very last holes, taken up to the point it could not be adjusted any more without a good leather punch. The rest of the straps, instead of being put through a keeper and tucked in neatly, were loose and flopping around to smack the mule in the side of the face at any given time. That should make the mule happy. NOT!

The bit? Why it was a double, twisted wire, loose ring snaffle. Yep, I know just how we all feel about those… Did I mention this was a young mule that the trainer claimed was just starting out? He was ‘surcingling’ the mule to ready him/her for driving. Yeah, we all start our young ones out with harsh bits and poorly fitted tack. That will keep things positive and make them want to work for and with us!

This next part really bothered me. The trainer showed he had actually ‘adjusted’ the bridle to let the bit hang down in the mules’ mouth to where it damn near touched the incisors. He went as far as opening the mules’ mouth for a close up so everyone could see. The reasoning was so the mule would pick up and carry the bit where s/he was comfortable with it. To me it seemed more like he was making excuses for the bit being positioned as it was, since the bridle didn’t fit and he was too lazy to get a different one or use a hole punch and adjust it properly.

Now don’t get me wrong. After checking the mouth for ‘fixable issues’ stemming from dental work, lack of or pain, checking the mouthpiece of the bit for balance, sharp places, fit-width & thickness, I have used this method on horses who excessively play with the bit. Done properly it will effectively teach them to pick it up and carry it quietly. BUT, the bit is never left to hang that low in the mouth, and they are not working with it in that position. When it’s time to work, the bit is adjusted back up to almost where it should be. It may be left a hole or two ‘long’ so they continue to pick it up and carry it quietly, but it should not be ‘long’ enough (or too high) to where it comes into contact with their teeth. *If everything was checked before the horse began to even wear a bridle and all is adjusted properly, rarely will you have these issues to begin with.*

The reins were tied to the breeching or britchin’ strap to keep them up and out of the way. Then there was the martingale. It looked like a backwoods version of a German martingale, with the exception of any room for adjustment. It was a thin piece of rope, attached to the reins where a hole had been punched in the reins and tied in a knot. From there it ran through the bit rings (like draw reins) and attached somewhere under the collar on the harness.

The mule also had a neck rope on like a noose, which the ‘trainer’ proceeded to lead the mule around with. He stated as long as the mules’ head was carried low it was balanced and pushing off the rear end. Mkay? Not necessarily, but if you say so…

As he was leading the mule around, the trainer then shared this next brilliant piece of knowledge. “You need to do this with your mule for 3 or 4 hours.”

Excuse me? WHAT? In my experience with mules, once they ‘get it’, they’ve got it for life. No need to repeat anything for 3 or 4 hours unless your intent is to really piss them off. This will bring retaliation on the mule's part. Usually painful to the human in the form of a kick or bite, and could very well also go into the ‘got it for life’ file in their brain and essentially ruin them. Way to go Asshat!

A good mule is a good mule, but a bad mule or a mule with a bad attitude, is a nightmare with hooves and teeth.

I don’t know how I got through the rest of the program, but I did and managed to catch at the end, that the ‘trainer’ was in fact the local guy, Steve Edwards. This was from one of his mule training videos.

I know of Steve and have met him a few times. I feel bad that this was what he had/has to offer as far as mule training. From what I had just seen, I could not help but feel sorry for him. He could have done so much better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The only range you're anywhere near is an Amana!

Click to see it larger. 3-in-one mare packages - foals at side, bred back, no papers, for $100. And these are "range horses" so don't expect any training!

Amy, you and your redneck dumbshit husband/whatever need to be tied to chairs in a slaughterhouse and made to watch all day. That's all I can say. I just don't know how to educate people like you, or make you stop. Why are they not registered, if they are full QH? You clearly own all the parents here. Are you too dumb to fill out the paperwork, or just too poor - which is it? There ARE NO HOMES for horses like these! NO ONE WANTS THEM! If they are damn lucky, some horrified person with a good heart will take a few off your hands but I won't bet on it.

The horse market DID NOT JUST GET THIS WAY. I am so tired of people saying this happened because we outlawed slaughter. Here's the only difference:

SLAUGHTER LEGAL: Horse auctions for $200 for meat.
SLAUGHTER ILLEGAL: Horse auctions for $100 for meat because kill buyer has to factor in transport cost.

THAT IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE. PERIOD. I go to the auctions regularly and I know. Prices have been very low for horses like these for at least 5 years. This did not just suddenly happen like a hurricane. There is no way that if you did a minimal amount of research, you would not know that you were producing a virtually valueless product.

Poor little wormy looking little fillies...

How cool is this? I blogged about Billy, the ex-ranch horse who is now an AQHA show superstar, and one of my readers decided it was a sign that her plan to rescue another old ranch horse named Billy was meant to be! And so...she did and he is learning to live in luxury for probably the first time in his whole life! I love this story. I tried to do the same - the last time I went trail riding, 10 years ago in Alaska, I tried to buy the horse they put me on. They wouldn't sell. I just hate seeing horses live like that...skinny, minimal care, different moron tourists every day. It's a horse, not a freakin' golf shouldn't have to live like that. Just a pet peeve of mine.

Gross update of the week: Doug Spink was caught trying to adopt a dog from a rescue in Washington state recently. YUCK! The woman did her research, thank God, and discovered his history. Can't the Real Doll folks just make Doug a PRETEND horse and dog for his amusement? Really, Doug, you can do that and it's legal...maybe you should try. WE ALL KNOW WHO YOU ARE AT THIS POINT!

For you PNW folks, there is going to be a fundraiser for Hope for Horses and Cowgirl Spirit on December 6th. Click here for the details.

For those of you taking off early for the long weekend here in the U.S....have a great one!

Monday, November 24, 2008

But they're skinny because I'm a rescuer!

How often do we hear this defense from some woman (I'm not being sexist, it always IS a woman) with a yard full of emaciated horses? Dean Solomon used it with great success when Animal Control paid her calls in the past, and even trained animal control officers fell for it. She claimed skinny horses had just come from the auction, and was only exposed when her former allies confirmed that she'd had them for months, sometimes years.

So this is a good topic to address. Let's talk about how to evaluate that claim for accuracy. Today I have in my in-box a collection of pictures taken on the property of a so-called rescuer in Crescent City, California. Her neighbors have been doing their best to get something done to no avail. She uses the "rescue" excuse and animal control walks away whistling and twiddling their thumbs.

Now, does a rescue sometimes have a horse that looks like this? Absolutely! Early this year, SAFE had a whole bunch thanks to the Jean Elledge seizure. So how do you evaluate?

Question #1: How long has the animal been in the care of the rescue? Barring physical conditions that prevent weight gain (rare), I will tell you that it does not normally take more than 3-4 months to return an emaciated horse to normal weight. It just doesn't. Here's what you do: You get them dewormed (possibly a power pack depending on your vet's recommendation). You do the teeth as soon as the vet says they are strong enough. You feed hay pellet mush until you can do that - they don't need any teeth for that and they can eat it with a mouthful of hooks and ulcers. Also, I have never seen a horse have "refeeding" problems when fed with orchard grass pellet mush...not once. You can stuff 'em full of it like they're at the all you can eat buffet, very safely. So it's a great way to go. If it's an OTTB or rescue from a show barn/competition barn situation, I'd treat for ulcers immediately. Cimetidine is cheap and won't hurt them a bit if they don't have the problem. Probiotics always help them get the most out of their feed and again, they're cheap. I would say the cost of doing these basics for a starved horse you are refeeding is approximately $250 for the month without the tooth floating and the floating is going to run you between $85 - $400 depending on where you live. Again, rescue is not the cheapest hobby...but if you do the things I just detailed, 95% of horses who come in with a BCS of 2 or 3 are going to look normal in three months. Thinner than that may take a little longer but I've seen amazing things. I know I've posted this before but I wanted to again...the dates are accurate and the horse is late 20's. He has maintained that weight ever since.

Question #2: What is the rescue doing to address the condition? I already detailed what I do, above. When SAFE had the Elledge horses, they were all blanketed to keep them warm - a warm horse regains weight more easily. The skinny bay in front of the house in the picture above has clearly been out in the rain - you can see it in his coat. He is standing in mud and I have more pictures that show there is no shelter from the elements in that pen. You all know what I think about the fence job. Nothing about that picture says "rescue being rehabbed." It screams "save me from the hoarder!" If that horse has had his teeth floated since she acquired him, I'll eat the vet bill...

Question #3: Does the rescue have safe and clean facilities suitable for a horse to rehab at? Your typical rescue horse has a lower resistance to illnesses and things like skin conditions, so keeping them clean, dry and out of the mud is very important. And like any horse, they should have shelter and safe fence that they are unlikely to hurt themselves on. This ain't it...
(You know, I get e-mail sometimes that says I am picking on poor people. No. I am picking on LAZY people. I am not rich but if I bought/leased a property with that mess out there, I'd get off my damn butt and rip out that wire and buy some hot tape and t-post caps. It is cash cheap and labor intensive, but it is labor that a small 5'3 woman can easily do by herself. The only two options are not: shitty fence OR vinyl 3-board. We were just subdividing a pasture yesterday at a place where I lease pasture for some of my materials cost was a whopping $130. There is NO EXCUSE to put out a horse on fence like that shown in these pictures.)

Question #4: How do the horses look overall? Sure, if there are one or two skinny ones, they may be new. Are they out with a herd? A good rescue does not throw the BCS 2 horse out with the herd. They keep him separate or with another horse in his same condition until he is normal weight and able to defend himself and get his fair share of the feed. This horse has been in the care of the so-called rescue for years. He's not new.

Question #5: Has the vet been called if the horse fails to show improvement within a few weeks? Like I said, normally they start to pick up pretty fast. This is true whether they are six months old or thirty years old. It doesn't actually matter. An otherwise healthy horse will noticeably begin to regain weight within the first 2-3 weeks, if not even faster. When they don't, even though you are pumping them full of mush, something is wrong. A friend of mine rescued an old Secretariat daughter a few months ago. She did everything right with this mare. I don't think a drop of rain ever touched her and the hot mush was ever present. The mare gained back a little weight but not as much as she should have. Further veterinary evaluation disclosed congestive heart failure. You can't fix that, and when the mare lost her appetite completely, they put her to sleep. Sometimes in rescue, you will encounter a horse with a bad heart or a horse with something like cancer - a real reason why they are as skinny as they are - but you can't find that out without the vet and too many of these horses simply sit and suffer 'til they die.

The "it's skinny because it's a rescue" excuse works on a LOT of people. It works GREAT on law enforcement if they're not horsepeople. It's up to us, the horsepeople, to educate about when a rescue horse would be skinny, what it takes to change that, what care should be expected and what time frame is normal for improvement. Now, the problem with the situation shown today is that apparently Suzy Hoarder is friends with the one animal control officer in the area and he is allegedly protecting her. Who knows if that's true but the neighbors have already gone over his head to the Del Norte County Sheriff to a Detective Dave Barber who we hope is doing something about it, but I would also recommend contacting the local media to ensure that this matter is not swept under the rug. Richard Wiens is the editor of The Triplicate, the local paper - so I recommend you ask him where we're at with exposing the situation at Amy Boatman's place. Here's his e-mail! Ask him why they're busy doing stories about Amy buying a fucking zebra while horses at starving back at her house. C'mon, enough with the sunshine-and-butterflies journalism...

P.S. If you are the same Amy Boatman spending your time writing X rated fanfiction on the Internet, LOG OFF AND FEED YOUR DAMN HORSES AND FIX YOUR SHITTY FENCE.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yellow and white and built like a fright!

TGIF! Well, somebody sent me yet another breeder who has missed the Clue Bus. This Canadian breeder brags that they "have grade horses and also regaseterd paints." Oooookay. And all breeding together, from the looks of their web site!

"Buster is a over paint stud he was born in january 08 look for him in THE FOR SALE PAGE!!"

From the sale page:

"This little guy was born in january 08 his father was a black and white Reg paint stud and his mother is a grade paint/quater horse, he should be around 15hhs halter broke very pretty $300 or best offer"

Yay! $300! When you are getting $300 for a colored foal, do you THINK maybe it should occur to you that there's no market for fugly spotted grade horses? And that's what they're asking. You know they will take less.

These people have twenty three broodmares and four stallions, including this thick necked critter with a snarly look on his face.

But hey, he's palomino and white so we have to breed, breed, breed him!

*sigh* Who are these people? We know they have internet access - they have a web site. Don't they spend any time talking to other horsepeople and learning anything from it? I'm just continually baffled at people who keep producing something that isn't going to sell, at least not for enough to pay for the cost of feeding and caring for the mare for a year.

I've said this before, but please put urgent information in the comments. I am just now reading my e-mail from June. I am that far behind and it's unlikely to change. Also, no point sending Craigslist or DreamHorse links - they'll be gone by the time I get to them. Screen cap, please.

Today's Friday Featured rescue is another Thoroughbred mare up here in the PNW (really, I'll do something different next week!) This is Bold Engagement and she won $104,484 on the track and an additional $6,330 on the turf. She sold for $20,000 just two years ago at Keeneland. She is only 12 years old and 16 hands so plenty of good years left in this one - and interestingly, she was not raced until age four and does appear sound. Needs a few pounds, as you can see. The rescuer would just like the cost of bailing her out of her bad situation reimbursed - $200. No restriction on breeding but we do not know if she is breeding sound or not and I do not have her production record (maybe someone can post it if you can access it?) If you are interested, please e-mail Stephanie. This mare is just east of Seattle, WA.
Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All right, I'm asking - who else is going to do this?

NorCal Equine Rescue held their euthanasia clinic yesterday. Here is a report.

The goal was to provide low cost euthanasia for horses who were appropriate for euthanasia (i.e. had health conditions warranting it) and whose owners simply did not have the resources to make it happen. As I observed before, I think this was a great idea. I want to see horses like these have a calm, drugged-out passing and not experience a double decker ride or years of suffering with a painful condition.

So now I'm going to ask: If you have a rescue, are you going to do something like this? Are you doing it already? If you've done it already, how has it worked?

If I had a formal rescue and were going to offer it, I'd do like Los Angeles Animal Control does and request proof of low income. They offer free spay/neuter if your income is under $40,000 and I think that's a pretty fair guideline for this, too. If you make less than that, the $500 or so for euth/disposal is probably a pretty good whack to your monthly income and while I know we would all like to argue that people who can't afford euth/disposal shouldn't necessarily have horses in the first place, the reality is that they do and we'd better deal with it. There are plenty of horses out there in hideous condition and they're not all able to be rehabbed.

People scream that slaughter is needed because they simply don't know what we will do with horses like the ones NorCal put to sleep. The crippled ones, the ones suffering from some chronic condition, the ones that are very old and have no one willing to care for them. Yes, it would be nice if everybody was like the people on this blog who have told their tales of putting a much loved family horse to sleep and never mentioning the expense, but we can't snap our fingers and make everybody like that. (As was mentioned in the comments yesterday about the whole topic of more humane farming - for many people, cost is the ONLY factor, and you cannot change that mindset completely.) If we are going to be anti-slaughter - and you all know that I am - we must provide a viable alternative and I applaud NorCal for doing that.

So who's next?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Updates on previous blogs...

Axel Hinz-Schleuter and Dale Huber got sentenced. Not nearly harshly enough...I am shocked to hear they only got charged on one count. WTF. You folks in Canada having some counting difficulties?

(Original blog here)

"The judge issued an order banning Hinz-Schleuter from owning horses for 50 years and Huber for 10. But the order does allow the men to own a maximum of 40 animals, excluding horses and poultry, and up to 80 fowl, according to David Dear, spokesperson for Alberta Justice."

Thirty dead horses and they can still have FORTY other animals and EIGHTY fowl? And the max they can get is a $20K fine? Sorry, Canada, but this time you are way behind the U.S. You better start calling your lawmakers and screaming - this needs to change.

Christine Wels went on trial yesterday. I think caning is in order.

These horses were seized by the Stevens County Sheriff's Department. They are available for adoption. I am sorry to say that one did not survive. You can contact the Sheriff's department for more information about adoption by contacting Detective Taylor at 1-800-572-0947. I still don't have a lot of details but I think they are TB's. This is near Spokane, Washington. Kudos to the Sheriff's Department for stepping in and taking action!

Now, remember those two asshats who nearly starved the horses to death on the pack trip? I hear the prosecutor is having some problems growing a spine and needs to hear from the public that giving these guys a wrist-slap will not be tolerated.

John Bell, Prosecutor
Ravalli County Attorney's Office
205 Bedford Street , Ste C
Hamilton , MT 59840

More info on how to help. They do need donations. They are in the wilds of Montana and are not being funded. Here is an update from them about how the horses are doing. Really nice AFTER picture here of that gelding that none of us could believe survived! Bitterroot Humane, you guys ROCK!

I MUST re-publish this comment from ASSHAT criminal defense attorney Matthew Stevenson: "When questioned why the Heydons had refused to pay for care of the horses, after the judge had asked if they wished to do so, Stevenson replied, “They wanted to take the horses with them and find the appropriate people to care for them. One or two of the horses were fine. Anyone will get a little on the thin side after spending two months in the Wilderness. I’m sure Lewis and Clark’s animals didn’t look very good."

THAT WAS OVER TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, YOU MORON! Slavery was legal TOO! What kind of a ridiculous, moronic argument is that? What a loser... OK everybody, please write and put some pressure on this prosecutor to wake up, look at the calendar, and give these jerks some JAIL TIME!

Remember the toughest little mare in the world? Well, Tony Meyers pled not guilty at his arraignment on September 5th and the case is proceeding. I would like some more information though - these things get quietly plea-bargained out ALL too often. Is there anybody local in Louisiana who can keep an eye on this case for us? We'd all like to know if there's a critical time to write letters.

Yes, the guy who shot the Arabian and left him wandering in the woods did get caught. The camp denies any involvement. It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out. Bet you all a frappucino that the guy's defense is that the camp told him to do it!

Coming soon...yet more on CBER. It never ends...even after posting this and this and this and this, we have still more stories!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Money doesn't fix everything!

Someone just sent me this article and I am sitting here rolling my eyes.

A Dramatic Rescue For Doomed Wild Horses of the West

*sigh* OK, so you buy 30,000 mustangs. Who is going to administer their care? Where are you going to even put them? How fast are you going to get a bunch of unhandled stallions gelded - or are you, oops, going to have 40,000 mustangs next year? And ultimately, I hope you plan to support them for life and that your fortunes don't change, because if there were homes for 30,000 mustangs, they would already be in them.

Do you ever read Craigslist? There aren't enough homes for broke, sensible registered horses right now, much less something that will jump out the open part at the top of the stock trailer door to get away from a human being.

Don't get me wrong. I'm very grateful for what these people did for animals during Katrina. I'm thrilled if someone this wealthy wants to help horses. I just have to question, what IS the plan? Right now it sounds a lot like the ebay auction was ending in 10 seconds and she couldn't help but click.

I personally think euthanasia was a good plan (far preferable to handing them out willy-nilly to people who wind up posting stuff on Horsetopia like "we got this BLM mare and now we can't catch her, what do we do?") and my only question is, when is the government going to extend that kindness to all of the tame horses that wind up on double-deckers bound for Canada and Mexico? Hey, if the mustang proponents don't want all of those government-funded euth services, give them to the rescues already!

Really, all this is about is more inability to deal with death. If 30,000 mustangs starve to death on the range in the winter, hey, that's ok because that's nature. Putting them to sleep which takes seconds and doesn't involve suffering, oooooooh nooooooooo, that's eeeeevil. I just wish I could put something in the water that promotes logical thinking...

Monday, November 17, 2008

A picture says a thousand words...

(Click to see it larger)

Really...what more can I add? $1500, not-broke-to-do-anything-but-breed-APHA-stallion. Sagging barbed wire fence that the horses are reaching through to eat (did they actually feed them on the other side of the fence? Amazing...) Here's the description:

"This guy is gentle but has not been messed with since last summer. Now he does not want to be caught. I am willing to take offers. His DNA has been done. Grandson of BLUE MAX"

$1500 for an unbroke, hony-sized so-not-breeding-quality stallion you're probably going to have to rope to catch. Clearly someone did not get the memo about the state of the horse market! Hey, anybody want to bet those are mares he is turned out with? Next year, he will be for sale for $500...but advertised as a "proven" sire!

And this, boys and girls, is why we still have people arguing we need slaughter. If we'd just stop creating these useless horses, we wouldn't have a useless horse problem. Again, it's not brain surgery: breed good quality and avoid genetic problems via testing wherever possible, train it appropriate to its age, keep it up to date on shots, deworming and feet, and if you intend to keep it as breeding stock, promote it whether that is via horseshows or another competitive event in which it proves itself to be better than most of its peers. If everybody did that, slaughter wouldn't be an issue because there would hardly be any horses cheap enough for that to be their fate.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Finding a little human decency...

Here's a great story for this Friday!

"There was something about the doleful animal standing at death's door that attracted Rebecca's attention, something that caught her horse lover's eye.

She returned home and told husband Shannon: "I can't get this mare out of my head. She's so lovely, so quiet, so nice to ride. We have to save her. I've got a feeling there's something good about her pedigree."

The mare's name was Decency and not only was she a very well-bred mare, but after her rescue, her half brother won the Melbourne Cup. Needless to say her rescuers are thrilled and have retained her for a broodmare. The inset picture is her 2008 filly.

You know, I've had this happen. You see some skinny rescue horse waiting for the killer's truck and it just hits you...despite the condition...and you go, hmmm, that one got lost...that's an expensive/well bred horse - and it turns out you are right.

So let's talk about that. Has this happened to you? What's the most amazing find you've discovered at a dealer's, at an auction, in bad circumstances? Did you have one that just looked at you and said "I'm a celebrity - get me out of here!" Tell your tales!

Today's Friday Featured Rescue is this 4 year old OTTB mare. She came off the track a few months ago with a suspensory injury and is still a little off on it, but has only been rested. She needs a home immediately and there is no problem with having your vet examine her prior to taking her on. This mare is well bred and I believe she is 17 hands or close to it. Seattle Slew/Secretariat/Green Dancer/Mr. Prospector lines. She is in the Seattle area - e-mail me if you'd like to meet her!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love means...calling the goddamn farrier, you cheapskates!

Click to see the full size version. This is from the latest "Glamour" magazine.

While I like fashion as much as the next girl, despite a horse-rescuing-addiction that has limited my ability to actually possess any of it, I typically sneer at mags like this in general because they're full of smiling girls wearing dead animals that died in agony with their leg in a trap. Not hot, as Paris Hilton would say. But hey, if the pain of fifty poor little innocent foxes makes you feel better about yourself, well, I'll let karma deal with you.

But here we have a live animal being used as a prop, even though it is clear those feet haven't seen the farrier in six months or more. You know, do you REALLY need to be a horseperson to look at those feet and determine what you are seeing is wrong?

Let's do an experiment. Those of you with non horsey significant others, show the (enlarged) version of the pic to them and ask them if they see something wrong with that horse. I'm going to predict that 75% or more pick up on the feet. Post your results.

It's one thing for Glamour to promote crimes against fashion (those pants...dude...seriously...) and another for them to carelessly publish a picture of a neglected animal. Those hooves would result in an order from animal control to correct the situation in my neck of the woods. They're not, like, a little long. I'm not sure if this picture was taken recently or if it's been republished from the 1970s but, either way, someone at Glamour should have caught this before it hit the stands.

If you'd like to educate them about proper hoof care and how inappropriate this picture is, here is their e-mail.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OK, is this an internet hoax or what?

Everybody's sending me this site full of horse abuse.

My instincts say: Internet Hoax. They say "Bonsai Kitten for Horses."

If it is for real, the person behind it is the world's biggest moron as he doesn't have a private registration. The domain is registered to:

Ray Ellis
po box 111
Stonewall, Manitoba
roc2z0 CA

The youtube where all the videos are hosted claims to be "Craig" in the U.S. However, interestingly, all of the less recent videos are in Spanish and most of the recent videos appear to be set in Mexico or some other Hispanic country.

I know I'm going to get about 600 more e-mails about this so if someone has the scoop on it, please share. I'm pretty sure it's some teenager with an IQ of about 82 trying to get the goat of all of the horsepeople on the web, but for all I know, some Manitoban is going to show up with a bunch of local news links showing Ray Ellis is an infamous horse abuser.

'Tis the season to start breaking out, er...DOWN the yearlings!

It's fall and if you're around any kind of a stock breed barn that shows horses in the 2 year old futurities, you've probably seen what I have - 17, 18, 19 month old horses already under saddle. There's a lot of money in those 2 year old futurities, and stallion owners are hot to "make a name for" their stud by getting his firstborns out there winning. So, despite the fact that every vet out there who isn't in the pocket of some big-money AQHA/APHA/ApHC breeder agrees that riding yearlings is just plain stupid, that their joints and spine aren't ready to handle carrying a rider and collecting themselves, right now thousands of yearlings are being ridden.

This doesn't even take into account the racing industry, also interested in winning money on those 2 year old races. Tons of little Thoroughbreds - butt high, narrow, gawky and ridiculous looking - are going for their first gallops even as we speak. Plenty break down. They break down going for those first gallops. They break down in training. They break down in their first or second start at age two. They are quietly vanned off the track, big screens put up to shield spectators from seeing the carnage. The ones that break down at the show horse barns are never seen. They are hidden in a back stall until they can be shipped to an auction or picked up by the local dealer. Curious boarders and other owners are told the horse was sold. Well, I guess it's not a total lie...

And then we just have the sea of idiots that don't realize this is wrong.

You longtime readers know that I'm 100% opposed to working anything under 3 years old. Hey, if you want to get on your 2.5 year old and go for a walk around the arena, I won't think you're Satan. If you do the same on your 1.5 year old or you're out loping that 2.5 year old for a half hour and doing sliding stops - yeah, I think you're a jerk, a jerk who's going to contribute heavily to that horse's future unsoundnesses. Show me a horse campaigned for the 2 year old futurities when it's 10 years old and if it isn't full of arthritis (sometimes in conjunction with navicular), I'll eat my hunt cap. The damage is so consistent and it's almost always there. It truly takes a horse with legs of steel to come out of this program ready and able to work for another 20 years.

Unfortunately, a lot of breeders don't care. The goal is to win the money and then retire them to breed more. We're not selecting for long-term soundness here. Geldings? Well, they're totally disposable. Break 'em down and break out some new ones.

(Click to see a larger version of the ad). Here we go - classic. Riding a yearling. Can't spell. No mention of its HYPP status even though HYPP positive horses are mentioned in its pedigree. No show record. And she wants $15 grand for it!

Here's another thing I see all the time: Young person, young horse. I'm not sure if they are trying to argue that this 10 year old child isn't heavy enough to do damage to this yearling gelding, or if this is just the usual "child as prop to sell horse" sale tactic, but either way it's wrong. You can see how downhill this little guy is. He has a lot of growing up to do before he's ready for riding! Unfortunately, his ad brags that he's already had 30 days of professional training under saddle - one would assume with someone a tad bit larger than the pictured rider. He's a March '07 baby and this ad was posted October '08. So he was started at the latest when he was only 18 months old.

Not everybody does this. I could name people in racing, cutting, reining, and pleasure that don't break out their horses until they're three. Those people exist and they are competing successfully. Many of them are making the point on their web sites and on their sale ads that they wait to break out their horses. When you see that - please consider patronizing those individuals as trainers, instructors and breeders. As with everything, your wallet is a good way to make a point.

By the way, while we're on the topic of selling young stock - I keep hearing a lot of discussion online about what horses are worth in this market. Well, presentation isn't everything but it is A LOT. Although this is a casual picture, taken in the stall, this gelding is spotless and in gorgeous condition. He looks like a $7,000 horse. And look, the stall is clean. Trust me, these details matter if you want to catch the eye of the person who has $7,000 to spend on a horse. While I actually like a lot about this colt, he's hairy, he's a little thin, and he's unfit. He might be a $7,000 colt if he were in the same condition as gelding #1 but I just don't think they're going to get it looking like this. If you were selling a car, you'd make sure it was washed and waxed for pics, wouldn't you? The same goes for a horse.

P.S. Look at this great little bargain. I think he's adorable. $1000! Go get him, someone who wants a pleasure prospect. Just don't ride him til he's 3, okay?

P.P.S. Whoever bred this, STOP IT!

P.P.P.S. GELDING BUS! Look at the itsy bitsy feet and the super long pasterns in front...those feet might be the right size...on a mini!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In honor of Veteran's Day

I've posted this before, but there is a service available to link up deploying members of our military with people who can foster their pets until they return:

I think this is a great idea. If you are a single soldier, you may not have anyone to care for your animals while you are gone. Offering to foster is a wonderful thing to do - you're giving that person incredible peace of mind, and it can be a great lesson to teach your children both about helping others and helping animals. If you have space for an extra dog, cat, horse or whatever, check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Best of FHOTD: But we loooove our precious little deformed angels!

This one is definitely worthy of a repost. I want to say that, as with my other topics, I have absolutely nothing against the responsible breeding of quality miniature horses. My issue is with the pursuit of small size above all, leading to the production of crippled dwarf horses who live short, miserable lives. And I'm guessing there's just as much of this going on as there was a year ago when I first wrote this, so here we go again! Edited a bit to remove dead links.

I've been researching and contemplating this post for a while. First, because it's about a kind of horse I've had very little personal exposure to, and second, because it has already become obvious that the breeders of these horses are, on the whole, stark raving mad. But hey, we all need some excitement in the middle of our boring work weeks, so today I'm going to tackle this topic.

I am pretty sure Miniature Horses became hot in the 1970s. I say this because I was an inveterate reader of the "Arabian Horse World" at that point (my closet door was just covered in Arabian pictures, much to the dismay of my mother, who pointed out that scotch tape leaves marks and I was in big trouble), and I still remember the little ads in the back that caught my eye for miniature horses. Here was a horse that could live in your yard! And they could be potty trained! OMG! For a horse crazy kid stuck in suburbia, this sounded like the perfect compromise. It was like a dog that whinnied! Awesome! Unfortunately for me, my mom didn't think that was such a great idea, and probably correctly surmised that our picky neighbor Mr. Huebner, who had a shit fit if we let the lawn go 2 extra days, would not tolerate livestock grazing on said lawn. Ah well. I continued to read the AHW and get trucked out for my weekly visit to a riding academy that I now recognize, in retrospect, I was lucky to have survived. But I digress...

I grew up, acquired a normal sized horse, and forgot all about those little midget horses for many years. Oh, sure, every once in a while I boarded somewhere with a mini and had to go through the desensitizing process all over again. I remember one boarding barn in particular where there was a mini that got hooked up to a cart and driven around the premises. Invariably, that went something like this:

Normal Sized Horse: What the FUCK is that? *snort* *scramble* *snort some more*

Me: It's just a mini. It's not going to eat you. It's like a dog.

Normal Sized Horse: The hell you say! It's a teeny little DEMON with WHEELS! Get me out of here!

Me: Knock it off, you're 10 times its size, relax!

Normal Sized Horse: Tell you what, I'll throw you in the dirt and you can relax and look at the little shaggy DEMON with WHEELS while I get the hell out of here!

Mini Horse: *little wimpy whinny*

Normal Sized Horse: It's speaking in tongues! It's possessed by Satan! *wheel and bolt*

So at least until recently, I mainly thought of minis as an annoyance. I had only a vague realization that people actually bred them, and I had NO idea there were horseshows for them. In the past year, I have received an education that I'm not sure I wanted. You know, kind of like when you're a teenager and you find out what guys really want you to do with your mouth, and it's not kissing! Particularly since I've started this blog, I've gotten e-mails that go like this:

"My pet peeve is in regard to miniature breeders. It’s become an absolute abomination in the miniature horse community that the only goal seems to be to produce more of them regardless of their futures or quality. It seems that every fool with two intact horses of each sex consider themselves a breeder these days an almost EVERYONE who has minis breeds them or plans to breed eventually. Doesn’t matter how horrendous the fault, dwarfism, fixated patellas, severe tendon laxity, red bag births--hey no matter, because after all you don’ t ride 'em. IDIOTS! Doesn’t matter that minis have the highest mortality rate for foaling, probably due to the low IQ of their breeders, and other brood-related complications because if they die, oh well they will just get another set of culls and breed some more."

"I think the whole Miniature Horse thing is strictly crap! I believe they're all just selectively bred-down ponies and the smaller they get, the more deformed they seem to come out. The dwarf gene is compounded, or something. Anyway, I've argued with people that they're just very small ponies, but those same people absolutely argue that they're horses, not ponies."

"I would love to see a FHOTD on miniature horses. These people are breeding just to breed and are producing some really unfortunate looking things. Then there are the ones that look like they have acrodysplasia! These poor dwarfs have some really sad health issues especially with their feet and yet the breeders do it on purpose!"

"Miniature horses are a dime a dozen and yet because Sassy has really pretty pinto markings she should be bred to Bob’s stallion to produce yet another horse that will end up in Aunt Jessie’s back yard cause it was cute. But does Auntie know that these are actually horses and need feet trimming, teeth floating, grooming… Nope not a chance."

This last comment is totally on-target. Much like I did when I was, um, seven, people get confused and think this is like owning a DOG. It's not. A miniature horse still requires all of the same care a normal sized horse does, and if you think the prices are going to be downsized like the horses, you are in for a surprise. Check out the long feet on our mini at the left. The truly appalling part is that he is allegedly owned by a farrier. Um, do you ever trim your own horse's feet? Let's add to this the fact that this thing is the Humpback of Mini's got a topline like a donkey, not a horse. Conformation is conformation, regardless of size. I have seen minis with good conformation. This isn't one of them.

Here's another. I guess we are supposed to look at the baby and not look at Momma Mini's positively appalling looking feet, but they were the first thing that caught my eye.
I mean, other than the fact that I personally think this little creature looks like a mutant. To each their own...but the hoof care, that's not optional.

Poor li'l mutant though...he's being auctioned off on the Internet in something called the "last chance" auction. Eeek. Nothing like screening your potential homes!

Lest you think I am just prejudiced against minis, I have found some examples online of good looking ones with good conformation. It just seems like there is a VAST range of quality, and although you see that in every breed and type, I am pretty sure the facts that you can keep a mini damn near anywhere and they don't eat as much as the big horses contribute to the low end being so...damn...low.

Here's a nice one. If you blew him up to 15.2 or so and kept all the proportions the same, he'd be a usable, attractive and athletic horse. His feet are done and everything! I still don't quite get the appeal of the teacup horsies, but I suspect a repeat viewing of "Best in Show" might remind me.

Even the mini people admit the foaling death rate is thirty-six percent. And you don't think that maybe something is wrong here? Yes, this rate can be drastically reduced with vet care and in-hospital foaling, but check out the costs. How many BYB's of minis are going to pay for that? No, they'll just accept that "some of 'em don't make it."

Dozens of starved minis. You mean, they have to eat? We thought were like big stuffed animals!

Here's an ad for a mini "stud." Gotta love it.

Okay, Here's the deal. Serious inquiries only. I am lazy about paperwork and Pepper is not registered at this time. So you can have one gorgeous unpapered stud for $300, or for $1000, I will catch him up with his paperwork and you can have a fully registered handsome little stud. (FHOTD: Does anybody EVER geld these things?) He has an excellent pedagree behind him with several champions on both sides. His mother taught my then 2 year old daughter how to ride. The disposition is rock steady and calm. He's never been off our farm (except to experience trailering) in his life. I love this little guy, but now he's making eyes at his mother so if someone wants a vise-proof little stud who stand for vets and farriers, leads, loads, grooms like a pro, this is your guy! OMG YOU INCREDIBLE DUMBASS. This is a 3 year old (foaled 5/04, ad posted 8/07). HE HAS ALREADY BRED HIS MOTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEPARATED THEM. I really hope she has separated them and is just whining about having to keep two separate pastures. I hopeihopeihope...

Despite all of these lovely examples, to really get the flavor of the low end of the mini horse business, you absolutely must proceed to Youtube to see them in action.

Here is a video of a mini stallion attacking the family dog and the owner's foot. How KYOOT! But the best part is the owner's own description of this unfortunate creature. "He is almost two years old, now, but this is an older video. Any way, he's still a stallion so he's kinda rascally. Enjoy! P.S. He is deformed, he is a braciocephalic dwarf and was born without tendons in his hind legs. Thats why his feet look like that, not becuase we don't trim them. We have a ferrier come out every 3 weeks to trim them. He is not fat due to over feeding, but becuase his organs are too big for his frame making his belly distended." All I can say is, I sure hope they don't own any mares!

This is priceless - the mini at liberty class. You have to watch til the end to see him wing kicks at the handler who is trying to catch him. Disposition plus!

Jesus, it's just a sea of stupid when you start searching for mini horses!

It's the Redneck Olympics Bronc Riding! (but seriously, these people should be arrested for cruelty...)

OK, I saved the WORST for last. They have an entire web site devoted to minis that suffered from dwarfism and died young! I kid you not. And they have the nerve to say breeders shouldn't be embarrassed when this happens, that it's just "a fact of life" when breeding minis. Edited to add: Make sure you look at the second page of that site. That is where they hide the pictures of all the really deformed ones.

In closing, I must share this lovely poem from that site.

"Tiny Imperfections"

Giants in miniature, look like Arabs, Quarter Horses,Thoroughbreds, Drafts, yet through our quest for perfection comes Mother Natures unseen forces.

A mishappened foal is born, neck too short, toes pointing in odd directions,mare was almost lost, foal not much better. Her tongue hangs out, nearly lifeless, cannot stand.

Foal was born on a cold stormy night, she shivers getting wetter.I blanket and stall mare and foal, nothing else I can do 'till morning, I pray for the best.One week later, foal is better, a dwarf, but no less a blessed foal.We call her "Miracle", the name suits her, she's an Angel sent for a reason.

She was here, momma mare was proud, she stood by her no matter what.This is one heck of an end to mare watch and foaling season,her survival is our only care, her comfort is our goal.She is beautiful, the time we share will be special,in my eyes she is perfect, nowhere near a mutt.

~ Christina Golubski - Pierce City, MO

I will leave you all to comment on that. Just duck while you do it - I am sure we are about to be invaded by crazed mini horse breeders.

*sits back to enjoy the show*