Friday, December 5, 2008

Get a Job!

"This little girl is out of our Shetland stud and our 4 inch too tall appy mini mare. Both parents are rescues. We have her last years full sister and she is already taller than both mom and dad. They will be a great riding size. She is easy going, and curious. We are willing to hold till christmas with a deposit. We are selling this girl and her dad to help support our other rescued horses that we can not adopt out because of their special needs. And so we have rooom for others in need of care."

1. If "room" was an issue, why did you make more?

2. Why are you breeding unregistered, pony-ride-quality ponies? Here is Daddy. Let's just say we won't be seeing him at the Shetland Nationals. Do you think you could maybe buy him a tube of dewormer for Christmas? That wormy belly is making me think your comment about the foal being "out of" him could actually be true.

"Let this 23 yr young stud make beautiful ponies for you ( he has made 2 for us! ) or just tease your "big" mare in for your expensive stallions. He is registered although we do not have them because of his "rescue' status. He has been with us here for 2.5 years and we really like this boy. He will let the kids sit on him and will be very quiet, untill he is let around the girls! He is UTD on all vaccines and worming. His June filly is also available, bay and big...but may roan out.(last pic) We are letting go our babies and this guy so we can afford to continue to rescue others and keep those that we can not let go because of extreem amount of care. "

3. You seem to be able to spell, well, most of the time, and you are only missing a little punctuation. I will bet you can make money in a more efficient way than by selling grade ponies. Why don't you try it?

I have an oft-stated - and oft-misunderstood - opinion that it's fine for a breeder to also have a rescue operation. I know people who do this. You see a lot of it in purebred dog and cat rescue - the rescuers there usually are the breeders, who do breed-specific rescue for whatever they produce and see it as part of responsible breeding. I'm 100% in favor of that.

Likewise, if you are a reputable breeder and also have a rescue operation, I have no problem with that. Let's say you're a Thoroughbred breeder, and you do some rescue. Let's say a horse like Bold Engagement, the mare I put up a few Fridays ago, comes into your hands for $200 - a mare that won over six figures on the track, a beautiful mare who is still young and in good condition. If you want to keep her and breed her, I have no problem with that. I don't understand at all why falling into ONE bad home brands a horse with a scarlet R and results in any further breeding of that horse being "OMG you bred a rescue! That's awful!" Uh, no. Rescue status doesn't have anything to do with quality. If someone had intercepted Ferdinand before he got to the slaughterhouse, he'd have been a rescue. Should he have then be gelded? Look at the logic here.

I think people fall back on the "but you can't breed a rescue!" thing because they don't trust people to make the judgment call as to quality (I think that's why a lot of rescues forbid breeding. Even if it's a nice mare, they don't know that their adopter won't breed it to an Arafriesianwalkaloosa, and so it's easier to just say no breeding at all. I do understand that.) However, the real problem is, as always, the breeding of low quality horses to other low quality horses, resulting in the thousands of low quality horses clogging up the auctions every day. And that is what the breeder/rescue/whatever in today's ad is doing.

There is no horse shortage. There is also no pony shortage. There is an actual shortage of high quality, well broke horses and ponies but that doesn't have to do with breeding, that has to do with training. There are plenty of existing horses who could fill that shortage if they had the miles on them. Due to a number of factors - the cost of training and everybody's lack of time to ride among them - it's just harder than it's ever been to get horses to that "good broke" level that everybody wants to buy them at. That's why - here's an exception to the "fugly doesn't sell" rule - you can take a fugly, grade ranch gelding and haul him to Los Angeles and sell him for $5,000...because nobody can find anything really trail safe in Los Angeles. (Of course, once fugly ranch gelding is no longer spending his leisure time on 100 acres and is confined to a 10 x 15 pipe corral like everything else in Los Angeles, fugly ranch gelding will develop a buck and a spook and his dismayed owner will start attending NH clinics to find out why he doesn't love her anymore. It will never occur to her that he is having the same reaction she'd have if her employer started keeping her locked in a broom closet and only taken out to do her job. But I digress...)

Anyway, let me just put it this way. If you breed and rescue, then (after any necessary rehab period) there should be NO confusion as to which horses are which. A friend who does both told me a story recently where somebody who had come to look at rescues without making an appointment was out in her other paddock and had identified a $20,000 gelding as the one they would like to "rescue." Um, no. When they were shown the actual rescues and saw the difference in quality and what their $500 would actually get them, they left empty handed.

Sounds to me like a valuable bit of education was accomplished! Perhaps this person just got their eye educated. Maybe we should do clinics like that! Here on the left, is quality. Here on the right, is not. You will be tested after the break...

I found this quote on the web today and I couldn't agree more. It exactly represents my stand on slaughter:

"The only way to stop excessive breeding is to take away the financial incentive that slaughter provides and then to back rigid enforcement of existing cruelty laws. We cannot wish our way out of abuse and neglect any more than we can slaughter our way out of it."
~ John Holland"

That's exactly it. As long as there is a cash reward for irresponsible breeding, there will be irresponsible breeding. Here's a question for the pro-slaughter folks: Would you support re-opening the slaughterhouses, but making them government run and be forbidden from providing payment for a horse? Opening them only as places you can drop off an unwanted horse, paying for transport yourself, and receiving NO cash for that horse?

My guess is, if that's the way it was, the employees would be eating doughnuts all day and surfin' the web, because there wouldn't be a damn bit of work to do! Make no mistake, folks, slaughter is ALL about money. It isn't a "need" or a "necessity." It's an industry that is pissing and moaning because it's not making as much money as it used to.

And ultimately it all comes down to - horse ownership is a choice. Being in the horse industry in any capacity is a choice. If you find dealing with the horses you don't want anymore or that you have broken down to be too onerous or expensive, get into something else that doesn't involve living creatures. No one is forcing you to be a rancher/horse trainer/backyard breeder/riding instructor/race trainer. Sell cars - no one will care if you crush the ones that don't sell into a cube.

It's Friday so of course we have a Friday Featured Rescue! I know I've done a lot of Thoroughbreds local to me lately so here's something completely different. This nice QH mare is at Four Corners Equine Rescue in New Mexico. She is nine years old and Four Corners has put 45 days of professional training on her. Can I also comment...this is when it's appropriate to ask $1000 for an adoption fee...this is a young, sound horse that they put pro training into before adoption. When someone wants $1000 for a feedlot horse they know nothing about, I just want to smack 'em. This one - totally fair! I would much rather see a rescue put the training on, as was done here, and ask a higher fee. The training puts the horse on the right track for a very successful future! Anyway, I think this mare is super cute and I will bet she could do a lot of different things.

(Also check out FCER's main page, lower, we've been feeding them, sure we have. Good grief...)

Have a great weekend, everybody! It's sunny and nice here in the PNW so I'm going to hope it sticks. This is actually one of the better fall seasons we've had since I moved up here...the year I moved, it was like "get the ark" at this time of year!