Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's breeding season...time for another auction report!

Here's what it all comes down to: If you aren't certain that YOU can afford to keep it for a few years until the economy improves, don't breed it. I don't care what it is anymore - demand is down and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. Until we have a better idea what is going to happen, this really would be an excellent year to just skip breeding and focus on training and showing what you have. Not to mention that is the best way to drive up the price of your existing inventory!

So, another auction report - this one from Ohio.

Thought you might like to see a Feb. 21, 2009 auction report from OHIO. This area has alot of Amish so most of these horses are broke to ride and drive. You have the opportunity to hitch them before the sale and drive them on a track behind the sale barn. As Spring approaches and the Amish need draft horses to work the fields, their prices go up as noted in the above average prices for them right now. ( Back in the early 80's, you'd expect to pay $3500 for a grade gelding broke to work the fields and woods.)

It is interesting to see how few of these horses were actually bought by a kill buyer. It's easy to tell who is buying because the KBs horses are called out by number when they are sold and are not Coggins tested as they leave the ring. In talking to a KB before the sale, he said they don't want to buy anything under $850-$900 because, as he said it, it costs the same to kill a pony as it does a horse.

Pretty sad to expect to pay more for a set of new shoes than the value of some of these horses. All, but two were in excellent shape, and most very well broke to drive, and often to ride as well.

Cute overo pinto mini - $180
Pony, broke to ride & drive - $170
NICE (show quality) Quarter Pony mare, ridden in by small child - $270
Pony, rides & drives - $140
Welsh Pony, nor broke - $80
Quarter Horse/Pony cross, well broke - $50
Pony, white, very well broke - $110
Morgan, six months old, can be registered, very cute - $110 (sold to KB, very sad, but hope he bought to resell.)
Pony, B&W, rides and drives, 6, mare - $150
Reg. Halflinger mare, 11, in foal - $175
Halflinger mare, in foal , 12, broke to drive - $100
Halflinger mare, 3, broke to drive - $90
Halflinger mare, 1, $70
Halflinger, gelding, 2, broke to ride & drive - $130
Black and white, fat, mare, rides & drives - $350
Nice looking gray mustang - $70
Very nice mini donkey, in foal to mini horse - $160
Very nice Halflinger, gelding, 4, broke to ride & drive - $330
Halflinger, 5, broke to ride & drive - $250
Large Appy pony, 6 - $75
Small black, QH, 3 - $50 (sold to KB)
Nice black Morgan, 22 - $135
Fugly black mare, sold with saddle and bridle - $175
Chestnut, gelding, 15, broke to ride - $200 (sold to KB)
Belgian mare, 3, not broke - $600
Belgian mare, 10, not broke - $200
Belgian/Halflinger cross, 9, broke - $650
Belgian, geld, broke - $600
Reg. Belgian mare, broke - $250
Belgian, grade, 3, thin - $65 ( sold to KB)
Belgian, gelding, 5 broke - $100 ( sold to KB)
Percheron, lame, gelding, 5 - $100 (sold to KB)
Belgian mare, 5, broke - $270
Belgian, 10, broke, bad leg - $55 (sold to a home)
Reg. Belgian, mare, 2 - $125 (sold to KB)
VERY NICE Hackney cross, b&w, gelding, drive in by small child, - $150

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another one doesn't bite the dust!

So, the economy's in the toilet, half the people I know are out of work and life is scary. I think it's time for a happy ending story and fortunately I received one in my e-mail this week! Cheree decided to go to the New Holland auction this Monday and her story is not an unfamiliar one. I've edited a bit for length but the important parts of the story are there.

"My day was off to a rough start before I even left the house. I set my alarm for 5:00 am, but didn't sleep a wink, I was up all night tossing and turning, just dreading the day ahead of me.

I was looking for an Arab, luckily for my new guy, there were none in sight... I walked the aisles over and over again.... looking at all these poor horses... Some of them nice, some very neglected, too thin, cuts, scars, and a lot of draft horses....I saw a young filly, who was obviously scared to death with her eyes bugging out of her head, pull back on her tie, as something spooked her, she was pulling back and going crazy trying to break free, and some people came and took a cattle rod to her rear, and scared her even more, and she finally reared up and flipped over cutting her back up.

It wasn't long before the horse I was meant to save chose me to save him... His number was 388... he was a gorgeous 16 hand bay thoroughbred. He turned around as much as he could and starred at me, locked eyes, and held it for a good 30 seconds or more even, without reading too far into, his eyes most definitely were pleading for my help... He was so nice looking, I thought for sure he'd be out of my price range, he was the nicest horse at the auction, and the locked eye contact touched me, as all the other horses were either too busy biting and kicking each other or so scared the kept their faces buried in their hay... This one was special.

Five minutes later my friend Rita arrived and I took her to see him... and he was gone. Never being to New Holland before, I am very confused... "Where could he have gone?" "The auction didn't even start yet?!" Rita new where he had gone...he was in the kill pen... purchased privately by a meat buyer before the start of the auction.... We found the broker who brought him to the sale and proceeded to find out which dealer bought him and if he was in fact in the "pen."

We met much resistance to say the least. I had five good ol' boys at once telling me "You don't want that crazy son of a bitch, that horse will hurt you, he is CRAZY!" "I'm not gonna sell you that horse, he deserves to be slaughtered, that crazy son a bitch got loose in here, and it took five of us to catch him, we had to rope that crazy a$% horse, you do not want that horse!" I politely asked and stated "what makes him so crazy?" "If I got loose at a scary auction like this, I would run too and you could bet no one would catch me!" I then asked "is this crazy horse broke to ride?" They said "yes, he's a real nice riding horse, BUT he's crazy as sin, real head shy won't let you touch his face, if the wind blows he'll rip our arms off, again lady, YOU DO NOT WANT THIS HORSE!"

Rita and I then walked back to the kill pen, and there he was... with about 25 other horses, he was more scared than any horse I have ever seen in my life, he was bleeding slightly on the face by his left eye, and has been kicked in the cheek and was all puffy, his eyes were big and blood shot, he was so scared... I gave him a treat through the bars and he snatched it up... I walked away with Rita... we were very we were walking back to the barn... the reality set in and I realized, that I had given that horse his last treat... the last treat he'll ever have.... How can I let this happen to such a young, beautiful and so called "crazy" horse??? I couldn't.....

We headed back to the barn to find the meat dealer who had his fate sealed... Rita was coaching me along the way.... I was scared to death to have to go head to head with the meat dealer trying to make a deal for a horse I know he didn't give a damn about.... Rita stood back, and I approached the man pointed out to me.

He said "You're back? You still want that crazy horse, don't you?" I said "What do you want for him?" He said "How much you really want him?" I said "It's not about how much I want him, it's about what he' worth, how much?" He said "500.00" I said "NO WAY 350.00", he laughed in my face, and said AND I QUOTE "Shit no, I'll get more to slaughter that SOB, they'll give me at least 700.00 for a horse that size, then he raised his voice, his face got really grim and mean and said "NO DEAL" I looked over to Rita, she was holding up three fingers as to say "No more than THREE HUNDRED" and I agreed...I walked away.... (FHOTD in: Good for you, Cheree. We don't really help the horses when we let these guys take us for much more than the horse is worth)

Rita and I looked at some other horses, but I couldn't get it out of my mind... The locked eyes earlier, the scared eyes in the kill pen, did I really feed this horse his last treat? I decided I would approach him (the meat guy) again.... He had a smirk on his face this time, but was still very mean....I told Rita my plan was to poke holes in what the horse was worth, by asking it's age, and is he registered, etc.... I walked up to the meat buyer who is standing with the broker who sold him the horse... He laughed at me and said "back so soon?" I said "How old is this horse?" Broker said "5" I asked if he was registered broker said "should be, he got a lip tattoo, he's off the track, they don't race sh*# horses, although this one's crazy, and that's why he's here." The meat dealer then said "You got cash? I said "yes, but not 500.00", he said 400.00" I said "350.00" he said "375.00, let me see it" I took the money out and put it in his hand and he said to me "now look, you gotta go get the horse out of that pen, I ain’t goin' in there with all those other crazy horses, and I ain’t touching your crazy ass horse, and when this horse hurts you, I don't want you comin' up to me next auction cryin' about it, it's buy at your own risk, and you just did, ( as he shoves the money in his pocket) now go get your horse out of my pen, and good luck to you, cause you're gonna need it!" I then heard him mumble under his breath as I was walking away “crazy ass broad."

Rita and I went back numerous times to check on him to make sure some auction worked didn't throw him back in the pen, by accident... I eventually got so paranoid, I went back and made a sign that said "SOLD! DO NOT LOAD THIS HORSE" When I went back there to put the sign on his stall, I noticed three more kill pens, three total, all full.... There were such nice horses in the slaughter pen, some had brand new blankets on, new halters...I wonder if their owners knew what happened that day at the auction, and where they were headed... It was hard... to say the very least.

I slipped in my pen with the new "crazy" horse, that "won't let you touch his face" and in less than a minute, I was scratching inside his ears, took his halter off to adjust the size, put it BACK ON... The horse although still very stressed, was as good as could be, his eyes softened, he listened when I spoke to him, he let me rub his face, and feel the lump on his cheek where he was kicked, I brushed him with my hands, feed him treats.... Rita walked back and said "Yeah, he seems reallllllly crazy doesn't he?" We both laughed, he surely wasn't crazy....The kill buyers thought he was a "crazy SOB" because he escaped at the auction and was running for his life, he didn't want to be caught, because he has a will to live!! To me and Rita, that's a smart horse fighting for his life, not a dangerous one...

I confirmed my address with my shipper, and I waited until most of the kill pen horses were gone to make sure they didn't try to sneak mine back into the herd and take him! I headed home.....My new OTTB was about 45 minutes behind me... he arrived, safe and sound... The most defining moment for me was when he stepped off the trailer and was heading toward the barn, and I was leading him... he let out this huge **sigh** and his eyes became as soft as they possibly could... He relaxed almost instantly.

I led him back past the barn to the QT round pen, and put him in there, I went and got a blanket, tied him which the meat buyer and broker who sold him said COULD NOT BE DONE, "YOU CANNOT TIE THAT HORSE HE'LL TAKE DOWN THE BARN" I tied him to the fence of the round pen, and brushed him and put his blanket on, and he was wonderful, I put medicine on the cut by his eye, wonderful....He didn't even threaten to drag me, pull me, spook at being tied up.. He is very certainly NOT a crazy horse. I have named him "Nic" short for "Nic of time" because I literally got there just in the nick of time to save him….

The next day...We found out who Nic is, he is "Jazzercised"off the track with some small earnings of 9700.00 He had 20 lifetime starts, placed 2nd in one race and 3rd in another... and that's it... His lip tattoo reads G25589... He is home and doing well. He has bonded with me so fast (faster than any horse I have ever had) that I am certain he knows I have saved his life, he runs to me in the pasture and lets out a huge whinny at the sight of me. I love him to death, and will not be re-homing him. He is grateful and I am in love....

My angel Rita, tracked down the last recorded trainer/owner... Kelly Bailey, by
calling the Maryland breeders assossiation for racehorses. She said "I am looking for Kelly
Bailey, about a horse named Jazzercised. Kelly called back almost immediately, excited
to speak to Jazz's new owners and ready to tell them all about her baby, his history,
what he likes, what he does not like, etc... The news Rita was about to deliver would devastate
her, and it did....

Rita gave Kelly the short version of what happened at New Holland, Kelly was
heart broken, distraught and shocked, she couldn't believe it..... She told Rita she
would call me at 8pm on her break and she did, at 8:00 sharp last night my phone rang... There
was a very unhappy, and heartbroken woman on the other end of the line. She allowed me
to share Nic's story, I could hear her crying when I proceeded with details of the kill
pen, and seeing Nic AKA "Jazzie" in there.... She was horrified to save the least.. Kelly
is also a huge anti slaughter supporter.. she saves horses from the track herself... so how did
this happen???

Kelly worked for the man that bred Nic, he had the most beautiful racing ranch
in Maryland, 100 acres on the water of the Cheseapeake Bay, she raised/trained
Nic from a baby, the man, who was a multimillionaire passed away, and had a huge herd
disposal, the horses sold for major bucks... except Nic, no one wanted him because he was
a 3 year old gelding, not yet started on the track... so she took him home to her
ranch... Nic didn't have the mind of a racehorse, she said he was too people friendly and too sweet, and not at all competitive... she decided though, that Nic was too nice of a horse with
too much potential to be a pasture pet, so she took him to a prestigious Dressage farm,
who are known for getting Thoroughbreds, not cut out for racing from the track, training
them dressage and selling them to fancy, big money homes. She took Nic to this woman,
and told her to try him for a few days... the woman loved him, thought he had tons
of potential for third level dressage and bought him for 5,000 with papers in
October/Novemeber of 2008 according to Kelly.

Shortly after, a friend of Kelly's who works with her at the track in Maryland
started doing some work with this dressage barn that Kelly sold Nic to. Kelly told her friend
that her "Jazzie" was there and asked how he was doing... The friend mentioned that
"Jazzie" had been sold to a supposedly "great home" two weeks ago... Kelly felt good, and was
hopeful about his future as a show horse....No need to worry or ask questions, right?

After receiving the phone call from Rita and then after talking to me, Kelly
knows that Nic did not go to a good home, but that he was dumped for slaughter... she hung up
with me and called the dressage barn... She told the woman she sold Nic to, that he was
pulled from the slaughter pen at the New Holland auction by a woman looking for a save
that day... The woman said "That's too bad" and proceed to say, that Nic just wasn't
working out for her schooling program, and that she had GIVEN him away for free to a guy
whose daughter had just lost her horse to colic and wanted a three day eventing
horse... RED FLAG #1- Who pays 5,000 for a horse and then GIVES IT AWAY??? And Kelly had a buy back clause, so why wasn't she given the option of buying Nic back???? Kelly
then asked WHY Nic wasn't working out for her schooling program, the woman said he was lame
in the back legs... RED FLAG #2... He was lame in the back legs, yet she gave him
away to a three day eventing home, where they JUMP horses??? AND if he was lame, wouldn't
this woman call Kelly and say "Hey you gave me a lame horse, I want my 5,000 back"
????? Nic is not lame, I watched him rip around the pasture for hours yesterday and he's
doing the same today.... No sign of any lameness at ALL. Obviously she is lying.... here
comes the next big RED FLAG.... Kelly tells me that she is heading over to the dresssage
barn to go get Nic's papers for me asap... I said "They still have his papers?" They do...
Okay... so let me get this straight... This woman paid 5,000 for a horse a few months ago, and
then GAVE IT AWAY to someone she didn't know, because he wasn't working out for her
schooling program, because he was lame, so she gives him to a JUMPING HOME, who
wants to do thee day eventing, which you need registration papers to do, which
she did not send with Nic, because SHE KNEW he was going to auction and did not want to
be traced back to the horse..... Kelly was very upset, as we pieced this together
she knew the woman was lying to her, and was upset that the woman didn't seem at all shocked
or upset that Nic was in a kill pen in PA... obviously this woman never called
Kelly like she promised she would to come get her horse back, IF THINGS WEREN'T WORKING OUT...and never gave her the option of buying Nic back as agreed upon in her buy back
clause... why not? That will remain a mystery....

Kelly offered to take Nic back from me right away, but I said no. I assured her
he is safe here and I am going to be keeping him forever, because he's very special to me,
and he is my first true, blue, slaughter save, straight from the pen, it means too much to
me... She was happy at that, and is coming to visit him, registration papers in hand.

It was confirmed today, that Kathy Hargess of Equilibrium Horse Center in MARYLAND, sold this horse to a meat dealer named Rich Lowe, who then traded the horse for some hay to a meat dealer that sells direct to slaughter. Many people have stepped forward since hearing Nic's story to say this is not the first time, nor the last this woman will lie her ass off and continue to dump more horses, very nice, very undeserving horses... I think she should be exposed!

FHOTD back in: No problem. Now she is! And thank you for saving Jazz, he is ADORABLE!

This week, I had the honor of helping deliver another ex-racehorse Theycallmecolonel, to a truly wonderful foster home that may turn permanent in the future. Colonel is a multiple stakes winner whose knees show how hard he ran. You should have seen his face when I led him back into the sort of elegant barn he grew up in, and I hear the look on his face when he heard the crinkle of a peppermint wrapper again was priceless!

That's what makes it all worthwhile. Keep up the good work, all of you who are out there doing this, and if you can't do it hands-on, please shoot a few dollars to those who do. $3 buys a generic dewormer, so every little bit helps and counts!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Update: Oh Canada! You did good!

Press release dated yesterday from the British Columbia SPCA:

Owner of McBride horses charged with three counts of animal cruelty

February 24, 2009. For immediate release.

Frank Mackay, the owner of two horses abandoned in McBride, B.C., in December 2008, has been charged with three counts of animal cruelty, following a BC SPCA investigation. The charges include two counts under the Criminal Code of Canada and one count under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The dramatic Dec. 23rd rescue of the three-year-old mare named Belle and the 14-year-old gelding named Sundance made national headlines after volunteers spent a week shoveling a one-kilometre trench through the snow to save the abandoned horses. The BC SPCA took the rescued horses into care in late December and determined that they would not be returned to Mackay.

"We placed the horses in temporary foster care where they received ongoing veterinary care until they were ready to be adopted,” said Shawn Eccles, the BC SPCA’s chief animal protection officer. He noted that the horses were malnourished and were suffering from rain scald and other medical issues as a result of exposure to the freezing temperatures. “Earlier this month they were placed in permanent homes in Prince George and Kamloops.”

Frank Mackay makes his first court appearance in McBride on June 12th. If convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum fine of $10,000, up to five years in jail and a prohibition on owning animals.

The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization which depends primarily on donations to carry out cruelty investigations and to provide care for nearly 40,000 abused, injured, neglected and abandoned animals each year. If you can help, please visit for details.

For more information: Shawn Eccles, Chief Animal Protection Officer, BC SPCA, 604.709.4668; 604.834.7856 (cell); Lorie Chortyk, General Manager, Community Relations, 604.647.1316; 604.830.7179 (cell).

The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization funded primarily by public donations. Our mission is to prevent cruelty and to promote the welfare of animals through a wide range of services, including cruelty investigations, emergency rescue and treatment, sheltering and adoption of homeless and abused animals, humane education, advocacy, farm animal welfare, spay/neuter programs, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

FHOTD back in: I am so happy to see this and we definitely have everybody who complained about the outrage of this successful, educated man leaving these horses to starve and die. There are certainly cases where ignorance or lack of monetary resources contribute to abuse and neglect; however, this clearly was not one of them. I doubt I will ever think justice has truly been served unless he is assigned to shovel the driveways of all of the people who dug out his horses BY HAND in the MIDDLE OF WINTER but this is definitely a step in the right direction!

For the Seattle area folks:

Save A Forgotten Equine, a rescue that gets my highest recommendation, is holding a fundraiser art show on Sunday, April 5, 2009 from 2-7pm at the Abbey Ballroom on the corner of 19th & Fawcett in Tacoma. There will be great food and lots of opportunities to both shop and help horses. Facebook Page. If you're local, come on down!

Another great update:

Remember the Thoroughbred mare in California with severe white line disease who had to find a home or she'd be euthanized? Well, she found one that got her the good farrier care she needed and now they've been able to start riding her again. She is sound and doing fine and they plan to offer her for adoption as soon as her hooves are 100%. Huge kudos to her adopter and their great farrier for a wonderful job saving this young, beautiful mare!

Still working on the videos - I have to see if I can upload them straight from my phone or something. They're pretty entertaining - I'll keep working on it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Choo Choo! Another "sanctuary" train wreck!

(Warning: dead horse pictured at link)

A husband and wife team of internationally known environmentalists, paid handsomely to oversee a San Luis Obispo County sanctuary for infirm animals, has ordered the accelerating slaughter of many of their wards.

Former and present employees of the Dancing Star Foundation claim that its top officers, Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison, intend to focus on endangered animals. They say the pair has commenced the systematic elimination of aged and infirm farm animals under the foundation’s care, contrary to the foundation's purpose.

Tobias and Morrison have reportedly told employees that economic issues prompted the kill policy."

No, really? You took in a ZILLION animals and now you can't afford them? Well gosh golly gee, who thought THAT could ever happen? I'm sure that happened overnight and you had no warning, right?

"Officials claim they investigate possible adoptive families before releasing the animals. Employees state that animals are handed over to anyone with a trailer. “Employees and friends in utter desperation are allowed to adopt these animals without any paperwork or inspection of the living conditions of where these animals are going,” an employee said. “These employees are making $9 an hour. They can barely feed themselves. It is total chaos.”"


I've never had a problem with a rescue euthanizing unadoptables, particularly if they're dangerous to handle, but DON'T LIE ABOUT IT. When you portray yourselves to your donors as a LIFETIME SANCTUARY, then you do not have this right. If you mismanaged it so badly that you're in trouble (gee, the original founder didn't run it into the ground), then you should be turning it over to someone else who's a better manager than you, not just killing everything.

"Both Evans and numerous employees noted that while foundation officials are firing staff and eliminating animals, they are spending funds on the construction of new barns and upgrading existing facilities.

“They built a new barn for $120,000 then killed the animals in the barn below,” Rowley added. “They are building shelters with no limits. However, they are putting down the animals with health problems and the older ones. You can see were the money is going.”"

And now they want to just get into endangered animals? Shit, everything's endangered when it lives THERE!


(Apologies to those of you waiting for the secret video from this know who you are and it is coming but I have had video format difficulties and it will take more time than I have this morning.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nothing on TV?

Go watch the Scottsdale Show live...pretty good Saturday night entertainment!

P.S. You know what, we can tell the difference between a normal, spirited halter horse and a halter horse that you beat all the time...when you pick up the whip to get their ears up and they try to sit down, it kind of tips us off that the whip has been picked up in the vicinity of their face to do something other than get their attention. Just a helpful hint!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Well, I think you got the "high" part right

Warning: Horses mating, possibly NSFW

Here's a video of a mini stallion running around with a lot of mini mares, full sized mares and a full sized - if thin - AQHA stallion. The big stallion breeds a mare in heat and then the mini attempts to follow suit.

The comments are just classic.

Commenter: your pal stud is thin you can see his ribs.
Response: Yeah, he's a touch thin, but you would be too if you were responsible for covering 38 mares!! He has been turned out with the herd since April.

(FHOTD note: I can't even figure out who the stallion is. No info on her web site. He might be a decent horse, but do we need 38 more of him out of their motley crew of mares? Uh, NO!)

Commenter: I have heard of mini stallions teasing mares so vigorously that they will lay down to be bred.
Response: I have wondered if that could happen! I guess that I wouldn't care, that old mare in the video is 21yrs old and she's a double bred Dash for Cash! The resulting foal would make a heck of a playday pony and it ought to have color! Actually, I wouldn't want that to happen as that would waste a whole breeding season, and that mare probably doesn't have that many babies left in her!!

(How many Dash for Cash horses do you suppose there are out there? This is a little like saying, OMG, my Thoroughbred goes back to Man O'War! It's not all that special...Though I will say, that mare is a freakin' saint, watch this one or even better this one where the kid flies off directly in front of her and she doesn't move a muscle.)

Now, if you're thinking I'm again picking on some poor little 14 year old who loves to make youtube vids and doesn't realize her parents' practices are wrong, go to the profile. Nope! This is the work of a 47 year old grandma. Check out the rest of the vids - plenty of bareheaded babies on horseback, babies running around with loose foals, the world's fugliest foal being born, children galloping that don't have the riding skills to trot safely without assistance - yes, the stupid's all there, preserved on video for your entertainment.

I just don't think this is cute. This scares the hell out of me. That kid needs to learn her absolute basics, not be trying to barrel race. As with jumping, I don't think you should be gaming until you can trot and canter without your stirrups or bareback. What's wrong with taking it slow and trying to stay out of the local E.R.? Are you gonna turn into a pumpkin if you turn 10 and haven't run a pattern yet?

C'mon, wake up and smell the coffee ... scale back the breeding and buy those kids some helmets!

You know a horse is cute when they're even cute covered in hair in the middle of winter, and this mare is a perfect example. SH Malacy is a 16 year old registered Arabian mare offered for adoption by the Midwest Equine Welfare Foundation. This mare is very well broke and has been used both on trails and in the arena. Sounds like she's sound, too! They did not get the papers with her but I assume someone willing to do the detective work might be able to get replacements - how does it work for Arabians? Can you do a replacement affidavit like you do with AQHA? At any rate, this mare is cute, cute, cute so if you're in or near Wisconsin and looking for a rescue you can ride, check her out! (Hey, someone look up the bloodlines - now I'm curious - she is REALLY cute!)

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Web Pages that Suck

Your web site can say an awful lot about you and your business. That's why, many years ago, frustrated web designers created a site called Web Pages that Suck to showcase the worst of the worst out there. Today, I have to feature the equine version.

1. There is no theme here. Every single page looks different. Nothing goes together. It's the web site equivalent of a particularly bad target on "What Not To Wear," a woman who has basically purchased everything shiny in her size that has come through the Hickaloosa, Alabama Goodwill Store for the past 23 years.

2. Nothing says cheesy like animated gifs. Seriously, even 4th graders don't put those on their web pages anymore!

3. More bad photography! This stallion has some nice bloodlines and while he doesn't have a performance record due to that big ol' lump evident on his back left, I don't think he's as bad as they're making him look here. This wouldn't be a flattering picture for the most conformationally correct AQHA stallion on earth. P.S. When you 'shop out the bump on some of the pics, you should remember to take it out on all of the pics.

4. Trying to market something you know nothing about. "Sport Ponies" and "Lippizan Stallions" are two very different things. Why are the Lippizans all over your "Sport Pony" page? I guess the plus side is that if you'd taken pics of actual sport ponies to use from the web, we might be misled into believing they were ones you bred, whereas with this page, we have no confusion between which are yours and which are not.

4a. P.S., which sport do you think Elephant Leg Pony qualifies for?

4b. I am pretty sure you did not get an actual registered Welsh pony with the moniker "Ahl-dat-an-'ah-bag'ah-chips" I could be wrong, surely, but I suspect his name and that of your other pony stud, "Yo Man," came out of a case of beer, not a formal registry.

5. Strange misspelled statements that come out of nowhere. "If there not a cat, they must be a dawg" in huge letters on this stallion's page. What does that even mean?

6. That page is also a classic example of the badly sized photo. If you have photoshop, there is an option box for "constrain proportions." You need to check that. If you don't, you wind up with a picture like this one, in which poor ol' Dirty Socks seems to have been caught in a funhouse mirror.

Sometimes this is accidental, as computer illiterate horsepeople try to fumble their way through a graphics editing program. Sometimes it is deliberate, because they are trying to make their horse look like it has a huge booty when it doesn't. Either way, it is obvious and incredibly lame looking.

(Yes, everybody, seven stallions. Fenced in with hot tape. Power outages must be a good ol' time on their ranch.)

7. And twenty four broodmares including "sport pony" and "warmblood." Uh-huh. I suspect a couple of those mares are nice but it's hard to tell since so many of the pictures have been squished down so that the mare appears to be 15 hands high with the legs of a mini. As I've said with others - now is the time to improve your broodmare herd, if you must breed. Break out the mediocre ones and sell them as riders. Buy the kind of mares you can't normally afford. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade - or get out of the breeding biz.

8. Then there's the rescue page where, unfortunately, you can't find out any information about the available horses or what they know or do. I'm glad he's anti-slaughter but if you are going to have a rescue, at least make an effort with it. Clearly you have a camera.

9. Overall page layout. On my screen, the text is actually hidden from view by the pictures on some pages. There are so many different sized monitors and screen settings out there that if you don't structure things and merely put a pic next to text, it's easy for this to happen. It's hard for someone to read your information when a picture is covering it!

10. Finally, I will say this - This guy DOES have a better grasp of horse personalities and common sense training than most people. He may be a very competent trainer. But c'mon buddy - your web site is the equivalent of business cards you wrote in crayon on the back of used greeting cards and you can't tell me all seven of those stallions need to have their nuts. The Touchdown Kid horse looks pretty nice, is N/N and actually has good feet which I don't see much in TK horses, so if you think you're a good trainer, why don't you show your stuff and get him out there doing something?

Web sites don't have to be elaborate and flashy to be done well. They don't need to be super slick and full of all the latest technology. In my surfing, I came across this very well done web site as an example. Here we have consistent design, a clean and attractive look, all of the information we are looking for on each horse, and much better pics even though some are pasture pics. They paid attention to making sure their farm was clean and well-kept when they took pictures. The design is basic - anyone could do it and maintain it - but it works. They look like professionals I'd want to buy a horse from. And I'd feel like my mare was safe if she went to their farm for breeding. The macrame hot-tape look on the other page - not so good.

Someone had a funny thread on COTH not long ago about hideous web sites. What's the worst you've seen in the horse industry? Do you finally have a nice one that you like? You're welcome to recommend companies you've had good experiences with - just like good horse trainers, they deserve the acknowledgement in an industry full of flakes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When good sellers lose it due to stupid e-mails!

One of my readers has a very nice horse for sale and, of course, is fielding the kind of inquiries you get from an ad online. The quality is similar to the responses you get to a personal ad online! People who don't read the ad, people who ask stupid questions (i.e. whether or not the yearling is safe for kids), and people who decide to just insult you right off the bat.

She unfortunately deleted the original e-mail that prompted this response, but I thought it was well worth posting anyway. I have deleted some information that could ID her, but this is most of it.

Dear (name of 18 year old twit):

I was weeding my way through tons of the same old ignorant, teeny-bopper ad inquiries that are loaded with poor grammar and mis-spellings, when I came across your inquiry. I am doing the footwork in selling a race horse for my father and even though I know from your inquiry that you are not even a prospect home for (Horse), I'm wasting my time to respond anyway.

The numerous questions that you have asked are for the most part normal so there is no need to apologize for the questions. However, I would like to point out that you have made numerous statements in your inquiry that are for the most part untrue or make you look like a complete jerk. I have never been so irritated, yet amused by such a naive ad inquiry and I'd like to save other sellers from the mess of an inquiry you sent me. Please read an ad thoroughly, think before you send, remove the BS, correct your grammar and mis-spellings, don't talk down to the seller, don't refer to the seller's horse as dog food, and don't make yourself sound ignorant. By doing this you'll receive much friendlier responses from already irritated sellers.

In your inquiry, you stated that you "buy horses that are usually only good for dog food and condition them". (Horse) is looking for a long-term home not someone looking to train and resell him. If you are looking to turn a profit, I'd suggest taking a look at the race track. You can get several young prospects from the track for little to nothing. (Horse's) price of $2500 is firm and I would hardly consider him "dog food".

Since you were so willing to give me information on yourself, I'd like to give you a little background on myself. (Basically, Horse's owner is a long-time industry professional who's actively involved in rescue and retraining)

In you inquiry you also stated that you "own race horses so you know how aggressive and unpredictable they can be". In my lifetime, I have met or worked with literally hundreds of STANDARDBRED race horses. Out of all of the race horses I have met, I have found ONE to be aggressive and somewhat unpredictable. It was a mare that was later found to have a serious hormonal imbalance and she was a completely different mare after she was spayed. Your statement is one of the most ignorant statements I've heard regarding race horses. In most cases, race horses have better temperaments and ground manners than your average backyard riding horse. If you have several aggressive and unpredictable Standardbreds, you are doing something wrong. (FHOTD in: AMEN! STBs are usually sweethearts!)

Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, I don't believe you are the right home for (Horse). Good luck with your search!

FHOTD in: All right, so share - what is the funniest/lamest/most annoying response you've received to a horse for sale/adoption ad? I always like the "trade" offers, particularly when they want to trade you a 4 year old "prospect" who is only halter broke for your dead broke, anyone can ride horse. Sure, and while I'm at it, if I bring over a Mercedes would you swap me for that Trans-Camaro up on blocks in your yard? Really? That'd be awesome!

Side note: Check out the Lost Our Home Pet Foundation page. This organization seeks to help foreclosed homeowners keep or place their pets in these difficult times. What a good idea!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You can't afford to ignore this issue

After a three year battle, the USDA was finally required to release pictures of horses who were injured or killed during double-decker rides to the slaughterhouse.

WARNING: Extremely graphic. Don't look if you can't handle it.

From the site: "Thirty-six months after making a Freedom of Information Request of the U.S.D.A. regarding violations of the “Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Act” at the horse slaughter plant in Fort Worth, I received the documents. Nothing could have prepared me for their content. The 906-page FOIA includes almost 500 separate photographs of severe and alarming cruelty at the plant during part of 2005. I am an exceptionally seasoned investigator but was unprepared for the very extreme level of inhumane treatment of these animals on U.S. soil."

Transporting horses in double-deckers needs to be made illegal in all states. It doesn't just happen with slaughterbound horses. I've seen bucking stock brought to rodeos in double-deckers as well.

Double-deckers are low-ceilinged and designed for cattle, pigs and other types of livestock. They were never designed for horses. The injuries seen at that link are not the least bit surprising. The amount of suffering those horses went through is unimaginable.

I'm tired of hearing that we were wrong to stop slaughter within the U.S. borders. No, instead it was a step in the right direction and now it's time to take that second step and ban transport outside of our borders which will, in itself, stop most double-decker transport. After all, nobody takes their horses to a show this way!

Click here to find out how to vote for HR 503 to ban the transport of American horses out of the country for slaughter.

Click here to read about HR 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2009 that would ban double-decker transport in ALL states. More information. This bill provides for penalties of $100 to $500 per horse for THAT will do something toward keeping our horses off of double-deckers.

You can always identify and write your representatives at this link. Please ask them to support both HR 503 and HR 305!

Remember, all that stands between your horses and a double-decker ride is one buyer who lies to you. One person who promises a good home while secretly fronting for a kill buyer. One person who seems nice, but whose reaction to falling off is to run the horse to the nearest auction. I don't care how nice your horse is, as long as this exists, any horse you sell or give away is in danger, and let's not forget the horses stolen out of people's pastures who make this trip!

If you're comfortable with allowing that risk to all means, ignore my post. Tell me that slaughter is necessary and the only way of dealing with overpopulation - since we can't possibly deal with it responsibly via gelding and euthanasia assistance programs.

Yeah. Whatever.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Which will break a leg first? Place your bets!

The rider and mother who sent this to me was appalled. So am I. Click on the picture to see a larger version of the small child/foal macrame project.


We all know horses can be dangerous, but weanlings and yearlings are particularly difficult to handle on the ground. They are typically big, dumb babies with hormones running wild. They nip and kick and plow each other over, and they're highly likely to do the same to any human who hasn't established respect. It's hard to establish respect when you haven't even learned your A-B-C's and are the size of Tattoo from "Fantasy Island."

Every horseperson reading this has seen an adult horse flip out over a tangled rope - whether they blew their stack because they stepped on their own dropped lead, or got a rope twisted around them, the "attack rope" is something that can send the typical horse into a bout of hysterics. Even if it's brief, someone can get badly hurt if they're not paying attention. Remember the blog about the girl who tied the lead rope around her waist?

And those are mature horses - not babies who routinely do things like grab an empty grain bag in their teeth and then spook because it is following them.

If I live to be 100, I'll never understand what possesses a parent to sit there while their kid is one hoof away from brain damage and the foals are a split-second away from rope burns at best and a broken leg or neck at worst and merrily snap pictures. I mean, we've all heard the old joke about how someone's last words are "hold my beer and watch this" but your child is in danger. If that doesn't provoke some sort of emergency response other than snapping pics, well, maybe someone can hold a fundraiser to buy you a brain.

Side note: This farm would never have gotten featured if not for this picture. Those are nice Morgans - far from fugly. Jeez, people. The blog is almost two years old. I would have thought people would be getting smart enough not to supply me with so much material by now, but nope, it just keeps on coming!

Finally, to all of our visiting trolls who don't seem to be feeling the love, I just want to thank you. In the past month, my traffic has shot skyward! The columns represent (from left to right) people, visits and page views.) We haven't seen a jump like this in a while! I'm so excited and I know that I have all of you to thank. Keep up the great work. Be sure to add this URL as often as possible to your rants, and please rant on as many different boards as possible in as many different countries as possible!

(For those of you annoyed by the trolling, all you have to do is click the username and the post disappears and you can move on to the relevant comments.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Look, it's the twelve circles of Hell!

Things that would be more humane than this bit:

1. Carrying an anchor affixed to your D-rings or horn to drop in the event of an emergency.

2. Keeping a shot of 5 cc's of Ace in your saddlebags

3. Taking vaulting lessons so that you can do an emergency dismount with ease before you hit the highway

4. Riding your horse harnessed to something twice his weight that doesn't go fast, like a particularly lethargic Clydesdale

5. Taking some fucking riding lessons so that you can get results without torturing your poor horse!

*shakes head and walks away, muttering*

Update: No horses for you, Frank MacKay!

Remember the story of the Edmonton lawyer who abandoned his horses on a pack trip and the huge effort made by others to get them to safety? Someone has sent me an update page:

So how cool is all of that? The horses have new homes and that insufferable asshat who left them to starve and freeze without even making a phone call to the authorities to try to get them help is never going to see them again! There is also information on that page on who to contact to ensure that charges are brought against Mr. MacKay.

That's what I call a happy ending.

So if you're in Edmonton and you don't support irresponsible animal ownership, make sure not to bring any of your legal business to Frank MacKay! Read all of his lame excuses for not rescuing the horses. "They survived, thank God," he observes. UH NO. Thank all of the rescuers who dug a fucking trench with their own hands in subzero temps while you were sitting, warm and cozy, somehow assuming that horses could live three months on eight liters of Gatorade and thirty pounds of hay pellets? I have one horse that eats thirty pounds of hay pellets in two days, Frank. Where in your tale of woe were you unable to alert the SPCA that you had left your horses in the wilderness? Was there some part about a crippling phobia of telephones that I missed?

No, Frank, you just didn't want to be embarrassed.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fuel for the Gelding Bus!

Just listing some resources for funding for gelding procedures today...remember, the way to stop equine slaughter is at the root of the problem - with population control, particularly with regard to low-end horses who are highly unlikely to find good homes in today's world!

Front Range Equine Rescue's Stop the Backyard Breeder Program

For mini donkeys:

(scroll down to find form) Missouri Miniature Donkey Association

Feel free to add more resources to the comments (HTML links work).

And have a great weekend!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hooray for the Arabian Horse Association!

The saga began two years ago on the Arabian Breeders' Network Board:

"*Enea' story. My Grandparents bought *Enea in Spain 18 or so years ago. She had one foal for us and then she was bought by another breeder who then liquidated his horses and then you know how the story goes, she was sold multiple times.

Two weeks ago I got a phone call from a concerned friend telling me of a large herd of Spanish horses in trouble in Iowa. Curiously I looked up that owner on the datasource I was horrified to see *Enea's name on the list. Not knowing what to do and gathering more information. I realized we needed to get her out of there. I arranged to buy the mare back from this woman.

Sometimes out of the worst situations you realize how many wonderful people there are in the world. Two friends of mine volunteered to drive eight hours each way to get *Enea out of there as soon as possible and keep her at there place until she is well enough to travel home to California.

The story gets more and more disgusting. The horses are in deplorable condition and sick, many are not going to make it through the winter. There are many that are in far worse condition than *Enea. We all need to band together and help these horses.

Here are two pictures of *Enea the morning after she was picked up from
Amanda Boyle's Zalea Arabians. " (FHOTD in: I have posted one of them)

Oh, and a good show ensued on that message board! The horse starver, Amanda, responded as they ALWAYS do, arguing her innocence:

"Enea is 22 years old and has Cancer. WE were going to put her down, but Christie purchased her instead.

We REFUSED offers on the horses by the person who came. They are in fine shape, other than several older mares. One has EPM, another is half blind. Im not sure about the stunted colt thing, other than one filly who had a severe viral infection. THe other 2 foals were born in Sept and OCt.

I can furnish vet reports on every single horse on my property as well as photos. When your someones competition and they dont like you, or you dont do what they say. I think its wonderful the great things they say about you. I have contacted a Lawyer, these are all lies. AND I CAN PROVE IT! So perhaps before you believe this trash, come visit for yourself."

Blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH! The condition of that mare speaks for itself. Of course, the excuses continued...she's an old mare, she has melanomas, she doesn't handle winter well. Blah, blah, blah.

Now, this is not an uncommon story. Enea, although severely anemic and dehydrated, was rescued by her former owner. This is a picture of her two years later, this summer. Gee, I guess she didn't have health problems preventing her from gaining weight, DID SHE? She's 24 now. Gee, what a hard keeper, huh? Boy, she REALLY needed to be put down two years ago, huh?

Oh Amanda. How full of shit can you be?

(Kudos to Chestnut Ridge Farm for being a brilliant example of what a responsible breeder/owner does - that mare looks awesome and you guys rock!) Correction: I misread the initial thread and it's actually Greengate Farms that has the mare. Sorry, getting old and blind!

So after years of drama on this, what happens? Well, Amanda gets evicted. She abandons SIXTEEN horses on the property when she leaves. Some of the horses have been in stalls for so long with so much manure build up that the doors cannot be opened. Amanda takes some of her horses and merrily continues on. She has a web site. She even has a message board where she is stumping for money! Of course she is...And she's still breeding. She's moved to some mysterious location in Missouri, so if you're in Missouri, watch out. She's not going to stop until someone locks her in a cell and throws away the key and despite her numerous convictions, nobody's done that yet.

Frustrating to be sure. But I will tell you the part that is NOT frustating - AHA BANNED HER ASS!

"Boyle, Amanda L., aka Lea Boyle, individually and dba Zalea Arabians LLC of Sioux City, Iowa, has violated AHA Article 304.6, by mistreating and neglecting Arabian horses under her care, custody and control. Amanda L. Boyle, aka Lea Boyle, individually and dba Zalea Arabians LLC, or in any other entity, is hereby permanently expelled from membership in AHA and permanently denied all AHA privileges, including, but not limited to, denial of entry into any AHA programs and events, any AHA registration privileges, and denial of participation in any manner in any AHA recognized competitions or events. "

I LOVE IT! She apparently has 25 foals due this year (good LORD) and I am sure she will TRY to get around all of this by registering a LLC or getting some enabler to front for her, but damn, this is a good start.

So, okay AQHA? Let's see you do the same to Cleve Wells. Don't make me have to switch to Arabians just because their registry doesn't have their heads up their butts.

P.S. This story also ought to be a lesson to some of the more gullible posters here. This woman was originally convicted of animal neglect in 1994 and she has convinced many people that she had "cleaned up her act" or was "being unfairly persecuted" but a leopard does not change its spots. Period.

It's Friday so we have a Friday Featured Rescue! Here's a nice one - this 8 year old Thoroughbred mare, Broadway (reg. name Golden Glow Too) is available for adoption at Shiloh Horse Rescue in Nevada. Check out her page for lots of video under saddle. There isn't anything wrong with this one - sane, sound and ready to go. She looks a thousand times better then she did when they got her, a year ago. She is a beautiful mare who looks like she could easily be ready for this year's shows with some finishing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yeah, but what's wrong with her customers???

Here at FHOTD, we often see cases here where starving horses are blatantly put on the farm's web site. Even more often, I hear about beautiful web sites hiding bad conditions. In those cases, I tell the person to get pictures of how things truly are. After all, I need some evidence more than your word that things have gone horribly wrong at the facility.

In this case, a determined reader researched and researched until she found pictures showing what was really going on behind the pretty web site at this New Zealand facility. These scrawny horses are shown at "camp" on a cross-country riding vacation sort of thing. They are both underweight and the bay is certainly too much so to be ridden, but here they are - out on a four day trek, carting riders around and putting money into the pocket of the proprietor. Too bad she is not spending it on feed!

(You know, if I came there to ride and found this, I'd snap pictures and go straight to the SPCA. Why hasn't someone else?)

Of course, this lady also thinks it's just fine to "break in" the yearlings. Even for those of you who do ride your 2's, wouldn't one look at this tiny creature tell you it wasn't ready to hold weight? If it looks like a baby, LET IT BE A BABY. Good grief, I think that rider is about one third of its weight! No wonder its ears are back.

The proprietor brags on her main page that the horses are "safe" and "quiet." Well, yes, they typically are when they are this thin. Not much energy left to buck or run off, which may be the plan here. It would certainly not be the first time I have seen starvation used as a training substitute!

The one thing Sarah seems to be good at (clearly it's not feeding) is collecting money. Her newsletter notes that cans of soda are $1.00 and that you'll be charged $15 if you cancel a lesson. Uh, do you think you could throw some of that cash into hay purchases? I am amazed she is showing her horses. Hey, New Zealanders, does she show up at shows with horses who look like this, or does she feed the show horses and just starve the lesson/trek horses?

How does this continue? Well, by people continuing to patronize her - it sure sounds like business is booming - and, I am sure, accepting excuses for how the horses look. Oh, that one is thin because he's a cribber. You can't keep weight on an old horse. The one over there has bad teeth. When you accept the excuses and say nothing, you allow this to continue. I've already put up a guide to choosing a reputable trail/trekking facility even if you don't have horse knowledge, but I'm guessing most of the people at this barn have enough horse knowledge that they know things aren't right. Or they have already fallen into the trap of putting money into her pocket in an attempt to help the horses.

Remember, the horse can't call for help. You may be the only chance he has. And sometimes all that's needed is for the authorities to put a little pressure on someone and the care improves. Most (sane, non-hoarder type) people do not want to be driven out of the business or have their horses seized, and I've seen people who are good riders/competitors simply have huge holes in their horse care knowledge that lead to these situations. No, the person who gets reported won't love you if they find out it was you, but ten years down the road they may be a much better horseperson because of it.

It's up to you...I can talk about this stuff all day but ultimately we need whoever is local to have the guts to report. Do you have what it takes to do the courageous thing for the horses, or will fear of discovery or of being yelled at (oh noooooooes) keep you silent?

P.S. Yes, I know some horse abusers/neglecters are batshit crazy and I do understand trying to find someone else to intervene if you are their next door neighbor and they have guns.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Horses and Highways: Not a good combination

So my mailbox is full of the story about how the guy who was traveling across the country in a horse-drawn wagon got hit by a semi. Video (non-gory, prior to the accident) at the link. Another news story.

While this is a sad story and I hope that he and the remaining horses will recover, it brings up a point I almost brought up again when we did the carriage horse story -- which is that I do not believe horses and cars are ever a good mix. I mean, look at the video -- it looks like an accident waiting to happen, and it was.

Sure, many of us grew up in the days when it was safe enough to ride your horse to town for an ice cream cone. Even today, I have a neighbor who rides his horse down the road. We all know to watch for him, slow down and pull wide, and nobody on our street drives like a fool. But it's a 35 mph in the country - not a highway with semi trucks!

Riding or driving a horse on heavily-trafficked roads is a recipe for disaster, in my never-humble-opinion. Look at the dangers we face on the roads. Drunk drivers? Everywhere. Stoned drivers? Check. People jabbering away on cell phones, texting, arguing with their spouse or trying to discipline their kids in the back seat? Everywhere. The only reason I feel semi-safe on the roads is the large hunk of good old fashioned metal that encases me and helps protect me from the idiots. On a horse, I would have no such protection - and neither would the horse.

Every time a car and a horse tangle, the horse loses. That's a fact.

Putting a vehicle that travels 3 mph on roads with vehicles that travel 60 mph is a very bad idea. You can scream all day that it's legal and that other drivers should simply be more careful, but that doesn't change the reality that you've set yourself up for a bad accident. At least with the carriage horses, everybody is going slowly, in downtown traffic and there is a lot of pedestrian traffic as well, so drivers are more likely to be on the lookout for obstacles. (I'm still not crazy about it, but it's not as bad as driving them down a 60 mph highway)

The world is full of arenas to ride horses in, and trails of all sorts - well maintained or rocky and challenging if that's more your speed. There are wide fields with no vehicular traffic. I simply don't understand the appeal of riding or driving a horse around cars, when we all know how people drive and what kind of damage a typical car can do to flesh and bone (much less a semi!).

"Bob Skelding, 49, was driving his team of horses on a stretch of roadway that had little or no shoulder. Two 18-wheelers traveling side-by-side crested a hill, and one of the trucks hit the RV from behind."

Yeah, I feel sorry for him. But I feel more sorry for the horses, who did not sign on for this ill-considered journey and now are dead or suffering as a result. And I feel sorry for the semi driver, who had no reason to believe he was about to encounter a vehicle moving way below the speed limit over the top of that hill, and now has suffered a traumatic accident that I am sure will haunt him forever.

C'mon's 2009, not 1909. There are better places to ride and drive your horses. Stay off of busy roads! If you want to "slow down" your life, WALK across the country.

P.S. For any newbies to the blog, I've posted before that I care about horses' welfare much more than I care about human feelings. Horses are innocents who cannot protect themselves, and humans do not die from hurt feelings. So feel free to tell me I'm just horrible to criticize a man who's in the ICU but it won't change my feelings on the matter.

OT: It's the middle of the week...

And I know everybody needs a good laugh grateful you're not dating these guys!

Psychotic Letters from Men

The latest from the guy behind "Why Women Hate Men" and I think it's even funnier. You can't make this stuff up!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our WTF Equine Product of the Day!

Joining the ranks of crazy horse-related contraptions like the No Buck Trainer, we now have the EZEE WEAN Halter and Strap.

Yes, it's what you think. It's a baby halter with PRONGS on the nosepiece to keep the mare from allowing the baby to nurse!

"When the baby attempts to nurse, both animals are made uncomfortable because there are several soft flexible prongs (blunt ended) that touch the mare in the flanks and it also bumps the baby in the nose."


Here's a video of it supposedly working. I only see a very annoyed mare, who finally gives up and lets the baby nurse anyway.

A quick look at the web site copy reveals just who this product is being marketed to...the same middle-aged, overly emotional ladies who give Pat Parelli their life savings because they want to have a relationship with their horse and be their horse's friend.

"Most often the caregiver is reluctant to start the weaning process because of the undesirable symptoms that occur when using the abrupt separation method. The heart wrenching whinnying is very disturbing for the passionate caregiver."

Heart wrenching whinnying? I'm sorry, weaning doesn't exactly wrench my heart. I have been around for plenty of it. Most babies whinny a little. The real wimps whinny for a day. Two days out, they are all hanging with their baby friends and have forgotten Momma ever existed. "Forced separation" as this overly-dramatic web site calls it is actually quite a bit kinder than nature, in which Momma gets fed up with baby eventually and starts chasing him off of her with bared teeth.

I can only imagine how Momma will feel about future foals nursing after she gets poked about a zillion times by the rubber prongs on this thing. Nurse mares are expensive!

And yes, a few paragraphs down, we see proof that this person is yet another Natural Horsemanship Wacko:

"I feel the application of “natural horse savvy” to a foal will increase the animal’s marketability. Horses that have been imprinted at birth and with continued handling using natural horse savvy techniques are commanding and obtaining high prices."

THEY ARE NOT. What are you smoking? I can show you hundred horses that can do 684 levels of Parelli that nobody wants because you can't walk, trot, and canter on them without drama. They know every game in the book but they don't have manners and aren't ready for any competitive discipline. Please, please, please show me where a horse trained this way has commanded a "high price." I've never seen it.

"The first time horse owner has a greater chance of having a positive riding experience when natural horse techniques are understood and practiced."

The first time horse owner has a greater chance of having a positive riding experience when they TAKE LESSONS so that they can stay on, discipline the horse, and the horse can't WALK ALL OVER THEM.

(Please refer to Mugwump for further clarification on this)

"Owners using their animals for competition have reported a greater improvement, overall, believing the results are directly related to the use of natural horse techniques."

OK, those of you who seriously compete - how many of you would agree with this statement? Can someone please point to a single World Show top ten or Nationals top ten horse trained with "natural horse techniques?" (Or weaned with a freaking prong halter?)

The lunacy continues...along with the bad spelling.

"When separation of mother and baby is too soon and granny mare was not available, I have found the foal will typically mature having a personality of either extremely aggressive or extremely timid. As an example, can you remember your horse be attack by another horse for no apparent reason while you were moving along peacefully on a trail ride? Your horse didn’t make a single wrong move and the other horse came, ears pinned and bearing teeth. That’s an aggressive personality."

Yes, and it's not caused by early weaning, it's caused by a rider it has no respect for. Do you know what I'd do to a horse who thought he could attack another horse while I was in the saddle? Again, refer back to RIDING LESSONS.

"Can you remember when you had to hand feed a horse separately? It stayed off to the side and it would not move up to the feeding area with the rest of horses. This is a timid personality. I believe both of these examples are typical of horses that were forced from their mother to soon."

Well, you believe wrong. I've seen both personality types in horses that were NEVER weaned and grew up with their dams...particularly in hoarder/BYB cases. I have worked with numerous horses who were never separated from their dams or even handled until 8-10 years of age, and their personalities were...middle of the herd. The idea that traditional weaning causes personality extremes is just plain silly.

The truth is that the mare's personality often dictates the foal's personality. An alpha mare will tend to raise little alphas who are bullying the other babies from day one. A pushy mare will raise a pushy baby that will be a little harder to teach manners to. A timid, spooky mare will transfer her fears to her foal who will often be the bottom of the pecking order his whole life. This isn't true 100% of the time, but it's true more often than not.

Another truth is that separating mares and foals using SAFE fencing and ideally getting them out of earshot of one another works just fine. However, that's a method that doesn't put $75 in this chick's pocket!

Unbelievable. I wonder how many people will actually fall for this one?