Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Caption This!

I would but I'm speechless. Let's see what the rest of you come up with!

P.S. No, it's not photoshop...there's a whole series. They also have the filly lying on the couch like a dog.

People do the funniest things in front of a camera!


"Rico has shown halter, hunter, 1st level dressage, and games. He is now jumping and has free jumped up to 4'. He is ready to start show jumping. He is very fast on his feet, brave over fences and fancy in the dressage ring. In his First dressage show doing 1st level he got 65% in both test 1 and 2. He is a hot horse so he is only for an experienced rider.He has also done pleasure driving and Hunter under saddle."

As evidenced by reality shows everywhere, when you turn a camera on, people do stupid things in front of it. We see this time and again in sale videos. This horse is being marketed as a dressage horse and jumper, so you'd think the video would include, you know, dressage and jumping. People who buy horses in these disciplines want to see the horse performing - ideally with a neatly dressed rider (or show ring video). That's what gets them out to look at a horse.

But no. Turn on a camera and suddenly we have Jackass: The Horse Sale Video. We have to show the horse being ponied off a quad, lying down on command (well, I don't think the rolling part that followed was part of the command), being led around with a tiny helmetless infant on his back, and being bombed around bareback in a halter by a helmetless girl with her heels up. None of these things are turn-ons to a buyer in the sport horse world. In fact, they are turn OFFS.

We don't see any dressage. We see a little bit of a low jump toward the end. We see no evidence that the horse can jump a course, even a course of low jumps. We don't see a lead change.

Look, this is just not the way to sell your horse - particularly in this tough economy. You need to know your market. When you are out there trying to get $5000 for a plain looking QH-Saddlebred cross gelding that is a whopping 15.2 hands and is self-described as a hot horse who needs an experienced rider, you need to be showing talents more substantial than ponying off a quad. I can get a horse who will do that, do tricks, and ride bareback for $500 at any auction - what is it about Rico that makes him worth ten times that?
You're not making a video to send to Grandma to show her your horsey - you're making a sales presentation. And if you don't think of it that way, don't blame the "bad economy" when you can't sell your horse.

So what's the weirdest, most inappropriate and irrelevant-to-purpose thing you've seen in a horse sale video lately? I can never believe how many horses are jumped into the beds of pickups or ridden into a horse trailer (can we say "Darwin Awards?") , but I am guessing there's something sillier out there. What have you seen?

P.S. Small follow up: I understand Randy Byers is now telling people that I am a vengeful ex-girlfriend who is out to get him. I have never met the guy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Equine Literacy - A great way to change the future!

One cool thing about helping with a big job like Three Strikes is that you meet a lot of other rescuers from all over the country and you hear their ideas and what they are doing to help horses in their part of the U.S. I heard one of the best ideas ever from a Kentucky-based rescuer, and I want to share it and encourage everybody reading to participate!

Her rescue went out to local schools to see if they had horse books in the libraries. Most either did not or the copies they had were literally being held together with a staple gun. "Those are our most popular books," many librarians told her. So she and her rescue sat down and read children's horse books, made a list of those that contained accurate information about care, and did some fundraising to supply copies to each school in their area.

What a GREAT idea. Absolutely awesome!

How often do we tear out our hair reading posts on forums that make it obvious the person has never read a basic horse care book? The person has tied a horse to something that breaks. The person has left a nylon halter on in the pasture - and now the horse is dead. The person has tied the horse by the reins. The person has fed their horse grass clippings. Simple stuff - basic stuff - stuff we learned not to do by reading books when we were eight. Can we produce more knowledgeable horsepeople just by buying some books? I am betting we can!

So this is a two-part job. First of all, will you go out to your local schools and libraries and see how they are doing on horse books? I am going to do that today. Second of all, which horse books would you recommend? I'm going to put some here that I can think of and like, and you can all add to the list in the comments.

All of Cherry Hill's books are great - loaded with common sense horse information. This one is just for kids.

I've recommended Erin's book before. It's suitable for teens and gets high marks from me because it teaches ethics along with horse care. That's a rare find.

The Jean Slaughter Doty books are all super but I love this one because it specifically deals with beginner mistakes and the outcome of them! The pony survives, the kid learns, and so do the parents. It also teaches that the most expensive pony does NOT necessarily win and that a hardworking young rider can prevail even with a less than pricey mount. All good lessons!

How do I love thee, Pony Club? There are a million ways! For those kids who can't join, the next best thing is the manual. Pony Club is a persnickety horse owner's dream - the manual has all the right information with a strong emphasis on safety and responsibility, and it explains it in a simple and easy to read style with plenty of illustrations. If a kid doesn't have access to an instructor, this book is the next best thing.

So how about the rest of you? Which books do you love for kids? Why? Let's come up with the best list we possibly can and then I'll put a permanent page together with the books noted. This is something you can do to help horses that is under $10 in many cases and just imagine the amount of equine suffering that could be saved if kids get the right information!

I also want to take a moment today to thank our sponsors...we have a new one, Angel Acres, a great rescue in Pennsylvania that has a new "feed fairies" fundraiser that is an inexpensive way to help horses.
So often I see people apologize for not having a lot of money to give - well, that's silly. A small contribution makes a big difference and is always welcomed by ANY rescue! SOS Equines has many to choose from, both horses who need to be rescued from slaughter now and horses who have been at the rescue and have had time to be ridden and evaluated. They are in the Tri-Cities area of Washington and gets a lot of solid old rope horses that are the babysitter kind you can trust with your kids, as well as Thoroughbreds and others. Hoofprints has fun horsey gifts including a wide selection of farrier-centric fun stuff, ideal if you want to say thank you to a great farrier or apologize for your horse's naughty day! Emerald City Fence is a great choice if you are in the Seattle area and looking to upgrade your horse fencing. This is a horsewoman-owned company and you'll get exactly what you're looking for in terms of price and quality.

NorCal Equine Rescue continues to do great work by helping low-income horse owners afford gelding and euthanasia - to me, one of the kindest things you can do is keep those old coot horses off the truck to Mexico, and for that, I applaud them. You know, I had a conversation with an old rancher this week and he was just amazed that we actually are starting to have some resources for euthanasia. He actually said that he didn't have a problem with slaughter ending if there was another way for people to deal with unwanted horses. Now that's progress, when you can get someone to admit slaughter isn't the ONLY way!

Monday, April 27, 2009

One down, way too many to go!

Back from the war, LOL...felt a bit like a war, anyway, with a small but mouthy opposition. ;-) I am sitting here worrying about our orphan colt, Drake. If anybody is still on site and wants to post a Drake report, please do so.

So, the good news that has already been posted is that the AQHA took Cleve Wells' abuse of Slow Lopin Scotch seriously and smacked him with a one year suspension and a $10,000 fine. GO AQHA! However, as always, we cannot rest on our laurels. There is still all too much abusive training out there and I've got a story for you today that is one of the most upsetting I have ever heard. To make things worse, it's local and I may have to walk by this man at a horseshow without performing any violence to him. Damn laws...Before I even begin, I want to say that I have talked to numerous individuals who witnessed his actions and I am 100% sure this took place, so if anybody wants to sue me, go for it. I know I have the facts and numerous people ready and willing to testify.

His name is Randy Byers. Here is his web site. As you can see, he promotes himself as using John Lyons' methods. This is why a friend of mine took a horse to him last fall for some fine tuning. At their initial meeting, Randy rode the horse in a plain snaffle and used Lyons' techniques. While my friend did not care for the arrogance he displayed toward her, she believed he was a competent trainer and sent her horse there.

Two weeks later, she was smart enough to drop by for an unannounced visit - at which she found her horse in a twisted wire snaffle and running martingale, totally traumatized, dripping in sweat, and with a bloody mouth. Oh, and now he reared. My friend, being no wimp, ripped ol' Randy a new one and picked up her horse the next day. She then had to send him to Jon Ensign to fix all the Randy damage. Jon did a great job. Meanwhile, Randy sent e-mail nastygrams to my friend and basically accused her of being a stupid female who knew nothing about training. Anyway, catastrophe narrowly averted - her horse survived.

A little Arabian mare did not. She is buried on the property where she lived with her very young owner, who I am pretty sure is too young to be reading this blog or I would be hesitant to post it. And there is a vet - not a good one - who said she died of a stroke.

Here's the truth:

A family bought an older Arabian mare - in her 20s - for their young daughter. The mare hadn't been ridden in several years and needed some tuning up so they took her to Randy. Unlike my friend, they did not check on her, and her nightmare began.

"I always knew when Randy was riding," one source told me, "because all we could hear was the sound of the whip from the barn." It didn't matter which horse Randy rode - he was nothing if not consistent. Everything got ridden into a white sweat, beaten and spurred. Everything. When Randy was riding, horses who weren't even in training with him would stand in their stalls and tremble with fear. If an owner came to watch, they were told ridiculous statements like "you need a curb bit to neck rein" and told that this kind of training was normal. Randy, like many NH snake oil salesmen, preyed on beginner horsepeople who did not know right from wrong. His macho, aggressive personality scared other boarders into silence. He went on trail rides with a local horseman's group where witnesses saw him ride horses until they collapsed and "race" other riders on exhausted horses but no one ever said a word because he scared them. "I am scared to talk against him," one witness told me. "He seems like the kind of guy you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley."

On January 19, 2009, Randy finally took his horse-beating style a little too far. He rode the little Arabian mare for several hours, until she fell to her knees. After she collapsed, he got off and kicked her, yelled at her, and whipped her. She somehow got into the aisleway at the barn where she died. Whip welts and a bloody girth gall were apparent on the body. A vet called Dr. Dugan was called, who pronounced her dead from a stroke. Her body was loaded into the bed of a pickup and taken back to her owners' farm for burial. The incident was reported to the Thurston County Sheriff, who investigated, but with the body gone and the vet report, nothing could be done.

Well, Randy, you think you're so slick, don't you? But people talk - and some clueless livestock vet being in your pocket doesn't save you from everything. I decided to do a little research with a REAL vet (an expert in pathology) about what it would take to accurately diagnose a stroke. I am told there is no way at all to verify a stroke without examining the brain in a necropsy. That mare went to her grave whole. Now, I'm not saying she didn't have a stroke after the hours of being worked and beaten but it cannot be proven as the cause of death. A heart attack is just as likely as is a head injury from flipping over or striking her head when she fell. But hey, we had to get that body into the ground in a hurry before anybody took a picture of all the whip welts and girth galls, didn't we? Priorities!

I mentioned Randy on my blog in January. He e-mailed me the following response "Move me up to #2 please...
I love that picture of me on the half linger, we look good together. He is one of the sweetest horses I have worked with. Could you please move me up under Cleve's #1. I think that I deserve the #2 spot instead of #6. If I give you some reall good dirt on me can I be move to #1? Randy"

Yes, Randy! YOU WIN! You are NUMBER ONE! Cleve at least didn't KILL the horse.

Again, this is RANDY BYERS who is currently holding clinics at the Triple H Arena in Chehalis, Washington and the Hart Ranch and Arena in Yakima, WA. He has something going on at the Ride the West event in Spokane, WA. He is currently training out of Carbon Stables, 15340 133rd Ave SE, Yelm, WA 98597 (this is the fourth facility in about a year or so...he got kicked out of the facility he beat the mare to death at and he got kicked out the facility before that, too)

Randy's website says (illiterate moron) "Some people succeed because they are destined too" Randy, you're not gonna succeed with that poor little mare's blood on your hands. Not if I have anything to say about it. You disgusting, pathetic loser.

Please, DO feel free to x-post everywhere. Don't let that poor little mare's death be in vain.

And if you have a horse in training, GO AND CHECK ON HIM! Do NOT leave your horse with a trainer who tells you WHEN you can come to the barn (within reason, normal barn hours are to be respected). Use your head and don't let this happen to you or your horse.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Round-up completed!

The latest I heard is that we got 192.

Everybody is fine at the fairgrounds. I know for a fact the newborn foals made it just fine.

We are tired and I won't be up too late tonight but all went generally well. Today was better than yesterday thanks to the addition of some rodeo folks. I LOVE rodeo folks because when you are doing this kind of thing, that is who you need. They know when to push, they have the "timing" right, and they know when to jump up a panel so that they don't get hurt. We had the most difficult ones to load today, and thanks to Casey and Rocky and Jennifer and Nikki and Bob and several more whose names I can't remember, we got even the toughest ones loaded without anyone getting hurt, horse or human. So, thanks you guys, that was awesome. Good help is so very appreciated!

Rayu was the last to be brought in. He led them on a merry chase over the fields and finally gave up and walked in following Amanda and grain. He does not look bad at all - I really would not be surprised to hear he was not on the property and was recently returned. He's a bit ribby but not bad at all. But yes, FOB's, he's fine. Not gonna die. Went to the fairgrounds safe and sound.

Square Peg, I did work with Scotlund and I loved him - he helped me arrange alternate transport for a filly too weak to be hauled with others. Thanks to him the very sweet yearling filly made it to the fairgrounds safely in a two horse trailer of her very own.

If anybody is criticizing Jerry Finch, they need to be bitchslapped. Jerry has been great and he NEVER said anything was being euthanized much less pregnant mares. For f's sake people...take a Prozac. Now, I don't know IF something will be euthanized in the future. There ARE some aggressive stallions and either brain surgery will cure that, or it won't. We'll see. Do I know of homes for 200 mustangs? Oh hell no. If you are interested in one, by all means post to the comments and say what you're interested in (young? older? pregger mare? mare with foal? freshly gelded? ones with saddle training only?) and I will pass your request along. I can make some personal recommendations about ones that I think have major potential, if you are interested in my 2 cents worth.

Today's high point is one of those. They ran in a gray mare with a bay filly at side (well, bay now - who knows in the future). Filly is only about a week old and marched RIGHT up to me. Minutes later, I was giving her butt and neck scritches and she was clacking her teeth together in baby horse ecstasy. Now THAT one needs to go to a home, with momma, and continue to progress. Momma is not possessive and did not mind a bit that I was working with baby. They will make a lovely project for someone. I was so happy when I heard the baby made the trip okay. She is a little superstar and there are others.

One bit of snark I must include:

Trailer loading 101: smacking the horse behind the butt drives him forward. Smacking him on top of his butt or back drives him where? Into the center of the earth? No. It just annoys him. Likewise, poking in the ribs is the cue for sidepassing, not trailer loading. If you do not know where to drive a horse from, please leave it to those who do. Thank you for your cooperation so that my head will not explode on future wild horse catching expeditions. ;-)

After we finally finished up about 4 PM, we headed off for dinner and a few nice cold beers. I am going to get some sleep tonight because we're off to the fairgrounds tomorrow to care for the horses and I'm sure that's going to be quite the job!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


There are definitely more than 120 alive. We loaded more than that today - approx. 150 and 16 had moved yesterday. More to go tomorrow.

Nothing I saw today was in any imminent danger of death. They have been eating now for a few days and are doing better. They do have all the conditions previously reported by the media - rainrot, lice, wormy, terrible feet, etc. But they are not dying.

The horse that fell down, fell down because it bounced off a fence as it was being herded back to the corrals. It was NOT killed, did NOT break his neck, was NOT roped at the time and got up after a few minutes and ran off. Anything you've heard to the contrary is ridiculously incorrect. Nobody dragged ANYTHING for 2 feet much less a mile. Did not happen.

Overall I thought we had a great team comprised of various individuals from rescue that are repo'ing horses from Jason to HSUS staff to National Disaster Animal Rescue Team volunteers (I'm officially the latter). Yes, HSUS is paying for our expenses, and I cannot imagine why anyone would have a problem with that, but I'm still trying to figure out why people are so scared of the HSUS to begin with. Seriously, they are not trying to take over the world. Some of the staff here at this operation eat meat and everything, LOL.

I met Jill Starr, and I thought she was one of the most competent horse handlers out there, and I was not around for the events that led to her leaving so I can't speak to that or respond to her post regarding the matter but like I say, she's a very good hand with horses.

Love the NorCal folks...Jason and Tawnee are great with loading tough horses, always on their toes and in the right spot and a lot of fun to hang out with. And they brought Sassysmom, who says hi from the other side of the hotel room, having thankfully survived nearly being run over thanks to another individual who was so not in the right spot. ;-)

Wish us luck tomorrow with the rest of the loading. I have a whole bunch of really nice ones picked out if anybody wants to adopt. Some of these are skittish but some of them are veritable pocket ponies. I will let you all know when we have information on when they might be able to be adopted, or if they're going to be auctioned or how that is going to work. They are in the custody in the Sheriff at present, as previously reported. The Sheriff and numerous officers were present all day today and so all went smoothly. We were at the ranch about 8 hours today, 'til we lost the light, and it was hot and then turned very's a desert like place, all sand and grit, so we're all windburned, sunburned and tired. But the biggest part of the job is over and, as Jill reported previously, no horses or humans were hurt so that's pretty awesome news!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Truth is stranger than even the Internet can come up with...

and that's about all I can tell you right now. I am here in Nebraska, and the good news is that quite a lot of the horses are not all that wild and could make good projects for an interested and knowledgeable home. I'll have a lot more information after tomorrow but tomorrow is going to be a long day. Some of them have been removed from the property, and it was really fun to throw big piles of hay in front of them for dinner. Of course there are way too many stallions (I heard 37) and numerous pregnant mares...*sigh*

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He wasn't stolen, he was trying to find food!

Shocker (not)

Rayu was found on the ranch. Surprise, surprise, surprise. No wonder nobody could fly over to check for him. BECAUSE HE WAS THERE. No word yet on his condition. It should be noted that Rayu is NOT Jason's and I hope he is QUICKLY removed to live somewhere where he will be fed.


So the good news is that, as I predicted, Jason will have a hard time suing me or anybody else who talked about this situation because he's going to be too busy fighting his own criminal charges. He has been charged with one count of felony animal cruelty, but expect that total to increase as there are many more dead. Jerry Finch of the ever-wonderful Habitat for Horses (the folks who saved Naysa) flew out there, and with the help of another great rescue, Front Range, took over and is busting his butt trying to save as many lives as possible. Meanwhile, Jason the Shirtless Gun-Totin' Cowboy got himself bailed out and promptly proceeded to return to the ranch he had abandoned and try to start shit with Jerry and his team. That's a GREAT way to show that you are "there for the horses," Jason. Let's interfere with people who are trying to help clean up the mess that your deadbeat ass created. THAT makes you look like a GREAT guy.

Jerry's got another pic on his web site. Poor pony.

Article including the Habitat For Horses press release.

Jerry is meeting with the authorities and more news to come...I am sure there will be many more felony charges from what I am hearing. If you want to help, you can donate to Front Range Equine Rescue for the horses (info is in the press release link). If you can't do that, just wait - this guy is going to do his best to weasel out of prosecution. Just remember the original post and the excuses I told you that he will use - you are going to hear them!

If you have a mustang sanctuary and are doing it right, this is a good time to invite the press to your property and speak your piece about how horses can be managed in a natural setting but still receive proper care. Remember, unless we educate and until we educate,
the excuses work. They work on the public and they work on juries and they work on judges. One of the best things you can do is show by example that the excuses are nonsense. Let's see it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Too bad the horses couldn't just say no!

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard all about the sudden death of 21 polo ponies yesterday in Wellington, Florida. Watch video. I was just watching the news and apparently rumor has it they had a reaction to tainted steroids administered by an Argentine vet not licensed to practice here.


I have been involved in polo, off and on, since high school. It is without a doubt my favorite equestrian sport and normally one thing I like about it is that there is a typically high standard of care. The horses are conditioned intelligently and kept very fit. Injuries are noticed and everybody except a handful of idiots lays horses off as needed and does not play them when they are not 100% sound. Stalls are clean, water is plentiful, leg wrapping is usually excellent. The polo world used to keep horses too thin - that has changed and today's polo ponies normally look very good - 4's and 5's instead of the 3's they used to be. Many polo ponies get chiropractic and massage and are treated like the expensive athletes they are. At the same time, few are kept in an unnatural way - it's still very normal for polo ponies to be run out in a herd to enjoy life, and most get half the year off of work, or at least 4-6 weeks spring and fall between the two seasons. Polo provides a great second career for the 15 hand failed racehorses the hunt/dressage world doesn't want and many of them play well into their twenties.


Around the early 90s, polo got a new problem. At the barn I was at, it came in the form of a South American player. He moved in with three horses - cute, good looking horses but very unpopular with the barn help. Entering their stall was like sticking your hand into a piranha tank. They all bit. The ears went back and they snaked out with lightening speed to try to get a piece of you. Very unhappy ponies.

Soon, I learned why. Mr. South America was injecting them with a steroid called Winstrol V. It made them bulk up - that's why they looked so good - but it also made them as mean as Simon Cowell on a bad day. My then-boyfriend wanted to do the same to our horses. He had a little 14.3 Appendix mare that just wasn't so tough, even though she was safe, consistent, and packed his kids around between games. I had noticed the steroid-attitude connection, and even though I wasn't then aware of the internal damage steroids cause, I put the kibosh on our horses getting anything more hardcore than bute.

Sadly, not every polo pony had a pushy girlfriend to stand up for their rights, and steroid use continued to spread. Everybody knows steroids have been used in racehorses and halter horses, but the problem exists in other disciplines as well.

More information about steroid use in horses:

"Colorado State University undertook a study beginning in late 1980 and used 48 yearling fillies. They were divided into three groups and one control group. Each group received different brands of anabolic steroids every three weeks; one group was given four times the proper dose, consistent with abusive practices...The fillies also became aggressive toward other horses and exhibited atypical, stallion like behavior. Each was observed teasing and mounting herd mates...The Vets recommended never giving anabolic steroids to mares. They also discovered that very young horses should never have them. Some young horses given anabolics to speed growth or enhance muscle definition, never reach full size and never become fertile. Martin Simensen, DVM, the official veterinarian of the United States Equestrian Team says, "I am very strongly opposed to the use of anabolic steroids in a young horse"."

Well, Martin, I am opposed to the use of anabolic steroids in ANY horse unless it is considered the only way to help recovery from an injury and is administered for a limited time for that purpose only.

So now we're hearing that tainted steroids killed these horses. You know, there's a way to avoid that problem. It's called DON'T DRUG UP YOUR HORSES TO WIN A FUCKING POLO GAME. Maybe you all should learn to play better so that your horses don't have to be supercharged - what happened to polo being a chess game on horseback, a game of strategy? I remember the days when the mark of a great polo player was how smart he played, saving the horse whenever possible. Now I see you idiots out there running like you're on crack, making dangerous plays and smashing your horses into each other like a bunch of rednecks in a demolition derby. It's ugly to watch. I don't enjoy watching it, and we've seen more injuries and deaths because of it, both to horses and humans.

FYI, the Lechuza Caracas team consists of team owner Victor Vargas and professional players Guille Aguero, Sapo Caset and Nicolas Espain. And there is plenty of information online about Mr. Vargas. Google him, you'll be reading all day! Let's just say I'm guessing honesty and fair play isn't his strong suit, in anything.

I hear the USPA is investigating. If it is proven that steroid (or other performance-enhancing-drug) injections caused these horses' deaths, I sincerely hope every last member of that polo team are banned from playing in America permanently. Polo, learn something from racing - the whole sport can and will be destroyed if you don't kick out the bad seeds. It's time to do some house-cleaning and start drug testing and doing random vet exams at matches. Polo ponies deserve the same protections as other high level equine athletes and it's time they had them.

(P.S. You guys will never be able to keep this shit quiet. What do you think your grooms talk about? Good luck getting a polo groom to sign a confidentiality agreement. Every one I've ever met talked nonstop about their boss's horse care or lack thereof. Polo is a very small world.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

By request...a happy ending!

I was asked to give an update on Chip, the POA pony posted around Christmas for adoption as one of my Friday Featured Rescues. I asked his adopter how he's doing and here's the scoop:

"Chip has been a wonderful addition to our little pony family. He enjoys the regular routine and gets along very well with the other two horses. He's a goofball and mischievous but also patient and very level-headed. He loves the attention, and will doze peacefully while my two daughters groom him. He enjoys being around people, and is always eager to come in for some personal attention. His fuzzy little butt is well-loved by all.

I had his dental work done and it was clear he has never had his teeth floated. The inside of his cheeks are VERY scarred and his points quite sharp. He's always been a slow eater, but within a few days after the dental work we realized that it was probably uncomfortable to chew. Now he eats with more enthusiasm and seems to enjoy mealtime more. The vet gave him an overall body score of 5, and was very pleased with his weight and overall health. Chip is also receiving monthly massages from a local equine body worker. Yes, he is spoiled. :-)

The girls aren't riding him yet, but they are currently taking lessons at a barn in (deleted for privacy) which is heavily into pony club. While they are getting a good riding foundation in, I'll be working with one of my former instructors to finish him. If I can, I'd like to do this right, giving the girls and Chip the education they need to make this a successful partnership. The few people who have looked at him believe he will be an excellent pony club prospect. It will be a lot of fun to find out what he likes to do."

So there you go! Yay for the Chip pony. I love her pictures - doesn't he look happy? If you adopted one of my Friday Featured Rescues, give us an update and don't forget a link to the pictures!

And if you NEED a new rescue, consider adopting one of the Paragallo horses...there are 67 up for grabs at the Columbia/Greene Humane Society. NO ADOPTION FEES if you pass muster as a good home...these are quality Thoroughbreds who just need your loving care to get back to weight and ready to work again. (I would drag that chestnut at top right in their pics home...look at the depth through the heart, shoulder and pretty neck...there is a very nice horse hiding underneath the mud and poor condition.) They are in Hudson, NY and can also use your donations or volunteer time.

We are having a great, sunshiny day in the PNW so I am off to play with horses...have a great weekend, everybody!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I don't think malnutrition is the correct way to create ponies...

Who knows how tall this two year old would be if it got some food? Click on the pic to see a larger version and all the detail of the spine standing up.

The ad: "We are selling our baby paint pony. She was born April 11th, 2007. She is about 13 Hands right now and should mature to be about 13.2 or so. She is very sweet and comes up to you in the pasture. We have been working with her and she allows you to pick up her feet with no problem. She does great with kids or adults. We are asking $400 for her."

This pony is not just poorly cared for, she's the very definition of a conformational train wreck. Her huge-headed appearance is due to malnutrition, but no amount of food will improve that straight up-and-down shoulder. Some dewormer and better nutrition will tuck up that pot belly, but extra weight isn't going to result in a pretty hip - just a less sharply defined one. The hooves - which do not look like they have ever been trimmed - make it even harder to evaluate the legs, but the pasterns look long to me. Yes, just another totally mediocre, undersized, unfed two year old that should never have been produced in the first place. The pony hunter market is not looking for ponies like this and she will never have the look to be a western show pony, either. I hope she gets upgraded but, at $400, most buyers know they can get a lot more for their money.

Feeding a baby is a huge challenge. If you are a novice at it, you will hear so many opinions that you will be ready to scream. There are the alfalfa proponents, the oh-my-god-you-can't-feed-alfalfa crowd, those who believe one magical supplement is responsible for their good results, and so on. I won't begin to tell you a "right" way. What I will tell you is that some things are not negotiable:

1. Deworming! Foals are more susceptible to parasites than adult horses. There are different schools of thought about when to administer that first deworming, but the most common answer is between four to six weeks of age and every six to eight weeks thereafter. I learned fairly recently that orphan foals are particularly susceptible to parasites, so you may need to step up the schedule and deworm them monthly to keep them parasite free.

Deworming is pretty simple - if you don't spend the money to deworm, your hay is going to feed the worms, not the foal. Get on a schedule and stick to it. Worms can do so much internal damage - they can create a ticking time bomb that shows up in a fatal colic down the road. Anyone who skimps on deworming is the very definition of pennywise and pound foolish.

2. Growing babies need to eat like growing boys. I believe they should have something in front of them at all times - if you don't have grass pasture, then it should be grass hay. If you can't stomach the idea of feeding free choice hay, then add lunch. I have heard some of the dumbest things ever about "overfeeding" foals. Not on grass hay, you won't. Grain is what you have to be careful with.

I think sometimes people think a foal will be cheaper to feed than an adult and so they don't have to allot quite as much of a feed budget. This isn't really true. While the foal may not consume the quantity of feed as your 16 hand stock type gelding, quality is very important and you may be surprised to see much a yearling or two year old can pack away. (I also think people get confused between feeding a pony and feeding a foal. While they may be the same size, the same feeding program will not suffice!)

So now I'll throw it open - how do YOU feed your foals? What you think it costs you as opposed to your adult horses? If you've been breeding for years, have you changed your feeding philosophy along the way?

I have that requested East Coast Friday Featured Rescue for you today! Token is a 16.1 hand bay Thoroughbred gelding. He is seven years old and his only bad habit is that he is an attention hog who loves to be loved on! Token walks, trots, and canters nicely under saddle both directions and is excellent on the longe line. How beautiful is he?

You can find him at Angel Acres in Glenville, Pennsylvania.

Any draft or Morgan fans in the PNW, e-mail me - I have a broke Percheron and two broke Morgans that need new homes. Two are freebies, one has an adoption fee.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I believe that's more than three strikes...

Sorry for the graphic picture, but today I have to go there. I've got a point to make here. This drama started, as many rescue dramas do, on the Alex Brown forum with a begging-for-money post. But the ABR forum has gotten smart thanks to being burned many, many times (Well, most of them.) Now most of them ask questions and do research and this is what their research turned up.

You may have already seen this picture. It was taken at the Three Strikes Ranch. The horse shows all the signs of having died from starvation. He's emaciated, and the marks in the sand show his struggles and the "paddling" that takes place before starvation finally shuts down the organs forever. (Nice feet, too!)

From their mission statement:

"You were the horse's best friend.You fed your horse first before you fed yourself."

Well, it's pretty damn apparent you didn't feed that horse before you fed yourself.

The head honcho here is some mustang trainer named Jason Meduna. Jason likes to take lots of pictures of himself...some with his shirt off. Put your shirt on and explain what we're hearing - that a horse you said was poisoned and dead is alive but was brought in horribly emaciated, that the BLM has already pulled horses out - at least the one they could find that was still alive. You're awful good at telling the media that you'll feed them before you'll feed yourself - well, I don't see YOU starving.

I can pretty much tell you Jason's defense before he even opens his mouth. Let's see how psychic I turn out to be:

"Your Honor, these horses live as nature intended! They run free and unfettered. They mate and raise their foals with the wind in their manes and freedom in their hearts. And it's the cycle of life that some of them naturally don't make it through the winter. If they're old or their teeth are bad or they are injured, they die. It's natural!"

Other things we are going to hear:

Poor Jason, he was just overwhelmed!

Poor Jason, donations dried up!

Poor Jason, he loves those horses!

And somehow I will bet those excuses play better coming from Cowboy Jason than they do from the typical middle aged, scraggly haired, mom-jeaned female hoarder. I'll betcha Jason never does get in any trouble for this or gets a wrist-slap. Besides, he has an influential (and I'm sure, highly embarrassed at the moment) BOD that will buy him a good lawyer. (P.S. I understand a little background checking might have prevented this situation. I think it's odd that I've had to get background and drug checked for several jobs which involved sitting on my butt doing paperwork, but nobody bothers to do it when you hand over control of a couple hundred horsey lives to somebody.)

You know that's exactly how this is going to go. Suddenly it is going to be some kind of experiment in natural horsekeeping and we'll get the "but they're mustangs/it's a sanctuary" get-out-of-the-abuse-conviction-free card going. This is why I keep asking the tough questions that NO ONE LIKES. Like, if I have an Arabian on one side of the fence and his feet are long and he hasn't been dewormed in 6 months and he has an untreated wound because I was too lazy to halter break him, that's abuse and he'll get seized and I'll get convicted, but if I have a Mustang on the other side of the fence with the same conditions, somehow it's OK because I have a "sanctuary" and they're all "living as nature intended." Or dying, as the case may be.

I call logical horseshit. If you put a fence around it, you just took responsibility and to me it's the same damn responsibility as if it was a Gypsy Vanner or a Holsteiner or a Shetland pony. If we don't start applying the same standard of care to every single horse under the custody and control of a human being in this country, we're f'ed as far as the laws go. Good luck getting cruelty convictions. Either we have a standard, or we don't. We can't have a standard for some owned horses and not others. It doesn't work! Think about it - if Mustang Marty can't trim the feet on his mustang because it's too wild, why can't Suzy BYB use the same excuse for her rank nasty three year old that she's scared of? If supplementing poor pasture with hay in the winter is not required when you have 300 horses, how can it be required when you have 30 horses? If I were Suzy's lawyer, I'd sure ask that question when Suzy gets charged with neglect for having curly-footed, emaciated horses.

But even with the best of intentions, the other point to make here is that there is no freakin' way to take good care of 300 horses without a massive staff. The stuff you can read in the ABR thread is all typical when you have too damn many horses. You can have too damn many horses whether you are a private ranch, a rescue, a sanctuary or whatever. (Side note: Jason, why the hell are you breeding more mustangs? Hello, we already have a zillion of them with no homes, did you not notice this?).

And this situation, like MANY that go south, is a result of things getting VERY big VERY fast. They opened this place in 2005 and already had 100 horses within the first year! That's not a good idea whether you are a mustang trainer or a lottery winner. You need to start with, say, five, and see how you do. See how many you have time to work with consistently. See how your finances hold up. See how many unexpected things cost money in that first year. See if you can find and retain qualified staff.

I firmly believe that a single individual, employed full time to do so, can take GOOD care of a maximum of 12 horses if they are stalled and maybe 15 to 20 at pasture depending on how the property is laid out and how labor-intensive activities like feeding and catching them are. That's it. If you have more than 20 horses per person, I will bet you any amount of money that I will find untreated injuries, unnoticed health conditions, and odds are excellent that things like feet will not be up to date or anywhere near. That's just what happens. None of us are Super(wo)man, and we can only do so much in a day. Having a reasonable number of animals that you can provide proper care for is always the right decision whether you're a rescuer or a private owner.

This story is developing and I suspect we'll know much more by evening. ABR seems to be deleting posts, and you know that won't happen here, so if you know more about this situation, feel free to share!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The best thing I've seen happen to Thoroughbreds in my lifetime!

and just a few days ago, someone said to me that the JC would NEVER give us this info...HA!

Whoever at the JC decided to do this...THANK YOU. I can't bring back the gelding from last weekend at Enumclaw, but now we are going to save SO many more! YOU GUYS ROCK! THANK YOU!

(Hey AQHA, can you put it online too?)


April 15, 2009
Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (859) 224-2717


The Jockey Club announced today that it has established Tattoo Identification Services, a free resource to help owners identify tattooed but unknown Thoroughbreds in their possession.

For legible tattoos, an owner can use a free tattoo lookup feature available from The Jockey Club’s website,, and the Registry homepage,

For illegible tattoos or partial tattoos, customer service representatives from the Registry will provide free research of a Thoroughbred’s identity using the information contained in The Jockey Club’s database, including color, markings, and photographs.

Information on procuring identification from illegible or partial tattoos as well as tips for reading lip tattoos and a list of frequently asked questions is available at

“We hope that Tattoo Identification Services will be a valuable tool for individuals and organizations seeking to retire, re-train and find suitable homes for Thoroughbred racehorses when their racing careers are over,” said Matt Iuliano, vice president of registration services for The Jockey Club. “We view this as an adjunct to our recently implemented checkoff program, and as a service to both the horses and the people who care for them.”

On January 1, 2009, The Jockey Club instituted a voluntary checkoff program enabling owners and breeders in North America to assist the retirement, re-training and adoption efforts of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Thoroughbred Charities of America when they submit their foal registration applications.

As an incentive to encourage participation, The Jockey Club will match the checkoff on a dollar-to-dollar basis up to $200,000 in 2009. Checkoff proceeds and matching funds are being distributed to those two organizations on a quarterly basis, with over $100,000 distributed thus far.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Paddington! Paddington! What are you doing???

So, have you all heard about the woman who jumped in the polar bear pen?

I can't help it. I HAVE to talk about this! And it's not really that off-topic because I think it relates to all the stuff we see...the tiny little kids bareback on the loose horse, the person who bought a two year old horse for her three year old sister, the baby brushing the foal. WTF! This is an adult woman with a baby who climbed a fence and jumped into a pen WITH BEARS (thankfully not WITH the baby). Her husband is apparently just as stupid as she is because he did nothing to stop her or alert authorities.

The polar bears - are you ready for the shocker? - acted like bears AND BIT HER. At that point, she decided it wasn't so much fun anymore and swam away and got rescued. Wait for the lawsuit...but really, do we have to straitjacket some people to keep them out of trouble? At what point are you expected to have some common sense?

This led me to start looking up frivolous lawsuits with horses, and boy, did I find some doozies.

Bareback rider sues stock contractor because a bronc flips on him. NO! A bronc acted bronc-y? Bronc riding is dangerous? WHO KNEW! Fortunately this was decided correctly.

Stable hand sues because horse steps on his foot, spooked by dog. Horses have stepped on my feet many times. It is what horses do when you are not quick enough to get your foot out of the way of their much heavier foot. If you do not wish to risk that, I recommend employment at Burger King.

How dare you fly over my riding arena? *sigh* Again, decided correctly.

Horse has a stroke but somehow it's the horse owner's boss's fault? I like this case...they try to allege that because there was strangles on the property, that was somehow related to a horse having a stroke. Uh, no. And it's obvious that they only went after the farm owner because she had money. Lame, lame, lame.

Vet sues because horse B kicks him as he's examining horse A in the pasture. OH COME ON! Any vets here who haven't been kicked? Pretty sure that comes with the territory and that if you'd like to reduce your chances, you start by not examining horses in a field with loose horses.

Now this one, I disagree with and think the Plaintiff had a case. Horse show manager run down by snotty girl she admonished. I don't think the "inherent risk of horse activities" includes some bitchy chick deliberately running you down with her horse, do you?

Not sure where I stand on this one except to say, dude, it would have been cheaper to just buy a ticket to the rodeo.

I've been fortunate enough never to have been involved in a horse related lawsuit, except as an expert witness. What about the rest of you? Have you seen some truly ridiculous claims? What about ones you thought were valid? Have you had a case dismissed early on because it was obvious even to the judge that the whole thing was ridiculous?

While you all know that, overall, I don't think horses belong on heavily-trafficked roads, the fact that HAHS is adopting out the seized Chicago carriage horses is ludicrous and illegal. You may recall that these horses were seized because they were "in an unheated stable" which is beyond silly because horses live in ALASKA in unheated stables, for heaven's sake. I never saw a bit of photographic evidence that any horses were seriously thin or otherwise uncared for, and usually that kind of evidence abounds in a case like this, so I have to side with the carriage company on this one. I mean, if you claim a horse is 200 lbs underweight, show me the pictures. You should have plenty. However, EVEN IF the horses had been abused, everybody is entitled to their day in court. That's why the last group of horses that were allegedly owned by Dean Solomon are in foster care - because someone else says the horses had already been given to her and they can NOT be permanently adopted until ownership is legally determined by the courts, in summer 2010. How the hell do HAHS or local authorities think they can do otherwise? Sheesh, HAHS, and I thought you got your act together when you ditched that pro-slaughter beyotch who used to be your executive director. This is disappointing to hear.

And from Wisconsin "my horses are healthy - they are fat." Really?
Even the dead one? I have a local who says the place is full of moldy hay and barbed wire, and the proprietorr says the horses are skinny because they are old. You ALL know what I think of THAT excuse.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Homes for Horses Coalition Conference

Last week I attended the Homes for Horses Coalition Conference in Las Vegas and, although I didn't make it for the whole event, I wanted to report back on what I did see - especially for those who say the anti-slaughter side "doesn't have a plan." This entire conference was about discussing our plans, sharing ideas and getting input from others about what works and what doesn't.

I missed the panels on working with law enforcement on animal cases, finding homes for adoptable horses, and euthanasia. I understand the latter was particularly excellent and that most participants showed a willingness to be realistic about the fact that some horses will need to be euthanized.

I got there in time to attend a seminar from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which is going to start accrediting horse sanctuaries this year. They will be sending out two trained investigators. One focuses on animal care - one focuses on the business end. The goal is to ensure that a sanctuary is both taking good care of its animals and keeping good records/financially stable. It will do a lot toward giving the public a way to know that donated dollars are going to a reputable operation (not Dancing Star or the HASScienda). You've all said that there should be a way to regulate these operations - well, now there is. Participation is voluntary but accreditation will mean that a sanctuary has passed an all-day site visit. The site visit repeats every three years but can be stepped up if there are complaints or questions about a sanctuary. While their guidelines are still in the process of being developed, I agreed with many of them and was pleased to see that they took firm stands on barbed wire (not okay) and gelding (a must unless the vet says no).

The next day started out with a panel on how to seek grants and funds. This was pretty funny - Jacque Schultz from the ASPCA sounded an awful lot like me as she advised that grant applications full of misspellings, poor grammar, and hyper-emotional stories about how your husband left you are not the way to show that you are a professional rescue organization that will make good use of grant money! Basically, if you want to get a grant, you need to be realistic about what you are asking for (if the grant range goes up to $4,000, asking for $20K will probably get you...nothing), clear about what you are asking for, professional in your request and polite no matter which way the decision goes. Sounds simple, right? Of course there'd be nothing to talk about if she didn't get long diatribes about health problems, family problems and angry calls from people that she dares not to throw money at. Sheesh, people. Save that crap for the ABR board.

They also discussed all the resources most rescues don't even try to avail themselves of. For example, is a great place to find grants for new computers and software for your rescue, therapeutic center or other nonprofit. They recommended trying to sell ad space on your truck and trailer to local businesses, or put a billboard in your front field if you are on a major road. You should ask yourself how what you do may benefit a group that doesn't neigh - for example, if you can show you are helping human beings, you may get a grant from an org like United Way. (i.e. if you have a hay program for people who have become unemployed) Another recommended site was Here's a new one - did you know that indian casinos may fund your Thoroughbred rescue? You bet - they're pro-gambling and racing is gambling, so they want to "give back" just like any business. Got a new seizure of more than three horses? Try Petsmart Charities for a quick dose of cash.

This was followed by a panel on disaster preparedness. Very interesting, since people were there from such different parts of the country. Jerry Finch from Habitat for Horses talked about the hurricanes in Texas (and yes, I did speak to him and thank him on everybody's behalf for Naysa's miraculous rehab - apparently she is super happy and loved and dirtbag horse dealer has not gone to trial yet and is still dealing horses. I told him if he ever needs letters to the prosecutors, tell me, 'cause you guys will be happy to write them!). Others talked about floods, fires and the question of whether to stay or go in the event of a natural disaster (evacuation isn't always the right call). Habitat for Horses had some GREAT materials including what items should make up your horses' emergency kit and I believe those will be posted on the web site in the future.

The next panel covered how to work with the community. Floss Blackburn of Denkai Animal Sanctuary made some really good points about how to work with communities that are not normally rescue-friendly. She noted that it is hard to convince an old cowboy that we should feed 30 year old horses. (I suggested my usual retort - which is, hey, it's good for the economy! I'm supporting the hay producers, grain producers, farriers, etc. by keeping my horses alive as long as possible!) Joey Osborn from Luv Shack and Beth DeCaprio from The Grace Foundation went into all of the ways you can involve the community in your rescue efforts. The main thing that jumped out at me? All of these ladies are professional. They simply do not come off as highly emotional "rescue crazies," even though rescue is the focal point of their lives. I can't emphasize this enough. Nobody gets anywhere crying and getting angry and looking like they forgot to take their Prozac. I do not care how upset you are about abuse, neglect and slaughter - learn to put that aside, or let someone else speak for your rescue.

The speakers recommended ideas like making friends with your local Chamber of Commerce and any business groups and attending their meetings, and involving the community in various ways like having a school class "adopt" a particular horse or have a contest to name a new rescue horse.

Next there was a discussion on volunteer management. It was interesting to hear everybody's strategies for keeping volunteers energized and interested. Some rescues had very strict policies about what volunteers could or could not do - so strict that I was surprised they get volunteers at all. However, I understand being safety conscious in our litigious society. Shiloh seems like a super fun place to volunteer for those in the Vegas area - Jill Curtis was there and showed lots of pics. She has dozens of volunteers of all ages and they do grooming, baths, riding - whatever needs to be done. They are supervised and placed with horses appropriate for them to handle. She has a pasture full of "gummies" - old mush-eaters who are perfect for little kid grooming practice.

The final discussion was on how to promote owner and breeder responsibility, and I was one of the speakers for that, so I talked about how we need to step up communications. So often, a horse is lost that HAD a home merely because we can't ID him in time. (Just last weekend - gelding named Slewpyooo - if I could have ID'd him on Sunday, I'd have outbid Ron and he'd be back home with his trainer. I found out too late who he had been, and the horse is gone as far as we can find out.) I talked about HorseReunions and how I'd like to see it expand including obtaining the tattoo databases from JC and AQHA so that we can ID horses on a Sunday afternoon at the auction - when we need to. I also discussed the breeder's list and my belief that the longer it gets, the more it will become the social norm to take responsibility for what you have bred. Jane Heath from the Montana Horse Sanctuary followed me and talked about her fight to prevent slaughter from being legalized in Montana. I was really impressed by how she pulled a very organized grassroots effort together in a short period of time and has even convinced many former slaughter supporters to change their allegiances. By the way, Jane has a situation developing with over 200 QH's and TB's from a 90+ year old man, so if you're horse-shopping, by all means shoot Jane an e-mail!

A final fun note for the COTH'ers here...remember Erin, the ex-moderator of the COTH board? She has written a Complete Guide to Horse Care for the HSUS. I read it on the plane home and loved it. It's a good, solid, basic beginner horse book with a twist - ethics. Erin's book will tell you slaughter isn't ok, nor is barbed wire, nor is competing a lame horse because you are running for year-end awards. She isn't preachy about it - she's matter of fact. This book would make a perfect gift for a new horse owner or someone who has just started to take lessons. (I LMAO, there is some subtle snark in there on various guys will pick up on all of it and enjoy) Click below to learn more about Erin's book.

It's Monday but I have a bit of a rescue crisis. If you are in the Seattle area and are an experienced horseperson who likes Arabians, there is an 11 year old stallion who is going to get euthed this week if he can't find a home. He is only halter broke - expect loading to be interesting and bring a stock trailer. However, he is kind and not aggressive - you can groom him and he likes people but will be a project in all other ways. Bloodlines are Polish/Crabbet but nothing special - he absolutely should be gelded. Registered name Here Before Dawn. His owner passed away. If you are serious about giving this guy a chance, you can e-mail Jason, who is trying to help him. There is also a 25 year old gelding named Skye Prince who would be suitable for little kids/companion life and a 17 year old mare named KB Fancy Myss who was broke and ridden but has not been ridden in some time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Maybe it needs a simpler name?

After reading the latest Horsetopia breeding fiasco, I've decided that we need to rename Lethal White Syndrome to a name BYB's can understand. I'm going to suggest Dead Baby Syndrome. Maybe that will get the point across!

To give those of you unfamiliar with it a short primer on lethal white, aka OLWS - it's kind of like HYPP. It's caused by a mutated gene and as long as you don't breed a positive to a positive, you CAN NOT get a lethal white foal. But in this case, a positive has one copy of the gene - not two. If they have two, they're dead within about 72 hours and you don't have to worry about them reproducing. They are both with malformed bowels and cannot defecate normally. It's like being born with a built-in impaction. The intestines are never going to work normally, so it's not a matter of the vet being able to clear the impaction. They just don't have the ability to get waste out of their

As with HYPP, you cannot tell by looking. If you breed two horses together that are positive, 25% of the time you're going to get a lethal white foal that has two copies of the gene and will die.

As with HYPP, there are a lot of misconceptions. People think you can only get a lethal white breeding two overos. BZZZZT! Wrong. You can get a lethal white breeding two SOLIDS. The gene has also been seen in tobianos. It happens, and the only way to know the truth is to test.

It costs a
whopping $25 to test, so why wouldn't you test your horses if you breed spotted horses (it doesn't just happen in Paints but in Minis and other breeds where you have overo coat patterns), rather than risk a foal that dies in agony within his first few days of life? Oh wait, the same reason people don't HERDA test...because they are lazy, cheap and ignorant.

So, Backyard Breeder du Jour posts pics of her foal the other day and the educated folks on Horsetopia (they do exist) pointed out that it sure looked like a lethal white. But no, it's "very healthy." Uh-huh. Ooops! Spoke too soon! A day later, it's not doing well - but it's not a lethal white. No sirree. "The vet has been out and says he's not acting like a lethal white would and he does have a bit more color than just his tail. He's acting more like kidney failure than a colic. He is nursing well and was very active until early this morning. At this point the vet is stumped. We have our fingers crossed." You guessed it, finger crossing, prayers and good wishes from the Internet did not save the foal. Shocker!

NOW they are testing to see if he was a lethal white! NOW! You couldn't spend the $25 before you bred the mare? I'll bet your vet bill has been a lot more than $25. Just a guess.

Of course, BYB here does not seem like the sharpest tool in the shed based upon her other pics on her web site. Her kids don't look like they have much better chance than her foals. She brags about her brand new facility - ok, we get it, you're not broke, so start OLWS testing your horses and buy your kids some boots and helmets!

And she is a registered nurse. I don't get it. I swear, I do not get it at all. She surely can understand genetics. She surely can understand what happens when that horse's hoof hits her kid's toes or worse yet her little face. I do NOT get it.

OK, back on with HYPP and HERDA, I strongly recommend patronizing stallions whose breeders have done all of the testing so that there are no surprises. Remember, one of the best things we can do to encourage responsible breeding is to vote with our wallets - even if you know your mare is negative and the stallion's status is irrelevant, look for a tested stallion. Some stallion owners of positive stallions do not breed positive mares, and that is another policy that should be strongly encouraged. As with HERDA, a positive status isn't a reason not to breed - it's just a sign that you must only breed to a horse with a negative status.

$25 of knowing the facts or a 25% chance of a foal that is going to die within days. Seems like a no-brainer to me -- too bad so many people with no brains are breeding horses!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crime does pay in the horse slaughter biz!

From Race Horse to Main Course

(There is graphic video at the link - but you don't have to watch it)

I swear, at first I thought this was an April Fool's joke. It just seemed so insane that horses were being stolen and killed for their meat in Florida, but apparently it's completely true.

"They are poachers from Miami's black market who sell the horses' meat, which is a popular delicacy among new arrivals from other countries to the area. The horse meat can go for as much as $20 per pound and based on the number of bloody horse remains and meat-stripped carcasses found on the side of dirt roads and in stables across Miami-Dade, harvesting horses for meat is a lucrative business."

Holy crap! At this point, if I lived in the area, I'd be sleeping with my horses. Can you even imagine coming outside to find that your horse has been butchered?

What shocks me is that no arrests have been made. Unbelievable!

So what can you do when something like this is going on in your area? I'd definitely get a security camera system. I'd keep my horses in at night, close to the house. I'd post signs stating that you have the area under surveillance and anyone tampering with your livestock will be prosecuted. (I'd post 'em in Spanish, too) A big noisy dog is always a deterrent to all kinds of crime and it doesn't have to be mean - it just has to sound mean.

If you have other tips for keeping your horses safe when you know there is a theft problem or just something like someone randomly going around shooting horses, please post them. If you are in the Miami-Dade area, I'd love to hear your take on this.

Here's a Friday Featured Rescue for those of you in Southern California. Rhetoric Express, barn name Dragon, is a nine year old Thoroughbred gelding. He won $181K on the track and apparently he feels like he has done enough as he is described as a nice calm boy who likes to walk. :-) He has done well ridden by children and is ready for a new career. Dragon's adoption fee is just $300 and he's in the San Diego area. Contact Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue for more information!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gerry Trupia loves this guy

Finally, someone in the Thoroughbred industry who has overshadowed her own breeding farm disaster!

A few days ago, we started hearing how a bunch of Ernie Paragallo's horses had been pulled out of the kill pen . "Lisa Leogrande, who operates a boarding and training center in Fulton, N.Y., discovered the Paragallo horses at the kill pen when she saw the horses’ name bands." (At least the shipper was stupid enough to leave those on. Woot! That makes rescuing a lot easier than having to trace a tattoo. Can all of you bottom-feeders who dump horses at New Holland start doing that? That'd be great.)

Paragallo (shown at left) acted suitably remorseful, if not particularly believable. The Paulick Report did a good job of outing him and his long, long history of financial problems.

Well, it got worse.

From the article:

"According to Paragallo, workers at the farm didn't properly care for the horses.

"I guess my guys don't count too great," Paragallo said of his employees. "I was told only a couple were skinny from my help. That's my f--- up. It's my responsibility. My bad management."

Perez, however, said the workers "were doing a fine job with what they have. They did supply proper water, care and they seemed a bit relieved when we got there."

So now it comes back to what I've said before. 177 horses don't starve in a vaccuum. There were employees on this farm who knew what those horses looked like. Surely there were some visitors...farriers, vets, even delivery people. How many of those people bothered to file a report. Any?

As for old Ernie, yes, he wasn't at the farm. He was at the track a whopping TWO HOUR drive away. Oh, poor you! You couldn't possibly be expected to drive a whole 130 miles and check on your 177 horses.

(How many times do I have to say the math. Very, very few people can pay to feed 177 horses. Even in a state where hay and grain are cheap, that's a minimum of $17,700 a month JUST for feed. Not even counting vet and farrier. How many people truly DO have that money? When you see 177 horses in one place with one owner, you'd better be checking up on their welfare...frequently.)

Very good editorial about Paragallo repeatedly swerving his responsibilities and continuing to train horses.

I think the reason people don't report is that it seems like there's nothing that can be done. You have to realize, it took 3 years of people reporting Dean Solomon up here for action to be taken. It is not going to be a quick process and it's highly likely horses are going to die during the process, as they did at Dean's. I know it is frustrating! But when you throw your hands in the air and say, nothing will be done, I'm not going to bother, that's how this stuff happens. Report - even if nothing happens at the time, it helps so much to show a pattern of behavior later that will result in an actual prosecution and not a wrist-slap.

And hey - he got in trouble for starving his horses two years ago, too! The story is so familiar. This is a pattern of abuse. Abuse is the norm for him. At left is a horse called Pass the Pie - top is how he came out of Ernie's, bottom is after rehab.

Ernie, your claims of innocence are ludicrous. You have been keeping your horses this way for a very long time and you've gotten away with it. You clearly are not hurting for money - you just have too many. Why didn't you sell off half so you could feed the rest? Why? Why? Why?

Why? Well, in his own way, Ernie's as much of a hoarder as some 62 year old lady trying to feed 16 horses off her SSI check. Ernie thinks he's better than that, but he's not. The end result is the same - starving horses and an owner who seems completely delusional about the fact that they are starving. I scream about people whose horses are starving while they still have a Nintendo, a quad and a plasma TV, but holy crap, how much shit does Ernie have that he COULD have sold to feed these horses? He's NOT THAT BROKE. He's still actively racing. He just didn't care...and that's disgusting.

Another Chance 4 Horses has some of the horses and the ASPCA is caring for the rest. More pics on the AC4H site. Kudos to all of those who have stepped in to help these horses, and hope some of you who are looking for a new prospect this year will consider them if/when they are released for adoption.