Friday, April 3, 2009

Maybe the tack catalogs should show them installed?

Happy Friday!

I got a picture in my in-box that made me feel compelled to write yet another rant on the topic of WHY people need to TAKE SOME DAMN LESSONS before they go out and buy a horse.

Yes, this is a saintly Missouri Fox Trotter gelding being ridden with a Tom Thumb bit.

Which is on backwards.

I've observed before that gaited horses often have this kind of crap inflicted upon them, merely because they will put up with it. They tend to be good-tempered and tolerant sorts. Put a Tom Thumb backwards on a Thoroughbred or an Arabian, crank on that, and you'll be in the emergency room before you can finish saying "giddyup horsey" but the saintly, long-suffering MFT in this picture is standing there quietly, wondering why his mouth hurts and why he's wearing his breastcollar the way Eminem wears his pants.

(If you are in the Illinois area and genuinely might want to upgrade this nice horse, he's for sale for $475...e-mail me with MFT in the subject line and I'll give you the info. I do not want hate mail scaring the ad away.)

Horses should come with an instruction manual. People acquire them with no more forethought than a vague idea that it would be fun to own horses. Hey, we got a new place with 2 acres, let's get a couple horses for the kids! I rode a horse once on vacation and it was fun! If we have any questions, we can ask Grandpa - they had horses on the farm where he grew up eighty years ago. They have no idea about how complicated good horse ownership truly is - things like tack fitting or being able to recognize good hay are a complete mystery to them.

So here's our Friday topic - what's the most clueless thing you've seen a beginner horse owner do? I have seen english saddles put on backwards, bits on backwards, halters on upside down with the throatlatch going over the top of the nose. I have seen all kinds of health conditions treated with "home remedies" that made them worse. I have seen owners who were completely clueless about the idea of conditioning take out a horse after sitting all winter and ride all day on a trail ride. You name it, I've seen it and I'll bet you have too!

If it were up to me, we really would have a basic knowledge test and a license to own a horse, but failing that, please, please, please take lessons before you buy a horse - preferably for at least two years. We all take driver's ed to learn to drive a car, out of consideration for other drivers. Please invest in some rider's ed out of consideration for your future horse - he will thank you!

I just want to tell a happy ending story for today's Friday rescue horse...this horse must be part cat, because he seems to have nine lives!

Hot Plan was a well-bred, mlutiple race winning gelding who, like many successful but ultimately broken-down racehorse geldings, wound up in a bad, bad place. Yes, he was with Ms Photoshopped Ass herself, Dean Solomon - thanks to contributions from the FOB's, back when they were still buying Dean's b.s. Dean adopted him out (read: gave him away because she was in trouble for not having gotten rid of horses she wasn't permitted to have in her possession) in December 2008 and by March 2009, he was on yet another slaughter lot looking like death warmed over. Way to follow up! Of course, Dean couldn't be bothered to bail him off the slaughter lot. You know, that would have cost, like, 80 packs of cigarettes! A girl's gotta have her priorities and it's clear what Dean's are.

Shawna from SOS Equines (our newest sponsor, click below to learn more) saw the horse on the feedlot and came to ABR asking for a tattoo trace which ID'd him. The thread on Alex Brown was pretty funny, with Dean coming on and trying to defend herself (MAJOR exalts to mword who commented "I was kind of hoping she would share some of her Adobe Photoshopping secrets with us! ;-)" You rock, that was hilarious.)

The end result is that a lady in Montana was shipping a cow from Washington anyway and agreed to take Hot Plan and give him a safe home. An anonymous donor bailed him out - thank you, whoever you are! So he is living on a lovely farm with a waterproof blanket and plenty of quality hay. HOORAY. He is only 8 this year, and he came so very close to slipping through the cracks. No horse should see a kill buyer's lot twice...but at least he never got on the truck. Thanks to all of those who got him to safety!

(I hear stories like this and I want to lip tattoo every horse in the world! That is the ONLY reason this horse got ID'd and saved. Maybe we should be doing it to everything, in case they are separated from their papers.)