Friday, July 31, 2009

I starved her, but it's the seller's fault!

Someone sent me this ad and I have to say, it's just a classic example of why we all bang out heads against the wall when selling horses.

"Great color palomino pony mare. Buttercup is still a little green and does not have any formal training. My youngest daughter of 10, who is an experienced rider has been riding her bareback with only a halter & reins. We do not have any pony tack and there is no reason for us to purchase those items, as we do not need a pony. Buttercup walks, trots, & canters under my daughter. Buttercup is between 2.5 yrs - 3 yrs. of age. We bought her almost 2 years ago under the pretence that she was a "baby" horse & would be given to the oldest daughter at 16. Well.. we have come to the conclusion with her growth & "pony" winter coat, that she is a pony. I can send pics & video of Buttercup upon request. She does have a few minor flaws. She does have some swelling around the upper jaw. We believe this is due to some new teeth. She has a very small hernia that is about 1/2". The vet has checked both. He said we could wait a little while on both and see how things progress. The swelling will most likely go away once her teeth come in and the hernia is actually doing well on it's own. The vet said, it is only a little bit of fatty tissue and may close up on it's own. This could be operated on but has been getting smaller over time. Buttercup NEEDS GREEN PASTURE & a LOVING home. She is slightly slim & could use a little more weight. However, she has a more sleek slinder build for a pony compared to that of a shetland or others that are short & stocky. That's one characteristic that I believe makes her a good english prospect. She also has a slight growth around the vaginal area. The vet has stated this could be a slight growth of a male but it is a minimal issue for a pleasure pony. This would not be desireable trait for a breeder. Buttercup doesn't eat much hay. She prefers grass & we don't have much of that right now. Price is negotiable based on her getting a good home. She is a very pretty pony and very much enjoys attention. "

*bang* *bang* *bang* *bang*

Good Lord, where do I even begin? OK, obviously this is not a pony. It is a young Quarter or Quarter cross (maybe Quarab? Doesn't have a great hip but I have certainly seen AQHA horses with hips like this before). It probably should have finished out about 14 hands or 14.2 and my guess is that it still could gain another hand or two with proper care.

Lady, nobody "pretended" this was a horse. It IS a horse. It is just nutritionally deficient thanks to you not doing jack shit about its poor appetite for hay (clue: this is not normal. Unless your hay is total dusty, stalky crap, a young horse should wolf it down unless the teeth are hurting - VERY possible from your description! - or it is SO super wormy that it feels sick all the time - VERY possible from your pictures and description of its winter coat!). If your vet thinks this is "slightly slim," he or she got his diploma out of a Cracker Jack box. I'm worried about your vet anyway after that description of the vaginal growth that could be a slight growth of a male? What does that even mean and do I want to know what it looks like? Is pony a hermaphrodite or are you and the vet equally confused?

What kills me the most about this ad is the idea that the poooooor poooooor seller just got scammed by someone who said this was going to grow into a horse. Lady, it's like a packet of seeds. It isn't going to grow into a damn thing unless you put some effort in and give it the care it needs. Now you have a skinny, crooked-legged two or three year old stunted filly and are disgusted and want to get rid of it - did I mention she wants $750 for it? *snort*

Get it some dental care and get it parasite-free and it might have a future. If anybody wants to go get it (assuming she comes down to a reasonable price), it's in Georgia - e-mail me for the ad.

Today's Friday Featured Rescue is a bit of a mystery - we have not yet been able to get a good read on his tattoo, so he might be just about anybody! He is a seven year old dark bay Thoroughbred gelding, rescued from slaughter, very quiet and easy to deal with. Magnum was adopted but his adopter has had a lot of unexpected personal drama this year (has it just been the year for that or what?) and she unfortunately cannot take on a horse at this time. So he needs a home! He is out in Kennewick, Washington at SOS Equines - get your application in and go take him for a spin. I really liked him when I met him and I suspect he's got a lot of potential for the right person.


"I'm curious, what exactly does this mean?

Buttercup is between 2.5 yrs - 3 yrs. of age. We bought her almost 2 years ago (6 months old?) under the pretence that she was a "baby" horse & would be given to the oldest daughter at 16.

OK, most of it obviously states: "I am an ignoramus". If they think a 6 month old foal is full grown, they really need to read up on baby horses before they get one. But what does the part about giving the horse to the oldest daughter at 16 mean? Does the oldest daughter get the starved, stunted baby horse when the daughter turns 16? Or does the horse go to the daughter when it gets to be 16 hands tall? (which might have been a possibility, but does not seem likely anymore). I'm also curious what they think a horse is? Or a pony? Do they know what a hand is?

Might be worthwhile to email these people and ask them if they know that a horse isn't full grown until it is at least 6 years old, and that it needs to be fed a lot up to and past that age (grass, good quality horse hay, and grain), and should not be ridden at all until it is at least 3 years old if they want it to get big. In a non-confrontive way, of course. ;-)

The same applies to ponies, in case they think this is a pony and that would make a difference. They grow at the same rate and have about the same needs, except of course a pony is much more likely to get overweight and founder. Not an immediate danger with this individual.

Horses start out about 50 lbs at birth and get to be about 1000 lbs. They grow to be about 20 times bigger than they are when they're born. That takes a lot of good quality groceries plus free exercise in pasture. If it isn't at least 3X bigger now than it was whe they got it, they haven't been giving it what it needs to grow.

I would question the quality of their hay, and worming program (probably nonexistent). I also wonder if they know about that stuff in bags at the feed store. You know, that mysterious alchemic substance called "g-r-a-i-n" that, when fed to a young horse in moderation, helps it keep its weight up and grow properly. There are even special formulations for young, growing horses. I know some people who never give their babies any grain, and they usually end up a little weedy, no matter how much good grass and hay they get. Even people who don't grain their full grown horses will usually give some grain to the babies. It almost seems like this person doesn't know about that category of horse feed.

Then, one has to wonder about their vet. Although, if this person is such a pushy know-it-all ignoramus in real life, those people around them that have a clue know better than to try to tell them anything.

I feel sorry for their kids. If they're really interested in horses, they will read everything they can get their hands on and eventually learn the right way, but it will be a lot harder because they'll be really confused by the disparity between what their parents say is right and what is really right. And then they'll be sad, realizing their parent(s) are idiots and there's nothing they can do about it but get a clue and move on.

And those kids will be really sad when they realize they helped starve and cripple an innocent, trusting baby horse. - AME"

"Poor pony! I just noticed something, though, about the second picture. It has a date on it that looks like it says "07/04".

That would kinda make the "pony" a little more than "2.5-3 years", don't you think?"

FHOTD in: Well, assuming they are better with digital cameras than they are with foals...

"Poor little dolly! A few groceries and she might make a decent 4H project.When will people learn horses really aren't air ferns?"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heat Wave!

So, here in the PNW, we are having the kind of weather we never have - namely temps in the 100s, humidity, etc. Since we never get this weather, almost no one has air conditioning at home and in general we're just not prepared for it. My laptop finally breathed its last, probably due in no small part to getting almost too hot to touch, and I had to get another computer which I haven't had time to set up yet and...blah, blah, whine, complain, anyway, back to normal soon. :-)

Since I can't think of anything else but the heat and how much I hate it, this is a good time to blog about how to help the horses deal in these kind of temps. Winter's easy - you can add blankets for warmth and get them out of the wind and wet and stuff hay to them to keep their calories up, but what can you do when it's miserably hot to help your horses come through the weather with flying colors?

The first is obvious: WATER! After all these years, I'm still amazed at how often I walk into someone's barn - nice barns, even - show barns, barns that show on a national level - and on a hot day I can find an empty bucket or a horse turned out in a paddock or arena with no water source at all. It's never okay. It's not okay at all. If you use your arena or round pen for turnout, drag a muck bucket out there and fill it up. If you aren't home to water several times a day, hang two or three buckets in your horse's stall or use a muck bucket. Got a bucket tipper? Find a solution - there are various kinds of braces that will outwit a horse's best efforts to throw his bucket and the water inside to the ground. Making sure there is plentiful, clean water in front of your horse 24/7 is the most important thing you can do to avoid a four-figure vet bill and possibly a dead horse. It is so easy that I'm continually stunned when people fail to do it. What, do you people like having $5,000 colic bills?

A cool shower feels as good to your horse on a hot day as it does to you! If you are home to do it, take the 15 minutes to walk outside and give your horse a cool shower with the hose. To scrape or not to scrape? In extreme heat, scrape - otherwise you just wind up with hot water sitting on the horse. Scrape it off for the best cooling. No time for a full bath? A soaked sponge behind the ears, between the front legs and between the butt cheeks will do a lot to cool a hot horse. This can be done to tacked horses mid-ride -- we used to do it all the time to the polo ponies in-between chukkers on hot days.
(Pic is my Crabby Old Bat mare enjoying a shower loose in the pasture! She is the second horse I've owned smart enough to come to the fence for baths on hot days and even turn herself around to make sure I get both sides.)

Electrolytes are a good addition to your horse's water when the temps rise, and making sure that a horse always has a salt block accessible helps encourage drinking. Here is a good page that explains why electrolytes and salt are so important for your horse.
If your only shade is in the barn, it may be better to keep the horses in during the day and turn out overnight. If you are keeping your horses stalled, fans are a great idea but as with anything electrical in the barn, be absolutely certain cords are in great condition and that there is no way on earth a horse can reach the cord to chew on it. If they can, they will, and barnfulls of horses have been lost to fire in exactly this way.
I have seen various misting systems for sale and they sound like a good idea but I haven't used one myself or been in a barn that had one. Have you? Do they work? Are you happy with a particular kind?

How can you tell if a horse is dehydrated? The old-fashioned pinch test is a good place to start. Pinch the skin on the horse's neck. If it takes longer than a second to snap back, your horse may need more fluids. If a horse is refusing to drink enough on his own, try feeding a mash like hay pellets with enough water to turn them into an oatmeal-like consistency.
Another test for dehydration is capillary refill - press your finger into the horse's gums above his teeth. The spot will turn white but in a normal, healthy horse, it goes back to pink within about three seconds. If your horse takes a lot longer, he may be suffering from dehydration.

Ever notice a horse who simply does not seem to sweat? This is called anhydrosis and can be a very dangerous condition in a hot climate. Basically - their built in a/c is broken. They can't sweat to cool themselves so they are entirely dependent on you to cool them in extreme temps. Sometimes horses suffer from it temporarily and other times the condition is chronic. In either event, if your horse has this problem, it's even more important to provide shade, regular cool baths and monitor for dehydration.

Horses, like humans, can get heatstroke and the symptoms are similar. Stumbling and breathing hard are two symptoms to watch for. Here's a good page that discusses heatstroke and what to do if you suspect it. You really have to know your horse. The nature of the show season is that we're all going to show in some pretty extreme heat. Some horses can hack it - some can't. As the article notes, fitness is very important to help your horse manage competition in high temps, so that will help, but like humans, some horses are simply more heat sensitive. If you start to see signs of distress, it's time to quit for the day, untack and get the cool bath going to cool your horse. I have seen horses go down - that's a sign you weren't paying attention. It should never go that far.

The horse isn't the only one who has to worry in high temps. Back in my childhood days of the ever-wonderful black velvet hunt cap, which soaked up the sun like a sponge, I did pass out off of a horse once in the heat. If you're riding, or teaching a rider, watch for signs that the heat is getting to be too much. Dizziness, nausea, and headache are some signs that it is time to get off and get a drink and a splash of cool water on your face. Set your water bottle where you can get to it and keep on drinking during your rides!
Trailering in high temps - remember, that's an aluminum box your horse is in. Haul if you must but no, it's not ok to park in the sun and go in and have a leisurely lunch with horses loaded. I just saw someone doing that the other day when it was over 100! Find some shade to park in and hang buckets for a drink and open your windows, or eat on the run.

Finally, always remember you are the one with the high IQ here. It's up to you to make good choices for your horse, like riding in the early morning or late evening to avoid the worst temps, doing low-impact stuff like a trail ride with a swim in the river on that 100 degree day, and maybe even having to say, ok, it's just too hot, I'm going to skip some classes and maybe I won't win every year-end but my horse will love me!

Got other good tips for beating the heat? I'd love to hear them. Comments will go up later tonight for today and Tuesday when I can stand to be online at home! Send your comments. Regular comments really should be back by Friday. I am just not getting enough done in the heat. I'm a huge wimp about it...I type for 10 minutes and go, omg, can't stand it, sticky, hot, hate it, want another shower or to go to Starbucks!
P.S. And thanks for the birthday wishes, those of you who remembered! Can you wish me some cooler weather? That'd be great. ;-)
P.P.S. Oh, and a friend of mine adopted Bonnie Weather, it turns out! So I will definitely have updates for those of you in love with her.


"I managed to keep mine cool by putting a box fan in her stall: took the plastic guard off and put some screen over the fan before putting the plastic guard back on because if it's possible for an ear to get in between the plastic she'd be the horse to have it happen. I also chased her around with the hose a few times before she realized it felt good. She spent the next couple of days nickering to me every couple of hours for another shower. She tends to not drink enough water when it's hot and already gets mash twice a day so I put frozen apple juice cubes in her water buckets. It not only had the added benefit of keeping her water cool & tasty, but also provided me with entertainment watching her catch the cubes and play with them in her mouth. She gets really proud of herself when she gets one!"

"Since I don't like Gatorade (sugar) and Fake Gatorade recipes (Google them) contain potassium chloride which I am VERY sensitive to, I've found that apple juice (cut with water so it's not so sweet and doesn't make make me thirstier), V-8 or other juice containing potassium will make riding in the heat possible. The body has to replace more than just water; we need electrolytes, too.

The "enhanced waters" like Dasani and one of the Sam's Club brands contain KCl. Can't do those.

The biggest thing for me is filling up with WATER and then having to go to the bathroom all the time. And WATER isn't the only thing riders need. We need electrolytes, too, hence the "enhanced water" thing.

I've found EmergenC, which fizzes in 8 oz. of water and doesn't fill me up. It comes in a bunch of flavors and works even in warm water. There is also a "lite" version. If anyone is diabetic, EmergenC is still do-able--there are only 7 or 8 carbs per packet. I know a gal who is a brittle diabetic and wears an insulin pump. She drinks EmergenC.

I find 8 oz. of EmergenC just before I get on for my lesson or my class keeps me hydrated for the 45 minute lesson and certainly for the warmup and 4 minute class ;o)

Bananas are also good for potassium, but in the hot weather they have to be BARELY ripe for me to eat them. Any brown dots on the skin (which would not normally be a problem) make them inedible in the heat.

When I'm finished riding (or just before I start), especially if it's humid out, I mist myself with a pressurezed bottle I bought at WalMart--you pump it up, then turn the knob and a fine mist comes out the end of the tube. The pressure being released sounds like a mosquito and my horse can't figure out where that "insect" is, but once he gets distracted by the mist--and realizes how NICE it feels--he doesn't care about the "skeeter."

We both enjoy that.

Wet rags are good, too. I soak a bandanna and put it around my neck or under my helmet (when I'm trail riding).

I used to live outside Portland and I can remember when it would reach 90 degrees some summers and just be MISERABLE. I feel for you guys."

"Here in (crazy hot) Eastern Oregon we have fine spray pop-up turf irrigation heads mounted on upright pipes that go along the fenceline in our feeding area. It's on a timer to go off during feed times. It makes hay have a little moisture content, cuts down on dust, and forces the one's that would rather not get a shower to cool off cause they won't leave the feed. It works great, and I especialy like the dust control- the heads don't use too much water, and cover everything evenly. -Carrie "

"Here in Houston, in the middle of summer (which is mid April to Mid October) we hose and scrape the horses before tacking and sometimes before tacking, after tacking and before getting on, then half way through the lesson.
We have big muck buckets of water in the corner of the arena for the horses to drink from.
Our barn has automatic waterers, so no worries about no water in the stall, or bucket dumpers. Paddocks have large water troughs, filled at least once a day.

Love the blog,

"When you go to rinse the horse off for the first time, start at the legs and work up. This will allow the horse to get used to the temperature and not be shocked. Also, with the electrolytes I would offer them in another bucket of water so that if they make the water taste funny to the horse he will have another bucket without the electrolytes in them to drink from. "

"Great topic! As the self-proclaimed "Water Nazi", I am very graphic in impressing on barn help the importance of making sure the water NEVER runs out. Although it's not a good idea, horses and humans can go for days without food if my case would probably be beneficial. On the other hand, lack of water can become deadly in less than 12 hours given depending on the heat stress index, activity, etc. Make sure your barn help knows that the horses could die a horrible death and that you will hold them personally responsible if it happens. Also, if you're away, ask trusted friends or boarders to help keep an eye on things for you. Provide contact numbers to make it easier for them to reach you. Your barn help will be less tempted to skip filling the troughs if they know somebody is watching."

"These are mostly for the humans.

1. 50% water, 50% gatorade on really hot days. And yes, in a pinch, you can give a horse gatorade, if equine electrolytes are not available. A 50/50 mix is better than either alone.
2. For the rider...the Vitamin-C electrolytes packets are also very good.
3. If you need to get your core temperature down quickly, an ice pack as close to over your heart as you can can be very effective. Eating ice is also good.
4. Wear a hat (when not riding). Ideally a white or straw one.
5. For the horse, I have seen a lukewarm bran mash with salt added help a horse recover from a case of heat exhaustion. Sounds strange, but it *did* work...the animal was visibly happier very quickly. He was also moved into the shade.

And don't forget your *other* animals. On a hot day, the barn cat and dog will enjoy sucking on ice too (make sure the pieces are appropriately sized for cats and smaller dogs).

Oh. Do NOT drink coffee or soda when outside in the heatwave. Just don't. Both of these things can make you *more* dehydrated. - Jennifer"

" live in Sunny Palm springs and my entire 12 year horse career has been in this area so I'd like to think I have my fair share of experience when it comes to horses and the heat.

The biggest thing I can think of is don't work or ride when its too hot out. During the summer months many people opt for the early AM or evening rides. If you are at a facility that has lights the PM is the most convent however it is never as cool as the early morning. If you must work or your horses must work those are the best time to do so. If you can't manage the AM and there are no lights you can ride/work during the day.

Water is your friend in more ways then 1. My old trainer suggest this to me, and I've never had a problem since I made this my day-time riding routine.

If you have to do stuff in the middle of the day first make sure you are well hydrated, keep lots and lots of water around and drink frequently. Ice cold water tastes good but simply cool water is better for you and your system. So no ice water, cold tap water or the cool water that comes out of the hose is about perfect. Hose your horse off before you put them to work, a good shower then a quick scrape will keep them cool while you tack up and the saddle pad will help hold some moisture so there is a continued cooling effect. Keep the sessions short but effective, and hose again after you are done. I also like to keep a feed bucket with water handy so I can at least offer water after a work session not all horses will take it but if they do they prob need it.

Some horses drop weight in our summer much the way they can drop weight in your area during the winder. People need to be mindful of the fact that sweat and trying to keep cool burns energy much the way trying to keep warm does. Thoroughbreds and other typical "hard keepers" are more prone to this, but it might be a good idea to give a hard keeper the hot months off or up the feed in advance to prepare.

If I think of any more I'll send them on as well."

"Yes, I have seen a misting system in action and have seen the difference.

My stallion is in training at
Nelson Training Center and they have one of the HUGE barn aisle fans and a misting system. The fan alone cools it down a bit, but mostly just circulates that hot Texas air.
Turn the misting system on, however and the temp in the barn drops about 10 degrees! It’s nice. The horses love it. It does make a difference in the ‘climate’ so to speak of the barn. Theirs was a simple do it your self model. Ran PVC pipe from the faucet to the other end of barn down the middle of the aisle. Every so many feet there is a spray ‘head’ on the pipe. The end opposite the faucet is plugged/capped. It works well enough! :-) Just wanted to Share."

"Add water to the feed. Digesting food draws water out of the gut - see if the horse will eat the grain dampened or slushy. We always do this with the endurance horses. You just need remove the food before it goes off by fermenting - this can happen in a few hours in hot weather.

Some people add electrolyte to the water but you better be very sure that the horse will drink it. Better to dose with a mouth syringe rather than put salt in the only water and risk the horse deciding not to drink at all. This can also be a problem with the feed so I generally give electrolytes in apple sauce by mouth syringe if I need to be sure that the horse gets the electrolyte and if he needs the feed.

If the horse has a salt crust on their back - esp visible with dark horses - they probably could do with some electrolyte. I have seen this even with horses just standing in a field when it is very hot. Salt licks are ok but the horse may not eat enough of them to get what they need.

Also carrots and watermelon are good idea anytime of the year but a nice half watermelon seems to be very appreciated when it's really hot out."

"I live in Southern Oregon where temps have been well over 100 deg. this week. I have seen those misting systems before, but they are so expensive!

So, I just decided to build my own. Cost me less than $15 and took maybe 30 minutes to put up. I used:
- 20' of 1/2" drip irrigation tubing
- one "L" fitting for the 1/2" tubing
- one 1/2" tubing to female hose thread fitting
- one package of five 0.4 gph foggers
- one package of five 1/2" tubing clamps that come with nails to mount to wood
- one 1/2" drip tubing end-clamp.

I should clarify that I already had the 1/2" drip tubing, the "L" fitting, and the end-clamp, but I purchased the rest. You could probably buy all of the supplies for under $30. Drip irrigation stuff is available at Lowe's, Home Depot, Coastal, Farmer's Co-op, etc. Personally, I use the .710 OD tubing and fittings which is carried by my local Co-op and Home Depot. Lowe's carries a tad bit smaller OD (outside diameter).

First, I measured out a 20' section of drip tubing, then I put the end-clamp on one end. Starting at the clamped end, I mounted the tubing to the eave of my chicken coop using the clamps with nails. This is where the water troughs are and it's also in the shade of an oak tree most of the day. The horses like to stand there a lot. When I got to the other end of the eave (the coop is 10' long), I cut the tubing with scissors and installed the "L" fitting. Then I inserted the end of the remaining piece of tubing into the other end of the "L" fitting to run down to the ground. I used the remaining clamps to fasten this section of tubing to the side of the coop. At the end of the tubing, closest to the ground, I installed the fitting that attaches to the hose.

I attach the hose in the morning after filling the water troughs, and turn the faucet on about 1/2 a turn and leave for work.

Works like a charm! And ALL the animals benefit from it. The chickens love it, and the dogs enjoy it too. I wish I had a larger eave to mount it on so that the horses could actually get UNDER it if they wanted to, but it's better than nothing and gives me some piece of mind when I'm gone all day.

Stay cool!"

"We get the problem of heat wave every year here in Arizona. During July and August temperatures get up to 115 with 40% humidity at midday. You can feel the heat as you step outside your door. Car air conditioners work fifty times as hard as they typically do. We do a few things about it, however, most of the horses in our barn have been living in this weather for a while and seem a bit climatized to it. Cold weather bothers them more than other horses when we go up north. This could be just that they've lived here all their lives, or it could be that most of the horses are Arabian or part Arabian.

During the summer we turn out at night. This helps a lot, especially since you can't guarentee your horse is going to stand under the shade you provided him. We have fans in the barn that are on whenever the horses are in their stalls (the wiring of the fans is all run through the ceiling). We only ride from 6pm at night to 7am in the morning. Midnight rides are a fun change and also help keep your horse cooler. In the summer we also tend to ride bareback most of the time. This helps keep them a little cooler than having to deal with the weight of a saddle and saddlepad. After every ride the horses are rinsed off and wiped so they stay cool.

We have to beat the heat these days, especially in Arizona."

"When I lived in the Texoma area (Lawton Oklahoma and Wichita Falls TX). We used to hang box fans in the stalls. Most of the horses emjoyed it so much that they would not leave the stall during the day if given the choice. They got turned out at night on days like that and actually seemed to prefer being out at night. We drove b a farm near Olympia that has a gorgeous friesian stud, he had one shade tree and water, but even with the tree and water - he was blowing really hard in Wednesdays heat. I was tempted to get out and tell them to put him up with a fan in his stall. - Jenny"

"My friend installed a misting system in her barn and hated it! The barn was dripping wet all day. Everything was wet."

"I irrigated my pastures, so a few times a day, I turn them on, my horses get soaked and roll in the dirt. It makes them happy.

love misters. Keep them off of concrete though for obvious reason. They work great with pelleted bedding. I myself do not sweat, so heat is particularly harsh for me. The misters easily drop the temp down 10+ degrees!

Horses drink more from running water then from still water, so when we have a heat wave, I leave the hose in the trough and leave it on. They also drink more from cooler water, so that helps. I empty and clean my water trough every morning, normally this is done before 8am, by noon the water is already close to 90 degree, and its in the shade! I should put a pool temp in the trough just to be accurate.

Make shade for pastures can be done cheaply if you do not need it to last forever. will not survive a hurricane, and likely wouldn't hold snow. But you take 4 wood post, (12ft long I think) we used 6in thick and I dont think they were more then 20.00 a piece, put them in the ground, we did concrete ours in, and put eye bolts on the top, get a tarp/canopy, and attach with bungee cords (you need the give or a breeze will tear the tarps). Makes quick and easy pasture shelter, the poles are sturdy, so we just replace the tarp when it tears (lasted over a year so far) , and if you do this in a smaller fenced off area (we call them sacrifice areas, because of our sandy soil, and high land prices, its how some of us keep grass pastures), you could easily add irrigation, or just get a hose nozzle, hang on fence, and put it on the mister setting.

Big ass (the company or other like manufactures) industrial fans are great too. Exhaust fans are beneficial inside a barn as well, but these are more beneficial for states who need relief from heat for long periods.

good luck with the heat wave, I feel for ya really!!!"

"I worked in a zoo in SE Texas. One summer we had 20 or so days of 100+ temps. For many of the animals I zip-tied soaker/mister hoses to the top rail of the fences and ran the water several times a day. It made a nice misting area and wallow for the large animals. I’ve also used the timer devices on the faucets but didn’t really like them-they tended to leak at the faucet.


"We have a few of our own and a few of our friend's for a total of 6 very hot miserable horses in a decidedly non-shady field here in Northwest, WA. We were splashing around in the kiddie pool yesterday and I was feeling guilty watching my poor horses and wondering just what to do to cool them off. So my hubby and I got into the million degree truck and headed to the farm store where we dropped $100 on a big sprinkler and a couple of long hoses. We set the sprinkler (one of those 3 legged farm-type sprinklers) out in the front paddock where it would wet down one of the only areas with shade and the entire area around the water trough.

The one little arab out there was the only horse smart enough to actually stand very, very close to the water (but not quite close enough to really get wet ;). I'm sure it was kinda like a misting system for him. Since the others wouldn't go near it (therefore couldn't get to the water) we only left it on long enough to wet the area down pretty well. It made a huge difference in the temperature in that area!

Also, we leave the hose in the trough on a very slow drip (secured with zip ties) so even with six horses it never gets low, is always fresh, and stays nice and cool. We have the setting down to a fine science... Just enough to keep it at the top!

Stay cool!


"My favorite thing is blocks of ice. I make them out of plastic milk jugs by cutting the top off. I then place them in the water troughs and in buckets hung off the fences. I have several horses that like to bob for ice in the troughs and chew on the ones in the buckets. For the ones that don't play with the ice, it at least keeps their water cool.

"we attach the hose and sprinkler to a fence post and the horses can go into it when ever they want. some will stand in it all day"

"Since I've moved to FL from CA, my horses have not handled the extreme humidity and swings in barametric pressure well. It's taken me 2 summers, and this the 3rd that I've finally got it figured out and under control. I use a probitotic supplement and strive to keep them cool. For this I have supplied run in shade, high powered fan and misters. I bought them from Target, a long narrow hose with a mister about every 2'. It is 20' long and nailed to the fence where they stand the most. I turn it on in the morning and off at night. They do indeed stand in front of it and I have noticed much less dried sweat on them at the end of the day and no more "liquid poop."

-Spotted T Apps"

"I hear a good trick for a horse that won't drink for whatever reason is to put a couple of apples in their water bucket. They then "bob for apples" and end up swallowing a fair amount of water at the same time."

"Ahhh, summer in Tucson . The armpit of hell. We have a misting system hooked up in our stalls – so our horses and donkey have the choice of coming in out of the heat and into the shade or cruising out in the corral. The mister helps keep the temp down by the stalls (corregated roofs - - great heat conductors). One of our older geldings has Cushing’s and pants when the temp gets above 90 combined with “monsoon” season humidity. For him, we put a muck bucket full of water in the stall, with two fans outside the stall - - one pointed at his face/neck, the other pointed at his chest/body – and when he’s not out cruising the paddock, he’s standing in front of the bucket and fans where he likes to dunk his nose to keep cool. And, of course, like you suggested, we hose him down regularly when we’re home. We’ve been going through this routine with him for almost five years. My main bitch with horse owners, though, is NOT PROVIDING SHADE for their horses. Puh-leeze! Give them a fricking choice, people! If they want to stand in the blazing sun or in the shade, it’s their choice. But they should have that choice. - Stacey"

"Automatic stock tank fillers!! I can’t say enough about how great they are- especially if your water trough is small and you have to refill 2 or more times a day. I keep at minimum 2 tanks accessible to my horses with automatic float valves (which cost a whopping $12 each from Jeffers or Tractor Supply). But it’s important to still do a tank check daily to make sure the valve hasn’t malfunctioned- they can stop filling or keep running and pour water all over if something goes wrong. You also have to periodically (around 1x a week works for me in the Georgia heat) empty them and rinse and refill, which the float valve makes easy, too. They can be installed on virtually any style or size bucket, trough, or tank, in about 2 minutes. Just attach a garden hose, clamp them on, and turn on the water.

You can use them in stalls too, they don’t have to be hard piped, but even if you do hard pipe them, pvc pipe and parts are CHEAP and it’s easy to do, you don’t have to be a professional plumber to use a hacksaw and some PVC glue. They are cheaper than the buckets with built-in float valves. I run a hose in, install the valve in a flat-back bucket, and hang it as usual, and the bucket stays full.

I even use one in a small flat-back bucket for my chickens!

Another tip for trailering in the heat- I keep a clean garden sprayer (never used for anything but horses!) full of water, and if I get stuck in traffic I go back and mist the horses periodically to help them stay cool. Sponging from a cooler of ice water can help, too.

One last tip- one of the most effective places to cool the horse is along the jugular veins on the underside of the neck- wetting there and then fanning helps with rapid cooling- it’s a technique I and other distance riders who regularly ride in 90+ degree heat use all the time.

Those of us who live in the south and ride competitive distance, we learn to cope. I recently (last month) finished a 40 mile ride in 90+ degree heat and high humidity in Alabama, with absolutely normal hydration throughout and at the end according to the vet judge- careful use of electrolytes is key for hot weather competition or even just exercise and schooling."

"I’m in Texas – terribly hot and humid summers! The horses love “ice-treats”. Put peppermints, sliced fruit – apples, watermelon, peaches, etc, in a bowl of water and freeze. After it hardens, dump it into feed bucket in the shade and let them lick the ice to get to the treats. That’s a good time to get the hose out and give them a quick squirt, too.

Love the blog! - Lee"

"I have lived the vast majority of my life in Florida, so I am quite used to dealing with ridiculous heat, and what makes it worse is ridiculous humidity. In the high summers, we always barn our horses during the day, and everyone's stall has a fan in it, as well as the barn aisle. We water them two or three times a day, except for one of my barns that had automatic waterers. We always keep rides, even just hacks, to before 11 or after 4, which is fine because the sun stays up till 9 with enough light to ride by. Our arenas, unfortunately, are not shaded, but the trainer had this wonderful sprinkler system installed. It was originally to keep dust down during the heat since there is little to rain for months at a time and the dust would get out of control. But we riders have found it a wonderful thing to turn on during rides and get splashed by nice cool water throughout the ride, and the horses have learned to aim for the sprinklers. We always have huge water bottles on the fence posts to the arena and we drink copious amounts throughout our lessons. We have a couple horses that have chronic anhydrosis, and we have to watch them very carefully. They are never worked very hard in the summer, maybe only for beginner lessons at walk/trot, and we use the partial bath to cool them before and during the rides, and then hose them off completely after every ride. We also hay at noon in the summer when we don't in the winter.

It really is just common sense for what to do in the heat. What feels good to a person (water, cool air, cool showers, etc) would likely feel really good to a horse. If you are too hot to work, your horse is too hot to work."

"I haven't used the barn misters but the garden misters hooked along the top of the fence work great and the horses love it. I have also left a lawn sprinkler going that was set outside the pasture but aimed into the pasture. The horses here have a wading pool that is in the shade and they splash in it often.
Also, I wet down the barn roof and let the water run off for a couple of minutes and it helps cool the inside of the barn. 2 liter pop bottles or milk jugs filled 3/4 with water, frozen, and put in the water tank will cool the water down enough they will drink it.
We always have to deal with the heat and humidity in the summer and just went through a major heat wave here.
Best of luck, I know how miserable it is.

"I have 6 horses and they are various breeds including 4 friesians who get very hot in the Tehama cty. Valley of Ca.
So, I have a sprinkler going full blast from 11 am until about 5 pm and they take turns standing with their butts into it or laying down near it on the cooler dirt.
Even the 09' foals have learned to enjoy the water- a terrific way to introduce them to baths and water.
I keep it just outside the fence so my stud does not lay on it or try to steal it.
BTW he lives with 4 mares and a gelding burro."

"Could you PLEASE say something about horses with no shade? I'm in AZ, it's hit 116 this week and my neighbor, for 3 yrs now has had no shade for his paint horse. I watch this poor thing hang his head next to a feeder to shade his face. Worse, right next to his pen is the shade itself, lying on the ground.

We went over and offered to put it up the other day and he said no, his horse never uses it anyway and he's going to build a barn.... uh huh. Take him 3 yrs to put the beers down and get it done.

Apparently in AZ it's not against the law to have no shade for your horses. It drives me batshit crazy to see this. Crazy.

Also, when I trailer in this heat, I hose each horse before they go in. "

"Just want to reiterate the part about SCRAPING a horse after hosing or sponging with water. It needs restating because it is a bit counter-intuitive. I mean, it’s easy to think that it would be kind to leave the horse wet with that nice water you just put on him. Why take it off? Well, it was cool when you put it ON the horse, but very quickly it will become the horse’s body temperature. So now your horse is basically in a bowl of 100 degree water. And any breeze that might feel wonderful on a damp body doesn’t stand a chance against a horse in hot water! Horses have had heatstroke from being bathed without scraping -- it would be better to leave the horse to his own devices, i.e. sweating. - JoZ"

Living in Australia it gets very very hot in Summer, even in winter it can get hot. Our horses cope with the heat very well, my horse sweats quite easily. It is winter now and it has been in the high teens low 20's. Celcius that is.

At shows, there is rarely shade. A few sparse gum trees and that's it. So, we make our own shade. We set up a gazebo for us humans and a tarp for the horse, people give us funny looks but hey, it works. Because he's older, I'm very careful. We have competed in very hot weather, I have pulled out once because the heat was getting to him (and me). He looked a bit off and wasn't himself. So I hosed him down, tied him in the shade with his water bucket and gave him a lemonade ice block (he does actually suck on them but drools all over my hand). Four horses collapsed that day, none were fatal.

On the issue of water, all of our horses have access to water 24/7."

"OMG this is insane. I am in Richmond BC and it's TOO HOT. I refuse to ride my poor old mare but she's been enjoying walks to the river so she can go for a swim and boy does she love it. I also noticed she wasn't drinking a ton so I put cold apple juice in her water and that inspired her to take a nice big drink. - Mia"

"I have a old wood barn (30+ years) that can get very hot. I have four stalls but my horses are not kept in their stalls (except to eat their grain) they can come and go into the pasture. I have fans in each stall and the breezeway. I have misters on each end of the barn doors (very top) the fans circulate the mist and it can stay 10-15 degrees cooler. I live in the mountains above Sacramento and we do get in the high 90's and sometimes low 100's. I LOVE my misters and the horses love to stand under them. I also use muck buckets for water inside and troughs outside the barn plus far end of the pasture I have water troughs so they always have plenty of water no matter where they are. I have one that loves to stand with his front legs in the low water trough, it has to be cleaned daily but he sure has clean front hooves. - Lorrie"

"There are the collars you can buy that have the crystals you soak in cool water and you wear them around your neck - reduces heat by about 3-6deg.

My mum made me a bunch when we deployed to the Arabian Gulf and then made up some that attached from the crownpiece around the throatlatch. By soaking in cool water before tacking up, we found horses were coming back from trailrides (here in Australia where the heat is no joke!!) in far better shape and you don't have the galvanic skin response to being hit with a burst of cold water. - Amanda"

"We carry spray bottles of rubbing alcohol and spray our horses regularly in the heat. It feels great on humans too! It doesnt sit on the body and get hotter, like water does, it evaporates in the skin and cools them right down. Happy Belated Birthday! Donna in Va Beach, Va"

"Up here in Toronto we have had too much rain ! When it is too hot though, I agree that most forget the essential ingredient to a happy horse . Don't go home with no water in the through ! How would you like to be thirsty and not be able to have a drink ? Try it ! It amazes me that a person loves horses, so they say and forgets the most important thing " Water "."

"it's easy to rig up a hose as a mister. we use a cheap sprayer and adjust to a nice mist. tie the hose to a fence post (from the outside so they can't play with it) in the shade. it's amazing the difference in temperature when you walk under it. the horses will stand there for hours on a hot day. and sometimes i join them. my vet loves the idea and is setting up her own this year."

"I live in Florida , land of the high heat and humidity. Only we get three to four months of it a year. I would suggest putting out free choice LOOSE white salt for the horses. They don’t have rough tongues and have a hard time getting enough salt off the blocks. Also, make sure it’s white salt and not a mineral salt. They will eat it until their need for sodium is quenched, and may take in too many of the other minerals in the mineral blocks.

Personally, we make sure the horses have access to shade and water, and lots of it. We have floats on the water troughs so they don’t get low, and they are checked daily. They can get down into the trees for shade. If you don’t have a shady area, putting them in the barn with fans is a good idea, providing your barn is well ventilated. We hose the sweat off them every afternoon, and we make sure to ride either early in the morning, or after 7 pm.

Don’t feed grain in the hot part of the day. If you must feed a grain meal, do it when it starts to cool down a little bit. If you are worried about water intake, you can feed beet pulp well soaked, or if your horse doesn’t like beet pulp, you can soak alfalfa or timothy cubes and feed those all wet and mushy. You can also wet down the hay, but make sure you only wet down enough that they will eat it within an hour or two, or the hay will sour. - Juli"

"I "have" some oldies (well, they're my boss's, and I'm the only one out at the barn during the day), and I have found automatic waterers (Nelson) to be a godsend!
I have thought about big misting fans for the pasture, but being on well water in the middle of a drought really took care of that decision.
Also, the horses spend most of their time in the shady barn during the day (free access to stalls and large pasture during the day), and you really don't want water to be spraying around inside a wooden barn with rubber mats and shavings.

A barn I volunteer at has an overhead arena watering system, and if a horse or pony looks to be having a rough day with the heat, I turn on a section of the watering system and walk them around in it. It cools me off, too!


"I have automatic waterers in the barn, but three of my horses use muck tub for water. I buy the party block of ice and put one in each tub. It helps to keep the water cool, but I need one every day. SALT BLOCK is very important, as you stated. For horses that won't drink electrolite water, we barrel racers top dress their grain with it. A sprinkle or two of apple cider vinegar will mask the taste. ALL my horses love the apple cider vinegar, and raw vinegar from the health food store has health benefits.

As for the misters, I have an open sided barn. There is enough of a breeze throughout the day that I don't need a fan. You can get the stuff to set one up WAY cheaper at home depot.(We are actually looking into making our own this weekend.

The dark horses have access to shade. The white/grey horse has to suffer. I set the timer for the sprinklers to come on in the afternoon for a few minute's relief. I can't be home to squeegie. ALL the horses (except the ditzy two yr old) go out of their way to stand in the spray. A fly sheet, sprayed down with water, is also a great way to cool them. (Sort of like putting on a wet t-shirt) - KarenV"

FHOTD in: Bet that works well to motivate the hubby to come help you with the horses... ;-)

"We've been going through a heatwave over here recently (Scotland) and our fell pony has struggled in the heat. Due to a situation beyond our control we had to have her out during the day in the sun. We bought her a white fly sheet, the lightweight mesh kind. She seemed to cool off whilst wearing the rug, and was much more comfortable than she was out with just her black coat. The only warm patch was around her shoulders were the anti-rub lining was, and even that was just warm and not sweaty. A lot of the people on our yard with dark coloured horses then tried the same idea with good results.

Also braiding up the thick fell mane made a difference to her as well, but thats only a real problem with very thick native pony manes.

Hope this is of use to someone."

"I am a fair, fair, FAIR girl of Irish descent, and the heat does not agree with me at all. I've been known to pass out when indulging in exercise (like, say, WALKING) when it is very warm out. So riding in the summertime with a nice hot horse, long pants, leather boots and half chaps, a jump vest, and my hunt cap can sometimes be quite a challenge.

Here is my NUMBER ONE piece of advice for keeping riders cool: use something like a Coolmedics product. You soak these in water and they really, truly, absolutely keep you cooler. I love the helmet liner:

It really works. My eventing instructor has the vest and he swears by it in hot weather. I don't have the neck one, but I got one of these from REI and it works on a similar (excellent) principle:

They are amazing. I've been taking polo lessons out in Lake View Terrace recently and the Valley is H-O-T at 11am in August. My helmet liner combined with a lightweight high ventilation helmet have saved me.


"If you EVER see a horse not sweating when the temperature says he should be, this is potentially the start of anhydrosis. You can head if off, but you have to be dedicated – hose the horse off. Then hose him off again. Then again. Before he gets all the way dry, hose him off again. This is not a one-time fix, but I have “cured” the condition a few times. Since this is often caused by humidity (high humidity + high heat + no wind means the horse’s natural cooling system – sweat – is not working, and is at risk of shutting down), a fan is important unless there is a breeze. I would suspect a mister would be a big help with this if you can’t be there to hose off every half hour or so all day.

On scrape or not to scrape: depends on the wind. If there’s a steady breeze, no need to scrape – the breeze will do the cooling. If there’s no breeze, a fan is really needed.

Tch tch – only two horses smart enough to “help” with the shower? You really should get more Arabians … :D"

"I was never showed my horse, so when it was hot if I rode it was a short relaxed bareback ride & a bath. If it was just too hot for even a bareback ride, he got a bath.:-) And I went early in the morning if I was going to ride, or later evening hours. I didn't always shampoo him when it was hot. Sometimes it was just a plain old water bath, either way he always liked a bath on a hot day.

He always had a shed or barn he could go in for shade, too. A couple places we boarded at had trees for shade that all the horses congregated under during a heat wave. - Littleraven7726"

"My horses are turned out 24/7 and have plenty of shade available if they want to go there. They don't, though. They stand in the middle of the field, in the sun, eating, napping, hanging out. Silly creatures. I will give them a shower/bath tonight though, if only because it will feel good to ME!

They are drinking almost twice as much water as usual in the heat, though--I've got FOUR muck-bucket-sized water buckets in the pasture right now (for two horses). All four will be down to half-full by the time I get home from work tonight.

Stay cool. Maybe the weather will break soon. That'd be good...."

"A friend of mine used to feed her horse cold watermelon all day when at shows during the summer. He wouldn't always drink water on his own, but he sure would love to devourer the watermelon!

Once when my horse was dehydrated but still eating well I had a vet tell me to throw a hand full of salt on my horse's food to make her thirsty. I have sine used this trick the evening before or morning of long road trips. It seems to work.


"I like keeping the horses inside during the day during extreme heat. Without a mister, I would water down the aisle and then put two large box fans out, one at either end, and it helps the cool air rise off the wet aisle floor. I could feel the coolness, so I think at least the horses could too, especially if allowed to put heads out in aisleway. Here in Montana, it's been really nice, sorry, the PNW is just not set up for those kinds of temps. - Janny"

"For people: don't drink soda. It's dehydrating. Drink Gatorade or other sports drinks. I personally believe that Gatorade is better than water on hot days - the rule of thumb for bicycling is to drink one 20 oz bottle of Gatorade per hour when cycling. Probably not a bad idea for any sort of outside work with horses when it's hot.

At least here in Ohio, hot weather means more aggravation from horse flies and other biting flying things, so always make sure the horses have fly spray - otherwise it's just more misery for them."

" I use misters along with fans for my horse and it works WONDERS as long as it's not a stuffy barn with no airflow! Also, lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I have heard that feeding a lot of freshly cut fruit is helpful in replenishing fluids and electolytes (not sure HOW helpful, but he likes it so I do it). My horse's favorite is fresh cut pineapple, and he also likes orange segments and grapes. I ride in the heat every day, but my horse is extremely physically fit. What I absolutely hate to see is weekend riders with unfit pasture ponies who show up once or twice a month and decide to go on a 3 hour long trail ride, or decide their horse needs to be chased around the roundpen for a while, or that it's just the perfect day to find out if their horse has a knack for barrel racing. I've heard the excuse "well he lives outside, I'm sure he is fit from running around the pasture during the week." Yeah, I'm sure your horse gallops in twenty meter circles and runs barrel patterns for his own satisfaction. I hose my horse off daily to get the sweat off, always scrape him to prevent warm water from holding heat in, then cover in fly spray, and ALWAYS change out my own water buckets, whether the barn people are supposed to have done it or not. If I wouldn't drink it, I don't expect him to. - rollkursucks"

"I live in Georgia where heat and humidity are almost synonymous. We regularly have temps over 100 with humidity levels near 100% in the summer months usually starting late May and lasting until mid to late September. It can sometimes feel as if you are drowning. It is simple for me – I don’t ride my horse when it is too hot…period. When the humidity is high the sweat doesn’t evaporate as well and doesn’t cool our bodies as efficiently. We hear the weather man talk about something called the heat index. It is similar to wind chill in the winter and factors in the ambient heat and humidity to come up with a “heat index” It is not unusual for an air temperature of 94 but a heat index of 100+ because of the humidity. I hose my horses down regularly in the summer heat. I too have a hose hog that has to be locked up while I hose everyone else because he will bully his way to the hose and he wants me to give HIM a shower. Like your horse he will stand there all day while I hose him on hot days without being tied up. Everyone else needs to be tied. I couldn’t imagine living here without A/C though. My horses are fortunate that their pasture is in a Pecan grove with plenty of shade trees. I have fans in the barn and I know some people who have misters in their loafing sheds outside. We can have such a potential for mold problems here I wouldn’t put misters in my barn though. Sometimes even early mornings are hot and humid and you can easily work up a sweat before 7:00 am just mucking the barn. I don’t ride much July and August. Outdoor horse shows are almost non existent and my trail club posts no rides. You will find horse shows in air conditioned facilities though. I live near the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agri-Center and they have installed Big Ass Fans (for real, the name of the company is Big Ass Fans ) in all the barns and covered arenas. It can make a HUGE difference if you can just get the air moving about a bit. - PRS"

"In the summer I try to feed at 7am and 7 or 8 pm (after the heat of the day). My Vet always says he wishes more of his customers would do this." - JstPam

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Feed 'em before you breed 'em!

We've talked about too skinny to breed with regard to mares, but I don't think I've ever addressed it with stallions. It's true that it can be challenging to keep the weight up on a stallion, particularly during breeding season. Even if they aren't breeding, they spend the spring months screaming the weight off - flirting with every mare they see, pacing and generally having massive anxiety at the fact they're being deprived of their biological need to mate. I had to literally double the hay on mine to make the ribs go away this year when he had to tolerate the shocking fact that another stallion in the barn was breeding mares and he was not. ;-)

But what is too skinny to breed? Well, when your former AQHA halter champion looks like this, it might just be time to get on top of the health/nutritional issues before you stand him at stud and take even more weight off him. Sheesh, people, at least most of you have the common sense to put up the horse's old show pictures and hope nobody actually visits your barn to see how crappy he looks today.

(That's like my little fantasy - take the major breed magazines and sneak around to all the farms and take candids and then compare to the professional pics on the blog - wonder how many people would be really embarrassed if the current weight/hoof care of their stallion was shown to the world? I'm just getting so damn tired of stories like yesterday, where someone has show horses that look great, and horses on the farm that look like crap.)

So how do you keep their weight up? It's not very different from my usual tips about fattening up a senior horse. As already mentioned, go ahead and ramp up the forage! Many, many stallions truly do need free choice hay during the season, if not year round. It doesn't necessarily have to be expensive hay. Many do fine stuffing themselves full of grass hay, with just a small portion of alfalfa added in. It depends on the horse. Excellent pasture is always going to help but many people do not have a large grass pasture for their stallion. It's more common for a stallion to get his turnout in a dry lot/smaller paddock, so you have to make up for that by providing plenty of hay. If wasted hay all over drives you insane, you can see if your guy will eat a pelleted hay feed - that's a good way of stuffing him full of calories with pretty much zero waste, unless he's a picky eater who won't finish it. And of course pelleted mush is a great solution for any older stallion whose teeth aren't great even with good dental care.

As with any horse, pain will often prevent them from gaining and maintaining weight. Old racehorses or show horses with arthritis or similar problems may need joint injections and supplements even if you aren't riding them anymore. They may need them just to stay comfortable enough to exist. I rave all the time about BL pellets as an excellent, low cost source of pain management for creaky older horses. Try it, it works!

Here's another good article that gives specific feeding recommendations for your breeding stallion. One good point they make is that a stallion who is disinterested in feed may be encouraged by adding molasses or something else tasty to his ration. I've also used carrot shavings (use a potato peeler on carrots and lace the feed with carrot bits). You can also look for the source of the disinterest - if he's too busy flirting to eat, try to find him a place where he will not be distracted - far away from the mares, but not alone because he'll probably be upset about that too. Put him in a stall or paddock where the only scenery is boring geldings, and you may find that he regains his interest in food.

What if you have the opposite problem - an obese stallion? That's not healthy either, and here is a very good article with recommendations about how to keep your stallion fit and not at risk for laminitis and other problems. I was absolutely delighted to read that they actually still ride the stallions at Three Chimneys Farm regularly. Bet that makes them a lot easier to handle, too, doesn't it? It's amazing how much less drama you have when they don't JUST eat and breed.

Update on Ernie Paragallo...yup, still starving horses! I can NOT believe this guy.

"Paragallo has asked the S.P.C.A. to find homes for another 27, mostly yearlings that have not been broken or trained. “I’m out of the racing business, so I don’t need them,” Paragallo said. He indicated that he wanted to continue breeding. He said he bred 15 mares over the past few months at Center Brook."

WTF!!!!! The SPCA is not a placement service for your culls! And if you're out of the racing business, WHY the FUCK are you still breeding?

This man needs to be BANNED from horse ownership. NOW. ALL HORSE OWNERSHIP!

What a jerk.

Update on the Mongolian Race - the drama continues with both sides arguing their case!

On my side (the "are you f'ing nuts and just use quads or mopeds if you morons want to charge across the desert for kicks" side) is Linda Tellington-Jones. She sent this letter out to her mailing list yesterday. Follow the link - there are links in it for where you need to e-mail to continue to speak out against this event.

On the other side are, of course, the organizers, who sent me this defense of their planned event:

Pretty interesting stuff. Really, you think this company would just get half a clue that this wasn't helping their business and change the event. Why are they fighting so hard to do something that is just bringing them a ton of bad publicity and pissing off horsepeople around the globe? What's the point - other than arrogant twenty-something male "I can do whatever I want and animals are here to entertain ME" attitude?

Ah, good old CBER. Grade CBER mare on Craigslist, in foal to draft stud. This mare, CBER name Latte, was "rescued" in 2006. CBER sent her to a foster home in Nowheresville, Oregon where she ran out on barbed wire, got cut up and was wild as a March hare. Foster home got sick of her, so she got picked up - of course, not by CBER but as usual, by someone else they suckered into making the ridiculous trip to get her - and did not pay! Then CBER passes her along to Wayne the horse dealer and now she's punching out grade foals that no doubt have careers as sandwiches ahead of them. Awesome. The only good news is that CBER does indeed seem to have finally lost its 501(c)(3). But we all know we haven't seen the last of $am. Watch for the next scam!

Things I don't want to think about much less pass along, but must...if you're in Florida, you'd better read this. Security camera systems are cheap - just saw one for $50 on sale - and so are motion sensor lights. It's not a bad idea to think about how to make your property less appealing to psychos no matter where you live. It's sad that we have to even worry about this stuff but we do.

Good grief, they really did tie a mini stud to a barbed wire fence with twine. *sigh*

Want to help with a little market research for a reader? Take this quick survey about the perfect feed store!

Major blog revamp is in progress - sandwiching it in with those pesky real jobs, ha ha! Hope to have the new version up by the end of the week. And yes, the comments shall return! In the meantime, comments to e-mail will be posted the next day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Big Names with Big Lawyers Behaving Badly

Not too long ago, the news came out with yet another bust of a horse breeder with show horses winning in the pen but skinny, long-footed stock hiding behind the barn. Not too unusual - we've certainly seen it all before. This time it was a well known Saddlebred breeder named Les Pease. Pease has show horses with trainers Betsy Webb and Don Bridges, very successful trainers with what sounds like quite a fabulous new show facility. It's obvious that training bill isn't a cheap one and Mr. Pease is capable of paying it or he wouldn't be there.

News story

So, not only do we have horses who are 1's and 2's, we have stallions running loose among the mares with no idea who is siring what? I've said it before, you can be a BYB no matter how high quality your horses are, and if this is true, Mr. Pease is the new poster child for that!

We have all kinds of interesting factors at play here. First of all, we have a guy with a good lawyer - not the typical person accused of cruelty. The lawyer is doing a bang-up job delaying this case from proceeding. Second, I'm hearing we may have a questionable rescue (not Saddlebred Rescue) rubbing their hands together in glee trying to get these horses, no doubt seeing them as donation magnets due to the publicity factor. Third, everybody else seems to have smothered this story! Other forums "lost" the thread or admit to removing it. My guess is the lawyer is making threats (FYI: Threats received here are typically published to the blog for all to see.)
The only place anybody is talking about it is on Topix, and while some of that seems a little over the top, it's an interesting discussion nevertheless.

Now here's a point from the flip side:

"The person who was caring for these horses up until a few days ago sounded like a real nut job. Giving out enough information and inuendo to make blood boil. Calling anyone who didn't support or believe him 100% a "supporter of the Pease family". He made many insinuations as to what the county was and more importantly was not doing to help these horses. It became bad enough that he was asked to stop posting on the internet. He claims he asked to have horses taken away because of what someone said on a web site. It is far more plausible that the county was fed up with him.

And this may very well be true. However, any time you have a herd of starving horses, someone is to blame. Somewhere, there is a human being whose responsibility it was to feed and trim and vet those horses. In this case, those horses were the property of Mr. Pease and - just like Ernie Paragallo - being out of town or busy or trusting someone else to care for them is not an excuse. Ric Banks is the person who has been caring for the horses and I'm more than happy to post his side if he wants to send it to me. What is undisputed is that they're not his horses. So whatever he has done to help them is a blessing to them regardless of the personalities involved and who is or isn't telling the truth. He doesn't have any obligation here. And hell, I'm sure my postings would be pretty inflammatory too if I were trying to nurse mares like those pictured back to health. I sure wouldn't be feeling any need to whitewash my opinion of the rich real estate developer who let them get that way!

These situations usually do not go bad overnight. I'm interested to hear from anyone who may have seen things going south at the Pease farm in the past. You may of course stay anonymous. Did someone fail to report this because of a fear of legal threats from Mr. Pease? From the looks of things, he is much better about paying his lawyer than paying for feed. I'm not sure any kind of deliberate cover-up is going on here - what I see is fear of legal action, but hey, if that's the case, the Fugly blog is the place to tell the tale! E-mail me your comments and I will update this evening. Put JULY 27 BLOG in the subject line, please!

And I REALLY want to know the CURRENT status and location on these horses. Who are they? Does anybody have a list of their registered names? I heard Banks got fed up and gave them back to the County and the County's vet wants to euth them all. First of all, that's bullshit, skinny horses should not be euthed merely because they are skinny. Those are most likely all high quality ASB's that someone would WANT to adopt...give them a chance. Second of all, my question about that is whether the true goal is destroying the evidence. Either way, it is time to talk about this story, not bury it. And we're going to do that here!

While I was researching this story, I came across this blog. Holy crap, some of those pictures. You could stay busy all day writing to various D.A.'s asking them to throw the book at the parade of horrible horse owners featured here.

OK I am going to add your comments to the July 25 blog now...sorry for the delay but it was just too hot here yesterday to do anything more constructive than give baths! Sheesh, this is Seattle, not the Midwest - enough with the heat and humidity!


Anon - Southern States donated feed coupons to the equivalent of 22 bags of feed to Ric to feed the Pease horses. Rood & Riddle sent a team of interns to palpate the seized mares, luckily, none were in foal, other than the four mares that had already delivered.

Frankie, [one foal that Ric cared for], was so weak, he couldn't stand up on his own and nurse, Ric had to help him up every 3 hours for the first two weeks after he was born, until he got strong enough to get up on his own.

Anon - I've been following this story on SBR, trot and topix. I've made a post on all asking if anyone has read the original filed complaint against Pease; it seems no one has. One post said they requested court copies but have never received them. I tried to locate a court website for Mercer County with no luck. As posted many places it seems only one count of abuse/neglect has been filed; if so, that would only be a "slap on the wrist"

Anon - I live, ride, and go to school right by the Louisville Equestrian Center (where Betsy Webb Stables, run by Les Pease's trainer Betsy Webb, is now located). It cost 3.4 million dollars to build that facility. Boarding at the new equestrian center is over 600 dollars. It still shocks me that people can afford to pay for boarding at this rate, and then to gather in the training fees, and STILL have horses that look like that. I started my riding career in the Saddlebred industry, and it makes me so mad to see these horses being treated like that. I've had friends get horses from Saddlebred Rescue, and they've all had those similar stories. To see those ponies I'm familiar with, and then think that were like that... It's maddening, to say in the least. Of course, I'm not that suprised that Betsy Webb is involved as I've not heard great things about her from my friends who are in the Saddlebred industry.

Anon - Thank you Cathy for showing the two sides of this story. It is so sad that there is so much fighting amongst the the people who care what happens to these horses.

Yes we live in America and technically everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but it will be pretty hard to for anyone to believe Mr. Pease is innocent.

I hope the laws in KY allow for more than just a slap on the wrist.

Anon - There is a MUCH bigger/longer/more controversial Topix forum

The above Topix forum has the posts about horses being shot in their stalls.

According to SBR the new court date for Pease is tomorrow, July 28, in Mercer County Kentucky unless of course the fancy lawyer gets it continued yet again.

Thanks again for being a voice of reason!

Anon - Supposedly there were 5 colts shot in their stalls in his barn .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Animal Control Officers gone wild!

Most of the time, when someone says the animal control officers are picking on them, I roll my eyes. Usually, it seems that the folks screaming that they are being persecuted just happen to have a collection of ribby horses with long feet standing in mud and more excuses than you can imagine about why they aren't abusers and the rules don't apply to them. (We have heard them all - I am poor, I am sick, the dead horse was sick, my husband left me, that horse looks better in the summer, I got a bad load of hay, blah blah. Whatever. Trust me, nobody gets prosecuted if they call AC and say, I can't afford to feed my horses, what would you like me to do with them? But nobody ever admits to that until they get busted with two dead horses behind the barn and a foal that looks like a malnourished goat...)

However, ACO's are human and just like politicians, some of them will use their power for unethical gain or to get back at someone they have a personal vendetta against.

Extortion Charged in Taking of Horses

"In April, Andy Ray Lane, 53, responded to an "anonymous" report of abuse of two horses at a residence just outside Wimer.

The horses appeared to be well-fed and watered, but were in enclosures deemed too small by Lane.

During numerous visits to the property over the next few weeks, Lane advised the resident, who was not named by Jackson County sheriff's officials, and warned the man he could face stiff fines if the situation was not corrected.

The resident reportedly tried to rectifly the situation, but could not do enough to satisfy Lane's demands.

Eventually, the owner of the horses sought to sell the animals, but was not able to do so.

Lane then returned to the house with a trailer to take the horses. He told the resident he needed to take some fence panels from the property to help corral the animals.

Lane told the resident he had found the horses a safe home where they would be cared for. The fence panels were never returned to the owners."

Well no kidding. The fence panels probably were worth more than the horses!

I haven't seen details about the enclosures the horses were in, but a vast many horses in the world live in an enclosure known as a "stall" which is typically 12 x 12. As long as they are taken out daily or almost daily for some exercise, this is not cruelty. It may not be the ideal way for a horse to live but you can't start confiscating horses in Oregon for something every single boarder at the L.A. Equestrian Center is guilty of.

So there are two issues here I'd like to hear your comments on. The first is, is animal control in your area a one-man show, and if the one man (or woman) is unethical or lazy, is there nowhere else to go for help? In this area, we have a whole department and more than one officer goes out to inspect a situation before any seizures take place, so it would be very hard for anyone's personal vendetta to get too far. But I know that's not true everywhere, so if you have a horror story, feel free to share it!

The other issue is how inconsistent animal control's expectations for care are in different areas. Animal control is typically under the control of the individual county, so the standard of what will get your horses seized is all over the place. The ACO is usually seen as the expert by the usually non-horsey Sheriff but some are much more expert than others!

What will get a horse seized in your area? I've seen it all over the place here. I mean, dead, skinny horses should pretty much always result in a seizure but I've seen healthy, good weight horses seized due to muddy conditions around here and I have to wonder a little about that. I'm not privy to the inner workings of those cases, so I don't know how much of a chance the owners were given to resolve the problems before a seizure took place. I also sometimes question if people understand how serious the trouble is in time to take action - ACO's, like police, tend to be very friendly in order to get the person being investigated to spew out evidence. To me, fairness dictates that a person being investigated get clear instructions about how to correct the violations, and accurate information about the consequences for failure to do so. I'm not sure that happens consistently.

I think most of us agree that if you can get an owner to correct - and let's face it, many times violations take place out of ignorance (twenty years ago, I would have thought nothing of horses standing in mud - my reaction would have been, duh, it's April, everything is standing in mud including me) - it is better to fix the situation and keep horses in their existing homes right now. How is that working in your area?

Again, just shoot me the comments at and I'll be happy to put up a bunch of them later!

I know I missed a Friday Featured Rescue but I want to re-feature one. Click here to see Bonnie Weather - she's the first horse shown. She's still looking for a home in the Seattle area and is a 17 hand (really! I met her!) super sweet and snuggly, too slow to race three year old Thoroughbred filly. Bonnie really needs to go to a slower paced home. I hear she is so quiet that you could have her starting to show still this season. E-mail if you're interested!

All right, it's a beautiful day so it's time to go out and enjoy it with the horses. Hope you are all doing well and good luck if you're showing this weekend!


Anon - I worked as on and off as college breaks permitted as an ACO for my small hometown. We had one case involving horses, she claimed she was rescuing them. She lived way back in the woods, her dog was loose which warranted us being there. First thing we see in the drive was a dead rooster which she hadn't gotten around to burying yet. She had over 30 horses tied to one railing, as she had no turnout and 4 stalls. The state couldn't bother itself to step in. Our lovely court system gave her all her horses back.

My second boss, was former employee turned the entire position into all about herself. She would have her friends over and ignore the telephone. Most of the dogs had a 2 week limit, more, if there was room. With the new expansions the town put it, we had plenty of room but only if it was a pit bull. She claimed they were a misunderstood breed and would hoard them, even giving tickets to people who walk them with muzzles on.

Most of the acos ive worked with, enjoy giving tickets and tellling people off. They sit around eating donuts, complain about being overweight, hire a kennel worker to do the grunt work, and drive around in the van for hours doing nothing but wasting gas.

The most common thing ive seen, in our town and others, including the humane society, is people stealing donations for their own pets. A large poster said we needed towels, however none of the animals were ever given towels.

AME - It's an incomplete picture; I've never heard of an AC person taking fencing, let alone well-fed horses. It's hard enough to get them to take starving, neglected, or abused ones before they suffer permanent damage or death. If the primary concern was inadequate fencing, why was that fencing deemed so good the AC officer wanted to "borrow" it so the new place would have adequate fencing? Sounds really fishy. I would be interested to learn the facts, once they come out.

I've never heard of a muddy pen being a sign of abuse. In a paddock or pasture, it seems the horses will happily stand in the area that is muddy and ignore the areas that are dry and firm. Perhaps it's a spa therapy for their tootsies. Of course we're talking about the good clean mud that accumulates around gates and feeders during the wet season.

Pipe corrals often end up with some muddy areas when it's raining as well, though with adequate planning and drainage most of the pen should not be muddy. Though, in times of flood, all sorts of things can happen. I remember one wet winter joking about a horse having 3 swimming pools in his paddock. OK, I wasn't thrilled, but the pen was kept clean, and he did have enough dry area that he wasn't standing in water unless he wanted to.

A stall floor that is covered with inches or feet of feces and urine mixed with dirty bedding is definitely an unhealthy, abusive situation. But usually this is accompanied with other health issues that in themselves would constitute abusive neglect.

So nobody should be taking possession of a horse based solely on the presence of mud.

Anon - I don't know about horses, but I grew up in a rural area of Arizona. Animal control didn't do much. At one point a pit bull came up to our house foaming at the mouth and snapping at the air. My mom called animal control and they told her that they'd only come out if she tied him up or put him in a cage. My mother ended up shooting the dog because she didn't want it to bite or kill any of the animals on our property, and had to dispose of the body on her own. Another incident occurred when a pack of about 20 dogs came on our property several nights in a row. They killed our goat, our chickens, were running our horses into a lather and were trying to take the horses down. We called animal control since we knew where most of the dogs had come from. AC told us to shoot the dogs if they were messing with our livestock and it was none of their business. We ended up having to shoot the dogs when they attacked our horses, one of which was a 30 year old quarter/morgan mix that never seemed to recover from the stress, and had wounds on his legs. We killed 3 of them and the owners were outraged. They called animal control and finally the officers came out, ended up taking all but 4 of their animals. After that the owners tried to poison our dogs, and once again it wasn't important enough. It was wild how unconcerned they were about anyone outside of the actual city limits.

Anon - It's ironic that you posted this when you did. We had a local story about the often overlooked equine-neighbor, the bovine. In this situation, some idiot man bought a cow, tied it to a tree (in his neighboorhood) and he and his brother proceeded to beat it in the head until it fell. And then they skinned it alive.

And our local Animal Control, Georgia and US Ag Departments, and Sheriff's office determined him not guilty of animal cruelty or any other crime. You know, because he was planning on a barbecue. Welcome to Georgia!

WVfarmgirl - Here in WV most counties do not even have an ACO. In the county next to mine there is a specific deputy that deals with abuse/neglect cases. If the horse is either a mare or stallion and a "pretty color" he'll seize the animal for his own BYB program. If the horse is a gelding or too old/sick to breed, he'll leave the animal with the owners and just fine them (sometimes). The ACO in my county (there's only the one and she also runs the dog shelter) is a little better, but seized a palomino stud colt two years ago and attempted to get the papers from the breeder so she could breed him when he was old enough. When the breeder wouldn't give up the papers, she got him gelded and sent him to me to rehome.

In WV a horse has to be pretty much on their death bed from starvation before they can be seized. There's a breeder down the road from me and all of her horses are extremely thin and have been getting worse throughout the summer. Unfortunately, she's in the county with Deputy Dipshit and he's refusing to even go out and see her. There are a lot of good horse owners out here, but we're also a little too convenient to Sugarcreek auction for those less than ideal owners.

Then there's Celeita Kramer and she's in a different county, but still one without an ACO or even a police officer designated for animal abuse or neglect. This state is in dire need of ACOs!

Anon - I am still upset about the conduct of an animal control officer I had to deal with in May. He had known about a starving horse and allowed him to languish in a field of fox tails for a month. This horse was a skeleton with skin. When I finally convinced him this horse had no food, a woman verified she had not seen the owner in weeks, he said the horse could find pieces of grass to eat. When I said are you kidding me, he said it had rained and grass would grow. What makes me sick is that if Nor Cal Equine had not stepped up this officer would have allowed the horse to starve to death. I felt the horse only had a couple of days, if that. What do you do when only one officer handles a situation? Where else could I have gone? He was dead set on leaving the horse there. What else could I have done? Call 911? It was frustrating to say the least. You don't need to publish this, I am venting. It still makes me angry. If people are going to have a job they should know how to do it.

I don't understand how an animal control officer could leave a horse so close to death in that horrid place. Makes me sick.

Katphoti - Well, I have been involved in a situation here where we had a rescue situation of sorts. My farrier, who was a very close friend to us, passed away quite suddenly, and he had a breeding barn full of Arabs. These are decent Arabs, but of course he and his wife believed they are the cream of the crop, as do all people who own horses. Now, they had been trying to sell horses and give young horses away before he died, but due to his sudden death and him being the sole money maker, things had to be done fast. Right after he died, the family started giving away horses and selling them for next to nothing. Now, I started to hear rumors being spread about the horses being in poor condition, sickly, too thin, etc. There were lots of people spreading this information around through emails and such. A lot of it was second hand--I heard this, so and so said that. I defended my farrier because I did not believe he would let this happen to his animals, and because I don't believe that people who haven't seen the situation for themselves have any right to spread that kind of information. Because of these rumors, the family was receiving threatening calls, the local USDA and AC came out, and things were very upsetting for them.

I did go out to the farm and unfortunately learned that lots of the information I had heard was true. I also spent a long time talking with the president of one of the local horse rescues out here who took in a few of the horses. I learned that these horses were breeding horses only. There was no training, not even basic halter training. The animals are there to breed, and that is it. I learned very quickly that these horses have very long feet, they have eye problems due to excessive flies, were not getting regular vaccs, and hadn't ever been groomed. The horses that got good feed were the breeding and nursing mares and stallions--the young colts or mares that weren't being bred got cow hay. They were all getting feed through dewormer, but honestly they needed more than that. It was very much a situation of the cobbler's children not getting shoes--my farrier and his wife have disabilities, and it came down to they had too many horses and not enough time. Plus the economy had hit them hard, just like all of us. They had actually pared down their herd several years ago, and had decided that they saw a demand in the Arab market that they could fill so they started breeding again right before the economy died. These are good people and their herd just got out of hand.

However, no horses were seized by the USDA and the AC because they were within the Arizona state laws for livestock care. The horses must have water and feed available. There is no law against not having shade in the summer heat, having stalls built up with manure, old hay and dirt as the base, the size of the stall, not having feet trimmed, teeth done, regular vet care, etc.

Since this time, we have been making arrangements to do major cleanup on their property. Another local farrier who is a friend of mine and my family and I went out there and got horse's hooves trimmed and cleaned up some trash on the property. Our plan is to help them in the long run--do cleanup here and there, help advertise horses, etc.

Overall, I have learned through this experience two things.

1. We have no choice but to work within the law when it comes to things like this. If we don't like the situation, then we need to petition for the laws to change, not blame the family for it. When it comes to the family themselves, we need to show them the areas where they can give better care, and go out and help them make these changes. I find that more people will change when you are kind, friendly, present the facts, and are overall understanding than if you scream in their face and accuse them.

2. One person's idea of good care is not the same as another's. Heck, when my husband and I bought our first horses, we boarded at a place where he used t-posts, barbed wire and horse fencing, and bailing twine to keep the stalls together. He never cleaned the manure, and the horses had very little shade, never had clean water other than dumping the 55 gallon barrels once a month, etc. The fly population was insane. But he was never not within the state laws. We didn't realize what was going on, and we have since learned better. But my level of care isn't even perceived as high as other people I know--I know people who groom their horses top to bottom daily rather than my measley once a week. Due to back problems, I can't shovel shit, so my husband does it, but he won't do it more than once a week, so I have lots of other methods of fly control. Lots of people I know clean stalls daily. But does that me less of an owner? I hope not.

So, to answer your questions, no, in AZ the AC is not a one-man show, and there are lots of places we can go for help. Mostly, I find that the best way to get help in AZ is to go to the local rescue groups. If you are willing to help them remedy the situation, then they are more than happy to help you out. Just calling and complaining doesn't cut it.

In my experience, I don't think that there are inconsistencies in AZ with how AC performs their duties, but I believe they are EXTREMELY limited because of the laws allowing too much here. I've even had AC and rescue groups tell me that they wish they could do more, but the law won't let them.

What will get horses seized is no water or no feed, period. I also know that if a vet "just happens" to see horses in an area that obviously having problems, the AC will come out and remedy the situation. A vet's conformation can get a horse seized. Mostly, though, seizures are based on quietly coercing the owners to sign the horse over to a rescue group. Unfortunately, though, that's about it.

Anon - for years I had deep distrust of our local AC officers after an incident when I was a teenager. My mare was in a small area (about 1/4 of an acre) on hay rations as she was getting dangerously fat. Someone of course called AC and reported she was starving. This guy looked at 14 year old me and read me the riot act about how I should keep horses. When I pointed out she was fat and needed a diet he advised me I did too so perhaps they should lock me up as well! Given he couldn't actually fault her condition he gave me a written warning about the shoe she was missing on a hind foot (farrier was booked, she wasn't lame, she was just minus a shoe).

These days I would think he wouldn't have a job after speaking to a minor without a parent or guardian present.

Anon - I have to say that in my area ACO is basically non-exsistant. We live in rural IA, and there just isn't what most people know as Animal's a quick story....true story.....about my daughter and a stray dog.

Daughter and Boyfriend live in a small town about 2 miles from me. They have a German Wirehair female they use for hunting, she wasn't young and in heat but kenneled when out of the house. Large black Lab starts hanging around, no collar, no tags. They try to get a hold of him a couple times, he runs. Finally one day my daughter is there alone and this dog will NOT leave and she can't catch him and he is trying to attack her dog as she is trying to put it in the kennel. She calls the local police for animal control. She is told they do not have an animal control officer, she has to call the county sheriff. Calls the sheriff, nope they don't take care of that either, she needs to call the DNR, you know the wildlife guys that check and make sure hunters have licenses and tags, etc. She calls them, they have no idea what she talking about and says she needs to call the police. So, she calls the police and they say, well, really you aren't in our jurisdiction(her small town doesn't actually have a police force, this was the next small town over) so we can't come get it. She says, well what am I supposed to do, and the officer says, if you can catch it and bring it to us, we'll take it. In desperation she goes out, opens the back of her Yukon where their dog's kennel is that they use when they go places, and calls to the dog to "load up". To her amazement, the dog loads up. She now drives 6 miles into the next town's police dept. She goes in and explains that she has caught the dog she had called about would an officer come get it. NOPE, no officer available right now could she come back in a couple of hours. At this point she loses it, and tells the gal at the desk if someone doesn't come get the dog she is going to let it out in their lobby and leave because she has already spent all morning with this mess and she has to go to work in a couple of hours. The gal behind the desk calls an officer in and he looks at my daughter and says, just follow me to the "shelter" because he doesn't want the dog in his car! When they get there(the shelter is a garden shed on the edge of town with 2 big dog crates and 3 smaller ones for cats) she opens the back of the truck and the officer asks her if she has a leash! No - doesn't have a leash but she has some baling twine left from the last horse show, so the officer creates one and leads the dog into the kennel. As he turns to leave, daughter asks him if he is going to give any of the animals any water. He looks surprised and says, oh, well I guess I could. She helps him, and when she gets back to her car he hands her a mug with the police dept. logo on it and says, thanks. She said it took all of the control she had not to wing it at his head at that point........

So, to answer the question what does it take in your area to get a horse seized....I think you have to be able to deliver it....which they do to the local sale barn and sell for $10.....

Anon - That AC officer looks like a real winner with his *deer in headlights* mug shot.

I do have an AC horror story, but it was about a rabbit not a horse. I was sitting out in my garden one day, enjoying the sun and watching a cute baby bunny nurse out of its mother. Then it was jumping around kicking its back feet out in delight. So cute. Then some local neighborhood boys came over and decided it would be funny to STEP ON THE BUNNY. I was so pissed I said "Dont you EVER come back here again!" and they said "Sue me!" in a smart ass tone. So I called the cops. In the mean time I went over and picked up the bunny in a clean towel. It was having terrible trouble breathing and it was coughing up blood. The police talked to the boys a little bit, and then let them walk home! I would have sent them to the detention center. The police also called animal control out. In the mean time I was trying to keep the poor bunny breathing. It took THREE hours for animal control to come out. When they go here they picked the bunny up by the ears (OMG) and said "Shes too far gone to save. But we can dispose of her." ( *jaw to the floor* UH you wonder why she is so far gone?! She has been suffering for THREE HOURS!) I said "Well I can take care of her instead if you want." But they said "No we cant do that ma'm its procedure." I cried, it was awful.

Anon - A friend has the AC people stop and said her horses had no shade in her pasture. My friend pointed to a large barn, which the horses could run in and out of if they wanted to be in the shade. That wasn't good enough. The AC officer wanted her to build a run-in for shade in the pasture. The officer just didn't get that the huge big red barn to which the pasture was attached WAS the run-in shed. In my area, either the AC waits too long until horses actually die, or make silly and unreasonable demands to people who are taking good care of their horses.

Anon - When I was younger my family had a over-size German Shepperd dog kennel. We were legit, Registered AKC show dogs that went for well over $1,000. One day the Animal Control was called on us because of a disgruntled customer who signed a contract that said "No money back". Animal Control said we had a puppy mill and she was personally going to take all our dogs in and put them down! My father threw her off the PRIVATE property and told her to come back with a warrant. She didn't come back with a warrant, but she did come back with a van.

It was ugly, but it turned out that they had just passed a law that raised the price of registering your dogs with the county from $2 to $10 a peice. Animal Control got an $8 kickback. She was going around harassing everyone.

We got it sorted out by buying a kennel licence and she never bothered us again, but for a child it was scary!

FlechaRojo -
I used to work at the local Humane Society and this waste of space would come by every once in a while mainly to act like a complete a-hole. It's been several years since I was employed, but while I'm happy somebody came forward to give what Andy deserves, I'm frustrated that it has taken so long. Extortion? Yeah those aren't little Yorkie charges, are they, Andy? Time to play with the Pitbulls!

Anon - We have the opposite problem....or do we? Here in our county in WV, the "humane officer" let 5 out of 10 horses DIE in a field at one farm and wouldn't do anything about it. BUT, when there was a (fugly) unregistered pinto colt in a field with 1 starving filly and 1 dead filly, he did take that one. He kept the fugly pinto a stallion and bought brood mares and is currently breeding him. He told me that colt looked just like a horse he used to have when he was a kid! He bragged to me that he got $600 out of one of the babies.

There are many more horses in this county who are starving and he won't do anything about them.

I just don't understand.

TBDancer - We have various jurisdictions for Animal Control--there are three nearby towns with their own AC officers and then there is the County, which is what I have dealt with.

From what I've heard (and from my own experience with the County), I would say AC's effectiveness is mostly negative. You get the bully with the badge and the citation book, the know-it-alls who think anyone with animals is an idiot, and the occasional conscientious ACO that hasn't yet been threatened with a gun because he/she is checking on a complaint about someone with a pack of unlicensed dogs.

The only AC person I know who "has a clue" is my shoer's wife and she works at the pound.

Most of the ACOs I've heard about or dealt with are arrogant bordering on stupid--not to put too fine a point on it. Horror stories abound about one woman who is still working. She ticketed everyone in her jurisdictioin who did not have shelters for their horses on turn out.

People who were her friends were given 30-60 days to get shelters up, people she didn't like were given seven days with threats of confiscating the horses, etc.

Her rationale or justification for ticketing these folks was that she had written the rule about all turned-out horses had to have shelters of a certain dimension, it had been passed into law and had taken effect January 1 but no one knew about it. What made the rule ridiculous is that even with all the shelters in the world, some horses will just go stand in the the elements.

Go figure.

I've heard about experiences others have had, calling AC about horses that are starving in a field, no visible food or water--and either no one responds or they drive by, look, and then drive away. And then one day the field is empty.

My personal experience with the county AC is that they send out some overweight man who does not want the facts from ME (and I'm the one who saw what happened). He wants to get the facts from my neighbor who made the phone call (because she had the phone) but who did not see what happened.

In short, when it comes to caring about someone else's animals, it is probably better to sneak the horses food and water yourself or, at the risk of being shot or stabbed, offer to help. Sometimes ignorance IS the reason, but people don't like being told they are stupid. (I can tell you that fat ACOs don't like being told they got that way because they don't like to work hard, either).

A gal I know who lives near a major highway offered to take in a couple of starving horses rescued by her friend--who did not have room for them all at her place. People driving by saw the skinny horses, called county AC who came out daily to the point that the gal sent the horses to her friend's place and took in two others that were not as skinny.

As to what gets a horse confiscated around here, I'm not sure. One town's AC has held a couple of auctions for horses either turned in or confiscated (not sure which). Notices of sealed bids by such-and-such a date are printed in the daily paper.

The good thing about this economy and the weather (at least in California) is that hay prices are dropping dramatically so if someone runs a rescue or has taken on horses for friends (or sees or knows of horses owned by someone who needs help) it's easier to spring for bales of hay to donate to them.

There are still a lot that slip through the cracks though.

Anon - I've heard of bogus BS about the Tri State ACO, I think the worst would have to be horses showing all their ribs and hooves curled up were not seized after an ACO saw them. That story is crap and it sounds like the ACO might've taken the horses to auction for money or maybe he but them in his fugly muddy acre pasture (that would so be better than a stall all day!) so his kids can sit on the horses and kick them to death. AC is pathetic.