Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ten Questions

I was just having this discussion with someone this weekend and I'm going to share it here.

It is the unusual horseperson who never considers breeding a horse of their own. Most of us, at some point, will own a mare that we think is just awesome, one that we would like to make more of. Or we will fall in love with a particular stallion and want a foal by him - but nothing that we see for sale out of his offspring fits the bill.

I'm never going to turn into a 100% anti-breeding radical. Someone does have to breed so that we continue to have and enjoy horses, and it helps nothing if all the responsible, knowledgeable people stop breeding and the bottom feeders with barbed wire paddocks behind their trailers keep popping out a dozen fugly grade foals a year. I've heard so much crap in the small animal world about how, if you breed, you're taking a home away from a shelter pet. In most cases, nonsense. The person who is dead set on having a high quality Viszla, for example, is not going to truck down to the shelter and adopt a Chow-Shar Pei-Lab-Pit mix instead. The truth is, there's always a market for a high quality, well bred, well conformed animal of any breed. The market that's dead is the market for the Chow-Shar Pei-Lab-Pit puppies and the fugly ewe-necked, calf kneed, long backed Quarter Horses (even if they are gold! Really!) and the black kittens your barn cat had. There are almost no homes for these animals. Your chances of winning the lottery might be better.

So the
first question: Is what you are planning to produce selling? REALLY? Are you SURE you have not seen it at your local auction? You can't take your Uncle George's word on this. You have to conduct your own serious market research, based upon the show records and pedigrees involved. Even if resale is not your goal, remember that life is unpredictable and it doesn't make sense to bring a horse into the world that no one else will want. If I meet one more person who thinks a foal is marketable because it goes back to Man O'War, my head will explode. Plenty of descendants of Man O'War, Seattle Slew, Leo, Poco Bueno, Doc Bar, King, *Bask, Morafic, etc. go to kill every year. If you don't have big name breeding close up, it's pretty much irrelevant.

Second question: Are foals from the stallion you are considering currently winning in some kind of competitive discipline? I don't care what it is - dressage, barrel racing, endurance, park horse, whatever - but are they? If you are considering a young, unproven stallion, is he currently winning in some kind of competitive discipline? There are plenty of opportunities to get the breeding you want at a reasonable price - check out stallion service auctions, for example.

Third question: Have you met the stallion in person? Does he look like his pics? Lots of people retouch! Does he have a nice disposition? "Because he's a stallion," is never an excuse for a snarly, nippy attitude. If you are in a high performance discipline like racing and are willing to put up with that attitude to get the performance (cough cough Storm Cat cough cough), well okay, but I'd still prefer that nasty mind didn't breed on because it sabotages their chances of a good home and a second career after the track if they can't run. Is there another stallion who is equally talented with a better mind that you can choose? And is the stallion sound? If not, why? Unsound after winning $600K on the track or an eventing career - well, fair enough. Unsound because he's 1300 lbs. on size 00 feet? That should give you pause. Of course, totally sound after winning $600K on the track would be my first choice, but I don't always hold these things against the horse because it has so much to do with management, how good the trainer and his staff were about care, etc. Bad management can F up the legs of the best conformed horse on earth.

Fourth question: What about your mare? If you are making the decision to breed because she is the most awesome show/barrel/endurance horse you've ever had and she wins everything, kudos! That is the kind of mare we want to make more of. If your decision is being motivated by any of the following, don't do it:

1. Mare is lame and I don't want her just sitting around (Particularly if mare is lame from something related to conformation like navicular - I have no issue with a mildly injured show mare being bred when she needs time off anyway. That makes sense.)

2. Mare is too crazy to ride. (Please hit yourself in the head for me if you want to breed her to settle her down or because you can't do anything else with her because she is a wack job. REGUMATE!)

3. I want a BABY, they're so KYOOT! (Please go to your local auction and take one off the killers' hands for $25. Assuming you realize they're not a stuffed animal and know that weanlings typically do naughty things 8.426 times per hour on average, including striking at you, kicking you, nipping you, etc. If you cannot discipline because it's KYOOT, you will wind up like the people on It's Me Or The Dog, except that what is running you over will be 1,000 lbs.)

4. I want my kid to have a horse she can grow up with! (I'd love to say I don't still hear this incredibly moronic comment, but I still do. If you think this makes sense, I hope you know your way to the Emergency Room, because your kid is about to become a Frequent Flyer! Young horses and young kids are a terrible combination. You're going to wind up with a hurt kid and a spoiled horse that you will then run to the auction because you don't know how to fix it.)

Fifth question: What are your mare's conformational flaws? Are you selecting a stallion who is strong in those areas? Is your mare free of serious conformational defects that interfere with soundness and use? A long back can easily be shortened by the right stallion. Pigeon toes or an upright shoulder, not so much. And the long-backed mare is not so bad if your goal is to produce a pleasure horse in any of the stock breed associations - but she shouldn't be considered if your goal is dressage. If you can't look critically at your mare because you love her too much, take her to a show (or a few shows) for halter class and ask the judge for their comments.

Sixth question: Genetic defects. Know which ones your mare may carry and do the appropriate testing if it's not already done. Make sure you breed to a tested stallion. It is never okay to roll the dice and possibly produce a HYPP positive foal, a HERDA foal, a lethal white or anything else that can be tested for and prevented. Not to mention that you do not want your first breeding experience to result in a foal that dies within days!

Seventh question: What do you really want? Do you want a foal out of your fantastic performance mare, and not care what sex or color you get? Awesome, because you can only predict so much. Sure, you can breed to a cremello (if you can find one that doesn't suck, good luck on that - I can maybe think of three decent ones off hand) and get a certain color but that's about it for predictability. If it's important to you to have a buckskin one.

Eighth question: Can you afford all the associated vet work? Ultrasounds are a must - you have to know if your mare is carrying twins or some other problem exists. Can you deal with it (emotionally AND financially) if the result of all of this is a dead or permanently damaged mare and/or a dead foal and/or a foal that is never going to be rideable? All of these things can and do happen. It is heartbreaking to see someone lose a mare they loved just because they were trying to reproduce her. If she is super, super special to you, you might want to consider doing an embryo transfer to take the risk of foaling out of the equation. Let some older broodmare who has had several successful, complication-free deliveries do the "work." And consider all the possibilities and have a plan in mind if things go bad - what will you do with a foal that is born with a disability or is injured before he reaches riding age?

Ninth question: If the object is resale and the baby does not sell as a baby, are you prepared for that? (a) Do you have safe and separate facilities for a weanling? Hot tape won't hold a weanling who is screaming for mom, and you all know what I think of barbed wire. (b) Do you have the knowledge to train appropriately during all stages of life, or the financial resources to pay for training? (c) What about feeding and nutrition? What do you know about how to feed a foal? It's not like feeding an adult horse. You can trash their legs permanently if you don't know what you're doing. (d) Can you afford another horse if he never sells?

Final question: Are foals like the one you contemplate consistently selling for at least $2000 - $2500 as weanlings? If you can find one out there for $500...don't do it. Please, don't do it. We have so many of those. We cannot find homes for them. They are $500. Then they are $300. Then they are at the auction. Everybody who goes to the auction is so damn tired of seeing your weanlings, yearlings, two year olds and unbroke adults selling for $175 to the kill buyer. And I know nobody planned for that outcome but it happens left and right. You are not immune from life's bad luck. You could lose your job. You could get divorced. You could get cancer. You could get hit by a drunk driver and never be able to work again. Bottom line, it is flat out irresponsible to produce foals that are not reasonably high in value. The only real protection a horse has in this world is a high value. Please, please, please don't create foals that don't even have that much of a safety net in life.

Your comments? I will keep them anonymous if you want to talk about both good and bad breeding experiences, or which worked out and which didn't. I'll only tag a screen name on to them if you put that at the end of your comment.

The SAFE show was a huge success. I knew some of my former rescues were coming, but this one was a surprise. This is Maggie, who was featured on the blog when she was up for adoption in January 2008, after we pulled her out of a place where hoof care and mucking did not take place anywhere near as often as they are supposed to. She had terrible teeth and ulcers in her mouth. After her rehab, she found her perfect home with a young rider whose name I did not catch (will edit when I get it) and this was their first horse show together! Too cool.

Of course it was fun to see Petersburg Knight again, who went in the adult/significant other lead-line with his mom's 90 year old grandmother! He looks fabulous as always. Prince Caspian, the Arabian I rode at the show last year, was there with his new owner. Sugar, a Paint ex-broodmare who was abandoned at a boarding stable this year with her colt, was out showing with a kid and loving it.

So many horses we'd originally seen as animal control seizures, with Henneke scores of 1 and 2, were out there looking ready for the big shows. One of the most amazing transformations is Cedar County Queen. This mare is huge (16.3), dark bay and super classy. Best of all, she's not spooky or silly, nor does she require an experienced rider. She would be a fantastic dressage prospect for an amateur or youth with a trainer to help bring her along and the sky is the limit for her. She flunked out of track training and wasn't ridden for 10 years, so at age 14, she has perfect legs and no issues.

If you are interested in Cedar, contact SAFE.

And if you run a rescue, please consider having your own local rescue-friendly show! It is not only a great fundraiser, but it serves many other purposes. (a) You get to check on some of your formerly adopted horses in an informal way, (b) It provides a great "starter" show for an inexperienced horse/rider combo, (c) It shows the world how many high quality horses are rescued and (d) It shows the world how long a horse can live a useful and productive life and how a 37 year old can look! Among other things, I showed 37 year old Sarge in Rescue Halter and Bribe Your Horse (we got 2nd out of 20 in BYH!)...he has 2 teeth left but as you can see, looks great. It can be done and is not even hard. Pretty sure you all have a hose to make mush!

Comments on Friday are coming - I received a lot! :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bad show, good show!

Shame in the Horseshow Ring beat me to this story and I still can't believe it! Talk about not having any control over your horse. And the dude is a trainer!

I know I shouldn't condone violence but I gotta say, I think it's pretty damn awesome that the filly's owner popped studmuffin's trainer Ty Hornick a good one. How the hell does something like this happen at the breed show level in a ring full of professionals? Did it never occur to you to work studmuffin around mares in heat? I deliberately rode my VLC with mares in heat tied in the arena during his first summer under saddle. I mean, duh, isn't that one of the first things you want to make sure you teach with a stallion - to ignore mares in the arena?

I don't know, I'm far more suspicious that Hornick knew studmuffin wasn't really all that under control, but studmuffin's owner wanted him shown and Hornick wanted the $$.

I started googling Hornick and one of the first things I found was an interview on Cleve Wells' site. Birds of a feather! This quote baffled me:

"As for folks who say the pleasure horse of old looked better, Ty takes a different view. “It’s kind of crazy to say that they’re not as good when you look back twenty years ago and they’re running around knocking their knees and their heads are straight--they don’t even look like a Quarter horse.” Ty’s advice: “Don’t criticize something you don’t know about.”"

Uh, I have a western pleasure horse and I have no idea WTF you are talking about. Their knees were knocking together? I don't recall seeing that in the ring 20 years ago. Their heads were straight? Are you talking about their profile or their headset and what position would straight be? What the fuck are you talking about, because I can't figure it out at all.

I know at least one of my readers was actually there, so fill in the rest of us. Did you see it? Was the guy having trouble with the horse in the warm-up pen and still rode in the class? I think it's appalling that no one told the judges what had happened and Hornick still placed. What a joke. And proof positive that just because you can keep them slow and low does not mean you have control over their body the way you should. You know I tend to sneer at the overuse of the one-rein stop but you know, this is an instance where one should have been employed.

On a related note - is it just me or is the horse world getting better at covering things up? I can't believe this isn't being discussed on every message board, but this was the first I heard of it. I haven't even found the name of the out of control colt yet, have you?

Tell me what you think!

Now, for a GOOD horseshow...If you're in the PNW, head over to Graham's Frontier Park tomorrow to compete in or watch the Save A Forgotten Equine benefit horseshow. SAFE is one of the very few rescues I endorse without reservation. They get all the vet care done, they train their horses and now you can see the results at their horseshow. Most of their available horses will be showing, so if you'd like to adopt a sane, rideable rescue, this is a great place to find one. And if you need a schooling show, it's perfect - many of the horses will be at their first show, as will many of the riders, so you do not need to fear looking stupid. No show clothes required, just boots, and helmets for minors. Come on over and give showing a try!

Or if you're in the Midwest, check out the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue's Trainer's Challenge competition, also tomorrow. This is a competition where local trainers get a rescue horse and the chance to show what they can do with it. It's at the University of Minnesota - if you are local, definitely check it out. Should be a blast to watch!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Well, here are some feet for you...

KarenV sent me these pics of her new rescue. He arrived tonight and promptly wrote "GET ME A FARRIER!" in the sand of her arena with his cute little Morab nose. Yeah, I'm kidding but hey, he should have. Actually he should have planted that sharp sticking-out part good and hard in the middle of his previous owner's butt!

The rest of him doesn't look much better. Karen says he is missing teeth, so he's going on a diet of soaked hay pellets to regain his weight. The nice thing is that Morgans and Arabians are both breeds that tend to regain lost pounds quickly so I'm sure we'll have some awesome "after" pics before winter hits, and this guy's hungry days are over.

You can follow his progress on Karen's blog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I think your customers could figure this out without the visual!

We have a breeding farm! You know what takes place there? Breeding! Heh heh heh. Dude, seriously, like the stallion gets all excited and then he jumps on the mare. It's just like that time Bubba had too much beer and forgot we was still in the bar and not already home in our trailer. And the stallion, he really gets into it. It ain't easy holding the mare in place and keepin' from gettin' my toes stepped on in my flip-flops. Y'all ought to come down and watch the show. Bring some brats, we got plenty of beer, we can grill out!

Look at my baby filly! Ain't she cute? I think we should try to get on one of them dancing reality shows. That'd be awesome. No, I'm not worried. When she gets older and bigger I'll just tell her not to do it anymore. She's so good I'm sure she'll listen!

FHOTD in: The sad part is, they really don't have bad horses. The stallion, meh, but they have some nice mares and they all appear to be very well cared for. But when this is what you choose to put on your web site (and I didn't even post the baby sucking on the pacifier while riding numerous horses with no one holding him and no helmet), you look like morons. I know you're young but you're trying to be involved in this thing called a business. What you've got going here is the equivalent of a car dealership whose owner takes the cars for drunken joyrides around town and videos it for his web site.

So what's the most self-sabotaging thing/pic you've seen someone trying to be in the horse business post on their own web site? Something that just ruined it for them, even if they previously seemed pretty good to you? Send me your comments!


"My first thought was “Really?? What idiots.” But the more I thought about it, it looks like a set-up. “Let’s post this and see if we can be featured on FHoTD!”

Geez! People will do anything to be featured! “HEY! I’m famous! I was featured on a post on FHoTD! Yee ha!”

*shakes head in disbelief* - KarenV"

FHOTD in: It's kind of like reality TV. If you want to look like an idiot in front of tons of viewers, far be it from me to stop you!

"I think the stallion breeding pics/vids are supposed to show that he's doing his job, or proving that he's bred a certain mare? It's not like they have any other performance shots, Fugly! *snerk* Uploading those things to the public web will attract the sort of people you DON'T want looking at your stock. I uploaded an absolutely G-rated clip of horses from a TV show, and the demographics info from my YouTube acct showed that over 5% of my links were coming from a bestiality pic-swapping site. Squicky. There are people who don't let their kids put photos of themselves online; you really don't want owners of your foals down the road finding this silliness on your website. I might be weird, but I've been able to find the owners of horses in four generations of my horse's pedigree online, and thankfully most of them look like competent horse people."

"Saw this site and thought it would be an amusing feature for your
blog. My only hesitation regarding emailing it to you was
embarrassment that I live in the same part of this country as this
woman! lol"

(I changed a few details in the next comment so as to not identify the person writing it)

"Ok so I didn’t have too much respect for this one lady before BUT… the horse that I had been showing for the last year was advertised on her website in the 10,000 – 15,000 range. She is a sensitive mare who likes a similarly quiet, confident ride. I have a slight eye condition that prevents me from having depth perception, everyone at the barn, etc, knows about my eye ‘issues’ and they don’t affect my everyday life at all. Soooo, this lady thinks that a great selling point for the little mare is to advertise her as and I quote, “She has had many hunter championships in the past and is being shown by a student who is visually impaired." So we’ve been waiting for all the people whose children just happen to be blind or deaf, but can win championships with the seeing-eye horse! At least anyone who wants to see this mare has to through my trainer, and she will fully disclose all her habits, and will decide who should or should not try the horse out."

"While certainly NOT on his website, the pictures of Slow Loping Scotch pretty much took my rose colored glasses off about Cleve Wells

I am SO happy Horse and Rider stopped using him."

FHOTD in: VERY good point! And again, KUDOS to the woman who had the spine to "out" him (and for being an owner who CARED and not just a "gimme the trophy" owner.)

"I'm sorry, I've gotta comment on this one - the mare handler is wearing flip-flops - FLIP-FLOPS! SO not cool. In breeding sheds in KY, the crew (yes crew - at least 4 or 5 guys) wear hardhats and flak jackets." - 66 puppies

FHOTD in: Broken toes hurt enough through boots or sneakers...can't imagine thinking of trying to hand breed in flip flops!

"There's a barn that a few somewhat horsey friends of mine go to. Their horses are undertrained, overjumped, and underfed. I had some respect for the "trainer" up until one of her students posted this
video. I lost what little respect I had for her because, at sixteen, I know that a colt can breed the moment their balls drop. I know that if a horse is getting skinnier and skinnier, there is a REASON behind it, and that I need to find out what it is. Leaving a horse out on grass and going "Oh shucks," is NOT AT ALL what should be done. I know that at SIXTEEN. Past her twenties, she doesn't know that, and it disgusts me.

The other thing that's made me shake my head in total disbelief was when I was browsing their website a few weeks ago and found this statement, "We are seeing huge improvements in weight, energy, hair coat, etc.", on their boarding page. I all could think, and can only still think is "Well, no shit, a horse WILL look and act much better when you actually feed it."

What makes it even more classic is that EVERY time I've seen the "trainer" out at horse shows - she's pregnant. It just makes her seem even more like a stereotypical Kentucky backwoods hick to me."

FHOTD in: In case they take the video down, it's of a filly that died at 2 days of colic and dehydration. The mare looks like death. The person posted the explanation:

"no shes not a rescue...but they didnt know she was pregnat!! cause she was in a feild with a stallion they thought wasnt mutre but they moved him out to late but she was on fescue grass wich can mess up a baby since she didnt know that she was pregant and the baby took all her like energy and fat...thats y she looks bad but thank you for your concern!!!:))...and thankz:(("

She didn't drop condition overnight. Had you called a VET some time in that ELEVEN MONTH PERIOD OF TIME, you might have discovered she was "pregnat." BTW OMG OMG OMG that filly's pasterns!

"Even if I was interested in breeding to their stallion, no way would I leave my mare on their farm for breeding. Just first impressions of the flip flop wearing yahoo would be enough to to send me stallion shopping elsewhere. It takes more than feeding horses (their horses do look well cared for) to attract my business. With so many good stallions on the market, one red flag would send me packing."


"We saw an update on the story of the abuse/neglect case in Orange County, VA. Previous reports had only shown the pinto stallion who'd been kept in the horse trailer for a month +, but today's story showed the other horses - horrible. Body conditions of 1-2, rain rot, broken hooves; it was just awful."

"I've been reading - and enjoying - your blog for quite a while now but never got around to comment since I lack first-hand experience with horses. I live in Bucharest, Romania; riding here is available only to those with high(ish) income. Riding clubs are generally only reachable by car (and my family doesn't own one). This means I don't really know how horses are looked after at riding clubs here, but what I read in the other comment by someone who's been here last year wouldn't surprise me much (riders bouncing on their horses, chasing the kids' ponies around and so on).

When I was a kid - about 15 years ago, let's say - carriages drawn by horses were not a rare sight even in the capital. On my way to the park where I went daily, located in a comparatively central area of the town, by no means on the outskirts, I passed on a street with a string of building material retailers. They are still there to this day, but now they use trucks to haul the timber and bricks around. Back then, horses would pull the carts; about 5-6 of them were stationed there on a regular basis. Some were ribby, most were well looked after - they would have to be if they were expected to work well.

Besides these horses, the Gypsies (or as now they're called, the Roma community) used horses as well. They were - and are - poor, and you could often see thin horses with scruffy coats and untended feet. Not all of them neglected their horses however. Arguably the best-looking horse I saw in Bucharest was owned by Gypsies. It wasn't tall, but it was nice and well-rounded; always well-groomed, with a shiny coat and a wavy mane and tail - very impressive :) I really think they fed the horse before they fed the rest of the family, since they didn't look wealthy at all. Since the access of carts was forbidden in Bucharest, all these horses disappeared however.

There also are the horses owned by the state circus that I live close to. They are well-fed, but the turnout area could be much better - not much shade, and summer months can be very hot here (90-100F). The biggest problem however seems to be foot care, and I truly think the biggest problem in Romania is not feeding, but farrier care. There are very few good farriers, and I think even those that exist are not called in as they should be.

I visited a state-owned stud in the south-west part of the country in the spring of 2008. It's one of the less renowned ones (unlike the one by the seaside where Arabians are bred - Mangalia stud - or the one in the Carpathians where Lipizzans are bred - Sambata de Jos - these have more money to work with and get more publicity). They breed mostly Furioso horses, though they still have a few Shagya Arabians (formerly the main breed they were involved with) and also a few Romanian Draft and Romanian Sport horses. It was early enough in the year to have little new grass available, and the hay stocks were running low due to the drought that had hit Romania the year before. Still, the horses were in good condition, even the mares in foal or that had just foaled - but the level of foot care was appalling. They have a vet, and a farrier - but apparently in vain. The caretakers seemed to care little about the horses; a lot of yelling was going on, and they seemed afraid of the mares. One of them seemed genuinely affectionate when dealing with one of the few Shagya mares - but he held the Furioso mares in very low regard. Only one caretaker was truly confident and had a nice way of dealing with horses, the others only worked there because they couldn't find other jobs. They get very low pay, needless to say.

Also, in Transylvania horse care - and animal care generally speaking - tends to be better than in the southern / eastern part of the country. I remember to this day a trip to Hungary in 1998. We stopped in a small town close to the border while waiting for the next train. Horses were all very well-fed, and nicely groomed, as opposed to what I was used to in the Bucharest streets.

On the whole, there is a huge lack of education in this country, not only related to horses, but also dogs. People just don't know what their needs are, even if they could afford good (better) care. This means horses (and dogs, and other animals) are looked after on a trial-and-error basis; if something seems to work, there is no effort made to improve it. If something goes wrong, excuses are found easily enough, but quite often only few steps are taken to find a solution.

Things may be slowly starting to change, with more foreigners coming here and starting their own riding clubs, and there have been workshops held for farriers and saddlers, but there's a long way still to go. A huge mentality change is needed, and education must be made readily available.

I now realize what a long mail this got to be... thanks for bearing with me and reading it :) and thanks for all the work you do for horses, on and off FHOTD :)"

"A village in Spain stones its oldest donkey to death each year."

FHOTD in: WHY? How the hell do people come up with this shit?

"My husband and I have travelled to Mexico a few times and wanted to ride on the beach there. I was hesitant to do so because of the condition of so many of the horses that you see been rented out for that purpose.

We found an exception to that rule and want to pass it on to your readership.

In Mazatlan there is a business called Ginger’s Bilingual Horses that is run by a woman from Bellingham Washington and her Mexican national husband.
Ginger has been in Mexico for 26 years and she runs a very nice business with healthy energetic horses.
My husband and I rode there a few years ago and we were well matched with good horses. I rode an energetic but well behaved gelding and my husband rode a very calm but responsive gelding.
The route was interesting with an English speaking guide that gave good info of the sights, we rode to the beach and were able to lope along the water’s edge, if we wanted to...I did.

The guide was concerned for the welfare of the horses and asked that they not be loped in the soft sand but only in the firm sand near the water’s edge...

Overall, a very good experience, nice horses and a good value for your $$."

"Thanks for that post! I've seen many ribby miserable looking horses
on my travels, and yet also many perfectly happy healthy ones too! I
would definitely mention
Brooke Horse Hospital though
I did apply for a job there a few years ago
but didn't get (went to work for the Red Cross instead!). Brooke work
with people in developing countries to educate them and provide
veterinary care and help them with their animals, usually working
animals. And encouraging healthy equine tourism too! See
here:the fat woman on the donkey, makes me shiver with rage!"

"(If you click on someone's name on Youtube, it will bring up their profile. That's where I found the Indian woman's age and favorite videos - assuming the info she gave them was accurate. She pm'd me back, saying the videos were a year old and the horse had been taken out on a one month trial, which didn't work out. So... she's educated enough to get a trial period on a sale horse...)"

"Hey look at the new video. At 2 min's 40 secs you can see rolls under the saddle.. Perhaps to keep the saddle from sinking over his emaciated withers. Just a spot."

"Chile is not a first world or third world country but really somewhere in between aka Second World. Where as the mounted police weren't the most exceptional forward seat rider's I ever saw, they were extremely nice, the horses well taken care of and friendly. The next two pictures are from Easter Island (don't know how much you know about EI but it is a small island, with few natural resources yes, very poor indeed), though most of the horses there were a) semi-feral and b) underconditioned, none of them (minus the extremely sick very few indeed) were not underweight. All the ones staked in front of houses looked happy, healthy and sleepy!

My horse is a Chilean Thoroughbred. Shipped to the US he looked really good when we got him! And he wasn't even a good race horse, barely made 1.5k USD.

Anyways, I'm unsure about other South American countries but my family is from Chile and I was happy to see everywhere I went, government owned and most poverty stricken homes the horses were cared for."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bad horse ownership - the global edition!

Americans are funny. If you mention skinny horses in any South American, Asian or African country, they are likely to shut you down with horrified cries:

"They can't even feed their people there! Of course their horses are skinny."

While it's true that poverty may be more prevalent in many places than in America, the land of the hand-out, it does not follow that everyone in a company like India, for example, is living in a box and eating whatever they could catch in the river that day, and there's no reason your country of residence should be an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card for riding a starving horse. Here we have a girl who clearly has no problem affording nice tack to dress up her emaciated, gimpy-as-hell horse, as well as the video camera and computer needed to post the appalling footage to Youtube for all to see.

Hideously emaciated, lame horse in India

Let's make it run! 'Cause the only thing worse than being this lame and thin is having 150 pounds slamming repeatedly on your kidneys while some dude chases you with a stick.

If you watch her videos, she does not even take care of her own horse. A groom takes it from her and leads it away when she is done with it. This is an affluent person who is just as guilty of irresponsible ownership as she would be if she were in the U.S. or Ireland or anywhere that is not thought of as a poor country.

What do you think? Have you studied abroad or lived in another country and ridden there? How did the horses look? What was the vet care like? If you saw a situation like this, would your response be the same as if you saw it in the U.S., or different and if different, why? Do you blame the culture for poor animal care, or a lack of education? Send me your comments.


"Long time lurker...But apparently, she has another youtube account :
New video

That video is of the horse on the other account, but then, the newer videos, even one in Aug '09, is of a different horse, but much better weight. More like how the original chestnut was back in Dec '08. I can only hope that the chestnut didn't die from malnutrition, and is getting vet care and recuperating. And I hope this one gets fed and better cared for."

"I thought I'd comment on this since I just came back from Honduras and Belize (Sunday actually.) I was actually shocked at the condition of the horses that I saw. They looked pretty good! You couldn't see their ribs, and they didn't a lot of neck muscles, but they were by no means emaciated like some of the horses we see on your blog. I was expecting to see skinny, super sad looking animals. My favoriate horses were the ones who lived in stalls built below their owners house. I wish I could have grabbed my camera in time, it was hilarious.

Understandably I was only in Belize city and Roatan Island, so I am sure that there are some horrible horses that I missed. I wasn't impressed with the way one of them was "tied out" he had on the equivalent of a dog collar and he was "tied out." I wanted to rescue him, but he wasn't super skinny (I know that being tied to a tree is just as abusive.)

I think part of the reason that these horses looked pretty good is that they are needed to be healty to help "work" many of the families us them as daily transportation or to work their tiny farms."

"From the way she was riding, and the school bus in the background, I wonder if she is just uneducated about horses and participating in a school or after school program. There is another video of the same girl where, when the horse does not move forward, she wiggles the reins then gives up, leans over and hugs the horse. I think the blame may go to the person who is telling her this is animal is okay to ride. Particularly if all the horses look like this, she may not have an appropriate weight horse to compare with this horse's condition.

When I was a kid, I visited a classmate on a school trip. We went into the barn and saw the thinnest fuzziest horse I have ever seen in my life. I can still picture it, and that was when I was about 10, so over 30 years ago. It was winter, but its hind end looked like a cow. I did not know how wrong this was, until years later. This young rider in India may not realize that this horse needs more food and rest, and less riding. I don't blame culture, just a lack of education. "

"This could have been filmed at a riding school not far from us in Melbourne,
Australia, def a first-world affluent country.

The riding school wasn't that poor, they were just pouring money into add
ons like a conference / reception centre, and not doing the basics.

While I was still agonising as to how to make a complaint without the horses
being sent to the doggers as a result, the place closed down, doubtless with
a lot of the horses going to... The doggers.

I have to say I'm not in favour of pointing the finger at this girl as an
"asian". The many posts you've put up over the years on this blog amply
demonstrate that horrible horse abuse and neglect is not confined to the
people in the third world, and with the greater access to education and
internet resources the US and Australia has, I do think we need to be
cleaning up our back yard and setting a better example. There is nothing to
be gained from criticising this girl on the basis of race - she's just
another in a long line of ignorant owners we see on this mostly US-based

FHOTD in: Um, I didn't call her an Asian. She's clearly East Indian. I'm confused as to why you think any part of my post was about race? It was about neglectful ownership in other countries, and particularly the question of whether it is excusable just because a country is thought of as a poor one.

"I don't know if you've checked out her homepage for her youtube, but if you go all the way back, you see all these people commenting on how good of a rider she is and that she should whip her horse some more! They say, oh sexy Indian lady whip the horse more for being lazy and not obeying its mistress! OMG."

FHOTD in: Well, she has trolls. I have to feel sorry for her there. Boy are there a lot of weird guys online...

"Well, heck… I can’t watch her videos. It makes me ill. She has an audience for some videos. Grrrrrrr…

I’ve ridden twice outside the US . The first was during a trip to the British Virgin Islands and the second was in Mexico . No fatties like the brochure had pictured. All of the trail horses had a body score of 3 or less. I think it’s a combination of culture, finances, and lack of education. They are ignorant of nutrition and in training/behavior. I’ve heard it said that you can make a spunky horse tame by making him thinner. They can save a buck that way too. On both of my trips, I did say something but I couldn’t take a strong stand at the time. To be left behind wasn’t a safe option. So I rode. But I also did what any girl would do in my position. I got (faux) stomach cramps and skipped the “gallop on the beach”. I would pause (and not hit play) before booking any ride outside of the country again."

"Fugs - I think that there are some pretty big assumptions being made about that situation. This horse is both emaciated and lame - there's no question about that. This is unacceptable -there's no question about that. Whomever owns the horse can clearly afford decent tack, so they ought to be able to afford decent care - there's no question about that.

What I don't get is the assumption that the girl riding the horse owns it (which doesn't make it OK that it's being ridden in that condition), or that she knows the first damn thing about proper care and conditioning (which still doesn't make it OK that the horse is being ridden like that, but flaming the comments section of that video probably isn't helping to fix the problem).

Here's what I see (and I'm also making some assumptions here): girl from wealthy family wants to learn to ride. Wealthy family doesn't own a horse or know the first damn thing about them, so they seek out a "good" riding stable. They are impressed by the one that they end up using because it has nice-looking accroutements, a charming owner/instructor who sounds very knowledgeable, and the horses appear to be in *slightly better* condition to their untrained eyes than the even more emaciated lame old horses that they see on the streets pulling overladen carts to market...probably because their tails are brushed out and they're standing in stalls and not covered with flies, and they're wearing nice tack - by comparison these horses appear to be better cared for on a superficial level if you don't know what you're looking for.

The girl riding is clearly a novice. I'm chalking this up to a lack of education on her (and her parents') part. Whomever owns those horses ought to be ashamed of themselves...though you could make the argument that spending money on nice-looking tack rather than animal care is what keeps those students coming in - it is still not OK that the horses are being ridden under these conditions - I'm not excusing that - but as a business plan this may be working for the owner. It keeps similarly wealthy and un-horse-savvy people frequenting the stable.

If any of the above is true (or even a possibility) calling the girl a c*nt in the comments section is really reprehensible. That's a teenage girl who doesn't know any better yet people. She's got an interest in horses and showed up at a barn and is being told that this is the proper way to do it. Hopefully, she'll learn that it isn't. But how many of us started out with horses under the tutelage of an asshole or an ignoramousor greedy troll of a "trainer" and didn't realize it until later? Telling her that the horse is too thin and lame would be a fine way to start building some awareness here, but hate speech is uncalled for. Would you walk up to an obvious novice at a show and tell her she's a fat little bitch and she should go to hell for riding the horse that her "trainer" put her on? Or would you suggest to her that her horse is very uncomfortable because he's thin and his feet hurt and point out how you can tell and make some suggestions on improving his care and finding a better trainer? Which is more likely to result in better care for her horse? Is that not the goal here?"

FHOTD in: She says she owns him on other videos. I didn't think she was a teenager - where did you get that from? I thought she looked mid twenties. Who called her a c*nt in the comments section? Certainly wasn't me. I don't post to the youtube comments section. Do I have an impersonator again?

"I have lived abroad. I spent September 2009 until just about last week in the UK on study abroad with my school's program in Kent. I saw a great deal of horses and riders on my many trips around England and Wales. The horses were always well cared for - sometimes better than the owners! It seems as though people in England understand the luxury of horses. They understand that they are very expensive and they tend to make more commitments to them, treat them less as pets, and expect to keep them in working order more than Americans. In Wales, I got to go on a trek in the mountains on a beautiful 13.2 hand welsh cob. He was a brilliant ride! Lots of spunk. The trail place had tons of horses - all who were well-cared for, not over ridden and had great coats - even in November when we were there! All were well-trained and custom fitted for each rider so no one got a horse they couldn't control.

I was very impressed also in learning about the horse culture of my boyfriend's culture this year, too. He is from Iran and his father used to actually USE horses where he lived in the North of the country as a child. His father wants to buy me a pony if I ever come visit because he just wants someone to share his passion for horses with. Horses here are often still used in the North as a mainstay rather than cars and are treated very, very well. A lot of equestrians ride Turkoman horses - similar to Arabians but more sporthorse like. And while they are often in peak sport condition, they are not skinny. Many are used in local fairs as race horses or showjumpers. I have seen many pictures and while, yes, the breed is thinner and more agile than a hunter or stock horse would be, they are never to be ribby or skinny! I did ask what people would do to someone who kept their horse skinny and was told by my "father-in-law" that such a person would be treated very badly by the world around him. People assume that if you treat animals like that, you will treat people likewise. I would say that is a valid assumption!"

"OMG! I just glimpsed a couple more of her videos! I feel for that horse with that fatass bouncing on his bones (riding on the road video) and I literally mean bones! That particular video really shows the horse's spine and lack of muscle. And that horse is being ridden like that on a concrete road????? I do not get it. And here I was concerned that myself, being a plus sized rider, was too heavy for my horse, who, by the way is well fed, vetted, trained (we do not chase the horse and rider with sticks, we know how to get forward motion) , and suitable for my type of riding (trail), is ALWAYS happy to take his momma out and I am responsible for for his after ride care and well being. Even when I boarded my horse, he wasn't just handed off to someone else when I was done riding like a car that needed to be put in the garage. Only once, and one time only, did someone else take over immediately after a ride. I was excited about winning my horse in a raffle and had not eaten or slept in 3 days and after my lesson, had taken a short trail ride on a very hot, humid October afternoon. I managed to get off my lesson horse bring him in the barn, tie him up and get his bridle off before passing out! I don't think it has anything to do with culture, social status, etc., some people really believe they are above the ranks of others and animals are no exception. If they get what they want who gives a shit what the animal's health status is. He lived through that day."

"I took a chance once on an "equestrian center" in China that catered to the western expats living in Beijing. When we arrived after an hour's drive, we found a string of underweight, miserable horses tied in 100 F+ temperatures with no water. I asked for water for the horse and the people working there couldn't figure out why the hell the horse would need water. The idiots running the place were putting people who'd never ridden before on STALLIONS. Granted, the stallions were hundreds of pounds underweight and probably did not have the energy to act out. I selected a pregnant mare as my horse, figuring since it was already paid for, I might as well give the mare a break if I could. Her handler kept slapping her in the face for no reason. He kept a strip of old tire tied to the saddle to hit her with. I finally yelled in English, "will someone who speaks chinese please tell this asshole that if he hits this horse one more time in front of me, I will kill him with my bare hands!" Someone translated something to him and he let go. I took the mare off to hand graze, loosened her girth and threw away the whip.

The worst of the story is, there were a number of Americans there to ride. NONE of them, NOT ONE IN 20, thought there was anything wrong with the horses. Even though on the way out, there was a dead horse tied to a post in plain view. NO ONE NOTICED.

There are a lot of factors at play. One is education. People, including westerners, have NO idea what a healthy horse should look like. People in developing countries see skinny animals all the time. They often know nothing about worms and certainly don't have any idea about floating teeth or that a properly cared for horse could work well into its 20s. I'd venture to guess that this is where the Indian woman falls. Another factor is just where animals stand in their society. We have asshats like Michael Vick who have zero respect or empathy for animals. In other countries, it is just accepted that man is man and beast is beneath him. And finally, in many areas it comes down to just plain lack of money and access to quality food and vet care.

Check out this vet student who spent some time working in a free clinic in Morocco:

Keep in mind that there are good people who care greatly about their working animals in developing countries that would look at the way our precious show horses are kept and treated and have plenty to tsk tsk at us about."

"I've been a long time "lurker" on your blog, and it has helped me immensely during my "stoopid noob" horse phase. However, if there is anything I hate, it is the way your audience attacks people. For instance, the girl in India did not need to be called a "stupid bitch," that is just rude and not productive. Please tell your readers to be kind and supportive in their comments, telling someone they are stupid, that you hope "the horse falls and you die" is not productive at all, and it saddens me that FHOTD readers are getting a horrible reputation because most of your readers and followers are nice responsible people who truly want to help (or, at least I hope so).

Anyway, there is a non-profit organization in Philadelphia that teaches inner-city kids how to play polo, take care of horses, and offers educational opportunities (like tutoring and college!). This is an amazing program, and has helped countless youths in Philly stay out of trouble, and get their act together. Unfortunately, due to the economy they are having a lot of financial problems, and if donations don't come in soon, they will have to shut down because they can no longer afford food for the horses. I currently board my horse here, and I can tell you first hand, this is an amazing place, the kids are the most respectful, helpful, kind, and truly hard working kids you will ever find. So, if instead of a "Friday Feature Rescue," can you feature this program? Also, most of the horses are rescued OTTBs, and the kids train the horses themselves! (with proper instruction of course)

The website is
here and if any of your readers in Philly want a tour of the place, I will gladly show them around."

FHOTD in: I agree. I don't think it's necessary to attack people the way some do, but then again, we all have freedom of speech and are responsible for our own comments. I cannot control how people choose to express themselves, and when you put things on the 'net, you are going to hear the whole range. I certainly do!

"Long time reader, first time poster! I actually thought of you when I was riding in Thailand last week. And this post turned up!

Thailand is a poverty stricken country, and your heart still goes out to the horses, but it can be a case of the either humans or horses eating. I went to a stable to do a beach ride. The guy has 12 horses/ponies and while they were well taken care of within their means (well groomed, proper shelter, decent enough feet), boy, some of them were FUGLY, and some were ribby and one of the ponies looked wormy. It was a great ride and at the end the barn owner offered to take us on a sightseeing tour the next day in exchange for a small fee so that he could "buy food for the horses". Scam right? No. We took him up on his offer and we had a great day touring the local sights. At the end, he went via the feed store and I watched him hand over ALL the money we gave him and buy five sacks of feed.

Yes, the horses were not in ideal condition. Yes, some looked like they had old injuries that didn't get proper vet care (I imagine it would be horribly and prohibitively expensive in that region). Yes, some were ribby, But they all looked happy and I knew that he does his best within his means to care for them. And this guy was providing employment for half a dozen people when there is little employment for the poor in the tourism industry other than prostitution, touting and Mafia controlled tourism services.

With expectations of Western standards, one might have been shocked, but it was certainly a case of the best case scenario within a worst case context. In terms of care/condition of the horses would "blame" lack of awareness and resources that results from poverty, not a lack of duty of care or integrity. In terms of the Fugliness of the horses I would "blame" the very bad conformation of the Thai Pony "breed" (I use the term breed lightly), lack of good genetic stock, and poverty preventing the attainment of decent stock.

On a side note, later this year, he has organised an exchange with a woman from Australia - He has built her a cottage and will provide free board and food for 6 months in exchange for her help with working with the Tourists (his english isn't the greatest) and training/care of the horses. Apparently she works in the horse industry here in Australia and I'm hoping that she plays a big role in educating him on western standards of care. While poverty will still be an issue, she may help him improve his standard of care as is within his means.

Below is a picture of Me and Magnum."

" watched the second video, and I'm starting to think that it's not her horse. But a lesson string perhaps? If you notice there's a second horse in the background in a similiar condition. She looks new to riding, and so possibly she was taking some kind of lesson? There is no excuse but have you seen that movie "Slum Dogs"? I have heard from coworkers that are actually from India that it is like that there. She's obviously from a well off family, who can actually afford those lessons for her. I actually doubt that horse is hers. They don't even protect the children and women over there from abuse worse than what that horse recieves. In fact I would dare to say that the horse is better off then some of the people there! I doubt there is any animal protective rights there, other than for cows because of religious reasons. I watched a video of a cow in the streets of India... starving -- emanciated. He ate a duck! For a cow to eat meat in that manner... was almost horrifying. I know that it's animal rights in your blog and as an educated individual I agree that this horse is in a horrible situation. But for me in this case, it's really hard for me to point a finger at that young girl. We don't know if she is like many other girls and dreams of horses and begged for horseback riding lessons. She just may lack the knowledge and education to know what she's looking at. And even if she does, what could she possibly do about it? In a place where women and children are unheard. I won't throw stones at her."

FHOTD in: But see, that's my point. You're assuming she's ignorant and gets a get-out-of-jail-free card on the lack of horse care mostly because she's in a poor country, but the presence of a groom and expensive tack shows she is not poverty-stricken. So my question is, why does she get a pass? She has the Internet. Why is she not expected to read about horse care and educate herself, as we expect from people in the U.S. and Canada and England?

"When I was in Antigua last year almost all of the animals I saw were VERY underweight. Yes, it is VERY difficult to get hay here since it is a very small island and most fields are dedicated to crops like banana's and such. Every time we would drive somewhere, we would drive past numerous farms with 6 or 7 horses on it. My question is if they have 6 or 7 out there that are that skinny, would it not make more sense to have 2 or 3 well fed horses?? The other thing that struck me as odd was the fact that there is almost ZERO fencing there. There are always goats, donkeys, ox and what-not just hanging out everywhere, often in the middle of the road. The only animals I noticed that were "contained" somehow were the horses. All the horses had a rope around their neck (no halter, not even a makeshift halter out of all that rope) which was staked to the ground. They had about a 10-15ft radius to move around. We went for a trail ride there, and the lady that ran the place (she was from england) said that even though the grazing looks good, it really doesn't contain much. Every horse I saw was standing in grass at least a foot tall and also all the free range animals I mentioned were also very skinny, so I beleive her. Although I do have to say that I saw VERY few fat people, and none of the fat people I saw owned any animals.

This trail place seemed ok. The horses were a little on the skinny side, but not bad. All the horses had grass paddocks and stalls, and the place always closed at noon since if it wasn't raining it was way too hot for the horses to be ridden. She also mentioned something about paying $35.00 a bale for mediocre quality hay she had to get brought in from the states. It wasn't the greatest place I'd ever seen, but definately FAR better horse care than the rest of the island. I managed to take a peek at their schedule, and the horses seemed to be working about 1-2 hours a day 4-5 days a week. All the horses had their feet done, they didn't have shoes on but they were all kept up on trimming. I only saw one lame horse, and that horse was being cared for at the time I was there. It had thrush. Apparently trush is a HUGE problem there. It's very easy for them to get it and when they do its VERY difficult to control and get rid of. She says this is because of the insane humidity there and it is impossible to get coppertox on the island, or even bring it from the states. All they can do for it is get the farrier to cut it out, try to keep it dry (really not easy there) and put Aloe Vera on it. I can't really form a proper opinion of them since I really have no idea what they're dealing with there. However if these people can do what they're doing for their horses, there's no excuse for the condition of the other horses and livestock on the island. If you don't have the money to feed them you shouldn't own them."

"When I was 12 back in 1959 (don't do the math!) I was in India and Pakistan
with my father on a business trip, and all I wanted to do was ride. My
father, a non-horsey fellow who supported my horse habit back in the USA,
went to several stables/academies and declared he would not pay good money
to have me ride such skinny unkempt horses. My beloved dad knew little
about horses, but he'd watched my lessons back home on plump, shiny horses
(God bless Peanuts, Tippy, & Lucky Sam!!) and knew the Indian horses weren't
right, and could not condone my riding them. I recall sulking until it got
through my thick head that these horses weren't cared for by our standards,
and I had a new appreciation for my lesson horses once we got back home."

FHOTD in: Good for your dad.

"I dont care what country you are in, no horse deserves to look like that. If they just cant afford it, than its time they dont have horses. Stop breeding them. Sell them. Whatever it takes, horses shouldnt be that thin.

She sure doesnt look very malnourished, in fact she is quite well off, and can obviously afford to feed herself and buy expensive tack. But she cant afford to feed the horse? Wow. Thats just not right. When you come into "ownership" of an animal, they are your responsibility to take care of. They DEPEND on you. If you cant handle it, you shouldnt have any animals.

I must say I applaud the horse for his good heart, despite being so skinny and lame. He has a lot more patience and kindness than I do, if it were me under that saddle her ass would be on the GROUND."

"I lived in India from 1959-1963, 9years - 13 years for me. We had our own
horse, rented horses from a lake resort for 4 months in the winter, and
saw many horses.

This video looks like a little rich girl with the usual disregard
for animals prevalent in the country. This can be forgiven somewhat when
they are pulling the tongas for tourists in New Delhi, or carrying loads
of bricks for construction. The animals are kept alive because they are
needed for the owner's livelihood. People are very poor; there are many
many people. It is hard to see animals thrown into the mix. Education, or
just caring, is lacking. Looking back at our photos, some amazing poor
looking horses.

I lived in Nigeria from 1963- 1969, 13 years to 19 for me, absent
for the school year the last 3 years. Very bizarre, in retrospect,
horsekeeping. We rented third string polo ponies for trail riding, all
stallions. The mare were kept at another barn, no geldings. Lots of
variety, from mean-spirited to docile to wild to sweet. Learned a lot.
Looking back at the photos, there were some odd looking horses, but on
the whole, in better condition than the Indian ones. Not sure why, but
very few used in daily living.

I lived in Tunisia for the 4 years after that, absent during the
school year for college. Beautiful horses everywhere, doing the most
mundane chores. I guess they were Barb/Arabian blood, but most were
beauties, often with a mule colt by their side. Lots of donkeys around.
Much better condition than the Indian ones, more pride.

I hope some comments are left for the Indian girl, maybe she can

"Ugg. She needs more lessons on a horse with more meat on their bones. I bet that horse has some sores. Bad posting wrong diagnol. She should be working on that and her seat before trying a gallop. She had a video of a "gallop" It wasnt even a hand gallop. That horse doesnt have energy. Just imagine how he must feel after being ridden."

"As someone who has traveled to India several times, I must say that this surprises me somewhat. But maybe not for the reason you think.

For most Westerners, the sight of animals in India almost always induces horror. Stray dogs are everywhere, and they're almost always feral, skinny, flea-ridden and often nursing; donkeys, water buffaloes and cows are typically racks of bones and either wandering freely or hitched up to carts they have no business pulling-- usually in the middle of the city, down crowded streets next to cars, buses, motorcycles, rickshaws and big trucks. Goats seemed to suffer the least but I suspect that has more to do with their proclivity to eat anything and everything than the care they receive from their owners.

A couple of times I was offered the use of horse or camel-drawn carts and refused based on the condition of the animals; in each case I calmly told the person offering that I would not give them my business because of the starved condition of the animals. (This was usually followed by a look of utter confusion, and when pressed further, said person would frequently "forget" their English, which prior to my comments had been perfect.) And FORGET about hoof care-- it doesn't exist for the common person. Almost all of the horses one comes across in daily travels look like that poor beast in the video: starved to the point of their spines sticking straight up, no neck, gimpy as all hell, etc.

But what's surprising to me about that video is that I did come across some upscale "riding academies" where the horses looked pretty well taken care of (if not terribly well-bred), and in those cases the riders/owners/barn managers seemed to have more of a clue about horse care. Interestingly, even the hardy little ponies way out in the mountains in Kashmir-- owned by gypsy herders who are extremely poor-- were clearly MUCH more cared for than the sad creatures in the rest of the country.

I do believe that things will start changing for the better as it becomes more mainstream for Indian people to keep animals as pets. The veterinary industry, which was EXTREMELY rare as little as 10 years ago, is becoming much more prevalent which is a good sign."

"I had the good fortune to take a riding lesson when I was studying abroad in Spain. We were in a teeny, tiny little town outside of Madrid, and the instructor was clearly an old country man and spoke heavily accented and (to me) utterly incomprehensible Spanish. Other than breaking off a small tree branch for me to carry as a crop (!), the facilities and instruction were what you would expect to find at a nice farm in the United States. The lesson horses were in good weight and well trained, and the instructor seemed very knowledgeable. He kept yelling at me what I eventually realized was "more impulsion!" and then my little lesson pony rounded up quite nicely and was very soft and obedient. Also, they insisted I ride with a helmet (I quite happily obliged). I would have been very happy to take lessons at that place if it were in the United States. Our instructor even had us doing trot poles and no-stirrup work!"

"This could very likely be a horse crazy girl taking riding lessons while her father videotapes the lesson. Ignorance on hers and her parents part may be forgivable but not to the owner/instructor who is chasing the horse to canter because the girl can't get the horse to do it herself. We know why the poor horse doesn't want to canter but maybe not the student. If this is the way "working horses" in parts of India look, you might understand the ignorance because it might be normal.
Everyone who is blazing this girl on youtube may have it wrong believing it's her horse. We just don't know. I feel she posted this because she was proud that she was riding a horse!"

"This response is coming to you from Turkey where I am currently doing fieldwork. As a researcher who frequently travels to out-of-the way places I have become accustomed to the often drastic difference between the acceptable level of care given to livestock in the US/Canada/Western Europe and the beasts of burden in places like rural parts of the Levant and SE Asia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia. On the one hand, it is interesting to observe traditional, and in some ways better methods of livestock management. For example, the herding of goats and sheep over the landscape and free-range throughout the villages of flocks of geese and chickens as opposed to the feedlot/battery cage lives of animals raised for milk or consumption in the US. On the other hand, it is difficult to see a donkey struggling to pull an overloaded cart complete with flat tires while a crowd of young boys beats it with sticks.

In many parts of the world, children are employed as shepherds or care for the family animals, and children can be very kind or very cruel.

In the southern parts of Turkey, donkeys are used to collect and carry massive amounts of bay leaves that grow in the coastal mountains and are used to make soap. When fully loaded, they resemble giant, walking tree tops on four tiny little legs. We live in a country where people post on internet message boards wondering if they are too fat to ride, while in reality, donkeys and study ponies worldwide carry incredible loads of pack weight or large people and their possessions on a daily basis. We hire saddle fitters to reflock our French-made leather saddles, while in many places, wooden saddles over thick wool pads are the only option. Most people in the US have never even seen a set of hobbles, let alone used them.

I do think that there is a difference in acceptable level of care depending on poverty and access to suitable veterinary expertise. I worked in a very rural part of Central Asia, where children stop growing once they reached the age of nine or ten (there is no iodine in the salt). I camped on the village communal horse farm and was able to observe traditional horse care practices, including milking of the mares for the production of fermented mares' milk. Twice each day, the herd was galloped straight up or straight down the mountain slope to the grazing areas. It was shocking to witness, although in general, the horses seemed ok and certainly got plenty to eat. Hooves were not trimmed (that I could tell) but were again, ok. The breed, I later determined, was the Karabair - a mountain-adapted Central Asian horse. One mare was most certainly not going to make it through the summer. She had torn open her hind left leg such that tendons and ligaments were exposed and visibly severed. There was no treatment other than flushing of the wound. Presumably, the villagers were waiting to wean the foal, after which, I expect, they ate the mare, although I left before it happened. In this case, there really is a different standard.

As an aside, there was actually a veterinarian in a nearby village, although I do not think that he would have traveled to the farm, as there was a border-region military checkpoint in the way. Our cook was pregnant and was getting quite big. She didn't know her due date (or month?) and since there was no doctor in the region, our director took her to visit the veterinarian. He examined her and declared that she would deliver in a week. She actually delivered six weeks later, so I have doubts as to whether the veterinarian was worth anything. But then again, he is a veterinarian, not a midwife!"

FHOTD in: These are GREAT comments. Thank you. I don't have the perspective of living in any other country (other than Canada, which is similar to the U.S. in horse care) so it's extremely interesting to read from those of you who have.

"I felt kind of bad for this gal - she's 37 and learning to ride! Maybe it's the best barn in the area? What if it's just a lesson horse where she rides? - before I saw her favorites list. Bad riding, the people who jack off to horse abuse, and this poor red horse used to teach polo and trotted on asphalt roads. Damn. The horses in the background don't even look as bad off as hers.

There are horsemanship orgs in India - like here, here, and here, and that's not even Googling in Hindi - so it's not like the middle class would be devoid of horse care to look up to. They even have a national research center and Olympic committee! "

FHOTD in: Did you find that she's 37? See, everybody think she's a teen but I don't think she looks like one at all. I was saying mid 20s. That's an adult woman's body.

"I have gone on riding holidays in Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, Australia, and Canada and everyone of the horses was well fed, well muscled, in great condition, etc If I had ever come across one that was too thin or in bad shape, I would refuse to ride it.
I am guilty of going on a beach ride in Acapulco on a very thin horse and after about 10 minutes, I dismounted and led the horse as I just didn't feel right riding him. The guide got upset with me, and I didn't ask for my money back, but I told him he needed to feed the horses more, etc my Spanish isn't great, so I doubt he understood much of it.
In Madrid, I noticed the Mounted Police horses were fabulous Andalusians that could have graced any show ring as they were fabulous looking horses and you could tell the officers were very proud of their horses.
In Quebec City and Montreal they had tons of carriage horses and the majority of them were in great shape and the owners let me feed them apples.
I also rode in the Dominican Republic and while the horses could have used a few more pounds, they weren't bad and had plenty of grassy turnout.
I've seen a lot more thin horses here in the US than in my travels for the most part."

"I studied abroad in the Czech Republic (not exactly a wealthy country, especially after Communism) and, no, their horses looked nothing like the walking skeleton in that girl's video. There are many carriage horses throughout the city of Prague, and they look as well-cared for as top show horses in the US. I also visited a farm out in the country, and while they did things a little differently than what I have seen here (such as tie-stalls), the horses were all healthy, happy, and gorgeous."

"According to "" there is a movement of veterinarians in this country willing/able to travel abroad to assist. For decades there has also been a sort of "vets without borders" who assist especially work animals (mostly donkeys, oxen and camels) upon whose continued health the lives of an entire family may depend. Must admit, this goes a long way toward improving the recently sad downward spiral of public opinion about veterinarians due to the abusive greed factor." -Sunvalleysally

"There are times when cultural differences play a part…but this is not the case…a starving horse is a starving horse is a starving horse.. This situation obviously shows a girl who lives a comfortable life, and just as certain cultures condone practices that we cannot support no matter what the “culture” is (think human rights, child labor, etc) riding a starved, lame horse is cruel by any standard regardless of the culture and should be fought..

If this were a case of a family living in horrendous conditions and real poverty, then the condition of the horse would be, at least, understandable."

"What disturbs me is that the horse, in the cantering video, was posted 8 months ago. The other post was 6 months ago and the horse is thinner and also lame. Therefore, one can conclude the horse was purchased in better condition and deterioriating in this girl's thoughtless care."

"I went to Cuba with my parents when I was 15 yrs. old.
I was thrilled that the resort we were going to offered horseback riding on the beach.
The first day that I ran down to the beach to see the horses I was horrified. There were four of them. A chestnut, black, bay and sorrel. They were tied to a hitching post with a tiny bit of an overhang for shade. The shade only covered as much as their necks. If they were lucky.
Two were thin. Rail thin. No water or hay was in sight.
They had horrid curb bits and chains and two of the horses chains were embedded into the flesh under their chins. The skin was actually trying to grow over the chain. They had bad saddle sores and galls. I do believe their tack never came off. They were ridden down to the beach by the Cuban workers from the farm each morning and then ridden by tourists for $1/hour. Then ridden back up to the ranch.
The tourists had no idea how to ride and the poor horses had these curb chains dug into their chins from hard, inexperienced hands. Many of the tourists galloped them hard and brought them in still huffing, only to be be turned back around with yet another tourist on their back.
There was one weak, pregnant, emaciated mare I felt really bad for. She was miserable and it showed.
I asked when she was due and was told 'any day now'. Only to see tourists riding her hard before she finally bucked them off. She suddenly stopped coming down in the morning one day with the others and I am hoping that foal turned out ok.
To do my part, I did what I could at 15 yrs. old. I brought them water several times a day. There was one leaky spout on one of the beach huts and I filled the only thing I had, a discarded beer bottle. To say the horses were appreciative is an understatement. I had no access to hay so could not offer them anything to eat.
One morning I told a worker that a shoe was dangling by one nail on one horse's hind hoof, he did nothing and instead sent the poor horse off galloping with a tourist on board, the shoe flopping from his hoof. I was wincing the whole time.
When he came back, my dad and I pulled the shoe off. The worker just watched us, amused.
No one else gave a damn about the poor horses.
I have no idea if this is still happening but I certainly hope something has changed there."

"There is a comment on the video suggesting that the reason for all the nasty comments relating to the video is due to Fugly and the "mob mentality" of its readers. Too bad the person who is sooo worried about the feelings of the fat ass on the skinny horse isn't more worried about the skinny horse. In this case, sorry, but the nasty comments were well earned."

"I had a look at the videos and I think that the girl doesn't own the horse. I bet that the building in the background is a school, a private one, that wealthy families send their kids too, and that they offer a riding program. It also looks like it is in an urban area and those horses have little to no pasture. Hay isn't something that is a big crop in rural India. Farmers have year round pasture. It wouldn't be readily available like it is here. This girl has minimal English skills so for all of you leaving nasty messages on her youtube videos... she probably isn't getting it and she probably has no control over how the horses are treated! Well maybe I am wrong there, I suppose her parents and her friends parents could pull their kids."

FHOTD in: Again, I believe her to be an adult and someone else found that she is 37.

"Anyone else notice that if you look at the dates of the videos the
horse is clearly going downhill? You can see he's just continuing to
lose weight - makes me wonder if she A) purposely doesn't feed so the
horse won't dump her and she can feel like a good rider and B) will
just ride him until he dies then go out and get another poor horse to
do this to."

"I have to say, I have to disagree with you on the topic of emaciated horses in other countries.

Having been to some of these other countries (the main one being Cuba), I can tell you that without these horses, the people would DIE. As sad as it sounds, horses are not these people's friends in most cases, but rather the only way they can survive. And in all honesty, a country like Cuba can't help that their horses are starving because they are communist. There's no way to have extra income and their climate doesn't exactly have great vegetation for the horses to eat.

However, as before mentioned, these people need horses to live. In their country, horses are beasts of burden. In Cuba, because they have no trade with America, all of their cars are very outdated and they don't have many in the country. It's not like here, you can't go out and buy a car, you have to apply for one through the government. Their main mode of transportation is by horse and wagon.

They need the horses to work their fields so their family can eat and they can do that duty for their country. They need the horses to get to their assigned jobs. If they don't get to the jobs, their allotted food supply gets cut off, the family dies.

They aren't even allowed to keep the entirety of the tips they make through tourism, should their job involve it. They have to give something crazy like 50% of a tip back to the country.

I'm not saying I LIKE these facts. I'm just saying, they have literally NO OTHER CHOICE. They do this, or they die. And it's not just a small percentage, especially in a place like Cuba. If the horses in Cuba got taken away, the majority of the population would die.

It pains me to the core that these animals have to suffer, but what pains me more is the knowledge that nothing can be done about it without seriously harming a large chunk of people. And I'm no humanitarian. Were it a situation where they had ample opportunity to treat their animals like family, I would say off with their heads in a heartbeat. But it's not. The way they live can't be helped; they themselves are struggling to survive. They don't have other methods AVAILABLE to them. As in, it's impossible for them to better the horse's treatment.

I had the rare opportunity to go across this country and interact with the people and more than once the condition of the animals brought me to tears and I wished that I could take them all home with me and fatten them up and give them the retirement they need, but to do so would have been the death of their owners.

If you wanted to see pictures that I took (I'd rather that they not leave my blog, please) I posted some

Thanks for the read."

"I'm sorry, but with all the information that is so readily accessible to anyone with a PHONE, there is no reason, NONE, for people to keep any animal in such a terrible condition.

Neighbors watching neighbors! Even war torn countries have the ability to get information out to the masses on what is truly happening.

There are no excuses acceptable anymore! If you can't feed them, don't own them!"

"Unfortunately this is culture, but not in a good way. Many wealthy Indians, like their American counterparts, are very status conscious and enjoy flaunting what they have to the have-nots. India is the home of the caste system by which individuals were seggregated according to their social status. This poor horse is just a four-legged version of a Gucci bag that will be tossed aside when daddy buys her a new toy.
Regarding other countries, I've done some riding in Eastern Europe at public stables and was impressed with the quality and condition of the horses. Abuse and neglect is the result of ignorance and lack of empathy. Culture has nothing to do with it."

"I think you are out of touch with reality on this one. First of all,
the "land of hand-outs" comment was typical of right-leaning, "somebody
is getting something free" complainers. Do you mean hand-outs like
unemployment compensation? Tax allowances for mortgage interest? Health
insurance (partially) paid by your employer? I think you get my drift.
The US controls 3/4 of the world's wealth; we should be doing a much
better job of taking care of both our people and our animals, among
other things.

That said, yes I've lived in places where animals were not valued or
cared for. Try the Caribbean. Dogs are kept chained up to the "house"
they are supposed to be guarding and fed minimally. Cats are expected to
fend for themselves. Livestock is somewhat better cared for, but that's
only because they're ultimately intended for somebody's dinner. Nobody
makes any attempt to avoid hitting domestic animals in the roadway. I
once witnessed someone deliberately run into a herd of sheep as they
were crossing the road. TBs are imported from the states, typically
after they've already been deemed unfit for racing, and they are raced
at the local tracks until they are really, really unfit for racing, or
much else. Then they are simply let loose. I acquired a TB gelding
when I saw it standing in the same general location on the side of the
road for several days. I put a halter on him and led him home. He had
a bad knee that had mostly fused, but which did not bother him and he
was the sweetest horse I ever owned. I eventually tracked down his
"owner", a Senator from St. Croix, and paid him $200 for legal
ownership, although I'm quite sure he never would have come after the

It is true that in the Caribbean, the native population is very poor;
the only people with money are the white folks who go there to build
fancy vacation homes. The natives are barely scratching out a living to
support their families and the animals come second, both for economic
and cultural reasons. I can imagine that India is the same way. You
may think that the girls is from a wealthy family, but it's all
relative. My company outsources lots of work to India, and I can tell
you that the pay rate for someone in India doing the same work I do
would be roughly a twelfth to a tenth of what I make. And again, the
cultural attitudes towards animals are very different. But, the US
hasn't always been so "enlightened" either. Regard for animals comes
with education and a higher standard of living. Don't expect to find it
in third world countries."

"Just wanted to comment on today's post:

I lived in Romania the past year, and the horse world there is something else... Outside of major cities horses are still the major source of transportation, and you see wagons like the photo attached EVERYWHERE. I was impressed by the stoicism of these horses, who stood quietly when halted, never flinched when cars race by them and passed inches away, and worked in two stallion or stallion and mare pairs (usually with a foal at their side) with no fuss, ever. However, part of it is they are just worked so much, they have no energy to act up. Though so many peasants use horses exclusively on a daily basis, the horse culture is dead. During the Communist facist Ceasescu regime, equitation was considered bourgeois, while using horses to plow and transport was considered too primitive. Hundreds and thousands of horses were slaughtered or abandoned so tractors could be implemented on all the collective farms. Post 1989, no one can afford tractors anymore, and now it's back to horses, with an entire generation of people who have never been taught to properly treat their horses. Horses are shod with shoes that have 'lifts' under the heel, while any hoof shaping technique is ignored. They have strange superstitions about water 'killing' horses (probably some peasant legend about one guy who gave his huffing and puffing dehydrated horses free access to icy cold creek water in the winter and....), and they are usually offered water only once a day. They work outdoors all day, and are pastured via a tether to the ground OR, for stallions, by tying the stallion's front hoof to his halter with a foot long rope so he awkwardly prances around. At night, they are stabled in rough little cow sheds with the pigs. Breeding is done pretty haphazardly. The Hutul/Huzul/Hucul horse is a smallish native pony related to some of the oldest horse breeds in the world (somewhat like Icelandics, in a way) that used to be bred for speed and to be the mounts of noblemen. However, now breeding is done carelessly, and you see a lot of fugly horses around. The rough treatment of the peasants, however, is NOTHING compared to the immature vanity of the new rich classes that fancy riding as some flashy way to have a good time. Men love to pretend they're cowboys and gallop their horses while they bounce along, and they chase their child's pony around in the round pen so it will give their kid a fun ride. They are totally unwilling to learn and have no respect. They underfeed their horses, they never keep up with worming and shoeing even though they could afford to, and they often tire of their horses after a few months and leave them to wither away under the care of an indifferent, underpaid peasant. It's hard to see- some riding holiday centers owned by foreigners manage their horses well, but it's always against the tide, as the local workers don't find it necessary to treat horses kindly."

"As bad off as this horse appears to have it, believe me, it has it good in comparison to the rest of his country mates. Do a search on the India horse markets. Horrid. I am not quite sure its "her" horse. It appears to be more of a roadside (close to a school) stand for "riding lessons". The same two chestnuts are always present and tack varies by video. In one of the vids, the other chestnut is off grazing, tack and all by itself. I also see no stable present, so I can't help but wonder if they are led there for a day of work from somewhere else.

I know the following link is for Egypt and its not quite fair to compare, but the mindset is the same. Be sure to view their blog link to get the full scope."

"I lived overseas twice…once in Italy , once in Mauritius . I wasn’t able to ride when I lived in Italy , but I did crave horses and thus jogged past one horse farm daily. They were drafts used for farming and they were in good shape. I don’t have photos of them.

When I lived in Mauritius (see attached photos), I did have the opportunity to ride at the horse club. Being an island 600 miles east off the coast of S. Africa , most horses are imported first for racing. The majority are Arabs. Much like a TB’s career here in the US , these horses come off the track and go to private citizens. Because the island is small and the majority of the population is quite poor and living in compact spaces, few private citizens tend to have horses. Those that do are typically quite wealthy. Anyone else who wants to ride joins the horse club (there is only one) and rides there. I paid about 60 dollars per ride as a non-member.

They don’t grow hay on the island, it has to be imported and hay cubes are more common. Sugar cane takes up the majority of fields. Horses are in good health, good weight, feet are maintained, etc. Their barns are fairly open air for circulation and horses spend the majority of their time in a stall when they’re not being ridden.

The only thing that bothered me about these horses? Flies. They really didn’t fly spray anyone.

Other places that I’ve visited such as Mexico , Jamaica , Virgin Islands , etc? I’ve seen horses in pretty poor condition being used in tourist trail ride strings. I refuse to participate in that. I’ve never seen anything that screamed ABUSE to me, but was certainly below the standard of care *I’d* consider minimum for my own. Therefore, when I go on a cruise or take a vacation, I steer clear of the beach rides and such."

"I don't think she owns that horse. I think that dinky little round pen area is where she goes for her weekly "lesson". Just hypothesizing, of course, but she doesn't know what a gallop is (she's cantering) and seems to be pretty self absorbed in what she can…er…tries to do. Of course she isn't in America, but it seems like most self-indulgent horse owners want to show how amazing the horse is and what stupid tricks they've taught it. This woman is a beginner and content with showing us her super-dee-duper dismount.

That doesn't make it better, just saying, I think she's a rank beginner who needs to start with a good, thick book on horse husbandry, not getting herself in a saddle.

Of course the horse is too skinny and lame, but I think the main issue should be educating her, or she'll turn to the dark side for good."

"I just got back from a 6 week vacation in Germany, and while I was there I was fortunate enough to take some lessons from at a riding stable. All the horses appeared very fat and healthy, and under very good care. I spent a lot of time traveling in a car while on vacation and noticed that many of the horses pastures (and even other livestock) mostly was surrounded by electric fencing (I was so happy!). I only recall seeing one horse in a pasture with barbed wire. Though the pastures were small, all the horses appeared in good weight when the economy over there is just as bad if not worse than our own."

"I guess that gal is convinced that she is truly learning to ride and has good equitation. I’d HATE to see what would happen if she got on a horse that was properly fed, that felt good and was fit. I’m quite sure that she would have a rude awakening and more than likely get hurt. So sad for those pour animals L

Also, it is too bad the FHOTD bog has the, and I quote “mob mentality” as stated on the YouTube response for this video. I tried to PM the person that made this statement to tell her that ‘NO, not everybody that reads the blog is like this’, but I don’t have a YouTube account L

Even the on the sweetest forums, there are those that get the mob mentality, I have personally seen/read it! Apparently there are a whole lot of people out there that just have anger management issues…"

"In response to your blog today, I felt that I needed to comment.

I've spent a fair amount of time in central and south america, especially in costa rica doing surveys for Crocodiles. I had the opportunity to pack into the jungle with criollo pack horses, and borrow criollo ranch horses for long tail rides and beach rides. Although I frequently saw horses that showed a shadow of rib, they never looked ill or hungry. I was not borrowing tourist horses, I was borrowing working animals owned by locals that made their living hauling fallen mahogany logs out of the forest, panning for gold, and doing odd jobs around the community. They were not affluent people. Their horses were ALWAYS cared for and fed. The only time I ever saw skinny horses was on the beach, carting tourists around for a wealthy lodge owner. My experience and 2 cents."

"I was in Argentina this week (Yay for pass travel!) and saw a lot of poverty that would be incredulous to see here in the US, but while I saw a few shaggy thinner beasties, most of them were well fed with good feet, especially the cart and carriage horses. You could often see them grazing on the greenbelts next to the shanty houses. - Breezy."

"I have a professor that came from India only a few short years ago. When he found out I owned a horse he looked astounded and exclaimed that only royalty in India own horses. Everyone except a teeny, tiny percent could never dream of ever owning or riding a horse. Horses are only for royalty.

This girl (and those with any affiliation to this horse) need a royal kick in the ass."

"Years ago I went on an Equitour trekking trip in England, geared towards advanced riders. Amazing well-cared-for horses, concerned guides and owner of the stable, no complaints about animal welfare. But I was shocked that they had no qualms about trotting for miles on paved roads. I told the guide that in the US we "never" trot fast for distance on paved roads, and now she was the shocked one!

The horses weren't lame and it was obvious they trotted on pavement all the time. 2 of the riders in our group (from Australia I think) were very upset and complained to the tour owner and said they would write to Equitour. Since the horses looked healthy, I figured it was just a "culture" difference and didn't comment. Was that okay?"

"Chubby girl, who can't ride, pounding the back of a skinny, lame horse is SICK and WRONG in any country. I could see it if the owner's are scraping by, but obviously this girl is well fed and well dressed. There is no excuse for THAT!"

"One of my most vivid memories from the two-week foreign exchange trip to Spain I took as a schoolkid (some two decades ago, now) was on the bus, which had stopped in a tiny village between Historical Point of Interest A and Historical Point of Interest B for fuel.

We didn't get off the bus, but as I sat there looking out the window at the tiny huts and the dry, dusty ground broken only by little desert shrubs as far as the eye could see, two plainly dressed men rode into my field of view on the most beautiful horses I had ever seen in the flesh. They were perfectly matched young, dapple gray Andalusian stallions, perhaps four or five years of age, meticulously groomed, glossy and rippling with muscle.

The men were in work clothes, riding with rough, but serviceable and well-fitted tack; the horses calmly on the bit as they walked past this giant, diesel-belching bus invading their village without snorting or rolling an eye.

These horses would have easily sold in the US for $25,000 a piece, or more. It was obvious that in this village, the horses WERE their wealth... and I'd bet that out of sight somewhere, there were some fighting bulls and cattle that were just as magnificent, and were treated just as carefully as others might treat their gold or their prized artwork.

What were they feeding these animals? I have no idea. It was a desert; it was late winter. There was no green to be seen anywhere, beyond the sparse, scrubby brush. But they obviously had it figured out.

I have never forgotten those horses, and never will.

Deer Run Stables"

"I went to Cancun with my senior class ( 6 people-we home schooled). Somewhere outside of Cancun, at a resort/park they had horse back riding on the beach. I don't remember the name of the place. You could see the parrots and flamingos, swim with the dolphins and do other things there. My friends wanted to go riding. I refused to go because the horses looked worse then that girls horse! My classmates were not horsey people at all, and still went riding. They didn't understand why I freaked out. I do have a picture of them somewhere...I will have to see if I can find it. I tried saying something to the grooms, but they didn't understand me - or just pretended they couldn't hear me."

"The video appears to be of a riding lesson to me. The rider is very much a beginner, holding desperately to the saddle and instantly losing her stirrups at the canter. I believe you, Fugly, told the tale of the first place YOU learned to ride, when you were a horse-crazy kid and the instructor Knew All, so whatever horse you were mounted on was just fine. J

Which doesn’t obviate your point; only transfers the blame to the guy with the stick, aka the “instructor”. :P This is where the attitude that if the horse can stand up, it can work comes from – it’s taught to horse-crazy kids."

"Yes, 30+ years ago I lived in Turkey. My feelings to this day, is no one in any of the Mid-east countries should own any living thing. There are days when I feel the whole area should be turned into one giant glass parking lot.

I was in the military, stationed there. There was nothing I could do. I was an outsider and a female outsider. The average life span for a horse, then, was 5 years. I'm sure it has not improved much. I saw emaciated horse pulling loads no living creature should pull. I saw horses with broken legs pulling carts. And of course, their human always had a whip in hand. Some horses never had their harnesses removed. The sores on their bodies were enough to make you sick and no treatment. I saw horses with their heads in dumpsters looking for food. Straw was a delicacy. A stallion could stand next to a mare and not even look at her. And the Mid-easterners don't believe in castration.

The only creature who mattered then, and still does, is the male human. He eats first, gets medical treatment first, etc. A woman's role was to reproduce.

A dog is vermine and is to be treated as such. Cats are still considered sacred, but are not cared for. Disease is rampant in all animals. The lucky ones die at birth.

The only animals that are semi-properly cared for are the goats and sheep. Both are a main staple of the mid east diet. In the year that I spent in Turkey, I don't think I ever saw a sign for a veterinarian other than on base and non of the locals used them."

"Doesn't seem to care to much about the horse, but likes to show off her "Skill" she shouldn't even be riding faster than a walk if she has to hold on to the saddle to stay on. I was in India for a year and a half with my ex and sorry to say this is the main attitude for most of the people I was around with horses. I was leasing a horse for the time I was there and increased his feed since I considered him underweight, and was told that it was "unhealthy" for him and the owner was taking the feed away. So I fed him three times a day and stayed with him till he was done. He was in good weight when I left, but got a picture of him from friend three months after I left and he was back the way he was when I found him. He died I am told two months later. Worse was the people I was dealing with were very set in their ways and said that Americans didn't understand that horses are work animals that is what they are for."

"Im upset to say the least.
I personally have no respect for people that:
1. Dont feed their horses adequately
2. Dont feed vitamins and minerals to their horse. In NZ there is little selenuim i the soil so it needs to be added to feed -i seem to be one of the limited people that know this? What minerals does your soil lack?
3. Dont take correct care of the horses feet. If you cant afford to have the horses feet trimmed every 5-6 weeks, you have a problem. This also includes dentistry, vets and chiropractors or some type of biomechanical check-up for the soundness of the body.
4. Dont Groom the horses ATLEAST weekly
5. Dont See the horses daily, or have someone to go out to see them -physically view the legs and interact with them.
6. Dont Take covers with a glimpse of sun or choose an apropriate cover
7. Dont If you chose to clip your horse, you chose to up your standards of care. Horses standing uncovered doing nothing is not OK. Rug it, or move it.
8. You shold know all the major illnesses and how to attend to wounds for first aid.
9. You should know how to fit ALL of your tack and have adequate knowlege of the horses gear. What it is, and why you use it?
10. Dont Have knowlege of horses gaits and irregularities in their gait.
11. Dont Be able to asses if your horse had a sore back.
12. Dont Fitten the horse up BEFORE you get on.
13. Dont Fitten yourself up before you get on.
14. Dont give the horse time to make the right decision, and guide the horse if they make the choice you didnt wish.
15. People that dont take regular lessons to be able to sit in harmony with the horse. Lameness of the horse (especially in the back) is usually caused by an uneven rider. It happens so often. Get lessons and give your horse a longer life.
16. People that ride horses (AND PONIES) before 2 years old, and people that are jumping horses (any height) before 4 years old.
17. People that breed because its broken/unruly/has no other job/humans pregnant or because it has functioning gonads
18. People that dont handle their foals regularily and from day one.
19. People neglect broodmares, youngsters and stallions and simply "turn them out." Every day their left with little to no handling, is a day closer to a very average life in a tin. Horses get extremely bored also, they need entertainment. Hack your broodmares if you can, or hand walk then to some grass and spend time with her. Get your youngster in and take him for a walk around the block. Exposure when young means a more handlable horse.
20. People that have more horses than they can responsibly handle. Im not sure about others but my 2 horses are 5mins drive away. They are seen twice a day and i spend 2 and a half hours simply to do the basic chores. My maximum would be 6, and thats as a full time job. What about you?

The list goes on (seriously, but i need to go to uni in the morning and i already have my own list of people that dont tick all that off my list and want to kill me because they know theor doing wrong and its easier to get angry towards others that to fix themselves)

Is it too hard to have harmony between horse people, and minimal standards?

It seems minimal standards also differ between races of people and circles. It makes me sad."

"I’m replying to today’s post.

I lived in Guanacaste, Costa Rica on and off from 1990-1993. This is a lot like living in the cowboy era in the American West. I had several horses there, and crossed most of Costa Rica with two of them in 1993.

In general, Costa Ricans are big horse lovers, and their horses are usually in good condition. (Far better than horses in the surrounding countries). Even less educated cowboys use fly spray, worm medicine, have a farrier, etc. The horses are well trained, responsive, and bomb-proof.

However, the cowboys in my area never did any daily grooming or hoof picking other than an occasional hose-down after a ride. The horses are on grass pasture their entire lives, and get quite thin during the dry season, though nothing like the ones in the Indian videos. Grain is available, but not used by cowboy types. Also, they broke horses (the old, cruel way) at 2 years old. And gelded horses with a sharp knife and no anesthesia. One of my horses that crossed Costa Rica was 7 years old, and people that knew his age thought he should be put down as “too old.”

I also lived in England from 1999-2001. I took dressage lessons every week at two different schools. (Big/public, and small/private). The horses in England are SUPER well cared for except for virtually never being out at pasture. The lesson horses work 4 hours a day giving lessons and going out on the road. They have all kinds of safety gear (boots, reflectors, etc.) Safety is a big issue. Helmets were required even to walk onto the property, even if you didn’t plan to touch a horse or ride that day. Students weren’t allowed to touch the horses outside the arena. The instructors groomed and tacked up the horses and led them away after class. They said it was a “liability issue” to allow students into the barn area. I learned a lot about dressage, but didn’t even know how to put on English tack after 2 years of lessons!

Finally, I lived in Columbia, MO until recently, and took summer Saddlebred riding classes at Stevens College. These are cheap lessons because you have to groom, clean tack, put on tack, etc. Helmets were required, which I haven’t seen at many other American facilities. The lesson lasts 3 hours to give time for grooming and cleanup. However, I learned much more about horse care that way. The horses were all donated show horses, and were still shown by students in the equestrian program during the school year. So the horses were in great shape, never lame, always had daily turnout, etc.

There’s my 3-countries-worth!"

"I watched a painful number of these videos trying to make sense of what appeared to be a riding instructor, an assistant, a second horse and rider. To me, it appears that this young woman is taking riding lessons, and is obviously a beginner. In one video, the person who seems to be her instructor rides the horse, using the whip repeatedly to make the horse move. Of the two horses, one is by far much more thin than the other, but both are emaciated. One is frequently lame, and has what looks to be rub marks of white hair from sores near the stifle area. Apparently these horses aren't getting much bedding either. Sadly, these horses act like lesson horses, as well. Same pattern, different rider, totally exausted. They are used to the whips and spurs. The young woman who is riding may have money, but I think she is paying for lessons on horses not fit for any riding activity. *Perhaps* she does not know better, maybe she was told it was the horse's age. Whatever the reason, its sick and sad, and, for at least 6 mths, people have been commenting (in English) on feeding the horses and getting a vet for the lame one. Someone is just running these horses as lesson horses till they fail, and will probably just grab another malnourished horse and continue to make money while the bodies of the dead ones rot. Truly sickening actions that have nothing to do with helping a poverty-stricken people survive, but for pure greed and lack of empathy for the animal. The Human Plague. - Marzbarz"

"I am just disgusted by these videos. She looks like a stupid “Indian-Rich-Guy’s”- wife, and I just wan’t to bitchslap this woman until she is feeding that horse the lunch she certainly doesn’t seem to need.

I’ve lived in Pakistan and Iraq… and sadly this is how horses tend too look over there… and this isn’t even the worst Ive seen.

What is really amazing is the perfect closing on that I-passion-writing-bad-english-titles-woman, and even the horse (what is left of him anyway) also seems to have expenise saddles and equipment….but…”nooo…we do not have the money to feed the horses”…."

"Last year in Egypt I saw an enlightening contrast. In Aswan the caleche horses were predominantly emaciated, scarred, lamed and hard-used in 40C heat. In Luxor, although there were definatly thin horses and the shoeing was mostly the pits, overall the horses and donkeys were much better off. I asked our guide, telling him how heartsick we had been in Aswan, and he explained that in Luxor the Brooke's animal hospital was headquartered. For those who haven't heard of this organization, it was set up after the first war when thousands of military horses were left behind in Africa where their living conditions were appalling, mostly because the native population simply didn't understand animal husbandry. Brooke's is all over the world now and their mission is to provide basic health care and teach the owners proper care. In most cases people are anxious to have their animals healthy - one donkey or horse can support an entire family. I highly recommend anyone wanting to improve the plight of hoofed animals world-wide consider supporting this group BROOKE ANIMAL HOSPITAL. You can 'Google' them under that name."

"Well, this isn't my own story, but at the moment as research for a book I'm reading lots of nineteenth century riding manuals for women. One, The Horsewoman, by Mrs Alice Hayes, published in 1894, includes quite a lot on the colonial life, as Mrs Hayes travelled the world breaking horses and doing demonstrations with her husband. There are tales of women winning "paperchases" (a particularly dangerous sounding type of steeplechase) in India, leaping coffins in the fields in China (yes, I know), and details of ladies riding astride in enormous divided skirts in Berlin.
She raves about Indian grooms or "syces" though – she had an Arabian called Freddie whose groom slept in his stable, the horse being careful not to tread on him. Only Russian cab drivers get the same credit from her for looking after their charges well.

Anyway, here she is
riding a zebra.

I've gotten rather fond of her in reading her books, even though she's an utter snob, but she would clearly ride anything and was both fearless and a considerate rider. Sad to see she died only a year after this edition. I wonder what happened?

Incidentally, just to hammer home the whole "feeding and training your horse adds to its value" I can dig out for you the first ever horsecare manual (long before Xenophon) which states just that. It's somewhere here in all this reasearch...

Keep up the good work!"

"Wow. You know, what struck me is this: what the HELL is the riding instructor thinking? Doesn't it look like she's getting lessons in those videos? So you would think the horse professional would know better than to put 150 lbs on top of the horse without putting several hundred on the horse's frame. Gee, what a lazy horse, I guess I'll chase it whacking it with a stick to make it run. I do not understand how anyone can look at that horse and think "animal fit to work".

Do I blame her . . . well, I feel it's a bit more complicated. I'm not saying that ignorance is a defence, however if a rider has only ever had one trainer and the trainer has a good reputation, while she's not exactly innocent, it is important to trust your trainer, so if your trainer says that the horse is fit to work . . . but you would think that common sense would be screaming "your horse is too skinny!". I have the same question as you: is that somehow the norm, or at least considered healthy? Yikes. People that walk around that skinny are considered ABOUT TO DIE."

"I absolutely agree that anyone in India who can afford to not only have horses but have their own personal groom as well is a very affluent member of society (and should have the knowledge and resources to take better care of their animals). The worst part-as the videos become more recent the horse's body condition worsens, as does his degree of lameness. Veterinary medical education in other countries varies dramatically, from very comparable (Canada) to archaic (Kazakhstan). I understand this person may not have access to all of the modern veterinary medicine we do here in the states. Bottom line is, it doesn't take state of the art technology to treat your animals right. Thanks for bringing this up-good topic."

"Again, Fugly followers are posting very rude comments. Referring to the girl’s fat ass is not going to make listen."

"If you look through the other videos posted of this girl, you see that it is a riding school. She is taking lessons. The morons that run the school are the ones that should be ridiculed, not her - she looks like a kid to me. They are teaching her that it is OK for a horse to look like that and, worse, that a bony horse is ridable! All the horses in the background look terrible too. All the postings are titled "I love to ride" or something. Bet she loves horses too and that as she gets older she'll learn what a healthy horse looks like.

She's not that bad of a rider for someone who's just learning. I doubt there are very many riders who didn't bounce at least a little when they first tried to lope or trot...poor horses! A good teacher can help minimize this, but it still happens. I even have a friend who spent too many years riding the same horse with a super smooth lope and then started out looking like she had never loped before when she retired him and bought second horse. She had to hang on to the back of the saddle to get the feel of her new mare's lope.

But no, I don't think living in a poor country gives you a "get out of taking care of your horse" pass. Especially since this is a business. "

"I was shocked at how ignorant this person is to not realize how terribly emaciated and lame her horse is. Also, many of the comments posted sickened me. One's saying that they wish to be this person's horse, because she is a great rider. Others telling her to whip her horse even more. Some even telling her to teach to other women and calling her a "goddess." This woman cannot ride and cannot realize the poor condition that her horse is in. If she can afford the computer, the camera, the fancy tack, and the food she is packing into her own stomach, then surely she could feed the horse? In my opinion, she should skip a few meals and her horse instead."

"Most of the horses I saw at the polo clubs in Argentina we're in great shape, training condition lean, but well taken care of. The back of the house facilities, where only grooms go, left a lot to be desired. Front of the house facilities for owners and spectators were well-groomed. In the countryside, there were horses loose, grazing wherever, even a few running through town, but at least they were fed!"

"This one really shows just how skinny that poor mare is and of course it's still lame so let's bounce down the road with her. I don't care what Country you're from there is absolutely NO EXCUSE to ride a horse like this or have one that looks like this unless you got it like that and are working on getting the weight back on it but you sure in the hell wouldn't be riding the poor lame beyond skinny mare. That girl needs to skip a couple of meals and give that mare a few more. Why is it that that asshats are always plump but their horses are skinny and look like crap!!!

FHOTD in: Well, and that's WHY people comment on rider weight. Be any size you want as long as your horse is as well fed as you are (and conformed/sound enough to carry you). But if your butt is well rounded and your horse is all hipbones, I don't think people remarking on that means they are fat-haters. That's not the point. The point is YOU ARE NOT POVERTY STRICKEN. You can feed yourself. Feed your horse FIRST!

"I took a dressage holiday in southern Spain a few years ago because I had recently been adopted by an Andalusian filly and wanted to learn more about this sensitive breed. The horses at the finca were very sweet and willing, but badly in need of dental care and also hoof care. They still had their wolf teeth. Everybody's favorite gelding there had a missing eye, due to abuse by children throwing stones that was left unattended until it was too late. The German girls I made friends with and I would dismount whenever the ground was stony, due to the bad condition of the feet. The people accommodations were good, but the horse's situation was sad. There was no respite from the Andalucian sun; they were out there in stony, rocky paddocks at all hours.