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."