“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

EPONA-everything that's wrong with Rescue...

As 2009 is coming to an end, I am working to tie up some of the loose ends I have going on. One thing I have learned from my involvement with this blog is that there will be times when such a thing will not be possible. There is not going to be a happy ending, or an ending at all. That has been the case with EPONA. I have been working on a blog piece about EPONA for months now. Each time I think I'm done, something new turns up. For those who are not aware, EPONA is an Equine Rescue-or so they claim. I like to think of it as kind of an Equine Soap Opera. Or better yet, the Equine version of the movie "Groundhog Day", with Lin, the woman in charge in the role of Bill Murray. Each day repeats itself until Lin gets it right. But, Lin never seems to get it right, so it goes on and on and on. And there are very few laughs, so maybe we'd best stick to the Soap Opera angle. Lin does provide a heavy and steady dose of drama, that's for sure. There is so much to say about EPONA, and a limited amount of time and space, that I think the best course of action is to just highlight Lin's latest actions. Let's begin with this one-http://forums.prospero.com/alexbrown/messages?msg=43842.1 This is not only a favorite of mine, but obviously of quite a few other peoples', as it has been pointed out to me by more than one person. From what I've been told, this is not the first time EPONA has "changed directions". And what those who pointed it out really seem to enjoy about it (and I agree), is that Lin is very vague on just what those changes are going to be. Now, this is one characteristic of Lin that is an ongoing source of aggravation to anyone who has any interest in getting any sort of factual information from Lin about anything. It's not going to happen. Remember that old joke about Who's on first? That's how a question to Lin would go. If you ask Lin to clarify any of her vague statements, you'll just get more of the same. I am continually amazed that she in still in operation due to the lack of any concrete answers she has given about some of her actions in recent months. For example-Some of you will recall my articles on the Phoenix Rising incident, where there were starved horses left in the hands of a Rescue in Nebraska. Lin was involved in some of these Rescue transfers. In fact, she was the one Rescue who not only refused to remove the horses she placed there, but assured others that no horses were starving or dying. Anyone viewing pictures could see that there were in fact horses in starved condition. And unfortunately, some horses did die. Lin promised to make weekly visits to monitor the horses remaining at Phoenix rising, and in true Lin style, never followed through. She had lots of good excuses, but for starving horses, I don't think they were good enough. If this wasn't bad enough, it turned out that 1 of the horses she chose to leave at Phoenix was a horse paid for by our good friends on ABR. Lin claimed that he was in good condition, and when pictures were produced to prove that was not true, she said she would check on him again when she had time and decide if any further action was needed. By the way, the horse in question was a 2 year old stud left in with mares. Very responsible behavior on the part of both rescues. When the pressure was put on to actually visit the horse, suddenly, this horse was adopted! Lin is very quick to find homes for horses in question. I'm not saying she doesn't, but if I had paid for a horse, I think I'd want a little more than Lin's word that it had found a good home if I had found out it was in a neglectful or abusive situation. I have never seen any updates on Lin's site, but maybe it's an oversight. Her site doesn't get updated often, although she does spend large amounts of time on the internet. Which leads me to my next issue. Who can provide adequate care to the large number of horses EPONA houses while spending the amount of time on the internet that Lin does? I've seen a lot of photos, and it's very rare that they are photos of a well groomed horse. There doesn't seem to be a lot of training that occurs, and I'm not sure how much basic equine knowledge Lin possesses. During the Phoenix Rising incident, Lin posted that Little Wilbur, a Pony Mule cross she had come into possession of had passed away. There were those who had concerns about Lin having Little Wilbur because 2 other young ones had passed away in her care. One of the little ones was attacked by a dog. I'm not sure what happened to the other one. In Little Wilbur's case, the concern was over the fact that at less than 3 months old, he and his Dam were turned out daily with full sized horses, and it appeared that he was fed with them also. Anyone with any experience with mares and foals knows that housing them in this manner is not the safest thing to do. Lin has never really said exactly what caused Little Wilbur's death, and I doubt she ever will. But from what I had seen in the 3 months of his life, she was more interested in posting videos of him than in actually caring for him. Sure, it's cute to see a little long eared guy rushing around, and funny to pretend he's training to be a race mule. But in reality, he needed to be worked with on a daily basis, kept in a corral by himself with mama, and fed properly. Mama, too. Would that have changed his outcome? We'll never know. And I will freely admit that I found it very disturbing to see the post mortem "Little Wilbur" calendars being hawked to make a few bucks for EPONA. But that's just me. And I don't have a problem with Lin spending hours on videos and online chatting. Just don't take in large numbers of horses that have medical or training issues. Stick to one or two and then you can be online most of the day posting all the videos you want. Lin also used the passing of Little Wilbur to try to deflect some of the heat she was getting from the Phoenix Rising incident by posting that she had received a threatening phone call. She just didn't know what to do! Well, Lin-two choices. Mine would have been not to listen, and just hang up. But for those who crave the drama, that doesn't work. Number 2 would have been to have the call traced. But for someone who's actions involving horses that were in their care were being questioned, I suppose stirring up some sympathy would have been the smartest choice. And Lin is good at that! I was a little let down when I saw a picture of Lin. I really expected flowing robes and a crown of thorns. Lin is, after all, persecuted on a regular basis to hear her tell it. Any time her actions are questioned, she cries foul. It's someone who is just hateful, or a bully, or is jealous. And they would have reason to be. Lin has been very fortunate. How many Rescues have 130 acres donated to them? Or a truck and trailer? Lin has been blessed, yet she in continually begging for funds for everything. I often wonder if Lin pays for ANYTHING! Obviously, she isn't able to run her Rescue efficiently. With the land, and truck and trailer, there are many other Rescues that would not have to continually ask for money. They would have used the funds they had for those things to pay for their other needs. Unless they never had the money for those things in the first place. I could go on and on, but it wouldn't matter. The adventures of Saint Lin of EPONA can be read daily on the ABR forum. Her supporters will defend her, and if things get too dicey, Alex will step in and warn the offenders to back off, or shut things down-wonder what's up with that? The bottom line here is that we're not dealing with a Rescue, or a Sanctuary, or a Foster situation. It appears to be in every way a Hoarder. They seem to be the hardest ones to take down. Their support base, while small, is loyal to a fault. And it should come as no surprise that Lin's number one fan appears to be none other than "Cup-O-Soup" Jim Gath. Any time Lin is caught in a lie, or a vague statement, Jim is quick to jump to her defense, assuring her that "she rocks". Really, Jim? What rocks about providing substandard care for the horses you take in? About continually taking in more horses even while begging for funds for the ones you already have? About making statements that no one can even make heads nor tails of, and then becoming upset when you're asked to explain them? And what, exactly rocks about turning your back on horses you committed to caring for when you KNOW they are in a bad situation? Any answers? We know Lin doesn't have them. She's too busy changing directions. If only the direction was completely out of Equine Rescue. Well-one can always hope. It's hard to move on from this one, but I know it's one of those things that will not change until people understand that people like Lin and her "Rescue" operation are not the solution, they are very much the problem. We here at the "Ranch" will continue to work hard to open as many eyes as we can. The issue is not as simple as Slaughter versus Anti Slaughter. As long as the Lins and Jims can get folks to buy into that mindset, they can continue to hoard. That's an issue I hope we can address more and bring to light in 2101. The suffering of the horses in their hands is not something many would like to discuss-but we WILL do that here.
By RH2

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays Fugly and Friends

First off I want to apologize for the time we have taken off from the blog. It doesn't mean we have lost interest in horse welfare. Far from it. We are all busy during the Holidays but especially during the winter months. Livestock care takes a bit more time in these cold months!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have the best New Year.

Here is a post I found on a horse forum that I liked enough to post here. Permission to cross post was given :)

Happy Holidays from all of us Back at the Ranch !!

For months now fugly has censored my comments. She doesn't not fear the backyard breeder because they are uneducated, childish, and easily angered. But she fears more than anything is an intelligent conversation. Those of you who agree should cross post this.

What I said to fugly today:

What happens to the horses who don't have homes? What happens to all those fifty dollar horses? What happens when rescues are overwhelmed? When animal control can't place them? Where do they go?
The number of these cases seems to be on the rise. Yet despite this fact, no one is talking about why hoarders have so many more horses than they can afford. Everyone must assume its the economy. It's an easy scape goat, what do you think will happen when the economy does improve? Will the price of horses really go up. Will there be more hoarders or fewer? Why?
What is the base value of a horse these days? This is a trick question, because their isn't one. When websites like dream horse has added a desk top link to "free horses" isn't that saying something?
Fugly believes with faith reserved on to the fanatic that ending slaughter would improve the lives of horses. I don't which is why I'd be shocked if you ever see this. (I have posted many times and every comment censored ) But I don't write this for all eyes, I write this to the coward who runs the fugly blog.
Wake up fugly. You scream and throw temper tantrums about how "tired" this makes you. This is only the beginning. As the economy its going to get worse. Set your jaw, let that voice scream "you're wrong!" But ask yourself this, what happens when people have more money? What happens who people feel more secure and you can still buy a horse for fifty-bucks? Do you really thing fewer people will buy these horses?
"But when the economy improves so will the price of horses?"
I ask you why is that? Think about it. Will a better economy really increase the number of knowledgeable homes to provide for these horses? How's your war against back yard breeders going? Has there been a measurable drop in equine births since you started this one man war? Or have the numbers risen because everybody can afford to buy a horse?
What of these fifty dead horses? How many months did they suffer? How long did it take them to die?
Starvation results from the inadequate intake of nutrients or the inability to metabolize or absorb nutrients. It consists of three phases. The events of the first two phases occur even during relatively short periods of fasting, but the third phase occurs only in prolonged starvation and can end in death.
During the first phase of starvation, blood glucose levels are maintained through the production of glucose from glycogen, proteins, and fats. At first glycogen is broken down into glucose. However, only enough glycogen is stored in the liver to last a few hours. Thereafter, blood glucose levels are maintained by the breakdown of proteins and fats. Fats are decomposed into fatty acids and glycerol. Fatty acids can be used as a source of energy, especially by skeletal muscle, thus decreasing the use of glucose by tissues other than the brain. Glycerol can be used to make a small amount of glucose, but most of the glucose is formed from the amino acids of proteins. In addition, some amino acids can be used directly for energy.
In the second stage, which can last for several weeks, fats are the primary energy source. The liver metabolizes fatty acids into ketone bodies that can be used as a source of energy. After about a week of fasting, the brain begins to use ketone bodies, as well as glucose, for energy. This usage decrease the demand for glucose, and the rate of protein breakdown diminishes but does not stop. In addition, the proteins not essential for survival are used first.
The third stage of starvation begins when the fat reserves are depleted and there is a switch to proteins as the major energy source. Muscles, the largest source of protein in the body, are rapidly depleted. At the end of this stage, proteins, essential for cellular functions are broken down, and cell function degenerates.
In addition to weigh loss, symptoms of starvation include apathy, listlessness, withdrawal, and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. Few creatures die directly from starvation-they usually die of some infectious disease first. Atrophy (wasting away) of the stomach weakens the perception of hunger, since the perception is controlled by the percentage of the stomach that is empty. Victims of starvation are often too weak to sense thirst, and therefore become dehydrated.
All movements become painful due to atrophy of the muscles, and due to dry, cracked skin caused by severe dehydration. With a weakened body, diseases are commonplace. Fungi, for example, often grow under the esophagus, making swallowing unbearably painful.
The energy deficiency inherent in starvation causes fatigue and renders the victim more apathetic over time. As the starving horse becomes too weak to move or even eat, his or her interaction with the surroundings diminishes.Foods high in bulk but low in protein content often cannot reverse the process of starvation, thus hay (assuming the horse can eat) is not an adequate food source for horses once starvation has begun.
The second stage of starvation can be prolonged indefinitely, but once the third stage is reached, horses can suffer up to fifty days before dying.
Do you still deny that this is happening to more horses? On a larger scale than previously? The economy is your excuse but its theirs too and don't they use it to effectively, retaining horses longer because the "economy did it."
What happens when you can't blame the economy.
Must we bring back slaughter? No. Not if someone mounts a campaign among the rescues with an effective euthanization program. And we're not talking ten horses, or twenty. Approximately one hundred thousand a year. Such a program will force the price of low end horses back up to six or seven hundred dollars. I fear the day when horses were worth 1000 just because they're a horse is over. But the low end market needs shoring up because it protects horses from danger. Sure there will always be hoarders. It cannot be stopped, but it can be mitigated. For this to happen you either need a massive ethanization program, or a massive "catch and release" where tens of thousands of horses are bought then gelded or spayed, and resold into the general population- rescue horses regardless of quality are spayed and neutered. Obviously these animals will not be desirable to breeders, but that alone will drive the price of breeding stock up and out of reach for many to most back yard breeders. The result will be volatile as back yard breeders scream for their rights.
Of course this solution isn't good for people addicted to the high of "rescuing." Instead it would have to be someone who really cares about horses. Who here really cares about horses? Who here really wants to end the suffering? Who here can step up to the plate?
The way I see it Fugly is in a unique position to actually change things better for horses. Instead she is weak, concerned only with the high of making fun, the feel good of rescue, and indignation of being "tired of this expletive." But she is not about solution. She is about rhetoric.
Her rhetoric did not help these horses. Oh many of you will step in to "help" now, but that's after fifty died. And there are so many cases out there- I know her mailbox is full- that the suffering of one is forgotten because the hundred is better news, will get more outrage, and ultimately fugly more attention.
What scares you so much about my words fugly?
Written By -

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For Those Who Just Don’t Get It……..

Sales are the same as always?……..

Was there a grain of truth in the market opinion piece that drew so much fire?
Sale report for Corsica, South Dakota’s November 16, 2009 sale.
This is available on their website
http://sdhorsesales.com/ for each month of the year.
This was written by the sale staff.

SOLD 320 HEAD – Buyers & Sellers registered in from Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming, North Dakota and all across South Dakota. Lots of Buyer interest in the award or money winning proven saddle horse, (supply & demand is the name of the game) but with the economy and recession going on right now, a lower cattle market, plus going into winter feed costs, Buyers were pretty conservative with the amount they want to spend on that easier to find or a average looking & broke saddle horse. We are thinking after the 1st of the year, Buyers will feel a little more confidence in the economy coming back and let loose on bidding prices. Now would be a good time to take advantage of the lower horse market and get into the buying end. The market could bounce back fast, and right now, one has a opportunity to make some good money. I would think, we are now bottomed out on horse prices. The horse industry seems to follow the stock market and cattle market and once those bounce back more, look for the horse market to come around just as fast. I expect we will be seeing a
big shortage in the finished saddle horse before long. Check out our top sale horse pictures to see the conformation and proven record that brings in the top prices. Note, that one of the top sale horses was a non catalogued horse that sold at almost very end of the sale - proof, that a good broke horse with the correct conformation, good bone & muscle, will sell well anytime, early or late in the sale. Also note, that our 3rd top sale horse was a grade pony that sold for $2600. The pony had a proven horse show record and came with a lot of shape, disposition and conformation & that is what makes the difference.

The high selling horses were FINISHED barrel horses bringing $2,750.00 each for an 11 year old gelded son of Easily Smashed and a 9 year old daughter of Runnerelse. Not much money for the caliber of horse they were. The sale staff is well aware of the role the economy plays in the pricing of the upper end horses. We in the horse business do GET IT……It’s the economy stupid…..Ummm Duh, I think we may have mentioned that a time or ten…..

The comments about things improving after the first of the year are speculation. First, prices are better after the first of the year and continue to rise as spring approaches no matter how bad it is the fall before. Second, auctions operate on commission so it is in their best interest to bring in GOOD HORSES in larger numbers. It’s a circular thing……..Good horses in the catalog bring buyers with money to spend. Buyers with money to spend entice sellers to bring good horses to the sale. Good sales bring both at least that’s the plan.

NOBODY wants to see the owner who got in because horses were a dime a dozen show up with 15 generations of “I am a pretty color but nobody studied nutrition or conformation”. NOBODY wants to watch crippled starved out, run down racehorses or any other kind of used up horse sell.

And on that note here is the loose horse report of the same sale.

Loose Horses – sold 128 Head. The big cleanup of over production from when the horse market was at its high peak 10-12 years ago is about over. We have been selling lots of stallions & broodmares these past several years as people got out of the business when the price of weanlings dropped drastically due to the over production that had been going on. Again, foreign slaughter horse plants taking big advantage of the fact all horse processing plants closed in the U.S., no alternative but to use them & show it by prices paid. PETA & HSUS has hurt the economy a bunch. NOTE – our loose horse sale will now be starting later - at 11 AM instead of 9 AM . 7 % commission, $30 minimum. Sorry, we can not accept crippled, blind and very thin horses, per USDA rules & regulations.
Loose Sale Averages:
700 lb to 900 lb sold $20 to $100
900 to 1000 lb sold $100 to $150
1000 – 1100 lb sold $160 to $200
1200 lb & over sold $200 to $325

Please take note of the statement about foreign buyers “taking advantage” of the lack of plants in this country. I think it might contradict the b.s. comment “the foreign markets are tired of the U.S. shoving its contaminated horsemeat down their throats”. Hmmm……
We have mentioned “loose” horses often do go for other purposes the same as any other horse in the auction. The top loose horse prices below represent horses bought out of the loose horse pen for other purposes. These geldings will likely be tried as saddle horses in another sale.
Heck, one of them may be on the internet next week as a “kid broke” pasture buddy to someone with no more sense than to spend $3,500 on a horse they have never seen from a person they have never met. Anyone following the infamous Patricia Wilson scandal on several forums can see the absurd concept of reality that abounds on both sides of that aisle. Really that has nothing to do with the subject at hand it just strikes me as funny people tend to blame sales or anyone other than themselves when things go to crap. It’s getting to be a disturbing trend.

Top 10 Loose Horses:
9-yr grade black gelding...........1305 lb...........$735
Grade bay gelding.....................1225 lb.......... $725
Reg. sorrel gelding.....................1130 lb..........$685
Reg. 10-yr roan gelding.............1280 lb..........$685
Reg. 9-yr chestnut gelding........1085 lb..........$685
Grade 10-yr black gelding........1140 lb............$500
Reg. sorrel gelding....................1115 lb.......... $425
Reg. sorrel gelding....................1205 lb..........$400
12 yr grade sorrel gelding.........1160 lb.......... $375
Reg. buckskin mare...................1245 lb........ $360

The New Age Horse Saviors would like to do away with horse auctions entirely. Alex Brown wants to use “grants” to add “euthanasia stations” to the auction’s list of duties. Let’s do some math on the “grant” theory.
128 head is about an average loose horse sale for Corsica. If we estimate one third go from the loose horse run to other purposes that’s around 40 head. 128 head – 40 head = 88 head of straight “killer” horses. Of the 190 or so cataloged horses a conservative estimate of one fourth will go to slaughter in spite of being represented, add back in another 45 head. Total number to be loaded on the big trucks roughly 130.
130 head not bought to rescue, to ride, or for ANY other purpose. Alex Brown’s grant based system would necessitate 130 horses destroyed by the auction facility at taxpayer/grant expense. This particular sale at present charges a $ 125 disposal fee for “unmarketable” horses left at the auction. If we use the present cost of disposal as the base cost of Alex’s Grant System, $125 per head x 130 head= $16,250 each month or $195,000 annually at this one sale alone.
Alex wrote a few months ago the cost of the loose horses would adjust downward to allow more horses to be purchased by rescues and private buyers. I don’t see much room for “downward adjustment” do you???? What is the future of a $20, $100, or $200 horse even in a no-slaughter world????


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cup-O- Soup Challenge

We all hear things we can't quite believe, and wonder if there's any way to prove or disprove them. Well, in some cases, we can, and pretty simply, too. Take Jim Gath of Tierra Madre, and his claim that he lives on a diet of 1 Cup-O-Soup a day. Before we begin, for you youngsters, let's clarify. There IS a product called Cup-O-Soup. It's kind of like Ramen Noodles. And it is NOT the tastiest thing in the world. I recall eating them in my teen years, and that's been awhile. Back to the challenge. Jim, as we all know has 29 horses (hoping for 30) on 3 acres. Due to his financial situation, he allows himself the barest of sustenance to get by. It is claimed that if you send Jim extra money for food, he won't buy it, he'll just continue to eat that one Cup-O Soup a day. The women in Jim's Thong mailing Fan club love this story. Some have even taken to sending baked goods to assure that Jim gets some extra nutrition. But I'm getting off track here. The question at hand is- Can one live on 1 Cup-O-Soup per day, do all of the physical work required to take care of 29 (hoping for 30) horses, and remain healthy, or even semi-healthy? Would one even feel like getting out of bed? I'm not suggesting living like Jim. That's just crazy. I Don't think even JIM really lives like Jim. But for the sake of Science, let's all try what I call the Cup-O-Soup Challenge. It's easy, and you can post your findings here in the comment section. I'd suggest you plan for no more than a day. But if you want a true Jim-like experience, go ahead and shoot for two. You'll need 1 Cup-O-Soup. If you're planning on a 2 day Jimathon, go ahead and buy 2. If your store doesn't carry Cup-O-Soup, you can buy Soup in Hand, or Ramen Noodles. Now You're ready to go. The experiment is easy. Pick a day. Get up. Have some soup. I'm not sure when Jim would be having his soup. I generally get up, have a cup of tea, go out and do my morning chores. Then I come in and eat Breakfast. So, I guess, I would probably have my soup then. But, you figure out when you want to have it. Or, space it out into three meals. I am guessing Jim drinks water, as well as walks on it, so you can have as much water as you can drink. Make sure you keep busy all day. With 29(hoping for30) horses, Jim has got to be going all day. No cheating-don't even LOOK at a cracker! At the end of the day, just hit the sack, and get a good, restful night's sleep. If you're going for the two day plan, either look in the mirror and say "What am I, an idiot?" and make yourself a good Breakfast, or continue on with day 2. Now, how are you feeling? Ready for a full day of physically demanding chores? And don't forget-Jim does a lot of doctoring, so he's also mentally stressed. I'll be interested in reading the results of the Cup-O-Soup challenge. For those who liked this one, I'll be posting the "Live Like A Horse With A Chance Challenge" soon.
By RH2

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What’s He Worth?????

I haven’t weighed in with an open opinion column for a while and I need to vent. I have come to realize none of the New Age Horse Saviors have the first f*ck*ng clue what it takes to produce a good horse. We are living smack in the middle of the information age but there are more people with less knowledge involved in horses than ever before. The proof is at every sale I attend and in nearly every forum I read.
The constant panhandling and finger pointing irk me to no end. It escapes me how any competent horse owners would allow their stock to become fodder for these people. If these so called rescuers were legitimately trying to save as many horses as possible they would opt for animals with a future. Young horses who could be trained and fitted to a better market, sound horses that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time that can be polished up for a better market. The other wretches would quietly be put down. If you want to buy 25 pasture pets to pension that’s your right. It’s your right if you choose to do it properly with your own money while not affecting what I choose to do with my horses or my own money. When politics and panhandling enter into the mix, it pisses me off. It doesn’t just piss me off, it disgusts me. It disgusts me because as one of our followers so aptly put it “they are pissing away the lives of horses that deserve better”.
I sold one Sunday. I have known the mare since she was a baby. I board her sire. I have started most of her sire’s offspring for his owner. He has the most correct set of feet and legs I have seen on ANY horse. His babies have all had good minds and lots of ability. He is one of the few paint studs I have seen I feel deserved to be a stud. Her mother was a thoroughbred mare who, according to the record on her papers, broke her maiden as a three year old, winning a mile and seventy yard allowance, earned over $13,000 in that one race, and never raced again. Not only could she run she was a classy bred, classy looking mare to boot. That’s the family history on the mare I am going to write about and she was a pretty baby.
The pretty baby was weaned into a situation that went from bad to worse as she aged. At the age of three she went down sick from what I am told was a “bad reaction” to wormer. I think the “thoroughbred” side of her finally gave in to less than ideal living conditions. I love thoroughbreds but poor living conditions affect them more it seems. Maybe the conditions break their hearts and they give up, I don’t know. Long story short the humane society was called and the filly was going to be seized if something wasn’t done. I became something and I should feel good about it. Most likely I’ll never be “somebody”, but for this filly I was the “something” that had to be done. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with a rack of bones that looked like every joint in her legs was sprung but I figured she had a better chance of staying alive with me than as a county seizure.
A friend with many “rescue” tendencies saw her and loved her color. (Have we heard that one before????) I told her the story behind the filly and asked if she wanted her. Of course she did. It wasn’t the perfect solution but I knew the filly would be fed “enough”, have room to move around, and a dry place to sleep.
Why do the personal lives of people who feel compelled to rescue horses have a penchant for being unstable? ………I’ll leave that for someone else to answer.
A year later, again due to chaotic crap with her humans the filly, now mare, came back to me. A truly heartless b**ch, I still didn’t want to kill her. Self and I had a talk the second day of throwing feed to this mare. I told “self” I can’t make her legs straight or make her pretty but I can make her fit and broke. Maybe, just maybe, if she has talent, I can sell the talent with her pedigree to get someone to over look the faults I believe were caused by poor nutrition to give her a chance. “Self” answered we had to try so in the stall she went, into a regular exercise and training program she went. She was worked up on feed until she was on full hay and as much grain as she could stand. The stronger she got the better she felt. The better she felt the more she trained. The more she trained the more strength and frame she built. The more strength and frame she built the more her ligaments straightened. The more she straightened the more structurally balanced she became. The more structural balance she built the more ability she had. The more she used that ability as she trains the more muscle she built. The more muscle mass she built the better she looked and felt. The better she looked and felt the more her good family started becoming apparent.
Roughly 60 days of consistently good feed and regular exercise, 45 days of consistent training later, the ugly duckling began to reach “swan” stage. Sardine Sanctuary readers, take note (R.M. started that nickname and I think it’s really catchy), ….Exercise is using all three gears on the lounge line with limited saddle training for the first couple of weeks until this mare was physically adjusted to the routine, then less lounging and more riding as she learned and got stronger. At the end of the 60 days she could lope circles for 20 or 30 minutes and never draw a long breath. She was being schooled for about an hour to an hour and 45 minutes daily, six days a week. Her sweat was clear, her belly was tucked up, her hip, chest, and forearm were muscled up and defined. She was fit. She has turned into a tremendously talented barrel prospect. She was still green as grass but was the real deal. She could still stand a bit more weight to be perfectly conditioned but she was really coming on. A good judge of horses could see what she would be if she stayed in good hands.
THE POINT…….exercise is VERY important for horses. Exercise is VERY important to their overall health. Exercise is VERY important to getting them back into condition after they have been neglected. Horses who do not feel good will not EXERCISE themselves. If a young horse is going to be incapable of being EXERCISED for an entire lifetime maybe his quality of life is compromised to the point it may be best not to “save” him. A horse’s entire physiology has evolved around his ability to be ambulatory. EXERCISE is a priority for mental and physical well being of a horse, ANY horse. EXERCISE is not walking across a 30’, 40’, or 75’ pen. Annyyywwaayyssss back to my mare……
I called a connection who markets to pro barrel racers to come watch this mare work. I priced her (FYI she’s no longer in danger of being bought by a rescue or the awful KB’s). We did some trading. The mare is going to have a chance to be a good horse. I have some cash and a nice gelding. Now the gelding is in the barn and he’s for sale…….not at rescue price (adoption fee) either.
Speaking of geldings…….I have another gelding for sale. He started out as a “loose” horse or he would have been had he been taken to town the day he got here. He was payment for pasture rent on three yearlings. Lucky for him he never had to go through the sale because he wasn’t pathetic enough to even make a “good” rescue. He made the horrible mistake of being a sound, registered, well bred, and well built but unhandled four year old. He’s now a broke to ride five year old. I have invested a year’s feed and several months training. He’s sane, he’s attractive, he’s an athletic mover, and he’s gentle.

We can see the barn isn’t perfect, the horse isn’t stood up, and the photography is far from professional. Fugly can have a self righteous bitch party with one of my pictures. All that aside, he’s a good gelding and I can honestly say he is a good gelding. I have been riding him 5 or 6 days a week for quite awhile. I read commentaries about a rescue raising $4,000 for the surgery to save a colt so what’s this good horse who’s done nothing wrong worth? He’s in the prime of his life and ready to go to work for anyone who knows how to ride. What is he worth???
I’ll get back to that. Let’s move on to the term “broke”. This has become a loosely applied term. We hear ranch broke, kid broke, well broke, green broke, and the forever special natural horsemanship trained. I like to use the term saddle horse broke, broke enough to finish in the event of your choosing. I don’t care if you are “just trail riding” or going on to working cow horse classes, the basic steering gear is the same. All horses need it every day of their working lives. If a step is missed, if the clock is cheated, someone somewhere will pay. Often it will be the horse.
Here’s my idea of “saddle horse broke”.
1. Good ground manners. If a horse doesn’t mind you on the ground it will get no better when you step up in the middle of him. Ground manners…..leads up at my shoulder, doesn’t drag on the rope behind me, doesn’t try to charge ahead of me, doesn’t weave into my path, and doesn’t look at the horse two fences across from him. Stops when I stop. Backs when I ask for his face and step toward his shoulder. Will move his shoulder or hip away when I ask as far as I ask every time I ask. I can bend his head softly around to his barrel either way when I stand at his shoulder and ask for his face. He will stand this way to be saddled, groomed, or have his feet picked too.
2. Lounges, all three gaits, as I ask. Whoa when I ask. Changes direction when I ask him to stop and step to the “front” of his direction of travel. Doesn’t lug in or lug out.
3. Stands tied. My personal horse is antsy. I hobble her when I leave her tied so she can’t paw. The point…. I know she paws I don’t allow it so she is hobbled. I also hobble all the horses I own as part of their ground work. Keeps limbs attached sometimes if they are caught and if nothing else it teaches them patience and respect without fear or question.
4. Soft in the bridle laterally and vertically. Understands both direct and indirect rein. Backs straight, framed and light. Stops with light bridle contact, whoa and weight cues. I refer to it as when I stop riding them and say whoa.
5. Responds to leg commands for all lateral work involving shoulder and hip control. Sidepasses.
6. Walks out flat, smooth, relaxed, and with purpose. Rates off at a trot and lope and maintains the same rate as long as I ask. Accelerates or rates back easily on cue at both trot and lope.
7. Picks up either lead on command from a walk or trot within a stride or so and lightly collected whenever he is asked.

If the rescue colt is worth a $4,000 surgery as I have been told WHAT IS my gelding that can do all these things well worth?
When the “rescues” can take one from unhaltered to saddle horse broke with no drama fix or forum huddle like real horse people have been doing as long as there have been horses, I will listen……till then spare me the fancy words and figures. I and those like me are busy keeping good, young registered horses working while the rescue dollar is being spent to make sure the sound usable horses the anti-slaughter movement set out to save are the only ones being shipped. The others just aren’t pathetic enough to draw in the donations and the proper amount of drama.


Friday, November 27, 2009

GoodBye to an Old Friend....

Today, I'm going to depart from my regular writing. But I think what I'm going to talk about lends itself to what we're about. I'm preparing to say good-bye to my dog. She's been with me for 12 years now. It's particularly difficult because she's one of those dogs you'll never replace. She's a mama's girl-always at my side. She's the first one I see in the morning, the last one I see at night, my constant companion. I can't imagine life without her. She was diagnosed with Cushing's last year, and I was told the expectancy was 1-2 years. We hoped for 2, we got 1. Although there's not going to be a big thing that will happen, we're seeing her get to the point where it's on those who love her to make the decision that's best for her. And this is where the struggle begins. I love this dog. Love her. She's lying here on the floor next to my chair as i write this. Her presence in my life is a constant. Those who own and truly love animals understand this. But the promise I made was not to continue fighting to the end, but to do the right thing by her. The right thing is now to let her go with dignity. To allow her to leave us while she is not starving, not so underweight that she can no longer get up by herself. To leave us while she can still understand the basic commands she is being given. Those functions are slowly leaving her. The episodes that were lasting a day or two stretched into a week or two. The last one lasted a month. When we went to the vet, instead of drawing blood, he took her face in his hands and said "Oh, sweetheart". I knew. And, I'm not entirely selfless, I'll admit that right now. I do not want to let her go. But, I do not want to have her here at her expense so I can feel better. So, after a consult with the vet, we've reached a compromise I think I can deal with. My girl will spend Thanksgiving with us. She can have anything she wants to eat. She's been on a restricted diet for a year, so that will be a treat for her. She'll get all the extra love and hugs and kisses from those who want to say goodbye that she can stand. Then, my husband and I will take her, and we'll say goodbye to her on our own. We owe her that. Sometimes, it's not how long and hard you're willing to fight that counts, but how willing you are to give up when it's time. Not for your sake, but for theirs. So, we'll be having a few more days, and I'll be glad I have them. Does responsible ownership suck? It sure does. But I think my girl is counting on me to do right by her, she's always done right by me.
By RH2

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hoarder of the week..... 30 on 3

Yes That's 30 horses on 3 acres!

This picture was sent to me by one of our readers. While I found it amusing it also brought back just how sick and tired I am of these so called rescues and sanctuaries getting away with the abuse of horses in the name of love. All the while pointing the finger at those of us who are educated in equine management and calling us greedy, blood thirsty, horse murderers.
RH2 has written a couple posts about the Tierra Madre Sanctuary, “5 out/4 in” and “Coloreado to Arizona”. We make fun of places like this, we show our disgust, but what exactly can we do to get places like this shut down? Why are hoarders given the luxury of tax exempt status? And why don’t their “followers” see the harm they’re causing these horses.
I’ve seen Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary called “The Hotel California”. You know the place... The Eagles say “you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave”..... Well I suppose maybe some leave ( 5 of them just recently) but it’s on a rendering truck or in whatever manner Jim gets rid of the carcasses. Or maybe they just checked out and maybe Jim buries them on that whopping 3 acres he has??

Please allow these horses to be “adopted”. Give them a chance at a normal life where they get to see day light, roll in the grass, and get out for a ride every now and then. What did any of them do to deserve to be jailed by you? Why are you allowing them to rot and die packed in like sardines with no purpose and no hope?


Friday, November 20, 2009

Equine Version of Cap and Trade

Equine Version of Cap and Trade to Buy Thoroughbred Racing Industry Points with PETA………..Or What in Heaven’s Name Do 33,000 BLM Mustangs Have to Do with Racing?

We can take action, one horse person at a time, and change not only the world's perception of ourselves—we can actually do something of huge merit. We can save the lives of horses.We have before us two opportunities to save horses' lives AND, a nice side benefit—prove to ourselves and the outside world that we're not the demon-possessed trolls we've been painted to be. Sweet: being rewarded for Doing the Right Thing.Opportunity #1: The 33,000Last week, (this was originally printed right before the Kentucky Derby 2009) Madeleine Pickens trekked to Washington, D.C. to speak on behalf of The 33,000 (as I'm calling them)—the beautiful Wild Horses who should be allowed to live out their lives on the 1,000,000-acre Sanctuary that Mrs. Pickens wants to create for them. A gift to the horses; the people of the United States and to the government—this proposed Sanctuary is running into opposition. In fact, as I began to write this, I received an email from James Magill of the BLM. He thanked me for emailing the BLM about the Sanctuary, and he provided a link to the BLM's official stand on the issue. I read this statement as being a government-sanctioned tap dance, all smoke and mirrors. Reading between the proverbial lines isn't so hard—the BLM is reporting their take on Mrs. Pickens' proposal. They're seeing the thing from only one perspective: that of the Ag lobbyists. You know the Ag lobbyists, those fun-loving, high-living drones whose pockets are lined in the blood of dead horses. They represent ranchers who've been sold the bill of goods that, if the Wild Horses are allowed to live their lives peacefully on the Sanctuary, or if horse slaughter becomes fully illegal—somehow this is going to take down the entire meat industry. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Nevada can think that the horses are a threat—to the cattle industry, or to anyone else. Maybe because they eat grass? Take up space? Breathe air that steers need? Whatever the imagined threat, it's all propaganda for the sake of greed. The hot pursuit of Filthy Mammon once again dictates that innocent horses must die. Just in case their existence is a threat to wealthy ranchers.

Statements made in the Alpha Mare blog belittling ranching to justify???? What does any of this have to do with the thoroughbred industry practices being called into question by PETA, the HSUS, and horsemen not aligned with either?
Before I start sniping and venting, I would like to mention an organization called Guardians of the Range. Their website http://guardiansoftherange.org/ elaborates on their mission, issues, accomplishments, and the life style they are trying to protect. They are just one hard working group of people Ag lobbyists are listening to. There are two sides to the issue.
One would think the BLM would be ecstatic over the prospect of being free of these 33,000 unwanted horses. It should be a light at the end of the tunnel for them. They should jump at it right? Even though Madeleine (or T. Boone) will supposedly foot the bill for the Ecotourism land of milk and honey for these horses it still has a cost.
The research I have done suggests “last chance sanctuary homes” for mustangs have a way of going south as far back as 1988. Remember they paid Dayton Hyde to yard those 500 or so horses for three years so they could live out their lives “free”. He took the money, when the three years were up in 1991, got his first mustang studs, started raising, and selling baby mustangs produced from the same horses he had been paid to care for because they “had nowhere else to go”. I wonder how many of the “33,000” may have been adopted had even one “last chance sanctuary” not been breeding for the same “market”. Of course, there is the Karen Sussman thing and the now infamous Three Strikes. I don’t think any of this has entered into the BLM’s “big picture” but I’m developing my own conspiracy theory so hold on.
The Anti-slaughter Mantra Handbook chant #1, “over breeding is the main cause of unwanted horses, slaughter, abuse, and all other evils heaped upon horses since the beginning of time”. Does this apply to the AQHA, APHA, ApHC, all slaughter supporting associations, and NOT the BLM, any other mustang producers, or the Jockey Club?
The Madeleine mustang plan will change nothing in the Thoroughbred racing. Pensioning 33,000 mustangs is not going to make any thoroughbred last longer or run faster. The “saved” are mustangs not Thoroughbreds.
Does the Alpha Mare have any idea how much land a million acres is? Does she care? It’s not in her back yard. It will have no affect on her livelihood, the related jobs created both directly and indirectly, and in turn the tax revenue paying for the public services in her state.
A million acres is roughly 1,560 sections. A section is 640 acres. Each side of a square section is one mile. This means Madeleine’s privately owned sanctuary will cover 1,560 square miles. Compared in size to some western national parks ……..Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, covers 70,448 acres, Zion National Park in Utah 289,633 acres, Yellowstone National Park 2,219,789 acres or 3,468 square miles in Wyoming and Montana, and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona 1,217,403 acres gives some scope of the size of the proposed project. Keep in mind, though a controversial issue, there are grazing permits issued for many national park ranges. The ROAM Act and other legislation may have something to say about this in the future but as of now much of this land is productively grazed.
Just what are those greedy ag lobbyists and ranchers whining about? Assuming the proposed million acres is currently used as grazing land to run 33,000 head of cattle much the same as Madeleine will run her 33,000 saved mustangs after she makes her purchase. The Alpha Mare refers to them as steers.. However, steers and their heifer sisters must be born to producing female bovine commonly referred to as cows. The mother cow, balance sheet asset, source of every Big Mac or T-bone, and well spring of abundant cash for those greedy, wealthy ranchers/farmers supporting those fun loving, high living drones.
If the land is running 33,000 mother cows divided by a 350 cow herd size per ranch operation means these million acres are at work making a living for 94 families. Those same 33,000 cows will produce 29,700 calves based on 90% live calf crop figure. Using the October 10 markets from the High Plains Journal, steer calves weaning at 500 to 550 lbs., 100.00 to 107.50, an average of 1.03 or $ 540.75 per head assumedly half of the marketable calves will be the above referred “steers”. The cash sale value of those 14,850 steer calves, $8,030,137.50. Their heifer sisters weaning at the same weight 500 to 550 lbs., 91.00 to 96.25, an average of 93.87 or $ 492.81per head with a total market value of $7,318,228.85, producing $15,348,366.35.
The lion’s share of this money will be spent in the local ranching communities where these calves were raised and sold. Feed stores, breeding stock producers, insurance brokers, real estate agencies, local banks, schools, livestock auctions, truck dealers, implement dealers, vets, and so on. All will take a piece of the ranch’s calf crop income to circulate through the state’s economy. At every turn in their lives these calves will be providing labor and revenue somehow. The end result is around 18,000,000 pounds of beef at the grocery store. I read the average American eats 69 pounds of beef annually. You do the math. I did in “How Can This Make Sense” last summer, thought it might apply here too.
The shift from productive livestock to non productive livestock will not be without cost. The ones feeling warm and fuzzy about it will not be bearing the brunt of the cost. ……Mr. Pickens is a major promoter of wind energy. A mustang sanctuary “somewhere in the west” might be an excellent way to package a large wind farm. It could offer tax leverage, ecotourism, green energy, horse rescue, and saving the heritage of the west all in one package.
http://www.communityservices.nd.gov/uploads/resources/625/wind-turbine-lease-considerations-for-landowners.pdf has information about landowner compensation and much more. Compensation can be quite lucrative for a landowner. All concerned wish to make wind energy projects attractive to all concerned.
Anecdotal reports indicate most companies are paying $4,000 to $6,000 annually per megawatt of tower capacity for fi xed-compensation packages. For royalty compensate on packages, 3 percent to 5 percent of gross revenue from electricity sales is common, including renewable certificates. Landowners should negotiate for inclusion of renewable, pollution and environmental credits in addition to the sale of electricity.
However, if you are a rancher hoping this income will offset the cost of buying land, don’t get your hopes up. Especially if you have financed your purchase with a USDA FSA mortgage ……. Any land with a FSA mortgage needs an extensive approval process. The approval process is extensive enough that the wind developer may not want to deal with it.
I ended the “How Can This Make Sense” blog by stating Madeleine should get to making fence for her “paddocks”…..well it seems she might have help with that……according to the website…….
Fences, gates and cattle guards become an issue when a wind tower is on grazing land. The contract should specify who is responsible for construction and maintenance of any necessary fencing, gates and cattle guards. These costs should be the responsibility of the wind energy developer.
There are listed hazards but I’m sure mustangs could graze under the towers. The cows do around here. I don’t want to give the impression I am against alternative “clean” energy sources. I am definitely not. I do want to suggest, maybe; just maybe, this won’t be the huge benevolent sacrificial donation it is promoted to be.
And I still haven’t figured out what any of it has to with the destruction of Thoroughbreds by the racing industry…… ……..
By RH1

Sunday, November 15, 2009

5 out, 4 in....and send those thongs in!

When you lose 1 horse, it's sad. When you lose 2, it's a tragedy. When you lose 3, there's probably a problem. When you lose 4, the bells should be going off. When you lose 5, the bells, lights, whistles, and sirens should all be resounding in your head, heart, and soul. When it happens in a very short time span, what is the first step you would take? If you operate Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary, you take in four more horses. And hint at wanting a fifth. (Thankfully, no ones biting yet). To do a quick re-cap, Tierra Madre is a Sanctuary in Arizona that houses 30 horses on 3 acres. And no, I didn't get the numbers backwards. This past summer has been especially cruel, and Jim Gath has lost 5 of his "kids" as he refers to the horses in his care. Jim is something. He knows how to tell a story, and anyone reading his blogs can attest to that. He's gained a loyal following by humanizing those in his sanctuary to the point of their having conversations with him. Jim really can get to you if you're not careful. He promises his horses that they'll fight until the end. The journey to that end is often long and painful for the horses, but Jim documents it with such style and love that often times you're unaware that you're reading a diary of pain and suffering. For each "Good______" (insert horse's name here) that one reads, one can almost imagine that human to human connection that Jim fancies to have with his Equine counterparts. But for those of us who haven't quite gotten the wool pulled all the way over our eyes, there's a "But". But why, if these horses are in pain, isn't Jim sitting down with his vet, and coming up with a different plan? I know, according to Jim, the vet is claiming that Jim is doing all he can. He's doing the best he can for these horse who would otherwise be in the hands of those who would just kill them quickly with no forethought. And since that vet bill continues to rise like flood water, one can only guess at what Jim CAN actually do. But why, when he is losing horse after horse, isn't Jim thinking that MAYBE, just MAYBE, his housing situation could be a problem? I know, he has said he has a wonderful set up, and not everyone has 100's of acres, and the show barns do it. But here's the thing-horses at show barns get taken out and worked and used on a regular basis. That is not the case at Tierra Madre. And Jim is so over-worked and understaffed, that who knows how often the horses actually get turned out in that corral he has set up for exercise. We know they aren't ridden. Jim claims to be in tune with Mother Earth and the messages she sends. Yet when it appears that she has done everything but grab him by the throat and shake him, Jim remains oblivious to the message. Perhaps Mother earth is telling Jim "ENOUGH"! 30 horses on 3 acres is too many. Jim does not seem to understand. While the fates seem cruel in Jim's loss of 5 horses, perhaps there was an opportunity presented. A chance to do something Jim could not do before. Manage the horses he had on those 3 acres a little better. Take the extra time he had to study up on the possible solutions to the issues plaguing Tierra Madre's "Kids". Perhaps move things around a bit to afford a little more running room. Save a little money. And Jim's reaction to Mother Earth's message? Why, he brings 4 more horses into the mix! After all, the universe must have meant for this to happen, right? Jim couldn't possibly understand that with the loss of 5 horses, he could to do a little re-grouping before taking in any more horses, could he? I wish he could have. But Jim isn't that kind of "Two legged", as he likes to describe his human counterparts. Jim can't fathom a world in which he would simply say "No". There are too many "Four leggeds" in need of Jim's love and devotion. In his blog about Quality Road, the horse who had the melt down at the starting gate recently, his suggestion was for the horse to retire to Tierra Madre. Thank Mother Earth that that's not happening! We all know that Coloreado now is a retiree there (see "Coloreado to AZ") . (For those interested, Coloreado has sustained his first injury at TM. He Banged his hip on a post. How could he not? Jim has determined after letting him run a bit that he's too sore to be turned out with the other horses, so now he gets to spend his time with Jim. Lucky Coloreado). As Jim continues his quest to keep his numbers up, and his massive vet bill down, his supporters have, in a bizarre twist, found a way to keep his spirits up. They have decided to send him a thong from each of the 50 states. Yep-Jim will be receiving an item of women's underwear from each state-some with a little cash tucked inside. I'm not sure what this has to do with Horse Rescue but it was just too damned bizarre to leave out of this! I know Jim is struggling right now. How could he not be? But I also find it a little strange that with the loss of 5 horses he holds dear- his "brothers" his "best girl", he can so quickly bounce back and move on. Some attribute this to a hoarder mentality. I'm not a doctor, so will reserve my judgment. We've lost 2 horses in our 25 years of ownership. We couldn't even think of replacing them for a long time. But, Jim must carry on, and do what he is put here to do. And he will draw his strength from his "kids" . Jim posted the Serenity Prayer in one of his blogs. "God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". Perhaps instead of mailing thongs, Jim's supporters should offer up this prayer for Mr. Gath. I think his "kids" would appreciate it far more.You know, you want to like this guy- he spins a hell of a tale. The horses, well they seem human, with the conversations they have with Jim, and the emotions they evoke while you read of their antics. You almost forget they are not receiving the proper training to make them solid citizens worthy of adoption, or even trail rides. Jim IS thinking about offering a few of the horses for trail riding, but only to "experienced" riders. Those would be riders who are willing to train from the driver's seat so to speak. When Jim rides, the horse is in charge, so that limits their usability for the general public. And you almost forget when reading the poignant tales of suffering that these horses are living through hell on a daily basis until they "tell" Jim that enough is enough.Take "Little D", the most recent loss at Tierra Madre. While I didn't go back too far in Jim's blogs, I know she's been battling Laminitis at least since July. On November 10, Jim delivered a dramatic and tear inducing description of Little D's final walk- make that march to the end of suffering. Jim says his "kid" marched with a purpose to her final resting place. She enjoyed a flake of Alfalfa hay along the way. She was determined. To the reader who doesn't know better, it was like reading a great book, the descriptions so emotion invoking, so real, you were almost there. But for those of us familiar with the ravages of Laminitis, the thought of a horse with 25% hoof separation explains the "march", and causes perhaps, tears of a different kind.So, Jim, enjoy the 4 new horses, the thongs, and maybe, just maybe, next time you print that prayer, think about it......really, really, think about it, Good, Jim.
By RH2

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?"

Poor Me Rescue..... or "Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?"

Welcome to the "Poor Me" Rescue. I decided to open it because I really love horses more than anyone else in the world. More than you, in fact. Some people say I don't do the best job, but they're just jealous. Keep your eyes on me, and listen to the sound of my voice. Pay attention!!! If you believe what I tell you, we'll do just fine! Those horses there? How many are there? Well, I've been trying to get my numbers down, but it's hard when there are so many in need, and I keep going to auctions. Did I mention that you can help save a horse? Well, you can! Lucky for you, I'm 501 c 3 or 3 c. I forget, but it means I can get money for these horses! I mean, I can raise money to help them! I call it bail or ransom. You know-the horses that go to sales are like prisoners, and they need people like me to get them out. Only, I don't have my own money to do that. But, once I let people know that these horses had really terrible lives before they met me, and that they're about to go on trucks to be killed, well, the bail gets raised pretty quickly. Their feet? Well, you can contribute to have those trimmed. Did I mention I'm 501 z3? Or 3c-something like that. It means you can help me care for these horses by giving me money. I know, their feet DO look really bad, but I've been really busy lately. Once I get more donations in, I'm going to really think about trimming them, though. It's just hard to find the time when I have so much going on. I have a lot of blogging to do, and a lot of message boards I have to visit. People just love to hear about all of the good things I do all day. And they love to see all of my pictures. Hey-you may have seen some of my pictures on the Internet! You have? What do you mean the horses don't look all that great? Well, you must be new here! That's because they come from terrible owners who don't love them like I do! Brush them and get the burrs out of their manes and tails? Sure, you can volunteer to do that! Did I mention I'm a 501 B3-or something? It means you can donate and give me money to help these horses. I should be brushing them? I do, when I have time. But I'm really busy right now, and they really do look pretty good. Better than they did when they lived with those crappy owners who didn't love them like I do. Yeah, some are skinny, but those crappy owners didn't feed them. If you want to donate for some food, I'm a 501 BZ, I can take your money to buy feed for them. Sure, they've been here awhile, and should look a lot better, but it's not my fault that those jerks who owned them before didn't love them enough to take care of them. Look how much they love me!! What do you mean they're probably just looking for food? These horses know I have a special gift! They know I love them more than anyone else ever will. They want to be near me! That's why I just keep on buying more. Did I forget to tell you I'm a 501 VC? That means you can give me money to help these horses, and I can love them and let them live here until I find someone who will love them like I do!Yeah, there IS a lot of junk laying around, but I don't have a lot of volunteers. It's tough to get people to help out around here. But that's okay, because I love horses more than anyone, so I'll just keep buying them, and taking good care of them. Better than those crappy owners that had them before. Maybe you'd like to buy one. You ride? Well, I don't know about that! I don't really have time to do a lot with these horses. I just love them so much, but not too many of them really like to be ridden. I tried with a couple of them. I had a saddle once, but I had to sell it. I ran out of hay. Maybe you'd like to donate a saddle. We can use anything we can get! It's tough running a Rescue. But I do it because I love the horses. Hey, don't leave yet, you haven't seen the rest of my horses! Did I mention I'm a 501 G T? I can take your money-I mean, you can help the horses. Hey, wait-don't you want to see the rest of the place? I'll be putting new pictures up on the internet later today. I take VISA........Boy, it's tough running a Rescue!
By RH2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taking on the Thoroughbred Industry

* http://forums.delphiforums.com/SSSER/messages?msg=45.1
Can David take on Goliath with the truth? Will anyone listen? Does anyone care? With the banning of an outspoken member from the ABR forum by Alex Brown, we now have a new voice speaking out. I'm impressed. Many, myself included have long felt that while speaking loudly against Slaughter, Alex Brown was in no way going to bite the hand that feeds him. He was not going to speak out against the Thoroughbred Industry, and the common practices that put the horses at the sales and on the trucks that lead to the plants. Alex may be a crusader, but he's no fool. The Slaughter issue has been a distraction for the issues that plague the Thoroughbred Industry. Breaking down, drugging, and throwing away horses not yet in their prime is not an issue Mr. Brown really wants to discuss. The fact that he has gone to the extent of banning those who DO want to discuss these issues is proof of his determination to keep the dissenting voices on ABR silent. It is often said on the forum that "Barbaro will lead the way". He could have. But as long as Alex is at the helm, Barbaro will be the symbol for the Anti Slaughter issue, rather than what he truly is. Barbaro, in truth was another case of a great horse started too soon, broken down, and lost to the racing world too early. Those wishing to deal with the realities of the Racing Industry on ABR will be silenced quickly. There is now a new venue to voice those concerns for the Industry and the horses that are being lost because of it. Time will tell if anyone will listen, or care. But for now, at least those who wish to speak can do so without the censorship prevalent on ABR.
By RH2

*Delphi Forum - Voiceforhorses

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We Really Love Thoroughbreds…….

For As Long As It Takes Them To Make Eight Starts……..

Rants and raves, one darned (damned?) opinionated Broad er..., Woman--who loves Thoroughbreds; loves the sport; and freely expresses her exasperation. The Alpha Mare wants to see good things all around for everyone in horse racing,
PETA and some others have convinced a lot of people that our sport is rife with hard-hearted horse haters. Not only do we force horses to run—we may actually pray that one of them goes down. We get a sadistic thrill out of seeing a horse writhing in pain, and then euthanized. PETA has done a great job of convincing a lot of lonely, ill-informed, ignorant people that we are The Bad Guys.

But we who love Thoroughbreds—genuinely love them—and the sport of racing them, have before us a Golden Apple. The chance to band together and make a difference. This plum opportunity has been handed to us on a silver platter. We can resurrect the reputation of the sport—a reputation that has been decided by PETA's spin doctors—simply by making a few phone calls.
So starts one of the Alpha Mare’s columns. She goes on to say the plum opportunity is Madeleine’s plan for the now 33,000 mustangs but I plan to deal with the Equine Cap and Trade way of buying off PETA in another blog so…. back to the eight starts and the love of thoroughbreds.
Eight starts. Eight is the average number of starts made by a thoroughbred race horse. Equus magazine has an article on conformation types, specifically, the classification of horses into basic conformation types, The Question of Type. “Durability is not an issue in breeding the racehorses of today”, states the November 2009 article. The average number of starts for a thoroughbred is between six and ten, eight.
So let’s do the math……
If….. it takes three to six months to get a colt from the pasture to fit, gate okayed, and ready to enter in a race. If…..a conservative time between races for a horse is three to four weeks. If……8 starts is multiplied by 3 weeks = twenty-four weeks or roughly another six months. This makes the estimated length of the horse’s career around a year from start to finish. If…… a horse must break their maiden before they are four, most will have achieved this (or not) by their fifth birthday. If…… most are started as long yearlings to make the two year old season many will not make it past their third birthday without needing a career change or a “forever home”.
PETA’s spin doctors are trying to make those involved in racing “Bad Guys” by taking aim on an industry they don’t understand????? PETA and the HSUS are perfectly fine when they are after the AQHA, rodeo, barrel racing, roping, auctions, or just about any OTHER horse activity. The literal translation for this particular commentator I believe is, “I love PETA or HSUS spin until it is directed at me and mine, then they are WRONG”.
“Let’s band together and do something”…….One of the most popular dodges blames the AQHA for the vast numbers of unwanted horses. The AQHA lobby is for slaughter to allow the association to continue killing horses in droves instead of policing its breeders and contributing to horse welfare. This is a chanted “fact” for anti-slaughter campaigners. One of whom stated statistically half of all foals registered with the AQHA will end up going to slaughter. The anti-slaughter/anti-AQHA commentator didn’t provide any verification so I can’t say how this statistic was gathered but……..
I wonder if the Thoroughbred foals registered each year have even 50/50 odds of reaching their seventh birthday. I also read an anti-slaughter statistic stating the average age of a slaughter horse was seven….. Remember eight starts….. a career lasting less than one year. Most working ranch, rodeo, or other performance event horses are in TRAINING to even compete in their career discipline for that length of time or longer. The Jockey Club may produce fewer foals each year but do they have the better chance at a long productive life?
We have done blogs about the practice of breeding event specific horses. We have done blogs on the practice of breeding genetically defective animals. We have done blogs on breeding animals with less than functional conformation. We are not singling out thoroughbred racing to pick on.
“Let’s band together and make a difference.” How can we do that?
Is this “doing something” time better spent on the phone or in breeding sheds, the training arenas, or studying form to function conformation as it applies to the speed horse or any horse for that matter? Is this “doing something” time better spent whining “there aught to be a law” or trying to convince others who “truly love thoroughbreds” there just might be a better way to make horses last longer? Make them more marketable to people other than racing enthusiasts. Maybe send them home from the track while they are still sound enough to remarket?
We have spent a lot of time here talking about the “rescues”. We have spent a lot of time talking about thin Thoroughbreds and dysfunctional personalities using them as fronts in a personal agenda I can’t begin to understand.
I would like to introduce you to one “pro-active” program run by people who impress me as “truly loving thoroughbreds” for the long haul, not just eight starts and on to Madeleine’s place. http://horsecreektb.com/ Go have a look. “Meet” some people who have set out to produce race horses who can do everything plus run, see some pretty scenery, and some truly “rehabbed” ex-race horses. Who is doing more to promote and better the thoroughbred horse and horse racing? Who would you rather have standing behind a horse you were buying, the Alex/rescue crowd, the Alpha mare, any one of the anti-slaughter ranters who have weighed in here, or these good people and their lifetime commitment to these horses?
………..or just one more answer to the burning question “What are we doing?”

By RH1

note: I know this isn't really Saturday Satire or atleast not as satirical as we've been in the past. However I thought it was an appropriate blog for the day of the breeders cup....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Shortest Day of the Year…………

The winter solstice…..The shortest day of the year…or the longest night, however you prefer to look at it.
I started out to write this as commentary to the Ranch Manager’s piece on Karen Sussman and it kind of evolved into an opinion. I have never been short on opinions. The comments of earlier discussions involving rescues, thin horses, education, and other management issues made me wonder exactly what constitutes cruelty and abuse.
I don’t agree with Cheyenne Canyon Quarter Horses and Paints/Black Hills Sanctuary’s breeding of mustangs until 2009 when the BLM has been struggling to place horses removed from the public range, but Mr. Hyde is/was a rancher. He is familiar with range and livestock management. He has maintained his facilities and land well. His horses winter out in the Cheyenne River breaks and canyons. 11,000 acres or more with around 600 horses and good winter feeding practices the property and horses can operated in the same manner as any other ranch. I will disagree with his philosophies. I will not take away from his management. This is a paragraph taken from The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal News article about horses surviving the winter. “At the sanctuary near Hot Springs, the horses eat grain daily in winter, and workers make open water available. Charlie Summers, who photographed the sanctuary horses and his wife Rita, saw other dangers, besides lack of food, water and shelter. On the sanctuary, the winter perils are slipping on ice of the Cheyenne River and causing serious injury. There are mountain lions in the Cheyenne River Canyon and we do see some skeleton remains of horses from unknown causes, says Summers.”
These sanctuary horses have it much the same and somewhat better than their free roaming relatives. Things are different for the smaller rescues and less managed sanctuaries. I wonder how many of the well meaning contributors to these establishments have any idea how quickly the living conditions for the stock can deteriorate in an over-crowded poorly managed facility, not only rescues and sanctuaries but private horse owners. The rescue situation brought to our attention by Ranch Hand 2 is another good example.

When I wrote the market opinion blog several months ago I made a statement about placing a wanted to buy ad and waiting to see what turned up. I used this picture as an example of the situations so common.

The horses are thin. They have no papers, no conformation, no training, and no value. The excuse for this now is “rescue”. “I got them out of a bad situation”, “and near as I can tell you haven’t offered them any improvements”. Winter is coming. Winter with the management and nutritional challenges those of us who have wintered many animals for many years cope with, plan for, and deal with quietly. Winter will look a lot different for horses like Dayton Hyde’s or mine than it does for Karen’s, Epona’s, or even the ones above. On the ones above or one like him, no one will even pick them up to get them out of the bad situation that “saved” them from the last bad situation. The problem now……as long as they are not slaughtered…..no one cares.
The phenomenon I can’t grasp?……. horses who are hide stretched over the bone, standing in ankle deep mud, s***, and walking over the dead bodies of the ones who weren’t so hardy at a rescue or a private owner constitutes a situation needing education, help, and more money from someone not at all involved, not an immediate call to law enforcement. If they are dropped off at an auction…..the auction owner is responsible and becomes blog fodder for 50 animal angel/sharkonline/anti-slaughter see how horrible this is, finger pointers. If they are in the holding pens of a trader who may or may not buy butcher horses, they are in a “feedlot” and the same course of action is required.
Three Strikes was not “outed” by the any anti-slaughter, animal rights, rescue, or any sort of horse saving community internet police corps…….Nope….the neighbors……farmers and ranchers who had to drive by the stupidity every day, reported it. Are Epona and Karen Sussman next on the list???


Their concept of cruelty has to be in the end destination not the horse keeping practices. Here is a picture of one of those horrible Canadian feedlots. Those are round bales stacked up as a windbreak. There is feed over-flowing the bunk. The pens are scraped and clean. The horses look comfortable and fed. They don’t have a bright future but neither do the mustangs at Karen’s sanctuary, the horses belonging to the owner above, or rescues we have talked about earlier on.

By RH1

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saving the Horses.......

Rescue should be a safe haven, right? Those who choose to take in horses should be prepared to do a lot of hard work, and spend a lot of money. They should be willing to put in long hours, make tough decisions, and put animals before themselves. They should have an open door policy, and be willing to answer any questions from those who are considering donating to them. In short, simplistic terms, these are the basics of a good Rescue. It doesn't seem to be so difficult, does it? So why is it that there are more and more of the ones that can't seem to get it right? And why are they successful at getting not only the money, but the support and seemingly undying defense of those who donate to them? In the past few months, as I've followed the story of a Rescue that has allowed horses to starve, I have also become aware of others who seem to flourish although it is obvious that they exist for their own purposes rather than for the good of the horses they take in. For example- I have been reading about one Rescue in particular who doesn't appear to have any idea about what it takes to even provide the basics in Equine care. Horses regularly go without grooming or hoof trims. The number of horses housed in this place is well over the amount that can be cared for on a daily basis. There is no segregation. Mamas and babies are turned out with large horses. While basic feeding needs are met, it does not appear that much more is done. This particular Rescue does not seem to be able to say "No" to a new horse, despite the fact that very few it currently houses are worked with or adopted out. While it claims to be "all about the horses", the horses don't seem to be much of a priority. This particular Rescue was so "about the horses" that it transferred some of them into a Rescue that has allowed some to starve to death. Those horses were never removed. The reason given was lack of room, yet this Rescue recently took in a new horse from somewhere else. Out of sight out of mind? Where is the responsibility? This Rescue continually asks for donations for just about anything, but when asked questions, becomes very confrontational, or simply refuses to answer them. If pressed, she will often present a dramatic situation that will bring her supporters running to her defense. For example-she is involved in the abuse story I wrote about earlier. For those interested, NOTHING has happened. No charges pressed, no horses removed. This woman in particular has been instrumental, in my opinion for the situation. She placed herself in the middle of the situation, and manipulated it in order to gain attention, and try to deflect the blame from herself for her part in the situation. Any time she was asked questions that she did not wish to answer, she either refused, or accused the person asking of creating drama. When she finally could not deflect the questions any longer-voila!!!!! she was the recipient of a threatening phone call!!!!! She did not know what to do!!!!! Of course, her supporters came running, and precious time when horses were starving was wasted in trying to decide whatever should be done to help her! Had I not read all of this myself, I would not have believed it, but it is all in print, and it is all true. I'll give her this, though. She knows how to get to those who continue to send her the cash. And I guess that's the key. You've got to know how to spin the tale, and reel 'em in. If you can personalize the story enough to get these people to feel they're part of it, they'll continue to shovel over the cash, and back you up no matter what you do. Emotion is key to being able to continue to operate a Hoarding Situation under the guise of a Rescue. I believe that is what we're seeing in this case, as well as others like it. The basic elements are always the same. No one can care for the horses as well as they can. There is almost a never ending need for some sort of attention. It can be in the form of drama, daily tragedies, or simply the need to have in your possession a horse that people are concerned about, or interested in, but it will be there. You'll see horses coming in, but you won't see them leave. The horses truly aren't the main concern, it's the emotional feedback the person doing the "saving" gets when they get them. They generally don't have much interest in getting them trained or ready for homes. Someone stated once that these hoarding situations are like a "Hotel California" for the horses. Sadly, that is often true. They tend to humanize the horses to the point that they often report conversations they have, and those who contribute to them just get sucked in all the more to the imagined relationship. It's genius, really. And if it was truly beneficial to the horses involved, I'd be all for it. But in comparing these few places I've run across to the ones that really work, I find that they really aren't "all about the horses"-they're sadly, more about the hoarders. And there's a serious downside. In some cases, horses that deserve to go to good homes where they would be used end up as early retirees simply to meet the emotional needs of those who have "saved" them. In the case I had written about earlier, this woman is at the very least partially responsible for the pain and suffering for horses that to this day remain at a Rescue she continues to support! Why do these people involve themselves in this? If it is, indeed "all about the horses", why are those horses still there, and why did this woman leave the ones she took there in the hands of someone who was not caring for them? Why is she even now, refusing to answer questions? or even post the contract that placed her horses there? Why the cover up? Why the secrecy? And what in the hell is wrong with those who continue to support her?
By RH2

Saturday, October 31, 2009

This Can’t Be Right?????

I found John Holland’s riding instructor????

It’s time for some lighter humor on Saturday. We have gotten way too serious about this. I will readily admit I know nothing about showing park horses or saddle equitation. I do know what two point position is. I am pretty sure this is not a picture of either one. Anyone more versed in flat seat horsemanship please explain how any element of this picture is correct. Until then I will continue to laugh and point.

Or this trainer application and reference form provided by the Mustang Heritage Foundation for the Trainer Incentive Program…..
I have a couple of questions…….Why does the mustang care about the applicant’s marital status?
Would any trainer in their right mind send a reference from a person who DIDN’T think they were capable?
Name: ____________________________
Address: __________________________
Daytime Phone: _____________________

Email Address: ____________________
Social Security#: ________________________
Age:________ Trainers must be 18 years of age or older to enter the contest.
Circle One: Male Female
Marital Status: Married Single
Questionnaire: All questions must be completed.
Please feel free to use the reverse side and/or additional pages if necessary.
1. How many years have you trained horses? ________
2. Are you a professional or have you received compensation for training? ___
3. Have you trained a wild horse or Mustang received directly from an adoption (not a Mustang that had previous gentling or training)? ______
4. If you compete in equine events, which disciplines/breeds do you compete in?
5. Describe and/or include a photo of the horse or stock trailer you will use to pick up the Mustang. Please be reminded it must meet BLM requirements.
6. Describe (draw layout with dimensions) and/or include photos of the facility
where the Mustang will be kept in. Please use the back of the application or
additional pages. Please be reminded it must meet BLM requirements.
Please submit a short trainer bio and photo (preferably digital) with application for promotional purposes.
By signing below I am stating that I am aware and in agreement that participation in this event is by invitation only; therefore, the Board of Trustees has the unqualified right to determine eligibility and can, at any time, remove a contestant from a Mustang Heritage Foundation program and competition for any or no reason at all. I am also stating that all questions above have beenanswered honestly by the trainer applying for this competition.
Applicant Signature: _______________________Date: __________
Mustang Trainer Incentive Program
Two Reference Forms must be submitted with each application.
If the individual providing the reference would like for the information to remain
confidential, please feel free to mail this form directly to the Mustang Heritage
Foundation, P.O. Box 703, Bertram, Texas, 78605.
Fax: (254) 947-5504
Name of Applicant: _______________________________
Name of Reference: _______________________________
Ref. Home Phone: _______________ Ref. Alternate Phone: ________
Ref. Email Address: ______________________
1. How long have you known this trainer?
2. How often do you see this trainer ride or work horses?
3. Do you feel that their facilities are suitable for working with a wild horse?
4. Do you have any concerns about the horses in the care of this trainer?
5. Would you recommend this trainer to people with unbroken or difficult horses?
Personal Comments: (Regarding skill, work ethic, values, etc.)
I think this should be a come as you are affair. Let’s let all the interested parties show up with their everyday horse hauling rigs. That should streamline the paperwork, separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak, and lighten the staff required to administer this program. I think it would be pretty easy to decide if a “trainer” has the ability to handle a wild mustang by looking over the rig they intend to transport them in. This is a pretty good indicator in “real” life too.

Last but not least…..
Happy Kids and Happy Horses……..

I spend a lot of time being serious here. I spend a lot of time pointing out things I don’t think make sense. I and many other blog writers spend a lot of time trying to shame people into conforming to our standards, trying to make our viewpoint the one. In short I spend a lot of time “bitching”. Bitching seems to be quite in style these days….Fugly, Alpha Mare, Rush Limbaugh, and most stand up comics have elevated it to an art form. I guess it should make me feel better to know I am in good company but it still gets repetitive and tiring.
I believe we all have good intentions. We all want happy kids, happy horses, and happy lives. I hope so anyway. Maybe the best way to achieve this is one kid and one horse at a time. Those of us who have been in this horse thing forever have lots of one horse, one kid memories. We have stories of horses as a friend of mine puts it “we would ride through hell swinging a dry rope”. We have stories of horses that tested us to the other limit too. The long days, the good days, the bad days, and the average days, mental Kodak moments we believe are threatened or belittled every time we are accused of being heartless. This is one of mine. It’s not a perfect picture, but I know the girl, the mare, and the “boy” who snapped it.

One granddaughter, one grey mare, and one day in August when all was right with the world.