“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

Friday, September 4, 2009

Coloreado to Arizona

I have to admit my confusion about the priorities of some of the Rescues operating today, as well as those who support, or in some cases, enable them.Take the case of Tierra Madre in Arizona. I had been working on a story about Jim Gath and his Sanctuary for about a month now. I admit I was impressed with some of what I saw, concerned with some, but felt that this was a man with a good head on his shoulders from his writings.Jim himself is a bit of an Enigma. Self described as a Co-founder of USA Today, and someone who worked in the Entertainment Industry, with Turner Broadcasting among other achievements, Jim had his share of success. Jim is honest about the demons that brought him down, and led him to where he is today. All of that can be read on his Website, and the accompanying blog http://tierramadrehorsesanctuary.org/ I've been reading the blog for awhile, and it's evident that Jim Gath loves his horses. He'll go without before they do, and he is under what appears to be an insurmountable vet bill of well over $9000. That amount seems to grow on an almost daily basis. Jim's horses, while loved and cared for, present a myriad of health issues requiring medications, supplements, and treatments, that also add to the operating costs of Tierra Madre. And, on a very sad note, in the past few weeks, Jim had to put two of his horses down, and is looking at a very bad scenario with yet another.Jim has a raffle going on now, that has gotten little response. He is 501(c)(3), and relies heavily on the donations of outside support to keep his Sanctuary afloat. Those funds do not seem to be helping much, as Jim struggles day to day to make ends meet. In short, he's not making those ends meet at all, but he's working as hard as humanly possible.An interesting side point is that Jim is a member of the ABR forum. This group, as many know, boasts a strong support base, capable of, according to co-founder Alex Brown, generating Millions of dollars into the rescue cause. One would think that Jim would receive a lot more financial aid than he does, but his pleas go largely unrecognized. There is a small, dedicated group of "FOTM's", Friends of Tierra Madre's who work tirelessly to keep the vet bill from going above the $9000+ mark. With each new bill that comes in, they try to get it paid. And the bills come in with alarming regularity.According to Jim's August 21st Blog entry, he was "broke" and "sick". I can only imagine the burden he carries as he tries to manage 27 horses on less that 3 acres under the unforgiving Arizona sun. Temperatures reach 100+ degrees there, and the work Jim does lasts from sunrise to past sunset.Imagine my surprise when on the very same day, Jim decides to take in yet another horse! This coming from a man who stated in his own blog that the initial funding for a rescue horse is no reason for celebration, or an end zone dance. This from a man who just hours ago remarked on his physical, and financial situation. What in the world could Jim Gath be thinking? And what could those who would participate in this be thinking? The horse in question, Coloreado, is not an emergency case. He, according to Jim (and disputed by Alex Brown) simply stopped in the middle of a race, telling the world he was done working. He's not lame, he's not broken down, Jim does allude to the fact that he may have some chiropractic issues, but this is one big, rangy, healthy looking horse!The funding, $700 was raised in record time, and Coloreado was destined for retirement. Where to begin?Let's start with the fund raising. I understand that there are horses in need of Sanctuary, and in an emergency case, I can see Jim Gath opening his already overburdened facility to one in need. Coloreado just doesn't fit the picture of a horse in any danger. ABR, almost famous for bad choices in their rescue efforts, does not disappoint with this choice. How much sense does it make to raise the money to send a horse to a Sanctuary already so financially strapped that each and every day is a challenge? The members of ABR themselves for the most part do not support the ongoing operations of Tierra Madre, save the small group of supporters working seemingly day and night just to keep the huge financial hole from getting any deeper.Personally, if I was his vet, I'd be flat out pissed. I know, Jim has already justified that in his head by stating that Coloreado was paid for by the generous members on ABR. But let's just for one minute, take a look at the big picture. Another horse equals another mouth to feed. Ant money at this point that is spent on anything else, does not go to the huge vet bill Jim already owes. What thought process went into thinking that it was okay to bring another horse into the mix because the initial cost was covered? Maybe Jim should read his own blog. He made some very wise statements there, he just seems incapable of adhering to them himself.And finally, Coloreado himself. I've got a feeling from the pictures posted, he could be "one of the good ones" we have discussed here. Is this a horse that deserves to be relegated to a life of carrots and kisses? What a shame! I can see this boy being capable of, and yes even happily doing so much more with his life. This is not a horse ready for retirement, just the next phase of his life.There has been a lot of conversation lately about how Rescues need to be run, and I, personally am all for them to operate on a more business level. This latest action by Jim Gath is a perfect example of why it is necessary.By adding another horse to an already financially struggling facility, Jim has put not only that horse, but himself, and every other horse residing at Tierra Madre in an even more precarious position that they were in just 12 hours before he chose to follow his heart and not his head. He has chosen to disregard the overwhelming vet bill he has run up in favor of pretending that it's okay to bring in an extra horse to feed and maintain because someone else footed the bill. Let's all hope that Coloreado stays healthy and sound. There has already been talk about the necessity of funding for Coloreado's upkeep at Tierra Madre. While there may be good intentions now, while he's the new guy, let's see how long the financial support lasts.I think that maybe Jim Gath needed Coloreado, but I'm sure Coloreado doesn't need Sanctuary.
written by RH2


  1. RH2, good post as usual.
    By reading a little on Jim's blog it looks like Coloreado (Iron Man) is now at the Tierra Madre. This to me seems like a waste of a horse that just needed a different career. It's also a waste to use donor money to buy yourself a horse that could have been homed in a place that would have the time and money to treat this horse right. Is this a "sanctuary" for horses or a sanctuary for a hoarder? Will this be a rescue we read about in the future like Three Strikes Ranch? A seizure of horses from a "sanctuary"....... I'm sorry to sound so harsh but I find this behavior frightening and NOT GOOD for the the future of any of these horses.

  2. HOARDER is the right word.. and it would not suprise me at all some day soon we hear about Tierra Madre and the need to rehome all the horses and with any luck they will not be starved and dead... why would anyone bring another horse into a place where it will be truned into a pasture pet.. oh wait.. i do not believe there is a pasture there.. could not be.. 28 horses on 3 arc... is there room for a house on it or does he just sleep in the hay?
    I can see the bomb being set now... wont be long before the fuse gets lit and crap gets all blown up.
    Jane Doe, Montana

  3. I found a mare that needs to be rescued. She's only $75K. I even have room for her. Where do I sign up for the charity thing?

  4. I read on ABR and am familiar with Jim Gath. I have mixed felings about his Rescue operation, too. I have to agree, though that bringing this horse in at this time doesn't seem like a very wise idea. The most difficult choice we all face is whether to say yes or no when offered a nice horse. I get offered my fair share, especially now. I say no. I know what I can afford right now, and what I have time for.
    If you read Jim's blog, each day does seem like a real challenge. He is a gifted writer, but the facts are stil there.
    I couldn't imagine having a vet bill as large as his. I wouldn't be bringing any new horses in unless it were a true emergency until that bill was paid.
    3 acres seems like a very small area to have that many horses on, but if he keeps it clean, and has an exercise area to run them in, I guess it could work.
    For myself, I can't get past that vet bill.

  5. WOW.
    Forget the stop signs, this guy is one of those who go around the train crossing arm when it's down, and it's in a blind curve.
    Just WOW. Less than 3 acres and over 20 "pasture pets", with room to put in a "large" pasture later? How? Over 20 Breyer horses on 3 acres is overcrowding.
    How many vets has he gone through?
    I don't understand it. Can you somehow get one of them people who send this guy (or even this guy) on here to explain it?

  6. Good idea, shovels. But you know, I've got the feeling there will be an explanation that will make sense to Jim Gath. I'd still like to try to understand it, though.
    I've looked at his website, and there really aren't any pictures to show how the place is set up. And if there's room to put in a large pasture later, I'd be using that right now with the number of horses there.
    I don't personally know Jim, but I'm afraid from what I've been reading in his blog that there may be, as someone else commented a hoarder mentality.
    I do think it's a shame that Coloreado is there. He looks like he'd make someone a really good project horse.

  7. Just a bit of an update- Coloreado has settled in, and Tierra Madre continues to struggle under it's daily challenges, and mounting vet bills. I still feel bad for this horse. Jim commented on one of his blogs about "Iron Man"-(his new name for Coloreado) getting a chance to get out and run. He was turned out with another horse and seemed to really enjoy racing around the exercise ring he was in. Clearly this is a horse with a future ahead of him, and a yearning for a job. That he is relegated to daily feedings and treat handouts is a shame.
    On a side note, as I was reading Jim's blog, I came upon an entry discussing a lesson he gave. During the lesson, his vet came to care for one of his horses, so Jim left the girl and lesson horse to supervise the vet and the other horse. He said he kept an eye on the lesson, but I wonder what benefit the rider got from someone who couldn't have been paying more than minimum attention to what was going on? If this person paid for that lesson, she really couldn't have gotten very much out of it.
    To me, this is just another example of Jim's over extension, and lack of awareness of just how over extended he is.

  8. :( it breaks my heart to think of all those horses, especially "iron man", locked up in those stalls almost all the time. His price tag off the track was reasonable, I sure wish someone that would ride him and retrain him had purchased him.

  9. I'm not sure what the set up there is, but from what I can gather from what I've read, there is not a lot of turn out area. With that many horses on such a small amount of acreage, I've got to believe this horse won't be getting the running time he deserves. I feel for him, too. He's such a nicely put together horse, and I can just see him doing so much more than living the rest of his life out in retirement. I don't know if the set up, or the environment the horses live in at Tierra Madre play into their health issues, but they seem to have constant problems there. I hope the "Iron Man" does not succomb to them.

  10. And now it turns out that Coloreado may not be Coloreado after all.

  11. I volunter at Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary and I am just a kid but these horses are amazing. They have great sized stalls and they each get walked once a week. They also have the arena where they take turns running around with there friends. As a kid I do not appreciate people talking crap about the ranch. The horses are each well fed and nourished they each get TLC and they are all amazing. So I dont appreciate people talking bad about someone who is helping animals. All your donations help.