“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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Number 184……

It’s fall. I love this time of year. Crisp mornings, dry sunny days, Indian summer, and the fall production sales. The Midwest, high plains, and south central states seem to have a sale going on every week end from late August to November. Breeders, owners, trainers, and auctions coming together to showcase a years or at least several months worth of work in one day. Many are private production sales with one or two breeders offering a specific program or bloodline. My favorites are the open special sales, most sponsored by the auctions for the horse people and stockman they do business with all year and every year. These sales offer the production from many small scale horse people and have some of the best and most affordable prospects available to the public.
Many of the horses have been put together by people who have participated in the “ride your horse to work” program for quite some time. They want a horse with enough motor to get a job done, handy enough to do it well, smooth enough not to put you in traction if you ride him further than the mail box, smart enough to learn it before he is too old to ride, eye appeal enough to be reasonably attractive while doing it, and last but not least, sound enough to make all of the above worthwhile. This is what they have set out to raise to sell. It’s a part of the industry which has taken the brunt of the anti-slaughter brow beating. These ranch programs are the “puppy mills” of the horse set we are being told. The auctions, although nothing like the ones described in the rants, are evil places of death and abuse.
The two most pressing issues for me in this slaughter/no slaughter debate:
1. The thought of losing these people and auctions while keeping the so called BYBs and the “high end” show, event, or race horse breeders. Hobbyist and tax deduction crowd. I don’t see this as any form of progress.
2. The thought of, in the not so distant future, seeing a common yearling colt wandering down the median of I-80 packing a broken leg as I often see stray dogs. The lowering of horses to the same value as discarded designer dogs no matter how they are destroyed is a hard thought for me.
So there you have it. The two reasons I keep hammering away to defend something I have always hated and earning the privilege to be called anything but a white woman by “educated” worldly folks. As Dad always said “I have been called worse by better”.
The AQHA (aka, the association causing this problem in the first place) sent an e-mail advertising an internet auction from some of the best in the business. Here are some of those horses. HYPP, among other things has been, at the very least, an embarrassment to the AQHA for several generations. In my humble opinion all n/h and h/h horses should have been spayed or gelded as a requirement for registration as soon as testing was available. I had one tested in 1994 so that’s been awhile. Had this been done, hypp would be only a sentence in the history of Impressive by now. I have been informed of my narrow mindedness on this issue already and have made a note to myself to do better. Don’t comment on what to do with all the wonderful n/h horses that are out there. Use them, care for them, but stop breeding them. There are enough wonderful n/n and hypp free horses to breed. Trust me the gene pool won’t be depleted without them.
I am all for reducing unwanted horse numbers. I don’t think is simply a matter of pointing fingers and cutting back production. We need to cut back production in the right spots. We need to get back to what makes a horse durable. Durability, ability, and long term marketability in horses makes us want to keep them around for awhile. Keeping them useful, sound, and saleable after the show ring win, track success or lack of it outweighs slaughter as the most pressing issue in the horse industry in my book. I feel most breed associations are showing and breeding without this long term goal in mind. But what do I know? I just ride the darn things. I also believe this is why the ranch horse, foundation shows, team penning, barrel races, roping events, and other off shoots of the breed shows are catching on.
This is most obvious in the halter classes of the stock horse breeds. Each stock horse breed association should require every judge to day work horseback on a ranch in big country for 30 days before they are granted a card. I think it would change drastically what is placed in the show ring as the epitome of these breeds. Maybe then we could get back a halter class being a way to season a horse for future as a rider instead of his whole career.
Back to the internet auction.
The stud below is a 10 year old by a world champion halter sire. He is obese and I realize that is not terminal. Making him less “massive” is the only thing pulling 200 pounds off him will accomplish. He will still be n/h and over at the knees. Ten years of being obese may or may not have contributed to the knee problem. I tend to look at a horse from the ground up. No legs, no feet, no horse.

The mare below was a two year old. She is out of a mare by a sire who founded a dynasty of pleasure horses and by a halter bred stud. I really liked the bottom side of this filly’s pedigree but I can’t disregard those knees. She is very back at the knees or calf kneed in common terminology. Her knees killed any interest I may have had in her tremendously bred mother who was also on the sale. She is a well bred young mare so she will likely be allowed a chance to pass on those knees.

The colt below was offered as a grade stallion. He is out the product of two world class halter bred parents but had the unfortunate luck of being h/h. A foal of 2008, he is ineligible for registration with the AQHA. He was listed at $100.00 last I checked the auction site. Less than the cost to cut him in most places. Not to mention the health problems he will face the rest of his life.

Or here is an h/h filly. Not only is she h/h but in this photo appears goose rumped. She is listed as the perfect cross for an n/n stud, having a world class pedigree she is certain to produce a winner. She is a foal of 2006 so she is eligible for registration. Both of these young horses are offered by a program of national recognition in the AQHA. Statistically she has a one in four chance of producing an h/h foal no matter what she is bred to. I couldn’t win the lottery with those odds but I would darn sure get an h/h foal.

This conformational mess also run is listed in the foot notes as a “pretty own daughter” of a world champion. Her sire is a household name in the halter horse world. If I remember correctly she too is n/h.

N/n or n/h, she is ewe necked, camped out behind, and sickle hocked. I would assume she inherited these faults from somewhere.

So there you have it…..five horses packing world class pedigrees, N/h or h/h (except for one) and structurally compromised but still being held up as examples of what we should be breeding by people who should know better.
What has all this got to do with number 184? Not much really except according to the Horse Breeding Police these “proven” horses from “real breeders” are what we should be breeding/buying not him.
Number 184 is a stand up looking 2009 sorrel stud colt cataloged in an open consignment fall breeder’s sale coming up in western South Dakota. He is by a line bred Sugar Bars/Doc Bar stud and out of a Doc O’ Lena, Dry Doc bred mare. His breeders have only a few colts in the sale. His parents and grandparents have no show records. He is the kind of horse according to the horse breeding police we should stop breeding.
I don’t know about you but if he looks in the flesh like he does in this catalog picture I think he looks like a future saddle horse.
Granted he is 4 years of feed, fitting, and at least 120 days riding away from being that fancy gelding. Sounds like a long time and it is from start to finish.
He might get hurt. We might have a recession. We might have too many horses. Several rescues might go out of business. A lot of things can happen in four years. On the other hand he might be worth looking up. He might be worth staying to see sell. He might be worth the wait. I heard buying babies described as “buying hope”. I thought it was a poetic way to put it. Kind of corny, but true.
I find more hope in a trailer load of #184s than in one of the “world class” horses above. I find more hope in him than the constant woe in the martyred saving of rescues. Let’s hope we don’t look back to find the #184s, those who raised him, and those who turned him into one of those good riding geldings have been lost somewhere in the charge to a politically correct horse world. Meantime, if I were going to the sale I’d take the chance on him. He’s down at the end of the sale, he’s sorrel. He could be a real deal and we all need to buy a little hope now and again.

written by RH1


  1. Again, a good, informative, article that touches on issues we, as horsemen should be worried about. Good, sound stock will shore up the equine industry, and we need to keep the breeders of quality horses around should things improve.

  2. 1 comment. It constantly amazes me that when an article is written that has absolutely everything to do with how horses end up in the infamous "Slaughter pipeline" the silence is deafening! Where are the discussions on this subject? Why aren't the Anti Slaughter folks interestd in issues that can be addressed BEFORE the horses are in the feedlots and on the trucks? Not enough drama? Not interesting enough? Not enough "me time"? I don't get it!
    Well bred, well put together horses are important to the Equine Industry. They don't necessarily come from the big breeders, or the big names we are familiar with as far as studs and dams. They are available, and are the future. Education is key. Knowledge of genetics and conformation is a must. The willingness to invest in the Equine Industry is a given. The ability to look forward is essential. But it isn't as rewarding as discussing Slaughter, I guess. Did I just hear a pin drop in here?

  3. Now remember Rita we were told all horses are equal and we should not see flaws..... and horses end up at the slaughter house because we get rich off it not beccause they are lame and unable to do anything "for a living".
    And on another note, those that feel breeding should be cut back or stopped unless the horse is a proven show horse are obviously wrong as well.

  4. I hope it's silent because the followers may actually be learning something here. This is a nice horse, this is a not so nice horse. I kept that pic of that antislaughter leader guy on his horse, for a good laugh and self-gratifying, "I'm not the stupidest one out there". Maybe there's enough of his followers who had some inkling that things just weren't as he preached and are actually learning something here.
    Hopefully there's a large following of learners. Ya'll are doing a good thing for educating, keep it up.

  5. It just bugs me sometimes when we miss a good chance at a real dialogue. It's often said that many of the Anti side aren't horse owners. Maybe that's true after all. If you don't really own a horse, things like conformation, genetics, bloodlines, and temperament really wouldn't be all that interesting to you. On the other hand, a good drama like the greed of the Pro horse folks, and the angst of Slaughter would be just the thing to get those fingers typing away. I would hope that isn't true, but I don't see too many other subjects that seem to catch the interest of the Anti set. Talk about things that can keep the horses off the trucks and out of the lots, and no one seems interested. Mention the "S" word, and the gang's all here. It will never get us anywhere.

  6. Rita you are SO right! on the next post Vicki admits to only reading what comes up on her google alert. Must be she has that set to alert her when the S word is mentioned and probably when her's or John's name is mentioned as well, That would explain why she can't move forward or learn anything new wouldn't it.

  7. I have been off line for a while guys.. but I would like to say something on this.
    I all so watched that online auction and could not believe it. The horses that were being sold if were in my barn would of been shipped.. Good horses do not come from horses like most in that sale. OH YA.. and lets breed horses that will break down, carry HYPP... or are worthless for anything other then looking good at the end of a halter.. ooooh yes.. the halter. How many can say that a true quarter horse looks like the halter horses of today... I have never seen horses that look like they are on something like they do... they are not even good to look at. But get a colt that was raised out in the mountains with good lines.. nice legs... nice head... and there is something that will make someone look and smile. We need to bring back the REAL horse. You will have to let us know how the sale went and and if #184 made it home to your barn.
    J. Doe Montana

  8. J. Doe - "We need to bring back the REAL horse."

    So true. Unfortunately laziness,ignorance, selfishness, and stupid legislation is taking over and throwing the REAL horsemen under the bus. With less true horse people in the world there will be less good horses. The really sad thing is that some (many) see the horses in this post as top quality!
    I think whoever purposely made that first stallion look like that is just as cruel as a person starving a horse. That stallion is just disgusting looking.