“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

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


  1. Someone posted a link to this blog on my blog...I see we think a lot alike :)


  2. I wrote this, and it disturbs ME to read it. I'll have to stop on over to your blog, BustedUPCowgirl -we need as many of us as we can get!!!!!!

  3. I think I'll be a regular over on your blog myself :) And I posted the wrong frickin link earlier...meant to post the blog I done on good old Jim a while back. Yours was a lot better reading though!


  4. Thanks-I think I had a little crazier material to work with. This thong stuff is a little odd, but to each his or her own, I suppose. Seriously, though, I try and try to imagine 30 horses working on 3 acres, and I just can't. If it WAS working, I'd be okay with it. It's not. That alone should tell Jim to stop taking horses in, and try to do something different. These hoarding situations are really frightening, even though sometimes we find some funny stuff, like the thongs. But then, that's not really funny, just disturbing!

  5. It's against my better judgement but what in heaven's name do the thongs have to do with horse rescue?

    The idea of keeping Jim's spirits "up" turns my stomach nearly as much as the talking "kids".....

    I read a little on Jim's blog the first time you ran Teirra Madre. 30 horses on 3 acres is pushing it for even the best managed boarding/training operation. Things never addressed are parasite/insect/rodent control and manure management. Obviously, these go hand in hand. Arizona heat, 30 horses worth of manure, I can't help but think the flies would be about to eat those horses alive.

    Another question I have.....I have been around horses forever. I have never lived in Arizona or kept horses in desert heat. I have never heard of heat induced laminitis. Most every other kind of laminitis or dropped souls, all manner of over heating induced systemic problems but not heat laminitis. And 4 or 5 in the same place????

  6. Hey Busted up cowgirl, I like your blog! You and RH2 have far more patience than I do to be able to read on ABR and get so much good material to bitch about lol. I have been banned from there twice and now just go in as a guest when RH2 forces me to read something there ;) The stupidity just kills me! I'm putting you on my blog list, I like anyone who can make me laugh while banging my head against the wall.

  7. RH1, I'm not sure how the thong sending got started, but it was so strange, I had to put it in the article. It still makes me cringe every time I read it, but we are dealing with reality here!
    Ranch manager, I know you hate to head into the land of ABR, but sadly, many times, my leads end up there. Coincidence? I fear not! And get yourself a pillow, because I have a little update- Jim now wonders if he can't get anyone to help him write any grants. Seems NOW he realizes he has too many horses, and not enough money. A rude poster asked him why he took in 4 more horses if he didn't have any money, and Jim gave one of his usual self-righteous answers. You know, the horses needed a place. Jim fears he may need to adopt out some of the "kids" if he can't get any money coming in. Now wouldn't THAT be an eye opener! I would almost feel bad for him-almost. On a high note, I hear Coloreado is all healed up. The Laminitis mystery is one I'm not sure about. Not all of the horses died from that. Moose died in his sleep, Steve Vai, Laminitis, Rusty, multiple issues, Jericho, colic, and Little D, Laminitis. Those were the recent ones since July. I do not know about the prior ones. And I don't know how many are currently being treated for Laminitis now. I will have to research that. But I do think that housing 30 horses on 3 acres has to be taking it's toll. And I'm liking Busted Up Cowgirl, too.

  8. "You and RH2 have far more patience than I do to be able to read on ABR and get so much good material to bitch about lol."

    I don't watch TV, so I look at ABR as my real life soap opera. I mean really, where else can you find that kind of entertainment for free? The only reason I would hate to see Alex shut it down is because it would let the loons out of the box, so to speak ;)

  9. Buc, I never watched soaps but your right ABR is the best substitute for them. Ah lets keep those loons in the box, thank you very much! lol

    RH2, you know I'll do anything to support your writing, even if it means reading on ABR ;) My problem is the stupidity. I feel bad for all those horses these people think they are saving and taking care of. Like buc said in one of her blogs they forget they have to feed them after they save them....

    RH1, um I'm with you. I've never heard the term heat induced laminitis. I will be looking into it though just to see if I have missed some new medical break through.....

  10. Ranch Manager,

    Why don't you email me. I DO have a lot of info on heat founder. I live in AZ.


  11. Barb,
    Why don't you just share it with all of us? We are never opposed to learning something new!

  12. Well, it's kind of LONG. LOL

    Heat founder is caused by the RADIANT heat here. Have you ever heard of "frying an egg on the sidewalk?" That is what happens to horses' feet. When outside temperatures reach 112-115, the temperature of the dirt in dirt stalls can approach 200 degrees.

    AZ horses don't live in barns, at least not down here in the desert areas, unless you are wealthy enough to air condition your barn. Most folks use mare motels, open sided covered areas that are easy to cool.

    Many stalls here in AZ are simply just dirt stalls, very common. I have dirt stalls. I have equipped my shades with misting systems, which help. It is highly recommended that people with dirt stalls use shavings in the summer. It keeps the surface cooler. I even recommend moistening the shavings that are in the direct sun. This has worked pretty well for us. I have several neighbors who have lost horses to heat founder.

    My shoer doesn't recommend pulling the shoes in the summer, unless you do it before it gets too hot out. We pulled some of ours this spring, and just because it can, the temperature here went up by almost 30 degrees as soon as we pulled the shoes. We almost lost one of horses because the heat hit us so quickly we didn't even see it coming. We immediately ICED the feet, and made "911" calls to the vet and the shoer.

    We started in with some bute, and the shoer came out right away and put pads on, and the shoes back on. The horse did OK, but we certainly could have lost him.

    Grass here is also rare, because of watering issues. It's a desert. People lucky enough to have grass areas don't usually have to worry about heat founder, either.

    I hope that helps. I'm sure there isn't much written about heat founder, as it is probably limited to the few desert areas of the country.

  13. Thanks for the information Barb. I understand the concept and basically the treatment is the same as any other type of founder. Reduce the inflamation and fever in the hoof as quickly as possible. Reducing the heat and inflamation of the hoof in a dessert is probably easier said than done.