“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

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


  1. RH1 wrote, " 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."

    Or to put it another way: How long does it take to reduce a horse in good flesh down to skin and bones?

    I've never starved a horsey before. Nor have I met anybody who has. So-o-o-o-o, I don't know the answer. Okay, I'll bite. How long?

    [I'm guessing the answer will be in the neighborhood of 3 months.]

    Just me

  2. You know I've struggled with this situation since I've begun writing about it. There doesn't seem to be a solution, as the days and months drag on. Law enforcement does not do their job, there is no place for these horses to go. There are few donations flowing in to care for these animals, and from the looks of things, I fear you are right. One thing I do need to point out. You cannot compare EPONA with the other Rescues involved in this. The Rescues that took the horses in from Phoenix Rising at least are trying to help. EPONA has done nothing but work at cross purposes from the beginning of this.

  3. So what is it that we are wanting to find out here?
    Who is at fault at PR? 3X? and many others that call them self's "rescues"?
    Is it the law's fault because there is no place for them to send horses to remove them from homes where there is not the care?
    A lot of rescues are in it for the "hipe" and the "look at me i am such a good person".. oh yes and lets not forget the "give me money and trucks and trailers and pay my rent and elc. bills and all the food "I" can eat"... It is not the horse that they worry about. It is THEM.
    And who is at fault for making it easy for THEM to do this?
    Everyone that sends money.. does not check on THEM, sends horses and then when the horses are starved to death or just about dead says... Poor "THEM" they tried so hard and did there best and so now we are going to help "THEM" out again and give "THEM" more money to feed the horses that are left on the place so they do not starve too. and we will take some of the horses and feed them ourselves. And in no way will we hold "THEM" in account for what has happened.
    It takes months for a horse to starve to death unless all food is withheld. But yet the care givers are all fat and eating good? Whats up with that?
    But yet there is not one good thing said about the feedlots that some horses are in (like your picture).. feed is given... horses are fat.. watered.. NO the horses are not PETs.. NO the horses are not going to a loving home forever.. They are meat horses... bred and fed to go to slaughter. But not one is starved from kindness, not one is beat.. not one has to go through the slow painful death.
    So.. who can say feedlot is better then??? Rescues that do not feed or care for the horse?
    I am not saying that all rescues are bad.. not at all... but come on. Can you say that feedlot is all bad? FOB's Think long and hard before you have some lame comeback on this...
    I just sold a saddle gelding this last weekend at the sale here in town that is put on once a year. The gelding sold for 235.00... KILLER...
    he was broke but had gotten in the wire years ago and had a heck of a scar on his foot... he was sound if you kept shoes on him... but come on.. why would someone want that horse for a saddle horse when there are so many good ones out there that don't have to have something done to them to keep them sound.
    That gelding was sold because he got in with the mares and almost killed a colt... 1,500.00 vet cost to keep that colt alive and we still do not know if he will ever be right. Gelding GONE...
    So when you see a feedlot full of fat fed horses.. don't cry.. its all they know.. and when you see starved... dead horses at a rescue.. check it out.. and for the love of god... do not bring horses in to your rescue when you cant feed the ones you have. Slaughter is better then slow death...

  4. Good comments all! As far as how long it takes to starve a horse??? It depends on how fat it was to begin with I suppose BUT when we are talking about how long it takes to see decline in care due to too many horses.... Literally days. Not weeks or months. Again it depends on the caregiver and the numbers in an over populated pasture, paddock, or barn. In these situations it isn't just starvation that is creating suffering and death. There is illness, injuries (see pic "safety hazards galore") infections and more. An over burdened farm or ranch of any kind in decline has a snowball affect and all creatures suffer. Most of the people I know or have talked to in equine rescue have little to no idea what management is really required to keep the snowball affect from happening and kep the animals well cared for, they don't think logically before taking in .....just one more.