“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, July 30, 2009

They're Just Learning What We Already Know

and have known for a long time.......

I've been reading the past month or so about the "Sugarcreek Saves". A group of Anti Slaughter women have decided to try something different.....instead of showing up at the Pennsylvania Horse sale with Television cameras, or Newspaper reporters, and making a huge scene, they went to the auction house owner and did the unthinkable. They asked if they could buy out of his Kill Pen. And guess what? He said yes. Now, for the Anti crowd, this is highly unusual behavior. It lacks the required drama of going through the pens before the sale, dragging horses around, demanding already overworked vets and handlers attend to a few horses when they already are trying to handle hundreds. It lacks the calls to Law enforcement and Animal Cruelty Officers to get there and "DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!". And it lacks the calling out of the Auction House owner for the dirty rotten money grubbing bastard he really is for allowing all of the pain and suffering that has been inflicted upon these horses. It robs one of their seemingly required 15 minutes of fame. In short, it calls for a calm head, cooperation with "the other side", and a plan. And I applaud it wholeheartedly.It has also given some of the Anti Slaughter people involved a knowledge that most of the "pro slaughter" or "pro horse" people have known, and have been trying to tell them for some time now. You cannot save them all. I was very proud of the group of women who undertook this project. They went in, evaluated the horses, and stayed the course. There were requests from those donating funds to pull horses that were not sound, or were not safe, and God bless these women, they refused. they took the horses they deemed best suited for homes. They refused to pull horses to euthanise them, and spent the money they had on those with a future. Hard decisions, and tough women, I'm sure to make them in the face of the pressure to give in to the emotion that often accompanies many of the Anti saves.These women are now learning what we already know. There are not enough homes for all of the nice horses. And as hard as it is to turn away from the soft eye, or the beckoning nicker, common sense has it's very necessary place in these decisions. But we know that reality has to play into our decisions, and I am impressed with the women who undertook this save and dealt with the reality rather than give in to the fantasy. It's a hard call to make.And we know, as they are learning, the saving is the beginning of the journey, not the end. After the drama and the adrenaline of the "save" has worn off, we have the reality.....horses in need of homes. These women knew that you don't pull 20 if you only have placement for 5. Kudos to them for pulling only those they had Fosters and home offers for. They have gotten permission from the owner of the Auction House to buy as many as they can take on a weekly basis. They're working on a plan to have the cash in hand, and homes ready for the ones they buy. They don't know it, but they're a lot like those of us on the opposing side. They've gone into this with open eyes and clear heads, and done what they can. Great job girls, may you be an example that more on the Anti side follow. We're more alike than you know, and if we're ever at the sale at the same time, I'd be proud to shake your hands, or help load a horse or two.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Consistency Or The Lack There Of:

Consistent….We all know what it means literally. Consistence is important in any industry. It may be more important in the livestock and horse industries than anywhere. Breeders strive to produce consistently good foal crops. Trainers use conditioning, repetitive cues, body positioning, and timing to promote automatic consistent response and performance in their pupils. Stockmen research consistent quality nutritional programs to insure growth, health, and optimum performance in their animals. It doesn’t matter whether the desired performance is meat production, reproduction, or in the case of the horse, actual under saddle performance, consistent husbandry is all important.
Consistent animal husbandry takes a great deal of investment, time, facilities, labor, education, and perhaps most importantly, personal responsibility. I have noticed a great deal of inconsistency going on in the “New Age Humane Morality Horse Culture Industry”. And yes, I do consider it an industry. The donation, distribution, administration allocation, and in general “we need your help in cash to help us” mentality has made this a lucrative profession for many. One thing sorely lacking is consistency.
Man trains wild horses to save their lives
written by: Heidi McGuire , Backpack Journalist
created: 11/1/2008 4:26:29 PM
Last updated: 11/2/2008 10:32:51 PM

"A mustang is not a horse that wants to sit in a stall all day. It's a horse that wants to be outdoors and wants to work," he said. The horses come first. "I'll feed them before I feed myself,"
"Once you figure out their different personalities you can start to train them," he said. This is considered the real deal on helping mustangs, This was written about the Three Strikes Mustang Ranch run by Jason Meduna in Alliance, Nebraska. His consistency and dedication to good horse husbandry lasted not even 6 months longer. The footage I saw/read would indicate Mr. Meduna has some very deep personal issues and these horses probably can’t stand a whole lot more “rescuing”. Considering the time it takes a horse to starve to death and from reading the local accounts of this man and his operation, it’s fairly safe to assume wheels of this monstrous neglect/abuse case where already in motion when this interview was given. Mr. Meduna was boasting and I am sure the anti-slaughter forums were patting him on the back but those 200 horses were already heading into the winter from hell. Nebraska is animal agriculture from the roots up yet it took a horse “rescuer” to put the largest case of animal neglect in state history on the books. Can this be called inconsistent?
Following the Three Strikes case leads us to another blaring example of inconsistency. When animal rights groups were writing about the death of a Harry Vold bronc at Cheyenne Frontier Days this July they seem to have completely forgotten how only 2 months earlier Frontier Park had housed the Three Strikes evacuees. "Strawberry Fudge" was a healthy exuberant 4 year old when she flipped over outside the bucking chute. She posed no health risk to anyone other than the rider she fell on and herself. It’s pretty safe to say she had run on productively managed range and was well fed her entire life.
The Three Strikes horses were carrying who knows what diseases. Meduna, himself, was copping a plea, saying they had some exotic ailment or poisoning, not starving, parasite ridden, and sand filled. They had been running on rangeland so decimated by the lack of management of their owner it may never recover. These death warmed over looking creatures were housed in the same pens which would in a very short time be housing the elite performance stock of Frontier Days. Those of us in the livestock industry know only too well how disease can be transmitted to the ground and fixtures in a facility. Would this be inconsistency?
PETA was contacted after the torture of the good barrel horse Dually in Fort Pierre. Interested? Not a chance. Rope a steer at Frontier Days and they’re all over that. Shock a bronc or bull that stalls in the chutes and that’s a big deal. Inconsistency????
The moral indiscretions of the author of a popular anti-slaughter humane treatment issue blog are quickly becoming common internet gossip fodder. True or not, doesn’t really matter. Another example of ‘do as I say not as I do’ is bouncing around the net. Credibility is being questioned and yet another humane issue paradox is on the way.
Meanwhile back at the ranch……. Mr. Meduna’s neighbors are caring for their stock same as they always have. Harry Vold has shipped the rest of his healthy, well fed stock on to the next rodeo. The ranches of the west prepare for the annual production sale season. Decades old traditions for most of these horse programs, yet they are being ridiculed by those who can’t ride on the same side of the fence for more than one issue or maintain structure in their own personal lives. How’s that for inconsistent logic?????


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Conformation 2 - Balance

Balance is a key characteristic in any breed. To check for balance, I divide a horse's body into three sections: from poll to point of withers, from point of withers to loins, and from loins to point of buttocks. If these sections are equal in length and muscling, the horse has balance and evenly distributed muscling. I also want a horse's withers to be level with--or higher than--his hips for hindquarters propulsion.
As for correct structure, I look for properly aligned front legs; well-sloped pasterns; and well-angled, lowset hocks. When a horse possesses both balance and correct leg structure, his conformation meets the form-to-function standard. That means he should be a good mover and able to withstand demanding events without developing soundness problems.

This is a quote from a conformation clinic article written by Patti Carter. This same basic statement in one form or another is echoed by each professional asked to take part in the Horse & Rider/Practical Horseman conformation clinics. I agree with them completely. Most horsemen have list of conformation shortcomings they can or can’t forgive in a horse. As we move away from the generation of horsemen who not only needed an individual to go to the track, show ring, or rodeo arena on the weekends but could work for a living at home during the week we seem to be losing site of the importance of structural balance and how it relates to long term soundness in our horses.

This pretty colored filly is bred to go low and slow. She will most likely do that. She has an in style pedigree, great color, and virtually no shoulder. It ties into her back almost directly above her foreleg. She will absorb both her own weigh and her rider’s almost directly up through her leg bones. If this filly were squared up as she should be we could see how disproportioned her rear legs are when compared to her front. She looks as though she would “drive” her forelegs into the ground with every stride. Makes ‘em low and slow but also makes them unhandy and predisposed for front end problems. This filly is young and will even up some as she matures but the length of the leg bones doesn’t change all that much. Hence the ball park accuracy of the “string test” for mature height.

This bay filly has the same basic shoulder/hip conformation as the first filly. In spite of the same straight, steep shoulder, forelegs, long back, and short hip she is better balanced. The first filly does have a better set of withers. The more even length of her front cannon bones as compared to the back places her knees and hocks roughly the same distance off the ground. The length of her forearm compared to the length of her gaskin is better also. We dealt with legs earlier but I have to come back to them here. She has upright long boned legs with the tendons tying into the knee very close to the cannon bone, this was referred to as tied in tendons and was considered a conformational fault when I was being schooled. Generally speaking, the closer to the ground a horse’s knees and hocks, the closer to the ground his center of gravity, the handier and more agile he is. She is a very fashionably bred and connected hunt seat filly.

Bob Loomis explains balance using the trapezoid. I learned this theory years ago as balance triangles. The principle is still the same. It uses the trapezoid to illustrate the importance of equal angles in the shoulder and hip connected with a short strong back.

The horse’s body is again divided into thirds. The first third is point of shoulder to elbow. Second third is point of elbow to point of stifle. Third is point of stifle to buttock. This is the bottom line. The poll to wither should be the same length, as the point of shoulder to the point of withers. The withers to the point of hip should be the same length as the neck, the shoulder to withers, and the hip to the buttock. This was explained to me as a 4-H kid (back when the wheel was square) was in the form of three equilateral triangles. There should be three equilateral triangles in a balanced horse, two upright and one inverted. The point of shoulder to the point of withers to center of the bottom line, the other upright triangle is the point of hip to the buttock to center of the bottom line. The inverted triangle’s point is formed at the center balance in the horse’s bottom line. Its two sides by the lines from point of wither to center of bottom line to the point of hip and it’s top by the length of the back from wither to hip. In my humble opinion the closer to the center of the bottom line (center of the horse) the horse carries the weight of his rider and his own center of balance the better he is going to “feel” to me.

The good legs we were looking for last time should be under this balanced body to make a horse with functionally correct conformation. The length of the total parts change from a 16.2 hand horse as opposed to a 14.2 horse but the correct proportional ratios stay the same.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Fall Of Fugly? FHOTD blog changes.

The Fall Of Fugly

Anyone familiar with the internet has most likely read or atleast heard of the "Fugly Horse of the Day" blog. Some love it, some not so much. Fugly professes to be an expert on conformation, to have "the eye" when it comes to Thoroughbreds, and is Anti Slaughter.She also has no problem "outing" those she feels needs it. Those needing outing can be guilty of any variety of offenses....backyard breeding, having the wrong tack, dressing badly, being overweight, being ugly, being stupid, or just getting on the wrong side of Fugly. Fugly has a group of followers ready and willing to mass e-mail and harass anyone unfortunate enough to fall under Fugly's radar. They are merciless, and age is no barrier.So, it was a little surprising to hear this past week that Fugly had shut down the "comment" section of her Blog where she and her group often tear their "victim of the Day" to shreds and report on what they have done to them.Speculation, of course, is varied. Allegations of Fugly's personal and financial misdeeds had been brought up, and discussed. The comments were not to the liking of some of the "fugly faithful" who tried in vain to remind those making the less than flattering charges that Fugly's blog was indeed a place to discuss serious horse issues only. Those who have read attacks on the Victims of the Day in the past probably got quite a laugh from that!So Fugly, who has never cared about little things like Copyright laws, the feelings of others, no matter what their age, mental capabilities, financial situations, or anything else for that matter, suddenly chose to take the high road. She will now publish the "5 best" comments she receives each day. Can anyone say damage control?Sure, the gossip is good, and the allegations will continue to fly in light of her decision to shut down the comment option. The blog may even end up disappearing. If it does, I for one will be glad.Fugly has long been a "voice" for the Anti Slaughter movement. And I, as a horse owner have long questioned if someone like her is what we want or need as a representation for EITHER side of this issue. Do we really want the Equine industry represented by someone who regularly uses foul language, and encourages mob mentality online? Who attacks other human beings for the sheer entertainment value of it?Is it wise to have as a representative of our cause someone who promotes breeding when the equine population is already out of control because they feel they have "the eye"? Surely we can all agree there are enough Thoroughbreds in need of homes, does any one need to breed the ones rescued from the kill lots?And we certainly don't need someone who refuses to even have a conversation with anyone with an opposing view.Fugly has done a lot of good in her rescue efforts, but the blog, and her actions resulting from that blog have made her far more of a liability than an asset to the anti side of this issue, and to the Equine community in general.

"Apologies to those of you who were responsibly using the comments; however, Blogger rules were broken with regard to the harrassment of individuals other than myself and so they have gone away until I can come up with a reasonable solution that does not add hours of work to my day."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

HSUS- Dumb or Dishonest? ... or both?

Sometime They (HSUS) Play Right Into Dumb Without Realizing It or I Think They are Really Serious About This Being Important Information

Humane Society of the US Compiles State-by-State Regulations and Resources for Horse Euthanasia, Carcass Disposal.
When it comes to burying a horse, not all states are created equal. The same adage applies if you are looking for a rendering plant or a low-cost euthanasia program.But how would the average horse owner ever know?Enter the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has compiled what looks to be a valuable tool for veterinarians, rescue workers, and owners or holders of unwanted horses who are looking for an alternative to sending a horse to slaughter but don't know what their choices are. Hopefully, states will add services and resources as awareness grows, and also correct or add to their listings, so this resource will develop and grow.
This was posted by Fran Jurga on "http://equisearch.com/" . Actually the link she posted didn’t work but she graciously credited fuglyhorseofthedayblogspot with the information so I followed the bread crumbs.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
fuglyhorseoftheday blogspot Yes we are doing something (Well not really, but I suppose we should at least give you credit for a barely scratching the surface research project).
Anti-slaughter advocates are frequently criticized for not providing affordable options to slaughter. In reply, I'd like to present the new HSUS equine resources.
What a great and much needed resource! Please send to your friends and cross post to other message boards. Who knows how many horses this will save? My guess would be damn few but I tend to be a bit on the cynical side. A true follower of the cause chimes in first in an attempt to divert attention from the obvious……….
The reason those that say anti slaughter folks don't do anything to help the horses, is that they are trying to detract and want to promote horse slaughter, usually because they are making money off of it. Then they might have to try and get a real job instead of butchering horses. The kill buyers I have met are usually uneducated and can't make a living in a real profession.
Next person to comment actually read the site……….How does that link help people without money euth/dispose of their horses?Besides, the information is flawed. Under crematory services for Virginia, there's not ONE service that's actually in Virginia. One is in Maryland, another's in Iowa, and the third and last one listed is in Idaho. How the heck is that helpful?This list MIGHT be useful if folks have a ton of money to spend on euthing/disposal of bodies. It still doesn't address the issue of people who have run out of finances AND options.
As did this one………That list isn't quite as helpful as you'd think. I live in Maine, of the 5 or 6 places listed all except one are out of state which means transporting the carcass several hundred miles depending on where you live in the state. The sole in-state option is actually a butcher which I think is rather at odds with what the purpose of the list is. Quite frankly, these are not affordable options for anyone living in my area.
And this one agreed with the one person who could and actually did read, think about simple economics, did the math, and consulted the U.S. map……Mack Truck is right... it's flawed because those are the only ones in VA that will accept private owners remains. No it's not the list makers fault but um, still doesn't help people too much. I have heard good things about the MD people for my area... (SE VA) but what about SW VA? Long haul. If you have no $$$ for it's still not that helpful.
Some of these people might actually be paying attention to reality somewhere.
This is the actual website that does work. I am not so generous with my pat on the back for whoever compiled this information. I will grant you I didn’t read the entire site. Pretty much didn’t have to see it could have been put together by any junior high student with an internet connection and few hours to spend.
Here are some things I found interesting during my quick look see…..
These two websites were in the Equine Crematory information category for every state……..How did that happen??????
Ashes to Ashes Pet Cremation

22331 590th Street
Pomeroy, IA 50575 712-358-2600 "http://www.ncn.net/~scottdev"
Memorial Pet Care

654 E. King Street
Meridian, ID 83642 208-887-7669
This is used to dodge the “landfills (waste management facility, isn’t that cute???) don’t accept dead animals” excuse. See they told us it was just an excuse…… and yes, they do use the same phone number for all states. Come on somebody call the number to get information….. please call it just once. Maybe I will just for the fun of it…
Waste Management ® accepts equine carcasses at some but not all locations. To find out if your local Waste Management location will take horse carcasses, please contact them: "http://www.wm.com/" ; 800-963-4776
They did at least take the time to pull each state’s dead animal disposal laws out their respective state statute codes. There is no mention of how county or township zoning laws may affect these.
The state veterinary teaching college is used as each state’s euthanasia contact. A few more populated states do have more listings, but it still looks like a pretty broad surface job in researching contacts to me. Or maybe there are actually no programs out there?????
Near as I can tell $30,000,000 is still unaccounted for in HSUS spending. It obviously wasn’t spent on research, consulting, or anything to do with compiling the information put forth in this study.

7 Things You Didn't Know About HSUS
Consumer Freedom

1) The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is a “humane society” in name only, since it doesn’t operate a single pet shelter or pet adoption facility anywhere in the United States. During 2007, HSUS contributed only 3.64 percent of its budget to organizations that operate hands-on dog and cat shelters. In reality, HSUS is a wealthy animal-rights lobbying organization (the largest and richest on earth) that agitates for the same goals as PETA and other radical groups.
2) Beginning on the day of NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s 2007 dogfighting indictment, HSUS raised money online with the false promise that it would “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.” The New York Times later reported that HSUS wasn’t caring for Vick’s dogs at all. And HSUS president Wayne Pacelle told the Times that his group recommended that government officials “put down” (that is, kill) the dogs rather than adopt them out to suitable homes. HSUS later quietly altered its Internet fundraising pitch.
3) HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California veal processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.” That same year, Goodwin was arrested at a UC Davis protest celebrating the 10-year anniversary of an ALF arson at the university that caused $5 million in damage. And in 1998, Goodwin described himself publicly as a “former member of ALF.”
4) According to a 2008 Los Angeles Times investigation, less than 12 percent of money raised for HSUS by California telemarketers actually ends up in HSUS’s bank account. The rest is kept by professional fundraisers. And if you exclude two campaigns run for HSUS by the “Build-a-Bear Workshop” retail chain, which consisted of the sale of surplus stuffed animals (not really “fundraising”), HSUS’s yield number shrinks to just 3 percent. Sadly, this appears typical. In 2004, HSUS ran a telemarketing campaign in Connecticut with fundraisers who promised to return a minimum of zero percent of the proceeds. The campaign raised over $1.4 million. Not only did absolutely none of that money go to HSUS, but the group paid $175,000 for the telemarketing work.
5) Research shows that HSUS’s heavily promoted U.S. “boycott” of Canadian seafood—announced in 2005 as a protest against Canada’s annual seal hunt—is a phony exercise in media manipulation. A 2006 investigation found that 78 percent of the restaurants and seafood distributors described by HSUS as “boycotters” weren’t participating at all. Nearly two-thirds of them told surveyors they were completely unaware HSUS was using their names in connection with an international boycott campaign. Canada’s federal government is on record about this deception, saying: “Some animal rights groups have been misleading the public for years … it’s no surprise at all that the richest of them would mislead the public with a phony seafood boycott.”
6) HSUS raised a reported $34 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, supposedly to help reunite lost pets with their owners. But comparatively little of that money was spent for its intended purpose. Louisiana’s Attorney General shuttered his 18-month-long investigation into where most of these millions went, shortly after HSUS announced its plan to contribute $600,000 toward the construction of an animal shelter on the grounds of a state prison. Public disclosures of the disposition of the $34 million in Katrina-related donations add up to less than $7 million.
7) After gathering undercover video footage of improper animal handling at a Chino, CA slaughterhouse during November of 2007, HSUS sat on its video evidence for three months, even refusing to share it with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HSUS’s Dr. Michael Greger testified before Congress that the San Bernardino County (CA) District Attorney’s office asked the group “to hold on to the information while they completed their investigation.” But the District Attorney’s office quickly denied that account, even declaring that HSUS refused to make its undercover spy available to investigators if the USDA were present at those meetings. Ultimately, HSUS chose to release its video footage at a more politically opportune time, as it prepared to launch a livestock-related ballot campaign in California. Meanwhile, meat from the slaughterhouse continued to flow into the U.S. food supply for months.