“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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So It Ain’t Just Me…..I Really Have Seen This Before……..

People Looking at the Problem in the Real World can and do change their minds. The first several are a discussion involving an article in an Arizona newspaper in 2008.
One person comes on to say “I wish I had listened to the people who told me this would happen”.... The fight is on…..

Comment by john w.
Originally I was FOR a ban on slaughter and transport. BUT, I have now seen the unintended consequences and they are much worse than we were warned about.
I have seen more thin and neglected horses these past few months than I have ever seen in my lifetime (and I ain't young).
What I have seen is a new report nearly every day of horses being seized because of neglect and Counties running out of money to buy feed for them. The stories are all the same. Since horses have dropped so much in value, they aren't 'worth' being taken care of at the level they were before the precipitous drop in value.
I have a very good friend that is a veterinarian with a mixed practice. He told me what would happen but I did not believe it would be that bad. Well, it is worse. His horse calls and his horse work done at his clinic is less than 1/2 of what it was a year ago. He says he gets calls every day from someone wanting to know what it will cost to treat a horse down with colic or one that is all cut up from going through a fence. When he tells them (and he is one of the most reasonable vets around) they just say "Well Doc, I can replace him cheaper than that so he will just have to live or die." This Vet has told several people to come in to his clinic and he would GIVE them one or two shots of Banamine to take home so the horse would not beat his head to pieces fighting colic since he figured they would die anyway.
He has tried to talk several people into just shooting the horse instead of letting it suffer.
Don't try to tell me or him that horses are better off now than when they had a killer market and a decent value.
He said he knows some Vets who have had their horse business drop off as much as 75%. They have all had regular customers that have told them they are not going to vaccinate anything this year. They all know people (and I do too) that have said they just turned horses out in a back pasture off of the road and they have to live or die until green grass arrives. They all said they could replace them cheaper than take care of them like they did before.
I think this anti-slaughter movement is going to prove to be the worst thing that has ever happened to horse’s welfare.
If you don't believe me, just call up 3 or 4 Vets that have 'country' mixed practices and ask them how much LESS they are being called to care for the average kind of saddle and ranch horses.
Maybe then you will understand why the AVMA and the AAEP are solidly against this legislation. I wish I had listened to them because I actually spent time and worked for ending slaughter in Texas.

Then Terry showed up to set him straight……

Fact #9: In the early 90's we were slaughtering over 300,000 horses in the US, had over 2 dozen horse slaughterhouses operating, and less than half the horse population we currently have. Between 1992 and 1995 many horse slaughterhouse closed, in 3 short years slaughter was cut by more than half, a reduction of more than 138,000 horses being slaughtered. What happened to the 138,000 horses that were no longer slaughtered? Guess what Einstein's, no one even noticed the massive reduction, they were merely sold to other horse buyers.

This is the same argument used to tell me I was full of crap in the horse market opinion piece. I wish we could go back to the middle 90s too. I don’t know anyone in the horse business who doesn’t. I think the operative statement Einstein is missing ….we had half the horse population then as we do now. We could go back into the reasons why but that’s ground we already covered. The horse population according to Mr. Holland last time he visited us with “concrete” statistics to educate us was roughly 10,000,000. That 10,000,000 figure is a full million over the figure the same man used in 2006. I am sure this all the fault of the AQHA somehow.
Terry does deserve credit for sticking to the same story, even though the only thing it has added to the problems we are facing today is in contributing a horse population, who by Terry’s own statements, doubled in less than 15 years. Let’s try to put our thinking caps on before it doubles again.
Like all us horse murderers john w persists in trying to make some sense of all this and replies…

Comment by john w.
Most of you JUST DON’T GET IT! For you radical city folk who do not understand livestock rationale, (and yes, horses are livestock): I am not saying that all, or even a large part of the thousands of horses that are now being starved, neglected an deprived of basic Veterinary and hoof care would otherwise have been sent to slaughter. Quite the opposite. They are being neglected because they have lost so much value. They have lost so much value totally because the “set in” price is gone in the market place. This is a direct result of the loss of the slaughter market, otherwise been sent to slaughter. Quite the opposite. They are being neglected because they have lost so much value. They have lost so much value totally because the ‘set in’ price is gone in the market place. This is a direct result of the loss of the slaughter market.
Just like you aren’t going to tell a cattle rancher that he should spend $200.00 on a $200.00 cow, you aren’t going to tell the majority of the saddle horse owners that they should spend $300.00 for a vet call for a sick or injured horse that may die anyway when that animal can be replaced for $200.00 or less.
No one can argue that all but the highest level of show, racing, and other performance animals have lost a great deal of their value. Whether breeders or owners use sales to market horses or not does not matter. Just like with cattle, the sales set the market. When the killer market was active, a 1000# horse would be set in for $600.00 to $700.00. This meant that all of the horses that were rideable, sound, and ‘martketable’ brought more than that price. Now, a 1000# horse that is rideable or not, will be set in at $100.00 or maybe only $25.00. This drastic drop in value is the cause of the collapse of the horse market and the lower level of feed and care that thousands of horse are now getting.
The unintended consequences of this drop in value are many. The young horses that always sold to ‘project buyers’ for $500 or $600 are now selling for $40 or $50 to the killer buyers. The project buyers have disappeared because they are afraid if they buy one that does not work out, it has no ‘salvage’ or re-sale value. This is also keeping many people from buying horses for their kids for 4-H and trail riding. They, too, are afraid that if the horse does not work out, they will not be able to re-sell it.
If people would put as much effort into over-seeing the transport and slaughter process to insure it is humane from the sale barns to the feedlot to the slaughter plant, there would be fewer, not more neglected, abandoned, and starved horses.
As for selling them for human consumption - well, dead is dead. Why on earth would it be more noble to poison and waste the meat than to use it and have it help reduce the trade imbalance. Only a moron can say a dead horse that is poisoned and thrown away is better than one transported and killed humanely under close supervision.
Like I said earlier, I was all for stopping slaughter when this issue first came out. I was warned of the drop in prices that would come with it, but I had to see this happen for myself to make a believer out of me. I just can’t see where anything done has or will help the poor horses caught in the middle.
Not only that, I have been told that any laws that prevent Mexican buyers from buying and taking horses for any purpose cannot be stopped because of NAFTA. This federal law will insure that more not fewer horses, will go across the Mexican and Canadian borders. At the very least it will be in the federal court system for many years.
So, there is a lot more to this story than, “let’s pass a law and save all of the pretty horses.”

And then Vicki cames along to help set him straight……Never mind this was the same cost prohibitive B.S. used to tell us in the beginning horses wouldn’t be shipped out of country…..Although just recently they have admitted that didn’t work out…….can’t really decide why……. mistake in the Ensign/Bird act or they knew it all along but it was okay because it happened before the U.S. plants were shut down…….

Comment by Vicki t.
No, John. You don’t get it. The bill does not ban the movement, selling or buying of horses to Mexico, Canada, and Japan. It bans the transport of horses going to SLAUGHTER. ‘Going to slaughter is specifically called out. Now, I’m sure you’re going to say that they will say they are being transported to be sold. If they do that, there is a hefty Mexican import tax that must be paid, they will need a Coggins and a health certificate. None of this is required for slaughter bound horses. The import tax and paperwork will make the cost prohibitive.

This is a comment section on HR503. It involves my favorite anti-slaughter poster……
Coeurderfer so eloquently joined in with these comments. I would like to remind people this is the “civilized and educated” side of this debate………

NO...PeTA is not the topic here and I know what you are doing. You are illogical, disjointed and ignorant or just simply one hard headed, me-me-me, I know better than you government separatist loon. First it was "we don't own horses, aren't involved in AG and vegans"...now it's that we "don't support HCHS and eat meat"....you sir/ma'am are a sick bunch of crap with your noxious, HCHS at all cost, no testing, poor inspection and no address of the cause of slaughter in the first place. Let me guess...you raise cattle? Then clean up YOUR meat industry with full, thorough cooperation via FDA/USDA before you start throwing equines into the mix. BTW...get your cattle/sheep rear off of public lands!....you lease????? You're a welfare baby. You get ANY subsidies? You're a welfare baby.

And more “facts” from the elite Coeurderfer side…….

Oh....and NO! PeTA, HSUS and ASPCA ARE NOT PAYING MILLIONS TO GET THESE BILLS PASSED. But I can tell you who is spending hundreds of thousands and millions to block them...NCBA, Farm Bureau, AQHA, other breed registries, auction associations, transporters and heavy AG states that use that crap called NCSL. You guys NEVER support anything that could, would or should be good for the animals or consumer. YOU and your ilk BLOCK EVERYTHING!!!! What's wrong with NAIS??? You know what? Even USDA, FDA want producers to do it. What's wrong with you? I know. MONEY AND EXACTITUDE WITH A TON OF ACCOUNTABILTY. This ain't Tombstone any more cowboy. And it is no longer 1882. Hey, too bad about your conceal carry at the Fed level, heh?

This is my personal favorite from the “solutions” list…..the anonymous poster seems to think we have land running out our ears in the west.…….The original article was written about how the debate has raged on for years and no one is actually solving anything…..true enough…..I could have copied more comments we have read them all before……this person has a rather unique take… ….he and Madeleine are on the same page though….as least she wants to buy the land from the ranchers….he just wants the ranchers to anti-up and “absorb” 100,000 horses or so….that will tide us over for about a year…..

Great comments from the readers of this article. It does sicken me to know that the horses have to go through a brutal slaughter. Horse meat, no thanks. A reader brought up a good point in that yes, we have many unwanted cats and dogs and not every one can be saved. How about as an idea, that many of these unwanted horses are shipped to the a remote state with lots of land such as Montana, North Dakota, Idaho where horses can live off the land and grass. People could come and visit and leave food for these great creatures that have given so much for society. A state like Montana could probably absorb in their ranches over 100,000. Just an idea. A fact that I heard is that through the Barbaro tragedy, over 27,000 unwanted horses were saved. The horse rescue people do such great work.

We here at the ranch were recently scolded for wasting so much time on pro-slaughter rhetoric when we should be working on solutions. I didn’t set out to spend this much time on this subject. It keeps coming back to haunt us. I was trying to research the EU regulations when I ran across all these comments. The same people show up every time the subject comes up. It seems to be the only subject they have any interest in anywhere. I don’t see them commenting on anything else….We try to discuss the economic impact to ranch communities involved with Madeleine’s mustang plan…….nada………we try to discuss balance, conformation, and the impact breeding for the show ring is having on the future soundness and longevity of our horses……..silence……..or the impact the reintroduction of the wolf has had on ranchers…….who cares………a little snark about horsemen buying prospects at auction being around for years “saving” horses……….lukewarm …..Rodeo……unless we are scolding a Chicago duo for exploiting for dollars…..no comment….even a snotty comment about forerunners in the anti-slaughter movement lacking the horsemanship skills and knowledge to produce marketable horses went virtually unnoticed.
I am tired of the “what have YOU done approach” from these habitual commentators……….
What have YOU done which has actually helped the horses and the industry? I don’t count work to close the plants… work toward shutting anything or anyone down…. lobbying this or that bill….. pointing a blaming finger at one association or another……work to solicit more donations…….But actually helping the horse and the horse industry move forward toward more value, less population, better quality horsemanship, or BETTER regulations for anything?????
Any of you approaching your breed associations to change futurity rules? Any of you working toward breeding more all around horses? Any of you campaigning for anything actually improving the training, marketing, and overall quality of the horse population?
Anyone doing anything other than trying to stop something?

written by RH1

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Comprehension and Comments

From the number of comments we've been receiving, Particularly in one Monday opinion piece “here’s what I think” there are those visiting here who either A) can't comprehend what they are reading, B) Don't bother to read because they just want to have their say and don't care about anyone else's opinions C) Read the Articles and agree or disagree, so comment on what is written (YAY!!!!) or D) Just want to post something that they hope is going to get a rise out of someone. I like C the best, but was aware when we started this we'd more than likely get more of A, B, and D.When you're dealing with an issue as volatile as Slaughter, you know you're going to get all kinds of people involved, and your hope is that at least a few are going to be reasonable, and able to have a civil discussion. So far, that has not seemed to have happened with us, and I'm sorry to see that. I know some Anti Slaughter people who are dedicated, opinionated, and would not give some of those who have posted on here the time of day because, frankly, they feel they are a detriment to their cause. I can't say I've ever met anyone on the Pro side I feel that way about.I'm not sure what it is that causes some of those who are involved in the Anti side of this issue to act the way they do. A perfect picture of some of the behavior can be seen on a recent post by one of the Blog owners. The Blog was an opinion piece that while discussing Slaughter, was also of an overview of the market in general, breeding practices due to the economy, the value of the horse, it's place as livestock versus pet, what effect legislation may have on our future, and the importance of training. In short, it was a well written piece that touched on many points that all horse owners should be concerning themselves with. This article was written on August 11th, and to date comments are still being posted.What is unfortunate is that there are not too many that have even addressed what the Article had to say. Very early on, the subject of the upcoming EU regulations was brought up, and the comment section took on a life of it's own after that. I do think the regulations are important, and worth discussing, but it was obvious that those posting were in such a hurry to point out to us (who they feel are way behind and do not know about this) that our dreams of horse killing are about to fall down around us, that they failed to read or comprehend the information in the Article. And that's a shame. We missed a chance to have some good conversations on some really good, pertinent topics. The conversations soon deteriorated into the same finger pointing, and the same accusations. We were even lucky enough to have a visit from John Holland himself! Unfortunately, he didn't seem to read the Article either. Any opinion posted by the Pro side was dismissed as lies, or spin. And those from group D did not disappoint....they never do! The Anonymous posters, while always entertaining, seem to take away from what we are trying to accomplish. When a person posing as a Veterinarian tells one of the Blog owners to "STFU", how much validity can that person possibly expect their opinion to have? Sure, it's kind of funny, in a 5th grade kind of way, but in my opinion, this is a serious issue, and we're here to try to sort things out, and try to come to a common ground. And just because you SAY you're a Vet, or a CPA, or whomever, posting behind an Anonymous ID doesn't hold much credibility. Really, I could post as President Obama under an Anonymous ID, but it doesn't make it true. We're just starting out, and as John Holland pointed out, our Blog site is not quite up to date in some areas. I'm sure we'll get there. Personally, I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we're less concerned about all of the bells and whistles than we are about trying to get the word out to others about our views issues that pertain to the Pro horse side. We don't have any problem with saying we're a work in progress and always ready to learn. We can admit we don't have all of the answers, and are always looking for more information. We'd love to have some open minded, civil discussions. We understand that probably won't happen, but we're going to keep trying.For those who decided to pick up and go home after the August 11 comment wars, I can't say I'm sorry to see all of you go, but I do know you miss out when you refuse to open your minds to the opinions and thoughts of others. We will remain at a stalemate until we can at least talk. There are some really good ideas and thoughts being posted on here. If you close your minds to them simply because you feel they are coming from the "wrong side" the horses, as always, lose in the end.
See you Back At The Ranch.
Written by RH2