“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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Opinion Monday moved to Tuesday this week

Rescue Programs Representation....

This is a link to a video recently posted on youtube. And apparently the cause of a bit of trouble on a message board this past week.The trouble began when a poster questioned the condition of the horses in the video.They are all well fed and in good flesh, on that I think we can all agree. If they were lounging around at home, I don't think anyone would have a problem with how they look.The problem arose because these three horses are owned by a Rescue. And they were at Fair. The poster who got in trouble was reprimanded, by the Moderator of the Forum, no less, because they commented that the Mare needed grooming, the Miniature Horse still has part of his Winter coat, and "little Wilbur" is wearing a halter that is too big for him. All of these to me, are valid points, especially the halter issue. I keep looking at those big, floppy ears, and those long, spindly legs, and thinking that one attempt at an ear scratching could spell disaster for the little guy.The Moderator obviously privately e-mailed the poster, telling them to stop posting about the horses, because the poster addressed it on the forum. The Moderator's comment was something to the effect that the poster had made two almost identical posts on the subject. I've been a member of, and a visitor on a lot of Forums, and have never heard that there is a limit to the number of posts one can make on a subject, or that there is a particular way you need to word your posts. I can't help but wonder what caused the Moderator to feel they needed to step in and stop what seemed to me to be a fairly civil exchange of words?I've seen far more heated discussions on many forums, in fact, I've seen FAR more heated discussions on the forum where this took place. So I can't help but wonder, what is the reason for the attempt to stop what seemed to be a passing comment that appeared to be a valid one?Rescue programs are under scrutiny right now. If you choose to represent yours to the public, wouldn't you want your horses to be well groomed, with halters that fit? And if you are going to shoot a video and post it on the Internet, why wouldn't you go in and brush all of them off before filming? These were the questions that were asked that got the poster in trouble.You can take a look at the Video yourself, and ask yourself the question....What is your first impression when you see these horses, knowing they are from a rescue and at a Fair representing that Rescue facility?
written by R.H.2

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Maybe the Rescue Community Should Review the Laws of the States in Which They Operate

Or Good Intentions Don’t Always Give You a Get Out of Jail Free Card.

I ran across this article in the archives of the Sierra Vista Herald while researching something else. I decided since I was kind of behind on what I was actually trying to do I would throw this out for comment.
The article was originally printed in Dec. of 2007. I think it coincides with the “only we have the horses best interest in mind” attitude prevalent in the anti-slaughter/rescue community. Here is the link to the original article along with the reader comments. http://www.svherald.com/articles/2007/12/23/news/doc476df77bc2815810704201.txt Many readers, although they had no idea what type of person this ranch manager was, jumped to make the whole incident his fault. I thought this was a rather interesting position to take from the information given in the article. What do you think?
WHETSTONE — When stray horses are found and there are questions about ownership, there are specific steps that must be followed while attempting to locate an owner.First and foremost, call the Arizona Department of Agriculture Animal Services Division at (800) 294-0305 and report the stray horse.Failure to do so is illegal.In a Dec. 14 arbitration hearing between local rancher Les Shannon and Whetstone resident Ken Wendt, arbitrator Charles Newmark found in favor of Shannon for that reason.
A misunderstanding about who was contacted when a good Samaritan found a horse belonging to Shannon, who is the manager of Sands Ranch, will cost local rescue group Care for the Horses and Wendt the money that was invested in the horse while in their possession.In July 2006, Whetstone resident Terri Moreno found a stray horse and, concerned for its welfare, caught and cared for the animal while attempting to locate an owner. After several months, Moreno contacted Care for the Horses, wishing to turn the horse over to the rescue organization.“We knew that Terri had called different authorities in an attempt to find an owner, so we assumed the state livestock board had been notified,” said Ann Jost, president of Care for the Horses. That assumption is where the organization made its misstep. Believing everything possible had been done to find an owner, Wendt, who is one of the Care for the Horses members, offered to foster the horse. “Ken took over the horse’s care on Feb. 10 (2007) and actually adopted him on March 21,” Jost said.Last July, equine veterinarian Lucinda Earven and her husband, Wayne, were at Wendt’s property to perform dental work on the horse. After learning the animal’s history from Wendt, the Earvens questioned some of the things they were being told. For one thing, Wendt believed the horse had possibly been ridden across the border from Mexico and then released. “That just didn’t add up,” said Wayne Earven, who is a former livestock inspector. “This was a well-bred, well-trained little horse, nothing like the Mexican horses that come across the border.” As the conversation went on, Wayne Earven questioned where exactly the horse had been found.“A lady who lived on property close to Sands Ranch found the horse, so I asked Ken if anyone had bothered to contact Les Shannon to see if he was missing a horse,” Wayne Earven recalled. When Wendt replied he had not, Wayne Earven offered to make the phone call. But Wendt said he would do it. Within an hour, Shannon was at Wendt’s property to claim his horse.An arbitration hearing was scheduled when Care for the Horses sent Shannon a letter requesting “reimbursement for costs we incurred while providing a service for the horse that was done in good faith.” Shannon refused to pay the $1,011 that the organization was requesting, so Wendt wanted the issue settled in an arbitration hearing.“I was without a valuable ranch horse for a full year because they failed to contact the state livestock board when my horse was found,” Shannon told Newmark during the hearing. “As soon as the horse went missing out of our horse pasture, I searched for him for three days. When I was sure he was gone, I notified the state livestock board. I contacted Jim Self out of Willcox and filed a report.” Shannon argued that had Care for the Horses taken the proper steps and contacted state officials, his report would have matched up with the one they filed. His horse would have been returned immediately, before any of the parties incurred costs for keeping the horse.“What they did was illegal,” Shannon flatly stated. “In this country, people used to hang for keeping horses illegally.” Armed with three witnesses to testify on his behalf, Shannon had state livestock officer Brad Cowan and both Wayne and Lucinda Earven at the hearing.While Cowan was careful to say he didn’t believe the organization acted intentionally to deprive Shannon of his property, he did reiterate that state law describes exactly how livestock will be dealt with. “Care for the Horses should have called me,” Cowan said. “I have revisited this issue with Care for the Horses and they know what they need to do. If there are questions about ownership on one side, then they need to contact us. We’ve had to take horses away from Care for the Horses for similar situations in the past.” Cowan said there was “no intent” on Wendt’s part in keeping the horse.“I think he’s a victim of circumstance,” the livestock officer said.In his statement to the arbitrator, Wendt said, “Care for the Horses is not on trial here today. The lady who found the horse advertised that she found him, so we thought every effort had been made to locate the owner.” He then added, “When you feed and shoe someone’s horse for six months, a thank you would have been appropriate, but that still hasn’t come.”At the conclusion of the arbitration, Newmark said he wanted more time to consider the decision.He said, however, that money is not awarded when something is done illegally. “From the witness statements, he (Wendt) did the wrong thing,” Newmark said. “Can he collect money for doing the wrong thing? I don’t think so.”On Thursday, Shannon received Newmark’s decision in the mail. It stated: “The arbitrator has considered the evidence presented by both parties. The plaintiff’s evidence is insufficient to support the claim. The legal process for holding and finding a stray horse was not followed. Plaintiff’s claim is illegal.”Ed Hermes, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Agriculture, said Care for the Horses got a “stern warning” from livestock officer Brad Cowan. “I think this whole thing was a misunderstanding on their part,” he said.

posted by RH1