“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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Legally it's a Sanctuary, Sadly it's no refuge....

A short while ago RH1 wrote a couple of pieces about mustang sanctuaries and feral horse breeders.
Reading about Karen Sussman and her so called Wild Mustang Sanctuary really bothered me! I am always bothered when people are scammed and animals suffer.
It obviously hit home for other readers as well. While there were very few comments on the actual blog I did get some emails backing up what RH1 had written for us and adding their own personal experiences as well. I asked permission to post parts of these emails for you all to read. I have checked credentials on the senders and yes I do know their full names and actually looked up addresses on a people finder site just to be sure they were actually pretty local to the area. No, I will not be sharing the names of these people. Sorry, but these folks need to be protected from some of the more crazy fanatics who support the existence of feral horses and the people who breed them. You are just going to have to trust me that the information has been checked and these people have seen Sussman’s place in person.

This is in regard to the blog about the “wild” horse sanctuary at Lantry, SD. Having been past this hell-hole for horses, I wouldn't wish that life on the sorriest, nastiest horse I've ever owned. Just this past week I witnessed what appeared to be a yearling stumbling along, too weak to walk normally, trying to get to a dam for a drink. Certainly no sanctuary for that one. The place is a total scam to bilk money out of the ignorant to support Sussman's “cause” There are horses whose feet are so terrible that they can no longer stand or walk. Not a sanctuary for them either.

Scenario: a stallion (uncut gelding) was DOWN because his feet were so long he could no longer stand......

She has been heard saying it was just so difficult to handle these stallions that the circumstances hadn't been such that she could have any trimming done.

Okay, if she can't handle them at all (no facilities, period, nor is she even a pimple on a horseman's hiney) and she is too ignorant and unwilling to have them to where they can be worked with, she has no right to be in charge of their destiny. Am I wrong?

The last Monday in Sept. as I went by this paradise for the inbred, the ground was as bare as an arena, the trees were pruned as high as they can reach, and these "wild" horses (over 400+ head of them in two big lots) were standing around the gate like a bunch of gentle cows waiting for the tractor to bring out the round bales.
She's doing a study all right. In how to scam the unwary and the ignorant out of bookoo bucks to support her and her feral horses. It's a tragedy no matter how you look at it.
Sorry for rambling on like this, but something about this situation really ruffles my feathers.

As to that place at Lantry, it's on the Reservation, so don't know if the laws apply there as they might other places. Not aware of any laws, county-wise in west river S.D. that would apply either. An investigation would definitely be in order though. It definitely has the smell of another 3 Strikes disaster.
I went to Karen Sussman’s web site - ISPMB.org (international society for the protection of mustangs and burros) to have a look around. After reading others research and first hand accounts of this so called Sanctuary I was even more annoyed with this horse hoarding woman than ever!
She has listed “10 ways to help” among her other silliness and I just had to share my thoughts on her advice...... My comments are in red.

“10 ways to help” ( From ISPMB website by Karen Sussman)

1) Support animal-friendly legislation
-The ISPMB maintains a regular list of important animal-related legislation on our website at: www.ispmb.org/voteforanimals . Our website is a tool that allows you to express your support for animal friendly legislation to the key decision-makers, as well as pass the word along to friends, family and co-workers
Hmmm The website listed was not to helpful , I went to it and it says “coming soon” http://www.ispmb.org/index.phpoption=com_content&id=82 .
So much for viewing “important animal legislation” on their website.
2) Discourage the breeding of animals, which results in abuse, abandonment and misery to millions
-Each year over 100,000 horses in the US are brutally shipped across borders to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered for their meat. Both the transport and the slaughter methods are horribly inhumane.
-Mass breeding of horses for racing, showing and other commercial purposes is the leading cause of this overpopulation, which leads to so much suffering.
-The problem is not limited to horses. Dogs, cats and many other companion animals are killed in mass numbers because of overpopulation.
-Please consider adopting your next friend from a trusted rescue facility.
“Discourage the breeding of animals, which results in abuse, abandonment and misery to millions”
Karen, you give that advice while allowing your feral horses to continue reproducing. You don’t see the hypocrisy here? Perhaps your hoard...oops I mean herd is not considered abandoned since they are held captive on your property. However, isn’t the lack of care and upkeep and the over population a form of abandonment and definitely an abuse to these poor animals?!
(3) Do not support the exploitation of animals for entertainment.
-Circuses, zoos, race-tracks…these are just examples of establishments that cruelly exploit animals for human entertainment. You may not think about it when watching elephants perform in a circus ring, but the stories of cruelties committed against these and other “entertainment” animals to ensure docile behaviour is well documented.
I agree don’t support the hypocrisy, abuse, and hoarding behaviors of this “sanctuary” either!
If you go to this link
on the same website as this list of “10 ways to help” you can see Karen’s price list for tourists to come view her feral, inbred, over crowded herd for entertainments sake.
Actually I don’t suppose that ends up being very entertaining but it’s the thought that counts right?
(4) Take a humane approach to your diet (your health will benefit too!)
-Factory farming, contaminated meats and other dangerous and harmful circumstances have become part of our mainstream diet. Choose the foods you put into your body carefully. As a general rule, the more humane the treatment of any animals we may choose to consume, the safer it is to eat. Locally raised meats are best as the chances of horrific experiences during transport are minimized. Also look for labels specifying that the company is dedicated to humane treatment of its animals and refrains from using antibiotics on its livestock.
-Of course, eating a vegetarian or vegan diet is an option for many people. Even sticking with “mostly” a vegetarian or vegan diet can help ensure that you are not inflicting undue harm on animals in your daily life
Can we say PETA.?....
But seriously, I dislike factory farming a great deal! Karen do you not understand that it is sanctuaries like yours that have helped to create the factory / confinement farms? Don’t even get me stared on the host of problems it would cause if even half of the US became Vegans......... You seriously need a more balanced education Ms. Sussman ! For every action there is a reaction. Until you learn some real facts then you are doing far more harm than good to those horses and the people you give your hypocritical advice to!
(5) Respect the wildlife around you.
-Depending upon where you live, you may encounter a variety of wildlife, from spiders to snakes to coyotes to mountain lions. Remember that these animals have a place on the land just as we do. They too are struggling to survive in a heavily commercialized world.
Respect the wild life around you? In what way is crowding out the wild life by decimating over 600 acres of land with the over production of these horses protecting the wild life around you Ms. Sussman? Are you not calling your feral horses wild mustangs? In what way are you respecting them as “wildlife”? Hand feeding just enough hay to barely keep them alive? Putting them in an area too small to roam to keep their own feet worn properly, neglecting foot care to the point they are down and suffering??? WTH kind of respect is that?!
(6) Take an earth-friendly approach to living.
-There are many ways to live more gently on the earth. Hybrid cars can greatly improve fuel efficiency (though mileage may vary – always do your research). Many cities have great public transportation systems – get to know yours, or better yet, bicycle or walk to your destination if possible.
-Re-using and recycling diligently are also very beneficial. If there is anyone working in your home on a regular basis, make sure they are aware of your recycling policies. Your impact does not have to be limited to your home. For example, if you work in an office that does not supply recycle bins to each employee, consider contacting your human resources department and requesting that a recycling program be put into place immediately
Another earth friendly approach would be to get an education on what an acre of land can support and stop over crowding it until it is baron and can’t support anything at all!
7) Be a thoughtful traveler.
-Don’t let your vacation contribute to the cruelty, neglect and other forms of abuse suffered by many animals at the hands of tourism. It is easy to be tempted by an elephant ride through the streets of Jerusalem or the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, but these and other animal-driven activities are sadly wrought with suffering. They often involve wild animals that have no place in captivity or surrounded by cars, buses and throngs of humans. The training of these animals is often aggressive and abusive in order to ensure no animal-like behavior around the tourists.
-On the flip side, an animal sanctuary can be a wonderful destination for families, couples looking for a memorable, romantic time, or even an individual seeking quiet time.
I agree again. So, Folks, DO NOT visit Ms Sussman’s so called wild horse sanctuary and pay these ridiculous fee’s to take a tour! DO NOT donate to this women or her organization so she can continue her neglect, abuse and breeding of these poor animals!
(8) Use the power of your dollar.
-Your dollar speaks loudly. Make it a policy to never use it in support of events, products or industries that exact horrors on animals. Typically, this will include any circus, any zoo or other place that holds wild animals in captivity and any products that make use of animal skins, furs, horns or other parts.
Well, see there, Karen herself has just told you NOT to send her money or take her tours.
9) Report any suspected cruelty to animals.
-Animal cruelty is illegal in this country. If you suspect that cruelty is being inflicted on one or more animals, you can report it immediately to your local shelter or law enforcement agency. If you don’t feel you are being heard, keep calling.
-Signs that an animal is being abused or neglected range from an emaciated, frail appearance, to confinement to a small or in climate area (such as frequent tethering to a tree in any kind of weather), to visible wounds on the body. Abused animals often shy away from their owners as well.
-Remember that when in doubt, call the authorities. If you are wrong and nothing bad is happening, you will not lose anything.
Thanks for the advice. I hope that those who have been suckered into your ridiculous tours will call the authorities on you. It took a while but the Three Strikes Ranch was finally shut down and I hope that you will be as well. OH wait.... you were clever and sneaky enough to put your “sanctuary” on a Native American reservation where the regular US laws can’t really touch you. ....
10) Spread the word
I’m trying! Though I prefer the truth over your pandering propaganda any day and THAT will be the word I try to spread.
…thank you for your interest in creating a more humane word for our animals!!
Warm Regards,
Karen Sussman
President, ISPMB
There’s more....
I ran across this web site as well. Karen has help in her pandering.

From _________
Dear friends of the animals,
The drought has struck South Dakota and the ISPMB horses are
struggling with a lack of water and are almost out of hay. With bales
selling for $60 a bale (!!!), we need a miracle...we can't let these
horses and those who have sacrificed so much for them down. Already
Karen Sussman has limited each horse to one bale of hay per month! No
one saw this drought coming.......................
Yet another web site pandering for money for Sussman. One Bale a MONTH! Does that say sanctuary to any of you?
If you go to the “Achievements” page on the ISPMB site I’m sure you could come up with several snide comments of your own.
One of my Favorites....

February 2007 – Saved 11 West Douglas Creek Stallions from castration by the BLM and brought them to our facility to be eventually reunited with the West Douglas Mares. ........................
Not that I think the BLM is doing such a great job either. I also don’t believe that all these horses are actually “wild mustangs” and really, if they were they still would not be native to this country. People who allow the breeding of captive “mustangs” are creating more problems for the horses, the BLM, the citizens of this country, and countless other species of wild life, than you are helping in anyway. Please refer to statement number two above??????
Stay tuned for a copy of an excellent article I found about the mustangs and the BLM....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If I say "Yes", Is It Abandonment?

Here's a good one for you....
Recently, a Rescue posted about a Thoroughbred left in her driveway! That's right- just left there! She comes home from running errands, and finds an extremely underweight, neglected mare just standing there.
Her claim was that the mare's trainer who could no longer feed her, abandoned her. The mare is not much more than skin and bones, needs hoof care, and has some medical issues.
The Rescue owner herself is full to capacity, and financially unable to cover the mare's costs.
Forum members are understandably upset about the mare's condition, and offers of help begin to trickle in. So do questions and concerns. Some feel, and rightly so, that animal controle should be called immediately.
And there's good news. The Rescue owner reports that upon seeing the mare, the Veterinarian knows her!
So, common sense would dictate that a report should be made, and that the person who allowed this mare to get in this deplorable condition should be held accountable. That's where we do the most good, isn't it? Making it clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated, so that rescues who are already full do not have to deal with these horses?
Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you? Not so fast. The owner of the rescue doesn't seem to be as determined as those making suggestions to get this done. In fact, she seems to be dodging some questions, giving some vague answers, and giving some answers that don't make a lot of sense at all. As a matter of fact, she seems a little resistant.

Fast forward through a lot of confusion and double talk and guess what? Turns out the mare wasn't actually abandoned. The Rescue owner agreed to take her! When she posted on the Forum about her, she didn't intend to mislead anyone. She just wasn't really sure what constitutes abandonment.
So, for any other Rescues who get a call about a horse that someone can't care for- if you agree to take the horse, the horse has been donated to you not abandoned. Wouldn't you think that's a pretty simple concept?

And aren't you wondering now what other stories this Rescue has generated in order to get donations? Just askin'......

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What am I doing? You ask....

It seems as if every time something is written that some don't like, or something that gets under the skin of others, we get around to this question. Sometimes, I confess, I feel a little guilty that I may not be doing enough. But for the most part, I don't feel bad at all. I'm from the "old school" of Pro Horse people. I don't know how popular we are-though I can guess:), but I'm one of the ones who actually own horses. That alone takes up a lot of my time.I get up in the morning, and have a list of chores to do. The horses need fed, and groomed. The stalls need cleaned. There are usually some type of horse related errands to be run, or vet or farrier visits to be taken care of. Then there's hay to put up. And I've been known to ride. It's a well kept secret in the Modern Day Equine World that a horse can, indeed be ridden, and does, in many cases, enjoy it. I do "give back" to the equine Community, though. Currently, I'm working with a "newbie" to the horse world, and her horse. He's a good boy, but a bit stubborn. She's going to be a good horse owner, but has a few things to learn about horsemanship.(Yes, I'm teaching her to RIDE!) It's a lot of fun working with them. I also take care of 2 horses for an elderly couple. That's just a freebie. They don't get around too well, so I feed, muck, groom, and make sure they have all the supplies they need so they can keep their horses at home. I know it doesn't sound as honorable as giving to all of those emergencies that arise on an almost daily basis, but the couple that has been able to keep the horses is sure happy, and I don't mind. And yes, I do support Rescues, but only a couple that I know are good ones with a proven track record. I do what I can, whenever I can. By the time I get done with all of this, my day is pretty well spent. I don't have a lot of time to visit other places, donate to the Emergency of the Day, or volunteer, or make phone calls to ask other Rescues questions. I don't even usually keep my family up to date on what I'm doing! In fact, I'm often amazed at those who have the time to spend what appear to be large amounts of time online chatting about every little occurrence in their daily lives. The choice to write for this Blog was a tough one, but I believe in the message. I'm grateful to those who can point me in the direction of a good story, or link. I'm on here more than I ever dreamed I'd be anyhow, keeping up with legislation and issues that affect me as a horse owner. I don't really buy into the "We Are the World" theory of "Equine Stewardship". I think things were a lot better for the horses when those who owned them were expected to be responsible for them. I don't knock those who DO have the time to put into volunteer work, mass e-mail for the cause, or who can spend hours on end on line posting about the good things they do. Many of them aren't horse owners, and have a lot of free time to devote to those things. I do not. A lot of us do a lot of good things. Not all of us have time to get on line and discuss it, though.So, next time you ask what I'm doing-if I don't answer right away, don't assume I'm not involved. I may just be out doing it instead of telling you about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Thinking “Out Loud”……

I haven’t weighed in on the Monday opinion page for awhile. Reading comments on the Straight Talk With A Killer Buyer, the responses to a request for an auction report, and talking with some acquaintances of mine about the way things are, started me thinking.
I was talking with an acquaintance a couple nights ago about a private auction we were both familiar with. Someone he knew had taken some decent young horses to the sale and although he “topped the sale” he brought them all home. I seem to have failed in the past to make my point about responsible marketing and how it plays into responsible ownership. I feel this consignor is an example of the point I am trying to make. Although his young horses sold for well over scale price he was not willing to accept the price. He very simply and quietly chose to accept his responsibility, exercise his right to refuse the final bid, pay the fees, and take his horses home. The ultimate drawback to responsible ownership but sometimes you just have to anti-up and make your stand.
How can any of us pro-horse, anti-horse, pro-slaughter, no kill animal shelter, whatever your camp or preference, begin to salvage this train wreck if we don’t take a stand against the prices offered? No, it won’t be pleasant and it won’t get us out but sometimes the principle outweighs the cost. The whole help me help the horses mentality rescue/hoarding climate is at total odds with pride of ownership, producing something to be proud of, and being fairly paid for it.
I have spent more time than I should writing, researching, and trying to put to words the way I feel about the horse/livestock industry, the people involved, and the stock they care for. I feel I am still at a loss about how to convey to those who will never truly understand what it feels like to pay the bills with the quality, training, and marketability of your livestock or the feeling we have for our animals. This lady summed it up very well in her comment to the Jockey Club written on the American Horse League website.

In My Opinion
It began in the days of Carry Back, my infatuation with horse racing, maturing into a lifelong love as Secretariat and Seattle Slew left their indelible hoofprints on Belmont’s homestretch. Years, occupied by grooming, mucking stalls, late nights foaling, pedigrees memorized, and every last dime spent, all marked by the first Saturday in May. But now this love is challenged with the realization our industry leaders are sleeping with the enemy. They’ve been swooned by notions of endless green pastures for the lifetime of my friend Flicka and the promise of one little girl for every horse. Rising to the battle cries of “rescue”, “retire” and “adopt”, racing had aligned itself with a movement named animal rights. Disguised as animal welfare, it has all the trappings of everything good for the horse, while jeopardizing racing’s very existence. It is a movement that manipulates the truth to line its bed with the millions donated by an innocent public held hostage by emotions and good intentions. It is a movement that would see horse racing, and for that mattter, all horse sports, extinct. When will the racing world stand up for itself and protect those of us who have invested a lifetime of service to its well-being? When will our association question the unintended consequences of giving its support to animal rights groups that have no financial responsibility to our sport’s participants or our horses’ well being? This steadfast partner to the “Sport of Kings” is willing to forgive our industry, but this alignment with animal rights must be terminated. End this affair now! And, an apology would be nice
Her partner, sums it up very well in this commentary in the Thoroughbred Times.
Dear Thoroughbred Times,
I fully support the ideas on horse "recycling" put forth by William Backer in his commentary, "A pain-free, stress-free death".
The push by animal rights groups to close the horse slaughter plants in this country has removed the bottom from the horse market. This fact has effectively shortened the lives of thousands of horses. It just isn't cost effective or practical to feed and train a horse one cannot sell.
Evidenced recently at Keeneland's "marathon" sale, buyers have lost confidence in an industry marching in step with animal rights ideology. Keeneland officials court foreign buyers, including those willing to bid on less commercial pedigrees. Nearly every horse exported from the United States will eventually find its way to the knacker's yard. Other countries know they don't have the land or money to retire every horse. If we "recycle" horses here, we can at least make sure it's done humanely. We have lots of people in racing patting themselves on the back because they "rescued" geldings that made half a million dollars. But, whose looking out for the grade weanling that fetched $3.00 at the local auction? His situation can and will worsen if H.R. 503 and SB 727 pass.
I started to leave the names of these good knowledgeable horse people in my writing because I am proud to be associated with them. I decided against it. I think the story in the Straight Talk blog should explain why…Here is how one of those $3.00 yearlings spent the winter…… I am going to borrow the Bob Smith alias from the Straight Talk blog…….this took place in the ranch country of the west…..not too far from Karen Sussman and Dayton Hyde……
Bob Smith, was called to a neighbor’s place to look at a horse that was thought to be suffering from colic. Upon arrival at the property, he saw several thin horses in the pen and one yearling lying on the ground. “All he was, was hair and bones. I thought he was dead.” Bob remembers. “I told the guy that he didn’t have colic, that he had starved to death. Then I saw he was alive. I couldn’t believe it. That colt opened up his eye and looked at me and he had the biggest, kindest eye.”
Bob went home but was too mad to relax. He called his neighbor and they went over with his trailer. When they went to pick him up he was froze down. “He didn’t weigh anything when we loaded him in the trailer.” Bob pauses, thinking of that day. “When we got him home, I got some warm water and started dribbling it in his mouth. He started working his mouth and his cheeks were full of frozen horse manure.” Anger still tinges his voice when he thinks of the colt’s desperate effort to survive.
“When I saw that, I knew I couldn’t give up on him. He was still trying to live. We were giving him warm water every hour. We couldn’t feed him more than a handful at a time because we knew his guts were all dried up and we had to make sure it was all working right.” Bob continues, “We got him warm and kept watering him but we thought he might die anyway. He was in terrible shape.”
It was eleven long days and nights of round the clock care before the colt was able to get up and stay on his feet. Warm water and small amounts of feed got his system working and he slowly started gaining strength. “We call him Lazarus ‘cause he rose from the dead,”
I would like to give credit to a friend of mine for the original version of this story….Again in the interest of privacy……Ironic, isn’t it? When discussing this issue we have to protect ourselves from the good and righteous? Ironic, the pro-slaughter/anti-horse “rhetoric” in the first two clips were written by the same Bob Smiths saving the colt in the third clip……Not really so ironic, if one were to do a little drifting around with real horsemen/stockmen.