“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, January 14, 2010

Tracking the Trends....

I love spotting a trend, and watching how it unfolds, so this is one I'd like to re-visit, as some have finally caught up with me. Let's back up a bit for a short history lesson, first. In the "old days", people used to attend horse sales or auctions. You could bid on the horse of your choice, and bring that horse home. Most of the time, you got a good one. Sometimes, the horse didn't work out, or needed a little tuning up. If you were a knowledgeable horse person, you did the work, and either kept the horse, sold it privately, or took it to another sale or auction, often making a profit for your work. Sounds like a fairly decent deal for people and horses, right? Well, at some point, someone decided that EVERY SINGLE HORSE that went through a sale was destined to go on the trucks and straight to the Slaughter plants. People were discouraged from attending sales. If you DID attend a sale, you were really looked down upon. You were supporting irresponsible owners who just didn't care what happened to their horses. Those who went began to change their language. One no longer bought a horse , they "rescued" or "saved" one. The evil Killer Buyer was described as the lowest of the low, and not even worth the time of day. His use of trickery to get horses away from the unsuspecting innocent has long been the fodder of many a story meant to shore up the Anti movement, and death has been literally been wished upon him by some. He is the enemy, and those attending sales must work against him, with his pockets overflowing with money to outbid anyone in the stands. Truly a bleak picture for anyone daring to enter the arena of horse auctions and sales. Fearing the judgment of those who truly love the horses, and competition from the bloodthirsty Kill buyers, attendance at the sales began to drop off. Unfortunately, the number of horses arriving at sales and auctions did not. In fact, due to the economy, they appeared to increase. What to do? Well, here's the trend I talked about, and it's a great idea! What we've got right now is almost a mail order horse business where lots of people, not just the Auction house make a bit of money! Genius? You betcha!!!!! For those of you unfamiliar with what is known as Feedlot or Broker Sales, here's the basic premise. Let's say a horse is run through auction and the bid gets to say $400. The horse then goes to a "dealer" "broker" "kill buyer", whatever they are called for the sake of the story. That person is contacted by a "rescue person", who offers to "bail" or "ransom" (love the terms) the horses. The "broker" prices the horse for an inflated price, making an instant profit. So the $400 horse now is priced at $700. Here's where it gets interesting. Once the horse is "rescued" an appropriately sad or dramatic story is posted, and a home is sought. Oftentimes, once the "rescue person" becomes involved, the horse becomes a freebie. Either a private owner, or another "Rescue" will "step up" and offer to take in the horse IF the purchase price can be raised by a group of gullible....oops, generous people. But wait! Now there are fees to be attached. We have transport fees, quarantine fees, vaccine and worming fees, and suddenly, we're up to $1200 or more. Everyone along the way gets a little piece of the pie, and the lucky new owner hasn't put out even one dime. For those who frequent the ABR forum, the most blatant example of this method of "Rescue" had to be the Jill Starr Percheron Team drama. Jill rescued a team of Percherons from a Sale barn, and sent funds to a woman known only as "Simone". When she sent her trailer to pick the horses up, they were nowhere to be found. Neither was "Simone" or the money. My understanding is that the original money to buy this team was donated. The tale is so convoluted, I may be wrong about this part, so forgive me if I am. Jill then claims to have spent $2000 trying in vain to find that team. Then, lo and behold, she receives an e-mail telling her that the team may have been possibly been found on another broker lot! Never-mind that the team is NOW a gelding and a mare instead of two geldings, a team is a team, and Jill just wants to get that team! Never-mind that a look into Jill's finances shows that she makes a pretty decent salary-she runs a Rescue herself. She could probably find a draft team locally. And she may not even be providing that "forever" home. The fund-raising begins, and when all is said and done, all fees added up, and everyone gets their cut, I believe the end tally was around $3000! Anyone have a clue as to how many horses can be bought outright at an auction today for $3000? Make no mistake, this is a great business for those involved in it. And it works because there's just the right amount of drama attached. These horses are, after all, going on the truck to Slaughter in X amount of days, so they MUST be saved!!! As I said, genius! The fact that one could simply attend an auction and buy a horse directly seems to be overlooked, as is the fact that in most cases, they are paying the very evil doers they vow to put out of business by "ending" Slaughter. I would get a good laugh out of this, but I hate for anyone to be taken advantage of. And in many cases, no one really knows what happens to the horses after the dramatic save. The fact that some Rescues themselves participate in it, and then sell these horses at a profit is another blog for another time. They do. I bought my horse with my own money. I take care of him myself. I pay his bills. I am solely responsible for everything that concerns him. It didn't take a village to get him here, nor does it take a village to care for him. Maybe that's the problem with this whole issue we're fighting. If you come to own your horse by the virtue of the team effort, maybe that puts the mindset in place that you really can't make any decisions about that horse on your own. Again-another blog for another time. But as for the Broker and Feedlot sales, some on the Anti side are beginning to question them. And it's about time. We've been wondering about them all along, and asking why they're so much better than going to a sale yourself. When you guys find out, be sure to let us know.

By RH2


  1. Great minds work alike. This is the very crap that infuriates me to no end. Usually the biggest loss in this mess is to a competent young horsemen with a nice young horse who could actually do someone some good and have a future. There is no drama in a well presented, honestly represented young horse.

    I watched this very thing happen at a sale this past summer. A young APHA mare, papers in hand, in the breeder's trust, cute as a bugs ear, started correctly, and well presented by a young man who was a more than competent hand. Now please keep in mind I have been doing this a long time and I am hard to impress but everything was right about this young mare. The homework was done and she was definitely a turnkey deal. Just take her home and keep riding her $275.00.

    But some cur with a mulitude of problems can be bailed out for $1,200. Or at that same sale a cardboard treed urine tanned saddle can bring $295.00. That's wrong on too many levels for not only the horses but the industry and this the trend being created here.

    We are rewarding irresponsiblity and poor horsemanship like never before.

  2. "We are rewarding irresponsibility and poor horsemanship like never before". Very true. But training is frowned upon nowadays, and the trend leans more daily towards retirement and pasture puffs. In some cases, there really isn't a lot of interest in the well broke or well started horse. So why bother with good, well made, well fitting tack? It's not as if anyone's riding anyhow. Maybe that's the problem, and we just haven't caught on. We're wondering why a nice, good broke horse is overlooked in favor of the broken down lame ones with medical issues. Perhaps these are really what's preferred by the "horsemen" of today. The broker busness can surely provide these , and will be glad to take the money for them. And should a good one slip into the mix, I have little doubt that they will likely end up in a retirement situation the way things are going! But, again, another blog for another day.

  3. "And should a good one slip into the mix, I have little doubt that they will likely end up in a retirement situation the way things are going!"
    OH lucky horse.... not.

  4. It seems to be what happens. I remember a horse last year. A nice little mare. She appeared to need some training, but instead, the folks involved in her "rescue" decided that her behavior (she was a bit stubborn as young ones get) was due to some sort of abuse at the hands of her former owners. She ended up, at the age of 4 I believe, in a "Retirement Home", getting love and kisses. No requirements for good behavior or respect for her owners, no more of that nasty training, no more riding. At 4, with nothing more than the normal behavior many horses exhibit, it's a shame that she is now retired. And it's not the first time I've seen it, nor do I believe it will be the last time. There ARE those few horses with issues that can't be overcome. There are those horses that have been abused. But I highly doubt they exist in the volumes we hear about now. It's a shame for the horses, and we end up with even more horses with little or no worth in today's failing market.

  5. It just gripes the hell out of me that these people with little or no practical horse skills are making these "final decisions" to retire young, viable, sound horses to their "sanctuaries".
    How many of those horses does Jim have that could have gone on to be happy successful horses in a second career? Now they are stuck in a sardine can with some crazy ass thong collecting idiot sticking paint brushes in their halters and moving their heads around in front of paper.
    I have a horse that would paint for real, as well as help carry the fencing tools across the pasture, or pick up the shovel and "help" clean stalls..... I always thought he was good for a laugh, a pain in my ass, but didn't realize I could be making money off him in that manner. Not too late though, just have to write his story (embellishing a little drama in it) and start begging...oops I mean selling his art work. Perhaps he wouldn't mind doing some paintings to help me pay for the spaying and neutering of the most recent dropped off cats.

  6. And here's the problem with the whole retirement/rescue/hoarder don't ride them just pet them plan.

    In my experience the horse out lives the "plan" 8 times out of 10, then he has no place to go, no life skills, no home, and the idiots who "loved" him into this predictament call someone like me and want out at all costs.Have I discussed the dysfunctional life skills common to most rescue/hoarder/horse addict people I come in contact with? Or the very horrendous business/managment skills and tend they seem to use to get their ass in a financial crack where the only way out is "fire sale" every few years. Remember the queen fugly "I am going to have to put my horses down" whine fest of last spring? You see my point????

    Problem is the horse is now 13, unbroke, and since it was a "forever" home nobody ever thought to even keep the paperwork remotely in the same zip code as the horse. Then they look at me or whoever and say "Are you just going to kill Sporty"? More than once in a fit of not so fine temper I have answered with "no, you already did that, I'm just going to provide the trailer".

    As for the cats.....I'm thinking we should start the NFID Cat Breeders Association. (National Found In Driveway) It could offer the same show schedule as Breeding Stock Pintos. If we show them surely that will create a market for them right?

  7. Dear RH2,

    Excellent essay.

    Just Me

  8. RH1 Good point about the horse out living the plan. I just asked a gal the other day if she felt she could take care of her colt for the next 30 or so yrs. She was trying to make the decision on weather to put down a severely (lifetime lameness) injured 4 yr old or to get him comfortable to live as a pasture pet. I was not trying to sway her decision but felt she needed to look at the future...the realistic future. She was capable of doing that, the NAHSC are rarely able to think past today and truly putting the horse first is completely beyond their capabilities:(
    "As for the cats.....I'm thinking we should start the NFID Cat Breeders Association. (National Found In Driveway) It could offer the same show schedule as Breeding Stock Pintos. If we show them surely that will create a market for them right?"
    I like It!! lol.

  9. Well, let's get to scheduling a regional NFID cat show then. I have to warn you I have a black gelded cat that's going to be double tough in the halter (collar?) classes.

    I guess I would opt for putting him down. You are right....if she were to save him...he's lifetime committment because he has no value.

    I had a friend who had colic surgery done on a young gelding basically because she couldn't "let go". I know after being involved in that deal I will never have one cut open. Not only can I not afford it, I won't put one through it to have a good chance of dieing anyway.