“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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Rest of the Story…Simple Horse Keeping Economics…and Be Careful What You Wish for…

Like RH2, I come from a family with some colorful but often crude country sayings. “Even a blind sow finds an acorn every once in awhile” is an old standby used to describe a situation that turns out well on luck alone. My deal with Tim and his traveling partner discussed in the “I Didn’t See You There” blog is one of those situations.

I bought both horses on April 27, 2010. The picture above is how Tim looked on April 28. He is hobbled eating grass in the barnyards at my place. It’s common supplement for thin horses at my house in the spring and summer. The point I am trying to make? The feeding part of ‘rehabilitation is nothing special, just worm ‘em, feed ‘em, keep the stronger bossier horses from using them for chew toys, worm ‘em again and feed ‘em some more. Feeding horses back into condition has been made into something that takes a long time to do and only very special people can do it or so we are led to believe by the NAHSC. It ‘s the standard excuse for all thin horses housed at any rescue according to the ABR enablers as RH2 calls them, maybe yes, maybe no.
Back to Tim…. Tim got fat, slick, and the fatter and slicker he got the cuter he got. My only regret about how he left here? I didn’t get an after picture to prove the point I made above. Tim just didn’t tolerate prosperity well. The fitter he got the harder to get along with he became. Please note: when I say “get along with” I mean ride and ride with a purpose. Quite possibly the reason this cute and very athletic little gelding, which obviously had a lot of breeding somewhere, ended up at Deliverance North with no papers. On the third day of impromptu and unwelcome attempted bronc rides I simply unsaddled him, walked to the house, called my favorite auction and got him a place in the next sale and a barn rider. I don’t like to drive a 150 miles for one horse but then on the other hand especially in a tight market I don’t like to represent a not so honest horse while trying to represent a good one who came in the same trailer. Matter of fact I don’t like to represent a not so honest horse period. I called the auction owner, told him the whole story, got a number, arranged for a barn ride, and made plans to drop my cute little horse, clipped (no easy job) and clean, off the evening before the sale. The staff and I discussed his pretty color, cute head, soundness, and how he could be talented for someone who wanted to work harder at riding him than I did. We decided he would probably bring somewhere between $500 and $700 depending on which traders showed up. I headed my empty trailer home to spend my Saturday riding good colts who wanted to learn while the auction staff sold my less than honest gelding. This was July 17, 2010. Tim went from pretty pathetic to pretty darn cute in that time. Tim presented me with a net check of $1,389, even though, according to my auction owning friend, the little rat was trying to buck his man off in the ring. To put it mildly we were all very pleasantly surprised. Can’t speak for the trader who ended up with him but he was free and over the age of consent.
Not hardly a rescue but I’ll guarantee the horse is better off now than he was last August. Kind of makes me wonder why I spent all day representing a legitimately good gelding started on cattle a month before at what was supposed to be a ‘better’ sale to get $1,900. Guess the old saying is really true????
No, I did not donate one penny from the sale of either to anyone except the Anything for a Buck Foundation.
Next subject:
Simple horse keeping economics don’t own more than you can feed. Against my better judgment I went to the ABR thread about The Winding Road Rescue. I couldn’t help but notice much concern for the poor horses and very little for the child whose life had been torn apart because of his mother’s crazy ass obsessive rescue/hoarding. What he has been through couldn’t in any way affect his future relationship with not only animals but people as well could it????? But annnyyywaaayyyy……
All who claim there is no way to monitor these situations BEFORE the point of legal intervention. WAKE THE F*** UP! Trot yourselves down to the local feed store and read the back of the feed bags. Note the recommended pounds to feed per 100 pounds of body weight for a mature horse. Consult the calculator app on your I-phone, do the math. Total pounds of feed per 100 pounds of weight times the average weight of the average horse times 80 horses times 365 days. Next divide by the number of dollars sent in an average PayPal trick/donation to come up with how many menopausal neurotics it takes to feed that crowd every year.
Time is another factor I can’t come to grips with. Does that NAHSC Kool Aid make time stand still for ya’ll or what? I know without thinking one person is NOT capable of managing 30, 40, 50, or God forbid 80 horses in a confinement situation.
Lecture aside…on to the economics. I usually keep about 10 horses at home in the barns and lots. I rent pasture for 5 to 8 others. The number of horses both places can vary 3 or 4 either way but these are the average numbers. I rent a total of 20 acres of pasture. I estimate at the very least 3 acres per horse for summer grazing and I TRY to err on the side of having too much grass. Cost to me, $800 a year. The Kansas Flint Hills has some of the best grazing in the country but 80 head on 40 acres equals no grazing even in Kansas. I was through that part of the country recently and the pastures look great from all the moisture. Great everywhere EXCEPT at the rescue. Pasture management is obviously not a required course at Rescue U.
I figure 100 square bales a month, 12 months a year for the horses at home. Sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more, but that’s a good average to start with when lining up hay for the winter. I am about half way to my 800 bale goal now to see me through until first cutting is in next May. Hay costs this year look to be roughly $4,800 for the year. I feed a bulk grain ration delivered from a local feed store/elevator. It usually runs around $225 a ton. I use about a ton a month. Adds another $2,700 and that adds up to around $7,500 a year for 10 in the barn lots. It takes one whole customer horse tab and about one fifth of another to keep feed in front of the whole pack. If I spend an hour and a half a day, six days a week riding to pay for the feed, 3 hours a week hauling hay, and 1 hour a day doing chores more than 20 hours a week is shot to heck. I’ve kept two horses exercised/training and 8 others have been given basic care. Let’s not forget the other annoying details like fuel for the truck, rent on the building site, tack, salt and mineral, wormer, bedding for the few I choose to keep stalled, and shoeing. For the most part I do my own trimming but again that takes time too. Is this registering to anyone who reads those 10 paragraph essay posts from the ABR saviors? No matter how well people write, no matter how good their intentions are, there is a great big logistics/economics discrepancy going on here. The basic constants of horse keeping do not cease to exist or change in any way simply because the rescue has pure non-profit thoughts and I don’t.
Now, careful what you wish for…Several years ago in the beginning, the idea of ‘humane euthanasia stations’ was passed around. The ‘profit’ only rewarded the bad people to keep raising horses, blah, blah, blah…..In other words you can kill them just don’t pay the owners to get them to kill. Well, here ya go folks… I am quoting directly from an Iowa Farmer Today (July 24, 2010) article by Bob Boshart sent to me by a friend.
A state board agreed to invest $25,000 in a feasibility study for a proposed Iowa City project exploring a humane way to euthanize (that means kill by the way) horses and process the meat for animal consumption. The Economic Development Board (DED) gave unanimous support for a grant to Responsible Transportation, LLC to ‘consolidate unwanted horses across the Midwest’ and put the animals down free of charge, according to DED documents. The company, which pledged nearly $31,000 for the study to be completed in July 2011, has used innovation to improve animal handling practices.
Responsible Transportation, LLC requested technical assistance funding for third party research that will allow the company to conduct a feasibility study, plan for the development of a processing plant, perform an export analysis, and design a website and building design.
The activity will facilitate the company application for a USDA guaranteed loan to further the business operation, according to board documents.
And there you go…. All done…No profit for the horse owners. No EU restrictions. No more “from stable to table”. I plan on trying to learn what ‘innovation to improve handling' is but right now I have to get back to work, refer to the economics paragraph.


  1. sorry might be going off topic but anywho I feel like getting this off my chest and this feels like the safest place to do this.

    Why do we as animal loving americans feel every dang animal must be "saved" horses mainly. I mean seriously now there seems to be no logical sense to this. How long will it be before we run out of homes for all these animals eh? Because god forbid we actually do something with the excess amount of horses in the USA. Or wait heres a great idea lets just dispose of the horses here and then ship the meat off to the 3rd world countries that we so desperately help instead of our own people (dont "americans" seem like a bunch of hoards to you taking care of more then we are capable of) hey might be a win win for every one

    Okay sorry rant over back on topic

    Your calculations make my head hurt lol I know that the feed bill for the 300 head Arabian ranch I worked at was probably close to 1k a month just for feeding

    yeah its late and I probably made no sense

  2. Nothing concerning horses is off topic! And I for one, agree. We have already run out of homes for the saved horses. That's why legitimate Rescues are full, and the NEW "Rescues" are popping up all over the place. Horses are "bailed" and given to people who not only can't afford to pay the initial cost for them, but know nothing about the care and feeding of the horse. The save is everything, and little things like daily upkeep don't even begin to factor in. I know what it costs to keep my horses fed. We are fortunate enough to pasture part time in the summer, but supplement with hay. We're in the process of buying Winter hay. We don't wait until we run out to worry about getting more, we have it all stored and paid for before Labor Day hits. There's a huge upside to this, though. We know what we're paying for our hay. I get so tired of some of these "Rescues" complaining about the price of hay. If you have a supplier, and your price is locked down-and here's the secret-you have the money to pay when the hay is baled, you can budget for your hay. It's too bad that each "horse angel" isn't more aware of what it costs both time, and money wise, to actually own a horse. And a shame they aren't aware that there's a reason horses need room to graze and run. We hear about the Pro horse side being in need of an education-yet we seem to be in full understanding of these facts.

  3. Gah FUGLY needs to go get her brain checked as well as all those other nits over at that blog. I dont support about half the propaganda she has but go read her latest blog of B*S

  4. " Gah FUGLY needs to go get her brain checked "

    I don't think they'll find one...