They Used To Hang Horse Thieves…

…and many people still wish that they did-along with the abusive folks. Personally, I’m not one of them. I think hanging is a waste of good rope. It doesn’t really solve the problem anyway-it only drives it further underground.

Now whether you agree with me or not, the bald-faced fact remains-people are still, in this day and age, stealing horses, cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules, and just about any other kind of livestock you can name. The truth of the matter is-and they don’t like to admit it-law enforcement is waging a losing battle in this. They simply cannot cover so much ground, so many miles, and track down property that MOVES.  What’s worse for them is-this property can be trucked across state lines within 24 hours, slaughtered, and it is just GONE. 

Very, very little or none of these animals are permanently identified in any way. Oh, back in the early 80’s I think it was, there was an initiative by the US Agriculture Department to  microchip all livestock. The conspiracy theorists got their hair up and starting claiming that the ‘guv’mint was going to track our movements from outer space’ and ‘they’d know what we were doing in our homes with our dogs and cats’.  Another pet theory was that ‘next they’d be implanting chips in humans to track them’.

Considering that the Feds cannot seem to keep track of anything of their own-never mind what the population is doing or they would have prevented the OK City bombing, 9/11, and a whole rat of other calamities, I can’t, for the life of me, see why they’d care that I was taking my horse for a trail ride in the state next door. It just boggles my mind. Either I’m just not that important or the conspiracy folks are and I missed the memo.

Anyway-the huge elephant in that ointment was the fact that microchips are just there. They just sit in place and do absolutely NOTHING until somebody comes along with a scanner that has the right software. Then the scanner ‘tickles’ or ‘excites’ the chip which then responds with the encoded number that is unique to that chip. Then it goes back to doing NOTHING. They are incapable of causing cancer (somebody started passing that one around-no, they don’t), they can’t migrate to some place else (the covering encourages the tissues to actually grow INTO it which anchors it in place), nor can they ‘transmit’ to outer space (that requires a power source which they do not have.)

So what was the point of doing it? Well, at the time, we were having the ‘mad cow disease’ scare and the disease specialists thought-rightly-that being able to know where animals were and being able to track them would be a good thing. That way, if they got sick, you’d be able to know where they came from, where they’d been, and all the animals they might have infected. But the Tin Hats got in the way (my term for conspiracy people).

It is now nearly 40 years later-the rest of the civilized world is microchipping and tracking their livestock but the United States stubbornly and stupidly does not. Oh, we will get dragged kicking and screaming, shouting curses the entire way into it. We have to act like toddlers who don’t want to eat their spinach, wind up wearing most of it, then ordering spinach salads as adults.

One of the facts about the microchipping abroad is-where it is being done as a matter of course-theft plummeted. You cannot sell a horse without the ‘passport’ associated with the chip. No vet will treat a horse without scanning it and using the chip number-so they will know immediately who the registered owner should be. You cannot show the horse without being scanned. Breeders use the chips to ensure the identities of sire and dam. Racetracks use the chips to confirm the horses’ prior to and after the races. And Customs require chips to ship out/into a country. It is nearly impossible to steal a horse and get away with it in some areas.

So forget the rope-let’s focus on making it impossible for these people to FUNCTION and MAKE MONEY at our horses’ and our expense. Identify our horses and stop them before they load up.

 

Chasing Stolen Horses

henrybuddy5050

This was in my home state practically ‘next door’ to where we live. It seems incredible to most people that someone would steal a horse, but they do-and, in many cases, they get away with it. Why? It doesn’t seem logical at first, but it really is very reasonable when you learn the facts.

  • Horses are surprisingly easy to transport and resale. There are supposed to be laws regarding this, but they are quite lax and easily worked around.
  • Most horse owners do not keep adequate records on their horses. By that I mean they do not keep bills of sale, registration papers, photographs, vet bills, Coggins, health certificates, farrier bills, show records, etc. organized and in one place. They can’t prove that a horse is actually THEIRS if their lives depended on it.
  • Owners rarely-rarely-do anything toward permanetly identifying a horse. I guess they think that they can walk out to a holding pen, point their finger, and say, “That’s my horse-give it back.” Nope-sorry, doesn’t work that way. Especially when somebody else is standing there holding a bill of sale that says that same horse belongs to THEM. Guess what John Law is going to do? That’s right-he’s going to side with the person who holds the paperwork. You lose.
  • Auction owners and managers do not know nor do they care where a horse comes from. What they care about is the consignment fee they get when the horse is sold. They want the animals run through quickly and get them off the property. That’s wonderful news for horse thieves, kill buyers, and horse ‘flippers’. Terrible news for horse owners. However-most of them will work with us. Being known as a place where this goes down is bad for business for the most part.
  • The public is genuinely unaware that this really does go on. Even law enforcement doesn’t have a clue on how to react or how to deal with it. We teach as we go.

Fortunately, in this case, the owners came to us immediately so we could get to work to stop the resale before they really got started with their plans. That is critical to making a recovery happen. They never got the horses more than about 100-150 miles from their home.

We blanketed the entire area with notifications on social media and emails. People were putting up that flier everywhere in Georgia and the rest of the Southeast. Auctions were being called. TV stations were doing stories. It became impossible for them to ‘move the product’.

Those horses disappeared on 9/21, but they were back home by 9/26.

What’s going on with the thieves? Don’t know-that’s a question for law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office as the case is still under investigation. Our job is finished.

Now-did we get paid for all this? Well, there is a filing fee of $25. That got them 3 unpaid volunteers working 10-12 hour days for nearly 5 days. I will let you do the math.

Satisfying? Immensely so. You can watch the videos on the Stolen Horse International Facebook page to see the pure joy and relief captured on the images there.

Atlanta Journal Constitution article

Henry County Herald

NetPosse YouTube

captureFundraiser shirts Remembering Idaho

All proceeds raised go to supporting Stolen Horse International, 501(c)(3) organization. 6 styles, 5 colors each $19.99-$34.99 Sale ends soon! Pay it ahead-support what we do. Victim support, horse recovery, education, liaison for law enforcement, valuable resource.

Safety and Being a Spoil Sport-This Lady and I Have A Lot In Common

It’s time for the annual reminder that horses are not dirt bikes.

via Safety and Being a Spoil Sport. — Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

One of the reasons that I don’t board horses and almost completely refuse to teach is that I am a “Nazi” for safety for both horse and rider and insist on respect for the horses. Breach any of that and you will have some tart, sometimes cutting remarks made in your direction-with no apologies offered. I won’t apologize for caring about safety-yours or the horse’s. When it comes to respecting the horse, while I will demand that the horse respect my space, I will also demand that YOU respect HIS/HERS. There are no ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’, or anything horses. There are, however, inconsiderate, thick, and downright rock-headed people.

So this other writer’s blog sounded rather familar to me. She might even be on the same wavelength.

Missing & Presumed Stolen-Rare Heritage Marsh Tacky Horses

5217RiverYago

Link to River & Yago’s webpage

There are only about 400 of these horses in the world and somebody stole these two. That’s pretty low, folks. River and Yago are gentle and friendly-used for educational purposes, Civil War reenactments, and children’s mounts. Use the above link to go to their web page to download their flier to distribute to the public and hand out to those who don’t do social media. Put up fliers in public spots so people will see it and be aware of the search. Pass this information along to anyone you wish as long as you do not change the details. Help get River and Yago back home. Thank you.

You and Your Cranium

I admit that I am hopelessly and totally biased here-three months after getting the Sports Model Jackass, someone offered me a ride on another horse and I took it. I was 12 years old, naive as all heck, and gung-ho to get on anything with a whinny. She was a palomino with power steering and the girl who owned her had just gotten an English saddle. I’d never ridden the mare or in that kind of saddle. Mare was gentle as could be, it was in her pasture, and we were just having fun. What could it hurt, right?

Tessa saw the stump in the high grass and side-stepped it. Today, I would just go along with her. But that day-on that slick saddle-with no experience, I didn’t. I went off head first onto that stump. It is a million wonders that I didn’t break my neck because we were at a canter and there should have been enough force to do it. As it was, I was out like a burnout light bulb.

I don’t remember much from that afternoon at all. I remember vaguely being picked up from the ground, then being in the car going down their driveway. The next memory is of being at the hospital with very vague memories of xrays and exams. They sent me home with instructions to watch me. I had a concussion. That was in January 1964.

As a result of that concussion, I suffered short term memory loss, trouble with cognitive thinking and learning, anger issues, inattentiveness, and blinding headaches that would last for weeks. Now they call this Closed Head Trauma or Brain Injury. Then, they just said-she’s faking or she’ll get over it. I didn’t.

Kept riding horses though-worried my mother no end. She looked for helmets for me, but back then, helmets were just those black velveteen covered things for the English set that usually didn’t even have a decent chin strap on them. Problem there was-not only were they little to no protection, they sat on top of my head like a beanie cap. No way one was going to fit my skull.

Fast forward about 25 years-the horse world changed and manufacturers have ‘seen the light’. Helmets with true safety products are not only being produced for kids, but also for adults! They’re ugly as a mud fence and hotter than a pawn shop pistol, but you take what you can find. You look like you’ve stuck your head into a white bucket and strapped it on. Ridicule and finger pointing becomes a thing-you’re either a hopeless wimp for wearing one or a helmet safety nazi. Either way-you’re shunned in many circles.

Slowly, but ever so slowly, this has been changing. Prominent riders of all disciplines have had devastating head injuries that could have been prevented had they been wearing safety helmets. Now they are showing up in dressage arenas, cutting pens, practice areas, schooling barns, trail rides, Pony Club shows, Wagon trains, and many other events. People are recognizing what people like me have known for years-horses are wonderful creatures, but being around there creates the opportunity for brain injury.

Unfortunately, brain injury is something you cannot put vetrap on, ice soak, or use liniment. It is cummulative-meaning each knock on the head adds to the previous damage. It doesn’t go away-it gets worse. Any NFL or NHL pro or amateur player can tell you this. Professional boxers are notoriously addled by the time they retire-from brain injuries.

Don’t like the way helmets look? I’m not that fashion conscious-I know I’m going to look pretty awful until I hit the shower anyway, so I don’t care. But if it really means something to you, try these ideas from the Facebook group, Karen’s Hellhat Posse. You can DIY or find somebody to do them for you. (Warning: using glue or paint on a helmet within the first year will probably void the warranty from the manufacturer.)

There Be Boogers Out Here

horsekite

If you’ve been around horses for any appreciable length of time, you’ve dealt with something like this-the unexplainable-known only to the horse-but you’ve still got to cope with it BOOGER leap that they come up with. The height and prior warning can vary tremendously, and what follows can take on many forms-from simply standing and stamping all four feet in place with eyes bugged out to the vertical AND sideways leap combined with a 180 spin and sprint for a minimum of a half mile. (And, before you ask, yes, I’ve managed to ride and survive that maneuver. Do not ask how-I don’t know.)

Having seven horses in my pastures means that when the power company sent two MONSTER boom saw machines in to trim the tree limbs away from the lines, I got to see seven different versions of the ‘Booger’ reaction. (Can’t say that I blame them-those machines were impressive. Dually equipped wheels that are tractor sized front and back with a boom that must reach 80-90 feet, the driver sits in a cab that rotates to follow the boom. To a horse, that big noisy thing WAS a booger!)

We couldn’t decide which was more entertaining-watching the boom saw or the horses’ reaction to the intrusion. I do appreciate them giving those horses a great workout. I do have a couple of untrained mares-and got a glimpse of what I have in store for when I get them under saddle. Let’s just say it should be interesting. I hope they take care of me. I don’t bounce like I used to. Ground has gotten harder. Two more-then I am done training youngsters.

Yesssss! Hot Water!!

hot-girl-cold-broken-showerYou do not realize what a spoiled rotten First World brat you are until you get into take a bath and-there’s not a drop of hot water coming out of that tap. I mean not even tepid.

The well is 900 feet so that water is really cold-I’ve never measured the temperature, but on my nekkid skin, it feels like 33 degrees F. What’s worse-I know for a fact that my spouse took a long luxurious soak in that same tub not an hour before. The tank must have drained and not reheated which means there’s no hope of more later.

Grit my teeth and finish the bath-I’ve done it camping, it isn’t fun, but cold water won’t kill me. In fact, on one camping trip years ago with a friend, we’d gone to a Georgia state park in the mountains. There was a state wide water restriction so the park rangers had turned the hot water off in the showers. It was really hot that day and we’d been hiking. We hit those showers. Honest to God, we both came out with blue nail beds and blue lips. We were clean though. We sat out in the sun like lizards to warm back up.

People here take turning on a water tap for granted. I’ve been to places where people had to haul buckets of water in wheelbarrows from a sluggish river up to what they woman-container-headcalled the campground showers. Then someone would climb a ladder and the buckets would be handed up to be dumped into cisterns to warm in the sun for the tourists to shower in. It’s humbling to say the least. This is the next thing to slave labor. I benefitted from it.

I’ll enjoy my hot water in my bath and for washing clothes and dishes. But I will never, ever take the blessing of water on tap for granted again. Not ever.

Choice of Riding ‘Style’

Probably the first or maybe second question out of anyone’s mouth after they find out that you are a fellow horse love is-what kind of riding do you do? Followed closely with-what kind of horse do you have? They’re really interchangeable and can be one then the other. But you will get them. Some people have yardsticks-if you aren’t into ________ and ride ________, well, you just don’t register with them as being significant in their world. I’m not going to put that down-I think it’s a bit short-sighted on their part, but it is their choice. No skin off my nose certainly.

As one man who came into my spouse’s office responded to that question: “Quarter horses! Is there any other kind? What have you got?” To which my spouse replied, “Well, I guess if that’s the case, I don’t have any!” (We have Arabian crosses and a TWH.).

Then you get into the (sorry, but it is true) snobbery of what kind of saddle your butt is parked on. Honestly,  I’ve ridden just about every type of saddle made with the exception of a jockey’s half saddle, a side saddle, and a vaquero/knight’s saddle. It isn’t the saddle that makes the equestrian. Any body can be taught how to be a passenger on a horse-that’s called being a rider. I’ve seen dogs, cats, goats, and monkeys do it. It takes dedication, hard work, willingness to learn, and the ability to admit your mistakes to be an equestrian. I see darn few who fill that bill. I see a lot who take the short cuts of tight nose bands, tie downs, harsh bits, heavy hands, and spurs. They are by no means amateurs-you can see them at the Olympics. If you see a horse with a gaping mouth even with a tight flash nose band or figure 8-something is wrong. If you see a gag bit-something is wrong. If you see a horse being yanked on, something is wrong. Not with the horse-wrong with the human.

I didn’t used to see this-but since I have seen horse do cutting, reining, roping, show jumping, trail classes, dressage, and liberty work either bitless or bridleless, it dawned on me-what have I been doing to my horses? All that must not be necessary if the necessary time is spent. All that stuff is merely shortcuts for humans and we rationalize our actions that cause pain to our horses. How dare we?