Now I Don’t Know Much…

Cave horse hunting But it seems apparent to me that in some ways, humans have no evolved much since the days when we hunted horses down purely as a source of meat. Certainly the paintings on the walls of caves support this conclusion.

We still-in some places-consume their flesh, although most in the USA consider this practice to be abhorrent. Some cases of outright brutality-beatings, stabbings, shootings (guns and bows), dragging with ropes/chains, and various other tortures are described in news articles on the internet-and we now know that individuals who do this sort of thing will go on to bring that hell on humans sooner rather than later.

But what about the lesser evils we inflict? Can we address those?

  • Horses are open range animals-they live in herds and depend on being able to see and able to move to get away from danger. But what do we do? We do the very opposite-we lock them up in solitary in small boxes for our own worry-free existence-not theirs. It’s no wonder they acquire ulcers and bad habits such as cribbing, weaving, wall kicking, bolting their feed, and such. They are our prisoners.
  • We cut their body hair off-and then put blankets on them. I understand why you would-and have done so myself for medical reasons. But ordinarily, no, I would not. The body hair does a fine job of protecting the horse from the elements and needs little else unless the weather is really poor. I will help them in foul weather, but on the whole-they do fine au natural.
  • Shoes-ah, you knew I’d get to this one. This is a hard topic. To be sure, the ‘modern’ horse has been bred mostly for what is above the coronet band-and that’s a crying shame. After my first horse-whom I treasured, I vowed to look at the hooves first. The Sports Model Jackass had LOUSY feet. They were big, dinner plate size, and they chipped. Moreover, they had flattened due to repeated foundering. He was a mess. He had to be shod-no way around it. Problem was-couldn’t keep steel on him. The wall would crumble. Fortunately that was when the plastic shoes came out-and the blacksmith grumbled but he put them on the horse-and they worked.

Since that time, I have carefully acquired a herd that is totally barefoot-and needs no shoeing at all-with the possible exception of boots on occasion. They all have thick heavy hooves and go sound over most surfaces.

My suggestion to horse owners? Use the old desert way of looking at potential horses. Start at the ground. They’d sit in a tent and roll up one side of the tend about four inches. Horses would be led up-and those that looked good would be brought back for additional passes as the tent wall rose slowly to pastern, then knee/hock, then full leg, then shoulder, belly, hip,, then topline, and finally-head and neck. That way-you don’t get caught in the ‘but he’s just so beautiful’ or ‘she has such a sweet face’ nonsense.

  • Nosebands-why do you use one? Why are you pulling that thing so tight? Think about it. If you say “my horse is opening his mouth to evade the bit”, go grab a dressage whip and give yourself a beat down. I’m serious. The question is NOT How do you keep your horse from opening his mouth, but why aren’t you doing something about the pain you are causing in his mouth that causes him to open his mouth? What kind of owner are you that you are ignoring the pain you are causing?? Okay, that’s a harsh question, but since I see an awful lot of it, and 11/10 times it involves a rider hauling back on the reins, feet braced in the stirrups, horse’s mouth foamed, eyes white rimmed, and the rider’s jaw set-well, damn it, somebody needs to say something. Take the time to learn to ride properly, loosen that noseband, and, if you have to, throw those bits away. You do not need metal to control a horse.
  • Learn to feed properly. Ditch the molasses. You heard me-it is not good for horses. Do you eat candy at every meal? So why are you feeding the equivalent to your horse? Likewise, corn is not horse food. GRASS is horse food. Roughage is horse food. Learn what makes good horse food.

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Searching for Two Mares

Looking for Pearl and Piper  The breeder is looking for Too Sexy for My Tux and One Hot Moon Pie (registered names) or Pearl and Piper. Their sire is getting some age on him and she wants to find these two babies of his. They may be considered as grade horses now, but they were sold originally as Paints.

If you have information on either one, please use the contact information on the webpage to get in touch with the breeder. Feel free to share-you never know who might be the person who has that piece of information you’re looking for.

Searching for Harry’s History

If you know anything about Harry-  his owner wants to hear about it. Apparently, Harry’s a really nice horse-one of those that has training that you really didn’t expect when you first bought him, but you find out later. The kind of horse that makes you wonder-‘gee, I wonder if maybe this horse has somebody looking for him?”

So take a look-I promise there’s no nasty bugs attached-and see if you recognize Harry’s face. If you do-give the guy a call.

Who was the Sports Model Jackass?

My mom had high hopes for me. She really did.

I was her first child, was smart, and I was a gorgeous child. I had huge brown eyes, a quick, engaging smile, widow’s peak, dark auburn hair-and she was going to make sure that I did what she didn’t in life. I was supposed to marry a Delta Air Lines pilot or be a flight attendant, be a published author, and be an accomplished member of both the Junior League set and the church.

What she got was a tomboy. I was the kid who climbed the backyard fence and got into the poison ivy, rode the plow mule after my grandfather finished plowing, perched on the tractor fender while he harrowed, learned embroidery and quilting from my grandmother, fed chickens, climbed in the hayloft, played softball–and turned out to be infected with horse fever.

Now horse fever is different from horse crazy.

Horse crazy = a phase in which generally female humans swoon over “cute” horses and ponies, may collect various figurines, wear clothing with horse themes, put up horse posters on bedroom walls and doors. This is normally something that lasts 3-6 years. It disappears normally with onset of puberty.

Horse fever = a incurable and lifelong condition which can afflict either gender. It is marked by the obsessive desire to learn more and more about horses. There is an insatiable need to be around horses and will actually go into withdrawal if forced into prolonged separation.

My mom confused the two. But, lucky for me, my dad convinced her that I needed a horse. So for my 12th birthday, a trailer rolled up and unloaded a bay pinto.

Poncho was a reject from a Girl Scout camp. What my parents did not know at the time was that he was sold for being unsafe. Never had him tested but I later had suspicion that he was crypt orchid. He certainly had the behaviors. Not the perfect horse for a first time owner, but we were ignorant and I survived.

Poncho taught me a lot. He became my soul mate. We were together for 17 years. I lost him to a broken leg.

I had to had a pasture mate for him. He refused to be a single horse. The first was George-a kind and gentle soul. Then when George died, Hickory came. Hickory’s coloration included a lighter colored muzzle making him resemble a mule. Hence the quip from my dad “well, honey, that looks like you’ve got a mule and a sports model jackass”. The moniker stuck.

Getting Involved

henrybuddy5050

This happened in my home state-not too far from where I live. So not only did I have the usual “oh, no, not another horse theft” reaction, but it was also “not in MY backyard you don’t!” response. Now I’m not being naive or silly. I know there are probably other thefts in the state that I’m simply not aware of. In fact, I’d bet money on it. I also know that horses are known to disappear because of various kinds of civil disputes-somebody didn’t pay their board bill, went too long without checking on a horse they left on a “friend’s” farm and, guess what, both friend and horse are long gone, and what seems like endless variations on the theme. There are also the lost ones-they dump a rider on a trail ride, jump a fence, bolt for some reason, etc. But the thefts make me just angry.

The rest of the volunteers and I got busy and went to work. So did the mother and daughter who owned the horses-and they poured themselves into it. Phone calls, social media posts, fliers being posted, thousands of emails going out, TV coverage-and soon someone called that they thought they had the palomino, Buddy. He was some miles away which gave us an idea of which direction to look in for the other horse as well.

It turned out that he did have Buddy-so that was one recovered, but one still missing. We kept up the barrage of internet and email notices. Before another 48 hours had passed, we had messages from one of the thieves-they wanted to give the other horse back because they couldn’t sell him! (Broke our hearts, let me tell you!) They dumped him in a woman’s pasture-she called the owners-and they went to pick him up.

What happens to the thieves? That’s up to law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office. Our team of volunteers was interested only in the well-being and recovery of the two horses-and we accomplished what we were there for.

Now-were we paid? Not in the usual sense, no. There is a very modest fee of $25 to file the report. For that they got 3 people working 12 hour days for 4 days. You do the math. I’d say they got more than their money’s worth. Video link-Henry and Buddy

Yep-it’s a wonderful world we live in.

 

Busy Time of Year-and Not Because of Holidays

boloI used to get into the whole Christmas-holiday thing-decorating, baking, going to see people, buying gifts, and all the whoop-de-do. Then I got older-the money got tighter and tigher, the little kids became big kids, some people actually DIED, and just maybe I got smarter? I don’t know.

But the older I get the less I do and the less I need to do. Oh, I enjoy getting a Christmas card or two-simply because I enjoy hearing from old friends. But truth be told-you can do that any time of year. We just don’t and Christmas gives us a reason to reconnect. That’s fine and I’m not down playing it. I just don’t have the postage money. I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat.

However, there are a few, well, I won’t call them ‘people’ because of what they do, but the word ‘jerk’ will do-who decide that they will ‘make some cash’ by taking advantage of all the distraction caused by the holiday running around to steal other people’s horses, cattle, trucks, trailers, and tack. Then they take this to the sales (with forged bills of sale and other documents) and sell quickly. OR in the case of the trucks and trailers, they might ‘chop’ them and sell for parts or scrap metal for profit. Turnover is generally 3-7 days. It is, essentially, free money-unles you get caught.

That’s where the organization that I volunteer for-Stolen Horse International or ‘NetPosse’-comes in. We try to make it impossible for these jerks to have the opportunity to sell by blanketing the entire area in notifications via social media, regular media, people handing out fliers, putting up notices, calling auctions, notifying dealers, etc.about the theft and what to look for. In essence, we super-saturate the area. In one instance that I know of, the thief told his girlfriend that the ‘internet has just blown up-we can’t move the product anywhere.’ That was the reaction we were looking for. We got those horses back within a week and he and his accomplice were both arrested and charged. We don’t have  the authority to arrest, but we were darn proud of getting the horses back.

If you want to be a part of this fantastic group of volunteers or just want to support the work that we do (it is a 501(c)(3)), click here.