Monthly Archives: February 2012

Training, torture – synonymous, right?

I’m sure many of you have already seen this photo floating around facebook, but do you know the story behind it?

This photo comes from a Hackney Stud in South Africa where their grasp of the concept of training has clearly been confused with that of torture.

Apparently the genius’s that thought this one up feel this “method” will help build those attractive neck muscles that we all love so much – you know, the ones that are typically the byproduct of proper training and self-carriage.

These people were investigated by the Highveld Horse Care Unit (HHCU) where the inspectors found out from employees that the horses stand tied up like this for two hours at a time, repeated throughout the day.  Unfortunately the article posted on HHCU’s website was pretty scint on details so we have no idea if anything is going to happen to this Stud, or if the horses are going to be saved or what have you.  There are a number of discussions taking place on different forums about this, however, so if you want to hear what others have to say, check out Horse Grooming Supplies Forum and/or Horse Forum.  Or, if you feel so inclined, there’s an online petition to the South African government to stop this assholery.

Even body builders will tell you that you don’t hold a pose for two hours!  Come on people!  Anyone who’s ever been to a gym or done a workout in their lifetime knows that you do reps, not just grab and hold.  The repetition is what contributes to building muscle.  The kind of muscle that torturous methods such as this build are bracing and of no practical use.  This is done for aesthetics, pure and simple.  These horses are going to break down at a younger age than those with proper training and muscling.  It’s a sad statement on the way the horse industry is, worldwide, that it’s more important to have a “pretty pony” than a working horse that will last you a long time.  Do these people, the buyers of these abused horses, not consider the fact that they’ll get more bang for their buck from a horse that will perform for 10 years, as opposed to 2.  And make no mistake, this is abuse.

This also raises another issue, are horses so indispensable that people will buy them, use them for 2 years and then throw them away?  Oh wait, we already know the answer to that one, don’t we?  The racing and futurities industries are prime examples.  You know, they say that different cultures have different values and it can be hard to understand their points of view, traditions, way of thinking, etc.  And yet, apparently the devaluing of animal life is ubiquitous.  Hooray, we all have something in common.  Wanna hug it out?

For anyone daring to question the harshness of these abominable “methods”, just taking a look at the photo.  You can practically see the veins pulsating from the horse’s shoulder.  For anyone who’s ever watched an episode of House, Grey’s Anatomy, Doogie Houser – even Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman knew that this was indicative of an elevated heart rate.  Since we know the horse didn’t just run a freaking marathon, I think we can safely conclude that the horse’s heart rate is elevated due to pain – possibly from the unforgiving twine forcing so much pressure on the poor horse’s jaw it looks like it might snap off at any second.  Can you imagine how much damage that can, and likely is, doing to the horse’s musculoskeletal structure?  For anyone who’s ever had a chiropractor (or any medical professional along those lines) out for their horse, you know that one of the first things they check is the temporomandibular joint.  If there’s something out of alignment in this joint, it can cause pain issues exacerbated by flexion at the poll – hmmm and how exactly were these Hackney’s supposed to be traveling?  Could it be: flexed at the poll?! How willing (able) do you think they’ll be to trot out in the proper headset, featuring those neck muscles those jackasses tortured them to get?

Anyone else recall one of the issues surrounding rollkur?  The fact that the extreme overbent position compromised the horse’s ability to inhale sufficient air? (Check out Sustainable Dressage’s article for more info on why/how this affects the horse’s ability to, umm, breathe.)

Look familiar?

Once again, horse abuse proves to be completely senseless.  Good job humanity, you really know how to make a girl proud to be a part of the species.  Bra-fucking-vo.

Honkytonk Badonkadonk

“(Quarter Horse people) like big butts and I cannot lie” – teeheeee Thanks a lot, Sir Mix-a-lot! (watch the video and thank me later lol)

QH peeps, please explain it to me!  Because I truly don’t understand why this is the current breed ideal!  Functionally speaking these horses are practically useless!

Functionally speaking, this horse is useless.  Seriously, she’s 10 and is “broke, but really broodmare sound-gets a litte stiff”.  Excuse me while I go get something else that’s a little stiff – I mean a drink! Jeez! Get your minds out of the gutter 😉

“I can’t tell if it’s the hugeness of her body that makes her look like she’s standing on tooth picks or not, but either way, it looks like two (possibly three) different horses all on one massive body.  On top of all that, she is of course experiencing what the owner refers to as “stiffness” so she’s not ridable. Oh and guess what? She’s only ten. But of course, she’s a superior halter horse so you could breed her and they are selling her for the low, low price of 1200. Yes, you too could have yourself a cow on toothpicks and then have more tiny cows on toothpicks. What a deal!!”

That’s from Emily, who emailed us about this ad from Dreamhorse.  Maybe it’s just Emily and I, but this horse sure ain’t our dream!

You know what IS my dream?  TRUTH IN ADVERTISING! Hmm let’s see what a google search for “”Vanilla Money” horse” returned, shall we?

Apparently ‘Vanna’ was for sale back in 2007 for $6000!  Back then, not only was she worth more but she was apparently born in 2004!  See ad here.  Apparently her birth date has since changed – although not for the better.  Psst!  Note to seller!  If you’re going to lie about your horse’s age, make it younger than it is,not older!

The one thing Vanna has going for her?  According to the seller she’s HYPP NN (given that he’s already lied about her age I’d get that double checked!) but she does have that oh so desirable HYPP NH look.  *facepalm*

Updated this last part – I was wrong about the coloring.  Had never heard of “medicine hat” before.  Thanks to Whitney for her comment on color genetics 🙂

Have you provided for you horse in your will?

Slightly morbid topic, I know, but I was reading this article from The Horse about 40 Arabians that were recently put into the care of Arabian Rescue Mission (ARM) [warning: if you go to this site, their homepage has a graphic photo of a dead horse] after their owner died.  Perhaps those crazy cat ladies who left $20k to Mr. Fluffybottom weren’t crazy after all!

According to the article, the owner went on the ultimate journey; the same one we’re all going to take sooner or later, in December 2011 and didn’t leave any provision in his will for the care of his horses.

The herd of Arabs has been looked after by a caretaker for 3 years as the, now deceased (in case that wasn’t previously made clear), owner returned home to India in 2008.  Apparently, even though the owner of the horses was ill and on another continent, they didn’t feel the need to  stop or even slow down the horse’s mass reproduction (those damn fornicators), seeing as the herd consists of foals and some of the mares may currently be pregnant.

I’m sorry if all this sounds callous, but something about this story just doesn’t sit right.  Even if there wasn’t a specific provision in the guys will for the care of the horses, he was obviously funding this operation from overseas (or it was making money – which in this economy, and given the upcoming details, would be slightly shocking) so why then did his family decide to stop funding it upon his death?  Logic would dictate that ownership of the horses would have transferred to someone and it would then be their responsibility to care for and rehome the horses, would it not?  Sure, the article says they’ve been trying since December, but according to this other article, apparently the horses have “been dwindling in health since their owner became ill”.  Methinks perhaps there be a few missing details to this saga.  Yarrr.

(directly from ARM’s website)

Directly from the rescue’s website:

“Many have never been touched, are not halter broke and have injuries. Most are not registerable, as they have been living in groups including young males, and some may be in foal.”

And you say it was a breeding operation?  Uh huh…

In another article the founder of the rescue is quoted as saying she hopes “nobody puts the owners or the guy who helped them down because they did the very best they could”.  That could well be the case in the time since the owner died.  However, this was not a responsible breeding operation, problems were certainly on the horizon, it was just a matter of time.  The “best they could” should have included halter breaking and gelding, at the very least.

There are definitely a few holes in this story.  But, then again, does it all matter?  Dudes dead, horses are now being properly looked after and rehomed (although, honestly, good luck with that!  Who wants an unhandled, unregisterable horse?).  Case closed, let’s move on to the next asshat.  There’s a long line, we don’t want to keep them waiting!

Ready? On three.  1…2…3…


WDC: Homework

It’s Saturday night, I have a migrain that this is what I feel happened to Sunday’s post:

I’m not sure who the cat and who the dog is in this metaphor, nor do I care as long as someone else gets blamed! 😉


(Y’all remember the movie, Hook? Ru-Fi-oooo)

So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share the videos I created for the ESMA awards! lol They’re very WTF because I made them less than 10 hours before they were due (8 of those hours were dedicated to sleep) even though I’d had 2 entire months to create them.  Yup, procrastination at its best.  So, out of desperation (and a bit of wine), creativity is born! Kinda.

and here’s the one I did for Fugly Blog

And the piece de resistance?


Brilliant right?  I submitted them for the Academy Awards as well – as if they weren’t already aware of them.  Fingers crossed Snarky Rider wins Best Blog! Failing that, I’ll settle for an Oscar. 😉

Mayor of the Quarter Horses!

When was the election? Why was I not notified?  I don’t typically vote but I feel I should have at least been given the option!  This is clearly an important topic that affects us all.  Did she run unopposed?  Were other breeds included? WHAT IS GOING ON?!

“very gentle quarter horse mayor with western style saddle for sale. very gentle anyone can ride her safe for all ages. or i will trade for a 16 f00t alum boat and trailer with motor she is about 13/14 hands high not real sure hoe to measure her

Dude, I gots ta tells ya, I got me no idear hoe to masure her neither.

All kidding (and hog tying) aside, the best I can guess is that Mayor is the horse’s name; but really, who’s to say?

If these people can’t figure out how to determine the horse’s height, what are the odds they possess the necessary brain cells to guesstimate age?  Perhaps that’s why none was listed in the ad?  You know, now that I think about it, honestly, how confident are we in their assessment of gender?  I’m just sayin’…

But hey, at least they’re safety conscious.  Just look at that barbed wire fence and nylon halter!  Awww dang.  That’s my bad.  That’s what you don’t want to see.  Sometimes I get confused.


Dear people selling horses that have barbed wire fencing:

If you think you can’t afford the horse now, imagine what will happen WHEN the horse hurts itself on this stupid-ass fencing!


Every horse lover on the planet.


Dear self:

Try not to have an aneurysm.  Thanks.




Eeep, I hope no one takes offense to the above political comments!  I’ve been told to keep my political comments to myself (which I refuse to do, if I want to vote for the Muppets I damned well will!).  While I’m the first person to admit (spoiler alert!) this blog operates in the realm of the horseworld, I was unaware that precluded me from making other snarky comments.  Gosh, shoulda read the rulebook before signing up.  All kidding aside, this is an issue that affects us all.  When is the next election and how/where does my horse start campaigning?  He has a great carrot reform that he wants to put to a vote.  Show of hooves, who’s with him?

[Cue live TV audience to apple sauce]

Weiner horse v2

You know those tables where you can insert a “leaf” when company’s over and all of a sudden your 4 person dinner table seats 8?  Oh, ok good. You do know.  Nope, didn’t bring it up for a reason.  Thought just popped into my head, that’s all.

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.  I’m just a little horse who wants to be looooooooooved.  I somehow managed to win my current owners a championship and yet they still want to be rid of meeeeeeeee.  I’m not sure why.  Sure, it could have something to do with the fact that my front end and hind end are in different time zones, but no one’s that superficial, right?  Looks aren’t impooooorrrrrrrrtant.  (But conformation is, or at least should be.)

Now, when you come to pick me up, please be sure to bring a full size trailer – none of that ‘oh it’s just a mini, it’ll fit in my van!’ stuff, because I won’t.  As you can see from my photo, I’m incredibly loooooooong.

All kidding aside, this little girl is for sale!

“2003 smutty buckskin mare.  33”. AMHA/AMHR. Gorgeous mover- amazing driving potential. Multi Champion halter mare. Easy to handle, loves to show.Daughter of world famous BTU- one of the top stallions in the industry! “

I was going to keep it going with the horse-talking-bit but then I saw that she is described as a “smutty buckskin”.  Really?  “Smutty”?  There weren’t a hundred other words you could have used?  You had to accuse her of being unwholesome?  How dare you impugn her character in such a manner.  You have practically accused her of being a harlot!  A Jezebel even! It’s downright hurtful.  At least provide proof! Until we see her in scantily clad halter we flat out refuse to believe it!


Alright, just to be clear, the owners have every right to sell her or any other horse.  And while I have made a snide comment about that, I don’t reeeeaaaaallllly mean it.  In case it’s not clear yet, this horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrse is long.  That’s it.  That’s the point of this post.  Thanks for coming!  See y’all tomorrow!

Juuuuuuuuuust kidding.  While she isn’t specifically being marketed as a broodmare, how many championship winning mares do you know that go on to be happy little lawn ornaments? NOT MANY! The likelihood of some jackass trying to squeeze a baby outta this mare is pretty damned good.

At least this little mini looks better than the last Daschund x miniature horse-thing!

ps.  her eyes freak me out!

Gentle Giants: Chase

A great horse…  for the RIGHT RIDER.

Chase is an eight year old Percheron Cross Gelding, who stands at 16 hands.  Chase came to us from New Holland, where he was purchased as a lead through.  He was pretty, sound, and a nice mover; but without a rider up he didn’t attract much attention from the crowd.  A cheap bid and he was coming home.

Chase is advertised as requiring an Advanced Rider.  Chase has, at some point in his life, developed a significant fear of being mounted.  He arrived to us this way.  Chase has been through nearly six months of professional training, and the problem is much better, but it’s still an everyday issue.  And it’s a significant issue.   The rider must mount with Chase’s eye turned in to see the rider, as well as to force him to circle when mounted rather than bolt away, which would be Chase’s preference.  The rider must mount in one smooth motion with no bounce, and they can not touch or hit him in the flank or rump, which will also result in sudden bolting.  You can mount from either side from the ground or a block, but you must always use this method.  You don’t have to be a perfect rider, but you must be calm and consistent, and be able to sit and relax and wait for him to come down on his own when he gets nervous.  (And yes, before anyone asks, of course he has been thoroughly vet checked top to bottom and this is not physical in origin.)  His ground manners are otherwise exceptional.

Once the rider is up, Chase rides well.  In fact, Chase really enjoys working and likes to ride.  He even likes to come in and work lunging.  This horse is not lazy.  He is currently learning bending and some lateral work, and he shows a real natural talent for Dressage.  He always tries to please and he is a very quick learner.  He trails ride nervously but OK.  All of this is openly disclosed in his description.  He’s a cute deep black with a fancy blaze….

….and he attracts all the wrong riders.  Gentle Giants actually has a solid definition of the skill sets we believe determine the classification a rider should place themselves in.  We have this on our application so interested parties can do a fair “self assessment” knowing what defines our parameters, and hopefully get a good idea of what we mean when we use the terms beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Our definition of an advanced rider is :”Comfortable and confident in all gaits over uneven ground and jumping 2 ft+ over uneven ground.  Understands and can train subtleties of riding such as leg yield, side pass, head set, changing stride lengths, and canter leads.   Able to handle severe behavior problems calmly, experience training problem horses or starting unbroken horses independently.” 

We do this to protect ourselves.  As an additional safety measure, we also require anyone who wants to test ride a green horse or a horse we classify as anything but “beginner” to take a test ride on one of our trusty dusty’s.  Sound like overkill?  Not from our end.  We have had people who come out to ride “advanced” horses who actually claim to be trainers, yet they can’t tack a horse unassisted, can’t adjust stirrups, and flop all over a horse.  One lady showed up decked out in custom made Italian tall boots and britches that combined likely cost more than my monthly mortgage, and I thought she actually might be the real deal.  And then she proceeded to put the crown of the bridle over the horses ears and attempted to try to stretch the bit over the horses muzzle and into it’s mouth.  Really.

So, when we say “advanced rider”… it’s because sometimes with an advanced horse, things like this happen:

Yeah.  We aren’t being “meanies” and we’re not being “snobs” that say everyone should be a perfect rider.  We want you to stay in one piece and have a horse you can safely enjoy.  So, here is a truly great horse who possesses an incredible amount of natural talent and an awesome work ethic, and he’d be a gem FOR THE RIGHT RIDER.  He could easily go mid-level dressage with the right person.

Note:  You might not be the “right rider” if you just watched a video that involved a $75 plastic stick and now you think you can fix this better than we can.   Just sayin’. 

I’d like to give you a concussion

Weird post title, right? Did it grab your attention? Make you click a link to read it? Pick at your curiosity until you just had to find out what the frak the crazy girl was talking about today?

GOOD! Job well done me! Ok, time to go home.

Crap.  Right, haven’t written anything yet.

Without further adieu, I give thee (pause for dramatic effect) repetitive concussion on a 3 year old’s knees! (applause)

Lily is a 3 year old TB mare; she is broke to ride and relatively calm. Lily is started to fences jumping at 2 foot 6 with a rider and 3 foot free jumping. Lily has been started English however has gone Western a couple of times. She is requiring a more experienced rider to continue her training; she just recently has become a little faster passed. She does have a 10 yr. old girl who rides her on a lung line and is good with her. She is not the typical hot TB however she has her moments. With time she will be a great kid’s horse. She is starting to accept the bit, and getting better in her transitions. Lily has a very slight club foot, however she is sound. She stands 15 hands (approx.) she really has a great attitude. She is easy to load, falls asleep when being clipped and is pretty good when having a bath. She is good for farrier, as I said a 10 yr. old tacks her up and does all that stuff, she is patient. Please contact me with offers on this beautiful girl.

Ps. this horse is for sale in Alberta, Canada (this’ll be relevant information later on!)

While there is no hard and fast rule for when to start a horse jumping, I’m pretty confident in saying that it ain’t at 3 years old – at least not 2’6″.  If you want to vary your training curriculum, some trot poles and maybe an “x” here and there can be great things!  But to be jumping your 3 year old 2’6″ with a rider and 3″ free is insanity!  You’re not just asking for joint issues, you’re going out to the department store and obtaining an ironclad rain check.  Even taking into consideration the fact that this mare is a Thoroughbred doesn’t excuse the owner’s disregard for the musculoskeletal structure of a young, developing horse.

Not interested in taking my word for it?  (That’s ok, neither would I.)  Then check out this forum and this one for other opinions.  Not interested in opinions?  Ok, here’s a well laid out article on growth plates and their general timeline for fusing.

The general opinion these days seems to be that because Thoroughbreds are raced from a young age it’s alright to start them for regular riding around the same time.  WRONG-O!  Does no one remember that racing Thoroughbreds carry jockeys?  Little, tiny people who weigh all of 115 pounds. No offense to the woman riding in the picture, but I doubt she weighs 115 pounds.

What’s this? Another sale picture?  Why wasn’t it included with the above?

Hmm, looks to me like this photo was taken on a nice, sunny day.  What’s that you say?  There aren’t many of those in Alberta during the winter?  Well maybe they got lucky.  Hold the phone!  She looks to be riding in an open field – shouldn’t it be muddy and show evidence of a massive influx of liquid, either by way of rain or snow?  Jump back!  You mean to tell me that they were jumping last summer! When the horse was a mere 2.5 year old?!  Shut the front door!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you yet another asshat who doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone.  One thing is for sure, taking your horse’s training slowly, allowing them to grow and mature, and letting their young muscles properly develop isn’t going to do them any harm in the long run – can the same be said for rushing a horse’s training?

[personal note: I think the word applause looks like “apple sauce”]

“Sturdy boy” – that’s one way to put it

Hi there I have a bay stud colt for sale he’s coming 3 halter broke, leads good, ties, picks feet, and loads. Have too many young horses to start so would like to see him go to a good home where he will be used to his full potential! Stands about 14 3 sturdy boy!

There’s something about this boy’s “sturdy” that just don’t look right.  (Not unlike the structure of the preceding sentence.)

The ad doesn’t come out and say it, but it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think this boy a Quarter Horse.   In that case, dare I say it? HYPP… Except, what is going on with that scrawny neck?  It’s like he has the body of a HYPP horse, but the neck of an unworked three year old.  At least part of him looks normal? -well, normal for his age/training.

Then, of course, if we’re accepting the assumption that he’s a HYPP QH, why the frak is he still a stud?  Those testicles aren’t going to remove themselves!

I’m getting a distinct feeling of deja vu – like we’ve had this discussion before…  HYPP bad.  Hasn’t earned right to keep balls.  Stupid people.  Easily eradicable disease.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Blah blah blah.

Etc. x 3 (I got tired of typing it out – not so much the length, but the repetition.)

What genius thinks it’s acceptable to leave a rope halter on?! If When your horse gets caught on something, it’s likely to panic and could break its neck.  Yes, that’s an extreme scenario but who would want to take that chance?  It certainly has happened, along with many other accidents involving halters getting caught on seemingly innocent objects or horses getting hooves caught in the halter like a mermaid in a fisherman’s net.

Next, have you ever seen an unhappier looking horse?  Ok, I’m sure you have, but that is one unhappy looking colt! He seems pretty young to me to look so jaded.  Can a horse look jaded or am I projecting again?

Anyone want to take bets on whether he’s out with mares?

I’m just waiting for the day when kijiji and craigslist meld into one big, giant, conglomerate of a website, going all Godzilla on other websites.  Or maybe craigigigi will Hulk-out and smash through firewalls galore! The horror!

%d bloggers like this: