At 26 years old and 14 hands high, Twiggy probably thinks she has seen it all by now. We’re sure she was once a model- she has the confidence and the stunning palomino color to prove it! She’s gained more than 330 lbs since her rescue from near- starvation and with all that additional energy, she’s been feeling like a million bucks lately. All she needs now is a home and a personal entourage! She’s on a special diet (naturally, after all, she is *better* than all those /other/ horses) to accomodate the few functional teeth she’s got left. She loves to chill out in the pasture with the other mares (we think they discuss their crispy limbs and the good ole days when they were wee youngins’ like those in the next paddock over). She is fit for light riding, and with her beautiful looks and rather mellow personality, she’s the kind of mare it’s easy to fall in love with- that special golden horse everyone needs around the barn! For more information about Twiggy, visit http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=MOHS2.A502747
I do believe animals and people can, through intuition and body language, communicate with each other in significant ways.
I do believe that animals are reasonably intelligent, and feel complex emotions like sadness, jealousy and happiness.
I don’t believe that animals are just furry versions of human beings,with the associated mental capacity that entails.
I don’t believe that a horse can psychically tell you “I have an abscess in my hoof.”
I don’t believe that you can change a horse’s behavior by just talking to it.
…but that’s what Asia Voight wants you to believe.
Asia Voight is an “animal communicator” who claims to be able to psychically talk with animals (and rocks and trees and ghosts) through feelings, words and pictures. I attended her seminar “7 Steps to Communicating With Your Horse” during the Midwest Horse Fair. It was her tenth year appearing at the fair, and it seems as though everyone in the audience loved her. Why wouldn’t they? She tells people they can easily achieve their ultimate dreams.
Asia told us we could become “horse whisperers,” on par with top trainers, in minutes. She said we could all learn to fix our horses’ behavioral problems, including bucking, biting, rearing, kicking, jigging and bolting, in an hour or two. Asia even said what we wanted most to hear: that if we simply learned how, we could hear our horses say, “I love you.”
How, you ask? Why, simply by tuning into the “morphic field” that everything gives off. This allows a transference of energy between beings that can result in true communication. To prove this, Asia put up a group of pictures on her Power Point display, including a radio dial, a tuning fork diagram, a television set with “rabbit ear” antennae, and a diagram of a sound wave. “This isn’t just some woo-woo stuff,” she said, “it’s all been scientifically proven!”
Asia then told a story about how one of her horses had come up lame, and when the vet came out, said vet couldn’t find the problem. He recommended that Asia trailer her horse into a vet clinic and get some more extensive tests done.Asia, of course, thought this was just silly: “I’ll just talk to my horse and find out what the matter is!” So she did (I’m not sure why she didn’t do this in the first place), and the horse clearly told her, “I have an abscess.” (Gosh, I wish my horse was smart enough to understand complex concepts like “abscess,” and “get in the damn trailer so we can go home now.”) The horse went on to describe exactly where it was by psychically projecting pressure onto the appropriate part of Asia’s hand.Sure enough, the vet checked more thoroughly and found the abscess, making further tests unnecessary. “I’ve saved thousands of dollars in vet bills,” Asia claims, “and you can too!”
It’s every horse-lover’s dream: a quick-fix for all training problems, fewer vet bills, and the ability to really talk to your fuzzy buddy, just like in all the Disney movies.
Uh huh. Riiiiiight.
I am not calling Asia Voight a scam artist, or a fake. Doing so would open me up to defamation lawsuits. Besides, I can’t say she doesn’t talk to animals. Hey, I’m a believer in weird stuff. Not necessarily her weird shit, but whatever.
No, what I’m doing is calling Asia a jerk, an asshole, a bitch. Regardless of whether she has psychic powers or not, she’s encouraging people to take dangerous shortcuts. She tells people that they can magically learn in minutes what professionals take years to understand. She doesn’t say don’t take your horse to the trainer or vet, but strongly implies that it’s usually unnecessary– those people are only there to help you out with the technical details if you want, after you’ve figured out the source of your problems yourself with psychic voodoo. Asia also anthropomorphizes animals to a dangerous degree. Most rational people know that horses get grabby about food and treats because they’re designed by nature to snatch as many calories as possible for survival, and that this trait can be exaggerated when horses are spoiled, i.e. allowed to chew on your coat pockets and knock feed buckets out of your hands. However, at last weekend’s seminar, Asia explained to one lady that her horse was constantly mugging her for food because of “emotional issues,” like maybe a lack of one-on-one attention. This woman didn’t need to do any actual work, like improve the horse’s possibly dangerous ground manners– no, all she needed to do was find out exactly what “emotional issue” it was via psychic communication, then reassure the horse. And remember, Asia tells people that all behavioral problems can be solved this way! Bucking, biting, kicking– all you need is to chat with your horse,then fix their emotional problems! Because we all know, don’t we, that horses can be reasoned with, just like people!
Of course, not everyone can communicate with animals as well as Asia Voight can. Which is why, throughout her entire hour-long seminar, Asia Voight tries to sell you her services. If you’re having trouble connecting with the “morphic field” around your animal, you can pay here a mere $150 for a half-hour phone call, during which she will psychically connect with your critter via a photograph (actual contact with the animal is apparently unnecessary). You can also buy her books, make personal guidance appointments, take her classes, participate in group phone calls, download mp3s, go on dolphin bonding trips, etc. etc. etc. During the seminar, after she had passed out signup sheets for some of her services, she said, and I swear this is an exact quote: “If you act NOW, I’ll give you this FREE eco-friendly tote bag, a gorgeous bottle of essential oil, AND a free group phone session!!”
What’s truly amazing is how good Asia Voight is at what she does. Thousands of rational, intelligent people pay for her services every year. In fact, at the seminar I attended, she was introduced by the University of Wisconsin Madison Dean of Admissions. The Dean has a lot of Siamese cats, and explained that Asia had talked to them, and in doing so, gotten the Dean to open up about a whole bunch of personal problems (which the cats apparently knew about). This is where Asia is a genius. If you just say you’re talking to animals, a la Doctor Doolittle, people will call you nuts. Asia Voight is successful because she asks the right questions, gets people to open up, validates their feelings, and then tells them how special their relationships are with their animals. It’s not really about the actual talking-to-animals thing at all; it’s about selling the empathy, the emotion, the idea that humans and animals can connect intimately in way they’ve only dreamed about. People want to buy that so badly.
In fact, people want to buy that idea so badly that nearly everyone I spoke to about Asia Voight defended her. Well, not Asia precisely; what they were defending was the ideal in their heads. I guarantee you, among the first dozen commenters here will be several that are angry because I’m somehow demeaning their connections with their animals, or demeaning their animals’ abilities. No. Wrong. I said it at the beginning, and I’ll say it again; I have no trouble believing that animals are emotional, reasonably intelligent beings that we can have some significant communication with. I don’t even care if you want to talk to your pet Mr. Fluffybutt like a person, throw him birthday parties and over-analyze why he pooped over there instead of his usual place.
What I object to is people like Asia Voight, who take advantage of our emotional needs in order to sell us high-priced psychic visions that may even endanger those who listen to them. I call bullshit, dangerous bullshit, on the idea that psychic conversation, not hard work, training, and vet visits, is the best basis for fixing things. I object to the idea that animals are humans in fur suits, and find it frightening that some people really do believe Mr. Fluffybutt is biting you because of daddy issues.
Asia has an answer for doubters like me. She says that if non-believers don’t want to have the kind of intimate relationship psychic connections can provide, then that’s fine– but we should leave her followers alone to harmlessly commune with God’s creatures. I wish that was all that’s involved. Lord knows this is America, where we all have the right to throw our money at whatever we damn well please. But what happens when Mr. Fluffybutt never does get properly trained, because his owner is convinced more talk therapy is the solution? Will someone get hurt? Will he bite a vet, or a bystander? Will he be surrendered to a rescue because the day comes when no one can deal with him? Will he ever be happy, having few or no boundaries, rules or leaders in his life? Will he ever be taught to do a job that will make him feel like he has a purpose in life?
Guest post by the North Horse!
When choosing a trainer for your young horse, you want to choose one who is focused
One who knows how to properly choose and fit equipment
A trainer who progresses your horse at an appropriate speed, keeps things moving forward. As opposed to those money-grabbers who move your horse soooo slooowwwwlllyyyyy, keeping your horse in training for as long as possible to wring every last dime from your pockets – sometimes upwards of 5 months!
Coincidentally, 5 months is the age of the horse in the photos – she’s advanced for her age. Clearly.
You want a trainer who has experience using rope.
Lots of rope.
Here’s a good tidbit: When looking for a trainer for your youngun, take a look at his other projects. Are they in good health? Have happy expressions on their face, like this one?
And most importantly, the trainer must have a plaid saddle pad to use its magical plaid powers to keep the saddle in place as the too large rider for the too young and underdeveloped baby attempts to haul herself atop this tiny creature.
I tip my hat, much like the little filly is tipping in the above photo, to your asshatery, Mr. “Trainer”.
There are very few topics we all agree upon (which is cool, the differences of opinions are what sparks debates!) but methinks this may be one. But, for arguments sake, I challenge y’all to come up with a counter argument! Let the pro’s weigh in on why the above documented training practices are acceptable. Come on! I dares ya! And it has to be realistic-ish! No aliens and no government experimentation (unless I comment about them. DIBS!)
ps. I am committed to making light of this, we’ve had too many poor little babies on Snarky Rider and Fugly recently.
Let’s say your an 86 year old man who has a horse and doesn’t know much about it. One day, your horse gets loose and, feeling frisky, heads over to a neighbors farm for some flirty-flirty with the stud-folk. You need to get her safely home, what to do you do?
a) Call a hauling service and incur the costs, but get your mare safely home.
b) Throw on some sort of headgear (halter, bridle, what-have-you) and walk her home, even if she is in an agitated state and you’re 86 and not exactly spritely.
c) Loop a nylon rope arond the horse’s neck and tie that rope to your pickup truck and pull/drag her home.
Well, which is it?
Dingdingding! If you picked ‘c’, you’re correct!
For full details on this most recent horrific horse event, please check out this interview from Eyewitness News 3.
This wonderful specimen of a horse owner wants us to believe there was “no malicious intent” when he tied his horse to his pickup truck and drove off. Apparently he couldn’t handle walking her and had no other way of getting her home to her breakfast and her apples.
Question: What kind of a person shows up to retrieve a rogue horse WITHOUT a halter?!
Now, here’s where my major issue with this story is: If the owner really, truly, harbored no ill-will towards this poor mare, then why didn’t he stop when he saw the horse was pulling against the rope? He must have known she was choking herself? She was obviously resistant to the idea of running behind a truck and he should have stopped and come up with a better idea before continuing to the point where she actually felland was dragged.
But hey, alls well that ends well because after experiencing being dragged, the mare decided she didn’t like it and was able to be walked the rest of the way home.
MY AUNT FANNY!
Is anyone else wondering what would have happened to that mare if those people hadn’t come along and stepped in? Would he have continued to drag her? Would he have let her get up and then tried driving off again?
You know what I find the most disturbing about this story? That is, aside from the blatant disregard for the horse’s safety and well-being, as well as the owners apparent inability to handle the horse, oh and his obvious lack of horse knowledge and experience? Is how he comes across as defensive rather than apologetic in that interview. Where’ s the remorse? The regret? My gawd, I lose sleep when I think my horse doesn’t have enough blankets on!
Unfortunately, the math of this man’s story looks something like 1 + 1 = 23. By my calculations, I just can’t get there!
By the way, if you’re so inclined, an online petition has been started to, shall we say, encourage the prosecution of this alleged horse abuser.
I’m feeling less than 100% and have a bad case of the stupids, sooooooooooooooo… hope these make you laugh! 🙂
Am I dense? A little thick in the skull? Problems comprehending? Wait, don’t answer that if it’s too mean 😛
The reason I ask is because I don’t understand the point of yet another riding gimmick (sent in by a lovely reader). [Remeber this “Revolutionary New Aid“?]
From the website: “Are your Hands soft and steady? Did you ever wonder how your hands are and how you could increase the sensitivity of and mental awareness for your hands?
This new training tool will help you to find out and work towards an even, soft and elastic rein hand. ”
“Start with the black 15 kg sensor and ride your usual routine. If this does not break, work with the next, more sensitive stripe (10 kg, red). Continue to work step for step towards the more sensitive stripes until you break one. This reflects the education level of your hands (and also that of your horse). Work for a couple of rides at this level, then work gradually towards the next, until no sensor stripes break anymore. Replacement sensors can be ordered separately for $7.00 (shipping & handling included).
You will have developed a new awareness for your hands and you will learn to keep the reins in a more steady and soft contact to the bit. The sensitive mouth of your horse will thank you!
Please take note: This is not a training tool for the horse. On the contrary, the horse you use for this exercise should be well educated. Nevertheless, most horses will noticeably appreciate your effort to have extra soft hands.”
So basically, you want me to buy this thing so I can know almost exactly, within +/-5 pounds, how much pressure I’m putting on my horse’s mouth?
WHAT WILL THIS ACCOMPLISH?!
Every horse is different! Some horses need less contact, others more. You, as a rider, should not be riding each and every horse with 2lbs of pressure (which is as low as this product goes so I assume they deem that to be optimal). Some horse’s like more contact. The thing that the rider really needs to pay attention is whether they are pulling vs. whether the horse is steady in the contact (and past that, if the horse is leaning on your hands). Both create pressure, and likely enough to break most of these “sensor strips”, but for two very, very different reasons. One is wrong, and the other is correct. BUT THE “SENSOR STRIPS” CAN’T TELL YOU WHICH ONE YOU’RE DOING! They just break. All they can tell you is that you’ve exceeded their tensile strength limit. Whoopty-freakin-do!
I despise, loathe, detest and find despicable these quick fix type gimmicks. They are most emphatically NOT a solution to a problem. There are certain situations where they may be beneficial in helping someone become aware of, and work towards fixing, a problem – but the gimmick itself is NOT the solution. Hard work, practice and the help of a good, qualified instructur are what fixes problems.
The only thing that can really, truly, “help you to find out and work towards an even, soft and elastic rein hand” is practice and lessons with a good, qualified instructor (mentioned twice and close together for repetitious benefit – ride with a good, qualified instructor! – especially if you have trouble with pulling on your horse’s mouth!).
Moonshadow is like that handsome, out-of-this-world musician we all fall in love with at some point in our youth. He just oozes charm and promises, sidling up to us and letting us believe we are the only person he thinks about, while secretly giving eyes to that other person standing way of there. Maybe they have something we don’t, after all, and maybe they’ll be able to give him more love, affection and treats. Maybe they won’t make him /work/ so hard. Truly, though he won’t always admit it, Moonshadow loves his work. He enjoys playing in the arena and out on the trail- adventures, after all, are interesting new experiences that he /must/ experience! Moonshadow is approximately nine years old and 13.3 hands high, dark bay and particularly stocky. Though he is NOT gaited, we believe he may have had some Peruvian Paso influencing a Quarter Horse lineage. He is boldly colored to match his bold personality- a personality far too easy to fall in love with, and deceptive if you are somebody who can be deceived. Treat him with respect and expect respect in return and Moonshadow will be your faithful companion for life. For more information on Moonshadow, visit http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=MOHS2.A475001
Like many Arabians, Jada is full of life, energy, speed, grace and love. She is on a journey to find her best friend and trail partner. At 15 years old, just over 14 hands high, Jada is a beautiful fleabitten gray mare, her coat accented by darker dapples. Intelligent, wise, and with the utmost confidence, Jada is not for the weak of heart or hand. She will test you, suspect you and tear you down, only to snuggle up to you, stomping, whining and throwing a hissy fit when you leave her standing alone. She loves to move, explore, and have adventures and as far as we know there is utterly no fear inside her brain. For more information on Jada, visit http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=MOHS2.A518037
Why would you spend $12,000 on a horse when you could buy a beautifulHyacinth macaw? I mean, it’s about as useful. Sure you can’t ride it, but maybe the 13 year old who doesn’t pay any attention to her horse would be mesmerized with her new plaything – at least for a few minutes.
Gypsy Vanner Gelding
Brooklyn is a 6 year old black and white gelding whose 13 year old owner does not pay any attention and he needs a new home. Rides and drives, good for ferrier, loads good, stands for bath, and my 5 year old daughter has been riding him for 2 years. Brooklyn is beautiful, he has two blue eyes and loves little kids. I’ve been giving pony rides on him lately, and he loves the attention. I have to many horses and I’m tired and need to spend less time doing barn chores and hang with my kids more. I am very negotiable at this time. I need him to go to a good home so I will need referances from a vet or ferrier that this beautiful guy will be taken care of.
That’s why you don’t buy kids a pony for their birthday! No matter how much they beg you! Horses are a privelege to be earned. That means lessons, stall cleaning, catch riding – prove that you’re committed to doing whatever it takes to ride and be around horses. Because if you can’t do that, how do you expect to be the sole owner of, and 100% responsible for, a horse of your own?
I know the common theory is to price horses on the higher side to avoid the KB’s but isn’t $12,000 a bit much? Especially for a horse who’s chief claim to fame is the fact that it’s a Gypsy Vanner?
Did I miss the memo or something? Why are these horses being priced so high? Do you remember the one that I included in the rank the fuglies post? That one was $14,000, if memory serves. Seriously, if you search equine.com for Gypsy Vanner’s you’ll find horses ranging from $4,000 to $14,000. And yet, if these horses were Thoroughbreds, or any one of a number of other breeds, exhibiting the same level of “skill” as these horses, they’d be selling for peanuts.
PS. That $14,000 horse is listed as being 1.5 years old and a “beginner/family propect”.
Quarter Horse Chestnut Roan Two yr old – $200
Two year old filly halter broke, saddle-able, and ground trained has been sacked out shes a little spooky but just needs more work I don’t have the corrals to break her. she is out of registered stock but no papers. is bred to a bay overo paint to foal October 20th $200
You don’t suppose that when they said “corrals” they actually meant “cojones“, do you? 😉
Ugh, I don’t know why I’m cracking jokes and throwing down winky faces. This is gawd-awful! We debate breaking a two year old and yet here’s the epitome (that’s a little bit of hyperbole for ya, especially given what else is going on in the horse world) of stupid breeding a two year old! You don’t even know what her final conformation is going to look like! She still has growing and development to do – which you’re likely going to stunt by forcing her to carry and birth a foal! (Funny side note: When typing “birth” I accidentally typed “bitch”. Hmmm I wonder if that’s like a Freudian slip of the fingers?)
Why, oh why, did they breed her for an October foal?! Who wants to deal with a brand new baby coming into winter? Makes you wonder if it wasn’t an accidental pregnancy? And then, like the hard ass father of a rebelious teenage daughter who gets herself preggers, he wants that little harlot gone from his sight!
“Fillies become sexually mature at around 18 months old, and can foal as two-year olds. However, they are still growing at this age, and pregnancy may hinder their growth. Ideally, mares should not begin breeding until four years of age (to foal at five years), although some are put in foal when they are three.” -from Horses and Horse Information.
But apparently there’s another school of thought which says it’s actually ok for even younger fillies to breed. However, breeding younger mares was seen to produce smaller horses. Check out this Q&A on The Horse – note that the answer is from an equine behaviorist, not a veterinarian, and also she’s discussing wild horses in a herd – not an unpapered filly in someones backyard.