Archive for June, 2012

It seems strange to have to ask anybody reading this if they like horses.  It’s a blog all about horses in one way or another.  However, I know some of my most avid readers are PSAs and I really do wonder if they like horses all that much.  No, I’m not talking about how horses taste, I’m talking about the animal.  When you’re driving and you see a horse in a field do you slow down a little just to look?  Have you watched countless crappy movies and TV shows just because they were about horses?  How about vacations?  Do you even remember what one is, and if you do, does it tend to revolve around horses in one way or another?   I’m certainly not suggesting that you have to run around like a prepubescent horse crazy girl in order to like horses.  I’m just wondering if a lot of the more vocal PSA crowd have any appreciation at all for them.

The main reason I wonder is that some people are fighting so hard and so dirty to see that slaughter-house re-open.  Sure, they’ll tell you it’s all about the welfare of the horse, but I don’t really believe that.  I think it’s really more about winning for some.  Right now there is some obscure poll being posted around about whether or not people want that slaughter-house in Rockville to open.  It would seem the PSAs are very invested in it as I’ve seen them rallying people to go and vote and then gleefully reporting back as their numbers rise.  I’ve even seen some of them tell people to clear their cache on their computers so they can keep on voting.  Why?  What does that stupid little poll matter beyond waving it around and saying you won?  It won’t change legislation and it’s not going to have any influence on whether or not that plant opens.  It just gives them something to run back to their bat caves with and crow about.  It seems to escape them that in an actual election or real poll, they will only have one vote each.  Oh well, let them have their fun.  Simple pleasures for simple people…

On a more serious front is the issue with horse rescues.  I’ve seen a number of PSAs that claim to either run a rescue or at least be into rescue, but I’ve seen a great number actually voice contempt for rescues.  They whine that people give sanctuary to old horses that can never be anything other than pasture puffs, they moan about rescues asking for donations to sponsor a horse they deem unworthy.  Guess what?  They are ASKING for donations.  They aren’t holding a gun to anybody’s head and making them give them money.  I have been known to throw coins in a cup for a busker of my own free will.  Why can’t I give money to a rescue if I choose?  It’s MY money.  I earned it and I’ll spend it however I want.  I suppose spending it on beer and manicures is more acceptable to some people.  Some PSAs get so worked up over rescues asking for donations that I have actually seen them attempt to interfere with them to varying degrees.   How is that helping any horse? If you don’t like it, don’t donate and move on.

Some PSAs are so blinded by their need to `win’ this issue, that they will throw support behind anything as long as it is contrary to what the anti-slaughter side believes.  One of the more disgusting and strange examples was the UH’s decision to support Nancy Skakel.  This is a woman that has a long history of neglecting her horses and needing intervention.  She has been indiscriminately breeding her horses without any real income to be able to sustain them.  She has judgements and defaulted payments dating back to 2002 if you look her up.  Yet, despite her financial issues and inability to properly care for her animals, she continues to breed.  So, what does the brain trust of the UH decide to do?  They blame the rescues trying to get her skinny horses to safety.  Now the rescues are STEALING her horses even though she was charged with animal cruelty in the FIRST DEGREE,  the UH decide to ignore all that and use this to push their agenda saying it was about their `rights’ as owners.  They even set up a fund where people could donate to help poor Nancy keep on abusing and neglecting her horses and organized a work party.  So, rescues are bad, but it’s perfectly fine to beg for money and labor to assist somebody who has been charged with cruelty and several other minor violations to do with her lack of care.  According to the PSAs her neighbors should be ashamed that they didn’t go over there and enable her further. Seriously PSAs, is this the best you can do for a poster child?

From the majority of things I read on the PSA side it really appears that they have no interest in working out an alternative to slaughter.  They won’t listen or work towards a solution.  Maybe it’s because that would mean that they shouldn’t just breed anything and everything.  Maybe it means that they won’t be able to cash in on the horse meat market.   I just think that if you liked horses even a little bit, and that is liking the animal and not what they can do for you, you would likely put your energies into making things better for them and not fighting so hard to bring back a solution that most agree is not exactly ideal.  If you really had any compassion for horses you would not think that even `minimal’ suffering was ever good enough.  So many PSAs will tell you that they would never send their own horses to slaughter.  That alone tells me that they are hypocrites.  If it will be as painless and non-traumatizing as they claim, why wouldn’t they save money and do it that way? Maybe because they just don’t care about horses all that much.

I will leave this quote from John K. Griggs DVM

“From the time a horse is picked up by the killer buyer he is meat on the hoof, and that is the way he is treated. In a journey which can take days, or occasionally weeks, he is jammed into trucks, often where he cannot even stand, and left to fend for himself among a load of other terrified horses. Some of these horses actually have fractures and are in great pain. USDA regulations state that they can go 28 hours without food and water (bad enough) and even this is unenforceable. When the horse reaches the slaughterhouse, death is by captive bolt, and if anyone thinks this always works the first time, we have a film they should see. As a veterinarian I realize the inevitability of euthanasia in certain cases, but to equate the slaughter process with humane euthanasia is the height of hypocrisy.”

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One of the things about the slaughter wars that has bothered me the most is the assertion that the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) was in support of horse slaughter.  It was disturbing to me because I could not understand how an association of people who presumably want to help animals, could underwrite something that has proven to cause suffering.  So, as usual, I got to digging around a bit.  Instead of things becoming clear for me, they became very muddy indeed.  It would seem that the AVMA may be more about the money than the animals.  At any rate their support of slaughter is weak at best.

According to their website, the AVMA they aren’t as 100% pro-slaughter as Slaughterhouse Sue and Captain Douchebag would have us believe.  Here is a direct quote off their FAQ as to their stance on slaughter:

“Until suitable short- and long-term solutions to address the welfare issues associated with unwanted horses are in place, we believe that none of the options for dealing with unwanted horses – including slaughter – should be eliminated. We would prefer to see horse slaughter cease in the U.S. when and if there are NO MORE unwanted horses to justify its continued existence, but that’s not realistic at this time.”

So, they are not in support of the ban on it, but they have placed some heavy qualifiers on things as you will see if you go through their FAQ page that I have linked.  They admit that basically the same number of horses have been sent to slaughter after the ban as were being slaughtered before. If you follow that logic, slaughter did not eliminate or even lessen the problem of unwanted horses and little has changed since the ban.  They also go on to say that enforcing abuse and neglect laws can be difficult.  If that is the case, how on earth do they propose that they will be able to monitor and enforce humane practices in slaughter houses when they weren’t able to accomplish this before? They have a lot of information and opinions on their site and it would probably bore the hell out of people to rehash it all here, so I’m going to leave a link to their FAQ.


So what about this AVMA that won’t support a ban on slaughter and who are they?  It turns out that they primarily are made up of vets that treat companion animals.  On their own website, this blurb can be found:

In addition to caring for the nation’s more than 70 million dogs, 80 million cats, 11 million birds, 7 million pet horses, and millions of other companion animals, veterinarians serve in medical research, prevention of bio- and agroterrorism, and food safety and contribute greatly to scientific breakthroughs throughout the world.

Notice the wording of `PET’ horses.  Not cattle, not hogs, not livestock, but PET horses.  Even they admit that the classification of horses as pets or livestock is a grey area.  It should be noted that Dr. Ron DeHaven , the executive vice president was in charge of puppy mill inspections for the USDA during a time that citations were very rarely issued.  The AVMA does not have a great track record of backing up their stances it would seem.  Even with monitoring the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, of which they are very much opposed,  they have been relatively ineffectual at ending this practice stating `budget constraints’.  I don’t know about you, but I can foresee them saying `budget constraints’ if slaughter houses reopen and it comes out that nothing has changed.

Thankfully, we have Veterinarians for Equine Welfare.  They have elected to take an anti-slaughter stance and join in the fray on behalf of the horses.  Their website www.vetsforequinewelfare.org has quite a bit of information on it.  Their `about’ page states:

“Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was created by a group of veterinarians* from all disciplines who are concerned about misinformation being transmitted to the public regarding the national debate on horse slaughter.  We believe that our profession’s integrity is being undermined by the hard line stance of a few misinformed individuals whose opinions have been swayed by unfounded logistical concerns as opposed to what should be a primary concern for animal welfare.  Veterinarians should put animal welfare at the top of their priorities, not relegate it to an also-ran concern.”

I may be biased, but this sounds more along the lines of the stance I would expect any vet to take.  This is a relatively new organization born out of a genuine concern for the welfare of all horses.  They assert that equating slaughter with humane euthanasia is unethical and they do have video clips of both on their site.  It is the united opinion of VEW that horse slaughter is inhumane, and that it is an unacceptable way to end a horse’s life under any circumstance  If you still don’t believe that, I suggest you do watch some of their short video clips and decide for yourself how easy it is to accurately place a captive bolt on a frightened horse.

While the FAQ on the AVMA speaks in generalities and doesn’t really come right down to the ugly realities, the VEW’s white paper goes into detail on why slaughter is inhumane, including the use of the captive bolt. According to the AVMA’s own guidelines, the head of the animal to which the captive bolt is being applied must be restrained[2] or still and a highly skilled individual. In the slaughterhouse none of these best case scenarios are in place: the horse is most likely panicked, its head is unrestrained, and the person administering the captive bolt is a low-paid worker who is expected to move horses through the kill line at high speed. Herein lays the controversy surrounding the use of the captive bolt in horse slaughter.”  Neither UH or AVMA have bothered to explain to anybody how they plan to address these issues.  They just say that they will.  Going by how transport for slaughter is being monitored, I’m not buying it.

If you are really interested in reading another viewpoint besides the one endorsed by United Horsemen and Slaughterhouse Sue, please take the time to read the VEW White Paper http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/white_paper.php

So, who are you going to believe?  VEW or AVMA?  My guess is that people will choose whichever one backs up their own agenda as that is human nature.  I’ve seen some people say they have become `pro’ because they see no other option to address all the neglected, unwanted and unsuitable horses.  They choose to believe that promises will be fulfilled and that slaughter will somehow become humane.  I would like those people near the fence to read very carefully what is being promised.  Nobody has promised that there will be no suffering.  They said there will be MINIMAL suffering.  What does that even mean?  Is that like being minimally pregnant?  For me, any amount of suffering is not acceptable.  We have laws in place for cruelty to animals and yet, by opening slaughter houses again, we’re going to make cruelty ok under some circumstances.  How is that ok?

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Conspiracy Theories

Who doesn’t like a good conspiracy theory?  I know I do for amusement purposes.  I tend to give them about as much weight as I would a headline from The National Enquirer, so it always astounds me to learn that some people really believe them.  Some even believe them passionately.  Such is the new world order in the slaughter wars; conspiracy theories abound.  They are especially mind boggling when they come from the PSA side of things.  Two of the trademarks of being a PSA is to leap to conclusions and make sweeping generalizations.  Shout out your misguided idea as fact and attempt to hammer any opposing views into submission by getting all your internet buddies to chime in.  Rinse, repeat as often as necessary.

A week or so ago, I began to see people mentioning some video going around.  Word was that it originated from the anti-slaughter side of things and featured a horse being hit with a captive bolt, multiple times.  Apparently it was hit 26 times.  I did NOT click on a link for it.  I have done my research into horse slaughter and seen enough slaughterhouse footage.  I had no desire to watch another one be tortured to death.  I find things like that gut wrenching, no matter if it is driving home a point for the anti-slaughter movement.  So, as disturbing as this video reportedly was, I also began to hear some conspiracy theories around it.  Mainly that the video was staged to support the anti-slaughter side of things.

“I would think that it would have to be staged. From what research I have done, 26x seems extremely excessive and I can’t imagine a processing plant wasting that much time on an animal-I’m sure they would have gone to plan B long before that.”

At 2:19 the “bolter” looks directly at the “undercover” camera”

What bothers me more than anything else is the knowledge – by someone’s admission years ago – that they would provide proof to defend their stance – even if it meant hurting a horse to get that proof. That’s what really really bothers me about all this hoo-hah by EZs and ARs: for them, the end justifies the means. “


Oy Vey!  Where do I even begin with this?  PSAs accuse anybody that is anti-slaughter as being an `emotional zealot’.  They say we anthropomorphize our horses and live in a perfect make-believe world where they fart glitter or something.  So where in all that do you suppose any of us would ever be able to do something like that?  To even suggest something like that is pure projection on their part.  To suggest something so entirely bizarre means that is something YOU would consider.  To suggest the motive is about winning, says more about the you than it does the ones you accuse.  You leap to these conclusions because YOU are wired like that.  Can’t we all just agree that what happened on that video is unacceptable on any level and no matter what your stance is, that we should make sure that this never happens to a living creature? Probably not.  PSAs have trouble owning their evil at the best of times.


You have been living in a bubble if you haven’t heard about the wildfires devastating Colorado right now.  Thousands of humans and animals have lost their homes and it’s not over yet.  One of the pictures being posted around the net is of loose horses on the road with the fire glowing in the sky behind them.  Nobody denies this is tragic and horrific, but leave it to the PSAs to keep things classy in the face of tragedy.  I’ve actually seen them posting that they we should all pray that all horses are returned to their RIGHTFUL owners and that fraudulent rescues don’t use this tragedy for financial gain.   I’m currently on the fence as to whether this statement is profoundly ignorant or pure evil.  What I’m not on the fence about is that it displays an extreme lack of class to use something so tragic to push your agenda. What kind of petty mindset even allows a person to `go there’?  Set down your sabres and help these people and animals.  If you can’t go help, send up some prayers for them, good vibes or whatever your particular beliefs are.  I guarantee that nobody in the midst of this tragedy is giving a single thought to the slaughter issue right now.

Another common conspiracy theory I have seen batted about lately is that rescues are stealing all the horses from poor little 4-H kids.  Yup, those evil, deep pocketed rescues are lurking at every horse sale just so they can buy a good mount out from under your kid.  Ridiculous!  I have sat at many sales that rescue people were present at.  Generally, they know who the kill buyers are and will watch what they are bidding on.  They tend to jump in only  if there is no live bid other than the KB.  They don’t usually have deep pockets and they actually don’t want to bring every last horse home.  They all have different criteria of what horse or horses they will prioritize, but they aren’t there to steal a good horse from a 4-H kid.  The odd one may take one out from under you if you are known to be an asshat that consorts with KBs.  I also know how heartbreaking it is for them that they can’t save every last one from the KB.  Cue shrieking and testimonies about all the times rescues have done just this and how it’s not `rescue’ if they buy the horse.  That is a whole other subject that will be addressed here fairly soon.

These are just a few conspiracy theories I have seen floating around lately.  If I could give one piece of advice to the PSAs and have them listen, it would be that most of us on the anti-slaughter side of things don’t view this as all about them.  For most of us, it’s about the horses and their welfare.  Nothing more.  The PSA contingent is like a swarm of fruit flies.  Very annoying, but certainly not driving our actions beyond when we actually are forced to deal with them to get legislation passed and look out for the welfare of every horse, not just the chosen few as they would have us do. I’m sorry that our belief that there are better options than slaughter threaten them so much………..Ok, maybe not…..


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…..for some light housekeeping duties.  Comments will remain unmoderated and free speech is still welcomed.  From ALL sides.  What is not welcome is post bombing and spamming.  As a result I’m having to give a time-out for a few days to our buddy daphne.  Perhaps she will learn a little self-control and that this blog is not her personal playground.  I don’t really care if she chooses to return or not as I know her face will continue to remain pressed up against our window….



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A month or so before Christmas, I received a letter in the mail regarding one of my horses.  It asked if I would like to list him in the breed stallion directory.  Apparently, there had been some inquiries about him.  Imagine my surprise considering I purchased him as a gelding and other than getting his papers transferred and making sure my information was correct on there, I never looked all that closely at them. I’ve had this horse for quite a while.  It would seem that his original owner forgot to update his papers when she gelded him.  He never went through any testing to be approved as a stallion, so I assume he was gelded young.  I also don’t follow the bloodlines of his specific breed, so I wasn’t aware that he is considered very well-bred.  I know I wouldn’t breed to him.  It isn’t because he is badly put together,he’s not.  He’s actually a pretty nice example of his breed standard.  I wouldn’t breed to him because he isn’t exceptional nor has he done much to `prove’ himself worthy of anything other than being my toy.  I do know he had some accomplishments under his belt prior to the second owner getting him and that’s about it.  It doesn’t make him worth any more or less to me that somebody thought he was well-bred enough to inquire about breeding to him.  I love him just the same. I do think the person that inquired needs to give their head a shake though.  They had never even SEEN my horse.  This brings me back to the backyard breeding problem.

Almost without exception, I hear backyard breeders telling me how well-bred their horses are.  They will start spewing off names of former greats and hall of fame horses.  They will puff out their chests and tell you the horse has Easy Jet, Dash for Cash, Doc Bar,Seattle Slew etc. in their pedigree.  They become indignant and angry when you fail to show the appropriate amount of enthusiasm for this.  In these cases, we are talking about horses born more than 30 yrs ago.  Most of them have been dead for more than 20 years.  Who cares if they are on the pedigree if they are more than two or three generations back?  Even then, who cares if the generations in between haven’t accomplished anything?  EVERY stallion, no matter how prolific, has thrown a few substandard foals.  Every single one.  Being the son of or the son of a son of a world beater DOES not mean well-bred.  Even my own horse has Northern Dancer on his papers.  He isn’t even a Thoroughbred and if you could see his 17.2H bulky self, you would never believe it if it wasn’t right there on his papers several generations back.  It means absolutely nothing that far removed.  He probably can’t outrun a fat man going down hill nor would any of his babies have been able to had he been left intact.

Believe it or not,  I am considered to be a complete pedigree geek by people who know me when it comes to Thoroughbreds.  I consider The Blood Horse Stallion Register light reading material and I have spent uncountable hours looking at walking videos and past performance figures.  Of course I realize all breeds are different, but basic and sound breeding principles are the same.  Without a doubt, the most important part of a pedigree is the bottom side or dam side of the pedigree.  If you start off with a substandard mare, you have exactly nothing as far as value, unless the foal can grow up to prove their own value.  If you are breeding to sell, and most TB breeders are, you better have a good `page’ on the horse or you will end up broke in a hurry.  This means there better be black type within the first two generations, preferably all generations, and the sire better be fashionable.  All this will mean nothing if the baby doesn’t look the part, so you best be making sure you are breeding for conformation as well.  A classic example of this is this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another.  There is a reason he didn’t sell for much money as a yearling and as a two year old.  While he had the `blood’ on the bottom side of his pedigree, there wasn’t much in the way of black type close up and his sire is considered cheap by industry standards.  I’ll Have Another himself, is an unremarkable specimen and very much on the small side.  As a result, he is now headed to Japan to begin his career as a sire because there just wasn’t anybody in Kentucky that felt he was worth as much money or willing to support him with quality mares as the Japanese were.

Even when all the boxes are checked and you think you are breeding the next superstar, things can go wrong.  It happens to everybody as some time or another.  The very best horse in the world, with a great pedigree may turn out to not throw much.  There was a horse called Gentlemen, that was a prime example.  He was a grandson of Nureyev, beautiful, and went on to win over 3.5 million dollars racking up several Grade I scores along the way.  I’ve seen him in person several times.  He has also been a colossal flop as a sire.  This is despite having the very best mares on the very best crosses to stand to.  For whatever ever reason, he has never been able to transfer his brilliance to the breeding shed. He is still standing at stud, but there probably isn’t a commercial breeder that will touch him, and they shouldn’t.  His babies don’t fetch in the sales ring and they don’t perform on the track.

I can already hear the shrieking from the PSA Backyard Contingent that this means nothing and I don’t know Quarter Horses.  Guess what?  I do know a little about QHs although I’m no longer involved with breeding them.  I worked with running QHs way back when and still have friends and family that are heavily involved with both racing and showing.  Sound breeding principles are the same.  Breed the best to the best and hope for the best.  That means that even if you love your badly put together, done nothing,  mare in the back 40, you have NO business breeding her unless you plan on hanging onto that baby for life.  You especially have no business breeding her or your nickel bred stud if you are pro-slaughter because, according to you, there are all these unwanted horses and good, papered babies are going to kill buyers for $15.  Breeding is very much `what have you done for me lately’ and nobody cares who your horse traces back to if there is nothing of note in the first few generations.  Period.

I could devote an entire blog to the ins and outs of breeding horses.  I’ve barely touched on important things like conformation, form to function, etc. etc., but even though there are many books written on the subject, it’s one of those lifelong learning things.  The bottom line is that if you are a PSA and you truly believe that there is a glut of unwanted horses and the market is gone, then you are part of the problem if you are a backyard breeder.  Sadly, it takes a modicum of self-awareness to realize that you are a backyard breeder and we all know that PSAs are pitifully deficient in that area.

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As we all know, Naughty Tobiano aka Mendy is one of the louder blog voices for the aspiring horse eater faction.  Despite dodgy research and questionable logic, she continues to post up blogs featuring all the reasons we should give her and her PSA buddies our blessings to torture and eat horses.  Facts be damned, she will tirelessly search the internet looking for some obscure study to twist around in order to back up her lunacy and then post it all up as fact.  One of the things NT likes to accuse Anti slaughter people of is anthropomorphism, which is where one assigns human characteristics to other animals, living things etc. etc.


My problem with the concept of anthropomorphism is that it is not clear what traits are or should be exclusively human. I think for most purposes, the human trait in question, as it pertains to horses is emotions.  Dr. Temple Grandin feels that most animals do have simple emotions such as fear, rage, discovery, confusion, gain, loss, happiness and depression.  She does not think that animals are capable of complex emotions such as shame, guilt, embarrassment, greed, respect and contempt.  Clearly, Dr. Grandin has never met my dog.  Seriously, I have to disagree with some of that.  I do believe animals are capable of many of these complex emotions.  I’ve read Dr. Grandin’s books, I’ve attended a lecture of hers.  She’s quite brilliant at many things.  However, I think her understanding of emotion is hampered by her own autism in some cases.  Before you start hollering that I am anti-disability, please understand that on the autism spectrum most often times, emotions are not processed the same as other people.  The one base emotion that is almost always lacking is empathy.  This is also an emotion that animals are not capable of.  It’s too abstract.  I’m not sure that horses feel love like we do, but rather develop a trust and dependency whether that is on a favorite pasture buddy or a person.  I do know that horses are very `in the moment’ with any of their feelings.  They don’t spend a lot of time worrying about tomorrow or rehashing what happened yesterday, yet they will have a long memory when it comes to self preservation.

One of my current horses was severely abused in a former home.  Despite the fact I never carry a crop or wear spurs, he remains traumatized by the mere sight or sound of a whip snapping.  It can be quite interesting riding in the arena with somebody else using a crop.  He doesn’t associate me with a whip or any other kind of pain or trauma, so he rides and handles beautifully for me.  He always comes when he’s called and has never so much as lifted a foot in my direction.  With anybody else, he is nervous and reactive.  Does that mean he loves me more than anybody else?  Probably not, although it would be nice to think that.  What I really think is that his self preservation instinct has allowed him to trust me and feel safe with me.  Time and consistency has taught him that I am not a threat to him.  Because he doesn’t have to `worry’ about harm with me, he can focus on what I ask him and be a wonderful partner. It took a very long time to get there with him.  I imagine had I tried to force the issue with him, he would have ended up one of those `bad’ or `unsuitable’ horses that need to go to slaughter.  In fact, he was labelled that way when I bought him and was actually one day away from getting on a truck bound for a slaughter house in Canada.  Six years later and many happy rides, I still shudder to think what might have been for him.  For me, he is the face of slaughter.


Now, getting back to our horse eating buddy, Naughty Tobiano.  She likes to accuse us all of riding glitter farting unicorns and shitting rainbows only because we feel real empathy for the plight of horses that are shipped to slaughter.  She makes this argument all about eating the meat, when in fact for me and most people I talk to, our problem with slaughter is the suffering that  horses have to go through for it.  The horse does not care what is done with it’s remains, they do care a whole bunch about pain and suffering though.  NT has ridiculed us in her blog for thinking horses think like humans.  I’ve never said that they do, nor have I seen other anti-slaughter people do that, but if she says it, it must be true.  So, tell me what this ridiculous prose that she uses on her `about me’ page on her blog is, if not anthropomorphism?

“He was a bad horse.  He bit.  He kicked.  He struck.   He trotted to a rhythm in his head that only he could hear. And, he loved her dearly, fiercely.  He once galloped into a field where she was trying to get her mare with another horse kicking and acting like an ass.  He galloped in, protecting her from a kick, taking a full mule style kick to his side and then driving the other horse to the ground in a fashion the likes of which I have never seen.  He would challenge her every day but you better run if you went after her.  This horse, the real naughty tobiano, loved his owner with all his heart and soul.  As she loved him.  It didn’t matter how bad he was (and she never made excused for him or didn’t discipline—but she did accept this “bad” attitude as who he was), she never gave up on this horse.  Three years before his death, a change began to come over the NT.  He was mellowing and it was a joy to watch him nicker in delight upon seeing his owner.  It was shocking to watch her gallop him through a field with nothing on—no halter, no bridle, no reins.  Magic that only a few witnessed and was never paraded around on youtube or training videos.  No advertising from that planet so many of today’s horsemen find themselves from—you know the one:  “Planet Look At ME!!”  I wanted the NT trip and fall in a field once with her on his back.  He ripped his shoulder making sure he did not land on her.  And, when she did not get up, he charged those of us wanting to help her and laid down gingerly next to her.  Had I not witnessed it, I would not have believed it.

If people and horses can be soulmates—-which I think there is that possibility—-the NT and his owner were as close to it as possible.  The NT’s farrier once said, “I have heard tales of the one owner horse and having been thrown by the NT 15 times, he is one of them.  Pray he dies before she does.”

She retired her use of his name when he died and I watched her nearly die from the loss.  I hope she will share a dream that she had that pulled her out of the dark place she was going—it is inspiring and reflects that even in death, he continued to be a naughty horse.  For it’s his spirit that lives in his former owner and his spirit that drives the actions of this blog now.”

Yes dear readers, this is hypocrisy at its finest.   If this was to be believed, this horse was the Black Stallion, Trigger, and Mr. Ed all rolled into one.  Talk about gilding the lily!  If you ask me, this is just one great big load of unicorn crap!


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“The answer is simply, yes. Humane and regulated horse slaughter is, in fact, the only solution that protects the well being of horses while preserving owner rights, and stabilizes the industry. It is the only moral and ethical way to deal with excess horses that nobody wants, and who otherwise get turned out to fend for themselves in harsh deserts, kept in the pasture or corral until they starve, or killed and left to rot in a ditch at a total loss and waste to everyone, not to mention a significant environmental problem.” ~Slaughterhouse Sue

As we all know, Slaughterhouse Sue considers herself to be a poet and creative writer.  I guess this fact is lost on her blind followers.  The above quote paints quite a picture, wouldn’t you agree?  One of the hallmarks of being a PSA is sweeping generalizations and speaking in absolutes.  So, if we are to take her statement at face value, truckloads of horses are being turned loose, there is pastures upon pastures of starving animals and our ditches are filled with decomposing horses.  She’s all concerned about the environment even though she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what her proposed slaughter plant is going to do to an entire community, environmentally or economically.  Very convenient!

The fact is that yes, some people do turn their horses loose to fend for themselves.  It’s kinda how we ended up with wild horses in the first place if you want to go back in time far enough.  Personally, I don’t think it’s a great option or humane to do to a domesticated horse, but it does happen.  I know a guy in Canada that used to go catch `wildies’ every few years (you had to have a permit to do this).  He used them on his pack string once they were broke and swore by them as he said they were tough and sure footed.  I remember one year he came home with a nice stout bay mare.  When he got her shed out, she had a brand on her and turned out was very well broke.  How did she get there?  Nobody will ever know.  She may have been turned loose, or more likely, she got taken by a stallion from a back country rider.  I haven’t seen any hard numbers, but I would guess that the number of domesticated horses that end up turned loose to fend for themselves is less than 2% .  I will also go out on a limb and say that number won’t change with slaughter. The kind of people that think this is a good option for a horse, likely will still think it’s a good option, however misguided that may be.

I grew up in ranching country.  I remember there was a ranch in the hills west of us that you had to go by when we were moving our cattle to their summer pastures.  That hill was always called `Hungry Horse Hill’ due to this ranch having a field full of starving horses.  There were often dead ones in amongst the live ones and aside from the odd moldy bale of hay, those poor horses never had much to eat.  It was disgusting and eventually the guy either went broke or was run out of the area.  The point being, is that this was in the 70’s.  Slaughter was alive and well, yet this man didn’t see that as an option.  He thought his horses were valuable and continued to breed them and starve them.  Even the Humane Society could do very little as he did have some poor quality feed available to them when they checked.  Again, this happened when there was slaughter.  It takes a certain type of person that can do this to another living creature and the availability of domestic slaughter will NEVER change this.  The only thing that will change it is if the Humane Society or SPCA have more authority to deal with such issues.  That will never happen because then all the PSA Turds will start crying that they don’t want somebody to tell them what to do with their property.  Funny how many of them have had visits from the Humane Society or Animal Control.  There goes that whole lack of self awareness thing that is a trait of a PSA. I’ve yet to see a horse carcass in a ditch, so again I’m going to assume these are isolated incidents unless somebody can give me hard and verifiable numbers.

Since the last slaughter house closed in 2007, there has been repeated cries of unwanted horses and not being able to sell one.  So, I did some digging around and found these quotes from a few PSAs:

” So I’m searching dreamhorse and the selection is just nothing. I thought I would see how many young AQHA horses are in my 200 mile radius.  I was shocked, weanlings – 3, yearling-16, 2 year olds -6, 1-3year old.  Just WOW, there is no selection compared to other years that I’ve searched young horses.”

“This post was not intended to say I was looking for a horse to buy but that there is no selection. I always check ads from various sites to see where the market is and what prices people are putting on their stock. I’m just amazed at how few there are for sale. I do frequent specialized sites that target specific types of horses that I might buy, but i don’t think those give me an idea of the general market. It looks to me like there is no general market left and to me that is not a good sign for the average buyer that wants a good horse, not a crap horse or an expensive performance horse, but a good decent horse.”
“I’ve talked to several friends that are in the market for weanling to yearling ago horses. It’s a nightmare out there. Not much of a selection to choose from. :(“
Ok, so they are now whining about not enough selection or horses to buy, but also crying about all these unwanted horses out there and rescues being overwhelmed.  So, which is it??  Could it be that the market is equalizing and that `good’ horses are now being priced accordingly?  Maybe, with people breeding less they aren’t feeling a need to dump their stock at overnight auctions.  Notice one PSA is upset that she can’t get a good horse for a cheap price.  For what she wants to pay she can only get a crap horse.  Boo Hoo!  You cannot have it both ways.  Good horses should bring good prices.  It would appear we’re moving in that direction again.  Maybe we’re back to getting what we pay for.  Just maybe, this no slaughter thing is WORKING.
The last thing I want to you leave you with is this quote from a PSA:
” Ranch in foreclosure and I’m moving….can’t take them all with me.  Priced from $1 to $750. Some registered, some not, some can be and have paperwork ready.  Yearlings to 5 year old.  Some have been saddled/bridled but I can no longer ride and can’t afford trainer.  Well bred for cattle work….bloodlines include Doc Quixote, Doc O’Lena, Docss Hickory, QT Poco Streke, Ris Key Business, Smoke N Cotton, Broadway Doc, Docs Muchacho and others….on papers or three generation pedigrees for the couple not registerable.
Out of time, money, hay….keeping only the very core of the breeding program
Soooo, this is a PSA that has gone broke and into foreclosure, breeding horses year after year without ever getting them broke or registered.  She says she is unable to feed them, yet is KEEPING some breeding stock so she can continue to breed.  WHY should we have slaughter so somebody like this can continue to be an asshat?   It is people like this that have created the problem and now they want the animals to pay the price.  Maybe the reason that 80% of people polled are against slaughter is because less than 20% of people that have horses are like this.  Guess what?  This kind of ignorance will not be wiped out by bringing slaughter back.  They don’t realize they are part of the problem.  Sad.


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I have to say I’m not a Parelli fan nor do I really subscribe to any of the TV trainers.  I think many of them focus too much on gimmicks and selling their brand than actual horsemanship.  If you can’t ride at a certain level, you probably have no business training a horse.  I’ve seen a lot of amateurs get into some pretty bad wrecks trying to do it themselves and as a result way too many horses pay the price.  Since, I’m always curious about how other people do things I find myself drawn to training discussions whether online or in person.  I figured since our PSA pals deem themselves to be experts in all things equine, we could check in with what they have to say about training horses. As always, quotes are not edited.

I guess the best place to start the discussion should be with foals, since that should always be the beginning of training a horse.  We start handling our babies the day they are born.  They get their little leather break away halter on and learn to be lead in and out with their mammas.  By the time they are weaned, they are pretty easy to handle including having their feet done. We have just found it’s much easier on both horse and human and builds a solid foundation of trust.  Sadly, our PSA don’t see the value in doing any of that.  “As it was said in another post “My horse, my way of doing things”. Not all of us who don’t lead 12 hr foals and throw halters on them are POS trainers. My horses don’t see a halter until the are weanlings and often learn to lead by being ponied off another horse. It’s easier for me to handle a foal by wrapping my arms around their chest and grabbing thems cut little tail. No need to yank and pull on their sensitive head and neck.”  Apparently having a rodeo with a big baby is much easier on their `sensitive heads and necks’.  Mind you, some of the PSA’s views on weaning don’t exactly fall in line with most people. “HA….the ooops foal we had, she foaled in her pasture with a companion mare…..in 5 strand electric…..we arrived around 7:15 a.m. to feed and there was an almost dry baby standing up…..she latched on without help…..and she was the meanest ass baby on the face of the earth…..she had an ornery streak from the get go…..got her momma’s disposition and nothing but markings and size from daddy….we weaned her at a full year and gave her away”  This last statement could have an entire blog entry all on its own, there is so much wrong with it.  Wow.

“most of our horses, on 3 different farms I work out of, pony off the golf cart, 4 wheeler (ATV) or the truck. One of the farms I work at teaches their colts to lead by tying them behind the tractor, between the hay fork. It might sound harsh but like I was saying on another board, there are a lot of things that happen on farms that have been in biz long before most of us were even born! Our industry went to sh#t when middle aged divorcees started kissing NH trainers asses.”   Yes, there ARE a lot of things that have been happening to horses for many years before any of us have been born.  That doesn’t make them humane or right.  You don’t have to be into NH to have a little empathy and train with kindness.

“We use the same heavy saddle on all our horses when they come up to be trained to ride (broke). Sometimes it really IS breaking. The key to breaking is that YOU have to build the horse back up (think JarHead here). You are “breaking” the bad habits someone else put in place. You are breaking the horse’s natural instinct to just laze around, hang out with the other 4 leggers and eat grass. Now YOU are putting YOUR ideas into that horse.” So I guess the concept of a willing partner is lost on somebody that believes you need to `break’ a horse in every aspect of the word.  It’s actually more than sad to think that this person will never know the joy of having a willing partner as a mount.  I’ve done some pretty stupid things on horses in my youth and I’m very glad my horses had some ideas of their own or I’d probably be dead by now.  It’s called trust.  Sometimes a horse’s instinct is far better than our own and might save you from something really bad happening, like falling down a cliff.

my plan for a bucker, MAKE EM BUCK. my mare will buck hard the first few times i ride her. I have hubby get on and when she bucks he keeps asking for the buck. Soon she understands umm ok not fun anymore.”  Now, clearly nothing ever goes as planned with horses.  They are large flight animals that really do have the ability to reason on a basic level.  Any trainer will encounter a horse that is difficult or tougher than average.  Contrary to what PSAs say that the rest of us think, horses cannot talk to us and tell us what’s up.  For them, behavior is communication.  If I have a horse that all of a sudden gets humpy or has a drastic behavior change, I start looking for the reason why.  99% of the time, there will be an underlying cause to a  horse’s bad behavior.  Again, our PSA people don’t agree with this at all.  “Now with saddle training this bucker, I would make sure you’re in a solid round pen first off. Lunge the horse both directions, full tack for about 15-20 min. W/T/C then ground drive the horse for another 30 min. After you do all that snub the horse to a post or have someone hold it and get on and off both sides until “it’s boring”  You could not pay me enough money to get on any horse, let alone a horse that is known to buck, while it is snubbed to a post.  No wonder the PSAs like to trade horrific injury stories….Maybe sometimes all they are trying to communicate is that they’re sick of your abusive ass.

One of the things that blew up the comment sections on a previous blog was bits and what is kind or not kind.  I have to admit that when I was a kid at AQHA shows, I would watch the big name trainers in the warm up rings with their bumper bits and double twisted wire snaffles.  Many of them had nerve lines to set a head etc.  I convinced myself that I needed to have and use all those things if I wanted to ever grow up and win the open classes like them.  Thank GOD for my mother. She told me that no real horseman would ever need to use those sorts of things and packed me off to a trainer that didn’t.  I learned that you could win without out using short cuts and had a trainer that took the time to sit down and explain to me how stuff like that would cause my horse pain.  It should be noted that this trainer already had multiple world champion buckles to her credit so it’s not like she wasn’t getting success by being kind.  As a result, I have always eschewed using gimmicks on my horses. “I use tie downs. Particularly when a horse has a nasty history of flipping or smacking the rider with the poll. I had advised a young man to put one on his rearing horse. They did not heed the warning and the horse flipped on the young man. He got a free helicopter ride by lifeflight”


While we’re talking about equipment, PSAs seem to love to up the ante with equipment.  It goes along with the whole lack of self awareness thing.  If a horse isn’t doing what you want, figure out a way to inflict more pain and discomfort so you can force him to do your bidding anyhow.  Under no circumstances should you take responsibility, find out what is bothering the horse or think about what you are doing wrong. “ ok i swear im gonna go off on bling bling. this horse is gonna get me ticked off. Tonight he did very well UNTIL he started to fight the bit.  Current bit is a snaffle, 3 peice mouth with a dog bone. Tried a chain wonder bit, hated it, tried a little S hack, hated it, went back to the bit he had on. Now he is sstarting his barrel training and im at my wits end with bits on him, driving me nuts. He has the next 2 days off, so between now and then, I will have to come up wtih a few different bits to try” Pray for this horse……

Given the PSA’s attitude and brutality, is it any wonder they keep bringing up these `unsuitable’  and `untrainable’ horses they need to slaughter?  I can say, without a doubt, that not a single one of these people think they are doing anything wrong.  Some of them take great delight in boasting about how the dominate their horses and teach them a lesson.  Nearly all of them will blame the animal.  One went so far as to say that 93% accidents are due to a horse deviating from the norm.  In other words, it’s nearly always the horse’s fault when things go wrong.  I must have a lot of accidents coming my way because, so far, 99.9999% of my horse accidents have been ultimately MY fault.  I kinda have to think that rather than a bunch of unsuitable and untrainable horses out there, there are just a whole bunch of PSA horses with people problems.  But what do I know?  I still hug my horses every single day.

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As long as I can remember, being in the horse industry meant you made your living having something to do with horses.  For sure it meant you owned horses. I know with my work `industry’ means `insider’ or directly connected.  You don’t get to just get to declare yourself as `industry’ to gain admittance or enjoy privileges.  You actually have to have a license and credentials.  It’s one of the things that always bothered me back in the show horse days; that anybody can hang a shingle and call themselves a trainer.  Not so with racehorses.  While not a perfect system, you actually have to know a thing or two to call yourself that and you need to *gasp* pass a test and have references.  FYI part of those tests mean you have to learn a drug schedule inside and out, know how to run various bandages, and a lot more things to do with horse health and management.  You do not get to walk in off the street and ask to write a test, they make you put your time in first. I sure wish other breed associations did this.



Part of this slaughter war has a bunch of people presuming to speak as `industry’.  One of the biggest blowhards is Slaughterhouse Sue herself.  From what I can gather, she doesn’t even own a horse.  So, she is neither a consumer nor is she industry.  She contributes zero dollars to tack stores, horse feed, farriers, or equine vets.  Yet, she has managed to snow a bunch of people into believing she, who has no credentials or experience, knows what the horse industry needs to solve their current problems.  She has the support of the AQHA and various state QH associations because they, as the breed that registers the most foals a year, support slaughter.  Let’s not forget this is the same breed that has all but self destructed over their overbreeding and money grubbing ways.  When the president of the AQHA is breeding HYPP N/H horses and promoting them, is there any surprise they’re perfectly fine with slaughter?  Somebody has to clean up the mess they’ve made for themselves….


One breed that does not support Slaughterhouse Sue and her death march is Thoroughbreds.  The Jockey Club has taken a firm stance against slaughter and several tracks have now put sanctions in place for any trainer or owner caught with a horse in a kill pen. These sanctions are not always easy to impose as the chain of custody on a racehorse can be difficult, but at least they are making a real effort to clean up this mess.  Of any breed, Thoroughbreds have more dedicated rescue and rehabilitation programs in place with the majority of them being very much supported by the industry.  As a result of anti-slaughter advocacy on behalf of thoroughbreds, two Canadian slaughter houses will no longer accept Thoroughbreds.  It’s a start and the industry has stepped up to see these horses are looked after and carefully placed.  If the Thoroughbreds can do this, then why can’t other breeds? 


Slaughterhouse Sue and Douchebag Dave Duquette keep telling their minions that slaughter is going to fix this mysterious industry.  I wonder if has occurred to either of them that what they are proposing will wipe out a very important facet of the horse industry.  The hobbyists.  While all horse people need, feed, vet care and tack, it’s the hobbyists that are huge spenders for horse related items and offshoot businesses.  My pleasure riding friends have more color coordinated accessories for their horses, than I have clothes in my closet.   They love changing their helmet covers, polos and saddle pads every time they ride and while I may go to the tack store once or twice a year, these guys go a couple of times a month and never come home empty handed. They spend a huge part of their disposable income on their horses.  I guess if the value of horses goes back up, then less people will be able to afford them.  That means less business for boarding stables, trainers and coaches, etc. etc..


Do you know who else is an important part of the horse industry?  Rescues are.  PSAs seem to dislike most rescues and think that offering sanctuary for unplaceable horses is wrong.  It doesn’t occur to them that people CHOOSE to support rescues.  PSAs are supposed to be all about choice, so I’m not sure why it bothers them so much, but it seems to.  Rescues need a lot of supplies to keep going, so no matter where their funds are coming from. The horses they keep alive are huge contributors to equine based business and services.  If Ole Sue and Dave get their way, the only rescues that would be viable would be their model of slaughtering the `unsuitables’ and never giving sanctuary to a horse.  I guess the vet care, feed, bedding and other care costs will be down to nothing since their proposal is to also house them on a lot right next to the slaughter facility.  No extreme measures would ever be taken to save a horse’s life or make it comfortable. In their perfect plan, no horse will be without a job, so I guess those wild horses are in trouble too.


So, after all this I am very confused at what the PSA definition of horse industry is and how slaughtering a bunch of horses and jacking the prices on the rest is going to help a single thing.  I’ve long thought I was in the industry, or at least that’s what my license says I am. This makes me even more confused as to why Slaughterhouse Sue and Douchebag Dave Duquette presume to speak for me or  the majority of the true industry people that vehemently disagree with their mission. Kinda presumptuous of them, wouldn’t you agree? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  One of the `credentials’ that Slaughterhouse Sue does lay claim to is that she is a creative writer.  Having read her press releases and the spin she puts on things, I’ll give her that one.



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Definition of HORSEMAN

: a rider or driver of horses; especially : one whose skill is exceptional
: a person skilled in caring for or managing horses
: a person who breeds or raises horses
This definition is from Webster’s.  I think we can all agree it’s a fairly broad definition of the term.  One of the PSA battle cries is that they are all `horsemen’ and know more than everybody else. If you are against slaughter, you can’t possibly be a horseman.  I’m guessing the `skilled’ part of the definition escapes them.
Where I work and how I was raised, `horseman’ is not a description that is handed out lightly.  Besides exceptional skill, a horseman has empathy and humility.  They are lifelong students of the horse and have respect and gratitude for these animals.  As a result, they often make their sole source of income, from working with these animals.  Some of these horsemen have risen to the top of their disciplines and enjoy a certain amount of recognition.  Without fail, not a single one of them is an advocate for slaughter.  Without fail, not a single one of them does not accept responsibility for their animals and those they breed.  They practice what they preach and they would never advocate for slaughtering the very animals that have given them the lifestyles they enjoy.  They would never suggest something is ok for `other’ horses that is not ok for their own. Most horsemen I know actively support rescues and contribute to them as they can whether that is financially or through charitable deeds. A real horseman does not cut corners, use abusive equipment or techniques and take the path of least resistance in training, handling or husbandry. A horseman’s horses are fed and cared for before himself.
In my investigations into the minds and behaviors of a PSA, I’ve seen a lot of things similar things with them as well.  Most of them do not have humility.  They blame the horse when things go wrong.  They often use questionable training methods and boast about how wild and unruly a horse is and how they stuck on him anyway.  For some reason, they wear their accidents and injuries as some bizaree badge of honor.  You will often find harsh bits and heavier hands on a PSA’s horse. To save money for God knows what, they’ll shortcut on things like fencing and often have barbed wire and uncapped t-posts.  PSA’s like to point fingers too.  Anytime you work with a large flight animals, the unexpected can happen, but the risk of catastrophy can be minimized with a little common sense.  PSA’s seem to have a lot of injuries and catastrophies.  Many PSA’s will tell you they will never slaughter or eat one of their own, but they screech and howl that `other’ horses require that.  PSA’s will argue that they want to have `choice’, but fail to realize they already have it.  They are well able to go shoot their own horse or take it to a local butcher for processing.   They also want to make the choice for countless other horses that don’t belong to them.  I can’t really figure that one out either.
I guess the bottom line is I will take the word of a true horseman over a self proclaimed one on any issue pertaining to horses.  I think if horses had a voice, they probably would agree with me.  Bottom line, if you want to slaughter, torture or eat a horse you are not a horseman.  Period.

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