Monday, November 24, 2008

Naming horses... Get real.

This Craigslist ad makes me nuts...

Besides the mare being unsound and poorly conformed the owner is referencing stallions that are at least 3 but mostly 4 generations back.

Clabber - Foaled 1936
Moon Deck - Foaled 1950
Docs Remedy - Foaled 1973
Docs Hotrodder - Foaled 1963

First off... None of the horses in this mare's background have done anything recently and stallions that have been diluted by 8 shouldn't be counted at all.

Secondly, I'm sick and tired of any horse with any of the following in their name: Doc, Poco, Deck, and Leo. These horses are so, so very dead they don't even stink anymore. Any quarter horse worth it's salt has one or more of these stallions in their lineage.

It just drives me nuts when someone names their horse based on names of horses that we'd have to use the way-back machine to see.


This mare is super flashy and bred up the ying yang. She has everything from Clabber, Moon Deck, Docs Remidy, Docs Hotrodder and more. She is all cow on top and all running on the bottom. She is Blood Bay with a star and no other white, Nice thick mane and tail, stands 16 hh and about 1200 lbs. She has had 2 foals and both were awesome, tall and friendly. Have her last filly at the house so you can see her. She is a great mommy lets you handle the foal with no problem, she carries very good and foals out with easy. She is a easy breeder no hobbles needed. She is open for 2009 and can breed her to my Homozygous Tobiano Stallion for free or leave her open. She has mild navicular in her right front. But with corrective shoes she is ok for light riding. She is safe and sane. My 3 yr old can ride her around the round pen and she is a great baby sitter. She is a very sweet mare and her babies are the same way.
I will take offers for her un-bred but if you want her bred then my price is firm. To view her pedigree:
First picture is her and the second is her filly this year. To see stallion she can be bred to in the spring of 2009 go to under the Stallion Page!!

Please e-mail if you have any questions. Thanks!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chain emails... 'doncha just hate them?

I received the following email from a dear friend. It mostly baloney and dukey.For those of you who read emails like this and believe them without checking the facts, I feel sorry for you. You are probably constantly confused by contradictory information.

It took me 10 seconds to find this:

I did, however take the time to reply to this email. My comments are in red.


Liar, liar, pants on fire....

Cancer Update from John Hopkins:

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

This is true, kind of... actually cancer is a DAILY OCCURRENCE. Due to minute mutations in DNA abnormal cells start to divide abnormally, usually because there
is a defect in the protein that prevents run-away cell division. In a healthy uncompromised person, the immune system takes care of it.

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime.

Wrong! See #1 above.

3. When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.


4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

A person develops cancer because they have been compromised somehow. This can occur by with an environmental toxin, genetic predisposition, and environmen
tal exposure to a carcinogen (UV rays are a prime example), age, previous illness, etc. Nutritional deficiencies may contribute to overall health but are NOT the primary causal agent of cancer. Eating well, exercising and being in good health reduce the incidence and severity of cancer and contribute to healing.

This is starting to read like a supplement commercial.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

Maybe... but maybe not. Unfortunately healthy, supplement-taking active vegetarians get cancer also... bummer.

The reason for this are myriad, complex and not well understood, but some causes could be related are error-prone DNA replication and limitations on cell division. I will not bore you with the details of these topics, suffice it to say, all of us are susceptible to these particular cancer causing events. WoooOOOoooOOOO... life causes cancer.... bummer.

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tr
act etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

Yes, this is true, but the point of chemotherapy is to kill the cancer prior to killing the patient. Cancer cells reproduce much more rapidly than most cells in the body. I'd rather have dead cancer cells than a dead me. I can heal later...

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

This is also true to some extent, but not all radiation treatments are created equal. Besides, I'd rather have some damaged tissue than be dead.

Consider this: In China there is a town where they have a radium mine (or it could be uranium, I forget) in the smack dab center. The Chinese government being what it is, decided to determine the incidence of cancer in the town (rather than moving the whole town or closing up the mine).

What the scientists discovered was a ring of increased cancer incide
nce near the mine. An expected result.

In a larger circle around the increased incidence of cancer was a ring of LOWER THAN AVERAGE CANCER incidence. Outside of those rings the incidence of cancer was average.

What was happening here you ask? The radium levels in the second ring were therapeutic. Meaning the radiation was not enough to cause damage to tissues but it was enough to prevent cancer cells from spreading.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

Again, this is partially correct. Once the tumor has shrunken, the immune system can take over and take care of the balance of the cancer cells. However, this would require that the person get healthy ASAP after treatment. No, sitting around w
atching Oprah and eating Ding Dongs, Ho Ho's and Twinkies.

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

This is yet another truism taken out of context. Yes, a person who has received anti-cancer treatments is more likely to succumb to opportunistic infections, but it does not have to be true. Again, it's better than being dead

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

hat. Surgery cannot cause cancer cells to spread. Cancer cells that have a tendency to metastasize spread more easily when the host (a human) is compromised.

All tumors, no matter the size, secrete endostatin, which prevents other metastases to grow. However, tumors, no matter the size, ALSO secrete angiostatin which promotes tumor growth. The endostatin from the larger tumor prevents the smaller metastases from growing. Removing the main tumor removes the source of the growth inhibiting endostatin and therefore the metastases may increase in growth.

Unfortunately all tumors, no matter what their size, secrete angiostatin, which promotes tumor growth. Therefore, if you have a large primary tumor and only microscopic metastases, the endostatin produced by the large tumor may prevent the metastases from growing. Removing the main tumor removes the source of growth-inhibiting endostatin, and the metastases, which produce angiostatin, may continue to grow.

However, why would you leave the large tumor? So that it could remain to produce more metastases? What kind of fucked-up thinking is that? If you remove the source of the metastases, then you have a better chance of defeating the smaller tumors.

I can't imagine the thought processes of a person who considers leaving a large metathesizing tumor in the body so that it can prevent other tumors from getting bigger. The logic of that is mind-numbing. It does not take into consideration that EVENTUALLY the small tumors will produce enough cells to become a large tumor and will no longer be prevented from becoming a big metathesizing tumor.

Although it's possible that during surgery your doctor may find the cancer more widespread than previously thought, an operation can't cause cancer to spread nor can it cause cancer to start. Don't delay or refuse treatment because of this myth. Surgically removing cancer is often the first and most important treatment.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.

Uh, huh. I suppose this is true. The healthier the diet, the less likely you are develop cancer.


I knew it! Health food advertisment.

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. Better alternative is Bragg's amino or sea salt.

Repeat after me... Sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar.

Honey and molasses contain sugars. Use all sugar products in moderation. Repeat after me: MODERATION IN ALL THINGS.

Yes, it has occurred to me that my previous statement about watching talk show (that often propagate this type of pap) and eating sweet foods may be contradictory to this statement. It's not if you take the "moderation" statement into account.

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweete
ned soya milk cancer cells are being starved.

This myth is older than dirt. Milk does not produce mucus UNLESS YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IT. Cancer does not feed on mucus EVER, mucus is too large to enter a cancer cell and cancer cells do not have mouthes with which to eat mucus. Cancer is fed by absorbing the nutrition in your cells and blood. Mucus is too large to be absorbed by cells. Mucus is NOT produced by all cells, nor is it floating around in the system available for cancer cells to "feed on".

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains
livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all
harmful, especially to people with cancer.

Cancer cells produce acid as part of growth. They do not thrive in an acidic environment. It is part of the physiology of the cancer cells. Duh!

Sure, eat more fish and die of mercury poisoning... Really. Do eat meat, but not more than three times per week. You don't need more than that. Also, it would be better to reduce your intake of fatty beef and pork, but dang... what about my personal favorite… beef jerky?

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment . About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (
40 degrees C).

Yes, yes, yes! Eat more veggies and whole grains and drink veggie and fruit juices. It is healthier.

Enzymes are also destroyed or deactivated by the pH of the stomach at a nice low, very acidic pH of 2.

Hmmmm, we dilemma here if acidic systems are more prone to cancer, why then is stomach cancer not more common? The stomach protects itself from the acidic environment by producing mucus, which we have previously been told is “cancer food”. Jeez, we’ve got a major logical issue here.

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine.
Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water- best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

Why is caffeine in coffee, tea and chocolate worse for you than green tea caffeine? This is some fucked up logic. Drink caffeinated green tea because it has antioxidants to do what? Balance the cancer causing effects of caffeine? To date, there is no solid evidence that caffeine does not cause cancer. But remember:

Distilled water is NOT acid, you dope! Who wrote this shit?

True distilled water is neutral at pH 7.0 and has NO ions or impurities. It tastes like crap but it's pH neutral and clean. If distilled water is acidic it is because it has been left open and has absorbed carbon dioxide ions forming carbonic acid.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrefied and leads to more toxic build-up.

More bullshit. There is NO evidence that meat builds up in the intestines unless you have an intestinal issue and then EVERYTHING builds up in the intestines and causes toxicity. Then you die.

Human excrete proteases and can digest meat. Humans are omnivores. It's best not to eat pounds of meat weekly, but we can and do digest meat easily. Actually gut motility slows down with increase meat consumption because... get this: there is no fiber in meat.

There is a caveat. People who have been vegetarians for a while have a difficult time processing meat because their bodies have gotten out of
the habit of producing proteases.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

Okay, cancer cells DO NOT HAVE CELL WALLS! Plant cells have cell walls. Animal cells have CELL MEMBRANES, dipstick. All cell membranes are proteinaceous in nature. Cancer cells do not have a tough protein covering (maybe this is where the beef jerky comes in).

How does eating less meat free "more" enzymes to attack cancer cells? WTF?

Which enzymes, the proteases? Proteases do not kill cancer cells. The body's immune system attacks and kills cancer cells. I'm assuming that is meant by the "killer cells," putatively referring to the killer T cells. (I am aware that the cells of the immune system have proteolytic enzymes, but it they're part of the immune cell, they're not just floating around lysing proteins)

Guess what? The immune system is made up of proteinaceous cells. If you don't eat protein, where are you going to get the components for these cells?

14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor ssence,Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body's own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

Ahhhh, more advertisments...

So how do you know that the vitamin E you're taking to excess is not causing early apoptosis in your healthy cells... More and more, science is discovering that over supplementing is dangerous and has a toxic results.

Repeat after me:

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

This was something that I could get behind until the fudging bullshit about the acidic environment. Who has the human-pH-meter anyway? If this is
true, how do you explain it when a Buddhist Lama's that dies of cancer? And they do.

However there is evidence that living a peaceful life, no matter your circumstances, leads to a lower incidence of ALL ILLNESSES.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercis
ing daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

Oxygen is good, but oxygen is also toxic.

This comes from the fact that cancer cells have a low rate of respiration, meaning that they don't NEED as much oxygen. There is no evidence that oxygen kills cancer cells. In reality, cancers that have lots of blood flow, and consequently more oxygen, are the cancers that grow and kill quickly

Please refer to #14. In that statement we're supposed to take antioxidants. What do you suppose causes oxidation? That's right boys and girls, oxygen. All oxygen using creatures have antioxidant enzymes to prevent the oxidation of our tissues by oxygen radicals that are part of NORMAL physiology. This is a normal and daily occurrence.

It is possible to be exposed to more oxidizing agents than average. Mushrooms for instance have a high concentration of hydrazines which produce hydrogen peroxide which produces triplet hydrogen which causes the formation of superoxide radicals. Superoxide is a oxidative nightmare, which is why the body has superoxide dismutase, a lovely enzyme that is responsible for detoxifying superoxide.

Oxygen therapy that uses hydrogen peroxides o
nly introduces superoxide radicals into the body, thereby increasing oxidation of cells plus possibly causing an embolism.

This is a photo of my family and I meditating on a life well lived and consuming antioxidant rich red wine.


1. No plastic containers in micro.
2. No water bottles in freezer.
3. No plastic wrap in microwave.

Well okay... whatever.

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters.

No… It did not.

This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well.

Wrong again.

Dioxin chemicals causes cancer, especially breast cancer.

Dioxin causes a fuck of a lot of cancers, especially LIVER CANCER.

Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the
combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food.

You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

Dioxins are chlorinated hydrocarbons and they do suck. But they are not in food grade plastics. NO FOOD GRADE PLASTIC IS MANUFACTURED WITH DIOXINS. Retard.

If you would like to become informed (shocking) instead of relying on anonymous emails, check out this website:

Now there may be are other chemicals from plastics that leach into foods when heated, but it isn’t dioxin.

Now this has become a Dow Corning™ commercial.

This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life.

Yes, send it to everyone in your life so that the composer can feel a sense of well being, saving us from the evils of medical professionals, cancer treatments and increasing our intake of mercury laden fish while we toxify our bodies with supplements and meditate on a peaceful, blissful life.

If it seems as though I’m not grateful, you are incorrect. I do care that you thought of me when this wildly incorrect information came your way. Thank you... it's nice that you care. If you've read this whole thing and have come to the conclusion that I don't care, you're wrong. I want you all to be thoughtful about what you read and to have correct information when you have to make life saving and changing decisions.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Buying horses

As an equine appraiser, I get lots of questions on how to buy a horse without getting taken. The answer to that is, you can't. I act as a buyer/seller agent for two reasons; first and foremost, it keeps me in the loop on the horse industry. Second, I get to go horse shopping which is the best fun in the world.

If I'm buying a horse or helping someone buy a horse I use this evaluation system. I usually set up an excel spreadsheet and weight the questions by importance to me the intended use of the horse. The relative weight to a question is based on the personal preferences and again, the intended use of the horse. For example, I can’t stand a cribber, therefore if the horse cribs, then I pass the horse by. Obviously conformation issues are more important for a performance horse than for a leisure horse. Also mild lameness can be acceptable depending on the source, type and intended use. Always remember you will rarely find the perfect horse.

Also NEVER BE IN A HURRY TO BUY and DO NOT GET STUCK ON BREED AND/OR COLOR. Obviously, if you're a seasoned horse professional, breed WILL be important but then you wouldn't need this blog's advice either.

If you're not a seasoned professional do not go on the advice of this blog alone. Find an equine professional and solicit help; often they are more than happy to help out and may have a line on a good horse. However be careful of this also, horse people are notorious for manipulating newbies too. So make sure that your selected professional has a good reputation. Local vets often are good source for locating good horse folks.

Read as many books on horses, horse husbandry and equine conformation as you can, but remember reading is NOT a replacement for on the ground horse experience.

Take lessons regularly and from a variety of professionals until you settle on one you like. There is nothing more discouraging to a new rider than a classically trained German equestrian screaming that you’re not taking your riding seriously enough. I’m not saying that you can not benefit from such a trainer, but it would be better to wait until you’re a more confident rider.

Finally we get to the questions! Sometimes you can get the answers to these questions over the phone and many sellers would prefer it if you did rule out their horse prior to coming out to view the animal. But lots of times people don’t really know the answer and you’ll need to go out to see the horse.

The points of most of the following questions are obvious when there is an ambiguity I’ll try to explain it.


1. How long have you owned him? A short period of time is a red flag. Ask them why they're selling him if it's only been a short period of time.
2. Why are selling him? Answers such as "he's too much horse for me" may be an issue or maybe not depending on talent of the owner.
3. What has he been used for? If you're looking for a Dressage or English pleasure horse, it is difficult to cross train a western performance horse; not impossible, but difficult.
4. What have you used him for? A horse that has only been ridden on light hacks may not be suitable for harder work. They may not have the mental capacity, conformation or talent. Also, soundness may become an issue with harder work.
5. Does he load, clip, bathe, shoe, lead, tie easily? This is obvious... however if he does these things with minor complaint then it may not be a problem.
6. What types of injuries has he had? Again, the types of injuries that would rule out some horses for some disciplines do not make a horse valueless for other disciplines. This is where the advice of a seasoned professional is helpful.
7. Is he sound? This is where we get into the “’cept for’s.” Such as “He’s sound, ‘cept for when he’s not shod properly.”
8. Can I talk to your vet? I like this one because if they say no, then I'm outta there. If they don't have a vet them I'm outta there too.
9. Can I see proof of ownership? You want clear and free title to the horse.
10. May I see registration papers? Copies don’t count.
11. Is this a solid price? This may depend on your budget. Lots of folks are asking for more than the horse is worth, what they want, your budget, etc. They may take less. I once rode an honest-to-god 18 hh TB mare with to-die-for conformation that the owner was asking $3,500 for. As annoying as it is for the seller, I rode her even though I only had $1,500. When asked her this question, she asked me what I could spend. She accepted my offer! Turned out the mare had a heart murmur so loud that the vet could hear it before the stethoscope was on the chest, but I don’t think the owner knew it (although it did turn out that she had bought this mare from a breeder for a quick turn around).
12. Do you have any objections with a vet check? Again, if the owner objects to a vet check, leave. Also, if the owner has a list of vets that they won't allow on their property, leave. People who fight with vets about soundness issues often have or have had something to hide.
13. Do you know his previous owner(s) addresses or phone numbers? It's always nice to be able to talk to previous owners; sometimes there are still ownership issues.
14. Does he have any vices? Refer to #7. The “’cept for” enters into this now. Horse folks get used to tolerating behavioral issues for various reasons. The primary reason is that they don’t know how to modify the behavior. There are other reasons to be sure, but some vices such as cribbing often cannot be changed without a lot of training, if at all. Training equals time and time equals money. You have to decide whether you can deal with the vice or can afford the time or money to change it.
15. What is he suited for? Even though many folks do not have a clue as to for what a horse is suited, it is nice to ask what they think. You may be talking to some one who really knows horses and if they think he's suited for H/J and you're looking for a pleasure hack, maybe it's too much horse for your needs.
16. Is he a beginner horse? I love this one, but you must be careful with it. Almost every inexperienced horse person tries to make it sound like you can put anyone on his or her horse. If you've only had horses for 10 minutes you learn that babysitter/packer horses are worth their weight in gold. If you can make the prospective buyer believe that this horse has the potential to be a packer, you may make a sale.
17. Would you put your children/grandchildren on him? This is the proof of question #16. They can lie of course. So this question is a “tell” question. This is when noticing body language is important. You may as well become a student of voice inflection and body language because horses already know and understand it. If you want to become a good horse person, you’re going to need to learn about body language.
Also beware that some 10-year-old girls can ride like demons and are fearless. I’ve had my ass kicked in the open ring by elementary school girls who’ve been riding since they were three-years-old.
18. What type of bit are you using on him and why? This is where you need to know a bit about bits. If you've got a three-year-old riding with a double twisted wire curb gag hack (I made up this bit, although it may exist somewhere), you've got a horse that has been mishandled. End of story.


1. Won't let me talk to the vet or objections to the vet check.
2. Hasn't owned the horse for very long. Again this one isn't written in stone; lots of horse people buy cheap well-trained horses or "fixer uppers" for a quick resale. But I get hinkey feelings if an average horse person is rolling a horse over.
3. The horse hasn't been used for a year or two or three. Besides covering soundness issues, the horse may have been off because no one would ride him.
4. If it's a well papered, proven performance mare and she’s not in the breeding shed. This may not matter if you're just looking for a riding horse, but infertility could be an issue here. Or barring that, she may just be a nutter.
5. The owner doesn't know much about the horse. Refer back to #2.
6. The owner won't ride it. This is a scary one. It may be that the owner is just a bad horse person and the horse has gotten the better of him/her. Or it could be that the horse has just learned some really bad behaviors that are dangerous.
7. Cribbing. I do not buy cribbers. The psychological and physiological issues are a bridge too far for me.


1. The horse should be cool, not warmed up for you. Warming up covers up lameness issues.
2. The horse should be in his paddock/pasture; you want to determine if the horse has any issues with catching or evil paddock vices.
3. You should observe the horse in its pasture/paddock. Look for evidence of lameness such as pointing or leaning; watch to see if the horse is cribbing.
4. You should get the horse out of the paddock/pasture. This is one that I don't enforce all the time because Mo' the Ho' won't come to people she doesn't know. You should go with the owner however and let the owner lead the horse while you watch the horse walk. Look for hitches-in-the-git-along. Look at how it tracks. Check the muscling in the hind and make sure that it's even from side to side.
5. Observe the horse while it's tied. Does the horse stand quietly while being groomed and tacked up? Or does the horse swing around knocking into the owner as if she's not there? How is the horses conformation? Does the horse show the muscular signs of a cribber? Open the horses lips and check the teeth (get to know some tooth age landmarks and what a cribber's teeth look like).
6. If the horse is not cross-tied, ask if the horse has been cross-tied and how it responds to being cross-tied.
7. Ask the owner to bring out clippers and turn them on; observe the result.
8. Ask the owner to pick up all four feet and bang on with a hoof pick as though a shoer was nailing on a shoe. Bad to shoe is bad but is not a deal breaker... for me.
9. Does the horse stand still to be mounted.
10. The owner should ride first and warm the horse up. Look for even gaits and signs of lameness; the head should be relatively still, not dropping or rising with the gait. Does the horse short-step or not rotate over the hoof as it was planted but rather pick it up sooner than the other feet. I've noted that this can be manifested as an outright limp or just a slight short-step.
11. As the owner rides and you're observing behavior. Is he high headed, chargy, spooky, etc. Think to yourself, "Do I REALLY want to ride this horse?" If the answer is anything but a resounding “Yes!” DO NOT RIDE.
12. *IF* you ride the horse, you should have an understanding of what you want. I'd talk it over your experience horse person or your trainer. Have the experienced horse person or trainer there to evaluate the horse if you can. I want a horse to stand quietly to be mounted, to transition easily and to halt easily. It would be nice if the horse was push button trained, but most of us don’t have the dollar$ for that.

Finally, make the deal contingent upon the horse getting in the trailer... AND do not give them any money without a prepurchase contract - EVER.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Poor Molly... her mom dresses her funny

Like the saddle pad? I got a puke green Jones right now. I've been buying the new color 'thang in the Western Whore look for a while.

The horse I am riding is Molly Pearl, A.K.A. Mo' the Ho', my talented and lazy mustang mare. We're team penning here and she's pissed off because I'm asking for a canter (canter conversion for you English/Dressage folks) by touching her side with my leg.

Sadly, when Molly had just been started, I was kicked by a friends mare and my leg was severely broken. So I incorrectly decided that Mo' needed to have her training continued rather than letting her have a rest while I recuperated.

Unfortunately, the person who trained her used spurs unsparingly. Like an elephant, Molly will never forget the experience and she gets very surly when legs move to her sides. Her head goes up, ears go back, mouth purses up and tail starts twitching.

I love my Mo' the Ho' and I hope someday she'll forgive me for allowing her to be used as a pin cushion.

But hey, I was talking about my penchant for puke green. In general and in the past, I do not like western fashion. I particularly do not like the western pleasure attire and make up, which as I mentioned previously, I refer to as the "Western Whore" look. I was raised with plaid or print yolk shirts with snaps, boot leg cut jeans that aren't so long that you have to roll them up when barefoot and butterfly cutout cowboy boots from Juarez.

That's western fashion for me. In my opinion the clothing that is worn now in western circles these days is more appropriate for the Kit Kat Ranch than for the show ring. Dressing like that is NOT pleasurable. It's for special occasions, if at all. Real ranch women, women who actually ride horses for a living DO NOT dress up for a pleasure hack. They may use make up and dress nicer than I do, but I don't see anyone out with rhinestone encrusted stretch slinkies, tight leather vests, plastic hairspray helmet hair anywhere. This trend is by far the best example of herd mentality I've encountered.

That being said, I do, for some reason, like the green sparkley stuff.

I've always liked sparkley stuff. As a child I used to buy all of the rhinestone jewelry I could find at garage and rummage sales. So the sparkley component of my attachment is easily understood, however, I don't have a real understanding about the puke green.

It's a mystery.

If you're wondering why I care about this at all, I suppose that one day, I'll be one of those nutty old women who wear awful clothing and stand on the corner yelling at people.

(If you're thinking about my last blog, Molly's not lying with her actions, she's "telling" me of her dissatisfaction, but I don't care.)

Horses don't lie....

The comedian Louis Black had a routine Comedy Central where he discussed how some things stick in our brains and even though we don’t think that our brains have captured a particular statement and can’t let go, somehow it comes back to our conscious thought processes. Of course, his example was entirely hilarious but since I’m not a comedian, I will spare you the details.

The statement that stuck in Mr. Black’s mind was this, “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” I can see that for a non-horse person, this sentence would make no sense at all.

As I am a horse person, I can understand how someone spent a year in college because of a horse makes. The horse owner could have sold the horse and used to money for college and or living expenses. Or the presence of the horse kept the person sane enough to make it through the school year. Either way, the sentence makes sense for me.

Although I can make sense of that statement, I have been and still am being haunted by this statement: “Horses don’t lie.”

What? That makes no sense at all.

It’s a common enough statement; it seems to be very popular with the natural horsemanship crowd. It does not explain a thing for me.

Stating that a horse doesn’t lie is like saying the Pope is Catholic, roots grown down or a man needs his liver to survive. What is the point?

There are two books on the market now with similar titles, one is Mark Rashid’s book “Horses Never Lie: The Heart of Passive Leadership” and “Horses Don't Lie: What Horses Teach Us About Our Natural Capacity for Awareness, Confidence, Courage, and Trust” by Chris Irwin. Unfortunately, I have not read either book because I’m afraid, that maybe my brain would explode while I pondered the meanings of the titles.

If you read descriptions of the books, there is no reference at all to WTF is meant by the title. There is a lot of psychobabble about horse behavior and putative psychology and a hint of how learning to understand a horse helps us understand ourselves.

Fine, great, good. It’s a nice topic and well meaning, but it doesn’t relate to the title at all. Of course horses don’t lie. They can’t lie. Lying is a purely human action and is strictly defined. Just to bore you a bit more, contemplate the dictionary definition of lying:

Pronunciation noun, verb, lied, ly·ing.

  1. A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional falsehood.
  2. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
  3. An inaccurate or false statement.
  4. The charge or accusation of lying: He flung his lie back at his accusers.

–verb (used without object)

  1. To speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
  2. To express what is false; convey a false impression.

–verb (used with object)

7. To bring about or affect by lying (often used reflexively): to lie oneself out of a difficulty; accustomed to lying his way out of difficulties.

If you understand the definitions, it would be difficult for someone to explain to me how a horse can lie at all? Anyone who knows anything about horses knows this: Horses don’t talk, Q.E.D. they can’t lie.

I know, I know, there are some idiots who have expressed to me that their horses “pretend” to be injured to get out of work. The example of horse deception goes like this: On the way away from the barn, pasture, or trailer, the horse walks with a noticeable limp and is walking very slow. The owner rightfully discerns that the horse is injured. When they turn back to the barn, pasture, or trailer, the horse picks up speed and walks out seemingly sound. There are variants to this story, such as the horse playing in the pasture or running from the owner, but they are all variations on the same theme: The horse is getting to do what it wants to do and is willing to ignore the pain to go home, play with friends or avoid a trail ride. The horse has the impetus to ignore the pain.

There is ample evidence for this in the wild. A lame horse will catch up in a hurry when the herd is threatened. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen in person. A wild mare, was penned in a small pen to keep her from hurting herself. The new non-horsey owners disregarded the BLM wild horse handlers, her horsey friends and the trainer and let the mare out of the pen into a larger area. The mare, frantic to get to the horses across the fence, tried to jump the fence and only succeeded in breaking both front legs.

Since I lived nearby, I responded to a frantic phone call from the new wild horse owner. When I arrived, I found a mare running around on bloody stumps of front legs with open fractures. It was a mess. We had to wait until the mare bled out to euthanize her and even then she was still trying to get up.

It was the singularly most horrifying horse accident I’ve ever witnessed.

Back to the topic at hand: Now that we’ve established that horses can’t lie either verbally or by action, I wonder what these whole books could be about. Of course I could read one or both of these books, but again, the titles themselves just piss me off.

In my mind the statement “Horses don’t lie” elicits a “duh” response. I was just as appalled when the American Medical Association decided in the ‘90’s, and stated in no uncertain terms that cigarette smoking was addictive. When I read that, I thought, you’ve got to be kidding, everyone knows that cigarette smoking is addictive. (FYI: As it turns out, the AMA categorized smoking as dependent response. A dependent response is when you need a chemical to function but there is no biochemical response to increase the dosage. AFAIC, we’re splitting medical hairs here, but hey I’m no physician).

Horses don’t lie is just a cutesy title to sell books and grab attention but not a very good one. Next time I hear it I’ll use one of my handy dandy statements of the obvious such as:

Horses don’t use the phone.

Horses can’t use a recliner for shit.

Horses need water to live.

Horses breathe two ways, in and out.

Horses poop.

Horses smell like horses.

A horse is not a dog.

Horses are bred for different purposes.

That horses don't lie is a given. When I hear it, it just annoys me. IMNSHO, using any statement to that effect just makes you look like an buzz word using idiot.