Craigslist has some competition!

Crappy sale ads aren’t just found on craigslist any more.

I’m curious what’s for sale? The horse, the stall or the horse head?

Jumps, crosses water, translated – Jumps across water.

Stalls, as in stalls out at the intersection?

No spook – not good for Halloween work – I’ll pass.

Is the seller aware that separating horse heads from horse bodies is no longer the fad?

A Rare Breed

I like to think I’ve been around a good number of breeds, and those I haven’t met in person I’ve at least heard about. I have more experience with gaited horses than your average bear. I’ve ridden hundreds of Tennessee Walkers, and watched more go. I’ve ridden Missouri Fox Trotters, Racking Horses, Paso Finos, Rocky Mountain Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses. This is a new one for me though, Tennuvian.

He's a bit stocky though, looks more like a Belgian cross...

I was completely unaware of this breed until I found one for sale.

I will whole heartedly admit that there are some really wonderful crosses out there that are pretty much accepted as their own breeds: Appendixes, Anglo-Arabs, and Pintabians. Sometimes though, a cross is just a cross.

Crossing non-gaited horses is a whole lot simpler than crossing gaited. Breed a Thoroughbred and a Quarter Horse and chances are it will still trot. Tennessee Walkers don’t cross real well. In fact, it can be hard to get a well-bred Tennessee Walker to gait well. To me it just doesn’t make sense to cross two breeds with different gaits and just hope for the best. Crossing Tennessee Walkers and non-gaited horses is a crap shoot, and I’ll be honest, I don’t see this going real well either. What kind of gait does one expect to get from these two, a Running Llano?

Looks good guys! Keep breeding!

There was no video of the Tennuvian in the ad, but I found some awesome ones on youtube for your viewing pleasure.

Case Study I:

Meet Colbalt

Colbalt is pacing for most of the video, although at the 30 second mark he seems to be lifting off into a half canter. Upon closer inspection of the description though you realize it’s not his fault.

“Cobalt on his second day of training being ridden by a 12 year old hunter/jumper rider. He is in training for 30 days. His price WILL go up.”

I sincerely hope this is not his second day of training EVER, since the 12 y/o girl who doesn’t seem to know anything about gaited horses is riding bareback.

Colbalt is so special he gets 2 videos.

“Cobalt being ridden. He needs work, is very green but is now in training. He is for sale $1500 to good home only.”

I also always ride my very green horses bareback on the front lawn, especially in sale videos – so happy to have found someone else who does too! My favorite part is at 20 seconds where he tries to race down the hill and trips over his own feet.

Case Study II:

Another Classy Find.

Apparently one never rides Tennuvians in a saddle; I’m not sure if that’s to demonstrate their superior gaiting ability or related to the fact that the average owner can’t afford a saddle.

I ALWAYS ride my sale horses in shorts and sandals; it proves you can do anything around them (aka bombproof).

Can you say TAIL Swisher? Except she only swishes when her neck is up, back is hollow and her gait gets noticeably trotty. It’s difficult to say whether this reaction is the effect of pain or an off-balance rider.

She does seem to be a decent little thing for all she has going against her. I would like to see her go undersaddle with someone who could help her gait.

But at least she doesn’t hurt you.

Case Study III:

The Exception

Whoa! This guy can move. The video quality sucks, but if you watch the girl she doesn’t move.

P.S. I can’t take the breed seriously if your breed registry doesn’t have a working website.

Circus Horse!

How this ad should really read:

Circus horse for sale!

Experienced circus star is for sale. Ride him your way; if you can dream it you can do it! This Quarter Horse is a fantastic starter horse for anyone with circus dreams. Not just your average circus horse, he is very versatile and comes with a complete skill set. Take this talented fellow home tonight! He does have a fleshy knot on his shoulder from a sword accident; the clown thinks it won’t harm his performance.

Skills include but are not limited to trail riding (around the circus camp), hunting (for new acts), pack horse (for traveling between shows), parades (when the circus arrives in a new town), fun shows (even circus’ have their competitions)

Sample poses shown below:

Upper Left: Reverse Side-Saddle

Upper Right: Double Trouble Bareback

Lower Left: Bum Ride

Lower Right: The Classic Stand

Please stop by if you’re interested, the circus is in town for another week then we’re headed to Buffalo!

Asking $800 or a new trapeze set.

How To: The Craigslist Tutorial

Today I thought I’d do something a little different. In a sea of horrid craigslist ads how does one stand out from the masses? Never fear, I am here to help with a How-To. Without further ado:

Step One:     Identify the subject to be sold. This is usually best done over beers and a fire pit. As in:

 Jerry: We need more beer money.

Howie: Weeellll Shit. Where we gonna get that? I don’t get paid for a week!

Jerry: Hey we could sell sumthin.

Howie: How about Spot? Bout time the little shit worked.

Spot a.k.a. Beer Money

Step Two:     Ensure that Spot is in prime condition. This can be a long process; fat and muscle take time to disappear.

  1.  Remove all but the worst moldy hay and feed from the horse’s reach.
  2. Call the farrier and cancel your appointment, after all you’re selling him, he’ll be someone else’s problem soon enough.
  3. Paperwork is for sissies. Practice your target shooting using the last Coggins you have on Spot (probably from when you purchased him).
  4. If the horse won’t roll in mud and manure himself you’ll need to take matters into your own hands. The key is getting the proper consistency in the ‘mud paint’ you’ll need to spread in a thin film all over his body; I recommend adding swamp water to the mix.
  5. Bad haircuts all round! We want Spot to really shine. Shave half his mane off, cut his tail above his hocks or shave his name onto his side, don’t want his new owners to forget it!

    Bonus points for extra animals in the shot!

Step Three:     Every good and bad ad has photographic evidence to support the sale. Really take your time here, the right setting is everything. Keep these points in mind while searching for the prime location:

  • Find the corner of your yard that really says ‘a Hoarder lives here’.

    Use this as a comparison!

  • You’ll want Spot to have a slightly terrified look in his eye so flapping tarps, screaming children, dogs and firearms are usually necessary for the photo shoot.

    Family is important, if you don't have your own invite the neighbors!

  • Children’s toys always say ‘bombproof’.
  • Nothing shows Spots ride-ability like a 2 year old without shoes or a helmet.

    What a wimp! That kid's wearing shoes!

  • Uphill or downhill, slopes are your friend! The only downside (ha!) is the lack of mud- get your garden hose out- you need to go the extra mile here.
  • Taking the photo through something (panels, barbed wire, constructions fence) really adds an artistic element.

    A fabulous shot! Love the action!

  • Camera choice is also important; I recommend a Polaroid, disposable cameras (if you promise to spill water on the prints) and any cell phone camera.

Step Four:     Compose the advertising text and remember this isn’t your Grandma’s English paper.  Sample:

spit is a rel gud hrse. he real purty . ain’t gelded so u can get rel niz babies from him stil. spot cleans up rel nix. hes a quartor hors/thorowbread/shtelond/corgi/tesnensense talker X and a champion.he aint regeistered yet only cuz hes the fiurst of his kind. hes bout 5 feet tall and all muscle. he only bit marylou once and not rel hard. $20 or a case of blue ribbon. you haul.

**This was actually really hard to type, damn autocorrect!**

Step Five:      Post that ad! Settle back with a beer and let the offers come rolling in!

It's all about the frame (and yes this was actually on a craigslist ad)

_________________________________________________________

The key to success here is to really work at it, you can’t hold back! If you do everything I mention though you will likely have the honor of being featured on my blog, Snarky’s, or Fugly’s. That’s when you’ll know you made it.

Answers all around!

Ask.com, Yahoo Answers, and Answers.com do seem to attract the scum of the Earth. If Craigslist isn’t careful these guys could perform a hostile takeover of the internet stupidity cult. These fabulous websites are set up so the general public can find answers to their pressing questions from, you guessed it, the general public.

There’s really nothing like the blind leading the blind. I will admit that every once in a blue moon a normal human being will respond with a sensible answer on these sites, but for the most part the questions are stupid and the answers stupider.

Case Study I:

I know, I know I had to drag up something from 3 years ago, but it just was so priceless.

  1. If you are asking should your stud be gelded, the answer is yes. I don’t care if he is capable of winning the Olympics YOU are clearly not qualified to be in charge of this decision.
  2. ‘I can’t really handle him’ – stallions don’t settle down after breeding ever. So if you couldn’t handle him before you REALLY aren’t going to be able to after. Seriously this horse doesn’t even recommend his own breeding, on a personality factor alone.
  3. The top rated answer? Actually a really great one, the only thing missing it seems was a description of what an exceptional horse is.
  4. The original poster’s response to this advice? Decide to breed him to her mare, and then geld him. Why? Because he’s gorgeous and has some names on his papers *head-desk*

Case Study II:

  1. Ok, this is like a bad joke; a priest, a rabbi and a minister a stud, a gelding, and a mare all walk into a bar pasture, fortunately only one ended up with a lump on their forehead pregnant.
  2. 3 horses and gelding ONE is too expensive… I’m predicting problems here. Especially with the stork due to deliver another in less than a year.
  3. I think we have bigger concerns that one is not registered…
  4. Like 3 horses on 1 acre (really just a backyard). Managing that many horses on that little land is not impossible, but I have severe doubts about their capacity to handle the responsibility.
  5. This probably doesn’t qualify as ‘saying whatever on kind words’ but then I’m really not sure what that means.

Case Study III:

I want switch it up and take a look at the positives involved with breeding to this stud, can’t always be negative after all!

1. Every potential broodmare owner is concerned with fertility and they will definitely be relieved to know that he already throws beautiful babies!

     Which I’m assuming means they have spots.

2. $150! It’s a bargain, better get two breedings while we can!

     Don’t want to miss out due to raised fees after all.

3. Hunter/jumper potential here, his babies could be going to the Maclay soon!

     Ok, so when was the last time you saw an Appaloosa at the Maclay, be honest now.

Case Study IV:

I know. Needs no words right?

The good news is after further inspection I sincerely doubt that Sanctus actually owns a horse. Most of their posts are equally as outlandish and completely unrelated. I just couldn’t resist posting something so stupid.

So next time you have a pressing question, type it up and submit, the answers are bound to be worth a laugh!

Really? I mean Really?

People never cease to amaze me. These folks were so lucky; runaways usually have more injuries than this. Remember the Fourth of July tragedy? Let’s try a new concept and learn from our mistakes.

Anyways in this story it seems after the Christmas parade was over the owner of the horse was switching out the bridle when the horse spooked and ran through town. The horse and carriage (yes, still attached) hit two light poles, two cars and ran over the owner, who it seems is okay after the event.

There is really no excuse for this to happen. Ever. Unhitching is a routine, and good drivers stick to it no matter how well you know the horse, driver or fairy godmother involved.

Special Feature! >>>>

Unhitching for Idiots:

Step 1: Head up the horse while the driver is still holding the lines (translated: a qualified person, i.e. not the guy wearing flip-flops, holds the thing [bridle] on the horse’s head)

Step 2: Make sure Joe Bob is still holding the horse’s head (really, double check that he hasn’t wandered off to get a beer) while you unhook the brakes and the traces, and hook them up properly to the harness.

Step 3: Make sure Joe Bob is still holding the head (this is key!) while you hold the shafts of the carriage.

Step 4: (Joe Bob gets to move in this one!) While holding the horse’s bridle Joe Bob needs to step the horse up clear of the shafts.

Step 5: Put the halter around the horses neck (this is so Joe Bob still has control over the horse) while you remove the bridle.

Step 6: Now, now, Joe Bob don’t wander off to hang up that bridle yet. Make sure that the horse’s halter is completely and correctly on and the horse is securely fastened before you go tidy up the tack room.

Yes, yes, I know I just described unhitching a single horse as a TWO person job. Have I seen it done by one person? Yes. Is it a good idea? Never.

I know shit happens, but really get a grip. Something has to BREAK for this sort of thing to be acceptable (and even then it’s really not still, check your equipment and then re-check it).

The crackpots, have well, cracked.

You know it’s bad when your own wackos turn against you….

The NY Post reports that “An NYPD cop-turned-animal-welfare agent is stepping forward to charge that the ASPCA is cutting ethical and legal corners in its attempt to abolish the city’s horse-carriage industry.”

Halleluiah! It’s about time someone came to their senses in the crackpot that is the ASPCA. Don’t get me wrong I am all about ridding the world of animal abuse, but not at the cost of an industry that is dependent on the welfare of their animals. For instance, it’s really tough to run a carriage company if there are no horses. I also whole heartedly believe in the ASPCA’s mission statement, but find them seriously lacking in the execution.

“The ASPCA Animal Behavior Center is dedicated to promoting balanced, respectful and enriched relations between people and pets through graduate and post-graduate programs for aspiring animal behaviorists; continuing behavioral education for shelter personnel, trainers, veterinarians, and other animal professionals; and the provision of practical, humane advice on pet behavior for owners.”

Perhaps if they spent more time worried about this:

Rather than this:

Secrets of the Carriage Industry

I worked about two years in the carriage tour industry. No, not in New York City, believe it or not carriage tours run everywhere from Denver, Colorado to Charleston, South Carolina. When I started I knew next to nothing about carriage horses and driving; by the end I could maneuver a young team around a cement mixer without missing a beat in my story. I’m not saying I know everything about the industry, just my little corner.

We ran our carriages out of a converted warehouse about a 20 minute drive (by carriage) from where our tours started. An ideal setting? It was certainly not picturesque, but it had safe, large stalls, a paddock out back and a lock on the door (and yes the fire department had a key). Our barn manager lived five minutes away (did I mention he was our farrier too?) We had 14 horses in the barn, and ran two six hour shifts of carriages, horses and drivers daily. Our horses were our co-workers; on average we spent more time with our equine co-workers than our people ones.

Feed: We fed timothy hay and grain 3x daily. The high protein pelleted grain was always soaked, and topped with each horses’ supplements.

Hoof Care: Each horse was shod every 4 weeks on average (the pavement wears out shoes faster than sand). Each horse was shod as an individual without using stocks (almost unheard of for drafts), but for the most part we used steel shoes with borium studs for traction. Why didn’t we use rubber shoes? A few reasons: the rubber stops the natural slide of a horse’s foot upon landing, the rubber tends to wear unevenly and the added height of the rubber can cause soreness. If a horse lost a shoe during a shift we had easy boots on hand to protect their hoof until they made it back to the barn.

Time Off: Our horses all had days off and nobody worked if they weren’t sound. On days off our horses were often turned out in the back paddock while their stalls were cleaned. The owner also had property outside of town that we hauled out to if horses were on extended leave (we had a mare that took every summer off simply because she didn’t do well working the heat). My first two months at the company we had a Belgian that didn’t work at all; he wasn’t sound enough. The horse had naturally crumbly feet. So every day for months in addition to his feed supplements, the staff painted his feet with hoof hardener.

Illness: It happens, to everyone. We certainly weren’t immune. One evening I pulled my team for the evening out of their stalls only to see that they were covered in hives, no work for them that night and each got a nice shot of dex. The problem? A new shipment of shavings that had a bit of cedar in them. We (the drivers) took our horses temperatures between each tour and tracked their average. If anyone was over 102 they didn’t go out on tour and the driver spent the hour cold hosing the horse. We actually cancelled tours because of this. One evening my horse began to act colicky, we cancelled the tour and headed back to the barn. I didn’t even get half way back when the owner of the company was dropped off by the barn manager and rode with me back to the barn. The manager was ready and waiting we I pulled into the barn, my horse was unhitched and unharnessed before I stepped off the carriage. Nobody left that night until we were sure he was feeling better. Oh and did I mention the owner had company in town and left in the middle of dinner to meet me?

In the two years I worked for the company we had one horse die, he was 26 and retired. It was the saddest week I had at the company; everyone loved that feisty old guy.

Working for that company was one of the best jobs I had, certainly one of the most educational. Is this how every company is run? Probably not, but the good ones certainly don’t deserve to be dumped into the ASPCA’s crackpot. Let’s focus on the individuals rather than the whole.