Tuesday, 29 January 2013

When is a Broodmare not a Broodmare...

This ad is just full of contradictions...

Spotted the issue? Yes she's being described as a broodmare throughout the ad. And effectively she is- she's never been broken. She's had LOTS of babies. But you mustn't breed her. Because she's lame, and no one knows why. 

Question; why on earth decide breeding from her is not a good idea only when you finally decide to sell her? Maybe it would have been smart not to start breeding from her in the first place? Because the one thing the good old US of A is in dire need of right now is more chestnut quarter horses that are lame and unrideable. Without knowing why this mare is lame, there is a definite chance that she has passed some unseen defect on to her offspring. 

If the seller is serious about wanting this horse to go somewhere where she won't be bred anymore, they really should have taken the word broodmare right off this ad, because there are still people out there who are dumb enough to think breeding horses is the way to make money, and if it's got a functioning uterus, they'll have a go with someone's colt up the road. And they'll start by looking for cheap broodmares. And guess who'll pop up when they search for that- yep our chestnut friend up there. She could be hobbling on one good leg, and that wouldn't stop these people from thinking her foal would be worth millions (by some miracle) and getting her pregnant as fast as they can wheedle her away from her current owners with promises of lawn-mower duties. 

A REAL broodmare is actually a hard thing to find. The queries over the horse above are very obvious, but there are so many mares being touted as breeding prospects when they are anything but. Here are some things that DON'T make a horse a broodmare prospect, yet have actually been used on sale adverts as reasons for a mare being sold as one:

  • The fact that they've already had a foal in the past- this doesn't mean they should necessarily carry on doing it!! 
  • That they have strong 'mothering instincts'. Whilst it's true that not all mares do, most certainly will, very nice mares as well as the crappy ones.
  • They are so 'sweet, loving and caring'. See above.
  • 'She is stunning'. This is often a subjective comment. Anyway, just because the mare looks nice doesn't mean it's necessarily worth  breeding from, especially if she's proved utterly useless for anything else due to mental or physical issues. 
  • 'Difficult ride/not novice ride/won't tolerate ridden work so best for breeding'. Yep, it's too crazy to stay on, so lets breed it. Cos everyone wants to own a horse with a screw loose. 
  • Annnd our number one reason? They just can't be ridden anymore.
If a horse has never been able to stand up to being ridden, breeding would be a very bad idea- conformational issues can readily contribute to unsoundness and of course could easily be handed down to the foal. One of the most worrying things I've seen is the number of mares being offered as broodmares which can't be ridden because of navicular syndrome. This is a bit of a catch all description for a serious and often crippling foot disorder, but given that many experts feel hoof conformation is a major factor, why would you breed from a horse with this issue?

A good broodmare should be conformationally and generally correct for her breed/type (colour, height, build etc.), have a kind temperament, be fit and healthy (certainly no long term mystery lameness- although mares that are lame through accident and can no longer be ridden can have foals with vet clearance), and if she doesn't have impeccable bloodlines to speak for themselves and a family that have proven themselves in their field time and time again, have a good competition/show record. If that sounds like a lot to ask, take a look at the horse sale ads yourself. You can pick up an average horse for peanuts and there are already too many lovely horses unable to find a home. Why risk breeding something with little chance of at least producing a very nice foal when you could buy the same for less than the whole operation would cost?

Basically, if you ARE looking for a broodmare, I'd forget looking for freebies and expect to shell out at least as much as you'd pay for a competition horse of good quality. In the current economy, it's just not worth breeding from anything less. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Advert of the Day (2 for 1)

Eegads, what is going on here?

This looks uncannily like a woman fighting with a Shetland pony- and not looking that happy about it! Sadly (or perhaps fortunately) the image is very small but dressing it up with the curtains doesn't make it less worrying to an experienced horse person's eye. Finding out the shettie in question is a stallion is even less reassuring. From this picture he appears to be a bad mannered and possibly overly randy little sod.

So you'd be desperate to buy him wouldn't you? Of course! Yes this is a sales picture. No really, it is. Honestly. Proof below:

Soon after being shocked by the above, I came across the following...

Seriously, what's going on there? I presume and hope that the chap was executing a trick of some kind with this gelding, who is nearly two years old. But did he not then look at the picture before posting it and think- yeah, maybe not a good idea that. It looks like he's p-d off and trying to attack me. Which he does! And as we have previously discussed on this blog, teaching a large heavy animal that it's OK to put their front feet and their weight anywhere near a person's shoulders and head is pretty dumb. 

Lesson to learn? If you actually want to sell, maybe say a bit more about your horse or pony's good points before you so accurately illustrate that he's a little ****** or potentially lethal!!!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Bridleless= Big Bucks! Apparently...

Here's a little cutie for you.


Additional Comments:Ms April Jack AKA April is a great mare! You can do ANYTHING on her, EVEN RUN a barrel pattern bridleless!! She'll side pass, use FULL leg pressure, spin, flying lead changes, cross anything, go anywhere, rope anything, and can flat fly! Ive owned her since she was a 2 year old and have taught her everything she knows. This horse has honestly been everywhere. Ive rode her into town to sonic before I got my drivers license to get food (roughly 10 miles one way), Ive rode her up and down every road in my town, shes been in countless homecoming and christmas parades. one year being the grinch. always ridden to the parade never hauled there. crosses railroad tracks like its nothing. been hooked up to a cart with no prior training for it and absolutely did nothing, ive jumped her over barrels with no schooling, nothing bothers her at all. anything you think a 9-17 year old kid would put a horse through shes prolly been there! She's done an extreme cowboy race and won it with the fastest time completing all the obstacles! She runs barrels and poles. I prefer to run poles off her (she likes them better) and shes awesome, very quick! 21-22s are her times, she also runs barrels like a dream, 100% automatic! just sit there and soak up the money. NEVER has wide barrels! have even run her bridleless countless of times! have all the videos to prove it! She's ran in mud, rain, everything she has the BEST footing ever! if its ever been muddy ive run her whippin and kicking the whole way and never had her slip, she runs barefoot too never had shoes! Runs to either barrel first just whatever she's feeling that day is the barrel we choose! shes been worked on cattle, breakaway roped off her, tied some goats off her, nothing bothers her what so ever, loads and hauls like a dream, stalls at night, stands tied all day, you can clip, bathe, ect ect with her and she'll sit there. shes 100% bombproof. I can keep going on about all the places shes been and what all she does but thatd take a lifetime. I have put my heart and soul into this mare to get her where she is! Although, She has ONE issue that if you know how to handle it its no big deal. Its in the alley way. I'd prefer her to go somewhere that the work is not in the arena! Like ranch work.
call and lets talk (918)289-5689 If I dont answer im either riding or working so leave a voicemail or text me and i will get back to you asap!

She's sweet, but sweet for $25,000?!!

Yes $25,000 (by current currency conversions that's about £15,500 here in the UK!)!!! And yes, it's serious, and the ad's been there for AGES so I am sure that if it was an error the owner would have noticed by now and changed it.

As a quick aside here are some other areas in the write up that I am a little concerned with...

been hooked up to a cart with no prior training for it and absolutely did nothing

That means nothing either, certainly doesn't mean you could actually drive her. Also, attaching a horse to something that it might decide to be scared of at any second and then not be able to get away from without building up to that point with proper training is plain stupid. Here's how quickly that can go from bad to total carnage:

if its ever been muddy ive run her whippin and kicking the whole way and never had her slip...

Whoopee! You can thrash the heck out of your horse on bad footing and she won't fall over, that's WONDERFUL!

And finally...

I have put my heart and soul into this mare to get her where she is! Although, She has ONE issue that if you know how to handle it its no big deal. Its in the alley way. I'd prefer her to go somewhere that the work is not in the arena! Like ranch work.

This horse might be fine to be ridden bridleless but apparently throws a fit of some sort in the alleyway?!

Do you know many ranchers who are even able to pay 25000 dollars for a horse?!

Crikey do you know many PEOPLE?!

If I were going to buy a horse for that much it had better be as close as perfect as you can possibly get! Little issues- no thanks. Being rideable bridleless is a nice little trick, but that's all it is, and there isn't much market  for it where the big money is- in the show ring.

Here's the biggest problem this seller has- sorted by price her little bay mare shows up right alongside the following horses- so as a potential buyer, for your $25,000 you can have instead:

This imported Perlino stallion, bred to perform, eligible for inspection for full stallion approval, in pro training for dressage and show jumping...

This cute training level packer...

This imported Shagya stallion, inspected and approved.

This adorable Buckskin Azteca mare, with show record and in foal to an Andalusian stallion for 2013.

This sweet Buckskin Canadian Warmblood mare jumping to 3'3-3'6.

I'm not saying that they are all correctly priced by contrast, but what I am saying is that for that amount of money, I'd go for any of them over the bay mare. Either for total lack of hangups or for future potential. And that's on ONE WEBSITE!

Truthfully, I think the seller is living in a dreamworld. Maybe she's young and inexperienced, but her pricing on many of her horses is as way off as you can get. I went to her seller page and found that she also wanted $10,000 for this blemished quarter horse mare. Um, I think you might struggle there. Again she pops up alongside show winning animals, including fully trained and finished cutting and reining horses.

So on a serious point, don't know what to price your horse? Look around and see what else buyers are able to get for their money. Several sale websites allow you to order by price. Price your horse in your head, go to that price bracket, and check out those horses. Does yours compare? Great, that's your price. But if he'll be up against horses that have no issues when he does, or have fantastic show records when he doesn't, and so on, be a little more realistic. Lower your price, or you'll be paying out much more to keep him right where he is for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Head Tucked in= Good!

This is another of my pet hates. I don't want to see the horse I might buy with his nose yanked into his chest! Seriously! Whether that's in a cart:

Or under saddle...

These are not horses being driven/ridden nicely in a contact or on the bit or in an outline or whatever you would like to call it- this isn't it!! These horses are being forced into an incorrect frame, with their noses behind the vertical; they don't look right, they don't look comfortable and if they've been ridden like this a long time they will be prone to fixing in this position and holding themselves behind the bit instead of accepting the contact- not easy to correct! Some people seem to think the horse looks super impressive like this- to me it just looks awful. Honestly, I'd rather see them relaxed on a long rein or poking the nose out a little, especially if they're young. Much easier to introduce them to going the right way from those basics rather than trying to correct the bad habit.

Here are some dressage horses- which are for sale btw, visit http://www.dmdressage.com/ed/home.html- working beautifully WITHOUT their noses in their chests! See the difference?

Not that the world of dressage has it's house in order. Wouldn't you rather watch the horses above being ridden like that than this one being ridden like this?

Sadly these shots are of 2012's SILVER individual medal combination Adelinde Cornelissen on Parzival. In addition to riding her horse into the arena in the over flexed position 'Rollkur' as shown in the top shots, her horse tellingly failed to rein back when asked, instead tucking his nose into his chest in the classic Rollkur position. It's ugly and unpleasant and unfortunately, seems increasingly common in the higher ranks of Dressage competition. More information on this here: http://deserthorseinc.com/blog/2012/08/05/rollkur_olympics/
http://fuglyblog.com/2012/08/03/rollkur-at-the-olympics-a-new-equestrian-event/ http://suite101.com/article/dressage-rollkur-debate-rears-or-tucks-in-its-head-at-olympics-a410572.

But I digress. To return to the selling issue, I am sure many people out there are saying that some of the sales shots I have found are bad moments in time- and I agree, some probably are. But the important point is THEY ARE THE PHOTOS BEING USED TO SELL THE HORSE! Someone somewhere in these people's lives must have a phone that takes pictures or a digital camera- couldn't they get better pictures taken and use those instead, even if it meant delaying the ad a day or so?!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Advert of the Day

So at first glance this seems pretty inoffensive... Cute little horse, never gonna be a world beater, but nice enough for the price...


New Forest X Shire Gelding
15hh+ bay New Forest x Shire, 4 years old, not broken although wouldn't take much.
Good in traffic and with farrier, lovely temperament.
Ring for more info.
Price: £350

OK. Got that?



NOT BROKEN. Young horse, sweet and kind but NOOOOT BROKEN. So can't be expected to know how to behave under a rider of any kind and will need gentle, careful, sensible training.

Scrolled down yet?

AAAAAAH!!! That's high up for someone so little, with no helmet!! Plus one of these little girls is VERY YOUNG! Absolutely of the age to suddenly decide to do something really dumb like just get off. Or lose her balance and grab at her sister. Or boot the horse somehow/somewhere. And he's 4. And he's not broken. AND NO ONE IS HOLDING HIM OR THE CHILDREN!!!! HOW CAN ANYONE THINK THIS IS OK?!!

I feel queasy just looking at this shot- get me social services on the phone STAT.

Again, yes, probably the sort of thing people do a lot, but for the purposes of selling a horse, showing that you think doing something INCREDIBLY stupid is fine enough to share with the entire world doesn't fill me with much confidence. It just scares me half to death.