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Category Archives: Controversial

Controversial

Horse cloning: Did you ever consider cloning Roxy?

“Hey Stacy! I just did a report over horse cloning, and I was wondering if you had ever thought of cloning Roxy?” -Lindsay

I would love to see some of your report, maybe you can post some of what you learned here in the comment section. It has been several years since I have heard much about cloning and I haven’t really followed it.Roxy aka "Whizards Baby Doll" and Stacy Westfall

I never did consider cloning. I imagine that everyone has their own opinion on the idea, but for me it never seemed attractive. I love each horse for its uniqueness, their personality and their interaction. I look at them so much like a friend that for me it would be like cloning one of my human friends…which seems a bit strange.

I guess another way to say what I mean is that I don’t really see the point, for me personally. When I look around the world there are so many horses that could be amazing that I am more tempted to give one of them a chance than to clone. Roxy wasn’t a horse that people were lined up to buy…until after she was trained. I also believe that there are more horses out there that could be unique and special in their own way.

Even from a performance stand point I find it interesting that the Texas A&M website states , “…as well as possible health problems associated with cloned neonates makes it unlikely that the cloned offspring will perform at the same level as the donor animal.”

I believe that horses are a bit like people, there are a lot of great ones out there and I personally enjoy the hunt.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Controversial, Members Question

 

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What breed of horse do you think faces the greatest prejudice?

“Would you recommend an Arabian gelding if my not-so-experienced family members and friends are going to ride it?”-Anna

This is a very short question for a big subject. The shortest answer I can give you would be: I wouldn’t exclude OR include a horse purely on the breed.What breed of horse do you think face the greatest prejudice?

 

Sometimes the problem with really short questions is that it leaves more room for the reader to ‘read into’ the question. For example, in this question it would seem that Arabians are being put into the questionable category as far as safety for beginners. I have met Arabians that were the most gentle, kind and well trained horse that you could ask for. I have also seen some that were not for beginners. Is this because of the training? At least part of it is. Is it because that horse is naturally ‘hotter’…that could be true also.

It is possible to find ‘hot’ horses in pretty much any breed…and in people too. Have you ever met a person who just had to be busy? Each horse and each person has their strengths and their weaknesses. Don’t let preconceived notions about what certain breeds are make your decision. Judge each one on his own merit.

I once saw a draft horse that was ‘hot’ i.e.-prancy, excitable, etc. I wasn’t around the horse and owner for a long time, but it appeared that the horse was well cared for, trained and had no history of abuse or mistreatment. The owner said they had always owned the horse and they also said the horse had always been very perky. My brain had been trained to think that all draft horses were lazy….another preconceived notion. Sometimes these notions also lead to breed prejudice and that is NOT a good thing.

Just think about all of the Thoroughbreds, Arabians and other breeds that people have preconceived notions about. What breeds do you think face the greatest prejudice? Do you think it is justified or unjustified? What is your happiest story about a horse that didn’t fit the standard preconceived notion about that breed?

 
69 Comments

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Controversial, Thought provoking

 

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Have you ever had a horse injured in a car/trailer, accident? Or while avoiding an accident?

When you are cut off while driving your truck and trailer do you swerve to avoid an accident? I know I do. It seems like people figure all that extra space I leave in front of me for ‘sufficient breaking distance’ is viewed by many drivers as open lane that they can pull into.

Earlier today I posted the following question that was emailed to me by Tiffany. 300 legs

“In 2012 my husband and I were hauling our horses back to the trainer when someone pulled out in front of us. My husband avoided hitting the other driver, but my horse got hurt really bad in the process. His back leg got caught under a partition gate and tore all the ligaments off the bone. It has been a long process, but I saved him and his life. He had to have immediate surgery, which I paid for. Now, the other guys insurance is refusing to pay because there was no collision so therefore there shouldn’t be any damages. Obviously, we are going to court, but we are looking for evidence to help us in court. Documentation of this happening before or something that can help our case. I know you can reach and know many people and maybe someone could offer something. I have been fighting for my horse and refuse to give up on him. I am his voice. I have a whole album of pictures on my Facebook of the whole surgery and all. I was in with him during surgery. I appreciate anything that you can offer to help my Whiskey Dent!!!”

If you have ever heard of a situation like this feel free to leave a comment and I will make sure Tiffany sees this post.

 The following are comments from my Facebook page after posting Tiffany’s question, the comments raise even more questions;

  • Did you get a police report by any chance? Always make a police report. If the other driver was cited you may have a chance. Their auto collision and liability insurance probably won’t pay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sue him.
  • Unfortunately a lot of times you don’t stand a chance unless you take the paint of the other vehicle with you.
  • Just went on an accident last night where a motorcycle rider had to lay his bike down because someone pulled out in front of him. There was no collision between the two but the cops still cited the driver that pulled out for failure to yield. His insurance will still have to pay for the riders injuries. Not sure if the same rules apply in your state or to horses but maybe?
  • Get a lawyer… I wish that we would have gotten the plate number of the guy that did that to us… Our old boy fell and did the splits, our vet bill was $1,100…
  • Next time hit them. If you don’t have enough time to brake to avoid hitting them, that’s their problem. Pulling out in front of a trailer is like pulling out in front of a semi, except more lives are involved with the trailer.
  •  I didn’t read all answers in depth, but I will say that I am appalled that anyone would consider HITTING another vehicle while towing! Not only do you put that driver and occupants in jeopardy, but you also put yourself, your vehicle occupants AND your horses, rig, contents in jeopardy!
  • Same thing happened to a customer of mine but her truck and trailer WAS hit by an on coming car. The insurance paid for the trailer damage (new trailer) but would not cover any of the horses costs. It is almost like the don’t recognize what is IN the trailer … only people and vehicles. I wish you the best!

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Controversial, Life, Thought provoking

 

What are Nurse Mare Foals?

Many of you have asked, “Why are these foals not with their mothers?”I wondered

The following info is from The Last Chance Corral website;

“What are Nurse Mare Foals?

A nurse mare foal is a foal who was born so that its mother might come into milk. The milk that its mother is producing is used to nourish the foal of another mare, a more “expensive” foal. Primarily these are thoroughbred foals, though certainly are not limited to the thoroughbred industry. The foals are essentially by-products of the mare’s milk industry. A thoroughbred mare’s purpose is to produce more racehorses. A mare can give birth to one foal each year provided she is re-bred immediately after delivering a foal. Because the Jockey Club requires that mares be bred only by live cover, and not artificially inseminated, the mare must travel to the stallion for breeding and may be shipped as soon as 7-10 days after giving birth to a foal, but a period of 3-4 weeks is generally allowed.

In general there are a number of reasons why a nurse mare may be called upon.  Traveling is very risky for these newborn racing foals, and insurance costs are prohibitive for the foal to accompany the mother to the stallion farm. At this point a nurse mare is hired to raise the thoroughbred foal while the mother goes and gets re-bred. In order to have milk, the nurse mare had to give birth to her own baby. When she is sent to the thoroughbred breeding farm, her own foal is left behind. Historically, these foals were simply killed. Orphaned foals are difficult to rise and no one had tried to raise large numbers of them. These foals do have value, however, their hides can be used as “pony skin” in the fashion and textile industries, and the meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign markets.

This is where Last Chance Corral comes in. We rescue these foals by purchasing as many as we can.  We bring them home, tend to their needs, and find them loving, secure homes. Please help us help them.

Please note that we have to purchase our Nurse Mare Foals.  Each foal costs us between $200 and $400.  The adoption fee of each foal is based on what we pay for each individual foal.  We add an extra $50 to the price we pay to try, and I emphasize the word try, to help cover the expenses of transportation, milk, and medications.”

My first reaction was how can this be stoppedand from reading comments I can see that many of you are with me on this. The idea of putting pressure on the industry is a natural first reaction but then I had to think deeper and more broad. Think about human problems such as human trafficking and modern day slavery…and the idea of people, as well as animals, struggling takes on a more broad, historical, almost un-ending feel. There are good farms that do good and bad farms that do bad. Last Chance deals with the bad farms. Saying you would fix the bad farms is like saying you would make drugs and other illegal things unavailable in jails…yet it still happens.

But I can help one foal. That doesn’t feel too big.

The whole practice is wrong… but it struck me as ultra-wrong that Last Chance has to BUY the foals from these farms. So, in a very real since, donations do directly save these lives.

Between now and April 10th, Last Chance Corral is looking for donations of used saddles or tack that they can resell and use the money to BUY and care for foals.

The Last Chance Corral is a Federally designated 501(c)3 non-profit organization and a member of the The American Horse Protection Association and American Humane Society.  They are one of the oldest, large animal rescue organizations in the country.

Thank you from a foal

A foal at Last Chance Corral says, “Thank you” for donating saddles and tack to help save more foals.

Donations can be sent directly to;

LAST CHANCE CORRAL

Victoria Goss, President

5350 US 33 South

Athens, Ohio 45701

(740) 594-4336

lastchancecorral@gmail.com

URL: www.lastchancecorral.org

The foals thank you.

Below is a video for those of you who would like to learn more about the nurse mare foals and Last Chance corral. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, I suggest watching them teaching the foals to drink from a bucket around 4 minutes and then visit the Last Chance Facebook page to see the two foals after they have mastered drinking.

 
51 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Controversial, Life, Video

 

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Help rescue nurse mare foals and adult horses by supporting the Last Chance Corral

The youngest of the rescues, nurse mare foals, draw the most emotional reaction from people, myself included.

The youngest of the rescues, nurse mare foals, draw the most emotional reaction from people, myself included.

I had to admit to Victoria that I had been stalking her for almost ten years.

Of course, I used the word ‘stalking’ in the most flattering way possible. Really a better word would have been ‘following’…but anyway…

My first experience with Victoria’s organization, Last Chance Corral, was at Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio. The reason I remember it so clearly was because my first reaction was near outrage at seeing someone with such a young foal at such a big event…without his mother.

Victoria Goss, founder of Last Chance Corral

Victoria Goss, founder of Last Chance Corral

There was no way I was leaving without the full story so I directly approached the foal and handler. I calmly asked what the foal, obviously very young, was doing here and where his mother was. That was my introduction to The Last Chance Corral, founded by Victoria Goss.

That’s when I began stalking following the website and whenever I could, watching them at Equine Affaire. I had a strong desire to learn more about the strength of this rescue group as well as their effectiveness, outreach, and overall approach to horses and humans.

During my research phase I learned that the organization has a passion for rescuing horses of all ages. They rescue on average 75-100 full-grown horses during the year as well as 160 plus foals. The youngest of the rescues draw the most emotional reaction from people, myself included.

The Last Chance Corral website, videos and Facebook page do a great job explaining in detail what they do and why. I will insert my small experience here.

My first knowledge of a nurse mare came from a customer that I trained horses for. They had been involved in the equine industry for longer than I had been alive at the time and during a conversation they mentioned that once, one of their mares had died leaving them an orphaned foal.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“A friend told us to rent a nurse mare and gave me a contact in Kentucky.”

She then related to me how the nurse mare had been delivered to their home in Ohio and explained that the person delving the mare had helped introduce the mare and foal. When the foal was weaned the mare was returned.

Then the subject of the mare’s original foal came up. It was explained that the nurse mare farm was set up to handle ‘orphaned’ foals. They had the knowledge, the staff and the facility that the average horse owner lacks. Part of the fee charged to lease the mare went to insure that the foal was cared for.

I would like to think that emergency situations were the only times that nurse mares were used but that isn’t true. It also isn’t true that a mare MUST have a foal to become a nurse mare.

What?

Yes, it is possible to have a nurse mare, a mare that is lactating, without the mare producing a foal. Lactation can be induced by chemicals also. I spoke with farm employees who kept entire herds of mares hormonally/chemically monitored by a vet to ensure the availability of nurse mares without the ‘by-product’ of a foal.

But it comes at a financial cost. It isn’t as cheap to have a vet monitor and regulate hormones on a group of mares when you could breed them and forget about them until you needed them.

I will ask this one thing of you if you have read this far; remember that inside of any large group or industry the odds are that there will be some scum. Please remember that the presence of some scum doesn’t condemn the entire industry.

The bottom line is that:

1) there is a demand for nurse mares

2) there are good farms who do right

3) there are bad farms who do wrong

Victoria is here to catch the slack for group three.

Victoria was a no-nonsense, direct speaking woman and I know this from personal experience. I called Victoria in October 2013 to ask some questions and to see if I could stop by….but I left out my name:)

Victoria answered my questions and didn’t waste any words.

I liked her.

Then I went to visit her.

left to right Victoria:founder of Last Chance Corral, Middle: Stacy Westfall on first trip Right: Rachel...the one who said 'dead ringer', lol

left to right
Victoria:founder of Last Chance Corral,
Middle: Stacy Westfall on first trip
Right: Rachel…the one who said ‘dead ringer’, lol

It was really funny! I still hadn’t told her my name and when we pulled into the lower driveway we were informed by some ladies that Victoria was in the house. We thanked them and pulled out of the lower driveway into the upper drive that led to the house. I later learned that one lady turned to the other and said, “That chick is a DEAD RINGER for Stacy Westfall….”

Up at the house it was time to confess to Victoria and all who I was and why I was there; I wanted to help.

How can I help? Victoria answered almost without thinking.

“Spread the word.”

Curious, I asked why spreading the word was the first thing she thought of and her answer made sense; the rest will follow.

She isn’t shy about the biggest need as far as the foals go either; homes. The faster they find homes, the more Victoria and the team can rescue. She tried to get me to adopt during that first phone call when she didn’t even know my name….lol.

I was, and am, impressed with the dedication that Victoria has shown to horses and I am not alone. In 2001 the American Veterinary Medical Association selected Victoria Goss to receive the AVMA Humane Award in recognition of humane efforts on behalf of animals and exceptional compassion for animal welfare.

There are several things I have in mind that I would like to do for the Last Chance Corral but I know what the first will be. Spread the word.

Will you help me?

The Last Chance Corral Facebook page currently has 25,455 likes. It deserves a million.

By clicking ‘like’ on their Facebook page you could help save a foal,  a friend of a friend could be the the next person to adopt.

Lets aim for 50,000 by this time next Sunday. What do you say? Like them and spread the word. Some of these little guys have grown up and become amazing adults…but more on that in another post.

P.S.- If you are interested in adopting please read the adoption policies page of the Last Chance Corral website.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Controversial, Thought provoking, Video

 

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Which horse trainer or clinician is the best to follow?

Yes, there really is an answer to this question!Blank cowboy

One of the great things about living in the information age is that you have the advantage of accessing virtually endless amounts of information online. Add to that the growing number of TV shows, horse expos, blogs and YouTube and it would be easy to argue that if you want to learn something; a lack of choice shouldn’t be the problem. Here are some things to consider when finding the right fit.

First thing: put some time and effort into finding someone who’s techniques, methods, and teaching style fit you.

I often tell people to study one persons methods from colt starting to finished horse…that could be Clinton Anderson, Chris Cox,Bob Avila, Pat and Linda Parelli, Richard Winters, Ken McNabb, Julie Goodnight, Josh Lyons, Guy McLean, Craig Cameron, or anyone that you admire the results of. That includes the local person giving riding lessons or the regional person who shows horses that you have been admiring from afar these last few years.puzzle horse

Study that one person’s methods from beginning to end because the consistence is important for the horse. If there is one disadvantage to the amount of information out there it may be that people ‘pick and choose’ from methods without looking for a ‘common thread’. Remember when you were in kindergarden? First grade? Second grade? There was a reason why you had one teacher for all of your subjects. It made finding the ‘common thread’ easier for you. It gave you consistency.

‘Pick and choose’ does have its place also. I recommend it as step one and step three.

Step One-Look around and see what is out there (pick and choose)

Step Two-study one method from beginning to end

Step Three-look around and see what will challenge your thinking (pick and choose)

The goal of this would be that you would find a teacher who 1) you like their results 2) you understand and agree with their methods.

So who is the best horse trainer or clinician to follow? The answer is the one that fits you the best.

P.S.- Other thoughts to consider: once you do this three step process….you aren’t done. (Sorry, it is true) because your needs will change as you continue to grow. This will eventually send you back through the three steps again.

Also, as you study, you should begin to realize that the vast majority of clinicians and trainers have similar methods (the common thread) running through the programs. Once you can see that similar thread (the release is the reward, etc) you will suddenly be able to study multiple programs without confusing your horse.

I could just keep writing on this subject…..maybe another blog……

 
42 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Controversial, Thought provoking, Training

 

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Why do horses swish or wring or use their tails? With and without riders…

Horses tails when playing

Do horses use their tails when turned out to play?

I know I am opening a huge can of worms here….but lets talk about horses using their tails. I am talking about tail swishing, tail wringing, etc. Three videos are included:

Do horses ever use their tails because of the rider? Yes

Do horses ever use their tails because of discomfort? Yes

Do horse ever use their tails because of pleasure? Yes

Do horses ever use their tails because of excitement or exertion? Yes

How about these horses playing in the mud…and wringing their tails?

Lets ask some more horses what they think.

Lets look at this cutting horse…OH, he has no rider

Do horses ever use their tails to complain about the work they are being asked to do….not because the work is unreasonable, but just because they would rather not?

If we can allow for the idea that horses, like humans, have opinions on work…then lets look at humans for a minute. How many of us are ‘happy’ with our work.

“…nearly two-thirds of respondents, said they were not happy at work.” -ManpowerGroup

“Just 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work…”, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report.

So, according to this survey two-thirds of us are ‘wringing our tails’ at work. Only with humans it is generally our tongues that we are ‘wringing.’ For more on horses as employees, click here.

Dressage horse freestyle, watch for when the horse does-or does not- use her tail.

All I’m after in this discussion is opening the idea that the tail swishing isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface.

This subject leads into another subject… people ‘doing’ or ‘fixing’ horses tails…meaning they inject or otherwise physically stop them from moving their tail by a medical procedure. Personally, when they use their tails, I am thankful that the rider/owner chose not to medically alter their horse.

In some disciplines, like Western Pleasure and Reining, the judges do count it against the horse if it uses its tail excessively….. which encourages more medical procedures.

 

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