Monday, August 4, 2014

Barb Thiry's Trial & Other News

Barb Thiry's trial just ended. She had been charged with 15 counts of animal mistreatment, failing to provide shelter, and failing to provide food. Each charge was a class A misdemeanor, the punishment for which can include a fine up to $10,000, or imprisonment for up to 9 months, or both. The charges resulted from Thiry's failure to get proper vet care, farrier care, food, water and shelter for her horses BiBi, Lady, Rebecca, Ruby and Two Socks. Here's a reminder of what that neglect looked like:

All charges against Thiry related to inadequate shelter were dismissed. This, despite the fact that these horses had absolutely no shelter from the bitter cold of last winter. (There was a shed wall four feet outside their bare-dirt enclosure. And there was a tiny shed, with room enough for one or maybe two horses, inside their enclosure-- but it was boarded up most of the time.)

Thiry was found "not guilty" of seven charges of neglect. It didn't matter that she had allowed a young stud to impregnate the starving mares, including his own mother. It didn't matter that Ruby's breathing problems had gone un-medicated. It didn't matter that Thiry had no food on the property for the horses, or that she had failed to pay rent for the tiny pasture for months. And finally, it didn't matter that Thiry had killed many animals via neglect at her previous residence in Kewaunee County (pics and details of that hoarding nightmare here).

Barb Thiry was found guilty of one charge of neglect, for Lady the 26 year old palomino mare.

Barb Thiry was sentenced to one year of probation for this.

Thiry will also have to pay court costs, the amount of which hasn't yet been determined, and supervision costs. She will also have to attend counseling.

In regards to the animals, Barb Thiry will almost certainly get the two stallions back. The court has ordered that she is not allowed to have animals (at least for the next year) unless authorized by an "agent" for this case, Waupaca County Large Animal Control officer Jeanette Newell. This agent is also supposed to check on any animals Barb does get, and verify that the vet and farrier make regular visits. Unfortunately, Newell is one of the people in this case who did absolutely nothing about Thiry's neglect in the first place! She will probably allow Thiry to get as many animals as she wants, and may or may not actually check on them.

Jeanette Newell's direct line is 715-258-6457, in case you would like to express your belief that Thiry should NOT be allowed to have any animals, ever, period. It also would not hurt to remind Newell that we, the public, actually expect her to do her damn job.
Her email is

Once Barb Thiry's probation is up, she is limited to owning no more than two horses for the next five years. (If anyone bothers to enforce this, I will be astonished.) Media reports here and here.

Whoopty doo, folks. A mild slap on the wrist. I am so friggin' depressed.

But I can give you one reason not to despair:

One of Barb Thiry's former mares, Rebecca, gave birth to a healthy foal while in foster care. Despite her starvation while pregnant, Rebecca's colt (who is named Robbie) is doing great. You can see him (and his mom) in this video. Both are being fostered by volunteers for Dane County Humane Society. If you've ever visited DCHS, you know that they only have a small paddock to take in horses, so foster homes are a must. They would love to build a new barn to take in many more horses, and so they don't have to rely on fosters all the time. You can help by donating a couple of bucks here! Just select your amount and then click on "New Barn" in the designation field. I promise it's safe. Dane County Humane Society is still looking for forever homes for Lady, Ruby and Rebecca as well! (P.S. as far as I know, the court ordered Thiry to surrender these mares permanently, so there's no way she'll be getting them back!)

Speaking of great causes...

Midwest Horse Welfare has just taken in a bunch more horses, including a little black mini, Chubby.

Chubby Checker has wounds from an embedded halter, major dental problems, he needs all his vaccinations, and he needs to be gelded. That's a lot of vet bills, folks. Can you donate?

Check out their Facebook page and website. Don't forget, they have a fun show and tack sale coming up on Saturday Sept. 27th at the Waupaca County Fairgrounds. It's a great way to have fun AND support one of Wisconsin's greatest rescues at the same time!

Next up: All natural flyspray containing Marigold oil (also known as Calendula oil) has been linked to severe allergic reactions in  some humans, including hives, inability to swallow, breathing problems, skin irritation, etc. This weekend, a friend of mine experienced all of this after using a locally sold natural flyspray. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, just because something is "natural" does NOT mean it is safe!

Speaking of natural toxins, Lyme Disease is definitely an increasing problem here in Wisconsin. But why are some vets refusing to recognize the threat? I recently spoke to microbiologist Linda Brown from the Wisconsin State Ag. Lab. Brown explained to me that some American vets and doctors simply haven't stayed current with Lyme disease. She said that it is a very real, but tends to be dismissed because it is hard to diagnose, and American clinics rarely have the necessary equipment to properly test for it. One solution is to shop around for professionals who are willing to do blood tests for several strains of Lyme Disease. You can read more about Lyme Disease here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This is Not the Blog Post You're Looking For

Soooo you may have noticed I haven't been around much lately. Nope, I haven't been sued into silence (many have threatened, none have succeeded!) and I haven't been murdered.  Events have sort of ganged up on me lately, and I'm taking some time to make life decisions that require a lot of my concentration. Just know I'm really, really sorry for leaving you in the lurch... but I'm going to continue doing it for a while. After this post, I'll be taking some more break time.

This is how I feel right now.

photos from

Before I go on break though, there are a few things I can report on real quick:

This weekend is the Lodi fair, a great place for kids to show. Low cost, low pressure, no adults allowed in the rings. Fun!

Saturday Sept. 27th is the Midwest Horse Welfare Fun Show and Tack Sale at the Waupaca fairgrounds. Volunteer, show, donate, watch, buy!

Saint Francis Horse Rescue is very, very close to retirement-- now is your last chance to adopt from them before the owners move away! Check out their horses and ponies at

Brandy Nicole Woolums Blum (or whatever alias she's currently using) is still scamming people. Beware this Wisconsin tack trader!

I'm seeing more and more people use "natural" or "holistic" remedies on their horses before consulting a vet. That's probably fine if you're mixing up a new lemon flyspray to try, but for the love of God, please get real medical assistance for real medical conditions. Here are two examples of natural remedies that are bad ideas:

Tea tree oil is a neurotoxin that is potentially deadly to animals (and humans) when ingested, or if too much is absorbed into the skin. It's also been shown to cause estrogen-like effects. In addition there are NO scientific studies that prove that it's effective at much of anything. Read more about the unsubstantiated hype and the dangers of essential oils at this blog and this one.

Diatomaceous earth has not been proven to do crap as a dewormer. Just buy some goddam paste. You can get very cheap fecal tests to ensure you're feeding your horse only the necessary stuff.

Want to know more about the multi-billion dollar natural remedies industry? Read this book: Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine by
Dr. Paul Offit, division chief of infectious disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and inventor of a rotavirus vaccine.

Speaking of the effects of nature, at this time every year I remind you folks: watch out for wild parsnip! It's everywhere in Wisconsin, especially along trails, pastures, and roadsides... exactly where we ride! If you or your horse breaks the stems of wild parsnip, the sap will burn skin and leave scars that last for months. Read more here.

Let's end on a happy note:

N.E.W. Equine Resource, Inc., formerly Barth Barn, is now a registered non-profit horse rescue/education resource. Check 'em out on Facebook! They just shared this hilarious video in honor of National Farriers Week.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Catching Up: Ukarydee Pedophile, Rescue News, Awesome People & More

Howdy! I'm back. Wow, sorry for the long wait. I'm going to start by firing some Wisconsin horse news bulletins at you pretty quickly, so hang on to your hats:

A new Facebook group has been formed called Wisconsin Horse Alerts, Warnings and Dangers. I know you don't want to join one more group, but I promise that THIS one will only be giving out crucial information. Stuff about Sterling Rachawl release alerts, disease warnings, missing horses, horse theives, etc. Join it and please do contribute! Let's work together to keep the Wisconsin horse community safe.

Speaking of danger, in Darlington, a horse and buggy got into a fender-bender with a car. Thankfully, no one (including the horse) was hurt.

 New cases of EHV-1 have now been confirmed in Kansas, Colorado, California, Manitoba Canada, and South Dakota. So far there have been two confirmed cases here in Wisconsin. Remember to bring your own buckets and other equipment to events, and maybe cut down on the number of barrel racing and rodeo events you attend. Those seem to be the places where the disease is popping up.

Ukarydee Horse Campground Pedophile?

Someone asked me to look into the background of Ukarydee horse campground owner Mike Harris and find out if there was any truth behind some accusations made about him on Facebook.
Here's what I can say for sure:

In 1997, Michael G. Harris plead guilty to 1st Degree Sexual Assault of Child and Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child.
It's case number 97cf57 on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, if you care to look it up. You can still find a record of the case at this Homefacts link, but it has been removed from the WI Sex Offender listings, probably because the case is so old.

Harris was 37 when he was charged. The age of the child was not given, so all we know is that the kid was under 18. I guess Harris could simply have had a relationship with a willing teenager, and then been prosecuted once the parents or cops found out. However, Mike Harris was sentenced to ten years in prison. I don't think a judge would have done that if this wasn't a real case of repeated child rape. The definition of 1st Degree Sexual Assault in Wisconsin's statutes seems to back that up. (Click the picture below to enlarge it:)

You may choose to think, "Well, Harris served his time, so it's all good." But personally, I wouldn't bring my kids to Ukarydee horse campground in Arkdale, WI.

Missing Horses Fund Dead in River

The two horses reported stolen or missing from LUVS Morgan Horse Rescue in March were found dead in a nearby river by a kayaker. Cops think that the horses simply wandered into the icy river and drowned, but there are still unanswered questions in the case. The horses were from two different herds, and the horses should not have been down by the river. One of the horses was used in the therapy program V.E.T.S (Veterans Equine Trail Service).

Now then, time to deliver on another very late promise I made to you folks:
During Midwest Horse Fair, I met the new Wildcat Mountain State Park Manager, Bob Ramsey. Here's what he's had to say: Ramsey is a long-time horseback rider, and is determined to make Wildcat more trail-rider and horse camper friendly. He vows to install some high-ties, level and gravel camping sites, work on the water situation, and repair trails. Some new trails will open, some old unsuitable trails will be closed. He's also going to repaint and replace most of the park's signs, because he feels they're confusing, they're hard to read, and there are too many of them. Ramsey has previously been involved with large animal emergency rescue operations, training firemen and others to help drag horses out of mud, ravines and other perilous situations.  Bob Ramsey sounds like a great guy. You can read an interview he gave to The County Line here, and you can read his spring goals for the park here.

Time for some horse rescue news!

I've got a list of people I'd like to acknowledge for being awesome:

Tracy Kiefer. She saw an older, underweight Appaloosa cross with rain rot being advertised for sale. When she realized she had owned this horse some years ago, she immediately went and bought him. In a world where it's all too common for folks to abandon their old horses and just plain not give a damn, this display of loyalty was good to see.

Deb Woodworth. For many, many months, Deb has been working with an owner who just refused to give up a couple of half-starved horses. The heartache, hard work, and hours Deb put into trying to help in this situation is beyond belief. She worked with the owner long past the point where I would have given up. Finally, the two horses are home with Deb, on their way to recovery. Huge hugs to you, ma'am! Kudos also to Pat bishop, pictured here, who helped. (Click the pics to enlarge)

Through her excellent farrier work with tough cases, especially cases of neglect, Vickey Marie Hollingsworth has improved the lives of more horses than I can count. She rescued an abused cob pony last year, continues to help animals in need, and is always giving them the absolute best. I highly recommend her as a farrier, trainer, and all-around great person.

Are you looking to increase your own level of awesomeness? Adopt a new riding buddy this spring! Check out my page of Wisconsin Horse Rescues. There are many well-trained, healthy horses up for adoption! Speaking of which...

Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary put Rudy up for adoption this week! If you don't know about Rudy, you MUST go read his story at AGES's website.

Midwest Horse Welfare also has some great horses available right now! But if you can't adopt, how would you like to take home $1,000 instead? That's just one of several cash prizes you can win through MHWF's raffle. Click here to find out how to buy tickets, or how to help them sell some. Hurry, time is running out! And yes, I do plan on being at Midwest's fundraiser party on June 28th- hope to see you there!

News from another Wisconsin rescue:
The current owners of Saint Francis Horse Rescue will finally be retiring this fall, after many years of dedication to Wisconsin equines. Bill and Mary are moving, and while they will be taking a bunch of the current horses with them, they'd like to see some of their favorite equines find new homes where they can really shine. Maybe YOU could lucky enough to adopt one! As usual, there are no adoption fees at Saint Francis, but there is a contract. Click the banner below to see the adoptables:

Saint Francis will also be hosting their annual Camp Hope event this Sunday the 18th, where grieving children get to spend a day grooming, riding and picnicking.

p.s. Don't worry, St. Francis Horse Rescue will be reincarnated at a new Wisconsin location, with new directors.

Updates on Neglect Cases:

Otter Creek Ranch:  Nothing much to tell. They're back open for business, but I haven't heard any first-hand reports about conditions there. Michael Feist's trial date, where he will attempt to explain away the four dead horses, is still set for Oct. 13-17th.

Barb Thiry:  Her next court date isn't until 6/10/14, and her jury trial won't start until July 31st.

Sean Legault: He had a hearing on April 30th, but I don't know any details. There's a status conference for this case on the 21st, but Legault's trial won't begin until 6/10.

On a Personal Note

I had previously promised to tell you about my adventures in Pittsville, after attending an anti-horse-neglect meeting there. It seems too late, too long to tell, and not very funny anymore, so I will just gloss over things quickly:

8 deer ticks, one hit deer, one stuck car, 8 miles of walking, two loose cows, two fabulous rescuers, not necessarily in that order.

The results of the meeting were much more positive: We all agreed to put on THREE low-cost gelding programs this fall. One will be held at Midwest Horse Welfare in Pittsville, one in the Greenbay/Appleton area, and one in the Madison area. We will certainly need volunteers for that project. More details coming soon.

Well folks, the "o" key is sticking and I've run out of caffine, so it's time to go! Remember, you can always email me at to ask me questions, suggest blog topics, nominate awesome horses and horse people to get featured, etc etc.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Midwest Horse Fair 2014 Part III

Oh the Fair! It's taken me a solid week to even show you everything I saw and learned. Let's continue with the North Horse Awards!

Most "Appy" Tail:  Memorial Spirit AKA Spirit

This cool gelding was in the equine soccer demonstration. Aww, poor Appaloosas with these tails-- but honestly, I prefer these genuine war-horse type Appys over the Quarter Horse clones you often see in today's show ring, tail or no tail.

Most Colorfully Dressed Fair Attendee

It isn't just riders and presenters that get dressed up for the fair!

No one will ever beat last year's rainbow-colored vaquero with the small pink floral backpack. (You can see him in this post, about halfway down.) However, this guy with the braids, dreadlocks and druid-like dress (robes?) did a good job of reminding everyone that although we were surrounded by cowgirls and horses, we were still in downtown Madison.

By the way, I saw a woman with red and black hair and piercings wearing this exactly same thing the next day at the 4H tack sale. Is this a new fashion trend, or were they just friends sharing clothes? Either way, it looks comfy.

Coolest Person at the Fair: Larry Gage

This is Larry Gage. He is a goddamn badass. Larry told me he fought in Vietnam, where he was taken prisoner twice (and tortured once), exposed to agent orange, and shot at least 7 times. Some of those bullets were taken while rescuing fellow POWs. He still has 2 bullets in his body. Recently, Larry suffered a heart attack, because one of the bullets in his body had grown/pushed its way into an artery or something. Despite that, he was volunteering for several three hours shifts at an informational booth. While still on crutches no less.  Larry would like to give a big "Thank you!" to the doctors and nurses in the VA hospitals that keep patching him up- especially the one in Tomah, WI. He also said, "It's not impressive, what I did. Other guys done ten times more."

Yeah, y
ou and I will never be as cool as this man.

This is a great time to mention some other veterans at the fair from two Illinois-based riding programs, Partners for Progress NFP, and BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center. These men and women were from many different branches of the armed forces and were invited to participate in "Heroes on Horses" at the Midwest Horse Fair. You can find the list of those who did here.

Also appearing in red, white and blue were the mustang folks! They did a fantastic job with both their booth and their performance. Their horses bowed, laid down, showed off some fancy maneuvers, and did a great job of showing how versatile and athletic mustangs can be. The only thing they sort of goofed up on was the jumping... but heck, if I was a mustang, I too would probably choose to bust through obstacles rather than jump above them.

Next up, the Best Presenter award goes to... Chris Cox, of course! (Really, who else could it be?)
The guy was funny, helpful, educational, kind, and he made everything look super easy. I was especially interested in his handling of a one-eyed gelding that couldn't stay in a canter.

Bravo to those who worked with Mr. Cox in the arena in front of hundreds of people-- that must have been nerve-wracking. I'm pretty sure if I Chris Cox worked with me, that would be the day that my horse refused to move and I tripped over my own boots.

Honorable mention for Best Presenter goes to this chicken. I didn't get his name, but he was an English bantam rooster about the size of a softball. He stood perfectly on his block amidst huge crowds, posed with people for photos without batting an eye, endured many pettings, and crowed constantly. Very nice job, sir.


Speaking of videos, I can't get the videos I took of the trick riders to load right now, but if you check back, I may get it up yet.
Some still shots of the trick riders:

OK, a couple more awards, and then it's time for miscellaneous pictures.

The award for Most Artificially Fashionable goes to this horse and rider:

 I'm sure the rider here is a great gal. She rode well, and was nice to her horse. Her horse seems really sweet too. I just hate everything they are symbolic of.

Check out the heavy tail extension on the horse, probably made from the tails of slaughtered horses. Ew. I guess it's supposed to look glamorous, but to me it just looks fake. It stayed almost entirely vertical and motionless the entire time they were riding.

Their "lope" was the super slow nose-to-the-ground kind where it looks like the horse is severely lame. You can see a good example video here, taken at the 2011 AQHA World Senior Show (Western Pleasure). Every real cowboy who ever rode the range must be rolling in his grave about this crap.

I just do not understand why Western Pleasure showing has gone this direction in the last couple of decades. It's ugly, it's very hard on the horses, and nothing about it actually serves a functional purpose. No real stock or trail horse does this. If you're looking for an alternative to the fake glitter and ultra-slow limping of WP, you might want to try Ranch Horse type shows. The official organization's 2014 show schedule is here, but I believe there are more unofficial ones out there. You could also try Western Dressage-- great, friendly people.

OK, time for the studs!  Best StallionJust like every year, I could easily give this award to the stunning RA Amadeo, an Andalusian who showed off his Spanish walk in the ring this year, or the incredibly talented Bethesda Horus, who gave us a terrific mounted shooting demonstration.

Oh please, please, someone with a worthy horse go breed to that coal-black Morgan hottie! My mare isn't good enough to be bred, but B.H. is in his twenties with only 20 offspring and no intact sons-- someone needs to make another baby in case I ever want access to those awesome genes!!

*cough* Ahem. Sorry, got off track there.

But because I can't have the same studs winning every year, this time I choose...

Uh.... Weelllll... This guy, "A Genuine Article" was pretty nice riding, pretty good looking...

Aww, who am I kidding. Bethesda Horus wins again, despite not even having a stall on Stallion Avenue this year. This stud does Civil War reenactments, trail riding, competitive driving, elk hunting/packing, etc. He's 15.3 and homozygous black and has the conformation of a god. Well, demi-god. Nobody's perfect.

I hearby declare the North Horse "Best Stallion" award permanently retired and in the possession of Bethesda Horus, until the time of his death. May he live to be a still-fertile 35 year old hottie.

Worst Stallion:

Klassy Celebri Te

If you read last year's post, you already know why.

OK, that's about it folks-- time to just flood you with pretty pictures. I hope you enjoyed my recap of the 2014 Midwest Horse Fair! Thank you to all the volunteers who made the Fair possible.

Keep checking my Facebook page for a soon-to-be-published interview with new Wildcat Park manager Bob Ramsey. You'll learn about the equine camping & trail improvements he's planning there. Oh, and I guess I'll have to tell you about my saddle-buying ordeal!