Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kudos to These Ladies!

Howdy folks, I'm still around. I feel like I've been abandoning you more often than a PMU breeder dumps foals! (*bah-dum tsss*)

Seriously though, sorry for not writing more. As for WHY... I'm not sure how much to explain, because it sounds so dramatic, whiny and unbelievable. Well, OK, here: the short short version is that two family members died in a car crash. Another family member is dying of an unrelated thing-- I've been working at her business (on top of my other jobs) for several weeks because she needed to honor a contract. In the meantime, another family member had a baby, and is not doing so hot. Been trying to help there a bit too. Did I mention I got a dog just before all this happened? Oh, and guess what: Ruffi is back! Yes, my little bay filly is home again.

It's been almost exactly a year since I rescued her and her mom. I thought I had found her a great home, but about a week ago, her adopter called me and said she couldn't take care of her at the moment, and could I take her back for a while? Of course I said YES. So I went and got her. She's ribby, unfortunately. I got some story about a change in feeding program and blah blah. *sigh* Maybe it's true. They do seem like awesome people... but I won't be sending Ruffi back to them. Actions speak louder than words.

So, that's the short version of my crazy life at the moment. Obviously, there's not a lot of time or energy for me to blog right now.  Despite my absence though, you all continue to be super loyal readers, averaging about 6,000 views per month! Even through all the crap happening, I've got a big warm spot in my heart because of that. I know that you're reading, sharing, and advocating for horses.

Speaking of which, I've been keeping an eye on Facebook, and I've come across a REALLY sparkling example of horse welfare advocacy. I'd like to highlight that now, and to say "thank you!" to Bridget Achterberg. Her post and comments are extremely well-written, thoughtful, and amazing in general. Ditto for Erin Hopkins. I got their permission to re-post this. It's abbreviated (it was such a long discussion I had to chop parts of it) but all the good stuff is there.

As you read for yourself, there were many great commenters in that discussion! Thank-you to them too! In fact, I'd like to say thank you to all animal welfare commenters and posters. THANK YOU for standing up for the voiceless! Thank you for saying something, instead of staying silent. Thanks for not shutting up, even though some people give you crap for what you believe. You ROCK.

I also want to thank Wisconsin horse people that have recently taken in neglected horses, including Tracy K, Liz H, Tracey B, and of course the wonderful equine rescues of Wisconsin. Special shout-out to Midwest Horse Welfare, which continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to help horses, and New Equine Resource. N.E.R will soon be hosting a herd of rescued mustangs-- check them out NOW if you're interested in adopting one! They will only be staying for a short time.

Before I close, I'd like to give you a few links:

The Windchill Bill has just been reintroduced, and now is the time to GET BEHIND IT! If passed, it would be a major step forward in animal welfare law here in Wisconsin. Contact your local legislators!

Erin's comment about breeding and warmblood registries is spot-on! Here's what I said in April 2013 about Oldenburgs: "How Breeding Should Be Done."

Here's a fun article, written by a vet on the topic of "horse communicators" or psychics.

There is yet another BLM mustang auction happening online right now. Minimum bid is $125, and they can often deliver to an area near you. In fact, there are already two mustangs in Mequon, WI! Both are 3 year old mares. Lots of color and a couple of cremellos available on this auction. There are many pregnant mares available this time too, though they can't be transported for you, you have to go pick them up.

Alright folks, time to sign off. Stay warm!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Best and Worst of 2014 + News

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and that your horses did too! It's now 2015. Before we get too far into the cold, cold new year, lets take look back at the best and worst of 2014.

By 2014, the Barb Thiry saga was winding down, and although it is still not resolved, the horses are safe for now (but I WILL be watching). We got a new baddie though! In February, we met one of the worst horse people in Wisconsin: Juslain LuMaye. I'm not sure how you could have missed that story, but if you did, you can read it here, and the follow-up here. The short version is that she's a "trainer" out to make a buck, regardless of who suffers. If anyone has any updates on the surviving horses, I'd be much obliged if you'd post them here in the comments. Fortunately for Wisconsin, Juslain has moved to Minnesota, where she has started a custom tack business called Wyoming Custom Gear. Hopefully she'll do less harm there. (Sorry Minnesota.)

Fortunately, there were also some truly wonderful people who helped horses in 2014. I named a bunch of individuals in my Equine Valentines post. Of course the many Wisconsin horse rescues did their part. We said hello to New Equine Resource, a brand new Wisconsin rescue. We said a fond farewell to Mary and Bill of Saint Francis Horse Rescue, who have (mostly) retired after decades of helping equines. (I hear new people may start up the rescue soon though!)

It's hard to recognize all those who fought the good fight, in big battles and in tiny ones. I think you know who are you, but I don't think you know how much good you do. So many of you deserve a medal. I'd like to thank Kelly, Faith, Karyn and Scott, Tricia, and many others... so many others. I couldn't fit you all in if I wrote for hours. Real quick, I'm just going to pick a couple of recent Facebook comments at random to celebrate:

Good job Beth! That's the best present to ask for!

Jessie was tireless in her efforts to educate people about the risks of breeding, especially breeding older mares. So many links, and so many comments on different forums. Thanks for trying to protect mares Jessie! 

On a personal note, in 2014 I brought home Ruffi and Riven, after a long struggle to get them away from their abuser. You can read the whole saga here. (Much love to Mary for the support on that one!) Ruffi got a new home with some really excellent people, kind and patient trainers who will ensure her future. Riven is still with me, and doing great.

My personal favorite North Horse blog post of 2014 was on March 28th, "Open Letter to a Backyard Breeder," which resulted in easily the most hilarious comments ever seen on North Horse:

...and then much further down:

Yes, this lady really did pretend to be from the Feds in order to try to intimidate me into taking down my post. It's amazing what shady people will try!

Speaking of backyard breeding, here's one I just saw on Facebook and can't resist posting:

Most of you already know exactly what I think about this crap, but sing along with me anyway:

- A grade 2 year old stud colt with a hernia is not worth $2,000, not even with magic Friesian blood

- Shame on Excalibur for breeding Friesian + Andalusian + Thoroughbred just 'cuz it's trendy

- Capone may be sweet, but has anyone bothered to look at his conformation? The pic ain't much.

- Grade school level science tells us that if you mate Horse of breed A to Horse of breed B, the offspring will almost certainly NOT be a 50-50 hybrid of A and B. Genes can be dominant or recessive (that's why human children usually look or act more like one parent than the other). This colt could genetically be 76% TB. Forget that "half Friesian" stuff, this guy is a mutt. Nothing wrong with mutts, mind you, I own mutts-- it's just that this guy shouldn't have been bred, and shouldn't breed unless I'm missing some truly incredible conformation and talent he has.

- I'm glad the seller wants to be "very picky" about Capone's potential new owner... but I wish she would have GELDED him and gotten his hernia fixed BEFORE listing him for sale!! Somewhere out there, someone equally ignorant is looking at this ad and thinking, "Ooo, I could keep him intact and breed him to my TWH mare for a gaited Friesian-Thoroughbred-Andalusian-Walker!!" *facepalm*

OKAY folks, time to wrap this up.

Brief news Updates:

If you bought any Gastrotec equine anti-ulcer meds, return them or throw them away-- they were recalled. *sigh* Darn it, we would all like a less expensive alternative to UlcerGard, but I guess this isn't it.

I'm not sure what exactly is going on in this case, but it smells bad to me. Sounds like neglectful assholes being all indignant that the authorities finally took their starving critters away. What do you know about this?  Couple Sues Ashland County for Euthanizing Donkey, Horse. I think once we know this was justified, we should write authorities and tell them "thank you for doing the right thing." It's rare that cops do this, and when they do, we need to make sure they know we appreciate it!

Just a reminder, horses do get infected with rabies, as this recent case shows us, so don't skip vaccinations!

One more thing: I have created a Wisconsin Horse Events calendar. However, I don't have nearly all of the important stuff on there. Help me out! Tell me about events WI horse people should know about. Shoot me a date, time, and brief description here, or at, or on Facebook.

WI Tack Sales, Clinics & Horse Shows 2015


Do you have an event you would like to see listed here?
Email it to or comment below.


Jan. 6th      Plymouth Trail Riders club meeting Racer's Hall W4408 Cty Rd C, Plymouth

Jan. 10th    Hags on Nags annual meeting & breakfast potluck. 9am 
                   Johnston Community Center, 9937 East County A, Janesville WI 53545
Jan. 11th    Oregon Horse Association meeting & potluck 1pm 5594 Alpine Rd Brooklyn 
Jan. 11th    Midwest Horse Fair clinic participation applications due. More info here.
Jan. 11th    Southern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association Annual Meeting at DNR HQ                          in Eagle, WI 10-noon, all are welcome!
Jan. 13th    Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Jan. 17th    Hags on Nags book club meeting & lunch 11am. Read WILD by Cheryl Strayed.
Jan. 18th    Jefferson Co 4-H Tack Swap fairgrounds 9-1:30  Admission $1 or can of food.
Jan. 18th    Midwest Horse Fair equine fashion model search application due. Get it here.
Jan. 25th    Kenosha County 4-H Tack Sale 9-1  Admission $2
Jan. 25th    West 20 Beat the Heat Winter Show Series (first show) 10am East Troy WI
Jan. 25th    Hags on Nags: Mustang Mania. S91 W39091 Highway 59 Eagle, WI 
Jan. 27th    BLM online mustang auction starts
Jan. 31st    Dodge County Horsemen’s Tack Swap & Craft Sale, “Introduction to the World of Model Horses” Juneau Community Center– 9am-1pm


Feb. 10th    Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm

Feb. 14-15  Barrel Racing and Pole Bending series Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
Feb. 15th    Three Gaits Therapeutic Horsemanship volunteering information day
                   10am - 4pm, Stoughton WI. Lunch provided. To R
SVP, call (608) 877-9086

Feb. 14th    Columbus WI model horse show, sleigh rally, bobsledding, skijoring
Feb. 15th    Waukesha County 4-H Tack sale 9-2  Admission $2
Feb. 21st    Showtime Arena tack sale 10-2 (no admission fee) & Fun Show 4pm
Feb. 21-22    Barrels and poles at Chism Trail Ranch 
N1198 Liberty Road, Merrill, WI

Feb. 21st    Stateline Equine Education workshop 8:30-3  Bristol, WI  Fee about $30
Feb. 21st    West 20 Beat the Heat Winter Show Series (second show) 10am East Troy

Feb. 22nd   Rock County 4-H Tack Sale 9-1 Admission $1 Janesville, WI
Feb. 28th    Heartland Stables Beat the Blues Winter Series, Custer WI


Mar. 1st      Washington County 4-H tack sale
Mar. 6-8      Illinois Horse Expo at IL State Fairgrounds, Springfield
Mar. 7th      Winnebago County 4-H Tack Sale 9-3  Oshkosh, WI held at
                   Sunnyview Expo Center/Fairgrounds $1 admission

Mar. 7th      Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association Pizza Dinner Rocking K Ranch
Mar. 8th      Menomonee Falls Saddle Club 50th Anniversary, Sussex WI  (12n-4pm)

Mar. 10th    Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Mar. 14th    Heartland Stables Beat the Blues Winter Series, Custer WI

Mar. 14-15  Barrel Racing and Pole Bending series Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
Mar. 16th    Midwest Horse Fair camping applications and payment due. More info here.
Mar. 21-22  Pam Bound 2 Day Barrel Racing Clinic Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
Mar. 21-22     Barrels and poles at Chism Trail Ranch N1198 Liberty Road, Merrill, WI
Mar. 28th    West 20 Beat the Heat Winter Show Series (third & last) 10am East Troy



Apr. 14th    Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm

April 17, 18, 19 
Midwest Horse Fair 
Want to put your stud on Stallion Avenue? Info here.Interested in exhibiting a horse? Look here.Interested in having a booth at the fair? Look here.

Apr. 18-19   Barrel Racing and Pole Bending series Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI

Apr. 21st     Horse rapist, mutilator and killer Sterling Rachwal to be released today.
                    Get more information here.

Apr. 25th      Little 1 Open Horse Show Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
Apr. 25th      Registration form & payment due for Three Gaits Therapeutic Riding                                       Registered level Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification course, certified                            by PATH.
Apr. 24-26    Minnesota Horse Expo Minnesota State Fairgrounds St. Paul


Plymouth Trail Riders show?  W4408 Cty Rd C, Plymouth
May 1-2       Dena Kirkpatrick Barrel Racing Clinic Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
May 1-2       Hags on Nags Kentucky Derby Camping 
W830 Little Prairie Road Palmyra, WI 

May 9-10     Barrel Racing and Pole Bending series Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
May 9th       
West 20 Open Pleasure Horse Show Series first of 5  East Troy WI

May 10th     Mother's Day Open Horse Show Woodside Ranch, Mauston WI  9am  $4/class
May 12th     Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
May 16-17   UMBHA-IBHA Show and All-Breed Show Jackson Co Fairgrounds, 
                    Black River Falls, WI  $10/class or $50/day unlimited classes
May 16-17   Showtime Arena Open Fun Horse show Deerfield, WI
May 22-24   Hags on Nags trail ride at camp Ukarydee 2017 Cumberland Ave., Arkdale, WI
May 23-24   Wisconsin Ranch Horse Show Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
May 25th     Boots, Bits and Spurs Invitational Barrel Race Showtime Arena Deerfield 
May 28-31   Three Gaits Therapeutic Riding hosts Registered level Therapeutic Riding                             Instructor certification course, certified by PATH
May 31st     
Fox River Saddle Club Open Horse Show at West 20 ranch, East Troy


Jun. 8-11     
Teen Barrel Bootcamp #1  Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI

Jun. 9th       Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Jun. 14th     Open Pleasure Horse Show Series 2 of 5 at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Jun. 16-18   Teen Barrel Bootcamp #2  Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
Jun. 20-21    Wisconsin Ranch Horse Show Showtime Arena  Deerfield WI
Jun.  21st     Fox River Saddle Club Open Horse Show at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Jun. 27th     Jean Cyra Memorial All Breed Open English Horse Show hosted by                                            West 20 ranch, East Troy
Jun. 28th     Jean Cyra Memorial All Breed Open Western Horse Show at West 20 ranch


Jul. 11-12      UMBHA-IBHA Show and All-Breed Show Jackson Co Fairgrounds, 

                      Black River Falls, WI  $10/class or $50/day unlimited classes
Jul. 14th        Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Jul. 24-26      IBRA State Finals 
Showtime Arena  Deerfield, WI

Jul. 26th        Horse Power Healing Center Open Benefit Horse Show 
                      at West 20 ranch, East Troy
??                  Three Gaits student horse show


Aug. 6-16      Wisconsin State Fair  640 S. 84th Street, West Allis, WI

Aug. 9th       Fox River Saddle Club Open Horse Show at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Aug. 11th      Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Aug. 15th      Showtime Arena All Breed Open Horse Show  Deerfield, WI
Aug. 16th      Open Pleasure Horse Show Series 3 of 5 at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Aug. 22-23    
UMBHA-IBHA Show and All-Breed Show Jackson Co Fairgrounds, 

                      Black River Falls, WI  $10/class or $50/day unlimited classes
Aug. 28-30    Hags on Nags trail ride and camping, potluck, etc. Wildcat Mountain State                             Park E13660 State Highway 33, Ontario, Wi.


??                  Three Gaits Dressage Show

Sept. 8th       Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Sept. 11-13   Showtime Arena 22nd Annual Barrel Blitz Deerfield, WI
Sept. 12th    WHC Championship Challenge Show  at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Sept. 13th    Open Pleasure Horse Show Series 4 of 5 at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Sept. 19-20   Showtime Arena  Sharon & Strome Camarillo Barrel Racing Clinic
Sept. 26-27   Showtime Arena Ranch Horse Show Deerfield, WI
??                  Midwest Horse Welfare tack sale and fun show


??               Three Gaits used tack sale 

Oct. 1-5      The Caroline Lion's Colorama (largest trail ride in WI) 
Oct. 9-11    Showtime Arena John Parks clinic Deerfield, WI
Oct. 13th    Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm
Oct. 24th    Open Pleasure Horse Show Series 5 of 5 at West 20 ranch, East Troy
Oct. 24th    Showtime Arena Time to Play Open Fun Horse show Deerfield, WI
Oct. 25th    Showtime Arena Open Fun Horse show Deerfield, WI


Nov.10th   Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting 7pm

Nov.14th   Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association banquet & silent auction 5:30pm
??             Heartland Beat the Blues open show, Custer WI


Dec. 8th   Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association meeting &Christmas party 7pm

Dec. 12th Hags on Nags Christmas party. 5:30 pm Butterfly Club, 5246 
                 East County Road X, Beloit, WI

Do you have an event you would like to see listed here?
Email it to or comment below.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mexican/American Horse Slaughter Takes a Hit, Charity Xmas Shopping Tips & More

Hello fellow horse folks, how are ya? These few weeks leading up to the holiday shenanigans are always pretty stressful. Well don't worry, I've got a little comedic relief for you before we get to the news:

OK, let's get down to it.

BIG news: The European Commission will no longer allow any imports of Mexican horse meat into the European Union! That's right, Mexican slaughter plants just lost a huge market for horse meat.

The European Union (EU) is made of up of 28 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (that's England + Scotland + part of Ireland + Wales). Some of the world's biggest consumers of horse meat live in the EU (we're looking at you, France and Belgium).

The Commission decided to halt all imports of Mexican horse meat after March 1st 2015, largely due to food safety concerns. In most EU countries, horses have to be free from veterinary drugs for at least 180 days prior to slaughter. In Mexico however, horses often end up in the food supply only a couple days after leaving the local racetrack, riding stable, or breeding barn. Needless to say, there's a lot of bute, steroids, hormones, and other toxins in those horses. And the Mexican authorities just don't care. The Commission found that the records kept by Mexican feedlots, slaughter plants, veterinary drug dispenseries, and vets themselves are incredibly inadequate, or missing entirely.

The Commission also noted that horses transported to the Mexican slaughter plants faced awful, inhumane conditions. Many dead or dying horses, lame horses, sick horses, and stallions are put on to trucks for long journeys and then taken to pens where they are held without food, water, shade, or vet care. (To read the full report, go to this link and click on the "Mexican" button at the bottom of the page.)

You probably already knew about all that, but here's something you may not know: Mexico is one of the top three producers of horse meat in the world, but most of the horses slaughtered come from the USA. Shame on us. Some of these horses are oldies, thrown away by piece-of-crap owners who couldn't seem to scrounge up a few bucks or bullets to give their faithful servants a decent death. Some of these horses are products of the racing industry, which rarely makes any kind of provision for the care of the horses it breeds, chews up, and spits out. But the majority of the horses that go to slaughter are young, healthy, unbroke, grade horses produced en mass by irresponsible breeders.

Some people are going to argue that the EU's decision will be harmful to horses in general, because with fewer meat buyers, Mexican slaughter plants won't process as many "unwanted" horses. These unwanted horses will end up starving to death. And the horse market will get even worse, because it will be hard to even get slaughter price for a horse on the auction block.

It's not true that lack of slaughter = more neglected horses. There was still a huge amount of horse neglect in America pre-2007, when USA slaughter plants were still open. And there's plenty of horse neglect in Mexico now, despite the presence of slaughter there. People who neglect horses don't do it because they don't have slaughter as an alternative, they do it because they are sick pieces of shit. Rapists don't rape because they can't get a prostitute.

It may be true that Mexican demand for American horses has helped keep the horse market from bottoming out entirely. But you know what? Well-trained horses will always sell for a couple of thousand dollars, and as for grade, unbroke horses, well... Screw it. Let the sucker bottom out. We're so far down in the hole, we might as well come out the other side of the earth. Maybe when you can't even get $10 for a yearling at auction, maybe when every last backyard breeder is surrounded by ponies she can't give away, maybe when even the auctioneers see there's no profit, maybe then this country will wake up. Maybe then people will stop breeding crap, and horses will become slightly scarce, and the market will rebound.

Speaking of healthy horses in desperate need of homes, Beyond the Fence Line horse rescue in Redgranite, WI seems to be stretched to the very limit. They have umpteen horses up for adoption on their website, and are now listing some more on craigslist:

18 year old Welsh/Shetland mare, leads, loads, ties, not sure if broke. $50

18 year old draft cross pony, leads, loads, ties, probably not broke, free to good home.

12 year old grey grade QH mare, 14.2 h, 90 days training, been on trails, leads, loads, ties, $500

If you want to help out BtFL but can't adopt, check out their online charity auction.

Midwest Horse Welfare is also having a charity auction, and Amazing Grace Equine Rescue is selling beautiful photo calendars. You can visit their website for instructions on how to pay via paypal or by credit card, OR you can mail $20 to A.G.E.S W4985 County Road FF Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 53020.

There, I've helped you decide where to do your Christmas shopping! Oh, one more item on the list for Santa: Gorgeous 5 year old red chestnut gelding, 15.3h, greenbroke, sound. Up to date on vaccines, jumps, knows tricks. Has a bucking issue sometimes. Free to good home.

One last thing, and then I have to go: Feist's Horse Neglect Trial Delayed Until March

Stay tuned for more North Horse!

Extra Links:

In the midst of all these horses needing homes and going to slaughter, one group is putting out a plea for funds to breed more: the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society. Should you donate money? It's up to you...

In line with their tighter restriction on horse meat, the EU Commission is also tightening restrictions on horse passports.

Read more about my position on horse slaughter here and here and here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm Back! 3 Bad Breeders, Locals Needing Help, & More

I'm back! Did you miss me? Or did you rejoice when you thought I'd finally shut up for good? Hah, no chance of that!

So I've got a few excuses for not posting regularly in the last 3 months: I've moved to a new house, I've gotten a gig writing for a horse magazine, and lots of other big life stuff... but now I'm sort of settled. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, now let's do this!

First up, we have not one, not two, but three victims of irresponsible breeders on Craigslist to talk about! Obviously, none of the horses below should be producing offspring, but which horse has the worst conformation, hmm?
Is it:
A) the scrawny, fugly, 4 year old curly stallion? (For sale for only $250! Bred 3 mares this year!)


B) the weak-rumped, no-loin Appaloosa mare with spine problems? 
($450, and it's a two-for-
one deal, that's right, another bred mare will be thrown in for free!)

OR is it
C) this coon-footed, downhill, spotted pony stud who might have been taller if he'd been fed well? (Only $350 for this guy, he has "thrown color" on his seven foals!)

I say it's a toss-up between B or C, leaning towards C, but let me know what you think!


And as usual folks, as we sit here criticizing bad backyard breeders in a bad economy, in a nation overpopulated with horses, in an state chalk-full of low-quality horses, remember: it's not the horses that are to blame. If you can give one of these guys a home, go for it! They didn't ask to be born with poor conformation, and they didn't ask to produce more babies with poor conformation. Their scummy owners did that crap. These horses are still deserving of love.

Now I want to backtrack a little to August, and tell you that the "big lick" Tennesse Walking Horse Celebration in Tennesse lost another major sponsor this year! After Pepsi backed out in 2012, I knew it was only a matter of time before this archaic, abusive competition ended, and now I think we're seeing its death throes. Attendance was down this year, and 10% fewer horses entered. Hooray! Unfortunately, the number of cruelty violations were double what they were compared to last year, and testing still doesn't seem rigorous enough.

(If you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out this article on the horrific torture of soring. Soring is traditional at the big TWH Celebration, where grotesque gaits are rewarded by the judges.)

A scene from "Next Town Over," by Wisconsin writer, artist, and animal lover, Erin Mehlos

On a lighter note, have you seen Next Town Over ? It's a free online comic, one of my very favorite reads. It's a blend of magic, mechanical wonders, and the Old West. And did I mention gorgeous freaking art?! Gawd, so gorgeous. If you're looking for cowboy chases, fire magic, and a horse that steadily becomes steam-powered, go check it out!

Ok northern folks, have you seen this horse?? She's a big bay mare with a little white on her left hind leg near the hoof, and a huge heart-shaped white blaze. She may be in the Twin Cities area now.

       Have you seen me??

"Mystery" is her name, and one of her previous owners is trying to solve the mystery of where she ended up. Mystery was given to Camp Courage/New Friends as a riding horse for kids and disabled adults, with a written agreement that she be given back to her owner if things didn't work out or the camp was sold. Well the camp was sold, and Mystery was sold, but the owner was never contacted. The camp doesn't know where the horse is. The owner just wants to know that the mare is in a good place, and offer a retirement home if the current owner should ever want to give her up. Let's help this super responsible owner! Find Mystery!

Mystery was last seen in the spring of 2014 near Maple Lake MN, which is northwest of Minneapolis, MN. Please contact Mystery's owner at 612-518-4578 if you have any information, or email via this Craigslist ad. More pictures available on that ad.

Next up, do you have a stall you can spare for two weeks to help an old horse near Milwaukee?
Erin, the owner, really needs your help! (Btw, this is not the same Erin that writes the comic.)
She says,

"I have a 24 year old Thoroughbred cross gelding whom I desperately need a place for in the next few days. He lost a lot of weight in last year's brutal winter and never totally recovered. I don't think that I can expect him to get through the winter, but I am very busy with work and nursing school and wanted to wait until December 18th to have him put down. The school semester will be over by then and I will be able to deal with that difficult task better emotionally and mentally. However, I got a message from the person that owns the place where he currently lives and she wants him moved or put down by the end of the week - she has decided she doesn't like having a thin old horse there, even though he eats and moves around fine. He hasn't been off the farm in 4 years, so his coggins isn't current, but it's never been positive. If anyone can help me for the next few weeks, I would be truly grateful. Hartford area would be best, but I am willing to take anything right now. I will supply his grain and supplements. Also, I kind of wonder if he would be ok in a stall, since he is still eating and has spunk in him, but where I currently keep him, I can't afford a stall, due to my work/school situation. If anybody knows of ANYTHING - private boarder or retired horses facility, please contact me. THANK YOU FOR HELPING!!"

You can contact Erin at 262-365-4902. Normally I would be pretty adamant that a horse's welfare should come before an owner's emotions-- a skeletal old horse should be put down ASAP. On the other hand, I remember exactly what it was like to be on a high-stress schedule and an emotional roller coaster as a working student. It sounds like the owner here really does want to do the right thing, she just needs a tiny little bit of time.

In other news, Valley View Acres Horse Stables near Woodstock, Illinois has tragically burned to the ground, killing 32 horses in the process. Five horses survived. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but it is thought to be spontaneous combustion. If you want to support VVA, check out their Facebook page (their website is currently down). Winter is the worst time for barn fires-- there's lots of hay, bedding, dust, and dry air around to create an inferno. Make sure that you're taking basic safety precautions in your barn:
  • encase lightbulbs in metal cages or frames, to prevent horses from breaking them accidentally
  • encase electrical wires in metal conduit to keep rodents (and cribbers) from chewing them
  • never leave a space heater on unsupervised
  • make sure your heated water tanks never run dry-- the heating element can start a fire
  • check to see if your bales are hot inside, a sign that the hay baled too wet-- it can combust!
  • sweep up loose shavings, cobwebs, dust, and straw

Finally, here are free and cheap Wisconsin horses. Can you give one a home?

Chestnut pony mare, 12.1h, 14 or 15 years old, not ridden since 2009. Free. Kenosha
Call Marilyn at

5 year old Tennessee Walker gelding, not broke, natural gaits. $300 Columbus
Call Robyn at 920 382 1174

QH gelding, 15.2h, some arthritis, well broke, needs sold TODAY. Can deliver. $375 Madison

4 year old QH/Halflinger mare, 13-14h, halter broke $200 Appleton

Morgan mare, "early teens," trailers, trail rides $200 or best offer Reeseville

Pinto mini mare, has founder issues, has been with a stallion  Free   Eau Claire / Lake Wissota

That's all for now folks, but stay tuned for more North Horse!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall News & Free Horses

There's lots going on in the Wisconsin horse world these days, so let's dig right in:

Feist Soon to Face Trial

 Michael Feist of the horrific Otter Creek, Polk County WI neglect case will appear for a motion hearing on Sept. 30th. This motion hearing will determine whether the court will combine his trials for resisting an officer, bail jumping, and disorderly conduct with the horse neglect trial. Feist is currently scheduled to have a pretrial hearing on Friday October 3rd at 11am. With any luck, his trial will begin before the year is out.

Michael Feist is charged with four felony counts of mistreatment of animals causing death, 15 misdemeanor counts of intentional mistreatment of animals, and 15 misdemeanor counts of intentional failure to provide proper food and drink to animals. Read more about this truly awful case here... and then don't forget to write to (or call) the DA in this case, and ask him to prosecute Feist to the fullest extent of the law!Polk County District Attorney Daniel P. Steffen
1005 West Main Street, Suite 300
Balsam Lake, WI 54810


Thiry Demands Stallions or Cash

 Barb Thiry the horse hoarder/abuser is petitioning Waupaca County to either give her the two stallions still being held at a court-appointed boarding facility OR reimburse her the value of the horses. Which is damn ridiculous, as those horses would be DEAD if they were still in her care, or in other words have a value of exactly zero dollars. However, the court may have no choice. Please write to the court and tell them that Thiry doesn't deserve to be paid for starving horses, and certainly shouldn't get any horses back!

Hon. Raymond S. Huber
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding St.
Waupaca, WI

Speaking of Sickening...

There's an update on EHV-1 here: now three horses in Dane County have tested positive.

Humans should beware as well; enterovirus has hit the Madison area.

On a Happier Note:

Midwest Horse Welfare just had another super fantastic fundraiser at a Packer's stadium concession stand-- congratulations to them, and kudos to all the volunteers who worked so hard! Go see some pics on their facebook page. Midwest's next fundraiser is the Golden Apple Give-Away, where you can win $1,000 in cold hard cash if you correctly guess where a horse will poop within a given area. That's right folks, it doesn't get more entertaining! And don't forget about their Fun Show and Tack Swap on Sept. 27th at the Waupaca Fairgrounds.

"Rooster" Found

Next up, many of you have been following the case of "Rooster," a handsome barrel horse that has been missing, presumed stolen, from Ann Zimmerman's farm in Walworth County. Rooster was just found dead in an isolated and brush-filled part of Zimmerman's property. The cause of his death is currently not known. Ann Zimmerman's boyfriend posted a partial explanation and apology today on Facebook:

Sudden Farm Closure Leaves Supporters Dismayed, Puzzled

Douglas Legacy Farm of LaValle, WI, which has long been a supporter of US veterans and horse therapy for veterans, has suddenly announced it will be closing. Farm events scheduled for this fall have also been cancelled. Susan Wellman, director of the American Standardbred Adoption Program, had also been named Programming Director for Douglas Legacy Farm for 2014. She seemed to think that the closure might only be seasonal, but did not know any more. There is no word about what will happen to the horses donated to the program. There was no comment from the owners of the farm by press time. Stay tuned for more information here.

EDIT 9/17/14: I received this email response from Douglas Legacy Farm:

Hello, No, the Douglas Legacy Farm is not closing. It is halting outdoor activities until next spring to allow for the renovation of a 140 year old barn. This is to ensure the safety of the public. The house will continue to be open for indoor meetings for veterans groups. Watch for our newly renovated barn next spring when outdoor activities will resume. Thank you for asking. 
  Bev Vaillancourt

Best (Worst) of Craigslist

This ad speaks for itself... *facepalm*

More Free Horses

14 year old registered bay Arabian mare. Broke, but has had a seizure, hoof issues. Poynette. Ad here.

25 year old very broke pony and 15 year old mare who was broke at some point. Mare has ringbone. Appleton/Sherwood. Ad here.

Senior donkey (20?) near Appleton/Shawano County. Current Coggins. Ad here.

Two paint mares, 9 and 15 years old, not broke. Near Janesville. Ad here.

Three mares, one Hackney two Saddlebred types, near Janesville. Two kid broke, but one needs serious work. Ads here, here and here.

8 year old mustang mare, mid-20s Quarter Horse gelding. Broke but not ridden for years. Sparta. Ad here.

23 year old registered Arabian mare, not broke. Wausau/Hatley. Ad here.

10 year old bay QH mare. Not broke. Health issue? Kewaunee/Green Bay. Ad here.

24 year old paint gelding. Broke, but soundness issues. Madison. Ad here.

Senior grade gelding with medical issues, owner can no longer care for him. Forest Junction. Ad here.

 In Simms, Montana, a large herd of mustangs needs to find homes ASAP. Owner claims they are "Spanish" mustangs. There is some indication they may go to slaughter if they do not find homes. None are halter broke, some can be touched. Many mares are pregnant. 5-6 foals and at least one stallion available. Contact Loreen Skinner via Facebook, or call 406-899-5517. The owner may be able to have them brought to Great Falls, MT, but otherwise transportation and roundup is up to you.