Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shame on UW River Falls

Alright, yes, somewhere, somehow, people need to learn proper horse breeding techniques. Preferably at a school, where responsible, experienced adults are there to supervise. The University of Wisconsin River Falls apparently decided to start filling that role, and thus, their horse breeding program was founded!

...except they left out the "responsible" part.



This guy's name is "Rambos Smoking Hot." The name alone is nearly criminal. He was bred, along with a couple dozen other colts, at UW River Falls, broke to ride before age two, and sold at auction last year. Oh, and before they shoved him into the ring, they bred him to two mares. At two years old. He's not totally horrible looking...though his left rear leg looks very turned-out, he neck is rather short, and I think he's a bit tied in at the knee. But hey, sure, break and breed him before age two! What?!

Here's the list of two-year-olds up for sale this year. There's forty-three of them. It's unclear how many have been bred by UW River Falls and how many have been consigned, but a disproportionately large number of them are stallions.   ( Looks like I'm wrong about this one-- thanks for the correction JayGirl!)

Why is a state-sponsored school irresponsibly pumping out tons of foals every year when we have so many excess horses? Do they really need that many to teach with?

Why is UWRF breaking horses at age two or earlier, when research clearly shows that doing often results in lasting harm to the horse? A two year old horse is equivalent to a 11-13 year old human. Just because they're big enough to do some homework doesn't mean they're physically or mentally ready to start full-time work like loping into sudden turns.



Finally, why is UWRF breeding two year old stallions to mares, before the stallions have any kind of performance record, or proven ability at anything?

Oh, and here's the cherry on the cake: not only are they irresponsible breeders, they're irresponsible owners. I just got an email from a Yahoo group, about how they're selling off their old school horse(s) for cheap rather than give them a decent retirement:

"University of Wisconsin River Falls is having their annual colt sale May 5.  After the colts from the reining class are sold they will be selling some of the schoolies.  One up for sale this year is Armani.  He is a Selle Francaise I believe and is about 20 years old and was a 3rd level dressage horse before being given to UWRF.  He has been used in beginning hunter/jumper classes as well as advanced classes.  Had an injury in the pasture a few years back but has no issues because of it.  Coach for the hunter/jumper team has never had issues with him and he can handle beginners as well as intermediates and advances though does require lighter work just due to age.  He's a great boy. I've ridden him myself and seen video of some VERY bad riders on him.  Not so much as a twitch or a bat of an eye.  He's just great. They're looking for about $350-500 for him.  At least dealer price on him.  Had some unscrupulous buyers the last few years and all of us who have been around and ridden this old boy want him to go to a great home.  Thanks so much!
contact info for Armani: Kris Hiney at UWRF (715) 425-3704 or email at kristina.hiney@uwrf.edu   She can be a little slow in responding especially during spring since she's in charge of the breeding stallions and mares at the school so please be patient if you don't contact her.  If you don't hear from  her in a week try again. "

When I tried to find any more information about Armani or any of the other UWRF school horses for sale, on the school's website or anywhere else, I found nothing.

SO, not only are they dumping off old school horses that have give them years of service, they're not even bothering to advertise them well in order to find them decent homes. Armani sounds like a fabulous horse, one any dressage kid would die to have, and I found out about it via a fan of the school posting on a Yahoo email list?! Maybe, just maybe, they could concentrate on taking care of their hard-working seniors rather than pumping out more babies?! Or at least try to do even a half-assed job of promoting them when they do dump them? Armani is about 50 years old in human years-- a hell of a time to shove him into an auction ring. It's like all those guys who are laid off from their factory jobs in their 50s, replaced by Chinese or Mexican workers overseas...except more sad, because horses don't even have welfare and social security to fall back on.

Dear River Falls: you do not have, "one of the strongest equine programs in the nation," with, "the latest theories on nutrition and exercise, to breeding, raising, training and riding young horses." If you did, you wouldn't act like irresponsible bastards.

35 comments:

  1. The fuck?!

    This is exactly why people should need a license to breed! At this point, any idiot with access to a mare and stallion can make more foals, break them in BEFORE two (what the hell?) and then dump them. You would think that a school would behave with a little more integrity than this, they are no better (and WORSE) than most back yard breeders.

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  2. It seems the more degrees involved the stupider shit gets. *sigh* So not surprised anymore...

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  3. I go to UWRF. Yah, a lot of crazy stuff goes down with the breeding program. The stories I could tell...however, I would like to point out that NONE of the horses in this years sale are stallions, all are either mares or geldings. This is typically the case, though sometimes there will a few intact colts(as there was last year).
    As far as the schoolies thing, the big problem is they don't decided for sure which horses are on the chopping block until right before the sale. For example, Armani has been "on the list" for the last three years. Sound like this year he will be leaving for sure...
    I'm not defending the school's practices, I just want to make sure the facts are straight.

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  4. Thanks JayGirl! I really appreciate the facts. Can you tell us more?

    -How much do UWRF-bred horses usually sell for?
    -Can I help promote the re-homing of the schoolies in any way?
    -Please do tell us more about the "crazy stuff!"

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  5. Sorry about my short post/spelling errors, here is some more info:

    1) Most of the colts for sale were not breed at UWRF. The UWRF breed horses (usually about 10) can be identified by their registered names, which begin with "UWRF".
    2) The schools breeding program follows these babies through breeding, gestation, birth, and their first two years. Colts not sold before they reach their two year old year enter the Colts program. http://www.uwrf.edu/ANFS/Colts.cfm (sorry, I don't know how to embed links)
    3) As far as what the horses went for, here are the results for the last year available, 2010. Remember, "UWRF" precedes the names of the school bred horses. Horses with no prices listed were "no sale" http://www.uwrfcoltsale.com/results.html
    4) Schoolies--If I find anything, I would be happy to pass it on. It’s a hard life to be a schoolie, the horses in our program are donated and most of them have a reason they were donated, and that reason is often lameness issues. The equine program has about 45 schoolies, plus about dozen broodmares, three stallions, and plus whatever babies/yearlings/two year olds. This does not include the horses in the colt program, which come in for the spring semester.
    5) Rambos Smoking Hot was not breed by UWRF, he was consigned to the program by an outside owner. He was also sold as a gelding, as per his sale bill. http://www.uwrfcoltsale.com/uwrfpedigrees/RambosSmokingHot.pdf
    6) I'm curious where you found that he has been bred, as a rule, when colts that are going to become geldings enter the program, they become geldings pretty quickly after arriving. Maybe this happened before he came to UWRF?
    7) As far as crazy stuff, I can’t substantiate most of it, it is all word of mouth and personal observations, so I don’t feel comfortable posting about it online. Sorry, I got you all excited and I have to let you down. :(
    Just some more thoughts on the program, hope I answered your questions, and if you have any more I would be happy to try to answer them!

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  6. Hate to have to do damage control but Green Traveler, you need to have your facts straight before you start posting lies in your blog. I knew Rambos Smoking Hot, he was a gelding and was never bred to any mare! I dont know where you got your information, but it is obviously not a reliable source. Also, the school horses are the backbone to the program and are treated with the utmost respect and care. They are treated like royalty, especially from the students. Training two year olds is an industry standard. We learn essential knowledge and experience we need when we start working for professional trainers. You talk like UWRF is the only place training two year olds, news flash, we're not. The breeding program is also NOT a backyard breeding program. The broodmares used are either proven money earners or have outstanding bloodlines. They are bred to top stallions in the nation, which produce outstanding prospects that are sought after by many professionals. They even stand Skeets Peppy, a very popular and proven producer of money earning reiners and cow horses. Last year, there were even a couple colts which were purchased from overseas buyers in Germany and Italy. My education I have received from River Falls is extremely valuable and applicable to my future endevours. River Falls IS one of the strongest equine programs in the nation! Do not bash a university based on biased, unreliable rumors. Get the facts before you blog lies.

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  7. Um, anon... just because "everyone else is doing it" doesn't mean you should be. Fuck if that attitude doesn't just piss me off and make me want to kick your brains in.

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    1. Maybe you shouldn't be so violent... Are you an adult?

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  8. First of all your source for research done is not even accredited. Also, we advertise our program very well, we have a website and our advertising is done by Solum Brothers. We are in every newspaper in the surrounding area. Our program is one of the best. Racing horses are started as yearlings if you really wanna bi** and raced as two year olds. And you act like we are the only ones starting two year olds, take a look at the rest of the equine industry and do YOUR OWN research, most if not all professionals start their horses as two year olds and show them as three year olds. We are very easy on them when they are first started, and we only ride about 20-30 minutes a day in the beginning and work our way up to riding for maybe 45 minutes by the time they are auctioned. Our school horses we sell are usually placed in loving homes. Nestle was sold 2 years ago and purchased by an adorable little girl who absolutely loves him. Our horses are not being dumped, they are purchased by families for trail riding, showing, etc... Its not like we are backyard breeders who breed any random horses, our horses have top of the line pedigrees and go on to be performers in some cases. They are well taken care of by each student and monitored daily. You obviously do not have much knowledge of the equine industry to be posting junk like this. Do some research of your own, instead of bashing a great program, a great school, and great professors.

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  9. It is disappointing to me that you talk about responsibility, yet were chastising a program based on facts that were almost entirely false. The only thing you were responsible for in this blog post (as I do not know you, I cannot comment on the rest of your life) is spreading possibly damaging lies about a nationally esteemed program, both with breeding and training. I am glad that other posters were able to clear up most of the issues with your post, and hopefully, because of these corrections, your opinions on the UWRF program may be changed a bit. As far as I can tell, the only thing you had issues with that was actually substantiated, was the fact that two-year-old horses are being ridden and trained. As the poster above mentioned, that is an industry standard. To be competitive in most training arenas, horses do need to be trained at a young age. This does not mean the horses are being abused, as it seems you are not aware of the actual training program, so it would probably make sense to not comment on that without learning more.

    I'm also not sure why the large number of colts in the sale seems to upset you. These colts are not neglected in the least, but this larger number allows the school to serve a larger number of students, and many students in the program each year have been in the program multiple times, and are very successful training the colts.

    Also, in dealing with the schoolies, I am not sure why you are saying they are not doing a good job advertising about Armani. He has a good description about him, and if you email Kris, I am sure she would be more than willing to give you more information. I have been to the sale multiple times, and the school horses sold there mostly went to young children who could love them and give them a great retirement home. This is not "dumping" them off. This is a great way to give the horse a perfect fun retirement when being worked hard every day by college students may no longer be in the horse's best interest. The auction ring isn't scary, like some you may have seen. These horses don't go to kill pens. Also, the school doesn't have to work hard to advertise these schoolies, because the program has a great reputation and those in the area are aware that each year some school horses will be put up for sale. Since the school horses are being bought and sent to great homes, there is no reason that the school should waste resources on unnecessary advertising, when they could spend it on other aspects of the program.

    Sorry this was long, just wanted to help defend a great program.

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    1. Thank you for saying all this. I 100% agree with you as I go to UWRF and am a major in Equine Management there. It makes me very upset that someone who has never really had experience in our equine program could say such things. They don't know what goes on here, so instead they just make up shit. You know what you're talking about and have been to our sale before, so thank you for defending our great program.

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  10. I work on the UWRF lab farm and I am on the UWRF western IHSA team. I was taught in my entry level classes how to handle and treat the lab farm horses with kindness and respect. I and many other students treat the lab farm heard like I would treat my own horse. The horses on the lab farm are one of a kind, they deal with all levels of riders everyday and never let us down. Most, if not all the horses in the school heard have been donated because of some kind of issue, as stated above is usually lameness. However we have the knowledge here to heal and treat the soreness. The UWRF breeding program is far from backyard breeding, we have 3 standing studs and as said above again use proven mares to breed. Yes, the breeding is part of a class, that is supervised by a professor at all times. Not to mention the lab farm manager is always around to assist in any way. If you feel the need to post something with wrong facts like this again, I'm sure any of the equine professors, that can be found on the UWRF website, under their specialty area, would be glad to help you sort out your facts. Or, you could do what I did when choosing this school (for all the great opportunities available) and take a tour for yourself where all will be explained at the lab farm 1!! I chose this school because it is one of the top in the nation for all the hands on experience I would receive with the horses.

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    1. Yes..thank you so much. It's clear that this person has not even seen what our Equine program is like. This outrages me that people like this really feel the need to make shit up and insult our great program.

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  11. Many, MANY organizations and breed registries hold futurities, derbies, etc. in which it becomes necessary to start stock type horses around their second birth date. It is cowardly and silly of you to pick on UWRF for starting colts too young, perhaps you should address your concerns to the ENTIRE equine industry. I suppose it is easier to point out flaws in a University closer to your home location, you would never be able to stir the pot anywhere else with this argument.
    We have too many horses in this industry. While this may be the only somewhat sensible statement you have included, it is still absurd to point fingers at UWRF for contributing to an overpopulated equine industry. There is ALWAYS a market for well-bred, sound, REGISTERED stock. These colts accepted into the program and those bred at the college are products of well-proven bloodlines and careful selection. Picking at each horse's conformation is entirely pathetic as well, if you are even a horse OWNER, (you've demonstrated that you are not a true HORSE PERSON at all in your post)you would understand that no horse is perfect, and understanding how a horse's conformation will effect its performance is something to consider when purchasing a horse. A "less than ideal" conformation does not put a death stamp on its forehead, nor does it show that the horse will ever be unsound. If you decide to pull your head out of the dirt, you can check out other stock for sale, in ANY market, and you will find that they exhibit several horses with undesirable conformation. (Colorado State, Oregon State, etc. They have similar but less developed colt programs)
    State funding is a far cry in attempt to gain support in your "argument" of UWRF. State funding is not what drives this program. With that being sad, it is simply impossible to "retire" horses at a university. As one of your earlier entries addresses, FREE HORSE ads may open up the possibility that our horses will not receive the care they deserve after their time at UWRF. The college does not make anything close to a profit in selling school horses. If you look back into the history of the sale, you will find that all of the school horses auctioned off have gone on to wonderful homes where they are used and enjoyed.
    5. The auction is well-established. Buyers are from numerous countries, they are often accomplished horse trainers and top competitors in their fields, some are alumni of the program looking for a quiet horse, some are families needing a quiet trail horse...it is certain they are ALL coming to this sale for a reason. It is the best opportunity to offer the retired school horses for sale to excellent homes. ALSO...a yahoo ad? Completely unprofessional and it is entirely unreasonable to use a yahoo ad from one student as the voice from UWRF. I'm sure you have experience in the media/library field, you should know a LOT about listing and finding credible sources.

    What is most unfortunate, is that I allowed your pathetic attempt at an argument to consume my day. Your arguments are so flawed in every way. There are some of the highest quality, performance prospects at this sale. It is unreasonable to think that you are capable of stringing rational thoughts together, especially in regards to responsible behavior in the horse industry.

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  12. Also, your arguments on Rambos Smoking Hot, are so idiotic and incorrect. Hardly doubt that you are a member of a credible, responsible organization like AQHA, but if you were, a simply inquiry would yield no foals by him. Also, the age when he was gelded leaves no room for him to have bred anything based on rate of puberty in horses. Also, your "snarky" commentary is far from witty or correct. Its only good when FHOTD is addressing issues, at least she gets her facts before attacking people. Congratulations on your internet successes, too bad you arent a legitimate source of any equine information, being that nobody reads or wants to hear your two cents (counterfeit, I'm sure!) except for on your cowardly blog page. Nice!

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    1. Woah! AQHA is responsible now?

      You know they encourage people to breed foals just so they can get registration money, even though there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of horses going to slaughter every year?

      Not what I would call responsible. Just sayin'.

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  13. I graduated from uwrf and the school teaches students how to ride handle breed and take care of horses. They have a good breeding program in place with proven stallions. Dont talk shot unless you know what the hell your talking about!

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  14. The only "irresponsible bastard" in this blog today is the idiot who posted it. Green Traveler, you owe UWRF itself, the entire equine program and especially the students in the Colts in Training progam a HUGE, PUBLIC apology for the garbage you vomited all over this page. I did not attend UWRF, but am quite familar with the school, the equine program & the educators associated with it, the Colts in Training program & sale. These fine individuals & the institution itself are incredibly undeserving of the slanderous & false commentary you've posted as facts for all to read. I hope UWRF or somebody sues you. I cannot fine a single shred of factual information in your diatribe against UWRF. This blog shouldn't be titled "Shame on UW River Falls." It should be titled, "Shame on ME because I'm a moron looking for attention & can't be bothered to check facts before I slander innocent folks."

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  15. Uh-oh! Looks as though somebody is a wee bit upset that their ACT score was too low to be accepted into UWRF's equine program. You know what they say; "If you can't join 'em, bash 'em!". Well, thats not entirely correct but I gather from your incorrect and idiotic rant above that you get my point. Now listen up sunshine, I'm going to give you a free nugget of advice here...(and you should probably take it since we're all beginning to notice you're a little dimmer than the average lightbulb)...if you could just go ahead and pop a Midol and spend a little more time studying and a little less "special" time with stepdaddy, you'll be sure to raise your current score up all the way into the double digits which will then allow you to re-apply to UWRF. You can do it champ! And as far as "bashing somebody's brains in"...bitch please. The only brains getting bashed in here will be yours due to the fact that you probably fancy yourself as a "self trained professional farrier/cowgirl" and will likely come face-to-hoof with that bow-legged gelding on your back 1/2 acre "spread" whom's genetic lineage you can recite by heart to anyone unfortunate enough to be within a half mile of you. Whew! That was enough writing for now. (And don't worry, UWRF can teach you how to use proper sentences while you're there too!) Cheers!

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  16. Not to be a bother again, but I was clicking on your links, and your "research" is from some person's training website. Their purpose to have what they do on their is because they want others to understand why they train how they do, which is fine. While this person has links to other websites, your research is not from peer reviewed journals, which I have been taught is where good research comes from. I am not debating the fact that horses may have less leg issues when started easier, I am just trying to help you understand where good research comes from, to help you in the future.

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  17. Oh, sad. Unfounded and exaggerated. I attended UWRF 2007-2011 and majored in Animal Science. Nearly took all the classes they offered in equine studies and it was GREAT! Please be more responsible for what you write. This is a wonderful university. I can also confirm that there were no 2 year old stallions being bred in the Equine Reproduction class last spring. In the colt program, students love their assigned horse and a few each year even purchase their own or another student's for their own. Very informative and praise worthy program.

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  18. As a current UW River Falls student I think that calling us a bunch of "irresponsible bastards" is a bunch of bull! You are a librarian who are you to sit there and make comments and false stories about a program you obviously know nothing about? If you think that you have the facts why aren't you on here defending yourself to all of us so called "bastards" who have now read your blog bashing the program you supposedly have all the facts on? I want to hear what you have to say about this blog now that quite a few people have set you straight!

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    1. Yep..shame on RF? More like shame on her..if she's a librarian, you'd think she would've done some research about us..guess not. This should almost be brought up to authorities if you ask me.

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  19. You really shouldn't be talking bad about a program you've never participated in yourself. You do not know how well all our horses are cared for and loved on. The training of a 2-year old is the standard for the entire equine industry. Just look at race horses on the track! Guess what, those are 2 year olds too! The sale is highly monitored for only good homes for the horses. No meat buyers are allowed. The sale is very well put together and relaxed, not like some crazy auction people got o buy horses for meat. People come to our colt sale because they know the horses have been well taken care of and trained properly. I hear every year about people being excited for the sale because they're looking for a great horse. Being an Equine Major here at RF is the most amazing schooling I could ever wish for. Our professors all are very well known for the great work they do with the students and horses. They wouldn't be here in such a top national program if they weren't great. Our program is among the best in the country, and we have the title for a reason. You talk about responsibility, but don't you think you should be responsible as well and get the facts before you go post something like this? If you're gonna tell the world about an Equine program, at least tell them the truth, not a bunch of bullshit.

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  20. I just can't belive how immature and pathetic you people are on here and have nothing better to do than sit on your ass and blog about something that is not even true. Get off your patheitc asses and get a fricken job. Don't bash the instructors or the students at UWRF, your just all pissed your sitting at home without a college education and don't have the talent that many of the students do to work, train and be horseman! You know when you post such crap as this is makes me sick to know there are such idoits out there. All i can say for you green traveler and all your fellow bloggers that like to talk shit I hope you all get whats coming to you because you will not get away with this without any concequences!

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  21. For anyone curious about Angel, she is still going strong as a babysitter for two little girls (oh yeah...she is one of UWRF's old schoolies that is having a nice retirement).

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  22. The horses are not well treated. They are pulled on by beginning riders day after day, time after time. They stand in crossties and are poked by student after student, sometimes up to ten students in one spot injecting water, in order to practice giving shots, or drawing blood. And each student does it in the neck and rump. This is the same when learning to give medicine, apply eye drops, float teeth, etc. I understand that it is a learning situation and that this stuff needs to be done, but I don't see why more horses couldn't be used in order to reduce the number of times that any one horse has to endure the particular procedure at the time.

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    1. If you want to complain about animals really being tortured why don't you go to a place promoting the use of animals for medical research...

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    2. You're kidding me right? Beginning riders, really? Beginner riders are the little boys and girls who ride their pony for the first time. The students here have all had equine backgrounds and are not beginners. Therefore, pulling on them does not happen. We're actually taught to stay off the face, we use all leg cues. And no 10 students are poking the same horse, ever. More than anything we get demos from 1 person to see how it's done and that's it. It is not the same procedure for floating teeth, etc.. Seriously?

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    3. I think you should get your facts straight, how do you know that all students that have gone through the program have had equine backgrounds. If it is a school for learning then I should think there were beginning riders. Are you saying that a student cannot start out with never having had riding lessons? Not all people are fortunate enough to have riding lessons before starting the program. Yet, they may adore horses and want to work with them.

      Also, I believe 10 students poking the same horse is 5 too many. How would you like to be poke in the same place 10 times?

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  23. Those horses are not tortured by it at all by any means, we do not make them uncomfortable and we do not purposely inflict pain. We treat them amazingly! I have never seen ten students injecting one horse. And more than one horse is used at these times. These things do not hurt them by any means. That assumption is crazy.

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    1. I have my own personal experience in the 168 class that I took where the horses were poked over and over up to 10 times by students. It was a class of about 20 and at times we would only have 2 (sometimes 3) horses in to practice the things that we learned! Which included injections, drawing blood, floating teeth, etc. It has happened! I saw it with my own 2 eyes and participated in it! With the injections the horses had been poked so many times they literally had blood dripping from their rump! And no, I'm not some PETA person. I eat meat, believe in horse slaughter & am not afraid to give injections, I give them ALL the time! There are many people there, I have talked to them, that had NEVER been on a horse until 168! So YES, there are beginners! And plenty of them! The horses are not treated amazingly! There have been broodmares hugely pregnant that could barely put weight on one of their hooves and when brought to the attention of the teacher, the teacher didn't care. People need to realize that there are things that are wrong at UWRF and things need to be corrected. I'm not saying that UWRF is horrible, I'm saying that there are things that need to be corrected!

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  24. so yeah why are you including my lovely colt in this whole overblown craziness? Even bashing his name? really, its sounds "criminal", yeah such a bad name. This entire blog is riduculous and you really are crazy for keeping it up. I can tell you the entire time I worked with this colt, he seemed fine with it and he seemed to enjoy it. Oh and this whole crazyness of him breeding mares, yeah im a quite positive he was a gelding. River Falls does not breed random stallions to random horses. I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO KNOW WHERE YOU GET YOUR FACTS AND WHERE YOU DECIDED TO CHOOSE OUT OF 60 HORSES AND CHOOSE MINE!?!?! sorry for the caplock action, not really? No abuse or anything like you have been talking about. These colts in the training class are trained at a slow pace. My for one, was never overworked and was treated with the utmost respect. I even trained this colt after having a triple hernia surgery so if anyone should be complaining about the "abuse" of the colt training class it should be me and not about the abuse of the horses but the students. So please STOP BASHING ON MY FREAKING HORSE! YOU ARE AN IDIOT
    kthankbye it been fun

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