Author Archives: dawndi

About dawndi

I've been a very happy film producer (commercial and long format) for over 20 years. But, the horses have always been foremost in my heart... Currently I live on a small ranch in California with my wonderful husband, 13 horses, 4 dogs, 3 cats and various woodland creatures. Life is good!

Is Your Horse Showing Signs of being Transbred?

Is your horse showing signs of being transbred?  Or, perhaps, even more specifically, transspecied?

What do I mean?

Well, do you have a horse that looks like a certain breed and has papers to prove that breeding, but acts like another breed?  Or, acts like another species altogether?  And, it isn’t as if they are trying to act like another breed, they truly, in their hearts, think they are something else.

I call that Transbred.  And, in the case of a few of my horses, they are Transpecied.  They may look like a horse, but they think they are another animal altogether…


Finn the Wild Mustang TWH

Meet Finn.  He is my 10 year old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding.  However, he does not see himself as a TWH at all.  Oh sure, he’ll gait when he’s excited and he does a pretty good job of it.  But, he doesn’t identify with gaiting.  Nope.  His identity is with Jeremiah Johnson’s horse or Daniel Boone’s horse.  He would like to be on the trail that no other horse has traversed before.  He is a Free Range Wild Mustang from Tennessee.

Finn sees no use in gaiting on a flat road just for the sake of a nice ride together.  Wha?  “You want me to just gait down this road, again?  Why?  This makes no sense to me.”  No joke.  He would rather zig zag, moonwalk or shift one foot outside the trail then go where he has gone before.  No, this horse is not your average cotton field, flatlands, “I’ll gait just to have a smooth ride with my owner”  Tennessee Walking Horse.  Noooooh.  Finn is a Free Range Wild Mustang!  Give me uncharted territory or give me Death.  He is a heck of a great trail horse, for sure!


Have you ever met an Icelandic Shetland?

VB, the prebred Icelandic Shetland

Me neither.  Until I birthed one here on the ranch. Her name is Violet Beauregard.  It fits.

I guess I should be clear.  VB is a full blooded Icelandic Horse.   I have her mother; she is a papered Icelandic mare.  And, although I didn’t watch her conception, I am pretty sure the sire was a well-known Icelandic stud imported from Iceland.  So I know that my little filly is actually an Icelandic Horse.

However, she thinks she is a Shetland.  This filly will turn over every bucket, unlock any door, rip open any feed bag, walk through any doorway, nibble anything, shake anything, shred anything, snake her neck and bang the gates like the best of the Shetlands (and I know because I have two Shetlands here).  VB will seek and destroy any and all things within her reach.  All the while, she will look as cute as a button and as angelic as possible.

And, she is angelic, sort-of.  She doesn’t mean to be destructive.  Its just that all things interest her for a moment until they have bored her and are no fun anymore.  Then she is “done” with that item and tosses it.  I would think she has ADD except she is always thinking about what she can destroy touch next so she is actually quite single minded.  Once someone described her as having a “high play drive”.  I almost spit up my Starbucks.  Y’think?  Understatement to me.  This girl is driven to… to… um, she’s just driven.  Period.

And, she hates to be ridden.  This is also a Shetland trait.  If you have ever ridden a Shetland, you know that their whole goal is to stop being ridden.  This is why all little girls should start with a Shetland.  If you can ride a Shetland, you can ride anything.  As a matter of fact, I put my 11 year old daughter on Violet Beauregard last week.  I kinda think they are a lot alike.  Anyway, they were both in tears by the end of it.  I’m not sure who got the best piece of the other.  I think it was a draw.  I actually heard the bell sound when they entered the arena…  ;)

Anyway, VB is Transbred.  She thinks she’s a Shetland and as many times as I’ve tried to tell her that she is an Icy, she just doesn’t “feel” it.  Sigh.


Huh?  What do I mean by this?  Well, I have a few here that are not sure they are horses.  They identify more with other creatures.


Wrigley thinks he is Nessie.  Do you know what I mean?

Loch Ness Wrigley

Nessie is the sea creature from the Loch Ness.  You’ve seen the photos right?  Dinosaur body which is huge but mostly submerged and then this loooong neck protruding from the dark sea.

Yup.  That’s Wrigley.  If I had a photoshop program on my blog I would have cropped in a wave just below his body here.  You can draw it in your mind…  Can you see the similarity?

Wrig is an anomaly.  He is a Morgan.  I know this because I have his Momma and I know his Sire and arranged for the quickie matrimonial insemination.  Yet, he is not like any Morgan I’ve ever seen.  He is a freak of nature, in a good way, but still very otherworldly.  He is very tall.  He is the tallest horse here and he is only 2 and a MORGAN.  As you know, Morgans are not known for their size, ahem.  He is very floaty and stealth.  And, his neck is alien.  Not only is is very long and telescopic, but he can rotate it and move in ways unnatural for a horse.

So, I think he has seen the faded, grey photos of Nessie and has decided to make the myth a reality.  He is a mythical equine sea creature of epic proportions.  He is Loch Ness Wrigley.


Remember Lurch from the Addams Family TV series?


Well, he has been reincarnated into my mustang mare, Remi.  That’s the truth.

Every time you walk into her field she comes over, like a good butler.  She stands in front of you and asks what you want.  And, as soon as you tell her, she rolls her eyes backwards and lets out a disgruntled retort.  You remember how Lurch did the exact same thing, right?

I mean, she has to feel a bit indentured since she was wild and then became caught and branded.  So, the butler sentiment comes honestly.  However, she does have the free Mustang spirit down deep so this whole servitude thing just really rubs her the wrong way.  However, she is a polite mare so she will come over to greet you and do the right thing.  Then, when you scratch her and tell her you are going to brush her or put her fly mask on, she rolls her eyes, gives a bit of Elvis lip curl and then lets out the Lurch grumbletude.

What’s weird about this grumbletude is that she actually likes to be brushed.  She likes to have her fly mask put on her face.  She likes a plethora of things that she pretends she doesn’t like.  Remi will roll her eyes and play Lurch no matter what.  And, so did Lurch.  You never saw him not being Lurch yet he stayed with the Addams’ and defended them often.  Same with Remi.  She loves it here.  It is just difficult to tell.  This is why I think she is Lurch.  After all, you never see them in the same room together…


So, I’m sure many of you may now begin to recognize the clinical signs of transbreeding or transspecied.  I think these syndromes are here to stay and I think we just have to, as caretakers, understand and roll with it.  If you have a mule that thinks it is a Fresian or a Percheron that thinks he is Baryshnikov, go with it.

Sometimes it is better to appreciate who they are inside instead of what they look like outside…

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

Saturday is PhoBlog Day! Today… well, it was just one of those days…

First of all, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to help The Golden Carrot through the Bucket Fund.  Please, please help these wonderful folks who take in the older and forgotten horses.  Please offer your Starbucks money or your pocket change to purchase senior feeds and mushy hay for these older ladies and gents of the equine world.  Thank you.  It means so much to the lovely elder ones… ($1 – infinity, no donation is too small…)

school fundraising ideas

Um... could you help me here?


I saw this a while ago on FB.  There were at least 60 photos posted of this event.  The photographer was all over the place and the documentation was incredible.  I imagine that the photog was laughing a few times…

The ol' rope around the butt move...

Awww, whatja do that for? Now I'm all wet...


I told you, Nooooooooooooooooo!

Hey, is someone graining over there?...

Oh, I see where you're goin' with this...!

Don't pull so fast my legs are still in there!

Ouch! Geez, hold on, hold on!

Am I out?... I need to shake. Quit pulling!

I coulda done it on my own, y'know...

What I garnered from these photos (without any knowledge or proof) is that this young horse got himself into a trough.  He is just standing there, perfectly dry with the, “Can you, uh, fix this please?” look.

Who knows how he got himself in the trough, but he seemed to not be able to get himself out.

A bit nervous to see their prized youngster in peril, the ranch hand and the owner (probably the guy in the cream colored boots) try to get him out.

First the butt wrap.  Nope, that didn’t work.

Of course, the dunking… (I love this one!)

Then the rearing.

At this point the owner, who was earlier afraid to damage the poor baby, now is getting frustrated and starts yanking.

The horse pulls back…


And, finally, mid-rear, the humans realize that the colt will come down outside of the tank.


The horse figures it out and walks off.  No worse for the wear, maybe a bit embarrassed and a lot smarter, hopefully…

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

July’s Bucket Fund will benefit the charity THE GOLDEN CARROT SANCTUARY.  To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5,  please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!