Category Archives: Horse Stories

The BLM from where I sit…

(Wow.  I’m going to get controversial AGAIN today.  Two days in a row.  I’m on a roll!)


I’m not too happy with the BLM for several reasons.  However, my reasons may not be the most popular reasons to be upset with the BLM.

Basically, if I ran my company the way the BLM runs its Wild Horse and Burro Program, I would be run off the end of the plank.  I don’t think I would get 20 years to prove my plan might work someday and I am sure I wouldn’t get a pension for my accomplishments.  My bosses wouldn’t get to pay me for all of this “work”  without healthy consideration.  Heck, Ponzi schemes don’t hold a candle to what the BLM has spent since 1971… and where are we?

But, that isn’t the worst rub for me.  The worst rub is the mind melding.  It is like they are trying to be Spock with the Vulcan finger thing on the neck.


I hate it when I am supposed to believe untruths when logic points me in another direction.

First of all, I have read up on just about everything you can read up on about the American wild horse situation.  And, I’ve attended several meetings of the BLM around this issue.  I cannot even tell you all the blah blah I was supposed to believe from these people who are working for me.  I felt like Donald Trump.  I wanted to stand up and yell, “You’re Fired!” to each and every one of them and their Swiss cheese arguments.

OK, off my soapbox and onto my logic cube.  In a nutshell, why did we (The People) vote for the

The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971
(Public Law 92-195)

if we didn’t mean it?


Now, the link I provided above (scroll over the bold Act title) shows the original Act and then all the changes thus far.  Hmmmmm.  I don’t remember voting on those… But that’s not my point.  My point is that the BLM is spending more than it has for this program to meet the needs of the codicils.  Furthermore, the reasoning for the changes makes no sense to me. Why can a large amount of cattle live on the land previously designated for the wild horse and burros who are said to be ruining this same land or not getting enough nutrition?  And, ultimately, why, BLM, are you over budget yet no closer to managing Public Law 92-195 as it was written?

Now, all I can deduce from the BLM’s actions is that they don’t want us to think.  Or, they want us to think their way.  Or, truly, they want us to make the beef lobbyists happy.

I know there are no more buffalo out there roaming about.  And, soon, there will be no wolves and other such nuisance animals.  But crimany, we voted for the protection of the wild horse.  Sheesh.  Don’t we get to decide if we’d rather be a fast food nation or a nation that supports the welfare of some of its history?

So, BLM, don’t lie to me.  We are thinking people and you doth protest too much and spend too much.  I smell a rat.


If you feel the desire to get into this effort, there is a wonderful, very fair, very solid and non-emotional woman who spends her time documenting, as an invited observer, to the BLM roundups and subsequent holding facilities – Elyse Gardner.   Here is her blog.  Also, if you want to help today, here are two things you can do (both links do different things) that take only a few minutes and no Starbucks money.  And, of course, if you want to join the movement, please visit Madeleine Pickens.  She has the wherewithall and the stamina to keep up the fight.  I stand behind both these courageous women.

I am taking a stand in this fight.  For me, not taking a stand doesn’t help either side.


On a brighter note, here is a picture of a wild and free thing I saw erupting on my property today.  Yes, it is exposed to the elements and yes there are other species around that need this space and yes it happens to be in the way of my walking path.  But, I prefer to gaze at it a while longer…

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I’m a Responsible Breeder, or So I Thought…

I’m a responsible breeder.  Or, I was… I quit breeding for many reasons.  The foremost being that there are too many homeless horses in the world. I feel that if you are going to bring a horse into this world, you’d better have a good reason, provide for it throughout its life or be responsible during the re-homing process. (That’s me, standing on my soapbox.)

But, as I sit here today, I realize I failed myself and my youngest colt.  I bred with my blinders on.


My mare, Tess, has had 6 foals. I know where all of them live, I know what they are doing and everyone is in a fine home.  I have kept to my own word of placing them responsibly.  So far, so good. (Remaining true to my self-righteousness.)


Today, I have Tess’ last foal, Wrigley, who is coming 2.  I decided to breed for him three years ago for all the right reasons.  This was an incredible opportunity to breed to this outstanding stud for free (complicated story).  The stud had a flawless producing record and his bloodlines contained some of the Old Style Morgan that I wanted.  I felt his conformation would be a great balance with Tess’ and she was already there at the breeding facility so the transaction would be simple.  Since I knew, absolutely, I wanted to keep her last foal forever, this sounded really good.   Great!  And, the creme de la creme, I figured that my trail horse, Aladdin, would be needing to retire just about when this foal would be starting, so it was perfect.  Let’s do it!  So, we did.


Now, maybe you didn’t notice all the blah blah in the above paragraph, but it’s there.  First of all, my mare throws show horses, not trail horses.  Now, many of you say that all show horses could be trail horses.  And, sometimes you are right.  But, not my mare.  She throws show horses that might turn into trail horses when they settle down at 13 or so.  I know this.  OK, the next bit of blah blah is the stud.  Again, he has never sired a trail horse.  My thinking that the Old Style Morgans in the woodpile would fix the intense show horse quality of all of the previous total show babies makes no sense because it never worked before. ( I think you see where this is going…)  The last blah blah was what I said to myself.  I told myself that Tess couldn’t possibly produce a show foal every time.  What are the odds of that?  This one will be the trail horse, for sure.  Uh huh.

What I never said out loud was that I didn’t want another show horse.  Not only didn’t I want one, but I REALLY DIDN’T WANT ONE.  I was never going to go through all that show stuff again.  Never.  I was done.  Hmmmmm.  Where was this side of my brain when I was deciding to breed my mare with this stud?  Why didn’t I listen to what I KNEW?  Where was my head?


Baby came on April 30, 2008.  A colt!  Yeah!  I wanted another gelding as a trail horse.  Perfect!  He was quick to stand, quick to nurse and very hearty.  At the time, I ignored that he was huge, totally upheaded and could not walk — he pranced — everywhere.  Naw, he’ll settle down.  I even told myself how cute it was that he flagged his tail whenever anything at all happened… anything at all.  A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G at all.

I named him Wrigley, again defying a show name, so that he would have an easy trail friendly moniker.  Usually, I spent days agonizing over the show name for the papers.  What would sound good rolling off the tongue?  What type of name would be easily understood over the loud speaker?  What would fit his/her personality?  What would play off of the parent’s names?  But, not with Wrigley.  I even forget how we decided on that name…

At 18 months old, Wrigley was as large as his mother.  OK, I said to myself, no worries.  So what… He will stop growing and he will be small enough that I can mount from the ground while on the trail.  After all, his Dam is 14’3 and his Sire is only 15′.  How big could he get?…  C’mon, this is just good nutrition or an unusual growth spurt. (Again, I was the Jewel of Denial…)

All along, I have been haltering and working with little huge Wrigley.  It is true that I cannot get the halter over his head unless he practically goes down on his knees.  And, it is true that he learns very quickly, even if his excitement is a bit larger than the task.  And, yes, he clears the trailer entrance when he jumps in by about 2 feet.  Still, he would just be a very alert trail horse.  He just has juvenile energy.  MmmmHmmmm.  Deny. Deny. Deny.


But today, I am forced to see the error of my ways.  As I brought him to the arena to work on some Parelli stuff, I just couldn’t lie to myself any more.  He’s no trail horse.  In fact, there is no part of his huge and precise body that even hints at trail horse.  This guy is all show.  Not even a little show.  All.  He cannot parade to the arena without asking all of the other woodland creatures to look at him.  He enters as if he has never seen this place before but knows he can conquer it.  He bounds on the end of my white Parelli lead as if he is just about ready to rocket to the moon.  That carrot stick is just another excuse to prove his expertise in dance.  He has never considered that there is no audience.  He has never considered that he isn’t all that.  He is.  Ain’t nobody gonna convince him otherwise.  He is EXACTLY what he was bred to be.


And now, I have to figure out what to do with my very talented and hairy protege. I feel as though I’m that parent who always wanted a son and got a daughter.  Or the stage Mom who wants her math whiz to dance.  I want a trail horse and I don’t have that.

What I find conflicting about this situation is that I have plenty of horses around here with no jobs.  They are rescues and they have their own issues which makes them unrideable and some even untouchable.  Yet, I never require them to do or be anything.  And that works for them.  They are happy to just be in the field living their lives.  This isn’t the case with Wrigley.  He wants to BE SOMETHING.  He wants to GO!  So, what do I do when I have no interest in moving the whole family to Seattle so my kid can learn to speed skate…  (That’s an Anton Ohno reference which basically is saying that I really don’t have the interest or the means to bring this boy to the top of the Morgan Show Circuit.)  Do I leave him in the field and wait until all his boyhood spunk and passion turns into middle age?

I know what you are thinking… why not sell him into a show home.  Yup.  Easier said than done.  He doesn’t have any formal training so he is out of the loop with trainers and the scuttlebutt of “up and comers”.  So, that leaves him to the market of people I don’t know.  As a responsible breeder, I cannot guarantee his lifestyle.  He’s a square in the round of horse society and will only fit comfortably in certain settings.  He shouldn’t go into an average household because he cannot conform to everyday horseness.  His passion could very easily be misunderstood as defiance and beaten out of him.  He may as well stay here where at least I can give him manners without crushing his soul.


So, I stand before you totally devastated at what I have done.  I’ve brought another horse into the world that cannot fulfill his purpose and doesn’t fit.  I look at him and I’m overcome with disappointment.  I’m disappointed in myself and I’m disappointed in him —  which is so unfair of me.  He is just being himself.  Exactly what I bred him to be.

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