Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fuglyblog Eulogy & Legacy: A Message to All Horse Bloggers

I think it's time to post this.
Fuglyblog is dead: let us mourn.

Fugly Horse of the Day, or Fuglyblog, was a horse blog written by a woman with balls of steel. Cathy Atkinson Trope wrote about issues in the horse world that no one else did, and she humiliated more than one horse-abusing asshole. A lawyer  legally knowledgeable, educated and well-spoken woman, an animal-lover, a knowledgeable horse-owner and a vitriolic writer, she endured death threats, lawsuits, cyber attacks and more in order to out the badguys. She taught the horse world a great deal about what was wrong in the equine industry, and what to do about it. It was through Cathy that many people learned for the first time about the importance of conformation, HYPP testing, proper training and the need end to over-breeding, as well as a myriad of other issues.

Fuglyblog was sold when Cathy no longer had the time or heart to continue writing full time. It bounced through a series of writers, some decent, some awful, none of them great. Gradually, the quality declined, and now the website won't even load. Fuglyblog's Facebook page and Twitter updates have also ground to a halt (the last tiny post was in early May). The writer last responsible for the blog went by the name "Ontario," and her unexplained disappearance has been rumored to be the result of everything from a barn fire to foul play to "personal issues." Alas, Fuglyblog seems dead for good.

However, the spirit of Fuglyblog is not dead. Its fiery passion lives on in the writings of others. Bloggers with ideals have taken up the fight for humane horse treatment, and for every one that falls by the wayside, another rises up to take her place.

Some may question the need for more Fugly-style blogs, when Cathy herself said it all, fought all the fights, and explained all the issues, at least twice over. Why should blogs like this continue? Well here's why: people need them.

People are changeable and constantly moving. They need reassurance, reinforcement, a constant stream of information, from different writers in different styles. Blogs aren't meant to be written and tucked away on a shelf forever. They must be alive and active, responsive to readers old and new. Their lessons must be taught again and again, in different ways. As long as there are horse abusers, there must be people to shame them. As long as there is ignorance about horse breeding, there must be people who know better.As long as there are people who care about horses, there must be other people who push them to do something about horse neglect.

As silly as it may seem, Snarky Rider, Cathy's blog and now my own blog have pushed me to act at times I might otherwise not have. I think, "If Cathy caught me allowing my horse to get away with this, what would she say?" I think, "Wouldn't Snarky Rider have something to say about this?" I think, "If my readers knew I didn't knock on the door of the man with the too-thin horse, what would they say?" I hope and believe that this is true for others as well.

Even when we bloggers are just commenting on bad Craigslist ads, even when we are posting "filler" material, even when when we can hardly bear to post yet one more horrific story of neglect, we are sending a powerful message:


Obviously the better our blogs are, the better we can broadcast the message. However, we are only human. That "filler," the late posts, and even the week-long gap between posts is normal and natural and not something to be too ashamed about. If you're truly sick at heart of writing, then yeah, stop. But if you're just worried that you are not "good enough," or not fast enough, keep writing! The world needs whatever positive messages it can get.

Speaking of positive messages, Cathy still tweets about horse issues once in a while, and I recommend you follow her Twitter feed. Cathy has said she will work on posting her old Fuglyblog archives for the world to see, and I'm very excited about that. I'll be posting a link to the website here as soon as it's up.

Snarkyrider seems to be down at heart, and her posts have dried up. In her only recent update, she wrote,

"The ideals of the blog are still very important to me but it has been really hard to make myself come up with interesting posts about yet another poorly bred, mistreated, badly ridden, and/or blatantly abused horse. The state of our beloved industry is incredibly sad and more than a little bit revolting. So I’ve been hunkering down..."

Head over to her most recent post and tell her to keep writing! Keep the positive messages flowing.

Speaking of great bloggers, I've updated my list of "Other Great Horse Blogs" over there on the right-- click those links and tell me what blogs should be added to the list!

Finally, I couldn't get the previous North Horse Facebook page back up, so I've started a new one. Yeah, I know, it's a pain in the ass, but please go "like" the new North Horse page. The button on the top of the blog should be fixed now. Sorry 'bout all the trouble, folks.


  1. Ontario has started her own blog: www.hoovesblog.com. Check it out :)

  2. Amy - I *think* the hoovesblog is written by Mercedes.

    Re. the post above - Thank you! Well written, well stated, well thought-out, well everything. ;) I will be saving you to my favorites and coming back. I'm always up for good writing, no matter the subject. And if it's about the horse world . . . BONUS. :)

  3. I checked the California Bar Association and there is no licensed Attorney named Cathy Atkinson or Cathy Trope or Cathleen Trope or Catherine Trope or any other derivations of the names she uses.

    1. OK, I have changed "lawyer" to legally "knowledgeable, educated and well-spoken woman." I hope that this tiny change on a blog published six months ago, about a woman whose accomplishments few in the animal rescue world can hope to rival, satisfies whatever petty desire prompted you to comment here.