Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ALL Horses Are Beautiful

"WBP El Crapola," resin horse sculpted by Chris Jolly

One of my critics once accused me of hating horses that don't have good conformation. Nothing could be further from the truth! My rants against badly-bred horses are entirely directed against the breeders of these animals. When horses have upright pasterns, ultra-long backs, crooked hocks, genetic diseases, etc, they are more likely to experience pain, more likely to wind up injured, and more likely to have trouble keeping a good home. The breeders are responsible for that suffering, and it's them I hate. Horses themselves are completely innocent, and even the fugliest ones are deserving of love. And really, is there any horse we could possibly hate because of its looks? I don't think so! Every horse has the ability to comfort us, inspire us and befriend us. Thus, today we celebrate the not-quite-perfect horses we love! They are ALL beautiful!

Kings Lil Cutter, foundation QH. Injured at 2 years old and unrideable, he was adopted and now enjoys a life of ease.

Eeyore, a wild mustang born with front feet that turn in, back feet that turn out, and floppy ears! Don't worry, he lives a happy life. You can read Eeyore's full story here.

A very poorly-bred mini who suffers health problems...  and is just so ADORABLE!

This is "Buttered Rum Spirit," renamed George (Clooney). Mary, the owner of this drool-worthy hunk, says, "He is that downhill.  He is also a stinker of a horse who can not only turn on a dime he can fly on a dime.  Talk about a go button. Double Impressive bred but N/N."  Wow Mary, no wonder you named him after the man that was once voted "sexiest man alive!" LOVE LOVE LOVE that horse!

I love the alert, foxy expression of this handsome guy. You can tell he's intelligent just by looking. Katie, his lovely and awesomely-helmet-wearing owner, says,

"This is my 7 year old Appendix Quarter Horse, Seymour Sexy! My family and I adopted him from St. Francis Horse Rescue and Retirement Farm. I worked there for 3 years, biking to and from the rescue in the summers to go help out and when  Seymour came along I knew I had to take him home; the right horse had come along. He likes to act like he's scared of everything but you take him out the next day and he magically isn't scared of that anymore! On the other hand, I have never seen a horse that wants to please as much as this big guy, he is definitely part of the family and everyone loves him! He fits the "less than perfect but still awesome" perfectly! I read your blog as often as I can and enjoy reading it. I love the information you post on there, it really helps me become a better, more educated horseman!"

When I saw this horse, I thought he looked like an angel, the kind of fellow any kid could ride. The owner's description proved me wrong... and also proved that we can love horses who are a bit ugly on the inside as well as the outside! Congratulations to E.H. for being a good enough horsewoman and a kind enough soul to love this horse.

"This is my favorite picture of Cody.  He looks rather kind in this photo...which he is not.  In actuality, he is a barnsour, pigheaded jerk who is thicker than a short plank.  He also happens to be the horse whose near-constant but minor league misbehavior helped me get my confidence back after several years out of the saddle.  We have a special bond, as evidenced by the fact that he has never tried to rub me off on a tree.  His age is starting to catch up with him, but the old cuss will have a home for the rest of his days and a place in my heart for the rest of mine."

"My Name: Quill
Horse's Name: Savannah, Appendix QH
She's 23 years old, sound as can be with the energy of TB racer and the drive of a freight train. You never have to push her to work, because she always gives 110%. She's stubborn as a toddler in a toy store, but luckily we generally have the same idea of how to do something. She's currently learning to jump and though it's been a frustrating year or so on both our parts, we've made huge progress together. She's gone from the crazy horse that jumped all four trot poles in a single bound to a nice little jumper over a decent-sized vertical. AND we did it all in a plain ol' snaffle bit. Take that, people who said I should put a gag bit on her! We'll never make it big together, but I don't care. She's my best friend and every little accomplishment we make together makes me so proud of her!"

Quill, this mare is so clearly incredibly well taken care of, from her glowing dapples to her neatly shod hooves. No wonder she works hard for you-- you work hard for her!  I had to go back and re-read your description because I didn't believe she was 23. Oh, and once again, you rock for sticking to a snaffle and working on training instead!

OK folks, that's it for today. However, if you have a special horse you'd like me to feature on another post, feel free to send it to I LOVE hearing about your equine buddies. I'd also love for you to send me anything else you think should be mentioned-- from bad Craigslist ads to great rescues. Together we will celebrate all the good, and shame all the bad. Happy trails and happy hump day!


  1. Thank you for the kind words about my Savannah, Traveler, I give the credit of her amazing shape to her owner :) If you're interested in our story together, here it is, it certainly was not love at first sight, haha:

    We both got to the barn at the same time. She was purchased when I first started riding. I started out on a little schoolmaster (SM) and she did lessons for intermediate riders. She was just that other horse around the barn to me. I outgrew my SM and I moved on to riding a TB mare who became my favorite.

    Every now and them the mare would grow lame and I'd have a lesson on Savannah. No click. The TB was still my favorite. When the TB had to be retired because she was deemed no longer sound for riding, I rode a bit on Savannah before moving to the son of the first SM I rode (G). G was the most foul-tempered beast. Cute as a button, but he bucked, chased horses, ignored everything you told him to do and scraped me off on a tree once.

    After spending a while riding him, my confidence went way down. No only because I couldn't do anything with him, but because I was the only one that couldn't do anything. Other people who rode him didn't have the problems I had, even if I mimicked what they were doing. We simply did not get along. I was even considering leaving my barn, or quitting riding all together. I never thought I would be able to say I hated a horse, but I hated this one.

    During this time I would seek comfort in other horses, because who is better for comfort than a kind-hearted horse? SM and G were always across the street because they had lessons to do after me. So I would wander across the street to the home of SM and G and visit Savannah. I would give her an apple slice or two and pet her, and just sit on one of the giant rocks in the field and watch her go about her business. She'd wander over to say "hello" now and then, and leave again. That's where an inkling of a bond began to form. She's what kept me from just throwing in the towel and ridding myself of the horse world.

    The final straw with G came when he charged me in the field. I narrowly escape after clobbering him and chasing him down the field. I reported it to his owner and my instructor and said I was done and I wanted a different horse to ride. I ended up on Savannah. (cont.)

    1. (cont.)
      After a few lessons we got each other figured out, but it was still just a pleasant horse to ride and not really a "friend and teammate". I liked riding her, she was more comfortable. I liked the power she had packed into every movement. We went on to earn our first and last blue ribbon (I didn't like showing, but I wanted a blue ribbon, so I stopped after we got one), she became my favorite. But there still wasn't a connection there. I felt like she was special to me, but I was just another rider to her. As I learned more about her I learned that she'd been originally trained in Western riding and had gone into training to be a barrel racer. But she was later purchased and converted to English, trained very well in Dressage, but she hated it. Then she was purchased by her current owner. Each time she'd been sold because the previous owner couldn't form a bond with her and wanted to get a horse they could bond with. I figured my chances of bonding with her were zero. Then it happened. She began following me.

      I had loosed her in the field after a ride and as I was walking back up, I heard hooves behind me. For a second I thought I was being charged again, but when I turned I was greeted not by a charging horse, but by Savannah. She walked beside me, half asleep. When I stopped walking, she stopped too and leaned the side of her head against my arm and sighed. I began moving around in strange patterns, straight lines, curved lines, doing 180s, she stayed no more than a foot from me at all times, never leaving my side. At this point I was very happy. Could it be she'd decided she liked me?

      The next week, I tried it again. She did the same in the arena, and around the barn yard. I could go anywhere I wanted and she was always right there. And it never failed that she would rest her head against me when I stopped. It soon escalated to nickering to me when she saw me. If she got bullied by another horse, she'd come running and hide behind me. If I was between her and something scary she was at ease. Instead of me going to get her, she would greet me at the gate. I could bathe her without tying her up and I could do her feet without her fighting, things no one else could do.

      Now, I've taken her on as a lease, and we have become best friends. We know what every muscle twitch the other makes means, and we've accomplished so much together. It's taken a while but I've learned to trust horses again. She's far from perfect, and we'll never jump the high fences, but that's fine. Knowing that she’s waited over 20 years to fall asleep in someone’s arms after a ride - and she’s chosen me for that person - that means the world to me.

    2. That is a beautiful story, and you are a great writer. Thank you for sharing. By the way, the Green Traveler is my alter-ego: it's my personal email and sometimes I forget to log out and log back into my north horse mail when I post a blog :)

  2. For the record, I have had kids on Cody. I just happened to be on the other end of the lead rope the entire time. He's great for leading kids around because he's too slow on the uptake to spook; by the time the scary thing registers, it's over. Since he knows darned well he can't walk over me on the ground, the worst he'll do is try to graze. Without the lead rope, however...well, let's just say I'd have to hope the parents weren't litigious.

  3. Um... the Eeyore you have posted on here belongs to a lady in Australia. He is NOT the same horse as the Eeyore in your link...

    The difference in facial and leg markings should have tipped you off.