In which a rider has no sense at all, the answers to your questions
A. Not only is that a t-post, it's a 5-foot, uncapped t-post. See Fugly Horse of the Day's tirade about uncapped t-posts. They are outright dangerous...and the caps are freakin' cheap and easy to install. A 5-foot uncapped pole is exactly the correct height to impale a horse who is jumping around. Duct tape is not an adequate substitute for a cap.
B. Yes, that un-capped t-post isn't properly submerged. The foot blades are sharp, children--sharp enough to cut through the bottom rubber of a cheap pair of sneakers (uh, ask me how I know?) and certainly sharp enough to cut a horse foot or leg wide open.
C. Not only is that heavy winter blanket several sizes too large (entanglement hazard), but also it was left on the horse until nearly 11am in 70+ degree heat. Shameful.
D. The halter would be too big for Gigantor. Why on earth is it strapped onto this pretty little Arab face? If you can't afford another halter, fer cryin' out loud, punch a few new holes and make some adjustments to the straps!
E. There is no hay in front of this horse, and he has eaten all the grass in his pen. He has no reason to want to stay on the inside of this catastrophe of a corral.
F. And really, there is no reason he will stay in the pen, because that isn't electric fence tape strung between the t-posts. It's rope. Actually, it's heavy twine, maybe strong enough to hold one of my Shetland Sheepdogs, but not nearly sturdy enough to hinder a 1,000 horse who decides to blow right through it!
G. Lest you think that the horse is liable to starve, think again. You can't see the feed pan in this photo, but if you could it might make you scream: this horse is fed fifteen pounds of grain daily. Can you say "gerbil on crack cocaine"? His eyeballs were twitching from the high-octane fuel, and who could blame him?
H. When the rider set up this pen, there was only one bucket of water. A kid camped on the other side of the access road added the second water bucket.
Extra Credit: where the h*ll is the rider?!?!?!!!!!!
The rider went to town--not a quick jaunt to purchase some necessity, but to stay overnight in the motel so he could drink some cold brews and pick up a local lady for a night of frolicking!
He made no provisions for the horse in the case of an emergency (like, uh, injury? or COLIC?!!). There is no cell service in this camp, so nobody could have called him even if he had left his phone number (which he didn't). He left around 5pm, and wandered back to camp around 11am the following morning. He isn't camped near anybody else, either, so if the horse did have an emergency it might not be noticed right away.
Oh, and the rider informed me that he intends to win Tevis in 2012 with this horse.
"If you don't kill the horse first," thinks me.
A number of us did finally spit out out our disgust long enough to make some constructive suggestions. It took me three days to think of something positive to say, but when I finally thought about beet pulp, I marched down to the Dude's camp and gave him a Beetpulp 101 talk, including a sample scoop of the stuff and a quick tour of my own feeding strategy for a hard keeper--with Fiddle watching me carefully the entire time, willing to demonstrate how nummy beetpulp really is. He took the scoop, and the advice. Whether he uses either of them remains to be seen, but at least I tried.
As for that travesty of a pen, another rider got tired of watching the cute little horse careen around inside it and tied him safely to the trailer (and left a very informative note on the trailer door as well, by all accounts).
Tevis winner 2012? I doubt it. If they both survive this season, they will perhaps have learned enough to have a little more respect for that ride...and each other.
We can always hope.