Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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.

Yeah.

"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.

11 comments:

  1. Poor horse! We can hope the guy was just ill-informed or ignorant, and will learn what he needs to know to take adequate care of his poor horse. Sounds like he doesn't know squat about horses or horse care.

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  2. I was wondering where the truck was to that pulled that horse trailer. HAH!
    HE LEFT TO STAY IN A HOTEL for the night....without telling anyone where he was going or asking someone watch out for his horse?!

    Crazy!

    First of all, sure a hotel is great, but if you choose to do an overnight camp-out with your horse, you don't just dump him at the campsite without your supervision!

    That's like dumping a little kid into the great outdoors all by himself and expecting him to stay safe with just a handful of hay and a huge box of candy (ie, grain). Gah!

    The horse didn't choose to be there, the guy did. If the owner chooses to have a horse as his partner to win an endurance ride, he needs to ACT LIKE A PARTNER. Sheesh! I just don't get that at all.

    I was going to ask about the blanket, because even though I pegged that it was way too big, I thought it odd that the horse needed a blanket at all.

    Our temps can get down to the 50's at night, but I wasn't sure how low yours got. I don't blanket unless it's snowing with temps below 30 degrees up here.

    Quite honestly, that blanket looks like a winter blanket for temps down to the 30's. A blanket probably wasn't needed in your area, at all this time of year.

    lol! Well the crazy head shaking now makes sense, too. I thought he was just shaking away some flies. But he was just acting high as a kite with all that grain in his system. Nuts...just nuts.

    It looked like he had some hay there, but I guess it was just a small amount, not enough to keep him busy and happy. Of course with all the grain in his body, he probably couldn't relax enough to pay attention to a small pile of hay anyway. lol!

    Oh! But look, the guy did leave behind the horse's pretty purple lead, in case anyone had to capture his horse if (when) it escaped from his rope enclosure.

    ~Lisa

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  3. I totally skimmed your first post and thought it was a joke.....Wow!

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  4. So tell us: considering that the horse survived the night (no thanks to senseless rider), how did they do on the ride, considering that they're gearing up for Tevis? Inquiring minds want to know...

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  5. The nerve of some people! That is a total disaster waiting to happen. That guy shouldn't be out there with his horse at all!
    I would never leave my horse unattended even in safe surroundings. I panic and worry over every little thing!

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  6. KATE: this guy apparently finished Tevis when he was 18 years old... which would be 30+ years ago. Equine nutrition and training research has changed a lot of "best practices" since then--but only for people who have been paying attention.

    LISA: I do blanket in camp in the mountains, because temps drop pretty fast at night and horses in corrals can't move around much to stay warm. However, temps also rise rapidly when the sun comes up.

    MEL: no joke. he's actually worse in real life. His attempts at electrolyting would have been funny, if the situation weren't so unfunny.

    EVENSONG: he finished 4th in the LD ride (25 arduous miles) and took at least ten minutes to reach criteria (60 bpm) after crossing the line. By contrast, Fiddle worked all week on those trails, covering about 40 miles hauling me and a bunch of tools and finished 26th on ride day. She was at criteria when she crossed the line, before I even pulled her tack off.

    PAINT GIRL: I once had a horse colic overnight in camp. If I had been a less-sound sleeper, I might have discovered his distress much too late. If I had stayed at a motel in town...well. 'Nuff said.

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  7. Okay, so now I'm confused. He finished fourth, even though his horse was obviously not that fit, and you finished 26th on a fit as a "Fiddle" horse (har-har), because why? you took your time? I think that's what I liked better about competitive trail riding (old version in the '80s), it wasn't about fastest, it was about best conditioned...

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  8. The scary part is that this person purported to know what he was doing. I guess we all have our "favorite" of the myriad of things this person did wrong. Mine happens to be feeding all that grain -- lighting him up -- then blanketing him and leaving him. Wow, just WOW.

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  9. I finished 26th on purpose because
    a. Fee had already done a lot of miles earlier in the week
    b. I don't believe in pushing a horse fast when s/he is in the first year of competition
    and
    c. It was a hot day, and my horse is big and dark. The heat ties into a more complete blog post that I've got cooking, so more details on that later.

    Basically, the Dude rode as fast as he could (and got lost a couple of times, although nobody else did) and I rode conservatively and enjoyed the day. At the finish line, it showed: his horse was tired (but fit--he does a lot of conditioning with the little guy), and my horse was not tired.

    My goal for Fiddle isn't first-place finishes or even top-ten finishes. My goal to ride this mare for many years and many miles--and I think my best road to that goal is to take everything slowly and easily. The Dude's goal is to win Tevis in 2 years, and apparently his chosen road is to do everything as fast as possible. Clearly, we have many differences!

    Maybe I should've asked him if he'd had fun on the trail. That might be an interesting discussion....

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  10. Aarene--I didn't mean to criticize you at all. I was just wondering. It's obvious that the difference between you and that other guy is your care of and concern for your horse!
    I have heard that many endurance horses that are pushed too fast, too young end up sour and unsound at an early age (much like young futurity horses or Thoroughbreds from the track).
    If I remember right, isn't there some sort of endurance slogan about "To finish is to win!" It seems that is what you espouse. And you had fun for a whole week, getting there!

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  11. Evensong: no offense meant and none taken. I have seen endurance horses hurried down the trail...and often I don't see those horses again after a season or two. Often I don't see those riders again, either.

    I consider it significant that almost nobody remembers the name of the horse who finished first at Tevis 3 years ago, but many people know who Chief is, and Rushcreek Lad, and Pandora's Pixy. Those horses and their riders are in it for the long haul, and were/are able to complete many, many years of happy miles. Chief just passed 10,000 competition miles and he's still going. . That's my goal.

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To err is human. To be anonymous is not.