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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Truth in advertising

One of the biggest problems I see in the horse show world today is the dishonestly of people trying to promote their horses.


I see stallions advertised as 16 hands that you can tell are barely pushing 14.2.


I see 3 year olds advertised as "finished". Which could be true, as in: "we rode this baby too young and now he's finished as a show horse."


How about this one: "mare is a babysitter, guaranteed walk/trot winner" Read: " we showed this one too young too and now she can't go faster than a trot, so she damn sure can't run off with your kid."


And here's my favorite: "Unshown due to injury." Yeah, he was injured by a feed bucket that had too much high protein feed in it and now he can't show because his epiphysitis crippled him.


And lest we forget: The "color" factor. How many horses have you seen advertised as some "rare, special, unique" color that in reality is just a sunburned version of bay or dun?

My sister has rather a snippy wit and a few years back she composed this list of advertising “warnings” and after massive begging, as well as an entire bag of cherry cordial Hershey Kisses, she has allowed me to reprint it here. See if you recognize any of these “warnings” from ads you have read in the past.

16 hands ( in any non-draft or warmblood breed) = 14 hands, with shoes, standing on a 2X8.
18 hands ( in the draft and warmbloods)= 16 hands
Finished= crippled
Babysitter= crippled
Guaranteed to win= runs over all the other horses in the class and is the only one left standing.
Judges love this horse= It makes it easier to place a class with such an obviously low scoring animal.
The real thing= Except for the fake tail, mane add-ons, dyed legs, water hydrated muscles and cosmetically trimmed ears.
Champion sire/dam= they were the only horse in the class.
Bridle wise= You won’t catch this horse, EVER.
Great mover= Away from you, as you try to catch it. See above.
Homo-zygous sire= likes other stallions.
Homozygous sire= we will breed ANYTHING in order to collect a stud fee.
HYPP negative= We’ve heard all the negative press so we’re going to deny our horse has HYPP.
HYPP positive= We’re positive you should buy our HYPP horses so we can continue to breed this defect.
Halter winner= Not trained to be ridden
Versatile= Flunked out of halter, so had to be trained to be ridden.
Judges love this color= The horse’s markings make it easy to remember as the horse to dump in the class
Trained by a pro= Get a blood test for drugs
Ridden by a child= Time-outs just weren’t punishment enough, so we put the kid on this horse
Not ring sour= YET!
Goes English or western= sucks at both

Of course the list is tongue in cheek, but I think we all get the point. Within the last few years I have seen one of the most blatant forms of false advertising in the Appaloosa Journal breed magazine. There was a farm advertising horses that been obviously photo shopped, to the point that the blanket hipped mare had two dorsal stripes. The muscles had been pumped, the necks and heads reduced. It was just awful. The horses looked outright deformed. Why would someone use such hideous ads for months? And why would any self respecting breed magazine let them?


My next favorite fraudulent ad was in the Equine Chronicle. It had everything: fake back ground, cropping, reducing, photo shopping and ridiculous claims. There is no “real thing” with that much crap in the ad.


So tell us about an obvious fraud you encountered, and how it made you feel about the people committing the fraud.

9 comments:

carriegl said...

Oh Boy! Trying to shop for a stallion and being told the stallion is 15.2 or 3, not sure.........uh, which is it buddy? Then everyone and their brother who has actually "seen" the horse tell you it is pony sized.......OK then, thanks for that!!

Or how about the breeder who uses a "different" stallion for breeding than the one advertised?? Can't do that these days...DNA ya know!!

I am not interested in dealing with liars and cheats.......

A little honesty would be good!


Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Painty Girl said...

carrie,

which breed are you talking about?

some breeds seem to be rife with the height issues. minis lie about how small they are, the rest lie about how tall.

carriegl said...

which breed are you talking about?

Painty girl......my breed of choice is the Appaloosa......also rife with liars, cheats and schiesters.

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

robyn said...

heh..I liked the listing in Fugly a while back, where the stud owner didn't have a decent picture of her stud, so she took a picture of a Breyer QH model and said "he looks just like this horse!" Fantastic then! So her stud also had great conformation and musculature, as well as being buckskin. Yeah, right!

Tuffy Horse said...

robyn,

I remember that. Can't say I've seen any professionals go that far, close, but not quite.

I wish people would realize that the photoshopped ads are SO obvious. I'd be hesitant to breed to a stallion that was seriously photoshopped. I'm not talking about changing a background. I'm talking adding muscles, removing flaws, fixing legs etc.

I think one of the best ads I've seen recently was for a black miniature stallion that was coming out of a dark stall. The lighting was perfect and he looked like a black panther coming our of the darkness at you. It was a striking photo and the image has stuck in my mind.



Tracy Meisenbach
www.trinityapp.com
http://thehorsediary.blogspot.com/ (updated 4-30-2008)

Trojan Mouse said...

This website is not exactly accurate:
http://www.markshaffershowhorses.com/mark.html

If you scroll down it says Mark applied for his ApHC judges card, but doesn't say he got it turned down because of a previous suspension for drugging a horse with a banned substance.
It also says he's a member of AQHA's Professional Horsemen, but according to AQHA records, verified by email from staff, he's not an AQHA Professional Horseman.

Would you buy a horse from this fellow? Some people would.

I personally would not buy a horse from anyone that has been busted for drugging a horse.

T Jean

Cajun Cowgirl said...

T Jean,

Wasn't he caught when several other trainers were? I seem to remember 5 or 6 being suspended at the same time.

I know of some AQHA trainers that have had their Professional Horsemen cards pulled. Makes you wonder what they did.


Shireen Q

S. Clark said...

How about this one: "mare is a babysitter, guaranteed walk/trot winner" Read: " we showed this one too young too and now she can't go faster than a trot, so she damn sure can't run off with your kid."


Ok, this one I'll defend as some of the best starter horses/babysitters/walk trot horses we've had have been older show horses that while they'd slowed down with age were verifiably NOT started too young or pounded mercilessly into the ground. Our own mare had been shown only a couple of years and then turned into a broodmare for several before we got her. She trained all three of my kids and then moved on to a friends daughter before arthritis and other age related ailments sent her back home to our pasture before we put her down at age 25.
Their youngest daughter is now using a very nice old show mare to start her Appaloosa career and she's in her early 20's. We knew this mare back she was foaled and shown thru her early years. Our friend tracked where she'd been in between .... show horse, broodmare, theraputic riding horse and now back to show horse.

Shadow Rider said...

I have been caught several times by this.
Was shopping for a stallion to breed my mare to. I wanted sturdy, old-style walkers, at least 16 hands. Color didn't matter but conformation, gait did. Looked at a horse nearby on the web. Looked ok, talked to the owner, she swore the horse was 16 hands and 'almost drafty.' Went to see him he was a 14.2 slab sided scrawny stunted pony. (But he's a pretty color!)

Funniest one was a pony I bought off the web. They didn't list her size (it was a local dealer site) just that she rode, and showed someone on her and standing next to her. She looked around 12h, and adorable. I went to pick her up, and they must have had a TB jockey riding her, she was about 38 inches, a mini! I took her anyway, because she was too cute for words.