Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com

I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Show ring genetic defects: Updated

One of the worst aspects of the horse show industry is the fact that the desire to win in the show ring compels unethical people to breed for genetic defects. Or if they aren’t breeding for the specific defect, they take breeding risks that have the potential to produce the defect.

I’m going to address three major defects that have spread and propagated as a direct result of the show ring: HYPP, HERDA and OLWS.

There is no doubt that HYPP (HYPERKALEMIC PERIODIC PARALYSIS) is the one defect that comes to mind when you mention the AQHA show ring. HYPP is a disease that would have come and gone in a few generations if the halter industry had not existed. It was compounded by halter breeders and has endured long past the time the defect would have existed in the wild because of the human interference of selective breeding. All HYPP horse trace back to on AQHA stallion, Impressive. He was the point mutation for the gene.
HYPP serves no legitimate purpose. It does increase muscle bulk, but the muscles are useless. They aren’t geared toward heavy hauling, speed or endurance.

Impressive AQHA stallion

For a long time HYPP horses dominated the halter industry. World and National champions in AQHA, APHA and ApHC were crowned with the judges knowing they were placing a horse with a genetic defect. It is proof of the absolute corruption and back scratching among stock breed judges.

The most horrific thing about HYPP is that people excuse the breeding of the defect with such lame excuses:

He’s such a wonderful horse; he deserves to pass on his good traits.

No dipshit, he doesn’t deserve to pass anything on. He’s a horse; the only thing he deserves is good care. Love him, treat him kind and make sure he’s gelded so that he never reproduces another horse that has to go through an HYPP attack.

HYPP can be managed; it doesn’t hurt the horse if you treat it correctly.

You can’t cure HYPP. A horse may never have any symptoms and then one day fall over and die. You can try to treat the symptoms, but in times of extreme stress, like showing, then the horse can have an attack. Proof of this is that all three stock breeds allow the use of Acetazolimide, a diuretic and drug masker, to be used for HYPP horses. Isn’t that grand? Catering to the defect by allowing drugs that are banned by FEI to be used in the show ring.

This is the fact sheet that AQHA has on their website about HYPP.


Seems pretty bland when you consider the damage that HYPP breeders have done to the halter industry.

I will give AQHA credit for requiring the testing of Impressive descendants and the results marked on their papers. APHA and ApHC have not taken this step because of the political roadblocks.

AQHA has also banned the registration of HYPP H/H horses, but they still allow HYPP N/H horses and do not restrict the breeding of N/H horses to N/H horses. So basically they make it okay to produced more H/H horses that end up being dumped. If they really wanted to stop H/H they would make it so it is illegal to breed two N/H horses, simple solution to a problem.
What AQHA has not done is ban the showing of N/H and H/H horses in halter. They jumped really quick to ban excessive white horses from showing in halter, but it's perfectly okay to show a defect that is far worse then being a little "painty" in the ring. You can have a World Champion H/H halter horse, but you can't have a World Champion excessive white halter horse. Talk about your screwed up priorities!

ApHC and APHA do not ban HYPP breeding in any capacity and APHA does not require the papers to be marked with the horse’s HYPP status. ApHC did finally require the ApHC foals from an AQHA parent, that is HYPP positive, to be tested and have the results printed on the papers, however, non-AQHA foals do not have to have the results listed. So you can breed Appaloosa N/H or H/H to Appaloosa N/H or H/H with impunity and never have a problem registering the foal. And even better, you can breed an Appaloosa to a grandfathered in H/H QH, even if the Appaloosa is H/H.
No one can accuse the ApHC of being proactive toward HYPP. They’ve only had 15 freaking years to get their shit together about it.

UC Davis has been the most proactive in the fight against HYPP breeding. Dr. Sharon Spier is the one that “outed” the disease and its famous progenitor, Impressive.


Tufts Veterinary School also has a good page about HYPP.


I like their use of the word “plague” to describe how HYPP affects the industry. HYPP is a plague, but the fact the plague has not been eradicated is 100% the responsibility of unscrupulous breeders. Yes, I mean all breeders that breed HYPP horses. You are all pieces of shit and should be jailed. You are deliberately breeding for a defect that makes the life of the horse miserable. You are doing it for greed and vanity. You are worse than the Tennessee Walking Horse abusers. I can rescue a horse from the TWH show ring and make his life better. You cannot rescue a horse from HYPP. He’s born with it, and he’ll keep it until he dies. Of course the mortality rate of HYPP horse is high, particularly the H/H horses. Nothing like breeding a disposable product that you can replace every few years. What better way to get rid of HYPP positive halter geldings, which have no future once their show career is over, than letting them die an early death. Poetic.

This article talks about foal deaths from paralyzed airways, which occurred during HYPP attacks. Nothing like watching a foal die gasping for breath to make the value of this blue ribbons seem pretty shoddy.


HYPP attack on video:


I really hate this video because the poor foal is so confused as to why his mother won’t get up.


HYPP variant (Yes, variants exist)

Oh look, all kinds of N/H stallions just waiting to pass on their defective genes for their scum money-grubbing owners.



Here’s a veritable Who’s Who in the halter industry, all H/H and ready to produce N/H foals for whichever POS breeder wants them.


Pathetic! You’d think in this age of information and enlightenment that people would be more ethical than this shit. Stop breeding HYPP positive horses. Just stop! The horse does not deserve it! He doesn’t understand why he has attacks! And if you have to drug the horse to show it then leave the damn thing at home! Seriously, it is just sick for people to keep breeding this easily avoidable defect. And shame on ApHC and APHA for not taking any steps at all to stop the breeding of HYPP positive horses. Organizations that condone HYPP are just as guilty as the breeders creating the horses. You are part of the problem, when will you become part of the solution?

Here's some asshat ads from people that promote breeding HYPP postive horses:

http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/grd/832804631.html What more can you ask for? Poor conformation, HYPP positive and covered in paw prints! Run out and buy her now!

http://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/grd/813285172.html Someone actually bought this horse knowing he's HYPP positive. This is where two fools met!

My next genetic issue is HERDA, Hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia. HERDA is a horrific disease, and like HYPP is so easily avoidable.


Why would anyone breed a horse, knowing that HERDA could be in the mix?

UC Davis does HERDA testing. Why not spend the money to make sure you don’t produce any horses with this terrible disease?


Once again the AQHA goes lightweight on the issue. They do not require testing for HERDA, they do not ban the registration of breeding of carrier horses.


Why? Because it’s all about the numbers with the AQHA. They have to have “more” horses registered every year than any other organization, even if some of those horses are carriers of genetic defects and suffer greatly because of it. Of course it goes without saying that APHA and ApHC don’t do shit about HERDA. Why should they when Big Brother AQHA doesn’t?

Poco Bueno AQHA stallion

HERDA horses can be traced to Poco Bueno. His descendants are the crème de la crème of the cutting horse industry. But HERDA is not restricted to just the cutting horse lines. Because of Poco Bueno’s progeny, that excelled in other performance events, the gene is spread throughout the reining and pleasure horse industries too. Dry Doc, Zippo Pine Bar, Doc O’lena and Great Pine are QH stallions that were all carriers and their descendants, in whichever stock breed they are registered, can also be carriers.

There is no treatment for HERDA. Horses that are carriers can live out normal lives. Horses that are symptomatic are usually euthanized by the time they are four. Crossing two carriers is like playing Russian Roulette with a living creature that has no choice in whether to play or not. Why take the risk?

Is it really worth it not to test and prevent the birth of another HERDA symptomatic horse?

The answer to the above question appears to be yes. People routinely line breed Zippo Pine Bar horses. The cutting industry is so immersed in Poco Bueno lines that he is in two out of every three pedigrees. And they still line breed, and still end up losing money on every double positive foal. To cutting horse breeders the risk is worth it. What is the pain and suffering of a horse worth against the potential to make money? Not a damn thing.

Kudos to this breeder for having a HERDA explanation page on his website so people can read about the disease. But a big thumbs down for continuing to breed a HERDA carrier stallion. There is no stallion or mare worth so much that it needs to reproduce or pass on defective genes. http://www.flyingvquarterhorses.com/

And a big thumbs down to this idiot, who should know better than to breed his HERDA N/H stallion Ducelena, scroll down to about half way: http://www.horsedeals.com.au/horses-for-sale.php?horseTypes_id=22&subType_id=32&doSrch=doSrch&horseAge2=&horsePrice2=&horseHeight2=&page=10&PHPSESSID=4055a2147822eca16c42d585a798c679

The last defect I’ll address for now (although I’m sure there will be more later) is OLWS (Overo Lethal White Syndrome)

Frame Overo

OLWS is another genetic defect that can be easily avoided through genetic testing and wise breeding choices.

The Paint, Pinto and AQHA breeders that do not exercise due caution will find themselves with a lovely white foal one morning and shortly thereafter they will have a lovely white and very dead foal. OLWS is 100% fatal. OLWS is different from the other two diseases in that you can usually look at a horse and get a good suspicion that he’s a carrier. How? Most OLWS carriers often exhibit a pinto coat pattern known as Frame. Frame overos are usually quite pretty and visually striking. However, breeding two together can be a big risk. Not all frames carry OLWS, and not all non-Frame horses are free of it. The diseases has shown up in Thoroughbred, Quarter Horses, Paints and Pintos. It will probably make an appearance in Appaloosas, if it hasn’t already, due to the fact that AQHA removed their white restrictions and ApHC will now allow pinto marked horses to get ApHC papers, as long as they have two Appaloosa parents. Breeding excessive white to excessive white is a good way to get this disease up and running in the ApHC. Breeds that do not carry the Frame gene do not have OLWS.

OLWS is a condition that not only affects pigment cells, it effects enteric nerve cells. The colon does not work. OLWS foals are usually full term and look like normal healthy foals, all the more heartbreaking when they die within a few days.

Here is the description of OLWS from the APHA.


APHA is quite happy to tell you about the disease, but they aren’t about to demand testing or block people from breeding carriers. Who cares how many little white dead foals litter the highway to the show ring?

Why take the risk to produce that produces these foals?
Color sells! It’s that simple. In order to get color you have to roll the color dice. And if the color dice comes with a fatal genetic defect then so be it. There are people that breed mares that have produced several OLWS foals. They take the risk that at some point the genetic dice will roll in their favor. How fricking stupid can you get? It’s costs at least $1,500 to take care of a mare for a year of gestation. Add in the stud fee, vet care and loss of the foal and you can be out several thousands of dollars with no foal to show for it. Wouldn’t it be better to test for OLWS and then not breed carriers? Sure it would, but you can’t make any money on non-breeding horses unless you train them to have a job.


Photos of some cute, and ultimately dead, lethal white foals.

And WTF is up with this website?


They're willing to explain OLWS, but then give the excuse that breedig overos requires the risk of crossing and that losing one foal out of three is acceptable. No it isn't. It is "never" acceptable to risk a foal's life with a genetic defect!

Video of lethal white foal:


So here we have three genetic defects, all easily avoidable, none banned by the organizations that promote the stock horse show industry. Why? Greed! It is pure greed that does not ban a defect that is ultimately harmful to the horse. Why AQHA, APHA and ApHC have not banned the breeding of HERDA carriers is a mystery to anyone that has the best interest of the horse at heart. Greed! Nothing but unmitigated, inexcusable greed!

So Shame On You, AQHA, APHA and ApHC. Shame on you for being so fricking greedy you will let horses be born with fatal flaws and stand by while breeders continue to produce these doomed horses. You have an obligation to the breeds you represent to stop the breeding of these defects! All of these defects are propogated by show ring breeders. All are kept going because people think having a show champion, regardless of how genetically defective, means you can breed it into perpetuity! Stupid greedy people!

Halter industry article

I think everyone in the stock horse industry needs to read this article. It outlines one of the key problems: Judges that are also trainers, allowed to judge trainers that are also judges.
The peer to peer back scratching has gotten out of control.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It’s all about collection: Horses and Idiots

The beauty of writing a blog is that at some point someone will stumble across it, take everything said on it completely wrong and then blunder off to another blog or forum and pitch a fit. Their first hysterical accusation is that I, as the evil blog writer, am hysterical. Of course the fact that they took every single thing out of context, or took every statement personally, doesn’t matter. I’m the problem, not their inability to read or comprehend.
Let’s look at several of the last blog posts I’ve made and then review the responses. The Icelandic post has inspired comments from here to Siberia. There are entire forums in Finnish, Swedish, German, Icelandic and other languages just bitching about me. Of course they deny the photos show real abuse, and they are filled with indignation that the sight of straining mouths cranked down with dropped nosebands would offend anyone. Silly us, to think we’d be upset! We’ve had Iceland residents stop in and defend some of the practices, and we’ve had them stop in and decry the practices.

Doesn’t this little guy look “thrilled”? That gaping mouth, those shuttered eyes, the fact his head is rammed back into his neck. It’s tradition! So it must be okay!
One thing that keeps getting belabored is how “strong” Icelandics are, like being ridden by a big tall person isn’t a problem. I “get” that Icelandics are strong. They are a small horse and have a dense bone structure. But there is still no reason for a very tall adult to be riding a horse that is the width of a QH yearling. We can see the size of the horses in the pictures. Some of these horses are “not” the heavier draft looking Icelandics. They are thin, fine boned and look like they have giants on them. It simply makes no sense. I even tortured myself and watched Beowolf and Grendal, which had Gerard Butler in it. I would watch anything with Gerard in it, especially hot, sweaty, half-naked, draped in skins Gerard. The movie was filmed in Iceland and there were several scenes of these huge American, British, Danish and Icelandic actors just tolting along in their little short horses. It was embarrassing to watch. I’m sorry, but Gerard is 6’2”. He does not need to be riding a 14 hands tall horse; even if did make his manly parts jiggle appealingly. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402057/
The riding over the kidneys is just horrible. And despite claims that an Icey has a mysterious 19th rib ( by someone from Iceland), the fact remains that if you’re sitting right in front of the pelvis you are right on top of the kidneys! There is no excuse for the hyperflexion of the neck. There is no reason to be pulling that hard on a horse. If the horse were trained properly he would yield, slow down and collect. Instead these horses are taught to gait fast, without being taught how to work in the bridle. I see evasion in just about every photo. But it’s okay because it’s tradition!

The blog posts that brought howls of dismay from the prowlers were the drecquitation posts. People are mad that it was pointed out that top trainers ride like shit. Like it was a shock or something. Like someone just happened to catch the trainer on a bad day, when all was wrong in their world and they weren’t riding up to par. Bullshit. Trainers put these ads out with the crappy riding and in some case inspire copycat fads, like that leaning back crap the mechanics in motion guy does.

Some of the keyboard jockeys went so far as to spout nonsense about trainers not needing to ride correctly. WTF is that about? Of course trainers need to ride correctly. My favorite comment was “I’d rather be an effective rider than a pretty rider.” Wake up Barbie! If you are an effective rider then you are riding pretty. Equitation means more than the Stepford Wife robot-armed shit we see in the show ring. Equitation is based on the horse’s skeleton and musculature and how the rider has to react to them. It’s not about who has the most spangled shirt or who holds their hand the stiffest. Equitation is about “riding properly”. If you ride properly then good things will fall into place. If you’re riding like shit and still getting a good performance it is because your horse is good enough to compensate for your flaws. He’s forgiving you for your stupidity and making you look good. If he had a good rider on him he’d look even better.

Then there are the little forum monkeys that just love to bitch about the blog but are too chickenshit to post on it. The Horse City Forum, Pleasure Horse Forum and FHOTD Forum come to mind. I have never been so amused in my life to read all the conspiracy theory bullshit that people threw out there.

Them: She hates stock horses.
Me: I grew up owning stock horses and love them dearly

Them: She’s never shown. She knows nothing.
Me: I’ve shown all my life. And when I started showing it meant you went in every class you could, not specializing in one single event.

Them: She doesn’t draw the shoulder lines right
Me: The shoulder lines are drawn “above” the actual shoulder to show the angle, and allow people to see the actual bone structure of the shoulder below. If you seriously thought I was putting the shoulder line to show where the shoulder actually was then you are dumber than dirt. If you look at where the gaskin and hock lines are you can tell the lines show the angles, not the actual structure. DUH!

Them: She’s hysterical.
Me: I’m in one spot, where anyone with a set of balls could comment. You, one the other hand, are running around, frothing at the mouth and having a conniption fit on various forums where all your similarly hysterical friends can back you up. You remind me of smart ass kids who talk big as long as they know a chain link fence separates them from the person willing to kick their ass.

Them: She doesn’t know anything about WP/EP/Iceys etc
Me: I’ve got the photographic and video proof on my side.

Them: I’m disgusted with her blog.
Me: But you’re still reading it and spouting off about it elsewhere.

Them: She cited Black Beauty so she has no credibility.
Me: Why don’t you just get a neon sign showing how ignorant you are? It would make it easier for anyone that meets you to understand you've never read anything more complicated than a comic book.

Black Beauty was written in 1877 by Anna Sewell. Prior to this time there were no animal welfare laws in England, beyond it being frowned upon to slaughter cows and pigs near a church on Sunday. Black Beauty brought an awareness of animal welfare to the general public and then to the members of parliament. Because of the public outcry, the Black Beauty Laws were put into effect, and equine welfare was finally being addressed. Black Beauty was instrumental in getting laws passed that abolished bearing reins(very tight over check reins), limiting the work days of the cab horses and making it possible to jail, or fine, someone that abused, or criminally killed, a horse. In other words Black Beauty did a hell of a lot more for the horse than any of the whining keyboard jockeys.

Them: She generalizes and makes us all out to be abusers.
Me: Get a fricking grip. Unless I specifically name you or use your photo I'm not saying shit about you. If your skin is so thin that nothing even remotely related to your life can be discussed then I suggest you order some kevlar for Christmas and learn to STFU. I can generalize abuse because we all know it exists. We know who abuses and we know who doesn't. If you're that bugged by me mentioning the shitty things that happen in the stock horse show ring then get off your ass and put a stop to them. Don't support the organizations that allow the abuse. And don't pretend that just because an organization has a rule against something that it is being enforced. Make sure the rules are being implemented and don't leave it to the organization to do the right thing,

What is really humorous to me are the little 18 years old know-it-alls that argue about breeds they show, but have no concept of the history. Seriously, shouldn’t there be some kind of test before you can own a horse? Maybe, something that requires that you know a bit about the breed, as well as how to handle it. I have never read so much uninformed shit in my life as I did reviewing the posts about this blog. Look in the mirror people; you’re why this blog exists. You provide me with an endless supply of material! This blog could go on forever and never run out simply because of the people bitching about it.

According to the polls most people think tail blocking and halter are problems. People seem confused that anyone would even consider putting a lip chain on a baby. Oh! It’s for safety! Yes, because it’s so much safer to flip your baby over and wrench his back and neck than have him fidget a bit. But then again a few wrenched backs might cover up the hideous conformation like this halter horse exhibits.

See here people, the line is “above” the fricking shoulder, but follows the angle. The back looks like something a snow boarder would like to take a try one and the neck makes me think of cinder blocks stacked on a horse’s body. Halter champions. Gotta love them.

It’s easy to see why this blog has collected some idiots. They rarely post here, being fearful of having their asses handed to them, but they do bitch, moan and whine on other forums. They are the reason this blog exists.

Now on to collecting horses. There are a lot of people out there under the false impression that a horse can collect himself with his head and neck lower than his withers. They are misinterpreting being in a frame, and being responsive, as being collected. Horses can be strung out like a Times Square crack ho and still be responsive. Just look at any barrel horse or open jumper. Collection is all about the skeleton and then the muscles. It is not about over flexing, bunching up the butt or hindering forward movement.
To quote Dr. Deb Bennett: “(1) the loins coil (2) the part of the back that would be under the saddle arches upward (3) the base of the neck is raised relative to the loins.”

If your horse’s head and neck are lower than his withers then he’s not collected. He’s in a false frame and he’s responding to your cues.

To further quote Dr. Bennett: “For the horse to go correctly "on the bit" or to "look through the bridle," he must raise the base of his neck. The scalenus and longus colli muscles, underslinging the base of the neck like a hammock, lift upward from below, raising the neck bones above. In a horse whose topline muscles are sufficiently relaxed, the uplifting action of the scalenus-longus colli complex comes to be aided by the coordinated contractions of the front part of the longissimus dorsi muscle, which pull the base of the neck upward”

Raise the “base” of the neck. So WP people, can you explain to me how a horse can raise the base of his neck when his chin is at his knees? He can’t. He is not collected. He may be responsive, he may be your personal dream ride, but he’s not collected by any means. I recommend everyone read this page and learn it by heart. http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/true_collection.html

Then have the balls to tell that trainer on the low-headed WP horse that it isn’t collected, it’s framed. And those of you insisting Icelandics must be hyper flexed need to read the part about gaited horses.

Here’s where the reality of the matter sets in. If you don’t like the blog then don’t read it. Going off to a forum and trying to defend the people that cause the offenses only perpetuates the problem. The show ring has some severe issues that will have to be addressed within the next few years for the horse industry to come out of the rut it is in. People see the show ring as a political arena where abuses are endorsed. People are tired of having to compete against fads, drugs, tail blocking, poor training, gimmicks and trainer/judges that kiss ass to other trainer/judges. So bitch about me if it makes you feel better, but it’s not changing a damn thing. I’d prefer to bitch about the problems and work on getting them fixed.