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!





Monday, March 30, 2009

Make Mine A Draft


The topic of the blog today is by request from several people bemoaning how their section of the horse industry has taken a wrong turn.

I think secretly all horsemen love the sight of a draft horse. Not only are they the embodiment of power, but also they represent a time when simply being a good horseman gave you cachet within society. Most honorific titles in ages from Alexander the Great to pre World War II spring from the respect due a good horseman: Chevalier, Cavalier, Caballero, Sir (knighthood), Ritter etc.

Sadly the draft horse went through a down period that started right after World War II and continued for almost 50 years. Other than pastoral societies, such as the Amish, Mennonites and Third World Countries, the draft horse fell out of use due to mechanization. Once tractors appeared on the scene a good draft horse was worth a quarter of what he’d previously been valued. Some breeds survived the down turn and some didn’t. The group that monitors rare and exotic breeds has speculated that almost half of the world’s breeds of draft horses have disappeared or have been absorbed into other breeds.

Thankfully, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in drafts and many breeds are now growing. The ever-popular Clydesdale sells us Budweiser, while the striking black team of Percherons that Southern States owns tries to sell us farm supplies. In the east a drive through Amish country will reveal teams of Belgians and half drafts plowing the fields. Fox hunting country will yield more half drafts, which are prized for their size and ability, as well as their steadfast temperaments. The draft is at least holding steady, but there are some blotches on the horizon.
Let’s discuss something that is going to really piss some people off: Gypsy Vanner Horses. I’ve seen them at fairs and expos and can’t say that I’m impressed. They don’t have the size of the big drafts, nor the elegance of the small draft. In fact some of them are hideous. And I do mean hideous! In a breed where a roman nose is accepted and even adored they go way beyond the norm and have ugly heads.



Let’s get real here. Horses like this aren’t worth ten grand. They aren’t worth five grand. Mostly they are worth carcass weight unless you can get them trained to be the quietest, most ridable/drivable horse out there. We can forgive ugly if the horse is at least useful.















Really, I’m serious. Even if the horse is puurrttyyy colored, and a draft, it’s not worth shit unless it has all the other components of a good horse. This horse is not a good example of conformation, draft or otherwise, and certainly isn’t worth the $10,000 he’s listed for on dreamhorse. The Gypsy Vanner trend has revealed several things to me.

1) Americans will pay money to import anything, even if it is a piece of shit
2) The Irish and English have a great sense of humor in regards to selling Americans low quality horses for outrageous sums of money. Perhaps they are getting back at us about that tea party thing in Boston.
3) Color is still a primary consideration over conformation, doesn’t matter which breed, how big or small.


Yes, someone paid money to import this mare. 100 like her could be found at any Saturday livestock auction, with the exception that the auction horses would probably actually be trained.

I expect this kind of shit in the stock horse industry. I find it impossible to comprehend in a division of the horse world where rare breeds outnumber the regular ones. Why would you reproduce crap when there are only 500 horses of that breed in the world? It makes no sense at all. Look at what happened to the Friesian. They pop into public consciousness in LadyHawke, get another boost in Zorro (although how the movie makers made the leap from Dutch Carriage horse to Andalusian I will never know.) Next a few people really get on the importation bandwagon and a short ten years later we’ve got crappy Friesian everywhere, crappy Friesian crossbreds everywhere and the breed is littered with breeders going bust because they invested high and sold low. Why is it that horse people are always the last ones to understand “Supply and Demand”?




This is not the best of both worlds here. A Friesian/Percheron cross that embodies the worst traits of each breed is not helping the industry. $4,500.00? For what?



I know, I can already hear it: But they make great Dressage horses! Some of them do, after several years of intensive training. But Joe Bob with the backyard Vanner or Friesian cross isn’t going to put that training on them. You’ll be lucky if he halter breaks the damn thing. No, he wants to produce the horse, expects you to bail him out of his bad judgement with a hefty price and then you get to train his low end horse so it has a job which will hopefully keep it out of the slaughterhouse. I’ve been to plenty of Dressage shows and I have yet to see anyone competing at high levels with a Vanner. And the Friesians I see in the upper levels don’t look anything like the ones you see on dreamhorse. Just because something comes from an exotic breed does not mean it merits reproduction. Even rare breeds have poor examples!



If all drafts looked like this I’d have a few myself, but most don’t. Instead they are bred to either look like plow horses, and all the faults that brings to mind, or they are bred so stylized that the traits that make them desirable have been bred out in the quest for typeyness.

The draft people are also hiding a naughty secret. Seems like owning a huge, pulling machine isn’t enough. Now the drafters are going the way the stock horse halter industry is and using the needle to put the “muscle” on their horses. They are also using more gimmicky methods to make their show horses more showy. Why is it that in hand classes always go corrupt so quickly? It’s the least useful thing you can do with a horse and harbors the worst offenders. Is there really going to be a time when draft horse stallions need to be shown in lip chains? When horses on “roids” are the norm in the in hand classes? Why is the draft horse industry going down the trail that ruined the halter industry?

Let's hope the people involved with these horses wake up and protect the good ones before the poor breeders, and bad trainers, ruin even this small section of the horse world.

130 comments:

JJ said...

I love draft horses. Before I got my horse (a not at all draft like Arab) I was looking at a lot of percherons and percheron crosses. Out of about 25 horses, I liked and would consider buying two - a percheron/tb/hanoverian and a full percheron (but no papers). The rest were all straight shoulders, neckless, and would never really be able to do what I wanted them to do because of their conformation. A few of them had spots and were priced at $10,000 OBO. They were probably the worst of the bunch. It is no wonder that the owner of one particularly ugly one had been trying to sell her for a year with no luck. Even when she brought the price down from $20,000. For what? Oh, a green broke draft that is three quarters gypsy vanner! So worth it now

http://casstheamazinghorse.wordpress.com/

Mary H. said...

But he has spots! My two year old has got to be worth at least $10,000 because he has spots! He's sooo pretty... never mind the poor horse is barely halter broke and has never had his feet done!

sigh. and the sad thing is, the responsible breeders will cut back their breeding in the economic downturn, while the back yard breeders are going to keep breeding their crappy stock.

Mary
http://stalecheerios.com/blog

Nicely dun said...

I used to have a percheron X. I think he was 3/4 percheron. That was years ago, he's passed on now. We bought him from some one who had used him for hunter, but he had gotten a splint (which was taken care of-he wasn't lame when he came to me) and they wanted to retire him from jumping. We got him for a super price, they honestly wanted him to go somewhere to be happy, and he was the best teacher I could have asked for. His conformation was lovely, and his disposition even better. I have a soft spot for drafties... EVer since I saw the movie "into the west" with the "spotted draft horses"(so i called them hehe) I thought the gypsy vanners were neat. YES I KNOW COLOR WOW.
I loved this post, it makes sense. Every breed/discipline has its flaws, but they all seem to trickle down the same path-bigger/better/stronger/faster. What happened to taking a horse for what it is and embracing the traits that each breed has to offer-instead of either pumping them up or mixing all the colors to make....junk?

banagade said...

Omgomgomg

Ok so we live in Manitoba Canada and someone I know is selling their purebred reigistered quarter horses for a GYPSY VANNER. $7000 for a foal that's not even born yet.

She goes on to say that the foal if a stud will sell its self and no showing will need to go into it. It'll be easier than owning a quarter horse because "you need to train and show them to make any money"

Anyone else watch Gordon Ramsay's the Fword? I think they were in England and They went to a farm that raises horses for meat. They were packed with... Gypsies! Go figure! I'm not proslaughter but you see how much they're worth eh?

Said person also had a grullo qh stud, a dun stud with "chrome" bred her "roan carrying" qh mare and is dumping the foal when it hits the ground for this vanner.

My grandpa got me hooked on Belgians and Clydes.my husband wants a Friesian but guaranteed we're waiting until we're living in Europe before getting one.

http://www.banagade.blogspot.com

GoLightly said...

Yup, one man's meat is another man's gravy.
or SOMEthing:)
Chow Dogs are bred for meat, ya know.
LoVely conformation they have. Walking? What's that?
(ducks chow dog owner's shoes)

Just sayin'.

I love a good draft horse.
They make wonderful, safe, sensible mounts, trained properly. Or of course, giant, dangerous beasties, if handled badly.
Badly bred, poorly conformed, untrained? (shivers)
Don't tell me the steroid thing, my head hurts enough already. Yes, it's a great drug.
Trouble is...
Oh, never mind.

My old student went to the States for her Friesian gelding.
yeah, I know.
What a cool horse he is, though. Oh, nice horse.
But the hair? Please. I have enough trouble grooming myself.

Yeah, what everybody else said, very well.

great post, TJM:)
Only one curse word? whew..
Say shite, it's prettier.
More Scottish:)
(ducks, again)

where you BEEN??
Hope everything is okay.
Have a great day!

Hold the feathers on my horse order, which NEVER gets filled.
hint to BHM
I'd accept SomE feathers..


Katphoti and I Were going to get an ASB for free, for a year, or something..
oh, well.
bitzy out.

Veronica Lodge said...

It's funny, when I lived in Ireland I saw a lot of Vanner horses living in the woods with the Gypsies - no lie!

I told the girls I rode with how people in North America loved them so much and get $35,000 for some...they thought I was joking. Sadly, I wasn't.

fireant said...

Your good Perch picture looks like my good Shire picture - I'll have to point you to the URL:

http://www.fireantranch.com/Kaylee%20Canter%20Age%205.jpg

or the one if her actually moving and scoring in the 70s in a dressage test - she was Intro Champion for our club:

http://www.fireantranch.com/Kaylee%27s%2070s%20test.jpg

THAT's what a well-conformed draft horse can do - even a PMU foal, which my Kaylee, the grade Shire was!

Cut-N-Jump said...

I am a draft fan. Came damn close to having a Perchy filly once. That was 5 years ago now. I rescued an OTTB mare on a whim and bought her to 'flip'. Said mare is still here and no perchy filly will uproot her position in the barn.

That being said, I found this statement a bit off the mark.

>>Instead they are bred to either look like plow horses, and all the faults that brings to mind, or they are bred so stylized that the traits that make them desirable have been bred out in the quest for typeyness.<<

Bold for emphasis...

Um, plow horses need good confo for soundness so they can work the fields like they were bred for.

And please don't knock 'plow horses' merely because their job or 'status' isn't what that of what a showhorse is. Many of them are well cared for and well trained by owners who love them just as much. They may not live in the showpalace some horses call home, but they too serve a purpose and fill a need.

If I had a plow for my pony, I would be tearing up our fields and growing one hell of a garden! One row would be carrots, destined only for the barn.

GoLightly said...

Well, to me, a plow horse is just an old dear fugly.
Short neck, steep but short shoulder, short steep croup. That can make for a good puller. Terrible riding horse. And I think they were bred to pull forward, not so much up. Flatter moving horses.
The Breed makes for different requirements for conformational ideals. I think that's why the draftiers can't compete with the more upward forward types. Sorry, I mean why they don't place higher at the highest levels. The judges want a certain type of mover. Of course, they can compete! The best trained horse ShoulD win.
jmo.
Beautiful horse, FireAnt.

Psychotic Raccoon said...

You really hit the nail on the head with this one. Thanks so much for posting this.

My American Cream is from a decent line and one of the handful of attractive Creams out there. One of the rarest breeds in the world and I see them with backyard breeders/owners all the time. Very sad. That goes for all drafts. I've seen too many hideous Friesian, Gypsy, and Clyde crosses. A Foxtrotter crossed with a Vanner. WHY? *headdesk*

These idiots seem to think that breeding their mare to an exotic stallion somehow earns them bragging rights and that the foal will be rare and talented.

Really scary.

katphoti said...

GREAT post, TJM, especially since I am breeding for a draft cross. MY MARE GOES TO THE STALLION ON SUNDAY! WOO HOO!!!

Okay, that being said, you are all welcome to throw stuff at me. Yes, I'm breeding a TWH mare to a Perch stallion. My TWH mare is 16.2 with size 3 feet and huge bone. She has an excellent natural flat walk when she's conditioned. The Perch stallion is 16.3 and built to ride, not drive. He has been trained to Second Level dressage, which is physically as far as he can go, and since I'm not looking to do upper level then that'll be fine. Both animals have phenomenal temperaments and will create a willing and calm mind.

I am doing this cross to create a spotted gaited draft cross. This horse is for ME, no one else. I want to do lower level dressage and just have a companion for life that I raise myself. It just comes down to wanting that special bond and the kind of horse that can do what I want to do.

I have a soft spot in my heart for draft horses, but it's amazing how many of them are out that that are just ugly. Even a well-put-together Belgian is ugly to me.

As far as the post:

1) Americans will pay money to import anything, even if it is a piece of shit

NO KIDDING. I really like a good GV, and I have to admit that I am TOTALLY dazzled by color. But I'm not going to pay that kind of money for the fugly animals that keep coming to the states. I find that the people in Europe actually KEEP their good ones, so we are getting the cast-offs. There is a GV stallion here in AZ, and yes, I could havebred my mare to him. But he's got crappy conformation and, more importantly to me, a mean owner and a shitty "trainer." I won't give people like that my money, even if the horse is what I want in a stud.

The sad part is that this could be a great opportunity for GV owners in the States to create a selection process similar to the Ster program with Friesians to create really awesome working horses that are actually WORTH what they are asking.

2) The Irish and English have a great sense of humor in regards to selling Americans low quality horses for outrageous sums of money. Perhaps they are getting back at us about that tea party thing in Boston.

LOL!

3) Color is still a primary consideration over conformation, doesn’t matter which breed, how big or small.

AMEN. I will admit: I like color. I am an absolute sucker for spots. But I also have educated myself so I know that I have to look past the color to see the conformation and temperament of the horse. My biggest question to myself: what does this horse's temperament and conformation say he can do? I also believe that I am educated enough to be able to spot (no pun intended) a quality horse, so I can go for a spotted horse and know I'll find what I'm looking for.

Look at what happened to the Friesian. They pop into public consciousness in LadyHawke, get another boost in Zorro (although how the movie makers made the leap from Dutch Carriage horse to Andalusian I will never know.)

I thought the EXACT same thing when I saw that film! When Anthony Hopkins said the horse was an Andalusian, I said WHAAAAA? You'd think the filmmakers could take the time to actually find a black Andalusian to play the part, but no....

What I hate when it comes to Friesians is that they are changing the breed to be more upright and Saddlebred-ish. I cannot STAND that look. For God's sake, these were carriage horses, they should look like they can pull a carriage! Their necks coming straight up out of their withers is NOT correct for the breed! But I find that since ASB people have money, they like to add in Friesians to their barns, so of course they only pick and breed the high-headed freaks. And they are all nutcases because they treat them like ASBs. You should have seen the nutball Friesian at the Carousel Show in March out here pulling a cart....it took two grooms and the driver to keep him from blowing up when he was required to stand. ARGH!

Feel free to visit my blog about my TWH/Percheron cross called When the Painted Horse Comes. Any ideas are always appreciated!

For the Tennessee Walking Horse
When the Painted Horse Comes
The Murder of the English Language

katphoti said...

P.S. Glad you're back, TJM! I know I missed you!

LOL to you, GL! You crack me up!

OldMorgans said...

Good post. Now that drafties don't have to actually work, people are ignoring conformation, using conformation. Too sad. I am amazed, although I should not be, at the use of steriods. SIGH...
Almost all the GV sites I've looked at tout color and hair and rarely mention conformation or achievements of the horse. I know there must be some good GV breeders out there, but I haven't found one yet. Also sad.
I like drafties, always have, and sure hate to see what is happening.

sagebeasties.blogspot.com

attafox said...

Actually, katphoti, if it is the Friesian I'm thinking of, he's quite a nice horse, but, like most Friesians, very opinionated. He doesn't like the driver and he's quite burned out on showing. I've seen him in other hands and he's a different horse.

katphoti said...

attafox,

Perhaps it is the same horse--his owner, or at least the lady who grabbed him when he came out of the ring, had some weird, gauzy blue and beige flowy shirt on with black pants and jet black hair. TYPICAL mid-40s-or-early-50s-lady-with-too-much-$$$-trying-to-look-young-with-designer-horses-but-she-doesn't-ever-ride-because-she-PAYS-people-to-do-that. Good to know that he is a good horse afterall--too bad he's in the home he's in.

Also, I forgot to mention: some draft horses are suffering from a form of pressure shoeing to get them to step higher in the team classes. Here's the link: http://www.blackforestshires.com/sho.htm Think we can get the USDA after them under the HPA?

attafox said...

Two wheeled SP cart? Another in the entourage with half black half blond hair? Yep.

They keep him at home. Dad (the driver) is a race car driver and you can't tell him a thing about driving. I'm thinking it's the same horse.

OT, but, did you catch any of the ASB WP horses?

attafox said...

Katphoti;

While what they are doing with the scotch bottom shoes may not be correct, the description does not sound like pressure shoeing at all. Pressure shoeing inflicts pain on the sole of the foot so that the horse yanks the foot up and away from the pain with each step (aka soring).

Adding weight to the toe as described on the site is not pressure shoeing. I'm also not following their logic in how adding trailers is forcing the horses to become artificially cow hocked - unless they are also changing the angles on the rear hooves AND building up the trailers. The purpose of trailers is to actually provide a greater platform for a horse that rocks back on its hind quarters in order to diffuse and distribute the weight a bit better. Normally used with a differently conformed animal than a drafty, so am not sure as to how it is doing this unless the shoe itself along with the hoof is tilted inwards (and aided/stabilized by the trailer - basically acting as an outrigger?)

Serendipity said...

One thing I would like to do if I had the money and the spare time... go to Europe and import high-quality small, pinto drafts with lots of hair. Then come back here and sell them for exactly what small, grade pinto drafts are worth. (None more than $2K.) I'd undercut all the vanner BYB's, bwahahahahahaaa!

attafox said...

Serendipity -

It would cost you more than $2K to import them ...

bhm said...

attafox,
I think that you are correct about the trailers. As far as I know the trailers and break over is used to change the movement of the horse. In my opinion you would have to build up the shoe to change the hock set. Just of clarification, drafts are not cow hocked. The term is hock set or draft hock set. Cow hocked is a conformation fault.

There's a lot of talk in the draft community about scotch bottoms. I've never used them, but from my understanding of the issue the shoe is used to change the shape of the hooves. It's the hoof stretching that is the issue.

From the people I now that show drafts, the majority of them would prefer to show their horses flat shod and undocked.

bhm said...

I don't have a problem with the GV's. It's the market which effects the cost and once they become more popular the price will go down.

It was similar with Shire when they were importing stock from England. Importation is expensive. A good quality Shire foal is still not far behind the GV's. Andalusians and WB's are the same. If there were more of them then the cost would be lower. As it is now with the WB's, you will pay the same as a GV for a WB foal that isn't going to perform any better than a $3,000.00 draft cross.

bhm said...

katphoti,
I don't see anything wrong with your cross particularly if it's for you. Since the movement of drafts, gaited, and high headed carriage horses comes from the same physical characteristics then it is more likely that the offspring will share the same movement.

A very old breeding practice is to cross a draft with a hackney or a saddlebred. I don't see any problems with breeding these horses or drum horses. The only problem is if breeders are producing these horses and there is no market for it.

GoLightly said...

attafox said:
"Pressure shoeing inflicts pain on the sole of the foot so that the horse yanks the foot up and away from the pain with each step (aka soring)."

Boy something new to learn, that I wish I hadn't.
gah..
I'm confused. Isn't soring when the back of the pastern is burned with caustics, for want of a more politically correct term?
Pressure shoeing is a brand new term for me.
Thanks, (I think) attafox:)

Some of the TWH videos TJM showed, demonstrated extreme cow hocks. Like the horse is changing his movement, to escape pain.
ow,ow,ow..

attafox said...

GoLightly -

There's lots of ways to sore a horse. You described one and pressure shoeing is another.

Non-intentional pressure shoeing happens even in the stock breeds when a farrier cuts the feet too short (and quicks them) and puts the shoes on and the horse is "ouchy" for a few days after shoeing. Technically - pressure shoeing. Non-intentional, but still.

bhm - thanks for the clarification. While cow hocks can be considered a conformational fault, there is discussion amongst gaited folks that it can lend itself to allowing the horse to more easily gait. Thus, you will see this fault to some degree *at times* within gaited family lines of the ASB.

Now, I can see that the scotch bottoms would change the shape of the hoof and that is not a good thing.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Katphoti- within the Friesian breed there are two types of movers. One being the more upheaded and high action carriage type, the other being more ground covering and dressage type.

I have a friend who can explain it better and she has bred a couple of freisian crosses you can go see in person. She was looking and breeding for the dressage type. She is local and who knows, you may have met her already!

Go Lightly- yes plow horses often don't have conformation which would make them suitable or comfortable for riding...

Here's a link for some reading/plowing pictures and entertainment-

Happ's Plowing Competition

Another article on the same event with a few different pictures.

(Sounds like hella fun to me!)

In the case of Irish Draughts, they were bred to plow the fields, pull the carts and go to the hunt fields or show on the weekends. Good confo and a good temperment did wonders for them as a breed.

Sadly their numbers are dwindling, but they have seen an upsurge in recent years because they often make phenominal jumpers.

Didn't Justin Morgans little horse Figure do some plowing? I imagine there were several horses who were instrumental in 'taming' the west and various parts of the country who were mostly ridden but also pulled a plow at some point.

I just can't stand the crappy 'just a plow horse' image. If they were put together like frankenhorses I can't imaging them holding up to a days work very long.

attafox said...

Yes, Justin Morgan was quite the pulling horse - and being descended from a Dutch mare, had Dutch horses (aka Friesian breeding).

Dr. Deb Bennett has a very interesting article regarding conformation where she points out that carriage horses - such as the Friesians, are *very* upright (think Saddlebred-y), so this is something that has been there for years. The Friesians were more for carriage driving than they were for plowing, so thus would have been bred to be uphill with upright necks and motion.

Granted, the Europeans shudder when they see them being ridden Saddle Seat, but the traditionalists shudder when they are being ridden at all.

Serendipity said...

Attafox- I know. The purpose would be to drive the people selling them for 10K+ out of business, not to turn a profit.

attafox said...

10K? You can find a GV for *only* 10K? Economy must be really going south. Starting prices that I've seen are $25K. All for magikal horses with feather that fart butterflies ... I swear there's a marketing genius in there somewhere.

Serendipity said...

I thought ten grand was the going rate for an unstarted GV foal? You're making the baby kittens cry.

bhm said...

I read Dr. Bennett's article, and her information about draft horses is incorrect. They are not a downhill horse, in the contrary they are an uphill horse. Their necks are long and not short. They've never been bred to pull heavy loads as it's a role that they have fallen into. No horse is a harness horse as their build was created for saddle. The harness is a secondary role.

The upheadedness is about two hundred years old. The original classical horses had a high set neck like a Spanish horse or a draft. The saddle seat hand position is necessary for a horse moving in an upheaded way for the comfort of the horse. Traditionalists don't know what they are talking about.

bhm said...

attafox,
Are the gaited horses being bred to have cow hocks or are they going for a narrower baseline?

attafox said...

I wouldn't say they are being deliberately bred for and I've seen them on substantial/wide horses as well. And, for a five gaited horse, a narrower baseline defeats the purpose as gaiting usually requires width in order to get the lateral gaits. The narrower baseline (nee Sultan refinement) seems to be more prevalent in the sewing machine motion seen in the walk-trots (aka 3 gaited) horses.

And, your point regarding her article is interesting as the horse detailed as the "ideal" riding horse certainly seemed to be downhill IMO.

katphoti said...

bhm and attafox--good stuff. I will comment on your comments in a bit, but had to share this. It's OT, I posted it on Fugly but I'm sure it'll get lost on there.

Yesterday I was driving home and passed some riders on horses. No problem--I live in a city where horses are allowed to ride anywhere they want (at the rider's risk, of course). It was HOW they were riding that got me.

Looked like mom, her daughter and her son. Daughter was in her pre-teens, riding bareback on a placid looking horse. Mom was riding a not-so-placid horse with a curb bit, bareback, WITH 8-ish-yo SON IN FRONT OF HER. Of course, no helmets and everyone was wearing shorts and tennis shoes. Mom's horse was not too happy and really looked like his frustration at the cars passing him was escalating. His ears kept flicking back and he would prance, although he was staying out of the street. Everyone driving was being very polite and giving them plenty of room and slowing down. I got to the intersection as they were coming up. I came THIS CLOSE to rolling down my window and pointing out how dangerous their situation was.

No, I didn't. Why? Because I know what reaction I'd get: "Fuck you, bitch! They're my kids and I can do what I want with them! These horses are safe, blah blah blah!" I just didn't have the heart or patience to deal with that at that moment.

*SIGH* Can we get a little more cholorine in the gene pool? THANKS.

katphoti said...

attafox, what I meant about the scotch bottom shoes is what you said later on in your posts--that the hoof is growing too big and they leave small shoes on, so it's causing pain. I have also heard of them cutting the hoof too short to cause pain, then putting the scotch bottom shoes on there for more lift. I talked with that guy at Black Forest Shires and he said he's seen it, although it's very much frowned upon.

As far as TWHs with cowhocks--it is NOT a desired trait in the sound horse circles. However, it is bred for in some circles. The reason why is because because the TWH has overstride when it gaits, they can forge. So to compensate for that, people have bred them so they're cowhocked and they will place their back feet out of the way of their front feet. My mother-in-law's sister-in-law (I know, sounds weird) has a mare who is horribly cowhocked and she twists her hocks when she walks. If we put stacks on her, she'd suddenly do a Big Lick only because she has "crouch" in the back end. They put trailers on her back feet to actually stabilize her so she can walk correctly. But yes, that is how trailers work, bhm and attafox.

The thing is that, of course, cowhocked gives us poor conformation and leads to physical problems. The best and safest way to keep a TWH from forging is 1) roll his toes (barefoot or with shoes) correctly to change the breakover, and 2) ride the horse in a correct, round frame. In time, when the TWH develops muscle and rhythm, he will never forge again because his front feet will be more than capable of getting out of the way of his back feet.

bhm, thanks for your comments on my breeding choice. I also believe that I will get the gait more likely than not because honestly, draft horses are built to drive with their hind ends and lift with the front, which is the same for TWHs. So far all the gaited draft crosses I've met have been gaited--they just need refinement in their gait to maximize their ability to do that. I cannot wait to work on that challenge when my foal is ready for it!

Speaking of which, my mare goes to the stallion TODAY! She had her pre-pregnancy ultrasound last night and she is SO ready to go! THere seems to be a little sign in her 40 mm folicle that says INSERT SEMEN HERE NOW.

And as a side note: ALL of my vet's horses are draft crosses! I was so excited to see that! She has a gelding there that is about the size of the stallion I'm breeding to (only 16.3, built for riding), so I pointed that out, and she said that Sophie, my mare, is going to do just fine with carrying a foal from a stallion of that size. I was so excited!

GL, as far as soring goes, the Horse Protection Act defines it as any means of causing pain in a horse's limbs to make it lift its feet higher, whether mechanical or chemical. Many TWH sore horse trainers are switching to pressure shoeing because it's harder to detect. They will tell you that soring is only when you use chemicals, but that's not true: it's when they use any form of pain. This includes road foundering barefoot horses and inserting objects between the hoof and the pad to cause pain.

Great posts, everyone! This is fun!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Katphoti-
Many TWH sore horse trainers are switching to pressure shoeing because it's harder to detect.
_____________

Definately! They do similar shit in some of the non gaited breeds as well for the same reason. To the untrained eye, it is harder to spot as the horses are pressure sore on both feet so it will hopefully be harder to detect. Usually though it seems one hoof starts to get favored as the horse moves and becomes increasingly sore. Then the horse starts to travel a little 'off' and bam they (hopefully!) get busted.

And they do this for the 'untrained eye', but aren't judges supposed to dismiss a lame horse? I know some do. Rarely enough, but they do. And judges, if some of them truly were horsemen, would be able to spot that crap a mile off.

I have seen a lot of things done to horses for the mere sake of a ribbon... A ribbon, the color of which will fade over time.

attafox said...

katphoti -

hmm, interesting. I come at it from the ASB perspective, obviously. While there is obviously overstride at the rack (hence quarter boots for the ASBs - outlawed in TWH because it hid too much stuff), 5-gaited horses don't do that spider crouch that you see in the Big Lick (especially), so I'd have to investigate the mechanics more. Too be honest, I know that there ARE gaited ASBs with cow hocks, but as to what assistance it might be providing, I don't know.

And, for the record, there wasn't a single gaited horse that I really liked at AZ. I think the pinto stud is cute, BUT: 1 - he needs to lose weight; 2 - he needs to be a gelding; 3 - he needs to have a smaller rider; and 4 - he needs to be shod differently as he moves too trappy. Other than that, he's cute! There's a nice one from California, but the rider makes me cringe with her hands flopping all over the place. The horse must be a saint to put up with that. Both of those horses separate their gaits nicely. Didn't see a single gaited ASB from AZ that did that.

bhm said...

attafox,
The article has a bit of problem in regards to her idea riding horse. The conformation that she mentioned as idea would give you a good sport horse but not a great riding horse. Let me say that my definition of a great riding horse is one that is smooth gaited like the breeds that high step and have a high set neck. Of course, if you are working cattle then your ideal would be a down hill build.

GoLightly said...

BHM, as usual, you made me think in a different direction.
Thanks:) I love horse history think.
It does make sense that horse riding came before the invention of the wheel, but hmmmm. Wouldn't we have started to specialize with different uses pretty darned early on, as we did with dogs. This horse comfy, this horse not? Ride this one, make this one drag this load?
And ow, re: pressure shoeing. Deliberate infliction...
I'm such a beginner. At that kind of thinking.

Chocolate said...

I love all horses-as long as they're nice-no matter how pretty or ugly. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have a nice horse that's pretty, than a nice horse that's ugly, but I wouldn't turn down a horse that's as sweet as it can be, just because it's not 'gorgeous'.

bhm said...

GL,
I find that history is important when it effects the understanding of horses. Today, we have so many areas that needs some light shone on it. Basically, horses have not been specialized to pull heavy loads because historically these jobs were occupied by other animals. Mainly the ox and the pony. The ox is the only animal that is truly suited to pulling. If horses had been bred to pull they would have very short legs, a huge shoulder, small hip, straight back, straight croup, and a long body.

Large horses or draft horses were classical dressage/hunter horses that found a new job in harness. They were used because harness horses were expected to move in classical way, either high stepping or in advanced collection, in front of the carriage. The high stepping that you see draft teams or ASBs do has not purpose in harness. The function of the high step is solely for riding to give a smooth ride.

The sport horse breed is the only major change in horse build that has happen in the last few thousand years.

katphoti said...

As far as plow horses, TWHs were orginally bred to be all-around using horses. Mostly they were riding and carriage horses, but some did pull plows. It's one reason why we see such big bone and large body structure in some of the TWH bloodlines.

attafox,

While there is obviously overstride at the rack (hence quarter boots for the ASBs - outlawed in TWH because it hid too much stuff),

Exactly.

5-gaited horses don't do that spider crouch that you see in the Big Lick (especially), so I'd have to investigate the mechanics more.

Right. I don't know the mechanics as far as ASBs are concerned when it comes to why cowhocks exist, either--I was just talking about it from a TWH perspective. I would imagine that it's because ASBs are NOT wearing the heavy pads in front--the crouch is desirable to get lift in the front end with the big pads.

A rule of thumb for everyone: the more the horse is crouching, the sorer it is. You can't get the kind of crouch the sore horse judges want without soring them, period.

Too be honest, I know that there ARE gaited ASBs with cow hocks, but as to what assistance it might be providing, I don't know.

If you do find out, please post it. I'd be interested in knowing as well. Although I imagine we probably would see it in all breeds if we were looking because of poor breeding practices overall.

And, for the record, there wasn't a single gaited horse that I really liked at AZ.

I'm assuming you meant ASBs...? :) If so, I agree. I never see really nice ASBs here in AZ that are really correct and have fluid movement. I never see one and go OOOOOOO, now THAT is a Saddlebred. I think the pinto stud is just not a good example of the breed as far as conformation. He seems to big in the front end to me--I don't know how to explain it. I definitely agree with your assessment of him, that's for sure!

CNJ,

And they do this for the 'untrained eye', but aren't judges supposed to dismiss a lame horse? I know some do. Rarely enough, but they do. And judges, if some of them truly were horsemen, would be able to spot that crap a mile off.

Technically, yes. But I have seen many, MANY times a judge allow a horse to stay in the class when it was obviously lame.

At one of the ASB shows out here, we had an ASB judge judging our TWHs. There was one lady who used to show her TWH out here using all mechanics and her horse is stiffer than a board and hard to handle--needless to say we don't see her showing at our FOSH-affilated shows anymore. Anyway, the poor animal was so obviously lame in one of its shoulders it was crazy--he was limping and tipping his body to the side to keep from putting pressure on the shoulder. He had no head nod because of it, which is REQUIRED in the FOSH rulebook. And what did the judge do? Pinned him 2nd, because she liked his high head and thought he was pretty. ARGH! Honestly, I know it was the judge's fault because she obviously hadn't read the rulebook.

I have seen a lot of things done to horses for the mere sake of a ribbon... A ribbon, the color of which will fade over time.

Beautiful statement. Hope you don't mind me stealing that quote for my blog!

attafox said...

katphoti;

Yes, I meant ASB gaited horses. The pinto in question - please note one of my assessments was the immediate cessation of his ability to reproduce, thus eliminating any chance of him passing on his conformation to the gene pool. However, that said, part of his heaviness in front comes from being overweight and from being a stud - so some of it could be fixed with diet, some snipping and then subsequent work to slim down the hormonal overgrowth!

BTW, did you happen to catch the OTAB Western class on Thursday? Comments as to the participants?

katphoti said...

attafox,

Ah, thanks for the explanation (SP) on the pinto stud. That makes sense now!

As far as the WP class, no, I didn't see it. I had a student at the show showing a TWH so I was with her the whole time. She did well, too--I'm very proud of her! I'll take a look at the pics online, though. What happened in the classes?

katphoti said...

Oops, I meant OTAB class. :)

katphoti said...

Chocolate,

I agree with you completely. I will pick a pretty horse over an ugly horse if they are equal in temperament and quality of animal. But if the ugly one is the better minded horse, I'll take him. I have a friend who says the ugly ones eat as much as the pretty ones. That's true, but I have a definite soft spot for the underdog! :)

katphoti said...

Been meaning to post this and finally found it again. Here's a great example of what TJM is talking about--copy and paste the below and scroll down to Desert Jewel Cennedi. Click on her name for more photos.
http://www.djwwgypsyhorses.com/GypsyMaresOpen.html

Now I'm not positive on this, but don't most horses need NECKS to reach their food? And of course she's in foal! Oh wait, she's red roan--what was I thinking?

Oh, and to follow up on my last comment:

I do agree that poor conformation should NEVER be bred. I meant in my last post that if the horse has decent conformation but a big head, missing an eye, or any other flaw that makes it less than desirable other than a serious conformation flaw that makes him completely unridable, then yes, I'll take him! :)

Sorry--need to organize my thoughts better before I post!

attafox said...

katphoti;

Nothing happened in the class - it was just all breed, so was looking for your impression. There were 3 Western ASB classes as well (which were some of the largest ASB classes).

BTW, I am soooo not a fan of spotted ASBs as I know their heritage and how the color came into being ... so for *me* to say that the pinto was actually nice, well, is a real stretch.

attafox said...

oooh - but wait - to keep this on topic - maybe we should keep that pinto stud "whole" in our fantasy world and breed him to a, hmm, Friesian for a spotted Georgian Grande that we can sell for bazillion $$s? Conformation and form to function be danged ...

katphoti said...

attafox,

Ooooo! Great idea as far as breeding that pinto stud to a Friesian! Or, why don't we breed that him to a Shire mare? It would be a draft cross, so SURELY it would be a great jumper or dressage horse!

I see what you meant now by the Western classes! :) Well, my impression of ASBs being in Western overall is that I think they look STUPID. They are not Western horses! Morgans, Arabs, QHs, TWHs, MFTs, RMHs, FINE, and ONLY when they have the right conformation for it. But ASBs? NO NO NO. I have only once ever seen an ASB that could pass as a Western horse, and she was a trail horse I used to ride on a regular basis. I know William Shatner has done a lot with Western ASBs, and I appreciate his hard work, but COME ON.

IMO, the Western horse is a using horse that has a low headset for long movement that has stamina over time and is able to do working maneuvers. I am even picky about gaited horses being used as Western horses. I don't care about on the trail, obviously, but on the rail, they must meet certain criteria. The English horse is more upright, the Western horse more long and low. The ASBs are carriage and English horses. That's it!

I feel the same about drafts, too. They aren't Western horses either. Very large drafts are supposed to be for pulling, not for riding. You can ride them, of course, but they need to have a narrower frame and different headset in order to be a competative riding horse. I would not put a gigantic, 18+ hand full draft horse in the ring when I can't even get my leg on him! The drafts that are being ridden and do well in competition are horses that are built for riding!

Bottom line, when I look at a potential Western horse, I ask my self this: would you really, really and truly, try to rope cattle off this horse? With ASBs and that high headset, or drafts with no turning radius? NO.

Okay, off my soapbox! I just hate it when people try to make something out of a horse that it's not.

Hey TJM! That would be a great post--horses being used in disciplines that they are not built for. How fun would that be to research!

Oh, and I agree with you about spotted ASBs, attafox. I have the same issue with spotted TWHs. It is VERY rare that I find one that actually can do a true flat walk. Marshall Dillon, one of our most famous spotted TWHs, was actually 1/2 QH and was "grandfathered" in...and of course it was by falsifying his papers. You can look right on his registration papers online and see that both his sire and his dam are solid colored horses. Wow! And they produced spots! AMAZING! The horse is even built like a QH, and he's horribly mutton-withered. UGH. I don't like Marshall Dillon lines because they usually can't gait worth crap! Not that they're not good horses--they just can't do a true flat walk, or it takes tons of work to get it out of them!

cattypex said...

WAITwaitwaitwaitwait!!!

Gene Autry's horse Champion was a TWH! You don't get more Western than that....

(Trigger was allegedly half-thoroughbred.)

*I* think a Western horse doesn't need a "low headset"!!!! Can you imagine a real using horse moving like today's WP horses!?!??!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

No, a Western horse should have nice easy-to-ride gaits, good attitude, and maybe a little "flair" to it, since traditionally, the cowboys of legend have a pirate image to keep up. hee hee ; )

Cut-N-Jump said...

Katphoti-

CNJ,
And they do this for the 'untrained eye', but aren't judges supposed to dismiss a lame horse? I know some do. Rarely enough, but they do. And judges, if some of them truly were horsemen, would be able to spot that crap a mile off.

>>Technically, yes. But I have seen many, MANY times a judge allow a horse to stay in the class when it was obviously lame.<<


I totally agree with you. I think you misinterpereted my statement. Damn typing. No emphasis or tone...

I have seen that same shit more times than I care to count. Pisses me off every time. Then when the horses get 'pinned' it's tough to keep my mouth shut and my head from exploding.

It happens in plenty of other breeds and disciplines across the board- not just the TWH or ASB's. Not just at the local all breeds or schooling shows either.

The judges are supposed to dismiss a lame horse. I know some do. Rarely happens enough, but they do.

The judges can spot it, but they overlook it. There should be someone overseeing the judging in the ring. If the judges do not excuse lame horses- they should be held accountable for it. If it happens enough times, maybe a suspension or permanent revocation of their judges card. If the other competitors can spot it, there is no reason the judges can't and no reason they shouldn't do anything about it.

I agree the owners, riders, handlers and trainers using pressure soring, do so to get the end result they can't get through proper training, usually because the horse isn't built to do that. Square pegs and round holes.

I too, could care less to hear whatever 'reasons' they choose to use to justify it to themselves and anyone who spots it and calls them out for it. I'm sure you agree.

cattypex said...

I mean, what's the point of all that silver if your horse can't muster the attitude to carry it off?

I think that some Saddlebreds look GREAT in a romal-rein type turnout... what did they used to call it? California Style?

It's why I think it's shameful that Western Arabs are losing their panache. QH's lost theirs a long time ago, alas.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Cattypex- they don't *need* a low headset, but when balanced in their movement, they will carry their head a little lower- to read poll even with the withers with little movement above or below acceptable. But you knew that already, I know.

cattypex said...

About soundness...

I was forced to watch an ENTIRE Versatility class at Congress a couple years ago, and I commented on all the ouchy lame horses.

They looked at me like I had 12 heads... "Well, y'know, it's the end of the season - of COURSE they're sore!"

And of COURSE a lot of ouchy horses got pinned, because the judges had been watching 'em all season etc.

ARGH.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP-
And GAG ME! Yes, the Arabs lost their panache a long time ago when the slower than snot, overbridled, four beating shit came into full 'fashun'.

Now with the bosal riders riding with their arms straight out to the sides for lateral movement because their horses aren't soft and they have no idea how to achieve suppleness, forward motion, balance and impulsion among other things. They can't get these things one at a time, let alone any combination or all of the above. I just can't even watch the classes anymore.

It's like watching old people fuck.

Slow and sloppy!

cattypex said...

Yeah, I don't want to ride a stargazing horse either... no way!

But I think being collected behind and relaxed in the bridle counts for more than where the ears go, and a horse's conformation determines that.

Which is why I'm not a judge, or show Western. ;)

Actually I kind of think that poll level with- or slightly above/below the saddle horn is usually where the relaxed horse's head will naturally end up anyway....

Draft horses DO look weird with enormous Western saddles and large men using plow reins on 'em. ; )

But still magnificent.

Cut-N-Jump said...

So let's recap-

by the end of the season they are supposed to be sore,

old horses = skinny,

spots & purdy kolors = breeding material


We have all been doing things soo wrong for so long...

cattypex said...

CNJ ~ Whoda thunkit?

Anyways,

Thanks TJM for the confo lesson! It's always good to brush up....

I used to ride a big Shire mare for lessons. I always felt like a little kid in a snowsuit, with legs sticking out.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- if you are a kid in a snowsuit, I would be more akin to the stem on top of a pumpkin!

horspoor said...

okay...I have a question...when did Arab pleasure classes all go to the park horse look, like saddlebreds? Just wondering when and why?

attafox said...

Actually, katphoti, many of the Montana and Utah cattle horses can trace back to Copperbottom and Montrose (Saddlebred).

Many of the horses that settled the West never worked cattle a day in their lives - yet blazed trails and were ridden in Western saddles.

And, while I might not rope cattle from a high headed horse, I'd certainly cut them and work them in a herd environment (I personally couldn't rope if you paid me to).

The ASB that won that class has a flat walk that has outwalked many TWH flat walks; has cut cattle and gone on multiple 20 mile trail rides everywhere from the flats to the Sierras. I'd say that meets the definition of a using horse, wouldn't you?

And, given past comments regarding the WP horses in AZ, there's no traveling inverted, hocks are engaged (no daisy cutting and clouds of dust such as the TWH in the class was doing) and mouth is quiet (no death grip on the bit, either).

And yeah, many of the TWH spotted saddle horses share the same "spots" gene pool as the ASB one. Matter of fact, many of the ASB spotted ones originally came from spotted grade gaited mares found back in Tennessee ...

katphoti said...

Oops, sorry, catty, I didn't really explain myself well.

I'm not talking about the peanut roller low headset. I'm talking about a natural headset where the neck comes out of the body with at no more than a 45 degree angle and no lower than the withers, depending on how the horse is built.

This is what I consider an excellent example of a WP TWH. Lower headset, stride is ground covering but not overly animated.

Here's the same horse in the EP class. His rider asks him for a higher headset and more length of stride and higher reach in the front because the EP horse in the TWH world is more animated.

attafox, maybe I'm just messed up and am thinking of a different class. I'm sorry. Let me point out what I meant.

These horses do not have Western using body frames. They have excessive collection and their stride is not ground covering. They look like Engish or carriage horses that have just been put in Western tack. There is no difference in movement or collection level. I would not choose a horse that looks like this to use as a Western horse. I could not rope cattle or ride a horse like this over long distances--it'd be too hard on the horse's back and neck. He needs to bring his head down and stretch out to last over time doing Western work.

But I also must point out that the slow-moving peanut rollers in the QH world are not using Western horses either. Their heads are too low and they don't have any ground covering movement.

In the TWH sore horse world, the tack is just switched--there is no change in the body style or movement of the horse. And I HATE the SSHBEA (Spotted Saddle Horse) WP horse--the long toe and heavy shoes are ridiculous.

I find that the WP horse in the show ring overall, no matter what breed, is a parody of what a true Western horse should be. I have found that with NWHA and FOSH (the Carousel was a FOSH-affiliated show), they are being sticklers about the differences between Western and English horses, which I agree with. It's yet another reason why I show with them.

Actually, katphoti, many of the Montana and Utah cattle horses can trace back to Copperbottom and Montrose (Saddlebred).

Right, and the original using/trail/plantation TWHs (Strolling Jim, Black Angel, Midnight Sun) were completely different than what we see in the show ring today. Sure, TWHs can trace back to them, but that doesn't mean they retained that look or movement. The gene pool is so far diluted that we can't do much more than a visual comparison.

And, given past comments regarding the WP horses in AZ, there's no traveling inverted, hocks are engaged (no daisy cutting and clouds of dust such as the TWH in the class was doing) and mouth is quiet (no death grip on the bit, either).

Okay, I just found the photos online. If you're talking about class 24, here are the photos.

I honestly think that TWH is not a very good looking show horse. Too cresty of a neck. I wouldn't show him myself. That doesn't mean he's not a good using horse, though. TWHs will kick up dust because their hind feet will set down heel first and slide forward in order to create the overstride and drive. And of course TWHs daisy cut--they have long, forward, sweeping movements in their hocks and it's a trait we look for for a true flat walk. It's what helps create the smooth gait. It's also an important trait in hunters in the extended trot. Just because a breed other than the ASB does it doesn't mean it's a fault. ASBs require more hock action in their movements, so I wouldn't want to see them daisy cutting. It's a completely different trait. I also don't see a death grip on the reins--the bit is level and in the right place for the horse. He is on the downstroke of the head nod, so he is balancing off the bit to keep his leverage. I don't see any difference in how the rider is holding the reins than any of the other riders. In photo 024-014-09CC the rider has quite a tight hold on the reins, but I don't see the horse worrying the bit or the bit out of balance.

I believe that the different disciplines require different styles of horses for them. I truly believe that if you show one horse EP, then he does not qualify as WP unless you teach him to move like a WP. In the sound TWH world, we're allowed to cross disciplines, but our horses must visually be different and conform to the disciplines' standards. I believe that just changing tack but still riding the horse in the same frame does not represent the different disciplines. But that's one of the reasons why I am not interested in ASBs.

katphoti said...

I forgot to say that I know you don't see the WP ASBs as over-collected, attafox, because that's totally normal in your breed. I will be honest and point out that many other breed advocates DO see it that way. This is why so many people that I know have no interest in an ASB as a using horse--they have been jaded by the show ring that the horses are too upright and hot for everyday use. When I go online and look for horses for sale in AZ, I hardly ever see any ASBs advertised as trail horses. They just aren't seen as using horses out here, and that's what the average horse rider here in AZ wants.

But hey, more power to you if the ASB is your thing. There's a lot of money in that breed, way more so than in the sound TWH world. It's just not a breed or a showing style (based in mechanical means) that I like nor agree with.

bhm said...

attafox said...

Actually, katphoti, many of the Montana and Utah cattle horses can trace back to Copperbottom and Montrose (Saddlebred).

Many of the horses that settled the West never worked cattle a day in their lives - yet blazed trails and were ridden in Western saddles.

And, while I might not rope cattle from a high headed horse, I'd certainly cut them and work them in a herd environment (I personally couldn't rope if you paid me to).
---------------

Interesting, Saddlebreds as cattle horses. I never realized that Sds. had this role. Of course, Doma Vaquera uses soley high headed horses for cattle because their build allows for agility in tight spaces. It's the same reason that high headed horses were used as war horses. However, your point about a low headed horse for roping makes perfect sense. What breed are you using for cutting?

attafox said...

While cutting isn't my thing, I've played with that using ASBs, and done so on some ranches in the Montana area with ASBs specifically trained for it as well.

And katphoti, no matter what the discipline, there's a big difference between the show arena and the working horse. Show hunters bear little resemblence to field hunters, English pleasure bear little resemblence to the horses out in the park or on the plantation - so asking a show Western Pleasure horse to look the same as a working western (note not using pleasure) horse isn't realistic.

As to ASBs not being using horses - they change the frame and position (just like you would between Western and English). The first place horse doesn't cut cattle in the same collected manner as the photos here, nor goes on trail that way. WP is a show ring discipline, not a using discipline.

None of the ASBs that I see depicted look like English horses - you would need more motion - and in some cases, a more upright neck. OTOH, an ASB Parade Horse IS an English horse in Western tack.

And quite honestly, for me, I don't want to ride a horse anywhere that daisy cuts. Why? I've done it and it exacerbates my asthma from dust and I've found they trip more (IMO). I don't like shuffling along no matter what breed. Pick 'em up and put 'em down.

I wasn't commenting on the TWH rider or a death grip - I was making note of your previous comments regarding ASB WP and death grips on reins :)

bhm - quite a few of the Utah ranchers that I got to meet up with a while back use Saddlebreds or saddle horse (saddlebred) stock to work fence lines, etc. The reason given to me was that they could take a single horse and work all day from that horse where they would have to take a couple of horses out of a different breed background. Also mentioned that they were highly bombproof. There are a few mustang herds in Utah and also out of Santa Ynez that are heavily infused with ASB blood as there were a few stock farms in the area that were either let go, or, in the case of Santa Ynez, it's rumored that a stallion got loose (I believe the farm was Hidden River - the owner was Sonny Cannon).

But, it would make sense that these would have been the using horses that helped to settle the West as both the Morgan and the ASB were well established breed types with the ASB being the first to establish a breed registry. Remember, the QH did not establish a registry until 1940, a half century after the Saddlebred. And, looking at historical photos, today's ASBs still look like those horses ... my argument would be that it is our human perception of what is a good "using" horse that has perhaps become more specialized - especially with the popularity of the QH breed (at 4.5 million registered).

For me, riding a horse where the neck comes out of the withers in such a low spot (not even a peanut roller - but poll level with withers), I feel as if I'm falling forward off the horse. I love the baroque, classic breed builds with the high heads. Those, to me, are riding horses.

bhm said...

attafox,
Wonderful post. I love the classical riding horses. I had read that the Florida Cracker, an up headed, gaited (?) horse, was bred to work cattle. Of course, do we need to tell the Latin Americans to stop using their high-headed gaited horse as their preferred cattle horses because the WP riders don't like it.

If you get a chance, I would love you to do a post on my blog about this subject:

trooperandsarah.blogspot.com

I will be writing on classically built horses: their form and function. I'm not all that familiar with Saddlebreds etc., so it would great to have an experienced opinion for us non-gaited types.

attafox said...

bhm -

It's actually in my blood. My mother has a wonderful old letter written in Czech. It is from my great-great-great uncle writing home to the family. On the letter, he first drew a gorgeous pen and ink of a rider and a Lippizaner (sp) stallion.

You see, this gentleman was a body guard to Franz Josef. He also rode in the Spanish Riding School. Of course all of the horses were owned by the crown. However, as the letter details (we had it translated), due to his close friendship with Franz Josef, the emperor gave him his very own stallion. Unheard of for a commoner.

So, the love of baroque breeds is in my blood.

Now, to katphoti's point of "over collection." I can agree that some of the horses end up being falsely collected - when you see the head drawn up and into frame, but the hocks aren't engaged. However, in the case of the one WP ASB cited in that OTAB classes, the hocks are engaged, impulsion is coming from the rear, the hind end is slightly dropped (aka no hollowed out back) and the collection is there - with a higher head carriage than some are used to due to conformational differences. Face is vertical, not behind the bit (as is the case with so much Arab WP now).

I'll look up the blog bhm. Thanks!

bhm said...

Attafox,
Amazing story about your uncle. What a lucky man and probably a very talented rider.

I don't have really anything on my blog right now. I want to start posting on Classical horses and Saddlebred types. I would be great to get your input because my experience with the latter is second-hand. Hopefully I will feel well enough soon to start writing.

I would like to post photos and get an opinion on good collection. I don't intend to bash anyone but would prefer to discuss good examples.

Yes, using the front of the horse for collection will disengage the hind quarters. You are also correct about the vertical.

GoLightly said...

attafox, you are amazing.
Wow.
I always learn something new. Thank you so much, for your knowledge.

Here's a link to BHM's blog, I hope.
BHM'sBlog

I screwed it up last time. No surprise there.

Great post, great comments!

attafox said...

Wow, you mean I'm not just another saddle seat idjit who abuses horses? Toe stubbing, aw shucks, thanks!

BTW, just because I know how it is supposed to be done doesn't mean that I think everyone always does it that way, nor do I always do it that way myself, LOL (meaning good saddle seat eq).

In our (to me) short sighted view on history, we tend to forget where certain breeds came from. While most can see that the Missouri Fox Trotter, Kentucky Mountain Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse and Rocky Mountain Horse (all relatively new breeds - but, LOL, all have older breed registries than the amazing butterfly fahting Gypsy Vanners ...) came from some off shoot of either Walking Horses, Saddlebreds, a combination there of, or a combo plus grade horses (especially in the case of color, right, katphoti???), it is harder for some to think of the QH as having strong ties to the Morgan and ASB (which foundation QH actually have very strong familial ties to the ASB through Janus). Continually frosts my Wheaties to hear the QH referred to as "America's Horse" when it wasn't a recognized breed until 1940. Breed type, obviously before then - but the QH as it was known even in the 40's was not an established breed type by the Civil War - when the Morgan, Kentucky Saddler (or Saddle Horse as it was known then) and the TWH all were.

BTW, bhm, there is a Shire at my boarding barn. I had a wonderful ASB who was unfortunately foundered in all four legs who used to take sadistic glee in going up to his corral and then proceed to put his head up higher than Roy ever could (and Roy was far taller). Poor Roy was used to looking down on every horse and along comes my giraffe who out "necks" him, LOL.

BTW, it's interesting to note that some of the old appy lines seem to have the baroque build as well. I would presume that would be due to the colonial Spanish horse influence.

What is very interesting to me is that the one "color" that often works in the ASB is the Palomino. Being a Californian, the Palomino was a breed/breed type developed here by the rancheros. The development of the breed actually paralleled that of the Southern riding horses. Land owners wanted beautiful and stylish horses that could show off their wealth. In the case of the South, they wanted horses they could ride all day, so often developed gaited horses in addition to them being high stepping. In California, they bred for the color of money - gold. But, they started with the classic or baroque build. That is why when Palomino met ASB it worked so well. The conformation was similar. OTOH, the pinto coloration comes from the piebald and skewbald cobs and grade horses (think Vanners) that the English had ... which had little to no resemblance conformationally with the refined and classical saddle horses. Marry those and you got (and still get) fugly. I always mentally paint in the spots to see if I get a conformationally correct ASB - and 90% of the time, I don't - and it's one with a major flaw. (Which is why it's ironic that I would pick that pinto stud at AZ as being a nice representative). Oh well, blathered enough.

bhm said...

attafox,
Hey you, stop abusing those ponies.

You're right about forgetting or not knowing the history of breeds. Really interesting post.

cattypex said...

Wow!

Good info, attafox.... I learned something new today!

I've mentioned the "Baroque" foundation QH at the barn where I ride. Awesome.

attafox said...

cattypex -

The precise relationship is that Janus was the sire of the 3rd dam of Stump-the-Dealer, who was one of the 17 original ASB Foundation sires. That list was then culled down to a single sire, but then in the centennial year, another was added back in - thus making Denmark and Harrison Chief the official foundation sires of the breed. There were two on the list of seventeen that were definitely Morgan. Cabell's Lexington was one; the other, hmm ...

Cut-N-Jump said...

Attafox-
And, while I might not rope cattle from a high headed horse, I'd certainly cut them and work them in a herd environment (I personally couldn't rope if you paid me to).
_________________________

Assuming you are talking about ASB's here- I learned to rope on one! Big black horse with the proudest self carriage. He had to be around 16 hands. Tacked up with a saddleseat saddle, he looked every bit the part. Chasing cows, he wasn't that fast, but it was fun and I did ok.


Katphoti-
In the TWH sore horse world, the tack is just switched--there is no change in the body style or movement of the horse.
_____________________

Much the same in the AQHA world as well. Arabs have some difference as the hunters differently than the WP horses, but they have their equal share of bullshit on display in just about every division.

As attafox said, only in not so many words- what we see in the ring is NOT what is often going to get the job done out in the real world. There is such a vast difference of the true western working horse and what we see shown as 'western' and even that varies by breed.

While ASB's are typically not my cup of tea, the ones I have worked with seem to be about as forgiving as any other breed, can be sensitive like arabs and just as scewed up by people as anything else out there.

I have seen some downright flighty and miserable horses and others who were stoic, sane and sensible as the day is long. Either behavior I attribute to the owners and the way they handle their horse. It was always a direct result.

And I do agree- the saddlebreds here in AZ are generally kept as show horses only. Not too many of them being used for anything other than that.

cattypex said...

Heh... I always think back to Marguerite Henry's book Album of Horses, which had a great illustration of a pioneer Circuit Rider writing and reading a sermon while riding his TWH, who always nodded in agreement... Indeed a far cry from the sore horse showring!

I guess show horses are as far removed from their original uses as NASCAR "stock cars" are from production models... Oh well - I wouldn't want Shetland ponies going back into coal mines...

attafox said...

Oh dear, cattypex - don't get me started on NASCAR. My dearly departed fiancee was a North Carolina boy, raised in the heart of NASCAR country. NASCARs origins are actually from Prohibition - where the cars might have been stock, but the mechanics certainly tinkered with the engines so they could run from the local gendarmes!

Once Prohibition was repealed, the drivers needed an outlet. So, in walks the French family who gave us NASCAR. (oh dear, I'm just the trivia hog tonight)

bhm said...

attafox,
I did a quick post on my blog. If you want to you can blather all you want there. I can turn you comments into an article and show examples.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Ooooh, CP. You bad, bad person, you. You just had to go and throw out the NASCAR card there, didn't you! ROFL!


Why is it that everything anymore, seems to resemble nothing of the roots from which it originally came?

cattypex said...

Hey, I wasn't even meaning to snark! It was the first analogy that popped into my head...

Of course, even the original draft horses weren't the giants of today. Without modern agriculture, how wouldja feed them?

I really like this discussion of breed origins!!

bhm said...

C.
The Shire was created by Henry IIIV. By that point in time the drafts were 17 hh.

katphoti said...

attafox,

Good info, definitely. I like hearing you talk about engagement and collection and how they should go together, instead of just telling us the usual crap I hear, which is "that's just how the breed is." I still just don't see the need for all the mechanics with the ASB, but that's just me! :)

I like what you said about pick 'em up and put 'em down, too. Of course, each horse is built differently, and there are certain body functions we look for to get certain movements. But ALL horses should carry themselves without dragging their feet or anything like that.

Honestly, though, I wish all show breeds WOULD go back to how the horses are actually used in the field/cow pen/ranch, etc. Maybe then we'd see less of the crap that we see on places like this blog. :)

I am a sucker for the baroque look as well. Of course, it's that fairytale look that gets me, but, when bred right, it's also to me the ultimate horse that can do just about anything. A horse that is built with the correct baroque style will last a long time because the natural balance will be there.

Good discussions, everyone!

cattypex said...

Of course, a baroque horse loooks like a Leonardo da Vinci horse which translates as "well engineered effective design."

Henry VIII ordered all horses under a certain height slaughtered or not bred or something, right? And aren't all the draft breeds in the UK descended from the English Great Horse?

photogchic said...

Just like any imported breed (saw the same thing with Fells and Connemaras)...usually the people importing and breed are people looking for an investment and have little experience with horses. They tend to do crosses instead of preserving the breed just wanting to make a quick buck. I have seen quiet a few beautiful Gypsy Vanners...but for the most part...people doing crosses with PMU drafts and you are getting all sorts of stuff...just like the photos you posted. Also...the size ranges you are referring too...there are Gyspy Cobs and Gyspy Vanners, so that is why to see smaller ones. Right now I have a problem with anyone breeding horses....100, 000 unwanted horses a year in this country. Put your egos in check people and take a couple years off and put your studs out to pasture. You want a good horse...go look for it. They are out there.

laceeJ said...

I enjoy your blog! I own a TWH and some foxtrotters and Totally AGREE WITH YOU! It's all so WRONg! Check out this video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03YcT74h5Mg

Leslie said...

photogchic, I haven't seen anything happen with Connemaras that comes remotely close to Gypsy Vanners. While I'm not a fan of the more refined pony that some people breed for (showing more Thoroughbred influence), there's a not a glut of them in the market like you see with GVs. Thank god! And the breeders crossing them (usually with TBs) seem to be doing so to cater towards the eventing market, rather than just because they can. There's still a good demand for purebred, old-style Connemaras, and I see the majority of breeders being pretty conservative about their stock. The standards for inspection are quite stringent as well.

Anyway, that's just my experience--been involved with the Connemara world for about 15 years now. While there are definitely some breeders producing crap (happens in every breed), I've been generally happy with the Connemaras being produced domestically these days.

katphoti said...

I've been offline for a while, but I meant to comment on these two things. I figured I'd do it anyway. :)

cattypex,

Gene Autry's horse Champion was a TWH! You don't get more Western than that....

(Trigger was allegedly half-thoroughbred.)


Yes, Champion was a TWH. And a fine animal was he! As far as Trigger is concerned, the ORIGINAL Trigger was an Appendix QH, so half Thoroughbred, half QH. The second Trigger, Trigger Jr., was a full-bred TWH. He is the one who is in the color films and was the one that Roy used when doing work with children. Kevin Spacey on his website for his children's acting opportunities organization, Trigger Street, used to live just a block away from Trigger Street in CA, where Roy had his largest ranch. Kevin said when he was a young kid, he and his neighborhood friends would hang out on the ranch with Roy and Trigger Jr., and he would get to ride him. Trigger Jr.'s TWHBEA registered name was Allen's Royal Zephyr. He was 48 years old when he passed.

Trigger Jr. and Champion are by far what I consider to be a western-type TWH. Watch them in the shows and movies and you'll see how they are well-built and athletic to be able to handle rigorous ranch work.

attafox,

In our (to me) short sighted view on history, we tend to forget where certain breeds came from. While most can see that the Missouri Fox Trotter, Kentucky Mountain Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse and Rocky Mountain Horse (all relatively new breeds - but, LOL, all have older breed registries than the amazing butterfly fahting Gypsy Vanners ...) came from some off shoot of either Walking Horses, Saddlebreds, a combination there of, or a combo plus grade horses (especially in the case of color, right, katphoti???), it is harder for some to think of the QH as having strong ties to the Morgan and ASB (which foundation QH actually have very strong familial ties to the ASB through Janus). Continually frosts my Wheaties to hear the QH referred to as "America's Horse" when it wasn't a recognized breed until 1940. Breed type, obviously before then - but the QH as it was known even in the 40's was not an established breed type by the Civil War - when the Morgan, Kentucky Saddler (or Saddle Horse as it was known then) and the TWH all were.

I absolutely agree with this. For the record, the TWH is THE original American soft-gaited horse (that's aside from the ASB's rack). KMSHs, RMHs, MFTs, Florida Crackers, all of these are offshoots of the TWH. You never tell an MFT or RMH breeder and owner that, but it's the truth. They just took stock they had that did a different gait and bred it with other breeds to refine that style of gait. It's why you have blue vs. brown papered MFTs. It's also why you can look at RMH and KMSH papers and it says things like "Tuttle stock" or "grade mare" in the background--it just means they came from Tuttle's backyard herd of chocolate-colored TWHs. They won't admit their horses come from the TWH.

It is thought that General Lee's horse, Traveler, was actually an early TWH. He exhibited a four-beat gait that was very smooth. In diaries of soldiers from the area, it has been documented that they would see him ride by and never bouncing in the saddle. So perhaps he was an ASB/Standardbred Pacer cross that caused a four-beat gait??? Wouldn't that be fascinating to find out!

It's also amazing how quickly America forgot WHY the QH is a breed, and it's because it was originally a quarter-mile racing horse! :)

Cut-N-Jump said...

I had a post I was working on over the weekend- POOF! Gone. I hate that!

I will have to go back and work on it again. Damn it!

cattypex said...

Of course, "gaited" horses have been around since at LEAST medieval times, and I remember reading something about "ambling" mules, as well. Well-to-do people rode nothing else.

No one rode the trot if they could help it (duh), and posting wasn't invented until the 1700s I think.

I wonder how many common "gaited" ancestors there REALLY are, and if someone is working on an Equine Genome Project to determine this?

It's not at all surprising to find out that QH's had gaited ancestors - after all, if you're a rich ranch owner in the 1800s, that's what you've got!

"America's Horse" is such obvious P.R. pandering, though of course a .... certain .... demographic EATS IT UP.

katphoti said...

cattypex,

That's some good points about gaited horses in history, cattypex. Plus, there is speculation that some of the spotted horses of China during midieval times were gaited. The Tigre Horse of today is supposed to be a recreation of that breed (although they're really just gaited Appys).

But I have to draw the line here: The Gaited Baroque Horse Association Really? I mean, REALLY? Does she really think this is going to take off? I mean, for crying out loud--I'm breeding for one for myself, and I KNOW that they aren't something that people go out looking for. I just accept that I'm a freak and am going to live my freaky dream.

But then again, it's a place to register my future foal! NOT!

Just had to share so everyone can get a good laugh!

katphoti said...

I meant "those are some good points...." Sheesh.

cattypex said...

"Gaited Baroque Horse" ???

Um... they already exist.

They're called Paso Finos, Peruvian Pasos, Galicenos...

I guess if you fatten 'em up, they'll look more "Baroque."

And you can go "baroque" buying one! :P

"NOTE: We've dropped the "S" at the end of our domain name...please update your links if applicable."

WHY?

attafox said...

Actually, the original soft gaited breed was the Narragansett Pacer which preceded all of "us." It is strongly thought that since they exported so many that the Paso Fino is the most directly related now (would be interesting to do some DNA).

And, there's a statue of Traveler that they discovered at VMA that was done from a picture of him that clearly depicts him racking. Of course in the ASB world, he's thought of as a Saddle Horse as he was by Grey Eagle (TB) a Kentucky sire who sired many racehorses and saddle horses (he's in the ASHA registry) out of Flora. Born in 1857 and named Jeff Davis, he started life as a show horse (surprise, surprise) and exhibited a trot in addition to ambling gaits.

cattypex said...

I've been to Traveller's grave!

Also, Richard Adams wrote a touching novel about the Civil War from Traveller's point of view.

Yup, the Narragansett Pacer is America's oldest gaited horse.... I just wonder how many different Old World original gaited ancestors there are (individual horses, not jus breeds)?

attafox said...

Eek - make that Traveller - General Lee's horse. OTOH, Traveler is the USC mascot, now forever endowed as an Andalusian. Although the Andalusian people are rewriting USC's mascot history and saying that Traveler has always been an Andalusian, that's not the case. There was an Arab - and one of the Travelers was a TWH.

cattypex said...

Heh... at least you have a REAL mascot... I'm a Hoosier! ; )

attafox said...

eek, Cattypex - Traveler is the mascot for the OTHER school. Altho, in the world of school pranks that do go on, I *did* ride Traveler once at the Coliseum. Traveler I was a 1/2 Arab 1/2 TWH that was the stunt double for Silver. (Some say he was related to Silver as well - in this case, it would have been the Arab half.) Traveler II was the full TWH, while III was an Arab (and the one I *ahem* rode whilst my compatriots subdued his regular staff ... ah, the stupidity of youth.

Now, there were two Silvers that the Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) rode. Silver #1 was a TWH, while Silver #2 was 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Saddlebred. #1 was used from 1949-1951 and #2 took over in 1952 and did all of the public appearances.

katphoti said...

Regarding Lone Ranger's Sliver,

Now, there were two Silvers that the Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) rode. Silver #1 was a TWH, while Silver #2 was 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Saddlebred. #1 was used from 1949-1951 and #2 took over in 1952 and did all of the public appearances.Now, I heard it different, that Silver #1 was of unknown origins, while Silver #2 was 1/2 TWH, 1/2 ASB. But I'm sure a Lone Ranger historian would know what's what...?

Not disputing your info, attafox, just saying I heard it different! :)

I'll have to find that book by Richard Adams! Thanks, cattypex! My dad's a Civil War buff--he and my mom do Cowboy Action Shooting, and his character is a Lt. Col. for the North--so that would be a great Father's Day present! I bought him the Breyer horse for Cincinnati, Grant's horse. I also bought the little Cavalry bridle and saddle set and put it on him. It is so cute!

attafox said...

Depends on who you believe - Clayton Moore said that the Silvers were both Morabs. The ones I *choose* to believe ;) are the guys who were the handlers. That said - neither Silver exhibits Arab. The first one, to me, has the old time TWH look about him - and the handlers didn't say he was full blooded (it would hard to be that light/white and be either a full TWH or full ASB ... SOMETHING was in the woodpile!).

So, who knows?

cattypex said...

I *heart* that not ONE of these quintessential cowboy horses was AQHA!!! Or even CLOSE, considering that the AQHA was either not yet born or barely begun at that point.

Now... how 'bout that Zorro? He was pretty hot, even when he wasn't Tony Flags. I mean, Antonio Banderas.

Gotta love a shiny black antihero horse....

cattypex said...

It's a good book... I read it YEARS ago.

Touching... Traveller loves the General so much, and is so proud of being his horse.

So did they ever make a Breyer of him? That would be a great set for your dad!!

GoLightly said...

Anybody remember Fury?

Or am I older than I thought?

cattypex said...

Fury of the Broken Wheel Ranch?

I remember the books, but the TV show was before my time. ; )

The cheesy "Fury" for my Saturday Morning viewing pleasure was "Thunder: Wild Stallion of the Hills."

The original Fury was a Saddlebred!
http://www.brokenwheelranch.com/fury.htm

I think that Fury was a Morgan?

cattypex said...

oops I mean Thunder

attafox said...

Yes, Fury was Highland Dale and was the original Black Beauty. The horse in the movie Flicka was also a Saddlebred - registered name Country Flicka. She went directly from filming to showing and winning the 5-gaited classes at Santa Barbara National one year.

Lots of Saddlebreds in the movies - many came from the Anacacho Ranch dispersal in the early 40's in Texas. Some also made their way to Tenneessee to the Oman ranch. That ranch supplied horses for various endeavors.

Mr. Ed, of course, was 1/2 ASB. And, whether you like rodeo or not, the only horse to be the bucking horse of the year 7 times, Showboat, was from that same farm in Tennessee. (Yes, I have good friends who are true historians of the breed)

But the Hollywood horses are an entirely different thread!

katphoti said...

Regarding Silver,

Well, he was definitely a true white horse, which means he had pink skin and white hair and wasn't just a white gray. I remember reading somewhere that the producers of the show always wanted the wranglers to look for a true white horse to play Silver. True white comes from the sabino or overo gene expressed in it's maximal form. Sabinos are VERY common in TWHs--Roan Allen, one of our foundation horses, was a sabino (TWH people call it roan). So it is possible that the color came from a sabino TWH. At least, that's what I can figure from the history about him.

At the TWH Celebration every year, a true white horse carries the flag for the flag presentation for the evening classes each day. The horse is always a maximal white sabino.

I agree--how the heck could he have been an Arab when he didn't even LOOK like one? He looked like a TWH or ASB to me. And true white doesn't exist in Arabs as far as I understand.

Traveller,

Yes, they made a Breyer of him, but the mold is no longer made and is very expensive! Besides, since my dad's character is from the North, I thought Cincinnati was more appropriate. :) But if I could find Traveller at a decent price (out of the box is fine), I'd get him for my dad. Problem is they don't make a Confederate Cavalry Breyer tack set!

Zorro,

Tornado, Zorro's horse, was played by a Friesian in the Antonio Banderas movie. Check it out, my horsey friends--when Tornado comes on the screen, Anthony Hopkins states that he is a Spanish Andalusian, when us horse people can clearly see he's a Friesian! I have no idea what breed the TV show horse was.

I agree--black anti-hero horses are definitely awesome!

ASBs in film,

I just recently watched the original My Friend Flicka with Roddy McDowell. You cannot tell me that Flicka's dam is NOT an ASB. When they clock her speed with the truck, when she first takes off, she goes in an absolutely perfect rack. I see her rack several times in the film. Flicka looks like an ASB, too.

The horse that played Ginger in the 1994 version of Black Beauty was an ASB GELDING. He played Pilgrim in The Horse Whisperer, and he also played Julia Roberts' horse in that Runaway Bride movie. She loved him so much that he was the only horse she'd ride for that movie. So when they had to do some retakes after prinicpal filming was done, she flew to where HE was to ride him, rather than the other way around. Incredible horse--he came from an abused home and just had the best personality for screen work.

I'm sure many of you know that in the 1994 version of the film, Black Beauty was played by Doc's Keepin Time, an AQHA registered QH! So there's at least ONE AQHA in movies that I know of!

How the heck did we go from draft horses to movie horses, anyway?

attafox said...

Hate to disagree with you on that one, katphoti, because we'd love to have credit for it - but the horse that played Pilgrim, Ginger and was Julia Roberts horse was named Hightower, and according to his owner/trainer, Rex Peterson, was an unregistered racing QH. His obituary was in the Tehachapi newspaper last year (he died at 26).

attafox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cattypex said...

AHA:

http://www.tvacres.com/horses_tornado.htm

cattypex said...

Oops, here's the real scoop on Zorro's horse, Diamond Decorator (AQHA):
http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/diamond+decorator

So, how DID this become about movie horses.....

katphoti said...

attafox,

Zounds! Foiled again! You win THIS time, Peter Pan!

:)

Thanks for the info--I knew the horse had a really unusual name, too.

attafox said...

What's interesting also is that the horses in Black Beauty were carriage horses - and had overchecks, so should have been played by higher stepping, high necked horses (such as the original), yet they had one of the most unsuitable breeds - a downhill built horse designed for sprint work under saddle playing an English carriage horse ...

katphoti said...

I thought the SAME thing about Black Beauty! Why in the world did they choose a QH? But at least he's not too bulky and is lean.

And did anyone else notice that when Beauty was a foal he was a filly? Hmmmm. I didn't know horses could spontaneously change sex. Although I did find out later that they thought the mare that had the foal was going to have a boy per ultrasound (it was a real birth in the film), but she had a filly instead.

attafox said...

On the bloopers - they state they used a couple of "Gingers" and that Ginger swapped sex as well - plus Ginger's character is a mare and Hightower wasn't ...

JuniWolfspirit said...

You are so awesome that I just spent the last hour and a half reading pretty much every entry in this blog. Thank you.

GoLightly said...

Alright, attafox, it's time you wrote a book.

Get crackin'.

:)

Hi-Ho Silver!!

AWAY!!!!!!!!

katphoti said...

To kinda go back to the draft thing, I wanted to let everyone know that there is a small stable here that's near my house where the woman has rescued several PMU horses. She has a GORGEOUS, textbook conformation Percheron mare (looks so much like the stallion I bred my mare to) and her two foals: a beautiful Morgan/Perch cross and a Paint/Perch cross. The Paint cross looks like an overo spotted Percheron, and the Morgan cross looks like a bulky Friesian. She said she is very lucky she got such good ones, and she's right!

OutRiding01 said...

It makes me sick when I see poorly bred drafts and draft crosses and hear people say that's just how they're supposed to be. No, no they're not. I honestly believe drafts are the hardesst horses to mess up so it just boggles my mind. In high school, my jumper was a Clyde/TB cross. I competed very, very successfully on the A-circuit with him in the Child/Adult and Jr./AO jumpers. I'm from Florida and we did all the major circuits down here and he more than held his own among all the warmbloods. I frequently had people ask what kind of wamrblood he was. He was ver flasy, black with a big white blaze and three tall socks. He was very well bred, but he wasn't the only one! His breeder, Leslie Fox, has been breeding draft crosses for fox hunting, hunter jumpers, and eventing for years and years. My horse has TONS of half and full brothers and sisters out there, all doing very well. There are also plenty of unrelated crosses from the same breeder who are just as wonderful. And she's just one breeder. It is not hard to find a decent draft or draft cross breeder, or to find good stock and studs to breed. So why do I see crap like this popping up every where? I just do not understand it one bit.

On a side note, my horse is now retired from show life and is on a free life lease to a wonderful couple in West Central FL. That's the other great thing about drafts. They are so versatile and you will always be able to find someone who wants to give one of those big beautiful guys a good home!

Chuck said...

I worked one summer for Sonny Cannon in the late 60's. He was a good man. His place was real nice too.

Jörg said...

Lol?
What the fuck is this??
Just because you Americans love horses with a fat ass, small piggy eyes and a head below the rump (I think you know which race I mean), this doesn't mean that draft horses or Gypsy Vanners or Percherons are ugly and not worth the money.
And did you know, for some people, who just love the horse for itself and not for its dressage abilities or whatever the fuck you want, an "ugly" horse will do it hundred of times!

roanhorse said...

"lol?
What the fuck is this??".......


No doubt your point would be taken a little more "seriously" with less use of the eff word....are you unable to express your self in a competent manner.....how old are you, 12?

By the way, AQHA is not a "race" (quoting you)..it's a breed found in the equine world....Gypsy Vanners are well enough thought of here to be imported to the USA...many Vanner fanciers here who love the animal just for itself.....


get back on your meds................

annapoelo said...

If you own a young draft horse and are looking into training it for riding, you need to keep in mind that they do not develop like quarter horses. Their size alone makes them a lot different from the lighter breeds that were bred with riding or dressage in mind, and their bones are simply slower to mature.
arabian trail saddles

Devon said...

Found this thread while looking for something else entirely. I'm fascinated with your collective expertise on movement and conformation. Very educational (and entertaining).

Although I've never been (and never will be) in a show ring, may I please claim humble bragging rights?

I'm drop-dead, head-over-heels, crazy-in-love with a monster drafter that cost me a bargain $600 adoption fee plus shipping.

She came through Lazy Horse Rescue (go, Gabriele!) and was born at a (no doubt nightmarish) PMU factory-farm in Manitoba. No way of knowing what her gene package consists of, but my vets and equine-savvy friends concur that she's likely 50/50 Shire-Perch.

A more level-headed, smoochable giant never walked the planet. At the age of three she was 16.2hh and 1800 lbs with front hooves that were 9 inches from side to side. At only 3 years she was so willing I could ride her bareback with a rope halter through the woods ... and I promise you, I am the opposite of whatever it takes to be a decent horse trainer.

Can't speak for all PMU adoptions, but this filly was bought sight-unseen and was / is absolutely golden. So, despite the following statement being incredibly stale, I'll type it anyway 'cause it comes from the heart:

MAKE MINE A DRAFT!

Happy hacking to you all, from Kavi's super-lucky owner in Alachua, FL.

(Okay, one more soap-boxy statement: OPT TO ADOPT whenever you're able. You'll be amazed at the dirt-covered diamonds out there. That goes for dogs as well as horses. Mutts rule!)

.

TruthSolace said...

Came across this blog via google and looking up info on draft crosses. I have known Gypsies for years and I don't just mean the horse. Yes I think the prices are outrageous here in North America - But I also know how and why it came to be that way. These are beautiful animals inside and out and they were carefully bred that way by the Gypsy people for a reason. They had to be strong enough to pull a caravan and calm enough for their toddlers to play under and beautiful enough to look amazing pulling their caravans ( if you disagree that many of these are beautiful animals- maybe you need your eyes checked). The European Gypsies had no intention of marketing these beautiful animals. An American couple are responsible for that = because they adored them. What has happened since that day was a gamble and the Americans who invested in them were willing to allow any and all mistakes - something the Gypsy people would not allow. If a horse "turned out wrong" they were gotten rid of - not bred and sold for thousands. So I agree and disagree with your post. As for cross breeding drafts - that is a chance taking and sometimes it works out. I have two draft crosses. One Clydesdale/Tennessee Walker who is amazing and a great childs horse. I also have a Paint/Percheron who is 17 hands and a great trail horse. I would buy a Gypsy in a heartbeat if I could afford it. I think they can make a beautiful childs horse and a good companion.

Horse Power said...

Love this conversation. In Australia there is a recent move for "hitch" style draught horse driving in the show ring. Ours are bred to work and have angulation in shoulders and pasterns (appropriate and not excessive) with good neck set and sound calm temperament. We ride, compete carriage driving, work on the farm and show at Agricultural Shows. We recently showed at a big show just to be there as we knew all the other draught horses would be in two wheeled light carts which were NEVER used for heavy horses. We were right! Ours were in traditional vehicles and harness and we competed just to make sure our traditions don't just disappear due to an extreme "fashion" that is appearing from overseas

Horse Power said...

Love this conversation. In Australia there is a recent move for "hitch" style draught horse driving in the show ring. Ours are bred to work and have angulation in shoulders and pasterns (appropriate and not excessive) with good neck set and sound calm temperament. We ride, compete carriage driving, work on the farm and show at Agricultural Shows. We recently showed at a big show just to be there as we knew all the other draught horses would be in two wheeled light carts which were NEVER used for heavy horses. We were right! Ours were in traditional vehicles and harness and we competed just to make sure our traditions don't just disappear due to an extreme "fashion" that is appearing from overseas

Horse Power said...

Love this conversation. In Australia there is a recent move for "hitch" style draught horse driving in the show ring. Ours are bred to work and have angulation in shoulders and pasterns (appropriate and not excessive) with good neck set and sound calm temperament. We ride, compete carriage driving, work on the farm and show at Agricultural Shows. We recently showed at a big show just to be there as we knew all the other draught horses would be in two wheeled light carts which were NEVER used for heavy horses. We were right! Ours were in traditional vehicles and harness and we competed just to make sure our traditions don't just disappear due to an extreme "fashion" that is appearing from overseas

Horse Power said...

Love this conversation. In Australia there is a recent move for "hitch" style draught horse driving in the show ring. Ours are bred to work and have angulation in shoulders and pasterns (appropriate and not excessive) with good neck set and sound calm temperament. We ride, compete carriage driving, work on the farm and show at Agricultural Shows. We recently showed at a big show just to be there as we knew all the other draught horses would be in two wheeled light carts which were NEVER used for heavy horses. We were right! Ours were in traditional vehicles and harness and we competed just to make sure our traditions don't just disappear due to an extreme "fashion" that is appearing from overseas

Laura Stulberger said...

$10,000? Try $20,000! A woman I used to work for had a solid black Gypsy - no special coloring, nothing, and paid $20,000. I rode the mare a couple times, and she was like any other below-average horse I rode. Nothing special.

Laura

Laura Stulberger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gypsyhorsefan said...

I came across this when I was looking up general draft information trying to determine what the ideal conformation for a plow horse is (aspirations of eventually having a horse-powered farm), and I have to say the examples of "Vanners" that you put up are NOT what anyone in the breed would call "beautiful". I also want to point out that you say "In a breed where a roman nose is accepted and even adored they go way beyond the norm and have ugly heads." and that is completely untrue. A slight Roman nose is acceptable but no one actually wants it, and the breed standard for the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society (http://vanners.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Breed_Standard-021309.pdf) shows a much nicer head than most draft breeds. It is true there are a lot of unscrupulous breeders out there, but there are plenty of people who actually want to breed useful, working horses that just happen to be gorgeous. I also just want to point out that the first two pictures of GVs in the post look like very young horses, and this is a breed that doesn't really mature fully until five or six years of age, so they may end up looking a whole lot better. My family uses our gelding for dressage (I don't ride, so don't ask me what level we are at, but our goal is to go as high as possible) and will end up doing embryo transfers into our mare because she isn't high enough quality (though she will probably be my plow horse, as she is waaaay too big for the breed with a shoulder built for harness). My point is just that I think you give Gypsy "Vanners" (which isn't entirely accurate as there are a number of different registries, currently the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society is working on implementing evaluations and closing the studbooks to help improve the breed, and they don't accept crossbreeds or Drums) somewhat of an unfair assessment here, because there are good breeders and bad breeders just like there are in any breed. All I know is this, I have worked in vet's offices, at hoity-toity rich people boarding barns, and with crazy-ass Dutch Warmblood dressage horses with movement that would make your jaw hit the floor, and I will never have anything other than a GV. They are by far the sweetest and most willing of any breed I've come in contact with and over time as prices drop I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them start to replace ponies as children's pets.