Friday, April 29, 2005

"The horse that time forgot"

This is an interesting story:

Gallant Fox, second of 11 horses to sweep the Triple Crown, is still strangely remembered for one of the few races he lost 75 years ago, to the longshot Jim Dandy in the Travers at Saratoga.

Jim Dandy was an ordinary horse — he raced until he was 12, winning seven of 141 starts — but Saratoga has been running a race in his name since 1964, solely because in 1930 he defeated Gallant Fox about nine weeks after Belair Stud's brilliant colt had won the Belmont Stakes to sweep the Triple Crown.


Wow... another clone

Another horse cloned, this time in Texas. This would be the first horse cloned in North America:

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Can you believe this??

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, for example, said there is "simply not
enough habitat to support the number of horses out there,"
a spokeswoman said.

I wonder if there would be enough habitat if the livestock and cattle were reduced.

Should Wild Horse Slaughter be Outlawed?

VOTE "YES"! There's a poll up-- should unwanted wild horses be slaughtered?
Vote At: http://www.nevadaappeal.com/

I don't agree with the wording of the poll, however. "Unwanted"? These are wild horses being removed off our public land so private cattle can graze.... it's not like there is an overpopulation (in 70% of the herds, the BLM has 'appropriate management levels' too small to ensure the horse's survival, and livestock graze 70% of the land, while horses eat 5%.)
I wish they would include some facts in there... for all you know, there could be a million wild horses, they poll doesn't say that there are only about 32,000 left, 98% less than in the 1900's.

Anyway, at least they are doing a poll on it!! Go vote 'yes' now!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Horse Dies During "Flicka" Filming

Apparently this is the 2nd horse that died during the making of the film. The other had broken its leg and needed to be euthanized. From Reuters news story:

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A mustang horse broke its neck and died
during filming of the 20th Century Fox movie "Flicka," a remake of 1943 classic
"My Friend Flicka."
The horse was killed Monday during filming at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center in the San Fernando Valley. According to the City of Los Angeles' Department of Animal Services, which conducted an investigation, the horse was running when it stepped on its own lead rope and broke its neck.
Animal Services is ruling the death an accident. Animal Services spokeswoman
Karen Knipscheer said that production was not shut down at the time of the
accident, and filming resumed Tuesday. She said the production was informed that
it could no longer use the horses involved in the incident, which were domestic
rodeo horses. Knipscheer said their owner was shipping them home to Montana.

I don't know what they mean by not being able to use the horses involved in the incident. I thought only 1 horse died....

I know some people are upset by this. It's always sad when a horse dies.... but horses die every day because accidents happen.

Maybe the people were irresponsible; but horses injure and kill themselves every day. I know of a few horses that have broken their necks by running into fence posts, or just slipping on the ground.

I never really liked the flicka books-- but it' a horse movie, so I'll see it. I think a movie should be made about Ruffian!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

About "Milt"...

After I sent out my newsletter with information on a foal's milt and saying I'd send a screensaver to the first person to get me a photo, I got a few responses right away... But sorry Caitlin, that's fish milt, and Paintcrazy, the photo has to be one you took. Sorry about that :-)

Newsletter sent

I sent out the monthly newsletter, you can see the changes, updates, etc. at http://ultimatehorsesite.com

I sent it out early because I'm not going be here for a few weeks... so if I'm slow in answering my emails, that is why.

Enjoy the updates, and don't forget to send me your stories, articles, or whatever else you might want featured on the site!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Small Victory - Wild Horse Sales Suspended!

Letters, calls, emails-- they are making a difference! After 6 wild horses were slaughtered-- and today a few more-- sales have been suspended because of public outrage! Read the newest alerts from the American Wild Horse Protection Campaign. I've posted them, along with how to contact your legislators, on this page.Please call, write, email, and fax your legislators today. You've got to keep it up and let them know how you feel.

Champion Endurance Horse Cloned

This is interesting. An endurance champion, Pieraz, was cloned in Italy. The foal was born Feb 25th, 2005. While Thoroughbred racing has bans on cloned horses (thank goodness-- who'd want 10 Secretariats racing against each other? ) endurance doesn't have such rules (neither does barrel racing, roping, dressage, jumping, halter, cutting, reining, or any other sports that I'm aware of, but most news stories fail to mention that).

Pieraz's clone with his birth mother-- he will turn gray like Pieraz

However, the reason Pieraz was cloned is because he is a gelding-- and his owners want to breed him. I'm sure many gelding owners have had thought, "If only he was a stud..." but until now, it's just been wishful thinking.
The foal won't likely be used in competition, just as a stud. I know some people have strange notions about cloning, that it will some how 'bring back', in a sense, beloved pets, but really it's just like creating an identical twin. As twins know, they are individuals, they just share the same DNA so look like each other. There's no guarantee that a cloned animal will have the same personality as its original 'parent', or be as good in competition.

Actually I've read some white markings are created by the migration of cells after birth-- so clones may not even look identical and can have different white markings. Kind of irrelevant, but interesting!

On the
left, you can see Pieraz, ridden by Valerie Kanavy, who was the owner and the
trainer of the horse. On the right, Eric Palmer, from Cryozootech, is talking
with Pieraz's clone." source: Primidi.com

Pieraz's clone, named, get this, Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion has the same DNA as Pieraz, so breeding to the clone will get you the genes Pieraz the gelding can't pass on. Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion (his barn name is apparently the shorter and creative Pieraz II) was created out of about 200 tries. Only 3 mares were impregnated, and Pieraz II was the only foal born.
It made me wonder, what would they have done if 3 were born? "New on Ebay! Lot of 2 Pieraz clones!..." Sorry, bad joke.

However, from what I've read, endurance horses don't seem to come from any particular champion lines, and aren't specifically bred for like racehorses are. Also, unlike TB racing, endurance racing doesn't pay a lot. Maybe when you get to the top, but most people give out tack or prizes.
So I'm wondering why the time, effort, and cost was used to create this horse. Will there be any demand for his stud service? If he turns out to be a great stud, will it even be worth it--why not go out and find another great horse?

I wonder what kind of effect this is going to have on horse breeding. Will registries accept cloned horses? Will competitions allow clones, or offspring of clones, to compete? If not, would they allow identical twins to compete, which are 'natural' clones? How could they tell cloned competitors anyway (DNA test every horse?) What will happen to the gene pool if people start using clones for breeding? A champion mare could have 10 clones which are bred every year. Would someone with a champion stud just clone him every 10-15 years as needed, letting his genes live on forever? I can see how these uses could do the opposite and create poor quality horses that are too inbred.
Cloning is relatively new, expensive, and difficult, so this is all probably not happening any time soon, but still it's something to think about.

Pieraz is an Arab (makes sense), but two stories I've seen say "thoroughbred", and one says "Thoroughbred Arab". I'm guessing these are just errors made because they don't realize a TB is a breed...

More news on Pieraz II, from horse magazines: Horse & Hound - Standardbred Canada (says he's a TB -
I'm having trouble accessing the New Scientist article on it, but if I can get it I'll post it.

This one is weird-- I can understand their concerns about cloning (I have them too) but describing someone who gelds a horse as 'cruel' and saying an edurance horse 'galloped to victory' to win 'big bucks'.... ?

Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion - hopefully this is only a working name; we
shall refer to him as PCS - is the clone of world endurance champion Pieraz who
may have galloped his way to victory and big bucks, but was deprived by his
cruel mistress the pleasures attendant to procreation. In brief, he was
castrated at a young age.

Had his mistress been a kinder soul, Pieraz would have retired to pastures green, chased doe-eyed mares in spring sunshine whenever he fancied a bit of frolic, or a roll in the hay during winter, and sired his own brood of racehorses. But that was not to be.

Also, this article - "Castrated Horse Becomes Dad" -- mentions:

Scientists say that the cloning of complex multi-celled organisms is still at an
early technological stage.
Cloning entails taking an egg, removing its nucleus, and replacing it with the nucleus of any cell taken from the donor animal.
This nucleus contains almost all of the donor's genetic code, so if the egg is then transplanted into a surrogate and results in a birth, the offspring should be a genetic duplicate in all but negligible detail.
However, most cloning attempts result in miscarriages because the egg fails to develop properly. In addition, cloned mammals face a high risk of falling sick or dying young, apparently because of flaws inflicted to the genetic code during the cloning process.

I have started a thread on the message board for discussion, visit it here, and post what you think.
Would you ever clone your horse?
Do you think that cloning is OK if someone wants to dupicate champion horses? Or does that give them an unfair advantage?
Do you think it's OK to use it to allow a gelded/injured horse's genes to be passed on? Do you see cloning as a threat to the horse community? What should be done to prevent abuse? Some interesting things to think about!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Silent Witness Wins Again

Silent Witness has won again-- his 17th consecutive win, making him the current record holder for most consecutive race wins. Cigar and Citation tie second with 16 consecutive wins each.

A sponsor has offered $3 million for a matchup at the Santa Anita Park track in
Los Angeles, with the winner taking home $2 million and the rest going to the
loser, the South China Morning Post reported, quoting Silent Witness' owner,
Archie da Silva.

Ghostzapper, an American horse described as a 'freak' because of his speed, may race against Silent Witness in a match race some time in the future, which is exciting. Ghostzapper is the world's top-rated racehorse and the winner of the Breeder's Cup Classic.

Both horses are five year olds. It's nice to see mature horses racing-- a lot of horse people feel that 2 and 3 is too young to begin riding, let alone racing, as a horse's bones and body have not matured yet. This reminds me, I should set up an age chart on my site, comparing horse age to human age. Each horse year is equivalent to 3 human years (roughly)-- so a 5-year-old horse equivalent to a 15-year-old in human years.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Silent Witness - a 17th win?

The Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup is running today (April 24th) in Hong Kong. Silent Witness, who has so far won all 16 times he has raced, will be racing 7 furlongs for the first time. Silent Witness now ties with Cigar and Citation for the most consecutive wins. The Australian-born horse is currently rated the best sprinter in the world, and is called "Hong-Kong's Hero" by some. He may run in the US later in the year, at the Breeder's Cup Mile in Belmont Park, Oct. 29.

source: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7381556/

He's also one of the world's 100 "most influencial people".

Time magazine even included the horse in its list of the world's 100 "most
influential people" and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post last week devoted
an editorial to him headed: "The cool champion who warms our hearts."....

Even trainer Tony Cruz, the former champion jockey who has been in racing long enough to avoid getting overly excited, describes Silent Witness as a "true gentleman" even in the way he eats a carrot."Other horses just bite right into it and tear it apart but this guy, he takes his time," Cruz said in another Morning Post story on the horse.

- Sun-Herald news story

Other stories: Silent Witness making a big noise

I'm still trying to find Silent Witness's website to post.

8 Months Starvation

This is sad-- a woman was paying $250/month for the feed and care of her elderly TB horse. However, one day the caregiver quit feeding the horse without notifying the owner, but kept taking the payments-- and the starvation went on for 8 months. The 24-yr old ex-racehorse weighed 500 pounds and ranked a 1 for body condition when he was rescued by his owner, but he's now on the road to recovery.
I know a lot of people aren't comfortable trusting others to feed their horses, but I've never heard of a case this extreme. Ironically, this happened in a town called Plain Dealing.

Friday, April 22, 2005

First Wild Horses Killed

I was gone for a few days, and sadly I found this alert today when I checked my email:


Multiple sources have confirmed that on Monday, April 18th, 6 wild horses were slaughtered at the Cavel International facility in DeKalb, Il.
The horses, sold by the Bureau of Land Management pursuant to the Burns Amendment’s sale mandate on Friday, April 15th, had been purchased in Canon City, CO, for $50 each by Dustin Herbert of Oklahoma. Mr. Herbert, a former rodeo clown, had claimed that the horses would be used for a church youth program, and would not be sold for slaughter. But by Monday, less than 3 days after he purchased the animals, all 6 were slaughtered so that their meat could be shipped overseas to end up on foreign dinner tables.

This is a sad day for wild horses and confirms our worst fears regarding last November’s amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Please contact your local and national media expressing your outrage over this latest development.

It is also critical that we keep up our efforts to pass remedial legislation: please urge your legislators to co-sponsor H.R. 297 and S. 576. Please also keep the pressure on Senator Conrad Burns (MT) – fax: 202.224.8594, who introduced the wild horse slaughter amendment, and Senator Harry Reid (NV) - fax: 202.224.7327, primary supporter of the Burns Amendment. They need to hear from their constituents as well as from concerned citizens from all states protesting this latest development. Please also express your outrage to Gale
, Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior,1849 C Street, N.W. , Washington DC 20240 - fax: 202.208.5048.

For more information on how to help, please visit http://www.wildhorsepreservation.com/action.html.

The first 6 wild horses have been slaughtered. I do want to say that I love rodeo and I find it shocking that a former rodeo clown would be the first person to purchase slaughterbound horses. Contrary to some beliefs, I've found that rodeo people generally take good care of their animals.
You can read more about this issue at http://wildhorsepreservation.com, which is the source for photos/facts and also various studies and resources regarding wild equines.

Please, when you read this, take action! It's not enough to feel, you need to act! I see so many people that say they oppose this, yet they don't take the time to call, write, and email their legislators, which I think is hypocritical. It doesn't take long, and it will make a difference (it did back in 1971!). Did you know that congress counts each letter received as the opinion of 10 people?
Let them know that you, like the majority of Americans, oppose the poor management and slaughter of our wild herds. If you are a horse owner and/or member of the equine community (I am, and most people reading this are), let them know too. Send facts; they will help to show the reasoning behind your position.
I will be posting the letters that I wrote to my legislators soon too, along with sample letters that will help you write. Remember: When you write, be firm but courteous, and personalize the letter (don't just send samples, add your own words!).

Back in 1971, more people wrote about wild horses than any other issue in US History except the Vietnam war.
Americans were outraged when they found out that wild horses, the decendants of the horses and burros that built our great country, were being poisoned, run off cliffs, shot, chased until their hearts gave out, tied to tires which they dragged until they dropped, all of this because they were a source of cheap meat for pet food. Back in 1971, people took the time to express their outrage and it resulted in the passing of the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act.
Today, it's not dog food that horses are killed for; It's foreign appetites. France, Japan, Belgium, Germany, and other countries consider horse meat a delicacy (around $15/pound), and all 3 north american slaughterplants are owned by foreigners.
I do find it ironic that mustangs, which are considered by many a symbol of America's freedom and the west, are being eaten overseas.
Let your legislators know how you feel about the will of the American people being totally disregarded, and the BLM (after 1971) removing horses and destroying herds that used to roam over 12 million acres.

I sent letters both via email, and snail mail, to my senators and representative. It's too late tonight, but tomorrow I'll be writing to various media sources.
You need to do the same!

Contact Conrad Burns and Harry Reid too and let them know how you feel about foreigners slaughtering and eating America's dwindling wild herds.

Here are some facts & info for you to help you with your letters:
  • Senators should be asked to support S. 576, and representatives H.R. 297. If you're against horse slaughter too, ask your representative to support H.R. 503. You can find out how to write to your legislators by going to http://congress.org
  • When I wrote, I also requested that they support: (below is a excerpt from my letter)
- A freeze on wild horse sales by the Bureau of Land Management to allow for
humane alternatives to be effectively considered
- Efforts to reinstate federal protection for our beloved wild herds;
- A moratorium on round-ups until actual numbers of wild horses on public lands have been independently
- A Congressional investigation into current wild horse management
practices and the undue influence of private cattle interests over public land
-A new plan that will allow for in-the-wild management instead of roundups that leave tens of thousands of horses in holding pens

  • Since 1900, wild herds have been reduced by over 98%.
  • Since 1971, when the Act was unanimously passed to protect dwindling numbers of wild equines, herds have decreased by 50% (A lot of good it's done...)
  • According to the act, wild horses can only be removed IF they are overpopulating the land or causing habitat destruction. BLM has never presented any such evidence.
  • Cattle and livestock are far more destructive to land than horses (see studies at WHP), yet cattle now outnumber wild horses AT LEAST 100 to 1 (yet account for less than 3% of the national beef supply)!
  • Unlike cattle, which chew the cud, horses pass seeds through their manure which helps to reseed the land. Horses and cattle, when grazed together, promote different types of vegitative growth, unlike cattle alone with are devestating to land (see WHP).
  • BLM estimates herds increase at a rate of 20% a year; Studies done by the National Academy of Sciences suggest that the real number is closer to 10%. The BLM uses their 20% figure to justify herd roundups.
  • On public lands, private cattle are grazed for as little as $1.79 per Animal Unit Month (I read that this is less than it costs to feed a hamster!). Private land, for contrast, can be grazed for $25-50 AUM. Private livestock grazing is costing us $130 million annually, yet contributes less than 3% of the national beef supply and less than 1% of income and employment in the West.
  • In 70% of herd management areas, the BLM has set population targets at numbers too low to ensure long-term survival and sustain genetic viability (minimum 200 head).
  • According to the National Academy of Sciences, livestock consume 70% of grazing resources on public land and cost over $130 million annually, while wild equines consume less than 5%!
  • BLM's current management are costing millions in tax dollars; money could be saved if herds were managed in the wild. Contraceptive measures alone could save $7.7 Million annually.The current removal policy is costing over 39 million tax dollars a year.
  • Six western states have lost their entire wild horse and burro populations.

In America, we ride horses, we don't eat them. Please take a few minutes to write, email, call, and fax your legislators to let them know how you feel.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Weird spam?

I got an email, entire contents were:

Call out Gouranga be happy!!!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga ....That which brings the highest

Boy, spam has gotten weird.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Horse Rescue Bracelet

My "Until They Are Safe" bracelet arrived today! This was a bracelet I recieved from 'Habitat for Horses', a nonprofit equine rescue & education center.
The bracelets are worn to show your support of horses, and the ending of horse slaughter (there are 3 foreign-owned plants that process American horses for human consumption overseas).

I actually thought they were all the same until mine arrived today, I now see that they feature different horses to remember...

The metal bracelets have an image created after a rescued slaughterbound horse, and a line describing one healthy American horse that was slaughtered in one of the plants.

If you have a bracelet, let me know what horse is on yours! Mine is "Bay QH Gelding, 15 hands, Branded - Slaughtered on 10/11/04"

You can get one for $15 at Habitat for Horses.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Ruffian: Burning from the Start

I just finished reading "Ruffian: Burning from the Start". Ruffian was an amazing racehorse -- big, black, beautiful, and fast. Ten wins out of ten races, always in the lead. She was easily one of the best horses to ever race-- she shattered or tied records nearly every time she ran, even when her jockey was fighting to slow her down.
During her final race, "The Great Match Race" against the colt Foolish Pleasure, she broke down-- on the lead-- her front leg snapping. Still she tried to run, and sadly she had to be put to sleep later that night....

An excerpt from the book:

"Nice race!" Dailey called. "How fast you think you ran?"
"Gee, Jim." Bracciale was still catching his breath. "I never really let her run, you know. Maybe eleven, ten and change, something like that." He shook his head. "I was strangling down on her all the way, and that would be a good race."
"It sure would." Dailey had a big grin on his face. They took their time heading back
towards the stands. Everyone was whistling and clapping and waving their
programs in the air. Bracciale had never heard a crowd so ecstatic. When they
got around the turn, Bracciale looked over at the tote board.

"That can't be right, Jim! Look at that!" Dailey just kept grinning.
"What does that say?" Bracciale demanded.
Dailey just laughed out loud. "You can read, can't you?"
"That says eight and three! How can it, Jim? You saw me, I was choking her
the last eighth! I was pulling her up all the way home!"
"Well, she fooled you, Jimbo! She sure fooled you."
"But that'd be a record! That'd be a new stakes record, wouldn't it?"
"So? What else is new? That filly's been setting records every time she runs!"

...Ruffian's 1:08 3/5 was not just the fastest time ever for the Spinaway, not just the fastest time for any two-year-old all season at the Spa-- but the fastest six furlongs ever run by any two-year-old of either sex in the history of Saratoga. That included, in chronological order, such all-time greats as Colin, Man O'War, Equipoise, Tom
Fool, Native Dancer, Nashua, and Secretariat."

If you appreciate reading about great horses, then you will enjoy this book. Read about it online here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Blue-eyed Horses

Got an interesting question about blue-eyed horses (edited for size):

I am writing to ask for some help with a question ....
I am currently writing a short sci-fi story in which a unicorn is created
using genetic engineering. The unicorn is unexpectedly born with dark blue
eyes. I have learned that horses can be born with blue eyes...
All the pictures I've seen of blue-eyed horses show a very light or
pale blue. Is there such a thing as a horse with dark blue eyes? How
common actually are blue eyes in horses? Does the blue always turn into
some other colour or can a horse have blue eyes its whole life?
I like your website, it was very helpful.
Thank you very kindly in advance,

I love interesting question! So, I wrote back:

Blue-eyed horses are not extremely common, but are definatly not rare. Some
horses are born with blue eyes that later darken, but cremellos/perlinos, which
are a light cream color with pink skin, have light blue eyes that stay
blue. Pinto horses (horses with white patterns) also sometimes have blue eyes
(or a blue eye, or partial blue eye), especially if the white on their face runs
to their eye(s). Rarely, a solid uncolored horse will just be born with
blue eyes (or one eye)-- sometimes these are called 'watch eyes' or 'glass

Horse's blue eyes, however, are usually a light blue color.
Cremellos and perlinos have very light blue eyes, and pintos tend to have darker
blue (but it's still very light). I have heard of dark blue eyes (One books
I have mentions that they are very rare, and the author hasn't seen them), but
I'm really into horse color genetics and haven't been able to find anyone with
photos. I doubt that dark blue eyes exist.

Here is a page on 'double dilutes', or cremello/perlino horse colors:
There is also a photo of a pinto mini horse with a blue eye on one of my client's

Green eyes are, however, rare. Champagne horses are born with blue eyes, which change to green, then change to a golden/amber color. Rarely, some will keep
their green eyes.Here's a page with photos of champagne eyes: http://www.champagnehorses.net/champagne_characteristics_-_ey.htm
I've never heard of dark green eyes.

Yellow/amber colored eyes occur in the champagnes, but also in smoky black horses (which are black horses with a dilution gene).

If anyone out there has good pictures of unusually colored eyes, I'd love to see them! Especially of green/hazel or unusual or dark blue eyes. I did find one website that says their fully grown champagne kept her green eyes-- if I can get pics, I will post them.

This reminds me, I need to get www.colorfulhorses.com fixed up, and move all the horse color/genetics info onto The Ultimate Horse Site. I will do this some time, when I can find the time :D

Monday, April 11, 2005

Horse Name Generator

I set up the Horse Name Generator, which generates random horse names. Sometimes the make sense, sometimes they don't.
A sample of names I got from the generator:

Dandy Candy
Whiskey Lion
Hoof Poetry
Darn Trot
Exotic Voltage
Mango Hunter
Celestial Soda
Sweet Muffin
Strawberry Windchime
Fearless Tiger
Blazing Wind
Scented Dew
Hot Snowball
Cuddly Forelock

You can submit new words, which I might add to the generator.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Horses are dangerous

Someone had posted this clip on the message board and it shows a guy getting kicked by a horse (click here). I don't blame the horse, though, I'd have kicked him too.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The foals are coming...

Wow, today there were tons of foal cam alerts! I barely missed seeing a Mini Donkey foal-- extremely adorable-- and it looks like this mini mare, PM Fancy may foal tonight (great streaming cam, I'll be watching it). There was an alert for a shire mare, but I couldn't get that cam to load. I'm still watching Patches too (alert for her too-- should foal tonight or real soon). Synergy Stables had an alert too -- told you there was a lot of foaling activity today!

Newborn mini foal-- barely missed it on the foal cam

Harry the Hairless Horse

In my article "Hairless Horses", I mention the one known living hairless horse, Harry. Well, Harry's owner emailed me and sent me photos of him (very interesting!) and also agreed to answer any questions about Harry.
If you have a question that you' d like me to ask, let me know.