Permanent methods of identification

What if your horse was stolen, or you were separated in a natural disaster, or you simply needed to prove ownership.  Could you do that easily and legally?

Let’s talk about that today.  The benefits to having easy, legal proof of ownership has many benefits.  From identifying your horse in a natural disaster situation to potentially saving him from slaughter.  Different states have different rules for permanent identification and some states have no rules.  We will touch on some states here but make sure you check with your states Department of Agriculture if you need any clarification.

I am going to start with the brand states. Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.  While the regulations vary in all these states this usually means a horse has to be inspected when travelling or when sold.  I know Colorado has permanent cards and they make it like a title for your horse and you don’t have to have them inspected every time you travel.  If you live in a brand state and can get a permanent card make copies of it and stash them in your vehicle and with a friend or relative so you have access to them even if you don’t have access to your house.

Sample of a Brand Card

Sample of a Brand Card

A horse doesn’t have to be branded for the inspection.  The inspector will note the colors, markings, scar and any other distinguishing marks on the horse.  Some are using pictures these days as well.  Make sure if you horse has anything unusual it is noted in case you need to identify them someday.

Speaking of pictures these are an excellent way to show distinguishing marks.  Take pictures in both the summer coat and winter coat from all four sides with close ups of markings and the head.  If you clip the horse in the winter it might be a good idea to include those too.

Going back to brands they can be used as identification as well. They should be noted in the pictures or inspection card but you can note them as well in your own paperwork if you are not in a brand state. If the brand is your own it makes it even easier for identification because that is registered with the state.  If you purchase a horse already branding make sure you have noted that.  Brands can include hot brands and freeze brands and some are done by the breed organizations and that would be noted on the horse’s papers.  Keep in mind some states don’t view papers as any sort of identifying paperwork.  Check with your state though.

Lip Tattoos are commonly done in racehorses and this is also an identifying mark.  If your horse has one take a picture of it and note the number in your paper work.

Microchipping is a newer method if identification and it got a lot of press after Hurricanes Katrina and RIta.  Louisiana requires permanent identification of all horses so approximately 80% of the horses were microchipped.  That led to the easy identification and return of over 90% of the misplaced horses.  Which is a great feat.  It was due to that fact that I decided to microchip my horses.   The microchip is implanted in the nuchal ligament in the neck.

This is why we have a horse overpopulation problem

Apparently these people didn’t get the memo that just because it has the right parts then it gets to make foals.  Breedings should be planned.  Ideally one takes a look objectively at the mare and finds a stallion that has strengths where she has weaknesses and vice versa.  Ideally they are from similar equestrian sports that they both excel in.  I am not a huge fan of breeding them after they have a break down because I think ultimately we are breeding weaker horses if every time a horse goes lame they get regulated to the breeding shed.

This pairing though takes the why prize.  The Craigslist ad

Gorgeous foal born May 14th of this year. She is weaning and ready for a new home!! She is GRULLA out of a Grulla Quarter horse mare who has some amazing reining and cutting horses in her lines and a black friesian/thoroughbred stallion who has some amazing dressage and other sport horse lines. I am not a sporthorse person, so I am not familiar with them, however I have had several people help me do research on her sire’s side and found really nice horses! Athleticism at it’s best on BOTH sides of her family tree!
I call her Spitfire right now. She already exhibits nice athletic ability from running, jumping over fallen trees, to sitting on her hind end to spin around and go back in the other direction! She is currently being handled and exposed to lots of different things such as goats, chickens, dogs, cats, other horses, saddles on momma, kids, kids being loud, tractors, and anything else that we deal with on a daily basis. She halters, ties, and picks up all 4 feet. She will tie without momma next to her as well! Eating grain and hay well and we have started working on confidence away from momma. Leads very well, will jump over logs freely and when asked. Use to being pastured and drinks from our pond.

Contact me today!

All breed pedigree :

Feel free to contact me for more information, pictures, videos, etc.

I have been told to price her around 3000…but I am accepting reasonable offers! Feel free to come check her out and make an offer on her. Can’t hurt!

Let’s start with the mare.  Well she has some “amazing” reiners and cutters in her lineage but so far she hasn’t done anything but successfully gotten bred.  I checked her lineage there is nothing that amazing about it. Annas Silver Stage, this foals grand sire did some Barrel Racing and that horse’s sire JJaz Poco Golden Blue was successful in the reining but that was several generations back. I am related to John Smith, doesn’t mean I have done anything spectacular. There are some other minor players in there but again nothing amazing.  The mare physically doesn’t scream athlete to me either. Pictured below she needs some groceries but that isn’t going to change her weak hind end complete with a goose rump.  I can’t really comment on anything else as the picture is horrible.    So what about the sire.


Sire is a Friesian/Thoroughbred cross that again does not appear to have done anything other than make babies.  I cannot find a performance record at all and it doesn’t appear they are marketing him as a stallion at all. But he does have “amazing” dressage bloodlines.  I can see why he hasn’t done anything.  He also is weak hipped, at least he doesn’t need groceries. I am thinking his short neck has more to do with his posture in this picture than how he is actually built but it could be that short.  He just isn’t screaming dressage prospect to me.  I wonder why he was bred?00s0s_5NM98PGnKiC_600x450

So my question is why?  Who in their right mind would blend these two horses together.  Reining/cutting horses share a lot of qualities with the dressage horses right?  Umm no.  Physically these horses are built for different things.  Their gaits tend to be very different.  So why are we mixing them.  Just throwing things in the pot and seeing what comes out?

The foal isn’t horrible, although it seems all of them cannot take a good photo to save their lives.  I just don’t get what the point was.  Most reining horses I know couldn’t jump their way out of a paper bag.  I do remember with fondness the first reining bred horse I was exposed to standing on the edge of a puddle contemplating jumping over it. Well he tried and he went straight up and then straight down right into the puddle.  Really funny but not jumping material at all, but boy could he slide to a stop.


It would help if they would take a decent picture of her.  But of course they had to highlight her markings but no good conformation pictures.


My main point is that indiscriminate breeding is running rampant in this country.  I am not against cross breeding but it needs to be done with a purpose.  Putting together two very different breed types doesn’t guarantee athleticism on both sides but it could lead very easily to a frankenhorse where none of the pieces fit together.

So who thought this was a good idea? What were their goals?  They obviously didn’t plan on keeping the result as she is for sale so why?   Was it proximity? Maybe the stallion lived at the same location as the mare.  Was it cost? Maybe the stallion had a minimal or free stud fee.  One thing is sure not a lot of thought went into it.  The availability of shipped semen should be increasing the quality of our horses not making random cross breeds.

Drama, Drama, Drama

Do you feel some people get off on drama?  I do, I think some people need it more than oxygen.  It is looking like Scamming Sophia found the COTH thread and posted a very interesting response.

From the thread (Fugly responses in red):

I have people on the Facebook pages, screen shooting EVERYTHING being said. I am only going to reply to the main things in this forum, and we will all be done with it. I have HARD evidence on my part, and I will be showing it in court.

Let’s start with “Voices for Horses.” A friend of mine and I were selling coffee, for a well known organic gold company. We were called by an agency, and explained what we were doing. They said we did NOT need a 501c, or whatever form it was, because we were not posing as a rescue. When anything sold, we only got the difference between the warehouse price and the price it was being sold as. Each box would have approximately a $5 difference. The seller of the coffee and I were working together to try to raise money for a local rescue. I NEVER posed as diamonds in the rough. I said that any proceeds we got, would go to a local rescue LIKE diamonds in the rough, as an EXAMPLE! We admit to misrepresenting where money was going to decieve people. We had a deadline on when we could sell the coffee through the company. We hit the deadline with absolutely no sales. I am as good at selling coffee as I am at training horses.  If we made any sales, we would have written a check to a rescue. Which one? We aren’t telling! I thought I was doing a good thing trying to raise money for a rescue, instead of keeping the money to ourselves. What money I thought you didn’t sell anything?! I deleted the page, because I was not going to deal with the drama.

I posted on a forum about how to help a “hot” horse. I was only asking the question, to see what people did. Shadow was never “hot.” He is one of the calmest Thoroughbreds I have ever known. I thought you were a trainer, surely you have dealt with this before. 

I decided to sell both my horses, due to my pregnancy. I knew I wouldn’t have the time to be with them. I also knew I wouldn’t physically be able to care for them. I had them appraised, and I asked for what the appraisal was. My board was coming to a close soon and winter was coming, so I dramatically lowered their prices hoping to find a good home for both of them, before I got to far in my pregnancy.

I never asked people to give me feed/hay. I asked where I could buy some, and the cheapest place to buy it.

Now let’s talk about Shadow, the Thoroughbred I bought in Chesapeake. He was a former Polo Pony, but was released due to height requirements. I was informed he did buck the original’s owner off. After bringing him to the barn I was at, I rode him. He did completely fine. I rode him almost everyday, my friend rode him, and my boyfriend at the time rode him. We never had him do anything wrong. I decided to lease him out, so I posted him on Craigslist. The leaser NEVER once complained about anything, but the leaser was caught (by multiple people) abusing Shadow. One day, the leaser brought her boyfriend out to ride Shadow. Her boyfriend made the decision to wear spurs, and he FELL off after Shadow made a sharp turn. Her boyfriend was NOT an experienced rider (Which he told us he was) and he wanted to canter. We all saw how that went, and he did not get hurt. It was RIDER ERROR! I was NOT the one who called the Police. My leaser called the police because she was “hit in the face” by a woman. I did not believe my leaser, and I was not going to get into the middle of it. I terminated her lease shortly after that day. If anyone else got bucked off riding, they were probably not suppose to be on Shadow. Another leaser I had would just run him, then put him away sweaty…so I terminated her lease as well. I had another leaser named A who told me she was a trainer. Pot, Kettle? I allowed her to ride Shadow, and she was caught by multiple witnesses doing things she wasn’t suppose to be doing. I asked her to stop, and she threatened me. Her lease was then terminated and I did get a protection order, because she threatened to harm me. Evidence proved so in court, and I won. No one ever mentioned ANYTHING about him bucking. Shadow was ridden by kids and beginners with no problems until I sold Shadow to a lady. She is learning how to ride on Shadow with a trainer by her side. She LOVES him and has her kids riding him too.

Now let’s move on to our current problem. I bought an Arabian in Suffolk in the beginning of July from a lady. The lady with no name! She told us her house caught on fire earlier, and she could not afford to keep Spirit. We PAID this lady, and Spirit was rightfully ours. He was in a SMALL pen, knee high in mud. He was severely underweight (we have photo evidence of the day we bought him). The person we bought him from was very emotional, and did not give us much background on him (besides he was beginner safe). After getting him off the trailer, we gave him a bath. He was completely covered in mud. That is when we found out he had an abscess blow out, and we called a farrier to work on it ASAP. We started riding him, and he was very good. I let my friend use him for trails, and she had no problems. We moved him to a barn in Suffolk. By this time, he had already gained over 100lbs and the abscess was already half way out. So you were riding him with the abscess half in? This barn was not a 24/7, so we had to stall him overnight. He was a little pushy when leading him into his stall, but other than that, he had no problems. He was still being ridden 3 times a week, to build his muscle. I decided to sell him in August, as I am pregnant, and being around horses is not the best idea. Where were the other two horses or is this a different pregnancy? I have screen shots of my original post, and it clearly says he is for an experienced individual because he is pushy around food and high strung/energetic. He never threw kicks, bucks, and he never bit anyone. I had a K.B message me about him, and I even told her he was pushy and high strung. She agreed to come out and test him. She rode, and the only thing he did was walk away from the mounting block. KB told my friend and I, that she was experienced and she grew up riding/being around horses. I made a payment plan with KB, which was reasonable. She signed a payment contract, and always talked so well about Spirit. I was contacted by a lady named J, claiming to be the original owner of Spirit. She told me she SOLD him to the person we bought him from with a no re-sale contract. I asked J to provide me this contract, and gave J several weeks (almost two months) to do so. She would always tell me she was out of town, busy, etc. J only came out to the barn twice, and still never brought any paperwork with her both time. I asked J to fax it or email it, and she still would not do so. I told J (more than 30 days in advance) that I was selling spirit, and I cannot do anything for her without her original contract. KB asked me to get J’s permission to sell Spirit. J gave me permission, and I even had a section in the contract for J to sign if she wished to. It was never signed by J, because she was ”out of town” again. I even noted in the contract that J had not given us any kind of proof that J was the original owner. K signed the contract knowing this. Between August and the End of September, KB only came out 3 times. We let her make a final payment, that was lower than the price we agreed on. Spirit was listed for $1000, but we allowed KB to pay $785, and we even trailered Spirit FREE of cost to the new location. KB saw us load Spirit with no problems, along with her husband and my husband. I agreed to give K a saddle set from the beginning, but I was not going to give up my nice saddle for free. So I bought K a consignment saddle. I had already given her a large discount on Spirit. Every time I asked K how Spirit was doing, I always got good feedback. On November 1, Spirit was moved without my knowledge. I found out he had moved by dropping off blankets to this new barn, and being told that was Spirit. I have a signed paper from the barn owner saying it was Spirit. My contract states K may not move Spirit without my knowledge. All she had to do is send me something saying that Spirit was moving. K gave me an excuse DAYS later, saying she sent me a text from a hotel phone in Puerto Rico. I have been VERY flexible with K at this point. I wasn’t going to reposes Spirit, or take K to court. Spirit had only gained about 50lbs since she has owned him. I thought you had already put all his weight back on.  You were riding him right? You wouldn’t ride a horse that needed weight or encourage that behavior would you? We went and visited Spirit in his field, and he did fine. On November 11, K texted me saying she was SELLING Spirit. I asked her why, and she told me that Spirit was dangerous (after knowing Spirit since August, and Owning Spirit since September). K NEVER once mentioned that Spirit was dangerous, and K even sent me photos of her daughter riding Spirit. I told K I would take Spirit back, but I was not providing her a refund (that is what the refund policy was in the contract). I told Karen she could sell Spirit (since she seems to only be out to get the money she paid, from what she told me), as long as it was to a good home and I knew who he was going to. I even told her I would find a buyer, and she told me I had two weeks to do so. On Wednesday the 12, K then told me she was going to sue me for selling Spirit under false pretenses and that I need to pay her, for her to drop the charges she made against me. She then demanded she was going to my husband’s command to tell them to take money out of his paycheck. I told K once more, to sell Spirit and I was done with her. He wasn’t my problem anymore. K has owned him for two months and now all of the sudden, he is dangerous. K constantly demands that I pay her, and then she will drop the charges. I told K to stop contacting me, but she continues to do so (asking for money). She is trying to charge me for slandering her name, but she is doing the exact same thing to me along with a bunch of other people.

I am just warning you that anything badly said about me with my name in it, is called Defamation of Character. Best defense to libel litigation is the truth. If this does not stop immediately, I WILL go to the magistrate. You guys have RUINED my name, company, and my husband’s name under false statements. Please get a freakin’ life, and leave me and my husband alone now. All you guys have is opinions that are not backed by any kind of evidence. Luckily, I have all the evidence I need. So stop this childish game, and go do something better.

This is the last of my words. No one will hear from me after this. I do not care what else people have to say. Only evidence knows the real truth. Good bye.  I am taking my toys and leaving!  

Another Sneaky “Trainer”

I think the horse world attracts con artists like manure attracts flies.  We seem to get our fair share in the horse world but maybe it is because we are all kind of living a fantasy and some people take it too far.  I mean if you really think about it a lot of people will never even get to pet a horse in their lifetime and we get to ride off into the sunset whenever we want.  Owning horses to most people is a fantasy and maybe that is why people lie, cheat and steal to get into our world.  I am  not saying there are not a lot of good, hard working people out there but we do have to watch whom we trust.

On to the con artist du jour.   Her name is Sophia Thomas, or Sophie Meese, or Jamie Meese depending on her mood I guess. And she has pissed a lot of people off in Virginia,  Apparently she has a knack for leasing horses and then selling them without permission.  She also takes this multiple names (personalities?) a little far as she has Facebook accounts for all three.

00J0J_bbDNdURXVtm_600x450 00G0G_kmakMrSDgOC_600x450 00C0C_7uoy7RrnnUn_600x450

Thanks to an email with screen shots as all three profiles have been taken down now. Or maybe she has made them unsearchable.

One thing is for sure she has reached the end of her scamming ways.  At least for now we all know they will pop up again like a bad pimple.  So lets squeeze this one all the way out so she will never work in the horse world again.

Some of her other highlights include pretending to be a rescue or working for a rescue and collecting funds that are supposed to go to that rescue.  Well they never make it to the rescue.  Are you surprised, me neither.  It appears she is trying to be the master of fraud.

Here is a warning from craigslist:

If you are selling are leasing horses on here use caution when dealing with a young woman using the following names.
Sophia Thomas
Sophie Meese
Jamie Meese
She misrepresents herself as a trainer.
She has been caught selling/ leasing other peoples horses without permission and grossly misrepresenting horses she has advertised. Details of her actions can be found on the Hampton Roads Horse Community Pages On Facebook. Copies of emails and messages have been turned over to a lawyer. This post is only to warn area owners and to protect the horses involved.

The Hampton Roads Horse Community does not want this on their page anymore so don’t muddy their waters with this smut.

While it seems there are many stories out there about this woman we are going to concentrate on the one involving the horse Spirit.

Spirit was giving to Sophia (I guess I will use her real name) by a woman named Angela. Angela had received the horse from the original owners whose name is Jean. It was a free or care lease. But this started out bad as you can’t sublease without permission from the owner.  Apparently Angela has flown the coop but personally she should be held liable as well.  Then Sophia put Spirit up for sale on craiglist.  There was a buyer who came to see Spirit,  liked him enough and put down a $360 deposit along with a signed contract.  In this contract it gave permission from Jean for Sophia to sell Spirit.  Problem is Jean never gave that permission.  Due to being injured the buyer wasn’t able to see Spirit as often as she intended this caused Sophia to want to void the contract.  The buyer promised to come up with the remaining money and the contract was fulfilled with the full purchase priced paid, $1000. At this time the new owner moved the horse to a new barn.  During his time with Sophia Spirit became very naughty though.  He probably wasn’t being fed enough and became very food aggressive causing the new owner to be kicked out of two barns. At this point the buyer tried to get her money back since the horse was misrepresented and get her money back.  Sophia refused to return her money.

While all this is going on the real owner of the horse, Jean, contacted the buyer.  Jean had no idea the horse had been sold and been told several times by Scamming Sophia that the horse was being leased.  The buyer is going to return Spirit to his owner and is suing SS for the money she paid for the horse.

From internet postings this is not the first time Sophia has attempted to pull this stunt. Hopefully this time she pulled it on the wrong person and will have criminal charges filed against her along with the civil ones.

People like this have no business being in our horse world.  But they better watch out.  We are a small world and we take care of each other.  Hopefully you all are remembering to google.  I couldn’t find any bad news on this person prior to this week but you hope she won’t be able to get the next victim as easily. Hopefully with as much backing and information that is out there about this person they will suffer some real consequences.  We will keep you updated.

Barn Fire

On Tuesday night 18 horses, one donkey and one dog all perished in a barn fire in Michigan. Here is a link to the news story. Barn fires have to be one of my worst fears and talking with a lot of my horse friends they agree.  I do always wonder when I see these big barns go up in flames why they didn’t have a fire suppression system or even fire alarms as it doesn’t appear this barn had either since the fire was only discovered when the caretaker smelled smoke.

From WSTB Courtesy of Emma Hurley

From WSTB Courtesy of Emma Hurley

How can we prevent and mitigate fires in our barns?

Things every horse owner can do

1. First keep it clean.  Dust, hay bits and chaff, cobwebs and the like are highly flammable so keep your barn area clean of them.

2. Make sure all electric work is done to code and well. Personally I prefer that to mean all electrical work in conduit but there is code out there that says after a certain height conduit isn’t necessary.  One would have to check their local building codes to see what it is in their area. Keeping electrical wiring in conduit not only gives a better appearance but it limits the amount of damage that can be done by rodents, birds and other dangers.  Always make sure all the electric is done by a professionals and it kept up to date, an annual inspection wouldn’t be out of the question.


Which would you rather have in your barn?

Which would you rather have in your barn? 


3. Have a fire extinguisher available, Ideally one at every end of the barn and one in the middle if the barn is large.  Make sure they are inspected annually and that every barn member and employee knows how to use them.


4. Ideally keep large amounts of hay out of the main barn.  I know for most people this is a no go but if possible build a separate building.

5. Never allow smoking or any flames in the barn.  Ever, for any reason.  If welding or grinding shoes causes sparks make sure to wet the area thoroughly.

6. Having two points of egress for each horse.  That means one access point into the barn and one to the outside.  That way if one way is blocked you potentially have the ability to get them from the other side.

7.  Watch those heaters.  Both space and water.  Make sure you are not overloading an outlet.  Ideally the fuse will trip but it may not happen.  I just installed outlets outside all of my stalls for fans, heater etc. Try not to use extension cords.  If you do make sure to inspect them so they are in good condition.  Also make sure they are the proper size for the appliance you wish to use.

8. Keep all barn door clear and running smooth.  If they are sliding doors make sure the tracks are clear and lubricated.

9. Have a fire evacuation plan and practice it.  Pretend the fire is in different areas and plan all routes of escape.


Things that cost more but should be essential in a large barn

1. Fire Alarms, ideally tied to a security system that automatically alerts the fire department.  The time saved could mean the difference in saving your barn or not.

2. Fire suppression systems, while costly the piece of mind is well worth it.

3. Fire doors between sections of barns these close or fall if a fire is detected in any part of the barn containing the fire to one section.


What do you do if your barn is on fire.  Hopefully you have practiced!

1. If it is small and you feel you can put it out with your fire extinguisher get on it.

2. If it is too large try to get the animals to safety.  One thing to remember is that horses feel safe in their stalls.  There have been numerous accounts of horses running back into a burning building to their stall because that is where they feel safe.  Ideally you get them into another safe area but at very best close all doors behind you so they can’t get back in.

3. Get yourself to safety, as agonizing as it is to lose horses in a fire if you are seriously injured or killed you have helped no one.


Back To Craigslist

Sorry the last week has been crazy for me but moving on!

From Craigslist

Forsale 2 unregistared paint mares
500.00 obo 6 to 8 years old tryed to saddle her but she seized up so we decided not to push our luck.
800.00 obo 10 to 12 years old has had some training but i have never ridden her. She is very dominant.
Theses mares are hard to catch but once caught are very easy to handle.
They are easy to load in a 3 horse trailer.
Grey horse is not forsale.
These mares will be going to the Billings Livestock sale November 22, 2014 if not sold by then.
Thanks for looking
cash money only


Were you just fattening these guys up for the slaughter house?  Because it sure looks that way.  At least the ad is honest.  They are hard to catch and have had minimal training.  I am a little concerned as to what they meant by “seized up” as I see variants of going catatonic to a full on, on the ground seizure.  I also found it ironic they could spell seized but not “tryed”.

Seriously though these are nice looking horses.  With a little training they could be getting $1000 like this Ad. Then the horses wouldn’t be primed for the slaughter house.  Because of course if they don’t sell they are going to the auction.   Wouldn’t want to put more money into them or have to feed them for the winter.  I know, I know people view horses different in Wyoming.  I tell you though I would like this ad more if it was a rancher selling old stock. Is it ideal, hell no, but at least it is not someone who hasn’t even tried to make the horses good equine citizens.  If someone wants to upgrade them before they go to the auction please contact the owner.  Hopefully the ad won’t get flagged.

I went looking for more ads in Wyoming for horses for sale and really most of the ads the horses are working horses.  They have a job and are broke and trained.  On a side note I need to stop looking at all these sales ads.  My husband is not going to be happy if I try to get another horse!!


Guest Blog- Working Horse Trust

After a long time following the Fugly Blog, I finally have a reason to write for it.  And it’s a reason that is making me incredibly sad.
For the past couple of months, my husband and I have been volunteering at the Working Horse Trust (  Based in East Sussex, England, the Trust’s mission is to help preserve and promote the few remaining breeds of heavy horses.  They particularly concentrate on Ardennes horses and Suffolk Punches (severely endangered).  They’re a small charity, with only about fifteen to two dozen horses at a time, most of which were bred and born on the Trust’s land, Forgewood Farm.  Any horses that they sell are kept track of, and they’re known for breeding quality animals.  One of the Suffolks bred there, Forgewood’s Benjamin (, was imported to Australia to help improve the bloodlines there.  The Trust promotes the heavy draft breeds as part of England’s heritage, and for modern uses such as organic farming and ecological logging.
They keep one stallion, a Swedish Ardennes stud named Brunte, and all colts produced there are gelded unless they are of exceptional quality; they know one stud is enough for a small farm.  All of the horses are trained to both harness and saddle, with all of them taking turns at construction jobs and/or demonstrations.  They also do competitions, from halter to draught to cart racing to log pulls, and have won many ribbons.  Their horses have even represented Britain at France’s Route de Poisson draught race (  Brunte in particular is a working stallion, and is so well-mannered and gentle that even an amateur has no difficulty handling him.  On open days, members of the public can come in and try their hand at driving, the horses so calm and obedient that even a layperson has no trouble at the reins.
They also take amazing care of their horses.  Last year three of their horses had major medical problems, ranging from hoof tumours to a broken pelvis, and they nearly broke the bank getting the best medical care possible for them.  Jo Ambrose, the woman who runs the Trust, has said that as long as the horses are enjoying life, they will do everything possible to give them a chance.  And it works; all three horses have made good recoveries, and their oldest mare, Unity, is still in excellent health at age 28.  The horses live on lush pasture all through the spring and summer, and then live in comfortable indoor pens for the winter.
What I’m trying to say is that this place is a wonderful charity, a place dedicated to the heavy draft breeds, one that produces quality horses who are also well-trained, well-managed, and well-loved.  It’s run entirely by volunteers, and those volunteers are determined to educate visitors about the care of the horses, as well as to prove that there is still a place in the world for the heavy horse.  Seeing and working with these beautiful, gentle animals every week is a
Now here comes the sad part.  The Working Horse Trust was established a little over two decades ago when they rented a large acreage in Eridge Park, East Sussex.  The land was little but wasteland when they came there, with no buildings, no running water, no electricity, no grazing, no fencing, nothing.  The Trust built everything from scratch, from sowing hay to laying the plumbing to building a beautiful barn and series of pastures.  All built by the volunteers and the horses, this has increased the value of the land astronomically. And now, after over twenty years of tenancy, the Working Horse Trust is losing its home.
Eridge Park is owned by the Marquess of Abergavenny and his company, the Nevill Estate Company.  For several years now, the Marquess and his land managers have been pressuring the Trust to increase their revenues, opening the farm to the public as a tourist attraction, holding classes, arranging tours…all of which the Trust is willing to do, but they don’t have the budget to set up the necessary amenities, such as a cafe, a restroom, etc.  And the Marquess and Company, of course, are offering to help with none of these costs.  What they are willing to do, however, is take ten percent of the Trust’s income on top of the rent they already pay.  The Trust has refused to go along with this, and now are faced with losing their home.
It’s breaking my heart to see this, and if the Trust shuts down, it will be a tragedy.  They may have found a new place to live, but nothing is set in stone.  They need 30-50 acres of grazing land, preferably fenced in, and hopefully with buildings, though the last is optional.  And if they do find a new place and decide to keep fighting, they’ll need at least 50, 000 British pounds to finance the move.
It’s a massive undertaking, and thought of this wonderful place being forced to close, especially after all the hard work they’ve put into it, is horrific.  I’m hoping that maybe my fellow horse-lovers here at the Fugly Blog might be able to help out, whether with donations, suggestions of a new place to go, or maybe by volunteering (I’m sure there are Brits on here!).  The giant horses need a hand, and I hope you lovely people might be able to extend one.

Thanks to everyone for listening, and thanks to Fugly for the chance to talk about this!

Updates to previous stories

Updates to a couple of our stories, let’s start with the good!

Nick also known as LCR Casino Roan has been adopted!! You can read about him and Drifter’s hearts of hope here.  Go rescue horses!

Now the bad, let’s start with the Brunzells in Colorado. On October 29th they went back to court to request two things.  The first that there is a change of venue. They must feel it would be hard to get a fair trial in El Paso County.  The judge denied this motion.  The second was a gag order.  The judge did allow this one, in part.  The prosecutor’s office and sheriff’s department are not allowed to discuss this case any further.

I find this to be a good thing.  Sherri Brunzell deserves the fairest trial possible.  It limits her ability to appeal.  If we do it right the first time she won’t be able to drag all this out for years.  Like most of you I wonder where the money is suddenly coming from and why hasn’t her husband been charged as well.  He was co owner and admitting to helping care for them.

The bond has been paid so it will be interesting to see how this case play out.


The last update is probably the worst from the horses down in Texas.

According to the Facebook page Justice for the League Line horses there is speculation that the horses have been taking to the auction.  This hasn’t been confirmed yet but the owner did threaten it when the case first started.

Was hasn’t the AQHA sanctioned these people?  They were quick to on the Brunzells but haven’t said anything about this case.  I wonder why?  Who do these people know?


As always I will keep you updated.


A Reminder to Google your “trainer”

This was emailed to me this morning and apparently to Snarky Rider as well as they ran with it on Facebook.  It is a craiglist ad calling out a woman who has been acting as a “trainer” in Washington state.  Here is the ad.

Julie Petra of Reining Days is NOT a trainer of any kind or sort. do you research. julie starves horses in her care.

julie is not a reining trainer or any kind of trainer for that fact. Her facility is not fit for animals.

she will take your money, lie to you, get in your head and make you think your the crazy one when really it’s all her.


poppy the skinny mare with the blaze is still there. julie refuses to let her go back to her old owner. she has padlocked the front gate and chained and padlocked the stalls. her own mare sweety is starving to death and can hardly walk.

pictures are of horses she’s recently starved and claims they are fine. Well you be the judge. mind you the poor horse with the white blaze is still being used for lessons. She’s lethargic and starving to death.

The barn is on Yeager rd in Monroe on the left. We are so worried Poppy is gonna die!

Along with some disturbing pictures


From Snarky Rider Facebook.



Now I have some questions.  One who owns Poppy?  Because the wording isn’t clear.  Did her “old” owner sign her over to this Julie person or does she still own her?  If she still owns her Julie has no legal right to keep her from the owner.  If you are even in this position and a barn or trainer is holding your horse they cannot keep you from your property.  Even if you own them money or they claim you own them something.  All you have to do it call up the sheriff’s office that has jurisdiction in your area and they will do what is called a civil standby so you can pick up your property.  Make sure you have whatever documentation your state requires to show ownership.  I am in a brand state so I would have to show my brand inspection.  The brand inspector may be able to help to but your first call should be to the sheriff’s office. Now going back to this case if Julie legally owns Poppy then it will be a lot harder to get her back but these people need to be on the horn to the police on a daily basis until this is investigated.

My second question is who posted the review on ripoff report a year ago?  If this is the same person who posted the craiglist ad, and admittingly they sound very similar, what have you been doing for a year?

Julie Petra is not who she says she is.  She is not a reining horse trainer.  She’s not won any awards and will try and run you out of your barn.  She barely feeds your horses and they lose weight.  She is also being accused of abusing them regularly.  They will be head shy and jumpy.  She will tell your boarders your a bad person and ask them to move with her.  She will try and take over your barn and if she can’t she will try and get them all to move with her.

she is not who she says she is.  She will steal from you and try and run your name into the ground.  She will charge you big bucks for reining lessons but she’s not a trainer.  Do not let this person into your barn whatever you do….  For the safety of your animals!!

This is why google is an awesome tool.  Google everyone who has alone time with your animals.  Add the animal, so I googled “Julie Petra horse” and that ripoff report came up.  Google them often.  Hopefully you are getting their show results when you google them.  I wish every organisation would do what the United States Eventing Association does.  Anyone can look up results for either a horse or rider.  It makes it impossible to lie about what you have done or what the horse has done.  It doesn’t appear the NRHA or the AQHA has similar searches available.  Maybe they do for members but I am not a member.  The USEA allows anyone to perform this search so one doesn’t have to be a member to get valuable information.

Another great resource is  Julie does have a profile but I have locked myself out of the website so I can’t see what it says oops! I will look it up as soon as they let me back in.  Don’t forget your password.  Updated below since I was able to get in.  Their customer service was awesome,  just an fyi! I know some people balk at Rate my Horse Pro because you basically have to pay to join but they do have some great information and a great place to check out professionals.  The fee is $5 and you only have to pay it once.

Going back to Julie, there is a lot out there about her not being a good trainer.  So anyone even contemplating her should have plenty of information if they had just simply googled her name. In less than 30 seconds I found the 2013 Ripoff report, this auction horses thread, and the ratemyhorsepro rating.  She is only rated once back in 2012 but apparently care was lacking then too.  Here is the link doesn’t allow for reproduction but here is a link. I also found her Facebook Page for reining days although she hasn’t posted public since 2012, and her personal Facebook, again inactive.

Training our horses is not where you should be saving money.  Vet your professionals well, all of them.  Google your vet and check the licensing board for any disciplinary action.  Trainers can be certified by the parent organizations so check with them too.  A trainer who is able to advertise on the National Reining horse Association website is probably going to be a better trainer than one you find on craiglist.  Check out all they say about themselves and confirm independently what they are saying.  It isn’t hard to make sure they were Washington’s trainer of the year.  We have all this information at our fingertips and even in our pockets.  I have been known to step away while looking at horses and confirmed their show record on my smart phone.  Use the tools available to you to make sure you are doing the best by your horse.



If you yank on them hard enough they will stop

I am not going to pick on this horse too much because I think he actually is a pretty nice animal.


His neck could use more muscling and he is a little upright and goose rumped but for a workman’s horse I bet he does a great job.

Here is his ad

15 hand Chestnut gelding, great all around gelding. Ropes, solid on the heel side, good in the box, scores great. Lopes around quiet, cute jog, huge stop. No vices, ties, trailers, etc., Quiet on the trail and good on the ranch. My 7 yr old can ride him around. $6500


It does look like he rides nice


Until we get to the stop picture.  Remember back in the ad he has a “huge stop”


Well yes if you grab the reins and pull back as hard as you can they probably all have a huge stop.  But it doesn’t mean it is good or looks pretty.  This would be a huge deduction if you tried that in the reining pen or reined cow horse.  Now it looks like they are selling this horse as a roper but a nice stop is a good asset for any horse.

I bought a reining horse a couple years ago after years in the eventing world.  The hardest issue for me is the stop.  The aids are completely different in reining to get a great stop you take all the aids off.  You get them running and then drop your hand and take your leg off.  Compete opposite to dressage where you close all the aids.  It takes some getting used to but it looks and feels so much nicer than whatever is going on in that picture. I know in the training they have to pick their face up to teach them but the pretty quickly get them to stop without dragging them down on the bit.  It is the reason why so many reiners can go bridleless so easily.

Compare the stop above to this one

266 BC07p1B.4- 042 ruben stop

Relaxed on both the rider and horse’s part.  Even in training the horse can be relaxed and not being yanked on.


No braced shoulder, no mouth gaping in pain this still looks pretty nice.  Or you can go full awesome and go tackless like the wonderful Stacy Westfall!


When you yank your horse around it does nothing other than make them brace.  Build a happier horse and relationship by teaching a true “woah”  Your horse will thank you for it.