Sale Photos, the good, the bad and the fugly.

A great photo can make an average horse look good. A great photo can hide or minimize some flaws. A great photo can sell a horse. A bad photo can do all those things in reverse. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression. I know photos can be flawed, a friend and I were looking at photos of a horse she was going to look at. He was horribly pigeon chested in the photos but apparently isn’t in real life. Sometimes angles get exaggerated. Could a good photographer have eliminated that confusion, you bet, but getting the right photos for a sale ad isn’t easy. Although sometimes it seems the sellers don’t care. We commonly see dirty horses, horses so far away you can’t see anything, horses not standing up at all, and every variation thereof. Today we are going to be looking at what a difference a photo can make. I took all these ads from the Sante Fe Craigslist.

Let’s start with the bad Beautiful trakener(sic) gelding


We are going to ignore my first pet peeve, not knowing how to spell the breed of the horse you are trying to sell and move along. Horse sounds great, rides well, is easy on the ground, looks in nice condition in the first picture and then boom what is going on in this picture?!



Suddenly we have a very different looking horse. With a giant neck and very poorly proportioned hindquarters.  The legs look too short and the rider looks huge on the horse all because of the angle at which the photo was taken.  If we go back to the first picture (which is at an angle that does highlight the hindquarters) we see a much different horse.  An actually very nice looking horse.  Nice hip, nice slope to the croup, Shoulder is a little hard to tell at this angle, could be a little upright.  The head and neck look nice to me and she is tied in well. The neck looks a little short proportionally in the first photo but I credit that to the angle as well. The legs are nice with solid sized feet. Overall a very decent equine especially for the price.  But if that riding picture was all they had used I think she would have been passed over.

A little bit better, Majestic Friesian Gelding  While it would be nice to see an untacked conformation shot this show just what this horse is capable of. They look to be at a show in various gaits.


He looks uphill in these photos. In good weight and health. Nice solid feet, a pretty head, a good round hip, and that he has had some solid training.  Again there could be a conformation shot but at least this horse has done something and they are proving it.

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The best of what was available.   Chocolate/white GAITED mare


I am not going to comment on the conformation of this horse because I don’t know enough about the gaited horses to be accurate and that isn’t fair.  They have presented nice conformation shots with a clean and stood up horse.  I personally would have removed the cleaning supplies but that is me.  The horse isn’t broke yet, yeah as she is only two, so this really is the best way to sell her.

It wouldn’t be the Fugly blog without a fugly sale photo! paint horse


I know he is only $700 but could you have taken a worse photo. Horrible angle, horrible lighting, is that a filter? You can’t tell anything about that horse from this picture other than it can eat and probably needs a dose of sand clear as he is eating off some pretty sandy soil.  But nothing else.  This doesn’t sell horses.  Take the time.  Get good pictures, it really can be the difference between selling the horse and not being able to.




Sherri Brunzell just keeps getting worse.

The past few days a whole lot has come out about Sherri, about her horses, felony vs misdemeanor charges and it seems everything in between. What we now know is 14 skeletal remains were recovered from the property and 10 living horses (6 mares and four stallions), along with 4 llamas, were seized and taken to an undisclosed location where they are being properly cared for.  They have gotten much needed farrier care and better food to put their weight back on. Barring any true medical conditions they should gain weight fairly quickly.

Now we are hearing about the other horses involved in Sherri’s abuse.  There have been estimates that the value of the dead horses is over $2 million.  Which is so ridiculous since selling one could have paid to feed the rest for years to come.  Sherri owned Playin in Style and Playboys’s Madera both high level performance horses.  Although Playboy’s Madera would have been 32 this year.  Playin in Style would have been 18.  I haven’t heard from any reliable source if these horses are among the dead or living but I think it would be hard for a 32 year old horse to survive what Sherri put them through.

So why did this happen?  Why if she could have sold them did she keep them, hide them and then let them die?  Acquaintances of hers from Texas say she threw money around like “they were printing it”. I did find she has a large holding of mineral rights in Idaho.  But did the money run out?  Did her pride get in the way of caring for them properly?  These horses had to have had a regular vet when the money way good, who was it? Where did they go?  So many unanswered questions.

We do know Sherri has at this point been charged with misdemeanor Animal Cruelty.  I know a lot of people feel it should be a felony charge.  I think a felony charge is going to be hard to prove because there is going to be no way to tell cause of death from bones.  Which is really unfortunate because I think deliberate actions on her part caused all these horse’s deaths and she deserves the felony charge but there is no way to prove it.  Hopefully she has confessed something to investigators that they can use against her and bump up the charges but I am not holding my breath.

We are also finding out that the horses were in poor condition in September of 2013.  Several photos were taken and supposedly shared with the Brunzells to show their horses weren’t thriving.  The Brunzells claimed they were going to change their feeding program to get the horse back on track  but clearly that didn’t happen.  No mention of why the horses weren’t reported to the authorities then or if these pictures have since being given to investigators.


Taken in September 2013

Taken in September 2013

The AQHA has sanctioned the Brunzells and they are no longer able to participate in any events or have any other AQHA benefits.  I don’t know how that will impact the transfer of ownership of these horses when the time comes but I am sure the AQHA can make exceptions.

So where do we go from here? It is wonderful to see so many people stepping up for the horses and demanding justice for them.  To show as a community we will not tolerate this type of behavior.  We also need to remember while this is a high profile case, right now these horses are being cared for.  Every day there are horses who are neglected and abused.  If this case boils your blood but you are too far or unable to help look at local organizations that need help year round taking care of horses pulled from similar situations.  If you want to donate to helping the horses in rehab click here, If you want to sign a petition for the maximum penalty for Sherri Brunzell click here.

Loading up the Gelding Bus




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Exhibit 1:  Paint Colt

Really NICE confirmation and good breeding. Very gentle and fun to be around!! Sound and no scars or marks. Text X, TRADE FOR A TAURUS JUDGE


First off who confirmed this horse?  Did he go to bible study?  The word is conformation. And I wouldn’t call anything about this “really NICE” He really isn’t that nice to look at.  But hey if you have a gun laying around you could trade for him!  There isn’t any mention of the hernia, which is clearly obvious in the picture. He actually isn’t as downhill as the picture suggests but he is a little.  While he does have nice hindquarters, although weak in the stifle, that neck is getting me every time! Poor little pencil, giraffe neck.  He is a cute little guy with interesting markings.  Geld him and trim his feet and don’t expect him to do anything with a level head carriage.










Exhibit 2:

Paint horse Stud


Rolex is 14.3 hands and very easy to handle. He was started undersaddle at 2 years and rode for a short time and not rode since. He is easy to catch and is has a great flashy color. He is homozygous paint. He has never bred a mare so get the first babies by this gorgeous boy. This stud has excellent bloodlines top and bottom. He is from a long line of top QH and paint horses. He loads easy into trailer, catch in pasture and acts like a gentleman. Do not miss this opportunity to own an own son of a champion. He is UTD on coggins, worming and vaccinations. He is young enough to still make a great riding horse and stallion of him. He is located in East TX- can ship anywhere just ask for a quote. Great deal at $5200 call or text Traci Davisshow contact info (Would consider trading him for 2 or 3 riding geldings depending on geldings)


He has decent bloodlines and while he is not broke they claim he is easy to handle.  Apparently not easy enough to wrestle down and brush his mane and tail.  He looks like he just cam off the range as a wild mustang. Did they try to braid his mane or is it dreadlocked?  He is not Fabio, he isn’t going to bring extra money because his locks drifted in the wind.  Barring his presentation he is a little goose rumped.  His whole back end looks weak and maybe that will change with work.  But he is not stud material.  Geld him, break him and have a great flashy horse.


Exhibit 3:

Another Paint Stallion




7 year old paint stallion. Registered through APHA. I do have his papers. He is rideable but will need a little bit more work. He’s a great horse and has a lot of potential, I just don’t have time for him anymore, for more information please email me thank u. Asking price is negotiable


He sounds like a great horse.  But as Buck Brannaman says, “Nobody needs a stallion” . Keeping him a stallion makes him a logistical nightmare.  Where are you going to keep him, are there mares around? Can you keep him separated enough no accidents will occur? Are you sure?  It is just easier and better for everyone if he becomes a gelding and then he can hang out with the herd.  Since he hasn’t done anything in his seven years and “needs more work” it is safe to say he is not stallion material. 


Exhibit 4:

Mini Appaloosa Stallion


Mini appy stud not sure of his age have owned him for 5 year’s and he has had foaled three filly . He is a gentlemen with the mares doesn’t act like a stallion 350.00


This is a magical stallion as he has FOALED three fillies!  Three! I don’t know if he is a hermaphrodite or what but that is still impressive.  While he is a cute little guy he could stand to loose 50-100 lbs.  He is a little “nesty”  (Thank you Cathy for the term) where his chest just runs into his neck.  Miniatures are supposed to be conformed like full sized horses.  This guy looks way more pony.  Would he be a cute little cart horse, you bet, after the gelding bus is done with him!


Exhibit 5:

Grey Arabian Stallion

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Well he wins the “needs groceries” award.  True to Arab form he has a smaller hindquarters, further highlighted by the fact that he needs to gain 200-300 lbs. He needs to have a new farrier, new vet (if he even sees one) and new owner ASAP.  I was sent this screen shot as the as has been pulled

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Poor guy is owned by a pimp.  Studding out his horse for the simple fact that he has the proper parts.  What is sad is this obviously isn’t the first pimp who has owned him.  And apparently none of them have researched genetics at all.  First off he is grey, he is not even dapple grey but flea bitten like so many of these grey arabs .  And if they had done any sort of genetics research they would find grey is dominate.  Which is why most of his foals were.  Apparently he is not homozygous or all the foals would be “dappled”.  It is too bad this on is not for sale as he could use an upgrade.  To people who won’t pimp him out, geld him and let him become some little girl’s horse.


Thank you to everyone who submitted a horse.  It was funny that all the horses submitted needed gelding so I thought the Gelding bus could get out and stretch its legs for a little bit.

Need help gelding one of yours? Here is a great link to organizations that can help with cost.



Where are they now – Broadway


I saw Broadway on this very blog.  The tag line always got me “You could still be on Broadway!” as obsessed as I am with musical theater it always caught my attention.


Picture from the ad!

But I couldn’t have another horse so I never clicked the link I just admired the cute, black Thoroughbred mare and hoped she would get adopted soon.  Then my Scarlett died.  My horse I had had since I was a teenager who moved with my through high school, college, jobs and marriage.  A couple weeks later I decided to click on the banner ad.  I found out Broadway was a Mr Proscpector granddaughter which made her cousins with my living Thoroughbred, she shared a birthday ten years apart to my Scarlett and she was a perfect doppelganger of my Trekehener mare.  The stars were aligned I needed to find out more.  I called Jill at Shiloh Horse Rescue and found out more.  She had been there for 5 years, she came in through a program shipping east coast racehorses out west to hopefully find homes.  No one knew why she had been there so long.  She was cute, fun to ride and well bred.  She had a couple quirks, she doesn’t tie at all but easy things to take care of with management.  After talking with my husband we decided to drive out from Colorado to Las Vegas to pick her up.


The trip was a disaster from the beginning.  My truck was only two wheel drive and in the middle of the night we hit a snow storm and got stuck on a mountain pass in Utah.  In the morning light we chained up and drove out. Making it across Utah the clutch on the truck started to fail.  By the time we pulled into Shiloh the clutch was gone.  We had decided to make a vacation of this trip so we were going to drop the trailer, meet Broadway, then head to Vegas for some fun for a few days.  After gimping my truck back to Veags we got it to a mechanic.  Then we had our few days of fun.  After paying an exorbitant amount to the mechanic we pickup up the truck and drove back to Shiloh where the clutch promptly failed again!  After the mechanic refused to fix it we ultimately flew home got a different truck and came back out for Broadway.  All of it was so worth it though.

Hanging out with new friends.

Hanging out with new friends.

She is a delightful mare.  She is very sweet, gets a long with all the other horses and has been a great ride.  While I haven’t been able to show her like I have wanted to I have enjoyed her and I think when time and circumstances allow we will get out there.  She is certainly a game mare.  I took her out to a local cross country schooling course and at first she seem confused about what I was asking her to do.  I finally found a log small enough for her to walk over and it was like a little light bulb went off and she knew exactly what we were out here to do!  After that she was jumping with gusto and she has an amazing jump.  I started her around on the little stuff and then put together a combination that would end with a small down bank.  I went through the three jumps and slowly trotted her to the bank.  Thinking she would balk or scramble down it, nope she took a flying leap off that thing like it was the greatest thing in the world!  As I struggled to stay on, yes it was that big of a leap, I filled with pride that she was getting that brave.  After we took a breather I turned her around and we went back up the bank and then over the three jumps we had just jumped.  Then I let her gallop. The wind rushing past my face the sand flying up around us it was magical. Do you all have that one memory of each horse, the one where everything clicked and the bond was magical? I have one for each of my horses and Broadway’s was from that first day schooling cross country.  I hope to be able to get out there more and get her to some shows at some point.  She deserves to be known as more than just a rescue horse.


I am sure I will feature her more, especially if we get out to some shows!

As for Shiloh Horse Rescue the place itself is amazing.  70 acres out in the desert of California just east of Las Vegas, Nevada.  The place always looks great when we visit and it truly is due to the hard work of Jill, her husband Todd and their amazing staff.  The horses are all so well taken care of and a lot of them just get to wander and live out their lives in peace, knowing they will always be cared for.  Recently Jill and Todd have started a new venture to help with the always rising expenses of caring for horses. They decorate horse shoes and sell them at trade fairs, expos and really anywhere else they can.



They call it Horseshoes Saving Horses has been able to raise enough funds to buy several semi loads of hay for the horses.  While this means Jill and Todd tend to be on the road selling the horseshoes things run like a well oiled machine back home.  All the shoes are available on and they can do custom orders.  I also hear Todd is branching out and doing skull paintings and ironwork.  Definitely something to check out as they really do beautiful work and it all goes to support the rescue horses.



Rescue Horse of the Day – LCR Casino Roan










Talk about a great find.  He is a 5 year old Quarter Horse Gelding WITH papers.  Super cute bay roan and he is broke.  In a refresher program with Brent Winston.  He is sweet on the ground.  Picked up at an auction by Drifter’s Hearts of Hope (we will get to them in a minute).


He was 100lbs underweight but now he is in good condition and ready to ride.  He is blind in his right eye but it doesn’t slow him down one bit.  He is riding sound.



He is right at 16 hands could be a smidge taller but hasn’t been officially measured, still a decent size boy.  He is a Hancock bred horse so along with size you get a good brain.  The rescue tells me he has great ground manners and is good for the vet and farrier.  Fundraising for this horse took on an international spin as money came in from Colorado,  Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia!  His adoption fee is $950 to an approved home.   If interested contact Drifter’s Heart of Hope.

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Link to a video on Facebook.



Drifter’s Heart of Hope is a relatively new horse rescue. While they are young they have already rescued over a dozen animals.   The back story of the rescue is quite amazing as well.  It starts with a girl named Bella and her horse Drifter.  Drifter was once a top roping horse but when he couldn’t cut it anymore his owners dumped him. Luckily Horse Protection League took him in and a wonderful family adopted him. They got to work fixing his soundness issues and once resolved they decided Drifter needed a job.  In came Bella.


Bella is an amazing girl with special needs. She and Drifter connected immediately. Bella decided there were more horses out there that needed help and Drifter’s Hearts of Hope was born.  Bella gathered all her friends and they started making horse cookies.  They sold these horse cookies in locations around town and that is how they are funding rescuing horses.  With a land rental donation from a kind neighbor Drifter’s Heart of Hope is full steam ahead rescuing horses from the auction house.





I think this horse fits our namesake well…


A couple things could be wrong here, it could be a bad angle, it could be her stance but really it looks like this horse was put together by a committee that didn’t confer with one another.  I love TBs they were the first breed I owned and I have always had at least one in my herd.  I am especially fond of TB mares but I don’t know how well this one would be able to work.  Still hoping it is the angle but that is one of longest, weakest loins and back I have seen.  To get this horse to step under and really use her back is going to be hard.  Separately she works but the two ends don’t fit together right.  The shoulder is a little upright.  She does have some shark fin withers.  She appears to have a nice neck, although it could use some muscling, and a decent head.  She is nice and straight through her knees and her slightly upright pasterns match her shoulder.  For the front end I would like it enough to be a workman type horse.

Again for the back end she is balanced in the hindquarters a little straight through the stifle but I don’t hate it.  It is just that unfortunate pairing of the front and back.  I don’t think it makes this horse unridable and for $700 she might be a great find.  Is she going to be able to do a lot of dressage work correctly, probably not.  I would love to see her breeding and if she raced how she did.

I am sorry today is kind of short.  I spent a lot of time looking for a fugly horse and this was the best I got.  Does this mean maybe we are starting to breed better horses, I hope so! If you see a fugly horse that you want featured email me at

Next week if I don’t find something I will do a conformation critique on one of my TBs!



Update on Sherri Brunzell And Updated again!

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has finally been called out to help with the horses! Channel 11 News is reporting the horses are in the process of being removed.  Thanks to all that called, petitioned and work to get these horses out of the Brunzell’s care.  Now on to the criminal charges!


New news article, husband speaks out

This woman, and her husband are idiots.  They are now claiming that twelve horses died last year due to colic because of the cold.  Nope sorry they may have died to exposure from the cold because they had no meat on their bones or maybe they did colic because their stomach was eating itself.  Either way it is a very poor excuse.  These people are lazy, stingy assholes.  The horses died and they couldn’t deal with them. How about the several livestock removal services, oh yeah those cost money and then maybe they would see that the remaining horses aren’t looking so good either.   It is too bad that the horses have decomposed to bones so it will be very difficult to determine cause of death.   The article says they met with a vet yesterday, I wonder when the last time that happened was.  They are probably in desperate need of teeth floating and wormer.  Because if you aren’t feeding them you aren’t giving basic care either.

If they hadn’t been caught when would they have cleaned up the property?  When they all were dead?  This is way too little too late and they need to be held responsible for what has happened.

Last night I reread the sheriff’s statement and it got to me that they said the horses had food and water all along.  So the people who found them were lying.  The video they have of empty bins was doctored?  Come on. I am checking into if this family has political connections because something is fishy here.  Seriously if child protective services rolled up on a case of 12 dead toddlers would they leave the remaining ones because “we don’t know how they died” NO they would pack up the survivors and get them out of there.  Animals are just as innocent as children.  With the DDFL Harmony center just down the road they could have easily taken the horses.  That is what they are there for 100% law enforcement seizure this case would have been perfect for them.

There is a growing movement in the area to get the horses out of the “care” they are getting. I love that Dual Peppy’s previous owner is trying to get him back too.  For such an amazing stallion he should be given the golden retirement he deserves not wondering when his next meal will come.

Here is the link to the change petition

Will update more as we get it.  This woman should be banned from ever owning horses again and we need to make that happen. Colorado does have felony animal cruelty laws and she needs to be charged to the fullest extent.

From the WTF files. How do you not deal with 8 plus Dead horses UPDATED at bottom




Imagine you have just moved into your new rental. Your dog gets loose and you take off chasing it.  Your dog enters a barn and inside you find 8-12 DEAD HORSES.  Along with several others suffering severe malnourishment.  That happened to Denise Piper  and Diana Ragula as they caught their dog. Thank god the sheriff has stepped in to investigate.  How does an owner let it get that bad.  Why didn’t they at least bury the bodies rather than let them rot in the barn.  Apparently there were alpacas in there too.   Piper also found four feet of fecal matter meaning these animals haven’t been adequately cared for in a  long time.   The horse were apparently boarded on the property by another individual, Sherri Brunzell.  How did the owners not noticed this severe neglect?  They say Brunzell wouldn’t let them see the horses or help with care but it is THEIR property.  Certainly Brunzell wasn’t there all the time.  They could have easily walked down to see how things were going.  I wonder if she was even paying her board?  Personally I feel if this sort of neglect happens on your property the owner should be head liable as well.  There is no reason to turn a blind eye to what is going on in YOUR barn. At very least all those decomposing bodies had to have smelled terrible.  How do you not notice and investigate THAT? Anyone associated with these horses should rot in hell.

UPDATE: This horse below IS Dual Peppy (sure doesn’t look like he did in his 1999 breeding ad) he made the owners $88,391 as a cutting horse and it still didn’t save him from horrific neglect.  His offspring have made more than $689,000. Stud fee in 2009 was $2500 it had been as high as $3500 so he bad them a boatload of money in stud fees too. Breeding Contract link.  In 2010 he was ranked 25th all time leading sire for reined cowhorses.  He was ridden by Jason Clark. This horse has a record for pages it is devastating to see him in this condition and that dog probably saved his life. Not the people who showed him and campaigned him for years but a random loose dog. Thank god he is one of the live ones and hoping he can get the care he needs.

brunzell2dual peppy

I am so glad that the women who found these horses are mad and willing to help get the remaining horses the care they need.  I really hope they are not charged with trespassing as it clearly shows them on video going in an uncovering the dead bodies.  Although I admit I would take the charge to help the horses and hopefully get justice.  There was some talk on Facebook last night about a delay in getting to the surviving horses and all I can say to that is it sucks that law enforcement has to wait for proper channels in order to secure convictions.  If law enforcement had busted in there without a warrant all evidence found could have been thrown out.  Since this is going to be a huge animal cruelty case I get them trying to go through all proper channels.  I just hope this morning the horses are getting the care they desperately need.

Looking up Sherri she registered the domain name but it is not an active website.  The horse is a champion cutting horse with over $88000 in lifetime earning.  Would be interesting to know the connection and I will be working on that. I did find some old sale pages by a woman named Sherri Brunzell selling horses for $50000 plus. This person was based in the Colorado Springs area so the likelihood they are the same person is high. Is this a case of how the mighty have fallen?  If these were high dollar cutting horses what happened to allow her to stave them to death closed up in a barn?   If they potentially were valuable why weren’t at least some of them sold to pay for feed for the others?

I did find an archived page showing 10 mares available in 2013.

If the same Sherri Brunzell wrote this article it is clear she is well educated.

She is also an AQHA member and although it appears a stallion she was associated with is a National Cutting Horse champion she is not listed as a member anymore.

Here are a couple links to news stories.  Fugly Blog will be watching this story very closely and will keep readers updated. Since the investigation is beginning I am sure more information will be coming.




UPDATE: The El Paso County Sheriff’s office released this press release:

There has been a great deal of outcry about the situation involving the horses in the Black Forest area. We recognize this to be an emotional issue for many citizens, and in light of that, the Sheriff’s Office would like to provide some additional facts about the case.

Friday, September 19, 2014, members of our Investigations Division and our Mounted Unit, skilled in the investigation of animal cruelty and neglect cases involving horses, responded to the property off of Burgess Road to conduct the initial investigation.

After our investigators arrived on scene, they determined that while the appearance of the animals was visually disturbing, none of the horses were in immediate danger and none of them had to be euthanized. As such, investigators had no legal right to seize the horses at that time. We are looking into the cause of death of the deceased animals.

Members of our Mounted Unit are in contact with the horse owner, who is cooperating and receptive to working on a plan of action for continuing care of the animals and improving their living conditions. They have been provided with fresh food and water, (which they had along along) and the owner is making arrangements to further clean up the property.

Rest assured, had any of the animals been in imminent jeopardy, they would have been removed from the location. The Sheriff’s Office has had to do that in previous instances and would not have hesitated in this case should it have been necessary. We have a number of large animal rescue groups we work with in those cases.

The Sheriff’s Office truly appreciates the outpouring of concern the citizens have shown in this case and will make use of the generous offers should they become necessary.

Sgt. Gregory White
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Officer/Legislative Liaison


This is unacceptable.  If she had food and the ability to get water why wasn’t it done?  the doesn’t deserve to have custody of the remaining horses.  If they are going to be monitoring her I hope that means an officer out there everyday to make sure they are fed and watered.  This better not turn into a case where they let her off because she is cooperating and promises to change this woman need to prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  There is no excuse for letting these animals suffer and then to just leave them to rot. I will be watching this very closely and will be updating as soon as I get information.


Cavalia – Odysseo


Since Friday is anything goes day I have to talk about the fantastic experience I had at this Cavalia show.  I did see it when it cam through my town last time and it was spectacular but this time around it is even more amazing.   The stage is larger and they make use of a lot of visual effects.  There are also more acrobatics to break up the all horse program which is nice for non-horsey significant others.  I love that they allow the horses to be horses and they use the stage as their playground.  During a large group join up one particular horse felt it was time to run around and have a good time.  It took his handler a little bit of time to catch him, with the assistance of other handlers but they all handled it like it was no big deal and the horse was well rewarded once in place.  The horses weren’t overbent, they weren’t overbridled, in fact a lot of them where in bitless bridles although it seemed most didn’t even need that. It was a wonderful demonstration of the bond one can have with a horse.  Or four or more!  In one of the mixed acts, there were horses and woman doing the hanging silks, one of the stallions looked just as enthralled with the floating fabric as we were.  The rider kindly kept stroking him until he took a deep breath and the show went on.  I don’t want to give away all the good parts but it really is a beautiful show with many harmonious parts between human and horse.  One not to miss.



I also love how the horses are treated.  Lots of play time, lots of time off and the best care imaginable.  They have their own veterinarian staff and grooms a plenty although the care if often done by the performers who join them on stage.  They even offer an adoption program for horses coming out of their program for any reason. In addition to adoption they maintain a retirement property for those horses who have retired from performing to live out their lives.  It doesn’t get any better than that.
odysseo3 for more information and tickets.

Choosing the right trailer and tow vehicle




This is a subject really near and dear to me.  I grew up with a dad obsessed with cars which meant many weekends spent at the local racetrack.  I remember going to my first few horse events and my dad being shocked at the vehicles used and how they were hooked up.  “All wrong,” he said and you all are hauling live cargo.    That’s right we are putting our precious companions into metal boxes and they trust us to get them to their destinations safely.   So how do we do that? Let’s talk about that.


First off horses shouldn’t be towed with non truck platform SUVs.  Your suburban, expedition, excursion are fine.  That means no short wheelbase tahoes, no explorers,  no durangos.  They just don’t have the wheel base to properly tow a horse trailer.  I know you are going to say but they fall within the weight requirements.  Yes that is true but that is for stationary, well balanced weight.  Horses are top heavy, horses move and while you may get away with it for awhile if that trailer starts to swaying you will never get it back under control with a short wheel based SUV.  Just think of the horses and either buy the large SUV or a truck.



Now let’s talk about gooseneck vs bumper pull.  This is a matter of the tow vehicle and your preference. They both have pros and cons.  Gooseneck pros are they are easier to maneuver especially going backwards, they tend to be more stable, you can haul  more horses.  The cons are you need a specialized truck and they tend to cut corners.  Bumperpull pros are they track the vehicle better and  you don’t need anything other than a trailer hitch. Cons would be you are limited to the amount of horses you can carry and they don’t back up as well as a gooseneck.


If you do decide to go with a bumper pull using an equalizer hitch can make a big difference.  Not only in the wear and tear on your vehicle but also on the ride and control for the horses.  They are simple to install and basically transfer some of the weight of the trailer to the front of the tow vehicle.  Leading to better control and balance.  This is mostly what shocks my dad.  Walk down any trailer row at the car race track and they all have equalizer hitches.  Hardly any can be found at the horse shows.  And they need them more.  A car once tied down isn’t going to move and its center of gravity is much lower to the ground.  Get yourself an equalizer hitch and learn how to use it properly.  Your horses and tow vehicle will thank you.


For safety make sure your truck and trailer are maintained per manufacturer recommendations. This means oil changes on time, brakes checked and adjusted, wheel bearings packed etc.  In addition check tire pressures (on both trailer and truck) and floors before each and every use.   Keeping the trailer clean can go a long way in prolonging the life of your floor.   Check that all lights are in working order and that your brake controller is functioning before you even head out.

Now what kind of trailer is right for you.  We talked about tow type now let’s talk about load type.  Slant vs Straight.  Slant loan can fit more horses in a smaller area but some larger horses might feel cramped.   Straight loads are nice because you can access each horse individually and they give the larger guys a little more room.  I personally am loving a friend’s head to head trailer right now but it is very long and some people wouldn’t like that.  Plus they can be super heavy and not all trucks can handle them.

That leads me into how do you know how much your truck can haul?  First step is to look at the tow rating of the truck.  Say the truck can haul a maximum of 10,000lbs. and a payload of 4658lbs.  These are actual numbers from my truck.  Your trailer cannot exceed the 10,000lbs and the tongue weight cannot be more that 4658lbs along with anything else you put in the bed.  Example if your tongue weight is 1000lbs (mine is) that leaves you 3658lbs for stuff.  With this truck and trailer I haven’t had an issue, but my last truck only had a payload of 1800lbs so when hooked up to the trailer I only had 800lbs to work with.  Big difference and one major reason I am glad we upgraded from a half ton to a one ton.

This is important in bumper pulls too and some trailers are balanced better than others.  In my experience certain trailers tend to be heavy on the front end.  This can lead to sagging of the tow vehicle (and then you really need a equalizer) which can impact your steering.

As for the actual trailer they have weight ratings too.   Here is an example of the trailer plate on each trailer that gives its weights.  We want to look at the GVWR this is the maximum the trailer can handle including the trailer.  So if you don’t know your empty weight you need to get it. With this example the trailer can handle 10000lbs.  If the empty trailer is 4500 lbs then you can put 5500lbs of stuff in the trailer. This includes horses, tack, water, feed etc.  Do not exceed the GVWR!



I feel I have talked a lot today so I think I might need to make this a series. I know I get a little preachy about the trailer thing but I promise it is because I have the horse’s best interest in mind.