Today’s post is about some photos that have made the rounds on facebook for a few days now; a teeny tiny foal being “ridden” by young teenage girls. Understandably, there have been many strong reactions to this, mostly outrage, disgust and disbelief.

(This is apprently the cousin of the girl riding the foal at eight months old, above is Mr. Kasso’s daughter with the foal)

Unfortunately, this outpouring of emotion has been mostly directed at the teenager responsible, rather than her parents. Of course she is the one to have acted in such a foolish manner, but surely, it should be up to her parents to know better?

Are they not her guardians, older and wiser and all that?

Should they not be keeping her safe and teaching her about life and the do’s and don’ts and all that?

I mean, her father seems to know all about the incident, after-all, he is defending her admirably on facebook…

However, there is no mention of his daughter’s wrongdoing. Apparently she is only guilty of spoiling this horse rotten (well, in a way I suppose she is, indeed, spoiling this young animal) and of course she loves it yadda-yadda-ya.

Of course it is not ok for her to be copping a ton of abuse over this online, that is, in fact, called bullying, but I think it is perfectly okay for you to receive phone calls about your daughter’s behaviour, Mr. Kasso. It is only right that you should be informed of her misconduct, so you can do something about it and teach her respect for other living beings, do you not agree?

The RSPCA has apparently been informed and has received these photos, but, alas, there is no written law that stops idiots from riding immature horses of any age.

In fact, this is perfectly legal and thus, their hands are bound, so no Mr. Kasso, your daughter did not do anything illegal she did, however do something completely immoral and I do hope that you will be having a chat to her about this, otherwise I am sure we will be hearing back from her in a few years’ time when she “trains” horses to become brain-fried salami on legs, just waiting for their turn to ride the slaughter-pipeline to a European or Asian dinner plate!

Of course this girl has also taught the foal’s mother to rear, the most popular route of suicide in young teenage girls. They all want to be crushed by a pretty pony and have their brains spread all over the dirt when the pretty pony overbalances and falls on their cute little butt.

Great parenting there, Mr. Kasso!


Equine Body Condition

May 2, 2012

When we think of horses in bad condition, I guess this is what will usually come to mind.

But really, being too fat can be just as harmful to a horse a being too skinny, the fatter version is just usually more pleasing to the observer’s eye.

I mean, let’s face it, we’d all rather be seeing this

Rather than this

Of course it may not always be so glaringly obvious, and thus, the Henneke scale was put together, in an attempt to allow an objective condition scoring to be done, regardless of aesthetic input.

The scale has a range of 1 to 9, 1 being “emaciated” and 9 being “obese” .

There is a free poster available on The Horse with descritions and illustrations of body conditions based on the Henneke scale. The poster can be downloaded here.

I am sure we all know that it is impossibly to apply any one scheme to each and every single animal, however at some stage it becomes obvious, even to those who know absolutely nothing about horses, that a horse is either to fat or too thin.

Neither is healthy for a horse, and even though I’m sure many of you will already be aware of the risks of either condition, I have put together a short list of problems caused by each condition.

Horses in thin condition may suffer

Organ Failure
Poor Hoof Quality, leading to potentially lethal complications

Horses in fat condition may suffer

Soft Tissue Damage
Early onset of Arthritis
Laminitis, which may advance to acute founder
Increased Heart and Respiratory Rate
Reduced Fertility
Tying Up
Insulin Resistance

Well, looking at my lists so far, it seems that being fat may actually be more detrimental to a horse’s health than being skinny, however further googling on skinny horses seems to result mostly in instructions on how to feed up a skinny horse, rather than the risks associated with the animal being in that condition.

I suppose the end result, which is usually death by starvation, is more immediately lethal than coffin bones errupting through the sole of a horse’s foot, however, ultimately, both conditions are anything but healthy and keeping our horses in a healthy weight range (which seems to be generally acctepted as a 4-6 on the Hennecke Scale) should be our goal.

The first step to being able to keep a horse in a healthy condition is to educate ourselves on what a healthy condition looks like, so let us all make sure we do not suffer from barn blindness and know how to recognize a fat or skinny horse.

Many people I know are unable to recognize the difference between a fit horse and a fat or skinny horse.

These horses, for example, are show fit.

And this horse is racing fit.

We all need to school ourselves to recognize what kind of condition a horse is in regardless of breed, age, colour or size so that we can make sure our own horses are in good, healthy condition, as well as point out to others when their horses are struggling with an unhealthy condition and try to help them recognize the problem themselves.

So, haven’t we all gotten strange looks for speaking out on behalf of an animal, been called “hippies”, “PETA nutbags” and “bored housewives” and assorted other names, and the term “horse rescue” is basically inappropriate for polite conversation now, right up there with discussions about picking your nose. Everybody who objects to any type of animal abuse is now an “animal rights loony”.

Well, if anyone has ever wondered where this sort of mind set stems from, they have obviously never come across the Natalie Maree Wrangler’s of the world.

The other day, I was innocently minding my own business, when somebody posted a “letter” in a friend’s horse group, referring to some allegations against a lady by the name of Kim Hollingsworth, a well-known character from the Australian Series Underbelly.


(click for full sized picture)

Apparently this lady was collecting and, allegedly, neglecting horses. Many horses. Apparently she has a whole 140 head, all in various states of malnourishment, hoof neglect and, believe it or not, they are all windsuckers, and bored and don’t have rugs.

Anyways, that lady will have to wait for her own post I think.

As I said, I was minding my own business when my attention was drawn to this facebook group, which is apparently trying to bring awareness about these horses’ plight and get the public involved to try and get something done about the situation.

I proceeded to read the wall posts in pursuit of more information, preferably some that made sense and soon my attention was completely diverted from the actual information and situation and drawn to all the swearing, pictures of text conversations and threats, some of it quite hard to follow.
You can imagine the disbelief I felt, that this group would conduct themselves in such an unprofessional and… um… bogan-like manner, while attempting to get the general public involved with their cause.

I then proceeded to post my opinion, that maybe people should cut down on the swearing and threats and present a more legitimate picture to those people who joined the group hoping to help those horses (my first clue should have been when the group was closed and only members could see what is written).

Unfortunately there exist no screen shots as I was pretty much banned immediately. A friend of mine also joined the group and kindly told me what was being said about me. You will find this exchange highly amusing.


Leanne Dun al blob has sonia blocked. i wonder who it really is
32 minutes ago · Like · 3
Lauren Wilson Yeah she tryed adding me and saying the horses are in good condition BULLSHIT.they are not. Mine my langauge
20 minutes ago · Like · 1 (Equestrian Shrew in:  I have screen shots of my actual conversation with this person, for anyone who is interested. They pretty much disprove every single statement she makes haha)
Nicole Adams i think Kim needs to spend more time “trying” to look after these horses instead of continually trying to hack into here!
10 minutes ago · Like · 1
Lauren Wilson Then telling me are they cow chewing or windsucking they are like the same and telling me how old the horses could be Whatever..
7 minutes ago · Like
Natalie Maree Wrangler I am keeping my cool with kim for now.
2 minutes ago · Like
my friend  I know al blob, i can guarantee she believes the horses are not in good condition, she was trying to organise places for the horses to be moved to be taken care of in groups of 2 or threes and she is definatly not kimn
2 minutes ago · Like · 1
Natalie Maree Wrangler um why was “al bob” organising to take hroses that arent hers?
about a minute ago · Like (Equestrian Shrew in:  Haha, kinda like you allegedly did, with some of your neighbours’ horses?)
my friend  she wasnt organising to take them, she was trying to find places for them to go if they got removed from kim,


So far so good, apparently they don’t want help, unless that help is cussing their head off and threatening people. Ok, I guess I can live with that.

I now thought it might be time to find out a little more about this Natalie who is an admin of the group.

Rumour has it that she is involved in “animal abuse” herself… Apparently the accuser is also an accused…

She goes by the names of Natalie Cepeniuk as well as Natalie Maree Wrangler, and lives in the Camden, NSW area in Australia apparently.

So, besides people specifying that they will not sell her puppies, there are also various threads about her on an Australian horse forum…

Of course all the Vichorse stuff is hearsay, but you sure get the picture, don’t you…

Am I the only one who thinks this looks like she is eating his brain, zombie-style? I mean, look at his eye!

Then apparently there is also a facebook group, however this is closed, so much is left to the imagination..

There is more crazy if one searches her names on facebook or google, all just hearsay of course.

Such as this WTF:

I mean, sure, we would all love cheap breeding stock but you know, quality should kind of be an issue as well….

This is her website, by the way:

I quote:

Apart from saving horses, we also save dogs, cats, birds, EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!! So if you know of any animal needing a home please let us know… We will take in anything needing a home.


15yr old Reg Tb mare Destined for human consumption, saved now she lives her days with us as a broodmare 🙂


Yep, she definately looks like she needs to breed….

What is with this skinny little foal on the left, anyways?

Loving that incredibly long drag rope in the herd setting by the way… Attached to a knotted rope halter, no less!
And I heard that “rope halter in their eyes” is going to be totally in style this year!

Alright boys and girls, this seems to be enough crazy for one day and I am sure you now have a much better understanding of why “horse rescue” is such a dirty term now, with people like this associated with it.

I’ve been stewing on this issue for a while now, several years in fact.

These pictures were taken more than two years ago, but of course this child’s parents are not the first ones to come up with this.

I’ve seen it many times before and many times since.

Of course I understand some of the thoughts behind some of these skinny horses ridden by children, sometimes even at shows and competitions…

Why not buy a big horse with lots of potential for the kid, that way it won’t be outgrown as quickly!

This horse is cheap, he’ll do!

The horse is sick! He just won’t put on weight!

The horse is old! Lots of old horses are skinny!

It’s winter, many horses drop weight during winter!

This horse does great at shows and has competed lots! We want our kid to win!

This horse is pretty and we don’t really know much about horses, but the kid wants to ride, I’m sure one horse is as good as the next!

The vendor said all he feeds this horse is a flake of oaten hay a day! We’ve been keeping it up since we moved him from the guy’s pasture to our dirt lot up the back, so it’s not our fault!

I’m sure there are a hundred more reasons and excuses why children end up riding skinny horses. Many people simply find that they have bought the wrong horse for their child and old Clover is more manageable and less hot when he doesn’t get his grain. And his hay, apparently.

I have yet to come across an excuse that actually legitimately explains WHY a skinny horse must be ridden, let alone compete.

Of course none of this is the child’s fault, the parents and (if existent) trainers bear the full blame.

So, here are some of my counter arguments.

If he is sick, he should not be ridden until he is well.

If he is old, call a vet and figure out why he is skinny. Old horses do not have to be skinny! Pain, disease and not enough food may cause an old horse to be skinny, but they do not simply get skinny as they get old!

If he gets skinny during the winter, feed him more hay. Try rugging him. Horses need more roughage to keep themselves warm during cold weather! No horse should drop weight over winter!

If he is not an appropriate mount for your child and your child cannot handle him, either get a better trainer/instructor or buy a different horse. It is completely unacceptable to cut your horse’s ration to a degree where malnutrition is obviously occurring, just so your child can still ride this particular horse!

If he is skinny and you do not know or cannot figure out why, ask a professional. Call a vet! If you have waited and waited and fed him, and increased portions and his condition still did not improve, a vet needs to take a look at your horse. Horses are not skinny because of breed, age or religion. They are skinny because of illness, pain and lack of food!

If he used to do fine and you have changed his environment, for example if you have moved him from a large pasture to a small pasture or yard, you will need to increase the amount of food you make available to him. Horses cannot survive on air and love alone unfortunately!

I honestly admit I did not notify the show officials at the time when I took these pictures, and I have regretted that decision ever since.
If I could have my time again or if I saw a horse in similar condition, I would definitely speak up about it and I hope and would like to encourage everyone else to do the same.

Horses cannot speak for themselves, so it is up to us to do help them out if they end up in a situation like this.