Home, home on the rangeeeee

knock hocked
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How do you make a horse tough?  Hearty?

You deny them the luxury of living in a box stall and home them on the range using only barbed wire to keep ’em close.  OF COURSE! (Home.  Home on the rangeeeeeee – sang with a drawl and a twang).

Yup, according to Lazy FS Ranch that’s how you make a good ranch horse.

“All of our horses run out in the scab rock and are fenced in by barbed wire.  These horses are all tough and do not receive the many luxuries such as box stalls.  These horses are well-rounded, quality animals, with great minds, and a solid build.”

See? You can’t make this stuff up!

Risking your horse’s lives and well being by refusing to use one of the many readily available fencing alternatives to barbed wire is NOT going to make them any more of a ranch horse!  Scars aren’t sexy on horses, dammit!  From the concerned reader who brought my attention to Lazy FS (gosh I hope it’s ok to use these comments, I didn’t hear back in time but they were too good not to include!):

“I’m inclined to wonder, though, how they evaluated temperament to come up with willing temperaments and great minds…. I mean, I think a lot of horses might be willing to run around in a herd their whole lives and have good enough minds to only run into and get tangled in barbed wire once or twice–as adults–because foals never run haphazardly or get too close to something out of curiousity.  It’s also nice to be reminded that horses don’t really need shelter… at least not these tough ones.

Anyways, I’m just always glad to see upstanding breeding programs such as this. Especially when there is such a shortage of $400 [high] quality foals in this country.”

Since when are box stalls a luxury?  Gosh, I always thought it was a necessity due to inclement weather and people’s desire to ride/train.  Sure, in a utopian world your horse would be out grazing for 22 hours per day but come in all dry and unfuzzy for the two hours/day you groom, ride and play with him.  Sign me up!  No? That doesn’t exist? Well I. Am. Shocked.  Outraged even!  That’s like saying your horse doesn’t do this:

[ok – it was supposed to be that cartoon of the horse eating grass and pooping out money… but I couldn’t find it!]

I think my horse is defective, he doesn’t do that.  I wonder if he’s still under warranty…

This ad from Lazy FS Ranch was sent in by a concerned reader:

“2012, 2011 & 2010 AQHA, APHA, & Grade horses for sale…
LAZY FS RANCH, HOME OF ROCKING UF HORSES is proud to offer for sale 7 coming yearlings and 2 coming two year olds and/or if there is a certain mare or stud that you may be interested in, don’t be affraid to ask about them. Please visit the website www.lazyfsranch.com to see what is currently available! The 2012 foals are hitting the ground. If you have any questions or would like to set-up an appointment to come see them please just contact us! Thanks! Only the best comes from LAZY FS RANCH, WHERE QUALITY MEETS VERSATILITY!!! $400 for grade and $500-$800 for papered foals! CURRENT SPECIAL~$50 OFF ANY COMING YEARLING. “

There’s something wrong if you’re using the words “grade” and “best” in an ad.  Somehow I find it very hard to believe that all their horses are the best ranch horses ever to walk the earth.  When you’re breeding grade horses (Some people might refer to them as slaughter fodder.  Not me! But maybe a friend of a friend of a friend of a cousin of an inbred uncle-dad…), by definition you’re not getting the best.  Before you throw your rotten tomatoes, I’m not saying grade horses don’t have their place and can’t be amazing ranch horses!  -or other disciplines, for that matter.  What I am saying is that selective breeding of specific breeds has been proven to be the “best” and therefore their claim that they produce “only the best” is erroneous.  However, if they would like to make the claim that they produce the best grade horses, then by all means! I won’t stand in their way.  You’ll not hear a peep from me.


I couldn’t help myself.

One of their “best”…

Sure the angle of the photo isn’t the greatest but you can’t tell me that horse doesn’t have some wonky conformation somewhere that’s causing it to stand with its hind legs practically crossed.  Also, looks to me like those front toes are pointing outwards.  Gosh, I’d love a grade foal from that mare!

“Our horses have willing dispositions, great minds, athletic ability, are very cowy, and have some color too!”

Considering that all of the horses listed for sale on their page are under two years old I don’t see how they could have “athletic ability” or be “very cowy”.  Living in relatively close proximity to cattle does not a cowy horse make.  Just as a point of interest, no where on their website do they mention working with the youngsters.  They definitely didn’t peep about the painstaking training efforts they were putting into these young’uns.  Guess that’s why they’re selling them between $400-800.  To put any amount of decent training on them would up their price significantly, I would think – even if the trainer was only charging $10/hour (and what quality trainer doesn’t have such reasonable rates?!).

Ok, my last point of contention is their APHA Foals page.  These horses are listed as either “registerable” or “will be sold with an APHA application” – what does that even mean?  To me it sounds like they’ll sell you the horse and print out a registration application for you to take responsibility for filling out, filing and paying for.  APHA peeps: is this a well used term? Am I missing something? Does it mean that they will file the application for the new owners and help them through the registration process? -if that’s the case, why aren’t they just going ahead and registering the horses themselves?  The only reasons I can come up with are laziness and/or Scrooge McDuck-ery (they don’t want to part with the moolah).

By the way, that mare pictured above, is on the APHA Foals page and they list her pedigree as including “Impressive Sorcerer“.  Why yes, yes that is an Impressive horse!  And yet, none of the horses are listed as being HYPP anything.  Hmmm did they not test their horses?  That can’t be right!  Responsible, barbed wire using horse owners such as these would certainly test for a potentially life threatening disease!

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  1. Posted by Bay Horse Girl, at Reply

    So they have shit ass fencing and crappy horses. At least the horses all look fat (some a little too fat), sleek coats, and appear happy and well cared for. My mare DREAMS of running wild on acres and acres of land. Come on… You can find someone better to pick on than this.

  2. Posted by Tina, at Reply

    I beg to differ. Box stalls are not a necessity. My horses have lived without box stalls for over 5 years now. They’re handled daily and receive the best care possible. They’re happy and healthy. I think putting horses in boxes is ludicrous.

    • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

      I think necessity was the wrong word – I don’t think I made my point very clear… I would HUGELY prefer my horse to live on acres and acres of pasture – it’s just unfortunately not readily available in my area. I think it’s far healthier for horses to be out grazing for a number of reasons. I think it was crazy for those people to say that box stalls are a luxury.

  3. Posted by jlvjthela, at Reply

    And i will also add to bay horse girl that my horses are out on 6 acres with no box stall to live in. Just a run in. Yeah I have to *gasp* catch and GROOM my horses. I know thats so hard to imagine. BUt ill tell you this my horses are MUCH happier out in pasture than they ever were locked in a stall

    • Posted by jlvjthela, at Reply

      Oh and also all of their horses are well cared for, groomed and healthy. So what they have barbed wire fences? If you have a horse on 100 acres and God forbid it be fenced with barbed wire, who really gives a damm. A lot of horse breeders in the midwest have barbed wire fencing. The thing is YES a horse can hurt him self on barbed wire, but ive also seen them hurt themselves on sticks, rocks, hills, etc… and I have also seen some nasty injuries from non-climb horse fencing, new zealand wire and poly rope/tape.

      Also there is research (and plenty of it) that horses are healthier when left in a pasture. I bet you wouldn’t find one of my horses with a stall vice!

      This is not blog worthy sorry

      • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

        Wow, I really failed to make my point clearly lol. See my above response to another commenter, but I totally agree that it’s healthier for horses to be out on pasture than in a box stall. I would LOVE for my boy to be out on acreage – unfortunately, in our case, we have a box stall life and I most definitely do not consider it a “luxury”.

  4. Posted by Carol_in_wi, at Reply

    Being sold on Application is almost standard with paint, qh, and appy foals.
    They have the basic info on dam/sire and their reg #’s. They have submitted the stallion breeding report, and I am not sure but they may have to fill out a mare breeding report too. AQHA now requires DNA, and if you don’t have it on file OR if the sire died before the foals were born.. OR if the mare died AFTER the foal was born. AND their DNA is not on file.. you are screwed.
    It happened to a friend of mine, she had a lovely AQHA stallion, sold him to what she thought was a great home. When his only foal at that time was born she found out that he needed the DNA.. and then could not find the stallion. The buyer information led to a dead end. And they never transfered the papers out of her name.

    • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

      Thanks! 😀

  5. Posted by Alyssa, at Reply

    I’ve seen that Lazy FS brand before. It was on a little QH mare that was in….guess where…an auction house in NJ the same week I bought my current horse there. She was actually a cute little mare, and I would have taken her home if that cute little Appy I now have hadn’t been all sassy and Appy like in the pen and won me over. I have a soft spot for Appys. Don’t know where she ended up, but she had a good chance at least considering it was Camelot. I remember seeing that brand and trying to find out where it was from. Now I know.

  6. Posted by Charlotte, at Reply

    I have no problems with horses not living in stalls.
    In fact I feel 24/7 turn out with other horses is healthier than living in a damn box. Horse do after all have this amazing thermo-regulatory system call their Skin – of all the darn things each hair follicle comes with a muscle called the erector pilii which can raise, lower and turn hair as needed.
    Not to mention horses have veins they can open and close inside the skin to reduce or increase body heat, sweating is also used as a cooling function, they shiver to create heat as well, then there’s the bit where they move to stay warm AND they can adjust their metabolism to protect energy stores.
    So, just to be clear – horses’ are just fine outside 24/7 as long as they are healthy.
    Now, turning them out without the option of a run-in-shed of some sort would be a huge problem. They do have to get out of the wind sometimes and if the bush isn’t dense enough then they need an actual shelter.
    That’s my two-cents about your thinking it’s bad they’re outside.

    • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

      lol yup, definitely didn’t make myself clear on my “luxury stall” position 😉 DE fail. It happens.

  7. Posted by Charlotte, at Reply

    p.s. I didn’t read through the comments so I missed your comment about you preferring it if your boy could be out. :)

    p.p.s. I don’t think it’s ok to keep horses inside barb wire. I don’t care how large the acreage is. Horses are not cows and have very thin skin and the place they usually get tangled is their legs; it’s a death sentence because there are no muscles to protect all the tendons and ligaments in the legs! So anyone, thinkiing it’s ok, have your head checked. kthnxbai.

  8. Posted by Stacy, at Reply

    I think what’s annoying is they bragged about having the horses fenced in barbed wire … like it was necessary for raising ranch-tough horses. I don’t agree … though raising them responsibly in correctly fenced pastures is definitely ideal. They seemed to have just that, ranch type horses, listed. Nothing extraordinary but sturdy and nice enough. More grade than anything else.

  9. Posted by Rachel, at Reply

    I’m on the fence (ha!) about this post. I think it’s pretty clear that these foals are not show quality, best of breed etc. However, a lot of people I know out here in cowboy country (Alberta) just want a good, sturdy, smart, unflappable horse and that’s what you get when you buy a ranch-raised foal. When you’re working cattle and doing actual jobs, instead of basically keeping your horse as a pet (I include myself in the horse person population who keeps their horse as a pet), you don’t have really any tolerance for BS shenanigans from your horse. I think what they are trying to convey, albeit not in the clearest possible way is that you’ll get a no-nonsense horse that will do its job when you purchase from them. Also on the barbed wire issue – would I ever keep my horse behind barbed wire,? No. Do I know many horse owners who do? Yes. I used to be an anti-barbed wire freak but I’ve seen so many other worse things that can be done with horses that I just let it go as long as the horses are well taken care of otherwise. Also for those ranch horses, do you really think people are going to re-fence their cattle ranch just for the precious ponies? Sadly, not.
    I have to say this post was unnecessary.

  10. Posted by foxfire321, at Reply

    I like for yearlings and young stock to be out on large, rough acreage, makes then sure footed, hardy and have herd sense. BUT NO NO NO on the barbed wire, especially for babies since they tends to want to play with everything and anything. Even on very large acreage I’ve seen barbed wire injuries. Large box stalls are a nice perk, run ins are fine, but safe fencing is mandatory IMO.

  11. Posted by Jennifer, at Reply

    Umm. In most climates, horses can live outside. Seriously. I’ve ridden horses that never see the inside of any kind of a stall…pasture, corral or on the picket line. Dude ranches keep their horses that way. So do a lot of lesson barns in England…the ponies are brought in in the morning, picketed while they’re groomed, turned out again when they’re done. In any kind of weather. I’ve brought horses in and brushed SNOW off their backs (it was the ones without the snow you worried about and you had to get it off right away before it melted and you had a wet and miserable horse). The implication that it’s fine to keep a horse stalled because you don’t want to spend time brushing mud off of it…I’m not happy with that. I think it’s the first thing you’ve said that I heartily disagree with. Horses are better off outside, with climate appropriate shelter and extra feed if necessary. I HATE having to ride at a barn where the horses get 3 hours a day turnout, but that’s the reality of life in the city – they just don’t have the grazing to keep them out all the time. Stalled horses have more physical and mental problems…they’re more likely to go lame, FAR more likely to develop abscesses.

    Now, on the ‘bobwire’, I’m with you. Barb wire is for cattle. Their youngstock probably are sounder and healthier for growing up on range pasture, but…I don’t like barb wire at all.

  12. Posted by Elizabeth, at Reply

    As soon as I saw this post I knew they were in Washington. Why does my state have such a huge number if idiot horse owners??? I just. don’t. get. it.

  13. Posted by Katelynn, at Reply

    sooo, just had to add another perspective here- that of the rancher. My father in law has a large cattle ranch that I have worked and lived on. If you have ever worked on a cattle ranch you know that a large amount of your time is spent fixing fence- barbed wire fence. cattle, elk, the elements they are all hard on fences and the rancher is trying to make a living. Sure I guess he could keep all the ranch horses in one wood rail fenced pasture- but with their lifestyle of roaming on their own he has never had a horse colic or founder and they live to a ripe age of 25-30-Not bad!
    Now Im not some backwoods yahoo- I have boarded at huge show barns, have my arabs that I run endurance on and after we moved replaced all the old wire fencing on our place with electric wire( that some people also have an issue with) . I have seen horses hurt themselves in a clean smooth walled stall, on a smooth metal gate, in a safe new horse trailer, while correctly tied to safe secure place- I dont agree with what a lot of other horse owners do with their horses but as long as the horse is fed and healthy- I cant complain.
    Ranchers are just trying to make a living and these guys are trying to provide good working stock to those that need it. Do I like barbwire and horses? NO!!! Is it the worst thing that can happen in a horses life? Not by a long shot- and the majority of posts on this blog prove that! *The ranchers have alot agianst them, dont be too hard on them!

  14. Posted by Jessica, at Reply

    Ack….I thought this place looked familiar. I had looked at two of their babies years ago. Unfortunately they haven’t changed at all from the sounds of it. The babies are receiving no real farrier care, handling, vet care, etc. Guess if you’re pumping them out so quickly and in large quantities with none of those pesky over head costs (ie proper care) you can afford to sell them so cheaply.

  15. Posted by Crockerpup, at Reply

    Come on, now! At least they got their name right: Lazy!
    Too lazy to build horse safe fencing. Check.
    Too lazy to build any kind of horse shelter. Check. (You’re right, they don’t need box stalls, but shelter is kinda a basic thing, regardless of how happy they are out there roughin’ it on the range.)
    Too lazy to train and ride their breeding stock. Check. (I see two GELDINGS being ridden, on their brag page… cuz obviously, it’s quite an accomplishment for them to have a “broke” horse.) No photos of mares or studs in halters or with people–can they even get near them?
    Too lazy to show or compete under saddle or do health/dna tests? Check.
    Too lazy to keep their different breeds separate, too lazy or cheap to buy registered stock, or too lazy to keep up with the news (ie “unwanted horses,” economic depression, bad horse market, horse slaughter). Take your pick. Check.

    Please tell my why, if they are raising ranch horses, they show absolutely no photos of their horses or their offspring doing actual ranch work? I know ranchers, and cameras are not a foreign concept to them….

    Oh well, I guess they did manage to halter train and show a couple of their non-grade babies. And they’re so purdy. Good job!

    It seems like a lot of your commenters are missing the point. WTF is up with them popping out over 10 GRADE foals last year, when they still have 2010 foals they are trying to sell cheap, and then rebreeding stock for grade foals this year?! They have more grade mares on their site than registered. I just can’t understand why. Except that they don’t give a rat’s ### about where and how their horses end up. Slaughter fodder is right. It’s THESE types of breeders who need to just stop. I don’t care if they are just trying to produce ranch horses; at least, for the sake of selling them later to real homes when they are grown and not the KB, raise registerable horses. Quit breeding grade mares. Quit producing grade foals. And for the love of [fill in the blank] cut back on your “breeding program” when the market is barely supporting quality horses, much less grade horses. Now, I’d bet they are pro-slaughter because of the “unwanted” horse/bad market and there has to be something done with them, can’t just abandon them, ya know, and euth’ing them would be a) costly and b) wasteful .

    Sure, I’ll admit, their horses look fat and happy, and the foals aren’t the worse we’ve seen in the world. And sure, I suppose they probably hay their horses in the winter because the ranchers I know take good care of their animals. But then again, there aren’t any winter photos of their horses enjoying life, now are there?

    If you all take a step back and look at this post as a breeding issue, then you bet, it is worth posting. Now, I’ve got to go bring in my horses from their morning graze in the pasture that isn’t fenced in barbed wire. But hold on, they *only* have a run-in shelter, so I guess that kinda makes them tough, right? Right.

    • Posted by Crockerpup, at Reply

      “Now, I’d bet they are pro-slaughter because of the “unwanted” horse/bad market and there has to be something done with them, can’t just abandon them, ya know, and euth’ing them would be a) costly and b) wasteful .”–Sarcastic, of course.

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  17. Posted by HaflingerLove, at Reply

    Uh, actually, that “utopian world your horse would be out grazing for 22 hours per day but come in all dry and unfuzzy for the two hours/day you groom, ride and play with him.” does almost exist. At least, for my horses it does. Their out on pasture 24/7/365, with only 1 3-sided shelter, and even in the dead of the winter during a snowstorm, I’ll see them just out running around. We don’t even have any real horse stalls (we do have barns though, if they need to come in for whatever reason, and we do have crossties and such in the barn’s bay). Many horses are just left out on the range for a long time, and if they can’t survive the weather, then they weren’t tough enough. That’s basically the way they raise most horses in Iceland. They will be born and allowed to run free out on the range, and be gathered every year. When they are 4 or 5, they will be brought in and trained, and no, they never had so much as a halter on before. Those are tough little horses.

    • Posted by HaflingerLove, at Reply

      About the barbwire. I wouldn’t like to have my horses fenced with that, and if I ran that, I wouldn’t let the babies run with that, but I guess it’s the same as electric fencing. The horse will touch it once, it will poke him, and he’ll steer clear of it for the rest of his life. And if they have such a large range, they’re probably not going to try to go over, under, or through the fence to get more food. And plus, if they are raising true ranch horses, it’s kind of a must that they know about barbed wire. Almost all cattle ranches use that, so the horse needs to know what it is and to stay away from it. IMO

    • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

      I’ve actually been to Iceland and ridden the ponies – it was amazing! And yes, those little guys are left out there, unblanketed, just chillin. They are super tough – and adorable. I quite like them.

      • Posted by Jennifer, at Reply

        Snarky, where did you ride? I’m planning on going up there in 2013 and would like to find a good place to go play with the *horses*. (Apparently the Icelandics don’t like them being called ponies, for some reason).

        Also, how did you handle the riding gear and customs issue they have up there?

        • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

          I honestly don’t remember what the place was called… We booked a trip through the hostel we stayed at – they had a number of brochures. We went in the dead of winter – seriously, in December, and so our equipment was tons and tons of layers – they provided a massive onsie lined with something warm. The tack was just regular English tack. The experience was very similar to a trail ride for newbs here – the horses knew their jobs and carted us around (which was good because my friends weren’t riders! and gave me a chance to just look at the sights – which were covered with snow and white, white, white). If you go in the summer or when there’s not 2 feet of snow you get to do a lot more – depending on your ability.

          The people there are all super friendly and speak English so no worries there. I would go back in a heartbeat. On the same trip I went to Belgium and Amsterdam and feel absolutely no need to go to either of those places again…

  18. Posted by Elizabeth, at Reply

    My horse is a Ranch bred mare from Alberta. she is a well bred foundation quarter horse mare. and i have to say, the life she has had growing up on the range really (imho) prepared her for a healthy, safe life. she grew up untouched ,a friend picked her out as a yearling and i bought her as a halter broke two year old. and honestly she was the best purchase of my life. she is unflappable, kids can ride her, she has been a therapy horse, and a child’s lesson horse. when i first broke her out, she was like riding a twelve year old gelding. Taking everything in stride. she now has been trained in reining, working cow, and we have dabbled in hunter. lol she is an awesome companion, working any job i ask her to.
    having looked at the pages of the lazy fs ranch, i do not really see the issue with the horses they are breeding. none of them are horribly conformed, or decrepit, they all have the fat and healthy sheen, and they do have a page (all tho small) to show off what the horses have done. the pic you posted of the mare… well she is not hideous, looking past the color, I actually kind of like her. the way she is stacked could just be that, the way she is stacked, when you are at a show, or watching your horse, you cannot say that they have never stood in a horrifying way. as for the grade horses, something i like to remember is that “you can’t ride the papers” and honestly if the horse is bred from stock the is quality they will work, for something. it may not be the AQHA or APHA worlds, but you can rope a lot of cattle, work a lot of stock and ride a hell of a lot of miles on an unpapered horse. i have seen some great unpapered horses. doing the same things a “papered” horse does… and sometimes i see them do it better
    the barb wire i am not okay with. it is dangerous. but in the defense of the ranchers… if you have over a hundred acres of land, used for cattle, it would be financially impossible to go around and rail fence every last acre, or pasture. that is the difference between a working ranch and may stables… a working ranch has to work for more than one species… and frankly often times, electric fencing does not work for cattle. sometimes it doesn’t even work for horses. I do agree that the barbed wire fencing should not be a selling point in the add. simply put re-fencing that many acres would most likely put the owners out of business.
    as i said this is just my opinion. but from owning a working horse. the points made in this “rant” don’t seem to matter. the horses are well fatted, pretty well conformed, and seem to have good minds. that is what i look for in a horse… but hey maybe that’s just me.