The Vet Trip
Cathy "No Legal Relation" Walker, a super volunteer at Brave Meadows
Therapeutic Riding Center http://BraveMeadows.com
scrawny, rangy paint off the slaughter truck that stops by the barn
every so often to see if the program has any interest in any of the
horses back in February. Then she became a boarder AND a volunteer.
Cathy had a horse in her younger years before children and
grandchildren came along and for whatever things she saw in him she
wasn't letting him get back on the truck. She named him
Dakota. As I said earlier, I noticed she was having some
difficulties with him and I offered her some suggestions which she
took and in no time them two are a team. They are the talk of Brave Meadows.
I like watching people who REALLY enjoy their horse and Cathy REALLY
enjoys her horse.
So when she asked me if I'd help her take him to the vet for his
shots and avoid a farm call I agreed. Since Dakota was going I
decided to take Faith and get her up to date on shots, especially
rabies if she bites me and West Nile if she bites a mosquito, and get
a Coggins in my name as well.
Cathy was concerned Dakota wouldn't load and she thought we ought to
meet at the barn fairly early in case he wouldn't load well. There
was no doubt in my mind he would load but to ease her mind we agreed
to meet a couple hours early. She had never loaded a horse before
and he is much bigger and fatter than he was when she got him and I
wondered if he would even fit in the little two horse.
Cathy expected me to help her load him and I started to tell her the
same thing I often tell her when I assign something for her to do at
Brave Meadows, not that she needs anyone to assign anything to her,
when she interrupted me and said, "I know, I know, 'You'll never
learn any younger!'" I stayed out of the way and did some things
that needed doing in the barn and he loaded like a million
bucks. She loaded and unloaded him a couple times on both
sides. She was stoked and walking on air.
Faith on the other hand, got half in, backed out, several times when
it was time to go, then she got in.
We get to the vet's barn and when the tech comes out and looks at
Dakota she says, "Wow! He really looks good!" Cathy's face splits.
And they talk about how ratty he looked when he got off the truck.
I've known the vet for years and she comes out and we start talking
about Faith and how I came to own her and she asks me her breeding.
I say, "Well, by looking at her she's got all the marks of an
App." The vet nods. "I found out after I ended up with her she's
50/50 App & Arab," I add.
The vet's head jerks, her chin drops and her eyes get big and she
laughs, "And you have a 100% challenge!"
The vet knows little of what I do. She had heard of me before we
actually began using her at the current farm but she doesn't know the
nuts and bolts. She has no idea about my anecdotal experiences with
Now, not all 50/50 horses are like Faith but the more I talk with
experienced people I find my thoughts are not unique.
Anecdotally speaking, all horse breeds are bred for a particular
purpose. Sure, in some breeds the purposes may be closely related as
in say, Halflingers and Drafts, but many are not. Some crosses may
appear to be closely related such as Quarter Horses x TBs but they
are conflicting purpose crosses. Quarter Horses are bred for a
number of quick conserving bursts of speed per day. TBs are bred for
going as fast as you can for as far as you can and then resting for
several days before doing it again.
For whatever reason people think they can just willy nilly breed
horses and get the best of both worlds in one generation. When I was
looking for an Aussie and looking through the Atlanta paper I could
barely contain myself from calling those people with designer dogs
like ChihuaLabs and screaming into their ears, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH
YOU???!!!" More often than not they get the worst of both breeds.
My work with problem horses convinces me more and more that purebred
horses should only be bred to the same breed horse, if bred at all,
and "grade" horses should not be bred at all because there are
already more horses in this country than there are homes for those
horses. Grade horses are often more predictable than closely mixed
horses because they have a Heinz 57 heritage containing a wide range
of genetic influences blending and muting each other. High
percentage mixed horses have fewer genetic influences and they tend
to oppose each other.
Marv "Vetter late than never." Walker