A New Beginning

Cecil January 2017


Congratulations to Megan who is the Big Yellow Money Vacuum’s new mom.  That’s him with his new brother, Mason, who is looking forward to having the handsomest horse in leadline in a couple more years!

Megan has been leasing him for a while now, and he’s truly her dream horse.  I am happy to pass him along to a home where he’ll be the only child.  He needs to work 5-6 days a week to stay sound with his PSSM, so he needed to be an only horse and I can’t imagine a better home for him than with Megan who is a beautiful rider and “gets” him exactly.

(I’ll still update the blog occasionally – I know he still has fans!)

Published in: on February 1, 2017 at 9:54 pm  Comments (1)  

The Big Yellow Money Vacuum Rides Again

For the 3 of you still following this 🙂

70.625% first time out with his current trainer.

I have no idea why I want so badly for this horse to have a show career in something. I think at this point I have so much money into him that I can’t stand for all his training to go to waste, LOL!  Anyway, I know he has his fan club and I wanted to reassure you all that he is alive and well and still with me.

Published in: on May 26, 2015 at 4:27 am  Comments (9)  

Here’s the furball

Here's the furball

Photo taken 2/21/14. Currently just moseying around with a friend of mine. One of these days, I’ll get motivated to run him to Alamo Pintado and do a serious workup and see if we could ever get him sound enough to show again, but for now he just trail rides. Not a bad life – he’ll be nine in May!

Published in: on February 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Just a photo update post

…you know, for the six of you who still care and the three of you who are bound and determined to find me one day starving my horses and doing all the things I ever criticized  😉  Sorry to disappoint…

Big fat lazy yellow money vacuum…living better than I probably EVER will on my dime.

Bridal Chatter, last year’s rescue…going to her first show next month 🙂

Finally got the ribs to go away!

Finally got the ribs to go away!

Show Ticket, Enumclaw Auction of February 2011…was it 2011? I think so. She’s good. Happily adopted.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

The Big Yellow Money Vacuum’s oops son (from BEFORE I owned him, foaled 2 months after I bought him…learn math before you accuse me of goofy shit online). Very wild also as you can see, this was his first ride in over a year.

Zzzzzzzzzz….bucking would be too much work. When is dinner?

The Big Yellow Money Vacuum’s oops daughter (see above). She went to training this past year and did very well!

Libby, first week of training

Libby, first week of training

And finally, Petersburg Knight – remember him? He’s still with the original adopter and has been on every trail in the Seattle area at this point. He is a rockstar.

Best OTTB trail horse in the world!

Oh, and MeSue Babcock still sucks. PK’s adopter managed to rescue the OTHER TB from the same deployed Army owner that MeSue conned out of him way back when. Of course the feet were shit, he was thin, etc. He’s fine now. What an awesome happy ending!

Now for what you all care about – YES, I am getting the classic Fugly blog up again for reference (2007-2011). Should be up soon. Will be posting a link here when it is.

Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 2:39 am  Comments (9)  

It’s like this

This is my big yellow money vacuum:

He is at my friend’s farm and is currently serving as a bird perch. He’s extremely sound, living at my friend’s farm. He absolutely can’t be stalled or he’s lame. So at this point, I’m just giving up until we can move out of the city. I have likened him to one of those good looking but useless boyfriends who comes over, lays on your couch, eats all your food and charges things on your credit card. 😉

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I’m not useless! I’m holding up this bird!

Show Ticket, from my last post, got adopted to a dressage home in Oregon. They love her and she is doing wonderfully!

Poke Along, also from my last post, went to her first show and got a 2nd and 4th and was very, very good even though there was a highway right next to the show ring and the footing was crap. More to come, on her!

Bridal Chatter, another from the last post, healed up brilliantly and is perfectly sound. She’s in dressage training and loves it. She is naturally light and flexible – one of those horses to whom a half pass comes easy, but trotting on a straight line without making silly faces with the bit is a challenge. A friend of mine is training her and she is that very rare creature, a dressage person who is willing to just ride a hot horse and let her settle down on her own. B.C., or Chloe as we call her, never actually does anything bad, she’s just hot. Likes to go, will do a little bounce at the canter here or there, but not spooky or stupid.

photo (5)

Healed up a LOT better than any of us ever anticipated! And all without seeing the inside of a vet hospital. Total cost was about $1100.

She, however, is challenging to me in a new way – she really is hard to put the weight on. Six months post-rescue, this one is still ribby. We are currently stuffing her full of alfalfa pellets and rice bran and I hope to have her filling out soon. We’ve done the teeth, done all the usual supplements, etc. It probably does not help that she is out on pasture 24/7 (she does eat separately) and is running gleefully around. I’m sure it’s fun not to have that foot hurt anymore, but sheesh, slow down Seabiscuit…I’m trying to fatten you up!

photo (2)

Ribs, ribs, go away!

In the meantime, for today’s version of weird rescue stories, my friend bought a mare at the auction and the next morning realized the papers did not match. She called our friendly neighborhood kill buyer and retrieved the mare the papers actually belonged to, who turned out to be Chloe’s half-sister! Yes, a shorter, calmer, but just as snuggly version of Chloe. Needless to say, Echo was sold to a friend of mine inside of a week and headed off to the desert to learn to be a polo pony. She is an unnamed but registered filly by Thinkin Problem out of Silly Chatter.

photo (3)

I am adorable and only 15.0 hands!

That’s the update for now. Anyone get a new horse for the holidays? Tack? Anything fun?

Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm  Comments (7)  

The big yellow money vacuum continues to suck it up…

To summarize since my last update: BYMV was sound, going great, started over fences and then got ouchy on the stifle again. *sigh* Even with daily turnout for a few hours, stall life just isn’t for him so he’s back where he can have a paddock and where there are hills so that he can do some hill work. We shall see how it goes. Estron has been recommended to me for the stifle – any experiences you care to share?

Now for the rescue horses! Show Ticket, who was pulled out of the kill pen in February 2011, has gone off to training and we’re hoping to have her ready for a new home soon. She is solid w-t-c and reportedly has been GREAT about trails. Very steady and sensible. So if you know of anyone looking for a clean legged smaller Thoroughbred mare with a brain, send them to me. She is 16 years old and currently located in Eastern WA. I should have some video soon!

The most recent rescue, Bridal Chatter (Mike’s Auction of May 2012), just had surgery for the proud flesh on her ankle. She is recovering nicely and getting a recheck by the vet tomorrow. Except for the proud flesh (ugly untreated wire cut from the look of it) she seems sound, so I’m excited to see what she can do after we resolve this. She is only 10, so she has a lot of performing years left!

One week post surgery on the ugly injury:

My friend pulled this mare, Poke Along, out of the kill pen last fall. She had sold for $85 at the auction. Not bad, huh?

So what is new with you? Who has rescued something new this year and how are they doing?

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm  Comments (2)  

So here are the things some of you were right about!

I have a feeling some of you will enjoy this post very, very much. Yes, you get to say you told me so, on a couple of points!

As long as my horse is ridden hunt seat only, he’s sound. I myself hypothesized this was going to be the case. Snazzywildpony said it perfectly: “I’ve gone on to learn a lot about how horses’ legs and feet work and if they aren’t striding out and landing heel first or at least flat footed, then they are hitting toe first, which pops the DDFT and over time causes navicular. If you watch WP classes, you see lots of dust clouds in front of the toes and that is just not good.”

Snazzywildpony, you are right. Jogging makes my horse lame. There is not a thing wrong with my horse except that western pleasure has evolved into something that is very hard for horses to stay sound doing. I have noted to multiple people that it was a lot harder to keep a western pleasure horse sound than, say, a polo pony. They were surprised to hear that but I am utterly convinced it is a fact. Horses can pack elk in the mountains, play 2 chukkers of polo or do 50 mile endurance rides and have fewer leg issues than they acquire trying to go super super slow with their heads down.

Here is another thing some of you were right about: No matter how trustworthy the trainer, it’s still best to have your horse close to home and be able to micromanage his care the way YOU want to. Everyone in the horse world has an opinion and there may not be one right way, but any of us who have been at this for a long time have got opinions about things like hoof angles that we feel more strongly about than who gets elected President. I know I do. So now my horse is close to home and I have gotten to micromanage him for a year. I LOVE how his feet look. He’s sound as a dollar barefoot. He’s getting exactly the amount of walking and trotting that I want him to have because I’m doing it. He gets his feed soaked because I want it done and I’m doing it. His water is always clean because I’m doing that too. He’s boarded and it is full care but I can still micromanage him to my heart’s content because I can be there every day. It is totally worth it.

He is going back into training and back to the shows eventually but now the pressure’s off. He’s a gelding, so who gives a crap if he wins or loses? I don’t have to spend a zillion dollars. I can show him when I feel like it and if he sucks, we can just stop. I can let my friends show him who don’t have a horse to show because it doesn’t matter any more if he has a bad class or looks bad in front of people or God forbid raises his poll above his withers or pokes his nose out from the vertical. Heck, I may even show him myself. It’s nice to have the value gone and the pressure off. Not that he’s turned into a $500 horse but, you know, he’s a gelding. In my mind it just doesn’t matter anymore if he has some great show record – since he’s not ever going to be for sale, the concern about building value via the show ring is nonexistent. He’s gone from being a business venture and an investment, albeit one that always got a lot of carrots, to a big shiny pet.

Did his personality change from when he was a stallion? Interestingly, he has more energy and is a higher energy horse as a gelding. I have been joking that removing the testicles made him more aerodynamic. 🙂 Other than that, same horse.

There was a late-teens rescued TB stallion that I worked with for a while this past fall, before and after he was gelded, and he was yet more proof to me that it isn’t testicles that make a horse badly-behaved. It was all about discipline and boundaries. He came in screaming like a fool and dragging me and kicking at me and all sorts of fun stuff. It was 80% fixed in 48 hours. It was 95% fixed in a week. The other 5% came after gelding – he stopped nickering. But 95% of the bad behavior was quickly halted, despite his age and history of (I am sure) being used for breeding, with very simple tactics. I put a rope halter on him so I had a little more control (couldn’t go with a chain because he was scared of them), and every time he was bad, I growled and we stopped and backed up a few steps. Sometimes we did this quite a few times. I used the “no talking” verbal command that I’d used with Cecil and he figured it out. It’s amazing how much you can get done with growling, stopping and backing, without having to use a whip or a chain. At this point, I’m pretty convinced that unless something is really hormonally wacky, that most spoiled older stallions can be re-routed into good behavior with a minimum of effort. He got gelded and got a lovely home — a nice happy ending after auctioning for $50.

I will close this post with a video of the Big Yellow Money Vacuum doing what he does best…


Published in: on April 10, 2012 at 2:48 am  Comments (11)  

This one’s for my old Fugly followers…

I know this is supposed to just be my VLC blog, but he approved this post and is happy his Mommy never sent him to a douchebag like Randy Byers.  For anyone unfamiliar with Mr. Byers (consider yourself lucky), here is my original blog on him:

One Down, Way Too Many To Go!

Today I got an awesome update on what Mr. Byers has been doing – cooling his heels in a Canadian jail.

Randy Byers Caught By Police Hiding In Horse Trailer

Also, Katherine Swan wrote a great follow-up blog on Randy.  She did good research so check it out!

And remember, friends don’t let friends send their horses to Randy the Murderer Byers! If you know about an abusive trainer, it’s your job to get the word out and prevent another horse from suffering and possibly dying. Don’t keep quiet!

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 6:06 am  Comments (18)  


So I (a) found my password and (b) have something to talk about.

The damn horse is FINALLY SOUND AGAIN and BACK IN WORK.  I am stunned.  I had sort of resigned myself to the idea that it was only a matter of time before he headed to Paradigm Farm and walked around for the next 25 years or so being shiny and begging for cookies.  But no, completely ignoring him all summer except for turning him out daily seemed to be the magic cure.  He’s fine now.  He flex tested fine.  His x-rays are fine.  I’m also super happy that his feet look like they used to again after a year of barefoot.  I am far from being a barefoot-only person, but in this case, this horse needed to be barefoot so that his feet could regain their natural shape.  My vet swears she has some farrier suggestions for me that won’t screw him up, so I’m going to put some front shoes back on him now so that we can trail ride. It’s pretty rocky here and I don’t see the Princess being able to hack it barefoot.  I have Cavallo boots but they always seem to cause rubs – any thoughts on that from those of you who use them?  At any rate, I’m beyond ecstatic that I can ride him again, because he really is one of the best darn things I’ve ever sat on in my life.

My other piece of exciting news is that his first son, Bullwinkle (aka Caddis Cool Dorado) is under saddle!  Bullwinkle was an oops from a night of freedom the Big Yellow Money Vacuum enjoyed the year before I purchased him.  He turned three in May and his first ride was yesterday.  The trainer reported no spook or buck, acted like he’d done it a million times.  I said, yeah, chip off the old block for sure.  Conformationally, he has a better hip than his sire, but a worse neck.  Sort of what I expected from looking at the dam.

That’s Bullwinkle, above.  I’ll have to add a picture of the dam, Ima Cool Success, later, but basically he has her conformation with the Big Yellow Money Vacuum’s color.  She is a really calm mare, too, although no one will ever know how she would have ridden as she got hurt young and was unsound ever since.  The nice thing about having a better hip and worse neck  is that you can’t change a hip that much, but you can change a neck a lot – or the appearance of a neck – with work.    Then there are things you can’t change at all, like the shoulder, which thank heavens is pretty darn nice.  I suspect he’ll be as much of a couch to ride as his dad.  You can sit the BYMV’s fast trot without even trying, a big plus for people like me with crappy, chronic lower back pain!

So that is about the update for now…Thanks for all the messages about missing my writing on the Fuglyblog. I will probably write some guest blogs. I have a topic right now I’m dying to attack – trainers thinking the client horses are THEIR horses and forgetting those horses HAVE an owner who ultimately gets to make all the decisions about the horse.  That’ll be a lively one, won’t it?  😉




Published in: on September 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm  Comments (19)  

They’re right, long distance relationships don’t work!

As many of you know, I live a thousand miles away from my horses.  The reason is pretty simple:  I needed to make more money to fund the VLC’s show career.  When a fantastic offer came in from Los Angeles, I had to take it and move back.  Not that I minded moving back one bit, I love Southern California, but I hated the idea of moving so far away from my horse.  Moving him wasn’t an option at the time; I have yet to identify a stock-type trainer in So-Cal who doesn’t subscribe to the yank, crank & fix the tails method.  There may be one, I simply haven’t met that person yet.  Anyway, the plan was to leave him in Washington, and that is what I did, flying up regularly for visits and to attend his horseshows. 

It worked out fine until he got hurt.  You will remember that the VLC hurt himself at the Buckskin World Show and rendered himself three-legged lame.  He came home, got better, was sound enough to go to one more show for halter only, and then got worse again.  Vet came out, did x-rays, x-rays looked fine as they always do with him.  Why was he lame?   What exactly had he done to himself in that stall?  My trainer thought that he had stretched his back leg out, as he tends to do, and hit his hoof forcefully into the stall wall, possibly while lying down and trying to get comfy, but why was that still causing lameness two months later?   The vet wanted to do some combination of steroids and hyaluronic acid in his hocks.  I hate joint injections.  Hate them.  And I hate steroids.  And no horse of mine is getting any of that crap.  I veto’ed that idea and got on a plane to check the situation out for myself. 

I had decided it was time to get the shoes off.  After all, he wasn’t showing or working, and I wanted to get an opinion from Mark Plumlee at Mission Farrier School.  For those who missed my earlier blogs mentioning it, I basically think these people are geniuses when it comes to soundness.  They have gotten so many horses sound that have hideous x-rays.   So I figured it’d be great to give them a shot at evaluating my mysteriously lame horse.Unsurprisingly, they figured it out in, oh ten minutes.  Mark watched him walk and trot, tweaked him with the hoof testers, and said he was sore in the deep digital flexor tendon.  I have never had to deal with this particular injury before, but it makes perfect sense.  The DDFT extends down to the pedal bone so if you decided to be a big dumb yellow horse and whack your hoofie forcefully enough into a wall, you could absolutely hurt the tendon by doing so.The next step will be to ultrasound the tendon and see exactly what we’re dealing with, but at this point he’s just resting ’til he moves to California later this year.  The long distance relationship was worth a shot, but ultimately it just didn’t work out when things went wrong.  I’m far too frustrated with the inability to see my horse every day, see how he’s moving, and evaluate problems with my own two eyes.  No matter how great people are – and I don’t have anything but good things to say about my trainer, who has been awesome about caring for him – it’s never like doing it yourself.   I need to micro-manage this and I can’t wait to get him down to L.A. so that I can do that again. I’ve often noted that horses are not a good investment.  You cannot predict what will happen with them, and they can lose value in the blink of an eye.  Ultimately, putting a lot of money and time into a stallion prospect is just like going to Vegas.  Sometimes you come home empty handed but in most cases, you at least had some fun along the way.  I wanted to see if you could get a horse to be competitive as a stock-type pleasure horse without any of the abuse and keep him fresh-minded and happy.  I found out that you can — the VLC learned to do the AQHA thing, head down, collected and slow, without any abuse whatsoever.  Every time I visited him, he was his same old self – ears perky, happy, snuggly, and not a mark on him, the same as he’d been the previous year when he was doing nothing more complicated than cruising around with me in a bitless bridle.  It was great to see.  The only pleasure horse barns I’d been in previously had used all the cranking, yanking and crap to achieve this result.  It was nice to see it can be done without any of that!Of course, what I really wanted was for him to continue his show career and win at a higher level, in order to really make a point about abuse-free training, but he whacked his foot and that is pretty much the end of that.  I could go through all of the rehab on this and then try again, but I’ve concluded that is not the best thing for the horse.  Further stock-type pleasure work is going to be hard on that tendon.  I don’t want to risk crippling him.  If I saw him as an investment, I’d be doing anything I could to get him back in the ring so that he could stay a stallion, but I don’t.  I see him as a pet, and I’m going to geld him and keep him as a pet.  Next summer he’ll probably be ponying polo ponies instead of going to horseshows, and I can’t help but think he’s going to like it better than all of the clipping (which he tolerates) and the mane-pulling (which he despises).  He would miss his massages…I will have to keep those up!  Maybe he will even play a little bit of polo…he’s kinda big but I bet he will bump like a mack truck  🙂After all of this, I really do get it.  I understand, logically, how people justify standing horses at stud that haven’t won enough in the show ring (or haven’t been shown at all).  I could have bred this horse to a ton of mares already, collected the money, and laughed all the way to the bank.  I won’t do it.  I could list off all the possible justifications:  He has a wonderful disposition (true); it’s not his fault he got hurt (true); he’s already accomplished a lot more than a lot of horses standing at stud  (true); hell, he’s leading the nation in breeding stock pinto halter stallions (true, amusingly enough)…but it’s not enough.  I’m not going to have a stallion unless his get are going to be hugely in demand so that I don’t have to worry very much about them.  As I’ve observed before, I have actually never found any get of a big name horse like, say, Invitation Only or Luke At Me, in the kill pen  (sure, they’ll show up when they are 20 + year old barren broodmares, but you know what I mean).   Without that factor, no stallion should stay intact.  In this economy, and in these days when slaughter is still a very real threat, we need to be producing foals that are Porsches, not Kias, not even Toyotas, if we are producing foals at all.Of course, the adventures of what is going to be the VLG will continue in 2011!  Honestly, I can’t wait to hit a polo ball off of him.  I’ve stick and balled him with a broom and a beach ball and he was great.  🙂  We’ll see how he does but there’s also been some discussion about him getting some more show ring miles, but this time at the hunter shows with my friend’s nine year old.  Stay tuned…his story is far from over!

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 7:42 pm  Comments (18)