Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tracy Meisenbach: Mister, you just lost a sale.

                                                          Mister, you just lost a sale.

          If you’re like me, even when your barn is full of horses you’re still looking at horse ads. I have no need to buy another one, but I’m still trolling craigslist, dream horse, equine now and all the facebook groups that offer horses for sale, trade or free, it’s an addiction, don’t judge me. Sometimes I return several times to one ad and think “hmmmmmm maybe just one more.” Thankfully common sense applies and no more hairy eating machines arrive at my door

        While browsing the various sites I am always amazed to see ads that clearly show the horse, and its owner, in a bad light. You’re trying to sell this animal, why are you making him look terrible? If people tried to sell cars the same way they try to sell horses it would be impossible to make a sale. The cars would be dirty, in the middle of an overgrown field, with wire inches from the tires, a nasty rope dragging from the bumper, and in all probability some form of half-naked human standing on top of the car to prove it was safe. This is not marketing! These things are huge warning signs that the horse is going to come with baggage. Bad first impressions have cost many a sale, and the sad thing is that they are so easy to avoid with just a little time, thought and effort. So here’s a list of things that automatically make me decide to not even think about contacting you to look at your horse.

In print:
1) If your ad has any words relating to horses that are misspelled such a philly, gilding, studded, breaded, or the breed name is wrong I’m not contacting you.

2) If the first thing you tout is Man O’War in your horse’s pedigree I’m already done. Unless the famous horse is the sire or dam, or at most the grandparent, I really don’t care.

3) If you cite a rare color, and then don’t really know how it was created. Hint: Line back bays are not rare. That’s countershading and it’s common. There is nothing remotely rare about black, any shade of chestnut, bay, dun, cremello or pretty much anything else found on American horses. Unless your horse is a purple and pink brindle with green eyes he’s not rare.

4) If your horse’s list of accomplishments ends with being friendly, he’s not worth my time. In fact, he’s a good candidate for the free ads.

5) If your horse has no other merit than a set of papers. I really don’t care who his ancestors are, if he’s not trained to do a job (with the exception of horses two and under) then he’s not worth anything to me.

6) Stallions that are not genetically tested and free of defects and that have never left the property. If he isn’t an excellent specimen and can’t perform then he doesn’t need to be reproducing. Color and pedigree are NOT reasons to breed a stallion. The same holds true for mares. When I ask about testing you need to have an educated answer, not “huh?”

In a photo:
1) Ribs. If your horse is ribby, with his spine standing up I’m not only not calling you, I’m calling the sheriff. Feed your horse before you try to sell it. If it gets in that condition give it to a good home before letting it starve while you wait to make money off of it.

2) If your horse is in a nasty cluttered area with wire fences and old cars, count me out. I’m not planning on dealing with old wire cuts, ingested shrapnel or embedded splinters. Your horse doesn’t have to stay in a pristine barn, but reasonable safety applies.

3) If there is a photo of you standing on the horse, it’s over. You’re already showing me you aren’t smart enough to practice reasonable safety and husbandry. Standing in the saddle proves that for that second your horse tolerated your stupidity. It doesn’t prove you’re a great trainer or horseman. It doesn’t prove your horse is always safe. The only thing is does prove is that you’re not a smart trainer.

4) If there are people in the ad with open toed shoes, especially children, I’m not even picking up the phone. There is no point trying to carry on a conversation with someone that has that little sense.

5) If the horse is dirty. Seriously, you’re trying to sell this animal, give him every shot at making a good impression. I can handle a little dust, but knee deep dried mud, tangled manes, burrs in the tail and bots on the legs are NOT working in your favor. I can buy a clean well cared for horse for the same price.

6) If your tack is broken, abusive, used incorrectly etc. Again, another sign that the horse is coming with baggage and you aren’t sensible enough to deal with.

7) Children with no helmets. Again, a sure sign that safety is not practiced and if you’re not going to care about your children’s safety then I’m sure your horse isn’t kept in a safe manner either.

It’s easy to sell a good, well trained, well bred horse. People are begging for them. Trying to sell a horse with any of the strikes above on it is going to be next to impossible. So don’t blame the market, look at what you are offering people and ask yourself if you would go look at a car or house or any item that is in the same condition and environment your horse is in. The same holds true for trainer ads. If you’ve got any of the above in your ad you’re going to get passed by, because you are showing that you are not educated, not safe, and not capable of handling horses or students. So give your horse, and yourself, the best chance at a good sale.

Tracy Meisenbach
Copyright December 2nd, 2013

All rights reserved by foreign and domestic
Do not share or copy without written permission

Friday, February 23, 2018

Makin' bacon and horse'n around

Makin' bacon and horse'n around

I’m a planner. I’m the kind of person that will plot out a route at a museum or amusement park so you end up seeing everything. It can be obsessive. I’m also an avoider. I avoid crap I don’t like, such as cooking. I hate to cook. I hate to cook, hate to clean up and hate to deal with leftover food. I eat out a lot for this reason. This aversion to cooking has led me into a few sticky situations, one quite recently.

The group of antique dealers I hang out with meets once a month to discuss better ways to run the store, sales, promotions etc. We usually have a potluck dinner and then a meeting afterwards.
This meeting had a theme of Breakfast for Dinner, so we all signed up to bring different items. I usually bring beverages, to prevent any cooking mischief. However, this time one of the items to bring was bacon, and since we help market awesome Ossabaw hog bacon I volunteered to bring drinks and the bacon IF someone else would cook it. I was assured someone would indeed cook the bacon. The best laid plans…..

A few things happened to render my plans moot.

1) Bron went to Texas and was unavailable to help. ( although in reality she has no more clue to cook bacon then I did)
2) After delivering the baptismal pool ( A whole other weird story) I forgot to pick up the fricking bacon out at the other farm
3) I had a doctor’s appointment the day of the meeting, which ran late, and so I couldn’t get the bacon over to the lady that agreed to cook it in time for it to get done.

I leave the doctor’s appointment with an hour and a half before the meeting. I’m 45 minutes from home. I speed over to the Food Lion and discover I don’t know shit about buying bacon. I thought there was just one kind. NOPE, there are all kinds of bacon; all different lengths and shapes and flavors. It was like walking up to the bit wall at Dennards, every shape, size and color. WTF? I grab two packs of thick cut bacon, which I later found out was 6 pounds of bacon, seriously too fricking much bacon for my purposes! My purpose was not to cause cholesterol comas in a bunch of little old ladies.

I leave the store and bolt home. It was there that I realized how truly unprepared I was for this endeavor. Despite being 51 years old I have literally cooked bacon MAYBE 3 times in my life and every time was under adult supervision. I was standing here googling “how do you cook bacon?” It was then I discovered that you could bake bacon. Who knew? I grab some baking sheets, lined them with foil and started laying how huge strips of bacon. I fill two sheets, load them in the oven and then fill a third and stick it in the little bread oven. (Which I discovered had been housing several pans that I had no idea were even missing) Set the alarm for 20 minutes and pray this doesn’t fail.

A few moments later I realize that I have ½ a slab of bacon left and it’s not going to cook itself. I break down, and google “How do you fry bacon?” and run to the pantry to grab my mom’s big black cast iron skillet. I spray it with Pam ( a step I found out later was completely unnecessary) load it with bacon strips, turn on the heat and wait for it to fry. I then remembered that Perry will occasionally microwave bacon. So I grabbed a plate, put a paper towel on it and added strips of bacon; into the microwave for 1 minute.

At that point I realized that every available cooking apparatus except the coffee maker was making bacon. I have no idea how to even begin to work a coffee maker so it was safe for the time being; overwhelming to say the least.

I turned back to the frying bacon, noticed it looked kinda like the stuff that I’ve seen in photos, ventured a taste and, when I didn’t immediately die, I decided it was ready. Removed it from the heat and got the stuff out of the microwave and threw it in the pan to finish off. Pulled it out and the timer on the oven went off. Now all the bacon was needing attention and I was rapidly running out of space. I grabbed a long cake pan, loaded it with papertowels and started shoveling bacon onto it. Then turned off the ovens, pulled out the pans and realized that the bottom one had that nasty really crispy bacon I won’t eat, but sometimes other people do. So rather than trash it I separated the bacon into bacon boundaries in the cake pan. Crispy in one corner, microwaved in another and baked in the middle. 3 pounds of cooked meat that was either a triumph or a failure, I had no idea at that point. I also had no more time. My kitchen smelled like a Waffle House at 2:00 AM, after the deadbeats have stuffed themselves with calories and are napping in the booths. Every surface was liberally splattered with bacon grease. I had no time to clean it up, and knew that it was not going to get better after I left. I grabbed my lidded cake pan, sodas, orange juice and bolted out the door, praying that this wasn’t going to end in humiliation.

Thankfully the gals said it was great and actually ate it! Even the nasty crispy stuff, which two of them declared they loved. I was amazed! I had succeeded!

A few days later I pondered that me cooking bacon was a lot like most people training horses.
I had NO idea what I was getting into, despite having eaten bacon my entire life. People can ride for decades and still not understand how to train.

1) I went into the market with NO idea what I needed. I knew what I wanted, which was tasty cooked bacon, I just didn’t know how to get there. The best option would have been for me to buy already cooked bacon from someone else. However, that would have probably limited me to either all crispy or all soft. When you buy something you have to rely on what the other bacon trainer thought was important and it may not be the same thing you think is important.

2) I didn’t use the ONE thing that would have made all of this easier: TIME. If I had planned better I could have gotten someone else to cook the fricking bacon in time. If I hadn’t been rushed when I dropped off the baptismal pool I wouldn’t have forgotten the farm raised bacon. If my doctor’s appointment hadn’t run late I wouldn’t have had to rush through fixing the bacon. Everything that happened after the point I agreed to bring the bacon was the result of me not managing my time well and rushing through stuff. I was being the trainer that starts a horse and goes from saddling to loping patterns in 30 days because they want to cycle through clients and collect checks. Do that shit and you’re going to burn a lot of bacon and screw up a lot of horses.

3) I had to look up info on the fly because I was too lazy over the past 51 years to learn how to cook bacon. So when I needed the skill I had to rely on google to fix this problem for me. This is not optimum. Far better to practice, do better research and actually know what the hell you’re doing. I could have dug up one of mom’s cook books. I’m sure there is a bacon whisperer somewhere, with a magic nonstick spatula to keep your pig parts in line, but I’m not much for meat mystics, so never followed their call. I also know that not all cooks, or trainers, are equal. Some people are better bakers, some are great fry cooks, some people make party food etc. It’s the same with horse trainers. You can be the best trick horse trainer ever, but if you can’t teach a lead change then you are not capable enough to finish out a horse. If all you can do is get a horse over a fence, but can’t create an light animal that stops then you aren’t really a trainer, you’re a rider. I’m that way with food. I’m an eater, not a chef. I know what tastes good and bad and can tell you what food group it belongs to, but ask me how to create meringue and you’re outta luck.

4) Once I started I realized I needed more, and better, equipment and that I was using some seriously backwards methods to achieve my goals. There is never any reason to attack a breakfast food with an oven, stove and microwave all at once. Kinda like asking your horse to raise his head, lower his head, round his back, hollow his back etc all at once. I equated lack of time as an excuse to go all out, because I didn’t want to disappoint the other people, while I was doing everything possible to create a bad situation that could end in disaster.

5) And guess what? I WON! They liked the bacon. This makes me an expert right? I can claim to be the best bacon chef ever, right? People should cue up for my cooking advice now. I could start selling a line of pans and endorse brands of bacon, even the ones that clog your arteries when you just look at them. Yeah, sounds stupid to me too, but people use this argument to endorse celebrity trainers, just because they win.

6) Returning home (back to the barn so to speak) revealed to me all the problems and issues I had ridden off and forgotten. I had a big mess to deal with. It took me an hour to clean up all the pans, drain bacon grease, clean the stove, re-season the cast iron ( I did know how to do that from watching my mom for years), wipe out the microwave and finally discovered I had used just about every paper towel I had owned. It basically proved to me I knew enough to be dangerous. I could read enough to cook bacon one time, didn’t kill anyone with food poisoning, didn’t set the house on fire and miraculously ended up with a good result, DESPITE all my wrong doing. I could be happy I succeeded, and still acknowledge I got there by grace and luck, not skill, like a lot of horse trainers do.

Sorry to be long winded, but I think sometimes the everyday things give us insight into horses that we might not correlate while standing in a barn. Analogies sometimes help us grasp things a little better. And of course if you can read this while eating some bacon, it makes it ever more meaningful

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Because My Daughter Grew Up With the Internet

Two years old, riding Shah Zahr

 Because My Daughter Grew Up With the Internet 

Ten years ago today, in fact pretty close to this very hour, I was sitting across from my daughter on her 16th birthday. I was thinking about how far we had come and what she had accomplished and I was inspired to write an article about what she had learned and why she had turned out the way she had. I knew it wasn’t just the lessons I had taught her, or the influence of her teachers or the other adults in her life. She had learned valuable lessons from the horses and other animals she had grown up with. She had learned to understand their silent language and the great happiness and sadness they could bring.
So I typed up an article about her called “Because My Daughter Grew Up With Horses” and (stupidly) because I was so proud of her I shared it on ONE Appaloosa based Yahoo list. People loved it. And then the shit hit the fan. They loved it so much they shared it to other lists. And those people loved it. And they shared it. And in all this sharing some people removed both the title and the author, and then they shared it and claimed they wrote it.
Imagine my surprise 5 days after writing it when I get a copy sent back to me, by someone claiming they wrote it. I was flabbergasted. WTF was going on? So I googled it and sure enough, now my article is listed all over the internet, sometimes under the real name and sometimes under a fake name “A Father’s Explanation For Why His Daughter Has Horses”. What the hell? No father wrote it. Some jerk had stolen my article and renamed it. I was enraged. I owned the copyright and had in fact filed the documents to make sure I retained ownership. This doesn’t seem to matter on the internet. People stupidly think that if something is posted that means it is free. They don’t understand that copyright exists from the moment of creation until 70 years AFTER the creator’s death. So I started tracking it down and asking for it to be removed. It was at this point that I realized what a bunch of thieving, lying, self-centered assholes the horse community was. Evidently because I didn't want my work stolen I was the bad guy. I should have been flattered that someone took my article and was using it to promote their business. Oh yeah, I found it on 100s of horse business pages as people tried to pimp their lesson programs, luring parents into buying their junk horses. I found it posted on forums, such as Chronicle of the Horse, where the viperous members were clear that their thievery was acceptable to them, because “once it’s on the internet, it’s free”, the irony that a publication that copyrights all its own articles, was fine with people stealing my work and posting it on their forums. When I pointed out that their theft of my work was the equivalent of someone stealing their horse or tack they blew up, called me names and made out like I was crazy. Yep, the writer of the piece is the villain. The fact that the article was about teaching values and morals was completely over their heads, because theft was excusable in their minds. That instant self gratification was the ruling law, not a writer's ownership of their work.
Then there was the absolute bitch lawyer that tried to say she had seen the article BEFORE I posted it and that someone else wrote it, which gave her the right to use it. She was lying, you can search the internet with any search engine you have and you will never find a copy of Because My Daughter Grew Up With Horses posted before January 21st, 2008. It simply did not exist prior to that date. She created a huge page to blast me, and then an interesting thing happened, I was contacted by a group of people that had also dealt with this bitch and found out she had done similar things to other people. A group was formed to discuss her. Well she’s not a lawyer now.  Ironically her husband is an attorney and writes legal thriller crime books, I bet he’d be shocked to see all the emails and defamatory things his bitch wife has printed about people, and how she used her position as a lawyer to bully and harass anyone that disagreed with her. He’s on Amazon if anyone is interested.
I’m going tell the truth here. If I had known about the absolute hell that people would put us through I would have never shared it. While I am happy that people were inspired and that it touched a nerve with parents and children alike I would not want the hatred, harassment, stupidity and bigotry that was thrown at my daughter and me done to anyone else. It really showed me how awful people can be, how self-centered and immoral people will be out of greed or self-entitlement. The fact anyone would steal such a personal article and try to claim it shows a lack of character which the article was supposed to refute. Even ten years later I STILL have to get after people who try to SELL posters and items with my article on it, who still lack the moral compass that would tell them stealing an article about values is the height of hypocrisy. It is the most frustrating and maddening thing I have ever dealt with. Because of this I have authorized its use to only a few entities, one is Breyer Horse Creations and the others have been private readings or videos made for youth oriented groups. To date it has been published in 17 major horse magazines (those are with my permission) thousands of horse organization newsletters ( those are without my permission) and on over a million websites. Some jerks have even stolen it and changed the theme from Horses to Livestock or German Shepherds or whatever it is that they want to say taught their kids values, while also showing that they have no values of their own while plagiarizing my article. It boggles the mind, and it explains why the horse industry is so completely screwed up. Plagiarizing is still STEALING. how can these moronic parents think to teach their children to be better people while exhibiting immoral behavior.
Even now, ten years later, it’s clear some people miss the point of the article and want to take offense at things. The heading talks about teens who dye their hair and get tattoos or end up pregnant, as they seek surface identities, instead of developing their own. I stand by my statement. I’m not saying dyed hair or tattoos are bad, heck I’ve colored my hair and both my daughter and I have tattoos. I’m saying that using these things as a shield to hide the fact you haven’t found the real you is wrong. You have to make choices based on YOUR character, not what your peers say, or some celebrity does. Self-esteem is at the base of who we become as adults, a child can’t develop it without confidence and security. But, some people just want to be offended about everything and crap on someone else’s viewpoint.

If you’d like to read the original article it can be found here:

                                        Because My Daughter Grew Up With Horses

Riding Colida SkipNTwist, our senior stallion

            If I were to write an article today, in the same vein, I would have to retitle it to “Because My Daughter Grew Up With the Internet” and it would have a different theme. It would be about what I DON'T want my daughter to become and how even the horse industry spawns the cruel, immoral, unjust and unkind. How scammers and those two lazy to work at life will steal from others.

 “Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet”

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned that people will steal anything published, repost it, claim it has their own and then attack the original author when caught.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned that even lawyers will lie and steal copyrighted articles, because they are too stupid to understand copyright law.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned that horse forums like Chronicle of the Horse, Horse City, Horsetopia are the meeting place of people who have no values or knowledge of how ownership works, they are nothing but cesspools here those that can't do congregate to gripe about those that can.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned that people will think private messaging a minor and using the most vile language is okay, just because they are mad that they got called out for stealing. Because an adult screaming cuss words at a child is acceptable when they get told they can't use a copyrighted article.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned not to open emails from people she doesn’t know.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned not to share personal articles because even the people you think you can trust will share crap all over so it becomes a huge headache to control.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned that even industry professionals will steal your stuff and use it to pimp their own businesses, and then thrown tantrums when you tell them they can’t.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With The Internet she learned people will steal your stuff and sell goods with it printed on them, making a profit from your hard work. Because people are jerks.

Riding Stonewall Rascal as the Ringmaster at Breyerfest

It’s been ten years, I’m still proud of my daughter, she has matured into a wonderful adult. She runs her own businesses, is still riding, training, showing and carrying on our horse business. She’s avoided many of the pitfalls that happen to young people today, through foresight and caution. And despite the heaps of crap thrown at her by the scum that has tried to steal my article, she’s still the best example of why it is so true, especially now, a decade from when I first gave it to her.

Monday, March 13, 2017


We decided to freeze brand our horses after reading, and hearing, so many sad stories about stolen horses being killed or abused, with little hope of being reclaimed. Bron and I knew we wanted a very unique brand that symbolized our farm, as well as being hard to alter, so thieves couldn’t change it. She had already designed our farm logo and built our brand based on it. It’s a large brand, easily visible and very unique.

The brand represents the two spotted breeds we own, Appaloosa and American Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts. The one spotted butt belongs to either and then each head shows either draft or sporthorse horse traits. The three “points” of the brand, as well as the crown, represent our farm name, which is Trinity. On the logo the spot that looks like a snowman is modeled after our senior stallion, Colida SkipNTwist, he has a grulla spot just like it on his left hip.

We contacted Branding Irons RC on facebook and sent them a brand design. We got our custom iron back very quickly and we were delighted with it.

Freeze branding is not something to undertake lightly. It’s less painful than hot branding, but takes twice the prep work. And prep work is important when you planning to put a permanent mark on your horse. Whether you have your vet do it, a freeze branding expert or do it yourself you need to make sure that everything is ready by the time your horse is ready to brand. Hunting around for tools or materials can just make it more stressful and difficult. We had 17 head to brand, so we decided to do all the prep work the night before. This allowed us to work slowly and precisely, without worrying that our liquid nitrogen was running out.

First we gathered our tools. We branded in early March because we wanted the brands healed up by show season and breeding season. We also didn’t want a bunch of bugs around to bother healing brands or make the horses itchy so they would rub against stuff. It also meant we had to clip through a lot of hair. We have a big brand and it was going to take a lot of clipping.

1)      With 17 head to clip we knew we need to keep the clipper blade clean and lubed. However, you can’t use something that will leave a heavy residue on the skin, so we opted for WD40 instead of greasier clipper oil.
2)      Hairy horses need a good stiff body brush to get the dirt out of the coat. The cleaner the coat the better your blades will work. As cold as it was bathing was not an option.
3)      Shedding blade to get loose surface hair off.
4)      Flashlight to make sure there are no cuts, abrasions or skin problems. You need to closely examine the area you are going to brand. Putting a freezing brand over an injury is not a great idea. The flashlight also allows you to work indoors or in a dim area.
5)      Toothbrush, to clean out your clipper blades. You will be using a very fine #40 surgical blade and it will gum up quickly. After 17 head of horses my blade was pretty unhappy.
6)      Black Sharpie to mark your template area onto the horse. This works on light horses.
7)      Chalk, also for marking template, on dark horses.
8)      Square level, taped to template, to make sure design is level.
9)      Plastic template. Our design was big and kite shaped. So just clipping a big square on the horse was not going to work. We need something that would help guide the brand head, because you only get one shot to get it on perfectly straight.
10)   Clippers, don’t use crappy ones. You need ones strong enough to power through heavy    
 hair and stay cool. These are Oster A-5s with a Buttercut brand #40 blade. Do NOT   
 skimp on the clipping, it is the difference between a good clear brand and a blurry one.
11)   Brand, get a good one with a proper built in hand hold and wood handle. 
12)   Not pictured: heavy insulated gloves, paint pen for marker dots, several liters of    
 Isopropyl Alcohol, at least 90 %, buy more than you think you will need. Stainless steel bucket for holding alcohol, sponge to apply it.

The night before freeze branding we clipped and examined each horse to make sure each branding site was clean, and clear of scratches or injuries. We opted to brand on the shoulder instead of the hip because our Appaloosas and Sugarbushes usually have white butts with spots, and we didn’t want to have to deal with the brand being interrupted by spotting. We branded the horses we had bred on the left shoulder and the horses we had bought on the right shoulder.

We first brushed and cleaned the area.

Then ran a slicker over the area to remove more dead hair and skin flakes.

We worked out where to place the template

Then traced the template with our Sharpie, because it’s a lighter colored horse

The marked area shows up nice and clear and gives us a good guideline for placing our brand

Before you start make sure your clippers are lubed so the blade will clip smoothly. Spray before the first clip pass, but NOT the second. The blades will still be oiled enough, but spraying before the second pass clip through will leave oil residue on the skin surface and you do not want that.

 After lubing, brush the blade to make sure it gets between the teeth and is spread evenly. You do not want big drops of oil getting on your clipped patch. 

In order to make crisp edges and to get a good idea of what your pattern will look like, I recommend clipping down with the grain of the hair first. This lets your clipper blade edge create a nice straight line at the top of your pattern. Clip all the way down and across to clear the area.

This will leave a short layer of hair which will need a second clipping, but will clearly show your work area

Next clip up against the grain and create as hairless an area as possible. You may have to go back over it a few times to get all the hair. Your flashlight comes in handy here as you can shine it up against the grain and spot stray hairs.

A nicely clipped clean area, ready for branding.

Measure the brand against the clipped area to be sure it fits in well.

Dot your brand points with a paint pen so you don’t have to second guess exactly where to place your brand. Use a paint pen, because the alcohol you will use to cover the area prior to branding will clean off any ink or chalk. You can see that the back of the brand is about a 1/4 inch bigger all the way around, so the end brand area is smaller than it looks.

Ready to brand, marker dots in place, clipped and clean. This amount of prep work will pay off so much when you finally get ready to place your brand.

The next day we made sure everyone was still in good shape, shoulder patches clean and brushed. I picked up the liquid nitrogen and parked next to our stocks. The nitrogen will chill the brand to -320 degrees, so it’s not something to mess around with, handle it carefully and be aware that even a small splash can cause scarring. When you place your brand down into the liquid nitrogen it will smoke and bubble a lot. Leave the brand in until the handle starts to frost up really good and the boiling stops. At the point the surface is calm and the bubbles are not bigger than pencil tips it’s ready to go. You can plan on the first chilling taking about 15 minutes. Once it’s been well chilled it will take less time between brands to re-chill it.

We used our stocks to hold the horses because we wanted them to remain as still as possible. This worked for all of them except our big 17.2 hand Sugarbush Harlequin Draft mare, as she doesn’t fit in the Priefert Stocks and the draft stocks have a cross bar at just the wrong height to block branding her shoulder. So we branded her in the wash rack and thankfully she was calm enough to stand. We brought each horse up and once in the stocks we each had a job and focused on it. Bron was in charge of holding the horses and timing the brand and I sponged on the alcohol and then branded them. I recommend wearing a plastic or latex glove when handling the alcohol, because if you have any cuts, scratches or hangnails you're going to get a painful reminder each time you pick up the sponge. We ended up using two full liters for 17 head. We opted to also twitch the horses with a humane twitch to keep them still. It’s simply too much trouble to sedate 17 head, and the wake up time would slow things down. 

The prep work certainly paid off. From the time the first horse entered the stocks, to the last horse took us 2.5 hours, so about 8.5 minutes per horse. Most of the time was taken up by re-chilling the brand. For the white horses we left the brand on for 50-55 seconds, so the hair would fall out and the skin would show through. For the darker horses we left it on 30 seconds so the hair would come back white and show the brand in the horse’s coat.  Once Bron called time I removed the brand and we snapped a photo.

Bay Varnish Roan mare

Dun Leopard Mare

Solid Dun Mare

When the brand is first removed the skin is indented. But just a short time later the area swells and the brand site becomes raised.

Older Snowflaked Dun Mare

A week later we have a nice clear brand and the hair is starting to slough off. We’ll post more photos as the brands come in either dark or white.

We're very pleased with how our brands turned out and proud to have our horses exhibit our farm logo and history on their shoulders.

Tracy Meisenbach
All photos and writing copyrighted and cannot be used with express written permission

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach- PVC Blanket Rack

Horse people are usually a thrifty bunch. We like to reuse and wear things out before buying new. And often what we want or need can't be bought unless it is custom made, which gets substantial. My biggest problem besides being a massive bit hoarder is I collect saddle blankets. All kinds; English, Western, Saddle Seat, Navajo, therapeutic, plain, colored, natural and artificial files. It's an addiction, there is no treatment.

Unfortunately the photo I found on Pinterist had no explanation or project list, so I had to wing it. So this is my composition to fit in the corner of my tack room.

24 feet of 1.5 inch PVC pipe, anything else will bend the stalk or the arms.
1- 1.5 inch PVC drain/trap
8- 1.5 inch PVC T's
2 inch wood screws about 12
4- 2 inch Lag bolts
1 Can PVC primer
1 Can PVC Rubber Cement
8- 1.5 inch PVC end caps ( trust me, during wasp  and spider season you will want these)

Drill with screw head and bit to put in lag bolts
Wrench for lag bolts.

(This is pre gluing and screws)

Measure your area, you may need more or less pipe. Mine has an 18 inch base stem, 6 inches between T's and 13 inch top stem. You can increase the width between T's, or add more arms if your area is higher. The arms are 26 inches due to space requirements. It is long enough for even big pads, but leaves the aisle way clear.


Pop the middle out, you might use it later!!!!! :) Pre-drill holes to fit your lag bolts and then carefully screw them in. Be careful not to crack the plastic.

Coat your base socket and the pipe with primer and glue and let it set. Now you can do the next part one of two ways. You can glue each fitting and create a bit long stalk, or you can screw each connecting piece into the T with the wood screws. I have this morbid horror of things I can't take apart so I used screws except for the base. So connect each 6 inch piece to your T's and make your stalk. Some people want the arms to move, I did not. I want them to stay in a perfect line so they don't hang on anything or take up more space. Once the stalk is created check your base, if it's dry sink a screw in it for stability. Now connect your stalk with the T's.


The higher the stalk and the more arms, the more bracing it will need. I added two screws to the middle sections and then screw in the top with a big long wood screw, as it had to attach to a rafter that was at an angle.

Once your stalk is secure the glue in your 26 inch arms. Let them dry over night. If you're going to be pulling pads off and on a lot then I'd add a wood screw to each base.

Add your caps with the primer and glue and then you are done. Cheap, efficient blanket rack. 

Copyright 4-2016 to present
Tracy Meisenbach
Do not copy, distribute or publish without permission.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach- You, your horse and the bit, an unhappy threesome.

There seems to be a prevailing thought that how much you love your horse, or he loves you, determines how your equipment works. It doesn’t. Nothing determines how your equipment works except how it is meant to function. If it’s a snaffle it functions like a snaffle. If it’s a tiedown it functions like a tiedown. Nothing about you or your horse alters that UNLESS you actually alter the piece of equipment by adding or subtracting something to it.
Riders/trainers should also understand that nothing about the horse (barring an actual physical deformity) changes how the equipment works. Different horses may REACT differently, just like some people can pick up spiders and some people run screaming from the room, but the equipment, like the spider, is a constant. Reaction is NOT mechanical. Reaction is not based on a specific forumula. Reaction is based on pain, fear, emotion. So don’t confuse reaction with the mechanics of the bit. Some horses ignore pain, some are hypersensitive. Some tolerate poll pressure, some hate it. Just because your horse doesn’t react adversely does not mean he’s not in pain or anxious. Looking at the mechanics of the bit, plus the horse’s anatomy, can give you clues that his response may be hiding. Because at some point common sense has to kick in and say that X pounds of pressure on anything’s tongue is painful. I’ve bitten my tongue before, and it wasn’t with anywhere near the pressure that most people put on the reins and it hurt like hell. So imagine how the horse feels. And while it is true that a finished horse will react differently to a bit than a green horse it still does not change the way the bit works. A finished horse has a conditioned response to the bit's actions. A green horse is listening to his nerve endings telling him what to do UNTIL he finally connects that the rider is trying to tell him something and if he does it there is a reward of some kind. However, neither reaction changes the mechanics of the bit.

So when you assess your horse, and the bits you use, repeat these things to yourself, because honesty is the best policy when dealing with horses. And stop confusing emotional reaction with bitting mechanics.

Things that DO NOT alter how the bit works:
How much you love your horse
How much your horse loves you
Your relationship is not special, unique or rare. It’s simply a relationship with an animal you like, that likes you back and hopefully will last a long pain free time.
Horse’s breed
Horse’s age
Horse’s color
Horse’s training level
Political party
Sexual preferences
Favorite TV show
Favorite horse event
How much you pay for the bit
How much you win while using it
Celebrity using it
Advertising used to promote the bit
Where you live
How old you are
Whether all your tack matches
Drugs, they alter reaction, not mechanics

Things that will alter how a bit works;
A welder
A hack saw
Blow torch
Draw reins
Gag pulley
The bit breaking
Adding a curbstrap or taking one off

Tracy Meisenbach
Copyright 3-2016
Do not copy, republish or use without permission.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach- Pedigrees and generational influences

Those of us that love pedigree research regard it as a never ending treasure hunt for information, validation and piecing together the history of horse breeds. It can give us clues to color, genetic traits, breeding trends, even world events, such as the remount program created to mount the cavalry.We love to find the famous, the infamous, the rare and the building blocks.

Pedigrees can be a source of pride, or concern, depending on who is up close or far back. It's amazing how traits which seem minuscule can travel through the ages, carried by one horse in each generations. There are several Appaloosas that carry a literal trickle of Appaloosa blood, 1/32 or 1/64 and still come out wildly colored. When you consider how much each generation influences the horse in front of you it makes you think about the "strength" or "weakness" of some genes. Some seem to hide for awhile, recessives that only pop up when both parents have it, and then only in the right conditions, such as two chestnut agouti carriers that will not exhibit their hidden genes, yet their foal can produce a bay when bred to a black. Or dominant genes that always appear when present ( although sometimes you have to look really close!), manifesting in homozygous or heterozygous form.

We all get to read sale ads or hear brags about horses that go back to some great champion. I can't blame people that like to talk about their horse going back to Man O'War, he's an American hero. However, it is disturbing when they use a horse more than 4 generations back as a huge selling point. It's not. Unless that horse carries a unique genetic trait that can really affect the value of your horse ( and it's usually adversely) then more than 4 generations does not affect the horse in front of you.

Man O'War

So how much does each generation affect your horse? This chart shows how much and how little each succeeding generation contributes to the genetic makeup for your horse. So remember when you cite a famous horse, if he's more than 4 generations back he's not offering much, and if that's your value baseline you might want to rethink your prices and marketability. The average equine generation is 8 years, so from present to Man O'War is about 12 generations. He would be contributing .0244% to your horse's genetic make-up. That's not going to get you in the Derby and doesn't increase your horse's value one iota.

Your Horse
1) 2 Ancestors= 50% sire and dam
2) 4 Ancestors= 25% grandparents
3) 8 Ancestors= 12.5% great grandparents
4) 16 Ancestors= 6.25% great great grandparents
5) 32 Ancestors=3.125%
6) 64 Ancestors=1.5625%
7) 128 Ancestors=.7812%
8) 256 Ancestors= .3906%
9) 512 Ancestors =0.1952%
10) 1024 Ancestors=.09762%
11) 2048 Ancestors= .0488%
12) 4096 Ancestors=.0244%
13) 8192 Ancestors= .0122%
14) 16384 Ancestors=.0061%
15) 32768 Ancestors = .0030%
16) 65536 Ancestors= .0015%

Colida ApHC, Hall of Fame

So enjoy your horse's pedigree, and admire the horses in it. It's the history of mankind's development of the amazing animals we love. Be realistic about the value of distant ancestors when marketing your horse and be sure to check for lines that carry genetic defects.

copyright 2016 Tracy Meisenbach
please do not share or copy