Friday, February 27, 2015

Tracy Meisenbach: Layered Leverage

Layering Leverage

There’s an old, and highly accurate saying: When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.

Sometimes you get a horse flipping over, sometimes you get a horse panicking and bolting off and sometimes you get a really nasty fall as a horse struggles to keep upright, but can’t because his head is leveraged down.

So let's talk about layered leverage. Leverage is the basis for all bits, even snaffles. It's based on weight, gravity and resistance. With a snaffle the leverage is 1:1. You pull at one end, with your arms/body and at the other end the same amount of weight is applied to the bit. Lean your body back to augment the pull of your hand and your horse is holding up your torso weight with his mouth. Ugly to think about, but a reality.

Curb bits have leverage because of their shape. They are simple levers. Pull one end and the bit pivots around a fulcrum and places pressure on the mouth. The force is determined by the length of the shank combined with the amount of the pull. Most curbs of standard show legal length fall under a 1:4 ratio, meaning the purchase is 1/4 of the shank length. 5 pounds on the reins translates to 20 pounds in the mouth.

Gag bits are simple pulleys, whether draw gags or curb action gags. They work off of a 1:2 ratio. Whatever pressure you put on the reins is doubled in the mouth. It's the same principle as lifting a heavy object; a pulley allows us to lift double the weight. Put five pounds on the reins of the average shanked gag and when the cannons invert the purchase to shank ratio you've got 40 pounds in the mouth because the bit increases the leverage action and rachets it harder. The curbstrap doesn't stop the cannons from moving up, it just stops the purchase from rolling forward.

Draw reins are a 1:2 ratio leverage addition. Put them on a snaffle bit and they change a 5 pound pull to a 10 pound pull. Put them on a gag action curb bit and they change a 5 pound pull to an 80 pound pull. Why? Because each layer of pulley you add reduces the amount of pressure you apply and increases the amount of force at the end of where the energy is dispersed. The force has to go somewhere and in this case it's the horse's tongue.

Does your horse deserve layered leverage? No. It’s a sign of being a poor trainer without a modicum of scientific knowledge about how bits and training equipment work. It puts you at a truly unfair advantage that the horse can only equalize by freaking out. And when that happens you both lose. I have never seen a horse made better by it, but I have seen many horse ruined by the ignorant used of layered leverage.

So don't layer leverage. You're applying more force to your horse's mouth than you think.

Tracy Meisenbach
Copyright 2-2014
Do not repost or publish without written permission

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tracy Meisenbach: I heard it on the internet it MUST be true

I heard it on the internet it MUST be true

Anyone in the horse business knows that the internet is a blessing and a curse.

On the plus side it has allowed thousands of horsemen, who by the nature of their life are farm bound for long periods of time, to communicate with other like-minded people. No longer do we bore to death the non-horsey people in our circle of friends with photos, tales of our hairy children or missed outings because of foaling or colic. Instead we can go to any horse related forum, facebook, yahoo group or equine webpage and immediately connect with thousands of horse addicts, all eager to swap photos, anecdotes and stories of woe. It’s also how we can keep up on industry news, disease outbreaks, new styles in the show ring, veterinary and farrier advancements and all kinds of other things that we used to get only word of mouth or from talking to the vet or farrier. The internet has replaced horse magazines as the go to place for new information. It works and we love it.

We also hate it. Unfortunately the internet requires no licensing or even an aptitude test for a person to use. Anyone can log on and depending on their motives they can spread truth or lies or just be a pain in the ass in general. The internet is also forever. You may think you delete something, but there is always a cached version of it somewhere. Photos and articles get stolen and sent around all over the world. I had to deal with this on a huge scale when my copyrighted article Because My Daughter Grew Up With Horses was stolen multiple times and not only reposted, but others claimed to be the author and even changed the title of the article. Contrary to the claims and rumors it was never released into public domain, it is legally copyrighted per the US Library of Congress and no one is allowed to use it without my permission. Theft isn’t flattery, it’s theft. Along with dealing with the theft I've had to deal with the people that supported the thieves, because after all I should be HAPPY someone liked my work enough to steal it. The irony of people stealing an article that is about horses teaching children values was evidently lost on them. So while the butthurt claim I’m crazy for protecting my work and cite stupid things like “once it’s on the internet it’s free” as well as a complete lack of knowledge about International Copyright Law, I still deal with the fallout from wanting to praise my daughter and share it with a few friends. Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson, I don’t share personal poetry or items on the internet anymore.

It’s amazing how times have changed since the internet came into widespread use. When I was growing up most horse sales were local, as were breedings. Now you can buy a horse from across the world, or buy semen from a stallion clear across the country and do it with just email correspondence. It’s amazing and aggravating at the same time. Anonymity is always the factor that makes you pause before hitting reply. You know who you are, but who are they? Are they a scammer? Could be. It amazes me how many people fall for the scammer crap. Never sell a horse without cash or a check. And the horse never leaves the property until the check clears. Along with the check request a copy of a form of ID. We did this and shut a scammer down immediately. Theft by check is a legal recourse. Theft by fake money order takes a ton of work and you’re not likely to succeed. Common sense says no one that has not requested a video or come to see the horse is going to buy it. Just demand cash and you’ll always come out ahead.

I’ve been in the horse business since 1978. A long, long time before the internet even reared its ugly head. Anyone that has been around that long is bound to make friends and enemies and deal with the downright insane. I’ve made some great friends, some that I consider family now and I’ve made some enemies, due to differing views on genetic defects, abuse, drugging and cheating. I’m against all of those things and some people aren’t. I also served on the ApHC board, which is such a good old boys’ club that it actually deserves its own TV miniseries.

During all this time we have bent over backwards to keep clients happy. I usually sell horses with a buy back clause, so I can insure they don’t end up in the kill pen. And I’ve bought several back, not because something was wrong with the horse, that has never been the case, but because the person’s life had changed through divorce, job situation or some other issue. I’ve traded horses with people, and as far as I know both of us ended up happy. I’ve donated horses to colleges to help their equine programs. I buy horses to get them out of poor situations. We’ve pretty much done everything a seller/buyer can do, but we do NOT cheat people, never have. We stand by our horses and try to do the best we can for them. We don’t sell green horses to green people, we don’t sell stallions to people without the facility to keep them. We genetically test all our horses and our entire herd is clean. We won’t breed to a positive mare or stallion. I know some people do, but we don’t. It’s not worth it.

Since we also run a breeding farm we deal with the financial and emotional aspects of the horse industry. Everyone loves babies. We screen the mares we breed by pedigree and conformation. We won’t breed to mares that don’t meet our standards. People get mad when turned down, but better to deal with that than an ugly foal that can ruin your stallion’s reputation. Most people are civil and realistic. And then there was Max Peterson. Anyone that has ever googled our farm or my name has found the post by Max Peterson on the Fauna snake board. Max thought he was a big badass to be dissing me until I showed up and refuted his claims. The owner of the snake board will not remove posts, despite the fact that I refuted all of Max’s claims and he admitted that what he originally posted was incorrect. So because the owner is a douche canoe and Max is a liar and a jerk, I’m going to post the facts here, because this crap keeps coming up when people google me, thinking they have found some “oh so horrible” thing to attack me with. Due to their limited reading skills they obviously don’t read the entire post where Max shows what an idiot he is.

Max posted in 2007 that he had used one of our studs a “few years” back and then never got a refund.
Yeah, not exactly accurate there Max. The reality is that in 1996, a full ten years before Max posted his lies we bred a mare belonging to his girlfriend. Not him, his girlfriend. I met his girlfriend on a vet call to treat their other mare for a red bag foal because their pasture was full of fescue. The girlfriend had a fairly nice TB mare and she wanted to breed for an eventer. The vet suggested my stallion, Colida Flyin Star, and she came over and looked at him and booked the breeding, signing a contract that stated in the event that the mare did not produce a live foal they were allowed a REBREEDING.

Later that spring the mare arrived and we discovered she was INSANE. Like just fricking INSANE. She practically tore down my barn. But despite her behavior we got her bred and sent her home in foal. My understanding, from speaking with the girlfriend, was that they were going to dry lot the mare to keep her from the fescue. Well they didn’t. She reabsorbed, which is common on fescue pastured mares. Now the story takes a strange twist. The girlfriend discovers she is pregnant and not wanting to deal with a baby and foal she wants to know if they could breed the following year OR could she have my round pen in trade for the stud fee. WTF is she talking about? Yeah, no, on that one. I told her she could rebreed the following year. I never hear from her again. I never heard from Max Peterson. I lived a scant 6 miles from them and neither called or came by. We used the same vet, our farm had a huge sign at the curve of HWY 160 in Texas with our phone number on it. We were easy to find.

In April of 1999 we sold our farm and moved to Virginia. At no point did Max or his girlfriend contact us. I’m not holding up a move for someone to rebreed. All our other contracts were filled and obligations settled. And had they contacted me I would have worked out collection and shipping to breed their mare. Sadly in June after we moved Colida Flyin Star died. We had his younger son Colida SkipNTwist to use as the farm stallion. The next year was his first breeding year, and again had we been contacted we would have honored the breeding despite the fact it was FOUR years past the contract date. However we never heard from Max or his girlfriend again, ever. Our mail was forwarded for a year after we moved, I was still in contact with the vet we both used and she had my forwarding address, never heard a peep. By now the internet was in just about every household, even in the boonies. We have had a farm website up since 1991 and it listed all our contact information. We were one of the first Appaloosa farms to ever use a website for marketing, our farm site predated google and facebook. So if someone couldn’t find us they weren’t looking too hard. ( An example is one of my students from 1980 found me, she didn’t even know my married name, she search my horse’s name)

So Max used google and finds the memorial page for Colida Flyin Star, notes our new farm name and my married a name and in a fit of irrational stupidity posts his lies on the snake forum. Yeah, because so many horse people hang out there. No one responds, because really who cares? Then I find his post while searching my old stallion’s name. Needless to say I was furious that he so blatantly lied and waited so long after making NO attempts to contact us. I contacted him via email and he refused to remove the post or alter his comments. So I confronted him in the forum. This is where it showed the extent of his lies. He finally admits that the contract said rebreed, admits he didn’t contact us for years, and even admits that they no longer have any mares, so couldn’t use the rebreeding if he wanted to. He also completely misses that by the Texas statute of limitations he’s about 6 years past when he can claim any type of debt, had there been one. So he’s pretty much just a jerk with an ax to grind. This is the life of a bored internet idiot, just stirring up crap because he can. His post served no purpose except to pretend he had a reason, when his responses show that he had none. About the only thing his post has done is send the little internet hater groupies into a frenzy when they find it thinking they have found something to nail me with. Nope, I own right up to it and repost all the excerpts. We were not in the wrong. What the hater groupies fail to realize is that after 40 years in the business this is the ONLY bad report about our sales/breeding that can be found online. And since it’s nothing but a passel of lies it shows we have a pretty clean record and good customer satisfaction. We’re proud of our record and stand by it.

So the internet shows how people can carry grudges and behave vindictively. It’s amazing the level some people will stoop. When I was an ApHC director two members tried to spoof my identity to send out emails in my name. They were caught when one of them STUPIDLY sent a spoofed email back to me. This same person impersonated an ApHC judge and sent an email around trying to influence an ApHC arbitration matter. She was reported and had a complaint filed against her, but she’s friends with the ApHC staff and CEO so nothing happened. ( I have copies of both of these items) When you work as a director to stop drugging, abuse, genetic defects you piss off the cheats and they spend a lot of time denouncing you, because your moral stance is cutting into their wallet. Another case was a facebook bully named Leslie Sawyer. She got incensed because I refuted her statements about a bit and spent the next several posts calling me the C word. She claims to be an amateur exhibitor, but evidently also judges. Yeah that doesn’t mesh. So after I retired from the ApHC BOD she made a post about how I was kicked off,instead of retired. I didn't even run again. It was an easily refutable lie, a simple call to the ApHC would verify it, but it spread amongst her bully buddies and now I have to refute it to the idiots that are too stupid or lazy to pick up the phone and verify the crap she spread. Leslie finally blocked me when I called her out for her lies on a page she didn’t control, but continues to spread her crap. One day karma will catch up with her.

I read a lot of forums and see a lot of claims about people and unless it’s an outright abuse case ( Cleve Wells, Shirley Roth) I take it with a grain of salt. Because I’ve had the rumor mongering done to me, and I know that the liars and cheats will put way more effort into going after a person than most people will put into defending themselves. You just don’t have the time or energy to devote to the idiots

So for the record, I’m anti-horse drugging, anti -genetic defects, anti-abuse, anti-cheating, anti-bullshit.I also hate nasty bits and the idiots that use them, this sets off a lot of the buckle bunny crowd.
Anyone that knows me knows that these are my positions and I will stand by them no matter what. If a person dissing me is guilty of any of the above, well then we all know what their beef with me is about. So disregard the venom and the lack of ethics from a person that would do any of those things.

So if you’re on a forum, facebook page, yahoo group etc and see a person being dissed, look at the person doing the dissing first. If they are proponents of any of the above, then they are the problem, not the person they are going after. When a person that stands two stallions with genetic defects rushes to bad mouth someone that is against breeding defects forward, well you know who the problem is. When someone that uses abusive bits starts calling a person that explains how the bits works crazy, stupid and insane, well sounds like some crap trainer has an issue with the reality of bit dynamics and how they affect the horse. ANYONE defending a person that drugs or abuses horses is an asshole, I do not care how much the person has won, what the circumstances were, or why it happened. Defending a big name trainer for illegal practices means that you have NO morals and neither of you should be in horses. And anyone defending someone that steals, alters or copies someone’s written works without proper attribution and permission for use is as bad as the thief. Show some respect and human decency and stand up for what is right instead of just siding with a friend that screwed up.

If you are one of the people spreading lies and crap it will come back and bite you in the ass, because the truth will always come out. I got accused of sellng defective kittens by some ignorant gal on a forum. I've never sold a cat in my life, never bred cats and the last kitten born on my farm was 23 years ago in Texas when we rescued an abandoned momma. So now she looks like a complete fool for not checking her sources and making sure of the facts. In fact her stupidity got turned into a hilarious meme that people post when she starts to wind up about stuff. It's a reminder of how stupid people can be.

Just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Do your due diligence and research before buying the hype and lies. And don't follow the pack mentatlity about any sport, person, breed, trainer or tack. You owe it to yourself and your horses to be honest in all your endeavors.