Ms Ad Venture

I’m not exactly sure what possessed me to do it other than I could. I write (articles, ads, website text, e-books, etc.), I build websites, I give clinics and I consult (in person and online). None of which requires me to be at home. In fact, much of it requires me to be away from home.

I have often written articles from hotel rooms. Las Vegas, Normandy, Paris, Aachen and Hong Kong come to mind. I also go away to write my e-books to avoid distractions. Have laptop will travel, right? So why stay at home through another Canadian winter? In fact, why have a stationary home at all?

As George Carlin posed it: Why was I working to provide housing for my stuff, and why was I continuing to acquire stuff to fill the house?

When you haven’t spent any time in your own living room for three years, except to do the housework and water the plants, why do you need a house with a living room?

I can write from almost anywhere and basically only need a connection to send and receive. If I am mobile, I can visit more clients at their farms, I can cover a wider variety of shows or competitions and I can add to my photo collection for clinics and e-books. Marvelous!

So, I sold my car, bought a ¾ ton and a fifth wheel travel trailer (mobile office with living quarters) and will be taking this show on the road. I haven’t sold the house yet because it isn’t exactly the best time of year to do that, and I am undecided about renting it for the winter. Either way, I will be leaving the north in a month or so for warmer climes.

And strange as it may sound, I am finding the process of downsizing quite liberating. I thought I would have trouble parting with many of my acquisitions, but, no. Bags of clothing, shoes, accessories and linens have already found their way to charities. Some of the bigger pieces will be advertised for sale starting next week. Anyone need bookcases, desks, tables, chairs, living room furniture, plants?

I have one friend who has spoken for all the novels, and his Jeep will be over tonnage on his trip home. One client is taking nearly all the Thoroughbred studbooks I have amassed over the decades. Another is getting a couple of the older ones.

Which leads me to you, my dear readers…

I will still have numerous educational/reference books of the equine variety to sell. Breeding and history books from several warmblood studbooks (Hanoverian studbooks, many of the European registries, Selle Francais, Irish Sport Horse, etc.) and produce records from the Selle Francais and Anglo-Arab registries. I have vet books, conformation books, training books and even some VCR tapes (oldies, but classics). There are enough of them to fill several boxes since they fill several bookcases here. I hope to sell them all as one unit. I have no desire to sell them singly or a few at a time. And I do not relish the thought of shipping them either. I might, and I say MIGHT, be willing to deliver them if the location is on my immediate route, but weight is going to be a factor. It will also be a factor for commercial shipping and related costs for the buyer(s). Maybe a few of you could form a co-operative and buy the lot and divvy them up or sell them in a fund raiser? Maybe start a library for your horse club?

However, I do not have a list of titles at this time, but will post it when done.

And then I have a collection of caps (baseball-type) from World Cup Finals, Olympics, Breeders’ Cups, Rolex, Spruce Meadows, Pan Ams, horse expos, seminars and so on. I will sell them as a package too…I hope.

Anyone interested in any of it? If so, please contact me.

Oh, and if you want me to come to your area for horsey things or a visit, let me know and my travels may just take me to your neighborhood.

Yours truly,

Ms Ad Venture

(formerly, and sometimes still, known as Judy)

THE CLONES ARE NOT COMING

The clones are not coming; they’re already here!

I recently did a bit of research about clones and was amazed at what I found.

Yes, I knew that some famous horses had been cloned, but had not given a lot of thought to the subject.

I knew of mares and stallions that had been cloned for breeding purposes. I also knew that there were uncastrated clones of geldings, but had not really considered the ramifications.

The clones I was aware of were from jumpers, eventers and barrel racers. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the leading discipline for clones is polo! Are you surprised too? Without exaggeration, it is possible that a polo match will soon occur where all of the horses (at least on one team) will be clones. They may or may not be clones of the same original, but they could all be clones nonetheless.

Leading the charge (excuse the pun) in the cloning of polo ponies is a lab in Argentina with a branch in the USA.

Mostly Identical

When you think of a clone do you assume that it is a 100% identical copy of the original? That was, and likely still is, the common belief.

Did you know that clones can have different markings than the original and even different markings from clone to clone of the same original? True. Such are the characteristics of markings.

Did you know that there is a portion of mitochondrial DNA in the stripped egg (oocyte) that they use to house the DNA of the original before artificially convincing the egg that it is fertilized? That means that the mare that donates the egg, whether she carries the embryo or not, adds her mitochondrial DNA to the mix. It is unclear to me what the full significance of that is at this point, but it is interesting that I found claims that clones are 98%, not 100%, identical to the originals.

I wonder what the percentage will be as testing improves over time.

Your Thoughts

How do you feel about clones? Do you think that they are too expensive to create to be commonplace? Do you recall how expensive and rare computers or cell phones used to be?

Will you be thrilled to compete against the clone of a former champion? What about competing against five or ten or twenty clones of one or more champions?

Should there be a limit on the number of clones per individual? Who should set such limits?

Do you think clones should have to prove themselves as competitors or should they be able to trade on the record of the original?

Would you breed to a clone or use one as a broodmare?

Would you want to know if the horse you own or are considering buying is the offspring of a clone? Can current testing methods tell the difference?

How do you think registries should handle the issue of clones and the offspring of clones? There have already been court cases over the issue of registering clones and their offspring.

What about the clones of clones? Does anyone know what will happen ‘generation’ after ‘generation’ of cloning? Will using the same oocyte donors or different oocyte donors matter?

Do you believe that safeguards should be in place before clones become even more commonplace? What do you think such safeguards should be?

This is, of course, an oversimplification, but it may spark some research on the part of a few of you. The questions posed in this post are not hypothetical; they are real and they are timely.

Personally, I think that you can fool or manipulate Mother Nature for a while, but that she seems to have a way of re-establishing her superiority in the long run. I’m just not sure how she will do that when it comes to clones and cloning.

 

 

Ethics in the Horse Industry

Some days I wonder just how the horse industry survives. Over the last few decades, I have observed a few things that I would consider unethical, but, either I am becoming more observant or the rate of occurrence has increased.

Agents

Some long-standing traditions within the industry have always puzzled me. How is it not a conflict of interest for an agent to take a percentage when he/she buys a horse for a client? Are they not tempted to buy the most expensive horse? In certain circles – racing for one – this has been the norm for ages.

Nowadays, that isn’t good enough for some. Now the agent, who is frequently the person who will train the horse, coach the rider and/or house the animal, is often bold enough to demand a commission from the seller too. When this tactic has been presented to me, I have simply told the agents that I will tell their client they are taking a commission off both ends. Not advised if you need to sell, but definitely advisable if you want to look at yourself in the mirror.

It is now not uncommon to hear people turned off because a stable owner, trainer, agent or coach ripped them off. Shame on all these people; they deter newcomers to the industry and make it more difficult for the rest of us.

Media

Have you noticed that many horse publications, especially the online versions are just amalgamations of press and media releases sent from various competitions? Some releases are even produced by entities with one or more vested interest and they are published as news, not the advertorials they truly are.

And, in case you think that you get information that is more balanced by reading articles that were written by journalists, know that they are often asked to slant their writing to suit the advertisers. I have actually been told (in emails, so I can prove this) that “our readers do not have that opinion.” How could they have that (or any informed) opinion if no one ever tells them another side to things?

I have had my articles edited to the point that the whole article has a different meaning. I asked for my name to be removed from one such piece as I did not agree with the publisher’s edited version. My name was not on it when it was published, but it was placed amid several other pieces by me, with no indication that it was written by the publisher instead of yours truly. My response? I quit writing for that publisher and all three of her publications. That same publisher has recently lost another journalist for ethical reasons, but there are lots of releases to fill the pages and satisfy advertisers, I guess. I shake my head in sadness.

Heros

Have you noticed that in most coverage of equestrian competitions it is more about the humans and their degree of celebrity and that very little is said about the horse? I recall a time when I learned that this horse was related to that horse or about some backstory that made the horse the hero when either watching or reading about a competition.

As horse people we all know that horses have personalities. What do you know about the individual personality of the top horses in any of the disciplines? We don’t even know a horse’s favorite treat, unless a sponsor is involved. And even then, we are led to assume that the sponsor’s product is the horse’s fave because the rider/owner/trainer is pictured with the product or is quoted in the ad.

Would you rather know that the person likes chicken curry and cheese crackers or that the horse does? Do you care what annoys or pleases a particular human or what annoys or pleases a particular horse?

Gone

Fortunately, because I charge either a flat rate or an hourly rate, I have not had to avoid mirrors on ethical grounds. But I do miss the days when I could write an article describing a famous horse, quirks and all, and actually have it published. Or when I could talk about my observations without having them go through the sponsorship screen before being published.

If you want a different product or a different industry, it is up to you to demand it. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet and can send messages to media outlets or to regulatory bodies or to sponsors, since they all have an internet presence, making your views known. Or…you can do nothing, except maybe complain.

Vaquiero -0849

Photos as Art

I know it is a bit early and a bit off topic, but…

HandoutA photographer friend is having her second exhibit of photos taken during a horse-themed tour of Brazil, and I called to wish her much success. Exhibit Poster-webDuring our conversation, Ceci mentioned that someone had purchased one of her photos on canvas for the person’s farrier as a Christmas gift. Yes, the client was definitely thinking ahead, and yes, it is certainly a great gift idea for a farrier.

With These Hands -7051With these Hands

In case you have a horsey person deserving of a special gift – Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversary, just because, etc. – check out Ceci’s work. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with treating one’s self to a present now and again, right?

wall 1If you are tough to buy for, why not start a collection, so that friends and family can add to it, knowing in advance that you will approve of the choices?

wall 2wall 3

Vaquiero -0849I’m told this photo is particularly lovely on canvas…

Bloodlines

Every year around this time – after the World Cup Finals in Dressage and Jumping and after Rolex and Badminton – I write bloodline articles. I write about the pedigrees of the top horses and point out patterns.

While doing the research I also notice whether the pedigrees of horses I have selected or recommended over the years have gotten stronger due to the success of their relatives. It is a great way to test one’s accuracy. This year I was pleased to see that earlier predictions are either coming true or are holding true.

About 15 years ago I recommended the purchase of a Donnerhall son as a stallion, and I am pleased to see that there is still a strong Donnerhall presence in dressage, primarily through his sons and grandsons.

Rolex and Badminton provided excellent feedback regarding the Thoroughbreds I have selected for sport breeding programs, and I am particularly thrilled with how strong the pedigree of Hero’s Tribute is in regards to current horses. I’m also glad that several of the mares he has in his harem also carry strong sport influences.

Aside from the bloodlines, I quite like how Hero stamps his offspring – Thoroughbred and Warmblood – adding lightness of the forehand, refinement and an excellent work ethic.

The only sad part is that I suspect he will be gone by the time he becomes popular based on the results of his offspring in sport.

It is nice to be appreciated.

Today I received two compliments – one via email and one as a comment on this site and both were unsolicited. I was also informed that another individual recommended one of my books to a noted trainer.

1 – I have learned a great deal from you and your books, and I am no longer navigating the stormy waters of horse purchasing without an excellent compass! Thank you so much for your practical physics and math based approach to functional conformation. Knowledge is power!

2 – I learned from the clinic I took with you that like all living things we are all built with certain strengths and weaknesses. All one has to do is look at the worlds better long distance runners. They are lean and have very long legs, (thighs). It is not usual to see the short dumpy people in these events. Nor is it usual to see those in the racing world doing well in weight lifting. I look forward to taking another clinic with you.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me regarding your views. And thank you for recommending my work to others.


					

To Be or Not To Be Quoted

That is the question.

Every so often I google myself, which, despite sounding rather strange, can be informative for me. It is nice to read unsolicited comments.

But…

I often find that I am quoted incorrectly or that I am used as the proof to someone’s opinion even though that ‘proof’ is inaccurate. I have found that this is particularly evident in various forums.

For instance: I have never declared that sprinters are built downhill, and most certainly have not studied racehorses with that ‘view’ in mind. In fact, I have often asked people to define ‘downhill’ in general (not racing specific) and asked for examples. Of the examples presented to me with a description of ‘butt higher than withers’, all of the mature ones have actually measured higher in the withers than at the croup…at least so far.

Maybe the next time someone points out a horse that is built downhill, you can measure it and see if it really is or whether it is an optical illusion.

One of the goals I hold dear is to be objective and to not mislead. Therefore, I try to avoid falling prey to optical illusions. In my PowerPoints, one of the first things I do is show how optical illusions can fool our eyes. Some of you may recall looking at photos right side up and then up side down. And remember, my first book was entitled Ten Conformation Myths.

As to the comments that I expect all horses to compete at the top level of a particular sport or discipline, all I can say is that one has to set the bar somewhere when trying to help people understand how conformation affects function. One way is to use the world’s best horses in order to demonstrate how they function so well in their sport/discipline and how they differ from horses in other sports/disciplines. They are used as ideals or points for comparison – and perhaps as goals for breeders and/or competitive riders and coaches – not as the only acceptable type.

Do I believe that all horses need to be built to be the best in the world? No, but I do believe that we humans need to understand that just because our horse is by Famous Stallion and from Champion bloodlines through the dam, it may not be built to meet human expectations. By showing how far a horse is from championship form (functional conformation) or from the ideal for a certain sport/discipline (functional conformation) , we should be able to set realistic expectations for that individual and keep it happy and sound within its own comfort zone. That is my sincerest wish for every horse, and it has been for a long time.

Those who have emailed me within the past couple of decades or so may well have noticed the following quote in my replies:

"My goal - as always - has been to do well by the horse. 
That usually is in the best interests of horsemen as well, 
though I know that what I say and do is not always (hardly ever!) 
appreciated in the short run." James Rooney, DVM

A Blip or Two

Sorry to have been so long between posts on this site, but I had to deal with some health irregularities. Happily, they have been remedied and I am now working my way back to the norm…ok…my norm, whatever that is.

In the interim, I’m glad to report that book sales have been moving along with sales to clients in Germany, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Canada and the United States in the last few months. And I also did some online evaluations – pre-purchase advice, breeding recommendations, etc. – for clients in a few different countries.

The Future

There’s talk of a clinic/seminar near Temecula in Riverside County in California in the coming months, so stay tuned for specific dates. The organizers are thinking sooner rather than later.

If interested in attending as an observer and/or as a participant, please express your interest by the end of February, and please include your discipline(s) of interest.
Contact Cynthia Godby: cgby1@msn.com

The agenda is not yet set, but there is a possibly of a mixed session (various breeds and disciplines) on Saturday and a dressage-specific session on Sunday. So far the audience is likely to include jousters, eventers, barrel racers, dressage riders and trainers.

Who knows? If this one is well received, perhaps we can do another in late October or early November when I am in the general area covering the Breeders’ Cup horse races at Santa Anita.

In the meantime, I will continue to give some thought to the next e-book. I’m leaning towards doing one on Athleticism, Soundness and Longevity that is not breed or discipline specific.

What say you?

Upcoming Clinic in Alberta

ALBERTA TRAIL RIDERS ASSOCIATION TO HOST CONFORMATION CLINIC

November 21/22 @ Birch Bay Ranch
Day 1 –Conformation and Function PowerPoint plus Hands-on Session
Day 2 – Riding Your Horse for How it is Built
Register with Shirley: (780) 662-4747 or shimcf@mcsnet.ca