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Cops: Stolen horses sported vet paint
Daily Southtwon ^ | 3-4-2003 | Carrie Wolfe

Posted on 03/04/2003 1:16:38 PM PST by Cagey

Woman allegedly tried to disguise the animals with black spraypaint

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

By Carrie Wolfe
Staff writer


A Palos Park veterinarian, whose license has expired, stole three show horses — two from the southwest suburbs — and tried to disguise at least two of them using a toxic black paint, authorities said.

Cathy Crighton, 44, of Palos Park, was charged Saturday in Wellington, Fla., with two counts of grand theft and one count of dealing in stolen property, Palm Beach County authorities said. She was being held Monday at Palm Beach County Jail on $5,000 bail.

Crighton allegedly stole one of the horses, Keller, in October from an unlocked stable at Top Brass Horse Farm in unincorporated Palos Township.

Keller, a Swedish Warmblood, was found at a stable in Wellington, about 13 miles west of West Palm Beach, authorities said.

A Florida resident reportedly bought Keller from Crighton for $15,000. The horse was valued at $50,000.

Palm Beach County deputies arrested Crighton Saturday at another Wellington stable where they found San Diego, a dark gray gelding who had disappeared from a local paddock Jan. 22. His white legs and the white stripe on his face had been spray-painted with black Rustoleum paint.

Someone apparently saw Crighton spraying a horse and contacted authorities.

The paint caused blisters near the horse's nose and he could be permanently scarred, deputies said.

The horse reportedly was worth $100,000.

Scooby Doo, a 3-year-old Dutch Warmblood stolen Sept. 21 from Bordon Farms in Wilmington, was found in a stall next to San Diego. The horse also had paint on his legs and feet.

Crighton's veterinarian license, which she received in Illinois in 1996, expired Jan. 31, and she should not have been practicing, said Jeff Irwin, a technical assistant for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations.

To renew her license, Crighton would have had to complete 20 hours of courses, Irwin said.

Kathy Fitzpatrick, owner of Fitzjoy Farm in Palos Park, said she worked with Crighton occasionally for about a year, and Crighton provided in-house vet services for horses at Fitzjoy.

Crighton had been argumentative with some of the boarders at Fitzjoy and seemed unhappy, Fitzpatrick said.

But Fitzpatrick was surprised by the charges.

"It didn't seem like she needed the money," she said. "It didn't seem like she needed the notoriety.

"I can't imagine she thought she'd get away with something like that," Fitzpatrick said. "No one could look at a horse and not know that it was painted."

Lea Ann Koch, president of the Illinois Quarter Horse Association, was alarmed by the news.

"It's astonishing to me that somebody would do that; plus (she's) a veterinarian," Koch said. "I have never really heard of anyone going into somebody's barn and taking a horse.

"I guess I've never seen someone gutsy enough, or stupid (enough) — whatever you want to call it."

Allen Hoger, owner of Top Brass Horse Farm, said Crighton was contracted by some boarders who rent space at the stables.

No one answered the door Monday at Crighton's home, 11099 McCarthy Road. Her driveways were blocked with chains.

She is scheduled to appear in court March 31, Palm Beach County authorities said.

Keller and Scooby Doo reportedly are being shipped home this week.

Hoger said he was happy Keller's owner, Jolene Novak-Racevicius of New Lenox, would be reunited with her horse.

Novak-Racevicius couldn't be reached for comment Monday, but trainers and horse owners at Top Brass said Novak-Racevicius was happy her horse was found. They said she recently returned from a trip to Germany to buy a new horse.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: Illinois
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His white legs and the white stripe on his face had been spray-painted with black Rustoleum paint.
1 posted on 03/04/2003 1:16:38 PM PST by Cagey
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To: Cagey
She should have stolen a paint.
2 posted on 03/04/2003 1:18:32 PM PST by TADSLOS (Gunner, Target!)
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To: Cagey
Bizarre behavior! From a vet?! Double bizarre!

Glad the horses were found safe. People fear the worst when horses are stolen.

3 posted on 03/04/2003 1:21:39 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: TADSLOS; American Mom
A paint! LOL!

Seriously, though, how could anybody not have noticed that the horse they were thinking of buying had been painted? I mean, she could at least have used Grecian Formula or something. And there actually are safe dyes for touching up irregularities in your horse's coat, although of course you're not supposed to use them when selling the horse!

Wierd story. But that's Palm Beach in a nutshell.
4 posted on 03/04/2003 1:26:37 PM PST by livius
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To: Cagey
There's another Cathy Crighton in west Scotland who paints animals ... but in the normal way. <|:)~
5 posted on 03/04/2003 1:28:51 PM PST by martin_fierro (SOUTH American Idol)
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To: Cagey
More stories about this truly bonkers woman.
6 posted on 03/04/2003 1:32:47 PM PST by martin_fierro (SOUTH American Idol)
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To: Cagey

7 posted on 03/04/2003 1:33:33 PM PST by martin_fierro (SOUTH American Idol)
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To: martin_fierro
You should change your screen name to Inspector Fierro. LOL

Good find, and it's very interesting how this story has put her back in the light of that unsolved murder in Illinois.

8 posted on 03/04/2003 1:39:27 PM PST by Cagey
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To: martin_fierro; aculeus; general_re; BlueLancer; hellinahandcart; Cagey
Wow. Bonkers indeed, and possibly a murderess.
9 posted on 03/04/2003 1:40:17 PM PST by dighton
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To: Cagey

Shake hands with my minky. <|:)~ Just don't paint it.

10 posted on 03/04/2003 1:42:14 PM PST by martin_fierro (SOUTH American Idol)
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To: HairOfTheDog
Correction: FORMER vet. She does not now, and never will again, have a license to practice veterinary medicine in any civilized country. That profession is very well self-policed, and I expect it's no coincidence that her license had expired and not been renewed.
11 posted on 03/04/2003 1:43:33 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: GovernmentShrinker
Yeah - I knew the distinction.... You just don't expect people with the 'stuff' to get through vet school having a pretty major screw loose. Truth is stranger than fiction!
12 posted on 03/04/2003 1:47:35 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Cagey
I wonder what the penalty for horse-thievery is in Illinois. The noose?
13 posted on 03/04/2003 1:49:34 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: martin_fierro
That's probably where she got the name when she changed hers.
14 posted on 03/04/2003 1:51:44 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: HairOfTheDog
Actually, there's quite a bit of data showing a correlation between loose screws in the human interaction department, and high intelligence in quantitative-spatial areas -- the areas emphasized by the physical science courses which comprise most of vet school and pre-vet requirements. Also, a significant correlation between high intelligence in general and various forms of mental illness. My guess is that this woman has some sort of progressive mental illness that started becoming apparent during vet school, and has continued to progress since then. And due to all our insane "anti-discrimination" laws, without either a criminal conviction or documented malpractice, it would be virtually impossible for a vet school to expel her, or for a state veterinary board to yank her license, even when they very much wanted to.

I'm still curious about the expired license thing. I have no idea how long vet licenses are good for, but it seems she had on euntil some time in 1996. Was she too crazy to remember to apply for renewal? Or had one or more state boards made clear to her that they would launch an in-depth investigation of her if she applied?

The Michigan vet school administration must be cringing REALLY hard right now -- they accepted her as a transfer, after she'd shown some clear signs of instability, and they didn't have to do that, since as with many graduate professional programs, transferring during vet school is considered an pretty exceptional thing which is only allowed for exceptionally good reasons (and one wouldn't think that "my classmate was murdered, and it's making me crazy that the cops think I did it" would qualify).
15 posted on 03/04/2003 2:02:39 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: HairOfTheDog
Aren't horses, especially horses this valuable, sold with some type of registration papers?
16 posted on 03/04/2003 2:08:26 PM PST by Cagey
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To: GovernmentShrinker
Unfortunately we got one of these screw loose veterinarians in my town. This lady broke into another veterinary clinic to steal controlled drugs after she lost her DEA license. She beat herself up and claimed her husband did it, even stuck a needle into her chest to give herself a pneumothorax. The woman has been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers more times than one can count and the state licensing board still gives her a license. Why? Because they are afraid of a sex discrimination suit. Recently she cut a bladder open on a cat during a routine spay and did a poor job of suturing her error it resulted in the cat's demise. She has lost her DEA license again and has the drugs to anesthetize animals(duh!) yet the state board still lets her practice. I have little faith in the state boards when it comes to regulating minorities that are incompetant or are known to have serious drug dependency problems.
17 posted on 03/04/2003 2:16:31 PM PST by vetvetdoug
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To: vetvetdoug
Yikes! When you say "sex discrimination" and "minorities", are you saying she's female and a racial minority? Seems like it would be hard to make out a sex discrimination case re a female vet, since the profession is skewing further and further towards being predominantly female (about 75% of vet students are now female IIRC). And does this woman have any actual convictions, or do the courts keep letting her off?
18 posted on 03/04/2003 2:22:49 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: Cagey
Sometimes, and sometimes not. The horses were described as "Swedish Warmblood" and "Dutch Warmblood" which is more of a 'type' than a 'breed'. Simply defined, a Warmblood is a cross between a "hot blood" (thoroughbred or Arabian) and some other breed, often of the large performance horse types used in jumping and dressage. They are not 'purebreds' with 'papers' so much as they are 'types', sometimes with a 'registry'. Not hard to fake really, I suppose.
19 posted on 03/04/2003 2:47:54 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Cagey
I will say this, what makes those horses that valuable is their winnings and experience competively. Without their true identity known, she would have to sell them as very nice prospects with no history, and would get perhaps a quarter of that.
20 posted on 03/04/2003 2:54:01 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog
"Swedish Warmblood" and "Dutch Warmblood" which is more of a 'type' than a 'breed'.

I would have to disagree from a very, very technical standpoint. Both have studbooks and although provisional registration is still available the Class I mares and Approved stallions are pretty much a closed set now. Both breeds are newer than say the Trakehner (which have been branded for years) or Hannoverian (which now requires six generations and the brand) but you can pick 'em out of a lineup.

Swedish Warmblood Registry Basics

Dutch Warmblood Studbook

I heard from my trainer that the Swedish studbook is going to be closed in the near future. She is very gung-ho about Hannoverians and Trakehners as 3-day event horses. (I am a T'bred person myself.)

This "vet" or "ex-vet" is clearly unhinged. Any old racetrack hot walker or any gypsy for that matter could tell you how to change the markings on a horse. Or "doctor" the teeth for that matter. And Rustoleum isn't how.

21 posted on 03/04/2003 3:10:36 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . not that I would ever do such a thing of course . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Feel free to disagree from a very technical standpoint! :~D I could know more about them than I do.
22 posted on 03/04/2003 3:15:25 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Cagey
Aren't horses, especially horses this valuable, sold with some type of registration papers?

Yes, they come with papers. Each "approved" horse is assigned a number and the foals have breeding certificates issued at the time of foaling. Most of the warmblood breeds also get a brand - the Trakehners have a set of antlers on the shoulder, the Hannoverians a stylized "H".

If you don't have a breeding certificate or pedigree, I would think the horse would sell for 1/4 its value with "papers". You can sell a horse on "looks", movement and performance to some degree, but you will never get the money you could with the papers, because the pedigree gives breeding value. But this woman is so "out of it" that I don't think she even considered these factors. I mean -- Rustoleum???

Of course, papers can be faked for the gullible buyer . . .

23 posted on 03/04/2003 3:17:18 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . not that I would ever do such a thing of course . . .)
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To: Cagey
That reminds me of a sign I once saw in Germany:

Varning!
Vet Paint!


24 posted on 03/04/2003 3:17:48 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Someone left the cake out in the rain I dont think that I can take it coz it took so long to bake it)
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To: Cagey
Wellington is home of Palm Beach Polo Club and is a gated community for horse/polo owners. Many, many expensive horses.
25 posted on 03/04/2003 3:22:45 PM PST by Oystir
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To: HairOfTheDog
Well, I'm not the biggest warmblood fan around, but my trainer loves these horses.

They ARE big, and they ARE powerful. The Dutch Warmbloods have a strong farm horse (Gelderlander) background, so compared to the Swedish Warmbloods they are more harness-horse looking - although that's being bred out as the eventing horses are picking up the big money now.

The warmbloods as a whole don't seem to be as flighty as the Thoroughbreds, although you can always pick two horses out that prove the rule. One of my trainer's Trakehners is just evil-tempered (we blame it on her sire, the Olympic competitor Abdullah who was a notorious bad boy) and she also will get away from you competing or hunting, while my T'bred mare is incredibly tractable and reliable at all times and places. T'breds are also renowned for never giving up no matter what. If you pointed my mare at the barn she would try to scramble over it. (Maybe that means she's stupid, but you have to exercise judgment when riding a T'bred because she will go until she drops in her tracks.) Mine won't get there in a hurry, though, she's beautiful but she was sold off a racehorse farm as a yearling because it was already apparent that she couldn't catch cold.

26 posted on 03/04/2003 3:34:19 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . it's o.k. I have no interest in setting any land speed records.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
It is a sport I admire. I come from Arab show background, and now have a beautiful 20 year old Arab who has the best heart I know. When I got him, I hoped he could teach me first level dressage, but he hated the work, so we ride trails. Perhaps when he is gone, I will have a dressage prospect. I would love to do it.
27 posted on 03/04/2003 3:39:04 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: martin_fierro
Pliz do not notice the burd.


28 posted on 03/04/2003 3:44:25 PM PST by archy (Keep in mind that the milk of human kindness comes from a beast that is both cannibal and a vampire.)
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To: HairOfTheDog
Eventing is the most fun I have ever had outdoors. :-D

There are some Russian horses, with a good deal of Arab blood, who have done pretty well in eventing, but it's not really an Arab discipline.

The warmbloods do extremely well in dressage, but the T'breds will often catch up in the cross country and the stadium jumping. At the highest levels, the best warmbloods are winning, but the T'breds are always there. At MY level (Tadpole - 2nd baby level) we don't do well in dressage because my girl doesn't have a lot of impulsion and fire on the flat, but we catch up in cross country and pull ahead in stadium. I was a hunter-jumper rider for years and years, so I'm most comfortable in the ring. My mare jumps like silk too, smoothly out of her stride and nicely balanced. Not fast, but her efficiency makes up a lot of time. And she has only refused with me once - at a really gnarly ditch combination that she had never seen the likes of before! (Partly my fault - I didn't like the looks of it either, and she knew it! We came around again and picked our way through.)

29 posted on 03/04/2003 4:00:50 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . it's o.k. I have no interest in setting any land speed records.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
I did a little bit of jumping when I was young. Someday I would like to get into it again at a local level, for fun. When I have the right horse for it.

30 posted on 03/04/2003 4:07:12 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: dighton; martin_fierro; general_re; BlueLancer; hellinahandcart; Cagey
Wow. Bonkers indeed, and possibly a murderess.

I'll let you off this time, Mr. White Man, but your risking a summons from the PC police for using an out-of-date sexist term. I suppose you still call Katherine Hepburn an "actress" instead of "actor".

As a real person she's entitled to be called a "murderer".

31 posted on 03/04/2003 4:13:19 PM PST by aculeus (They also serve who ping and bump.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
This "vet" or "ex-vet" is clearly unhinged. Any old racetrack hot walker or any gypsy for that matter could tell you how to change the markings on a horse. Or "doctor" the teeth for that matter. And Rustoleum isn't how.

Hair dye works better, and isn't toxic. There were six different horses used in making "The Black Stallion", and they all needed a bit of "touch up" here and there. Of course, it's only a short-term fix.

I don't know much about designer warmbloods, except they cost a lot, and I don't see too many at the schooling-level local dressage shows. Some people think they're a "secret formula" for winning. Getting one cheap might seem a great deal, but the higher you go, the more paperwork you have to provide. Or maybe it's the same appeal that stolen art has for some people, where you can only enjoy it in secret.

A friend has an arab stallion, and is always afraid he'll be stolen because he's so friendly, and will gladly get in anyone's horse trailer. He associates horse trailers with fun things like dressage shows, and as a grey, he has no permanent distinctive markings except for a snip on his nose. She's still debating between getting him a lip tattoo or a biochip.

32 posted on 03/04/2003 4:34:37 PM PST by 300winmag
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To: aculeus; dighton
As a real person she's entitled to be called a "murderer".

You're forgetting the feminine form that we can create with the "-ix" suffix, a la "dominatrix". In this case, I suggest "lunatrix"...

33 posted on 03/04/2003 4:37:16 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: 300winmag
I have toyed with an obvious freeze brand on mine, because the slaughterhouses do have to have brands cleared in order to buy branded horses. They don't have to look for chips or tattoos that I know of (and they don't have to clear the under-mane freeze brands on Arabs)

A friend has done shoulder freeze brands on all of his.
34 posted on 03/04/2003 4:45:27 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: general_re; aculeus
In this case, I suggest "lunatrix"...

A useful word, besieged as we are by lunatrices.

35 posted on 03/04/2003 5:01:57 PM PST by dighton
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To: dighton
Police interviewed hundreds of people -- fellow veterinary students, neighbors and acquaintances as the days after Caleel's murder stretched into months and years -- and "virtually all" except Crighton cooperated, Metzler said.

Crighton "went ballistic," screaming shrilly when investigators tried to talk to her, Metzler said.

Animal cruelty, theft, burglary, murder - the lady liked to dip her beak into a little of everything, I guess...

36 posted on 03/04/2003 5:13:22 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: HairOfTheDog
I have toyed with an obvious freeze brand on mine, because the slaughterhouses do have to have brands cleared in order to buy branded horses.

The EU required all British horse owners to apply biochips to their horses so they can be acceptable as meat for the French market. Another reason I hate the French.

37 posted on 03/04/2003 5:24:01 PM PST by 300winmag
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To: Endeavor
Wow, did you see this?
38 posted on 03/04/2003 5:31:28 PM PST by mountaineer
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To: Oystir
A friend of mine runs the Wellington Polo Club. Quite a place. It frequently plays host to Prince Charles, Indian maharajas and others of the international elite polo set.

Leni

39 posted on 03/04/2003 5:40:39 PM PST by MinuteGal (THIS JUST IN ! Astonishing fare reduction for FReeps Ahoy Cruise! Check it out, pronto!)
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To: 300winmag
Hair dye works better, and isn't toxic.

But ya gotta watch your brand. Certain brands will turn horses green and all sorts of other weird colors not found in nature.

My horse is jet black except for one white heel and a few white hairs on her forehead in the shape of a crescent moon. She never raced (bwahahahaha) so she doesn't have a lip tattoo. She's always ready to load, 'cause she used to be a broodmare at one point in her checkered career so she always thinks when she sees a trailer that it's Time for Romance. I HAVE touched up her tail when it got too much sun . . . but I'll never tell how. :-D

Oh, what the heck. Here she is in all her glory:

Sorry about the saddle mark. She is a little down in the back, but then she's 16. It's amazing when I look at her how much she's bulked up in the chest and withers since we started doing dressage. Lot of muscle on her second thigh too.

40 posted on 03/04/2003 7:13:49 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . it's o.k. I have no interest in setting any land speed records.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
But ya gotta watch your brand. Certain brands will turn horses green and all sorts of other weird colors not found in nature.

Since I've never had to recolor a horse, I'll take your word for it. The closest I've come is using baby powder on the white parts of a certain snotty little pony at dressage shows, where he can roll on the grass, even when tied to the trailer, and magically get grass stains only on the white parts.

41 posted on 03/04/2003 8:25:20 PM PST by 300winmag
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To: 300winmag
chlorine bleach (judiciously diluted before a vinegar rinse and thorough shampoo) and Mrs. Stewart's Bluing always worked for me (I used to ride a chestnut QH gelding with four white stockings.)

I try to keep one of those solar-block sheets on the mare all summer, because she fades BAD. I don't like to turn her out with a tail bandage on, so the top of her tail always turns brown. She does like the fly bonnet though.

I put my kids on tired old horses to learn - but my son the Speed Racer is now riding a little white half Welsh half Connemara - 'snotty' is her middle name. She is FAST and can jump the moon - most of the kids are afraid of her but my son doesn't care (one of the advantages of ADHD by the way). He got into a makeup class and just ASSUMED that he and the pony should be jumping the BIG fences - so here they come down the outside line with a 3'3" vertical at the end, and the pony and he sail over it, more or less together. We could see daylight under his pants, but he wound up back in the saddle and he and the pony cantered on. As Thelwell observed, it's just a case of who breaks who first . . .

Last week our trainer put my daughter on this amazing horse named Shade - he is half Percheron and half T'bred. He is HUGEOUS - I didn't stick him but he looks like at least 17.2 - pure Perche head and neck (thick neck, roman nose and kinda goofy look) but fairly fine body. He's very well coordinated but he's extremely strong. Fortunately he's a perfect gentleman and will stop when asked - my daughter is a tall girl but light, and she could no more stop him than she could pull a school bus. I was working in the ring, but I did catch a glimpse of five or six of the kids thundering around the lower pasture - I inquired afterwards and was told they were playing "pursuit of the Nazgul" - if I were pursued by THAT horse I think I'd just give up on the spot. Sort of like being chased by elephants.

42 posted on 03/04/2003 8:48:54 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . it's o.k. I have no interest in setting any land speed records.)
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To: GovernmentShrinker
How is it that you seem to know so much about the veterinary profession?
43 posted on 03/05/2003 7:46:39 PM PST by Endeavor
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To: HairOfTheDog
You're an Arab fan? Me too. Great heart and great athletes.

I'm also partial to the T'breds. But I'm an Arab fan at heart.
44 posted on 03/05/2003 7:51:35 PM PST by Endeavor
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To: AnAmericanMother
nice headed horse
45 posted on 03/05/2003 7:53:35 PM PST by Endeavor
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To: Endeavor
Yes, I had Arabs as a kid and they stuck with me. Here is my current best gentleman. He's 20 in these pics taken last summer. (love to share pony pics!)

And here runnin' with his best pony friend!


46 posted on 03/05/2003 8:08:11 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Endeavor
Thanks.

I wish she hadn't had her housecoat and curlers on, so to speak, when I took that picture. (We had also just been through three run-throughs of the Novice "C" dressage test and a jumping course, so she was absolutely pooped and it shows.) When I get her in frame in a nice extended trot she looks more "together", especially her back. (Hey, I'm sensitive about "broodmare droop" myself!) :-D

Here's a nice head study. She does have a classic T'bred head. (Even if her mouth is full of hay and she's in the process of taking a good big chomp.)


47 posted on 03/05/2003 8:13:21 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . and she also has the classic "kind eye")
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To: HairOfTheDog
Wow! He looks great, especially for 20!

And of course he just shouts "ARAB!" at the top of his lungs. His legs look really really clean too.

I've never had much experience with Arabs, we don't see them much in the hunter world because they're a little short-backed to win in hunter conformation. (But my 16hh girl would look silly in an endurance trail ride, so it takes all kinds to make a world.)

48 posted on 03/05/2003 8:20:39 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . a horse is a horse, of course, of course . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Bay is actually pretty big and gangly for an Arab... he's tall.

And he is in great health still, I intend to have him for the rest of his days, and I hope to still have many more good years.

Here's one more! ;~D from our lunch break in the middle of a trail ride last year. (A little more belly on him here!)


49 posted on 03/05/2003 8:52:02 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: AnAmericanMother
(Hey, I'm sensitive about "broodmare droop" myself!)

I don't see any such droop on her! - She's beautiful!

50 posted on 03/05/2003 9:01:45 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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