Archive for April, 2013


Stop. It.

What’s got my knickers in a twist?

Soring. That’s what.

A year ago- heck- 6 months ago, I would have thought that this was a mis-spelling of what large birds do when they are flying.

The extent of our horsey knowledge was that they were expensive {especially in the desert, where they can’t graze} and that there was BIG money in racing. I had heard that there was a lot of money in the show horse world, but I never had cause to really think about any of it.

And then we moved, and had abandoned horses in our front yard.

That led to the decision to get horses for those that want to ride. A friend of ours came across a posting through an equine rescue group for a Spotted Saddle Horse. And then, the one gal with the rescue sent our friend info on a Tennessee Walking Horse.

We fell in love, and were totally, completely hooked.

We sent both girls down the road {literally, not even a mile away} for training, where they stayed for a month and we all got trained. Mostly.

We knew our SSH had issues with being trailered. We came to figure out that she had been a show horse, which instantly put her into hyper-speed when the bit when in her mouth. It also accounted for the tail with the cut tendon, to make her tail stay up a bit higher.

Our TWH, on the other hand, trailered just fine, but continued to test every single person who sat on her. And, she was/is bossy and pushy in the pasture. We think she had also been shown, thanks to her “pimp walk.”

This is a hard one to describe, because people look at you like you are nuts when you try to describe it. It’s like she has a broken leg.

Now, some people think an unusual gait is fun, {why else would they have trained her to do it?!}, but we don’t like it. At. All.

This is one of those things we’ve been working hard to correct.

We’re not getting very far riding them outside the paddock, either, because they are hopped up when the bits go in and retraining has taken some time.

To this end, we are transitioning them to use hackamores. I think we are making some progress.

I started researching, because, well, that’s just the way I roll.

And then I learned about soring, and it got me to thinking.

Our SSH, Magic, has uber sensitive feet. We thought she was ticklish. Now, I’m not so sure. I wonder if she has nerve damage.

Before I go any further, I need to warn you that these pictures and information are graphic and disturbing. Because it’s important, I feel a need to get it out there.

What is soring?

According to the Human Society,

“Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel, and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.”

Here are a few pictures.





The point of soring is to make them pick their feet up really high, for the Big Lick gait.

Lest you think this is an isolated incident, there have been recent arrests made; one top trainer in addition to a person who was on the ethics board for this breed.

I’m naming names.

Last September, Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell was fined and banned for life because of soring and booted out of the Hall of Fame. Did his punishment go far enough? In my opinion, no.

$75,000 is not NEARLY enough, in my opinion, for the decades of torture he caused these horses, not to mention the profit he made in the show ring.

Last week, April 25, 19 horses were seized in a barn used by Larry Wheelon. Mr. Wheelon is an is an active director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association and sits on its ethics committee. You can read about the warrant here.

Watch the videos.

They are graphic, but you NEED to see them to get a glimmer of what this is all about.


The Human Society video is one that I haven’t been able to sit all the way through. I absolutely just cannot get through it.

If you’ve ever been on the other side of a rescued horse, you might know what I’m talking about.

One of the previous owners threw a hammer at her (our SSH), too.

I suspect that my horse may have been subjected to some of this. Even if she wasn’t, she is, nonetheless, traumatized. There is no other explanation for the way she freaks out when getting trailered, or how you can see the fear in her eyes when the bit goes in her mouth.

We’ve been told numerous times that a horse you can’t ride eats just as much as a horse you can ride. There’s truth to that.

We’re not ready to give up, though. The more I read, watch, and learn, the more I feel like we absolutely were sent here for these horses- not just the abandoned ones, but the ones we’ve rescued.

While I admit to getting frustrated because I’d like to be further along than we are, this kind of information fortifies my resolve.

So, what can you do? Not everyone can foster or rehabilitate an abused or neglected horse. You can, however, find a 501 c3 non-profit equine rescue. You might even find one that specializes in Tennessee Walking Horses/Spotted Saddle Horses or other gaited horses that have been victimized for the show ring.

One rescue I’ve found is called the Sore No More Ranch, and it specializes in Tennessee Walking Horses that have been victims of soring.

The Wounded Heart Center is another that specializes in treatment and rehabilitation.

Habitat For Horses has a lot of good information, too.{I haven’t found anything on this website that says it’s a non-profit- if someone can find it, please post the link in a comment and I’ll edit this post.}

The bottom line is this: Soring HAS TO STOP.

Help spread the word. Donate funds to an equine rescue. Rescue a horse if you’re able. Spread the word and contact your legislators asking them NOT to support the Ag bill that punishes abuse whistleblowers. You can get read more about that issue on the Human Society  and ASPCA websites.

Get involved.

Do. Something.

You CAN make a diffference!

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Ruthy MacNeil would do near anything to get away from her adopted family; particularly her learing “brother,” Virgil, who Ma and Pa have planned to marry her off to. Ruthy had gotten pretty good at hiding and trying to protect herself from his advances. She’d be happy if she could survive the wagon train intact. Escaping was her plan, but she had to wait for the right time.  SweptAway

Turns out, she didn’t need to worry about sneaking off. Nope, Pa’s stupidity took care of her ‘escape’ for her. Now, if she could manage to survive the swollen river that took the wagons and the family………….

Luke Stone had some reckoning to do. Pa Stone had been killed and his ranch had been stolen from him. Luke’s sister, Callie, had gone off to Colorado to track down her wayward husband. Last he knew, she was doin’ fine.

Someone had to set the ranch to rights, and that someone was him. If Flint Greer had his way, though, Luke would be well out of the way before he got close enough to be a threat.

But Luke had plans for Greer. And, he had friends. They were Regulators, bound together by surviving Andersonville.

Those plans didn’t include a woman. What was he to do? He couldn’t leave her sopped up on the wagon planks in the turbulent river! As driven as he was, he couldn’t leave a woman to die, especially when she was right on his path home.

Can Luke save his ranch? Can they save Flint’s wife and kids from his barbaric beatings? And what’s he going to do with Ruthy?


Author Mary Connealy picks right up where she left off, more or less, after the Kincaid brothers got their lives settled. In the final book of the Kincaid Brides series, we met up with Callie, Luke’s sister, as she went after her forgetful husband.

We jump back to Texas as Luke makes his plan to get his ranch back. This is the first book in the series, and I can’t wait to read the subsequent titles.

This book is classic Mary Connealy, through and through. She is one of my favorite authors, so it’s no surprise I’m giving this one 5 out of 5 stars. It has everything in it- a damsel in distress, wrongs to right, gun fights, and classic good vs. evil battles. If you’ve enjoyed her other titles, you’ll love this one!

You might also enjoy Mary Connealy’s website, that has all of her titles.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for this unbiased review.


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This is a collection which includes Deadline, Dominion, and Deception. OllieChandlerCollection


Doc, Finney, and Jake. The three amigos. Three peas in a pod. Lifelong friends. Survived Nam together, more or less. Stood up at each other’s weddings. Standing Sunday afternoon football date.

And now there was one, after that fateful Sunday afternoon pizza run. Jake was lucky to have gotten out of the accident alive.

As he tries to go back to his normal routine as a columnist for the Portland Tribune, those four little words change everything………………… “It wasn’t an accident.”

Jake was used to getting mail, but nothing like this. He couldn’t let it go. He had to follow the note. He had to get ahold of his friend, Ollie Chandler.


Clarence Abernathy had gotten acquainted with Detective Ollie Chandler when his friend and fellow Tribune columnist, Jake Woods, worked with Ollie to solve the murders of his two best friends. Jake’s world was shaken to the core when his two best friends died in an accident that should have claimed him, too.

Clarence was a driving force in Jake getting reacquainted with God, thanks to the two men being thrown together on a ‘diversity panel’ for the paper.

When his sister and niece get shot and killed by suspected gang activity, Clarence knows he needs Ollie’s help. Can he find justice for his sister and niece without losing his soul in the process?


Ollie is losing his mind. This last murder doesn’t add up. Come to think of it, the last two murders he and his partner investigated seemed too ‘clean;’ too neatly tied up. The puzzle pieces fit together too perfectly.

This latest homicide, though? This one has him in fits. It also has his gum wrapper with his fingerprints- and his rope around the dead man’s neck- at the crime scene. And it’s not just Ollie getting framed.

So many things don’t add up that Ollie can only come to one conclusion: someone in the Homicide department is a killer.

Can Ollie bring the killer to justice before another attempt on his life is successful? If he can’t, where will he go when he dies? Can he change his thinking and finally find faith in God so he can go to heaven when his time is up?


The plots are pretty good. The books would have been good if they had just stuck to the actual plot.

I should have known something was afoot when the beginning acknowledgements gave credit to A.W. Tozer.

Tozer is not easy reading. Actually, his books are some of the most complex I’ve ever read, and while the writing is sound, it’s absolutely not pleasure reading. For me, it’s pretty laborious. Unless I do it in small doses, it puts me to sleep; sending my mind into never-never land. Tozer is one of those authors that even when you are reading out loud, it won’t might not make sense the first or second or third time.

The first two books are written totally in that vein. And I didn’t enjoy them. At. All.

Maybe it’s because I’m already on board and the “case” for God doesn’t need to be made to me. I don’t know.

Add to this that the dead characters were expounding on heaven and hell (although much less hell was being presented) in greater proportion than actual main plot and I was getting frustrated. There were numerous times I actually said out loud, “If I had wanted to read Tozer, I would go back and read *him*!” {fully knowing that my copy of The Knowledge of the Holy is still packed away somewhere…….}

Combine this with the length of this title- no kidding, I had been reading for something like 3 days and I hadn’t even gotten through the first book!- and the fact that Ollie Chandler, whom the series was named after, wasn’t even a MAIN character and didn’t actually show up until something like half-way through the book, well, I was not looking forward to reading the other two titles.

True to form, I got into the second book and felt like it was never going to end, but because I was reviewing it, I needed to slog through it.

Again, Ollie was not a main character, and didn’t really have a whole lot to do with any part of the book. This one focused entirely on race- the fact that Clarence was black and what it’s like to be black in America. We went on a Bible tour via the deceased sister and her angel guide; through the Old Testament to see how the Ethiopians were faithful Christians, which absolutely didn’t translate to the white man’s perception of blacks during slavery.

We learned all about gang violence between the Cripps and the Bloods; the method to the tagging, etc etc.

Strangely, while in the first book Finney was praying for his family and for Jake, there was only a single incidence of Dani praying for Clarence; and she didn’t break away and pray for her own son when he took up arms and shot someone during gang initiation. It felt like the author was too focused in on debunking the perceived myth that only white people were in the Bible to even have continuity in his writing.

In my opinion, this book was entirely too heavy on the race theme and trying to impress that the whites should make restitution for slavery than it was sticking to the plot. Or maybe the rabbit trails were the plot. Either way, while it was informative, it wasn’t an enjoyable read, nor one that made much sense as it applies to actual plot.

I was really relieved to finally get to the last book in the collection, although I was seriously dreading it. If I hadn’t been reviewing these titles, I would probably have stopped in the second book.

Surprisingly, I really liked the last book. This should not be a huge surprise, because Ollie was the main character and was written from his perspective. And, it was funny. I mean, it was laugh-out-loud funny in numerous parts, which was not only refreshing, but a much-welcomed reprieve from the heavy tone of the other two titles.

The crux of this book was Ollie weeding through the evidence of the final murder to not only exonerate himself as a suspect and bring the real killer to justice, but also to save his soul.

Jake made an appearance, since he was a long-time good friend of Ollie’s. Clarence was there, too. Apparently, the newspaper made a deal with the police department to have one of their reporters shadow a murder investigation, right from the start. This included having unprecedented access for their own photographer.

I don’t think I need to say how unrealistic I think this is; you know, compromising a crime scene with civilians and all. And, despite the fact that Clarence was supposed to be in Ollie’s pocket for every single everything having to do with the case, there were several times Ollie could have used Clarence, but Clarence was mysteriously absent.

I really can’t give the first two books anything but 2, but the last book I can say I’d give a 5 to. It was funny; not overly preachy, and the continuity was significantly better. Overall, the collection gets a 3. I would probably give the author another chance should he write another Ollie book, but wouldn’t hesitate to put it down if it goes the route of the fist two titles.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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