Monday, May 30, 2011

Sassy has a new home!

And amazingly, it was not any of my advertisements that found her a new home. My nephew was also putting the word out and we are very happy with the people who decided to take her. We know the family fairly well. They live just a couple miles down the road from us and they raise beef and have a few donkeys and llamas. They often borrow our cattle chute to work their cattle. Well, they have decided to get back into horses and have purchased a big appaloosa. They want a second horse so mom and daughter can ride together and they really like Sassy. They know she is young and green, and so they are planning to send her to a trainer for a tune-up in a few weeks. They just took her home today. I am very happy. I think it sounds like a great home for her. I am so glad she is getting some further training before they go ahead and start riding her. And the very best part is that they live right along the highway, so we will be able to see her out in their pasture when ever we head into town! And you know, if they are that close, perhaps I can hook up with them for a trail ride someday in the future too.

Now, I can get back to focusing on my horses and not feel like I need to be working with Sassy in case I get anyone out to look at her. It's over and done with! And I hope I never need to sell another horse ever again!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

internet dangers

It is a dangerous world out there and then add the anonymous and ubiquitous nature of the internet to that. I hope to be able to teach my child about the dangers of the internet so that they can view each and every interaction with suspicion and not invest much in them. It's sad that we have to do that, but we must in order keep ourselves safe or to avoid getting scammed.

I've had several people contact me about Sassy via the ad I placed on dreamhorse. Most of them ask a few questions, but never respond after I answer them. One sounds interested and we emailed quite a bit, but she has to sell her horse first. And then 3 of the 9 total responses I've gotten have been from scammers! Of course, I figured that out by their response to my response email, and then by their complete lack of response when I asked them for more info and stated that I would not make this sort of transaction solely over the internet and that they must answer my questions and contact me by phone. I just logged into dreamhorse today to see if there is a way to report such scammers and lo and behold, they actually flagged the three messages for me saying that they had other people report them as potential scammers. That's really good of dreamhorse to do that and try to protect their users. It just floors me that there are scammers that try to specialize in the horse for sale world. I guess they are everywhere though...where there is a niche, there will be a scammer. And these scammers have horrible grammar - I'm guessing that they are foreign. These scammers are easy to pick out. It'd be scary to try to deal with a scammer that actually does a better job at hiding it. What are the essential tips to pick out a scammer? There are many, but the most important thing is to never complete a transaction like this solely over the internet. While yes you can get scammed by someone you meet face to face, it is so much less likely and hopefully you can pick that person out as dishonest. Over the internet is difficult though.

Here is the latest scammer and my responses to them:

Initial contact email from scammer:

Hello Am good about this horse and i will like to buy it for my hubby, we have two horse which we love so much,i will like this horse to frolic with the other horses. I want to know its condition 2. Reason for selling 3.....what is the final asking price . and hit me up with more photographs if possible

My response:

Sassy is in good pasture condition - she's not fit, but she lives in a large pasture with other horses that keep her very active, so I'd say she's ready to trail ride, but would need further conditioning for other disciplines. You can see from the photo that she's got good weight on her.

Sassy is being sold because she is green and I don't have time to work with her. She was my nephew's horse, but he lost interest in her when he bought a motorcycle. He only rode her once after buying her from a friend (who did all the training on her) who was heading to college.

I have not decided on Sassy's final asking price. I don't want to drop much below $750 because she is a very nice horse who someone put a lot of work into and she needs to go someplace where she will be used. But she needs more work - she is green. I can be negotiable, to the right home, but I'm not bargaining with price until I actually get a person out to see her.

Where do you live? What is your husband's riding experience (because Sassy needs more work - either further training with a professional, or an experienced rider). Do you have a trainer in mind that you'd send her to?

Scammer's response (directly cut and paste so grammar and punctuation is the same)

Thanks so much for the prompt response to my mail,The price is okay by me,I
really wish to be there to check it but i am not chanced due to My job,Payment
will be via certified cashiers check,I will also wait for it to get cleared
before our family vet come for pick up ,I believe what I am buying from you is in
good condition so I want to secure the purchase to avoid loosing it,Concerning
the pick up, our shipper would be at your place to check on the present
condition of it and he will also take care of the transportation, for the pick
up after you have received and confirmed payment .please do provide me with the
below information to facilitate mailing the payment to you so as to have this
transaction completed ASAP
Your name and address your phone Number

And my final response:

Your email response sounds like a scammer (because you do not address the object for sale (horse)). I would appreciate a response to the questions that I asked in the previous email in order to show me that you are seriously interested in the horse and also that you have the horse's best interests in mind. Also, I do not make such important transactions solely via email. I will need you to call me on the phone so that we can discuss this. Please call me at ***-***-****.

I decided it was okay to list my phone number in my response because it is listed as a contact number in my dreamhorse ad, so this person already has access to that, but not my full name or address. And of course, the same precautions apply if I were actually to be contacted by phone about Sassy, although I doubt this scammer speaks good enough English to be able to pull of such a scam over the phone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More than a month late

It's amazing how spring really has stalled out here. We are finally getting some warmer weather (highs in the 60s!), so I expect this to change fast! Just look at how the deciduous trees look in these photos! I don't even think they are quite where the header photo is (remember taken on April 3rd last year).

Even so, the grass has decided to not wait for the trees. It greened up a while ago and now with the warmer weather the last couple days, it is getting longer.

I have kept the horses off the pasture for the last month to try to give it a chance to get a head start. Today they got to spend 2 hours out there munching all the green grass they could. And they never picked their heads up until I appeared with a grain bucket to call them in.

And speaking of grain bucket, I found another vice that Sassy has, and I really hate this one and will do my best to break her of it. I never go out with a grain bucket to catch a horse...I use the bucket to call them in. My horses know that they are not allowed to eat from a grain bucket while I am holding it and they maintain a close but respectful distance, even as they all follow me back to the barn where their feed pans are. Some of them beat me there because they know that the pans are the only place they'll be getting grain. Well, Sassy doesn't know this routine yet. When I appeared with a grain bucket and yelled for them, she was the first one into the small pasture, and as I turned around to walk back down to the barn, she almost ran me over in her haste to get to the bucket (and none of the other horses were even remotely close yet). She tried several times as I was walking to try to get into the bucket. Grrr! That is a pet peeve of mine! I hate horses that do that! I chased her away repeatedly, and she did finally get the message, but she followed hot on my heels. And by that time, Cody (lead mare) had caught up and was following me and I was worried that she might get after Sassy and chase her into me. Sassy is the only horse that I worry might run me over if they get into a disagreement. The other horses respect my space too much to do that. One nice thing about a mustang is that because they started with fear of you, jumping on top of you is usually one of the last places they'll go (with exceptions of course). Domestic born horses who grew up with no fear of humans will just as soon run you over to get away from another horse, as they will run you over to get to a grain bucket! The respect can of course be taught to them, but it just seems inherent in a mustang. Sassy will catch on. She's just obviously not been taught those manners.

Another funny thing I see...every time I go through the pasture gate (it clanks as I do it), Pumpkin and Sassy come streaking down to stand at the gate. They are obviously not really a part of the rest of my herd. The others are usually interested in what we do at the gate, but if they are out of sight, they don't come running down to see us. They are a bit more independent.

I finally got through trimming all 7 horses. This last weekend I did both Kachina and Griffin. Griffin's feet seem to grow really fast and they were very long and chipping. Now they are a good length, but are going to require a couple more trims before they are nice and tight due to my slow/weak return to trimming them myself. But, now that they are done, I need to just keep at them and they will stay good the rest of the summer.

After I was finished trimming Griffin's hooves, he was really interested in hanging out with me. I always start a trimming session with grooming, then I toss a rope around his body and legs and slap the ground to test how jumpy he feels. Both him and Kachina were very quiet with all this. And after I was done with Griffin (he was the very last horse), I led him out into the pasture and just messed with him a little. We did some leading with working on Griffin reading my body language and stopping when I stop, backing when I back. Then we did some moving the shoulder over by stepping across in front, and some disengaging the hindquarters. He was really good and interested in what we were doing. When I was done, I took the halter off, and instead of heading out to see where the other horses went, he came down with me to the gate and then nosed around in the corral for a bit. And I've noticed him really watching me today too. I think he likes the attention and the stimulation. I really really want more time to work with him, and Kachina too. She is my sweetheart and just wants to stand and be petted all the time. She always follows me everywhere I go in the pasture.