Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What is a Spanish hip?

I often see people with Spanish horses of North American descent that don't have a clue what a Spanish hip is suppose to look like. There is not one set type such as the horse MUST have rafter hips. The ideal type of a Spanish hip would be this: the pin bone should give the appearance of flowing evenly with the base of the tail, the croup should give an appearance of roundness ( you will read on different boards as this being a round sacrum), there shouldn't be any excessive muscling over the wing of the ilium or the points of the ilium. One of the points of Spanish conformation is to have smooth muscling, not bunchy or excessive muscling. With this, the points of the ilium shouldn't be high where it gives a boxy appearance when viewing the horse from behind. There should also not be a muscle line that comes off of the pin bone (the semitendinosus). You often see this muscle line on say a QH or TB. The hips should also not be broad when viewed from behind. The Spanish horse is a light horse breed, therefore, the width of the hips should not be set wide like you would see on say a draft horse and also on a QH. There should also be a smooth transition that goes from the wing of the ilium into the back. There shouldn't be any sharp dips to the back. The tail should also be set on low. High set tails are a characteristic of Arabian horses, and so therefore should be avoided in breeding Spanish horses. The bone on a Spanish horse should also not be dense, nor should it be overly refined. The canon bones should be round. The length of the pastern should not be really short ( as seen in draft stock) nor long (as seen in TB horses). It should be medium length. Giving the appearance of stability, but also flexibility. The hoof should be round with an evident heel, but also toe. The hoof shouldn't be pan shaped liked what you would see on a draft nor lacking a heel like most modern bred horses seem to have.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Internet Adoption Preview

This is a 2006 Sulphur stallion that is going to North Carolina! Congratulations to the new owner of this fine Spanish Sulphur and happy bidding to the rest of you!

Link to adoption list

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just by Chance

The following is a story that was written by Ron Rubidoux about one of his favorite stallions.

"In the winter of 1992, the BLM captured 140 Sulphur horses. They had taken an aerial count, and there were too many horses on the range. The herd needed to be thinned out, so they decided not to be choosy as far as putting horses back. Everything caught would be put up for adoption. Of the horses, there was a little of everything including a few exceptional stallions. I went to the corrals, where they processed the horses, to get some pictures. At the time they had only caught about half of the 140 horses. While there I saw a three year old grullo stallion that had leg stripes I could hardly believe. He was the one I wanted. There was also a five-year-old dun stallion with unusual markings. On each side of his dorsal stripe was another stripe from his withers to his croup, giving him the appearance of having three stripes along his back. He also had the shadowing of shoulder bars making the cross. He was apparently captured, when young, by so called "cowboys" who ride down wild horses, rope and catch the slowest, and proclaim their conquest by cutting off half of one of the horse's ears. The tip of one of the three striped horse's ears was cut off, which greatly marred his appearance. The practice is illegal and isn't common, but does occur on the Sulphur Herd Management Area.
The adoption I attended that year was held in March, at Spanish Fork, Utah. Only half the horses were there. The other half were to be taken to an adoption site in southern Utah the following month. The three year old grullo stallion was there along with the three striped dun, which I really wasn't interested in, as his conformation was not the best. There was also another exceptional looking zebra dun stallion that had leg stripes equally as good, if not better than the grullo stallion. He was a much better looking horse than the grullo and three striped dun as far as conformation goes. His number was 705, and though he caught my eye, he was five years old, and I wanted a younger horse. I overheard a lot of other people there talking about him, but his age must have made them leery also.
I was loaded for bear at that adoption. By then I was wise to how things worked, so I recruited friends and relatives to apply for the adoption, in order to increase my odds. I had ten people there, including myself, registered for the draw. There were close to 70 Sulphur horses and over 200 people registered. It all went to my head, and I wanted as many horses as I could haul out of there. My first choice was the three-year-old grullo stallion, second was a yearling grullo stud colt, and last was 705. There were also four nice looking mares that I liked. All my friends were telling me to go for 705 first, but I still wanted a younger stallion.
As it turned out, someone else chose the three-year-old grulla stallion first. Next went the yearling stud colt. The tensi on was killing me, and then a friend's name was called. I told him to call out 705. He did, and I had the zebra dun stallion. I was lucky to get out of there with him, as I didn't get any of the mares I wanted either. During the loading, of all the horses, 705 was the only one to try and jump one of the loading gates, breaking it down. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I had my stallion. I was thinking as I drove home, it was just by chance that I got him.
Months later, I was talking to Gale Bennett, from BLM, who is probably their top horseman. He told me that when they captured Chance, because he was such a good looking horse, they were thinking about putting him back on the range, but since they needed to thin out, decided to go ahead and put him up for adoption. Lucky for me they did.
As far as I'm concerned the Mountain Home Range lost one of it's best stallions, but the mountain's loss was my gain. A little over a year later inspectors from the Spanish Mustang Registry came to Utah to inspect my horses, along with a few others. All of my horses were accepted. Now 705 has a new name and number, Sulphur's Chance (SMR 2028). The ultimate compliment was Emmett Brislawn taking such a liking to Chance when he saw him, and commenting to me, a number of times, how he would be willing to load up Chance to take back to his Cayuse Ranch. Last summer when my family and I visited the Brislawns, and when given a tour of their ranch, Josie mentioned how she thought Chance would look good there. Her comment made me feel good, and I suppose if I wasn't able to keep him, that is where I would want him to be. I know he'd be safe and well taken care of. During the inspection, I overheard the owner of a Sulphur mare asking Bill Stabler, which of the stallions would he recommend breeding the mare to, and Bill said Chance.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Tale

The Spanish Sulphur horses were found many years on the Mountain Home Range, Needles Mountain in Utah long before the BLM had ever been charged with managing them. I have heard some pretty interesting and a little far fetched stories of how some people came to find these horses.

One such tale came from a man named Clinton Galbraith. He is about 80 years old now and will talk to your heart's content about the Sulphur horses. He has gotten a little old now to breed them, but loves them so much that he still owns a few Sulphur horses despite his severe arthritis and among other health conditions. He once told me that Butch Cassidy had talked to him (if I remember right in the wilderness by a river) when he was just a little boy. Butch had told him about beautiful dun colored horses high up on a mountain. Clinton told me that Butch had described the horses so well to him that it took him 40 years to find these horses! Amazing! Now whether or not you believe Clinton's story is up to you, I would personally like to think it is real as it adds some really interesting history to the Sulphur. Either way, Clinton loves his little Iberian horses and only wants the best for the breed. He and Ron Rubidoux were the people that had originally started up the Sulphur Horse Registry back in 1998. The goal of the registry was to preserve the Iberian horses on the HMA. Later, other people took over the registry (or some will tell you that it was stolen from Clinton and Ron) in which they allowed all horses on the HMA to be registered despite their non Spanish or mixed Spanish conformation. That is one of the reasons I hadn't disclosed below as to why the American Sulphur Horse Association was started. To ensure that the original reason of why the Sulphur Horse Registry was started in the first place would be sustained through the ASHA.

Clinton was famous among Sulphur breeders for having the triple dorsal striped horses. You can see one of his horses pictured here. I am not sure who the horse is, but Clinton thought that the triple stripes made the horse better as well as double whorls. Old cowboy sayings I think. He sure is a great guy from when I talked to him. Most of his Sulphur horses now reside at Return to Freedom in Lompoc, CA.