Friday, January 16, 2009

Bar Talk

It never ceases to amaze me what you can learn in a local bar. Yesterday, Chris and I headed to The Hills for the day...he had a business meeting and I had some running around to do...on the way home we stopped at our favorite little bar...
It's just a little bar in the middle of nowhere. It's amazing the people you will find there.

And the conversations that get started...

Without fail, the weather will be discussed.

Some politics.

The economy.

And of course, horses...

Now I am always a little hesitant to bring up the subject of the current horse market because I hate getting into the slaughter debate. But a few tomato beers into the conversation, it is inevitable that the subject turns from wondering what the cattle market is going to do in this tough economy to the inevitable discussion of what the hell are people around here going to do with all of the horses in this country now that the market is bust and the U.S. slaughter plants are closed.

Now as horse people, we know that just because the U.S. slaughter plants are closed, doesn't mean that horses aren't going to slaughter...but it certainly has changed just how easy it is for some people to make unwanted horses disappear. And without a doubt the profitability of disposing of said unwanted horse is gone.

I was a little surprised to hear a couple of other rancher's chime in with me that the whole "breeding thing" had just completely gotten out of hand. One gentleman put it quite eloquently..."It was to the point that there were too many horses in this country anyway. It didn't matter whether there is a U.S. slaughter plant open or not, horses weren't worth what they used to be anyway. It wasn't the closing of the slaughter plants that killed the value of horses for riding or horsemeat, it was the crashing economy and flood of horses that people couldn't afford anymore."

Huh?? Come to think of it, I am in total agreement with this old cowboy who probably hasn't been more than 150 miles from home in the last decade or so. It's amazing how smart some of these old guys are about things.

The most surprising thing I learned is that a local ranch has sold the last of it's buffalo and will be taking in 700 head of wild mustangs. The government will pay them $38 a head PER MONTH to let those horses live out the rest of their natural life on this ranch. I was dumbfounded!!

I am also curious! The first thing I thought of was all of those horses that Madeline Picken adopted and is working on placing. Are these horses part of that deal? Is it the Picken's that will be picking up the tab or will it be the government? Or I guess I should say us...the tax-paying citizens of the U.S.

Well, I am off to do some research...before I praise or condemn this, I guess I better know what the heck I am talking about. One thing about it...that ranch is going to make bank. You sure as hell cannot make that kind of money on cattle...or even buffalo. Stay tuned...


Mikey said...

I know Pioneer Woman's got a deal like that, but I had no idea it was that much.
*thinking where i could get some land real quick*
We're dumbfounded here too.
I want to hear more, let me know what you find out.

Melanie said...

Hmmmm...just what is up with the whole buffalo/mustang thing??? Can't wait to hear what you find out! :)

I love the pictures of your frozen ponies! I went on a four hour ride in 20 degree weather today, and eight hours later, I am still!!!

PS-I love stopping in our local bar too! You just never know what your going to learn about.

Chelsi said...

Some of Pioneer Womans comments on their mustangs....

Mrs. Mom said...

Hmmmm.... from what WE heard (via Sean Hannidy on his radio show a bit ago... (and I admit I have been too tied up to check into it,)
Pickens land that the Mustangs are to be housed on? Gov't gave them an ultimatum: use the land (which they got through Eminent Domain,) for the Mustangs, or PAY the Gov't big money. (Which do YOU think they are going to do?)

There is more to this, and again- I have not looked into it as thoroughly as Hannidy's researchers did.

It sure is going to be interesting to see what comes of this.

Anonymous said...

I really try not to get into political conversations on blogs, but this is just one more example of how the government flings our money around on pet projects instead of meeting the most basic needs of this country.

I'm a horse lover, just like everyone else here, but these "mustangs" are just feral horses. They are wild, they are feral, meaning they are escaped domestic horses brought here centuries ago. Some of them are descendants of horses that have been released into the wild. They aren't a native species. To move a native species, buffalo, off land to make room for a non-native species is just ridiculous and absolutely asinine. And at $319,200 a year? I can think of 500 other things that our tax money could be much better spent on.

MichelleSG said...

Welcome to the US government, where EVERYTHING makes crystal clear sense. I think there was PETA pressure on them when they decided that the mustang population was out of control and they wanted to start killing them. I read an article on CNN relatively recently about the BLM's training program where they have some cowboys train them up and sell them at an auction. Trying to encourage people to make the mustangs more a productive part of our current society I suppose. It's better than killing them all I suppose. The population in general would have a fit about that. Of course us city mice haven't a clue as to the reality of the matter. Hence the insane money being paid to house them. Hello, you think we could use that money somewhere else than on wild horses? The logic there is beyond me.
Oh and woman don't go making fun of the old cowboys that haven't been 150 miles from nowhere ever! They have more time and patience to contemplate the way of the world than those schmoes in DC, idiots that they are...

SunnySD said...

Interesting. Don't you just love a good coffee/bar conversation - there's nothing quite like a local hangout for news. Do let us know what you find out.

Siobhan said...

Wow-guess I need to get more mustangs if they'll pay for it!

Visit my mustang blog, I've got a little something for you :)

ezra_pandora said...

Can't wait to hear what you find. That sucks though that the guy got rid of something that's fading away like the buffalo.

Pony Girl said...

Interesting conversation...curious to read more. I did get out my calculator to figure out how much that ranch would be making a month. Oh Nellie!
I also read the comment in regard to the horses being feral. I would be curious to know more about that, too. I can't imagine they are all feral, or at least many are not of some mustang heritage.

Vaquerogirl said...

Well I'll be dagum! It dosen't take rocket science to figgr'e that one out ,do it!
I'll be most interested in hearing the rest of the story- so to speak. You've set yourself up for a whallopin' big task girlfriend! Good for you.
PS: the only way to hear the real story is to hang out in local coffee shops and Bars!

Melanie said...

Just wanted to let you know that I passed a little award on to you when you have a minute!

Anonymous said...

Pony Girl...mustang, by definition, is a feral horse. The name Mustang comes from the Spanish word mesteƱo or monstenco meaning wild or stray. Originally these were Spanish horses or their descendants but over the years they became a mix of numerous breeds. They are not a native wild species. The are domestic horses gone feral.

The only truly genetically wild horse remaining in the world is the Przewalski's horse found in Mongolia.

Terri Farley said...

Vaquerogirl tipped me off to your discussion...and I suppose it would be rude on my first visit to suggest that the Dept. of the Interior's partying lifestyle (snorting white stuff off taxpayer-purchased copier machine glass, etc.) is to blame for this long-time "plan." Not Madeleine Pickens' btw, it pre-dates her involvement by years.
So, I won't do that.
And only a penny pincher would bring up the budget catch-and-release contraception plan, when BLM gets such a kick out of spending millions on helicopter round-ups, trucking, corraling, feeding and paying people to keep horses.
Oh, and I know it's just chicken feed, but what about the OUTGOING Dept. of Interior official who spent $250,000 on remodeling his OFFICE bathroom (including monogrammed towels...when he'll be gone next week)?
Call me selfish, but since it's partly my money, I'd like to have the remodeled bathroom. Or redrill my well.
And actually, where I live, $250,000 can buy a whole lotta hay.

Andrea said...

I know that people who keep wild horses on their land get paid big bucks. It's crazy!!

And bar talk is always fun and entertaining!!

Rising Rainbow said...

Well, I knew that the deal with Pioneer Woman's mand and the government must be sweet. Watching that remodel on their "guest house" about made me choke. I can't even imagine what that cost but it was pretty darn clear the horses were there for a reason. Makes me wonder how many other places there are out there doing the same thing, that's for sure.

And I too agree with the old cowboy at the bar. I think there were lots of early indicators that are economy was flopping and what was happening with horses was part of it.

Unknown said...

We have a couple of little bars like that in our area.

And I too hesitate to bring up horses - there are a lot of old farmers out here with a lot of old ideas and if you tell them they are wrong then by God you have a fight on your hands.

I just about did once - when i told a lady that horses don't get skinny from age, and that there were things she could do to fatten up her skinny old gelding. Of course doing so implys that she's not taking care of him....errr ya well kinda. Fight was on - she ended up leaving and hubby was not happy with me. But I couldn't sit there while she described basically how her gelding was starving to death.

Well that's too expensive she says - he's just old gelding. Then put him down - I say - its more humane. The conversation went down hill from there.


Krystina said...

Being from out of the area, I am interested on hearing more about this. Keep me posted!