The Outside Circle: Laundry list of concerns, federal follies, timed event championship |

The Outside Circle: Laundry list of concerns, federal follies, timed event championship

A little taste of winter for some of us in the northern plains, but it sure beats starting with a vengeance in November and hanging on until April. At least snow this time of year won’t be here for half a year. I hope.

The folks with the PRCA and stock contractors in general are sure concerned about proposed legislation in Washington that would prohibit the use of double deck trailers for hauling horses. I realize that it initially sounds good to just eliminate the double decks, therefore, eliminating the keening from the animal rights sector, but, the truth is, horses can be hauled without incidence in double deck trailers.

Stock contractors have a great deal of money invested in their horses, plus they genuinely care for them. They would do nothing that would possibly injure one of those horses. Their livelihood depends on providing sound, healthy stock for rodeos. For decades, contractors have hauled their stock in double deck trailers without problems. They know how to do it and do it right.

If legislation were to go through prohibiting the use of double decks, it would raise the cost of operation dramatically for stock contractors and anyone else who hauls horses in double decks. Fewer horses can be hauled in a straight trailer, therefore, more tractor/trailer rigs would be needed to transport the same number of horses to events. That adds up fast, besides adding additional taxes, licensing, insurance, etc…to the overhead. Many contractors would simply have to call it quits.

If the legislation could be streamlined and specifically targeted at the transport of horses for processing, I believe I could be behind it. Horse sent to processing are generally put together from many sources, therefore aren’t horses that have run together and have an established pecking order. Furthermore, horses loaded onto semis for transport for slaughter are not owned by the people loading them in most cases, hence not always treated as well as someone who has a long standing interest and knowledge in the handling and well-being of the horses. That’s where the legislation should be targeted, not with a scatter gun approach toward an industry that has governed itself very successfully and has a vested interest in the welfare of the horses it.

Call, write or email your senators and congressional reps to express your concern about the consequences of such legislation. Rodeo committees and associations need to contact their membership as soon as possible too, and get them on board. Send a copy of your letter or email to PRCA’s rep who’s leading the charge on this issue and she’s like to be able to document all the support she can. She’s Cindy Schonholtz and can be reached at

The AQHA has appointed a 12 member Animal Welfare Commission which met on Feb. 6-8 in Dallas, TX. It’s mission is to 1) identify issues negatively affecting the welfare of Quarter Horses: 2) discuss issues; and 3) recommend actions to protect Quarter Horses from inhumane practices and AQHA and it’s members from the negative impacts associated with those practices.

In South Dakota, SB 152 did not pass. It would have provided for the study of the feasibility of establishing a state owned equine processing facility and make funds available for the study thereof. It’s not that the South Dakota folks don’t want to have a processing facility, it’s just that there aren’t the funds available, what with the economy so tough, to study it. Sometimes I wonder about all the “studies” that are done on things. I have a pretty good idea that a processing plant would definitely be a success in any state, due to the desperate need for the plants in the U.S. Maybe next time, the budget won’t be so tight and it can finally go through.

Also, HB1038 did pass, which will increase the penalty for anyone leaving the brand inspection area without necessary inspection and authorization. That wouldn’t stick in my craw at all if the brand board would make the brand laws apply to both sides of the state. As it stands, west of the Missouri we have brand inspection, but east of the river they do not. That leaves west river folks wide open to the in-state theft and resale of livestock. I don’t have a problem with needing a brand inspection and documentation to leave the state, that makes perfect sense. I just wish our brand laws applied statewide. I don’t think the signs on the west end of the bridges over the Missouri do much to deter thieves.

With this being Federal Budget season in Washington, it’s time, once again, to be contacting your congressional and senatorial reps there to express how desperately the estate tax law needs to be changed/dropped. The $5 million individual exemption or $10 million couples exemption, with a 45% tax on any remaining estate, sure puts the squeeze on those in agriculture since it’s known to be an asset-rich/cash-poor industry. Estate taxes have made it difficult to pass the ranch or farm on to the next generation, and has often forced that next generation to sell the place to pay the taxes.

An estate plan is absolutely critical these days, and it’s still risky for the heirs. This is the time to voice your opinion to the people who are supposed to be working for us in Washington. Our aging ag sector needs the younger generation to be able to step into the operation and not have to sell something that a family has put their heart and soul into for generations. You can find contact info for your reps in the phone book under U.S. Gov’t or on-line.

The President’s proposed budget calls for a $2 million program increase to fund research and development of population control methods of the BLM horses-burros. The goal is to slow the annual population growth rate for feral horses, which would require fewer and smaller gathers of horses and also reduced the ever expanding cost of holding facilities. Well, duh. Logical, realistic and knowledgeable people all agree that gelding the studs and spaying the mares would work spiffy for that, but all the anti-everything, bunny huggers think that’s cruel and would upset the balance and dynamics of the wild herds. My eye. It would just keep a lot of fighting and scrapping to a minimum. They’ve apparently never seen what one stud can do to another, or even what a stud can do to a mare he’s peeved at.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been called on by, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom, to investigate HSUS’s deceptive fund raising practices. A recent Freedom of Information act request revealed that more than 120 complaints have been filed with the FTC regarding HSUS.

There’s an event coming up that I’d sure like to go to sometime. It’s the Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena, Guthrie, OK. Often referred to as a rodeo cowboy’s “Iron Man” event, it has each invited competitor working all five times events: steer wrestling, tie down roping, team roping (both ends), and steer roping. Invited this year from our neck of the woods are brothers Jesse and Paul David Tierney. This is Jesse’s second trip, but a first for Paul David. Jesse is from Hermosa, SD and Paul David is from Oral, SD. Their Dad, Paul, will be sitting this one out for the first time this year, and just watching his boys. He’s been in every one up until this one, so he’s probably due some time on the other side of the arena fence.

Well, my horse has loped a big circle and probably needs to cool off, so, I’ll talk to you next week. Send me your events, fundraisers, and whatnot, and I’ll tell everyone about it.

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