Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fugly is Fuggin Leaving Us

I'm bummed. One of the squeakiest wheeled, most attention getting bloggers in the cyber horse world is leaving us.

Cathy Atkinson is moving on to other places and will no longer be taking us with her.

I have been following her adventures and escapades and listening to her point of view for about six months longer than the Mugwump Chronicles has been in existence.

Fugs is the reason I began to blog. I realized I had a voice, a need to express it and a desire to practice my writing. Blogging gave me all of that and I got the idea by reading Fugly Horse of the Day.

Her blog has been an incredible education for me. I have become aware of the dangers of random breeding programs, the plight of breeds bred by the hundreds or thousands to gain a few exceptional examples, the dangers of color breeding, the ignorance and outright stupidity of many in the horse world balanced by a few enlightened, educated and aware folks out to do the right thing.

I am kinder, louder, more opinionated and more aware of the danger we are in as horse owners than I ever would have been without Fugs.

I also have been able to openly disagree, mock, tease or argue with Cathy, on our blogs or privately, without recrimination or judgement on either side. Because of this we have been able to encourage and support each other. I appreciate this and will miss her open minded approach.

Yes, I said open minded. Cathy has accepted, absorbed and attacked my opinions as zealously as I have hers and I have consistently come from a trainers point of view, a person who bought and sold, trained and instructed in a complicated, mercenary portion of the horse world.

She has never made it personal. Yes Fugly gets pretty damn personal with some, but I have yet to see her go after anybody any higher on the evolutionary chain than an amoeba brained cretin.

I have read that she's crazy, well maybe, crazy like a fox.

I have read that she's mean and narrow minded. I have read a lot of things that would make me curl up in a ball if you threw those at me.

Cathy has laughed in her critics faces and kept on bringing up the subjects that she wants us to think about, even if it means jamming it down our throats.

Animal abuse, proper feeding practices, care of our elderly horses, responsible ownership, horsemanship, training a show horse with humane methods and winning anyway, and so on.

These seem like acts of kindness to me and I will always appreciate and thank her for making me think, making me argue, helping me stand up for what I believe in and finding the bare bones of the angriest rant.

She's pretty damn funny too.

Here's to you Fugs, some day we'll have that Margarita.


  1. Yeah, I'm still in shock. I found your blog thru hers. She provided a valuable service, and she will be missed. I am not sure if anyone can match her, but hope someone does try, for the sake of the horses.

  2. I agree about being in shock, as well. I have come to examine my views of horses and horse people from a whole new perspective, thanks to Fugly. I suggested that perhaps she could do a different schedule--maybe a blog a week or something. Joe at TBFriends is no longer blogging on weekends or holidays, and maybe if Cathy did the same thing ... ???
    We have lost a voice in this wilderness

  3. That's a shame and a big surprise for me too. Will miss the fugly observations that's for sure.

  4. We will have that drink indeed. I have always enjoyed your writing and your problem-solving skills and learned from them. If I could wave a magic wand, you'd have your own show on RFD-TV and someone might actually learn something on that channel other than how to make a perfectly nice horse head shy by shaking the goddamn rope in its face every ten seconds...

  5. I am feeling a bit empty...first my youngest son just left for Navy boot camp, and I find that Fugs is going, too.

    I am like my horses, I hate change!


  6. It's amazing how quickly the word has spread that Cathy is giving up her blog....she will be missed and I hope whoever gets the domain will continue the great work she started. I lurked a lot on her site before you started posting and began reading your blog right away. Some of her commenters got a little ugly (or snarky as she would call it)which caused me to quit reading the comments and just her posts. Good luck to Fugs and good luck to you while you take a break. Hope everything works out with whatever is going on in your life right now.

  7. I meant that I just read her posts.

  8. I will respectfully disagree with you, mugs.
    When the attacks came down on small children and beginners in open shows for "not dressing well enough" or "not grooming their lesson horse to world show standards", screw that.
    Glass houses, stones, and all that nonsense.
    As I boldly blog my own riding adventures, maybe now I can start posting pictures and videos with a little less fear of being attacked as a "stupid ignorant beginner".

  9. Right on! I couldn't agree with you more Mugs! I was so sad to read her post yesterday! Hers is actually the very first blog I read, ever, and got me into the whole blogging thing as well. My blog is a silly little thing, but still, I enjoy it!

    Here's to Cathy!!

  10. I share your views of Fugly's blog and I'll miss it. I'm glad she got you started blogging, you're another one of my favorites.

    Jennifer, she doesn't randomly attack beginners and children, especially those who are trying. She does attack people who put their children in dangerous circumstances on and around horses. She attacks parents and trainers who allow children or beginners to jump horses before they are capable of riding with an independent seat, etc, etc. And she has had a couple of posts with tips on how to have a successful first show. That's hardly an attack.

  11. BS. Look back, oh, just a short while... You'll see a cute picture of a kid preparing to show her horse in a halter class. "Kid wasn't well enough dressed, horse wasn't clean enough." Zero corrections were made, even when someone else that was AT the event explained that was the expected attire, and no one there went to world-show grooming degrees.

    And besides that, do any of you realize that if these kids youtube their FIRST or SECOND jump lesson, they're going to probably look like crap to a seasoned rider? Oh wait, NONE of you ever looked like crap as beginner riders.. I forgot... :S

  12. Jennifer - Actually, that blog entry is meant for beginners that want to take their horse to a show, and I think it's a really important article to teach horse owners who want to show their horse about Show Prep 101. I have been to a thousand schooling shows and have seen so many people who are unprepared in the show ring because they don't know what to wear or how to groom their horse. Information is a valuable tool for success in the show ring.

    That said, the horse in the photo has a nice body and looks well put together, but if I saw that pair at a show, I certainly would hope to beat them based on the horse's turn out alone. I think the picture is a good example for beginners to see what is not very appropriate to do if you're showing in a western halter class. Technically, halter is judged 40% on your horse's grooming and preparation, and 60% on showmanship or skill. If you sit down and read every single word in her post, she clearly mentions this fact, compliments the horse anyway, and even cuts the pair some slack about the halter because she doesn't know them, and THAT is the right thing to do. The horse's mane is choppy and not prepared well, his face and legs are scraggly and should be clipped, and he looks like he hasn't had a bath. That's not bashing anyone, that is the honest truth - what I can see with my eyes if I were judging a show.

    Personally, I have never seen the Fugly blog feature anyone who isn't deserving of criticism. Though I don't always agree with Cathy's opinion, I do respect it, and she is always down to have a healthy argument with you if you feel like something she says is off the wall. The horse world is a small place (especially in the PNW) and it's nice to know who is or isn't a jerk, who treats their horses well, and what to look at when buying a horse (even if it's the opinion of one person). I have never seen a beginner posted on her blog unless they are doing something ridiculously stupid. I don't think she would bash a beginner about anything, honestly. We ALL were beginners at some point. That is the way of the world after all; we keep learning and trying to get better, even when we make a mistake.

  13. A comment posted on that exact entry remarked "from someone who was at the show, this kid was dressed and her horse prepared much like everyone else at the show."

    Oooh.. wait.. not a chance they might've been right. EVERYBODY should dress and groom like they're going to World's..

    Well, unless they're not going to World's, and don't want to go to World's..

    That's only one example where folks got attacked without the full story, and no effort was made to see the other side of the story.

    (And no, before everyone stalks me, I feed my horses, they're vetted thoroughly, and I don't hoarde. I'm an intermediate rider, so I'll admit I still screw up. Truth be told, we all screw up riding sometimes.)

  14. I think in retrospect, the picture of those particular beginners was an example of what not to do when going to shows in general. She wasn't speaking specifically of that show, but what she is trying to do is educate other people and give them a leg up so maybe they won't go to a show and get embarrassed. Everyone has an opinion, and you are certainly entitled to yours just as Fugly is to hers. I think she gives a lot of great advice and brings things into the spotlight that others are too afraid to talk about. I will greatly miss her posting.

  15. I feel like a horse show always constitutes appropriate attire and turn out unless you are showing NFQHA or something where you aren't allowed to dress it up. I'm not saying put a fake tail on your horse at a schooling show or even cut his mane or band it, but if you want to show off your animal and win ribbons for its beauty, you could at least BRUSH IT before entering it into a show. That's all I'm saying. I don't feel like there is any story to have two sides about, and no one is doing any attacking here.


    I will miss Fugly's blog too, if not for the informative articles, then definitely for the trolls. But that's another story entirely.

  16. One of the fun things about her blog was the battles and the trolls. Jenifer, believe me, Fugly put me on the defensive more than once. We have disagreed DEEPLY about training techniques, foundation quarter horses, pleasure horses, fuglies, I could go on, but we have said or piece and moved on.
    If I had quit reading because I was offended by something she said, I got over it and kept reading. I'm glad I did because she got me really looking into the world of slaughter, auctions and stupid breeding.
    It was worth working through some issues, or simply agreeing to disagree.
    Cathy herself is a pretty easy going person.Fugly is awhole different story.

  17. Yeah. Fugs introduced me to Mugs. So for that alone I'm grateful!

    I started reading that blog so long ago that I could still go back and read archives because there were only a few months worth. I actually do remember when things were kind of ugly over there... I myself got attacked by other commentors. There used to be some pretty harsh words being thrown around in her posts. I had to stop reading for awhile and said so.

    Of course I couldn't stay away... And Cathy had really focussed in on education by then. Guess what. The truly mean spirited commentors faded off. I think she doesn't give a rat's ass what people think and cares more about horses than hurt feelings. I dont always agree with her. Sometimes strongly disagree (often mostly with the snark' cuz I'm just too damn nice). But I totally respect her for stating her opinion WITH her reasons for that opinion and for not waffling. Her last post there sums it all up.

    And... Because of that blog I found this one.

  18. And, the thing is, when you take your horse to a show, you're submitting yourself and your horse for judgement. For example, I could choose to show my horse in WP as he is now. I think he's wonderful, he has a wonderful, smooth trot that covers ground. Will that make him a winner? Not by a long shot. I can't take him into WP and then complain that I didn't win because of politics, or because the judge is blind. I can't leave the ring crying that people are so mean, etc.. I need to know what they are looking for, and decide if I can deliver it. That isn't the judge's responsibility. You can save yourself a lot of grief as a beginner if you have someone like Fugs to give you some tips.

    Now, as to the whole question about whether WP is even worth showing in...or if it's ruled by a**hats, that's another question FHOTH has covered very well, and in an entertaining snarky way.

  19. What a true, eloquent, elegant post regarding Fugly.

    She greatly changed the "landscape" regarding how horses are thought of today.

    She had/has an enormous influence, sorry detractors.

    Her leaving the interwebz is going to leave a huge void, but, those that wish to honor her can carry on her works- which were at the end of the day, all for the love of horses.

  20. I mostly lurk here but I have to stand with Jennifer. Fugly could have been something to look up to but the snark on the blog/site became far more than necessary.

    *tips hat to Jennifer*

    good for you Jennifer, especially when you know Janet is a supporter of Fugly.

    I quit reading quite some time ago when her minions attacked a friend who was going to go pick up a couple of horses featured on Fugly and foster them. It got so bad she had to take that blog down and start somewhere else. I lost any respect for Cathy not squashing that right down at the time and never went back. I know she can't control what others do, but she also made precious little attempt to turn her scorn on those that were busy harassing a person who wanted to help.

  21. How come you mad me even sadder that Fugs is stopping? Lovely blog and as usual Fugly has people talking arguing and discussing. Please please please don't stop doing your blog anytime soon and does anyone know of a great blog that still does critiques of fugly horses?

  22. "And no, before everyone stalks me, I feed my horses, they're vetted thoroughly, and I don't hoarde."

    WAIT!!!! This is Mugwump...we don't stalk, harrass, turn away or make fun of beginner intermediate or advanced opinions, nothing!

    You are absolutely allowed to dislike Fugs, dislike me, dislike yourself, we don't care...just give us a good read and something to think about...

    All I ask is that you like horses....and I reserve the right to disagree.

  23. There's a difference between a local open "hotter than hell" schooling show in Texas in July...

    And the Paint or QH World's.

    If you guys don't know the difference, I'm sorry.
    I do.

    And mugs, I comment here, because I know I can, and I won't be cursed to burn in hell for it. :) You're actually a trainer/instructor I'd use, were I not living so far off...

  24. "And mugs, I comment here, because I know I can, and I won't be cursed to burn in hell for it. :) You're actually a trainer/instructor I'd use, were I not living so far off..."

    Totally agree with you there, lady. Half the fun of the Internet is not having the same opinion as someone else and having a space to debate that without getting persecuted in real life. :)

  25. I am disappointed to see Fugly leave as well. I think we'd happily accept monthly postings instead of seeing her leave, but I guess that's not an option.

    In addition to her candor, I appreciate that she takes the time to verify everything before she says something. So many people tend to go off half-cocked and it can wreak serious havoc on someone's life and/or reputation.

    One spring, I had a friend (not a horse person) call animal control and report someone for leaving their horses blankets on in 90+ weather several days running (they were in a field she passed every day on her way in to work). At her insistence, I finally went by to check it out myself, and you know what? They were fly sheets (oh my ;o)

  26. I think it's deeply unfair to criticise a post of fugly's on show turnout, which is hardly a life or death topic, and ignore the *bulk* of her posts which are either about rescuing horses from slaughter or naming and shaming the downright abusive or neglectful, or discussing proper riding/horse care. This is why the blog was/is so valuable and has made a material difference to many horses lives.

  27. Well said, Helen. I completely agree with you.

  28. Here's to Helen. You said it.

    I may be one of Fugly's biggest fans, but that doesn't mean I'm a mindless follower that can't disagree with her. I have and do still. And when I've disagreed, I've said so, she's responded with her opinion, and that is that. I don't feel like it's my mission in life to change her opinion on any topic that she blogs about on her own blog (I don't think it's even possible!). :) So, on certain things, we agree to disagree. No biggie.

    But, just as Helen (and Mugs) said, you can't discredit all of the good that came out of the Fugly blog. She has had much the same impact on me (and many, many others) as Mugs so eloquently stated in her post, and I am grateful for it. She has made me really come to terms with where exactly I stand, in no uncertain terms, on slaughter, abuse, breeder and owner responsibilities, euthanasia, etc.

    The horse world needs MORE Fugly's, not less!

  29. I have read a few of Fugly's posts, and tried to do so with an open mind, but what turned me off is her foul language. There are other ways to get your point across with out using the F bomb all the time...but I'm not going to rant and rave about it, thats just how she writes. I have a choice to either read or not to, I just choose NOT to because of her foul language....

  30. Well, things do come full circle. When it's gotta end, it's gonna end. But suffice to say, we've been there, we've watched and read her. Taken or not by her, she still writes a mean blog.

  31. I too will miss Cathy writing FHOTD!
    I didn't always agree with her but I do admire her assertiveness, passion and the way she stands up for the horses by discussing indiscriminate breeding, slaughter and starving animals. Horse and Rider magazine led me to FHOTD which led me here to mugwump chronicles which led me to Equestrian Ink. Both mugwump and Ink have both my favorite things--horses and writing. Someday I hope to see a horse story I've written on Mouthy Monday!

  32. Your blog is one of my favorites to read. I hope you aren't going away too.

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