The Fugly blog is being auctioned to the highest bidder; its writer confessing to no longer having time to keep it up. I am sure to many, this is a great disappointment. To me, it is not a blip on the radar.
First launched around 2007, it appeared to be a venue for addressing conformation of horses just not quite up to par and made some good points for not breeding mediocre horses. It also focused on what is proper care and why we need to be good stewards to our horses. I found the writer not only witty, but educational. Sometimes a bit harsh, but I could appreciate it for its humor. It was a fun read. It also brought attention to serious cases of horse neglect and abuse such as the Three Strikes Ranch here in Nebraska, where horses were suffering and needed immediate aid.
I won’t deny that I wasn’t captivated by this blog when it first came out. It seemed its author said what everyone else was thinking: “Why in the heck are you breeding that ugly horse?” Though blunt, those early posts were quite entertaining. She educated me on the finer points of conformation and got me off my duff to work with a horse that we didn’t ride so he would be more marketable in an overpopulated horse market. And if Windy wasn’t so darn pretty, I would be embarrassed to admit that she was the result of our “back yard breeding”, a practice Fugly often criticized for good reason.
It seemed as the popularity of this website grew, the entertainment aspect waned as she went beyond being simply intolerant to almost spewing out hate. Rather than just being critical of “fugly” horses, she went as far as picking on the owner’s choice of clothing or saddles or perceived lifestyle. While it is her blog and was admittedly “snarky”, I thought a lot of it was in poor taste. Heck, how many of us love horses but lack fashion sense? I do occasionally ride in a synthetic saddle and have contemplated a pair of those “pajama jeans” just might make good riding pants. I’ve worn sandals to the barn and hopped on bareback in shorts. So even though I tend to resemble a redneck in some ways, it doesn’t make me a bad horse person.
Reading the comments of those who tuned in, many who have become sort of disciples to the blog, it had the essence of being nothing but a bunch of “mean girls” jumping on the bandwagon; bullying her targets and loving to hate. It made me rather uncomfortable.
Although I would pop over to the Fugly blog occasionally when surfing the net, I stopped reading her column on a regular basis. She was no longer entertaining and her rants grew tiresome. In addition, I do not support her stance on anti-slaughter. Granted, I don’t like it any more than the next person but I believe eliminating it in our country has added a new level of cruelty that we cannot control. I don’t have a good answer for it but anytime we apply a blanket effect to all causes, it is rarely what we envisioned.
I realize that by voicing my true feelings about her blog, I am probably making myself a target; perhaps not of hers, but of her fans. So let me just say that although my four grade mares may not be show quality, they aren’t put together too bad and I have no intention of breeding any of them for any reason. What my gelding lacks in conformation, he makes up for in heart. We have hay in our barn, our horses are well cared for and our horses can do a job. My best is good enough.
It would be nice to see someone pick up that blog and go back to the educational aspect of its roots without the harassment. There is a need to candidly discuss conformation and breeding choices. There is a new population of horse owners all the time who could be educated on proper training, feeding programs, defining good rescues, advocating adoption, and euthanasia choices. If a person is a good enough writer to make it fun and entertaining, that would be a bonus. But regrettably, I think it has lost its flavor for that a few years ago.
In the end, if we learned anything from Fugly, I hope it was about good horse care. I hope she also demonstrated to readers how easily horse ownership can get out of hand when you start increasing your herd size without being financially or properly prepared for the additional expense and responsibility of multiple animals. And perhaps those of us who were uncomfortable with the more recent posts on the Fugly blog recognized that you can’t fix stupid with a public flogging and instead should practice tolerance and education.