Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Caveat Emptor

Since the beginning of civilization, buyers have been warned to be careful when making purchases. "Caveat emptor" - Buyer Beware - is advice that still holds true in today's marketplace. While most people in the USA who sell horses to overseas buyers are honest and honorable people ... it is always wise for the buyer to be careful and make sure that they are being treated with fairness and honesty and respect.

We had an experience some time ago in which a breeder in the USA was going out of business. She sold the last of her remaining horses ... not of the highest quality ... to an unsuspecting buyer in another country. The horses arrived at our facility in poor weight, with health and behavioral issues. One mare in particular arrived with a serious health issue that went from bad to worse and became life threatening. The new owner needed to be made aware of these issues.

When we suggested to the seller that we should communicate directly with the new owner, the seller refused to give us her contact information. Her excuse was that the new owner did not speak English, so she insisted on doing all the communicating herself in the new owner's native language. What we suspect was really going on was the seller was misrepresenting the horses that she had sold and she didn't want the new owner to learn the truth about what she had bought until they arrived at their new home.

When we insisted that the sick mare be treated by our veterinarian for her life threatening illness, the seller chose to provide the least expensive treatment option. We followed up with a great deal of labor-intensive after care - provided at no extra cost. We were delighted that we were successful in keeping the mare alive and nursing her back to good enough health to ship on schedule.

However, when the horses arrived, the new owner was unhappy with them and held us responsible for their condition. This could have all been prevented if the new owner had contacted us in the beginning of the quarantine. We always take photos of horses when they first arrive and are more than happy to send them to the new owners ... but we need to know how to get in touch with them in order to do so.

So, if you are shipping a horse from the USA, regardless of language barriers, get in touch with the quarantine facility and ask for current photos and information about the horse's condition, behavior and health. There are plenty of translation programs on the internet that can help us overcome language differences - and prevent the new buyer from being misled by a dishonest seller.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

When I was a child the cowboy movies and TV shows I watched always had the narrator saying things like, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch". I always thought it would be so much fun to really have a reason to say that - and now I do! So ... meanwhile, back at the ranch, I finally got home from Qatar on the night of the 26th of December. I love traveling the world, meeting new friends and experiencing different cultures, but I also love having some time at home with Terry. Just as Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home!" After my unexpected, unplanned adventures this past Christmas, those words most definitely ring true for me right now.

Terry and I are now looking forward to welcoming 2011 quietly together at the ranch. And then it's off and running with an exciting new year of traveling the world with horses. Happy New Year to you all!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Luxembourg!

It is Christmas Eve ... and the snow continues to fall in Luxembourg ...and flights continue to be cancelled and rescheduled. Terry was able to complete his journey and deliver horses in Riyadh earlier in the week. He is back at the ranch in Texas now, keeping the home fires burning.

Henry and I are still in Luxembourg. We may get to fly out tomorrow morning to Doha and Dammam ... or we may still be stuck. It all depends on the weather conditions. Things don't look very promising right now. As I look out my window, snow is failling quite heavily and the streets and sidewalks are covered in ice.

However, the horses and humans are alright. We are safe and warm, with food, bedding and shelter,so things could be worse!

Merry Christmas, everyone, from Texas and Luxembourg. We wish you peace, joy and happiness and we look forward to an amazing New Year filled with new opportunities and adventures are we fly horses all over the world.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Let It Snow ... Let It Snow ... Let It Snow!

What an adventure we're having this Christmas week! Terry,two of our grooms, Henry Quintanilla and Sandra Young and I traveled to Luxembourg with horses last week, with the plan to deliver them to Kuwait City, Dammam, Riyadh and Doha.

Well ... this is Monday ... and Terry, Henry and I are still in Luxembourg, along with 12 horses. The snow let up for a while this morning and Sandra was finally able to get out with her six horses to Kuwait. The snow is beautiful - and quite a sight for South Texas natives to enjoy ... but we're eager for the weather to clear up so we can continue the journey and deliver the horses to their owners.

We had hoped to get the horses out to Riyadh tonight and to Qatar and Dammam tomorrow, but the airport is closed again and the snow is falling steadily. We still don't know when we'll be able to leave.

Thank you, Ayman, Mohammed, Ahmad, Saeed, Dhafer, Yasser and Majed for your patience as you wait for your horses to arrive. And thank you, Henry and Sandra for your flexibility.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Christmas Miracle - Breezy Has Been Rescued from Scam!

Many of you may remember having received my email a few months ago about some former employees of ours who had been fired for incompetence, chronic alcoholism and theft - and then they got together and decided to create an "isolation facility" that they called "Terra Ceia". They designed and published a website and started contacting our clients, using the data base that they had stolen from our office while we were away delivering horses to clients. Wow! What a nightmare that turned out to be! Happily, they were only able to lure one victim into their web of deception. But that was one too many.

Last week we learned that they had told a client in Europe that they were going to finally ship her horse (after having had the mare for two months) on December 1st. Well, December 1st came and went ... and so did the container that they were supposed to be sharing with another isolation facility ... without the horse. They did not call. They did not cancel the space. They did not pay the freight forwarder the money that they had been paid in advance for the flight. They simply did not show up at the airport.

Then they contacted the European client and said that they were going to take her horse to another shipping company in Miami and ship her from there. The client became very concerned, as she had paid in advance for the quarantine and shipping ... and did not receive her horse. She did not want her horse to go to another unknown facility. She sent emails that were not answered. She called and left messages that were not answered. She was being ignored ... and they had her horse!

That's when we became involved. The client asked us to find her horse and get her away from these people. So ... we did! Here's what happened.

Given what we know of these individuals' characters, we thought it wise to go with law enforcement officials to keep the peace. So, we drove to Cameron, Texas and went directly to the sheriff's department. We had called them the day before to make arrangements for this visit. When we arrived, a deputy sheriff went to "Terra Ceia" to find out what was going on. Then he called and asked us to meet him there.

While we were enroute to the address that the client had given us, we had a call from the deputy that made our hearts sink. He had talked to the owner of the property and was told that they had moved out, lock, stock and barrel, a week prior to our arrival.

We also learned that the seven barns, hotwalker, paddocks, trucks and trailers that they advertised on their website did not belong to these poeple. They belonged to the owner of the property. They had been leasing one barn and living in the barn for the past 90 days. We were told that they had not been able to make their payments and had been causing so much trouble and failing to hold up their end of the bargain that at the end of the 90 day option period, the owner of the property asked them to leave.

Well, we were really blessed to be accompanied by a dedicated law enforcement officer. Deputy Hoyt got a phone number for the female perpetrator - called her - and after she feigned ignorance, he explained the consequences of international horse theft. It didn't take him long to convince her to bring the horse to the place where we were waiting to pick her up.

After a very long and stressful night waiting for these people to find a friend who could come and pick up the mare (They don't own a horse trailer!), it all came to a peaceful and happy ending. So, to make a long story short, the mare is now safe and sound at our facility - has started quarantine - and will go to her new home in Europe in January. It feels really good to be able to be help create a happy ending to what could have been such a sad story.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Miracles do happen!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Raven in Amsterdam

Thank you, Nienke, for sending the photos of Raven from Amsterdam. BRRR ... it looks really cold in all that snow. It was such a pleasure working with Raven and her traveling companions.

Thank you to Cedric, Toni, Leonie, Toril, Vero, Ayman, Ali, Abdullah and Abdulaziz for sharing your horses with us. We appreciate having had the opportunity to ship them for you last week and look forward to working with you all on future shipments.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Sometimes it is important for us to sit back and reflect on the blessings in our lives. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to do this. Terry and I are so richly blessed in our lives and our business that we want to take a moment to say "Thank You" to the people who make this all possible.

First, we want to thank each and every one of our clients, here in the USA and all over the world for allowing us to spend time with their horses and help them travel safely to their new homes. Thank you for the kind hospitality that we receive when we arrive in your home countries. We have learned so much about different countries and cultures and are delighted to be able to say that we have friends all over the world. We appreciate you all very, very much!

We want to thank our staff for the great work that they do, working together as a team to keep the barns clean and safe and the horses in excellent weight and condition. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do. Thank you Jose, Juan, Fernando, Megan, Nancy and Tanner for everything that you do for EZ 2 Spot Ranch.

Thank you also to Ron, our hay broker and horse hauler, to Mike, our farrier and to George, our supplier of halters, leads and anything else that we need. Your support services are critical to the success of EZ 2 Spot Ranch and you are greatly appreciated.

Thank you to Dr. John Clader and the entire staff at Chaparral Veterinary Center. What a great job you all do for us. We are so lucky to have such a professional team behind us for all the veterinary services that go into shipping horses internationally. Special thanks to JoMarie for keeping up with the crazy scheduling!

Thank you to our group of dedicated professional grooms who fly for us! Special thanks to Henry Quintanilla for always being up for an adventure and to the Wurschy Groom Squad who are ready to fly at the drop of a hat. We appreciate you! Deanna, Wolfgang and Henry are in the air right now, flying horses for us to the Netherlands and Kuwait. Sandra and Jolinda will fly out on the 15th ... and of course, Terry and I get to do our fair share of time in the air. Thank you all!

Thank you to the entire USDA staff in Austin, TX and to Dr. Soroko at the port of Houston, TX. Dr. Soroko, our hats are off to you for always being there, no matter what time of day or night it might be ... and for your good humor and professionalism. You are a credit to your profession! Thank you for being you!

Thank you to Mauricio Cano of the Texas Department of Agriculture for taking care of the export pens and always being there to help out when we need a hand preparing the containers and loading the horses. We appreciate you!

Perhaps most of all, thank you to the wonderful equines who enrich our lives every day. What a great life we have, getting to care for beautiful horses of so many breeds and the precious donkeys who come our way. It just doesn't get any better than that.

So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you all for being in our lives. We are richly blessed!