Below photos of Santiago’s babies are cropped to be less useful for anyone seeking to manipulate images for their own use. The photos are branded with words guaranteed to repel certain people, like holy water repels vampires.
The photos were chosen to demonstrate that these horses are ridden often and in varied circumstances. Only shots under saddle in the great outdoors are included. (The internet has enough photos of naked Sulphurs.)
CLICK for quick link to the SSHR
Message from Santiago’s Owner:
For many people, their “internet community” seems very real to them, perhaps even more real than the actual flesh-and-blood community they live in physically. Interacting with the real people around us is vital to developing the “people skills” needed to succeed in the real world. The internet is a wonderful tool, but people who spend too much time in social media, at the expense of developing real, face-to-face relationships with the living beings around them, can become disenfranchised from reality and less able to cope with it. From there, the cycle spirals downward.
Being unable to cope with the real world (because they have failed to develop good people-skills), some dysfunctional people retreat further into their cyber fantasy worlds, which in turn makes them even less capable of coping with the real world... and so it goes.
This may seem a strange introduction, but you'll soon see the point.
Like most new Sulphur enthusiasts, ten years ago I initially joined chatrooms and was happy to talk about my horses and enjoy the stories of other Sulphur owners.
Then, in the mid-2000’s, the Sulphur community was torn apart by a few rancorous individuals who dominated the chatrooms (that was the least of their bad behaviors). I was so turned off by the “Sulphur wars” that I dropped out of the Sulphur social media scene. So did many others.
I was initially resentful that the unhappy rancour-spreaders had made a nightmare of what used to be a fun place to visit. But soon, I discovered that I did not miss the chatrooms. On the contrary, I enjoyed a mental and spiritual release, a feeling of freedom, peace and tranquility.
I found that I enjoyed the time I spent with my horses more, because I was more deeply in the moment with them, instead of already thinking ahead to how I was going tell everyone in cyberspace how cute my Sulphur baby was that day, anticipating the satisfaction of seeing the “Likes” pile up.
“Likes” are, literally, addicting. Research has proven that our brain enjoys a shot of adrenalin every time we see that one of our posts was “liked.”
Addictions are not healthy. And "Likes" are not a reliable barometer of reality. The things that generate “likes” are divorced from our real selves.*
*(For instance, days before the girls held captive as sex slaves for 10 years managed to escape from him, their tormentor posted on his Facebook page about a beautiful spring morning, generating many “Likes” with that post. He was a total monster, but you would never guess that from his Facebook page.)
The urge to impress others and attract “likes” can makes one’s relationship with social media a more powerful drive than one’s relationship with the real, physical world.
That’s bad for people, and bad for their horses too.
Over the years, I have maintained good friendships with the Sulphur owners I respect, via email and phone calls. We don’t participate in Sulphur chatrooms because those continue to be dominated by a couple of notorious, negative, damage-causing, controlling egos. (You probably know who. If you don't, count yourself lucky.)
So yes, a large and happy off-the-chatroom-radar Sulphur community thrives and grows, without using the word “Sulphur,” to avoid contact with you-know-who, and to avoid having our operations and horses second-guessed, interfered with, and lied about.
The photos you see here, for instance, have never been posted before. Not to FB nor anywhere else. Like most happy healthy Sulphur owners, I've kept my babies off the radar of dysfunctional people who stalk the internet.
Riding through town
Winning ribbon in Walk, Trot, Canter Class
You may bemoan the “loss” to the Sulphur breed resulting from the fact that serious owners/breeders of Sulphurs no longer feel safe publicly advertising their horses as Sulphurs. But this “loss” is a negligible concern, when compared to the peace of mind derived from avoiding interaction with the stalker(s).
Here's the problem, though. A vacuum was created when all the happy, healthy Sulphur owners dropped off the internet radar, and you know the saying: Nature abhors a vacuum.
It was recently brought to my attention that photos of my stallion, Santiago, are being used for promotional purposes by you-know-who. People saw photos of my horse on her website and facebook pages, and thought I was therefore affiliated with her.
This is so far from the truth, and so potentially damaging to my own reputation, that I have to speak up, and straighten out the registry rumors.
Ten years ago, due to rancorous individuals, there were “registry wars.” It was so bad that for a time, I started compiling my own database of sulphur owners, because it was so frustrating that the different registries could not get along.
Trail Obstacle Challenge
Since then, happily, things have changed.
Now there is only one active Sulphur registry: the SSHR.
The old SHR is now basically just a logo, no longer active as a registry. The American Sulphur Horse Association has joined with the Sulphur Springs Horse Registry, with all the information from the original SHR and the ASHA now combined into the new SSHR.
The SSHR has the largest, most comprehensive active registry of Sulphur horses on the continent.
All my Sulphurs are registered with the SSHR. So are the horses of other major breeders/owners of Sulphurs.
The trail is steep and rocky but smooth-gaited Sulphur makes photography-on-the-go easy
Riding one Sulphur and ponying another through city streets
In fact, at least 95 percent of the best Sulphur breeding stock known to exist are 1) registered with the SSHR, and 2) belong to people who will never, ever, have anything to do with You-Know-Who, or anyone associated with her.
If you are seriously interested in joining efforts to preserve and promote the Sulphur strain, I urge you to register your horses with the Sulphur Springs Horse Registry.
And be aware: Having cut herself off (through her own words and actions) from the majority of good Sulphur breeding stock, you-know-who seeks new Sulphur contacts wherever she can find them. Newbies sometimes fall under her spell.
and still more trail riding
Don't fall for the guff. Some people have alot of time to spend on the internet, dominating chatrooms, hyping "sulphur rescue" efforts or creating fantasy-based, ego-serving, vanity "registries," but they do not represent the silent majority of happy Sulphur owners.
Don’t look for me in chatrooms. I'm outside with the horses.
Vaya con Dios
PSS -- 2014-03-03 several people emailed to say that someone (one of the most toxic people in the Sulphur world) said disparaging things about me in a chatroom today (shocking!), adding that the Vaquero Heritage's Sulphur breeding program has "failed." Hmm. If this is failure, what does she think success looks like? Seriously. (Is it any wonder that true sulphur enthusiasts stay away from her? I cannot imagine why people like me have not involved her in every stage of our breeding programs, she's such a valuable informational and inspirational resource. Clearly, no one should ever try to raise, train and ride Sulphurs without her help. The above photos are proof of that.)
Our Sulphur babies are busy with trail riding, gymkhana, team penning, dressage, trail obstacle challenges, parades, horse shows, garrocha, doma vaquera, and drill routines.
Below: a more recent photo of Santiago, also known as... Proud papa!
Sulphur ponying Sulphur in Parade
Horse of the Conquest, Horse of the Vaquero, California's First Horse