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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ode to the Fugly Blog

A little over six years ago, I started a new job. It was my first foray back into corporate America in thirteen years. What had I been doing in the interim? Raising a couple of terrific kids, volunteering at school, and volunteering for a bunch of groups with and for the kids. I was also able to get back into horses, taking lessons for about 3 1/2 years and doing a few little shows.

Unsurprisingly, the time came when the family income needed a boost, not a drain. "Hmm, do I take a lesson or buy Son that new pair of sneakers he badly needs?" So back to the workforce I headed, if only for 25 hours a week as a part-time Receptionist at an IT company. The best part of this job was it came with full family health insurance (Hubby is self-employed and DIY insurance was a huge and increasingly expensive drag). I chose to overlook the fact that I was massively overqualified (I have a B.S. in Communications and worked in Corporate Communications/Marketing previously) and would be almost literally chained to a desk.

Sure enough, here is how I felt on about Day 2:
The intellectual capacity needed to operate a switchboard is about nil, 90% of the time. I love to read, but get aggravated by interruptions; you know, like, the phone ringing. I am not sufficiently stimulated watching  reruns of "Hoarders" or "48 Hours" (activities others resort to while sitting in the same chair). I desperately needed Something. To. Do. I really hadn't spent all that much time on the Internet up until then, thanks to the one computer/three users situation at home, but now, here I was with the whole world available online and a PC to myself.

I headed to the one place where I had spent some time before, Guinea Lynx. This is the ultimate resource for guinea pig-loving people and I especially enjoyed keeping up with the forums. One day I wandered into a forum for "anything goes" topics. What's this? A thread about a blog discussing bad horse conformation? (Turns out, I have lots of company in the Horse 'n Pig Fan Club) I was intrigued... and thus, I found myself on Fugly Horse of the Day.
WOW. Here was someone who could write well, was hilarious, shared useful information on conformation and horse sports, reported on happenings in the horse world and wasn't afraid to call out hoarders/abusers/general idiots as she saw fit, which was often. I dove in and spent many happy hours and days and weeks reading old posts until I was completely caught up.

I also registered to comment, because I definitely had things I wanted to say. I had quickly discovered that FHOTD Comments were worth many more hours of entertainment and education, with an extremely lively group of regular posters, and a few troll-types who seemed to enjoy stirring the pot no matter what the topic.  People came and went and but some of us turned up almost every day. Comment streams, back when things really ramped up at FHOTD, would run into the 300s. I was there for all of this. If anyone reading here is curious, on Fugly I've always been "Lost My Marbles."

My family grew accustomed to me coming home and saying, "You'll never believe what I read on Fugly today..." or, being dragged over to the computer to be shown a picture. I learned all kinds of stuff, ranging from the realities of horse slaughter in the USA (I'd had no clue previously how the industry worked/where the horses came from) to recognizing a good from a bad horse rescue, to some new words ("asshat" and "upgrade," referring to rehoming equines), to hoof mechanics and shoeing and the debate about no shoes at all. Almost every day there would be something new, something interesting, something for me to think about regarding equines - my favorite topic. I didn't always agree with Cathy but I sure enjoyed reading what she had to say!

Here's a picture that Cathy claimed is the all-time "Fugliest of the Fugly Horses" featured on her blog:
 I'll certainly never never forget her. Ye gads. Goataloosa, perhaps? These two are a couple of other shining examples of "what not to breed, EVER," that I stored away:

Epic parental failures were also always popular. This type of thing was guaranteed to have our friend Fugs seeing red, particularly since this poor pony seems to be elderly and has a foreleg that looks like it can barely carry his own weight, let alone that of a rider:
Photo courtesy of, by way of Craig's List - of course
The day I opened the Fugly Blog, always my first destination on the Internet, and read that Cathy had had enough and was selling, I bawled like a baby. What?? How could she do this to me? I had to have my daily dose of Fugly or I was going to crack up... Well, I guess the situation wasn't quite that desperate. Thanks to meandering around the horsey Internet, I had discovered other worthwhile blogs and places to visit. I also decided to start my very own place to hang out, which of course you're reading now. But I really did cry, and not just for one day. This was crappy news.

I have stuck with FHOTD through all the subsequent writers and permutations, some of whom I liked more than others, but all of whom I was happy to listen to and learn from. Guest bloggers with some different viewpoints turned up, too. There were Mugly, Snugly and Snarkly, Charm and most recently Ontario (I may be leaving someone out, for which I apologize). Ontario seemed really excited to be taking over the blog and had lots of energy and enthusiasm. She, more than anyone else since Cathy left, seemed determined to try and help horses in a desperate situation. Most recently it was by rattling some cages and asking readers to contact authorities in the case of severely neglected TBs in Louisiana.

The extremely sad result, I can only surmise at this point, has been the complete demise of the blog. There have been no new posts since February 20 (the day after the appeal to contact people in LA) and although the site has experienced numerous technical difficulties since Ontario started, the website is now completely down and has been for a week. Ontario has not been heard from in any regard, including the Fugly Facebook page, where one might think she could throw in a little blurb by way of explanation. I just hope she is not physically harmed or had something tragic happen in her family.

I know not everyone appreciated Cathy's sense of humor, or agreed with her (the creation of a couple other blogs directly critiquing her are certainly evidence of that!) but I am very depressed, indeed, if this is the ignominious end of something that truly means a lot to me. Fugly Horse of the Day has sustained me through many a very long day, given me food for thought, hugely increased my horsey knowledge and brought me much laughter and tears. I refuse to say R.I.P. just yet... here's hoping.

One more, for posterity. Holy crap.
Courtesy of the Fugly Horse of the Day Facebook page. No details available  on this unfortunate creature!
P.S. A regular fellow FHOTD reader, who goes by "Mercedes," has started the aforementioned and picked up the gauntlet to some extent. She is extremely knowledgeable on conformation, for one thing, and has dished up the sarcasm as well (something I, with my sharp tongue, do appreciate). We'll see if she keeps things going but I hope she does! 


  1. I miss my dose of Fugly also... there's a huge gap missing in the horsey world now because of the lack of FHOTD!

  2. I really hope they're just revamping Fugly rather than ending it completely. They would say something if it was over, right? Right?!

  3. I'm so sad it's not what it used to be :(

  4. Dom, of course you're right - it hasn't been the same since Cathy left. But I had high hopes for Ontario, which makes this current shut-down even more painful.

    Stephanie - I agree 100%!

    PKR - One would think so... but I'm getting really discouraged at this point. I thought SOMEBODY would know who Ontario is and be able to contact her, but no one has stepped up.

  5. speculation on chronicle of the horse is that the blog had to be taken down. Possibly because of legal action taken against FHOTD

  6. I credit Fugly with my horse blogging start, too. I found her site, loved it, and then it branched me out into other sites until I started my own. It really was never the same after she left it. Oh, the snark! I miss the snark!

    Regarding Anon, I hate the thought that, after years of the original Fugly doing what she did best, the newest author would get slammed with a lawsuit.

  7. I just stumbled across this while fruitlessly trying to find a cached copy of an old blog I need to nail a "repeat offender" in the world of horse starvation. Unfortunately, the backups I thought I had are corrupted and I can't restore the old blog. I wish I could. I'm glad you enjoyed the original Fugly!

    1. Cathy, if this is you I am kicking myself for not seeing this comment sooner!! My only excuse is I was on vacation when you left it and not checking email very much. I hope you tracked down something about the horse-starver - that really stinks that you can't find some (all?) of your archived blogs. They should ALL be available for posterity! Your voice was unique and has NOT been replaced, to my knowledge. Hope you are well and happy along with your equines/canines. If you ever have the urge to start blogging again your loyal readers would be overjoyed, I have no doubt.

      Thank you again for introducing me to the online world of horses and horse blogging. I'm now wrapped up in a freelance job for a horse product manufacturer and haven't had time to blog, but you started the ball rolling. I'm very grateful! :)

  8. Sad there is no more Fugly, but is there ANY WAY to see any of her old posts, or are they lost forever. God, I enjoyed that blog so damn much...I think she shook a lot of things up in the horse world, which only benefited horses...miss it...

  9. Hi, Ginger - I, sadly, am woefully lacking in tech skills so I honestly don't know. It looks like Kathy herself may have dropped by here in August (see above comment) when SHE was looking for something. The only thing I'm aware of is Google Caching but I don't know how much would be available. Honestly, I try not to think about FHOTD anymore or I get too sad... :( Sure do miss it. Good luck with your search!


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