This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
By Scot Tolman


y wife, Carol, wants a tattoo that reads, “I love S.T.” Now, upon

first hearing this, I’m sure you’re think- ing,“How sweet. Scot’s wife wants his initials permanently inked into her flesh.”

Well, you see, I know the truth of this sit- uation. It is merely convenient that my initials are S and T. Although I believe my wife loves me and would endure much more than the 45 minutes of nee- dle-induced fire on her butt cheek to prove this love (after all, she’s a horseperson’s wife; we already knows what she endures), the real reason Carol wants “I love S.T.” emblazoned on her body is that the “S.T.” actually stands for Steven Tyler. That’s right. The lead singer of Aerosmith. She’s devot- ed. She’s missed New Year’s with her family to attend a second concert; she’s parlayed a vacation in Prague into a side trip to Germany so that she could hit one of the stops on their European tour; she’s weaseled her way back stage in Denver to meet Steven (they were wearing the same lipstick— she has the picture to prove it). The woman is obsessed. Right now, she’s working on getting his cell phone number, just so she can have it. So, “I love S.T.” sounds like a loving gesture, but I know the truth.

My wife’s would-be tattoo is my round-about way of getting to the fact that I have a tattoo. On the upper portion of my left arm resides a tattoo of the Dutch brand, a rampant lion inside a crowned shield. You see, I am a devotee of the KWPN horse, and I like my horses to be branded. Consequently, I think it only fair that I, too, bear the Dutch brand somewhere on my body. I contemplated having it placed just above my stifle, on the fleshy outside of my upper thigh, but decided if I’m going to be showing people my tattoo,

I’d rather have to pull up my sleeve than pull down my boxers. It’s about passion and pride for me, this brand/tattoo. I believe in my breeding program; it is my religion. (Just as the devotion to Aerosmith is Carol’s religion.) I like the fact that a symbol exists as a measure of quality and proof of the studbook to whose standards I subscribe.

I realize that I’m increasingly in the minority on this issue. In Europe, the animal rights activists have pushed through legisla- tion that prevents my Dutch counterparts from branding their horses upon accept- ance into the stud- book. In the US and Canada, breeders are often adamant that branding is unnecessari- ly cruel to the horses. From what I’ve seen over the years, the horses are more upset by having their eye covered than they are by the branding iron. Personally, no one has yet convinced me that branding is any more intrusive to a

horse’s rights than clipping the inside of the

ears during fly season, pulling a mane the “old-fash- ioned way”, or using a needle the size of my pinky to lodge a micro chip at the base of the neck. In my mind, fair is fair. I got my tattoo…those of you who think I’m not being fair enough but ask your horses to endure any of the above—maybe you should be fair as well: shave your head and stand outside at dusk in mosquito season, ask your hairdresser to wrap a few hairs at a time around a small comb and yank them out instead of using the scissors for your next haircut, and, on your vet’s next call, ask him or her to chip you. Then we’ll call it even. To me, a brand on my horses is a measure of success, a mark of quality—not an unnecessary moment of cruelty. But, on the off chance that I’m not being fair, at least I have mine to show for it too.


About Scot Tolman: He has been breeding Dutch Warmbloods for the past 19 years at Shooting Star Farm in Southwestern New Hampshire. Read more of Scot’s writing at

74 Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76
Produced with Yudu -