Not A Breed

Absolutely hate backyard breeders (BYB) - they are the major reason so many dogs and cats are euthanized each year, and are the cause of a strong horse slaughter industry. Check out Re-Home Your Horse (https://rehomeyourhorse.wordpress.com) I'm also now writing for Crime Crawlers! (http://crimecrawlers.wordpress.com)

Homepage: http://notabreed.wordpress.com

How to Write a Proper Horse Ad

Anyone selling a horse online should have a bare minimum of information in their ad.  If it was laid out in a simple format, so much the better!

Please note; if someone is searching online to buy a horse, they are looking for the right horse for them.  You should be looking for the right home for your horse.

They already have a general capability list, age, personality and look/breed in their head.  Well, at least they should!  They want a horse to fit their needs and their lifestyle.  So whether they’re looking for a bomb-proof older been-there-done-that trail horse or a high-end show jumper — they know what they want.

Bare Minimum

  • Breed
    (If you don’t know, it’s a grade horse but “QH-type grade horse” or something similar is acceptable — if it’s a cross-breed, list the breeds — don’t blend two breed names together to make one word — ie. Arapaloosa.)
  • Papers: y/n
    (Do you have the actual registry papers? Can it be registered?)
  • Age
    (Don’t guess.  If you aren’t sure, say approximately XX years old.)
  • Height
    (In hands, measured properly — if you don’t know how, ask your vet the next time he\she’s out — there’s nothing worse than seeing “15.4HH” in an ad!)
  • Professional Training
    (How many months or years, in what discipline; how long ago)
  • Discipline
    (List what discipline the horse has done, and/or is suited for.)
  • Shots / Vet
    (When and for what were the horses last vaccination, how it handles being around the vet.)
  • Farrier
    (When last trimmed, does it wear shoes or go barefoot, how it stands for the Farrier.)
  • Shows
    (Has the horse been shown and in what discipline, also this is a great spot for fairs, parades, etc.)
  • Health Issues
    (A simple “no health issues, horse is sound” could suffice, if you’re being honest — if the horse tends to colic, then say that!)
  • Personality
    (Easy to catch, in your pocket type or aloof, mischievous, or what?)
  • Other Info
    (Easy or hard keeper, always manages to hurt itself, etc.)

Extra Help

  • Photos
    (I am a firm believer in uploading a photo.  There are many sites that allow free ads with photos.  Find one.)
  • Videos
    (If your horse is being sold as an “amazing jumper” or something along that line, and especially if it has been shown — have a friend take a video then upload it to youtube and link back.  Everyone has this easy ability, and the more you’re asking for the horse, the more people should be able to see of it.)
  • Weanlings
    (If you are selling a weanling, please include photos of the dam and sire — as well as their pertinent information –all the info listed above for each would be nice!)
  • Geldings
    (All male horses should be gelded.  Period.  The only reason the horse shouldn’t be gelded is if the horse is worth more than $5000.00, has shown / raced / whatever and wins consistently, and is a perfect specimen of the breed!)
  • Jumping
    (There is a difference between free-jumping and jumping with a rider — explain what you mean.)

And please, USE SPELL CHECK!!!

Sites

Please see list under “Trying to Sell Your Horse” for the page containing links to sites for advertising your horse, or click here.

Remember

This is a living breathing animal.  It is an animal that is very large and expensive to keep.  Don’t lie in your ad to make the animal more appealing.  This only leads to:

  • Buyers getting frustrated when they go any distance to see the horse and it’s not as advertised
  • Buyers being disappointed when you’ve tricked them into buying something that is not right for them
  • Your horse ending up in a home it is not suitable for
  • Your horse possibly ending up in a truck bound for slaughter

The best way to sell a horse is with a contract.  You should be willing to take the horse back if it does not work out.  See under tab at top for contract samples, or click here.

(Most information taken from http://notabreed.wordpress.com/how-to-write-a-proper-horse-ad/)

Sample Ad

Feel free to copy and paste the table below, and fill in the blanks, but be sure to write a great introductory paragraph as well!

Breed
Type (Gelding, Mare, Stallion…)
Papers Y/N
Age
Height
Training
Discipline
Shots/Vet
Farrier
Shows
Health Issues
Personality
Other Info
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Photographing Your Horse – Basics

Grooming

First and foremost, GROOM your horse.  Make sure the horse is clean, well groomed, and if you photograph him in tack it should be clean and look decent.  Show-Sheen would be a nice touch.

Setting

Check what is in the background.  Is there debris laying around behind him?  This is distracting from your horse!  Place him in a clean, attractive area (corner of the paddock, in front of a blank wall of barn, etc.)  and have someone hold the lead (out of frame), possibly even showing a carrot at the last second to really get the horse to perk its’ ears and look attentive.  If your horses’ ears are forward, the horse looks alert and happy!  Step back from the horse by at least five feet.  Ensure the entire horse is in the frame of the photo.  Always include the feet.

Pose

Take a photo from the side, the front, and behind – direct on each time.  Try to ensure the horse has its weight evenly distributed between all four feet.

Watch for stark shadows.  Bright but cloudy days actually produce better photos!  You can also try early morning or late afternoon as the lighting is softer then as well.  If there are stark shadows on the horse, it makes him look skinny and will highlight any faults.

Stance

Finally, crouch down slightly (if needed) so that your camera is pointing directly at mid-barrel height.

Examples

Here are some examples of photos where people actually seemed to try to have a decent photo, but failed:

In the photo above, they placed the horse on grass with no real rubbish in the background.  The main problem with the photo is the horses’ head is down and he’s eating grass.  This emphasizes his larger belly and relaxes the back too much.  If his head was up the back would be straight and the belly tucked up a bit.  Nice try, and I assume the person was alone since the horse is on a lead but the lead is not held (another mistake).  Also note, photographer didn’t crouch down at all, so you’re looking down at the horse.

Winter photos are more difficult.  This horse has its’ head up and is looking back a bit (fairly decent overall for horse posture), but there is a ton of manure around its’ feet which is very distracting.  Try to find a clean spot to photograph your horse.  And again, we’re looking a bit down at the horse.

If this were the only shot of the horse, I would say terrible!  Too close, you can’t see the body, there’s too much going on in the background with other horses, ears are not perked, angle makes the neck look terrible and the nose longer and skinnier than it probably is in reality.

I’ve seen MUCH worse out there in ads, but chose these because the owners looked like they were at least trying to post decent photos of their horses.

Below are some ads where the photos are much better.

Nice head shot, beautiful tack, lighting is pretty good (if a bit harsh on the poll), background is a bit busy and you can see the handlers hand… but you can see the difference between this head shot and the one above.

Same horse as above; you can see it’s extremely well groomed, the tack is lovely, the background is better and the horse is posed beautifully.  Had they moved themselves a few steps to the right and took the shot straight-on, they could have avoided the strip at the right (unless they were avoiding something worse to the left).

Nice action shot, you can see how well the horse jumps, if you’re selling a jumper you really should have an action shot of it!  You also want the standard shots as well, but this one would catch the eye of the person looking for a good jumper.  Technically speaking it’s not a fantastic shot overall, but it does show the horse has some talent and experience.  A good example of how even a half-decent shot looks better than a totally crappy shot.

Please note, this photo is fairly decent.  Not fantastic, but decent.  Absolutely worthy of placing in an ad.  BUT, I took the liberty to crop it slightly and below is the final version.  This took me exactly two minutes!  If I’d had the original, it would have looked even better (downloaded from internet, low resolution).

The horse fills the frame, theres much less distracting from the horse itself.

Here’s another shot of the same horse as above.  Nice shot overall, but not what I’d really call an “action shot”.  I do wonder if they are “implying” the horse can rope, what with the cattle in the background and the rope in her hands… But they’re certainly not showing that the horse can do that.

And the same horse again.  Excellent shot.  Almost perfect!  Lighting is fantastic, shadow is falling on the far side of the horse, horse is groomed well, the only thing I would suggest would make it better would be if you could actually see the entire hooves.

Links

Here are some links with further information if you really want to delve into taking better shots of your horse:

Cowboy WayWikiHow, and for a really indepth but excellent article, go to America Horse Daily.

And a final note; there are particular ways to pose different breed horses.  If you are selling a specific breed, google the proper way to photograph your horse to attract buyers looking for that particular breed.

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Where to Advertise

Please view our other pages before placing an ad!

Following are links to places where you can advertise your horse for free.  If you are able to add a free photo, I’ve made mention of that.

Please consider advertising your horse in multiple places.  If you do this, my suggestion would be to keep a list of all the places you’ve advertised your horse, and be sure to go back and cancel the ads after your horse sells.

If you have suggestions of places to advertise horses, please email me at rehomeyourhorse(at)hotmail(.)com and I will add them to the list.  If you have had issues with any of the places listed, I would also like to hear from you regarding those issues.

Also, if you are able to post photos to a free photo host such as Flickr, why not post free text ads and link back to the photo?  It’s more work for the buyer, but if your ad is well written and interests the buyer, they’ll click the link.

Website Free? Free
Photo?
Notes

Canada & US

Equine Now Check mark symbol Check mark symbol
Equestrian Connection Check mark symbol Check mark symbol
Free Horse Ads Check mark symbol ?
Horsetopia Check mark symbol Free text ads, $9.95 for  photos
Horses Classified Check mark symbol Check mark symbol Not the prettiest site in the world, but hell, it’s free!
Equine Hits Check mark symbol

Canada Only

Kijiji Check mark symbol Check mark symbol Be sure to go back every few days to make your listing stays near the top.

US Only

Horse.com Check mark symbol Check mark symbol
American Dream Horses Check mark symbol Check mark symbol

Please note I have purposely not listed Craigslist on here.

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Prepare for a Prospective Buyer

So, someone has responded to your ad, and is coming to see the horse.  What should you do?  How should you prepare?

There are a few simple things you should do in preparation of the potential buyers arrival.

Tidy Up

Yes, tidy up your place.  That means in general, your house should be clean and tidy (if you end up having coffee to discuss the horse, especially if it’s rather cold or hot out, it would be nice to be prepared with a clean and tidy kitchen).  If the front of your property is generally clean, orderly and tidy, this will make a much better impression on the buyer.  Why should this matter, you ask?  Well, it’s the same principle as Real Estate.  A person comes to look at a house for sale.  If the house is messy, full of junk, and disorderly, no one is going to buy the house.  At least not at the listed price!  Impression is everything.  So if you’re looking to actually find a good buyer for your horse, and are asking more than a few hundred dollars, you should be trying to make that all important good first impression.

Of course, this principle should carry on down to the paddock and barn.

I’m a firm believer in a barn and any area a horse is in being clean and orderly.  If there is junk and garbage in the paddock, you are just asking for injury and vet bills.  If there’s an emergency, and each horses’ halter, bridle and tack is in its’ spot, you don’t have to run around looking for the halter while the emergency is ongoing.

If these practices are followed generally, you won’t have much in the way of tidying up for the prospective buyer will you?

Groom the Horse

Before the buyer is to arrive, ensure the horse is clean, groomed, and happy.  Have the halter on already – unless your horse is perfect about being caught and haltered everytime.

There is almost nothing worse than a buyer standing around while you take twenty minutes just to catch the horse!  BUT, if your horse generally takes twenty minutes to catch, be honest about that.  Why have the buyer get home with the horse, release it into a nice big pasture, and never be able to catch it?  If you’re honest up front about issues your horse has, the buyer can be better prepared when they get home with the horse, and (for example) put the horse in a smaller pen for a while – until they get used to each other.

Be sure the horses’ feet are clean and picked (and recently trimmed!), and the horse is generally looking its’ best.  After all, you are trying to sell someone something!  Presenting something at its’ best is a good practice; lying about what you’re selling is not.

Ride

(If the horse is being sold as “broken” and ridable.)

Be prepared to ride the horse in front of the buyer.  Show the buyer everything your horse can do.  Of course if you’re selling the horse as “bomb proof” that might be hard to demonstrate, but a bomb proof horse is generally a fairly tame horse and the buyer should be able to recognize this.  If you’re selling a jumper, you should have jumps set up to demonstrate that the horse can jump.  Basically, everything in your ad should be able to be proven.

Waiver

Often times someone coming to purchase a horse may actually want to ride the horse themselves.  It can be a good thing to have a waiver ready, that releases you from responsibility if the buyer gets hurt while riding your horse.  It’s an excellent thing to only allow the buyer to ride if they are wearing proper footwear and a helmet.

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How to Research a Potential Buyer

Here are a few simple tricks to look into a buyer who is interested in your horse.

First and foremost… research the buyer!

Why Research a Buyer?

Well, if you care at all about who your horse goes to, this is a good way to find out information about them.  A horse is a living, breathing, feeling animal.  They are expensive to maintain.  They are sensitive.  Please be careful about who you sell your horse to – because it’s ultimately your choice who you sell to, and your responsibilityto make sure it goes to a good home!

How to Research Online

Take each piece of information you have on them, and Google it.  I suggest you do this in a few different ways outlined below.  One single search will not show everything you’re looking for.

Searching by Name

Example Name:  John Smith

Go to Google and type in:  “John Smith” including quotes and hit enter.  Of course, this will bring up every John Smith on the Internet, so adding a bit of a qualifier might help.

Type in:  “John Smith” +  “state” <–state being whatever state or province you live in

Using quotes in your search process really helps narrow down the results you get, as does using the plus (+) sign.

Typing in “John Smith” got me 8,660,000 results.

Typing in “John Smith” + “Colorado” got me 2,140,000.

Better yet, typing “John Smith” + “Colorado” + “horse” netted 61,100 results!  See how narrowing down your search with just basic information in quotes can really help narrow your search?  Try this on the buyers name, and see what comes up!  You may find nothing – which I suggest is a fairly good sign – but you also may find out information that would make you decide not to sell your horse to that person.

Of course, I’m not saying go through all 60+ thousand pages of information, but definitely scroll down reading the headings and information on the first few pages of results.  If you see anything about abuse, neglect, crimes, etc. maybe take a closer look.  And by the way, if you hold the “Ctrl” button (command button for you Mac users) while you click on a link, it will open the page on a new tab.  Doing this allows you to then close that tab when you’re done reading (ctrl+w) and you’re back at your main search page.

Searching by Phone Number

This is an excellent way to look up a person online!  Take their phone number, put quotes around it similar to what we did above (“411-555-1515”) in the search engine and hit enter!  A phone number is almost like a fingerprint online.  If they’ve put their phone number anywhere, this will lead directly to them.  What this will net is any ads the potential buyer may have posted that included their phone number.  These ads could show that your potential buyer is actually a guy who buys horses to send to slaughter.  These ads could show that the potential buyer has sold other horses, allowing you to see what kind of activity he’s been doing (like finding cheaper horses and “flipping” them for a quick buck), etc.

This search will also hopefully bring up any website the prospective buyer might have.  A website could tell you a lot about that buyer.

Be sure to try this trick with any phone numbers you have, including cell and home numbers.

Searching by Email

There are two things of note here; one is that the buyers email can tell you a couple of things, as well as searching for the email will tell you things.

Looking at the email itself… what is the domain?  If it is buyer@hotmail.com then Hotmail is the domain.  What does that tell us?  That tells us that it’s a possibility that the buyer doesn’t want you to know his “real” email.  Lots of people do use free domains like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. for their day-to-day email addresses – but on average if a person has Internet access they generally have a “real” email they use – such as through their Internet provider (example buyer@att.net).

The other thing you can do is search for the buyers email address online similar to what we did above with the buyers name.

Type in “buyersemail@address.com” in quotes and hit enter.  This generally will not need any further qualifiers like state, etc. as it is similar to the phone number in that it’s almost like a fingerprint!

What did you find?

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Contracts – A Must Have

If you care at all for your horse and where it ends up, you need to have a contract when you sell the horse.  There are several reasons for this; to protect yourself, to protect the buyer, to protect the horse, and not least to scare off the meat man (horse trader, kill buyer, whatever you want to call him).

Here are some good tips from EquiSearch (copied below).

How to Write a Horse Sale Contract

By Michael Beethe, Esq. from Practical Horseman

If you don’t plan to consult an attorney about a contract when buying or selling a horse, protect yourself by writing a simple, enforceable contract covering the essential points of the sales agreement. Here’s what it needs to include.

1. Identify the parties. That’s the buyer(s) and seller(s), including addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security or Federal tax-identification numbers. The seller on the contract must be the same person(s) listed on the horse’s registration papers. If seller and registered owner are different, the seller’s authority to sell the horse could be questioned. If a partnership or corporation owns a horse listed in a breed registry, the registry may require a specific person’s, or more than one person’s, signature; check with the registry for questions about ownership or required signatures.

2. Identify the horse. Include name, age, color, markings, breed, registration number (if any), and other identifying marks. Also include any special nominations; for example, if the buyer says that the horse is Futurity-nominated, and specify if the horse sells bred, with a breeding, or with a foal.

3. Date of sale. This becomes especially important if there’s a later dispute: In many cases, the date determines the time that a warranty or statute of limitations begins to run. It could also have tax implications for computing capital gains and depreciation.

4. Price and terms of sale. State the sale price; if the buyer and seller agree to some form of trade, or trade and exchange of money, spell it out clearly. If the price of the horse is paid in full at the time the contract is signed, the contract should say so. Or, if the buyer will be paying in installments, clearly spell out the schedule, including the interest rate (if any), where to send the payments, and who will retain possession of the horse and the registration papers until the amount is paid in full. Also spell out what will happen if the buyer fails to make payments.

Edit in:  Here is the place to list that the horse should come back to you if for any reason the new owner can not keep it any longer (first right of refusal at original purchase price).  Include a “trial period”.  Include an agreement that the horse will never knowingly be sold to a dealer, to auction, or to slaughter.

5. Risk of loss. State when the buyer takes on responsibility for injury or death of the horse, injuries caused by it, and its care. Typically, risk of loss passes either at the signing of the contract or when the buyer takes possession, but it’s important to agree on the specifics.

6. Warranties. In many cases, horses are sold without any promises by the seller regarding ability or fitness. As the seller, you want your contract to state, “This horse sells ‘as is,’ with no warranties or representations whatsoever regarding future fitness and performance” (this is a disclaimer of warranty). When I draft contracts for the seller, I also insert a provision stating that any previous oral statements or claims by the seller, if not included in the written contract, are not binding. If you’re the buyer, though, and there’s an oral statement by the seller that you’ve relied on in deciding to buy, make sure that statement is in the contract. It’s customary to offer the right to have a veterinarian examine the horse instead of offering a soundness warranty. In that case, the contract should state, “In exchange for any warranties, seller has offered buyer the opportunity to have the horse examined.”

7. Prepurchase exam. If the buyer decides against the prepurchase exam, include a notation in the contract stating that the buyer declined to have a prepurchase exam performed on the horse. This documentation helps protect the seller if the unexamined horse turns up lame shortly after the sale, unless the seller can be shown to have lied in answering direct questions about soundness.

8. Insurance. If you sell a horse on installment payments, insist on insurance at least in the amount of the unpaid balance, at the buyer’s expense, with yourself named on the policy as loss payee. Otherwise, if the horse gets injured or dies before final payment has been made, you can be stuck with suing the buyer for what you’re owed. (If an expensive show or breeding horse is involved, “loss of use” insurance is also a good idea.)

9. Attorney’s fees. If a dispute arises concerning a horse sale, attorneys will probably become involved. A common contract provision for this possibility is that the loser in any legal action pays the winner’s attorneys’ fees. (Although courts aren’t required to enforce such a provision, it improves your chances of recovering some expenses if an action is decided in your favor.)

10. Signatures. All parties to the contract should sign it. The sale of a horse owned by John and Jane Doe requires both John’s signature and Jane’s. All buyers must sign as well, because the parties to the contract are the people responsible for paying for the horse.

…………

I will post a sample contract when I find a suitable one.  Remember, it’s a starting place.  It should be modified to suit your needs and the buyers needs.

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Trying to Sell Your Horse

If you are in the process of selling your horse, congratulations on finding this site.  I am trying to put together information that would be helpful to people in general.

Might I suggest you use this site in the following way; find the topic along the top row of the chart on the home page, then view each page in order beneath the topic.  This will help you go through the process step-by-step.  You can also read them in order by viewing them on the drop-down list on the tabs.

Whatever you do, please know that all information on here is generally meant to be informative, and in no way am I demanding anything from you.  Knowledge is power.

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General Horse Slaughter Info

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Truthfully, this is the most difficult page for me to write.  It’s hard to remain strictly factual and statistical about an issue I’m actually quite passionate about.

That being said…

Horses are routinely slaughtered for meat by the tens of thousands every year.  That meat is sent overseas (for the most part) for human consumption.  There are a few pockets of people across Canada and the States who eat horse meat, but the demand is relatively small.  Certainly much smaller than the demand overseas, where approximately 90% of all horse meat is sent.

Several years ago the last three horse slaughter houses in the United States were closed down.  Not because people demanded we not slaughter horses for consumption overseas, but mainly for environmental considerations (I’m putting it mildly, see this news article and letter from the mayor of a town protesting the reopening of a horse slaughter plant).

Since the closure of horse slaughter houses in the States, horses have continued to be slaughtered… they’ve been shipped to Canada and Mexico (see chart below).  Generally speaking, horses are flight animals (the best reference I’ve heard is to compare them to deer) so are much more difficult to kill on the first hit with the captive bolt gun (or any gun in this situation).

(Chart info from Animal Welfare Institute)

Year # Horses Slaughtered in US # Horses Sent to Mexico # Horses Set to Canada Totals
2009 0 31,584 31,140 62,724
2008 0 56,731 42,232 98,963
2007 29,761 45,609 45,828 121,198
2006 104,899 11,080 26,421 142,400

Horses are often not killed on the first hit.  They thrash about and really, the process is quite distressing.  If you want to see video, please go to Shark Online and review testimony and video.

Many, many horses that are sold at auction are sold to “meat buyers” or “kill buyers” (some statistics place the numbers at greater than 75%).  These kill buyers, or KBs, have a job – buy horses as cheap as they can and transport them to Canada or Mexico where they make money (dollar / pound) on the horses.  The horses often are either shipped straight to the slaughter house, or they are moved to a “farm” to fatten them up a bit on pasture.  For the horses that are purchased by the KB at auction and shipped direct to slaughter – they’ve already had their last meal.  Whatever their owner fed them before dropping them off was their last meal.  Horses are not fed or watered on the trip, upwards of several days, because being hungry and thirty keeps them calmer.  They are transported on double-decker trucks meant for cattle who are much shorter.  Horses have to keep their heads very low, straining their necks and backs.  Too many are on the truck, and fights break out.  Horses collapse – whether from hunger and thirst or from injuries sustained during the trip – and are trampled.

Once at the slaughter plant, horses again are rarely fed or watered.  Depending on where the plant is located (Canada or Mexico) the slaughter process can vary – but it is extremely unpleasant for the horse.  Again, go to Shark Online (link above) if you would like to learn more about the process.

This page is a work in progress…

If you would like to read more about the slaughter issue, please review the following pages:

Not a Breed

Any post from RT Fitch

American Horse Defense Fund has a great Q&A regarding slaughter

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Slaughter

Why is there Slaughter Info Here?

The reason for this is to help you understand the possible fate your horse may be subjected to if not sold properly.  Most people don’t want to think about their horse ending up at slaughter – but it is a real prospect if you do not follow the steps outlined, and continue to check in on the welfare of your horse for the rest of its’ life.  While this may sound like “work”, it can be as simple as (a) adding the new owner to your Facebook friends (b) setting an Outlook reminder to check in on your horse every so often, and (c) ensuring you sell your horse with a contract.

Often, a few years after selling a horse to a good home, people become lax about checking in on it… that is when your horse is at its’ most vulnerable!  A few years down the road the new owners situation may have changed (new baby, job loss, child loses interest, divorce, etc.) and the horse can change hands once or twice, then end up on a truck bound for the slaughter house.

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Welcome NotABreed

News

May 31, 2011

I’ve recently added NotABreed to this blog as an administrator, so you’ll be seeing things from him here and there.

Welcome NotABreed!

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