Will the Real Thomas J. Smrt please stand up!

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My husband and I attended the sale at Fox Valley last Saturday. We thought it would be a nice outing since we raise shire horses ourselves. I am glad we were not there to purchase anything. We were very disappointed in the SHS registered stock that was offered for sale to the public. Many animals with swelled hocks, umbilical hernias, respiratory problems, etc.

If you plan to visit Fox Valley with the intention of purchasing a shire I would advise that you do so with care.
A letter, from Mr. Smrt, was sent to various shire breeders that stated the following:

"This sale will feature over 100 horses. All have excellent English bloodlines, are well fed, have been wormed, had their feet trimmed and look gorgeous! As an added bonus most horses will be coggins tested just before the sale, so you can choose, buy and take the horse of your dreams home all in one day."---"You can pay by cashier's check, travelers check, money order or cash. You may also pay by personal or company check with a letter of credit from your bank guaranteeing payment."--"All prices are firm, but very reasonable. Probably a horse for every pocketbook! Pricing will range from a low of $500 to a high of $3000(rare)."

There were around 100 horses offered and they looked well fed. Not all of the horses had had their feet trimmed. In fact, you could smell the hoof rot on some of the mares over 2 years of age. Most of the horses had not been coggins tested. The prices ranged from $300 to $4900. Mr. Smrt would not accept personal or company checks with a letter of credit from your bank guaranteeing payment.

If you have never been to a Fox Valley sale, the horses are running free in pastures or are in feed lots. These horses are not used to people. Naturally, when you walk out in the pasture or in the lot, the horses will move to the farthest point away from you. This makes it very difficult to examine a potential purchase.

Mr. Smrt made a spectacle of himself in front of a group of potential buyers and shire enthusiasts on Saturday. The quality of the stock over two years of age was disappointing enough. Mr. Smrt managed to upset many people (made one girl cry). Mr. Smrt started driving recklessly around the farm, shouting at people to get out of the pastures and feed lots and to "leave those horses alone". I did not witness anyone harassing or chasing the horses. I did see people (along with the farm's hired hands) attempting to calmly capture various young horses.

Many potential buyers had brought personal checks with a letter from their bank. Mr. Smrt accepted the checks when they first arrived and then decided (while the folks were loading their horses) that he would not accept personal checks with letters from your bank guaranteeing payment. This obviously upset people. When we were leaving we heard Mr. Smrt shouting at a bunch of people that he was "tired of people with no money trying to buy horses" from him. We have done business with some of these people that tried to purchase a horse via check. We would not hesitate to accept a personal check from the same people. Their credit is good with us and they would not spend the money on a horse if they didn't have it in their account.

Needless to say, these events made us feel sick at heart.

I just hope that Mr. Smrt's behavior does not reflect on the Shire Horse Society and its members. I hope that the people who left the sale because of his behavior will not loose their interest in the Shire horse. There are many other shire breeders in the United States who would welcome buyers, fellow shire breeders, and shire enthusiasts to their farms.

Christina Persson
(Swede's wife)

Life member of the Shire Horse Society

This message has been edited by Swede (edited 15 October 2002).

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