Virtual Horse Ranch is more than just a game. It is more than just a community. It’s evolution over the years of its existence proves that it is indeed a changing society, spread throughout the world. It is a global village, a group of people that are thrown together with one thing in common: they love horses.
      In the years since its original creation, VHR has evolved, both in game play and in social structure. Like any society, new technology is found, immigration and emigration occur. In VHR, the new technology is related to new training techniques or new birth caps being found. Immigration and emigration in the VHR society allows there to be a continuously changing mix of members, whether the society likes it or not.
      Back in 2003, the game was brand new. “Everyone was accepted… No one really cared if you used chat speak or knew anything about the game at all. Everyone was really helpful for the most part.” Missing, one of the older members in the VHR society, recalls her beginnings and the community that she originally joined. “There were definitely people who stood out as big helpers and those who stood out as aggressors and bullies to new members. Since it was a new game, there wasn’t really social etiquette other than being polite to members. No one was picked on for bad grammar or spelling, or that nitpicky stuff.”
      VHR started as a small, accepting community. Of course, in any society there are some who do not mix well with others, but overall there were few conflicts. However, since VHR attracted members of all ages, from the very young school children to the older age groups, the society grouped into distinct segregations. “In the beginning, cliques weren’t very big or very obvious,” Missing remembers from her early days on VHR. “People would have close buddies but usually would branch out and talk to or help other people with no issues. The volunteer ops definitely had a strong group in themselves, and were often good friends with one another.
      “Since then, many people have joined the game and the player base is just huge. People definitely have their own cliques and often, outsiders are not permitted. I think that as a veteran player with a lot of knowledge, it would be very bad for the game if I were to have an elitist attitude or kept knowledge to myself. I would like to think that people don't have a problem messaging me with a question. I get them daily and I don't mind a bit! Lots of veteran players with lots of knowledge...this brushing-aside of newcomers with questions is a big concern.”
      Not only has there been a societal shift in the VHR community, but game play itself has become more advanced. “When the game was new, showing your horses was easy. “Event training” didn’t exist. In earlier times, it was easy to get into a discipline, whereas now you have to fight your way in tooth and nail, and you 

      This month's Featured Op is Jellybeanjoe, or "Jelly" for short. Nicknamed the "Wibble Wobble Op", Jelly has long exhibited a fun and creative personality on VirtualHorseRanch, and her humor definitely showed through her words during this interview.
      Jelly joined VHR in 2003, though, as she admitted, "I only really started playing... in 2005 to now." She became an Op only two months ago, describing it as being "lucky".
      When I asked how she liked being an Op, she said, "I like helping people...I s'pose it's the fact I've met and talked to more people than before... but that could also be the fact I've become a chat addict." In addition, Jelly speculated it would be helpful if people - including older players - would follow the rules. "Sometimes if you've been playing a game for so long, you tend to forget the rules and do whatever... Not good when we have to kick your butt for it."
      Being an Op can sometimes be difficult. "Be ready to put up with a lot of crap," she wrote to players who aspire to become Ops. "Majority of those you help are nice enough, but there's always a few that decide to make your life hell. The other Ops are really handy in that case to help you deal with them and give you a giggle!"
      Despite all the duties that come with being an Op, clearly this hasn't gotten in the way of Jelly's enjoyment of the game. What could possibly be considered her greatest accomplishment on VHR is the unbelievable success of [RP] Hidden Lie, a horse that she tweaked as a novice and went on to win over $230 million in Foxhunting. This Op is a dedicated player of VHR, saying she likes it because there's so much to do. "Breeding, eventing, training... and then you can add

different challenges in forms of different breeds. Takes it to a whole new level." Jelly's favorite part about VHR? "The fact that it's not real time based like a lot of online games...However, what makes me come back all the time? The players. I've got way too many friends on here for my own good."
      I asked Jelly if there are any changes she wishes would be made to VHR, but for the most part, she said, she is satisfied. "Not anything massively... (though) I'd really love the suggestion to designate a rider per horse, so you wouldn't have to do it during eventing. It would make my life so much better."
      Jellybeanjoe's short time as an Op hasn't washed away her good nature or her jokester personality, so a little bit of appreciation is in order. Next time you encounter her on the forums, chat, or in-game, perhaps you should thank her for doing the job she's doing as well as being a good, respectable player of VHR.
      "I think a thanks to all is needed here. Thanks to you... the VHR community... I dunno how I'd live without you. A thanks to the other Ops... let's just say you guys can give me a giggle any time and have opened my eyes to a whole new... er... way of viewing things."

can hardly do that without teaming up with someone who is already "in" on that discipline. It's tough. I remember, though, that training was so crapshoot back in the day that I trained a horse for barrel racing and found he didn't do well, so I stuck him in reining events, and he kicked butt. Now you have to really get "in it to win it," it's so much harder to play the game and be successful now than it was years ago. Breeds have now reached their true birth caps and have reached their full potential, allowing for modern VHR "Superhorses" that seem to fill their own niche every time.
      “In other areas, there have been new things added like skills, features, stats, the whole deal. For example, the highest stat used to be Extraordinary. When Nef amped it up and put in the higher stats, the competition really flared up and the new stats just blew it all out of the water. The number of amazingly statted horses exploded. Nothing has been the same since. New skills (most notably breeding) have allowed us to create better horses and get the most out of the horses we already have.
      “It's a different world out there. Some new people don't have a clue what the game used to be like. It wasn't always this advanced, and the game has sort of grown with the players that have stuck around for years and years. This is why it's so hard to get into the game and learn it. The complex stuff was added slowly for the old players, but when someone new joins it's just a whole lot of complex ideas and game play concepts that they have to take in at once.”
      VHR’s constantly changing game play also relates back to the changing society which has been built around it. “Now people generally hold other members (most specifically new members) to a higher standard. No matter how new the player is, it is expected of them to pick up the concepts of the game very quickly, have good horses quickly, play the game "right" quickly, use reasonably correct grammar and spelling.
      Nowadays chat speak will get you completely ignored. When I joined I hadn't even had the internet long and I'm sure my grammar  and spelling was horrible. No one really seemed to care as long as they could get the point. But now you pretty much get ignored or made fun of if you can't spell or use punctuation. In a way this is a good thing, but in a different way this drives away a lot of people. The community can be (and often is) harsh to new members. It's easy to find help if you can spell and are just an ideal person and have played an online game before, but people new to SIMs and new to the game itself often have a hard time finding help because no one wants to teach them the ins and outs of the game, both in terms of game play and etiquette.”
      The relatively fast evolution of VHR can be linked to a changing society, as well as always changing game play. Someone, somewhere, is finding a new way to train, a new way to breed. Alternatively, someone, somewhere, is also just starting out, with $100,000 playcash and little to no knowledge on the game. As to the future of VHR?
      “The game has never been and never will be static. Things will keep changing, game play will change, new ideas and techniques will be  discovered. The game will become even more challenging than it is now. This is one of the most dynamic horse games out there...there is no end-all-be-all, which is part of the reason people stay so long. You can't win, but you can't lose, either. That's the only thing staying the same about VHR. In the future, the game will only become larger, more complex, and possibly more realistic.
      As far as the human element of VHR, nothing there ever stays the same, either. Think of it as high school. People keep familiar faces around them, but are usually willing to accept other people and make new friends. All the same, there are those cliques that just close their doors on others. The future of the players of VHR is bright. So many new people join every day that the possibilities for friends and ways to help just increase. I just hope that more people will open their minds (and inboxes) to new players, but it often seems that the more established players are only "in" with other established players. I think that maybe this stratification between the two groups could be detrimental to the game. But then again, who really knows?”


      Odd Eyed Dalmatian Blazed Russian Blue Agouti Dumbo Hairless Rex.
      Say whaaat? The age of designer rats is upon us ladies and gentlemen, and that’s one more species to bite the dust due to color preference over health. For those breeders who put their pets above their profits, cheerios to you!
      I, myself have been a rat owner for a year now, and sport fur coats from four beautiful boys. When I first started owning rats years ago, I had four rescued females living in a huge aquarium with a ball, wheel, and a bed of corn cob because that’s how the pet store told me to do it. I also fed them a diet of generic rodent food (high in fat), which is never recommended by any one that knows what they are doing (which I later found out). Proper rat diet is the number one responsibility new rat owners seem to over look, assuming that like every other rodent, a high diet of seeds and scraps wont hurt them. A proper diet of between 16-18% protein is recommenced, with the addition of vegetables and the occasional treat. Mazuri and Harlan are two easily accessible brands of food that cater to the dietary needs of rodents.
      I personally prefer to buy my rats from a reputable breeder, and if any of you have ever tried to find one, you may know that it can take months to find a good one that is still active. My breeder created the Rat Guide, which is an online resource that is used and referenced internationally by owners, breeders, and even veterinarians.
      For those of you, who have never owned a rat and are considering it, this is a great resource. And I can say first hand that I think they are the perfect small apartment pet when dogs and cats are not an option. They are also relatively inexpensive, have a short life span of around two years, do not require complex care, trainable, and a great first pet for your child aiming to learn responsibility.

       Their origins are said to be unknown, but it is commonly thought that the Zemaituka or Zhmud is from Lithuania. The Zhmud is a descendent from the Tarpan making it closely related to the Polish Konik.
       Around the 16th century the Zhmud was combined with many breeds from Russia, additionally sport horses of Polish descent were combined into the bloodline. During the 19th century Arabian blood was introduced, which can be noticed in their dished faces. With the introduction of Arabian blood, two types of Zhmud emerged: a smaller more refined pony suited for under saddle, and another more bulky, stockier pony ideal for draft and farm work. Today the difference between the two types isn’t as noticeable.
       Soon after World War II an effort was made to enlarge the size and build of the pony to make it perfect for Riding and Draft work. Dealing with Lithuanian conditions they became very sturdy ponies containing excellent endurance and stamina.

The Zhmud have a very willing temperament and is now a multi-purpose breed, due to the cross breeding with other larger draft and sport horses.
      The breeds description describes the Zemaituka has having a broad muscular neck, set into a deep chest on a fairly bulky frame. A low set tail on a sloping croup, with short muscular legs and very sturdy hooves. However an important thing to note is the breed usually is very deprived in hock conformation.
       Being a decent of the Tarpan gives it the primeval dorsal strip and dun coloring, but the breed can also come in brown, black and bay. The Zemaituka is being closer to the taller pony breeds being around 13.2-14.2 hands.

     August ushers in a new Featured Artist, and this month we recognize the one and only Kitt-Cat! At age 24, Kitt has been working on perfecting her art since age 15.
Following in her friends' footsteps she logs onto VHR for the first time and, enjoying it so much, decides to stay. Yay for us!
      When she was younger and working to strengthen her artistic skills she says her parents always encouraged her to keep at it because of her love of drawing. I asked her what her passion was, her answer was, "I don't really have any passions. I enjoy drawing anything really." I also asked her what she enjoys drawing most and surprisingly it wasn't horses. "I love drawing tigers the most or cats because I'm a huge cat freak."
      Everyone has different style of drawing and they all prefer their chosen paths for art. Kitt-Cat herself prefers traditional art, "I love traditional pencil colored art. It looks so amazing to me." And it usually does. Each style has their personal attributes that contribute to its appeal but I myself couldn't love anything more than a great traditional picture. So who could blame Kitt? "I don't really have a favorite style, with each image I do I add in new styles to try to make it better then the last." Among other styles, Kitt also uses some computerized programs and tutorials as well, "I use PhotoShop cs2 and a Wacom tablet, as for tutorials, I have looked at many and just took things I like from them and kind of added a bunch together and also added my own things to them."
      Everyone has impressions about other peoples work and we all prefer different things, I asked Kitt-Cat what her impressions of her own work are and she said, "Well to be honest, I had 90% of the work I do so my impressions are usually that the image sucks and I should try to make it better. But with my limited time, I hardly
have time to try to make them better."
      Kitt-Cat has some words of inspiration for new and upcoming artists and artists who are already established, "To all the new and upcoming artist even the ones already out there just keep practicing and trying. NEVER give up because if you don't believe in yourself then no one else will. Just remember you will always be your worst critic. And every piece of art work you do is great in it's own way no matter what anyone has to say." All artists have someone they look up to, learn from or even just admire, and Kitt-Cat isn't any exception of this, "I look up to Shewolff, Shewolfgeo, Hazel, and Briggles."

"My favorite piece of work would have
to be of my dog panda" - Kit Kat
      If you have questions or need any advice about art or other things Kitt-Cat has given permission to have them sent to her. So if you PM her, you can get some help. She only asks that you do not ask her for free art or anything of the sort that she has not first offered. This friendly woman has much to offer and I look forward to seeing more artwork from this wonderful artist!
      View more of Kitt-Cats art on her DeviantArt.com gallery.
http://kitt-cat.deviantart.com/gallery/ sss

      Rev has been playing VHR since 2004 and says that things have certainly changed since then. She has also had a brief stint playing Virtual Pups and Sandbox farms but says that neither of them appealed to her in the way that VHR does. When asked what she enjoys the most about VHR. She replied “I love that this game just seems to promote friendship so much better than other games I've been to. Over the years I've met extraordinary people who have come to be amazing friends. I met one of my best friends on chat a few years ago, as well as several close friends. It's been just fantastic. Also, I love the fact that you can't win this game; you can't be the best at everything, so there's always room for improvement, and there's always something to work towards.”
      Her least favorite things about VHR are that it is so addictive and she would like to see some of the bugs and glitches fixed. I asked Rev what kind of changes she would like to see with VHR. She said that she would like to see some of the game suggestions implemented. She would like to point out that there have been some really good suggestions for the game recently especially the separation of vet and farrier deeds. She would also like to see some of the unfinished projects finished.
      I asked Rev what breeds or disciplines most interested her on VHR. She replied “I've worked with so many breeds that it's a little ridiculous, and I've tried my hand at almost all the disciplines with the exception of jousting and gaited, the latter of which I'm training something up for now. I guess if it comes down to it though I'm more into the sporting breeds, and the sporting events. ^^' Sky's the limit.”
      In real life besides playing VHR Rev enjoys reading, writing, and singing in the shower. She also has a very large penny collection. “I'm an enthusiastic student of English and History; and I nurse a healthy interest in conspiracy theories/doomsday predictions/the like” says Rev. Rev also enjoys spending time with her 3 cats Oscar (female, don’t ask), and her younger brother Little Face Big Butt Featherfoot (Facey), and her newest addition Montego (Monty). Oscar and Facey are tabby mixes, and Monty is at least half, if not more, Russian Blue. Rev and her boyfriend also have a chameleon, named Nasa.
      When asked what her fellow players would be most surprised to know about her. She stated “Haha, see if someone can figure this out: I'm an only child, the youngest child and the middle child all at once.”
      I asked Rev how she felt to be chosen as player of the month. She said it was a big surprise, honestly, but it feels good, and I'm looking forward to hearing the outcome of the August nominations!
      A special thanks to Rev for participating in this interview.

       Should players use the forums to ask for medical advice from one another? My curiosity was stemmed from the recent increase of players on the VHR forums who are asking for advice on medical conditions of themselves, their acquaintances, and their pets. Naturally, I wanted feedback.
       "No,” said Oriyana of VirtualPups. “Medical advice should really only be given by a licensed veterinarian. And even if on the off chance there was someone qualified to give advice on this game, it is extremely hard to diagnose a pet over the forum.” Oriyana also noted that it takes much less time to call a vet for advice than to wait for responses on the forums.
       Akutenshi of VirtualHorseRanch agreed, saying, “None of us on the forums are specialists, and [players asking for medical help] could very easily receive wrong advice that is life threatening… Doctors first, us second – always safest in my opinion.”
       Still, as many players pointed out, it’s not just a matter of convenience or even the common sense factor of consulting a professional. There are many insecurities associated with using the forums for serious advice.
       Take for example what Cecelia of SandBoxFarm said: “I think that many players… have been able to help each other in many different ways, whether is it advice on pet care, horseback riding, or just being there for someone who is hurting. As for giving medical advice,” she continued, “I would not recommend it because you do not know the age of the
person who is offering it.”
       And, she added, some people may just be joking around instead of giving valid advice. “I would take it, though, from a well-known player.”
       Players on SandBoxFarm seemed to be most eager to answer my question, and one of them – odinsdottir – brought up an extremely good point. “Orbis Games does NOT need to be held accountable for the unfounded opinions of players… there is also the issue of sharing medical histories. It is not only unsafe but an invasion of privacy. There are many clues as to where we live; discussing the medical situation in our areas adds another.”
       This, perhaps, is the most compelling of all arguments against the practice.
       After receiving a good amount of feedback from players on all three games, I have discovered that despite the numerous requests for advice on the forums, the general consensus over Orbis Games is that it is safest for players not to seek medical advice, especially if they haven’t already consulted a professional. As odinsdottir said, “Since 99% of players have NO medical training at all, the answer must be NO.”

       When writing Open Forum, I ask players on the VHR, VP, and SBF to share their opinions on important topics that arise within the Orbis Games community.
       Responses are on a monthly topic posted in the "Orbis Worlds Newsletter" category of the VHR and VP forums as well as the "Chicken Chatter" category of the SBF forum. Responses are received via forum private messaging.

                              BY JANET CANE
       When Coral came to Lifelong Friends, she was emaciated with a puppy rotting inside of her uterus. The picture on the left shows what she looked like when we got her and after her life-saving surgeries. Four of her ten newborn puppies were dead when we rescued them, but we bottle fed the six that were alive and all survived. Coral and four of her babies are in loving, forever homes. Two of the pups are still looking for homes. The picture on the right shows what Coral looks like today. Please enjoy this video of Coral in her new home.
       It shows a miracle that was made possible by the donations of compassionate people like you. Please donate now so that we can help other pets in need.