Monthly Archives: November 2015

Something To Be Thankful For

Working with the children last Wednesday evening and on Sunday morning we were talking about how Thanksgiving came about.  We talked about the Pilgrims, the Indians and of course the corn they planted.  My lesson consisted of the Pilgrims putting 5 kernels of corn at the top of their plate to remind them of what they were thankful for.  With the children we used Candy Corn, and they got to eat it, after they said what they were thankful for.  Of course I always fill them full of sugar and send them home to their parents.  The children love me, the parents, not so much.

I did that about 20 years ago with my family before we left and moved to Florida.  Everyone had to tell five things they were thankful for.  It’s really interesting and quite an eye opener when you hear the deep thoughts of others.

As Americans, especially these days, there is so much that we can be thankful for.  Most times we just take everything for granted.  We, as horse people, should be thankful that we live in a country where we can have the luxury of owning a horse, or just being able to ride one when we have the opportunity.

I challenge you to say, or just ponder, five things that you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I know one of my five will be the animals that I have been blessed to have in my life.  I know I will give them a carrot and say thank you to them for the love, peace, and happiness they give to me everyday.

Have a wonderful, turkey filled Thanksgiving, and don’t forget the carrots for the vegans in the barn.

The Dead Poets Society

I know there was a book out, and a movie with that name.   I don’t remember what it was really about, but I feel like I belong to the Dead Horseman’s Society.

When I was younger, there was integrity, and professional courtesy.  Now like everything else in the world, there is no such thing.  It’s every man for himself and too bad for the next guy.

It saddens me to see the way the industry is going.  But it’s not only the big shows, and organizations.  It’s now just neighbors, messing with other neighbors.  What’s worse is that they brag about it.  Seriously?

The simple backyard shows were disappearing, but now seem to be making a comeback.  The fact that everyone sued everyone put a stop to a lot of the small shows.  No one could afford the insurance.  The children and new riders suffer.  The shows have become so expensive that you have to offer your firstborn in order to be able to participate.  And in order to qualify, you must have a certain trainer, board at a certain barn, and of course, buy your horse from certain people.  When I was a kid you didn’t need any of that.  You got a horse (usually with no specific breeding) paid your entry fee and rode in Madison Square Garden.  You could ride against all the top name competitors.  You didn’t have to spend mega bucks to qualify.  Look at “Snowman.”  He came off a killer truck.  That was the era I grew up in.  Of course horses back then didn’t cost the money they command today.  But they were still pricey for the take home pay of the time.  There are so many horses, just like Snowman, sitting in killer pens, or rescues, just waiting for a chance to be great.  And there are so many great riders who will never have the chance, because they can’t afford it.

Yes I lament about the way things used to be, just like all the other “Old Timers”, but maybe it’s time that we took a few steps backward and grasp on to the old before it disappears forever.

Don’t be a Dead Poet and just go along with things.  Rise and shine and make a difference.

A Common Bond

Facebook can be annoying with all the nonsense that people post, but Facebook can also be a link to the past.  In the last several months I have been contacted by people I used to ride with, both in the hunt field, and just for fun.

The one thing I can say is that even though you haven’t spoken with these people in about 20 years or more, when you speak with them, it’s like you’ve never been apart.  It’s especially true when you speak with kids you grew up with, or maybe even with their children.

Of course horses are the main topic.  The horses we had, and the things we did together.  The funny things that happened while we were riding, and the stupid things we did.

Then you always have to catch up on the horses you have now, and the dumb things you are still doing.  We may be getting older, but we may not be getting that much smarter.

Horses are a catalyst to the past and to the future.  Meet a horse person and you can speak with them for hours, feel like you’ve been friends forever, and as a matter of fact, you probably will be.  You may not remember their name, but if you’ve seen them riding, you will remember their horse and the horse name.  The other odd thing is that you will meet people on the hunt field, or in the show ring with their helmets on, but at the tea or parking lot afterwards, remove the horse and the helmet and you won’t be able to place them.

Funny, but I have no interest in going to any High School Reunion, but get a call from someone I knew years ago in horses, and I really enjoy speaking with them for hours.

So here’s to horses, our past, present and future.  Our link to a multitude of friends, old new, and those we haven’t met yet.

Changing Times, Changing Ingredients

The times sure are a changin’.  Someone said that years ago.  I don’t remember who, or maybe it was in a movie some where.  But the truth of the matter is – they are.  The “Old Timers”  always used to shake their heads and talk about what had changed from when they were a children.  Now I’m the “Old Timer”.  I really can’t believe how much has changed in our life time.  All the new technology.  We’ve gone to the moon and now we’re trying for Mars.  Although some things are for the better, sometimes I’m not so sure.  We have a car that just about drives itself.  I don’t know who is scarier when they drive, Bob or the car.  They both make me nervous.  Bob lets the car drive while he plays with the computer on the dash.  They should disable that thing unless you are stopped.  I really think I’m ready for the old horse and buggy days.  Although they are pretty much the same.  The horse used to bring you home too, and trust me, they would take off just as quickly as the car does.  They didn’t slam on the brakes like the car.  Actually brakes were not a thought in their head.  Okay, so scratch the horse and buggy thing.

Now to the point of this post.  Buyer beware.

When the boys were little and we brought them to a restaurant, they would order something they remembered having there before.  When it would arrive they would say “It doesn’t taste like the last time we ate it.”  Well I’ve been going through a similar situation with products.  And I was convinced I was imagining things until the other day.  My neighbor called me complaining about a hoof product that we’ve used for years.  Now when my farrier was here last time, I mentioned that the beautiful purple liquid wasn’t lasting on the horses hoofs like it used to.  My hands, well that’s a different story, but not as much as usual.  He told me it was because of all the wet in the grass that it wasn’t staying.  I looked at him funny, because it always used to last, but I shrugged it off thinking I was just losing my mind (happens a lot lately).  Then my neighbor called.  She reads the bottles every time she gets something, and sure enough, they had changed the formula.  Aha!!!  I’m not crazy.  She called the distributor and they said they didn’t know anything about the change, but they would contact the manufacturer.  Two of the main ingredients had been removed.  So now we are left with colored water, without a drying agent and whatever the other ingredient did (maybe killing bacteria).

How come every time we find a product that works, they either change it or take it off the market.

I emailed Procter and Gamble a few months back asking why, when I was a kid, my mother used a detergent and, with whites, a little bleach.  Sometimes she used a washing machine and sometimes she did them by hand, but my clothes were always clean.  Now a days I have to use a detergent and 5 different additives and my clothes still aren’t clean.  They told me that if they included all that stuff, the cost would be so high that nobody could afford it.  Well guess what, I’m doing it now, with still no results.

When you question a company about why a product was removed from the market they will tell you that one or more of the ingredients are being used to make drugs.  So we all suffer because someone is so stupid to use that stuff, they might kill themselves?  What is wrong with our society.  I’m to the point that I really can’t keep everyone from harming themselves, so let them make that decision and suffer the consequences.  When I was still up north we could no longer buy sulfur powder.  (Haven’t checked down here)  When I was a kid we mixed sulfur with Vasoline and made a wound dressing.  Now they call it Nitrofurazone at a much higher cost.  When we were kids we went to the gas station and got the used motor oil for free to paint on the horses hooves.  Then they added (for a change) a detergent and you couldn’t use it anymore on the hooves.  Now we buy hoof dressing for a sum of money.  Our water was clean and we could turn on a faucet, or drink from a spring and never worry.  Now we have to buy water in a bottle.  They tell you not to drink that water if it sits in the bottle in the heat.  Does anyone think about the fact that these bottle sit in a hot tractor trailer, for who knows how long, before we get it?  Why are we, and our animals, dying of cancer?  Duh.

Okay I’m on my soap box.  Does anyone really remember soap boxes anymore?

I have a friend whose horses were dropping weight.  I knew she fed her horses well, and was always on time with the wormer, so it bothered me.  I had that problem a few months before.  When I inquired and check the ingredients of my grain I found out there had been changes made to the contents.  I switched grain and my horses were back on track.  I mentioned it to her.

So the bottom line is.  If a product isn’t working “the way you remembered it.” chances are it isn’t the same product.  Looks the same, smells the same, but check the ingredients.  The price may even go up, but does the quality?

I’ve spent money trying different Lime Calcium Rust removers for my hard water stains.  I gave up and tried white vinegar.  Surprise!  It worked better and faster.  Cost a lot less, and didn’t burn the skin off my hands.

Maybe, just maybe, we should revisit the “Good Old Days” and go back to basics.

Don’t accept things, read and challenge the way things are “now-a-days.”  Then make a decision.  And don’t hesitate to call them out on a product.  I did.