Monthly Archives: September 2016

It’s Just A Number, Right?

I was just thinking that my friend Nancy and I have Birthdays coming up.  I haven’t seen Nancy in probably 25 years or more, but we keep in touch via Facebook and this web page.  We live 1300 miles away from each other, but if we got together tomorrow it would be like nothing had ever changed.

We had many great years hunting together, and doing clinics every Saturday morning when we weren’t hunting.  How time does fly.

I know more horse people who are still active into their Senior years.  It’s almost like time stands still.  We think and act like we did 20 years ago.  It’s only looking in the mirror that we can see the difference.  Just don’t have mirrors or certainly don’t put your glasses on when you do look.  “Freaky!!!!!”

When I went to the drug store yesterday the woman said “are you a Senior today?”  “A…yeah, I’m a Senior everyday.”  She said “No, it’s Senior Discount Day.”  So of course I said “Yeah, I’m a Senior, sign me up.”  I used to love when they would “card me” when purchasing tobacco for Bob.  They stopped doing that.  Some senior got agitated.    You would hear.  “We’re old, leave us alone.”  “Do we look like teenagers to you?”  “Are you people nuts?”  So now I think they card under 40 years old.

So where am I going with this.  I have no idea, after all I’m a Senior.  Only kidding.  Bob’s favorite line is.  “Who are you and why are you in my house?  Age is not important.  Not for us or our horses.  I see people at restaurants who look like they are waiting for the Funeral Home to be picking them up any minute.  Their bodies are failing and there is no life left in their eyes.  The scarey thing is that they are younger than I am.  I look at people at the feed stores, who I know are my age or older, and they are doing fine.  Maybe a little hitch to their gait, but life in their eyes and energy for the stuff on their agenda.  The key is – they have a reason to get up in the morning.  More commonly known as “feeding the horses.”

My vet was telling me about a horse that she was called out to put down.  Now the story is that his owner was put in a nursing home and the people who took the horse wanted him put down because he was losing weight.  The horse is 30 for Pete’s sake.  My vet couldn’t find any health reason why this horse should be put down.  So true to form, she took him home, and now wants me to take him because of my love for old animals.  Now here you have the perfect example of old does not mean finished.

Then I had a woman call me with a horse she wants to board here that is 12 yrs old, and according to the vet, is finished.  I’ve had several people lately who have called about retiring young, permanently injured, horses.  I just shake my head and wonder why so many younger horses are being pushed beyond what their bodies can handle, thus bringing them to the end of their usefulness this early in life.  At least they are not looking to end their horses lives because they do not want to support them anymore.

In their mid to late twenties or thirties I can understand injuries catching up, but the younger ones……well it’s just wrong.  Someone dropped the ball on their care or conditioning.

Age doesn’t matter, attitude does.  If we are going to sit on the porch and watch life slip away, it will.  If we do not keep our horses bodies moving, all the old injuries will come creeping in.  You just got to keep out-running old age.  It will eventually catch up, but don’t sit idle and wait for it to pounce on you.

Horses keep us young, in mind, body, and spirit.  Let us do the same for them.

After thought –

I’ve probably written about this before.  Probably around my Birthday last year.  These things do happen.  And yes, you will all reach this point in your life, there’s no avoiding it.  Bob and I never believed it would happen to us.  Surprise!!!!!!

Aha!!!! Right Again

When I was a teenager, back in the Ice Age, I spent every possible moment at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Every evening, some mornings, and sometimes all day.  I loved the smell, the excitement, the most beautiful horses and the top riders of the 60’s.  I loved standing by the ring next to the jumps watching the take-offs and the flights.  At the old Madison Square Garden you could do that.  You could go down to the stable area and speak with the riders.  My fondest memory was talking with my idol Bill Steinkraus.  What a dear sweet man to take the time to speak with a bunch of silly teenagers.

While I watched I always noticed that the horses seemed to have trouble with the yellow and white jumps.  Going to other shows in the Tri-State area I noticed the same thing.  Always the yellow and white jumps.  I brought this up one time when I was speaking with knowledgeable horsemen, and they insisted that horses were color blind and it was just a coincidence.  Everything I read back then supported the view that horses were color blind, but I just couldn’t buy into that.  Several years ago I read an article that said they found out that horses can see colors.  Really?!!!  I could have told them that in the 60’s.  They didn’t have to do all this expensive research to prove that.  They don’t see the wide range of colors that we see, but they sure do see yellow and white.  Plus they see other colors too.

Well once again research has proved me right.  About time they caught up with me.  I’m not by any means a rocket scientist, but I do have common sense.  Or good old “Horse Sense.”  The article was in Equus and the title was “What Your Horse Wants You To Know About Nosebands.”  Years ago when people started using dropped nosebands I didn’t like it.  Horses looked agitated.  Then Figure Eight nosebands became popular.  Now people didn’t even know what the purpose was, it was just the new “in” thing and everyone thought they looked cool using one.  Then with Dressage becoming popular here in the U.S., Flash Nosebands started being used.  Now I do understand their reason behind all this stuff.  It’s just that it gets into inexperienced hands and becomes a danger to the horse.  And even people who do know what they are doing are not aware of the cause and effect it has on their horses.

I’ve seen horses that were being pushed to their limits and couldn’t get enough air because the noseband was not properly adjusted.  Nostrils flaring, eyes bulging, sweating, nerves frazzled.  Wait, sounds like me when I’m running late.

Well this study was done at Kandoo Equine in New South Wales and the University of Sydney.  “A noseband tight enough to immobilized a horse’s jaw can cause measurable stress, according to new research.”    Heart rates were recorded and their eye temperatures were measured via a thermal camera every minute.  “The eye is often called the window to the brain.”  Interesting article, try to read the whole thing if you can.  It measures the amount of stress the horse experiences when the noseband is tightened.

Quote – “Activation of the nervous tissues, including the brain, is associated with increased blood supply, and so, in essence, the eye gives off heat when the nervous system is challenged.”

I will quote the last paragraph. – “These findings, says Fenner, raise questions about a practice commonly seen at horse shows.  “On ethical grounds.” the paper concludes, “the use of relentless pressure to eliminate oral behaviors in pursuit of a competitive advantage may be difficult to justify.”

Then we wonder why our horses misbehave, and have ulcers.

It never ceases to amaze me at what people will do to a horse for a $3.50 blue ribbon.  Soring their feet, broken tails, injected tails, tying their heads between their legs, or up to a beam, tightening a noseband.  I just saw a picture the other day of a horse with a piece of bale cord around his bottom jaw and it was tied to his neck so his jaw was just about touching his neck.  I would love to do these things to people who believe it’s alright.  Lets see how they respond.

Well that made me smile.

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice………

When I was a child my mother always said “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  I still try to remember that.  It doesn’t always come to mind when I need it, but it’s still true.

There was the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Then there are the Ten Commandments – I’m not going to list them.

Our society has abandoned all that is good and has gone to “Every man for himself” or “He who dies with the most toys wins.” (and it doesn’t matter how you acquire them.)  What happen to Honor Thy Mother and Father?  Nope, just blow them away.  What happened to Thou shalt not kill?  Have you seen the news?

The media, with regards to the candidates running for the Presidency, are making me crazy.  The candidates are mud-slinging like a bunch of 7 year olds, and the media is having a field day with it.  Grow-up you guys.  And the media, as far as it’s concerned, is just out to crab your attention and it has nothing to do with reporting the truth.  This nation is in trouble and all you can think about is bashing each other.  Just lay your plans on the table to get us out of this mess, and then let us decide.  However, if things go like in the past, nothing will be done about the promises made before the election.  I can only pray that this time it will be different.  The people have had it (me included), and we’re tired of seeing this great nation go down the toilet.  Okay, I’m off my soap box now.

I was reading an article in Riding Instructors Magazine.  The title is “The Seven Teachings.”  Some Native American people’s refer to it as “The Seven Teachings of the Grandfathers.”  I quote “They represent thought-provoking concepts of traditional teachings on how to live and work successfully in community.  Each teaching, each “gift,” is a tool to help us live by sound ethics and most importantly, with consideration for others, animals included.”  My mothers philosophy is shared as part of the Seven Teachings, and she didn’t know anything about it.

The Seven Teachings are -Truth, Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom.  These teachings are meant to be used together.  You don’t use truth one day and then decide to use Humility the next.  The Bible teaches the Fruits of the Spirit, which are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness, Kindness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control.  Between the two teachings they pretty much cover everything that would lead us to a good, safe life, one we no longer have here.

Didi Arias wrote the article and uses this as an example.  Truth -“Does my horse make me look like a bad rider?”  Honesty – same question but with an answer “Does my horse make me look like a bad rider?”  “No, you are a bad rider.”  Kind of hard to swallow huh?  She goes on to say, that’s why all of them are used together.

So what would that look, like using all of them?  This is going to take some real thinking on my part.  Question – Does my horse make me look like a bad rider?  Truth – No your horse just shows your level of riding.  Honesty – There are things that you need to work on.  Love – I love your enthusiasm, and I’d love to help you.  Respect – I know I’ve had problems in that area, and sometimes they are difficult to over come.  It takes a lot of work.  Humility – It can be done, and I know that you can do it, because I did.  Courage –  It is not totally the horses fault.  It is rider error, but it can be fixed.  Wisdom – is “To be able to interpret the ideas and experiences of others.”  shown – I have been through this many times, and I will take the knowledge that I have been given, and after taking in your situation, I will help you get through this.

We are not always honest with ourselves, or others for that matter.  If someone asks you about what you think about a horse they are buying, do you tell them what they want to hear, or what you really think?  Now do you leave it at that and have them hate you either way?  Or do you explain (in love and honesty) why you feel the way you do?

Are you honest about your horse to yourself, or with your horse?  Sometimes our horses aren’t capable of doing what we ask, but we won’t admit it or believe it.  Sometimes we don’t know how to accomplish something, and we blame our horse for the mistake.

The article I read is mostly about us.  I’m turning it around to incorporate our relationship with our animals.  It’s a lot easier to put them on drugs, or get a stronger piece of equipment, instead of being honest about what is really going on, and seeking professional help.  We are living in the days of fast food and fast fixes.  Who in the long run, are we cheating?

Remember – Always speak the truth in love, but take an honest look at yourself first.