Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sad to say...

What is it they say about the best laid plans? I promised to start my 9 hour-a-day, horse-heaven-marathon on Monday. Instead I spent most of Monday laying beside my toilet bowl. Three days of "really" sick followed by one day of "weak as a kitten" and today finds me at 90 percent. Go figure! I am happy to announce that I spent 8 hours with my ponies. Granted, 6 of them where with Amerika but lets not quibble shall we? She had her professional photo shoot and it went really well, pics to follow soon! I would rather talk about something that has been making me feel like Tevia in "Fiddler On The Roof". You remember, "on one hand..... but on the other hand...but on one" Let me 'splain. Farrier came last week, it went poorly for him. He was yanked by one and kicked by the other. I experienced, mortification, indignance, whining, then honest examination of the whole event. Nothing is worse than being a trainer with ill behaved horses. In fact another farrier once said I have the "worst trained , best trained horse" in the world. BIG SIGH! So as I'm willing to admit to the entire planet this foot thing is an on going challenge for my horses. I have ridiculed my farriers behaviours which by the way, they are guilty of and I have looked honestly at my horses behaviours which they are just as guilty of. I squarely lay the blame on.......... myself. I have little trouble with my horses feet. That does not mean NO trouble that means that sometimes, I have a little trouble. Nothing that makes me want to reteach the lesson, which is the problem in a nut shell. I can hate the way a farrier relates to my babies, lament that if he had just taken his time here, released there, not creeped up to this one like that...blah! blah! blah! The truth, is my horses should at 10 and 14 years of age, stand for the flippin' farrier regardless of his/her moronic habits! In fact to quote John Lyons "If someone put a cigarette out on Zips butt the only problem he should have is with assured it would be a mighty big problem." Meaning in, that strange and wonderful way that most natural horsemanship teachers relate, ones horse should be trained for the lowest common denominator that he/she will come up against in their domestic horse lives. If you think about it, that is a huge challenge! For me it means that a great deal of my horse marathon will be devoted to skills that are much less glamorous than the side passing, lead changing, trail riding, fantasy I had imagined. I will have two horses that stand politely for the farrier though. I have often been heard saying, "practice the basics 'cause its all basics really" I think its time I took my own advice......

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Inspired by Julie and Julia

This is one of the cutest movies I've seen in a while. Meryl Streep is the bomb as usual and the story itself was so sweet. For those of you not in the know, its the tale of a closeted writer who decides to cook her way through Julia Childs cook book and blog about it. It takes her a year, and changes her life in wonderful ways. While its a chick flick in every sense of the word, it has been enjoyed by several husbands and Dads I've talked to...wink wink. Darned if it didn't inspire me. NO, I'm not going to cook my way through recipes for horses, or anything like that, I'm going to so something better. My friend Teresa and I where lamenting an honest to goodness, intense, horse program, type experience like we have both had in the past. She with Harry Whitney and myself with John Lyons. We pined a 6 month stint at the spanish riding school in Jerez. A year riding andalusians and learning Garrocha. NOT barn slaves we, oh no! Riding students to be molded and nurtured and taught. Sigh , it gives me chills... BUT, reality strikes. We are poor little church mice with jobs, a husband,responsibilities and ponies at home to teach and learn with. That's where the inspiration comes in....Folks, on the 26th of April, I will endeavour to create my own version of pony boot camp, here, in my own back yard, with my own precious equines. My plan is to spend 9 hours a day with the ponies, around life, around work, around my own protestations! I will hang with, observe, ride, teach, play, and dote for 9 hours a day...and blog about it, for one month! It will be a fabulous ride, I'm sure. Stick with me and lets see what we learn!
*Donations of red wine, home made food and words of encouragement gladly accepted!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An honest to goodness, panties in a twist, RANT!

Hoof balance speaks for itself....

Hoof capsule sliding to the right.....

Heels badly sheered, no frog, small shoe placed at the end of the long toe....

I've gotten used to being humored. Deviant views like letting your horse tell you where it is you get to train that day, using treeless saddles and feeding bee pollen, among other "potions", raises more than a few eyebrows. So its never a surprise to me when asked about horse shoeing that I get the old eye roll since I am a huge proponent of the natural trim and Jaime Jackson. Ive had my horses living with the natural trim for several years now and it works for us. However, the first great, certified, corrective, shoer I asked about this told me my mare would never....NEVER.... be able to go with out front shoes. He said because of her breed, her foot quality, her foot conformation, I would ruin her. I respected this man and blindly went along for a few more years watching my mares feet slowly deteriorate. She pulled shoes, she lost hunks...huge hunks.... of hoof wall, she landed on the outside edge of one hoof and rolled to the inside edge as she traveled, her stride shortened and she began scuffling along so badly that she kicked cups of sand into my boots as I led her to and from the turn out . And yet, I did nothing. She wasn't lame per sea. I didn't want to chase away the only person who was willing to do draft feet, who showed up on time and who as a person, was a real sweet heart.
Eventually, though, as always happens it seems in the horse world, we parted ways and I was at square one with her feet again. After interviewing a few prospects who would dare face big, scary, draft horses(snort). I realized that I was going to have to take control of her hoof care myself. As with anything new, there where a few missteps along the way before I got it all worked out to our satisfaction. We haven't looked back. My horses are thriving shoeless. The point of this little tome is not to rub my success with this in any ones face, nor to bully anyone into following a path they do not wish. The point is that people make mistakes. People we pay good money too, whose opinion we trusted make mistakes. People with lots of fancy degrees on their walls, lots of schooling, lots of knowledge...make mistakes. The ones worth continuing to patronize and support with our hard earned dollars, can admit to these mistakes, apologize if necessary and help us right the wrong. The ones not worth it make us feel foolish. Don't hesitate to kick them to the curb. One of my clients recently experienced a similar tale and graciously shared pictures of her horses feet. The vet was called as this poor guy went very lame and had a bounding pulse on his cannon bone. I'll post updated pics as he recovers. WE are our horses voices! Let them be heard especially in the face of strong opposition.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quote of the year!

By Rudolf G. Binding:

Your horse will punish you for lying.
If you do not trust him, he will not trust you;
if you waver, he will go his own way.
If you panic, he will panic;
but he will be filled with courage and good spirit
if you are courageous and in good spirit.
If you are unsteady, he will be unsteady.
If your will is not set on perpetual forward motion,
he will slow down and eventually stand still.
If you are without vigor, he will be without impulsion;
if you wish to fly, he will fly,
his feet will hardly seem to touch the ground."

and as simply put by John Lyons: "your horse is a mirror image of you...."