Can I learn to ride?

Posted on August 29, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: Uncategorized.

 

 

Enjoying riding when you're over 50

Enjoying riding when you’re over 50

Are you considering a new hobby? Are you over 50 years of age? How about horseback riding? Delving into new activities that require study and application benefits both mental and physical well being. Applying ourselves to the physical action of saddle time, while it does require an honest evaluation of one’s agility, is hugely beneficial, both in the exposure to a new world of scenery (if you trail ride), and to a new group of friends who love their horses and ride for pure enjoyment. “Retirees Becoming Equestrians” is a delightful article probing the issue of late comers to the equestrian field. We highly recommend taking a few minutes to read it over, especially if you are wondering if horseback riding is right for you. Don’t waste time wondering, jump up and gallop on. See you on the trail!

(photo from Trail Rider Magazine)

A ‘Buru’ of Life

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, health, history, therapy.

Wild-burros-wreak-havoc-on-Texas-ecology-DIL8N47-x-large

(By Fred Covarrubias, for USA TODAY)

excerpt written by Brian Narelle for “Animals as Teachers & Healers

Murray is a burro – a real one with big hairy ears and a bray that can bring down a barn. Murray lives in the pasture right behind my house. I established a small church in his name because Murray is so special. Why, you ask? Because Murray is an individual of great character, and as a screenwriter, I can tell you, character is everything! Murray is the embodiment of humility, patience, and tolerance. He never complains, even when some fool throws a board into the pasture with nails in it and Murray steps on one and can barely walk for weeks. He suffers the bullying abuse of Julio, his llama pasture mate, with a calm demeanor, moving just far enough away to bring it to a halt. He is exceedingly present. When he is with me, I feel that I am with someone. His presence is calm and centering. With him, I feel the whirring insanity of my mind decelerate. He teaches me to stand, to be, to breathe, to take my place on the planet with pride and dignity — in this very moment.

We must all suffer the obnoxious llamas of life. We all stand in the rain of collective ignorance, pelted by the media. We all find our lives constrained by the barbed wire of our own minds. I, for one, someday hope to conduct myself with the centered peacefulness of Murray. That is why he is so special to me. That is why he is my living teacher – my “buru.”     Murray lives in vertical time. I’ve been there a few times. Most of us live much of our lives in horizontal time: a plane upon which our lives are stretched out like railroad tracks running across the Great Plains. The tracks begin somewhere and continue until they reach those big bumper things you find at the end of tracks in railroad yards: For our purposes here, we will call that death. Most of the time I walk this track, stepping from tie to tie. As I walk along, I often stop to look back and remember ‘events,’ things that ‘happened to me.’  Murray doesn’t do this.

I wonder what Murray gets from me, besides carrots. Love is an obvious answer but I’m not sure it suffices. I think presence is a better word. When I’m with Murray, I move closer to vertical time: I’m much more contented just to be. I am temporarily satisfied. I don’t need money or things or success or sex or assurances. I have contentment. This is it. The more I enter this state, I have a feeling that it feeds something back to Murray. Sharing deepens the richness of the moment. Spiritual leader Meher Baba said, “Things that are real are given and received in silence.” Something real goes on between Murray and me in silent, vertical time.  Imagine, for a moment, that Murray could talk. I would venture to guess that he would not be capable of lying. To lie you have to have an eye firmly fixed on the past because all your energy is tied up in suppressing facts that linger there. Lying happens in horizontal time, and Murray doesn’t live there. I went to a talk given years ago by Rev. William Sloan Coffin. He started his talk with seven words that still echo inside me. He said, “The function of government is to lie.” He continued, “Lies require violence to support them..and violence requires lies to support it.”  There it was, a graduate course in political and ethical science in twenty words. I think if Murray could speak, he would say things like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shying Horse

Posted on August 20, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, history, military, therapy.

photo courtesy of: Your Horse Co.UK

It is the classic story of the horse who ran back to the barn. In every crowd is a person who remembers the time they rode a horse who spooked and ran away. “I’ll never ride again!”, they confess.  Unlike a bicycle or a skateboard, the horse is a living creature with the ability to think and observe. This means they are capable of reacting to whatever they see. Riders cannot control the random events in the woods or the ring where they ride, nor predict the reaction of the horse to those events. But it is possible to minimize the reaction of the horse by pre-training them to respond to guidance from the saddle. The historic mounted cavalry was highly successful in training their horses to charge straight into battle regardless of the noise and confusion. The average horse can be trained to understand that the rider’s directions are a priority over any instinct to run away. This pre-conditioning will bring momentary hesitation when the horse discovers a wild deer or a motorbike out on the trail. This hesitation gives the rider a chance to reassure the horse before he loses control.

However, occasionally you encounter a horse who stubbornly resists any training efforts and continues to spook and leap sideways at every noise. They are displaying a learned behavior rather than an instinctual reaction. We call these types of horses ‘shyers’.

photo:Linda Parelli teaching horse to focus

The habitual shyer is a menace for its rider. The constant bolting or sideways leaping to get away from imagined danger unseats the rider and can leave a loose horse on the run. To develop safer behavior in these horses it helps to determine the reason for their continual disruptions. While there may be several factors involved, here are three basic reasons why horses develop the habit of shying: aggression, insecurity, or the rider. Let’s look at these individually.

Aggression.   Over the centuries, the horse’s job was to carry soldiers through battle. Through the trials of war, certain breeds of horses demonstrated the ability to be warriors in their own right. They quickly grasped the need to charge, bump, or even trample down the enemy troops. They didn’t flinch as they took a stab from a bayonet or a bullet in the flesh, but continued into the thick of battle with wounds that were often fatal. These breeds still exist today and carry the genetic code of their ancestors. They excel in police work where they are asked to intervene and redirect the public through bumping or stomping into unruly crowds, or in search-and-rescue work where they must crash through rocky, wooded terrain in search of criminal escapees or lost hikers. These ‘warrior’ horses fit very well and yield very quickly to a forthright, commanding personality who assumes control such as the policeman riding on mounted patrol. But when ridden by an indecisive rider who avoids confrontation, the horse will assume control. Centuries of breeding make the warrior horse dominant and vigorous. Without a dominant rider, disaster is immanent. These horses will develop the habit of shying because they need an object to be overpowering and a reason to charge forward.  It is best to always have a job for these horses to keep them occupied.

Insecurity.  The oversensitive, insecure horse is clearly the opposite of our warrior horse. Ever fretful and in need of a soft touch and kind word, they refrain from the overt action of the bolder horse. They are generally the quieter horses in the corral who follow the lead of the warrior horse. When ridden they prefer a soft seat from the rider and perfectly fitting equipment. Beware of using bits too harsh for their mouth assuming it makes them easier to control. It will only elevate their hyper-tension, making them squirm and spin until the problem is fixed.  Sensitive horses do their best trail work with a dominant horse as a mentor. They ride behind their mentor, who shows them how to walk over rough footing, cross water in creeks, or step over tree trunks that may have fallen across the path. If they aren’t guided in this way, they often develop skittish behavior, shying at every leaf that scuttles across the path because they are too afraid to be out on their own. This is why the rider of sensitive horses finds their role to be more of a cheerleader, building the confidence of the horse and convincing the horse to work for them. Once their confidence is won, these horses are nearly indefatigable. They display a brilliance and intuitiveness in show competitions and ring work that never wanes. The complex work of dressage or the split second timing of stadium jumping are equal to their level of focus and intelligence. This is why so many of these horses compete at the international and Olympic level. They are best matched with the analytical, ambitious person with long range, competitive goals, rather than wandering through wooded trails.

Riders.  Developing your competency in the saddle is a life-long necessity. Each decade brings changes in physical abilities through the aging process that we need to adjust in both ourselves and our horses that we ride. If you love your horse you’ll want to be sure that your position in the saddle is balanced and easy to be carried around. This correct posture in the saddle is your best protection from the unpredictable, shying horse. Equally important is matching your interests and personality to that of the horse.  If your horse is constantly shying on the trails and nothing is fixing it, you need to analyze the personality of the horse and see if it fits with yours. It may be time to find a horse that better suits your personality. If you want to keep your horse in spite of its problems, consider help from a professional who can work with you and your horse. Their suggestion to change your saddle posture, or the saddle you ride in, could make a big difference. Riding should always be adventurous and fun. With a little homework, you can make your rides outstanding!

Olympic Rider Kyra Kyrkland on Matador

Horses in Public Service

Posted on August 3, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, history, riding, therapy, training.

At the turn of the twentieth century the horse was still a dominating influence in public life. As the source of primary transportation they pulled machinery and wagons in their role as field and farm helpers. In their civic duties they mobilized the fire, police, and military services.   Their role in military action required enormously rigorous training which a core of expert horsemen diligently implemented. It was not a surprise that such expertise would lead to public challenges to see whose country’s training regimen excelled, and so the beginning of the Equestrian Olympic Games began in 1900. Only three categories were listed, and two more were added as unofficial options although not included as official Olympic classes. There was the “Jump”, “High Jump”, and “Long Jump” categories with “Hacks and Hunters” and “Mail Coach” added as unofficial categories.  Belgium brought home two Gold Medals, a silver and one Bronze. France and Italy battled out and tied the remaining Gold Medal and battled for the remaining silver and bronze. The results were France winning two Bronze, one Gold; and Italy winning only one Silver and sharing the Gold with France.

(Equestrian pictogram from Olympic files)

Equi-Trivia Quiz!

Posted on August 1, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, history, riding.

trivia3

If you pride yourself on horse trivia then take this quiz.

Rate your obsession!  Tally your results then go to the answer page.

Find out: Do you know a little about horses or are you a confirmed addict!

Horse Quiz:

1. Which of these said:   “I’m a stallion, baby! I can whinney!”

A. Eeyore

B. Donkey from Shrek

C. Mr. Ed

2. Made famous by their well known movie trilogies,which character did not use a horse for a quick escape?

A. Marty McFly

B. Frodo

C. Indiana Jones

3. Can you select the toy from the ‘breeds’?

A. Fallabella

B. Breyer

C. Paint

4.   Harry Potter did not ride one of these horse creatures:

A. Unicorn

B. Centaur

C. Thestral

5.   Anna Sewell wrote this book:

A. Black Stallion

B. Starlight

C. Black Beauty

6. Which t.v. star and horse pair is incorrect?

A. Roy Rogers and Trigger

B. Wilbur and Mr Ed

C. Lone Ranger and Tonto

7.  Do you know which of these is not a young horse?

A. Pony

B. Foal

C. Colt

8.  The early ancestor to the modern day horse was called:

A.  Protohippus

B. Equiworkus

C. Eohippus

How did you do? Check your tally results;  click     here

Two-Gun Nan

Posted on July 27, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, handicap, history, riding.

two-gun

 

Two Gun Aspinwall and Lady Ellen during their 4496 mile ride across the USA.

The momentum of the cowgirl legacy is still felt today, and their stories remain as relevant as ever. Two-Gun Nan, towered with the tallest of these larger-than-life figures. She did so not only in the show arena as a lead in the rather masculine realm of trick roping, sharp shooting, archery, stunt riding, bronc riding, and steer riding, but also as the sensuous, beautiful, entirely feminine Oriental dancer character she portrayed known as Princess Omene as well. Still, even boasting these startling talents that eventually made her the highest paid star in the biggest show of the era – the combined venture of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Far East troupe – none of this was what she was best known for. Her most remarkable feat was real, not staged, and incredibly difficult and dangerous.

Two-Gun Nan’s magnum opus came in 1910-11 when she rode from San Francisco to New York on her Thoroughbred mare, Lady Ellen, covering 4496 miles and taking 180 days in the saddle. At 31 years old, she became the first woman to ride from coast to coast. She did it wearing pants and split skirts, riding astride, which was likely still illegal in some parts of the country. She did it packing a pistol, which she used on at least two occasions to shoot up inhospitable towns. And, she made the ride alone.

Two-Gun Nan Aspinwall stunned America and inspired women of a new generation with her transcontinental ride.  “A travel-stained woman attired in a red shirt and divided skirt and seated on a bay horse drew a crowd to City Hall yesterday afternoon,” reported the New York Times on 9 July 1911.    “They gazed upon Miss Nan Aspinwall who had just finished her lonely horseback ride from San Francisco. She had many adventures and once spent a week in hospital after her horse stumbled down a mountainside. ‘Talk about Western chivalry!’ said Miss Aspinwall. ‘There’s no such thing. In one place I rode through town shooting off my revolver just for deviltry. At another place I had to send several bullets into a door before they would come out and take care of me’.”
Equally skilled with a gun or a horse, the Los Angeles Tribune reported that while in New York upon completing her journey in 1911, Two-Gun Nan, “entered a 12-story building and startled her friends by remaining in the saddle and ascending to the top floor,” (via the freight elevator).

The ride became part of the greater Western mythology almost instantly, where it remained solidly for half a century. In 1938, almost three decades after the ride, Nan’s journey was included on the Mutual Broadcasting System’s national radio broadcasts of Famous First Facts, where she reported that it was the suggestion of Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill in 1909 that instigated her to make the ride. The media legend of the ride again was recounted on the radio in 1942 on a broadcast of Death Valley Days. In 1958, Nan’s adventure made the jump to black-and-white television when it appeared in an episode of the Judge Roy Bean television show.

At a time when the frontier to the west had closed, and barbed wire cut across every stretch of once open country along the entire continent, this cowgirl single-handedly found a way to rekindle the American fascination of saddling up, heading to the horizon, and banging around the vast expanse of a country that spread from one sea to another. Perhaps more importantly, she proved this dream and this country were open to women as well as men.

re-posted from horsetalk.co.nz

 

Horse Art for the Garden

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, history, hoofcare, riding.

No longer are home owners and horse fanciers interested in the ‘concrete statues’ of old. Today’s garden is alive, thriving and re-inventing itself in a whole new form. From sophisticated residences in the heart of busy Manhattan to lavish villas in Melbourne, a lush green garden is as popular an addition as ever, especially when flavored with unique pieces of art.

These stunning horse sculptures make a fascinating addition to this distinctive garden. (from decoist.com)

sculpturing by DophinsbyCindy.com

This garden sculpture of a “Black Stallion Running Horse” is made out of mosaic tile. The horse 7-1/2 feet long, weights 60 lb. and is designed to stand on a hillside, pasture, gate entry or as a focal point in the yard or garden. Made by DolphinsbyCindy.com.

Garden art can either dominate, or supplement nature’s plants in your garden. There is no question that adding amazing art pieces bring novelty and distinction to the backyard. But you can also create your own. Look around your barn to see what you can use to create your own show pieces. From horseshoes nailed onto broken rakes, to chewed and broken fence boards converted into garden borders, by recycling those well worn tools and utensils with your favorite flowers and plants you can create a true garden sensation. While it may not be as elaborate as the art by Tom Hill, you may be just as delighted with the results of your own project.

Horseshoe art by Tom Hill(artisttomhill.etsy.com)

Sharpening Your Hoof Nippers

Posted on July 10, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

That trusty pair of nippers you depend on so often will gradually dull with use, until one day you realize that you’re having a tougher time trimming the hoof wall than you should. It’s best to sharpen those nippers before that day arrives. Exactly how you go about that will determine whether the nippers return to peak performance for an extended period or if they’re a big step closer to the trash bin.
“What destroys the most nippers is the way that horseshoers file them,” says Donald Jones. As an International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame farrier and the owner of NC Tool Company, he ought to know. He’s used a lot of nippers over the years, and he routinely refurbishes the tools sent in by farriers across the country.  “A good sharpening that prolongs the life of the nippers isn’t difficult,” says Jones. “The secret to making the nippers cut well is to keep the shoulder area thin. Most people get their edges too blunt,” he says. “The actual front edge, the cutting edge, will feel sharp, but there’s so much metal back on the shoulder that it makes for resistance when you’re trying to cut the hoof.”

He offers the following advice for best results:
A. Secure the nippers horizontally, with the lower handle firmly in a vise. Pull the top handle upward to open the head of the nippers and expose the underside of the jaws.
B. Identify the area to be filed. Always file the underside, or inside, of the nipper jaws. Although a few strokes may be needed on the front cutting edge, most of the filing should run from the front edge through the back shoulder.
C. Use a two-handed grip on the file for long, flat strokes. Strive for a sharp cutting edge that runs smoothly back into the shoulder of the nippers without any sudden angles along the way. Repeat the process for the second side of the nipper jaws. Avoid damaging the corners of the jaws, which help pierce the hoof wall during trimming.
D. The stops down in the handles come together at the same time as the cutting edges to prevent the cutting surfaces from blunting one another or overlapping. If you take a bit of metal off the cutting edges when you sharpen them, then you have to take a little off the stops, too, so the cutting edges close correctly.

Even with proper sharpening, nippers eventually need professional resetting of the handles and tightening or replacing of the rivet. There are two reasons for this, Jones says:“One reason is that after adjusting the stoppers a few times as part of the sharpening, the handles start getting closer together. Send the tool to a professional when the handles become too close to use the nippers efficiently or comfortably. Another is that after nippers have been sharpened a few times, a gap appears between the cutting edges. The nippers should be sent to a professional for resetting. But you should be able to sharpen nippers several times before you need to send them off for reworking,” Jones says, “and then they’ll work as good as new.”
(article and photo from the American Farriers Journal)

1911 Army Remount Report

Posted on July 7, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, history, military.

Crushing load during wartime

Here is a fascinating excerpt providing insight into the horse story of the Cavalry. Issued on December  15,1911, by A D Melvin, then chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry for the US Dept of Agriculture, it documents the history establishing war horses in the battlefield. (found on archive.com)  Excerpts from the report:

106 27th Report, Bureau of Animal Industry, Army Horses in the United States

Next to Russia, the United States leads the world in the number of horses which it possesses. These horses, as everyone knows, are the descendants of horses brought from the Old World after the discovery of America by Columbus, as there were no horses on the American Continent at that time. Prior to the Civil War the horses of the United States were of the light type, with one prominent exception the Conestoga draft horse of Pennsylvania, whose origin has always been shrouded more or less in mystery and whose complete disappearance was a remarkable result of the development of railway transportation. There are also a few minor exceptions. Well-authenticated evidence shows that a few draft horses Avere, imported from France in the [eighteen] thirties, and the draft stallion Louis Napoleon,imported from France in 1851, appears often in the pedigrees of Percheron horses in the United States.

ARMY HORSES OF THE CIVIL WAR

At the time of the Civil War, however, the horses of the United States contained so little cold blood that it was a negligible factor. The Morgans in New England, Standardbreds in New York and the Middle West, Thoroughbreds in Virginia, and saddle horses in Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, predominated and made up the bulk of the splendid mounts of the contending armies of that great struggle. Even the much despised plains horse (the mustang, cause, or broncho) was the descendant of warm-blooded horses and doubtless contributed his share to remounting the cavalry of both the Northern and Southern forces in the Civil War. The demands of these troops for remounts were enormous, but there does not seem to have been any insurmountable obstacle to the acquisition of these horses. They were in the country, they answered the purpose, and they were obtained when needed. The cavalry of the Southern Army was almost as numerous as that of their opponents, and the consumption of horse flesh was probably nearly as great.

The decimation of horses in war is enormous and must be  provided for if a country’s mounted service is to be properly equipped. During his Shenandoah Valley campaign [General] Sheridan was supplied with fresh horses at the rate of 150 per day. The service of a Cavalry horse under an enterprising commander has therefore averaged only four months. [before killed in action;editor’ s note] If the 50,000 horses now required  by the mounted service of the Regular Cavalry and Militia (excluding those for wagon trains, etc.) were called into active war duty, we could look for a demand of upward of 150,000 horse per annum, basing the estimate on the experience of General Sheridan’s army.       (meet Reckless, a commissioned war horse on EQUI-TV PAGE)

A Brief look at the US Cavalry

Posted on July 2, 2016 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, history, riding.

Photos from 3rd USArmy,Old Guard Unit

Ever wonder what happened to the famous US Cavalry? They were once the backbone of  authority and protection for citizens living in the wilderness states. Where are they now?

“The last of the 1st Cavalry Division’s mounted units permanently retired their horses and converted to infantry formations on 28 February 1943. However, a mounted Special Ceremonial Unit known as the Horse Platoon – later, the Horse Cavalry Detachment – was established within the division in January 1972. Its ongoing purpose is to represent the traditions and heritage of the American horse cavalry at military ceremonies and public events.” (Wikipedia)

The US still maintains a Caisson Division which remains with the Army’s “Old Guard” Unit. Here are their website facts:

  • “The Old Guard” is the Army’s oldest active Infantry Regiment.
  • The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” is the Army’s premiere ceremonial unit and escort to the President of the United States.
  • Soldiers in the unit represent Soldiers throughout the world in ceremonies in the National Capital Region.
  • The Old Guard’s Soldiers are in Arlington National Cemetery daily rendering final honors for our fallen heroes both past and present.
  • The Old Guard Soldiers are tactically proficient in their soldiering skills.
  • Besides their ceremonial duties, Soldiers in The Old Guard stand ready to defend the NCR in the event of an emergency.
  • The Old Guard companies have deployed overseas in support of Overseas Contingency Operations, and are currently serving in Iraq.

In a recent interview at the Joint Base Myer-Hendersen Hall, Va,  Staff Sgt. Travis Wisely, infantryman with the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (aka. The Old Guard), explained: ” These horses are treated with the same respect as any Soldier in this barn because they work just as long and just as hard as we do. Their standards of professionalism are just as high as the Soldiers that ride them.”  Wisely has adopted some of the horses who have served their country and earned retirement. “I feel so strongly about these horses finding the right owners,” he explained. Then added, “I wish I could adopt the entire barn..”  The Old Guard retires Caisson horses through an adoption program that allows civilians as well as military personnel to provide homes for these animals after their consecrated service. Are they forgotten once they’ve retired?  “Even after they are gone from the stable, their legacies will live on,” said Wisely. “Their careers here with the regiment will never be forgotten.”

One such famous war horse was the well known Sgt Reckless, the marine war horse who retired at Camp Pendleton, Ca. Reckless served in the Korean War and saved many American soldiers by transporting both equipment and wounded soldiers on her back through dangerous battles all on her own.

“..the little sorrel had to carry her load of 75-mm. shells across a paddy and into the hills. The distance to the firing positions of the rifles was over 1800 yards. Each yard was passage through a shower of explosives. The final climb to the firing positions was at a nearly forty-five-degree angle. Upon being loaded, she took off across the paddy without order or direction. Thereafter she marched the fiery gauntlet alone.Fifty-one times Reckless delivered her load of explosives.” (Saturday Eve.Post,1953)

 

Reckless and her combat trainer, Sgt. Joseph Latham.

U.S. Special Forces on horseback in Afghanistan, 2011.
From “Horse Solders: The 21st Century” by Doug Stanton


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