Making a happy mouth

A modern version of the spade bit, associated with vaquero tradition, and best used on a finished horse with an expert rider.

A Facebook friend shared an interesting online magazine about bits and bit fitting.  This was following a conversation around a very old style bit (pictured at right), and whether it was appropriate or not.  All of this got me to thinking about my own experience with bits, and how finding the right bit for the horse can make all the difference in their comfort and training.

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Playtime for Coffee

I could probably not have found a better mount for my mother than Coffee.  Perhaps I could have found something with more training – it is not ideal to have rider and horse learning at the same time.  Admittedly his training has taken far longer than ‘normal’, due to various injuries to him and to me.  Still, for temperament and reliability under saddle I could not have done better.  And this week was just further proof.

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Video: Cossacks

For today, a fun distraction.  Looking for some new activity to try with your horse?  Well, maybe this video will provide some inspiration!


Disclaimer: really, unless you’re young and have a professional trainer, don’t try this at home!  Those guys are nuts!  But, all respect for their amazing skills – and even more respect for their tolerant and mannerly mounts!

Be good to your horses!


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We were in line at the grocery store, next to be checked out.  It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and the store was filled with shoppers picking up last minute ingredients for their feasts.  Most were not in a good mood.  Yet, as the cashier turned to our items, and we approached the counter, the previous shopper stopped and turned back to us.  She walked over, perhaps seeming a bit embarrassed, and thanked us for waiting until she was completely done before moving forward.  It seems she is bothered (as I am) by people who crowd forward before she is even done with her transaction.  Our courtesy stood out enough to warrant her stopping on this busy day to express her gratitude.  Perhaps she understands the power gratitude has – on both the giver and the recipient.

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Why would they deal with us?

If horses had friends and food at their disposal, why would they want to have anything to do with us?  This is a question I see frequently posed; or, more frequently, something asserted in the positive.  I find it an odd question.  Perhaps it is because I have never heard it posed in relation to dogs.  What is it that makes a horse more likely to shun us than a dog?  Neither is of our species and, so the argument goes, would prefer the company of their own in a life human-free.  Perhaps my hesitation in accepting the premise also comes from the relationships I have had with horses throughout my life.

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The horse becomes the artist

The goal is to elevate the horse to a level of strength and elegance it would never reach on its own, improving Nature to the point of “Art”.

Charles de Kunffy

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October, I hardly knew you!

Somewhere in the blur that was October, I did manage to squeeze in a birthday.

Since late September, life has passed by in a blur.  Several trips for work have taken time away from my non-work life – the horses in particular.  Ailments and injuries have further limited equine-based activities.  Head buried in work most of the time, I feel as though I looked down on October 1st, and when I looked up, it was already Halloween!  Yet, somehow, somewhere in that blur, I was able to complete one barn related project.

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