Respecting the laws of Nature

In my equestrian library are a handful of books that I return to repeatedly – either for reference or just for the pleasure of rereading.  One of these cherished books, A Horseman’s Notes by Erik Herbermann, was a suggestion by a used book seller when she did not have the book I was after.  She said this out of print gem was one of her favorites, so I bought it on faith.  It has turned out to be one of my all time favorites!

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Is it affection? Or just my imagination?

The barn was dark.  It always is on winter evenings.  We keep the power to the barn off, most of the time, to lower the risk of fire.  Instead, we operate with headlamps as we make our way through evening chores.  Heads reach over each stall as I pass through, noses touching my arm, or soft breathe blown on my cheek.  The quiet greetings are welcome after a day at the office, filled with meetings and people wanting things from me.

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A blast from the past

At times when I need a reminder of how beautiful Dressage can be, I look primarily to my library.  No book cheers me more than The World of Dressage, by Neil ffrench Blake.  I stumbled upon this book at a thrift store, twenty years ago, and a better dollar was never spent!  Published in 1969, it is filled with black and white photos of top riders of the era, from all of the Olympic disciplines.  It is a beautiful tribute to a time when tack was simple and the horse was paramount.  Most fun of all is that the author freely makes comparisons and criticisms, in the name of educating the reader.  As I recently leafed through the book, I decided to share some of my favorite photos and commentary.

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We are not so different

I love the holiday season.  In recent years I have not had the time to do all of the things I normally love to do, but I always try to find a way to celebrate with my work team.  This year we decided upon a long lunch at a local pizza place, combining our celebration with our last team meeting of the year.  This year saw the addition of several new members to the team, as well as changes that flew at us so fast we hardly had time to react.  As part of our event, I really wanted to take some time to celebrate the things team members thought were successful, as well as those things they thought we should work on in the coming year.  The groups in my team have very disparate responsibilities, so I was a little surprised at how both sets of feedback fell into some common themes.  This morning, as I thought back over those themes, I was tickled by the idea that my little herd might share some of the sentiments.

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How would you react?

In many parts of the world it is the season of celebration.  Imagine that you have been invited to a festive dinner party.  You’ve been told that children are welcome, so you bring your toddler along.  The minute you pass through the front door, into the festive crowd within, off dashes your toddler!  She runs throughout the crowd, banging into knees, grabbing at food, knocking over lamps – laughing as she goes.  How would you react?

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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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