Even as Tally gives me greater hope that we will become a real partnership someday, and as mom and Coffee progress in their relationship, Nash has presented us with a serious dilemma. I have not written much of what’s been going on with him, because I was trying to sort out the cause, and to be sure that it was not all in my imagination. As the weeks go by, the cause becomes even more mysterious – but the reality of it becomes even more disturbing.
The controversy still swirls around the method known variously as rollkur or LDR (low, deep, and round). Someone from a Facebook group I’m part of recently posted photos and video from Falsterbro, a high level competition in Sweden. This evidence showed that the method has truly become mainstream, with not a single rider working in any other fashion. Now that the Olympics are under way, there is further debate over the riders who clearly and openly practice this method – not the least of which is Adelinde Cornelissen who retired in the middle of her Grand Prix ride in Rio.
Many of us have been railing against this method, and the damage that it causes – books and videos by the likes of veterinarian and horseman Gerd Heuschmann have been dedicated to the topic – yet it not only has persisted, but it has grown. The only hope we have is continuing education, and making a lot of noise. In that vein, I offer the following.
Several years ago, I picked up Horse People in the bargain book bin at a local farm supply store. It’s an oversized paperback made up of essays, poems, and art, celebrating the authors’ and artists’ relationships with horses. The book has been gathering dust on the shelf, as I have focused my reading on more practical and academic works. However, I decided to take a break from those pursuits to enjoy reading of a different sort – and am I glad that I did! Just today I read these passages from an essay by Jane Hirshfield entitled “Horses cross, Donkeys cross”. It touched me, and I had to share (I borrowed another phrase from the author for this post’s title). Enjoy!
It is not by accident that every modern sitcom surrounding family life makes jokes about kids who are sweet one minute, and acting like a brat the next. I have known many a parent who will remark how much they love their teenager, but will follow it with “But sometimes …” This aspect of adolescence is, by no means, limited to humans – I have watched many a young thing grow up, and all of them seem to have phases where they’re loving and mannerly one minute, and seemingly possessed by demons in the next. None have been more like that than Noble – and now approaching 1500 pounds, I’d really like him to get past it!
I will apologize up front for going off-topic for this post; but this blog is my one platform, and I cannot let this week pass without expressing my thoughts. This week marks the first time in U.S. history that a major party has nominated a woman for the presidency. I have heard many young women say “So what? Women can do anything they want.” That not only has been untrue in my lifetime, it’s not actually true now … and it is no guarantee for the future.
A few things have bothered me lately. Not major things, just little things. Coffee comes into the arena every day just a little bit ‘not right’. Tally seems to have just a little extra ‘wiggle’ in one hock. And then there’s the mystery of Nash’s hyper-reactiveness. The first two, possibly just my imagination; the last one a mystery we may never solve. Still, it seemed time to have a visit from the veterinarian.
I have been absent for a while. To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Sad events in the world at large, and continued incidents of abuse in the horse world, have left little freedom in my brain for bright thoughts. As usual, the horses have provided the bright moments – but each time I sit down to write, the rancor on the internet leaves me little inspired to add my voice. One incident that started as a thoughtful dialog about riding theory devolved into an incident of body shaming from someone halfway round the globe who knows nothing about me. As an introvert, I am easily shouted down, and my fallback position is to retreat.
I have been trying to piece together my purpose in even keeping this blog going. Do I have a voice worth sharing? Or am I just adding to the noise? As ever, my horses bring me back to center. Tally and Coffee bring joy with every day of progress, and whether my voice is important or not, I am once again drawn to tell their story. If I can offer food for thought along the way, all the better.
Thank you to those who continue to read and offer support. I am currently working on some new posts, but I just read the following passage in the introduction to Horse People and had to share. Enjoy!