The Madness Continues!

I once made the mistake of buying a piece of equipment from the website of a world renowned “Natural” Horsemanship ‘guru’.  I say mistake because once they have your information, they won’t stop trying to convert you.  I choose not to use the man’s name because my intent is not to start a war with his followers (but at least you know the gender now).  If his followers are devout enough, they may likely recognize some of his language – so be it.  But in this post my intent is more to utilize his language to stir others to scrutinize more closely the nonsense he and his ilk often spout.

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Memory of a Mustang

Ricky greeting mom, after a long time apart

Ricky greeting mom, after a long time apart

This week we received a call that we knew would come, eventually.  Ricky, the mustang I adopted as a yearling and gave to my mother for her fiftieth birthday, had died in his pasture.  Ricky would have turned thirty later this year.  In his nearly three decades on this earth, Ricky touched a lot of lives and made a lot of fans.

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The End of Lofty Goals

I took a much needed sanity break.  My inspiration for these posts comes from two main sources – my own little herd and what is going on in the horseworld at large.  As the year wound down, I found that I had little time for the former, and little patience for the latter.  So, I took a step back, focused on what I needed to, and tried to piece together where I go from here.  The first, and most obvious, adjustment that I had to make was to my goals.

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Farewell Java

Java, last year, acting half his age!

Java, last year, acting half his age!

Ironically, the day after publishing a remembrance of Dani, on the sixth anniversary of her death, her brother Java died suddenly.  For further irony, Java left us at 25 – the same age his sister was when she passed on.  We knew the end was coming soon, for Java, and were planning on making that final appointment – but fate took the decision out of our hands.  Java’s exit from this world was sadly no easier than his entrance.

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My horses, my teachers – Dani

Dani at 25

Dani at 25

Today Facebook reminded me of a memory.  It is not a happy memory, but it is linked with many years of lovely memories.  Six years ago, today, I had to say goodbye to my Dani – my ‘first born’ and the best dance partner I’ve ever had.  She was twenty five at the time and developed a systemic infection related to having Cushing’s (aka PPID).  Both my long time vet, and the vet who examined her at a local clinic, said that we could fix the infection with weeks of antibiotic – but there was a high likelihood of regular recurrence.  Hearing the same story from both, my choice was difficult but clear.  Fortunately, the clinic was in a lovely, peaceful setting, and there was a patch of high grass for her to peacefully munch as I told her goodbye.  And so ended a partnership that taught me more than any human ever could.

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The noble horse …

My latest reading venture is Gustav Steinbrecht’s The Gymnasium of the Horse.  It is often cited by those who follow classical training methods, but this is my first dive into it.  Written before the turn of the twentieth century, it is both dated (the section on spur use is frightening) and “current”.  This particular passage exhibits the latter, as well as being a rather poetic tribute to the animals we have shared a history with.

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The horse speaks!

Earlier this summer, science had another shining moment of “discovering” something many of us have known for a long time – horses talk to us!  I don’t mean to be flippant about science – I really like science!  But animal emotions, cognition, and their relationships with us are areas for which science has long had a blind spot.  Rather than “discoveries” these really should just be handled as “proof” of what animal lovers have known (but been told they “can’t know”) probably for as long as we’ve had relationships with animals!

The main findings of the study is that horses attempt to communicate with humans – and that they cease those attempts if they are ignored for too long.  No one is a better example of both of these points that our Coffee!

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