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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A moment in time

My mother and her current dancing partner, Coffee.

My mother and her current dancing partner, Coffee.

Today’s post is by a guest author – Rhonda Scott, my mother.  Enjoy.

There has been a lot of chatter recently, throughout social media, regarding what is or isn’t Classical Dressage.  All of the shouting brought back a single memory that I cherish to this day. I am a non-competitive rider, seventy seven years of age, who watched the young ones learn as a Pony Club mom and District Commissioner.  In my late forties my (now grown) daughter started giving me lessons on her old reliable, as she developed her mare “Dani” into a lovely “ballerina”.  I do not plan on addressing the classical question, this is a comment only on one moment in my life, and the feeling/emotions I was left with.

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Try not to laugh …

Noble checking out the new view, after the side wall was torn down.

Noble checking out the new view, after the side wall was torn down.

Things are a bit chaotic in the barn this week.  We’re tearing off an unused overhang on the back of the barn, in order to add runs off the backs of the stalls.  The roof overhangs a very low spot behind the barn, and is barely tall enough for us to walk under, let alone a horse.  We’re excited about the whole project, but this is the messy, loud portion of it.  It is also causing a bit of disruption to young Noble’s routine, as it means his back field is currently off limits.  He’s a bit put out by his turnout time being limited to the arena, and it was only a matter of time before his baser self appeared again … and that time was today.  But this time there was a slight twist.

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The Nash Dilemma

NashStandingEven 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.

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