Fun with photos: the trot

The saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words, yet so many involved in Dressage want to deny what the pictures tell us. The

One of many studies in motion done by Muybridge, giving us insight into what our eyes might miss.

One of many studies in motion done by Muybridge, giving us insight into what our eyes might miss.

most common complaint is that a photo is “just a moment in time” – yet, without the “moments in time” that Eadweard Muybridge gave us, we would not know the actual sequence of the footfalls in a horse’s stride. How can it be that those “moments” were valuable, but those we see today are not? The truth is, they are just as valuable – they just might not always be agreeable with our perception. Just as with Muybridge’s discoveries in locomotion, today’s photos capture moments that are missed by our naked eye.

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Horsekeeping while ill

The last thing I want to do is drag myself out from under the warm blanket, in my warm house, to venture out into the cold and the rain.  It has been over a week, and four tissue boxes, and I am tired of struggling to breathe.  Just standing up can be enough to make me want to sit back down again.  But, there are numerous beings outside who rely upon us for their food and water – so, out I must go.

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A Special Anniversary

Today I am diverging from the usual subject matter in recognition of a special anniversary.  It has everything to do with horses, and yet is not about the horses.  Twenty years ago, on this date, escrow closed on a small blue house on two and a half acres.  At age sixty, my mother became a home owner – something she never expected to be.  Not only that, but seemingly against the odds, she got the very house that she wanted.

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The fearful equine

A recent Facebook conversation about positive reinforcement led to someone asking a question about one of my favorite fallacies – if you comfort a fearful or spooking horse, aren’t you just reinforcing the fear?  I first encountered that idea when I started training our dogs, just over twenty years ago.  My experience with a variety of animals told me that was a silly idea – and the more I’ve learned about how brains work, the sillier the idea gets.  So, how do you handle the fearful equine?  As with all things related to horses, techniques are numerous – and I’ve probably tried them all at one time or other – but some are definitely safer and saner than others.

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Bad decision, good outcome

Mr. Whimpy, unwilling to cross the puddles to a field of grass.

It was, admittedly, probably not the best choice.  Due to weather and the holidays, Noble had been idle for a while.  With his paddock now mucky, even the newly emerged grass does not tempt him to go out into the field beyond.  So, he sulks in his stall and has temper tantrums – though far fewer and less volatile than in winters past.  But today the sun was shining, and we had no specific agenda, so I decided to get him out for some quality time.  I failed to factor in the North wind that was building – and that is known in the valley to set even the most level headed horse on edge.

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The long strange trip

Five years ago, today, we set out on the three hour journey to pick up the colt of my dreams.  More than just a dream, he was something out of a long held fantasy – and someone was giving him to me!  I am not the person who ever wins the raffle, or finds a random twenty dollar bill, or attracts a wealthy benefactor.  So, from the beginning, I was waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.  But the day was here, and we were on our way.

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Do you love your horse?

Wicki being tolerant of my human expression of love

It seems the ultimate sign of caring, to say that we love our horses.  Yet, I watch as people who say they love their horses treat them in ways that do not reflect that sentiment.  Even riders who create obvious pain in their horses are defended, by their fans, with the statement that “They love their horses!” – as if that makes the blood in the mouth or on the sides somehow okay.  Of course, for those who have either lived through or witnessed abusive human relationships, you will recognize that this is frequently the claim of the abuser toward the abused.  And, of course, many people love their possessions – their car, their home, a piece of jewelry – is this the sort of love people have for their horses?

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