Monday, June 28, 2010
There is something about good writing and good riding that evokes a physical and emotional response in me. I get all full of jello when I connect with fine work in either field.
A few years ago, I was practically moved to tears whilst watching Stacy Westfall perform bareback and bridleless at the Equine Affaire. (‘Course it didn’t help that it was a musical, heartfelt tribute to her late father). The connection she had developed with her horse was palpable and I felt privileged to watch them.
I got equally moved when reading certain passages from Ian McEwan’s "Atonement." How did he invent this intense world from simple letters and words?
At both moments, my first reaction was: “It’s Magic!”
What I did not see was Stacy getting bucked off or Ian getting rejected. I'm sure it's happened. Ok, maybe a long time ago. But even the pros have their failures. We see the polished product.
Sure, there might be a sprinkling of natural giftedness. But I believe the steady rain is hard work, passion and persistence.
Gotta love it!
This is a Internet post about the power of the Internet.
I got an email from a woman way out in Washington. She is part of a group of Good Samaritans trying to get the state powers-that-be to shut down an abusive horse owner.
She was monitoring the progress reported on NickerNews.
I wrote to her of the double-pronged issues we have here in Maine: a dysfunctional state agency coupled with the abusive, neglectful horse owners.
I don’t know if my comments and suggestions were helpful, but the correspondence verified for me what I should have already known: There are people all over the country fighting the good fight.
Friday, June 18, 2010
A good time was had by all last week at the American Competitive Trail Horse Association event held at Triple J Farm in Bowdoin. The event was part of ACHTA’s Guinness Book of World Record attempt at most participants in a trail competition.
A few dozen at Triple J joined hundreds more in Colorado, Alabama, Virginia, Connecticut, and elsewhere. And, according to ACTHA, they did indeed break a world record.
Jessie Buchanan (photo at left) soaks up the awards ceremony with a friendly Dutch warmblood gelding.
Triple J, owned by Jim and Jan Marconi, put on a great time, with lots of good food and wonderful hospitality. Check out the events page for additional competitions like this one.
A visit to my brother’s family brought me face to face with this big fella. He might be a dog, but he stood about as tall as a miniature horse – and certainly MUCH taller than Einstein, the mini colt born this spring in New Hampshire.
Marco, a Newfoundland, weighs 180 pounds and can touch my elbow with his wet nose. He acted like a draft horse, moving slowly and behaving gently. What a love. When I photographed him, he seemed embarrassed. Poor Marco. I’m laughing with you, honey, not at you!
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
What's a horse owner to do with this recent rash of tornado watches and warnings?
I talked with a delightfully dry-humored spokesman for the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. He said: "When it comes to livestock, you have to play the odds."
On one hand, you might not want to put them in a barn that's going to go down. On the other, you might not want them exposed to flying debris - like the roof of the barn that just blew down.
And on the third hand, bringing them into the basement with you is probably not feasible. (I kid you not, he told me this without so much as a chuckle.)
BUT, he said, most tornadoes around here are weak, topping out with windspeeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour.
AND, most barns around here are sound, post-and-beam construction. They can withstand a lot.
Consider your barn, your surroundings, and the comfort levels of you and your equines.
Or, just flip a coin.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
You and I might see a connection between family members or close friends by the way they walk or the way they talk.
But by the way they sort cattle??
That’s the way my friend, Elijah Moore, connected the dots with Martin Black last month.
Moore was watching Black at the Gelinas Farm clinic in early May. Something about the way he worked the cows reminded Moore of his old friend, Newt Wright.
Wright was born in Montana in 1935 and lived in Idaho, Oregon, and Arizona (where he and Moore became close). He was admired by many as an intellectual horseman. He was a man who spent a lot of time thinking about how horses think, how cows think, how dogs think.
Wright taught farriers, taught riders, taught bullriders. And he was a constant student, always wanting to learn more, according to memorials left on his website.
He died suddenly last year in Bozeman, Montana.
Moore asked Black about his cattle work. And did he know a fellow by the name of Newt Wright?
“Martin laughed and said Newt could handle a herd of cattle better than anyone I’ve ever seen,” recalled Moore.
Black credited Newt Wright for teaching him some excellent and essential cow handling skills back when he was younger.
Incredible, isn't it, how subtle yet signature technique, handed down from one cowboy to another can connect dots and paint a picture? Such a picture many of us would never see.
Photos from top to bottom: Martin Black, Newt Wright, Elijah Moore