Monday, November 12, 2018

An Educational Institution: Learning At Mill Swamp

Pictured above are a group of homeschoolers learning about the roles of fungus and bacteria in converting a pine forest to a viable pasture. Saturday a group from the local Women's club came out to spend the morning learning about our soil and water conservation projects and were introduced to microbial farming.

They learned the answer to two of the most important secrets to the ecological benefits of our program--why the soil is so soft and cushiony over so much of our pastures and why our hog pen produces nearly no odor.

Several days earlier I spoke at a meeting of a local Ruritan Club on all aspects of our program. Everyone is amazed at how much our program does but few people are aware of how much our program teaches.

As spring comes around we will be available for educational tours and programs on our soil and water conservation projects and we are alway available to provide speakers on all aspects of our program to area civic, religious, and youth oriented organizations.

Has Mounting a Horse Become Insurmountable?

Riding is a sport. Sports require some level of conditioning. Specific sports require the conditioning of specific muscles. Riding, particularly riding great distances. requires strong core muscles and a certain degree of aerobic fitness.

Problem #1----Conditioning one's body is time consuming and results come so slowly that progress seems non-existent.

Solution #1-----Use solid sports physiology to achieve your goal. Planking is something that I have found very helpful and most especially the isometrics that are created from wall sitting. Tabata Protocol sessions last only four minutes of intense working out. Progress comes faster than one could ever imagine. In a month one's level of aerobic fitness goes through the roof.  (I am not going to take the time to explain Tabata Protocol. The internet is loaded with information on this technique).

Problem#2-----Conditioning is unpleasant.

Solution #2----Find  exercises that are riding specific and learn to enjoy them. Pounding a heavy bag is something that I enjoy and the strength and balance that it has given me has kept me in the saddle scores of times when I would otherwise have been on the ground. Barefoot jogging develops the quadriceps in ways that make riding great distances possible. Posting on an inflatable ball strengthens legs and increases the aerobic capacity of these muscles.

Of course, don't do any exercise program without the prior approval of your doctor. The exercise suggestions above are not substitutes for medical advice and should not be attempted without receipt of sound, qualified medical advice.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ending the Week With An Ossabaw--Life As a Livestock Preservationist

I sat down last night. I sat down by the fire last night. I sat down with two of my grandchildren last night. I sat down and played music last night. I sat down and ate barbecue from an Ossabaw boar last night.

Yes, last night I sat down.

Monday was a rather ordinary day at the office--preparation for slews of prosecutions on the horizon--from murder to making annoying phone calls. Monday night we had music practice for those in the music program here at Mill Swamp  Indian Horses--a handful of adults and a roomful of kids learning to play and perform Americana, blues, old time, gospel and roots music. Tuesday was office work and then out to work on fences.

The remainder of the week involved a field trip of fifty kids and parents,  several visits by families interested in seeing the horses. cutting down trees for poles for the fence around the New Land, riding lessons for two new riders, and group riding lessons for other program participants, feeding mares with foals dailey, getting kids together for a musical performance, having a visit  from another group of students on another day, getting things ready for fall barbecue, giving several  tours of our soil and water conservation projects, setting up round pen demo, hoof trimming demo, microbial farming demo, and confidence building in horses demo.

We introduced well over 100 visitors to Ossabaw hogs, Hog Island Sheep, Colonial Spanish horses, Syfan, San  Clemente and Baylis Spanish Goats, and Bourbon Red and Blue Slate turkeys.

And we did all of this with no paid staff. Everyone who participates in our program is a volunteer.

And here is what I did not do last week. I did not spend time arguing over the proper name for our various strains of Colonial Spanish horses. I did not spend anytime lamenting the fact that we do not do enough to earn the good graces of the established horse world by participating in their silly rituals of equine competition.

None of what I write here is remotely designed to give our program a pat on the back. I write to give an answer to a question that we are constantly asked--"How do you all find time to do all of this?"

A big part of that answer is that we take the time and energy that would be spent arguing about things that do not matter and put that time and energy into building something that matters.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

What Makes Learning to Ride So Different at Mill Swamp Indian Horses ?

It's because of all of the things that our riders see and learn while learning to ride. how to gently and humanely train horses using natural horsemanship. how important fall wild flowers are for the development of strong, healthy, well drained soil. why the partridge pea plant is so important to the birds that remain here throughout the winter. why "touch" is so important in building a relationship with a horse. the sense of accomplishment one feels from saddling up and riding 46 miles. learning the importance of the conservation of nearly extinct strains of heritage livestock. the importance of working hard, as a team, to build something bigger than we are.

We are a 501 (c) 5 non profit breed conservation program. We have no paid staff. We are all volunteers who believe strongly that bringing people back to the soil through horses, permaculture, history, education and even music is the greatest gift that we can provide to others and to ourselves. We teach riding and natural horsemanship to kids, adults, and families. Program fees begin at $160.00 per month. For more information see our web site at and email us at

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ten Days Later He Is Appaloosa Colored

Bristol was born August 1. His mother is an HOA mare from Rigoletto. His father is Wanchese, an
HOA stallion of Banker strain captured wild on Shackleford Island. Over the past week his hips have lightened and he has white appaloosa colored hind quarters.

His unique blood line might make him of interest to HOA breeders seeking to preserve the appaloosa color in Colonial Spanish horses.