Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Last Ride--Today This Blog Ends

Fifty seven years ago I began riding. Forty eight years ago I began playing music. Forty four years ago I began helping little ones perform on stage. Twenty years ago I began taming wild horses. About 15 years ago I began teaching riding and natural horsemanship. About twelve years ago we began our efforts to conserve and preserve the Corolla Spanish mustangs. A little over ten years ago I began writing this blog.

The blog has served its purpose and there are now over a decade of posts on a wide range of subjects that will remain around for anyone to search who might have an interest in doing so. The blog is ending because I have taken on a new, more important writing task-- I am a book with my youngest daughter Ashley Edwards that will focus on child abuse and sexual assault. (If you don't know about my daughter, please go to our website and look under the "news" tab for some great tv news stories and newspaper articles about her).

I am surprised at how little my basic views on preservation of the colonial spanish horse, the importance of using natural horsemanship to produce better people, the need for horses to be raised with natural horse care, the importance of understanding prey animals if one is to deal with severe trauma, that the highest and best use of a horse is to prevent suicide, that the future of our horses depends on our ability to attract novices to them and that efforts to impress the established horse world with the quality of our horses are doomed to fail, that perfectionism, ignorance, and anxiety are the three factors that hold people back from developing a close relationship with horses, that teaching kids to ride is of much less importance than inspiring kids to ride, that in every form of equine competition the real loser is the horse, that conserving soil and water is a sacred act, that being a riding instructor should be a calling , not a job and that, most importantly, whether dealing with people or horses the very first step in seeking to live an ethical life is to utterly ignore self interest.

The extraordinary consistency of those beliefs makes the continued wring of this blog a bit less important.  One can look to posts a decade ago and see how I feel now--and how I will feel ten years from now.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Soil Matters Most

Everything living must trace its existence to the soil. Everything dead returns to that soil. Conserving soil is a moral imperative and the creation of soil is a spiritual endeavor.

Modern farming practices destroy soil. About the only thing more damaging to the soil than modern farming is suburban lawn care.

We are going through one of  the wettest years at the horse lot that I have seen in my lifetime.  The weather has created a great deal of inconvenience to program participants. A few paddocks have succumbed to the mud. No one likes going into a muddy pen to catch horses. Some people do not understand why we do not move more horses into empty, drier pastures.

I understand the confusion, but the fact that the question exists at all shows that I have been an ineffective teacher. I have too many participants that do not understand that the land must heal. Under these weather conditions moving into a drier pen that has been without horses for months will simply create another muddy pen and erase the healing that is happening in those pens.

It takes a while for program participants to understand the importance of rolling round bales out in the pastures. To an uninformed mind the practice looks wasteful and messy. It took me quite a while to understand that rolling round bales was the best thing that we could do to increase the health and productivity of our pastures.

I suspect that for most humans happiness is dependent on creation--most particularly the creation of art. The art that I create is  soft, nearly fluffy, black soil loaded with earthworms, beetles, and millions of microscopic farm hands working to not merely conserve the soil--but to create it.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

To Walk Where Ashley Was and to Stand Where Ashley Is

At the conclusion of this year I will stop writing this blog. I will also radically reduce any posting on social media and will be posting just enough to advise of events coming up in our program.

My life will be taking a new and important turn over at least the next year.  My youngest daughter, Ashley Edwards, and I will be writing a book together. She has already begun writing and the first piece that she sent me was breath taking in the quality of the writing and the horror of what she described.

Ashley is unique--brilliant, multi talented ,filled with insight, and the survivor of the most horrible case that I ever prosecuted. Unfortunately, Ashley's story is not unique. I have been prosecuting crimes against kids and sexual assault cases for over twenty years. Unfortunately, my story is not unique.

But our story together is unique and it can be of unique benefit to survivors of sexual assault, their family members, law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, and everyone who works with or cares about a person who has been through severe trauma. At the end of this post I will set out links to two news paper and TV news stories about Ashley for anyone who does not know about my amazing young daughter.

My first book was written at break neck speed. I was working furiously to try to have it written so that my mother could read it before she died. This book will not be written at a break neck speed. Ashley has already found that she can write best only small parts at a time. I am going to take my time shaping this work in the hope that it will help bring life to some who may have already felt what it is like to die inside.

Along the way I will have to learn a great deal about presenting our experience in the most effective way to reach the most people. Being an adult is an exercise in setting priorities. What could possibly be a higher priority than using our experiences to help others claw their way out of Hell the way Ashley has?

So I will set many things, like writing of this blog aside.

Here are links to some media stories about my daughter Ashley:

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.