Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Suppose you knew a secret that could improve the lives of more people than you can ever meet in a lifetime? Suppose you had a treasure that increased every time you gave some of it away?  Suppose you had the keys to a time machine that could bring history forward to us today?

If you had these things  you would yell this secret from the roof tops. You would give away the treasure as fast as it could come into your hands. You would reach back into time and pull the best of the past forward for those around you.

I have a secret. I have a treasure that increases every time I give some of it away. The key to my time machine opens the gate to the wild herd in Corolla and to my horse lot.

The secret is not that natural horsemanship improves the lives both of people and horses. Everyone who has been around natural horsemanship knows that. The secret is that by practicing natural horse care, natural hoof care, and natural horsemanship it is possible for anyone who cares about kids and horses to build a riding program that shines a bright light into pitch dark lives. What we do is not magic. It just get magical results.

 The treasure is the off site breeding program for the Corollas. The Corollas are so close to extinction that there is no word for their precarious state--past threatened, past endangered--what to call their existence?--biological life support? The best hope to prevent the extinction of these horses is to breed enough of them domestically so people can see why they are so special--so they can see their endurance, experience their smooth gate, participate in the easy training of the gentlest horses that I have ever trained, and who are large enough for adults and small enough for children--so their families can have the perfect family horse.That is why we work so hard to encourage others to develop Corolla breeding programs.

The time machine allows me to reach back into history to care for, raise, train and ride the same horses that my white ancestors who came here in the mid 1600's rode. These are the horses that carried us to church. These are the horses that brought the old women over to help a young wife with a troubled child birth. These are the horses that pulled in our nets. These are the horses that plowed our fields. These are the horses that carried us where ever our imagination could take us.

And these are the horses that pulled our wagon to the grave yard when it was all said and done.

So that is why.

That is why I put my life into the horse lot. That is why  I spend so much time rehabilitating and training sick and injured Corollas. That is why I ride them so far. That is why I rub them into the noses of the established horse world that foolishly believes that the value of a horse is even remotely connected to its sales price. That is why patients from the Veterans hospital come out weekly to work horses in the round pen and to gently brush them down. That is why I give horses to young people who need horses to step out of a bad world and get into a good world, or, in the best cases, to step out of a good world and step into a better world.

And that is why we do huge challenges to show what these horses can do. That is why five year olds set out on a forty mile ride with them at 22 degrees. That is why I worked to restore the hooves of Tradewind, a formerly wild Corolla stallion who was so absolutely crippled with founder when captured that he could not walk with out pain, and got him so healthy of hoof that he has never taken a lame step since. That is why I rode him so many hours, trotting and gaiting in the woods that he became National Pleasure Trail Horse of the Year in the Horse of the Americas Registry in 2011. That is why I have little children who can ride stallions on trail rides. That is why I breed 1/2 Corollas so people can see what tremendous horses they make when crossed with modern breeds. That is why we ride in the swamp. That is why we ride in the dark.

And that is why Terry and I will set out at 3:00 Saturday morning to complete a 109 mile ride in less than twenty four hours. Each of us has a string of five horses. I will be riding a Shackleford, two Corolla stallions, A Spanish Mustang, and a Choctaw Colonial Spanish horse.

Terry will ride a Shackleford stallion, two Corollas, a blm/Chincoteague cross, and Comet, a 3/4 Appaloosa 1/4 Arabian horse. We will ride woods paths forty of these miles will likely be ridden n the dark.

Two of these horses might reach 14.3. The Shackleford stallion is just over 12 hands. One of my Corolla stallions is 12.2.

All of these horses have been highly conditioned. We are not going to be pushing speed. This is not a race.

Terry came up with the idea because in December she turned 55 and I turned 54. She thought that combining our ages to create a distance ride was a good idea.

The training has showed us something interesting. The fastest twenty two mile leg of the ride will like be accomplished with her riding Wanchese the little Shackleford stallion and while I ride Manteo, one of my Corolla stallions.

Both are of a size that the established horse world has decreed are too small for adults. But that world does not know history, nor do they know horses. The good news is that they can't hurt anything unless one pays the slightest degree of attention to the tenets of their commercialized version of make believe horsemanship.

(This is  shot of Mokete, the first foal produced in the Corolla off site breeding program.)


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you can shout a secret from the rooftops and no one listens...perception, lack of critical thinking, media it what you will, but many people do not seem to recognize a good idea if it bites them on the nose.

Imagine, if you will, what "everyone's" reaction was, several thousand years ago when the first human showed up riding a horse. It sure must have looked like magic, maybe some evil spirit descending from the steppes to cause harm. Probably the same sort of effect a normally sane person of say, the early 1900's would have to this slim little device in my pocket which can not only allow me to communicate over great distances, and with many people across the globe, but can access the sum and total of human knowledge (and pictures of horses)
No, not magic, but it sure looks like it to the provincial, the narrow minded, those stuck in the groove of what is accepted by that same "Everyone."
I too have access to a time machine, the same one that Steve refers to above, and it works. We in America are wrapped up in our "Freedoms" but what is that? This time machine carries me back in time, all I have to do is put a saddle on that muscular little guy in the picture above, and go get in the woods...on his back, I can close my eyes and follow Betsy Dowdy across the marshes of eastern Carolina, follow Lewis and Clark up the Cumberland, can trail along with Young Joseph as he took his people home...Same horses..same time, after all, time is all one piece, and anywhen is only a heartbeat away on a little horse.

Saturday, we will gather in the Swamp and support Steve and Terry as they reach back in time, about 109 miles back in time..many people may think such an undertaking is ridiculous, but it won't be any more ridiculous than Davy Crockett taking off to explore the wild west..and who knows? It may just be a trip just as important.

The picture above shows Red Feather at his best...incredibly strong little horse, fast and smart, he does not carry (or eat for)that extra 400 lbs...and he is a joy to ride. -Lloyd

Anonymous said...

Correction: Wrong post..Red Feather is in the post above this one...Must calibrate my time machine. -Lloyd