Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Dirt Farmer: Simple Soil Solutions

I am where I was twenty years ago. I had trained horses to saddle from the time I was an adolescent. I knew how we did it. I genuinely believed that the way we "trained" was the same way everyone else did.

We trained a horse by riding him. Period. Of course,the result was that the horses that we all rode were not trained. We were good riders. If one is not to be a good trainer than one had better become a good rider.

Then I heard about natural horsemanship. What I heard did not seem possible. It was alien to everything that had been practiced around here for over 100 years.

I was intrigued and confused. I purchased Parelli's "Natural Horse-Man-Ship". Read it cover to cover--I genuinely believed that the book must be part of a multi volume set and I had simply picked up the first volume. It seemed to me that the entire volume was designed to teach one to teach a horse to be lead. I wanted to find the volume that must be out there that taught how to train a horse to be ridden.

Of course, what I learned led to the opening of my eyes and better lives for hundreds of horses and scores of young people.

I was only the second man in my direct line since coming to America in the 1630's who was not a farmer at some point in his life. I had a basic understanding of agriculture and I studied everything that I could find about pasture management from the publications of the established horse world.

Then I started learning about permaculture. All of that has lead to bumping into a spectacular teaching program found here in Virginia. Vail Dixon's programs though her company, Simple Soil Solutions, particularly the program Grazing Power, are something that I hope to take complete advantage of.

I am impressed with her for several reasons. She actually has horse pasture that she manages. She relies on science but learns from trial and error. But most importantly she is a first rate communicator.

And she believes in what she is doing. She has another session coming up on August 10.

Take a look at her website

Keep your mind open. That is the only way that knowledge can slip in.

( This foal was born nigh before last. She is the second foal born to our Corolla breeding preservation program this summer.)

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