Friday, July 30, 2010

The Importance of Good Grooming

Yesterday I took a break from trimming hooves and sat down under a tree at the Little House. My granddaughter was behind me and begin "fixin' you hair". I gave it no thought at all until she began to say, 'Now this will be fine. This will not hurt."

I felt a brush slip through my hair and I must admit that it felt good. As I wondered where that hair brush came from I turned around to see that she was brushing my hair and giving a scalp massage with the same filthy hoof pick and hoof brush that I was using in the trimming.

Which reminds me--got to go wash my hair.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Killers of the Dream II

This week I was shocked to learn that our local government is again considering regulations that will skyrocket the cost of horse ownership and make it that much more difficult to get kids who need to be on horses on horses that need homes. It is heart breaking to see such policies promulgated by those who mean well.

The effect of those proposals has been immediate. I intended to add a Shackleford mare or two to our breeding program this weekend, but it seems irresponsible to do so as long as these proposed ordinances are on the table.

I have been invited to do a series of demonstrations at our county fair but I cannot help but wonder whether it is appropriate to do so as long as these proposals remain viable.

In the picture above Katie is mounting Swimmer, a barely ridden wild Corolla mare. It is an experience that she will never forget. Katie visits here several times a year from California. I hope that kids from all over will be able to continue to learn what it is like to get on a wild horse at our place for years to come.

To Do A Man's Job

This week I have not ridden at all. I have not been on a horse in seven days, one of the longest breaks without riding that I have had in years. Last weekend we had temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees and I cancelled riding for the first time that I ever have had to for an entire weekend.

For the past three mornings I have been doing what I love best, training wild horses to gain their confidence for the saddle. Yesterday Emily mounted up on Looking Glass. It was worth being late to work just to see it happen. To my greatest surprise, Valor is becoming a beautiful, powerful horse. Abbie has worked her a few hours while I was in court and proudly explained that she no longer will kick you on her right side. (Perhaps we have different measures of progress than is found in other facilities.)

The shot above is from over the winter when Emily W. was the first person to get on Valor. Since that day she had had no training until Monday. Tomorrow I have a hunch that Valor will be ridden again and that Emily W. will be involved. Like all of my best students she is smart, tough, and mature. She is every bit as afraid as anyone else would be but she simply has learned to control her emotions.

For a variety of reasons modern society does not produce little boys with these attributes. Television, video games, facebook, and a new parenting model that focuses on giving little boys what they want instead of what they need have all served to produce fragile little boys.

Ironic indeed that we have a culture that makes it easier to teach little girls to be a man than it is to teach little boys.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On the Road Again

I despise travelling. In my case, the feeling may be genetically rooted. My first white ancestors landed in this part of Virginia in 1674 and since that time I have had at least one (and often many) relatives living within a twenty mile radius of my horse lots. (It seems that I come from hearty, though not adventurous stock.) Such a lack of movement leads to a restricted gene pool. Like the Corollas, my ancestors were a genetically homogeneous group. This weekend the national Gwaltney family reunion was held here in Smithfield. I got a chance to learn exactly how close kin I am to myself. We are a people who are well suited to multi tasking. For example, my father's grandmother also found time to be my mother's great aunt.

However, judging from the size of our individual families it does not appear that we are approaching genetic collapse. That means that it will not be necessary to develop an off site breeding program to keep our genotypes and phenotypes around for centuries to come.

While Gwaltney/Edwards/Jones have sufficient genetic diversity to insure our survival the same cannot be said of the Corollas.

For that reason I am strongly inclined to take a trip down to Shackleford this weekend to bring some more first rate Spanish genes into the offsite breeding program. The young mare in the picture above is the type of mare that would produce great colts when bred to one of my Corolla stallions.


Like the sound of fingernails on a chalk board, some words evoke discomfort in me merely upon their utterance. Words like "constraint", "restraint", ""rules", "proper","organization" and "correct" all create an instant feeling rather akin to claustrophobia. I have never been a rebel in the sense that I seek out rules to break. Instead I have simply spent my life ignoring rules that complicate life. I nearly never wore a coat as a child. If one never wears a coat one does not have to waste time looking for a coat. As a young teen I hunted all winter in the swamps of our area wearing tennis shoes because boots made too much noise. Early on I realized that people waste an enormous portion of their life spans lying in bed and sitting at a dinner table. The faster one eats and the less time one sleeps the more time is available to accomplish things that matter.

Of course, the end result is a personality that is essentially a collection of eccentricities. On the positive side these eccentricities have driven me to develop a style of horsemanship that I believe greatly benefits the horse and the rider. All of my teaching methods are designed with one purpose--to eliminate the arbitrary requirements of "proper" riding and to break real horsemanship down to a level that that can be understood and practiced by kids and novices alike.

In short, we disregard every concept that does not lead to increased comfort and lightness for the horse and comfort and confidence for the rider. Like Emerson, we simplify. How does one learn to ride? By riding hundreds of miles and thousands of hours. What is the proper, balanced seat? Heels lower than toes, toes in front of knees, sitting one one's pockets, spine collapsed into a big,slouching "C".

As I look at riders in horse shows I cannot help but wonder where the "pleasure" is in western "pleasure" riding. The riders all look like they sitting outside the Principal's office awaiting their punishment.

Our horses and our riders are comfortable because we absolutely ignore that model. I want my riders to look like exhausted, aged, alcoholic cowboys with tuberculosis who chain smoke Camel cigarettes.

Such a posture causes horses to relax, lower their heads a bit, and move on out in comfort. As long as they keep moving I encourage my horses to grab a bit to eat as we ride on through the woods. (Those few riding instructors who have been able to read this far along in this post are now yelling at their computers "Heresy!Heresy! Burn him! Burn the heretic.")

I recently came across a book of great wisdom in my 2 year old grand daughter's library. In fact, its timeless message has made it into her current favorite book to have read to her. Of course, I am speaking of the classic, "Go Dog Go."

For those few of you who have not read the book, I will give a brief approximation of a portion of one chapter. There is a picture of a dog on top of a tree with brief, riveting prose to the effect of "One dog on top of a tree." The next page might have a picture of two dogs lying under a tree. One's eye is quickly drawn to the bottom of the page where, in Shakespearean tones, the text, "Two dogs lying under a tree" solves the dichotomous mystery.

Perhaps the most meaningful portion of this work of literature is the discussion of seeking the approval of others. A hatted dog approaches another dog and asks, "Do you like my hat?" only to be told, "I do not like your hat" by a judgemental, rather pompous canine.

The hatted dog's strong defense of his choice in coifs is instructive for all. "Good bye", he says with a smile on his face and then he moves on.

And to all of those in the established horse world who do not like my horses, my methods, and my deeply held beliefs, I bid you a fond "Good bye."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Great Program

The Center for America's First Horse
Stephanie Lockhart, Founder/Director
P.O. Box 274
Morrisville, Vermont 05661
505-340-8376 (cell)
The Center for America’s First Horse (CFAFH) is located on 72 donated acres in Johnson, Vermont. Our mission is to provide relationship experiences with rare Colonial Spanish horses to enrich the lives of people of all ages and financial circumstances. We are dedicated to conserving this historic breed through education and public awareness.

The Colonial Spanish horse, like the buffalo, has served many of America's native tribes for centuries, and is now close to extinction. Today, the value of these horses goes way beyond their epic history, intelligence, and natural beauty. They are the true teachers. Our programs focus on education and exploration of the horse/human relationship using natural horsemanship philosophy and techniques. We currently have 12 Colonial Spanish horses at the facility, the largest and most diverse group of this breed in the northeast.

The CFAFH directly serves the Lamoille and neighboring counties of northern Vermont. We work closely with local schools to provide students volunteer opportunities and internships. In addition, the CFAFH provides horse experiences that are healing in nature to youth in foster care and those considered "at-risk". Educational tours of the varied groups of Colonial Spanish horses which reside at our facility are given to 4-H groups, horse clubs and other organizations as well as individual visitors to our region.

In keeping with our mission statement of conservation through public awareness, we travel with our horses throughout the year to equine expo's, fairs, horse shows, schools, and other public venues. Our presentations have taken us to New Mexico, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and throughout Vermont.
This year we anticipate attending Dressage at Devon in Pennsylvania. Founder and director, Stephanie Lockhart, travels to Switzerland as a clinician of natural horsemanship and to promote Colonial Spanish horses abroad. Media coverage has included articles in Vermont Life magazine, Horseman's Yankee Pedlar, New Mexico's Horseman's Voice magazine and coverage in numerous newspapers.

Impressively Better, (Oscar), the equine movie star from the Disney movie HIDALGO resides at CFAFH and is owned by Lockhart's teenage daughter. "Oscar" draws attention to the cause and travels alongside the ambassador horses from CFAFH. His popularity and public image makes him an integral part of our efforts.

It is estimated that in one year of promotion the Colonial Spanish horses from CFAFH are seen by 100,000 people through different media sources and personal introduction. Of that number, 70% are horse owners, 20% horse enthusiasts, 10% the general public.

Currently, CFAFH is applying for 501(c)(3) non profit status and expect our acceptance in 2011. Our primary source of revenue is private donations and fundraising. Donations of goods and services have allowed us to meet only our immediate needs.

If you would like to become a member of The Center at the levels of $25, $50, or $100 please contact us for a membership form. We accept credit cards over the phone, or you can mail your contribution to: The Center for America's First Horse, PO Box 274, Morrisville, VT, 05661.

The Center for America's First Horse
Calendar of Events:
April 24-25 Everything Equine, Essex Jct. Vermont
April 27- May 11 Natural Horsemanship clinics, Switzerland
May 22 Natural Horsemanship Clinic @ CFAFH
May 28-29 Northeast Equine Expo, Belmont Race Track, NY
June 2 Johnson State College-Demonstration Johnson, VT
June 19 Natural Horsemanship Clinic@ CFAFH
July 17 Natural Horsemanship clinic, @ CFAFH
July 23-25 Johnson Field Days, Johnson, VT
August 7 Equine and Arts Festival CFAFH fundraising event, Johnson, VT
August 15 Route 15 Summer Festival, Lamoille County, VT
August 21 Natural Horsemanship clinic@ CFAFH
September 4 Johnson State College- Presentation Johnson, VT
September 19 Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival Shelburne, VT
September 23-26 Dressage at Devon Breed Show
October- Natural Horsemanship Clinics- Switzerland


Visit us on Youtube:



Immediate Need:

Our current trailer has been diagnosed with mechanical issues that make it unsafe to haul horses. The expense of repairs far exceeds the worth of the trailer. We are seeking a:

Sponsor to donate a horse trailer to the The Center for America's First Horse for one year.

Sponsor to donate $8,000 to purchase a trailer for The Center For America's First Horse.

Sponsor will be recognized in all advertisement paid by CFAFH, have logo and name on trailer, banner displayed prominently at CFAFH, and at all CFAFH events and venues attended, name and logo listed as SPONSOR on our web site, facebook fan page, blog, and any other social network sites that are appropriate. CFAFH will work with the sponsor to promote their business. Sponsor has the right to use photo's of our ambassador horses as publicity for their company.

Who Cares?

It turns out that a lot of people care about the future of the Corollas and they are quite a diverse group. This week I received some very helpful information on DNA and its application to our offsite breeding program from a mustang expert in Germany. I am always open to learning while at the same time being very hostile to modern technologies. It seems to me that the suggestions that I received will go a long way towards maximizing the limited amount of genetic diversity that exists among these horses.

I certainly appreciated the information.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Changing Goals

This is a picture of my original Indian Horse herd from years ago. At the time my goal was to preserve and cross various lines of American Indian Horses and to use the horses to teach history and natural horsemanship. These crosses produced some spectacular horses, Young Joseph, One Bull, Washikie, Curly and others too numerous to list.

In recent years our focus has shifted to promoting and preserving the wild horses of Corolla. It is a rare thing for me to ride a modern horse. Comet, an Appaloosa/Arabian, is the only one that I ride with any regularity. The rest of the time I sit astride wild Corollas, Shacklefords, and my SMR stallion Ta Sunka Witco. In order to make room for more Corollas and Shacklefords I am about to offer for sale a half dozen or more of my non Corolla and 1/2 Corolla stock.

My horses are only sold either to participants in my programs or to adherents of natural horsemanship. That policy is one that we will always maintain.

Promoting natural horsemanship, natural horse care, and natural hoof care are goals that we will never change.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2-1 Matters

Optimum growth is what we should shoot for in our horses, not maximum growth. In other words, we should not feed with an eye toward seeing how big we can possibly make a foal grow. The end result is usually a young horse that is, at best, obese, and more likely a ticking time bomb of future soundness issues.

The only "supplement" that my horses get is 2-1 Cattle mineral. Many forages, but especially oat hay and high percentage legume pastures, have a poor ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous. A simple fifty pound trace mineral block does not correct the problem. 2-1 mineral is expensive and my horses eat a lot of it, but it is essential to providing solid nutrition to horses that live on forage in my part of the country.

For horses that have trouble maintaining weight first I check for worms, then bad teeth, then sand, then I boost mineral consumption, and only then, if all else fails, do I look to radically increasing calories. Even then I seek to increase calories primarily though fat rather than carbohydrates.

My young horses often look rangy but around age 18 months they really begin to take on a a beautiful athletic build.

It is never good to equate "fat" with "healthy."

(Jacob is pictured above with Swimmer at Corolla Wild Horse Days last year. Jacob is a specularly conditioned teen athlete with nearly no body fat. No one would consider him malnourished...unless he was a horse. Many horse owners fail to recognize that a healthy horse, like a healthy teen athlete, is not coated in slabs of fat.)

Vickie and Annie

Unwanted Horses

Annie is a USERL mustang. Vickie is a retired school teacher. Annie was an unwanted horse. Vickie always wanted a horse. Annie needed a home. Vickie gave her a home. Annie had no training for riding. Vickie had no training as a rider.

Friday Vickie rode Annie in the woods with us. It was a first real ride for both of them.

The established horse world says that Annie is worthless because she has "no marketable value." The established horse world says that Vickie is not qualified to be a horse owner because she has "no schooling in proper riding."

But Annie does not hear them, and neither does Vickie. It is as if those two are deaf. The established horse world does not see the potential in either the Annie's or the Vickie's of the world. It is as if that world is blind.

Natural horsemanship, natural horse care, and natural hoof care are the three pillars upon which a new horse world can be built. The practice of natural horsemanship makes it possible to move from novice to true horseman in a matter of months. The practice of natural horse care produces healthier, happier horses that are affordable for working people to maintain. The practice of natural hoof care allows us to discard expensive, crippling practices just as modern medicine has allowed us to discard the use of leeches.

Today's established horse world is based solely on greed, competition, and ignorance. It trends toward making horses merely playthings for the rich. It will wither. It will collapse upon itself. The sound practice of natural horsemanship, natural horse care, and natural hoof care can hasten that collapse.

More Annie's. More Vickie's. More true horsemanship.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sometime the Best Riding Occurs..

On the very worst rides. This morning Kayla, Emily W. and I set out for what I hoped to be a five mile run. I rode Manteo. Kayla was on Comet. Emily was on Nick.

Nick did not want to leave his jennies. Emily worked hard to make her donkey turn around and move out. She never lost her temper or her nerve. Kayla used Comet like a cutting horse and helped drive Nick into the woods. This was her first ride on Comet.

Although we were not able to move out and cover ground as I intended, the girls did some great riding. Both maintained focus and worked for control.

It was the best riding that I have seen them do.

(The shot above is Emily on Baton Rouge, a Corolla mare, at the Duck Parade a few weeks ago.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


This colt is only a yearling who had not been handled at all. It took Emily six hours to gain his trust enough to halter him. After three days of work he was accepting most of the monsters and would even let her pull the blue tarp over him.

His mother is a modern Appaloosa. His father is Trade Wind, a stunning bay Corolla stallion. Without any one's knowledge or approval, Lido took the Appaloosa mare back to the mustang pen one night because he wanted a 1/2 Corolla colt from Trade Wind. A few months before his death he told Daddy what he had done, but Daddy just dismissed it as a joke. Only when Amber started to show did he realize that Lido had been serious. The colt was born about six months after Lido died.

Emily is hard to impress with colts for which we have no actual need, but she has fallen for this colt's mind and his athleticism. She does not think that he should leave our program.

He probably will not. Lido wanted the colt and I generally let him have everything that he wanted.

No Rodeos


We are not looking for a fight. Our training methods are designed to allow us to start colts and wild horses without injury to the horse or the rider.

This is Danielle. Last night she mounted this little USERL mustang filly for the first time. No bucks, no kicks, no errors. After about three more hours of work this horse will be ready to join us on her first ride in the woods. Since this filly has been at my place Danielle has been completely responsible training this horse.

Could there ever be a stronger argument for attracting new riders into natural horsemanship? Not only is she a mustang, she is a USERL filly. (This is not something that would be called "the perfect kids'horse") The horse is not bomb proof. However, Danielle is bomb proof and that is much more important. She has studied. She has worked. She has learned.

She has achieved. And this morning I am very proud of Danielle.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where Have All the Flowers Gone

Another summer, another debilitating and pestilent drought. The dust that covers every piece of open ground is a reminder that if this weather extends into the early fall we can expect another heavy hit of hemorrhagic fever among the deer herd. Near the horse lot there is a block of woods of several thousand acres with less than a dozen spots of water, and many of them holding less than ten gallons of water. The sky was dark and promising yesterday but the clouds were only able to spit down a few drops. It was as if the clouds had forgotten how to rain.

But life limps on. We have had a very good spring of wild turkey hatchings and the turkey population continues to grow. A few weeks ago we got to watch a young bear amble through the woods during a morning ride. The rabbits have been breeding like rabbits and there are more of them around the horse lot then I have ever known there to be. But, somehow, the bursts of energy that the little rabbits show only seems to highlight the dearth of life all around them.

Droughts do not come in with a bang. They slowly, quietly, slip in without notice. The same is true of the droughts within us. There was a time when I could write something light and funny without the slightest effort. But over the years the cloud within me has forgotten how to rain. There was a time when the courtroom was my parlor, a play room where both fun and justice was doled out in sufficient helpings.

I do not remember the last time I caused a courtroom to erupt in laughter. I was caught off guard when a clerk asked me why I never went back into the clerk's office before court and told stories like I did years ago. I had to admit to her that things simply were not as funny as they once were.


Yesterday afternoon we set out for a ride on the following collection of equines:

1. One BLM stock donkey
2. One SMR mustang
3. One BLM mustang
4. Five Corolla Spanish mustangs
5. One Shackleford Spanish Mustang
6. One Paint
7. Three 1/2 Chincoteagues
8. One 1/2 SMR mustang

Of this group there were two stallions, seven horses born in the wild, two riders who have been riding for only a few weeks, and Red Feather.

(The picture above is from our last group ride of 50 miles in one day.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Become Better People

Without a doubt the correct practice of natural horsemanship gives us better horses, but even more importantly, it makes us better people. It teaches patience, empathy, gentleness, and perseverance.

Sometimes it teaches even more. It teaches self confidence, courage, and self reliance.

Look closely at this picture of the Duck, N.C. parade. The smallest rider in the picture is Emily W. This is her first parade. She is confident, courageous, and self reliant. She was a wonderful person when she started working horses. Now she is even better.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Super Glue

Very few people realize how close I came to closing down my horse operation last spring. From day one of the program I have had students and parents who have gone way beyond the call of duty in helping out with everything from building fence to training horses. I take great pride in the sense of ownership that that participation has given them.

For the day in day out work of keeping everything going I initially relied on my daughters who are now grown,married and gone. Daddy has always been the backbone of the physical work and caring for sick horses that we needed. Having Brent, an actual ranch hand and rodeo rider, around took a tremendous load off of me.

Losing Lido wrecked me and my program to a degree that neither will ever fully recover.

The word "blessing" gets over used but my riders, my horses and I have been blessed in recent months by the participation of Emily and Abbie in our program and our lives. They can do all of the things with the horses that I simply do not have time to do and, best of all, they do it better than I would.

They also provide something that all youth oriented programs need that I could not provide. They are perfect role models for little girls. They do not teach confidence, humility, generosity, and kindness. Instead they demonstrate these virtues in a world in which none of these virtues are demonstrated by the role models of popular culture. My little riders talk to me and I know how much they adore Emily and Abbie and how much they want to be "just like them" when they grow up.

They redefine "cool" for my smallest riders. When they take the stage singing old time and gospel music with us they take the "coolness" right out the teen girls that they see writhing around on tv singing songs that, at their best are meaningless, and more typically are malignant.

On a personal level, I have not seen my wife as happy as she is when we all set down to dinner since my daughters were kids at home. They have provided affection, discipline, consistency, and stability to my little granddaughter, who chatters about her "Uncle Emily" and her Abbie.

Although I have been a Sunday School teacher for over 25 years I consider one's religious beliefs to be a private matter and I am never comfortable seeking to foist my beliefs on to others. And I hesitate to do so now. But, the simple reality is that, since Lido died, God and I have been disappointing one another. The hours that I have spent discussing the role of God in one's life with Emily have provided more insight to me than did my four years of the study of religion at William and Mary.

Yes, I nearly ended my program last spring when its operation became overwhelming. That will not happen now. When I needed glue God sent me super glue.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Get With The Program

This beautiful Shackleford mare is eligible for adoption from the Shackleford Wild Horse Foundation. She is ideally suited to be bred to one of my Corolla stallions to produce little ones for the off site breeding program.

1920--5,000 wild Spanish Mustangs on the Outer Banks of North Carolina
2010--Perhaps 250 wild Spanish Mustangs on the Outer Banks of North Carolina
2010--About 20 horses involved in the off site breeding program
2050--?, if we work hard to preserve them. Zero if we do not.

Support the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Support legislation in Congress to protect these horses. Become part of the off site breeding program.

Heavy Lifting

Up at four, water the horses, load four of them in the trailer, drive 100 miles for the parade in Duck, North Carolina, stay on high alert throughout the parade, never relaxing--a toddler could dart out from the crowd, acid burning a hole all the way through my stomach, hurting from a week old riding injury that reminds me that I am not in high school, part of me telling me that I am too old for this, other part telling me that I never was young enough for this. On the other hand--

A couple of thousand people got a chance to see four beautiful Banker horses under saddle. The horses behaved perfectly. My granddaughter joined me a top Holland at the conclusion of the parade. Perhaps neatest of all Emily Wilda rode in her first parade.

Tomorrow I will return to Corolla for Wild Horse Days to do a day of demonstrations on training a wild Corolla mare.

(Pictured above is They Are Afraid of Her. Her only significant stress is deciding at which nipple to nurse.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ride On


This is a shot of Rebecca on Annie, the USERL mustang, from the opening day of our summer program. Next Friday I hope that she will be ridden in the woods.
Posted by Picasa

Summer Time in the Promised Land

On the first day of our summer program we had twenty students/visitors. Here is a quick rundown of the day.

8:30 first arrivals, feed up and water herd
9:00 work with the beautiful USERL mustang, Annie, for three hours. Took her through all of our training steps even though she had had a great deal of handling. Amanda rode her on lead. Rebecca rode her independently. Stunning horse, gentle, ambling gait, Vicki, her owner brought her all the way down from Goochland for the day of training. Deborah Lee stopped by with a stunning piece of art work that she gave me which will be the subject of a future post.
11:30 Introduction to stone age technology with a demonstration of the initial shaping of a spear point with the hammer stone and an explanation of the atlatl.
Lunch in the Little House.

Afternoon--construction work on the sweat lodge and stretching of a deer hide
Amanda despooked her Corolla mare, Secotan, in preparation for tomorrow's parade. Ashley rode Daddy's mare Roxie in the round pen and taught her flexing. Demonstration and discussion of the use of the bosal in starting a horse. Abbie worked on inside turns and flexion with Swimmer, our large Corolla mare. Tammy despooked and groomed our yearling 1/2 Corolla Werowance. Rebecca and Adrian worked Rebecca's colt, Crazy Bear.

After supper--Played some old time and Carter family songs with Christian on Guitar, Abbie on the Marvin, Lydia and Emily on vocals and me on banjo. My grandson Aiden closed out the night with two songs that he composed impromptu, both of which were tributes to his favorite person in the world, his father Paul.

Done Misplaced My Bower and My Scraper

I am continually confronted with the tension between the need for the survival of the nearly extinct Corollas to be seen and displayed to the public and my disgust at the suggestion that we must seek the approval of the established horse world for these horses. Everyone interested in the survival of any strain of Spanish mustangs faces this tension whether they realize it or not.

I do not invite confrontation and seek to avoid it if possible. I always invite intelligent discussion of all matters equine. However, I simply find it impossible to pretend that there is any value whatsoever in the conformist creed that passes for knowledge of those in the established horse world.

I cannot get excited when a show breeder or trainer of modern horses pronounces my horses worthy of continuing to exist. Perhaps worst of all, I cannot scrape and bow and seek their approval.

Mustang preservation is less likely to be accomplished with the help of the established horse world than it is by bringing new people into riding and horse ownership. They can learn real horsemanship without having to unlearn generations of absurd beliefs about the horse/human relationship.

Riding a Spanish mustang deep into the woods in the darkest of the night is an intoxicating experience that will never be felt by 99% of current horse owners. As new riders come into the mustang world it is important that we not allow that new wine to be placed in old wine skins.

That is not to say that I am never interested in the opinions of others. For example, I would love to know what Old Joseph, Ollikut, Looking Glass, or Thunder Rolling in From the Mountains would have thought of this colt.