Sunday, July 31, 2011

Marital History?

It gets a bit frustrating when some of my riders tune out as I work to pump a little knowledge of history into their heads. I am amazed that anyone can be bored with history. Properly taught, history is simply old reality. Old reality is the key to understanding current reality.

Here is a little bit of my current reality. I was seven years old when the United States Supreme Court took away any potential question as to whether, under Virginia law, I was a full fledged human being equal in every civil right to every other Virginian.

Let me make this very clear. I have absolutely no indication that Dr. Plecker hunted any member of my family the way that he hunted so many others who were Virginia Indians or had close ancestors who were. Such people were declared by the Commonwealth of Virginia to be "colored" and as such were legally barred from using white public accommodations, attending white schools, and marrying white people.

Dr. Plecker headed up our state's equivalent of a bureau of vital statistics and made it his life's work to keep track in his card system the location of every person of Indian descent in Virginia in order to make sure that they were not able to 'pass'. If such a person moved to a new locality Plecker would promptly notify the authorities in that jurisdiction in order to make sure that the full force of Jim Crow laws were applied and such people were kept legally segregated from pure whites. He scoured the wedding announcements of Virginia newspapers to make sure that no one in his card system was engaged to a white person. He congratulated the Nazis for their forced sterilization of children that resulted from unions of African soldiers that fought for the French during the first World War and the German women who married those soldiers.

It was a felony for one of Plecker's prey to marry a white person. A felonious marriage is treated by the law as void. As a matter of law, all children born of such marriages were illegitimate. For a long period of time every marriage in my family of my relatives who descended closely from the Pamunkey/Mattaponi/Chicohominy from which we came was an illegal marital union and the products of some of those marriages would have been barred from all the rights and privileges given whites under Virginia law at the time.

Some Indians flew under Plecker's radar. They went under assumed names and followed a range of other strategies to keep official Virginia from knowing why they tanned so well in the summer.

I do not know if my people were Pamunkey, or Mattaponi, or Chicahominy. I do not know the last name of my Indian relatives. Such information was once dangerous to know and was not preserved. I was in law school before I realized why it was that everything else about my dead relatives was remembered by the old people, but nothing was known of the Indians. Now I understand why. They were making survival adjustments to a wicked society that deemed the superiority of whites to be obvious,proper, and worst of all, intended by God.

In 1967, in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court struck down the felony convictions of Richard Loving and his wife, a women of Rappahannock and African descent. They had been given a one year suspended jail sentence and banned from living in Virginia because they had committed the crime of falling in love and getting married.

I do not at all begrudge those who proudly announce that they are part Indian. If asked directly I explain my lineage. My reticence is certainly not because I am in any way ashamed of that lineage. It is because being a descendant of the people of the land of Tsennacomacah, the people of the Powhatan, the people of Pocahontas, the people of who were among the first Americans to defend our shores against foreign invaders in 1608, has cost me absolutely nothing.

I was not hunted by Plecker. He died years before I was born. I have no hint that any of my relatives were victims either of Plecker or suffered under the laws of the Commonwealth.

But this is not ancient history. I have known people that were hunted by Plecker. I have known Indians that were harassed by the Ku Klux Klan. They suffered for the offense of having been born alive. I was born after it became cool to be part Indian.

This is not ancient history. Mildred Loving died in 2008.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Keep On The Firing Line

I was delighted to wake up this morning to read on the Horse of the Americas Registry Message Board that Rebecca Stevenson has agreed to become the new editor of the HOA Newsletter. She has two great little boys, a wonderful young mustang, and a husband, Mark, who just completed the Virginia Bar Exam.

Rebecca worked of months getting my website together and I have depended on her for many years. She has been an integral part of the development of our program.

Immediately after Lido died, when the Lido Fund was being planned, I learned of a discussion that came up concerning the administration of the Fund. It was discussed that, while my input in some of the decisions might be helpful, no one thought it appropriate to burden me with any such decisions at that time.

The administrators of the Fund decided that they would, instead, seek Rebecca's input because she would know what I would want done without having to ask me. For many years now Rebecca has known what I think, (or what I should think), without ever having to ask me.

It is good to have such a person nearby.

And They Run Through Places That A Rabbit Couldn't Go

Even the best of amateurs are still amateurs. Photography is my favorite visual art and I love to see great pictures of horses and people working together.

Obviously, this picture was not taken by an amateur. Ken Kochey took this shot during a session that he filmed on Good Friday. He came down from New York for the shoot. You will see hearing much more about that day of filming in the future.

In the meantime, enjoy my swamp. I sure do.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: And This is How He said Good Bye

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: And This is How He said Good Bye: "Yesterday morning the sun was shining very brightly and the wind was howling. It was exactly the kind of weather that causes deer to get i..."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: An Honest Slogan

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: An Honest Slogan: "Slogan--the very word hints of dishonesty, puffery, and exaggeration. The catch about creating an honest business slogan is that it must ..."

If We Build It They Will Come

Shoot, they are already starting to come and we have not yet begun to construct the Gwaltney Frontier Farm. Yesterday, with a heat index way over 110, a group from the Gwaltney National Family Reunion capped off their day by coming out to see the type of horses that their original ancestor, Thomas Gwaltney, would have ridden when he established his home site in America in 1668, only about ten miles of our horse lot.

They met Corollas, Shacklefords, Baylis Spanish Goats and even Spicer, my San Clemente billy goat. I showed them where we will build the very modest colonial farm house along with the few outbuildings that a single man recently freed from indentured servitude would have built during the time when Tidewater Virginia was the frontier of the English Empire.

But most importantly, they met Ashley and Samantha. They watched Ashley ride Edward Teach, a wild Corolla stallion that was removed from the island because of his life threatening wounds. They watched as she handled him as if he was a puppy.

They watched Samantha with her 1/2 Corolla colt whose future is boundless. They learned about the offsite breeding program and the need to find more people that will accept the task of breeding and raising these amazing little horses.

But again, the most important ones that they met were Ashley and Samantha. Ashley is ten years old and completed her first 50 mile in one day ride at age nine. Samantha is only seven years old and has a family that is as dedicated to the horses as is she.

Our guests came to learn about the past, but when they watched Ashley and Samantha with the horses what they saw was the future.

(Here is a shot of a few of our Gwaltney guests under our recently constructed artificial shade producing device.)

I Want to Ride In Geronimo's Cadillac

My daughter and her husband Jake grow and sell produce and eggs as Browder's Fresh Pickin's here in Tidewater. They like to do things as natural (and as efficiently) as possible. They have a chicken pen that has been idle over the summer and is over grown with weeds. It would be a bit of a job to hoe it clean.

Instead, this morning Amanda came over and picked up Spicer, my rare San Clemente Island billy goat, and delegated the task to him. Though we have a wide range of modern conveniences, we are without a goat transport system.

We had to improvise.

Spicer was looking good this morning riding through Smithfield on the back seat of a Lincoln Town Car. His only previous riding experience had been in a Durango, which demonstrates the adaptability and versatility of a fine Spanish goat.

The Lido Fund

Stop reading for a moment and go to the home page of the Horse of the Americas Registry where you can read about the Lido Fund.

Now that you understand a bit about the fund I hope that you can see why this post has a bit of a tone of urgency to it. It would be best if you helped out today--right now. The fund has a request to assist in the placement of an older Spanish Mustang mare so that she can become the first mustang of a young teen that has put her heart into working with individual mustangs and preserving the historic and very endangered breed itself.

Kids like her will be the determining factor as to whether or not these horses go extinct. I very much want my great grand children to ride Colonial Spanish horses and that will not happen if more young people are not drawn into the preservation effort.

If everyone of you that reads this blog in a day sent in a one time contribution of $10.00 we could do a lot more to preserve these horses. The HOA agreed to administer this fund to honor Lido after his death. Donations are not tax deductible.

I got a bit overheated in the sun yesterday and I find myself waking up with a fierce headache. Were that not the case I would be happy to give you some kind of touching, profound explanation as to why you should send a donation to the Lido Fund.

As things stand, about the best that I can tell you is that it is the right thing to do. If you have anything more important to do with $10.00 today than helping provide a home to a horse that needs a home and a horse to a girl that needs a horse, then by all means do that. If not, send the HOA that $10.00 for the Lido Fund.

If I ever made it possible for you to have your first mustang, consider sending in $20.00. That would amount to a lot of $20.00 donations. (This is as close to arm twisting as I can get.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ending Rider Jealousy

My little riders are wonderful kids, but they are human. The girls can get a bit competitive regarding their attire and appearance. I expect that Charlotte, who will be arriving soon to join our rare Colonial Spanish Horses and even rarer Colonial Spanish goats, will put an end to all of that.

I have some very pretty little riders, but not one can compare to the beauty, style and natural good looks that Charlotte exudes. This, obviously, is one classy sow.

Put down the eye liner girls. They do not make makeup that will make you look better than this.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Now Emily Was Just a Little Kid Then

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Now Emily Was Just a Little Kid Then: "What can happen when a novice rider is teamed up with a gentle but untrained BLM mustang who can only see out of one eye? Could be a rec..."

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Motivation

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Motivation: "In about an hour I will mount up Holland, my 13 hand Banker horse from Shackleford Island and will ride him fifty miles. We have done th..."

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: What I Learned In 98 Miles in The Saddle

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: What I Learned In 98 Miles in The Saddle: "Holland, the brown Shackleford shown above, took me 48 miles in one day and Ta Sunka Witco, my SMR who is the grandson of Choctaw Sundan..."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Night Riders

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Night Riders: "I might have stumbled into an important learning tool. As all users of the wii fit program know, balance can be improved by doing movements..."

Going Hog Wild...One Step At a Time

One can never tell when or from where encouraging news might come. We are now over half way through what has been the most disappointing summer that our program has ever endured. Yesterday I learned that horses are not permitted on the Colonial Parkway so a big event that I was hoping to to put together for the little riders went back to the drawing board. The litany of defeats and disappointments could fill a lengthy and dreary post but....

Last night I got a lead on what could become a tremendous boost in the historical educational component of our program. We may be adding a formerly wild (feral) hog to our program.

What silly people we are when we consider our nation's early development. The very phrase, Southern Colonial Agriculture brings to mind plantation homes, landed gentry, and the nightmare of slavery. These were a component of colonial history, but they are not representative of the most common form of southern agriculture--the small farm, a humble home, a few outbuildings, and patches of land teeming with livestock. These things typified the lives of the vast majority of Colonial Americans, both white and free black.

One of the greatest failings of American scholarship is that American history has all too often been presented simply as a view of how rich folks used to live. Is it any wonder that it has so little relevance for the vast majority of Americans today?

Early America is not best symbolized by the manor home and the elegant carriage horse. It is better symbolized by the Spanish horse, the humble goat, the ubiquitous chicken and the self reliant hog, free foraging hog.

It is that aspect of American history--equally mundane and spectacular-- that we hope to depict as the Gwaltney Frontier Farm comes into being. Sunday a group of descendants from across the nation who are coming to Smithfield for the National Gwaltney Family Reunion will come out to see the Corollas and learn a bit of what we do.

They will visit the area that their ancestors began farming in the 1600's. They will see the horses that their ancestors rode in the 1600 and 1700's. They will pet the goats that their ancestors raised in the 1600 and 1700's. They will hear the music that their ancestors played in the 1800's and they will see site of the future/past Gwaltney Frontier Farm that exists so beautifully, though at the moment it exists only in my head.

(The picture above has utterly nothing to do with the topic at hand, but it is a great picture of Abby and Ice.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't Strive After The Wind...Ride It Instead

Horses are without capacity to demonstrate hubris, the destructive pride and arrogance that the ancient Greeks recognized and condemned. They need not do so. We have enough hubris to go around. For the over 5,000 years that humans have owned horses, horsemanship has been little more than a show case for human hubris.

In our vanity of vanities we have striven to produce a horse that is stronger than strong, faster than fast, and worst of all, more perfect than perfect.

All to impress other humans with the "quality" of our equine possessions.

From this effort to improve the horse we have races, shows, and other competitions, all to aid in the quest for perfection. Perfectionism is in no way a virtue. It is a vice that causes suffering both to the perfectionist and all those around him.

I am utterly at loss to understand why I would want to parade any of my horses in front of a "judge" to seek that "judge's" approval of my horse's existence. I would no more do so than I would parade my wife in front of a "judge" to seek that "judge's" approval of my marriage's existence.

Even if it was somehow harmless, this pursuit of perfection is as meaningless as chasing the wind. Perfection is never attained and the wind is never captured. But the pursuit of perfection has not been harmless. It has stood as the major obstacle to the development of meaningful horse/human relationships.

With the gift of the horse, God made it possible for us to ride the wind. Foolish hubris causes us to chase after it instead.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Hob-Goblin of Little Minds

All right, I guess that it does seem inconsistent, but yes, I am supporting this horse show. The HOA/AIHR show's purpose is not mindless competition. It is to demonstrate everything special about the Spanish horse and to recognize the breeds that can trace their roots back to the first horses of America.

If you are in that part of the country in September stop by and you will see a show like you have seen before.

Vice President of Weed Control

War Admiral, my Baylis line Spanish Goat, is a voracious eater. He is joined by a younger Baylis, Sea Biscuit and my San Clemente Island buck, Spicer. The impact that they have had on pasture weeds is incredible. They hit weed seeds and flowers hard and it is really starting to pay off. Eventually I plan to increase my Spanish goat herd and add in other lines of colonial livestock as the educational component of our program expands.

The parallels between Spanish goats and Spanish mustangs are striking. Both are heartier and tougher than modern breeds. Both convert low quality pasture and browse to food better than modern breeds. Both were absolutely essential to the development of this nation. Both have been scorned by proponents of progress. Both are extremely close to extinction in their pure forms.

Like my Corollas, my Spanish goats are warm, intelligent, and affectionate. They work hard.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yesterday I Rode a Horse That Was Not Beautiful

Were I forced to choose I think that I would have to say that Holland is my favorite horse. Ta Sunka Witco is a great horse and he is beautiful. Tradewind has more heart than any horse that I have ridden and he is beautiful. Manteo is a perfect example of a Colonial Spanish stallion and he is beautiful. He is so pure that he not only speaks Spanish, he also reads it.

Holland was born wild on Shackleford Island. His head is big, coarse and crude. He does not have Manteo's look of nobility. I strongly suspect that that his mother and most of the other members of his herd called him "Bubba". Even a quick glance at his eye makes it obvious that he is not contemplating deep philosophical issues and is more likely trying to remember where he left his RC Cola and his Moon Pie.

But when I ask him to go, he goes. Where I ask him to go, he goes. When we get to the briers, he goes. When we reach deep water, he goes. As far as I ask him to go, he goes. As smoothly as I asked him to go, he goes. With the ground frozen rock hard, he goes. With the ground parched and baked rock hard, he goes. With the sun glaring down on us, he goes and in the pitch darkness of the night, he goes.

And with all of that do you still think that I should care that he does not look 'refined'?

Oh, go on.

Only Remembered By What We Have Done

I cringe when I hear the word "appearance" or its root, "appears." I have no interest in how things appear. I am only interested in how things are. Plato's prisoners chained in the cave were experts on appearances and knew nothing of reality. I do not want to live in the cave at all, much less by choice.

Sweet Medicine, the wild Corolla colt shown above moments after his first saddling, is sprinting around the round pen although he has a little stifle problem. When the joint locks up for a moment or two it appears to be a horrible problem. In fact, the first time that I ever saw a horse in that position I had no doubt that the horse would surely have to be euthanized. It appears to be horribly painful. In reality, it does not hurt at all.

Sweet Medicine only needs what every other couch potato adolescent in America needs, some exercise. As the muscles around the joint strengthen he will be fine. Some Colonial Spanish horses appear to have problems in their joints simply because they can flex and bend in degrees and in directions that modern breeds cannot. The same traits that produce this limberness contribute to the appearance of having a horrible stifle condition. The reality is otherwise.

How flexible is a Colonial Spanish horse? Yesterday Red Feather got a bit irritated with his rider and gave her a little kick with his hind leg to the back of her leg, WHILE SHE WAS ON HIS BACK. Such a feat appears impossible, but the reality is otherwise.

Tradewind was crippled with founder and could not walk with out discomfort. He is only about 12.2. It appears, no even more, it is obvious, that such a crippled little horse could never be rehabilitated and made strong enough to carry a 215 pound rider over 160 hours in 11 months over the rough trails, with only about fifteen hours of that amount being at a walk. Such a feat appears impossible, but the reality is otherwise.

I will never be one of Plato's guardian kings but I have had the opportunity to look outside of the reflections seen from the cave to see a bit of reality that contradicts appearances.

Lido was born with cerebral palsy. His right arm was of little more use to him than a wing is to an ostrich. His right leg was short and weak. It would appear that at age 10 such a person could not be the first person to get on all of the wild horses and colts that we trained. It would appear that such a person would never be strong enough to carry a 50 feed bag on his shoulder while opening gates and doors with the one hand that worked. It would appear that such a person would never be able to push his body hard enough so that by age 16 he could run five miles faster than nearly anyone in his school. Such feats would appear impossible, but the reality was otherwise.

It would also appear that such a strong life would surely be a long life, but the reality was otherwise.

What matters is not what it appears that we can do, but instead it is what we actually do.

Now here is the reality that we are faced with in seeking to preserve the Corollas. Sweet Medicine is a wild young stallion with as gentle a nature as a basset hound puppy. He is will have endurance and intelligence beyond the imagining of people experienced only with modern horse breeds. He will eat little more than a billy goat and will make someone a solid, lifelong mount and companion. He can be adopted for a pittance. During his lifetime he will be capable of creating hundreds on foals that will share his attributes.

That is reality.

The unfortunate reality also is that at this moment there are parents all over this nation looking for a "bomb proof, dead broke former lesson pony, at least 20 years old that is sound at walk and trot and can be yours for only $5,000.00." The unfortunate reality is that they will pay for such a horse and within three years either have him put down because of his lameness or will advertise him for sale as having become "sadly outgrown" as their child seeks to move on to a horse that will win ribbons of a different color.

That is the reality of the established world. That is the reality that will always result from relying on appearances.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Would Just As Soon Not Die Like A.P. Carter.

For most of my life I have had two heroes, Abraham Lincoln and A.P. Carter. I have all of Lincoln's frailties but that is where the comparison must end. On the other hand, most of the rest of his world did not understand him, but A.P. Carter and I would have understood each other very well. We have a lot in common, both in our strengths and our flaws. Though he died just a few months after I was born he and I would make sense to each other.

I understand why he would hop in a car without a penny in his pocket accompanied by Leslie Riddle, a great young black musician with an impeccable memory for tunes, and ride over the mountains to learn and adapt ancient songs that would otherwise have been lost to the ages. He would understand why I would take on another wild corolla stallion, heal him and train him, so that he, and his breed will not be lost to the ages. A.P. and I both had adoring daughters who would, at times, simply shrug and say, "My Daddy is very peculiar man." He had utterly no interest in arranging the old songs that he preserved to make them more acceptable to the public. He "worked up" his songs until he had them the way that he and his family liked them and if the rest of the world was not sharp enough to pick up on the quality of his work, he felt that the loss was theirs. I would not have to explain to A.P. why I would be no more impressed with the approval of the established horse world than I would be if a mosquito paused to let me know that my blood was of the highest quality.

Sarah's voice was impeccable. Maybelle's guitar playing drew in the crowds. He had neither the vocal nor instrumental talent of his beautiful wife and his young sister in law. He did not mind putting them out front. He did not mind what spotlight there was being on them. He recognized his role. He simply was the genius that worked to collect and work up the songs that Sarah and Maybelle performed so well, as he occasionally "bassed in",as he called it. (A.P. was never constrained by vocabulary. When he needed a new word he created one. Hence, he referred to himself as a "songster" whereas Maybelle was a true "musicianer.")

When I was a young politician my life was not without excitement. As a 21 year old student at William and Mary I picked up the phone to be asked by the White House operator if I could stay by the phone because the President would like to speak with me and would be calling within the next five minutes. Being thanked by the President for the advice that I had given his campaign staff on putting together a successful caucus strategy for Virginia was heady stuff for a kid of that age. But my legs never felt weak. I could breath fine.

When I stepped into the museum at the Carter fold for the first time it hit me that I was really standing in the actual country store that A.P. Carter owned AND that I was talking to his daughter, Jeanette. My legs buckled. I could inhale fine, but exhaling was not as easy. Maybelle's guitar pick, Sarah's dress, A.P.'s shoes...this was more than my body was designed to handle.

A.P.'s music was his life and but for about a decade of that life the rest of America forgot him and set his music aside. Sarah divorced him and moved to California. Maybelle and her daughters moved to Nashville and became popular playing popular, current songs. A.P. went back home and opened a little country store and eked out a living. As his grandson Dale said, "It is hard to know that you are all so gosh darn famous when you don't have but two pair of pants."

A.P. died in 1960. The folk music craze had not taken off on college campuses as it soon would. A top rate professional banjo player could make more money as an electrician. When A.P. died he had no reason to hope that his music would not die with him.

But tastes are fickle. Three years later, Sarah and Maybelle were big draws at the Newport Folk Festival. When a young Bob Dylan met Johnny Cash the first thing that he said to Cash was "Did you know A.P. Carter?" Within a decade of his death the songs that A.P. worked all of his life to preserve became part of the repertoire of hundreds of blue grass and folk music groups all over the nation.

'Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Keep on The Sunny Side," "Wildwood Flower," ...and over 300 more songs.

My point is simple. A.P. lived to be 69 years old. I doubt if I will live that long. It is my strong preference that there be enough Corollas preserved, both in the wild and in captivity, by the time of my death for me to die with a smile on my face.

Oh come on, what else do you have to do more important than making an old man happy?

Sweet Medicine Takes a Saddle


Sweet Medicine, a Corolla colt with a little stifle problem, had his first training session today. He took his first saddling with no resistance. He has very little muscle tone and will not be ridden until he bulks up. He has a typical Corolla mind and learns everything as fast as I can teach it.

He will be eligible for adoption to someone that wants to put this stallion in the Corolla off site breeding program. He will be ready to go in about two months.

The other injured stallion that we took on that was removed from the beach, Edward Teach, has completely recovered from his wounds, is well along with his saddle training, and will likely have his first heavy trail ride tomorrow. Edward is also available for a qualified adopter that will maintain him in the off site breeding program.

The opportunity to adopt adult, gentled wild Corolla stallions, especially ones that are trained to ride, has never existed before. This is a special opportunity to participate in the effort to prevent the extinction of these horses in a very personal way.

It would be a shame to let this opportunity pass.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Is Not Wanchese

Search this blog and pull up a picture or two of Wanchese, my Shackleford stallion. Compare him to the horse above. The stallion in the picture is of pure western Spanish Mustang origin. Though the two look strikingly similar, their strains grew up separately many hundreds of miles apart, over several hundred years. Their Colonial Spanish breeding held true over all of that time and over all of that distance.

You Are Looking at 18%...

...of the adult domesticated Corolla stallions,that I am aware of, available for breeding in the world. The good news is that it is inevitable that several more stallions will come into the program and that stallions from the herd of Colonial Spanish mustangs in Shackleford will add to this number. There will be sufficient foundation stock to preserve these horses in captivity.

Admittedly, 18% is a challenging number, but here is one that is more of a threat to the offsite breeding program---50%. You are reading words written by 50% of the owners of adult Corolla stallions available for breeding in the off site breeding program. Vickie Ives and her family at Karma Farms in Texas constitute the other 50% of stallion owners.

We have several participants in the program that own mares, but placement of stallions has been more complex. Currently I have a colt, The Black Drink, that will wean in October that will be available for placement at that time. If Abby comes up this weekend Edward Teach will begin being ridden on trails and he will be available for placement through the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Sweet Medicine will be old enough to begin riding in the spring and I expect that he will be ready to go before Thanksgiving.

These are three spectacular horses of one of the rarest and oldest strain of horses to develop in America. Here are three horses that will be able to do the kind of amazing things that their cousins do on the trail for us every weekend. (Keep your eyes open for a recognition that I expect Tradewind, father of The Black Drink, to receive this fall.)

Please do not assume that for whatever reason you are not qualified to own one of these horses without exploring the question further. If you are at the point of saying, "I would love to be part of this breeding effort but..." contact me to discuss the "but" that is holding you back. What you assume to be a hindrance could be a benefit. For example, I would much rather place horses in the breeding program with novices who are willing to learn than with "experienced horse professionals" that adhere to the values of the established horse world.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Well The Nine Pound Hammer Is a Little Too Heavy...

But a seven pound one might be just right. Here is a tip that I picked up from Men's Health magazine.

Of course, the best exercise to strengthen riding muscles is riding. However, there are other things that can be done to strengthen the core muscles that can mean the difference between staying in the saddle and laying in the hospital.

Strong, balanced oblique muscles are a must for really hard riding. One exercise that works the core and really hits the obliques is to simply take as heavy of a long handled sledge hammer as one can safely handle and swing it very hard, using both a right hand and left hand grip. To prevent the jarring caused by having the hammer hit a hard surface one can place a worn car tire on its side and strike it during each repetition.

This works good for me provided that I warm up with a ride of about an hour before picking up the hammer.

Here is why it matters--that is a picture of Bill on Manteo at the Duck Parade. Bill is older than I am and rides hard. There is no way that one can enjoy hard riding with out being in condition. Bill is in condition. For years he has been a serious biker and that conditioning makes it possible to stay in the saddle for years to come.

There are only two ways to be a lifelong rider--to die very young, or to stay in riding condition for decades to come.

Perhaps This Is The Largest...

...crowd to have seen a group of Corolla horses ridden at any point since the Civil War.

It very well could be. This is a fraction of the crowd at the Duck July 4 parade as it was leaving at the parade's conclusion. Manteo, Croatoan, Tradewind, Porter, and our Shackleford, Holland were the hit of the parade.

At the conclusion, a gentleman who operates a boarding and riding facility introduced himself and asked if it was really true that we actually had a stallion among the group that we were riding that day. I explained that we did not have a wild stallion in the group--we had three wild stallions in the group.

Saturday Abby rode Edward Teach bareback with only a rope halter. He is a wild stallion that was captured because of a life threatening wound that he picked up in a stallion fight. He behaved as if he was the proverbial "dead broke", twenty year old lesson horse that modern parents seek out for for their computer game playing, air conditioned laying around, junk food stuffing off spring.

"A Wild Corolla Horse--the Perfect Mount for Your Little Sissy Kid!"

No, I probably better keep working on a better slogan.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Sounds of Silence

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Sounds of Silence: "No rush yesterday morning. I had no early court and no plans to shower or shave. I had already had a hunk of cheese for breakfast. I had..."

Friday, July 8, 2011

When Condolences Are Not Enough

Too often it is impossible to say the right things, especially to kids that all too often are caught up in a world that they cannot understand. Too often I simply hold my tongue and do not say the right thing to a child even when the situation screams out for me to do so.

For example, when a child excitedly tells me that they have a horse that cost $10,000.00 I should take the time to explain that the amount of money that one pays for a horse bears no relation to its value and that all horses, like all people, are equal in value. I should take the time to point out that that $10,000.00, if donated to a good horse rescue organization could have improved the lives of scores of horses. I should take the time to explain that much of the suffering that horses have experienced through out history resulted from people trying to measure horses with measuring sticks made of gold.

I should take the time to explain that Holland cost me exactly $0.00 and that I would not consider, for even a moment, an offer of $10,000.00 to buy him.

A horse does not demonstrate its value at a race track, in the show ring, or in the auction pit. A horse demonstrates its value when it chooses to genuinely care about a person.

Years ago I explained that my breeding goals were to produce horses that understood how you feel when your mother dies. To all of those in the established horse world that cannot understand what that means, I offer my sincerest condolences.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: MSIH Horse Women of the Year

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: MSIH Horse Women of the Year: "A series of proposals that would have been tremendously detrimental to the future of horse ownership on our county were pulled off the table..."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Than a Social Event

Few things are more pleasurable than riding with friends and family, but it is very important to ride alone--long distances--early morning--even night. Riding alone prepares one for the inevitable loneliness of existence. At the same time it reminds one that, as long as the saddle can still be mounted, one never need be completely alone.

Human interaction does the exact opposite. It prevents one from understanding that as we mature isolation is as much a part of life as playing on the play ground once was. Friendship masks that truth. It causes us to believe that we can stay on the play ground forever.

There is more about the horse/human relationship that I do not understand than there is that I do understand. I do not understand the pain killing capacity of riding, especially riding hard and long. I have come to understand why I am so revolted by the belief that one has to make sure that the horse "wants" to be ridden on a given day or is "emotionally ready" for riding. I will not have my horses checking their palm pilots or calendars to see if they have time to spend with me. If one of us is emotionally ready for a ride and that one is me, then my horses simply have to make an adjustment.

Horses make being alone tolerable. What is really scary is not loneliness, it is the thought of being lonely at a time when one cannot ride. I hate to think of the possibility of living longer than I could ride.