Friday, November 30, 2012

Colton's Debute


Colton is only thirteen. Last night was the second time that he has ever stuck an instrument in front of a microphone. He and I played at the Victorian Station Tea Room in Hampton. (Did not even have time to change clothes from work before we headed over.) My neice and Daddy did a set before Colton and I came up.

She did first rate. Colton did first rate and Samantha and Kayla were in the audience. In short order they will be playing good enough to take the stage.

We gave them "Circle Be Unbroken," "In My Hour of Darkness," and "Wild Wood Flower." Went over well and I expect that it will soon be up on the you tube channel that covers the Victorian Station Tea Room Chronicles.

Horses, music, livestock, history, culture and most of all, education are the corner stones of our program. Some people might not understand how raising pigs, gathering eggs, training wild horses, plowing with donkeys, shooting bows, and learning about wildlife and our complex ecosystem fit so tightly together. Those things are all part of was. One cannot have the slightest understanding of is if one has no understanding of was. My little riders don't just learn how to hold on to a horse.

They learn all about was.
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Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Ghost of Christmas Future

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Ghost of Christmas Future: In 2010 we will be back on track. Most importantly, the Corolla Off Site breeding program will be in full swing. This spring I plan to bree...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: I'm Not Kin To Most of My Family

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: I'm Not Kin To Most of My Family: Yesterday was a great day for our program and I think that it could lead to a great day for the Corolla preservation effort. The day was ...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: No Predators? Not So Sure Any More

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: No Predators? Not So Sure Any More: It is often said that a key to explaining the calm disposition of the Banker horses is that they have lived for hundreds of years with...

To See Your Great Grand Children

To live to see one's great grand children is a blessing of longevity. For my great grandchildren to be able to still see a herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs when they are old enough to drive to the Outer Banks will require the blessings of Congress. Without passage of The Corolla Wild Horse Protection Act, in this session or the next, this foal faces a bleak future indeed.

The Rapper Picked Up the Bodhrun

...and joined in with the man playing a hurdy-gurdy on a few ancient Celtic songs. I doubt that that combination of music, instruments, and musicians was together anywhere else in the world. But at Aroma's Coffe House in Town Center in Newport News on Wednesday nights one can find such eclectic musical experiances.

In fact, at times you can even find an old man playing a bouzouki being joined by his four year old grand daughter on "I Shall Be Released."

No Mountains But Moist

Without a doubt riding in hilly terrain places additional work on a horse, but riding in mud also creates much higher work loads than riding on firm ground. Our Corollas, Shacklefords and Chicoteague crosses are very sure footed in muck and water. Where we ride, a horse that will not cross water will be out for a very short ride. Most of my pastures have large water holes that the horses use to cool off in hot weather. Foals learn from their mothers that water is not an enemy

As part of their saddle training I have begun ponying saddled colts through heavy water while riding a horse that they respect and with whom they have a particular bond . It is safe , simple and effective. One of our training priciples is to quickly show the horse that the scary object cannot inflict pain. I do not let a horse go through hours of terror of water waiting for it to "want" to enter the water on its own.

The riders require a bit of training. They learn that they let a horse stand still and paw the water at their own peril. Most of the horses will paw about twice before they decide to lay down and wallow in the water, saddle, rider and all.

Never had anyone get hurt when that happens but swamp water has a special aroma all its own.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wild Animal Lovers Segment to Air During the Last Week of November

"Wild Animal Lovers", a syndicated TV show that plays in most TV markets across the nation will air a segment that was filmed last spring in our pastures and at Corolla. It will focus on efforts to preserve these nearly extinct horses. Because the show is syndicated it shows on different channels at different times in different regions. You will have to do a little research to find it in your area. Mokete, shown here not long after her birth, is the first Corolla produced by our offsite breeding program. The program has now expanded to other locations but we are always looking for more breeders that want to take part in the effort to help preserve this historic horses.

Work Horses

The highest and best use of a horse is not competition. The highest and best use for horse is the same as the highest and best use for a human, service to others. The photograph above is of several horses that are the core of a natural horsemanship program being developed at a Teen Challenge in Arkansas. The horse in front is the daughter of my Spanish Mustang, Ta Sunka Witco. Ta sunka Witco is the Lakota name for Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse had one daughter, They Are Afraid of Her. The dun mare leading the charge is named, They are Afraid of Her. She is followed close by Shoshone, a young Mustang mare from the Virginia City range.

They are Afraid of Her is halter trained and has had a saddle. Shoshone has been ridden many miles in the woods. We donated both horses to Teen Challenge, a highly successful substance abuse rehabilitation program for young people. The program is developing a natural horsemanship component to its treatment program.

To restore a life with a horse is infinitely more meaningful than to win a ribbon with that same horse.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


One of the worst things about being incapacitated for a long time is that you not only forget who you are, you forget who you were. You forget what you are capable of doing. A few months ago there were days in which I was not strong enough to walk the half-mile length of my pastures. There were  many days in which I was not strong enough to stay in the saddle. Those days are behind me now. 

This morning I got up and ran 3.1 miles, took a shower, saddled up one of my faster horses and along with three of my  riders we cantered and trotted for an hour. This afternoon I will ride for two hours most, of which will be trotting. I intend, and expect, to do my  next 50 miles in a day ride in February. My wife will joining me for this on her first 50 mile in a day ride. 

It's ironic that both of us will be in better condition than we were in our 20s.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This is a great shot of one of the most important parts of a horse's early training. This is Legacy, a half Corolla whose father is Tradewind. I worked with him earlier in the week and had gotten to the point of standing up in the stirrup. It seems that all of these half Corolla colts gentle easier the older they get. After about age 2 the Corolla calmness really starts to come out in these horses. Yesterday was the first day that Legacy was ridden independently in the round pen. Abby Marble, program manager for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, gave him a set of routine round pen exercises prior to mounting up. As soon as he was calm enough to do so she sat down in the saddle, flexed his neck in both directions, had him back up a few steps, and then began to move out.

 Legacy's mother is a modern Appaloosa horse. He is well-built for very substantial endurance riding and it would not surprise me if Samantha, his owner, has him in the American Indian Horse Hall of Fame before she is old enough to drive a car.