Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Great Interview of Vickie Ives From a Few Years Ago

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Vickie Ives--The E Interview: What drew you to mustangs? My first was a BLM that we rescued from a horrible starvation case in Pittsburg, TX. I was the first trained l...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fixing a Herd Bound Horse

A herd bound horse is one that is afraid to leave the other horses. Let that sink in. The problem is not that he doesn't love you anymore. He is not leaving you for a trophy mare. The first thing to do to get past the problem is to understand what it is and not to mope about being rejected by your horse or feeling that something is just not right between the two of you anymore.

The horse is afraid that he will not be able to return to the safety of his herd and he is afraid that you will not be able protect him in a crisis. The problem is two pronged. So is the solution.

Put on comfortable shoes. Set aside at least four hours, though it might take much less time for this step. Get a good rope halter on the horse. Start at the gate with the herd in sight. Lead the horse away about five steps. Turn around and come back to the herd. Next time take six or seven steps and return. Followup with eight or ten steps. Turn around quickly and lead the horse back to the herd firmly. Each time go a little further away. The horse will understand that leaving the herd does not mean leaving the herd forever. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat--be patient--stick with it until the horse gives absolutely no resistance to being lead away from the herd.

You might need to do the exercise again the next day. I have never had to spend more than six hours doing this and generally one hour does the trick.

Now you have half the problem solved. Move on to making the horse have confidence in you. Again, go to the formula 51% control, 49% affection. Control comes from being able to move the horse. Get that horse in a round pen or on a lead and make it go where you say. The horse will not see you as a bully. He will see you as a leader. And intersperse the movement with affection that the horse understands. Firm hugs and rubs around the drive line. Stand beside the horse facing the same direction that he faces lower your head (I hope that by now his head is low) and synchronize your breathing with his.

That's it. It is that simple.

And that difficult.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: A Great Trail Horse

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: A Great Trail Horse: "Great Trail Horse" is a term that gets thrown around a lot without much of a definition. To a great extent NATRAC competitions s...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Its More Than Riding

Our program and the expansions of that program that will grow from the Gwaltney Frontier Farm involve much more than riding. Natural horsemanship is at its core but our program is one of constant education. History, science, wild life studies,music,art and conservation all have a place in what we do.

Last night several of my riders and their families gathered over at Krista's house to build bat houses that will go up at selected locations around the horses lots. Krista researched bats and their housing needs as she and her family took the lead on this project. (That is our crew of bat housing construction engineers in the picture above). Kay and Sarah Lin have completed butterfly houses that will join the bluebird house, and martin nests this spring. Other kids have worked on building up brush piles for habitat for small animals. Christian has developed a lawn tractor and plow combination to use in our wind row composting program. We will soon all pitch in in a monumental effort to plant five hundred colonial pines around the horse lot. Lydia prepared the area in the front of the Little House for landscaping. My daughter and son in law have started a lot of plants in their green house to be set out in the coming weeks.

Kelly and Josh are making tremendous progress with their wild Corolla stallion, Edward Teach. She constantly peppers me with great programming ideas and perhaps more than any of my other riders shares my hope to turn our program into a model of learning and teaching in addition to being a model program of natural horsemanship.

I like seeing the program grow but it means even more to me to see the kids taking pride and ownership in what goes on at the horse lot.

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Leave this Long Haired Country Boy Alone

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Leave this Long Haired Country Boy Alone: This is one of the premier wild stallions of Shackleford Island , Dionysus, the father of my Shackleford stallion, Wanchese. Several facto...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Revolution is Being Televised

on RFD-TV. Cable systems differ but on Direct TV one can find RFD TV. This channel focuses on country living and has great programming on natural horsemanship. What Dr. Miler called the "Revolution in Horsemanship" is only a click on the remote away from many Americans thanks to this channel.

But the fact that this channel can exist illustrates something very important that is happening in our nation right now. There is a real movement, a real desire, a real revolution going on with many young people who seek a return to the soil and to get back in touch with what sustains us--our food.

Today's revolutionaries don't throw bombs, they plant bulbs. Though they bear some resemblance to the radicals of the 1960's, they are not a generation seeking "Flower Power." They seek tomato power, broccoli power, squash power, corn power, and their radicalism is best shown with their desire for egg power.

For much of the history of civilization the most radical thing a person could do, absent taking up arms, was to utter words of criticism against the government. In America today such an act is not only not radical, it is blase, predictable, and frankly, boring. Today's true radical does not waste time with such frivolity. Politics, per se, still has a place for many Americans, but more and more people are coming to the conclusion that, while their are some differences in the two major parties, the reality is that, despite these differences, they both are simply boot licking, shoe shine boys for our biggest corporations and wealthiest citizens.

It does not matter which party controls the government. The mustangs are still rounded up. The grasslands are replaced by corn fields, often owned by corporate farms. The small livestock farmer still cannot compete with the factory farms where livestock and workers both toil to no end for themselves. The family farm has gone the way of the full service gas station. Consumers are treated with such contempt that we are not even allowed to know if the food we are served up each day is genetically modified. Our national diet grows more and more unhealthy and as a nation we face an epidemic of metabolic disorder that will likely lead to an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. We are denied the simple pleasure of tasting pork from a hog that was actually allowed to mature instead of being modified and managed until it can reach market weight in its very short, very miserable life. We are fed so many antibiotics in our meat that antibiotic resistance might be the least of our future health concerns.

The paragraph set out above might be described by some as radical. It most certainly is not. Were it truly radical someone would be trying to keep it from being read or even written. No, strong words are not radical in America.

Growing your own food is radical. Raising your own chickens is radical. Seeking to give your children whole milk is radical. Planting a garden instead of a lawn in your subdivision is radical. Raising free range livestock is radical.

In America today, no one will seek to suppress the words that come out of one's mouth. But the full force of the government will fall down on those that seek to produce what they put in their mouths. Zoning laws and "health" codes are used to keep us living in uniform patches of banal, ticky tack houses and making sure that we maintain our health by being fueled with corporate produced high fructose corn syrup instead of deadly back yard chicken eggs.

My grandmothers raised their own chickens, gathered their eggs, cut their heads off, plucked their feathers and fried their flesh golden brown. Try doing that today. If you are lucky enough to live away from society's prying eyes you can. For the overwhelming number of Americans that could never be done.

And the strangest thing is that neither of my grandmothers looked like communists, or even hippies, to me.

Must have been to young to know better, I guess.

The Incredible Cost of Failure

 Years ago I met a young victim of domestic abuse. Her case was very unusual. She was a brilliant, attractive student that had completely fallen under the sway of an older man. She was oblivious to the fact that his conduct clearly marked him as a sociopath. He controlled her every move. He worked hard to isolate her from her family and friends. He succeeded.

His behavior towards her then became significantly more violent. That is when my contact with her began.  I met with her on many occasions. We talked  about the risks that she faced. Any man that insists on knowing where his wife or girlfriend is 24/7 is dangerous. It is no surprise that he was older than her. Young men rarely become so sickly possessive while still at a young age. Such perverse behavior usually takes years to do reach development.

Some times she would show hints of understanding. Her face would soften. Soon it reverted to a haughty, taunting, arrogance about how she was old enough to know what was best for her and that the problem was not with him, but with those who tried to separate her from her true love. The scariest part was when it was so obvious that the words and vocabulary came from him yet dripped out her mouth as she sat there with the face of an automaton.

He killed her. He killed the baby too.

I feel no guilt over this. I do not blame myself. However, I recognize the simple reality that my words failed to reach her. I failed in trying to get her to see what was so obvious to the rest of the world. I do not know what it was that I should have said but I do know that whatever it was I did not say it.

In short, I failed and she and her baby paid the cost.

When I encounter a child showing signs of the development of an anxiety disorder I go into overdrive trying to find the words to help them understand that there is a way out and that using horses to work through their fear can be a very important step towards getting well. Nothing I do in any walk of life is more difficult than to try to successfully intervene to show the kid a way out.

Nothing that I do is more important.

Nothing carries a higher cost when I fail.

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: ...But Fear Itself

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: ...But Fear Itself: A hinny is the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse. It is the inverse of a mule. Lucy is a beautiful hinny that just joined our...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Frail, Delicate Little Things

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Frail, Delicate Little Things: Trained horses all day yesterday. Worked a young stallion that got aggressive with me in front of the kids. Saddled him up after we worked ...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: I Was Not Raised Like Other People

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: I Was Not Raised Like Other People: Over the years my parents adopted ten kids and kept over 120 foster children. My father was one of the founders of the local Rescue Squad ...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What They Do Not Know Can Hurt Them..Badly

Parents that were not raised with horses should not be expected to understand horses or horsemanship. They cannot be expected to understand the tremendous danger they foster by encouraging the natural fear that kids might have when facing the thought of riding a seven hundred pound, formerly wild horse.

A roller coaster does not become more dangerous by having its riders be afraid. A car does not become terrified because its driver is racked with fear.

A horse responds to fear with fear. When a child shows elevated levels of anxiety many horses will key in on that anxiety and become wrecks themselves. The parent that does anything, directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously to encourage displays of that fear places their child at a much higher risk than does the parent that says that it is ok to be afraid, but it is not ok to give into that fear. The nervous parent that constantly verbalizes her fear of horses to the child undercuts that child's safety. Parents with anxiety disorders often have children with anxiety disorders that are in their nascent stage. The parent's overt demonstration of that anxiety will accelerate the child's descent into that horrible disorder that is so often linked to depression and substance abuse.

When it comes to dealing with fear of horses on the part of the child the only real love is tough love. The instructor is not in a position to tell the child that has a minor fall from a horse what the child desperately needs to hear. An instructor in today's world cannot say "You are fine. Get up. Shut up. Get on. Move on."

A parent that understands kids, horses, and the incredible havoc that anxiety related disorders reeks on teens must do so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: If We Wish Tommorow To Be Better Than Yesterday..

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: If We Wish Tommorow To Be Better Than Yesterday..: then we must understand that small is better than large, simple is better than ornate, old is better than new, and that long burning coals ...

All In The Family

My $3,000.00 hearing aid gives me problems. It cause me to hear things that I do not want to hear. I cringe at this new phenomenon of referring to horses as babies and the owners as their parents. Do not get me wrong. I love babies and was once one myself. Babies are wonderful. They crawl, are clumsy, must be cared for 24/7, and one should never defer to their judgement.

My horses are not babies. They carry me fifty miles in a day. They walk through walls of brambles and briers with less effort than high school football players break through the long paper signs at the goal posts at the beginning of each game. They are not just powerful, they are power. They have little in common with babies.

Perhaps the most glaring difference is that I respect their opinions. Sometimes I defer to their judgments. If I ask Comet to go somewhere and he balks, I pause to consider his perspective. He often has found something of danger that I did not note.

I always defer to my horses' judgement during night rides in pitch darkness. Perhaps that is a big part of why someone my age and at my level of obesity rides with such confidence. I know that I am not riding a baby. I am riding a tough, hard scrabble veteran that I trust.

But there is another side of the coin. The tough hardscrabble veteran needs attention and affection every bit as much as a baby. I give them that affection.

I can do so without thinking of them as helpless. This is Samson, the Corolla that to my observation seems to have the highest level of endurance of any of the ones that I have seen ridden on super long rides.

He is not a baby.

See those little pigs. They are babies. I do not entrust my health and safety to them.

To do so would be childish.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Horse Feed

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Horse Feed: Oh how I hate to do it, but sometimes I have to feed the herd horse feed. It is usually done to stretch out hay and is done for econo...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hanging of the Bacon


Daddy hung the meat that he has had in salt for several weeks. These are some slabs of bacon and hog jowl. They will be peppered and smoked after they air dry for a while. The cracks between the boards in the smoke house will be covered with gap board stripping.
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I Make a Terrible Focus Group of One

But at least I know it. Just because something makes sense to me, or even seems obvious to me does not suggest that among the other 7 billion people on this planet there is another one that shares my point of view.

I have never sold any horse that I produced in the Corolla offsite breeding program. Instead I gave them to people that I trust to participate in the breeding program for years to come. I have kept breeding to a very conservative level in order to prevent being over run with Corollas. In fact, I often have an owner in mind before a mare is even bred.

The fact that I am so particular as to who I allow to have one of my foals is proof of their "value." That makes sense to me. It seems obvious to me.

Seems that I am in a minority on that point. It has been strongly suggested to me that people would "value" these foals more if I charged a significant amount for them. It seems that to many people the size of the check that they wrote is proof of the "value" of the horse.

I am advised that people would feel better about the importance of preventing the extinction of the Corollas if I charged $1,500.00 for a foal instead of giving them away.

So...Beginning with the foals born this summer I will begin to charge for what I have given away in the past.

The Colt above is The Black Drink, a Corolla from Tradewind and Baton Rouge. He is now the young stallion at Boys Home of Covington Virginia where I hope he will produce many foals for the offsite breeding program for years to come. Even if his sales price was $0.00.

(I should have been born some other kind of animal because humans make less and less sense to me as I get older).

Holy Land

Vine DeLoria, the great Lakota historian and writer, writes of the concept of sacred land and holy places in a manner that can be understood by country people world wide. Time,place, space and distance are fluid concepts and while a simple country boy may not have read of a philosophy or cosmology that explain this fluidity, he understands it and accepts it as an implicit reality. The past is not something that happened long ago to those of us tied to the land.

The past happened then, is happening now, and will happen in the future.

I type this sitting about seven miles from where my first white ancestors settled here in the 1650's. When I was young I was a politician and represented a district that, while still in my county, was not where we were/are/will be from. During my second term in office I had an opportunity to move to my current home. There were several reasons to move that everyone would understand. But there was one reason that most others would not understand. My home is beside the cemetery where generations of my family are buried. To further confuse outsiders, it is not the fact that I have family in that soil that matters, it is that that soil is in my family. The draw is not the DNA of those living close by.

The draw is the dirt.

When Crazy Horse said, "One does not sell the land upon which the people walk," I understand quite clearly that the unspoken portion of that sentence is "for any price."

My daughter asked my Grandmother what is was different about us that made us stay here for generations. She asked, "Why don't we ever go somewhere?"

The response said it all, "We already are somewhere. If it ever gets so that we are not somewhere, then we can go somewhere else."

I feel a deep pity for those without such ties. We do not have to go somewhere to find ourselves. We have nothing to run to or to run from. We belong. We were. We are.

There are many great reasons for outsiders to want to preserve the Corollas. My feeling are more personal and perhaps stronger. These are part of my Holy land. Though the remnant lives only on a small patch of beach about 75 miles to the southeast, the fabric from which that remnant comes was the only horse that existed in this part of the nation for about the first three generations that my white ancestors lived here. They continued to be the horse of poor folks here for another generation or two.

They pulled our plows. They helped us cut trails trough the swamps. They hauled in our nets. They carried us to war. They pulled brightly decorated, yet simple, wagons to the churches for our weddings. They pulled our darkly draped little wagons to the cemetery.

As we moved they moved us. but not far. Not far from our homes. Not far from their homes.

Not far from our Holy land.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

And Then There Was One

I do not know the exact temperature but I suspect that it is in the low thirties, just above freezing. The wind is howling. The wind chill causes exposed skin to sting and burn. In short, it was to cold for all but the toughest, most determined of my little riders to be in the woods today.

That's her pictured above with Kiowa, her Virginia City Range mustang that we are in the final stages of getting ready to ride in the woods. She likely will put Kiowa in the woods on Friday.

To avoid the wind today we went deep in the woods, well off trail. Haley, age 9, was on Porter, a Corolla. I rode my Shackleford, Holland and Terry joined us with her Chincostang, Quien Es? We had some logs to jump ad a swampy spot or two to navigate. I took a short cut through a place that I had not been since I was a child. We made it out.

True to form, Haley said that it was her best hard ride yet. She liked it the very best, she said, when I knew where I was.

(Riders don't like it when I temporarily misplace my bearings in strange woods.)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: On Choosing a Mentor

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: On Choosing a Mentor: I believe that the future of the horse industry lies in kids and novices. I also believe that with all of the information that is at hand a...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: You Know You'll Have Hide Your Lying Eyes

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: You Know You'll Have Hide Your Lying Eyes: At Corolla and Shackleford one finds strong, healthy colts, horses with impeccable hooves, no respiratory problems, and remarkably few hea...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Life's Lessons Learned

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Life's Lessons Learned: Emily, my niece, was about three in this picture of her and Croatoan, a wild Corolla stallion. At that age she could get a rope and go o...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The End of The Beginning

It has been a long haul but we are nearly through constructing the first of the buildings for the Gwaltney Frontier Farm which will depict life in this part of Virginia for a single man recently released from his term as an indentured servant and in the process of building his life in the New World. My earliest white ancestors came to the land within six miles of mile horse lot in the mid 1600's.

The smoke house is a real working model. In a few weeks ham, bacon, shoulder meat, hog jowls will hang from the rafters. Daddy has been showing the kids how meat is salted, and smoked to preserve it. We will also be smoking fish by spring. I hope that we will be able to get herring which runs in the spring from the salt water to the deep slow moving rivers/swamps of the Blackwater, Nottaway and Meherrin tributaries.

We have authentic Colonial era horses and goats. Our hogs trace themselves back to the early colonial years through their mother. Colonial Chickens will be phased in.

I expect our next structure to be the settler's home, a small clapboard dwelling. I want Mill Swamp Indian Horses to be more than a place to ride. I want it to be a historical and cultural learning center.

This is step two in reaching that goal.

A Week of Straight Valor

Valor was removed from the wild because she was half a step from being dead. She was severely run down and anemic. When delivered to us I put her in a pace where she would be easy to bury. I did not expect her to live 12 more hours.

She has. She has lived for about two years with me and is the picture of health. Muscle atrophy in her back never was fully reversed, giving her the look of an old broodmare, though she is less than ten years old. After six days of a modified version of what Parelli calls "Hill Therapy" her back is already strengthening. In five more weeks she will look like a different horse.

Her handling has been absolutely minimal while with us. She had a burst of handling when she was strong enough. She was haltered trained but that was about it--perhaps exposed to a saddle, not sure. Last Sunday she and I went to graduate school. I began her training and hill work. She was terrified of being touched by a person. She was wild as a Corolla could ever be.

Yesterday, after five days of handling for 45 minutes a day, (one day was a rain out)I brought the girls from our teen program down to see how a wild horse's behavior in the round pen differed from one that I had completely gentled and trained. She was learning to fast to be a good teaching model.

She was no longer a wild, terrified horse. We ended a session of about twenty minutes with her alertly cantering around the ring comfortable with her saddle.

Unfortunately there will never be any before and after pictures of her. Internet dishonesty makes such important documentation a very bad idea. Although I would love to have used her as a photographic example of how even a disparately ill horse can fully recover I will not do so. Such pictures are subject to libelous abuse by those that would print them and lie about what they depict.

Who knows, perhaps next year she will be in the Christmas parade along with Baton Rouge, the formerly wild Corolla mare above, and Starfire, Sarah Lin's 1/2 Corolla, 1/4 blm mustang and 1/4 Chincoteague filly.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Society needs innovators if it is to grow and remain vital. Society needs preservationists if it is to matter whether or not that society grows and remains vital. Preservationists stand as society's only protection against the tyranny of whims,fashion and fads. True preservationists recognize the timelessness of quality. They can sail against the wind and, more importantly, keep sailing whether the wind blows or not.

John Westbrook is a true preservationist. He writes first rate songs, but he also preserves an entire genre of American music, western music, that has faded from the current landscape. I have always been drawn to historic, rural music, composed and performed by not just a person, but by a people. Much of this music evolved into being repositories of timeless truths. The songs were honed as they evolved. The retelling of the best of the stories by the best of the story tellers produced the music that the Carter Family recorded. As Jeanette Carter said of her father, had he not saved and collected these songs they would have blown away like leaves in the wind.

Westbrook's performances appeal to the part of me that wants to be educated but there is still a part of me that does not mind being entertained. He appeals to that part too. He has a powerful voice, but more importantly he has a clean, clear distinct voice. He is a first rate instrumentalist, but it is the voice that serves him best as a preservationist. His voice jumps cleanly from 1943 to 2013 with no modifications to serve as a tipped hat toward the banality of what passes for lyrics today.

There are a hand full of people in this country that have discovered something so good and meaningful that they work to preserve that thing for future generations. They are not all musicians. Brislawn, Burris, Lockhart, Ives, Norush, all preservationists--all dedicated to preserving nearly extinct horses who carry with them nearly extinct beauty and nearly extinct ability.

A.P. Carter and I would make sense to each other. I strongly suspect that John Westbrook and Vickie Ives would make sense to each other too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Reciprocity

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Reciprocity: For the first few years that I trained horses my little brother, Lido, was the first person to get on all of the wild horses and colts th...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: DNA Testing Is Not Always Necessary

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: DNA Testing Is Not Always Necessary: Sometimes a close examination of phenotype is sufficient, particularly when looking for a particular trait. Note the picture above--th...

Keep Your Hands off The Wild Horses

It takes no skill to touch many of the wild horses of Corolla. Touching one of these horses no more demonstrates one's horsemanship than a fan catching a home run ball from a seat deep in the stadium demonstrates his ability to play center field for the Mets.

It is even worse if the person making the contact has solid horse skills and goes on to relax the horse into allowing a person to rub across his back or even feed him. The horse whisperer that achieves this tremendous feat can go home with pictures to prove his prowess, even with wild horses. But the horse stays there on the beach, less wary of humans and much more likely to allow a truly malevolent person to get close. Equally bad the horse will now allow the person who knows nothing about horses but that they like lumps of sugar to feed entire five pound bags of sugar to the horses.

Sugar Daddy tourist goes home with cute pictures. The horse stays on the beach, crippled with founder or maybe dead from colic.

Sugar Daddy had no idea. Mr. Horse Whisperer never thought it through that far.

The buzzards appreciate their efforts and enjoy the fruits of all their good intentions.

The Hole in Many Natural Horsemanship Programs

It is harder to sell people something that that already have and can resupply at no cost. Perhaps that is the reason that so many high dollar clinicians do not put enough emphasis on physical contact and affection with the horse. Horses enjoy treats. They do not have a deep seated psychological need for treats. Horses need contact, security and affection. They not only have a deep seated need for contact and affection, it is one of the pillars upon which wild horse interaction is built.

The safest, most effective training regimens must be based on the principle of 51% control, 49% affection. To do otherwise is to turn a blind eye to a horse's true motivation. A horse is driven to seek security. That security is felt best by a horse that is lead and loved.

You can't make money off of teaching people to back up their horses, follow the slightest pressure and then to spend hours hugging and rubbing them. There is no product that can be sold to facilitate that process. It is too simple, too pure. It cannot be marketed anymore than one could teach a class on how to properly perspire.

But marketing is not done directly to the horse. The customer is the owner. If the owner is convinced that what the horse wants most of all is the same thing that the owner wants, then the sale can be made. Systems built on the idea that the horse seeks autonomy as its highest goal sell. They sell to the teenage girl who wants nothing more than to be free to "make her own decisions." They sell to frustrated middle aged owners whose lives have been dominated by domineering spouses and bosses.

They sell to those who love their horses so much that they want to give their horses everything that they ever wanted in life. But my horse does not want what I want. He does not need what I need. He is not me. He is not my dog.

I respect my horse enough to give him what he wants and needs--a feeling of security. A horse really understands what Kris Kristopherson wrote, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose."

Steve Earle wrote, "God is God and He is not me."

Comet is Comet and he is not me. I understand that. That is why we have an actual relationship instead of pretending to live in a fairy tale.

(The filly shown above is now part of the Corolla offsite breeding program and along with three others produced in that program now lives happily at Boys Home in Covington Virginia where she will be doing her part to stave off the extinction of the Corollas for years to come.)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Mokete

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Mokete: Mokete is the first Corolla born of our off site breeding program. Her mother is under 13 hands and her father is 13.2. She is on a track ...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Why Don't I About Know This?

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Why Don't I About Know This?: That is what a very bright, educated young women asked me after viewing a documentary on life at the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970's?...

On Eating Fishes and Loaves

The mud has been heavy, both in reality and in my reaction to that reality. The wind has blown with a savage fierceness. This week the wind lifted the roof, not just the tin, but the roof off of my long shelter and set it down in a nearby hedge row. Several trees went own. The fences were compromised but not destroyed by the storm. A hog house had to be built immediately or Amos would be without shelter. And everyone of these tasks were made more difficult by the fact that every step had to be accomplished by slogging through deep, sucking mud.

Things were bad enough before I saw my topless shelter. Each day recently had given way to what Blaze Foley called "dismal thinking on a dismal day." Everything had become very heavy, both in reality and in my perception to that reality.

And then the troops arrived. On Friday a little girl and three young women built Amos a hog house. Darrin Lindsey sawed up trees that were blown on the fence. Jacob and Jordan shored up a wooden pen. On Saturday riders, families of riders, friends of riders and even people that I had never met showed up. So many people showed up that there was difficulty in parking.

My hope was to have things repaired in three weeks. The work on Friday and Saturday took care of the fences and restored half of the missing roof.

The fact that the work was done was very important in reality. The fact that so many people showed up to do that work was very important to my perception of that reality.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Boys Home Preserves Corollas

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Boys Home Preserves Corollas: Boys Home of Covington,Virginia has taken a major step to assist in the prevention of the extinction of what might be the oldest and rare...