Sunday, March 31, 2013

Old Enough To Get His Driver's License


Comet has a job to do. He does it well. He enforces discipline among the two bands with whom he is  pastured.  His lieutenant is Holland, my powerful Shackleford  He was my most difficult horse to train. He was fiercely aggressive and would go out of his way to hurt a person.

Now he is ridden by novices. He is a fascinating diagnostic tool . He has riders that love nothing better than to ride him and others that simply will not ride him. His reaction to different riders does not seem to have anything to do with their skill or experience as riders. Those who are comfortable and confident get a great response. It seems that those who are less sure of themselves find him to be ungovernable. 

I do not talk to him as much as I talk to my other horses. I do not need to. We understand each other. We both know that the other has a job to do and we do not resent the other for doing their job. 

I have at least five horses that are stronger, faster, and more comfortable to ride, yet if it were a matter of life ad death for me to ride a hundred miles I would saddle him up. He would not let me ride him in a place that we should not be going. He would get me to the destination all in one piece. 

Comet is not a wild horse. He is 3/4 Appaloosa and 1/4 Arabian. He is also not a colt.

My riders are constantly asking me how old various horses are. I cannot remember. There are a lot of horses and their ages change every single year. A few weeks ago I realized that I have been incorrectly giving out my own age lately. I am 53, not 54.I am not good at keeping numbers in my head.

But the other reason I have trouble remembering horse ages is that they do not matter as much as people wish to think. Horses only come in three ages, too young to ride, perfect for riding, and too old to ride. 

I just looked Comet's age up. He is older than I was thinking. He is 16.

A perfect age for riding. 

My Head Hurts And My Feet Feel Worse

but I woke up feeling good this morning. Not long ago a healthy 18 year old boy volunteered to feed up for me for two days. Afterwards he sent me a very sincere note explaining that there was no way one man could be doing all this work for the long term and that I needed to enlist some regular help to handle the farm chores. I have been doing this work for a long time.

 I am not 18. I am fifty three. I am sore.

I can't find my glasses.

In short, this would have been a good day to hit a snooze button, (except that I have never used an alarm clock).

But for all the bad I feel this morning, I feel good.

Real good.

This is Ashley and her colt, Peter Maxwell. He is the son of Quien Es? and Edward Teach--so he is 1/2 Corolla, 1/4 blm mustang and 1/4 Chincoteague--a combination that will make him 100% tough. Ashley completed the Equine Youth Challenge program yesterday. Ibuprofen does not do much for me but a picture like this dulls the pain in one's feet quite well.

Yesterday was a day of horse training, riding, mounted archery, oyster roast, birthday cake for Daddy, and a mounted Easter Egg Hunt that Terry put together. It was an exhausting and satisfying day.

My capacity for happiness has been severely eroded over the years but my capacity for satisfaction has not been hampered one bit.

This morning I am very satisfied. Which is a good thing, because shortly I have to go move about 1,500 pounds of hay.

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Kids, Horses, and Competition

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Kids, Horses, and Competition: I am not impressed with the competitive aspect of horse shows for any age group, but especially for kids. Horse shows, and other forms of e...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Yes, But Summer White After Labor Day?

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Yes, But Summer White After Labor Day?: Quien Es? is one of the mares that we produced by crossing, Wind in His Hair, a Chincoteague stallion, with several BLM mares. The resul...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: When Others Replace Us

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: When Others Replace Us: "Will we be missed when others replace us working in the field that in spring time we sowed? No for the sowers will pass from their...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Red Feather Has His Own Book

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Red Feather Has His Own Book: Last night I received a copy of the just released book, "The Adventures of Red Feather, Wild Horse of Corolla" by Linda Whittin...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Lydia and Owl Prophet

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Lydia and Owl Prophet: Owl Prophet, named for the Commanche holy man, was born to Ghost Dance and Wind in His Hair on Easter Sunday three years ago. He ha...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ponchos and Serapes

For night riding and for all day riding when the weather is quickly changing I find no garment to be better suited than a poncho or, for very cold weather, a serape.

Ponchos of heavy horse blanket material shed briers and brambles quite well. As soon as we reach a clearing the poncho flips back over the shoulder to allow for riding in comfort in warmer weather. It works especially well for night riding in the woods for the same reason.

Horses need to be desensitized to the garments flapping in the wind before their use. A long serape flapping wildly in the wind can spook horses who have not been trained to them.

Completely aside from their wonderful function, riding in a poncho keeps one from taking the dangerous step of looking like everyone else. Looking like everyone else, as Moa-tse-Tung understood, leads to thinking like everyone else.

Thinking like everyone else leads to not thinking at all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Remember, The World's Most Beautiful Beagle

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Remember, The World's Most Beautiful Beagle: Comes in dead last in a Basset Hound show. Because they are so rare few people have any idea what a Colonial Spanish mustang should look ...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Reflections

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Reflections: Lydia is now seventeen years old. Today she gave me a chemist's explanation as to why adding soap to vinegar would improve its effect...

The Truth Is Out There, And Joe Camp is Letting It Out

My herd is not so friendly in spite of....It is not so healthy in spite of...My horses are so friendly and healthy because of....the fact that they never even see a stable, wear shoes, or live off of sugary feed.

Fewer things escape the eye of the modern consumer society than the obvious. If a solution costs less than something that exacerbates the problem, most people will go for the expensive alternative. Horse ownership is outrageously expensive if one stables a horse, spends a fortune on shoes, supplements and sugary feeds and as a result incurs tremendous vet bills.

A horse who lives in as natural of an environment as possible can quite easily cost less in annual bills than does a German Shepard. And the horse will be healthier, happier and easier to train and handle.

Joe Camp's book "Soul of a Horse" should be required reading for every horse owner. He has a new book out explaining why stress is at the root of so many equine health issues and that the modern model of horse care creates that stress.

Go get that book. Natural horse care saves horse's lives and gives them lives worth living.

It just does not pump money into the financial pillars that support the established horse world. Natural horse care is the greatest threat big equine agribusiness faces. They will not take this threat lying down. Expect a lot of push back from those who use horses to make fortunes instead of using them to heal broken people.

Your horse wants to know the same thing that the early union organizers in the coal fields wanted to know:

"Which side are you on?"

(This is a shot of The Black Drink. A Corolla stallion in the Corolla off site breeding program at Boy's Home in Covington, Virginia. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund has a beautiful colt about 8 months old who is eligible for adoption to a home that will keep him as a stallion and use him to help prevent the extinction of one of Americas oldest and rarest strains of Colonial Spanish Mustangs. He is at my horse lot living as a Dog Soldier with two ancient stallions, eating hay, staying outside 24/7 and having plenty room to move. In short, he is healthy and happy.)

Quick Tip #17: Saving the Chilled, Damp Foal

The early foal, the northern foal, and the foal born during a late spring cold weather snap all face the same problem. If a foal does not dry off and gets chilled it becomes weak. The weaker it is the less likely it is to nurse. The cycle can end in death.

The solution is a mobile foal incubator heating unit. The price of such units vary greatly according to style, appearance, and amount of use. Such units are multi purpose when not being used as mobile foal incubators. I have used such units to save two pigs, three chickens and a foal, Lydia's great horse Owl Prophet.

Owl Prophet was born in the early morning hours of a very cold, wet, Easter Sunday morning. He was nearly dead when I arrived as the sun rose. I tried drying him and wrapping him in blankets but he showed little sign of warming.

Then it occurred to me that if I simply drove my truck out to where he was, placed him on the floor boards and let the heater run he might have a chance of warming up and surviving. Within twenty minutes he was sitting up on the front seat looking out the window to his mother, Ghost Dance. I set him outside and he began to nurse and went on to live happily ever after.

Since that time I have relied on my truck to serve as a mobile instant animal incubator and it has never let me down.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Employment Benefits

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Employment Benefits: A parent who is trained and quite knowledgeable on health issues suggested that I keep a few aspirin on hand in case of a cardiac event...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Assisted Living

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Assisted Living: My granddaughter is just past two years old. Like her mother, she is excessively brilliant. Her linguistic skills greatly exceed anything c...

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Hard To Catch Horse in The Pasture

Although it is frustrating to have a horse that you cannot catch, it is dangerous to have a horse that you cannot run off easily. (More on the dangerousness of a horse that will not run from you in a later post). This technique works to teach both skills.

For the horse that is in a pasture with several other horses that refuses to be caught give this a try.

1. Put on comfortable running shoes.
2. Set aside an hour a day for about a week.
3. Approach the horse that you want to catch WHILE STARING INTENSELY AT IT.
4. Do not even glance at the other horses. Keep constant focus on the one to be caught.
5. When the horse turns away from you immediately make it run off. Chase it a bit.
6. If others in the herd join the horse make sure that your focus remains entirely on the one to be caught.
7. Make your first goal to separate the horse from the remainder of the herd.
8. After it is separate continue to make it run and work to prevent it from returning to the herd.
9. If the horse stops and looks at you INSTANTLY turn around and get your eyes off of the horse.
10.Approach the horse with eyes down, shoulders relaxed while waking in staggering curves.
11. Using your fist, not your finger tips, rub the horse gently and reassuringly on the face.
12. Immediately turn and leave.
13. If the horse stands still repeat steps 9-12. If the horses turns to leave go back to step three.
14. Rub the horse in front of the drive line on each side of the neck.
15. Secure the horse with a short small rope that you have in your pocket.
16. Lead the horse over to where you left the rope halter and halter the horse.
17. Take the horse from the herd and rub and brush him and give him a chance to relax with you.
18. Put him back in the pen with out doing any work otherwise.

Never show frustration. Keep your mind focused and positive. You may produce a horse that walks up to you to be caught every time you enter a pasture. You may produce a horse that has a ritual of moving away from you two or three or five times before happily being caught. Comet has had such a ritual for the past five years. I do not mind participating in his ritual because he will happily let me catch him after he does this.

If you fall prey to feeling guilty about catching your horse i.e. "If I just had the proper relationship with him he would want to be with me...I must be a bad person." you will make catching the horse a constant problem. Some horses love being with people and love being handled but avoid the act of being caught. After they are caught they are every bit as warm and willing as is the one that comes trotting across the pasture to its owner.

For a prey animal being caught is the step that occurs before being killed.

If, after catching your horse, it shows signs of aggression or fear, then you know that your relationship with the horse needs work. That is the sign that you need to put more time into the horse.

Allowing the horse to decide if it wants to be caught makes no more sense than allowing a second grader to decide if he wants to go to school. Do not delude yourself into believing that if you allow the horse to make the most important decisions you and the horse are "equal partners".

Under that scenario you are his servant, not his partner.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: The Importance of Good Grooming

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: 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 &qu...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring is Coming and It's Time To Compete!

No, I have not changed. I still do not like horse shows, especially for kids. I do not approve of any activity that teaches a 12 year old girl that she should sell her best friend and purchase a stranger because the stranger might be able to win a different color strip of cloth than her best friend can.

That sums it up. Horse shows promote the idea that a horse's worth equals his sales price and if he is a winner then he is worth more.

No, horses, like people, are all of equal worth. Some cost more than others but that has nothing to do with "worth." A horse's worth is not something that people can assign to him. God assigned the horse his worth when he drew his first breath as a foal.

However, if competition could be designed that would encourage people to work with their horse and stick with their horse instead of trading them like base ball cards, that would be a great thing. That is what the awards programs of the American Indian Horse Registry and the Horse of the Americas Registry do. By awarding cumulative points for various activities they encourage kids to spend time with their horse and to earn points for their activities with their horse.

This form of competition encourages the development of a strong relationship between horse and rider. Conventional competitions work to weaken that bond.

Once again, I go back to our purpose. The primary reason that we practice natural horsemanship is to create better people. Consider these two models:

1. Fourteen year old whose parents purchase her a $20,000.00 horse and have it trained by a professional for the purpose of hauling it to a series of horse shows over the summer to be sold for a higher price if it does well during the season, or replaced if it fails to bring home the blue ribbons.

2. Fourteen year old whose parents adopt a wild Corolla Spanish mustang for $700.00 and the teen works tirelessly to gain the horse's trust and to gently train it for the purpose of riding endless miles on trails for the next twenty years. If it needs additional training the teen provides that training, producing a "worthless" horse that the teen would not consider selling for even $20,000.00.

The AIHR and the HOA have an awards program that recognizes the value of the second option.

Which option do you think produces the better person?

(This little stallion is The Black Drink. He is the first stallion that we have produced in the Corolla offsite breeding program and is the anchor of the Corolla progam at Boy's Home of Covington, Virginia)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

To Stand the Test of Time

Smooth, steady, dignified, resilient.....and nearly extinct. That is the connection between music with meaning and mustangs.

 Irreplaceable yet nearly gone.

For several hundred years here in America the little Spanish horses transported the bodies of working people while their music transformed the spirit of working people.

I do no know anything about this lady. She appears to be of Indian descent. She is holding the most important instrument to come to the new world from Africa. Her dulcimer is an American adaptation of instruments likely to have German origin.

This is a picture of America--Red, Black And White. A blm mustang is also a picture of America.

Mixed blood, mixed origin--pure American. It is nauseating enough to see the established horse world denigrate the blm mustang, but it is much worse to see those of the Spanish mustang world do so.

We should know better.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To Take So Long as it Would In The End

After living fifty four years one would expect to no longer be surprised to see spring arriving once again. Every winter I am shocked by the bleak landscape of death and every spring I am surprised at the vivid return of life. It is starting to happen. First the willows, then the dog woods and poplars will come out.

My bleak slippery, mud hole will become a lush, soft pasture. My stiff, sore body will become limber again. My shaggy looking scrub ponies will once again become the sleek horses of the nobility of at least four, and maybe five continents, as they have been over the past 1000 years.

Soon there will be no need to seek out beauty. It will come running to me every day.

Understanding Animal Behavior

Yesterday I had to come to grips with the fact that I had reached a crisis point in my chickenmanship. I was sowing some seed in a pasture and one of my roosters was following me and eating the grain as it hit the ground.

Of course, I was shocked at this behavior and I tried to determine how I had failed in my chicken training. I did not want the chicken to eat the seed and, I was crushed that the chicken cared so little about my feelings that it just proceeded to eat the seed, even encroaching on my space as it did so. I worked to get out of my self pity mode in order to look at it from the rooster's point of view to determine how I had caused the failure in our relationship.

Obviously I had not put enough time into the chicken's training. I had not considered whether the bird was right or left gizzarded. Only then did I realize that the rooster seemed to jerk his head a bit as he moved around. Shame flooded my veins when I realized that I had never once had a fully licensed avian chiropractor out to give him a spinal adjustment.

Then I considered my failure to build trust in the bird. I had left that poor animal in a state where he was not certain that he could count on me to provide him with food. He was working hard to make me see my failure to satisfy his need to know that he could trust me to provide for his every whim.

I went deeper and considered my selfishness in planting seed in that pasture. I knew that I wanted grass there, but had I ever stopped to check and see if the chickens might want to use the entire eight acres for a dust bath? Sadly, I came to realize I was not placing the interests of the chickens above my selfish interests.

Then I stopped to consider the fact that I might be pushing the rooster too fast in his training. I had never allowed him to have time to just be a little chick. Worst of all, and it hurts to put this in print, I had tried to cut corners and save money on his training by only purchasing the first thirty seven tapes on proper chicken human interaction. I tried to wing it without the last seventy four tapes in the series.

It was only at that point that I discovered a fundamental flaw in all of my analysis.

I had forgotten that he was a chicken and that eating grain from the ground was what they naturally do.

If there was only some way to apply that insight to horses. One could save a fortune on books, tapes,, videos, training devices, classes, clinics, supplements, equine hypnotists, equine life coaches, equine fashion consultants.......

But obviously that cannot the done. If it could people would not be spending all of that money on something as fundamentally simple as communication.

(Here is s picture of a Spanish mustang mare that will likely join our program very soon. I mean, after I ask the chickens if it will be ok with them.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

A 2010 Post revisted: Last One Out Close the Door and Turn Out the Light...

This post shows that sometimes a blog can be real two way communication. At the time I wrote this post I meant it 100% and had strongly held the belief for years. However, I know Dianne to be a very keen mind and her comment caused me to go look for someone out there that may have been writing lyrics with meaning . The search lead me to Gram Parsons, Steve Earle, Townes Va Zandt, Blaze Foley, and Levon Helm. It also lead me to do something that I never though that I would do--write lyrics and keep them.

For years I had written lyrics, gotten them the way I wanted them and then promptly threw them away. I genuinely felt that if a song was worth writing A.P. Carter would have written it and composing lyrics gave me an uncomfortable feeling of hubris. Now I do not mind putting down a word or two.

Hit this link for my earlier thoughts on the matter.  Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Last One Out Close the Door and Turn Out the Light...: A.P. Carter died before I was a year old. I was 19 when Maybelle Carter died and it was the first time that I just skipped class at Will...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A View from a Year Ago: The Next Step

We have moved forward in the past year. A summer of illness slowed things down but hit this link to an old post to see where we are going with the Gwaltney Colonial Frontier  Farm.Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: The Next Step: We are about to begin our step by step process to create our replicated homestead circa 1670. We will start on the Smoke house in the nex...

A View from 2011 Training With Raw Power and Domination

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Training With Raw Power and Domination: I am not averse to flexing. I believe in being modest and humble unless modesty and humility reach the point of dishonesty. Then they bec...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

When I Was Twenty-One, It Was a Very Good Year (March 2009)

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: When I Was Twenty-One, It Was a Very Good Year: I wish every mustang owner, of every type of mustang, would quit acting like house slaves. For those not familiar with the term, house sla...

Teach Your Children Well

One of the best ways to turn a child away from riding forever is to start the child when she is too young.

In only the rarest of circumstances should a child began riding before she can eat solid food.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What Do You Teach?

A riding instructor's life would be much simpler if he only taught kids to ride and only taught kids that had an unquenchable desire to ride. But the reality is otherwise. Teaching those riders is the most enjoyable thing that an instructor can do. Teaching those riders is the easiest thing that an instructor can do.

Teaching those riders is also the least important thing that an instructor can do.

It is the child who is afraid, the child who is reluctant, the child who openly displays anxiety at the horse lot and secretly confronts it in every other aspect of his life that needs to ride even more than the one who loves every moment of being around horses. That child is difficult to teach. There is little pleasure in teaching that child. It would be simpler to encourage such kids to get another interest.

At times I allow my mind to wander to consider having kids "try out" for our program the way they have to try out for sports team. If I only kept riders that made the team the quality of my life would sky rocket. Some of my most dedicated riders have encouraged me to take that approach and only focus on those that live to ride.

An instructor should never do that. I know what happens to kids with anxiety disorders that are not dealt with early on. I know that drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression are possibilities for young people whose disorders go unrecognized and untreated.

Those are the rarest of cases. However, even kids with no disorders that do not learn to overcome fear learn to be trapped by it. The unfortunate truth is one will fail with many of these kids, but that is no excuse for refusing to keep on trying.

The reality is that a solid program does not teach riding.

It teaches living.

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Encore A post from 2009

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Encore: Now we play old time and bluegrass music. I play 6 or 7 instruments, though I am not great on any of them. My brother Joseph plays four...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Importance of Quiet Time

Nonchalance is the most important French word for one to understand when gentling wild horses and starting colts. A studied projection of not caring if the horse gets nervous, jumpy, or even hostile can be the most important step in keeping some horses from becoming even more nervous, jumpy , or hostile.

When one despooks a horse one must not use body language that tells the horse that the monster really is dangerous. The exact opposite is true. Last week I watched my intern, Samantha stand idly by and make constant contact with a terrified horse. She betrayed no more emotion that she would have had she been sitting with a sleeping cat in her lap.

The horse learned as much in that hour as she would have in three months of training with a person who was:

1. Afraid of her
2. Afraid of failing in her training
3. Afraid of doing something wrong
4. Afraid of being embarrassed in front of other people


1. Upset that the horse was learning too slowly
2. Upset that the horse was not responding to gentle treatment
3. Upset with anything else in her life to the degree that the horse felt that tension.

Make every interaction that you have with a horse in training tell that horse three things. I am not afraid of you. I am not going to hurt you . And I will stay here all day long until we get some sort of improvement on what we are working on.

And make sure that you are very nonchalant when you let your body tell the horse these three things.

(Younger Samantha is shown above working her 1/2 Corolla, Legacy.).

Monday, March 4, 2013

this Post is from 2008

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Chincoteagues: We are often asked where Chincoteagues fit in with Corollas and Shacklefords. I suspect that around the year 1700 they would have been pr...

Why All of The Reruns?

Several months ago I started reposting posts from the past. These are not randomly chosen. My stats page shows me which posts are hit each day. I am always curious when I see a post from a few years ago coming from nowhere and getting several hits. I started out just reposting those that seemed to have attracted special interest for some unknown reason. Then I started reposting posts that I liked for one reason or another.

The funny part is that I see the search terms that people use to find our blog. I have been perplexed as to why a rather ordinary post "A Great Trail Horse" has received so many hits. The question was answered when I saw search terms about cruel pony rides. I hypothesize that some one, or some group, feels that allowing a horse to have a challenging physical ride is cruel and somewhere out there in computer land there are members of the established horse world trying to wring their hands and wag their fingers at the same time. Saturday we returned from an intense ride in mostly submerged cut over and I told the riders about these search terms. Most laughed at the idea that anyone would consider such rides cruel. A few recognized that it was not really a laughing matter.

Every day horses are being loved to death by thosee that think that they are being good responsible owners when they keep their horses over weight, under exercised and shut up in warm cozy stables. Those owners would never consider taking their horses on the challenging rides that are so routine to us that we do not even question whether our horses can make the trip.

In the wild these horses walked marsh, muck and mire. They navigated fallen trees and they pushed on through deep sand. Allowing them to relive those experiences is neither cruel or a threat to their health.

It is merely an effort to let a horse be a horse. Horses can be happy when they are allowed to be horses. Horses that are made to live as fat lap dogs find health and happiness to be very elusive.

But back to the central point, to avoid confusion I will try to clearly mark which posts are re runs.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Movement-Messiahs, Mystigogues, and Messengers

Crane Brinton's work, "Anatomy of a Revolution", provides a great frame work for analyzing not just classic political revolutions, but also social movements. Natural horsemanship is not a fad. It is not even a "style" of training. It is a social movement. As such certain bumps along the road can be predicted and some problems can be avoided by stepping back and looking at where the movement is going.

History provides more than just analogies and  literary devices. It provides a road map to where leaders of a social movement need to direct that movement.

Call them clinicians, trainers, innovators, leaders, those who have made a name for themselves by teaching horses easily do things that others find difficult to teach horses fit into certain categories. The earliest proponents of proto-natural horsemanship were often self appointed "messiahs" who advanced the idea that they had talents that could be described as supernatural and that "gift" was  the key to their success.

 As the movement matured and expanded it was fueled by a small group of teachers who believed that they had learned of a great revelation that they wanted to share with willing listeners.  They thought that their methods were readily accessible by all who wanted to learn. These "messengers" teach with an evangelical zeal. Of course, the contrast between the messengers and the messiahs could not be more distinct.

The messiahs believed themselves to have unique power and the messengers believed that they had a technique that could be learned by anyone that cared about horses. The other extreme difference is that the messengers sought to improve the lives of horses and people. The ascendancy of the messengers inevitably forced the messiahs off of the screen.

It should be no surprise to students of history and social and religious movements that the acceptability of the teachings of the messengers, and most of all its claim of universal ability of all to practice these techniques would lead to the development of a different kind proponent of   natural horsemanship--the mystigogue.

To a certain extent the mystigogue  seeks to blend the most powerful teachings of both the messiahs and the messengers. He teaches that he is unique in that he knows a great "mystery" that he will share with his devotees. Not everyone is pure enough to be one of his devotees. He stands in strong contrast to the messenger in that he does seek to make his teaching simple. In fact, he creates his own vocabulary, his own ritual and his own system of levels of enlightenment.

In history the mystigogue is best exemplified by the Gnostic leaders in the early Christian Church. Those Gnostics were purged as heretics and their writings were suppressed until they were nearly blotted from history.   It is only with the discovery of the Nag Hammaddi scrolls that we have a complete understanding of their teachings and their view of their "secret" knowledge.

While Gnosticism certainly accomplished a great deal in spreading a version of Christianity, their methods and their beliefs came to be recognized as a threat to the very movement that it originally sought to advance.

Proponents of natural horsemanship have the most to gain by contrasting the messengers to the mystigogues of our movement. As long as the mystigogue remains in the broad tent of orthodoxy he does little harm to a movement.  It is when he moves into the realm of heresy that he threatens the movement.

We will look at these differences in future posts. Don't get lost on these points as we discuss them further. They matter to the future of natural horsemanship and they matter to all who care about horses.

History is worth learning because failure is worth preventing. Especially with something this important.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Good Moooooooorning Vietnam!

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Good Moooooooorning Vietnam!: My blog now has some statistical analysis to which I have access. Of course, I still have utterly no understanding of either the technology...

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Good Moooooooorning Vietnam!

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Good Moooooooorning Vietnam!: My blog now has some statistical analysis to which I have access. Of course, I still have utterly no understanding of either the technology...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Bankers, Tackies, and Crackers

Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: Bankers, Tackies, and Crackers: No,that is not a description of Chamber of Commerce boards all across the south, it is a list of the three primary strains of Colonial Sp...