Thursday, October 31, 2013
The best conditioning for a rider is to ride and ride and ride. However, rider conditioning can be jump started by using this version of the Tabata Protocol on a treadmill.
Set the treadmill at its most severe slope. For five minutes walk up hill on that slope at the best speed you can do without stopping. At the conclusion of five minutes level the tread mill and for the next four minutes alternate between running fast for twenty seconds and slowing down for ten seconds. These intervals need only be done for four minutes.
Then walk at a brisk pace on the treadmill for five more minutes to cool down. The total workout is only fourteen minutes.
Of course, always check with your doctor to get his approval before beginning the Protocol.
Key point--All running and walking is to be done barefoot only. Doing so engages the quadriceps and calves more than running in shoes. You will likely see shocking improvment in your endurance after as little as ten days of this workout
Should you know more about horses than your vet? Of course not. Should you know more about your horse than your vet?
Absolutely. If you do not you are letting your horse down. Solid equine health information is at your fingertips through the internet. Unfortunately, a lot of ignorance is out there too. The worse information comes from the acquaintance who has had horses for years and once even showed them in big shows. Such people generally can give state of the art advice for 1992. Often their advice is even worse.
Learn everything possible about natural horse care. Once you fully understand why such care is so vital to your horses health expand your knowledge to include current studies on equine health issues. It takes a lot of time an effort to do so but it might keep your horse alive.
I spend several hours a week staying current on equine health issues. I do not do so because I enjoy it. I do not enjoy it. I read and study because I owe it to the horses.
There is one point that I have never seen stressed in health articles that everyone should keep in mind. In evaluating symptoms of potential problems remember that the first thing that should catch your eye is if your horse is doing anything different than his normal routine. If so, go check him out. Horses are creatures of extreme routine. Different often equals dysfunction.
If Persa is standing alone that is no cause for concern. If Ta Sunka is standing alone I drop what I am doing and go check on him. I have an actual problem probably less than one time out of two hundred such checks, but it is worth it.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
She is a serious and very responsible little girl. She keeps a watch on so she can tell me when it is time to ride back to the tack shed. She memorizes where the rocks are on the trails so that when we ride in the dark she will know when we should come down to a walk. She gets out of her family's van and immediately casts her eye around the horse lot, making sure that everyone is ok.
Kiowa is her Virginia City Range mustang that she adopted from USERL. Kiowa is as alert and responsible as Hailey. She snorts keeps a constant eye out for dangers in the woods and cutover.
I have ridden with Hailey at night. I have ridden with her early in the morning. I have ridden with Hailey in the rain. I have ridden with Hailey in the blazing sun. I have ridden with her when it was too hot. I have ridden with her when it was too cold. I have ridden with her when I was exhausted. I have ridden with her when I was on fire with energy.
I have never ridden with her without being delighted to have her with me.
People make life too complicated. If the ham is sliced thin, the raw oysters are salty and the ice tea is with in reach--the party is a good one.
If I'm riding in front and Hailey is riding behind me and we are covering miles of woods and swamp and cutover---the life is a good one.
This picture surprised me. I did not know that I had wrinkles in front of my ears. I do not mind. I just did not realize it.
I do not have the same views of aging and what it means to be old as do most people my age. Those in my family who do not smoke or drink tend to live to incredible ages. We also tend to be pretty healthy up until we die. My great uncle just passed away at the age of 102. When he was one hundred he was still planting and working his garden. Grandma died at 96. Papa, my great grand father, was around 100 when he died in 1970. Grandma Bird (she was also my great aunt Bird, my family is more genetically diverse than the Corollas but several of my ancestors seemed uncomfortable with the idea of marrying outside the family)was close to one hundred when she died. Daddy is about 77 and gets along quite well.
I do not share society's obsession with being young. I have been young. I was young for a long time. Being young was not worth the effort, on the whole a very negative experience. I would not want to repeat any of it.
With the exception of what is becoming a troublesome neck problem I am much healthier than I was when I was twenty five. I ride better than I did when I was forty. I play music better than I ever have. I sleep better than I did when I was thirty.
But best of all I am starting to understand what it is in life that really matters. And it turns out that there are very few things that do matter. Chief among these is to improve the lives of those around you. Acquisition creates a tinge of shame. Giving away overcomes that tinge. One cannot help being born rich. One had no choice in the matter, but one can avoid the disgrace of dieing rich. Making kids laugh is more important than laughing yourself. The only thing better than learning is teaching.
I once thought that the root of wisdom was to know and to understand. I now realize that the root of wisdom is to know that we can't understand.
And most importantly, to not be bothered a bit by that lack of understanding.
If big name clincicians could figure out a way to bottle this and sell it everyone would benefit. Hit th link for this post from last year. Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: The Importance of Touch: When training we should never cause the simple to become unnecessarily complicated. One of the most important ways to build trust with th...
Monday, October 28, 2013
The worst sin of halter classes is that they have created an obsession with conformation. What matters is the bond between horse and human, not where the horse's neck ties into its body.
Conformation obsession is fair neither to horse nor human. Most people are not capable of producing a grand child as pretty as mine. That does not mean that all of your poorly conformed little grandchildren are worthless.
You all do not want to sell your grandchildren just because mine (all three of them) would win blue ribbons in the ring, do you?
Sunday, October 27, 2013
When you are young you wonder who you are. When you get older you wonder why you are. This old post explains a bit about why I am. Hit this link. 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, October 24, 2013
Since people first started riding horses it seems that they have been looking for faster and faster horses. Entire breeds have been developed to satisfy this desire to out run the wind.
A much simpler and more pleasant solution is to enjoy your slow horse but just ride out a little earlier than the fast horse riders.
You will still get there first.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Chris Hurd took this wonderful shot of Vickie Ives, one of the nation's premier conservationist of the Colonial Spanish horse. Vickie is Vice President of the Horse of the Americas Registry. The HOA and the American Indian Horse Registry have both been strong and vocal supporters of efforts to prevent the extinction of the Corolla Spanish Colonial mustang.
The HOA website has been revamped and is about as good of an introduction into the world of Colonial Spanish horses as will be found. The online museum's Ancient history section is my favorite part.
John Fusco's article on riding with Mongolian horseman is filled with beautiful pictures. The link to Lido's Fund bears looking over. There is even a shot of my riders on a slew of Corollas and a Shackleford or two at an HOA national meeting.
Friday, October 18, 2013
As we are looking at expansion and improvement in our programs I will still evaluate the programs exactly the same way. Granted, it is not a scientific way to measure,but I find it to be more accurate than science can give me. Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: To Gauge Your Program: This year I plan to take a moment or two to answer questions that I get outside of the "comments" section of blogger. Here is my...
And next spring I will have two more grandchildren.Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: At What Age Should One First Swim on a Wild Horse?...: Sooner than other kids if you happen to be my granddaughter.
Being my grand child is not without its advantages. I will have two more grandchildren next spring. Mill Swamp Indian Horse Views: At What Age Should One First Ride a Stallion?: It depends. If it is a modern American child it might be best to wait until the kid is grown. On the other hand, if it is my grands...
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Brooke Sims is a highly impressive trainer from Texas. Within a few days I hope to have an E-interview with her posted here. She does not use a round pen and is big on being flexible and going with what works.
It is great to see a young trainer speaking out on how she does things. Keep your eyes open for this upcoming post.
(Crotoan was keeping his eyes wide open for this great shot of the first adult wild Corolla stallion that I ever trained.)
Monday, October 14, 2013
I believe that it was Ray Hunt who said that the trainer should make the good thing easy and the bad thing hard when training a horse. Lunging can be taught outside a round pen. But it is easier for the horse to learn this difficult concept if he is in the round pen when it first introduced to it. The round pen gives him only two directions to choose from. In an open pasture he has no such limitations.
After the horse learns what is being asked of him in the round pen and can respond to the lightest possible cues through the rope to change directions then he can be given more advanced lunging lessons in an open pasture.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Katie was the first of a string of super responsible, super mature little girls that have ridden with me who took it to be their personal responsibility to make sure that I did not hurt myself, forget anything or take any unnecessary risks. As a kid she became deeply attached to a young paint that I owned named Wounded Knee. She preferred to ride him although he was a very green young stallion. She did great with him.
She did so good with him that before she went to college she purchased him and owns him today. When still a young teen she looked out over my crooked fences and mud encrusted pasture at a handful of BLM mustangs and said "One day this place is going to be famous."
She was the first person to say that. Outwardly I just laughed. But on the inside I could not help but to think that if things kept on track she was going to be right.
Over the years she has never been surprised to learn that film crews were out to the horse lot or that we were rolling up some awards. She had expected things like that since she was a kid.
This fall she entered Veterinary school in Blacksburg. It was always her dream. It is the dream of a lot of little girls but I had no doubt that she would achieve it. Nor do I have any doubt that she will be a first rate vet.
I would like to say that I am proud of her, but such a statement carries the hint that I am somehow responsible for her success. I am not. She has earned it all herself.
I can say that I am impressed.
Not surprised--just very impressed.
We are changing radically as a program. I am not changing what so ever as a person. Colonel Sanders said that after he sold Kentucky Fried Chicken the mashed potatoes that the conglomerate produced tasted like wall paper paste.
The changes that we are going to make will not make us taste like wall paper paste. They will just allow me to produce more mashed potatoes.
What we do is unique. We teach little children and novice adults to tame and train wild horses and colts. We ride through rough, swampy terrain that most people would never consider riding through. We ride early in the morning and late at night. We ride and train stallions.
There are a lot of things that we can change that will bring in more revenue. I will consider those things, but if any of them would lead to the reducing of the quality of my mashed potatoes, I am not going to do them.
In short, to those who are concerned that our changes will cause us to lose some of what is special about what we do, stop worrying. Our Board of Directors are all people who share my desire to deliver more. The outside expertise and advice that I am relying on is invaluable. Tom Crockett is volunteering his years of experience to help us make this conversion. Without his hard work I would never be able to make our program as big as it can be.
Take a look at these two ancient stallions. They are not going to change. How they are is how they will be, until they cease to be. Take a look at that four year old on Tanka in the picture taken from behind the Little House. For fifty three years he has done things the way he wanted them done.
No reason to think that that is going to change now.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
It is dark early now. The sky is often the color of gun powder and lead. Temperature dropping. For the last several years this has been about the time of the year that I started to sink.
But...so far so good. A bad wound does not remain so. Eventually it becomes a scar. Scar tissue might not be pretty but it is tough. Maybe my scar is starting to toughen up.
I knew a man whose adult daughter died. He said that there was something special about the tenth year after she died for him. It was only then that he could have any pleasant memories of her. Until then every thought of her brought nothing but intense pain.
It has not been ten years, but last week for the first time I told something funny about Lido without having to force a smile. The smile came on its own.
I can now recognize how significant the support that our family received that day was. I can now think about it clearly enough to recognize the extraordinary efforts of my friends and riders.
I called Beth and told her that I had just gotten a call from my brother that Lido was taking his gun out of the truck while he was hunting with his best friend and the gun went off and Lido was gone. I hung up the phone and called Rebecca. I told her to let everyone know and to tell them to assemble at my house and that I wanted everyone to do whatever crying they were going to do before I got home. I called JK. She was home from work sick that day. She lived abut an hour and a half away. I would be home before she arrived.
Jordan was young, younger than Lido. No one ever knows what to say or do in such situations, especially a kid. She came over and set beside me on the sofa. I did not realize that I was hugging her so hard until I noticed a look of pain on her face.
She did not complain.
Terry, Lisa, everyone was there. Eric went outside to talk to the tv people to let them know that we would not have anything to say. As the day went on my body felt perfectly drained. Rebecca suggested that she and JK take me to the horse lot.
We went in JK's car. Nothing was said on the way. When we got there they said nothing. JK got out and walked in one direction, Rebecca went the other way. I was tired and confused and had no understanding what was going on. Could not follow why they would bring me here and then just walk off.
JK had walked over toward the rope halters. Rebecca had picked up a piece of hay string and headed out into pasture number 3. She caught Ghost Dance, brought her out and JK put a rope halter on her. Rebecca handed me the end of the rope and simply said, "Here is Ghost Dance for you."
Both of the young women walked off. I do not know which direction they went, but they left me there with Ghost Dance. I unloaded everything that I carried all day on Ghost Dance. She rubbed her neck vigorously on my shoulder. If I moved away at all she pushed back into me. She just stood there with there head down, keeping her body in contact with mine until everything was drained out of me.
That is when Rebecca and JK came back over and took me home.
One never knows what to say or what is the right thing to do in such situations but Rebecca and JK figured it out that day.
They took me where I needed to go.
I learned yesterday that the Horse of the America's Lido Fund helped pay for transportation to help another Colonial Spanish horse. He's been dead now for quite a while and he is still helping take care of the horses.
That's Lido on Sand Creek, a young mustang, at the first training clinic he and I ever did. (Rebecca's mother turned this picture into something beautiful for me that still sits on my desk at work along with two of Lido's awards from the Special Olympics)
I have not seen this topic broached before but it needs to be discussed and hammered constantly by those who care about kids and horses. Much is written about girls and horses. I agree with just about everything that I have read on that subject but for suggestions that competition in horse shows is somehow good for little girls.
I think that it is even more important that little boys learn to work horses and ride.
To put it simply, what institutions in our society teach boys to become good fathers and husbands? In the past boy's who had solid fathers, or other male relatives close to them had simple models to imitate. Of course, there have always been boys who did not have such models, but the numbers are higher now than they have ever been.
Our youth sports system has completely failed boys without solid men in their lives. When I was a kid everyone had a chance to be on a team, be a part of that team and to be influenced by the coach. Today we have incorporated the youth sports model that we so loathed in the early seventies. We were appalled that the East Germans and other Soviet block countries took talented kids and had them spending hours practicing each day and even sending them off to camps where they practiced even harder.
We do the same for our best young athletes. As bad as that is for the kid, it has worst ramifications for the kid that is not as talented but loves the game. He knows that he can never reach the "travel team" or "all star" level which has become the goal of modern youth sports programs.
So he stays home, becomes heavier, weaker, sicker and has a lot of time on his hands to play video games. He replaces the cigarette smoker as society's greatest future health care cost.
A smaller percentage of boys are raised in rural areas than has ever been true in our nation's history. Urbanization and suburbanization has had the side effect of more boys being raised without pets than we ever have had.
The vast majority of boy's in our culture grow up having never nurtured anything. They have not even cared for a puppy. Add that to a lack of solid role models and it is easy to see why parenting in America is at such a low ebb.
Being a father is not instinctual. It must be learned. That means that it must taught.
Natural horsemanship teaches boys how to properly use,and demonstrate affection. They learn how to properly use control and to set boundaries for the horse. They learn confidence in their ability to do something more significant than running up a good score on a computer game. They learn to be gentle. They learn that there is a time to be firm. They get exercise in the sunlight. It does not matter if they are great natural athletes.
They learn to love.
They learn to nurture. Let that sink in. They learn to nurture. Now ask yourself how one can be a good father without being a nurturing person.
Not enough people understand the importance of the reason that we practice natural horsemanship. It is not just to make better horses. It is to make better people
It's never too late. I am a much better person than I was before I became immersed in natural horsemanship. I have much less anger. My voice now is rarely raised but for the times that I yell out to a kid that he is doing a good job. I have learned to put the needs of others ahead of my self interest.
Do you want your little boy to grow up to be a good father to your grandchildren and a good husband to your daughter in law?
Then put him on a horse.
( I think that this is a vital topic. If you agree please share this post with friends and family and get it out in all the ways that a computer allows us to do.)
Friday, October 11, 2013
Legacy is now a solid trail horse for Samantha. This old post tells how he got started on that road.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...
Legacy is now a solid trail horse for Samantha. This old post tells how he got started on that road.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...
Thursday, October 10, 2013
There was not a lot of support for my insistence that we build a large porch on the tack shed. Its purpose was to have a good place to play music without having to go inside a building. My riders that did not play music could not understand why it is vital that such a structure exist. They were raised in modern homes without porches so I cannot fault them for not understanding the need for the cool comfort of a porch.
It has become a multi use structure. I got out to the horse lot a bit late last night. I found my porch occupied by eight sleeping little pigs, three Spanish goats, and Lydia dog.
They were performing accopella.
(Of course that word is spelled wrong. Pigs, dogs, and even goats are notoriously poor spellers.)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Horses are not carnivores and do not require a diet tremendously rich in protein. A diet consisting of a range of grasses, forage and hay creates manure that is lower in nitrogen and phosphorus than a diet based on grains.
Eating green is good for the horses, and the environment.
Monday, October 7, 2013
The feature that makes stables such a tremendous threat to a horse's physical and emotional health is the door.
Doors can be improved by removing them from their hinges and properly disposing of them.
If the door is entirely removed a stable changes from being a health hazard to being a merely superfluous indication of the barn owner's need to bow to conformity.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Over the past week our Marsh Tacky mare, Hickory Wind, arrived. The next day our new Baca stallion, El Rosio, arrived. Yesterday we were joined by a wonderful lady who has driven up from South Carolina after seeing the segment about us on the TV show "Wild About Animals". She will be spending the weekend and riding with us. Yesterday was the first day of a new program that we are having in association with the Veterans Hospital for soldiers who came home with wounds that could not be seen by the eye. It was a wonderful success.
Today we will start the first session of the fall segment of Youth Equine Challenge a program in conjunction with Together We Can that introduces teens to the healing and teaching power of natural horsemanship. This afternoon we will be joined by a lady who is coming up from North Carolina to ride with us and see how we do things. A reporter from a regional news paper will be spending the day with us.
A lot of people put a lot of work into what we do. We are going to do it better and we are going to do it bigger.
Friday, October 4, 2013
is dignity. Art carries the mark of dignity and trash takes the dignity out of the performance. Kids today have very poor examples to follow on stage. The music that they hear has been so electronically altered that their efforts to sound like the disk are disheartening.
Worst of all is the undignified movement on stage while performing. I do not mind kids smiling on stage. I cannot tolerate kids gyrating on stage.
Chin up. Look dignified. Get on key. Play the songs. Thank the audience. Then get off stage.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
In the face of understandable pessimism and serious setbacks among mustang preservationists we have our program on the road to substantial expansion.
In three days we obtained a stunning Marsh Tacky mare, the famed Baca stallion, El Rosio, bred Persa to Croatoan for a foal next year, and plan at least one more breeding before the frost comes on us. I anticipate expanding our herd to include one more rare Colonial Spanish horse in the immediate future. I recently got some great news from the doctor who told me that it was alright to go ahead and use my hands and lift and ride hard again.
And we are completely changing our structure. Tom Crockett has offered his expertise in helping non-profits grow and expand. He defines our mission simply, "Saving rare and endangered horses and improving the lives of young people."
I like that. A good phrase to live by and something that would look great on my tombstone if I was going to be buried.
(I have decided instead to simply be taken to a taxidermist when I die and made into a full shoulder mount to keep on the wall in the Little House. Perhaps we can put the phrase on a little plaque on the mounting board. Don't worry, specific instructions will be given to the taxidermist to put my false teeth in before I am mounted. Otherwise I might look a little creepy up there. The Deliverance look seems to intimidate the occasional child).
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
I have become seriously deconditioned over the past 14 months and am working to get myself back into solid riding condition. That requires strength and stamina in the core muscles.
One of the best exercises to help achieve that strength and stamina is to pound a heavy punching bag while moving rapidly around the suspended bag. The key is to use every bit of the upper body to throw the punch and to snap back into position after each set of combination blows.
Wear quality punching gloves and keep the wrist stable to prevent fractures.
It is also great aerobic conditioning and might just help keep you living long enough to see your granddaughter astride a wild stallion.
"I have seen The David.
I've seen the Mona Lisa too.
And I have seen Doc Watson play the Columbus Stockade Blues."
Guy Clarke, "Dublin Blues"
In one of the most significant events to occur since we began our program, El Rosio, Joty Baca's favorite stallion joined out herd last night. For decades the Baca family worked to preserve a spectacular strain of Colonial Spanish horse known as the Baca strain. Baca horses combine smooth gaits and stunning beauty with a gentle spirit and ease of training.
Mr. Baca died recently, but not before receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horse of the Americas Registry and a resolution of commemoration from the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. At his death only a handful of these extraordinary horses existed.
Stephanie Lockhart, Director of the Center for America's First Horse in Vermont assisted the family in seeking homes for these horses with the hope of keeping the Baca conservation effort going.
We are proud to be the new home of El Rosio. He will be available for breeding to the Baca mares on the east coast and will also be available for breeding at no charge to any HOA registered mare.
We will not use his offspring as part of the Corolla off site breeding program. Though the Corollas and Bacas are different strains of the same breed, Colonial Spanish horse, they differ in type so much that his use in the program would likely produce horses too tall and of a lighter, keener build than the Corollas.
Our effort to preserve the Corollas will not slow down. We have the honor of being able to work to further Joty Baca's dream and we will do that with the same commitment that we have for the Corollas.
I was honored to have this opportunity to help the horses, but I was even more honored to have the opportunity to assist a man whose life's work I greatly admired. Perhaps someone will do the same for me and my horses after I am gone.
An old Pentecostal hymn captures the spirit of carrying on that I hope to see imbued in all mustang preservation programs.
"Will we be missed when others replace us,
working in the fields that in springtime we have sown?
No, for we sowers shall pass from our labors
Only remembered for what we have done."
We have to be in this for the long haul. I intend to work to preserve these horse until I die, and I want to leave a foundation for others to build on after that.
That is what I expected to see hop out of the trailer last night, simply a physical manifestation of Joty Baca's work. But I saw much more.
I can love an ugly horse just as easily a a beautiful one. Looks never dazzled me.
Until last night. He looks like a horse from Greek mythology. His beauty goes beyond what I have ever seen in a horse. He is elegant. He is regal. He is more than I have ever seen in a horse.
I have never been in the presence of such beauty.
And keep in mind, like Guy Clarke, I have seen Doc Watson play the "Columbus Stockade Blues."