Tuesday, July 23, 2019

No Need To Stay A Novice

And Brooke proves that. In a variety of fields, and for a variety of reasons, (none of them good), instructors make the subject matter seem harder than it really is.

Intellectually, riding is simple. Instinctively riding is hard. The same instincts that draw us into a fetal position to protect our internal organs help put us on the ground when fear joins us in the saddle.

People , especially riding instructors, don't like to hear it, but the best way to learn to ride is to ride, and ride, and ride, and ride. Heavy mileage in the saddle creates strength, balance and muscle memory.

Over the last several months Brooke has progressed from complete beginner to an endurance conditioning rider. And she is a strong student of natural horsemanship.

And that matters too. Being able to effectively understand horses does nearly as much to keep one out of the hospital as being able to effectively ride horses.

Learn what you need to learn. Believe what you have learned. Apply what you have learned.

Then ride, and ride, and ride....and then start riding really hard.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

How to Use This Blog

Those of you who have read every post in this blog, from beginning to end, know as much about our program and its development as do those who participate every week. That makes for a lot of reading. Will take a while to get it done, but if you are interested in these horses, or any horses, or any kids it is time well spent.

A more efficient way to dig into the blog is to use the search box on the lower right corner and search topics of interests.

Let me suggest some search terms that might be useful:

Natural horsemanship
Natural horse care
Heritage breeds
round pen
Marsh Tacky
Grand Canyon
Horse of The Americas
Spanish mustang
Hog Island
Spanish goats

What we do is big and broad. Breed conservation is our focus and we have built a many programs that draw people in to see these rare, nearly extinct breeds of heritage horses and livestock.

Not a lot of places out there that use dulcimers to help prevent the extinction of Banker horses.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Rebound

You spend much of the week preparing for a sentencing in the brutal beating death of a five year old boy..

                                            and then you see this picture

You spend more of that week preparing for a hearing on the slaughter of an 82 year old women and her fifty four year old son....

                                              and then you see this picture.

You teach a session that includes the mention of an abused child  kept at times in a cage only to come home and see hundreds of children in  cages in America....

                                              and then you see this picture.

You are wrapping up final preparation for a meeting with a defense attorney in a double homicide and there is a phone call that someone forgot to close  a gate and some horses are out...

                                              and then you see this picture.

You realize that the discussion that you had that morning with your wife about taking a trip to Yellowstone can never happen  because there are too many fires to be put out at the horse lot on a near daily basis...

                                              and then you see this picture.

You set down to play music and no matter what you do it does not sound right....

                                              and then you see this picture.

You stand your schedule on its nose and twist it around as if it were doing yoga to accommodate the schedules of  others.... 
                                               and then you see this picture.

You find out that you forgot your 34th wedding anniversary because the only  dates that fill your head are the dates that you have to be at conferences, arrange to get horses, goats and hogs transported from here to there and back, make sure that the sales tax is paid on time, make sure that the corporate organizational meeting happens on time, make sure that the horse trailer gets inspected on time, make sure that you have completed research for a presentation that does not involve horses on time, make sure that you complete the book review and magazine article that you are working on on time, and make sure that you remember to have Terry reschedule your eye doctor appointment to another time....

                                                 and then you see this picture.

And you look at the picture for a while and then you go get every thing done that must be done.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Where I Belong

Today I spoke at the "Intersections of Violence: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Conference." I described how we use horses and prey animal body language to help those with PTSD and to help victims work though the legal system.

It has been about 15 years since I presented my first such session. Training law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, and all people who communicate with severely traumatized people would be a wonderful way to wrap up my career as a prosecutor.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Look Closely at the "Pasture" Behind This Horse

This picture is about a decade old, well before we began using microbial pasture generation and sprinkling system. High run off, soil erosion, mud, dust, and prolific weed production characterized the land.

Eventually the benefits that the soil on the old land have received will show up on the new land.

All of this change is without the use of chemical fertilizers and poisons.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Going Down That Long Road Again

For over fifteen years I have been putting kids on Colonial Spanish horses and teaching them the pure joy of hard riding-- hours on end, deep in the woods, in cut over, swamps, and hardwood forests.

 For nearly that long I have been putting old fashioned stringed instruments in kids' hands and teaching them the pure joy of playing music hard--hours on end, in churches, on porches, on stage, and around fire pits.

We even teach a little history. This shot is from the construction of our Choctaw chickee .  We are tying cat tails that the kids planted and cut to the roof of the that my daughter and grand children worked to assemble.

Knowing that I will likely be doing this for another fifteen or twenty years is one of the best reasons to stay healthy that I can think of.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fighting for Your Health

The older one gets the harder it is to make time to ride hard and to care for one's self nutritionally. Little aches and pains don't go away as quickly as they once did.

But, resilience can come with age. And health benefits come with pushing yourself. For the past several years I have been putting more time into soil and water conservation and teaching and less time in the saddle. The result was that I was becoming a poor rider and riding was becoming very uncomfortable to me. In fact, it was causing enough pain so that I considered the possibility that age had caught up to me. (In six months I will be sixty.)

I feared that I was at the point that many riders slow down (give up) and settle into a life of surrendering to arthritis and obesity.

In June I jumped back into riding longer distances at a trot and canter. I put a lot of time on a particular mare, Janie, primarily of Grand Canyon and Choctaw lineage. Morning rides before work, several after work rides during the week and heavier mileage on the weekends are turning her into the super horse that I know that she can be.

Heavy mileage and a ketogenic based diet have done wonders for my mind and my body. Heavy miles, carrying a heavy rider, while eating a lot of vegetable oil has transformed Janie too. She has put on 85 pounds of muscle since we began to ride hard.

Don't give in just because riding makes you sore. Check with your Dr. first. I hope that you have a Dr. who understands riding and just what a horse can do for a person's metal state. If the Dr. gives the go ahead set a big goal. Keep records. Achieve your goal. Ride when it is hot. Ride when it is cold. Ride when it is raining. Ride when it is dry. Ride in the morning. Ride at dusk.

Everything changes when you ride hard enough.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Mill Swamp Indian Horses Summer Program: Environmental Protection and Pasture Enhancement

Yesterday's summer program focused on the application and creation of non-chemical microbial fertilizer. The resulting product provides forage for millions of earthworms, each of which work hard to increase water absorption, decrease runoff, and increase pasture production.

Koreans have used these techniques and have mastered the fine points of microbial farming. We have not done so. However, even our crude efforts to enhance microbial development have yielded tremendous benefit to the soil.

A week ago we fenced in a small section of pasture that was a bit over grown with weeds. Our Scottish Highland cattle made short work of the weeds. While in the small enclosur,e they seeded the soil with bacteria, fungi, and enzymes from their manure, hooves and saliva. The chickens and turkeys were attracted to the area and they brought with them additional species of microbes.

We then applied liquid fertilizer that we made last summer.  We put sprinklers over the area to insure that the fertilizer reached into the soil (We are going through a hot, dry spell. Otherwise I would have skipped this step.)

We then began to make additional microbial fertilizer. We pulled up hundreds of cockle bur weeds that had not yet gone to seed. We gathered leaf mold, loaded with beneficial fungi, from beneath pine trees and supplemented that with leaf mold from beneath hard wood trees to provide additional bacterial growth. Next we sealed in cooked rice and spoiling fruit rinds with vermicompost and the plant molds to grow for a while.

The weeds sit in a covered barrel waiting to be covered this morning with water, a handful of cattle mineral, and a handful or two of corn. I will then add in the rice, leaf mold, vermicompost and fruit rind mixture. The barrel will be sealed and in less than a week intense fomentation will begin.

At that point we will mix the brew with water in a ratio of about 5-1 water to fertilizer and we will be able to apply it directly to the pastures. If past experience holds, I will see little change in the pastures for several months, but by the time the cool season grasses start coming in strong in early fall the increase in microbes in the soil will be significant.