Monthly Archives: June 2007

Cantering without stirrups

Hey, I forgot to mention that I’ve been cantering Mo without stirrups!  How cool is that?  We just rock along (probably not today; the air quality is forecast to be very very bad) and I don’t have my feet in the stirrups and it’s just fine and dandy!  Hooray!

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Filed under Learning, Riding Skills

The Wild Wild West

I was watching an episode of The Wild Wild West last night and, of course, it was appallingly acted and written but way back, when that show was current, I thought it was soooo cooool!  Now that I am an adult and a callous sophisticate, even my favorite character, Artemus Gordon, seems two-dimensional.  And OMG the costumes! One extra wore an authentic-ish dress that looked sort of 1870s while the female lead wore things of the wrong era (a dress with an Empire waist in one scene and a down-market Liza-Doolittle-as-a-lady dress n’ hat combo  in the other scenes. Ah, it’s too easy to make fun of costumes of the past.  Have you watched The Ten Commandments lately?  No? Check out Ann Baxter as Nefertiri . I digress,  but that’s the way it is in movies and TV — the main characters wear clothes and hair that are more contemporary, while the extras are less attractively but more authentically costumed.

After my screed on costuming, I’ll spare you the details of  Night of the Two Legged Buffalo because the plot was so convoluted and bad that it’s not worth my time nor yours.  Suffice it to say that there was an Oscar Wilde effete*  sort of guy who was played by an actor named Nick Adams who led a short and colorful life and hung out with Elvis and James Dean. But in the ultimate “fight” scene of the episode, where Artie and Jim get the best of the bad guys, Adams stole the show by displaying derring-do from the back of a horse.

Instead of the expected cuts and close ups to make it look like the guy was riding the horse back and forth in the studio, the guy really was riding the horse back and forth in the studio, delivering his lines (maybe they were looped in later, I don’t know) from the back of an unhappy animal (you could see the whites of the poor things eyes), laughing manically, riding the horse almost into the fence, stopping, turning, and flapping the reins around.  Not riding well, mind you, but actually up on the horse, apparently without fear.  And Conrad was down there on the studio floor with the horse prancing about, keeping out of the way of Adams’ spear (Spear?  Yup. Never mind). So everything could have gone very poorly but seemingly did not since we have the episode in front of us to prove it.  I found the whole things suprising and fascinating and couldn’t take my eyes off of the horse sequence.  Like ….Wow!  It was scary!  Really scary!

 

 

 *Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Viewers with minds not unlike my own (in the gutter) should take in the gents’ mud-wrestling sequence (I kid you not) between a shirtless Robert Conrad and one of the “heavies” in the episode.  Oh, and Artie wore a sarong for most of the show (also part of the plot) so there were plenty of bare chests to go around. 

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Just Say Moe

Just Say Moe

It’s funnier if you remember when Nancy Reagan was First Lady. Lee Atwater, that scamp, once  appeared in public wearing a “Just Say Moe” t-shirt.

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Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards

My friend Dawn loaned me a copy of Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards.  Damn! It’s  one of those can’t-put-it-down books!  I sat up very late on Friday night and read and read until I got to the end.  And yes, I was tearing up and snuffling a bit. 

An abused animal walks into Susan’s life in a way she didn’t control or expect.  Susan was responding to a plea from her local SPCA to take in one of several confiscated animals and wound up with Lay Me Down, an emaciated mare in the company of possibly the world’s meanest foal.  Through the help of horse-savy friends and her own expertise, Susan returns the mare to health (the foal was given to a vet per judge’s orders and Susan and her conferederates considered stealing it — but off it went).

In the meantime, Susan learns tons about herself.  Yes, she’d been on the road to self-discovery for many years and Lay Me Down was not her first horse.  Her first horse was a “gift” from an insane relative  — an out-of-control pony. Susan was five and when the relative handed her the lead rope and said, “Her name is Bunty,” leaving the child “alone with a chain saw.” Susan’s had horses her whole life since then so is no stranger to them and their dangers and their healings.  But Lay Me Down seems to have brought Susan across the last hurdle into that club we all yearn to join, the Club of the Fully Human.

I am amazed at Susan’s self-revelations.  She’s unsparing in describing her childhood, a twisted mixture of priviledge and complete torment, and yet she never lets herself off the hook by blaming others. On the other hand, the picture of the  total weirdness of her family is full of OMG! moments so yeah, they deserve some blame.  But Susan takes the responsibility squarely on herself for her own actions.

Enter Lay Me Down.  Lay Me Down is sweet. Caring. Gentle. Ful of love and full of patience. Lay Me Down is battered by Susan’s alpha mare Georgia, but first loved by the gelding Hotshot.  Lay Me Down gets healthy and puts on weight.  She’ll never be ridden or worked because she’s so lame, but she’s warming Susan up inside. Lay Me Down warmed me up inside too.

But it’s bittersweet.  Lay Me Down is not long for this world.  Susan is faced with a hard choice for which there is no right or wrong answer.  She makes her decision when it has to be made and she does the best she can — and probably the right thing, to boot.  The moment of the greatest sorrow provides her with release from the central issue of childhood and also the greatest moment of hope.

On a side note, if it takes a village to raise a child, then it also takes a herd of people to help a horse.  In all of this, Susan is aided by her healer pal Allie, a variety of vets, a trailer-driving couple, and finally, the man who digs the hole.

It’s a good book.  Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards.

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Krazy Gabby Girl

“She’s a nice horse,” said one of my fellow students.

“She’s not a nice horse,” I said.

“Yes she is.”

No, she’s not. Gabby is not a nice horse.  She’s beautiful.  She’s drop-dead beautiful.  She has lovely eyes and a soft, soft coat and she’s just dazzling, dazzling — but nice? Nope.  Not nice.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched another student chum, Audrey,  ride Gabby during a lesson.  I’m not entirely sure what happened, but Gabby did a strange little hop and splayed out her legs.  It ended well enough and Audrey did not come off of Gabby, but she was a bit scared and made mention of her pounding heart.   Later, during that same lesson, Gabby became overheated and did not sweat. Perhaps she forgot?  Forgot how to sweat?  Somehow, I wouldn’t doubt it. Audrey got her  hosed  off and all’s well that ends well and all that — but somehow this didn’t suprise me that the horse wasn’t sweating.  Naturally she wasn’t sweating.  Sweating would be too easy.

A few days later, Audrey was riding Gabby again. The lesson was over and I was on the ground when I saw what looked like a bit of blue fluff on Gabby’s face.  Stepping forward to brush it away, I noticed that the fluff was thread — Gabby had a couple of stitches over her left eye. 

What a suprise.  Stitches over her left eye.  Hm.  Wonder how that happened?  Did the horse maybe get excited and crash her head against something, eh?

A few days after that, Gabby bucked during a lesson and tossed another classmate onto the ground.  I heard Betsy make a noise (a noise I have made myself) and then I saw her go up and then she went down, bam, on her left side.  Hell’s fire.  Gabby wandered around until someone could grab her.  I hate to admit it, but there was no way I was going to get off of Mopey and try to grab Gabby — at least while Leah and one of the grooms were around.  If there’d been no one about, I would have done something. So now Bets is up and around and using a crutch.  As of yesterday, the doctor was thinking it was a cracked femur but Bets is thinking bruised femur.  At the time of the incident, she was worried about going off over the top of Gabby’s head (I know this feeling also) or perhaps into the fence post, so she she tried to hang on with her legs while a much more powerful force of gravity was sending her onto the ground.

I’m sorry, but Gabby is not a nice horse.  “Nice” is the wrong, wrong word. Gabby may be all gorgeous and stuff, but the damn horse is a pain.  Thank goodness stronger and bolder riders than myself love riding her.

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Krazy Mo Boy

You know what that little buzzard did to me yesterday?  He bit me!!! Me!!! The one who leases him and puts linament on his feet and pays for his hoof care and buys special horse vitamins and brings graham crackers — yeah, me! He bit me! OK, it was more of a nip.  No broken skin and unless you look real close and use your imagination, you can’t really see the damage.  In fact, you can’t see the damage at all. I’m trying right now and I can tell that there’s a little patch of dry skin on my right forearm that might or might not be left over from the nip.  And honestly, it felt like a good pinch.  Still.

And today, he was spooking like crazy.  Yes, things were a little different at the barn; there’s a new groom and the Horse Dentist was there to float teeth so there were different sounds, different people moving around, etc, so Mo felt it was a good time to get all jumpy on me. Leah says this is good.  He feels good and he’s acting like he should, instead of acting like a tired bump on a tired log.  And he feels good because I’m leasing him, working him, giving him vitamins, putting stuff on his feet, etc etc.  Good deeds, eh?  You try to keep an animal healthy and what does he do?  He goes and acts like an animal on you.

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