Category Archives: Horses

Compassion

Compassion

“‘He abused me, she struck me, he overpowered me, she robbed me.’
Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.
‘He abused me, she struck me, he overpowered me, she robbed me.’
Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.”

~The Buddha
from the Dhammapada

Yet we keep saying it, don’t we dears? Complainin’ about what this or that one said or did to us.
And the Buddha tells us it is so counter-productive – we just feel worse when we think that way.

But when we do not think that way – when we offer loving-kindnes towards those who speak
ill of us, or harm us in some way, our own happiness grows. Amazing!

~dg

[My teacher]
Karma Sherab Drolma
A great reminder, at a great time for everyone.

Animals on the way to work

So many different kinds of animals! Here are a couple of pictures from the drive on Tuesday.

Rodeo in Spearfish

Bucking Horse

in Spearfish SD. March 26 2012 was great fun.

I learned how not to take action shots indoors. Out of over 800 photos, i got about four that the viewer could tell that the photo had been taken at a rodeo. I called Canon, and their tech help line was great! Next rodeo will be different. Shooting in an indoor arena is much different than an outdoor arena like there is in AZ

 

 

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Apples

A great pony from the past. Apples ran barrels and poles like the wind, better really since the wind can’t turn on a dime and give you back change.
Pony Jumping

Apples

Barrel Racing

Apples

Even though she was only 12.2 hands tall, she could jump 3’4″ constantly. When I outgrew her, I used her as a lesson horse for kids who wanted to learn to jump and/or compete in Gymkhanas.  
Apples

A special horse

Hawkeye & the Author competing in obstacle driving

Hawkeye & the Author competing in obstacle driving. Hawkeye is the amazing horse who I base all my thoughts and writing about Brody's horse "Archer" in my stories.

Hawkeye, Horse Extraordinaire

This and the photo at the top of my blog, is Hawkeye. He was a palomino, half-Arabian x Appaloosa. He could do anything, and most things he did well enough to win if we were competing. He drove single or as half of a pair when I had young horses I was teaching to drive too.  At those times, I called him my ‘Anchor’. He’d pull anything you hooked him to, including a motorcycle from the mud in the river bed. He would obey voice commands or even just my body language, even if i was dozens of feet away from him. I used him to compete in anything obstacle, driving or riding, pleasure driving, log pulling and competitive trail rides.

He also jumped anything you aimed him at and I showed him in hunter/jumper classes. He didn’t show well in pleasure classes. The judges said he was too animated for Western classes, and not animated enough for English. For driving he had the best ‘hang time’ in his extended trot of any horse I ever saw.

I got Hawkeye when he was a month old, for a high school graduation present. When the woman that owned the mare got the money, she took the mare away from him and left him orphaned at the breeder’s ranch, where I worked at the time and raised him until he was three months old. Then I took him home and his training started then, I literally bomb proofed him. I wanted to prove that Arabs didn’t have to be flighty crazy horses. When someone, usually a kid, would get lost in the riverbed or desert by where we lived, I always participated in the search with Hawkeye. In the middle of the night, with choppers hovering over our head to tell us to meet up, or that the kid had been found, didn’t ruffle him. Once, we saw a hot air balloon coming down in the desert and raced to where it would crash. It barely missed a saguaro, and the balloon pulled it along the ground for a hundred feet, but the people were okay, and I got to have Champaign with them to celebrate a successful, though unplanned, landing.  It was the only time I had Champaign. Must be an acquired taste.

When he was 24 I retired him to someone with a barn that wanted to learn to drive a cart because they couldn’t ride anymore. I had gotten married and moved, and we no longer had horse property. That’s a mistake for another blog.

Hawkeye, Mia at the reins

Hawkeye, Mia at the reins

The Author’s Own Riding Experience and Horses

Since I am writing about characters that ride horseback, much the same way, and doing the same things I did, I thought I’d post a picture from time to time. Although I never ran into a secret lab underground in the desert and got captured by a mad scientist, but I had great fun and most of the time during those 30 years, I was on a saddle from before sunrise to after sunset, and in the summer we really did go on moonlit, midnight ‘weenie rides’ just like Quirt lead Brody and Suki on in the first book, ‘Rattlesnake’. We’d be out all night, riding, and only stopping long enough to road some hot dogs on paloverde tree sicks.  Pictured is me and ‘Robby’ a horse given to me for ‘experience’. He was a ring-soured dressage horse and I was to put some rough miles on him to show what work really was. And boy did I!

Mia riding Robby

Mia riding Robby

Staying out of a horse’s dance space

While in the saddle, if you ‘stay in the middle with your legs on both sides’, you can usually make it safely through anything that happens. A good rider uses balance and mindfulness, not muscle.

But in some ways, handling a horse from the ground is more dangerous than being in the saddle. When you’re working with animals on the ground it’s like ‘dancing’ with a thousand-pound unpredictable animal – with very hard feet.

Even if you’ve been around horses all your life or perhaps especially if you’ve been around them all your life, you know how unpredictable they can be, given the right circumstances. And still, because you’ve been around them a long time, you become lax in your handling of them. It works out fine, most of the time.

Even the animals that seem mean to us humans, never start the day thinking, “I’m gonna get him today.” Many new horse owners are clueless about an animal’s nature or its natural ability to hurt you without trying to and if someone is hurt, they blame the horse, ‘oh that’s a baaaaad horse!’.

So many animal owners seem to have been raised in a Disney movie, where all the animals sing and just love ‘people’ and will save ‘people’ from danger. I read once it’s called anthropomorphize or something.

Animals start off pretty neutral. It’s how humans interact with them that makes them seem a certain way. One of the basic horsemanship rules is ‘don’t ever stand directly in front of a horse’ and newbie dudes often follow that rule better than the old hands.

Allowing a horse to man-handle a human even in a way that seems affectionate or harmless can lead to problems. Horses don’t rub on people because they like them. They do it because they itch and they’re just using their human for a scratching post. Horses should respect their humans more than that. Given the right circumstances, not respecting their humans space could result in the injury of the human or even the horse.

Allowing a horse to be too close or too ‘familiar’ can result in the animal thinking he can be too close at other times and even try to dominate their human as though they were another horse. If they are too close and they are spooked by something for example, they horse could just run over the human to get away. Horses bang and bump on each other all the time in a herd. The horse must never think you are part of his or her herd.

Brody lets his horse, Archer get away with breaking all the rules sometimes, but the teenager is athletic and most of the time, can get out of the way. He and Archer also have an unusual understanding between them, and even the horse seems to know when it’s important to respect Brody’s space. Not everyone is as athletic or strong as Brody is, and not all horses are as well mannered as Archer is.

If rules are broken, sometimes . . . there is no place to go to get out of the way.

Being in a horse’s dance space

While in the saddle, if you ‘stay in the middle with your legs on both sides’, you can usually make it safely through anything that happens. A good rider uses balance and mindfulness, not muscle.

But in some ways, handling a horse from the ground is more dangerous than being in the saddle. When you’re working with animals on the ground it’s like ‘dancing’ with a thousand-pound unpredictable animal – with very hard feet.

Even if you’ve been around horses all your life or perhaps especially if you’ve been around them all your life, you know how unpredictable they can be, given the right circumstances. And still, because you’ve been around them a long time, you become lax in your handling of them. It works out fine, most of the time.

Even the animals that seem mean to us humans, never start the day thinking, “I’m gonna get him today.” Many new horse owners are clueless about an animal’s nature or its natural ability to hurt you without trying to and if someone is hurt, they blame the horse, ‘oh that’s a baaaaad horse!’.

So many animal owners seem to have been raised in a Disney movie, where all the animals sing and just love ‘people’ and will save ‘people’ from danger. I read once it’s called anthropomorphize or something.

Animals start off pretty neutral. It’s how humans interact with them that makes them seem a certain way. One of the basic horsemanship rules is ‘don’t ever stand directly in front of a horse’ and newbie dudes often follow that rule better than the old hands.

Allowing a horse to man-handle a human even in a way that seems affectionate or harmless can lead to problems. Horses don’t rub on people because they like them. They do it because they itch and they’re just using their human for a scratching post. Horses should respect their humans more than that. Given the right circumstances, not respecting their humans space could result in the injury of the human or even the horse.

Allowing a horse to be too close or too ‘familiar’ can result in the animal thinking he can be too close at other times and even try to dominate their human as though they were another horse. If they are too close and they are spooked by something for example, they horse could just run over the human to get away. Horses bang and bump on each other all the time in a herd. The horse must never think you are part of his or her herd.

Brody lets his horse, Archer get away with breaking all the rules sometimes, but the teenager is athletic and most of the time, can get out of the way. He and Archer also have an unusual understanding between them, and even the horse seems to know when it’s important to respect Brody’s space. Not everyone is as athletic or strong as Brody is, and not all horses are as well mannered as Archer is.

If rules are broken, sometimes . . . there is no place to go to get out of the way.

Why I’m trying to write

People with horses and mules

A few of the folks I used to ride with a lot. There were many others too, and I enjoyed riding alone sometimes. I’m the only one on a horse on this ride. Photo by Barbara.

I never saw myself as a writer at all, [still don’t]  but, I wanted badly to tell about the adventures I had those three decades and after 30+ years I learned a little about a lot

I don’t want to write a ‘how to’ book. Everyone knows, or thinks they know ‘how to’, including me.

2004 or so, I started writing down some of my experiences and stories that were in my head, but couldn’t get anyone online to read and critique what I wrote.

In about 2008 I started writing fan fiction, I rode on the wings of one show that was already popular, and another that only had a small, cult following. I often heard that someone started watching that show, after they found and read one of my fan stories. It was great fun and a learned a lot about writing that way.

I like stories with a lot of danger and adventure. I loved Johnny Quest, and it is still a title in my video collection.  More recently, I had a lot of fun going along as photographer on a local Arizona’s town ghost hunts and helping the tour owner.

The stories that I’m writing contain adventures and situations that I actually experienced, with fictional twists that include ghost hunting, bad guys and maybe a tiny amount of romance. [Something I was sorely lacking during that time.]

The books are not about me or even a character based on me, but the characters are based on a combination of people I knew and rode with. With a little of me and things I did, thrown in sometimes.

For my stories I made them teens and one had to be wealthy to finance their adventures. The horses are based on horses I owned and what they do is, or refuse to do is actually what happened.

As long as what i write reads smoothy, keeps interest [at least my own] and the action is perceived clearly – I’m happy.

Those were the best days – and I am enjoying remembering them as I write these stories.

Mia