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2007 Columns

Pat or Rub, Does it Matter?

     My son was visiting, and after dinner we were standing outside the restaurant, talking a few minutes before going different directions. Bob had his arm around my shoulder, now and then giving me a strong, loving pat. His wife walked up, touched his hand and said with a smile, “Don’t be hitting on your Mom; it’s better to caress than pat!”

     I couldn’t help laughing. Kim didn’t realize she sounded like Pat Parelli talking about horses! Don’t pat your horse, he says, rub the neck or forehead; nuzzle like a mare.(More)

Counting Blessings

     November is the perfect time to count our blessings. It’s when families get together for that big thanksgiving feast, and those relationships are probably the greatest blessings we have. But not everyone has a family or even food to eat.

     Blessings come from different reasons, but mostly because of God’s mercy and not because we deserve them. Blessings don’t come because we go to Church and put a check in the collection plate. We are blessed because He is a loving, compassionate, benevolent God. His love for us is a blessing in itself. And He blesses us that we can share with others, to bless them also. I expect, when my family comes for Thanksgiving, that we may see my grandchildren enjoying a few horseback rides.  (More)

HAY There…Where Are You?

     With four horses, we use a bale of hay a day. We used to buy a year’s supply at a time from a farmer who stored it for us. It was an economical arrangement that gave us a sense of security and monthly back aches moving it! Then the farmer’s hay field was plowed up to plant corn.

     Now we rely on a hay farmer’s regular delivery to our stable. We pay more per bale, but save time, energy and gas money. He told someone last month that he usually harvests about 16,000 bales a year.  This year, it was only 10,000 bales. The April freeze slowed pasture and crop growth, then the severe drought and hot temperatures this summer really held back the hay crop, and I still haven’t heard if he was able to get a fifth cutting. I did hear that he was out of large round bales after his last delivery.(More)

Old Habits Die Hard!

     With the worst heat of the year behind us (hopefully), maybe we can get back to serious riding! One of my “projects” is to work on changing a particular habit that is bothering me.

     I have a tendency to tighten up when a situation gets scary and that sometimes causes trouble. Don’t suppose anyone else has that problem, hmm? I have become aware of this tendency because when Cynthia Medina rides with me, she TELLS me!(More)

Lady Wouldn’t Go!

    We’ve all probably been there. Something doesn’t go right and you lose your patience.  After the first show this year with Lady, when she loaded into the trailer without hesitation, I sorta hoped she might load like that again for the next show. No such luck!

     I woke up that morning feeling less than eager, just not quite “in the zone.” I guess I was tired. I was ready to go to a horse show, however!  Everything was packed carefully and everything had been double checked. The forecast of possible rain was recorded in my brain, but I was determined to go until developments went otherwise.(More)

Lady’s Day at the Show

     My first experience with horse shows many years ago made me think I’d never try again. Not at all what I enjoyed, partly because my horse ran away with me in a pleasure class! Fanny did better with competitive trail riding and I got hooked on that. Our horses, you see, often lead us in directions we wouldn’t choose otherwise. (More)

Keeping Rocky’s Attention...

     Several past columns have touched on de-spooking and fearfulness in riders and horses, but I just have to share one more experience in this realm of training thought! After two years of dealing with my own fearfulness (after Lady’s first ride down the road, meeting a big noisy dumpster truck and surviving her fast spin), I feel I’m finally starting to “come back” to more normal levels of caution and courage!  (More)

Horse Issues:  Deal With It!

     Every horse has issues.  As owners, riders, or handlers, we have to deal with those issues. Time after time, as I search for help regarding a problem, I am always impressed with one common answer. Go back to the basics, find the “holes” in the training process, break the training goal into very small steps and have lots of patience!

     When my husband buys a horse, I end up trying to “fix” the current problem to make that horse safer and easier to ride.  In the process, I feel I have benefited by learning more about horse training, by having more things to write about, and feeling the satisfaction of seeing improvement in the horse. Only thing is, I end up with more horses! And now we have four. Yes, four. Two senior citizens with four horses, in a boarding stable, on self care. Now you know for sure that we are nuts! (More)

Dude’s Birthday

     I had a dream. It was powerfully vivid and emotionally wrenching, a product of deep feelings pushed aside and not faced for much too long. I dreamed about a horse named Little War Dude, who was born April 15, 1977. Dude would be 30 years old this month and I haven’t seen him for many years. Dude’s mother was my special Fanny, the subject of my first book. And Dude is in the book, too. He was the only horse I ever raised from birth and I did much of his training myself.

     Dude was a bit lazy and I liked a horse with more “go.” I had one bad experience the first time I took him away from home and it stayed with me. Riding past a pig pen, on a narrow trail between a fence and a corn field, Dude spooked and when both reins snapped, I ended up on the ground.  (More)

Love is the Answer!

     We’ve owned “Lady” for 3 years now. You probably know the story: my husband bought her at the Illinois Horse Fair. It was love at first sight, no questions asked (while I stood stunned beyond belief).

     Walker’s Velvet Queen lives up to her name. She is a black Tennessee Walker, an alpha mare, a bit headstrong and a very fast thinker. Russ soon decided he didn’t want to deal with her strong minded ways. I tried to “fix” her so he could ride her as planned, and when I couldn’t, we traded her off for a nice little gaited gelding.  Two weeks later, we drove all the way back to Kentucky and traded back. We had decided to keep her, for me, and get something else for him with a better attitude.  (More)

Can Spring Be Far?

     For some reason, my husband doesn’t enjoy mucking stalls, emptying muck buckets and carrying water when it’s cold, raining, snowing or icy. Now he says he’d like to store the horses in a box over the winter and bring them out after the weather becomes pleasant enough for riding. But of course horses don’t fit in a box!

     I want to deal with the question, “What can I do with my horse in the winter, when I can’t ride?” That might be the wrong question. The fact is: many people do ride in cold weather. But for those who don’t, there are many other things we can do with our horses now that would increase our riding pleasure in the spring. A better question might be, “Why don’t I do something with my horse?” (More)

2006 Columns

2005 and Earlier Columns

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