Posts Tagged horses

Mother’s Day Roundup

think you can stop one of these horses when it wants to run away?  How about three of them without halters?

think you can stop one of these horses when it wants to run away? How about three of them without halters?

There are times in my life, when I feel no one else in the world—or very few people—are doing what I am doing at that exact moment. I once assured my lawyer that I was his only client that day—or ever—cleaning the inside of a horse’s sheath (the tubular skin that houses the penis). He agreed. I often told myself that no other CEO’s were mucking horse manure, when I had to do that chore.

I was reminded four days ago of those rare and special moments. Strange how many of them involve horses. We left the house just in time to head for my mother-in-law’s Mother’s Day lunch at her nursing home. Well into her 80’s, she is easily unsettled if we are late to the dining room. Just as we were about to drive off, I heard that a pair of sunglasses was missing. “Grandma is going to be upset,” I announced. And I waited for my passenger to make the trip back inside to search for the needed opticals. Thank goodness for this few seconds delay.

When we finally set off, I looked to the left and saw three Cleveland Bay horses staring at us from the driveway. It took me a few seconds to realize they had escaped from their fenced-in pasture. The last time this happened, two of them were in open fields and took almost an hour to round up. They looked great cantering through the tall summer grass. But it’s no joke if they make it to the road and are hit by a car.

this gives you an idea how big  a Cleveland Bay horse is

this gives you an idea how big a Cleveland Bay horse is

Now we had three mares wondering how they got there and what they should do. I quickly made a sharp turn to block one stone-wall opening, hopped out of the car, and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the lead mare from going though the other opening of our circular driveway and head down toward the road. Did you ever try to stop a 16-hand-high frolicking horse with your bare hands? Helluva trick. Impossible. “Grandma is really going to be pissed,” I thought.

“How did they get out?” my daughter asked innocently. “Doesn’t matter now,” I blurted, “We have to get them back inside.” You can really see the pragmatist side of me in moments like this one.I raced the car to the barn, picked out some neck ropes and threw grain into a bucket.”This is going to be quite a trick,” I thought, running through the fields after “wild” horses in my loafers and dress-up clothes.

But miraculously, shaking the grain bucket worked like a snake charmer. Those horses heard that food 200 yards away and came right back toward the barn. My daughter blocked one other passageway by standing in it with both arms spread out asking, “What do I do if they charge me?” “Get out of the way,” I told her, as I put a neck rope around one horse chomping grain and led her into the stable. The other two followed automatically. All three horses were soon in their stalls, and we were driving towards Grandma’s luncheon.

The whole incident lasted less than 10 minutes. We couldn’t believe what had just happened, and it all seemed surreal. Now who do you know who started their Mother’s Day like that? A small adventure in a somewhat special day made even more special and unforgettable, because someone left open a gate and someone else wanted her sunglasses. The difference a few seconds can make. If we had left an instant earlier, no one would have been there to stop those horses from running free all over the farm and maybe into the road. Lucky break.

I was proud that I knew what to do, was unafraid to do it, and saw that it worked. A non-event if you are a rancher or handling horses every day. But I am not and don’t, and was pleased how far I’d come from a small house on Miami Beach, where I grew up with frogs and pollywogs.

What did you do on Mother’s Day? Chase any horses? Wrestle some alligators?

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Uplifting Splendor Of Friesian Horses In Motion

My friend Carolyn wrote, “This video is for a horse lover like you. This was my fantasy horse when I was 9. Still is.” Even if you are not into horses, the magnificence and poetic, flowing motion of these Friesians will lift your spirits and bring you close to flowing tears. In the midst of bad news and a down couple of days, I am positively grateful for this gift from a friend in California.

Here is some background:

The Koninklijk Friesch Paarden-Stamboek (Dutch: Royal Friesian Horse Studbook (KFPS) is the oldest studbook in the Netherlands and promotes the interests of the Friesian horse. The KFPS has been realizing this by the meticulous registration of Friesian horses since the time it was founded in 1879. In addition, the KFPS has established a breeding program to maintain and further refine the unique characteristics of the Friesian horse.

The KFPS is an international studbook with 15,000 members of which almost half are located outside of the Netherlands. Friesian horses can be found on every continent and in more than fifty countries.

The interest in the Friesian horse has exploded in recent decades. As a result, the breed now has a population of 60,000 registered horses. More and more horse lovers are impressed by their regal bearing, their suitability for both recreational and professional equestrian sports, and their friendly character.

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Three Encounters With Animal Synchronizations And Freedom

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.

Three animal encounters all happened last week that merge in my mind and involve coordinated movement of birds, fish and horses. You decide if my capture of “wild” horses qualifies as an “athletic achievement.”

The video above (start at 30 seconds) of a murmuration (flock of starlings) was sent to me by my cousin Alan. Of course I thought how much the birds looked like a school of fish, which also move together with millisecond feedback responses.

Then I reread the short story Mar Nueva by Mark Helprin in his collection The Pacific about an 11-year-old boy who fishes off a Mediterranean dock. Helprin writes:

“In the deep and luminous world of the sea, fleets of huge fish circle the globe, neither breaking the surface nor touching bottom but suspended in silent layers of shadowy green and blue, rising a mile or falling two, fighting noiseless battles in great societies of which we have never even dreamed.

school of bluefins

…a vast school of bluefin passed by…the waves were broken by their churning, and they crowded the entire bay, seething underwater for as far as I could see. For all I knew, the school was as wide as five days’ sailing and as long as ten…”

The boy catches 30 bluefin that he tethers to the pier. “They weighed as much as I did (up to 110 pounds)…I was afraid to fall among them. I even wondered if they might destroy the pier…I had a strong urge to let them go. Because freedom can be understood only as the absence of restraint…I valued freedom insufficiently…their movements were so sad and aimless that I knew I had to cut them loose…they had become as patient as dogs on a hot afternoon.” When freed, “they would circle in confusion among the pilings until they found an opening to the sea and sped away.”

Then two days ago I looked out my second floor window to the hayfield and saw two horses roaming freely in the five-foot high grass, giddy escapees from their customary paddock. Needing to corral them before they ran down the road to passing cars or into the forest to be lost for hours, I entered the field, while a friend with grain in flip flops at the edge told me where they were in the uneven terrain. With both arms out wide like a living cross, I attempted to aim them back towards the barn, but they kept turning in perfect synchronization, left, right, back, left, right. In the undulating terrain, they would disappear for long periods, and my higher-perched friend would yell me their location. A stranger appeared who though concerned was also delighted like the horses: “Free and wild, free and wild,” she sang out melodiously while smiling. She turned out to be a substitute vet.

imagine chasing two of these giants (5.5 feet tall to the back) in an open field

Though I did hear crashing in the forest, it must have been deer, because I eventually found the horses, who had exited one end of the field through a barway in the stone wall and were eating grass on the lawn near the vegetable garden. With grain in hand, I was able to seduce these giant Cleveland Bays to let me close enough to rope their necks and return them to their stalls. On the way, I could see the break in the fence, where they had pushed past a rotten post while leaning over the wood for fresh grass. The whole adventure lasted under an hour, filled with tension, beauty, and the sensation of being in a dream, a hair commercial, and an outtake for the movie, Horse Whisperer. Wish these magical moments of poetry and challenge had been filmed. Above is a generic photo of what these rare, endangered horses look like.

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18 Reasons Why Riding A Horse IS Better Than Sex

A horse-farm owner named Fiona L”Estrange, who is also an FEI dressage rider and also teaches and trains sent me this explanation of why she has spent much of her life riding horses. She has also promised to send some pictures of her abs if enough readers urge her on!

18- You don’t have to sneak your riding magazines into
the house.

17- If you are having trouble with riding, it’s
perfectly acceptable to pay a professional to show you
how to improve your technique.

16- The Ten Commandments don’t say anything about
riding.

15- If your trainer takes pictures or videotapes of
you riding, you don’t have to worry about them showing
up on the Internet when you become famous.

14- Your horse won’t keep asking questions about other
horses you’ve ridden.

13- It’s perfectly respectable to ride a horse you’ve
never met before, just once, or, ride many horses in
the same day, whether you know them or not. Read the rest of this entry »

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