Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

This entry comes from E-squared. I am trying to post these stories as they come in, but got really screwed up somehow. I have them all saved and am trying to get them organized, I just get distracted reading the stories...

I have a little bit of insight I would like to share before I turn you loose with Esquared and her neat little horse.
I have had requests for more photos of Sonita and recently more of my yellow mare. I also have been asked to put up some video.

I have thought about this and come to a few conclusions.

The Internet can be an extremely hurtful place. When I first started writing this blog there was a commenter who liked to come on and critique my writing style.She was quick to let me know she was a writing instructor at a good school. It was basically positive, but with an underlying sarcasm that made me uneasy.

Now I was a little confused, because I wasn't trying to come across as Ernest Hemingway, I was just writing a blog about horses and horse training. I was tickled to death to have people tuning in to read and write and share. I wasn't sure where the subtle hostility was coming from. So I checked out this commenter's blog. She was writing some really rotten things about me. I was hurt and surprised. I commented on her nasty little blog something about being excited to have been hired as a writer for a paper and looking forward to learning more about writing. Then I told her she made me a little queasy, or something like that. She disappeared.

This was my first lesson in being careful on the Internet. I have tried to be pretty up front with how I think about things and have been absolutely honest about my experiences and knowledge. I make damn sure I don't exaggerate about the level of trainer I am, because I know how even a little of the Mark Twain influence could reach up and bite me on the butt.

I'm protective of some of the people I write about and go ahead and name others, but only if there is no way to attack them. I still worry about someone getting hurt because of me. Shoot, I won't even tell you who the blogger was who was so eager to flame me.

I became even more gun shy when I wrote the piece about reining and cowhorse styles and urged you all to look at the video of Blue Allen. The reception was pretty good, except for one young kid going to school to train horses who just had to crawl all over the guy from the quality of his horse's style to the way he dressed. Besides the fact that she showed her total ignorance of the sport, I was blown away how quick this inexperienced little kid was to go after a World Champion and also somebody I had clearly said was my friend.

Then there's Fugly ( I have made it clear that I think that her red-headed, passionate, obsessive, radical little self is a boon to the horse world. She is crazy mad over the way some horses are treated and will really put herself out there in defense of the animals who need her most. She is braver than me. Maybe a little crazier than me, but probably not by much.

Do I always agree with her? No. Does it matter? No. Would I dream of trying to destroy all of the good work she has done because we walk a different road? No way.

There are people out there so eager to tear her apart they have made a blog dedicated to talking smack about her. I can't believe it. I guess I can because I had to check it out. I am stunned people have nothing better to do with their time. Of course I found the gal who was so determined to rip me a new one commenting on that stupid blog. Of course I did.

This makes me very careful of how much of myself I'm willing to give away. I like this blog and the people who post on it. But man oh man, there are some vipers out there. I don't want to get bit.

So forgive me if I don't show up on YouTube. I'll still post photos I think are relevant, but it would break my heart to have somebody tearing apart my over-the-knee pigeon toed little yellow mare. Because I think she's just about perfect.

So anyway, back to E-squared. I'm sorry the Sonita story is being so skittish, I've had a bunch on my plate. I'm hoping for tomorrow.

A year ago I bought a scraggly bargain three year old. He had good breeding, a splashy blaze, and splashy socks. He also had overgrown hooves with a big crack in one of the front ones and hadn’t been messed with in over half a year.

When I first went to see him it was wet and cold and no one was quite sure why we were looking at this horse. I wanted a reiner and he was butt high with a low set thick neck… my friend wanted a super safe pleasure horse… but for some reason we found ourselves there on that Saturday.

We got there, we talked a bit with his owner who I still email back and forth with, and then we played with him a bit. He was cute, but didn’t know much… neither did I when it came to ground work.

I decided to buy him, just for the heck of it, and he was home by Monday. This was late March.
I had all sorts of schedules and charts, lists and ideas of exactly how and when and what to do with this horse. The weather had other ideas. Eventually it was August and so far I had round penned him a bit (he knew his verbal’s pretty good), put a saddle on him a few times (and just about gotten trampled doing it), and had made a feeble attempt to sack him out with a tarp.

For the first time in my life I did NOT want to get on a horse. I procrastinated and contemplated
trying to just sell him unstarted and eventually I sucked it up and just got on. We walked around bareback with him in his halter and me with my helmet. I survived and found he moved off my legs and weight pretty darn well.

A few days later I walked him with a saddle on. The next day (terrified as I was) I sucked it up and we trotted. And the next day we loped because somewhere I found some iron resolve that
it had to happen now or it might never.

And as time passed my little flashy bargain gave me back all the confidence that I had lost somewhere during the last 4 years I’d been riding.

I began to ride him bareback in the arena. And then in the pasture. And then in the
fields around my house. We galloped, we scrambled, we ran and I loved it. I began to ride my other horses bareback.

I said it was because I was too lazy to saddle, or because it was too cold, there were a million reasons but really I just felt free with just me and the horse and my hackamore.

And then yesterday I fed him his hay and picked up the twine off the bale and decided to go for a ride. So with a burst of inspiration, a whole lot of trust, and a bit of poor judgment. I looped that twine around his nose, tied two ends of another piece too the ring around his nose and managed to lead him to a fence and clamber on without it slipping off. With just a bit of contact to
keep my brakes from falling off we were off and walking, and then trotting, and then loping around that big pasture.

The whole time I knew I didn’t have a helmet, and maybe I felt a bit guilty, but more than that I felt free from the world and a whole lot more connected to my bargain pony than my skimpy piece of twine could ever represent.

And for one of the first times since I got the bargain pony I realized that I had a horse, who despite being a failure at jumping (which is what I want to do) and showing promise in reining (what I’d like to someday learn to do), had more value for what he’d given me than what
I’d taught him.


  1. It's people like you that give me hope...hope that one day I can give to my horses what they give to me. I can feel your emotions when you write and I learn so much. Don't ever sell yourself short. Those that criticize you are...well...I won't go there.

    Do I agree with everything you I learn something out of every post...a resounding YES

    Keep doing what you do. Those that delight in bashing you and Fugs are missing out...the rest of us aren't

  2. Great story!

    Dont worrie Mugs, the bits of peices of pictures and stories when you do show them are just fine. If we knew everything about you it wouldnt make it nearly as intresting!

  3. Mugs, who the F cares what people write. I know, its hard not to, but I try and let "people's" mean spiritness slide off my back. Easier said then done, and doesnt always work, but I do try to not let things bother me.

    As for the story. It was great! I wish I had that experience with my mare. I too bought her with all these wonderful dreams of starting and finishing her myself. Only my outcome is still a work in progress and its been a BUMPY road.

  4. I loved this story. I love it when other people can put into words what I feel. Thank you!

  5. Its amazing to me how easy it is for perfect strangers to hurt my feelings by writing something negative. It doesn't seem rational. I don't know them, don't respect them, don't have any good reason to care about their opinions, but, there it is regardless.

    At the same time, I have to say, it is also amazing how easy it is to come off as critical when that isn't my intention. (I try, as it seems you do, to give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, though, the nastiness is absolutely unambiguous.)

  6. E-squared, oh that made me smile. (And it's been a bad day.) Thank you.

    Eh, you just keep on keeping on Mugs - I think it's sensible not to want to put yourself through the hassle.

    The people jumping on fugly crack me the hell up. They're all over her bitching about... her supposedly being a bitch. Logic FAIL people, honestly.

  7. I, too, love reading your posts. I LIKE the way you write! And, I have learned from you, too. - and I love FUGLY, too...

    I am glad that you got that "bargain pony", too... he is a good teacher :-) And I am proud that you were able to regain your confidence... I am sooo close to being there, too.

  8. lurker here, just to say that the people that come out from under the rocks to bash people on the internet are the lowest of the low, insecure, lifeless, green-with-envy,pathetic and fill in the rest of the blanks.

    don't blame you for wanting to avoid them.

    I don't have a horse, but someday i will and it will be thanks to you and others that take the time to share what they know that I have half a clue.

  9. I'm sorry people can be such cruel idiots. You're probably doing the right thing to protect yourself but we're definitely missing out. Thanks for everything you do write.

    And E-squared, thank you too for your story. One of my fondest memories of my mare was riding her bareback with a piece of twine in her mouth, just in case.

  10. Great story. Thanks, mugs, for giving people an opportunity to share their stories.

    The internet can be a very scary place. I lurked forever on several blogs and message boards. I liked to read the stories and there were several times I learned something new or a different way of doing things. But I stayed away from the messages that turned into an argument between people who didn't even know each other except in cyberspace. The know-it-all attitude and the my way or the highway was just too much of a time waster for me. I have enough drama in my life to be concerned with the drama on a message board.

    Keep up the good writing. I'll read it all!

  11. Good story. That's great.

    I'm gonna write a blog later tonight if time allows on proper netiquette.

  12. Your honesty is appreciated, I agree with much in your blog, I take blogs like stores and shops in the mall....some have great stuff I can use, some have beautiful things bit its not my style or taste, some have nothing I will ever use, and others have stuff I think is icky....
    Far be it from me to approach the store owner and tell them to change.

    Sheesh....get a life.

    Mugwump.... continue on, you're doing great.

  13. Mugwump ,that is rotten ! I pop in here fairly often to read and would love to see pics of the yellow mare and Sonita , the nasties out there ,tend to ruin it for all don't they ? I have quite enjoyed your stories and hope to read more .

  14. mugwump, all I have to say is that gal that didn't like your writing doesn't know nuthin. I read her blog, too, and she isn't a patch on you when it comes to expressing herself through the written word. My theory is, anyone who teaches writing is teaching cause they can't get it done in the real world. OK, you English teachers, come on and lynch me. (Oh, and by the way, I used to be an English teacher, too.)

    I still read fugly's blogs, but won't read the comments any more. I just got sick of all the silly nasty stuff, often written by people who had very little knowledge of horses. Didn't work for me. I agree with you, though, that fugly raises good points and stands up for some worthwhile causes. I've learned a lot from her blog.

  15. Mugs: I so enjoy your writing,especially the Sonita stories and the way you explain things that work for you. Please don't let the snipings and nastiness of a few get to you.You have far more fans and friends that relate to what you put out there.

    esquared: LOVED your story! I have learned more and loved the horses I got as someone elses cast offs or throw aways. I love polishing those "jewels " and letting them shine again. Good for you!!

  16. Wonderful Story!

    Mugs.. I have an off topic question.

    I have been unable to ride for the last 3 years due to health problems.... I had back and knee surgery and have now been released back to normal activities.

    A few years before I quit riding I started loosing my nerve, no exact reason.... just started getting nervous on any horse other than my mare. I raised her from 3 months on (she is now 13yrs)and trained her myself. She has holes in her training... leg cues are forign to her.

    I never was able to ride with my legs, and now I want to start over with her....

    I need (want) to start slow. I have to get my nerve, stamina and balance back. She need to get her fitness back as well.

    Could you, would you, point me in the right direction? What kind of exercises ect?

  17. Nancy C
    IMHO - the answer is one word: lessons.
    Find a nice instructor with an even nicer lesson horse to quietly pack you around.

    When my confidence started slipping that really helped me a lot.

  18. Nice story Esquared, thanks for sharing!

    *sigh* I WAS thinking of asking for more photos of your yellow mare! I go over to EI every now and then just to look at her face :) Honest.

    I don't blame you one bit though. The atmosphere here is generally so inquisitive, supportive and non-judgmental. You do an excellent job keeping it that way.

  19. Mugwump, the internet is such an odd place. Please remember though, that for every person you get a nasty gram for you are helping 10-20 more. I love reading your training articles. I'm such an utter noob and look to your articles in a way to find an alternative to what I'm trying currently. I love them! Screw everyone else!

  20. E-squared, great story. I don't ride bareback anymore, but your story makes me want to try again!

    mugs, I can't believe that someone would want to be so negative! There is no harm to her, so why knock people down? Why people do this is always a shock to me. Are they on such a power trip that they think they are so great and no one else is? and to be snippy about it? all I can say is I'm glad I never had her as a teacher! Keep on bringing us your stories, because, yes, we can all learn something through them!

  21. If you spend your days worrying what everyone thinks of you... you'll never appreciate yourself.

    post the videos if you want to. screw those people that would dare complain or critique. if someone says your horse is conformationally incorrect, who gives a flip?!

    Think of it this way... if they're talking about you, that means they're leaving someone else alone that might be offended by it.

    It's the internet.. Think of it as one big game. The likelihood of someone finding you in person and saying, "there's that lady & her crooked yellow mare", slim to none.

    Love reading, love learning. Pleas keep it up! ~Jenn & Ransom

  22. Hi Mugs, I haven't posted in a long time becuase I just usually don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said, but just wanted to let you know that I still read every post, and really enjoy every word.

    Keep up the good work, be yourself, be honest, and don't let the demon spawn drag you to hell.

    (BTW, GREAT idea on the Wordy Wednesday....LOVE it!)

  23. hey mugs...

    God is great, beer is good and people are crazy...

    since that song came out, it has been playing in my head non-stop. :)

  24. kel- The theme song for the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz runs through my head the entire time I'm in the show pen. Go figure.

  25. Great story. Honestly, that's all I want in horses. That connection. Getting there. ;)

    Mugs, keep on keepin' on. Seems like there's always someone talking who is the last person who should open their mouth. It's even worse in cyberspace. I definitely don't blame you though.

    By the way, it seems that July 1st-ish I will be the proud owner of Gator :) (Who was very bad this weekend... I may be forming a question regarding his actions, though my fear has NOT returned, despite our 'run' and there were no unplanned dismounts - a pulled shoe the only casualty).

  26. I've had a player hater show up once and it IS a completely wierd and unsettling. I don't blame you for being gunshy at all... there are definately some vipers out there!

    FUN story E-squared!

  27. I liked Cowgirl Rae's comparison of blogs to a mall with different shops.
    You are the shop owner here, Mugs. You display whatever you like and feel comfortable with.
    I believe that this particular shop is thriving at the moment, so I'd say that the owner shouldn't worry too much about the occasional grafitti at the entrance.

  28. Your writing lets the reader feel your emotions. I don't know how to explain it any better than that. When your explaining your "How to's" I can understand what you mean and then you go on to say, your horse is gonna act like an idiot, or you may not get it the first time, keep trying. All of those things make a person like me feel like I haven't completely screwed up or that hey I did it right the first time and my results were the same as Mugs. Yeah me.

    I have sent your blog to a young rider that has a pain in the butt horse so that she can see that she's not doing anything wrong and she can still work with his naughty butt.

    You do a great thing here.

    Esquared, your very lucky to get that. I wish I could have a good horse like that, my one is close but never will have the closeness and trust that you have with yours. Great story.

  29. Esquared, that was a wonderful story. It made my heart warm and I got a little moisty in my eyes. I'm glad you sent that to Mugwump and it got posted here.

  30. E-squared: loved your story, maybe someday I will have the courage to take that first bareback ride! Last time I was in pants and fell right off on my backside, not so funny at the time, but like they say, "time plus a sense of humor makes for a great laugh".

    Mugs: isn't it true that a little mystery makes one that much more interesting? Ha! Too bad more teen aged girls don't believe that!!!