Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slow Crawl

I creep out of my life-imposed hole, stiff aching, tentative and weak. Skin is crawling, everything hurts, but I finally, finally feel steady enough to walk a straight line.

I'll make it to the horses today. My good dog Charlie, who after almost 10 years together, pretty much reads my mind, trots back and forth between me and the door. He looks me in the eye, reading my face, worried that this might not be the best idea. But he wants to go as much as I do.

The horses will be restive, they've become used to regular work again, and will be ready to make me pay for their neglect. I'll ride Madonna first, ease out the kinks, raise my arms high above my head and stretch, twist left to right, gently push my clenched muscles and figure out how much work is ahead. My silly, goofy, reactive mare will walk quietly, she always does when I need her too. She appreciates the chance to laze in the sun, let her mind wander and ponder whatever it is horses ponder.

Charlie will lie close, probably smack in the middle of the arena. He will dose in the sun, with his head on his paws, but his ears will swivel, keeping track of where I am. There will be no ratting for him today, I can tell by the way he is glued to my heels when I walk, the restless circles he trots around me when I stop moving--he thinks he needs to keep an eye on me.

It's funny how different my two favorite animals respond to the place I'm in.

The dogs know where I'm at before I do. They must feel it when I'm beginning to wake. My eyes open and there they sit, solemn until my feet hit the floor, then they race for the back door, looking over their shoulders to make sure I'm coming too.

Wise, been there, done that 14-year-old Dinah, accepts our new life as she has everything else, with calm dignity. The only changes she has made, is she now sleeps on the tile in front of the door, guarding me with her old bones, and she clings a little closer.

Charlie, the Catholic terrier, has spent his life wanting to do it, knowing he's going to do it, but feeling terribly guilty about it all. Now he has slipped on the mantle of protector. He never leaves me out of his line of sight. Outside dogs, no matter how good of friend,s aren't allowed to approach me anymore. He shadows me, uneasy with his volunteered responsibility, I'm glad he understands sit, stay and heel, because he now judges the humans who approach too, instead of waiting for my response. I have to admit, he has good insight. He still feels terribly guilty about it all.

Snocone, the newest member of our canine family, my husband's chosen companion and cohort, continues to learn she is a dog. Tiny and befuddled, she trots up to me and taps my foot with her paw. She tips her head back and grins, happy to be in the world. If she can find joy in this world, after spending her first eight years as a mill dog, then so can I.

I feel like Queen Elizabeth, parading through her castle with her entourage of little dogs.

The horses know as soon as I get out of the car. On the days I'm ready to roar, they whinny, sharp and demanding. Today, they will greet me with a soft, low nicker.

Madonna will put away all of her nonsense, at least for today. The only advantage she'll take is to pull on her lead rope to get at the grass. She knows when I'm soft. There will be no spooking at the roping dummy by the arena gate, no snort and blow at the cattle. She won't beg to lope before I'm ready, will resist the spin and buck she likes to throw at me on a windy day. Today, she will walk, head level, with no snort, because that's what she reads. I'd like to think it's because she knows what I need, I suspect she appreciates my lack of urgency and  doesn't need to prepare for a skirmish.

Odin will be confused. He isn't old enough, or far enough into his relations with humans to translate the difference in me. He would be frightened by my lack of focus and leadership. So I'll give him a scratch and let him graze. Time will build the communication I have with Madonna.

Today, I'm grateful for my animals and their levels of understanding. I'm glad I've spent years earning the privilege of their input. Today, I can ride and write. Lucky, happy, grateful me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mouthy Monday

"Mo" didn't want to be identified, but she has certainly identified a problem we have all been guilty of...

Buying a Pretty Horse

We moved to a rural property in Washington state last year and I found myself in the enviable position of acquiring a second horse to live with my 7 year-old TB Tally.

I’m relatively new to the horse ownership and horsemanship in general. I’m the ubiquitous middle-aged horse-crazy female that finally has the time and circumstances to be able to join the ranks of full time owners. I started leasing Tally 2 years ago, and purchased him as my dream horse 5 months later. This missive is not about Tally however, he was more luck and happenstance. This is about my struggle to find the 2nd horse.

By the time we moved to our new home, I thought I had enough knowledge from two years of riding, training and boarding at a busy public stable to be able to pick a good horse. I felt I had seen the attributes of good horses in all sizes and shapes, and almost every kind of bad attitude, poor training problem and lameness issue that I might encounter. I wasn’t looking for another performance horse, just a nice, safe, trained family trail horse. Should be a dime-a-dozen out here, where every yard of any size seems to have a horse or two in the field.

Armed with my list of requirements, I set out to find my perfect buddy. Nothing too difficult - just 16H+, 10+years old, QH type gelding, sound, mellow, good with other horses, trail and husband safe. I let one other attribute sneak into my shopping list: pretty. Why not, I had one big bay already, why can’t I have an Appaloosa, spotted or colored horse to decorate my pasture and show off on the trails? Unfortunately, “Pretty” became my downfall, as I inspected one prospect after another. There was the sweet palomino paint with suspected navicular problems that my vet made me walk away from, the Piebald that was so nasty with his owner in the saddle that my husband told me to walk away after 10 minutes of watching, the palomino-Appy cross that pinned his ears at every horse in the vicinity, and was so poorly ridden by his teenage owner that I would have had to start from scratch with ground training to undue all his miscues, the beautiful leopard Appy that couldn’t pass a flex test on either front leg, and lastly the wonderful cutting trained seal brown QH who taught me what the condition “Shivers” looks like.

Three months into searching, enough money spent on pre-purchase exams to buy an actual horse, and I had nothing to show for it but a strong sense of pessimism and a developing ability to sniff out the dishonest horse traders and ignorant private owners. I stopped shopping for a while, and re-evaluated how I had come to this position. Was my budget too low for a bigger, well trained horse, even in this economy? Should I wait till I had found a trainer in the area? I finally did see a big part of my problem, that I had been unconsciously screening the horse ads for color first and performance second. 

After a mental kick in the pants I started over, and within a month found Ringo, an older, well built 16.2H Appendix QH that was everything I wanted, and is the near twin of my bay TB. He had a poor body score from worms, bad teeth and 2 years of no riding, but his quality and kindness shone through.

 I took him home, addressed all his problems, and he’s now sleek and sassy and a joy to ride in the arena and on the trails, and Tally loves him. I’ve re-learned to take pleasure in looking at a kind eye and a shiny coat on a plain brown horse. Recently, Ringo was standing tied in the barn, waiting his turn to be let back out to the pasture. He tossed me a “hurry up!” look. I said “hold on a minute Handsome”. He turned and gave me a puzzled look, as if to say “nobody has called me handsome in a long time”. 

That’s the day I changed how I define a beautiful horse.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Big Licks and Old Rope Horses

Writers block is a terrible thing.

As  you may have noticed I'm wrestling with a massive dose of it right now.

Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time will know this isn't the first time it has happened to me, I'm guessing it won't be the last.

I'm not gone, I'm not dropping the blog,I'm way too attached and have learned too much by blogging to stop.

I do have to wait out this dry gulch in my writing, but the rain always comes, so I've learned to be patient. I hope you will be too.

In the mean time, there are thoughts I want to share, and this travesty going on in the Tennessee Walker horse show world is one I can't leave alone.

Snarky Rider/FHOTD has done an excellent job of covering it, so if this subject is new to you, pop over and catch up (, I couldn't have written a better post.

There are two subjects on animal cruelty that send me over the edge. One is puppy mills and the other is training for "The Big Lick." 

This explanation from Wikipedia  of the two categories for TWH classes tells me a lot. "Flat-shod horses are divided into trail, country, light shod, and plantation pleasure divisions. They are judged on way of going, which includes head nod, overstride and front animation. The country and trail pleasure classes have the least animation, the plantation horses the most, with the plantation horses typically wearing a heavier shoe. Flat-shod horses are not allowed to use pads, action devices, or tail braces.

"Performance horses exhibit a very flashy and animated running walk, often referred to as "big lick." They appear to sit back on their hindquarters, lifting their forelegs high off the ground with each step. Horses and riders show in saddle seat attire and tack. Horses are shod in double and triple-nailed pads. These pads, along with lightweight chains around the fetlock, accentuate the gaits, making them more animated."

What this tells me is, many of the classes are designed to showcase the amazing things this breed is capable of, and the rest are designed to showcase the amazing way we humans torture animals for fun and profit.

I'm not going into a tirade about this cruelty. That's being done all over the Internet.

What I am mulling over today is the necessity for crazy advocates. I'm talking the over the top, radical maniacs that come together and make lots of noise about the bad things going on in the world. Today I'm looking at rabble rousing animal activists who have drawn my attention.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA)

FHOTD during the Cathy Atkinson days (Just Cathy)

I realize Just Cathy is only one person, but she's such a whirling dervish of quivering righteousness, she equals the intensity of, oh, let's say, The Black Panthers. I think she should be named an organization all by herself.

I am not an extremist. I accept many aspects of the horse world many don't. I can sit back and watch a harsh training practice and ask the trainer the why's, how's and results without offering an opinion.

My approach is to learn the reason, decide if it's necessary and then figure out a better way. That would be the Mugwump in me, what can I say.

But there is no reason for The Big Lick. It's crazy and cruel and vile. It's ugly to watch. The horses aren't trained for this, they're forced into this shape and movement by pain. They are taught to accept it through more pain. The pain is so intense at times, they lay down and can't/won't  get up.

I was on a walk one day and came across a group of five or six little kids (must have been a home day care) between the ages of about three to about seven. They had a puppy on it's back, screaming in pain and terror, and were poking it in it's soft pink belly with sticks. The puppy was chained to the ground and bleeding.

Yes, I did the right thing, yelled at kids, knocked on door, told the horrified woman what they were doing, went home and called the Humane Society.

That's not my point. Watching the World Championship Big Lick Class made me feel exactly like I did when I saw the tortured puppy.

It made me feel the same way I did when I met a very pregnant teenage girl living on the street with her 50+-year-old, drunken, very creepy "husband." She was about to have her second child with this guy. Their first was taken by Social Services, she was put in foster care and as soon as she could, she ran away and went back to her man.

What horrified and sickened me was neither the young mother or the man, but the fact this girl was safer with him than in the life she had left behind.

There are things that get me.

The extreme factions get things done. We might not like them, we might even hate them, but they get things done. PETA has earned itself one bad rap. The group is behind some extremely dangerous, almost terrorist behavior. HSUS? Same deal.
A post from states, "The sad reality is HSUS, which defines itself as the “nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization,” has almost nothing to do with the direct care of animals in the thousands of shelters across the nation. In fact, according to the organization’s own financial records, only one-half of one percent of its almost $100 million budget actually goes to helping hands-on animal shelters.
"So, out of every $200 Americans pledge to this organization, only $1 goes to actually helping the animals that really need it. Where does the rest of the donated money go? Well, for one thing, according to the Center for Consumer Freedom, in 2008 more than $2.5 million went right into this rich animal rights group’s pension plans.
HSUS also uses those donations to advance a radical animal rights agenda through wide-ranging, expensive lobbying and advertising campaigns. Even though you can’t tell from its commercials, one of the group’s underlying goals is to promote veganism."

PETA Vice President for Policy Bruce Friedrich is a long-time animal-rights movement insider, he has said, "These reflections do not, of course, rule out burning meat trucks. And they don’t mean that when the next slaughterhouse or vivisection lab burns down, I will denounce those who carried out the
 burning, or that I will feel anything other than joy in my heart."
 Then there's this little tidbit. "Federal fugitive Daniel Andreas San Diego is alleged to have planted a secondary explosive device, apparently intended to target emergency responders arriving at the scene of a first bomb he allegedly planted at a California company in August 2003. PETA-grantee and convicted arsonist Rodney Coronado has praised San Diego’s handiwork."
I have no intention of getting into an argument about the good, the bad or the ugly about these organizations. I am not, and will never be a member or an advocate for these groups.

BUT!!! It was a HSUS video that caught the attention of CNN and CBS news. Their work brought the Big Lick out of the horse world and to the general population.

Radical behavior draws attention, good or bad, people notice. Think about what Just Cathy has managed to accomplish. In this case, craziness was good. Middle of the roaders like me don't create awareness like this video did.

If the pendulum doesn't swing to the extreme right it can't counter what's happening on the extreme left.

Eventually, the pendulum slows, and with the increased awareness brought about, middle of the road folks can start getting things done. 

Once the big, huge, horrible travesties are tackled, the trickle down effect will bring attention to the smaller, yet still deplorable actions, that are accepted all around us.

There is an old rope horse at my barn. He is past his mid-twenties. This old guy is in obvious, continual pain. He stands with his forefeet and back feet spread like a Morgan halter horse all of the time. He is so crippled he can barely move. Yet his owner still ropes off him, day, after day, after day. the horse accepts his painful life with grace, kindness and dignity. It freaks me out.

One day I asked his owner, "When are you going to retire your good gelding?"

"When he dies. I figure he'd rather work than go to the sale."

So there you are. The horse has no protection. He has no help. He will work, in pain, until he falls over dead.

The trickle down can't drip on his poor head fast enough, but maybe, eventually, it will become socially unacceptable to treat a horse this way. Once The Big Lick is gone. Once the puppy mills are illegal. Once HSUS and Peta have made their point.

Would I like the pendulum to swing under somebody else's flag? You bet I would. I've been thinking about a better way to draw attention to atrocities like these, about the extreme failings of humanity when it comes to the animals in our care.

Today I came up with this one. What if there was a documentary made about Big Lick trainers, owners, and the shows that promote it? One good enough to hit major theaters? It's got all the nasty rich people, horror, politics and drama needed to make the big time.

I decided to write documentary/activist extraordinaire Michael Moore.

His website states he prefers real mail, as in an actual letter, over email. So I wrote him one and am including a copy of this post.

Maybe a fictionalized movie version would work better, with a clear statement that this is a real situation, going on today. A story of a young, beautiful, champion bred foal and the little girl who raised and loved him.

Then turned him over to a Big Lick trainer to become a World Champion...and brought her family and friends to watch him win at the shows...and never looked at him laying in the his tiny, dark stall, beaten, burned and destroyed...and ate fried baby while they discussed which horse lifted his tortured feet the highest and held his broken tail the straightest.  

Guess I'll write Robert Redford too, I mean, look what he did for Horse Whisperers.

Write Michael Moore at his own production company:

Dog Eat Dog Films, Inc.
430 West 14th Street
Suite 401
New York , NY 10011

Write Robert Redford Sundance Productions:

Sundance Channel
10880 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Horizons

There's a bit of a story behind this.

Several months ago I was approached by editor M.R. Zuchniak from Green Gecko Publishing, a brand new publishing house, and asked to write a foreword for an eBook of short stories and quotes called "Passion For Horses."

I read the bits and pieces they had assembled and liked the concept, so I said, "Sure."

One thing led to another and I ended up writing a short story for this fun collection of essays and thought provoking quotes. It's one you guys have never read before, and there's a bit of my love life wrapped around it. As usual, it's straight from the bowels of memory and as true a tale as I can tell.

The authors in this book are from all over the world, and there's a name or two regular Mugwump Chronicles readers will recognize. 

 The book is not staying an eBook, it is coming out in paperback soon. This tickled me on more than one level, the main one being this is the kind of book I'd stick in my saddlebags for a light read on a trail ride, or a lazy afternoon at the barn.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Talkies

Sorry....I spent the day in the airport yesterday...

This story comes from a new reader we lured from FHOTD, I'm glad she's willing to share, and she knows the coolest color of all for a horse.

ChessyI was nervous on the way to the stables.  I had never even seen a picture of her, but I knew that no matter what she looked like, or how she acted, I had to be the picture of appreciation when we met.  If I showed anything less than love at first sight, I would hear about it.   We already had a barn full- two ponies I’d outgrown years ago, the old reliable broodmare that did western pleasure in her sleep, and her too hot son my big sister had used for eventing.  My parents had been offered a free horse, she just needed training.  My dad can’t pass up a deal, so here we were, on our way to a training facility the mare had been at for the last month, and I was mustering every bit of grace and appreciation a 12 year old can scrape from her soul for a horse she didn’t ask for. The California summer sun shined down on the golden grassy hills surrounding a great, sprawling collection of barns, paddocks and arenas.  Horses milled about in most enclosures, some seeking the shade of shelters, others relaxing in the sun.  It was early summer, warm without the shimmering heat waves that were soon to follow.   It wasn’t very apparent where we could find the trainer that would introduce us to the new member of the family.  As my parents asked about, I wandered my way down the shed row towards some paddocks.  All I knew was she was red.  There were a lot of red horses.  Some were curious, most weren’t.  A few nickered low, saying hello, asking for treats.  I kept my hands in my pockets, running my gaze over all of them, not looking at any.  I just knew I would fall in love with the wrong one.  I just knew if I let myself, I would connect with the one horse that could never be mine.  In the paddocks, amongst horses lazily swishing flies, or slowly lipping the dust for morsels, one red horse stood still, ears forward, staring right at me.  My heart beat faster; my fingers tingled in my pockets.  I knew I should wait for the adults, but they seemed firmly ensconced with each other, talking adult talk, moving in adult time.  So, I followed my heart and went to the red horse.   Dainty head up, shapely ears forward, she watched me make my way to her. She had a perfect quarter horse build to my untrained eye.  But, that wasn’t the important part.  The important part was her deep red coat, accented by flaxen mane and tail. I had grown up with appaloosas, so her simple color was pure elegance to me.  She was what I daydreamed of, what I sketched in the margins of my homework.  When I came to the front of her paddock, she gave a saucy little toss of her head, stepped up to the pipe panels and lowered her nose to my face.  There was a spark in her eye and a perfect diamond shaped star on her forehead. She softly blew snot on me, and I fell in love.     I put my hand on the side of her face and gently blew back at her. She took my breath in with deep wuffs.  The gravel crunched unevenly behind me and I knew my parents and the trainer had finally caught up to me.   I stepped back and took a deep breath, trying to be grown up, trying again to find grace and appreciation for a horse I didn’t ask for. “Well,” the trainer said.“Looks like you found her.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Summer Hours

Some of you may have noticed I've been a little erratic lately.

There's a few things involved, one of which is I've been given back my riding time from a life that thought I didn't need so much of it.

So that's what I'm doing. Riding, thinking about riding, training, riding, thinking about training, you get my drift.

When I'm not doing that, I've been writing, just not here.

Odin and Madonna are my only projects, but both are at an exciting part of their life as my horses, at least I feel that way, they aren't quite as impressed.

Odin is ready for some training. He is coming five, a horrifying age if you're a cow horse trainer on a schedule, but luckily for both of us, I'm no longer trapped in that particular game.

This spring, although still short in stature, he's stout, muscled and ready to rock. So now we're learning stuff.

Madonna is getting moved up into the bridle, a spade bit, after being ridden in the hackamore for several years. She didn't necessarily need to be in the hackamore that long, but I did.

I wanted to fully understand what the things were capable of, develop my timing and hand, and have her so soft and ready there was no question of her being able to move up and learn to be a traditional bridle horse.

To my way of thinking, that means she has confidence in me, herself, my expectations, and won't be afraid of the giant wonking hunk of metal I'm hanging in her mouth.

I ran a self imposed test on her in the hackamore last week. She can be ridden in any situation, from the trail, to a gather, to a show in her hackamore. She can change leads on a straight line, half-pass, haunches in, yada yada, that wasn't my question.

I simply rode her on the rail. We loped on a loose rein for a few rounds, just schlumping along, then I asked her, with my legs, to move into the bosal, with her hindquarters mind you--not by dropping her nose--and to collect.

She did. I felt her move forward, then asked for more, she slowed, I asked her to hold her previous speed, she went to it, I asked for more and her shoulders elevated as she broke at the poll and her face became vertical.

All a very lovely drive forward , back to frontinto a relaxed rein. I only asked her to carry herself this way for about 10 strides at a time, neither of us are in good enough shape for any more.

She did as I asked, every time I asked, on both leads, without a wobble or impatient twitch.

I've never bumped her nose down, used a martingale, drop nose band, none of the usual stuff those of us in a hurry turn to. She has learned to break at the poll and bring in her nose to balance the forward push of her hindquarters, like a little accordion, because that's what works.

We're ready for the two-rein.

I am very, very excited.

Odin is green as grass, very willing and showing some talent. My training approach has changed so much since K and I went our separate ways, it's going to be a big adventure to see how this goes.

So, I'm a bit distracted.

Where I'm going, for now anyway, is to share this with you guys. Lots of thinking, changes, what ifs, more than likely some massive bone-head errors and observations.

If a story comes, I'll write it, but they're not popping up at the moment, my head's kind of full.

The book club?

I'm revamping it, putting together a reading list, we'll start again in the fall, I'm not reading beyond research right now.

Equine Mindmeld? I think I'm caught up, I love it, and I'll keep participating as I can. There's some good training advice coming in from outside sources and I don't want to miss out on it.

This is a big adventure for me, I hope you guys are ready for a change to the usual format, at least for now.

Mouthy Monday will be back in action as of next week.

Talk soon.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ears Wide Open - Mouth Shut Tight

The bay colt at the tie rail was fractious and confident. Not as broke as he should be and generally figuring out how to use it in his favor, he was spending the afternoon bucking, whinnying and kicking at passing horses.

Corbin untied his halter and kicked him loose, still saddled, in the arena. The colt took off and Corbin went with him, putting his gelding on the colts hip while he shook out his rope. Full of himself, the colt kicked out at Corbin and his horse then dug in and really went to bucking.

The arena was in the middle of roping practice, but only a few quit what they were doing to watch. Corbin threw his loop, it floated nice as could be and settled over the bay's head. He dallied and eased his horse off, letting the colt find the end of the rope himself.

As soon as he felt the pressure of the loop tighten the colt broke in half. Squalling, bucking and rearing, he went absolutely out of his mind. Corbin worked him like a trout on the line until he was in position to head out, which he did.Every time he felt the pull of the rope, the colt would set back, spraddle legged, and begin to fight.

Corbin seemed to pay absolutely no attention to him at all, just kept him moving. Finally the colt reared up and flipped himself onto his side. Corbin kept on going. After dragging him a couple yards, he gave him enough slack to get back up, but immediately tightened the rope down and loped off the second the colt found his feet. Then they went to brawling again.

The whole thing took about five minutes. By the time they headed back to the tie rail the colt was loping next Corbin's gelding like a dog at an obedience trial. He rode off nice that afternoon and continued to do so every ride after.

"Sometimes you have to get your point across," Corbin said. "Choking them down isn't pretty, but I've never seen a horse not get it. The trick is to keep them moving, direct their feet and don't let them get the idea throwing themselves down is an answer.

"As soon as the beat of their hooves matches my horse's, I know I've got them, they're taking direction from  the herd. Course, I'm the boss mare.

"My Dad used to buy killer horses at the sales and bring them home. We traveled all over the country going to different sales.We'd feed them, break them and take them back to sell again. He'd bring home 30 to 40 of 'em at a time, we'd take 30 or 40 with us to the sale. We weren't considered rescuers, but I guess that's what we were doing. We sure never called ourselves that. By the time we took 'em back they weren't killers anymore. Course it was just because that's what we did for a living.

"Sales weren't like they are now. It was the only way anybody got horses. So there were killers and bucking stock and the like, but there were good horses too, all the way up to great ones. If you wanted a horse, you went to the sale, if you were selling one you went back. they didn't have these breed sales or production sales, just the one.

"It was a good way to see how your horses were turning out. If you could buy a $10 horse and sell it six months later for $1500 you were doing things right.

"There was no point in cheating, selling them lame or drugged. If you got a reputation for being crooked only the kill buyers would bid on your horses. If people knew you turned out a nice horse, well your prices went up. they got so they waited for ours to come into the ring.

"Choking them down was the fastest way to make them humble and pay attention at the same time. It didn't make them afraid of us, but we sure had respect. Why, my dad would use a tractor on some of those big old drafts. He's buy bucking stock and straighten 'em out the same way.We didn't have any trouble with them either. He'd buy anything. If they went to kill after he had them it was because they were sick or lame or something, not because he didn't have a handle on them.

"I don't use it much anymore, I'm not trying to train bucking stock either, but I haven't found a quicker way to get a rank horse's attention yet."

This is what I took from what I saw and the following conversation -

 He dallied and eased his horse off, letting the colt find the end of the rope himself.

 ... he gave him enough slack to get back up, but immediately tightened the rope down and loped off the second the colt found his feet.

The whole thing took about five minutes.

" The trick is to keep them moving, direct their feet and don't let them get the idea throwing themselves down is an answer."

"As soon as the beat of their hooves matches my horse's, I know I've got them, they're taking direction from  the herd. Course, I'm the boss mare."

"We weren't considered rescuers, but I guess that's what we were doing. By the time we took 'em back they weren't killers anymore. Course it was just because that's what we did for a living."

" If people knew you turned out a nice horse, well your prices went up. they got so they waited for ours to come into the ring."

These are the points I'm still thinking on. - Mugs