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If you have been to Parelli Tour Events you already know about the wonderful energy and the spirit of support and helpfulness by all the Parelli affiliates.  If you have never heard of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, go to the website and take a look.  Horse and Soul is February 10 and 11 in Lexington, VA.  More info. to come at this site.

I went to my first event in Fletcher, NC in 2005, but Pat Parelli had been spreading the word about partnering with your horse for a long time already.

At that event, I also first saw Linda Parelli and felt that she was one of the best horsemanship and riding instructors I had ever seen.  That was then, and now, she has excelled at dressage and continued her amazing journey.  Studying with Walter Zietl and combining that with Parelli philosophy and techniques is producing some very interesting results.  She is adding the the whole pool of understanding in how to produce wonderful partnerships in dressage.

Back to the barn for now.  More later.

 

We all have stories and some of us are lucky enough to have stories about horses.  I was relaying one of my stories to a staff member at work and she said, “You really need to write these down, you have so many stories.”  This surprised me until it occurred to me that my life, like yours, is a story.

Horses all have stories to tell, but they tell them through their actions, both with us and with the other horses they live with.  They speak with their bodies and their voices.  And I try to listen so that I can understand what they need from me and even whether or not I can give them what they need.  Most often they give me what I need.

Toya was a horse like that.  She was 16 yrs old when I met her.  The tallest horse I had ever met!  She was regal, a blood bay Hanoverian Empress, 17 hands.  She had been fortunate to be owned by a wonderful man who came to horses late in his life.  They took care of each other and he learned to Foxhunt on her broad shoulders.  Joe, her owner, was retiring and had decided to move to a life on the sea at this time.  He was friends with our farrier and asked about finding her a good home with people who would care for her.  Tom, our farrier, knew that I too had come to horses late in my life too.  He felt that with the good life long care that Jon (the Curmudgeon and very experienced horseman) would provide and the need I had for a kind, knowledgeable horse that she would be good for me.

So for a sum that I could scrape up, I purchased this magnificent horse.  There are times in life when you find yourself with a gift you never imagined you would ever have.  She was kind and brave, and the only things that concerned her were culverts and cows.

When Joe brought her to meet us, we went out into the fields for a ride.  Joe on Toya and I was riding Sid, my 16.2 hand Leopard Appaloosa.  Joe said, watch how nice she canters and they took off across the field.  Joe had learned to ride when he was 48, just as I had.  And as I watched them I could see that as Joe shifted his body and legs  and arms that Toya would calmly adjust under him, picking him up when he got a little ahead or behind or even a little off balance sideways.  And she became just that wonderful for me and everyone who rode her at our barn.

When we introduced her to her herd, Sid, Felix, Skip and Cupcake, she calmly drew herself up to her full height, arched her neck gave them each a piercing look with her large round eye.  As Sid and Felix approached she added a maneuver that ultimately changed her name.  Neck arched she drummed her front feet on the ground.  Sid and Felix froze for a moment, then took a few steps closer, more drumming.  They walked away.  And when other horses came to close across the fence or displayed less than the behavior expected she would drum her front feet.  She became Twinkletoes.  That name stuck, and then one day while introducing a new boarder to the barn and the horses, I described the herd as Twinkletoes and the lost boys.  So from then on her barn name became Tink (for Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys).

Tink passed on this Fall, age had not been kind to the Sesmoids and Suspensories and she was struggling to stand, bowing the tendons in the front legs to haul herself up.  In pain too often now, we spent a wonderful warm Autumn week and then the beginning of October 2011 said our goodbyes.  Tink was 24.  Fascination Farm was her farm, she was in charge and she made all that we started here possible by her presence.

There are more stories about Tink to share and I will, along with stories about Sid, Rusty, Felix, Lemonade, Maggie, Isis, Hunch and all who have passed on now.  And stories about those still with us, Chocolate Cake (Diva), Kiss Me Kate, Max, Sheeza Fancy Skippa, Mistletoe.  And then the horses and their owners who have touched my life. Nellie, Prissy, Prize, Kasane, Juno, Lucy, Rooster, Cooper, Major D, Zues, Doc, Star, Baby, Cooper, Charlotte.  And a horse that broke my heart who I still search for.

After working very hard at the day job this year,  and getting the Curmudgeon himself through pneumonia, and having my Mom pass last month, I took an opportunity and bought a new used saddle.  In deference to my own advancing years and the realization that time is passing for me too, I decided I needed a roll bar.  So am now the excited owner of a Tucker endurance saddle.  It feels wonderful and is also as an added perk, really beautiful.  And of course the requisite fit and pad for the horses.  It fits all my wide bodied equines.  I seem to gravitate to them, more whoa than go.  And thanks to KG for encouraging me to go and look and many thanks to Rocking B Saddle Shop in Hillsborough, NC for helping me find the right saddle.

So hopefully an early trail ride tomorrow before it gets too hot to think. And then many miles of pleasure riding to come.

This morning was lovely, one of our boarders has a sister with two young girls who are riding with us now.  Prize, KN’s 26 year old Arabian mare, is our favorite energetic Grandma horse and does a couple of lessons on the weekends.  She takes care of them and helps me teach them about focus, balance and lightness.  So today E (she is 6)took her first lesson with us and was attentive, relaxed and open to trying all kinds of new maneuvers that I ask of the beginners, and Prize was steady and kind.  And Nellie, who is recuperating from a non-specific lameness at the trot was walked by A (she is 10), the older of the two children.  A nice early morning short outing for Nellie and A with Rooster and T.

I have found so much richness in this life.  We work all the time, but that merges right into the rewards of watching horses and people find magic together.

So my short Sunday morning prayer:

Blessed are you, merciful creator of the universe, who allows us to touch the elements of earth, air, water and fire in this animal, the horse.  Amen

The Curmudgeon

As long suspected, there had to be a reason for this fine madness.  Courtesy of Susan Poulton

PSA – Surgeon General releases health warning on horse hair.
August 6, 2009 · 2 Comments

Urgent Notice: Potential Danger of Horse Hair

This is a public service announcement. In a press release today, the National Institute of Health has announced the discovery of a potentially dangerous substance in the hair of horses. This substance, called “amobacter equuii” has been linked with the following symptoms in female humans:

reluctance to cook
reluctance to perform house work
reluctance to wear anything but boots
reluctance to work except in support of a horsephysical craving for contact with horses (may be an addiction).
Beware! If you come in contact with a female human infected by this substance, be prepared to talk about horses for hours on end.

Surgeon General’s Warning: Horses are expensive, addictive, and may impair the ability to use common sense. August 2008 080

Mrs. Curmudgeon (Chris) giving Skippa a little face rub.

From Mrs. Curmudgeon

Looking innocent, last time to be seen without a leash

Looking innocent, last time to be seen without a leash

With the help of one of our selfless boarders I am now interacting with a live website. With my unerring way of learning by doing everything wrong at least once, this learning curve may be lumpy.

But GREAT FUN.  And something to do while it is a 90+ F day in August.

One sad note, Lucy our Beagle was arrested on Friday, but a very nice Mebane policeman drove her home.  No no more free range beagle.

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