Celebrating 80,000 hits

Time for another happy dance!

Tanzschule Laban im Strandbad Wannsee

Die brühmte Laban-Tanzschule trainiert! Nach den modernsten Unterrichstmethoden werden die zukünftigen Tanzstars in der Labanschule ausgebildet. Unsere Bilder zeigen eine Morgenübung der berühmten Tanzschule Laban im Strandbad Wannsee bei Berlin. Im rythmischen Lauf bewegen sich die Tänzerinnen der Labanschule am Strande in Wannsee.

How horse training is like making an omelet

A couple, who are dear friends of ours, are coming to the farm for brunch tomorrow.  800px-Omelet_med_ramsløg_og_rygeost_(5650393498)They’re both horse people.  The wife is a fantastic cook (and a fantastic rider). They both eat eggs, so I asked how they feel about omelets on the menu.  The wife said she had never learned to make a great omelet, so I’m going to teach her.

Which got me thinking about what it takes to make a great omelet…how it’s an art as much as a skill, and requires feel and timing and the right tools.  It occurred to me that horse training is a lot like making an omelet.

The_Boston_Cooking_School_magazine_of_culinary_science_and_domestic_economics_(1905)_(14586388698)The right ingredients.  In order to make a good omelet and a good horse, you have to have the right ingredients.  Let’s start with your eggs.  Or in this case, your horse.  Horses vary just like eggs (large, small, fresh, stale, etc).  Evaluating your horse, like knowing your eggs, will help you move forward in your horse training (and omelet making).

There’s even more variation in horses, being sentient beings, than there are in eggs, so getting a sense of what it’s like working with different kinds of horses, with different temperaments, is well worth the time, even if you’d rather spend every waking moment with the horse that belongs to you.

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Please don’t get me this for Christmas


Just in case you don’t recognize this, it’s a combo hoof pick and wine opener.  I saw it advertised in the latest issue of Dressage Today.

This may be what everyone has always wanted, but I sure hope not, as that would make me feel even less enthusiastic about the taste of the general populace.

It’s not that I’m against practicality.  Or for that matter, indulgence.  Arguably, just having horses is an indulgence.  It’s certainly not practical, as any horseman will be forced to admit.  Yes, even you trainers.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to think about the crud in my horse’s hooves while I’m about to open a bottle of wine.  In fact, I had friends over the other night who agree with me, so I’m sure there are at least three of us.  I had to show this thing to him because he’s a wine distributer and a horse lover.  His reaction tells me that this is not going to be his gift of choice for clients this year.

His wife, who is as charming and smart as he is, said it reminded her of those sandals that have a beer opener embedded in the sole.  Did you know those existed as well?  No?  Well, sorry to pass along that knowledge, but you know what they say, misery loves company.

I’m sure either one of these misguided attempts at product development would make a decent gag gift but please, don’t get me one for Christmas.  Or your friend.  Or your trainer.  I’m sure they’d prefer another pair of socks.

Jingle Truck, Jingle Truck, Jingle Truck Horse

jingletruckhorsedecorationasdlkfjasldkfjasldkfjasldkfjLavishly adorned, this horse decks out one of Pakistan’s “Jingle Trucks.”

Beginning around 1920, the tradition of lavishly decorating vehicles, from rickshaws to garbage trucks, began in Pakistan.  University of Karachi professor and artist Durriya Kazi believes that the tradition can be traced to Sufism.  Decorating the trucks may be a way to obtain “religious merit,” as one would by embellishing a shrine or religiously significant site.

Decorating a vehicle pays tribute to it.  In the process, the spiritual significance of the truck is transformed, and it will reward the owner or driver by not breaking down.

I’m assuming the same idea is at work with the decoration of the horse.  As a lameness prevention technique, I can’t necessarily endorse it.  But I have to say that I love the exuberance and spirit of this horse and the vehicle it adorns.  I wonder if Ken Kesey’s “Further”…

Ken Kesey's bus

Ken Kesey’s bus “Further.”

was inspired by a Jingle Truck:


Looking for answers

A lot of people (maybe you?) find my blog because they’re looking for answers.

Based on the 7,242 views of my post How to space your cavaletti, people are hungering for an answer to the question of how best to use those training aids (and I’m delighted to help).

And based on the meager 20 views of my post on fence testers, people either know all about them or don’t want to know about them and don’t care if their horses walk down the street (remember to check your fences).

The “stats” page for my blog, which I glance at when I have the time and inclination, also tells me the search engine terms that lead readers to my site.  These search terms are usually what I expect (and often include the word “cavaletti”) but every once in a while, there’s a phrase — or a question — that’s totally unexpected.

Like this one:

why do horses poop in there stals in the winter



Of course, I could ask, why would my horse leave me a poop that looks just like a heart?




Horses as healers

Anyone who has been wounded — physically, emotionally, spiritually — and has been lucky enough to be around a horse, knows that horses are healers.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the VA (the Department of Veterans Affairs) recently with my YIHB (for those new to the blog, that’s Yankee-Irish Horsewhispering Boyfriend).  He served in Vietnam and still bears the scars. I’m grateful that, at least so far, he hasn’t gotten one of the diseases that, finally, are considered presumptive for Agent Orange exposure, even though he spent time in a helicopter that sprayed it.

On one of our many recent visits to the VA, I picked up a copy of the After Action Report, produced by the Wounded Warrior Project.  One of the stories inside is entitled “Riding My Way Back.”

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