Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Tug" here and it's more than a matter of fashion!
Hello everyone! My name is Tug, well actually my fancy name is "Lone Pines Ebony & Ivory". My home is in Spencer, WI with Tony and Mary K Lewis.
I've been at school here at Shades of Oak getting my kindergarten and 1st grade education finished.
I have definitely come to some conclusions while here in regards to fashion, we horses just don't look good in helmets!
I have decided they look much better on humans but it seems it can be a hard thing to get folks to use. I even have to remind my teacher to wear hers as she started her horsemanship journey when helmets were not even a thought in the industry, so she forgets sometimes.
I can easily remind her though as in the photo above, I just roll it around in the dirt and push it at her, she gets what I mean pretty fast. I'm teaching her too!
Being a horse I have this great curiosity and one of my favorite things to do is ease drop on what humans have to say and I hear a lot, let me tell you!
My teacher has lost some friends and acquaintances in horse related accidents where a helmet would have made a difference, I've heard other folks here say the same thing.
Sometimes they don't wear them due to vanity, ego, and sometimes even their friends and family might realize there is some risk to their chosen sport of riding and don't want them to worry or get mad at them for their choice of sport so they leave the helmet off .
There are even folks who don't put helmets on their children!
My goodness we horses take care of our young, I was surprised by this.
Now from my point of view on this from a horse, we don't want to hurt people. We do the best we can to understand what you want but sometimes that's just not to clear, we cant read your minds, but wish we could.
We are just trying to understand the human made world we live in and that's not an easy task sometimes. Sometimes were not ready for the pressures you put on us, we get scared and confused just like you can. We get put in situations
when we have not gotten to know you well enough to trust what you ask, although we try and sometimes what you ask is not reasonable.
Sometimes the only way you will listen to our troubles and /or pain is when we react, be it from heavy hurtful use of your hands, abusive equipment, mis-use of spurs. Although I heard my teacher say "When one finally really knows how to use them properly, you don't need them any more". Sometime saddles hurt our backs, we get pinched nerves, misaligned body parts. There are times we don't feel good or even hurt and yes sometimes we are abused , so we get reactive trying to get people to listen to us. We don't want to get mean or be naughty but we are trying to show you at times by our physical reactions and even being defensive. Please listen, then often those accidents we don't mean to happen can be avoided.
We like Humans, or want to if you give us a chance. Sometime when everything is great and we have wonderful handlers and riders those outside elements can happen taking us all by surprise, such as a ground bee's nest, the honking car, helicopters landing in front of us , you never know in this world when or what can happen out of all of our control.
So from myself " The Great Tug" please wear your helmets, it might save your life and save some of my fellow horses that lose their lives due to humans blaming us for the things that go wrong that are out of our control, but in yours most of the time.
Fondly, Tug

Friday, June 20, 2008

Photo Captions from left to right
#1 No No your doing it all wrong!!
#2 Like this.
#3 That a boy! Now your getting it.
The Last Job And The Best
Above is a grouping of photos Dave put together today for me.
They are of Duke (Duker Dog) and Tony ( Tony Laroni Caboni).
Our Friend Duke passed in Dec. at the age of 14 but his last job he took very seriously was teaching Tony how to be a good dog. He showed him the ropes of house manners, getting along with everyone, how to play and how to guard the ranch, plus countless other duties which Duke used to do himself. He was teaching his replacement I feel and he did a great job. Tony is amazing and as Daves Father says, smarter than both of us put together, Duke was too in his prime.
He left his legacy in his student and a good ranch is nothing without great dogs to manage it.
Duke has left us in body but he's always here in Tony and in our memories and he taught Tony how to make memories for us to cherish of him as well.
Love your horses, Love your dogs and I hope in some way you find in it in your selves, to love yourself, as in this you can find good and love in everything.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Refining Those Skills,
Challenging Our selves,
Let the Horses Tell us How We're Doing!
There are lots of places I enjoy going but there are 4 that are my all time favorites, the first being on my own ranch working, being with Dave, the critters here and doing my workshops. The second being in the Pryor Mountains living with the Mustangs. Third in Thailand with the elephants.
Forth is special place out west I go every year to be with Friend Judy where she and I just ride and work with horse after horse just getting so absorbed in refining our horsemanship skills.
I also here get my fix of the wild life I so love, with moose, elk, antelope, fox, turkey, deer, hummingbirds and so much more.
Judy like myself not only has gaited horses but also has Quarter horses, we both still appreciate a good stock horse, being part of both our pasts.
This year Fern a Haflinger has been added spending some time with me in MN and some time with Judy on her ranch. We both also have a smathering of the English disciplines in our backgrounds, well maybe more than a smathering.
So when we get together we get out the new gloves , put away the ones with holes and we go to work.
Between the two of us we've had some great teachers to brings us where we are, Judy has been around some of the greats such as Tom Dorrance and a wonderful Mexican Calvary officer that just watching the movies of him mesmerises me of his work and teaching abilities, plus countless others along the way.
For myself of course my mother who spent countless hours and years teaching a scrawny little kid and she still is teaching me in our 3 to 4 hour phone conversations, she still amazes me with what she knows.
Also Monty Foreman, Don Burt, Reed Kettlewell, Benny Van Cleve and so many more and several of these influenced and helped me not only as a rider and showman but as a judge and developing judging programs over the years.
I feel as an adult the most moving and impacting teacher I've had is Sr. German Baca and the time I spent with he and his wife in the late 90's. I'm still working on what he taught me. I think as an adult I am just now really getting clarity in understanding what they all said and taught way back when.
It's coming full circle.
We both really enjoy and have a backgrounds in bosal ,and yes there is a huge place for it in working with gaited horses, but not so if not done correctly, those that don't have success just don't understand the proper use and application of the art and as a great tool of communication. We both find bosal work a wonderful way to hone and fine tune ones skills.
Much of our work is refining our energy applications, in acceleration, decelerations, and directional movements, maintaining straightness in gait all with out our hands, but seat and legs only.
Working on gait clarity, we love playing with reductions of leg extensions and increases, especially in the gait of fox trot. A big challenge to our selves is how far can we push the reach and still be in 4 beat timing but on the line oh so close to a 2 beat trot and back down to fox walk , again all with no hands and working through our core energy changes.
Not all our work is done in the saddle, we also do a lot of body work on the horses with acupressure and massage, and lots of ground work.
Another young mare was also added to Judy's string in which I really enjoyed doing ground work the first day was able to mount up and down the second and on the 3rd and 4Th day did some riding and working on getting her energy for forward movement and light directional work.
She's going to be a another great horse when she finishes out.
There nothing like having great horses,a good Friend and spend time together just working on our selves for betterment of our skills.
Yep, we were sure tired at the end of those days but it was such a satisfying tired.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

He Walks Beside Me and Sometimes Rides Too!
For much of my life I have traveled this journey standing alone and it's been hard and often lonely. I learned early on in standing up for truth and what is right is a hard path to travel and many along the way will try to block or distract you and keep others from you even though they may be believe in a twisted sort of way they travel the same path.
When one does find that sincere person along the way that has been in the same place to continue on together it gets easier and the path turns in to a road.
Dave makes my chosen work easier and lightens the load in many ways for me and I hope I do the same for him. We both work with in the same equine industry , I in that I teach horses and people sharing my experience trying to help them have success. While Dave being a teacher , artist , also owning and operating a saddle manufacturing corporation and saddle tree corporation, so in that we share many of the same joys and frustrations along the way.
I live much of my life traveling and working on the road although he does his share of clinics as well, he always holds down the fort, caring for the horses, feeding , cleaning stalls, grooming, putting fly mask on and taking them off, fixing equipment and fence, just all that comes with running a ranch and never with a complaint.
He has his escort of dogs where ever he goes, makes sure "Pkin" the old duck gets his " on the pond " time, meaning in the bath tub.
He cooks for guests, can run a vacuum, does dishes and washes clothes again without a complaint when I'm not here to do so my self.
He listens when I come home sharing in my travels about the wonderful people and horses I meet along the way, The fun and discovery that comes with my work. He also listens to my anguish and pain in the bad I also witness in my travels and eases the pain of experiencing the sometimes just plain mean and sometimes even evil people that do turn up also in the horse culture once in a while.
He claims he's not a horseman but I feel very differently about his opinion on that, let a horse come in for teaching that has fear of the human male and he's there with the horse working through kindness and building the bonds of trust to help the horse develop a different opinion on that. The horses trust and like him, he handles and cares for them as I would respect any honest horseman that cares about the horses well being first and foremost.
Dave is the person I love to travel with when we can together and seek out those special restaurants to enjoy great cuisine together. To go on new adventures with. On the walls of our home hang his beautiful art work all done in leather of lions, zebra's, Geronimo and even Einstein. Above is a photo of cross he did for a carving class he taught, my grandmother Nelson would have loved it. Also is a belt he carved for me for Valentines day with our names on it.
He can find humor in things when I want to cry, he makes it all better, he brings light and laughter to my life.
Oh how I cherish him , love him and thank him for choosing to walk with me as student on this journey together. He is my favorite human.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Black Horse Equestrian Center
Palmyra, WI
Advance Gaited Horse Clinic
Hosted by Greg and Diane Parker
Once in a while it seems like the universe aligns perfectly and brings great things my way. This was one of those weekends that it happened.
This was an advanced clinic and it truly was with 10 excellent horses and 7 truly passionate, dedicated horseman and horsewomen.
Several gaited Breeds were represented being Paso Fino, Icelandic, Fox Trotter, Spotted Saddle Horse and many Walking Horses.
I wish I knew the number of years of experience totaled in this group. Although maybe it's not just the time they have all spent in acquiring the skills they showed but more important the quality and commitment to be how good they were in what they brought to this clinic.
Saddle fitting, bitting, and all the basics were passed by in this clinic and time was spent working towards achieving refinement in straightness, feel, energy work , consistency in gaits, equine psycology and lots of lateral work.
Our Fox trotter "Charming" and his owner Andrea if you notice the photo above is working a fox trot with simply a neck strap and she also did much of her lateral work as well with this neck strap.
Our Paso Fino 'Kato did all his work in bitless head gear. I also was getting rather ill during this clinic and in a lot of pain and Kato I believe knew what was happening well before I was willing to admit just how Ill I was becoming.
Kathy has done an amazing job with "Kato" who I would term as a re-hab horse, I am in ah of who Kathy is and to know someone else that knows and was willing to take on that very hard journey with patience and dedication to bring a troubled horse to the best place it can be.
Diane was up and riding her wonderful bold walking horse "Cash" again after recovering from her second hip replacement, what team this is and it was an honor to be able to ride him myself which it has been many years for me since my last ride upon his very talented back.
Greg rode 3 horses on this weekend, 2 for his clients and one of his own, I think he was pretty tiered after the weekend and he should have been, my goodness he's always going hard. As always striving for perfection in him self, I so love to watch him ride.
Julie and her Icelandic horse 'Dugar" were a great team although the photo shows him in a wonderful tolt I wish I had gotten a photo of him in his trot as well, she truly understands what collection in a horse is and she and Dugar did the most amazing, easy, fully collected trot. Julie has just gorgeous and effective equitation.
Jan and her walker "Max "who is a young horse she has started is 4 and she is doing an awesome job, he handled the stress of a clinic situation beautifully and Jan let me use him for a ground work demo as well. This colt already shows a huge walk on him with an awesome stride length behind, it will be fun to see him fully mature in the future.
Our group also had some round table discussions, sharing our experiences of where the horse industry was, has come and where it is today and our responsibility we each felt we have to it and the horse, they were very special sessions with other equine related topics discussed.
This was a group I will never forget and a clinic I will always cherish.
A special thank you to Mark, a dear friend of Dave and I who was there and was my extra pair of hands I very much needed.