I am a videographer in Portland, Oregon with a love for all things horses. Originally from Minnesota, my childhood was spent on racetracks across the Midwest. I am currently training my dream horse with hopes of excelling at dressage and Parelli. I have a Cairn Terrier, Ellie, and an old cat named Winston. I am fortunate to have a pretty nice boyfriend who understands and supports my love of horses. My blog helps keep a record of my successes and failures and helps friends and family enjoy the journey with me.
There was an open artist studio in Portland today that I went to check out. Near the back I spotted them....a whole herd of beautiful sculpted stoneware horses. The artist is Jan Rentenaar. You can see more examples of her work here. She says, "What you see here is myth made reality by the hand of a sculptor." My IPhone pics don't do them justice. These horses are stunning and as you stand back and look, you see characteristics in each one that resemble the horses we know. I ended up getting a beautiful green one that reminded me of Maddy. It had a floppy mane and big cheeks. It would seem I handed Jan a photo of Maddy and said "Make this horse!"
I just got my December issue of Equus Magazine. I have been getting it for years because I enjoy the fresh information. I think even on the web, you can google horse related topics and it is very limited. Especially if you want to learn about equine science. Equus is always forward thinking in their publishing of studies and research on horse health and advancements in care. Sometimes the content available online seems as arcane as some of the training methods that are out there. Just in this issue, an article about a new strangles vaccine and a study about gender affecting trainability. I am not writing this to sell subscriptions, but instead to mourn the loss of pages over the last couple months. My favorite magazine is shrinking. I set a nickel down next to it and it is the same thickness, a mere 72 pages. Coming from someone who works in news, I have watched the steadily decline in print over the last couple years and now I am seeing the bottom drop out. Print is gasping for breath and I think within the next two years we will witness its death. That means newspapers, magazines, and eventually books. Yes books. Have you seen the Kindle or the app on the IPhone that just lets you download books? Everything will be online, electronic information. So today I am going to kick back and enjoy turning my pages...even if it is only 72.
I promised a story from "The Mane Event" about survival, well here it is. This is a story about luck on this Friday the 13th. On December 4, 2008, the SPCA in Frasier Valley received a call about a pack of abandoned dogs. Upon arriving on the scene of the abandoned property, they heard a noise coming from a dilapidated shed. They entered and saw a shape huddled in the corner. It was an abandoned horse, surviving in this barn for possibly 5 months. He ate wood and his own feces and licked the condensation off stacks of tin. They suspected he was a yearling, his growth stunted from starvation. As they led him outside into the sun, he shook violently and was little more than a walking skeleton. It was a long road of rehab and recovery. A year later his adopter brought him to "The Mane Event" to participate in some of the Jonathan Field demonstrations. This little guy seemed to be in good hands, a caring owner that hopefully made this pact. "In exchange for your trust, I promise to never allow anything like that to happen to you again."
Isn't this a beautiful painting? I love it. I saw it on a first Thursday Artwalk in Portland, Oregon a couple weeks ago. For a mere $600, it could be mine. (Gasp!) It is big, like 5x5. I have always been drawn to circus books, pictures, and paintings. Maybe in another life, I ran off and joined one. I don't enjoy going to them. I find myself feeling sorry for the animals, but the images and the lifestyle have always been intriguing. Maybe I just love those beautiful white horses. Oh, I love this painting...a girl can dream right? The artist can be found at www.bantampainter.com
I realize he is not wearing a helmet and lots of people will be upset by that...but I had to post this pic anyway. My brother just sent me this photo. It is my little nephew Weston sitting on "Jessie". I love seeing him up on a horse. My brother and I grew up on the backs of ponies, so I hope Weston has the same kind of childhood. My sister-in-law doesn't like horses, so I think his only opportunity for riding will be when he comes to visit his aunt Julie or visits grandpa.
"I head out to Maddy's run and think to myself, "she is not too muddy today."She turns to head my way, looking good, showing off her new trace clip. I love that Maddy is always curious. If I go out to her pasture, she can't resist coming over to check out what I am doingAs she gets closer...I start to see her left side. Yep, I knew it was too good to be true. She is muddy, caked, my little pig trapped in a horse's body. The great thing about my new barn is that the mud is very minimal, even when it is raining hard. They do pasture rotation and the runs have great drainage. No matter, if there is a bit of mud, Maddy will find it. Let the grooming begin!
The Trainer's Challenge is something we have all come to enjoy at most expos. If you haven't seen one, the premise is simple. Selected trainers take unbroke horses and see what they can produce after 3 days of training. The challenge usually has a judging criteria, 10% horse, 60% trainer's ability to train the horse, and 30% the trainer's ability to translate to the public. The three contestants at The Mane Event this year were, Ken McNabb of RFD fame, Martin Black out of Idaho, and Bruce Logan out of Texas.
They all did a good job, but one really, really impressed me, Bruce Logan. This cowboy was so soft and he took everything the horse offered, allowing it to figure out how to do things correctly. It was amazing to watch and so different from the other two. It is no wonder; he trained under Ronnie Willis. For Bruce, the horse was checked in the whole time and there was language developing between the two. As the horse worked around the arena, you could see his confidence building and he was willing to let Bruce guild him over obstacles. That horse was becoming "solid." What a great foundation for that horse to start with. Way to go Bruce...I like what you are doing for the horse world!
Ken did a good job, but he seemed more concerned about the clock and talking to the judges...it almost seemed like he was bored with the whole thing. I know he does good work and I appreciate that he plugs People Helping Horses, but it just didn't seem like his heart was in it.
Martin Black, was the one I liked the least and yes, he won. He seemed like a decent guy, his methods just aren't in line with the way I like to see people work with horses. I know these guys have three days to get the horses as far as they can, and it is a competition. Everything they did was impressive, but just because a horse does something, doesn't mean it was done right. Martin's horse whinnied the whole time, raced around the arena, sweated out, and it seemed that he had a death grip on the reins. The horse did everything he wanted, but it felt forced. He was a bit more of a showman and won over the crowd.
At this point in my life, I just prefer watching the building of a relationship between horse and human over force and acceptance. I was bummed the judges didn't see what I saw, but the crowd was happy. They got their hero, but it made me sad to see yet another equine competition won by quantity not quality. I hope you all read up on Bruce..he really impressed me. Bruce Logan has a new fan and I wish him much success in the future. Go check out his website and learn more about him.