Horses and People Matching

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Chapter 6

Chapter 8

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Chapter 9

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Excerpts from the book.


{Page 11}

To me, the reason for writing this tome seems blatantly obvious. I see it all over the town that I live in and truthfully in every town that I have ever lived. I see women who get up forty five minutes or an hour earlier than they have to to go to work, so that they may go to their barns, feed their horses, break the ice in winter, refill with warm water, skip the manure out from the night out of the stall and turn the horse out. All of this is done briskly so that they may rush back into their warm houses, shower, dry their hair, and put on clothes that do not smell like hay, manure, or are covered with the hair of barn cats. This wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice if the story continued in this way; after work, these women don their riding clothes, curry their four legged friends and canter through the dry New England air so clear and clean in the month of March, the scenery inspiring them to smile at no one as they jump a fallen tree that could easily have been circumnavigated. The low slanting sun illuminates the grey landscape with pink rays hinting of the spring soon to come. It’s a beautiful image. I’m here to tell you that it’s a beautiful reality as well. I wish with all my heart that it were always true…but here is what I’ve found to be closer to reality. I live in a rural area. Within 5 miles of my home I’ve counted over 60 horses without exaggeration (of course there are a couple of riding academies within this radius, but there are also many private horse owners). I hack out on my beautiful trails frequently, almost every day if I can, and the truth is that I have ridden for years without passing another horse on the trails. I find it incredible, but I also find it sad. It is a primary motivation for putting these words into print.. Imagine that every single one of these horses is receiving adequate if not excellent care. Some of them sport beautiful “Baker” or “Triple Crown” blankets in winter. Some of them are enclosed in an area that could grace the cover of “Better Homes and Gardens.” yet I could not tell you what kind of saddle any of these horses wore or even if they were ridden English or Western. The owners care for them, pay for farriers to visit, veterinarians to give annual shots, and take the time to feed and care for them (or pay someone trustworthy to do so), yet they seem to be missing the most fulfilling part of being an equestrian; the time spent on the back of their horse.

I’m not saying this solely from the perspective of the rider either (although Heaven knows that would be reason enough). Think of your equine friend sitting day after day looking at the same tree line, or the same piece of the street, watching the cars drive by. I suppose if there’s more than one horse in an enclosure at least they have the benefit of social interaction and that blessing cannot be lightly dismissed. But mustn’t it be mind-numbing to watch the sun pass overhead having your day broken up by a pair of meals and nothing else? It’s mentally depleting to me to image it. I don’t want you to shake your head and think that I’m anthropomorphizing. I’m not. I’ve had horses who entertain themselves by undoing latches or coming up with comedy routines while being the subject of demonstration lectures, just to break up the monotony. Horses may not be able to solve quadratic equations, but there is a busy brain inside that very hard head of theirs and if it’s not sufficiently stimulated by the environment occasionally mental breakdowns occur and the results can be vices such as cribbing, weaving, fence-walking and worse. Is it much of a stretch of one’s imagination then to picture a horse becoming depressed due to the scenario that I’ve described as well? An environment free of intellectual stimulation or social interaction for the horse could be problematic to the emotional stability of the animal. Every horseperson knows that horses wear their emotions as close to the surface as any living creature, and are ready instantly to act upon the same.

So allow me to sum up this preface by saying let us read on and avoid the scenario of the beautifully adorned horse wearing the “Baker” blanket who is all but abandoned in actuality. Let me try to move you closer to your dream. Let us make real the dream of you riding through the woods, along the beach, jumping over fences while singing or laughing out loud and patting your beloved horse on the neck while in mid flight. Let us together make you happy, and let us make your horse happy as well. We will start at the beginning.

Laurel and Ruby

© 2007 Twombly Publishing.
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