lantairvlea: (powerpuff crop)
Mark Rashid is an author I've been meaning to read for a while. One of my clients gifted me "Horses Never Lie" last year and that put it a bit higher on the list of things to read.

This was a pretty quick read and it was very easy to read. Mark Rashid has an easy and enjoyable style of writing that allows the pages to move right along. The book is a combination of memoir, training anecdotes, and philosophy.

It made me think a little harder about some of the things I do with my horses and how to better work with them and help them do their jobs (I need to get the body worker out again for example).

It was a book about training horses, but not in the classic sense of do this for that result and you should progress in these steps. No, it was about an overarching philosophy that involves true partnership in which both parties have a say.

As I noted in my review of the Parelli DVDs, some profess the idea of a "partnership" with the horse, but they give the horse all these things to do and all the responsibility for doing them without any real say or feedback in the process. Does your horse really need to circle around you while you stand there completely disengaged in order for the horse to be considered a "partner?" Do you need to repeat the same exercise daily even if your horse has done it perfectly and proven that he understands it? If your horse doesn't give you the "right" answer right away do you really have to escalate the cue or aid? The latter lesson I learned from Cinnamon. If she does something when I give an aid, even if it isn't the right thing, I do not escalate because she gave me a response. I keep the aid the same and stay quietly persiatent until I get the answer I want, otherwise she escalates her negative response.

The book centered around the idea of passive leadership. Passive doesn't mean that the leader doesn't do anything to actively engage with its followers, but passive refers to how the leader came to its position. The passive leader doesn't size up the competition and squash them into the dirt to prove their dominance. The passive leader is chosen by its followers. The passive leader exemplifies traits that the horse finds comforting and trustworthy, the most important of these being fairness and consistency.

In short, it was a great read and I would highly recommend it!
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
This is a Dressage classic by many standards. It is not nearly so dense as D'Endrödy's "Give Your Horse a Chance," but quite a bit more specific than Oliveira's "Reflections on Equestrian Art."

I enjoyed it. It's always funny to realize how much things have both changed, but stayed the same. He lamented several times over people taking shortcuts with their horses, competitive dressage not holding the same standard for correctness as the Spanish Riding School, and horses being overbent. The reading level is moderate. It isn't overly technical, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't familiar with horses either.

He starts outlining history, naming many master horsemen of the distant past and the written works some of them left behind.

He outlines important principles of riding and training, such as "the self-taught person can never become more than a workman; only on a foundation of theory can riding develop to the realm of art." That is so true. I know I wouldn't be anywhere near the horseman (man used in the sense of huMan kind rather than apecifically gendered) I am today if I had to rely on just my own experience and experimentation.

He tries to keep the scope of the book focused, but he does touch on the importance of knowing as much as one can about the horse as a creature and not merely as something you ride. Good advice includes "any rider would be well advised to study the conformation of the horse he proposes to train" and he goes on to explain that while he is laying down the principles "there is no definite rule as to how to put them into practice." He further reminds us that "there are no rules for any difficulties that may appear. Remesies that are successful with one horse may prove unsuccessful with another." This coming from a man who spent 26 years at the Spanish Riding School, I am inclined to believe that there is no single training method that will work with every single horse. He reiterates this point several times throughout, that you should not be rigid in your application of training and to tailor it to the individual horse.

He thoroughly discusses the various gaits and paces of the horse and various other aspects including having the horse "on the bit," collection, "Raising the head and neck by action of the hindquarters" (what some would now term relative elevation), bending, and the aids.

On the aids he notes that one should only use their own body plus a whip and/or spur, anything else is a gimmick. He is careful to note that "the spur should never be used sharply as an aid, because it would then no longer be an aid but a punishment."

With the reins he warns that contact should never become a steady pull as the horse is guaranteed to win the tug-of-war.

While discussing the balance between rein and leg aids he states "the rider should never push more with his legs than he can control with his reins, or hold with his hands more than he can absorb with his legs and seat." The later makes more sense if you know that the rein aid does not act within the rider's arm alone, but should travel through the rider into his seat so that it can then transfer into the horse's back and haunches.

He talks in detail about the place of punishment, prefacing it with the warning that it should be restricted and "thevalue of punishment shouldnever be over-rated and employednas a substitute for correct aids."

He discusses the training of the horse from the lunge line to under saddle and in-hand work up to the airs above the ground.

Here he discusses the purpose of dressage, which is doubly to obtain clear, pure paces, and to make the horse stronger and more beautiful. This theme is visited again and again, which can be boiled down to the quotes "If during the course of training the natural paces are not improve, it would be proof that the training was incorrect" and "if the horse does not become better looking innthe course of his training, it would be a sign that the training was incorrect."

There was an annoyance in the middle of the book where the pages were printed out of order. At page 145 in order to follow the text properly younhave to jump to page 148, then 147, then 146 before proceeding to page 149. What editor didn't notice that?!

Much of the book is full of things I am already aware of from reading other volumes, but it is also good to go back to source material and see the foundation that others have built on. Some day I'll bridge the gap between Podhajsky and Xenophon, who Podhajsky quotes multiple times.

I'm slowly making mybway through my equestrian library. Next up Mark Rashid's "Horses Never Lie" before tackling Dr. Gerd Heuschmann's other two books.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I cannot begin to say how opposite Mr. Oliveira's work is in comparison to Lt. Co. D'Endrödy's. "Reflections" is a slim volume. It doesn't contain pages of specific exercises to rocket you to Grand Prix in five months, but just as the title says, it is a collection of Mr. Oliveira's thoughts and reflections on various aspects of training the horse from qualities of the walk to airs above the ground.

Some lovely nuggets:

"The apex of perfection in equestrian art is not an exhibition of different airs and movements by the same horse, but rather the conservation of the horse's enjoyment, suppleness and finesse during the performance."

Captain Beudant's "Ask for much, be content with little, and reward often." Many equestrians have heard this from various sources. Mr. Oliveira comments that "In this last, lies the secret of leaving the horse still fresh, with a good impression for the next lesson."

When it comes to literature "All books are of use to the very advanced rider ... so that he can pick out the good advice,...while knowing which parts to discard.

"Above all, it is necessary to ride often, while not entirely allowing the books to gather dust on the shelves."

"Horses who have bad characters are rare: generally their vices are the result of inexpert handling by riders lacking experience."

"A horse is never trained through fear. Although progress maybe slown it is only by rational and gentle work that a horse can be called really trained."

"A horse can not be called submissive, nor in forward action, if the base of the neckis not in a stable position or if the neckis too yuelding, flinching from the contact of the bit and action of the reins."

"To speak clearly and simply always in thesame way isnone of the cornerstones of dressage."

Quoted from General Josipovich "The aim of dressage training is to eradicate from the horse stiffness in the joints, to develop in them flexibility, ease in movingnin a well balanced attitude in which they can continue a long time, much longer than an untrained horse, andwith less expendituee of strength."

"If the horse reins back without being asked to do so, or precipitates his reining back, the exercise is bad, it even may be said to be terrible."

His definition of collection is even balance between all four legs, which is contradictory to many suggesting that there needs to be more weight behind.

I could keep quoting, but some needs to be left in the book! Again, an enjoyable read and while brief packed with many nuggets of wisdom about handling and training the horse if not overly specific.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I have finally finished reading "Give Your Horse a Chance by Lt. Col. A. L. d'Endrödy. At over 500 pages it was quite the beast to get through and it is quite the technical manual on horsemanship.

Part One: Fundamental Objects of Riding

Part Two: Methods of Communication with the Horse

Part Three: Schooling the Rider and Horse in Jumping

Part Four: The Three-Day Event and Part Five: Show Jumping are reviewed below.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to the basic schooling of horse and rider, including the introduction of jumping in Parts One through Three. The final 120-odd pages of the 530 page beast address building the "finished" performance horse in Three-Day Eventing and Show Jumping.

In part four he goes over the requirements of the event in great detail starting with the Dressage phase, including tips for how to best prepare for the test and common trouble spots. He explains all of the paces required, including rein-back and each movement and figure.

He then covers "The Speed and Endurance Tests and Its Component Parts."

Nowadays the second phase is simply referred to as "cross-country," but it used to be way more than the single phase we see now in the "short format" of eventing. This section was really interesting to me as he discussed each of the phases, their purpose, and how to strategically tackle them all.

Roads and Tracks occurs twice during the second day and is the introduction to what d'Endrödy refers to as the "endurance tests." Roads and Tracks occurs primarily at the trot. In the first instance it serves as a "warm-up" for the rest of the day and the second occurance is between the steeplechase and cross-country and serves as a "rest" between these two intense phases.

The second phase, the Steeplechase, is performed at speed and he discusses how to prepare the horse for the speed demands as well as teaching the horse how to take jumps at this accelerated pace. The jumps are predominantly brush-types and inviting. He suggests riding with shorter stirrups and a position similar to that of a racing jockey, which makes sense considering the rate!

The final phase of the endurance test is the one most people are familiar with: Cross-Country. He introduces this phase with "this phase of the endurance test demands a high degree of intelligence, intensive training and great ability on the part of the horse," and it holds true. Since the other three phases were cut for the "short format" i.e. making it easier for TV coverage the cross-country has become much more technical. Some obstacles are also different. One of the pictures shows a horse sliding down a 70° slope 23' long, something I've never seen at an event and is certainly a test of rider and horse grit!

Lastly he talks about the Show Jumping phase before talking about the importance of proper fitness and conditioning before going into detail about preparing the horse over the course of the year, and considerations for what to do during the actual performance of the three-day event.

There are more calculations and tables with a lot of math. For a sport that is so much about "feel" you certainly can use math to take out some of the guesswork out of riding a certain line. Of course there is also something to be said about being able to keep all of these numbers in one's head for a full course after you figure them out on paper! He also briefly covers one-day events.

Part Five of the book covers show jumping and the special skills and consitioning required to do well.

He mentions rapping, which is something I hadn't heard of and am pretty glad is not widely practiced at this point so far as I am aware. Essentially one uses a long, stiff object (rod, pole, whatever, even the top rail of the jump itself) to rap the horse's legs as it jumps to encourage it to be more careful. For example a horse who tends to hang a leg would get a rap to encourage it to tuck up tigher as it goes over. He had a lot of caveats and precautions and emphasized the importance of the one doing the rapping being both out of sight of the horse and having exceptional skill and timing. He also mentions self-rapping by having the horse jump a single rail so that there is no ground line to help the horse judge or having a thin hollow metal pipe just above the top rail of the fence so that if it isn't careful it hits the pipe having the double effect of a hard knock and the hollow sound.

Following the show jumping section is a large collection of tables laying out (re)conditioning plans, show and competition schedules.

In conclusion I did enjoy the book, but wouldn't recommend it to your average horse person. It is extremely technical and the writing can get a bit dense in places as it does in any academic work. It is VERY thorough and I would love to read it again taking the time to follow all of his little cross-references. It does have a thorough index to help look up specific topics with ease. I do think it is a good book for anyone wanting to really dig into riding theory. I did find the first half more useful than the second, but my focus isn't on jumping or eventing (though some day a long format low-level event would be cool). I didn't highlight much of anything in these final parts, but I guess as you get to higher level competition all of the really hard work was in laying the foundation and while it is still work and certainly not easy getting a horse to the fitness and training to perform at the highest levels, it is much less about the theory and correction once that basic communication is established.

I've been reading this book slowly for over two years. I almost don't know what to do next!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
If I thought the previous two parts of this book were technical part three takes the cake! The third part focuses on the training of the horse to jump. It also goes over some math (gasp!) and calculations that can be used to determine the best strategy in addressing tricky combinations that are not neat distances apart.

He starts out easy enough, discussing how the horse should first be introduced to grond rails and cavelettis at no set distance apart before moving towards gymnastics. He includes the importance of working with varrying terrain as well like small ditches and banks.

With the gymnastics he discusses the use of each and how they affect the horse's jump, aiming to improve certain aspects of it. One of the set-ups he used was called the "star" with four jumps set up in a square and four others radiating from the corners of the square with various types of fences.

What I found particularly interesting was how he suggests one handles a refusal:
"Despite thorough schooling, a correct approach and a well-arranged fence, it still may happen that the horse will stop./ When this occurs the animal shold be held for 8-10 seconds facing the fence. Then it can be turned away and a fresh attempt made as if the former incident had never happened."

He does go on to say that repeated stops would warrant taps from the whip and that "the whip should only be sed to educate the animal, and not to punish it." Repeated refusals should also be addressed by dropping the difficulty of the fence and then building back up to the previous height (though not necessarily in the same session).

I found that a much gentler method than you often see applied nowadays in jumping.

This is echoed again when he talkes about introducing ditches:
"If the horse cannot make this decision [to jump the ditch] the meantime, the rider mst be carefl that the animal does not trn away or step back. If necessary, thehorse should stand still for 5-10 mintes or even longer in front of the ditch. Shoulds the horse get to the verge of jumping, bt then decline, it should be patted a few times and allowed to come to a fresh decision."

Emphasis added, but a definite echo of the title of the book!

He also talks about ways to develop feel for distances and the like as well as how to learn to feel for varying speeds. He has charts describing how speed affects the horse's stride length and how that stride is affected after a jump. Minimum speed for the size of an obstacle and more and more charts.

There are descriptions of sensations for both good and bad jumps, how to improve certain mistakes, and also the importance of the horse being able to take care of itself over an obstacle.

The really technical stuff is where he discusses take-off and landing distances and sets up calculations as to how determine them along with more equations to help one determine how to handle oddly distanced combinations (as the horse to jump long in so you can fit the proper striding in to the next jump because a reglar take-off would put you too close to the next jump and other puzzles like that).

I admit to glossing over some of the more technical stuff. I imagine if I were more into jumping I would be more fascinated and attempting to understand his calculations more and figuring out how to practically apply it.

He ends the section talking about terrain jumps (ditches, banks, water) in detail and briefly talks about high and long jump contests.

Two more sections remain: Cross-Country and Show Jumping, which I will probably review together because they are just barely 100 pages combined.

I have been enjoying Mr. D'Endrödy's work, but I am looking forward to reading something else a little lighter! I've been working on this poor book for almost two years I think and I am ready to be done reading it and start feeling like I am making progress through my library again!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Originally published in 1959 this book is a hefty tome. Lt. Col. A. L. D'Endrödy divides the book into five sections and I feel that I must do the same in order to give the book any service for I am certain that by the time I reach the end of it I will have forgotten much of the beginning. It is over five hundred pages long with an extensive index, diagrams, and 20 pages worth of photos with commentary. I have just finished the first part and will share my thoughts about it.

Part one is "The Fundamental Objects of Riding" and is very thorough in its treatment of the subject. You will want to read this with highlighter or pen in hand to mark and note all of the interesting and relavent points.

"Natural" horsemanship is certainly not a new phenomenon. Some people would have you believe it is only in the past 20-30 years that truely enlightened horsemen have revealed to us the inner workings of the horse's mind or known how to treat the animal with kindness, understanding, or in a language it responds best to, but it really has been the foundation of good horsemanship throughout the centries from Xenophon to the present day.

Gems such as "Before blaming the horse, the rider should make a careful check on himself, since 90 per cent. of the opposition may rise from his own mistakes." As well as notes that punishment is justified only when the rider "is convinced of the animal's malice" and not to be used when it simply does not understand and, echoing Xenophon, not to be used when one is angry or frustrated suggesting that the rider whistle or smile to check himself so that the punishment is without heated emotion.

"Good riding starts... when the rider can properly influence the horse...knows how to aid it in overcoming to overcome its opposition in a constructive manner." And "'Tricks' have no place in the art of riding, since in moments of crisis, when effective action is most needed, the superficial 'trick' never succeeds."

He emphasises the most thorough education of the rider, noting that the "elementary" schooling of a rider takes one to one and a half years of daily schooling. I think this helps to explain to students who only come to weekly lessons why it takes years to get a good base instead of a few months. Good riding takes time, a lot of time, even at the basic level! He notes the education of the horse is much the same, about a year and a half, sometimes less, but only under the hands of the best horseman and only if the horse is exceptionally athletic and fully developed physically. He does caution that a lot of it has to do with building the physical strength necessary to perform the tasks and that can not be rushed on any account.

He gives an interesting series of exercises to help one develop their hands, one of which being writing with a pencil that has a very long point (without breaking it of course). The book also cross-references itself all over, which means a straight read-through might not be the best manner of course as one seeks further depth of the current subject by reading up on another just mentioned.

He thoroughly explores the horse's gaits, noting that the walk has "very little natural swing in the pace makes instruction difficult for the rider, and enables the horse to resist easily" which rings very true. Of the trot he notes "by its simple grouping of movements, and by its natural balance and swing, facilitates the teaching work of the rider and the learning of the horse. Therefore, this is the pace which plays the main role in the horse's schooling."

After the gaits of the horse he moves on to the rider's aids, from leg to seat and reins. Also with many diagrams showing how pressure is applied, the strength thereof, and its most appropriate application. He states that the yielding phase of any aid is just as, if not more important than the taking or asking phase, for it is in this stage of the aid that the horse performs the action, or is allowed to perform the action. If one has unyielding aids the horse becomes incapable of executing the desired action as there is no space to do it in.

He goes over the "leveling function" of the aids in great detail, which I strongly suspect refers to the "half-halt" as most now call it as he puts it leveling "has an exceptional aiding quality, by smoothing and polishing both the activities of the rider and the horse."

All in all I think it is an excellent read thusfar. It is very dense and at the start I found myself re-reading passages to be sure I had them properly in my mind. It is not a book I would recommend to my young students as I fear it would be a bit over their heads, however it is packed with information that is presented in a very thorough, detailed manner. I also note that reading it appears to have affected my writing as I sense a more contemplative, verbose and formal expression than usual. I look forward to reading the rest of it and seeing how many more passages I end up highlighting before the end of it!

I have started part two "The Methods of Communication with the Horse" and will share my thoughts on that when I have finished it.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I ended up reading all three copies I have of Xenophon's "On Horsemanship" also referred to as "The Art of Horsemanship," because it was a rather short read and with time sitting nursing my reading has gone way up (not complaining!).

It was nothing earth-shattering, but the fact that it is over 2,000 years old is still astonishing. There was one little passage where the translators seemed to think Xenophon was confused in his anatomy describing a certain ailment of the legs that I think is splints, but who am I to argue with translators.

He had a lot of good, sensible points and it is interesting to see how little things have changed in respect to good horsemanship and how much other things have. For onewhe doesn't recommend buying any horse older than five and suggests a hoof with a high, recessed frog.

The copy translated by Morris H. Morgan has many Xenophon contemporary illustrations to give one a better idea about some of the things Xenophon described. He also has a bit of history on Xenophon and things about the horses of his time. It was the thickest volume of the three.

The translation by A. Nyland included snippets from Xenophon's contemporaries as well as some of Xenophon's other works complimenting the Horsemanship text, one of which had some interesting side note about mules occasionally being fertile.

The third one didn't list the translator and was simply what Xenophon wrote.

"Horse Training In-Hand" by Ellen Schuthof-Lesmeister and Kip Mistral is a nice treat. It covers lungeing, double lungeing, ground driving, and work with both short and long reins (in that order even). It was very step-by-step and laid down a wonderful foundation to build all the lateral movements as well as the piaffe.

It has wonderful photographs and is well-written. The "tools you need" section got a bit redundant, but that is a minor thing. There are definitely things I plan on playing with on Z and the others as well when I have time ... hahaha. I need to make time for these things.

Next up "Give Your Horse a Chance" by Lt. Col. A. L. D'Endrody. His work is quite lengthy and will take a bit longer to sort through. I picked it up several years ago at a second-hand book store and am excited to finally read it.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
In order to enjoy them you have to pretend that you've never read the book and completely forget about the original chronology.

I guess in order to make three two hour plus movies from a three hundred page book you'd have to play with the order and plug other things in. They also made it ten times darker because darker sells better apparently.
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
I finished the two aforementioned books last night. I feel so accomplished! I have tragically been picking my way through "Centered Riding 2" for the last year or so and the other I started last week. I read voraciously given the opportunity.

Centered Riding 2 was just as good as Sally Swift's first book. I like and use a lot of b her imagery to help my students, but struggle with how to integrate some of her work on the ground. While I know some of these things would help my students I worry about how to fit it in. Part of me says these are riding lessons. My students expect to RIDE, but the other part knows that some of these exercises could really help in expediting learning. I guess the part that I am most backed off about is that some of the techniques are literally "hands on" and as such there's the whole impropriety thing (and I'm big on personal space and generally not keen on getting into anothers'). Ms. Swift had some advantage in being a rather non-threatening elderly lady.

Anyway it's a book I recommend and need to go through again myself and glean some choice exercises and roll them into my teaching.

Mr. Belasik's book was a pretty good read. I found myself highlighting a lot of his insights. He addresses the "Classical versus Modern/competition Dressage" issue that Gerd Heuschmann and others have brought up the last decade. He doesn't really mention hyperflexion specifically, but he does explore how proper collection works both in theory and practice and postulates how not eliminating the airs (levade specifically) has allowed for competitive dressage horses to avoid true collection.

It is written in a somewhat meandering, literary way, a sharp contrast from Heuschmann's hard scientific writing, but still inaightful and perhaps easier to read for some.

Next up: "The Art of Horsemanship" by Xenophon because my equestrian education can't be complete without reading a 2400 year old volume. I have several different copies of it now (went a little crazy when I ordered books to reference for my last horsemanship class...) so I don't know if I'll end up reading and comparing all of them or just devour the one that I happpened to pull off the shelf first.

Any must-read recommendations after Xenophon?
lantairvlea: (Default)
From his website:

"JUNE 6, 2012

"Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91 after a long illness. He lived in Los Angeles.

"In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays titled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote: In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.

"He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian, and Alexandra Bradbury, and eight grandchildren. His wife, Marguerite, predeceased him in 2003, after fifty-seven years of marriage.

"Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

I need to read at least one of his stories tomorrow, if not a book this next week in memorium. He is one of, if not my favorite, authors. He was 91, a good age to go, yet still a sad loss. I know many people don't know him beyond "Fahrenheit 451" and perhaps "Something Wicked This Way Comes," or the odd short story that made its way into English textbooks, but he really was great. Even as he aged there was still wonder in his work. He wrote science fiction, but it was less about the technology than it was the circumstances of the people in it. He had many wonderful collections of short stories, and perhaps that is why more people didn't pick him up. He didn't do many novels, he was quite succinct, yet wonderfully verbose at the same time. I could go on, but it gets late. Tomorrow I shall pull a book off of the shelf and sit down to remind myself of the wonderful voice that has gone silent and yet sounds again and again within his books and other works.
lantairvlea: (Default)
Anne McCaffrey died away this past week.

She wasn't young and has had a long, successful career. I know many of you are familiar with her books and know the daydreams and possibilities that they opened up for us all. I was most taken with her Pern series and admit it heavily influenced me during Jr. high and High School. Many fond memories of RPing in that world and exploring it before starting to branch out and create my own.

Rest in peace.
lantairvlea: (Default)

Had the distinct smell of gas on the bus coming to school today, which was a bit unpleasant, but tolerable to the secondary smell that I couldn't quite place. I'm uncertain if it was the odor of the person sitting in front of me or some other unnamed source. Just the same, I spent the majority of the ride with my nose scrunched and breathing into my shirt or hand to try and avoid the unpleasant smell. And I think my shirt smells a bit like exhaust, but not too bad.

Apart from that, the shuttle back and forth really has been a blessing. It's allowed me to avoid putting thousands of miles on my car along with saving gas money. It's also given me time I would spend in traffic listening to the radio and transforming it to study or just reading time. Let alone getting to meet and know the people who share the ride with me.

Yesterday was long, Institute was canceled because the instructor was sick so I read a bit. I read both of Chris Irwin's books last week: "Horses Don't Lie" and "Dancing With Your Dark Horse." Both were quite excellent and it echoes a lot of what I've read from other "Natural Horsemen." It's interesting to see how horses intertwine with other aspects of life. I find myself constantly referring back and comparing how horses improve other parts of peoples' lives. I know it might make me sound like someone who has only one thing on their mind with as often as they come up in conversation, but it really does help to bring about a different view of the world and, I think, it's a view that is greatly lacking and needed.

I'm currently reading Buck Brannaman's newer books "Believe," which includes his insights as well as stories from people he has helped through the years. It's quite good thusfar and interesting to see through others' experiences. His first book "The Faraway Horses" was quite good as well, but followed a more autobiographical line.


lantairvlea: (Default)

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