lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I voted, I did my civic duty. Some might say I threw my presidential vote away because I cast ir for a third party candidate, but if people are continually guilted into thinking that a third party can never win then it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy and never will.

I'm not a fan of either people who ran for president in the major parties. That's just the way it was this time. There were some good people at the start of the primaries in there, but they weren't loud and obnoxious enough to be given the time of day and "the masses" tend to not dig deeper than their Facebook feed or standard news coverage.

I am pretty disappointed in how the supposed Hillary Clinton supporters have reacted with riots, burning things in the street, and protests. It's a bit ironic that they are doing exactly what they feared the Trump supporters would do if they had lost. I know it's the work of a few disturbed people and there's always those happy to jump in and take advantage of the angry energy in a large group of people and steer it towards destruction. And I say supposed becaused I would like to think that those who are being irresponsible and violent are not thete to protest, but just cause trouble.

But either way, this is what we have to deal with. Don't like it? Get involved. The reason we seem stuvk with crappy politicians is because good people rarely stand up and go for it and then the rest of us fail to vote for them.

I find it interesting that voter turnout was so low. Despite her popular vote numbers Clinton received, according to some reports, fewer than Mitt Romney did last election cycle. What would have happened if all of those apathetic voters had shown up instead of sitting out?

So the country voted in a showman of questionable moral values. Thank the founders of this country for their God-given inspiration to have checks and balances. There's only so much he can do in four years. We may have a Republican legislature, but a lot of them are not kindly disposed to President-elect Trump. He's probably going to get one Supreme Court Justice appointed, and we can hope the rest of them hold out for four years. We'll survive, it isn't the end of the world unless we make it so.

Die Ethik

Feb. 17th, 2016 09:44 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I was reading another blog that talked about training and what makes a person a "trainer" in relationship to horses and she pointed to another blog that posed an interesting and thought-provoking question: Is Natural Horsemanship Ethical?

Blogspot hates my phone and doesn't allow me to comment from it and while I had some thoughts I'm not quite determined enough to email the original poster so I'll ramble a bit here instead. If you read it, I fins her bear analogy both funny and poingant. This commentary from a horse owner who is trying to do the best by her horse on her way to some Endurance competition goals provided a very good read and was nicely thought-provoking. Even if one doesn't agree with something in its entirety, when it triggers more critical thinking it is a good thing in my book.

My first strong thought is that I think there is a confusion, or at least conflict, on the use of the roundpen and what should be accomplished therein.

The "Join-Up" crew, pioneered by Monty Roberts, can be overzealous in the driving of the horse. The method has never quite appealed to me (and the bear analogy here is pretty awesome). In its original form I don't see it as a bad concept: show the horse that comfort and release comes from paying attention to the human, but as we all know some people take part of a concept and run the completely wrong direction with it. This is where you get people who chase a horse around without any release or consideration that the horse might not want to run around due to pain, lack of understanding, or whatever else.

I can see encouraging a horse to move past a sticky spot, but I don't see the point in running it around and around and around waiting for it to finally stop on its own or just so happen to look at you instead of outside the roundpen.

The other school of thought in the roundpen that I have some issue with is the people who do not allow any walking in it. It's in the pen trot-canter-turn, repeat. Sunny, my in-law's slightly dim palomino Quarter Horse mare was trained this way and it had her brain fried in the roundpen for quite a while. Marty spent a long time getting Sunny to realize that it was okay to WALK in the roundpen. I know where the proponents are coming from: many people work their horses far too little so you get fat, sassy horses that can bully their owners into never asking anything that the horse might not "like" and with most horses being energy conservative exerting themselves can easily end up on the "do not like" list. That said one also needs to be cognizant of a horse's fitness level and possible physical limitations.

The roundpen can be a great tool for establishing the ABCs of the language we use with horses. For me that starts with focusing on the two things we control with horses: speed and direction. If the horse is ripping around like a maniac I control the direction, no need for further driving! In such a case I spend my time changing the horse's direction to get them to tone it down. As the horse turns their forward energy is translated into lateral energy and unless the horse re-energizes after completing the turn (and many of them do the first few turns) they do slow down. A more sluggish horse that is less impressed with my presence will get driven forward and asked to transition as well as turn until it becomes respectful of the aids, but running them around and around is pointless. Granted, anyone with a mule will tell you that lungeing only requires a few rotations to establish that the animal gets the concept! A mule won't stand to run around in endless circles and while a horse might, that doesn't mean we should.

I also think that roundpen work, like lungeing on the line, shouldn't last more than 30 minutes for the shake of the horse's legs. Sure it's a cool trick to have the horse go around and around until you tell it to do otherwise, but you can establish the horse's desire to hold until you ask otherwise with just a couple rotations, it doesn't have to be 20, or even five!

I also feel that there has to be two-way communication between horse and handler (rider, driver). Not should be has to be. Yes the horse should do what we ask, but we should also be aware of their limtations and listen to feedback (both positive and negative!). The horse is an honest creature and will tell us exactly what we need if we only take the time to listen and understand them. Good, classical Dressage understands this and so does any good training philosophy (I hate to say "method" as that suggests rigid process).

I had that discussion with my client who has the Arab gelding, Royal, who is Kash's cousin (on both sides). If you take your horse's problem areas and view them as the horse telling you that they need help in that area rather than the horse snubbing your or being difficult your perspective on it changes. Royal was a pain about having his ear touched, which told me he had some trouble there and needed help with it so we worked on it until he was able to overcome his troubles.

So far as flooding goes I don't think it has any place in horse training. I do think there is a difference between the textbook definition of flooding (the continual stimulus until the subject shuts down/stops responding) and what the writer of the post lumped in as being flooding. Some of what she was referring to would probably be considered habituating. Flooding insinuates that the maximum stimulus is introduced from the start with no release until the subject shuts down to it. Habituation starts with low, non-threatening stimulus that comes and goes to build acceptance. The keys being that the stimuls starts low and the pressure comes and goes so there are breaks and release from the pressure. Habituation is something that is a great tool in training and is much less stressful than flooding. Just because the horse stops reacting doesn't mean that he has shut down due to being scared out of his mind and the feeling I got from reading the post was that the writer was lumping habituation and flooding into the same pool, but they are very different in their results. The flooded horse still has its fear. The habitated horse learns that there is nothing to fear. It has also been scientifically proven that habituation is much less stressful (I just don't have the time to run around and find the articles to cite).

She also wrote about the Wild Horse, Wild Ride movie and went on at length about the issues with the Mustang Makeover program. I do say that 100 days is much better than the 30 day miracles many trainers are expected to do starting a "normal" horse or the three day colt starting contests. I do think that some of the trainers in the program push too hard too fast. I heard of one guy who worked his horse to death even. The trainer referenced in the movie who got on her horse the first day I have met several times and she actually is the one who put the rides on Toby when Dave and Marty had him restarted. She is a special type of crazy, but is also very good. I wouldn't send just any horse to her because I know she (and her sisters and mother) push very hard and very fast, which some horses need, but many don't. Toby needed it. I would never have sent Panda to them, though.

Back on track, while the Mustang Makeover/Challenge program has its issus, I do think that it is, overall, a good program. 100 days is a decent amount of time to get a horse well-started under saddle. How wisely the trainers choose to use that time and what they focus on (solid foundation or blingy show-stoppers) is up to them and partially up to the judges. As with any contest with a prize the participants tend to do what gets rewarded by the judge.

In short: there is no easy one size fits all solution to training horses and anyone who says there is hasn't worked with enough of them or is fooling themselves. I also think that any training philosophy can be taken the wrong way and warped, just as any competition or discipline has its problems (even endurance has had trouble with unscrupulous characters sacrificing the horse's well-being for the win).
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Goal; 100
Words: 163
Various snippets that won't make sense )
I think I have decided that their ranks are not going to be used until after the official induction. It would make sense that they would keep the official names of the group's ranks under wraps. So then it is Mr., Ms, Mrs. or maybe just Ms because I don't know if some of them are maried or if that should be left open air at this point...

I also don't want to default to "professor" regardless of gender. I guess the good news is it's only for the first six weeks and then they shift over to their official Mime ranks. Something to chew on I guess.

In completely unrelated news my phone apparently has a crack onthe screen. I thought it was a hair, but it didn't brush away and when I angled it it looked much larger. The good news is that depending on the angle it doesn't affect viewing for the most part. It just stinks that the phone is under a year old, though. I think one of the boys must have done something to it.

Still other news I got in my "Oktoberfest" orders. Because I'm weird I have a little tradition of ordering stuff from Amazon.de to pseudo-celebrate Oktoberfest. Usually it includes a few movies, CDs, and a couple books (I have been admittedly bad about actually reading the books, but my "horse" German is even worse than my regular German so I would be glued to the dictionary reading them, granted some I have the English version of too so that helps. Anyway! This year I was a bit skimpier than usual for obvious reasons, but I still ordered a pair of CDs. A couple years ago I had taken a chance on some new-to-me artists that Amazon.de had recommended (and one Ola did) and enjoyed them, but hadn't sought out any more then last month I was thumbing through my iPod (which is probably close to ten years old now) and rediscovered Christina Stürmer's "In dieser Stadt" album and have been enjoying it over and over again. I went ahead and ordered two more of her albums, one I think is one of her first and the other was from 2013 and I am pleased to report I am happy with them and pleased with the quality of her music. I do still have some catching up to do with Nena and Peter Schilling (so happy he started making music again and Nena is just a music-making machine that has been going strong, if unheard of in the USA since 99 Red Balloons), but maybe next year.

Slightly more related,the boys are apparently obsessed with Elle King's "Ex's and Oh's" and have been rocking out to it nonstop. Needless to say I've had it stuck in my head.

I apparently need to make up my schedule for AFE in the Spring. I've also been asked about an art class for a home school group. We'll see how high the interest is. I need three at minimum to make it worth my while. I also need to decide what type of art class for AFE next semester. If I should offer the Intro again or do something else entirely. I'd really like to do a Visual Storytelling class helping them develop a visual narrative, be it a series of images or a comic, but I don't know. All things to think on and consider. It also depends on how invested I want to be in this and balance between it and my usual work. We're still just in the first year of the school so I don't honestly know where this will all end up. The Horsemanship portion has been very lucrative, the other two classes not so much, but a portion of those classes go back to the school for the facility upkeep, etc. whereas I get the bulk of the Horsemanship classes apart from a very small administrative fee. The school is still pretty small so the limited number of students makes me wonder at the longevity of any single class and how many times one will be able to offer it before interest peters out, unless they start really growing the school and broadening their base.

I think it is a really good idea having a private school/homeschool hub where people can take the electives or the full curiculum and I hope they can make a go of it and it'll be interesting to be along for the ride.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I worked with E-va today both on the lunge line and with the long lines. It gave me a pretty good idea of where all of her holes are.

Until today I had worked her in the roundpen a couple times, gave her a bath, clipped her, and took her on a trailer ride to the vet's for shots. Supposedly she has done some ground driving and Wendy said she was close to hooking to the tire, but aftet today I am not too sure about that.

It could be that she has some good time off and her work ethic is lacking (and perhaps she is getting more energy in her food than she is working off!). Lungeing she was pushy and disrespectful of my space. I had to thump her a couple times when she severely invaded my space and that is definitely the first thing that will be worked on as I start her training up.

I had some raised poles set up for the lessons I was doing and she went over those fine (not entirely intentional on my part, they just happened to be in her way as she was being a bit of a pushy goober). She even did a decent jump effort over two little rail razors rather than skirting around them (they're about 6" diameter and individually 4" tall so a 6x8" object on the ground was apparently jump worthy).

She didn't object at all to the surcingle being put on, even if I was purposefully clumbsy with it. I could have gone through all the steps before trying to ground drive her the first time, but after lungeing her I just snapped the lines to her halter and off we went to see what I had. Her stop was horrible. She'd pause half a second and then push on again (and Wendy thought she was a colder, less-forward horse...) so I would back her up, release, she'd move on again, rinse and repeat a few times until she finally stood still. She pushed into the lines and was a bit opinionated about where exactly her track should be and wasn't entirely fond of my corrections.

I think the ground driving portion of her training will be laid aside for now until I reestablish a solid baseline. This will include: working on the lunge in all three gaits, and halting, yielding, and changing directions smoothly, establishing her buttons with the whip aids (body control, moving shoulders and hip left and right regardless of where I am standing), and general respect of space when standing and working around her. She seems to have gotten into pushing into pressure and that is a tendency to redirect until it is needed (when hooking to something and pulling). I think once the things above have been established I will move on to the long lining and starting towards getting her broke to drive. She will be two next month and if her bloodwork comes back good when we get it done I don't see any reason why she won't be broke to drive by the time she is three and then back her in her three year-old year.

My goals for Tru-D thusfar basically include getting her ground driving by the end of the year. I am doing some basic lungeing with her, but don't want to do too much of it due to her age (not asking her to canter, only doing a few minutes to establish she will yield and turn when asked and not much beyond that). She also needs her buttons established, but she is also much more respectful of human space, probably because of her wild child roots. I imagine E-va was handled fairly regularly and allowed to mug people a bit so she doesn't have as much respect for humans as she probably could. We can work on that for sure, but it is annoying to deal with.

I think I am going to pick up a pair of those cotton rope traces from Clay Maier and figure out how to create an emergency release for our tire set up. I don't think I want to eliminate the singletree entirely as he does, but I do want a way to disconnect from the tire if needed.

Sunny is coming along and ready for my more advanced students. I may offer the ride on her to Mariah, but I need to ride her in one of the English saddles to be sure she is cool with that. I have been riding her bareback the last few times because I am lazy and have gotten comfortable with her reactions at this point. I do wish she would more conistently hold herself in a level frame. She has a tendency to bob up and down like a cork, wich is a bit annoying. She is better than where we started when her head stayed up and her back inverted 99% of the time and her canter felt like riding a pogo stick, straight up and down, but it is a constant reminder right now to ask her to round up, drop her poll, lift the base of her neck and at the very least keep her back neutral. Her downward transitions to the trot are a bit rough still and today was the first day I asked her to halt and she didn't initially throw her head in the air. Progress where I can take it!

She is getting less opinionated when I correct her way of going and I think she is much happier in her face with the continuous rein design versus the ring design on the Dr. Cook's (and most every other cross-under bridle). I think the end of the month I am going to try the Dr. Cook's again just to see if she really does hate that design or if it was linked more to her initial lack of work ethic.

I did use some frivolous Easter money to pick up a bitless bridle specifically for Kash. The blue one I got for him and Chewy to share is a bit large around the nose. I could have sworn the measurements were fine on it, but apparently his nose is a lot more petite than Chewy's or I was looking at the wrong thing (or even ordered the wrong size). It does fit Chewy just fine and it fits Sunny well too. But anyway, this time I am ordering the bridle from Running Bear and getting their sidepull bridle. Looking at it I am 99% sure that I can attach the Moss Rock reins to it and have it function as a cross-under bridle instead of just a sidepull. I also like the option of the bit hangers, which are more easily snapped on and off over the integrated loop for the bit that Moss Rock has. They also offer the hunter green, which Moss Rock can't acquire right now. It is $20 more expensive and I will have to buy a set of reins to go with it or just use one of the sets I have where as Moss Rock includes the reins (and shipping!). I do reiterate that Lisa at Moss Rock Endurance was absolutely fabulous to work with, but I am (and have been) curious about Running Bear's stuff and the opportunity to get Kash one in his color was too tempting. Had the blue one not been too big in the nose I probably would have held off and had I not ended up using it on Sunny too maybe so. I did think about contacing Moss Rock about getting a smaller strap for the underside of the noseband, but since Kash will be getting his own the point is moot. I do think once I see how it functions I will be picking up another set of reins from her (probably shorter as Kash carries his neck so that he doesn't take up much rein at all) and maybe see if she could rig up some long lines for them so I can work both Tru-D and E-va bitless to start, and maybe see how Charm-N does too, and even for students wanting to try out long lining save my horses from having to go in their normal bridles, but not using the lungeing cavesson or their halters (my cavessons aren't really designed for long lining, the rings don't stick out far enough and halters don't typically allow for as much finesse or control).

That turned into a bit more mindless rambling than I thought.

Business continues to be exceptionally good. I need to order more hay and I have zero stress about it (WHAT A NICE CHANGE!!!!). I think I am pretty much done splurging on tack as all of the things I had been holding off on (15" English Saddle, bitless bridles, leathers, irons, etc.) have been acquired. My testing is paid for, Spring shots done. The truck is on track to be paid off before the end of the year, and I think, in general, life is pretty good.

I had my first deposit made for art classes this Summer. They were a bit of a bust last Summer as I don't think I really got the information out in time. That's okay, I had an infant and a toddler to look after and now it won't be so stressful. As it gets closer I will need to do some cleaning at the little house (the studio will be used as a studio! WOO!) and pick up a table to use. I don't think I will need to acquire much in the way of supplies other than the table, but we'll see about that. I am hoping for a decent turn-out and students in all the classes. I did restrict the time down to three hours a day for the classes as the last time I did something like four or five and that was a bit much. It was fun, but a bit much, especially since we were still living in the little house and I was using Marty's place to do it.

I still have a video to do and that last question kicking my butt. I also have to figure out what the heck I want to do a presentation on. Last time I did a brief talk about biomechanics (how the rider's use of body affects the horse's) and I wonder about trying to address that again or doing something else entirely. Maybe about how horses respond to different types of pressure (steady, intermittent, etc.)? I need to make a decision fast. I think the presentations are supposed to be 3-5 minutes. I will have to recheck my paperwork.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)


What is 1 unpopular horsey opinion you have?

It is probably the unpopular horsey opinion. I am pro-slaughter.

The reasons are several and certainly I am for REGULATED slaughter that is humane from auction block to feed lot to plant.

The reasons?

There are horses so broken mentally or physically that a humane death is their best option for everyone involved.

Putting an animal down via euthanasia is not always a peaceful, quiet affair. There are people who will tell you that euthanasia is the kindest, gentlest way to go, but I am not sure on that. A captive bolt or a bullet in the right spot is instantaneous. The animal is dead before it even feels or realizes what is happening. Not so much when you have to get a needle in there, in the case of a horse help it lay down so it doesn't hurt itself, and wait minutea, and even hours for the drugs to take effect. Yes there are misfires, but the drugs aren't perfect either. This is also where the regulation part kicks in.

I'd rather see a horse humanely slaughtered than starve in someone's backyard or out in the desert because some idiot decided to "set it free" (still wearing shoes, possibly a halter!).

ANYTHING we do here in the US will be 1000x better than what is happening now with horses going to Mexico.

Euthenasia poisons the meat that could be used for other purposes (feeding large carnivours in zoos fornexample).

Horses are too big to bury. They are 5-10x larger than humans and I just see it as a selfish waste to bury one and if the animal was euthanized it has to be disposed of properly so it doesn't kill anything that might try to eat it (cremation is also very expensive).

We still have more horses than are wanted. You can say slaughter is bad until your blue in the face, but unless you are willing to step up to the plate and DO something you are not helping. Especially if you had a hand in shutting down slaughter operations and made the "unwanted horse problem" go from bad to a complete catastrophe in this country.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Warning: Meandering rambling ahead.

I have greatly increased my scripture reading by replacing aimless net wandering with reading from the set that I have downloaded on my phone. I am currently well ahead of what is being read and discusded in Sunday School and have been wandering about rather pleasantly. Since I have read everything cover to cover (Bible Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covemants, and The Pearl of Great Price) at this point I figure topical exploration and general meandering are in order.

You forget how much is in there when you plow through from cover to cover and how things interrelate.

I was supposed to work Z today, but I ran out of time between Bud and my evening lessons. I WILL work her tomorrow. I'm thinking of throwing the saddle on her, doing some lungeing, and seeing where it goes. If she's good I may just climb on and see how we've retained walk, halt and steering. Next week I hope to be a mix of riding and (ground) driving. I need to call Michelle and start up again with breaking her to drive fully. I think I'm going to bring the vudeo camera and set it up with my little voice recorder so I can revisit the process.

Bud was a bit of a knucklehead to start. He hasn't been outside of his turnout for two months and he was testing if he really had to do this thing. I brought my 200cm driving whip, which puts me at a nice distance behind him while still being able to touch him. I brought Jed's old bridle too, but couldn't find the Kimberwick Sue said she had for him. I really wanted his first reintroduction tonthe neighborhood to be in an open bridle, but no dice.

He pitched the biggest fit right at the start as we turned onto Palmas. He wanted to go forward, but didn't bat the same time and bounced between his forehand and haunches, threatening a pseudo rearband buck at the same time. He was then a bit jiggy for a hundres or so yards until he realized that was work and knocked itnoff. We went down and back. His halts were quite nice, though standing still after them required some work. His backing was a little meh, wanting to swing sideways, but he gave me some nice ones at the end.

We had a little goober as a pair of guys were fussing with a little generator. He was wanting to swing and suck back and I consistently asked him to look away and yield over. He gave it up and stood well as the people who had been watching across the street commented on my handling of him and asked a little about driving and soforth. And that's probably where I ran out of time to work Z.

Of course it didn't help that the horses were being silly when I went to put them up. Wednesday morning something goobered the whole herd really good. They were eyeballing the Ramos' property and when I went in I had a time getting Ruby into her stall. I opened the pass-through gate for the rest of the herd and everyone refused to go in. I think Chewy was the first one to brave it and then Charm-N. Charm-N didn't want to go in her stall and took Z's instead. I dragged her out and by that time Kitt had decided it was safe to enter, but Z and Kash remained in the arena. Z needed just a little extra encouragement, but I ended uo having to use a catch rope on Kash. Charm-N was weird about the Frazier's property that evening as well as yesterday and a bit better tonight. Ruby was weird aboit the Frazier's place tonight as well.

I don't know what happened, but it was apparently enough to spook the whole herd.

Wednesday I was talking to Mom and she actually mentioned the idea of investing in my business. She asked if the Ramos' woule be interested in leasing their back portion (which simply grows weeds and breeds ground squirrels) and I informed her they (I.e. Mr. Ramos) were not. Actually first she mentioned finding a little land where I could put an arena and maybe a few stalls and perhaps do sone boarding down the line, but primarily to give me space to expand my lessons because right now I am limited by my space. I have roughly a 70x85' area to work in. I get very inventive when it comes to working on jumping skills and the figures and patterns I use are also limited by the space (as well as the speed at which they can be done). Having even a small dressage arena would be awesome. My horses also live in the arena too so there are manure piles and wet spots to dodge as well. We do keep it mucked out, but the wet spots can't really be helped and in the winter, especially after a rain it can get quite problematic.

Anyway, I mentioned the property diagonally across the intersection from Marty's. I have eyeballed and sighed about that piece for a few years. It is three acres and three sides of it are already fenced with post-and-rail steel fencing. The side that runs along San Tan and about half the side along Hawes has mesh on it as well. Water and power run to the property line and there's a hydrant on the West side. The 20' gate is at the South end of it. It is essentially a blank slate. I don't know what fencing is running right now, but I think it is safe to assume that there is between 10 and $20,000 dollars worth in the fencing (postulating $10-20 a linear foot). Mom asked for the information, which I sent to her.

Yesterday I was quite the sight I'm sure as I had Kelhan in the Moby wrap and was lugging our 100' measuring tape, a 3lbs hammer, and a stake. I measured the two exposed sides of the fence to get an idea of thr dimensions. Chris knows how to access the county assessor's stuff online for exact information, but I could use the walk and didn't feel like fussing around on the computer and waiting for things to load. I pulled out some graph paper and dinked with some ideas and am postulating possible phases of development.

I know it's nothing more than a vague idea at this point, but if it happened it would be awesome, even if it took a little time to get things started having that potential there is exciting.

By the way, phase one would be installing a 15' gate on the north end, a dressage arena (or, rather dressage-sized arena), four temporary stalls, a set of crossties for four horses, and running water line.

Yeah it might be a slight hassle having to move horses over there in order to teach (they wouldn't stay there), but I think the benefit of the space, potential, not having to pick up everything when I use it (jumps, cones, poles), and best of all not having to maneuver around wet spots, will far out weigh that inconvenience.

I'm trying not to get excited about the prospect, but as you can probably guess it is hard not to.

Chris started not feeling well Saturday and is still under the weather. He thinks he might have a sinus infection at this point. He wasn't keen on my suggestion of going to the doctor if that is the case.

Speaking of which, Wednesday I had my six week postpartum appointment. Everything checks out well. I did manage a small cyst that she lanced and drained. Not the most comfortable thing. She aaid to give it a week and come in again if needed. Thankfully it appears to be healing rather nicely.

It has been windy as all get out the last week. Wednesday we were gusting past 30mph. It is still breezy, which means Chewy is on vacation until the wind stops.

Appy was a pill this morning. I fed Kelhan around 3am and lay him back down and snugged back into bwd around 3:30. Just as I was asleep at 4am Appy "woofed" to be let out. I put her out and then fuided her back to her kennel wheb she was done. Just as I was settling again at 4:30 another bark. Put her outside and back. Guess what happened at 5am? Yes, dog again. Put her out, she wandered the yard and came back in, no pee, no poop. Half hour later at 5:30? Yes, you guessed it! Appy barked again. I moved her kennel into the garage, shut the laundry room door as well as our door and went back to bed. Three doors quite effectively blocks the sound of a very disappointed dog.

I think she was simply wanting out of her kennel, but that's not happening more than three hours before I intend to get up. If she has to go out at 6am, yes I let her roam the house and don't put her back in, but 4? No way. I so admit she has gotten very good about going out, doing her thing, and returning nto the door. She has no desire to wander about if I am not out there with her.

Speaking of the fuzz-mutt she is due for a bath and a trim. People I should call tomorrow: Tristan's swim instructor, Michelle for starting Z's driving training, and the groomer. I think that is it.

Must work Z tomorrow. Number one priority!

Thoughts

Aug. 30th, 2013 09:28 am
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Christ introduced shades of grey to the Mosaic law. The Jews were very black and white. If you took more than a perscribed number of steps on the sabbath you were a sinner. Christ turned the attention not to outward actions, but to the contents of the person's heart, whichn really, is where the seed of all action resides. If you have good intent the majority of your actions will be good. If you have ill intent, if you're doing things without the good of others (and yourself) in mind your actions reflect that as well. By their fruits ye shall know them.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I am afraid that the letter had quite the opposite effect the sender had hoped. It was an earnest plea and on another soul it may have sparked outrage and caused it to rally to the cause. On paper I am a promising target. Horse owner, subscribed to several horse magazines, and occasional donor to the HSUS. Young and female may also kick into it too.

But no. Instead of being enraged I was slightly relieved.

Apparently there are a handful of slaughter plants looking to open up in the next year to process horses. One of them is next door in New Mexico. Why am I okay with this? Because it is 100 times better than what is happening with unwanted horses now: a one-way trip south of the boader and an abysmally unregulated slaughter industry with no standards for humane treatment from transport to slaughter. Or, and I'm not sure if this is better, worse, or what, slow starvation because the owners can't afford them anymore.

Yes, it would be really nice if every horse had a home that woukd care for and love it forever. If every horse had the training it needed to ensure a useful life and owners knowledgeable enough to ensure that it was long and happy. But this is not the case. There are 10 year old horses that have never seen a halter. There are young ones run into the ground by poor training. There are countless others made aggressive or otherwise dangerous due to bad handling, intentional or not.

Not to say that every horse that ends up in an auction yard is a lost cause, but most people do not have the funds, skills, or time (much less all three) to make these horses safe, productive members of society.

I would personally not take a horse to auction. I know I have other options. If I knew the horse would be properly treated from auction floor to being processed I wouldn't have much of an issue with it. I would happily take a horse to Out of Africa, a local big cat rescue/park that accepts donations of horses to help feed their cats (or at least last I heard).

No, slaughter is not the best solutionn nor a favorite solution to the unwanted horse problem, but it beats out what we've been dealing with since the plants closed on US soil. Instead of trying to fix the problem people pretended it didn't exist and causes more heartache, pain, and suffering.
lantairvlea: (Default)
I was in my senior year of high school, last semester just started. I had just three classes at the high school (seminary, if that really counts, AP German and AP Studio Art) and another two at the local community college. I was technically finishing my first semester of college (I had completed 9 credits and was doing seven that semester) as I was finishing my last semester of high school.

I was planning on getting my generals out of the way and transferring to NAU. My thoughts were a dual major in English and Art with a minor in German and becoming a teacher. Long term? I thought I might have a horse or two that I'd enjoy on the side and think about dating once I had my degree(s).

I worked at Jamba Juice and Kwik Ship and was very much looking to get out of the food industry. I bought a paper and found an ad seeking a "farm hand," whose duties included mucking, grooming, and turning out horses.

The horse-obsessed kid who lived in the suburbs and always thought she'd eventually have horses suddenly found herself immersed in them. I can lovingly blame Judy for the fact I decided to get an Associates in Applied Sciences in Equine Science (yes, a degree in horses). Since I stuck around down here long enough for my parents to move to Queen Creek I met Chris (would you believe come May we'll have been married eight years?). Judy also brought me the ad advertising a five-year-old Arab gelding for $500, which lead to the purchase of Kash, my first horse, who is coming 16 and I've owned over nine years.

Through my time with Judy and my degree I learned A LOT about horses. I wasn't completely unexposed, but the yearly trips up to Utah can't count for much in an equestrian education and the month of jumping lessons in Jr. High simply got my heels down and taught me how to post and two-point (somewhat). At the end of my three and a half years of working for her I started teaching riding "full time" and started on my Art Education degree.

Had I told myself 10 years ago that I would end up with eight horses (hopefully to get back down to six), a degree in Equine Science, and teaching people how to ride and not in a public school teaching art or English I probably would have first laughed and then questioned if it could be possible.

Yesterday I had a visit with Judy, ironic that it was almost 10 years to the day since I first started working for her. My how things can shift in ten years!
lantairvlea: (Default)
Just a little something to think about while people are in an uproar and boycotting Arizona for implementing an immigration law that over 60% of the country agrees with.

Yes, I have lived in Arizona most of my life (nigh unto 4/5ths of it), and no, I am not racist or biased against Latin American people (nor Mexicans in particular). I have cousins and an aunt who are hispanic, my sister-in-law and her family all immigrated here (from SE Asia), and one of my best friends is also an immigrant currently seeking citizenship (from Europe). I see nothing whatsoever wrong with people coming to this country legally.

I do admit my sister-in-law's mother was here illegally for a time as she tried to earn money for her kids (she did come here legally as a tourist ... just overstayed her visa and worked) before returning legally and eventually getting her citizenship.

But that's a little beside the point.

What I do take exception to is people coming to this country illegally. Yes, they do fill a gap that many Americans are too proud or too lazy to fill in the workforce (given the choice of living off of the government or picking potatoes I'd choose the latter, but perhaps that makes me a bit too proud in another sense). Yes they pay sales tax and some of them even manage to pay income tax. Yes a lot of them end up dragging their kids here with them and their children essentially grow up American and don't know much of anything about their home country. Yes, others have children that are born here and are American citizens while their parents are not.

Now I am well-aware of the benefit that many people derive from people who are illegally in this country, but I am also aware of the problems as well that come from people entering the country illegally. I'm not just talking about the superficial title of being an illegal immigrant. If it were simply the case of people overstaying visas that would be one thing, however, it is not.

There is a reason that Arizona is both the Number One state in Identity Theft and Kidnapping.

Those who cross the southern border illegally are usually being smuggled across. Those doing the smuggling often do not have the best interest of their charges at heart. They see the dollar signs and they do the job, but not in a kind, compassionate manner. People are crammed into inhumane conditions and often abused (you hear about the people in the refrigeration truck? I think several died from exposure). The drop houses are not the most pleasant places either. Not to mention that some of the "coyotes" will, upon reaching America, hold their charges hostage for MORE money from their worried family back in Mexico or elsewhere.

Now it's already required that one can prove their right to work legally before being hired. Admittedly most don't ask for this proof, but it's there. Arizona has its E-Verify program that pushes this more prominently, but what it has also done is exacerbated the Identity Theft issue. So that they can work they purchase illegal identification, some of which belongs to people who are still living and using said identities.

Don't get me started on those who are crossing the border illegally due to the drug trade ...

So it's not just that they're here illegally. That's not it at all, it's how they get here and the bad crap that goes on and is supported by the human smugglers that bring them here. I don't think they should necessarily be thrown in jail and charged with a crime, just ship them back home and tell them to come back the right way. I know it isn't easy, but you can't tell me that paying a coyote $1500 or more to smuggle yourself across the border is a better option.

Bah.

Not everyone who supports Arizona's law is a raving lunatic who hates anyone from South of the border. Technically the Mexicans were here first anyway, but that's something else entirely.

I just don't get all this bull about the law being inherently racist and unfair. I admit that I have not yet read the law, but I have heard opinions from both sides and some passages of it. You're not going to be randomly yanked off the street and asked to show your papers. It only comes into the play if you're stopped for something else like a traffic violation or shoplifting.

In non-political news the day draws near for the American Riding Instructor Certification Test! June 5th! Woo! I have one video shot and needing editing and a second one I'm doing tomorrow. I also have most of my questions practically done and have read the big things for study material. YAY!

Zetahra is continuing to grow. She's 4" taller and over double her birth weight now! She's still a tiny thing, but she's really warming up to people. She'll whinny at me while I'm working another horse in the arena and she'll also trot up to me at the fence. She's OK with the fly mask now, but not too keen on the fly spray yet. She's also mostly halter broke, though could stand a few more lessons for sure.

Yesterday Marty and I took Kash, Kitt, and Cinnamon Strudel to the horse park. Cinnamon actually did really awesome considering that I don't think she's been worked in some six months and she hasn't been off the property in over a year. Oh yes, that and I've never ridden her outside of our roundpen or arena (which is about 70x85'). She kicked up while lungeing, which is to be expected, but she didn't really give me any trouble at all while I rode her. Just a little walk and trot. She did get a little stiff and opinionated here and there, but really, for a three year-old with just over a half dozen rides away from home with a bunch of strange horses around she did AWESOME.

And that's about all I have time to blither for.

Oh, and it's amazing that if I get up in the morning, feed horses, feed myself, and then immediately head back outside I can get TWO horses (or more) worked and am guilt-free for the rest of the day! That and I have an actual sense of accomplishment! It's amazing!
lantairvlea: (Grr say Raquinn)
That was the approximate reaction I had to an article in the AQHA publication "AMERICA'S HQRSE."

Some of you might already know that I do not hold the AQHA in particularly high regard. I respect their insane ability to promote the breed, but I do not agree with the fact that their studbook is not closed and they will register a horse that is, by all accounts 3/4 Thoroughbred (or more!) as a full-blooded Quarter Horse.

The article was about Dressage (one of the three Equestrian disciplines that is in the Olympics) and the author mentioned AQHA recently joining with the USDF (Unites States Dressage Federation) in allowing QHs that compete in USDF events to earn AQHA points. Pretty cool, right? Yet another place for the QH to compete and, hopefully, do well.

Now the kicker was at the end of the article, resulting in the gut-tying wail of despair and frustration as the author said in cheery, hopeful tones something along the lines of "Maybe the AQHA will consider registering Warmblood crosses!"

ARRRGGGGGGGLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!

This isn't to say that a QH and a Warmblood would not make a good cross, it's saying that people have to RESPECT what it is that a breed is rather than trying to make it something it is not! Part of this respect includes working within existing bloodlines, especially when you have over one million registered horses and your registry isn't even 60 years old! There's probably close to 500,000 living QH individuals out there, no lie. Do you think that it is impossible to find a good match for what you are looking for within the breed with that much choice?

This is part of what drives me nuts about the Appendix Quarter Horses. Appendix horses are part Thoroughbred, usually half. Appendix horses are registered in the "appendix" of the registry, however if said horse earns enough points in the show pen or money on the track they can earn their "white papers" (or were they yellow?) and essentially be magically made a full-blooded QH by the registry. If these horses are bred back to TBs, their babies go into the Appendix registry and, again, can earn full-blooded status if they win/earn enough.

This produces, tall, leggy, lean, long-faced, small-hipped horses that do not look like Quarter Horses. What do they look like? Thoroughbreds. Why? Because that is, essentially, what they are!

Quarter horses are short, stocky, have a relatively short head, heavy jaw, and massive hip. Sunny, who to my knowledge is 100% foundation bred, fits all of these except for the short part, but there's always some variance, but 15.3 hh is a lot closer than the 16 hh or so that are often produced with Appendix horses compared to the 15hh average of the breed.

Part of me says that if someone really loves their breed so much why the heck are you trying so hard to change it?! If you like horses that are tall, leggy, and fast over long distances get a Thoroughbred! If you want something short, stocky and cowy, have a QH. If you want something tall, lean, and flashy to ride saddleseat please get yourself a Saddlebred, that's what they were bred for. Don't breed a Morgan to Saddlebreds to "improve" the wonderful compact little horse that was supposed to be able to plow the field as well as look good under saddle or pulling the family carriage. If you love stocky draft horses FOR THE LOVE OF ALL FEATHERED EQUINES don't breed them so that their legs are 3/4 of their height!

This isn't to say that I'm totally against any and all crosses. Heck, we bred Panda to a Friesian and she is a Pinto Draft. Granted I do admit that Pinto/Spotted drafts are more of a color than a breed anyway, but that's beside the point! The point is I'm not trying to produce a pinto Friesian because I love Friesians so much, but just wish they had white! No, I'm hoping to produce a nice horse that has the good qualities of both parents irregardless of breed, but keeping towards a stocky draft build (and Hedzer is a more stocky Friesian of the classic Baroque type).

Take, I believe, the Oldenburg registry for an example. They've allowed some crosses, but the horses they allow into the studbook have to be approved first. They go through both conformation and movement evaluations to ensure that they are enhancing and improving the qualities that the Oldenburg already has, not trying to turn the breed into something else, or adding a feature that wasn't there before because you love the breed so much you can't bear to part with it as you venture into a discipline it can't do. Because of this practice Oldenburg horses still look like Oldenburg horses despite the infusion of fresh blood.

I don't expect a QH to jump 4'+, I don't expect a Friesian to be able to work a cow, I don't expect an Arab to sprint a quarter mile, I don't expect a Thoroughbred to plow a field, I don't expect a draft horse to run a mile or more.

I just don't get why people can't respect what a breed was bred to do and not try to make it something it is not by completely destroying the bloodlines and features that made it what it is!

Want to improve a breed? First look within and see if there are some shining individuals, breed those. Still have some major conformation flaws that prevent it from doing what it is supposed to do? Be selective in the crosses that will remedy these and enhance the features that the breed is supposed to have!

*Flails arms about.* Arrrrgggggglllleeee!
lantairvlea: (Default)
I'm getting into the groove again. Or rather, getting into the groove that I wish I'd had the previous summers and would like to keep now that I no longer have school commitments.

I'm trying to work at least two horses a day outside of lessons. Kash and Panda were worked yesterday and I worked Sunny briefly today and also worked Kitt. I didn't touch the computer until nearly noon today, which is a good thing.

Kitt needs some work on the ground cantering before I even think about asking from it under saddle. She gave quite a show as I asked her for it in the round pen, kicking and bucking a bit before kind of settling into a stride and then dropping back into the trot. I believe a lot of it is just her being out of shape, but just the same, I'm not asking for it under saddle until she does it nicely on the ground. She'll move forward a lot more quickly with being worked at least twice a week now (or at least that's the goal right now). Her trot has come along, though she still moves around a bit drunkedly and is a little heavy in the hand she is moving forward, which is a nice improvement!

I managed to get Sunny to walk a bit in the round pen. The poor mare was never really taught to walk when working in the round pen so she spends the first 20 minutes trotting and cantering around without realizing that she isn't being asked to do more than just walk. I don't know. I like using the round pen and longe line to get a horse thinking, not to get it wired and thinking it has to run around at top speed, but that's just me.

Random: NPR's Talk of the Nation had a section talking about a new male injectable birth control (basically a hormone shot that makes guys sterile). And the thought crossed my mind that: Guess what! If you don't have sex you can't get (someone) pregnant! Imagine that! What a novel idea!

Of course I'm all old-fashioned and think that sex should wait until after marriage and doing so would save a lot of heartache and stress. Not to say I'm anti-birth control. I've been using it for four years, but it just seems like the common-sense thing of "if you don't want to get (someone) pregnant, then don't have sex" just never comes into the conversation. Again, not to say that it should be the only thing preached, but it is the only 100% sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy (as well as transfer of those nasty STD things).

Again, old-fashioned, but it just boggles the mind that people can have "casual" sex and completely ignore the fact that it has consequences physically, emotionally, and a plethora of other things.

Back to our regular programming ...

Yesterday I had training with Kim and worked Panda as well. Kash did well until the last bit of the training when we moved to going to the left. He decided to pop his right shoulder and try his old trick of dashing towards the gate. Of course, the problem that starts this does often initiate from my losing contact with the outside rein and to get him back on track I need to remember to use that accursed outside hand! That and my outside leg. Bending his neck to the left just doesn't work, partially because he's so stinking athletic and flexible because he just side-passes (and he's quite good at it) so the neck needs to be stabilized by the outside hand and outside leg. He actually did quite well considering he hasn't been worked in two weeks.

Ola was going to work the boy today, but she's getting over a cold or something that her husband gave her the last day of their Europe trip. I lent her some videos to pass the time and she'll try to come out tomorrow. We're both excited for the summer break as she's leasing Kash, I have myself a riding buddy, and Ola gets to go out and trail ride (Mom's currently banned from riding due to being on blood thinners for the clot, which is breaking up nicely).

I now need to start taking pictures of all of the drawings and paintings I did over the semester. There's so much to go through it's not even funny.
lantairvlea: (Default)
I'm going to make myself sound a bit like an old coot with a title like that, but it struck me as I went in to work on my paintings yesterday. I left about two hours early so I could put some extra time on my Vanitas still life and also give me the chance to leave about 30 min. early without feeling guilty so I can catch the bus an hour early (not that most people in the class don't vanish 30 minutes early anyway...).

So while I'm painting a guy wanders in. He didn't notice me at first and when I said "good morning" I think I startled him a little bit. We started chatting a bit and talked about art and such. Apparently he was "bored" with one of his classes and took the habit of vanishing and wandering the hallways and rooms of the art school during this period.

I asked him what class he was supposed to be listening to (I assumed it was Art History or something, which also goes on in the building), he replied that he wasn't missing a lecture, but it was a digital printmaking class or something of that sort. From the sounds of it the class is about converting digitally created images to traditional printmaking media. Pretty cool if you ask me, but he expressed some recalcitrance and I queried further, wondering if perhaps the material was just a bit bland and not challenging or perhaps the instructor bad.

No, that wasn't the case, Printmaking was just "difficult" and he hated the work he did in it because he never had any good ideas to go with whatever project.

Being me, I asked if he sketched much outside of class. He said no. I exclaimed "there's your problem!" If you don't develop ideas outside of class, how can you expect to have good ones in class? He noted that he has a hard time getting motivated or being "in the mood" to draw when he doesn't have a deadline to push for. I repeated one of my favorite mantras "you can't improve if you don't do it" both in respects to his drawing and to the class he was avoiding. I also noted that sometimes you just have to slog through and do the mechanical process before the muse actually fires up and does something. You'll never produce anything if you never draw. Can't expect everything to work properly if it sits on the shelf for months or even just weeks on end.

The guy remarked that he had been a bit depressed about his art recently and some of his work is just ugly and he doesn't want to continue with it. I replied with my firm belief that a lot of drawings go through an ugly stage. Paintings too. And sometimes its those works that seem the most painful to produce that turn out the best, ugly duckling and all.

The more we talked the more I saw the picture of someone who probably wasn't going to make it as an art major unless he had a major change in attitude. His focus was Animation, which means he's shoved underneath the umbrella of "intermedia." He wants to do digital animation, which made sense as I mulled over the conversation since he expressed an intense interest in detail and making things look real. It bothered him if it didn't make the viewer wonder if it was real or not. This is something, I admit, I've "grown out of" to an extent. I know I can do it, but it just doesn't engage me like it used to. Sometimes, sure, I will do things that are superbly realistic, but really ... it just doesn't engage me like it used to, just as the art world as a whole lost interest in it at a certain point. Not that I'm going to run around painting black squares or anything, but there are more important things than making something look like a photo.

I guess my meandering point and the impression that this conversation left on me is one of worry about those coming up behind me. Heck, even those of my generation, I've seen it there too. They want the glory, but not the work. They want things to be easy and immediate and don't take pleasure in the sweat and tears that are sometimes required to produce something, be it a drawing or painting, or anything else for that matter. I see it in some of my students with the horses. They want it to be easy and any challenge placed before them is a frustration and they give up (or want to ... in the case of my students I usually push them through it). I don't know if this is just because a lot of young people have been given life on a platter, or perhaps it is just the general culture that is going around in the media and elsewhere. Everyone is entitled to their perfect house, car, and job, no effort required ... HA.

Entitlement is probably one of the biggest problems attitude-wise with people. I've seen it time and time again and it just makes you miserable. People destroy themselves trying to "keep up with the Jones'" and it is one of the reasons why the economy is and has tanked.

Somewhat related, I did manage to finish the other two dollar bill on my Vanitas. I'll probably have to glaze over it to tone down the color a bit, but it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. Now I just have the horseshoe to do and I'm done with it. Awesome. Then I can finish my self-portrait and maybe get to that optional fifth painting.
lantairvlea: (Default)
I've actually been doing pretty good with reading my scriptures daily. While I haven't been reading in German daily, I've at least gotten some scripture study in, whether it be in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price.

I can't help but think that, even if you're not religious, there are some good insights to be found in religious books. How to be a good person, treat others, live a better life. Not that there won't be hard times or trials, but the little things that people do to themselves that make life harder become less and less of a problem.

This is one I've been muling over a bit:

Alma 12:10-11
"And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that wil not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
"And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries..."

Perhaps it's just me, but I've always thought that religion should be open-minded and tolerant. That it should be respectful to all beliefs and solid on its own. I don't get people who feel the need to attack other religions. I don't get people who seem to think they have to tear down the beliefs of others. It is mean-spirited, callous, and against what virtually every religion teaches: tolerance and love of one's neighbor.

You know, if you want someone to be impressed by your religion, to think "man, I want to know what makes that guy the way that he is," live your religion. Be what it asks you to be and don't actively seek to destroy what brings light and happiness into the lives of others.

I think my sensitivity to this is partially because the LDS church is not always held in high light, especially among other Christian groups. Of course, I get equally annoyed at "Bible Bashing" Mormons who take the "I'm right, everyone else is wrong" stance. It's just stupid and it grates against the principles of the Church.

And Some Art )
lantairvlea: (Default)
I'm glad to be working regularly on Shifting Times again, makes me feel a bit more accomplished. Hopefully this keeps me on track to finish the first chapter before the end of next year and then, researching for publication and setting to work on the second chapter.

And really, the drive behind it all is so I can throw Rirhe off of a roof. (Not really, but it'll be fun to illustrate the scene.)

I must say that I really like helping people, especially in a teaching situation where I can help someone to do or understand something better.

And I might have to add to this later as it's already time to be off.

Edit:

I have a tan line on my wrist because I wear gloves while riding. Depending on the light my hands are noticeably lighter than the rest of my arm. Granted, due to wearing short-sleeved T-shirts I have the infamous farmer's tan as well and we will not mention how long it has been since my legs actually saw any substantial amount of sunlight. It comes from wearing pants most all the time.

I had a peculiar dream last night. It ended up with a blond woman and an older man tied together, but there were stiff rods between them that kept them about four or five feet from each other. Their captor was threatening the woman and had a gun, he threatened to shoot the older man. The woman, it wasn't me, but I was privy to her thoughts, made a rash decision, she jumped towards the man, getting in the way of the gun as it went off. She received a glancing blow to the head, but managed to knock the aggressor down and out. Having just been shot in the head she was not able to remain standing and slumped, half-propped by the rods that she was tied with. The old man looked like he had passed out as well and had a large lump on his head. I can't say anything in the way of what the plot was, other than that the man with the gun was holding the other two for some reason and needed something, either information or money, and was threatening both to get it.

Who knows what the purpose of tying people together, but apart using long rods of wood served.

I need to write my dreams down more, get them out, become more conscious of them again. I have noticed patterns previously in some dreams. No dream was ever repeated, but there were themes that ran through them. Like cars that won't stay in Park, rolling back and having to drive forward again and again as I tried to get it to stay standing and stop so I could get out. Gerbils or other rodents overflowing cages or escaping and breeding uncontrollably. Both dream types are quite infuriating as they seem to represent a lack of control. There are other themes, I think, but I can't recall them at the moment.

The night before I had a dream I met up with Klandagi at her home, visiting for some reason or another and was invited to go to Disneyland Paris. Most curious.

It's interesting how dreams snatch up the barest of things in our lives, people we know, but don't necessarily associate with on a constant or personal level. Small tid-bits of a show or commercial, taking in random thoughts that barely surface in the conscious mind and weaving them into dramatic tales.

I have heard before that most people dream in black-and-white. I dream in color.

I've read that dreams are our minds trying to process things that have happened during the day, pulling from our daily experiences, but I don't think that was the case with mine until the last couple of years. I found it odd to have my sleeping mind commenting on the previous days for the first time when I was used to epic dreams with drawn-out plots. The end of the world, some fight or invasion. Familiar places and people, yes, but it wasn't connected to recent events.

The most amusing is the dreams in which there are foreign languages that I do not speak, but appear in my dreams. Especially when there are subtitles. I've mentioned this to others and they find it both interesting and hysterical that yes, I have had a few dreams that had subtitles to translate foreign text.

I suppose the other reason to write down my dreams more is so I remember them better. I know I might have been turned off for a time due to a couple of rather unpleasant dreams, but it can be good to process them just the same and have a space where it can be let out without worry. I keep dream journals, yes, I can finally use the plural. I filled up my first one last year and have begun recording the dreams for this year in a new one. Both journals were given to me by Tiffany, though I don't know if I've ever told her what use they came to.

And I think that should be good for one ramble, not what I initially intended, but such are my wandering thoughts.

Sad Ruin

Jan. 18th, 2008 07:21 am
lantairvlea: (Default)
Last week before school started back up I went and visited Judy, my old employer. I spent three and a half years working for her in exercising, grooming, and training her horses. She is a great, wonderful lady and is like a third grandmother, but she does have some peculiar ideas about horses and drove me a bit nuts from time to time (some of you might remember this). Anyway, I started this little Arab mare, Nicki, under saddle when I first started working with her and spent three years with the mare. It was never quite a perfect connection like I have with Kash, but she was asbolustely awesome. I was intensely proud of how she went. She'd pick up walk-trot-canter immediately when asked without complain and she stopped on a dime with simply "whoa" and was generally just pleasant to be around. Before I left she was able to do the half-pass in the trot and was starting to do it pretty well in the canter. She had what I called a "mare day" every month or so, not wanting to do what was asked, but the sight of a riding crop brought her back into compliance. Her only real fault was that she was a bit of a ninny.

So I dropped by to visit Judy and see how she and the horses were doing. She's started actually riding, which is amazing as I had only seen her ride about a half dozen times while I worked there. She's also going out on trail with them, which is good. I rode Thunder a little, as always he didn't really want to move out. I finally got a canter out of him, the same, slow-as-a-slug lope that western pleasure trainers drool over and I am thoroughly exhasperated by.

I asked Judy if she'd mind if I rode Nick and she said sure. I threw a halter on her and climbed on bareback. This was the mare that I could ride bareback with just a halter without worry, not even needing to loop the line around for a make-shift rein, just working off of the leg and the feel of the rein opening and closing on one side of her neck. When I climbed on her ears pinned a little and she even thought about biting my toe. I furrowed my brow and was a bit concerned.
More on what followed )
I had three years in that horse. Three good years where she went wonderfully, beautifully and it's ruined. Spoiled. I was so proud of her, wonderfully proud. Considering she was the first horse I ever started under saddle she was fantastic, and part of it was her concentration and personality. I hate seeing her so angry. It tears me up.

cross-posted on [livejournal.com profile] backyardhorse.
lantairvlea: (Default)
There are few topics that get me seriously riled. Horse slaughter happens to be one of them.

I am not one who could be considered "deeply involved" in the horse industry. I own a handful of horses and teach horse lessons to mostly beginners and, at that, none of them own their own horses (yet). I did go through two years of classes and managed to make out with an Associates degree in Equine Science, and I'd like to think I know at least a little bit about horses and somewhat concerning the horse industry at large.

Now the fact that some people happen to like the taste of horse flesh really doesn't bother me. So long as the horses are killed humanely I don't really care about what happens to the body afterwards. What does bother me is people who are in no ways connected to the horse industry and who do not even interact with these animals, nor own any, crying about it being an injustice to the species to allow them to be eaten.

I know that roughly 70,000 horses have gone to slaughter each year (Equus). Now that all three slaughter houses that had processed horses for human consumption are closed do you know where all of those horses will go?

Of course, let us consider how a horse ends up on the auction block and being sold to a "killer buyer." Horses are expensive. They can be somewhat reasonable to maintain, but the cost of euthanasia plus the cost of having someone haul the carcass away is not cheap. If you can't afford to feed your horse anymore, you can't afford to put it down. So why not just sell the horse to someone else who will love and care for it for the rest of its natural days? Unfortunately most people looking to buy a horse are looking for ones that are serviceable. They're looking for horses who will do what they need and preferably have no vices or expensive physical ailments. Some horses have either 1) not been trained or 2) have been trained so poorly or abused in that they have behavioral "issues" that would require either expensive training or an intense amount of time put into them by the person who purchased it (and hopefully knows what he/she was doing).

The way I see it, for a dangerous horse, one who would otherwise end up neglected and starving in someone's backyard, one that a person would "set free" to fend for itself, or one whose age and physical handicaps prevent it from being useful and the owner can not afford to put it down, slaughter is, truthfully, the only sad option that many of them have.

Rescue operations can only take in so much, and even then, they're meant as a halfway house before finding a new home where they can finish their days.

Of course, now with the slaughter houses in the US being closed the horses that would have gone there and received a captive bolt to the head (a fairly humane death as I understand it) are being shipped to Mexico and Canada. Now Canada does have standards for humanely killing animals for food. Mexico, however, is sorely lacking. I've heard of one method being trying to sever the horse's spinal chord via a knife to the back/neck. Not pretty and much less humane than a single shot in the head or even slitting the throat.

I would personally prefer to see the US plants re-open and become more REGULATED (from auction block to the slaughter house specifically) than to have them simply closed down.

I do not believe that the current horse market is capable of absorbing 70,000 horses a year. While there is some good news in that the cost of buying a horse will come down, the cost of maintaining them is only going up. Hay prices are well above $10 a bale right now, and some places are predicting $15 by mid-winter. While prices do go up over the winter time, they usually don't get that high and there used to be some relief during the summer months, perhaps down to $6 a bale, which we did NOT see this year.

I don't know, the whole horse slaughter debate really makes me sick. My horses will most likely have a home for life barring anything devastating happening, but that's only four horses.

I think what really bothers me is that the people that were pushing the most to have the plants closed down are people who are in no way connected to the horse industry. People who aren't even around horses are affecting their fate. People who fail to realize that there ARE excess horses in the United States and instead of finding ways to deal with the problem, they're closing down one of the options that people had to help with it and compounding the problem of starved, neglected horses that no one wants to take care of.

I know I'm not offering any solutions here myself, but perhaps I'll take some time to sit down and postulate a bit. Of course, one thing that could be done would be tightening up registration requirements and, heaven forbid, restricting stud books like so many of the European associations do. Requiring stallions to pass certain tests and exams before they can be bred and allow for their offspring to be registered.

Now what would that do to the American Quarter Horse Association or the American Paint Horse Association which register more than 20,000 new horses each year?
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
I'm still a bit sore from Tuesday when I took Panda to trainging with Kim. I would have taken Kash, but apparently someone got irritated at him and bit his shoulder, leaving a wound that I figured shouldn't be under a saddle or pad. Nothing major, just some hair missing and a small cut, but sweat and possible rubbing from the saddle would not have been good for it.

Panda did quite well until we started working on the canter. I think I've stated before that, at the moment, Panda's canter is quite ugly. Not too horrendous, but she really doesn't know how to balance herself and has this horrible tendency to hang on the inside rein, bracing against it and not turning her body. Part of her issue is my own inability to get my body properly balanced, but it's hard to get yourself in proper position when you feel like you're on a small express train that's jumped the tracks. Speaking of jumping, it seems Panda has little reguard for inanimate things that are in her way. Although we tried to keep her in the confines of Kim's dressage "arena" (it's pretty much just marked off with railroad ties and the letters), at one point she took off to the South, jumped over the railroad tie, went up the hill, and would probably popped over the jump at the base of it had I not turned her. There was another point when we were headed straight for the barrel-jump before I turned her the other way.

Now I KNOW it's bad to turn a horse in the direction they're fighting towards, but, really, I don't want to go over a jump when I'm completely unprepared for it and my stirrups are not high enough on a horse that isn't trained for it and has never jumped anything substantial in her life. Kim has a nice, huge arena, but since she does cross country and jumping as well it's littered with rails, barrels, and logs outside of her dressage "arena." Anyway, I just need to work the mare more at home and get her comfortable and balanced going in a circle.

And in the good news I managed to get all of the character stuff colored for page 19 of Shifting Times, now I just need to attack the background (which I've started). But, once again, other things are calling and I need to get school-related stuff done, like the scrafito painting that I need to do, which I'll probably jump off the computer and do now.

I've possibly started a project with a woman I met at CopperCon. It's a comic/"graphic short story" that she had an idea for and asked if I'd be interested. I'm jumping at the chance and am rather excited to do some collaboration, even if my time is split for the year plus as I seek to finish college.

In other thoughts, I mentioned to Chris yesterday that I didn't recall being this excited or anxious for school to be over with while I was taking my equine classes up at SCC. I wondered if it was because I've been in school so long and am simply feeling burnt-out and done with it, but Chris responded along the lines of "I might know, but I don't think you'd be happy about it." I nodded and posed the thought myself, perhaps I'm just not enjoying it as much, "exactly" he replied.

And I think that's the truth of it. I love learning, I'm an academic at heart, nosing through books and looking things up and I'm not dumb by any means, but I'm not as passionate about the whole "art ed thing" as I am about horses. I love the art itself. I love doing it, and I could happily make money doing it and teaching others what I can, but the process of learning about HOW to teach it doesn't set me on the edge of my seat with excitement. I think I can blame part of it on the teachers. Last semester didn't really click with me at all outside of my studio classes.

I must admit, I'm not really a 3D person and I am not a "Mainstream" post-modernist. It just doesn't appeal to me and, although I can admire the idea behind it or be impressed by the craftsmanship, such things don't interest me, however, being in a Fine Art school, it seems to be the main focus of many of the instructors.

Anyway, my mind's disjointed and fuzzy and I know where I'm going, but seem to be questioning if that's what I want. Part of me secretly wonders if I should dump getting my degree and go for working with horses full-time and nurse my art on the side. Or, perhaps, maybe I should just dump the art ed program and just be a drawing major, but that poses more problems like how to finish in May '09 and having a portfolio.

Bah, whatever. Perhaps it's just a temporary lethargy as it really only comes about when I'm passive and not doing anything. Or sitting in Stokrocki's class wondering what in the world she's actually trying to teach us and wandering around dazed and confused with fifty different answers to one question as we all ponder what exactly she means and what the heck is the point of it all?

Which reminds me, I need to get some stuff done for her class first thing right this moment.

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