The book, my book, Understanding Horse Whorls is available. Again.
It was released some time ago. In the spring maybe? As an ebook. That went very well. Sold copies all over the world. Lots of people asked for a print version though. And there were lots more things I was still learning that I wanted to add. So, I started adding, and I started reformatting, all the things it took to get it to print form. Then there was more editing, fiddling with the cover, all the stuff. It took a long time. We were also busy with the other summer stuff and my normal work I needed to do so there wasn’t a lot of time to work on it. Thankfully the kids went back to school 😉
After a going through a few proof copies with all the waiting to be delivered that that calls for I think I’ve fiddled with it enough. All that I’m going to at lest. Until people start pointing out the errors that we all have missed. Then there will be some more fiddling.
We were rushing, as always, to get done with one thing and get on to the next. I had been telling the kids repeatedly that we had to hurry!
Then we pulled into town and there on main street were three horse butts sticking out from between the parked cars. I slowed down to stare. Then pulled into the next empty spot. The Goblin Child started going on about how of course there was time to stop for horses. There was always time for HORSES. In fact she went on quite obnoxiously along that vein the whole time we visited with the people.
The horses turned out to belong to two guys who were riding from Nevada MO up to Mount Rushmore!
As new book purchases come in I get to see just a little bit of information, a name and where the purchase was from.
Most of the people who buy Understanding Horse Whorls are from the United States, followed by Canada, Australia, and The United Kingdom. I love you guys, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not quite as exciting to see those as it is when the purchases are from places like Costa Rica, Germany, France, Netherlands, Paraguay, or Bulgaria.
My daughter sat down with me and asked where the first person who bought the book had been from (it was the US). That lead us to a search back through my email history and a lesson in geography. We sat down with google maps and searched the world to see where these places were. In Bulgaria we zoomed in and got a street view of a random small town. I would have stayed at that for hours. It was beautiful and so different from here. I would do it the whole world over if there was enough time in a day.
For the fun of it we started a map keeping track of the different countries. All countries the book has sold in are marked. The numbers are not even close to exact. Neither are the places. I let google chose random locations since I have no idea where anyone was from.
One of the things I love about this page is learning about people and their horses from around the world. I now know about the Carthusian strain of Andalusians and the Kaimanawa of New Zealand. There’s always so much more to know though. In the comments tell us where you are from and something about the horse culture in your area. It doesn’t matter where you are from, the US is foreign to many members.
They swooped in from behind, swift and silent.
The horses started but were good quiet horses, perfect for the small children they carried so well. A nice ride down the quiet country lane was almost to its end when the herd arrived. Quickly ushering her children to the side of the road,to the barn we had been almost back to before the attack. My mom turned and dove back into the herd.
Bicycle tires hissed on the pavement as their riders peddled as hard as thy could, never bothering to pull up at all for the small family and their horses who had the misfortune of being in their path. Without manners or concern they sped on.
Or tried to.
On her big red Morgan gelding neither mother nor horse hesitated for a second but leapt into the middle of them. With no way past one rider was forced to apply his breaks at last. Not willingly. The Morgan gelding cut him out and held him like any other dumb animal cut from a herd and worked by a horse. He dared to be mad but mom was madder.
She let him know exactly what she thought of him and the rude inconsiderate friends in his herd. He didn’t care. Like most bikers it was his road, his right, and no way his fault. After holding him there long enough to chew him out and make him lose some of his precious time, mom turned her horse and allowed the steer to go.
Perhaps nothing was accomplished. Maybe they looked for a road without a crazy lady on a horse to ride the next time. But maybe, just maybe, they had some small thought for someone besides themselves on their next ride.
It was up to zero when we went out to feed this morning.
The snow from last night dusted the ground in a dry fluffy powder. So cold when it fell that there was no moisture to it. Cheeks immediately prickled with the cold as glasses fogged and noses froze.
The horses have heated waterers, as do most of the cattle. The tanks in the farthest pens are froze though. The ones too far out to justify having electricity run to them. I walked through the snow to reach them. Ice covered them, an inch thick at least. By the time I got there I was warmed. Steam puffed as I breathed fast, nearly panting pounding the ice. After breaking ice I was hot.
Coat unzipped I walked back towards the house. My job done.
It’s too cold for school apparently and with the late start my husband was out driving the feed truck. The children were waiting at home, hiding inside, in the warmth. I had wanted to feel the cold, get my blood flowing, keep from getting lazy and spoiled, so here I was despite offers to do the job for me.
And it felt good.
Stopping to pet the horses I thought about how important it is for people to have a job. Work to keep them busy, satisfied. Without work what are we? Even animals will choose to work for food instead of accepting it for free.
The horses were covered in a blanket of snow, each of them toasty warm in their winter coats. They may prefer to work for their food but they are happy to beg scratches for free.
As my hands grew tired and cold from being buried in their snow covered fur I said my good byes and turned for home. There was more work waiting for me. No need to seek any other satisfaction, I had plenty at home.
At eight The Goblin Child is old enough to participate in the horse activities in 4H. Of course I want her to. Not sure if she’s as excited as I am. She is willing though.
One thing that really bugs me about it though is that part of their curriculum teaches that you should ALWAYS approach, lead, mount from the left side. I wish that at the very least they could say for showing purposes you have to do these things from the left. At most if the importance of being able to do all these things from both sides could be mentioned it would be great.
That isn’t the point though, although it does factor in here.
The benefits of the program far out weight the little faults I like to pick at.
She has been working hard to get the horses haltered by herself. She is already very comfortable with leading and handling from the ground. I was getting something else done after she had haltered Lady and told them, both children, to go see if they could lead Lady through the hoop.
There was no ‘see’ about it. By the time I caught up with them they had already made laps through it. Through the hoop they had thrown their coats over to add to the difficulty.
I think they’re almost ready for this part of the test at least. Except for the little thing about leading from the right instead of the left. Such a silly little thing. Inconsequential but so important. Surely she can lead from the left for that one little thing.
Many man years ago, quite a bit more than twenty, I bought my all time favorite set of reins. Soft woven cloth roping style reins, they came with clips on the ends. The kind everyone mocks for their lack of coolness. They sure came in handy though, for unhooking a rein to use as a lead rope, to switch between bridles, to, gasp, unhook so I could use them to tie my horse.
I rope with those reins constantly. They were probably about ten years old by the time I was riding with them doing ranch work.
I still loved them. They felt good in my hands. Even if the clips were showing a bit of wear and tear. They were getting weak and loose.
I was also still riding my hot little bay Morgan that was about the same age but not showing any wear and tear. He was just as energetic as he had always been.
We were bringing cows out of the canyon pasture. Its name derived from the big deep draws that filled most of it. Two of them that came down and met in a Y shape at the gate down in the bottom. These draws were lined with smaller draws feeding into the bottom. There were springs all throughout leaving water holes in some places, bogs in others. The sides were steep, riddled with banks, brush, and holes.
Cows had an easy time disappearing up the finger draws in thickets of chokecherry bushes.
The rest of the herd must have already come down and through the gate. They were a wild bunch, to suit the pastures they grazed. A few were probably trying to stay where they were instead of moving on to the fresh pasture. Somehow I came to be galloping down the hill along the draw trying to cut off a cow who wanted to go back up. Nate, my hot little bay Morgan was up to the job. With legs of iron and endless stamina he could go all day. Barefoot even on the sharp rocks he was like a mountain goat in those hills.
We thundered down one side hurrying to cut off the cow. I was always scared of heights so I probably wasn’t as enthusiastic as him in the chase. The cow went through the bottom of the draw and up the other side. We were running along one of the finger draws. It went straight down right next to us. Using it as a fence we turned her and she took off back down to the bottom of the draw. She probably went out the gate with the other cows. I have no idea actually.
Because we didn’t stop.
Nate was going full out by the time we caught her. He wasn’t going to let a little thing like having finished the job stop him.
I pulled back on the reins. Nothing happened.
I yanked back on the reins. The aged weakened clasps that attached my reins to my bridle gave out. They flew back past my head, nearly grazing my ears. I was still holding my reins in my hands but they weren’t attached to anything.
We were still galloping headlong up the side of the draw. A steep bank on one side. Fortunately nothing but a grassy incline directly under us. For the time being.
I leaned forward in my saddle, reached down the length of his nec and grabbed the side of the headstall.Then hauled his head around pulling him to a stop.
We spun circles for awhile until he conceded and halted for a moment. I reattached the clips and we took off back down the draw to catch up with the herd.
No, I did not replace the clasps as soon as I was able. Instead I took great joy in knowing they could fail any moment. They were my special safety break away reins. I figured that as long as they stayed attached I knew I wasn’t pulling to hard on the reins. The safety break away was for the horse not me. Especially if I was using them to tie with. Those clips stayed on my reins for a very long time. I don’t remember why they did finally get replaced. It wasn’t because they were a safety hazard. They were, but it wasn’t why they got replaced. It could have been that they got broke. Or it could be that they reached a point where they wouldn’t stay on at all any more.
I always have enjoyed the walk on the wild side brought on by improper tack, whether it’s gambling on my reins staying attached or a snaffle without browband or throatlatch. That doesn’t mean it’s a safe or smart thing to do. Just adds that bit of excitement to my life. Like riding Nate did.
Nate is long gone and well missed. The reins are still hanging with my bridle, still as comfortable in my hand as they were then. The clips are newer.