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Nose to the Ground January 06 Issue
January 05, 2006

Happy New Year To You!

We had frigid weather between Thanksgiving and Christmas followed by a thaw. Or a thaw and re-freezing to be more precise. The horses don't mind the cold and snow at all but aren't as happy with the combination of mud, ice, and cold rain (neither am I for that matter).

Had a late hay delivery and the truck went into the ditch trying to get up the hill to our place. Felt real good about that. Well at least the days are getting longer now - a minute or two a day but longer nevertheless.

Spring can't be too far off. At least Nessi thinks so. He started shedding his winter coat this the first week in January! I was grooming him and the hair was just flying off. I tell him he's at least a month early and if we get an Arctic blast down from Canada in February or March he might be sorry. But he's been shedding early for 14 winters and made it through them all just fine. What do I know?

2006 seems to be off to a good start here and I hope it's the same for you. I hope it turns out to be a decent year for the hurricane victims and the families of the West Virginia miners. When tragedies like that happen I feel so fortunate to have a normal day and the opportunity to just watch or pet the horses or give them treats - no matter what the weather is doing.

The Gift Shop

I've added a tote bag in the Gift Shop. I got the idea while making a change to the Gift-U-Design Page which I now call, more accurately Gift Baskets. The tote bag featuring our logo is yet another possibility for a "container" to hold some goodies. An attractive one if I do say so myself.

Horse Jewelry

"Timing is everything!" - or so I was told many times during my past career as an engineering manager. That phrase came home to me this past month when I located an excellent source of horse/equine jewelry. Large selection, wide price range, quality products - and, just a little to late for the Christmas shopper to take advantage of.

Still, we welcome Show Stable Artisans - The Equestrian Jeweler . You can go there from here or through our Jewelry Page which shows a few examples of what they have to offer.

If a gift of horse jewelry is, or will be, on your mind I suggest you visit Equestrian Jewelry and request a copy of their catalog. You'll be rewarded with a very large selection of jewelry in this 79-page catalog. It's 95% about horses ( a few cat and dog items are included - they're quite nice as well).


In doing some research on saddles I've checked in at several forums. These are great places to get some questions answered as well as learn from the experiences of others. It's also rewarding to be able to contribute information from time to time.

If you haven't visited any horse forums and would like to give it a try here are three that I enjoy:

Western Horseman (the Magazine) at
Equisearch at
Daily Equine (Horse Saddle Shop) at

Participants and moderators are generally glad to answer your questions and offer advice.

Horse Art - How to Draw a Horse

I've long had the desire to draw (or paint) horses but have never taken the time to learn. Any horse I draw is strictly a stick figure and a rather pathetic one at that.

What got me on this subject was some things I've been reading by the great trainer, Tom Dorrance. He is not a believer in the "how to" approach to writing a book on horsemanship. Rather his approach is that we're all different and horses are all different and what we do in working with a horses can have different outcomes with different horses.

Someone taking the same approach as I do will come up with a yet different result. In other words you have to have a feeling for and understanding of the horse, yourself, and the situation at hand.

I'm wondering if there isn't a parallel somewhere in the realm of horse art. Two artists can draw or paint the same horse with strikingly different results, even though the observer might recognize the horse. If an artist were to teach me how to draw a horse in and I became good at it I suspect that the end result would resemble that of one of the teacher's efforts, but probably not as good. If I became even better, my result might be a good copy of my teacher's.

Only when I became a "master" would the end result be not only very good but would definitely bear my imprint more so than my mentor's. I suspect to get there requires the same kind of feeling for the horse that Dorrance emphasizes as the basic require for proper training and handling of the horse.

It must be a combination of training, the passion for horses, and just "letting go" when things start to happen on the canvas.

In his book, True Unity, Dorrance wrestles with the problem of putting his knowledge and understanding of horses in writing. When he does find the words they are more often than not true gems. To ride a horse well you "go with the horse". I wonder if in some abstract way the artist does the same in drawing the animal.

I do enjoy working on the Horse Art part of the business but my background definitely exercised the other half of my brain, making recommendations as to what constitutes a good work of art difficult at times (most of the time maybe).

I wish I could get into the head of one of our contemporary equine artists and understand what goes through their mind as they are creating their art.

(Any thoughts Leena?)

Horse Books

Speaking of Tom Dorrance's True Unity I've just finished reading it. I'll be soon adding a review of it in the Horsemanship Books and Four Foot Bookshelf pages. It's a book I can highly recommend though I don't believe it's for everyone.

It's not a "how-to" book on handling or training horses but more about experiences Tom has had with horses ( Tom Dorrance was one of the great teachers and mentors in the world of horsemanship in the world - he passed away a few year back).

The book starts out with a description of Tom and his background, then words from Dorrance himself, followed by words by many he has helped over the years and finishes with plenty of good advice - "one-liners" if you will.

A nice gift idea - best for the somewhat experienced horseman or someone with a problem horse.

See you in February.

Bill Savage

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