Back to Back Issues Page
Nose to the Ground April 06 Issue
April 01, 2006

A bi-plane flew over the house today, one we see often during the summer, likely taking tourists on fun-filled views of the beautiful countryside. A sure sign of spring. Daylight savings time is here and the horses continue to shed like mad. In a couple of weeks I can probably turn off the stock tank heater until fall. All good signs.

Sometimes ground freezing can cause problems when we do get a thaw. Our flagpole is leaning ever so slightly, yet noticably. Since I used plenty of rock and concrete to set it in, getting it straight again is going to be a task. Well, spring is like that. I hope yours is off to a good start - without any flagpole problems.

Still have yet to start the round pen.


Museum Gift Shops

In museum gift shops you'll come across gifts you won't find elsewhere, often gifts of high quality and workmanship. We're not affiliated with any museums or their gift shops but we list them as a resource for you in your search for fine gifts.

Just recently I came across the American Saddlebred Museum gift shop, located on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Among a large selection of gifts were books for children, limited edition sculptures of legendary Saddlebreds, bracelets and pendants, videos, DVDs and CDs, and much more. Some nice items. You can find this shop on the Your Guide To Gifts for Horse Lovers Museum Shopping Page or go directly to

Horse Art/Magazines

Recently subscribed to Horses in Art magazine. A subscription to this quarterly would make a nice gift for those who love art, horses, or horse art. Horses in Art is a nice way to view the works of contemporary artists and visit galleries specializing in equine art. I spent a couple of hours going through the latest issue and visiting the websites of various artists and galleries.

The articles tend to be short but good but I believe the real value of the magazine is that it fits in so well with the Internet. You can visit artists home pages and view their gallery of eqine art. If you're interested go to the website (

You can view several back issues and articles. Lots of fine contemporary horse art is on display here.

Horse Vacations

This is a recent addition. Once a paragraph in our Cool Ideas page the subject is expanding to the point where it can now stand alone.

As this is not a travel website I've been trying to figure out how best to tackle the subject. Obviously a vacation on horseback can be a wonderful gift for the horse lover but the possibilities are almost endless. I would guess that most any country in the world has areas suitable for riding and sightseeing on horseback.

The goal here is to suggest horseback vacations as a possible gift idea and provide some information that I hope you'll find interesting and useful. You can check it out in the new HorseBack Riding Vacations section.

Where to go? I'll stick to places I've seen and am somewhat familiar with - starting in Montana and slowly expanding outward to other fine places (e.g.,the Black Hills of South Dakota, seashores on the Pacific Coast, and places in northern Virginia).

What to do? There are short trail rides, long trail rides, pack trips, ranch vacations, cattle and horse drives, wagon train rides and probably more.

I've yet to participate in a cattle or horse drive or roundup (would love to sometime) but that won't stop me from writing about them to the extent I think one of these trips might be to your liking.

Read the following article to see if I've accomplished that!

Article: Richard Halliburton, Western Movies, and Cattle Drives

The 1920's and 1930's was a golden age of sorts for Americans. There was a seemingly endless supply of heroes. This was the era of FDR, Lindberg and Dempsey, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, Man O' War and Seabiscuit. Most are well remembered today, even among those born after those decades.

A person largely forgotten, yet as well known as the others back then, is Richard Halliburton (1900-1939), world traveler and adventurer who wrote and lectured about his travels and exploits. I recall the excitement I felt as a young boy in reading his "New Worlds to Conquer" in Which, among other exploits, he swam the Panama Canal from one end to the other. (He wrote of having to pay a toll, based on his weight, to swim through the locks). I'm sure there's a connection between a desire to lead a life like Halliburton's and a desire to experience the life and times of another great American hero, the cowboy.

In this spirit I suggest a horse or cattle drive as a neat, if somewhat unconventional, gift for a horse lover.

New Worlds to Conquer, or Halliburton's other books may or may not still be in print. It's been nearly 70 years since they were first published. But I'm willing to bet that if copies are still available, reading them would kindle anyone's spirit of adventure and the idea of going along on a cattle drive might not seem such a far fetched idea after all.

In the paragraphs that follow I'll tell you what I know about cattle drives. You might then have some second thoughts - but you really never know for sure about something unless you've tried it do you?

What I know About Cattle Drives -

Not much although I'd love to take part in one. My knowledge comes mainly from what I've seen in the movies - mainly the B-westerns.

I know that on a cattle drive there's good and bad guys and lots of cattle and that the bad guys are planning to start a stampede.

So, one piece of advice I offer is to stay to the rear when the cattle are moving, especially if it's your first cattle drive or if you aren't yet all that accomplished on horseback.

In the movies it's usually one of four types of people that get into trouble and fall off their horse in front of the stampeding herd. If you think you fall into one of these categories you probably should be extra careful.

  • The cowhand: - This honest, hardworking guy is just trying to "turn" the stampeding herd but his horse steps in a hole and off he goes. He's usually killed (unless it's a Disney movie) and everyone sort of mopes around for a few minutes or until they hear gunshots in the distance. Then off they ride and the cowhand is forgotten.

  • The heroine: - Why she is in front of the herd no one knows unless she's the owner of the ranch. Anyway, off her horse she goes but the hero arrives in the nick of time and lifts her onto his horse. She may get scuffed up a bit but nothing serious.

  • The hero: - No matter how much of a macho guy he is, the cattle pay him little respect and he's going to get run over by a few of them. He'll survive though and be nursed back to health by the heroine during the next 10 minutes of the movie.

  • The bad guy: - Like the cowhand, this guy's going to get killed - usually near the end of the movie. The hero may make a semi-sincere effort to save him but not at the risk of his own skin. During the last moment of his life the bad guy mouths words I can't repeat here. About all that's left of him will be his black hat.

(In the old B-westerns even the bad guys never really used profanity so what I've just said pertains mostly to more contemporary Hollywood versions where even the good guys use much more profanity than do most of the rest of us.)

So, stay to the rear, talk nice, and a cattle drive should be rewarding indeed - a great gift for your horse lover.

And that's what I know about cattle drives. If you go on one I'd love to hear of your experience - stampede or not.


With that I'll leave you until next month. See you in May.


Back to Back Issues Page