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Nose to the Ground January 07 Issue
January 09, 2007

Happy New Year!

A warm welcome this new year to old friends and new subscribers.
I hope you'll find this issue of Nose to the Ground interesting, useful, and fun to read.

I hope your holiday season was merry and bright, that you didn't spend Christmas stuck in an airport or find yourself the victim of a power outage as was the case with many. We've had some cold weather and blowing snow but our road has stayed open enough of the time for the UPS drivers to make their deliveries and for a much needed hay delivery.

I'm a little reluctant to promote gift ideas at this time for fear of pushing you "over the edge" given the stress the holidays can bring.

Of course birthdays and other special events have a way of happening in January and February just as often as in other times of the year. Still, this is a good time of the year to begin planning for activities later in the year, a good time for many to do some fixing up around the house, and a good time to read a good book.

So this month the focus is on horseback riding vacations, home decor, and a book review.

As far as a horseback riding vacations are concerned, your intent may dictate how much in advance you need to start plans and preparations. If you're thinking along the lines of a horse roundup, a cattle drive, or a pack trip in the wilderness, be advised that participation is often quite limited - perhaps to a dozen or so riders. Even a vacation on a guest ranch may require a reservation well in advance.

Our list of desirable locations and activities may seem limited but so far we're sticking to areas we know best or have recently visited (Washington, Montana and Texas). But if what you'll find in our pages on vacations on horseback helps you get your planning off to a good start - great!

Vacations on Horseback: Rodeo School

Here's a new one. Sort of like a summer camp with bite!

I don't know if 3 days learning the art of saddle bronc riding or wearing a clown suit and facing down a bull qualifies as a vacation (it's certainly a break from normal day-to-day living) but I've come across an outfit that offers gift certificates for just such an experience.

If you want to put a little "zing" in your horse lover's life this year visit our page on Horseback Riding Vacations or find out more at 3 Day Saddle Bronc School - Nationwide . If you do try one of these classes out I'd love to hear about it.

I'm willing to wait until you get out of the body cast.

Horse Art and Home Decor

Ever purchased a painting or print you really like and then find that you need to repaint a wall or rearrange the furniture to make it fit in? It does happen.

Not only can the wrong frame detract from a wonderful painting (of horses of course) but room arrangement and colors can as well.

A color wheel, based on the primary colors - red, yellow and blue, is one of the more useful tools in art. The concept of the color wheel got its start under Sir Isaac Newton who did a bunch of other useful things. The beauty of the wheel is that it's (usual) logical arrangement lends to easier color scheme planning and implementation. If you're on the verge of a redecorating project to surround that beautiful equine painting and aren't sure which color schemes make the most sense you may find a little research in this area worthwhile.

For a mini tutorial on color and color wheels a good bet is the color theory page of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. So, get acquiainted with color wheels, paint your room and then come to Your Guide... for a fine horse print or painting that will fit just right.

The online art retailers we partner with, ArtinaClick, All Posters and have decorating tips on their pages where you can get help in choosing among various framing and mounting options.

If you want to try something a little fun take a peek at's ArtPad. I tried to paint a horse - it looked more like a sad dog wearing rubber boots. But that's just me. You'll do better.

Every print, phorograph, poster or painting in our home is framed. Wood frames, metal frames, gold frames, silver frames and about everything in between so I've never really given much thought to mounting or laminating a print. Having seen a few examples of mounted prints I find the final results can be quite striking - artwork that appears to "float" away from the wall. If you really aren't in the mood to study the ins and outs of decorating based upon use of the color wheel, a much more straightforward bit of information Board Mounting At is a page showing some various options available in board mounting plus links leading to discussions of other framing and reproduction techniques.

A Good Horse Book

What Horses Reveal: From First Encounter to Friend for Life by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling was the best book on horses I read in 2006 and for that matter one of the best ever. While I only just now have published a review about it but I certainly consider it good reading for most horse lovers.

Where Hempfling's Dancing With Horses placed more emphasis on preparing and working with the horse, What Horses Reveal addresses "reading" the horse.

One of the greatest hurdles we have to face in learning to work with horses is knowing what to look for and, as Hempfling illustrates, there is great variation from horse to horse. Hempfling places horses into 26 character groups (not breeds) and with the aid of some outstanding photography, discusses the characteristics of each category type.

You may be tempted to try to "fit" your horse into a particular category. Hempfling advises otherwise. Understand the whole first. That's not easy. There's plenty to absorb and it takes some time to get through the first part of the book, but the content is highly valuable. While any true horse lover should enjoy this book it is better suited for those who spend lots of time with different horses or work with horses than for the occasional rider. But it really would make a fine gift for anyone just getting acquainted with the horse world and has the desire to communicate with these wonderful animals.

Most of us rarely read a book more than once but this book should be an exception.

A fine read while waiting for spring to come.

Submit an Article

If you've authored an equine article you'd like to share, please contact us. Of course you'll get full credit and a link to your website when it's published.

Links to Past Articles

  • How to Build an Inexpensive Round Pen - Some posts, electric braid, a home made gate and a touch of green paint produced this "world class" pen.

    See you in February. Until then stay warm and dry and please give the horses an extra ration of hay when the temperature drops.

    Bill Savage

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