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Nose to the Ground November 06 Issue
November 10, 2006

A warm welcome to old friends and new subscribers. I hope you'll find this issue of Nose to the Ground interesting, useful, and fun to read. Following this month's article you'll find links to past articles.

The holidays are on the way. First snowfall a few days back and the temperatures have been below freezing all week. But there's fresh hay in the shed and the stock tank heaters are keeping the horses water ice free.

Horse Rescue

There's been some stormy weather lately with heavy rains to the west. Large ares in our old stomping grounds of western Washington are under water at the moment. One place that can't afford lots of rain without danger of flooding is the Netherlands. A recent storm there resulted in flooding near Amsterdam. The owner of a herd of horses had to flee the flood waters leaving the horses behind. A photograph in US newspapers showed the horses crowded together on a small rise of land, surrounded by water. The heartwarming photo above, from a European source, shows four women on horseback guiding the horses to safety. Although several horses were lost over 100 were rescued.

(If your are unable to view this photograph here you may go to the Horse Gallery of Photographs and News Items at the website.)

Holiday Shopping

Christmas still seems like a long ways away but it'll be here before you know it. For horse lovers gifts for children, for items of home decor, horse art, and fine equine themed apparel I highly recommend the Back In The Saddle On Line Catalog featuring Gifts and Apparel for Horse Lovers which you can reach by
Clicking Here.

"BITS" is hard to beat in terms of quality and variety. I never tire of promoting them, being a customer myself. What prompted this little promotion was their latest holiday catalog. You can see what they have to offer on the web site of course but if you like to thumb through catalogs while doing your holiday planning, ask them for one of theirs. You should get your copy in plenty of time for Christmas.

A Horse as a Gift

When I first suggested a horse as a horse lover's gift (perhaps the ultimate), it was a little tongue-in-cheek. Your Guide isn't a horse sales site yet the gift of a horse is a wonderful idea to consider and I want to make a good gift resource available to you when I happen across it. can be a helpful web site if you're looking for a horse. The site lists horses for sale (even for lease!) by breed, color, and state or province. Quite a comprehensive listing. You might want to add this site to your favorites or sugggest it to a friend.

Equine Photographs We usually don't give a photograph of a stranger's horse as a gift unless it's a very special or appealing picture. In an effort to jazz up some pages of Your Guide I've been on the lookout for a good source of photographs with equestrian themes and would like to share with you a source I've found. It's www.sxc,hu where sxc stands for Stock Exchange, a site where you can purchase stock photo prints or download photos for your own use without charge. You're expected to notify the owners of the photographs of your intended usage but in general there are few restrictions. There's a large variety of themes to choose among, horses being just one, with several hundred equine photographs available.

In the gallery featuring equine photography I came across this very beautiful photograph (copyrighted) by Miro Schapp of Amsterdam, Netherlands, showing Horseback Riding at Sunset. If you can't see it here go to our horseback riding vacations page.

Article: "The Best Way to Move Cattle Quickly is Slowly"

An idea for the subject for an article can come from almost anywhere. The title of this article was a quote from a rancher in eastern Montana, the father of a friend of mine. My friend teaches martial arts, including our class in Tai Chi, where "slow is good".

Even a karate master performing with blazing speed learned the individual techniques very slowly and only sped up the movements when they were mastered, or at least nearly so.

"The best way to move cattle quickly is slowly" applies to so many things in our life, not the least of which is in working with horses.

I have yet to see a book or DVD on horsemanship skills where speed is emphasized. Maybe the horse whisperer or gentler (is there a difference?) can have a semi-wild horse under saddle in not too long a time. Yet, the individual steps taken in getting there are always done slowly and deliberately.

And one can saddle a horse in 30 seconds - if that's important. Sure, if you're a wrangler on a pack trip responsible for saddling up a dozen horses you'd want to do it all in 20 minutes and not two hours. But chances are that he or she has done it a thousand times or more and the first time was slow indeed. I probably took a half hour on my first attempt before getting it right.

I sometimes get in a hurry around the horses. Thinking back, nothing much ever was accomplished any more quickly that way. Likely the opposite.

Sure, you can lead a horse at a trot instead of a walk. Great excercise and you get from here to there more quickly. Most horses like to trot. They also like to break into a canter on occasion. When that happens it may be 30 minutes before you make it into the barn rather than the 30 seconds you planned on!

Recently I was putting some roll-on fly repellant around the eyes of a couple of horses. I didn't use a halter, the horses normally stand calmly while I do it. Well, I moved my hand too quickly towards a horse's eye. She jerked her head back, I reached for her poll - also too quickly- and just like that she was trotting across the pasture. Had a taken an extra second or two there would have been no problem.

Fortunately I didn't destroy her trust in me, which could have happened. To paraphrase, "the best way to quickly get rid of flies on a horse is slowly".

Speaking of trust - oone time I leaned against an electric fence while touching a horse. Took awhile for it to completely trust me again!

In the daily conduct of our lives horses and cattle have much to teach us, I know horses do for sure. So, if you from time to time think of what my friend's dad said it may make a difference in your dealings with horse too.

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 next month. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Bill Savage

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