Today is the first day that I've looked into this particular forum. I visit the website frequently, but usually just a quick look at the post in the Trail Riding section. But since it's a blizzard outside today, I'll take a few minutes and respond.
First off. If my spelling and grammer is not perfect, I beg your forgiveness. I tore the middle two fingers off my right hand with a rope and horse seven years ago. ( Not my horse, I was hellping a lady with strange horse). I had to go see 4 doctors before I found one willing to sew the fingers back on. The first 3 just wanted to finish amputating the fingers. So I do have the fingers which I'm grateful for, But they don't always work as my mind thinks they should. Some times I get letters in the wrong order or hit the wrong key. Also the "L" key on my keyboard some times doesn't work. So even when I type that key, some words that should have an "L" don't get the letter. I need to buy a new keyboard. But it's not a pressing issue. I am fairly tolerant of how people type and especially those who english is a second language.
I do enjoy talking with folks from around the world. Reading their words is often easier for me than trying to talk to them. Between their various accents and my less than perfect hearing, it's sometimes difficult to understand those from distant lands. So while it's hard to add body language, inflection or tone to a written word. It does avoid a thick accent.
I don't show or compete with my horses. But I do put them to work. I bought horses many year ago as I become proficient in hunting. It doesn't take too many successful hunting trips where one has to pack an elk that has been harvested off 10,000 foot mountain on your own back to encourage you to invest in something that can pack. As kid, we used to ride motorcycles up all kinds of trails in the mountains. As dirt bikes, ATV and jeeps became more popular, The forest service has restricted their use. And they have a just cause. These machines can do a lot of damage very quickly. With the restrictions that don't allow wheeled vehicles, the only real choice is horses.
I quickly learned you can't own horses and expect them to do a great job during hunting season if you ignor them the balance of the year. As I rode my horses to keep them in shape and to keep them respectful of the riders, I became attached to being with them year round. Whether it's throwing hay out to them twice a day in the back yard, or spending a week in the wilderness hunting. My horses have to trust me. We ride them is some of the most remote areas of the United States. I pack my gear on their back. I load meat from freshly killed wild game on their backs. In all kinds of weather. We frequently encounter all manner of other creatures along the trail. From Llamas and goats being used as pack animals. To wild game such as moose, elk, deer. We also frequently run into herds of domestic cattle on grazing permits.
I often joke with my wife, that photos of myself are on my coffee tables in Europe than my wifes has pictures of me around the house. We frequently ride in some of the most picturesque landscapes on earth. Tourist from around the world often travel great distances to come see what I consider just an average days ride. I am still amazed at how interested most europeans and orientals are of people dressed in cowboy clothing sitting on a horse. I've literally had bus loads of Germans pull over on the side of the road and swarm us as we were saddling our horses for ride. When we ride the trails in Bryce Canyon, Zions National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and other popular western destinations, tourist stop what they are doing and take pictures of us on our horses.
I have very little interest in how to train a horse to do barrel racing, or dressage or hunter/jumper. My interest lies in where is the next wonderful trail to explore. How do I survive in remote areas. How do I keep my horses comfortable whie traveling to remote areas. How do I keep my horses with me while camping in remote areas etc.
And, Barry, I'm not quite an old codger, But not many years away from becoming one.
Riding in the Grand Staircase National Monument
Riding in Bryce Canyon
Sunrise during hunting season at 9000 foot elevation