Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 149 - The Horse Forum
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post #1481 of 2003 Old 06-21-2018, 08:26 PM
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An update on current technical and photo problems, and how to fix them, here:

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-for...post1970557743
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post #1482 of 2003 Old 06-21-2018, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Quote:
...Horses don't like to be ennuye, and will rather stick at home than go out to be bored; they like amusement, variety, and society : give them their share of these, but never in a pedantic way, and avoid getting into a groove of any kind...


Written 150 years ago, but it matches how my horses act today! And in my limited experience, when Arabians get bored, they find ways to spice things up! They "don't like to be ennuye"...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULDGLrvDtJw
That's such a fun song!

I wonder why the age of a book is often used by some people to imply that it is "outdated" - as if good thinking is some kind of fashion, like shoulder pads or winklepickers. While in some areas of endeavour books can get outdated by new evidence, philosophy is philosophy, whether the Greeks did it 3000 years ago or Jesus 2000 years ago with his parables and his Sermon on the Mount etc, or whether I'm reading Alain de Botton's latest book. A good thought is like good wine, and it's always good to try to see things from other perspectives.

“The German poet Goethe once said that "he who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth." I don't want you to end up in such a sad state. I will do what I can to acquaint you with your historical roots. It is the only way to become a human being. It is the only way to become more than a naked ape. It is the only way to avoid floating in a vacuum.”

― Jostein Gaarder, Sophie's World
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post #1483 of 2003 Old 06-21-2018, 10:10 PM
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@SueC I know what shoulder pads are, of course, but what on earth is in winklepicker?
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post #1484 of 2003 Old 06-21-2018, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by weedlady View Post
@SueC I know what shoulder pads are, of course, but what on earth is in winklepicker?

A shoe roughly like this:




Later, like this:




More here, including modern versions produced by subsequent fashion cycles:


https://www.google.com/search?q=wink...w=1680&bih=854


The mind boggles! Which pair will you be purchasing?

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post #1485 of 2003 Old 06-21-2018, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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That's such a fun song!

I wonder why the age of a book is often used by some people to imply that it is "outdated" - as if good thinking is some kind of fashion...A good thought is like good wine, and it's always good to try to see things from other perspectives...
Quote:
I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about "isms" and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism....

...Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook—even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united—united with each other and against earlier and later ages—by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, "But how could they have thought that?"—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books...

...Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them.

--- C.S. Lewis, Introduction to "Athanasius On the Incarnation"
I confess. I've never read "Athanasius On the Incarnation". I encountered the introduction on a compilation of CS Lewis's writings in "God in the Dock". But CS Lewis did get me to read medieval poetry. Like some foods, I tried some, more than once...and haven't tried again.

But he is right about how we share various blindnesses common to our age. In 1800, many men made excuses for slavery. We can condemn them now, but it was the sea they swam in. It is easy for us, safe on the shore, to wonder how anyone could have swum in THAT sea. Two hundred years from now, our descendants will look at us and wonder about blindnesses we have but do not notice.

What does this have to do with riding horses? First, there are writers from the past who can open our eyes to the blindness of our age. As open areas become less common, and very few people are immersed in horses in the way people were 150 years ago, and horses become more recreational and more often found in arenas than crossing miles of open country, our IDEAS about riding become shaped by both our modern environment and our lack of experience.

Consider Harry Chamberlin. He was sent to Samur for a year. The Italian Cavalry school for a year. Spent less time in Germany. Then returned to the US, and started training riders at Ft Riley. The school there was a year, IIRC, and each student rode 100 different horses. He dealt with thousands of students, new and experienced. Later, he was responsible for over 500 horses and riders and their training at Ft Bliss. WHERE DO YOU FIND AN INSTRUCTOR OF THAT EXPERIENCE? He had bind spots, but as Lewis points out, "[He] will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and [his] own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us."

The second point is this. Horses are like reading Plato. Riding instructors are like reading about Plato. You can learn from both, of course. But it is easier to learn about Plato if you have first read Plato, and those who read Plato will believe less nonsense written about him by some academic!

On another forum, someone attacked the idea of new riders owning a horse, saying new riders ruin horses. Some do, of course. So do some experts. But a new rider riding the same horse daily is like a student reading Plato. "The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator." I find that true of horses as well. A horse, taken on his/her own, is more level-headed, practical, and easier to learn from than those who write about him! A person who likes horses and tries to learn from them won't get everything right, but they'll be less likely to get really big things wrong!

I've recently written that horses are like onions, and each layer you peel reveals more. But...each layer is still essentially an onion. Onions don't lie. And onions don't pretend to be what they are not. Horses have a type of complexity, but they remain horses and honest creatures. No one learns rollkur from a horse! That requires a human teacher!

So yes, I like to read and I like to read old books on riding, too! But I like to meet my horse first, and then the check what I read against Plato himself, so to speak! If in doubt, read the great man, not about the great man. If in doubt, read the horse, not humans telling you about the horse. " But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. "

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #1486 of 2003 Old 06-22-2018, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
...The second point is this. Horses are like reading Plato. Riding instructors are like reading about Plato. You can learn from both, of course. But it is easier to learn about Plato if you have first read Plato, and those who read Plato will believe less nonsense written about him by some academic!...

...Horses have a type of complexity, but they remain horses and honest creatures. No one learns rollkur from a horse! That requires a human teacher!...

...So yes, I like to read and I like to read old books on riding, too! But I like to meet my horse first, and then the check what I read against Plato himself, so to speak! If in doubt, read the great man, not about the great man. If in doubt, read the horse, not humans telling you about the horse...
Yes! Great stuff!
That is a deep thought, how the horse is the original author. Who knows his own story better than the horse?

I know it's popular to modernize films so it appears that people of all races, men and women were equally respected and integrated in all time periods. That is something I disagree with. History as it was, in all its ugliness is what can teach us the most. Pretending that things were different will mean we can never learn from mistakes that were made.

It's the same with our horses. I've met many who pretend that they've always trained and ridden their horses flawlessly, but I think it's more important to be critical and see what we've done wrong. Somehow because we have good intentions toward our horses, that means everything we do is right? That seems to be a philosophy many people have.

I've with good intentions tied Amore's head down into Rollkur and driven her around with side reins and a lunge whip to develop her muscles "properly," teach her "collection," and get her "round."
But that doesn't mean I can't hear anything bad said about Rollkur, or roundness, just because I've done it myself with good intentions. Good people can be wrong. We can all make mistakes. But being open minded to review critically all kinds of information, even information that goes against the grain and makes you realize you've invested tons of time and effort into the wrong things, can help you.
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post #1487 of 2003 Old 06-22-2018, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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"History as it was, in all its ugliness is what can teach us the most."

Movies that ignore the reality of race in the interest of inclusion drive me nuts. A 1900 wealthy Anglo-Protestant who married an Italian Catholic would cause an uproar. Better to learn from history than to ignore it!

Good ride with Bandit today. He gave me things to think about while behaving well. He is still tender on his feet, so we spent almost all of our time off trail. The ATV trail might be 20 feet to one side, going our way, but we zigzagged between the cactus. The ground there LOOKS rockier, but Bandit obviously preferred it.

Talking about the blindness of a given time...I was trying Larry Trocha's advice. For my part, I tried to imagine I had ball bearings installed above and below my pelvis, so my hips could go any way needed. I slouched. I think Littauer and Chamberlin, had they been there to watch, would have been appalled! "Like a sack of potatoes! Heavy on the back! Horrible!" But I've been told a good western rider doesn't wait for his horse's back to move his hips. He anticipates. IF the horse has to move you, the horse is wrestling with you. If you anticipate and move in tandem with the horse, you are dancing. So...slouched a little, letting my hips move, but trying to get the rhythm and move with Bandit rather than be pushed by Bandit's back.

Don't think it would work for a race, but Bandit seemed pretty relaxed when I got it right. When we went to a trot, I could stand just off his back, weight in my stirrups, and he trotted freely.

I know Chamberlin disliked western riders. I've never noticed Littauer writing anything about them. Both were rooted in European Cavalries: Russia, France and Italy. I'd bet a lot of money neither of them ever took any lessons in cutting horses...Neither have I, but for what we were doing, it worked fine. Bandit tripped on something once, almost to his knees, and I didn't go anywhere. He was back up before I could really think about it. At one point, we were riding in an area covered with ocotillo cactuses (sorry, but cacti sounds too posh). A single one, after the rain, looks like this:





I couldn't find a picture, but these were thick enough that they almost touched. I was giving Bandit lots of slack, just flicking the reins a little to let him know left/right, then letting him handle the spacing. It occurred to me that if he took off, I'd be shredded! Bandit would be able to go under intersecting branches that my face would hit. I remembered being told how slack reins gave me no control. So...

I trusted my horse anyways. If that makes me stupid, then I'm stupid. I felt safer working with him than trying to tell him what to do each step of the way.

I could have kept him on the ATV trail. Harder on his feet, but a lot less spines near my face! But if we're a team, then I need to take care of his feet and he needs to take care of my face. And we both did our part. "A lot of people say, 'Well, you can't show a horse down the road every day that way.' To me, that's the only way you can - or the only way I'd want to go with a horse." - Ray Hunt . I wasn't showing him. We've done it before. I was trusting him. He might spook in a human neighborhood, but we were in the desert.

But I slouched, trying to dance with my horse thru the cactus - sounds very foo-foo, but actually very practical! - and my horse seemed very content. I think horses know when we are trusting them. When we are counting on them. And if we've laid the groundwork (saddlework?) first, then they want us to succeed!

These are some old pictures.




We went straight down the wash where the second picture was taken. When we got to these spots, Bandit felt like trotting. So we did. I got out of the saddle, he trotted as easily as a horse can in sand and rock like that, then we slowed when things got very rocky. Practical Cowboy trotted part of the way with my DIL, then slowed early and just walked faster to catch up with us. He's 10 years older, fatter and saw no reason to waste calories!

I could get to liking riding like this. It is more traditional western and it works fine in the Southwestern desert in a western saddle on a Mustang/Arabian cross!

--------------------------------------------------------------

Onion time, and something I got thinking about. I've mentioned Bandit's feet. I've assumed his stumbling/tenderness is his FRONT feet. When he gets like that, if he drops his head, I've tried to correct him. Get his head higher, get his balance shifted to the rear, get some weight off his front feet. Sounds reasonable,no? Well, it has to me.

Today, I decided to give him MORE slack. He did get heavier on the front, with his nose very low, walking across the ouchy spots. But...when I did that, I think he stumbled LESS. I've been telling him he needs to watch his own feet. But maybe he couldn't SEE his rear feet since his body and mine were between his eyes and his rear feet. MAYBE dropping his head low, regardless of his balance, allows him to watch his rear feet as well as his front, and place them where it won't hurt!

I don't know. I tried it. It seemed to help. I won't try to decide yet. Maybe he was watching his front feet from up close. He seems to have a narrower area of good vision than most horses. He's very precise about how he holds his head while looking at something. Maybe his area of good vision is limited. Maybe he needs to get his head in just the right spot to avoid the rocks on the ATV trails. I'll try it some more. It will be embarrassing, though, if it turns out that my attempts to help his balance have been harming his ability to see where he needs to place his feet!

To be determined! Is a puzzlement!


There are times I almost think
Nobody sure of what he absolutely know
Everybody find confusion
In conclusion, he concluded long ago

And it puzzle me to learn
That tho' a man may be in doubt of what he know
Very quickly he will fight,
He'll fight! To prove that what he does not know, is so!

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"

Last edited by bsms; 06-22-2018 at 01:41 PM.
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post #1488 of 2003 Old 06-22-2018, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Ordered Bandit a pair of standard Renegade hoof boots. 5.25 wide and 5.5 long. He's 5.2 wide and - just checked - 5.1/5.2 long. The boots will be a little long, but they say that is usually OK. They say they can exchange sizes within 30 days, which helps.

Also took photos of his face. I'm going to put him back in the Dr Cook's for a while, then I'll take more pictures and compare to see if the white hairs are increasing, or if he just has white hairs on his face. It isn't fair to blame the Dr Cook's for white hairs when I knew he came here with SOME...so I need to look for changes over time. Used a snaffle with him today, but there really isn't any bit that will go in his mouth that doesn't either bang his teeth or pull his lips back (the latter being preferable, of course).
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post #1489 of 2003 Old 06-23-2018, 03:13 AM
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I've been told a good western rider doesn't wait for his horse's back to move his hips. He anticipates. IF the horse has to move you, the horse is wrestling with you. If you anticipate and move in tandem with the horse, you are dancing.
I totally agree, and I've never ridden Western!

(Even though Terence Hill makes it look so relaxing and appealing! )

A good dancing partner doesn't step all over your shoes, no matter what type of dancing!


Quote:
Don't think it would work for a race, but Bandit seemed pretty relaxed when I got it right. When we went to a trot, I could stand just off his back, weight in my stirrups, and he trotted freely.
I think I'd personally have a good chance of an involuntary dismount if I tried to trot like that! Maybe it's my back injury. And anyway, Sunsmart prefers me upright until he gets to a fast gallop - just a combination thing. So I'm very upright at a trot, whether sitting or posting. (But did lean slightly forward on the French mare when she dropped her hindquarters at the fast trot! Different balance.)

I'm translating something at the moment which I think you will find interesting in that regard. I'll post in on my journal soon. We've even got photos to scan in, which makes it extra useful. A picture's worth a thousand words and all that!

Beautiful cacti! (Sorry! Ingrained! At least I don't say fora, even though it's correct! At least not unless I'm talking anatomy!)


Quote:
I remembered being told how slack reins gave me no control. So...

I trusted my horse anyways. If that makes me stupid, then I'm stupid. I felt safer working with him than trying to tell him what to do each step of the way.
For what it's worth, when a horse is aware of the obstacles etc, I also give them their head to handle it themselves. And support with slight weight cues. I'll use reins (and/or voice) to communicate an alert to the horse for something I think it mightn't have seen, but usually it's the other way around, the horse is a far better observer of the environment than the human, on average.

Working all the steps together pre-planned sounds exhausting outside of the dressage arena, and even there horses get "breaks" if you do it the way I was taught anyway. That's what the trails are for - horse and rider recreation in an informal setting!

Quote:
I think horses know when we are trusting them. When we are counting on them. And if we've laid the groundwork (saddlework?) first, then they want us to succeed!
Oooh, that's so congruent with the alternative riding school translation I'm currently working on!


Quote:
When he gets like that, if he drops his head, I've tried to correct him. Get his head higher, get his balance shifted to the rear, get some weight off his front feet. Sounds reasonable,no? Well, it has to me.

Today, I decided to give him MORE slack. He did get heavier on the front, with his nose very low, walking across the ouchy spots. But...when I did that, I think he stumbled LESS.
I think the horse knows what to do about his problem! He's piloting his own body like that for a reason.

That prose poem/song! It's good to have a "radio" to listen to when visiting someone's thread.

I still like that old ditty from the Prosh paper, a charity paper produced by the University of Western Australia once a year. It's so Zen, and it's stayed with me for three decades now!

Happy is the moron
He doesn't give a ****
I wish I were a moron
Oh no! Perhaps I am!

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post #1490 of 2003 Old 06-24-2018, 09:35 AM
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I confess. I've never read "Athanasius On the Incarnation". I encountered the introduction on a compilation of CS Lewis's writings in "God in the Dock". But CS Lewis did get me to read medieval poetry. Like some foods, I tried some, more than once...and haven't tried again.
That was an excellent and very pertinent quote from CS Lewis. Yes, exactly. And excellent thinking from you on how that applies, in this case, to horses and practices around them and riding. I wish more people thought broadly instead of getting deeper and deeper into tunnel vision.

The increasing specialisation of individuals in modern society is also leading to more tunnel vision, and a loss of the bigger picture, and a loss of really basic skills that everyone used to have. In German there is a really good word that has no direct translation into English - Fachidiot - which means specialty area idiot, and refers to this problem. What's the point of being able to perform quadratic equations if you can't look after your most basic needs yourself, for instance? Which is how it's getting. They say we're only three meals and a haircut away from savagery, but those savages could at least cater for their basic needs.

CS Lewis, have you read The Screwtape Letters? Most amusing. And one book that made a real impression on me was Out Of The Silent Planet. The hypothetical situation in that book is about an Oxford philologist who gets kidnapped by two evil scientists who take him to Mars as a sort of human sacrifice for the natives there, whose planet's resources they are hoping to exploit.

But he gets away, and the three intelligent native species have no interest in human sacrifice. They can't even understand the human propensity for evil, and why someone would be unfair to someone else. It's just not how they operate. The protagonist learns their language and communicates and lives with them, and has a really hard time explaining the concept of war, or of competition for resources, or of selfishness and greed to them. Some of the conversations in that book are amazing. And then you think, why aren't humans like that? Why are they the very worst animal on the planet?

The protagonist tries to explain the motivations of his two kidnappers to the Oyarsa: One cares for nothing but (gold), because in our world he can exchange it for many pleasures and powers. But the other means evil to you. I think he would destroy all your people to make room for our people; and he would want to do the same with other worlds again. He wants our race to last for always I think, and to leap from world to world...always going to a new sun when an old one dies...or something like that.

The Oyarsa's reply made me laugh: Is he wounded in his brain?

Part of the beauty of this too is how the protagonist translates things that can be made to sound so reasonable by these powergrubbers who kidnapped him into such basic language that none of the spin and the distortions they dress up their lunacies with survive... and it just gets to the core of it. And in doing so, it critiques things which our societies seem to have come to see as acceptable. It points a real mirror back at us. Great book!
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