"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
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!