Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 186 - The Horse Forum
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post #1851 of 2024 Old 05-17-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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I haven't, @updownrider , but I'll see if I can add it to my next order. The books are piling up and my wife will get upset if they keep arriving faster than I can read them!

Today's mail included Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. Skimmed a little of it. There was a Pulitzer Prize winning 4-volume biography of Lee written in the 30s by a guy who saluted a statue of Lee every time he passed it in the public square - no bias there! For 50 years, it was THE STANDARD biography of Lee, until some historians began to ask questions. The Marble Man, written in 1978, began to challenge the image. I finished it last month.

Skimming thru it, "Reading the Man" is based largely on letters Lee & his family wrote. That is important. I'm not sure a single autobiography from the Civil War was written honestly. And almost every biography written in the decades after the Civil War had a political motive behind it. That is true on both sides!

There is a page I would like to transcribe and post sometime. It dealt with his experience managing Arlington - his wife's estate - and how he treated the slaves on the estate. The chapter ends pointing out that if someone is totally under your control, they may smile and be polite on the outside while despising or hating you on the inside. Now...horses are not humans. If my horses could live on endless prairie with no predators, endless springtime and endless grass, they'd leave me in a heartbeat. But if the choice is between my corral and the Sonoran Desert, I'm 100% certain they would choose my corral.

Still, the passage reminded me that a horse can offer obedience because he has no realistic choice, or because he trusts your ideas to be fair and even pleasing. Outwardly, it may look the same. Close to the same, at least. But vastly different!

It is like passing a potentially scary object. If a horse isn't afraid, passing it with slack reins is a piece of cake. To the extent I need to tighten the reins, sit firmer and be more directive, my horse is submitting. If the point of the exercise is to finish saying, "See, you silly fellow, there was no danger at all", then it is fine. A learning experience. But tension comes when and to the extent trust leaves!

Maybe it is my personality, or being a military brat, or having spent 25 years in the military, but I find it instinctive to take control. I'm glad I wasn't born to wealth in the South of the 1840s. I don't think I would like the person I would have become. Horses challenge me to become someone else. To seek their willing cooperation, and not be satisfied if I can just gain their submission. That may be their greatest gift to me. Maybe. But they have helped me with anger management and a few other issues as well....

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #1852 of 2024 Old 05-17-2019, 10:04 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by updownrider View Post
As a history buff, I wonder if you have read Traveller. He was General Leeís horse, and this is his story of the war as told to a cat. Itís not as silly as it sounds, and actually quite wonderful, although sad at times. The author, Richard Adams, also wrote Watership Down.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q8KXQUM...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
I liked Traveller too.
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post #1853 of 2024 Old 05-18-2019, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Location: southern Arizona
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My wife walked Trooper again while I rode. We initially were going to drop down into the narrow wash, but I spotted this on the slope down:


He (or she, mustn't be sexist!) was sunning. Not moving an inch. So...I decided rather than ask Bandit to jump over a rattlesnake on a descent, we'd...just go a different route. In fact, I have yet to ask Bandit to jump over a rattlesnake. Just a woosie, I guess! I don't think Bandit spotted the snake, but that is why one must keep one's eyes open when riding or jogging in the desert. AND why if Bandit says he won't push thru some brush, I listen!

Bandit behaved beautifully all day. Just as solid as anyone could ask for. We separated a few hundred yards from Trooper several times without him complaining, although we didn't press things because I didn't want my wife to have to deal with Trooper if HE panicked. But Trooper was quite content to be led. I cantered Bandit up a small hill and asked him to stop next to a patch of grass. He cantered without hesitation and seemed to appreciate my suggestion to stop and grab a few bites while Trooper and my wife jogged to catch up. The wife said Trooper would have been content to STROLL our way, but she insisted on jogging.

The next two were on our way home.




It is right at 4 years since I got Bandit. He's turned into a pretty trustworthy horse. The sun is getting stronger and I just didn't feel like wearing a helmet. Even in the desert. Bandit may get fussy sometimes, but he just doesn't lose his mind. Unlike Mia. Trust is a two-way street, and we are getting pretty comfortable with each other. Although he has much better sole depth, he still found some spots ouchy. So I'll do some arena riding in his boots and try him again with super feet. I think he will like them. Eventually.

One more picture my wife took from ground level:


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post #1854 of 2024 Old 05-18-2019, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Three more pictures of today's ride. First, an ear shot when I spotted the rattlesnake:


Second, an over-the-shoulder picture of my wife & Trooper. I don't think my wife was bowing to Trooper. I'm guessing...rock in shoe?


Third was at the end of ride, with my wife and Trooper. They are beginning to feel comfortable with each other:


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post #1855 of 2024 Old 05-18-2019, 03:49 PM
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Location: Australia
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Beautiful photos!

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post #1856 of 2024 Old 05-19-2019, 10:29 AM
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Yea, from your other photo I can see right where the snake is.
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post #1857 of 2024 Old 05-24-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Didn't get any riding done today. Went for a run in the morning. thought I'd wait until the afternoon to ride, but the winds kicked up in the afternoon and I was lazy. Still, there is more than one way to enjoy horses:




Dry lot corrals aren't the best life for horses, but these three don't seem too concerned. I suspect a lot of horses are pretty content if they can live low stress. There is just something about sunset, the end of the day and horses eating that is relaxing. The chickens are wandering the yard right now. In 15 minutes, they will return to their roost and call the day done. I'm going to go join them in the backyard, collect a few eggs, and wait to shut the door behind them.
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post #1858 of 2024 Old 05-24-2019, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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All three are messy eaters. That is what is nice about long stem bermuda hay. They can eat it off the ground and not get sand colic.


It was getting dark. The last hen finally realized she was the only one left outside, and so she hurried in! Dark enough the photo blurred. Picked up 5 eggs tonight. I shut and locked the gate behind her. Coyotes, skunks and owls will make short work of chickens if left untended. Like the horses, the chickens are good evening companions. Beats the heck out of watching TV. An hour spent hanging out with the livestock is NOT an hour wasted!

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post #1859 of 2024 Old 05-25-2019, 01:11 AM
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I was around chickens tonight too. We took Nala and Hero to a nearby boarding facility that had arenas to ride in. There were chickens running around everywhere, which at first gave the horses a lot to think about but then they got used to it. The chickens were rather entertaining, they have their own world going on. There was a bucket near where I tied Hero, which was full of cracked corn for the chickens. I discovered that after Hero took a big mouthful.
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post #1860 of 2024 Old 05-25-2019, 06:21 AM
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Your horses might be on a dry lot, @bsms , but they're in a social situation and have a good view of things happening elsewhere, and they do go out exploring with you - so that's streets ahead of horses boxed 24/7 and only out in the arena or an occasional trail, or even horses boxed at night and on daytime turnout to dry lots.

I had no idea skunks ate chickens!

How is your foot, has it healed up better now?

@gottatrot , I've got a feeling @Knave 's horse Bones would be trying to herd these chickens!
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