Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People - Page 219 - The Horse Forum
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post #2181 of 2224 Old 09-05-2019, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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@knightrider , Large Print sounds like an interesting way to choose books. Also it just occurred to me it's one way I could still read without reading glasses! Love the library challenge ideas. Did you get a book as a prize?

@egrogan , that link - yeah, haha. I don't know what the world's coming to, etc. On the other hand, in these days of declining reading, I have to say that good role modelling by celebrities may help get people into reading - and whichever way they get into reading, it increases their chances of learning to think independently, and of learning new things. (Unless they're just reading formula.)


DENTAL COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO HORSE SKULLS

After burying our first equine fatality in 2014, we subsequently went with on-ground burial in 2017 and earlier this year - in Redmond and other broadacre farming areas, large animal carcasses are generally deposited into on-farm bushland away from human habitations and waterways. Typically, the noxious phase of the decomposition process is over within 6 weeks. We don't have large scavengers in Western Australia - no hyenas, coyotes, vultures - but we have smaller scavengers, like ravens and introduced foxes, and above all, we have blowflies that deal very effectively with carcass recycling, turning most of it into songbird food. I like to think about that when I hear the birds singing on this block, how some of their songs were powered by the mortal remains of our beloved horses.

Because of my biology training, I'm unsqueamish about stuff to do with dead bodies, the only caveat being that I don't like to see the decomposition process on animals (or people, but that's academic) with whom I had an emotional bond. I'm fine once the soft tissue is mostly off. So, I will return to look at skeletons, which to me are biological architecture. If I knew an animal, I might be interested in an injury it had, whether it had spinal problems I didn't know about, etc.

In Romeo's case, I was interested in seeing the state of his teeth - he was unable to have dentistry done on him since age 29 because his teeth had become too low and too loose at that point, and were starting to fall out. The last session of that he had distressed him, and the veterinarian advised to leave it from now on as it was doing more harm than good with his failing teeth.

The really amazing thing is that he didn't die until 34 years, 5 months old - but don't ask how much we spent on ingredients for his huge twice-daily senior porridge over that time. At that point, he'd lost so many teeth he could no longer process soft grass enough to make it much further without starting to suffer, so we put him down in March. We'd not seen properly inside his mouth for years, and were curious to see the final state of his dentition.

I've included photos of his lower jaw and skull, side-by-side of the skull of the mare we lost in 2017 - she was 27, and teeth weren't an issue for her yet. The only reason you can see cracks in the lower teeth is because the skull has been weathering for two years.

There were NO grinding teeth at all left in his lower jaw - and judging by the infilling of the bony sockets, he'd lost most of these more than a year ago.

He'd recently lost a top molar, and had previously lost another two molars - you can see how the recently lost tooth's socket is still quite complete, and for the previously lost teeth, the sockets had started to fill in. The reason some of his grinding teeth are brown and others white is because the brown ones were lying in the earth beside the skull at the time I collected it, and I didn't put them back in their places until just before taking the photo. The white ones are sun-bleached - and the mare's skull and teeth far more so than his, owing to 18 months more in the sun.

The aperture behind the molars is the airway opening, in which you can see the nasal septum down the middle. Romeo's atlas is still attached to the skull. While the mare was smaller than he and had a small head, the size difference has been exaggerated by the loss of most of the brain case in the mare's skull. When animals are shot, it fractures the skull at this point, and this makes it prone to crumbling away early in the decomposition process. You can see the exit hole of one of the bullets at the bottom of the gelding's brain case. It wasn't hollow-point ammunition, so it doesn't blow everything apart. Our veterinarian uses two round-nose bullets - the first does the job, the second is to make sure consciousness isn't regained while waiting for the heart to stop. This doesn't usually happen, but it's best to make absolutely sure.

If you're wondering about the tiny holes in the hard palate etc, a lot of these are entry/exit points for blood vessels, nerves etc.

The grinding teeth in horses are really amazing, considering the job they do for over two decades, typically grinding 16 hours a day.
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post #2182 of 2224 Old 09-05-2019, 06:17 PM
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@CopperLove , are you familiar with the Warrior series books by Erin Hunter? They are everything you said you liked. They are amazing. They are about clans of wild cats and encompass every human situation, for example the heartbreak of infidelity and the egos of leaders.

I also adored Watership Down, and what a pleasure to read it to my daughter and discover that she loved it just as much. I am a huge rabbit fan anyway. My childhood nickname was "Bunny" because I was always pretending to be a rabbit. Ironically, it was horses that I was simply crazy about, but my parents forbid me to talk or pretend about horses, so I decided to play it safe and be crazy about bunnies.

@SueC , I did win two books, among some other cool prizes. The first book was a coloring book of furniture and furnishings that you can color, cut out, and arrange in rooms. I gave that one to my daughter as she has a real flair for decorating. I do not. The second one was a Downton Abbey cookbook. The library folks must have known how much my daughter and I adore that series, as we have checked it out several times. We have made two of the recipes in the book--very fun!
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post #2183 of 2224 Old 09-05-2019, 07:58 PM
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Extremely interesting to see the teeth. I find it quite amazing you were able to keep weight on Romeo after seeing how his mouth was. That was serious love and dedication.
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post #2184 of 2224 Old 09-05-2019, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperLove View Post
"If it doesn't make you sparkle, don't waste your time." Words to live by there.

With books I tend to be pretty escapist. If it's not a book I'm reading directly to study something I tend to prefer fantasy by authors who are adept world-builders with just enough connection to real-world problems to make them feel "real". As an adult I sometimes think I should move away from this... but in the end time is short and why shouldn't I read the things that make me happy? Ironically, my favorite book I've ever laid hands on so far in my life is Watership Down. Most people I tell this to who know the book always ask me why? They says it's so depressing. But I've never thought of it that way, I adore it. I read it against our high school librarian's advice, she implied it was "too far below my reading level." I always thought that was a horrible way of describing books to young potential readers
Yes, there are so many "children's books" that are really profound and well worth your adult time and attention!

I've never read Watership Down, but there is an excerpt of it in a book I got when we were quarantining the horses in England en route to Australia, after I did my introductory year of school English in central Europe. ("The cat sat on the mat. The frog sat on the log. In, into, on, onto, under, over, beside. Hello, how are you, goodbye, which way to the train station? I like, I don't like. How much is that? Mind the gap.") So, it turns out I bought my first ever proper English-language storybook at a little bookshop in Hastings. I have it in my hands now, a lovely hardback, with only the spine faded: Richard Adams's Favourite Animal Stories. Inside the cover, my schoolkid running writing: England, November 1982, £1.99. The very first story I turned to in that book was by Rudyard Kipling. I am the cat who walks by himself, and all the places are alike to me. I loved that, the sense of it, the sound of it, the rhythm of it, the freedom of it, and I started saying that to myself in my own mind, when I was walking places. The Cat That Walked By Himself is of course wonderful and poetic and intricate and naughty and metaphorical, and I smile 37 years later to think of the luck of having that be the first story I came across in the English language, when I had learnt the basics.

And now I'm going to have to go back and read the excerpt from Watership Down. I think Brett has the actual book in his collection too, for adding to my reading pile...


Quote:
Music must tell a story for me (even if the music isn't directly telling a story in itself.) I tend to connect music directly to people, stories, events, even if that isn't what the music is actually about. For example there is a song I think of as "Dreama's Song." I'm sure lots of people do this. Lyrics mean a lot to me, which I thought was the case for all people but my partner is the exact opposite. He could listen to the same song for years and not be able to tell you any of the lyrics. The difference? I sing. He plays strings - guitar, bass, dabbles of other things. Even though I played music in highschool, I tend to be more consumed by the words and the overall "feel" of a song, while he is paying much more attention to the actual composition of a piece. I hadn't thought of it before, but I would imagine a dancer takes in the music differently as well.
I like that way you're thinking about the dancer versus the string player versus the singer, and the way that influences how they hear music, and what they look for in it. And then it becomes so interesting to listen to all these different perspectives on a particular track, and put it all together. Sort of like extra-dimension glasses!

Storytelling is also important to me in music, and I tend to like the "storytellers" like Neil Young, Lou Reed, etc. Of course, you can also tell a story with instrumental music - this time, in a universal language...

I'm sure too that many people appropriate songs for their own personal situations, people and places they know, etc. Just like poetry and stories.

I think it's not only the quality of the music itself, and the intended meaning of a song, that can draw us to it - it's also often the associations that pop up in your mind - it can be a soundtrack to a particular significant experience for you, or a link with good memories that were being made when you first heard it, for instance.

Some songs will forever recall for me particular scenery I was in at the time of first hearing them, or particular times in my life, for example. I've got U2's Where The Streets Have No Name forever associated with a 6-hour solo walk I did along the Harvey River and Peel-Harvey Estuary, complete with swimming across the river, when I was 16; and with the smell of crushed mint when I was resting in the grass, and flocks of sea birds rising en masse off the estuary, and the way the light played on the water. I wasn't carrying a walkman, I was carrying the song in my head, from my first couple of listens of the album it was on, and it popped up because it fitted the scenery, and became forever married to that particular experience for me. More recently, that happened for me when we played a newly acquired Sharon Shannon album going around the peninsula from Huonville through Cygnet and Flowerpot and Kettering and Snug on a trip around Tasmania - now I always see that scenery when I listen to that album - in part because it was such a good fit for it!

David Bowie's Changes was playing on the radio when I was 13 and coming to grips with leaving childhood. That fitted the situation as well, and various others on the journey since then. Mike Scott did a sung version of Greensleeves which goes, "I'll build you a home in the meadow" - and I discovered that one just as we were starting the task of building our own home in the meadow, literally so, back in 2011. It became like a theme song for that long process, of Brett and me fronting up for years to put it all together until it was done, and here we are. And Jenny Thomas, an Australian violinist probably best known internationally for playing her fiddle on the Lord Of The Rings soundtrack, has done a track called Sweet Tooth which to me embodies so much about living where we do, and with each other. It's a lilting tune with little catches in it that make my heart flip over. You won't find it anywhere on the Internet; it's off her album Into The Ether.

Isn't it amazing what having a cerebrum has done for us? Of course, it's also resulted in a lot of awful things - but when we're at our best, the things that come from our brains can be extraordinary...

You might enjoy this podcast about exactly that: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/program...ssion/10922574


Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
@CopperLove , are you familiar with the Warrior series books by Erin Hunter? They are everything you said you liked. They are amazing. They are about clans of wild cats and encompass every human situation, for example the heartbreak of infidelity and the egos of leaders.

I also adored Watership Down, and what a pleasure to read it to my daughter and discover that she loved it just as much. I am a huge rabbit fan anyway. My childhood nickname was "Bunny" because I was always pretending to be a rabbit. Ironically, it was horses that I was simply crazy about, but my parents forbid me to talk or pretend about horses, so I decided to play it safe and be crazy about bunnies.
And now, I'm even more motivated to read Watership Down!

Almost every person I've ever spoken to who had a difficult family growing up says they relate more to animals than the average person seems to. Isn't that interesting. Having said that, I may only be talking to that subset - since I generally avoid mixing with bullies socially.


Quote:
@SueC , I did win two books, among some other cool prizes. The first book was a coloring book of furniture and furnishings that you can color, cut out, and arrange in rooms. I gave that one to my daughter as she has a real flair for decorating. I do not. The second one was a Downton Abbey cookbook. The library folks must have known how much my daughter and I adore that series, as we have checked it out several times. We have made two of the recipes in the book--very fun!
I once binge-watched two seasons of Downton Abbey in the one weekend, where I barely moved from the sofa. This was mid-build, and a weekend away in my head from it! Very effective. Have you ever done anything like that - aggressively vacationing on your sofa?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Extremely interesting to see the teeth. I find it quite amazing you were able to keep weight on Romeo after seeing how his mouth was. That was serious love and dedication.
When I had my first look at the skull, I knew we had made the right call, and I too was amazed he was in such comparatively good condition considering... The one thing that really kept the weight on him was the canola meal, which he had 2L of every day (in two doses), mixed in with buckets of other stuff including copra, soaked cubes, bran, vitamin / mineral mix at maximum recommended dose, and chaff... Definitely not how I would ordinarily feed a horse, but it really worked for him.

It was nice to be able to keep him around for those extra years.

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post #2185 of 2224 Old 09-06-2019, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
...When I had my first look at the skull, I knew we had made the right call, and I too was amazed he was in such comparatively good condition considering... The one thing that really kept the weight on him was the canola meal, which he had 2L of every day (in two doses), mixed in with buckets of other stuff including copra, soaked cubes, bran, vitamin / mineral mix at maximum recommended dose, and chaff... Definitely not how I would ordinarily feed a horse, but it really worked for him.

It was nice to be able to keep him around for those extra years.
I've been taking notes, since Amore's teeth are getting lower each year and she's 28 1/2. The rest of her is healthy for her age, so I am planning ahead that we might end up with a mash type diet like Romeo had, eventually. She has a great appetite.

@knightrider , Watership Down is probably my favorite fiction book. It's hard to have a favorite book, but I have always loved it so much. I hope that someday they will make a modern movie of it.

I've tried to understand what it is I like so much. I think a big part of it is that the animals have these complex, amazing lives that have almost nothing to do with humans. The humans affect the rabbits, of course, in big ways, but more like a force of nature would. If people could think of animals more like that, not revolving around their wishes, but as having their own, very important lives, I think animals would be treated better.

The book also has other great things, with deep characters and it's so interesting how the rabbits have their own culture and religion, great battles, and etc.
Has anyone read Redwall? That is also interesting and a good read. But I like Watership Down better because the animals in Redwall are more humanlike.
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post #2186 of 2224 Old 09-06-2019, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
I've tried to understand what it is I like so much. I think a big part of it is that the animals have these complex, amazing lives that have almost nothing to do with humans. The humans affect the rabbits, of course, in big ways, but more like a force of nature would. If people could think of animals more like that, not revolving around their wishes, but as having their own, very important lives, I think animals would be treated better.

The book also has other great things, with deep characters and it's so interesting how the rabbits have their own culture and religion, great battles, and etc.
Has anyone read Redwall? That is also interesting and a good read. But I like Watership Down better because the animals in Redwall are more humanlike.
If you liked that about Watership Down, you will LOVE all the Warriors books. That is exactly why they are so engrossing. They have every human drama from a much respected beloved leader who becomes senile and makes terrible decisions, to star crossed lovers. And the world of the Warriors is everything you like.

I also liked Redwall, but did not enjoy it as much as Watership Down or Warriors. Warriors contains a few non-catlike behaviors, but not many. Humans have almost no involvement in the story at all. My daughter and I have incorporated some of the animal words from Watership Down and Warriors into our vocabulary. We still talk about silflay and roads are thunderpaths. Erin Hunter is actually two women who corroborate. Boy, can they write!

Here is an excerpt from one of the websites:
Welcome, Clanmates!
I hope you feel instantly at home in this exciting new space. We have had a tremendous amount of fun creating it, and it’s been a trip down memory lane for me in lots of ways. I’ve been asked to tell you the story of how Warriors began, and it goes something like this.
How it all began
Once upon a time, many years ago, a dog- and horse-loving children’s fiction editor was asked to come up with a single book about cats… That was me! (And I still much prefer dogs and horses to cats, sorry!) Because I was young and obedient and loved my job, I did create a storyline, but to make it interesting, I put in all the stuff I was interested in, like religion, death, war, emotional crises, social conflict, what it feels like to be an outsider. There was so much squeezed into that first storyline (it ended with Firestar becoming leader!) that the publishers, HarperCollins in the US, decided that it should be extended to six books. Which became 12, then 18, and so on.


I made up the four Clans, plus StarClan, and figured out how the cats would organise their tiny societies. I wanted romantic, lyrical names, hence the two-part formula, and I realised that I could change these names to reflect the particular stage of a cat’s life. I gave the cats human-like personalities so that they could feel love, jealousy, anger, disappointment just like us, but I also wanted them to behave in a way that was as close to their natural lives as possible. So no weapons or clothing, no communicating with other animals, just a constant battle to hunt and survive.



I gave the cats human-like personalities so that they could feel love, jealousy, anger, disappointment just like us, but I also wanted them to behave in a way that was as close to their natural lives as possible.
As I created the characters, locations (yes, I came up with the maps, although the versions in the books were drawn by a professional, you’ll be relieved to know) and background stories, I realised that I was having the most incredible amount of fun. And that I would never need to write my autobiography because everything that had happened to me, all the things I felt strongly about, all the ideas I wanted to explore, could be contained in this glorious, leafy, feline world. I am still heartbroken that I had to leave the Warriors team, and nothing I work on will ever mean as much to me, but I am proud of the stories that I have created, and I am thrilled that they live on without me. Working with Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry and Tui Sutherland is a gift for any editor, and I am pleased to say that we remain friends even though I no longer chivvy them through overly-complex storylines on very tight schedule.
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post #2187 of 2224 Old 09-06-2019, 10:11 AM
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@knightrider I do know the Warrior series! I started reading them in middle-school I think… they were a series I gave up on because I felt I had “outgrown” them. Our school was big on what was then called the “accelerated reader” program… we had to read a certain number of books and get points by taking short tests about comprehension on the books we had read and they all had to be within our “reading level” in order to get the points. I always loved to read through grade-school all the way up through high school and looking back on it, I often think about what a horrid system that was. I would think that encouraging children and teens to read, at whatever level, would be a great thing, rather than implying that certain kinds of reading isn’t worth their time. It may be time to circle back to that series I hadn’t thought about it in ages. No one to tell me what I shouldn’t read now!

Have you heard of the Redwall series? In a similar vein, it tells the stories of animals but in a much more personified way. Living in abbeys, sailing on ships, etc. I still own a few of those, I started collecting them during grad school with the intention that I would one day read the series from start to finish since I never had in high school. College, for whatever reason, put a damper on the amount of reading I tend to do. It was like something about the added pressure of due-dates and other time management problems hindered my former ability to sit for hours with a book I loved. I am trying to get back into the habit of reading more now, trying to figure out that mental block.

@SueC I just looked up The Cat That Walked By Himself and read the first few paragraphs, I will definitely have to finish it later when I’m not being naughty reading between things at work. I definitely think Watership Down is something you’d like to read at least once. I’ve never really considered it a children’s story myself even though I know that’s what it originated as, from stories that Richard Adams used to tell his children. But there are things in it a child wouldn’t have an understanding of… or they would at least understand it differently than an adult. It was very different to me re-reading it after college than it was reading it even in high school.

It is really interesting that a song, even if it was not playing in a particular instance, becomes attached to certain events in our lives. Sometimes I also pair music with characters and fictional situations in my mind that have never met paper. Once upon a time I thought I’d like to write stories and books but my life led me in other creative directions.

I never imagined a horse could survive for so long without the use of all its lower teeth. It's amazing what someone can do for an animal when they try. He was lucky to have you.

EDIT as I hadn't seen @gottatrot before I wrote this. Yes, Redwall!
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post #2188 of 2224 Old 09-08-2019, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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THE QUAGMIRE IS NOW PASSABLE



The sun over the last week has dried out the quagmire sufficiently to get back to riding, and Sunsmart is officially back in work as of this evening, when we did the Fireground Loop - a lovely half hour at the end of a sunny spring day. He was jaunty and offered lots of trotting, which for the last quarter of the firm surfaces on that trail was hugely ground-covering - not quite his racing trot, but well beyond the extended trot you do in a dressage arena. It's a lovely, floaty feeling. He's shedding his coat at the moment, and I'm sure a hundred birds can line their nests with it this spring.

It's important to get him back in work before the spring flush really kicks in - I don't want him blowing out, and it's time he got fit again. The cattle have been crash grazing the fenced paddocks, and we're restricting the equine grazing to there coming into spring. Sparkle and the two new donkeys, and Chasseur, don't overeat and are sitting on the lean side at the moment, so they can have a bit more leeway. Julian, Sunsmart and two of our donkeys are "good doers" - so they will be in the driveway if necessary, this spring flush.

Other things:



FRENCHMAN'S BAY WALK

Last Saturday, we did a coastal walk out at Frenchman's Bay, which I will share with you:



We didn't take a camera this time; we just wanted to walk unimpeded, but I have some lovely photos we took on past occasions so you can see what that walk looks like - attached!

1. Frenchman's Bay from the top of the peninsula - the first beach - there is another behind Waterbay Point, on the other side, which you can't see in this photo. I lived five minutes from the spot where this photo was taken back in 1999, and like to go back there regularly.

2. The staircase down to the first beach, with Jess and another dog we took walking for a neighbour.

3. Views of Michaelmas Island in King George Sound, from the stairs down.

4. Down at the first beach.

5. The colours of the water are stunning, even in winter, as here.

6. The second beach, a quarter of the way along, with its own staircase to come down from at the far end.

7. King George Sound from the rocks between beaches in Frenchmans Bay.
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post #2189 of 2224 Old 09-08-2019, 11:01 AM
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Beautiful!

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #2190 of 2224 Old 09-08-2019, 12:14 PM
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My wife & I both loved Watership Down. While living in England, we went to see the actual setting. It is - or was - a real spot. Didn't walk there because it was private land and I'm sure no one wanted tourists walking around. I had always pictured it like the golden hillsides one finds in California. But it was England, of course, and green and windy and a bit damp.

"Watership Down: 237m at its highest point, an escarpment on the North Wessex Downs. Partly a 10-hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest, its chalk downland habitat harbouring rare Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper butterflies. The hill has a partially completed Iron Age hill fort, and the surrounding area is rich in Iron Age tumuli, lychets and enclosures. Richard Adams, who lived at nearby Nuthanger Farm, developed the stories he told his children to write his rabbit epic of escape, peril, mysticism and survival in 1972."


A lot of great pictures of the real area here:


"View over the steep north face of Watership Down, at the location of Hazel's warren.'Three hundred feet the down rose vertically in a stretch of no more than six hundred — a precipitous wall, from the thin belt of trees at the foot to the ridge where the steep flattened out.'"

https://jimsbrit.com/watership.htm

Before living in England, I pictured it more like this and in truth was a little disappointed it didn't match my dreams:


Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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People with Arabians: What saddle do you use and like? Wallaby Horse Tack and Equipment 4 05-27-2009 12:05 AM

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