Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People - Page 32 - The Horse Forum
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post #311 of 2251 Old 09-11-2015, 05:36 PM
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When I left for Afghanistan in 2007, I left my wife & youngest daughter my 44 magnum rifle. It is light, easy to use, more powerful than 99% of handguns yet easy to control.

I told them to move into our upstairs bedrooms. If someone broke in during the night, stay upstairs. Call the cops. But if someone went UP the stairs to the bedrooms...just be waiting with the 44, and don't hesitate. Someone entering bedrooms at night isn't in any way innocent. I'd rather have my TV stolen than shoot a man. Heck, my TV isn't even hooked up! But I'd rather have a guy shot than have my wife or daughter raped.

When I do carry, it is normally a little 22 5-shot derringer. I like it because it is extremely easy to conceal. It also drives home an important truth: I'm not there to save the world. If someone is robbing a bank, have at it. But if things get REALLY ugly, 4-5 shots of 22 LR might create an opening to protect myself, my family or another. But if you pull out a 22 LR with a 1.5 inch barrel, you are not John Wayne and there is a good chance you will die too.

My BIL has carried for 25 years and never pulled a gun. That is pretty typical. I pulled a gun once, close to 40 years ago. I had a 22 revolver (S&W with a 4" barrel) with me for plinking - something folks used to do while hiking 40 years ago. When I got back to my car, several miles from the nearest pavement and much further from the nearest cop, there were 8 guys on my car, drinking.

They said nothing, just got off and started fanning out around me. I remembered I was carrying my revolver, so I pulled it out and got ready to shoot the nearest guy.

Oddly enough, none of them said, "That's just a 22!" And none of them said, "8-6=2...we can take him!" Instead, they stopped and I moved around them to my car and left. Never even thought to file a police report, although I should have.

None of that means I think everyone should carry a gun or use guns. Folks need to think about their lives, their beliefs, what they are willing to die for and what they are willing (or not) to kill for. That is true of ANY weapon. If things go bad, there isn't time for careful thought or training. They need to be done before trouble starts. And a kitchen knife is potentially a deadly weapon. So is a pitchfork.

BTW - pepper spray can be an excellent alternative. They now make portable tasers that are fairly cheap. I may swap out my little 22 derringer for PS. But I don't think pepper spray would have helped me 40 years ago, even if it had existed. It would be an excellent thing for my wife and daughter to carry, though...
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post #312 of 2251 Old 09-11-2015, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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It's a shame that we even have to have such security plans in the first place, isn't it? People commonly use the word "animal" in a derogatory way, but humans are pretty much the worst species for what they will do to each other without provocation or starvation or anything drastic like that. There's all these people afraid of spiders and snakes and sharks, and I think, "Look at the statistics!"

Having said that, I am mostly surrounded by excellent and kind people in my own circle and neighbourhood, and there's also lots of wonderful stuff coming out of humanity.

Pepper spray: It's worth trying it out, as different cans give you different spray patterns and delivery pressure. Also apparently it goes off after a few years and you should replace it - you can test it. And you can also get little dispensers to put on your keyring as an extra. I did solo bushwalking for over a decade before meeting my husband. When I was 28 a woman my age walking solo on a beach in Geraldton was dragged into the dunes and killed. That was too close to home and that's when I got serious about carrying serious pepper spray, in a place I could instantly access it.

In all the years I've carried it, I only had to nearly use it once, when I was followed by a suspicious character on the Cataract Gorge walk in Launceston, Tasmania. I noticed I was being followed. I sped up, he sped up, I slowed down, he slowed down, I stopped and looked at a view, he concealed himself behind bushes, and I went, "OK, this is serious!" And I surreptitiously slipped the can into my hand with the finger on the trigger, and got mentally ready to just turn and cover him in the stuff if he got within range. Then I chanced upon some other walkers on the track. I joined with them and told them what was going on, and we walked the rest of the track together. I did file a police report and the police did tell me they had a rapist on the loose who'd been opportunistically attacking women for months.

You're spot on, certain behaviours show that a person really doesn't care one bit for your life or safety, and then they need to be stopped. And I will make a political comment now: In our country at least, there is too much turning of blind eyes against citizens who terrorise other citizens, or even put others at risk by drink driving etc, and too much talking up of foreign nationals and what they might do to us. In my book, the sociopath whom we've had the misfortune to encounter is also a terrorist - he sits in his place plotting how to cause harm and distress to others, and makes raids on their properties, and threatens any people present, and has done so repeatedly to a series of people he has taken a dislike to. You become relatively safe when he moves on to the next target. And the police are not interested at all, even though forensics said it was 95% provable as far as they were concerned. Yet were we to ring them and say a foreign national was buying suspicious amounts of fertiliser, they'd be all over them instantly, searching the house, going through their phone records, etc - all of which, if done just once, would likely convict our "domestic terrorists"...but it doesn't get done, unless there is a public figure involved or situations escalate to murder.

And statistically, it's our own citizens most likely to cause us grief, and I wish that the response to that was more serious.

Speaking of, I heard a podcast with an Irish terrorism specialist, a psychiatrist, and he said that most terrorists actually aren't sociopaths, as sociopaths make lousy fighters for a cause other than themselves. He says they're mostly men between age 17 and 25 with the still immature brains of their age group, and most of them, by their mid-20s, grow up and leave their cause and want to have a normal life, go shopping, have a holiday, start a family, grow vegetables, all that pedestrian stuff. That was really interesting. Also that they're not actually different essentially to anyone joining the army for a particular cause, it's psychologically all the same basic stuff, going to fight for your particular in-group. So after the age of 25, an ex-terrorist / fighter is almost guaranteed to make a far better neighbour than a sociopath who takes advantage of others. I should put the link to the podcast in:

Assumptions: terrorists, music and love - RN Showcase - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

That is an interesting series of programmes!
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post #313 of 2251 Old 09-11-2015, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Erin, thank you for those horse therapy links, they are really interesting! I'm going to speculate that one of the reasons animal therapy is so useful for psychological/emotional scars is that it takes people out of their heads and into the present, into these Zen moments, and with something significant and other to focus on. Traditional psychotherapy / counselling can go around and around in circles. I think there's a time to talk, and a time to leave it behind and experience a different sort of universe, in the present (perhaps in alternation).

Which of you who had animals, when you were growing up and you had woes or there was friction in the family, didn't turn to them? Go for a long walk with your dog, a long ride on your horse, or just sit in a stable next to a pile of hay while the horse calmly munched away and companionably nosed you every so often? Horses have this incredible dignity. They're quite different to dogs. I love dogs, and dogs are high-contact animals who will roll around on the lawn with you play-fighting, or come sit leaning against your legs if they think you're sad. Horses are more standoffish - it takes a bit more to get that connection with a horse than with a dog - but that also makes it more "wow" when it happens. And when a horse just comes up and stands with you and breathes into your hair, resting up a hind leg, and staying put, I think that's a bit like when people are swimming with whales. It's extraordinary.

Once we hit Australia, I grew up very isolated in my high school years - we were on a remote farm, the bus to the local middle school took over an hour, the bus and school was the only socialisation you routinely had with humans your age, and when you came home there were adults, and lots of animals, and the Australian bush, and when it got dark, books. I think that scenario almost by default is going to make you connect with animals in a profound way. This is very similar to the upbringing "The Bionic Vet" Dr Noel Fitzpatrick (of Oscar the Bionic Cat fame) recounted in an interview I heard with him recently.

Oscar, the cat who had an accident and got life-saving bionic feet, for anyone who doesn't know about him:


Noel Fitzpatrick is an endearing sort of character. The Irish accent definitely helps!
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post #314 of 2251 Old 09-11-2015, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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An earlier Oscar video which shows him walking again for the first time since losing both his rear legs below the hock in a combine harvester accident:



Oscar's back history:



A recent clip showing the kinds of technology Dr Fitzpatrick has been developing for cases where amputation is indicated or limbs have been lost - hopefully this will be adopted into human medicine:


I find this really inspirational.

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post #315 of 2251 Old 09-12-2015, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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And speaking of inspirational, this is a fabulous lecture by Dr Fitzpatrick given to mixed undergraduates at the University of Surrey:


Turns out that experimental use of the technology in humans has commenced. The lecture, though, is more about making your life count, and has lots of laughs and great visuals.

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post #316 of 2251 Old 09-12-2015, 02:50 PM
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Sue,

I’m kind of late to the party but in response to your query on my message board, Tom Dorrance is the only one (western culture)I have run across in print who I believe in his heart and head had a non-anthropocentric approach to horses. I don’t see him as a “guru” but I do relate to his way of doing things.

His brother Bill was also very good in that respect, followed by Ray Hunt a protégé of Tom. It seemed though that the more things became tailored to public consumption, the more it fell away from some of the central concepts that Dorrance applied, until you have what people now think of as “natural horsemanship”.

Dorrance grew up surrounded by Califonio Vaqueros. Not all vaqueros were kind in their approach to horses, but many of them were heavily influenced by the Native American Indians who were also working the ranches in the 1800’s. This gave a “spiritual” respect to the horse, as many of the Indian cultures at least in their ideals (as we know not all people follow the ideals of religious teachings in their deeds), believed that all nature deserved respect and in the case of some tribes, was equal or even superior to the human in that they had no greed and lived by nature, in balance with Creation. In some Indian cultures this was more true than in others; we tend to lump them all together when in reality there were some very distinct differences in their belief systems.

There is a long thread that BSMS alluded to on “passive” leadership with regards to a trainer by the name of Mark Rashid. I will give you an example of this concept that I used about a week ago with Oliver.

We were riding off trail and came back to the trail. My trail buddy went right, Oliver knew the shortest way home was to the left and became quite insistent that we needed to go that way (we had actually been “lost” for the last half hour. I really could have cared less as I knew if we rode far enough we would eventually hit something recognizable, my riding partner and his horse however got a bit flustered. I think Ollie sensed that).

Out of habit, my first reaction was to gain the upper hand, turning him in tight circles and then cueing him out in the direction we were to go in (a traditional type response). After about a minute of this, and both of us at an impasse, having gotten as firm as I felt comfortable, I tried something different. We stopped. Stood still, no cues, no movement, just stood and breathed, we both relaxed. Thirty seconds later, I asked him softly to move out to the right and he did so without hesitation. We both got back to the business of thinking rather than a clash of wills.

I could have kicked him harder, pulled harder on his mouth, hit him with the ends of the reins or grabbed a switch off a tree to get him to comply, sat through a bucking incident (or ate dirt in which case, who “wins” there?)….in short, I could have “won”. But what would I have really won?

Cooperation was accomplished without resorting to any of those things. I wish only that it was my first habit, rather than a failsafe (it is a work in progress).

Rather than escalating the confrontation I went the opposite direction and removed confrontation on both of our sides, changed our mindsets and then simply “asked”. I have watched my horse apply this concept to a variety of herd mentalities a half dozen or so times in the last year, it is his “leadership” style.

Sometimes the solution is not to fight harder and “win”, but to remove the reaction to fight and use the mind the Good Lord gave you to work with.
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post #317 of 2251 Old 09-16-2015, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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...I'm currently distracted from my own journal by a wonderful discussion being had here:

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...-536297/page7/

I've linked the approximate place the discussion started, about horse amygdalas etc etc. The entire journal is fabulous though, and one of my favourite places to go read!
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post #318 of 2251 Old 09-18-2015, 05:15 PM
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Hi Sue!

I wanted to check in with you and see if you know/have heard of Natasha Althoff? She is a big Dressage superstar in Australia and has a lot of Dressage teaching content online. I signed up for one of her programs called "Dressage Mastery" and I'm really enjoying it.
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post #319 of 2251 Old 09-19-2015, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frlsgirl View Post
Hi Sue!

I wanted to check in with you and see if you know/have heard of Natasha Althoff? She is a big Dressage superstar in Australia and has a lot of Dressage teaching content online. I signed up for one of her programs called "Dressage Mastery" and I'm really enjoying it.
Hello Frlsgirl,

I have to make a confession: Since we started establishing our small farm in 2010 and building our house, both of us have stopped keeping an eye on the world at large except for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website, which we peruse for a few minutes each day. I don't buy horse magazines, and just focus on the kind of magazines I write for. There is a woeful lack of broadcasting of dressage, jumping etc in Australia, except during the Olympics - unlike the situation in Germany. If dressage and jumping were broadcast here, I'd certainly watch!

But now that you have alerted me to this person, and it comes with your personal recommendation, I shall certainly be looking her up online! Thanks for the information!
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post #320 of 2251 Old 09-22-2015, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Lots to do at the moment, but I dug up some old photos from 2009 and thought I'd share them: Drowned rat on horseback!

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was a friend's horse, an OTTB who'd set a track record in Queensland and "a horse noone could do anything with anymore" until my friend picked him up and started treating him with decency and patience, and exercising him properly. He was a fabulous horse, I loved him to bits, he was very like our Romeo both in disposition and in the kinds of problems he'd had with people. Exceptionally fast racehorses not infrequently end up with greedy people and are spat out at the other end with behaviour problems... if they are lucky, they will be picked up by someone with sense, but it's the exception rather than the rule. Both Romeo and Rikki-Tikki were lucky.

Anyway, once when we were taking photos of my friend and Rikki riding in the harbour, I was invited to have a splash on the big, solid, 17hh horse, and found that my friend's stirrup irons didn't accommodate my leg length, so I had a stirrupless jaunt on him. It was my first ever ride on Rikki-Tikki, but we already knew and liked each other well. I got completely soaked by the water thrown up by the horse legs at speeds faster than walking, and ended up looking like a drowned rat and freezing in the wind:



But my favourite photo was this:





..."it's moments like these"...)

I just love how the things the photographer didn't intend actually sum up that ride so well - the tilted horizon, missing bits of person and horse, water splash on the lens as we screeched to a stop near the camera. You try riding at speed wet through and in a slippery wet saddle without stirrups... unforgettable!

I have nearly a whole journal page of photos we took of Rikki-Tikki and my friend at various scenic locations back here:

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...2/#post7436114

He's really worth a look. Sadly he had to be put down two years ago from worsening laminitis. I like to remember this magnificent horse who, in the second half of his life, found understanding and had a great deal of fun.
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