Why I Gotta Trot - Page 289 - The Horse Forum
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post #2881 of 2933 Old 05-11-2019, 01:01 PM
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The opossum is cute, but they do have some wicked teeth so glad you are being careful!

Going back to the lowered head, Chase (being a paint/stock horse bred by a barrel racer) was sent to a western trainer to be started. They must have really worked on the “long and low” training that is so popular in western circles, because when I went to try him initially I thought he was going to trip over his own muzzle! The girl selling him said, “I think he was trained to go like that” and I agree, he seemed to anticipate that was what I expected.

When I started riding him more myself, I worked with more contact and encouraged his head up so that he can see where we are going. After not too long, he started going like a normal horse.

I don’t understand what is so desirable about a horse running with his nose to the ground like a bloodhound I understand the mechanics and how it helps them to lift through their backs... but, for trail riding or pretty much any riding where they need to be able to see the path ahead, it’s just not very practical in my opinion.


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post #2882 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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My opinion is that the horse going around "long and low" doesn't actually help the back, but rather puts more weight on the forehand which allows the horse to use the hind end less. Quite some time ago I noticed that horses with hind end issues often preferred to go around with a lowered head, and as the hind end got stronger, the horse would raise the neck and stop pulling around with the front end as much.

Murphy's law was in full effect today...I was discussing separation anxiety in a thread on the forum recently. So what happened today? Hero and Amore suddenly had an issue.

Does Amore mind leaving Hero? Ever? No.
Does Hero mind leaving Amore? Ever? No.

The background was two days of extra warm/lethargic weather. Then today it was cloudy, cool and windy. Everyone felt energetic.

Took the horses out, saddled Hero, and put Amore in the outdoor arena. Walked Hero away, and Amore began running up and down and whinnying loudly. Hero whinnied back, and started getting antsy. Amore called louder as we went out of sight.

I stopped Hero from leaping and rearing around the mounting block long enough to get on. Then we slowly made our way back toward Amore, after Hero reared several times and got really upset. Once we were back in sight, Amore discovered the grass and calmed down. I rode Hero around the outer perimeter of the arena a few times, and then got off and led him away so I could ride him around some different fields.

As soon as we headed off, Amore started running and calling again. Silly horse. Hero was confused because she was calling but we were heading toward the pastures with Nala and the other horses. He bounced a bit but then settled down (mostly), and we trotted around the fields. He reared and hopped a couple more times, but then began to get calm and eventually we headed back to where Amore was. This was again confusing for him to leave the main herd and go toward Amore, but he could hear her calling for him.

Once we "rescued" Amore, everyone was fine.

Paulie the Possum didn't bother going in his den tonight but just sat looking at me while I got his food ready. He wasn't quite brave enough to eat it in front of me, but sniffed and yawned, which I assumed was similar to when my dog yawns because he is conflicted about something. I touched his fur again - so soft. He is still wearing the wrap we put on his paw, and I saw him putting some weight on it.
DH says, "What if when we open the gate to let him out, he doesn't leave?" I said, "Then I guess we'll have to keep feeding him." He got crickets, mealworms and shrimp from Petco tonight, along with his usual smorgasbord.
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post #2883 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 12:19 PM
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I find this deeply disturbing - a sign people are listening to other people instead of their horses:


In any case, here is a rather bitterly contested 2016 thread on horse's rounding their backs:

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-rid...-round-674346/

Of course, no one has to like how I ride (other than my horse) and many would say I truly suck at riding. But...to drag in a different topic as an analogy...I think it is kind of like dieting. For decades, people have been told to eat a low fat diet. As low as possible. And anyone who has fought the battle of the bulge has heard, "It is all just calories in, calories out" - as if our bodies were automobiles.

I think the scientific evidence now strongly indicates "calories in, calories out" is oversimplified to the point of being utterly misleading. I think the evidence from science is fat can be healthy if it is naturally occurring types of fat, and that hormones play a huge role in weight gain. And yet for nearly 50 years the experts have told us this is wrong. I've had doctors - often very overweight doctors - lecture me on how to lose weight, telling me to eat lots of carbs and just "show some willpower". Because they are the experts!

And all the while, Americans have been gaining weight. And almost none of the experts would stop chanting long enough to notice what was happening to the people around them!

So much with horses seems to involve an echo chamber where the experts are always people who show and judge and the trail riders are the country bumpkins who don't hold their forks the right way - or sit the right way. There has been a thread on keeping one's stirrups. Truth is, even I was surprised when I watched a world champion barrel racer riding a world champion horse in slow motion. She was doing everything "wrong" and yet her stirrups stayed on. She did too, which amazed me.


You couldn't pay me to try to ride that horse. I'd probably fall in the first half-second. But a video like that challenges my thinking. A picture like this seems to challenge traditional ideas on both how much a horse can round its back AND keeping stirrups on...and challenging is good:


PS: When Bandit starts to get his head really low, I start wondering if he's thinking of rounding his back...

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post #2884 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 02:23 PM
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When my horse gets his head really low, it's because he is snacking on a nice patch of something when we are crossing a pasture.

At no other point. The first time I saw a Western Pleasure class, I was 13 and at my first show in Australia. I was going - I'd never seen anything like it before. Horses going along the ring in slow-motion like they'd all been Rohypnol'd, faces nearly dragging on the ground, riders up there in their bling. It was sort of like lawn bowls on horseback, only less exciting, and with non-consenting parties. I said to another teenager, "Why don't they ride rocking horses instead, and give their poor horses to someone who will let them move, and carry themselves like a horse?"

Love the Paulie update, @gottatrot . When he does something interesting, will you make a little clip for us?

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post #2885 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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@SueC , the problem with pictures or video so far is that Paulie is staying in his dark den in the daytime, and is more active after dark. We have an infrared camera we were thinking of putting in the pen to get video of what he does at night.

I think with horses or diets, it comes down to what works.
With people and food, many are eating like they're athletes when in reality they're barely active.

It's very difficult when people have emotional ties to food that make eating more like having a cigarette than getting necessary fuel. We have people get very upset in the hospital because we don't have the food they wish to eat. If you want something in particular and all I have is a sandwich, soup or yogurt, if you really are hungry it should be OK. Many act like they will suffer dire consequences if the food their emotions wish for is not available.

Not to mention those who panic when we have to keep them without food or water before surgery. This is under medical supervision, with IV hydration and calories being given. Yet people fear that not taking in food by mouth for a few hours will be dangerous for them. Some could live on their body's stores for weeks.

I think people are complex and we don't understand how and why the body processes and stores things yet. For example, cutting cholesterol from the diet does not lower it in the blood for many people. Taking medications to reduce cholesterol can induce memory loss, which makes sense since cholesterol is necessary for brain function. People need calcium for strong bones. Yet we are only beginning to discover why people deposit calcium in the blood vessels and get hardened arteries.

With horses, there are the people who tell you how to do everything "just right," which apparently will seriously affect the horse and his performance if you do things wrong. Yet somehow the "just right" can be different depending on what the judges are looking for in each discipline. Then of course if you get above a certain proficiency level, you can do no wrong, because you've transcended instruction and somehow if YOU do it wrong it's OK.

Horse fads are every bit as pervasive as fads in life. Everyone accepts long and low now, and thinks horses going around with curved over necks are moving correctly. Blue and pink hair is apparently prettier than brown or black hair now, and around here if a guy wants to be cool he has to have a beard. We find it kind of funny because being a different and unique individual now means you don't have a tattoo and have your hair a normal color. I remember when the tattoos and unusual hair meant you were trying to be different, now it means you are trying to fit in with everyone else.
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post #2886 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 08:33 PM
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When I was in the 9th grade, I decided to lose weight. After all, I couldn't see my toes. So I just cut back what I ate, and walked a lot more, and kept cutting back what I ate. The good news? I lost 45 lbs over about 8 months! The bad news? I still had fat deposits I wanted to get rid of, but my diet was then below 1,000 calories a day and I hadn't lost any more weight for nearly 2 months! I had taken up jogging, and rode my bicycle to school (5 mile round trip) and often rode 10-15 miles on Saturday...and wasn't losing weight.

That was my first lesson in the battle of the bulge. I have long since accepted that I will never be "slim". At one point in college, after being sick a few months, I was down to 5'8" & 115 lbs - and I still had a significant layer of fat around my waist! My cheeks were hollow. I was weak. And...I still had a couple of spare inches around my waist!

I would agree that there are many causes to obesity. Lots of folks don't fight. Or don't care. But a lot of us have noticed that pretty much ANY diet will get SOME weight off. Getting it all off, and keeping it off...there's the rub!

I haven't been very fat since the 9th grade. But I have nearly 50 years of experience trying to not get very fat. I probably sound frustrated. Maybe a bit angry - with myself, not anyone of this forum. Those are pretty common emotions too for those of us who struggle with our weight! Because you can listen to doctors or nurses, do exactly what they and the government and the panels of experts say - and fail!

The Obesity Code argues the problem is in how dieting and "not dieting" affect our hormone levels. The studies he quotes match my experience. However, unlike him, I'm not certain there is an answer. Not if "answer" means "become slim and trim".

In a sense, it is kind of like riding. It is a compromise. Without doing unreal amounts of exercise while following a strict diet every day, I may not be able to become "slim". So maybe "less fat" needs to become my goal. I'll also never be a beautiful rider - beautiful in terms of grace, not appearance. But with some modification of my goals, my horse & I can be happy in what we CAN do instead of what we will never be!

If I define success in dieting/exercise as being able to fit into 33 inch jeans, success seems possible. If it means getting into 29 inch jeans....well, prepare for disappointment! And if I look too stiff and awkward on my horse, yet I stay on him and don't interfere with his back or create excessive peak impact forces on him...maybe THAT is "success"? Watching Bandit and Mia before him, horses seem to judge me by how hard I try to help them! They are a very forgiving couple of creatures!

One of the ways horses have changed me, starting at age 50, is to teach me to accept things. Not to be "perfect", but to accept "good enough". And by extension, to learn to look at people around me, in my family, church, etc and learn to accept them by their "try" instead of wanting them to meet some goal set by someone else that they cannot meet.

I've always liked this picture of Bandit and I. We're about to drop into a small, narrow wash. It isn't difficult, but I'm giving Bandit a moment to smell & think, so he'll be ready to do what I want him to do. We are not sailing effortlessly over a 5 foot oxer. We aren't hearing adoring crowds cheer us. But we're just out in the desert, doing what we do together. And honestly? Bandit won't sweat an extra 10 lbs on me. We're together, doing what we both seem to enjoy. Like a good marriage, isn't that "good enough"?

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Last edited by bsms; 05-12-2019 at 08:39 PM.
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post #2887 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 08:44 PM
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@bsms , were you stressed out a lot as a young person? Stress leads specifically to abdominal fat deposition. A friend of mine is recovering from anorexia and she says even she still gets the fat deposits around the umbilicus in times of stress, even when all her ribs are visible. I had a lot of stress growing up and around the navel was also the first place I would put on fat, even when the rest of me was underweight. These days this is my fat micromanagement zone. If I have too much carbohydrate for the level of activity I'm doing, I can tell within a day by the increase in the "pinch test" in that area. De-stressing, exercising and good eating all have to be combined for me to stay in good shape. And yes, once you have the adipocytes, then short of liposuction they're going to stick around, and put out "Feed me!" messages like Audrey II...


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post #2888 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 08:51 PM
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It is always so interesting to read your posts @bsms . I tend to fall on the “too thin” side of things. My brother does as well. The Air Force eventually waved the weight requirements for him because he tested so high intellectually. I think he had a crazy high test, but I might lie if I said how high, so I will just say it was extreme. ;)

Now, he is 6’2” or so, and he struggles to reach 125. His health is terrible because he cannot gain weight. They can’t figure why. I too can get too thin, but he gave me some of his weight gainer, and if I work out consistently I can maintain about 130. If I stop working out hard I lose it all. Crazy right?

I tend to look to the horse corral for my answer. Some horses are fat and some are thin and they maintain a very similar diet. I am sure some get more feed due to faster eating skills, but Beamer is ran off of hay and the fattest of the bunch by a long shot.

This brings me to the conclusion that fit is fit. Sure, some of us could gain and some could lose, but I think as long as we are relatively fit we are doing all right. There is no standard that needs to be met. I get fit to gain, where you get fit to lose. We are not all made to look the same. It is funny we all try to look a certain way, or even get a horse to look a certain way. I think that’s not how it actually works.

As far as riding goes, there is no standard to meet of looking a specific way. If you are accomplishing what you set out to accomplish it really is irrelevant how you look doing it.

This will be funny to you, but I get teased for riding with my heels down. Everyone is convinced I am doing it wrong. In another setting I would be praised for my heels down posture. It really doesn’t matter to me. I do hate when I see a picture where I am hunched over, but honestly that is only because I don’t like the way it looks, not because it is detrimental to what I can accomplish.
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post #2889 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 10:59 PM
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@Knave , I always knew you had magic powers! You've managed to like post #2886 twice!

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post #2890 of 2933 Old 05-12-2019, 11:37 PM
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@SueC , I probably was stressed as a kid. We moved every darn year, or close to it. Always the new kid on the block, which in the 60s meant you were expected to fight. I took refuge in books. My guess though is that my "fat magnet belly button" is genetic. My uncles on my Mom's side all were the same way. Lean arms and legs. No butt. Belly fat.

I'm sure being a fat kid was part of it. That was over eating. Comfort food. I understand my horses thinking that nothing says love like food! I do believe that someone who has been very fat as a young child may be doomed to struggling with it the rest of their lives.

I've spent a week now trying a "16:8 Diet", although for my eating habits I've made it an "18:6 Diet". It may be helping. I'll admit I am eating less simply because eating a day of food in 6 hours isn't very appetizing. I find skipping a meal easier than limiting my meal. So at noon I eat a big meal and just don't have room for much by 5PM. My goal is no solid food between 6PM & noon, although coffee is fine. The world doesn't want to deal with what would happen if my coffee was denied!


https://www.prevention.com/food-nutr...diet-benefits/

https://www.menshealth.com/uk/nutrit...ans-16-8-diet/

My last physical was 2 years ago. The lady giving it was twice my weight, so she didn't say anything about mine...

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