Sharing an Equestrian Book With Friends
Escape the Worries of Today in a Divergent Horse Adventure Full of Humor, Love, Determination, and Joy.
Do you feel like you want to read a book that differs from the rest? How about seeking to discover what a season in the life of a quirky horsewoman might be like?
It seems that these days we all are spending more time at home. Finding fun-filled, interesting and adventurous stories and activities to occupy our time can be taxing as time slowly creeps on.
As there’s more movies on the seeming endless channels, although very interesting, their plots can be similar. Maybe trying to experience a completely unexpected, yet refreshing tale would enrich your day.
Last Chance Ranch Saga’s first book, The Life of Lexi promises just that…a heart warming yarn taking the reader through the experience of a lifetime.
Feel the passion as Leah and her two daughters struggle to convince an obstinate mare that her existence would be blessed in compliance.
Escape into another world as you journey through their lives and love as they do.
While we all share one another’s burdens at this time, take a break and lose yourself in a great book.
Baroque, Show, or Sport?
Or All Three! Where do Critters Fit?
Have you ever pondered how you and your animals are a blessing to others? As we all LOOSELY fit into categories, where might you and your animal fit in? Wherever you find yourself, know that you are there for a reason, and your presence is a gift to someone.
As you lean against the fence watching your foal play in the field, do you contemplate what riding discipline he’d be good at? Maybe we as humans can find a way to relate to them as we explore different avenues. While we work with our young critters, how about we take a minute to consider how we can apply a simple philosophy to know what place we all might have in this grand scheme of life.
As with all mammals, within the different breeds, some exhibit superior qualities in certain areas, causing us to believe that they’d be great at one thing or another. Let’s simplify the topic to a base level in using only three categories to lump all mammals into.
- Baroque, stock, or foundation type. However you label it, this traditional style of animal has the qualities to meet the needs of those who expect it of them. Hard work, grit, and the functionality to get the job done are bred into them. Having common sense, a level head, and a stout body enables them to perform all the duties necessary. Usually being needed for multiple tasks, they’ve learned many skills and adapted to the requirements.
- Show type. These are the beauties. Their gift of grace, style, and elegance lend for them to turn the heads of their onlookers. Often used to promote the brand or breed, their debonair entices you to continue watching or listening, maybe even buy the product! Coupled with the necessary attitude of flaunt and flair, and desire to be noticed, we can’t help but ogle when they enter.
- Sport type. Wowing us with their amazing athletic ability, these mammals encourage us to push forward and try harder to reach our goals. Raising the bar of achievement, coaching in word or merely by example, we realize we too can succeed. As they entertain us with their adept unmatched skills, we appreciate all the long hours devoted to the training of mind, body, and soul that it took to reach their full potential.
But what if a critter, two legged or four, fits into all three categories? you might ask. Some people like versatility and having only one mammal that’s multiskilled. Are you the type of person that does all of your home improvements and repairs yourself, dresses up beautifully for a night out, and rides your bike many miles to stay fit? I guess that’d mean that you’d fall into all three!
Recognizing that some mammals function perfectly in the realm of one category, while others get along well performing the duties of all of them, puts us on the path to love each and every creature for who they truly are. It’s the wonderful reality of being so different. When we try and make another being squeeze into a mold that we think they should be in, our intentions, however noble, can become abusive. Maybe we should spend time on our knees, asking if change and growth is possible.
We are all so valuable, no matter where we belong. We might not take home the silver cup to be engraved, but were lovingly cared for, being safely taken around the ring by a loyal mount who was giving it all he had. We should be happy for those ribbons that are the many colors of the rainbow.
As we accept the talents and gifts of others with love and compassion, leave the judgement behind, and be thankful for their participation in every aspect of life’s events and duties, we can enjoy the benefits of fellowship with one another.
In my first book, The Life of Lexi, the reader can find great entertainment in watching the mare evolve to her full potential. Being ALL show horse, her antics will bring a smile to your face. Although Lexi enjoyed her walks in the woods, the screams of the crowd in the show ring was her passion.
Different than the next novel, (oops! a sneak preview!) where the stout, seasoned ranch horses go to work climbing the treacherous mountainsides, you’ll get an alternate view of another type of priceless animal.
What category do you fit into? Whatever it is, you’re there for a purpose, and necessary in the grand plan of our existence in the eternal round.
Enjoy who you were created to be!
Do Our Horses Need Our Constant Direction?
How much do we intervene?
As you know, in every human circle, or family, there’s always a leader, guide, person who coordinates the event, or a dominant personality that sets the scene for the group. In healthy situations, that individual is wise, kind, loving, and is considering the best interests of those involved.
In the animal world, this truth is similar. The herd, pack, or flock, follow the strongest, most superior one. That leader will use whatever means necessary to maintain his/her position.
It’s only when humans want to use the animal to work for us, or be our companion, that we need to interfere. In those cases, the natural behavior that animals possess must be altered to suit our agenda. If left to themselves, our furry friends would naturally take the easiest path of least resistance without considering the health/safety repercussions to the human handling him/her.
Take this photograph comparison for an example…the elk just BARELY clears the fence in her jump. She could easily sore over a fence twice that high, but she drags her legs and belly across the barbed wire. The cow elk doesn’t think about tripping into a headlong crash sending a human into a possibly bone breaking blow to the body. Neither does she consider that if she catches an appendage on a barb, infection could set in causing us expensive vet bills and time off due to injury. That day, I watched the whole herd carelessly do the same thing as they flew over the fence.
A beautifully balanced jump supporting a rider’s weight, being safely guided to avoid injury, wasn’t a concern for the elk. Their only thought was getting from point A to point B, in a hurry, to evade a predator’s presence. Survival training, and instinct, is all that’s necessary for the elk in the wilderness.
Although not having a career as a jump horse, this little mare in the picture was within her means as she glided over the log with a safe height, good balance, and control. In her respect for me, she chose to execute the jump in a manner to bring me to the other side with comfort and confidence. Contrarily, left to herself in the wild, the mare might’ve scraped the top of the log, in her natural laziness, being accountable for no one else’s safety.
Bringing me to my discussion thought, yes, animals must be in our strict guidance and control to be used of man. Without their one hundred and ten percent reverence for us, obedience, and choice to love we humans as their companion and leader, any animal will favor the loafing, unsafe for man, path.
Some people believe that allowing their animals to be natural, as in the wild, is okay. But as illustrated, that thought holds no safety for the two-legged species handling them. Thoroughly instructing the animal to execute all tasks with precision is a must. Creating a loving bond between animal and human, with the natural alfa position held by man, ensures security for all.
In The Life of Lexi, this principle is well depicted. The patient tenacity of the ladies, in waiting for the mare to chose to allow them to take their rightful role as leaders, is rewarded with unmatched gratification for all. Although outlandish and crazy, the means used to gain Lexi’s love will shock you as a reader. If your mind is open, you can take ahold of the nuggets of wisdom within the pages and use them to grow as you apply them to your own life.
Should Equestrians Ride bikes?
What Do the Two Sports Have in Common?
You might be thinking, “How strange.” I know, it is, actually. But I have learned, over the years, how the sport of road and mountain biking can help the equestrian rider understand the simple mechanics of how our horses need to use their muscles. In addition, becoming an experienced cyclist causes we, as riders, to evolve with a ‘hands on’ feel for what our horses need to succeed and be comfortable.
Besides the obvious benefits for us, such as, toning our legs, back, buttocks, hips, and abdomen, there’s many more pros for both horse and human. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to condition and learn while having fun? In order to get the best performance from our critters, we need to give them every advantage. That’s where biking comes in.
To begin, don’t forget the warm-up! Some haven’t grasped the necessity, but as I struggle through the first five miles on a bike thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I’m too tired for this today!” Our horses are feeling the same way. It isn’t until after a while that my heart rate speeds, I breathe faster, blood flow is increasing, and the energy-releasing reactions to my muscles are beginning to give me strength. Asking our horses for collection too soon might be futile without the stamina achieved through the warm-up!
Now think about the road bike posture. In order to use the longest and most massive muscles in our back and legs, we have to become a round shape. How many times have you heard that your horse needs to have a round back? Well, if he can’t lift his ribs, and tuck his hind end in, he can’t drive from behind with optimal power. Every action will be forced, not natural, and with no smooth transitions and lofty/light front ends.
What position is your neck in on the road bike? As you lean over in the racer stance and are looking through the top of your sunglasses, you are conditioning your neck to gain strength. Compared to your horse’s neck carriage, as you feel the strain below your head and into your shoulders, you’ll understand how imperative it is to properly equip your mount using the bitting rigging and long lines. Without sufficiently building up those muscles, (and consequently, those along his topline) he won’t have the ability to collect.
When you are pushing hard, trying to beat your last clocked time around that thirty-five-mile lap, you regulate your breathing with every pedal push. As you focus your energy into your legs, you elevate your back to open your lungs and elongate the muscles delivering strength into your buttocks and down your thighs. When you feel the burn in your back and can’t wait for the next intersection, hoping for a red light, you know that your muscles are getting stronger.
On the contrary, when you take a breather to slow for upcoming traffic, you sit up, relax your back, which will dip a little, and coast. Now think about it for a minute…if you expect your horse to collect and drive from behind, do you want him resting his back and butt like that? No, the muscles are not engaged. He can rest when you’re done working. But remember, don’t push him too hard. If you’ve properly conditioned him in the bitting rigging and long lines, the extent of his toning will just be for a naked horse! Give him time to build upon those back muscles carrying the weight of a rider.
How about mountain biking? There’s many more intricacies with that one. The most dangerous incorrect position can occur when you’re speeding down a hill, or crawling downward over boulders. In those cases, if you don’t drop your seat post and hang our buttocks off the back of the ‘saddle’, you’ll set yourself up to do an end over end! Eek! Been there, done that!
It’s imperative that we balance our weight on the back of the bike and take any pressure (except for just enough to steer and use the brakes) off of the handlebars. As you maneuver the bike with your hips with feather hands on the handlebars, it’s not much different than horse riding.
If our hips and buttocks are driving the horse, our hands are light on his mouth, he’s able to round his back, and he’ll be free to collect and use his most massive muscles. Our heads are looking in the direction that we’re going, toward the next turn, and our shoulders slightly open as our hips give guidance.
There’s one factor that I’m going to just brush by because it’s a whole blog in itself…saddle fit. If your horse lifts his back and hits the saddle bars, he says, “Ouch!” and drops his back down, raises his head and sticks out his nose. If your saddle has a banana bar shape, you won’t achieve collection and the horse’s back and haunch muscles will never develop properly. The easiest giveaway is seen when longlining your horse, (with many months of collection teaching and the right rigging) he collects beautifully, but when under saddle, he loses his shape.
So, seeing my illustrations and reading this discussion…why isn’t it a great idea to take up biking? One only needs to feel the muscles working on ourselves to appreciate how crucial it is for your horse to move accurately. As we become an experienced biking athlete, we understand the needs of our horses more fully. Our thoughts change from, “He won’t, to, he can’t without our help and teaching.”
In the first novel, The Life of Lexi, the mare entertains us all as she plays for countless hours in the bitting rigging and long lines. Making education a game, the ladies at the ranch clown around with her as they encourage Lexi to build muscles without her even noticing that she’s learning.
So, begin to ride a bike! The advantages are amazing!
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