Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bernice ready to complete final stage of ride

Bernice will be leaving the cool comfort of the Astoria, Oregon and Naselle, Washington area on Sunday, July 22nd. Please wish her luck as she braves the head and heads up the Columbia River to Cathlamet, Washinton. From there, she is heading north to Castle Rock, east to Yakima, then just north of Spokane. She will cross over into Libby, Montana through National Forest lands to bring her back home to Trego, Montana on the back road (Fortine Creek Road).

She's excited to head home, and says it now seems like nothing to look at 700 or 800 miles of road before her. However, she is a little worried about the latest heat wave, and plans to take her time until the cooler weather of the mountains and autumn. She will be riding only from about 4 am to 10 am, then 5 or 6 pm until dark. During the heat of the day, you'll find her next to a good watering hole with plenty of shade for all three of them.

What's next? Yes, Bernice is already planning her next trip, which will take her through the desert in the winter. She will probably head back out in January or February, heading through Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Sedona. She's excited for the new experience - she'll be taking a pack animal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Placement of hobbles

I had a customer ask me the other day where I preferred to attach my hobbles; high or low. To some extent, this is a matter of personal preference. I like to put my hobbles just above the fetlock (ankle joint), rather than down on the pastern. I haven't seen a lot of chafing when I put them here, not to mention the fact that I don't have to bend over quite as far to put them on! There are some hobbles, especially figure eight and rope hobbles that don't cinch up tightly enough to stay above the joint; just make sure that if you are using these, that they do not chafe or interfere with the flexing at the joint.

On a side note, I also like to have the hobbles up above the fetlock because I can attach both ends of the hobble to one leg while the horse is highlined or tied in camp. Then, should I want to turn the animal out to graze or stop it from pawing, I know exactly where the hobbles are and can hobble quickly. Of course, you should never leave the hobbles attached like this if you are moving down the trail or if you leave the horse unattended.

You can also read my article on training horses and mules to hobble. Just keep in mind that this article assumes that you have a gentle, willing animal to work with. Hobbling a horse or mule before it is mentally ready could be disastrous for both you and the animal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chinese horses???

Just a quick entertaining blog entry today... Many have asked about the horses used by the British Long Rider Daniel Robinson. When his lawyer was asked about their origin, he said that he believed they were some sort of "Chinese" horses. Once Daniel was freed and available for comment, he confirmed the horse's origin. His trusted friends and companions for the long arduous journey were in fact... Mules!

Friday, July 06, 2007

All for the sake of a horse (snow)shoe...

The Long Rider's Guild, a wonderful organization that has dedicated itself to the preservation of the history of the horse, has just founded The Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation. This foundation is the first of its kind, and will be attempting to assemble and publish every major work known to man dealing with equestrian wisdom and history. This will hopefully create an open, useful forum for scholars, students and equine enthusiasts all over the world to combine resources and further their knowledge of the horse.

One of the first articles published was originally printed in the British Horse, written by Tom Moates. In his study of Captain Scott and his famous Antarctic tragedy, Moates concluded that Scott and Oates made one fatal error that probably caused their death. Oates did not approve of the use of horse snowshoes, and Scott listened to him, although he disagreed with Oates.

They took one set of horse snow shoes when they set out, and found that they travel twice as quickly with the snowshoes on. By this time, however, the ice had receded and they they were unable to return to camp to outfit the remaining horses. On their return, the 5 explorers perished only 11 miles away from the safety of their camp.

The Long Rider's Guild Press has just published "The South Pole Ponies", a wonderful book detailing the use Manchurian and Siberian ponies by Shackleton, Scott, Oates, etc. in two Antarctic expeditions. It's an eye-opening, interesting read, but not for the faint hearted. Best of all, "The South Pole Ponies" is available for purchase on our website. You can read the complete British Horse article on the Long Rider's Guild Academic Foundation website.