Saturday, June 25, 2005

Horses Sense for the 21st Century

You can always tell a lot about a person by watching how they work with animals, especially horses. Even a young green-broke horse has learned how to judge their riders and they have a remarkable ability to size-up people.

In more than one case I’ve witnessed our horses kick at unsavory people, and the way a person interacts with a horse reveals volumes about their personality.

Now I don’t have any of the “old plug” horses that you find in the public riding stables, and all of our horses are hot-under-saddle English show horses. If you don’t treat them with respect they will sense it immediately and toss you over the back fence. Just like me, they are high-strung and they don’t suffer fools gladly.

Any trainer will tell you that riding a show horse is more than just skill. You must be able to communicate with the horse, and our horses are an excellent judge of character. If you have evil motives or a cruel disposition it’s gonna be a very short ride!

We recently had a gathering at the ranch and I had a chance to see how some of my friends related to horses.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mike Ault (a noted author and novelist) is an accomplished horseman and Vaal Dance accepted him immediately.

For the more macho among us I have my personal show horse, Legion of Merit Champion ”Razz”, who has tossed just about every person who dares to ride him aggressively. Now, I didn’t mention this to Col. John Garmany, but it didn’t matter anyway because Razz liked him instantly and gave him a very stable ride:

Here is Michael Armstrong-Smith (author of the Oracle Press Discoverer books) riding with Mike Ault, and going quite well. It was funny that Michael’s British accent initially disturbed Vaalarie and she was quite suspicious of this strange-sounding gentleman. Fortunately, Vaalarie quickly figured out that Michael was a kind and gentle fellow and she reciprocated by being remarkably calm and content:

Mike’s wife, Susan Ault loves horses and they like her back. Here she is with Scout, a working Guide Horse. Susan has helped us greatly with the Guide Horse charity and she has helped with Cuddles in Atlanta and Scout when he visited New York City:

Now, Harry Conway, being a New York Yankee, did not have much experience with riding so we decided to let him get started on Scout and work his way up to the bigger horses later:

All-in-all we had a great time and at the end of the day everyone agreed with the old saying by humorist Will Rogers, “There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse."