An ancient Arab saying puts it this way: “I’d rather face an angry lion than an angry stallion.” Tornado III was our stallion. He was taller even than Doc, our 17.5 HH palomino, and, um, broader. We could ride Toe but, once astride, you had to stay on through his first 15 minutes of bucking and rearing; after that short display, he was a good ride, never gave trouble after that first little bit of show (and, given his size, it was an impressive show). Lots of chuckling and head-shaking went on (on our parts, not his). So much for what we knew then, now some forty years ago. Deb Harper has helped me understand, by example and by action, what Toe was trying to tell us all those many years ago: ”I will tell YOU when I am READY to be ridden…and you will not be comfortable on my back until I give the say-so.” Respect…that’s what we lacked, simple respect.Read More
Every now and then, I have a brainstorm…as opposed to my usual state, “bubblebrain”. I came across Carol Upton’s site almost by chance, circuitously anyway, as most “stumbles-upon” occur on the internet. When I read her site, I just knew that this was the person I’d been desperately wishing into existence to help me market GM and its message to the public. Now don’t get me wrong: I have marketing experience; I’m a pretty smart cookie, neurons only just lately starting to crumble, so I thought I’d done a pretty fair job so far. But now, Carol…well, Carol, like one of those gentle forces of nature–like a sudden wind that knocks you off your feet, or a downpour that wets you through and through before you’ve even processed that it’s raining–just shimmers into your circle like Gwenda in The Wizard of OZ, and carefully assesses your needs, dialogues with you (as a person and as a writer), and then produces results far beyond your expectations, and makes it appear so simple and easy, that you are left quite speechless (which, as you know, is a rare state for me). (I bet she has a magic wand on her person somewhere; it must be another ‘practical magic’ thing, eh.) So, before I go on to list and link to the important horse websites which Carol somehow persuaded to carry her excellent Press Review of GM, let me just say ‘thanks, Carol. I am most beholden to you.’ And one of the most heartwarming results of Carol’s work on Ground Manners’ behalf is that Yvonne Allen, who owns Voice for the Horse in Langley, BC, has asked me to provide, as a prize, a copy of my novel for their First Annual International Writing Competition. Now, I ask you: does lightning strike twice?Read More
The charming stallion who appears in my Welcome post is Sky, an award-winning Welsh Pony stallion, owned by Deb Harper. Sky will be appearing at the Mane Event in Chilliwack, BC, as part of the breeds demonstration segment of this horse trade show. According to what I’ve read on the CHHAPS list (which will have a booth there), and from what Deb tells me, the Mane Event is attended by thousands and is a much-anticipated annual event by all horse owners and lovers.Read More
Right…I know…my last post was supposed to be about the amazing work Deb Harper, natural horse trainer, does, and I ended up talking about so many other things. Deb Harper graciously allowed me to spend one full day and one half with her horses in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Now understand: I grew up with horses here in Quebec. My middle brother taught me to ride (Western) and there wasn’t a horse I couldn’t ride, including our humongous stallion, Tornado the Third. My youngest brother and I would ride for hours in the fields owned by B.P. (British Petroleum) and Union Carbide (they didn’t mind); we could ride for two hours in fields and forests, uninterrupted by civilisation…until we’d come up eventually to Henri-Bourassa boulevard and the nearest “Roi de la Patate”, a fast-food outlet of the era, offering steamed hot dogs and French fries, poutine…that sort of, um, brainfood. We could stop for a rest, unsaddle and we and the horses would just lie down and chill…no reason to hobble or tie up our friends: we were all just hangin’. We were there together, just enjoying the place and the day.Read More
Deb and I became friends through the circuitous means of the internet. I needed a picture of a Canadien stallion (go to Ground Manners. A Novel to see the stallion featured on the cover). I first found Deb’s picture of the magnificent stallion, Swallowfield Eno Kelbeck, owned by Roxanne and Marty (see previous blog on My Gentle Reader), now standing at stud for canadream in Quebec. Unfortunately, Kal was being featured on the cover of another book on the history of le Canadien. I must admit that the way Deb took Kal’s picture–mane blazing and full frontal–made me fall in love; and I have since met Kal in person and I can vouch for his beauty, his pure expressiveness, his perfect conformation. Roxanne described the wisdom in his eyes, and it is truly there, for all to see. Roxanne referred me to Deb (bless you, Rox!). Immediately, Deb sent me several others of her pix, and, among them, I came across Bromont Loupin Prince, owned by Betty and Judi of Five Winds Farm in BC. It wasn’t the quality of the picture in this case; it wasn’t the background…it was him, his intelligence, his maturity, his gorgeously indented (concave or is it convex?) cheeks and wisdom-filled eyes. I was floored. I had to have him; GM had to feature him on the book cover. Deb visited Prince recently, and told me that he is as active as ever. He’s 25 or 26 now…mature for a stallion, I guess. I met many of his “get”, his progeny, at the CHHAPS show in Maple Ridge, but I never did get to meet the man himself, Prince, who is well-named, I’ve no doubt. Here are some pictures Deb took on her recent visit; none are of Prince but they are stunning reminders of how nature and horses belong to each other. I’m sure Betty and Judi won’t mind. I will be in BC next year…and God willing, Prince and I will meet…and I will thank this glorious creature for sharing this great, good earth with me, and everyone around him, just as I whispered to Kelbeck when I met him earlier this year. The breathtaking intelligence and beauty of horses always makes me think of the line in “The Colour Purple”: when you just walk by one of God’s perfect creations and not take notice of it, God must be insulted. I’ll say this for myself: I have never been in the presence of any equine and not bowed my head in respect, and not looked on in awe.
Deb Harper, extraordinary Natural Horsemanship trainer, sent me these heartwarming photos of Sean and JoJo, the sibling palominos, taken on the very day their owner came to pick them up. Those of you who read my posts on Wittgenstein and the CHHAPS show in Maple Ridge, BC, will remember how Sean and I connected; how his expressive face spoke to me; how much I learned about listening, asking and patience. If I can manage WordPress correctly, you should be able to see the blondes with Deb. Visit Deb’s site at: http://www.debharperhorses.com Tell her Sean sent you….she’ll know it was me.Read More