About Stallions & Women

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

Opposing Reader Reviews

Marie Dean, a strong supporter of the CHDC, wrote this review of Ground Manners. A Novel:

Ground Manners by Cynthia D’Errico is a rollercoaster book of thrills and heart-pounding drama.  I have never been so absorbed, and never read a book so fast before in my life – just couldn’t put it down.  Ground Manners has actually got me interested in reading again.  It was thought provoking, captivating and I so wanted to be part of the group of characters – I so wanted to meet them in person – crazy!  The love and trust between human and horse, as well as between the horses themselves is so eloquently expressed that you are engulfed in the deepest of bonds.    Being a horse owner and lover I felt so greatly the vulnerable side of the horse, which Cynthia puts into words so gently that you are exhausted from emotion.    The details of horse slaughter are few, but the terror is felt and written between the lines – the horror and evil is understood.  Powerful read!! —Marie Dean, Waterford, Ontario, Supporter of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC).

Now here’s another Review written by someone on Amazon (and I did try to reach him to get his permission, but alas, so I hope he doesn’t mind my posting it here [csa was his moniker]):

This wasn’t quite what I expected. It dwelled a bit too long on the rescue aspect of horses and described things I really wish I could “unread”. I know there are people who need to be reminded of the cruelty of humans toward other inhabitants of this earth, but for one with a lot of empathy, it was just a bit over the top for me. The story line was easy to follow although a bit contrived and required a stretch of belief in places. The most interesting parts to read, aside from the historic aspect of the Canadian horse (of which I own several), were the interactions among the herd of horses. Those parts helped me see some members of our herd in a new light. The author did a good job of expressing the spirits of horses.


Of course, what I really liked

Read More

Every Horse Owner’s Friend: Deb Harper

Every Horse Owner’s Friend:  Deb Harper

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

Every Horse’s Friend: DebHarperHorses.com

Every Horse’s Friend:  DebHarperHorses.com

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.

Read More

The Blondes

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