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. 

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International Conference on Equine Welfare: Two More Sleeps

International Conference on Equine Welfare:  Two More Sleeps

I will be at the International Conference on Equine Welfare in Alexandria, Virginia, in just “two more sleeps”. (See prior blog, International Conference on Equine Welfare). I adopted that phrase from my spouse’s golfing partners; I guess it’s the phrase parents use when their kids are excited about going somewhere–“just two more sleeps and we’ll be at DisneyWorld”!  I like it.  I’ve been counting the hours until I leave for Virginia where I will meet up with crusaders for horse safety, some of whom I have been communicating with for at least two years–in some cases, longer.  I will finally, after much tongue-lolling, be able to view the Humanion documentary, “Saving America’s Horses” http://www.savingamericashorses.org (which, btw, is now in Canada as of this very weekend, in Huntsville, Ontario).  Crusaders may not be the best noun to describe what these people do, what they believe in, and how devoted they are, but I must say, that, in my silly, childlike mind, I’ve often harkened back to images of Crusader Rabbit and Mighty Mouse when I think about the enormous burden placed on people who fight for horses’ lives and security–a veritable David-and-Goliath scenario.  As a child, I watched Crusader Rabbit and Mighty Mouse, despite their diminutiveness, triumph over evil.  Myself being just (only just) 5’2″, you can understand why their successes meant so much to me…and why, in my personal life, size has never been an obstacle to me.  As here, as now…no matter what, we, together with our American colleagues, will bring down the slaughterhouses, the killbuyers, the overbreeders, the minions of a corrupt industry.  Sceptical?  Just how many crusades have you undertaken recently?

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Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

As I slog along in life, it always throws me when just a smell or a place or a person can propel me into a hellish period of my past, one of many temporal nodes decorating life’s stress lines.  At those moments, when my spirit is overtaken by such an unbidden mnemonic, I am returned, violently, to a place of powerlessness.  The memory overwhelms, not just current reality, but erases for the time being all the self-growth, the va-et-vient of character as it is hammered-and-tonged in the forge of life.  It all sounds too precious, I know, but the return to that place of suppression of self, of terror of doing the wrong thing (by someone else’s lights, not yours, never yours and so how do you know if and when you’re doing their “wrong”?) or of  being abused for inscrutable and clearly irrational reasons, paralyzes the soul.  You are back there where there is no escape, no justice, no appeal to reason and all recourse is just a hollow calling out into the dark of the night where no one will hear and no help is about.  All the wisdom you’ve hoarded and transformed into the personal inner resources you call upon to rescue that damaged, deadly memory seem to have gone on the lam somewhere–somewhere, anyway, where you can’t access and apply them.  

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