Monday Minstrel: Horse and Human Evolution


During the early twentieth century, the horse was so iconic that the Museum of Natural History’s  logo, in true partnership style, consisted of a skeleton of a horse rearing beside the skeleton of a man.  In the logo the man’s arms reach to the sky, just as do the horse’s front legs, making the parallel between the modern horse skeleton and the modern human skeleton crystal clear.”

This is a quote from Wendy Williams wonderful book “The Horse.  The Epic History of Our Noble Companion. ”

This photo is the cover of the Scientific American magazine , July 29.1905. There is an inscription at the bottom of the cover that reads: “Skeleton of man and horse mounted for comparison. Man has retained more of the Primitive Postures Common to All Mammals, the Horse Being Far More Specialized in the Structure of its’ Limbs and of its’ Grinding Teeth.”


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The Magic of Horses


When I started this blog I assumed I would be writing for riders and most probably dressage riders.  But the response I began to see was unexpected. People who rode,who did not ride, had only ridden as children, had never ridden, had never had anything to do with horses, were responding to my blog posts. I began to realize that horses have a universal appeal. An appeal that transcends nationality, background, age, and language.  Here are some of the responses I received.

I used to teach an autistic little boy. He was a ray of sunshine once on horseback, his energy astounded and delighted me. I’ll never forget him. “

“This reminds me of my childhood. It’s a love which is still in me.”

“All these years and I still don’t have the answer to exactly why I ride”.

If I didn’t have my horse it would have been…

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The Transformations of Dogs and Trees


This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on Second Wind Leisure Perspectives:
Sitting around with my family this morning after yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebration, I’m reminded of just how much transformation effects all of us, and even while in uncertain situations, we remain positive and thankful.…

Gut Feelings and Sign Language


Horses are not very verbal. Oh I know that in the movies they are always whinnying and neighing and snorting and nickering but to be honest that is just the sound department filling in so we know they are “horses”. In real life horses are quiet for the most part.  The first day of a horse show with horses arriving and getting settled into the horse show stabling then there is a lot of calling between the horses  a sort of “Hey! I’m in stall 22 where are you?” and  “Fred…where are you? I’m over here!”  But when horses are in pain they are silent. We have to follow the signs they give us.

One of the most painful and potentially  dangerous situations for a horse is colic. This is an intestinal upset that can be caused by a twisted intestine or a blockage.  How do we know the horse…

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The Wit and Wisdom of Carl Hester


I took copious notes during the two days of the Carl Hester Masterclass this past weekend and these notes made their way into two rather long  blog posts. However on Monday WordPress told me that 233 people per hour were reading the posts so I guess they were not too long or too boring.  But there were still some gems of wisdom and some of Carl’s wicked sense of humor that I had not managed to fit in. So I thought I would share some of these now.

When you are nervous in a competition remember: Don’t clench your toes! I used to do thatall the time. 

You travelled FIFTEEN hours to get here? ( To Erin MacQuarrie who had come from New Brunswick to Ontario) If travel is over one hour and my ride time is before 9 or after 4…. I withdraw from the competition!


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Today’s Featured Blog…Russel Ray Photos!

Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Zoo logo

Remember that if you come to San Diego for any reason and need a personal docent for the day, I’m always up for it. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They can be YOURS, free, just like I got them!

Yesterday I played docent for two old friends that I had not seen since 1983, other than Facebook, of course. Here are some pictures from our trip to the Zoo:

Grizzly BearGrizzly bear

Panda. Remember that these are not bears. Just pandas.

Baby monkey, although I don’t know what species.
Baby monkey

A female gazelle, looking very pregnant
and being checked on by her previous child.
Pregnant momma

Polar Bear enjoying the San Diego sunshine.
Polar Bear

Reindeer, but not Rudolph, obviously.

Arctic fox. There were two of them yesterday. In 23 years of going to the San Diego Zoo at least once a month, and usually once…

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So Simple! Yet So Difficult!


“I have a little  exercise that Cristolot gave me this week and I’d like to work on it with you.” That Dear Readers, was my first clue that this “little” exercise might be simple but it would not be easy. My coach Belinda Trussell trains with multiple Olympian Christilot Boylen.  Christilot seldom comes up with any “easy” exercises.  So here we go!


  1. Starting from the side of the arena make a half circle to the right to the centerline.
  2. Go straight on the centerline.
  3. Change flexion and bend to the left and make a 10 meter circle to the left returning to the centerline.
  4. Go straight on the centerline and change flexion and bend to the right  and make a 10 meter circle to the right.
  5. Repeat


  1. Trot the 10 meter circle to the right and on reaching the centerline walk, straighten, then transition…

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When You Lose a Horse, You Lose a Dream.


“I hadn’t realized how much I had envisioned him there. I thought that once we got the small barn built that he would be there. Right there in my back yard.” Abbey looked at me as she said this, with the pain still in her eyes.

A horse is not a pet. It is not the same as a dog or a cat. And while losing a pet may be heartbreaking it does not in any way resemble the disaster that is losing a horse.  This is the story of such a loss. This is the story of how Abbey lost Fred whose official name was Canción (Spanish for song). Here is the song of Fred and Abbey.


“I was looking for an advanced horse to learn on. My coach took me to see a horse and the minute I saw him I fell in love. I thought he was…

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What Finding Out My Dog Is Sick Has Taught Me

Being Lydia!

First of all, I apologize for not posting sooner. Life kind of got away from me. I have been down with a cold turned bronchitis and spending time with Violet. Also, this has been a very difficult and emotional piece to write.

Last Saturday we took Violet to the vet. She had a lump in her throat that seemed to be growing, was not eating and had other symptoms that concerned us.

We were quite worried on the half hour drive to the vet. Violet is 13 years old and has several health conditions. We know she won’t live forever, but we also want to make sure she isn’t suffering.

The appointment showed that all of her lymph nodes are swollen and sore. The vet alluded to the fact this is not good and may very well be cancer. He took some samples and on Monday called to say that…

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