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September 11, 2004

In this issue

Too Much TV

Never Boring

The Horsemen's Voice is for Sale

Sunday at the State Fair

 

9/14/04: The astute ones of you out there will notice that this newsletter was dated Saturday. I wrote it Friday night, but got busy over the weekend

 and didn't send it. And, now, I have to make changes since there was, as "they" say, time-sensitive material. My notes on the changes are in this ugly purple color. I don't really know why.

 

Too Much TV

 

Almost two months ago, I was glued to the TV for about the 18th night in a row, watching the Tour de Lance, a.k.a the Tour de France. Nancy asked me what I was going to do when the Tour was over. I told the Olympics were coming up. And I wasted plenty of hours during that fortnight watching lots of Olympics.

 

So, thatís my story, and Iím sticking to it. The reason I havenít written a newsletter for more than two months is that I have been watching too much TV.

 

Itís as good an excuse as any, I suppose.

 

Never Boring

   

I have a question for those of you out there who have worked and played with horses for 20 or 30 years more:

 

Does it ever get boring?

 

Nancy and I have been ďintoĒ horses for about eight years now. (We had a couple of horses for 10 years before that, but they were just lawn ornaments.)  We still get a kick out of teaching our horses. About a month ago, we spent 2 hours out in the pasture with a water hose teaching the horses about getting sprayed with water. Some loved it; some were scared to death of it. Elvis would practically back in on top of us trying to get more water on his back. As for Hoss, about all we could do was get him to stand quietly next to the running hose. Thatís OK. The next time he will be a little better. Other horses needed other lessons. Martha, a yearling, thought that the best reaction when confused was to just come right in on top of us. We had a little lesson in personal space. It was just so fun to play and teach. It just makes you all warm inside.

 

Of course it was pretty warm outside, too. Thatís why we thought everyone would like a water lesson.

 

But, what is it about teaching horses that is so rewarding? Why does it make you feel so good? And, as I posed above, does it ever become old hat? Does one ever say, ďI helped a horse become braver and smarter today by teaching something. Ho, hum. Just another day at the office.Ē? I hope not.

 

There is just something wonderful about inter-species communication. This is especially true with horses because they are so big, and because they are so easily frightened. When you can ask horse to do a task, and he figures out what you are asking and does it with enthusiasm and without fearÖ well, ainít that just the coolest thing you can do? How can you NOT let your soul be moved by that?

 

Or am I just a simpleton?

 

Of course, the horse that has my heart more than any is Hoss, my Clydesdale-cross. With a lot of patience, trust, and understanding, Hoss has gone from a frightened horse out of a rodeo bucking string, to a mellow, confident, happy, relaxed guy. When he first got here, he was saying, ďPlease donít hurt me.Ē He has progressed through ďIím starting to believe you arenít going to hurt me,Ē to ďI guess itís OK to do what you ask, you seem to be an OK guy,Ē to ďWhat are we going to play today?Ē to ďThat was fun. Whatís next?Ē Tell me THAT ainít cool. Hereís my favorite thing that Hoss does. When I have him saddled, and I climb up on a fence, he will swing around so that he is parallel to the fence and I can get on. I donít even have to ask him any more. Just me sitting on the fence is cue enough.

 

But the joy doesnít have to come from the big projects. I mentioned that Martha wanted to just come over the top of us when we tried teaching her about the hose. That was one of her characteristics. When she decided to go somewhere, like through a gate, she would go right on forward. It was difficult to stop her momentum and back her up. After a few lessons on manners and learning to respect our cues, Martha is a lot better at not charging past us when she wants to get somewhere.

 

Itís not just me. I have been teaching some horsemanship lessons to two couples who donít know much about horses. After just one session, the female half of each of these couples were in love with the horses we lent them. The guys, who had to be dragged along to the first session, even conceded that they really enjoyed interacting with the horses. All we were doing was asking the horse to stand a polite distance away, move a step over with some pressure on his flank, and back up a little with a wiggle in the rope. With these small tasks, these horse-newbies felt a connection with their horses. Hereís what they can do with a handful of lessons under their belts. They can ask their horse to trot out in a circle in a roundpen, then turn and face-up, all without a halter on the horseís head. They tell me that it is exciting to be able to communicate that way with a horse.

 

So, how about it? Does it ever get old? Anyone out there bored with their horsemanship? Or feel like there isnít anything more to learn?

 

 

The Horsemen's Voice is For Sale

 

As you may have read in the August issue of The Voice, this magazine is for sale. It just ainít any fun any more. Itís time to move on and do something different with our lives. Like spending more time playing with horses.

 

We have had several interested parties, and we are talking to all of them. If anyone else thinks they would like to be a publishing magnate, please contact me or Nancy at 505-565-3222. Our e-mail addresses are jay@HorsemensVoice.com and NancyGage@HorsemensVoice.com.

 

Sunday at The State Fair

 

Nancy and I will be taking Hoss to the State Fair on Sunday. After we take him to see the goats and rabbits, I am sure he will want to see all of the artwork, including the quilts and photographs. We'll see if he wants to ride the merry-go-round or the Tilt-a-Whirl on the Midway. I think he would enjoy the Ferris Wheel, too. Then, we'll settle in at the New Mexico Horse Council booth just outside the Horse Arena. Hoss likes the kids to come up to pet him. You can pet him if you are a grown-up, too.

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So, that was the part that I wrote Friday night. Of course, I have to tell you about Hoss's day at the Fair. But not, tonight. If I write too much, I will get too tired, and not send this out. I hope that I can get our "day at the Fair" story out sooner than two months from now. And, no, we didn't get to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl.

 

Happy trails...

 

jay

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The above newsletter was written when Nancy Gage and Jay Koch owned The Horsemen's Voice magazine. The Horsemen's Voice name and logo are used here with permission of the new owner, Catherine Logan-Carillo, who is a fine, upstanding member of the community. Catherine disavows any silliness, stupidity, vapidity, errors, or unintentional offenses, and the reader should know that she would know better than publish anything like this.

Aside from the Horsemen's Voice name and logo, the rest of this newsletter is copyrighted by and is the full responsibility of Jay Koch. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any of this material in any form.