October 18, 2004
In this issue…
** This ‘n’ That
** Never tired
** Getting political
This ‘n’ That
Just a few short notes:
I have given up on my fancy HTML formatted newsletter. I liked having the logo and the different fonts and typefaces, but the new spam blockers make it just too hard to get such a newsletter through. I am hoping that just a plain text format will help me spend less time writing ISPs and asking people to let this e-mail get to the recipient. I sometimes feel like Moses: “Let my letters go!” At least I suppose Moses would say that if he lived in the time of e-mail. But, I bet the Pharoah’s spam blockers would not let the e-mails through even if Moses would bring a plague worms, viruses, and denial-of-service attacks down upon the Egypto-net.
Remember about a year ago when I was riffing about e-mail addresses that are made up of the person’s first initial and last name? I wondered if Bud Aker’s mom ever thought that little Bud’s name would end up with an e-mail address of email@example.com. Anyway, I came up with a couple more this week. I sent an e-mail this week to a guy named “Ben Ash”. His e-mail address started with “bash…” I wonder if Tom Hanks’ e-mail address starts with “thanks”?
There is a railroad track a hundred yards in front of our house. We cross this track as we go in and out of our driveway. Lately I have been noticing something that I do when crossing this track. I will look way down the track to see if there is a train coming. Any one else do that?
By the time you are on the track, ain’t it a little late to be looking? Besides, don’t I just need to look 100 feet down the track? BEFORE I am straddling the track? Why is there the desire to look all the way down the track?
In my last newsletter, I posed this question:
“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?”
Here are some of the responses I received:
From Jodi Denning:
“I read your comments about ‘does it ever get old’ and began a quick math exercise. I'm 44, and have been around horses for... GASP... 40 YEARS! eeeek! That came as quite a shock! Anyway, to me it absolutely never gets old. It only grows. To me, the ‘deeper’ a person gets into horsemanship, the more awareness there is of how much more depth there is that hasn't been explored! I can't imagine that ever changing.”
So, I guess that we learn from that playing with horses doesn’t get old, but WE do.
From Susie Whelpley:
“No--not for me. In fact, going into my 26th year as a horse person (22 years as a professional) I am still ‘passionate’ about my riding, teaching and training. I put that word in quotation marks because it's the word I hear the most from the people around me when they describe me (mostly my wonderful, supportive mom and dad). And I still feel passionate about it; I can get into a rousing, loud diatribe about my sport, or I can argue from dawn to dusk about a horse-related topic, and I still dream about riding--usually horse show dreams. I still get a spark--a real visceral popping in my gut-- when I smell fresh alfalfa, or when I see a whole barn aisle of faces looking at me when I first get to the barn in the morning. I still love just hanging my arms over the fence and watching horses gallop around in the turn out, and I still laugh watching a horse play with a running water hose. And I still work 15-hour days while raising two kids with only one day off a week (Monday, of course). Can't explain it. But I feel really, really lucky that I found my ‘thing’, my ‘passion’. I know some people who can't seem to find theirs, and they search their whole lives to find what I've got here. Not to sound sappy or melodramatic, but.....No it doesn't get boring.”
From Betty Jorgensen:
“The answer to your question about whether playing with horses gets boring after 20 or 30 years is NO!! I have only had horses for 22 years but I am enjoying them more now than I did earlier. Although they were always good friends, I used to think they were mostly for riding. I guess I heard too many times: ‘what's the good of a horse if you don't ride it’. Now I am appreciating more trying to communicate with the horses in terms they understand and the reward is when they willingly start to do what you've asked. I am playing with a yearling PMU Fjord (half sister to Nancy's) and a nine year old Appaloosa called Honeybee. I've heard Fjords can be stubborn and pushy. I think playing games early on really helps. She loves doing things with people. I got Honeybee a couple of years ago and she was grumpy and stubborn. Now I'm combining games and riding and have found she is relaxing and is getting much more cooperative and happy. It really is satisfying to see progress and more and more I find that the process of teaching is more rewarding and fun than having a ‘finished horse’ (if there is any such thing). I couldn't imagine life without horses. When I get too old to ride, I will still have horses because they are gentle, warm, beautiful living beings that bring joy to my life.”
From Dianne Fay:
“As you may or may not know, I have been teaching Dressage and Horsemanship for over 50 years. Before that, I was the little, horse-crazy kid who was always ‘there’ and underfoot. My experiences have been so varied that I sometimes wonder if I am making up my treasured memories.
“After reading your question it occurred to me that the wonders and attendant joys of these glorious creatures are legion. We never stop learning for they never stop teaching. That is, if we are open to the lessons. I think that we ‘feel good’ because we were enriched by whatever it was we worked on, with our horse(s). I am not convinced that we truly teach them. Perhaps, we simply open up and allow ourselves to respond in a manner that is received by the horse, therefore – accord. Could it be that while we are ‘with’ our horses we are tapping into some primal, cell memory? I can honestly tell you that I can still be surprised even though I have had all these years of ‘experience’. Also, is it that we instinctively know what to expect and how to react? Is it the long years of experience coming to the fore or is it some long forgotten experience? Whatever ‘it’ is, I for one will be eternally grateful that the fabric of my life has been so enriched, brightened and deepened by my association with this wondrous animal.
“This is not intended to answer anything. Lord knows that like you, I still question. Did any of this make any sense? Just relax and know that your ‘feel good’ days are far from over. The farther down this road you travel, the richer will be your experiences.
And, as always, Bill Cotton is succinct and to the point:
I like it when my readers help me write my newsletters. I am impressed about how well people can write about their passions. Thanks to all who wrote to me.
One of the big life lessons I have learned is that in any endeavor that is worth pursuing, the joy is in the discovery and learning more. And no matter how much you know, there is still more to learn.
The cool thing about taking on a new vocation late in life is that you can appreciate all of the stages. I can still remember when I hardly knew how put a halter on a horse or how hard it was to trot that first time. I see children for whom riding is as natural as breathing, and I envy that, but I also have an appreciation for how cool it is to be around horses that I bet people who have lived with them forever can't.
I had an example of that in my late twenties. I was a swimmer from the time I was nine all the way through college. Four hours in the pool a day, five or six days a week was not uncommon for many years. Being a swimmer was what I did and how I defined myself. All of the hours and miles were put in to get to a certain goal at the end of the season.
I quit swimming at age 22 after I graduated from college. I started swimming again about five years later when knee surgery sidelined my volleyball playing for a while. I was swimming with kids who weren't even born when I started swimming, but I was not doing their whole workouts. While they would swim 8,000 - 10,000 yards per day in two workouts, I would come in about three times a week and swim 1,500 to 2,000. It was enough and all I wanted.
What I found was that there was joy in just being able to do the drills. The kids were strong and in shape and did these workouts every day, so being able to do these things were everyday occurrences. Since I had been away for a few years, I was excited just to be able to participate and do them. I remember being real excited when I completed a set of 20 x 50 on 40. (20 times 50 yards, starting on 40 second intervals). The kids in the pool around me looked at me like I was strange because I was so please to be able to complete the task. I could not tell them how lucky they are to be in such great shape, because they never knew anything different.
I can't swim any more because I still remember what it was like to swim really fast. I get discouraged easily, not to mention the fact that my shoulders can't carry my hefty frame and get damaged easily. But, I was never excellent at horsemanship. I am still learning, and every new thing I learn is still a wonder. I am happy to hear from folks out there that I probably won’t get tired of playing with horses.
One of the things about running a magazine is that you sometimes have to censor yourself. There have been times over the last five years I have just had to be quiet about issues because I didn’t want to offend people unnecessarily. Now that we are about to sell the magazine, I am feeling a bit more freedom in what I feel I can say.
That being said, I am sticking my neck out with my political views. I won’t write them here, because you guys signed up to read about horses, not politics. But, if you are interested in my views about the up-coming election, you may go to my new blog at
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.