Monthly Archives: February 2016

Storm on the Horizon, just past the remuda

February Reflections

Sometimes I just sits and thinks…Sometimes I just sits.

“If you don’t like the weather in Texas just wait 15 minutes.” I’ve heard this since I was a teenager but as I sit on the front porch in February in shorts and T-shirt sipping my coffee and slurping my oatmeal I can’t help but reflect on the disastrous snowstorms we hear about in the Northeast.

Recently we visited a friends farm at Cat Spring.  Named that because, when the first settlers came in from Germany and Czechoslovakia, they were array amazed that large cats came to the spring to water. They were Panthers [pronounced paint-uhs] which were plentiful at the time, now somewhat rare. Our friend showed us her beautiful, black stallion, soon destined to be our mare’s husband, and also her still productive tomato vines, with ripe tomatoes — in February.

My wager is that by the end of the month we will have experienced more temperature variations within this one month and the average between winter and summer.

Just wait for the next Norther!!

Tell a Teacher ‘Thank You!’

Two reiners were talking, one says to the other,”I bought another horse last week.”

“Dang, Larry, that makes five this year.”

“Yeah, well, none of them others would switch leads for me so I’m gonna try this one.”

“Sounds like the common denominator in them no lead changin’ horses is you!”

I found out at one point in my career that I could either have a thousand experiences, or the same experience a thousand times.  So instead of circling the same drain for years, I started hunting down teachers.  What a difference it makes!  Instead of wondering whether I’m getting it, there’s someone on the ground, who knows what to look for, who’s telling me what’s going wrong and how to fix it.  It’s worth every dollar I’ve spent on it, asking the master for help.  I’m not going to go religious on you, but it does seem that it is helpful to let go of one’s ego and listen to someone who can help you with your problem, and who knows how to help you.

Cold Weather and New Mexico Style Green Chili

Cold weather always stimulates a need in our household for hot food, like gumbo, chili, and especially New Mexico style green chili!

We used to take pilgrimages to Taos in the fall to purchase fresh roasted green New Mexico chilis, and box them up to fly back to Texas and put them in the freezer.  Now we buy already processed roasted, peeled, and chopped autumn roast, hatch chiles.  Then the fun starts.

In a heavy iron kettle (aka dutch oven), get some oil good and hot and brown some chopped meat.  I use venison, but a combination of pork and beef is good.  Or if you want to “go Navajo”, use lamb.

Take out the meat, chop up an onion and saute it.  Then put the meat back in, a few drops of vinegar, a chopped up Irish potato, and cover it with water.  Finally, throw in a box of chopped chilis (we like ‘em HOT!) and a teaspoon or so of cumin, oregano, thyme, and garlic salt.  I usually chop up a few garlic cloves and throw them in.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for hours.  The longer and lower it cooks, the better. After it is well cooked you might want to thicken it with a roux.

“¡Buen Provecho!”

Wisdom from the French Masters

The eighties were a fruitful period of time for us North Americans hungering for knowledge of classical horse training.  The first book to explain dressage in English that I ever say was “Dressage” by Henry Wynmalen.  Of course for a couple of centuries, there had been books in English about riding, but this one spoke about the old French Masters of the manege, who could train to a very high level of collection.

In this book, which came out in 1971, I read about the french master Francois Baucher.  Controversial as he was, he presented a game changer in developing lightness and balance in his horses.  Years after reading this I was fortunate to have a teacher, a Spaniard, who had worked with older trainers in the French method.  He taught me the in-hand work of Baucher’s second manner.  His English was about as good as my Spanish, but we communicated anyway.  

One day he announced “the most important thing that you must get the horse to do is gel the yow!”

It took me a few minutes, but I finally got it.  The most important thing you must get the horse to do is yield the jaw!