Saturday, September 18, 2010

another good ride and a thank you to PETA

Everyone on November Hill is still feeling pretty spunky. The pony almost always feels spunky and is always up for anything anyone might have to share when it comes to food. Note his lip reaching, neck reaching, ears forward... he knows how to cozy up to the Big Bay. The next frame would be him taking that dangling bit of grass.

And Keil Bay would let him because Keil Bay is a benevolent king. 

Yesterday I had another good ride. We started off very 'up' - walked off from the mounting barrel in what I call "big walk" and did a nice spook in place at the red lawn mower monster that was parked in our back field. The monster is of course not at all scary when it's sitting in the paddock or the barnyard, as you can see by the seat, which has equine teeth marks all over it!

But we have to keep in practice and we have to have something fun to funnel all this autumn energy into, so we did one nice spook and then proceeded on our way. A little while later a small herd of deer trotted by the arena, and this elicited a very big look, the idea of a spook (or possibly joining the herd of deer into the forest) but I decided to ask that we simply carry on, and Keil listened.

Otherwise, we had some very nice shoulder-in, some nice trotting, and a couple of strides of spontaneous passage, which for whatever reason Keil loves to do going right as we pass C and get to M. Sometimes I say no and other times I let him go for it.

We hit the place where I asked for leg yield and got trot - Keil's way of avoiding what he doesn't want to do, and isn't he brilliant to offer the thing he knows I love most - his big trot?  His going forward instead of sideways gives us a chance to work on half halts and I realized that one hip felt slightly higher than the other as we transitioned down from trot - I'm betting the pelvis joint is rotated which means Keil needs chiro, but he isn't doing the other signals he usually gives so it's probably fairly mild. I'm feeling good about being able to feel these things from the saddle now.

We ended the ride with a small battle with a dive-bombing horsefly, who met an untimely death upon landing on Keil's mane. Keil stopped, I smacked, the fly fell, and we decided that was as good a time as any to call it a day.

After the ride I had a small cup of alfalfa pellets waiting on the picnic table so I could treat Keil while I untacked and sponged him down. Keil Bay loves being in the barnyard, so I let him stay while I got ready for a client session.

I spent the rest of the evening (this was an evening ride, today) in the barnyard, watching the moon rise while other magical things happened. Life is good. Life with horses is spectacular!

A note of thanks to PETA:

I know there is a fair amount of joking and no small amount of derision floating about that is directed at PETA. I was a member of the organization many years ago but lately don't always agree with their stance on everything, or their methods. However, this recent news story compels me to say thank you to them. A research laboratory in NC was closed down due to PETA's video-recording employees abusing animals. Because of PETA's work, over 200 animals have now been rescued and are in the process of being cared for, assessed, and released for adoption to loving homes.

I'm not a fan of using animals in research. Much of the testing done is ridiculous. Why does anyone need to know if something like laundry detergent damages a rabbit's eyes? When it comes to using animals for medical research, I consider it an ethical issue. If it's unethical to test using humans, why would we do it to animals, whose entire lives are then lived in cages and whose experience of the world is one of at least some amount of pain and suffering?

To use animals in research, where they are already giving up healthy normal lives, and then allow them to be abused by the staff is simply hideous. Anyone captured on the video abusing an animal should not only be fired but prosecuted.  Thanks to PETA this particular lab is no longer in business. And these animals can experience a different kind of life.

Thank you, to the people who did the videotaping. Keep up the good and important work.


Máire said...

Life with horses is indeed wonderful, spooks and all. Interesting what you say about PETA, who I would find extreme in their approach. But good for them that this cruetly has been stopped.

billie said...

Sometimes I wish PETA would look at the equine show world and apply some of their methods to help the horses.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm so glad to hear that you are riding and enjoying yourself. After this long hot summer we all deserve some nice weather and ride time. It's amazing the games that our horses can play when they don't want to do a particular movement.

I'm not a big fan of PETA, sometimes I think they go over the edge a bit. But I am glad in this instance they rescued these poor animals so they will no longer be abused and living in cages.

They might be a good organization to get involved with show horses and the BLM mustangs who could use some humane help.

billie said...

Arlene, I am glad too - it was starting to feel like I was back in the place I was when I had two young children riding ponies several times a week while I sat on the sidelines and posted the trot from the bench!

I should have done the mounting from the barrel thing a long time ago. Good grief - all that finicking and trying to get the mounting block in the exact right place. You told me a long time ago to get a taller one and I should have listened!

I know exactly what you mean about PETA - I have had similar reservations. But when they pull something like this off I have to cheer. They do put their money where their mouth is and when the outcome is like this for animals, I admire that they get out there and DO something.

Valentino said...

Congrats on your lovely ride Billie, and that picture is great!

Regarding Peta... if you put all animal activism on a spectrum, no doubt that Peta is furthest to the left. However, if we didn't have Peta, maybe the comparatively more moderate stances would be seen as over the top.

I think we need Peta, as often as I find myself shaking my head at their tactics, because they have allowed a "middle of the road" that helps more animals.

billie said...

Thanks, V - and great point about the spectrum. I do see PETA as extreme and in the extreme cases they do what needs to be done. I hadn't ever thought about them providing that outside edge that allows for the middle. Brilliant!

Rising Rainbow said...

We had one of those lawn mowers with equine teeth marks that could turn into a horse eating monster under the right circumstances. They are such funny critters. LOL

billie said...

My rule about monsters is if you can graze with your head right beside one, you should be able to walk past it with me in the saddle. :)