Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lectures, stories, and shtick-- By Rachel

Greetings all, from beautiful Santa Ynez, where Dee and I are getting ready for the third and final day of Light Hands Horsemanship. It has been an amazing time and I will give you a synopsis of what has happened Friday and Saturday so far, even though there are so many details worthy of mention, I can't really do it justice.

On Friday Rick Lamb kicked off by listing all the countries of origin of the participants. This conference gathered people from France, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Hungary,and Canada. Pretty amazing. Dr. Robert Miller, DVM, for whom I have the ultimate respect, and who may be the only vet who has ever treated a hummingbird and a whale in the same day, gave a great talk about the reasons why the horse is the most unique in the animal kingdom, of any domestic or wild creature. He also made a compelling argument about how the horse is the singular factor which allowed Asia and Europe to develop past the stone age, and is the biggest influence in the societal development of man.

Eitan Beth Halachmy did a hysterically satirical presentation, examining the propensity of every corporatized horse "guru" to sell their own equipment (especially sticks) for sometimes obscene amounts of money, and insist to their followers that only their stick can work properly. Eitan brought out his own back of "shticks", and wove those into an informative presentation about examining the footfall and self carriage of a horse from the ground.

We were also treated to a colt start by Richard Winters (had never seen him live in person, but was impressed by his refusal to hurry the horse), and riding demonstrations by John Ensign and Lester Buckley (two of the consistently finest horsemen that I have now had the pleasure of learning from for two years in a row).

The exciting announcement was made that the FEI was now including a Western Dressage division. For those who do not know much about horses or horse showing, you may not understand my excitement. I beleive that this signals the biggest turn of the tide for the condition and standard of horsemanship in the show ring in a positive way in at the very least my lifetime. Jack Brainard, who will be inducted into the Reining Horse Hall of Fame this year, and has been around for close to 90 years, echoed this sentiment.

The day ended with an amazing screening of the trailer for a documentary which evolved into a book on the history of the Hollywood horse.

Saturday was more of the amazing same, but with the addition of a talk from Jack B., my hero, with the assistance of Jewels Adams on her gorgeous Azteca stallion. Meals both days have been great, and I would be lying if I said I had not been indulging a bit in desert. The winds have been high, which has created some problems for us in our booth, though that hasn't stopped the most dedicated animal lovers from coming by and showing their support for animal rescue. The day ended with a panel (Jack and Bob Miller being my favorites) of cowboy story tellers. If you ever meet Jack in person, don't leave him until he tells you the generator story.

My snooze has now gone off about 14 times, and I had probably better make an excuse to get out of bed. One more half day and then we come back to reality, just a five and a half hour drive away. Fortunately for us, we will have some happy critters waiting to ease our transition back to the real world from fantasy land.

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