Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shameless Plug

In the midst of the daily assault of bad news that we continually face, it is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that there are still good people in the world. Average folks who perform good deeds not for the sake of recognition, but for the sake of the deed itself.

Periodically, I stumble across stories of these people, and realize how small and insignificant I am. How little I truly do to make the world a better place.

In my blog list, you will see a blog titled "From Hell to Heaven: Saving Argus". This blog is written by a lady named Katie, and chronicles the rescue and rehabilitation of a Thoroughbred Horse who spent the first 16 years of his life locked in a 12 x 16 pen. It is a gripping, emotional, and very well written blog. While the tale is about a horse, if you look beyond, it is revealing about us humans. The kindness, and yes, the cruelty, that we are capable of.

I encourage you to read the blog, with two recommendations:

1. Read the story in chronological order. The first post is in December, 2007.
2. Keep a box of tissue handy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Roll

There is something about soft, dusty, dry dirt, that most horses simply cannot resist.

They must roll...

The time spent rolling is directly proportional to how clean they are.

Just for the record, if dry dirt isn't available, wet squishy mud has been found to be a great substitute.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Appropos of Something, I Suppose...

I'm late to the party where country music is concerned. When I was younger I assumed it was all along the vein of "my dog died" or my "girl ran off". Chalk it up to youth.

My father once told me that when I get old, I will listen to country music. I must be old, since I have started to listen to KBEC & KJUG on the computer. They play that old timey country. I've discovered that I enjoy it.

As for the newer stuff, I do like some of it, but as an old mule jockey told me, most of it is "rock 'n roll with a twang".

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill

Or, in this case, the inside of a child.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Protesting, Arizona Style

I found this video via Drudge yesterday. I won't debate whether it was staged or not. That's not the point of this post.

I'm a firm believer in the Second Amendment. I have a few firearms myself. I do not personally see the need for assault rifles, but if that's what trips your trigger, have at it. But that's not the point of this post, either.

Seems it's perfectly legal to publicly pack an assault rifle around in Arizona. Still not the point.

The point is the great amusement I took in watching these two reporters trying to get their minds around the whole thing. They were shocked!, shocked, I tell you., and are desperately trying to come to grips with it. The one states that he had never seen an AR-15 before. I would venture a guess he's never seen any firearm before.

I'm still laughing.

On a side note: Those two are wearing nice ties...I wonder if they sell any men's clothes where they got them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Because of crap like this, I tend to take a dim view of "art". In my opinion, most "artists" are anything but. Most of them strike me as pathetic waifs with no useful skills to offer society. "Starving artists" are starving because their works are unappealing. Of course, cities like Seattle will undoubtedly spend other peoples tax dollars on these ocular horrors, since state law requires that 1% of the money spent on public works projects be given toward art.

Via Gordon, I was given a glimpse of a true artist at work. I'm sure many of you have already viewed it, but it was nonetheless awe inspiring.

The artist is Ukrainian, and she is telling the story of the Ukraine being overrun by the Germans in World War II. The effect on the audience is profound.

Despite Hollywood's best efforts, true talent will always shine though.

Rules of the Road

1. No matter how close you tailgate me, I refuse to drive faster than the car in front of me. And remember, I'm commuting in a 20 year old car, and have a herniated disk in my c-spine. I have nothing to lose, and your money to gain.

2. If you drive one of these, it is never acceptable to drive 60mph in the fast lane. The thing was engineered to drive on the Autobahn for crying out loud.

3. If you are driving a Subaru or have Oregon license plates, please stay in the slow lane. It is best for all involved parties. Despite what you may believe, you are not the Washington State Pace Car.

4. If you are driving a Subaru with Oregon plates...please stay in Oregon. We have enough crappy drivers already.

5. No, the 50mph sign does not mean for you to drive 40mph.

6. If the policeman has a car pulled over, it really is not necessary for everyone to slow to 10mph under the speed limit. He's out of service folks.

7. If you are a young, healthy adult in the crosswalk, pick up the pace. I'm behind on my quota.

8. If I'm towing my horse trailer, DO NOT tailgate me. Rest assured that the horseflesh in the trailer is worth more to me than your sorry ass. Should you run into my trailer, your best course of action is to die instantly.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

County Fair

Last weekend was County Fair, which, for us, serves as the culmination of the 4H year. One is provided a different perspective when working "behind the scenes" at these events. The sheer number of volunteer hours that go into operating one of these shows is staggering. Getting people to volunteer is a continuing problem, and, typically, 10% of us do 90% of the work. While it grates on my nerves at times to see the usual supsects sitting on their duffs, you won't hear me complain. I truly enjoy working these shows, and, having proven myself a reliable volunteer, I get the better jobs, as will be seen later.

The days started early, with horses being fed at 6am. Once the horses had eaten, activity picked up in earnest. Horses were cleaned of whatever substance they had rolled in during the night, and thoroughly groomed, so as to look their best. The more spirited horses were lunged or ridden in the practice arena to take the edge off. With DN2 & DN3 showing horses in Western and English performance, Mrs. BR stayed busy helping with hair, makeup and show clothes, while I worked to prep the arena for the days events. This involved dragging the arena, erecting the barricades, chalking, as well as setting up trail, jumping, and dressage courses.

Mother Nature was on our side, with the skies overcast with temperatures in the upper 60's and lower 70's. Perfect show weather.

This years judges were unusually tough. Results, across the board, were not up to the standards that had been experienced throughout the show season. This resulted in no small amount of controversy, but in the end, judging is subjective, and the placings were fairly consistent from class to class.

This is DN2's last season. She and the other graduating Seniors were presented with their Belt Buckles (rather fancy ones, I might add), and formally recognized during Senior Recognition. She is also an alternate for the State Team. She went to State Fair last year, so, having "been there, done that", she isn't too disappointed. Due to cuts in the State Fair, the number of riders permitted this year is smaller, by half. And we will be taking them to the Central Washington Fair, in October, which, if given the choice, is the fair they would rather attend.

Western Equitation Class awaiting placings:

The best looking riders out there:

And, lest you think only the kids get to have fun at the fair, here is yours truly keeping the road apple pile at bay:

I knew playing with those Tonka trucks when I was a kid would eventually pay off.

Sunday afternoon, everyone gathered for the Awards Ceremony. With several of the presenters being a tad long winded, this event began to get a little long in the tooth, but after two hours, mercifully it came to and end. Which led to the mad dash to clear the barns. Decorations were taken down, stalls cleaned, tack packed up, and horses trailered. Finally, barn checks completed, vowing never to eat fair food again, we headed for home.

I think it was Wednesday before we fully recovered...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sailors, Rest Your Oars...

Nine years ago today, the Russian Submarine Kursk sank, ultimately with the loss of all hands. The fortunate members of the crew died immediately. A small handful were not so fortunate, and survived for some period afterward, until they succumbed to the cold and lack of oxygen.

The loss of the Kursk is no worse, and no less so, than the many submarines lost either in wartime, or due to accident. For me, personally, this event was poignant in that it occurred during my time on active duty. It served as a reminder of the peril that we Dolphin wearers placed ourselves in each time we went to sea.

Submariners, regardless of nationality, share a bond forged in the dangers inherent to our chosen profession. The loss of our brothers, even our former enemies, strikes us in a way that words cannot express.

Take a moment to remember these brave souls.

H/T Joel

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've long thought Israeli's to be a tough breed.

Apparently, so are their horses.