Friday, November 27, 2009

The Start of The Season

Thanksgiving is past, and Black Friday is in full swing. Tomorrow, I believe, the family BR will set out to lay saw to trunk for to hack down a tree which will then be erected in the living room, only to be discarded a month hence.

So starteth the Christmas Season. And to start you all off with a little good cheer, I humbly present the following (NSF):


Pop Quiz Time - The Answers

Okay, the answers to Wednesdays pop quize are probably obvious. Horse A would like to stomp you flat, whereas Horse B is fairly convinced that you come bearing carrots, apples or some other delicacies. Although as Christina points out, it could be a trap. This particular horse has never tried to kill anyone, however. He will fleece you down checking all your pockets for treats, and look mildly disappointed if you fail to produce one, but you are safe. And Daphne suggests that they both might be crazy. I can assure you that Horse B is only crazy under saddle, and then only if a deadly object (such as a boulder or traffic cone) is encountered whilst riding.

Generally speaking, the position of a horse's ears will give you some insight into their current mood. If there ears are pinned back against their neck, they are not happy, and if the situation doesn't change post haste, they will take action. An argument between two horses proceeds something like this:

1. Angered horse pins its ears back
2. Angered horse moves it's head towards the offending horse
3. Angered horse bites offending horse
4. Angered horse kicks offending horse

Now, if at anytime during the above exchange, the offending horse moves off, it all comes to an end, so the biting and kicking phase might never be reached. Humans could learn a thing or two about handling disagreements. Although my efforts to master the art of pinning my ears back has yet to produce any palpable results.

Now I realize that most people are not horse savvy, though the signs of an unhappy horse seem fairly obvious. But, like the car, Americans have a love affair with the horse. Thus, when horses are on display at the fair, they want to pet them and talk to them. And of course, some of them want to poke at them. Like people, horses come in many different termperaments. Our mare Bailey LOVES people. She eats up attention. Other horses are less affectionate, and some get downright mean after being poked and prodded by the general public for days straight. If a horse pins his ears and opens his mouth, he's not smiling for your camera folks. He's thinking about sampling your flesh, and as I can personnaly attest,their is a great deal of clamping force in those jaws.

I took the picture of Horse A while at the Central Washington Fair. Scotty belongs to a friend, and he was none too happy by day three, and just about everytime people came near him, he got that angry look on his face. What amazed me was the sheer number of people who couldn't recognize that it's not a happy look, and would continue to present hands or small children for sampling. Nevermind that there were dozens of attention loving horses in the barns. Fortunately, no was injured, although certainly not for lack of trying.

Oh yeah, if the horse is kicking at the stall door while you are standing there, that's not a happy sign either.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!! Hope your day is a good one.

And a brief moment for me to be thankful. The list of things I have to be thankful for is long and could probably fill pages, so I will touch on the highlights.

First and foremost, I want to give thanks to God that I am an American. That I live in the greatest country, with the longest enduring representative democracy. And thankful that I was given the opportunity to serve this nation during my years in the world's Greatest Navy.

I am thankful to be blessed with a wonderful family. I could not ask for a better wife or daughters. They have stuck by me through thick and thin.

I am thankful for all my friends, both the ones I see in person, and the ones I know only through the blogosphere. Friends that I can share success and failure with, without fear of judgment.

And I am thankful for the equine companions in our life. In a way that is hard to understand or describe, they act as a glue that holds the family together.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pop Quiz Time

This is directed at the non-horsey folks, but you horse people can play along if you'd like.

Below are pictures of two horses. Your task is to match the following statements to the horses pictured below.

1. This horse thinks you might have carrots, and would really like to be your friend.

2. This horse would really prefer to bite you and stomp your guts out.

Horse A

Horse B
Answers, plus an explanation for this seeming nonsense will be provided in tomorrow's post.

Monday, November 23, 2009

There is No Bias in the Media

Or so they would like us to believe. I wonder how many people are drinking their kool-aid?

But wait! A beacon of truth appears, since apparently the LA Times has given up all guise of impartiality in politics. What leads me to make that statement? Read the first sentence of this article. I tried to convince myself that it was tongue in cheek, but, alas, could not reach that conclusion. Perhaps you disagree, and can convince me otherwise.

Now, as I've stated before, I'm no fan of Sarah Palin. I think she is a flash in the pan, not ready for prime time. Although I certainly do not think she is the reason McCain failed to win the Presidency. She does, however, possess the star power to help revitalize a lost party. There is something to be said for being able to write a book that is a bestseller before it even appears on the shelf. And, since the left is so busy reviling her, perhaps she has the power to help keep their eye off the ball, making room for a serious candidate to take the forum for 2012.

We can only hope.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On the Subject of Guns in the Wilderness

For those of us who travel off the beaten path, whether on foot or horseback, the question arises as to whether to carry a firearm. Generally speaking, people fall into one of three camps on this topic:

1. Those who carry a firearm, either on their hip, or tucked into their pack.
2. Those who do not carry a firearm, but are not opposed to those who do.
3. Those who do not carry a firearm, and are militantly opposed to those of us who do.

For the record, when riding the trails, I carry my trusty Smith & Wesson Model 19, in .357. A bit venerable, and not particularly glamorous, but it is reliable, and frankly, my favorite sidearm.

So, the question of why one would carry a firearm into the wilderness needs to be addressed.

An oft cited purpose is for defense against unfriendly wildlife. While dangerous encounters with predators such as cougars , bears , and wolves in the wild are not particularly common, they do happen. In the summer of 2008, my nephew and I came across two black bears on the trail within 200 yards of each other. Once these poorly sighted creatures had us in their view, they made themselves scarce. I blogged some time ago about our horses being attacked on the night highline by what we now believe were wolves. While tactics such as the use of bear spray, bear bells, or “making yourself look as large as possible” are the preferable way to terminate such encounters with wildlife, I prefer to have a fallback position should it appear that I am losing the upper hand.

Another, albeit less likely, reason that is argued is for use in encounters with predators of the two legged variety. I don't have any personal experience in this area, although I have heard second and third hand stories along these lines. There is also anecdotal evidence that farms of the illicit variety are popping up in the wilds, some of them guarded. I would suspect that said guards would tend towards the “shoot first, don’t ask questions” variety.

Now those in the anti-gun crowd would argue that those carrying a weapon would tend to present a hazard to others. I declare that argument to be bunk. If you don’t threaten me, then I’m certainly not going to threaten you.

Those of us on horseback have a more compelling reason to carry a firearm. In fact, I would argue that we have a responsibility to carry a pistol when we ride on the trails. Why is that? Accidents on the trail involving horses can and do occur. A broken leg is nearly always a fatal injury for a horse, even if it happens at home. Fatal because the nature of this injury requires, that in most cases the horse be put down. It’s not a simple applying a cast and ordering bed rest. A horse cannot support its own weight on three legs for an extended period of time. Despite the fact that money was no object, and the best veterinary care in the world, the race horse Barbaro eventually had to be put to sleep due to the damage that was being incurred by the non-injured hooves.

What will you do if your horse breaks a leg while you are miles into the backcountry? There is no vet around the next bend in the trail.

One of the old mule jockeys recently related a story from his youth. He and a friend were pushing cattle out of the hills, when his friend’s horse stepped in a hole and fractured a leg. They were miles from help, and had not a gun between them. They were forced to euthanize the poor animal by slitting its throat with a pocketknife. The event bothers him to this day, and he has never ridden without a firearm since.

While no horseman (or horsewoman) ever wants to find themselves in this situation, we should all be prepared for it. Our horses our are friends, and it would be wrong to let them suffer because we failed to be prepared, thinking “it’ll never happen to me”.

It's a Major Award!

But it's not it must not be made in Italy.

Seriously, Mrs. BR and her Paint Horse Ellie went to a schooling show at the Tacoma Unit yesterday. She took 1st Place in her pattern class, receiving a ribbon the size of a small third world country, and a $100 gift certificate to Hobby Horse, a purveyor of show clothes and such.

She's pretty stoked, to say the least, as this is her first Big Win on Ellie.

I'm proud of her, as it has been a long tough road to reach this point.

Man it was cold in that covered arena yesterday. I'm just starting to get the feeling back in my toes.

Required Reading

If either of my readers finds the time, head over to Rude1's RamPage.

He's retired Air Force, currently residing in the Mountain West. He has some good stories from his USAF days, and good viewpoints on the current political climate.

Take some time and give it a look see.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I wonder what it's like taking off in a plane knowing in advance that the landing will be little more than a controlled crash?

Love the soundtrack!

It looks the best landing was when the nose wheels failed to extend.

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

While sometimes the good Senator Graham gets a little too carried away in his quest for bi-partisanship, he certainly hit the mark on this one:

That pause after the first question was so long and uncomfortable that I even started to squirm a little.

I find the decision to try these people in Federal Court absolutely unconscionable. But having made that decision, one would expect that Mr. Holder would have thought through the concerns that Sen. Graham raises, and would have clear, succinct answers. There should be no "it depends. " Depends on what?

If things reach the point where our Marines and Soldiers need to carry a copy of the Miranda Act in their pockets, then it just may be that we have lost the cause. As Sen. Graham says, it will "make this country less safe", and it is "a perversion of the criminal justice system".

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What are They Afraid Of?

What is it about the likes of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann that gets the left all worked up? Is it because they dispel the myth that women can't make it in a man's world? Or, perhaps, because they are proof that people can make it on their own, without the government holding their hands.

Read "The new wave of female firebrands striking fear into liberal America".

While I believe that, overall, the article paints these ladies in favorable light, a few words leaped off the page. Words used in reference to conservatives. Words like "shrill", "rabble-rouser", "ugly face of some modern conservatives". What words did they use to describe such notable organizations as Code Pink and Groups that were far more mean spirited and ugly than any of the protest groups springing up on the right would ever dream of being. Do I smell a double standard from the media? Wait, I repeat myself.

Many on the left get worked up into a real froth at the mere mention of the names Palin or Bachmann. They declare them to be a "joke". If they are not to be taken seriously, why go to such efforts to denounce them. I must believe it is because they fear them. These ladies represent real Americans. People like you and I. Those of us who were not born with silver spoon inserted in mouth. What we have and who we are has been achieved through work and sacrifice. Not given to us by privileged parents, or a handed out by a bloated government.

They strike further fear through their ability to breathe new life and credibility into a Republican Party that is foundering on the rocks. They provide fresh, young faces, pushing aside the gray haired stodgy McCain types. Liberals try to dismiss Tea Party protesters by lewdly referring to them as "teabaggers", but deep down, when they are alone in their own thoughts, I suspect they are terrified. Their candidate, having ascended to the Presidency with few discernible qualifications, is making a mockery of the office and our country. Pelosi and Reid continue to drive the health care reform bill down our throats because they truly believe that they are the anointed ones who know best what us commoners need.

And all the while, the backlash is slowly brewing. Many who voted for The One are suffering buyers remorse. Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are helping to give conservatives new hope. And perhaps, in 2012, the Republican Party will give more care to their selection of a nominee for this nation's highest office. Contrary to some others, I do not believe that Sarah Palin is that person. But I do believe that she has the ability to assist in guiding the party back to relevancy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh Noes!!!

It would appear that one of our much ballyhooed, yetinfamous Central Link Light Rail trains has derailed. Luckily there were no passengers onboard. Wait, maybe that's because there are never any passengers on board.

Maybe the engineers designed it such that it needs the weight of the non-existent passengers to keep it on the track.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Abandoned Horses

Read the story here.

Four of these horses were lucky. They were found in time by a hunter who happens to be a horseman. And he chose to do something. Unlike the sorry sacks who abandoned them to their own devices in the backwoods. I hope there is a special place in hell for people like that.

Horse ownership is not an inexpensive proposition. I am not blind to the fact that in these tough economic times, some horse owners can no longer afford to care for their animals. And while Pierce County Animal control is but another sorry government run organization, there are avenues for help. The numerous equine rescue organizations would have helped, in one way or the other. Do not be too proud to use them.

While the thought of the wild mustangs on the range is very romantic, the fact is that domesticated horses do not possess the skills needed to survive in the wild. Forested areas in Washington state do not possess enough nourishing vegetation for the horses. As the article states, these animals were starved, and probably near death.

Since our government likes to regulate everything, why not regulate things that really count, like the ability to own animals or have children. Some people have no business doing either.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bones and Muscles

Do you recall those grand old days in health class, memorizing the name and location of every bone and muscle in the human body? If memory serves, there are approximately 2,334,349 (give or take) bones and about as many muscles. At least it seemed so at the time.

With 205 bones and 42 muscle groups, the horse presents no less a daunting challenge for veterinary students. More rote memorization through hours spent staring at dusty old drawings and sketches.

Unless, of course, someone develops a better approach. That someone would be British champion rider Gillian Higgins. Over a four hour period, through the application of some water based hypoallergenic paints, she presents the horse anatomy as never seen before:

For more info an pictures visit

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Post

Much has been said in honor of all the veteran's on this day. By people who speak and write much more eloquently than I.

I have this to add:

Thank you to the American People for the privilege you gave me of serving my country.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Because Mocking the Citizens Usually Works

It seems that Barney Frank has found a way to convince the American people to get behind health care reform.

Or maybe not.

It never ceases to amaze me how elitist many politicians, at all levels of government, and regardless of political stripe, have become. They think they are smarter, more gifted, more talented. That they know what is best for us, because we are uneducated dolts.

When will people tire of this? How is it that these arrogant people keep getting re-elected? Do their constituents feel better when they are demeaned and compared to furniture?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Not once did he quit or complain"

If the military mission in Afghanistan fails, it will be due to the politicians.

Because United States Armed Forces are filled with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who are like this man. A man who loved his country, and his comrades. Who served willingly.

Rest In Peace.