The Evacuations Continue

Trailers evacuating horses
This image and description from M.J. Redding Equine Horse Transport from Facebook makes me proud to be part of a community where strangers take on the effort and risk to help rescue someone elses horse.

 

The line of rigs caught in the mirror is a tiny portion of the surreal call to action of horse trailers and trucks, each carrying horsemen willing to run their rigs towards the wildfires only to risk their own lives both in the fires as well as handling as many horses they don’t know, while they are stressed, anxious, and scared making each horse exponentially more dangerous to handle. They do it anyway, and have been nonstop for days and are continuing to work non stop to save as many horses as possible. To include the man credited for taking this photo as he waited in traffic heading to countless barns being evacuated. A close friend as well as part time driver for us, Wyatt Martin, spent the first part of the week in our own truck 2, only to spend what was suppose to be his one day off, before heading home, answering and making endless phone calls with barns to coordinate evacuations. Wyatt, flew out of Logan international just after 9pm EST with his biggest concern being a 6 hour flight cutting off his communication with stressed and scared barn owners and trainers. He landed at LAX at 1am PST and without detour headed immediately to get his truck under a horse trailer and went straight to getting horses loaded. He, just like this image, is just a single piece of this community, and perfectly exemplifies what this way of life is. These are the horsemen, and this is the way of life we are proud to live. This is the horse world. #prayforcalifornia

Link to Facebook Posting

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Not all Heroes Wear Capes

Not again. Wild fires are out of control, this time in Southern California and horse owners and rescuers are scrambling to get their horses out of the way of the raging fires in Southern California to safety. Sadly, first responders report that some horses have died in their stalls (which is why in the video above, they are being released to run free) and others are being treated for significant burns.

Thank goodness for the heroes who are helping to move these horses  out of danger.

Horses being evacuated
Horses are evacuated along Osborne street at the Creek fire Tuesday morning. ( Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

 

The Loss of a Legend

Bill Steinkraus on Snowbound
Bill Steinkraus on Snowbound. The pair won individual gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Steinkraus passed away on November 29th. He was 92.

Before there was George Morris to dictate excellence in equitation, there was William “Bill” Steinkraus. For many of us, he epitomized horsemanship — his perfect equitation and unflappable demeanor was synonymous with success.

In addition to being the first American to win an individual Olympic Gold in an equestrian sport, he also won team silver at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games (riding Main Spring) and at the 1960 Rome Olympic games (riding Riviera Wonder) as well as team bronze a the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games on Hollandia.

Below is his Olympic Gold round in Mexico City.

What you may not know about Bill Steinkraus is that after his freshman year at Yale University he enlisted the Army in 1943, where he was part of the 124th Cavalry Regiment during World War II and fought in Burma to help reopen the Burma Road. He then returned to Yale, graduating in 1948.

One of the founding members of the USET,  Steinkraus was also an accomplished violinist, who played in the Connecticut Symphony.

Steinkraus retired from showing in 1972, but remained  involved in the sport acting as a judge, TV commentator, clinician, coach and author. For 17 years, he was the chef d’équipe of the U.S. show jumping team. Even after he retired, he continued to ride.

“I enjoy raising horses – preparing and educating them,” he said. “And I still love riding as much as ever. Riding can be many different things; it can be physical and death-defying, but it can also be aesthetic and low key.

“I still try to ride every day,” he added. “I’m frustrated by sedentary pursuits – except when I’m sitting on a horse!’

Christian Science Monitor

Are You Horse Poor?

I’m almost afraid to post this song by Corb Lund. It’s a little bit too close to home! I think this might become a theme song for the equestrian-challenged. Can you relate?

Corb LundOn his Facebook post he said, “Played my latest (unreleased!) agricultural tragedy, 🐴 💸 “Horse Poor” 🐴 💸 on TV the other day. Turns out people seem to like it. Shout out to my super talented & totally horse-crazy co-writer Jaida Dreyer who came up with the idea for the song in the first place.”

 

The Last Hunt of 2017

The last hunt
Yesterday was the last hunt of the 2017 season. The weather gods smiled on us and we had a sunny day in the mid-50s.

I haven’t had the chance to hunt much this fall, but Zelda and I managed to catch the last two Saturday hunts of the season. Last week the day was seasonably chilly and gray. Zelda was as brisk as the weather and her exuberance was hard to contain — I chose to ride sweep, bringing up the rear on a small field that included a few new comers. The horse in front of me showed a propensity to kick and so I left a solid gap in front of us to see if the mare would settle. This made Zelda most unhappy. She loves to hunt and being held back did not jive with her. For the first time I felt just how much stretch my rubber reins could sustain. I don’t like to get into a pulling match with my horses and I told her I’d make it up to her on the next hunt.

Yesterday was a different story. It was sunny and mild, and the territory lends itself to some good gallops. Zelda and I stayed up front in the field so I could let her move on. I also changed her bit (more on that in another post) moving to a slightly milder option.

And boy did we have fun! You can see what a brilliant day out it was, and also how diverse the landscape that we rode through.

First Field
After a brief hack through the woods, the hunt started in some open fields along an aqueduct.
The first Check
The first check was at the end of this grassy field.
Sandy
We then moved off through a sandy area, that doesn’t look much like New England.
The Aqueduct
We enjoyed a brisk gallop along the aqueduct.
Final cast
And ended up at this field for a final gallop. I lost my left stirrup moments after taking off so spent the first part of the field thinking very hard about staying centered.
Good Hounds
The end of the hunt. The hounds were excellent today!

The Meeting

The Meeting
One of the good things about looking at the hunting collage was that it made me want to make a few new ones. I enjoy the process and have a backlog of images that I never got to use! This uses a vintage foxhunting photo as the centerpiece but is made from four different images.