RANGER AGAINST WAR: Horse Whisperer <

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Horse Whisperer

Zombie Donkey

We like it in here. They take care of us

--Creature Comforts, Nick Park

Go do that voodoo that you do so well!
--Blazing Saddles (1974)

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
--The Famous Mister Ed

Movin', movin', movin',

Though they're disapprovin',

Keep them dogies movin', rawhide

, Frankie Laine

Mr. Obama's posture vis-a-vis the economy is redolent of that of a bronco-buster.

You may ask, how? No matter how hard a horse bucks, he can be ridden if the rider secures a solid seat and stay ahead of the horse. This means the rider's center of gravity must remain forward of the horse's withers.

Once a rider is thrown to the rear of the balance point, he is gone.

It seems to me that Obama is trying to ride the horse without a saddle, bit or reins, thinking that he can't be thrown. He lacks the tack to sit this horse.

It is instructive to remember that there ain't a horse that can't be rode, or a rider that can't be throwed. Perhaps Obama is hoping that the horse will calm down if he ground breaks him with the promise of hope.

Most animals are grounded beasts, and don't do well with pie in the sky ambiguous promises. A carrot to come doesn't look as good as one in hand.



Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the stranger hit the saddle, then old dunny quit the earth,
he started travelin' upwards for all that he was worth,
a yellin' and a-squealin' and a-having wall-eyed fits
his front feets perpendicular, his hind feet in the bits.

we could see the tops of mountains under dunny's every jump
the stranger he was glued there just like a camel's hump
the stranger he just sat there, and twirled his black moustache,
like a summer boarder who's a waitin' for the hash.

well he thumped him in the shoulders and he spun him when he whirled,
and hollered to them cowboys, "i'm the wolf of all the world!"
when he had dismounted and walked upon the ground,
we knew he was a thoroughbred and not some dude from town.

the boss he was a-standin' there just watchin' the whole show
he walked over to the stranger and said, "you needn't go.
if you can use a lariat like you rode that zebra dun
you're the puncher i been looking for since the year of one!"

speaking for myself though, i've found other ways to get around that stuff. i haven't had to ride out a horse for many years.

i prefer a trained horse to a broken horse.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 12:31:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the horse is already dead. to me it seems that they've attached electrodes to keep the bronco from falling off the cliff and somehow ease it into a nice respectable spot in the ground, where hopefully something new and pretty might grow.

we were working for the sake of working, not so much for things we really needed, but just crap for the sake of crap. busy work. you bring up gas guzzlers, but the biggest gas guzzler was in the energy needed to send product A to point Z and then back again.

these are intense times once again. we're not the first people to go through this, but it feels like there's a lot more at stake this time. i'm guessing it feels that way each time.

we were involved in a process that could not be sustained without screwing the shit out of people elsewhere. out of sight, out of mind. for a while. it appears we're trying to get out of that racket, some have a little more balls and urgency than others.

fascism has been brought up. instead of a flag and cross, i'm seeing a mid-priced business suit and the promise of "jobs". the funny thing is, I don't even think the would-be-fascist want to be fascist. They just don't see the people doing anything for themselves and there's a pot of money and fame waiting to be scooped up. we've been lied to for so long, it's like we've waken up on a different planet. we're the zombies.

like most people, i'm not a fan of either party. i like my friends and my town and the people I interact with daily for the most part. even the bums and small-time assholes. it would be nice to see many of these large institutions disappear. both corporate and government run. while sorry people will lose secure "jobs", my optimism says we'll find a way to live a more fulfilling life. but i guess there's only one way to find out.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 1:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't like to break race horses. Rather we get them under saddle. It is a process that begins - with our own horses - with the little bits of training of training that begin a few days after they're foaled and which grows in intensity over the next two years. By the time we climb aboard it's often pretty much anti-climatic.

However, once in a while, particularly with stud colts coming off other farms, we are faced with a failure to communicate. Then we have to resort to some less natural interventions like, in the case of horse that go up and flip (a common thoroughbred ailment), martingales or maybe cutting back on the feed, maybe even a tranq and usually riding them out.

How does this relate to an economic policy? Maybe in that gentle and wise long term management averts crises, but if you inherent someone else's unmanaged mess you have to resort to harsher quick fixes?


Friday, February 5, 2010 at 1:31:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

Our President hasn't even learned how to ride the Shetland ponies of healthcare reform, ending torture, or closing Gitmo. I don't think he'll be busting broncs anytime soon. But if he doesn't get up to speed and learn how to ride, look for a new wrangler in the White House in 2012. Happy Trails partners!

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 1:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

How does this relate to an economic policy? Maybe in that gentle and wise long term management averts crises, but if you inherent someone else's unmanaged mess you have to resort to harsher quick fixes?

avedis. nail. head.

with horses born to my care, the training begins immediately. i do things like wrap my arms around their midsection, right where a girth will go. i hold them until they quit struggling. i go all in their ears and nose with fingers. gently. very gently. but it happens until the foal understands that i mean no harm, but that i will touch them from time to time.

with the arabs, the riding work is even slower than with the racers. i don't like having them bear the full weight of a rider until they are a little over three. i want a vet to verify for me that the growth plates in the knees and pasterns are hardened sufficiently. i'm also looking for the maturity that comes with those years.

beginning with a saddle, empty. then ground work with long reins. hours on the loungeline.

it really is anticlimatic when the rider mounts for the first time.

it's not as macho sexy as hauling out into the round pen and having a big old contest of will. it's way more effective.

when i'm training i want to acheive a partnership with the horse. i want that horse to trust me to know certain things, and for the horse to comprehend that together we create more than the sum of the parts.

deregulation is not a concept that exists in the round pen. when i'm working with a new rider, or introducing people to the world of horses i always make sure to impress upon them this one important thing:

two games you'll never with with a horse. race. and tug o' war. don't play that.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 12:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The ground training that you describe sure wasn't the way they trained us in the Ranger days of yore. Probably that's why no one can touch my ears.
In effect imprinting is a powerful tool to use with any animal. The foal imho gets told on day 1 that you are stronger and fails to forget this fact.
Even with proper training some horses should be turned into glue.
For whatever reason some are untrainable and not worth the risks involved.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 12:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your way is my way......and it's the right way. No, not as sexy, but then neither are broken bones.

We also include a lot of ground driving (to teach familiarity and some response to the bit) then lunging when the knees have closed up enough to take the tight turns. Then lunge with saddle and, with difficult customers, with saddle and "Mr. Blue Jeans" (a sand stuffed paid of jeans with cuffs tied to the stirrups and secured at the withers on a leather strap attached to the horn of a western saddle). When Mr. Blue jeans gets a smooth ride we know the horse is ready for a human.

The untrainable horse.....I've seen a few, but some will still surprise at their ability to come around. We had one colt last summer that I thought fell into the good for glue only category. He was downright dangerous. I was doing the ground work in an old steel pot and flak jacket while my wife attempted to sit on him. Could sit on him in the stall, but he was just waiting for a chance and when he got outside....look out! His hoof rang like a bell on my helmet one day. Seconds later my wife was airborn. Couldn't shank him because he would go ballistic at the mere sound of a chain getting near him. Finally I rigged something up that I thought would thwart his rearing and striking and flipping over. Long story short he fought and went down and stayed laying on the ground. I didn't expect that. By all signs I thought he had broken his neck. I felt terrible. His legs were all loose and floppy when I pushed on them. Just his eye blinking a little. I told my wife I was going to shoot him to put him down. She stopped me, "honey, half of me wants to let you go get your gun, but seriously, his neck isn't broken. He's just faking it." She proceeded to sit on his head. Then, after a while, he tried to get up, but, of course could not with her there. She stayed there for maybe a half hour (just smiling the whole time). After that she talked real nice to him and let him up. From that day on he was fine. Still nervous and flighty, but got down to work and respected humans. Rode him at threegates all over the farm without incident. Then galloped him (very nice mover). I heard they had some trouble gate training him, yet he managed to get through it and made a good showing in a couple races at the end of the year and I suspect he will do pretty well when he starts racing again this spring.


Friday, February 5, 2010 at 2:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sheesh, more atrocious spelling and grammer than usual on my part....(e.g.lunging for lounging...).

Any how, also forgot to point out that the "untrainable" horse story contains an allegory for economic policy.....sitting on wall street heads and maybe a few others......


Friday, February 5, 2010 at 4:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the last time a friend brought me a young horse that they said was untrainable, i went real indian on that critter. i took a soft cotton rope (it was about an inch thick in the bargain) and tied up a forleg to the saddlering.

then, we went to a shallow mudflat section of the colorado (just north of yuma).

up i went (i was wearing a bicycle rider's singlet, bigtime crotch padding and no inside seams, out of lycra so it dried really fast).

he and i just had it out there in the shallows. the mud helped wear that colt out pretty fast, and it was also a much nicer landing zone for the three times i went off.

after about a half an hour, that little colt was sitting there blowing. i filled him a bucket of cool water, let him drink, fed him some licorice bits, talking nice and soft (the girlfriend says i was talking apache the whole time) and letting him know that it didn't have to be this hard on either of us.

then, i let his foreleg down, and climbed up. i was off again in about four seconds (let's give that cowboy lots of applause folks, that's all he's gettin' today). up went the leg, up i went. this time there wasn't any fight left in him.

i let the leg down again, got up, and we started walking.

after that, he would let me ride. nobody else. i suggested to my friend that she teach him to pull, and she did.

he's a happy buggy puller now.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 6:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

MB says,

"i want to acheive a partnership with the horse. i want that horse to trust me to know certain things, and for the horse to comprehend that together we create more than the sum of the parts"

Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

When you say you, "let him know that it didn't have to be this hard on either of us", I wish more people would understand that.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 9:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. you guys are sick fucks. hah hah. the "economy" is people, ladies and gents. a real life soylent green. if the people stop believing in it, then that's fucking it. turn us into glue? then let us just kill each other off and end it all. but seriously, do we all really believe capitalism, as has been explained to us, is the end all of human evolution? how many times has the constitution been amended? what was that? are we done? is this the end of our short history? wow.

Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 12:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I earned a masters degree studying economics. I have also worked in corporate amerika as an "economist"; which doesn't make me an expert or authority of any sort, but does suggest that I have had some exposure to the fundemental theories and practices, etc.

I don't think anyone beyond ivory tower academics actually "believe in" capitalsim. The behavior simply does not reflect such a belief. In fact, I see a belief in capitalism to be much like americans' belief in god/christ/jehova et al. Everyone gives it lip service, everyone is afraid being socially shunned if they speak against it, but everyone acts against the core principles of the belief system with regular willful and wanton abandon (not to mention premeditation).

The wealthy do not allow the invisible hand of the market to work. Rather, they bind it and rig the game in their favor. They decry welfare for the poor as being "socialist" but then use political influence to obtain massive handouts for themselves.

What is this communism or socialism they hate so much? In theory it is a parlaying of of wealth to the people whose sweat and blood actually created
the goods and service. In our society, capitalism has come mean a redistribution of wealth away from the worker and to an increasingly small number of elites who by hook, crook, family connections and luck are in a position to control the law making and the financing.

Talk about sick fucks. Does anyone really need to make more than, say, $250K a year? How about $10 million? How about more than that?

Ineffiencies weeded out of the market? Right sure. Drive your company to the brink of insolvency and you still get a bonus that exceeds what most worker bees will make in a life time.

The only reason this twisted system continues is because greed is so ingrained in the american pysche. Too many "have nots" believe (overwhelmingly falsely) that some day they can become one of the priviledged "haves". Then they too can say "I've got mine and I'm getting more. Screw the rest of you". Ah....the american dream....

Americans are afraid of sharing, of giving. It is anathema to them. This is a barbarian society based on plundering and pillaging.

So yeah, as a policy maker I would deal with a plundering barbarian banker in the same way I handle a wild combative stud colt. Tie up a foreleg, sit on his head, don't buy in to his fakes and see if I can get him trained. Maybe, at the end of day, he is untrainable, only good for glue. If so, then it's off to that place where they give you a couple hundred $s for meat weight.


Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 11:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

As for sitting on a horses head and neck-i've done this and it took a lot of power to do so.
One little trick taught to me by an old timer, now long dead,was to watch the horses lips. When they show their lips then they have accepted the dominance and should now be ready to move on in the training.
I saw fit to ignore the sick fuck cmt ,but approve of your cmts.

Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 11:25:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never personally sat on a horses head or neck, but there was my wife, who weighs in at around a buck 15 doing it without apparent effort. I made myself useful and grabbed a couple of cold 16 ounce Millers and a couple of smokes, passed her one each and sat back and enjoyed the show.

I always look for the licking and chewing that shows a horse has accepted the human as master, but if we ever end up on top of a horse's head again I'll keep that old timer's advice in mind.

Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 12:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I've been thinking about our exchange on sitting/laying on a horses neck. Since i'm outta the horse business i've been wondering if this could be applied to my present life.I wonder if i could train women using this technique?
The only fault i can see is that it might not work on thin lipped women b/c i couldn't see their lips twitching.
Also twitching might be a good thing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 6:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Kootenay said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed this exchange; training my own horses has been one of the most satisfying endeavours of my life and I loved the comments here, as well as the adept economic analogies. But Ranger, please don`t try the neck-sitting thing on a woman! You`re liable to get bitten in a most unfortunate location.

Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 9:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, Carrots before sticks........first try getting her to sit on your head...if you know what I mean


Monday, February 8, 2010 at 5:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

How would i give her the carrot if i did this?
Also i usually have to cross tie my mares.

Monday, February 8, 2010 at 10:27:00 AM GMT-5  

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