Archives For horses

Happy Chinese New Year

January 31, 2014 — 22 Comments

Gung Hai Fat Choi!  (gong-hey-faat-choy)

Or should that be Kung Hei Fat Choi? Or perhaps Gong Xi Fa Cai? I’d better stick with what I know and wish you Happy Chinese New Year in English. May it be a delightful year!

charcoal horseLet us welcome the Year of the Horse, an exciting year of forward movement. 

“The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction.” ~ Susan Levitt, link

This is the year to take decisive action and overcome procrastination. Let us revisit and enjoy this wise passage by Henry D. Thoreau as our motivation and inspiration to build foundations under our dreams, and to move forward, towards our dreams, with confidence.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

do what makes you happyHe will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862), Walden, published 1854, pages 323 – 324 Source

[images from – original sources could not be located]

A Pall

July 13, 2012 — 11 Comments

This blog has always endeavoured to be an uplifting place. However it is also a place of honest feelings, sometimes involving heartbreak and pain. This is my cry of grief for the loss of the horses. May the letters I write help bring about change. Today I am heartsick, but I lean on God and know that this too shall pass. 


A Pall

July 13, 2012


Grey blanket sky

Deathly calm air

Feels like the world has stopped breathing

Thundering hooves

Silenced in agony

Heart breaking sickness rippling out

Torn and grieving

Feeling lost

Agonizing over what can be changed

Prayers for safety

Health testing checks

Are not enough to prevent a collapse

An archaic sport

Careless and wild

Cannot be saved with technology

Common tragedy

Should never exist

Another call to wake up and stop

No more children

To needlessly see

Life-scarring explosions of life

Please let go and cease

The cruel catch and release

Of these huge hardworking hearts

Racing or fleeing

Charging to death

Fighting a losing and lost war


Keep the history

Keep the barns

Keep the food and the rides

Keep the color

Keep the concerts

Keep the farm animal shelters


But there’s no need

For death from speed

At a family agricultural event.


Copyright © Professions for PEACE

Churchill’s horses

July 2, 2012 — 24 Comments

There are so many amazing people in history to share about. Today I am celebrating Sir Winston Churchill. I most certainly do not profess to have learned and understood everything there is to know about the man who was Winston Churchill. However in researching ‘horses’ for a couple of my recent posts, I spent over a dozen hours reading about him. I learned about this amazing icon and was moved to tears by what he did to help save hard-working yet neglected horses. Please read on to learn more.


A little history about the man himself:

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century, he served as Prime Minister twice (1940–45 and 1951–55). A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States.

In 1951, he again became Prime Minister, before retiring in 1955. Upon his death, Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen in history. Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential persons in British history. ~Source: Wikipedia 


Recently discovered photograph: Sitting astride his grey mount in 1899, the 26-year-old future Prime Minister is shown wearing a suit and tie and a wide-brimmed hat. It shows him with men of The South African Light Horse Regiment and on the back of the photo is written: ‘Winston Churchill after Escape’. Source:

In preparing my two recent posts about horses, I wanted to find out more about Winston Churchill’s quotes, especially the one about the outside of a horse being good for the inside of us humans (I’ve quoted this twice, in my posts Animals, Trust and Respect and Horse Power).

I discovered there is some debate regarding whether this statement was actually made by SWC because it has not been documented as being anything Sir Winston Churchill actually said. (visit

However there is no doubt whatsoever that the man loved horses. During World War I, Britain purchased over one million horses to assist with the war effort by carrying soldiers, supplies, and artillery. However, after the war, many horses abroad were in danger of horrible neglect and even death. It was awe-inspiring when I learned that Winston Churchill went out of his way, and at risk to his political career, to help save the horses of war after World War I.
As a story in the Daily Mail stated:

“He secured their speedy return after firing off angry memos to officials within his own department and at the Ministry of Shipping, who had promised to return 12,000 horses a week but were struggling to get a quarter of that number back.”

One person definitely makes a difference. He certainly did for thousands of war horses after the war ended. Here is an excerpt from another article, this one at

Winston Churchill was incensed at the treatment of Britain’s war-horses in 1919. War Office documents recently found in the National Archives at Kew show that tens of thousands of the animals were at risk of disease, hunger and even death because bungling officials couldn’t get them home when hostilities drew to a close.

Churchill, then aged 44 and Secretary of State for War, reacted with fury when he was informed of their treatment and took a personal interest in their plight after the 1914-1918 war.

In a strongly worded missive dated February 13, 1919, Churchill told Lieutenant-General Sir Travers Clarke, then Quartermaster-General: ‘If it is so serious, what have you been doing about it? The letter of the Commander-In-Chief discloses a complete failure on the part of the Ministry of Shipping to meet its obligations and scores of thousands of horses will be left in France under extremely disadvantageous conditions.’

Churchill’s intervention led to extra vessels being used for repatriation, and the number of horses being returned rose to 9,000 a week. 

Excerpts from Source article:


His story ignites a fire in my heart! He took a risk because his heart demanded it. I imagine that in his mind there was no arguement. Something simply had to be done, and so he spoke up. He did something. I am incredibly thankful for the example this incredible human being has shared with us. When we learn of an injustice in the world that really moves us, we need to follow his lead and do something. Even writing a strongly worded letter can ripple outwards and do more good than we may have thought. Let’s listen to our hearts, and do what we can.

Horse Power

July 1, 2012 — 14 Comments

Source: Facebook/HayHouseRadio

I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh it was. My very heart leapt with the sound.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

God forbid that I should go to any heaven where there are no horses.
~R. B. Cunningham-Graham 
(in a 1917 letter to Theodore Roosevelt)

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
~William Shakespeare, Henry V

No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.
~Herman Melville

Here lies the body of my good horse, The General. For years he bore me around the circuit of my practice and all that time he never made a blunder. Would that his master could say the same.
~John Tyler’s epitaph for his horse

When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have.
~Winston Churchill

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.
~Winston Churchill

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


Excerpts from the book Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams and David Carson: 

“Stealing horses is stealing power” was a statement made in historical native America and a reference to the esteemed role which Horse played in the native cultures. Horse is physical power and unearthly power. In shamanic practices throughout the world, Horse enables shamans to fly through the air and reach heaven.

Humanity made a great leap forward when Horse was domesticated, a discovery akin to that of fire. Before Horse, humans were earthbound, heavy-laden, and slow creatures indeed. Once humans climbed on Horse’s back, they were as free and fleet as the wind. They could carry burdens for great distances with ease. Through their special relationship with Horse, humans altered their self-concept beyond measure. Horse was the first animal medicine of civilization. Humanity owes an incalculable debt to Horse and to the new medicine it brought. It would be a long walk to see one’s brother or sister if Horse had not welcomed the two-legged rider upon its back. Today we measure the capacity of engines with the term “horsepower,” a reminder of the days when Horse was an honored and highly-prized partner with humanity.

Horse is related especially with the power of knowledge and wisdom and with communication and sharing.


Stand tall.

Use your talents.

Own who you are becoming.




And here for you, because I am all about horses today, is a delightful video of a gorgeous Friesian foal enjoying his first meeting with a ball. I do recommend putting your computer on mute though. I’m not sure why these enjoyable few minutes would need loud rock music cranked through it, but that’s just me! The power of play displayed here warms my heart. I hope you enjoy!

Most of us know that pets make great companions, but did you know they also help us heal? Studies have shown that after undergoing operations or cancer treatments, those who come home to a pet recover much more quickly than those patients without pets. For a few basic needs like food, stimulation, shelter, and of course affection, pets repay our care with abundant unconditional love and increase our well-being. In caring for our four-legged companions (or feathered friends) we feel less isolated, and it helps provide us with a sense of purpose. When children are raised in an environment where animals are treated fairly and kindly, it helps teach them about gentleness, empathy, responsibility and loyalty, which helps with their healthy development.

And then there’s the laughter! Anyone who has loved an animal discovers their amazing personalities and the many opportunities for smiles and laughter. The four pets I am lucky enough to share a home with are constantly providing my family and me with amusement and warming our hearts.

Adopting an older pet, as I have done with both cats and dogs, helps give these deserving animals a chance at a home when most potential adopters are cooing over the kittens and puppies. Older pets offer many benefits. They are past the shoe-chewing and curtain-climbing antics that puppies and kittens are prone to. Plus they are more sedate, making them an excellent choice for providing companionship for a senior.

And they really care about us, bless their hearts! My oldest cat is drawn to me when I am under the weather or suffering a bout of the blues. And my ‘Nikki’ dog definitely helps by getting me out of the house on a regular basis, even when I’d rather not. But she needs those walks and I comply. Like the old adage says: A tired dog is a good dog. And our dogs seem to know something about us as well: A walked human is a happy human.

God Bless all our feathered and four-legged family members. And if you do not have one yet, I encourage you to consider it. There are countless rescue agencies out there for every kind of pet, including equines if you have the space, with lovely animals waiting for that special human out there to find them. Let it be you.

“There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Winston Churchill

I woke just now from a fitful sleep like so often lately, but this time it was a nice dream. I was riding a massive brown horse, walking slowly as I patted his neck and watched the ears. Taking my time to know this gentle giant, and he was granting me respect.

In my dream, riding this horse, all my worries vanished. My senses were filled with the steady squeak of saddle leathers, rhythm of hoof-beats, flicker of ears, wave of mane and smell of horse. I love the smell of horses, and I woke up from this short but vivid dream with that light aroma still in my senses. I felt happy. How incredibly therapeutic, even if only enjoyed while sleeping.

I have been lucky throughout my life to be gifted with animals, something that comes easily due to my inherent respect for them. It’s as if animals notice this about me and are relieved to interact with a human who values their intelligence.

One of the many aspects of horse-care I’ve always adored is grooming. I believe in its value as a training aid, even if only for building trust. I find that horses enjoy human hands along their necks, chests and saddle-areas as much as we enjoy offering the attention. I choose to stroke with my hands and use brushes that are comfortable to horses. No unforgiving metal brushes for me. Regular grooming teaches horses to be at ease with hands all over them. Building a memory of safety allows a horse to remain calm around those frequently alarming things like flapping bags, bicycles, honking horns and banging sounds. A quality riding horse is one that feels secure and trustful. It trusts its environment and its humans. These invaluable horses are unflappable and unafraid of surprises.

I interact with all animals this way, and my cat of a dozen years is calm, friendly and playful. One summer day a few years ago I was chatting casually with my neighbours over the fence as I hose-watered my garden. Suddenly the wife voiced how she was astounded that my cat was just laying in the sun as I watered around it. Myself, I was not surprised. My cat has no fear since she has never been abused. I wouldn’t dream of sprinkling water on my cat.

When a person decides to use force or cruel behaviour with an animal, they lose its trust and respect. Unfortunately, most abused animals learn to mistrust all humans. Anyone who has met and worked with a head-shy horse knows how entrenched those old hurts are. Anyone who has adopted an abused rescue dog knows how some of those emotional scars never heal.

My beloved rescue dog has been my constant companion for years, but her first years of life in an abusive environment permanently affected her. In her past she learned that humans are unpredictable and dangerous. Her life with me is the opposite of that tragic past but the damage is done. She does lavish me with the loyalty of her constantly loving presence, but during those moments in our family life with loud boisterous laughter or unexpected movements, she still lowers her head and looks worried. Trust is fragile and once damaged is often lost forever.

Respect and trust are too precious to risk damaging with poor behaviour. Just as in our personal relationships once these earned qualities of trust and respect are betrayed they are practically impossible to regain.

© March 2009