Saturday, January 08, 2011

Horse of History

Deer, like people, tend to somehow tell their immediate family (quite large family/herd) about some special treat they just discovered.. Sweet Feed.. Carmel Corn:>) Horses were maybe different? they followed the leader to the chow.

After work, I often got home in the dark, changed clothes and would head for the horse and tractor barn to do evening chores. Dozens of winter chickens had roosted for the night in glassed south side during earlier years. Spring mail orders grew the flocks into the hundreds..

The mounts roamed their pasture by day but were inside on their half of the barn to escape the bitterly cold, below zero nights. They always snorted deep and stomped anxiously for my arrival. I walked the frequently shoveled deep snow trail to the back barns, carrying two five gallon buckets of fresh water. Both were needed to replace solid ice cylinders I routinely dumped from their frozen containers. An impressive collection built up like an ice palace and accumulated on the outside waiting for spring.

After forking the wet heavy straw from their stall onto the outside manure pile, I climbed into the loft, tossing down a bale of fresh straw to spread on the thick wooden floor. Tossing down a bale of fresh hay and breaking it into biscuits, filled their wall rack. The excitement of the chores kept them stirring around trying to be first in line, as if the first bite was the tastiest.

Snorting around their feed trough, kept them interested while I tore into chunks a couple of dry bread loaves from the salvage bakery and mixed it into their molases laced sweet feed. I would at times eat a small handfull of 'sweet feed' treat while prepping it for the mounts. They were always sticking their big heads over my shoulder and nuzzling to try and get a preview nibble from my hand.

With a little imagination their warm breath and heavy winter coats turned them into Hungry Bears in the darkness. Their large warm shaggy bodies made the barn, which was now deep in fresh straw, nice and cozy. The straw and hay storage loft, filled in the Fall, acted as insulation to retain their body heat. The rescued vagrants from 'the Killers' really appreciated their home. When found, most had been very neglected.

Folks yearn for a horse, dreaming of the glamour and how They will look astride a beautiful mount. Like a new fad exercise machine, they really pay attention to it....for a while. After time and newness wears off, the intensive daily care and never ending expense becomes a now undesired reality. "The bigger they are, the more they eat". The once generous and fun to dispense feed ration, is cut back drastically to shave costs and time. Neglect soon turns to outright Abuse. All to quickly, the at one time prized animal, is derelect, in ill health and tossed aside.... Discarded like a broken toy.

One in particular was previously owned by a neighbor that never had the time to ride or take care of this, at one time impressive, very big Chestnut Mahogany mount.

After anxiously watching this great animal degrade for months outside with no shelter and seeing the pile of corn stalks (with no corn) laying on the ground under his feet, we finally talked the man into selling this once noble beast. His niece, my school mate, talked him into selling before the big Gelding died and became a total liability. Fortunately his teeth were still intact, with no abcesses. After a regimen of intestinal 'worm' medicine, along with carefully measured, high carb, high protein laden diet with nice fresh hay, gradually plumped out his sagging hide, concealing his ribs, he looked much better.

Getting all of his bones covered in some healthy fat and muscle, while getting his 'sled runner' hooves cut off, trimmed back (with farrier help) and treated daily, he slowly became fit for riding. Some many weeks later, after he regained some of his muscle, I finally slipped a Western style Curb Bit
  • bridle with a copper roller 'taster', on him, adjusting the headstall 'Poll' pressure and lip 'rolls' for his large head. He immediately enjoyed the 'taster' roll over his tongue, and settled down to play with it. While he was distracted, I grabbed a big handfull of mane and swung aboard bareback.

    I neck reigned, he immediately turned the opposite direction. His ride was atrocious and bounced my 'Western' butt all over. After I threw on the doubled saddle blanket and low cantle western plains saddle, it was even worse. Turned out that he had been a registered Five Gaited English Driving Gelding, once used for pulling light, wheeled and sleigh runnered conveyences or riding to the hounds....with an English riding saddle

  • Out of survival, I 'cross reigned' through my fist wrist action and quickly learned to 'Post' on my low cantle Western Saddle
  • The old Stetson and jeans seemed really out of place 'Posting' while patrolling along the fields and trails, on that really large 1,000 lb Gelding.

    A neighbor girl friend who also kept a pet Racoon (a little bit wild herself ;>), rode an even larger and more powerful wild eyed stallion, 'Gaylord' that was darker in coloration. He was extremely impressive, a proud and menacing looking mount, obviously of Tennessee
  • heritage ready for riding into, and surviving historic battles. She carried a heavy club on a lanyard to bat him back down on occasion he reared up to throw her off. Close your eyes and imagine a mounted Officer, flashing saber held high, leading a Cavalry charge.... That was the obvious heritage of 'Gaylord'..

    Prince the big Gelding, was of far more civilized aristocracy, he shifted gears like my British motorcycles. Five up and five down. Each light 'spur' took him up, and a short tug on reins took him down... one 'gear' at a time.

    He was a mature ride that is for sure. His experience with various riders over his lifetime, taught him to treat everyone 'Up', like they were 'His' students. His ability to instinctively handle every new situation with a steady and calm reaction, became obvious after many uneventful patrols of the surrounding county pastures, swamps, fields and trails.

    Then came one windy and frozen, below zero afternoon, normal for the upper midwest. We had uneventfully crossed an irrigation flood control channel that was solidly iced over. After a couple of hours of patrolling the fields and woodlots, we turned and headed back. It was late dusk and winter darkness was fast approaching. The barn was still a substantial distance away, but he was excited about the evening chow and nice fresh hay in the barn with the other mounts.

    The big Gelding was having a good 'blow', stepping out lively. We began to re-cross the wide frozen channel at a clip......then the unthinkable happened, the snow covered ice broke through. I found myself up to my waist and sinking into swirling, frozen black water and ice. The big guy 'Prince', immediately without hesitation lurched and leaped forward through the thick ice, breaking it away as he jumped onto each section. My only salvation was to lean far forward over his mane, giving him his head while clenching my legs onto his withers and hang onto the mane engulfed pommel horn.... and Pray.

    With each great leap he broke away through the thick ice and battled his way closer to shore. Then like a huge enraged cat, virtually clawed, leapt and surged his way up the near vertical, steep and long bank. With me clinging on for dear life, he stretched like a racing champion on the final straightaway, and galluped all out, the considerable distance back to the barn.

    The big Gelding was needing no further encouragement from me. I just hung on like riding a powerful motorcycle. The sub zero icey wind froze the water soaked parts of us into a sheet of ice like a coat of armor. My legs were frozen popsicles from my belt down, and my jeans were frozen stiff to the saddle like unbendable metal fenders. The big Gelding was hot and steaming like a powerful locomotive, but still pounding hooves on the frozen terrain passing rapidly under us.

    He and I both were covered in glistening icicles similar to 'chain mail', as we galloped up the roadway, cutting around the barn and in through the open doorway. I had to duck down to stay aboard. I cracked loose from the ice covered saddle and slid off, shivering like a dog passin' razor blades. Shaking so hard that I barely got him unbridled, pulled out his cinch, unsaddled, and dropping his crystalized rigging on the floor.

    No strength left in my frozen body to give him a well deserved burlap bag rub down. I tore off a couple of bisquits of hay, and gave him his 'generously overfilled' can of feed. I was too frozen to add in any additional treats. I then clomped down the snow covered trail like a frozen robot. Stumbling back to the house, I collapsed in a frozen heap, laying on top the old floor furnace to thaw.

    At the time, I thought for sure we were both gone'rs. Especially as we were sinking into that swirling deep black water. I was sure we were going to be fast frozen, trapped under the ice in that remote hell forsaken channel,.... only to be found in the spring thaw..

    Surprisingly, the next day's ride preparation, like all of our others, was again exciting for him. The big mahogany Gelding seemed to have dismissed our previous day's nearly fatal patrol. Slipping the bit into his mouth and during the saddling up, He excitedly danced around in anticipation like always, ears perked, looking forward to some new adventure on our daily patrol. Later years, I try to have learned something from that battle of near death experience, besides Caution and Awareness,... a fantastic positive attitude.....or poor memory :>)

    Good old 'Prince' One of my most memorable mounts, Big Prince went on to work with a prominent local horse trainer. She would strap the younger, misbehaving horses to him. He would then literally drag them through his daily workout routine. They eventually got the idea that it was better to obey his rider's commands and not fight the program. He was a fine teacher. :>)

    One more small story of rural life in the greatest Freedom loving nation, The United States of America, One Nation Under GOD :>)
  • Saturday, January 01, 2011

    Concealed Carry Certification, Recertify New Mexico

    Wow, cold enough to render a brass monkey sterile in New Mexico this morning. It was 14 degrees on the Rio Rancho west mesa. Son and myself met Reid Haskamp OMEGA DEFENSE
  • Reid is a Sandoval county Sheriff's Deputy and our Xe (Blackwater) TI, 09:00, Sandoval County Sheriff's Office. The ride to the Sheriffs Del Norte Gun Club range was cold and across crunchy, snowy mesa roads. On arrival at the automated gate that recognizes Reids ID badge, we park and enter the nice warm training room, We promptly were mistakenly fingerprinted for later (two years later:>) and did a review of the current rules of... 'The Game'..

    Certain laws have changed. We are now allowed to carry into 'boutique' beer and wine dining establishments. Utah's popular CCW is no longer recognized in NM, the financially impaired (not quite bankrupt) state of NM is now desperate for the revenue. Strange that NM issues driver's licenses to Illegal aliens, but will not recognise FBI certified Utah CCW holders? Hopefully the politically powerful NRA will soon convince Freedom Preserving legislators to finally acknowledge the Second Amendment and universal reciprocity 'Nationwide'.

    We then Reviewed the scenario for 'A Good Shoot'. An Obvious danger to Citizen, before being allowed to fire to remove the threat. A knife wielding attacker is able to cover 25 feet and be slashing and stabbing, before your weapon can be drawn in defense.
    Check for Clear background before firing weapon at threat. IE: Don't blaze away at the wrong stuff, babys in backpacks, moms with strollers, innocent folks eating ice cream cones, store clerks, old least the old untatooed ones that don't draw down on us first.

    As Certified Concealed Carry Citizens, we gotta' let the bad guys pull some serious s---, threatening our, or other's lives, before we can end their DNA replication and permantly drain their gene pool. Only after dispatching the threat do we sweep the area, with weapon at the 'ready', to break the tunnel vison and restore concentration for resolving the 'Aftermath'.

    Believe me, in today's litigation obsessed society, there will be an Aftermath. It will definitely Change your life.
    One local case last year, left the armed Citizen that defended himself, with over $20,000 in legal bills. That was with the charges 'dropped'. Think of what it would have cost him, if the case had actually gone to court..

    Career violent repeat offenders have no such problems. Their costs of defense are all taxpayer funded.. Lawyers (defense as well as prosecution) and Social Workers absolutely Love and work very hard to keep the Career Criminal circulating in society. Woe be to anyone that removes them from the US legal system's 'food chain'. As noted, the legally armed Citizen will pay...

    After classroom and exchanging a lot of chatter from the streets, we drove over to the shooting partitions behind the berm. Reid likes to practice his high speed driving 'in reverse'. The international 'bad guy' roadblocks he rapidly backs away from, are way too often, shooting at him.

    We then backed into the shooting bay and Reid set up his targets with the official sized 12" x 18" body mass white papers. We loaded our magazines for the range. Our fingers were now shaking in the cold. Reid's first order called out 'Go Hot' as he watched me insert the 9mm's magazine and Tap it solidly into position like he taught us two years ago
  • I chambered the first round by smartly snapping back and releasing the 9mm's slide.... "At the Ready"

    Then he ordered... 'Gun'. We had no large audience like the entire classroom of first lessons, so we took our time and fired deliberately. 15 rounds found the 'central body mass'. After several 'triple taps' (Mozambique Drill), the target went Submissive and no longer presented a serious threat.

    An 'at the ready' sweep of the immediate area to break the 'tunnel vision' and to dispatch secondary threats, would not have been of any use, my magazine was empty. As for the target, the intense firing 'took the starch out of it's britches'. My magazine holds all 15 rounds, so I stepped back while son entered his second magazine of another 7 rounds.

    If I say so myself, we smartly smoked our targets. That was at 3 yards position one, firing cycle of fifteen rounds. Next we stepped back to position two, 7 yards. Case history indicates that most all personal firearms combat is between 3 to 7 yds.. Repeat stage two with reloaded magazines of ten rounds this time. Reid again ordered "Go Hot... At the Ready", and then 'Gun'... which we did..... even better.

    Coming into our stride, we were really ready to poke serious holes in paper.. Now our target 'bad guy' was pretty leaky. Looked like the daylights were shining through the 25 holes. Of course with wooden furring strips for legs, he was still standing. Reid gets upset when anyone shoots his targets legs.

    We couldn't use the range table today. It had several glancing holes in it from an unknown shooter preceeding our two year review. Apparently 'whomever' went to set down a 'hot' weapon while finger on trigger and it discharged.... several times at a close angle. Hmmm did they do that? Will it be on You Tube?

    After our first weapon of choice, we switched to our second, while Reid replaced our papers. My secondary was the little 38 special revolver belonging to wife. Reid holding my ammo bag with hands in his pockets, noticed my frozen fingers starting to shake He took control of the 38 and rapidly ejected and loaded the revolver for each consecutive five, to give me a total of 25 fired rounds to qualify. The little revolver only holds five rounds, but packs a man stopping wallop with each shot.

    I now am re-certified for 9mm or smaller semi-automatic and 38 cal or smaller revolver. Now to send the signed paper work in to the state of NM for the next two years extension of my Concealed Carry Weapon certification.

    Reid lately deploys to mountainous Afghanistan often and likes it lots better than Iraq. It is not so unbearably hot in summer. The reason he survives so well, is that the Xe (Blackwater guys) do not wear uniforms. They 'Go Native' while hunting down and convincing the excessively violent Taliban tribal leaders to 'play nice'. Going Native (Turbins beards and such) they fear most, the Army convoys 'bulletizing' them.

    Mexico missions to counter violence, and protecting diplomats is a never ending job for Xe, no matter what the main stream media reports. The main stream news has no idea... or pretends not to know. They depend on their protection as well....if they ever desire to get the 'real' news and then return to their families. Reid loves his work. The Bad guys try to Not share in his passion, at least if they are lucky they don't.

    His pretty wife understands. She worked in the same 'profession' when they met. Now her only pleasure is the kids and grandkids. Oh yea, one more, She is martial arts CCW and always on alert for local bad guys, as she innocently visits the mall and dines out.. Well trained, confident pretty Daughter, like her father, is martial arts CCW as well :>)

    Time to shake hands with Reid after hearing tales of our Sandoval County Sheriff's recent dilemmas and consequential removal from office, makes our frequent visits with Reid even more interesting. See you at the next protectors of Freedom Gunshow Reid, it has been our pleasure. The Second Ammendment of 'The United States of America, Bill of Rights' is being protected by 'The Patriotic Citizens of The USA'..

    My own wife really enjoys firing her little revolver. Her neighbor friend had to shoot our kitten with it.....
    I know, I know it sounds terrible, but let me finish the short story.

    The story started years ago when our very young son jumped off a kitchen stool. The new kitten was his unintended landing zone. It went into convulsions, so my sweet young wife called her young neighbor friend.

    She immediately ran over and checked out the leaping and twisting kitten. Determining it was fatally injured, she knowingly told wife "We have to put it out of it's misery". Wife quickly told her "I have a gun". Her and the neighbor looked at each other for a minute. Wife said ie: "I can't shoot the kitten, It isn't a threat to me".

    Young neighbor lady replied, 'in essence: "I have no connections to it, it is your Kitten, I know how to shoot a gun and will take care of the job". They wisely took the writhing kitten out to the back yard for the execution. A good thing, because we would have had to deal with a really torn up floor as an aftermath.

    The two young ladies dug a hole and set the kitten in it. It kept turning and flipping over. The young neighbor lady pointed wife's 38 revolver into the hole and squeezed the trigger.

    Both of them jumped at the loud report, then looked into the hole. The kitten was still writhing and flipping..... She had missed. The neighbor said "My ears are ringing, that is the loudest gun I have ever shot, and it jumped as the bullet came out." My compassionate wife said, "shoot it again". Neighbor lady said "NO it hurts my ears and I can't look, I turned away and closed my eyes before pulling the trigger".

    Well being very distrught about the kitten and fearing firing wife's 38 revolver the city... they grabbed the shovel and buried the kitten....alive....well sort of.

    One of the more intrigueing stories from our 'Land of the Free', Our USA. "One Nation Under God"