Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Half of our people selected this new Campsite overlooking Buena Vista--the other half chose a spot along the river below.
One day two riders clomped by on their way up a mountain.

Hours later on their way down, they stopped to chat.
Meet Kendra and Beth--from Missouri and their friendly mounts Jack and Sleepy.
Kendra has not seen the mountains before.

They chatted a long while--answering all our questions about horses and horsemanship.
The big news for me came when they pointed out the unusual bridle both horses were wearing.
If you look closely you can see the big news---NEITHER BRIDLE HAS A BIT IN THE HORSES MOUTH.
You understand don't you that a bit is a  metal crosspiece normally fitted in the back of the horse's 
mouth at the tender junction of its lips so that when the reins are pulled,  a firm (if not painful) signal is sent to indicate a right, left or stop message. 
Beth is the owner of many horses and  she puts no bits in any of them.  She is teaching Kendra a kinder, gentler way to get obedience.  This spirited little rider told us that a slight pull on either rein could be easily felt by the horse and if the rider has a good relationship with her mount, no pain need be inflicted by a bit.
She demonstrated getting Jack to back up--asking him verbally while pulling back easily on both reins.  Jack walked backward!!

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  OH SWEET PEOPLE--do you get the message----and the metaphor?
FORCE IS NOT NECESSARY TO GET COOPERATION FROM A HORSE.  Maybe affection is enough in most cases.  What a marvelous message to give the world.
I was so impressed--I sat down and celebrated Kendra with a poem:


Come to the mountains and ride Kendra ride,
with grandma Beth by your side Kendra side.
Put some goodies in your pack;
Saddle up sleepy and saddle up Jack;
Swishing their tail as you ride up the trail;
No telling when you two will be back.

How high up will Kendra go?
She might go up as high as the snow;
Clear to the top and look right down
On pretty Buena Vista town,
And a valley so green it's fit for a queen
And the Arkansas river so fun to float down.

Come back Kendra, you're welcome again,
And welcome the pinto with lovely mane.
Ride with courage the pony of time,
Not knowing the future, it's rhythm or rhyme.
 With grace and grit ride your horse without bit
Up all mountains you choose to climb. 


Linda Sand said...

Training with love instead of pain. Oh if only we could all learn this.

Anonymous said...

What @ beautiful way to treat animals,in a loving & compassionate manner the way all of them deserve it !! We need more people like Kendra & her mom in the world.

Anonymous said...

"Hackamore -a bridle without a bit, operating by exerting pressure on the horse's nose." Sounds like a very good horseman, but for the record Hackamore's are commonly used and can be just as painful or more so if improperly fitted or used in the wrong hands. Most bit's are not uncomfortable to a horse if fitted and used correctly. A bit should NEVER be used to cause pain, that is not what any good horse trainer does - and most horse people know that. So if you see a horse with a bit don't "assume" they are being mistreated, it depends on what is comfortable for the horse, I have seen horses that were fine with a bit but hated a hackamore, just depends on the horse and rider. Think of it like this some people love flip-flops and some hate them - depends on what is comfortable to you.

Randy said...

Thank you anonymous for your clear and helpful explanation.

Anonymous said...

No problem, just trying to explain, people assume the worst some times, and I have seen my fair share treated badly, but overall horse people have horses because they love them.

Roxy said...

Randy, thank you for sharing this story. It's good to hear that there are some people that understand the importance of learning to move with the animals; to love them and attempt to understand them, and have let go of the desire to control everything wild on this planet. By working with, rather than against, we can learn a lot and become closer with nature and the environment.

Terri Reed said...

Yes, each horse is different, some are willing to be guided by the rider, some aren't. Some need a bit if they're too pig-headed with their own ideas, some don't. I've ridden horses that need a bit. I have a horse that doesn't need a bit. It's wonderful to have that kind of partnership and respect for each other; we both enjoy the ride so much more!

Anonymous said...

I've read of trail horses that the rider has gotten into an impossible a 200 hundred foot drop on one side and an impassable obstacle blocking the trail and no place to turn around. The teller of this tale said he just dropped the reins and let the horse get him out of the tough dangerous place. And the horse did!

Ruby said...

I'm interested to know where your campsites were--both the one in the picture and the one down by the river--if you are willing to divulge. Thanks.

Randy said...

Ruby: Some of my colleagues are opposed to sharing this kind of information---for perhaps good and obvious reasons. BUT I DISAGREE--I think that sharing info on good campsites ultimately serves us all. I salute those web sites that shares this valuable info.
So saying, I tell you that the river site is located about 6 miles north of Buena Vista on the river road running along the East bank of the Arkansas river. The other site is about 5 miles west of Buena Vista--left on 343 and immediately right on 345. come visit!

Maket u├žak said...

Very interesting article, fun to read.. thank you!