Tuesday, November 3, 2015

If It Isn't Love, What Is It?

Are horses capable of love?  According to Greg Kallmeyer, owner of Kallmeyer Equestrian Center in Burlington, Kentucky, the answer is unequivocally no.  He scoffs at the idea when he says that we are, "...ascribing human characteristics to animals..."  He made his comment in a story published by the Cincinnati Enquirer on November 2, 2015.

When my wife Carol read the article she knew that Kallmeyer's comment would trigger an immediate and visceral response from me.

Only in recent years have we begun to study the emotional lives of the animals with whom we share the planet.  As we gain greater knowledge and insight, our attitudes towards, and no doubt our relationships with our animals will change dramatically.

Here is my take on the subject.

As animals of prey, horses are reactive as opposed to being cerebral, thinking creatures.  We are not discussing their sentience, but rather their capacity to feel.  However, because their need for food, shelter, security and reproduction closely mirror our own needs, we might ask, is it a stretch to believe that their emotions are very similar to ours, even though they may be demonstrated in different ways?


Has my horse Callie been deprived of the ability to care about me?

Horses evidence much of their physical and mental state through a variety of physical and occasionally verbal clues.  For example, a horse's pinned ears indicate anger, etc.  But in the context of the herd, horses pair off or join specific groups that satisfy their need for emotional support, while avoiding other herd members, perhaps even the herd's dominant male or female.  When separated from a horse with whom they've developed a deep and long lasting relationship, severe depression can ensue and some have been known to lose their will to live.  In what way does that response differ from the human response?  When our complex needs are fulfilled by another person, we too pair off, and we call it love.

In my many years of horse ownership, I have seen my mares show anger, frustration, confusion, jealousy, depression when scolded and what can only be described as affection, devotion, or, dare I say it, love.  There is no doubt in my mind that they are capable of a great range and depth of emotion.  Have you ever seen a mare react to the death of its foal?

We might well say that for as many differences as there are between animals and their human counterparts, there are many fundamental similarities.  Seemingly, love is one of them.




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Something Different

It is not often that you are able to place a check mark next to an item on your bucket list.  But this past weekend my wife and I were invited to an event at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens Mast Farm breeding facility in Loveland, Ohio.

The Cincinnati Zoo is renowned for its breeding programs, particularly its breeding of the spectacular cheetah.  Saturday was a special day because we would see Nia ( pronounced Nee-uh), one of the zoo's outreach ambassadors, run, chasing a drag for more than 600 yards.  At the zoo the cheetahs perform five days a week and spend two days a week at the Mast Farm, presumably for some r&r and additional training.


Nia

Nia is a six-year old female.   Cheetahs are completely solitary, coming together only to mate it seems.  At the zoo they are not bothered by the addition of a cheetah from another zoo, far different in their reaction than that of the lion and its strong family ties to the pride.

 Because of their small size, females weighing less than 100 pounds and males up to 120 pounds, cheetahs will often have their prey taken from them by much larger animals such as lions or hyenas.

Unlike domestic cats cheetahs cannot retract their claws.  The lines running down their face serve as "sun glasses" in the white glare of the dry savannah in which they live.

One of the zoo's cheetahs owns the world record for speed by a cheetah.  Over short distances, speeds of 70 mph ( 43 kilometers) can be reached.  One of the videos I've included shows Nia chasing, catching and mouthing a drag.  Curiously, her keepers could easily take her "prey" from her without much of a reaction, she much preferred to lie down in the grass and purr. The purr is high pitched and to me sounds like the chirping of my own pet cats.

Someone in the small crowd asked what would happen if Nia were to see a deer, rabbit or squirrel.  Her handler said, "Nothing, she simply would not know what to do with it."  Even though most if not all of the zoo's cheetahs have been born in captivity and know nothing of the wild, I suspect they would quickly revert to their natural instincts if left to their own devices.

On the downside, cheetahs do not care much for strangers and Nia in particular does not like men. Perhaps there is some well deserved justice in that.


Nia surveys her audience.


With her handler and her prey.


There was never a moment when Nia's handler was not smiling at her.


What trust looks like.

video

The chase and capture.

video

OOP'S.  Watch how calm Nia remains.

After the cheetah run we visited McCauley's Saddlery to pick up some Cowboy Magic green spot remover.  Stormy has spent the last week or so rolling in her own poop, but with the weather cooling off, I need some outside assistance to keep her as clean as possible.

I think I may have mentioned in another post that a while back Callie became startled and when she raised her head with great force, my head got in the way.  No doubt I was out on my feet for a bit. Well, the saga continues, When I bent down to put on her Soft-Ride boots, she stepped forward and caught me on the eyebrow ridge over my right eye with her knee.   I have a nice shiner, but that's okay, because my black eye's color matches the color of the nail on the ring finger of my left hand. After feeding Callie some peppermints, I let her lick the sweetness from my hand while I reached over to pay some personal attention to Stormy.  How my ring finger wound up in her mouth I don't know, but I certainly knew it when she clamped down.  The pain was unbearable and all I could think was, "She's going to take the tip of  my finger off."  No matter how hard I tried to get away, I couldn't.  I began yelling in panic and pain, until a startled and frightened Callie spit me out!  And several months from now the black and blue nail will give way to a new pearly white one. 

 Will I never learn?

Oh well.

Copyright, October 20, 2015 by Loren Schumacher


Monday, October 12, 2015

Beach Crisis Has Been Rescued!!!

Great news.  The Standardbred, Beach Crisis, has been pulled from the kill pen in Pennsylvania and is awaiting transportation to his new home in Indiana.


Beach Crisis, battle tested and scarred.
The only picture we have of him.

Contributions are still needed and if you can contribute to Beach Crisis' continuing needs, please make them through this Paypal account: red22bug@aol.com for Munster Stable.  Remember there are still other horses in kill pens, no doubt hundreds of them and they are as disposable as Kleenex Tissue.  Please help as you can and to those who have made a contribution, Thank You.




Some days the sun is a little brighter and the air a little cleaner.  It's going to be a good day because Beach Crisis is going to live.

Loren*

*I am not soliciting on my behalf.  The above mentioned Paypal account belongs to Munster Stable.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This Horse Is In A Pennsylvania Kill Pen. Will You Help Save Him-Please?

A friend of mine who races Standardbred horses (trotters and or pacers) also rescues horses in need and has asked me to reach out to you for help.  

Beach Crisis is a twelve year old Standardbred that today stands in a Pennsylvania kill pen awaiting death.  He has raced over 300 times in his career and raced as recently as April of 2015 at Northfield Park here in Ohio.  He has won nearly $250K in his career.

How he wound up in this predicament is unclear, but what is clear is that he needs our/your help if he is to live out his life in peace and quiet as he should, as all of us hope to do as well.

Bobbie, who owns and operates Munster Stable, is willing to bring him back to Ohio, but it will take $675.00 to buy his freedom and another $300.00 in transportation costs,  

Will you please donate for his rescue?
Bobbie's Paypal account is used solely for rescues of this kind.
The account is:
red22bug@aol.com
It should be under Munster Stable.

Here is the printed information on Beach Crisis that Bobbie passed along.


Please help Beach Crisis.  He hasn't much time.







Thank you so much.

Loren

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"He Could Have Given Up"

Keen Ice, the 16-1 shot son of Curlin, lay in the weeds along with the ghosts of the "Graveyard of Champions," winning The Travers Stakes, besting Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.   Only Whirlaway in 1941 escaped with a win at the Travers after his Triple Crown victories.  Man-O-War lost the only race of his storied career there and the great Secretariat fell to an unknown named Onion.

It is tempting to say, "I saw it coming," because the Pharoah has earned more air miles than a business class flier in 2015, as he traveled between California and Kentucky, or Maryland and whatever race destination might follow.  Think of an eight race win streak that includes seven grade 1 wins in 385 days. Consider the physical toll training exacts from an athlete and add the emotionally and physically draining rush of adrenaline needed to compete  Still, it may have just been a bad day at the races for American Pharoah.


AP "working"

AP broke cleanly from the gate and swept to an early lead.  Sliding easily along the rail, he was shadowed by the perennial groomsman, Frosted, runner-up to Texas Red in the Jim Dandy stakes. The first quarter was taken in a leisurely 24.28 and the second in 24.02.  Frosted, under the hand of replacement rider Jose Lezcano, showed strength and will, dogging the Pharoah at about a half a length behind along the backstretch.  Frosted's trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he didn't expect for his colt to press American Pharoah.


Frosted caught speeding


Kentucky Derby pre-race workout

Still running first and second, Saratoga race goers waited for Victor Espinoza to give AP his head, waited for the horse's great engine to churn, to hum, to lengthen his stride and to pull away from Frosted.  Rounding the turn for home, Frosted played his trump card, steaming to a brief lead over American Pharoah, who showed his will and courage by regaining the lead with a sixteenth-mile to go.  Frosted, tiring but gallant, faded to a third place finish 21/4 lengths back.

But American Pharoah was spent, his head bobbing up and down, his energy and momentum drained away by the duel with Frosted that covered the third quarter in 23.60 seconds.  He looked for all the world like a child's sad hobby horse.

Espinoza later said, ".. I feel like from the five-eighths pole, his energy level, it was not the same like before...I noticed the horse that was next to me, I was trying to open it up and not let them get close. And he (American Pharoah) just stayed in the same place."

Trainer Bob Baffert said, "He was empty, empty at the top of the stretch and he was still trying to win.  I thought there was still a chance."


Bob Baffert and American Pharoah

Keen Ice settled into the middle of the pack but remained within striking distance of the leaders as they turned for home. Trainer Dale Romans remarked, " We (Donegal Racing head Jerry Crawford and Romans) said there's no riding for second.  Let's put him in the race, closer and try to win the race.  He was closer than he had ever been."

When the fast closing Keen Ice came to the tiring American Pharoah, he had nothing for him and AP finished three quarters of a length back in second place.   Keen Ice had but one victory in his previous ten starts, running a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont Stakes.

Baffert said, " I could tell he wasn't on his A game today, but he tried hard.  I could tell by Victor's body language that we were in trouble at the half-mile pole, and the only reason we ran second was because he (American Pharoah) is such a great horse.  The winner ran a really good race."  Of Frosted's effort, "...he (American Pharoah) was getting pressured from a very good horse.  He never left us alone.  You can't blame them,  It was just an aggressive, competitive ride."


Frosted.
I am very partial to grey horses.

And finally Baffert said, "It almost ended well,  He almost pulled it off.  He tried so hard under the circumstances and he was still trying to win. He could have given up."


Such a long way to go
American Pharoah as a yearling.



Copyright, September 29, 2015 by Loren Schumacher
All photos in the public domain


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Old Friends, Bookends

Because it is so appropriate, I borrowed Paul Simon's lyric for my title.

Like bookends, these Belgian draft horses are seldom far from one another.  I've driven past their ten acre patch of land for nearly twenty years and have always seen them there, never more than a few feet apart.  They share their large pasture with several head of Hereford cattle.   All of them rummage through grass as long and dry as the day.  Their shadows are August short and the day's searing heat rises breathlessly, stretching closer to 100 degrees with each passing hour.

But there is a pond that the cattle wade in and several large maples that they share with the horses.  If it weren't for the hordes of face flies. this bucolic scene might be mistaken for idyllic.

Despite their imposing size the horses were nervous and shy, shuffling off and turning away whenever my camera was poised.


Old Friends, Bookends


I won't look at him.




Copyright 9/23/15 by Loren Schumacher
Photos: Copyright 9/23/15 by Loren Schumacher


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

But Aren't I Your Horse?

July arrived for a second time in September this year.  The sun is intense and direct, pointed like a finger stabbing at your chest.  If you shake a box of corn flakes (you pick the brand) you'll hear the sound of feet shuffling through the brittle grass of yards begging for water.  Storm clouds build, then fritter away the afternoons, gliding away across the sky on hot breezes that become still at sunset and dissolve, only to reform the following afternoon.  And the flies!  The flies are a plague now as they too search for moisture.

The raspberries have come and gone and are replaced by the fruits of early fall, green apples, quinces and small, brown ripening hackberries.  Callie stands on her long muscular back legs to reach them, gorging herself, just as she does in the late spring when the mulberry trees bear fruit. The berries are tasty but are mostly seed.  Stormy, though, still prefers grass to berries and she delights in a bit of poison ivy.  Carol, wildly allergic to poison ivy, only has to pet Stormy to develop a rash that festers and oozes.


Callie in her winter coat looking a bit like a fuzzy stuffed toy.

 Until recently we have had so much rain that we began to complain, all the while knowing that sooner or later our dry season would come.

Stripping away their fly sheets late in the day brings a nearly audible sigh of relief from both horses. Bathed in sweat, Callie, a dark bay, is nearly black.  Her pretty face is a mass of bloody spots, peeling skin and scabs from rubbing her itchy, sunburned face against the closest stationary object.. Quite often it is me that she uses a rubbing post.  Being selectively head shy, she won't allow me to spread a soothing salve or sunscreen on her tortured face.  I feel sorry for her, but beyond putting a fly mask on her, which she gladly accepts, I can do very little to make her feel comfortable.

Stormy drops to her knees and rolls back and forth, back and forth, using her head as both lever and fulcrum to scrub away the days sweat and fly spray.  Snorting and jumping to her feet, we are sometimes treated to an exhibition of farting, running and a horse in the throes of joy that only a good kick in the air can bring,

The air is alive with insects of every kind it seems,dragonflies, paper wasps and low flying, meat eating deer flies,  While fewer in number than the rest, the deer flies are large and determined to have a meal of flesh and blood.  Even a direct hit sometimes only disorients them.  Falling to the ground after a solid cuffing, a deer fly, tough as a cob, takes only a moment to regroup and fly away.  Only the most nimble and determined of us can bring a just end to the misery a deer fly can inflict.

It was on just such an afternoon recently that I tacked- up Callie, her dark bay coat nearly black with sweat, for an hours workout.  Seeing the training halter in my hand, she hustled to the back side of the stable, but being lazy to the bone and a firm believer in energy conservation, she circled our small red stable once, then walked to within a foot of me and bowed her head.  It took just a moment or two to tie the halter.


Where there is a blade of grass to be eaten, that's where you'll find Callie.

Callie is the sweetest horse I have ever known?  She is without guile or grudge, unlike her stablemate Stormy.  She is a "pleaser" by nature.  Under saddle she is feather-light, responsive and not reactive. But she owns her faults and they can be consequential.  If her feet are stuck, she normally will protest by rearing.  Once I lost the reins when she pawed the air and only a handful of her mane, good luck and a seven-inch cantle kept me in the saddle.  And if she has had enough, enough of anything, she will buck.  That is BUCK!  Really big ones, the kind that show her belly markings to anyone who might be near enough to see them.  But allow me to defend my big girl by saying that the more she is ridden the more she learns and the less inclined she is to those antics.  Remember, she's been babied because of her navicular distress.

When the weather is hot and dry and the air buzzes with flies, Callie wears orthopedic boots to ease the pain as she pounds the tabletop-hard dirt to shake off her tormentors..  The boots make a curious "galumphing" sound when she trots or canters, a sound that always makes me laugh.  Her summer trousseau usually consists of a quality fly sheet with 95% UV protection, a fly mask and, of course, her boots.  I might buck too if I were her.

While I finished tightening Callie's cinch, Stormy stood dejectedly off to one side, her head lowered in an almost submissive way.  The softness and sadness in her dark eyes indicted and convicted me.  Before I could speak, she nickered softly to me in a way that only her best friend would understand, "Hey, what about me?"


Stormy.  Unforgettable.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

AMERICAN PHAROAH**




I've fallen under the spell of American Pharoah. The computer advises me that it doesn't recognize that spelling of Pharaoh and for my information and edification has underlined Pharoah in bright red, the color of a ripe cayenne pepper.

Pharoah has proven his courage in a desperate finish at the Kentucky Derby, as a mudder at Pimlico and as a Champion with his stunning victory at the mile and a half graveyard of Triple Crown contenders, The Belmont.  He has been the subject of professional doubt, but his performances have given his detractors reason to reconsider.   He is not invincible, he may yet have a bad day at the races, but for now let's celebrate and enjoy him.  He won't be ours for that much longer.

The  Haskell  Invitational at Monmouth Park (8/2/15) , hard by the Jersey shore, could have been a trap race, a race where an under prepared or tired champion might dull the luster of his recent achievements.  Just 57 days removed from his stunning victory at the mile and a half Belmont, one could almost anticipate a letdown, perhaps a meltdown.  Even Secretariat lost two races after winning the Triple Crown.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who truly seems to be humbled by American Pharoah's ability, said that the horse was a little amped in the paddock and he knew the pace would be fast.  And the speed came with the ringing of a bell and the clanging of an opening starting gate.  Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith's horse, Competitive Edge, racing two turns for the first time, broke smartly and took the lead as expected with American Pharoah stalking him about a length behind and Mr Jordan, another speed horse, just behind him.


Bob Baffert and American Pharoah

The first quarter was run in 23.1 and the half in 46 seconds flat.  Mr Jordan, unable to stand the pace, fell back rapidly, finishing last, while American Pharoah inched closer to the leader.  Watching the replay of the race one can see that Pharoah simply is not working as hard as Competitive Edge and that the moment, the denouement, would come very soon.  Half way through the far turn, never raising his whip hand, jockey Victor Espinoza, who had held American Pharoah in check to that point, simply let the great horse go.  Dropping Competitive Edge by five lengths with just a few of his elegant ground eating strides, Espinoza hand-rode American Pharoah to an easy 2-1/4 length victory, just a tick slower than the track record for a mile and one-eighth, ahead of fast closing long-shot, Keen Ice and third place finisher Upstart.


American Pharoah at speed

The margin of victory is deceiving because Expinoza, riding high in the saddle, was clearly saving his horse for the rigors of what must surely come, The Breeder's Cup Classic. So dominant was his performance that American Pharoah became only the tenth horse in history to run a mile and an eighth in less than 1:48 - and did it while being pulled up.


Jockey Victor Espinoza  and America's Horse

The Asbury Park Press headline put it best: Total Domination: American Pharoah wows everybody in the Haskell.  The article's author, Steven Falk, quotes jockey Victor Espinoza, "He (American Pharoah) is always a champion.  That's why he won the Triple Crown and (Sunday) he showed it again."

History will remember the misspelling of Pharoah as little more than an interesting factoid, an aberration, perhaps a mood lightening giggle in the high stakes game of thoroughbred breeding and racing.  His racing career will end in October and he will be shipped to Coolmore Ashford Stud in Kentucky, where a bevy of willing and some unwilling maidens await his pleasure and the racing community will stand in line to spend its cash on his first crop of foals.

It will be a sad thing to watch him be led away, The cheering will fade and the throngs will move on to the next greatest thing.  In that moment he will begin a kind of falling away.  There will be those who will compare him to Citation or Seattle Slew, even Secretariat, but American Pharoah can only be compared to those who raced against him, then followed him across a finish line.







Copyright August 6, 2015 by Loren Schumacher
All photos in the public domain
**Another version of this story appeared in HorseCollaborative.com 8/7/15




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And So The Story Goes

I bought my  horse, Stormy, for $850.00 when she was just four years old.  $850.00,  not a lot of money for a registered paint horse with a nice, but not spectacular pedigree.

Her owners thought that because she was small she'd make an ideal horse for their teenage daughters, neither of whom had any experience with horses.  How wrong they were. Threatening and generally uncooperative, she buffaloed everyone from father to youngest daughter.  She was a black and white terror who convinced everyone to leave her alone, preferably with plenty of hay and grain.  Stormy soon became available for purchase at a good price.

When I bought Stormy she came with plenty of emotional baggage and the weight of a story or two that may or may not have been true.  For instance, her name: Stormy Monday.  Her breeder, a client and friend of my wife Carol,  swears that on Monday, April 3, 2000, the day Stormy was born, sliding easily into this world, there was a thunderstorm.  Weather records indicate .64 inches of rain with the day's high temperature reaching 63 degrees,  a warm day for early April in southwestern Ohio, where it is normally wet and bone chillingly cold in the spring.  With over a half inch of rain there could well have been a storm, but nothing I've found says yes or no.


Fox Now, her mother,  and Stormy not long after she was foaled.  You can see how muscular Stormy was at birth.  I've always thought that Fox looked a little irritated in this picture.


Fox, Stormy and Carol's friend, Kelly.  Kelly appears a little concerned that Fox might be an overly protective mother.

I called my wife's friend, Kelly, Stormy's breeder.  That was just a figure of speech that let me get on with the next tale, because Kelly told this story, and if true, Stormy is just another of life's quirky accidents.

It seems that Kelly's horse, Joe (Box C Black Leo Joe),  had just been snipped, gelded if you will, about the time Stormy's dam, Fox Now, came into season.  Joe, standing over sixteen hands and always a stud, allegedly jumped a four foot horse fence and impregnated Fox Now.  Possible, I suppose, because even a half loaded pistol is still a lethal weapon and stranger things have happened in the horse world.


Joe, Stormy's sire, bluff charges the camera

The horses in the background are Kelly's dun horse, Dusty, then Callie, and my horse at the time, Wyatt.  Wyatt and I were still trying to work out our differences and Stormy was still in the future.


This is such a great photo.  If you begged and pleaded, these three would never have lined up just this way nor this perfectly.  This picture was taken just two months after we bought the horses.  You can see how small and immature Callie was.  Dusty and Callie paired up and after a physical debate in which she gave as good as she got, Wyatt and Joe partnered.

Carol and I took Stormy back to Kelly's to board and to test drive her for a few days. Kelly thought it might be a great idea to reintroduce Stormy to her sire, Joe.  She convinced me to put both Stormy and Joe into her round pen.  What could go wrong?

Joe, the nightmare stud horse appeared.  To Joe, Stormy was just another horse to be whipped into shape, subjugated and added to the herd.   He did not appear to recognize her, his only thought was to break her and break her he did. 

He snaked his neck and bared his teeth and then, sniffing the air, he chuffed and screamed a cold, chilling stallion scream and cutting off Stormy's retreat, bit her savagely just to the left of her withers. Her hair was peeled back and Stormy's pink skin showed a bite just deep enough to reveal a raised welt where the separations between Joe's front teeth were.

Young, terrified and inexperienced, Stormy, her own screams piercing the coming night, tried to run from Joe, but there was too little room in the round pen to maneuver and Joe's attacks were bold and savage.  Her white hair fell in tufts to the ground like the milk weed seed's feathery parachute.  She kicked again and again, her rear hoofs slashing the vacant air until she was too tired to run or fight anymore. Something in her began to give way and she slowed, resigned I suppose to die.   Stormy had done all she could do against the bigger and more experienced horse.

How we separated Stormy and Joe I simply do not remember.  But I do remember a trembling sweat-soaked little horse pressing its head close to mine.  I must have been unconscious or just stupid to have let this happen.  I wish this story were not true, but it is, too true.

These were just moments in her very young life.  Stormy will always be Stormy, she wears the name well and most would have given up on her, sold her and moved on.  But my devotion to her and her trust in me is our bond and she is my forever horse.


Friday, July 10, 2015

A Modern Horseman: Part 2 of 2

In part two of A Modern Horseman, Helge speaks his mind about a variety of subjects including his philosophy.

"My grandfather was a part-time horse trader in Kentucky and he bought me my first horse, a little stud pony named Coco.  I was just two years old.  There is a tape recording of me saying I love to ride Coco. It was one of the first things I learned to say.

I got my first paying job at a sale barn when I was five years old.  I'd get $1.00 for riding ponies into the ring.  Riding them into the sales ring helped the seller get a higher price for a pony.

My grandfather, and others, did lots of things that were wrong in the ways in which they interacted with horses.  Stallions were sometimes gelded with a pocket knife on the auction house floor.  I've seen my grandfather bite or twist a horse's ear as a kind of twitch until someone could get on and ride the buck out of them.

Because of some of the things that have been done to horses, using drugs to dope a horse in order to sell them, I have never made selling horses a part of my business.  I will recommend a horse or give someone my opinion, but I won't take money for selling a horse.

My dad had horses when he was in Norway.  The Germans occupied his town when he was a young boy, and when they left, my dad bought one of the horses the Germans left behind.  It was deaf, because the Nazis punctured their eardrums so they couldn't hear the cannon fire.

My mother, though, had no interest in horses, but they gave me a sense of freedom and adventure.  I liked being on their backs and moving fast. It was exhilarating.

In the seventh grade we had to write a report that told where we pictured ourselves in ten years.  I wrote that I wanted to move to Colorado and breed Appaloosa horses.  Even then I had an idea about what I wanted to do with my life.

I trained a full-blooded two year old zebra stallion.  The zebra was not completely wild because the owner had had it since it was a baby.  But you couldn't pick up its feet or lead it.  The owner asked if I could train it and I said, "I honestly don't know."  So I got on the internet and did some research and most of what I read said it couldn't be done.  But there were some trainers who had done some things, so I gave it a try.

Zebras are not like horses, because there is a lot more fight than flight to them.  It was hard to get it to move away from you.  It would turn toward you and be aggressive and want to fight you.  I used the same principles I use with a horse, but it just took a lot longer.  I tried to make everything simpler.
Because it was small, my son, Houston, would ride it on trails.  We even broke it to drive a cart.

The characteristics of a horse's breed make them suited for different disciplines.  I got into trouble when I made a speech at the University of Kentucky.  A woman asked me how to slow down her off-the-track-thoroughbred.  I said you have to be realistic about your breed, yes it can be done,  but they are bred to be athletic, to run fast.  Transitions will help a lot, up and down, smaller circles, but you have to be realistic about your breed.  If you wanted a slower loping horse, you might consider a quarter horse.  Three hands went up right away.  They were defensive about their OTTBs, saying that they were great.

I ride a Tennessee Walking Horse and I have taught her to turn on her hind quarters and spin around a bit, but she is not going to do it as well as a quarter horse, she's just not built that way.

With a hotter breed like an Arab you have to be a little more active rider, because things are happening faster.  You have to slow yourself down and act deliberately because the smallest action from you causes a big reaction from them.  You should be conscious of your body actions on the ground and in the saddle so that your are not over-stimulating the horse.  On the other hand, a quarter horse will need more stimulation.


Helge's favorite picture.  Teaching Callie to canter.

Owners not spending enough time reviewing what's been taught previously can be a bit of a problem, but I am realistic and recognize that people's lives today leave limited time for them to spend with their horses: it's not that they are not trying.  Because of that I try to keep things simple and give them the key components and make it uncomplicated.  If you make things too complex, too stretched out, too involved, people never get to the next step.  You have to make it so that people feel like they are accomplishing something.

I first became aware of Richard Winters the year he won Road To The Horse at Murfreesboro, Tennessee (now held in Lexington, Kentucky).  I liked him because everything is really straightforward, there is no voodoo involved.  He makes it easy for the audience to understand.

He invited me to California, to the Thatcher School.  I didn't take a horse so I rode some training horses.  He'd give me jobs, and put me to work, another area of philosophy we agree on.  You need to give a horse a job.  A horse doesn't have to have a job catching a cow or running on a race track, you can come up with things, you just have to be a little creative.  Opening a gate for example.

(I asked Helge for his thoughts on some of the more prominent natural horseman.  He stuck to the positives when discussing each one of the trainers.)

Richard Winters: great teacher, breaks things down and makes it easy for the horse and rider to understand.  Awesome rider.

Clinton Anderson: I like that he says what he thinks and what he means.  You know where he is, he's straightforward.  Three days in a row is the best for training.

Chris Cox: He cares about and respects the horse.  He doesn't talk to horses and doesn't feel it accomplishes much.  The only time I talk is when someone is watching in order to illustrate what I am saying to the horse with my body language, otherwise I don't talk to the horse.  That doesn't mean that a horse can't get something from the soothing tone of your voice, it's just not something I've felt a need to do.  Horses can learn verbal cues from the inflection in your voice.  I use, "Whoa," that's about it.


Helge leading Wyatt with me aboard.  This was the very first time Wyatt had been ridden.

To me natural horsemanship is about learning to communicate with the horse in a manner that makes sense to the horse.  If you can find what makes the horse tick, what is important in their world and their language and apply it to training methods - I think that's what natural horsemanship is.

I am very skeptical about most horse rescues. There are a few good ones.  A lot of times they get beginners or people who don't know anything and put them with horses that don't know anything.  By working out of this particular rescue (where we met) I've gained a lot of clients, but at the same time I've seen people just getting into horses who shouldn't have green unbroke horses, people who should get broke horses that they can take out on a trail and ride.  Wyatt (my first horse) was pretty much like a mustang, a pretty much untouched PMU baby from Canada and it was not a good situation for you to be put in.

I put Helge on the spot and told him that I thought that he had never particularly liked my horse Stormy.  He assured me that was not the case and analyzed both of my horses.

Stormy: I think she has some quirks that make her a little difficult.  Stormy is willful, but fairly smart. She was able to out think and out-maneuver you in the beginning.  You've gotten a lot better about that.

Callie: She has naturally good confirmation and build with the ability to perform riding gaits and maneuvers very easily.  She has more of the physical attributes to be a good riding horse, I think, than Stormy.

I believe in pushing your zone.  Zones are like a bullseye and in the center is a ring where everyone is comfortable with what they are doing.  You may be comfortable riding in a round pen, but trotting in a pasture makes you uncomfortable.  Galloping your horse along a river bank and up a mountain may be in your panic zone.  That's the outer ring of the bullseye.  Most learning takes place in that uncomfortable zone.  You can't learn where you are completely comfortable, but there is no growth if you are afraid.

I haven't seen too much fear on your (meaning me) part, frustration in that the horse is not listening, but not fear.  Many people are so afraid that they are going to get hurt that they stop thinking and panic sets in.  You were an athlete, a baseball player, so riding a horse probably came pretty naturally to you.

If you ask a horse to stop and you make a fist with your hands and the horse keeps walking, they can run into your hands and your hands become an iron post.  I don't worry about how hard the bit is touching the horse's mouth because they are pulling against themselves.  I am not worried about the horse's mouth because my hands are still.  But the moment they come off of it there is a release there and it is in the release that the horse learns.  You can hold as hard as you need to, but hold, don't pull.

I think that people who do natural horsemanship, that's the one thing they get hung up on.  They are trying to be so light and so gentle that they give when the horse pulls on them.  If the horse pulls again, they give again.  They are not doing the horse any justice trying to be light.  As a result they are becoming mediocre because they are holding on to the horse all of the time."

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Modern Horseman: Part 1 of 2

I think of cowboys and horse trainers as men who are small in stature, light weight and bandy-legged from years spent in the saddle.  Helge, on the other hand, is a big man, perhaps six feet two or three and two hundred twenty pounds or more.  His hands are large with thick fingers that deny the deftness with which he manages a horse's reins.  He walks with the weight of long hours and the rigors of years spent working with horses.

Whenever his truck pulls into our  pasture we joke about the late afternoon heat, exchange horsey small talk and then set about making my horses and me better than we are.  It has been that way for many years now.

I had read in a weekly paper, Farm Week (now Farm World I believe), that a local trainer had successfully trained a zebra.  The zebra possesses a wild and untamed heart that makes them nearly impossible to train, so my curiosity was aroused.  I planned to ask around, hoping someone might know how to reach him.  The person I was searching for was Helge and it turned out that he was more or less the resident clinician at the horse rescue where I bought my first horse, a mare, that I called Wyatt.

Wyatt, like my horse, Callie, was a Canadian PMU mare, and neither more than likely had ever been touched by a human hand until they were forced into a squeeze chute, given several shots and prodded onto a stock trailer for a nineteen hour ride to Lebanon, Ohio.


Helge and Wyatt wearing my favorite saddle, a Marciante.

Wyatt wanted nothing to do with humans and when stalled for the first time, she turned her rump toward me, a sign of absolute disrespect and no doubt a little fear.  Within just a few minutes of introducing himself, Helge waded into her stall and after some shuffling of feet and tossing of her head and mane, Wyatt wore her first halter and was being lead to a new life.

Was it magic?  Is Helge a "Horse Whisperer?"  No, he is a modern horseman with a solid understanding of what goes on between a horse's ears and he's willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the desired result.  More importantly, he continues to learn.  Helge has spent some time working with Stacy Westfall and has been mentored by the likes of Richard Winters, both of whom are past winners of the Road To The Horse.  Because of his prominent contacts you might think that Helge is pointing toward a national stage; nothing could be further from the truth.  Why not? Because it would interfere with his life as a family man.  Wife Holly, sons Houston and Holt, are all involved in the business of horse as was Helge's daughter, Hannah, until her marriage.

Horses are a tough business and Helge owns the pain and damage that they can inflict,  He recently dislocated his right shoulder and he has a regularly scheduled appointment for a massage to work out the kinks, the tired muscles, the bruises and injuries that are slower to heal with every passing year. Several years ago my horse, Stormy, kicked Helge and his horse, Thunder, peeling the hide from her rump and delivering a heavy blow to his left knee.  Stormy surrounds herself with a finite hula-hoop of space into which no other horse may enter without her retaliation.  Helge winced, but there were no harsh words, no rebuke.  It was a painful reminder of his profession's dangers.

In our high tech society he is an anachronism, a throwback to another time perhaps, but to the horses and students he teaches and councils, he is the right person for our time.

When I first started working Stormy in the round pen, she began rearing and pawing the air in my direction.  While she's not a big horse she is pretty imposing when balanced on her hind legs. Frankly, I was intimidated and called Helge to ask his advice.  He had no advice, he just said, "I'm on my way, she can't be allowed to get away with this."

He arrived within forty-five minutes or so and immediately began longing Stormy.  To her way of thinking, rearing made me stop interrupting her pleasant afternoon, so it should work with this fellow as well.  As soon as she reared he whacked her hard on the chest with my stiff cue stick.  She reared again and was stung once more with the cue stick.  After a couple of repeat performances she circled the round pen quietly and willingly.  (Let me make it clear that hitting a horse is not a part of Helge's training philosophy, but rather an effective means to defuse a potentially dangerous situation.) Unfortunately she was not so cooperative with me and I had to follow Helge's example by smacking her hard across the chest.

Without straying too far from Helge's story, I can tell you that in a herd setting, horses dispense justice or correction quickly and sometimes painfully.  Flickering ears can become a kick or a bite, nudges become pushes and sometimes, if the message isn't taken to heart, what passes for warfare can take place.  Correcting Stormy with a cue stick was an extension of normal herd behavior.  She was told that her behavior was unacceptable.  She has never held a grudge and she has never reared again. Helge wouldn't accept any payment for his time, not even gas money.

Two years ago I interviewed Helge and what follows in Part Two are some of Helge's thoughts in his own words.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Take Just A Moment To Remember Them


May 25, 2015, Memorial Day

Since our own Civil War in the 1860's, more than 1,250,000 men and women, immigrants and natural born citizens of the United States of America have died so that my wife and I might have this one brief moment of peace and beauty on our farm.  And we should never forget the wounded, the maimed and the forever changed, whose names do not appear on the rolls of those killed in battle, but are casualties just the same.

Except by reflecting on our freedom, we can never, never do honor to their sacrifice.  They would be proud of the moments they have given you and me, and we should take just a moment to remember them.




Copyright, May 26, 2015 by Loren R. Schumacher
Photo, Copyright, May 25, 2015 by Carol A. Lang


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's Callie's Turn One More Time

Thomas McGuane in his book "Some Horses*," quotes a friend of his from Oklahoma, "God made a perfect world but he would like one chance to redesign the horse."  Further, McGuane says, "Certainly, some work could be done with the feet, hocks, suspensory tendons, navicular bones, all of which seem far too delicate for the speed and weight of the horse,  And too often, the fifty feet of unsupported intestine acquires a simple loop and kills the horse,  If the horse were a Ford, the species would vanish beneath lawsuits engendered by consumer-protection laws."

Now I don't know Thomas McGuane or his Oklahoma buddy, but I do know that horse, and she's mine!  Callie is the horse, like some humans, to whom everything happens, and unlike most humans, she suffers without complaint.

When she came to us she had a hideous scar on her right front shoulder that looked to be the product of a vicious bite.  Just a slight correction by another horse, perhaps.  There's the straight-line scar on her left side that runs nearly the length of her belly.  Might be from barbed wire fencing.  Then there is the wire fence scar above her left hind hoof, a reminder not to roll too close to our pasture fence.

There have been several trips by our vet to check minor eye injuries, you know, a piece of hay or dust and her eyes close and water like the Trevi Fountain.  And of course, her navicular and deep flexor tendon problems.  All suffered in silence by my beautiful girl.

While we were on vacation, the young woman who takes care of them for us emailed and mentioned that Callie had welts or hives that seemed to come and go.  We told her that Callie was no doubt suffering from mosquito bites and she, Irene, shouldn't worry about them.  We told Irene to make sure she sprayed Callie with fly spray a couple of times a day.

But we weren't prepared for this:


Callie's hide had bubbled up like paint exposed to high heat.

When I finally got a good look at Callie the next morning my first thought was, "Call the vet." 

 Instead, I sent our vet this photo and the following conversations in text followed.

Me:  Came home from vacation to find Callie covered in what appears to be hives.  Caretaker said they are not as bad as they were.(?)  Callie seems not to be bothered by them.  Is there anything I should do?  Are you seeing this elsewhere?  Looks like an allergic reaction to me.

Dr. Mc:  Definitely is allergic reaction that we don't want to ignore.  I would suggest antihistamines asap.  I can have the office get ready if you want to pick up.  If left prolonged could lead to an exaggerated systemic reaction etc.

Me:  Ok on the antihistamines.  I will p/u after 3 today.

Dr. Mc:  I will also leave a small packet of cortisone granules to get a jump on it.  Should resolve rather efficiently.

When I picked up the antihistamines the syringe was marked in ML, but the prescriptions was for 5 CC's twice per day.  I was confused, but Wikipedia cleared things up right away.  Silly me, CC's and ML's are the same.  Can I get a science class do-over please?

The antihistamine was prescribed for two doses for five days, but on the fifth day the hives reappeared.  Being Sunday, I felt pretty bad about bothering the vet, but another text brought the same immediate response.  Take the second cortisone packet and continue with two 5 ML doses a day.

Callie's hives seem better and she looks like my horse again, but I still have my fingers crossed that the allergic reaction is under control.  Still, I don't know what caused Callie's reaction and that's what bothers me most.


* Some Horses essays by Thomas McGuane, copyright 2013 and published first in hardback by Lyons Press in 1999

Copyright by Loren R. Schumacher May 18, 2015
Photo by the author, Copyright May 18, 2015




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Divers, Sharks, Chickens and Sunset Horses

Carol and I, like most of you, work like dogs to earn a few days vacation each year,and a trip to Paradise, Grand Cayman, seemed the right place to decompress.  We're fortunate to have come here to the island several times and while the weather has been iffy, it is still a beautiful, restful and peaceful place. 

We have been diving on the windward, east side, where the seas roll and tumble into deep boat-pitching troughs that have produced rock-me-in-your arms surge and a bit of sea sickness in me.  Most of the dives have a 100' profile for 40 minutes and then back to the boat and on board...if you can.

The west side along Seven Mile Beach is more commercial and tourist driven, but diving with
the Don Foster Dive operation is as good as it can get. 


Carol and me with a green turtle.

The reef on the west side is a little used up in places but still beautiful.  Best of all, the dive ops have done a great job keeping the predator Lion Fish at bay.  We understand that they have taken over the Bahamian reefs and as a result, the tropical fish population has declined.  The local predators don't yet see the Lion Fish as prey to be taken.  Too bad, we have always loved diving there.

Enough talk.  Most of the following pictures were taken by our friend, Howard Farr, with his GoPro camera, some by Carol and me.


A great shot of a Nurse Shark with Carol watching closely.  Nurse sharks are usually found on the bottom and are not normally aggressive,


Sunset on Baker's Beach.  Just Carol, me and our guide and camera man, Mike.

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Diamond in front and me on Lady.  She was a head tossing, nose to tail trail horse, but she's still a horse.


Did I tell you that life is always an uphill battle?

Georgetown, Grand Cayman is famous for its feral chickens and this rooster is one of them.  The pictures were taken at the Bates Family park on the island's west side.



This fellow is beautiful.






They used to call her Bubbles.
We're doing a safety stop on our last dive at 20' for 3 minutes.  That's the boat above my right shoulder.

On the dive pictured above, Carol and I both blew our dive profile of 60' for 50 minutes, which is never a good thing, because of nitrogen accumulation in the joints which can lead to a potentially fatal condition called the "bends."   But we saw a glimpse of two reef sharks darting in and out of the blue water over the reef's edge.  Well, most people run from sharks, but divers usually swim toward them as we did to a max depth of 81'  Battleship gray, sinuous, and lethal these girls (I have never seen a male shark) swam directly at us, so we were able to study them very closely.  It was a curious experience because one of them was being led by four tiny silver fish just in front of its snout and trailed by another larger fish (not a pilot fish), dark in color, which I did not recognize.  I can only think that they existed in some sort of symbiotic relationship.  It is always a surreal and beautiful experience to be in the presence of sharks.

Just a couple of more days and then back to the REAL world.

So long for now, from Paradise.




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Of Course They Have Emotions

 
My favorite portrait of Callie, just after a bath.  Hadn't washed her face yet.  She likes the way a cloth feels on her face, but she is so impatient that I am usually wetter than she.
 
 
The author of The Horse God Built, Lawrence Scanlan, wrote in his 1998 book, Wild About Horses,* "Few humans have ever wondered what animals were thinking or feeling, or even granted the possibility of animal thought or emotion." 
 
Not long ago I was asked if horses show emotion, because their facial expressions seldom seem to change.  It was a friend who has spent little time with horses who asked and she was surprised to find that their range of emotions is as complete and complex as our own, but mostly played out on a physical stage.  Horses do use their infrequent verbalizations to express how they are feeling or what they might want another horse or person, for that matter, to do.   A horse can even nicker, "Good morning," as mine often do.
 
Horses feel anger, boredom, fear, resentment, jealousy, loneliness and abandonment, as well as grief, just as we do.  Their ears and bodies tell us a great deal: ears up, down and sometimes sideways (interest, anger and boredom), chewing without eating, a hoof cocked when standing (at ease or learning or resting), among others.  We simply have to watch them to learn their language.
 
But what about affection?  Do my girls feel comforted by me, do they need me?  In all the years Callie and Stormy have been with me I have never been 100% sure.  Oh, Stormy will practically wrap herself around me when she is uncertain or a bit fearful, at a clinic for instance.  At night when I feed her she will touch my back or shoulder with her mouth and nose while I spread her hay, all the while drooling all over me.  Is this affection or just simple curiosity?
 
Perhaps it is because the three of us are getting older that the presence of one another as members of the herd has taken on greater meaning.  But I have begun to see changes in them, especially in Callie.
 
I had just gotten back from this year's "Road To The Horse" and the woman who takes care of them while we are away had fed and put them to bed.  After three days without seeing and touching them I had to make a quick visit..  Stormy, in her usual way, let me know  that she was mad at me, turning her head after greeting me with her rock hard eyes and by peeing in her stall, which she never does, her anger and rebellion in bloom.  Just Stormy being Stormy and I understand.
 
Because Callie has a controlled navicular problem, I wanted to clean her hooves and say hello to her too.  As I finished her right side hooves, she turned her head and touched her right side, just as I had taught her to do when flexing, once, twice and held it there after the third touch.  I stood and took her huge head in my arms and lay my head on her forehead.  We stood together in that way for several minutes.
 
Our part of the state has rainy, cold winters and springs, so not a lot of riding gets done for several months.  Each spring I start my horses in the same way.  Using a training halter and lead rope, I simply walk my horses up and down the pasture.  I ask them to disengage their hind quarters, turn on the forehand and back up, nothing too strenuous, just letting them know that it is time to work.
 
Stormy always shows great distress, jealousy really, whenever I pay attention to Callie.  As Callie and I reached the farthest point in our pasture Stormy charged at a full gallop toward us.  Alert and enraged, ears erect and eyes focused, she began to harass Callie (never me).   Callie began to pull on the lead rope and swinging her massive hind quarters from side to side.  She was frantic, throwing her head up and down trying to avoid Stormy.  Callie will sometimes buck, kick and even rear when she's in a tight spot, and I could feel it coming.  Pretty soon the wagons were circled and I was between them.  Now I was in danger.  Using the end of  Callie's lead rope I began twirling it to drive Stormy away. With her eyes flashing and her sweat-soaked sides heaving, Stormy retreated. 
 
Fear like an electric current charged Callie's body.  The twirling rope relieved the danger Stormy presented but drove Callie to hysteria. As she pulled on the lead rope, her head ripping the air from side to side, backing and wheeling on her hind legs, I should have let go, but I began talking to her softly, following her as she backed away, staying with her, reassuring her, speaking calmly and gently until she stopped her crazed flight.  It was quiet and I could feel the tension leave her body through the rope I still held.  Callie took three or four quick steps forward and lay her head on my shoulder.  I could hear her breathing slow.  I put my hand over her muzzle and stroked it until our hearts beat normally.  Questions answered.
 
Other things:
 
Last week the air finally warmed enough for a few flies to show themselves.  I knelt down to spray
Callie's front legs and when I did, something startled her.  She swung her head around and caught me on the forehead near my hairline (yes, I still have a hairline).  When the stars cleared (and there were stars), I was against the fence nearly six feet away, with a frail grip on consciousness.  When the bees stopped buzzing in my brain I finished spraying her and went on with life.  Mad?  No, it wasn't intentional.
 
The next post will be an interview with a horse trainer.  He makes some interesting observations. Following that, a review of the 2015 "Road To The Horse" and perhaps an essay on the former Kentucky Derby winner, Grindstone.
 
 
*Wild About Horses  by Lawrence Scanlan, 1998 by HarperCollins Publishers
 
Text and Photo Copyright May 5, 2015 by Loren R. Schumacher
 
 
 
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Once There Was B. F. Wano

There was baseball, boxing and horse racing.  At the turn of the 20th century they were the big three of American sports.  And clearly the most favored of all was horse racing, particularly harness racing and, specifically, Dan Patch, a natural pacer (both right side legs move, followed by both legs of the left side).

No sports figure of that sport-happy time in America's brief history garnered more ink in the press and more cash at the turnstile.  Twice in his fabled career, Dan Patch drew crowds in excess of 100,000 fans at a reported one U.S. dollar per head.  His name appeared on everything from cut-plug tobacco cans and cigars to washing machines and pool cues.

He traveled in a custom built railcar with his picture appearing on both sides and its interior, they say, was lined in red velvet.  The Jersey Lilly, the famous Lillie Langtry, came to meet him.  President Eisenhower remembered seeing him at the Kansas State Fair in 1904 and Harry Truman sent him a fan letter.  He even had his own pet dog.

So dominating were his performances that often no horse would challenge him and he would pace against the clock.  Dan Patch lost just two heats in his career and never, that is never, lost a race. Fourteen times he broke world speed records and his official record for one mile stands at 1:55-1/4.

At the Minnesota State Fair in 1906 he scorched the track in 1:55 flat, an unofficial record which stood for thirty-two years until matched by Billy Direct in 1938.  It was a four horse race with two of the contenders staying close to Dan, but in the video of the race, both horses seem to have broken and appear to be galloping by the race's end.   It was not until 1960, when Adios Butler paced a mile in 1:54:3, that Dan Patch's unofficial record was broken.

As popular as Standardbred racing had become, no horse approached the fame and popularity of Dan Patch.  He had no peers.  Every other horse raced in his shadow.  They ran at country fairs and tracks in places that have long been forgotten.  Their careers and lives were the definition of anonymity.

B. F. Wano was one such horse.  Not much is known about him. Wano was a trotter (legs move on the diagonal: right front and left rear, etc.) and not a pacer.  Like Dan Patch, Wano was a stallion and for that time big for the breed at 15.3 hands, or just over five feet in height at the withers and weighing about 1100 pounds.  He was powerfully built, muscular and well proportioned, with a short back and very straight legs.  Across his form lay a lustrous, rich brown coat.  Most assuredly all comparisons with Dan Patch end there.


The weather on September 21, 1906 at Ft. Wayne, Indiana was undoubtedly fine as the average temperature for the month was 70.4 degrees, and it must have suited him because in the third heat of the day he set a race record of 2:141/4.  Or did he?  According to a piece used to advertise his availability as a "sure foal getter," he did.  But thanks to Paul Wilder at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York, I learned that he tied the record and did not set it.

The race consisted of 4 heats with Wano finishing second in the first and second heats, first in the third and fourth.  His driver was obscure, someone named Morgan.  For now this is all that is known about B,F. Wano, but on this one day in 1906 he ran his heart out and proved himself to all who watched.

His owner, W. H Stults of Wren, Ohio claimed in his advertising that B. F. Wano had trotted miles in 2:10 and halves in 1:03.  Who knows?  Perhaps Stults engaged in a bit of advertising bombast so common in the early twentieth century when he said that, "In style and action he is perfect," and "his colts are large, with fine style and action."

I was able to find the following about W. H Stults on-line.  This from the Wilshire (Ohio) Herald, May 5, 1904.  "W. H. Stults and J. L. Moser of Wren were Wilshire visitors Saturday afternoon.  The latter is president and the former, cashier of the Bank of Wren.  They are both hustlers, and the leading financiers of their baliwick."  Hustlers?  Mr. Stults later lived in Indiana where the trail ends  - for now.


**My thanks to Jim Miracle for gifting me the photo and artifacts relating to B.F. Wano.  This story would not have been written but for his generosity.

**If anyone has more information concerning B. F.Wano or W.H. Stults, please contact me at pets@leadsandleashes.com.

**Thanks again to Paul Wilder at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York for his help.

**Other resources include: Crazy Good The True Story of Dan Patch, The Most Famous Horse in America by Charles Leerhsen, published by Simon & Schuster and Copyrighted in 2008 by Charles Leerhsen.  I also queried Dan Patch on Wikipedia.

The photo of B. F. Wano and the advertising piece sited in the article are from the author's collection.

Watch Dan Patch race at the Minnesota State Fair in 1906:


Copyright, Loren R. Schumacher, March 16,2015