In which a "night on the town" in our town is all about the horses

It's Friday night--how about dinner and a movie?
Dinner at Pizza Factory.  Ask for cashews on your me, it's grand.
 We met up with our horse-y friends:  Kendall (a "former junior" who is very dear), Michelle and Brit, Patty (recently returned--with Kendall--from many adventures on the XP ride*!).  Jim is in the back corner of the picture, making sure that there's pizza left for me when I get tired of taking photos.

*I wish I could give you a link to information and pictures of the XP ride, which covered 2000 miles of historic trail originally used by Pony Express riders.  However, the ride manager is notoriously secretive...apparently the best/only way to hear about the ride is to have dinner with people who rode it!

We had fabulous pizza, and then we walked a few blocks through our town to the local movie theatre. 

But look:
 this is what we saw
 along the way! 

The streets of Swampington were filled with vintage cars and beautiful hotrods, roaring their approval for the (unusual, but welcome) sunny skies above us.

When we got to the theatre, we found somebody who didn't really appreciate the engine roars:
 Petey is a resident of Equine Aid Horse and Donkey Rescue, and the evening's movie was a fundraiser to benefit the rescue.
Big brown eyes, can you resist them?  Not me.
Who is more adorable, Petey or Kendall?  I can't decide. 

Inside the theatre,  the building is full of horse-people.  Lots of cowboy hats in the auditorium, and lots of horsey-tee shirts, shiny horseshoe jewelry, and even cowboy boots!  Did I mention that the temps were in the 80's?  Not considered "hot" in other parts of the country, however, very few traditional Swampland homes and buildings like our funky little Olympic Theatre are equipped with modern fripperies like air conditioning!
The Olympic Theatre--bring back your popcorn bucket and they will refill it, cheap! 
Best deal in town.  Possibly the best deal in the county.
 We all happily crammed into the little theatre, however, because in addition to supporting Equine Aid, we also got to see an amazing film:
Winner of the 2011 Documentary Film catagory at Sundance.
Watch it and you will understand why, even if you aren't "horsaii."
If you haven't yet seen the film, and want to know more, here's the trailer for it:

As you watch the trailer, keep your eye out for a yellow horse who appears to be carrying 3 or 4 extra scoops of bad attitude.  He's a major player in this film. 

After watching the movie, that yellow horse (and his problematic owner) were the center of discussion.  I'd like to hear from readers who have opinions. Perhaps there is even somebody out there in Blogland who knows her or knows more about her:  what happened after that trailer drove away? 

The events surrounding the yellow horse really spotlight the strengths--and limits--of talented horse trainers like Buck Brannaman.  That yellow horse is what we all strive to avoid. 

As I watched Buck and the yellow horse, I thought of Fiddle in the early days that I had her.  She wasn't nearly so aggressive...but perhaps only because Jacqui stood up to her at an early stage, and I continued the work to impress upon this mare that violence would not be tolerated. She got no reward or relief when she acted aggressively, and she still doesn't.  She is a mare who always wants to know what the boundaries are...not because she wants to cross them, but because she is reassured to find that they don't move--so she tests them (and me).  She tests frequently , if not strongly.  And the answer, if I want to maintain safety for myself, for other people, and for other horses, must always be, "you must behave yourself at all times and respect my space."  The alternative is...well, the extreme alternative looks a lot like that yellow horse.

While the yellow horse's behavior is not acceptable, he didn't just wake up one morning and decide to act like a reprobate.  On the contrary:  that horse got some kind of reward for that behavior from somebody (possibly more than one person), early and often enough in his life that he could continue and escalate, until he reached the extreme behavior we see in the film. 

That horse's behavior is the result of some person's behavior.  I believe that person is responsible for the damage that the horse causes for the rest of his life. 

Am I being an extremist? 

You tell me, in the comments. 

But first:  Go pet your horse, make him/her do a trick, and then give him/her a cookie. 



  1. I have never seen a horse behave so aggressively in all my life before. Unfortunately I don't have the back story for you on that one.

  2. I really want to see that movie! But I don't think it will be coming to our local theater :(

    I have read some of his books and really enjoyed them.

    Love the rods! And the donkey too, very cute.

  3. This horse entered the world with a problem, dam died & oxygen deprived. What happened after that did nothing to help him. Once they learn that bad behavior gets them a "reward" the party is over...

  4. I couldn't get to SF the time it played there :( I agree, someone inadvertently trained that horse to act that way.

    I don't think I'd ever try to bring back a horse that violent. Life is too short and precious, and there are so many other spoiled horses with less dangerous vices. Nothing wrong with euthanasia.

  5. I hope you don't mind if I comment on a previous post. I just read--and loved--your post on "stand and fight". I totally agree that on horseback a solo horsewoman can intimidate most male "trolls"--people who don't know horses are very intimidated by horses. I've ridden solo a lot on the trail and though I've never met anyone who actually theatened me, I've met quite a few creepy guys. I am always prepared to say loudly, "Watch out--he bites and kicks!", though Sunny does neither--and to swing Sunny's butt towards said person and depart. The big danger, if the person is at all horse savvy, is they grab your reins--so swinging the butt toward them is the best trick--as you pointed out.

    Someone, I think it was "Becky", commented that she didn't like to meet eyes. I have a trick for that. I don't like to meet eyes either, if it can be avoided--sometimes that indicates a willingness to "engage". I look straight at the person, chin up, and I look THROUGH them. I don't meet their eyes, but I don't look down or away. Its a "hard stare" right through their chest/head. In my mind I am saying "blank you you blank--if you bother me I will destroy you." I use this trick when creepy guys look my way in parking lots...etc, and it works very well. Every bit of my stance proclaims that I am a predator not a victim--but I am not willing to engage.

    Anyways--I really enjoyed that post--I dunno, maybe I should have put this comment there? Thanks again.


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