Thursday, November 7, 2013

In which *Endurance 101* gets a "Boekrecensie," so, okay!

Monica is so cool.

When the publisher of the Dutch endurance magazine Her & Der (Here and There) contacted Monica in her persona of Publisher of the Endurance 101 book and asked for a review copy, she smiled and shrugged and sent them a copy of the e-book.

Both of us figured we'd probably never hear from them again.

But we did!

Here's the Google Translate version of the review:   

To begin : What is a good book ! The cover does not look particularly attractive, but that makes the content more than good. The book is written in English not too complicated and easy to read way . the author formulates its objectives very clearly : "Gain the skills you need to succeed with the horse you have and learn what endurance riders mean when they say That to finish is to Win . "

Like most endurance books this book will also be launched with some general text about what endurance is , what the rules are (in this case, the U.S. rules ) and what kind of horse you can practice the sport. This shall include storms , " finding the right horse for a beginning rider endurance is easier than you think . Do you already have a horse ? is he sound ? he can carry a rider ? he is willing and able to move down the trail with you ? if so , you have already found your beginning endurance horse . " This clearly sets the tone of the book . No com-plex hassle, but pragmatic look at what you have and how can you save your note . The author encourages the reader to learn from your horse and other riders / officials .

After a chapter on the search for the right horse discusses tack and clothing . For riders with more experience , this information is probably not very innovative, but for novice combinations can be very instructive chapter - are helpful . After tack and apparel storms in the training of your horse . She gives clear guidance on the treatment ginner for building the training but also drive through water or snow . in the Netherlands is relatively rare that you have a river with your horse , you get abroad that more often . For storms , it is not really special, it can be just as trained as tasting of traffic . topics that are discussed in light tone and she shows how you could practice this you do not feel that you are doing something spectacular . We just do not ? 's Go through a river , why snow ? cha , which may be weeks so adjust a little and continue .

in the book is also devoted considerable attention to the ri - HOURS of competitions , how do you prepare for , how it works , where you have to think and what to do if you lose in " the middle of nowhere ." your horse the chance that you fall into the middle nature of your horse in the Netherlands and do not know where you are is indeed relatively small . But with training or competitions abroad can be useful to know what you should do if you find yourself on the ground with the sound of a galloping horse acting road in the background .

A large part of the book deals with the basics. If you want to learn more and be- ginner and want a book where you can learn how to start, then I definitely recommend you this book . Although I already for a while turn in the endurance I certainly learned things yet . From singing to rate / to keep always graze so he learns that there is eaten immediately after work (useful for the vet gate ) 5 minutes until your horse after training ( to get ) the rhythm of your horse

Apparently, riders in Holland don't much fear getting lost, or crossing water, lol.

I'm not sure what the reviewer means about the unattractive cover, but Monica says (and lytha in Germany concurs, I think) that endurance in Europe is not the family-friendly sport that it is here in the States, so maybe the happy kid/cooperative riders on the front don't seem as pertinent there as they do here?  It's just a guess.

But, as Monica (who is very cool, as I may have mentioned before?) says, perhaps now there will be more singing on the European endurance trails.

To me, that seems like a very good thing.

EDIT:  Hey, you know who else is cool?  Marga, (Marieke de Vos) that's who.  She saw this post and wrote to me, asking if we would like a REAL TRANSLATION (that is, a translation made by somebody who speaks Dutch and English fluently).   And then she sent us her translation of the review!  It's much easier to read.

First of all: what an amusing book! The cover is not very attractive, but the content makes up for it. The book has been written in not very complicated English and is an easy read. The author formulates her goal very clear: “Gain the skills you need to succeed with the horse you finish is to win”
Like many endurance books, this one starts with a general writing of what endurance is, what the rules are (in this case the American rules) and what kind of horse you can use for the sport. On this subject, Storms notes the following:” Finding the right horse may be easier than you think. Do you already have a horse? Is he sound? Can he carry a rider? Is he willing and able to move down the trail with you? If so, you have already found your beginning endurance horse.” This sets the tone in the book. No complicated hassle, but a pragmatic look at what you have and how you can make it work. The author stimulates the reader to learn from your horse or other riders/officials.  
After a chapter about the search for the right horse, the clothing and tack is being discussed. For more advanced riders, this may be nothing new, but beginners can learn a lot from it.
After clothing and tack, Storms discusses the training of the horse. She gives clear tips for the beginner for building up the training, and about riding through water and snow. In the Netherlands, it won’t happen too often that you have to ride through a river, this will happen more often abroad.  Storms doesn’t consider it at all special, it is the same as getting your horse used to traffic. Because she uses a light tone to describe this and how you can practise this, it doesn’t give you the feeling that you are working on something special.  Geez, we just cross a river, and why not? Snow? Could be there for weeks, you just got to deal with it.
The book looks extensively at competition. How do you prepare, what to expect, what to think of, and what to do when you fall of your horse “in the middle of nowhere”.  In the Netherlands, the chance that you fall of your horse and you don’t know where you are, is very slim. But abroad it may be handy what to do when you find yourself on the ground with the sound of a galloping horse in the distance.
Most of the book deals with the basics. If you as beginner want to learn more and you are looking for a book to show you how to start, I recommend this book sincerely. Although I have been doing endurance for a while now, I did learn new things. From singing to rate or control your horse’s pace to letting your horse eat grass (for 5 minutes) right after competition and before cooling down, so he learns that after work there is food (very handy for the vetgate).

So there you have it:  a realio trulio international review of the book!

Can you see me dancing?  I'm dancing.

Because it's good.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In which I learn something, and (with the help of friends) I can teach something

We went to the Buck Brannaman clinic last weekend, and we learned a lot of stuff. 

Monica took copious notes and excellent photos -- for her full report, go visit her blog post HERE.

Of course, I was extremely interested in Buck's advice for the lady with the kickin' horse.  That's the one really bad habit of Fiddle's that I haven't managed to break yet.

I hasten to remind readers that Fee came with buckets of bad habits.  Some were related to inconsistent handling (on the track??) some related to her hormonal disorders, and some purely native to her, an opinionated and not extremely brave mare.  She used to bite, kick, and swing her body around like a weapon to people, dogs, and other horses.  She used to pin her ears and run at folks.  She used to strike out with her front feet, intent on smashing whatever--and whomever--she could reach.  A lot of people wondered why I didn't just send her to the canners.  It was a fair question, really.

But it's been almost seven years now, and most of that stuff is gone.

We've now applied years of consistent handling, removed the source of the hormone problems, and worked hard on her confidence issues.

Still, the last--but not least--on her list of rottennesses is an inclination to try to kick the crud out of other horses when "they get too close" in the arena or on the trail.  Her definition of "too close" is variable, and that makes it dangerous.

But Buck gave some good advice for dealing with it.

"Offer the horse a good deal first," he said. (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.)

 "The good deal is, that if the horse just goes on and does the job without flipping an ear or slowing down to lift up that foot, he can just keep on gettin' on.  But if he doesn't take the good deal, promptly, he gets the bad deal.  And the bad deal is that you take that spur, and you do your best to punch a hole in his lung with it, gun him and gun him hard to move out.  That's the bad deal, and he won't like it.

"He'll try it again, to see if he can still get the good deal without earning it.  But if he tries to kick again, you're going to be ready and you're gonna nail him again.

"Pretty soon, he's going to start thinking that maybe the good deal sounds like something he should try."

Asleep in the sun at the trailhead, no idea that she's about to be offered a deal.
Heh, heh, heh.

Fee is in her "safe spot" with her head at Horus' shoulder.
She can't kick him here, and she doesn't want to.
I handed Duana the camera, and Dean and I talked through what I was going to try.  Dean decided that he was either really brave, or really dumb, but either way, he was up for the challenge.

When I asked Fiddle to pass Horus (whom she hates), she pinned her ears, slashed her tail, and tried to slow down so she could kick at him.  Her famous "deadly aim" has been less sincere lately, but her legs are five miles long, so we were taking no chances.

As soon as I felt her begin to bunch up, I nailed her with the spurs and shouted "Go, go, go!"

"Wait--what?  I don't want to canter!  I hate to canter!"
The consequences of bad behavior is not just the spur jab, it's also my insistence that she gallop away from the group.  Fiddle and I are incompetent at the canter/gallop, and she hates other words: it's the perfect punishment.

After some repetitions, she started to take the "good deal."

We aren't 100% yet.  She has practiced bad behavior for eleven years, and I don't expect to erase that in a two-hour ride.  But we made more progress-- and did more cantering -- in the first hour of our ride than we've done in the last year.

If she was spectacularly bad (actually kicking out), she had to gallop a half mile or more.

If she was mildly bad (ears in the folded back and wicked position, but back and hindquarters "unhumped"), I only pushed her up a hundred yards or so before we slowed down to let the others catch up.

If she stayed relaxed, we just kept trotting forward at an easy pace.

Hana did an excellent job of being the four-legged tripod!

Then, it was time to let her relax and think about it.  

So we went up to the monument to admire the view.  

Clear skies, but a chilly wind coming off of Puget Sound

And then, we came home.

Soon enough, we'll try it again.

It's not easy.  But this mare is worth it.

And that is a good thing.