Saturday, February 21, 2009

John Muir and his Legacy.

Not many of you probably know who John Muir is or what he accomplished in his lifetime, but you are all recipients of his brilliance and his love for all things wild. He was a farmer,sheepherder,naturalist,explorer,writer and conservationist. Born in Dunbar, Scotland April 12, 1838 he immigrated to America in 1849. Muir had a harsh and unforgiving Father who worked his family from dawn till dusk.Any time Muir could steal away from his chores he spent in the outdoor observing the natural world around him. He loved to invent things, and once invented a clock that would actually throw him out of bed in the mornings.

Muir attend school and made good grades, but he was restless and soon found himself traveling his way across northern America and into Canada.
Once while working at a carriage works in Indianapolis, Muir suffered a blinding eye injury that forever changed his life. He prayed that if his eyesight would return he would no longer take the wondrous world for granted, but would spend more time in his beloved outdoors. He regained his sight one month later and began to wander. He walked a thousand miles from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico. He sailed to Cuba and then to Panama,crossing the Isthmus and then sailing up the coast to San Francisco. Though he still travelled around the world, California and it's natural beauty captivated him completely becoming his home for the rest of his life. In California it was the Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada's that he loved best.
"Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light...the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen."
Muir began writing in 1874 and over his lifetime he wrote over 300 articles, ten books and changed a Nation. Through his influence and efforts Yosemite was made into a National Park. He was also personally involved in creating Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon National Parks. No wonder he is often called " The Father of our National Parks System". In 1892 Muir and a number of his supporters founded the Sierra Club, " To do something for wildness and make the mountains glad." He was the President until his death in 1914.
He married Louisiana Strentzel 1880 and settled in Martinez California, my hometown.They had two daughters. His house is a beautiful Victorian, a gift from his in-laws. It is now on the Historic Register and is owned and operated by the National Park. Tours and events are held here frequently.
John Muir continued to wander the West his whole life. He died in 1914 while visiting his daughter Wanda in Los Angeles. He is buried in Martinez in his family plot. It is in a secret location just outside of town ( but I know where!) under a tree that he wrote frequently and lovingly about.

As if his legacy of inventions and protected wilderness wasn't enough, John Muir has a grandson- Michael Muir.

Michael founded Access Adventure in 2005 after retiring as President of the United States Driving for the Disabled Inc. A lifelong horsemen he was born about 30 minutes East of Martinez in Dixon. Michael has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for more than forty years. When he could no longer ride he taught himself to drive.
" Even though I can't ride anymore...when I put the reins in my hands, we start that great communication between man and horse. It's the dance of life..."
In 2001 he led an international group of horsemen a whopping 3000 miles- a ten month Journey Across America, driving a wheelchair accessible carriage from Mission San Diego in California and ending up in Washington D.C.
" We have shown that people with Disabilities can accomplish amazing things."
"Nature is healing. Demonstrating to others that life can be rich and exciting after catastrophic illness or accident gives people hope."
Michael drives a unique type of horse, one that he has developed specially for his work. It is a loud colored Appaloosa Sporthorse. He has several,they have wonderful temperments and are flashy enough to call attention to himself and his work. His carriage is also a custom design, allowing his wheelchair to be placed on board, and still giving him control over the vehicle. Michael makes frequent appearances across the USA and I hear he has also been to Europe on a massive cross country trip there.

For more infomation on Michael Muir and Access America follow the above link.

I know that several of my blogging friends have had catastophic accidents to deal with. It is always hard to change the direction of your life, but it is not impossible. Horses can remain integral. I've always said that if I can't ride 'em, I'll drive em. I've met Michael on several occassions, he was Master of Ceremonies at our Battle of the Barns one year. He is an inspirational and dedicated man- just as his Grandfather before him.
I hope you have enjoyed this little historical journey today. I have!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Notice Something?

Notice something in the two pictures? (Besides my oversized thighs? )Something that is missing perhaps?
Something that isn't there?
Should I give you a hint?
Something that ....
looks great!
And is cost effective!
Something that most people don't do to their own Show Ponies?
Something .....Retro?
OK.... It is...
Desi's mane- or his lack of one!
That's right- I roach!
I said it!
Uh -huh! I do it! No Shame in it!
Did you notice? Did you miss it? Doesn't he look good with it gone?

I think he looks 100% better roached, and there is no banding or braiding to do! Just wash, scrub, oil and VOILA! Pretty!
I'd like to do it to myself sometimes!
What kind of manes do your horses sport! I want pictures!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To all of you Craig's listers out there-

Opinions are my own and no bearing what-so ever on anything.

To the person(a term I use loosely) that has raised your 27 year old horse all her life and now is trying to foist the euthanasia issue off on someone else- I hope you rot in hell. Your mare looks sweet and in fact you the picture you posted shows a nice kind eye- she trusts you and the disabled child riding her to take care of her. SO DO it already! NO excuses! Man Up and do the RIGHT thing. Oh you'll agonize and weep a lot-SO WHAT! Life is hard but it doesn't have to be harder than what you make of it. Teach that child some responsibility and use your mares death as a life affirming lesson. You don't get many of those in a lifetime- let that be your loyal mare's last gift to you.  The same goes for all of you with old horses that aren't 'quite sound' enough to ride, and you can't afford to feed them. (I'll bet you still stop at STARBUCKS everyday for that expensive coffee). FER GAWD SAKE GROW A SET!

To the Lister that wants to sell their perfectly serviceable QH>Tennessee Walker>what-ever- Put the DAMN PICTURE up Straight! Don't make me crane my head sideways to see your poorly lit and grainy picture. If you can't get the photo up right- and one that actually shows your horses conformation- ask your five year old nephew to do it! I'm sure he could manage it much better than you did. I can only assume that you don't really want to sell your family pet and this is just some exercise in futility. STOP IT!

To the Lister that swears this is a Royally Bred horse- REALLY? DO you even know what that term means? Just because you name of some top name cutting /reining/ roping horse and then dilute it with 'dam unregistered but very sweet', don't for a minute think that someone else is as stupid as you. Reminds me of my mother in law who used to judge everyone and then say,     " but she's very clean." Sheesh! 

And last but certainly not least- to all you Listers that think that Craig's list is a good place to market your $20,000. horse. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Did you know that Dreamhorse is much better at that sort of thing? You might actually get HORSEMEN looking to buy if you post on that site and if you don't have the $10.00 to post a picture for 90 days- borrow it from your trainer! 


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Self Inflicting Pain device!

Man it's been a bumpy ride! Tooth is gone, and I thought I was better, then I had an allergic reaction to the meds! Criminy! Now the Dr. has prescribed a different medicine for the infection. Though the tooth feels better, now the tummy aches! And here I was all prepared to go out and ride today. This is just one day when 'Cowboy Up' just didn't work for me! 
Not to worry dear friends, I'm gonna go upstairs and watch reruns of BONES and try to rest Maybe tomorrow I'll feel a little more human. Until then... well, you know what to do!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sorry for the delay- please do not change the channel..

Sorry blog friends, I haven't posted in such a long while. I have been fighting off a little tooth infection (((shudder))) and just have felt puny! Don't worry though, I'll soon be as right as rain. 
Meanwhile I've been working on our Annual Fundraising Event- The Battle of the Barns. 
BOB- as we call it- began fourteen or so years ago at the stable I ran with my Dad. We did little playdays for our boarders and we found out that the barn just down the road did the same thing. Well, one thing led to another ( need I mention that Beer was probably involved?)and before you know it we had combined our two play days into a competition. Then we thought,"Hey, lets make this a bigger event, add lots more people, and give the money to a local Charity!" So that is what we did!

 We have been doing the BOB for thirteen years now and have given our favorite Charity a big boost. Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center is located in Orinda California, and is completely funded by private donations. They have 5 equine partners and about 30-40 kids. As you all know riding helps these kids in so many ways, not just physically but emotionally as well. And the kids give all that right back to us! They are just the coolest kids you'll ever meet!  
Ten Teams (or Barns) compete in ten fun gymkhana type games, but they aren't all speed- we throw in some skill sets too- just to keep everyone on the same playing field. The action is fun and furious! (Who knew Gymkhana horses don't back up!) 

This years BOB will take place July 25 at the Martinez Waterfront Equestrian Park on Joe DiMaggio Drive. Spectators are encouraged to attend and pick a Team to root for. Admission for spectators is free! A BBQ lunch is served all day, we will have a terrific Raffle and at the end of the day we'll all get to see who wins this years title 'Best Barn in the Bay'. 

I wish you all could come cheer the teams, meet the greatest kids ever and of course hang out with me! But if you can't, I know you'll be with us in spirit. 

BTW- I am accepting donations for the raffle! 

I'll keep you all updated as the time gets closer, and of course I'll post pictures!