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Buoyed by Birds: Soaring with Harriet

One is never prepared to see one’s self in this condition. The vision that greeted me in the mirror on my 64th birthday that February morning in 2012 could only be called horrifying. Gaunt, hollowed cheeks. Sunken and lifeless eyes. Parched, creaked lips incapable of smiling. I had just returned from a weeklong stay in ICU fighting for my life after an eight hour long “dirty surgery” to remove a large tumor that had blocked both my large and small intestines. Doctors sent me home to regain some strength with an open wound so they would reuse it for two more surgeries to complete the “fix.” I should have died. My surgeon repeatedly told me that my active, horseback-riding lifestyle...

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The Healing Power of Rest

In our hurry-up modern world we often think of rest as lost opportunity. It can be, however, viewed as a crucial component of a cycle which promotes our progress and growth. In the article that follows, re-published with the permission of The Plaid Horse, veterinarian Keelin Redmond describes the importance of rest for our equine friends. Physical training of the horse is essential. Everyone knows that in order to be strong enough and fit enough to run, jump, piaffe or spin, the equine athlete must be in a fitness program. One of the most essential parts of a fitness program is rest. Rest in the context of sports medicine is defined as “time spent NOT training.” There are many reasons why...

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A Spanish Walk in Open Spaces: The Artistry of Ann Clifford

I was taken with the sculpture of Ann Clifford’s entitled “Open Spaces” in the first moment that I saw it, this portrayal in stone of the raw energy and determination manifested in equine movement. A reification of the equine spirit. The strain and focus, the form and energy all directed towards transcendence and a perfection of equine achievement. We speak of and measure and delight in the equestrian conquest of gravity and height. We are, more often than not, so entirely preoccupied with the image of the horse in mid-air that the rest of the scene is lost to us. Here Ann Clifford reminds us that rock, earth, greenery and water are the constituents of not only what must be...

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Riding Together in Red Scarves

The red cotton cowgirl scarf is an icon of western wear. My guest ranch buys them by the lot to give to visitors participating in our Taste of Montana events that feature horseback riding, roping, country/western music, and line dancing. You’re just not a real cowgirl without a red bandana around your neck. When the tables turn and I become the visitor to urban cultural amenities such as theaters, symphonies, and culinary adventures, I often swap my red bandana for a fine silk scarf imprinted with an equine theme to proudly display my attachment to horses. The adage “you are what you wear” applies to us all. We chose our apparel to announce who we are and what we value....

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Of Heroines, Gardens and the Spirit to Carry On

We all have heroes, heroines and mentors in our lives. My mum, of course, is one of them for me. And since if feels as though we are at war with the Covid-19 virus, I have been, over the last number of days, reminiscing about my Mum’s stories of hardship, struggle and determination to stay the course experienced through her days during WW II in London. But I also, of course, admire other individuals too. Someone whom I have especially admired over the years is Eleanor Roosevelt. I admire her in so many ways. One reason I admire her in particular is because of her determined efforts on this side of the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. Although...

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