Friday, May 20, 2011

You know you're from Boston if... pronounce it "hosses". I heard from old friend Carole-Terese Naser this week, a racewalking training buddy from back home in Massachusetts.

We attended the Preakness together many moons ago, so this year's running of the race caused us both to recall some cherished memories. She discovered my blog searching the net.

I learned that Carole moved to Maine a few years ago and started a horse sanctuary. Priscilla Presley adopted one of her rescue horses, Max, and now he lives at Graceland. Once upon a time I went with her to feed her horse, Pops, a previously mistreated carnival horse she had when we both lived in Newburyport, MA. Pops is still kicking at 31.

She sent me this article she wrote about Zenyetta. This year she likes Shackleford in the Preakness.

Carole, if you read this, thanks for letting a hoss remind you of your old friend (that's no coincidence, eh?). And sincere congratulations on your efforts to protect horses. Nice photo of you and Pops there (Popeye when he was younger, right?).

I have some experience with horses myself, although I haven't ridden one since Annie Oakley purposely took me multiple times under the same low hanging branch 40+ years ago. I went to a Horses and Healing Conference in New Hampshire in 2005 and, of course, fed Delilah's horses while living on her farm near Seattle in 2006.

So, while I think of it, here are my top 10 pieces of advice that I learned about horses as I hung out with Carole and other dear friends over the years:

1. When riding a horse, wear hard-soled shoes, long pants and always, always, always wear a helmet.

2. Don't press up against a horses rear end. Not only might you get kicked (or worse) but the horse might think you are something good to lean against. When that happens you could both fall over and the horse will be on top.

3. Don't bet on the horses. Nearly all horse players die broke.

4. The two best songs about horses, in my opinion, are "Stewball" (I like the Joan Baez version a bit more than the Peter, Paul & Mary effort) and "Run for the Roses", written by Dan Fogleberg and best sung by Jane Olivor.

And here is the link
for Run for the Roses.

5. Horses are very smart, loyal and sensitive. Despite their size they are usually very gentle. When you meet horses for the first time, exhale into their nostrils. It is also and helpful if you have a raw carrot you can share.

6. Insects can be a problem for horses, especially mosquitos that carry sleeping sickness and other diseases.

7. Horses have healing power for humans. They are used as partners, not just tools, in the treatment of Asperger's, many paraplegics, and other handicapped including children with emotional disorders.

8. If a woman tells you she would rather have a horse than jewelry, you had better believe her.

9. Don't call horses "hosses" unless you want people to know you are from New England.

10. When you want a horse to stop, just say "Whoa!". I wish that would also work with...(never mind)