Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trimming Horse Whiskers--Yes or No?

Dr. Joyce Harman DVM questions the normal practice of trimming the whiskers off the horse:

"My question for you—and for most other competitive riders—is: “Why would you clip your horse’s whiskers?” Although they may appear superficial and nonessential, horse whiskers provide valuable information to horses. Equine eyes are positioned in such a way that objects immediately in front of or below horses’ noses are beyond their range of vision. So their horse whiskers help them “see” these objects. For example, while grazing, horses constantly rely on their whiskers to guide their muzzles toward edible food and away from other objects. The long whiskers near their eyes also warn them when there’s a risk of bumping into obstacles, such as branches poking up out of the grass."

Source: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/health/behavior/clipping-horse-whiskers-yes-or-no/

I recognize that many disciplines require trimming of the horse's whiskers, ears, fetlocks, etc., in order to compete.  Please don't think that I am trying to diss this practice--you do what you have to do to compete.  However, I would like to point out that we are lucky in the showing of Icelandics.   FEIF (International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations) does not permit clipping the horse's whiskers:

"The Icelandic horse is an unique breed with special qualities related to its primitive character. It shall be shown respect unreservedly. The following rules apply at all times: the natural appearance (e.g. natural growth and colour of hair) of the horse shall not be changed. Exceptions – the mane and tail may be trimmed if too long, and the horse may be clipped for health and welfare reasons. Hair on the muzzle, fetlocks, and inside the ears shall not be clipped. The rider shall take into account the special background and needs of the Icelandic horse, and keep the horse under as natural conditions as possible, which provide enough light, fresh air and space for free exercise. Artificial or psychological methods to alter the natural expression of the horse are not allowed."
Source: http://feif.org/FEIF/StatutesandRules/tabid/123/Default.aspx

I do have to admit that our shaggy, hairy Icelandics do appear somewhat "primitive" in open classes in comparison to the breeds that require more trimming.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Icelandic Horse and Llama


We all know that Iceys tend to make friends with many different creatures but here is a clip of something unusual.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saddlepad as Work of Art

This all started with some friends dragging me into a quilting store.  We all got so enthused about the beautiful quilts hanging on display--real works of art--that we urged each other to buy quilt patterns. My friend Gretchen bought the Dancing Chickens pattern.  Similarly inspired, I purchased the Cobbled Crow design, got the material, and actually made the wall hanging. 


There was quite a bit of hand-dyed batik left over--too much to throw away.  So I decided to make a coat for myself using the same design elements.

And still some of the gorgeous material remained so I decided to hand quilt a saddle pad for Blessi.  You can judge the results for yourself.  So far, I haven't found any venue good enough for this saddle pad but something will come along.

And if you like to sew be sure and check out Suitability patterns--patterns for both English and Western riding apparel, saddle pads, costumes, helmet covers, saddle covers, and much more.
http://www.suitability.com/

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Skyr

I first encountered skyr when the parents of one of my Icelandic friends arrived at my house to spend the night while traveling on a tour of the US.  They had carefully carried a liter of skyr from Iceland and for a week of travel in the US until they got to another relative who was homesick for Iceland.

Skyr is a very thick yogurt, closer to cheese rather than what we think of as yogurt.  Knowledge of making skyr travelled with the Vikings from Norway to Iceland but knowledge of how to make skyr has been lost in Scandanavia.  Jules Verne in his novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth described lunch at a farmhouse in the 1800s which included lichen soup, fish served with sour butter, biscuits, juniper berry juice, and “skyr.”  Let’s face it, you have be born in Iceland or have visited Iceland or know a homesick Islander to know about “skyr.”  

Recently a local grocery store started carrying Siggi's Skyr, made the traditional Icelandic way.  The method of preparation is different from making yogurt.  I really liked the taste of skyr.  It is much tarter than most commercially prepared yoghurt in the US so I added a little agave syrup to sweeten it to my taste.

What is quite amazing is the difference in calories, fat, protein, and sugar content between the two types of "yogurt."  

The pomegranate & passion fruit skyr contains skim milk, agave nectar, passion fruit, pomegranate, live active cultures, and vegetable rennet.  The commercial yogurt contains lowfat milk, sugar, fruit, corn starch, tricalcium phosphate, gelatin, citric acid, pectin, beet juice, natural flavor, vitamin A and D.  Skyr contains different and more types of active cultures.


Here is a nutritional comparison: 

                                Skyr                                     Commercial Yogurt
Weight                     5.3 oz                                    6 oz
Fat                            0 gram                                  1.5 gram
Cholesterol               0 mg                                     10 mg
Sodium                    60 mg                                    85 mg
Carbohydrate           11 grams                               33 grams
Protein                     14 grams                                 5 grams 
vitamin a, d             none                                       15% and 50% daily requirement
calcium                     15%                                      50%


When you compare the two, skyr is much lower in sugars, fat, and sodium but higher in protein. Skyr does not contain the added vitamins A and D.  Skyr is about double the price of commercial yogurt.  I am going to dust off my yogurt maker and try to make my own.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blessi Is Now "Sweetness of the World"

Over the weekend, I took Blessi to a friend's stable so Kathleen, who is really new to horses (her second time on a horse), could ride Blessi. At first, Kathleen did not want to get on Blessi--she was too scared. But she led him around for a little bit and then decided she could get on.
Kathleen was riding for a few minutes when we stopped for a photo opportunity. Blessi broke the ice by hamming it up big time--he stood perfectly still but started giving these big horsey smiles--stretching his head up and lifting up his upper lip) which made everbody, including Kathleen, laugh hysterically. Blessi has never done that while under saddle.







So Kathleen continued her ride--in a much more relaxed frame of mind. In fact she rode him twice. Anyway Kathleen is in love with Blessi and Icelandics. Kathleen gave Blessi the title of "Sweetness of the World" and kept kissing his nose.

So my question is "Why did Blessi do this?" He doesn't regularly "Smile" and I don't give him treats for this behavior. Eight years ago, I tried to teach him the smile trick but I could not get him to do it on cue and gave up. He does "Smile" at odd times--such as when we are all standing around a long time listening to an instructor. And he has done it several times when people are taking pictures and the photographer says "Smile." So this behavior could just be a random event. But Blessi does tend to repeat behavior if people laugh at it.



What do you think?

How to Identify Horse People

The Bad Cowgirls dressed up to audit the Buck Brannaman
clinic--no horse hair on our clothes that day.

Here are ways you can identify horse people:  
 “They click or cluck to their kids when they want them to move.

Their nice clothes are the ones without horse hair on them.

They know why there is a yard of string on the end of a horse thermometer.

They have less wardrobe space than their horse.

They think nothing of eating a sandwich after mucking out a stall.

They are the ones stealing all the socks for tail bags.

They spend hundreds on a show, just to win a piece of ribbon.”


From: Mullen, G.  (2008).  Amazing Horse Facts and Trivia.  Chartwell Books, Inc., New York. (p.76)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where in the World Are the Horses?

In 2006, surveys determined that the worldwide equine population is over 58 million (current estimates are closer to 75 million).  Based on current estimates, Icelandic horses represent 00.2 % of the total horse population.  Countries with over 1 million horse are:




  • US                9 million

    Map from Wikipedia
  • China           7 million
  • Mexico        6 million
  • Brazil           6 million
  • Argentina    4 million
  • Columbia     2 million
  • Eithiopia      2 million
  • Mongolia     2 million
  • Kazakhstan  1 million
  • Russian Federation 1 million
I thought that Canada would be on the list.  However, research indicates that the horse population in Canada is about 900,000, which does not make the 1 million cutoff point.

From: Mullen, G.  (2008).  Amazing Horse Facts and Trivia.  Chartwell Books, Inc., New York. (p.24)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wearing Iceland on Your Feet

Halldora's design featuring leather, salmon skin on heel,
horse hair, and lava stones.
Halldora Eydis Jonsdottir , an Icelander whograduated from the London College of Fashion, has recently released her first collection of shoes and boots.  Her high fashion footware is accented with natural products from Iceland including salmon skin, perch skin, lava crystals, horse hair, and lamb skin--all to give a look of natural features in Iceland.  I love some of the detailing and would definitely wear some of these styles.  I am not sure how I feel about the use of "pony skin from Italy."

http://www.shoes.tv/my-first-collection-halldora-90749

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blessi and the Fathoms O'Fun Parade

Last year, Blessi and I walked in our first ever parade last year--the Fathoms of Fun in Port Orchard, WA.  We went as a member of the Kitsap Saddle Club.  This is a great venue for a first time parade--lots of support from the KSC, a staging area with lots of grass along the side of the road for horse grazing, short distance, and a finish point right by the horse trailers.

I wasn't sure how Blessi was going to react so I decided to lead him in the parade.  At first, he was a bit impatient since we were paired up with a slower walking Quarter Horse.  After we switched partners and were matched with a faster walking horse, Blessi was quite happy.

About half way through the parade, Blessi started thinking about going to visit the parade watchers along the side of the road.  He was particularly interested in the people eating pizza by the side of the road.  Blessi was certain that they would share.  He also was fascinated with the helium balloon vendor.  Blessi suggested several times that we should go visit that guy.

And the Kitsap Saddle Club Royal Court were absolutely adorable in their matching outfits--check it out.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blessi and the Zipper


A friend returned my saddle that she had borrowed to evaluate fit for another horse.  We went into Blessi's pasture to socialize since he was hanging his head over the gate.  Note Blessi's stall is open to a large run out pasture. There is a gate in his pasture about 10 feet from the back door to his stall.
Zippers--from Wikipedia

As my friend Pam and I (yes there are two Pams in this story) are petting and talking to Blessi, Blessi gently grabs the zipper tab on Pam's jacket and starts tugging it up.  Blessi has developed this fascination with zipper tabs in the past week.  It is the third time that he has explored zippers on visitors' jackets. He ignores the zippers on my clothing.  He does beg for treats but he has developed fascinations with other aspects of human attire in the past.  Last summer, he was interested in women's bras.  If a woman had a low cut shirt on, he would gently put his nose down the shirt of a willing woman and explore the bra.  He seemed to know which women would be amused by the behavior. Several summers ago, he spent a few weeks checking out toes, especially toes with red nail polish.  He was just fascinated the first time I took my boots and socks off in front of him and he found out that I had toes rather than hooves.

Tugging on zippers is not a good habit so I correct verbally by uttering a loud, sharp, "Ay", the sound I use to discourage grass diving when he is on a lead line.  Well, Blessi's head goes up a few inches and he slowly turns around and goes into his stall.  He puts his head in a corner, with his butt angled towards us, and his ears back a bit. His body is angled slightly so that he can keep one eye on us.

Pam and I laugh and start making a fuss over the 8-month old filly in the pasture next to Blessi.  About five minutes later, we finish our conversation and start to go out the gate.  As soon as Blessi hears the chain on the gate rattle, he comes trotting out of his stall towards the gate, ears forward, head up a bit. He very politely tries to accompany us out of the gate.  This starts off another round of laughter.
 

So I guess the way to keep Blessi engaged is to get him his own zipper to play with and his own set of horse-sized building blocks that he can pull down. I refuse to get him a bra.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blessi at the Evergreen Gaited Horse Show

Blessi and I have competed twice at the Evergreen Gaited Horse Show in Puyallup, WA.  This Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) affiliated show is an open gaited show.  You will see Peruvian Pasos, Tennessee Walkers, Kentucky Mountain Horses, Rocky Mountain Horses, Paso Finos, gaited Morgans, and Icelandics of course.  It is interesting to see the variation in gaits across the gaited breeds.  Beautiful horses and riders!

You'll see Carol riding Blessi at about 1:10 in the video.  Don't tell anyone but he did some trotting in this gaited show!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blessi Bling- How To-Browband with "Black Diamonds"

Once again, Merci has to help.
Going green entails recycling and you can recycle the strangest things.  I have experimenting with converting people belts to browbands.  I found a fantastic belt at Goodwill that looked like it was encrusted with black diamonds and made it into a browband for Blessi.  Total cost was about $3.50.  Do you think it is elegant enough for a dressage test or too flashy?  Check out my earlier posting on "Blessi Bling--How to make leopard skin browbands" for directions on how to make your own.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Good and Bad Hair Days for Blessi

Since you probably just read the posting on Blessi's bad hair day, you might enjoy a photomontage of Blessi's various hair dos through the years--some good and some bad.

Dannelle uses about a half can of hair spray and
a bunch of sticky goo to get the French braid to stay.

This is what the French braid looks like
 after one dressage class.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Horse in Myth and Mythos

Horses also feature in the myths, dreams, and religion of mankind.  Modern art better conveys this relationship of mankind to the horse.  Once again Bestbonjon has put together 125 examples of modern art to the music of Franz von Suppé's Overture to "Light Cavalry.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Horse Festival in Mitersill Austria

There's got to be snow in some part of the country.  So we'll look at the draft horses today and some of their traditional tack and sleighs.  This fun video is from a historical draft horse festival in Mittersill, Austria.  You'll see the drafties hauling winter houses to small sleighs.  And the harness and tack is beautiful!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Which Burns More Calories--Riding or Aerobics


Below are estimates of number of calories burned per hour performing common activities with horses:
  • 238 calories--grooming, saddling, and riding 
  • 175 calories—riding at a walk
  • 450 calories—riding a trot
  • 550 calories—riding a gallop
As a comparison, aerobics and moderate bicycling burn around 500 calories.  And sorry to say, riding a gait such as tolt burns less calories than riding a trot.

From: Mullen, G.  (2008).  Amazing Horse Facts and Trivia.  Chartwell Books, Inc., New York. (p.41)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Different Type of Tour of Iceland

I thought the group might like the following video tour of Iceland by horseback
(sort of). The scenery is very beautiful and the video is very clever. It made
me smile.  Although I think the horse should be tolting.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cows Are Running the Show

Blessi and I went to an arena sorting clinic.  We had done some cattle sorting previously so I knew Blessi wasn't afraid of cows.  However, cattle sorting is performed in two small round pens so there is less space for the horse to run around in if he gets too excited.  I wasn't sure how "excited" Blessi was going to get when he got the opportunity to chase cows in a much larger arena setting.

Since this was a 2-day event, I took Blessi to a new stable for overnight boarding.  I thought he might like to run around the big arena for a bit before he was stabled for the night.  The cows (calves really) were penned right next to the arena but separated by a 5-foot solid wall.  I turned Blessi loose in the arena, he smelled the cows, and ran.....right to the separating fence so he could put his head over the solid fence and stare at those cows.  Well this seemed to be a good sign.

Here's a video of Kathy riding Blessi during his first day of cattle sorting.  This is the first time Kathy is riding an Icelandic.  She rides Western and Blessi is trained English.  Sometimes, you will see Kathy point at cow so Blessi knows to chase it.  Kathy said she had so much fun that she laughed so much that her face cheeks hurt for the next 24 hours.  As you can see by the video, it seems like the cows were running the show.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Icelandic Cowboys

Icelanders are very proud of their horses and horse trekking remains an integral part of their culture.  This island has a population of 318,500 and 80,000 horses.  I read somewhere that 1 in 4 people ride in Iceland and more men than women ride.  Treks over long distances are a very popular activity and last for hours, if not days.  The rider often ponies one or two remounts so that each horse can be rested.  This video shows the joy of Icelandic "cowboys."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blessi at Corey's Day on the Farm

Since Blessi and my dressage instructor Dannelle are competing in the Northwest Horse Expo All-Breed Show in Albany, OR this week, I am re-publishing some of the best of Blessiblog.This year, Blessi, and I had the most awesome experience in all of the seven years of our partnership.  I was close to tears several times.  We participated in Corey’s Day at the Farm for the first time.  Coleta and Nick Corey of Silverdale, WA have a special needs son Danny.  In 1968, Danny took some puppies  to his class for show and tell.  Many of his classmates were unfamiliar with puppies so Coletta and Nick invited the class of 26 to their farm to ride ponies.  For over 40 years, the family has continued to expand the program so that today over 1000 special needs children plus their parents and grandparents come to the Kitsap County Fairgrounds to pet the goats and cows, take wagon rides pulled by tractor or draft horses, have lunch and popcorn, rope pretend cows, square dance, and so much more.   Up to 200 people volunteer to help.

The heart of the event remains the horse rides so Blessi and I decided to see if we could help.  The kids who attend have special needs ranging from autism to vision and hearing impairment to physical disabilities.  Really, I had no idea what this would entail—especially the dreaded “chute.”
Stage 1--help child dismount
Getting a child from a wheelchair or a physically handicapped child on a horse requires a special set-up—the chute.  At the end of the ride, the horse has to take the child into the chute.  The chute goes round a curve  to the unloading platform which is about two feet  high and about 10 by 10 feet square. 
Stage 2 Help another child into the saddle
 Several people are there to help the child off the horse. The horse is then led through the chute to the loading platform, which is about 5 feet in the air so that several adult volunteers can help the child down onto the horse.  During the loading and unloading process the horse must stand perfectly with all the volunteers helping an often unbalanced child.  Once in the queue, the horse cannot panic since there may be a horse ahead and behind it in the chute.  And let’s not forget all the flashes going off. 



Stage 3 Get two walkers to help support the child
The horse/leader/child grouping  also picks up one to two spotters to help the child balance on the horse.  The entire group makes a circuit around the arena and the process repeats itself.  For children who are very scared or very unsteady a 4-H volunteer  hops in the saddle and holds the child or sits behind the saddle and holds the child. 

And all of this occurs in the chaos of the fairground-- outside the arena are tractor rides, milling crowds, strange horses walking around, etc.  Most of the horses—mainly quarter horses and paints-- have been working at this event for several years.  They are absolute saints to tote a child who may kick suddenly, make sudden hand motions, be very unbalanced, or suddenly cry. 
Other activities around the riding area

The only horse misbehavior  that I know of happened to the adults who loaded children in the pony pasture (as opposed to the large horse arena) who got nipped several times by the ponies, who declined to bite the children.

Blessi was one of the first-time horses.  I arrived early to get him used to the set up.  I did not chunk this training well but Blessi is of a forgiving nature and a quick study.  Luckily there were lots of 4-H volunteers who were willing to play the role of special needs child—both on the platform and in the saddle.  It took about 20 minutes and several circuits with 4-H volunteers before I felt Blessi was ready to give his first real ride.  The final training step was when a 4-Her fed Blessi her breath mints from the level of the platform.  (Note—many of the first time horses could not cope with dreaded chute and went back to their trailers or stalls for the rest of the day).  As soon as that first child was lowered into the saddle, Blessi seemed to relax even more.  It was almost as if he understood the reason for the platform.  Blessi did such a good job that he got promoted to the pony pasture in the afternoon (don’t tell FEIF the international organization for the Icelandic “horse”).  The smaller children are even more likely to make sudden movements.  Oh, and Blessi is Icelandic.  He was really good at the “I’m a relaxed pony, my head is going down, look there is grass” grass snatching trick.

Stage 4 Return to chute
Here are just some of my memories from this afternoon.  I have changed the names.

  • Anna, with limited leg movement, taking her first horse ride with a smile that just got bigger and bigger as the ride went on
  • Jeffrey who got on Blessi  and was so excited he shouted “Yi Haa, I’m a cowboy” and kicked Blessi in the sides
  • Desi who was in sixth grade and just so sad because she had been coming to Corey’s Day on the Farm for six years and, since there is an age limit, could not come back as a seventh grader  
  • Jacob, who was about four and had to be carried by a 4-H rider.  He started off the ride crying but within 10 steps he started to sing the words to his own nonsense song, a song that lasted to the end of the ride
  • An unknown boy who would not talk or look at us.  However, he spent most of the ride hugging or petting Blessi’s withers 
  • Davie who kept getting in line and arranging his position in line so that he could ride Blessi five times
  •  And most of all the smiles, smiles, smiles of happy children and parents
I also have a confession to make about Blessi.  Sometimes you find out something about your horse that makes you ashamed.  After a grass break, I was walking Blessi back to the arena.  Parents pushing a child in a type of stroller/wheelchair asked if their son, who looked about 5, could meet Blessi.  I led Blessi over and he promptly lowered his head to greet the child at his level.  The child’s legs were covered with a grass green blanket.  After greeting the boy, Blessi gently took the blanket in his mouth and tried to remove it.  The kid smiled and his parents laughed and laughed.  The parents asked if Blessi would re-stage the event for photos—which Blessi was happy to do.  So here is my confession:  MY HORSE STEALS BLANKETS FROM SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN.

So humor aside, there are many volunteer positions to help with therapeutic riding –even if one does not have a suitable horse.  It is an amazing and emotionally rewarding activity. 

Blessi and the Flag

Blessi and I attended a fun day with the local Tennessee Walker club of which we are members (they made Blessi an honorary TW). The club was going to open the event with a salute to the flag and a parade around the indoor arena to "God Bless America."

Blessi and I had never carried a flag before so I volunteered to carry the American flag if Blessi was OK with it. Before seeing if Blessi reacted to the flag from the ground, I propped the flag up against a wall and turned to talk to my fellow flag carrier Dan. While my back was turned, Blessi reached over and knocked the flag to the ground. The club members teased that "Those foreigners have no respect for the flag."

Needless to say, Blessi had no reaction to the flag from the ground or the saddle so my fellow flag carrier and I mounted up, stood for the national anthem, and then started to lead off the parade of about 10 horses in the small indoor arena. I was struggling to handle the flag and reins while not hitting the somewhat low rafters with the flag. Blessi was doing great--keeping up with the other flag horse and keeping to the rail--with minimal directions from me.

As we were going round for the second time, we pass Jim who was taking some photos. Blessi slowly peeled off from the group and started to follow Jim closely. Jim turns and says "Blessi, the treats in my pocket are for my horses." I guess Blessi felt he deserved a treat for doing so well with a new activity and was going to reward himself.

Icelandics--you have to love their sense of humor.


Blessi and The Doughnut Effect

My instructor Dannelle rode Blessi in his first dressage show of this year.  Some friends and I attended with our non-traditional “dressage” horses—two Paints and an Icelandic.  Since this was an all-day event, we brought items to share for lunch.  I supplied iced tea, bottled water, and doughnuts.
The first class--Training Level 1--was won by a very talented Hungarian warm blood mare whose dressage trainer/owner is working the mare up the levels to compete at regional or higher Prix St. George level.  It was a joy to watch this talented pair go through the dressage movements.   Blessi and Dannelle and the other dressage trainer and his warmblood both scored 63.333, which was a tie for second place.  Actual ranking during a tie is decided by some quirky dressage rule and Blessi and Dannelle ended up with third place—not bad at all. 
What the box looked like
Reconstruction the next day
We left to check for scores.  The horses were tied at the trailer and somebody was supposed to keep an eye on them.  We returned to find that an animal had gotten into the doughnuts and eaten the ten that remained.  No harm done.  Except just a few minutes later we found out that the “animal” was Blessi.  He had untied himself from the trailer and eaten the doughnuts and the three apples that my friend had brought as post show treats for the horses.  My friend’s husband found Blessi cleaning up the icing in the box and re-tied him to the trailer. 


Blessi ate the bear claws, the pink iced doughnuts with sprinkles, the cream filled doughnuts, the chocolate iced doughnuts, and the plain cake doughnuts.  Blessi has never met a doughnut—or cookie, carrot, or peppermint-- that he doesn’t like.

Blessi looked a little uncomfortable but did not seem to be suffering otherwise so Dannelle rode him in his second test.  Well overall the scores were not good.  It must have been like trying to run a marathon right after eating Thanksgiving dinner.  I did notice some distinctive differences in the scores between test 1 and test 2—something I am labeling the Doughnut Effect.
A sugar high does create animation.  During the second test, Blessi managed to achieve an 8 on his free walk.  Normally he scores a 6 on this movement.  Judges usually note that he is relaxed but “lacks impulsion.”  He also upped his final movement “Down centerline, halt, salute” to a 7, which goes to prove that it takes impulsion to get a good halt.  However, any movement involving a canter dropped from a 6 to a 4 or 5.  Dannelle has been working to develop more of a 3-beat canter with Blessi but Blessi’s sugar high turned his canter back into a 4-beat, rushed affair. 
So my challenge is to determine how many doughnuts we need to feed Blessi to animate his free walk yet not impact his canter.  Obviously this is less than ten but more than one (Note: this is a joke—I don’t advocate more that a small bite of a doughnut for a horse).  By the way both Paints and their riders also did well at this event.  Luckily the sandwiches and fruit were stored at another trailer so the humans were able to have lunch.  Oh, and Blessi seems to have a cast iron stomach because he has suffered no ill effects from his doughnut binge.
I wasn’t able to capture any video of Blessi’s escape and self-indulgence.  However, somebody threw the doughnut box in my truck when we packed up and I was able to re-stage the event (with box but no doughnuts) back at the home stable.  

And here is a picture of Blessi sleeping off his doughnut binge on the day after the show.

Before I created the Blessi Blog, I shared this story with Stacey Kimmel, who writes the highly recommended blog Behind the Bit.  Stacey was kind enough to put this story on her blog but did some edits that made the story even better--she introduced the idea of the doughnut effect as a scientific study.  Please check out Stacey's blog!

http://www.behindthebitblog.com/search?updated-max=2011-08-31T14:11:00-04:00&max-results=4

A Free Pony for Every American--One of the Stranger Campaign Pledges

In the state of New Hampshire, you only need to pay a $1000 filing fee to run in the presidential primary for that state.  In 2012, 14 Democrats and 30 Republicans are running.  One of the candidates,Vermin Supreme is a performance artist, anarchist, and satirist.  He is known for wearing a boot shaped hat and carrying a tooth brush.  His political platform includes strong teeth for a strong America, flying monkey awareness program, time travel research funding,  and zombie apocalypse preparedness.

Vermin also promises a free pony for every American, his only entitlement program.  This program will help with job creation.  A  pony based economy will help reduce America's reliance on foreign-based oil.  And there will be a federal pony-based identification program--all Americans must have their pony with them at all times for identification purposes.  In the video, you can hear Vermin talk about his platform.  At least this is intentional satire unlike a lot of US politics.