The Tale of Two LaddiesWritten by Robert J. McLardie
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I bedded him in deep shavings in barn. This was another first for old gelding. After 3 days of rest I led him to 60 foot round pen to trim his feet. All four feet were foundered and extensive abscesses and large amounts of torn tissue. The toes on all four feet were squared off and large amounts of flaring were removed. As much heel as possible was left on all four feet. These trimming techniques are used to aid in making a horse more comfortable and to remove stresses from tendons. It also allows horse to break over toe of foot with least amount of stress. (It took a year of trimming and dieting to get his feet to normal shape and condition.) Although I am familiar with heart bar shoes, it was decided that I would continue to trim his feet and work him in soft ground in round pen. After a couple more days of rest in barn it was back to round pen to teach him basics. Without being restrained he was saddled and bridled on this day and taught to go right and left, walk on, trot and canter. Laddie had a big soft kind eye. He was so full of try and his kindness showed as he always gave 100% in whatever I asked him to try. Laddie was about 200 lbs. overweight so I decided to put him on a diet of last year's hay and continue with a program of gradual conditioning in round pen. At end of 8 weeks he continued to lose weight and had been trimmed a second time. His conditioning and training was now allowing me to ride him in 70 x 120 ft outdoor riding ring. I was pleased with progress. He felt solid under saddle. Corresponding with arrival of Laddie, second little laddie entered my life. His name was Joshua and he was a 4 year old autistic boy. (Autism is a disorder that causes delays in social and emotional development, language skills and behavior difficulties.) He visited farm quite frequently as care and training of Laddie continued. Joshua loved to be outside and farm offered a safe, secure and new environment for Josh to explore. I was able to establish a relationship with Josh very quickly and he was very willing to take instructions from me. Although many other people had great difficulty in communicating with him, I was able to create a special bond with him right away. Joshua functioned at higher end of autism spectrum and he did have some verbal skills and was able to understand instructions that were short if he had time to process information. Joshua always took everything that was said in literal sense. Josh loved all horses at farm but he seemed to show special fondness of Laddie. Whenever I was working with Laddie Josh wanted to help. Many times he would bring his favourite toy, a Star Wars light saber and run around riding ring waving it at Laddie who got his work out bye running away from Josh. One exercise with Laddie using lunge line was to teach Laddie to stand still and face me and then to come to me by giving him a hand signal. Josh would watch this process. Josh loved to make lunge line whip up and down like a large green snake towards Laddie but wouldn't keep eye contact with big gelding. (People with autism have difficulty making eye contact.) Being concerned that Josh should know where horse was I would shout "Josh keep your eye on horse!" Josh would still shout "Whoa Waddie!"" whip lunge line and look down at ground. On closer observation I noticed he would peek at horse by slightly raising his head and indeed had one eye open and one eye closed. He had one eye on horse!! Josh could not say Laddie, he used to call him Waddie. He got very confident working him in round pen and arena. He could lead him and give him instructions to whoa, and walk on. Their relationship progressed to level where Josh would walk alongside him going to left, Josh would say "Who Waddie" and lift up his right arm and big horse would stop. Then Josh would lean his upper body forward and point his right arm and say "Waddie walk on." Laddie walked on. This is a unique example of bonding that is possible between a human being and a horse. School was especially trying for Joshua. He required constant supervision and they had not yet mastered skills required to communicate with him. One day school called his mother to tell her that she would have to pick Josh up from school because did not want to take him on a field trip. Josh's mom could not believe that with all of their education and knowledge that they would refuse to try and take Josh on outing with his class. Joshua was also upset so his mom brought him out to farm as a special trip. Joshua then asked if he could RIDE Laddie. "Bob, Bob, I Want to wide Waddie, prease, prease!!" I saddled up big gelding and Joshua got up on horse without any fear. I led them around farm as Joshua gave Laddie and I directions to go right, go left, cross bridge, walk here, walk there, whoa, walk on. Nearing end of ride we crashed through brush and walked through an old creek bed. As we got closer to barn Joshua could see his mom. He shouted at top of his lungs, "I Win!! I Win!!" His mother and I looked at each other in amazement. Where did that come from? When I helped Joshua down from horse he said to me "Thanks for most beautiful horse wide!" We were both brought to tears. A day that had begun with frustration and hopelessness had ended in exhilaration and success! In retrospect, both this horse and this boy had many challenges and obstacles to overcome and yet each in their own unique way were doing their best and giving their all. We couldn't have asked for more. I know my role was that of teacher and trainer but I know I learned so much from Joshua and Laddie about facing life's challenges and obstacles that may be in our paths, on how to start a new life and to leave past where it belongs, in past. Live in moment and live in hope of an ever unfolding future. For this I thank them both. p.s. I wintered Laddie on a strict diet. He continued to do well and in spring a little girl and her mom came and took Laddie to his new home. © 2000 Robert J. McLardie
You may contact Robert through following: Telephone: 1-250-413-3152 E-mail: email@example.com URL: http://www.cornerstoneapproach.ca http://www.cornerstoneapproach.com
For the last three decades Robert is a special horse trainer and clinician with expertises in a wide range of horse breeds, in the UK & North America. He is living on Vancouver Island BC, Canada. Robert travels to teach his own horse training method called: The Cornerstone Approach, this innovative way to foundational training program for all horse breeds. Check www.cornerstoneapproach.ca for details, and www.al.bc.ca for the upcoming books.
On Grammer (And Yes, I Know I Spelled Grammar Wrong)Written by Joseph Devon
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We can also take this notion in exact opposite direction. If more rules produce a smaller audience, then fewer rules must produce a larger audience. This, as it turns out, is exactly case. As anyone who has ever found a bathroom in a foreign land by acting out motion of pulling down their pants, as anyone who has been involved in a puppet show to figure out what is on a dinner menu, as anyone who has found a hotel room by tilting their head and pretending to sleep will tell you: there is an international language, but it’s not love or Esperanto, it’s mime. The more basic your method of communicating, easier you will be understood. I am not, of course, advocating some sort of grammatical free-for-all where we throw out all of rules at once and ignore fact that I used “its” instead of “it’s” back in first paragraph. These rules provide a much needed service because, while it may be true that more grunting you do more you’ll be understood, it also happens to be true that more basic your method of communicating less complex your thoughts can be. There is no way I could mime New York State Penal Code. All I’m saying is, we shouldn’t take it too far other way. There is a reason Tower of Babble fell over. That being said, I suppose I should relent just a bit here about something I said earlier. Maybe I shouldn’t have threatened rules of grammar exactly. As a writer I need and depend upon those rules to get from abstract thoughts in my head to paragraphs of 12-point font. So I take back that threat, but I leave a warning in its place: Don’t stand too firm, you believers in grammar, don’t hold too fast. This is all just a phase and assaults on your rules taking place every day are just language attempting to move forward. The next time you want to complain about high-schoolers text messaging each other while spelling word “cool” as “kewl”, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is this pure stupidity and a sign of crumbling of our civilization? Or is it something else?” (It’s something else. On a standard cell-phone keypad, number 6 represents letter “o”. To type “cool” with proper spelling during text-messaging on a cell phone requires you to hit number 2 three times for “c”, then to hit 6 three times for first “o”, then (and here’s important part) to wait, and wait, and wait until that letter reads in before hitting 6 three times again for second “o”, then on to 5 three times for “l”. The word “kewl” requires no such waiting; none of sequential letters are represented by same number and all can be hit in succession with no pauses. Trust me. Try it.) Language changes for a reason. Sometimes, as in coining of a phrase like “hogwash,” a saying becomes so popular that it automatically enters mainstream lexicon. Sometimes, as with mutation of a word or phrase into different meanings, like “holy grail,” it’s because verbal exchanges have brought word into use with a wholly different connotation. And sometimes, as with word kewl, it’s just easier. Rules of grammar are just fine, but please don’t try to make them into laws. They will not hold. You might as well go back in time and try to tell Rembrant that he can sculpt anything he wants, just so long as he always uses Lego Building Set #6948B and his airplane always turns out same way. Or you might as well tell Van Gogh to go ahead and paint, just so long as he paints by number. (Ironically, that’s pretty much what happened to Van Gogh, an inspired painter who did not follow strict rules of Dutch oil painting as they were at time and thus only received scorn while he was alive. Of course, if that’s what man saw when he looked at a haystack, I’m willing to admit that there might have been some other issues at play. Plus there’s whole ear thing.) And you might as well tell me to stop interrupting my essay for parenthetical asides containing chatty writing. That’s how I’m most comfortable writing, and I’m not going to change it just to make you feel comfortable. But I suppose I really do have to back off a bit and repeat: that’s a warning, not a threat. Grammar freaks, you had better learn how to bend because language is most certainly going to change throughout time, and if you will not yield for its passage it is going to leave you broken in its path.
Joseph Devon is the author of "The Letter" and is a freelance writer living in New York City. To read more about him, please visit josephdevon.com.