The Tale of Two LaddiesWritten by Robert J. McLardie
The Tale of Two Laddies by: Robert J. McLardie Bob McLardie has worked for over thirty years with countless horses and their owners to repair relationships, calm fears, nurture and protect and above all else bring owners to a new understanding of their horses. He brings to you "The Cornerstone Approach – A Revolution in Horsemanship". The Tale of Two Laddies is a story about challenges and obstacles that every human being and creature face throughout life and living. The two laddies in my life brought me to a greater understanding and depth of words "never give up". As a horse trainer, coach and farrier, I have had opportunity to meet many great people and horses. I first met Laddie while I was working on a little Arab at a 450 acre ranch in Northern B.C. There was another horse on ranch named Laddie. He was a 10 year old appaloosa gelding and he had been running wild for 8 years on ranch. Apparently as a 2 year old Laddie had been tied to what someone had thought was a secure object but Laddie had managed to pull and drag that object. The result was a broken halter and Laddie running off. For next 8 years Laddie had no human contact, therefore no halter on, hooves not trimmed, unlimited feeding with cattle and unlimited pasture which led to him being severely foundered. I learned later that Laddie had been put into a log corral and in trying to catch him that Laddie had reared up and dropped his body on top log and it broke. Laddie was then able to scramble over logs and was free again. I asked owner if I could take on challenge of repairing Laddie's foundered feet as well as training him to be ridden with objective of saving his life and finding him a new home. Laddie was so sore that at times he would lie down and eat by pulling himself in a circle to eat grass where he was laying. I was surprised that he had not been attacked and killed by large pack of wolves that were known to travel and take calves from this ranch. An agreement was made between owner and I for me to pick up Laddie on a Sunday afternoon. I thought owner would have him in a corral or fenced area waiting for us. When my son and I arrived he was welding some farm equipment and I asked him where Laddie was, he pointed to large whit butt that could be seen over rise on distant hillside. Although disappointed, I thought that catching Laddie would not pose a great challenge I told my son it wouldn't take long! After all Laddie had sore feet. We set off with a lead rope and halter in hand. Unknown to me was Laddie's in-depth knowledge of this 450 acres and his great desire not to be caught! Laddie knew every nook and cranny, every cow trail into bush and pasture, and all ways to evade capture. He would hide behind groups of cows and calves and as we got close he would scatter cows. He would hide in small groves of trees, deadfall, brush and brambles. Laddie seemed just like a moose, he was that comfortable in wilderness. It was hard to imagine that with his feet in such bad condition that he could continue to walk. After 2 ½ hours we were close to house and close to giving up so I went in to talk to owner. We needed to get Laddie into a smaller area. The cows were used to coming for grain so we got grain and cows, 2000 lb. Bull named Harcourt, 2 huge sows, and 2 goats heading for corral. Cam and I were part of herd as well, corral was full. The owner controlled gate as last of animals went in. We poured grain on ground to get animals settled and we started process of cutting out cows and calves. It was easier to walk up and pat 2000 lb. Bull, Harcourt on head than it was to get close to Laddie. Laddie was extremely anxious and agitated and had fear written all over his face. Our idea was to cut out cows, calves, pigs and goats, keep things calm and capture Laddie. We got majority of cows and calves out, then Harcourt, pigs and goats. There were a few Herefords left and Laddie. In trying to approach Laddie he again reared up trying to clear log corral, but with fatigue and soreness it prevented his attempt to flee. This was our opportunity! With a bucket of grain my son approached Laddie's head. This gave me a chance to move towards Laddie's shoulder so I could stroke his withers and neck and put a halter on. Cam and I breathed a sigh of relief, this was first time in 8 years he had had a halter on! With lead shank and halter on I moved him around in corral for a few minutes. What were amazing were that after all those hours of following behind him, Laddie now just accepted halter and lead shank and followed me willingly. It was now a mile and a half walk to get Laddie to my training facility. On my way home I have to go by farm of an old local cowboy, John. He used to break horses in style of his father. He was sitting on his front porch and could see me walking down road towards him. He was an old friend of Laddie's owner and had been in corral on first occasion when Laddie had broken free. John couldn't help himself, he came down driveway to meet me. He asked me in amazement if that was old Laddie and how on earth die I catch him. Without going into great detail I said it took hours of walking. John looked at Laddie's feet and recognizing how badly foundered he was told me that I would never be able to repair them and what was I going to do with horse anyway? I told him that I was pretty confident that I could fix his feet and that I was going to train him and ride him. John looked at me and said, "You'll never do it. Laddie's too old, you can't teach an old dog new tricks! You're crazy!" I said, "Just hive me a couple of months and you can come over with owner and have coffee while I ride Laddie." When I got Laddie home I bathed him with garden hose and cleaned dirt and sweat from his body. He seemed to really enjoy bath and drank water directly from end of hose. We measured and photographed his feet at this time. His feet were over 6 ½" (they should be about 3 ¼") and size of dinner plates. They were flared and very misshapen. It was quite remarkable that his legs and tendons had been able to take all abuse with all years of not being trimmed. He is a remarkable example of will to survive! 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.
Outdoor Gear For Your Favorite ActivitiesWritten by Corby Morris
If you love great outdoors, then you know that there are many activities out there for you to enjoy. Of course, you probably also know that for each outdoor adventure, you will need different kinds of gear. What gear will you need for your next excursion? It is vital to be prepared with proper equipment. If you don’t know exactly what gear you will need, here is a look at what will be necessary for your future journeys.
Are you into camping? There are a lot of items you’ll need to have best camping experience possible. It goes without saying that a tent will be on your list, but there are more things to remember than that. A cooler for food supplies, backpacks, sleeping bags (the thickness you will need depends on weather conditions), camping furniture such as chairs and cots, cookware and utensils, and lamps are things you shouldn’t forget to take with you. When you are thinking about what tent to buy, take into account how often you will be using it. Where are you going to take it? What can you afford? There is a huge selection of tents to choose from, so make sure tent you get is one that is right for you.
Climbing is a daring sport for bravest outdoor enthusiast. Be sure you don’t try it without right equipment! Ropes, cords, slings, harnesses, helmets, rock climbing shoes and boots to make your climb easier, backpacks and clothing suitable for climbing are some of things you’ll need. There are several kinds of harnesses to look at, so think about your climbing style to determine best kind for you. Test your harness to assure best fit before you buy. You should also find specialty shoes that will give you friction and focus you need as you climb.
Is cycling more of your thing? Your bike isn’t only thing you will need. Helmets, backpacks, water bottles, and gloves are some of items you’ll want to have with you. You could also benefit from clothes made specifically for cycling. So how do you choose a bicycle, anyway? It depends on your style of biking. Where do you bike? How important is comfort to you? What size of bike do you need? Are you going to ride it on a rugged trail or on a paved road? Ask yourself these questions when shopping.