He shot a gun for the first time in the summer of 2008. Never thought he's enjoy it. His pretty much hooked now. Nice clean shot. Dropped him in his tracks. 130 pounds. He's promised me we will have venison cooked in the shanty out on the lake while fishing this winter. Yum!
Boots and Saddles posted a link to it and that's how I found it. Thanks Boots and Saddles, it's A Must Read. There are so many deaths on the race tracks. It's important to pay attention. Think about it, talk about it.
I am going to watch the Derby today. I have such mixed emotions about the whole thing!!
You find them in all classes of recreational land users from horse people to snowmobile riders. They damage the environment and give those that encounter them a bad taste for the sport they represent. What's worse is that they destroy the hard earned relationships that organized users have with local land owners.
What goes on in their little testosterone saturated minds?!!!!
(Yes, there are some female offenders and yes I do tend to expect better behavior from the members of my carefully nurtured gender than I have learned to expect from that of the afore mentioned. Guilty).
Are these deviants so short sighted that they don't care if the trail they ride off season or dump trash on or short cut through (devastating sensitive regrowth areas by mowing down saplings) is closed to all recreational use the following year as long they have their fun today?
Do they simply not stop to consider the consequences of their actions?
Do they think they have the right to do as they please because their registration is paid, or because of the old law the said horsemen may travel over personal property at any time without prior owner consent?
The trail master for for Massabesic ATV Club just sent we members a note to remind us that the trails are closed for mud season till May 15th. He also said that many are being used even so. He stopped one group of riders to remind them. This group told him they were not members of a club, but had paid their Maine ATV registration and could therefore ride wherever they please.
Can they really think that? Are they so uneducated? Are they out looking for ways to make trouble?
Do they at least stop to wonder if maybe the individuals who maintain that trail ( who spend many weekends working the trails or communicating with landowners, making promises, while the rogues are riding those trails, and often breaking those promises!) have pay the exact same registration fee to the state of Maine (not to mention the club dues every year)?
Let's for a moment consider the possibility however remote that they are sensible intelligent individuals capable of civility and understanding simple concepts once explained to them.
How do we educate them?
How about a colorful brochure that is handed out at time of registration. Not just handed out but read to each individual and needing to be signed for comprehension prior to being handed the legal tags.
The brochure would detail the fact that Maine is unique in that it's organized and managed trail system of some 20,000 plus miles travels across lands that are 90% privately owned. Yes, the state takes in a pile of registration monies but it does not control or even suggest whether land owners open or close their properties to recreation.
It would explain that organized clubs at the local level manage the trail systems, working closely with each and every land owner to minimize the impact of recreational use on their property and ensure that the many hundreds of generous people who allow us use of their land find it a rewarding experience, rather than a headache, a liability, troublesome, or downright dangerous.
It would cost a lot of money, these brochures. Registrations might have to increase. If it would help keep trails open it would be worth it wouldn't it?
OK, so what about the horse folk? I am one of those also. And I didn't understand for the longest time that just because the local snowmobile club had permission to use a trail it did not mean that I could have it in the summer. I did not understand that I needed to communicate with all the land owners involved with the trails I used and secure my own permission for my use of that trail.
I have begun to change my MO in my new neighborhood. We have permission to use a 50 acre maze of fabulous cross country ski trails that one can weave round and about in for 2 hours without getting very far from home at all. It's a greast little conditioning grounds. All the owner asks is that we hop off and kick manure off the trail when it happens and stay out while the trail is posted (being groomed for skiing and when the mudd is deep). small price to pay for such pretty trails with such good footing, and even a couple of grazing areas. I regret not offering some additional help last year, and will get over there soon to arrange to be there for spring clean up at least.
This need for official premissions was driven home to me this winter as I was researching the DOC experimental trail matt project ongoing alone a section of ATV / Snowmobile trail on CMP land in Waterboro. This trail is undergoing some major renovation and improvements because of the hard work of local motorized clubs. these trails are so wide and gorgeous you could drive a carriage over them. Once done they will connect Lebanon through to Hollis Center and to the Saco river. A lovely section of trail that experienced another group of rogue riders: Last fall several 4WD trucks went through and managed to cause an estimated 4 - 5 thousand dollars worth of damage, and piss off the CMP officials. And guess who had go beg for mercy? The drivers of the trucks? (as if) The ATV clubs of course.
What I found out was that as far as CMP and DOC knows there are no horses using any of the trails along this entire stretch of power line. Therefore, there Will be no consideration of the needs of horses when developing ways to preserve wet areas (bridges and the matt project etc.). I can jump up and down and yell: "Yes there are! there's me and 6 of my buddies and at least 10 others we see and wave at every other weekend!!" They just stare blankly at me, because:
The only way to be recognized as a user group in these situations is to be an organized incorporated state recognized club who has partitioned for and secured written permission from CMP and subsequently documented as a user group.
As the VP of Maine Equestrian Trails Alliance it is one of my duties is to educate the equestrian community on these details. META is working on a "create a local club" packet with everything you need to know to get organized and gain a voice as a trail user group throughout the state of Maine.
One of the best ways I have found to further this cause and get to know what is really going on with trails in your area, is to go join the local motorized clubs. I find them very open to working towards making trails safe for horses, and education in general across groups. They are also desperate for help on work days, and nothing creates better reciprical relationships than user groups working elbow to elbow for the same goal of use of the trails throughout this amazingly beautiful state!
Please comment with ideas!!! In this time of economic unease when stress levels run high, we need our recreation more than ever, and we have to cooperate and communicate (horse people, and motorized, mushers and mountain bikers) to keep the trails open.
As I watched the brave strong performance that Teddy gave at the Rolex on video today it struck me that he seemed so solid so unflappable. Not the pony you would think could spook and sustain a mortal wound. What an awful and shocking way for him to go. The Equine world heaves a heavy sigh of grief for his friends and family and for us, his many saddened fans.
You can buy this photo of Eight Belles matted and framed for under $100.00 ,or an 8 X 10 loose for $15.95, at Gallery of Champions. I can't find a photo of Ruffian available though.
PLEASE Go Here to Sign a Petition to demand that changes are made in the Thoroughbred Racing Industry in America. And PLEASE take time to tell them what specifically you want to see done. Making the message personal will help to get their attention. You may be most outraged by the use of the whip, or the practice of racing these horses at so tender an age. How about the tradition of breeding for speed rather than soundness. Tell the industry what upsets you and why you can no longer support the sport of Kings until changes are made.
There has been a lot of blogging about this incident. Act now to effect a change while the industry is listening and waiting to see how painful the fallout will be. Only we can make it painful enough to really make them change their ways. NOW BEFORE ANOTHER RACE IS RUN!
Also. Let us not forget to look at ourselves as we condemn another Equine sport. Maryanne Stroud Gabbani reminds us of this from Egypt in her May 05 2008 post "Learning to Slow Down" over at Turn Right at the Sarcophagus. How easily the almighty dollar or promise of prestige can sneak to the forefront of our priorities as we compete with our horses in many sports and disciplines?
Let's not forget Eight Belles the way we seem to have forgotten Ruffian! Lets make her death the catalyst to change. Let's make her a hero that won't be forgotten.
Here are some other addresses for sending your thoughts:
I so want to try This. They have a Yahoo group that I joined last year. But it's been very quiet on there.
Suddenly this month there are several conversations going on. Mainly about the Championship race in June. In JUNE! June is minutes away and some of us are still buried in snow! Here in Maine we are so snowed in this year our horses are fat and out of shape, Like we ourselves who aren't ready to compete in anthing but snow shoveling and would rather have a root canal done than spend another minute with a snow shovel!
There seems to be nothing planned this side of the Tapanzee Bridge in New Jersey. So here I am with the snow finally melting--down to an eight inch base on the path I tread to the horses--all jazzed up about Ride and Tie--cause I can finally jog (up to 2.8 miles now) although slowly without becoming crippled for a week!!
Sharon Levasseur who hosts / manages the Hot Toddy Hustle in September said last year that she would sanction a Ride and Tie if we got two teams together and hold it simultaneous with the HTH. So come folks, I can't be the only fool who thinks this looks like a blast!
I would be more than happy to host clinics / pratice sessions to help us teach our horses to be tied on trail. it is not as hard as it sounds. You just have to be smart and take it in tiny increments so the horse doesn't freak. Those who have succeded say the horses figure it our amazing fast and rather than watching you run off, they turn immediately to watch for the other team member who they know will be showing up from the other direction.