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Road To The Horse 2013 - The World Championship of Colt Starting 10th Anniversary

This week we are in Kentucky enjoying all the charm and southern hospitality this historic area has to offer.  Glenn was invited back as one of the past clinicians at Road To The Horse in honor of their 10th Anniversary.  He came down a little early and taught a clinic at the Grasslands Too Arena, thank you to Shelby Hume for hosting, and Bobbie and Janie Elliot for the use of their gorgeous facility. 

Lexington is starting to buzz as each day brings the big event closer and closer… Road to the Horse 2012.  As I write this, Glenn and Jonathan took off at 630 am this morning.  I heard something about a meet up with Dan James; don’t know what they are doing but I bet the three of them have found much to amuse themselves given that this is the horse capitol of the world.  The stories at the dinner table tonight will be entertaining I am sure!

A few weeks ago, RTTH’s organizer Tootie Bland asked us if we would like to donate to the RTTH 10th Anniversary Benefit Auction, Sat, March 16. The proceeds of the auction are to go towards the Central Kentucky Riding for Hope (CKRH) "Equine Services for Heroes" program, hoping to raise $10,000 to provide 12 weeks of equine-assisted therapy for 10 military veterans “Making an extraordinary connection with a horse – the same way you do every day – may be the most effective, positive path for 10 veterans who are trying to "just get back to living." Our support of CKRH confirms that their service and sacrifice is valued greatly by us.”

All the proceeds from the top selling item will go to the charity of the donating clinicians choice.  The charity that we chose is a local one, the Child Development Center.  The Fort St. John Child Development Centre (CDC) is a non-profit organization that has been supporting children with special needs and their families in Fort St. John and surrounding areas since 1973.  Their services and programs specialize in the area of Early Intervention services, as well as provide Skills and Respite programming, Supported Child Development, Family Services, and Complex Developmental Behavioral Conditions Key Intake services.

What to donate???  Here was what Tootie was asking for:  A "priceless" personal item that uniquely represents YOU (not merchandise that has a known value) and the original ideas and practices you advocate in the equine world. Your item may be a personal possession, a hat, boots or other clothing, a piece of "historical" tack, a tried-and-true training device, or even a personal experience with YOU. Or how about a piece of horse art or a rare book that represents the ARTISTRY of horsemanship in your part of the U.S.....or the world.

That turned out to be a really good question, and it led to some retrospection that was a trip down memory lane, a sorting-out of what were the turning points, what shaped us, what did we learn from, what did we love, and what object(s) could possibly represent all these stories, twists and turns, joys, heartaches and learn-burns that brought us to the present.

Finally, we got a great idea!  We put together a shadow box.  The one in the photo shown here.  We LOVED it. We showed it to family and friends back home, told the stories of the things inside, and they cried.  They said how can you give something like this away, and we said, well, its going to be hard, but we’ve got all the memories and lessons that each of the shadow box items represent, really that’s all that matters to us.  So, it was all coming together; a good friend built us a shadow box out of another dear family friends old granary boards, we found the leather for the background, and surrendered our “artifacts” to the glue.

And then we started to fuss.  What would they think at the US border when we were taking a knife across as carry-on.  (Not much, but maybe we could take it out.) What would they think about an Eagle feather or eye socket.  What about the Grizzly teeth?   The Elk Ivory?  Finally, we called a friend who knows about these things and he simplified the matter by saying “They could take you straight to jail, you will never see your shadowbox again, and might never be allowed back into the states.”  We were aghast.  The good new was, we could keep the shadowbox; but what to do for the auction? So we decided to take a photo of it, and another frame from the same granary boards was made.  We love the finished result, and hope you do too.  Please watch out facebook page for ways that you can place your long distance bid for the auction.

Here is a note from Glenn:
All the items in this framed photo are real and I’ve had some of them for over 30 years. I kept them for one reason or another and all mean more to me I’m sure than anyone else but here’s the story.

I will start with the stock whip. It has hung on my kitchen wall with another whip that I started playing with 17 years ago. This whip is the first one I wore out practicing. I used to get a lesson or some advice from every Aussie or anyone else I met that could crack one. Everyone had a different crack they knew and I was always trying to learn theirs.

Every since I was 17 I have spent a good portion of every year in the rocky mountains 4 days ride from the nearest road and 3 hour drive from the nearest town. There is nothing but wilderness and the animals that live there. There is a herd of 200 to 300 horses that live back in that country with the elk, bears and wolves.  The first year I went to work in the mountains I was guiding a hunter and we got an animal and I was so excited to get back to camp and show everyone what we had got I left my new knife up on a rock. Two years later I rode by that rock and there was my knife all rusted and faded.

The braided horsehair is from a horse that I owned. I seen the horse at a clinic and it was a real athlete but was running over the lady and out of control. I asked her if she wanted to sell it and if I could play with the horse for a week to see how much work it was going to be to bring him around. She said yes. A week later she came by and I showed her how much he had changed and paid her for the horse. She drove out of the yard and someone asked for some help just as I was going to put him away. They only needed a minute of help so I tied him to a post in the middle of the yard. There were people on all sides of him and I had to step around a building to give the help. I was out of site of the horse for no more than 3 minutes and when I stepped back around the building it had run around the post, pulled back, fell over, and hung itself. That was almost the end of my career with horses. I had never had a horse hurt around me in my life let alone die and I felt terrible. I took a piece of his tail in memory and keep it on the wall by the kitchen table.

When we spend all this time in the mountains we see a lot of beautiful things and get to see nature as it is meant to be. Any given year we will ride along a meadow or gravel bar and see where there has been an Elk kill. The wolves and bears are plenty and feed on the moose and Elk. I always like to stop and look around and see if I can figure out what happened. How many wolves or bears, was it a cow or bull. In very Elk there are two ivory teeth called whistlers and the story is that that is what they use to make what I call the song of the mountains, the sound a bull Elk makes in the rut.

There are other animals that join in on the circle of life and if you look around a bit there is usually Eagle feathers, tracks and sometimes another animal that looses its life while trying to feed on the Elk. The round part around the Elk Ivories is the eye socket of an eagle.  I even found the grizzly teeth that are in the print. So I like to pick up some of the interesting pieces I find and keep them as a reminder of a simpler way of life that always takes me back and keeps me grounded to reality when the computers, cell phones and crowds get too crazy.

These are very personal items that have great meaning to me and not to forget the journey and the beauty I have witnessed along the way.

May you always…
Glenn.