New Year’s day and I’m sitting in front of the computer working, that pretty much says it all. This is the webpage I’ve been the least enthusiastic about writing- the “me” page. After looking through HMH, a person might ask; why is there so much stuff about Florida? That’s an easy one; I’m a native of Florida. Fourth generation on my mother’s side and third generation on my father’s side; both sides of the family were ranchers and citrus growers at various times.
Horses have been my passion since I had baby teeth. I’ve owned many over the years, you know you’re a serious horse addict when you find yourself thumbing through old photo albums and come across pictures of horses you forgot you owned. I do not consider myself to be an expert horseman however. Anyone who makes that claim openly is most likely not. If horses are anything they are humbling; the more time you spend with them the more humble you become.
For nearly twenty years it’s been my privilege to work as a freelance writer and photographer for a variety equestrian print magazines. It started out as a means to augment a meager teacher’s income and to help finance my horse habit but it quickly grew into a passion of its own. Now retired from teaching and seeking more editorial flexibility, starting up HMH was a natural progression. I owe a lot to the editors of the print magazines; they gave me an opportunity to learn.
Like many people, the American West captivates me and as a result, I’ve spent a lot of time there. Unique people make a place special and ranch raised folks are as genuine a breed as you’ll come across. My own home state being a ranching state, an appreciation for ranchers everywhere comes naturally. From the Great Basin to the Northern Plains, the Chihuahua Desert to the Big Cypress; the work is difficult and life can be harsh.
From a horsemanship perspective, ranchers and cowboys possess a wealth of information. The fact that they spend enormous amounts of time horseback is the reason. They see good and bad every day, in the most practical of applications- the better the cowboy is horseback, the better his horses are, the more efficiently the job gets done. Like the cowboy, carriage drivers have a special connection with history. Their modern recreation was once essential transportation. I started driving only a few years ago- I wish I had started sooner.
Europe is my latest frontier, a continent filled with so many traditions of fine horsemanship; It’s a whole new challenge. With that I’ve taken up classical dressage. My stock saddles and buckaroo gear collection are currently in storage and for the first time, I don’t own any horses. There’s a great deal to overcome, different languages, adjusting to different cultures and philosophies of working with horses. I quickly found my own riding had grown rusty and stale- there’s a lot of work to be done.
Like most folks who’ve been around horses for a long time, there are boxes of old faded ribbons and dusty trophies packed away down in my basement but these things don’t make someone a great horseman or even a good one. Above all else, if I’ve learned anything about Equus ferus caballus it’s this; horses never lie. They have a natural ability to show us who we really are and that has always fascinated me.