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Raising the base of the neck
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Helen
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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2007 07:10 am
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All I wanted to say, Danee, is that Dr Deb has no motivation to 'sell herself' to you. It is not for her to show you why you should learn from her, it is you that have come to learn from her. So either be ready to learn from her, or don't ask her for help. When she refers you to her other works, it is her way of saying that she has already written down the information you require, and it is up to you to seek and use it.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2007 07:51 am
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OK, Danee, very good. Just what I was looking for -- to the point, and correct.

Now that we have established that you can recognize the relationship between inner OK-ness and the outer shape and style of movement of the horse, we have a basis for further discussion. In other words -- from here on out, I will be able to refer you back to your own words.

So, the first thing to be mentioned would be THAT you can recognize that there IS a relationship between the horse's inner OK-ness and his outer shape and doings. Your post is proof that you know there is this relationship.

By implication, then, we may conclude that you acknowledge that the horse has an inner life -- in other words, that he has emotions and feelings that are, if not exactly the same as your own, similar or analogous; in other words, you believe that he can and does experience feelings such as fear, worry, happiness, frustration, curiosity, anger, sadness, joy.

I am now going to repeat for your benefit a little story which I have told in some of the writings which you say you have read "five times" -- maybe this will serve as a little prompt toward getting you to see that further review of the suggested material might be to your benefit, even if it would mean reading this material many times more than five times. Some very fine students, you know, throughout history have been known to re-read their material daily -- I mean students like St. Benedict, the Dalai Lama, or Abraham Lincoln. Surely if they can stand re-studying their core material, you can stand another hearing of this:

Once upon a time, there was a woman just like you who decided she was going to give her horse a day off from schooling in the arena. So she tacked him up and rode him out away from the stable, down the quiet and beautiful trail that led out across the meadow. And the day was just beautiful: the sun was shining and the birds were singing, and all was right with the world. The horse was happy and focused, stepping out with long and fluid steps, and the reins, held only on the buckle, were swinging freely from side to side. The woman was so pleased with this that she reached down to pet her horse on the side of the neck.

All of a sudden -- a big ol' rabbit exploded out from some bushes, practically under the horse's nose and cutting right across the trail. (Or it might have been a flock of quail, or a snoozing deer they nearly stepped on, or even a paper sack blown by the wind). The horse instantly reacted with a hard shy, throwing its head up, snorting and blowing, and pitching its shoulder so hard out to one side that the woman nearly lost her seat. In an effort to quell the situation and calm the horse, she reached down once again to pet her horse on the side of the neck.

Now, Danee -- that's the end of the story. And as with all my stories, this one is followed by the next set of questions:

1) How did the horse's neck feel to the woman the first time she reached down to pet him? Specifically, what was the quality of the muscle tone?

2) By contrast, how did the muscles feel the second time, when the horse was scared?

3) What universal law may we then conclude from this story? In other words: in anatomy class, we are taught that the brain and nervous system control the horse's muscles. Is this really true? What is the ultimate controller of the horse's physical state, including not only muscle tone but posture and bodily position?

Food for thought -- looking forward to your reply. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2007 03:44 pm
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That's correct, Danee, again very good.

So now that it's a given that you know this -- and because you have previously said you understand all of what it says in the "Woody" paper concerning the physical definition of straightness -- we can proceed to the next part, which is:

If a horse is not moving straight, what is the most basic or "deepest" cause of his crookedness?

Your answer to this will be the answer to the second of the two questions which were contained in all of your previous posts.

Also, by the way: I have not viewed the movies for which you previously supplied the link (my computer does not have the capacity to play them), but I have looked at the Home Page of the website upon which the movie links are posted. Are you one of the two people whose picture appears upon this page? In other words, are you an instructor or proprietor of the school that this page advertises? -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2007 06:16 am
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Danee, you are misinterpreting my reason for wanting to know whether your photo appears on the Web page mentioned. I don't give a hoot "who" you are, because I don't believe that anyone is anybody. So just tell me which photos are of you, and don't screw around making me guess. If your motives are as clean as we require them to be here, there is nothing in this for you to be afraid of.

The reason I want to know which pictures are of yourself is that you have requested several times that I make judgements about the quality of your riding and training. Since I can't play the movies, I need to know whether any of the stills are photographs of yourself. This is in an effort to give you the help you say you are looking for.

There is another reason for my asking about this also, however, and that is that I think the list of our materials that you have not read includes our Forum Guidelines. This relates to what I said above about your motives being clean. In the Guidelines, we ask people not to make use of this space to -- in any manner -- advertise or promote themselves.

The purpose of this Forum, the cost for which is underwritten by me personally and by the Institute, is to make it possible for people to come here to ask questions of me and to receive answers. Discussion around any number of topics is also welcome, as are contributions made by any disinterested person.

To be "disinterested" means that you never use this space to toot your own horn, for example by telling us that you're an instructor or how accomplished you are, or -- and believe it or not this has been tried several times -- by "playing dumb" so as to highlight or prolong your presence here. This rule stems from the idea that anyone who toots their own horn certainly cannot need any help from me -- since the person is already helping herself....not to mention also that fake "questions" are essentially manipulative and abusive.

A student is the most important "disinterested" person of any, and therefore, students are always welcome here. Students are people who come not in order to tell us what they already know -- I do not care at all what you already know or think you know -- but to ask about things they don't know, and to share their experiences with other students. The student asks, and is glad when she is answered, because answers are what she came for.

My definition of "the best student in the school" is, I think, very relevant to mention at this time:

The best student in the school is the one who is the most help to all the other students.

So, Danee, if you haven't read the Forum Guidelines, you'll now please go do that. They can be found by clicking on the hotlink at the top of the front page to the Forum.

Now, as to the last set of questions I posed for your consideration: once again your answer is correct -- emotional tension is what causes crookedness. As I mentioned in my previous, this is the answer to the second of the two questions you originally posed, vis., "what causes crookedness" or "what is crookedness". The whole point of the Woody paper is to bring the reader through the anatomy to a point where she understands very clearly the physical basis for crookedness, i.e. how the anatomy and biomechanics work -- and then boost it to a much higher level, where the realization dawns that there is something far more powerful and determinative that drives the physique.

Since you have correctly answered this part, you will then be able to answer the following:

1) What is the primary purpose of using a drag or lure in the education of a horse?

and

2) What is the primary importance of "releasing maneuvers" such as head twirling and untracking?

Your answers to these will constitute the solution to your first question, way back at the beginning, which was, "so how DO you raise the base of the horse's neck". I have already answered this question for you by the saying, "when your horse has to fill in for you a little bit less, it will happen all by itself." You did not appear to understand this saying, but what has been succeeding with you in terms of a teaching technique is making you repeat each step slowly and explicitly. So if you really did want to know the answer to your original question, Danee, I think that you are on the brink of actually finding out. -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2007 07:21 pm
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Danee -- Yes, there are some disturbing problems with what you have been doing here.

For one -- you say that ours is a "quiet little Forum" and you seem to think you're doing us some kind of favor by brightening it up with your chat. You have already been told that "chat for chat's sake" is not the purpose here. Apparently it had not occurred to you that having a "quiet little forum" was our preference.

For another -- Danee, again, if you had actually bothered to read my writings posted here, in our "Inner Horseman" newsletter, and elsewhere, you would know that there is NO SUCH THING as "natural horsemanship." We are not interested here in anything of the sort. My teacher, as you might know, is the old man himself; but neither he nor Ray Hunt have ever spoken of what they offer as 'natural horsemanship'. That term is the invention of one of the well self-advertised nobodies -- an almost terminally incurable ego who has harmed and misled thousands of people, including you.

What I mean by saying "there is no such thing as natural horsemanship" is that the term is an oxymoron: the term 'natural' cannot go with the term 'horsemanship'. Many people today are fooling themselves, or being fooled by others, into thinking that they are doing something good or something better than the next guy because they are doing something 'natural'. But it is not so. There is no style of riding, type of tack, training process or methodology which is natural. They are ALL un-natural.

In fact -- they are all by choice, by human decision. Everything that happens to your horse is because you, Danee, have decided that it shall. Even to leave a horse that you have responsibility for alone is to decide -- to not decide is to decide. There is no escape from this.

I would really prefer, for these reasons, to leave the term 'horsemanship' unadorned and  unqualified. What I teach is horsemanship, plain and simple. This is what my teachers teach too, and I greatly appreciate that approach. However, if you insist upon a qualifier, then I'll tell you that what I teach is CONSCIOUS horsemanship. This is the opposite of the approach taken by the well self-advertised clinicians who are trying to lull you asleep with the swansong of 'naturalness'. I want every student, instead, fully conscious, fully independent, unique, and ultimately having no need of any teacher other than God and the horse.

Since you have repeatedly asked for my judgement as to the quality of your training and riding, I will tell you again what I said before (previously I said it on the basis of your writing and attitude alone, but now I say it in all fairness, having actually reviewed the available evidence): you are an average rider doing average work. You have an average seat with some evident faults in balance and some tension that could go out of there. You produce a less than average quality of communication between the seat/leg and hand. You are out of time with your horse to a degree, and you are very much unaware of what the animal is actually thinking and feeling. Your horse is rather dull in movement and appearance, and show 'pseudo-suppleness' from your having done 'pseudo-head twirling' and 'pseudo-untracking'. ("Pseudo" results from the person thinking they understand release, when in fact they do not yet have the feel. It is a common problem with students in the first hour they meet me; after that, it begins to clear up. But clearing it up requires the student be directly with a teacher who knows what the proper feel is).

So again, I am going to repeat: so long as you continue to insist, Danee, that you have 'arrived' as a rider -- so long as you are the least bit proud of being able to stand up on a horse's back, or tool around without a bridle -- so long as you have any desire to be judged and found superior by me or anyone else -- you armor yourself against the very progress and enlightenment that you seek. And, you continue to require your horse to fill in for you. This is the MAIN problem.

You have said that you are impatient of always doing "fourth level 'movements' with training-level 'movement'". This is a direct confession that, despite the correctness ON PAPER of your answers to my questions, you do not have a real understanding of the inner life of the horse, release, suppleness, straightness, or collection. It is also a direct confession, again, that you do not understand the saying, 'when your horse has to fill in for you a little bit less, it will happen all by itself.'

It has been noticeable to me over quite a span of years now that many of the so-called 'natural' horsemanship students -- those who have had so much of their money and their time thieved away by the well self-advertised clinicians -- that they are very frequently hungry to be taught 'movements' in just the same way that you, Danee, are expressing. So I understand your desire.

And here is the solution that I am going to propose:

a) Stop posting here, and just read.

b) Read everything that has been suggested to you. If you have read it before, read it again -- but with a new eye, an eye tuned not to the technical content but to the deeper meaning of the words and the concepts presented. Stop resenting the fact that you cannot get all that is in some of these works without considerable study. The more you resent it, the less you will get out of it. Other students in this school will be glad to tell you how many times they had to go over even the simplest of my writings (i.e. "Principles of Conformation Analysis") before some of it began to sink in. The same applies even more to reading Tom Dorrance's book; no one can 'just read it' and figure 'that's it'. When the teacher is capable of giving a deep understanding, the student -- if she is a student -- must be willing to dig.

c) Until you have read and studied everything, don't post here again.

d) When you have a question BASED ON THE READING then you may post again. If you post in this way, post only ONE question and then WAIT FOR and DEEPLY CONSIDER the answer you are given before replying. I take a good deal of time to work with you; I expect the same consideration in return.

e) If you post here again in any other manner, I will help you by deleting your post.

f) Go find Harry Whitney, and go find Ray Hunt. Spend all the time you can afford to spend with these men, over a span of from about seven to ten years. This would be the time it will likely take, based on the experience of other people who began, as you are going to begin, as 'average' riders.

This program will assist you in developing the inner depth that it takes to become the great horsewoman that you want to be.

Shy of that, I feel that I will only be contributing to the problem with hubris that you already have. I once spent a year and a half teaching a tall, skinny man with a moustache and a cowboy hat how to perform 'movements'. I did not have the wisdom at that time to take care of his hubris problem first. Unfortunately, thanks to the fact that this individual did learn how to 'go sideways' on horseback, he is now on TV, busily engaged in the business of undermining thousands of peoples' ability to progress in horsemanship. His basic problem is like yours, Danee; he just wants what he wants, and this prevents him from quitting when he should. He over-rides every horse until it becomes either resentful, desperate, or dull. You will understand by this that I am not going to be twice guilty of the same error. -- Dr. Deb

miriam
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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2007 10:24 pm
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It is simply amazing to me that we can have all we need with the horse by just letting go of all else except this one piece! Harry says this, Dr Deb says it, Dorrance says it. That if we (seek to) understand the inner life of the beast, that all else will fall into place. It just seemed like it was too simple (or complex), so I kept thinking there is more that I need, more moves, more knowledge, more equipment. It's another example of how less is more with them.

Pam
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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2007 10:31 pm
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Well said, Miriam!!!!!

rebecca g
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 05:19 am
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Dr. Deb, I have been following this thread with ever growing interest.  As I have read and re-read Danee's posts I have seen more of myself reflected. Sometimes we can really get in our own way  ( and our horse's) without even realizing it.  Compared with what I knew and could do with my horse and other horses three years ago I have gained a lot of confidence. However, I can see now how an overdose of pride can stand in the way of true understanding. I have enjoyed this journey and I don't want it to end and I certainly don't want to block my own path.  I am re-reading "True Unity" in hopes of understanding more about how my horse is having to fill in for me. Sometimes when I am working with my horse and have been dealing with some inner turmoil my horse is reluctant  to give 100%.  It feels like he is holding back. My teacher says that  my horse feels that he is having to "protect me". I think that he is meaning that the horse is having to "fill in".  May I ask for other members to give examples of "filling in" so that I might develop a better picture?  Also can you explain about "pseudo- disengagement"? I think that  I have an understanding of "pseudo-head twirling".  I have been reading "Right from the Start over and over the past few months and it has helped my understanding of contact  and releasing the topline greatly. I also have a message for Danee. It is hard to look at one's self objectively, but you have helped me to do so. I hope that you continue the journey. Dr. Deb, I hope that I haven't rambled too much. Thank you for your time. Best wishes, Rebecca

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 08:02 am
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Rebecca -- Yes. Here's another paraphrase from C.S. Lewis ("The Screwtape Letters") which I think fits in here. Lewis said that he thought God's intention or desire is to move a man to the point that he could be the greatest architect in the world, and design the greatest cathedral ever built, and know that these things are so; and yet be able to go outside of that building and stand back and look at it and have no more pride in it than if it had been built by another man.

Nothing short of this attitude will, I think, ever do in horsemanship. Even more than in music, architecture, painting or sculpture, engineering, or manufacturing, in horsemanship one must realize that MUCH of any good outcome is due to factors beyond the rider or trainer's control, or even her ability to perceive.

This is the essence of what the saying, "your horse is having to fill in for you" means. The first thing to recognize is that the horse will ALWAYS be filling in for the rider -- no matter how skillful or perceptive she becomes, the horse will always be contributing something essential to the outcome, something that, if the horse withheld it, the outcome would not be good or would not happen at all. This realization should be grounds for a constant humility.

At this level, what the horse "fills in" are intelligence, curiosity, willingness, and physical energy and strength. The best discussion of this long list of "intangible positives" that the animal contributes to the human-animal relationship is in J. Allen Boone's "Kinship With All Life."

But what I was saying to Danee goes beyond this -- as if this weren't already enough! There is another saying that we often used to hear from our elderly teacher, and also not infrequently still hear from Ray Hunt -- and that is:

"That rider's horse is performing not because of what she is doing, but in spite of it."

In other words -- the rider is so totally unaware of the MEANING of her own actions that she is actually making the job harder for the horse, even close to impossible, and yet the animal manages to pull it off. In specifics, this might mean something relatively simple, such as that the rider is out of time with the animal's footfalls; but more often in my observation it has meant that the rider is a peculiar combination of dull and demanding. "Dull" that is, in the sense of not making it a priority to fulfill Baucher's first dictum from 200 years ago, which is to always "set it up" so that the desired movement is as obvious and easy for the horse to execute as possible. And "demanding" -- in the plain sense -- for this is the very rider who is likely to punish the horse for not doing what she has just made it darned near impossible for him to do. Sometimes this is so bad that it is a wonder that the animal doesn't actually attack the rider or at least, seek to escape. In many cases, however, what the horse will ultimately do is "shut down" -- that is, become just as dull, wooden, and mechanical as the rider herself is.

This situation can be plain and simple, clear to everybody spectating a given clinic or lesson ride. It can also, however, cut much deeper. This is where we get into "pseudo". Many students of the well self-advertised mavens exhibit the problem, and the longer they have been with these people the worse the problem tends to be.

These folks unfortunately have it in their mind that they have to DO something. In other words, that the point of untracking the hindquarters is to cause the horse to turn around, or that the point of twirling the head is to get the neck to flex. If they have any ego -- and they often do, in imitation of their teachers -- then they also want to "show how good" their horse can turn around or flex its neck, etc.

Blinded by the unexamined belief that the point of the operation is to PERFORM, and perhaps doubly blinded by the desires of their own ego, these folks blur right over HOW the animal takes the individual steps. And yet the whole path to mastery lies in those individual steps, and even more so, in the pauses or releases that happen between the steps. "Surface workers" see, in other words, only the movement in gross, or you could say they only see the surface. This is why our elderly teacher more than once referred to these folks, on the microphone to the reporting media, as "surface workers."

But the surface worker hardly ever realizes that she IS a surface worker -- I mean, presumably if she did realize that she would stop being a surface worker. I have had a number of such people become extremely angry when I hold the mirror of their own misdoings and misunderstandings up to them -- which is my primary function as a teacher. Let them be angry, then; let them have all the anger they can hold. Let them spit and gibber like the frustrated demons in C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape". This is an excellent way to get those demons out of them. Then, when they are exhausted from having whatever tantrum they are determined to have -- when they hit bottom in a way that has some meaning for them -- then perhaps they will be willing to begin.

What else can I say? It isn't too easy all the time to articulate specifically to a "hardened up" student what, exactly, is wrong, and yet the experienced teacher knows that there is indeed something way off. The horse's responses are wrong, and the student is restive. It's like the famous ditty posted on the Press Room door in Washington, D.C., back in the "Tricky Dick" era:

"I do not like thee, Mr. Nixon --

The reasons why are hard to fix on,

But I can say with some conviction

I do not like thee, Mr. Nixon."

 It is, of course, another characteristic of surface workers that they hardly ever know what delicious fun it is to be relieved of expertise -- to be allowed, yea encouraged, to be a beginner again -- to be a child. It has truly been said that only such as these can enter into joy, which again goes back to the C.S. Lewis quote I opened this post with.

There is a now-famous archive thread from a previous incarnation of this Forum in which we went into learning how to operate a horse one step at a time rather deeply. With the help of several participants who have lived this lesson and learned it, one of my students who reads here had an epiphany. He found out what it means to cause a horse to operate one step at a time.  

With the horse and rider who have been "hardened up" through exposure to wrongheaded instruction, this is about the only way I know of to help them break through and get back onto the right path. It is a way to teach them what "release" really means, because until they learn to cause the horse to operate one step at a time, they are never actually giving any release -- which is the MAIN factor that causes their horses to become either desperate or dull.

That, plus encouraging them to give themselves up.

I'll go dig that thread out and re-post it here if anybody wants me to -- it has also been reprinted in some issue (I forget which) of "The Inner Horseman", so Associate Members probably already have a copy of it.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

 

janer
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 12:18 pm
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How well I can relate to this topic.  Our perceptions of ourselves and our abilities are all- revealing - the horse is such a mirror for this, and unfortunately long suffering but thankfully so forgiving!  From my own experiences I can say I really only started out on the right foot when I lost all desire to compete and realised what a gift it was to be given permission to go right back to the beginning - thanks to Dr Deb for this gift.  Ahhh, but such a long way to go still, but such fun the journey.  I now enjoy just having fun with my horse, whether ground work/play or riding, learning to trim his feet or just being with him.  I like to treat the time I spend with my horse as a sort of meditation rather than as a time to get something done, and I find through doing this I achieve much more anyway.  Certainly my horse enjoys it much more! 
I could very easily beat myself up over all the injustices I have done to my horse, but far better to say sorry, start afresh with a new attitude and really start learning by paying close attention to the horse and applying all the useful information available to us as suggested through this forum.  This took me much soul searching in the beginning, and a readiness to dump all prior ideas of my abilities which are so often very tangled up in our sense of self/identity (and this has nothing whatsoever to do with what is actually happening at any one time but it can be so strong as to blot out all true perceptions of reality).  It amounts to developing an emotional maturity.
I can only encourage Danee to take Dr Deb's advice on board, let go of the anger, and then really start learning - it will be such a different experience to what has passed for learning before.  
Cheers,
Jane.

Last edited on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 12:19 pm by janer

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 05:23 pm
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I would be very interested in reading the thread, Dr Deb.

Julie
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 05:43 pm
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Hi Dr Deb and all,

I would like to ditto what Jane has just posted I have had similar experience and ready to do what it takes to learn more to help the horse cope with their life including their humans.

Yes I would like to also read the thread and any more info on filling in to understand how much they do for us.

Cathie

David Lee Archer
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 06:31 pm
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Dr. Deb, some one sent me your blog because we are like minds and just reading what you post I would say we are.

 I have heard alot about some of your remarks thru the past. Most I have heard it is refreshing....

 Keep up the good work.

 David lee archer

micol124
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 Posted: Sun Nov 25th, 2007 06:41 pm
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I would like to also!

rebecca g
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 Posted: Mon Nov 26th, 2007 04:41 am
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Dr. Deb, thank you for your insight. Please post the thread. I am sure that my horse will also thank you. Rebecca


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