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Nawaab: Stallion of Ahmedabad

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2012 12:45





Nawaab: Stallion of Ahmedabad

By Gina McKnight
Photography By Uzair Kasbati, Manthan Mehta, Nrupal Mehta

The commotion in the backyard at 5 o’clock am can be heard along the streets of Ahmedabad.  Nawaab, handsome five-year old black stallion of Anish Gajjar, is awake and ready for breakfast!  An anxious whinny resounds as the local farmer tosses pulas of green alfalfa over the wall into Nawaab’s stable; the syce arrives to place the forage into the appropriate feeder, along with Nawaab’s daily portion of Bajra (grain).
Nawaab is comfortable amongst the sounds and hustle of city life.  His stable is ideal; a large space for meandering throughout the day, a fragrant frangipani tree and a pink-flowering bougainvillea vine for daily shade.  At 15.2 hands, Nawaab towers the neighborhood children who are sometimes startled by his appearance as he gazes with probing stallion eyes over his stable wall.
Sired by Suraj and dam Lakshmi of the famous Manaklao Stables located forty kilometers from Jodhpur, Nawaab mirrors his ancestral lineage with his cognitive skills and signature physique.  He is the horse of legend.  A gazing star on his forehead symbolizes good fortune, giving him a distinctive appearance, making him desirable amongst Marwari breeders.
Wielding a confident and graceful countenance, he is brave and loyal, embracing all the characteristics of the classic Marwari; the mount of kings and warriors, the result of centuries of natural selection, environment and geographic.  “His disposition could be described as content, curious and an explorer. He's got one of the best temperaments; a little assertive, as a stallion should be, and always very friendly,” says Gajjar. 
Dedication and compassion makes a true horseman, which is evident in Gajjar’s articulate training and intuitive approach. Training is in process and the bond between horse and rider has been well established. According to Gajjar, “Nawaab has been bred by a very reputed breeder, Dr. Narayansingh Manaklao, but was never trained for riding. After bringing him home, I’ve done three sessions with him and he doesn't rear anymore or show any impatient signs. I really have my hopes set on this one. Looks like he'll turn out great!”
Gajjar plans to school Nawaab in dressage, an equine ballet in which the horse’s eloquent moves are orchestrated through an unseen channel of communication between horse and rider. Rooted in military training traditions, dressage will allow Nawaab to demonstrate his nimble and adaptable qualities. Nawaab’s genetically engineered structure for intricate maneuvers, such as dressage, ensures his success as a champion.
Gajjar affectionately strokes Nawaab’s neck and tickles his ears. His great admiration for Nawaab is evident.  Nawaab responds with equal affection and trust.  Gaining Nawaab’s respect with strong but moderate authority establishes Gajjar’s natural leadership role. It is a magical image of connected friendship between horse and rider that has been envied throughout time.
Nawaab and Gajjar can be seen on their trek from the stable, through the city streets of Ahmedabad, to the adjacent green fields for their brisk morning ride.   It is a pleasant ride, the result of expert care and training.  “The gaits are soft and he's quite sure-footed. I've brought him into a well collected ride. The trot and canter are both quite soft and comfortable,” says Gajjar.  When asked about Nawaab’s beauty, agility and expert performance, Gajjar states, “I don't have any magic in me; it’s just passion and hard work. Every day is a learning experience!”
Within the annals of Indian Mythology, the fascinating Marwari hold a prominent position. There is no denying that the Marwari image emits a powerful influence on equestrians around the world. The indigenous Marwari is one of India’s most precious resources; progressive, resilient and unique.  Currently, due to low census, Marwari are confined to India (with very few in the U.S.A., France and Spain, which were transported there before the ban); however, as their numbers increase, the export ban may be lifted.
As an equestrian and avid horse lover, I hope to find a Marwari in my stable one day.  Their versatility and etiquette would be a welcome addition to my valley. I am positive one of Nawaab’s offspring would be right at home in my peaceful Appalachia countryside.
Anish Gajjar is co-founder of the Equestrian Club of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, India
Gina McKnight is an author and freelance writer from USA



The Ditch Horse - Memoirs of a Horse Owner by Sam

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2012 07:51

Memoirs of a Horse Owner


Horsemanship ....... it is an art, a science, a tradition and a lifelong journey!


The articles written for www.Horseownertoday.com  are a collection of my personal memoirs as a horse owner.  They are about my experiences and about my understanding of horsemanship.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of www.Horseownertodaycom.com  and in some cases, they do not reflect the opinion of the majority of horse owners today.  They are about my journey toward understanding a horse.                                    

   The term "ditch horse" came up the other day.  I've never heard of a "ditch horse".  I have heard of a "ditch pig".  And that isn't a real good thing to call someone unless you are looking for a fight.  But the term "ditch horse" ... now that was new to me.  So I asked what it meant.

I was told that a ditch horse is a horse that is rode in the ditch or perhaps along the side of the field near the ditch or down a trail.  Apparently a ditch horse isn't worth a lot of money.  It generally comes from unregistered stock and therefore it is unregisterable and consequently, it is of limited value.  A ditch horse doesn't have a lot of training neither.  It is not capable of performing advanced maneuvers and it's competency in performing even the basic skills would be questionable.

    This analogy was made in comparison to a show horse.  Now I am familiar with the term "show horse".  I didn't need a lot of prompting to visualize a well turned out horse demonstrating its skill in the show ring.  But the implied prejudice between the job performed by a ditch horse and the job performed by a show horse left me feeling a little dismayed. 

   I understand that a registered horse would likely sell for more money than an unregistered horse.  But then there are times when an unregistered horse is worth a good dollar depending upon how well it can do a job.

  The thought of riding down a trail on a horse that doesn't have a lot of training left me feeling down right scared.  I would have thought that a ditch horse ought to be fairly well trained.   You might need it to respond in a safe and willing manner if you were to find yourself face to face with a big old grizzly bear while you were on the trail.

    And then a really upsetting thought crossed my mind .... my horses might be ditch horses.  I don't show any more.  I ride through fields and along trails.  I don't necessarily buy expensive horses and not all of my horses have papers to prove their worth.  They are good riding horses but nonetheless, based on the definition, they might be considered ditch horses. 


    I couldn't help but wonder, what do you call a horse that is rode along a trail and across a stream and in the mountains and has never seen a show ring yet it is professionally trained, pretty good at arena work, registered and out of imported and syndicated lines and was purchased for a good dollar?  I have one like that.  I have been calling him my pleasure horse.

   Or what do you call a horse that is rode along a trail and in riding lessons and clinics and pony club.  She has chased cows, been roped off of, and can run a barrel pattern but she has never competed in show.   She is not registered and I didn't pay a whole lot for her.  I have one like that as well.  I refer to her as the family horse.

    The term ditch horse just doesn't sit right with me.  It seems too negative, too prejudicial.  Horses offer us so many different ways in which we can enjoy them.  I doubt that any one way of being with a horse is better than another.   I have a lot of respect for a champion show horse but I also have a lot of respect for a horse that can take a rider safely down the trail.  Both horses are doing their job and doing it well. 

    For the record, I am sticking to words like "trail" and "pleasure" and "family" to describe my horses.  That's the respectful thing to do. 


Copyright @HorseOwnerToday.com, for reprint permission contact info@horseownertoday.com 

Memoirs of a Horse Owner by Sam

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 18, 2011 09:36

Memoirs of a Horse Owner    


                    Horsemanship ....... it is an art, a science, a tradition and a lifelong journey!


The articles written for www.Horseownertoday.com  are a collection of my personal memoirs as a horse owner.  They are about my experiences and about my understanding of horsemanship.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of www.Horseownertodaycom.com  and in some cases, they do not reflect the opinion of the majority of horse owners today.  They are about my journey toward understanding a horse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

I enjoy watching the horses interact with one another in the pasture.  An interesting thing occurred the other day and it got me thinking about how leadership works in an established herd. 

It was a beautiful spring day.  Most of the horses were standing along the fence line, lazing in the warm sun.  The rest of the horses, including the yearlings, were nibbling on the newly sprouted grass near the pond. 

As I stood watching, my thoughts were interrupted by a ruckus near the pond.  One of the geldings had started chasing the yearlings around.  He was relentless and it caused me to wonder about the safety of the yearlings.  It was about then that the big bay took notice.  She motioned with her head toward the dun that was resting beside her. 

The dun left his resting spot along the fence line and slowly trotted toward the troublemaker.  With a rather matter-of-fact attitude, he separated the troublemaker from the yearlings and herded him around the pond.  After one circle around the pond, the dun returned to his resting spot beside the bay. 

Within minutes the troublemaker was back at it.  And again the dun slowly trotted out.  He separated him from the yearlings and once again he sent him off around the pond. 

On the troublemaker's third offense, the dun trotted out with a bit more determination.  He separated him from the yearlings and herded him toward the group of horses that were resting along the fence line.  As the troublemaker trotted by, the bay bit him on the backside.  That ended the ruckus in the pasture.

I couldn't help wondering about what I had seen.  As horse owners, we tend to read things into situations and come up with entirely wrong conclusions, sort of like when we believed our teddy bear could talk.  "Personification" is the proper term for it.  Yet it seemed to me that I had not read anything into this situation.  

As it turns out, a herd of horses has a set of values and laws that benefit the entire herd.   It is the responsibility of the lead horse to maintain the herd's values and laws.  This is done for the wellbeing of the entire herd.  The herd looks to the leader for support and direction.   The herd relies on her wisdom.

Conflict is usually between consenting scrappers who are attempting to increase their position within the herd hierarchy.  Often the lead horse will let them figure it out on their own.  Occasionally the lead horse will delegate leadership to another horse.  The lead horse steps in if the horse that is lower in the hierarchy is not able to resolve the issue.   And within the herd, strong friendships are formed and submissive horses are protected. 

It seems that people often mistakenly assume that leadership is based on dominance.  Rarely is that the case.  Dominant horses tend to be too reactive to be good leaders.  They are too emotional, too exuberant, too flighty and too extreme in their behavior. 

The herd leader is the horse that is best able to protect the herd.  The herd leader is often the most intelligent horse and the one who has the most experience and wisdom.  The leader is trusted and respected for her wisdom and her ability to keep the herd safe and secure. 

Horses communicate with one another in a meaningful way.  Leadership is maintained in a logical and honest manner.  It is consistent and "in the moment".   At times it is very subtle.  It is not based on dominance or emotion.  I suppose it could be said that the lead horse is the horse with the most "savvy".


Copyright @HorseOwnerToday.com, for reprint permission contact info@horseownertoday.com.


Bontje Workshop Update

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 28, 2011 18:58

Friday, October 28/11 -  Excellent first day of workshop with Ellen Bontje.  She is a very gracious clinician, completely focused on the horses best interest.

Ellen Bontje working with "Hallmark" and Jenneke Hoogendoorn, below Jenneke Hoogendoorn and "Hallmark" working on the rail


Gordon Dalshaug and student "debriefing" at the end of the day!

Jenneke and "Hallmark"

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Equine Emergency Rescue

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 15, 2011 12:16

HorseOwnerToday had the privilege to talk with MaryAnne Leighton, author of Equine Emergency Rescue.  www.equineER.com.  MaryAnne Leighton has a lifelong love affair with horses and the written word. She is a horsewoman and established author, features writer, editor and proofreader. She writes biography and non-fiction and her extensive experience in the horse world allows her to write with authority for equine publications worldwide.

MaryAnne has had careers in public relations, marketing and horse stud management. She bred horses for twenty years – both her own national champions and for studs that ranged in size from two stallions and twenty mares to seven stallions and four hundred mares. She has travelled extensively and, apart from horse-related themes, has written about subjects as diverse as the European Space Agency, the use of computer systems within an abattoir and the intensity of the darkness in the bowels of Mt Isa mine.

In 2006 she was commissioned to write Living the Legend: the Ian Francis Story, the biography of one of the world’s most accomplished horsemen that sells not only in Australia but through Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship in the USA.

MaryAnne’s home has always been a sanctuary for aged, infirm, injured and abandoned animals and her passion for the plight of horses that are injured or killed during rescue from entrapment lead her to publish Equine Emergency Rescue in November 2010. This book is proving a life-saver with members of Australian SES and RSPCA and horse owners around the world.

1.      Tell HorseOwnerToday.com about the events that started your journey to write Equine Emergency Rescue?
Back in 2008, in the space of only seven days I read two newspaper articles about horses in different countries that fell into septic tanks. The first died from injuries he received during his 'rescue', the second was able to be lifted out and survived. Apart from the fact they should not have had access to the tanks, I thought there had to be a better way to get them
rescuing horses from life-threatening situations, contacted all the people I could find and bought two books (Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue and Save Your Horse) written by American authors. Both are brilliant but I thought if I was writing my own book I'd do it a little differently.
When I decided to write my own guide for Aussie horse owners, equine vets and emergency responders, I was absolutely blown away by the support I received from around the world. Experts in the UK, Europe and the USA answered all my lengthy questions, helped me write guidelines for vets who are called to rescue scenes, and sent photos of training events and actual rescues. Michelle Staples, author of Save Your Horse www.saveyourhorse.com , very generously offered me her manuscript and photos, telling me to use them any way I wanted. I rewrote her book, added three new sections, changed the format turning it from a black and white publication to a full colour glossy book and added Michelle as co-author.
In November 2010 I invited American rescue trainer Rebecca Gimenez www.tlaer.org to Australia to launch Equine Emergency Rescue at Equitana (Australasia's biggest horse expo) and while she was here she conducted three one-day Large Animal Rescue awareness courses for owners, vets, RSPCA Inspectors and a few emergency responders.
Within two months, Equine Emergency Rescue had been taken up as the training manual for all Large Animal Emergency Rescue training courses in Australia and within 10 months the first print run had all but sold out.

2.      You are an obvious horse “lifer”.  I have read your on-line descriptions and pictures from Equine Emergency Rescue.  I am a horse “lifer” as well, growing up on the farm, with a clear understanding that if you have livestock you have dead stock.  I found many of your photos presented on-line difficult to look at.  Equine Emergency Rescue strikes me as being a difficult book to write, perhaps even a very emotional journey.  Can you tell HorseOwnerToday.com about the difficulties you faced researching, compiling and finally writing Equine Emergency Rescue?
I probably find rescues and the resultant photos less confronting than most people, due to my background. For 20 years I managed horse studs, with up to seven stallions, 400 mares and 200 foals born each year. When you work with so many horses, continually you are presented with challenging and gut-wrenching situations - after all, the horse is an accident waiting to happen and he is always more than willing to demonstrate his ability to get into trouble. My greatest difficulty was finding the money to publish Equine Emergency Rescue myself.
3.      What type of people dedicate themselves to Equine Emergency Rescue?
Those who, like yourself, are passionate about horses and even more passionate about keeping rescuers and victims safe.
4.      Tell HorseOwnerToday.com about your goal, your purpose that you wish to achieve by writing Equine Emergency Rescue?
My goal is to keep rescuers safe and prevent them causing serious injuries or even death to the animals they are trying to rescue.
Because we have been able to draw on the vast experience of animal rescue specialists in the UK and USA, I believe we will progress Large Animal Rescue in Australia much faster than they did. Even though Large Animal Rescue has been taught in the USA for 20 years, less than 1% of that country's emergency responders are trained in these techniques. It is dramatically better in the UK where two specialists from Hampshire Fire and Rescue trained in the US in 2003 and now, eight years later, almost every unit in the UK has an animal rescue capability and equine and bovine vets are routinely trained in LAR techniques and the technicalities of sedating and anesthetising a trapped large animal.
Within five years I hope we will be where the UK is and am pleased to say we are well on the way. I see my function as being to promote rescue in the media and support those who train our emergency responders and equine vets. Equine Veterinarians Australia is already scheduling regular courses for its members and their clients, we have held our first 'train the trainer' workshop, all RSPCA Inspectors (who are called to large animal rescues in this country) in the states of New South Wales and Queensland have attended training courses and now know what to do, and we have held awareness courses for horse owners, racing staff, stock inspectors, biosecurity officers and others.
At Equitana Sydney in November 2011 our first animal rescue team will demonstrate rescue techniques with the help of "Bruce" the training mannequin, we will talk about upcoming training courses and I will have rescue training equipment there for people to handle and buy. They will also be able to buy my book, Equine Emergency Rescue found at http://www.equineER.com


Paying It Forward

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 9, 2011 07:55



April 13, 2012 Thanks to Modular Storage Systems of Saskatoon.  They provided a prize "MODey the Dragon" via their booth at the Homestyle Show for children, Wyatt of Saskatoon was the lucky winner. 

Nicolle Griffith
Assistant General Manager

Modular Storage Systems

Regina - Saskatoon - Winnipeg

121 Gyles Pl

Saskatoon, SK    S7L 6C5
Phone: 306.717.8227 | Fax: 


Does someone ever make you feel good, out of the blue, with a small gesture?  Andrea Lawrence and Terry of Competition Muffler and Shock did that for me.  They are the catalyst for this "paying it forward".....

Thanks to courteous drivers.....August 1, 2011

Thanks to an very thoughtful man in the Costco parking lot, he asked if he could return my cart to the store when he returned his...a bright cheerful smile was included...July 14,2011

Thanks for making my son laugh Andrea!  Andrea Lawrence, a creative talented woman took the time to "play with" as she call it, some photos.  The results include several cartoon characters with my son's face. http://www.fineartamerica.com/profiles/andrea-lawwrence.html July 6, 2011


Thanks to Terry from Competition Muffler and Shock, Saskatoon.  Terry provided a part, installed on my muffler and then said "Have a good weekend!"  I stood there with my cc and I am sure a ludicrous expression, again he said "Enjoy the weekend" and answered the telephone.  This gesture certainly changed my outlook on the afternoon, the rush hour traffic wasn't as stressful, the list of errands not as long, Thanks Terry and Competition Muffler and Shock for changing my Friday and fixing my muffler.