Friday, February 19, 2010

Farrier Night

Well, I worried for naught.

Mingo survived farrier night. I was really worried that we wouldn’t be able to trim his feet—either that or it would be a disaster. He has been having trouble lifting his hind leg. My sister and I have been working together with the help of clicker. up until just last week, he could only hold it about a second in the proper position. By the night before, we were up to about 30 seconds, which, of course, isn’t enough to trim a hoof.

I should have never doubted my farrier. He is really wonderful. He was out there early, so he got started before I arrived. My sister told him what was up. When she took Mingo out of his stall, he was very stiff and sore. She walked him a couple laps in the arena until he loosened up. My farrier placed Mingo close to a wall so he would have support if he had to lean. As it turned out, he didn’t need the wall. Ken would lift his foot up, and his leg would shake. He then lowered his foot until it stopped shaking and trimmed it at that height. He gave him plenty of breaks, too. Mingo never pulled away or lost his balance. The trim was a success. Throughout it all, he just leaned his head into my sister’s coat and licked her hand. Sometimes, he can just be so precious.
He was tired from the experience and will probably be sore from it. I will just try to keep him quiet and relaxed this weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday at the barn

I had yet another good ride on Cruiser. It took us less time to get focused and working. He remembered what we were working on Monday, and we continued where we left off.

He was able to move lively the hard direction on the sides of the arena. He still had trouble with losing energy on the corners, but he improved when I remembered to half halt him right before the corner. With work, we might be able to do it.

As a bonus, he was lighter in my hands. Lately, he has been leaning on my hands. Sometimes it is because he has to snort, and other times, it is because he is pretending that he has to snort. He knows I will let him stretch down to snort, and he is turning into a horse who has to snort all the time! Funny how little he snorts on the trail.
So by keeping him focused on going forward with energy, he becomes lighter and snorts less.
Mingo, who had a relapse over the weekend, is still having a tough time and has moments of unsocialness. He seems to be moving better, but is acting paranoid. It isn’t as bad as the last time this happened, and since it got better before, I am hoping it will improve, again. I feel so helpless. He seems to be eating pretty good. There was barely a scrap of hay left when I was there last night.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This is my Cruiser on a snowy day a few years ago.  This is when he was in physical therapy for his bowed tendon--that's why his legs are shaved.  It was the first time he was out of the barn in months, and we didn't go very far.  He had shoes on. We simply wanted to get a picture of him in the snow.

Cruiser is a Morab gelding.  I have had him for more than 20 years, now, and he is everything I could ask in a horse.

Pollie Dog

Here is a picture of my dog, Pollie.  The vet says she is a Sheltie mix.  She's really a wonderful dog who never needed any training.  She just seems to know what we want. 

She is 13, now, and the only way you would know how old she is is that she sleeps more.  When it's time for her walk, she is a puppy, again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good ride on Cruiser

Had a really good ride on Cruiser, yesterday. We are stuck working in the indoor arena, and we haven’t gone on a trail ride since about Christmas—and it was a short one, at that.

Last month, he finally started to settle down—and he settled too much. He is fine gong to the left, but has been soggy towards the right. I have had this problem since he bowed his tendon and got carpal tunnel in that leg. (Yes, horses can get carpal when they bow a tendon, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. His ultrasounds were used as an example at a vet symposium on tendons.)

I think he has physical limitations that direction—even when I lounge him, there is a marked difference in speed and impulsion. Still, I decided to see if I could get a little more on our ride.

We did a bunch of walk/trot trans to get him a bit fired and limber up. Once I felt he was ready, I insisted on him giving me more impulsion. When he slowed, I told him to increase his energy. Well, Cruiser didn’t let me down. With persistence, he gave me the best trotting in that direction of the year. He still didn’t match the good way, which only got better as the hard way improved, but I was very excited. Now I know that once he warms up, if I focus on the problem, he will, too.

Of course, the stables was very quiet last night—there was no one there to see him in all his glory.

We get our shoes back on next week, so if the snow ever melts, we will be back on the trail—and we will forget everything we learned this winter.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Feeling Down about Mingo

I talked to the vet this morning about Mingo. She was glad he was doing well on the Prevacox, and she said we would keep him on it long term to make him comfortable and hopefully he is healing.

I told her I noticed one side of his sacroiliac was larger than the other and wondered if that could be the problem. She said it was possible since it appears that the problem is higher up. She was thinking it might even be a fracture. How any of this could of happened is beyond me. In a boarding stables like ours, he doesn’t get turned out unless I do it. The only thing I could think of is that he slipped somehow in his stall or got cast.

Well, I can give him a lot of time to heal. I just miss riding him. He is just so much fun in the winter out in the snow. Cruiser gets too hyper, and can be downright scary at times, but Mingo speeds up just right. We can trot and canter with abandon—knowing that he will still be careful. He really seems to enjoy it as much as me.

Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to ride him. Sometimes I can accept it, but other times, like today, I find it unbearable. I certainly can’t afford another horse—which would be the one thing that would make this all easier. With a third horse, I would be so busy, I would be glad I didn’t have to ride Mingo!

Well at least, if he is suffering, you would hardly know. He really is comfortable on his new meds.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is my sister's hore, Ranger.  We don't know what he is, but we do know he is handsome.  A friend of ours saved him after a meat buyer bought him at the Sugar Creek auction.  That was 15 years ago.  He has been an awesome horse for her.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trail Training Newsletter – 109 - Hirohito's Horse

Trail Training Newsletter – 109

February 2010

Dear Readers,

I am going to take it easy this month and simply share an article I wrote for the Long Rider’s Guild. It is about Hirohito’s horse. I was assigned the task of finding out what happened to him once he came to the United States. I was surprised at what I found.

We still haven’t resolved anything with Mingo, but he is on painkillers and comfortable. I decided to just give him time to heal whatever is wrong—we still don’t know. Needless to say, I have been a wreck about the whole thing. It was easier to deal with Cruiser’s bowed tendon because at least I knew what was going on. I feel better now that he is comfortable, the swelling and lameness are gone and he is eating well. He has even gained some weight. I will give you a complete update next month.

I have been riding Cruiser in the arena. We are making progress, (he finally settled down,) but I am getting restless. I am ready for trail riding, again. Ellen and Kevin have made it down the hill a few times this month once the driveway thawed out. Hopefully, we won’t have such a problem with ice this month. I don’t believe Cruiser and I have seen the trail since the holidays. I sure am looking forward to spring.

Well, here goes…Hirohito’s horse.


The Story of Emperor Hirohito’s Horse

by Judi Daly

Prior to and during World War II, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito was shown in photos and newsreels riding a beautiful white stallion in front of his troops. The horse was part of his carefully cultivated image. Japanese tradition viewed the royal family as direct descendants of the Sun God. Pictures showing him laughing or smiling or those where he appeared shorter than the people around him were forbidden to be shown to the public. The Japanese people never even heard the sound of his voice until the surrender broadcast on August 14, 1945. Pictured on his white horse, Emperor Hirohito was a distant, godlike figure—a symbol of Imperialist Japan.

The symbol of the white horse caught the American imagination. Early in the war, United States Admiral William (Bull) Halsey vowed that one day he would ride Hirohito’s white horse through the streets of Tokyo. This soon became a rallying cry in the United States. It was even used in a campaign to sell war bonds. The United States was going to win the war and remove Emperor Hirohito from his high horse.

At the end of the war, the public was clamoring for Admiral Halsey to ride Emperor Hirohito’s horse, as promised. The Reno Nevada Chamber of Commerce commissioned a saddle, bridle and martingale decorated with 166 silver pieces for Admiral Halsey to use on the horse. The members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe contributed a pair of buckskin beaded gauntlet gloves to be used with the saddle. These items are now on display at the United States Naval Academy Museum at Annapolis.

Halsey did ride a horse, but he wasn’t Emperor Hirohito’s white stallion, who remained private property of the Emperor. Instead, he rode another horse that was supplied by Major General William Chase, the commander or First Calvary Regiment. After reviewing the honor guard of the First Calvary Regiment, he mounted the horse and rode slowly around the bivouac area on the outskirts of Tokyo. It was an unscheduled affair, so he didn’t get to use the special saddle. “Please don’t let me alone with this animal,” the Admiral said. Upon dismounting, he grinned and said, “I was never so scared in my life.”

The American army had their very own rodeo expert, Lt. Joseph R. “Dick” Ryan. He had already organized two rodeos for the troops in Grafton and Brisbane, Australia, the year before. He was to do the same in Tokyo. While looking for horses for the rodeo, he found a white Arabian stallion in a secluded stables. He decided that he would use the horse in the rodeo. Newspapers jubilantly reported that Ryan was the first American to ride the Emperor’s stallion. Ryan reported that the horse was, “pretty playful, indicating that he had not been ridden for some time.”

The rodeo was held on Armistice Day, November 11, 1945 in Tokyo. The star billing was given to Ryan and Emperor Hirohito’s white Arabian, Hatsushimo (First Frost). For a half hour, Ryan walked and galloped the horse in the arena of the Japanese Horse Racing Association. It was reported that over 50,000 people witnessed the event. Once again, the horse became a symbol. This time, it was to demonstrate that the Emperor was no longer divine.

What the crowd didn’t realize was that this was not the horse that Emperor Hirohito was seen riding most of the time. That horse was Shirayuki (White Snow), and he wasn’t even an Arabian. He was actually a stock horse that was purchased in the United States in California. The International News Service reported that Emperor Hirohito made 344 appearances on Shirayuki. He was retired in 1942 and died in 1947 at the age of 27.

Hatsushimo wasn’t even the Arabian that the Emperor was later seen riding. Hatsushimo had a gelded brother, Hatsuyuki (First Snow) that the Emperor preferred to ride because he was gentler. When this horse died in 1957 at the age of 23, he was immortalized as a sacred horse at the great Isa Shrine, Japan’s leading Shinto shrine. The Emperor had one more white horse named Mineyuki (Snow Peak) that was kept at the Imperial Stables.

Japanese sources claim that Hatsushimo was too high strung for parades and military inspections and was given to another member of the Royal family and eventually ended up in the Japanese Racing Association Stables where Ryan found him. Later, the Imperial household stated that the Emperor never even owned Hatsushimo. Rather, he was owned by Prince Ri, whose family was given royal status when Korea was taken over by Japan.

About a month after the rodeo, it was reported that Hatsushimo was sold to Lt. Ryan. Until this time, it was prohibited by the military for the soldiers to take animals back to the US. The very day the change in rules was announced, it was also reported that Lt. Ryan would be taking the Emperor’s stallion, Hatsushimo home to the United States. According to Lt. Ryan, the Japanese Racing Association originally offered the horse to General MacArthur, but he turned them down. Hatsushimo was then sold to Lt. Ryan for 1,000 yen ($63.00). Ryan planned to display his new horse in the United States at Veterans’ hospitals and to raise money for good causes.

The mere fact that it was the Japanese Racing Association, not the emperor, that sold Hatsushimo is proof that he didn’t belong to the Emperor. Why were the rules about importing animals to the United States from Japan changed just as Ryan bought Hatsushimo and wanted to bring him back home? The event received much fanfare in the US newspapers and was a great piece of propaganda. Could General MacArthur, himself, intervened to allow this to happen?

Hatsushimo was supposed to go through the Panama Canal and arrive in New York, but the he became seasick and quit eating. The War Shipping Administration ordered the ship to turn around and go 400 miles out of the way to get the horse to dry land. He wasn’t taken to a veterinarian, but to U.S. Army Station Hospital at Torrance, CA. This is quite a thing to do merely to help an ordinary horse that was now owned by an ordinary American. It is evident that the military put great value on the safe arrival of the “Emperor’s horse.” He received extensive veterinary attention for a hurt leg and was held for mandatory quarantine.

Soon, Ryan took his horse on the road. He formed the International Rodeo and Thrill Circus. He also appeared at American Legion membership drives, at veteran’s hospitals and state fairs all over the country.

He ran into problems in Oklahoma in August of 1946. Sherriff George Goff of Oklahoma City took custody of Hatsushimo as security on a lawsuit filed by Virgil Dixon. Dixon claimed that Ryan owned him $782.00 in back wages for work. The court found comfortable accommodations for Hatsushimo while the case worked its way through the courts. Several weeks later, Ryan and Dixon settled their differences, and Ryan got his horse back. As they were leaving Oklahoma, outside of Tulsa, the jeep that was pulling the horse trailer collided with another vehicle. Hatsushimo was shaken but unharmed.

On October 5, 1947, the Los Angeles Times reported that the 20-year-old horse was left in Detroit, MI, to rest because he was tired. He wasn’t too tired for one more performance in San Antonio in December. That may have been his last show.

Ryan stated that he was not able to sell the horse because of a promise he gave to his superior officers and the sons of Emperor Hirohito. Certainly, he had no intentions of selling him, but once again, he got into legal problems. Charles McKinley and Paul Hobrock in Fort Wayne, IN. purchased Hatsushimo from a Los Angeles court in March, 1948. It was reported that Hatsushimo died in June of the same year of cancer.

Hatsushimo came back to life in the fall of 1949 looking very different. He was still white, but lost some of his Arabian refinement during his reincarnation and a few years of his age. Ryan toured with the new Hatsushimo at least until 1963. In 1972, Ryan told the Albuquerque Tribune that the horse was still alive and well at an undisclosed location on the east coast in the care of a retired colonel of the First Calvary Division. If he was 20 in 1947, he would now be 45 years old. This is not impossible, but certainly very unlikely.

Ryan continued to tour with his own stunt show. He had a horse, British Wonder, who would jump almost anything, including cars, kitchen tables, beds and a 6-foot ring of fire. British Wonder was either a Thoroughbred or an American Saddlebred. If you arrived early to the show, your children could get a free pony ride from Admiral, a Welsh Pony that was in “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind.” He was still touring with Admiral in 1975. This would make the pony over 40 years old. Once again, this is possible since ponies generally live longer than horses, but not likely. More unlikely, pictures showed Admiral with a blaze on his face, but in the movies, he had a star.

Ryan himself told many stories that are hard to verify. A native of Canada (though his mother insisted he was from Detroit), he claimed he rode a horse across the country as a teenager, rode in rodeos, was a stuntman in over 100 movies (Including “Gone with the Wind” and “A Day at the Races”) and TV series and broke a lot of bones. That he was a bold and courageous man is proven by the stunts he preformed on British Wonder. In addition, it was reported by the Canberra Times in Australia that on February 16, 1944, he stood on the running board of a car for a mile, rescuing a 13-year-old boy on a runaway pony. Was Ryan an amazing man, or was he a liar? Maybe, he was a bit of both…

Regardless, in photos, his horses always looked healthy, well fed and comfortable. Never was there a negative word written about how he treated his horses. There is no doubt that he cared about them, and that speaks volumes about the man.


If you like my newsletter, you will love my books. “Trail Training for the Horse and Rider” is a how-to book full of terrific advice for all trail riders. It is $19.95 plus shipping and handling. The publisher accepts Mastercard, VISA, checks and money orders. Go to my website, click on buy the book, and it will direct you to their website. They also have other horse books and tons of dog books. My website is at There; you can see pictures of my cast of characters and read some of my early newsletters.

My new book, “Trail Horse Adventures and Advice” is the best of the first 3 years of my newsletter. It is available as a paperback book for $14.95 + shipping or as an e-book for $9.95. My website has a link to my other publisher where you can read the first three chapters free and buy the book.

If you are interested in an autographed copy, send me e-mail, and I will tell you where to send the check. (I don’t accept credit cards.) It will cost the same. If you buy two books from me, and you don’t mind me shipping them Media Mail—, which could take a couple weeks, I will ship them free.
Anyone who is interested in contributing to this newsletter is welcome to e-mail me at A newsletter that is free cannot afford to pay anyone for their contributions, of course, but then again, I don’t get paid either. It is the joy of sharing that counts.

Feel free to forward my newsletter to anyone you like and encourage them to sign up for it.
Thank you