Monday, February 2, 2009

Looking a Horse in the Eye

Dear Friends,

Monty Roberts makes the argument that looking a horse in the eye drives him away, that it is interpreted by the horse as a challenge.

I don't want you to think you can never look your horse in the eye, so let me add my thoughts to this. I believe what Monty is talking about is a hard, focused stare. This could be read by the horse as assertive body language and could easily make him uncomfortable.

A soft gaze is a different matter and may even tend to calm your horse if it is also reflected in the rest of your body. This is especially true if you have established a strong relationship with the horse and he trusts you.

Remember, horses read our intentions by reading our bodies. Keep your thoughts positive and supportive and things will usually go better.

Gene Autry

Dear friends,
This week we air one of my favorite TV episodes, "Gene Autry and the Seven Champions."
I saw him live on stage when I was three years old, and like most Americans of my generation, I've been a fan ever since. But that was the public Gene. What I learned making this TV episode made me a fan of the private Gene.
He was not perfect, I know, and we don't sugarcoat anything in this piece. Still, I hope the audience can find as much to admire about the man as I did: his work ethic, his generosity, his loyalty, his patriotism, his business acumen, his musical talents.
At the same time, I hope the audience can forgive him his foibles, as I have. In one of his last conversations with his secretary, Maxine Hansen, Gene said of his life, "I tried to be good. I really tried." That's good enough for me.

Gene Autry died in 1998 at the age of 91. On February 8, 2009, he will receive a lifetime achievement award during the Grammy awards.