Horse Tack – Western or English? The Basics

One thing that you must decide is whether you will be riding English or Western. There is a distinct difference between the two disciplines, and the required tack will depend on which one you choose. Some people are drawn to Western riding because there is not as much tack needed for the horse. If you are into barrel racing and rodeos, this is definitely for you. On the other hand, if you prefer jumping and fox hunts, or dressage, then English tack would be the way to go. No matter which one you choose, you are looking at a costly initial investment, but one that is well worth it, because properly fitting tack is essential. If you require help with fitting your horse’s bridle or choosing the right bit, it is best to consult a professional. There are also a lot of resources on the internet that will teach you how to measure for your horse’s bridle, etc., but it is best to at least check with somebody with prior knowledge (perhaps a friend who already owns a horse.) The main thing is, once you purchase your tack, if you take care of it properly, it will last for many years to come.

Tack is generally made from either leather or nylon. Leather will require regular cleaning, but the upkeep of nylon may be a bit easier in that it may be washed. Some of the different pieces of tack your horse will need includes saddles, a girth (English) or cinches (Western), stirrups, bridles, saddle pads, and in some instances breastplates and a running or standing martingale, halters, harnesses, lunge lines, and lead ropes – the list goes on, but those are the basics. Three types of bridles that you will need to choose from include the hackamore, the single bridle and the double bridle. There are also choices when it comes to girths or cinches, including nylon, leather, string and webbing. Depending on your riding discipline, you may prefer a pleasure saddle for leisure riding, training saddles if you need to break your horse, side saddles, military saddles, polo saddles, jumping saddles, roping saddles, endurance riding saddles and dressage saddles, among others.

Choosing the right equipment for your horse will keep both you and your horse safe and comfortable. And please don’t forget about your own safety – I always recommend wearing a good quality riding helmet as part of the essentials. Also, remember not to ride in sneakers, as they can slide all the way through the stirrup, causing a hazardous situation for the rider. Your riding shoes or boots should always have a little heel on them to prevent that problem.

Now that you have learned the basics of horse riding equipment, get out there and enjoy bonding with your new friend!

Slow West Review, a Slow Western Movie to Watch in 2015

Slow West is an all Western Cowboy movie directed by the debutante director John Maclean and starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The movie revolves around two different characters, who cross their ways and later accompany each other for their own purposes. Michael Fassbender plays the character of a lonely bounty hunter, who is also a bad-ass gunslinger, not shy of using lethal force if it suits him. On the other hand, Kodi Smit-McPhee is a young naïve boy, who has come miles to the wild Wild West in search of his lost love. Is it a good movie to watch? Well, coming from a genre where there already have been some really good movies like The Searchers, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, True Grit, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Django Unchained, Slow West does a decent job.

It is quite commendable that even though John Maclean has a Scottish background and this is his debut movie as a director, he has done a good job. Of course, there are some small-tiny mistakes and points that are sore to some people’s eyes, especially those who have watched good Western movies and have pretty good knowledge about the genre as well as the history of America. But, for a regular movie buff, who loves watching just good movies, Slow West certainly scores. Django Unchained is the recent last Western movie that I watched and felt was good, and I have to admit that Slow West pretty much gives a good competition to the movie. Though, it is unfair to compare them as both of them are quite different and have a unique intriguing element to them.

Both the lead characters are interesting. Kodi Smit-McPhee played the role of a young Scottish man, Jay, who is in love with a girl who is now “Wanted” in America. Well, it’s partly his fault that the girl is wanted. He does a decent job portraying the character. On the other hand, Michael Fassbender (many will recognize him as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto from X-Men series) is more convincing and justifies his character as Silas Selleck. The remaining cast is also good; however, they don’t share much screen space. Ben Mendelsohn, is worth mentioning. He played the role of Payne, the leader of the bounty hunter group Michael Fassbender was a part of. His screen time is short, but he is quite convincing, especially, the scene where he checks on Fassbender and teases Kodi Smit-McPhee of his young love.

The movie is slow, like most of the Western movies, which pretty much justifies the movie title. The story is decent; it does an average job. The cinematography is excellent, probably the strongest point about the movie. The movie does portray the rustic harsh feel, which is the attribute of every Western movie. Particularly, the part where people kill others for their own good without knowing the outcome, and later, filling them with nothing but just guilt is quite sad and convincing. The actions are good, especially the last fight. The ending is quite interesting as well; many would have expected it coming as it is a Western movie, but for many it will be a shock.

In all, Slow West is a good movie and does a fair job in doing justice to the genre. No doubt, it has some weak spots, but it is not a bad movie at all. I would love to watch it again.

Holistic Healthcare versus Traditional Western Medicine

The Western medicine community recently asked the question: Will Alternative Healthcare, a.k.a. Holistic, Metaphysical, Energy or Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Western Medicine (WM) merge? This question implies there is reason to wonder and/or we need to consider the benefits a merger might create. The consideration of merging Holistic, Metaphysical, Energy or Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Western Medicine is analogues to comparing apples to oranges. The only comparison between apples and oranges is that they are both fruit–but the comparison ends there. Holistic, Metaphysical, Energy or Mind, Body, Spirit Healing and Western Medicine is diametrically polar opposites with nothing in common, except the subject (you). I will explain.

In order to understand the ideology of Western Medicine, you need to examine the language used by doctors and researchers. Their choice of words reveals their belief systems and the models they use to understand the way they think healing works. When observing the state of Western Medicine and the unprecedented influence of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, an interesting paradox arises. The drug companies claim that pharmaceuticals and OTC can do wonders for people: lower cholesterol, end clinical depression, reverse osteoporosis, eliminate allergies, cure cancer, cure MS, calm children and many other similar promises.

If prescription or OTC drugs are so good for people, where are all the healthy medicated customers? The truth is, there aren’t, any. There’s nobody taking twelve prescriptions or OTC drugs with a clean bill of health. In fact, the more prescriptions a person takes, the worse their overall health. And if you approach the healthiest people you can find and ask what prescription drugs or OTC drugs they’re taking in order to be so healthy, they’ll give you a confused look: Healthy people don’t take prescription or OTC drugs!

This sort of language is not uncommon from researchers in Western Medicine. They perceive the human body as a battleground on which wars are waged against invaders (viruses, bacterial infections and tumors). Beginning with the Victorian era, Western society has become addicted to quick fixes and results with no effort. Western Medicine has in some instances provided this result. When Western Medicine doesn’t produce a ‘quick fix’ result the answer is: “Sorry, it couldn’t be helped–the surgery was a success, the patient died.” It is interesting to note the AMA reports a dismal success rate–approximately 250,000 people die each year due to misdiagnosis and/or the treatment does little or nothing to improve the person’s health. In other words these people didn’t die due to an illness they died due to the wrong treatment.

Western Medicine’s theory and doctrines fail to recognize that diseases are not separate from the person. In fact every disease can be more accurately called an expression of the patient’s lifestyle, beliefs, and energies. Cancer is not a tumor, for example: it is a systemic disorder that can only truly be cured by helping to support the body, not by attacking it with chemical bombs or knives. The tumor is merely one physical expression of the systemic disorder, and simply removing the tumor does nothing to cure the disease. The body is designed to heal itself–given it has the proper care–nutrition, herbal supplements, spiritual and emotional well-being.

The body is designed to heal itself provided it has the proper support to do its job. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on a concept of balanced qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy, that is believed to flow throughout the body. Qi is proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Disease is proposed to result from the flow of qi being disrupted and yin and yang becoming imbalanced. Among the components of TCM are herbal and nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture, and remedial massage.

Holistic, Metaphysical, Energy or Mind, Body, Spirit healing has existed since the beginning of time amid religious beliefs and practices, along with the mystery, superstition, fear, and misunderstanding. Holistic Healing is now becoming recognized regardless of what anyone chooses to believe or think. Ask almost anyone about their spiritual well-being and they will probably tell you, “Yeah, I am a spiritual person, I go to church frequently.” Therein, the confusion arises out of the association of healing with religion. The majority of people, including religious leaders, do not understand the difference.

Definition: “HEAL” 1. To restore to health or soundness, 2. To set right, repair, 3. To restore a person to spiritual wholeness, 4. To become whole and sound, to return to health.

Definition: “SPIRIT” 1. The vital principle or animating force within living beings, Incorporeal consciousness. There are about twelve more elaborations mostly to do with various religious implications.

Definition: “RELIGION” 1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe, 2. A set of beliefs, values and practices based on the teachings of a religious doctrine.

Thus, based on Western Medicine’s common interpretations of how things ‘ARE’, many paradoxes are created. The resultant effect is confusion and un-wellness. The Truth, as Carl Jung and others have carefully worded in their writing, is this: Every Thing in the universe is Energy and Consciousness. How anyone thinks or feels about that Fact cannot change it. The purpose of All religions is the recognition that humans have a part of themselves that is not physical and there is a need to explore and experience this aspect of themselves. Part of the intent is to discover one’s purpose and to live in the best way possible. Another part of that goal also includes the attainment of Truth and Spiritual Wellness. However, the result of religious teachings with regard to our Spiritual health has been an abysmal failure. If the most important aspect of our being is our Spiritual self, and it has been neglected, it is a miracle we have existed this long.

Many churches are in a state of extreme confusion in an attempt to avoid accepting the “Truth.” The greatest struggle is how to incorporate all the now known knowledge and assimilate it into the religious dogma and theology. The problem is the impossibility of reconciling the obvious flaws in most theology and doctrine. The obvious shortcomings and how political and nationalistic and other special interests and agendas have resulted in a history filled with disappointment, tragedy, confusion and religious wars.

In many cultures it has always been thought and/or known that we are spiritual beings, the biggest exception is in western industrialized cultures that we believe we are people who happen to have a soul. Eastern philosophy believes we are a soul first, housed in this thing called a ‘body.’ The most beautiful and simple interpretation of how everything ‘IS’ can be found in the Native American tradition. “Everything in the universe is Spirit, each thing in it is of the same Spirit and it is all Connected.” This is exactly what we are beginning to understand in science and quantum physics, that everything in the universe is made of the same thing and has a consciousness about it. The two things that frustrate scientists the most is the fact that all these

things operate across time, space and dimensions they do not yet understand, and the ability of things to operate on inter-dimensional and multi-dimensional levels. A high degree of new understanding about the science and physics of what spiritual really means is now mostly coming from independent researchers. High-tech and aerospace research physicists and scientists, all seem to have a more concise and accurate understanding of Spirit and the Spiritual than those from a theological background.

The Reality and The Truth of Spirit–In plain language, there is only One God or Universal Energy that Is Everything. There is only One Consciousness. We are only one individuated expression of The One. All the dogma, theology and religious beliefs anyone chooses to pile on this truth is commonly referred to as Bunk. It is the lack of true knowledge and the application of these distortions, which have been the source of all emotional, physical and spiritual problems. Spirit is alive, it is something that is lived and experienced, the surest way to destroy or suppress it is to organize it and institutionalize it.

Spiritual Experiences teach us: Everything we think or feel affects oneself and others. We need to realize every feeling–anger, fear, hate, sadness, judgment–are mind generated emotions and need to be modified or eliminated. Left to fester–anger, fear, hate, sadness, judgment, creates physical reactions. For every physical reaction, a.k.a. symptoms–i.e. colds, cancer, MS, and everything from A to Z, there is a direct link to mind generated emotions. When these mind generated emotions are eliminated and the wounds created from long term and dysfunctional expressions are healed, the physical manifestation labeled as illness by Western Medicine is eliminated.

The bottom line is Health and Well-Being is affected by two factions–Doctors and Ministers. Doctors are trained as mechanics who work on the physical mechanism. They are in the Business of “Treatment.” They are Not Trained in the “Art of Healing”. Most doctors do not even understand the most rudimentary concepts of Healing. Most do not realize how they can produce damage and even induce death sentences on their patients.

There is little difference in the effects produced by an intentional damaging curse or a prayer prayed improperly, bad advice or simply some random negative thought. Ministers are trained in traditional theosophical dogmatic perceptions specific to the cultural religious views they ascribe to. Most people have little concept about True Spirituality or how the universe really operates. As a consequence they convey misinformation, half-truths, superstitions and fears along with a multitude of associated damaging information into a person’s consciousness. The result of which is Confusion and Paradox–which leads to distress, disease and un-wellness.

Both the good in our lives and the dis-eases we have are the results of our experiences, conditioning and beliefs. It is the experiences, conditioning and beliefs that are counter to our true nature that causes the damage. No matter how dire a client’s predicament seems to be, I Know if they are ‘Willing’ to do the emotional and spiritual work of releasing old habits, beliefs and forgiving, everything can be healed. The word ‘incurable’ used by Western Medicine really only means that the person can not be ‘cured’ by ‘outer’ methods and that they must Go Within to effect their healing. The condition was created as a way to cope–it came from within and can be healed from within. Reference: Heal Your Body, Louise L. Hay

Since Holistic/Metaphysical Healthcare focuses on supporting the Mind, Body, Spirit to heal itself as it is designed to do and Western Medicine perceives the human body as a battleground on which wars are waged with chemical bombs and scalpels against invaders, how can these divergent ideologies be merged?

The answer: They can’t be–i.e. water and vinegar doesn’t mix–it is metaphysically impossible. Likewise, it is metaphysically impossible to merge Holistic, Metaphysical, Energy or Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Western Medicine. Anyone who would consider such a merger does not understand the laws of Holistic, Metaphysical, Energy or Mind, Body, Spirit healing.