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Posts Tagged ‘bombproof’

Whenever I take a moment to look back at the different ways horses have served us through time, I am once again reminded of how much we owe them. There’s no need to list them all here, I know…there are big, fat history books that can illustrate our intertwined existences quite thoroughly. But how often, as we watch a massive hook-and-ladder roar by or pull the car over for a fire engine to race past, do we remember that at one time horses were the means to firefighting? From around the Civil War until the 1920s, “fire engines” were truly horse-powered. It’s not surprising, perhaps, but when you think about the logistics, as a horse person, you might start to be amazed. Stabling in the firehouse? Harnessing and hitching at speed? Galloping through crowded city streets? Standing calmly beside a raging fire? What wouldn’t some of us give for a horse with the body and mind to withstand such pressures!

This short video gives you some idea as to how the fire horse lived and worked:

In his book BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF, TSB author Sgt. Rick Pelicano explains that the fire horses of our past are good examples of how important brave and “bombproof” horses are to humankind—even today. Here’s the story of one equine hero that Sgt. Pelicano shares:

Tom who was the last “fire horse” in Washington, DC. Tom’s heroic career demonstrates the importance of sane, dependable, responsive driving at a time when people depended upon horses to keep their homes intact and their loved ones safe. The story has great personal meaning to me, since Tom was named for my great-grandfather, Thomas Buckley, who was a member of the DC Fire Department.

Not every horse could serve as a fire horse. They had to live at the station, often stabled with bits in their mouths in order to be ready to run at the sound of the alarm. They had to be strong, swift, and agile, and yet quiet enough to stand in the face of a blaze while firefighters fought the flames and embers around them. They were remarkable examples of how brave and bombproof horses can improve the lives of humans—in more ways than one.

Horse-drawn fire engines were eventually replaced by the motorized sort we are familiar with today, and DC’s last fire horse and his “team”—Tom, Barney, and Gene—made their final ceremonial run in 1925. Tom was retired “to pasture” where he lived 12 more years. Upon his passing, a monument was erected in his memory, engraved with, “In Memory of Tom, Last Horse in the D.C.F.D.”

BetterThanBombproof-horseandriderbooks

The last run of Barney, Gene, and Tom, DC Fire Department horses, June 15, 1925. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, National Photo Company Collection

Thank you to all the horse heroes who have been brave, strong, patient souls we could rely on—our gratitude is deep and true.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 

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Your horse can be a superhero, too!

Your horse can be a superhero, too!

No, it doesn’t mean your four-legged friend is indestructible, but it may make him a superhero! The bombproof horse is the one who safely packs around beginners and boyfriends and besties. He makes it easy on you at the end of the long, hard, work week, when you really and truly just want a quiet ride in the woods, sans fireworks. And while he may not win races or championships, he does a fair job winning our hearts.

Sgt. Rick Pelicano acquired his bombproofing skills as a mounted police officer with the Maryland National Park Police for over 25 years, and his two bestselling books BOMBPROOF YOUR HORSE and BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF translate the techniques he used in preparing police horses and officers into easy-to-use lessons from which anyone can benefit. Here are the Top 10 ways Sgt. Pelicano recommends bombproofing your horse:

1  Teach your horse to round-pen, longe, and long-line—a horse that is obedient and manageable to your directions from the ground is more predictable and enjoyable to ride.

2  Learn the 7 “magic” under-saddle skills that install the controls you need to (almost!) always get the desired response from your horse: leg-yield, shoulder-in, rein-back, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, side-pass, and neck-reining.

3  Minimize “scary” obstacles—starting with a less-imposing version can help persuade your horse it isn’t so bad after all.

4  Begin potentially anxiety-producing activities on the ground—introduce your horse to a new situation or object before you climb aboard.

5  Perform repetitions—walk by the frightening bush, stump, mail box, or bike (whatever it may be) over and over and over, until your horse thinks nothing of it. Then walk by it again.

6  Divert your horse’s attention—when the loudspeaker at the show or the rustling in the bushes on the trail up ahead gives your horse the shakes, immediately give him a task, such as trotting a figure eight, so he pays attention to you and not what’s going on around him.

Get your horse moving—provide an outlet for his nervous energy to avoid evasion and conflict.

8  Change direction—approaching an unfamiliar object from a different angle can give your horse a fresh perspective.

Tell your horse everything is going to be all right—sometimes a little reassurance goes a long way.

10  Consistently and creatively school your horse in the bombproofing skills he should possess—cross water, walk on unusual surfaces, stand through loud noises and unknown odors, and cope with sudden disturbances.

For step-by-step instruction on how to bombproof your horse, check out: BOMBPROOF YOUR HORSE and BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF by Sgt. Rick Pelicano, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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