Two bones to pick

Did you know? There are two bones in the human body that have us riders in mind:

ossiclesOne is the smallest human bone, at just a few millimeters. It’s the stirrup, one of three bones in the middle ear. That’s the air-filled space between the outer ear and the ear canal. Sound makes the stirrup vibrate. Those vibrations are transferred to the cochlea of the inner ear. Sensitive hairs there trigger the generation of nerve signals which are then sent to the brain.

The other bone is actually not a bone at all.

The Rider’s Bone or Calvary Bone is an ossification of the tendon of the long adductor of the thigh muscle, according to Dr. Todd Grey of Utah’s Office of the Medical Examiner. Long-time horse riders will unwittingly enable this tendon – which runs from the bottom of the pelvis to the top of the stirrupfemur – to calcify over many years.

Professor Mark Nielsen, of the University of Utah, explained: “Tendons are made of collagen, important biological fibers that act a bit like a good climbing rope. They are dense, connective tissues all organized in one direction,” he said. But tendons may get weak when they experience a bending force or compressive load. “The cells respond by depositing crystals to give it strength and a better ability to resist this (unusual) compressive load.”

Those crystals result in an irregular calcification and a hard, lumpy appearance. Thus, the Rider’s Bone, a bone in name only.

The Rider's Bone is an ossification of the tendon between the femur and the pelvis

The Rider’s Bone is an ossification of the tendon between the femur and the pelvis

A First Ride Scare

We started exploring the outstanding riding opportunities in the Mancos, Colorado area. Read about the move to Colorado here.

IMG_9878As ignorance and luck would have it, the first ride brought a pretty decent scare:

On the return leg of a six-mile trek, we were cutting through some wet spots near a tiny creek. I deviated ever so slightly from a cattle path. Shea immediately sunk up to her belly. She struggled mightily. I jumped off and got out of her way.

The big, half-Belgian girl was seriously stuck and she fell to her side, shaking all over and closing her eyes

As I learned in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, a large animal’s legs slip into mud easily, like a knife going into peanut butter. But pulling them out is another effort altogether.

Mud lines from sinking up to her belly

Mud lines from sinking up to her belly

I knew that adding water or air (open, unmuddied space) were the only ways I could help Shea get out of this treachery.

Steve got off and came to help. He stayed at her head while I frantically tried to free up her legs, digging and pitching mud with my hands. I thought for sure (by how her legs looked and by how she was acting), that she had somehow snapped a bone in her struggles. While I worked, she was calm, shaking, but still.

With as much mud cleared as possible, I asked her to try once more. She gave a big heave-ho (cold-cocking Steve in the process) and raised herself out. We walked for a few strides. She was amazingly, thankfully, completely fine.

In the meanwhile, the ground-tied Comet had taken off, trotting all the way home (Apparently, she had learned pretty darn quickly where ‘home’ was.)

Otherwise, the ride was beautiful! And, heck, we learned to steer clear of wet, grassy spots.


Dorrances added to the Remuda Reader lineup

This week, scores of Remuda Readers read about Bill and Tom Dorrance, thanks to an extensive interview with Bill’s son, Steve Dorrance and his wife, Leslie.

Many consider the brothers the forefathers of what many now call Natural Horsemanship. I call it the only horsemanship that’s rr 1_20150903161949worth dedicating yourself to.

Did you know?

Bill Dorrance made some of his finest rawhide during his unwelcome stint in the Army, during World War II?

Did you know?

As a baby and young child, Tom Dorrance wasn’t expected to live. He spent lots of time eating, sleeping, and gaining strength. He remembered, recounted his nephew, his first connection with animals back then. While he was napping, he’d have his hand on his dog and could visualize what the dog was feeling and doing. That early insight gave him the perspective that proved so pivotal and valuable in his later years.

Learn more about these remarkable men. Join the Remuda Readers today. For just $10 a year, receive this and much more exclusive content.

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