Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Braidwood Rodeo - Ride 'em Cowboy!

On the weekend I attended the annual Braidwood Rodeo.  In my walk between two lives, city and country, I have had to adjust many of my city perceptions about certain aspects of country life. 

I understand so many people believe rodeos to be a cruel form of sport and entertainment; whereas country people look at the rodeo as a way to express and hone their stockmanship with horses and cattle; after careful consideration and attending a number of rodeos this is also the view I have adopted.  
The rodeo is a demonstration of all necessary skills used on stations, although I am certain there is not a situation where a station hand would need to ride a bull! The rodeo bulls toss those cowboys around like rag dolls, I figure it’s the bull’s due revenge for unnecessary human machoism.

Hello, just passing!

Most sports hold a degree of personal danger; being a participant in a rodeo would have to be the ultimate in physical danger that I can think of, why would anyone put themselves on the back of a 900 kg bull hell bent on grinding you into the dust! When those boys get bucked off they can’t choose how they’re going to land, mostly meeting the ground head-first or shoulder-first and trying to avoid stamping hooves.

Be gone flea on my back!

For those handsome young cowboy dudes punishing their bodies beyond normal endurance. I wonder if they think about how crippled their bods will be by the time they reach 40 years old. The song line comes to mind ‘Mama don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys.’

Very nice stock indeed!

There's something quite manly about a guy in a cowboy shirt, jeans with a big belt buckle, and the cowboy hat...mmm, very easy on the eyes.

There are actually rodeo events for juniors aged under 8 to 15 years old!  Why would a mother allow her child under 8 years old to ride a bucking calf?  Is she totally mad, devoid of common sense?   

I present it to you this way, the answer to that is the same as why I allowed my son to have a peewee motorbike at 4 years of age or another mother allowing her young son to play rugby league; it is a lifestyle the parents are accustomed to.

Any child under 8 is held on by an adult and lifted off before they fall, so it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I watched one little boy cry with disappointment because he didn’t get a long enough ride.

As a mother my heart was in my mouth for this little cowboy in the making. He was competing in the under 11 steer riding. I think he wrapped the rope around his hand and couldn't loosen it. Happy to report he was fine thanks to to bullfighers.

The Professional Australian Rodeo Association state amazingly low animal injury statistics, by law they have to record the slightest injury.  It is the competitors who are overwhelmingly the ones hurt. 

I overheard two bulls talking, they are thinking of forming a committee called Animals against cruelty to humans with little regard for their own safety or aacth for short.....

On the day there were five injuries in the arena, all of these had two legs, fortunately four of these were not seriously hurt.  This bronco rider ended his day with two compressed vertebrae in his back, he reckons 'after a bit of a rest he will be back bustin' broncs'. Not one four legger was hurt.

Rodeo livestock are respected as athletes just the same as the riders. A good rodeo horse is worth $10,000. Many of today’s rodeo stock providers have developed sophisticated breeding programs to allow them to breed horses and bulls specifically to buck. Many horses are utilised that already have an inclination to be incorrigible buckers therefore not able to be used in other situations and would have been sent for slaughter. 

Rick Wilson of Tumut Rodeo Contractors told me his horses do up to fifteen rodeos a year, and buck out for eight seconds at a time, no more than three times during the day; putting this into perspective that is less than 6 minutes a year. The bulls have a similar schedule. 

These animals are considered elite athletes, they’re very well looked after being fed the very best food everyday to keep them in peak physical condition, eventually retiring as pasture or stud animals.

The horse whisperer wranglers.

Barrel racing is a timed event. The goal is to circle three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern
without knocking over a barrel, then sprinting back to the start as fast as possible. The sport requires supreme agility of both horse and rider. 

These guys are the bullfighters. They are either paid handsomely to expose themselves to great danger or they are completely crazy. I'm opting for crazy! Their job is to distract the cranky bull from the human he just chucked unceremoniously into the sand by giving him an alternate target. They do a great job of keeping the competitors safe. 

Just sitting up here, safe and sound while the bullfighters distract the bull.
Team steer roping.

Bronco Riders.

Strapping up old injuries before participating in his event. 

Un-decorating the steer of its pretty pink ribbon. Wow, these girls have amazing riding skills!

Steer wrestling.

Such magnificent creatures, and yes, for once I do mean the horses!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Flower essence therapy for animals – bunk or real?

Summer brought scorching skies, long periods of no rain, crunchy brown grass and very nearly bitter disappointment in the wildflower department to Somerset farm until I came across this stunning Fringed Violet in our heath land. 

Fringed Violet (Thysanotus tuberosus)

Sadly the flower only lasts one day; it won’t open when it is overcast or on wet days so I feel incredibly lucky to have found a few flowers.

While trying to find out what this flower was I discovered a lot of the Australian bush flowers I found blooming over spring and summer on our property are used in Essence Alchemy.  

I was so interested in using a resource freely available on our farm I researched this natural therapy.  

Each flower has an essence, a vibrational imprint or energy, so when we use a flower essence, we begin to resonate in harmony with the qualities of the flower. The essences have the power to heal emotions; like humans animals experience a range of emotions and the essences are safe to be given to our pets. Ok I’m on board so far. I love flowers; just having them around me lifts my mood so maybe there is something in this.

It seems quite easy to become a do-it-yourself maker of flower essences.  It is a simple matter of using pure spring water in a clear glass bowl, then to snip off enough flower heads to float over the entire surface of the water. 

Leave the bowl in direct sunlight for three hours. Ta-dah, the energy of the flower has now been transferred to the water. This water, minus blooms, is poured into a dark coloured glass bottle to the half way mark.  Now we use our best quality brandy to fill the remaining half of the bottle. The brandy is a preservative and an anchor to hold the essence vibrations in the water. This is called the Mother Essence, the concentrate.  The mother essence needs to be further diluted by putting 7 drops of it into a 30ml dark eyedropper bottle filled with 1/3 brandy (apple cider vinegar can replace the brandy, but hell, give me brandy! Its medicinal,.... isn't it?!) and 2/3 spring water. This is the strength you dose with.

Now I am really unsure what to make of this flower essence therapy. The essence water is so broken down with brandy and water I find it hard to imagine there is anything left of the flower vibration and whatever else the flower imparts to the water to be of benefit. For it to work those flowers must have an enormous vibrational energy or else it’s the brandy giving that amiable feeling!

Perhaps the power of belief comes into play, which no doubt goes a long way with a placebo effect but what I find interesting are the positive outcomes pet owners and even some vets and animal behaviour experts report after giving their animals flower essences.

Unlike humans, animals aren’t subject to the placebo effect, they would not have a clue the 7 drops of bottlebrush essence you slipped into their water while they weren’t looking will address their compulsive personality.  

So could it be a placebo effect on the owner really believing they are addressing an emotional or mental need of their fur babies and as animals pick up so much on the energy vibration of the humans around them, this ultimately brings about a change in the animal?

I am not ready to completely throw away the idea of flower essence therapy. It might really work and there is certainly no harm in a placebo effect if it brings about the desired outcome.

My chiropractor is also a herbalist, she stresses study is required to fully understand what each flower or combination of flower essences can achieve and how important it is to not treat as a blanket case but to work out why the dog, for example, is aggressive, is it fear, dominance or some other cause, then to treat with the appropriate essence, otherwise the outcome may fail expectations.

Marie Matthews in her book 'Animal healing with Australian bush essences' gives insights for various states of emotion and animal behaviour. From her suggestions my mind is running with what flower essence would suit or benefit each goat personality.

Slender Rice Flower for dominate bully girl Doe #104

Fringed Violet will help clear the trauma of doe #91 having her shoulder dislocated by doe #104

Isopogon  for my brown headed blonde Rosie to improve her focus and memory. Rosie may then remember if she sticks her head through the fence wire beside the star picket she will get stuck...again!
Native Iris for doeling #136 who had a massive cyst near her udder to boost her immune system with the healing process.
Damperia for the majority of the herd – they will co-operate at husbandry time!

She Oak energetically supports the ovaries helping fertility, definitely for the does before their date with the buck

I think I will give it a try. The flowers are free; the brandy is not; worst case I will drink the left over brandy! Its medicinal, remember.