Posted by: starhorsepax | December 16, 2010

Reintroduction of Wild Horses

Wild Horses and the Ecology

In Britain and Mongolia, the native wild horse is being reintroduced to benefit the ecology.

Meanwhile, in the US, the Bureau of Land Management claims they are ruining it.

The Environment:

  • In Mongolia, it’s the Przwalski horse, also known as the takhi. The third family has been brought into what is called an Ecoregion. Specifically, the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion is to sustain the biodiversity and conserve endangered species.  The World Wildlife Federation recognizes this as a region where they make a scientific effort to study and restore the ecosystem there.
  • In Britain, it’s the Konik, a descendant of the Tarpan.  They eat plants which contribute to biodiversity in their fen home. They were reintroduced in 2002.  It’s a known fact that they were a keystone species in the region that were wiped out and scientists mean to study their return.

America is the origin of the horse. It died out here, was reintroduced and since termed feral.

Feral.  That’s the problem, the scapegoat word.   For it means that the National Park service and Wildlife interests don’t have to get involved in protection.  They are considered non native.  They are considered native if other countries reintroduce them after they were extinct. But in America? Nope. Never mind, too, that if horses are returning natives, they are likely good for the environment, and certainly not the wreckers of it.

So that dubious job lands in the hands of the Bureau of Land Management.  Who never wanted it or them, who have the cattle lobbyists best interest at heart.  Never mind that cattle are not returning, not native at all, or that millions graze the range.  Never mind that science both here and in other countries show that farm animals like cattle, not wild grazers like the horses, can demolish the environment in concentrated numbers.

Kiger Mustangs

Kiger Mustangs

The Tourism

I’ve heard it said on various tv shows promoting help for pregnant teens, that kids that dump babies in dumpsters can’t imagine anyone else wanting them.  They are that tied up in their own point of view. Such seems to be the case of the BLM and Department of Interior.  Yet evidence suggests that others do value wild horses.

  • The Wild Horse Adventure tours of of Corolla, South Carolina are rated number 1 by Trip Adviser. It also got written up in the London Times.  The star of the show, naturally, is the Corolla wild horse.
  • The Chincoteague Pony Penning gets an explosion of tourists every year.  The swim itself only lasts 3 minutes but there is still the run for the corrals, viewing ponies and watching the foals to be sold and watching the wild horse ride.  Tourists watch the release and visitors to Assateague island may find themselves slowing to watch the returned ponies on the side (or occasionally, in) the road.  It’s changed dramatically from the simple days of Misty of Chincoteague but the popularity never has died.

How do these places handle the wild horses?

  • Well, the chincoteague pony population, of course, is kept low by the pony penning and sale, with proceeds going to the fire department.  They also use contraceptives: carefully dosed as instructed on a limited number of horses.
  • The Corolla ponies are endangered. Forget wiping them out, they are seeking federal protection for the limited number left.

So why won’t the Bureau of Land Management which is supposed to balance the needs of the land, ‘balance’ the horses in a scientific fashion? Why can’t they prove their methods?

Sheer inconvenience.  The cattle lobbyists are a big industry.  The head of BLM, Salazar, is a cattle rancher.  He is hardly a neutral party.  Better to have that million cattle, it can line their pockets.  The horses can’t.  Then their are the foreign concerns.  Decry it as a lie all they want, it looks mighty suspicious when foreign investors want to study the land for new energy sources right smack where a wild horse herd is suddenly shrunk to nothing by the BLM.

Apparently the BLM is caught in a time warp.  This isn’t the 1800s, but they are still fighting the old range wars, where cattle, homesteaders and sheep herders feuded. As for environmental protection, they had never heard of it.

The BLM isn’t about science.  They are illusionists, directing attention elsewhere while they do whatever they please.  They convince the politicians: well, we don’t want starving wild horses do we?

Warning. Sarcasm alert.

We don’t want starving wild horses do we?

Really?  I love horses, but I don’t see them gather starving elk, mountain lions, oh, yeah, they do sometimes take care of wolves. They want to shoot wolves.  Same reason as the horses. They are pesky.  Can’t have starving wolves, they might come down on the cattle.  Of course, they can’t come down on the other wildlife- like horses -because horses aren’t considered wildlife,and we’d rather have the cattle. So much kinder to murder the wolves and leave the horses imprisoned for crimes, convicted of false evidence.

But there are so many more important things.  American economy is struggling.

Really?  Wasting Millions of dollars rounding up and penning indefinitely the wild horses has no effect on the economy? The economy can’t be struggling that bad if we can spare it.  Or maybe imprisoning all those horses is more important than educating the children or locking up murderers.

Health care

Air quality, environmental conditions all lead to poor health. So does stress. How to get away from it?  Get out, go on vacation, even if it’s just a drive in the west.  See a herd of wild mustangs in all their glory. Oh. Right can’t do that.  They are being wiped out and they are rounded up on private land, not like the Chincoteague one. Wouldn’t want some pesky visitor get upset over that foal bleeding, or the helicopter ramming the horse.  It’s more important and more important to fight that crowd at Disney world.  Much more relaxing to fight the traffic to get in a place like that, get the bill for the souvenirs, the hotel, the overpriced concession food…..Are you all right?  You look a little green….Maybe you should see a doctor.

Energy:

We need new energy sources.  Gotta get free of that foreign oil dependence.  Oh. Wait. Those companies looking into the energy sources and mining on the land horses are running on…who owns them?  Foreigners?  Really? Oh, but the BLM roundups were purely for the horses benefit.  Can’t have them starving.  Pure coincidence that….several…were right in line with those energy studies and plans.

end sarcasm alert.

…..I wonder now, when I look at the old west.  We are so much more enlightened or so we think.  We know the ‘indians’ we knew from childhood westerns are really native americans and they  weren’t always the bad guys, the cowboys and army weren’t always heroes.  We say, “It wouldn’t happen today, but we can’t change yesterday.”  But I’m no longer so sure.  The only difference between today and yesterday is that today, the people who would steal the land know they have to hide it and justify it better, at least to congress.  They have some wariness of reporters and viewers and the internet.  But it would happen today.  It is happening today Unless we find a way to stop it.  Because greed doesn’t stop for time, place, or space.

Sources:

Mongolian Wild Horse Reintroduction

Przwalski Horse

Wildwood Trust

BBC News Story

OBX Horses endangered

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

Polish Ponies to the rescue

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Posted by: starhorsepax | November 4, 2010

Are our Government Agencies Above the Law?

Citizens get jail time.  Government agents don’t even get a slap on the wrist.

The Victory

It’s a victory for animal lovers when the court sentences people who shoot horses to jail time.
The lawyers apparently tried to downplay the acts of cruelty as being drunk.

Tuesday’s Horse Article

I wonder if they thought that would fly if they shot a kid for the same reason. If being drunk is to blame for one then it’s to blame for the other. The weight of what a life is worth may be different between a horse and child, but a drunk is still a drunk and shooting reckless is still shooting reckless. Next time it might be a kid. I once was working in a stable when someone fired clean across the pond from another property into ours, apparently at a deer. He or she could just as easily have hit a horse, or any of the riders. Not surprisingly, this person did not step forward to claim their kill.

Double Standards

But I have to wonder at the double standard.  The government has run horses until their hoofs fall off, broken necks and legs.   They’ve hit horses with helicopter skids and crammed them en masse into tiny holding pens, where stallions battle each other to defend their terrified mares.  Which is the worse?

On the individual side, you have reckless stupidity based on drunkenness and too little regard for life.  On the other, cold-blooded, calculated killing of a species.  And yet, while it’s gone to court and judges acknowledge the BLM may have stepped out of line.  Yet when it comes to stopping the roundups, it usually falls short.

I honestly want to know and I’m sure others do too. Why haven’t those members of the BLM involved been arrested?  Why not? They are as guilty as those drunks, more in fact.  Why does the court hesitate to say NO? Why stop short?

The ASPCA New York lawsuit results on another blog.

Aside from the debate about the legitimacy of the roundups, the total lack of science on the BLM’s  side, and money waste, why isn’t the cruelty issue being acted on?

If there are any judges out there that know: please, speak up. Explain.  Preferably in english, not ‘legalese’.  I think we have a right to know how these helicopter pilots and BLM agents are getting away with violating the law.  They don’t have the dubious reasons of military or homeland security secrecy.  So what is it?  Please, can someone tell me why?

Here is what I believe should happen: the individuals involved should be arrested for animal cruelty.  No excuses.  No ‘I’m just following orders’ allowed.  No matter how bad the economy, no matter that it’s the government giving the orders, wrong is wrong.  Even if the roundups were legit,  their methods are not.

  • Arrest the chopper pilot for hitting the horse with the helicopter. Even if he’s legally entitled to pursue, he has no right to hit the horses.
  • Take his pilot’s license for reckless flying.  It certainly is!  Get the people issuing pilots licenses involved. Get the FAA involved.
  • Arrest the person responsible for the holding pen. Excuse me, there is a legal amount of land you are supposed to have to keep a horse.  You do not cram a bunch of strange horses into a small space, where stallions feel compelled to defend their mares to other stallions.  It’s no better than dog fighting and has much the same results.

Yes, I’m serious.  I know the problem is at the top and filtering down.  But the order to do something cruel and immoral will not go far if it hits the refusal of the employees.  Sorry folks. Money doesn’t justify it.  How do they live with themself? What are they teaching their kids?  That the law and common decency only matters when it’s convenient?

It’s not just a battle for horses, or land, or even the tax payer dollars.  It’s a war for our nation’s soul. It’s for our moral character. If we let our government people get away with it is it really ‘our’ government anymore?  Or is it a government by the people for the few well connected people?

The ASPCA New York lawsuit results on another blog.

Washington Post Article on the Horse Shootings

Posted by: starhorsepax | October 2, 2010

Racehorse Ramblings

So here it comes: another racehorse movie. In a way, it’s surprising they waited this long to do one on Secretariat.  Asking a friend whether she was going to see it she replied “racing is a cruel sport”. That got me to thinking. Is it?

Well, it sure can look that way a glance, when you see Barbaro break down, see jockey’s who keep slamming on the whip or consider all the horses who end up broken down young and sent to slaughter.

On the other hand, this is a people problem more than a sport problem. You also see human athletes break down, keep pushing themselves when they should stop and end up with permanent injury.

The double edged sword of being an athlete, being the best, is pushing past what anyone has done before.  And humans can be cruel to themselves to achieve it or even measure  up.  But the best of the best are also an inspiration to dream bigger. And what would we be without that?   True, they have a choice (or so we think.)

You can’t ignore the money issue either.  It costs to feed the horse, train the horse, enter the horse.  It becomes a balancing act, win enough to at least pay for his keep and not prevent the owner paying for their own and their families keep. I say this thinking of the ones we tend to cheer on: the underdogs, the people who are not blue blood thoroughbred owners born to the ‘Sport of Kings’ and high finances.   It’s the same issue you face at every level of existence: what can I afford? And what happens if I can’t afford it? What do you do with the racehorse who can’t pay for his keep, can’t perform due to injury and yet you can’t really afford to give away?

In some ways, the racehorse lot has improved.  We have plenty of people on the ‘animal protection’ bandwagon to roar in protest over mistreatment. We may not always agree on the exact lines where it begins and ends – witness those who believe carriages should be banned against those who think it’s good horses get to work.  Witness the whole horses to slaughter battle between those who think it should be illegal and those who think it’s a necessary but not preferable evil.  We have tv, youtube and internet blaring track breakdowns to the world.  You can hide the proverbial fire of abuse in the back stable but the smoke will surely be seen on the track.

Its a good thing at least that now, unlike in olden days the races are not galloped in several heats and forced to keep on going and going to determine the winner.  On the other hand, we still have a bunch of primary races for three year olds, some of whom may in actual physical age may only be two or so depending on when they were born. Given that a horse can live into his thirties, it seems  ridiculous to train and train so young, race for the triple crown (which hasn’t been won in decades) only to break down before their five.  Naturally, the thought seems to be that they will then retire to stud as most are stallions.  But then….there is Ferdinand.

Personally, I’ve made some reasonably good guesses as to top finishes in races, based just on how they walked and how much energy they had. I learned this in part from watching Alysheba and Ferdinand. Face it, you can count on strategies (you can’t read the jockey’s mind) or luck (only God knows) and previous perfomance only carries you so far.  Even the greatest horse has an off day.  Even the worst has one that’s on.  Sometimes, they meet the same day.  Admittedly, there was no pressure here, I was guessing for fun and pure love of the horse. I intentionally ignored pleas to the heart strings based on underdog stories and tried to ignore extreme dislike for the trainer whose horses kept breaking down.

But then I learned that Ferdinand of all horses was sold to slaughter! A Kentucky Derby winner!  Turned out he was impotent and his oversees buyer cast him aside like…like dog food!  Now I don’t know how much of my horror at the idea of eating horses is cultural and how much is just passionate love of the horse.  But I do know this was an extreme case of greed and ignorance.  I’ve no doubt, none at all, that someone would’ve surely matched the price of a slaughter buyer to bring even an impotent Ferdinand home.  He’d have been a tourist attraction, even John Henry and Cigar, both champions retired to comfort at the Kentucky horse park. I hope no American ever sells those particular overseas people a horse again, it would not surprise me if they weren’t blacklisted. But greed is a powerful foe.

Did they really not know someone would take the horse back? Was there culture and attitude to horses so utterly foreign from ours? Was it:

Only ignorance? only ignorance? how can you talk about only ignorance? don’t you know it is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness? and which does the most mischief heaven only knows.  ~John Manly,  in Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Speaking of John Henry and Cigar, those are two I consider  heroes. Not Derby or Triple Crown winners, but old campaigners who just kept going. Like any human athlete, they had their bumps and bad days. But they had owners and trainers who kept them going and rested when they needed it. They must have, or they’d not have been able to run for so long.  Horsemen and horsewoman who care  for the horse as a horse and not just a means of getting dollar signs or a trophy.  We need more of those, not more flash for the day in the Kentucky Derby  three year olds.  No matter how good a sire they are, the general public won’t likely remember them long. I know. I’m a horse lover, but I’m a general public horse lover not a ‘affiliated with the racehorse kind’.

We treat our horses in America much the way we treat ourselves. We struggle over what we can afford, skimp sometimes when we shouldn’t.  Urge the kid’s on too hard without a break…I enjoyed a whole summer before school started. Now some kid’s start school in the hottest month.  Some kid’s are pushed and pushed to get an athletic scholarship to get into college to the exclusion of all else.  Some are pushed in other areas; I recall a movie called “Searching for Bobby Fischer” on that very subject. The difference is no-one would dream of ‘putting the kid down’ let alone ‘selling to slaughter’ if he or she breaks.

Some of the more extreme animal rights groups probably figure ‘let horses be free’ is a solution. This runs into two problems. First, your average ‘born in the stable’ horse has no idea how to survive the wild. He’s been bred to run, or jump not survive. I’m not saying it wouldn’t figure it out or enjoy it. I’m just saying he’s not optimized.  That’s what mustangs are-optimized.  Catch them and sell them in the east and they run into trouble digesting the richer food.  And we apparently can’t leave them alone either- or the government can’t.

So, the problem isn’t really racing is a cruel sport. It’s more that humans run it, and we can be cruel to horses, ourselves and each other.  And that’s a problem that can only be fixed one decision at a time.  But I do think that horses themselves can teach us a lot; they can bring out the best in us. Barbaro’s fall was horror. But the people’s response was not: cards, gifts, well wishes-this is the best of humanity, brought out-as is often the case- in the worst moment.  We just need horses to keep reminding us what the best of ourselves looks like.   So…bring on Secretariat.  Let’s see what he has to say.

To me, horses are beautiful. Loving, inspiring majestic creatures. I draw them not just to earn money, I draw them because I must. Take away my sketchpad and pencil, and I would grab a crayon and draw on a napkin or cardboard box. As an artist they are the muse.  I see them run when I hear music play.

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: He trots the air, the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.” Shakespeare

Thoroughbreds Run Free Art

Bred to Run

Posted by: starhorsepax | November 19, 2009

Wild Horse Conflict-Winter Roundups

The Wild Horse Conflict continues with the BLM planning winter roundups. Now I don’t live out west, but I have worked with horses in the winter and once had one go down on ice while I was slowly leading it. (Thankfully he was unhurt-and didn’t squash his handler.) The idea of someone going up into mountains where there is sure to be ice and snow and then chasing horses down with a helicopter is horrifying. It makes images of broken legs and necks come to mind. What are they thinking? Can they truly be so ignorant or do they truly care so little? Perhaps the brains behind this should be dumped in the middle of an ice covered hill and forced to run. See how well they do. A moratorium petition is going around to block this and we can but sign it and hope collective weight of disapproval get their attention. H

The most dangerous thing about this is not horses and snow. It’s the arrogant attitude that the government agencies and their high officials are above the law to protect the horses and are not answerable to the people. Bombarded with mail and objections, they forge ahead ignoring not only opinion but scientific evidence that their plan is wrong. They either refuse to admit it, or just don’t care. They either are extremely ignorant or hope that everyone else is.

My previous post called for support for the ROAM act. A commenter made a good point about it however. There is a provision in the act which should be stricken and shows clearly the evidence that further education is needed to counter the propaganda of those who want the horses gone. It allows for the managing agency to use drugs to prevent pregnancy.

Apparently someone is mistaking horses for either guinea pigs or feral cats. Guinea pigs because these drugs have unexpected side affects. Foals are born out of season, herd dynamics and family groups altered due to the lack of births. Herds which are already below the point of having the necessary genetic diversity to thrive then have even less. The long term affects are unknown both for horse and environment. Horses must be mistaken for feral cats which bear multiple litters of multiple kittens. They live around humans and in cities. Horses in contrast only bear one foal a year. They are not likely to be frequenting a city back alley. If they are, they most likely came from a local trailer accident, not a wild herd.

The ultimate problem with managing wild horse populations is WHO is Managing. Drugs are only a symptom, a fad, to control wild animals in general. The real issue is that the agencies behind the control run amuck, make decisions without scientific data. There are only two reasons that come to mind. One is sheer ignorance, for which they have no excuse. If they don’t have the scientific knowledge or at least a willingness to learn they shouldn’t have the job. You wouldn’t hire a math teacher who couldn’t add 2 + 2 or an english teacher who didn’t know the ABCs.

The Second reason is worse. It’s corruption. An intentional, knowing bias in favor of themselves or their supporters. Given the arrogant attitude of the round ups, the latter seems more and more likely. Blaming horses for overgrazing when they are outnumbered by cattle? Removing wholesale herds from areas that they supposedly want to use for energy conservation, as if the horses were not a part of the natural ecology and would interfere? What possible lame excuse covers the risk of round ups in icy mountain terrain in winter? What justifies spending American tax payer dollars for round ups that don’t benefit us and were in fact meant for caring for the horses already in holding?

It is the hope that those behind this that the majority of Americans are too busy and ignorant to notice. They hope they will by the shallow answers and lies because they are too worried about jobs, school and health care. But everyone cares when their pockets are being picked. That money could go for new roads, scholarships, libraries, hungry children. It should not go for the high political few to get rid or OUR Wild Horses.

The likely situation is that it will take all of us, not just a few horse lovers too stop this. And it is important that it be stopped.

The United States of America started out as a colony. It rose in war against that mother country not because it suddenly felt rebellious, but because it’s rights-rights under British law, given to all on British soil-were not being given to the colonists. The USA is founded on the belief that the government is by the people, for the people and accountable to the people. The Department of Interior’s leader and the Bureau of Land Management apparently consider themselves exempt from this. They are members of the government, appointed by leaders elected by people and paid for by taxes. This attitude must be stopped. If they choose to abuse the privilage and responsibility of the government position they should be removed. The 1971 act revisions allowing the Department of the Interior director to decide what was needed did not allow for the wholesale removal of the wild horses.

We can’t safely ignore the wholesale intentional arrogance of those who would do whatever they please in their position as if they could pick and choose whose input they would listen too. Wake up people. It’s not just the horses losing their freedom. If this issue came to a vote it’s already obvious the BLM would LOSE. The original 1971 act had more letters pour in than anything but the most recent war. The moratorium already has THOUSANDS of signatures. Horse groups which normally disagree on the issues have banded together on this one.

If our government agencies which make laws and we pay taxes to decides it can ignore us and those laws, choosing to defend or violate as it pleases we are losing our freedom too. SAY NO. Don’t let the fact that speaking out is inconvenient and time consuming stop you. Life is busy. By the time it’s convenient it may be too late. It certainly will be for the wild horses.

Let our government leaders know. Write in, e-mail, call. Tell your neighbors, tell your kids.

Letter/Petition Link.

Posted by: starhorsepax | October 24, 2009

Wild Horse Challenges

As I browse the internet I got curious and looked up wild horses around the world. They aren’t just in America. There was no list so I compiled on in a squidoo lens. But I realized something in the process.
Somewhere, way back in history one person separated from his tribe. Perhaps in trying to kill the horse for food he accidentally got taken for a ride. What a thrill and a terror! He’d never gone so fast!
Probably ever since the battle has been on between those who figure the horse is just another food animal and those who see it as a partner in life.
All around the world they face similar issues. Land people want. No natural predators or the predators themselves have been hunted to extinction.
The conflict is timeless. Horse is a pest or dinner. Or horse is a helper, worthy of respect for his contributions to society. It isn’t just in america’s west. It won’t end here either.
There are no easy answers. But at least we can demand the questions be asked and answered honestly, based on science and fact not on supposition and political convenience.
ROAR for ROAM!

If you like the artwork check out my Starhorsepax website. You’ll find this particular design as well as another in my ROAR for ROAM shop. It will take more than just horse lovers to get the issue addressed. But people have to know about it to act! Where a t-shirt, or a button. Get the word out. Post messages on every bulletin board that will allow it. Tell your friends and family.

Loads of awesome gifts for horse lovers in plenty of shops.

ROAR for the passage of the ROAM act to save American wild horse and burros

ROAR for the passage of the ROAM act to save American wild horse and burros

Posted by: starhorsepax | October 17, 2009

Hard Times Horse Artist & writer

My general trials & musings.

My first real blog here is about the general trials & musings on life with an outdated mac. It is very challenging being an outdated computer user. It is also educational. I love my mac, but even when it was new I ran into the anti mac bias wall on the internet. And Now! The first thing one does is maintance. Then one upgrades. I upgraded the RAM but it still doesn’t amount to much. I upgraded to OS X and that version was already outdated. It won’t go any further and I can’t afford a new computer. Any computer.

That commercial with the young mac guy vs the pc guy? My mac is more like Granddad. Or at least an elder Dad.

So when starting with my Cafepress shops I needed to go outside. I’d tried flashdrives & an external cd burner. (Mac came with a dvd player instead) Now I needed an external. Without it, it would’ve croaked. I have loads of big art files and now store all of it all on the external HD. I only pull one onto the main mac occasionally if its something I’m working with and won’t want to turn on the hd. (The hard drive I turn off at the source at night. Light from it is a bit pesky-and I don’t want it plugged in during a storm. Files do get screwed up if power goes off when its in on.) I also needed a hub to juggle all these usb gadgets.

I use an older photoshop-even if I could find a newer one to work on the newer system, I couldn’t afford it. So it runs (Slowly) on classic. It was largely photoshop that revealed the bias within mac. Perhaps its just a symptom of an overall American mindset. Throw out, buy new. Mac OS X cannot, by any means on the mac itself be optimized or defragged. Its creators said it was unnecessary given the type of system. They know people ugrade, yet apparently fail to factor in those older machines limitations. Now as someone who can’t afford new software this is highly inconvenient. The old utility software would work on an even older version of mac os x but rumor had it, that it caused more harm than help. I had weird cases of vanishing icons after I tried it. I did discover software update does it automatically when if downloads & installs new files. Works great. Until you run out of new compatible downloads.

It’s photoshop I credit with this unfortunate situation. It likes a large block of RAM not scattered bits which is all I have.

Yet we struggle on Mac senior & I, sometimes shutting off all other programs, sometimes restarting photoshop. Minor Inconveniences: The version of photoshop. It doesn’t allow transparencies. How unfortunate. It makes it very difficult to design for dark clothing! I’d never heard of this until I started in on cafepress. As a writer it doesn’t have word. Appleworks is fine. Until you need to send a file and everyone wants word. I finally figured out how to get text edit to do it, but that still does odd things to the formatting in transition.

So altogether what have I learned from aging mac senior?

1. Patience. Perhaps its all these fast computers that have encouraged a faster & faster paced society. It’s very noticeable with an old one. One looks up and the day has vanished. Sometimes I forget lunch. I only meant to be on an hour or two…

2. Prejudice. In spite of the quality of mac, some sites just won’t take anything but Internet Explorer. I’m in the no mans land between no more upgrades for IE and newer versions that won’t work. Even Firefox has issues, mainly as some sites still want netscape. Ironic, considering that’s been left behind by firefox.

3. Troubleshooting. Nothing teaches research like trying to figure out why something isn’t working. Especially with a mac. I’ve posted on sites asking for computer help and the minute you say Mac, they ignore you. Or if you can’t upgrade and they ignore you too.

4. Vices. To me, Americas tendency to dispose of everything is scary. The computers may work fine, but the internet & software force you to buy new and upgrade whether you want to or not. Maybe you just want to research a subject and don’t want all the fancy features. Meanwhile the old one usually ends up in a landfill or something. It may have been a perfectly good computer for writing, or art, but it couldn’t keep up with the internet.

5. Don’t overdo it. Do unto others…, by this I mean I dare not upgrade my site to the point where I, with my aging mac, can get on it. Nor do I want to turn off potentials customers, who are probably horse people and would rather be riding. Why should they sit and wait for an over gadgeted page to load? I don’t.

6. Customer service is important on the internet too. Most of my shops are external, meaning I supply the design, they supply the product. But I always check out the reviews first. I google, even check the better business bureau. Cafepress has turned off some shopkeepers lately. But whenever I’ve contacted customer service regarding products, I’ve gotten results. No place is perfect, but if they try I give them credit. On the other end I’ve tried to set up things on other popular sites (I won’t name it) and found it awkward, run into tech issues and found no help at all. I find it suspicious when they won’t give an e-mail address or a means to contact them and its a guaranteed way to turn me off.

6. Do unto others part 2. Be kind to rookie computer users and the Computer Poor. How often have I found some site trying to walk me through a problem that speaks only tech? Some can’t seem to fathom that some people don’t know a computer cookie from chocolate chip. By poor I mean anyone and everyone-I assume in this struggling economy that is a lot of us-that can’t afford to buy a new computer. The internet has very nearly become indispensible. Even job applications are online. Yet so many sites are set up in a way to totally lock out older users. Why? Would it really kill them to have a simple version? Myspace has a full view vs lite option: this is good. Mac senior likes the lite view. So Be Kind. Do Unto others. And have mercy on us aging computer users. And remember, people with Macs are people too!

Need to get back to my horse & teddy bear art now…Mac Senior has trouble doing both at once. I find it distracting too! Excerpt Lessons learned by a horse artist, taught by an aging mac computer.

Posted by: starhorsepax | October 17, 2009

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