Quote for the week

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."

~Albert Einstein

Einstein was on to something. If you want to have peace with your horse it is achieved through understanding, not force. It is found in the soft dance of fingers on the reins, shifts in the leg and seat, light pressure at a key moment. Sawing on the reins, kicking, and whipping the horse will never build a peaceful relationship.
I know the picture is blurry, but I wanted to share how the DOR holds her reins. Here she is queuing her horse to turn left by simply rotating her left hand flat to put a bit of pressure on the bit. On a more sensitive horse, like me, she often just uses her pinky finger to maneuver her horse. When she and I are really clicking all she does is look where she wants to go and there I head.
Some times when she rides she tries to see how subtle a que she can give and have her horse respond. She often tries just thinking the action first, alrighty then one day she may have a horse who is a mind reader. Oh wait I read her mind when the thought "buck" went through her head and I followed directions, it isn't my fault I didn't hear the entire thought because I was so eager to please.
So here is a bit of homework for the week: see how light and subtle you can be with the creatures around you and still get the response you want. Keep the peace...
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Freedom speaks Saturday

Sorry for the late post, the DOR is slacking a bit this morning. Today is a drizzly day, the pasture rails have raindrops trailing down their undersides.
I want to take this opportunity to clarify Jack's story from earlier this week. He took advantage of the fact that the DOR's main laptop tanked and she is using her netpad to post with, all of her pictures are on her main computer.
Jack said:

Since I can't show you pictures I will tell you about it. I walked over the railroad tie four times each way without a bang. I cantered over the ground poles and then to show up the new guy I went over them backwards. I jumped three barrels stood on their ends, then did Airs above the ground, piaffes, cantering forward passes and a few leaps with kicks.

The truth is:
Jack did walk over the railroad tie four times each way, but he banged his hinds three times and grunted each time he did it. He also tried to cheat and jump over the tie rather that having to work his fat hind end to lift his hind feet over the tie.
Jack did not canter over the ground poles, in fact he didn't go over them at all! The DOR didn't even ask him to go over the poles, she did lunge him past the poles though. Every time he went by the poles he got all wall-eyed and snorted. No going over the poles backwards, but he did slam on his brakes and back up the first time he was asked to go past them. He didn't jump barrels, he did however do a nice side-ways jump to get away from the corner they were in. Airs above the ground? I think not, it was bucking plain and simple. Piaffes, more like "Pissed offs", you know that move don't you? The one where your horse stands in one spot and throws a temper tantrum because they can't do what they want. Cantering forward passes, Jack just trying to get away from pressure. Then he did some more bucking.
In short Jack was feeling his oats and wanted to have the sillies. The therapist said no sillies for Jack in the arena, he needs to work on staying straight, collected, and not twisting his body too much...having to do that made Jack a bit frustrated. It is spring and we all have the sillies, wanting to be acrobats the minute we can romp in the arena.
Jack has an image to protect, but a whooper is a whooper and he told a big one!
Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Skywatch Friday-Season 4 Episode 29

Here is a flock of birds enjoying what seems to be spring weather yesterday. They flitted from bush to bush and were chirpping the entire time. It was fun to listen to the little birds, heartwarming to hear their song.

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywatch Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Eye exam

The DOR is having her eyes checked today. She has taken the day off because she will have blurry vision. I wonder if her vision will be too blurry to sneak in some extra time with me?
Humans have to sit behind these weird machines to have their vision checked. No way I would put up with that. The DOR wears glasses, which she usually takes off when she rides. I am hoping that when the prescription for her glasses is adjusted she will see much better. She will see just how handsome I am, she will be able to see the treat jar better, she will be able to see her way into giving me more treats, and she will be able to see her way into spending more time with us.
Yep I am thinking the DOR being able to see better is a good thing.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Less words Wednesday

When the DOR took me to the arena she cleaned me all up. She told me I smelled like swamp water...whatever!
I managed to get good and muddy yesterday morning, terribly muddy, horribly muddy, I think I was the muddiest ever. I was so muddy that even the all day shower that Mother Nature sent my way couldn't clean me up before the DOR got out to give me treats. She just shook her head and said she was glad to see I am getting ready to wear war paint and that I better hadn't gripe about getting painted up, alrighty then....
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!



Our main writing computer crashed right after the DOR loaded photos and video from my adventures in the arena last night. Since I can't show you pictures I will tell you about it. I walked over the railroad tie four times each way without a bang. I cantered over the ground poles and then to show up the new guy I went over them backwards. I jumped three barrels stood on their ends, then did Airs above the ground, piaffes, cantering forward passes and a few leaps with kicks. Yep I was a rock star. If you could picture the horse in the photo looking like me you will see one of the simpler moves I pulled off.
I hear laughing and someone snorted coffee on their computer...really I showed that fancy boy how things were done. I even did a pirouette over a puddle. All the horses at the ranch were stunned by my performance, the DOR was speechless at my behavior. That is my story and I am sticking to it, any proof other wise is lost on the DOR's main writing computer never to be seen again!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!



This is what most of the weekend looked like, pretty dreary. We had plenty of excitement on Saturday. It was farrier day. There were at least eight humans and nineteen horses all doing the hoof trim/grooming dance. Horses out, trimmed, and spruced up a bit, put away as two more horses arrived for the same dance. The humans took a break to eat pizza and clean up a bit, we horses were all pretty muddy. The Horse Guardian had a new rehab project delivered on Saturday also...a Lipizzaner who thinks he is all that and a bag of chips. We all had to show off for him. Freedom made sure that the fancy boy knew that appys got moves-even the old ones. The DOR left tired, achy, dirty, and sporting a big smile. She loves spending all day with horses.
Sunday was a slow day. We all just hung around and rested up from all the excitement. The DOR brought us all treats and gave out scritches. She talked to me about the introduction to our book, I think she is on the right track.
I am hoping for some sunshine today, we will all lay on the ground and soak up some rays. Sir Darby is headed out for a trail ride today, he needs to work off a bit of hay belly.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Quote for the week

I could have missed the pain, but I'da had to miss the dance.
~Garth Brooks

Spring is arriving and it always causes the DOR to become nostalgic. This spring that is especially so, there are some good friends that are not with us this year. Harley loved the spring, he liked it when his winter woolies left and he was his beautiful self again. Ginger was the star of the spring follies in her Hawaiian Princess costume. There have been times in her life when she just wants to withdraw, never add another horse to her life because it hurts so much when they leave. Then something happens to remind her how blessed she has been with us in her live. Salty tearing across the pasture like a race horse after having his feet done. Freedom laying and rolling in the sun, crashing in a deep nap with a snore that would make a lumberjack proud. Shandi Doll giving me a nip back after I ran her off of her treats. Scooby running to meet her as soon as he smells her lavender perfume. Sir Darby knickering and talking to her the minute he sees her. Then there is me, I own her heart and just seeing me makes her smile.
Yep opening up and loving another creature opens you up to pain. We horses feel that as deeply as humans. But we have learned that the joy of companionship heavily outweighs the pain of the loss. We enjoy the dance. I hope that all creatures enjoy that dance everyday of their lives.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Freedom speaks Saturday

The DOR loves old things, maybe because she is getting a bit old herself. Just teasing she has always appreciated things touched by time. She loves looking at old barns who's roofs and walls have been aged with the gentle patina of time. There is something about mossy cedar shake roofs that she finds lovely. She loves old saddles, bridles, doo-dads, and books. She especially loves her old horses, lucky for me. She thinks we are so wise, she stives to learn everything we have to teach her. She spoils us rotten and brags abouts us to everyone who will listen. I wish everyone would get the opportunity to meet and enjoy the companionship that can only be found with an older horse...we are something special.
We are busy getting our feet done today. The DOR will have plenty of time to enjoy all of her horses, especially those of us who have been touched by many years.
Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Skywatch Friday-Season 4 Episode 28

After a day that was sideways from the get go I was greeted with this lovely sight when I went to feed the horses. Made all of the weirdness worth it.
Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Playing dress-up

The DOR thought that we would do some shows this summer just for fun. With my ridability still in question she is trying to figure out what kind of activity we could do instead. She came up with a brilliant idea, I think it is silly, we can do some parades in costume. She has a stash of regalia, thinks she could paint me up, and then lead me through the parade route.
Now do I seem to be a horse who likes dress-up? Shandi Doll is a girl and she likes dress-up. Sir Darby will do any silly thing the DOR asks him to do as long as there is a scritch and treat involved, he is soooo cheap. I on the other hand have dignity, self-respect, and standards to keep. The DOR has been showing me pictures of my ancestors dressed in costumes, well actually it was just how it was back in the day. She is pretty insistent that I will wear a costume come spring, parade around the arena like a good boy, and get ready for a parade. She also wants to have pictures done. She says that I cover myself in mud and that is no different than wearing war paint. I don't agree...paint is makeup and mud is a skin treatment. Soooo not the same thing!
I have some thinking to do about all of this. After all how can I stay a card carrying member of the "Burly He Man Gelding Club" if it gets out I play dress-up? Maybe the DOR will come up with a fearsome looking costume, a monstrous looking costume, one that scares all of the other geldings and things will be fine.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Less word Wednesday

I love having my mouth tickled. I like the feeling of things on my lips...I mouth things all of the time. The DOR treats me to a tickle every once in a while. I close my eyes and just get to wiggling my lips.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Two sides of Sir Darby

So Sir Darby is a bit two-sided.
He seems like a nice, quiet, gentle giant who will do anything to please his human, but truth is he is a bit defiant. Yep he is a bad boy, unlike me.
He loves rolling in the mud. The DOR cleans the mud off of him and tells him to stay clean. Sir Darby nuzzles her and seems to agree. She leaves him fairly clean...

She returns the next day and goes out to give him his treats and this is what she finds. Look at that muddy butt! She reminds him that he agreed to stay clean and he just looks at her like he has no idea what she is talking about.
I roll in the mud after she grooms me too. But I don't agree to stay clean and I just go and roll right in front of her. No sneaky rolling for me, just blatant in-your-face rolling in the muddiest spot I can find before she even leaves the paddock.
If we all stay muddy enough, keeping the DOR brushing us off everyday, we will assist her in getting fit. Brushing all of us helps her tone up her arms. Yep we are her fitness coaches. Besides nothing is better than a good roll in the mud.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


So close, yet so far away

This photo is taken at the barn door that goes out to the paddock. You can see the door on the left that the humans use to come and go from the barn. To the right you can see me concentrating very hard. You see on the other side of that wall is a bag filled with my green apple treats, okay the treats are for all of the horses. I can smell them, I can hear when the DOR messes with the bag, all I have to do is figure out how to reach them. Maybe I can convince Shandi to take up eating the barn again. She could chew a hole through both layers of the wall and then I can have all the treats I want.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Quote for the week

Horses always do the right thing, you just have to figure out why they did it.
~said by the Support Crew Chief, he read it in the book Half Broke Horses

It is true we always do the right thing, it may not just have been the thing our human wanted us to do. The DOR and I have run into this several times and when she stops to think about what happened and look at things from my perspective she discovers I was always right.
Take the time we were out on a trail ride and I absolutely refused to go forward. She nudged, I wouldn't budge. She kicked, I wouldn't move. She got off and started to lead me only to discover a motorcycle was coming down the trail. I could hear it long before she could and was waiting the beast out in a wide spot. I was trying to keep us safe and she was not listening. Or the time it took me a week of not letting the DOR mount from the mounting block without moving away. My saddle was pinching and I was trying to let her know I didn't like it. I finally had to get pretty dramatic before she figured it out. I won't even go into the white bag hanging from the saddle event. Just suffice it to say we have reached an understanding regarding white bags.
The DOR has learned that horses act the way they do for a reason. If we appear to be behaving badly it is because the human doesn't understand the situation from our perspective. While I will agree that most times we just need to mind our human and do what they ask because it is the polite thing to do. But there are times that a horse has to do what a horse has to do. There are also times where what appears to be bad behavior on our part is just a misunderstanding of what the human requested.
Temple Grandin makes it a habit to get down and look at the world from the perspective of animals, maybe that is what all humans need to do on occasion.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Freedom speaks Saturday

Salty the Wonder Horse and I have a very important job! Our job is to help Mushboy be able to cope with the stress of high school. This week has been especially stressful for Mushboy. He has been sitting on Salty every evening, one night unwinding to the point of almost sleeping. Yesterday Salty decided that Mushboy needed a good giggle and decided to show him he still had a few moves left.
My role is to use my unending mellowness and gumption to keep Mushboy focused. Together Salty and I do a pretty stellar job helping him deal with the stresses of school.
I need to let you know that for some reason this blog has been dealing with some glitches-slow loading and missing background. The DOR is working on it, so we will be under reconstruction for a bit. We will try not to disappear, but be patient with us. If you need help with patience you can come out for some therapy time with Salty and I.
Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Good morning....the jeans template no longer displays properly, doesn't seem to be working for anyone using it. So the DOR and I are rebuilding the blog site. Please have patience with us.


Skywatch Friday-Season 4 Episode 27

This crow often sits at the very tippy-top of the black walnut tree in our backyard. I think it is the lookout for the local murder of crows that lives in the neighborhood.

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Calling Dr. Jack

The DOR is suffering from a horrible migraine. I am taking care of her, so no time to write a long post. She can be a bit of a baby and needs all of my attention.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!

I am titling the book "The Life That Jack Built" Now I just need to break it to the DOR. If I do it while she is dopey from her headache drugs she will agree to anything.


Less word Wednesday

Shandi and I are having a reasonably nice week. Rain, clouds, mud...
The food is good and the best thing about the day is that I get to stare at my Shandi Doll, okay the Support Crew Chief's Shandi Doll, all day. Isn't she lovely!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Creative differences

The DOR and I are writing a book. We have the outline for 26 chapters done. Boy was that like pulling shoe nails. She had her idea of what the book should be about and I had mine. I am not above using my good looks to get what I want so I won with the direction that the book would take. Now we are at odds about the title...I am going to cute my way into the title I want. I don't think that the DOR has figured out that I am really going to be the lead author of the book and she just gets to type, with some input, once she figures that out it will be smooth sailing. Who thought that we would be dealing with creative differences?
I do have to say the DOR is a good sport. She let me have my name first in the author listing. Maybe I should listen a bit more when she says what she wants in the book. This is turning out to be a lot like when we do arena work, we have to communicate clearly for things to work smoothly. I think this is just another way for us to grow as a team.
Any suggestions for a title?
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Way to go Joe!

Today I would like to share a bit about a wonderful rescue in California.
Please read this clipping from Sunday's TB Friends blog:

Finally (the crowd stands and roars) and on a much lighter note, we have been offered unreal money for Krissys Flygirl. Two weeks ago Krissy came to us from the race track. A race horse trainer phoned and offered big time cash for Krissy. He wants to take her back to the track. I told him no. But hey, I said for that kind of money Cathy and I would personally cater his Super Bowl party. My wings are always a hit. He declined. Shoot. Waiting for a chance to wear my Food Network cap.

First, we all know that horse rescue is not a money making proposition, in fact the only way to loose money faster is to put your money in a pile and light it on fire. Joe has been rescuing Thoroughbred horses for many years. He has a large support network, but like every rescue money to support the cause is always needed. Krissys Flygirl was a TB that was on the track and then for whatever reason was at risk for slaughter. Luckily for her she ended up with Joe and will be safe the rest of her life. When faced with the decision to accept a lot of money for a horse, returning her to the industry that so casually threw her away once already, Joe didn't think twice...No was the answer. Kudos for Joe for putting this little mare's future ahead of a dollar. Click on his site logo if you want to read about some grand work being done for horses. He will make you smile, laugh, cry, and on occasion he will break your heart with the stories of the horses that he encounters.
Here is some mighty hoof clapping and whinnies from a little herd of horses at Grumpy Old Horse Ranch...we love you Joe! The only way you could be any better was if you save Appaloosas too.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Quote for the week

You can ask your horse as many questions as you want, as long as you listen to the answers
~Robin Shen

This is one of the things that the DOR needs to continually work on. She asks me a question, doesn't wait or listen for the answer, and then she jumps onto the next question. She has a habit of rapid-fire questioning, boy does that drive us all a bit nuts. When she does this I just get all frazzled and emotional. Then she and I get caught up in a circle of fussiness and nothing goes right. In fact sometimes I just want to stomp or kick something really hard. Maybe that is what happened to the post in the picture, some frustrated horse kicked it. Better to kick a post that to hurt your DOR.
The DOR has been working on asking a question and then waiting the time it takes to get the answer. She has a song she has taken to humming to make sure that she gives me plenty of think time. It is working pretty well. She is now hearing what I have to say about my therapy and the things she asks me to do. By waiting for the answers to her questions we are making more progress. By listening to me I don't feel like I might want to kick a post.
This is also paying off in her riding. When she asks Sir Darby a question, she needs to give him time to think and answer. After all they are getting to know each other and the DOR does things a bit different from his past riders. The old guy is pretty smart and always knows the right answer if she listens.
Wouldn't it be nice if we all stopped to listen to the answer to our questions?
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Freedom speaks Saturday

There seem to be some big babies at the ranch. Well there is one particular big spotted butt baby at the ranch. I have a few words for him-you get what you get and don't throw a fit.
As you know the DOR's favorite personal horse is an appaloosa, she thinks that we are the best. There are currently 5 appys in her life, yes she is feeling like there are not enough. It seems that one of us has a tail complex-his royal blingness. Well he just needs to suck it up, at least that is what I think. I have a fairly nice tail for an appy. Now Scooby and Sir Darby have tails any horse would want, but they are only part appy. Then there is Hank the Tank, that poor guy is lucky if his tail grows past his tailbone by a 1/4 of an inch. Poor baby Jack he thinks he should have the finest tail of all of us, well he hasn't earned a nice tail yet. He has years to go...we are all at least 5 years older than he is, he really is the baby.
I want to point out is isn't very becoming for a horse, or any creature, to throw a fit. Personally I have NEVER thrown a fit. Now I can hear some humans who know me laughing, actually rolling on the floor, and claiming I just told the biggest fib ever. Not so, I have never thrown a fit...I have just had to go to great lengths to communicate clearly with the humans around me who do not always understand what I am saying as well as they should. So there-neener neener.
Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Skywatch Friday-Season 4 Episode 26

The early morning sky on New Year's Day. Hope the coming year is as wonderful and this view was beautiful!

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


This is Sir Darby's tail in a braid....
This is my tail in a braid...
Two big butts, two long tails, two gorgeous guys, but there is one big difference. Sir Darby's tail is like three times thicker than mine-where is the justice in that? He also has a thicker mane. I am not sure why I got the short end of the stick when it came to the mane department. I do feel vindicated when it comes to the blingness factor-my butt out blings his butt any old day, even if he tries to spice his rear up with mud.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Less words Wednesday

Big Boots....
Yep that is Mushboy wearing his dad's boots. They are a bit big, but Mushboy loves wearing them. You see Mushboy has big dreams, dreams that will help him fill these boots and then some. All of us horses hope those dreams come true, we look forward to Mushboy being our vet.
What dreams do you have for this year that will help you fill your boots?
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Dirty, dirty, dirty

The snow has melted...it made mud. The Mushboy mucked paddocks and things were nice. Now it has rained for two days, making more mud. The DOR groomed us, we laid in mud. The rain cleaned us off, we rolled in mud. There is mud in all the pastures, mud on all of us horses, and mud all over the DOR and Mushboy. The white horses look black, the spotted horses look like brown horses, and the humans look like they went to some fancy mud spa.
Yep MUD...
The DOR hates mud, but what can she do? She just MUDdles her way through it, ha ha ha.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!



I am a bit muddy in this photo. I seemed to have gotten goopy overnight, the DOR took care of that with another grooming session. I am sporting braids and they have managed to stay in for two days despite my best efforts to rub them out.
I have enjoyed the past two days. The DOR has spent at least four hours each day just puttering around. I spent my time following her and helping. I would pull the mane comb out of her back pocket and carry it around. I checked out her coat pockets to see if anything needed to be removed, such as pesty treats. I nuzzled her and gave her back scritches while she braided Shandi Doll's mane. I styled her hair while she was brushing Shandi, she really appreciated it too. My favorite thing to do was to lick her every chance I got, I have plenty of salt that I can get to I just lick her because it is fun and it makes her giggle.
The DOR was happy that I am back to my snuggly self. I want my head rubbed, my nose smooshed and blown up, I want smooched, and I want the DOR to just stand and hug on me. Yep it was a great weekend, I just wish that the DOR had another week of vacation so we could spend four hours a day together for another week.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Quote for the week

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
~ Lewis Carroll

I hope every one's new year is off to a good start, mine is. I saw this quote by Lewis Carroll and realized this applies to the DOR and I this coming year. As I continue in my recovery and the DOR continues refining her horsemanship skills we are not sure what the future holds for us, other than what ever road we travel it will be together. It is nice to know that we have each other, it makes the future more exciting knowing that we are a team that just keeps getting better and better.
The interesting thing about not knowing the road you will take is that it makes the journey that much more interesting. This year has already been full of interesting things. I am getting more white spots on my face, my hooves have more white in them, I side-passed in my paddock yesterday at liberty....aren't those all interesting things. The DOR says they are things that make you go hmmmm. I have also found a clearer way of communicating with the DOR and she has found a better way of listening to me.
Here is to our journeys in 2010...bless you all and enjoy the ride.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!


Freedom speaks Saturday

Taco cat is a palindrome and so is today's date:


Isn't that interesting?
According to Aziz Inan:

Palindrome dates are extremely rare. Before the beginning of this century, the last palindrome date of the second millennium occurred approximately 621 years ago on August 31, 1380 (since that date is 08311380). A total of 43 palindrome dates occurred during the second millennium; however, they all happened between the 11th and 14th centuries. No palindrome dates existed between the 15th and 20th centuries.

The second palindrome date of this century will occur on Jan. 2, 2010 (since that date is 01022010) and this will be the second palindrome date in our lives. After this one, the third will occur next year, on Nov. 2, 2011 (11022011) and the fourth will be on February 2, 2020 (02022020). There are a total of 12 palindrome dates in the 21st century, with the last one occurring on Sept. 2, 2090 (09022090). Note also that all the palindrome dates of this century will fall on the second day of the month. After this century, 12 more palindrome dates exist in the 22nd century (all being on the 12th day of the month) and another 12 in the 23rd century (all on the 22nd day of the month). The last (36th) palindrome date of this (third) millennium is to occur on Sept. 22, 2290 (09222290). After that, no more palindrome dates will happen for another 711 years until the next one in 3001, on Oct. 3rd (10033001).

So let us all appreciate this day, it is a rare day indeed. I for one am looking forward to celebrating this palindrome date and the next one...I would be delighted to celebrate the one in that occurs in February 2020, but I am a realist and chances that I will be around then are not good. We all need to celebrate special things as they come and not wait, otherwise you could miss the party!

Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

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