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I would like to say that I am very proud of the response I have received about this side pull. I personally use it for training and riding. The thing I really like about it is I have my halter and bridle in one. I don't have to change head gear from training to riding. I use it in all my ground work from giving to pressure exercises to ground driving. It works well for my kids also. All the horses that I have used it on seem to get the concept of it right off and work well for me. My goal is to make items that help people and horses better communicate with one another. I think I have succeed in that area with this item. I like the fact that our AB Side Pull is horse and people friendly.

Keitha


If nothing else please read the comments from Amy and Michael they are currently using this Side Pull in natural horseman clinics.

I asked them to write their opinion about our AB Side Pull and this is what they had to say.


Thank You Amy, for writing this and all you have done in making our Side Pull a success! KA

Please visit the LONE STAR EQUINE RESCUE

Amy Burris is one of the many Trainers for LSER in Texas

www.lser.org

I have ridden for at least 38 of my 40 years. I am female, so not able to utilize strength or brawn when working with horses. My understanding of the horse has evolved over the years and been influenced by the great riders John Lyons, Monty Roberts, Durwood Kelley and my grandfather Sidney Lee Burris. I have learned over many years to base my relationship with any horse on the principles of mutual cooperation and respect. My riding style has evolved to one that utilizes balance and the horses natural athletic ability and intelligence. After riding and competing, being trained and training in a variety of disciplines, I feel my riding style has become a combination of the best from each. I choose not to rely on the use of any man made rigging that requires a horse to respond in spite of his current ability, balance, conditioning or understanding of what is required of him.

The combinations of tack and equipment I utilize allow for enhanced communication between horse and rider. I have always liked the concept of the halter/bridle for handling young colts, and tuning older horses. The reason here is pretty obvious, no untacking during breaks especially when covering long distance, therefore ease and convenience. Unfortunately the only halter bridles that I have used/seen were heavy harness leather or nylon, very bulky, very heavy, hot, and sweaty. These always seemed more uncomfortable for my horse, and it seemed better to just use a rope halter under a regular bridle, or pack a halter in with me.

So when I saw Keitha's halter bridle, I got excited naturally. I love rope halters! However, having used a bosal/hackamore/mecate (not to be mistaken for any form of mechanical hackamore), I had always been frustrated with the fact the there was not a direct pull side to side when 'plow-reining' or two-handing a horse. The pull came from a knot underneath the chin and a smart horse could learn to "cheat" and turn his head at an angle when being requested to turn, that would result in his body following in an unorganized manner. I have for years now used the sidepull. I have used the ones with the lariat rope across the nose, the kind that has a snaffle bit connected to the rig which gives both sidepull and snaffle bit control. I really like the sidepull nosepiece which I purchase off of EBAY that was made from nylon rope and has two knots across the nose piece which I hooked to my own rig and chin strap. (But no halter...)

That is why I asked Keitha if she could attach the nose piece which was already there, to the chin "strap" piece, which would connect directly to the reins so I would have a direct pull! Then we had the polyester rope sidepull with a halter! This was the only one I have found anywhere that uses a sturdy yet soft rope that handles well. It is a halter, a bridle, and a sidepull, with the bonus of having reins and lead like a mecate rope only easily detachable! Exactly the design that I wanted!

I have used this on ex-barrel racers, young unbroke colts, an ex-race horse who "takes the bit in his mouth and runs off with the rider...", a 30 year-old former ranch and roping horse who has absolutely one of the toughest mouths I have seen! I don't have the pleasure of riding any of these horses in an enclosed arena or round pen, only open pasture, cedars, rocks, and hills. The horses I ride with the Arthur - Burris Side Pull end up with power brakes and power steering. Even the older horses with bad habits. I am so pleased with the results!

"What makes the Arthur - Burris different from other Side Pulls?"

I like the fact that it is a soft polyester rope, very comfortable for my horse. It is sturdy enough to be safe in those panic situations, yet not bulky and heavy; therefore, ideal for covering many miles. It is washable so I am assured not to transfer colds, fungus etc. from horse to horse. The reins are the perfect weight, I find the weight is different from the weight of leather and seems to actually aid in encouraging a more natural headset. They are very easy to handle with or without gloves. Without the bit, I find the horse able to concentrate better on my body positioning and leg aids which promotes a more natural, balanced response and performance.

"What about when a horse bolts?"

Lets break down what happens for both horse and rider simultaneously when a horse spooks and bolts...

RIDER

1. The rider may be startled and get off balance.

2. The rider is holding the reins, attached to a bit of varying degrees of severity based on the length of the shank if there is one.

3. The rider's natural reaction is to grab a tighter hold of the reins and pull to prevent the horse from using the flight reaction and running off from whatever startled it. A basic natural reaction.

HORSE

1. The horse sees something "spooky".

2. His natural reaction is to freeze, in order not to draw attention to himself, then identify the fear factor involved and react accordingly with fight or flight.

3. As he freezes in place, the horse immediately feels pain in his mouth (or under his chin if the rider uses a mechanical hackamore). He associates this pain as being from the spooky thing. (They both happened at the same time right!)

4. He decides that the spooky thing has caused the pain in his head and he swings his head sideways or up or down to relieve the pain. All this poor horse knows at this point is he better run because the spooky thing has all of a sudden become the rider on the back that is causing pain in his mouth and thrown him off balance. The horse, at this point can't, remember where or what the real spooky thing is! Thus we have a horse that bolts blindly away with or without the rider... The next time this horse walks by something he can't identify that might be a 'spooky thing' he just bolts because he knows what happens from experience! This is confirmed as the rider again, grabs hold of the reins, tries to regain his seat ad prevent the horse from running as before! We now have a spooky horse that bolts and runs away with his rider at the mere thought of a spooky thing!

Next time we use the Arthur - Burris Side Pull.

A spooky thing appears on the trail. The horse freezes then begins to bolt. The rider grabs the reins and looses balance and pulls on the noseband. Please consider the amount of direct pressure from the riders weight transferred to the soft polyester noseband and then the horse's nose. Now, compare that pressure, or pain in his head to the amount he is used to receiving from a "spooky thing" when ridden with a bit or mechanical hackamore, especially one with a shank which multiplies the pain. The Arthur - Burris Side Pull puts pressure not pain to the horses head. His natural instinct when first spotting the spooky thing is to FREEZE and identify. Well, it was only a white dog running out of the woods or a deer that stepped on a stick when it FROZE to identify you and your horse as a spooky thing. For the horse there is no pain associated with the dog or the deer. He knows the dog which is ignoring him anyway and the deer is a four-legged creature much like himself that he grazes next to in the pastures when the humans aren't around. Does the horse bolt? No. Is the rider immediately able to relieve the pressure on the horse's nose as he regains his balance? Yes. Is the "spook and bolt" over? Yes. How much ground was covered? None. The horse froze.

I remember John Lyons saying at Equus America in Houston this year (2003), that a horse can spook all he wants to as long as he does it standing in place.

The result is a horse that THINKS when he sees new things...he does not REACT TO PAIN and BOLT.

Consider now, this reaction is similar to a horse in the wild or out in the pasture without humans.

He flushes quail as he grazes. He freezes immediately, perhaps freezing in a position from which he stands that will readily allow him to run if he decides it is necessary. His head raises or lowers allowing him to more accurately focus on what are silly birds! He finds no need to run, and again drops his head to graze. What was just described is a natural reaction to fear in nature by a grazer that uses flight for protection from predators.

It also describes how a horse reacts when he is ridden with a Arthur - Burris Side Pull.

Now, lets ride on!

Amy Burris


Thank You Michael, for writing this and all you have done to promote our Side Pull! kA

Less is More - Natural Horsemanship Training

"NO Whips.. NO Bits... NO Saddle... NO Spurs"

Michael Gonzalez in Lafayette, Indiana

barebackriders@msn.com

www.lessismorehorse.com

When I first began my journey to develop my relationship with my horses, and while searching for my own personal philosophy on horsemanship, I started by getting rid of the very thing that kept me from having good communication with my horse…the bit. I found that I did not have the discipline, patience, nor the hands to use a bit in my horse’s mouth. From the bit I decided to try going to a bosal to give my horse’s mouth a rest and give us a chance to start over. Now don’t get me wrong, a bosal can be just as severe as a bit if used improperly. My horse and I achieved very quick results with the bosal and so we continued our refinement for a little over a year. I then decided that it was time to step down again to test our relationship. I replaced the bosal with a traditional rope halter. This accomplished two things…first, the action of the lead rope tied through the Fiador knot to create reins was similar to the action and direction of pressure from a bosal. In other words, the pull and direction came from underneath the chin in an angular line. My horse already understood this because of the foundation we had built with the bosal so we excelled. The second thing was that the rope halter was much lighter and gave a feeling of being freer and not encumbered by a lot of mechanical restraints. This allowed me to soften and refine my hands.

Once again I looked for a change…something new to try… As I began to start more colts bareback and in halters, I found that I did not have the lateral flexion from a traditional rope halter or bosal, that I could get from a snaffle bit. My whole philosophy at this point had grown into my motto of:

“NO Whips…NO Bits…NO Saddles…NO Spurs” …..

While searching the Internet, I found the Arthur Burris Side-Pull Rope Halter. This was the answer to my prayers! Why?! Because the AB Sidepull Halter not only functions as a traditional rope halter with a Fiador knot and the extra nose band knots for more control, but it also offers complete lateral flexion with the same directional line of travel as a traditional snaffle bit!!! What this means is that I can use a direct rein with the right hand and the halter will “pull” from the side of the face instead of under the chin like a normal halter would. There are two hanging pieces of rope with small rings which tend to act very much like slobber straps do on a snaffle/mecate set up. This allows the rider an opportunity to ‘pick up a rein’ and yet not make any real contact with the horse’s face creating any unwanted pressure. I call it a ‘supportive rein’ where you can have the slack out of the reins and be there to support your horse through a maneuver yet still be soft on his face. As the horse offers the slightest try and the smallest change, you can immediately release and the weight of the extra hanging rein attachments will offer the relief of pressure necessary. If you have ever worked with a snaffle bit outfitted with slobber straps, then you will understand what I am describing. The feel is almost exactly the same in your hands. You can actually pick up one rein ever so slightly and watch the horse’s ears begin to shift back and forth waiting for your direction.

The halter, reins and leads are made out of double braid rope. Very strong yet soft and light. I prefer the reins to be 8 feet in length. This allows me to gather the reins and choose my length for whatever task I am doing at hand. I just loop and gather them much like I would a mecate. I prefer the trigger snaps over the bolt snaps. I like the lighter weight of the trigger snaps. Also, Keitha adds a little piece of leather (much like a mini slobber strap) to attach the trigger snap to the reins in stead of having the snaps braided back into the reins. Because the trigger snaps are weaker than the bolt snaps, should one of them break, you can just untie the mini leathers (water loops) and add one from your local hardware store…or even add your own bolt snaps if you choose. There are matching 12 foot lead ropes as well which makes having to tie your horse on the trail a snap, but of course you could always just use the 8 foot reins. The leads come with bolt snaps or brass twist panic snaps.

We just toss our whole rig into a pillow case, tie the case closed, and throw it into the washer to clean. It is that simple.

Keitha is able to customize the halters with just two very simple measurements, and her customer service is absolutely fantastic.

I now use the AB Sidepull Halter in all my natural horsemanship bareback clinics. I have a good following of students that are using the halter as their primary riding tack. I always take some time during the clinics to explain what I use and why I use it. The AB Sidepull always receives the most attention from participants and auditors alike.

From bringing your horse out of the pasture, to basic foundational groundwork, to first ride or one hundredth ride, to arena work or the trail, the AB Sidepull fits the bill and will not let you down. It is that versatile. For me, it has to work in everything that I do with horses from starting two year old colts to trail riding up and down ravines on the trail. By the way, my 4 year old Granddaughter rides both our horses bareback and in the AB Sidepull and she can achieve good solid lateral flexion with it.

I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to de-escalate down from a bit, but still want that same feeling in their hands and same level of control.

A Question and Answer that I thought was very good! kA (added 9-4-04)


I have been pointed in your direction through an inquiry. I am trying to reschool a 17.3hh 11yr old, who is terribly stiff through his poll, neck and jaw. He has scar tissue from injuries to his mouth so schooling with a bit is very erratic as Ii have to take care not to redamage this area, common bitless/ hackamores make him tense up even more through these areas and I am struggling to encourage him that schooling doesn't have to be painful (from his previous experience). He is a wonderful jumper but again the problem with his mouth limits me to the amount I can do as I am always so concerned that his mouth will be hurting him. I think his central problem is the expectancy of pain and the need to be schooled more

How exactly do these side pull bridles work?

Will it benefit these types of issues?

I really want to work him well to gain his full potential but at the minute I am so limited and it is so unfair as he loves his job so much!

Thank you in advance

Hi. Thanks for writing.

I assume that you are talking about the AB Sidepull Halter by www.handcraftedjewls.com (Keitha Arthur) Before I go into this halter, please allow me to take some time and address some other issues.....

Size, age, previous training, possible abuse...?, pain, mental and emotional scarring etc., will all have their effect on the future of his training with you. First, I would treat him as if he is a 3 year old colt and re-start him from ground zero....go back down the line all the way to letter "A" and bring him back up and focus on fixing some of those holes that he has in his training. The thing here is to stay focused. Because he has been through this training, he will progress through a lot of the elementary tasks fairly easy....do not skip through these....bringing him back up the line I a logical progressive manner will develop him mentally and emotionally. This is where he needs his help right now....especially if you are wanting a relationship with him.

Remember, training is 90 percent mental and emotional and only 10 percent physical!!!


I would begin with ground work.....I believe that you are going to need to begin with groundwork and especially with lateral flexion (LF). Lateral flexion is not just the one rein stop. In fact, while it is an important component of the one rein stop, the one rein stop consist of more than just that.....also, good lateral flexion is the key to body suppleness....it is also the key to good mental and emotional fitness and control. If you are not familiar with lateral flexion, there are two good articles on Clinton Anderson's website: http://www.downunderhorsemanship.com/articles.html. I also have a good basic article with pictures on LF on my site: http://www.lessismorehorse.com/Horse%20Training.htm. You will also see a pic of me performing lateral flexion with a DRAFT BELGIAN MULE from the ground and then from the mount using one of the AB Sidepull Halters.



The thing here is that the lateral flexion is not so much a physical yield as it is a mental and emotional yield. Some times a person can get their equine partner to yield physically, but as soon as they release the head, the equine goes back to the original behavior...or the equine will flex too quickly and then try to straighten its head and take slack in the rein....this is because he is performing the flexion physically and there is absolutely NO YIELD mentally and emotionally. Sometimes you have to hold it there and wait for them to switch to left brain thinking and soften their eye and soften the brace in the neck and body.

You cannot do too much lateral flexion. It is like Pilates Yoga for your horse! The more you do it, the softer they get mentally, emotionally and physically.

As I stated earlier, treat him as if he were a 3 year old colt and restart him....leave nothing to chance....I love Winter time because we don’t have the pressures of competitions, shows, camping trail rides, etc.. Winter time usually slows us down and will force us to go slower and more methodical. This is a good thing. By the time Spring gets here and your friends are just starting their Spring tune ups with their horses, you and yours will be a in a much better relationship and working more by FEEL than anything else.

By coming back up the line from letter "A", you can stay out of his mouth and develop the control that you need without having to rely on bits or other pieces of tack.


As far as the AB Sidepull Halter.....well......I absolutely love it! My wife and I use them extensively with our own horses when we train, trail ride, play soccer on horseback, play cowboy polo, etc. We use them on our Arabians and have absolute control.....let me state this....control come from training and not a bit or halter.....we have not have bits in our horse's mouths for 6 years now....and have been using the AB for over a year! I start colts in them for the first 30 days before switching them to a snaffle.....the reason.....

Because the AB Sidepull Halter not only functions as a traditional rope halter with a Fiador knot and the extra nose band knots for more 'control', but it also offers complete lateral flexion with the same directional line of travel as a traditional snaffle bit!!!

What this means is that I can use a direct rein with the right hand and the halter will “pull” from the side of the face instead of under the chin like a normal halter or rope hackamore would. There are two hanging pieces of rope with small rings which tend to act very much like slobber straps do on a snaffle/mecate set up. This allows the rider an opportunity to ‘pick up a rein’ and yet not make any real contact with the horse’s face creating any unwanted pressure. I call it a ‘supportive rein’ where you can have the slack out of the reins and be there to support your horse through a maneuver yet still be soft on his face. As the horse offers the slightest try and the smallest change, you can immediately release and the weight of the extra hanging rein attachments will offer the relief of pressure necessary. If you have ever worked with a snaffle bit outfitted with slobber straps, then you will understand what I am describing. The feel is almost exactly the same in your hands. You can actually pick up one rein ever so slightly and watch the horse’s ears begin to shift back and forth waiting for your direction.


The halter, reins and leads are made out of double braid rope. Very strong yet soft and light. I prefer the reins to be 8 feet in length. This allows me to gather the reins and choose my length for whatever task I am doing at hand. I just loop and gather them much like I would a mecate. I prefer the trigger snaps over the bolt snaps. I like the lighter weight of the trigger snaps. Also, Keitha adds a little piece of leather (much like a mini slobber strap) to attach the trigger snap to the reins in stead of having the snaps braided back into the reins. Because the trigger snaps are weaker than the bolt snaps, should one of them break, you can just untie the mini leathers (water loops) and add one from your local hardware store…or even add your own bolt snaps if you choose. There are matching 12 foot lead ropes as well which makes having to tie your horse on the trail a snap, but of course you could always just use the 8 foot reins. The leads come with bolt snaps or brass twist panic snaps.


We just toss our whole rig into a pillow case, tie the case closed, and throw it into the washer to clean. It is that simple.


Keitha is able to customize the halters with just two very simple measurements, and her customer service is absolutely fantastic!!! I cant tell you the number of people who are now riding in her halter...I have about 12 students riding in them...from Arabians, to QH, to TW mules, Belgian Mules, Morgans, Missouri Fox Trotters, TWH, Paso Finos and BLM Mustangs.


I now use the AB Sidepull Halter in all my natural horsemanship clinics. I have a good following of students that are using the halter as their primary riding tack. I always take some time during the clinics to explain what I use and why I use it. The AB Sidepull always receives the most attention from participants and auditors alike.


From bringing your horse out of the pasture, to basic foundational groundwork, to first ride or one hundredth ride, to arena work or the trail, the AB Sidepull fits the bill and will not let you down. It is that versatile. For me, it has to work in everything that I do with horses from starting two year old colts to trail riding up and down ravines on the trail.

By the way, my soon to be 5 year old Granddaughter rides our horses bareback and in the AB Sidepull and she can achieve good solid lateral flexion with it....and can use it to learn how to operate with FEEL and use direct rein.

My Granddaughter performing lateral flexion proving that it is a mental and emotional yield and not so much a physical fight to get the yield.


Me on a Tennessee Walker Mule using an AB Sidepull Halter and a lead rope for a mecate....



Most of the pictures on her site are of family, friends or students who are using the halter....but ....as mush as I love these halters, they are not the cure all...they are not "fix it" cures.....the real "fix" comes from you going back down the line and starting over....trust me...it is worth the effort and time spent.

If you are planning on staying out of his mouth indefinitely, then I believe that the AB Sidepull will be a worthwhile investment for you. It has been for us since the first day we received it in the mail.

I hope I have begun to answer your questions.....Please feel free to email me with any other questions that you may have and I will do my best to answer you and help you. If you haven't read through my site, please take some time and go through it. There are some good articles on the Horse Training page....

Good luck...please keep me posted on your progress.....I hope to hear from you soon...and remember, feel free to email me.....

Keep Your Training Natural...and remember...Less IS More......

Michael


Sorry I haven't gotten back to you about the results with the new bridle. It works great, my horse is much more relaxed therefore I'm more relaxed. She also pays much better attention since she's not busy playing with the bit. She tends to make some pretty big moves when she spooks and I've noticed a decrease in her reaction to things, such as deer jumping out of bushes, and pheasant jumping out from beneath us in tall grass. I also feel more stable when she does spook because I'm not hanging on to her mouth which causes her to move her head to relieve the pressure...instead I'm hanging on to something more solid....her hard head..:)....which doesn't cause her pain thus diminishing the effect of her spooking. I think with time she'll learn that spooking won't cause her pain thus reducing the frequency and magnitude of her reaction.... Thanks for a great product.... I'll be ordering another one for the baby soon... Gregory
Hi, seems this is the quickest way to contact you. Love the side pull. I'm going to use this under a snaffle bridle and hopefully this touchy mare will take confidence, as she has had rope halter ground work, the 7 games being used on her for the last 6 or 7 months, she still is lacking security in directions coming from the snaffle bit. Thanks Fay
I got it yesterday and tried it out too. Had a older gelding that I am fostering for a rescue group....He was broke young and then just left to run in a pasture with his mom the last 15 years. I rode him with my other sidepull on Monday and actually rubbed a little abrasion on his nose because he is so goey. Well, I rode him with yours yesterday....and I know that he rode better because it was the second day we rode, however, the difference in control was incredible! For some reason I can just pick up the reins and he moves his head the right direction? (I just have to get his body to follow, he is stiff) Anyway I really like it! Its raining for the next few days so I won't be able to try it out on my others, but looking forward to it.... will tell you how it goes on the other horses, will probably order one for the quarter horses. Thanks so much for doing this! It really works! ( no rubbing on the nose either)! Amy
I also wanted to let you know that I am really enjoying the AB sidepull I bought from you a few months ago. My girls respond really well to it and I don't have to worry when I let beginners ride them. The riders can't hurt the horse by tugging too much on a bit if they lose balance.
Thanks again, Rachel

I tried the AB sidepull on the "lazy" one and had good success on him too! He is my husbands 4yr old who has picked up the habit of, when he gets tired, grabbing the bit out of your hand and bulling through and not watching where his feet are stepping. He tried this once with this sidepull on me and decided that didn't work and "really didn't feel good." Thanks for your time, Virginia
Hello. I wanted to let you know that I got he sidepull today and tried it out on one of my horses. She did very well in it. She really lightened up and was very responsive. I've used sidepull's on her before, but she didn't seem to respond as well as she did with this rope one. Thank you very much! Take care, Rachel

Hi Keitha, I bet you thought I forgot about you!! Nope!! I just haven't ridden Player in months. One it's been Way to cold and two...I was kind of chicken after Player ran off with me last time. Well, anyway, I want to say your halter is a godsend!!!! Player was pretty good on our ride, but we had one incident at the park where he wanted to run and with your halter I got control of his head and got him stopped in no time!! I would've kissed ya if you were here!!! Anyway, after our ride I rode over to the house and had my hubby come out and take 2 pictures for you. SO here is riding in Alaska!! I hope you like them. And if you need any promotion for you halter...send them to me. I think it's GREAT!!!
Thanks Again, Robin

Tried the bridle out on Patch, worked like a dream::***moves much easier. Anne
Got my Arthur-Burris sidepull on Saturday, and put it on Vern (my 3-year old paint gelding) on Sunday. He loved it!! I had no problems controlling him... he took to it right away. And it looks great on him...the dark green really looks nice with his solid sorrel color. Anyway, thanks for a great product...I really, really love the reins!! Thanks for the fast shipping!!! Mike
Hi, I got my A/B side pull yesterday and just had to use it! Just able to take a quick jaunt around the paddock once, but boy does Baby stop good now! I am planning on using this for training my young mules too, so may order an extra one too. Trying to talk my "training" friend into it for her youngsters too. Absolute wonderful quality too! Thanks for the wonderful product!!!!! D Bar J Acres
Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I have been using your sidepull for about 3 weeks. I am very pleased with it! I bought it to teach 3, 10 year-old children to ride on a 20 year-old (saintly!) Standardbred gelding. His owners ride him in a dreadful high-port, long-shank bit. I think the bit came with the horse a few years ago with the standard argument, that without that bit he wouldn't do his stepping pace. The owners were amazed when I put your bridle on him and showed that not only could I get him to gait with the sidepull, but the kids can get him to gait, halt and do a one-rein stop with it! Since it worked so well on the Standardbred, I decided to try it on my 3 yo Paso Fino gelding that has just started under saddle. He has a very large tongue that makes even a french snaffle too much in his mouth, much less the huge spoon on a traditional Paso bit. Mojo is VERY opinionated and sensitive and was not at all pleased with the bit despite having lots of groundwork done and a very expensive, perfectly fitting bit. I figured I would just use the sidepull until I found a bit that he would accept but I don't really see a reason to change at this point. Not only does he like the bridle and respond beautifully at a walk but he cortos smoothly in it too. The biggest bonus is that instead of trying to scoot away from being bridled, he shoves his head into the sidepull, ready to "help" get ready for another adventure.

Nice design! I will send a picture of my son on the Standardbred with the bridle. They are cute together.

Thanks!

K. M. Hood


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