Friday, August 21, 2009

Clinton-palooza 09

Well I never thought I would attend a Clinton Anderson clinic nor did I ever think he would make an appearance in my relatively small hometown. However, he is here this very weekend. I jumped at the opportunity to get tickets for just $15 which includes both days. I can't say I intend to learn much because I don't train horses and don't intend to start in the near future, but you never know what you could pick up. So, I intend to keep an open mind, to shamelessly pass out flyers and business cards for studly and hopefully to get a good deal on some trade-show type stuff. I'm particularly interested in the new EZ-all sheath cleaner, but I personally have always liked EQ Solutions better.

What I really need is an awesome question for th Q & A session. Every clinic I have ever been to had free stuff to give away and it usually went to those with a good question. Any ideas??

Wait with all of that hoopla, I neglected to mention that a fellow blogger is coming to Clinton with me and staying with me and my horses. Don't worry she doesn't have to stay in the barn with the horses, though if I were 10 or so years younger that would have been a blast. Now I must head off and finish some barn chores and a little house cleaning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fair Time

The State Fair kicked off a few days ago. I made mad dash to do take advantage of an excellent advertising opportunity. It finally motivated me to find the time to look over some really top notch ads that Nd_Appy with her most amazing art skills had sent to me. She produced a flyer and did my changes in literally 2 minutes. Talk about speedy!

She also off the top of her head produced some business cards. Two sided slices of professional awesomeness. (I think by using the term "professional awesomeness" I may not qualify to be in that category, but they are awesome) I spent a couple hours friday evening putting them up in all the horse barns, by the bathrooms and the arenas. When I checked them yesterday, a few cards had been ripped off and one flyer was completely missing. I can only hope whoever took them needed more than bathroom reading or toilet paper and that maybe I'll be getting some calls (fingers crossed).

I'm showing Studly at the fair on Saturday and Sunday so I have a little time to enjoy it. Now I'm off to eat something totally gross, yet oh so delicious at the same time. So, without further delay, here is the flyer and both sides of the business card. (Sorry if they show up goofy, you may have to click for a better view.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Awesome Show

The Non-Pro Amateur Extravaganza June 28-29, 2009 at the Red Horse Ranch in Fergus Falls, Minnesota was another great show. Mostly because Red Horse has absolutely the best accommodations around; huge stalls (mostly with mats others dirt floor), indoor hot water washrack, near perfect ground not only in the show pen but in the loping pen too, and plenty of other stuff that I only notice when a facility doesn't have it, lol.

Anyway, I can put another couple check marks in the win column for studly. We won the $5,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro on Sunday and were also 2nd in the $10,000 Amateur. Missed the money by 1 pt on Saturday, oh well, that's the luck of the cattle I guess. Or, more like pilot error. It looks like we might have a fair shot at the year end title for the $5,000 NH-NP in North Dakota. Very exciting for a short, fat, old stud pony.

I'm waiting on the video from that show. Hopefully it looks as good as it felt and I can get some stills for the advertising flyer. I'm thinking it might also be kinda fun to have a couple jean jackets made. Then I and my poor recruited friends can be walking billboards.
The next show looks like it will be the ND State Fair. I'm missing out on 2 MN shows this month to keep up on work (so I can afford to show, lol) which is no fun, but I'm really looking forward to the Fair.
I'm also going to get up some videos of Harley, that I took the first few days we had him. He looks like a crazy Arab running around the pasture and they turned out to be pretty funny.

In other not so exciting news, I expect that I will be a better blogger for the rest of the summer because I just upgraded to a smart phone and will be able to post from that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Even God Likes Cutting Horses

Well I would like to think so. I was browsing the fail blog and its sister sites at lunch today and found this:

Its actor Morgan Freeman with a baseball cap depicting a cutting horse. Now many celebrities show cutting horses (that's probably for another post), but this was a random sighting for me. I must credit my ever growing powers of observation for catching this hat because I really didn't get the caption. I know Freeman played God in the Bruce & Evan Almighty movies, but I can't figure out the Jack Nicholson - Devil reference.

Its too bad the hat doesn't promote a horse or farm, but it looks as if he has really worn it more than a few times. Of course I checked the NCHA website to see if he had earnings or a membership and could find none. Then I thought, duh, actors never use their real names, but after a short search it looks to me as if he does. Now I must end my complete randomness and get back to work.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

And the Winner is!!

After a serious wet-noodle beating from Nd_Appy, I have finally taken the time to put up a post, albeit a short one. I'm sorry, its summer, I've been busy and then I got sick. No more excuses...

Studly and I had our first show over the Memorial Day weekend. We won the $5,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro class on Saturday. It was very exciting and paid out well enough that I didn't end up too much in the hole. Well that's how it is with horse shows, you never come out ahead. My Dad calls it paying for entertainment. Either way, I was entertained. No pics or videos though, it was an outdoor show with the dirt blowing everywhere and the sun was shining into the camera.

The new little horse, MH Moves Millions, has been named Harley. He belongs to my Dad and they also took some prize money at the show. I sometimes call him Honda because he is so small. He is just barely 14.3 and maybe 900-950. He literally looks like a pony next to any other horse in the herd, including Star our Welsh pony, lol.

In other exciting news, I just got back Studly's photos. Here are just a couple. I'm working to update the website, but I also have to do actual work. I gotta pay the bills. Photos copyright Alea Photography and used with permission.

I need to edit out our sad little hay shed. Every time the wind blows a new piece breaks off.

He was so funny taking pictures, just hamming it up big time. He ran right up towards the camera and then gave a little rear and buck.

Showing off the speed demon inside. I love how the sand is still flying from his last stride.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Epic FAIL!

I'm an avid reader of the Fail Blog ( and its related websites. My little brother, who is 7, was just saying the other day that we should make an "lol horses". He's pretty funny, but you had to be there for the whole conversation. I would love to see an lol horses or lol farm animals. Well, I'll get to the point. I was reading my June issue of a popular horse magazine the other day. Let's take a tangent and discuss how annoying it is to get the "June" issue while there is still quite a bit of May left. That has always driven me crazy.

Anyway, in an article on maneuvering through trail class obstacles, I found this:
(Ignore my thumb) I believe the photo is the professional whom they consulted when writing the article. If you notice the right side of the cinch is at least 6 inches from the saddle pad. On the left side, it is touching the saddle pad. This article was something like 4 pages long with several photos, all clearly showing this saddling atrocity. Having a properly fitted cinch has always been a huge pet peeve of mine.

Fail #2

Studly's PtHA papers came in the mail today. Here they are:Hint: my horse is a 1993 model, with a bald face, high white stocking, and large white belly spot. So, yet another phone call to make.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You...

I know it has been way too long since I posted. New stuff is coming soon, I promise. I just have to finish some horrible finals first. One 4 hour suicide inducement down, only four more to go. They could have a blog all to themselves, but I'd rather not relive it. Be on the look out for new pony pictures. A new addition arrived at the farm on Tuesday morning. Don't get too excited though, he comes with plenty of emotional baggage (not his, but there is a backstory). Studly also has news to report, some good, some not so good. I will be ranting! Oh, and my super good new method of mane care for Studly totally did not work. It wasn't as bad as a gallon of vinegar and a couple boxes of baking soda combined in your mom's kitchen, but it definitely didn't work. I guess its back to the old way for now. I'm sure I'll come up with something new and kooky very soon. Until then, I hope a pic of Snoopy-longstocking trying to scratch his best bud, who is ignoring him will keep you entertained.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rapunzel Rapunzel

Riding Studly is going well. I took him for a spin on Sunday, and he was great. Turns out the snort-like sound is just his motor. You know the more horsepower the louder the engine idles. I'm not a mechanic, but I'm pretty sure that's how it is anyway. He is a little heavy on the forehand, but I think that's just laziness. He can easily roll back and spin because I tried it. He isn't ready for much of that though, so for now I'm mostly concerned with fitness. Don't get me wrong he is in good shape, but of course riding is different than fitting from the ground.

He does seem a little short on his left side. He doesn't always step with his rear all the way into/past his left front hoofprint like he does with the right. I am able to get him to step through a little longer with some shoulder in exercises (gotta love those dressage books), so I think it must be a balance issue and not actual soreness. But, I haven't ridden him enough to really know him, so I've determined to keep him on the workout schedule until I'm done with finals. Again, I love my lil sis. She's going to work on his fitness for me while I have to do boring law school stuff.

The other thing he has no clue about is a mounting block. He's not afraid of it, but looks at me like I'm dumb when I want him to stand next to it. He will gladly stand 2 feet away from it, or at a 45 degree angle to it, or with his neck next to it so that the stirrup is just out of my reach. None of which merits any sort of come to Jesus meeting, but still annoying. He just won't go where he is supposed to. I've tried to explain to him that I invested in a block because I don't want to spend money on a chiropractor to fix his withers after my big butt torques them out of whack by mounting from the ground with a bad knee, but he's old fashioned. Jeez, I sound like a whiner. Really, I chuckle about my bronc of a Studly.

Sunday is also beauty parlor day.

As lovely as Studly's hair is, its a curse. He of course could care less about mangling it on the fence or tangling it up by annoyingly shaking his head. Come on pony, be still, breyers can do it, why can't you? On the bright side, at least he doesn't have half the white that Snoopy does.

I came up with a new novel hair care idea. Having Snoopy for the last ten years, I've gotten very schooled in long mane care, but Studly's mane is more like a couple tails attached to his neck. It just isn't quite as easy. Normally I would braid his hair into 5-6 large braids (changing the number/spacing to prevent breakage) and then sock each big braid. Well I decided that smaller braids would have less surface area (my science degrees at work) at the base of his mane for him to get messed up. So, I braided each large section into three individual braids and then braided those braids together. Overkill, maybe, but in two weeks I will see. I also decided to try a second new idea of only braiding half his hair. This could prove to be a problem. I'm worried that the loose ends will tangle inside the sock, but if they don't, I just saved myself a good 45 minutes.

My poor jealous Snoopy also got his hair re-done, but taking care of him is only half the production of Studly. I've quit experimenting with him and have settled into an unchanging personal law of how its done. (Don't feel bad for him though, he's the only horse in the barn who got any treats from me before I left, and he knows it)

Note that it is dark out, and some horses are waiting for the beauty king to finish so I can bring them in.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Studly's Mind Is A Steel Trap Afterall

My arena is finally dry enough to use. Yay, but...

Yikes! First ride on Studly. It has been so long for him that I was all nervous. Thankfully, my sister is home for tri break from chiropractic school. We saddled Studly up in the barn. I had to go through all kinds of tack and saddle pads to get him fitted. I settled on one of Snoopy's pads, which is too long for him since his back is a couple inches shorter than Snoopy's. I had to bust out a 34 inch cinch, even though he looks like a fatty now, he just isn't as big as all the other boys. I also decided on Snoopy's nice myler bit. Don't tell him though, he's really jealous of little brother.

We headed to the arena with Studly blowing and snorting the whole way. Jeez, I'm not a trainer, I'm wondering what I'm getting into. He was really laying it on thick, putting on the scare show for us. I walked him a few circles around while he pranced and chomped at the bit. I made my poor little sis get on him first because I knew if he did blow up, I could hold/stop him alot faster than she could. Well, my God I'm a worry wart. He didn't do anything. She rode him around for a few circles. It's obvious he is really rusty. He's got no power brakes, which is basically when you push your hand into his neck while shifting your weight deep into the saddle and he is supposed to park his butt instantly. On a positive note, the steering is all intact though. I wanted to work this horse so bad. It would have been awesome to pull out the dummy and see what he remembers, but he's not ready. It will be a couple weeks of just riding before that will happen. First show is in just six short weeks, so we have some work to do.

Here's two quick cell phone videos from right after she got on. I had a third one, but apparently my phone thought it would be funny to delete it. Some of the reining is atrocious, but she was having a hard time getting a feel for him at first.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No Swimming in the Ocean.

Well just a quick update because its like watching reality TV without the dumb blondes. (mostly because I took the pictures so it was hard for me to be in them, lol.)

My parents backyard 4-13-09 9:00am

Roughly the same views of the North Pasture as before. Only its almost all under 18-24in of water. Taken 4-13-09 10:30am. For some reason it looks like the sun is setting and its getting dark, but what can you expect from a cell phone camera.

The flood refugees all getting along nicely in such close quarters up in the not all that dry, drylots.
Studly was a little confused when none of the other horses cared about him. They were too busy eating, so he decided to chow down too.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Swimming Anyone?

Well, the house and hay-shed are fine for now. Something about a crest being expected Wednesday is what I hear. The internet was out from last night until now. I'm not sure if it was just us or what. The only problem so far is that the river is so full its moving into an old oxbow (dead river channel left from when they streamlined the river in the 50's and 60's). The oxbow runs around the property and dead ends on the west border of our south pasture. The water from the oxbow has managed to find a culvert (don't ask me how water figured out gravity) and is now flowing into my main North Pasture. The North Pasture was essentially dry last night, and the photos are how it looked at 9:30a.m. A flooded pasture wouldn't normally be such a problem, but my drylots are mudpits and my South Pasture only has water when the frost is out of the ground enough for us to turn it back on. Which is usually about now through the end of September, but we're still waiting for all the snow to melt.

The far side where the water is coming in.

The center show how far the water has come through. Poor Scooby wants to follow me.

The oxbow which is being filled by the river. This is at least 3x fuller than normal.

From my parents back deck at 8:30p.m. You can see the river is getting full and leaking into the low land. This is still quite a few feet from the house and a pretty big drop off.

Friday, April 10, 2009

So it begins...

Its official, we are likely to be sandbagging this weekend. Other people have already begun. We had hoped the flooding would not reach us (it still might not), but what do you expect with record snowfall measured in feet, not inches.

My lovely truckloads of sand sit waiting at the front end of my arena. They were supposed to be spread over the back half of my newly extended arena last fall, but it started snowing just two days after everything was leveled off. So they sat, pretending to be mountains until the snow became so deep that all was flat prairie once again.

We are moving 15 tons of hay out of the hay-shed and into the main barn storage first thing in the morning when the ground is more firm. My sad little old hay-shed with with a great roof, but no doors and a 4 foot hole in its side is starting to look more like a tar pit every day, or if I were an optimist some mudbath at a fancy spa. (No worries, though, my OCD ensured that every bale was perfectly stacked on pallets because heaven forbid one of my horses eat a spec of dirt.)

Here's to hoping there will be enough sand for my arena when its finally dry enough to use.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Frustration - feeling of dissatisfaction resulting from unfulfilled needs

I've been really frustrated lately.

My entire April book canceled because of recent flooding events and other personal issues. Of course, I'm a nice person and want these people to either breed in another month or some other time in the future. Well maybe I'm not all that nice and really just practicing good business by not holding anyone to booking fees etc. I want them to come back and then tell their friends to come to me too.

I've dropped his fee to $500.00 which is much less than my original $850. The $850 was already a break from his previous fee, which I decided could not be attained in ND.

I just thought that I had a nice horse and it wouldn't be this hard to book mares. I knew being in ND would be a slight disadvantage, but with shipped semen, who cares. I mean I haven't even gotten to turn away any fuglies. I'm beginning to wonder where have all the mares gone.

I know that my website gets great hits. I have an awesome stat counter that gives me great feedback. I know what pages are popular and so forth, that way I can edit the site and get the information out there. What really frustrates me is that I know there are people who have visited multiple times and have not contacted me. I don't understand that. You know at least shoot me an e-mail saying you like him or ask a question, even a dumb one. I don't care, I would love to answer any e-mail. (To the nice people in Minot, ND; Langdon, ND; Wilton, ND and Minneapolis who have visited the site, please shoot me an e-mail.)

On a good note, I started a Facebook and Myspace account for Studly. Facebook has been great, and he has a good amount of friends. Yay, networking! One May booking is the result of his Facebook page. Well technically, it is with someone I knew from before, but I wouldn't have booked anything if she hadn't seen him on facebook.
I'm also thinking of starting an e-mail/mailing list and adding that feature to my website. Maybe over Easter I'll get that done, but I've got two wooly beasts that the weather will finally allow me to body clip. I know its not really the right time to do it, but they have to live out in the winter and won't finish shedding until July if I don't help out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Its my party..

Well today is the day I officially get another year older. Enough about me though, because we celebrated 3 birthdays in the barn this month. Yes, I'm a crazy horse person and I wish happy birthday to my horse. No hats, balloons or cake (until someone gives me a horse-cake recipe anyway), but I like to give each birthday horse a special treat and a little extra scratch time. So, does anybody else have a horsey birthday party??

Monday, March 23, 2009

The beginning

After reading FHOTD and her reference to Mutton Busting. I had a tiny epiphany. I think I really began my love for cow horses with riding sheep. Strange right, but this was before I even owned horses. Of course I loved them and wanted one from birth, but for years, I settled with petting them every time any horse event was in town and pretending to be one.

The biggest rodeo of the year in our area is the Y's Men's PRCA Rodeo held every year in October. That particular year of my beginning, my Dad somehow got me entered in mutton busting which is like the rodeo half time show. I couldn't have been more excited. I was a very tall kid and for some reason that meant I had to be last. All the sheep were in a couple bucking chutes with a rope tied snugly around each one's girth. A handful of cowboys were wrangling them and placing a kid on one then sending them out the chute. Just like getting on a bull. Well just like it if you're 6. The sheep would buck and run down the arena to where another cowboy was holding a catch sheep to form a herd. At that time, you had to make it to the herd to win, any ties were decided by the audience. None of the other kids had made it yet, their sheep were small and very quick. I remember my sheep being the biggest, wooliest, stinkiest and meanest of them all. I got put on that sucker and death gripped my hands on that rope. The next thing I remember, I was being pulled off of it from the middle of the herd by a clown, and I was mad because one of the other sheep pooped on me while I was stuck there.

I believe, riding that sheep while it ran zig zag style hopping like a rabbit on drugs was almost as much of a rush as cutting is to me now. So I'm pretty sure my cutting roots come from being the 1989 Mutton Busting Champion, and I have the T-shirt and trophy to prove it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Application for Saint-dom is in the mail.

So I returned the call of Speedy Gonzales the phoning mouse. I am just that freaking nice. That conversation went mostly like this:

Girl: Hello.
Me: Hi, I got a call from this number earlier today asking about a job, was it you that called?
Girl: yes
Me: You caught me a little off guard earlier. I was at work, and I didn't really understand the whole call. I wanted to call you back and get a little more information.
Girl: mm k
Me: What type of job were you looking to do?
Girl: I want to take care of horses and get paid for it.
Me: How old are you?
Girl: fifteen
Me: Do you have any experience?
Girl: Oh, yes, lots. I've taken care of horses for my Grandpa and my Uncle before.
[yeah, right, that means nothing]
Me: Ok. I'm not really hiring anybody right now. I have done trade-outs before though where in exchange for doing some chores, I will let someone ride one of my horses or reduce board on their horse. Do you have your own horse?
Girl: No
Me: Well, like I said I don't really have an actual job available.
Girl: I could just take care of your horses for you for free.
Me: That wouldn't be fair to you.
Girl: I'm in FFA and I could use it to get my SAE certificate.
Me: I didn't do FFA, is Mr. _____ still in charge?
Girl: Yes, he is.
Me: What's and SAE certificate?
Girl: Its where you work for an ag professional in an ag related job and sometimes get paid for it then the experience is part of school and you get a certificate for it.
Me: I have to tell you that I don't hold myself out as a professional. I don't train any outside horses or anything and get paid for it. The association I show with is very strict about professional rules. I hold a Non-Pro card and I wouldn't want to lose it by training someone else.
Girl: You don't have to be a professional, you just have to own horses and let me work for you.
Me: Hmm, well how did you find me?
Girl: yellow pages online.
Me: Do you know where my place is at?
Girl: No.
Me: Ok, let's do this, why don't you come out this weekend so we can meet. I'll show you around and we can maybe work something out. How about Saturday?
Girl: I don't know if Saturday will work. I'm on the horse judging team and we are going out of town.
Me: Does Mrs. _____ still run the horse judging.
Girl: yeah.
Me: I know her pretty well. On Sunday, though, I have some people who are interested in breeding coming to look at my stud. I'm not sure what time they are coming, but you could come after that. I'll call you on.. (phone clicks)

Great. So I drop the mail at the post office and continue on. My phone rings a few minutes later with a different number.

Me: Hello?
Girl: hi its _____, my phone died.
Me: that's ok. I was just saying you can come out on Sunday after I my other appointment. I'll call you on Friday or Saturday when I know what time. Ok?
Girl: Ok great.

I'm sure she went on to phone (ooh look a little Canadian accent in me) all of her friends. I could hear the excitement in her tiny speedy voice. I have already nicknamed her "Speedy" in my mind. She reminded me of me before I got my first horse. I would have licked the mud off of any horse owner's boots just to pet their horse.

Of course, I'm not an idiot and the first thing I did was call Mrs. ____ at the high school to get a reference. She sent me an e-mail that in part said:
She has been a great worker for me, she is polite and does what she is asked without the attitude that you get from some of the young ladies that age. I know she is very interested in this area, and I am fairly confident that she would be as awesome of a worker for you as she has been for me. We have been working really hard to improve our SAE and proficiency areas and this would be a great opportunity for her to began hers.

Exciting!! That is a pretty nice reference, and I know this woman. She would give it to me more than straight. I may have a future slave, wait, I mean helper.

I know in my previous post, I was a little annoyed with how the original call had went, but this poor kid likely would not have gotten a call back from most other people. I stand by my point, in that you have to work for what you want. Sometimes that means doing things you don't want to, like calling strangers. You also have to put the effort in to sound competent on the phone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Diamond in the Rough - or not

I got a very interesting phone call while I was at work today. Of course, my number is fairly accessable through my advertising of studly. Here is a transcript I have written in play format:

(my cell beeps)
Me: (to co-worker) I don't know this number, I better answer it.
Co-worker: ok go ahead.
Me: Hello.
Caller: (as fast as possible) Are you hiring?
Me: (long pause to determine what was said) Umm, I don't think so.
Caller: K. (phone clicks)

I was like what in the world was that all about. A fascinating conversation right? Well, then I got to thinking, I suppose the caller, who I think was female, found me in some horse type listing on google or yellow pages and loves horses so much that she wants to shovel horse poop. Hey I can always use someone to pick, shovel or sweep, but this girl didn't even give me a chance to figure out what was going on.

I get it, people don't like to talk on the phone to complete strangers anymore than they want to meet them in person. I even rehearse what I'm going to say to people on a cold call. Heck, I say it outloud just in case I get a machine, then I have a little something to say and don't get all flustered. I would have entertained the idea if she had identified herself, said she found me in blank way and wondered if I needed any help. Because I'm such a nice person, I'm going to call her back on my way home.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Opinions Part 1 - Whose Matters?

I've been meaning to post this for a week now, but four letter words happen. Hey now, get your mind out of the gutter, I meant life. I had this nearly finished once and then it deleted when I was selecting font & color. Oh, technology.
My last little photo post was part of an ongoing point I'm trying to form. Having a thought or a commentary is easy, but getting it written down in a way that people can understand me is really hard, but here goes.
Looking at a photo like that thoughts can run the gamut from "really broke horses" to "really stupid owner". Which is right? I don't know. I think sometimes it boils down to who has the opinion or whose horses they are. Contextually, what if..
I told you they belonged to a well known trainer, would you think those horses are really well trained and their owner is qualified to do something like that?

I told you the horses belonged to Susie 1st time horse owner, would you think they are saints for putting up with a naive owner?
Who has the answer? I don't. It would depend upon which side you were on and its hard to be truly in the middle.
What qualifies someone to judge another person? Obviously nothing, subconscious and conscious judgments are made all day everyday. I think much of it is linked to survival instinct at some level, but I digress. So, if you have an opinion, does your opinion matter? I have kind of a mental checklist of what I think makes an opinion matter. Context surrounding the whole thing must be considered, but after that, here (in no particular order )is my short list of what I think about.

1. Age - If you're 15, I'm taking your advice with a block of salt.
2. Experience - How long have you been consistently involved with horses?
3. Rider or Ground Control - Both have insight to offer, and different points of view.
4. Horses' Appearance - Your horses should look healthy, happy, relaxed & well cared for.
5. Personal Appearance - Looking the part is good, but of course looks can be deceiving.
6. Your Stuff - A place, trailer, tack, etc clean & in good repair shows at least shows safety.
7. Accomplishments - Doing well usually equals doing something right. (well doesn't equal win)
8. Reputation - Respect of others, garners mine, unless I'm given a reason not to.
9. Prior Good Acts - If you've given me help before, then I'm likely to come back.
10. Original Source - Is the opinion from your actual experience, or a repeat of another's words?

Each point could easily be dissected into a post of its own. Taken individually they could seem presumptuous, but the idea is to take them as a whole. Look at the bigger picture and seek balance.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Idiot or Super Trainer?

So, crazy person, horse wisperer, or genius?? You decide.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why I Love Cutting

There it is, my fanciest show saddle. Fancy because of the rawhide cantle and metal lacing. How can you not love a sport that doesn't require silver reflecting off your cantle enlarging your butt and screaming look at me?? Who wants to polish all that? Not me. Furthermore, I will never understand why its a good idea work in one saddle and show in another. Its hard, they feel different, ride different, and how in the world do you ever break in your sparkly show saddle?

Note the oxbow stirrups on this guy. I think they have the best feel. I really only choose to ride in oxbows (when I have a choice). I like them at the back half of the ball of my foot. (which I'm 99% sure is the way it should be done) I have seen people ride with their feet way to far in, jammed into the heel of their boot. I've also heard many find them uncomfortable compared to flat-bottoms. Not me, I love them.

I need to spend some to have this beauty re-fleeced, but I couldn't be happier to do it. I should also get the rawhide cleaned, but I actually don't know how to do it. This is the only piece of tack I own that actually has any rawhide.

[Wow 2 posts. Can you tell I'm really bored today??]

Not in My Backyard.

Guess what, ND is going to provide somewhere between 75-100K to do a feasibility study on opening a horse slaughter plant. Yay, just awesome. Not.


I'm really not for horse slaughter. Here are some of my reasons:
1. I don't think it is done as humanely as possible;
2. It isn't done to feed families in America first;
3. I'm hugely against horses traveling in double decker trainlers;
4. It promotes the breeding of a ton of crap for meat which in turn makes all my costs go up.
5. Horses raised for slaughter do not have the same paperwork requirements and what not that cattle do.

I don't want ND known for this. Compared to other states, ND does not have a huge horse population. It is likely then, that many would have to be trucked a great distance. I don't want truckloads of horses traveling through. Plus, hello, we have this little thing called winter that lasts like 6 months out of the year. Wouldn't it be the best ending ever to travel from somewhere south with no winter coat to ND in January? Cattle from ND go south to the feedlots, people don't ship them here to be slaughtered. Why do this with horses?

I don't care about every horse. Sorry, but I don't. I've seen several that I think should be dog food. However, just because they are crappy horses does not mean that they should be mistreated or slaughtered inhumanely.

I get that the market has dropped out, but guess what, its really only dropped out for horses that would have gone to slaughter. What does this tell you people?? Hmm, maybe those of you pasture breeding 50 mares just because they go back to Two Eyed Jack, Hancock, or Driftwood then selling wild weanlings are delusional. Those of you breeding a pile of no-name know-nothing pretty colored horses are halucinating too. Those of you breeding designer mutts like Morabs, Pintabians, Walkaloosas, American "warmbloods", etc are the worst offenders.

I'm all for breeding, but in a responsible manner. If you own a mare and want to breed, great, but its your responsibility to raise a foal and train it to do something. If you are selling as a weanling-2 year old, it better darn well be haltler broke, lead, tie, groom, load in a trailer, lunge, and be able to have its feet handled (all 4 of them). Anything 2-3 should be at least exposed to a saddle and accept it. Over 3, this horse should be started to fairly broke. If you own a stud, don't breed him to any mare that waves money in your face. I don't and I won't start anytime soon.

I know that not everyone shows their horse. The fact is, horses that are shown in some way are generally easier to put a value on. A horse with a value and a job does not need to be eaten by someone overseas. Join a club, do an open show, have a game night, go on a judged trail ride, the possibilities are out there.

My last rant, if you can have your horse registered, do it. Give him a history, give him that opportunity. And for Pete's sake, if you buy a registerd horse spend a couple bucks to do the transfer. I have nothing against a grade horse. Many of them are great. But even if the poor guy sold with a golden ticket he won't bring more money than a horse of equal training/ability who has papers.

The end to this is education. Education on how to ride, how to train, and how to breed responsibly. Slaughter quality horses will begin to drop off the map when its no longer profitable to breed them. Someday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Best Advice Ever

I have a secret. It's the best advice I've been given to date regarding riding/training.


"You don't use your show horse for practice."

Simple enough. I received this advice from a fellow HS Rodeo contestant who is now very successfully roping/traveling the pro-rodeo circut. He and I may disagree with training methods in some areas, but this has been the most helpful insight I have ever been given. In order to advance his career, he had horses that he could use at home to practice. Practice in this sense has little to do with the horse and more the rider. Having acess to this, he was able to season himself and horses while keeping the horses fresh to do their jobs.

I understand that having one horse is a luxury, let alone having multiple horses available to you. I never had a "practice" horse so to speak, so I adapted the idea to mean, variety. Horses get bored and sour with the same routine, not a new concept. When you practice the same thing all the time and your horse doesn't need any tuning up in that area, he will get sick of it. Think about it, how annoying and mundane is it to do the same thing over and over just so the other half of "I'm with stupid" can get it right?

I quit practicing my horses on cattle before every show shortly after this. Practicing was fun, it was extra time to get that rush, and it was cheap. It wasn't fair, though, because my horses are far beyond my level of knowledge and they don't subscribe to the No Rider Left Behind club.

My point is, you must put in the forethought to determine a way that you can prepare you and your horse for your event without being a broken record. In the end, all you need is a supple and responsive horse to do most anything.

Get out and do some hill work, pull out the cavaletti and cones, work on moving off your leg, try riding in the arena without moving your reins, rope a dummy, or invent a game. My personal favorite is broom ball (polo with a large $1 Wal-mart ball and some broomsticks)

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Show - Jockeys

Horsepower, was the last show on Animal Planet that I really liked and followed. As far as horse reality TV, it was pretty good.

The new show, Jockeys, worries me. The intro that I have seen over and over to Kanye West's "Stronger" which comes in when one of the horse rolls at a dead run. A voice over then says something about its not if you get hurt, its how bad. How dumb is that? I don't think injuries should be glamorized. They certainly don't make you "stronger", in fact, for most of the horses injured, I'm sure they get a fast trip to the auction.

Every industry has its good and bad sides, but horseracing has really been showing its bad side lately. I have no personal experience with any off the track animals. In my opinion, though, racing turns out more discarded and/or broken down horses that are in a worse position than those discarded and/or broken down from most futurity events. I think the off track horses need almost a complete restart and an experienced hand whereas futurity horses, are a little more broke and compatible with variety of experience levels. I can't speak to the comparison of injury level, recovery time or the future level of soundness, but I think the industries are likely close to even. My point is that a horse not from the racing industry has a better chance of being picked up by a subsequent owner and being usable right away (or after injuries are healed) where off the track horses need much more input. Of course exceptions to every rule will occur.

I just hope this show has some sensitivity to welfare issues. I doubt that it will, which would be contradictory to the channel's apparent stand on animal welfare which is evident through their many animal cops type shows. (even if what happens on them is sometimes maddening and laughable) I'm on the fence about watching. I'm not planning my evening around it, but I will probably catch a rerun. If the first episode doesn't have any consideration of welfare, I won't tune in again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coming along

I have posted my pedigree page. I'm still working on it though, I need to add references as to where I got the information. This whole website thing is much harder than I thought. I have really good news though. A vet who bred to studly in early 2007 via embryo transfer to his own mare may want another breeding.
I found this information out in a roundabout way. I was looking at the website of the facility he stood at from 2006 until May of 2007, and they still had him listed. Fuming, I was going to call and give them a piece of my mind. Being tricky, though, I called and pretended to be interested in him to see what she would say. Turns out she was very nice and explained that she intended her site to say that they had previously stood him. She offered to put a link to my new site, if I would link to hers, and to pass my info along to a few people who had expressed interest in him. She is also going to send me the information she had on him when he was there. Awesome. So glad I didn't lead with guns a blazing.
I was reading FHOTD and had to laugh, her post on photoshop is about 30% me at this point. Maybe I should get it and put someone crazy famous on him. I'm really doing my best to be a professional about the whole thing, but I do feel like I may only be a rung or two above a backyard breeder. At least I'm developing some criteria for potential mares.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rocket-science is easier

Crazy me. I thought, hey, I've got a digital camera and some shop lights, that qualifies me as a horse photographer, right?? No, now I think not. One weekend and 90 pictures later, I've got nothing. Studly couldn't have been less interested in vogueing either. I tried shakers, tossing shavings, grain incentives and a mirror. The mirror worked best but I still was only able to get about 3 pictures with his ears perked.

The background I hung up in his stall to avoid the wood was supposed to be black. It ended up reflecting light and showing every little wrinkle. So, based on time, I have begun to put together a website. I had to photo edit a picture to take out the distracting background. The more I look at it, the more I feel a twelve-year-old could have done better. It's not the image I want to present, but I think it's better than none at all.

I feel a future post coming on the woes of website building. Wow, I now have a new respect for computer brainiacs.

I'm always open to helpful comments, suggestions, and, of course, criticism (good or bad, you can't hurt my feelings, and maybe I'll learn a thing or two.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

I forgot to mention

Wal-Mart opens tomorrow too. Huge day for some people. They have had 5 cranes dragging snow off the roof in fiberglass bags since Sunday. Never fear though, Target has been quick to remind all shoppers that they were open on the local evening news and that they didn't close because they built their roof right. Not a comment on Target's feelings about Wal-Mart's quality or anything.

We're off to see the wizard..

Well that might be a fun way to do it, but tomorrow morning, we are off to the vet's office for some embarrassing just leave your tail sock on, hooves in the stirrups, turn your head & cough kinda tests. I need to make sure Studly has his EVA status available.
Other than that, things are shaping up. I'm pulling some hairs to send for color testing. I know right, I can't believe I care either. I also can't believe none of his previous owners have done it. That's cutting for you, we only care if its COW H/H. However, I think spending a few dollars on it won't kill me. That way if a mare owner asks, I don't look like a dummy.
I plan to have my poop in a group by the end of the month. I want to get a website up, but with my HTML skills it might take a little while. I was thinking of putting ads on dreamhorse and Any thoughts, or other website I should look into? I thought of, but I don't think they get enough traffic for me to spend the money on it this year.
Also, Fugly Horse of the Day has a recent post about stallion ads, so would I need to take a vacation on idiot island if I just used a headshot for his ad until this summer?? I mean really, I've got snow coming out of my eyeballs. I don't think a glacial background of snow boulders mixed with streaks of road crap will do much for him except blend his white spots into oblivion. Indoors, I just don't have the distance/layout to get a decent pic without 4 other horse faces sneaking in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snow Closes Wal-Mart?!

I've been gone for awhile, but I do have reasons even the parents of a curfew skipping teenager would believe.

Sunday was an awesome day, nearly 30 degrees. I left my coat hanging for most of the day. However, on Sunday evening, I had to leave my good ole hometown and head back to school. You see, I spend 3.5 days/week in Grand Forks at school and the others in Minot working/horsing around (at least until May 2010). So being the good horse-mom that I am, (I never liked the term horse-mom, I'm not his mother. I am his servant so its close, but I'd love better suggestions.) I, of course, picked all my stalls, fed them, brought everybody in, removed the stockpile of blankets from their backs (think Ralpie's little brother who couldn't put his arms down), and kissed everybody goodbye with the promise to see me on Thursday. By this time it was 9:00pm and dumping snow. I threw my clean laundry in a sack and hit the road. After 30 miles of cottage cheese falling from the sky, I finally got ahead of the weather and it was smooth sailing, or shall I say smooth speeding, from there. That's why I love ND, straight roads, mostly flat, and it seems only one Highway Patrol officer who can be easily found in Ramsey County.

On to Monday... I managed to make it to class and not die of boredom during the day. The temperature had quickly become -5 with windchills somewhere in the -20's. I of course needed to make a trip to "the beast", the most despised/loved store of all, Wal-Mart. Having OCD, I called my mom, who is handling all my chores during this spring semester, to check in on my horses. After assuring me that they are fine, and going over my near ridiculous list of checks, I informed her that I was at Wal-Mart to grab the necessities and other crap I don't need. Now, you must know that my mother is in the closet about that annoying habit that people have which causes them to drive one-handed with the window cracked a couple inches. (If she ever sees this, I'm toast) Thus, she makes near daily trips to Wal-Mart. This is when I got to hear how her life had ended because her Wal-Mart was closed. She had made the trip only to find a cart fence protecting the lowly paper sign on the door apologizing to its customers. Apparently, Minot had gotten another 5in Sunday night on top of the 12in from the previous thursday on top of all the December snow causing the need to check Wal-Mart's roof. Full story here.

Now the suspense.....drum roll... Stud pony made the trip in one piece, but not without a resulting tale of idiocy.

Said new bouncing bundle of joy was picked up Tuesday, of course with delay to accomodate the seller's schedule, around 5pm and supposed to be delivered Thursday. He arrived at the shippers farm in MN sometime on Wednesday. Well, with the predicted Thursday weather, the shipper wanted to come Friday. Fine, a day of rest in a box stall wouldn't hurt Studly. So along comes Friday, did I mention that Thursday night we got a foot of snow, a foot! I get a call wondering how the weather was. I told him it was fine, alot of snow, but weather was decent. (I figured by the time he got to me, all the highways would have had at least one pass of the plow.) Shipper was getting freezing rain and was going to wait until 11am to leave. He was 600 miles away and needed to pick up some other horses that were going to Florida. The math on 600 miles is somewhere around 10-12 hours, so I'm expecting him between 9pm and 11pm. That's not too bad for a Friday night, no big deal, right?

Well, 6pm rolls around, I give the shipper a checkup call on my way home from work, only to be informed that they got stuck in the snow picking up these other horses for 3 hours and were not even out of Minnesota yet. Yuck! Alright, fine, just get here already. The hours tick by. I sat on the couch for fear of falling asleep, which I'm sure I did anyway. 2:30am, I give up and head for bed. Just as I had shut the lights out and was climbing between the covers when my phone rings. He is 10 minutes out. Oh that feeling, excitement coupled with total disgust at the thought of getting out of my bed. I put on my coat and boots over my PJ's, what a sight. Why not, I'm just getting a horse off a trailer, putting him in a stall and handing a guy some money, 20 minutes tops, right?? Umm, no.

The shipper calls again for some directions. I stand outside directing him until I can see the rig on the highway headed for our turn. Now, I give the most important of all information...... I tell them that the turn in our driveway is very deceptive and that he will need to take it very tight to the fence because all the snow is deceptively covering the edge of the road and that the edge of the road drops off several feet into the ditch. (Can you see where this is going yet?) As he comes around the turn, I'm watching, he is doing OK. Then...vrrrrummmp, into the ditch goes his semi. (Idiot!) So I make the long walk down the road to see the problem. The Malboro man at 50 and his hired felon, whoops I mean man, are already out by the time I get there. Ok, its not so bad, just the driver's side front tire is over the edge, he at least caught the 12in of gravel shoulder supporting the pavement before the drop into oblivion. Chain smoking Malboro Man proceeds to blame his equally puffing partner, who was driving. Well lets get the stud out. So we get him out and put him in his stall. I call my dad to come help get these guys out. So without boring you with the details of (in no specific order) digging, tow ropes, 4 5-gallon cans of diesel, Ether (use your imagination), a pickup, a suburban and a bob-cat. We managed to unhook his fully loaded trailer and back it away from the semi. We then spent the next 5 hours, yes that's correct 5 hours, attempting to get this guy out as he slid further and further into the ditch and closer to a 90 degree angle (well that's a bit of an exaggeration) until at such time, the Malboro Man informs us that he has AAA! WTF dude!! So a much larger than the semi tow-truck shows up and winches that thing right on out. End of Story. Well at least an end to the PG shortened version but the lack-of-sleep-coma that ensued following the ordeal has caused such brain damage and selective amnesia that it will be a while before I can tell it right. Buy me a beer sometime and I'll let you know the tale.

So here he is, well a pic I have of him when I boarded him in 2007 anyway. PS you can see the part of the curve behind him mostly in the upper right hand corner. (more pics soon)

Friday, January 9, 2009

About that snow......

Well now I can actually relate to those in the Pacific NW, well a little anyway. It dumped 12in (which just doesn't have the same connotation as 1ft) of the white stuff last night. It snowed nearly one inch per hour. Yikes!

Now I guess is the time to reveal my true blog intentions......My recently purchased stud horse left Weatherford, TX Tuesday night, but now it seems he is up to his eyeballs in snow and may not make his delivery date :(
PS.. I know the layout is not very original at this time, but I'm working on it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 1
First day of blogging :)

It is my initial intention of this blog to promote cutting horses and events (mostly my own). Horses in general are the driving force in my life. My horses, as any horse person knows, are the reason I get out of bed in the morning and stay in the barn late at night. That being said, don't hold me to this inital declaration because horse people are basically brain damaged in one way or another.