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.