12/26/2006

Post Christmas Concussion

I have always been very accident prone. It comes from a variety of things including my poor depth perception, but I think I am also just inattentive to many details.

Today when we were working on rearranging the home office, a speaker from the computer fell on my head giving me a lovely headache and a mild concussion. How do I know? It is not my first. The first few times I got a concussion I was rushed to the hospital, ended up with a cat scan and then sent home with the concussion instructions.

So now, I don't rush anywhere, but I do prepare to be stupid for the next 24-48 hours. I cannot concentrate (I have shut my eyes six times typing this post), I make mistakes and mostly, my head hurts.

So although I had 4 hours of alone time today to rush off to the barn for riding that I have missed due to the holiday celebrations (which was lovely, thanks for asking), I sat on the couch and watched Orange County, which I have seen at least 10 times.

Ugh. Cannot concentrate anymore.

12/22/2006

Hay Shortage

There is a serious hay shortage here. The price has gone up $50 a ton in the last month or so, with suppliers running out and no hay expected until June. You can find hay with alfalfa, but the plain old grass hay is getting hard to find.

Your horse should get 1-3% of its body weight each day in roughage with 1% being the minimum. But there ARE alternatives to hay. Here are the minimums for each of my horses:

Precious-900lbs-min 9lbs/day
Zapa-900lbs-min 9lbs/day
Santana-900lbs min 9lbs/day
Tesoro-750 lbs min 7.5lbs/day

I have 1/2 a ton and I am buying another 3 tons. If I was feeding at the above rate, I would feed 34.5lbs of hay each day, lasting me 6.76 months (200 days). My current rate of feeding only gets me to April 15th (not through June), so here is my plan to make that hay last that long:

1. Ration and weigh hay. I have had a lot of irregularities with the size of my flakes and since I don't feed, sometimes the horses get too much. Three of the four horses I am feeding are prone to wasting (one will eat anything), so I am going to weigh the hay and set it out for the people feeding. To supplement the roughage/forage part I will put straw in the feeders (I serve hay on the ground). .

2. Add hay pellets and beet pulp to their diets. Precious gets a high fiber, high fat grain already, so I don't want to add too much grain, but more beet pulp should work (hope she eats it).

3. Give them maximum exposure to pasture in the spring. Our pastures don't really produce much, but I will start leaving my horses out at night in the spring for more opportunity to get roughage.

4. Supplement with alfalfa if I must. I don't like feeding my horses alfalfa (personal preference for the behavior of the horse).

5. Leave blankets on a little longer this year. I hate keeping the horses blanketed, but I need them to use as little energy as possible staying warm. That burns less hay.

I am hoping that I will be able to buy additional hay if I need it, but this is my plan in case there is none to be found.

Helpful sources:
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
Washington State University Extension
Alabama Cooperative Extension (do you sense a trend here?)

Kids Roar Wants a Horse

I have been researching some blogs for my work on RMX Direct at Right Media. One of my favorite blogs Landing the Deal has directed me on more than one occasion to Buzzoodle. Today I checked it out again and found his daugther's company Kids Roar.

She wanted a horse, Dad said it was too expensive, so she started her own company. You Go Girl! Learning Horses is proud of you! When you earn enough to have a horse, you'll just have to earn enough for two or three. They are addictive you know.

So for Dad and Daughter, good for you for both putting in hard work to make it happen. I hope that my readers here will look at your store for nifty horse (and other) stuff. Hopefully we can be a small part in helping you succeed.

Over the weekend I will post about the cost of a horse, so you can really know how much stuff you need to sell.

Turning down dollars

I consider myself a pretty resourceful person. I am learning how I someday might make money with this blog ($2.30 so far this month), at least enough to buy a bag of grain occasionally. You may have read my Blogsvertise post earlier and today they sent me my first real assignment.

And you know what? I turned it down. Yep. Turned it down because it had to do with pets not horses. I realize there is a pic or two of my dogs on here, but I don't write about dogs. I write about horses. I want solutioons for horses, equipment for horses, training techniques for horses. DID I SAY HORSES????

So, my dear readers, I stuck to my guns. Besides, how can I review a product that I have never used? Especially one that claims what this one did. How can I possibly do that? I can't.

PS Did I mention I am #11 in Google search for Blogsvertise? Funny huh?

12/21/2006

Time to give back

Yesterday Uriah and I went to watch 'The Pursuit of Happyness'. First, I must say I have been a fan of Will Smith as an actor since Six Degrees of Separation. That was a fantastic movie. This movie was also powerful and really was just the reminder that I needed.

I can't remember the right term for this, but Dr. Dyer says that if you live in a world of 'never enough' being frugal and worried all the time about if there is enough, you will never have enough. Instead, it is in those times that you reach deep down and find what you have to give. It is through the gift of serving (your God, your humanity, your fellow people on this planet) that you create your own prosperity.

Last night I got a $300 electric bill. I need to buy hay. There is barely enough to cover the bills each month, but you know what? Life is good. I own a beautiful home. We have lots of toys and comforts. I giving my horses the very best of care and planning on a vacation this summer. Compared to a lot of people, I have it easy. So, I want to remember that, and now is my time to serve. So I posted this ad on craigslist. I already have three emails and it will be hard to make a decision.

Precioso Reeda de Rioto aka Precious

It was a little over six years ago when I started riding Precious. She was a sassy green 4 year old and I was a novice rider. In retrospect, the story makes a lot of sense, but it was heartbreaking, frustrating and exhilarating all at the same time. Precious would follow any horse anywhere. As long as another horse was brave enough to do it, that was fine with her. She behaved well for Bruce because he trained her (see how square she is in that picture for him???).

But on her own, Precious was nervous and jittery. She sure didn't trust me (do you blame her?) and her strength and ability to outwit me only seemed to get better. I was a novice and she was smart. oy.

In time I got some help, but the road has been long and hard. She is very aggressive to other horses, she is stubborn and willful. Even though she is full of talent, she hates the show ring and everything it brings including the most terrifying noise in the world: applause. She has foundered and been diagnosed with Cushings Disease. Like I said, it has been a long road.

But she was my first horse. And although it is hard to really determine, she is most cherished horse. At one time I thought I was going to sell her. That lasted two days. She is my horse forever and because of the Cushings it might not be as long as I like, but I'll try to make the most of it.

But after our last showing disaster, I retired her from the show ring. Instead, I take her to open fun days and trail obstacles. She takes care of Uriah when we go trail riding and is my lesson horse. Now, we have a blast.

Most of my Paso Fino friends have seen her in the show ring. I am terrified, Precious was terrified and I was constantly stressed. Everyone saw my horse at her worst. And it used to be so important to me that I wasn't thought of as a horse 'idiot'. Now, I don't care. I know my horse is fantastic, that you can give little kids rides on her and she will be gentle and caring. She will sass and obnoxious rider (you know, one of those people who thinks they know everything but do not) and make them actually work for what they want.

And on days that I just want to ride and feel some sense of sanity, she gives that to me. She lets me experiment with my riding, experiment with my training. Today I tied the rope on the rope halter and rode her on that most of the time. It was a first. It worked quite well.

I love her so much. I hope that someday she will be the horse for my kid (if I ever have one) or for my nieces and nephews (if I ever get those). She will graze in my pasture until she is ready for greener pastures.

Precious, thank you for all that you have given me. Thank you for your patience while I was learning and the willingness to learn with me. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility in trying new things. Thank you for expressing yourself and helping me figure out what does and does not work for a particular horse. Thank you for your work ethic and how you keep those geldings away, but never hurt them. Thank you for challenging me and making me a better owner, a better rider, a better person. Thank you my beautiful girl.

Picture Credits:
Top Left: Jerri & Precious at old barn in Portland. The property was being taken over for housing development, and shortly after the picture was taken, huge steamrollers were going over that huge mound behind us.
Right: Precious w/Bruce Reed, breeder and trainer, 2 years of age (SO CUTE)
Left: Jerri & Precious, Pacific Gaited Showcase 2005, Amateur Owner Paso Fino Pleasure Champion
Right: Jerri & Precious, Pacific Gaited Showcase 2003, Barrels (we got last, but it was so much fun!)
Bottom Left: My sister Julia with Perry (in the saddle), my best friend's daughter, on her first horsey ride w/Precious (of course)

12/19/2006

What I look like in a dress


For my horse friends, I know it is hard to imagine me in anything other than my filthy blue coat (washed this week!) along with my matching polar fleece blue hat for winter and my Pendleton wool hat and some t-shirt & jeans in the summer. Or of course, horse show clothes. If you haven't met me and spend any time around horses at all, you don't have to imagine what I look like most of the time. So, to prove that I can actually clean up, here is a picture of Uriah and I at my company Christmas party.

12/18/2006

Good Horse Sites #3

Today I visited a few new horse sites that I am pretty excited about.

Horse Blogs: I have only found a couple of horse blogs in my limited time as a blogger. For the most part, we horse people are a little behind the technology ball. Patricia posted a comment (at first I thought she was my friend Patricia in Bend), then I visited her site which led me to Horse Blogs. Hopefully they will find it in their heart to add me (I already made the submission), but there are some cute blogs there. I enjoyed the Pony Tail Club's Letter from Dad. The creator of this list also has quite the fun blog, Halt-near-x and she doesn't even own a horse. Maybe we could all get together and donate one to her.

Experiments in Training Equines. This is Patricia's blog. She has good stories and TONS of great links. I haven't even perused a couple of them, so I really am excited that there is much learning to be done there. Thanks Patricia for doing all the work! She has a list of all of her equines (and the order in which they were received), but the links don't work (BUMMER).

Horseville. First, they have an affiliate program, so people like me producing content can earn money from their ads, but they actually have a pretty large database of horses for sale. The interface looks a little archaic for what the web can now offer, but it seems to work well and they have lots of ads. Definitely look here if you are buying a horse. They also have a links page, I put me under Education. You can go there and rate me once the link is posted (hint hint, wink wink).

American Medical Equestrian Association Safe Rider's Foundation. WHEW. That is a mouthful. But, there are great resources there like a poster on helmet fitting. I am going to see if they will send me some that I can distribute to 4H clubs and local barns. A helmet that doesn't fit is pretty useless and as I have seen, most of them don't fit.

12/17/2006

When patience ends. . .

As a horse lover and owner, some days it is hard to be patient. You start the day with the best intentions, yet the tenacity and persistence of your equine friend to parallel you in determination often ends up with your resolve to be patient in the gutter.

Patience is a virtue. Pure and simple. There are horse trainers out there who do not lose patience, I must give them all the respect that I have. Because I am not one of them. I get worn down, I get frustrated and yes, I get scared.

But the more resolve I have to be patient, the more I believe I am patient, the more patient I become. I get less frustrated, my riding gets better, I laugh off the moments of misbehavior and get back to work. It has not been an easy road and I am certainly not done. I don't expect that I will ever be a person with endless patience, but I try.

And so, my fellow equine lover, you too must try. When you are beaten down, trodden upon, cold, tired, hungry or angry. Reach deep down inside and find that glimmer of patience you only reserve for the most taxing of situations. Use it. Believe in yourself, think of yourself as a patient person. In time, it will flow more naturally.

In the words of Dr. Dyer, 'As you think, so shall you be'.

Cold Days at the Barn

The temperature has been hovering around freezing for the last few days. It has been hard to get motivated to spend time at the barn when I spend more energy staying warm than actually doing anything else.

I must give respect to my fellow horse owners who can deal with the cold temperatures. Since I was raised in Alaska, I have been through my fare share of cold weather. The fact is, I don't like it. At all. I would rather have 70 degree days all the time. I am the perfect candidate for a 'snow bird', living someplace like Oregon in the summer and CA or AZ in the summer. Uriah agrees.

That said, I have still ridden the last 4 days, yesterday being the toughest day with a three hour stint in the AM for the vet (teeth day-pictures and video to come), then another three hours to ride both Santana and Tesoro. I'm dedicated, just a little bitter. Did I mention my feet are cold?????

12/14/2006

Amazing Video

This is a really amazing video of a performance at the London International Horse Show. I WANT TO GO! Will someone buy me a ticket???

Thanks to a poster on Ultimate Dressage for bringing this to my attention. If you don't have high speed internet, go find someone who does. You will thank me later.

Equine Chiropractic

Ten years ago my best friend fell in love with a man headed off to Palmer Chiropractic College, THE premier school for human chiropractic study. At the time I was the ultimate skeptic on the benefits of chiropractic medicine. I had heard the horror stories and believe it was crackpot medicine. But she loved him and they went off together to Davenport Iowa for the next three years. I saw them at least twice a year for the next five years, each time they were compelled to convert me and I continued to resist.

Then one day, Jason (the guy and now Dr. Jason) asked me to think about how complex the human body is. With all its bones and muscles, how could the spine, the focal point of the human structure, the protector of the central nervous system, be expected to perform as a complex machine without anything every shifting. I mean, cars throw a rod, the transmission goes bad, cars break down earlier than necessary without proper maintenance. And then I saw the light bulb. It made sense. Our bodies are SO complex, our spine is so important, why not do our best to keep it 'tuned up'.

When my back problems started to really get bad, Chiropractic was all that I could turn to. After my back surgery (I'll post about this someday), I re-injured myself. After another two months of being in constant pain and being drugged, I loaded up my dogs and my life into the van and made the long drive to Dr. Jason. I actually think someone drove me to Seattle and I only drove 1 hour, I wasn't driving much at that time. Anyway. . .

I stayed with Jason and Maria for 3 weeks. We did a cleanse, Jason adjusted me almost every day and he got me intensive massage therapy. It was the turning point for my health. I thank God every day for chiropractic. Not every human chiropractor is like Jason, just like all horse trainers are NOT created equal. So, look for the best and try it. I hope it can do you 1/20th the good it has done me.

So now that I tell you that, please understand that I don't try a new disciple lightly. I investigate and learn and when I advocate a position it is from a place of comfort where I feel that I am making an informed position. That is why today, Zapa saw a chiropractor.

Zapa's shoulder popping has gotten very bad. I am very concerned for his health and soundness, so I sought out a local equine chiropractor, Dr. Lisa Piccioni. Dr. Lisa is a DVM as well as certified by the AMERICAN VETERINARY CHIROPRACTIC ASSOCIATION. She was referred to me by Gina Gardner, a trainer I respect and admire. Lisa primarily works on dogs (I am super excited to have her help me when my dalmatian puppy comes home). I was very lucky that she was able to come out to see Zapa today.

She confirmed he does have popping in his shoulder. She said the popping in of itself isn't necessarily the concern, rather the limited mobility around that popping. She was able to loosen him up some, but the popping was still very prevalent right as she left. If things are not much better in the next few days, I am supposed to call the vet for x-rays. She says a concern for a young horse is OCD. OC what? Not a TV show, a very serious disease in young horses that prevents cartilage from forming properly. Don't quote me on that, I just read about it today. But OCD typed into google gives you some good hits to read about it. I am praying (will you pray too??), that he gets better and OCD is not the problem.

I have used equine chiropractic before, all of the good trainers I know also use equine chiropractic. I got a little overwhelmed with bills and horses, but by this summer it will be part of my maintenance routine for all of my horses. It is something I cannot give up for myself, how can I not give it to the animals for which I care so much.

12/07/2006

Welcome back Tesoro

First, I was wondering, did anyone miss it? Yesterday's blog post that is. After 35 straight days, I failed (on purpose) to post. Instead I did some Christmas shopping with Uriah, had a private salsa dance lesson (also with Uriah), and had a wonderful dinner out with (you guessed it), Uriah. What was the special occasion you ask? On the 5th of this month I turned 33 years old. We celebrated a day late because of schedules, but it was a wonderful way to spend the day after my birthday.

Tesoro has been leased for the last 18 months (thanks Joe and Sarinda for taking such good care of him!). Tonight I rode Tesoro for the first time since August. He came home briefly so I could have a horse for the state fair. I had him about two weeks, he had been off for months, so it was quick, intense and not a good relationship builder for him and I. It was a mistake to take such a sensitive horse who is out of shape and do too much. Lesson learned.

Since Tesoro came home on Saturday I let him settle in. He had shoes pulled on Tuesday and today we went for our first ride. He was great while I groomed him and I made a special effort to shower him with affection. I'm not super affectionate with my horses, so I am trying to remember to go the extra mile for this guy. I want Tesoro to do it for me, not for the sake of doing it. With Tesoro, that will be the only way.

Mounting was bad (as I expected). I used use the opportunity to teach him to move his rear end around. We also did some nice backing in circles and moved the hind end from the other side. I was actually getting him to hold still for moments at a time. I finally just got my foot in the stirrup and mounted with him walking away. Stupid and dangerous (by the way, the worst horse injury to date-besides bruised ego-was a broken toe, courtesy of a mounting disaster with Tesoro). But, I think I might try it as a strategy. Stand in the stirrup until he stops walking. It isn't like the ground is that far away with a 13.2 horse, but probably bad for his back.

Anyway, I have decided that I am going to work on getting Tesoro into contact with the bit and engaging his hind end. Tesoro will set his head, but it is entirely false collection and if worked this way it looks like the front end and back end belong to two horses. So I worked on releasing when he would put his head down after throwing it up (in transitions) and pulling him up when he was behind the bit. I'm using the KK bit I borrowed from Elisia (similar to a french link), and that worked well. I gaited just a tiny bit, getting him into that proper contact then stopped.

Tesoro wanted to walk and did not want to speed up, so I consider that a win in and of itself. I kept the session short, only about 20 minutes. We will do this every 2-3 days for the next month or so.

I feel good about having him back. He is helping me learn.

12/05/2006

A visit from the farrier


Today the farrier came. I had two horses trimmed and two horses had shoes pulled. I also held horses for two other owners.

Farrier (aka Shoer) visit should be every 6-10 weeks depending on the horse, but the general rule of thumb is every 8 weeks. Horses can be trimmed or have shoes put on. I could write forever and not even begin to cover all of the details of having a visit from the shoer, but here are some highlights of things farriers have expressed to me:

1. Be on time. For farriers, time is money and when you are late, they are not working. I was 8 minutes late today (sorry Troy).

2. Have your horses exercised or worked prior to handling. If you don't handle your horses very much, make sure to spend some time with them the day before a visit.
Photo Caption: Shoe Sizes 6, 2, 1, 0, 00, 000 from left to right

3. If your horse isn't good about something (pulling back, dancing around, etc), work on it. Good farriers are hard to find. They are also not desperate for work, so good ones will fire you if your horses continually act up.

4. Tell the farrier if your horse has a particular issue or sensitive area.

5. If your horse is continually misbehaving, ask the farrier if they would like to correct the behavior. Farriers take a lot of risks, so it is important that the horses act appropriately.

6. Bring your checkbook. I rarely write checks, so I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.

7. Don't forget your appointments. Write them down and ask your farrier if they can remind you (especially if you are forgetful).

Remember, your farrier is your connection to your horses feet. You should work with him/her to keep your horse healthy and sound!

This video shows a quick trim of one foot, in case you have never seen it before!

12/04/2006

My Dream

I am learning to dream big. Dreaming big, means creating a vision of what it is you want in your life. Monty Roberts tells a wonderful story in his book of his dream when he was in 5th grade and how the teacher gave him an 'F' because it wasn't realistic. His mother told him not to re-write the paper, because no one could dictate to him what his dreams should be.

So in the spirit of sharing, living my dream and pursuing my life passion, here is what I dream:

I want to have a place where people can come and learn about horses. From beginner to advanced, I want to facilitate the learning by offering clinics, programs and partnerships. For now, my learning center will be on the web, but one day, I hope it is here in Oregon too, where people can come and learn, hands-on, about horses.

I will not be the teacher, I will, instead, be head of the student body. I want to find trainers to come and facilitate the learning process, to help us humans have better/stronger/more meaningful relationships with our friends. I hope to teach lessons myself and maybe do clinics myself, but I will also be in those spaces to learn.

I want to be able to make horses available to those who cannot afford them, especially young kids who have a passion that should be fueled. And I want to provide homes for horses that no one wants and give them a purpose, by letting them be the teachers for the student body and maybe finding them homes with their best students.

In my dream, I don't run a boarding facility, I run a co-operative, where we all participate in the upkeep of the barn and the property. Where top-notch care is affordable and the quality of the people around me is more important than the quality of their checking accounts. In my dream we are friends, helping each other, always open to new ideas and always (I mean always) willing to learn.

My dream has a few odd and very specific parts. In my dream, the trucks are all run on ethanol flex fuel, so we are not contributing to global warming when we take our equine friends traveling. We have a community garden where we grow food for humans and carrots for the horses. We practice sustainable ranching practices, always giving back to our land what we take from it.

In my dream, the dogs have their own place to play with each other while we ride. The right ones are taught to work with the horses, but even those who are afraid have their own safe place to play with each other.

In my dream, safety is key and everyone wears a helmet.

In my dream, we build community. We give. Freely. Passionately. Selflessly. I know my dream will soon be a reality. And you are all welcome to join.

12/03/2006

Favorite Horse Things #4






1. Wintec cinches. I have ridden in some good wintec saddles and some I would like to throw in the trash can, but I have only good things to say about wintec cinches. I have them both for English and Western and even replaced the cinch on my surcingle with a Wintec cinch. They have elastic inside of them, so the distribute even pressure, but the best part is, no cinch sores.



2. Ultium. When Precious was diagnosed with Cushings I had a real dilemma on my hands. Here was a horse who would not enough hay to maintain body weight, who couldn't take the mental strain of too much protein and couldn't have too much sugar (Cushings acts similar to an insulin resistance). Prior to the wide-release of Ultium, I had been feeding this horse equine senior, large amounts of rice bran and vegetable oil. Almost two years ago I was visiting with the folks at the purina booth at the Northwest Horse Fair and Expo when along comes my vet. We had a good discussion and decided, this was the grain for Precious. It has been a lifesaver and she eats 2lbs daily. It is sometimes hard to find, but for a high fat/high fiber grain, this is an excellent choice.




From Elisia:
3. Equisentials Winter Arctics. She says these are the best winter riding pants around. They keep the wind off you, but even better the dirt. She says you never have to wash them and they just last and last. At a hefty price of $215 dollars a pair, they are a big investment, but could be the last pair of winter breeches that you buy. Best of all, custom made at no extra charge.




4. Full Zip Fleece Pants. Elisia loves these for winter riding and since she spent two years in Bend (it is cold there), I believe her. You can get on your horse, start riding and when you get warm, just unzip and toss to the ground. No dismount/remount necessary. She got hers at REI and since REI was the first place I ever worked (hired by Kevin House in Anchorage, AK in 1989), I would suggest you get some there! Just a note, fleece/polar tec stuff comes in a variety of weights, so choose the weight that works best for your climate.



12/02/2006

Failure

I have failed many times with many different things in my life. I have failed starting a business, I have failed friendships, relationships, jobs, etc. I have failed training dogs, training horses, failed as an dieter and an athelete.

But I was reminded today that failure is a part of life. And it is an IMPORTANT part of life. I watch clinicians/trainers/students/co-workers/bosses/friends who think they have all the answers. We KNOW that I have been guilty of that attitude as well, but the truth is, to get the knowledge and expertise they did, at some point they failed.

Failures come in all sizes but they are a reality that we should not only live with, they are a reality we should embrace. It is important, however, that our self-worth not be tied to our failures (or our successes) instead it should be tied to something much greater. For each of us, that means something different, but for me it means being on purpose and being a spiritual person having a human experience (thank you Dr. Dyer). Whatever that means to you, I hope you find it, embrace it and see failure as a way of getting there.

When I watched a Parelli video, he said 'in the old days I would. . .' and 'I used to think. . .'. These are the words of a man who has failed. And see where he is today. The Wright Brothers failed and failed and one day they flew. Those two men embraced failure as an opportunity to learn and they changed our world.

So my question to you, dear horse lover is, when was the last time you embraced a failure with your horse? Seeing as I brought the subject up, I'll pinpoint to you some of my failures and how I am embracing them. My hope is that my failures will help you learn more about horses-since I think that is my purpose (to be a learning faciliator for humans and horses). These are all recent and my learning process is outlined beneath each one (this is by no means a comprehensive list, I like to fail a lot).

Failure 1:
When a flag was 'wooshed' at the Steve Rother Clinic, my young horse did a nice spin, landing me on the ground. Luckily I landed with two feet and was not hurt.

Result: I purchased some flag material to try and make flags (and other things) less scary.

Failure 2:
I thought I could pick up Santana's training where (I thought) it left off and decided to put him in a shanked Columbian bit. I knew he had other issues and had even told the owner I would make a different choice if it was my horse. It was a horrible choice, much of the progress and trust we had made set me back. He also started refusing the bit and that is now a new bad behavior.

Result: I asked for advice, got him in a snaffle bit, discovered he needs teeth pulled, and went back to the basics. Things are going really well. I have done some reading on biting, so I will start at the beginning again.

Failure 3:
A car door slammed outside the area and (again) Zapa spun. This time I was on the ground, but not standing up. After my bruised ego and my bruised interest in riding a green horse mended, I realized this horse is too sensitive to sound that I never did enough desensitizing for that).

Result: So I did some reading on the subject, got some advice from people I trust. I tried one of the methods (which involved tying him and making the sound until he stops resisting. It seemed a little drastic, but I tried it. I hadn't tied his rope halter tight enough, so the bottom slipped into his mouth and I had to stop and fix it, not completing the exercise (another failure).

I could go on and on, but to get better, I am going to make mistakes. It is a fact of life. I will lose my patience, forget (or probably not know how) to do something, or just click when I should kiss. Failure doesn't make you a bad person, a bad trainer, a bad horse companion, it makes you human.

Embrace your humanity by embracing your mistakes. Remember, it is only those who fail that will one day succeed.

12/01/2006

November Stats and December Plans

In my job at Right Media, I look at websites all day long. The performance of a page is essential to its financial viability, so I wanted to take a look at learninghorses, not because I'm making any money ($.89 so far), but I want to know, is anyone really reading this stuff!!!

So, here are the details. In November I had approximately 700 page views, that is 700 visits to the site. That is different than 700 different people because if you came to the site 15 times, each time would be considered a visit. The 700 number is up from 250 in October. The goal was 500, so I am pleased with the result.

In November I wrote 34 posts, posting every day for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). There were 2,000 participants, my guess is about 1/2 didn't complete the every day posting. Many of my page views are attributed to that, as I was part of a 'randomizer' which took you to different NaBloPoMo sites. My posts were a combination of helpful stuff and just some blather to fill a post.

For December, I promise, no more fluff. I have a few big subjects planned including:
1. December Horse of the Month (I need candidates!!!)
2. Buying a helmet
3. Favorite Horse Things
4. Good Horse Links
5. A video from the farrier's visit
6. A video from the equine dentist visit
7. Horses Christmas wish list
8. Jerri's Christmas wish list

If there is one you would like to see, let me know. I expect to be attending at least one clinic, so a clinic review and maybe an interview with the trainer too.

In December, the site will also move to its own url. Like an idiot I made a mistake in getting signed up with Microsoft so my wanted URL is stuck in limbo. I guess I'll just have to get it later. The format of learning horses will also change. I will still have the blog, but there will be a little more too it.

I am looking forward to growing this blog into a full blown site. My hope, of course, is that others are learning with me!