Monday, June 25, 2012

And now for some GREAT News!

As some of you may know, I am looking at you Amy, I have been dreaming of starting my own little business for some time now. The ideas were many, and some quite ridiculous, but all were somehow related to horses.
So...............drum roll please...............

That is the little label I created to place on my embroidered Equestrian items, in my new little business called
"2-Point Bling."
Here is a bigger version of the pic.

I know. I am quite fortunate to have such a pretty girl for my promo shot, and I think Miranda looks pretty nice too. (kidding) Miranda is wearing one of the items that I made, and she was the one to come up with this pose. Isn't it just perfect?

The idea behind "2-Point Bling" is that all riders like a little fun in the Equestrian wardrobe, and that "bling" is not just for the Western Riders. Hunters, Eventer, and Dressage riders may not be able to compete with Sparkly clothing, but we would like to add a little fun in our schooling items, and maybe even a little hidden "bling" in our show attire. So "2-Point Bling" was born.

I am now in the stages of making product, and will be posting more pics soon. Each item will be unique. There will only be one in that color, on that shirt, or in that placement etc. So if you purchase a "2-Point Bling" item, you will not go to a show and see five other people in exactly the same shirt. We all dress alike anyways, with the breeches and showcoats, it's fun to have a unique schooling item. Right?

Soon I will be taking my items to local stores, and hoping to get some sales started. I am not taking orders as I have my full time job and family to consider. As much as I would like to allow costumers to design their own, I do not have the time to fulfill order deadlines.

In the coming weeks I will post a picture of a special shirt here on my blog, and we will have a contest. What size do you think the shirt should be?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

He will be missed greatly......

I went home from work yesterday, trying to wrap my head around the fact that my Grandpa had left us. I am so fortunate to have had such a fantastic Grandpa, and that he lived to be 94. We will miss his love, guidance and sense of humor.

Pippi was in the field when I came to feed her last night. I walked out, and stopped a few feet away as she grazed. She gazed at me, lifted her head, and looked at me for a long time.

"What is it?"

"Farfar doede i dag."

I tend to speak Norwegian when we are alone. She sighed deeply, walked slowly over to me, lifted her head over my should, and pulled me close.

It's going to be okay.................

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mind numbing sadness

Just wanted to give those of you who kindly follow my blog a quick update, as I will probably be spotty at posting for a while.

Our very loved and cherished family patriarch is dying, and I am having a hard time dealing with the reality of this. My grandpa is the most honorable, and honest person, and someone who has been my hero and cornerstone all my life. I am indeed fortunate for having had him for 42 years, and cherish every memory and moment with him.

Whether I will go home is still up in the air. He made me promise years ago to not to go see him on his deathbed, as he stated that it is truly "one of those things one does alone" and that he would rather me not see him other than as "the sexy man that women salivate over."

So, I will post soon...........

Monday, June 11, 2012

A shout out for Stumpy

This is Stumpy:

Stumpy is my familiar, as in a "witchs' familiar." According to my hubby, that is. 
He has a point, Stumpy is my constant companion when I am home, where I am there is Stumpy. 

Stumpy is a Short Hair Exotic cat, and named Stumpy due to his lack of tail. He was born after an emergency c-section where he was stuck. They tried to pull him out, and sadly removed his tail in the process. Thought to be dead by the Vet, they took a chance and rubbed his little body vigorously, and brought Stumpy back.

Animals can bring such joy, love and companionship, and Stumpy sure has added all of that and more to my life. His Aunt, JingleBelle, is my life's greatest gift (I dreamed of a true Persian since I was nine), but after this weekend, I want to give Stumpy the spotlight.

I suffer, agonizingly, from Migraines. They come on quick, and rob me of precious energy and time. Saturday Afternoon went from being a great day out with the hubby, and a promise of some yummy dinner out, to an afternoon and evening/night in the basement. I chose the basement for the cool air, the extreme darkness and the quiet. Fan hitting body, not face, ice packs on neck, wash cloth for eyes. At four-thirty I went to bed, and the next morning it was finally over. (can't take meds right now as I am scheduled for a small procedure soon)
My family knows to stay away when I get a migraine; don't even check on me for fear that they will wake me if I get some precious sleep.

As I lay there, rolling back and forth trying to find any semblance of comfort, and wondering if I should in fact just go to the hospital for a shot, I had a friend by my side. As I vomited, two soft paws where leaning on my shoulder, and whiskers would tickle my face. When I slept he would retreat, but as I woke he was right there. Softly greeting me with little meows, soft purring, and kneading paws. I don' recall ever waking without him, and he handled my frustrations and rantings with ease. Curling up with front paws on my shoulder, kneading and smooshing his face into my neck.
We stayed like that for fourteen hours. The migraine downgraded to a severe headache after midnight, and then we slept. Human and Cat, side by side, wore out by being the sick one and being the caretaker.

From now on when I hear people say that loving an animal is ridiculous, or that animals have no soul, I will always remember the night that Stumpy kept vigil. For that is how it felt to me. I was not alone for I had Stumpy to watch and care for me. (I was also told by hubby that JingleBelle stayed on the top step of the basement stairs most of the evening, leaving only a few times.)

So Thank you Stumpy, and JingleBelle too. You have more than earned the right to wake me for some emergency cuddles at three am. JingleBelle, you may refuse water because the boys drank first and left some hair (you still could bury your treasure in the litter box though). Stumpy; feel free to bite the treats in half leaving pieces on the floor, and you are forgiven for always placing your mug right in front of mine right as you sneeze. I will try harder to remember that you need a chair when I use the sewing machine, and get less annoyed at the grey hairs covering my work slacks.

You are worth your weight in gold, well...............actually you are priceless!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wise words from Eric Lamaze

While in college, Social Services Technology Major, we learned a lot about the human condition, and the human psyche. It was fascinating to me; The idea that there are better ways to communicate, and more effective ways to ensure compliance and success through better communication and positive interactions. I admit to testing a few things out and finding a lot of them really worked when working with the dreaded "public."

This week Horse Junkies United posted a video of an Interview they were lucky enough to be able to do with Eric Lamaze. In The Interview Eric Lamaze speaks of what he is doing with the six horses he has in training right now. (After Hicksteads passing last year he is trying to find a suitable replacement, and has several horses in training.) He was asked how he is bonding with these new horses, and this is what he said:

"I wouldn't say that I have bonded with them yet, like I can, I am still getting to know them, they are getting to know me. It's a big learning year you know, coming here (Spruce Meadows) is a big part of getting to know them. Every show that I go to I end up changing something on the horses, changing bit, or the way I do the morning training, things like that, you know, so we are still learning what they like. Dealing with horses it is all about doing what they like.  And trying to make their lives easier, and not to make their life difficult, you know, and once you accomplish that you find that they work for you a lot better, so we are not being too forceful with them, we are just learning what they like, and we are trying to adapt ourselves to that. And then there is time when we tell a little of what we like, and see how much they can take of it. You know we are still at that stage, you know, even our feeding program, how much to feed them, playing with their energy level, we have a lot to learn."

This portion of the interview brought back a lot of memories from college.
Our Professor of Sociology would drill into our heads this statement : People have the right to be wrong!!

By this she meant that one part of our inalienable rights, is the right to be dead wrong! Clients will/can/do make bad choices, they have the right to do so, and part of my job is to make the right choice the most appealing one. Sure, the easiest way to ensure good choices is swift punishment for the wrong choice. Non-compliance with program rules = loss of assistance/perks/housing etc. This, however is less of an incentive for compliance than you may think. It works great as a reminder to the rest of the clients of what will happen if/when they make similar choices, but rarely does it serve as a lesson to the offender. I just lost a client, who now is giving me the "one finger salute" on their way out the door. I lose money every time I lose a client, so the best bet is to make sure that they are happily compliant.

"Trying to make their lives easier, and not to make their life difficult, you know, and once you accomplish that you find that they work for you a lot better."

I couldn't agree more. Making sure that clients (horses) in a housing complex (stable) know that we are providing a service, and that their best interest is something we have in common, is key. Clients (Horses)need to know that I am on their side, helping and assisting, and also that I will/can/do lay the hammer down if/when I have to. Each client (horse) is different, and I have to find out what their triggers are, what makes them function best. Some need a firm set of rules, and will push around anyone who shows even a bit of kindness, and they will rise to any challenge to show you that they can do it. Some need a lot of encouragement, and praise, and look to others for self esteem before attempting even the slightest change. Sound familiar?
In other words, I am constantly "changing bits and playing with the feed and energy level" to find a good fit. For a while I became too angry, and too bossy, and I am now attempting to find the softer side without losing the edge that makes me effective when dealing with bullies. Having happy clients (horses) makes for better interactions, better results and a more positive environment. Pushing a client (horse) into compliance may work for a while, but resentment will build up, and the smallest spark will ignite a massive explosion. And before you know it the entire complex (herd?) will be in disarray.

Like with our horse, Pippi, who can not give me the "one finger salute," but she can dump my ass and become a dangerous animal. A horse needs to know that you are the leader, but you also need to find a way to make the horse happy in the job they are to do. When we first met Pippi, she was untrained, and we had no idea what her future would hold. She proved to be a Hunter/Jumper, and her big white APHA rear was not going to be hindrance as far as she is concerned. No matter that her entire line consisted of Western Pleasure/Halter horses, she loved jumping. Most horses can do most things, but seem to excel at the things they actually are suited for and enjoy. Pippi showed us what she wanted to do, and she is quite good at it. We would have been fine had she chosen Barrel Racing as her chosen path, but she showed early on that jumping was her thing. (She will jump on her own, spin around and jump the other direction with little to no encouragement.)
I loved the fact that a Rider of Eric Lamaze' caliber spoke of the importance of bonding, and making your horse happy. A happy horse, who feels validated and has a job they are suited for, will perform better and go further. It's not just training, training, training; it's bonding, enjoyment and happiness that makes a winning team. Whether with clients or with horses. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Stranger Petting" is Bad!

On Facebook today I saw a question that read : "what is your horse's favorite treat?" I answered that I wish it was the fingers of the lady that was feeding our mare grass over the fence Saturday, as it would serve her right!!

What gives people the idea that it is okay to enter onto Private Property to pet and hand feed a horse? The nerve!! Never have I seen a person enter someone's backyard to pet and feed a cute puppy, so what is the deal?

Pippi's paddock is at least 50ft from the property line, and although the property is not fenced in, you can clearly see where it was mowed. But on Saturday when we came home from the mini show, there was an adult lady standing at the fence feeding Pippi grass. (Pippi was in the dry lot since we left early that day, and was about to be turned onto the grass field) I was livid, and Miranda decided to be the one to approach the lady as she thought she would handle it with less bloodshed. All that Viking blood coursing through my veins, begging me to pillage and dismember, can at times over ride my ability for polite exchanges. And she was right, I would have gone "berserk" in true Viking fashion.

I did however give the lady a look. You know the one; leave or face my wrath!! Miranda walked over, and told the lady that Pippi bites. She doesn't bite as a rule, (but I am considering training her to) but she could, as can all horses. The lady said "Oh, I thought you didn't want me to feed her." Oh really, you thought that did ya? Then why did you, you nincompoop!! When Miranda tried to explain that horses can be dangerous she acted as though she just could not believe that Pippi would ever hurt her! She was told to not approach our horses, and walked away, but not before giving me a smug look when Pippi did not come running when I called. Of course she didn't, she was being fed over there. Yes, Strange Lady of infinite equine wisdom and kindness, my horse likes you better than me! I am a horrible owner that would allow my horse to stand around in a dry lot all day (with access to plenty of water, and access to her own shady stall with hay).

Yesterday four "Private Property" signs went up, and I emailed the sign company today asking them to print horse specific signs that read "DO NOT FEED THE HORSES," "DO NOT APPROACH HORSES," and a picture of a person petting a horse with a large red X over it. I explained how this is an issue for horse owners everywhere, and that they might find some profit in selling those.