Hello World, I have fallen behind in updating my web site. It seems today that one can not be just any one thing, have any one career, but must fulfill a variety of roles. I have been working to learn a new web tool, Dreamweaver. I tried once last year to take a class, things got busy, and I never finished. Well, now I have finished taking the class and am learning the application. I don't find it very intuitive. I can't just click to it, swing a rope, give it some grain, or a good scratch. But, I am beginning to be familiar with the way that it is put together, and the power of it. So, I am writing this little note hoping to be able to update my site very soon with all the busy goings-on at equestriantraining.com.
We lost our big Draft last winter, he was old. He had brought much joy to many lives and I still miss him immensely when I give my Orientation classes. There is no describing 2500lbs of quiet thoughtful power when you are explaining the extremes and subtleties to horses! I miss my big Amos!
We now have a little dog! Awhile before Christmas, we saw what we thought was a sick coyote under out side deck. It took two days to lure it out, as we realized it was a dog. We could see every bone on it's body, it was gimpy and limpy, filthy, flea and tick ridden and stunk. The day I got her out from under the deck I happened to have the horse vet here and asked him to look at her. Her tail was limp, he suspected she had been hit by a car. She seemed to have bowel problems, but that could have been from being sick, half dead and all else. The vet said, "Well, you would amputate the tail so she stays cleaner and she can be an outside dog.". Then we discussed options of calling animal control, and how could someone loose a cute little dog like this. His last words were, "It makes you sad, doesn't it".
Well, we kept that little dog. She is our special needs dog. I haven't taken pictures and I need to. She isn't dirty anymore, has no more bugs in or out. Still has some trouble with her bowel, she is an outside dog. She has a fractured pelvis, fractured spine, fractured femur, fractured teeth. If you ever saw grateful on a dog's face, this one shown with the word. Her name is Roopie.
Even with all the rain, business is busy! Six horses in training and several people trailering in. plus lessons. I love my footing, I can ride almost every day, and I could ride everyday, if i didn't mind getting wet! I have worked out an arrangement with a nearby covered arena on the really wet days. All is well!
regards, Christine Amber
Apr 30, 06.
Hello equestrians, this is proving to be a busy year for me. Thank you! I had a great training week, sometimes you find little tricks that make a dramatic improvement in a horse. I had two things happen this week, and I'll post hem on Real Training stories as I have time. One was with my own horse, Bootz and another with a client horse, Streak.
Yesterday, I had a funny thing happen. I have a horse for sale right now, Beau. And I had some very nice women from Marin come and see him. Marin is about a three hour drive. When the women left me a message, she asked that one of my "staff" call her with directions. Well, staff.......I am a small business. I am a professional business, but I control and am very hands on. There is no "staff". Even if I could afford to have a staff, I am aware of how difficult it is to teach people and then rely on them once they have become competent and would like to have their own name and training style. I will cross that bridge in reality when I win the lotto.
This is my business, not this web site, although this is a part of it, education. I am the web mistress. I have had to learn skills to get my information to the technical world. The other thing the women asked if I was a "dot comer". Which is another way of saying , did you sell allot of stock in 97 when the market was really hot and make a killing.
No, I am not a "dot-comer". I did earn my living in the technical marketplace for 10 or so years, and I did not retire. But, I did learn technical skills and saw computer and technology as a means of survival when I was a young mother, back in the 80's.
We take with us all the experiences we have. My technical knowledge has served me well, and I had to learn Dreamweaver to update my site. I scolded another local trainer about her web site recently when she said, "I don't know computers, I just stick to horses." That is not a wise statement. If we are to have levels of success we must at least seek to know how to find professionals who will serve us well if we can not do the work ourselves.
I am guilty of trying to do many things myself. Partly because I simply can not afford to hire a "staff" or "assistant", "web mistress" and also because I am a small business and I am my business. I bring myself, my resources, my experience, my stick-to-it-ness, my abilities, my openness, my humanity to the marketplace. And, I am rewarded by my clients and the simple, benign love of big, happy, soft-eyed horses!
Amber, Annie's Mom, is a dear friend. It is a very helpless feeling to see someone you love suffer so much. Being with Amber and helping them in all the ways I could and still can, gives me a small piece of feeling helpful; satisfying my own need to overcome the helplessness and to acknowledge my own ache inside where a human life etches it's memory on my soul.
Nov 8, 06
Life is returning to a regulated pace. Annie's death has affected me deeply in all my doings. I am very happy to have Derby here, Annie's horse that I helped the family buy many years back from Calero Ranch. Derby is older, eating totally soft diet, but feeling fat and sassy. He looks and listens for opportunities to run across the property, "Oh!!! the gate closed" "OH, the door opened", "Oh, my mule friend is out of site", "Oh, they are harrowing the arena".
I love these old horses, they have such a character to them.
Business is slow, that is probably good. I had a young horse fall on me in the arena a week ago. Today in updating my web site, I realized that all my Keywords and allot of my page descriptions had been removed when I converted my site to Dreamweaver. Oh, the challenges of life, having a web site, trying to do business in horses. Silly me, I am lucky.
Pickle and I completed what is called an LD, limited distance ride, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I used the help of a friend, Lori, who really rides endurance, like 50 and 100 miles. Her horse, Flame, actually completed 4000 miles when I did my first 30. But, remember now, my Pickle is 20 years old now, and a Thoroughbred not an Arab. I also used a great book, Conditioning the Sport Horse, Hillary Clayton, PhD, 1991, University of Saskatchewan Printing Services, Sport Horse Publications. It covers many sports, including endurance and gives clinical scientific information for bringing a horse to it's best and peak condition. I didn't have as much time as I would have liked because when the young horse fell on me in the end of Sept, I had a few hurt ribs. I still have one area that is pretty sore.
I was worried that the ride might be too much for Pickle. He is fit, though. He is ridden several times a week, sometimes it is just easy trotting around the arena, but toward the end of the training I was trotting him out on 10 mile trial rides at 7 to 10mph. His last training ride, he was a little less forward. He is my pet, my favorite horse, so I was concerned.
Well, I had more horse than I wanted, and more horse than I needed. He did absolutely fine. We go lost a bit and even covered a bit more than 30 miles. He had a little cramp at the last vet check, but walked out of it immediately, thank goodness. I'm proud of my pony! My calfs were sore, as I used an older saddle because it weighed only seven pounds. I forgot that it was just a little too small for me! So, for 30 miles I couldn't sit comfortable, I either posted the trot, two pointed the trot or had to squeeze my butt together so I didn't get rubbed on the stupid saddle. I'll never do that part again, the saddle that is. Today was Pickle's first ride after his long ride, and he was very perky but also more relaxed like maybe he didn't need to go anywhere too fast!!
Dec 9, 06
I have been thinking about my mother. I have a memorial to my dad in here, but I've never said anything about my mom. My mom died unexpectedly in Nov. 01, the tuesday after Thanksgiving. She had a massive stroke, and I think I was holding her in my arms when her awareness of the world left. I called paramedics, and when they came, I thought she was just resting and was shocked when she couldn't be aroused to help them lift her from my lap onto the gurney. They lifted her eyelids, and one of the paramedics said, "I think your mother has had a stroke". When I saw her eyes, blue and dilated, staring straight ahead at the ceiling, i thought so too. I still spoke to her, just incase she could hear me and told her I'd meet her at the hospital, and that she was going to St. Louise.
When my dad and I got to St. Louise, the Dr. told me my mom had had a massive stroke, and that she didn't think my mom would ever recover to be the same as she was before the stroke. Dad and I went to see her in emergency. She had a breathing tube. I talked to her, telling her we would stay with her, not to worry. Since my folks had Kaiser, they medivac'ed her to Redwood city Kaiser. They had her on a ventilator as she could not breath for herself. The doctor said that when they took her off the ventilator she would die, likely within some range of days. I told him to leave the tube in until we got there, and then I would stay with her until she died.
When we got to Redwood city Kaiser, I had packed a bag for a couple of days, took my mom's teeth and lipstick, things that I thought would make her feel better about her predicament. When the staff wanted to remove the breathing tube, they asked us to leave. I said no, I would not leave. I told my mom what was going to happen, that they were going to remove the tube and I would stay right there with her, I would not leave her alone. It was a nice Philippine nurse, who said to me, "Ok, honey."
Everyone but me left. I stayed there. They removed the tube. I talked to her. Her color changed, her tongue made some peculiar movements, sort of fish-like. Then, she was dead. Just like that.
I really think, or maybe I hope, her last consciousness was before the paramedics came to the house, resting her head in my lap. If not, I at least hope she took comfort in that I was trying to be with her. But, I when I saw her body die, I think she, the person I knew as my mother, was gone before they took out the breathing tube.
It's funny. This isn't what I expected to write. I thought I was going to talk about my relationship with my mother. I will likely do that later, but for now, this is all I want to say.
When I think about my mother, mostly I think about my relationship with her. We often had conflict. I don't think we understood each other. I don't think about it too much anymore. My relationship with her was a real source of pain in my 20's and 30's. Since then, until she died, I needed to be around her sometimes, and yet, she was so intense I sort of got numb. I guess I got that from my mom and my dad--my intensity from my mom, my numbness from my dad.
When I think of her, I think she wasn't really happy, at times I think she was bitter and resentful. Life had not given her what she thought it should have. She worked hard, she was very, very giving. She was brave, almost like a rebellious teen with her anger. She was naive, so naive that sometimes I didn't know she was serious. She held a grudge.
I don't know if she ever thought about what she wanted from my father, but the messages were always very clear, that she was disappointed and had expected "more". I think material things helped her feel good sometimes, appearances. The lawn, nice car, good furniture, good clothes, good neighborhood, good kids, but, inside of her I think she had a loneliness. I think she felt insecure. She was really, really sensitive.
Mostly what I got from my mother, is that I did not want to be as I perceived her. Now, it isn't fair to say some of these things, because she is dead. She can't come here and write on this web page and tell her side. So, remember, my perceptions where mine, and there were many other people in the world who saw her as a completely different person.
Anyway, it's the resentment and the anger that I don't want to have, that I saw in my mother. It's the disappointment I saw that I don't want to feel, or at least, I don't want it to dominate my life.
It seems that there is a myth that we often have. It is a myth and it is secret, as well. We often aren't clear, "What do we want?". "What do we expect?". And yet, there is a feeling that we didn't get what we wanted, we didn't get what we expected, and we are disappointed an angry or critical and judge mental. I feel this sometimes without even realizing it, without even knowing it is seeping out of me in the tone of my voice, in the squinch of my eyes. It is a poison that seeps out and trys to make me focus on things that aren't really important. Sometimes I catch it, and then I feel helpless. I feel agitated, irritated outside and wanting on the inside.
If I try to focus on what I want, sometimes I come up blank; it is easier to focus on the irritation, easier to blame, easier to look outside instead of looking inside.
I have a dear friend who says, "I just want to be a better person". I embrace this thought. I value this ideal.
Logically, I tell myself that if there is some "thing" in life I want and I can't earn it, I can't make it, I can't buy it, then I want to live with that reality. It is okay, I seek to let go of the attachment to that "thing" and try, try, try to focus on something I can do, I can make, I can, I can, I can. And, I have so much in a world where some have much, much less. I really do believe I am fortunate.
Happy new year has come and gone. today I am finding myself with a lack of focus and thinking about how that comes to be. But, you know what? The truth is, sometimes I feel disappointed in myself, in the shortcuts I have taken, in my own lack of commitment, in my own lack of follow through. And, on that note, I'm going to go in and get those damn dishes in the kitchen done!!
Isn't it funny our perceptions of time? I was thinking in Dec06/Jan 07that I was writing, writing and writing and I needed to give it a rest. Then I looked here. Shoot. it's been 8 months. This has been a very busy year, early in the year I had allot of horses in training. After the horses went, I had a lot of new students in training. Additionally, I started teaching some community education classes at our local junior college. It's been a very busy time for me and I need a week to just "putter" around the property and play. Coming soon!
I always start the New Year being thankful for the many good fortunes that I have. Family, Friends,Fruits of hard labor, stick-to-it-ness,and luck. A confidant I was speaking with today got a phone call and then, pointing at the phone turned to me and said, “This person has a cancer that is a death sentence, I must tell her today”. It is moments like these, that bring out the relativity to all of our misgivings, our discomforts, and misfortunes. So firstly, and always, I am grateful. It is however ironic, that of late I am feeling very uncertain and unclear about what I want to be doing. Doing with my business, Doing to feel happy, Doing to feel my future is likely to be secure. I have usually been a person who makes choices, who has had a vision and then worked toward it. So, it is an odd feeling to wake up one day and find these feelings.
It is a funny and ironic thing. I got an email from a woman in Florida who read my site. After my last post she was concerned about me and asked if I was ok. Thank you for caring and connecting!
I am O K. I am a communicator. I think a lot! I have a truly good life, despite the little hick-ups that nature tosses me. I'm very fortunate and grateful for it!
Business is slow this time of year. The weather has been beautiful, but as always there is an unpredictable ness. When will it rain? Do I have to get wet riding my horse. This year, I have made a decision. We, my husband and I, have had our property for 10 years. It is time to make a significant investment in my business. We will be looking into and very probably putting up a covered arena for the wet and very hot weather. This will allow me to plan better, as I have been lax about wanting to "gut it out" when it's wet.
Planning is difficult when the infrastructure is missing. So, this year I will have my complete infrastructure in place to train, teach, host clinics and hostess guests all year long. I think this will be a marker year for EquestrianTraining.com!
Where does the time go. I know some people who blog, blog, blog. I just don't find the time or make the time I guess. I am second thinking the covered riding area; I am concerned about our County and what questions might trigger in terms of inspections or required upgrades to wells, and other buildings on our property. I will have to actually go to the county and see if they will tell me anything without making a formal application. So, I am happy to think a bit more.
I've had a few people comment about my next to the last update. Goodness gracious, I am fine and just thinking and reflective.
I have several young horses here right now that need riders or new owners. They all have ton's of potential. Too many people don't understand that a young horse needs to be ridden on a regular basis. I jumped all three of the boyz today, they are all paint horses! They all jump nicely, no hesitation! Nice, willing-to-try, young horses.
I am starting our three-year-old today. I was going to make a big deal of it, make it a clinic, invite people to watch, video, etc. I just don't have the energy, so I'm just going to enjoy the process. It will be fun to start a complete known quantity. She has some piss and vinegar, but very quickly relaxes and when we touch her, her eye softens and her lids get heavy and she sort of dozes while she is petted. She is sooooo fat, that Pena Weena. All the pasture uncles called to her after she was out a while, and she called to them, but soon was happy just to longe around. I think she will be easy. I'm not going to fool myself, though, these young horses, can be off the ground in an instant and this little filly is so athletic! I'll try to write updates often! :*)
Some people have thought that I and my husband have our property because we made money in the Dot com boom. Just to clear any rumors, all I got in the dot com boom was a fat IRA, which I lost. We have equestraintraining.com from hard work and lifestyle.
But, I am rich. I know i am, because I work so hard, I must be making a ton of money. That has to be it, otherwise why would I be so busy????
Really, I am busy, but I don't know how to make a ton of money. I'm too honest, I talk to much, and enjoy giving. But, money is nice, isn't it??? I mean if you have to work hard, isn't it better to make a ton of money doing it? So, even though the bank hasn't figured this out, I am R I C H! And you reading this is part of the reason why!!!
Call my bank, will you?
Trying to put covee riding area at equestriantraining.com is becoming a peak and valley of hope. I find out some information that dashes my hopes on the rocks, then a little piece of news comes that makes everything seem possible and affordable. I have been gathering estimates for building structures, talking with contractors, talking to the county, the dollar figure goes up and down. Things, like adding an accessory bulding that can be used for sheltered riding part of the time, just are not easy!
Happy New Year, Helvetica fonts should be easier to read! Oh my, the work is never done, online or on the property!
Yesterday, we sent our old family dog back to god, I mean Dog. His name is duder, he was 14 years old, and a rhodesian ridgeback who was ridgeless. He was really my son's dog. He came here to stay at the end of Oct. I think he enjoyed being here with me. We had his mother, and him since he was a puppy. Old, whether it is an animal or a human, is old. The systems begin to break down, it is nature. I am drawn to the task of taking care. While Duder was here, he became a focus. I needed to nurture him and take care of him. I think his last months were good for him. He gained weight and I gave him a lot of attention and treats. It is amazing the pack instinct, Duder would follow me or try to follow me on the property even though in his last weeks he was too weak to keep up. I will miss that dog and his determination. We, my son, my husband and I sat with him in the sunshine on the porch and our neighbor veterinarian came and gave him the sleepy by shot. We had tears, a lot of them, and hugs.
Then we buried old Duder on the property, under a big Pecan tree. Roopie, our little disabled rescue dog, barked in a different sort of way at his graveside. Roopie lay near the grave for a while, and then left. There can be peace in death.
I will have more time again, but I will miss the old guy tottering around after me and getting underfoot. While I write this, Roopie is snoring in her new bed.
Today I started doing my own mucking again. I let my worker guy go. He was a nice mexican man, Rodolfo. I have to have two horses in board just to pay my worker. So, I am making more money now!! It will be interesting to see how long before parts of me start to hurt from the repetitive movement of mucking. I will have a whole new list of products that don't make life as easy as they should. Case in point. Dump wagons that sit so low to the ground that they do not dump when titled. I have to pull out a whole wagon of muck onto the compost pile.
I will also have some new ideas to make my life easier. Recently I attended some work shops through Loma Prieta Resource Conservation District, lomaprietarcd.org. We hosted one on composting, gardening, and fire prevention. My favorite was about horse care, of course, more composting, growing hay, the difference between a pasture and a paddock. One cool little trick I got was to wet the manure in the cart before it is dumped, this makes composting in the summer more maintenance free. I will have a hose end sprayer of beneficial bacteria easy to reach just before I dump my cart. And, I will have to figure out a dump ramp. Oh so many little things. I did see this great dump cart at the Horse Expo in Sacramento, it was tall enough from the wheel base, that it really dumped. When I win the lotto, I'm buying one!.
So much about horses is having all the infrastructure easily accessible, water, electric, roads or gravel, gates tall enough to ride through, wide enough to drive through with either tractor or at least an atv/golf cart. If you are dragging hoses all around, or fumbling in the dark, wading through the mud, so much time is wasted!
I did buy a lotto ticket this week. If the winning ticket hasn't come up yet, then you know it is me who won!
June3, 09 The continued adventures of mucking. or....how does this facebook stuff work. I hear all about facebook, the amount of space is limited, but I thought I would try doing my adventures of mucking since I had to let my worker go. Oh, well.
It is day three. I am trying to balance the physical work to both sides of my body. I am trying to be aware of repetitive movement because I will have and have already started having pain in my butt fascia. My bones are great, my muscles are great, but the connective tissue rebels a few hours after what it might consider overuse.
Tools, you have to have a good cart. One that is easy to dump, like having a spring loaded swing door like an end dump truck. The wheels have to be tall enough that the darn thing actually has room to tilt upward and dump. We have three carts that i can pull. One is a great size, but doesn't dump worth hell. One is a good size and rolls well, but again doesn't dump unless you are holding round rocks, not wet manure. One is a bit small, or actually it is three sided, so if it is too loaded the muck starts to roll out the front. Then I wind up tamping and packing the load to try to get it full. I am going to solve this issue. I will either create something or modify one of these carts. This is so stupid!
But, I realize doing the job myself that it doesn't take me as long as it did my worker and I do a better job. I'm finding old dried piles. The root of fly problems, wet manure on damp soil = lots of fly breeding places.
OK, done for today, I'll see if I go to facebook or not. Oh, I got cheated on the lotto ticket I bought!
nothing or no one brought me back to facebook, so here is my mucking update. I don't know if i said, but we muck paddocks and a pasture paddock area. The larger area is strip grazed so I'm guessing it is about an acre that horses have access to at any one time. Plus i started an irrigated pasture, about 3/4 acre. When I put horses on it, i muck it too.
I got behind, and boy did i notice a difference in flies near the offending area. PDZ really helps keep the flies at bay when sprinkled on any wet spots, plus my fly parasites and the Granade premise spray on vertical walls.
I use my golf cart and a agri fab dump wagon. Today, getting all caught up, it was about 2 and 1/2 dump wagons. I figured out how to dump the silly wagon; you have to back it up until it tips upside down, all the way or some muck stays in it. I had to jury rig my hitch for the cart, so backing up is a delicate situation. But, at least I can dump easily.
I am still finding old piles that my workers never saw? It is annoying. It also took me 2 hours to do the job of feeding and cleaning and getting caught up. My worker couldn't get the cleaning done in an hour. Physically, i am not sure if the mucking is causing flare up in my pain level during the night, but I am not sleeping well because I move and I hurt and I wake up. My hands are getting numb, too.
Yesterday, I unloaded a trailer full of jump standards, and 3 9ft. telephone poles. That could be part of my hurting too. Today will be quieter so it will be interesting to see how much pain I have in the night.
Why do I muck? Control worms, flies, and see how their health is. There are 11 horses here now. I think if it were easy to impress upon workers why we muck, they might do a better job. The issue is often language, a foreign language. I have learned many, spanish palabra's (words). But, the nuance of language makes clear communication difficult.
That's the mucking up date..... almost end of 2 weeks back on the muck trail!
Well, it is already Nov 09. How does this happen.
The mucking was an enlightening experience, physically, psycically, and spiritually. I learned about my self, I learned about my body, I learned about nature. All in all, it started hurting my hip like hell. That part I didn't like at all. I began to slow down and smell the manure..... I saw native western blue birds, king birds, bullocks oriole, red haws, bells vireo, black phobe and many others. I really love nature yet, i know nature is cruel. Watch how horses interact in a herd. They begin to shun the old and injurred, they pick on eachother down the hierarchical line of "bossdom". But, if horses were not as kind as they are, so many more of us would become injurred. As my guys age, I accidently sneak up on them, they don't hear me. Bang, they spook. I am thankful and say "Thank you Jackson, if you were a different horse you would have kicked my head off".
Life is so precious. Business is picking up. That is good, money is good; that is bad, I can't just do as I please. I am almost always busy, it is my nature. I like doing. I am an expert witness for an equine injury case. That is interesting. I have been affiliating myself with AAHS and Loma Prieta Resource Conservation District. And, also doing some trianing. I have a cute 3/4 andalusian here. He will be for sale in spring 2010 I think. Pictures later! Thanks for reading and best regards!
How could I go so long without a post? Learning Facebook, ;which I really don't like. Working away from home part-time, which didn't work out. In the last year and a half, I've seen the death of my two cute Razzle and Dazzle mules. They taught me so much and so many things. I miss Razzle's big yawn of an aw, eh awwww, eh awwww. I miss the way little Dazzle would walk behind another horse and kick out at the air, like an frustrated....'ohhhhh one day I'm really going to be able to kick you....." When they adopted Peanut, as a newborn foal, and stayed with her and mother mare lock step for the first few days.
I also gave away my Peanut mare. That is a story about a good, real horse, needing some good real work and accepting the reality that I just wasn't wanting to do it. I gave her a good start. I rode her in all of the local parks, but she needed more wet blankets than I was giving her and I watched her bucking one day and said to myself, I'm cheating a big wreck here. She is beautiful, smart, athletic, willful, willing. She never did anything wrong. She never hurt me. She just wasn't my type of horse. I so love the TB's, taller, leggier. Maybe it is just aging too, that happens to me every dern year. But, anyway.... here are some pics of my beloved gurlz, the three of them, and here is a link to my new blog where people can comment about all these things.
Over the years so many people have commented silently, and that can still happen in email. We are now in the "public comment" age. So.... I take my own personal blog leap! www.natural-equestrian.com.
Dec 2012, a few days before Christmas. I love this shot of Pickle, it is his shadow and his ears and star showing through the hole in the tarp.
Copyright 2001, - 2013 inclusive Christine Amber