Sunday, September 2, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Busy.  That's where I've been.  Very busy.  Life as a small business owner is very different from life working for a large sports organization.  I have to be my own marketing department, IT department, Accounting department, etc.  It takes up a lot of my extracurricular time such as blogging about my horses and even working them.

Matt and I have other blogs like this one, this one and this one which help us get our business names out there and on top of each of those blogs are corresponding websites which we are always keeping them current and setting them up best for google searches.  It's a lot of our time. 

So in prioritizing my life, my small photography businesses have to take precedence over my own "for fun" blogging. 

Another reason I haven't blogged is because of an experience I had with a trainer who happened to stop coming to Lexington and notified us in a very poor manner - like not at all.   And the organizer, whom the trainer dropped, was left with the dirty work of notifying all of us and being a very good sport in a not so good situation.  The organizer gets my kudos, the trainer...  not so much.  I didn't want to blog immediately about this situation because I was so let down but after some time, I realized I was still annoyed by it all.  So I'm writing about it here to get it out of my system.   Phew.  I'm done with it.

Toby and Ollie are doing very well.  Toby is sassy and dappled out.  Ollie is F-A-T and mellowing out. 

I don't have too many photos of me riding because Matt hasn't been out to photograph us in a long while.  But Ollie has been good when I'm working him consistently.  This past month, I haven't been working him at all due to other things (see first paragraph).  I did take a lesson with Julie Congleton, who is infinitely patient with us.  She helped me with some drills I can use to help Ollie learn to leg yield.   Ollie is a very insecure horse and he tries to anticipate what you're going to ask him.  But after awhile, the novelty of the leg yield wore off and he would relax into the movement.  Anything new for him gets him jazzed up but when you repeat, repeat, repeat he gets better and better and better!

Oddly, the biggest novelty for me with Ollie this summer is taking him on walkabouts the property.  The farm where he lives is over 100 acres so there are lots of fields for us to cruise around in.  He's familiar with the fields so he's not worried when we are out of sight of the barn.  In fact, Ollie is much better on these mini trail rides than Toby!  Ollie relaxes, takes a really nice walking stride which makes my hips move like we're keeping a hoola hoop up.  I love it when he gets all relaxed like that!  One of the other girls at the barn will go on rides with us.  She hops on Toby for me and we can go for a couple of miles around the property.  I turn on my GPS pedometer and can see how far we have traveled.  It's very cool!

Ollie isn't perfect by a long shot and we are moving at a snails pace with his training.  That's ok with me.  He's my for fun project and we don't have huge expectations and goals.  He is moving in the right direction and I've been super proud of him and his behavior lately.  He's a good horse and a trier!  I just have to be ok with the fact that when I don't work him, we have to start over again from the beginning and work our way back to where we were.  Sometimes, I think this helps him to reinforce things and builds his confidence.

Toby, on the other hand, has been getting friskier and friskier lately.  He can be a total handful to bring up to the barn in the mornings for feeding.  He jigs the whole way up and pins his ears at Ollie and tries to take a swipe at him.  He has entered remedial training lately to get him out of this bad habit.  Ollie has been the saint.

Toby had one incident from heat this summer.  He started to act agitated in his stall, wouldn't eat his hay and was calling for Ollie who was visible to him in the stall right next to his.  I brought Toby out of his stall and hosed him down.  He was fine after that.  I immediately went out to Home Depot and bought a 2nd box fan for his stall and hung it on his door.  It's his favorite fan.  He stands with his head right into it most of the day (we bring the horses in during the day due to heat and to get them off the grass for awhile).  He's been fine ever since.

Toby has to wear shoes on his front feet.  He has very weak hooves and stomping on hard dry ground for flies is just too much for his feet.  So he gets his shoes and we like to photograph our farrier in action especially when they are new shoes and not a reset.  The sparks flying when filing down the new shoes makes for fun photos! 

So there we are!  They are doing well.   I'm not going as quickly as I'd like with Ollie but we are continuing to move forward.  Once in awhile I think about bringing in a professional trainer for him but I just can't have him go to another barn.  He'll have total melt down and the trainer probably won't get too far with him because he'll be so worried and stressed out.  If only I could find a regular rider to come to our place...  :)  Secretly, I wish Erin Hamer was nearby because I'd put her on my ADHD pony in a minute for training.  :)


  1. Am exhausted reading about your adventures (all those businesses that require time and energy and then TWO ponies with different needs ...). I write advertorial copy (among other things) for our local paper and am always struck by the small business owners or franchisees who rarely talk about vacations because it's a 24/7/365 proposition getting a business up and running and keeping it in the black.

    More power (and energy bars!) to you and Matt.

    As for the trainer who backed out without notice, there may have been a perfectly good reason for it, but it doesn't sound like that reason was forthcoming, so I don't blame the organizer for being disappointed and everyone for being miffed. For the most part "professionals" who behave like that lose business fast because their lack of proper protocol tarnishes their reputation and pretty soon their reputation precedes them.

    I'm willing to give everyone a fair shot, but I'm not shy about expressing my irritation when I don't get a fair shot in return. My money is just as green and spends just as well as everyone else's money--my checks are good and while I'm not someone who is going to make big dents in the Dressage Hall of Fame, I AM a serious student and I deserve just as much attention (and respect, dare I use that word) as a "Tiffany Got-Rocks" who has money to burn and fancy horses to show for it.

    Glad The Boys are doing well, too. Glad to see you back and blogging!

  2. Wendy, you have been so good about posting photos on FB that I didn't even think about you neglecting this blog! I KNOW what you've been up to... :-)(Not to mention, my husband has his own small business so I'm quite familiar with the demands) I've been a lousy blogger lately myself.

    Very glad to hear that the boys are doing well. I certainly thought of them during the wicked heat we've been experiencing here in the Midwest. That stinks about the trainer - I know you were pleased with the progress you and Ollie were making under his/her tutelage earlier this year. Slow and steady with Ollie seems to be the ticket, and as long as you're enjoying each other's company it's all good!

  3. I am way behind in my blog reading, but was glad to find a few new posts from you. I wish I were nearby, too -- I'd hop on your ADHD pony in a heartbeat! ;) I have actually looked into the Lexington area for horsey jobs but unfortunately never found any suitable for me. It's still on my bucket list of places to visit, though.

    Bummer about the other trainer ... It boggles my mind how some "professionals" in this industry can act and still manage to make a living. What the heck am I doing wrong, lol!

    I get bummed about moving slow with training, too, in my case from a lack of resources. But it is nice to just be able to enjoy my two horses, even if, like Toby, my old man gets a little uppity when left to his own devices for too long. I'm secretly glad he is feeling fat and sassy as he enters his golden years, though...