• "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it's creed: "We hold these truths to self-evident that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be to the sit down together at the talbe of brother-hood...I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of character." -Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial
  • "But when a long train of abuses and usurptions pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them uder absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards to their future security." -Declaration of Independence
  • "There are no safe choices, Miss Temple. Only other choices." -A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • "If you are a painter, paint. It doesn't mean you have to paint Jesus into every picture, just paint good. If you paint good enough, then people will aask why you do what you do." -Issac Slay; The Fray (on why the band doesn't use the name of Jesus in every song)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cliche Ending? I Think Not...

Hard to believe that three months has come and gone. In some ways, it only seems like yesterday I saw Raider for the first time and started training him and yet, three months later, we take Reserve Champion in the Idols division and he goes to a very deserving and loving home. Sort of bittersweet, but like many things in life, some journeys have the happy ending you don't quite expect. Not cliche, but not depressing either. Like instead of the girl who finds out she's a princess and marries Prince Charming, instead she renounces her birthright and runs off with the stable boy. Not quite the ending you wanted or expected, but still gives you the warm feeling that things still worked out for the girl in the end.

Same way stands for how the Mustang Makeover turned out. You wouldn't BELIEVE how many people asked me if I was going to bid on Raider to keep him and then were shocked when I blatantly told them, "No." They were utterly shocked at the prospect of me not keeping him; understanding when I said that I simply did not have the space nor the money, but still shocked nonetheless. So was it the fairy-tale ending of the little mustang going home with the person who trained him and has a special connection with for the past 90-days? No, but instead he went to a very deserving and loving home just a couple states away. Was it hard? Yes, but I knew after with the buyer that Raider was going to a good home and be used like he should be. So it may not have been the fairy-tale ending that most expected out of this story, but it was a wonderful ending nonetheless and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. What can I say? I've never been one for cliche endings anyhow.

So now that the Extreme Mustang Makeover is over for the time being, most would ask, "What now?" Well, obviously the biggest thing is I go back to my original apprentice duties and start riding some of Marsha's horses again. I already know of a couple of young horses I'll be starting and riding for Marsha, but the third one is still up in the air. Haven't quite figured out who she's going to have me ride. Figure I'd leave that as a surprise for myself on Monday. LOL And I still have to finish up my apprentice job I started a few weeks back for the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Have a few things I need to get caught up on, but otherwise, it's all a cinch.

I also seem to remember mentioning a few months back about National Novel Writing Month starting in November. It's a little contest where you have only a month to throw out grammar, spelling, and just simply write a 50,000 word novel in one month (you can go back later and re-write the grammar, spelling, and plot mistakes obviously in December). I've been going back and forth for about four months now on whether I should do it and just recently (okay, I pretty much decided yesterday) decided, "What the hell? Why not?" So while I'm getting my apprentice stuff done and taking on my apprentice duties again, I'm going to attempt to write a novel. It's honestly something I've been wanting to do for a while, but never plucked up the courage to do. Call me an overachiever, but I like a challenge and the only reward one gets out of this contest is the satisfaction that you wrote a novel in a month; or attempted too, whichever the case maybe.

I do have a storyline in mind; for those who have read my Harry Potter fanfiction story, it goes well along the same lines with the character, except I'll more than likely be able to flesh out my character the way I want more without having to worry about the restraints of the Harry Potter universe getting in the way. I honestly tried to come up with new ideas and plots to use for the contest, but I could never get one started and this always got in the way of brainstorming. And before anyone tells me that I won't have time to get this done, they must remember that technology, while at times annoying, does make the self-proclaimed overachiever's life simpler. Not only do I have several blank notebooks begging me to put words down and my laptop to write everything down, but I recently found an app on my Droid that will allow me to write down scenes or new ideas to flesh out later as they come to me. It's pretty much the 21st century version of the idea for the writer to keep a notepad and pen at hand. And I'll have this blog to not keep up-to-date on how my Mustang apprentice work is coming, but also I'll be using this to keep up-to-date on my wordcount and how my story is coming along. As I'm typing, I'm already thinking of how to start my story and how it'll progress. I'm getting pretty stoked about it now. ^_^

So I guess to put this whole post in a nutshell, while my journey in training a wild mustang didn't end with the cliche Grand Champion mustang coming back to Tallahassee with me, I still got a wonderful ending to that chapter of my life and am picking up my pen to start writing the next part.

Cause really, whoever said that all happy endings have to be cliche, never met the mustang training fanfiction writers who attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Road So Far...

Tomorrow, Libby, Marsha, and myself are headed up to Tennessee for the Extreme Mustang Makeover. While I'm very excited for the final leg of the journey I've taken, it's also pretty bittersweet. As I've already mentioned, this is the final leg of a three-month journey. It's been amazing in taking a hardly touched, wild mustang and turning him into a willing equine partner. From the beginnings of groundwork to working on our freestyle routine, it's unbelievable that three months have gone by so fast. Forming the relationship that I have with Raider, it's going to be very bittersweet end to this long journey.

Going in the day before we leave, I won't lie by saying I'm not nervous at all. Instead, I've actually been a nervous ball of energy. It's not been the type of nervous energy that freezes your body, but instead the type of energy that energizes and pumps you up for the upcoming game or event. So needless to say, I'm getting pumped for this weekend, but still bittersweet for what's coming at the end.

Over the weekend, I'll try to keep updated not only through the blog but also Facebook and Twitter on the happenings of what's going on. I'm even considering on trying out the camcorder on my phone and starting some vlogs.

So until next time....

Peace out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Last week's happenings...

So while little Tucker is currently curled up with my stuffed horse, Apollo, and sleeping, I thought I would go ahead and finish off part two of Sunday's blog by telling you what happened last week. Think of it as a sequel to Sunday's blog. Hey movies have sequels, why can't blogs? LOL

Last Monday, Marsha and I took Raider and Balou over to Trey Young's facility. Trey is a local trainer who excels in the natural horsemanship methods and has worked with several renowned trainers such as Chris Cox. He's a really good teacher and really great with the horses. I learned a lot in just the few hours we were there.

Mostly what we were there for was to expose the mustangs to cattle. Marsha had done this with Splash a couple times before taking her to the Supreme Makeover (sometimes during the trail course, one of the obstacles will be riding around or even moving a cow or two), so this time was no different. We each took turns playing around with moving and cutting the small herd Trey had in the arena, during which Trey would occasionally talk us through what to do and give us hints on how to make certain maneuvers go smoother. Balou had fun, but he wasn't too interested in the cattle. Raider on the otherhand, was a different story.

Since we let them see the cows, Raider kept an eye on them. Not in a spooky/skittish way, but instead watched them with alert ears. I noticed this and quickly realized that he was watching how they were moving. Very rarely during the time we were there was he not watching them in some way or another. When it came time for me to introduce him to moving the herd, Trey told me to simply let Raider follow the herd before slowly starting to push them. He followed them with perked ears for a couple moments, but as soon as we started pushing them in different directions, he started surprising everybody. He started pinning his ears back and actually lunging at the cows like a real cow-horse! Pretty soon, I had to try and keep him from lunging forward and biting the cows so he would keep listening to me. At one point, we were pushing a single cow from the herd down to the other side of the arena before letting it go and he actually took off from a rollback and started chasing it down the arena! Even some of the other guys that worked at Trey's kept saying he had a natural cow-sense, which is surprising since it's mostly bred into horses from performance lines (such as Sunfrost lines, which is what Snazzy is out of-he's got some cow-sense too). Needless to say, Raider had a blast showing me he could be a little cow pony (hint for anybody who's looking for a future cow pony).

After playing with the cows, Marsha and I took the mustangs to a smalltrail set-up where Trey had a cowboy curtain (basically a tarp tied between two trees and cut into strips), a tunnel, and a see-saw bridge that we walked and rode them over. It took a little bit for Raider to walk through the curtain but eventually he started walking through it like a pro (albeit, still wary about it). Over all, it was a very good, productive day and we both had a lot of fun. I asked Trey if at some point I could bring Snazzy over and ride and he said he would be more than happy to have us over. So once I get Snazzy up and going again good, we'll be going over to his place and make a day of it.

The rest of the week went smoothly too. We worked on my 90-second Compulsory pattern, which all I have to show is walk, trot, canter, backing up, 90-degree hind-quarter turn, and we're planning on a lead change of some sort during the pattern. Right now, we're having some troubles with his leads, but we're getting them fixed pretty quickly. I'm still happy that Raider got his right lead and he going into it consistantly! LOL

We also picked out my freestyle song and we're going to start playing around with what do in it this week. So we've started riding too it and Marsha by the end of this week, we should have a good idea of what we can do in the song. It's a really good song and I'm very excited with what we're talking about doing in the freestyle. We've also started teaching Raider how to lay down and he's getting the idea pretty good, but he tends to get sticky in his hind end (doesn't know where to put it lol), so it's been a little hard for him.

Well, I guess that's all for now. I'll write another blog either Saturday night or Sunday. Saturday is the BBHA Pink show and we're going to take the mustangs there for the western classes.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

LCHA October show

I'll try to do this as best I can. Right now, I got my new puppy, Tucker, on my bed and he's ready to play before bedtime. I currently have him pacified with a glove that lost its mate and a stuffed animal. As for not doing this earlier, I've been off and on sick all week, so I haven't had the energy to get up and write something out ON ANYTHING, including my blog.

Anyway, yesterday was the Leon County October Horse show and Raider did awesome. I only showed him in three classes this time: Western Pleasure, Western Horsemanship, and Trail. All week, we've been working on his lead changes (which we've almost got), so I was frankly, a little worried that he wouldn't take his lead. But when we got into the ring, he did great. He kept his head down and when I asked for the lead I wanted, he gave it to me. I was very happy when he took first in that class.

Horsemanship class didn't work out as well. He didn't take his lead when I asked and when he did, he gave me the wrong lead. It was my fault though because I tried to rush him into it, instead of simply taking my time in getting him into it. So we only took second in that (Marsha and I were the only ones in the senior class.).

In the trail class though, his pattern was beautiful. The pattern itself wasn't that difficult, but what made it challenging was there were three poles in a triangle shape and you had to back your horse around it. Some of the other riders were worried about it and in the end, I think psyched themselves out of doing good (which I've seen happen plenty of times; I've done it a few myself) but I didn't worry about it. I simply stayed confidant in Raider's ability and told myself to take it slow. And we did. And he performed the pattern beautifully, especially backing around the poles nice and tight and taking the correct lead (again, I took my time on that). I was very happy with how he performed and the judge was too, cause she gave him first in that class too. But the best part was, I think Raider had a lot of fun at the show yesterday.

This week, Marsha and I are going to work both mustangs on horsemanship patterns to get them better at it before the Tennessee show and we're going to start planning out my freestyle for him. I now have a song picked out for him; we're going to ride to it and see if it's the one that fits him best. I hope it does, cause I really love the song and can sort of picture portions of a freestyle to parts of the song. But we'll see.

Alright, well I'm going to sign off for the night and tell you the rest of what happened last week tomorrow night. I've currently got a napping puppy that I need to wake up and play with so he can sleep through the night.

Goodnight everyone!

God Bless,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Books and Bookworms

As most everybody who knows me knows that I'm a self-proclaimed bookworm. I LOVE books. I've been known to devour a 1,000 page novel in less than a week, depending on my schedule. My parents can't take me into a bookstore or the library without the 50/50 chance of me walking out with less money and one more book to store on my already sagging bookshelf (yes, my bookshelf is in fact sagging with several cubbies double-stacked with books. True story). Most of my closest and dearest friends will spend pretty much all day in Barnes and Noble drinking Starbucks coffee and pouring over the dozens upon dozens of books that the store has to offer. It saddened me when I got an email from Borders saying due to financial troubles, the company was closing its doors (I honestly nearly cried). It wasn't even a day after I got my new DROID phone that I had downloaded the Amazon Kindle with several free classics onto it (I now have four books on there so far). These (and other) examples are all true about me when it comes to books. So when I tell people I'm a voracious bookworm-I'm not kidding. And I owe it all to my parents, who opened up a different dimension in my imagination when they taught me how to read when I was two. I blame them for creating the book-monster I am today (not that I regret it, but it their fault lol). So what does all this rambling about my love/passion/possibly unhealthy obsession with books have to do with anything?

Simple: James Patterson wrote an article for CNN exposing possibly one of the most tragic problems we, as a country, are facing today. Problem: parents, schools, mentors, role models, every single adult in this world are failing kids (especially boys) by not turning them onto books. We whine and gripe about the condition we're leaving our government in to our kids, who are our future, but if said kids grow up not able to read or write properly, then what are we whining about in the first place? They won't be able to take over and try to run what's left of our country's government because THEY CAN'T READ!! The solution? It's simple: in order to bring up our kids' reading abilities, we have got to them away from their computers, away from the tvs and video games and READ!

I've heard parents say that their kids just don't like to read. Well, Mr. Patterson has a solution for that: "The best way to get kids reading more is to give them books that they'll gobble up -- and that will make them ask for another." That's right. Simply find books that will appeal to them the most. Then parents will say, "I don't know what they will like." Pardon me, but that's bull. You're the parent; the person who has swaddled, coddled, cooed, your child from time he/she was born (or adopted, whichever the case maybe). You know what your child likes, dislikes, what makes them happy, sad, mad, their dreams, their goals, what music they like, etc. You know your kid the best. So if your child likes animals, go to the library or go online and find books on animals. If they like history, there's books on historical fiction. If they like a cartoon on tv like X-Men or Yu-Gi-Oh, go into the manga/anime or comic book section and show them that their favorite tv shows are based off of books (it might also appeal to them to tell them that by reading the manga or comic books, they will already know what has happened by the time the show gets around to it; most times, I've found the manga are at least a year ahead of the episodes). Or better yet, take them to the library or bookstore and let them explore the shelves and see what interests them. You might just be surprised at what peaks their interest. 

Mr. Patterson also warns parents to not tell their kids that a book is too hard or easy. Case in point: by the time I was thirteen, I was already reading Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Granted, my reading comprehension levels were way above my grade, but the point is, my parents very rarely told me I couldn't read a certain book. Yes, while they made sure I stayed clear of the romance section of Barnes and Noble for obvious reasons, they also never put limitations or restrictions on what I read. I pretty much had free range of the library and bookstores and what they found is that even though I would pretty read anything and everything they put in front of me, they also found that I would (and still do) gravitate towards the science fiction/fantasy section. So don't discourage your kids from reading what interests them. Even with all the controversy that surrounded Harry Potter, the seven-part series turned thousands upon thousands of kids, both girls and boys alike, onto reading. 

Parents shouldn't leave it up to the public school system to make sure their kids find books they like and actually read them. While many schools have great programs to get kids to read, most schools, sadly, actually don't give a crap. They would rather put the money they receive from the government in sports equipment rather than education. I lost count of how many times my mom and dad had to fight the school in order to let me go into an advanced reading class (which never happened). But, on the flip side, there are the exceptions of schools having great programs or simply individual teachers creating incentives for their class to read more (my second grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade teachers were a part of this: my second-grade teacher had an incentive program for the class to get them to read more. Basically, the student with the highest number of books read would get the coolest prize out of the treasure chest. Needless to say, my childhood best friend and I were the top two who the most [I won by just a couple books]. My fourth grade teacher set aside thirty minutes or so and read to us [one of the books was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone]. My fifth grade teacher set aside a set time period where we could read a book of our own choice, but at the end of each book, we had to write up a small book report and discuss the book with her. I'm pretty sure I was the only one in the class who came up to her with the most book reports to talk about. LOL).

In the article, Mr. Patterson discusses other options and websites to help parents get their kids reading more (I realize I hadn't done it before, but here's the link for Mr. Patterson's article  I think this article needs to go viral and get passed along any chance we got. Because, let's face it, by not getting our kids to read more, we're failing them creatively and academically. Reading a book, whether it's sitting on a shelf or downloaded onto a Nook or Kindle, opens doors to new worlds and dimensions that we cannot possibly fathom. It sharpens and hones a child's imagination. Without reading, we would not have anymore teenagers vying to publish their own stories; kids learning how to create new works of art; kids jamming out a new piece of music they simply created on a whim; children going outside and sitting under a tree, ready to open the new novel they have been dying to read for the longest. Without reading, we would lose all that and more. 

Earlier, I may have come across as harsh and brash, but this is a subject that I feel needs to be talked about, discussed, and then done something about. Cause if we don't do something now...there won't be a future to talk about later...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One more month!

Whoa, hard to believe that I only have one more month until Marsha and I take Raider and Balou to the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Tennessee. I'm getting more and more pumped up as that weekend gets closer, but to be honest, it's also bittersweet. Cause it also means that I have to let him go for adoption. Even though I really want too, I won't be able to take Raider home with me. Not only do I not have the money but I also don't have the space for him.

So besides still looking for sponsorships, I've also started looking for people locally that would like to adopt him. With his personality and the way he works, my parents and I have been constantly telling people he would make an awesome 4-H Colt to Maturity project for a kid who has ridden for a few years. He's a great little horse with a big heart and he deserves a good home to go to at the end of this, even if it can't be mine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Marketing Strategies

This week, the next step of my business plan is to write up a marketing strategy. Honestly, I've been a little more excited about this part than the other steps. Probably because I have a better idea of how to research what I need than the others or probably because I already have an idea of how this step is going to work out. Or maybe it's just because it gave me an excuse to research and print off the company profile and marketing strategies for Starbucks. I don't know. The only way I can justify printing off five pages of nothing but Starbucks is the company has been in business selling freaking coffee, so they must've done something right in the marketing process, right? Exactly. Moving on.

So as I said, I'm pretty excited about this step in the business plan process. But while I'm working on this step, I'm still working on steps 1 and 2 from the past couple of weeks. So I basically have about two weeks of work to catch up on and only one more week to gather what I've got together and get it to Marsha so she can look it over. Yes, it is procrastination and yes, it is a bad habit that should be broken, but honestly, I find it as a good motivating tool to get things done as long as it is channeled properly. And I honestly have gotten better about my procrastination. See how I'm getting caught up two weeks ahead of deadline? There was a time I was still working on putting my 4-H project together two hours before it had to be judged. True story. Ask my mom.

But I digress slightly. Really, all I have left is to get together a mission statement, a name, and a description of the business like qualifications, location, how it'll serve clients, etc. It may seem a lot, but honestly, it's not. Or at least I don't think that it is. Or else, I'm not letting myself think like it is. Either way, it'll get done. Ask my mom.

I can't really think of much else to talk about with this project right now, so I guess I'll just leave it off for now and either start on another blog post of a different nature or just go back to researching and see what other things I can come up with. Hmm...definitely gives me a good excuse to research Barnes and Noble. Hmmm...