Monday, September 23, 2013

Kidney Stones Are Not Amazing.

One of my facebook friends posts stuff about her various cleanses* and things she finds inspirational. Today she posted the following: "Start looking forward to the times you feel uncomfortable. Because on the other side of that is something amazing."

I was sorely tempted to post, "Unless it's a kidney stone." In the interest of being nice, though and also taking into account that people who use the word cleanse generally don't have a very good sense of humor, I did not.

*I do a cleanse several times a day, as a matter of fact. Basically, I go into the bathroom and void my bladder of urine. I feel so refreshed afterwards.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good Bread, Bad Clients

2 Things:

1. I made a really excellent sweet egg bread on Thursday and then, this morning, I made the last of it into french toast. Elinor's first taste of french toast and my first time making it. The egg bread was cut into before I could take a picture of it, but it was pretty gorgeous. I did an 8-strand braid. 

2. Last night I received an actual complaint about the lesson I taught. Things I felt upon receiving the email (indirectly, submitted to the website and thus my boss, rather than to my email, which seemed rude and cowardly): sucker punched. annoyed. horrible. sick. 
The complaint was: "Unfortunately -- way too much time was spent on "work" he needs to take this off, unbuckle this, clean this, put this back, hang this here, do this that way -- that he lost interest. He is 7 years old (!) and was looking forward to enjoying himself. I feel badly because its an opportunity lost for my son." 

Here's the thing. No exaggeration, I had him WATCH me untack and put things away and then brush the pony. The exclamation point after the "7 years old" is especially infuriating because when I was 7, getting to brush a pony would have been the highlight of my week. It still kind of is. Then we put the pony away and I told him to tell her "thank you" (I always instruct my students to say thank you to the pony when they put them away). 

 Fortunately my boss tried to explain that our philosophy is that part of the whole experience is learning the "work" as well and that, although it is actually much easier to just get the pony ready and throw the kid on, then send them home and do the untacking ourselves, we choose to do it this way because we feel it is important. 

 So, while I do not feel that I did anything wrong, nor do I feel that I would do things differently, nor should I and I also know that if she took her son anywhere else, he would have the same experience, I can't help feeling truly gutted and am full of self-loathing. I actually went to bed early last night because of it and had to have a good cry about it again today.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Horse Sales Videos with Music

I'm thinking about sending a query to Practical Horsemen. I've been stumped as to what it might be, but today I actually thought of something. A plea for horse sellers to stop using music in their sales videos.

Georgi emailed asking about sales horses and I promptly fired off a descriptive email regarding the particular sales horses that I thought would be suitable for the particular buyer in question. Then, because were I work is fairly organised and they are really great about keeping their website up to date, I was able to forward 3 videos of sales horses.

Then I watched one of them and...put it on mute immediately.

Why? Because it had music. A lot of horse sales videos have music. A LOT. And it is always, always, always the worst. Think "Bittersweet Symphony" or anything by Coldplay. And for those who are aware of copyright law, it's always some awful synthesized easy listenin' track with pan pipes bought cheaply from the video production company who informed the seller about copyright law.

Pretty much the only excuse as to why. "But I/someone was yelling/talking/singing while the video was being made."

I think that we can all put our heads together and come up with a solution for that problem.

The other place I think it comes from was horse show videos from the 90s. Some horse shows had videographers, so you could get a "professionally made" video of your rounds. And to (I think) justify the cost, they put cheesy graphics and added music. This was very impressive in the 90s. It looked as good as local news show b-roll! (we couldn't make things ourselves that looked that good back then). I believe that horse people are stuck in a bit of a time warp sometimes and because this was done in the 90s when, perhaps, they started their business, they think that all sales videos should have music over them. And the tradition continues.

The thing is though, unlike websites that play music upon loading, it doesn't make me close the window immediately and look back, and as far as I know, it doesn't affect to do that either. And I think I know why.

Horse people are woefully, strangely and sadly behind the times. Only recently, within the last 5 years or so, have any significant portion of them figured out what a powerful marketing tool the internet can be. And they still don't understand how websites work or why it's important that they are updated and no, your friend can't just do it because it takes time, effort and expertise which is why you should pay someone (a competent someone) to RUN the website after it has been built.

I do know, however, how hard these people work doing something that they love. And they are making an effort dammit. The video is out there. Much in the same way that I find paintings for sale in thrift stores heartbreakingly sweet, despite how truly awful they are, I try to feel that way about music on horse sales videos.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Not crazy!

I turned 32 a week ago yesterday and for my birthday, I received clear evidence that I am not a crazy person.

This, in turn, led to my being more confident in dealing with other people! 

For example:

I lost my temper with Ryan. But not unwarrantedly so. And then, I stuck to my guns and told him to figure out a way to make it right, instead of my usual tactic of trying to make the bad feelings go away as quickly as possibly by fuming for awhile, then apologising for losing my temper and for everything else, really. 

Our infrequent arguments usually go something like this: Ryan infuriates me, I become cross, he decides that I am being irrational, I become even more cross because I am feeling marginalised, ignored and occasionally gaslighted - which is a horrible feeling. 

Then Ryan moves on and tries to forget the argument, which is horribly uncomfortable for me because I spent an entire childhood and young adulthood watching my parents fight horribly and my mother doing everything in her power to make the shouting stop, which mostly meant agreeing with whatever my father said and then ignoring that it ever happened as soon as it was over. 

In an effort to avoid this state of affairs, I try and talk about it, but because I am terrified of him or anyone being cross with me, I apologise for my behaviour. Ryan never does. But I hate fighting so, so much that I just am willing to move on (it makes me so ill!). Which is not exactly much different from my mother's tactic except that we do, actually, usually, talk about what the problem is. 

Since Ryan and I rarely ever fight, this is not such a frequent thing. But it does happen and I end up feeling rotten either way. 


Another example! 

I received a text from Casey asking me if I wanted to ride in the Tony clinic she had coming up. Instead of my ingratiating: "Yes! I'll ride whomever you want!" I wrote back, "I would like to. Can I ride a horse as opposed to a pony?" 

I received no answer, but am confident that I did the right thing, even if I do not get to participate, because I'll be damned if I'm paying another ring fee to school her medium ponies in a lesson that I am also paying for. She didn't get back to me for days and then it was some garbled message about trying but things are super busy! and blacksmith bills (which I'm not sure have anything to do with anything although I bet there is some tangent that connects them that she neglected to tell me about because that happens a lot)! and keeping the horses fit!

Here's the thing: other people are allowed to just show up and borrow her horses for lessons without getting passive-aggressive shit for not helping keep them fit or helping with blacksmith bills.

So it may mean that I don't get a Tony lesson, but I'm also glad I stuck to my guns. And that gave me the bravery to request the nice sales horse (as opposed to saying "I'll take whomever you want me to! I'm just happy to get to go!") for the hunter pace on Saturday.

So here's to self-improvement and realising that I'm not necessarily as crazy as I thought.