After an incredibly long, hot, sweaty, rainy summer I am wrapping up the full time training season and in the process, moving the larger body of my business to our new home at Shady Lanes Ranch, Inc, north of Council Bluffs, IA. Happily I will continue to give lessons at Log Barn Stables, a beautiful facility south of Plattsmouth, NE until weather and lack of daylight draws that to a close. Come Spring, we'll pick right back up again.
I can't believe it's been so long since I last blogged, the summer has been a blur of riding the training horses, teaching horsemanship to young and older :-), and it's been really enlightening for me to figure out better and better ways to break down the methods that I use so that people can not only see the results in the horse, but begin to learn how to take those things home and keep the journey moving, once they are on their own.
The absolute hands down most exciting thing to happen this summer is the birth of Estelle Lucinda!! I was graced with being allowed to attend my daughter at the birth, and got to see Stella, shortly after she entered the world! August 26, 2010 will mark one of the happiest days of our lives! Sarah and Justin are making amazing first time parents and I think Stella is one fortunate young lady, to be born into such a loving family!!
A Competitive Trail Riding Group came for a clinic this summer, was a ton of fun working with those guys. I used Log Barn's Scooby, a 7 year old Quarter Horse gelding I have been riding, once known as "Scooby Doesn't", who now has his proper name of "Scooby Does"! He demo'ed the obstacles in kind and sensible manner, learned how to pony, and ride double in the process. It was such a blast to work a group of seasoned horsepeople! Thanks so much, Robin, for getting this set up, and I wish you'd felt well enough to attend!
Maybe the largest lesson, coming out of the season, for me this year, was that if I am going to have a business, I have to treat it like a business. Record keeping is not my strong suit and it is not that I don't know how, I can design a spreadsheet with the best of them (well, the medium of them, anyway!). Forcing myself to use my tools, no matter how exhausted I am when I get home, is darned near impossible for me and then things get awry. "Fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail," says someone wiser than I (forget who, too much hurry to google!). Goal for the rest of this year and ongoing, get those numbered ducks in a row if I am ever going to come out on the right colored ink side of the page!
The other lesson, and this one you'd think I'd have learned a very long time ago, to train horses, do a proper and timely job, in the midwest, you have got to have access to an indoor arena. My clients this summer paid WAY too much to have their horses ridden, not in dollars to me, by any means, but in the board required to get the riding accomplished. One day, I'd have to cancel for rain, the next for blistering heat! Tuesdays and Thursdays were booked with riding lessons as well, and every time I had to cancel those, bang, a horrible ding in the budget. So, lucky to still have a roof over my head and something to drive, Good Hands is making a move.
I have know the folks at Shady Lanes for a long time. Many of the good horses I have put under a bunch of you, out there, came through Charlie's hands before they reached mine. We have had our ups and downs, over the years, and I feel we all know each other well. We've built a friendship that has stood the test of time, and we can trust one another to take care of business and be honest and forthright, as well.
Shady Lanes Ranch has been in existence for over 45 years. They rent horses by the hour for guided trail rides through gorgeous, scenic trails through the Loess Hills of Council Bluffs. A certified Wrangler (thanks AAHS!), I started leading the trail rides a couple of months ago on the weekends. I love the work, it turns out! I give mini riding lessons along the way, get the people laughing when I can see they are scared, and we tend to have a heck of a good time. You know, when the relatives come in from out of town and want to go horse back riding, you all should come on over! Yes, it will cost you a little money to ride one of ours, as for insurance reasons, we can't allow outside horses, but what a neat and safer way to take a group of folks on a bona fide trail ride!
This time of year, the tractors fire up and it's hayrack rides! I get to work these, too, parking the zillion and two cars that carry in our happy party goers! Last Saturday, Miss Jesse James, Corie Nelson and I parked cars for THIRTY SIX racks!! I am told that's the lightest weekend we will have til we wrap it up, beginning of November! Woohoo, Colleen, put your spurs on honey, it's going to be some wild nights! I'll tell you guys more about the horse I am riding for that, a lovely Pinto Arabian, bay tobiano that I christened "Royal". Arron said, upon watching us come in Saturday night, Royal still breathing fire after four hours of perpetual motion "Damn, that is the most beautiful horse I have EVER seen . . . and CRAP! I bet we end up owning that one!" We will, if I have anything to say about it!
My training season will continue through November, and then weather permitting, throughout the winter, too. I am off to Georgia first weekend in November to visit my favorite church camp and home away from home, the Calvin Center. Gretchen is graciously hosting me again this year to teach AnyWhere From Here Foundation Horsemanship clinics, and I already have a repeat rider from last year! Yay! When I get back, it will be time to assess, depth of snow . . . inches of ice . . . to continue or wait til Spring, that is the question!
For now, I'll be offering riding lessons at Shady Lanes Ranch and Log Barn Stables, have one training spot available, and then we'll see, come November, I might have one more. Let me know if you want a spot, for now, or reserve your place for 2011. It will be here before you know it!!
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