Excerpt from an humble “expert”

“I hate writing, I love to have written.”  Dorothy Parker

Writing this blog, originally a writing exercise imposed upon me by my roommate, an avid birder that blogs daily at thebirdhousechick.com, has brought about many unexpected benefits and pleasures to my life.  While it sometimes seems like a chore to sit down and torture myself with self-doubt and criticism just to get three paragraphs completed, once it is finished I feel a sense of relief and am usually inspired for my next topic.

In addition to the cathartic experience of sharing issues that are dear to me I have met so many other bloggers, and many other riders that stumble across the writings and share their comments and insights. Some of them are professional trainers and many of them amateur riders that are passionate about their journey with riding.  Without the global reach of the world-wide web I would never have met these kindred souls that share my love of dressage or horses in general.  The comments and e-mail I receive as a result of my small blog have inspired me and made me feel part of a community in which I have never felt included.

It was a great surprise and admittedly a source of confusion when I received an e-mail from Frances Keller, an organizer from the historic and distinguished Dressage at Devon horse show.  The correspondence was an invitation to attend Devon as an “expert commentator” for the Prix St. George class held in the famous “Dixon Oval”.  My first response was that the e-mail must have been sent to me inadvertently so I replied to Ms. Keller to inquire why I had been included in the group of experts that featured top judges and top competitors from across the United States.  It seems she came across my website and blog while looking for Scott Peterson, a great trainer I have listed on my resume’.  After reading the site Ms. Keller invited me to be a commentator as she felt that some of the listeners may relate to my point of view as a contrast to the great judges they have scheduled to speak.  I am very humbled by the invitation and hope that her instincts prove correct.

Although I am nervous about the prospect of speaking to such a large audience without the time to edit and rewrite that I am afforded by writing a blog,  I am more afraid of “flinching out” on an opportunity to be included in such an esteemed panel at such a dignified event.  So Thursday I board the plane to face my fears and hopefully offer a perspective that remains true to myself and resounds with others.

If any of my fellow blogging friends, or others that follow the blog are going to be in attendance at Devon please let me know so we can finally meet.  I consider you all part of my journey and wouldn’t be included if it weren’t for your kind words and inspiration.

Check out the page of “experts” here.

Horsey Lessons from The Birdhouse Chick…..

Life as a horse trainer, at least the kind that works out of many barns, is a particularly transient one.  Either because of the nature of my business, or that I grew up a military brat (I haven’t figured out which) I move every few years.  Because I meet most of my roommates at the barns or stables where I work, I tend to live with dedicated animal lovers.  As anyone who knows her can tell you, Animal lover, in respect to my roommate, Beth Wheeler, is an understatement!

Beth, the proprietor and namesake of  the unique bird house boutique, The Birdhouse Chick, is one of the most dedicated stewards of the environment that I know.  An entire blog could be written on her selfless acts of caring for stray dogs and cats, and her yard is a testament to her love for birds and other wildlife.  Check out her website and daily blog, she is the one that started me blogging.

Beth also has a horse, Sweets, that she keeps at Moonlight Equestrian Center.  While I was racking my brain for a blog topic, Beth was washing some blankets for an older horse at the barn.  She suggested I relay what she does with the dryer lint and horsehair cleaned from the washer after we wash our blankets, saddlepads, etc. 

Brilliant…Take a mesh produce bag- the kind you buy your horse’s apples in- and begin filling it with the hair, (body and tail),  from the lint trap of your dryer, and from the inside of the washer and dryer after washing dirty horse items.  You can also supplement the bag with mane and tail hair from your tail brush or from pulling your horse’s mane.  When the bag is full, tie it off and hang it from a branch in a nearby tree.  The birds love to use the hair to build their nests!  I have picked up  used nests at barns that were made entirely of horse hair! 

I have attached a picture of a horsehair nesting ball that Beth made for our yard.  We have the happiest birds around, and it is a joy to watch them in the morning before I set off to see the horses.  Take some time to check out her website- the birds will love you for it!