Friday, October 19, 2007

My Personal Tower of Babble

That's my dear Cliff trying trying out his best animal communication skills on a stray horse. I'm not going to be the one to tell him . . .

But impossible dreams is not my topic for today. Today I'm hoping to lure you to a website where I'm a columnist. I'm hoping you will give me some feedback on the articles and webinars I've got out there. I'm hoping you'll be as kind as the horse in the picture was to Cliff.

Go here: Or not. Let me know if this sort of thing (and the website in general) is something that is of interest to horse people. If it's not, tell me why and what you'd rather see. I'm not the site owner, just a lowly freelancer. You can't hurt my feelings. But if I'm going to become famous (and even rich) on your dime, I need to know if I can order that new Rolls now or need to hold off for a week or two while I try a new approach.

In exchange for your efforts, I had given you one of the best clicker-training clips I've seen. This came up in a search in that cute animated box at the top of this page. There are lots more, but this mini assistance horse was just too cute for words and begged to become a star. Unfortunately the script become corrupted and the video stopped running, so you're on your own to find it in the SWICKI search box above. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On Track?

Being laid up has its advantages. One of them is the right to opt out of noxious activities. And there's the endless flood of tasteful flowers and sympathy food gifts. Those things are great, especially the "comfort" food items. Cheesecake comes to mind.

The biggest advantage, however, is the time available for obsessing on horse training and care innovations. Since my own personal recuperation did not preclude hours on the computer, and I was well enough to be able to read the numbers on my breed-specific credit card, I took full advantage and ordered one of pretty much every training DVD and videotape available. I even subscribed to an online Trainer-of-the-Month program, whence cometh daily tips and a monthly DVD. With luck, I'll be sick again one day, and I might have time to actually watch everything I bought. Oh, there are books, too--a nice stack arranged by size--but those are incidental. Writer though I may be, I will be the first to admit that when it comes to training, video is where it's at. I want to see in front of me exactly how far to the side the trainer was standing when he was doing the Natural Horsemanship Shuffle. I want to stand in front of my TV and move my hip in precisely the same way, dole out strokes-not-pats with the same degree of enthusiasm, wear the same socks, drink the same brand of water . . . all those things that will ensure unparalleled success and guarantee that my horses will all look like Olympic hopefuls.

All of this explanation is by way of saying that there's a world of learnin' out there to take up those long, horseless hours that result from injury, poor weather, illness, winter-fat thighs that won't squeeze into jeans or britches, or sheer disgust at prior failures. In order to offer a useful service to my fellow horsefolks, I'm putting on this blog page what I hope will be a cool utility which will allow you to dangle your tired toes in the ocean of video tips available out there. You'll find it at the top right side of this newly-updated blog page. If all you see is a cloud of topics, then you might want to download flash player. Then you'll see a very nifty animated box of videos that will swell and shrink when you mouse-over.