Tuesday 27 March 2012
But I also really like looking at my Blog Stats.
I know I have already revealed to you that I can tell where my traffic is coming from, not exactly with great detail (don't worry, Dressage Curmudgeon is not watching YOU!), but I can see if suddenly a strange bulletin board directs traffic my way. This is how I found out the picture of me, was not me, according to UDBB. And how I know child haters like dressage.
I can also see that I make approximately $0.12 per day off of the advertisements that run on my blog, which is good to know just in case I get the urge to do something wild and crazy at work just to see what it takes to get fired. It may be too soon to live off of the riches this mighty blog generates. Oh, wait - come to think of it, I already know how to get fired anyways. So really not a great idea, no matter how you slice it.
(I have promised Mr. Motard I will buy him dinner if I ever reach the magical $100 payout point. Let's just say he isn't saving his appetite for that big day).
But the thing I find most entertaining of all are the "Search Keywords". These are the things that people have typed into google that have lead them to the Dressage Curmudgeon blog, due to the fact that I have at some time, made reference to whatever it is they are searching.
The good news is... the majority of people are actually looking for Dressage Curmudgeon blog.
Crazy, eh? Well, to you I say - welcome.
The bad news is... a close second place - at least one or two searches a day - goes to:
Freddie Mercury no moustache.
Uhh, To you I guess I say... welcome. And sorry. Nothing to see, move along.
Who on Earth are all of these people googling "Freddie Mercury no moustache". And more importantly - WHY. I suppose there is a percentage of them who, like me, want an entertaining picture to include in their blog. But really, there must be other reasons that I can't (and probably don't want to) comprehend.
There are also many permutations of this... was Freddie Mercury gay (try searching... is sky blue - or maybe ...water, wet or not? - next), or gay bikers, or gay no moustache.
I have quite a few hits relating to Perry the platypus on a scooter. Or other themes relating to platypuses. (I wonder how many poorly executed grade 4 school projects on "THE PLATYPUS" include a picture of a chestnut arab pony?)
Then there are those relating to topics that actually make some sense, however the person may or may not feel they have gained anything from stopping by. Things like "club foot", or "saddlebred dressage" or "purple wintec" or "playboy grotto".
But the thing that compelled me to write this post today, was this one. I swear I am not making this up.
Someone came to find the blog today by googling
"BLIND PORNO DRESSAGE".
(Try it. I am the first hit!)
Ok, fess up. Who searched this, and please do share.. WHY? WHY? WHY?
Oh, and welcome! Hope you enjoy the blog, you freak.
Funny thing is, I don't even remember writing about Blind Porno Dressage. But hey, it sounds like more fun than a 20 metre circle, anyways.
|It is a FLY MASK you city slicker pervert! Back off!|
(Random piece of advice…don’t ever ask your coach, “Hey, what’s with the locks and chains on the stalls of Ms. Hirollers horses?” Yah, it might just be a fun stable time hijinks, but chances are it is probably a touchy subject)
|Curmudgeon's remedy of choice. Go hard or go home. Tea tree oil is for losers.|
|I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener.|
Wednesday 21 March 2012
*Spoiler Alert*. There is no tooth fairy. And we don't put those stupid boots on for turnout, either.
|I think I will have a burger for lunch. Mmm.mmm..mmm..Oh Sorry - what were you saying again?|
Never board somewhere with the following business plan:
"Hey, honey - we have some land, and I like horses. They are pretty. Let's build a barn and arena, and get boarders. How hard can it be?
And since you have just been laid off from your job as a waitress - you and Grandpa can run the place! I love it when a plan comes together!"
Now, how did I come to find myself at Muddy View Acres in the first place, you may ask.
Of course, I didn't know about the business plan right away, they don't post it in a little frame like the mission statement in your office. It was revealed slowly, one tantilizing glimpse of incompetence at a time.
I certainly didn't know much about the place, or the owners initially either, but the one thing I did know was that since the business plan involved building a big and impressive brand new barn and arena and fencing all from scratch - it was very pretty and shiny and new! And everything pretty and shiny and new is good, right?
(It did also happen to be right on the Snowmobile trail, and Mr. Motard actually sledded on out to visit us one day. But that is just interesting trivia, and really neither here nor there and certainly not why I chose the place. I suppose it was an effective way to get him interested in coming out to visit the horse and there is something to be said for that since it doesn’t happen often).
However, as an unemployed horse owner, you show up during the day - showtime! - and have the luxury of watching the totally horrific stable management skills of Ma and Grandpa at a much more leisurely pace.
AAAA-HA! I knew they weren't putting his boots on! SEE! I buckled the second buckle to the third, on the fourth hole, while double twisting the strap - and IT IS STILL LIKE THAT NOW - A WEEK LATER!
(Come on - admit it - you've done it. Sort of like the strategies you used to prove the tooth fairy was a lie).
You don’t see that all of the little baggies of carefully proportioned supplements are not lovingly sprinkled on yummy warm beet pulp just for Foo Foo, but dealt out in a Las Vegas fashion to whatever bucket is closest at the time…HIT ME! Stormy needs some Valerein! Or whoever! Who cares!
Put things in perspective.
Is she being fed? Yes. Is she being turned out? Yes. Do the horses that the moronic owner just bought from the auction look adorable with the little circles of ringworm all over them, like some sort of freaky polka dots? Yah, actually, they kind of do. Can you blame him for thinking they were interesting markings? C'mon, it was an honest mistake.
Hang in there. Just a little longer. It will get better.
Monday 19 March 2012
Monday 12 March 2012
Those of you who know me in real life know that I am a bit of a Brer Rabbit when it comes to the workplace. No, no, NOOOO! Not the Briar Patch. Nothing is worse than the nightmare of paid holidays courtesy of severance dollars. Whatever you do, don't force that horror upon me!
And then...something else interesting always comes along.
What is my secret to always landing sweet assingnments, people often ask.
Well, on the record - I would say... get a good education, an advanced degree is preferrable...be articulate, network, make 10 contacts per day, have a smart looking resume.
Off the record, I would say - be a non-freaky-looking person who can smile and crack a joke. It goes a long way.
However, being a woman in your 30's is a big anchor around your neck. At any given time a large proportion of this demographic is gone for a year having babies (yes, maternity leave in Canada is a full year, sorry for your luck USA), inconveniencing all around them in the workplace, both when they are absent, and even more when they get bored at home and start stopping by monthly with their screaming spawn and stand in the middle of the office, triggering the loss of an hour or so of productivity as the entire workforce must drop everything and run over and stare for a while, asking pithy questions like "oooooh, is she sleeping through the night yet?" or "how is her little brother getting along with her now?" or "are you breast feeding? How are your nipples taking it?".
So in the interview, try to crack that joke about how much you hate children, even if you don't. Often they give you a good lead in, just to see where your head is at on the subject. You can identify this lead in, because they usually add an "Ooops! I guess I shouldn't really say that in an interview, should I!" at the end... and that's your cue! Child bashing - GO!
|Well, sure, I could screw like one if I wanted to, but think of all of the KIDS!! YUCK!|
So, I don't need to tell you who I called first on Tues... I landed this job before the month - or my severance - was through, along with a signing bonus that covered most of the cost of Ms. V.
THAT, my friends, is a life lesson. Silver lining....every cloud.
Anyways, I know you are now saying "blah blah blah, Curmudgeon - what happened with the vet check?"
Well, nothing really. After all of my sleepless nights leading up to the fateful Thursday, it was kind of a let down. Ms. V was perfectly behaved - did not even require sedation for the poking, prodding, jogging, filling of feet with play-doh to pose on slanty little wood blocks for x-rays, etc. The seller stood wringing her hands and smiling nervously in the background - and for the most part, stayed out of it fairly well for which I was grateful - I know it ain't easy to do.
The vet was, well, not exactly Mr. Personality Plus, but then I guess I wasn't paying him for his witty banter. I could tell he was underwhelmed by the horse, but not for any particular reason associated with soundness - I have a feeling that they see some pretty hot horseflesh at their clinic, weedy 2 yr olds probably aren't what it takes to light his fire.
So after it was all said and done, he packed it in and I went home and waited for his call, and the associated laundry list.
Consistent with horses of similar age and performance history. Horse looks thin and wormy. Deworm horse.
Well I am no James Herriot. But this - I can do.
I made only one mistake associated with this vet check. I told Mr. Motard the vet's findings.
So, when we showed up on Saturday with the Red Rocket to pick up Ms. V, he bounced out of the truck ready to talk the talk with the seller. Well Hellooo, nice place here, (pet dog for a bit), blah, blah, blah...
Hey, the vet said your horses look WORMY. Have you ever heard of this before? He says you might want to give something called DEWORMING a try...
And here I thought seeing the horse she had raised from birth drive down the laneway was going to be the most depressing thing that happened to this woman today.
MOTARD!! GET IN THE TRUCK. NOW!!
|Lord, I was born a travellin' Woooorrr-m. You'll feel me in your anus when I start to Squirrr-mmm.|
Friday 9 March 2012
But then I come up with something else that I say is even weirder. And more annoying. Seriously.. I am serious here. The VET CHECK has to be high on that list.
Maybe I am wrong (again), but I don't think it has always been so. It is my understanding that back in the day, a vet came, saw, critiqued... then reported back to you on the suitablity of the horse in a way that actually gave you some foggy clue on whether or not it was likely to drop dead on Wednesday.
Times, they are a changin. Being Canadian, I will of course blame this on you crazy, lawsuit happy Americans. Because that's what we do.
Somewhere this seemingly clear cut process has morphed into a "150 things that are wrong with this horse now... or could potentially some day be wrong with this horse between now and Armeggedon - just sayin" process.
|So, what you are telling me Doc, is that I might have a hell of a 2012 show season, but no promises beyond that?|
For the love of aliens, Doc... what the hell are you trying to tell me. Yes, no or maybe so? Timmy fell into the well? Use your words, Shy Ronnie! People in the back can't hear you!
To illustrate this point - let's look at an excerpt stolen from a veterinary website:
These exams are tailored to each prospective buyer's requests and may include a full physical exam of the horse, medical history, performance exam and flexion tests. Digital radiography, ultrasonography and endoscopy are offered as imaging modalities. Radiographs are routinely taken as part of the pre-purchase exam. A full set of x-rays provides valuable information by which to base the purchase decision, a baseline for that particular horse and a basis for later proving that insignificant x-ray changes in the horse have been unchanged over a period of time
Note that what this description DOESN'T say is...
After the completion of the maxing out of your Visa or Mastercard process, we will wrap all this shit up with a bow, and tell you whether or not to BUY THIS HORSE.
Nope. Because they know full well that they can inspect every orifice, flex, bend photograph... and horses are STILL a crapshoot. Forget the x-raying-scopy thingy and the probing-scopy thingies. What we really want is the latest in futurescopy. Here is a model that I really would like my vet to invest in.
|Ha! I knew that horse was going to show signs of osteoarthritis by age 24. Biiiinnn-GO! Damn I am good!|
Becaust THAT is in essence, what we really want to know.
C'mon Curmudgeon. If they are going to take our money and do all that shit... the least they could do is give us a "pass / fail". It is total bullshit that they give us a laundry list of clinical signs of who-knows-what significance and then leave us on our own...
Yah, yah, I know I have felt that way too.
But on the other hand - we all know someone who has gotten that very laundry list after vetting an incredibly priced Selle Francais they have had their eye on... Yah, the report had some strange words on it like "ringbone" and "navicular" and "close to dead" and "run Suzie, RUN" - but really, who could pass up a price like that! And so, they rationalized away all of this poo-poo fluff (oooh, that is so sweet. Roarer! The vet thinks he is like a little lion!), bought the horse, then spent the next 10 years trying to rehab A Trois Pattes, bad mouthing Vet Jones all the way for giving them such bad advice during the vet check.
Or the one that said nothing bad at all - but then the horse went dead lame...
Let's fix up that statement again. Make it even a bit more like what the average horse buyer wants to see..
After the completion of the maxing out of your Visa or Mastercard process, we will wrap all this shit up with a bow, and tell you whether or not to BUY THIS HORSE.
Then - if the horse does go lame sometime in the next 15 years, we will come to your farm free of charge, and bust our asses trying to fix whatever strange and unpredictable ailment that has cropped up. You are right, it was probably some neurological defect that we failed to notice that made Stormy run through that barbed wire fence. Our bad. The stitches are on us. And, yah, good point, we should have known little Emily would change her mind and decide that "pleasure trail horse" is mind-numbingly dull, and that the TEVIS cup is really where it's at, and evaluated the horse accordingly. What were we thinking!
It is sounding pretty sweet now, eh?
But then... has anyone ever NOT met a "Buyer #2" who negotiated a red hot deal with a shellshocked seller - because "Buyer #1" fled the scene after a grueling and intensive vet check with one vet... (cough, is this ringing a BELL with anyone, cough) ... only to come up clean as a whip second time around with a less anal inspector who's laundry list was only 2 pages long? And the horse went on to stay sound for the next 20 years?
Bottom line is... like absolutely everything else in the horse world - you pays yer money, and ya takes yer chances. Who knows. But I still think there is more value in a cryptic laundry list than nothing at all. So even though my financial situation was not the greatest, I perservered...
Tuesday 6 March 2012
I found that few things had happened since August, when first we met.
First - when I called up to break the news I learned an interesting factoid. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the daughter was actually a working student at WXYZ Farms. What are the chances!
And, in discussion with Ms. V's owner, the secret to why Herr Schlamm made such semi-flaccid efforts to sell me a horse in October was revealed. It was because in November, they corralled up all of the meaty and wild 2.5 year olds there and put them through an intensive 7 day "backing" program or something along these lines - voila, the horses were now "started" and their prices increased accordingly. Why sell one only a month short of windfall time?
What works for a stable with the best moving Stallion on Antartica should also work well for a small family farm. Right? And so, the daughter followed along at home and did the same intensive 7 day backing program on Ms. V.
Time for an awkward moment here.
I may be a bitch, but hearing the mom gush on the phone about the work her daughter had done to start this spindly little open kneed, spongy skeletoned 2 year old - well, I could hardly say "WTF - WHY? WHY on EARTH!" Even though I was most definitely thinking it.
(Yes, I realize I also must sound like a raging hypocrite, since I whined about El Muddo being unstarted at five. But honestly, I think there is a middle ground in there somewhere...don't ask me to quantify exactly what it is. I think Hillary Clinton knows. Or Monica Lewinski. What the hell is that woman's name anyways. Someone.)
|No worries Curmudgeon! I know mature, hard bone when I feel it! Ride on!|
C'mon Curmudgeon. At least you will get to see if she is a totally insane bucking freak dialed up to die-rider-die. Don't turn back now...
Yah, Whatever. Even if she did get testy, riding her would be sort of akin to saddling up a large angry goat, not a real horse hell bent for death and destruction.
Another interesting thing had happened in the last few months...It seems hard to believe now, since we have been hovering at parity with the U.S dollar for quite some time, but in 2003 the exchange rate CAD to USD ranged from ... get ready for it... $0.65 in January, to $0.76 in December.
(Remember how we looked longingly at the Victoria's Secret Catalogue back then, sure we would never, ever be able to afford the exchange on a Miracle Bra with matching Thong panties?)
|I was thinking of moving up a level this year , but damn! I can't sit the trot with this miracle going on!|
So, in August when I initially headed out to see Ms. V, the rate was $0.71, which would make her advertised price on the American equine.com "all prices in USD" website roughtly $6300. By the time I headed back there in late Nov, the rate had gone to $0.76 - or $5921.
This left me in sort of an awkward situation. Price had never been discussed - YET. So in my eyes, I was going to buy a horse that was advertised for $5900 (as the ad on equine.com had not changed). In THEIR eyes, I was going to see a horse advertised for $6300 (as in.. the day they wrote the ad) - PLUS - the value of the exceptional training that she had now received from a sixteen year old under the tutelage of Herr Schlamm in the fabulous world of WXYZ . Surely that puts her at $7000, give or take.
Curmudgeon - you can't seriously think the price would go DOWN just due to the exchange rate, you cheap bitch!
Yah, well, maybe I am. But tell me - had it gone the other way - would they have offered to let me to pay LESS?
Well, I must say - when I showed up that Saturday, I was ready to be underwhelmed at least - more likely annoyed. But in fact, the kid had done a perfect job of starting the large goat. They dolled her up in a little white pad and polos, and she executed some shaky version of a walk trot canter hack class for me. Really, I have seen worse at Trillium shows. Go figure.
So, when the time came to bargain - the mom looked at me with pleading eyes and explained how she had told her daughter that if she did a good job... if she made an effort.. it would pay off. It is a good life lesson to learn, no?
Sigh. Again. Whatever. I split the difference. We agreed on $6500.
I had myself a horse..provided she passed the vet check of course. Luckily, one of the better clinics for pre-purchases was right in the local area, so I was able to arrange something that week - Thursday morning it would be.
Driving to work on Monday, I was happy and excited about my new horse, but pretty bummed out that I would not be able to actually attend the vet check, since, as you may recall, I had no holidays left. Oh well.
As it turns out, I wasted critical bummed out energy for nothing. There was no need - because when I arrived at the office, I was greeted by my boss with tears in her eyes and HR at her side.
(This is never good, unless maybe HR has just told your boss a side splittingly funny joke. Generally speaking, HR people are a bunch of wizened dressage-judge like bitches that just don't have it in them, so this is a very unlikely scenario).
I was laid off immediately. Cutbacks. We know, we know, you work hard, you do your best... Sorry.
A good life lesson to learn.
Really, it all turned out for the best. Vet check, here I come! Now I had absolutely nothing else to do on Earth on Thursday other than surf Workopolis, or show up and witness some of my last non-pogey dollars go up in smoke. X-ray after X-ray. Hot Damn, you know where I was going! Good times.
That.. and also, the look on my ex-boss' face when I said "oh for FUCK'S sake, why didn't you say something before I bought a HORSE!" was priceless. I would do it all again, just for that.
Saturday 3 March 2012
|Ok, this time... I am buying better laces, and a horse from Charlot Farms|
Hey, I am no different.
(No, not about that. I never even met David Lee Roth. I am not that old, they were already Van Hagar by the time I saw them at the CNE).
There are a few aspects of the whole adventure where I am sure I did make the best choice possible. Fairly sure anyways. Kind of. Maybe.
One would be choosing the Viva Voltaire offspring. He really did turn out to be a good "bang for the buck" local stallion (yes, I realize he is not truly LOCAL local, in that he is imported, but I mean, in the neighbourhood).
The year I showed PSG, there were at least 3 other 9 year old Vivas out there showing PSG as well. He was the only stallion with two offspring at the latest Pan Am Games, with Viva's Salieri W winning Silver. So, although he is often described as being "jumper bred", he does seem to create some decent dressage horses.
(Yah, yah, meow-meow-meow...I know what's on your mind, don't bother posting...Whether or not you consider going to the Pan Am Games for an obscure country not actually known for dressage as a noteworthy feat or not is up to you to decide all on your own, not for discussion here).
In fact, it has been suggested to me that perhaps Ms. V is the most remarkable of all of his 2001 offspring going, since she actually turned out fine... while being ridden primarily by me, and not by someone wonderful like Tom Dvorak. Uhh, thanks. I think.
The other thing amazing about Ms. V - and the scientist in me says it is ok to type this, even though the irrational freak in me is thinking jinxies - is how incredibly sound she has been from start to finish. This, I would most definitely NOT change. She has missed only about a month along the way due to a stone bruise - which probably wouldn't have happened if she was not 8 yrs old and still barefoot due to her absolutely perfect looking, chip free feet.
(No, I am not a militant barefooter. I am just cheap. I nearly cry every time I think of the beautiful shoes I could be buying myself for the $200 a month I now hand over to the farrier).
I am not sure what I attribute this to. Breeding? Maybe. Size - likely. I was also pretty dedicated to keeping her lean in her early years, since there is good research in dogs showing that low body weight does reduce the likelihood of a dog developing osteoarthritis.
(Getting barn managers to feed to what I considered to be a lean body condition - well, that's another story, for another day).
So what would I do differently - if I were to do it all again?
Really, all of the different choices I would make relate to only one thing...
I would consider, from the very start, that the day would come when I would get sick of riding and decide to sell my horse.
Alas, I made choices that are not conducive to this activity.
First... I would have hunkered down, saved my money for a year, and bought something:
1. Taller - 16.2 at least
2. Male -
3. With sexier breeding - imported Elite something or other.
Sorry guys. I want to believe in the underdog breeds. And although I am no judge lover - I truly don't think breed prejudice in the ring is rampant. I have never, in all of my time scribing, seen an "off breed" marked down for anything other than being shitty. And I do think horses of different breeds CAN make it up the levels if they are good enough. So if one is going to keep their horse forever, it can be whatever breed lights their fire, and probably crappy riding will be the limiting factor to their success.
But breedism in the horse industry is rampant, not in the ring, but in the average everyday people out there. People who want Nike swooshes on their runners, Coach handbags, and imported horses. So if you plan on selling shoes, purses or PSG horses, you may want to take this into consideration. Logical? No. Reality? Yes.
The other thing I would do differently is not show my own horse at any show likely to leave an easily searchable trail in cyberspace.
70's ridden by a pro looks a lot better on paper than 50's ridden by an amateur spaz... even if the end buyer is another amateur spaz, who will never ever see the 70's again. I have never totally understood this one, but I guess people want hope, not reality.
Lastly, of course - I would have made different choices relating to training, all along the way. And that, my friends, will be the focus of the rest of my blog.
But - for now - who knew what the future held back then. I was just glad to have finally decided what horse to buy. I prepared to run back to the barn in London, sweep her off her feet and wedge her into the red rocket, and bring her home. Wherever that was.
|Actual product not exactly as shown. I am female, Ms. V is a horse|