Sunday, April 28, 2013

What Should This Blog Be? For You and for Me?

This blog has been running for over four years now.  I'm never quite sure what it should be - for you or for me.  For me, it provides a place to connect with the wider horse community, particularly those who are seeking a better way to work with horses.  Although I'm at a large boarding barn, I often ride alone or with others who don't understand what I'm up to.

This blog also provides me with a handy place to record what's happening in my horsemanship journey, and writing about these things gives me a way to digest and understand what my horses and I are up to.  I wish all of you could meet Dawn, Red and Pie, and this is a way to share them with you a little bit.

Sometimes I'm frustrated by the lack of comment, conversation and dialogue - but then I'm not the greatest myself at that on other blogs and I certainly understand everyone's short of time for that sort of thing.  Maybe I'm looking for blogs to be something they can't really be . . .

In any event, if this blog could be anything you wanted, what would it be for you?  What would there be more of, and less of?  What sorts of things interest you, and what things bore you to tears?  If anything on here has made a difference to you, what has it been?

Thanks for reading, and for any comments you choose to share.

67 comments:

  1. Kate -- I start my day, every day, by reading your postings. I don't comment because, well, to me you are a teacher, our teacher of all things horse. You have given us much to think about, and often if I don't understand something, I just put it on the back burner and with time, I do understand. Your metaphor of horses as a journey is an apt one, and that's why I think it works for me to just wait and not question. It is kind of like if you were reading Romeo and Juliet and posting about it, and I was reading See Spot run. I don't always understand your thoughts about R&J, but when I get there, I will.

    I really really enjoy how you have all sorts of postings: training, riding, medical, care... I am especially grateful for when you write about your more elemental struggles. I have noticed that it is exceedingly rare for experienced horse people to talk about, let alone be able to explain their thinking about, how they deal with the rawer, more green horse behavior, for example when you wrote about getting Red used to the horse washing stall, or sometimes about Dawn. I board at a big busy barn, and I am fairly new to horses. So much of the little important stuff, the patterns of human-horse interactions, is invisible to me -- and I don't know how riders have gotten themselves and their horses to where they are at.
    I have a horse that tells me no a lot--and I don't "naturally" know the best way to approach getting her to yes. Also, I don't see a lot of her more subtle ways of telling me no, so I can't prevent the bigger refusals. Probably the biggest "no" is not being willing to work in the arena without an other horse (and she prefers at least two others) with her.

    That's why I really appreciate it when you talk about the little things --and I have noticed with horses that they way they deal with the little things reflects how they will deal with the bigger things.

    All in all, it is the mix of what you write about that I like the most. I like your style -- you explain your thinking about a topic, the variables to consider, and why you chose the path you do. And at the end of the day, you give credit where credit is due: you are appreciative.

    Anyway, please know that I appreciate your writing, even though I am usually a silent reader.

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    1. Sunny - thank you so much for your kind comments - that's why I write - to understand what I'm doing - or at least try to - and to clarify my thinking in a way that I hope will mean something to others.

      Red was also a horse that hated to work in an arena by himself, and for him it was mainly a matter of his self-confidence (or lack thereof). As his self-confidence, and trust in me, have grown, this issue has just faded away - he's much more bold now.

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  2. Kate,
    Juat so you know, I'm still hear and read regularly. Just haven't had the energy to comment (or do my own posts either!) this winter--school has been tough this year.
    That said, I think the blog should be for you, and those of us who read can glean what we want from it (there's lots to choose from, as Sunny said), and comment or ask questions as we feel the need. I like that you're not trying to "sell" yourself, just reflecting on your own experiences and sharing those reflections with the rest of us.

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    1. EvenSong - glad you're OK - was wondering since we hadn't seen you in a while. I'm glad it doesn't have a salesy tone - I worry sometimes that I can be a bit preachy. But I'm certainly no master, and I hope that tone comes through - we're all on this road together with horses.

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  3. Hi Kate, first off, I read your postings when I have the time. More so I get into them. Plus being busy myself, I dont always have as much time as I would like, but I get there! Your postings, are to me as Sunny said, teachings and thoughts. i find sometimes, that they are over my head. It may take a while for me to collect your information, but as Sunny said, I also get there.
    I am amazed how you find time to ride almost everyday? I find it hard enough to ride once, maybe twice a week!! i like to here about your gains, positive gains. i dont ride for anything else except pleasure. That pleasure is the connection between horse and me. Like us all, we are looking for that, we each have our own goals, and sometimes those goals do not match. But that doesnt mean we are`nt on the same road, its just we are coming from differing directions. I enjoy your posts. But sometimes to find an answer to that post, isnt always easy. You know far more technical riding than I, and that shows in the intelligent way the information is imparted to us. So dont despair, keep going. But there is one thing I would like to see? Thats more visual imagery of what it is you are posting about, if thats at all possible. I do understand that some things are not.

    A follower!

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    1. cheyenne - I would like to have more photos and videos, too. I don't have someone to regularly take pictures - but maybe I can recruit the long-suffering husband . . .

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  4. Like Sunny, I read and rarely comment. For me I'd have to say the posts I enjoy the most are those where I learn from you. (So, that makes it just about every post!!!) Even when you are writing about your work with your horses... I learn. You amaze me! I so enjoy having a glimpse into your mind and knowing what you are thinking. I admire your ability to sort through everything and put it succinctly on paper - er - online!

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  5. Dreaming - thanks for your comment - I think I could probably do better in the succinct department . . .

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  6. I love reading your posts because 1) I find insight and understanding in my journey with Ashke in your journey with your three, and 2) because you are able to put into words what I am trying to do in relationship with my horse, and 3) because I worship the ground Mark Rashid walks on and was wonderfully excited to find another person out there in the blogsphere who would understand why I use a Raised Rockin' S snaffle and would never wear spurs and who really isn't interested in performance goals but only really interested in learning to ride and communicate on that unspoken, without-thought level I had when I was a kid. Thank you for providing that.

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    1. Karen - thank you, and I'm glad you find a welcome here.

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  7. I've not had horses for years but still love them. Reading your blog lets me continue my horse love vicariously. Your writings also give me encouragement that us arrogant humans are starting to come down off our collective 'high horses', pun intended, and realise we are in partnership with the earth and its creatures, not greater than.

    I also like to forward occasional postings to a friend of mine who has two unbroken horses which she allows to walk all over her because it is 'abusive' to have them respect her space. Respect is a two way street.

    In an earlier post you mentioned that you were delving into Tai Chi. How did that work out for you? I think that shows quite evolved thinking on your part to put riding and tai chi together.

    So, thank you for writing your blog. For me, what you write and how you write it works. It's your story and I enjoy coming along for the ride - those puns again!

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    1. It's possible to get horses to respect your space without being abusive - but it is necessary to set clear boundaries and then stick to them. If a horse doesn't clearly understand that you have boundaries, things can get dangerous pretty fast.

      I did Tai Chi for two reasons - I was having balance problems after my accident in the summer of 2011, and Tai Chi really helps with that, and I wanted to do more meditative practices. My balance has been back to normal for a while, and I'm not doing Tai Chi right now because I'm doing different meditative practices, but I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a meditative practice that's also good for balance and muscle control.

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  8. I think your blog should be for you. we tune in to see what's happening in your world because You have tons of discipline when it comes to training, riding and sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Lori - I often read your wonderful blog too but rarely comment . . .

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  9. I always enjoy reading your thoughts and experiences, even if I'm not a regular commenter, keep it going!

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  10. I am also a daily reader who rarely comments. I enjoy your blog just as it is. I enjoy the way you explore conversations with your horses, and often what you've written is the beginning of a new dialogue with my horse.

    I used to comment on blogs more, but found that it wasn't my cup of tea. But I'm sorry that you were left wondering from my lack of input.

    Thanks.

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    1. Stillearning - I know everyone's short of time - I also have little time to comment on blogs.

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  11. I eagerly read every post you put up, though comment only occasionally. Often I save them up for a few days in order to focus, take my time, and absorb the information presented. Pretty much the same way I'm approaching my riding these days - aiming for quality over quantity.

    Reading this blog often feels like walking into a cozy room full of friends... like minded in the desire to improve and refine our horsemanship. Rather than chasing after ribbons or trophies, we seek those elusive moments of unity... of partnership. Once felt, you can never go back.

    Whatever you decide about this blog is fine with me, as long as you keep on writing it. :D

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement - I like your image of the cozy room . . .

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  12. I am fairly new to your blog, but I have quickly come to enjoy it. I have found so few horse blogs written by people really focused on and working towards the highest level of horsemanship, who are willing to put in the time and thought it takes to get there while simultaneously being able to parse their experiences and write about them.

    I too ride at a barn where where no one else (except my husband, who rides with me) has any idea or interest in what we are trying to do. We're not the type of people to talk without being asked, but there is a pretty stark contrast between how we handle our horses and what the norm is around us. We do feel alone in our goals a lot.

    I am glad to have found your blog because it is reassuring to know of someone else who has similar aspirations. It is also great to have a window into the details of three others horses and their work.

    Like others have said, I don't often comment, but I've read everything you've written since I found your blog and gotten a lot out of it.

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    1. I know what you mean about feeling alone at your barn - one thing blogging has done for me is put me in touch - if only remotely - with others who have similar goals and approaches. It's good to know there are others out there like you.

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  13. A friend gave me the link to your blog thinking I would like it, and I do. Although we may ride with different tack, do different things with our horses, and may have different methods sometimes, I feel we both aspire to "dance with our partner" (which is why my horse blog is titled "Dances With Horses"). I read your blog as a window into someone else's thinking and experiences which is interesting in and of itself, although it may or may not influence anything I do. I mostly ride alone also, so I do understand the challenge of getting photos and videos, but I try to do it because I suspect page after page of little black marks would drive away any readership I have.

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    1. Michelle - I worry about those little black marks myself . . . have to figure out some way to get more pictures and videos, for fun if nothing else.

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  14. From reading the comments, I am going to guess that mostly, we don't comment because we're all busy processing! I love your posts and the perspective you take. Makes me think. I'll try to post more often but really, this is your blog and it should do whatever it is YOU need it to do. Personally, I think it's pretty great! :-)

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    1. Rebecca - thanks - you are too kind . . .

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  15. Kate--I enjoy reading your blog, though I don't always comment. Partly this is the usual lack of time, but also, you and I have different ways of training and handling horses and I think we both know where we agree and where we disagree, and I guess I don't see any point in discussing it over over (remember the great Planet X versus Planet Y discussion?). Anyway, that said, I am a huge believer in the fact that lots of different methods can work if the person is consistent and persistent, and you are surely that. Your methods have given you great results with your three horses and I enjoy hearing your story, as I read with you through the rough spots and on to the very real success you are having. I like your honesty. I admire your work ethic--I can hardly keep one riding horse going these days, let alone three. I wouldn't change a thing about your blog. You and I share a love of horses and a strong commitment to the horses we own and I always respect your opinions, even when I would choose a slightly different path to achieve a similar goal.

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    1. Laura - the feelings I have for you are mutual - I expect we have a lot more in common than we don't. Can't wait to see your photos of another of your trail adventures!

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  16. I read all of your posts but rarely have time to comment, I usually read several posts in one sitting to catch up. I learn a lot from each post and don't find you preachy. I may not agree with every approach you use, just as you may not agree with every approach I take, but I don't find your writing style to be "my way or the highway" at all. I think we have a similar journey in that the more I work with horses, both on the ground and under saddle, the more I realize how much I don't know. I think your blog needs to be written for you, and each of us as readers will take away our own unique learnings from your writings about your journey with horses.

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    1. Melissa - your blog was the original inspiration for mine! I certainly agree about realizing how much we don't know the more we ride . . .

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  17. I totally understand the feeling. I think a lot of us bloggers have been feeling like we are just sorta talking to ourselves... but I blog because it is more for me and a journal on my experiences with my horses and my life. It is just fun having others join in the discussions. I have met so many wonderful new people blogging, that is one reason why I don't stop blogging.
    But, I love your blog. I love how you explain everything, you make it so easy to understand. Unlike me, I sometimes feel that when I am explaining something that I am doing with one of my horses, it just doesn't make sense. You make it make sense! And I don't think you need to change anything. I like it the way it is.
    I know I rarely comment, but I rarely comment on any blog. I have tried to be better about not being on the computer all the time, so I only read blogs a couple days a week now. And I only do a blog post every couple weeks. I really want to try to do more then that. But life just gets in the way!
    Keep it up, I love what you do and really enjoy your blog!

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    1. Paint Girl - I certainly understand how busy everyone is, and appreciate your comment.

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  18. I think the blog should be how you want it to be. I've reading your blog for a while but I, not great at commenting on blogs because it's normally late at night that i read blogs and then I'm just far to tired. But I love your blog and your doing a great job so keep it up.

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  19. Don't change a thing. You and I are on the same wave length and I love reading your blog.

    Dan

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  20. Kate, I think your blog is superb. It is well thought out and insightful. You honestly describe the work you are doing, the process you are using and the successes and failures. What an important resource! Like Dan said above, I don't think you need to change a thing.

    I've read everyone's blog less lately. I comment on your blog rarely. I kind of thought by our actions that you and I had a (unspoken) understanding that we would comment on each other's blogs when super necessary or relevant to the discussion. I flatter myself to think that you and I share many horse related views so I did not want to restate what your posts already said better than I could. My comments would only be preaching to the choir so to speak.

    You ask what I would change about your blog. Only you can answer that. I can tell you that I personally blog for myself more than for anyone else. I like to look back on older posts to see where I was with my horses and what I've accomplished. I am sure your own blog is a wealth of information to you too. I think about quitting my blog because I do not like the time it takes to do it well, but I don't want to lose the journal or the friendships. I don't blog or comment very often and I have pent up posts and comments I want to get out of my brain most of the time. Sadly, they disappear in time because I do chose living real life with Brian and Maizie and horses over writing. I have to now because of Maizie's age. She is growing up too fast and I never put blogging or commenting over her.

    You have to think about what the blog gives you. Is it worth it if no one ever commented? My blog is worth it to me like all the paintings I've completed that sit in dark closets. But, sometimes those paintings come out and are purchased! The blog is my canvas of horse love. The comments are icing on the cake, but they are not the cake. The posts are the cake because I can go back and read them and laugh all over again at this ride or that scary situation that my horses and I muddled through.

    Do your posts help you think through a problem without other's insight? I'm afraid that you are further along the journey than some people and your questions, ideas, and concepts are thought of as advanced so you get praise rather than real discussion. You are a teacher rather than an equal who is philosophizing with everyone. I understand that you think you are just starting a long journey because you are communicating with horses (as we all should - good for you!). As a human, though, working with horses, you are advanced in your approach so you don't get a ton of comments that question you or provoke discussion.

    I tend to agree with your thoughts so I say nothing. If you would suddenly start talking about doing something with your horses that is counter to my belief system, in other words, something that really is hard for me to read, I would not comment, but I wouldn't follow you either. I've had to stop following well-meaning horse bloggers because the posts about their process upsets me.

    I like reading about your adventures with your three horses because you honestly ride every day. I have three horses and I ride every day. You inspire me to keep going. But, it is not your job to inspire me or anyone else.

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    1. juliette - I appreciate your comments and perspective, and also love reading your blog.

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  21. I always read your blog but I'm an occasional comment leaver. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy it or learn or admire what you are doing. I just don't comment unless I really feel I have something to contribute to the conversation. I'm like that in person too -- I watch quietly from the sidelines, absorbing the wisdom, and then apply it to my riding. I particularly love watching Red, Pie and Dawn develop.

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    1. Annette - I also enjoy reading about your journey with horses.

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  22. I am also new to reading your blog, and though I never comment, I feel like I learn so much from your posts. It seems to me a good combination of log for yourself and sharing your knowledge with others. Thanks for letting us ride along with you.

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  23. It's funny, I've noticed my traffic is the same but comments are way, way down. I thought it was because I'd been gone so long.

    I think it's a blogosphere thing.

    Anyway, I just like"riding" beside you.

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    1. Breathe - thank you - can't wait to hear more about Cotton!

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  24. I get so much from this blog. Keep on doing what you're doing! Thank you

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  25. I really enjoy your posts in general! I don't always comment since I sometimes sneak in a quick read at work... I have learned a lot from your lyme posts as well as your recent training posts - you do a good job of describing your work with all three horses.

    I do hear you on the comments/discussion thing - it is nice to get some comments, even though you are sometimes writing for yourself...

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    1. Laura - I know how hard it is to comment . . .

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  26. Recently I sent a link to your blog and information you have gathered regarding EPM to someone in need of that information. I never told you about it, but I should have, as it would help you see that the work you put into this blog is valuable. I read all your posts, and it does create dialogue, if only in my head. :)

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    1. Emme - I'm glad the Lyme/EPM info is of use.

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  27. Remember the 9/9/1 rule with social media. 90% of your audience doesn't engage (ie Read Only), and 9% will passive follow (like on Fb, link to your blog, etc) and 1% will actually comment :) Just write what makes you happy on your blog!

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    1. Lauren - I know the 80/20 rule, but the 90/9/1 rule is new to me! Thanks for making that point.

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  28. I do feel like I have met Dawn, Pie, and Red. I don't often comment, but I check in very regularly. Probably a little less now that the Spring weather has me outside more and away from the computer. What I like the most and learn a lot from is your detailed ride reports/analysis, and the links, the archived posts, so I can read on specific things if I need to. I also like to read the comments and I have found a handful of other blogs I now follow from "meeting" them in the comments area.
    Anne and Tundra

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  29. I think you should write the blog you want to write. I don't comment often, though if there was a 'like' or 'agree' button, I'd sure be hitting that a lot.

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  30. I have always enjoyed and appreciated your insight, knowledge and support. Your journey with your three horses is not only educational, but is an inspiration to me. I may not comment often, but your blog was one of the first I followed when I started blogging 3 years ago, and I hope that I get to continue enjoying your blog for a very long time.

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    1. Wolfie - I expect I'll keep it going - can't seem to stop . . .

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  31. I love reading about what you're doing with your horses - it inspires me to try new things with my own. I also love to read about the day to day small successes and improvements you reach with each of your horses - I know that feeling with my own - that first time you get something new figured out and it works, and the point where that new thing become consistent between you and your horse. I keep a handwritten training journal, but am not brave enough or feel like I'm advanced enough to share it openly with the world. I think that since it's your blog it should fit with what works for you, but I love it as it is and thank you for sharing it with all of us. Amy

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    1. Amy - thanks for your kind comments - the more I ride, the less advanced I feel . . .

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  32. What a timely post Kate!

    Though I may not comment as much as I'd like to...I LOVE*** to read your almost daily journalism, about your Horses.
    Because it seems to be what you enjoy, the training and then the journalism...it is as much for you, as it is for us. We all glean tons from your experiences.
    ( Reading comments is satisfying as well sometimes)

    I would always like more comments at my place, and I often think "what is this for?" But I always enjoy posting and thinking about training methods. Of course, I love to post photos.

    I have to say that YOU, and a handful of others, have stuck it out with -ME- through my boarding hazards and riding fun. (sometimes riding hazards too)
    It is because of You, and those handfuls of others, that I continue at all.

    Your concise and thoughtful ways with horses always inspires me. And I will reiterate....I get so much out of your blog, because YOU enjoy writing it after riding it!

    PS
    If you simply get a tripod and camera, you may video some of your rides or training. Picasa and other web based photo editing, allow you to take a photo within that video too.
    I saw a camera lately...that takes a photo or video, as you say that command!

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    1. allhorsestuff - I love your blog and don't comment as often as I should. I agree with you that the riding and writing are both for me - I'm just glad others enjoy it too.

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  33. I just want to tell you how much I love and appreciate your blog. You have a level of thoughtfulness that I've rarely found elsewhere. Your posts have been a great inspiration to me and I've learned so much from you. I keep so many of your ideas and concepts in mind while I ride these days and have improved leaps and bounds as a result. Your series of posts on Working Toward Softness are some of my favorites! You've encouraged me to look past the surface and see the whole picture (and it's things like that which I believe helped me finally diagnose my girl's ulcers). Your blog is truly one of my favorites and I think however you continue writing it will remain so. Thank you for sharing so much over the years.

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    1. Story - thanks, I really appreciate your (too) kind comments.

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  34. It is hard for me to put into words how much reading your blog has meant to me. I discovered the blogging world almost exactly 3 years ago, yours was the first one that I actually followed. I honestly get lost in your blogging. I've read and studied and enjoyed your writings more than I can say. I have learned so much from this blog. From you, I have also come to the realization that it is never too late to follow my dream.
    I remember vividly, like it was yesterday, the day you got hurt. I was so worried about you I could hardly sleep, reading about your recovery and triumph over that is something I will never forget. You've come a long way!
    I may write about my silly little dog, but I am truly a horse girl at heart, there is a huge hole in my life not being around them right now, but soon, I hope, that will change. Thank you for the inspiration! I will make a real honest attempt to comment more often, sometimes I am not sure what to write except "wow! that was a really good post". I'll work on that. :)

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    1. Mary - your comment is very moving to me - I write mostly for myself - to clarify my own thinking and solidify it - but it's great if it can be of value to someone else.

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