Friday, November 4, 2011

The 100th Post

The century mark.

Hard to believe it was only four months ago that I was writing the 50th post, and four months before that was just the beginning of Memoirs of a Horse Girl!

Writing in the blogosphere has offered some unforeseen rewards.

Blogging releases stress!

With the school year in full swing, I find myself setting aside time to write.  Even when I do not have time to go to the barn and see my horse in the flesh, I can relive our adventures, reflect on our progress, and peruse photos from my computer.  This is almost as much fun as seeing Harley.  Okay, not quite, but it does offer some solace when I realize that the barn-free days fill more than then their share of the week.  Completing a nice post is quite satisfying and even more so when I get to read and respond to your comments!  I love that part.  I feel connected to a broad group of horse people with whom I can share, commiserate, support, and learn.  That is no small thing.  In fact, I feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself, even though I contribute from the comfort of my own home.

Blogging is a training and trimming aid!

I have found this to be true in the form of reflection, record-keeping, and by reading your blogs.  As I continue to learn and relearn as many aspects of dressage, training, and horse care as I can fit into my week, I use this blog as a means to share information and evaluate my understanding.  I know riding will continue to be a re-education for me, because as reiterated by my fellow bloggers, there are many, many layers of understanding in riding.  For example, the outside rein is never just the outside rein and neither is riding from the inside leg to the outside hand.  Trimming is far from the answer or the whole picture for healthy hooves, but exploration and practice will lead me to a broader grasp of that answer.  Thank you for sharing in the "My Barefoot Horse" posts.  I was a little worried that those posts might turn readers away or diffuse interest.  I have been delighted with the response and plan to continue these records of my work and my horse's feet.  It did prompt me to add a "Disclaimer" to the bottom of my blog, however.  I do not want anyone to risk the injury of themselves or their horse, because they try something that I am doing with my horse.  I find horse people to be very responsible, thoughtful people, so I am not terribly worried, just mindful of the climate of a society based in liability.  I hope the cheerful photo next to the disclaimer shows that my intentions are good and that I only want the best for anyone who might visit my blog in pursuit of information.

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  -Albert Einstein

As a middle school science teacher, I am faced with the reality of this quotation on a daily basis.  I do not like to oversimplify, as I feel that robs learners of some of the sense of accomplishment, but I do understand the lurking feeling that "I can explain this better or demonstrate that more clearly, if I can just get around to the other side of the concept."  More than once I have addressed a question in one of my science classes, a question that I may have answered numerous times, only to realize that I am thinking about the question in an entirely new light, which requires that my answer change accordingly.  This is part of what makes science an exciting field of study and part of what turns some away from it.  Few concepts are as cut and dry as gravity, and even then mass and distance are critical factors determining the gravitational force between objects as unworldly as planetary bodies.  Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, center of balance directs the effects of gravity on the horse-human centaur in profoundly useful and challenging ways.

Anything but simple, cut and dry, or black and white, dressage nestles nicely between science and art and so I find myself sandwiched between the two on a regular basis, in the classroom and in the saddle.  Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I hope Einstein would agree with me in saying that not knowing something well enough should not be the death of explanation, but the motivation to know more, to understand more, and then to explain the new working hypothesis of one's understanding.

So with that, I look forward to many more posts, learning, sharing, and personal growth as the gravity of the blogosphere pulls me closer to its center and closer to the heart of the matter.  Please take the final quotation, not as a darkness which we can never fully understand, but as darkness that can only be illuminated by realizing its existence and striving to shine the light.

"Science has 'explained' nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness."  -Aldous Huxley


  1. I agree - blogging has so many benefits! I find I can be a little down, but as I start writing it forces my thoughts to all of the positive things about horses and when I'm finished, surprise, my mood has lifted :) This doesn't even touch on all of the learning benefits.
    I really enjoy your blog and your comments. Great job.

  2. Happy anniversary! I couldn't agree more. I am in love with the blogging community and can't believe how many people I can now call friend because of it. Blogging is a great way to share info, get info, get support, and give support. Huxley's statement doesn't discourage at all. Instead it shows us how much we still GET to learn! Thank goodness for it, or we all might reach a state of boredom and quit!

    Well written, Val!

    Karen from

  3. Congratulations! And love the pictures of him drinking - I love watching horses drink - they all seem to have their own styles (Pie always sucks his tongue afterwards!).

  4. Lovely post. What I love about the blogging community is that it really does feel like a community! Everyone is so nice and we all love sharing our experiences. All these lovely horse people exist that I would otherwise not know because of blogging.

  5. Ain't the internet great? For me, it's a way to talk about horses to people who care and understand. Plus, blogging is a really great way of keeping track of things. Don't remember my epiphany from last March? No problem, I can look back in my archives and find it. That's pretty cool.

  6. Carol- I completely agree. I also feel that blogging is more productive than other stress relievers, like watching TV. I watch TV and have a couple favorite shows, but sometimes I become annoyed with myself for allowing time to pass without really doing anything. I never feel like I am wasting time when I am reading or writing. I love movies, though. I do not really classify them with vegging in front of the TV.

  7. Karen- Students give a variety of responses if you reveal to them that even as a teacher, one is still learning. I think that after they get past the initial shock (adults are not know-it-alls) they can appreciate us for the model of lifelong learning. Knowing everything would be boring.

    Kate- Thanks! I have been saving these photos for the right opportunity. Harley often sloshing the water around with his muzzle before he drinks. That is cute about Pie. :)

  8. Lisa- It really DOES feel like a community, and one guaranteed to expand one's own perspective and local influences. I feel that this is particularly beneficial in reference to barefoot hoofcare, which has a mixed blessing my area. I am loving it!

    smaz- My husband suffers much less Harley-centered monologues, now that I am blogging. He is always a good sport, but it is not really fair of me to force him to listen to all the little nuances of my ride when he is not a rider himself, although he has picked up some lingo and understanding of technique through osmosis. A neat side effect of blogging about Harley is that now he can ask me about my ride, because I am not walking in the door automatically talking about my barn adventure. I still share a lot with him, but he gets the shortened version, because I know that I can share our experiences with you and anyone else who wants to read my blog! Oh, and my husband confessed that he shows his coworkers his wife's blog and HIS horse. I love that.

  9. Wow 100! As a new blogger, I find that to be a huge milestone. I always enjoy your thoughful and insightful post. I love your young horsecrazy memories, I can truly relate to those. I also appreciate the comments you have left for Me and Freddy to. I can see how blogging could be very healthy for a realtionship.
    I grew weary of the hole by hole narrative I had to listen to from my ex when he got home from a day of golf, blogging would have been great for that. :-)

  10. Mary- I was surprised when I realized that we hit 100!

    I hope that you and Freddy are doing well!

    Now that you mention it, I think we are due for a memoir.


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