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About Birdstone

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  1. Horse Costume Ideas!

    I really love the Batman/Batmobile idea!
  2. Tattoos.

    Here's something nice about getting tattoos that people usually forget to tell you: Once the needle is no longer on your skin, any pain is instantly gone. The tattoos on my wrists hurt a fair bit, but since it's not just a continuous motion of the needle, the pain was broken up into segments. Beware: Once you get one, it's really hard not to get another... and another... Here are mine: This represents a song lyric from a favorite song, by my favorite band. The lyric is "I've got a heart that's full of equal parts of fear and faith." This is for my big horse, who I had to euthanize a few years ago. His registered name is "I'll Call You", thus, "icy". Don't forget to post photos of yours!
  3. If You Were A Disney Princess...

    My sister and I had a very lengthy discussion once about whether or not there are any intelligent Disney Princes. We couldn't come up with anyone - Aladdin was the closest we got, and we decided he doesn't count, because he was all, you know, a street rat. As for me, I have no idea which princess I am without taking one of those silly quizzes.
  4. Working With Racehorses?

    Let me hit you with some knowledge, LaFleur (I hope you've seen Dodgeball, or that doesn't make any sense). I've been working on the track since literally the day I turned 16. I've been around the track since I was 12 - my mother used to take me to River Downs and drop me off for the races, then pick me up when they were finished. When I moved to Kentucky, I used to go to the track in the morning before school, just to watch the horses gallop. Then, on my 16th birthday I got my first job hotwalking. I've hotwalked, I've groomed, I've galloped, I've been a foreman and an assistant - there's really not much at the racetrack I haven't done. I've been to racetracks all over the country - from Santa Anita to Gulfstream. I'm a racetracker, through and through. So, based on my experience, I'm going to clear a few things up for you, so you can make the right choice here. First, grooms are NOT the "low men on the totem pole". A good groom is worth his weight in gold. It's the grooms who have their hands all over those horses every day, and a good groom will be the first to notice if something is amiss. Don't take this the wrong way, but it's surprising to me that you'd be grooming, considering you don't have any racetrack experience at all. Usually, you start hotwalking and work your way up. Even though you've got horse expeirence, grooming racehorses is a different game. Do you know how to put on polos? How about vetwrap? Ace bandages? Trace bandages? Standing bandages? Pack and wrap feet? Pull manes? Can you tie a tongue? How about putting on ice boots? Stuffing hay bags (and hanging the blasted heavy things)? There's a lot more to grooming racehorses than just brushing them up. Of course, no one is born knowing any of that, but that's why you don't START grooming - because learning as you go isn't usually a good option. I don't want to diminish what you KNOW, but hopefully you see that I'm not trying to sound like a jerk - just want you to be aware of the things grooming really entails. Also, I've worked in a lot of different barns, and I've never known "hours" to exist. I get up for work at 4am, and on the nights it's my turn to feed, I'm there until 5pm - an all day affair. Even when I don't need to feed that night, I'm rarely out of the barn before noon. Our hotwalkers get there at 6, and they're the ones who get the leave by 10 or 11. Usually, the grooms have to go back in the afternoons to feed - in my barn, we trade, so I end up feeding every other day. When you have horses that are running, that's an all day affair. Most tracks require the horse to be there 4 hours before racetime if you're shipping from another track or farm or training center. In Indiana, you have to be there SIX hours before racetime. It's a 12 hour day, easy. If you're looking for a horse job with more set hours, grooming isn't the best choice - hotwalking would be a good option for you though. As far as pay goes... the "norm" for grooming horses is $400-$450 a week, depending on how many horses you're rubbing. Hotwalkers are usually in the 200 range/week. There's not an hourly rate, but rather a weekly salary. If you're in a place that does payroll, be prepared to have money taken out for taxes. Grooms will also get a stake if they're horses win - that varies from barn-to-barn. I've usually gotten an extra $100, but some places do more or less. There's decent money to mamde rubbing horses at the track, but you're working hard for it and you really need to know your stuff. I've got to admit to having issue with some people's "sketch" judgement of the racetrack, and those who work there. There's a lot of hispanic people on the backside, and true, many of them don't speak English very well. In fact, of the grooms I work with now, only the foremen speaks English fluently. Another of our grooms speaks as much English as I do Spanish, so we manage to communicate pretty well between that and charades. The others speak almost none. There's no issue - and in fact, in all the barns I've worked in, I've never had issues communicating with the non-English speaking. No lie, I've met people on the backside who are less than savory, but I've never felt like I was in any danger back there. No one has ever given me any trouble. The racetrack is what I consider to be the place where misfits FIT. They're quirky, there's bad habits floating around, sure. But that doesn't need to affect you. I've met so many people on the backsides who I really like and consider to be friends. There are going to be shady people at EVERY racetrack and EVERY training center and EVERY farm. There's also going to be the nicest people you've ever met at EVERY racetrack, EVERY training center, and EVERY farm. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say things like, "Racetracks look after their own", and it's true. When I've been looking for a job, it's usually another racetrackers who says, "Hey, I know someone who needs help..." and then I've got a job. I'm in no way trying to discourage you from taking this path. See what you hear back from them, for sure. I just want you to be very aware of what you're getting into - grooming as second job would be really difficult. Hotwalking would be a great second job - and easy way to make a couple hundred extra bucks a week. Grooming is more of a commitment. If working at the track is something you really want to do, then you should do it. BUT, I'd only recommend it if you're in a position to commit to it, if grooming is the route you want to go. If you want to know anything, or have any questions, feel free to ask - PM or otherwise. :) ETA: You had some concern about your size. It's a fact, sure, that men are stronger than women. They just are. But racehorses isn't about strength - finesse is IMPORTANT. I'm 5'3" and weight 100 pounds. I've handled some TOUGH horses, sometimes better than the bigger men because where they've got strength, I've got finesse. Also, there's some short dudes back there - don't sweat your size :)
  5. Opinions?

    My immediate reaction to the pink dress was something like, "Ooh, that's pretty". But my reaction to the green dress was more like, "WOW, THAT IS AWESOME". So, go with that green dress. It looks lovely on you, besides :) ETA Oh, apparently I missed this one, LOL. I mean, my choice is still the ame, but you no doubt killed in the pink one!
  6. Remember That One Time...

    Haha, Jenna! I didn't realize! How's Mr. Benny? I see from the photo in your signature he's just as cute as ever.
  7. Ages On Here?

    23 here. Been here since I was maybe 12 or 13.
  8. Haven't Been On In Forever, But I Need Some Help And Opinions.

    I recommend taking the internship. You have the possibility of turning that internship into a legit job, and that's an opportunity you don't want to pass up. In this business, when things that present themselves, grab it! If you spend too much time asking questions, heeing, and hawing, someone else will steal your golden opporunity, and you'll be left wondering "what if..." If you can bring one of your horses, that's great. If you have to leave them both at home, that's not the end of the world. I just spent 7 months away from my horses, more than a thousand miles from home. I wished all the time they were with me, but they couldn't be right then. At some point, if the internship turns into a job, you'll be able to bring both your horses where you are...even if it takes a little time and planning. Best of luck to you! Obviously, let us know what you decide!
  9. Remember That One Time...

    ...when I used to post here?! I haven't been to this website in months, and when I logged in just now everything was different! There are features here that I don't even know what to do with! I don't want to waste everyones time with somg ridiculously long update on my life, but I'll do my best to give a Readers' Digest version. And then you all tell me what notable things have been going on in your lives, so we can all be on the same page again. Deal? Deal. Here we go. I moved to New Jersey in late September after accepting a job at a Hunter farm. Beautiful barn, a lot of very nice people and horses, and the location - oh my! One of the most beautiful places I've been to. Central New Jersey is like the best-kept secret. Nothing but horse farms and little towns all over the place, which is sort of my version of Heaven. Unfortunately, things didn't work out and I moved on after about 2 months... To Maryland! Upon the ending of my job in New Jersey, I decided I missed horse racing and wanted to get back to it. I've stepped away from racing on a couple different occassions, and always I return...why fight it?! Before heading home to Kentucky, I went to Elkton, MD where the incredible Fair Hill Training Center is. Was able to snag a job with a young trainer just starting out, and was offered the chance to go with him to Florida. Which of course I jumped at, because it was November and getting colder all the time. I spent about a week and a half working at Fair Hill, and then... Onto Florida! Took the drive in two days, because who wants to drive 20 hours straight through? NOT ME. Drove 7 hours to North Carolina, spent the night with my Aunt and Uncle who I never get to see, and then drove 12 hours the following day to Delray Beach, FL. The horses arrived the next morning at Palm Beach Downs training center. We ran a few horses, I worked like a slave (that's just how I roll) and then... well, things stopped working. I stuck it out probably longer than I should have, but finally had to say, "I'm out!" For the last month and a half of my time in Florida, I did magnetic therapy on the racehorses at Palm Beach Downs and also at Palm Meadows. And now... I'm in Kentucky! Again! Florida was getting unbearably hot, a lot of the trainers were heading back north to fairer conditions, and I was just sick of Florida in general. It was fun for the 3-4 months of winter, but past thanks! I've only been home 4 days, and am currently job searching again, sort of. If I don't find any grooming positions that suit me, I'll most likely end up at Fair Hill again, continuing with the magnetic therapy. Since coming home, I've spent a lot of time at the farm seeing my own horses, of course. When I went out on the road, I had to leave them behind until I could afford to move them. Once I went to Florida, the plan was to wait until we went back to Fair Hill in the spring, but then I didn't stay with that trainer so... the long and short of it is that I hadn't seen my horses in 7 months when I finally came home. And it has been a very, very happy reunion. Other Important Information: I have 2 dogs now instead of one (new dog is Lilah, a Jack Russel); I have 2 horses instead of 3 (I found Act Nice a new home, because I couldn't afford 3 horses anymore). OK - your turn!
  10. Blogs!

    I have a tumblr:
  11. Willow Died.

    My God, the unfairnss of the world. I'm so sorry. You and Willow are in my thoughts.
  12. Christmas Wishlist?

    I have absolutely no right to ask for Christmas gifts this year - my parents have both helped me out a lot financially this year. However, I would like my own GPS. So, if you're listening, Santa...
  13. Tattoo Ideas?

    I don't think anyone should get a tattoo just for the sake of having a tattoo. It should be something meaningful and special, and something that will still be meaningful and special no matter how old you are.
  14. Your Horse Of A Lifetime

    What do I even say about him? I love him. I loved him until the day he died, and I'll keep loving him until the day *I* die.
  15. Predicament

    That dude sounds like a complete redneck. Offer payment for her. It seems like the chances are good he'd take the money.