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About cleverhorse

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  • Birthday 06/06/1985

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    Chicago Illinois
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  1. Calling All Pros...

    Wow, thank you everyone! Lots and lots of great ideas in here. I really appreciate everyones input. I can't drop my prices (as of right now I rent school horses from my good friend as I am not in a position to buy schoolies yet, and I also pay to use the arena per lesson, so over half of my lesson bill goes to my friend and the facility). My prices are very competitive as I do about 15 minutes of ground work, 45 minutes under saddle, and 15 minutes after the lesson of more ground work (especially with novice students and younger kids). So for $50 you actually get a little under an hour and a half of "horse time". I can't think of another lesson barn in my area that offers this. I have tried free advertising sites like craigslist to no avail (so far) but I always keep posting, just because it's free and it can't hurt! I have car magnets that I ordered from Vistaprint (LOVE them for marketing on a budget) and I have had a few calls from them. I drive about 2 hours a day to and from the barn so my car is a great moving advertisement for my business. psmitty- thanks for your list!! So helpful. I'm actually going to print this out and go over everything. I really appreciate your help. THANKS ALL! Keep it coming please. :)
  2. Calling All Pros...

    Hello all! So I could use some advice. I have been building up my lesson program for the last year. After relocating and revamping my lesson program, my new and improved business is in tip top shape. I love the new top of the line facility, my lesson horses/ponies are amazing, and my program has never looked better. Unfortunately, because of the move (pretty far north) I am on the Illinois/Wisconsin border and having tons of trouble building up new clientele. Before the economy crash, at my old barn I was teaching about 30-40 lessons a week. Now of course, with things the way they are, I am teaching significantly less and my overhead is pretty monstrous. I could REALLY use some advice from fellow pros on the best, most efficient (and not super costly) way to advertise. I thought about advertising via FB but it seems that they charge you about $1 "per click" and that looks like it would get pretty expensive rather quickly! I have given myself to the end of this year to get my business to a place where it's at least self-supporting (and I'm nowhere near that yet) so any and all advice on advertising and promoting my riding program would be SO appreciated. Below is a link to my website, just in case anything stands out. THANKS!!!! Blue Feather Farm
  3. Ziggy Update! Lots Of Pix!

    thanks for looking!
  4. Ziggy Update! Lots Of Pix!

    Hey everyone! Been a long time since I've posted, tons and tons going on. Working long hours at the barn and also... just got married! So now that life is settling back down, I wanted to post a Ziggy update. He just turned 6! Can't believe I've had him 3 years already. I'm extremely proud of his progress and of course I'd welcome any and all critiques of the u/s photos below. The other ones are just for fun, because I had a photographer friend come take some pix of us. She's amazing. I'd PM her info to anyone looking for an equine photographer (and/or wedding photographer) in the IL/WI area. So Ziggy had some time off in the fall because his left hock was fusing (right one fused last summer) but he's back to work fully fused, and feeling much better. Please enjoy! More pix...
  5. I've had my Pinnell half chaps for over a year and they are AMAZING. Hands down the best I've ever had. They're beautiful, durable, and I get compliments on them everywhere I go. You just cant get leather craftsmanship like this anywhere else. Worth every penny.
  6. Ziggys First Horse Show

    OF COURSE I'm still proud of it. The ribbons don't mean anything to me. Just wish hunters were more like dressage in that you get feedback from the judge after your class. Otherwise you're just left to wonder... He is my horsie soul mate and I couldn't be prouder. He's a winner to me.
  7. Ziggys First Horse Show

    Maybe now would be an appropriate time to mention that the judge at this show placed us DEAD LAST in all 3 hacks. Other then the fact that I didn't jump him at this show and the judge may have been a little "old school" and not wanted to place us well in the hacks in order to keep the champ/reserve champ ribbons for the o/f horses, I CANNOT IMAGINE why she would have given us last 3x in a row. Sigh. Any ideas?
  8. Ziggys First Horse Show

    Hey everyone! Ziggy had his very first horse show this weekend, we did 3 hack classes. I wont say how we pinned, because I'd love a critique/opinions on how he hacked before I mention ribbons... All I have to say is he was quiet, confident, composed, relaxed, mature, and AMAZING. I am SO proud of him, I can't even explain it. He's come so far, I'm all swelled up with pride over this little horse. You can turn the volume down if you don't want to listen to bystander commentary. My friends we're taking the video. Here are our 3 hacks- Thanks for watching!
  9. New And Improved Canter!

    I agree with both of you. He's never felt fully "loose" and relaxed to me at the walk, partially because his hocks fused so young and so early in his training that he never really learned how to relax. He carries a lot of tension at the walk and particularly while halted. Very fidgety. He also drags his feet a bit at the walk (always has) so it's hard to tell what the actual source of that mincing is. My second guess would be that he's due to have his feet trimmed (he's barefoot) and it might be time for baby horse to get some shoes... He also does most of his "chomping" on the bit at the walk, I was able to break him of that habit at the other gates by taking his mouth and bending him to my leg every time he did it, and eventually he figured out that he couldn't stress chew on the bit while we were working. The progress he's made is amazing but I can tell because of the random "chomp" here and there that he's tense. If you saw the video posts of this horse from last year, you'd see the tension he had then in his mouth... he's come a long way. Maybe I can find an old video and repost to show before-afters. Just rambling a little here, sorry. Munchinghedgehog- That's exactly what we're starting to work on now! Transition work needs to become smoother and more on contact. I had a great ride today and felt some progress, I'm going to try and get another video next week to see if there's a difference.
  10. Trail Course Competition

    So our barn had an open house and put on tons of demos and exhibits. At the end of the day, they held a "Trail Course Competition" and the western riders challenged the hunter/jumper riders and dressage riders to compete. Needless to say, I felt compelled to use Obi (aka Hot Pants), the 20 year old schoolie pony as my mount for the competition. So I decorated him in gold pipe cleaners and butterflies and off we went. The following video is our Hunter rider attempt and beating the western riders at their own game. I have to admit, as soon as we picked up the trot going for those poles in the beginning I INSTANTLY was wishing for a martingale and considerably less spurs. Seems that Obi's alter ego Hot Pants was highly motivated by the cheering crowd and **** bent on a gold medal. So, I put my fanny in his tiny 15' pony saddle and stayed there until we got to the finish line! It wasn't a complete failure, but we lacked... finesse. Hahaha ETA, forgot to mention, I feel we should have gotten the points back from smashing through that orange cone and failing to sidepass to the mailbox, because Hot Pants DOES attempt to close the mailbox himself. THAT should have been bonus points. Trick pony and all.
  11. New And Improved Canter!

    For those of you who saw the last few videos I posted of Ziggy, hopefully you'll watch this video and see a bit of a difference in his canter stride! The last video I asked for a critique of both him and I, and I really got tons of helpful stuff. The consensus was that his canter was a bit slow and stiff, and my very vertical 3 pt canter wasn't helping him open up his stride. He also had a few months off last summer/fall because his hocks were fusing, and when I brought him back to work it was difficult at first to convince him to go forward at the canter. Now that he's 100% back to work and feeling fit and willing, I have adapted a more forward seat and starting schooling with a dressage stick (which he actually seems to love) and he's just been feeling amazing so I wanted to share. Please tell me what you think, I love the feedback. Always very helpful.
  12. Marly Jumping Video!

    I 100% agree! You do a phenomenal ob with this horse, you look like the perfect rider for him. Soft hands (but firm when they need to be) and a very fluent forgiving position over the jumps... he looks like he trusts you, and I bet he's not one that easily trusts many riders. Kudos!!
  13. Quick Ziggy Video Update

    Thank you all for your comments! Smile + Sonny: You both totally hit the nail on the head with my riding issues... I've been working on letting him flow forward more at the canter, as he spent quite a few months with some pain due to his hocks fusing, he's trying to "re-learn" how to canter without being so protective and stilted in the back. I really need to get up out of the saddle more, which I didn't realize until I watched these videos and went "oh... wow... yuck." lol. I spent so much time sitting his canter when I first started working on him as a 3yo, once he was less green and more balanced, I never really thought to make the transition from full seat to half seat until after the ride these video's were taken from. My trainer friend/business partner and I decided the same thing- come up out of the saddle a little and allow him to flow forward. Since his hocks have been feeling so much better, he's REALLY quieted down a lot. I spent all of last winter with my as* firmly planted in the saddle, because I didn't want to become a casualty of spooky baby horse's first time in a winter indoor arena. Hehe. Plus, I always sat with him to help him balance, but he really doesn't need the extra "hand-holding" anymore. Smile: I'm totally pinchy and tight in my body, it's something I've had to constantly work on due to surgeries from previous falls and a few reconstructive surgeries on my right arm and hand. Loooong story. But NO excuses, it's my goal this winter to work on making my position more fluent and following of the horses motion. I tend to get slightly rounded on the landing side of the jumps sometimes, and my friend and I both agree it's because of core weakness. Gym membership and 1000 crunches, here I come. haha. OH, and thank you SO much for the compliments, I'm REALLY hard on myself as a rider so you have no idea how much i appriciate that. Helps me take a deep breath. [Jump]
  14. Quick Ziggy Video Update

    Just wanted to post a few quick videos of my ride on Ziggy yesterday. He's just been started back o/f after taking the fall season off. His hocks were fusing so we spent a few months doing light trot work and now he's all fused and healed up and back in full training. I can't believe the difference in this little horse, he's relaxed and confident and comfortable... it's a brand new Ziggy! I love love love it. Please feel free to critique me or him or both of us. Thanks!
  15. It's Been Years... Ziggy *picture* Update!

    Thank you so much everyone! [Yay]