I am so excited! I finally found a trainer to work with the horses! Yay!!
Our main focus, at first, will be Fina, since she is listed for sale, and since she is the least trained of the three horses, being a baby and all. Then, because I am contemplating offering Fina and Keira as a package to interested buyers (deal alert!), I'd like Keira to have some groundwork in place as well.
As of now, they are a mess. Well, maybe not that bad, but it's kind of like if you had your car for sale, and somebody came to look at it, and you hadn't washed it for a month and there were french fries stuck between the seats. It doesn't look that great to a buyer. But after a good washing and de-frying, it's good as new, right? My girls are in need of a little sprucing up, too.
I have to say - and yeah, I'm biased - they really are great horses. They are very gentle, sweet and inquisitive, and when someone who actually knows what they're doing is working with them, they respond quite readily to training. So why has it taken so long for me to get a trainer? Mainly: budget. The horses themselves are not expensive as far as upkeep is concerned. Other than hay, preventative care such as worming, shots, nutrition and hoof care really aren't too bad. But that's just basic maintenance.
But when you look at your check book, and see that you could either buy wood shavings for the horses' stalls or college textbooks for your kid; hire a horse trainer or make your insurance payment... well, you see where I'm going. And I don't want to sound like I'm crying about anything - we're very lucky to have jobs, health insurance, functioning cars, etc., but there's just not a whole lot of wiggle room in our budget right now.
So I started to think outside the box. I know there are people out there like me, who need services but can't afford them. So, what could I offer in exchange for horse training? What service could I provide in trade?
Well, while I'm no web guru or programmer or HTML goddess, I am pretty good with figuring out your basic do-it-yourself-type programs. I started out with my own website for the horses, www.WestCeltGypsy.com.
The first online program I used was Homestead, and that was a great starter for me. For anyone, really. It is very easy to learn and to use. But once I had figured it out and had my site built, there were more things that I wanted to do with it that I couldn't do with Homestead. That's when I bought my Mac.
Back then, the iLife software suite on the Mac came equipped with a website building program called iWeb, which for some reason has been dropped out of the newest version. I had an absolute blast building my site on iWeb. Sure, there are some things that could use tweaking, but for the most part, it's very easy to use and looks great.
Then I got into blogging, and learned a new format with Blogger. In addition to the blog you are now reading, I co-edit another blog with a friend of mine. Please check it out and let us know what you think: www.SeniorShareProject.com. In fact, Chroi and Me is actually a test blog - I built it in order to learn the Blogger format so we could properly get Senior Share Project up and running.
While I'm no bloggerstar like Pioneer Woman or Nathan Bransford (yet), after a year and a half, 51 posts and almost 3,000 hits, I'm pretty happy with my little "test" blog. I've learned so much along the line, and it's been great practice to help get me started on Senior Share Project, including using social media. I feel confident that I could help someone get started online, get them set up with a decent website that they will be able to maintain, a blog if desired, a Facebook page, and provide several trial-and-error tips regarding online marketing.
I placed an ad on Craigslist suggesting as much, and received a surprising number of responses. After weeding out which ones might work for me, which ones were serious, and which ones were just plain cuckoo, I found one that was perfect.
In the coming weeks, I'll introduce our newest team member and keep you posted as to our progress, both with the horses and with her website(s). As always, I'll fill you in on all the gory details - if I make mistakes (which I can all but guarantee) I'll let you know what worked and what didn't, to save you the trouble.
See you soon,