Friday, November 30, 2007

Assignment #6: Blogging Experience

I talked a little about my blogging experience in the previous post but tonight I'll touch on what I enjoyed (or didn't) about this project. And, what my blogging plans are for the future.

At the beginning, I was really uncomfortable with the whole idea of blogging. I admire people who can write witty on a consistent basis, but it's just not that easy. And my biggest fear was writing a mediocre, boring blog. Of course, I had high expectations: check out this blog or that blog for examples of hilarious, smart writing. Now, after three months of blogging, I've come to terms with my writing style and my blog. I'll be funny sometimes (if I'm in the right mood) or pissed off sometimes (if I'm in the wrong mood), but either way, I still write well (if I do say so myself). Besides being my own worst critic, I was nervous about writing my opinions for everyone and anyone to read. Sometimes I have very strong views about aspects of the horse-world and, to be honest, I don't really want someone telling me that I'm wrong. Stubborn? Yes. But I'm also acutely aware of everything I don't know about horses and the horse-world and I'm very willing to learn. So... I don't necessarily think my stubbornness (i.e. if you're glued to the rail, you're not actually riding your horse) is a bad thing. As of late, I've become more at ease with the whole idea of blogging. Although, I still ask myself: Why blog? (see previous post).

What I enjoyed most about this project was the ability to have place to rant and/or rave about certain topics. If I found a great article, I loved being able to share it with someone (hellooo... is anyone out there?), even if that someone was just my mom, dad and boyfriend.

I've decided (with a little encouragement from the anonymous commenter) that I'll continue to blog after this assignment is over. I have a lot of things going on (or about to be going on) in my life that will make for some exciting posts, so... you'll just have to keep reading!

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Blog?

Three days from now this Online Journalism blogging project will be officially over. After grades are in, I'll have the option of clicking the delete button or continuing to write (becoming a bona fide blogger). The funny thing is that I'm not completely comfortable with either option. At the beginning of this project I would have easily answered "delete" because I didn't want my ideas and opinions out there on the web for anyone to read. Now, after blogging for almost three months, I feel a little bit attached to what I've written - I don't want to delete the past three months, so why would I delete Breeches n' Boots? On the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of becoming a bona fide blogger. I've written, regardless of readership, because it's been a class requirement. But, should I continue blogging if no one is reading? Isn't that a little self-absorbed to think people actually care what I think? I've never jumped a Grand Prix, I've never ridden on the Developing Riders Tour and I'm definitely no professional - so why blog?

Something to think about... I'll let you know what I decide. In the meantime, here is a picture of me riding Cali, one of the other trail horses (see previous post) in NJ over Thanksgiving break. Please keep in mind that I don't make a habit of riding "spotted" western horses.

Talk to you soon,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Assignment #5: Original Reporting

Laura Smith, 25, grew up in Atlanta, GA, and began riding at age 7. She competed on the "A" circuit throughout high school, showing in both the Jr. Jumper and Equitation divisions. In 2000, Smith relocated to NJ to attend Princeton University. She graduated in 2004 with a degree in English and is currently working for a publishing company in New York City. Below is a Q&A with Smith about her experience with riding while in college.

EDV: Did riding influence your decision to attend Princeton University?

LS: I had been up in the Northeast a lot showing and I knew there were a ton of good trainers in New Jersey. I didn’t have a specific plan for exactly what I was going to do but it was definitely attractive that there were so many good shows and so many good trainers nearby.

EDV: During your freshman year you rode on Princeton's equestrian team. How did you like the team?

LS: After the indoor circuit and all the intensity of finishing up as a junior it was fun - no pressure - but it wasn’t satisfy as riding, wasn't challenging as riding.

EDV: During your sophomore year at Princeton you bought a horse and began competing as an amateur on the "A" circuit. How did your parents feel about you mixing school and top-level showing?

LS: My parents never encouraged me not to ride but they were kind of hoping I wouldn’t show too much, that I wouldn’t be away from Princeton as much as I had been away from my high school. But they were never anti-riding.

EDV: Now that you've graduated and are working in the "real world" do you have time to ride?

LS: Purely recreationally. I ride in Central Park. I’m hoping that once I get a little further along in my job that it will be easier to get out of the city on weekends and go ride.

EDV: Thank you for your time. Good luck with your job and riding.

Editor's Note: Laura Smith's name has been changed to protect her identity. Not that she has anything to hide, but it is a little strange to be part of someone else's blog. And, I didn't feel like her name was imperative to the Q&A as long as I knew her answers to be honest.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NJ & PA Road Trip

Spending time in NJ is like a time warp for me - when it's over and I'm back in Boston, it feels like it never even happened. A couple of the reasons I love being home is because: a) it's 24/7 horses and b) there's no homework. Also, I love seeing my parents. It's amazing how much better you get along with them once you aren't living under their roof, isn't it?

While I was home, I rode a 3-year-old by L.A. Baltic Inspiration, a very talented Adult Hunter and a couple fantastic trail horses. Remember in my previous post I mentioned a "surprise"? Well, my mom and I took a road trip (one of our favorite pastimes) to PA on Saturday to look at a 6-year-old buckskin Quarter Horse (gasp!). Zeke was well worth the drive. To my disbelief, he had a very pleasant disposition and moved very correctly and even had some spring to his gait (again, gasp!). As of now, we are planning to head out to PA again sometime in December to take another look. On Saturday, we weren't able to jump that many jumps or that big because the ground was very frozen and the barn didn't have an indoor. So, the plan for December is to take him to another barn with an indoor where we can see him jump a course of 3'6". I'll definitely keep you updated.

And the award for Best Trail Horses goes to... Storm and Thunder. Storm, aka Black Velvet, is on the right, Thunder is on the left and that's my mom in the middle. In need of the perfect trail horse? Buy a Tennessee Walking Horse.

Talk to you soon,