Blog .:. July 2010 9 Entries

Over the river and through the woods

29 July 2010 Comments

Everything is settling down at the new barn and we are developing something like a routine.

It goes like this: show up, clean stalls and refill water buckets, work Ro, torture Ro, work Dezi, feed, turn out.

We don’t torture Dezi because he’d just roll his eyes at us and do whatever was asked. Ro, on the other hand, gets offended. I’ve figured out, for example, that she will walk past the port-a-potty all day long—as long as I walk between her and the port-a-potty. If I walk on the outside? The thing could kill her. She’s sure of it, and she does not understand why I can’t comprehend that.

But she seems to be coming to terms with the horse-eating port-a-potty, so when I saw a temporary bridge (some planks across a little muddy ditch) had been set up, I asked her to walk over it.

It took a few false starts, but she went—and then gave me a There, I did it. Now hose me off and let me eat dinner. look.

I’m mean. I made her walk over it again.

And then, after hosing her off at the non-scary hose, I took her over to the scary wash rack. It’s set against the tree line and is really dark. She hasn’t been thrilled about it since we got there, and I hadn’t pushed the issue yet since there was another hose we could use to rinse her off.

The wash rack took a little more convincing than the bridge, but the same technique that works to get her on the trailer got her in the wash rack. Once she made up her mind to enter the wash rack, she was really calm about the entire thing. We hung out for a minute and then left.

At which point she gave me an omg wtf was the point of that? look. Anticlimactic, much?

Tomorrow: the wash rack again, and then… the swimming pool. It’s even bigger and blue-er than the port-a-potty.

Tagged: Groundwork, Horses, Horses - Dezi, Horses - Ro

The world is ending

26 July 2010 Comments

I am such a hypocrite.

Today I ordered engraved, blingy stirrup irons. Like these, but with blue sparkly things:

Korsteel Engraved Stirrup Irons

I was going to buy just the engraved version, because I do not have a deep-seated aversion to engraving like I do to sparkly things, but I couldn’t resist the blue sparkly things. I don’t know what came over me.

I am no longer allowed to mock anyone’s choice of bling ever again.

Meanwhile, I had a good lesson this weekend. We made a couple adjustments to my position, although it turns out I can only maintain one of them at a time right now. But the good news is that my sitting trot is definitely improving; I saw some of the video on the camera right after the lesson, and it’s all coming along nicely. If I can get the other position adjustment to stick, lateral movements should really start popping.

I’m sure the blingy stirrup irons are going to make that happen much, much faster. If not, I can always strategically twist my ankle and blind the onlookers: No, really, it was awesome! You couldn’t see past my magnificent sparkling stirrups? What a shame…

Tagged: Bling Bling, Horses, Riding, Riding - Lessons, Shopping, Tack & Equipment

Not Really Awarding the Web

21 July 2010 Comments

This morning, I opened an email that had way too many exclamation marks for before-noon reading:

Congratulations! Emma Lee here, and your blog, Halt Near, has received our
2010 Top 40 Horses Blogs award!

I am sure some of my readers have received this email as well, because I recognized some of your blogs in the list of the Top 40.

Also in the Top 40: at least three blogs that haven’t posted a thing in 2010. Not in the Top 40: awesome blogs like Behind the Bit and The Literary Horse. [This was true when I viewed the page, at least.]

Even if they hadn’t managed to get my blog’s name wrong in both the email and on their Top 40 list, the above issues would have been enough to flag the entire situation as something less than legitimate.

But wait! There’s more!

Apparently, awards are given out based on reader nominations. Again, I point to the differences between my little corner of egoism, with my twelve dearly loved but, still, not numerous, readers, and Behind the Bit, who recently logged 1,000 readers.

I’m not buying rotten fish from Denmark, thanks.

A little more investigation pulled up a widely-reposted blog about why Awarding the Web is a scam. The author’s main contention is with the requirement that you post the award’s linked badge “or else.” I agree with him—conditional awards suck and are not really awards at all.

But I’d like to add something else.

Links are the crack cocaine of the web. They are still a very influential factor in determining search engine rankings and, therefor, highly coveted by everyone. However, search engines have become more discriminatory in how they handle links, due to massive link farming abuse. Lots of incoming links are valuable. Outgoing links not so much.

So let’s say I accept this supposed award and put it on my site. Where will it link to? The Awarding the Web site (which actually exists)? Nope. Onlineschools.org.

Mmm-kay. Go to onlineschools.org. Go all through that site. Find the page(s) that link this wonderful, prestigious award list, and all the other wonderful, prestigious awards being given out by Awarding the Web.

I’ll wait.

...

No? Yeah, there are no links from the hosting site at all. You have to know the blog award page exists to find it. So then I went looking for other blog categories. But they are the same—you have to know they exist to find them. There’s certainly no list of the varied awards being given out, not even on the Awarding the Web site itself.

Think about it.

Awarding the Web is so gosh-darn-proud of blogs and so gee-golly eager to recognize great bloggers that they do. not. provide. any. way. to. find. their. awards.

And why are they hosting their award pages on some unrelated “online schools” website, anyway? According to the Disclaimer page at awardingtheweb.com:

We here at Awarding The Web work hard to find the best blogs, and to distribute our awards to those we find with the help of sponsor sites. Our affiliation with any of our sponsor sites are only in this regard. We are not employed by any of our sponsor sites, nor do we receive any financial payments from them.

If that’s true, the people behind Awarding the Web are even bigger suckers than the ones who think this is a legitimate award.

Here’s what the sponsor sites get: hundreds (at least) of inbound links to their domains.

Here’s what it costs the sponsor sites: [long pause]

Bandwith? Meh. Something like this is not going to generate bandwidth worth talking about.

If you actually find one of the so-called award pages, take the time to notice the links. Or lack of links. The award pages list the URLs but don’t hyperlink them. What’s more, the URLs are images, so you can’t even copy/paste them. Not only are they making it hard as hell for visitors to go view the blogs, they have set the page up so that it absolutely denies the blogs any benefit from being referenced on the host site.

Awesome. So I can link to a completely irrelevant site and increase their page ranking, and they will make it hard as hell for people to visit my site while denying me any page ranking at all. That’s my reward? Let me get right on it.

[It occurs to me, belatedly, that TLH and BTB may already have been offered and declined this less than amazing opportunity, which is why they are not on the list. If so, good for them. Everyone else should decline as well—whatever the intentions of the creators of this “award” were, the fact is that the so-called awards are structured in such a way that your blogs are being used to promote the “sponsor” sites in the search engines. I hate when people abuse bloggers like this. Don’t fall for it.]

Tagged: Interwebz, Sites to See

I’m waiting for a Bloggie, personally

21 July 2010 Comments

I received an award from “Awarding the Web.”

I will post more when I can stop laughing.

It may be a while.

Tagged: Interwebz, Sites to See

Sea Change

21 July 2010 Comments

It is amazing what a weekend of MASH can do. Well, a weekend of MASH and a dozen other changes in circumstances, both major and minor.

My patience came skulking back Sunday evening, accompanied by my sanity.

I feel like I can breathe again.

Expect the blog to be quiet for a week or two. The horses I am helping with switched barns and there won’t be much to report while everyone is settling into a new routine.

Tagged: TV Shows - MASH

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