The reality of showing horses with non-horsey parents.

The learning curve is steep.

            Really steep. Mom always said, “The more you know, the more you don’t know.” And her go-to line, “Everything I know about horses I learned from Makenzi.” I started riding when I was 3, and went to my first horse show with my very own horse when I was 10. It was an adventure. I didn’t know what lead we were on without looking, I wore my mom’s old motorcycle chaps, I had sparkly, button-up Murdoch’s shirts, sparkly belts, and pink boots. I was hooked! Each show we went to, my parents started learning what to bring, how I should look, and the in-and-outs of horse showing by strictly observing. I didn’t start out with a trainer…just Mom, Dad, and me. Talk about dedication.

Pig tails, dad, and horses

 

Mom’s the checkbook. Dad’s the driver.

Not really, though. Mom still jokes about this, but they are so much more than that. After years of sitting through lessons, literally hundreds of hours, they know what to look for and can usually place a class pretty accurately despite being non-horsey. “I have no idea how you would do this, but I think his head looks a little too high. Can you fix that?” “POSTURE ALERT.” “Smile.” (I hated that one.) Although it snuck up on them, they know so much more about horses and showing than they thought possible…the hours added up.

Horse showing or camping?

 

Food, clothes, and hair.

My mom is the queen. Always needing a job, but never quite knowing how to help, we agreed very early on that she would be in charge of food, clothes, and hair. She, of course, took these jobs extremely seriously. Bless her heart, she would bring me homemade turkey sandwiches between classes, have all my show clothes dry cleaned and organized, and she would spend all day checking my hair and handing me hairspray because GOD FORBID one hair be out of place. Pinning my western hat on was a job she adopted, because one time, at one show, my hat came off and tumbled through the arena. Again, a job she took seriously, she would wedge bobby pins between my skull and my hat, making my head bleed on more than one occasion (she’ll deny this). My mom was the best at all of these things, and I’ve met a lot of horse show moms.

Mom after shoulder surgery with me at the Las Vegas Championships 2016

 

“Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?”

Dad. With a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito in his hand he found at some long-lost, locally set-up concession stand. As an early riser, he would be up not long after me, wondering around the show grounds, making friends with the other “show dads,” and finding questionable food and coffee. He’d memorize the menu and rattle it off periodically throughout the day…just in case anyone was getting hungry. His signature move was finding me, usually while putting in a tail or blacking hooves, and say, “Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?” I’d usually say no, but sometimes I’d ask him to go grab something from the trailer and he’d leisurely oblige, happy to help…after all, he might find another hidden concession stand or someone he hadn’t met yet.

Me, Pilot, and Dad…tired and sweaty

 

Diva behavior is not tolerated.

“Change your attitude before I rip you off of that horse!” –my mom. Horse showing has a way of bringing out the best…and worst in people. Although I knew my sweet, little mother couldn’t reach me, let alone “rip me off” my horse, it wasn’t an idle threat. Yelling, getting mad at my horse, being snotty or demanding were all actions punishable by leaving the horse show. From observation, horsey parents had more patience for their child’s meltdowns and tantrums (usually.)

Looking like a diva is important, though

 

I’m so proud of you.

Win or lose, my parents made sure I knew this. Because they never pushed me to ride and show horses, I never felt unneeded pressure to do well (I was hard enough on myself.) Some exhibitors with horsey parents would come out of the ring after a bad ride or a bad pattern and their mom (or dad) would just tear into them. Tears would fly and yelling could be heard throughout the stall barn. If I had a bad ride, my parents would meet me outside the gate, understand my frustration, and try to reassure me it didn’t look all that bad…even when it did.

Winning, winning, winning

The decision to show horses was mine and mine alone. My parents never thought twice about supporting this crazy sport. From buying trucks and trailers and horses to sitting in an arena for 10 hours at a show, I cannot repay them. Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart and never ever look back.

 

 

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How To Make String Art


Are you looking for a cute wall piece to liven up your living room, or a cute meaningful gift for someone that is hard to buy for? Why spend a ton of money at a department stores for decorations or gifts, when you could simply make them yourself!

I have always been one for arts and crafts, and with pinterest constantly filling my head with crafty ideas and do it yourself projects, string art just looked and sounded something cool to do! If you know how to handle a hammer and can tie a knot, this project should be easy and fun.

Here are my steps start to finish to help you to successfully make a beautiful and one of a kind string art project perfect for a gift, or simply as a decoration in your own home. Trust me, people will be asking where you got them.

 

Lets Get Started!

 


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

First you must decide what kind of material you would like to work with( wood, canvas, etc.), and collect all of the supplies you will need. In this project, here is a list of the supplies used:

  • Wood (size is optional, however it must be at least a half inch thick to ensure nails can be        hammered deep enough to prevent them from coming loose)
  • Nails- (16mm-25.4mm long)
  • String (color is optional)
  • Printed string art pattern or stencil
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Wood Stain (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

 

 


Step 2: Hammer Time!

For this project, I chose to print out an outline, and tape it to my surface. If you would rather, you can draw the image straight on the surface, and follow the lines that way. The benefit of taping your outline onto the board is that you can remove the stencil later on and not have unwanted lines left behind. It also makes following the pattern very simple and easy.

As you can see in the pattern above, the lines are quite complex. If this is your first time attempting string art, I would suggest a less intricate stencil, and work your way up to more difficult patterns.

When hammering the nails, space them about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart.

Once you have finished hammering, go back through and make sure each nail is secure. This is VERY important to do to ensure that while stringing, the nails will not be pulled out, or loosen. This is also crucial to do before the outline is removed because when pulling the outline off, nails that are not secure will come out.

After removing the outline, I chose to stain the piece of wood in order to create a more bold background for the string to stand out from. This step is optional, however, it definitely adds to the piece.

 


Step 3: Ready, Set, STRING!

For this project, I decided to do a thick cross string pattern.

Essentially, there is no pattern to follow, simply begin by tying a double knot around one nail, this will be your starting point. Be sure to leave a long tail to connect your end piece of string with. From there, create the outline for your pattern by looping the string around the outer points of the pattern.

Once you have the outline strung up, begin crossing the string through out out the nails and fill in the pattern. Decide whether you want your pattern to look more ‘holey’, meaning the board beneath is visible, or more filled in where you cannot see the board.


Step 4: Finishing Touches

This step is just for tying up all the loose ends. (Literally)

Be sure that the string is tight and you have gotten the look you want. For extra securing purposes, use a hot glue gun to glue the two trimmed end pieces that are tied together. This is of course optional, however it does help the piece to last for years to come.

Katie Buckley is a University of Montana Senior in pursuit of a Marketing Degree as well as a certificate in Event Management. She loves Pinterest and gains a lot of her DIY inspiration from the creativity of others and hopes to share her own ideas projects with the world and inspire others.

College: What Really Matters


img_1369Why are you here?

Everyone approaches college differently. Some people come to college for the social aspect, others for the academic enrichment, some for the life experience, and then there’s always a few folks who have no idea what they’re doing. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are plenty of decisions that must be made in order to shape your college experience.

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What is success?

I’ve noticed a pretty common theme over the course of my time at the University of Montana. There’s a constant stigma surrounding what success is as a college student. How many meetings you have a week, how many clubs you’re in, how many credits you’re taking, if you have an internship, blah blah blahhh, the list goes on forever! Basically, it’s a competition to see how busy everyone else is and you’re the winner if you get the least amount of sleep. And let me tell you, that’s not a fun game to be playing! The reality is though, if you want to get the most out of your college experience, there’s not a whole lot of time to block in for things like eating and sleeping, let alone time to yourself, especially for those students that want that 4.0 GPA.

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Does GPA really matter?

Basically, you have to make sacrifices in one area or another unless you want to be in school for 10 years, so it’s important to focus in on what matters. I’ve decided that through my experiences over the past two and a half years in school, GPA is most definitely not everything. I’ve had multiple internships and jobs throughout my college career in order to gain hands-on experience and gain on-the-job skills, and to be honest, my employers couldn’t care less about my GPA. And it’s not like my GPA is bad, or even below average, but it’s definitely not perfect!

When discussing GPA with business professionals and company owners, their responses have been shockingly consistent across the board: if you passed your classes and learned from them, GPA really doesn’t pull as much weight as one might think. Shocking, I know. To most employers your personality, interview and overall experience is what gets you a job, not a high GPA. A high grade point average is definitely a bonus and if you have it, you should flaunt it, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t maintain an A average all 4 years.

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Focus on real life experiences.

Personally, I’ve chosen to use my time in college to involve myself in activities that will help me grow as a person and become a more well-rounded individual. Not only do these extracurricular activities look great on a resume, but more than anything, the experiences I’ve gained through my involvement will help me in an interview and with on-the-job situations.

I feel as though I’ve learned more through my membership and leadership roles in organizations such as student senate, my sorority, marketing clubs, internships,  and many others, than I possibly could have learned by solely sitting in a classroom. I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial these outside activities have been on both a personal and professional level. In order to take advantage of these leadership and developmental opportunities it is impossible for me to achieve a 4.0 while maintaining membership in these clubs and working two jobs. This is the sacrifice I’ve chosen to make. For those of you that can manage such a feat, more power to you! But personally, I feel that I’ve gained so much more by choosing to participate in as much as possible than I ever would have choosing to spend that time reading a text book.

This tactic definitely doesn’t work for every major or every job field, but if you think about it, a 4.0 only goes so far if you can’t communicate with people or understand how to effectively problem solve.

fullsizerenderFind your passion and do what makes you happy.

The point is, do what you’re passionate about. College is a time to explore and figure out what matters to you on a personal level. Don’t waste this opportunity by not going to class, but on the flip side, don’t waste it by choosing to study 24 hours a day either. Join clubs, find a fun job, hang out with new people, and just involve yourself. You get out of college what you choose to put into it, so take advantage of the opportunities presented to you.

Have fun and think about the things that truly benefit your future and make you happy.

I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions on the subject of GPA and extracurriculars. Comment below and share some stories about your college experience!