Thursday, July 7, 2011

AHP Award

I would like to say thank you to all of those who have mentored me and contributed to this success. As the 2010 (published year) Student Equine-Related Journalism American Horse Publications award winner, I recognize the help I've had along the way.

Thank you to Thad Williams for his patience as I stalked him with my camera and recorded his every word. Thanks to Professor Jenkins for believing in me enough to bend the rules of an assignment to fit my dreams and to TJ Burkett for publishing it.

My friends and family have stood behind me every step of the way. Without them, this accomplishment would not exist.

Thank you!

89 and Trotting, published in Hoof Beats Magazine (December 2010), won the 2010 Student Equine-Related Journalism award.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Not Just a Vet... A Friend

Photo By: Kelsey Pecsek
Veterinarians are hardly a horse person's best friend.  They are often like the proverbial dentist.  Nobody wants to see the dentist.  You see him (or her) twice a year for routine work that is uncomfortable, and then sporadically throughout the whole year for unfortunate incidents that usually cost lots of money.

The thing people forget is: Vets are people too!  They are just people trying to make a living, and most have a sincere desire to help animals... yours in particular.

It is important to develop a good working relationship with your vet.  You need to feel comfortable with him or her, so that when you have a question that you may be reserved about asking... you ask!  A vet can't read minds.  Vets are typically very willing to explain things, but sometimes you have to ask.  They don't always cover what you're thinking about, but it isn't because they don't want to.  They've seen 5 colics this week (among other appointments) so things may get a little gray.  Help them out!

The last important aspect of a good working relationship is openness.  While you may feel hesitant about explaining a horse care mistake to a stranger vet, it is easy to admit to a vet who you know well.  And when the time comes for the vet to bring up an error you are not aware of, they will feel less reluctant too.

All in all, a good working relationship is imperative to successful vet-client situations.  Send your vet a Christmas card.  Bake the office cookies.  Get to know the staff, so when you need help, they know your name.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh the Judging Nightmares

Photo By: Kelsey Pecsek
Well... today marks the first day I have ever said an entire set of horse judging reasons out loud. It was horrible.

After two hours of reciting my reasons for placing those Quarter Horse mares 3, 4, 1, 2 to the national champions from Texas, I did something I never do.

I quit. I literally dropped to my knees in front of my coach and begged to stop saying the same set over and over.

Following my embarrassing and dramatic admittance of defeat, I leveled my stress out. I remembered something. I remembered that little piece of me that never allowed such behavior. It was my "try."

So try I must. I will stand up from bent knees and speak with confidence.

I placed this class of Quarter Horse mares 3, 4, 1 and 2!

Let my momentary disgrace and lapse in "try" be a lesson. Keep trying... and if you ever fall down, dust yourself off, and TRY AGAIN!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

United We Grow, Divided We Slow (A News Peg Humor Essay)

There it is again. There’s that phrase I am so unimaginably tired of hearing! “She’s a horse girl…” Yeah, yeah, yeah. What exactly is a horse girl anyway? They say it with such a negative connotation.

Okay, fine. I know. A horse girl is every boy’s worst nightmare. She walks with unmistakable confidence, talks in an educated (yet still practical) manner, and she draws in the opposite sex with her barn glamour. What she forgets to say is that she is neurotic, emotional, and should go to therapy for an expensive and unhealthy obsession with the equine species.

Sure, I know I’m technically a horse girl, but I certainly wouldn’t categorize myself with the rest of them.

Yep. I said it. I did what no horse girl should do, but every single one does. I drew a line. I separated myself from the rest. It’s hard not to do when you see the insanity in everyone else, but the truth is, we’re all nuts.

Horse girl hate goes much deeper than just mental instability. Of course, we’re all in denial about our craziness, but that’s not what is really doing the damage.

I ride western. She rides hunter. It’s a simple equation really… me plus she does not equal peace. She hates me; therefore, I must hate her. But don’t think I’m pushing blame. I don’t much like her attitude, so why would she like mine?

The horse industry today is fraught with boundaries and dividing lines. These thick barriers are not only separating the different styles of riding, they are tearing away chunks and weakening the entire industry.

Western blames hunter. Hunter blames western. One thing horse girls are masters at is pointing fingers. I would like to brush off the guilt and put it on someone else’s shoulders, but I know the truth: We’re doing it to ourselves.

This whole concept of division slowing progress really isn’t that big of an epiphany, nor is it unique to horse girls. It’s everywhere today. America is so pressed for time it is relying on public sites to keep in touch with old friends and watching reality TV to feel like crazy life is acceptable and normal.

Enter world dominator: FACEBOOK.

Hi. My name is Kelsey Pecsek, and I’m a Facebook-aholic.

Facebook is like a horse girl’s personal brand of cocaine. There is nothing more adrenaline rushing than a place where I can: post pictures of my ponies, stalk famous trainers like they’re my personal friends and leave obnoxious, hurtful comments on another horse girl’s profile because she didn’t “like button” my pictures.

People may think this sounds absurd and unbelievably immature. It is. But the ironic thing is that those are the people who do it themselves. The news is full of cyber-bullying suicide stories. Just because horse girls take it a step farther with horse topics doesn’t make the actions of the general public moot.

There are folks everywhere ripping society to shreds one Facebook post, one Tweet, and one blog post at a time. More now than ever, people know exactly what their acquaintances are doing, yet they know next to nothing about the actual person. Citizens are more concerned about Lindsey’s Tweets and the Kardashian’s reality show than they are with the economy or planet or voting (the political kind, not People’s Choice Awards). And the worst part is they don’t care and refuse to pull themselves away.

Communication nationwide is becoming passive and that is deconstructing the values for which America was founded. It is far too easy to ignore someone, without feeling guilty, online and being hurtful over the Internet doesn’t force one into responsibility until there are legal repercussions for irreversible harm.

So here’s the deal. I’m a horse girl. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but I am what I am. I try to stay conscious of what I am to avoid the denial so many of my friends are stuck in. I can’t change how I act if I ignore my faults.

The good news is I deactivated my Facebook for almost a month to disconnect myself, ironically in an attempt to reconnect with people.
The bad news is… I hated it. Oh well.

Kelsey Pecsek – just finished an essay 4 class, taking the pups to Pandapas, then off to the barn. Txt if u need me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Around Campus

Although it has little to do with the wonderful world of ponies...

In my Photojournalism class today, we were required to hunt around campus for different concepts. We also had certain requirements for the camera to adjust our aperture, ISO, and shutter speed for each different concept.

Here is a collection of my rushed scavenger hunt photos:

Scavenger Hunt

Click on the image to visit the album!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Solid Mind and Kind Eye

To continue my dive into the world of the good 'ol stock horse, I want to bring attention to something that makes the foundation breeds shine.
This photo was obtained legally on Stock Xchange.
While the stocky legs are important, good legs are nothing without the mind to control them.  A treasured trait of these animals is their solid mind, accompanied with their soft, kind eyes.

I know there are horses in this breed, like any other, that don't fit the bill.  But everyone knows the old cliche... The exception makes the rule.

Thanks to my time at Virginia Tech and general experience in the horse world, I have encountered many different breeds.  Quarter horses, Paints, and other stock horse breeds are some of the most level headed animals around.  The soft eyes on either side of their bold, yet refined head provides a quality image.  But the image isn't simply a pretty picture, it is the trademark of a willing creature who wants nothing more than to please.

The smart cowboys who mount the best of the stock horses know that their job is to communicate.  With a horse like the average stock horse... when there is a break in communication, it is typically the rider's fault.  A good rider not only knows this deep down, he admits it to his horse.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Somethin' to be said... For those stocky legs

While I was raised a die-hard western fanatic, I am trying to learn about open-mindedness in the horse world. This is one of the reasons I submerse myself in equine classes at Virginia Tech.

In my studies, I can honestly say I have learned a lot about different disciplines, and even more about different breeds. While my passion for western culture and traditions will never fade, I admit there is more value in those other disciplines that I knew before.
This photo was obtained legally through Stock Xchange.

One thing has stayed concrete in my mind... Stock horses are the best.

Sure that may sound a little bias, but as with all good bias arguments, I have knowledge to back it all up. My next few posts will cover some of the scientific and biological reasons why I feel so strongly.

Most importantly, in my opinion, is that there is something to be said for those stocky legs that are traditional on stock horses. While other breeds continue to prosper, they breed winners together with little thought or care for defect. If a Thoroughbred wins his races, it doesn't matter how crooked his legs are, he will have babies... probably hundreds of them.

Unfortunately, racetrack life is not held in good light with many. This is in many ways a result of how quickly the legs break down on these horses. After all, no leg = no horse... right?

The stock horse industry prides itself in developing bloodlines and able-bodies. These horses are bred for sports across the board, but no matter what, the good ones are there to work and hold up over time.

I know some crooked-legged stock horses are bred because of their talents, but those horses have to earn their stripes. They work hard at what they do, usually for a long time. If their legs aren't straight, they still have to have the bone mass to endure.

So the moral for today is... there IS something to be said for those stocky legs...