EquestrianTraining.com...It's a lifestyle!

Last edited September 26, 2017

hristineAmber, MA
Instructor / Trainer / Clinician / Expert Witness
Gilroy, Ca
408 888 8703

This page is part of an archive

Bay Area Equestrian

..I started this page before there were BLOGs...and Facebook!. And now,, .... here is the link to the a current blog, but this is a good historic way get to know about me.

Hi, I am Christine Amber, EquestrianTraining.com's owner and trainer.

I have over 30 years of horse experience, from training and showing horses to imprinting and raising foals. I am a horse owner and I have worked in large commercial ranch settings and with many individual private owners, as well. I have handled hundreds of horses, giving me a good eye and quick reference for a horse's temperament and potential.

I have been certified by the American Riding Instructors Certification Program and by Certified Horsemanship Association. I have begun the United States Eventing Association Instructors Certification program. I continue to further my equestrian education by attending clinics of well known national and international trainers and riders such as, Captain Mark Phillips, Brian Sabo, Don Sachey, John Lyons, My favorite Aussie Clinician who's name shall not be used. , Deb Bennet, Ph.D, and Jill Walton,. A have a large library of books, videos and magazines. I also hold a Masters of Psychology Degree in Counseling, and am a member of the AASP, Association of Applied Sport Psychology

Clinton Anderson, Tennessee

The man who has most influenced my horse life. Here I am in Tennessee seeing him after six years. He said, "It's been a long road, mate." I am so proud to have watched this man develop into the most effective and successful clinician in the horse industry. I met Clinton in 1999 doing a five day clinic in Ione, Calif.

I used to own 6 equids, three thoroughbreds, one pinto filly and 2 mules.  You can read more about my horses,  Pickle, Jackson,  Amos (RIP), OG, Peanut, Razzle, Dazzle and BootZ on another page in this site.  Although my horses "work" for me, giving lessons and going to some competitions, they are also my pets.  Occasionally I buy a horse to resell, but my core herd will be with me for all their days.  Horses live for 30+ years, that is a long commitment.
I train horses and people.  I start young horses, finish green horses and work with horses with problem behaviors.  I teach people to ride securely at the level to which they aspire, and I teach owners to work with and train their own horses when that is possible.  My average week consists of teaching  people three days a week, and training horses 5 days a week.  I only take in the number of horses I can work with during a month, sometimes I have one  --sometimes I have  five horses in training.  I usually have about 10 to 15 students riding regularly, some of them but and keep their horses here in riding club.  In addition to my business, I have a home life. I recently lost my aging father who lived with us.  It is a busy life, but a good life.
me and Pickle and Peanut, Summer 06.

Through studying Psychology, I have studied experimental and animal psychology as well. With this background, I teach and train honestly and humanely, always keeping your and your horse's safety and the horse's intended use as priorities.

A famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, theorized a Hierarchy of Needs and Self-Actualization, simply stated, one must first have their basic needs met - health, safety and security - before they are able to focus on Actualizing, or learning. So before beginning riding or training you or your horse must be healthy. For both horse and rider to feel safe and secure, horses must be trained to respectfully accept humans as their leaders and handlers, and humans must learn to be consistent, patient and concise so they may effectively handle horses.

      • I will train your horse, not allowing it to behave unsafely toward humans.
      • I will use and teach you to use the psychological learning principals of Classical Conditioning and Conditioned Response to effectively handle horses.

July 03

Below is a memorial to my Dad.  It is nice to have my time back, yet,  I am having to figure out what life is like without taking care of him. 7/31/2003

Sunday July 6th, at dusk, my Dad died. He was born in Richmond, Ca 1/10/1922, served in the Navy in WWII, Married my mother Better Anne, and retired from Varian Associates after 32 years, in 1985. He has lived here in Gilroy Ca since 1999 with my mother, his wife of 51 years, until her death in 11/01. Then he lived with me.

He was at home with Family and friends under Kaiser Permanente's Hospice Care Program. He had COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) for about the past 10 years. His lungs began to exhale carbon dioxide, less and less efficiently, which meant he could only have a small amount of extra oxygen. Over the years, the decreasing oxygen gradually affected his thinking ability and weakened his muscles. His last days were not painful, and he was often unaware that he might not be quite healthy. I would always ask in a special little voice, "How are you Dad" and he would answer, sometimes in a funny little voice like mine. but almost always by saying "OK"or "I'm alright". He never complained. He was not a simple man, I asked him often if we had a good life and were we lucky for our lives. He always said yes, until the last week when he said "It's complicated". Those of us near saw him decline in the last few weeks so we had time to talk about where he wanted to die, with whom, and how. The Hospice program was WONDERFULLY supportive, and he was comfortable. His second last response was that he was "resting". Which had a special meaning. When we would try to get him to go to bed because he would fall asleep in his favorite chair, he would resist "I'm not tired, I'm just resting". I admit my husband and I took advantage of his good nature and delight in helping us, by asking him to help us "saw some logs", where by we could get him to happily be guided into his bedroom where my husband would say "They're in here, Gordon".

Our Gilroy Senior Center has been his community in the last years. We want everyone to know he so looked forward to coming to bridge. We are so grateful to the community for filling his need to belong when I know toward the end he "rested" during the bridge game.

I will miss my Dad, he has been my focus since living with me, I am his Daughter, Christine Amber of Gilroy. I am eternally grateful to my husband who supported me and my Father through this process. Dad completes his life and by leaving ours, Brian Deutscher, his son-in-law, Jeffry Mathis and Desire' Martinez his bridge playing partners and grandchildren, his son Jeffry Nelson and Roxanne Nelson, his two grandchildren Dustin and Trevor Nelson, his son Edward Nelson and Renee Nelson and his newest granddaughter, Bridgette Sherrie Nelson.

For anyone who would like to give to the family, please give a donation to the Gilroy Senior Center in my Father's name. Dad's last expressed wish was "yeah!", that he wanted to watch my favorite cowboy on tv. He took his last breaths with us around his bed, when the television was turned off.

This final writing to thank all of you who came, called, cared for us, fed us, made us laugh and wiped our tears, is something I have not wanted to do. Grief is peculiar, I don't have to feel it if I don't deal with it. I guess that is it, I really don't want to deal with grief, I just want to gently move forward in this world as I saw my Dad move on to the next. I don't want to talk about it, yet sometimes I find myself rambling about it. I don't want to cry about it, and as I write this I cry, I don't want to dwell on it and I have to so I can write this and say Thank You All So Much for sharing this small part of my Dad's life and this part of my life. I am letting myself adjust by just being. I am letting the days fill up with normal activities and people. I am creating the next chapter, day-by-day. I am remiss in that sometimes I don't communicate with you, people who I love, care for, think about, am related to. Sometimes I allow myself to be self absorbed and just be alive and let life happen. So forgive me my absence and know that I think and am thankful to so many for so much even though I don't say anything.

I think I got that from my Dad.


Winter is here, horses are making mud in the pasture.  Its time for rubber boots!  This year every horse here has it's own shelter and I am tending to lock them in when the weather is bad.  In the morning, when I go to feed, they look like race horses at the gate, all standing in a line, wiggling and anxious to go, waiting with their heads sticking out over the tops of their paddock gates. Barns really are for people, mud or not, they want out. Food or not, they want out. Wet or hot, they want out.  It would be very hard for me to keep horses in a barn unless they were sick or acted like they wanted to be inside.

Updated Bio 2004

Happy New Year to All.  Some of my goals this year are to write some articles, continue developing my professional skills.  Here is an updated Bio about me, and how I got to be where I am.....minus a few personal life details :*)

Christine Amber began riding  at age 7, and showed horses in the California Regional Circuit 64 - 74. She took a hiatus from horses while  attending the School of Hard Knocks, 71 - 80. After earning a bachelors degree in Psychology with honors at San Jose State University and a Masters of Counseling Psychology from William Lyon University, she proceeded with practical therapeutic experience in the areas of Acute Mental Health inpatient and discharge treatment, Rehabilitation, Crisis Intervention, and Sexual Abuse treatment.78 -89.

She mixed Psychology with Music from 80-92, writing music, leading her own band, and performing original music in the Greater Bay Area. She was voted best female vocalist by San Jose's Metro Magazine readers in 1989.

She returned to teaching riding and training horses full time, after working to earn a living and developing repetitive stress injuries writing and managing projects for the technical industry, 86-94. She tested for American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) in English and Western riding, and Level III of Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) in 94, has been a member of Horse Safety Association (HSA) and United States Eventing Association (USEA) since 94, was Trainer, Riding Club Manager and or Day-camp Director at Calero Ranch Stables for several years, and a Resource Leader for 4-H Animal Science program. She now lives and works developing EquestrianTraining.com, a small, personal yet professional facility in Gilroy, California for training horses, riders and owners to better get along with each other. To learn more about Christine, see http://www.equestriantraining.com/continuing education.

thanks to local equest community !!

Posted by camber on 5/7/2004, 10:08 am
I just want to send a global thanks to the local, bay area equest community. My training business is full after a sudden slow down and I am very happy and thankful for all the opportunities that help me get my name and my business "out there".
I am a small, personal business, so when I loose clients suddenly, it is really an impact, personally as well as socially. In Feb., I lost a couple of clients and horses because of a planned sale, and some "barn politics". Since some of my clients had been there for over 2 years, I was sort of shocked to have "politics" in my own backyard. But, we overcome. Also, we sometimes get complacent about our business development when things are going well.

At any rate, I have a full plate, am working hard and am very tired!! So, just a big thanks to the equestrian universe from equestriantraining.com.

Horses and the Human Condition
July 04

I went to the Horse Expo in Sacramento, June 11-13. I enjoyed myself immensely, shopping and learning. Attending Equine Expositions and Equine Affairs are motivating experiences. I come away with much energy and many new ideas. Some ideas I want to try, some ideas I want to implement in my business. Along with the ideas also comes a realization: "I can't do everything". Sometimes I see clinicians and I feel pangs of jealousy. Then the introspection begins. Since I can't do everything, what do I really want to do? Aren't I happy doing what I am now? Why would I feel jealous watching a clinician? Do I want more recognition, more money, or move perceived success? These are questions I ask myself.

Let's start with the money. Money is nice. Am I making an assumption that someone else is making more money than I? That may not be so. But, I do need money. I need enough to pay my expenses. Time is money, and giving time to any activity must support my living and my business.

But, What if that were all taken care of. What if I were in neutral, all my needs were always met, then what? What if every amount of time I spent only contributed to the excess of my needs. My mortgage is always paid, I am always fed, I'm up there on Maslow's hierarchy!!

I want recognition for what I do, for my efforts, for my knowledge, for my experience. Well, that is simple and easy to say and identify. Then I must ask the question, from whom do I want this recognition? Much of my mental health training would say that this sort of recognition is best to come from within, from one's self, and then magically I will be that better whole mentally healthy person. Unfortunately or unrealistically, this does not seem to be the case. No matter how deep within myself I search, there seems to be a desire, a need, a want of outward recognition. Yes, I am true to myself, and I choose the endeavors I work at, and I value my own successes, but still there is a nagging for more. Is it stardom I crave, is it megalomania I have? Am I just a malcontent?

On my one day of the week off, today these are the questions that come to my mine. Today when I have some extra energy and time to think about what I want to do, these are the answers I seek before I set out to enact the next plan of action, before I busy myself with the contentment of knowledge, before I satisfy the craving of goal oriented activity.

May 05 Wow What a mood I was in!!

But, I am honest.

Mar 06

Hello World, I have fallen behind in updating my web site. It seems today that one can not be just any one thing, have any one career, but must fulfill a variety of roles. I have been working to learn a new web tool, Dreamweaver. I tried once last year to take a class, things got busy, and I never finished. Well, now I have finished taking the class and am learning the application. I don't find it very intuitive. I can't just click to it, swing a rope, give it some grain, or a good scratch. But, I am beginning to be familiar with the way that it is put together, and the power of it. So, I am writing this little note hoping to be able to update my site very soon with all the busy goings-on at equestriantraining.com.

We lost our big Draft last winter, he was old. He had brought much joy to many lives and I still miss him immensely when I give my Orientation classes. There is no describing 2500lbs of quiet thoughtful power when you are explaining the extremes and subtleties to horses! I miss my big Amos!

We now have a little dog! Awhile before Christmas, we saw what we thought was a sick coyote under out side deck. It took two days to lure it out, as we realized it was a dog. We could see every bone on it's body, it was gimpy and limpy, filthy, flea and tick ridden and stunk. The day I got her out from under the deck I happened to have the horse vet here and asked him to look at her. Her tail was limp, he suspected she had been hit by a car. She seemed to have bowel problems, but that could have been from being sick, half dead and all else. The vet said, "Well, you would amputate the tail so she stays cleaner and she can be an outside dog.". Then we discussed options of calling animal control, and how could someone loose a cute little dog like this. His last words were, "It makes you sad, doesn't it".

Well, we kept that little dog. She is our special needs dog. I haven't taken pictures and I need to. She isn't dirty anymore, has no more bugs in or out. Still has some trouble with her bowel, she is an outside dog. She has a fractured pelvis, fractured spine, fractured femur, fractured teeth. If you ever saw grateful on a dog's face, this one shown with the word. Her name is Roopie.

Even with all the rain, business is busy! Six horses in training and several people trailering in. plus lessons. I love my footing, I can ride almost every day, and I could ride everyday, if i didn't mind getting wet! I have worked out an arrangement with a nearby covered arena on the really wet days. All is well!

regards, Christine Amber

Apr 30, 06.

Hello equestrians, this is proving to be a busy year for me. Thank you! I had a great training week, sometimes you find little tricks that make a dramatic improvement in a horse. I had two things happen this week, and I'll post hem on Real Training stories as I have time. One was with my own horse, Bootz and another with a client horse, Streak.

Yesterday, I had a funny thing happen. I have a horse for sale right now, Beau. And I had some very nice women from Marin come and see him. Marin is about a three hour drive. When the women left me a message, she asked that one of my "staff" call her with directions. Well, staff.......I am a small business. I am a professional business, but I control and am very hands on. There is no "staff". Even if I could afford to have a staff, I am aware of how difficult it is to teach people and then rely on them once they have become competent and would like to have their own name and training style. I will cross that bridge in reality when I win the lotto.

This is my business, not this web site, although this is a part of it, education. I am the web mistress. I have had to learn skills to get my information to the technical world. The other thing the women asked if I was a "dot comer". Which is another way of saying , did you sell allot of stock in 97 when the market was really hot and make a killing.

No, I am not a "dot-comer". I did earn my living in the technical marketplace for 10 or so years, and I did not retire. But, I did learn technical skills and saw computer and technology as a means of survival when I was a young mother, back in the 80's.

We take with us all the experiences we have. My technical knowledge has served me well, and I had to learn Dreamweaver to update my site. I scolded another local trainer about her web site recently when she said, "I don't know computers, I just stick to horses." That is not a wise statement. If we are to have levels of success we must at least seek to know how to find professionals who will serve us well if we can not do the work ourselves.

I am guilty of trying to do many things myself. Partly because I simply can not afford to hire a "staff" or "assistant", "web mistress" and also because I am a small business and I am my business. I bring myself, my resources, my experience, my stick-to-it-ness, my abilities, my openness, my humanity to the marketplace. And, I am rewarded by my clients and the simple, benign love of big, happy, soft-eyed horses!

Sept 06
In loving Memory of Annie Mcdonald
Here is a web site to visit to see Annie; it also has a link if you would like to make a condolence donation and gives the date of Annie's memorial.

Amber, Annie's Mom, is a dear friend. It is a very helpless feeling to see someone you love suffer so much. Being with Amber and helping them in all the ways I could and still can,  gives me a small piece of feeling helpful; satisfying my own need to overcome the helplessness and to acknowledge my own ache inside where a human life etches it's memory on my soul.

Years ago, Amber brought Annie to me to learn to ride. I saw, loved, nurtured and appreciated Annie's spirit. She was independent, creative, sensitive, artistic, strong, out spoken with people close to her. When I saw Annie working at the shelter, talking on the phone, handling details, giving out information, working on the computer and greeting the public all at the same time --I saw a grown up, mature woman where once was a young teenage girl swimming through the overgrown swamp of adolescence.  It is a picture I will always have in my mind anchored below the lofty feeling of pride and amazement we feel experiencing the growth of a life.

Recently, Annie and James came over here to get an abandoned boa constrictor.  I will remember the day, the faces, the eyes, the feelings   of pride she had in her partner, and the feelings of loyalty he had in her guidance. That day, she was bubbly, talkative, so intelligently informative.  He was quiet, smiling, and capable. Together they worked as he reached his hand into the snake cage to retrieve the snake whose head was large enough to swallow-whole a ground squirrel.  Together they stuffed this undulous, mass into a small cat cage where it's large head and pointed nose barely tucked behind the closing door. Together they took the snake, quietly embarking on a new opportunity.

Recently, too, I was so fortunate to be with Amber visiting Annie at her house.  It was a rare opportunity where a parent and child share a piece of the world as two adults; caring for each other, tentative to unveil the stark realities of the real world and it's problems; with an openness that confirmed their love for each other and the amazement a parent has seeing their adult child as a successful, empathetic human being navigating love, work relationships, and family.  The both had tears in their eyes when Amber was telling Annie, "I am so proud of you, I am so amazed that something so perfect came out of me". I am so blessed to have shared that moment.

Then later, as we walked through Annie's house. We saw a human life interrupted. We saw two lives interrupted that tore apart the world as we know and feel it. Empty animal cages, dirty clothes, strange people,
little notes on the refrigerator, "I hope you feel better, james."

My first feeling was anger, then the inadequacy of words. Just holding Amber in my arms and sobbing together in my driveway made the world stand still for a moment.

Please, please, please, visit Annie's site, Make a condolence donation. If you would like to be with Amber and her family in remembrance, all the information is on the site.

Thank you for your support and kindness during this time.

Nov 8, 06

Life is returning to a regulated pace. Annie's death has affected me deeply in all my doings. I am very happy to have Derby here, Annie's horse that I helped the family buy many years back from Calero Ranch. Derby is older, eating totally soft diet, but feeling fat and sassy. He looks and listens for opportunities to run across the property, "Oh!!! the gate closed" "OH, the door opened", "Oh, my mule friend is out of site", "Oh, they are harrowing the arena".

I love these old horses, they have such a character to them.

Business is slow, that is probably good. I had a young horse fall on me in the arena a week ago. Today in updating my web site, I realized that all my Keywords and allot of my page descriptions had been removed when I converted my site to Dreamweaver. Oh, the challenges of life, having a web site, trying to do business in horses. Silly me, I am lucky.

Dec 06

Pickle and I completed what is called an LD, limited distance ride, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I used the help of a friend, Lori, who really rides endurance, like 50 and 100 miles. Her horse, Flame, actually completed 4000 miles when I did my first 30. But, remember now, my Pickle is 20 years old now, and a Thoroughbred not an Arab. I also used a great book, Conditioning the Sport Horse, Hillary Clayton, PhD, 1991, University of Saskatchewan Printing Services, Sport Horse Publications. It covers many sports, including endurance and gives clinical scientific information for bringing a horse to it's best and peak condition. I didn't have as much time as I would have liked because when the young horse fell on me in the end of Sept, I had a few hurt ribs. I still have one area that is pretty sore.

I was worried that the ride might be too much for Pickle. He is fit, though. He is ridden several times a week, sometimes it is just easy trotting around the arena, but toward the end of the training I was trotting him out on 10 mile trial rides at 7 to 10mph. His last training ride, he was a little less forward. He is my pet, my favorite horse, so I was concerned.

Well, I had more horse than I wanted, and more horse than I needed. He did absolutely fine. We go lost a bit and even covered a bit more than 30 miles. He had a little cramp at the last vet check, but walked out of it immediately, thank goodness. I'm proud of my pony! My calfs were sore, as I used an older saddle because it weighed only seven pounds. I forgot that it was just a little too small for me! So, for 30 miles I couldn't sit comfortable, I either posted the trot, two pointed the trot or had to squeeze my butt together so I didn't get rubbed on the stupid saddle. I'll never do that part again, the saddle that is. Today was Pickle's first ride after his long ride, and he was very perky but also more relaxed like maybe he didn't need to go anywhere too fast!!

Dec 9, 06

I have been thinking about my mother. I have a memorial to my dad in here, but I've never said anything about my mom. My mom died unexpectedly in Nov. 01, the tuesday after Thanksgiving. She had a massive stroke, and I think I was holding her in my arms when her awareness of the world left. I called paramedics, and when they came, I thought she was just resting and was shocked when she couldn't be aroused to help them lift her from my lap onto the gurney. They lifted her eyelids, and one of the paramedics said, "I think your mother has had a stroke". When I saw her eyes, blue and dilated, staring straight ahead at the ceiling, i thought so too. I still spoke to her, just incase she could hear me and told her I'd meet her at the hospital, and that she was going to St. Louise.

When my dad and I got to St. Louise, the Dr. told me my mom had had a massive stroke, and that she didn't think my mom would ever recover to be the same as she was before the stroke. Dad and I went to see her in emergency. She had a breathing tube. I talked to her, telling her we would stay with her, not to worry. Since my folks had Kaiser, they medivac'ed her to Redwood city Kaiser. They had her on a ventilator as she could not breath for herself. The doctor said that when they took her off the ventilator she would die, likely within some range of days. I told him to leave the tube in until we got there, and then I would stay with her until she died.

When we got to Redwood city Kaiser, I had packed a bag for a couple of days, took my mom's teeth and lipstick, things that I thought would make her feel better about her predicament. When the staff wanted to remove the breathing tube, they asked us to leave. I said no, I would not leave. I told my mom what was going to happen, that they were going to remove the tube and I would stay right there with her, I would not leave her alone. It was a nice Philippine nurse, who said to me, "Ok, honey."

Everyone but me left. I stayed there. They removed the tube. I talked to her. Her color changed, her tongue made some peculiar movements, sort of fish-like. Then, she was dead. Just like that.

I really think, or maybe I hope, her last consciousness was before the paramedics came to the house, resting her head in my lap. If not, I at least hope she took comfort in that I was trying to be with her. But, I when I saw her body die, I think she, the person I knew as my mother, was gone before they took out the breathing tube.

It's funny. This isn't what I expected to write. I thought I was going to talk about my relationship with my mother. I will likely do that later, but for now, this is all I want to say.

The myth.

When I think about my mother, mostly I think about my relationship with her. We often had conflict. I don't think we understood each other. I don't think about it too much anymore. My relationship with her was a real source of pain in my 20's and 30's. Since then, until she died, I needed to be around her sometimes, and yet, she was so intense I sort of got numb. I guess I got that from my mom and my dad--my intensity from my mom, my numbness from my dad.

When I think of her, I think she wasn't really happy, at times I think she was bitter and resentful. Life had not given her what she thought it should have. She worked hard, she was very, very giving. She was brave, almost like a rebellious teen with her anger. She was naive, so naive that sometimes I didn't know she was serious. She held a grudge.

I don't know if she ever thought about what she wanted from my father, but the messages were always very clear, that she was disappointed and had expected "more". I think material things helped her feel good sometimes, appearances. The lawn, nice car, good furniture, good clothes, good neighborhood, good kids, but, inside of her I think she had a loneliness. I think she felt insecure. She was really, really sensitive.

Mostly what I got from my mother, is that I did not want to be as I perceived her. Now, it isn't fair to say some of these things, because she is dead. She can't come here and write on this web page and tell her side. So, remember, my perceptions where mine, and there were many other people in the world who saw her as a completely different person.

Anyway, it's the resentment and the anger that I don't want to have, that I saw in my mother. It's the disappointment I saw that I don't want to feel, or at least, I don't want it to dominate my life.

It seems that there is a myth that we often have. It is a myth and it is secret, as well. We often aren't clear, "What do we want?". "What do we expect?". And yet, there is a feeling that we didn't get what we wanted, we didn't get what we expected, and we are disappointed an angry or critical and judge mental. I feel this sometimes without even realizing it, without even knowing it is seeping out of me in the tone of my voice, in the squinch of my eyes. It is a poison that seeps out and trys to make me focus on things that aren't really important. Sometimes I catch it, and then I feel helpless. I feel agitated, irritated outside and wanting on the inside.

If I try to focus on what I want, sometimes I come up blank; it is easier to focus on the irritation, easier to blame, easier to look outside instead of looking inside.

I have a dear friend who says, "I just want to be a better person". I embrace this thought. I value this ideal.

Logically, I tell myself that if there is some "thing" in life I want and I can't earn it, I can't make it, I can't buy it, then I want to live with that reality. It is okay, I seek to let go of the attachment to that "thing" and try, try, try to focus on something I can do, I can make, I can, I can, I can. And, I have so much in a world where some have much, much less. I really do believe I am fortunate.

Jan 07

Happy new year has come and gone. today I am finding myself with a lack of focus and thinking about how that comes to be. But, you know what? The truth is, sometimes I feel disappointed in myself, in the shortcuts I have taken, in my own lack of commitment, in my own lack of follow through. And, on that note, I'm going to go in and get those damn dishes in the kitchen done!!

Aug/Sept 07

Isn't it funny our perceptions of time? I was thinking in Dec06/Jan 07that I was writing, writing and writing and I needed to give it a rest. Then I looked here. Shoot. it's been 8 months. This has been a very busy year, early in the year I had allot of horses in training. After the horses went, I had a lot of new students in training. Additionally, I started teaching some community education classes at our local junior college. It's been a very busy time for me and I need a week to just "putter" around the property and play. Coming soon!

Jan 08

I always start the New Year being thankful for the many good fortunes that I have. Family, Friends,Fruits of hard labor, stick-to-it-ness,and luck. A confidant I was speaking with today got a phone call and then, pointing at the phone turned to me and said, “This person has a cancer that is a death sentence, I must tell her today”. It is moments like these, that bring out the relativity to all of our misgivings, our discomforts, and misfortunes. So firstly, and always, I am grateful. It is however ironic, that of late I am feeling very uncertain and unclear about what I want to be doing. Doing with my business, Doing to feel happy, Doing to feel my future is likely to be secure. I have usually been a person who makes choices, who has had a vision and then worked toward it. So, it is an odd feeling to wake up one day and find these feelings.
My family and most of my friends know that I cope with chronic pain, and some depression because of that pain,and have so since the early 90’s . I am not incapable of doing things, and I don’t hurt as long as I am moving. When I am still, and worst at night when I am asleep or try to sleep, the pain awakens me asking what were the things I did different today than yesterday? It is a rhetorical question, because over the years the pattern is that it doesn't’t really matter what I do, I will hurt. And, if I don’t move and do enough, I will hurt more. As my body changes and ages, I have to find a new balance. Some things that once brought great joy and pleasure now are painful. This is a reality to accept. I made a choice and a commitment to myself and those around me a long time ago, and that is that I never wanted to feel resentment. I never wanted to blame others for my own shortcomings, or my own lack of follow-through, or my own inabilities, no matter what I may feel that I am unable to do.
I see, though, how easy it is-- as our life changes, as our bodies age, as our bones ache, as our memory looses a bit of sparkle, as we give up pleasurable habits-- I see how easy it can be to feel that we aren’t making choices--easy to feel that more than some of these things are being forced upon us and causing us to make changes we would rather not make.
What causes us to change anyway? What is it that causes us to move into different directions, stop frequenting familiar places, stop connecting with other people. These are always choices aren’t they. And when we say or feel that choosing isn’t what we did, aren’t we just trying not to be responsible for the set of circumstance that life is?
Some circumstances are always less pleasurable than others, isn’t it normal to follow the most satisfying or pleasurable path. When we do not, isn’t it normal to feel something for sacrificing the extra bit of pleasure that we trade away.
Honestly, isn’t this one way resentment creeps into our lives, because we trade this for that, and feel something was lost?
We do choose. There is reality that sometimes is difficult to experience. It is easier to pretend, sometimes, that the body isn’t changing, that we are still as strong as ever, that each day we are not slightly less, slightly more ripened on the vine of life.
Each day, I am trying to live what is real, live what hurts and live what helps. I am choosing each day a balance, a delicate balance, that reflects the gradual changes that cause the familiar to be less so, the changes that cause the pleasurable to be painful. Each day I am trying to be responsible and accepting of all that life is. Each day I am trying to embrace the fear of the unknown, I am trying to be honest.


It is a funny and ironic thing. I got an email from a woman in Florida who read my site. After my last post she was concerned about me and asked if I was ok. Thank you for caring and connecting!

I am O K. I am a communicator. I think a lot! I have a truly good life, despite the little hick-ups that nature tosses me. I'm very fortunate and grateful for it!

Business is slow this time of year. The weather has been beautiful, but as always there is an unpredictable ness. When will it rain? Do I have to get wet riding my horse. This year, I have made a decision. We, my husband and I, have had our property for 10 years. It is time to make a significant investment in my business. We will be looking into and very probably putting up a covered arena for the wet and very hot weather. This will allow me to plan better, as I have been lax about wanting to "gut it out" when it's wet.

Planning is difficult when the infrastructure is missing. So, this year I will have my complete infrastructure in place to train, teach, host clinics and hostess guests all year long. I think this will be a marker year for EquestrianTraining.com!


Where does the time go. I know some people who blog, blog, blog. I just don't find the time or make the time I guess. I am second thinking the covered riding area; I am concerned about our County and what questions might trigger in terms of inspections or required upgrades to wells, and other buildings on our property. I will have to actually go to the county and see if they will tell me anything without making a formal application. So, I am happy to think a bit more.

I've had a few people comment about my next to the last update. Goodness gracious, I am fine and just thinking and reflective.

I have several young horses here right now that need riders or new owners. They all have ton's of potential. Too many people don't understand that a young horse needs to be ridden on a regular basis. I jumped all three of the boyz today, they are all paint horses! They all jump nicely, no hesitation! Nice, willing-to-try, young horses.

I am starting our three-year-old today. I was going to make a big deal of it, make it a clinic, invite people to watch, video, etc. I just don't have the energy, so I'm just going to enjoy the process. It will be fun to start a complete known quantity. She has some piss and vinegar, but very quickly relaxes and when we touch her, her eye softens and her lids get heavy and she sort of dozes while she is petted. She is sooooo fat, that Pena Weena. All the pasture uncles called to her after she was out a while, and she called to them, but soon was happy just to longe around. I think she will be easy. I'm not going to fool myself, though, these young horses, can be off the ground in an instant and this little filly is so athletic! I'll try to write updates often! :*)

June 08

Some people have thought that I and my husband have our property because we made money in the Dot com boom. Just to clear any rumors, all I got in the dot com boom was a fat IRA, which I lost. We have equestraintraining.com from hard work and lifestyle.

But, I am rich. I know i am, because I work so hard, I must be making a ton of money. That has to be it, otherwise why would I be so busy????

Really, I am busy, but I don't know how to make a ton of money. I'm too honest, I talk to much, and enjoy giving. But, money is nice, isn't it??? I mean if you have to work hard, isn't it better to make a ton of money doing it? So, even though the bank hasn't figured this out, I am R I C H! And you reading this is part of the reason why!!!

Call my bank, will you?

Sept. 08

Trying to put covee riding area at equestriantraining.com is becoming a peak and valley of hope. I find out some information that dashes my hopes on the rocks, then a little piece of news comes that makes everything seem possible and affordable. I have been gathering estimates for building structures, talking with contractors, talking to the county, the dollar figure goes up and down. Things, like adding an accessory bulding that can be used for sheltered riding part of the time, just are not easy!

Jan 09

Happy New Year, Helvetica fonts should be easier to read! Oh my, the work is never done, online or on the property!

Yesterday, we sent our old family dog back to god, I mean Dog. His name is duder, he was 14 years old, and a rhodesian ridgeback who was ridgeless. He was really my son's dog. He came here to stay at the end of Oct. I think he enjoyed being here with me. We had his mother, and him since he was a puppy. Old, whether it is an animal or a human, is old. The systems begin to break down, it is nature. I am drawn to the task of taking care. While Duder was here, he became a focus. I needed to nurture him and take care of him. I think his last months were good for him. He gained weight and I gave him a lot of attention and treats. It is amazing the pack instinct, Duder would follow me or try to follow me on the property even though in his last weeks he was too weak to keep up. I will miss that dog and his determination. We, my son, my husband and I sat with him in the sunshine on the porch and our neighbor veterinarian came and gave him the sleepy by shot. We had tears, a lot of them, and hugs.

Then we buried old Duder on the property, under a big Pecan tree. Roopie, our little disabled rescue dog, barked in a different sort of way at his graveside. Roopie lay near the grave for a while, and then left. There can be peace in death.

I will have more time again, but I will miss the old guy tottering around after me and getting underfoot. While I write this, Roopie is snoring in her new bed.

June 09

Today I started doing my own mucking again. I let my worker guy go. He was a nice mexican man, Rodolfo. I have to have two horses in board just to pay my worker. So, I am making more money now!! It will be interesting to see how long before parts of me start to hurt from the repetitive movement of mucking. I will have a whole new list of products that don't make life as easy as they should. Case in point. Dump wagons that sit so low to the ground that they do not dump when titled. I have to pull out a whole wagon of muck onto the compost pile.

I will also have some new ideas to make my life easier. Recently I attended some work shops through Loma Prieta Resource Conservation District, lomaprietarcd.org. We hosted one on composting, gardening, and fire prevention. My favorite was about horse care, of course, more composting, growing hay, the difference between a pasture and a paddock. One cool little trick I got was to wet the manure in the cart before it is dumped, this makes composting in the summer more maintenance free. I will have a hose end sprayer of beneficial bacteria easy to reach just before I dump my cart. And, I will have to figure out a dump ramp. Oh so many little things. I did see this great dump cart at the Horse Expo in Sacramento, it was tall enough from the wheel base, that it really dumped. When I win the lotto, I'm buying one!.

So much about horses is having all the infrastructure easily accessible, water, electric, roads or gravel, gates tall enough to ride through, wide enough to drive through with either tractor or at least an atv/golf cart. If you are dragging hoses all around, or fumbling in the dark, wading through the mud, so much time is wasted!

I did buy a lotto ticket this week. If the winning ticket hasn't come up yet, then you know it is me who won!

June3, 09 The continued adventures of mucking. or....how does this facebook stuff work. I hear all about facebook, the amount of space is limited, but I thought I would try doing my adventures of mucking since I had to let my worker go. Oh, well.

It is day three. I am trying to balance the physical work to both sides of my body. I am trying to be aware of repetitive movement because I will have and have already started having pain in my butt fascia. My bones are great, my muscles are great, but the connective tissue rebels a few hours after what it might consider overuse.

Tools, you have to have a good cart. One that is easy to dump, like having a spring loaded swing door like an end dump truck. The wheels have to be tall enough that the darn thing actually has room to tilt upward and dump. We have three carts that i can pull. One is a great size, but doesn't dump worth hell. One is a good size and rolls well, but again doesn't dump unless you are holding round rocks, not wet manure. One is a bit small, or actually it is three sided, so if it is too loaded the muck starts to roll out the front. Then I wind up tamping and packing the load to try to get it full. I am going to solve this issue. I will either create something or modify one of these carts. This is so stupid!

But, I realize doing the job myself that it doesn't take me as long as it did my worker and I do a better job. I'm finding old dried piles. The root of fly problems, wet manure on damp soil = lots of fly breeding places.

OK, done for today, I'll see if I go to facebook or not. Oh, I got cheated on the lotto ticket I bought!

June 11

nothing or no one brought me back to facebook, so here is my mucking update. I don't know if i said, but we muck paddocks and a pasture paddock area. The larger area is strip grazed so I'm guessing it is about an acre that horses have access to at any one time. Plus i started an irrigated pasture, about 3/4 acre. When I put horses on it, i muck it too.

I got behind, and boy did i notice a difference in flies near the offending area. PDZ really helps keep the flies at bay when sprinkled on any wet spots, plus my fly parasites and the Granade premise spray on vertical walls.

I use my golf cart and a agri fab dump wagon. Today, getting all caught up, it was about 2 and 1/2 dump wagons. I figured out how to dump the silly wagon; you have to back it up until it tips upside down, all the way or some muck stays in it. I had to jury rig my hitch for the cart, so backing up is a delicate situation. But, at least I can dump easily.

I am still finding old piles that my workers never saw? It is annoying. It also took me 2 hours to do the job of feeding and cleaning and getting caught up. My worker couldn't get the cleaning done in an hour. Physically, i am not sure if the mucking is causing flare up in my pain level during the night, but I am not sleeping well because I move and I hurt and I wake up. My hands are getting numb, too.

Yesterday, I unloaded a trailer full of jump standards, and 3 9ft. telephone poles. That could be part of my hurting too. Today will be quieter so it will be interesting to see how much pain I have in the night.

Why do I muck? Control worms, flies, and see how their health is. There are 11 horses here now. I think if it were easy to impress upon workers why we muck, they might do a better job. The issue is often language, a foreign language. I have learned many, spanish palabra's (words). But, the nuance of language makes clear communication difficult.

That's the mucking up date..... almost end of 2 weeks back on the muck trail!

Well, it is already Nov 09. How does this happen.

The mucking was an enlightening experience, physically, psycically, and spiritually. I learned about my self, I learned about my body, I learned about nature. All in all, it started hurting my hip like hell. That part I didn't like at all. I began to slow down and smell the manure..... I saw native western blue birds, king birds, bullocks oriole, red haws, bells vireo, black phobe and many others. I really love nature yet, i know nature is cruel. Watch how horses interact in a herd. They begin to shun the old and injurred, they pick on eachother down the hierarchical line of "bossdom". But, if horses were not as kind as they are, so many more of us would become injurred. As my guys age, I accidently sneak up on them, they don't hear me. Bang, they spook. I am thankful and say "Thank you Jackson, if you were a different horse you would have kicked my head off".

Life is so precious. Business is picking up. That is good, money is good; that is bad, I can't just do as I please. I am almost always busy, it is my nature. I like doing. I am an expert witness for an equine injury case. That is interesting. I have been affiliating myself with AAHS and Loma Prieta Resource Conservation District. And, also doing some trianing. I have a cute 3/4 andalusian here. He will be for sale in spring 2010 I think. Pictures later! Thanks for reading and best regards!

May 2011

How could I go so long without a post? Learning Facebook, ;which I really don't like. Working away from home part-time, which didn't work out. In the last year and a half, I've seen the death of my two cute Razzle and Dazzle mules. They taught me so much and so many things. I miss Razzle's big yawn of an aw, eh awwww, eh awwww. I miss the way little Dazzle would walk behind another horse and kick out at the air, like an frustrated....'ohhhhh one day I'm really going to be able to kick you....." When they adopted Peanut, as a newborn foal, and stayed with her and mother mare lock step for the first few days.

I also gave away my Peanut mare. That is a story about a good, real horse, needing some good real work and accepting the reality that I just wasn't wanting to do it. I gave her a good start. I rode her in all of the local parks, but she needed more wet blankets than I was giving her and I watched her bucking one day and said to myself, I'm cheating a big wreck here. She is beautiful, smart, athletic, willful, willing. She never did anything wrong. She never hurt me. She just wasn't my type of horse. I so love the TB's, taller, leggier. Maybe it is just aging too, that happens to me every dern year. But, anyway.... here are some pics of my beloved gurlz, the three of them, and here is a link to my new blog where people can comment about all these things.

Over the years so many people have commented silently, and that can still happen in email. We are now in the "public comment" age. So.... I take my own personal blog leap! www.natural-equestrian.com.


Dec 2012, a few days before Christmas. I love this shot of Pickle, it is his shadow and his ears and star showing through the hole in the tarp.

March 2013

This year so far has been an emotional roller coaster dipping deeply. I had to send my Roopie dog back to nature. As some of you know we found Roopie under our front deck seven years ago. It was estimated she had been hit by a car three weeks prior and dragging herself from where ever the event happened.

I don't remember when she started running, but we were always amazed. I don't remember when she started tojump in front of me and flop upside down for belly rubbing. I don't remember when she started diving off the deck stairs to play with Brian. I don't remember when she first slinked away from the cats whinning in frustration. I don't remember when she started to help dig when ever we used a shovel. There are so many, many other little things that I don't remember beginning.

That dog made us laugh so hard, so many times. She brought us emense joy, overwhelming joy till our eyes would fill with tears.

That is the brief story of why I loved and took care of that dog. Trying everything to help her heal. She would never regain control of her tail, rectum and bladder. I am sure many have thought me crazy all these past years, but I just began to love that little dog so much and she seemed so grateful and thankful. Toward the end her rectum was narrowing and she developed a tumor or a cancer. She was not a good candidate for surgery. She was starting to be uncomfortable and we knew it would only get worse. It is much quieter here without all her barky chatter. Roopa Poopa Doga I miss you so much.

During this same time, Brian's brother had a heart attack and required three stints. He is out of the hospital and doing well now. It was frightening.  

The roller coaster begins to tug, tug, tug up the next hill.

An ongoing dilema is Derby. Derby's owner was killed in 06. Again, His owner's family can't afford his care any longer. He is healthy but aged. He is sound enough to play all the time in pasture with Jack the mini, but can only do limited slow and easy work in the arena. He isn't sound enough to be reliable for lessons any longer.

Since many of you know Derby, I am asking for help for his on going care. Here is a paypal button.


Any funds will only be used for food, feet and routine care. If he is lucky enough to create a surplus when his time for nature arrives, the surplus will go to the shelter.

I have my own page now! Here is Derby with beetpulp, ricebran and TDI senior gruel. He has no opposing teeth but can gum things just fine!
I just finished a great 5-week college course on equine nutrion online from Edinburgh University through Coursera. Having three aged horses who eat total soft diet, (one being Derby) the course helped me make some changes to make feeding them a little easier, more efficient and less time consuming.  
I wish for the rest of the year to go more smoothly!  
Posted Apr 22, 2013 http://youtu.be/qRgOkxbgZ_U Derby and Jack play. The first video i put up was a mistake and really short.

Feeding the aged horse, Derby

One of the biggest challenges feeding derby is his activity level. He plays a lot in the field. He canters, trots, rears, until he works up a sweat. He does this daily and he does it often in the day. He has become an exercise freak. He and jack the mini.

So his calorie intake has to account for all this activity. I put the weigh tape on him and he weighed in at just under 1,000 pounds. 9, 880 . For a horse in moderate work, 20% of their body weight is a good place to start the feeding ration. That is 20 pounds of food a day, that is 20 pounds of soft, easy to swallow without chewing, palatable, digestible fiber. In my equine nutrition class we were told that older horses do best on quality pasture. This time of the year I can strip graze until the grasses dry. These old guy's teeth are so spent that when they chew the grass, it squeeks. I'm not sure how much of the grass they actually swallow because there are many pre-pooed chewed grass balls, called “quid”, all around the pasture.

Usually the oldsters loose a little weight in winter too. For derby, that is one of his prime play times because the ground is perfect for his arthritis and he moves almost completely sound. This winter, between playtime with Jack and his teeth he did become a little ribby.

A horses stomach is small. It is hard to get enough calories of soft food into the old horses even splitting their feed into two feedings. They do better if they can eat non stop like nature, or three or more feedings a day. I am still only feeding twice a day, but if there is any nutrition he squeeks out of the pasture, he gets some nutrition 24/7.

The absolute best supplement for a thin horse is oil added slowly to the diet. For oil or fat content I am feeding the maximum amount of rice bran and LMF california complete, which is based on rice bran and soy protien. It is selling for about 18.00 a bag. Rice bran sells for about 14.00.

Digestable fiber is what keeps a gut healthy, the other feed I am using is TDI senior. It is beet pulp based. Since TDI and LMF are complete feeds, I don't have to worry that macro and micro minerals are out of wack. The TDI sells for about 16.00 a bag.

I base my feeding cost on the complete feeds, it makes it easier to calculate how much to feed, and I do weigh my feed. The bags are 50lbs. So derby eats 40% of a 50lb bag a day, and 80 % of a rice bran bag per month. His daily average cost is 40% of 17.00 = $6.80 in complete feed plus 80% of 14.00/30 = .40 a day in rice bran. So 6.80 +.420= about &$7.22 cents per day or about $216.00 a month.

Tomorrow my Farrier, Jeremy comes, that will be $55.00. So without incident Derby requires $244. in cash. Cha Ching, Cha ching. PS.you should double check my math. I so better understand the use of simple algebra which was so painful when I was young and which continues to make me anxious today; even with the help of a spreadsheet.

I want to thank people so much who donated to Derby's cost last month. I received in paypal, $250.00.

If anyone would like to donate even a dollar, every bit helps. Here is a paypal button.


Any funds will only be used for food, feet and routine care. If he is lucky enough to create a surplus when his time for nature arrives, the surplus will go to the shelter.

Here is a video I put up on youtube of Derby and Jack playing. I'm trying to improve at moving, storing and posting media for you'll! http://youtu.be/qRgOkxbgZ_U. All this tech stuff could be a full time job!

Jun/July 2013

Hello horse friends, friends and family …<ul><joke>

I just finished a busy busy June and beginning of July with my 10year old niece from Texas. Wow, went a lot of places and tried to instill some of the country life into a city child of the new generation of phones and phacebook.

I think the dirt, flies and hard work of horse people's lives require a drive not unlike that of many successful people in the world. We must have a passion that moves us into our futures. Ironically, I am writing this on my son's birthday. His life was the driving force in my life during my 20's,--to provide him with a better sense of himself and a better sense of well being than I felt I had developed. He has found his sense of self and well being through Kinesiology, teaching and training in the study of movement.

I get the chance to touch many young people's lives, especially girl's lives through horses. Times have changed and girls have more professional role models and more visions than ever of becoming nurses, micro biologists, veterinarians, Ph D's, writers, computer scientists, horse trainers and teachers. But, whatever they become in the world, it is more important that they become comfortable in their own skin, comfortable with their hearts, comfortable with their accomplishments, comfortable with their outward appearance, comfortable with working hard for their own goals, comfortable with the present moment even while wanting more or wanting a different future and comfortable with their perfect imperfections which make us all the unique beings that we are.

Back to my passion of horses and training. I have always been a safety nut. I've had so many people come for help with riding or with their horses after they have been hurt. I've been a strong advocate for wearing helmets once I understood that helmets give us the chance of living longer with the people we love and our horses.

My current safety interest is the Hit-air, from air-vest.com. I am privileged to be featured in an Air-vest.com infomercial that will air on TheZone with Terry Bradshaw. It was shot this week at Connie Arthur's beautiful, http://www.lonetreefarm.net. There will be an ad campaign coming up too, in Equus magazine promoting the Hit-Air...(not ground...) vest. If you are interested in seeing a demo of the vest, I fall off at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQHtj6BKzas. If you'd like to buy a vest for a loved one, you can save 10% by clicking through my site at http://www.air-vest.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=b68498ec70dc9973356ff0e680a571b6&Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=airvest&Affiliate=christineamber . And I hope you love yourself enough to consider getting and wearing one of these vests yourself.

Derby is doing well; his owner's family has been caring for him as well as my little, niecee pie Bridgette.

Ride safely, ride often, and ride happily!

Copyright 2001, - 2013 inclusive Christine Amber
riding lessons, learn about horses, horses, Morgan Hill Horses, ride, learn to ride, learn to train horses, training horses