Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

What are your New Year's resolutions for you and your equine friends? Is it as simple as adding one more ride a week? Or finally making the commitment to buy the horse of your dreams?
Some of us will try to advance in our chosen discipline. Some will try to learn a new one. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and lope those first steps, or enter a new class at your local club.

If you have questions about the best way to feed your horse, now is a good time to learn about the nutritional needs of horses in the area you live in. I know that on the prairies of Colorado we need at least five acres of ground per head to sustain a horse. From what I've seen, it should be ten. Even though I love my “feed store guy”, I’m going to talk to my vet to learn the best way to keep my horse happy and healthy.

If you have always wanted a horse, maybe this is the year to take riding lessons or volunteer at your favorite rescue (or both). You can learn to ride, shovel and feed. What better way to make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you buy an animal which could easily live for the next 30 years?

I have several plans for the upcoming year. Most of them involve absorbing the shock of working in an office all day and finding a way to still enjoy my horses. I have learned that if you are chained to a desk 40 hours a week, 5 horses are 4 too many. Well, maybe three. Or two.

I also have been invited to become a regular contributor on I haven't learned all the rules and regulations yet, but I do believe I post on Saturdays, or every other. I'm going to try to change up on the things I write about over there. Maybe talk about the pain of trying to get published, finding a niche in the equine writer's market, learning to improve my writing skills, what's happening at the newspaper...see? My mind is already clicking along.

Anyway, here’s some of my thoughts and aspirations for 2009.

1. I will learn to cut. This is my priority. As a Reined Cowhorse competitor I cut to a limited extent. Although we call it herd work. Which is a good thing, because cutting is a complex entity unto itself and what we do in cowhorse really isn’t cutting. The more I learn about cutting the more I realize how hard it is. It fascinates me. So I am going to work and compete in cutting events to the best of my ability in 2009.
2. I will get all of my horses broke to a rope. I can’t rope. So I use it as an excuse not to have my horses comfortable with a lasso. I realize the world expects a western horse to be able to have a rope slung off it. So mine will.
3. I’ll compete in an endurance ride. Just one. NATRC hosts a beautiful ride at the Air Force Academy. The last time I rode in a NATRC ride was 35 years ago. It’s time to expand my horizons.
4. I’m going to go through each of my horses from the ground up. I’m going to check their manners (I know of a certain yellow horse who is in for a rude awakening), their responses on the ground. Then I’m going to ride and take each horse through his or her paces. Any time I find a hitch in their git-along I’m going to fix it. In other words I’m going to give each horse the time it deserves.
5. I’m going to enjoy my time in the saddle. For the rest of my life I get to ride because I want to. I get to ride because I love horses. I’m going to remember this every time I throw a leg over.

Happy New Year's guys. You are all a wonderful addition to my life. Thanks for reading. What are you doing with your horses in 2009?


BigRedTrain said...

Admirable goals, to be sure- I hope you keep us posted on your progress!!!

As for myself- I got the old man fat, now to get him fit. Or at least, not huffing and puffing after a long hill. On second though, maybe that applies to both of us...

And I'd like to work out a game plan for my yearling by the end of January, and get started with that ASAP.

oregonsunshine said...

Those are some great goals!

My horse goals for 2009:

Casey starts training as of today. He gets a tune up.

I'm getting a tune up from our trainer on another horse until Casey's "reminder" tune up is done. It's been years since I rode regularly.

Then Casey and I will continue with lessons for WP, halter, trail and eventually reining. (I'm a huntseat rider, or was formerly)

A couple small schooling shows to test the waters. Maybe this spring. Real showing is saved until next year as I've already had to go buy all different tack.

Hey Mugs, now that you've found me, you need to stop by and enter to win a book of your choice for the quarterly "Buy a Friend a Book for NO GOOD REASON" contest...

Nagonmom said...

Continue to ride and take lessons from trainer. Leave horse with trainer until spring, April at least. Convince trainer to let me ride horse outside of arenas ie more like home environment. Oh, and face my tack dyslexia, and buy tack for that horse. Hopefully the correct, fitting, useful tack we both need. (Unlike past choices.) And then get him home and RIDE. ALOT.

slippingsweetlena said...

1. I am going to go cut on my new horse! I am going to stake out a few club shows and try to run for the year end awards...and then maybe try to get qualified for the AQHA world show.
2. I have a certified therapy dog. I want to get involved in going to hospitals or places that you can help people with your dog.
3. This dog is also trained in agility, so I am going to go show him in a few agility trials...this weekend is my first one!! And those courses really test your mind! you have to REMEMBER which way to go!!

Esquared said...

Your goals sound more fun than mine :)

Get my 3 y/o's papers in order (APHA sent them to the wrong people, so I get to request them again), give him a quick lesson in riding out in big unfenced areas by himself, and sell him. All so I can buy a eventing suitable horse like I've always wanted and hopefully train it up to 2'6" by summer.
As for the 2 y/o, give him pasture time, get his weight back up, and find a bosal for him and learn to use it.
Also, get the 38 y/o's weight back up and maybe get him fit for dressage again, or find some cows and see if he still remembers team penning.

NYCowgirl said...

My goals for the Spotted Beast? Let's see...

1. Continue HUS, Equitation, and Showmanship training. We are competitive, but need fine-tuning (i.e. getting a better stop and faster squares in my showmanship patterns, breathing during eq., and stop fussing with my hands so much in HUS)

2. Improving Chester's balance to the left (i.e. lifting his left shoulder and hip, especially at the canter)

3. Practicing PATIENCE for the Disciplined Rail classes...Chester can do all of the maneuvers, but my tension makes him try to anticipate the next move

4. Ditto on Mugs' assessment from the ground up...Chester needs a refresher course in Me=Predator=Boss, Horse=Prey=Not Boss, especially when it comes to ground tying

We'll see how it goes...

mugwump said...

BigRed- I can relate to the huffing and puffing-for me at least.
oregon-Have fun, it sounds like a safe and sane plan. I'll go check....
Nagonmom-Sounds perfect. You'll get him back when the weather gets better!
slipping-what's your horse? I'm going to a small, user friendly club in Rocky Ford...Agility is fascinating, but I would think it's as time consuming as training a horse!
esquared- I like the hackamores you can buy through Martin Black. The prices are good and he has a good tape on how to use them...But, it's cowhorse type equipment.
NYC- With me it's remembering to use my legs. The more nervous I get
it seems I can't remember I have any.

Karen V said...

1. Get Angel fit enough to go back to barrel racing without having a heart attack.

2. Get Squirrel put back together, fit and started on the barrel pattern.

3. Instill some manners into Millie, my prospect. She is in desperate needs of a Come-to-Jesus session.

4. I would love to spend some time this winter taking lessons. It'll help keep me in shape, help me with balance, and it'll help me reconnect with my Angel.

Anonymous said...

I ride my green mare in a sidepull and bareback out in the pasture. At some point, I need to introduce a bit and take the time to throw a saddle on her first. Also the pasture is going to get boring eventually so I need to start ponying her in the great outdoors.

Which leads to my next project, figure out my barn sour gelding so I can actually pony my green mare. I need to ride him more and remember to wear my helmet, whew he's fast, and get him thinking instead of 90 miles an hour craziness, did I mention he's fast.

Driving training, trail riding, dabble in english riding, ride at the beach, finish reading Centered Riding... the list goes on and on.

Holly said...

I only have three resolutions or goals.

1. ride 2X a week. That's it. Don't care how, or where or for how long. 5 minutes or hours...indoors or out, don't care. Same days, differnt days, don't care, but 2X a week. Twice. Even if I just sit there.

2. take more photos, get better photos, learn more about the details of my camera, try to get more professional about my photos.

3. take the results of #2 to 2 shows or exhibitions. Get them out where folks can see them. This is hard, photos are personal and I open myself to critics when I take them out in public, but I'm doing it.

slippingsweetlena said...

He is a Slip Down Lena gelding. HUGE stopper...just trying to get him to SLOW down and THINK. With help from a trainer, we are getting there!
As far as the dog and agility...I got EXTREEMLY lucky! (well, I actually think it was a gift from God)But he was already trained and ready for agility. He is teaching me. Very nice dog! No bad habits except that he doesn't let me out of his site when I am in the house, so I usually end up tripping over him in the kitchen. I had a lady come to me at work about a year ago and ask me if I was interested in a free Australian Shepherd. At first I thought to myself, "YEah, whats wrong with the dog???" But when I first saw him, I fell in LOVE. He is a red Merle Aussie and has full papers that are offically mine now! I still can't believe that she just GAVE him to me. He is SO WELL trained its unbelievable! you tell him an obsticle on the course such as an A-Frame, and he runs to it. I am just learning where to be and when to be there...and since he is a BIG dog,60lbs...I have a hard time keeping up with him sometimes! I am taking classes once a week with him and we do a full course with a total of 10 obsticles, I am breathing hard and he is looking at me like, "whats wrong mom??" The other cool part about this dog is that if he takes off after something like a cat, you just yell, "THAT WILL DO!" and he stops DEAD in his tracks and comes directly to me! UNLIKE my other PAIN IN THE BUTT DOG!(Who I rescued from the Humane Society and she may have to be rescued from me someday if she doesn't stop harrassing my Aussie. SHe bites at his legs and tries to herd him everywhere.)

drifter said...

Get on my "Sonita", Flair 7 yr old AQHA mare, for her first ever ride. She's sweet, but still hasn't figured out that work can be fun, so she creates her own, bucking, rearing, stopping and starring me down and making the rope snake from her head to my hand - her favorite, and of course trying to lunge me.

I can read her moods pretty well so I know when to expect trouble, but she surprised me the other day. I knew she was in "a moods" and her lunging proved it, but then she was stellar for ground tying, desensitization to the rope (she doesn't like things touching her) and saddle weight - even stood up in the stirrup without her getting faint, she literally almost fainted the last time.

I think we have had a breakthrough on work, if only we could agree on fun...

Quality-Lives-Here said...

2009 Goals
1)Decide on a stallion to breed new broodmare too. I get a little intense about researching and picking bloodlines.
2)Show my Half arab at the local cowhorse shows. Who said arabs don't have cow?
3)Qualify horse from #2 for Canadian and US nationals in working cowhorse. And since we will be there we might as well show reining too.
4)Improve MY form/style in my stops. I have a show habit of tightening up my reins and hollowing out their backs.
5)Help my partner improve on his cowhorse scores.
6) Okay this is kind of a goal/work. We are moving out to a new piece of land and will have a blank canvas to start with.....Very excited to start!
Hope the new year brings everyone what they are looking for!

mugwump said...

Karen V- I love lessons. I'm saving all my money to cut, but I have old friends who I can talk into working with me if I beg
anon-speedy gelding, green mare, you have your hands full..
holly-I love your #1. The other two, scary.
slipping- Nice horse, good dog, there's nothing better.
drifter-I am soooooo glad those days are behind me. I have one colt left to start. But he is sweet and quiet and will be fun. You remind me I quit training (for others) at the right time.
Quality-lives-here-see drifter

mugwump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cdncowgirl said...

Aren't New Year's resolutions usually broken?? (if so then I resolve to gain 30 lbs and start smoking. lol)
So my GOALS for 2009 are:
1-find our acreage and move so that the ponies will live at home.
2-take lessons!
3-find my *real* horse (because Quinn oh so was NOT it)
4-have a win (or top placing) at our provincial and/or regional finals.

Jesse said...

My main goal is to ride more this year. I'd like to ride at least three times a week. Balancing that with school and work proved to be tricky last year.

I'd also like to get my mare over her fear of cows. I'm not quite sure how to go about it. She's a 19 year old, 17+ hand, hunter/eq horse swears cows are going to eat her! This wasn't a problem in St. Louis, but we've moved to Rolla so I can finish up school. Now we're surrounded. :D

On trail rides, she sees them and she shakes and sweats and snorts. If they come up to the fence, she spins and tries to bolt. Nothing else really bothers her hacking out, and she's pretty sensible to begin with.

Any suggestions?

Helen said...

Goals for 2009: Get daughter some lessons, somehow. Husband now has to work on Saturdays so no car to go riding. She is nearly to intermediate level. (We don't own horses.)
Go trail riding at the place we have found which seems to have quite happy horses.
Resist the idea of horse ownership ever again, accept the fact that now I'm a working mother living in the suburbs I could never do it.

A question: Is the "yellow mare" Sonita? or another horse?

manymisadventures said...

I just wrote a whole long post on goals - I get super excited about planning things like this ;)

In many ways though, my goals are similar to your main idea: just ride the damn horse and get where I want to go. I realized I hadn't been doing enough of that lately when tonight I went "Hmm, this is the first time in a long time that I've ridden two days in a row."

Good luck with your goals. Keep everyone updated on learning to cut -- it sounds like lots of fun!

Latigo Liz said...

Goal: Ride. :)
Goal: Find good pony for my Little Cowboy. :)
Goal: Find good horse for Paddock Boy. :)
Goal: Ride. :) Oh yeah, I think I said that already...

Heila said...

In 2009 I want to
1) Get 60% for a dressage test
2) Learn how to canter bareback
3) Ride bitless and compete (dressage) that way too as it will soon be allowed in South Africa.
4) Learn more about my horse's hooves and perhaps venture into trimming them myself
5) Go on more outrides

My yard is moving in a few months time and will be considerably further away from home, which will mean either seeing my horse only twice a week (instead of at least four times) or finding a different yard. Difficult decisions lie ahead.

Holly, routine helps. So does having a fixed appointment. You're much more likely to go and ride because you don't want to lose money paid for a lesson or disappoint your friend.


Heila said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention the most important one: Fall off less often and stop paying for the chiro's new car! LOL

Jenny said...

This year my mare will learn to be driven, with cart and all. I'm hoping by this summer we'll be wheeling around the woods instead of me just on her back.

I've throughly enjoyed reading your blog and hope to continue to do so in the coming year!
Happy New Year!

Holly said...

Helia said: Holly, routine helps.

Sigh. Yes it does. Unfortunately, I can only schedule a lesson once a month or so as those happen on Saturdays and my work schedule says I work 3 out of 4 weekends. I also work shift routines sometimes go out the window. That was part of the reason I said 2X a week and did not specify what/where/when. An open goal like that is far more likely to happen than say "ride Monday Wed and Sunday" since if I work 3-11 on Saturday and 7-3 on Sunday, there will be no riding on Sunday.

Laura Crum said...

Goals? Just to continue what I've been doing for the past year. Ride three times a week on average, one or more rides being on the trails or beach. Hike the trails as often as I ride them. Have fun riding with my son and solo. Enjoy my horses, and keep them all healthy and happy. Finish my 11th mystery novel by the deadline (March). Most of all, staying aware of how happy I am with my life and family and horses.

So far, I haven't the slightest wish to go back to competing or training, though I know you keep telling me its there somewhere. If so, I can't find it (!) We'll see what the future holds.

I really admire for you having such ambitious goals, mugwump. Mine sound pretty dull in comparison. And I'm so glad you'll be writing posts on equestriainink. It will be fascinating to hear about your career as a writer, which I feel sure is going to be a very successful one. We will be saying that we knew you when...

ezra_pandora said...

I did a post on resolutions, but I don't think I did any horse goals. lol So here are my horse goals:

1. After putting a year in on my mare, get a consult with the reining/cutting trainer to see what she thinks about my mare.

2. Ride my mare bareback for the first time (this will probably be this summer when it's 90+ degrees and she's too tired to do anything goofy, lol)

3. Definitely take more pictures. I hardly have any of the girls and I know I regret not having more of our two geldings of the past.

4. Learn more about myself and my riding and how it's affecting my mare. This should really be #1 as it is and should be higher priority than the others. lol I need to learn how my movements and riding affects her movements and balance and correct it. My lessons in the past were about the horse and how to just ride her. My lessons in the future will have to be about me and correcting myself.

5. Going with #4, I think I'd like to learn to ride her more with body language and my seat than everything being with the reins. She is getting better with moving off my legs, but I definitely have lots further to go.

Yeah, I'm sure there's more, but that's enough to keep me busy for probably more than a year!

Wildcat said...

2009 Goals

1)Stop falling off 16 hand horse. 52 is too old to break ribs. This accident was just a tree branch sweeping off while ducking but now I can't ride in all this holiday time!
2) ride...

Robyn said...

Well, my first goal is to get myself some proper jump training. I love it, I pop my horses over some small ones... but it bugs me that I don't really understand how to set up a course or school them to jump WELL. My first lesson is this morning!

My miniature horses and getting more manners, even the snotty three-year-old whose newest trick is spontaneously halting while we're leading to see if the halter will fly over her tiny ears and she can go eat.

And my POA mare is going to be trained enough to use for lessons. She's almost there, but she still has her sassy moments.

That oughta keep me busy!

Joy said...

Well, it wasn't a new years resolution, but I did quit smoking for my b-day present to myself. So far so good.

As far as goals with my horse, I will just keep going forward like we are. Steady does. I may put him out in pasture again for the summer, but I haven't decided yet.

I also want to ride my friend's horse (Jimsey) at least 3 times a week. He's gotten way out of shape since my horse came home and I feel really bad for him. He's a sweetie and I look forward to getting him all fit again. Not too exciting, but like my dad tells me, if you aim at nothing you'll hit it. So at least I've a couple of things to aim for!

FD said...

Mostly dig myself out of my rut.

1. Work shorter hours, and ride more.
2. Put some hours on my friend's 5 yr old tb so she can sell him. He's 17.2 having grown way too big for her and she's scared to get on him. (She has no idea why he turned out this big - mom was a nice compact 16hh and dad was 16.2)
3. Maybe look into the western scene over here in the UK - I've wanted to learn ground tying properly for ages, and I'd love to try riding a cutting horse. (I've run sheep from horseback, but I don't think it's the same!)

Heila said...

How do you teach a horse to ground tie?

Esquared said...

2) Learn how to canter bareback

Good luck, this is lots of fun! My (at the time, lightly started) 3 y/o gave me back my confidence on this and now he and my 2 y/o get ridden bareback all the time at all gaits. With winter's in the midwest it's alot warmer this way too :)

Shanster said...

I'm not a huge New Year Resolution person cuz I always have goals for myself. Yeah, mine don't seem so big either compared to many!

1. getting my big red chicken of a gelding out and about

2. showing my mare in 2nd level Dressage this year

3. lessons and clinics and learning all I can 'bout my chosen dicipline

4. getting my small home bid'ness going - finding the motivation again

5. working on piecing my quilt

6. figure out the horse hair braiding/hitching so I can make some cool horse hair bracelets... perfect as a memento when they are gone...

7. and I work on this daily: Don't sweat the petty things, just pet the sweaty things. (har har)


Fyyahchild said...

1. I've decided if I'm going to show H/J again I need to lose at least 40 pounds to be competitive before show season. I've been lying to myself about not looking too bad long enough. It's not healthy, it doesn't look good and it's not good for my horse.

2. Start lessons again.

3. Show!

4. Figure out how to make sane trail mounts out of my TBs. I joined a trail riding club so I took my horse to a local park yesterday to try out a trail ride. He fell down in the trailer trying to kick my sister's horse while we were loading and then when we finally got to the park some people had llamas and he lost his mind. I've never seen him go crazy before (he's normally very sweet) but he was pretty scary. I ended up not riding and it took me a half hour to get him loaded back up after the fall he'd taken earlier. I'm not sure about taking him on the organized trail ride later this month. I think he's not getting enough work right now to make trail riding a good idea. He was fine over the summer even when we went to an endurance ride (we were in the 12 mile fun ride) and there was a ton of activity including a life flight helicopter.

5. I've been inspired by this blog and I want to spend a week packing near Yosemite. I'm not even going to attempt it this first time with my horses. I want to find a pack station with a decent reputation and comission a private trip, rent horses, and use their guides, mule, cooks. If anyone has recommendations about an outfit up there, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Goals accomplished in 2008:
After two and a half years, I can now walk-jog-lope bareback on our formerly freaked out barrel horse. We just got this down and it is ever so exciting. This horse wouldn’t stand for mounting, was bouncy on his front, and only knew one speed (fast). I wish I could describe what riding him now feels like. It is incredible lightness. It is magic.
Taught all three horses to pick up the right lead (just two don’t have it down pat yet).
Learned to teach two of the horses to lope on cue (thanks, mugs, your tips work).
Learned to collect the formerly freaked out barrel horse (thanks, mugs, I used your tips for this, too – all I had to do was stay off his mouth and relax).

Goals for 2009:
Put points on all the horses in equitation and/or driving. I especially want to show the former barrel horse in bareback equitation. This would really be something.
Break two to drive, one already does.
Perfect picking up the correct lead on my two dedicated lefties.
Perfect lead changes.
Learn to gallop bareback.
Continue to work on softness. My end goal is bridle horses.

mugwump said...

Fyyahchild-Yours is the coolest of all! Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone!

FD said...

Helia - re ground tying. Dunno, that's why I want to talk to someone who knows!

More seriously, most horses I've worked with had the basics - I could stop 'em and command "Stand" and they would, for variables of the quality of stand.

Some I could walk out of sight and they'd stay put regardless, and some would start creeping the minute I turned my back. I'd love to know how to make it consistent. If that's possible.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like some great goals...all reasonable, too.
Best of luck with reaching them ,too. You have 365 days to work on 'em :)

For me, it's to get past this knee surgery from my Christmas Eve fall and then all the months of rehab and physical therapy.
I'm going to focus on exercises that will get me back in the saddle alot faster, for sure.

Once I'm back in the saddle, I want to focus on trailering my horse for local trail rides here in the mountains.
And I want to plan an overnight horse-camping trip, too.

Hopefully these goals aren't too lofty. lol!

Happy New Year Mugwump!

New Mexico

Fyyahchild said...

Thanks Mugs! I showed pretty successfully at schooling level H/J on a horse that really wasn't suited for it, and I really want to get back in there now that I have a horse I think will love it. It bums me out that I stalled out before even making it to a rated show. I want to train someday and be better at it than I have been. I’m trying to weasel my way into a part time apprenticeship with a trainer that I like.

And as far as stepping out of my comfort zone, I never saw riding western as relevant to my life. I think you know from this and from VLC that I'm pretty ignorant about all things cowboy, but my perspective has changed from meeting so many people through the web with different points of view. I've even thought about finding some reined cowhorse people to learn from because I think it's fascinating. I don’t know if I’d want to compete, but spins look like terrific fun and I can’t imagine how you teach that. It’s a subtle but huge change for me to think about things this way.

The packing trip appealed to my sense of adventure. I wanted to go on safari on horseback in Africa and my husband was totally against going with me, so we settled on the John Muir Wildness as a compromise. Now that I’ve got this trail group I belong to I’m going to try to start an offshoot of people dedicated to traveling adventures on horseback.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

1. Definitely want to take more cutting lessons. Am hoping my friend's Paint mare will think that is fun so I have something to ride that's "mine."

2. I will be watching the VLC at his shows. I've always wanted to be the owner, sitting there enjoying the show, instead of wearing a sweaty hat and uncomfortable boots!

3. I will start seriously working with my 2 year old. He longes a bit, but he needs consistent work so that's a goal for the summer. He needs to learn to pony.

4. Oh, and my web site needs to take off to finance all my horsey endeavors so that I don't have to work so much that I don't have time to ride!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for getting me to think about goals!

I'm going to finally bite the bullet and enter a Competitive Trail Ride, which I have been thinking about for years...which means my goal before that is to leg up Cooper, get him (and me) more physically fit.

And another goal is to ride at least one new horse trail that I haven't yet explored. I've got a list I am working on!

mocharocks said...

Ugh! I have not had internet since last Wednesday, now I’m so out of the loop :( Not sure anyone will even see this. My goals are also to ride a minimum of twice a week and to get Mocha to be able to canter in a circle without falling over or falling into trot. She has zero balance on a circle! I guess that’s what I get for doing nothing but trail riding in straight lines for the past 3 years. Although she seems to be able to keep her balance circling in the pasture just fine ;) Hey Slipping, I want to do agility this year with my dog also! He’s one of those really fit dogs who needs tons of exercise, so I give it to him, and then he’s even more fit and needs more exercise, it’s a vicious cycle! (Holly, I remember you talking about that a while back in the comments somewhere.) I’m hoping the mental stimulation of the agility will tire him out. Happy New Year everyone!

Char said...

Goal: Continue treating my gelding so that we can enjoy a summer full of riding.

Goal: Survive whatever equine tangles my mother continues to get herself (me) into.

Goal: Decide before spring whether or not I'm going to take the leap of buying the weanling that I've wanted so badly. I really, really want to get a little guy before my gelding has to be retired for good so that I can use him for ponying the little guy off of.

Hope everyone has a safe and productive 2009!

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