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New Website!! Input Requested Please! UPDATE 2/18 page 1

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  • New Website!! Input Requested Please! UPDATE 2/18 page 1

    I know it's a little bit early to be sharing this, but I just started a new website and I'm so excited!

    I had been wanting to write a book on various ways I've learned to make horse farm and/or sporthorse care more economical and efficient.

    I was thinking about how difficult it is to share ideas on COTH when I don't have pictures to illustrate. Then it struck me-why not have a website that illustrates my ideas?

    So The Pitchfork Chronicles was born! I actually wanted to name it The Pitchfork Diaries but apparently that is a series of horror movies so I went with the chronicles instead.

    I plan to be constantly adding new material to the site, but I thought I'd share what I have so far. Any input is appreciated!

    Without further ado...


    Thanks for your interest and feedback!

    UPDATE 2/18:

    Hi everyone! My daughter has been working on fixing the glitches I wasn't able to fix so I just wanted to share for anyone interested.

    The Amazon links are fixed and you can read them without needing binoculars!
    I wasn't able to do an RSS feed but instead now have a Facebook page. Anyone interested please friend me on FB and I will be announcing updates to my website on there.
    The competition checklists are available to be downloaded and are in a separate tab marked "File Download".
    The font size is now readable also!
    There has been a lot more information uploaded so feel free to visit again and give feedback!
    I bought a roll of Gorilla Tape today so now I'm looking for something to "repair" so I can see how well it works, haha!
    Last edited by mkevent; Feb. 18, 2013, 08:39 PM.

  • #2
    I enjoyed my visit to your site. One small suggestion... could you possibly increase the font size on the first page? I'm admittedly old and had trouble even with my progressive trifocals!

    Also, the ball valve for draining the horse trough.... I did that long ago, but might I suggest that you turn the trough around so the valve does not stick out the front. Ask me how I know that this is a good idea!

    (ok, so that was two suggestions !)
    "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."


    • #3
      Love it! I think I'm stealing the bubblewrap insulation idea for my waterer which, though heated, has frozen overnight the past three days. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful farm. And I'm like you, I like to *think* things through to try to find the easiest/safest solution. Well done!
      Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


      • Original Poster

        Thank you!

        Over the Hill-great suggestions! I increased the font size and put a suggestion on turning the trough around. Horses find a way to hurt themselves so easily-maybe I should have bubble wrapped the trough too!! (haha)

        Thank you SMF11-I must admit that I often read your posts because you have good ideas and I find myself agreeing with a lot that you write.

        I must confess I did not come up with the bubble wrap idea but it does seem to help delay the freezing process.


        • #5
          For these frigid cold days, Coleman/camping coolers make great insulated buckets and water troughs! One woman uses one of the round 5 gallon ones in her stall (she has a corner stall so her buckets are the first to freeze) similar to this one http://www.walmart.com/ip/Rubbermaid...ooler/20613574 this past week when I fed in the mornings (0-5 degrees without the windchill) there was barely a skim of ice starting to form on the water. Her regular bucket was a block of ice for a comparision.

          For the paddocks, we use the larger camping coolers with the lids removed.
          "You are under arrest for operating your mouth under the influence of
          ignorance!" Officer Beck


          • #6
            Great start, MK! I even see my girl Val there, all bundled up The water trough idea is just brilliant, and I've never seen it at any other barn. The font size is still small though.


            • #7
              great job! your farm looks awesome. Wish I had a way to put turnouts on each stall....oh well, I'll keep dreaming for the day I can acquire more land and build another barn with runs.....and an indoor arena....
              Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

              Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


              • Original Poster

                Thank you!!

                It was actually years of living here before we built the bigger barn. During that time, I would sit at the kitchen table and design and redesign how I wanted my new barn to be based on what didn't work with the shedrow. I'm glad that I had to wait because I learned a lot about what I wanted and needed.

                Now, of course, I would just go to COTH!!

                I also want to thank everyone who has visited my website. My eventual goal is for it to be able to produce a little income as well as be a way to share knowledge among fellow equestrians! If anyone would like to contribute, I would love additional advice and ideas!


                • #9
                  go look at google Adsense - it's an awesome program where you can get paid for clicks on adds on your website. costs nothing and as long as you don't cheat the system (clicking on the ads on your own website, or asking other people to click for you), it's a great way to earn money, especially once your website gets popular!!
                  Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                  Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


                  • #10
                    "Friend" me !



                    • Original Poster

                      I feel a little self serving reviving my own thread, but I need the input of the all wise and powerful COTH!

                      I've been incorporating affiliate links into my website and I chose Adsense and Amazon. Adsense sounds like a good program but it's taking me some time signing up. I'm also really paranoid I'll do something stupid to accidently kick myself out of the program!

                      I chose Amazon mainly because you can find just about anything on Amazon so it would be an easy way to show visitors pictures of products I may not have and also an easy way to find them. I've been incorporating the links directly into the text of my website since it seems easier that way. I don't get paid by clicks on that link so it wouldn't be "cheating" as a way to generate income. My question is does it look tacky the way I'm doing it now?

                      I also got a great suggestion to do an RSS feed so visitors can be notified when new content is added. It appears that it is possible to do that so I will be adding that as soon as I get the chance.

                      I'm very excited about this project and even if it never generates a dime, I love being able to share what I've discovered over the years. If it does generate income, it will go solely to taking more lessons!

                      Is there anything else I'm missing?

                      Thank you everyone who has taken the time to look and add insight. I really do appreciate it!!


                      • #12
                        I'm 55 and I can't see for sh!t. So the lack of contrast is hard for me. Your site also drags loading the pics, and the code isn't quite right for the links and the adsense at the very beginning. Again I can't see well so the pic that pops up for the links is too small for me to get a really good idea of the product, I get a better idea from your site pics (which are nice BTW, just load slow).

                        I see you have a link to my old watch. I destroyed the watchband to that in three years and they aren't replaceable, the rubberized plastic began to crack and eventually split completely. I ended up buying the men's version with a velcro band and so far the stitching has come out twice but hey, I can fix that with a needle and dental floss. It's also less pretty to start with so all the dings that took the color off and made the ladies' watch look beat up -don't matter.I think I'm a bit hard on watches.

                        What we do to feed out in the pasture is use brand new muck buckets (color coded, we do that too) and dump the feed bucket into that. We tie the muck bucket by both handles to a tree and they can't flip it over and waste grain. We also use muck buckets for point water sources in small paddocks and if they start to break we use Gorilla Tape, duct tape on steroids, GREAT stuff to hold them together. Won't hold up to the pigs but it will hold up to horses. A splitting muck bucket can still be used for grain, and of course for muck.

                        My trainer keeps her grain in a wheelbarrow and has a custom fit plywood lid with a handle to keep everything out of it. It's really easy to use, she just trundles down the aisle with the scoop and puts the feed into a rubber pan through the grill. Everybody eats about the same thing in her barn of course. Her pans are fixed atop tailboards - a "set tail" barn feature so might not have value to anyone else, but they are great for placing groom totes up and out of the way in the stall. She also has cross ties in every stall. NONE in the aisle, and two grooming bays with rubber mats for farrier calls/alternate grooming spaces.

                        Would you consider a link to something like Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping on a small acreage to give people a resource to various layouts for the farm?

                        DH ruined my white board with a regular felt pen. I tried going over it and wiping it off but not happening. He didn't see the cute little magnetized felt pen sticking to the board and went hunting through the shop for a felt pen. My trainer uses a laminated sheet for shows, multi use, keeps the grease pencil attached with a string.

                        I really like how you've set your place up to be easily worked by one person and you have small but not too small outdoor areas for inclement weather. If your horses are feeling cooped up after long periods of rain I like that handling can be kept at a minimum so they don't get stuck inside forever because walking them across a yard while they are high as a kite can be dangerous. I know ours have been kept up too much because I can't afford to get hurt and haven't always got a helper.

                        Love the bubblewrap. Now I'm mad at myself for cleaning up most of mine and tossing it out.

                        Do you have any tips on gate closures? We use spring clip snaps on a chain and they freeze, if we are in a hurry this is not good.

                        Sorry if this sounds like a laundry list of complaints - I'm really grateful that you've chosen to share your body of experience with a website!
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible


                        • Original Poster

                          Not a laundry list of complaints at all! This is the type of feedback I wanted!

                          I use the expo wet erase markers for the white boards. They hold up much better and have a cleaner and easier to read tip. You just use a moisten cloth to erase.

                          I use muck tubs for water troughs in the summer because I clean them daily and it is easier to keep clean and dump. Also less agae build up.

                          I need to try Gorilla tape, I'm sure I'll become addicted to that too!

                          Agree with the gate closures. I also use spring snaps and freezing is an issue. I either use hot water to defrost or a hammer to lightly bang the snap. Obviously the latter results in a decent amount of broken snaps!

                          I will work on the color contrast and the Amazon links. I thought they were a bit small also-I'm probably not doing it the way it was intended!

                          I have to laugh about the watch-the same thing happened to me! Now I have a watch without a watchband that I keep in the barn because it still has a stopwatch function. I hate throwing things out!

                          The adsense ad is wonky and I'm in the midst of trying to fix that.

                          I agree with the cross ties. They work well in the aisle if you only have one person in the barn. If you have multiple people, it is much better having a grooming stall off to the side. That is something I would have done differently.

                          Thanks for the suggestions and insight! Would you mind if I incorporate some of it into the website?


                          • #14
                            The reason the photos are loading slowly is that the site builder needs to resize the photos in photoshop to be the proper size for your page before you upload them to the site. Right now they are EEENORMOUS. :-)
                            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                            • Original Poster

                              It's really wierd but I did resize them before uploading them and they come up the correct size on my computer.

                              The huge photos-are they on Macs?


                              • #16
                                Love it! I'm building my own website at the moment as well, and it's a headache!

                                Some immediate things that I saw...

                                - The font is really small, and the pictures are kind of out of line. Spacing between pictures and paragraphs isn't uniform... sometimes too many spaces, sometimes none. I'm kind of a stickler for uniformity!

                                - I LOVE the checklists! Love, love, LOVE! It would be great if I could print them! Perhaps a clickable pdf version? I'm not sure how one would go about doing that though...

                                - The links are kind of funky. This is what I see... <iframe src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepitchforkc-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00653PYFC&ref=qf_br_asin_t il&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF &bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>

                                All in all though, I really like it! I bookmarked it as a resource!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thank you Superminion!

                                  I'm trying to figure out how to make the checklists printable.

                                  I would be happy to email them to you if you would like!

                                  In the meantime I'll be calling the support desk again. I feel like I'm getting directions from someone speaking Chinese though!


                                  • #18
                                    If anything I brought up can save someone else time and headache then by all means share it. The Gorilla Tape was a Coth gem.
                                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                    Incredible Invisible


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thank you!

                                      I just imagine that there are so many of us out there doing the same thing and getting annoyed at the same problems that maybe we could share some solutions, too!

                                      Ironically, I never read Cherry Hill's book. I'm sure it could have saved me some bad choices!

                                      I fixed the font to a larger size so hopefully it is more user friendly. I also got the wonky adsense issue worked out.

                                      I asked the help desk about the slow loading enormous pictures and the tech thought it might be a problem with that particular person's browser(?). Sadly, I don't even know what that means but I figured I'd pass the message on if it helps.


                                      • #20
                                        The photo problem is not a browser problem. Whoever told you that didn't look closely. I am not suggesting what the problem MIGHT be, I am telling you in fact what it IS. PM me, and I'll explain.
                                        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09