SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EDITION 2000
Among Fair Winds Farms unique features is the availability of pasture grazing for its tenants. With about two acres of pasture currently, plans to extend this to an additional two acres are in place as soon as the well gets drilled.
Their initial boarder was an ill mannered Andalusian gelding that had completely
cowed its owner. Needless to say, the Hamiltons soon set to work
to try and encourage the owner that she and her horse would be much happier
at another facility. After months of subtle hints that fell on deaf
ears, they were finally forced to give termination orders to get the owner
and horse to leave. What a way to run a business!
In early December, Our second and third clients arrived. This brought the total horses on the facility to TEN. On the plus side, all horses are extremely well behaved, making it a pleasure to be around them. The first of the two clients is a world class dressage rider, Liz Hopps (http://www.lizhoppsdressage.com), from Canada that is in the area for the winter circuit and possible permanent relocation. Her string of seven horses are all warmbloods, the smallest of which stands 16.2 hands (that's 5 ft. 6 in. at the front shoulder). One of these guys, Mouse, has more frequent flyer miles than Elaine and helped Liz win the World Cup in Dressage in Italy in 1998. With the Hamilton's own two horses being plus 16 hands, there are now nine BIG horses roaming the ranchita.
The second client is a little Arab mare that might just stand all of 14 hands tall. This sweet horse is Fair Winds Farm's first referral from the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital. Suffering from a dust allergy, they recommended that she be put in a pasture environment and suggested that the owners place her at Fair Winds Farm. She arrived looking like skin and bones and the Hamilton's immediately began to work on fatting her up. This task has been successful to the point that beginning this week, her food quantity has been cut back to keep her from becoming a piglet. With all the other big horses, Cover Girl actually seems more like a pony rather than an average size Arabian.
At this time, the Hamilton's have decided that the farm is at full capacity, though in a pinch they could take one or two others. Before expanding more, they want to get use to managing the current number of horses that they have. One thing they have learned already is that their vacations for an indefinite period of time will be limited to camping trips to the backside of the property.
Completes Second Year at FileNET
November, 2000 - Hayden completed his second year at FileNET as Senior Product Manager for the Applications Marketing group. He moved to this group this past January from the Product Marketing team and is quiet excited about this new position.
FileNET has traditionally been a major supplier of computer software infrastructure technology for document management. One of the challenges facing the company is moving its business toward that of being an application supplier. As such, Hayden's current position puts him right in the middle of what's happening. This has been both an interesting and challenging assignment. Interesting because Hayden is one of the key team members mapping strategy and direction in this new venture. Challenging because of the company's large employee base that doesn't recognize or feel the need to change. It's kind of like trying to teach a pig to sing - little success and it only irritates the pig.
On the plus side, the team Hayden is working with is extremely talented and success motivated. The prevailing attitude within the group is that we will make FileNET successful in spite of the dinosaurs that are trying to hold us back.
and the Navy Continue Relationship
October, 2000 - Elaine and the Navy have continued to agree to continue their mutually beneficial relationship, all be it under new terms and conditions. After ten years as an independent contractor, the Navy decided that it was too much trouble managing independent contractor licenses. Using typical government logic, they decided that paying about 30 percent more of our hard-earned tax dollars was a much more efficient way to go. Rather than allowing Elaine's corporation to bid on the contract (potential conflict of interest) they awarded it to the another company. Based her experiences to date, its amazing that this company is still in business. They signed her contract without negotiating any of the terms after Elaine had discarded theirs as unacceptable. And it only took them six weeks after the contract started to do this. If Elaine hadn't threatened to discontinue services, no telling how long it would have been before they got their act together. The downside of this change is that Elaine actually took a slight cut in pay. The plus side is that Pacific Nurse Practitioners now handles all the paper work, including tax withholds, which is great - no more estimated quarterly payments.
All year, 2000 - Did you know that one of anagrams that you can make from "Hayden Hamilton" is "The Handy Oilman"? One of the things that Hayden has really come to appreciate since moving to the ranchita is a much better understanding of the life of a farmer. He has always been relatively capable with his hands at doing odd jobs. This has now been elevated and he is getting better with each new experience - be that carpentry, electrical, mechanical, plumbing or general fix it. He has also become relatively adept that tossing hay and picking up manure. FACTOID: Did you know that the horse is the only animal on earth that can turn 100 pounds of hay in to 300 pounds of manure? Hayden knows this for a fact!!!
This year has seen a number of changes to the Hamilton Family. In August, we had to put down Rock after spinal cartilage degeneration progressed to the point that he was immobile. While this was extremely hard on Hayden and Elaine, they remember the fun and joy that he spread in the short couple of years that he spent with them.
On a brighter note, Rock's place at the table has been more than aptly filled by Ranger, now a two year old male German Shepherd. Hayden and Elaine picked him up about a week after Rock's passing from the German Shepherd Rescue Center in Los Angeles. Ranger has his own unique personality, which lately includes taking almost everything he can pick up (shoes, shirts, pillows, stuffed animals, towels, clothes, etc.) out into the back yard. Elaine and Hayden spend a couple of minutes each evening retrieving these articles back into the house. They are extremely grateful that he at least does not chew anything up - merely transports them to the back yard. Postscript - Ranger has decided that the "objects de yard" are his and has decided hiding them from Hayden and Eliane is the appropriate course of action. So far, they have successfully located one pair of riding breeches, two hand towels, numerous rolled sock pairs, and one stuffed animal. This does not include the bed pillows that were only half buried!
The Hamilton's thought they were going to loose Freeway this summer as well. He suddenly had a stroke like attack that literally knocked him off his feet. Being older than dirt and stone deaf anyway, Elaine and Hayden figured it was his time. After about a two weeks in which he couldn't get up without being supported they were sitting at the dinner table one evening talking about making final arrangements when the old guy got up and tottered outside and did his business all by himself. Go figure! Well, here it is seven months latter, and Freeway is still with us - seventeen years old and the Everyready Bunny of Golden Retrievers - he just keeps going, and going, and going.
Schroeder survived his second colic surgery this spring. It was almost his last, but with Elaine yelling in his face that she wasn't going to let him go, he finally came out of anesthesia with a look of "Would you Please go away!, I'm trying to sleep!" He's now almost completely recovered and is back to being ridden with light workouts. Not bad for a nineteen year old that should have another five or ten years left.
Because Schroeder is rapidly approaching retirement, Elaine acquired another horse. In fact she didn't have to look far because she decided to buy Lenny (a.k.a., Leonardo, Leonard) who has been Schroeder's barn pal since the Hamiltons moved onto the property. This unbroken three year old has since been broken, going under saddle and rider after only his third lesson and never bucked or complained. A regular trooper if there ever was one. Starting in January, Liz has agreed to start training him in the finer aspects of carrying a rider.
Healthwise, Hayden and Elaine are doing reasonably well for middle age. Outside of skinned knuckles, strained muscles, and the random bruises they pick up around the barn and horses, they are managing to stay in fairly good shape.
September 2000 - As though Hayden didn't already have enough to do, he recently volunteered to help the American Aviation Historical Society get their web presence up to speed. The society's headquarters are just down the road from FileNET and Hayden thought it would be a great idea to help out in his spare (?) time. They got the initial version of the website launched in mid-October and Hayden continues to expand and update the site.
If you have an interest in aviation history, check out their website and consider joining. They are located on the web at: