Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mugwump / Janet

By Laura Crum



As any of you who have been reading my posts here know, I’m relatively new to blogging. Until the folks who created this site invited me to write a bi-weekly blog for them (and I accepted) back in March of this year, I had never even read a blog. I had no idea what was out there in the blogosphere. But having accepted the invitation to write one, I figured I’d better go find out what it was I was supposed to be writing. So, I looked around and found a veritable army of “horse blogs”, some with many readers, some with very few. It was instructive. I learned what blogging amounted to. But among these blogs, one stood head and shoulders above the rest (in my view), and that was “mugwump chronicles”.


Most of you are probably already fans of mugwump, so I’m preaching to the choir here, but for those of you who haven’t read this blog, mugwump is a horse trainer. She has had a long career training reined cowhorses and she is, in my book, a very talented and savvy trainer. Her blog offers well thought out and very tactful advice (for free) to all who ask—how cool is that?


But even more wonderful (if possible) than her skill as a horse trainer is her talent as a writer. By great good fortune, the day I stumbled upon her blog was the day she posted chapter one of her “Sonita story”, one of the most moving chronicles of training a young horse that I have ever read—anywhere. Like so many others, I became addicted to this story, waiting eagerly for the next installment. And, of course, I wrote to mugwump and told her what a great writer I thought she was/is.


Mugwump wrote back and we discovered we had an amazing number of similarities. We had both trained and shown cowhorses, we were both interested in writing about horses, she loved mysteries, we are the same age, we both went to Catholic school….the list went on and on. Our views about horses and training horses were almost identical. I think we were both blown away by how much we had in common. In the course of this dialogue, mugwump gave me her name and revealed that in her “real life”, get this, she was/is an artist. And she gave me her website address.


So I went to http://www.cowhorseart.com/ and I was even more astounded. Because this talented horse trainer and writer is an equally talented artist who has illustrated many books, done some wonderful commissioned portraits of people and horses and has an incredibly delightful series of cards for sale. I promptly ordered some Xmas cards for myself and asked mugwump, who I now knew as the artist Janet Huntington, why she didn’t use her popular blog to promote her artwork.


Turns out, as some of you already know, that mugwump/Janet is a modest, private person and she just wasn’t sure if she wanted to go public with her other career, so to speak. So, to make a long story short, I pretty much begged her to do so. I felt that lots of her fans would love her artwork as much as I did, and be just as amazed as I am/was that she is so multi-talented. (I couldn’t draw a decent horse to save my life—this is one thing we don’t have in common.)


In the end, Janet has decided to go public as mugwump, and I know you will all enjoy her artwork as much as I did. And you’ll probably all want Xmas cards, too. So, just for fun, we decided we’d do a joint promotion: the winner of today’s contest will receive a set of Janet Huntington Xmas cards and a signed copy of my first equine mystery, Cutter.


And all of you, please, do yourselves a favor, visit http://www.cowhorseart.com/ and take a look at what a wonderful artist mugwump is. On top of being a terrific horse trainer and a great writer. It ought to be illegal to have so many talents. (I’m kidding—I’m just jealous.) And for those, if there are any, who haven’t yet found her mugwump chronicles blog, I highly recommend a visit there, too. This is some seriously good writing about horses, and I know that those of you who visit this site are folks who are interested in writing about horses.


And now, drumroll please, for the contest. The first person to answer the question: Where in the blogosphere did mugwump and I first “meet”? and post the correct answer in the comments on this blog will get the cards and book. You will also have to email me your snail mail address so that I can send them to you. I’ll respond in the comments and let you know who won. That person can email me at laurae@cruzio.com


The rest of you will have to buy your cards and books, if you want them, and I will shamelessly say that the combo of a Janet Huntington card and a book by any author on this site will make a wonderful Xmas gift for horse lovers you may know.


Here, just to give you a taste, is one of my favorites of her Xmas cards: "Cutting Rudolf"



Have fun.
Laura Crum

29 comments:

Rhonda Lane said...

You read her post of the first chapter of her "Sonita story" and sent her an email of appreciation.

BTW, I love the "Cutting Rudolph" card. And I enjoyed clicking through the pictures on her site.

Laura Crum said...

Good guess, Rhonda, but that's isn't where I first encountered Mugwump.

Amy + Henry said...

Perhaps on a forum or message board - FHOTD or COTH?

Laura Crum said...

Amy, you can only guess once (new rule). So, what's your guess?

Amy + Henry said...

Hah, jeez, I know that FHOTD connects many people, so I will guess that.

Rhonda Lane said...

LOL! This is what I get for skipping breakfast.

So, my next guess is ... over appletinis at George Clooney's Lake Como villa? :)

Obviously, I need sustenance. I'll try again later after I've had at least something with caffeine.

Jessie said...

Fugly Horse of the Day? I suppose that's already been guessed.

loneplainsman said...

Very Large Colt blog?

Heather said...

Google?

Laura Crum said...

OK you guys, just to build the supsense, I'm going to announce the winner tomorrow (this was Janet's idea). So keep guessing.

KD said...

Darn- I'm pretty sure you saw her post at Fugly - but that's already been guessed.

Now - I'm off to view her artwork!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

LOL. I already knew about the artwork. I'm a nosy beyotch and I figured out who Janet was by googling the information I had about her very early on. I also know Sonita's registered name. ;-)

(And thought for the day: why aren't the people who actually know how to train the BIG NAMES? Is it all about ability to market yourself, so a great trainer who lacks the self-promotion bullshit gene will never have the fame of a poor trainer with the marketing aggressiveness of Madonna? Don't answer that, I already know...)

And yes, I think the artwork is fabulous (and as for more similarities, I was really serious about my art in high school and won a lot of awards for my horse drawings. Since then, totally let it slide though...I was more focused on it when it was something to do amid the boredom of class)

Joy said...

I'm with the others who say you first met each other of FHOTD blog.

Patches said...

Darn work, always gets in the way! I would have said FHOTD to. In response to Fugs, I think being humble and doubting your mad skills as a trainer makes people better trainers a lot of the time. Unfortunately, it also makes them doubt that they are good enough to make themselves the BIG NAME. Just my thoughts on that one.

Love the art work...may have to get me some of them thar Christmas cards!

WaitinToRein said...

i see your first post to mugwump was on her second sonita chapter, is that the first connection?

Laura Crum said...

Gee fugly, that's interesting. You and Janet seem to have some similarities, too. Does that mean that you and I have some? (Since Janet and I have so many.) On the other hand, I can't draw, so that lets me out of that little club. But we all train horses and we all write--in our various ways. I guess that statement applies to the whole lot of us that correspond on these horse blogs. Anyway, for those who don't win the cards, go buy some and support the artist. Buy a few books, too(!) You can't blame us for wanting to make a little off these blogs. And on that note, fugly, I hope your new sites are very successful and you're able to quit your day job. Its a great idea and should be a benefit to many. And hopefully to you, too.

ezra_pandora said...

Shoot. I'm so slow, lol. I know you were "shamelessly" plugging your books on FHOTD website and Mugwump made interesting commnents that caught your attention and then she started reading your books and writing reviews. But that brings me back to what everyone else said, but that card is really cute, so I will be checking out the rest.

Jami Davenport said...

Fugly, I had to drop in and comment on your "Thought of the Day." I'm going to have to do a post on my experience with horse whisperers. The majority of them are incredible marketers. Most of the ones I worked with were actually afraid of my mare because of her size. I admit to being a coward around most horses, but I'm NOT afraid of my horse (except yesterday when she turned psycho on me, but I'll save that for Sunday's post).

Mugwump, I love your artwork. Do you mind if I post the link on EI?

Laura Crum said...

You know, Jami, I don't think she'd mind. I'll have to go read fugly's post on horse whisperers.

Jami Davenport said...

Laura, I didn't realize Fugly did a post on horse whisperers. I was commenting on the comment she left here. I'll have to go check it out. I have a feeling we may have had similar experiences.

Laura Crum said...

Jami, you must mean fugly's "thought of the day" in these comments. I'm just slow. The word "horse whisperer" triggers me. Most of those guys are such charlatans. I immediately dashed off to see if fugly had "outed" one. But now I see what you mean.
As for why good horse trainers frequently aren't the big names, well, I can only talk about the cowhorse business, which is all I know, but I can tell you, and I think mugwump will second this, that the people who have a heart for horses and can make the ones you'd want to own aren't always, or even usually, the trainers who win. In general, the trainers who win and are "famous" put a tremendous amount of pressure on their horses and the number who "flunk out" by crippling up and/or blowing up mentally far exceeds the ones who go on and win. The horses who win often cripple up, too. If you like horses, you start to hate the whole game, at least in many ways. Mugwump's first post was about how ambivalant she felt about her career as a trainer, referencing this problem. The "well known" trainers are often the ones who are callous enough to play the game and not give a damn how many horses they ruin to do it. What do you think, mugwump?

mugwump said...

Sure Laura go ahead and get me in trouble with the trainers. But yes, there is a level of callousness I just couldn't develop. I have a habit of sticking with horses for the long run, and trying to turn them into something, even if they can't cow. Although I can't just say I didn't succeed because of my moral decisions. I'll never know if I was bold enough, or frankly, good enough to make it to the top. I was a middle of the road competitor, even at my best.
And I'm going to quit talking now, because this will be a great post!
Jami I would appreciate a link to my site from EI. Thanks.

i know nothing said...

You met on this very Equestrian Ink blog?

Mrs Mom said...

WOW!! Go Madame Mugs! Right then- since everyone here has guessed FUGS, I am not so sure what to say. I have an idea.. but I think I will wait and see ;)

Thanks for "outing" Mugs Laura. (And Mugs, thank you for agreeing to share your incredible talents with us in yet one more way!)

Latigo Liz said...

I am glad Janet has been outed! I don’t have the level of sleuthing skills that Cathy has, but she and I have collaborated on a few saves from asshats by reseraching different venues. She’s a good friend to have for stuff like that, and to help save horses.

Laura, you and Janet must be more of my long lost sisters, too!

cdncowgirl said...

Love mugs's artwork almost as much as I love the Sonita stories... well all her horse stories!

Also, Laura, I just received my copy of Cutter (I tracked one down!) and although I haven't had much time to read it is great so far :)

Anonymous said...

Laura love your books have ordered them all read 2 reading Cutter now!

Stacey - Maine

Laura Crum said...

OK, its Thurs, so the answer is, as many of you guessed, fugly horse of the day. Just like Ezra Pandora said, I was checking out fugly, both to see what her blog was about, and also to try to get her legions of readers to come over to this blog and have a look at my equine mysteries. In the course of this shameless self-promotion, I read mugwump's comments, and was really impressed with how knowledgable she was. Of course, we both come from a cowhorse bacckground, and that made a bond, too. So I went to her blog, read chapter one of the Sonita story, and the rest you know. And, in defense of the so-called shameless self-promotion, I thought that folks who like horse blogs (which after all are "writing about horses")are folks who would probably enjoy equine mysteries as well. And thanks so much to all who have given the books a try. I'm glad to hear that a lot of you have liked them, and I'm always open to reader reviews, both positive and negative. You can post them in the comments of any blog post I put up.
So the winner of the contest is: Amy of Amy and Henry, and Amy if you will email me in the next few days with your snail mail address I will send you the book and set of Xmas cards. Jessie is the runner up, as the second to guess fugly, and if you will email me your address, Jessie, I'll send you a copy of Cutter, too. (I only have one set of cards to give away). And the rest of you, do go to mugs/Janet's website and check it out. Besides the great Xmas cards, you can also commission a portrait of your horse. My email is laurae@cruzio.com Thanks to all of you who participated in our little contest. Janet and I had fun with it--I hope you did, too.

ezra_pandora said...

Darn!! Too bad I wasn't a little quicker. lol Congrats to Amy (+Henry) and Jessie, you guys are so lucky!! That was fun though.