February 14, 2021 by Gina Keesling
"I got this, really. How hard can it be?" 
My Stubborn Valentine, Part 2

February always finds me sharing Valentine's Day stories, and this year is no exception. Most folks view the adjective "stubborn" as a negative trait. And indeed the very first word of dictionary.com's definition is "unreasonably". However, option two and three are much more flattering in that they tell us a stubborn person is:

fixed or set in purpose on opinion; resolute
obstinately maintained, as a course of action

These describe my Valentine (husband Rob) to a T.
Historically, he's proven his mettle at seemingly insurmountable projects, the house remodel endeavor being one, and the pond construction another.

Along the way there have been many others. It's not for the faint of heart, I can attest to that as I have stood on the sidelines many times wringing my hands about HOW things are going to get done. While. He. Does. Them.
Recently, in Part 1 "Tell them that we will take it" I shared a story about carefully deconstructing this big old barn and transporting the pieces 50 miles to our farm, with no particular purpose in mind for the subsequent use of said wood. That's here
"I got this, really. How hard can it be?" This installment chronicles the difficult process of selecting and preparing just two of the hundreds of pieces of salvaged barn wood where we say things like;"Wash off the poop, but not the patina!" You can read the rest here
My husband Rob is the catalyst that sparked the beginning of HoofPrints
He was a farrier, and my graphic designer self was thrilled to finally have a horsey outlet for my creative endeavors. He was pleased to have a wife who could get a horse to stand still for farrier work (usually).

What seemed to have been the perfect match of interests and skills would be destined to encounter a few pitfalls. Into every marriage the partners bring with them different ways of dealing with the world. Rob is the BIG thinker in our house. No project is too large or complicated. He stubbornly plunges ahead and works out the details later. I, on the other hand, creep along at a safe snail's pace, accomplishing each task gradually, testing the waters as I go.

It would be a lie if I claimed that this process of integrating marriage, family and business is not occasionally quite painful. But, the Bible says "As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17 And that's what we're still doing today - after 35 years of marriage - supporting each other, challenging each other, and loving each other.

Morrie & Arleah Schechtman's Love in the Present Tense says it well:
"You care most for your partner when you demand that s/he become the best that s/he can be. In relationships where mutual challenge is a value, it is not acceptable for either partner to fall into a protracted slump. Each partner holds the other accountable for living up to his best vision of himself and for continuing to grow. Challenge is a vote of confidence, a sign of respect."

Here are Five Surprising Valentine's Day Resolutions from Morrie & Arleah
While we're on the "stubborn" topic...
This sweet book has been a huge hit; the unlikely pairing of a middle aged college professor and an obstinate donkey is a funny, sweet, and inspirational read. The sterling silver ass (literally) necklace and earrings were grabbed immediately when I listed the samples on the one of a kind page - I thought they were cute but hadn't seriously considered them for the flyer until I saw that response. I guess folks really do want to wear asses on their ears and neck!
SMART ASS - How a Donkey Challenged Me to Accept His True Nature and Rediscover My Own by Margaret Winslow
How do you resolve a midlife crisis? Margaret Winslow, and overworked college professor, answered a sale ad for a Large White Saddle Donkey. Hilarity ensues, along with injuries and insight. As we walk with Winslow and Caleb the donkey through training traumas, baffling antics, and humiliating rides, we share her gradual understanding of Caleb's gifts: a willingness to be true to himself no matter the circumstances, to trust, and to forgive. Order here
Hand cast in USA, these sterling silver ass pendants are remarkably accurate and detailed, right down to the frogs on the tiny hooves. Earrings and necklace are both 3/4" tall. Sterling silver chain is 18"
Sometimes I am the one who is stubborn - about the products that I think will sell; this one seemed like such a good idea at the time...
Many of my customers have a soft spot in their hearts for donkeys, and for some, a mule is the preferred mount over a horse. I've gotten lots of feedback to this effect over the years, and the products I've brought on board catering to this crowd have done well. In fact, this Christmas card consistently outsells the horse cards, year after year.
When I found this sweet tank top created by artist Marti McGinnis, I was super excited. The pattern is absolutely irresistible; whimsical, vibrant and colorful. Marti calls this pattern Joyful Burros, and that's a perfect name. And Marti knows how to do joy; her website is happyart.com
So, I included it in the Fall catalog, ignoring the fact that I'd be asking folks to buy a tank top in cold weather. I did get sales, however the real problem happened when I remembered that the company that makes these for Marti is small. And it's in Canada. The two week lead time that was fine with me in September made me really nervous in November, so I hoarded up a bunch of these in order to make sure that I had enough on hand for holiday sales (that did not pan out). But really, who buys tank tops in December?
At any rate, I'd like to revisit this one again. It's super stretchy, comfortable, and even a little dressy.
Someone gutsy could totally pull this off at a special occasion accessorized with a black skirt and some awesome purple shoes. And this necklace.
Any more mule or donkey stuff?
YES! With the recommendations and encouragement of longear lovers everywhere, I've added an entire department of products dedicated to these unique creatures. To see them, click the picture below.
FREE while supplies last! A Heart filled with Horses can accomplish Anything Inspirational Magnet
This new magnet features the January photo from the 2021 Favorite Horse Quotes Calendar along with a quote from Horsespirations. It measures 3.5" w x 2.5" tall and is FREE with any order placed at HoofPrints.

Not ready to order right now? Click the button below to request one
Check out these 2 T-shirts - they're under $10!
I Train Horses... To Eat Carrots - Available in two new colors; Vintage Chocolate and Vintage Purple. The soft fabric is a medium weight that is cool, soft and washes up great. Distressed, screenprinted logo is HoofPrints' own.
The rest of the story: Now, these shirts were designed with a tiny bit of sarcasm- as a joke for those of us who want to train our horses using non-forceful methods (treats) and who occasionally encounter less-than-stellar results. It's a whole 'nother story, but I personally found myself a bit lost after I decided to swear off using the option of punishment when working with my horses. I can't always get the results I am hoping for, but I CAN, always get them to eat a carrot. It's a lighthearted way of looking at the learning process (both mine and theirs.)
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HoofPrints is your source for unique horsey products available from no other company. HoofPrints' gift recipients are always surprised and delighted by these obscure items. Biggest selection of Farrier Business forms on the planet. All items are personally created or curated by owner Gina Keesling.
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories (including products and instructions for training horses to eat carrots) and more.
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Overly ambitious DIY ideas that I may never do
I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email gina@hoofprints.com