Thursday, October 25, 2012

So many things...

Two weeks ago there was an article in the newspaper that my mom read and then told me about. She gave me the highlights and thought "That poor family".  It obviously still has me scratching my head and asking WTF? My mom has changed her view of things too...

Without adding anything further- 
**Edited to add the full article below including a link**

Feel free to comment as you will.  Makes you wonder about people sometimes huh?

For the record- I travel this road twice daily in my commute and often on the weekends as well.  Although the posted speed limit is 50mph, people average 65-70mph.  Also as a friend of mine familiar with the area said- this is a long, flat, straight stretch of road. No trees, no hills, no dips, no curves. 

This is the article as found on from October 10, 2012.

$165 million lawsuit pending in crash that paralyzed Gilbert boy

Host of defendants in Ironwood Drive accident

9 comments by Luci Scott - Oct. 10, 2012 10:10 AM
The Republic |
Who is at fault? That's the big question lingering from a horrific car crash that left a 9-year-old Gilbert boy paralyzed from the neck down.
The boy's father, Brandon Ackert Sr. of Gilbert, is preparing to sue for $165 million over the accident, and the defendants include a number of Southeast Valley and other government entities.
On March 27, Lisa Ackert, a 911 operator for Phoenix and the boy's mother, was northbound on Ironwood Drive, a busy four-lane highway, about 2 miles north of Germann Road.
Ahead of her, a Dodge Ram pickup pulling a horse trailer had slowed or stopped in the fast lane to turn left across the dirt median. The pickup's driver, Joseph Curtis Kimball, was headed for a road that leads to a corral and open desert.
Lisa Ackert's Chevy Malibu struck the rear of the horse trailer.
She was injured, as were her sons Brandon Jr., 7, who was in the backseat and wearing his seat belt, and Andrew, then 9, who was in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt, according to a notice of claim filed by Brandon Sr. and his sons. A notice of claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.
Andrew, who used to love playing sports, is now 10 and was left a quadriplegic who needs a ventilator to breathe.
The notice of claim says the accident was caused by "negligent design and maintenance" of Ironwood Drive.
The median contains shrubs and brush, and it is filled with gravel and dirt to allow motorists to cross. The northbound and southbound lanes closest to the median are marked with a solid yellow line on the left, a symbol indicating motorists should not cross.
It's unclear which town the accident occurred in and which governmental agency is responsible for Ironwood's design and maintenance, so the notice was sent to the state, Pinal and Maricopa counties, the towns of Apache Junction and Queen Creek and the unincorporated area of San Tan Valley.
"Determining who is responsible for Ironwood Drive through this area has been a wild goose chase," attorney Robert K. Lewis said in a news release. "Poor road design has left this highway in such an ultra-hazardous condition that people stop in the high-speed lane to turn left across an unimproved median. No one will take responsibility."
Ironwood Drive crosses through Maricopa and Pinal counties, Apache Junction, Queen Creek and the unincorporated community of San Tan Valley. The highway borders property maintained by the state Land Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the state Department of Transportation. The governmental agencies are collectively referred to in the notice as the "public entities."
"It is clear that the public entities either filled in the dirt median permitting motor vehicles to cross in a dangerous fashion or permitted a third party to fill in the median," the notice says. "Either way, the public entities are liable for causing this accident."

The notice says Ironwood Drive was not designed within generally accepted engineering standards and "does not provide adequate warning of a dangerous condition."
Attorney Lewis' law firm, representing Brandon Ackert Sr. and his sons, has repeatedly asked for a police report, but the lawyer said it has not been released by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, which, according to the notice of claim, has said that the Pinal County Attorney's Office is looking at the report.

The Sheriff's Office told The Republic the report is not available because the accident is still under active investigation.
Since the accident, Andrew's medical bills have totaled more than $2 million, and the notice says his medical bills will likely amount to $1.4 million a year. The notice asks for a settlement of $159 million for Andrew.

Brandon Ackert Sr., a telecommunications sales representative, said the accident "deprived Brandon of the love, companionship, comfort, society and affection of Andrew Ackert," the notice says.
"Brandon can no longer play sports with his son, go to games or even run or walk with his son. Brandon will be by his son's bedside for the rest of his life, but the quality of their relationship and the ability to share and live life together was taken away from him," the claim adds.

"Although Mr. Kimball and Ms. Ackert share some liability for causing the accident, the public entities bear the brunt of the liability," the notice says, charging the highway's design allows motorists to violate state law by permitting them to cross a dirt median and two solid yellow lines.
There is a left-hand turn lane a quarter mile to the north of the accident's location where motorists can make a legal U-turn. At the point of the accident, Lewis said, there is no left-turn lane, no stop sign, no traffic light and no easy way to cross the median.

"Worst of all, these conditions still exist today," he said. "There could be another, similar crash waiting to happen, and nothing will improve until we find out which jurisdiction is responsible for make it take responsibility."
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Button braids- how to!

Ok so I promised to try and give these a shot. I failed in even getting the time to try to do them. I can admit that. But I was looking back through the posts at Behind the Bit and found one on button braids that was posted fairly recently. Add in the good video and waa-laa. It is a good tutorial video and even without sound, you can follow along at work and get a good idea of how to do it yourself.

When I get the chance I will be giving it a try and taking/posting pictures of my attempt, I need to do it soon as the driving show is coming up next month. If it looks good on Kat, I will be doing them for the show, otherwise it is back to the hunter braids for him or a running braid/French braid.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

In good company

Once in a while we are each fortunate to come across a person we can learn good things from. People we can discuss things with, sort out answers and advance in our quest for knowledge. When you have several people like that in your 'arsenal' you are fortunate and blessed.

With driving there is many things which Some of the information carries over, while some of it does not remotely apply. You can use your weight to shift position on the cart, and while the horse can feel it to some degree, it is not quite the same as being on their backs. Your legs- obviously make no cues to the horse, instead you use your whip to make them for you. Reins, bit choices and tack are similar in some areas and completely different in others.

While I am fortunate to have my husband on hand for guidance and coaching me on some things, I am also in the midst of several others who have talked sense to me about different things and helped me get Kat to where he is now.

I have mentioned Gary several times on my blog about driving and he has always been there to consult, even if it is via email, to give me words of encouragement and a kick in the pants. His blunt honesty is always appreciated with words like- "Is this how you hold your reins for riding? Well then don't do it for driving either."  I am pretty sure when he first seen how the harness was adjusted, the hold backs wrapped and everything else I had made mistakes doing- he probably had visions of things going horribly wrong and wondered how we lived through it all so far?

MiKael of Rising Rainbow Arabians has talked with me about a lot of things. Bits, collection, long line work, dressage and from each conversation I take away something. Confirmation of doing something right, lightbulb A-HA! moments of things finally making sense and even Duh! moments come up for me too.

LaTonne of Brown Eyed Cowgirls has been another one who has given me ideas and things to go on through the various posts on her blog. Although barrel racing and carriage driving may be two completely different equine sports, one of her latest posts about finishing her turns and carrying a notebook in the trailer to jot down good, bad and otherwise notes to help make your performance a better one- works for me. Finishing your turns is not just something a barrel racer needs to do, but in cones on the driving course it applies just the same. Finish your cone before looking to the next one.  Look for the spot you want the horse to go (center of the cone, center of the gate in obstacles) and they will hit it...

Sherry of Fern Valley Appaloosas has also reminded me now and then of "I knew this. Why wasn't I doing it?" in posts on her blog as well. With her post recently on ground driving and long line work, we both had a good laugh at ourselves and each other for having someone to finally have the courage to tell us- "You're doing this wrong!" while reminding ourselves to look ahead and watch where we are going.

One of the yahoo groups I am part of RED, (Recreational Equine Driving) has a lot of knowledgeable people posting on there including a trainer who will be judging the driving show next month. The members there talk about all kinds of things driving. Carriage maintenance, restoration, balance, harness fit, good and bad experiences with harness style, brands, carts, etc. and the list goes on. They do not allow in depth discussions of competition, but if there is a lesson in safety to be learned- it is welcome by all means.

I am also signed up to receive newsletters from another group- Jackpot Equine. Their latest newletter in the Judges Series was written by Mark Sheridan. He speaks of riding your circles round and exactly. Looking ahead as if using a clock and looking through your turns. This helped me in the dressage arena over the weekend as I reminded myself stop looking at your horse and look where you want him to go. Drive through your turns and look ahead.

Looking at your test scores in dressage, recounting how your felt the test went, comparing your ideas to what the judge seen... It gives you an idea of what you need to work on in the future and how to make things better. I have also started writing down a play by play of each movement. How I felt it went, what I was doing and how it was going.  Photo's and video can also give you a good idea of what was I doing (right or wrong) at that moment. It all leads to better riding or driving with our horse.  What could possibly be wrong with that?

So as you develop your eye for what looks correct and start to break down the steps of how to get it, think about where the information came from. Who said it to you and how you like the way their horses move. Start keeping notes when things go well, and notes of when they don't. If you can surround yourself with people who have a better than usual grasp on how to train a horse, you will do better and better as you go on. You will likely learn something from them in each conversation, be it spoken or email.

Always keep in mind, not all horses learn at the same rate. Some pick things up easily and spoil us that way. Others it may take a while to get through to them, but once they get it, it is there for good. Learning to cue or signal in ways that are exagerated and clear to begin with for a young horse, helps them get things right from the start. Later on you can refine your cues, scale it back and be more subtle. And even still there will be days it all goes wrong, the horse has other ideas and nothing goes well. It's part of working with horses. You have to learn to roll with it.