09.04.13: Poo Power!!!

Now that I have your attention...
Today has been absolutely fantastic. Its always a challenge when too many things get crammed into one day...
As a preface there is a HUGE trailer that has been sitting in front of Pat and Linda's house since the weekend. It had writing on the window that said 119,000.00 and had the name of the event from the weekend before written on it as well. The it is a goose neck trailer, and it has triple axles on it, and is probably more than 50' long. Coincidentally while Sandra and I were roaming around tack stores we saw Pat and Caton going to this trailer dealer as we were driving by. The company is called Shadow, and we were curious as to why the trailer as at the ranch, and what Pat was up to. We were about to find out...
This morning started out with Pat coming in to say hello to the classes. He loves to share tidibts with students whenever he chats like this just to keep people excited and interesting and looking forward to what is coming up next. (We heard about the plans with Cesar last year at one of the tour stops the same way....) Pat said that he has been in discussions with this trailer company to produce a better trailer that will have Parelli's name on it. Currently, they do have a contract with a company called Jamco, but apparently the Jamco trailers are very heavy, which is what makes them durable. This company, called Shadow, is using a material for the floor (where much of the weight of a trailer is apparently) that is the same design that the army uses for portable bridges for tanks and vehicles in combat and work zones. So the material is light, durable, and when you add a load on top of it the design strengthens the integrity rather than weakens it. So the floor weighs less and stays very strong, which enables you to build the
rest of the trailer around the flooring that much easier. So Pat is working with this trailer company to design a trailer that has all the extras and fancy stuff as well as really practical things and innovative designs that make them more user friendly. This model that is sitting on the ranch is THE top of the line model. It is, of course, with living quarters, which is actually TWO bedrooms. The first being above the gooseneck, and the second being with the popout towards the back. It has a kitchen that has two benches on either side, again with a popout, and then a really big flat screen TV that forms a central pillar in front of the bed over the goose. The rear of that panel also has a smaller flatscreen for the bed. The bathroom is nice with a decent sized shower (for a trailer its huge!). The horse area is a 4 horse slant load that has a 6 saddle rack tack space in the rear side of the slant. It has mangers in the side, so there is side storage under the mangers, and also a gas tank that holds fuel for the generator that sits on top. The living quarters area has a double air conditioner to keep everything nice and comfortable. The trailer is incredible, very fancy, though we were observing some interesting features that we would probably change. It will be interesting to see what kinds of design changes Pat comes up with.
Additionally, Pat told us that he has been talking with someone at Progressive Insurance to give Savvy Club members a discount, which would be really interesting if that goes through. He apparently has his hand in lots of pots, but that is not surprising. Pat tends to attract interesting and progressive people around himself, so it is always beneficial to be in his wake in some way or another.
He turned class back over to John who gave the usual discussion about the learning environment here. We finished up with that and he sent us off into our separate classes to get the week started. Baron started off the class and went over the week's outline for the discussions and things. We went outside and played the name game which didn't take long since we only have about 10 people and three of them are named some variation of Carole.
After we finished up with that we headed into the classroom with Julia for a discussion on dreams. She did a good job talking about what your dreams are, and to be aware of them since the process often does not look like the product. We watched the segment from one of the Colorado courses of the beginning of the Black Stallion movie where Alec rides Black in the ocean. It is some beautiful footage and gives you chills every time.
We moved out to the 100' round pen after that for a demonstration with Julia and Rita and John. Julia was demonstrating what it takes to be prepared to ride the horse. It took her a long time and a lot of effort to get Rita into the right mind frame of acting like a partner in order to be comfortable to ride. Julia worked through all the gaits looking for calm relaxation and consistency at each speed. Rita started out bucking and frolicking quite vigorously, and it was definitely not something I would be interested in riding! The demo went on for a long time, past 1:00, but it was fascinating to watch what she was working through in order to be confident that Rita would be a partner when she climbed into the saddle. Once she calmed down some and was willing to hold her feet still, Julia saddled her and repeated the process again to be sure that all the little bucks and hops were out before getting into the saddle. The demo was really great, and Julia and John did a great job together. John was able to explain things while Julia worked so that she could concentrate on the horse.
We finally made it in to lunch, which was eaten in a bit of a hurry. At 2:00 John was leading a focus group on dealing with fear and how to overcome fears. He gave several examples of how the method worked for other people that had really extensive fears. The concept starts with visualization and works on the approach and retreat principle to work the brain through the process and build confidence that you are safe, and will stay safe. Fears aren't logical, so "safe" is a relative term, whether you are public speaking or actually put your self into a dangerous situation.
We hustled out of that and hurried to get the horses ready for the focus group at 3:00. It was written on the board to meet in the honeycomb, and I happened to encounter Kerol as I was gathering my things in the tack room. She said she was just going to drive all the gear up to the honeycomb since there is a gate at the driveway right next to it. We gathered everything together and threw it in the back of her car and took it up there and set everything out one of the logs and hustled back to grab the horses. By the time we got back out to the honeycomb we found out that the instructions were written wrong on the board, we were actually supposed to be meeting at the 100' round pen instead. So we managed to grab all of our gear plus the horses and carry it all the way back to the 100' round pen. Storm carried the saddle pretty well, though it almost slid off a few times.
Julia led the focus group, and it was really informative. We worked on warming up strong and making sure the horse was relaxed within all the gaits. Several of us were able to work simultainiously in the larger round pens, and a few people were confident enough working outside the pens just in the playground. Storm did pretty well, he was quite exuberant in the beginning, which I tried to allow him to get out. He still bumps the end of the leadline sometimes, but is doing a little bit better. Sandra and I were sharing the 100' and she was working with the little jump for a while, and then we traded. Storm would forget to look where he was going, and the jump surprised him a couple times, though he mostly managed to get over it without too much trouble. It wasn't always pretty, and I only had to reset it a couple times. He got to the point where he just didn't want to maintain the canter anymore and he was more than happy to stand around with his feet still.
I checked in with Julia to get her opinion on the fit of the cradle bridle, and she thought that it was a good fit, and helped me adjust the noseband a little bit more to a better position. She recommended that I work with him while he's wearing it so that he gets used to the feel of it since it is a little bit different. I checked the time and realized that it was almost 4:30, and there was supposed to be another presentation that I wanted to get to, so I hurried to put him away, and grabbed all my stuff and tossed it into the tack room and hustled back over to the lodge to get there in time for the presentation. I got over there, and there wasn't anyone there at all, and I was a bit confused. I was very thirsty from our dusty work anyway, so I got a drink and caught my breath for a bit. Several other people arrived and all of us were confused because we all thought we were late. Finally Kathy came by and said that the guy was running late and it would start at 5:30 instead. Thats just the way the day went.
So we all headed out to take care of more things with the horse, and I put the tack away a little bit better and straightened my things up. I hung out with a few other people as we listened to thunder rolling off to the north. It didn't seem like we were going to get hit by the storm, thankfully, but I grabbed my duster and carried it with me anyway. We finally met back in the courtyard by the lodge again, and Linda came up for the demo too. I managed to chat with her for a minute and tell her how much the people at the campground were interested in what goes on here, and how much they loved the open houses. She was pleased to hear it. About that time the gentleman rolled up with a truck and this very odd contraption on a trailer. Linda told him that Pat was on his way down, and so he got started priming the reactor to be able to start the process. Pat rolled up with the team and the wagon and watched the presentation from the buckboard.
The man's name was Chris Morrison, and he has developed a process that turns horse manure and shavings waste into power. The contraption on the back of the trailer has a hopper that you dump the manure and shavings into  and then it goes down into another chamber where it gets super heated and begins to break down the components into hydrogen and clean byproducts. Due to the nature of horse manure it can produce more hydrogen than almost any other bio waste. The process started, and at first there was a stack that was putting off a lot of heat. The emissions were very clean though, there was no smoke or by product other than healthy gasses coming off of it. When the machine had been primed enough, they changed some levers and began to feed the gas into an engine, and the engine powered a generator and then the flipped a pair work lights on. It was fascinating to see the lights turn on and know that it all came from a bucket fo shavings and poop!! His process is so efficient that for a farm to have one of these machines there would be a surplus of energy produced. Not only that, but the hydrogen that is produced can be used to power cars with no loss of horse power and the equivalent in milage. Not only that but the vehicle does not need to be altered, it only requires some additions to be able to handle the alternative fuel so it maintains the integrity of the vehicle. If the alternative fuel runs out while you are on the road, all that is required is to flip a switch and the vehicle is back to runing gas or whatever type of fuel the vehicle is built to run.
He said that they are in the process of designing a complete unit that will work for a farm of 50 or more horses since that is the most economical size for the cost. To install a unit like that, it costs about $275,000.00 which is much reduced due to grants and assistance he is able to get through the government. For a farm of that size, enough power would be produced to power everything on the farm (lights and equipment included) and also give power BACK to the power company. The unit includes everything that is needed to run it plus the equipment that allows the machinery to feed power back into the grid as well as draw from it. So the power company would be paying you to produce power. He said that in the county north of Marion county the power company is actually buying power at 2.5 x more than what you pay for it in an effort to encourage people to produce their own power because it helps the power company avoid having to build new facilities. The potential that this machine has is just incredible. It can accept horse waste, shavings, and things like leaves, limbs, and trees (ground up of course), so it is very flexible and able to handle removal of more than just manure. Most farms have to deal with brush and weeds and leaves as well. To have those things become part of the power making as well as giving them a place to go without having to have someone pay to haul it off makes so much sense. I am very excited about the prospects for this for the future. The only byproduct other than eco friendly gasses is Carbon Ash, which is also valuable for the building industry and as a fertalizer. So even the by product is marketable! At this point, there isn't any info up on the web because he is still wrestling with the EPA for approvals and regulations. But there should be a video about it very soon, which I'll pass along as soon as I can get ahold of it. This whole process was just super fascinating and very exciting.
We were late to dinner, but that didn't matter much, we enjoyed listening to what this gentleman had to say. He was super intelligent and also has many other concepts in the works for smaller scales of production so that they are more accesible for the average person.
Dinner was great, cajun with blackened catfish and shrimp jumbalaha over rice. I finished up with dinner and headed out to feed Storm his dinner and then headed home. There were storms coming in, so I grabbed my stuff and drug it into the truck which was pretty comfortable over ngiht. Its still raining this morning so its going to be an interesting day.

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