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The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2)

2022-09-08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Publisher Founding: September 1, 2014

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com 

Location: Fort Langley, Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Journal: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Journal Founding: August 2, 2012

Frequency: Three (3) Times Per Year

Review Status: Non-Peer-Reviewed

Access: Electronic/Digital & Open Access

Fees: None (Free)

Volume Numbering: 11

Issue Numbering: 1

Section: E

Theme Type: Idea

Theme Premise: “Outliers and Outsiders”

Theme Part: 26

Formal Sub-Theme: “The Greenhorn Chronicles”

Individual Publication Date: September 8, 2022

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2023

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Interviewer(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Interviewee(s): Deborah Stacey

Word Count: 2,242

Image Credit: Deborah Stacey.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN): 2369-6885

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citations, after the interview.*

*Interview conducted July 7, 2022.*

Abstract

Deborah Stacey is the Founder & CEO of Horse Lover’s Math. Deborah Stacey is the founder and CEO of Horse Lover’s Math (HLM). HLM is an active website for kids ages 8 and up devoted to horses, math and science offering print and downloadable STEM resources and website posts and content that are free and open to everyone. Growing up horse crazy in the suburbs didn’t allow Deborah much opportunity to spend time with horses. She had to find other ways to feed her passion, which she did through reading horse books, drawing horses and watching every program and movie she could find. While in elementary school, she and a friend organized their own horse school, taking turns teaching each other about horses. They even had a chalkboard and gave lectures and tests. The fascination with horses remained strong through high school. After graduating, an opportunity arose to take English riding lessons near her family home. One day at the barn her riding instructor asked if she wanted to work as a groom at a small, private hunter and jumper stable outside of Montreal. She jumped at the chance. Around this time Humber College in Toronto started up a two-year horsemanship program. Deborah graduated with an Honours Degree in Horsemanship in the mid-seventies and went on to work with hunters and jumpers, at a hunter jumper breeding farm, and boarding stables with a focus on dressage. Years later, she had a family of her own and a daughter who loved horses. In school, her daughter struggled with math. One evening, in an effort to help her daughter understand a math word problem, Deborah changed the context from shopping for a bag of flour at the grocery store to buying bags of grain at a feed store. The math operations remained the same; price, decimals and multiplication, but the context changed, now it was about the real world of horses. Her daughter became curious. How much does a bag of oats cost? How does that price compare with beet pulp or sweet feed? She was engaged and she started asking questions. It was an exciting moment for Deborah to see what happens when a child who is struggling finds their passion; they become motivated, curious and open to learning. Using the math worksheets her daughter brought home from school as reference, Deborah started creating math questions based in the real world of horses. She began seeing math everywhere in her work with horses, and Horse Lover’s Math was born. You can find reviews on HLM Level 1 and Level 2, information on Teachers Pay Teachers on HLM Level 1 and Level 2 (Links). Leslie Christian, of Outschool, has been a collaborator with HLM. Stacey discusses: demographic differences; orders; starting the conversation; the cost-benefit analysis; and kids are taking away from these lessons.

Keywords: British Columbia, Canada, Deborah Stacey, equestrianism, Horse Lover’s Math, mathematics, The Greenhorn Chronicles, Township of Langley.

The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I wrote an article, recently, looking at another facet. I was thinking about it while I was gardening: the injuries of equestrianism. That’s a thing. As I found, 60%, according to government statistics, of injuries are just falling off the horse.

Deborah Stacey: [Laughing] Okay.

Jacobsen: They are mostly in the teen years, mostly girls. Teen years make sense because everyone is learning. Girls make sense because that is, probably, the biggest demographic for the industry.

Stacey: I know! It is such an interesting phenomenon. People have tried to explain why that is.

Jacobsen: I have heard one explanation, which is: In Europe, you find more boys out there because over in North America, especially in Canada; there is a cultural nuance of safe, nurturing environments where there is observation, care, training, to guiding girls in a safe environment. Where, in Western Europe, it is more of a survival of the fittest or has been more so in the past. They throw you on there. The boys survive. They become decent to great riders. That’s one hypothesis. I don’t have data to back that up. It has a certain intuitive narrative appeal.

Stacey: That demographic holds for the English disciplines, but the Western is where the demographic changes. There’s a lot more males involved there.

Jacobsen: That’s also another nuance. The difference between dressage and show jumping versus rodeo. Those are big demographic differences. Canada produces the best women show jumpers in the world: Erynn Ballard and Tiffany Foster are two of the top women in the world. [Laughing] I think, Erynn Ballard was #1 woman in the world for the first half of the year. Tiffany Foster will, probably, be the #1 woman in the world for the second half of the year [Laughing]. So, the injury research, minor, extraordinarily inconsequential to the injuries of the great riders. There are some data. I don’t how regular they are collected. So, they might be a little bit out of date from the Government of Canada or, at least, those who report them. Even the great riders, a decent hunk of them have almost had career-ending injuries.

Stacey: I would guess that that is more eventing and show jumping than dressage.

Jacobsen: 100%. I can’t say the name. But a good friend of mine, her sister fell off a horse and died. She is doing dressage now. I suspect dressage is a safer context to pursue a passion without having to pursue the PTSD from when her sister died. So, people have a myth or a misconception about equestrianism in that sense. They think it’s ultra-safe and just fancy people. But it’s like the misconception around cheerleading. Cheerleading, it has a 100% injury rate. You’re going to get injured.

Stacey: I believe you. I watched that Netflix series. I was blown away by that. I hear you. I can see how that is the case.

Jacobsen: So, we have these aspects to it. Anyway, for Horse Lover’s Math, if you’re thinking about applicability in a teacher context towards students, if they’re using your resources, how has the feedback been from them? How large are the class sizes and cohorts that they’re working with?

Stacey: I haven’t really received feedback from individual teachers. In order for Horse Lover’s Math to be officially promoted and featured by a school district, I have to approach the school district and make a presentation, which I have not done. So, individual teachers come across my resources and use them as they see fit. I can send you; I’ve got quite a few comments and reviews of homeschooling. It is a big market for me. With the pandemic, more families started homeschooling. So, that’s a focus of mine. It is homeschooling families. Homeschool Canada carries my books, for example. Rainbow Resource in the U.S., which services homeschool families and educators in general, carries my books.

So, I also sell downloads on a site called Teachers Pay Teachers. There have been some teachers who have left comments. [Ed. See links in the Abstract.].

Jacobsen: How is the distribution through those other networks? You’re not simply working through Langley.

Stacey: I’ve mailed books to Australia.

Jacobsen: Wow.

Stacey: I have print versions of the books. I sell downloads too. I sell more downloads than prints themselves, not surprisingly. I’ve come to the point where I let things grow organically. I am so grateful to have this project. It’s meaningful to me. Not only because I love horses, but, as we’ve just touched on, there are a lot of girls who are horse crazy girls. There is still a message that some girls are getting that girls aren’t good at math or STEM subjects. I’ve always been a feminist. Part of what I love about Horse Lover’s Math, it combines those two interests and passions. It is empowering girls and a love of horses. I continue to learn doing the research that I do. You, probably, know this as a writer and journalist.

In order to write something clearly, you really have to understand it. I enjoy that process, and enjoy continuing to learn, myself. So, not surprisingly, the sales or the distribution slows during the Summer. In the Fall, it picks up again. Then I put out a newsletter that is growing, which is, now, over 1,200 people. That’s not big [Laughing] for a newsletter in today’s social media world. I understand that. It’s growing. That’s the direction I want it to go. The website is now getting around 5,000 visits a month. That’s growing. So, I am glad about that. I just had my biggest order from Rainbow a couple of months ago. That was a total, between the Level 1 and the Level 2, of 135 books that I mailed out to them. That’s been my biggest 1-time order.

Jacobsen: Do you get 1-time orders that are modest in size, but are to ranches, barns, equestrian facilities, around the area?

Stacey: No, I haven’t. I think part of that is that they don’t just know about me. When Covid hit, I had been planning on approaching, going and visiting, these barns. As you said, Langley is the horse capital of B.C. There are hundreds, probably, of riding stables and offering lessons. I was planning on brochures and marketing stuff. Approaching and them, introducing myself, off showing what I have to offer, asking if they would be interested in including, maybe, a morning, often, they will have a week Summer camp.

Maybe, for one morning or one afternoon, that could be Horse Lover’s Math focused. I didn’t go ahead with Covid when that plan hit. So, I feel like things are opening up again. Certainly, they are. That’s on my future to-do list. So, my contacting you. That’s part of my exposing more people, trying to get the word out. That the resource is available. On the website, as I mentioned, the content, the posts, are free and open to everyone. Along with the workbooks, there are also worksheets. Three or four pages for download. Also, I’ve created crossword puzzles. One is a horses and math crossword puzzle. Another is a horses and science crossword puzzle. Also, cryptograms around the theme of horses.

One thing that I have learned, math is not just arithmetic. It’s reasoning. It’s pattern recognition. It is mathematical thinking. So, these cryptograms, while they’re not about numbers and plus-or-minus, it is mathematical thinking and reasoning. So, those are available for download. It’s like a $1.49 or something.

Jacobsen: Some of the areas of exploration in the first few months of doing this series. It is dealing with vulnerable populations, let’s say. The young, they wouldn’t be categorized necessarily as vulnerable and disadvantaged in a necessary way, but their age makes them properly under guardianship. So, vulnerable in that sense, but not in a mental degenerative sense or a physical incapability in another sense. It’s just they’re still developing. If we’re taking a context of teaching and mathematics for specified grades 4, 5, 6, with regards to equestrianism, how might some of these industries within Langley, even, integrate with one another to have programs together? Because I see a lot of separation among different communities.

It has been noted to me after doing some interviews, “Thank you for starting the conversation. This is so necessary.” It has me reflecting more on something that I didn’t even realize was a thing. Not simply the formal siloing of the different areas of horsemanship, that I could see as an amateur or a greenhorn. One thing I didn’t realize was the degree to which individuals who had been in the different industries for a long time don’t talk to one another.

Stacey: Is that because they are too busy within their own group? Or are you suggesting that there is some competitiveness between these different disciplines?

Jacobsen: I think it depends. The competitiveness, for sure, would be between barns in show jumping, eventing, etc., but on a more or less friendly basis. There’s, certainly, a lot of gossip. But I think between industries that have no necessary relation to one another or a competitive back-and-forth between one another in a formal setting such as FEI events. Maybe, as a consequence of it being a lifestyle, they are so enmeshed and dealing with the day-to-day maintenance, opening and closing of operations. Not having the energy or the focus to think creatively outside of their acreage.

Stacey: Maybe, part of that, too, is they don’t see the benefits for making that effort.

Jacobsen: Yes, what is the cost-benefit analysis of thinking of ideas, starting programs, reaching out to people who deal with equine therapy or veterans or horses vis-à-vis math? These are not necessarily on the dossier for the day about what time is hay, which horses don’t get hay and get cubes instead. These are much more immediate. Once that is done, by the time you’re done your day, you’re kind of tired.

Stacey: We all have a role to play. We’re also talking here about human nature. It’s not just within the equestrian community. You use the word “gossip.”

Jacobsen: Sure [Laughing].

Stacey: There is just the quintessential egoic mind games world at play.

Jacobsen: Certain times, I have seen very immediate, legitimate cause for concern and people helping one another. The floods were a recent example. People offering barns, stalls, apartments on their site, which are usually for workers, to help them make it through because their basement flooded through and their drywall is all worn out. All those things are great. The more subtle, long-term things that aren’t necessarily context dependent on the weather. Those sorts of networking. I think that’s a core part of what they’re saying about getting a conversation started because they haven’t said much beyond that, but they have said that a couple of times. It has made me think.

Stacey: That’s interesting, Scott. It makes me curious. I’m not expecting you to answer this right now. But it is another interesting question for you, to explore. What do they mean by that? What issues are they touching on? Where might this go? What is the need that they’re speaking to? I don’t really know. So, I am finding that an interesting anecdote.

Jacobsen: One issue breaking into two immediately across the country, probably different degrees in different provinces and territories: Where are the new farriers coming from? Where are the new generations of vets coming from? If you have rising land costs in Langley, as we have all experienced, rent goes up. Mortgage payments go up. All of it. It makes it more difficult with a large plot of land, trying to run an equestrian business. Yet, with that rise in cost, you still have to pay your staff. All the other fixed costs are there. So, even good businesses might have to sell the land, move elsewhere, similarly for core service infrastructure like vets, they might, if new and trying to start a business, might simply move somewhere else if it is easier to start a business.

Stacey: You mentioned, “Where are the new farriers coming from?” Is Kwantlen in Cloverdale still running their program?

Jacobsen: I haven’t looked into that, recently. I am aware of the program.

Stacey: I visited them a couple of times. I really enjoyed it. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember the man’s name who was running it at the time. They had a competition, where farriers from the States came up. They had a competition. He gifted me a box of different kinds of horse shoes, which I’ve used in one of my Horse Lover’s Math activities. Measuring the size, weighing, math, these kinds of things with the different sizes of horse shoes.

Jacobsen: So, I wasn’t aware of this until about a month ago. It took several months in the industry for someone, in passing really, mentioned that farriers have competitions. [Laughing] That’s fascinating to me. The fact your math stuff being integrated into that is also another testament to your work because it is showing the general observation that math, even basic math, is used in all aspects of the industries.

Stacey: Yes.

Jacobsen: What are you hoping kids are taking away from these lessons?

Stacey: More knowledge about horses and a love of learning.

Jacobsen: Deborah, thank you very much for the time today.

Stacey: Okay, thank you, Scott.

Bibliography

None

Footnotes

None

Citations

American Medical Association (AMA 11th Edition): Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2). September 2022; 11(1). http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2

American Psychological Association (APA 7th Edition): Jacobsen, S. (2022, September 8). The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2). In-Sight Publishing. 11(1). http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. D. The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, Fort Langley, v. 11, n. 1, 2022.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (17th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11, no. 1 (Winter). http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Notes & Bibliography (17th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11, no. 1 (September 2022). http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. (2022) ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, 11(1). <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2>.

Harvard (Australian): Jacobsen, S 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2>.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 9th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vo.11, no. 1, 2022, http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 24: Deborah Stacey on Math in the Equine (2) [Internet]. 2022 Sep; 11(1). Available from: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/stacey-2

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, or the author(s), and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors copyright their material, as well, and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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