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Showing posts from March, 2011

NER United States Pony Club Show Jump Rally - July 20, 2019

Ellie and I had SO MUCH FUN at our first Pony Club jump rally this year.  We drove up to Clay Brook Farms, where we had our D-1/D-2 rating, in order to compete for the day on July 20.  This happened to be one of the hottest days of summer, so the organizers modified the schedule a bit.  Instead of doing two rounds in the morning and one in the afternoon, we all did just two rounds (with a ten-minute break in between) all in the morning, so we were done and headed out just after lunch.  
Everything ran so smoothly despite the condensed format.  We were able to do our formal inspections right before we mounted up, and we were all encouraged to limit our warm up time.  We were not allowed to wear jackets, and there was a TON of horse water and ice cold human water available at numerous stations around the field.
I was competing with Epona Pony Club, but I was again put on a Horsemaster team with two other adults from Foxcroft Pony Club, Angie and Beth, the two riders I competed with at the…

Day THIRTY! 30 Day Challenge

Day Thirty: Your future with horses
PHEW! I almost made it!  I missed posting this yesterday by completely spacing out.  This past week at school has been utterly insane.  But here it is!  I completed the entire 30 Day Challenge!  Click here to see all the posts.
So, my future with horses.  Well, I plan to own horses as long as I am physically capable.  I cannot imagine my life without them.  If I cannot own a horse at some point, I would find a way to lease one or at least take lessons.  Someday I plan to own another Morgan, someday I hope to own a Connemara pony, and I am sure I will own another Standardbred!
I plan to continue to compete in the future as well.  I love dressage and would LOVE to earn my USDF bronze medal someday.  That means I have to earn scores at First and Second...that might be hard.  My immediate plan is to try First Level this year with Dreamy and see how we do!
We are expecting a big 8-14" snow storm here in Maine tomorrow.  So much for this 30 Day Challenge…

Day Twenty Nine: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Nine: Favorite brands...boots, breeches, tops, helmets, etc. 
It is funny to think about brands, since I am not always a loyal fan to certain brands.  I normally won't just buy something because it is a certain brand.  I usually look for an item based on my needs, what fits me or my horse, and what my budget looks like; I try to buy the best I can afford, which sometimes means saving for a bit or buying a nicer used item rather than a new but cheaply made item.
That said, I do have some favorites, mostly based on what I already own and would buy again.
Boots: I own a pair of Ariat riding boots and at first I figured the "brand" was just a hype.  But I have to say that I adore my Ariat field boots.  (Thankfully, my father bought them for me as a Chirstmas gift a few years back, since I could never afford the $300+ boots myself!)  They broke in super easily, as I simply wore them to ride, and by the third ride they were broken in.  And they have worn very well, as …

Day Twenty Eight: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Eight: Helmet or no helmet?
HELMET.  Hell yes.  Every time, every ride.  I am always utterly amazed at the number of people who make up insane and ridiculous excuses to not wear a helmet.
My hair will get messed up!  Seriously?  Your hair is more important than, oh I dunno, your LIFE??  You can easily brush out your locks, but I am thinking it is a bit harder to fix your brain.....or your death.
I am a good enough rider to not wear a helmet!  Really?  And horses are machines and never spook, trip, or otherwise unseat riders, huh?  Yeah, OK, smartypants.  Do I even NEED to bring up the big name riders who have fallen off recently???
I have earned the right to wear a dressage top hat with my shadbelly!  Hmmm.  That's nice.  And that top hat could also earn you the right to have a brain injury when you fall off.  Now THAT'D be fun!
It is my right to not wear a helmet!  Oh yeah?  And do you think your family has earned the right to have to care for your crippled a** for the…

Day Twenty Seven: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Seven: You know you're an equestrian when.... (list five things)
1. When spending hundreds of dollars on your horse is completely normal to you, but spending more than $50 on yourself seems extravagant.  (Case in point: the $$$$$ I spend each year for routine veterinary care for my horses fair outweighs what it would have cost to have my broken finger fixed years ago.  Instead I told myself I was fine, ignored the intense pain in my finger, and now I have a weird looking pointer finger.  Or the fact that I will spend $100+ on a horse blanket but will wait as long as possible before I buy myself new socks, preferring to wait until the holes are so large I might as well not even wear socks.  Sad but true).  
2. When you plan your summer vacation (I teach high school so I get a wickedfreakingawesome long vacation) around your horse shows.  When you will ditch family events because you have a horse show....or will leave the event early to go to the horse show.  See here.
3.  …

Day Twenty Six: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Six: Biggest riding pet peeve

I wrote up this long post (in draft form) about my pet peeves yesterday, and then just now as I was going back to it to publish, I realized I hated my whiny complaining.

SO!  I have decided to harness my inner negativity and delete it all!  :-)  I dislike when others constantly complain about everything (in fact, I have ended friendships over it), so I think I ought to smarten up as well.

My biggest riding pet peeve is when I mentally KNOW what I need to make my body do but I cannot DO it!  Sooooooo frustrating!  LOL!  I work so hard but I am not a naturally gifted rider and I lack "feel", so there are times when I know my horse would be better trained if I could only get my act together.  It bugs me so much.  I also wish at times I could just pay for my instructor to train my horse, but then I would not have the satisfaction of knowing that my horse's successes are my own.  And I suppose then I would have to call her my "tra…

Day Twenty Five: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Five: Your dream trailer
My dream trailer would be another Eby.  I really love my Eby gooseneck stock trailer, but if I could afford it, I would want a fancy horse trailer with tack room.  I like the look of the Victory Series 4 horse head to head.   I would want the tack room of course.  I would rather have a head-to-head rather than a slant load.  I am not sure if I would want a trailer with living quarters though.  When I show overnight I kind of like getting a hotel room and having a real shower and bed.  :-)

Day Twenty Four: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Four: Your best riding buddy
My best riding buddy is Shelly, without a doubt.  In fact, she is probably my best buddy period!  :-)  We both own and show Standardbreds; I have Dreamy (and Reva) and she has McKeever Hanover.  They are both 20 years old in 2011 and get along quite well.  Neither like any other horses, but they love each other.  :-)  We joke that they are an old married couple.  We used to show together in 2-gait and Shelly had to be super careful in the ring...if another horse got near McKeever and his girlfriend Dreamy he would pin his ears and go after them.  We normally either stayed really close together in the ring or completely stayed apart, depending on the size of the class, etc.  When Dreamy moved to 3-gait last year, McKeever would watch for her outside the ring while he was showing.  They are adorably cute together and even look similar...although McKeever is definitely more masculine and thicker as he was a stud for many years.
Shelly and I got along…

Day Twenty-Three: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty-Three: First horse you rode

Day Twenty Two: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Two: Describe the importance of riding in your life

I ride and own horses because they define who I am.  I simply cannot imagine my life without my horses.  I don’t ever remember not having horses in my life.  I think for me loving horses is an inborn trait!  I enjoy the responsibility that comes with owning horses and keeping them in my backyard.  I like working hard, getting blisters, and feeling tired after a good ride or from putting up hundreds of hay bales.  Riding and showing allows me to set goals and create hopes/dreams for the future.  My horses’ good health and my riding accomplishments make me very proud.  My horses give me comfort, teach me patience, and accept me for who I am.  I know I will never be without a horse in my life.
Horses represent power, beauty, and strength, which are all traits I think woman want to possess.  Since “power” and “strength” are often masculine qualities, horses offer me a chance to be those things in a more feminine way.  There is n…

Day Twenty One: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty One: Your favorite schooling outfit

For whatever reason, I tend to wear tan and white (dressage) breeches only at shows and at home I wear all other colors.  My most favorite schooling pair was my greenish full seat Kerrits breeches.  I say was because the fabric on the seat completely fell apart this past fall.  I got them on clearance for only $20 and I adored them.   Oh well.  At least I did not pay full price ($90+)!  My other favorite schooling pair is a dark gray ribbed full seats from Tuff Rider.  They were on clearance for only $15.  :-)  You know, I never seem to find my tan or white show breeches on clearance....LOL!

I generally wear one of my many horsey t-shirts to school in.  When it is super hot, I go with a tank top.  My favorite is a gray tank with thicker straps.  But I am not too fashion conscience, because usually I am mucking stalls and doing other farm chores before and/or after I ride. 

I wear my IRH helmet and Ariat field boots for both schooling and…

Happy Birthday!

Happy 5th Birthday Reva!  She's my spring baby!  :-)

(Yeah, yeah, I know Standardbreds officially turn a year older on January 1 of each year, but I prefer to stick to their real birthdays! :-)

Day Twenty: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty: Your favorite horse show
My favorite dressage show is the University of New Hampshire.  They offer two summer dressage shows each year.  Here is the post about the last time I showed there in 2010.  I love showing at UNH  for many reasons.  It is not that far from home, it has great trailer parking, and I went to college there!!!  :D  That is the biggest reason I love to show at UNH; as an alumnae I feel like I am riding on my home turf.  A lot of people dislike riding at UNH because of the set-up and the small(er) warm up.  But I just love it.  And Dreamy really likes showing there too.  UNH has the two summer USDF/USDF shows each year, as well as three USEA horse trials.

My favorite horse show is the National Standardbred horse show put on by the SPHO-NJ.  It is so much fun!  I attended in 2008 with pics here and here, 2009, and 2010 with pics here.  I just wish it was a two-day show, since traveling all that way for a one-day show is completely exhausting! …

Day Nineteen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Nineteen: A discipline you would like to try

I am dying to try team penning!  I have done so many things with horses, but I have never worked with cows on horseback.  I am not sure why I want to team pen, but I think it looks fun.  I would probably suck at it, but that would be OK!  LOL!

I would also love to try cowboy mounted shooting.  It seems like a neat skill, but again I would probably be a terrible shooter.  :-P

And lastly, I want to do more versatility challenges.  I had a blast at the one last August, so I want to try it again this year.

Day Eighteen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Eighteen: Your favorite horse show picture(s)

Day Seventeen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Seventeen: Your equestrian idol

This is a hard one, as I am not the type of person who follows famous people, celebrities, etc.  Yes, I think Steffen Peters is pretty amazing and I have always liked the Karen and David O'Connor.  But I have never thought, "Oh geez, I really want to be like them."  They are way too advanced for this adult amateur to idolize.  LOL!  I never have dreamed of the Olympics and all that.  I love horses but I have no desires to pursue them as a full-time, elite level professional career.

So I guess my real idols are just normal everyday folks.  I admire my riding instructor Judy of Little Moon Farm because she is super helpful and patient with me.  She is a great rider who knows so much more about dressage and training then I will ever know.  I love that I feel comfortable enough to ask questions and admit when I need help.  I know she will push me in a positive way but never get angry or demeaning.  Not every instructor is like that.  Also,…

Day Sixteen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Sixteen: Your most recent fall
I rarely fall.  I'm serious.  I am not sure if it is because I have a Velcro butt, good horses, or really good luck, but I have been lucky to not take too many tumbles in recent years.  Of course, my most recent fall was last spring (April 2010) at a horse show.  Yup, I actually fell off at a horse show!  :-/  So perfect.  But I still placed fourth in the class......ha ha ha ha.  I thought if you fell off you had to be disqualified, but apparently not.  Before that, I had not fallen off since the winter of 1996.  And that was during a jumping lesson where the (17.1 hand) lesson horse and I parted ways over a jump.  LOL!
The full blog post is here, in case any readers want the entire show story.  But here is just an excerpt of the actual fall...
"Our last class of the day was Adult 3-Gait Command. The class started off well, and we ended up being part of the last five still riding. I was thinking, "Just stay in while one more rider has…

Day Fifteen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Fifteen: If you could say something to any one horse, what would you say?

Well, I talk to my horses all the time.  LOL!  But I am assuming this means, if I could say something to any one horse AND the horse would UNDERSTAND and LISTEN to me, what would I say.  That is sort of hard to do! I could say a lot of things....I would want to tell Reva to stop chewing on everything in sight and to start picking up the canter lead to the right this year, I would tell Dreamy to relax and stop avoiding the contact (by going behind the bit) like she sometimes does and to slow down her canter, I could tell Sparky to stop grinding up her poop like she sometimes does in her stall or to stop chewing on that little spot on her stall.....etc etc. 


But you know what?  Those are all silly things that I can either live with or train my horse better.  LOL!  None of them really matter so much.


What I would really say?  I would tell Sparky THANK YOU.  I would thank her for being the very best first horse a g…

Day Fourteen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Fourteen: Your dream barn/farm

Oh, this is a fun one!  My dream farm would be on 80+ acres somewhere with no winter/snow and no natural disasters.  LOL!  (Can you tell I am sick to death of winter??)  I would want a six stall barn, 12x12 matted stalls, three on each side of the aisle, with Dutch doors opening up to paddocks and sliding doors on the front.  I would want each stall to have one of those little grain windows and automatic waterers with a gauge so I would know how much each horse was drinking.  The aisle would have the nice rubber pavers like they have at Hay Fever Farm.  Might as well have the gorgeous stall fronts and the pretty architecture like they have too!  I would want a heated tack room with a big sink and washer/dryer, grain room with space for bedding storage, and a huge hayloft.  No wait, I might as well have a separate hay building, since this is a dream.  :-)  I would want a wash stall with hot/cold water.   I would need carriage storage too.  All the fenc…

Spring Training Begins!

This weekend I was able to finally get both Dreamy and Reva out to begin the long process of spring conditioning.  I hate giving them so much time off (about 3 months) but in this climate without an indoor I do not have much of a choice!  :-)

On Saturday, I trailered Reva over to Vienna Farm, which is where my instructor boards for the winter.  I had not been on Reva since December, but I figured she would be fine; I am either really brave or really stupid (probably both! LOL!).  While I cannot take a lesson from my instructor there (not that my horses are in shape enough anyway), I can ride with her for a nominal ring fee.  And lucky me, she bought me two rides in exchange for helping her with barn chores this winter!  Yay! 

I was planning to only tack walk Reva around the indoor, since she is not in shape, but I knew that this would be a good experience for her.  It was her third time off the farm and her first time in an indoor arena!  :-)

She trailered over there with no issue.  It i…

Day Thirteen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Thirteen: A picture of your worst riding
Oh geez, this could be interesting!  LOL!  I am not sure I actually want to publish a pic of my worst riding! Now that I have looked all through my folders, I could not stop at just one......ha ha ha.  Get ready to laugh...or cringe!!



Day Twelve: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twelve: Favorite horse color

I don't really have a favorite horse color.  I like any color of horse that is well trained and easygoing!  LOL!  But if I really had to chose, I would say chestnut.  I love sorrels, bright red chestnuts, dark liver chestnuts.....any of the variations.  It might be because my first horse Sparky is a chestnut or because I myself am red-headed (remember my senior pic from the last post...??).  ;-)  For all the banter about chestnut mares being so difficult, I have always loved mares.  And I think I get along with the red-headed ones the best because we are alike!  :-D





Check it out!

OK, OK, I know this is out of my 30 day challenge routine, but I wanted to post this!!  

I first found Ellen Harvey back in 2006 when she published this article.  I had no idea who she was, but I immediately liked her.  (And I liked her style of writing...I am an English teacher after all!  LOL!)

Since then, I have become "friends" with Ellen on Facebook and via email.  Hopefully on one of my trips to NJ I will get a chance to meet her in person.  She writes a blog for the United States Trotting Association's Hoofbeats publication.  And to my surprise, she wrote about me and the work I am doing at my high school in her latest blog!  THANKS ELLEN!  I am so pleased to have the positive shout-out for my kids!!  Read the entire thing...it is at the end.  Please consider sending your dresses!  :-D

Day Eleven: 30 Day Challenge

Day Eleven: Find a sale horse online that you want to buy

Well, this is hard!  LOL!  I am not the type of person who browses sale ads.  And I am not in the market for a horse, so sale horses don't cross my mind.  :-)  If I got to choose a horse to buy for myself (as opposed to have a Standardbred given to me...), I would choose a Connemara (or maybe another Morgan).  Yes, I LOVE my Standardbreds!  But if we are living in my fantasy world here, then I get to have my dream Connemara pony!!!  LOL!

Cute Connemara - and great price!

Another cutie Connemara 

And another...

Or I would buy one from Bantry Bay Farm


I would want a mare, maybe already started under saddle.  I would not want anything over 6-7 years old.  It would have to be a dappled gray or a chestnut.....maybe a bay.  I am sure if I dedicated a lot of time to internet browsing I could find more examples.  


You know, it just dawned on me.  Instead of choosing a six figure warmblood as the horse I would dream about buying, I chose…

Day Ten: 30 Day Challenge

Day Ten: How does your family and friends feel about your riding?

To be really honest, the only people in my life who understand why I ride and own horses are my horse friends.  :-P  Ha ha ha...

My folks always supported me as I grew up, from shuttling me to the barn every week for my lessons, to leasing a horse for me, to buying my first horse Sparky, to carting us to horse shows and everything in between.  I know I was a very lucky kid to have horses in my life from a young age.  My parents were amazing to allow me to pursue my passion.  My dad is not horsey at all, but has made jumps, brush/tack boxes, stall doors, etc. for me when I have asked.  He still tags along to horse shows even though I am now old enough to truck my horse myself.  Often he now watches my son while I show, which is so supportive.  In college, where he footed the bill, he always expected me to "get a real job" and that horses needed to be my "hobby".  I get that and agree with it (though som…