Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Ellie's Big Adventure - Equine Affaire 2019

On the last day of September, I received an email from the Vermont Morgan Horse Association asking if I would be interested in bringing Ellie to Equine Affaire in Massachusetts from November 7-10.  I became a member of VMHA this year when I decided to compete at Vermont Heritage Days; so even though I live in Maine and not Vermont haha, I made a snap decision to say yes!  
Honestly, it was 21 minutes after the email came in that I responded yes!  Then I had to figure out how to actually make it all happen hahahahaha.  Typical.
I attended Equine Affaire as a spectator a few times way back when and then for many years I ran the breed booth for the Standardbreds, including a four-day stint in C Barn with Dreamy back in 2013.  It is fun and exhausting to travel 4+ hours one way from home to talk with thousands of people, walk thousands of miles around the venue (ok, not that far but close), and ride in demos on a horse that has never seen such a huge venue (though in her defense, Ellie was …

Being An Adult Amateur and Loving It

This is my guest blog for Horse Junkies United, published on December 26, 2016.
It would be easy to look at my horse’s array of only blue and red ribbons from her first show season and make the incorrect assumption that I am some sort of amazing rider. But of course, the color of the ribbon only tells half the story. What you don’t know is I am a true adult amateur, competing at the tadpole level on my aged retired racehorse on her third career.
That’s right, we competed this year in Introductory level dressage tests and Pre-Elementary events. Yup, walk-trot baby dressage with 18” jumps, and I loved every moment of it. Even better, my mare is not an OTTB as you might assume when I say “racehorse”. She’s a Standardbred, not a breed one normally would associate with trotting down centerline. So while our strong ribbons are not from a high level of competition, what they represent to me means more than any blue or tricolor rosette.
After training my previous Standardbred (now retired) from …

2016 Blogger Gift Exchange

This year I was excited to stumble across a new-to-me blog, Fly On Over written by an equestrienne named Tracy.  I was even more pumped to read about her annual Blogger Gift Exchange, because Christmas and giving gifts is my favorite.  When it was time, I eagerly signed up and awaited my blogger pal's name and address.  Again, it was a new-to-me blogger, so I scoured her blog for hints and ideas of what to purchase for her.  Her gifts arrived yesterday according to the tracking number and I hope she liked them! 

I received my blogger gift yesterday and it is PERFECT!!!  Remember that super neat t-shirt I blogged about a few months ago?  Yeah, my fantastic gifter, Nadia from 3Day Adventures with Horses, bought it for me!  I couldn't believe it!  She ordered a large and sent the receipt with it, which is great because I do need to exchange it for a small.  I have already contacted the company and have it ready to send out tomorrow.  That is totally not an issue, because GUYS SHE …

December Blog Hop!

My friend Aarene is hosting a Blog Hop over at Haiku Farm!  Yay for fun things to write about when nothing exciting is otherwise occurring in my horsey life!  :-)
Here's the directions:
Answer the questions (below) on your own blog, and leave a link to that post in the comments here.In your post, invite readers to answer the questions on THEIR blogs, and link those blogs to yours AND to here.Let's see how far this can travel!Pictures!  Let's see lots of pictures of people and horses!
*  Introduce yourself!
*  Introduce your horse(s)!
*  What's your favorite horse sport?  Do you cross train in other activities?
*  Who else in your family rides?
*  What's your proudest equestrian accomplishment?
*  What was your lowest moment as a horse owner/rider?
*  What's the most important small thing you ever learned in a lesson?
*  Do you have any riding rituals or superstitions?
*  What are your short term goals for yourself/your horse?
*  Long term goals?
*  If time and money were no…

Ten Questions for November...

...because I am bored and riding time is short right now!  I even added links back to old posts and as many photos as I could to make it more fun!

L at Viva Carlos posted these questions and several other blogs have joined in, so I might as well.

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden? 
That would be the young Standardbred mare I started named Reva.  She came to me in 2009 sight-unseen (besides photos) from New Jersey as a three year old.  I showed her a bit through 2010-2012 and I ended up giving her away to a lovely local family (because no one wants to pay money for a well trained Standardbred *sigh*).  Reva was a sweet mare, she just wasn't thrilled to be a show horse.
How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden? 
The oldest horse I have ever ridden was my first horse, Sparky, the winter before I had to put her down at age 32.  It was a Christmas tradition to ride bareback and I am glad I never missed a year with her.  We briefly walked and trotted around the snowy fiel…

Anyone have any experience with shoe boil boots???

Snap Dancer is probably the only horse I have owned who has the strangest little problems.  My old Morgan, Sparky, liked to randomly colic and freak me out and Dreamy has COPD which I have managed in a wide variety of ways over the years.  While both of those issues are scary and potentially serious, I was always lucky to be able to easily treat them over the years.  

Snappy has had ulcers, aural plaques, weight gain problems, and now dry elbows (which if I don't treat could eventually turn into shoe boils and/or capped elbows).  They have always been slightly flaky when she wears shoes for half the year, presumably from the heel end of her shoes hitting her elbows when she lies down in her stall. Over the past several months it has gotten progressively worse.  Her elbows are not inflamed or swollen, just dry and cracked with flaky skin.  I have tried bacitracin, Bannix, a product called Dublin Dip, and Vit E capsules and bell boots at night.  Nothing made it any better.  Even thou…

How to Protect Your Horse During Hunting Season

Here in Maine, we are in the beginning of deer season, which means at any given time (besides Sundays and especially on Saturdays) there will be the distant and not-so-distant sound of gunfire.  I have nothing against hunting, in fact I have my hunting license and have gone deer hunting, but it definitely makes me a bit nervous with the horses.

You might think being a dark bay and black horse would mean there would never be any confusion with a brown while tailed deer, but you'd be surprised.  While most hunters are responsible and vigilant, there are certainly plenty of yahoos in the woods right now who should not be carrying a gun.  And despite the fact the horses are fairly close to our house, I still protect them with blaze orange.

Because it does not naturally occur in nature, blaze orange is the standard safety color.  I know folks who use orange halters or blankets, but I do not turn my horses out in halters (and if I did, I would use their leather halters) and they do not ne…

RABT Farm Ultimate 2-Phase - October 23, 2016

Snappy and I wrapped up her first show season with an Ultimate 2-Phase at Rest and Be Thankful Farm in Lyman, ME.  After unseasonably warm temps the week prior and bragging about the great show weather I have had all year, it was FREEZING this past Sunday!  Haha I am such a wimp about the cold and with 20+ mph steady wind and a temperature of 42 degrees and no sun, the "real feel" was closer to 35 degrees.  I may have been born in Maine and lived here in New England all my life, but holy cow I am not a cold weather girl.  Doesn't help I have Reynaud's in my hands and feet, so once I am cold and my digits are white, I am DONE.  I had a good time riding and it was a fun way to end the season, but it was way too cold for me to actually enjoy it.  The best part was cranking the heat in the truck when we left to drive home LOL!

Snappy was super good despite being in a newish place (we did school XC here last month, so not totally new) and for the crazy fall winds and temps…

Hilltop Horse Trial - October 16, 2016

On October 16, Snappy and I tried our very first full horse trial at Hilltop Equestrian Center in Somersworth, NH.  Beforehand, we had completed four two-phases and a XC jump school, so even though I was somewhat nervous to send out the entry, I knew we could do it.  I knew she was clearly capable of both a dressage test and stadium jump course, and she was prepared enough to try XC.  I have just tried to take it so slow with her in order to give her positive experiences because it hasn't be easy for her to place her trust in me.  I miss eventing now that Dreamy is retired, so I wanted to be sure Snappy had a solid foundation of confidence to become my next event horse (even if we never make it past the baby levels). But by this point in the year, even though I hemmed and hawed and almost didn't send our entry, I also knew I really did not want to wait until May of 2017 before we tried a full horse trial!

It was a gorgeous fall day, one that makes us dread the oncoming winter e…

THANK YOU!

Thank you all for your ideas and comments about Snappy's frustrating hard keeping tendencies.  I appreciate hearing what has worked for others, because while we all know each horse reacts differently to feeds and supplements, sometimes you just need ideas! 


At this point, I have started to switch her over to Triple Crown Complete (from Senior) and she will stay on the Nutrena Empower Boost (rice bran pellets).  I also added in alfalfa pellets for fiber, though she is NOT crazy about them and always leaves about 1/2 pound behind.  I will continue aloe vera juice (ulcers) and her Smartpak (SmartGut Ultra and Buteless pellets) as always and will add in Cocosoya oil as well once it arrives.  I now have her stall and pasture hay in haynets, and I am already seeing her eat more though still not as much as I'd like to see.


Any of you who feed Cocosoya have a good resource from which to order?  I paid exactly $24.95 for a gallon with free shipping from Smartpak.  I ordered it today 10/1…

Ever After Mustang Benefit Horse Show - October 9, 2016

Another great horse show for Miss Snappy!  This mare has earned some really solid show miles this year and I am so thankful for that.  Even though I decided to focus on dressage and eventing with her, I did attend an "open show" this past weekend.  I thought it would be fun and I've attended this show many times (it was the 10th year anniversary for them!).  This was actually the same show she went to back at the end of 2014 as her "first show experience", so it was fun to return and see how she behaved.  Rereading that old blog post made me realize that she has grown, as this time around she was happy to stand in the line-up at the end of the riding classes and she was totally calm in the in-hand class.  Again, she warmed up and behaved perfectly for everything I asked of her.  


Snappy earned:
1st Adult Walk/Trot Pleasure out of 4 entries
1st Adult Walk/Trot Equitation out of 3 entries
1st Open Walk/Trot Over Fences out of 2 entries
3rd Open Walk/Trot Egg & Spo…

The Hardkeeping Horse aka the most frustrating experience ever

Let me begin by saying that I have never owned a horse that was a hardkeeper.  My horses have always been vacuum cleaners, air ferns, roly poly things that barely needed any grain no matter their level of activity and would eat as much hay I could stuff into their faces.

When I first met Snappy in 2012, she was eating fourteen pounds of sweet feed a day and I was mortified.  But of course, I did not know her well at that point, she wasn't in my direct care, and while I would not have chosen a sweet feed, she was in heavy work (racing) and probably needed the high amount of calories.

A few months later when she suddenly became mine, I changed her feed to Triple Crown Complete.  When I treated her ulcers later that winter, I switched her to Triple Crown Senior and Nutrena Boost, which is a rice bran pellet.  I have always been happy with Triple Crown and while I cannot remember exactly how much grain she ate, I know it was MUCH less than fourteen pounds a day!  I noticed quickly that …