Saturday, January 31, 2009

Greetings to my readers!

Welcome! If you are coming here for the first time or if you have been an avid reader from the beginning....just wanted to say hello! I decided to create this blog for my own use last summer to keep track of our training progress and goals. Lately I have not cared for the idea that "anyone" could read it, hence the reason why you now must be an invited reader. I am flattered that any of my friends wanted to read it in the first place!

If anyone else you know has been reading along and wants to be invited, have them send me an email! :) I just no longer want "random" people or folks looking to start trouble here any more.

Happy reading! And please feel free to post comments too! :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rambling Thoughts on a Snowy Day...

YAY! This is my 100th blog post! :) I was hoping to have something exciting to share in my 100th post, but alas, nothing is very exciting around here right now. (ETA: Hmmm...interestingly it says I have 100 posts on my "dashboard", but it only shows 99 on the right side of the blog....ah, whatever. Close enough). :)

It is a snow day, so I am home. That means housework, which is not my favorite thing. It means I am bored and can only do so many barn chores until I am cold and tired. It also means I get to shovel out paths to the manure pile and horse trailer. Oh the joy of winter in Maine!

So because my riding life has been put on hold for a while, there is not much to post in the area of training. So instead I will just give a summary of each mare. Overall, Dreamy and Sparky are both doing well this winter. My only complaint is the same it always is around this time.....I am ready for above freezing temps!!! BRRRRR!!! Anything under 70 degree is cold to me.

Dreamy is now clipped and sporting her winter gear. I think she LIKES her blanket(s) a lot more than I would have guessed. She has never grown much of a winter coat and I can tell by the way she stands in the pasture that she is happier with blankets. Call me odd, I don't care. I have now owned her for almost six years, as of May 31. She is cranky when she is not in constant work, which is tough. Even if I was boarded at an indoor, there would be no way I could work her in this cold because of her RAO. So I have been doing as much riding as I can when the temps are tolerable for her and lots of groundwork in the meantime. She likes to use her brain, but she gets bored too. There is only so much fun with tarps and other scary things one can have before it is really old hat. LOL! I am excited to get back to work hopefully in the next six weeks or so and see where we have left off.


Sparky is 27 this year so I am always worried about her. But she has always looked great, so much of my worrying is unfounded. But having owned her for sixteen years now (as of Jan. 17!!) and because she is my first horse, I dread the eventual final day. Hopefully she will be with me for a LOOOONG time, but I also know that when the time comes, I will let her go peacefully and not keep her alive for my sake.


Anyway, Sparky is looking great this year. She has her signature woolly coat, easily 4-5 inches long. She always transforms into a super fuzzy mare in the winter. She also starts shedding in January and it lasts until May. Because of her Cushings in the last few years, I have been body clipping her in late April/early May anyway, so after suffering through the shedding for months, I just buzz it all off. LOL!

Her weight is great too. I have to be vigilant about getting my fingers in under that coat in order to see how her ribs feel, but this winter she has a nice layer of fat over them. She is right around 5.5 on the BCS, which is nice. Last winter she dropped a lot of weight (in my eyes anyway) and I had to be creative (with the help of my feed analysis guy) to figure out how to feed her. She cannot have too much grain because of the Cushings, so it was not like i could up her grain and call it good. She checked out fine with the vet in March for spring shots, so I knew there was nothing going on with her. Ultimately I feel it was because she has stopped eating as much hay as normal. For years, this mare would easily eat her 20-22 lbs. of hay and be looking for more. I had to be careful because she was such an easy keeper. But I have noticed over the last year she is only eating maybe 12-15 lbs. of hay a day. And of course, the hay she does eat no longer is broken down the same way as when she was younger. She is not able to utilize the nutrients as before. (Her teeth are fine...they are checked 2x a year.....in case you are thinking that. My horses have the most top notch veterinary care possible, trust me). In the long run, I have found the addition of alfalfa pellets to her diet has helped her TREMENDOUSLY! She looks better than most 27 year old horses I have seen in my short life!

Overall, I am happy when my horses are happy. And they seem to be! :)

An old high school friend of mine said recently, "I live by the mantra that your life is what you make of it. Do what makes you happy. Surround yourself with people who enhance your life, not complicate it. Keep a positive outlook and know that things are going to work out when they are meant to."

I think he said it better than I ever could have. This is exactly how I have been feeling the last few months. So many things have worked out well that I struggled with in the past. Many of them not horse related, so not only not appropriate for my "horse" blog, but really nothing that I wish to share. :p

I am happy with my life in the three important areas: personal, professional, and equine. I have made some decisions that have pissed other people off, but I have done it carefully and consciously, meaning I knew exactly what I was doing and was willing to accept the consequences. I became tired of my life being complicated and full of drama. I finally realized that I do NOT have to like or be nice to everyone in life and that people do not have to like me back! How liberating! Because of this, I have made a deliberate decision to end relationships that did not enhance my life. The same goes for ending any "official" positions I have held in the past. I have seen how people don't like my choices, but life is too short to worry about that.

I have a positive outlook in my life, and as long as I am happy, that is what matters. My life is no longer about pleasing others or making others happy. Having taken on this "new" persona, if one could call it that, things have worked out in a way that makes ME happy and when they were meant to. I am thankful I have finally been brave enough to look out for myself and my family and do what is right for us. I am pleased with all the horse decisions I made last year regarding both my mares. I am excited for 2009 in so many ways! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 Plans....I think!

Well, the omnibuses (omnibii??) are not even out yet, and here I am digging through websites finding dates. LOL! The stressful part about putting together a show calendar in Maine in January is that I can't ride right now! OK, I can ride, but not train. But hey, I have shown horses for many many years and always done fine with my conditioning schedule and making it to early spring shows despite no indoor. Long slow miles on the road. That is why it pays to live in the middle of nowhere on a quiet street. :)

Anyway, here is what I think might happen this year:

April 19 SMDA schooling show (might be too early, need to play it by ear)
May 9/10 NEDA Spring (MA)
June 26-27 UNH USDF dressage show (NH)
July 11-12 Issac Royal USDF dressage show (ME)
July 25-26 Issac Royal USDF dressage show (ME)
Aug. 1-2 UNH USDF dressage show (NH)
Aug. 28-30 National Standardbred Championship show (NJ)
Sept. 9-13 NEDA Fall Festival (NY) This is the Region 8 championships, but I probably will not qualify, but do the open show.

There is also GMHA (VT) in both June and July. That is tentative though, and realistically I think it will be unnecessary to do GMHA at all. I love that place though! :) It stinks that there are not many USDF dressage shows here in Maine. And the ones out of state are far away. It is actually closer for me to go to UNH than to go to the IR show in Maine. Crazy! And UNH is the closest show at 1 hour, 20 mins. IR is over 3 hours away! And NEDA Spring is about the same.....NEDA Fall is nearly 6 hours. Good god!

I might decide to skip NEDA Spring and do an SMDA schooling show on May 17 instead. (Not only are the schooling shows cheap, they are only 30 mins. from the farm). It might just be too early in the season and doing a schooling show might be the smarter thing to do. Again, it depends on so many things. Also, if I just want to get out and do something, but I do not feel she is ready for NEDA, it would save me a ton of money to just do the one SMDA show as a warm up for the year.

Also I want to fit one event in this year. I will probably do one at Green Acres in NH and maybe one at Hilltop. I did one at each last year. I used to call myself an eventer who did dressage shows "for fun", but I have come to the conclusion, with my now 18 year old mare, that I am becoming a dressage rider who does events "for fun". And because I want to keep my mare sound and happy, I think a heavier dressage focus is my best bet. We will still school over jumps once a week and do the one or two events, but I do not want to do 4-5 events with her this year. I wanted to try Snowfields, the one USEA event here in Maine, but honestly I just don't know that I want to. She is comfortable and confident at 2'3". She is not the most talented jumper, but she is safe. While she can certainly go 2'7" to do Beginner Novice....I just don't know if that is the best plan.

We shall see. :) My mare will tell me what is right.

Now the decision must be made about which tests I will ride this year. I am thinking I will try Training 2 and 3.....and attempt 4 at some point in the later part of the year. But maybe I should stick with 1 again and........ This decision is harder and will have to be decided after we are back in full work this spring, along with lots of input from my instructor. :)

I hope now that I have posted this my plans will not all go to hell. :P

For the record....

This is MY BLOG. If you don't like what I write, don't read it. The country is founded on free speech. Well guess what folks??? The only free speech here on MY BLOG is my own. Here is a great article, well worth reading:

http://www.idiotsguidetoblogging.com/2008/03/rude-comments.html

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Friday, January 23, 2009

2008 Year End Awards

Dreamy was a rockstar in her second year of showing...and second year of being under saddle essentially. We moved up a level at both dressage and eventing competitions, so I knew not to expect the same year end results as last year. We are still in the baby tadpole levels, but nevertheless I am proud of my girl.

And our results are......we won 21 year ends this year!

Southern Maine Dressage Association (SMDA awards placings by TEST). Click HERE to see full results and my pic too! LOL!

  • Reserve Champion Intro test B - 68.333%

  • Fifth place Training test 1 - 58.083%

  • 2008 Champion High Point Senior Rider
    (for the third year in a row......with two different horses)

Maine Dressage Society
(MDS awards placings by LEVEL).

  • Reserve Champion Standardbred Horse of the Year

  • Third place Introductory level - 67.5%

  • Tenth place Training level - 58.261%

SPHO-NJ

  • Grand Champion Dressage division

  • Grand Champion Combined Training division

  • Reserve Champion Ambassador Standardbred of the Year

  • Third place Versatility Award

  • Third place 2-Gait Senior Horse division

  • Fourth place General division

  • Fourth place Demos, Expos, and Parades

National STB points

  • National High Point Standardbred – Fourth Place

  • 2008 Taurmade Memorial Dressage Training Level High Percentage Award (73.2%)

  • National Training Level Grand Champion


SPHO-ME

  • Champion 2-Gait Senior Exhibitor

  • Champion In Hand

  • Reserve Champion Games

  • 2008 Standardbred Promotional Award

  • 2008 High Point Senior Rider

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lemonade Award!



My blogger friend OnTheBit, who owns a gorgeous TB named Gennyral and leases a talented Appy named Texas, passed on the Lemonade Award to me! YAY, my first blog award! LOL! :)

THANKS OnTheBit! :)

As far as I can tell, the Lemonade Award is for blogs that have or show a great attitude. I certainly try to keep my attitude positive, and anyone who knows what it is like to juggle family, horses, and showing can affirm how much work it can be and how much of a balancing act it all is. And of course, I have always tried to be really positive and thankful for my Little Horse That Could, my Standardbred dressage star Dreamy, whom the blog is named after. And of course, nothing else cheers me up than my first love, my first horse Sparky.

Here is what she wrote on her blog as to why she awarded this to me:

STB Eventer over at Standardbred Excellence is making the tough transition from stay at home mom to working warrior and is still keeping her show goals up for this summer.

I am supposed to award this to 10 blogs, but to be perfectly honest, I only read two blogs.....OnTheBit's who just awarded this to me, and NowThat'sATrot's who was also awarded the Lemonade Award from OTB! So I hate to do this, but I am a loser blogger who cannot pass it on the love. So if YOU have a blog and feel you qualify for having positive outlook on life, then this is your award! :D

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The more people I meet, the more I like my horses.

Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. --Albert Einstein

Ain't that the truth??? And just think, I learned all this from being involved with horses!

I am feeling the need to pontificate, after a stressful week of bitter cold temps, the end of the quarter at school (and grading up to my eyeballs), and a stomach flu that ran rampant through my little family. UGGG. So, dear reader, you can either put up with me or ignore me. The choice is yours. :)

A little background.....after many years of being involved with various horse organizations as a competitor, I decided to "give back" and volunteer my time. Being a stay-at-home mom gave me "free time" (I use that term loosely...) to say yes when asked to be president of a statewide club. That experience was fabulous. In two years, I met tons of great horse folks and enjoyed being involved from the business end of an organization. I happily passed the reins to another member this past December 2008, but all in all, I loved my time serving as president.

Now, I also became involved with another state club. This was an entirely different matter. Let's just say that I made a conscious decision to NOT be involved with this club after a two year affiliation. I met some great people, but I also met some very horrid people. Rather than get into specifics, let's just say that I learned a lot about stupidity and greed. Hell, a LOT more about stupidity and greed than I ever want to know about.

People are greedy. I know this. But with horse people, there is often a level of greed that astonishes me. Most often, if not always, human greed impacts the horse's welfare. No big surprise there. You've heard the stories of the owner killing a horse for the insurance money. Or the trainer who injects his horse to win a race. Now, while I completely DO NOT condone this behavior obviously, I can understand to a point why someone acts this way. When someone's livelihood is at stake, and the horse is a "business" to them, they take drastic and cruel measures. When it is hundreds of thousands of dollars, while I think the person is sick and wrong, I can understand why someone would do it.

BUT................

When someone is greedy to the point that they hurt their horse over RIBBONS or TROPHIES, that simply makes NO SENSE TO ME.

Greed to make money? OK, I get it. Greed to win a $1.50 ribbon? Nope, sorry folks, I will never understand.

I love to show. Really, I do. I am very competitive and I like to win. I like to set goals and achieve them. (Now, realistically, I like to do well, but doing well does not always mean winning. And I am OK with that. :)

When my horse is not 100%, I don't push her. Not only is she now 18 years old (well....almost.....in May), but she also has RAO (or heaves). I don't ride her when the temps. are searing hot. I don't ride her when the temps are as bitter as they have been lately. (Yes, I have access to an indoor where my instructor is, but really, why stress my horse's lungs and make her unsound?). I am a firm believer that my horse only has so many jumps in her and therefore I am careful to only jump once, maybe twice, a week.

Before one show this past summer, Dreamy had broken through the fence about 4 days beforehand. It was just a little rinky dink huntery type schooling show, where I had planned to do the normal hunter under saddle stuff, a jumping class, and the fun games....barrels, poles, and trail. Not our normal stuff, but fun nonetheless. A friend was coming up from RI to show with me, etc etc.

Anyway, Dreamy's knee was just so slightly swollen just at the top, though she never had any heat nor was she lame. No one else could probably tell it was swollen, but Ms. Eagle Eyes here could tell. I cold hosed, Buted, etc etc. Within 24 hours it was normal. By all accounts, she was fine. However, I decided to only do the flat classes and skip the jumping and games. There was no reason on this green earth why my mare had to do ALL the classes. Because there was a chance using that knee, landing wrong over a fence, torquing it around a barrel, well, any of that could injure her and I just didn't want to do it.

Now, I did have to forfeit points because of this, to not only a state club but also a national point award system. Did I think about those missed points? SURE! But did the points or ribbons matter??? NO! Because my horses' welfare comes first.

There was also an event at the end of August where Dreamy had an bad trigger of her RAO about eight days out. Did I scratch from the event??? YES! Could she have competed? Maybe. But why in the hell would I ask a horse to run a XC course, heck even just trailer over an hour to the event, so I might win a ribbon and some points, BUT ALSO potentially mess up her breathing issues even more? NO WAY!

AND.....at the National STB show this fall, there was A LOT OF RAIN. The jump ring was a mess. I walked the course in the morning before my first jumping class (I had entered three of them) and with slop up over my ankles, I knew in my heart it was wrong to jump. There was no reason to jump....except for ribbons and points. And you know what? I much rather have a sound and happy horse than a ribbon any day. Did other foks jump their horses? Yup. Did it suck to lose out on ribbons and have to forfeit fees for three classes? Yup. But my horse comes first.

My theory is that there will always be another rinky dink hunter show, there will always be another event, there will always be another jump course. But there will never be another Dreamy. And why would I put her health at risk and potentially create a situation where I might never ride or jump her again? I love both my horses too much to ever risk their lives for ANYTHING, especially something as silly as a ribbon. And you all know by now how much of a ribbon ho I am. :D

So back to my point.....I have seen some horrendous things this past year where people treat their horses like crap in order to win ribbons and points. I KNOW this happens at all shows and on every circuit. But when it happens right in front of me, it makes me pissed. Horses cannot tell us to stop. Horses cannot tell us, "Hey, I don't feel great and I am only doing this because I am a good animal and want to please you."

Would you ever take a Lyme infested horse to a horse show? A coupe of days after it was diagnosed and started on its IV medication? If the vet told you it was OK to ride, meaning I easy hacks assume , would you take it to a horse show and ride it for 10 hours straight? Well, I have seen folks do this and it is disgusting and sad. A lame and crippled horse......trying its best to please its rider....but feeling the acute affects of Lyme disease. Coming out of a class and giving the horse its Lyme meds. SICK. And all for ribbons.

Would you ever take a horse with a major stifle issue and ride it daily? We are not talking a stifle issue that gets better with exercise. We are talking a stifle issue that is so bad the horse can barely organize its limbs. A horse that the vet told you not to ride. A horse that crashes into jumps when asked to jump. Yes people, a horse with severe stifle issues that a rider is asking to JUMP for god sakes. And then thinks it is funny and wants to frame the picture of the horse crashing into the fence. SICK.

Would you ever ride a horse that is so tight through its back that it can barely canter or jump? And of course, according to the rider, it cannot be lame because it does not limp! WTF??? But it's sure as heck lame, seeing as it is so short behind it looks like it might fall over. And then to canter around unbalanced and four beat. Flail over jumps, with a rider that is not only making the horse use its poor body in a hurtful way, but also holding onto its face so tight that the horse has no prayer of using its neck. Seen it folks and it ain't pretty. All for ribbons.

And it does not end there. Folks are so greedy for ribbons around here they actually LIE for them. LIE FOR RIBBONS????

Put the horse in the wrong division hoping no one will catch them so they can smoke everyone and WIN WIN WIN! Put a horse in a division lower than it should be in to win. Fudge points sheets to place for year ends ahead of riders who really deserve the award (this specifically happened to a friend of mine in a different state, not me personally. But it is still wrong). And the worst thing? I have seen JUNIORS doing this! Where are the parents????? Never mind, I know the answer to that one.....they have no clue what their kids do.
Edited to add: Some of these situations have been dealt with through the proper channels (such as show management and judges). Also there have been times I have had a judge tell me their was not much he/she could do for various reasons. And finally, some of these incidents did not happen to me personally, but to different friends of mine and when told the situation all I can do to "resolve it" is convey my dismay. So for any of you who truly think I am just "complaining" and being "unprofessional", I have indeed taken care of these situations in proper ways. I just don't feel the need to detail exactly every little detail about how I dealt with it. Now THAT would be unprofessional and would not really serve the purpose of why I posted what I did. I am merely being general and discussing things that make me sick and disgusted. If you feel YOU are one of the above people, well, sorry. I have not identified who you are and therefore will not remove my post. If you are THAT angry, perhaps the reason for your anger is.....SHAME or EMBARRASSMENT? Just a thought.

I don't mind being beaten in the show ring or in points by a horse that truly is a better horse than mine. But to see a horse win that is being shown every weekend despite being lame and sick? Because we all know, the more you show the more points you get! So we can't take a weekend off if the horse is hurt! Because then we are losing out! Or being beaten by a horse that really should move up a level/division? That is just plain wrong. And yes, it makes me angry.

So long story short? As much as I love ribbons, I am not greedy for them. I am not stupid enough to lie for them. And really, my horse's welfare comes first. But you know? There is this nice little thing called karma. And I believe in it.

Taming the Woolly Wild Pony

Well, taming her fur that is. ;-) Dreamy did not grow a winter coat the first year I owned her. So I always have blanketed her. And the last two winters I have clipped her anyway, so I never really knew what kind of coat she might now grow. This winter, her hair became woolly and shaggy pretty quickly in late fall....hmm amazing what good nutrition will do! I knew with my job I would not be able to ride as much as in past fall/winters, so I opted to just leave her be and see how she did. To me, a horse's natural winter coat is better than any blanket I can buy.

Then I finally got a lesson scheduled for today that I really thought we would be able to actually have. The forecast did not call for snow. LOL! Unfortunately I had to cancel it a few hours beforehand, as my instructor let me know it was VERY cold at the indoor and with Dreamy's respiratory issues, it would not be a good plan to ride her there. I was bummed and almost just said the hell with it, since I want to have a lesson SO BADLY. But I know in my heart that I have to do what is right for my horse.

Anyway, yesterday I got really worried that her long hair would make her sweaty to the point that she would be a mess. I hate when a woolly horse gets overheated and the sweat makes them all foamy and such. I knew I would not be working her that hard in the lesson, but being in a new place and being trailered sometimes can make a horse a little nervous and then sweat. Dreamy is usually laid back, but still, I just KNEW that if I left her hairy, it would be an awful mess.
It did not take that long, nor did I do a great job. :P My blades were a little dull, so the clipper marks make her look as though a mouse gnawed on her a bit. Oh well.....it is only hair and will grow back in. I don't care what anyone thinks since she is more comfortable! Here she is with her high trace clip today, one day after the clip. I did do her neck and chest too, but for some reason you cannot tell in these photos. I groomed/tacked outside because it was much warmer in the sun than in the barn!



Now, I hate the actual job of clipping. It is so messy and I usually end up halfway done before I realize I am wearing a polar fleece jacket, pants, or both! (Yes this happened one year!) Plus now I have to watch the weather even more closely and dress Dreamy appropriately. Now the last two winters it was no problem to change her clothes several times a day (mostly in the spring) because I was home full time. Now with school, I have no idea how I am going to swing this. We shall see.

However the one good part of clipping? The cool clothes! I love blankets! I would like everything to match of course, but that is just not always an option. And blankets tend to be blue or green. :P Oh well. Here is Dreamy with her cute exercise rug.

And anyway, I did end up riding today. It warmed up pretty well outside in the sun so I rode for about 25 mins. in the snowy pasture. The footing was OK for some trotting. Nothing that exciting but I at least got to ride.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Horses of My Past (Oh and a few older shots of Sparky too)

Lately I have reconnected with many childhood horsey friends via Facebook. It has been a ton of fun to see scanned pics of us from years ago. Some of these girls I have not seen for 15-17 years!

So I decided to scan some of my photos the other night to post. Luckily the scanner was in a good mood. So here are some that I posted on FB. If you have not found me there yet, come on by!

Here I am in an undated photo, but I would say 1982 or so? I was perhaps three years old and exhibiting signs of the horse bug. I honestly remember begging for this pony ride, though I do not remember much of the ride itself. I have always been such a serious rider! :D
Gotta love the no helmet and being STRAPPED onto the saddle. Safety first!

This is my first love, Joydale Jumelle, circa 1988. I miss her. :( She is full sister to Sparky. I helped train her (so really she was my first training project!) and I got to back her. She was for sale, as was all the young stock at the farm, and I BEGGED my parents to buy her for me. They did not figure I was ready for a horse, never mind a four year old mare at only age nine. So they stalled for quite a while, until one day Jumelle was sold! I never even got to say goodbye. It was a phone call.....By the way, tell your daughter we sold Jumelle. I was DEVASTATED! The first time I saw her that summer at a horse show, I cried so hard!
Then later on she was bought by someone who I knew fairly well. I told her I would buy Jumelle back without any hesitation if she was ever for sale. I was in college at the time and Jumelle had a colt who was maybe two? (No idea why this woman breed Jumelle when she never rode the horse to begin with....OH let's breed her! GRRRR...)
Anyway, I went over and rode Jumelle and worked on the ground with her colt Adam one summer. I got to school and then suddenly Jumelle is sold and the woman never returns my calls! I was so upset! To lose this horse TWICE in my life was awful!
So while I am sure she has passed, if I ever find this mare I am bringing her home. If she ever needs a home, she has one with me. I love this mare.
BTW: Cute story on her name. She was a twin! For whatever reason, the owners of the farm where I rode could not get a vet out in time and so the husband took Jumelle's tiny sister in the front of the family car to the vet's office. They got her all hooked up with fluids and what-not, but unfortunately she died on the ride home. :( So Jumelle means twin. :)

Here is Joydale Pollyanna, circa late 1980s. What a patient pony. Pollyanna taught me how to ride, and I guess she is the one I owe the credit to. This mare was worth her weight in gold...and then some. I needed a bucket to put her saddle on. LOL! I am on the left and my cousin Stacey is on the right.


Joydale Pollyanna, looking for her ice cream snack after a day of horse camp. She used to roam the yard like a dog, grazing and hanging out sometimes as a treat. The farm was on a very secluded dead end road, so no traffic. :)

Joydale Pollyanna, late 1980s. I think I was maybe 7 or 8 here?


Joydale Pollyanna, circa 1990 at a York County Riders show at Hollis Eq. Park. My first real horse show! We scored a first in pleasure and a third in eq.





Kennebec Chief, Sparky's sire. Kenny taught me how to canter. :) He was the best stallion ever.


Kennebec Chief, Sparky's sire. Early 1980s. I want to say 1988? Getting ready to ride my first dressage test ever!


Kennebec Spark, my Sparky's dam. Great broodmare, but hated being ridden.



Lottarock Suletza, sweetest Arabian mare ever! Circa 1994? Yes, I did ride other horses besides Morgans. LOL!

Joydale Tiffany, circa 1991 at a dressage show at Hollis Eq. Park. I believe this is before SMDA was even in existence, or maybe this was their first year? My first dressage show with Tiff...we scored a 4th. I leased Tiffany for 3 years before I got Sparky. She made me cry A LOT, but she taught me more than any well schooled horse ever would have.


At a Silver Heels Show at Green Acres in NH with Tiffany. We are on the left. I love this pic because we all look so grumpy but we were SUCH LUCKY KIDS! And yes, the bay Morgans are all related...can you tell? Joydale Pollyanna on the right and Joydale Venture in the middle.


York County Rider show at Hollis Eq. Park, circa 1992, with Joydale Tiffany. I am fourth from the left.


My girl Sparky, aka Joydale Sparklerslas. We won first in something at our first horse show! I think it was equitation....but I think we got a first in trail too. York County Riders, circa 1993.



I love this horse!!!! I am maybe 15 here?

Morgan Drill Team! We did drill team for years! I am second from the right with Sparky. I did drills with Tiffany too, before Sparky came along. Here is Sparky and Volo at my grandfather's farm, maybe 1995 or 1996? I love this pic.


Again, my two horses. :)



Here is one of of senior pics! This was taken fall of 1996, and I graduated from high school in 1997.


And another.....



And here is the one I used for the yearbook.


Off to college! I worked at the horse barns, of course. This is from one of the summers I lived at school. I am near the middle. The horse is Jetsetter, a sweet little Morgan gelding!


UNH Rocky. I know he had a different registered name, but it escapes me. Rocky was the first horse I rode at UNH, and this pic was taken that fall 1997. Rocky had the worst confirmation ever. He taught me how to sit the trot no matter what! :P


UNH Quill. I LOVE QUILLER! This is at my first Little Royal, spring 1998. We placed second in our class. I was the only person who competed in the Little Royal on her own accord, just for fun....everyone else was required to do it for a class! LOL! I also rode Quill that semester. Oh and this is my first braid job ever!


UNH Minuet, circa 1999. I learned a lot from this mare, even though she made me cry. This was from my second Little Royal. Minnie shied the entire class and I we pinned 3rd out of 6 or 7 horses. The judge said the horse did not win the ribbon, I did! LOL!!! I rode Minnie a few times, but we were not a good fit.


Millbrook Flashman. I drew Flash as my Little Royal horse in 2000. We won the entire thing...our class, the Equine division, and then were named the UNH Little Royal Champions Premier Showperson 2000! I loved Flash....he was my project horse during my Advanced class spring 1999. I helped him overcome his "fear" of groundpoles (he was a park horse before arriving at UNH) and by the end of the semester we were jumping a 2'6" course! :) I hear he went on to a career as an event horse after his time at UNH. His confirmation looks horrendous here, but it is just the angle. He was a very typey old style Morgan.


UNH Advanced Class, spring 2000. I am on the left with Marcy.

Millbrook Marcy. I LOVE THIS HORSE! I was going to buy her that spring, but they wanted a lot more money than Dad was willing to loan. Then I stayed at school that summer to ride her as an independent project, figuring I could at least be with her (and get one credit!) and she popped a splint in late June! So much for that. :( I had nearly convinced my father to loan me the money, but he could not fathom spending money on a four year old with a popped splint.

I took care of her every day that summer. :( I miss her!!! She had just been backed the previous semester. Here we are competing in the Thompson School Combined Test 2000. We scored a 17 on our dressage test!!!


Here I am going HOLY %&#*, that was the best test I have ever ridden! We scored 9s and 10s and had it been scored in percentages it would have been an 83%!!!!!



Aw, another of my mare Sparky. She is here with Zip the Goat! I love Zippy and if I ever felt the desire to own a goat, I would want it to be exactly like Zippy!

Schooling in 2001.

Riding while pregnant! Spring 2004.




Here we are at Granite State Morgan, 2005. We never got any pics from 2006 because I forgot the camera. I figured, what the heck, I will just buy some of the professional ones. WELL....that year they decided NOT to have a photographer for the carriage division, just one in the main ring! I WAS BOILED!!!!!!! Oh well.


So there is my trip down memory lane. :)