Monday, July 27, 2009

Isaac Royal USDF show - July 26, 2009

Isaac Royal Farm in Dover-Foxcroft, ME puts on two USDF rated dressage shows each summer. We did the first about it here. The second one was the same weekend as the Maine Event (which I obviously wanted to do because MHA put the STB division DUH! I could qualify for a year end award! LOL) But because IR is a two day show, I was able to do the Maine Event on Saturday and then the IR show on Sunday.

Well, my mare was tired. So tired. I mean, yes we only did one in-hand class and three riding classes at the Maine Event the day before. But still, we left the house at 7:15 AM and arrived home at 5PM. Our classes were spaced waaaay out, so it was a long hot day.

And while the Maine Event was only 30 minutes from the house, the IR show was 3 hours and 10 minutes away! Big difference! So I was up at 4AM on Sunday, loaded her at 5:30 AM, and we arrived at a little before 9AM. Our ride times were 10:29 for Training 2 and 11:15 for Training 4.

Dreamy warmed up so well. She was tired, so I limited our warm up to about 25 minutes. We did a fairly decent job in Training 2, to earn a 60.357%. She had a hard time maintaining her right lead canter, which is normal, but it was worse because she was tired. Plus, the footing was a little sloppy from overnight rain. For whatever reason, Dreamy is very sensitive to poor footing, or actually to footing that is not perfect.

We got 5s this time on our canters, which was a gift. LOL! But only 6s on our canter transitions. We had very nice centerlines and halts, earning us 7s and 8s. The judge, Sandi Chohany, wrote "Horse has a lovely trot. Canter should come with time and miles." I thought that was such a nice comment! :) And very accurate!

I was the only person in Training 2, so of course we won! LOL!

Training 4 went well too, but I knew not to expect a 60%. She was just too darn tired. I should have known better than to try and show two days in a row at two different shows. Probably won't do it again. :) We ended up with a 55.6%, which is not bad, but not where I want to be. Mostly 6s, a few 7s, and 5s again on the canters. She did NOT want to canter to the right at all, and actually broke half way through the circle to the trot. Poor mare. I totally threw her away (BAD BAD BAD ME!) in an effort to keep her cantering.. And I know the pony kicks were so lovely......UGGG! Ah well. Sandi wrote on this test: "Try holding reins taughter (**should be "taut" but hey, I'm the English teacher, not her!) in right canter to help her balance in an uphill way to slow her running canter." Yup. I know that and am working hard to maintain the contact. Just ask my instructor! ;-) At least it has improved, but we have a ways to go.

We ended up sixth out of six riders. LOL! It was more about getting out there and doing it. I had hoped for the 60%, but it is OK that it did not happen. It just simply was NOT a 60+ test. And I knew that beforehand.

The very cool part was that my dear friend Nonni was able to come watch! She brought along her barn owner Kathy. It was so fantastic to have friends there to support me! And I loved having my own cheering section! It means a lot to me that they drove over to watch. :) :) :)

AND.......we earned our final score for a Maine Dressage Society bronze medal! YAY!!!!!! I am proud to have earned my GMO bronze on Dreamy! So that was very exciting to me.

Photos later....I am tired! :)

MHA Maine Event Show - July 25, 2009

I had a great time at the Maine Horse Association (MHA) Maine Event Horse Show this past Saturday. When I originally asked the MHA about adding a STB division to their shows this year, I was only thinking one show. Rick added the division for us at the Downeast (click here) which is a big double judged "A" rated show here in Maine.

Here we are at the Maine Event....

To my surprise, he also added it to the Maine Event show, which is a smaller one-day "C" rated show. This meant that the STB division was now eligible for year end awards! Yeah! For it to count, you need to show three times in your division. Since the Downeast counted as two shows, being double judged, the Maine Event was the third show! :) :) :) MHA ROCKS!

The day was perfect, weather wise. It was raining when I fed horses at 5AM and I was a bit worried. I was going to show rain or shine, but it is much better in the shine! LOL! By the time I headed out at 7:15 AM, the rain was gone and the sky was trying to clear. The day turned out to be hot and sunny! FINALLY! A real summer show day!

There were five Standardbreds in attendance during the show. One horse only did the in-hand class, and another horse only did the three riding classes, so there ended up being four STBs in each class.

Dreamy and I ended up in second place for both STB in-hand and STB pleasure. We pulled thirds in both STB equitation and STB pleasure championship. I was super pleased to see a young rider beat all of us adults in the equitation class! LOL! Her grin was ear to ear, and it was absolutely the cutest and most priceless thing. This young girl is a good little rider and her mare looked fantastic. It is obvious she has been working very hard with her. She was not entered in the championship class, but we all pitched in and paid for her entry for it (after asking her mother, of course!) I was happy to have her show with us, especially with such a NICELY TRAINED Standardbred. Those are the ones I want to be showing off for the public! :D

Here is my pretty mare again!

My friend Shelly won all three of the riding classes, which was awesome. She did OK at Downeast but her horse was just perfect at the Maine Event. It was like Dreamy winning all the riding classes at Downeast....she was just "on". Sometimes you get lucky and your horse is just perfect. That was Dreamy at Downeast, and it was Shelly's gelding McKeever on Saturday! I loved seeing her beat us all. :) If I can't win, it better be Shelly who beats me! LOL! (Inside joke with the two of us.....) Here we are with our pleasure class ribbons.

I could have been upset with being beaten despite winning everything at the larger Downeast show. But why? Life is too short. I have heard others say that a judge will pick their favorites and not look at anyone else for first. Is that true? Maybe. But who cares? If I really cared that much, I would stick to dressage shows. But I had FUN with my horse and my friends, which is why I decided to do it. It was a gorgeous day and I am physically and financially able to own a horse and show her. I personally was more pleased with how my horse behaved and moved, though it is like a dressage horse and NOT a hunter, than any color ribbon. When you already have a tack room FULL of ribbons, what's a few more or not? I know my horse is fantastic and I don't need ribbons to prove it. Like OTB reminded me one time, "That is why they call it showing and not winning!" LOL! I need to hear that sometimes OTB! :D

Thanks all for a fun time! And THANK YOU MHA for giving us a Standardbred division! Sometimes it is fun to me to show against our breed.....since we are always normally showing open! :) :) :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hanover Shoe Farm Does it Right

This is a great article I stumbled across while searching for something else entirely. What a neat farm. And the sainted rescuers say that STB folks are cruel. RIGHT..... :P

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Horse Trailer

So, here is my trusty horse trailer.

But I decided to buy a new one.....whaddya think???? :D

Reva Gets Her Hooves Trimmed

So, my farrier came out and was able to make Reva's hooves look MUCH better.

Here was her near fore before:

And here is the same hoof after he trimmed her:

Off fore:

Both fores:


Normally her usual stance on the crossties is every single leg is splayed out in a different direction. Oh boy. But after he trimmed her, she was standing perfectly SQUARE on the ties.

Yes, my farrier is a ROCKSTAR. :D

I feel a lot better about improving her hooves. I mean, I knew they would be better by the time I wanted to really start her under saddle, but the different in just one trim was just awesome. No hoof, no horse, right?! :D

On another Reva note, she got her own blanket and bridle yesterday! :) I dropped off my winter blankets to be cleaned at a feed store, which was only a few miles from a REALLY awesome tack store called Double G. There was no way I could pass up an opportunity to browse in a tack shop without a child (my son was visiting his Grammie, my mom, for a few days and came back this afternoon...) so I had to go. :) I found her a used Centaur Irish knit "Wickster" sheet for only $12!! I had to get it! It is an 80-82, light blue in color, and it is a little big for her right now, but I know she is not done growing. It will be perfect to use for when she is wet or as an underlayer for a rainsheet or blanket. Plus I found her a decent training bridle for only $30. I took a picture but they all came out like crap in the barn last night. The lighting is good, but with the flash the exposure is awful. And then without the flash they are too dark. But she got her first bridle! :)

Standardbred Performance Society

Here is some information about the Standardbred Performance Society and how we came into being. :)

Having been a member of my state's Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization (SPHO) for a few years, I started becoming dissatisfied with many things. Without going into detail here (trust me it is better if I do not....) I was specifically unhappy with the lack if support for those of us showing our STBs and for the anti-racing sentiment among members. It was always like I was blamed for "bragging" whenever I posted anything on the forum about how Dreamy did at a show. I wanted to make sure that others out there KNEW that STBs could be used for more than just pleasure and trail. I wanted to make sure that when someone found the site/forum, they KNEW there were successful show horses out there.

While the pleasure angle is a great way to promote the breed, and they are certainly great "backyard" and family horses, the next step in promotion really needed to be competition. But because so few of us were actually out there doing open showing, I was seen as a know-it-all and braggart. Well, fine. I am pretty confident in myself and do not feel bad about that. I know I am a good rider, I know I work my ass off to do well, and I make no apologizes for that. But without showcasing the STBs who are actually accomplishing something in the show ring (other than the local SPHO show or 4-H show....) I felt it was a real disservice to the breed.

Combine that with a very real and very negative anti-racing POV amongst members and I had pretty much given up. As treasurer, I had wanted to finish my term, but when a "lovely" member decided to verbally attack me at a meeting (to the point where I was ready to call joke) I resigned on the spot. It was ridiculous and petty and I WILL NOT allow anyone to treat me in such a fashion. At this point I do not see myself rejoining such a club. BLECH! :(

Again there are many other things that went into my decision, but again, really not appropriate for this blog. It would become waaaaay too obvious because the situations were so specific. But truly, I was not impressed with the attitudes of most members.

I am very happy and proud to be a member of the SPHO-New Jersey. They are a fabulous group of people and really do a top-notch job promoting STBs. However, I live eight hours from NJ. So, as much as I want to be an active member, it is really rather difficult. :( When there is a demo or other volunteer activity, it is more like "Hey, good luck guys and send me photos!" Not, "Hey I can help do that! I can be there for that meeting....etc etc." I have felt really bummed about about not having an organization I can truly be an active member of.

SO......a group of us here in New England decided that it was time to start our own organization. We will never be the SPHO-NJ and really there is no reason to try to be. :) They are doing a great job, but in all truth we just needed something closer. Right now we are in the infancy stages, coming up with bylaws and becoming incorporated. The Standardbred Performance Society (SPS) really wants to focus on supporting and promoting STBs out there in competition, from harness racing to jumping to dressage to barrel racing. There just needs to be a formal group to PROMOTE these horses in a new way, other than the typical "backyard family pleasure horse." And then there needs to be a core SUPPORT group for those of us doing so. There needs to be a resource for people who are training their STB to canter because they want to do a Training level dressage test. There needs to be a resource for people who want to learn more about STBs in the world of NBHA. There needs to be a resource for people who want the moral support when they are out there in the world of hunters, a STB among QHs and TBs.

There are many such performance STB organizations in Australia and Canada. Again too far away from me. :(

So here is the link to the SPS website. I encourage you to join! I want to make it a nationwide (world wide??) organization, but for now our few members are in the Northeast. We have done one demo so far this year and I will be speaking about the SPS at the Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association meeting next week.

Edited to add: I personally had a bad experience with my state's SPHO and I realize that years ago the club had a different tone. Some folks might enjoy SPHO up here, but I personally did not. To each his own. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An article about us....

I was contacted about a STB article for the Bangor Daily News. I cannot believe he said I worked at Fryeburg! DUH! I said Sacopee like 3 times and even spelled it. I like the piece so-so. I really wanted him to focus on the HORSES, not me and my horse. I talked a lot about the breed in general, about our new org., and about the UMaine program. It is too bad in my opinion that he chose to focus on ME. Oh well. I understand a "human interest story" makes it more interesting, but it was kind of weird the way he made me sound so FORCEFUL. Like I would smack someone if they insinuated a horse should go to a glue factory? UMMM....never said a thing about a glue factory....and actually I am more pro slaughter anyway. Some of the quotes are things that I did not say. LOL! I said something like that, but he did direct quotes that were not really direct quotes. Oh well......good publicity for the breed is always good thing I suppose.

And apparently I operate a barn and started "dressage training" at six years old! LOL! It is always odd when a non-horse person writes about horses. :P

Here it is:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Honest Scrap Award!

On the Bit, a fellow blogger, has bestowed yet another award to me! Thanks OTB!

In accordance with the award rules I have to let you all know who gave me this award, 10 things about me you didn’t know before, and pass it along to 10 other blogs. That is tough to do, because I am not sure I read 10 blogs. :( But let's try it.

What don't you know about me? Hmmmm....

1. I am short. Like only 5 feet tall short. People think I am younger than I actually am (born in 1979...) which is sort of funny. :) By now the gray hair is pretty evident, so it is even more funny to me when someone thinks I am a high school age kid. I mean, c'mon people! I TEACH high school kids! LOL!

2. I am a night owl and HATE getting up in the morning. Seriously. HATE IT. :P

3. My barn colors are maroon and silver. But sometimes they are navy blue too. Or even forest green. It all depends on the colors the store has in stock! :P

4. I named my barn when I was in fifth grade. :) I had a friend that wanted to name her "dream farm" Sapphire Stable since it was her birthstone. Seeing as my birthstone is a peridot (and what kind of name is Peridot Farm???? that was out of the question. I got out my thesaurus and looked up "gemstones." Moonstone was there, and I loved the name. At the time, I wanted to own a Morgan breeding Moonstone Morgans had a nice ring. So when I finally did have "my own barn", my husband said I really needed to use my original farm Moonstone Farm was born! LOL!

5. I hate cooked vegetables. I can eat most of them raw, but cooked? GAG ME.

6. I am addicted to Facebook. :) I even created "horsebooks" for my mares and OMG I am such a foolish girl. LOL! I mean, I am writing things like "Elizabeth gives Dreamy a treat!" LOL! So funny.....and now my horses are becoming "friends" with other people's horses......BAAAHAHAHAHA! :D

7. I am writing a young adult novel about a girl and a horse, of course! I wish I could find the time to finish it and actually send it out to an agent. :(

8. I am a ribbon ho. OK, there, I said it. :p LOL!!!!!!!!! I know OTB gets it! :)

9. I make lists because I like to cross things off. I will even write things on the list JUST to cross them off. Yes, I am crazy.

10. I eat Pepto Bismol for meals sometimes. :D Especially before a horse show. And I never thought anyone else would ever understand until I had a chat with Rob one night. And HE IS THE SAME WAY! :) Pepto Buddy! :)

Now, for the blogs I award this I actually follow 10 blogs! :)
  1. A Horse and a Half
  2. College Cowgirl
  3. Dancing Hooves
  4. Dressage - Path to the USDF...
  5. Dressage Mom
  6. Eventing-A-Gogo!
  7. Haiku Farm
  8. Not So Standard Standardbred
  9. Now THAT'S A Trot!

Chastetree Berry - What is it and why do I feed it to my horses?

AareneX asked in a comment about chastetree berry and why I feed it to my horses. :) SO I thought perhaps an entire post should be dedicated to it.

Back in early 2000, my mare Sparky was diagnosed with Cushing's disease. I did not want to put her on Pergolide, so I asked my vet about other alternatives. He recommended Evitex (which was then called Hormonise). I purchased it through Emerald Valley and loved the product (I still buy Wind for Dreamy's COPD). It really helped lessen Sparky's symptoms and she ate the Evitex on her evening grain with no problem. Basically it is an aqueous infusion of the chastetree berry.

Chastetree berry restores balance and function to the female reproductive system by stimulating the natural production of progesterone. It also acts upon the pituitary gland, reducing the production of certain hormones and increasing the production of others, which is why it is recommended for Cushing's horses.

When I decided to become a stay at home mom, we looked into ways to save money. The Evitex ran about $60 a month, so I looked around for a cheaper, but still effective, alternative. I found out that chastetree berry can be bought and fed as a whole dried berry. I did some research and found a site called More Than Alive where I could buy it in bulk. I keep it in the refrigerator and only bring about one pound of it out to the feed room in an airtight Ziploc plastic container.

I grind 3 teaspoons of the chastetree berries in a coffee grinder (just used for this purpose!) and put it on top of her evening grain. Sparky is roughly 1000 lbs., so depending on the weight of the horse, I would adjust the amount of chastetree berries accordingly. I use approx. a pound a month (30 days).

There is a website of a woman who has done this with great success for her horses. This is how I first decided to try it. So far so good. Sparky looks great and eats the chastetree berries with no problem.

So if it is good for Cushing's, why do I feed it to Dreamy and will also feed it to Reva? Well, I noticed last year that Dreamy was starting to have temper tantrums under saddle. The worst ones started to fall about once a month. Now with two mares (at the time) I never really noticed their heat cycles. But it was obvious by reading my blog that Dreamy was really touchy under saddle once a month, poor girl. So I decided to try it for her heats. I have found that she is MUCH easier to ride during her heats now that I have had her on it for a while.

And because Reva had such a glaring heat when she arrived and was so touchy on her flanks, I think she will benefit from it as well. I was also told she is did not train as well when in heat.

The cool thing is that chasetree berry is NOT banned or forbidden by the USEF, which means I can use it while I compete at rated shows. It is cost effective, the horses eat it, and it is easy to feed. I love the product and recommend it to anyone! :)

Sparky Update!

I know I do not often write about my wonderful 27 yo Morgan mare, but she is doing great. She is living the life of luxury as my retired horse. She gets plenty of hay, her senior grain, and lots of turnout. I brush her and keep her trimmed up, because even though she may no longer show, she still deserves it.

I took some pictures today and I am really pleased with how she looks. There have been times in the past when she has not looked "good" to me, but right now I am pleased with her body condition. Of course, having owned her now for over 16 years, I remember a much younger horse, so to me, she looks OLD. She has grayed out so much over her body, especially her face. :( But she is young at heart and still gives me the evil mare face each morning. So I know she is feeling good. :)

There is nothing quite like your first horse. <3 :)

Reva Update! With videos!

Reva is still doing great! She is no longer in heat and much happier. :) I am going to add the chastetree berry that I give to Dreamy and Sparky to her grain as well. I think it will help her quite a bit.

Funny thing....I gave her a round black rubber feed pan for her grain. I have a ton of them around the barn, as I use them to grain horses outside and to give Sunday night bran mashes in the winter. I was trying to be "frugal" and not purchase her a grain bucket that hooks in the corner.....yet. :) Well, she kept getting it behind her hooves, stepping on it all the time. No big deal. Then she started getting it outside of her stall by morning. Again, not a big deal.

Well, the night before last I think she was trying out for the Grain Pan Throwing Olympics, because she threw it up OVER the seven foot wall between her and Dreamy. It was in Dreamy's stall in the morning, so I am pretty sure she was winging it around. LOL! I forget what it is like to have a three year old in the barn, seeing as my other mares are 18 and 27! :) I can only imagine Dreamy's reaction....."WTF is THIS???"

So yesterday I broke down and bought her a feed tub that I can snap into eye hooks in the corner. She seems to have no problems with it of course. Perhaps she will take it off the wall....LOL! It did give me a place to put her salt lick, which she likes so much that she pulled it off the wall as well. That is no big deal, because my other mares do it sometimes too. But I get the feeling that if I replace the holder it will get pulled down pretty quickly. Perhaps Ms. Reva needs a stall toy. :D

Here she is the other day for the first time in her grass pasture. She was super good about the fence and had no issues being out there.

Ah, a BUG! LOL! :)

Pretty mare!

Sparky is being very good to her, but I think I will keep them separated for a while. No idea what Sparky might think if they are together.....they would probably get along, but then Sparky would have to eat her grain somewhere else, because she takes so long to eat it all. Might just be easier to keep them as neighbors.

I REALLY need to mow my pastures! This rain has been brutal and they never look this bad!! :(

Here are a few videos from today. It was windy and she alternated between wanting to RUN and wanting to eat. LOL!


I think it is funny how I go "Hummmmmf" when she cantered and jumped over whatever was there in the pasture. I think it was just a low spot in the pasture, since I try to keep branches and such picked up.



Isaac Royal USDF show - July 11-12, 2009

This past weekend was a huge milestone for many reasons. I competed in Dover-Foxcroft, ME in a two day USDF dressage show, doing both Training 2 and Training 4 each day.

Friday night we got a call that hay was going to be ready the following day. UH OH! This summer's weather has been SO SO SO rainy here in Maine that it was absolutely foolish for me to NOT get hay. But that posed a was I going to get hay AND show??

Well, my husband stayed home to do hay (he is a good guy about horses some of the time!) and I went to the show. That meant that I had to truck my horse ALONE. Now, this is not a big deal, because I have trucked her numerous times to my instructor's farm (20 minutes), the local show grounds (30 minutes), and the track (Scarborough Downs) to marshal (1 hour). Well......this was a little different. Getting to Isaac Royal Farm takes 3.5 hours and is 160 miles one way.......and 93 miles of it is on Interstate 95, the major highway in Maine.


I am either foolish or brave....perhaps a mix of both. I am one of those people that just jumps in head first and figures it out as I go. The first time I ever trailered alone was all the way to Scarborough Downs. So it was a huge milestone for me to truck her alone, all that way. AND not only that, but I stayed overnight in my trailer on Saturday! It was crazy, but I survived! LOL!

And funny thing is, instead of being nervous, I was VERY relaxed. Instead of eating Pepto Bismol for breakfast, I actually enjoyed doing my own thing. I was in control of everything. I did not have to worry about a crabby husband, a fussy child, nothing! I was able to completely focus on ME and my HORSE. I did not have to take care of my horse AND my child. In the past, my husband has been good at shows.....I tell him "I am in charge of the horse, you are in charge of the kid." But this year, he has been really resentful of everything "horse" and horse shows have SUCKED for me. So to be able to relax, enjoy my weekend, and not have to WORRY about everyone ELSE was wonderful!!!!

I left on Saturday morning at 8AM. I made a quick stop at Hannaford's to pick up food for myself for the weekend, seeing as I did not have time beforehand. We were on the road soon afterward, and hit minimal traffic. I arrived at IR about 11:45, with my first ride time at 2:20. I got my stall set up, took Dreamy for a walk and signed in, and just relaxed and got everything ready.

We had a pretty bad warm up. :( I was relaxed, but Dreamy was very upset by another horse. A woman on a Friesian kept literally running into us. Now, I am sure she was nervous and all, but the warm up was HUGE. And there were only THREE of us in there! GRRRR.....there was a YR down doing a 20 m. circle say at A. Then this stupid Friesian woman was making a 20 m. circle right in the middle, between let's say E and B. So, I decided to do our canter way down at C. There was PLENTY of room for all of us to warm up and never even get near one another. B

BUT NO.....this woman kept running right into us! SO Dreamy was like "WTF!!!!" She kept jumping sideways and everything. Did not help that the rider had a long whip and Dreamy is still worried about whips. Finally, I just got the hell out of the way, and joined the YR at A. I was pretty pissed. The woman was rather ignorant of ring etiquette, which is my PET PEEVE!

So, Dreamy was all tense about cantering and kept bucking every time I asked for her right lead. GREAT. SO I just kept it conservative and figured we would do our best.

She was not as nervous once I walked her around and when we started our test. She knew it was show time and got down to business. But she was still tense, which never is a good thing. Our first test was Training 2 and we ended up with a 57.142%, with a second place out of three riders. Judge's comment was "lovely pair." We ended up with all 6s and 7s, with 4s and 5s on the canters. Our first canter to the left, which is our better lead, almost ended in a face plant. LOL! She picked it up and stumbled HUGE! I was like AHHHH!!!!! I am going to fall right here in front of all these people! LOL! She broke to the trot for about one stride, then picked the canter back up and the rest of the circle was quite lovely! LOL! The test was in the small ring, which was OK, but I REALLY rather ride in the large ring.

I thought the judge, Robin Brueckmann, was very fair. She is an "S" (which means senior) judge from NC. She had to judge the entire show from 8AM to 6PM each day, which was a huge task! She did not give many comments, but instead kept the show running right on time. I have to hand it to her....that was a tough job and she earned her money!

We had just about 25 minutes before Training 4., They made the ring larger and dragged it, which was nice. I just walked Dreamy around in the shade and chilled out. She continued to relax and I looked at my T4 test to memorize it once more. We did a little more trot work to get ready to go in. This test went MUCH BETTER than T2. We got ALL sevens, with 4s on our right lead and 5s on our left lead. I was pleased with the ride, and we got 7s on BOTH CANTER TRANSITIONS! YAY Mare! That is HUGE for us! We ended up getting 7s on the canter departs for the rest of the show, and while the actual canter circles were no higher than 5s, I was still very happy. Baby steps!! :)

We ended up with a 60.400% on Training 4!!! WOO HOOO! That is our first USDF qualifying score this year! A huge milestone! I never thought we would actually break 60% on Training 4 this year at all, but I was so pleased that we did! The judge wrote "Pleasant, agreeable horse. Enjoy!" on our test this time. We placed 2nd out of three riders and I could NOT stop grinning. I was sure I would cry, but I didn't. I was just SO HAPPY and in shock really! LOL!

We went back to her stall and untacked. I was able to hose her off, which was nice. It was hot, but with a breeze, and she got pretty sweaty. Her stall was on the end of a shed row at the base of a HUGE pasture. We had to go up the hill in the other direction to get to the show field. IR is an older but very pretty farm. So by the time Dreamy was all cooled down and relaxing in her stall, it was 4:30 PM. I was wiped out, seeing as I had been getting to bed around midnight for the past two weeks and up by 5AM. So I decided to set up my cot in the trailer and take a nap. I set my alarm for 5:30PM.

I am glad I napped, because I felt so much better. I grained and hayed Dreamy and she just chilled in her stall. I wrapped her legs for the night, had some dinner, and was able to use the farm's "barn shower" up at the house. It was SO NICE of them to allow me to use it, seeing as I was literally "roughing it" in my trailer. The owners of IR are super nice folks and I hope to be able to show there again next year. I am going up again at the end of the month too.

Overnight it poured, but I slept warmly and soundly. I awoke at 4:30 AM to the sound of rain pelting the roof of my horse trailer, which was just a few feet from my head. LOL! I put my cot up in the goose neck to avoid rain and cold. It is a stock trailer and I take out the sides to give Dreamy lots of air for her COPD when I truck her. I woke up at 6AM to hay, water, and grain Dreamy, plus pick out her stall. It was funny, because there were eight other horses in the she row, all staring and whinnying at me to feed them too. Of course, I did not, seeing as I did not know the horses or have permission to feed them. It is funny, in the past I may have thrown them all hay, because there were bales close to each stall, but after dealing with a horse like Dreamy that can ONLY get soaked hay, I did not want to take the chance. Even though it seems "nice", sometimes feeding a horse the wrong thing can have terrible consequences. I decided to go back to sleep seeing as I did not ride Sunday until 1:36. LOL! So I slept until 8:45AM and woke up feeling pretty good and rested. I am a pretty sound sleeper, because other riders were all around, getting tacked up and all, and I slept through everything.

I took Dreamy for a long hour walk up to the show field. We hung out, watched some rides, and she got to graze for a while. We went back to the trailer so I could have lunch and then get ready for our tests. Again I did T2 first, and about 25 mins. later did T4. This time, I opted to warm up in the large grass field right next to the sand warm up ring. The Frisian lady was there again and I could just NOT deal with her ruining our warm up. We walked around to get loosened up for a while, and then I got some superb trot work. She was happy and forward, really stretching down to the bit. I was so impressed. Our canter work was also excellent, with both leads and good slow rhythm. I could tell she was tired though, so I limited our warm up, as fun as it was, so that she would have energy enough for the tests.

Training 2 was MUCH better this time. This was again all 7s with 5s on the left lead and 4s on the right. BUt 7s again on each canter transition! :) We scored a 60.00% and a first place out of three riders! YAY! We got another "pleasant agreeable horse" from the judge. I wonder if this is her standard remarks on each test. LOL!

I am so pleased that her trot work is becoming so good. Until our canter can be above 5, it helps to have good solid trot and walk work to offset those 4s. UGGG. But soon I am sure those 4s will become 6s and 7s. It just takes TIME. :)

I let Dreamy walk around and stay warmed up before T4. We stood in the shade as well. I knew she was tired, but I also wanted to keep her moving. We ended up having a decent test, but by the end she got unsteady in her trot. She coughed all the way up our last trot change of rein, which made her bobble at bit. It was really dusty in the ring, so I knew it was bothering her. And our stretchy trot is still a 5. :( I need serious help with that. And she bobbled up the center line at the end for a 5, because I think she was just tired. Oh well. We scored a 56.400% and another second place out of three riders, so I was happy. This time the comment was "willing horse, lovely pair."

So overall, I was very pleased with our weekend. To go to a show so far away alone, stay overnight, and even break 60% on Training 2 AND 4.......I am very very happy! :) Our ride home was uneventful, except I missed the turn from Route 7 to Route 15, but realized it quickly. LOL! That would have been interesting......but I got turned around and headed home. I unloaded her here at the farm at 7PM.....she got turned out for a while because I had to greet the family and put the little one to bed. Then I went out and took care of Dreamy, unloaded the trailer, and was inside in bed by 9PM. WHEW! Long weekend, but so worth it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good rides and show this weekend!

Well, this week has been terrible for riding. I did have three EXCELLENT rides in a row, Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the holiday weekend. The weather was gorgeous and Dreamy was so fun to ride! I got some very balanced canter transitions in each direction, plus some of the best long and low trot yet! I tend to throw away the reins, losing the contact, so I have been really focusing on pushing her out to the bit and maintaining that steady connection.

She was so good on Sunday that I actually tried re-introducing cantering from the walk. She was perfect to the left, as usual. And to the right, she was actually quite good!!!! :D The first time was a little unbalanced, but the two subsequent tries were quite NICE! I wanted to keep going, but it had been an hour and I knew better than to push it. But she is becoming SO FUN to ride that I have to remember to get off! LOL! Hopefully, the weather was start cooperating and I can take a lesson again SOON! I HATE NOT HAVING WEEKLY LESSONS! Yes, I am complaining....

I am feeling so thankful I have this blog. I happened to be looking back to find the post from last summer when Dr. Jefferson first came out to work on her. I got sucked into reading posts from last year, which was the intention of keeping this blog in the first place. I have been so busy lately that I have no had time to reflect on how far we TRULY have come. So many of my posts last year were about her meltdowns and how we had to work through them. But the weekend rides were just SO made me fully realize how far we have come! YAY DREAM GIRL!

I gave her Monday off, and then of course it POURED Tuesday and Wednesday. It was just brutal. I could have ridden in the rain, but it was so cold (low 50s) and I was just not in the mood to go on the trail (seeing as my field was underwater). So anyway, she got two unplanned days off. :( I will ride her tonight, and practice some of our movements from T2 and T4, because this weekend is a two day show in Dover Foxcroft, ME at a farm called Isaac Royal. We are riding both tests each day:

2:10 Training 2
2:41 Training 4

1:44 Training 2
2:15 Training 4

I am happy to have the tests close together. Plus, it is a three hour drive up there so thankfully I do not have to leave at 3AM on Saturday morning to get there for an early ride time! :D I do wish my Sunday times were in the morning, so I could be home earlier, but oh well. You can't always get what you want, right???

So send some good energy my way! :)

On another note, I am actively looking for a truck to replace my Honda Civic! WHOO! First of all, our 1991 one ton dump truck farm truck DIED the other day. Yeah, I was stuck in town with a load of shavings when it happened. Wicked fun! The towing charge was not much, but when I realized I could have purchased 8 more bags of shavings for the price, that seemed expensive! LOL! Also, it would be nice to have my own truck so I can do my shows and lessons without having to use my husband's truck.....which is his personal work truck that is pretty tried. He is a logger, so the poor thing is pretty beat up from bumping down logging roads and hauling around fuel and greasy equipment. ICK! Such a pain the neck. (Plus, there is nothing like pulling onto a show with your dirty smelly work truck surrounded by gorgeous one ton duallys pulling 4 horse Sundowners with LQ. The dressage queens nearly faint! LOL!!!!) So I am looking for a 3/4 ton, extended cab, 4WD, automatic truck, 2006 or newer!!! I hope to have something in the next few weeks or sooner! The tricky part is finding something that I can afford! :(

And Reva is going great! She is just a sweet mare and has settled in so well. I am excited to start working with her! My son is going to my mom's next week, so I will have TONS of free time to start playing with her.

Here are the mares the other morning at 5:30 AM. :)

Excuse the way my paddocks has been too wet to get the loader in to clean them out and the weeds have taken OVER! My pastures are rather lush it makes up for the crappy looking paddocks. :D

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reva Pics

Reva in her new home!

She fell in love with C and loves to watch him ride his bike! (Yes, Mom, I am careful and he is never alone with her or is allowed in her stall. She is a GOOD horse, but I am super careful I promise!!!!!! Sorry readers, my mom gets a little a good way...but she is not a horse person so she gets nervous!) :)

C wanted to take pics of Reva with HIS camera too! Look at her face! She loves him! Such a SWEETHEART mare.

I left her alone on Sunday night, to settle in and relax. Monday night I went out and groomed her for a while. She was perfect, except a little uncomfortable on her near flank and belly, because she is in rip roaring heat! :( She lifted her hind a few times, but I was firm and spoke sharply to her. I understand she is in heat, but she still needs to mind her manners. But for being in heat, other than the grooming thing, she has been a complete lady. Impeccable manners and obviously well cared for. :)

So, yeah, Reva is tall. She measured at 16.1 hands....and she is only THREE, people! I am only 5 feet tall!!! Here is my hand showing where the top of my head comes on her side. Sparky is 14.3 and Dreamy is just under 15.1, so I can see over both of them. Hell, I can even get on Sparky bareback without a mounting block......ya, ya, when I was a teenager! But still!!! Reva is TALL!!!!!!!!!!!

She has a high splint on her near fore that I was not aware of...... :(

Her back hooves....she has some puffiness which I hope will go away. But typical racehorse feet, long toe and no heel. Thankfully I have a great farrier who will fix her up!

Front hooves....lots of chipping after a day turned out in her paddock.

I can't wait for my farrier to trim her next week! :( I have lots of time to get her hooves looking good.

And now, the REST of the story...

So, just how did I end up with another STB in my barn? :)

My friend H from SPHO-NJ periodically sends bulk emails to members when there is a horse who needs to be placed. This three year old filly came into my inbox around the beginning of June. I looked at her photos over and over, somehow feeling this horse had to be mine. I knew that someday I wanted to own another STB, preferably a 3 or 4 year old filly. Dreamy is a superb horse, but at 18 years old this year, I was starting to think about bringing a young horse along for the day when Dreamy needed to retire from competition.

I tried to forget about this gorgeous young filly. I admit I thought of her and would go back and look at her photos. It would be hard, but not impossible, to afford a third horse.

Then, lo and behold, my friend sent yet ANOTHER email about this filly. A month later she still needed a home. So I asked, "Alright, how much and do you think you could help me get her to Maine??"

So long story short, after a flurry of text messages and phone calls, Revenue Stream was shipped from NJ to Maine. Thankfully my good friend S's father was headed out to PA and NJ and was willing to bring her back for gas money. I was pretty lucky to have found someone whom I trusted to bring the horse to Maine. I was on pins and needles thinking about her coming up here, so I refrained from posting here or on Facebook, just because I did not want to jinx it. I am kind of weird that way! I did the same thing with my job at SVHS. But anyway...

Revenue Stream was bred by Peninsula Farm in Lexington, KY, owned by Carter Duer. His son John had the filly at his stable at Showplace Farm in New Jersey. (Yes, you need to click on the links and check out these OUTSTANDING STB farms!) John told me she was just not able to train down past 2:10, so because she would not make the three year old stake races, they needed to find a home for her. She never even raced to my knowledge. And John being the fabulous guy he is, GAVE HER TO ME with her papers! :)

The neat part is that my friend R works for John and my friend H absolutely fell in love with this filly. So I felt pretty confident that she would work out for me, despite the fact that I had never met her, because I trusted these guys! H actually even got ON her for the first time ever here in this pic, which is one of the ones she sent in the original email. :)

So I picked up the filly at Cumberland Fairgrounds on Sunday night. She was fine on the trip up to Maine and was fine on the 50 minute trip back to my farm. She settled right in, ate her dinner, and even laid down in her stall on Sunday night. Sparky was very excited for the new arrival, but then promptly did this when dinner was served.

She has been great. Her large paddock was split in half, so she is close but not too close. I thought she would be upset, but I think she likes the company. And the filly is SO easygoing.

Dreamy was the one I worried about, seeing as she is known for not getting along with ANYONE who is stalled next to her. Here was her face on Sunday night. LOL!

She actually never kicked her stall wall, which was amazing, but she did squeal like a piglet all Sunday night and all day Monday. But today all was finally quiet. I think the filly is attached to her though!

So we shall see! :D

Filly needed a new barn name, seeing as they called her Big Mare. I really wanted her to have her own nickname, but Revenue Stream did not lend itself well to a nickname. "Revie" was a cute idea, but it reminded me of a person I knew named "Evie" so I nixed that. I also thought "Penny" was cute, seeing as she never race and therefore never made a "revenue stream" for her owners....not even a penny! But she was just not a Penny at all. I thought about "Eva", because my son is completely crazy over that Disney movie Wall-E, and one of the little robots is named Eva. But it just did not seem to fit. I called her Filly and was praying that would not stick!!!!!

My friend B suggested Reva, which rhymes with Diva, and I loved it. It combined the Revie and the Eva. I like the fact that I was able to keep some of the Revenue part too. I strongly feel there is no reason for people to change STBs names at all. I have heard the sainted "rescuers" plead, "Oh but they need a new name to signify they have a new improved life!!" GAG ME. My mare was very well taken care of and does not have a "new life". Yes, she will have a new career, but she is just as cared for and loved as before. Racehorse owners and trainers are not all big bad people who abuse their horses. There are just as many bad Morgan owners, Saddlebred owners, QH owners, etc etc. Plus, I feel a STB's registered name is a very important part of who they are. Granted, I needed a nickname for my new filly, and Big Mare was not going to cut it. So I am pleased that Reva works!

Here she is, checking out her new digs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Filly!

So, I have some big news!

This lovely filly is now in my barn! Her name is Revenue Stream, and she is a 2006 Standardbred who arrived at my farm at 6PM on Sunday night from New Jersey!

Too tired to post more....I know, I know, how unfair! But seriously I need to sleep. I was so nervous about her shipping up from NJ that I did not say anything here or on FB. Superstitious, I think!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dr. Jefferson Works His Magic...AKA the chiro vet paid us a visit!

Dreamy and I have had a good week. She got Sunday off of course, after UNH. I rode her Monday and Tuesday, in the drizzle, but we trail rode instead of doing ring work. For one thing, the "ring" aka the field is a mess. Constant rain has made the footing pretty darn slick. I have great drainage, and Dreamy is not currently turned out on that field, but still the wetness was just too much. Plus, I did not want to rut up the field even just walking. So we hit the trail and had two really good rides actually. The footing on the discontinued town road was great. I was able to trot and canter her around the perimeter of one of the log landings down a ways from the house too. It is a great place to do trot and canter intervals. Her canter was excellent...I just got up off her back for the first lap, letting her settle into a XC like canter. Then the next time I sat up on the flat spot to really get her to rock back and "coffin" canter for me. It worked well and she seemed to enjoy the workout. We explored a new trail, which was great until we got to a really bad washout. We turned around of course.

The best part about trail riding when it has been raining is the PUDDLES! Huge enormous puddles are fun! Dreamy has never been "bad" about puddles. It is more of a....she stops, turns her body into a pretzel shape, I use my legs and push her forward....and....and...and....she walks through fine. The hesitation is never violent or even rude. It is more like she says, "Are you SURE you want me to get wet. Cuz, seriously, I can find a way around this puddle."

So the first puddle we encountered on Monday she is like, UM no thanks. The second one she goes right through, but she is all crooked. The next one is HUGE. I mean, unless she is going to bulldoze down one of the trees on the side of the road, she HAS GOT TO go through. It is a big nice puddle! And she goes right in. So, the rest of the ride she hesitates for a split second and goes, aw what the hell. By the 10th puddle, she is splashing right in. On the way home, we have to negotiate the BIG puddle again. So I ask for a trot...mind you, she has never actually trotted through a puddle. Nope, she has always refused, so instead of fighting, I just allow her to walk. Because walking nicely is better than balking and being a complete twit.

Oh and lovely mare TROTS through the puddle. On Tuesday she trots through them ALL. I love my mare. She is really just the type of horse that needs to do something 28327464528920 times and finally just gives up and does it completely fine forever afterwards. :D So if we ever get to school a water jump somewhere, I am pretty confident she will be fine. The nice thing about the baby events we have done so far, is that there are no water jumps. So I never needed to push the issue with her. But after two full summers under saddle, she is now ready to tackle a real water jump. I am hoping I might get to clinic with Babette Lenna or Stuert Pittman again and do some water this summer....for real. Rather than just little and big puddles.

But honestly, eventing is sort of on the back burner. I mean, I do want to do two events with her this year, one in Sept and one in Oct. The rest I could do all conflict with the USDF shows I want to do this summer. Granted, we really did not have to move up to USDF shows this year, but I wanted to. I wanted to give it a try. Having a job again makes it possible for me to afford it, so I just wanted to get out there and do it. I could have stayed at the SMDA schooling shows for another year, and probably should have. But I just wanted to see what happened if we kicked it up a notch. I am pleased with how we are doing, and that is what matters. :D So, anyway, while I do want to do the two events this fall, after my USDF shows are over, I have come to the conclusion that 2'3" is the highest this mare is ever going to be comfortable doing. And at 18 years old this year, there is no reason to push her. I much rather work hard at the dressage thing, end up trying First Level someday, and just have fun with the little baby tadpole events. Modified Beginner Novice is STILL impressive for a STB. No, we will never do a Beginner Novice jump course, which was my dream with my mare, but that is OK. I have always said age will limit her, and has. Plus she is really not a scopey jumper. A horse only has so many jumps in them, and I rather keep Dreamy sound and focus on the dressage.

SO....the title of my post! Nothing like going around Robin Hood's barn, now, huh?? LOL! I had Dreamy worked on by Dr. Dave Jefferson of Maine Equine Associates last year. He found nine pretty major things out of whack in her body. It was a MAJOR adjustment and I lost the canter for a while. Then things really started coming together and then she had the winter off. This spring, I did not feel she needed to be readjusted at all. Then in the last month, I really started wondering about her right lead canter. Would more chiropractic work help her? Were things all out of whack again?

So I called him and it just happened he was able to come out this past Wednesday, July 1. It was perfect, seeing as this weekend is a free "non-showing" weekend. so having time off and readjusting to her new "body" would be fine.

Last time, Dr. Jefferson worked on her for nearly an hour! This time it was over in 20 mins. He found not a whole lot wrong with her this time around, which was great! I was so worried that everything would be all out of whack again! While Dr. Jefferson is not my regular vet (I use Dr. Tom Judd), I do like and respect him. I would have no problem having him treat my horses anytime.

He adjusted her interior oblique T3, which is a thoracic vertebrae back near the pelvis. She still has wither fixation, which makes it hard for her to lift her withers. Therefore he taught me how to do a simple "push-pull" exercise on her withers a few times each week.

He also adjusted her lumbosacral joint, which is where the lumbar spine rests on the sacrum. See where the little red circle is? That is the lumbosacral joint.

And her found that her pelvis was not twisted and tipped like last year, thankfully, but instead the pelvis floor was jamming into each other from both sides.

The pelvic floor is down on the bottom...sorry no red lines this time. :)

Not only does Dr. Jefferson practice as a veterinarian in the state of Maine (and he is a good one at that) but he does the chiropractic work and something called applied kinesiology. Applied kinesiology complements chiropractic work, where the chiropractor taps into the horse's energy and can therefore tell where there are weaknesses in the body. It is sort of hard to explain, but basically when there are disruptions in the neurons of a muscle, energy escapes and creates a weak response to the chiropractor. To figure out if the response is "weak" or "strong", the chiropractor touches a specific part of the horse and extends an arm, and an assistant puts her hand on the other's arm and touches a part of the horse's body. By both having their hands on the horse, they create a closed circuit. The assistant pushes up strongly with her arm, while he gives a downward push. That is considered a "strong" signal. When he finds a weakness, the assistant is unable to push up, and so he is able to press her arm right down. Then he knows where the horse needs work. So instead of having to touch the entire horse on every single part of its body, Dr. Jefferson only had to touch certain parts to see if they needed work. The trot was strong, pace was weak, and canter was STRONG! He was surprised to find her canter strong, but I was HAPPY! LOL! I know the whole applied kinesiology thing sounds crazy, I do think we all have energy in our bodies and I totally buy into the entire "chi" life flow thing. So, I trust Dr. Jefferson totally. And I really think what he did helps my mare.

Now does she need it more than once a year? Probably not. But I will see how she is this fall and of course next spring. If I think she needs an adjustment sooner, I will call him. But if once a year works, then so be it.

So she got Wednesday and Thursday off, as per Dr. J's orders. Tonight I wanted to just do some light dressage work for about 45 mins. The field has dried up a little, so I thought I might be able to ride there. I was right....the footing was surprisingly decent. She warmed up great, walking and trotting with a VERY swinging and free back. She was supple right off, so I know the chiro work helped! Then after a brief break we did some solid trot work, with excellent connection to the bit. This mare is really fun to ride! We did lots of bending and lateral work at the trot. It was excellent. Then we cantered each way, and her left lead was perfect. Right lead, not so perfect, but I did a bunch of transitions from trot to canter and really focused on lifting her inside shoulder. We got a NICE transition and about 5 good strides, so I called it good. Another walk break, and my plan was to spend the remaining 15 mins. doing some trot long and low.

Well......suddenly the sky OPENED up and it began to POUR! I mean, one moment is it overcast and the next it is raining drops the size of my head! The raindrops actually HURT when they landed on my arm. For a moment, I almost thought it was hail!

SO......we scooted into the barn so see what would happen. The rain was beating on the roof so hard I could not hear the radio. So I took off her bridle....and it stopped. I considered for a moment getting back on. I mean, it completely stopped. As soon as I had the thought, it began to DOWNPOUR again! So I went about unsaddling her. As soon as the saddle was off, it stopped again. Hmmmm....Dreamy and I eyeballed each other. BUT, then there was a HUGE crack of thunder and I continued untacking her. Oh well. At least we got to ride! And besides, a 30 min. ride truly IS a light dressage ride. She was so easy to ride, it would have been hard to have a light ride anyway. So it is almost better that it rained.

By the time I came inside, it had stopped. Of course! LOL! At least I have the entire weekend now to ride. Maybe if it ever stops raining, I can schedule a much needed lesson!!!! :D