Friday, February 25, 2011

American Sport Horse Breeding

I love how my blog sometimes creates neat occurrences!  :-)  I was contacted last summer via email by a woman named Kathy who was finishing up a book called The North American Sport Horse Breeder.   She said she had been looking for a Standardbred example for her book to go along with the examples of Thoroughbreds, Morgans, and Saddlebreds she had already found.  She found my mare listed in the results for a UNH dressage show (she's an alumna too!) and then found my blog!  I was amazed and flattered, especially since I think there are "better" Standardbreds out there than my own (such as my "teammates" from WEG last fall), but I agreed to supply her with some further information about Dreamy.  It seems that Kathy was amazed at her age, the fact that she is a proven broodmare, and that she has shown to be very versatile under saddle.


Kathy's website describes her breeding methods, known as the Tesio method.  From what I understand, it involves a careful and specific scrutiny of a horse's pedigree in order to make breeding decisions.  I fully admit I know very little about breeding and never plan to breed a horse; that said, I do think this type of research is interesting and amazing.  I think it is neat just the same way I think researching horse feeds and supplements is neat...not something I would ever do in real life (I'd probably suck at breeding or being a feed researcher...LOL) but certainly something that entertains me as a hobby.  And having grown up on a Morgan breeding farm, it is kind of hard to not take an interest in pedigrees, etc.


So back to Kathy's breeding book.  She was trying to get it out to the editor/publisher and literally wrote up Dreamy's chapter in the last moments.  Long after she had sent it off, the eight Standardbreds went to WEG.  When I told Kathy about our trip, she got all excited and just finished creating a whole page of info on her website!  How cool!  Plus there is general info about Standardbreds!  


Thank you Kathy, for getting out the word about the excellent domestic sport horse talent we have right HERE in North America!  And THANK YOU for including the Standardbred!  If this does not exemplify my blog title, I don't know what does!  :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview about Standardbreds on HITM

Jessica Schroeder from the US Trotting Association, the same Jessica who supported us all at WEG, was interviewed yesterday on the Horses in the Morning Radio Show.  Now, I admittedly do not usually listen to any of these new horse-themed shows, and quite frankly they are waaaaay too boring chatty chatty for me.  ;-D


But I digress.  When I saw on Facebook that Jessica did an interview, well of course I had to listen!  Click here and move the yellow bar out to 53:44.  For the first half hour they do a whole lotta blabbering about not much.  ;-D  But I think it was neat for Jessica to be interviewed and the Standardbred word to get out there!  Yay Jessica and the USTA! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2010 SPHO-NJ Awards Banquet

This past Sunday, February 20, was the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Jersey awards banquet.  For the fourth year in a row, Dreamy won many awards.  :)  I flew down to NYC and took the train to New Jersey on Sunday to attend the banquet.  (That was a trip and a half.....nothing like a country girl navigating her way around on different trains, etc!  LOL!  Thankfully it was easy and I have a good sense of direction!)  I stayed with my good friend Helene, my long long big sister!  :)  It was too short of a trip, as I arrived in NJ at 3PM and left the following morning at 8AM.  

The WEG crew is reunited!  Well, minus Tania.... :-(


The banquet this year was HUGE!  It was held in the ballroom of a local Holiday Inn.  It was SO much fun!  We had good food, lots of fun auction items, excellent awards, great company and lots of dancing!  I danced so much I am still sore today!  LOL!  The best part was seeing the very strong support from the NJ harness racing community.  That to me is the most important group to have on your side as an SPHO and the NJ chapter does it best, in my opinion.  Too often SPHO's are anti-racing, which is ridiculous!

All of the drivers who were there to support!

Me accepting the Taurmade Memorial Award from Helene....it is in honor of her horse Taurmade
Yep, I had a blast....LOL!

Anyway, I am very thankful to Helene and her husband for their hospitality, to all of SPHO-NJ for the awesome banquet and awards, and to all of my NJ (and KY!) horse friends who I wish I could see on a more regular basis.  :-D

Dreamy was awarded...

Taurmade Memorial Trophy - for the highest dressage score at the National Standardbred Show (for the second time!)
Grand Champion Dressage
Grand Champion Hunter
Grand Champion Combined Training
Reserve Champion Demonstrations
Fourth place 3-Gait Open
Fourth place Versatility
Fifth place Overall High Point (in all divisions)
Sixth place In-Hand
Sixth place Showmanship

Yay mare!  I am pretty happy with the awards, especially since 90% of our shows were dressage only!  We had another great year of showing.  After four banquets over four months, this was our last one.  Here's looking towards a great 2011 show season!


Pics from Vicki Wright....there are more on her website.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good Morning Sheep!

My neighbor owns sheep.  During the fall and winter, when the leaves are off the trees, you can just about see into their field.  My horses are usually not bothered by the occasional sheep noises or glimpses of them through the trees. 


This morning was funny though.  It was very quiet and cold, and the only sounds were the mares moving around in their paddocks, quietly chewing their grain. 


I was lugging water out back to Sparky and Reva when I heard the funniest sheep noise.  It occurred a couple of times and made me laugh because it sounded so loud and odd.  Dreamy was eating out in front of the barn and Sparky made no indication that she was bothered by it or even heard it!


But Reva heard it!  She was not scared at all, but she definitely heard it.  She had the most bewildered and quizzical look on her face (For a horse, that is!  LOL!)  She stopped chewing her grain to listen more carefully and looked out through the trees in the direction of the sheep field.   She looked at me and back towards the sound.  She was so confused!  LOL!  I found this pretty funny and told her so.  I explained what it was.  Yes, I am crazy and often talk to my horses.  LOL!

Well, she actually RESPONDED to me with a soft nicker.  ha ha ha ha


Of course, I can't tell what she was saying to me, but it was such a funny way to start my day!  ;-D

Monday, February 14, 2011

My First Love

I clearly remember the first time I touched a horse.  I was three years old and loved to ride down to get the mail and go to the dump with my dad on Saturdays.  On the way to get the mail, there was a small black pony in a small field on the side of the road.  I don't remember exactly where it was, but I know which road and can picture it perfectly in my mind's eye.

I always loved looking at the pony and one day must have asked my dad to stop so I could pet it.  I don't remember any of that part.  What I DO remember is sitting on my dad's lap and leaning out the truck window to pat the little pony's nose.  (Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn't actually a pony.  It had to have been tall enough to put its nose up near my dad's F250 truck!  LOL!)  

It was instant love.  I loved how the pony's nose felt, I loved how he (or she) whuffed at me, I loved his smell. 

It is funny to me how I can barely remember what I did yesterday, but I have this VERY clear memory of petting this pony.  I know it was before my brother was born, so I had to have been younger than four.  No surprise that I began riding lessons a few years later, having to BEG my parents for them.


"Maybe she will take a few lessons and get it out of her system," my mother tells my first instructor.

Well, that was almost 26 years ago.

Sometimes it surprises me how much of my life is intertwined with horses.  I can't help it.  Horses are my first love (yes, I love my husband and my son, but there is just something about horses...).  Horses define who I AM.  Without them, I am not sure who I would be.

Happy Valentine's Day.  Hope yours was filled with love and horses.  <3

 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

USDF 2010 Yearbook!

Yes, I am proud.  Yes, I am bragging.  This may be the only time in my life I earn a USDF All Breed Award (well, we earned two...) and I am EXCITED!  LOL!

The only way to view the Yearbook online is to be a member of the USDF.  Sooooooo, I copied and scanned the page for my readers!  :-D  Our pic is right there, top left and the two awards are listed on the bottom left.   


Dreamy is a dressage rockstar.  

Click on the page once to open in the window alone, then click it again (your cursor will be a little magnifying glass...) and then it will be large enough to read!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sparky's Famous Relatives

OK, so I know this is a Standardbred blog, but I do have to sometimes write about my first love, the Morgan horse breed and my own Joydale Sparklerslas affectionately known as Sparky.  And come on, one of the Standardbred's founding breeds was the MORGAN!  LOL!

One of my readers asked in a comment on the "Stall Plate" post about Sparky's Kennebec lines.  While she does not carry the "Kennebec" Morgan prefix, she is indeed from that line, having been born on a different farm so carries a different prefix.  Her sire is Kennebec Chief (aka Kenny) and her dam is Kennebec Spark.

Sorry, I know this is crappy.  I made this many years ago and just scanned it tonight.  My scanner is CRAPPY!  :-(


I grew up riding at the farm where Sparky was born, the Joydale Morgan Farm....and I learned to ride on her siblings and relatives!  I learned to canter on her sire Kenny!  :-)  Quite a thrill to ride a stallion at age nine! (or maybe it was eight...I cannot remember when I graduated to Kenny!) 

This is me with Kenny circa 1988!!!

Such a handsome boy!
And I boarded Sparky there for a while....she shared her pasture with her full sister Joydale Amy and their dam Kennebec Spark, who was also called Sparky.  So we had "Sparky Sr." and "Sparky Jr."  ROFL!  :-)  I still have her old flymask kicking around somewhere that says "Sparky Jr." in permanent marker!

Sparky is related to the famous Morgan Kennebec Count.  He is so darn famous he has his own Breyer!  LOL! 


On their sire's side, they share the same grandsire (Kennebec Ethan). And Count's sire King and Sparky's sire (Kenny) have the same dam (Helen May).  I have Count's Breyer horse, of course!!! He was a grand old stallion and I enjoyed going to Miss Gardiner's farm in Woolwich (ME) to visit him. It was always a thrill to see him carriage driving with his son Russel!!

Someday I will own another Morgan.  I wish I could afford one of Miss Gardiner's horses, but sadly I am too poor.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stall Plates

I am very lucky to keep my horses here at home.  That means that I am their sole caretaker (unless I am out of town...) and I don't really have to be as organized as a big busy boarding barn.

But despite the smaller size of my quiet backyard set-up, I do have a pretty organized barn.  For example, I use Smartpaks, not because I need to worry about others feeding my horses their supplements, but because they are cheaper than I could buy them otherwise.  Plus, I LOVE that they ship automatically to me every month, eliminating the need for me to worry about running out of supplements.  (I do have to special order the chastetree berries and Dreamy's Immuzim, as Smartpak will never carry those.)

So, even though no one but me really needs to know which stall is which (and obviously I know it by heart...LOL!), I do love to use pretty stall plates.  There is something about them that just makes me happy!  :-)

Sparky and Dreamy have had their current stall plates since I got married in 2003 and changed my last name.  They are looking a little ratty, but I still love them.  :-)




I finally ordered one for Reva and it came today!  Yay!  :-)  But shoot, I just realized I made Reva's all in caps.  Whoops!  Oh well.....LOL!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Snow

This is something I actually thought about the other day, as I was bringing horses inside at feed time.  And it just so happens that a local vet wrote about this very topic in his recent monthly column that I read just last night!  LOL!  (Dr. J is a great guy, and is my horses' chiropractic vet.  If I did not already have an AWESOME veterinarian, I would use Dr. J as my regular vet!)  

Every year in the winter, I see dark orange or even red urine spots in the snow.  It always jars me for a moment, but it is perfectly harmless.  Why is that??

I cannot remember who told me years ago about why horse's urine turns red/orange in the snow, but I clearly remember being worried about it the first time I saw it!  LOL!  While my mare was totally fine, I assumed the worst.  Usually dark urine in a horse is a sign of tying-up.  But when a horse pees in the snow, mucus or minerals will darken it and certain proteins can oxidize it.  Therefore the urine spot will appear dark orange or even red!  It can be alarming but is no cause for concern, especially if the horse is fine otherwise.


Ahhhhh, the joys of horse ownership!  LOL!  ;-D



Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Fun Trip to the Tack Shop!

Yesterday I went to the Plaistow, NH Dover Saddlery with my horse buddy Tania.  She is the one who accompanied me to WEG last fall, so she is well versed in horse adventures!  LOL!



We had a good time.  She had not been to Dover since it was State Line Tack!  That was a long time ago!  It is a neat old barn and I do like shopping directly at Dover, since they have the highest shipping charges of any of the horsey supply catalog or online retailers.  The only bad thing about Dover in NH is that the bargain basement is not nearly as good as the one State Line Tack used to have.  

I really did not need much of anything, but it was still fun to browse around.  We looked at everything, of course, and even tried out the saddles.  I ended up with a brown half zip fleece (and Tania got one too so we can be matchy-matchy!  LOL), a little burgundy bucket because you can never have too many, a 60cc dose syringe, Mattes liquid melp, Manna Pro Apple Treats, cute Tuff Rider argyle riding socks, Brush Therapy, and a pink jumping bat!  


The best part was that I was able to get my grain there too!!  I was going to have to get grain today (Sunday) but I had hoped I could find a dealer on the way down to Dover.  As I was at the cash register, I was about to say, "Do you know where the closest Triple Crown dealer is...??" when I saw the huge sign that told their grain prices!  LOL!  OH!  So I was able to drive down back  to their annex store, Dover Feed and Stable!  Yay!


We went out to lunch at Friendly's and got back to Maine just as the snow storm was beginning.  All in all, a fun filled day!  :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maine Dressage Society 2010 Banquet

The Maine Dressage Society banquet was held on Sunday, January 30, 2011.  This is always a fun banquet to look forward to.  I really wanted my instructor to come with me, but she was not able to.  :-(  Instead, I met up with another friend who owns a Standardbred just starting out in dressage and the young woman who rides him.  It was nice for Dreamy to share the "dressage Standardbred" spotlight with another Standardbred!  

As always, I am super proud of my mare.  She has done so well this year!  Funny enough though, we scored much higher at our out-of-state shows than here in Maine (Why......???  No idea!  LOL) and the one schooling show we did here in Maine to be able to qualify for Maine points ended up being the lowest scores of the season!  DUH!  Most of the time, you score higher at schooling shows, but not me!  For my tests, the one "L" judge gave lots of 6s for everything, while the "S" judges were more willing to reward good movements with 8s and 9s.  LOL!  For whatever reason we scored LOWER at the schooling show than all of our rated shows!  Too funny.

We ended up ranking fourth in Training level, which I was pleased with.  Last year we were eighth!  :)  We got a pretty gray/white ribbon!  :)


We also were awarded the high scoring Standardbred award, aka "Standardbred Horse of the Year."  We have won that three times now (and one time we were Reserve).  :)  It is a nice certificate that I will hang up with the others.


And we had a new award this year, which I did not know about.  The Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Maine (SPHO-ME) donated a high point trophy for Training level Standardbreds.  We were the only Standardbred at Training level so we won it!  LOL!  It was very generous of SPHO-ME to do that, especially since I am not a member of that organization.  :)  (Sadly, the trophy says "Dreamy Starlight" instead of Starlet, but oh well.  It is the thought that counts!  LOL)


Pretty ribbons at the banquet!
More ribbons...
Medals and certificates...
Yay Dreamy!