Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Memory Stuck like Glue...

       It was a beautiful crisp spring morning, the snow had finally melted away and we were eager to ride outside for the first time that year. I was 12 years old at that instance, riding a 6 y.o. OTTB (off the track Thoroughbred) that was feeling fresh as the day itself. I was a little nervous about my lesson that A.M., the first one out of the barn was rarely pleasant with the wind and runoff streams everywhere. It was like entering a new planet for Image and the other horses. I took a few deep breathes before climbing on and thought to myself... I'll be alright, this crazy beast spooked and bolted all winter at the sound of snow falling off the tin roof more frequently than not, I have legs of steel. ;)
      The group consisted of 4 of us, all young, fearless "wannabe" eventers, ready to take on anything! (Except for dressage of course.) We walked as slowly and as cautiously as we possibly could down the long driveway to the jump ring. Everything was so astonishing to our mounts... birds 10 feet in the distance scattering, people talking, dogs barking, cars zooming.. things the horses were used to (or so we thought.)  All of us riders began whining and asserting "Are you serious right now?" to the hankered horses. We made it to the ring, still on board thankfully, and began warming up immediately. Image settled down pretty quickly and I was quite pleased with him. We slowly cantered around each direction a few times and then started jumping.
      Everything was going great and I was ready for this lesson to be over so that I could guarentee my safty and that satisfaction of accomplishing a difficult task. My instructor pointed out the last litte course to me and off we went, picture perfect! Yay! Now I can relax! I thought, dropping my reins to the horses neck. I sat back and "chilled" for a sec. Not thinking that Image could put his head down to scratch his face, if he wanted to (which he did) whoops! There went my reins right over his ears, I giggled a little. As he started to walk forward he stepped on the reins strapping his head to the ground. My poor OTTB startled himself, threw his head up into the air and got smacked in the eye by my now broken reins. (Not so funny anymore....) This all happened so quickly that the thought to jump off didn't occur to me until after Image had already taken off in a frenzy toward the stables. I held on to my (hornless) saddle the best I could trying not to scream (I didn't need to make things worse.) The galloping horse made it to the back of the paddocks where a small creek rambled along and found the need to jump over it, rather than go through it. This slowed him down tremendously just in time for me to hit the ground. Luckily the landing was soft with grass and mud. I was physically okay, but emotionally distraught.
      A few hours later my mother picked me up and my trainer had to explain to her what happened that day. After telling the story (mom in shock) she laughed and looked at me and said "bet you never want to ride him again, huh?" I thought for a moment, shrugged my shoulders and replyed "It wasn't his fault."

By: Katie Honeywell

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Retired at the Ocala Horse Properties


   "You made the right decision" was the txt from the owner of the horse my eventer rides. There it was, just what she needed to hear...cannonball reload! It was a nice solid shot, BAM! she fought back all the emerging doubt, unwanted difficulties and screeching skepticism that comes with an "R" on their record. "R" means retired on course and when in uncertainty, probably is always the right thing to do.
     The Ocala Horse Properties (we all still call it the Florida Horse Park) Horse Trials scrunched all three phases into one jam packed day.  We arrived the day before giving us ample time to walk the course two times, clean tack and set up a tent. Yes, we assembled the 4 man, it's called eventing on a budget. "Can you sleep?" my rider asked. Oh crap, here we go tossing and turning all night. Shuteye was nowhere to be found. In the car, out of the car, in the tent, out of the tent, her search continued. She settled for the fetal position crammed on the back seat. Groggy and compressed however, happy without worry because there was plenty of time. I would have to say, that mare's perfectly weaved in button braids were proof, that everything was going well. Then there were the smiles from the breakfast sandwich, confirmation of wellness. Can you picture that toasted egg + bacon saying cheese?
     Her dressage score was respectable, laying them a foundation of a 37.7  which fastened them into seventh position. Braids were kept in, since show jumping was next. Considering what had happened at the last show, them getting through this was absolutely necessary! She rode with confidence clearing every jump, only dropped the final one. Lastly, they still needed to run across the country and clear twenty-two jumps. Looking ready, my pair rushed over to warm-up and at the first little coupe, she seemed to almost stop. Then the next jump... definitely a mother's "WHAT THE?"  Bunny hopped it. Yikes, I could see her slightly start to panic. A couple more unfavored jumps then the start box judge yelled "YOU'VE GOT 20 SECONDS!"  Off they went into the box, out towards their first jump. I could see the hesitation, they jumped it. Second question needed coaxing. They barely scraped over the third. Forth jump, the mare refused, with a cleared second attempt. Rider felt like, this quarter horse had run out of gas. She was sleep running! They came up to the fifth jump, pony acted squirrelly, rider pulled up while raising her hand. That was enough, it was all too rough.
     I was proud of my cautious rider, even though at that moment she wasn't feeling very proud. No need to risk anything if it didn't feel right.  Thank goodness for the text from the owner, she turned her frown upside down.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rocking Horse Fall Off HT's

     I started to brush off the dirt, then thought better about doing that. White footing fragments littered her newly dry cleaned show jumping jacket. It was as if an eight month old baby had just puked milk down her shoulder to the backside of her arm. Obviously she had taken a tumble, a fresh hit to the ground. Like any good mother, I began to smack away some of the impurities, some soil, the dirt together with sticky sand. My hand briskly slapped as well as dusted, really I just wanted to hit away her humiliation. Turn back time. Grant her a "do over".  Then I stopped, better not bring more attention to what had just happened.
     Rocking Horse Fall Horse Trials started off as well as ended in an unwanted disconnected kind of way. Right off the bat, we had a bobble, a bad car battery.  DRATS a three hour set back! A three hour tour! All I could do to calm myself down was keep the Gilligan's Island theme song repeating in my head. You know the one..Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, That started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny mare. We towed into the dropping sun, rolled into the showgrounds on Friday night at six. A prompt early morning dressage test overshadowed their straightaway ten forty-five cross~country start time. The daylight started getting dark, we had better find her mark. If not for the courage of our fearless walk the mare would be lost. THE MARE WOULD BE LOST! Sunshine waned, weakened her line, made it hard to find the jumps. We had to make the best of things, cause it's an uphill climb. Without further delay, she braided her mares' mane, went to bed without sleep, faced an early bird wake-up call, missed the free breakfast to start the show tied for fifth, after the flat. YIPPEE! My rider, not without the pony, was a "jockey for position".
     I set off to find some nourishment, can't have this pilot feeling like she could "eat a horse" or anything, not before they run across the country. DRATS once again, she solely wanted a bacon, egg and cheese on whole wheat breakfast sandwich, but for the most part all they had were crepes crunched in cups. Eager to please, I harpooned that food and brought it to her. Not happy while running out of time we walked the end again. Us being "out of time" ended up giving her time. Time penalties galore, almost enough to count as a refusal. Her fine fifth place position, plunged to nasty ninth.
     The chips were down, but her spirit was still up before going into the final showjumping phase. The course was walked, paced out to perfection. Warm up jumps were flawless, not a rattle, nailed every distance, she looked just like Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum but without the "Shutterfly".  The announcer introduced my equestrian along with the cremello quarter horse, the whistle blew, off they went. Every jump was off. The chips that were down earlier had found their way directly into how the horse ran it. Chipped in, popped up, every jump looked un-smooth, however, nothing had fallen down. Then, on the sixth jump the horse sprung straight up, leaped it big, everybody gasped, (by the way she heard that!) we thought the horse would land on top of the jump, they cleared it with surprise. That's when, the pair came around to the fateful seventh jump. Nope, that was enough....the mare stopped and my eventer popped over it alright, unfortunately without the horse. It was like, a ship set ground on the shore of some uncharted desert isle, and everybody fell off. Better luck next time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family Matters, Grandma replys she responds.

     The saga continues. Here is how it all went down. My earlier blog circled around asking grandma to help out. Mind you, this woman has never ever supported my rider in any way when it comes to her sport of eventing. Whoops, I forgot, she and grandpa (RIP) did go to one of her Golden Spike shows, when she was nine. Left early as I recall.  I guess they just liked soccer better. None of my kids played soccer.

Dear Katie: I received your email and am thinking about it but there is much more to buying a horse than the original cost of purchase. How are you going to support the horse; stable, food, vet bills, admission fees to shows, etc. Your Dad can no longer support a horse for you and am not even sure you should bring it up to him as he is really struggling to just pay the necessary bills like the mortgage payments on the house you and your Mom live in. Your Mom doesn't work and probably never will so she cannot help you.

I cannot buy a horse for you that will cause more financial stress for your Dad. I won't mention this to him until you tell me you have talked to him first.

I love you and want you to have what is important to you but we have to talk this thru because I am not sure it makes economic sense right now. I can help you with the initial purchase, but cannot help you support the horse bills and neither can your Dad.

Love, Grandma
Dear Grandma:
     You are right, the only way I would be able to pull this off right now, is to take a young green horse like Maggie back up to Ocala to his or another big rider like him's barn. There I got free lessons from an Olympic Eventer, board, hay, grain, trailering, A/C, washer/dryer, stove, oven, refridgerator, my own room+ trailer parking.
     Then sell a horse from there. That way it would be pure profit. I understand that the economy is crap right now, however, there are still people buying horses. One of the other working students just flew over to Ireland with a big rider (paid for him to go shop) and bought two, probably cost her $50,000.
Since, my mother stopped working selling e-cigs, yes I know she doesn't work right now, but she sure helps me. My sport/profession is not like soccer, where I could just go to a field with a ball. Working with horses is a great deal more rewarding, but sometimes dangerous. Everyone knows that a rider really should never ride without someone else around. I am extremely thankful for all my dad's financial help and also thankful to my mother, she is my biggest supporter, my promoter (always looking for sponsorships) and my biggest fan! She also does stuff on the side, that you don't know about to help pay bills, like rent out rooms in this house. Without her I don't know what I would of done.
     This idea is over for now, in the mean time I will be saving money working at the Sandwich shop, riding the  Bean (Win Championships) and collecting fees for riding other peoples horses. I also want to take some more business classes at BBC or on line. Hope you are doing well Grandma

Love Katie

     THE END

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Family Matters, this is what she wrote to Grandma:

      Eventers usually have a plan A, plan B and if necessary their plan C lays in there, dormant, ready to purge up from somewhere, most likely found down deep. Plan B seemed to jump in there ahead of plan A, and wreck everything. Plan B was to broach the subject of horse ownership to the sandwich shop owners, of where she works. Chatter mouth started talking to other worker bees, of her idea. SLAM, everyone thought it was crazy. Non horse people would think that. From there she assumed all plans were dismal. Believed she had lost her mind? All this concentrated plan A,B & C stuff came about because of super sweet young four year old mare named Maggie.
     Those people don't know anything about equestrian businesses, I told her. Plan A had to be attempted so she wrote an e-mail to grandma. Not my mother grandma, her dads mother.

Hi Grandma:

     If there was a way that you could invest a nominal amount of money and double it in 2 years, or so, you would probably want to know about it, right? I wanted to share this opportunity with you first, but if you don't want to that's okay, I might be able to get the restaurant that I work at to help sponsor me. Just think, Grandma you could be the owner of a horse! Imagine it, at all the rated shows your name would be mentioned as being the owner, then my name as the

     There is a horse in Georgia that looks fantastic! She is a four and 1/2 yr old, Bay (color brown) Oldenburg/thoroughbred mix. Her name is Maggie, and she is 16.3 hh's tall. With this mix she should be really good at both dressage and jumping. The lady that is selling her wants a more trained horse, doesn't have the time to put into training. She said she was rescued as a yearling out of a barn in Florida and she has had her ever since. The horse supposedly is calm, sweet and has really good gates (walk,trot,canter) and is already under saddle. After being up at that Olympic riders' stables for 9 months, my riding has improved 100 %, I have loads more confidence and it would be nice to bring a young horse up, train and teach her, increase her value! Having this horse could also increase other horse owners awareness of me, as a professional rider. The lady in GA only wants $3,500 which is less than Image was. Depending on how quickly she picks up on everything and how well she responds we would try to make at least 18,000 to 20,000 in two years, more training and higher levels with rated shows could possibly generate even more than that.

     Since I've come back from Ocala, I am still riding the barn owners quarter horse mare,(the Vanilla Bean) because that horse loves "eventing"! Since she is only a quarter horse, her potential to reach the higher levels is slim, however she surely could be a lower level champion...which is my goal for her. The owners will never want to sell her and my time accomplishing that goal shouldn't take very long. When I first brought this horse up to the Olympic riders place, she wouldn't load in the trailer, or move forward at all, just bucked. We did very well at our last little schooling show, 2nd place!  

Love Katie     

P.S. I haven't mentioned this to dad yet. :D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Keep it classy!"


  "Keep it classy!" Their four year old would say. Where was THAT advice when my, about to blow mini volcanic rider, left the stables. All the thoughts of  how you shouldn't burn bridges, protect a good reference and sticking it out to the bitter end, flew out the window and an unstoppable rebellious furry rushed in.
     The early morning heat was rising, humidity on the choke, not a cloud in the sky.  Everybody was completely sweat drenched by eight a.m. I thought it was going to be a good day, I had even mentioned that to a passerby earlier "this is going to be a great day!" All of a sudden, blind with rage, my rider made it back to her room. She was mad, no, she was beyond mad! She was, without a doubt "OVER IT!"
     "I'M NOT EVEN ON THE RIDE LIST TODAY! I don't get it! Why am I here? Just to muck stalls! I only have a couple of days left here anyway, why won't they put my name on the list?" she cried. I could hear the fire engine voice screech in the distance, getting louder and louder. I didn't understand it either, I'm sure they had their reasons. "I am a rider, a real person, not just a slave! Why can't they see that?" my girl bellowed. "Oh for CRYING OUTLOUD!" I took a deep breath, sighed and squeaked out "Well, what do you want to do about this?" That's when all Hell broke loose. K8 continued ranting, "Besides, I don't think it's a good idea to stay and do the show, with the horse having non-sweating issues. I'm not getting to ride horses today. The BIG RIDER hasn't even mentioned anymore lessons, I've already extended my stay for three extra weeks to help them. I'm running out of money. It's SOooo fucking hot out there! The new girl is all over the list! I WANT TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW!" I throw my hands up in the air. "That's just great! YOU BETTER BE SURE ABOUT THIS!" My voice started to elevate. A pushy steam billowed out, like a locomotive does, streams of  forced heat straight out of her ears, blasted us, right out the door! I could tell, at any moment, I was going to be the witness of an implosion! Tears of frustration for a simple pat on the back, flooded the room! Where were those new rain boots I just bought? "Do I suck that bad?" Her clamor continued. "I've been here for over eight months, can't they see that I have improved!" I could tell my rider was overwrought. "They think I'm ignorant!" "THIS IS BULL SHIT!" Well then FUCK IT!
     There was NO stopping her. She started txting the barn manager and throwing all of her belongings into the car. Very early on in this game, I was told to "stay out of it" when it came to her barn business, so that's percisely what I did. Within a quick fifteen minutes all of her things were out of sight, thrown into this, or that car. It was just another ten minutes later and the horses' legs were wrapped, fly mask on, the mare was walking onto the trailer. All of a sudden, her phone rang. It was him, the BIG RIDER....I could see her panic! Her face turned the color of blood. Poor little coy wallflower was immediately immobilized. To this day, that rider, still makes her a nervous wreck."You better answer that phone!" I screamed.
     The man's deep voice said "So, I hear from the barn manager that you're leaving, right now?" He was dismayed at how she didn't just come to him, and express herself. He really couldn't understand why, nor did he have the time to figure it out. But then again, has my shy hasty ladybug ever done that?  He said he wasn't going to talk her out of this or anything. He thanked her for all of her hard work and then they hung-up. That's when the txting started...she txted... I'm sorry, I just don't feel very appreciated. Who can argue feelings? He retaliated with: I did it for thirteen months, those were 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. days, without any lessons pay, or days off. I'm sorry that your experience here wasn't worth it for you. (That's kinda like the old story, I had to walk 5 miles, there and back, up hill both ways, in a blizzard) She returned the txt with: Are you fucking kidding me? I learned so much and have improved as a rider 100%, I just wish you would of thought so too. His final message: Good, I thought so too, you have improved tremendously, also I can see that you have leaned to swear effectively too.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Frankness of it all, flows downhill.


      "You're not wealthy enough to take naps." the Big Rider sarcastically stated. Whack!  There it was...walloped out of his mouth like a thrusting mare. They were unstoppable, those words of the rigid type, striking out, as if to pummel her. Picture an extremely harsh nag... possibly in season, no less, panicked in a full stampede heading forward towards you! The biting bitter truth had saturated in, once again. Only the rich, are privy to take naps, she had work to do! It was a simple reminder that K8 doesn't have a "Daddy Warbucks" shelling out dough. The millionaire Donald Trump is no where near being her father and Oprah never had any kids, so, there goes that idea. We don't own a gigantic rolling lorry with an air-conditioned living room and the dish network hook-ups. She doesn't get to have the arrogant luxury of not knowing where one of her seven saddles are or which five hundred dollar helmet to wear. Poor girl doesn't get to choose which pony to ride and which one to show?  The frankness of it all,  flows downhill, cascading to the "nitty gritty", he IS right.
     Fair and square, the Big Rider (BR) has begun to let her in on some secrets. He has shared stories and experiences of  how, he and many other not so fortunate have made it. This international eventer,  whom has been all around the world is showing her the ropes, or should we say "the reins".  Straightforward talk of equitable business deals and how to make money with buying and selling horses have been their latest conversations. "If you do all the work, then you are the one that deserves to be paid for that." BR burned this idea into her head. He has told her that there are plenty of yearlings and two year olds out there for little money or even no money down. He pointed to the three, three year old ponies that she could learn to break. He asked her about the little mare she rides, does the owner need to sell her? The wheels were spinning, she could see smoke coming from his rubber. He is man on a mission with fast rolling wheels, the kind that are hard to keep up with. He understood her place, and spilled some advice. My young agreeable rider welcomed his honorable help. She was a sponge, soaking up all of his "words to the wise". This Kings message was clear. She must find a way to fuel her fire. Obviously all eventers need to be able to fund their passion. It's a MUST to have manageable means in order to be able to support their insatable eventing habits. He does it with buying and selling horses, along with lesson after lesson. Now, how is she going to do it?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Superstitions, more common than you think, amongst eventers.

  "When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition, ain't the way." Back in 1972, Stevie Wonder sang about the risks of holding on to rituals, and warns to be careful with superstitions. He mentions a daydream hell and the devil on his way. Now, that's a bit extreme, I know, he ends his famous Motown song with "shut up!"  I equate that with the "knock on wood" action. We use this phrase all the time. To touch wood, then knocking on it, creates a loud sound that instantly wards off any evil consequences or bad luck that might be conjured up because of some untimely boasting about a good fortune. It is my silly established rite.
     We've all heard of the established silly rite of the athlete that has to eat chicken before every game or the baseball player with the lucky socks. How can you overlook the football players and their personalized ritual dances, obviously indebted for the stardom and asking for more? The eventing rider is no different. They have their favorite whips and lucky boots. Riders have their customs and strategies that they believe works for them. In fact, a fair amount of riders are convinced that these regular patterns may actually influence success in the competition.
     A riders ritual may be a certain behavior or action that the athlete performs with the belief that these behaviors have a purpose, or power, to influence their performance. I have even witnessed one rider having to listen to one particular song, everytime, before they blast off onto the cross country course. How about the groom that will never go on another course walk again, because of what happened to the rider the last time she walked. Then there is the rider that absolutely can not go without her coffee or the entire day will be ruined. That's probably just a caffeine addiction, never the less, it's a habit that if missed might just weigh heavy into some kind of superstition.
     Superstition is generally something that initially starts off as some kind of hindsight or by accident. A superstition comes to life when a rider has a particularly good (or bad) performance and then tries to establish a "cause and effect" by reviewing the incidents of the day. The facts of what they ate or wore, or what songs were played, anything unusual possibly a haircut, a certain phone caller calling, whatever it is, it then gets labeled into affecting the outcome of the performance.
     Perhaps, the biggest value in superstition and ritual is that they may boost the confidence and the sense of control for the athlete. What ever a person truely believes, that belief is always true for them. Then there is the other side of the coin. Superstitions are nothing but a crutch. Especially, when dealing with a partner, (the horse) poor animal just doesn't understand that all the "hell that broke loose" was because a "lucky whip" got left behind. The horse just knows the rider is bummed out, and in return the horse most likely will also be broken up. That being said,  "When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way, no, no, no, shut up!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Their head honcho had hit the dirt. Red Hills


   Her phone rang, the working student answered cheerfully, "Hey what's up, how is Red Hills going?" There was a long pause and then her face turned a bad shade of cheerless. "He had a fall" she repeated to us. Instantly, simultaneously we (riding daughter and I) both gasp!  There was a rush of air, then I couldn't breathe at all. Frozen, we stood there in a circle, eyes wide, brimming with tears. Their head honcho had hit the dirt. "Oh NO!" All the ambition for the day ran away and woeful worry came stomping in.
     This was lousy news.  The two afflicted young riders became depressed, stickened with anguish, paralyzed and disturbed. All of a sudden, they didn't want to do anything. At that moment, neither one could continue riding horses. Down deep, prayers and well wishes seized our thoughts. Please, please, please allow everyone to be okay, especially the horse. Please, please, please kept spinning in my head. Reports of their conditions were being txted by the groom/barn manager.
     Both rider and his horse were up on their feet, however, the two had to be wheeled away. Rider was en route to the hospital and the horse to his stall. The updates trickled in. Rider may have a broken wrist. "Oh NO!" once again. Horse won't put any pressure on one of his front legs, "Oh NO!" somemore. It was a sickening span of time.
     The left behind riders mucked and swept, filled water buckets, fed, and brushed ponys while waiting for updates. Little by little, news was coming in. It was confirmed that the big rider busted his wrist. Crap, that sucks! Then, the scoop on the horse: initial x-rays of the champion, loved by everyone showed nothing. YES! That was the BEST news we could hear. I started jumping around like a kid with a brand new bicycle. Daughter and her horsey peer cheered! The day brightened. "Does this mean WE get to ride HIS horses?" A sly smile tracked across her face.  My rider has become extremely fond of that horse.
     CONGRATULATIONS! To Allison Springer and her awesome Aurthur, winners of the CIC three star division. Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice who won the CIC two star. Candace Tribe and Catalina winners of the one star. Jessica Phoenix took the Advance division with Exploring. Caroline Martin and Classic Touch came in first in the Open Intermediate~A, while Mara DePuy won with Chequers Macon in the Open Intermediate~B. Boyd Martin guided the late Colin Davidsons' mount Crackerjack to the top of the Open Preliminary~A division and Doug Payne kicked it with Camerlingo in Open Preliminary~B. Prelim Rider was awarded to Brent Leytem and Space Pictures.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Equestrian bombardment rocks Tallahassee It's Red Hills!

     Teasing peeks of just how heavy this eventing engagement really is can be confirmed by the permanent Red Hills Horse Trial signs fixed on the side of the freeway. Since 1998, this sloping terrain, rich with red earth, located on the northeast side of Florida has been host to one of the biggest eventing competitions held in the United States each year. Red Hills International Horse Trials is known by the riders as the "kick off" of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup series.  Thousands and thousands of spectators tread their way through the tall Tallahassee timbers, to witness this wholloping first-class eventing competition, which is held in Phipps Park.                               
     It is truly something to see!  Equestrian bombardment rocks this capital town and in return they throw down the padded red-carpet. Locals welcome wave, instead of giving back unsure drivers the middle finger. It's nice. City officials prove that they are "no dummies," they and eveyone knows that this three star accomplished horse contest bumps up their economy, bigger than Christmas.  Organizers do an excellent job of providing fun for the entire family. Besides viewing the top-notch riders with their brilliant horses, the kids can enjoy their own four-legged experience, pony rides!  Or, if they are not into horses, how about they expel built-up energy with some endless bouncing found in the many inflatables. There will be an avenue of shops and fantastic food: blooming onions, scones, kettle corn, fries and juicy hamburgers. Now,  if you are really lucky,  Bradley's Country Store will be smoking their mouth watering best tasting sausages. Trust me......wait in line, pimp, trade, lie, steal what ever it takes to get one of those hotdogs, they are worth it. Riders sign autographs. People drink beer. Loose dogs are impounded. Even Tallahassee's local television station: WCTV,  will be there with "coverage we can count on," how about that? Reporters and their camera people mixing it up, while riders and horses muck it up.  It's a bucket-list must!
     Good luck to all the horses and their riders!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working Student Days

Here's a small glimpse of the horses being brought in from their paddocks at Five Ring Stables. Helmets are worn at all times during the day, you never know when the BIG RIDER is going to tell you to get on a horse.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Just a little scratch to help out the poor, hungry eventers


   "Eventers should win CASH PRIZES!!!" No one else will say it, so, I'm saying it!  Engraved dated showground mugs and colorful ribbons are commendable and all, but let's face it, the almighty coin is much more desirable. Adding money jackpots- would increase the amount on entries as well as make things more inviting. I'm not begging for over-the-top grand amounts of green, just some.  How about if the cash prize was something nominal like their entry fee paid for? Eventers would be ecstatic over something so simple. It doesn't have to be thousands and thousands of dollars, then riders might chance injury for that much loot. Just a little scratch to help out the poor scrappy hungry eventers. What made me stomp my feet and stick-up for eventers was my last trip to Ocala, Florida.  
     We went to HITS on Sunday, then, being an Eventers mom I came home and looked up what H.I.T.S was the abbreviation for?  I'm still not sure but it's not: Highly Improved Technology Station or a Hookers in Training Seminar. Let me try to guess: Hunters or Horses International, hmmmm what would T be? Talent, that must be what it is, because there surely was tons of it there. I give up, someone please educate me.
     The big Grand Prix jumpers were what we were there, humping it to see. "Come on Mom, we only have 25 minutes!" squealed my rider. Once again, she's trying to burn my thighs out. So, we picked up the pace. We were amazed to view the colossal crowds and the from here to there jumping action that was going on all around us. It was a circus with the only animals being horses. We loved it.  Then we noticed the cash prizes.   
     Excuse me, how much money do these show jumpers win? WOW!  How? How? How? Why, who pays for these cash prizes? Is it that everyone pitches in like a seedy poker game for the winner to grab up the green? Or do the show jumpers have it figured out, get their sponsors to pay the cash prizes? What ever it is, it would be nice if even a smidgen of that happened in the Eventing world. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kicking myself for not going! Rocking Horse Winter II horse trials.

     Me..... foolish? Honestly, have I ever cared? Undoubtedly, I would end up looking like I strutted straight out of a loony bin, so she claimed. Evidently, it would be ODD if I'm caught loitering around the horse show with no one close; like a daughter, son or a friend, to spy after. I'd appear to be a bit "deranged" or simply "mad" my unentered in-between horses, stay at the stable rider warned. "People might find it unsettling, you rummaging around," she laughed. Really? I scratched my head. That's ridiculous! She's just being green-eyed. Her jealously was for no reason. Unfortunately, I had to miss the Winter II horse trials that took place at Rocking Horse, in Altoona Florida. In spite of this fail fact, I kept up with the progress through Event Entries and their indubitably desired live scores.
     The competition looked like a spectacular existence, something I really didn't want to overlook. I became even more peeved for turning a blind eye, brushing it aside when I noticed the huge advancement that Advanced level Bonner Carpenter endured. She and her Impeccable horse went from a squatting twentieth place dressage start, to end in second! I'm kicking myself for not going, I could have witnessed first hand Elizabeth Barron and the Graduate, breeze by with their extreme point padding and an untouchable position. Sadly, I skipped out on witnessing a tie! It was in the Open Preliminary A division. The score was nose to nose throughout, between Bruce Davidson Senior, spending time on the Expensive Playmate and C. C. Castillo performing with a Star Act. Final score: they both had a smashing 31.7 but Bruce was closest to the optimum time and deemed the winner. I guess I will never know why, Karen O'Connor withdrew the marvelous Mandiba, that's what I get for not going...
     CONGRATULATIONS to all the First-Class Winners! Jacob Fletcher made a commotion with the Falcon Splash/Danica Moore mapped it with Utah B/Erika Treis Petersen won with Notelo De Rox/Bruce Davidson Sr. went all out on his Expensive Playmate/Leslie Law showed them again, two wins one on Amarna and one on Corinthian Spirit/Marilyn Little-Meredith showed it was only a matter of time for her win on UDonna/Melissa McMaster set it straight with Flagmount's/Suzanne Stevenson walked away with Central Park/Penny Rowland blazed with Northwinds Breeze/Haylie Walker came in first with Caitlin Too/Imatiaz Anees triumphed on Valenta/Maria Brazil was brilliant with Pas de Panique/Heather Wisenecker brought the Sunday's Edition/Victoria New made an impact with Bally Whatnot/Vance Frey was On The Watch/Robin Walker ruled with Canadian Exchange/Lindsey Graulich was lucky with Finders Keepers/Simone Cormier  was dynamite with the Dynatraitor/Darrin Mollett conquered with Dresden Hit/Rowdie Adams was happy to have Hector/Brooke Fravel went swell with LeSalvan/Emily Coulter flourished while riding Antje and obviously Elizabeth Barron has made out with the Graduate!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Everybody walked away fine.....Ocala Horse Trials

     Speculation seduction time! This is a review of the Winter II (over 450) horse trials that took place in Ocala Florida this past Valentines weekend. The pony pats and people hugs proved that love was in the air. There were plenty of leash pulling puppies and golf cart riding dogs to fill up any empty heart. Heavily talked about chicken sandwiches along with graciously grilled cheeseburgers were presented deliciously at the newly constructed concession stand. Yeah, finally warm showers if you would like. Our Sunday was lovely, open and free, no where on earth I'd rather be!
     Then it came to me, positively stimulating my thoughts like a hot pesky poker. "Our thoughts are what program our reality."  I have never been more sure of this statement, until now....since hooking up with Eventing riders. All of our opinions, suspicions and hunches clip like suspenders holding up what ends up happening to us. Beliefs create our emotional state. They affect our health. Thoughts affect what we do and say to people.
     If a rider says "my horse saves me every time!" What do you believe that rider has convinced themselves of?  All of a sudden, brainwashed horse controller really doesn't have to ride perfectly anymore. No need for exact set-ups and committed striding, because the horse will adjust and fix everything. "Maybe" but eventually "maybe not". The horse and rider might just end up taking a nasty viewable rotational fall. It's bad jumping positions, and wrong decisions that  no one likes to see. Now, I don't know exactly what caused the young preliminary rider and her horse to turn over with a tumble over the jump. However, after the impact grunts, through the horizontal head shaking, I could see that both members of that team had popped up off the ground. Gladly, they both shook-off and walked away fine. It's a delicate thing, awareness of thoughts.
     Trainers that ride while competing with showing students all around have got to control their own thoughts as well as understand what their crew is thinking about. How are their riding students feeling and are they using a bit or some other untested equipment? The reason is not exactly completely know as to why that horse regressed to full speed racing. It was obvious that the gray gallop~er was running away with his rider. Even from our far distance we could all see their jet-speed dust billowing as her eyebrows began to peel off of her face.... After the "up the bank, one stride, then down the bank" was done in a bounce the officials called her out. She had to STOP! They were halted from taking even one more stride across the country. At least she wasn't swearing and cussing the entire way, like my rider when that crap happened to her. Luckily, all was well just bewildered, I guess.
     CONGRATULATIONS to all the LOVELY WINNERS: Susannah Lansdale riding Buck Naked/Caroline Martin had the Classic Touch/Lesley Law did with two:Rehy Lux and Asterion/Sarah Stinneford lit the Roman Candle/Melissa Schielein showed Cavelier's Sealilly/Ellen Doughty obeyed well with Sir Oberon/Kate Brown downed it with her Mojito/William Ward was Just Talk'n/M. Kendalyne Overway did it on Collegiate Sweet Leila/Amy Bowers couldn't of been Sappier/Heather Morris tackled it with two: Sportsfield Maisie Grey AND the Poet II/Sable Giesler gobbled it up with the Evil Munchkin/Alexis Brown had no frown riding Hillary W/Robin Walker couldn't do it without the Canadian Exchange/Tom Borthwick unmasked Mischief's Replica/Alex Reed stared with Orion's Bold Belle/Crossroad was taken by Tuuli Juurikkala/Imtiaz Anees won with Valenta/Katlyn Hewson felt no green on Jack's Irish Z/Lauren Kieffer came out with Dipnsnuff/Annie Yeager amused everyone with her Walk On The Moon/Brook Pickering rode Abbey Rhode/Stephanie Baer prevailed with Zohar/Jacqueline Bradshaw danced with her Russian Go Go And Clark Montgomery would have a Stellor King. Nice show put on by Equiventures. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"That's NOT happening for me"

    It's easy to see that there are two very different stories involved with die hard equestrians. There are the "expense is no object,  get me THE horse" players, against the  "that's NOT happening for me" crew. In the   second group, that's where you will find my rider. Her name appears amongst the lopsided,  struggle harder,  hundred-to-one contenders. This penniless posse has no choice, but to rely on be some impenetrably powerful passion, no less!
     It's a pity for her and the many other poor eventing horseback riders, slaving as working students, jumping over hoops trying to make "the horsey life" happen. Her newly transformed country life is extremely challenging, which holds true for the other four stable girls as well. Most sweat painstakingly over riding. Routine running gets added, in order to look good wearing their sexy full seat riding pants. They forsake party's, abandon boyfriends/girlfriends, forfeit computers, cell phones and television. They put off school, stop eating Twinkies, toss out their high heels just to ride horses. Many of them, beat up the "crack of dawn" daily in order to hold on tight to their "someday" Olympic dreams. Oh yeah, also my childs' five ring stardom vision gallops even farther: to be "an eventer" on the cover of the Sports Illustrated magazine. By this point, in her young 20 years of living, she is well~aware that life is not fair. Her path is going to demand focused determination and a bucket full of blistering hard work. That reminds me, she needs some more band-aids.
     These are GIGANTIC goals for a lady with no equestrian bloodline, never a large enough back yard and no helpful ancestral horsey people trotting about. Frankly, I have no idea where her equine desire came from, surely not me. I was a paranoid petrified human avoiding horses. All six of us kids believed those trotters were dangerous! If opportunity allowed, those horses would chew off our fingers! We were told never to feed them. Besides, if there was any extra cash, it surly wouldn't go to a horse, since the dragster living in our laundry room, was the money pit. The only way my rider was able to obtain her five year old "off the track thoroughbred" was because her older sister started to mimic a tramp. My taller girl was constantly wearing trashy clothes, skipping school and toilet papering houses. The Cops would call.  That daughters' bad actor behavior totally unnerved us. "For the love of God....and yourself~ girl, cover up!" I remember us pleading. We were responsible parents.
     The carrot had to be dangled. You know, give the second daughter a horse, with the hope that she would never follow out the window, in her older sisters footsteps. In all fairness: this older offspring straighten out when I dragged her ass out of Utah,  relocated to Florida. The sunshine state is a better spot for the rider anyway. We all know there are gobs of good top quality riders in Ocala, so it's bound to be at the very least, a great launching pad. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stop, Look and's Eventing!

     Horses were packed in like a sardine sandwich. The Winter 1 Horse Trials were in full gallop! "There were trailers to the left of me, dressage rings to the right, stuck in the middle with you." I was singing my own version of that Steve Miller Band song, excited to be there. Slowly I proceeded down the familiar Rocking Horse entrance.  Amazing flashbacks plus great memories, many not so good, intimidated my nerves and sent me straight to the port-a-potty.                                                 
     I thought about how, often after dressage, we (riding daughter, horse and me) would stand far away from all the other riders so no one would witness disappointment making our eyes leak. If she didn't pick up those damn hitchhiking butterflies, we probably would of been able to skip that part of the show. The worried willies wouldn't ever leave. History of our ex racehorses' blow-ups and unsteadiness was impossible for her experience level to contain. My videos of her dressage were shakier than those of them running across the country. Now that's not quite true, but close. Unfortunately the doctor confirmed our horse was in pain. That being said dressage was always a disaster.
     The smell of bacon and toast, coffee and horse piles was just what I was craving for. Listening to the feminine  announcer, I could hear recognizable rider names blaring through the speaker. I had made it in time to see the BIG guns go. It was the highest level of the day. I gathered my breakfast sandwich, the rest of my crap including my bagged chair, a hat and headed towards the cross country field. At that moment, a young pretty teenage gal came leading an extremely powerful lovely looking horse. I was so enamored by his spirit and spunk, my goodness, he was all legs. He pushed her and she pulled him, as they made their way, away. I followed, I had to see more. The young owner looked a bit pissed off at how fussy he was acting. The pony was super curious, looking all around while walking on top of her. He absolutely wasn't listening to her boss hand.  My guess was he was green. All of a sudden this entire group of people swung their heads around, bullet stared... as if to say" Who goes there?"  "Uh hem, hi.."  yikes, I dare move no further. "He's gorgeous," I said knowing the frown would turn upside down. Everyone loves to hear about their horse. The young teenager girl smiled proudly and sweetly told me his name, "Tucker." Prior to the glee, I bet she was calling him the bad word that rhymes.
     I continued on my quest when all of a sudden people started yelling "LOOSE HORSE!"  and "WATCH OUT!"  That always means STOP, LOOK and LISTEN! Sure enough a different young spunky naked chestnut horse comes bouncing through the trailers. Ears up,eyes wide, head was flailing, he was kicking out, running and having a fantastic time. Immediately following were fast walking girls wearing caps, clasping rope hollering for help! Damn, I dropped everything, started in the direction of the action. "Oh No this is his first show, people kept apologizing. What was I going to do I had nothing to lasso him with. I still walked that way.  They had him cornered in the corner. Got him!
     Now can I get on with my plan, I thought? I went to the car to get another water. Panic started settling in with each pat of an empty pocket, where were my keys? Oh for Crying Out Loud! My legs hiked back where I had dropped all of my crap to run for the horse. Found them on the hood of my car. Finally I was able to sit down. Enjoyed watching the riders get rugged over some gnarly big ass jumps. "I had the time of my life, and I'd do it all again,"  voice started singing again.
     Congratulations to all the winners:Jeanie Clark/Ashley Conner/Buck Davidson/Christa Gandolfo/Michael Godfrey/Ashleigh Hallmark/Cherye Huber/Megan Johnston/Lauren Kieffer/Marcia Kulak/Leslie Law/Kendal Lehari/Melissa Miller/Heather Morris/Lynne Partridge/Kerry Sachs/Robin Walker/William Ward/John Williams and Clarissa Wilmerding

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Up A Creek

Every time I think about it my heart begins to beat faster. Especially when it's gonna happen soon and the place is relatively close. Oooohh  I'm  very excited to go there again, even more thrilled to take you with me. What? What do you mean..... you don't want to go? COME ON, please come, I need you to help me get through this ugly empty nest rut. I'll try to make it fun, even without the use of a disco stick. Haha,  Don't make me put a lead rope around your neck!  Now picture this, there's this BIG old sod with vast expanding acreage. Perfectly placed are various soft hairlike grass spots dotted by large protruding shade trees. As your eyes glance over this shapely emerald body, you'll wonder if the jumps are real or are they fake? The urge to touch them will take over. Your body will get into the groove by allowing the sway of a Rocking Horse to take command. Over powering curiosity  will jostle your junk and before you, I and let's face it... we all know it, you'll be off! Running like a horse, exploring, meandering around, chewing on grass.  It's expected that first timers might find this all very intimidating. It sort of equals the experience, Alice went through when she dropped in on Wonderland.  As a matter of fact, memory of my first spectator show makes me want to ralph! You see, the hill made my legs tremble, they weakened more and more with each clamoring beat of pounding power that was heading our way. I locked up. Seized, as if I had stepped on a sword. Stood there frozen like a mouse about to be trampled! About to be pounced on by an overbearing pussy. Panic set in as my eyes met his. He sucked up one hell of a big breath.  Holy shit which way do I run? "Stay where you are!" the loud man standing with a horse between his legs, bellowed! Oh fuck and Good God I hope I don't cause this situation to turn into a complete disaster, bad thoughts were piercing my head. Immediately,  I turned off my "deer in the headlight eyes" and looked down. No way was I gonna give reason for that horse to spook, shy away and start acting like someone else's horse. Obviously this rider had been up a creek, like this before. He handled the situation, easy~calm with a  fly over,  like he had just jumped a dummy. For crying out loud........WATCH OUT!  Right? We could hear people bitching in the distance, then the stomping thunder became louder and louder. The sound of the hoof beat takes over your heart.  In no time, just like that.... they are upon you.  Clickety clack ~clop, Clickety clack~ clop, the earth will  move! It will be fast! They'll come pounding, breathing hard, wasting no time covering ground. Sweat rolls off, horse nostrils flare while the rider steers, focused on guiding them to their finial destination. They know when to push and how to drive. Timing is crucial....POP they're over it and whoosh they will blast by.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

An attempt at constructing some extra equine intrique

Let's see, what shall this first blog be about?   My trimmed fingernails are tapping while my eyeballs are rolling towards where the answers are...the sky. Ah ha! I got it! This blog should be about my mission.It's the meaning behind our affair. It has to be the reason for this rendezvous. Let's call it a "calling" or an attempt at constructing some extra equine intrigue. This blog's responsibility will be to bring more awareness and stronger notoriety to the Ultimate HORSE SPORT OF EVENTING! Everyone that does it works way to hard for the majority of the world not to notice.  I don't really know how to bring the kind of recognition this sport deserves, short of posing for Playboy magazine, which is OUT! It's not a bad idea, I just can't get my daughter to agree. You see, I'm not the one that rides it's her. She's the one busting her ass, riding and training these thousand pound monsters. On the plus side, she can now eat what ever, when ever (there's time) she wants . Hot fudge Sundae, no problem, the 400 bails of hay waiting to be stacked will  melt away any dae pounds, any day. You see she's 20, has an older twin brother, a  two year older sister and is a complete crazy person. Have you heard of the drug called "horse" sometimes one whiff and you are hooked. She has gotten herself completely hitched to tacking up and riding off. Clearly you should know that  her "riding off" isn't just some butt sniffing, trail riding, horsey train. It's down to earth dangerous! Eventing is unrivaled! It's  matchless, brutally hard, terribly frustrating, soaked with elitism and extremely expensive. The cost of this sport is high because it lumps three totally different equine disciplines (dressage, cross-country and show jumping) into one significant equestrian event. It's also know as the triathlon of equine sports. Since there are three different phases, that means three different outfits, three different saddles and don't forget lessons on three different ways of riding. Thank GOD it's not three different horses!  Speaking of horses, these mounts need to be the same quality horse that you would want if you were back in a Civil War battle. They need to be adventurous, extremely fit, brave and undaunted, military quality. In the end the winner of the eventing competition is the pair with the lowest score. First, the rider and horse that impressed a judge with the best dressage moves, goes into the number one position. Second phase known as cross-country, the pair must not have any stops, balks or refusals (20 penalty points for each) or time penalties while galloping across the ground, over logs, splashing through water, over ditches and various fences. If a rider/horse pair is going to get eliminated it's in this phase, that it is most likely to happen.  Rule is, if you have more than five stops total or three at one particular jump, you'll be whistled at and told to stop. You must then walk off, you're out. Challenge is to walk off  without bawling your eyes out. My heart hurts for the rider every time. Third, which is the last stage of eventing is the show jumping phase. Here is where the riders see just how fit their horses really are. Can they still lift up their legs and not knock any rails down? All riders do the same pattern of jumps which includes various questions. Rider must know how many strides it's gonna take their horse to get to the next jump. Jumps are embellished with bright colors, flowers and pizazz, in the attempt to test their courage. Another four unwanted penalty points for rails knocked down and any time faults for being to slow are then added. The pair with the lowest score wins!  Numerous times her goal has just make it through.

About Me

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I hold my breath and hang on tight, every time they gallop across the country. Mother of an EVENTER