Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Born and Raised, Yet Sometimes Ashamed

I was born and raised in Arkansas and I love it. Honestly couldn't have asked for a better place to grow up - except maybe on the East Coast where eventing is a bit more prominent, but hey, what can I expect from non-equine parents, so I'm happy with Arkansas! What gets me is the dumb people in Arkansas...

I'm going to take a page out Fugly's book and pretty much just let it all loose on these people...

This picture was taken from Jasper, Arkansas's own Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, where you and your family can come and have the western experience!
Um...if the western experience includes three children riding one horse, none of them wearing helmets, then NO THANK YOU! Do people not even care about their children anymore? WTF?! I am not even a huge purist when it comes to helmets and safety (though I am a Pony Club Graduate thank you), I can usually turn my head and keep my mouth closed when I see questionable or semi-dumbass things. But COME ON PEOPLE! This is just begging for trouble. Or death. Or permanent brain damage. Or other horrible things...agh!!! This is NOT cute!!! The only way to make this "cute" would be to make it a fake merry-go round horse at the mall - stack your kids up on that and take a picture, that would be a cute picture!
PS - you can go on their site and check out their "great project" pony for sale for $450...oh dear...

Now these two photos are from the same site of Walk That Walk Ranch in Berryville, AR. The first photo - yes the one of the horse rearing - is the picture representing where the "Training Fees" are paid. Yes, because a rearing horse on the beach is what we all want. No thank you. By the way, do I need to remind some of you that 'aren't from around here' that there is no beach in Arkansas, none what so ever. This means that this intelligent trainer went on a freakin' vacation to show off her rearing horse.

This photo is taken from where you sign up for a kids' summer camp. I think if I were a parent I would have no problem at all letting my kid sit out on this "wonderful opportunity." If this isn't a lawsuit waiting to happen then I don't know what is! Now I'm no lawyer, but putting somebody else's kid up on a pony, without a helmet or basic instruction on how a horse balances, and then letting them leap across a pretty good size creek just doesn't sound overly liability safe to me!!! Once again, I'm sorry, I don't think this is cute! To me: A.) any camp pony should be schooled/dead headed enough to WALK through a shallow creek like this one; B.) any child/person riding a horse over something that they may potentially jump should be able to stay out of the horse's back and at least attempt to keep with it; and C.) any dumbass camp who uses this as their promotional picture for their camp deserves what is coming to them, a big fat lawsuit!
Oh, and at this ranch they must take the Scientology outlook on birth...
"Foals born to this music are bright, bold and energetic. Mares give birth much easier with no evidence of distress or fear...even the maiden mares. No breeding farm should be without equine music by Janet Marlow."
Watch out, this one is going to get an "oh dear," as well! Now, once again, I'm not a purist when it comes to all the natural stuff and make things as natural for a domestic horse as possible, but come on now. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure there are not speakers installed in the rocks out where all the mustangs and wild horses have given birth for centuries. I think the music is probably more to keep the people in check...kind of a musical Prozac!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interesting Videos

Once again, I'm starting to feel better, but not enough to do anything of importance, so I am bored...on the internet...what to do? YouTube of course!!!

Here is a video of Coaster's sire, Arthos! It pretty much looks like Coaster!

Here is a video of Coaster and I almost two years ago doing dressage at an event in Oklahoma...he was a superstar!

Here is a video of David O'Connor riding - on the flat and jumping - bridleless!!!!

I was going to upload the video of Coaster and I jumping last fall at another event down in Texas, but it was going to take too long to upload, so I'll have to figure something out...I guess just enjoy these for now!

Show Goals for the Fall...

With all the time I've had recently, I've been thinking about the upcoming fall show season and this is what I've put together...

Aug 9/10 - NWAHJA Show - 3' Jumpers

Sept 13 - NWADC Show - Probably 1st 1 and 2 OR 3 and 4...we'll see.

*Oct 4/5 - Queeny Park HT - Training Lvl.

Oct 11/12 - NWAHJA Show - 3' and 3'3" Jumpers

*Oct 25/26 - Holly Hill HT - Training Lvl.

Nov 8/9 - NWAHJA Show - 3' and 3'3" Jumpers

Nov 21-23 - Becky Holder Clinic - if I can convince my parents to finance!

*If I can't convince my parents to sponsor one of these then it will be either one or the other, but not both!

We'll see how this all works out...I guess I have to get better before ANY of the above can happen!

Monday, June 23, 2008

At Least One of Us Will Be In Shape...

...and it won't be me!!!

So after I realized that due to my ever present tonsillitis and need to have my wisdom teeth removed this summer that my riding opportunities are pretty much non-existent. So after a few days of lounging around at my parents' house while my mom fed me soup and hot teas/ciders (yes, in the dead of Arkansas summer), I decided that even if I can't be in shape there is no reason why Coaster cannot. So I did some text messaging (I still don't have much of a voice) and did something I've never done before - I offered to pay somebody to ride my horse while I cannot.

I know that it may not seem like a big deal to some people, but riding is what I pride myself on, it is part of who I am. I guess by paying somebody to ride my horse I kind of feel like I'm selling out in a way. But I really don't like him sitting in a stall all day (at least he gets out in the pasture at night). Also, with this heat it really isn't good for him to be in as bad shape as he is now. I've cut back his grain to like a quarter of what he would normally get, but being a warmblood, he smells grain and holds/gains weight. The only way for him to have proper nutrition (aka grass hay water and some grain) and not gain weight is if he is ridden.

Krissi, the girl who will ride him, is really excited about it. She saw me compete him a couple months ago and was really impressed by him, so at least I know she will at least start out she realizes what a big doofus my perfect horse can be after a couple of weeks off! I'm literally having her start out with 20 minute sessions of walk/trot for two reasons:

Reason A: It is hot, he already colicked earlier this year, and I don't want him overworked - especially when I'm out of town.
Reason B: It is all I can afford! She is even going to cut be a deal and my parents said they will help out b/c obviously, if I'm stuck in bed with a fever and no voice, I can't wait tables OR ride horses - the two things I do to make money...

I just kind of feel like a bad horse owner for having to put over my horses care and riding and training to somebody else. I know it isn't like this is what I would choose normally, but it seemed best for my horse, and for my peace of mind, while I'm stuck out of the saddle.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Stuff of Legends

Last night, June 19, 2008, J. Michael Plumb was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame. Not only is he the first Three Day Event rider ever inducted, he is the first equestrian athlete to ever have the honor. Plumb has been in eight Olympic games, three World Games and at least one Pan American Games since 1960. He has helped win five Olympic team medals as well as several individual medals throughout his career. Mike Plumb is literally a living legend.

Click here to visit his Olympic Hall of Fame profile page, which includes a video capturing some riding highlights.

Can you imagine the honor of this induction? I am so happy for not only Michael Plumb, who has been an outstanding member of the community in the years following his riding career, but also for the equestrian community as a whole. This is so exciting to have one of our own finally honored, not by our own made trophies and prizes, but as a legend in the sporting world as a whole, as a representative of the United States of America. I cannot think of a better representative for our sport.

"Horses lend us the wings we lack." - Pam Brown

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Don't Understand...

The following article was found at

Horses Seized from California Sanctuary
Nearly 90 horses remain under veterinarians' care at undisclosed locations after officials removed them from the Equus Sanctuary in Pearblossom, Calif.

"They were desperately in need of food and water," said Michelle Roache, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. "We're still evaluating their condition."

A total of 100 horses--many of them elderly--were discovered at the ranch on June 16 when authorities arrived in response to repeated complaints that the horses were emaciated and had little access to food or water. Of those, 12 were euthanized on the scene.

"The euthanized horses suffered from open wounds almost to the point of gangrene," Roache said, "and some had hoof problems that even with farrier care would cause them constant pain."

Sanctuary manager Janis Damiani was arrested the same day.

Even so, volunteer Roland Vincent said the horses were never ill-treated. He blamed the horses' condition on their age.

"On the average, horses at the ranch are in their early to mid-30s," said Vincent. "It's hard to keep weight on them. They have teeth issues and were getting senior feed."

On Tuesday Damiani remained in the Los Angeles County Jail after failing to post a $20,000 bond. She faces at least nine counts of animal cruelty.

Meanwhile, Roache says the horses are faring better.

"The majority will be adoptable after their rehabilitation," Roache said.

I don't understand how anti-slaughter people can argue that the years of suffering these horses have had is better than the comparatively quick death in a slaughterhouse...I'm just glad that most of the horses are still savable.

And another note: JUST BECAUSE A HORSE IS OLD DOES NOT MEAN IT IS OKAY FOR THEM TO BE IN POOR CONDITION!!!! Older horses, just like other species - including humans - need a little bit more specialized care than the younger horses. Look at the pictures below of horses that are older and are (gasp!) still in good condition!!!

Horse People Stick Together

On June 10th, Phyllis Dawson's barn burned down. Thank God none of her horses were injured, they were able to get them all out, but all of her equipment was lost. Unfortunately, even though her barn was insured, it will not cover the expenses of everything lost in the fire. The true story here isn't in the fire itself, but in how the equestrian community surrounding Phyllis's Virginia farm, but also the eventing community as a whole has stepped in to help Phyllis, her workers and students in this time of need. Not only is Waredaca Horse Trials organizing the donations of equipment and materials at their June 29th event, but they are also having a raffle where all proceeds go to Team Windchase. Among the prizes in the raffle is an entry fee into the October 2008 Waredaca HT.

For the USEA article on the fundraiser click here.

For News regarding Team Windchase and their fight to rise out of the ashes click here.

To see more pictures of the barn fire click here.

The year of 2008 seems to have tested the eventing community's ability to stick together. Through several equine deaths that have recently happened, as well as Darren Chiacchia's accident at Red Hills in March the eventing community has stuck together through thick and thin and have proved to help their fellow eventers when needed. Please keep those who need it in your thoughts and prayers as this trying year is only half over.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Woman's Place is on a Horse

"The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears." - Arabian Proverb

My favorite place in the world has always been on the back of the horse. Through the past three years going to school has somewhat hindered my schedule to the point where I haven't been able to ride, much less compete, nearly enough to my liking, but this summer has really seem to have taken a toll on my riding and therefore my state of mind...

Between my horse colicking for the first time in the four years I've had him and my own health issues this summer I have not been able to ride nearly as much as I had planned this summer. I haven't been able to ride at all actually, which really sucks. I just can't wait to get back in the saddle!

Coaster's SmartPak arrived at the barn today! I've started him on Summer Games Electrolytes (made by Kentucky Performance Products), which I strongly recommend if you want to put your horse on a good, sugar free electrolyte; as well as MSM for his joints. I really worry about him, not necessarily because of the amount of workload (or lack thereof!) but because he does have such a big body and bone mass. Now that he has started the electrolytes I will feel comfortable putting him back into work as soon as I get back into town. Of course the timing really stinks with this, because now that my horse has recovered from his impromptu trip to Oklahoma State University two weeks ago I am stuck two hundred miles away sick as a dog!

How do y'all overcome the lack of riding blues? Especially when you are too far away to even go visit your buddy?