Thursday, April 28, 2011

Going for a Drive

On this warm, windy and sunny evening, Starlight and I went for a drive up and down the lane -- a ground drive, that is.  

 I  play caboose behind Starlight's comely butt.
I have trained a few horses to be ridden, and have hit the ground a few times.  Because of this, I'm always looking to improve my training methods so that the liklihood of my hitting the ground is decreased.  The ground is very hard,  you know?

With Starlight and DeCato, I incorporated a lot of ground driving in their training before getting on.  I can't say for sure, but I believe it is the main change I made that resulted in much more calm and compliant horses when I got on them last fall.

Starlight showed me tonight that she remembers how to ground drive like a champ.  This is a good sign, because I'm thinking she may also remember how to be ridden like a champ, once I get on her again.

After I put her back, I brought Dee out and longed her a bit with the saddle and bridle on, and then she and I took a long walk together around the outside of our 10 acre pasture.   Those who read my last post about Dee may be wondering if this was the walk when she decided to try her flying-kick trick again, and, I'm happy to say, no.  She was a very good girl, and I'm encouraged.  She will learn to ground drive, next.

A fun night with the spotted ponies!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This weekend offers a range of interesting horse activities in the Twin Tiers!

Here’s a run-down of this weekend’s horse-related activities in the Twin Tiers.  If I missed your event, please send me an email and I’ll be sure to add it to this week’s list.

I post events for the upcoming weekend on Wednesdays.  More information on most of these activities can be found in the links at the right of this page.

April 30th: WNYDA Challenge Series Dressage Show at Houghton
College Equestrian Ctr, Houghton, NY.

April 29th & 30th: Introduction to Showing Your Sportthorse In-Hand Clinic
Holland, NY. Download Clinic Flyer.
For questions, contact Alicia Rosenblatt at (716) 866-8536 or

April 30: Spring Tune-up - Obstacle Clinic Presented by Gentle Dove Farm
Joann Long, National Mounted Police and Toronto Police Mounted Services Certified. Hosted by Wild Side Ranch, 8675 Taft Rd, Bloomfield, NY 14469. Auditors welcome! Join us from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. For more information/registration, go to or download flyer. You can also contact Joann at (585) 738-7477 or

April 30, May 1: Michael Page Jumping Clinic
Pittsford, NY. Download Clinic Flyer.
For questions, contact Nancy Reale at (585) 218-9996 or

April 30, May 1: Michelle LaBarre Clinic
Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about Michelle, go to
To ride in the clinic, contact Mary Delton at  Auditors welcome.

April 27 - May 1, 2011: Syracuse PHA Horse Show
"A" Rated Hunter and Jumper competition for riders of all ages. Competitions each day with an evening performance each day except Sunday.
Coliseum 8:30am
2011 Syracuse Chapter P.H.A.
60th Annual Charity Horse Show
New York State Fair Coliseum
Syracuse, NY
Hunters "A" rated - Jumper Rating #1
Please use the attachments link below for
the prize list and entry forms.

Alparon Park, Troy, PA.
Saturday Game Show
April 30: Sign up 2 pm
May1: All Breed Open Show, PAC approved, starts at 8 a.m.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scary Cows. Check!

I had two goals for my ride on Hudson tonight.  One was to do some road work.  The other was to pass the scary cows.

Where we used to live, cars zoomed by our house at a rate of about nine per minute in the early evening, going 45 to 55 mph or more.  It was the main road to all the little roads where the houses were nestled, and everyone just had to use it to get home. 

It was NOT conducive to road work.

Now we live on a hard-top road that cars pass at a rate of less than nine every two hours.  Just a five minute walk along it brings us to a dirt road about two miles long that only has two houses.  It’s a perfect place for road work.

One of those houses is accompanied by a pasture of about 300 beefers.   They have been bawling and shrieking and making all manner of strange cow noises right along, and the horses have become accustomed to the intermittent racket (although I don’t think DeCato the mustang slept for the first two days here, since she appeared to be on guard duty against the scary cows that whole time).

It was not raining for a change, and was cool and partly sunny as Hudson and I stepped out up the road.  She was happy to be out, I could tell, especially since tonight’s route did not require her to get her dainty little feet wet.

When we turned up the dirt road, the obstacle course began.  We had to pass several large farm implements (I don’t know one from the next, yet), an aluminum stock trailer and foreign fences and gates.  Not too bad.  Hudson only went into reverse once or twice.   The cows then caught her attention, but since they were trotting, then cantering (gallumping, really) away, she wasn’t too worried. 

So that mission was accomplished, for now.  We had a great ride, walking and trotting up the firm dirt road.  After a while, we turned back and eventually had to pass the cows again.  Hudson was alert to them, but not very concerned.

But this time, I noticed they were doing something funny.  Instead of running away, they were coming toward us, very slowly and in a group.  They moved so slowly and with such solidarity that if you looked at them once, they were in one spot, but if you looked again, they were suddenly closer.

“Hey Hudson, this time they’re coming toward us,” I said to her, wanting her to notice while I was ready for her spook.  Sure enough, when she glanced at them, they had just done their magic moving trick, and she jumped sideways in surprise.

Then she let out a mighty snort, stopping everything, cows, birds, peepers, me and even herself for a moment.  She does have quite a snort.
Starlight tonight, still looking a little dazed from her cow encounter.

But that was it.  No problem.  Good girl.

Encouraged, I put her away with lots of petting and compliments, and pulled out Starlight.   I led her up the same route.  She passed all the farm stuff even more bravely than Hudson had. 

When she saw the cows, though, her head shot about two stories high and her tail flagged up in excitement.  The cows came toward us again, all together in a very intimidating way and I didn’t blame her for feeling anxious.  We found out if we stopped and faced them, they stopped and faced us.

Starlight, too, let out a snort, though not so mighty as Hudson’s.   This is the pony that aggressively chases dogs out of the pasture, and I have no doubt she will be cowy, when she gets her proper chance.

After passing them both ways, we came home, feeling pretty good about the evening’s work, just as the thunder started rumbling and the lightning flashing.

Next time out, I’ll ground drive Starlight and then get back on her again.  I’m basically restarting her.  I rode her in the early winter for the first time, with several walk-trot rides and once, a canter, then let her sit due to bad weather.  So now, we’re dusting off the cobwebs on our groundwork.  Soon, I’ll be riding her past those scary cows!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pretty is as Pretty Does.

Did you ever get kicked hard by a horse?  I sure have.  You might remember my mentioning my somewhat difficult mare, Biltrite Smokin Dee, usually known as Dee, and sometimes, Stinky Dee. 

Although she's a pretty girl, well-built and athletic, she earned the latter nickname by being a difficult filly, and it was she who delivered one heck of a kick to my person a few years back.
Here's a weird picture of Dee watching DeCato, taken in February.

I have the habit of hand-walking my young ones away from the pasture and their pasture-mates, onto trails.  I like the exercise, and I believe it’s good exposure and training time for horses that will eventually be traveling those trails with me on their backs.

I had taken Dee on this particular hike in Bentley Creek once before.  It involved walking through a hay field along the road, then through a spot where the field narrowed, then up a dirt road in near the woods.  It’s a pretty walk onto my neighbor’s property (with his permission).   Because we had a successful walk there before, I figured the second one would be no problem.

Dee, who might also have been called Sneaky Dee, has a way of surprising a person by seeming to be fine, calm, cool, then spazzing, out of the blue.  That is exactly what she did that night.  As we got to the narrow part of the field, the filly who seemed to be calmly walking beside me sprang straight up in the air, twisted around and nailed me hard IN THE STOMACH with one fast, back hoof.

Now, if you know what I know, horses can control their kicks to a fraction of an inch.  They can strike out and stop short of hitting, strike out and deliver a little warning blow, or they can kick hard.  Stinky Dee chose the latter.

When she hit the ground, she yanked the lead line out of my hand and took off toward home, crossing the dangerous road as she went (fortunately, there were no cars in sight). 

I was in a little bit of shock, as typically happens when something surprising happens that actually hurts you.  I was also furious.  I went storming after the mare, whom my husband had caught, when she appeared in the barn, and put in her stall.   

Uh-uh.  Nope. 

I took her back out, this time armed with a crop, and when she started her flying routine in the same spot in the field, she got a meaningful whack with that crop.  She ended up being the surprised one that time, and we managed to have a decent walk.

My stomach showed no sign of the kick until about a day and a half later, then it turned a deep purple-black, at which point I could prove to my husband that it was, indeed, a very hard kick.

Dee has settled down quite a bit as she has aged, and it’s time for me to start riding her.   I rarely think of her as Stinky Dee anymore.  But I remembered that kick tonight as I hand-walked her out of the pasture for the first time since we moved here.   I kept a good hold on her lead and didn’t give her enough line to do any airs above the ground.

She was a good girl and came along gamely.  It’s a new place, and she is more herd-attached than Starlight and Hudson, so it’s not as easy for her to march out bravely.  I was pleased with the little walk, but I won’t let that fool me the next time we go out!

Soon, I’ll be hand-driving her along the path and then riding.   I have confidence that my naughtiest mare will be a fun mount this summer, proving that she is a strong athlete under saddle!

Equestrian Events This Week, April 23, 24

Once again, there is a lot going on this weekend in the Twin Tiers for horse enthusiasts!  Check out this great line-up!

Genessee Valley Riding Driving Club
April 23 Saturday: The Basic Four Fitness Program - Improving Communication with your Horse, presented by Mike Pilato at Mothersfield, Hogmire Road, Avon, NY.
For registration form, contact Liz at Download a Clinic Flyer and get more info at

Syracuse NYS Fairgrounds
"Bring In Spring" Horse Show
The "Bring In Spring" Horse Show is an unrecognized Hunter Show. Thursday starts with Hunter classes over fences at the 2'3" through 3' height and is followed by under saddle classes for these divisions. Friday starts with Hunter and Equitation classes over fences at the 2'3" through 3' height and is followed by corresponding flat classes. Classes for Beginner, Intermediate and Limit riders begins Thursday afternoon and will be completed Saturday afternoon. They will be followed on Saturday by the Walk/Trot and Short/Long Stirrup divisions. For class lists or more info about the show call 315-673-0172 or 315-729-8507.

Wild 'N Wooly, Driving Division
April 24 Lycoming County Fairgrounds
Janet 570-924-3416
Pat 570-924-4836

Twin Tier Trail Riders
April 22, 23, 24, 2011 – Loyalsock State Forest, Eagles Mere, PA – Jeanne Root 570-596-3653 or Camping permit required, call in advance to be sure to get your permit. The camping can fill up quickly. This ride is weather permitting. Does everyone what to do a dish the pass at the pavilion on Sat. night? Let’s plan on that. You can bring your own main meat for your family and just bring a dish to share with everyone else. Be sure to let the park office know that you are with our group. Permit info is in the direction section of our News Letter.
United States Polo Association
April 18-23, 2011
Cornell University’s Oxley Equestrian Center
220 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca, NY
 Quarter and Semi Finals : Monday – Thursday, 1:30 and 3:30 PM
Banquet Thursday evening at the Celebrations Banquet Facility, Slaterville Road, Ithaca
Finals: Saturday, 1:30 and 3:30 PM

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's a field. No! A pasture! No! A camp! No! A show ground!

This will sound odd, but tonight Hudson and I visited a piece of our property I never really saw before.  I knew it was there, 12 acres at the top of the property.  It’s questionable quality hay, according to the former owner – needs fertilizer and reseeding.  He took us up there in a truck that couldn’t make it the last, steep, icy 20 yards, that day last winter when my husband and I were still thinking about buying this place.  The former owner had graciously offered to drive us around out there in the woods and fields, so we could get a good look. 

When the truck couldn’t make it up, we got out and trudged up the slick, snowy slope and stood for a few minutes as he pointed out the edges.  The day was bitter and windy and the field, snow-covered.  I can't say I really looked at it well, but good to know it was there.

This evening, Hudson and I crossed the creek and rode up through the woods to the same place.  When we got to the edge, where I had stood in the cold a few months ago, I couldn’t believe what I saw. 

What a glorious field!  
I didn't take a picture of our ride tonight, so here's a peaceful shot of the herd.

It’s huge and green, with a bit of a roll, and truly at the top of the hill.   It’s rimmed on all sides by forest, with the one odd tree still standing in the grass, a large bolder underneath it.  That’s where I would have played, if I were here 40 years ago, on that rock.  Maybe some other little girl did.

At first, as we trotted about up there, I was just thinking of hay and admiring it, but eventually my mind went to pasture, then to adding a little camp house and a fire place, then to…no WAY!  What a great place for a horse show!  Plenty of room for a couple of arenas and a jumping course all the way around.  People could park down below and…well, it’s just a thought, a little dream. 

This place has so much potential.  We are blessed to have such a great piece of land.  And the dreams that come with it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Horse Activities This Weekend, April 16 & 17

Twin Tiers equestrians have several horse-related activities to choose from this weekend.  A nice mix of events offer fun, education and competition. 

I'm really surprised at the wide variety available so early in the season.  I better get myself and my horses in gear so I don't miss all the fun this spring!

 April 15-17, 2011 - Athens, Pennsylvania
Jackie Dube Jatzlou Barrel Racing Clinic, Standing Stone Farm, Bradford County, cost $375, limited to 15 students, Deposit of $187 to hold your spot, balance due day of clinic, FMI Connie Schwartz, 570-637-5066 or 570-888-0548 or email E Mail 

Twin Tier Trail Riders
• April 16, 2011 - Dresden, N.Y. Outlet Trail – 10:00 Contact JoAnn Schwab at 607-739-2554 or
• April 17, 2011 – Fair View Farm Ride, Troy, PA – Penny Streeter from Troy, PA has offered to take us on a ride at her barn where she boards. This will be a 2 hour loop in the a.m. coming back for lunch. Then another 2 hour loop in the p.m. after lunch. They have port-a-potty and plenty of parking. Contact Jeanne Root 570-596-3653 or or Penny Streeter 570-297-9018 or

NYS Horse Pullers Assoc. "Pull of Champions"
The most prestigious pull in the Northeast and one of the top pulls in the country. Averaging between 15 and 20 entries per class. The finest horses from the United States and Canada competing!
12:00 noon

Judy Richter Clinic

Saturday, April 16 · 8:00am - 11:00am
Elk Stables, 1222 TR Williams Rd, Uniondale, PA
Created By
More Info
*Please get in touch with us and let us know soon if you would like to ride in the clinic as spaces are filling fast.
*We are so very pleased to have Judy Richter come and do a clinic at Elk Stables.
...Credit: National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, National Sporting Library
...Judy Richter, a renowned trainer and author, lectured at the National Ms. Richter was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, which is housed at the National Sporting Library, in 2004.

Ms. Richter has been in the horse business for over four decades. In the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s over 30 horses and riders were in training at Coker Farm, her facility in Bedford, N.Y. Her students were consistent contenders at A-rated horse shows and several have won the National Finals and have gone on to brilliant careers in the sport, including Andre Dignelli, Joan Scharffenberger-Laarakers, Kara Hanly Raposa, Ellen Raidt Lordi, and Peter Lutz. Other horse-related activities engage Judy as well: she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Horse Shows Association, chairman of Zone II, a licensed “R” judge for AHSA, and a columnist for The Chronicle of the Horse. Her earlier books, Horse and Rider, The Longeing Book, and Pony Talk, which were published years ago, are still in print. Recent books are Some Favorite Days, a memoir, and the instructional book, Riding for Kids.

Ms. Richter was also the chairman of the USET Owners Committee and is currently part owner of a Grand Prix horse as well as several prospects. Her son, Philip, competes in the Amateur Owner Jumper division. Ms. Richter is also an “A” Pony Clubber, has her colors from the Essex Fox Hounds in New Jersey, and hunts with the Golden’s Bridge Hounds in North Salem, N.Y.

*Clinic will be 4/16 and a second day will be added of 4/17 if needed. Sessions will be 2 hours long with 3 sessions per day. First groups will be 9am-11am Beginners-Intermediates juniors and adults, Advanced-which will include Junior and Amateurs 11am-1pm. And then at 2pm - 4pm the last session each day will be Green horses . (When signing up.....please express what you want to work on as categories may change to accommodate needs of students) *If there is enough people who ride jumpers or ponies - that category may be created.

*We will also be hosting a fantastic food vendor Mr. Steven Cintron who has the best Spanish home cooking I have ever had! Breakfest Burritos in the am and some wonderful chicken and pork with rice in the pm....yum!

*Audrey from will have her mobile tack truck at the clinic filled with great stuff!

*Stabling can be available with prior arrangements

*Please be sure to have Negative Coggins before coming on to property. Also, be careful and considerate that if your horse may have been exposed to any contagious diseases...that you do not attend.

*Fee is $125 per student for the 2 hour session - $75 Deposit can be sent in to hold spot - and/or final payment is due 3/26/11. Checks can be made payable to:

Whitney Mulqueen
214 Depot St
Clarks Summit, PA 18411

*Auditor Fee: $30 Cash or checks to: Whitney Mulqueen

*Please contact: Whitney Mulqueen on facebook or call her at: 570-575-8649 and give us you address so that we can send you registration and waiver forms

*Directions: If you have problems locating farm with GPS please call Whitney 570-575-8649 and I will give you more detailed info

Annual Spring Clinic with PJ Crawley

Don't miss the Spring Clinic with PJ Crowley on April 16 and 17, 2011 at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds. Hughesville, Pa. PJ has agreed to come to give participants (both new and experienced) an intensive weekend of training. Learn more about PJ at:

Saturday April 16, 2011:
  8:30 AM to 4:30 - PM Individual - approxamitely 45 minutes private lesson (1/2 lunch included in this time span).
 5:00 PM to ? - Mock Group classes - to be critiqued by PJ.
Sunday April 17, 2011: 
 Individual - approximately 55 minutes private lesson.
PRIVATE LESSONS may be available again this year on Friday April 15, 2011 in the afternoon at the cost of $85.00 per lesson. Each lesson will run approximately 50 minutes. Payment due at time of registration April 2, 2011. Payment will be REFUNDED if private lessons are not scheduled.
Reservations for the clinic will be accepted on a FIRST PAID in full - FIRST reserved basis with a limit of 10 horses and drivers. Clinic fees are non-refundable but if we can find a replacement for your registration we can make the exchange. In the event that you need to cancel your reservation contact: Danny A. Harter immediately @ 814-934-8931.
Send registration form and payment to: Danny A. Harter, 353 Penny Lane, Bellefonte, Pa. 16823 - make checks payable to SVWW.
To participate in the clinic the cost will be $200.00 for the entire weekend. This will include 2 stalls, one for your horse (bedding not included) and one for tack. Participation in both Saturday's and Sunday's clinic session, and lunch both days for each clinic participant.