Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Your Holiday Weekend Horse Events, July 1-5, 2011

July!  Holy firecrackers, Batman!  Where is the time going?  Get out there and do horse stuff, people, before the summer gets away from you.

July 1-2: Syracuse International Horse Show
NYS Fairgrounds Toyota Coliseum, 8:30 a.m. 
For details: 315-682-1933 Visit Web Site

July 2-3 Barrel Racing
Harford Fair Grounds, Harford, PA
$1,000 Added per Day
For details: For more information or to book stalls call Myra @ 607-759-8734 or go to for reservation forms.

July 3: Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club Firecracker Derby
Hideaway Farm, Geneseo, NY
For details: Contact Jim or Farley Wagner at 585-924-1866 or

July 3: Twin Tiers Trail Riders
Sugar Hill Day ride from the Fire Tower to Monterey Jacks for lunch.
For details: Contact Candy Coupe 607-589-6551 or Linda Hendricks 607-342-3534;  e-mail at or

July 5: Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club Twilight Dressage
Hideaway Farm, Geneseo, NY.
Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteer scribes and ring stewards are needed during the show.
For details: Contact Donna Hecht at (585) 739-4520 or to confirm volunteer times with her. 

July 6: GVRDC XC Schooling on horse trials grounds, 4 pm till 8 pm. Cost is $35 for GVRDC or PC members and $40 for everyone else. Armbands, vests, and a trainer/groundperson are required.
Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteers are needed for 2 hour time slots to collect $$ and waivers for the XC schooling.

For Details:
Contact Wezo Pierson at (585) 509-5691 or

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Surprise Request

The other night I took Starlight for a ride up the pipeline.  It was later than when I usually ride, since we had been occupied with hay baling until about 8.  She seemed a little worried that she might get left out of nightly turnout, being up on the hill with me instead of in the paddock with the others.  Never mind that the others wouldn’t be getting out to the grass unless I was there to open the gate, so she was safe.

Starlight's pretty head.
The last part of the ride took us over the freshly cut and baled hay field, so it was a wide-open path up the hill.  We were trotting and then I prepared her for a transition and said, “Canter!”

Both her pointy black ears flicked back at me, listening intently, as if she were thinking, “Did you just SAY that?” I had asked her for this only once before. 

“Canter,” I said again, and she obliged.  It was the sweetest,  lightest little canter up the hill, effortless for this pony, not too fast.  I’m used to Hudson’s canter, which is a big, heavy effort and surprisingly quick.  I’m usually trying to slow that big ol’ half-drafter down when she gets a head of steam going.  But Starlight’s was easy and slow, just a nice canter.

My husband was disconnecting the baler from the tractor, and he looked up with a worried face.  He saw my big grin as we cantered toward him, then went back to his equipment when we gracefully stopped and I dismounted. 
Starlight and Stormkite trying to see me over Hudson's formidable form.
He confessed later that he had about had a heart attack when he heard the fast hoof beats and was very relieved to see that I was still on board and not lying in the woods somewhere, after being dumped by a runaway pony.    

Now I ask you, why such little faith?
Not horse-related, but can you believe how cute these peepers are?
OK, OK.  I admit, he has scraped me up a few times, but, sheesh, it has been at least a month!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting it done during the long, summer days

I have made good progress with both Dee and Starlight, and have had some nice, mellow rides on Hudson as well in the past few days.

My chunky black-and-white pony is putting the “star” in Starlight, continuing to rise to the challenges I offer.  For instance, yesterday we rode all the way up to the 12-acre field at the top of our property.  The only time she worried me a tad was at the start, when a pile of cut brush by the pond sent her into a panic and she tried a bolt.  It was only a couple of steps at the beginning of the ride, and within a few seconds, we had made our way around the brush and were on our way. 
Starlight munching hay after being in the pasture all night.
We crossed dry creek beds and muddy areas.  I thought she might have a bit of a meltdown when I first asked her to cross running water that was edged by soft mud, so I jumped off and we both stepped over it.  Back up in the saddle, we rode up a tree-lined path, up a couple of steep hills, and into the field. 

I don’t miss a tall horse on rides when I have to mount from the ground.

A surprised deer ran in front of is, interesting Starlight greatly.  They are so fast and silent.  She kept her eye out for it, but did everything I asked while we were in the field.  She had to figure out how to carry me back down those steep, wood-lined, leaf-covered paths.   She also took me back over that running water without a pause, making me glad I had boosted her confidence by leading her the first time.

She was thinking about the obstacles presented calmly, a smart, cooperative green horse, understanding the questions and delivering well-thought answers.  I really like this mare.
Ahh!  That's the spot!  (Dee).

With Dee, the one who tossed me off recently, I am back to basics.  I decided to ground drive her in a broader area to test her attitude about leaving the others, before I get back on.  Said attitude has proven to be less than stellar.

The other day, I was driving her around the bottom of the pasture when I noticed a horse fly on her belly.  I tried to gently remove it with my whip, and she took the moment of my distraction to turn around.  Before I could get her back under control, she took off to the barn at a gallop.

I was only dragged a few feet before I was clever enough to let go of the lines.   I was torqued, though, and scolded her soundly when I finally got back up to the barn.  She didn’t get away with it again.  See if I try to help her with a biting fly next time!  I’m not taking my focus off her for one second.

Last night she and I traced the same path that I had just ridden with Starlight.  We ground-drove a trail ride!

She had her moments of resistance, trying to turn around at several opportunities.   During one of these times, we managed to get the line caught under her tail, at which point she clamped her tail down tighter than a vice.   Knowing this had the potential for disaster, I had to figure out how to get the rein out of there without actually causing that very disaster and also avoiding a kick, for monkeying around an agitated mare’s privates.   We figured it out and went on our way.

The only other time I was worried was when walking behind her down that steep, leaf-covered path.  My field boots have no traction, of course, and one false step on her part would have landed me on my face again.  I hadn’t thought about that on the way up!  Fortunately, we managed to avoid calamity, thanks to her reasonably good behavior.

She is a different horse from Starlight, for sure.  They are the same height, last I checked, around 14.1, but Starlight is very much like the older type of quarter horses, with big muscles, a broad chest and big, powerful “engine” (her butt).  She takes short, careful strides.

Dee has a smaller build, but is still a solid mare.  You don’t feel like there’s nothing under you when you’re on her (unless she just threw you in the air).  With her sloping shoulder, she takes a long, athletic stride.  If I can get her to understand the rules, she’ll be a great cross-country horse.

To me, this is what long, June days are for.  I'll store these memories to help get me through February.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Horse Events in the Twin Tiers, June 24 - 26, 2011

It's kind of a light weekend when it comes to equestrian activities in our area, but there is still a nice variety of shows, games and clinics, so have fun!

June 25: Focus on Riders Clinic
Geneseo, NY given by Susan Strong Kelley, Certified Centered Riding Instructor and Brian K. Hultman, LMT, Reiki master.
For details: Download Clinic Schedule. For questions, contact Susan at (585) 243-5056 or go to

June 25-26: Michelle LaBarre Clinic
Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about Michelle, go to
For details:  Mary Delton at Auditors welcome.

June 25 NBRA Barrel Racing
Fisher Equestrian Center
114 Cotton Hollow Rd
Sayre, PA, 18840
$750 added
For details:

June 24-26: Finger Lakes Arabian Summer Festival Horse Show

NYS Fairgrounds Coliseum

Arabian, Half-Arabian A-rated horse show. Public welcome. Free admission & parking.
Halter, English, Western and Hunter Pleasure classes - Sport Horse Division - no Dressage or Jumping.
For details: Visit Web Site  315-626-6790

June 25 -26: Bridle Path Manor Classic Horse Show Series
NYS Fairgrounds 4H rings and stables
The Bridle Path Manor Classic Horse Show is part of the local Classic Horse Show Series.  The Series features divisions from Maiden Walk/Trot through 2'6" Hunter and Equitation Divisions, and runs classes in 2 rings simultaneously. Each Division in the show features high point prizes for the day and year end awards which are presented at the annual Year End Banquet.

The BPM Classic will be held on Sunday and will be preceded on Saturday by the Weather-Or-Not Horse Show, which is also a 2-ring Hunter Show and offers classes from Walk/Trot to 2'9". On Saturday, Hunter Stake classes are offered in the Schooling, Suitable, Low, Special, and Child/Adult divisions.
For details: For class lists, show info or more info about the Classic Horse Show Series Year End Banquet, please call 315-673-0172.

June 15: 14th Annual Pleasure Driving Show and Annual Sporting Day of Traditional Driving
Don't miss the annual Pleasure Driving show! . The show is held at Lycoming County Fairgrounds, Hughesville PA.

June 26, 2011 – Twin Tier Trail Riders
Hammond Hill, 10 a.m.
For details: Linda Hendricks, 607-342-3534 e-mail or Kelly Clark 607-657-2661

June 25-26:  Tri-State Miniature Horse Society Louis F. Voegeli Sr. Memorial Show 2011
AMHA Nationally Recognized Horse Show
Chemung County Fairgrounds - Grand Ave.
Horseheads, NY
June 25th, & 26th, 2011
Show Manager: Lea Dill, NY
Starting Time: 8:30 a.m.
For details:

Another Cat

During the course of a year, we would see maybe five or six dead cats along the side of the road.  It was a busy road, where we used to live.   Not the kind of road where you should let your cat wander.  In my estimation, there was a 100% chance that, if you lived on that road and let your cat outside to wander, in short order, it would be a dead cat, a victim of the fast and frequent traffic.

“See that dead cat?” I would say to my husband as we passed yet another one.  “That’s a cat nobody loved enough to keep safe.”
A Haybine look-alike.

After a while, when we saw one, I would just say, “Nobody loved it enough.”  And eventually, I didn’t say it anymore, but I'm sure we both thought it when we saw the flat little bodies on the side of the road.

We have never kept cats, for several reasons.  They are not my husband’s favorite pet, we have parrots, and I hate litter boxes, so keeping one inside was not in the cards.   I don’t like them killing birds and rabbits, so I didn’t want one around the barn.  And on top of that, there was the road.  I didn’t want to keep a barn cat, just to have it come over to visit us at the house one day and get hit by a car.  Which was 100% certain to happen.

When we moved away from the busy road, to a place where, when a car goes by, everybody turns around and looks at it for the novelty, a cat came with the barn.   This cat had obviously lived here before we arrived.  We would catch glimpses of her white body as she leapt away from us through the long grass.  She was not friendly and I only saw her up-close once, at first, when I surprised her in the barn.

I told my husband we needed to get the live-capture trap from our old house, so I could catch her and, probably, have her euthanized, since she was feral and probably not tame-able.

Fast forward about six weeks.  I was looking at the view from our porch, when I spotted the white cat  coming up the dirt road by our pasture. 

“Where’s your gun?” I joked to my husband.  Then I noticed she was limping.  “Oh, crap.  She’s three-legged lame.”

I went down and cautiously approached her.  She hunkered down in the way cats do, as if I couldn’t see her when she did that.  I talked to her and moved slowly closer, telling her I wouldn’t hurt her, and I was just joking about the gun thing.   She let me get close enough for me to see the few little black and tan spots she had in her predominantly white coat, then darted off across the pasture.  That must have hurt like heck, with her sore leg.

Deciding again that I would set the live trap for her eventually, I went about my usual business.

Then one day I came home from work, got out of the car and heard a steady series of meowy growls and hisses.  I located the source – the cat was lying under our truck, alternately meowing, growling and flat-out hissing at me.   She never took a breath between all the racket.  I told her to come out, I would try to help her, and she got up and limped away, still making a noisy fuss.

“That was weird,” I said to myself.  “Why would she go to so much trouble to get my attention, only to run away again?”

The next time I saw her was when the horse dentist was working on the horses.  This time, she limped out of somewhere, bold as could be, and started non-stop meowing at us both and acting very much like she was my pet. 

“I don’t even know you, cat,” I said to the cat.

“Do you feed her?” asked the dentist.


The cat meowed around, flopping down here and there, accepting pets.  Very weird.  I could see that her leg was severely injured, maybe by another, larger animal’s teeth.  Additionally, she was thin. I could see her hip bones sticking up through her coat.

“Oh, she needs help,” I said.  “That’s why she came out.  She’s starving.  She can’t hunt with that leg.”

Then, Dee accidentally knocked her hoof against that very leg (the cat had cleverly decided to lie down under Dee), and the cat ran off, hissing.

Well, you can predict the next sequence of events.  The cat food I had asked my husband to buy to bait the trap was put into a little dish, instead, and the cat hung around.   She wasn’t always friendly, but she was getting more friendly, and she never stopped meowing when she was around us.  She would come and hang out with us when we were working on the equipment, lie nearby and just meow and growl the whole time.  I don’t know if it was personality or pain, but she was a talker.

I named her Haybine, because the day she decided to be friendly was the same day we got the baler to work.  That was short lived success with the baler, but her name stuck.  She vanished for about a week, then resurfaced again these last few days, becoming used to regular meals.

Her leg was improving, and I kept vowing that as soon as she was trusting enough, I would put the food in the live trap, get her to a vet for medicine, shots and spaying, and then maybe take her to the SPCA.   I wasn’t actually set on what I would do with her.  Maybe I would let her stay here.  She was growing on me, and I was growing on her.  We kind of liked each other.

Last night, I fed her, and gave her a real scritchy-scratch on the brown spot on her head.  I hadn’t done that before on the scraggly thing, and it surprised her, but she didn’t mind at all.   She meowed steadily as I went down the hill toward the house.

This morning, she wasn’t in the barn for breakfast.  I wasn’t too surprised.  I expected her to come meowing out of the grass at any moment (I could always hear her before I saw her).  She didn’t show up though, and I eventually left for work. 

At the top of the driveway, I saw her, or I should say, I saw her body, flat, damp, stiff.  She was dead, right at the edge of the road.   She was hit by a car on a road where there are almost no cars.   All the time before we moved here, and before we started to know each other, she was running around in the fields, and she didn’t get hit by a car.  And now, just as we were getting to know and even like each other, she was dead. 

I wished I had done more for her, and sooner.   In the end, she was another cat that nobody loved enough to keep safe.