Saturday, July 28, 2012

After the Big Storm

Starlight, in her pink bunny ear mask, evaluates an uprooted oak.
Before I got on the plane in Calgary, to head home after a business trip, my husband told me I might be driving through tornadoes when I reached New York State.  I landed in Hamilton, Ontario, and started driving toward the US border.  When I checked the weather on my phone, I saw the line of storms heading toward the Twin Tiers.  

It was tough to be so far away and watch that purple dot of a tornado on the weather radar as it headed right toward our home.

Well, that tornado did come right by our home, but we were lucky.   Nearby, others weren’t.  It made a direct hit on Elmira, a city nearby, and did a lot of damage, but apparently caused no injuries, which is fantastic.  And during the ensuing power outage, there were no reports of looting, which really says a lot about the character of the people in Elmira.

She stepped through these logs like a champion trail horse.
When I got home, our hay wagon, filled with 3000 pounds of hay, was in a ditch. It had rolled over its chock and traveled about 30 yards, pushed by the wind.  I’m glad that ditch was there, because as it picked up steam, the wagon was right on line to go through our bedroom.   And I really didn’t want to have to sleep in the hay wagon.

Our horse trailer, on the other side of the barn, was untouched, thank goodness.  Besides debris ending up in odd places, one of the only other sign of high winds was that the wood pile I had stacked under our deck, about seven feet high, had toppled over.  It was more than a topple, actually.  It looked like something powerful had given it a mighty shove, as some of the pieces were several feet from the original stack.

A branch down in the path.
Today, Starlight and I rode up on the hill to see what damage the high winds might have done in the woods.   

Starlight has become one of those great ponies who can sit idle in the pasture for a couple weeks and go right out on a trail with very little drama.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a horse like that!     

She did get a little anxious when we came upon our first major sign of damage – two large oak trees uprooted across the path at the top of the hill.  She knew the trail most certainly had not looked like that the last time we were there, and horses don’t forget how things look, and notice changes immediately.  But she soon figured out the 10-foot-high roots were benign, and gamely worked her way over and around the debris.

I'm afraid I see a chain saw in my husband's immediate future, but overall, we were lucky during this powerful storm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, July 28 - Aug. 2, 2012

It's almost fair week!  The Chemung County Fair horse shows are starting on August 2. Does anyone else love their local county fair horse shows as much as I do?  I think it's a "glory days" thing with me.
A special thanks to BRENDA A., who took such great care of our beasties while both hubby and I vacated the premises on separate business trips.
Here's the run-down for this weekend and into next week.  Have a great time with your horses this week!
July 28 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: - Sugar Hill Recreation area. Camping is available for the entire weekend and riding will be all weekend. Dinner is Sat. night. This will be the pass the dish dinner with a deep fried turkey provided by the club and cooked by Steve Root. The club will also supply soda for drinks. This dinner will be at the pavilion approx. 6:00 p.m. and we will be providing a breakfast on Sunday morning paid for by the club at 7:00 a.m. at Steve and Jeanne’s camper. Contact Jeanne Root 570-596-3653 or
July 28: Sugar Brook Farm, Jumper Derby, East Aurora, NY. There will be an Intro, a Low and a Mid level derby and increased prize money and ribbons. Schooling is also available. For more information, go to or contact Evan Gerhardt at (716) 479-3826.
July 28: Open Obstacle Clinic, Gentle Dove Farm; 12:30 pm - 5:30 pm. Learn mounted police training techniques that encourage partnership and communication to achieve exceptional trust. Presented by Joann Long, National Mounted Police and Toronto Police Mounted Certified. Riders will work with their mounts in creative sensory and obstacle situations using proven police horse techniques. Learn how to develop a partnership with your horse mounted police style! Click here to see the 2012 Gentle Dove Farm Schedule! View upcoming events as well as where we've been, pictures and results! Contact Joann for more info!
July 28-29: East Aurora Carriage Drive and Competition; Contact Berit Taggart at (716) 652-6443 or
July 28-29: Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic - Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about Michelle, To ride in the clinic, contact Mary Delton at Auditors welcome. 
July 28-29: Ranch sorting on the 28th; Junior Rodeo on the 29th.  Way-Ont Saddle Club. 
July 28-29 - Cowboy Weekend, to be announced, Sunday is game show and possible team sorting. (TBA); 176 Kelly Rd. New Berlin, NY 13411., 607-847-9265
July 29: Trail Competition Callie Winds Stables 929 Hornby Road, Beaver Dams, NY Sign-up at 9 a.m.; Walk-through at 10 am. Fees: Junior (to 15): $5. Novice: $8; Open (payback): $20; Contact Danielle Hendrick 607 769-6967; Christina Wilson 607 382-9418
Aug. 2 - 5: Chemung County Fair Horseshows. Chemung County Fairgrounds, Horseheads, NY CONTACT: Laurie Baker, (607) 738-0695, April Halm (607) 425-1382 E-mail:,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Art of Letting Go

When it comes to ponying, said I to myself, who should lead whom? Out of the four horses in my pasture who need exercise, who will best tolerate riding with which other herdmate at her side?

Obviously, the lead ponies must be Starlight and Hudson, since they are trained to ride.  DeCato and Stormkite need to follow.   So, I would ride Hudson or Starlight and hold the rope connected to DeCato or Stormkite.

Too close to Herself
After thinking about it for a while, I decided there were really only two possible combinations.  DeCato is afraid of Hudson, and she would not dare walk that close to her, but she is on friendly terms with second-command-in-the-pasture, Starlight.  So Starlight and DeCato would be a pair. 

That left top boss mare, Hudson, leading low-gelding-on-the-totem-pole, Stormkite.  This might not have worked, except that Hudson has shown a tolerance for Stormkite being near her personage (horsenage?) that she does not extend to the others, and he has even been allowed to sniff her Royal Privates, if only fleetingly.  Stormkite is game for pretty much anything, so this could work.

In fact, yesterday, it did work.  I first rode Hudson inside the pasture, near the others who were in the paddock, going in both directions so she could have a look at it all.  This caused the others to became so giddy  that they raced around their paddock in high gaiety.  And Stormkite was most excited, keeping the others running, kicking and bucking and farting.  That was good, because he expended a lot of energy.

Then I tied Hudson to the gatepost, and lunged Stormkite.  Satisfied that he was fairly cooperative, I managed to work the logistics of mounting one horse while holding another, and we started off, up the pasture.

As expected, Stormkite did not want to walk too close to Hudson at first, and when he did, she objected, so I had to reprimand her when I saw her ears go back.  Hudson has been known to throw a kick, mainly due to lack of this type of exposure.  Then, Stormkite started to trot.  Mind you, I was holding his lead line and was focused mostly on making sure it doesn't accidentally become looped around any part of my body.   When Stormkite trotted, Hudson abruptly did her mighty, hopping bolt up the hill.  Hudson can't get much air, but she is powerful and fast in these short bursts.  

Sensing disaster, I dropped the rope.   If you knew me, you would know that dropping the rope is not easy for me.  I'm a hanger-onner, and have many times become a sort of kite, flown by a horse, for this reason.  But this time, hallelujah, I dropped the rope and stayed on my horse.

This actually worked out pretty well.  Despite the lack of a physical connection, Hudson, Stormkite and I stuck together and played follow-the-leader through the pasture.  We had fun, with Stormkite leading at times and Hudson leading at others.  I eventually was able to grab his rope and we started ponying again.  The follow-the-leader game seemed to help them understand what we were doing, and they were fairly cooperative for the rest of the training as we walked this way and that through the pasture together, DeCato and Starlight watching with mild, marely interest from the paddock.

It was raining by the time I thought we had done enough, so I didn't attempt it with the other pair.  But I will continue to work with all four on this fun and new (for us) way to exercise two horses at once.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, July 22 - 26, 2012

Here's this weekend's line up.  Two hunter paces, trail rides, lots of dressage.  Summer is a great time in the Twin Tiers!  Have fun this weekend with your special equine!
 July 20 – 22 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Loyalsock State Forest, Eagles Mere, PA. You must call for a permit. Be sure to call way in advance if you are camping because this park fills up very quickly. Contact Jeanne Root 570-596-3653 or
July 20-22 Western NY Dressage Association USEF/USDF Recognized Dressage Show I & II, Recognized Breeders Championship Qualifier; Houghton College Equestrian Center; Houghton, NY; Contact: Deb Borra; 585-226-8880;
July 20-22: WNYDA Summer Festival of Dressage I and II, Recognized Breeders Championships Qualifier Show and Recognized Dressage Under Saddle Shows, Houghton College, Houghton, NY. For more info, go to or contact Deb Borra at (585) 226-8880 or
July 21 Big Loop Hunter Pace: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM; 640 Artline Rd Eldred, PA 16731 RAIN OR SHINE!
July 21 Rolelu Show Series: Dressage Show (Introductory through 4th Level plus "eventing" tests), Combined Test (Introductory through Preliminary Levels, dressage and stadium), and Jumping Derby (Introductory through Preliminary level) - Weather permitting, Cross Country schooling (Introductory through Training Levels) For more information and entry forms go to: or contact Chandra Wong at (585) 243-0916 or
July 21-23: Lorenzo Driving Competition. For registration forms and info contact Molly Pew at 610-850-1183
July 21-22-Trail Riding Weekend at Pure Country Campground in New Berlin, NY for KIDS- Saturday 9 am to Sunday 4 pm. All meals included. $150. Your horse or ours. Kids 9 and up. Registration at or call 607-591-6907.
July 22: Hunter Pace and Timed Trail Ride Series, Impatient Acres, (Vicki Bolton Farm),
3120 Henry Drum Road, Cohocton, NY 14826 Lynn Sick 585 384 9221 or 585 519 1039, Cost:Adult $20.00 per ride, Youth (under 18) $15.00 per ride, Season pass: Adult $60.00, Youth $50.00. This is a team ride. Riders must go out in groups of two or more. Children 13 and under must ride with an adult 21 and over; Proceeds to benefit Local Youth Horse Clubs.
July 23-26 Alfred University Day Camp, Western only, for ages 8-16; Enrollment deadline: July 13, 2012. Alfred University equestrian camps offer a wonderful opportunity for all levels of riders from beginners through advanced to define and achieve their personal riding goals during an exciting, fun-filled week. http://w

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Sunny Day at Stuart

I stopped up at the Stuart Horse Trials on Saturday – cross-country day – with my friend Trish Pierce.  We sat on a hill under the umbrella my husband had just brought home from a golf tournament and watched eventers charging through on their sweaty, foamy, snorty mounts.  It was my first time seeing this local, three-phase event that brings out some big names in the sport.

Carol Kozlowski on Good Earth Bit O Honey
There were about six fences in our view, and, usually, one horse was entering the field through the woods as another was splashing over the water obstacle, preparing to jump their way out of sight.  So it was a good vantage point for the comings-and-goings and the ups-and-overs and, sometimes, the oops-and-arounds. 

Had to include a shot of the flying spotted thang!
We saw the better part of two upper divisions, but not the very top level.  I haven’t competed at any of these levels, so one-star vs. two star vs. preliminary vs. intermediate doesn’t mean a whole lot to me.  The jumps looked big and the teams were all working hard, that I knew.  

We did see our local professional eventer, Carol Kozlowski, jump through on Good Earth Bit O Honey.  That was a treat, although she had a run-out in the orchard, out of our view.  I see she finished up in 14th place, after leading the pack in dressage.   And I noticed that Jack Walnes, who I pictured here on the Twin Tiers Horse last year, finished at the top of his division with The Country Gentleman, so a big congratulations to him!

And I had to include this Hudson-look-alike (was not competing!)
And an Amy look-alike.  Oh wait, that IS me.
My main take-away from the sunny day at Stuart was that I want to get back into combined events, because cross-country is such kick-ass fun!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, July 13-19, 2012

Yikes!  Friday already and I didn't update our activities!  Here they are, another fantastic line up.  If you just want to go see something horse-related, get to the Stuart Horse Trials.  This is a huge event for our area, featuring big name, international competitors.  
I'll be going on Saturday and will let you know how it looked.  
Have a great weekend with your horses!
July 12 – 15: Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials & CIC*/CIC** Presented by SmartPak
JULY 13-15 NEW YORK GOLD CLASSIC, Chemung County Fairgrounds, Horseheads, NY CONTACT: Bill Hendershot 3830 Pump Station Rd. Cameron Mills, NY 14820; (607) 695-2323 E-mail:
July 14 - Game Show - Night- Sign Up @ 5pm Start @ 6pm Way-On Saddle Club; 5763 Clark Road, Newark, NY 14513
July 14 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Hector National Forest – contact April Smith, 570-827-0987 or
July 14, Saturday, Gentle Dove Farm VERSATILE HORSE OBSTACLE CLINIC: Mounted Police Style, Presented by Joann Long, National Mounted Police and Toronto Police Services Certified. Hosted by October Glory Acres LLC, 441 County Rd 37, Guilford, NY 13780. Riders will work with their mounts in creative sensory and obstacle situations, with the emphasis on versatility challenges. Spectators are welcome! Join us from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. FMI/registration visit, or contact Joann at, 585-738-7477
July 14-15: Vicki Hammers-O’Neil Clinic Zemi Farm; 998 Co Hwy 33 Cooperstown NY 13326 Vicki Hammers-O’Neil is a USDF Certified Instructor Tr-4th levels and an active member of the USDF Instructor Certification Faculty. A dressage trainer and instructor for over 20 years, Vicki teaches riders of all ages and levels at Cecelia Flagg’s Once; Again Farm, in Meriden, Connecticut. Vicki’s positive teaching style makes her a popular clinician, writer, lecturer, adult camp instructor, and trainer. 45 Minute Private lesson $115 ride. Auditing is FREE. Cody Pritchard 585-797-7256
July 15 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: – Arnot Forest, Route 13 Parking lot, JoAnn Schwab, contact 607-739-2554 or
July 15: Stoneybrook Farm Oddessey Show Series 2012! Newfield, NY. Classes for all levels of Pleasure and Hunt seat riders; Check out Pairs classes Ribbons to 6th place/Division prizes 607) 564-0063
July 15-21: Alfred University English Equestrian Overnight Camp for ages 14-17. Enrollment Deadline: June 1, 2012. View Camp Brochure>>> Alfred University equestrian camps offer a wonderful opportunity for all levels of riders from beginners through advanced to define and achieve their personal riding goals during an exciting, fun-filled week.
July 16-20th Day Camp! Kids 8 and up, starts at 9 am till 5 pm Mon-Fri. $175 per week, $75 deposit holds your spot, 10% off if received by May. Reg. at Camps provided by Patchwork Therapeutic Riding. Helmets provided. Must bring boots, long pants, sunscreen!
JULY 17-22 MARK TWAIN/CHEMUNG CO. CLASSIC; Chemung County Fairgrounds, Horseheads, NY CONTACT: Naomi Blumenthal, 8125 Verbeck Dr., Manlius, NY 13104 (315) 436-1933 E-mail:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Don't Know About Bombs, But They're SAWproof

This video is remarkable not for what does happen, but for what doesn't happen.
Click here to see video.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Be Still My Heart! Dee as...Babysitter?

Yesterday, I watched a 10-year-old girl ride Dee.  No kidding.  MY Dee!  The mare I once nicknamed “Stinky Dee,” due to her hotness and attitudinal issues.

Trainer Ashley Haffey trots Dee
Honest to God, I thought I was going to start crying, watching Dee walking oh-so-carefully with a little girl on her back – a little redheaded girl, by the way, which I used to be, myself.

When I arrived at Lane Cove Dressage, where Dee is in training, I was late, hauling my hoof rasp and farrier chaps, a huge pail of horse vitamins and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff.   Dee was already working under saddle with Ashley Haffey, the Greene, NY, trainer who has brought this mare so wonderfully to her current level of training.  After Ashley walked, trotted and cantered Dee, she got off and fetched the little girl (I didn't talk to the girl's grown-up about using her name, so I'll just call her "the girl.").

Ashley gave the girl a longe line lesson on Dee, then let the girl ride Dee by herself.  The girl steered her slowly at a walk around cones in a 20 meter circle.  It was just amazing to me to watch Dee as she started to realize that she had a little, inexperienced packaged on her back, and, as green as Dee herself is, she started walking so carefully, listening hard to the little girl, and watching Ashley as well.   To be honest, I was afraid Dee would just steamroll off down the arena with the 50-pound kid clinging on helplessly, but she did the opposite.  She slowed down to a crawl, responding correctly when the girl gave the correct aids for walk, halt and reverse.

Dee canters with Ashley
I didn’t get any shots of the little girl’s ride, but it was about the prettiest thing I have ever seen in my life.

Hats off to Ashley Haffey.  Bring her your ponies, people.  She will work miracles!  And don’t miss the Fred Kappler Clinic she is hosting on August 4th and 5th.  I rode with Fred last time he was at Lane Cove Dressage, and it was worth the trip!

August 4-5: Fred Kappler Dressage Clinic, Greene, NY: Lane Cove Dressage will be hosting Fred Kappler for his "Basics & Beyond" clinic on August 4th and 5th. Fred is a very supportive and understanding instructor that works with riders from various riding levels and disciplines. Riding & ground driving/long reining sessions are currently available from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday. On Saturday we will host a potluck dinner with Fred at 6 p.m. after rides are finished. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Please contact Ashley Haffey if you are interested in riding. Rides are $135 for a 45-60 minute session. A non-refundable full deposit of $135 is due by July 15th to secure each ride. Stalls are available for $10 per horse. Please contact our farm for a registration form.
Auditors fees are $15 per day or two days for $25. Contact Lane Cove Dressage Lane Cove Dressage; 470 Cummings Rd. Greene, NY 13778; (607) 743-1309;;

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, July 7-14, 2012

Here are this weekend's horse activities.  Lots to do for horse lovers!  I'm afraid I'm going to miss the Paint-O-Rama again this year, darn it.  Once of these years, I'll get my painted pony into it.
Have a great weekend with your horses, and stay hydrated in that heat!
July 7-8 Troy Area Horsemens Association Shows, Alparon Park, Troy, PA. Gaming Show on Saturday (sign ups at noon, show starts at 2); Pleasure Show on Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.
July 7-8: Genesee Valley Hunt, USEA recognized Horse Trials Geneseo, NY. Levels are Beginner Novice thru Preliminary. Contact Billie Hill at (585) 350-8029 or
July 7-8: CNY Reining Horse Assoc Ride and Slide: Exciting and quality NRHA Reining events. 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Website Visit Web Site Email
July 7 Lake Country Horsemens Association LCHA Jr. Rodeo; Interlaken, NY 11 am; Check us out on Facebook! LakeCountry Horsemens;
July 7 & 8: Empire State Paint Club Show: Paint/Pinto Paint-O-Rama; Chemung County Fairgrounds, Horseheads, NY.
July 7-8 Eddo Hoekstra Dressage Clinic at Chestnut Ridge. For more information, contact Sue Williams at (716) 772-2707/2957 or For entry forms, go to
July 7, Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Hammond Hill – contact Linda Hendricks, 607-342-3534 e-mail or Kelly Clark 607-657-2661
July 8 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: – Tuller Hill – contact Linda Hendricks, 607-342-3534 or e-mail or Kelly Clark 607-657-2661 or
July 8 - Dressage & CT Schooling Show Series LA Quarter Horse, Lake Ariel, PA; Contact: Cindy Galley;
July 8 Corner Haven Farm Horse Show. Show all day for one price; 125’x 250’outdoor ring, 80’x 158’ indoor ring; great footing, easy in/out parking; professionally designed jumps and courses; no hassle w/adding and dropping classes; all classes open to all riders/horses See for program; 607.387.9557; 6302 Curry Rd, Trumansburg NY
July 8: Lake Country Horsemens Association LCHA Youth Fun Show; Interlaken, NY 9 am; Check us out on Facebook! LakeCountry Horsemens;
July 8: Pure Country Versatility Cowboy Course, 176 Kelly Rd. New Berlin, NY 13411., 607-847-9265; Timed, payback, great obstacles, give it a try if you dare. First one of three.Greenhorn, Amatuer & Cowhand divisions. Points will be kept for Year- end awards.
July 8 Northeast Pennsylvania Team Penning Association (NePA TPA) Gymkhanas, Wyoming County Fairgrounds, PA.
July 9-13th Trail Riding Day Camp at Pure Country Campground in New Berlin, NY; Kids 8 and up Starts at 9 am till 5, something new! Bring your horse or yours ours!. Monday-Friday. Bag lunch needed. Snacks provided. $175 per week. $75 deposit, 10% off if received by May.
July 9-13 If Only Farm Summer Riding Camp for Kids! If Only Farm, Ithaca, NY Ages: 6-14
July 10-12. Huck Finn Classic Horse Show, NYS Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY Website Visit Web Site Email
July 11-14: Region 16 Arabian Championship Horse Show Championship Show for Arabian & Half-Arabian horses. NYS Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY. Halter, English, Country English, Western and Hunter Pleasure classes for all ages. Plus Sport Horse, Dressage and Jumping. Public welcome... free admission & parking. Website Visit Web Site Email

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Hay Story, Constantly Interrupted by a Cat

Prologue: The cat in these photos is available to a good home.  She just showed up.  You know how they do that.  Her temporary name is "Burdock," because, as the pictures below attest, she sticks to you and you cannot get her off.  Farmers think our little hay baler and little round hay bales are cute, so I wanted to show them to you, but I could NOT get a shot without the cat in it.  She is totally sweet, absolutely the best cat I ever met.  We just don't do cats up here, because I like birds, reptiles and amphibians better.  No offense to the cat people out there, especially the one of you who will take her home!  And now, on to the main post:

Here on the hill we have been running our selves ragged.   We baled around 1000 of our cute little round bales and crammed them in our one-and-a-half-sided barn, dislocating the horses.  This was not the plan.  The plan was to have a second pole barn in place by July 1, so we could merrily stuff it with hay.

Trying to show you our cute bales and cute baler.  Spot the cat.
However, we took longer than expected to give the barn building contractor the “go ahead,” and his schedule filled up while we were deciding on things, and he declared he would not be able to build our barn until after August.

Another bad shot, but spot the cat.
This is a repeat cycle for us.  Last year, we were waiting for a different contractor to make our barn area a well-drained, dry place for the horses and the equipment, and so we couldn’t store hay in the barn before he did his work, which occurred after hay baling season.  This year, we are, once again, waiting on a contractor and, once again, it’s impacting our hay storage.  At least we can store hay in the existing barn, but it’s a one-and-a-half-sided barn, which is not ideal for keeping weather out.

Didn't I tell you?  She is a total stick-tight.
And actually, for full disclosure, we already had 700 bales that needed storing before July 1, so we would have been in this situation even if the contractor had been able to meet our initial deadline.  This summer just started delivering long periods of sunny, dry weather unusually early, so the haying was underway early on many farms, including ours.

When I think of how we were teaching ourselves to bale hay in last year’s sopping-wet, can’t-string-three-days-of-sun-together weather, well, let's just say this has an awesomely perfect summer for hay.

But, back to the barn.  To fit in all the hay we baled, and anticipating the 400 bales we have still standing, I crunched the horses’ stable area down to a barely acceptable size and started using the little run-in in the lower pasture, as well.
As you could probably anticipate, at this time, we are starting to side our existing barn.  I took the dually into the wilds of Armenia Mountain to pick up about a ton of freshly cut board and batten, and my hubby started nailing last night.

With all the good hay, and two, fully-sided barns, I’m anticipating a snug winter up here on the windy hill.  I’m just hoping by then, I have a place to store the horses!

Doing her catty best to win me over.

And since this IS a horse blog, here are the horses.