Thursday, August 30, 2012

Starlight’s Cattle Drive

We had a bad feeling about it, when we drove past our neighbors today and saw two cows loose on our property.  

Our neighbor was there, fixing the fence, but those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that we had more loose cows in our yard last year than most people have in a lifetime.   

When we got back from our errands, there were no cows in our neighbors pasture.  

He must have moved them, I said hopefully to my husband, my voice full of doubt.

Starlight gets cowy.
 &@$%! said my husband.  Theyre all down there!

Sure enough, like a recurring nightmare, all of the cows that should have been in my neighbors pathetically fenced pasture were in our yard, or more precisely, surrounding our pond.  

My neighbor, as usual, was no where to be seen.  Our past experience taught us that he is fairly lax in the cow-containing department, and when they are loose, he rarely seems to even notice.  He just drives right by them as they trot all over our hay fields.

I grabbed the best cow-chasing tool we have a golf umbrella   tossed a flappy raincoat to my husband, and we commenced chasing.  Well, this years cows did not go home in an orderly fashion like last years cows did.  In fact, they took an insane route across our creek and up into our field.  I flanked them, trying to get ahead of them to turn them back toward my neighbor's, but to no avail.  They were always one step ahead of me, and into the woods we all went, I and the cows.  My husband, wisely, had remained behind.

I honestly dont know how its possible to lose a herd of cows in the woods, but I did.  In just a few short minutes I could not see them, nor hear them, nor smell them.  They had vanished.  So I went home, with my golf umbrella, but without my neighbors cows.

Don't worry, cow fans.  We live in a very rural, farm community, so they will show up, safe and sound, no doubt destroying someone's corn field.

Looking a tad frazzled after her adventure.
As it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take Starlight out for a ride.  She needed some work, and I thought Id take her up to the top of our property, in case the cows were up there.   They werent, but when we got back, some additional cows, not the ones I chased, but some other loose ones, had wandered from our neighbors to our field. 

This was our chance!  I told my neighbor last year, before Starlight was even going under saddle, that if his cows came on our property, I would chase them with my pony.

Good luck with that, he had said.

Well, hah!  Starlight and I headed up the field toward them, and she had their full attention in no time.  And they had hers.  There were about eight of them. My legs started quivering uncontrollably in outright fear, but I managed to quelch it, not wanting to terrify the pony.   

We headed toward them with make-believe bravado, and it worked!  They all ran back through the neighbors terrible fence.  All but one.  This one, a good-sized, red and white spotted one, ran up the fence line, and then tried to get through one of the few places where the fence was actually standing.

Not wanting to drive it into the road, Starlight and I repositioned ourselves to give it the best chance to get by us, then pressured it a bit.  Sure enough, it ran back down the fence line, toward the others.  It passed us at a dead run, and Starlight didnt know if she should run away from it or chase it, so she did a little of both before I settled her back down, and we quietly watched it as it found a spot in the fence it could cross.  It trotted off to join the others.

The guys building our barn roof and my husband watched this little impromptu cattle-working demonstration, and Starlight and I trotted on our way with a sense of accomplishment.  Her first time working cattle and she did it like the star she is.

Now, we're just waiting for that herd to come back over the hill.  Watch out, cows, I have something even better than a golf umbrella.  I have a cow pony!

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Aug. 29 - Sept. 2, 2012

Noooooooo!  I'm not ready to be posting activities for September!

Well, here they are, ready of not!  Lots to do, so get out there and enjoy this great, holiday weekend with your pony. 

Aug. 29: GVRDC XC schooling on Horse Trials Grounds, 3 - 7pm. Cost is $30 for GVRDC members, $40 for non-members. Helmets with chin straps, vests & armbands required & riders must have someone with them (either mounted or on the ground). If you need to school with a trainer, contact Carol Kozlowski at (585) 226-6287 or
Aug 31: Dressage Clinic: Michelle LeBarre at Finger Lakes Morgans. For info:

August 31 – Sept. 3 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: - Susquehannock State Forest, Potter County, PA. Contact Jeanne Root to be included on the camping permit 570-596-3653 or This is Steve and Jeanne’s ride open to everyone, will have a deep fried turkey dinner on Saturday night. Just be sure to call me in advance so that I can put any interested campers on the permit for camping. I would like RSVP by August 1, 2012 if possible. Last minute additions will be if space is available. Day riders - just let Jeanne know you are planning to come. The dinner is a dish to pass and you can come for the ride, dinner or just one or the other. Everyone is welcome but an idea of count is helpful. Parking is tentatively planned for Twelve Mile Gas Well parking.

Sept 1-2: Twin Tiers Classic Horse Show; Chemung County Fairgrounds. Open horse show series (four shows total), sponsored by the Chemung County Agricultural Society. Objective: FUN and Rewarding! Divisions include Halter, Beginner WT; Youth and Adult English and Western, Hunter classes. June 2 & Aug. 18: High Points and Reserve; Sept 1-2 Overall weekends awards and futurity.

Sept. 1 Troy Area Horsemens Association Shows, Alparon Park, Troy, PA. Gaming Show on Saturday (sign ups at noon, show starts at 2); Sunday Pleasure Show cancelled.

September 1 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: - Sugar Hill Trail System, Watkins Glen, N.Y. JoAnn Schwab, contact 607-739-2554 or

September 2 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Connecticut Hill Ride, JoAnn Schwab, 607-739-2554 or

September 2, National Barrel Horse Association Skyline Corral Memorial Classic; Owego, NY

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Aug. 24-26, 2012

OK, Twin Tiers Horse peeps, we have an interesting line-up this weekend.  I haven't quite figured out what that leather-and-lace thing is, but since it involves a trail ride, I included it.  If anyone goes, let me know how it was, and if you got a date out of it. 

Also this weekend, we have a hunter pace, a couple of combined training events and TAHA's pleasure show on Sunday. 

Lots to do, so go have a great time with your horse!

August 24-26 Leather & Lace Ladies Weekend, Meet & Greet Friday with 15 Minute massages, trail ride with bagged lunches sat., Dinner Sat, make your reservations early. $225 per ticket inclusive. Pure Country Campground 176 Kelly Rd. New Berlin, NY 13411, 607-847-6139, 607-847-9265

August 25 Big Loop Hunter Pace: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM; 640 Artline Rd Eldred, PA 16731 RAIN OR SHINE!

Aug. 26: Troy Area Horsemens Association Shows, Alparon Park, Troy, PA. .  Pleasure Show on Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. (Saturday Gaming Show cancelled this week).

Aug. 25-26: GVRDC USEA recognized Horse Trials, Geneseo, NY. Levels are Intro, Beginner Novice, Novice, Training and Preliminary. Contact Wezo Pierson at (585) 509-5691 or

Aug. 26: Dressage & CT Schooling Show Series; - LaBarre/Green Acres Beaumont, PA.  Contact: Cala Dearborn;

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vaulting Horse

I whispered to Starlight, "Take care of me tonight."  

I was feeling sad and listless, but I knew a ride would help me feel better.  I had a rough day and didn't have much energy left for a feisty horse, so I said, "Just take care of me."

Starlight did better than just taking care of me.  

When we got to the top of the hill, where the oaks are still down from the tornado, we needed to cross over two good-sized tree trunks.  They were about 16 inches high and had enough space in between for her to step through.  I know this, because I led her through them a couple weeks ago, no problem.

The Hoofspring Vault
So tonight, now on her back, I pointed her at the fallen trees with confidence, fully expecting her to carefully step through them.  As we approached, I double checked the proximity of other trees, making sure I had plenty of space after the obstacle.  If she decided to do something goofy, I didn't want to lose my leg against a tree. There was lots of room, I decided, as we got close to the fallen trees.  

Then things moved so fast that I'm still not really sure what happened.  Starlight did not quietly step over and between the trees, that I can tell you.  And she did not pop over them, in a jump.  

Instead, I do believe she vaulted them.  I think she put both her front hooves on the farthest trunk and popped her hind end over them like a gymnast, landing in a handy trot on the other side.  Whatever she did, it was smooth and fast and happened in a single, powerful stride.  No kidding, I have never been on a horse that did anything like this in my life.  I lost a stirrup but otherwise was still fairly respectably seated on her back at the other side of this amazing,  gold-medal performance by my athletic little paint horse.

I started laughing and I kept laughing all the way through the 10-acre field, letting Starlight pick the route.  It felt so good to laugh.   

Starlight just kept heading calmly toward home, not paying any attention to the happy racket I was making, but clearly letting me know, "I got this."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Show/No Show

Starlight and I slipped into a show yesterday, but we didn't actually do any showing.  Instead, I took the opportunity of having a show nearby to expose Starlight to show grounds, complete with all kinds of scary things such as trailers, strange horses, decorated jumps, bleachers, spectators, loudspeakers and, what proved to be scariest of all, the asphalt surface between two rows of stalls. 
Starlight after a ride, still in her purple boots.

We tried to melt into the background, but I think we might have been noticed.  Starlight is, after all, noticeable, with her lovely black and white coat and pretty little face.  Plus, she was very obviously a pony among a lot of actual horses, who looked very tall to me.  Then there were her purple hoof boots.   

And as long as I was protecting her, I decided to protect myself and tossed on my safety vest.  So, sum it up to say that we looked more like we had shown up for a cross-country clinic than an open show, and then we proceeded to wander around as if we were lost.

Munching from our hayfield and looking at the other horses.
But I knew where we were going.  After we had a look at everything, we worked in a big arena, did some walk, trot, canter, halt, back and even a dressage pattern. 

My friend Trish and her husband, Marty, met me there to watch me sneak around the place, lending a hand, and also to get some ideas about competing with Trish's energetic Morgan gelding, Sherman, at the next show.

Keeping an eye on my husband, who had a noisy Saws-all.
Starlight, was, as always, a star.  She was well behaved and cooperative, doing everything I asked under saddle in the best way she can, considering her greenness.   She was somewhat hesitant about the trailer, since it's a new one to her, and she may remember that the last time she went on a trailer ride, we left her friend Dee behind, and who knows what kind of trust and trailer issues that might cause in a horse's mind.
But all-in-all, a good day and good experience.  Next time, we'll actually compete!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Aug. 17 - 19, 2012

With another great line-up, it's not too late to pick an activity for you and your horse for this weekend, and have fun! 

August 17-18: "Rider Awareness Clinic" - As a Certified Centered Riding Instructor, Susan Kelley will teach skills to improve rider's use of self so that they will ride more effectively. Riders will improve their overall strength, harmony, balance and have a deeper understanding of how to use their body correctly to succeed. This clinic will benefit any level of rider from any riding discipline. See or contact Susan Kelley at (585) 507-3397 or

Aug. 18: Twin Tiers Classic Horse Show; Chemung County Fairgrounds. Open horse show series (four shows total), sponsored by the Chemung County Agricultural Society. Objective: FUN and Rewarding! Divisions include Halter, Beginner WT; Youth and Adult English and Western, Hunter classes. June 2 & Aug. 18: High Points and Reserve; Sept 1-2 Overall weekends awards and futurity.

August 18: Trail Ride: Pure Country Campground. 176 Kelly Rd. New Berlin, NY 13411 Ride out for Lunch at Woodland pond. Lunches Provided. Dish to Pass Dinner, Bonfire. 607-847-9265, 607-847-6139

Aug 18: Gentle Dove Farm VERSATILE HORSE OBSTACLE CLINIC: Mounted Police Style, Presented by Joann Long, National Mounted Police and Toronto Police Services Certified. Hosted by Old Broads Riding Club and held at Fisher Farm 7269 Plainville Rd, Memphis, NY. Riders will work with their mounts in creative sensory and obstacle situations, with the emphasis on versatility challenges. Spectators welcome - discounts for pre-registration! Join us from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm. FMI/registration visit, or contact Joann, 585-738-7477.

August 18 or 19: Cayuga Dressage and Combined Training Club (CDCT), Schooling show at Cornell. Dates tentative.

August 18 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Poker Run, Danby Forest - to benefit trail improvements, prizes will be awarded. $20.00/rider, lunch included with ride. Contact Linda Hendricks 607-342-3534 or

August 18th: If Only Farm Equestrian Center Roll Back The Years Show; Judge: Ron Bradford;

August 19 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Leo G’s Rodeo Grounds – April Smith will lead a trail ride from the Rodeo Grounds, contact April 570-827-0987 or

August 19: Pure Country Versatility Cowboy Course- Timed, payback, great obstacles, give it a try if you dare. Second one of three. Greenhorn, Amatuer & Cowhand divisions. Points will be kept for Year- end awards. 607-847-9265, 607-847-6139

Aug. 21: GVRDC Twilight Dressage - Hideaway Farm, Geneseo, NY. Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteer scribes and ring stewards are needed during the show. Contact Donna Hecht at (585) 739-4520 or to confirm volunteer times with her.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Letters?

Guess what I'm working on...

New Tools for Old Art

I am aiming Starlight toward a September show and thought I might as well memorize the dressage test so I could focus our "arena" work (the quotes are there because any arena I choose to use around here is actually just the currently-most-dry corner of a hay field). 

Random image saved from a google search.
In the past, I drew countless numbers of little dressage arenas on paper, K E H C, etc., then drew my test over and over, using dashes for trots, lines for walk and curvy dashes for canter.   Sometimes I would photocopy the arena template, and make it a bit easier.

All of these methods worked well enough for me to memorize the test, but they were tedious, and wasted scads of paper.   

Recently, my lazy brain combined with an iPad drawing program and came up with a great way to memorize tests, so I thought I would share it.  This will only work for those who have an iPad or other touch-screen gadget, but I suspect that is quite a few of you.
Once the image is uploaded to my drawing program, I can start the trot with a purple "crayon."

I already had downloaded an app called Draw Free to my iPad, because I'm going to start a superhero comic, and I will be using the iPad to do it (I KNOW! Fun! Right?).  The cartoony little drawings that have accompanied my blog posts recently are examples of my attempts at drawing on the iPad, and by them, you can see my superhero comic is going to be uber sophisticated. 

Anyway, from there, I found a random image on the internet of the small dressage arena, downloaded it and used it as the "photo background" on my drawing program.  Using it as the background, I can draw the test on top of the image of the arena, erase it, draw it again, erase it, and so on, until it is firmly lodged in my little brain.

Love it!  Had to share!

Ahh, the completed test.  Anyone want to guess which one it is?  Hint: Think eventing.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Aug. 10 - 14

I didn't realize until recently that the oldest driving competition in the world is held so nearby, in Pittsford, NY.  Walnut Hill is holding its 41st annual driving competition, and this esteemed event is supposed to be quite a show, and definitely worth the trip as a spectator, so think about it for this weekend.

There are lots of great activities for horse lovers in the Twin Tiers this weekend, so take a look and do something fun with your pony!

Aug. 8 – 12: Walnut Hill Driving Competition at Walnut Hill, 397 W. Bloomfield Rd, Pittsford, NY. Tickets available at gate: $10 adults, $5 children. Parking is free. For more info go to, call Tricia Remley-White at (585) 385-2555 or

August 10 – 12 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Brookfield State Park, Brookfield, N.Y. – Contact JoAnn Schwab 607-739-2554 or

Aug 11 - Game Show- Night- Sign Up @ 5pm Start @ 6pm Way-On Saddle Club; 5763 Clark Road, Newark, NY 14513 11: National Barrel Horse Association, Chemung County Fairgrounds, Elmira, NY.

August 11: 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

Aug 11 - Dressage & CT Schooling Show Series Abington Hills, Dalton, PA
Contact: Jean Collins (570) 877-0444;

Aug. 11-12. NYRCHA/NRCHA Reined Cowhorse Event; Alfred University

August 12 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

August 12: 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

August 14: Foxtale Farm “After School Delight,” dressage show, Horseheads, NY. 4 p.m. until dusk. Entries deadline: August 6. All Foxtale Farm shows can be entered through their facebook page, 607-215-5594, 607-215-5594 or email

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to Embarrass Your Horse

I have been known to string together some pretty bad riding ensembles, but I reached a new level of dorkiness tonight by wearing a red-white-and-blue rimmed ball cap inside a Troxel brown leather "Western" style helmet. 

The setting sun glares in my face if I ride north, south or west, and since I can't just ride east, and, additionally, being a redhead, I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!  I had to resort to drastic measures, and this bad style calamity is the result. 

Forgive me, Starlight.

Is she looking at my hats?

Monday, August 6, 2012

What's the buzz? RUN!!

Has anyone else felt as though all your rides lately have ended up like something out of a John Carpenter movie?

The Biting Thing
Those biting flies have been out in horrific numbers this year, causing a high level of paranoia and anxiety around my place.   On rides, the horses and I are constantly on alert for one of the really big ones to land on the horse's nether parts, an event that is sure to lead to a whole lot of running, jumping, hurtling and gymnastics that would make any Olympian proud.

But good news! I do believe their numbers are starting to dwindle.  I noticed that in the past few days, the horses have been less bothered by those nasty green heads.

And tonight, on this unexpectedly cool evening, Starlight and I had a fine ride almost completely free of the rotten biting bastards.  

It ain't over yet, but I have a feeling the worst of the fly season will soon be behind us.  Let's just hope none of us experience any spectacular (and unexpected) fly-related dismounts before they go! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Aug. 4-6, 2012

Here are the horse activities for this weekend and early next week.  In addition to this great line-up, don't forget that the Chemung County Fair Shows are still going this weekend.

Have fun and stay coolio with your ponies!

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 us 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;;

August 4 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: – Jenksville Trail System, Berkshire and Newark Valley, N.Y. in Tioga County. Contact April Smith 570-827-0987 or
August 4 (Tentative) Deruyet Hunter Pace (5, 10 and 15 mile course, hills, lots of jumps) RAIN OR SHINE Possible Dates, Might Change. START TIMES: 8:30AM TO NOON

August 4: WNYDA Challenge Series Dressage Show and Chestnut Ridge Combined Test and Jumper Classes, Gasport, NY. For more information, contact Sue Williams at (716) 772-2707/2957 or For prize list and entry forms, go to

August 4, Gentle Dove Farm ON THE TRAIL OBSTACLE CLINIC: Mounted Police Style, Presented by Joann Long, National Mounted Police and Toronto Police Services Certified. Hosted by Emerald Hill Farm, 1707 Murray Rd, Victor, NY 14564. For the first time ever, you can participate in this unique opportunity to learn obstacle strategies while enjoying a gorgeous trail ride on the rolling hills in Victor! Spectators welcome - discounts for pre-registration! Join us from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. FMI/registration visit, or contact Joann, 585-738-7477.

August 4 -5 ACTHA at Pure Country Campground with Onsite Obstacle Course following on Saturday. Camping, Stalls, meals need to be reserved through Pure Country Campground. Call 607-847-9265, 607-847-6139

August 5: Lake Country Horsemens Association LCHA Funtime Pointed Shows; Interlaken, NY 9 am Check us out on Facebook! LakeCountry Horsemens;;

Aug. 5: Hunter Pace Caldonia NY Irish Draught Horse Society of North America Hunter Pace 10 am to 2 pm at Batzing Farms, 3932 Batzing Road, Caledonia, NY
August 6-10 If Only Farm Summer Riding Camp for Kids! Ages: 6-14;

August 6-10 If Only Farm Summer Riding Camp for Kids! Ages: 6-14;