Monday, October 29, 2012

In the Eye

I don't know if we're actually in the eye yet, but it sure seems like it.  We are just getting thrashed by this storm.  Glad we have the generator!

Our new pole barn is supposed to be used for hay and equipment, but it has some temporary residents tonight, as the hurricane has proved to be too much for the meager defenses we put up against it, in their usual stable. 

Here they are, camping out for a couple nights in the pole barn.
Water and hay help keep Sandy away.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Battening Down

We spent the last two days preparing for Hurricane Sandy.  

At once point, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's interactive storm tracker predicted that the eye of the storm would travel right up the next road over from ours. Grrrrreat.  But, now it shows the eye passing a few miles to the east.  Still too close.  It will be hitting this area Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'm hoping it will be a much weaker storm by then.

Here are a few shots of our preparation.

The ewes examine my work -- I staked down their "ewegloo." Ram looks on.
The definition of insanity -- the torn shreds of last winter's TWO canvas wind blocks, at the stable end.

Expecting a different result this year? Why not!? (actually, we will permanently wall it this year) 

Might as well add one to the front of the barn while we're doing futile things.
Burdock helped.

Trying out the new wind-block.  DeCato stays out when Hudson is eating.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Oct. 26-28, 2012

If you haven't noticed, Halloween is coming and now is the time to dress up with your pony and go haunting at a couple of shows.  If that's not your bag, check out the eventing clinic or head out on a pace.

Lots to choose from this late October weekend in the Tiers, so have go fun with your horse!

October 27th:  Halloween Dressage Show at Gale’s Equine Facility Horseheads, NY.  Contact Gale at 607-796-9821 or

Oct. 27-28: Eventing Clinic with Will Coleman, Braebern, Farm, 2103 Barnes Rd., Walworth, NY. Intro-Training/Prelim groups, entry is $260, Auditing is $20/day or $30 for both days. Contact Troy Wing at

Oct. 28: 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

Oct. 28: Stoneybrook Farm Halloween Haunted Open Horse Show; Dryden, NY. Classes for all levels of Pleasure and Hunt seat riders. Compete all day in Costume. Ribbons to 6th place/Division prizes. Many best costume prizes; Costumes are optional but Boots and Helmets with Harnesses are required when mounted anywhere on show grounds.     (607) 564- 0063;

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hunter Fashionistas, Eat Your Heart Out

Here's a real hunter princess for you!  
Yet another flattering riding ensemble by Yours Truly.

I was hunting the hunters today, patrolling our woods on Hudson to make sure no one had slipped past the "No Trespassing" signs.

Hudson was UP and we were ready for bid'ness as I loudly sang a warning song:

"A'hunting I will go!
I'm hunting Archer Joe
You better not be trespassing
So grab your stuff and go."

If they didn't understand THAT warning, the sheer obnoxiousness would send them scampering.

Luckily, I didn't spot any blaze orange besides that on the gorgeous maple trees, but
I did find where all the local deer are hiding.  


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Looking Ahead

Not to be deterred by injuries, I'm putting the finishing touches on these lovelies!
Homemade jumps in our barn colors!

A good garage project for cold evenings.

Friday, October 19, 2012

OK, I Get it Now: That's Bad

Question: How can someone snap her anterior cruciate ligament, damage her medial collateral ligament and meniscus and fracture her tibia and walk away saying, “Fortunately, this injury is fairly minor?”

That’s the question that has been rattling in my head since yesterday afternoon, ever since I got the diagnosis from the ortho clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center.    

I went back and looked at the blog post that mentioned my injury, here, and I’m struck by my blasé reaction to the injury that is now causing me to choose between knee reconstruction surgery or a lifetime in a knee brace.

After the injury, I knew it was bad from the type of pain I was feeling, but a family doctor diagnosed it as a sprain or strain of what turned out to be one of the only two ligaments I didn’t actually damage, and sent me on my way with instructions to ice, wrap and take ibuprofen.  I’m not blaming her, because I obviously was either in denial about the extent of the injury, or I’m so accustomed to injuries and pain that I was unable to tease out the seriousness of this injury in an already sore and fairly abused body.

So, now I have to make a decision.   

I’m using the brace now, to see how it goes, for a few weeks.  I was instructed to wear it for pretty much everything I do, because my unstable knee could go again (and has, which is why I sought additional medical help) and could cause another break in the main support bone of the lower leg.   

Being an otherwise healthy and fit 49, the idea of wearing a brace for the next 40 or 50 years does not sound better than having surgery that will mean six or eight months of rehab.  But, the decision still has to be made, and, in addition to wearing a brace, I’ll be researching outcomes for the surgery.  Reconstructive surgery doesn’t necessarily mean “good as new.” 

If you know of anyone who has been through this surgery, send them my contact info.  We have to talk!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Fun Day at the Races

If you missed the Genesee Valley Hunt Races this year, don’t miss them next year!

I picked this winner, Sky Count, in the third.
The hunt races, held on a lovely course north of Geneseo, NY, offer a variety of entertainment and activities, even for your non-horsey significant other and children.  After going for the first time this year, I heartily recommend it!

The 2012 races included a main race card with races on the flat and over fences.  It also included fun races, such as small and large pony races with kids aboard, a moderately paced, amateur  “chase” over fences, and a sport horse sprint, won for the second year in a row by a dark bay, mixed breed named Woogie.

In addition to the races, the event included food vendors offering soups, sandwiches and sweets, tents full of the work of local artisans (alpaca hair socks!) local produce and a petting zoo.  Other activities included Jack Russell and “wiener dog” races, dog agility and other fun activities to watch and do.

It was a chilly day, but with enough layers, my friend Trish and I were happy enough.  We set up our chairs near the finish line and watched the races through the main event, the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then headed home.

Here are some shots from the day.
A Jack Russell wins in a blur.

Small Pony winner crossing the finish. He's named One Stinky Pony, ridden by Katie Hindt.

Woogie, winning and keeping the Sport Horse Sprint title, with Danielle DeSain aboard.

This groom got clocked by his horse's head and bit at the finish line.  Medic!

Master of the Hunt, Marion A. Thorne, parades the hounds on the race course.

Mickey The Belgian and rider Jennifer Rogers made it across the finish line in the Heavy Horse Race.

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Oct. 20-21, 2012

The Big Calendar is getting smaller as the 2012 riding season winds down, but there is still so much to do on horses in the Twin Tiers.  And I noticed that many organizations are starting to post their 2013 schedules, so the calendar will soon start to grow again.

Kind of makes you dizzy, doesn't it?

These fall days are the BEST for riding, so have a great weekend with your horse.  

October 18th & 19th: WYNDA Walter Zettl Dressage Clinic at Houghton College Equestrian Center, Houghton NY  Contact Joanne Young 585-567-4374  or

October 20 Big Loop Hunter Pace: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM; 640 Artline Rd Eldred, PA 16731 RAIN OR SHINE!

October 20 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Arnot Forest, Van Etten, N.Y. Contact Linda Hendricks 607-342-3534 or, starting at Rt. 13 parking area

Oct. 20 Farewell Trail Ride Pure Country Campground 176 Kelly Road New Berlin, NY 13411 FALL. Come stay with us this last ride in the Fall. Stay ½ price and we will all join together in the pavilion for dinner and stories. Call Jim at 607-847-9265 or at 607-847-6139. Bring your pictures, your stories, a pot of chili, a bottle of wine, and lets chat!

Oct. 20-21 Halloween Happens at Chestnut Ridge - Jumper Show 10/23, Dressage Show with Costume Classes 10/24, Gasport, NY. For more information, contact Sue Williams at (716) 772-2707/2957 or For prize list/entry forms, go to

October 21:  Fall Dressage Camp with Michelle LaBarre.  See newsletter for more information or contact Chris Hand at

Oct. 21: Genesee Valley Hunt Hunter Pace, 9 am to 2 pm - Geneseo, NY.
Fast Teams go from 9 am to 10 am, the rest of the divisions will ride from 10 am to 2 pm. Contact Erica Hutten at 585-354-7229 or for more info and/or download the Entry Form

Friday, October 12, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Oct. 13 - 16, 2012

It's off to the races for me this weekend -- the Genesee Valley Hunt Races, that is.  My friend and I are going as spectators.  If you haven't made plans for Saturday, check the hunt race link.  It looks likes a great day full of activities.  Of course, there is plenty to do in the next few days.  Let's hope the sun shines!

Whatever you do, have fun with your horse this weekend!

Oct. 13: Genesee Valley Hunt Races at Nations Farm, Geneseo, NY. For more info, go to or contact Janice Barrett at (585) 243-3949 or
Oct. 13: Hunter Jumper Clinic- For registration form please click here. Carriage House Saddlery, Trumansberg. Instructor PJ Tymann: PJ Tymann is a Freelance Riding Instructor from Rochester, New York. During the 80's she focused primarily on Hunters and Jumpers both on the Quarter Horse Circuit and the AHSA rated shows. After winning two World titles in All Age Jumping in Oklahoma, she moved to Doylestown Pa. to focus on Jumpers. There she competed in the Jumper ring in Modified Jumpers and Mimi- Prix.

October 14th - Welcome Fall Series II; If Only Farm, Ithaca, NY 

Oct. 14: 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.

October 14 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: Connecticut Hill Ride – JoAnn Schwab, 607-739-2554 or

Oct. 15-16: GVRDC Lucinda Green Eventing Clinic at GVRDC Horse Trials grounds - Geneseo, NY. Cost to GVRDC members is $250; non-members, $275. Auditing fee is $20/day or $30 for both days. Volunteering opportunities are available in lieu of auditing fee (see Clinics Page for volunteer opportunities and Entry Form).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mental Practice

Those of you who have horses are often awed by the way horses think about things on their “down time.”  

DeCato and Starlight tracking sheep.
What I mean is, when you teach a horse something, they might not get it quite correctly the first day.  But, often, the next time out, they get it right away.  It always seems as though they have thought about it in between sessions and figured what you wanted, and then they show you right away, “See?  I got it!”

I just love that about horses, because it definitely shows a willing interest in this strange partnership we have with them. 

Starlight recently showed me this amazing ability to think about things on her down time.  As you know, the other day, I used her to herd and stop the sheep, and toward the end of this short, intense session, she was starting to get it.

Well, yesterday, I went out to the sheep.  I’m concerned because they don’t seem to be drinking water.  So I started to herd them toward the water (the water is on one of their spots, so they’ll go there).   

The sheep took off at a run toward the water, and this of course, interested the horses.  Starlight had been hanging out near me, on the other side of the fence, but when I started the sheep going, she suddenly kicked into gear.  She outran those sheep, who were running up the fence line, then turned toward them quickly and stopped them right in their tracks. 

Then she looked over at me with her ears pricked.  “See?  I got it!”
Good girl, Starlight!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sheep Work Starlight

The sheep appear to be stuck.  They found a spot in the pasture that they prefer, and they stay there.  All the time.   

The other horses joined in the chase. I'm on the far right.
Yesterday, my husband and I had to herd them in the direction of their food and water, so they would at least know it's there.  Now, they will go from their spot to the food and water, and back, but noplace else. 

There happens to be a lovely shelter in the pasture, but they have not gone anywhere near it.

This created a perfect excuse for me to get on Starlight and try to use her to herd the sheep toward the shelter.   

Several times, she and I moved them from their first spot to their other spot, at which point they would tear ass back to their first spot.  My goal was to use Starlight to block their flight back and redirect them toward the shelter.
Back everybody goes, to the first spot.

We did this three or four times, and each time Starlight got better and better, until the last time, when, as soon as the sheep started running, she didn't wait for me but took it on her own initiative to try to outrun them.  

Those little boogers are incredibly fast!  

During that last attempt, we followed them to their second spot, and then saw my husband coming down with the camera.  The sheep took off toward their first spot, and Starlight watched them go, as if she were saying, "There they go!  Let's get 'em!"  

But her sides were heaving and I'm sure the sheeps' were, too, and it was starting to rain, so we called it a day.  

We'll get them in that darn shelter yet, even if it takes all winter!

Sheep: 4; Amy and Starlight: 0.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

We Interrupt this Horse Blog to bring you...

Moo Mary and Valley Bahbah, the newest additions to our farm.


"Beep beep.  Hello! We're the sheep!"

Moo Mary, left, and Valley Bahbah, right.
They are Barbados sheep and they don't grow wool.

 The horses are shocked.

"What the heck ARE they?"

"Sheep! Run!"
 And now back to our regularly scheduled horse blog...