Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Twin Tier Horse Activities, March 1 -3, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Inspiration from the Expo

We're just arriving home from the Pennsylvaina Horse World Expo and I'm thinking about our best take-aways.  

Clay Maier shows his skill with Friesian training.
For those who don't know (or follow the links on the BIG calendar, which you all should do), the Horse World Expo is a huge symposium of horse training experts, vendors and horse enthusiasts, occurring annually in Harrisburg.  

It includes training and information sessions in five locations: two lecture halls, a round pen, a larger arena and the well-known Harrisburg main arena, which is 240 by 120 feet and surrounded by seats.  The Harrisburg Farm Show Complex hosts more than 200 events a year, including the PA national Horse Show, rodeos, garden shows, sporting shows, and, of course, the PA Farm Show.   In addition to the lectures and riding programs, the expo holds 500 vendors.

The Expo Facility
Since my birthday falls near the Expo, going to it with my husband has become an annual birthday outing for me.  We stay in Harrisburg a couple nights, go to the expo, hit some restaurants and usually, I come home with a desirable horse goody (and this year was no exception).

We have it down to an art.  I go to the riding programs that interest me, usually a diverse assortment, and my husband strolls through the vendors and attends lectures.  This year he focused on field management and equine emergencies, and I focused on long-lining and young horse starting.

The young-horse starting was a refresher for me, necessary because we're bringing Stormkite home tomorrow.  Although he as been working under saddle for a couple months, there are some major holes in his ground training.  I remember what good success I had with Hudson, after learning some horse-starting techniques watching Chris Cox at the Expo, and she remains, to this day, the most mannerly horse in my barn.  Watching Aussie Guy McLean start a beautiful little appendix mare this year reminded me of the methods that saved my relationship with baby Hudson nearly 10 years ago. 

Guy McLean, being cool the way Aussies are.
The other biggie for me was watching a long-line and driving expert named Clay Maier demonstrate how to start a horse in driving, as well as an introduction to long-line training.  He used a beautiful Friesian to demonstrate his skills with long-lining, which included the horse half-passing around him in a circle, as he stayed in the middle, like the hub of a wheel.  Really lovely work.  

His basic training on teaching a horse to start pulling was solid and sensible, with a heavy focus on safety for horse and handler.  I'm interested not only in long-lining all my horses, but in getting Hudson pulling, logs to start, and eventually, maybe, a cart.  Since she is a strong half-draft who has an obvious sense of accomplishment, I have a feeling Hudson would excel at the higher level long line techniques and she would get a kick out of showing-off her strength in pulling heavy things. 

Not to mention that she will enjoy being the focus of my attention.  As I have relied more on my fun riding pony, Starlight, I have sensed a bit of hurt coming from my number one mare, Hudson. 

Starlight is not being ignored, though.  I had a lengthy conversation with Paulita, the Freeform saddle vendor, about this treeless saddle, and also sat in it. Although I have some concern about pressure on the back from treeless vs. treed saddles, the Freeform saddle seems to distribute weight evenly, with a semi-paneled system that intrigues me.  Their pressure tests have shown good weight distribution.

In addition, I had a chat with the makers of Wyoming saddles, who custom make Western saddles for drafts, mules, gaited horses and any riding horse, actually.  They told me they could make a short, flared and hoop-treed western saddle for my little Starlight that would fit the horse for an amazingly reasonable price, and get us ready for some cow events this year.

"I shall put my queenly massiveness to work."
Oh, and the desirable horse goody I mentioned?  It is a long-lining package from Clay Maier: a gorgeous leather surcingle, long reins, a training DVD, and a driving whip made of graphite that is so light you barely feel it in your hand.  It sounds funny, but when you're handling long lines and a whip, the typical plastic whip starts to feel awfully darn heavy, especially if your hands and wrists are at all compromised. This whip is as light as whip cream.

I'll keep you up on our progress as we start back in the training arena with a renewed excitement.  And that feeling is really what I always bring home from the Expo: a great enthusiasm for working with horses.  

And this time of year, with winter soon to become a chilly memory, and considering my newly-attached ACL, isn't this just a great time for it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Feb. 21-24, 2013

We have several activities for horse enthusiasts this weekend.  

If you are a Pony Clubber at heart, or think you want to be, check out the Horsemasters program at Lane Cove. 

If it's showing you're interested in, head to Birchtown for one of their winter show series events.

And then, there's the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo in Harrisburg.  It's a ways out of the Twin Tiers, but such a big event I included it here.  Clinicians, demonstrations, a whole lot of vendors with horse stuff for sale.  Wow!

There are several new activities in the BIG Calendar, too, so don't forget to scroll through it and see what's coming this year!

Have a great weekend with your horse!  

Horsemasters Meeting at Lane Cove Dressage
Description: Feb. 22, 7 p.m.:. The Southern Tier Puddle Jumpers Pony Club is now offering: a Horsemasters program for area adults that are interested in learning more about horse management and riding. 
The Horsemasters adult volunteer program is designed to support & assist the local Pony Club -Horsemasters have regular mounted/unmounted meetings separate from Pony Club -Horsemasters can achieve "certificates" like Pony Clubbers achieve "ratings" -Horsemasters have the opportunity to ride in regional/national clinics and events -Horsemasters is fun! This is a great way to meet riders and learn more about the horse management and safety of your horse. -2013 membership applications are now due. 
A question and answer informational session will be available on Friday February 22nd at 7 p.m. Applications are now available for those that would like to sign up. Please contact our club for more information about this fantastic 

Pre-Game Saint Patrick’s Day-- Passport Horse Shows, Birchtown Stables

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Your Next Horse?

Stormkite will be coming home next week, so we’re getting ready to have a fourth horse again.  

Wouldn't you love that cute face in your stable?
He’s for sale, folks!  Here’s a link to his sales info: 

He has been started under saddle while I was on the DL, working at Lane Cove Dressage with Ashley Haffey.  He started there on Dec. 11 and is going solidly walk-trot-halt.   

I’ll continue his training once he’s home, working him on trails and hills.   

He should be a fun trail horse for an adult who likes a smaller horse, or a 4-H kid’s horse, eventually.  He’s a little fresh for a kid at this point, although he has never bucked under saddle, so he’s definitely started in the right direction.

We have a lot to do, so I better stop writing and start working. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Feb. 16-17, 2013

Here are a couple of interesting activities.

I see that Ms. Kelley is offering several classes this year at Big House Stable, all focusing on improving your riding.  She's a Centered Riding instructor, and these could be worth looking into.

In addition, Michelle LaBarre is holding a two-day clinic.  She has a good eye and can help whatever ails ya' in your riding. 

Also, I received schedules for two different hunter pace series, and added them to the BIG Calendar.  They are the Cohocton Hunter Pace and the Big Loop.  Just the thought of a hunter pace gets me excited about the riding season to come!  

And Reins of Hope is looking to train some volunteers in March.  Take a look at the calendar for details, if you're interested.  

Have a great time with your horse this weekend! 
Activity: "Improving Your Balance and Turns" Susan Kelley, Certified Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor
When: Sat, February 16, 10am – 12pm

Description: Susan Kelley, Certified Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor, will teach you to use the exercise roller to enhance your balance and suppleness on your horse. 
Susan will first demonstrate and then teach participants to open up your tight shoulders and loosen stiff necks. Use of the exercise roller can help bring awareness of habitual imbalances. Learn how to strengthen the weak side, improve core strength and balance and how to apply this into your riding. $15, 10 am to noon. To register, please call or e-mail Susan by the Friday before each class. 
All Classes will be held at Big House Stables Loft 15 Avon Rd. Geneseo, NY. See or contact Susan Kelley at (585) 507-3397 or

Activity: Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic
Where: Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. 
When: Sat and Sun, Feb 16 & 17.
For info about Michelle,
To ride in the clinic, contact Mary Delton at Auditors welcome. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities for Feb. 9-11, 2013

Anybody wishing this winter would just go on and on?  

Hey! How about forgetting about snow storms for a little while and instead start thinking about sex?  The Genessee Valley Equine Clinic is hosting a short course on horse breeding.  Get out of the snow and get you some education.

And have a great time with your horse, this breezy weekend in the Tiers!

GVEC Short Course: Sperm Meets Egg. . .It's Not As Simple As It Sounds!
When: Mon, February 11, 7pm – 9pm
Description:  GVEC Short Course: Sperm Meets Egg. . .It's Not As Simple As It Sounds! by Amy Leibeck, DVM, 7-9 pm, at the Genesee Valley Equine Clinic, Scottsville, NY. 
Cost: $8.00 per person. For more information; 585-889-1170;
Toad Song Farm's first lamb!
If you have never been given the evil eye from a ewe, here you go!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It Doesn't Work, So Knock it Off

I read something today that confirmed my conviction about an ugly practice I have noticed in certain arenas – actually, it’s more of a shoot than an arena.

I like barrel racing.  At least, I enjoyed the couple of times I attempted it, and I plan to do it again in the near future.  I also admire the speed and training and the staying-on-around-sharp-turns part.   

But I absolutely detest the way some riders kick and beat their horses when they clear the last barrel and head for the timer.  Not only is it poor horsemanship, but it is also terrible equitation. 

Have you ever seen those chicks fly in the air off their horses’ back, because they are kicking them so hard?  If you haven’t seen it, here’s a picture.  They seem to think this poor treatment makes their horse go faster.

And the horse looks so happy at its job...not.
Today, a well-respected publication focusing on horse health, called The Horse, ran an article about a study that shows that beating and kicking a barrel horse made no impact on how fast the horse finished the pattern.  In fact, all that treatment did was cause the horse to resist going into the arena, and the ones that were kicked the most were more likely to rear. 

Well, there’s a surprise.

Here’s what the researcher had to say about the study:

"At some amateur levels, barrel racing riders are encouraged to aggressively use both the whip and the leg to increase the velocity of the horse," said Karen Waite, MS, equine extension specialist and researcher at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Mich. "But there appears to be no relationship between the use of the whip, leg, or reins and the final run time of cloverleaf barrel race patterns."

Here’s a link to the article.  You may have to register to read, if you haven’t before, but it’s free and very worth it.  The Horse has thousands of free articles that give insight on horse behavior, health, “equinomics” and more. 

I hope this study makes a positive difference to some horse and rider teams out there.