Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bring on the sun!

Did anyone else stand outside today with your face pointing toward the sky, letting all that sweet, warm sunshine soak into every pore?

Nope, not a sea lion, just Webbly the ram snoozing in the sun.
After some brief sun-worship, I put the new Freeform on Starlight and went for a ride.  

One wonderful thing about the Freefrom is you can put the stirrups wherever you want.  I think I had them a little too far back today. 
Treeless saddle and purple hoof  boots.  Yup.
It's a treeless saddle, and when you look at it on the horse before you mount, it looks like it would position you too high above the horse's back.  Once you're in it, however, it's a comfortable fit with as much feel as a mono-flap English saddle. 

Starlight was a little fresh today, and decided to perform a rare bolt-and-buck combination worthy of a greenie.  She wasn't serious about bucking me off, though, and it didn't take much to get her forward again, the brat.  She almost never does anything like that, and I'm wondering if the unusual feel of the Freeform, with my too-far-back stirrups, made her feel a little wiggy.   
Oh joy, to be riding in the spring sunshine!

We stopped at the mailbox and grabbed the mail before heading back to the house, handing the mail to my husband like we were the Pony Express. 

Stormkite tries on Starlight's stuff.
After I put Starlight back in the paddock, I haltered Stormkite and tried Starlight's very worn purple hoof boots on him.  I notice he has been fairly sensitive on gravel and knew these Cavallo Simple Boots would help, if they fit.  

I expected him to prance around like a park horse when I put them on, but he didn't seem to worry about them at all.  When I longed him on gravel, he stepped out better than he has since coming home, and I was very pleased to see a happy horse with happy feet.  

Much more to do tomorrow, so bring on that sunshine!

Memorializing Starlight's out-of-shape winter body for later comparison
Look! It's a Mt. Vesuvius victim!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, March 28 - April 1, 2013

A long, holiday weekend can mean more time to have fun with your pony, so check out these activities.  A tack swap and a riding camp are on the list, plus the Twin Tiers Trail Riders are setting hooves in the woods during a camping trip in Pennsy. 

So much to do, and Easter eggs too!  Have a great weekend with your horse (You KNOW they love those Peeps)!

First Annual WNYDA Swap Night
When: Thu, March 28, 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Where: Rush, NY (map)
Description: Come shake off those Winter Blues and Shop Till You Drop Great Bargains on New and Used horse related items  Always a treasure – never know what you will find!  Rush Creekside Inn E. Henrietta Road (Route 15A) Rush, NY Admission: Free Dinner available from Creekside's adjacent restaurant Have items to sell at the swap? Contact Gail Stokoe for a table – or call (585) 245-1724 for more information.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Photo Update

A few of the happenings around here, in pictures:
Riding Stormkite outside of an arena.
He's still for sale!

Welcome, Toad Song Verdi!

Going treeless!  It's a Freeform Classic Shortback

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, March 23-24, 2013

It may not feel like the Solstice out there, but our line-up of shows and clinics surely means it's Spring!  Lots to do this weekend, so check it out.  And have a great weekend with your pony! 
Siesta Before Mexico -- Passport Horse Shows
When: Sat, March 23, 11:00am – 3:30pm
Description: March 23 2013- Siesta Before Mexico -- Passport Horse Shows, Birchtown Stables, Inc., 115 Birchtown Drive, Clifford Township, PA 18421 Great For Beginners and Green Horses! 11:00am Start ~ $10 Class. Judges: TBA; Show Manager : Jessica Polednak, 570-241-5195; Facebook: Birchtown Stables Horse Shows.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Surprised by a Great Horse Woman

I decided to take my own advice yesterday, and made a trip to the Critical Topics in the Equine Industry program, sponsored by the NYS Farm Bureau and held at the Cortland Grange.  My husband and I made a day of it, stopping at a Mihandra tractor dealer open house in Binghamton to look at the big machines, then headed to Cortland.
Susan presents at the NYS Farm Bureau program in Cortland.

Even though I had entered the information about this program in the BIG Calendar, had shown it to my husband AND recommended it to readers, I still did not realize who I was about to see present.  Among the line up of presenters was Susan Harris.

Some of you are saying, "OK, nice.  So?"   While others of you immediately realized that Susan Harris is an internationally known instructor, clinician, illustrator and author of many well known books, including -- be still my heart -- the BIBLES of horsemanship: The United States Pony Club Manuals.

Holy Toledo! I was among greatness and didn't even realize it.  Who knew the author of these fantastic books lives in Cortland, NY?

In addition to the most recent editions of the Pony Club Manuals, Susan has written another book on my shelf: Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement.  

I bet you egghead types out there might even have a book of hers on YOUR shelf.  Here's the list: Horsemanship in Pictures, Horse Gaits, Balance, and Movement, Grooming to Win, the three U.S. Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship, and the USPC Guides to Longeing, Bandaging, and Conformation.

She also writes a regular column in EQUUS Magazine, Commonsense Horsemanship with Susan Harris. Also, with Peggy Brown, she produced two DVDs: Anatomy in Motion™ I: The Visible Horse, and Anatomy in Motion II: The Visible Rider™. 

She is immediately recognizable as a clinician when she presents with "the visible horse," a real horse painted to show muscles, bones and tendons in great detail, thus: 

Photo credits to Susan's Webpage:

Susan's presentation yesterday focused on horse movement and how important it is for a rider to help a horse use its muscles correctly to be able to carry a rider.  She said something that helped me remember why it is important to find engagement and collection:

"It's really important for a horse, when it carries a rider, to learn how to use his body well, and no horse will move with a rider the same way he does when he runs free," she said.  "Engagement of the hind quarters switches a horse from pulling power to carrying power."

She talked about the many ways we see horses forced into the appearance of collection/engagement, including a "frame" and rollkur, and stressed that they are harmful to the horse's body and ability to move correctly.  

The program was well attended, with more than 60 people in the audience, and other presenters also offered good information, which I'll touch on in another post.  For me, Susan definitely made the trip very worthwhile!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, March 16 - 17, 2013

If it's tack you're after, this is a good weekend for it, with sales in Horseheads and Homer.  And don't overlook the program the NY Farm Bureau is sponsoring in Cortland, as it looks very interestingPlus, you can start your Saturday yummily by filling your belly at the Pony Club fundraiser!  What a great weekend!

And now that we have officially "sprung ahead," you will have lots of daylight to have fun with your horse!

Newfield Pony Club: All you can eat Breakfast at the Moose Club in Ithaca
Description:  March 16, 8-11 AM. Raffle, 50-50, bake sale. $6/person; kids under 5 free. Help send kids to horse camp this summer! Newfield Trailblazers Pony Club 607-564-9375 or

Horseman's Fair Saturday, Used Tack Swap, New Tack Auction
When: Saturday, Mar 16, 2013
Where: Horseheads Elks Lodge (map)
Description: HORSEMAN'S FAIR One of The Area's Largest Indoor Horse Tack Swaps To Be Followed By A Large Horse Tack Auction Offering All Brand New, Great Quality Horse Tack Saturday March 16, 2013 9:00 AM -- 7:00 PM This Year Being Held at: The Horseheads Elks Lodge 6 Prospect Hill Road Horseheads, NY 14845 Tack Swap from 9:00AM -- 2:00PM Tack Auction from 3:00PM -- 7:00PM Food will be offered for purchase by The Horseheads Elks Lodge Vendor Space Offered at only $10.00 a Table For More Information or to Sign up as a Vendor Please call: 607-654-8837 Brought to you by: Twin Tiers Classic Horse Show Series Sponsored By the Chemung County Agricultural Society

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Riding Stormkite

I have been working on the ground with Stormkite since bringing him home from the trainer's in late February.  By then, I had already been given the "OK" to ride, from my surgeon, but icy conditions, temperatures in the low 20s, strong north winds and his being a very green horse all tangled together to prevent my getting on him right away.
Walking slowly in small circles. 

But I felt good, yesterday, riding Starlight, my tried and true paint pony.  My knee didn't bother me.   And Stormkite's groundwork has gone well; he is showing less resistance with tying and bridling; his longeing is good.  

No time like the present.  Time to ride him!
That spot looks like a wing on the back of the saddle.

We don't have an indoor arena, but we have a hay and equipment barn.  The equipment end is full, but the hay end is empty, awaiting the 2013 hay crop.  Today, the hay end served as a small indoor arena, as I rode Stormkite for the first time in little circles.

He was a good boy! 

PS: A knee note: As I have mentioned, my surgeon is a rider, so he gave me specific advice until my knee is farther alongNo two point, stick to the sitting trot and -- the weird one -- mount from the right to avoid putting full, unsupported/swinging weight on the left knee.   Strangely, neither Stormkite and Starlight, both of whom like to stick to rules, in my observation, seemed to care one bit that I was mounting on the "wrong" side.  And it didn't feel as odd to me as I expected, so that is definitely do-able for the next few months.  It's good training for all of us!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Back on Board

The long-awaited day arrived today with the warm spring sunshine and a flock of geese overhead.  I rode again for the first time since having my ACL reconstructed!  

Oh joy!
She was surprised to have to work, but she couldn't be too feisty on the slick footing.

Back in the saddle!

Slight Twist on Toby Keith

Under an old brass paper weight is my list of things to do today.  

Yeah, well, I'm skipping to this one:
  •  Start ridin.'
That's the next thing on my list.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, March 9 - 13, 2013

Here's your weekend line up, horse peeps!

Be it dressage, buying and selling used tack, gaining some education from an equine vet or commenting on a DEC forest trail plan, there is plenty for Twin Tiers equestrians to do this weekend.

And best of all: It's time to SPRING AHEAD!  Ladies and gentlemen, start your ponies!  The outdoor riding season is upon us! 

Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic
When: Saturday, Mar 9, 2013
Where: Honeoye Falls (map)
Description: 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.