Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Mare

I have been trying to get a draft horse show halter for Hudson since July.

She is registered as a North American Spotted Draft Horse, but she is actually half draft. This has caused some challenges in the draft-horse-halter-fitting department. 
A super (sized) model!

Her head doesn’t fit any of the standard-sized draft halters, not the full draft or the 2-year-old draft or the Haflinger. 

I learned this through multiple interactions with the folks at My Draft Horse Super Store. 

After a couple of their handmade, standard-sized show halters went back and forth, from them to me and back, not fitting right, I was pulling out my hair.  I really wanted one of those lovely white halters for my lovely black and white mare, but I couldn’t find one that fit!

So Addy, at My Draft Horse Super Store, who had been amazingly patient with me all along, then suggested that I send Hudson’s measurements and they would make a show halter that would fit my girl’s non-standard head.

Just so Addy can see the person who kept bugging her!
Well, it arrived recently and it was worth the wait.  She may not be a standard draft horse, but she sure looks gorgeous in the draft horse show halter, made just for her.

Thanks Addy, and all the folks at My Draft Horse Super Store!  If you folks ever need a model for your custom halters, just give Hudson a call!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Twisted Roads, Twisted Truths

Hudson and I took an hour-long trailer trek over hill and day yesterday to Second Chance Thoroughbred’s open house in Spencer, NY.  Our goal was to catch a ride with Ashley Haffey, of Lane Cove Dressage, who was there giving lessons based on the concept that dressage, done well, creates a lightness in a horse.
I feel a dressage tirade coming on.

Instead of that, let me recommend that those interested in learning more about the philosophy of creating lightness in a horse through kind training and natural movement should pick up a copy of Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage, a Search for a Classical Alternative by Karl Phillipe.
It was a good lesson, and a hard one.  I had to try to figure out how to use my hands in a way I never have, and to NOT use my legs in the way I always have.  Hudson had to try to figure it all out under me, and I feel sorry for her.  She is a cooperative horse, but I wasn’t being a very good teacher.

And I learned my mighty race horse has not been taught to do a canter depart in an arena.  Since I never ride her in an arena, and I’m the only person who rides her, and I never taught it to her, this can hardly be surprising.  We can go from halt to a full gallop on a trail, but ask for a normal canter depart in an arena and it’s off to the trot races.
Is there lightness in there, somewhere?

So I have two jobs ahead of me.  One is to try to apply the lessons Ashley imparted, and the other is to get a nice canter depart from my big heavy girl.  

As usual, Hudson was exceptionally well behaved, allowing me to tack her untied in the grass of a strange farm in 20-mile-an-hour winds with two young thoroughbreds running excitedly around in the pasture next to which we were standing. 

Since it was just Hudson and I on this trip, I was grateful to have a horse as confident and cooperative as Hudson. I consider myself lucky for this, every time we go out together (and most of the time in between.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Oct. 26-27, 2013

Brush off those unicorn costumes!  Horse Halloween parties are on the schedule this weekend.  If that's not your thing, check out the dressage clinic and the OTTBs available for adoption at Second Chance Thoroughbreds' Open House.  I'll be there for a ride in the clinic on Hudson, and we're always good for a laugh! 

Whatever you do, have a great time with your pony! 

Gentle Dove Farm Versatile Horse Obstacle Clinic
When:  Saturday, Oct 26, 2013
Where:  Marcellus (map)
Description:  Gentle Dove Farm Versatile Horse Obstacle Clinic Mounted Police Style, Presented by Joann Long, National Mounted Police and Toronto Police Mounted Services Certified. Hosted by Century Stables, 4753 Limeledge Rd, Marcellus, NY 13108. Riders will work with their mounts in creative sensory and obstacle situations, with the emphasis on versatility challenges. Spectator's welcome! Join us for the Obstacle Clinic Saturday from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm! For more information/registration, go to or contact host Jen Weinheimer at 315-382-1109.

Open House and Ashley Haffey Dressage Clinic at Second Chance Thoroughbreds
When:  Saturday, Oct 26, 2013
Where:  Spencer (map)

GVEC Short Course: Children's Horsemanship presented by Sean Nash
When:  Sat, October 26, 9am – 11am
Description:  GVEC Short Course: Children's Horseemanship presented by Sean Nash, DVM, 9 - 11 am, at the Genesee Valley Equine Clinic, Scottsville, NY. Cost: $8.00 per person. For more information, call 585-889-1170 or go to

Halloween Dressage Show and Costume Classe at Chestnut Ridge
When:  Sunday, Oct 27, 2013
Where:  Gasport (map)
Description:  Halloween Dressage Show and Costume Classe at Chestnut Ridge, Gasport, NY. For more information, contact Sue Williams at (716) 772-2707/2957 or For prize list/entry forms, go to

Stoneybrook Farm Halloween Horse Show!
When:  Sunday, Oct 27, 2013
Where:  Newfield (map)
Description:  Stoneybrook Farm Halloween Horse Show! October 27th 2013 Come and show in Costume in all classes! Many” best costume” prizes Classes for all levels of Pleasure and Hunt seat riders Ribbons to 6th place/Division prizes Boots and Helmets with Harnesses are required When:   mounted anywhere:   on show grounds. (607) 564- 0063

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Last night my hubby stepped outside for a couple minutes.  When he came back, he said the most terrible thing: "Almost feels like snow out there."

Here in the Twin Tiers, we don't need reminding.  Days are getting shorter and chillier.  This has caused me to dwell in a little self-torture.  

Care to indulge?  Here you go (you might have to click on the two charts to actually read them, but you get the idea):

The sunrise/sunset calendar for October. Losing minutes every day.

The weather through the end of this month.  Down we go...

Soon it will be time for this:
An old photo when I had five horses, one wall and a strong north wind.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hudson's Purse

I received this in the mail today and it gave me a surprised chuckle.  
It's Hudson's winnings for being the "5th Heavy Horse."  
You mean they paid me to have that much fun?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Oct. 19-20, 2013

This is one of your last weekends to catch some popular hunter paces, as both Cohocton and Big Loop hold their last paces for the year.  And that Genesee Valley Hunt pace is probably awesome, as well.  A trail ride and a clinic round out our weekend activities.

Get out there and have fun with your pony!

Scarecrow Dinner Ride at Pure Country Campground
When:  Saturday, Oct 19, 2013
Where:  New Berlin (map)
Description:  Scarecrow Dinner Ride October 19th Ride with us on Saturday afternoon Ride with us from Pure Country to Deerpath starting approximately 1:30 pm. Tie up for late lunch. Just a fun time. October 19th. Rain Date October 20th. Day fee charged of $10 from us. About 3.3 miles there.

Big Loop Hunter Pace
When:  Sat, October 19, 9:00am – 12:30pm
Description:  Last one of the year? October 19 Hope to see you all at the Loop for the hunter paces! Lets make it the best season yet! 640 Artline Rd Eldred, PA 16731

Genesee Valley Hunt Fall Hunter Pace
When:  Sunday, Oct 20, 2013
Where:  3351 Nations Rd., Geneseo, NY 14455. (map)
Description:  Event Name: Genesee Valley Hunt Fall Hunter Pace Event Type (Hunter Pace, Hunter Trials, Trial Ride, Horse Show, Clinic, Other): Hunter Pace Event Date: October 20, 2013 (always the 3rd Sunday in October) Affiliation: Genesee Valley Hunt Location name: Wheeler Green/ Genesee Valley Pony Club Address: for GPS purposes, use 3351 Nations Rd., Geneseo, NY 14455. For entries, mail to: PO Box 483, Geneseo, NY 14454 City, State, Zip Contact Info: 585-354-7229 Contact Name: Erica Hutten Email: Phone Number: 585-354-7229 Web site Address: Description:   of Event: Optimum time will be set prior to the start; Hilltopper winning time will be the median time of all entered teams. Teams of 2 or more riders may enter. The marked course will feature wooded trails, fields, creek crossings, and a little Genesee Valley mud with a range of obstacles including logs, coops, and other jumps typical of the hunt country. ALL JUMPS ARE OPTIONAL; fencelines to be crossed have coops and hand-gates

Dutch Henry -- Open Clinic / Fundraiser for the Bea D. Samaniego Rider’s Assistance Fund Therapy for Your Horse – Release & Relaxation Exercises
When:  Sunday, Oct 20, 2013
Where:  Harpursville (map)
Description:   Verde Views Equestrian Center: Open Clinic / Fundraiser for the Bea D. Samaniego Rider’s Assistance Fund Therapy for Your Horse – Release & Relaxation Exercises Sunday October 20, 2013 9am till 4pm* Horses Among Us , Thank God "When:   I think of the horse's spirit and how it has selflessly carried the spirit of man through the ages I'm awed at the nobility of them. How they have answered every call with strength, beauty and unquestioning devotion. No matter the sacrifice. Today, the noble horse is embarking on perhaps its most important calling … The healing of man." ~ Dutch Henry Join us in this open and collaborative opportunity to learn easy to use consistent techniques that will benefit your horse, increase your bond and awareness of your equine partner’s needs. Dutch Henry incorporates a variety of techniques drawn from his experiences with Diane Sept, Julie Goodnight, Sally Swift, Peggy Cummings. Dutch is also a monthly contributor to Trail Blazer Magazine and published Author. Check out his articles and blog on Facebook ~ Dutch Henry

Cohocton Hunter Pace
When:  Sun, October 20, 1pm – 5pm
Where:  Impatent Acres, 3120 Henry Drum Road, Cohocton, NY 14826 (map)
Description:  Five to Seven miles of trails over natural terrain with about 30 jumps from 6 inches to 2.5 feet. All jumps have optional go-arounds. June 30, July 28, Sept. 15 Oct. 20 1-5 p.m. (last ride out at 4 p.m.) Impatent Acres, 3120 Henry Drum Road, Cohocton, NY 14826 Cost: $20 per ride. Youth (under 18) $15 per ride. Riders must go out in groups of two or more. Children 13 and under must ride with an adult 21 or older. Proceeds to benefit Local Youth Horse Clubs -- Loon Lake Raiders, 4H Club, 4PenNY Pony Club. For information:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hudson's Big Race (Get it -- "Big?")

Yesterday was the big day for Hudson and I at the Genesee Valley Hunt Races.  We were in a field of six entries in the Heavy Horse Race.

My brain is still doing all the things a brain does after working hard toward a particular goal, then accomplishing that goal, then experiencing the day-after-accomplishing-the-goal.

A random review:

The hounds getting organized before the parade.
--Hudson was well behaved from the moment I asked her to get on the trailer to go to the event to the time I asked her to step off again at home.  (After that she seemed to be in a foul mood, though, pinning her ears and taking kicks at her adoring followers, Starlight and DeCato).

--The Hunt Races are a gorgeous horse event.  You just can't find anything more pretty and perfectly suited for Autumn in Upstate New York.  It was definitely the biggest crowd I ever rode before, with people setting up elaborate and yummy-looking tailgating spreads, sitting in folding chairs along the rail, hustling and bustling among the other activities at the event.
The Heavies heading to the track.

--We experienced one of those "Did that just happen?" moments when Hudson and I were walking around the grassy van parking area and we were suddenly surrounded by about 20 foxhounds.  They were on their way, with three or four mounted members of the Genesee Valley Hunt, to do a parade of the hounds before the grandstand.  Hudson and I had never been in a sea of foxhounds before, but they came and went so quickly, Hudson barely had time to lift an eyebrow. 

--I had to borrow five pounds from the real jockeys to weigh enough for the race.  I have never been in a jockey's tent before. 
Entering the track
Interesting, place, quietly sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the event, with slender men and women getting ready for their races.  These steeplechase jockeys are not as small as the thoroughbred flat track jockeys that you see on TV in the USA, and some of them do have gorgeous Irish accents (!).

--My husband, who said he didn't do anything, was a huge help yesterday.  When you have a horse at an event, it is really tough to manage alone.  He doesn't think he's doing anything when he stays with Hudson while I'm running around trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do, but that is important.  Plus, he gave me a leg up in the paddock and reminded me to unhook my inflatable vest so I wouldn't blow up like a marshmallow when I dismounted -- a spectacal that would have scared me and Hudson and amused everyone who saw it, no doubt.
Here we come!

--Thanks to Trish Pierce for taking most of these pictures and offering kind encouragement all along the way.  And to Wendy Youmans and company for the big cheer when Hudson and I entered the track. 

--Regarding the race itself, Hudson and I got off to a slow, fairly sideways start and never caught up with the field.  We weren't last, but the gap between us and the leaders was bigger than the one Secretariat left in the Belmont.  Our delay at the start was due to my cuing her a little slowly to run, and to her credit, she didn't try to take off with the rest of the huge horses, but waited for me to say go.  One of my goals for the race was to not get into a crowd of horses, because I wasn't 100 percent confident that Hudson would behave herself.  Well, we didn't have to worry about that!  We never saw anything but their tails in the distance.

At the finish. 
The sideways part was her idea, though, caused when the one horse that finished behind us started running.  Hudson's not used to horses running behind her, and she thought sideways was advisable at that point.  It didn't take us long to get back in the right direction though.   She gave me a lot of steam on the turn for home, and made up some of the gap to the leaders, but she petered out at then end.
That infamous big white arse again.

The crowd did give us a big cheer when we finally made it across the finish line, though, and the bugle player gave us a drunken-sounding hurrah. 

And, despite Hudson's obese persona, she recovered quickly from the half-mile run and was impatiently ready to go home not long after that.  

So home we went, relieved that ours was one of the few races of the day in which no riders fell off, particularly, Yours Truly!