October 2014’s 10 Questions

October 30, 2014


I saw this posted and answered on several of the equestrian blogs I follow and I thought I would give it a go.


  1. How many pairs of breeches/jods do you own? 


That seems like sort of an odd and pointless question, but I have no idea. I rotate through 4 or 5 pair of black and one pair of navy summer weight Kerrits and Irideon tights until it gets chilly and then I switch to winter weight Kerrits (with the cargo pockets) and Irideon fleece lined pants for the winter. I have maybe 6 pair of those in black, navy and dark gray.


  1. How many horses have you ridden?


I seriously cannot even begin to guess at this. Off the top of my head I can count 18 horses that I have owned (counting my sister’s too). We used to swap ponies all the time when I was younger, and I barrowed a lot of ponies when I traveled internationally as well. When I was looking to purchase my most recent pony, Poe, I went and tried well over 20 ponies in that endeavor alone.


  1. How many trainers have you had?


Lots. Shoot, even narrowing it down to just mounted games trainers alone… Michelle, Tamera, Kathy, Janey, Robert, Rob… lots of clinics and short term help…


  1. How many barns have you ridden at?


I have never really ridden for a barn. But I did start off my equestrian life at a weekly lesson barn owned by Mrs Gibson, called Frederick Riding Academy in Frederick, Maryland. I boarded for a while when I was a kid at a private, non-show barn. Then my ponies moved into my parents’ house. When I moved, as an adult, down to Virginia I boarded at a friend’s house, and it was eventually just my ponies there. Now they are at my house.


  1. What is the name of the horse you consider yourself to have the greatest bond with?


Simon. Hands down. He is my pony soul mate.


  1. What is your favorite show name you’ve ever encountered? 


I am not much on show names. (I am also sucking at taking this questionnaire. Maybe I am too old for this type of foolishness). I am sure I have heard clever ones but most of them suck and sound pretentious.


  1. What do you consider your greatest weakness or flaw in riding? 


Over the years I have lost a lot of my courage. I think all of my other flaws fall under that. Oh, I got fat too. That is a huge flaw that pretty much all of my other flaws also fall under. Yep, courage and fatness. And actually, the fatness also causes a lot of the courage loss. So I’ll have to go with getting fat. Fat <- Biggest flaw!


  1. What do you consider to be your greatest strength? 


Well crap, that’s a hard one. I suppose if you focus on games I have a lot of basic equipment skill and know a lot of techniques. But that’s not really a riding strength. I am a pretty good basic rider but I don’t think I have anything that really pops out at me like, “damn, that’s my STRENGTH”. So uh… pass.


  1. Have you ever leased a horse? 


I grew up in Pony Club, and pretty much everyone in my pony club leased a pony at one time or another. I had Berry for years. I rode her and then my sister rode her through most of our pony club years. We got her when I was about 10 years old. And she died when I was about 22 years old, give or take. She was a free lease that just stuck around. My sister had a couple free leases through pony club when she was in her younger years, Princess Wildflower, Pammy, I had Bobo for a few years. I suppose that’s it. I have an older pony that I still own now, Osh Kosh, who I purchased from auction when I was about 18 years old that is out on free lease now to a pony club family.

 10. What is the name of the first horse you rode? 


The first pony I really remember riding (like riding and not being led like in a pony ride) was named Warrior. He was at Mrs. Gibson’s Frederick Riding Academy. A black small medium stocky thing. A perfect school masters that plodded around on the buckle. What a champ.

Boyd Martin – FHI 2014 – Excellent Save

October 29, 2014

At the Fair Hill International CCI***, Boyd Martin had an excellent save on the final water combination.  Because of this he has been referred to as Velcro Boyd, with lots of talk on social media following the event.

You can see his save in this video.  What I love the most is how he shows his experience and quick thinking to make that Log fence after his quick recovery.  He maintains forward momentum and does not cross his path, and still manages to line up the fence, and get his horse over it.  And what a good horse to come back and finish the course.

Zoe and I were at this event, and happened to be at this combination when it took place, shooting off a few photos.  Zoe caught these photos below.


Fair Hill International 2014

October 28, 2014

October 18, Zoe and I went to Fair Hill for the FHI CCI** and CCI*** cross country. It was an early morning and a late night for me, but it was totally worth it, and Zoe was the perfect person to share the adventure with.

We packed up a backpack, my camera with the ~new lens~ and Daisy Dog, and headed out. We arrived, parked and took the shuttle bus over and into the park just in time to watch the Pony Club President’s Cup competition. It was an exhibition competition of the top four placing teams in the senior division at Pony Club Championships in July, and was held next to the vendors. The arena was surrounded by MGAA Jackets worn by MGAA members and we settled down with Wendi, Bonnie and Devon and took in the games.

I think this was particularly interesting for Zoe, who grew up in California, and not part of a Pony Club making this her first Pony Club games experience. We were reminded that in PC you cannot cheer using riders’ names or give instructions during play. We had to keep our big mouths shut which was a challenge. They played 20 races, back to back, which is not typical pony club style. They played some races that were usual for MGAA competitions like mug shuffle and high low, but they also played ones that are not part of MGAA like egg and spoon and ball and racket. I was surprised to not see a single rider loose an egg, but there were balls all over the place in the latter.

When the Pony Club games were done we checked out the vendors. There were not that many, but we still found some interesting things to look at. We picked Daisy up a new heavier blanket by Weatherbeata for the colder winter months. It came complete with a belly guard and pop up neck collar. We had some crab cakes and crab soup and then headed down to one of the water combinations to catch some of the CCI** cross country.

We got to see Marilyn Little, who rode with my sister in Frederick Pony Club when they were kids, take on the water complex, as well as an array of other top of the line riders.  Later, during the CCI*** we saw one of my old teammates, Colleen Rutledge clear a nice combination.  It is really exciting for me to follow these former allies in their equestrian careers.  Colleen in particular, since we spent so much time traveling internationally and riding on mounted games teams together for the US in the 1990s.  I recognized Colleen coming over the hill from her position alone, and as she drew closer, by her red flushed face.

Zoe and I moved around the course, taking in different sections.  There were three water complexes, which are always thrilling to watch.  We saw one horse pulled up by his rider, and pulled from the course.  He was nearly complete but seemed to have pulled up lame after clearing a fence.  Some of the fences and combinations were more challenging than others.  We saw quite a few awkward  efforts on the particular combination we caught Colleen on.  And we were very impressed with how Colleen flew through the section, making it look smooth and easy.  There was one lady rider on a gray about midway through the CCI***, we were unsure who it was.  We watched her come out of the first water combination with such skill and a determined look on her face.  Zoe commented that she was a rider ‘out for business’ as we watched her race away and down one of the gallop lanes to the next fence on the course.

It was extremely exciting.  Zoe and I stayed until the end, managing to catch up with quite a few friends we were not expecting to see.  On the way home we stopped at Ihop for some much needed sweetness.


boyd 01

Boyd Martin

Liz Riley

Liz Riley


Colleen Rutledge


Marilyn Little

Allie Sacksen

Allie Sacksen

alexandra knowles

Alexandra Knowles



Nokesville Horse Society JPR 2014

October 23, 2014

This past Sunday was the Nokesville Horse Society’s JPR (Judged Pleasure Ride) at Sky Meadow State Park in Virginia. It was the 5th and final leg of the 2014 Crystal Crown Series. I did this ride last year, when it had a Wizard of OZ theme. It was awesome! This year the theme was the 70’s. And it was awesome!


Val and Zoe met up with me, and we rode out together after getting our 70’s on. Half of the points for the final obstacle were decided on if rider and horse had on three visible 70’s items. We planned ahead and borrowed a set of tie dyed matching t-shirts and helmet covers from the Old School team gear, and Val brought paint which she and Zoe applied to our ponies in the form of flowers and ying yangs. We looked good. Other riders had on giant wigs, flowers, big sunglasses, and peace signs, not to mention tassels and fringe!!


The first obstacle, “Saturday Night Fever” was a wooden structure, much like a run in shed open on both ends, or a covered bridge maybe, with the walls and roof made of tarp. There was a strobe light and music playing inside and shiny tassels hanging down. It was an extremely windy day, and Simon and Rhea (Zoe’s pony) were having nothing to do with it. Of course Val and Sprite walked right on in and scored a perfect 10. Val ended up leading us both through afterwards for the experience. Simon all put pooped his pants as he ran out, completely sure that he was leaving Sprite to his fate with the pony eating monsters inside.


The second obstacle was our favorite. It was basically light saber jousting called “May the Force be With You”. There was a barrel with a light saber on it. The rider, picked up the light saber, and then at a minimum of a trot, needed to spear two rings, ring jousting style, and then place the light saber on a barrel at the end. Using our mounted games skills, we crushed this obstacle like pros. The volunteers at this obstacle were extremely awesome, and let us run back and forth through it a few times, laughing ourselves up and cheering each other on in true mounted games rider fashion.


The third obstacle, “Pin Ball Wizard” was supposed to involve pushing a giant horse ball through a cover leaf pattern, but the high winds required a change, and riders just needed to trot the pattern. Seemingly easy, I trotted off first, and on the back, right hand barrel turn, Simon’s games skills kicked him and he tried to launch out of his turn into a canter, so I got a minor dock on that one.


“Everyone Knows it’s Slinky” was another fun obstacle. It involved a table, with a step stool on top of the table and a slinky on top of the stool. The rider needed to ride up and slinky (to their best slinkying ability) the slinky down the steps. We all did pretty well at this one too. The ponies were a little ansty, expecting us to grab and go, but all in all, we cleared this one in pretty good fashion.


“Twister” was the next obstacle along the course, and included a really well made spinner! The rider spun the pin, and it landed on a color and hoof. Then the rider needed to place that particular hoof in that particular color. I went first and Simon did challenge me a little by deciding to rest his hoof on the toe in the circle, before I got him arranged properly. Sprite was also a little antsy. Rhea wanted to spin the spinner herself but then squared up in her circle nicely. Easy-peasy and on we went on a nice hack through the woods and hills.


We all rocked on through “Grovey Garden” without a bat of the eye. Reflective hanging, and spiny things lined both sides of the wide trail, with music playing and everything blowing around. I was really impressed with Simon, because I expected him to at least be a little looky, but nope. Rhea being only five months under saddle was very impressive as she marched on through. And of course Sprite, thought nothing of it.


“Halloween (the movie)” was a challenge that I felt went better than expected. There was a post with a rope over it. The rope was a long noose hooked around Michael Meyers neck, which was a stuffed dead body on the ground. The rider needed to collect the end of the noose, drag the body forward, and then back back up to the starting point, returning the rope to the pole. Simon, the x-driving pony, who has shown nothing but continual terror at dragging things since his career change, was excellent at the drag and other than being a little off angle, backed up like a champ. I was slow at picking up the rope and then returning it to the post, taking my time to get it properly on, and went over time by a few seconds. Boo. Zoe did the same thing, after Rhea performed expertly. Val just made time with a quick turn at the end and leap over the flags.


The next obstacle was the water one, “Orca (the movie)”. There was a creek crossing with a blown up pool orca in the water. The pony needed to fully enter the creek, stand for the count to five, and then walk out. Sprite, who had pretty much dominated the whole course was a little antsy and not very interested in standing still getting Val docked a few points. Simon and Rhea stood like champs and then Simon insisted on a long drink afterwards.


The “Harlem Globetrotters Slam Dunk” was the next obstacle, and it required the rider to pick up a ball from a barrel, ride to a ground pole, halt, and then toss for a basket. None of us made the dunk, but we all rolled through pretty smoothly. Val and I both got docked for not pausing long enough at pick up and drunk, with Zoe showing us up with her and Rhea’s laid back performance.


The final obstacle was the “Cool Cat’s Hula Hoop”. We got stuck in a bit of a traffic jam before this one and our ponies were bouncing around waiting for their turn. Note to self for next time, ride back down the trail and around and come back when the line should be shorter rather than wait in line. By the time we were up to go, all three of us were dancing around. We each had to ride up to a post, pick up a hula hoop, side pass over a few steps, stop and whirl the hoop around for the count to five (or maybe it was three) and then side pass back, and hang the hoop back up. My first half was excellent, but my pass back was a bit forward, with Simon being ready to move on.


We finished up and were greeted by the organizer, Kari, who asked how things went, our favorite and least favorite obstacles, etc, and then were provided an AMAZING lunch. The cookies with the coconut in them… three thumbs up on those in particular.


This ride was AWESOME! The organizer, and all the volunteers were fantastic and all dressed in theme! All three of us had an amazing time goofing off together, playing dress up, and challenging our ponies and ourselves. One thing we did find challenging was the rule to “not coach” each other through obstacles, and restraining our loud cheering support. We also wish there were more of these JPRs available, but unfortunately three of the five fall on the same weekends as Mid-Atlantic competitions. Maybe we will get luckier next year!


I snagged the first seven photos from organizer Kari and volunteer Bobbi off Facebook.  The others were taken by us while we were riding.























Hack in the fall

October 21, 2014

My husband snapped off this candid shot of me out on a hack with Simon last week.

I was having a stressful few days and this was that ride that I really needed. The one that made made my shoulders drop back below my ears and the wrinkles in my forehead unwrinkle.

Nothing like hacking the stress away.



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