Monday, January 31, 2011

Tired of the Snow?

After shoveling off part of the roof of my calf barn today, there is a lot I could say about the upcoming weather forecast. However, I think I will leave it at this photo my friend Ed posted on his facebook wall.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wylde Ride

I ordered the book Wylde Ride: A Horseman's Story by Joe Dotoli with a gift card I received for Christmas.

Feeling a little tired and un-motivated for any equestrian activity like cleaning tack, I picked it up last night and started reading. I did not put the book down until I had finished it.

The book is not long - only 130 pages or so but it is a well written story about an excellent horseman. Peter Wylde is a show jumper and won the Individual Bronze Medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain and was on the Olympic Gold Medal winning show jumping team in Athens, Greece in 2004.

More important than his accomplishments in the show ring, he is a person who cares about his horses. He braided his own horse at the Olympic games. He puts the care of his horses above winning and he works really hard.

Joe Dotoli and his wife originally trained Peter as an equitation rider at their farm in Massachusetts so you get an inside look into the life of one of the top equestrians. The book is well worth the read!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The King's Speech

Okay, another post on a nice indoor activity while we all take a break from shoveling snow.

A couple weeks ago, while I was in North Carolina visiting my sister and her family, we went to the movies and watched The King's Speech.

The movie stars Colin Firth as King George VI. Since I am a huge fan of Colin Firth and England, going to see this movie was a no-brainer for me.

I don't watch a lot of television anymore and rarely go to the movies. But this movie was fantastic, drew me in and I can't wait to see it again.

It has since earned twelve Oscar nominations. So, if you need a break from shoveling snow and a few quiet hours, head to a movie theater this weekend and watch The King's Speech.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Daily Smile

Sometime in 2006, a new website was formed called Daily Lit. I read about it in Real Simple magazine and went to the website.

You can visit their website at

The premise of the site is that books are emailed to you in small segments at a rate that you choose. The small segments only take a few minutes to read and they are in your inbox so you get your dose of literature without carrying a book around. And many of the books (all of the ones I have read) are free.

I have found that Daily Lit a great way to slow down for a couple of minutes. Over the years I have read or re-read many books through Daily Lit. I read Anna Karenia for the first time through Daily Lit. I re-read all of Jane Austen's novels using Daily Lit. I started some books and really didn't like them so suspended the subscriptions.

A couple months ago they sent out their monthly newsletter and suggested we all cater to the kid in ourselves and offered several selections. I chose The Secret Garden which is one of my all time favorites and each day when I read my installment, it brings a smile to my face.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making Plans

At this point, we are all sick of the snow. I think only my friends that ski and snowmobile are happy right now.

So what does a snow bound equestrian do in the winter?

We make plans for summer equine activities.

I have gotten several emails, phone calls and texts over the last few days asking about events.

Have you attended such and such an event? Are you going to this trail ride? Do you want to try this event in 2011?

It makes me smile to start thinking about all of the fun we are going to have riding this summer. We're just going to have to get through a really long mud season first :)

But my friends got me busy making plans too. I've started pencilling in dates on my calendar and even though there are many more events written down than I will probably attend, it is a fun way to get over some of the winter blues.

I've also been filling some of my non-riding time making plans to attend the ECTRA (Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association) Convention - they have a very educational day set up and helping with some Connecticut Morgan Horse Association activities.

And pretty soon it will be time to start planning the Spring Fever trail ride. That will really make me smile!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Cold Out There!

The truth is, I have never been a huge fan of winter. But I have learned to accept winter for what it is and appreciate certain aspects of the season.

However, mother nature just might shatter our fragile truce this year.

We have had a ton of snow and now we have moved onto really cold weather (it was -14 when I left Ashford for work this morning). We should have more snow - another 12 inches or so - by Wednesday.

All of this cold and snow does lead one to be a bit more vigilant in horse care. You may have noticed already, but my horses absolutely love the snow and do not share my disdain for the season.

After reading Joe Camp's book, I decided to hold off on blanketing. After all, horses have survived millions of years without blankets and since none of them are working hard...

The strange thing is John has less hair this winter than he did last winter with two blankets on. And he seems a whole lot happier too. Maybe its not strange at all. Remi thinks we are all crazy. She was raised in Minnesota, this weather really does not phase her much. As long as there is hay, Secret is happy with whatever life presents.

I did notice yesterday that Secret had not drank much water overnight. I know horses often colic when it gets cold and they are not drinking enough water. I took out one of her regular pails and put her heated pail back in her stall. I also added salt into her beet pulp mash last night. She drank plenty of water last night.

And in the end, there is nothing I can do about the cold or the snow, so I guess we will keep taking it one day at a time (and maybe I will start a countdown to spring.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Years Resolutions

I have a lot of new years resolutions for the horses. And have written several very long posts in my head relating to them, but getting it typed and posted has not been as successful.

Instead, I guess I will post a brief synopsis and fill in more details as the year progresses.

Here it goes:

1. Most important is for my horses to stay healthy and happy. 2010 was not a banner year in this category. A couple of "didn't amount to anything but a vet bill" leg injuries and a popped splint on Secret added up to a discouraging health year in 2010. I will be more proactive in 2011.

2. Competitive Trail Rides. John loved them. I loved them. I want to do more in 2011 and ride in some new places too. Number one on the list is Acadia National Park in Maine. My goals for John are to improve our vet ins and vet outs and work on pulsing down.

3. Canter. Secret and I need to get back to dressage lessons and work on our canter. I've been trail riding quite a bit and she really enjoys it, so hopefully that will be a good confidence and balance builder for her.

4. Training. I've started training Remi, she's been backed, she long lines and long story short, she is smarter than the other two combined! I'm really excited to continue working with her but want to take it slow and make sure it is done well.

5. Fitness. To be a better rider I need to do more cross training. I improved in 2010 but more progress can be made. Time to stop talking about running and just do it :)

And there are more, but as I said, I will fill in the blanks later. This gives you a brief idea of what 2011 will look like though!