Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter hits Day Creek!

Brrrr! It must have been 50 degrees on Sunday when Carolyn and Ceilidh bundled up in their matching winter attire. See, it does get cold in CA!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ram Tap: Sunday, Nov. 15

Its late on Sunday and I'm happy to report that the day went spectacularly well overall.

Sara and Calvin were the first up. They took a rail or two but after the show was over the two of them schooled some cross-country fences and they looked AWESOME. Whatever imperfections showed up in the show jump arena they clearly worked it out in the field.

Reese was a superstar (she says modestly about her own horse) but his success didn't come without Michelle working her buttocks off to keep Captain Klutzy from stalling out completely. Oddly, he was pretty calm in the morning but after the show was over and people started schooling the cross-country ski-jump he could see, he went BERZERK just like yesterday. Either he's anxious to prove he can do the big boy jumps or he's thinking "are you freaking crazy?".

Still, I couldn't be happier that he finished on his dressage score to take a third place ribbon.

Next up was Carolyn and Ceilidh. To quote Carolyn, "I don't bounce as well as I used to." 'Nuff said.

Ok, not quite enough... Her one boot with the broken zipper was fashionably held together with black duct tape. It looked a little odd to have one shiny, almost patent leather boot and one normal one, but later we saw that her fashion statement is becoming all the rage. There was one other competitor following in her fashion statement today with the bold slash of silvery tape! It's the look that's sweeping the nation!

Nick and Buck pulled a rail and had some time faults but still managed to stay in second place to win Training Level Reserve Champion for Area VI. Way to go boys!

Breaking down was, as always, filled with a little sadness and a little relief. Sad that the fun was over but some relief that, after four days of 5am - 7pm days fighting the damp cold of Fresno, we were going home. It was great to be showing with Nick and Sara, who were super helpful every single step of the way. It was also great of Dusty and her friend Sherri to come up and cheer the riders on with food, drink and moral support. Their sometimes bawdy revelations kept the mood light, that's for sure!

Sorry there's no pictures; the one tragedy of the weekend is that I can't find my digital camera (yet) so no more pics until Carolyn can pull them off the videos or Dusty can forward to me what she took.

Off to bed now for me, it's been a long but fantastic weekend. Thanks to one and all for their help and support!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ram Tap: Saturday, Nov 14

CROSS COUNTRY DAY -- better known as the day my four year old turned... three (no....more like the terrible twos! - cjb).

The day started off at a balmy 38 degrees as we left the hotel at 6:30. Brrr! A little coffee and we were off to walk Carolyn & Michelle's course one last time before the rounds started at 8am in the crystal clear frost covered grounds & jumps. After hoofing it around the tricky end of the year course that shared most of the fences (most? try only two additions..... whine..... - cjb) with the championship class we went back to the barn.

As much as Carolyn may have been suffering some show-day butterflies, Ceilidh was IN THE ZONE. Suddenly, the nutty persona was replaced by a cool, calm professional. She even deigned to nibble at her heretofore untouched breakfast to get enough calories to take on the task in store. She studied the back half of the cross-country course, plotting how she would tackle the ski jump-to-the-corner combination that was causing so much trouble for the division ahead of her.

Reese, on the other hand, became the four-year-old baby that he's never acted like before. He saw the first training horses galloping across the course and suddenly, he had a HUGE SPAZ ATTACK in his stall. Running and calling and stomping and kicking - it was like he was doing an immitation of Ceilidh. Once I took him out and walked him around, he calmed down almost immediately but every time you put him back in the stall, he went kooky all over again. Fortunately, once we got him tacked up and Michelle rode him up to the warm-up arena, he was back to his old, dependable self.

Then it came time to go into the start box. Or not. Later, Michelle confessed she could have really used a hand getting in there, although it looked ok from where I was standing. The first jump looked dramatically squirrely and according to Michelle the next five or so were just as weird from where she was sitting. Bottom line? They got around clean though a little fast - a huge surprise to those of us who thought she'd be getting off and pushing by the end!

The only problem was he didn't go to sleep from exhaustion like he should have. Each rider he saw going on the course only revved him up even more. I'm writing this hoping that he's still in his stall tonight - you can only stay so long at the showgrounds before it becomes obsessive after all.

Carolyn had issues to deal with even before she got on her horse. Her inexpensive zip up field boots broke as she was getting dressed to ride!! This is why I HATE zippers on boots. She made quite the colorful picture with silver duct tape holding both boots together. However, Ceilidh was so in the zone and powering around the course all you saw was a silvery blur! The pair re-entered the eventing world after five years with a double clear round, finishing in the middle of the pack.

Sara and Nick both had excellent rides as well, ending the day the best way possible - with every horse and rider combo coming home safe and sound. Sorry, no pics today because my tired, gin soaked brain left the camera at the barn. Look for a retrospective next week sometime.

Tomorrow - show jump day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ram Tap: Friday, Nov. 13

Dressage day. Blch. Bottom line? Everyone did GREAT.

The day started off at, as Nahmi puts it, obnoxious o'clock in the morning. One free breakfast later (thank you La Quinta Inns & Suites!) we were on the road to the barn. The horses were fed by 7am and then we sat around and waited for the dressage to begin. Odd foot note: Ceilidh once again got her stall door open but stayed put with merely her lead rope as a stall guard. Buck got out entirely and wandered the aisle until some kind competitor figured out where he belonged and put him away. Perhaps his show name ought to be "Houdini"??

Good news? Everybody's braids stayed in. Yeah! Bad news? It's still dressage.

Reese and Michelle did FANTASTIC for his first event dressage ever. Ok, he fishtailed a bit like the Mac truck that he is but he is the cutest Mac truck ever. Maybe I'm a little biased, I'm not sure. They got a 32.4 to finish in the middle of the pack at 5th.

Ceilidh has found her show spirit and calmed down a bit. Carolyn had a great warm up and a test that she described as the test of extremes. There were some horrifyingly tragic moments and yet some moments of brilliance. The good thing was that Carolyn stuck to the plan and kept riding no matter what Ceilidh did. She also finished roughly in the middle of the pack with a 40- something score.

Nick and Sara both put in really excellent tests. I've never actually seen either do dressage at a show and they did really well with Janet biting her nails on the sideline both times.

Show statistic: Ceilidh is the oldest in her class while Reese is the youngest in his division. Talk about extremes. (Ceilidh isn't the oldest horse in the show - that honor belongs to a 19-year-old stalwart, God bless!)

A few gin & tonics later, Carolyn and Michelle (plus the dogs) walked their beginner novice course. To see their course, click here.

Stay tuned for the results!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ram Tap: Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Reese's First Show: Part 2
A Lovely November Day in Fresno

Since Michelle took the horse's up on her own on Wed. night, Carolyn and I got to "sleep in" and leave home at 6am. We got to Ram Tap just in time to see Michelle riding Ceilidh in a vain attempt to try and beat the rain. In Scotland, today would be called "a soft day". Here in So Cal, it was "Storm Watch 2009!!!" Just kidding. It drizzled most of the day and was a balmy 60ish.

Ceilidh continued in her love-struck behavior, being an absolute freak in her stall and even under saddle until Michelle let her blow her jets out and gallop a bit. After that she looked great. Reese returned the nuttiness, bellowing from his stall for his new girlfriend until it was his turn to be ridden. No surprise to his mummy, Reese was picture perfect. He went right to work and didn't take a silly step the whole time which was really good since Michelle's neck and back are really bothering her. The only time he jumped is when he passed Carolyn and I as we got up to in the dressage judge booth we were sitting in to hide from the rain. Michelle worked him past it so hopefully tomorrow it will be no issue.

Braiding this afternoon was a real treat. No seriously, it was really nice to braid in broad daylight for a change instead of by flashlight. Ceilidh was a little wound up but Carolyn got the job done. Reese was stellar, standing there half asleep as Michelle braided him down as if he'd done this a hundred times before. Carolyn finished tying the braids up into buttons for Michelle in an attempt to give him a manly-looking neck. Did I mention Michelle managed to make about a hundred braids in an attempt to make his neck look long as well? We'll see how successful both were tomorrow.

It finally stopped raining late in the afternoon. A quick lunge for both horses, a quick scrubbing of Reese's legs in an attempt to make his white sock white, a few gin and tonics and the next thing you know, it's nearly dark. Carolyn had to clean her tack by lantern light - hopefully she either did a good job or the dressage judge is nearsighted.

Speaking of braiding by flashlight, poor Sara had to do just that since they had to wait for her to get out of school before leaving for the show. I'm sure it will look great --- or maybe she'll get the same nearsighted judge!.

Keeping my fingers crossed that the rain is over because soggy dressage would be a drag.

Here's the photos from today - enjoy!

Can't wait till tomorrow (picture me here biting my nails!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reese's first show: Part I

So Reese's first real recognized event is underway. As I sit here sipping my wine, Michelle is winging her way to Fresno with Reese and Ceilidh in the back... in the trailer, not the back seat. Although from her early reports Ceilidh is raising quite a ruckus just like a big sister. Or maybe a big sister from the south (since she is from Louisiana) as she is waaaaay too hot for her adopted brother. Four plus hours in the trailer won't helping the bonding issue. By the time the get to Fresno she'll be firmly in love and he'll be utterly confused. Sounds like the first boyfriend I had in college. Should make for just that much more exciting weekend for all!

Tomorrow... the day before show day and highlights of Reese's first haircut!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Everyone has settled into the new digs

It didn't take long for the horses or riders to settle in to the new digs at Day Creek Ranch. We all love how absolutely peaceful it is. I just wish I could have gotten some pics of all the guys who work there. They do a great job of keeping the place sparkling clean and the horses well fed.

Here's some pics of the place - enjoy!

On a side note, last week's fires in Moorpark came dangerously close to our friends back at Vista del Mar but thanks to the efforts of the fire fighters every one was safe and sound.

We have our sights set on getting a big group together to compete at Ram Tap in November so hopefully we'll see some of our local friends there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Home at Day Creek Ranch

It was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to all of our friends at Vista Del Mar and moved to our new fancy digs at Day Creek Ranch. The move wasn't without some bumps but I think we'll all agree that the new facility is terrific and we're eager to get to work.

Click here to see the photos from moving day. It's better if you hit "slideshow" but be sure to stay tuned to the last photo - it's a winner!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jump Painting Crew Hard At Work

Thanks to everyone who helped with painting the old fences and making everything look brand new again. We're nearly ready for the big move to our new home at Day Creek Ranch come Aug. 1. A big thanks to Dusti, Patti and Michelle C. who did the lion's share of the work - it all looks great girls!!

For a look at the paint crew at work and the crazy new jumps, click on to the jump photo album.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sapphire Profile: Reese & Vinnie

Sire: Soul of the Matter
Dam: Alaskan Revelation (Reese)
Clippin Time (Vinnie)
Official Name(s): Top Gear (Reese)
Watsa Matter (Vinnie)

Born: 2005

Barn name: The Boys
Peanut and Captain Klutzy (Reese)
Hey, stop eating that boot! (Vinnie)

It’s hard to believe that the brothers Soul celebrate their one year anniversary with us today, June 2.

Last Memorial Day we skipped the usual celebrations. Instead, Capparelli, Michelle Emmermann, Carolyn and I headed down to Ramona for my first serious day of horse shopping. My past horses – 3 mares – had fallen into my lap at various times of their choosing. Since that method had what could best be described as “mixed results” Michelle (and others) were bound and determined that this time I would be much pickier. Ok, let’s face it; the general consensus was that I should have nothing to do with choosing my next horse. Prepared to leave it to the experts, I had girded my loins for months of searching, sitting on hundreds of horses to find just the right one. For the record, Reese was the third horse I rode. (Ironically, Vinnie was the second but more on that in a second.)

It was freakishly cold the morning we headed down to Ramona. I figured the purpose of the trip was to kick a few tires and dip my toe into the pool of horse shopping. Teeth chattering, I rode the first horse, who was nice, but I didn’t feel any magic in the seat of my pants. Surely if he was The One (cue angels singing) there would have been magic, right?

Horse #2, ironically, was Vinnie. It took me about a half of a loop around the arena to know that I was in way over my head. It took me five more minutes to convince Michelle that my “WTF” reaction was unshakable. The problem was that she was head over heels in love with Vinnie from the first moment she saw him.

Finally came Reese. I was cold, damp, and tired so when I saw him – all 16.3 hands of him – he seemed gigantic compared to my more familiar 15.3 little mares. I was less than enthusiastic especially after the woman who owned/trained him had to lunge him again because he was a maniac. I thought, “Seriously? This is supposed to be my chance to take my time and get my NOT crazy horse.”

Then I got on him. And..... yep, still nothing. No angel choirs singing under my butt. I rode him around, he felt ok but he was also in draw reins so who couldn’t feel ok? Then Michelle says take him over a few jumps. Seriously, in draw reins? I have (or hopefully had) heavier hands than the Iron Giant so jumping in draw reins seemed like a bad idea. Surprisingly, Reese couldn’t have been more perfect. He gallumped up to the jump, floated over it, and gallumped on afterwards. Considering the fact that I was used to riding screaming maniacs you may be asking, “what more does a horse have to do to impress you?” I’m not sure but I still wasn’t feeling the love. Be fair – it was only twelve hours ago that I learned my last beloved little mare had arrived safe in her new home. Did I really have room in my heart for a new horse?

Still, Carolyn and Michelle truly believed that Reese was The One, no need to look any further. Added on top of that was the pressure that someone else made an offer on the horse so it was time to poop or get off the pot. Part of me wanted to believe it was this easy but the part was thinking, “what happened to months of searching, endless rides, etc.?” What was left to say but the words every trainer longs to hear? “Well, if you think I should buy him, ok.” That leap of faith has proven to be the best step I’ve ever taken.

Long story (semi) short, a week later both boys arrived back home. They’ve been beyond fantastic since then and in time will prove that Soul of the Matter should be the daddy of the next generation of event horses. Too bad that his owners have stopped breeding him. Hopefully, once they start showing and revealing to all just how good they are EA Ranches will change their mind. In the meantime, I’ve grown to love and cherish Reese like no horse I’ve ever known.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Congrats to Caps and a Show Update

Congrats to Michelle Capparelli for her new horse, Cracker Jack, aka Jack.

He's a GINORMOUS 17.1 hand, 4 year-old Irish Sporthorse from Virginia (so he neighs in a brogue with a southern accent, y'all. don't make fun of him, he's very sensitive about it.)

He's a sweetie and definitely the horse she deserves after a long search.

And now for a show update:

Michelle E. and Dixie broke 30, getting a score of 29 on dressage, putting them in second place. Sarah and Calvin were in third after dressage. Don't know the results after today's show jumping so fingers crossed nothing has changed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

John's too sexy for his vest!

Here's the long awaited video of John's maiden voyage on the cross-country field set to music that the collective genius that is Sapphire Eventing thought of as we watched him go. Congrats, John, it was great seeing you out there. Hope you had as much fun as we did watching you go!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mini Tornado raises the roof at LAEC

I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but I’ve been at the Center for nearly twenty years and it wasn’t until Kris showed up that the roof of the barn blew off. Coincidence? Hmmmm...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Volunteering at The Event Derby is fun!

Kudos to Camille and Carolyn for their diligent volunteer work at the last Event Derby.

To see the whole article about it, go to LAExaminer and learn more about volunteering. Plus earn me a penny every time you click! Hey, sign up to be a subscriber and you won't miss a single word! Next time there'll be pictures, I swear...

Keep in mind that they'll need more volunteers for the next Derby, the first weekend of May. For those of us who celebrate the Kentucky Derby, it's a bit of a conflict but a wee bit of a mint julep might make it better....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sapphire Profile: Ceilidh

Sire: Aspro (TB)
Dam: Toy Ploy (TB)

Official Name: Another Toy (grey mare)

Born: January 1992

Barn Name: Ceilidh (Kay-Lay = Gaelic for "a party / gathering"), aka: The White Queen, Big Mama, Energizer Bunny, and Walking Accident

Career 1: "Race Horse"

*Ceilidh raced in her home state of Louisiana. She had an amazing 21 starts from May 1994 thru August 1995 (that's a LOT of racing for those not into the sport, most trainers don't race horses this hard and it took it's toll as her performance flagged) The fact that she didn't break down is a miracle and testament to her nature.

Winnings: 1 first, 4 seconds, 2 thirds
Total Earned: $10,641

Career 2: "Hunter"

Competed "Green" Horse divisions and "Adult Amateur" divisions

*Carolyn's leaving out a few details here in Ceilidh's story. She came to Carolyn's hunter barn a bit of a freak, leaving a trail of broken cross-ties in her wake. Clippers were a big no-no to Ceilidh as was touching her face, ears or looking at her cross-eyed. It took a lot of patience on the part of both owner and the barn manager at her first barn to get her over a lot of issues.

Career 3: "Eventing"

I bought Ceilidh in December of 1996. She was to be my A/O Hunter. As you can see above, we never quite made that goal. The judges thought we had too much "personality" to put it politely, and we thought it was just plan ol' boring! So, the big switch to Eventing.

After "clinic-ing" just once, we entered our first competition - The Event Derby at Flintridge, at the exciting level of "Intro Beginner Novice". She won the class handily on her dressage score of 33.5.

She never looked back. After 20 "starts" with placings no lower than 6th in 16 of those events, she climbed all the way to have 4 Preliminary's under her belt, there seemed no stopping her. She gave her all for her "mommy" and was the "catch-ride-queen / loaner" for our barn when other horses came up injured -- all this on an undiagnosed muscle disorder known as EPSM (equine polysaccharide storage myopothy).

However, Ceilidh had other plans. She decided that she was a cat. And being a cat, she had nine lives. Back in November of 2005, it looked like she used the last of them when she had a horrible accident of her own devising. Being creative, she pretty much chewed up her right hind and lost a good portion of her medial long collateral ligament. No one, including myself thought that she'd ever make it back. But you can't keep the energizer bunny down. *** hello! Aunt Marla told you all along she'd make it back just fine... more importantly Ceilidh knew and that's what really counts.

Proving everyone wrong, with her heart-of-gold and amazing work-ethic, she healed with the clear go ahead that we could compete again. But the lay-up and injury spawned new problems of their own. Just when you thought she was out for the count, she bounces back and is ready to go again.

It's been a rough four years, but things are looking up. She looking for fences and is eager to gallop. Here's to a sparkling 2009!

Hobbies: Near fatal accidents, Ruling/Running the barn, putting the "smack-down" on naughty horses.

** I hate to edit entries that Sapphirians are kind enough to send but I feel compelled, as Ceilidh's Aunt Marla, to add in a few details Carolyn humbly left out.

As a hunter, Ceilidh was a positive SPAZ at shows. I personally watched her drop about 100 pounds at a hunter show in Bakersfield by doing nothing but spinning in her stall all day. Granted, it was Bakersfield and there wasn't much else to do but still. It was only through Carolyn's patience and Michelle's ingenuity that they finally got her to become the calm, show professional that she is but beware, the inner spaz does show through from time to time.

Ceilidh's injuries are much more creative and numerous than Carolyn admits. She left out the gnome wound gained somewhere along the course in Shepherd Ranch that sliced along her hoof. She contentedly bled like a stuck pig all the way back to her stall from the finish line (which is when we knew for certain she was a "cutter") and was very disappointed not to be able to finish the event by doing the show jumping. ("What? It's just a lousy four inch long, two inch deep gash along my hoof, I can still jump!")

Somewhere after that came the poisonous spider bite, the first of the "this horse will never jump again" injuries. Carolyn faithfully stayed by her horse's side and kept walking her since the vet said that would be the best thing. No matter that the leg was gruesomely huge and most owners (myself included) wouldn't be able to handle it. But Carolyn did and with her intense, never-say-die care Ceilidh made a full recovery.

Oh yeah, and then there was the hock infection that Carolyn ended up driving from Burbank to Somis (long before Ceilidh lived in Moorpark) nearly every day as well as working a 40 hour plus week as a music editor. That's about a 50 minute drive for one way those not familiar with the area. All just to go up and cheer up her horse who wasn't allowed to leave her stall.

One other tiny detail Carolyn left out was the whole reaction to her lay-up. "New problems of their own" doesn't quite cover it. Someone (usually Carolyn) had to go about elbow deep in Ceilidh's thigh (yes, insert her gloved hand in between skin and muscle and if you don't think it was weird/gross you aren't imagining this correctly) and clear out the old bandaging material and re-insert new stuff. I'm not even sure what it was all for but I'm not sure I could have done it. The best part was hearing Michelle scream like a girl when a blood clot about the size and consistency of a hot water bottle came splurting out.

The point is, Ceilidh owes a huge part of her miraculous recoveries to Carolyn's undying devotion. Not every horse is the Engergizer Bunny and not every injury is easily overcome, but I have learned a lot about how much difference an owner's care and devotion can make from this stalwart combination.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

LA’s secret equestrian Shangri-La

Back in February, the Kool Kidz went to Hummingbird Nest Ranch. Tucked away in Simi Valley, an area best known for its Presidential library and steamy summer climate, Hummingbird Nest Ranch is a veritable paradise for both horse and rider.

Managed by my friend Angele Fogg, Hummingbird Nest Ranch boasts of a sand arena with state of the art footing, a derby grass field and a Grand Prix field with multiple size banks, 8’ and 12’ water jumps, table bank and double liver pools. It also has a grob. I have no idea what that means. If you do, please e-mail me and let me know. There are also miles of trails that link up to the sumptuous ranch setting.

But that’s just the beginning; the barns have individually heated stalls, fully equipped kitchens, spacious tack rooms and their own veterinary clinic. There’s even an air filtration system to rid the barns of pesky odors. Insider tip: I have it on good authority that even though their poo doesn't stink they still have flies so there you go.

At this time, the three barns have space available for boarders or a trainer looking to set up shop at a world-class equestrian location. (No, Michelle, you can't move there).

Private clinics with top of the line riders of all disciplines are offered at Hummingbird throughout the year. More recently, Hummingbird’s highly experienced staff has turned its attention to equine recovery and rehabilitation. They have a Eurociser, treadmill, Game Ready and Centurion at your equine therapist’s disposal to speed your horse’s recovery.

Hopefully there'll be another schooling in our future but in the meantime thanks to Angela for making everyone feel welcome!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cross-Country Schooling at Twin Rivers Ranch

Thank God the Starbucks in Moorpark opens at 5am so we could get caffeinated up to get our horses ready in the pitch black for a 6am departure. Still, there isn’t enough Toffee Nut Latte in the world to make the frigid temperatures pleasant (and for future reference, Nahmi doesn’t get any latte at all – don’t ask). Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we got the ponies loaded up and only left twenty minutes late for the four and a half hour drive up to Twin Rivers in Paso Robles.

The drive up went smoothly (except for Nahmi’s issues with coffee – ha ha) but we were stunned when we pulled into Twin Rivers – there were so many trailers it looked like there was a show going on! It’s a tribute to how well Connie Baxter and her daughter, three-star eventer Andrea, run the place that the big crowd was no problem for them. It also shows how popular the events up at Twin Rivers are since it seemed like every eventing barn in So Cal was trying to squeeze in a schooling before they shut the course down for the show at the end of February.

The excitement level was running pretty high as we unloaded the horses and settled them in. The only veterans of the group were Nahmi on Simon, who used to live at Twin Rivers, and Nick on Buck. Midnight, Vinnie and Reese were all newbies, facing cross-country for the first time. Oddly, it was Simon who bellowed his head off the entire afternoon as everyone else settle in just fine.

It goes without saying that Buck was his usually show-stopping, spectacular self (ok, Nick was pretty good too) and the Nahmi/Simon combo offered a few hair-raising moments but other than that were stellar. But how did the “virgins” do? Here’s the shakedown:
  • Reese -- SUPERSTAR! Ok, maybe being the mummy I tend to exaggerate but I couldn’t be happier. He even took me over a couple of fences on the second day and seemed much more in tune with the job now that he’s getting a handle on it.
  • Vinnie – All things considered Vinnie held it together extremely well. His leap into the water is something that only Michelle, his mummy, could ride but other than that he seemed to learn quite a lot from his field trip as well.
  • Midnight – John and Cathy have had this mare for a long time but have never asked her to do cross-country before. She seemed to take to her new job really well and quickly learned that jumping natural objects was a lot of fun.
  • John – That’s right, John bravely went out on Angelino, his 20 plus Grand Prix dressage schoolmaster who’s been there, done that on elementary level cross-country jumps. On day two, John even abandoned his western saddle and tried out Cathy’s Antares. Hate to say it, but I think he’s hooked.

At the end of day one, we were all relaxing with gin & tonics and various snacks when there was a call for help. One of the horses who live on the property got cast but in a most unusual way; basically, the horse’s rump was sitting up on the top of the fence that divides the two stalls. John gave a mighty heave, with the rest of us basically serving as back up, and freed the stuck horse without any further ado.

Day Two was noticeably lower key. Maybe it was the early mornings catching up, adrenaline burn-out, or the disappointment of knowing that we’d be packing it up at the end of the day and returning to “real life” but even the other groups seemed quieter. Everything went really well and other than a couple of tough moments trying to get the horses loading back up (either Reese didn’t want to leave or he REALLY didn’t think he’d fit his bulky mass in the last stall of the trailer) the day couldn’t have been better. In fact, the whole weekend was about as perfect as it could possibly be. Thanks to one and all who made it such a memorable weekend.

Pictures and video montage to follow!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sapphire Profile: Sparky

We're starting our profiles of Sapphire Eventers with Nahmi and her horse Sparky, arguably the very first official "Sapphirians"!

Sire: Sabotage (Holsteiner)

Dam: Marianas (TB)

Born Aug 1994

Official Name: The Scottsman

Barn Name: Sparky, The Sparkinator, and Mouthy Bas_ _ _ d. (Ok, I added that one because he eats everything)

So in owner Nahmi's own words.....

I bought Sparky Sept 2001, for my birthday, Happy Birthday to me. Yup that would have been right after 9-11-01.

I had just come into a little money, a windfall from the sale of my mom's house. The house I grew up in. Final remnant of my parent's divorce. i had planned to take a trip to Italy Sept 2001. We were scheduled to leave Sept 15th....needless to say, trip didn't happen.

I guess you could say that Sparky was my consolation.

Sparky had very little show experience before I got him. We worked our way up the levels catching lessons were we could. Sparky was amused and somewhat entertained by my early attempts to pilot him around a warm up arena.

Fortunately for us, Michelle moved back from the East coast about a year after I bought sparky.
She has helped us to continue to improve our partnership and now he has learned to tolerate my show nerves. Despite some health setbacks, we have worked up to toying with preliminary level. Long term goal to one day participate in a one star.

Sparky has a mischievous personality. He knows he is super handsome and likes to be the center of attention. If he feels he's not, he will put anything in his mouth to be it. He finds waving manure forks around in the barn aisle particularly effective. His favorite late night snack is a legwrap.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday Celebrations at Sapphire Eventing

Happy Holidays from all of us at Sapphire Eventing!

We hope you had a safe and happy celebration and are ready for the exciting eventing season coming up in the New Year!

For a whole album of our little “family” celebration, click here: