Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The bat strikes again!

Another bat adventure last night. The kids reported a dead bat in the basement on Saturday, but when Bruce went down to get him, he was nowhere to be found (a fact Bruce conveniently withheld from the rest of us). This one, though, did not fly into a bucket like the last two, so it was a full force family chase around the house! Rowdy now thinks chasing bats with tennis rackets is more fun than hitting tennis balls (although in the final showdown, he asked to be excused from the room - a wise move since I might have taken his head off as I was swinging at the swooping thing)! We had to finish watching "Rudolph" afterward just to settle everyone down!

Now we are getting ready for family arriving today, and I just looked out to see Bruce with MORE LIGHTS and extension cords in his hands! Bruce, honey, it's just three days until Christmas, there are already more lights than the power company can handle - please . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is it spring yet?

I am trying to enjoy these days of not being able to ride and immerse myself in the Christmas spirit . . . but it's just not quite working! I've done all of the cooking/baking I can do this far ahead, wrapped what is here (please let FEDEX get the last of it here!), and now I just want to ride. The melting snow we had at the end of last week with frozen ground underneath sent a torrent of water down in front of the arena, which immediately froze over Saturday night and Sunday - so it is a true ice skating rink for 30 feet in front of the arena. The high areas are okay, so we've been able to at least get the horses outside into the top paddocks, but there will be no riding for the big guys for several more days! The frustrating part is that as soon as you get in the doors of the arena, it's warm (ish) and the ground in there has not frozen at all (which was the problem last year with the sub-arctic temps). Oh well - Merry Christmas, ponies - enjoy your break, and we'll get back in shape soon enough!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Go Meagan and Bentley!

Meagan Davis is 6th again and moves into the A Final at Young Riders World Cup in Germany - huge congratulations on this outstanding accomplishment!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let it snow, let it sleet, let it rain!

It's our 6th snow day of the school year, and winter doesn't even really begin until next Tuesday - that can't be a good sign! We woke up to a beautiful fresh blanket - several inches of perfect snow still falling - but it has now changed to that fun, frozen, pelting -you- in -the - face stuff that makes every move dangerous! I woke up with visions of riding Barney in the snow, but he refuses to even lift his head above his knees - he looks like a peanut pusher with his nose shuffling along the ground, hiding from the falling ice! He actually tries to bury his head in my back and walk behind me to block the weather - um, hello, have you seen how big you are? At literally twelve times my size, I don't think it's working out for him very well! So, it's another day of defrosting water troughs and trying to keep everyone warm and dry, but at least the kids are loving being home, and humans and horses alike are thankful for the new run-in sheds!!

This just in: Meagan Davis and Bentley were 6th out of 14 at the Young Rider World Cup today! Top 7 advance to the freestyle after indiv. test tomorrow. Do you remember her unbelievable ride when Bentley freaked at Nationals? I have a video of her from about a year and a half ago, and it is AMAZING how much she has grown as a rider in that time! I love watching our awesome young riders! Way to go Meagan and Team USA!

Here is a link to her Germany blog:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mark your calendar!

Lauren Sprieser is scheduled to return to Sally Run April 15-16, 2011!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thank you, LAUREN!!!

A big thank you to Lauren for a wonderful clinic. There were huge smiles on everyone's faces as they finished their rides - so helpful and so fun - I am definitely going to have my camera ready next time to capture those grins! Thank you also to all of the riders, parents of riders, and auditors who came out to make this such a success! We had a wonderful 24 hours of weather and hopefully everyone can make it back home before the snow starts again this evening. I think if I heard one common theme in the rides, it was GO - like your hair's on fire!! So, Forward, Onward, Upward!! Happy Holidays, everyone!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ride Times for Lauren Sprieser Clinic

Here are the ride times. We can't wait to see everyone next weekend!

Lauren Sprieser Clinic Schedule

Friday, December 10, 2010:
4:00 Caroline Stephens and Warnissimo
5:00 Michaela Bethard and Midnight

Saturday, December 11, 2010
9:00 Kim Huffman and Navina
10:00 Caroline Stephens and Warnissimo
11:00 Molly Watson and 5YO Training level horse
12:00 Amanda Williams and 15 YO Arab
1:00 Lunch
1:45 Megan Blevins and Play Toy (Arab) or Abe (lipiz)

Sarah Russell
Dawn Gifford

*More accolades for our clinician - Lauren's won the 2010 Region 1 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dressage Competition at the FEI Levels!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clinic Details Posted

Details for the clinic with Lauren Sprieser are posted - click on the Dressage Clinics tab to get the info!! Hope to see you here next month!
Update: Lauren is the CBLM Champion at Intermediare II and PSG (Sr. B division) - Congratulations, Lauren!

Friday, November 5, 2010


I LOVE Friday! It's my day to really relax at the barn and catch up on things. Both Caruso and Barney came out with their game faces on today - the best Caruso has felt since I put him back to work a few weeks ago, which was a surprise considering the drastic change in weather, and Barney was so relaxed and loose and using his giant back to give me some awesome trot and canter work - love those guys.

Big News - Lauren Sprieser is coming to Sally Run the weekend of Dec.10th. Details to follow, but mark your calendar so you can come work with this super trainer before she heads to Florida. Check out her info at:

It's our first Friday with nothing scheduled in months, so we are going to have a relaxing weekend with the family, and hope everyone else has a great one as well!

P.S. Fundraiser for Hope Ministries this Sunday at St. Paul - Syd's violin group, Wythe Music Initiative, will be part of the entertainment - 3:00!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SNOW - You have to be kidding!!!

Yes - calling for SNOW tomorrow - temp range = hi 20's to mid 30's! FUN! I told you I wasn't ready for summer to end because fall would be a blink - well, we blinked - straight to winter!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have a little faith

Don't you love the complete faith of children! As you might have read, Rowdy has two ducks, Henry and Missy. Well, Henry has been looking a lot like Missy this past month and had all of the adults on the farm convinced Henry was really Henrietta, but Rowdy never wavered. We were waiting for him to break down and say he also thought Henry was a girl, but he was steadfast in Henry's maleness. Well, yesterday afternoon he ran into the house to announce that Henry was getting his colors! I ran out with him to see that indeed Henry's head is turning green, the white collar is starting to peak thru, and his feet are definitely getting more orange. Once again, Rowdy was right, and 5 adults were wrong - we really need to stop doubting the intuition and faith of these kids and maybe be a little stronger in our own convictions!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

a good week indeed

Don't you love those weeks where you get to cross several things off that long to-do list all at once! With the arrival of M&M Construction last week, two paddocks are super close to having an awesome new run-in shed, the arena's gutters, monitor, and snowbirds are all back where they should be after last year's very hard winter, and for those who have known the hilariously frustrating saga of the ice maker - there is now a functioning new ice maker in the house! It only took 11 months, and I can't even count the number of visits from the repairmen. I'm hanging onto my three plastic ice trays, though - just in case - I won't believe it's real until we make it thru a major holiday or celebration!! Bruce and the guys weaned calves this week, and so far so good - the bawling has definitely dropped a notch in the last 24 hours, and the mama cows are grazing cheerfully! We have a jam-packed weekend of family fun with cheer competition and Superbowl, Halloween parties, and trick-or-treating! Have a fun and safe Halloween weekend and GO MAROONS!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thank you

I just wanted to thank everyone for your sweet emails and calls about my grandmother. While it is very hard to believe she could be gone so quickly with no warning, I know it was absolutely the best way for her. She was fiercely independent, insisted on staying in her home and taking care of herself, and lived her life exactly as she wanted, so a long illness would just not have suited her at all :). So, thank you again for all of the kind words (and help with the barn, Rachel and John). It's a beautiful morning in Virginia - hope it is where you are, too! Have a great week!

P.S. Little man Rowdy lost his first tooth yesterday - big stuff - he is very proud of his new gap!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More pics

Here are a few more fun moments - happy riders, the famous I. W. warming up, and Ravel leaving the stadium - clear the way!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Favorite WEG Moment

I've been a fan of Laura B. for a couple of years now - watching her partnership with Alf develop thru Horse Hero has been so fun and educational - so I was pretty thrilled when she pulled up next to us in her golf cart to watch her teammate, and Bruce snapped this pic of us (thanks, Erica, for fixing it for me)!! This one is going in the barn, for sure!!

Favorite Pictures from WEG

So, here are some of my favorite pics. The first day, we were there when the gates opened - in the dark - they said to leave your hotel and get on the shuttle two hours before the event, but our bus driver didn't know he was supposed to pick up at several other hotels and took us straight to the park - so we had plenty of time to scout it all out before the first rides. The second day we found our way to the warm up areas, which was one of my favorite spots for the rest of the week. The victory gallops were absolutely terrifying - I was sure someone was going to have a horrific crash, and Ravel nearly ran over the security guard at the gate trying to get out of the arena! I am not exaggerating when I say it was more insane than any rodeo/PBR event. I told Bruce helmets should at least be required for the awards ceremony, and I was extremely happy to see Steffen in his for the Freestyle awards. I was also happy to see common sense take hold as Laura Bechtolsheimer declined to ride in the gallop after the first team effort when Alf had clearly had all he could take of that loud stadium! We had a wonderful thoroughbred farm tour, took many driving tours ourselves, and found a fantastic sandwich shop out in Versailles with supersized paninis and desserts that were the size of a platter - we had to go twice and would give anything to have Wallace Station out here on Hwy. 52! The riders were constantly coming in and out of the stands to watch, and we made a game of trying to recognize them in plain clothes. At one point, Anabel Balkenhol sat behind us, Steffen Peters was in front of us, and you'll see my close encounter with Laura B. Overall, it was an amazing trip, and we are already making plans for London and Normandy!

Monday, October 4, 2010


We are home again after the trip of a lifetime to the World Equestrian Games! I will post a few of my gazillion pictures, with one fav in particular, as soon as I can, but I just had to say that the week of dressage competition was truly incredible. So inspiring and beautiful to watch - if you watched the freestyle yesterday on NBC, please know that these were, in my opinion, not even the best rides. The GP team and GP Special were AMAZING with hardly a mistake anywhere in the top ten. has all of the rides, and I would highly recommend checking it out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

P.S. World Equestrian Games start in less than a week!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Catching up

Just wanted to post a few pics from the last couple of weeks. Last weekend, Bruce completed his first triathalon and was AWESOME! He came in second overall behind an experienced Ironman guy (and collegiate swimmer) and said it was the most fun he's had in a race ever - so, a new addiction is born! It's really no surprise, though - marathons in his 20s, century bike rides and crit racing in his 30s, and I'm predicting Ironman Hawaii by 40! For better or worse, his friend Jared, who finished a superb fourth, has been bitten by the same bug, so he has a co-conspirator/training partner now! Our friends Melissa and Wendy also competed in the relay with a friend doing the swimming leg - I love this pic of Melissa on the run!

Everything else on the farm is good, although we lost our first chicken two nights ago - but honestly, any chicken that jumps into a dog pen with four large dogs really is asking for it. I know that sounds mean, but come on - 280 acres and that's where you choose to go? Hopefully the other seven watched and learned! Rowdy's ducks, on the other hand, are doing great and getting huge. Henry is all about the love - he'll let you just hold and pet him forever. Little Missy gets jealous and pecks at your hands as you pet Henry, but she's coming around.

So I guess that's about it - it's a GORGEOUS day - football this afternoon - ponies have the day off! Have a great one, everybody!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fun Stuff!

We had a fantastic Labor Day weekend - tons of fun with family and friends as we celebrated Sharon's big birthday - a little cool for the pool (blue lips for all the kiddos) and had to throw some sheets on horses - crazy - but sunny and gorgeous otherwise! The kids rode awesome yesterday - Syd's canter work was super, and Rowdy can now post and steer at the trot all the way around the arena - big stuff! Trail rode with my father-in-law yesterday afternoon - love those little Quarter Horses for that - and rode Barney all over the farm today, and he was as quiet as the Quarter Horses - even by himself - REALLY loving that! Only small glitch in all of this is my trip to the Dr. this morning for a steroid shot - remember all that yard work I mentioned? Got some good poison oak on the side of my face that spread to my eyes last night - not so much fun, but small price to pay for such a great weekend! Hope everyone made it home safe - enjoy the short work/school week!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Horseshow progress

Yesterday was a fun day with lots of good accomplishments. In our first two horseshows, Barney and I have qualified for the BLM and Region 1 Championships at second level - not bad. Yesterday's rides were at 3:00 in the afternoon and the temp was in the mid-90s, so I was thrilled to have any horse at all at that point! We definitely improved over our last show, with no major errors, and even had some 8's for our medium trot work!! Yesterday also marked the day when I conquered the last of my four worries as a horsewoman that I had mentally listed almost two years ago when our trainer/barn manager, Chelsea, left. I won't bore you with my crazy list of "could I handle that situation?" situations, but I'm pretty happy to have dealt with all of them now and made it to the other side smiling.

Of course after watching the videos of my rides, I see so many things I need to really improve as a rider, and I'm dying to get back on and get to work, but I promised Barney he could have the day off - he certainly has earned it (and my house and yard really need the attention)!

We're excited to have a long weekend with the kiddos and to be celebrating Bruce's sister's 40th Birthday! Happy Birthday, Sharon, and Happy Labor Day, everyone! We hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hay! Hay! Hay!

If you hear a huge nicker/sigh of relief, it's the horses and me! We are finally square baling hay today - hallelujah! July was rough - very hot, very dry - we had to graze cattle in the hay fields and even feed some round bales - in JULY!!! We really didn't think we would get a second cutting of grass hay, but August pulled thru for us with lots of rain and wonderful grass! Whew!!

Party at the Lake!

Here are a few snaps from the birthday weekend at the lake. I love the before and after of Rowdy, his buddy Tessa, and cousin Zach! They went for a couple of serious swims as they bounced right off the new tube! The other picture is of 7 of the 8 cousins. Good times!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day of School and Big Birthday Boy

Catching up on the past couple of weeks - the first day of school was a success. Everyone likes their teachers and their classmates, so all is good on the school front. We are back in full swing with fall activities - so much to squeeze in before the weather turns too cold! Another cutting of alfalfa is up and tubed - always a good thing. Today our sweet boy turns seven - too hard to believe! His Nana may have rescued me today, as she sent these awesome duck decoys as gifts, and Rowdy thinks they might work for his birthday cake (the alternative is me trying to make a mallard duck out of rice krispie treats, frosting it, and putting it on the cake - we have clearly watched too much Cake Boss, and I am obviously strongly in favor of using the decoys)!! Oh, and I forgot to mention - Rowdy has a baby girl duck now, too! They are a riot swimming around together in the bathtub - but we're going to have to come up with a plan for them to move outside pretty quick!! The latest name update, as the boy duck is already getting pretty big, is that he will be "Henry," and right now, she is "Little Missy." So, we have a fun birthday weekend ahead of us, and it looks like the weather will be perfect - hope everyone has a great one!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Amazing Rider Meagan Davis

I just had to post this link - talk about a girl who can ride. This is the Young Rider National Champion - this horse is amazingly talented but a complete handful. She does an unbelievable job, and even with this craziness in the middle of this test, she deserved the championship - the most beautiful rides!!! So, check out Meagan the rodeo queen and see how she recovers beautifully and finishes the ride with such composure!! I'm going to be watching out for them in the future - great things to come!

Go to Aug. 15 tab, then scroll down to YR Individual, Meagan Davis

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

There's a duck in our house!!

2010 will be known in our house as the year of the ducks for Rowdy. Some of you know about this obsession that started last winter and has increased in intensity this summer. We have spent the summer trying to catch wild ducks everywhere we go, and so as an early birthday present (and since it's our last day of summer vacation), we gave Rowdy his birthday duckling last night! He is over-the-moon crazy about this little guy, who is in his room and as cute as can be! Both kids are enamored with his funny ways, and I have to admit he is much more entertaining than I anticipated. So, here are some pictures of the newest addition to our animal clan. As far as a name, Rowdy has wisely chosen to just call him "Duckie" for now because he says he will change so much as he grows that a baby duck name won't work for him when he's a full grown mallard - so we'll keep you posted on the name.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Amateur Thoughts

I just finished watching the last few rides of the Brentina Cup online, and I am so impressed with these young women and men! I can't help but feel a little jealous, though, wishing I had started riding dressage when I was a kid instead of in my thirties. There are plenty of days when I think it's just too much to juggle the horses with everything else that comes with raising a family, but then I hear my sweet family cheering for me at the horseshow, or I get tackled by Rowdy's hugs, telling me I did a great job (he's 6 and a great judge of dressage tests), or I find Syd's sweet note in my tack trunk that says, "Mommy, I think you deserved the blue ribbon," and I realize not only do I love it, but it is actually great for my kids, too. They are so proud to have a Mom that works hard at something that doesn't come easy, and who still competes in a sport, even if it means a huge effort by all of us to get loaded up and on the road. They see me get so excited over a great ride and so frustrated when I don't do well, and I realize how much it helps me relate to them in all that they are trying to learn and accomplish. It reminds me how hard it is to learn something new and stick with it, even on the worst days. We should all be forever students, and while I'll probably never ride like those young riders I watched today, it really is about the process of trying to just be better than you were the day before. Luckily Barney and Caruso don't mind when family duty calls me away from dressage training, so we'll just keep doing the best we can, horseshow when it works, and remember that it is supposed to be FUN!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Last Weekend Before School

I am definitely not ready for summer to be over! I love having the kiddos home with us everyday and having the freedom to do what we want instead of sticking to the school schedule! I love hearing their sweet voices talking, playing, laughing . . . I am just not ready for them to be fifth and first graders ! I am also not ready to think about cold weather, blankets for horses, body clipping, or any of the other not-so-fun stuff that comes with winter. I know I am skipping over fall, but really fall is just a blink here - then lots of long winter months. We have had the most fun this summer, and I know we'll have a great school year, but it's still just a little bittersweet!

Of course, at this very moment, the kids just started fighting, so maybe it is time after all . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lucy is in foal

I forgot to mention that I ran into the VT Sporthorse Breeding team at Lexington, and Lucy is in foal to Highlife's Diamond Stud (see pic above). He's super fancy, and she's such the gorgeous diva - it should be a great cross. Her foal was a little too young to make the trip down for the breed show, so I'm still waiting to see him in person! With Lucy and Weltmeyer genetics, I bet he's a fireball!

Here's a link to Highlife's Diamond Stud's information:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Horseshow Success

Dressage at Lexington was super fun. It is so nice to have such a solid horse who is so comfortable in the show atmosphere. This was our first bigger show, and we improved consistently thru the weekend. We ended our rides with a qualifying score for the regional championships at second level, even with a pilot error during one of our simple changes. The judges' comments were helpful and reaffirmed our immediate training priorities. It was also the first time Bruce and the kids went with me for the entire show and went thru the whole horseshow experience, which made it fun for me (hard for Bruce, I'm sure). There were a ton of people in the second level tests - many more than in training and first - which surprised me, but it is a great sign for the sport that people are sticking with it and moving up. I had lots of pros in my classes, so while we were out of the ribbons, I was happy with our first outings and thrilled to have such a cool guy in Barney to carry me thru!

P.S. The hot water heater showed up after we pulled out of the driveway for the show, but it was so hot, I couldn't have stood a hot shower anyway!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Am I really going to get to show this fun horse?

We wrapped up boot camp this morning with Kim, and it was a super 24 hours! We worked on a ton of stuff and established our warm up plan and short list of critical moments in the tests. For having to take 8 days off less than two weeks ago, I feel like we're as prepared as we could hope to be. Now if that hot water heater will show up for the trailer, I will be a very, very happy girl!

We've had several days of rain, so the farm is looking much better - the grass is definitely less crunchy, and the alfalfa and sorghum are ready to be cut. The chicks have also finally moved out of the trough in the garage and into their cute coop. They are much happier, and hopefully now my car will stop smelling like chickens!

So, I'm off to pack the trailer and finish horse laundry - then I should probably tackle the human laundry! I can't believe we might actually make it to the show!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Boot Camp

So, Kim Huffman is here for two days of dressage boot camp to get our butts in gear before the horseshow. We had our first ride this morning, and we'll hit it again this afternoon - with video - always scary to have to watch yourself! But I LOVE the work - she pushes us and offers real solutions to our issues (mostly my issues - Barney's are fewer). The kids are super excited about camping in the trailer - I don't think I even need to bring the horse for them to have fun, but they love cheering for us, too, so it should be a big time for all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

it's a Monday

Good news - more rain. Bad news - fridge and hot water heater not working in the trailer. We can maybe get the fridge running, but it's looking like cold showers at the horseshow! It's supposed to be around 90, though, so it may not feel too bad! I can always bathe the kids in the barn! We'll pack swimsuits!

Barn building tip of the day: if you are finishing your tackroom with wood (ie: pine t&g), put the cleanest pieces of wood on the ceiling over your saddle area. Even years after staining, the knots still ooze some, so just keep that in mind and keep saddles on top covered!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rain and a Sunday Surprise!

it finally rained on Friday night - yeah! had a cute surprise this morning - when i let the dogs out, they took off running and barking. as the dogs ran after the mom, four baby raccoons were crawling onto the porch. they turned and ran down the side of the house, but we got a few cute pics, and the kids were squealing at how adorable they were. a little concerned their mama brought them out in the daylight, so we won't get too close, but still fun to watch! fyi- the dogs didn't come close to catching mom, so all was good. also, as i was getting the snaps to put on here, i found some pics bruce took of barney and me a month or so ago - so i finally have a picture of me ON the new horse!! still hoping to get to lexington this week - we'll see!! it's a gorgeous day and only supposed to get in the mid-80s!!! hallelujah! have a great one!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Update

so, lots happening this summer. it is hot and dry on the farm - hoping for rain on friday, especially since we haven't square baled any hay yet!! had some excitement with the Bethards' pony, Midnight - choked on his feed - that was a first for me. luckily for us, Dr. Denton never seems to take a day off, even on a crazy holiday weekend! leave it to a morgan/quarter horse pony to have his only emergency vet visit ever be a result of inhaling his feed! caruso finally upped barney in the sanity department - barney was definitely more flipped out over the fireworks - a bit of a shocker, but then again, who knows if barney has ever been exposed to bruce's level of pyromania! caruso has at least had a few years to get used to it. barney and i are entered at dress. at lexington for next week, but with my step-dad's situation, i'm not sure we'll make it. he's supposed to be getting his heart balloon pump removed today and then they'll start waking him up and hopefully get him off the ventilator asap, so keep the prayers coming. we'll soon find out if that heart of his can do the work - he'll never believe he's been asleep for a week - a very long week! hope everyone is having a great summer - it's going by way too fast as usual!

p.s. send your prayers toward our little neighbor, josh - 6 year old in the hospital with rocky mountain spotted fever - unfortunately he's in the hospital in new york, as they were on the road for their summer vacation when the rash appeared - so prayers for the whole family as they get thru this so far from home!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Days

We love summer at the farm. Lots of hay went up this week with lots still to go - a dry, hot weekend in the forecast! Bruce moved the cows out of the top field, so Barney had his first true mega hill workout today - he thought he was dying, but he survived! Humidity is finally down - it was starting to feel a little too much like my childhood summers in Memphis! We did break down and turn on the AC, though. Happy Summer and Happy Father's Day to all the Daddies out there!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Begins

last day of school for the kiddos - yeah! they both had a super year, and we are so grateful for their wonderful teachers! people say motherhood is the toughest job, but i think being a school teacher is right up there! it has been a very emotional week, but there has been something going on at their school everyday, which has been good - i do better with lots of activity and less time to sit and think too much when i'm sad. we've pulled out lots of pictures to show the kids how Grae looked over the years and funny things she did. the sweetest are the ones of when i was pregnant. she is at my side in EVERY picture. she wouldn't even leave me to go on her daily runs with bruce during that time. again, the greatest dog ever! have a blessed summer everyone!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the greatest dog

We lost our precious Grae this afternoon. She has given us so much happiness over the last 15 years, and our hearts are breaking as we let her go. She is buried here at Sally Run in one of our favorite spots. The tears will come for a long time for her, but we know she lived a very full life. I feel like I have grown up with her - going from a 21 year old with a dog, a car, and a cute boyfriend (who sealed his fate when he gave her to me the first Christmas we were dating) to married for 13 years with two amazing children and a farm full of animals. What a blessing to have shared so much with such a devoted companion. You'll always be my greatest dog, Grae baby!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A great week

So, the horseshow was super - Barney was a star and exactly the horse I hoped he would be! I feel like we have run the course of "new" with great success these last couple of months, and he has been a gem in every situation - what a lucky girl I am to have found him! To recap, I have now ridden him in 40 mph winds, a huge thunderstorm that came out of nowhere, around the giant, very loud mulch truck with its long snaky hose shooting mulch all around the barn, and at our first horseshow together, where we were one of the first rides, so very few horses were around for company. We've now done vet, farrier, dentist, and saddle fitter with complete compliance and lots of patience (okay, we needed a little something for the dentist to get those hooks, but anyone would need to take the edge off before letting someone stick that giant thing in their mouth). We've loaded and unloaded like a champ, clipped and bathed with no issues, and he has been the rock solid citizen every amateur rider dreams of having. Can you tell I'm a happy girl? Oh, and I didn't even forget Rowdy's awards day at school today- a good week indeed!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life's Blessings

Today has been a great day! Our kids woke up giving us lots of anniversary wishes and hugs, I had a great ride on Barney, and then my sweet husband of 13 years today took me to lunch, even though I smelled like sweaty horses and looked pretty grimy! Storms keep coming and going, but we need the rain, so I won't complain. It's supposed to hit 80 on Saturday with sunshine - a summertime horseshow kind of day! Should be fun - wish us luck on our first outing together!

Friday, May 21, 2010

clover = fat ponies

We had hoped the clover wouldn't make a huge comeback this year, but it has, and the horses look like they've exploded overnight! So, we finally broke down and got the big guns to come in and completely spray all paddocks to kill the clover. The guy there said, "it's supposedly 100% safe, but I wouldn't put your favorite horse in there until after it rains." So, much to their dismay, Caruso and Barney are inside and getting playground time in the arena. The other four took over the cow pasture near the house and have been running around like little colts! Calling for rain this evening, so hopefully they can go back out over the weekend.

Barney had a visit from the equine dentist this week and is extremely grateful to Dr. Rucker for taking care of those hooks! He is much happier and a lot less fussy about his bit and contact. Thanks, Dr. Rucker! How frustrating to be a horse and not be able to tell your person "MY TEETH HURT!"

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lucy had her baby!

Our mare, Lady Lucy, who we donated to VA Tech last year, had her foal last week! He is a bay colt by Weltmeyer, and Lucy is loving being a mama! We knew she would.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Good Stuff

Barney and I had a great longe lesson with Kim Huffman yesterday! She is so patient and kind, as is my wonderful horse! The best thing about Barney is that he is an absolute mirror of my riding. He is so in tune to the rider's body that he is a perfect reflection of what I am doing right or wrong. It is a wonderful feeling to know that you found the perfect horse for what you need, where you are, and where you want to go. If I just learn to breathe and relax, so many things will improve, both on and off the horse! Knowing that hasn't made it much easier to accomplish, but I'm determined to get there. Instead of a test reader at shows, I need someone chanting "breathe" to me - is that allowed?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Enjoying Spring

Horse update - Barney is doing great. He and Caruso are perfect pasture and barn mates. My b'day gift to myself was a true competition sized dressage arena to set up in the outdoor. My gift from Bruce was to set it up. I think he got the rough end of the deal, as the wind blew it over 24 hours after he had spent the entire day getting it perfect! It is still beautiful, though, and I love being able to practice the figures so accurately. My previous use of poles on the ground to outline the arena still allowed for quite a bit of error (i.e. trotting over the "arena" :), so it now looks very official, and hopefully our test riding will improve! I still have to put the flower boxes together for the letter markers, but we've made a good start, and the old letters are still out there on the fence! BTW - The little man didn't even seem to care we weren't at Field Day - thank goodness for friends who were there to take plenty of pictures and reassure us that he didn't appear to notice our absence. Hopefully there was no permanent damage done.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Jack of all trades, master of none - I am having one of those days. Just returned from a long, beautiful weekend with my family to celebrate Mother's Day, only to think I was refreshed and organized and ready to tackle the constant demands of real life. In reality, after less than 24 hours home, I am already falling behind. While trying to catch up at the barn and work some of the grass bellies off the horses after their indulgent four days in the field, I find out I have missed my sweet boy's first field day. His kindergarten year winding down with lots of celebrations, and I was too busy with horses to remember. It's not even like the horses are my real job - and they certainly wouldn't have minded one more day off. The saying is true - you can't have it all - at least not all at the same time. So, I'm headed for the pick up line to tell him how sorry I am, hoping that he isn't completely sad and disappointed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring at Sally Run

It has been the most gorgeous spring so far at the farm. I don't know if it has been truly more spectacular than past springs, or if it was just the horrible winter that made us appreciate it so much. Either way, we have had many beautiful days and have been mowing lots of grass! In true Wytheville fashion, though, I keep putting my insulated breeches away, only to have to pull them out "one more time" every 10 days or so. We've switched to night turn out twice, only to have freeze warnings force us to switch back. We're quickly approaching Mother's Day, though, so if you believe all the farmers, we should be in the clear after Sunday!

Happy Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How did my baby get to be a 10 year old so fast?

My birthday girl with my first baby - 10 and almost 15 - both too hard to believe!

Little brothers of big sisters have no problem with pink!

I know the day will come when this will make him mad, but for now, he's cool with pink!

Emily the Polar Bear

Emily looked like a baby polar bear at Christmas, and now she looks like a large polar bear! She is such a great dog, though - very quiet and a real homebody, which is nice!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Barney at Sally Run

I've been wanting to put these up all week, but it's been a little crazy. Here is Barney on his first day at Sally Run. It was in the 60's, and he loved rolling in a little dirt! He has adjusted really well and gets more relaxed each day. We've had three good rides and lots of play time to get to know each other. Thanks to Mike, JJ, and Chelsea for helping to bring us together!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Giant Moth

So, this isn't a farm story, but funny nonetheless! Rowdy came in around 1 am this morning saying, "Mom, there is a giant moth in my room, and I can't sleep with it making so much noise!" I GROWLED back at him that he needed to just go back to bed - moths won't hurt you. He started tearing up and said he couldn't, so I walked him back to his room to investigate this moth. He pointed to his Valentine's bucket and said it was in there. So, I looked, and holy not a moth at all - it was a BAT!! So I covered the bucket, took it outside and dumped it out and scooted the bat away, and it must have eventually flown away or was eaten because it's gone this morning. I then went back and apologized profusely to Rowdy for growling at him and said that was definitely worth the wake up call! He then told me that he woke up to it "screaming" and scratching, and I said if something is ever screaming and scratching in your room, it's not a moth - come get me quick and give me that information! So, I was now wide awake, wondering how it 1) got in the house 2) made it to Rowdy's room and 3) managed to get into the bucket and not get out! Oh well, my best guess is the chimney - and I don't know about the rest! So, I read my latest dressage magazine about the Adult Clinic series that I was too tired to read earlier in the night and finally fell back asleep! At least it wasn't swooping around the house like the last one we had to catch or hanging from the light cord in the basement that I GRABBED! Fun stuff!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Prayers for Courtney Dye

Please pray for a full recovery for Olympic Dressage rider Courtney Dye. She suffered severe head trauma this week after a fall and is in a coma in ICU in Palm Beach, FL. The horse just tripped over his own feet - not a crazy, out of control horse. This type of accident can happen at any moment, so PLEASE WEAR YOUR HELMET AT ALL TIMES WHEN RIDING and inisist that your children always wear one as well.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Before you say it . . .

I looked at lots of chestnuts and smaller horses, honest! Barney was the only big dark bay I even rode, but in my case, good things come in big (really big, 17.3 H big) packages! Caruso might be a little jealous!


It's official! I found the perfect guy in Florida last week, and I am thrilled to report that the vetting went great, and he is moving to Virginia! Thanks so much to JJ Tate for all of her wonderful help!

First Hereford Calf

I had to post this pic of this cute calf with Rowdy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Caruso must have read my last post!

Caruso completely redeeemed himself yesterday! We finally ventured to the indoor, and it was quite slick and scary in places. Instead of freaking out, he acted like a mature horse and very carefully, quietly and SLOWLY (shocking) placed each foot along the path, never once trying to act silly. The ride was already off to a very positive start! Then he even rode around without noticing the intermittent noise of huge chunks of snow sliding off the roof - what a superstar!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Does anyone else's WB not handle change very well? Or does everyone's WB not handle change very well?

Caruso has many wonderful qualities, but brave is not a word I would use to describe him, especially when he's had to be hand walked for several days with no real turnout! I was determined to get him out of the barn today, and the smallest drifts were going to the paddocks vs. the walls of snow between the barn and arena. So, I put his hay out first so that he would have something to do immediately when he went out instead of worrying about the snow and his buddies in the barn. I wish I had a video of his reaction. First, he didn't know whether to try to walk through or jump over the drifts . . . pretty funny to watch him ponder this . . . but he absolutely lost it when he saw hay on the ground inside the gate (I usually bring hay out after I've turned everyone out). It took a minute or so to stop the jumping from side to side like a cutting horse and get him to go thru the gate. Then he ran around the hay like an idiot for several minutes while I brought out our old thoroughbred to keep him company and show him how real horses behave. Of course Fizzie (the TB) moseyed out, thru the drifts, thru the gate, and immediately started eating, at which point Caruso finally stopped snorting and running and began munching for the next hour. Ah, fancy warmbloods . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Official

After the horrible wind yesterday and last night, I officially could not drive to the barn today. I made it halfway down the road in 4wd, only to face a snow drift that went over the hood! This is the first time I have not been able to at least get down the driveway. At least we can see some blue sky today, and the wind is down to 10-15 mph. Spring is coming, right?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You have to be kidding!

Of course, more snow, but the real kicker is the WIND! 30mph with gusts 50-65 mph. There is so much snow on the roof of the arena, I can't even imagine if we had this weather two years ago. Those who know that scary story understand why! Two big heifer calves born at 3 am - temp with wind chill at -1! Bruce just came in to get his ski goggles so he can make the next round checking cows - where is my camera when I need it! Keep your fingers crossed that the well keeps working - it's gone out twice this past week! On the bright side, we've only had to use the generator once for about an hour, so that's pretty shocking!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Guess What?

Yep- more snow! I'd post pictures, but it's just more of the same. The forecast said we were the edge of the storm and to expect a few inches. We have well exceeded a few inches, and now it is coming down in chunks - not good!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More SNOW!

They were calling for a wintry mix with maybe an inch of accumulation , but we already have at least 3 inches. Our kids are never going back to school! Crazy delivery this morning - thank you to Dr. Tom Lavelle for coming out to help Bruce deliver twins, both breech, and both alive! This may be too much information, but the cow had passed the placenta when Bruce checked her this morning before either calf was delivered - even Tom couldn't remember ever having that happen, especially with two live calves. Anyway, that is a big success story - those situations don't usually turn out that well.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Newest additions

This is one of the new calves that made its appearance today, and the white lump in the center of the second picture is our Christmas puppy, Emily, a Great Pyrenees. She thinks she's a cow!

This is Sally Run!

No, we did not come up with the name. Sally Run is the creek that runs thru the heart of the farm, so this has been called the "Sally Run farm" for generations - long before we bought it in 2004. But we loved the name, so we kept it!

More snow, more calves

The crazy weather has once again sent some of our cows into labor a few days early. On the upside, the Predestined calves are gorgeous. Here's a link to the bull's info!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Big Snow!

We are up to close to a foot of fresh snow, so I thought this helpful hint was appropriate!

Tip of the day from our farrier, Dewayne Kimberlin:

If your horses are going out in the snow, spray the inside of their hooves with non-stick cooking spray (like Pam), and it will help keep the snowballs from forming in there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sally Runt and OJ

I had to snap this while I was taking the drain picture. Sally and OJ (Orange Julius, not Simpson) came into our family as puppy and kitten, respectively, nearly two years ago, and they are still best buddies!

Drain picture

Here is the picture of the drain.

Barn floors

I don't have any training words of wisdom to offer, but I have been thru an extensive equine facility design and construction project, and I learned so much over the years of planning and building. I have learned that in every project, the most important splurge should be your floors. Your horses' legs are everything (and so are yours), and this is the most difficult and disruptive thing to upgrade later. We used the thick rubber tiles (dog bones, as our builder refers to them)for our aisle and grooming/washing areas, and they have been a dream! The floors are so comfortable for your legs, do not get slippery, are super quiet (can even take the pawing out of anxious horses when they don't get a good loud sound out of it), and look amazing. One thing that was actually a bit of a redesign when we were in the process was our drain system. We poured concrete floors to set the tiles on, but we added three large (18" x 24", I think) drains at even intervals down the aisle. We also put a drain in the center of each wash area. Initially the drains were elevated so that the tile flooring bumped up next to them, but even my non-horsey husband looked at this and said there wasn't a horse in the barn that would go near those beastly drains. The fix was to cut the legs off the drains so that they set into the concrete flush and lay the rubber tiles over the top of them. We drilled holes in the tiles first to let the water thru, which was fine in the aisles but clogged up in a minute in the grooming areas. Then we cut a pattern in the tiles (I'll take a picture) to make bigger openings to the drains, and the result has been fantastic. The floor is a continuous and safe surface with nothing to trip over or hang up on, and everyone's legs are very happy! So, if you're renovating your barn or building a new one, and you are going to splurge on one thing, my hands down vote over everything else we did is the floor. You can add a lot of other things later, but this has an immediate impact on your horses' sound legs and is a beautiful, soft look as well.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Find of the day

Found this today during a blog search. A North Carolina based rider has also seen the need for an amateur dressage forum and created a website for such riders! Some cool stuff, so check it out!!

On a personal note, we had freezing rain last night, and I again cannot get the horses out of the barn! Fun stuff! This is when boarding your horses rather than keeping them at home seems like a better idea!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here's what I don't love . . . MUD!

I'm not talking about an overnight rain that made things a little soggy. I'm talking about the two feet of snow trying to melt, frozen ground that starts to thaw, and then several inches of rain kind of mud that sucks your boots right off your feet!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What makes it a good day?

I realized today that one of my small joys/favorite things about horse life is having time to thoroughly clean my tack after a good ride rather than throwing it on the cleaning hook for another day and rushing out of the barn. It gave me the time to think about what went right and reminded me how much I do really love this sport and these animals.

Amateur Horsewomen

I've been thinking a lot about adult amateur riders and how different their training experiences can be when it has to be squeezed into a busy schedule of family, work, housekeeping, and horsekeeping. This article was truly inspirational at a time when I was really struggling with the "why do I do this?" that hits us all at different points. I hope you find it hopeful as well.