Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thank you, Lauren!

We had another stellar clinic with Lauren Sprieser yesterday and today.  Big thank yous to everyone who traveled to Sally Run and made it such a good event.  Our next clinic is coming up very quickly - just two weeks away - on October 12th and 13th (or possibly Oct. 11th and 12th).  I am already working on the schedule, so if you are interested please let me know which day or days work best for you.  Lauren will need to leave Wytheville by 10 am on Saturday, so we are considering moving the clinic to Thursday and Friday.  I know a lot of work and school schedules won't allow people to come during the week, so Lauren is willing to start super early on Saturday if that still works best.  Just let me know, and I'll be in touch!  Thanks again,  - caroline

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Clinic Time . . .

It's Clinic Time!!!  Lauren Sprieser will be here next Friday and Saturday, September 28th & 29th!  Please let me know asap if the following ride times do not work for you.  Also, remember to mail you clinic fee, waiver, and coggins to PO Box 541, Wytheville, VA, 24382, if you have not already done so.  Thank you!

Friday, September 28th

3:15  Caroline Stephens
4:00  Barbara Nelson
4:45  Sydney Stephens
5:30  Elaine Flory
6:15  Molly Watson

Saturday, September 29th

8:00  Molly Watson
8:45  Caroline Stephens
9:30  Laura Nelson
10:15  Beth Friedel

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fall is in the air . . .

After the trip of a lifetime to Paris and London, we are back at Sally Run and already back in school!  Paris was magical, the Olympics and London were spectacular, but it sure feels good to wake up in our own beds, walk outside in our PJ's, and breathe that amazing mountain air.  We were able to catch a lot of the action at the Olympics, but our favorites were tennis, track cycling, and dressage - mainly because the venues were unbelievable and with strong British contenders, the crowds were the most fun.  The dressage events in particular were awe-inspiring.  Our hats went off to Steffen Peters for what was likely Ravel's last trip down centerline.  Ravel has been our top horse for so long, and US Dressage owes him so much for carrying our team for the past 5 years!

So, as we head into fall, we are thinking about clinics again at the farm.  Our next one with Lauren Sprieser is September 28th - 29th.  Please email me ( if you would like to ride and let me know which day.  We hope everyone has had a wonderful summer - it always goes by too quickly - and we look forward to seeing you on the farm!! 

P.S. The pony B&B is open (hallelujah!), so we have plenty of stabling for our guest equines!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Clinic update

We have rescheduled the September clinic so it will no longer conflict with the Sept. 22 SWVADA show.  The new dates are Friday, September 28 - Saturday, September 29.  Let me know if you are interested in riding (, and, yes, the new pony B&B is (finally) ready for occupation!!! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

July Clinic Canceled

I regret to announce that we are canceling the July clinic with Lauren Sprieser.  With so many traveling to Dressage at Lexington next week, a clinic the following weekend was just too much, so we look forward to seeing everyone in September.  FYI - Lauren and I are working to adjust the clinic date for September since the SWVADA show has been moved to that weekend, so I will post the date once it is confirmed!  Stay cool, and hopefully we'll see lots of you in Lexington!

Monday, June 18, 2012

To be so blessed . . .

I haven't written a true post in forever, but this is the perfect week for an update.  Remember when I predicted that 2012 would be an awesome year?  Well, it's definitely living up to my hype!  After a disappointing start when I had to retire both of my big guys (Caruso & Barney) and all of the emotion that comes with that decision, the blessings just started pouring in and on all of us at Sally Run.  This past week was the most exceptional yet.  The greatest blessings come in the form of new friendships, and I am grateful to have a handful of wonderful people to call new friends. 

While the press was eating up dressage as their sport du jour, we had the most charming visitors in Junior Rider Hannah Hewitt, her precious horse Lasall, and her equally precious family.  These are the kind of people I love having around the barn and would love to catch up with at horse shows!  A young lady who adores and appreciates her horse, her cute-as-a-bug younger sister who was more than happy to serve as her sister's groom at the Festival of Champions, and parents who have embraced the sport because they love their children and value all of the life lessons these experiences have to offer - it really doesn't get any better than that.  And while the rest of the country was obsessing over the cost of saddles and horses, I spent my week appreciating the great distance a parent will travel (physically, emotionally, and financially) to help their child reach their dream.  Horses are expensive, no doubt, but so are kids.  I haven't read too many articles complaining about parents who choose to have a large family - and they shouldn't.  What people choose to invest their time, energy, and money into is their own business.  Years ago my husband asked a horse show dad why he spent these large amounts of money on horses, tack, and show clothes for his daughter, and he responded that he would take out a second mortgage to keep her in love with horses and not with boys.  As parents of an almost teenaged daughter, we are beginning to appreciate that sentiment!  So, I am thankful for our convenient location that allowed me the opportunity to meet a great family and another sweet, happy horse who reminded me why I love these animals and this sport so much. 

Our next blessing came in the form of another visitor to Sally Run.  We had the complete honor of hosting our guest artist/instructor from SCAD for Wythe County's first Art Intensive program.  I think it is safe to say that Meagan Averill is now considered part of our family!  Not only did she exceed every expectation in designing, organizing, and executing an amazing art program for 45 children in our community, but she also truly embraced our little town and our family  - it was one of those divine experiences where you just know this person was meant to become a part of your life.  We are already missing her beautiful presence, but I feel certain our paths will cross again in the near future!  It is a great blessing to have a vision fulfilled beyond expectation and to have found a true friend in the process.  We hope Meagan won't be a stranger to Wytheville or Sally Run.

This is getting long - but there is a lot for which to be thankful . . .
After I don't know how many years, Bruce finally came in first in the Big Walker Century Ride this past Saturday.  Although not technically a race, this hometown charity ride he helped get started has been a little bit of an Achilles heel, and with a stomach bug going into it, 2012 wasn't looking any better.  Thankfully, he was riding with a great group of guys, and he was able to hang in there until he started feeling better and finished strong.  Now he is shifting into full Ironman training mode again, so the kids and I would greatly appreciate your prayers for patience and understanding until September :)

Saving the best for last, the kids are off to the best summer ever!  Not only did we get out of school May 24th - a record for us- but the kids have already enjoyed lake time, pool time, and an awesome week of art!  We were extremely proud as they showed their work at the grand finale art show Friday night.  Rowdy is participating in Camp Invention this week - which fits him to a tee, and Sydney is preparing for her first trip to Dressage at Lexington as a competitor.  I am super excited to go as the horse show mom, but I know I will likely be more nervous for her than I would be if I were showing myself.  It certainly helps to have a super pony to pack her around - another of our many blessings.

So that is the long and short of it - everyone is healthy and happy, and we live in the most beautiful place on earth.  I'll say it again - 2012 rocks!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Clinic Tomorrow and Monday!!

Here are the ride times for tomorrow and Monday.  Next clinic is scheduled for July 22-23 (Sunday-Monday).  If you are interested in riding, please let me know by July 1st. 

Sunday, June 3

3:30 Kim Huffman

4:15 Michaela Bethard

5:00 Caroline Stephens

5:45 Lisa Terry

Monday, June 4

7:30 Sydney Stephens

8:15 Molly Watson

9:00 Lisa Terry

9:45 Michaela Bethard

Monday, May 14, 2012

Next clinic in less than 3 weeks!!

We had a wonderful weekend with Lauren Sprieser and welcomed friends, new and old, to Sally Run.  Big thanks to Lauren and all of those who made the trip to Wytheville!  Our next clinic is going to slip right up on me, so please let me know if you intend to ride on June 3rd or 4th (Sunday and Monday this time).  Email me at if you need more information or want to get on the list! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's Clinic Time!

Our Lauren Sprieser clinic series kicks off this Friday, and we are excited to welcome everyone back to Sally Run!  Here are the ride times for Friday and Saturday- if anyone needs a different time, please let me know quickly!  Safe travels, and we'll see you soon!

Ride Times


3:30 Elaine Flory & Fearless Soul

4:15 Caroline Stephens & Glory

5:00 Michaela Bethard & Boundary

5:45 Molly Watson & Chippy


8:00 Sydney Stephens & Glory

8:45 Molly Watson & Chippy

9:30 Kim Huffman & Navina

10:15 Michaela Bethard & Boundary

11:00 Dawn Gifford & Dixie

11:45 Caroline Stephens (?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Run for cover (or at least walk)

We built run-in sheds for some of our paddocks at Sally Run primarily due to my lack of sleep when an unanticipated storm would hit during the night and the horses were turned out.  While researching size, shape, and placement, many experts warned, "Don't be surprised if your horses don't use them."  What amuses me is that I see them in the sheds all the time during perfectly beautiful days - sunny skies, low- to-mid 60's - catching a little snooze in the shade; then on mornings like this one, I look out my kitchen window to see them standing in a downpour, sometimes eating grass, but more often by the gate asking to come inside the barn.  The run-ins are almost two years old now, the horses live outside much more than in, and yet they still want me to schlepp out there and get them when it rains.  Do they know I'm watching them from the house and just want to mess with me?  And typical of kids and horses, after five minutes inside, they change their mind.  They decide outside was actually better, and Barney especially starts banging around, wanting out.  Too bad big guy - you wanted in, you're staying in (and saving your legs and my grass in the process)!  If I were a horse, I think I would head for cover before my coat was rain-soaked, but soaking up the sun has always been my preference.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Trails to Beau!

Our cute little cutting horse, Beau, moved in with the Goforth family yesterday.  We will miss his sweet sorrel face (especially since he was our only non-black horse), but I know it is time for him to go be a perfect packer for another family of kids!  Luckily he's just down the road, so we'll be able to keep up with him and his fun new life!

One Month and Counting . . .

We are just about a month away from welcoming back our long, lost Lauren - I know she hasn't really been lost, but I bet a few of us have been since she left for Florida an eternity ago!

So far I have riding:

Elaine Flory
Michaela Bethard
Molly Watson
some assortment of Stephens riders & ponies

Molly Watson
Kim Huffman
Dawn Gifford
Michaela Bethard
Sydney Stephens

If you are on this list in the wrong place, please let me know. If you are not on this list but want to be/should be, please let me know that as well. If you need a stall for any or all of the clinic, you know the drill.

Also, if anyone is planning to work on a freestyle - either bring your music on an ipod or just email me the file, and I will stick it on mine and test it before you come.

It's a new year, so I need new forms.  Email me for a clinic participation agreement if you don't already have one.  If you are going to ride in multiple clinics, just put all clinic dates on the form and initial so that you do not have to send in a new one each time. Even if you end up not riding, at least your waiver is signed and on file for any future dates. Also, I need a new copy of everyone's coggins.

Please send the agreement, coggins, and payment for your ride(s) and stall by May 1st to:

Sally Run
PO Box 541
Wytheville, VA 24382

Fees can be found under the Dressage Clinics tab.  The stabling fee went up just a bit to cover extra bedding since I will need to add more shavings to the new stalls. Please note that you will need to bring buckets with hooks/straps for the stalls as well. We have preserved the parking/turn around area, so don't panic - still plenty of circling space for your truck & trailer!

I will send out ride times as we get closer to the date. If you need a specific ride time and have not told me already, please shoot me an email asap.

Thanks so much, and we can't wait to see everyone again next month!

Take care,


Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring has sprung!

We have been enjoying the warmest, earliest spring we have ever had since we moved to Wytheville 11 years ago!  The horses cannot shed out fast enough, and the grass is threatening to take over, but we are enjoying every minute of it!  The pony B&B has run into a temporary standstill as we work out stain issues, but if you have ever built a house or barn with wood siding and then built another one more than 4 years later and tried to match the stain, you know what we're dealing with.  Products change, colors fade, and matching existing structures becomes an exercise in frustration!  However, the stalls, windows and doors all arrive on Tuesday, so we will hopefully start to see some progress again soon!

On the horse front, I would love to list our horseshow plans and goals for the year, but for now we are  in a wait-and-see mode.  Glory continues to be her fantastic self, Caruso is gradually getting back in shape, and Barney - well, Barney is still a little bit of an unknown, but he looks awesome on the lunge and is thoroughly enjoying his life in the field.  I am amazed at how much happier my horses seem when the weather cooperates, and they get to spend their lives outside.  As much as I love to watch the super fancy dressage horses, I don't think I could ever have a horse who was either too valuable or too hot to turn out, and since I am not aiming for the Olympics here, I don't think it will ever be a problem!

On the cow front, we are down to just a handful of heifers left to calve - woohoo!!  The weather has made for an awesome calving season, and the kids have thoroughly enjoyed bottle feeding the two calves who were each the small ones out of two sets of twins.  Shockingly, I think our alfalfa is almost ready to cut - which is a little bit insane, but hopefully this great grass and growing season will continue!

So, that's what's happening around the farm.  We are getting ready for our baby girl's birthday this week and the arrival of family and friends to celebrate number 12 along with Easter!  Hope everyone has a blessed holiday weekend, and we'll start gearing up for the clinic series in just a few weeks!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The perfect snow arrived Sunday - 8 full inches of good, wet, perfect snowball, sledding, snowman building snow!!  While Sunday was a white-out, and we were soaked from such heavy snow falling, Monday was GORGEOUS!!  The sky was blue, the snow lasted through most of the day, and the temperature was on the warmish side.  The kids absolutely loved their day off, and the timing was great.  It's melting quickly, which is also nice for us since we have calves due any minute!  A little more mud to contend with, but it was completely worth it . . .
Tubing in Sunday's white-out

Wondering if Bruce sees the snowball in Rowdy's hand as he rolls down his window

Ready, aim, . . .

The boys beginning their snow fort

Syd joins the process

Friday, February 17, 2012

This is my kind of week -

This has been a crazy good week at Sally Run - the timbers rolled in early Monday morning, were sorted by late afternoon, and the first couple of trusses were set by dark.  By Wednesday afternoon all of the timbers in the main part of the barn were in place, and the crane rolled on out, which was perfect since the rain came that night and didn't stop for the next 18 hours.  The T&G for the walls and ceiling has now arrived, so framing should start anytime. 

To add to the chaos, the horses got the works this week as well - spring shots, new coggins, teeth floated, and feet trimmed.  They are now enjoying a beautiful, quiet Friday afternoon in the sunshine with no loud machinery swinging timbers in the air. Of course they are covered in mud - I guess they thought they needed a little spa treatment after their busy week! 

We are probably just 7 - 10 days away from the start of calving season, so things will get a little more crazy for the next month, but hopefully the great weather will stick around!!!  I'll post pictures of those new babies when they start to arrive!

Here are a few photos of the new barn - amazing how much can happen in 3 days! 
Timbers rolling in bright and early on Monday

Huge crane setting the first set on Monday evening

By Wednesday afternoon, all main timbers were up

The view of the back of the barn

I love the super tall center aisle - great design for hot summer weather, and the roof pitch matches the arena.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Clinic Dates Announced

The dates for the 2012 Dressage Clinic Series with Lauren Sprieser at Sally Run have been added under the Dressage Clinics tab of this site.  An April date will likely be added soon, and if everything stays on schedule, the new guest barn will be open just in time for the start of the series.  So, we should have plenty of stabling this year, and we won't be playing musical ponies in the barn.  Questions/Reservations can be emailed to  We will need new coggins and signed clinic participation agreements for 2012, which I will email to you when you reserve a spot.  Also, if you are planning to ride in multiple clinics, please list all dates on one copy of the agreement - then you will be good to go for the entire series.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

So far, so good

This has been the most mild winter I can remember in Wytheville, and except for the mud, I cannot complain.  I may have to get one of those Farmer's Almanacs after all, as it's prediction for our area was "very mild, very wet, above normal temps, and stormy," - all of which has been experienced thus far.  The timing of this mildness has been perfect since there is nothing more frustrating than starting a construction project in sub-arctic temps with snow on the ground.  If I were a contractor, I think I would keep a copy of that almanac handy. 

Gorgeous double rainbow this morning!
So, the concrete is poured for the new Pony B&B, timbers are cut and being stained, and the warm weather has kept everyone in good spirits.  Here are a few pics of what's been happening . . .

Syd sporting her first pair of full seat breeches, and Glory in her new blingy browband!

Footers, Concrete, Water ready for the timbers to go up!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 - Evens Rock!

I am an honest-to-goodness even  (ask any R-MWC/RC alum), and I can feel 2012's awesomeness already.  Great things seem to happen in the even years - my birth (wink, wink), all graduations, one of my two children,  World Equestrian Games, and the Olympics - just to name a few!!!  Except for the onslaught of negative media that accompanies presidential campaigns, even years tend to bring great progress & excitement, and I suspect 2012 will be no different!

The biggest thing going on at the farm right now is getting this Pony B&B going - construction always takes twice as long as anticipated, and except for Gretchen Yahn, I don't think there are very many type A's in the business.  So, I am trying to be patient as the engineers work out the final details.  In the meantime, here are a few pictures of the progress to date, which has mostly consisted of moving a lot of dirt and building Bruce the pond he has always wanted ;).

So far, lots of dirt . . .

Bruce's new pond and road

The view from Bruce's new road :) 

View from the back - look closely for the stake on the left - rear corner of the barn.  You can also find the pile of old water lines that of course ran right under the new barn - which meant twice as much digging and laying all new pipe - typical!

My reflective photo - Barney and Glory's new run-in shed of 2011!  She finally went in when it got down to single digits this week with 30 mph wind - silly ponies!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

We hope all of our family and friends have had a wonderful Christmas, a restful holiday break, and a joyful start to the new year!  We are looking forward to all that 2012 has in store for us and wish everyone the very best!