She Rides I Pay

Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List May 17 2018, 0 Comments

Do you know which KPIs matter most to your business success? Did you double your email list and social media following last quarter? Should your business Snap? Are you delivering quality content to your audience? What's your video strategy? Should you start a podcast? Do you need media training? Are you A/B testing? Digital marketing: so many choices-where do you focus precious marketing resources? Let Elizabeth create a personalized digital marketing plan that works for YOUR business, organization, book or special event.

She Rides I Pay, The Store…. April 03 2014, 0 Comments

Hello friends. I am happy to report that the Howell family is alive and well. I have received many complaints for my long absence from this space. Well, I’m baaack–and with exciting news to share. About six months ago, I opened a mobile equestrian-inspired gift store filled with horse show necessities and luxuries. I’ve traveled to a variety of shows with our 16-foot-trailer/store. We spent six weeks in Manchester, Vermont, at the Vermont Summer Festival horse show. I’ve attended several one-day shows on the Vermont Hunter Jumper Association (VHJA) circuit, had a great week at the New England Equitation Championship in Springfield, MA, and went to the four-day extravaganza that is the Equine Affaire, also held in Springfield. I have just returned from four weeks at HITS Ocala and was quite dismayed to find winter had no yet left Vermont upon my return!

Hello friends April 17 2013, 0 Comments

Well, it’s been a long time. We’re all alive and mostly well. Samantha continues to ride. Our “new” horse is named Chili Pepper a.k.a. “Chili” or “Baby Chill” or “Dufus.” He is a seven-year-old Holsteiner purchased from Annie Dotoli and Aster Pieters of Tibri. We purchased Chili with the generous support of a family member in December, 2011. It has been an interesting journey with Chili. He is very young, something he continues to remind us, lest we forget. Samantha had encouraging success with him last show season in the 3′ equitation. She qualified for the Mass Finals and New England Finals. She rode leased horses at both of these finals, as Chili was not quite ready.

MHC Days of Champions October 03 2011, 0 Comments

We’ve just returned from the Massachusetts Horsemen’s Council Days of Champions  held in Northampton, MA. It was a great weekend, aside from the pouring rain. What can I say? Samantha and Mondavi were outstanding. Nerves were running high. Not mine! OK, well, mine and Samantha’s.

Her first class was the Open Equitation 14 and Under. She was in section B. I brought her to the show at 6 a.m. and we walked the course with Mo so he could sample the flowers. (The orange mums are the tastiest). Then I quickly went back to the hotel to check us out and take a shower. I returned 25 minutes later and she was waiting to go into the ring. It was HIGH DRAMA because I had her back number. Oh the SHAME. Oh the DRAMA. THEY WERE HOLDING THE RING. I WAS ONLY GONE FOR 25 MINUTES. HOW DID THEY GET THROUGH AN ENTIRE (A) SECTION CLASS IN 25 MINUTES?

Colic Surgery For The Girl June 03 2011, 0 Comments

I’ve been missing. There’s a story behind it. Here it is.

When you are responsible for the care of someone else, be they canine, equine or human, there are times when you inevitably fail them. If you are critical in your self-assessment of this care, you no doubt can find fault frequently.

I pulled a doozy recently when I misdiagnosed Samantha’s virus. Umm, it was appendicitis. She had an emergency appendectomy on Thursday, April 21. In my defense, when she seemed to be suffering from her second bout of the fever/upset stomach bug that was making its rounds, I did call the pediatrician’s office.  The nurse told me that the current virus running through the area was particularly virulent and was striking quite a few kids more than once. She did say that I was more than welcome to bring Samantha in to be checked out. Alas, not wanting to be that mom (again) who dragged her kid to the pediatrician only to be told, “It’s a virus,” I decided to just wait it out.

Celebration March 18 2011, 0 Comments

The riders of StoneHaven celebrate a successful 2010 show season: (from left) Samantha Howell, Rachel Buckley, Morgan Bessette, trainer Tara Valade, Melissa Woolpert and Karen Clark. Photo by John Oren.

It’s been a busy month of business travel, which has taken me away from visiting with all of you—I hate it when that happens! On the horse side of life, we had our Vermont Hunter Jumper annual awards banquet last month. It gave us a good excuse to get dressed up in the middle of the winter and celebrate the 2010 horse show season.

I’m sure many of you across the country plan or attend similar functions. It’s always an interesting experience to see horse people clean, sans helmet and wearing dress-up clothes. There’s that awkward moment when you try to figure out, “Is that….?” Because without the helmet and breeches, who knows?

Dear Lauren, Eight Reasons Why I Still Hate You, Love Elizabeth February 04 2011, 0 Comments

The lovely and talented Lauren Sprieser, my fellow blogger and online friend, is trying to tell us all that the seasonal relocation of her barn to Florida ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

It seems her friends, colleagues and readers (ahem) are sending her emails, texts and phone calls expressing a certain je nais se quoi—oh, could it be JEALOUSLY? And, in her kind and eloquent way, she’s hoping to suppress our little green monsters by explaining that hey, things really aren’t that great here in the Sunshine State.

Lauren, I beg to differ. As I sit here watching more than 20 inches of snow dump from the sky and listen to three 10-year-old boys play knee hockey in my basement at 9 a.m., I’m wondering how hanging out with Midge and Ella could be worse.

Let’s address her points one by one, shall we?

The Many Moods Of Mondavi January 22 2011, 0 Comments

Greetings sports fans from the frozen tundra that is Vermont. I continue to hibernate, coffee cup in hand, looking out the window, thinking about going to the barn to watch the girl ride, but it’s really cold!

The girl continues to put in long hours at the barn, ever the faithful and committed young horseperson. I shamefully admit that over the past several weeks, I have only done drive-bys—picking the girl up at the end of the day, not even getting out of the car. The only real barn time I’ve put in is my regular Saturday afternoon barn chore shift.

My punishment for such wimpy and unsportsmanlike conduct? The weather forecast is calling for temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees below zero this Saturday, during the day. And I get to spend Sunday at a hockey tournament.

George Soothes the Winter Brain Freeze January 05 2011, 0 Comments

The holidays are over and we’re settling in for our remaining five months of winter. As I read aboutLauren’s seasonal relocation to Florida, I assessed my own state of mind and find that I am (surprisingly) OK. There will be no trip to Ocala this year. There are no business trips on the horizon to warm weather locales. It’s just winter as far as the eye can see. It’s cool. I can handle it. Just check on me every couple of weeks, OK?

There are so many interesting things going on in the equestrian world—both here in our little corner and in the bigger COTH world—that I’m hardly minding the daily white-knuckle drive through snow and the short, seven hours of daylight. (Only a slight exaggeration, it’s now light out until 5 p.m. rather than 4:15 p.m., woo-hoo!)

Barn Manners: The Holiday Edition December 23 2010, 0 Comments

‘Tis the time of year when people give you a gift, and you don’t have one to give to them. When you receive a pink fuzzy sweater that you’d like to exchange. And perhaps there’s a coffee maker, a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine you’re thinking of regifting.

How’s a polite barn girl to handle these situations? It’s also the time of year when we want to thank the folks who work hard all year to care for our beasts—the barn workers, the trainer, the farrier, the vet. What’s an appropriate gift?

Vermonters in King George’s Court November 25 2010, 0 Comments

Last week, two trainers and one junior rider from our area had the opportunity to ride in a George Morris clinic, held at The Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, Nov. 12-14.

Barn mates pooled resources and gifted the clinic to our trainer Tara Valade as her Christmas present. Fox Horn Stables, our friendly neighbors down the road in Charlotte, caught wind of what we were doing and decided to do the same for their trainer Ashley Conway. Junior rider Piper Oren’s parents decided to send her as well. Just like that, three lifelong dreams were about to be realized.

Dawn does the work for me: E-Reader reviews November 24 2010, 0 Comments

I love it when a friend does the work for you. Tis the holiday shopping season, and this is a post less about the mom horse life and more about the mom shopping life, especially around the holidays. It’s crazier than usually, with even more things to do. The girl’s list is long with horse supplies. The boy wants WWE games. Sigh, yes, he has discovered Professional Wrestling. So, why am I currently thinking about e-readers? Because that’s what’s on MY holiday list.

Time For Mom To Follow The Horse Show Rules November 14 2010, 0 Comments

From May through October, I kept a kid and horse entirely presentable and A-rated horse show ready. I dry cleaned show coats, I hand-washed Essex Collection shirts, I removed stains from Tailored Sportsman breeches. I found a hand-me-down pair of ancient tall boots and taught my kid how to polish and nurse them through the season.

The girl learned from her trainer and me never to go into the show ring without an immaculate horse wearing clean tack. The show day was only over when your horse, tack and stall were clean. Wherever we were, Massachusetts, Vermont or New York, the girl was packed and prepared. And so was I. She made it through an entire horse show season without forgetting or losing much of anything. I considered these skills—what she was learning outside of the ring—to be as essential as what she was learning in the ring.

Barn Manners: Banish The Borrowers? November 05 2010, 0 Comments

Question:  There’s a person in our barn who is constantly borrowing things from everyone else—polo wraps, boots, bits, spurs, stirrups, she even used someone else’s saddle for the entire show season. We all know it’s expensive to ride, and you can’t always afford to buy everything your horse needs. And I don’t mind lending things out once in a while. But this chronic lending seems to be a solution rather than a stop-gap measure. In my opinion, if you can’t afford to be in the sport, get out. Harsh, I know. Should I share my views or sit back and continue to watch this person benefit from everyone’s generosity?

How To Have A Happy Horsey Halloween October 30 2010, 0 Comments

How many of you have Halloween plans that involve horses? And costumes? Come on…fess up! How many of you have spent time and money this month making or buying a Halloween costume for a horse? You can’t hide it from me. I made a tutu last year for a Connemara. It doesn’t get more embarrassing than that.

This year, we’re forgoing the Halloween barn party, since we had all kinds of hoopla last year. Don’t tell the kids, but in my opinion, phew! I am lacking in the creativity department and dressing up a pony as a princess last year just about maxed me out in the talent department. After many frantic posts on the COTH forums, I had tips and suggestions from some pros and was able to make it through.

New England Equitation Championships: Day Two, NEHC Medal Finals, 18-22 Year-Olds October 24 2010, 0 Comments

The third group of amateur adult competitors entered the exposition hall on Friday in Springfield, Mass., to compete for the NEHC Adult Medal Final in the 18-22-year-old division. The second day of competition at the New England Equitation Championships featured 84 riders from seven states.

The challenging 11-fence course provided no easy options with broken lines, an end line fantail oxer that was the downfall of many horse and rider teams, and two one-stride in-and-outs. Riders had several options throughout the course to show off for the judges with tight inside turns.

NEHC Medal Finals: Sylvia De Toledo Wins 34th New England Equitation Championship October 24 2010, 0 Comments

It was an early start for the junior riders competing in the 34th annual New England Equitation Championships held at The Big E coliseum in Springfield, Mass., on Sunday, Oct. 24. The course walk began at 6 a.m., and the first rider was on course at 7.

According to the 16-member organizing committee, the New England Equitation Championships has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the most prestigious and well-attended equitation finals in the country. The four-day competition closed Sunday with the junior equitation final which featured 255 riders, each of whom qualified by winning one NEHC medal class during the year.

A Horse Girl Through & Through October 23 2010, 0 Comments

Our former barn manager left a few months ago to have a baby. She’s in her early 20s and has taken to motherhood like me to chocolate.

Less than four weeks postpartum, she made her first appearance at the barn, and we were on her like dirt on a gray mare. All of us barn moms were “oohhing” and “aahhing,” making the necessary comments about beautiful features, long fingers and the eternal mystery of the sweet smell of newborn baby.

New England Medal Finals: Day One-Adults (23-40) October 23 2010, 0 Comments

Part One: NEHC Amateur Adult Medal Finals 23-40-Year-Olds

Yesterday was an exciting start to the 34th annual New England Equitation Championships. An event with humble beginnings, the organizing committee now boasts that it hosts one of the most prestigious and well-attended equitation finals competitions in the country. With no one arguing otherwise, the four-day competition kicked off with adult equitation finals broken down by two age groups: a 23-40 division and a 41 and over division.

New England Medal Finals: Day One: Adults (41 & Over) October 23 2010, 0 Comments

Part Two: NEHC Amateur Adult Medal Finals 41 & Over

The second group of amateur adult competitors got underway yesterday afternoon at the New England Equitation Championships in Springfield, Mass., with the NEHC Amateur Adult Medal Finals competition for the riders aged 41 and over.

There were 54 qualifiers in the first round, judged by the same six-judge panel which oversaw the 23-40 year-old competition earlier in the day, and included Ken Krome, Linda Andrisani, Leo Conroy, Peter Lombardo, Ellen Raidt and Danny Robertshaw.

New Barn Flooring And The WEG On TV October 07 2010, 0 Comments

Even without a horse show, it was an exciting horse-related weekend nonetheless. On Saturday, the long-awaited installation of new flooring at the barn got underway. The barn was closed for the weekend to boarders—something that I don’t recall happening in the four-plus years we’ve boarded at Missy Ann Stables. My daughter was fighting a stomach bug, otherwise, I think she would have been banging on the barn door, demanding to be let in.

She Rode, I Paid October 02 2010, 0 Comments

It’s Friday, a few days since the official end of my daughter’s show season. The dust has settled, although there’s still some laundry to do, both the horse and human kind, as well as a checkbook in serious need of some balancing and a massive infusion of cash. Equitation finals loom in the near future, but thankfully this year we’ll just be attending as spectators. I’m ready to regroup, recoup and enjoy the memories of an amazing season.

One Horse Show Leads to Another September 27 2010, 0 Comments

Marshall and Sterling Finals are over. Misty the Mustang and Rachel Buckley did our barn proud. I finally got a chance to talk with Rachel’s mother, Melissa Buckley, on Thursday night, and the emotions were still running high. Melissa said the entire experience was a roller coaster ride of emotions and an experience she’ll never forget. She tried to stay as far away from her daughter and pony as possible, so as to not be accused later of any horse-show-mom related crimes.

The Mustang at Marshall & Sterling Finals September 17 2010, 0 Comments

This week, HITS-on-the-Hudson is hosting theMarshall & Sterling League National Finals in Saugerties, N.Y. Several horse-and-rider teams from our barn qualified, including Rachel Buckley and her pony Misty, show name Out of the Mist. It wasn’t a sure thing though.

The Buckley family waited for news about how they would spend this week—Rachel and Misty were 37th on the list of qualifiers for the children’s equitation pony medal final, which called for only the top 30 pony-and-rider teams to be invited to the finals. Promises were made and broken that the final list would be announced by Sept. 10, 11 and 12.