She Rides I Pay

Barn Manners: How to Get Someone to Settle a Bill September 08 2010, 0 Comments

Question: Earlier in the show season, a friend asked me to trailer her horse to a local horse show. I agreed and we settled on a price of a dollar per mile. When the show was over, I let her know that the trip was 225 miles round trip. Six weeks have passed, and I’m still waiting to get paid. I’m getting annoyed. What should I do?

Ed Being Very Naughty September 05 2010, 0 Comments

Have any of you seen this video? It’s been going around the barn for the last two weeks. The kids found it of course, but the adults have watched it just as many times as the kids (many, many times). In just the last week, it’s logged 50,000-plus additional views, bringing it to more than 600,000 views total in the past year.

Golden Moments August 26 2010, 0 Comments

Each horse show season, if you’re lucky, you’ll witness a few golden moments. The short-stirrup rider at her first horse show winning a ribbon. The kid who never pins finally getting a blue ribbon. The junior in her last year of eligibility qualifying for the finals. These moments send a shiver up your spine and bring a tear to the eye. They’re all the more poignant when you know the kid, the family, the trainer or the horse involved.

Summer is NOT ALMOST OVER! August 04 2010, 0 Comments

Today is August 4. The fat lady is not singing. Elvis is still in the building. However, many of my fellow Vermont barn mates are lamenting the inevitable end of summer. I will not tolerate this heresy.

It’s not atypical. Summer in Vermont is short. Winter is long. Riding outside is a precious gift, one that we lose in mid-November if we’re lucky. We won’t get to experience outdoor riding again until late April or early May.

Lessons Learned, Ribbons Earned July 20 2010, 0 Comments

We’re back from the summer GMHA hunter/jumperhorse show. You’ll remember that our first outing of the season to the lovely grounds in Woodstock, Vt., was deemed an “estrogen nightmare” by my husband. He didn’t make out too much better at this horse show. When our StoneHaven group gathered for dinner on Saturday night, we numbered 15: 13 women, plus Paul and the boy. When the other dads finally showed up on Sunday, they got an earful from Paul. (They were accused of spending the rest of their weekend home alone and pants-free.)

Photo-Challenged July 15 2010, 0 Comments

Recently returned from a horse show, I reviewed the pictures I had taken. I was planning to share them with the usual suspects: grandparents, friends, the owner of the horse we’re leasing, the parent of the other rider I had taken to the show, etc.

I downloaded the photos from the borrowed camera (a very nice Cannon) and was excited to view the results of four days of snapping away. I knew the results would be good, because the mom who owns this camera always comes back from horse shows with excellent pictures.

Jump, Jump, Jump Around July 06 2010, 0 Comments

Our trip to Northampton, Mass., is over, and we’re back from the 24th Annual Northeast Benefit Horse Show. The girls (Samantha and Rachel) started off their show week by competing in the “Hopeful Jumper” division. What a great name. These two 12-year-old girls couldn’t have been more thrilled to compete in the jumper ring. Many riders were feeling hopeful—there were 29 entries in each class.

The Pigpen of Horse Show Moms July 03 2010, 0 Comments

Greetings from Northampton, Mass. We’re here for the 24th Annual Northeast Benefit Horse Show. This is Samantha and Mondavi’s first “A” rated show. The schedule is somewhat unusual—it’s a Monday-Friday horse show, leaving horse people in New England free to participate in “normal people” summer holiday-weekend activities.  That is, of course, assuming they can remember what normal people do on the weekend.

Barn Manners: The Good Horse Show Host June 18 2010, 0 Comments

What’s your favorite horse show? I bet you can tell me in five seconds flat. Why is it your favorite? Some of you will say it’s the food—the caramel apples at the New England Equitation Finals! Others might say Lake Placid because of the super intense grand prix, and the fact that there’s so much to do, see and eat in the lovely town. Or, maybe your favorite is HITS Ocala because you’re out of the cold and the food is good!

Wet Horse Show Rant June 11 2010, 0 Comments

Tack Heart Attack

Three days later, the clean-up continues. Samantha’s (borrowed) saddle is still soaked, giving me heart palpitations. I read this piece by Sara Lieser, “Taking Care of Your Tack Doesn’t Have to be Tough,” and found this advice from Colleen Meyer owner of the saddle fitting company Advanced Saddle Fit in Marlborough, N.H., and a qualified saddle fitter in the society of Master Saddlers from Great Britain:

The Adventures of Megan and Stormy June 04 2010, 0 Comments

Relationships between children and animals are fascinating. There’s a young rider at our barn named Megan, age 8. Her big sister Rachel rides too. The family owns a mustang pony named Misty who has turned into a champion pony hunter and jumper. Sometimes when two girls in the family ride, they share a pony or horse.

But Megan is not quite ready for Misty. She prefers Stormy, and, without a doubt, Megan is the person that Stormy prefers above all others.

Get Off Your Duff! June 04 2010, 0 Comments

This week, I returned to my weekly barn shift. My broken hand is now almost healed. I was practically euphoric picking stalls, sweeping, haying, etc. Why? Because I hadn’t moved like that in nearly two months. For four hours, I never stopped or sat down. Eight weeks away from barn chores had not done good things for me. While I did enjoy a little more freedom on Saturday afternoons, the bad far outweighed the good.

Barn Manners: Sharing Hotel Rooms June 02 2010, 0 Comments

’Tis the season for “away” horse shows. You and your horse, on the road, at the show, footloose and fancy-free, no email, perhaps limited cell phone capability, no computers…bliss! At the end of the day, you put your horse to bed and return to the hotel room, which is …littered with sweaty horse show clothes, half-eaten food and paddock boot dirt. There’s not an inch of room on the sink counter or a clean towel to be found. Ah, roommates!

Barn Manners: Graduation Announcements and Gifts May 26 2010, 0 Comments

Question: A bunch of the girls at the barn are graduating from high school soon. One has mailed me a graduation announcement. Am I obligated to send her a gift? And if I give her a gift, shouldn’t I give the others a gift as well?

Horse Show Hangover May 25 2010, 0 Comments

We’re back from three days in Woodstock. Having never been to GMHA, I was excited to see the facility and grounds. Believe the hype. This place is gorgeous, and the facilities are lovely. Beautiful permanent stalls. Real bathrooms! Three rings. Wheelbarrows provided. Life is good.

The girl’s first horse show with her new horse,Mondavi, was most definitely a success. She started off in the modified low hunter division. It was something else to see this kid showing a horse in a 2’6” division. Her entire showing career to this point totaled about seven horse shows in the short stirrup division riding a pony.

On The Way To GMHA May 21 2010, 0 Comments

This morning we are on our way south to Woodstock, Vermont, for theGreen Mountain Horse Show Association spring show. Fortunately, today is warm-ups only, because we’ve just barely left the barn, and we are already 90 minutes behind schedule.

Why are we late? Ah, that is the question. I’m sure it’s a scenario you’ve encountered before on the way to a horse show. How long does it take 12 people to load eight horses into four trailers? A lot longer than it should once you throw in some technical difficulties.

Barn Manners: Unsolicited Advice May 14 2010, 0 Comments

Question: There’s a boarder at the barn who loves to offer unsolicited advice. Whether it’s about my horse—“Maybe you should try some calming supplements,” and “Is he always this crazy?” or my riding, “If I were you, I’d really starting working on getting him to bend more, try doing some 20-meter circles.”  She won’t stop! It’s driving me crazy. This person has no more experience than I do. What can I say to make her stop?

Mom Moments May 10 2010, 0 Comments

Last week, I had a Mom moment. Like most other moms, I do have them—you know, it’s that instant when Mother Nature takes over. Your actions are no longer your own, and suddenly you more closely resemble a female lion or momma bear rather than a middle-class suburban mom. (Those of you thinking, “She lives in Vermont, so really she’s a redneck”….just stop right there. Up here, we call them woodchucks.)

Barn Manners: How To Shake Hands With The Chick With The Cast April 29 2010, 0 Comments

I’m nine days in with the new cast, which is a lovely shade of Missy Ann blue. I have been a good patient, if I do say so myself. When I visited the hand specialist last week, I was given the choice of a hard cast or a brace that could be briefly removed.

The doctor is a fellow lacrosse coach, and his son is on the team my husband coaches. Husband and Doctor Phil discussed it and decided I was not to be trusted with a removable brace. So I am in a cast. And yes, they were correct, I cannot be trusted.

Introducing Mondavi April 27 2010, 0 Comments

The pony is gone. Dara is happily situated at EvenStride, and the girl visited her last weekend. I was not allowed to go, home with my Percoset, the broken hand deemed unprepared for a four-hour jaunt to Massachusetts.

Samantha went down with another horse show mom, Melissa, who spent the day with the EvenStride horse show secretary, learning the ins and outs of Show Pro, the software we will use at our 2010 Missy Ann Stables horse shows. The girl was able to ride Dara and chat with the kids who have been taking lessons on her. Dara is being appropriately coddled and spoiled—continuing to receive the princess treatment she has come to demand from the humans around her.

Gearing Up for Show Season: Pack The Trailer April 20 2010, 0 Comments

Part 4 of 5

The kid is dressed, the beast has tack. The tack trunk is packed with tack, first aid supplies, horse blankets, bits, longe line, spurs, grooming kit, etc. Now it’s time to put everything else together and into the trailer.

Samson Bit Me! April 16 2010, 0 Comments

The cruel hand of fate has dealt me an unexpected blow. I was at the barn Monday night after a 12-hour day of work and various mom duties. I was feeling strung out, sorry for myself and somewhat adrift. So I went to pick up the girl around 8 p.m., and I brought some treats and planned to spend a few minutes with my equine friends to help soothe my psyche.

Read this post on The Chronicle of the Horse website.

Gearing Up for Show Season: Pack the Trunk April 12 2010, 0 Comments

Part 3 of 5

The kid is dressed, the beast has tack. What’s next? It’s time to pack the tack trunk. Whether your tack trunk is monogrammed and made from tri-colored-fiberglass to match the barn colors ($$$$) or is anextra large plastic container from Wal-Mart, ($) if you don’t have what you need in there when you get to the horse show, you’re busted.

Pony tales…. April 11 2010, 0 Comments

There comes a time in every young rider’s life when he or she becomes too tall to ride ponies. In January, one of my favorite horse show moms admitted to concern that her daughter would outgrow her mustang pony before show season. Concern may not be a strong enough word. She spent many a sleepless night wondering what would she do if her daughter outgrew the pony. Could she afford board on two animals? Could she bring the pony home? How would she be able to afford a new horse?