Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tasty Bunnies

I'm sure you know this already, but I love chocolate. Even better, I love seasonal chocolate - stuff that only comes out but once a year, waiting for me to notice the colorful wrappers waving at me from the grocery store shelf. Our house is covered in these: How can you resist? They're so pretty and cheery, and they taste good. Especially with coffee in the morning.

Such a nutritious breakfast.

For years, I was obsessed with these:
I would eat them all day, every day. Having them at work, I was a captive audience to their sugary shells and melty milk chocolate. But, I think I needed a break from them, so this year, I've fixated on something else.

Bring on the bunnies!

Now, I am very specific as to the bunnies that get to enter under the roof at TMF. These bunnies, by Palmer, are where it's at - because they have little candy eyes and other little sugary candy accessories. But they've been hard to come by! Where did all the candy eyes go?

Instead, Palmer tried to pull a fast one with painted on eyes and accessories. It's just not the same. This guy does not make me Happy, even though that's on the box.

So, le sigh. I am forced to buy the Mother Lode of Bunnies. The Big One.

It's just you and me, Pete. You have been delish.

(He probably can't hear me. I ate his ears.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Silver...into the Sunset

Silver Hunter, an Akindale horse who I've been training since January, has a whole new life ahead of her. I am very happy to announce her official adoption with her new Mom, Marcye. It's a fabulous, uplifting story. Marcye knew me when I was about 13 years old with stars in my eyes and bravery by the gallon. Marcye owned a beautiful gray mare named Mist, who she clearly had a great connection with that continued up until last year, when Mist decided it was time to go to Heaven. So needless to say, they were a team for a very, very long time. Marcye understandably wasn't really interested in another horse, as the loss of Mist was a lot to bear. Having lost Midnight, I could understand all too well how she felt. But, Marcye came to the Showcase a few weeks ago, and happened to see Silver. Instantly, I think everyone around them saw sparks and an instant bond. Marcye rode Silver that following weekend, and decided then and there to bring her home. After she'd gone through the Akindale adoption process and had her vet (who is also our TMF vet!) check her out, it was time for "Silvie" (Marcye's name for her) to head home.

I love the above photo - a reassuring smooch with some calming words from her new Mom, Silvie walked into the trailer and into her new life.

At last report, Silvie is doing phenomenally at her new barn - she's enjoying her turnout, eating lots of good hay and is making friends with the other horses there. She and Marcye have many years of trail riding, hunter pacing, fun and love ahead of them.

This is a special kind of love, that a horse and owner are lucky to share, and we are even luckier to be able to witness and be a part of. I'm sure I'll do some updates on Silvie and Marcye's life together - stay tuned!

Congratulations Marcye and Silvie!

Friday, March 25, 2011

If I Had a Million Dollars...

I wonder how many people are dreaming about what they'd do if they won tonight's Mega Millions drawing. It's an insane amount of $312 Million, and Matt went out and bought a $5 ticket yesterday.

Hey, you never know.

One of the things I love doing is daydream, and this is no different. What would I do if money was no object? What would you do?

Matt told me that he'd finally get the Cadillac Escalade he's been admiring forever.

We had a great time chatting over dinner about what we'd do, and it's pretty darn simple. Put our house on the market, buy our dream house and property, and live happily ever after. Of course, both our families would be taken care of - that's a no brainer.

It's not that simple, though. Our dream property would either be many acres or back on to protected land that can't be developed, even better if there's a trail system somewhere nearby. A nice barn, an outdoor/ indoor ring, and some cross country jumps would be a must! This one is a good start, though I'd love if it were a little closer to our families!

I thought for a moment if I'd go and buy a fancy event horse, one that a famous rider - one of the O'Connors, Phillip Dutton, or Buck Davidson had started, and then I thought, nope. I would stick with Zeus and my other Off Track Thoroughbreds. I love the process of training them and becoming a team with them, so anything less wouldn't feel like it was really a victory. However, I'd make the most of my free time and attend lots of clinics and lessons.

I'd also probably invest in some land in the south, preferably Southern Pines, NC, where everyone in town loves to ride and we'd be within (almost) driving distance to Matt's parents. It would be a nice retreat from the doldrums of winter.

I think a trip to Italy and while we're at it, the rest of Europe would be in the cards too.

What I'd do first and foremost though, would be to adopt the horses who have become so important to me in my time at Akindale - Flurry, Paris, Casey, Chief, perhaps Angelo, and I'd like to take on a horse who can't be ridden anymore but can be a companion and a friend. Those horses are the hardest to adopt out.

Is that so much to ask? Nah!

So, what's your dream?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Many Happy Returns

Hello, my friends!

I can't remember when I last posted, but it was a while ago. Maybe two weeks ago. The thing you will learn about me due to my absence is that when the going gets tough, I go to ground. I don't like to talk about the bad stuff. I won't air dirty laundry, I won't gossip or use this place as a soapbox. I want to keep it positive, happy, entertaining, and a platform for something I believe in wholeheartedly - rescue horses (especially my beloved Thoroughbreds) and the hearts they hold, just waiting for a lucky person to discover it.

In other words, if you don't see a blog post for awhile, just know I'm struggling with something or having a hard time.
*ETA: The issue is not with Matt and I, or any members of our families, everything is great in that department and I am very lucky to have such wonderful people around me!*


On to better and brighter stuff.

The Showcase was a huge hit, and it has already yielded one blissful adoption for one of my horses, which I'll blog about very soon (want to get pics and permission from the new owner to do the post!).

This past weekend, Erin and I headed to Danbury, CT, where Agway was having an Equine and Pet Expo. Between the two of us, we ended up with an interactive setup, with lots of goodies and information for interested people!

Here's a photo of our booth, with Erin grinning behind it.

We thought one of the best parts of the day was the view.

Those rear ends you see are Tom, Bubba, Billie, and Bean - a 4 Horse Team from Rock Hill Farm in nearby Southeast, NY. The owner of these magnificent animals spent some time talking to Erin and I, and even offered his horses up for wagon rides for our Family Fun Day in the fall.
I can't recall if this guy is Billie or Bean, but what I found fascinating is that this particular breed (Belgian) goes gray, just like people do. So this big guy is about 17, and his mane color tells you he's a more mature gentleman. I told him it was distinguished.
More to come in the coming weeks. Even though more snow is coming (waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah), Spring is here and that means lots of good things coming up to write about!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Flurry Conundrum

I haven't said anything (except to Matt, my parents and some very close friends) but I've been in turmoil over the past few months.

It's over this girl.
You all remember Flurry. She forever changed my life on October 16, when I made the call to save her from the Kill Pen.

She was the last horse standing.
Since then, we have discovered that Flurry is not 12-13 years old as we were told at the auction - she is, in fact, late teens - a little tougher to adopt out because she's a senior horse. She could easily live another 10 years, but a lot of people are reluctant to take on a new horse when they are in their later years.
I have also discovered that Flurry is, in a word, perfect. When I ride her, I feel that she's safe and a fun ride. I've had riding student Marissa ride her, and absolutely have a ball on her - and because of Flurry, Marissa's been able to grow as a rider in these winter months.
At the same time, she's still got spunk - she flies over jumps and still tosses her head and leaps about when she's having a good time. I feel like she could be the stepping stone for my students who graduate from Topaz, but aren't big enough, strong or confident enough for Siggy. She could be the horse I gain my confidence back after having a child, before tackling the wily Zeus. She and Topaz could be turned out together, being two old ladies, without worrying about the younger, and bigger boys, pushing them around.
When I pulled that Kill Pen tag off her rump, I made a personal commitment to make sure she would always be loved and cared for. I didn't imagine on that day (though I had a fleeting thought, I pushed it away), that the desire to bring her home, to be loved and cherished by us and our little community at TMF, would be so strong.
But it is. For months, I've not stopped talking about it. What's holding us back is the daily cost of her living with us - hay, shavings, grain, farrier (foot trimmings), vet...etc.
Flurry will be showcased this weekend, and she will be up for adoption and have lots of people looking at her. Knowing her, I'm sure she will rise to the occasion and be absolutely perfect. I secretly hope she's a cranky little cow so people think, "Oh, that's a naughty little horse!" but I think my chances of that are slim!
I have to take a "que sera sera" attitude, as my Mom says, at least through Sunday. It's going to be hard, because I am fiercely protective of her. If the perfect home comes along - someone who wants to enjoy her and not ride her into the ground - not use her as a daily lesson horse - not keep her in a stall 23 hours a day or in ankle deep mud...if someone will love her as I do, then I can't keep her from going to a new home. I would track her, of course, and keep up with her adopters.
But if the end of March comes and the Starlight horses go back to Akindale...I think it wouldn't feel right unless she made her way to our home. She deserves to spend her senior years as far away from the life that led her into the Kill Pen as she can get - being appreciated, loved and cherished the way she should be.
She deserves nothing less.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seeing Red

More rain is upon us.

But before that happened, there was a lovely little friend outside our window this morning.

He was very easy to pick out amongst the brown doldrums of winter, and stayed long enough for a few photos.

His friends, the Bluejays, see me trying to get a photo from the window and without fail, they are always gone before I can even figure out how to turn off the flash.

Those Bluejays, they're trouble.

But not this guy. He seems to know he's well worth photographing!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let's Play

How much do you love Siggy?

'Nuff said!

This video goes out to Horsewife Cynthia, who bought the pink ball for the boys to play with!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Bone Crusher

Well, most people will be blogging about the massive flooding that happened here due to the gobs of rain we got last night.

But not me. I had another problem on my hands. Really...hand. But let's narrow it down to a finger.

You all know this cute little guy.
That's Chief, having a ball running around the indoor. He'll be featured this weekend at the Showcase.

Well, yesterday as I was bringing him up from turnout in the rain, the massive amounts of water made a little pond with a PVC pipe make a strange burbling sound as we crossed over it. Chief didn't like it very much, and thus, spooked his little heart out. The lead ropes were wet and his nylon leadrope, usually carefully folded in my hand, got caught in my hand as he spooked, thus making it hurt. A lot.
I got he and Dream into their stalls and managed to yank my wedding rings off in the nick of time as my left ring finger began to swell up like a balloon. Good friend Carla was also there and fortunately for me, is a nurse - so she was able to tape up my finger(s).
After getting home and showing my trophy to Matt (who again - recoiled in horror), we needed to assess the situation and most importantly, get the finger splinted.
My pinkie finger was jammed in the melee, but at least not broken. My ring finger....not so lucky.

Isn't it pretty? I feel like Edward Scissorhands. My pinkie is better today - very sore but mobile. My ring finger, on the other hand, resembles a very swollen, purple sausage. Is it broken? More than likely.

I took photos without the splints for my own documentation, but decided to spare you guys from having to see it. I know many of you catch up while having your morning coffee and breakfast, and I don't want to turn any stomachs!

So, with the Showcase looming, I've got to take care of these busted fingers - and fast! I foresee a splint in waking and sleeping hours, and lots of Vetrap in riding hours.
Good thing I have lots of Vetrap.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On the Road....Again....

I love my horse.

I love all my horses, Topaz and Siggy, of course, and all my Akindale horses (sometimes I think I love them a little too much because it will hurt to let them go when they get adopted), but I just love love love my Zeus.

Today was a decent weather day - high 40's and the wind hadn't picked up too much yet, so I knew I had to get on Zeus again! But, we were bored just wandering around the mud paddock, and I knew we couldn't do much since there is still some icy patches in there. Our ring is still buried in snow, so that was out too.

Oh, what's a girl and her horse to do?

We hit the road, that's what!
Matt very kindly walked a few hundred feet to the dirt road around the corner from us so he could a) make sure I lived and b)...well, it was really pretty much just A. But as a side bonus, he brought the camera along and got some pictures!

This was actually Zeus' first time out without his partner in crime, Siggy. He was perfectly happy to head out the driveway and into uncharted territory - he'd never been down this particular road before. Braving pools, weird broken down trucks and some rowdy youngsters across the street, he was awesome and walked ahead steadily.

Man, it sounds like we live in Harlem, doesn't it?

Anyway, he was fantastic. Our ride was brief, but it was enough that he came home with a good experience and I think his taste for adventure is alive and well!

That's my boy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Akindale Showcase...The Cast of Characters

I'm baaaaaaack.

In all honesty, the past 2 days, I've felt like I had to post something here. Anything! I think I actually missed posting to this blog every day!

Anyway, next Sunday, March 13th, Akindale is having the first (hopefully Annual) Adoption Showcase at Starlight Farms in New Milford, CT. We'll be featuring about 10 horses, all up for adoption. From the word on the street, the attendance is going to be really good - people are really excited about it!

This event is simply all about the horses. And which ones will be there? Some of them you've met, and some you haven't. For now, we'll do a partial cast of characters.

First up is Singing Low. Yes, that's his name. He's a 4 year old gelding (boy), who was born and raced for Akindale. He's a bit like a toddler - very busy, a minimal attention span, but in the work I've done with him in the past few weeks, people just stop and stare. He can do anything - dressage, jumpers, but secretly, I hope he goes to an eventer - I think he's brave and scopey, and has that "Look at Me!" attitude that confident event horses need.

Then we have one of my favorite little guys! Remember Chief? Or are you saying, "KC, why haven't you taken him home yet?!" Yeah, I know I know. I need about 10 more acres and 5 more stalls, and then I'll be happy. And stop wanting to collect the horses I work with and then fall in love with. Chiefy is 3 this year, and there are a myriad of previous posts about him.

Then we have the most gorgeous Shadow, who I also recently posted about. My student Marissa took this pic (and all other pics in this post, thanks Marissa!), and I love it, mostly because neither one of us is paying any attention to the camera.

I had Shadow in a hackamore for weeks, to allow her to trust me (she must have had some wretched riders in the past) and since I want to focus her as a dressage mount, she needs to get used to a bit. Enter my fancy pants KK bit, which is really encouraging to young and sensitive horses. This is also my fancy pants Stubben dressage bridle. Frankly, I think she looks amazing in it!

This is a happy, alert girl. She's no small peanut either, so if someone is looking for a big, flashy, Warmblood-esque mover, here she is!

Last but not least for the day is Silver Hunter. I know she's not silver, Shadow is silver, but that's her race name and we call her Silver. She has become one of my favorites, simply because she has the best mind for a 6 year old. The wind can be blowing a gale, horses running amok, hay being tossed down (loudly) from the loft above, and she'll still quietly go about her work, with nary a spook or even a care in the world. I've just started over some baby fences and I think she'll make a superb young rider or adult amateur horse - a person who wants to bring along their own horse, but not a "fresh off the track, high as a kite" horse.

Bonus points for her, as she spots a natural partial Mohawk - she's channeling the inner Punk horse in her. Midnight used to have a mane like that and I loved it!

So, who's your favorite?

It should be said that all are welcome at the Showcase! Feel free to stop by and see these amazing horses.