Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time for Rolex!

It's one of my favorite times of the year!

Ahh, Rolex. One of these days I'd like to have a Rolex watch to call my own. I may be waiting a very long time, but that's ok.

In the meantime, I get to witness great riding a sportsmanship every April at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, held in Lexington, KY, this week! It's our nation's only 4**** event, which basically means it's Olympic, World Championship caliber. Only the creme de la creme of the sport get to compete in this event. And for us eventers, most riders are household names. People we discuss like we're on a first name basis with them.

The beauty of eventing is that while we're all competitive, the support of your fellow competitors is unlike any other sport I've experienced. And everyone - from the top level riders to the weekend amateurs - will always lend a hand, whether to help or give you a high five after that killer cross country run.

This year, we have the opportunity to watch live and be a part of such a big event, even if we're sitting on our couches, or at our desks at work (yes - I give you permission), because the USEF Network is airing it all online - free! If you're me, you'll drag your computer out to your field with a lawn chair, sipping a spiked lemonade while your horses munch on spring grass. (Zeus usually comes over to investigate a) what I'm watching and b) what I'm drinking.)

Here is the schedule lineup:
Thursday AND Friday, from 9 AM to 3:30 PM ET, Dressage will be shown here.

On Saturday, from 9AM-3:30 PM ET, the Cross Country will be shown here.

And on Sunday, from 11:30 AM - 2 PM ET, the finale - Show Jumping - will be shown here. NBC Sports Television will also be airing the show jumping - live - from 2PM to the end.

Riders to watch for:

Laine Ashker riding Anthony Patch (pictured above in Cross Country). Laine's horse, Al, is an ex-racehorse who has made it to the top in Eventing. I think Laine is fabulous because she is one of the few riders who makes sure her lip gloss is on before riding Cross Country. I can relate! I think Laine is a rising star in the sport and is definitely going places. Susan Salk from Off Track Thoroughbreds did a great story on them, which you can read here. Laine had a devastating loss and yet she rose above it - all at previous Rolex events.

William Fox-Pitt riding....well, he's riding 4 horses. He's the busiest guy at Rolex this year and when you see him ride, you'll know why. He's super tall and lanky, and no one can ride a 4* course like him. He hails from Great Britain, and I'm excited to see him go on US soil!

Phillip Dutton riding Tru Luck and Fernhill Eagle. Phillip is one of those guys who puts in consistent rides on every horse. He's a pleasure to watch.

Last year, 10 horses in the top 20 at Rolex were ex-racehorses. This year, 51% of the horses entered are Thoroughbreds, which makes me very excited (Zeus, are you listening?!).

So pick your favorites, set your Outlook Calendar, and enjoy the Rolex experience!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Being Angelo

One of the horses I'm working with at Akindale right now is Angelo. He's a 3 year old who was born at Akindale, but never left the farm - he just didn't have the gusto for the racetrack that other Thoroughbreds have.

That usually means that he'll make the transition to riding horse pretty well.

Does anyone remember Ferdinand the Bull? You know, the bull who just loved to lounge around and smell flowers all day.

Yeah. Angelo is a lot like that. He just looooves basking in the sunshine. Even his pasture mate, Ruth (who is a boy but we won't go there today) is trying to get him up.
"Come on man, if you get up, she'll give you carrots! And then maybe she'll give me one too!"
"I think you just said carrots. Maybe I'll perk up a little for those."

"Now if I can just get these back legs to work..."

Note: Angelo will frequently rise from his siestas and sit like a dog. For several minutes. I've never seen any other horse just sit, so casually, for such a long period of time.

This horse is totally an equine version of Ferdinand.

"Ruth, I can still kick your butt even though I'm sitting! Those carrots are mine, all mine!"


Finally, he's up! And the first thing he does is snuffle my face and frisk me for treats.

And we are ready to go!

Angelo is actually being looked at by a polo player this coming week. He's not a big guy, so he's perfectly built for the sport, and he's good at turns. He's also brave - especially seeing as how I take him out on trail, frequently, by himself and he's always game. How many other 3 year olds do you know that can do that?

Or sit like a dog?

If he does go to a new home, I hope Angelo keeps taking the time to smell the flowers. Somehow, I think he will.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Chariot Comes Home

It's here, it's here! We picked up the trailer today from Congelosi Trailer Sales, and it arrived in one piece. I say that because I was the one driving the rig, with Matt bringing up the rear in our Mazda. Whew!

The truck was all tricked out after we dropped it off on Saturday, and Anthony Congelosi gave us a tutorial on hooking, unhooking, and generally keeping the trailer and the truck connected while going down the road. Which is kinda important.
"Now, where do we park this thing?"

When my mom began driving the horse trailer years ago, she got some valuable advice from the person who sold it to us. He said, "Go as slow as you need, people are going to pass you, cursing and beeping. Just smile and wave!"

And so I did!

We only had some caravans when coming through Patterson, NY and Pawling, but it was also rush hour and everyone was coming home from work. Sorry, folks.

Zeus immediately zeroed in on the trailer when we pulled in. As you can see, Mojo seems very concerned about all the excitement. Zzzzz.

Once we got over staring at it in the driveway (yes, still hooked up to the truck - and it remains that way this evening!), I ran out to ride Zeus for a bit, hosed him off (it was over 80 degrees!) and decided it would be fun to introduce him to The Chariot. "Oh boy, here she goes again, waxing poetic and Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places We Will Go." Where are the carrots in this thing?"

Zeus was willing to play along with my excitement and wandered up the ramp with ease...I think he likes it!

"No Mom, you finally got the carrots out....duh...."

I wanted to show him our faboo logo, too, so he understood just how cool this rig is, and how it was made just for us! (Well, not the trailer, since it's used, but you know what I mean.)

"I wish she would stop talking about the trailer....my dinner is waiting..."

I am loving this thing. We haven't even gone anywhere, and a whole new world has opened up to us. We really have the guys (and gals) at Congelosi to thank for really going the extra mile for us. We didn't get a new trailer - we didn't get one with bells and whistles, tons of extras, or a dressing room - and they still treated us as if we were their most valued customer. When the day comes that we can get the extras, dressing room, and bells and whistles, the only place we'll go is Congelosi.

And, we're off!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

There She Goes

It's a big day for Flurry.

Flurry, the first horse I pulled from the Kill Pen at Camelot (click link for a recap), went to her new forever home.

It's astounding and wonderful, that she went from this day:
A photo taken just days before she'd be sentenced to slaughter, to this day:

Do I really need to say anything about this photo? I think the joy is evident. The photo above is the Eckler family, and while Flurry is mainly intended for Katie, the little lady holding Flurry's lead rope, she will be loved and enjoyed by the entire family. Before they pulled away, Linda (mom) hugged me and said, "Thank you for saving her."

I will forever hold that in my heart.

Flurry actually has a new name with the Ecklers - they decided to call her Luna. Luna means "Moon" in Italian, so it's a name that I liked too!

Luna/ Flurry waltzed right into the Eckler's trailer, completely trusting once again that she'd be landing in a safe, wonderful place.

I'm happy to say that she is, indeed, home.

I love this photo of Katie and Luna - Katie knows she's struck gold with a horse like Luna to love, and Luna herself seems to know she's got a great girl in Katie - a match made in Heaven, wouldn't you say?

What struck me was I realized my mom took a photo just like this of Midnight and I. I was exactly Katie's age, and holding Midnight at the end of a lead rope, grinning from ear to ear and knowing that the horse I held was really special.

I'll miss Flurry fiercely. But I feel like she's gone to extended family, and I'll be able to see her flourish with a fine young equestrian, and I cannot wait to see what's ahead for both of them.

Congratulations to Katie, Luna, and the Eckler family!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Have Wheels, Will Travel

I am super duper excited.

Like, bouncing off the walls, doing backflips, and endlessly telling Matt, "I love you!"

We have a new acquisition, and nope, it's not a horse, or a dog, or a cat.

We've got wheels! It's a chariot for our horses, mainly for Zeus, but also for Siggy too (Topaz has earned the right to stay home and relax!).

Wheels! Do you believe it? And even better, I'm sure you've spotted the gorgeous logo on the front of it. It's actually a gaffe that worked out in our favor.

The guys at Congelosi Trailer Sales have gone above and beyond. The silver stripes on the trailer actually went into a "V" at the front, but there were some chips (which we were just going to overlook, or I was going to go nutty with some silver nail polish once we got it home!). The nice guys at Congelosi said, "Well, why don't we put a picture or something there instead?" Then I said, "How about a logo?" And there we have it. They have our SUV now, and are putting the hitch and all the bells and whistles on it to make sure our rig is safe and easy to tow.
We bring The Chariot home on Monday. I am already planning outings, and events, to hit up this year - including lots of practicing and lessons!

Ladies and Gents, we are going places! If I could hug this thing, I would. I guess I can, but it would look pretty weird. I'll just hug Matt instead. I'm sure he'll appreciate it more.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

EZily a Happy Ending

Do any of you guys remember EZ Dollar? Click the link above to refresh your memory. Also, this link should bring you up to speed too. The second link (from a blog post I did last fall) talked about how EZ was about to go out on trial to a potential adopter, and how lucky said adopter would be to have him. Well, lo and behold, the very same lucky lady contacted me the other evening, and I have to say, I haven't met her, yet I am totally enamored of her. Ladies and Gents, I give you....EZ's new home!
According to his "Mom" Megan, he is just doing splendidly. Even better, she plans to make him an eventer, and I'll even see she and EZ at some upcoming events this year! Maybe EZ and Zeus will compete in the same division. Maybe we'll hunter pace and win everything we enter as a team (ok, I'm getting ahead of myself but how much fun would that be?!).
Even more important than being an eventing gal after my own heart, she absolutely adores this horse. He's being loved the way he should be. I always thought he was special - and from Megan's blog (which is hilarious and such fun to read!), he's proving over and over again how perfect he is for her, and vice versa.
I am beyond happy for these two. They have a fantastic future ahead of them, and we are lucky to be able to go along for the ride! Check back on Megan's blog regularly for updates on the EZ Life!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Veggie Lush

I happened to be in the house at the time when an Oprah show was on, talking about how her whole staff was going on a Vegan challenge. I applaud those people who can go Vegan.

(Funny side note: I keep trying to type "Vegan" and my fingers keep typing "Vegas." Is it time to go on a vacation or what?!)

In case you didn't know, vegan and vegetarian are two different things. Vegetarian is when you don't eat meat, but you do eat other things from animals - for example, eggs, dairy, cheese. Some vegetarians eat fish (they are actually called pescetarians), but I guess since fish have little personality, they don't feel so bad about that.

Then there are vegans - these people are, in my opinion, absolutely disciplined and mystifying to me. Vegans don't eat any product from an animal. No cheese, no ice cream, no chocolate!

I know I could never be vegan. There would be no reason left to live if I couldn't have milk, cheese, ice cream. Hello, my last post was about chocolate bunnies.

But I am passionate about animals, and the topic of horse slaughter is alive and well. After watching this show, it gave me pause to think about the other animals. I wouldn't dream of slaughtering a horse to eat it, I'd rather live in a cardboard box begging for food. But what about those other animals? The cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens we all eat?

Over the years, I've slowed down on my meat consumption - we have a vegetarian or seafood meal perhaps once a week, maybe more (especially if it's the famous DiCostanzo sauce with pasta, that I had to get engaged to Matt first before his mother released the recipe to me!). When we're eating out (rare, but we do....on occasion), I usually end up getting seafood, because I love it so much and I was slightly traumatized by going to the Ruth Chris steakhouse in NYC and seeing more steaks in one room than I've probably eaten in a lifetime. After seeing that, my steak just wasn't as tasty.

So I had a thought. Wouldn't it be great if I shared a vegetarian recipe (or two) with you guys, and in turn, you send me one, and we'll do one big happy Vegetarian Love Fest blog post? What do you think?

I don't think I'll be a vegan any time soon, or even a full time vegetarian. But I do know that I have a renewed appreciation for what goes on our plates here.

Send some recipes to thundermoonfarm@gmail.com, and as soon as I have a few, they'll go up on a blog post with, of course, proper credit to the person who sent it to me!

Without further ado, one of my faves:

Blushing Penne Pasta

1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 cup thinly sliced onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream, divided
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook onions in butter for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the thyme, basil and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Add 1 cup cream, wine and tomato paste; cook and stir until blended. Combine flour and remaining cream until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Drain penne; toss with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Yield: 8 servings.