Blog Banner

Blog Banner

Monday, December 10, 2012

Farrah Got Her Groove On

So maybe we just didn't trust the redhead enough when it comes to playing within the confines of PVC and letters, as Farrah showed us she has been paying attention!  And here all this time we thought she would give us the finger (she has done that in the past, so it wouldn't be a new thing).  Farrah and Lauren rocked Preliminary Test A with a 27.7 at the Florida Horse Park Schooling Show this past weekend.

I think we can truly say:  PRELIM BOUND!

The pair also lowered only one rail at the preliminary height in stadium and schooled the preliminary XC the next day.  I think it is pretty apparent that Farrah and Lauren have got their game face on :)

Riding drops on only 14.3 can be slightly more entertaining, as on the landing Farrah's neck just disappears, but here they are hunting the corner that is just a few strides away, NO PROBLEM.

Big gallop tables also look pretty massive from Farrah, but Farrah loves them!  Look for them in January to contest a recognized Prelim here in Florida.

Lauren will be grateful when Farrah finally realizes that you can "brush" through the brush, currently she is still unconvinced!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prelim Bound!

Cross Country prep:

Longwood schooling, Check!

Stadium Jumping prep:

Debbie Stephens's lesson, Check!

Dressage Prep:

Lauren to Farrah - See, we get to leg yield here, counter canter here, it will be so much more exciting then the training tests!

Farrah to Lauren - WTF!  Leg yield and counter canter in a 20 x 40?  You are kidding, right?  A 20 x 60, maybe.....a big open field and I can accomodate you.

Sigh, we will have to see if Lauren and Farrah (with Bill) can put their game faces on and bring the dressage up to snuff.  Who knew playing in the sandbox could be SO MUCH FUN!???  NO CHECK.

Farrah and Lauren did manage to do very well at their last recognized outing - 31.6 in the Open Training to finish 4th on their dressage score :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The pictures say it all!

Farrah loves the Full Format!

Now that we have competed Farrah in her first recognized with Lauren (instead of me), I am not sure I will get her back from Lauren any time soon!  We all had a great time at the Fall Horse Trials at Rocking Horse (Altoona, FL), and Farrah competed in the Novice 3Day (I didn't compete in enough Training level recognized shows to qualify her for the T3D).  Farrah loved the challenge!  Thanks so much, Lauren, for doing such a great job with Farrah!

It was so much fun to go through all the paces :)  The jog in the fog..........

Followed by Roads and Tracks.......

Farrah LOVED steeplechase.

And Farrah always enjoys a victory gallop!

Farrah runs in two weeks at the Florida Horse Park November trials (Training).  Many thanks to Alice (the organizer), the sponsors who donated generous prizes and the ground jury and trainers who donated their time to make this full format truly educational.  The riders/horses were treated to pizza and a session on what to prepare for in the jog and the vet boxes, driven around roads and tracks, held a training steeplechase session with Joe Meyers, had a course walk XC with Robin Walker, a SJ course walk and lots of interaction with the awesome people at Rocking Horse to make sure no one got a TE on something silly!  Very educational for both horse and rider and I hope we as competitors in the South can encourage this venue to continue to offer the full phase opportunity for our horses!

I didn't completely miss out on riding over the weekend, as I talked my friend Jody into hauling up my 3-year old for me to hack out....she is  half pony and will be an up and coming pony eventer, even though she is horse sized ;) 

Introducing Mia, WH Top Gun (Connemara) x Black Dog's Fiorella (Trakehner).  If I have to hand the reins on Farrah to Lauren to qualify Farrah for a One Star, at least I have something that I can compete on in 2013 :)

Friday, October 26, 2012


Next week Farrah returns to recognized competition with a full format N3D!  We have in-barn inspections on Thursday November 1st at 1pm, then the fun begins with jogs, dressage, steeplechase practice, XC walks, roads and tracks!  I am pretty excited to have Farrah and Lauren competing, can you tell??

Now, we just have to keep her highness bubble wrapped until then!

Monday, October 15, 2012


I really do feel like I own the wonder pony.  Such a rockstar this weekend.  Farrah's dressage could have been better (35) but I only recently turned the reins over to Lauren.  Now Lauren knows how I feel when I go into the dressage ring....Farrah knows you won't get after her in the 'competition' ring and she can get a little strong for super great scores.  But she is so fantastic she pulls a good score anyway, while still having what I call "Farrah fun".

When you can rock SJ and XC like this mare, we can spend some time working on dressage for those 'great scores'.  Lauren and Farrah are entered in the N3D in early November, and then they move up to Training at FHP.  This weekend, Farrah and Lauren ran in the 3-phase Training Division, where they were 2nd.  Her farm-mate, Cindy, beat her in dressage but had a few time xc (Farrah, are you listening???  You need to be steady like Cindy!!).  The rest of the farm kicked some serious booty too, winning Novice (Nataly) and Tadpole (Mattie).

Such an exciting season coming up....the little three year old was quiet and awesome with me riding her (and a half connemara homebred to boot) and Anneke (my 9 year old daughter) made her show debut on her connemara pony Lucy....woo hoo Black Dog Farm!

Mia with her eyes closed :)
We will have to wait until the professional photographer sends me pictures of Anneke on the adorable Lucy pony for proof that they did stay in the dressage arena and made it around 18" in good form ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When the whole farm ROCKS

I have been so very busy apprenticing for my Dressage TD license that I haven't been able to ride much, let alone compete.  I decided that if Farrah and I are going to be ready to run a N3D in November, I'd better at least get the horse out, even if I can't be in the irons.

I had Lauren compete Farrah this weekend at the Rocking Horse Modified Show (due to footing improvements and re-seeding, the normal 3-phase was changed to an optimum time only XC with no watches allowed).  Not only did Farrah place first in the Novice, her barn mate Dhitto was second and another barn mate Monty was third.  Can we say that totally rocked?  Lauren also took out Cindy at Training and going slow, finished 3rd.  Suffice to say everyone came back from that outing really happy.  I got text updates throughout the day as I was at the Fox Lea Dressage Concours, apprenticing with Carol Bulmer.  While that was fun, I would have been a lot happier riding around at XC!

I am so excited for the fall show season....I know Farrah is going really well and so are the rest of the residents at the if only Isaac would blow out of here so we could finally dry out a little.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have been remiss in updating everyone on the Farrah pony.  I suppose I could go on and on about how life and kids and the farm and husband and the young horses get in the way of my keeping the blog current, but I won't bore you with those details ;)

I bought a new saddle for Farrah in May, after homeopathic ulcer treatment was successful.  Who knew having poor saddle fit could manifest itself in so many issues!  I bought a demo Borne saddle called the Velocity.  I have one word for it:  AMAZING!

Farrah loves this saddle, as does one of my other horses, Mia (it is not wide enough for the Lucy pony).  The saddle keeps me in better position, allows Farrah to use her shoulders well and VIOLA!  Happy jumping pony once again.

I am grateful this fantastic little horse let me know when things were NQR with her without turning into some total demon horse.  While my earlier postings may have made it sound like she was a monster pony, Farrah feeling bad made her surly and she tried very hard to let us know she was not happy, without actually making an effort to really get rid of you.  Having watched less athletic horses joyfully buck their riders off, I appreciate that Farrah had the good humor to act up enough to let us know we needed to look for an issue, without ever getting mean about it.

Since treatment and her new saddle, Farrah has been XC schooling in Ocala and she is qualified for the N3D at Rocking Horse in November.  The plan is for her to run the N3D and then two weeks later, move back up to Training at the Ocala Fall Horse Trials.  That is, if someone doesn't snatch her up first.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

So Farrah has been sidelined with ulcers.  Luckily they have cleared up and she is back to being mostly herself:  I am used to her normal red-headed ways.  When she started trying to bite my legs (while I was mounted) and kick out, rear and buck, we knew something was wrong with her!  Even for her, that behavior was a bit much. 

While Farrah regains some fitness and is reminded that we still have dressage to work on, I began riding my daughter's pony.  Obviously I needed a new pony to ride, and Lucy was available (my daughter's walk trot pony, 13.3 hands).  Now, this is a great quiet pony at the walk.  Out of the walk, think energizer bunny on stimulants. 

Lucy is also 14 years old, has had 4 foals and is not quite sure why life now involves "real work".  Toting a kid (or two) around is not real work.  Dressage is abhored and jumping a course can be somewhat entertaining for spectators (she won't refuse, but it is often not a completely straight line from A to B).  Dressage was not going to be her strong suit, but she is brave and can jump.  To prove dressage is NOT a word Lucy likes, even after repeated lessons we proceeded to score a 42 and 45 at BN!  Ouch.  Submission is an interesting concept for Lucy....we will have to work on that.

Lucy has now finished two recognized competitions this spring, finishing 7th out of 14 at Rocking Horse and 11th out of 17 at Ocala.  I am showing her in the open BN and we have managed to finish on our dressage score, with a few xc time penalties at Ocala.

The stadium for both shows was interesting.  I almost fell off after crossing the timers at Rocking Horse (Lucy likes to shake sometimes, like a dog when wet, and she did that to me after the last fence, at the canter!).  In Ocala, I put in FOUR strides to the two stride (and this pony can have a horse stride to her canter, but I can't remember what I was doing, but certainly riding her to the fence was not IT at that part of the course).  I rode the remainder of the course much better, thanked Lucy for ignoring the lack of rider concentration and then on to XC.

Lucky for me the end result (time penalties) didn't change our overall position as I got lost on course at Ocala.  I walked it three times, so you would think that wouldn't be a problem.  I recall jumping fence four, turning, and heard the announcer say something about my long way to the barrels.  Since I was cantering aimlessly about, looking for fence five, I then remembered where the barrels were actually located and galloped on to them.

Lucy jumped the jumps well and forgave me for getting her lost.  Now on to my three year old (a connemara cross) while I hand over the reins to a teenager (for Lucy competition) and we get Farrah going again.

Kick on!

Monday, April 2, 2012

And so the season comes to an end.

My thought that this season could be salvaged after our last successful xc schooling was not to be.  I retired Farrah at Training Level at Rocking Horse after fence 12, as she had an uncharacteristic two refusals and was not responding well to the task at hand.  We finished on a good note (the bounce bank) and retired.  Farrah's willingness to work deteriorated to not wanting to clear even 2' (a mere two weeks later) and after a full lameness work up we realized she has ulcers.  Farrah is now looking at almost completing her ulcer treatment and I will soon find out if she is interested in coming back to work.  I sure hope so, as her temper tantrums are of epic legend (rearing in cross ties, not loading, due to ulcer pain) and I will not miss them AT ALL.

This means I need a pony to ride.  I do own a full sized horse, but since I prefer to fall from insignificant heights, that put Lucy in the limelight.  After a month, Lucy is progressing in dressage, albeit slowly.  Lucy, also a pony, is a 13.3 to 14 hand connemara pony mare who is also 14 years old.  To date, Lucy's life involved being started rather late (5) and then having babies.  I imported her from Canada at 7, and Lucy foaled a rather cute bay filly for me in 2009.  Other than that, Lucy's main job is to be quiet enough for my eight year old daughter.  Most of their rides are sans saddle or bridle and occur at the walk.  You can imagine Lucy's mortified look when I put a dressage saddle on her for a lesson with Bill Woods.  I am trying to recall his exact words when he saw us first at the trot.....I think they were mostly geared to not embarassing anyone at our first show.  (Which we did, I will admit it....Dressage score of 45 at Beginner Novice!!!)

At this point, Lucy is actually looking like she is willing to go along with the dressage and we are aiming for a sub-40 performance.  We show in two weeks, so time will tell.  In addition to Lucy in Beginner Novice, I gamely entered my 3 year old in the FEH class.  I should have just late entered, as entering any young horse has been a downfall of mine.  Sure enough, Mia tried to slide to a stop in a field, didn't stop, and took out the fence with her face.  Multiple stitches later and the flap of skin midway between her eyes and her nose is back in place.  The stitches come out the DAY of the class, so we will see if she is a scratch or not.  I do believe Mia will no longer act like a rhino when it comes to the fencing, but what a terrible way to figure out that head first into the fencing is a really Bad Idea.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When the mistakes are all YOU.

So, apparently the freight train feel when we gallop at tables is caused by yours truly.  Farrah obviously plays in to it, (I think she likes to antagonize me) but it is her rider that is creating the bulk of the problems. 

I managed to show Mike Huber that the pony is athletic, not by wowing him with our brilliance but rather burying Farrah to the base of a number of wide training level obstacles.  Which she packed me over anyway, to her credit.  His comment was "Well, she will really go from anywhere, even if her front feet are in the jump". 

I can still get that deer in the headlights look to some of the fences.  Large gallop tables are my usual culprit.  Apparently, I approach them like this:  /:O

And then I push Farrah past any distance that might have been there.  As Huber put it, I am gunning her at nothing.  Why Farrah is choosing to still jump them at this point is beyond me.  So Mike worked on getting me calmed down, and things went much better after that.

Our lesson finished with us jumping with ease the large training tables and the corner and also riding through a preliminary coffin line.  It really is all me and the pony is just fine.  At this point, I am glad she is putting up with MY learning curve.  We head to Longwood on Saturday for a final school prior Rocking Horse III.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What happened to the brakes???

In the beginning (like last year), for BN and Novice, I rode Farrah in a loose ring snaffle, merrily cantering along on XC.  Now that Farrah has run two trainings, she has altered the conditions in which she chooses to participate in this fine sport of eventing.  Gone are the lovely half halts, where she rocks back and says "ok mom, I see it, no problem".  What I have now is basically an arm pulling freight train and Farrah is clearly saying to me "Quit bothering me, I KNOW what I am doing galloping like mad and then scrambling over". 

This is not really working well for me.  First of all, I want to live and actually enjoy eventing.  While her boldness is good, reckless abandon at Training level and being only 14.3 spells disaster to me.  Somehow, bitting Farrah up doesn't seem like the correct answer to myself or my trainer, so we are going to back up a little and re-group.  The added fitness for Farrah at training also seems to be working against me a bit!

This weekend at RH 1, Farrah did reasonably well at dressage (35) and was very rideable in stadium and went clean.  We began xc in 2nd place in our division.  When she rapped two tables with her legs (from blowing through all attempts at a half halt or full stop or any other such direction on my part) and then ran out due to a "discussion" I was having with her, I decided to retire.  We did gallop up the bounce bank nicely at fence 12 before I called it a day, thus ending on a good note.  I was surprised by Farrah's new found cavalier attitude to XC, and it definitely took the joy out of galloping to the fences!

At a recent schooling, when I attempted to pull out of an approach to a corner (due to Farrah's over-riding my decision on a half halt and balanced approach - in which Farrah didn't even pretend to acknowledge there was a rider on board), we had this:

I  tried to pull her out to the left and she decided we should launch it.  She had to put her hind feet DOWN on the top of the corner and push off.  I thought she learned something, as afterwards she was so respectful and we finished with the following:

And this:

So, back to the dressage and bounces and some help from Mike Huber....more tools in the toolbox are needed.

Farrah's barn mates showed her that even though they are new to eventing, they could go out and do well.  Monte (Nataly Pacheco's gelding) finished fourth in his FIRST event, ever.  He got a 30.5 in dressage, had a rail in stadium and cantered xc like a pro!  My daughter's pony, Lucy, a former broodmare, was seriously bad in dressage (45!!) but clean stadium and xc and moved up to 7th in her BN division.  The weekend felt mildly salvaged :)