Monday, June 25, 2007

Horse Shot and Killed

This story is just awful. It aired last week on KATU news. Someone shot one of their minature horses and a bullet grazed another one. It makes me just sick to think there are people out there who would do something like this. I feel so bad for the kids in this story, this is something they will never forget.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I am great at starting things. I get an idea and I am off. My problem is "middles." I have a documentary in the can, the script is done, and I am stuck. I have an GREAT idea for a show for RFD, but I haven't put together a proposal. I have decided to dig in deep this week and get going on these things because time's a wasting. When my documentary is done, I really want to get going on my RFD show, because I want to get out of news within a year. I have had 12 years of it, and really ready to move on. Like most horse people, I am exploring ways to make money and be around them. I think the Parellis REALLY need my help. They have this great video concept, with really crappy videography. Now Clinton Anderson on the other hand has nailed it. He has a great video product. If you look at most of the shows on RFD, they have some really bad videography. Maybe it is just me that notices, I am very observant when it comes to video. So I need to find a job merging my two passions, video and horses. Jane Savoie once told me if you announce to people your intentions, it puts you on your path to getting there. So here is my announcement. I will be doing something with video and horses by this time next year!:-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Old Farm

Until I was 10 years old, we rented this old farm on the outskirts of Watertown, Minnesota. I have fond memories of the place. I still remember cantering my pony at top speed up the driveway and the secret trails my brother and I created all the way to the river. We had a retired jockey named Charlie Jones that helped around the place and we did our best to torment him and get under his skin. He was always yelling at us and telling us to "Git!" But on many occasions, he would take us up to the airstrip behind our place and he would give us pointers on our riding and we would race our ponies back and forth until we were all tired.
Everyone around us had horses. We had Bob Morehouse behind us. He starred in Westerns with John Wayne and Gregory Peck. He also owned "Cash Caravan," a quarter horse inducted into the Canterbury Hall of Fame. We had the Lavens next to us with three daughters, each having very different tastes in horses. Gretchen had a giant grey named "Champ." Erika had a brown and white paint named "Navajo" Sonja had "Dynamite" a white circus pony that crossed her legs and bowed for us. I would go on to do barrels with her at all the local shows. It was a fun place to be a kid. When I go back home, I always drive by the old farm and it takes me back. The place starting looking run down after we moved.
The Lavens moved away, Bob Morehouse passed away in 1999. No one had horses anymore and the weeds grew high. I went to make my pilgrimage this time and it looked like someone was fixing it up. I found myself driving up the driveway and asking if I could walk around and takes some photos. I found the daughter of our old landlord there. We got to talking and here she is doing fourth level dressage and has an imported Dutch Warmblood stallion and some Holsteiner mares. She is in the process of resurrecting the big barn, building a huge arena and putting in really beautiful stalls in the out buildings. I felt like things were coming full circle at the old place. The farm was going to have lots of horses again and I felt this tug at my heart to be there again, cantering up the driveway.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Crying Babies

Louie is a new addition out at Templeton Equestrian Center. He is an 8 week old Boston Terrier now owned by my trainer, Michelle Merkin. She got him on Sunday night and brought him to the barn Monday morning and boy did he cry! The interesting point to all this is the reaction of the mares at the barn. They were beside themselves. Maddy just kept looking in the direction of the cries and got all flustered. I didn't get a lot accomplished because she was so worked up. I just thought maybe their maternal instincts kicked in. Either that, or they were just scared at the sound. I don't know which. Has anyone else had a similar experience with "crying babies" and horses?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

One Word Response

From my friend Ishtar. One word answers quiz:-)

1.Yourself: Evolving
2.Your Partner: Kind
3. Your hair: Curls
4: Your mother: Fabulous
5. Your Father: Disappointment
6. Your Favorite Item: Maddy
7. Your Dream last night: movies
8. Your favorite drink: water
9. Your dream car: Murano
10. The room you are in: Cozy
11. Your ex: Neurotic
12. Your fear: Alligators
13. What you want to be in 10 years: Happy
14. Who you hung out with last night: ClubEd
15. What you're not: Patient
16. Muffins: Calories
17. One of your wish list items: Trailer
18. Time: Short!
19. The last thing you did: Dinner
20. What are you wearing: White
21. Your favorite weather: Thunderstorm
22. Your favorite book: Kite Runner
23. The last thing you ate drank: Coconut cream pie
24. Your life: Busy
25. Your mood: Tired
26. Your best friend: Many
27. What are you thinking about right now: Sleep
28. Your car: GreenGirl
29. What are you doing at the moment: Brainstorming
30. Your summer: Travelling
31. Your relationship status: Live together
32. What is on your TV: Local News
33. What is the weather like: Cold
34. When was the last time your laughed: Today

Fathers Day

I have posted before about my dad and being that it is Fathers Day, he is on my mind today. I was his shadow as a little girl. I was a daddy's girl, I can admit it. We both loved our horses and there was no place I would rather be than out in the barn with the horses and my dad. As I grew, he spent less time with us, and more time at the track. My parents relationship suffered, and my mom wanted to do things outside of "horses." He just had no desire to see movies or work around the house or admit he was a middle-aged man with a family. He started having an affair with an exercise rider and things spiraled down from there. My mom found out and he broke things off, but a year later he was back again with another track girl. My mom was devastated when she found out and they soon divorced. My dad wouldn't help me with college, because he was paying $700 a month for this girls apartment. He bought my car from me since trade in was so low and then never paid me. He would claim me on his taxes so I couldn't claim myself. He offered to sell my moms horse, then called to tell her he found it dead in the pasture. We rushed up to say goodbye to Rev, and he told us the rendering truck had already picked him up. To this day, we know he sold him and pocketed the money. I didn't talk to him for 2 years. I started edging back over time, but I always keep him at a distance. My peace has come with accepting him for who he is and choosing to love him anyway. He is a womanizer. He is charming, and people love him and trust him. When he screws them over, somehow they feel bad and make excuses for him. I have done the same thing. I have found a way to forgive him and have a relationship, without having any trust. I see how great his is with Briannah, and I wish he could have been that attentive and caring to me when I was her age. For all the things he has pulled, I love him I choose to remember that dad that I used to follow from stall to stall.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


My mom is great at picking winners at the race track. This is a picture of one of my dear friends from Minnesota, Heather and my mom. By their big smiles, you know they picked the winners. I am not a big gambler, but I do enjoy doing a $1 exacta box on most races. An exacta is picking the first and second place horse and if you box it, it can come in in either order. So a dollar exacta box would cost you $2. My friend Heather grew up doing hunter/jumper and dressage. I met her back in high school and we have re-connected recently
and I was thrilled to hear that she went to Equissage to get her certification for equine massage. She is pictured here giving Rocket Man (the pony) a little love. She worked on Ground Candy after his race and you wouldn't believe how he was stretching and leaning in to it. He was just in heaven. I am hoping she continues to stop in at Canterbury to drum up her business. I think the horses on the track could all use a well deserved massage. I would love to hear if any of my blog readers have any personal experience or thoughts on equine massage. Also, if there is anyone in Minnesota that needs some equine massage done, I can get you in touch with Heather.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Eyes, Bellybutton, Rein

Things are progressing with Maddy. I am working on straight lines this week. I usually start with about 5 minutes of trot on a loose rein letting her go where ever she wants. Then we trot along the rail for awhile and then I let her go where ever then back to the rail. When she is feeling really soft, I go all rail. When she goes the length of the arena without any reminders to stay on the rail, I start with straight lines to the opposite side of the arena. For steering, the mantra is "eyes, bellybutton, then rein." I finally see the beginnings of a dressage horse. I was also feeling adventurous on the ground and had the arena to myself, so I did some liberty work with her. For those that don't know what "liberty" is, it just means going through some ground skills with no lead rope. They are just loose. She did really well with shoulder and hindquarter yields, but she got a little freaked on the circle game and left me for awhile to the end of the arena. I got her back with the sideways game...but the coolest thing was getting her to come to me with the yo yo game. It was nice to wave her in and actually have her come to me. So that liberty stuff does work if you on line work is is shocking as heck to actually have them listen. (This is an old photo--we are "western" no more...onto our dressage gear!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ground Candy

I went to Canterbury Park and the first horse I got to see race was "Ground Candy," a three year old owned by my uncle, Jim Murray. That is my uncle, with the big smile, leading him out for his race. Jim has been breeding and raising Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses in Cedar, Minnesota for as long as I can remember. His race prospects come to my dad for training and they race at various tracks around the Midwest. Jim is a soft-spoken guy with a big laugh. He is an animal lover and anytime we stopped in for a visit, he was always carrying his toy poodle, "Muffin" or a barn cat was rubbing against his legs, hoping for a scratch.
Unlike most breeders in the business, his horses are family to him. His has over 40 horses right now and can't bear the thought of selling any of them. I have always loved the way Jim interacts with his horses and the calming effect he has on them. On this day Ground Candy ran a wonderful race and lost by a nose. Jim was proud of his baby and in this picture, the jockey, Keith Davis, tells Jim what a wonderful horse he has here, and Jim simply responds, "I know."

Sunday, June 10, 2007


There is always interesting stories on the backstretch of any racetrack. I tell people it is like a carnival lifestyle. People in the business go from track to track and most consider their track friends, their family. This is the case for an twelve year old girl at Canterbury Park named Briannah. She met my dad a couple of
years ago and he has kind of taken her under his wing and become a mentor to her. She helps around the barn and takes in as much as she can about training horses. She reminds me of myself at her age, having only horses on the brain. She took a ten week course on becoming a groom and was the youngest in the class. Already she has her certification. She hopes to become a jockey someday and strolls the aisles in the barns, daydreaming about owning just about every horse she passes. She has a cute pony named "Rocket Man" that she claims is the fastest pony ever to set foot on a racetrack. She also has a 2 year old quarter horse named "Jessie" pictured below that my dad found for her at a auction. She is a good kid, a smart kid and I have lots of hope for her future. The next couple years will be tough for her. She has a difficult family situation, and I hope her love of horses pulls her through.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Putting on a halter

I am learning how to post video on the web, so this is a just a "test" one. It is a quick clip of part of my Level One Parelli test. I have to approach my horse and get her to lower her head before putting on the halter. I have been on vacation and just got back. I have lots of good stuff from the race track in Minnesota and some good horse stuff to talk about this week.