Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My brother has informed me I will become an aunt sometime in June. He and his wife are having a baby! I am pretty excited. I am already trying to convince him to have a western themed baby room and to start thinking about getting a pony. They are going to find out what it is in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I have been to fabric stores checking out fabrics for a baby quilt. I am torn between baby themes and western themes.
I love vintage fabrics and love to browse RepoDepot. They have the coolest stuff. I posted just one example that I just adore if the baby is a girl. I have also been looking into felt toys and came across this neat book called "The Cute Book." There are just so many things to make before he/she arrives. I am going to spoil that kid rotten! My brother is a police officer, working at becoming a Department of Natural Resources Officer and his wife is a Veterinarian. They live down in Southern Minnesota. It is weird to think of my parents as "grandparents." Lots to look forward to in 2008.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hittin the Trail

A friend of mine invited me out on a trail ride in Willamette Mission State Park. There are amazing trails that run along the Willamette River and next to beautiful walnut and filbert orchards. I got to ride a very sweet Mustang named "Dakota." He is a tiny guy, maybe 14 hands but he sure had lots of get up and go. He had the smoothest trot and a soft, rolling canter.
He really was a joy to ride. My friend Richard rode his horse "Doc." We rode for about 2 hours, encountering many other riders along the way. It was a gorgeous day here in Oregon and it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

California Burning

Just want everyone to think about the many horses down in Southern California and offer support to our fellow blogger friends like Simply Marvelous who has a little farm down there. It sounds like most of the horses were evacuated to the Del Mar Racetrack, but some firefighters I talked to up here in Oregon said firefighters were finding many horses still enclosed in pens and they were just turning them loose. One post on Marvels site talked about how in 2003, people painted their phone numbers on the horses in case they somehow got lost. Great idea. I encourage everyone to check out Marvels other blog Strawberry Lane and see some amazing photos as well as her first hand account of what is going on down there. She is a very courageous lady, helping rescue horses in the midst of all the danger. Thanks for doing what you are doing. Be safe Marvel.


I met the most amazing horse this week. I was in Asheville, North Carolina for a friend's wedding. The rehearsal dinner was held at a place called "The Farm." As I walked up the path to the facility, I spot this giant, and I mean giant horse! I had to track down to owner and ask about him. Apparently he is the second largest Belgian in the United States! He stands 19.1 hands tall and the current record holder stands 19.3. His name is "Rock" and he is seven years old.
The owner bought Rock last Fall at an auction. Her husband went to check out the horses and was just in awe when he saw him. He called her and said, "I have to come home with this horse!" He was sold by an Amish guy who used him to plow his fields. Rock was getting so big, he outgrew his harness and the man was having trouble putting any gear on him because of his height. As you can see by the photos, Rock was a huge hit around the place. He loved all the scratches and attention. They plan to use him to pull their surrey. They had to have a harness maker come out and measure and fit him with new gear. The collar is gigantic. He is just a character. I just wanted to pet him, so when I went to get serious about taking some photos, the dog decided to chase him and he wanted to play, so he left us and bucked around his pasture. This last photo is one that I took of him, the others are courtesy of my friend Sean. I apologize for not taking better photos, but I was just so busy taking in all 19.1 of him in.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I've Been Tagged

Anne over at Smells Horsey tagged me! I am supposed to post about 8 things people don't know about me. I will keep them "horsey."

1. I lived in England for a year at Alnwick Castle right above the horses. For those that love Harry Potter, that is the castle where the movies were filmed. Lord James loved to fox hunt and usually went about twice a month. I loved waking up to hooves on cobblestones.

2. My first horse was Rocket Tink. My dad claimed him off the track for $500 when he was 12 years old. He was still running against two and three year olds and winning. He had a wonderful heart and I miss him everyday.

3. When I was young, a retired jockey named Charlie Jones was a stable hand around our place. He would take my brother and I up to the airstrip with our ponies and teach us how to ride like a jockey.

4. As a teenager, when I was grounded, my dad padlocked Tink in his stall so I couldn't go riding:-(

5. I daydream about working as a videographer for the Parellis.

6. I miss living in the country.

7. My family has one of three Dalton Gang Horsehair Bridles. They made them in prison to pay for their attorney. I think it should be in a museum. It is amazing.

8. I want a Holsteiner someday. I think they are beautiful horses.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So Cute

This is the cutest baby. I just love Beverly! I encourage anyone looking for a horse to check out the horses available for adoption from the Animali Farm. I go to this site regularly just to "browse" for horses. The are a non-profit horse rescue that focuses on horses from Premarin ranches. Premarin is a drug which is used to treat symptoms of menopause. It is made from pregnant mare urine. In 2003, the Premarin ranches started losing their contracts and there was an plenty of horses available for adoption. Most are draft crosses, but they have Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, and Canadian Sporthorses. This little Beverly caught my eye. She is only $1550 and that includes coggins and shipping. What a bargain for this cute girl! A great example of some of the horses available from a wonderful rescue group. Here is hoping that Beverly finds the perfect home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My trainer

I was fortunate to meet Michelle Merkin a year and a half ago. I met someone who wanted to lease their horse as long as I took dressage lessons with Michelle. I wasn't sure I wanted to learn dressage. My dad had told me my whole life, "Dressage is for people who don't know how to ride." I never pursued learning about it and chose to ride bareback or western. Believe me, I kick myself all the time for listening to him. I was surrounded by people who did dressage and I never bothered to learn more about it or at least try it. My first dressage lesson with Michelle, I was hooked. I felt challenged. I felt the skill involved.
I felt connected with the horse. I leased the horse and rode three days a week, which didn't seem like enough. I just loved it. I think back to all the dressage enthusiasts that purchased horses from my dad and I wish I would have had the curiousity back then to at least try it. Curiousity came age 33 and I feel so lucky to have found a teacher who is able to convey learning easily and I truly trust and value her opinions and advice. Michelle is pictured here with her mare, Class Act, or as we call her "Classy." My dad continues to race horses around the Midwest and I still rely on him for information and advice despite his strong opinions and stereotypes. What can I say, he is a horse trainer. Most are characters, he is no exception.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Horse Mafia

Anyone ever hear of the "Horse Mafia?" I was watching a program about the death of candy heiress Helen Brach. She disappeared back in 1977 and her body was never found. For years people thought her horse trainer, Richard Bailey, did it. Richard is currently in jail for swindling people out of money on horse deals. There are a lot of crazy bad horse people connected to the case including Tommy Burns, the "Sandman." He was a known horse killer who traveled through the hunter/jumper circuits, killing highly insured horses for their owners by electrocution or in the case of "Streetwise" he broke his legs with a crowbar. Apparently he is still spotted at shows down in Florida if you google and read peoples forums. The Jayne Family supposedly was known around Chicago as the "Horse Mafia." There was speculation that Silus Jayne was the one who murdered Helen Brach. If you read any history on the Jayne family, it is deeply disturbing. People and horses turned up dead everywhere Silus went. What a crazy story to read about. If you ever get a chance to catch Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice story on the case it is pretty fascinating and bizarre.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Maddy and her Hay Net

This is just a clip of Maddy in her stall eating with her new hay net. Not just any hay net, one with small square so it is harder for her to eat. It is funny to watch her face, because you can just see the frustration. The purpose is to keep her busy and happy and she is happiest when she has food in front of her. She knew I was up to something when I took out my little digital camera. She kept looking at me as if to say "What! Can't a girl eat in peace!" Almost two months have passed since her x-rays revealed her fracture. I have been busy with Queenie posted here as well. Queenie is such a joy to be with. I have said before, if I could afford her, she would be mine. I feel lucky to be aiding in her training. I ride her Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays. She is very green so we are working on riding the rail, walk trot transitions, and just started some serpentines which she really enjoys. She is just a sweet mare and so comfortable to ride. She is the complete opposite of Maddy, so I am learning alot about training a left brain introvert. Maddy is a right brain extrovert. If you are curious to know your horses ""horsenality," click here. The Parellis came up with a chart that helps identify your horses profile which is vital to know when making training choices.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Clicker Training

Fun Day! I ordered a horse clicker training kit and went out to the barn to try it out. For those who don't know, my mare Maddy, is on stall rest until December due to a fractured coffin bone. I thought I would do some clicker training exercises in her stall to keep her mind busy. The book suggested I start by introducing the clicker by clicking and giving a treat. I did that a few times in between grooming. Next, I took a small cone and held it out in front of me. When she touched her nose to it, I clicked and gave a treat. Then I moved around the stall and set the cone in different places and would point to the cone and when she touched it, I clicked and gave a treat. She caught on real quick and realized the cone was like a mini vending machine. She was having a ball eating little pieces of carrots. I think she really enjoyed playing our little game together. I am going to work on clicker feet lifting and clicker dropping her head next. I do realize that you have to make sure your horse doesn't get pushy about treating, so there is a fine line I will have to watch for. This is something we can do to pass time until she gets better.