Friday, April 29, 2011

Official World Cup Song?

I don't the the FEI World Cup of Show Jumping has an official song, per se.  Unless, of course, you saw any of the Vegas iterations, in which case you'd swear the official song was Jump by Van Halen.  Can't tell you how after 4 days that song has been ruined for me for all time.  Kinda like any J Lo or Brittany song.  Overplay = Overkill.  'Nuff said.  But I digress...

Blogger Carly Sparks on her blog (check it out) in her post World Cup Fever *Updated* feels that House of Pain's anthem Jump Around should be nominated.  I gotta say, I'm in!  Catchy lyrics, good use of the verb jump in the imperative, and it's not that tired old Van Halen song.

Give it a listen.  What do you think?

Work Woes Thanks to Streaming Video...

I can't be expected to be productive today.  Really, I can't.  Instead of client appointments and conference calls, my calendar today looks something like this:
6:00 AM Royal Wedding      ( I know it started earlier but I checked the schedule and the important stuff doesn't  start until 6.  Who needs to see all the minor royals arriving; sleep is much more important.)

8:40 AM  FEI Rolex World Cup Show Jumping  Round 2       Helloooooooo! Gotta watch this.  Sorry Kate and Wills, but this trumps your shindig, hands down.

10: 00 AM - 3:30 PM  Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event - Dressage Day 2.       Can you say CONUNDRUM?????  Can only guess I will have 2 windows open on my computer and will be shuttling back and forth between feeds, muting sound if clients or boss happen to call.   Check out the live webcast.

At some point I am supposed to go pick up a dress for a wedding that I'm in -- guess that will have to wait until after 3:30 or next week, in which case it better fit as it will be too late to alter it then.

Am taking a quick peek at my To-Do list and it's a mile long, not to mention that I need to stop putting off doing my expense reports before American Express blacklists me.  Ugh.  Oh well,  horses win, as the work will still be there (I hope!) Monday and these events won't be.

If you are wondering why my boss doesn't drop by my desk and yell at me, it's because I am lucky enough to work from my home.  Mostly a blessing, sometimes a curse (never being very far from the fridge is not a good thing!)

Looks like I'm going to be parked in front of the computer this weekend as well, when not running kids to various sporting events, hosting my 12 year old's slumber party, my father's birthday, or riding.   Here's the outlook for the weekend, in case you'd like to pull up a chair in front of your screen:

Saturday: 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM     Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event - Cross Country
Note:  There will be intermittent breaks.

Sunday:  12PM - 2:00 PM  Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event - Show Jumping    Coverage will be suspended at 2:00 PM for NBC's live Broadcast, and then will resume on a tape delay from 3:00-4:30 fore the final jumping rounds and award presentation.

7:40 AM - TBD  FEI Rolex World Cup Show Jumping  Round 3  

11:55 - TBD   FEI Rolex World Cup Show Jumping Finals

Note: All these events times are listed in EST.

Monday, April 25, 2011


As someone who has worn a helmet on horseback my entire life, I've never quite understood why people don't.  Just seemed to me that horses being what they are, something is bound to happen and any precaution one can take would be sensible.  Wearing a helmet was no different to me than, say, wearing boots with a heel, gloves, or not standing directly behind a horse's hind end.

That being said, I will admit that I never wore a helmet while riding a bicycle until I was an adult.  Given the hills where I grew up and the speeds we hit descending them, this seems foolhardy at best.  I can only surmise that it never occured to me or my parents because no one other than Tour de France riders wore helmets back before the Flood.  But I digress...

Our friends at Riders4Helmets passed this news along to me and I wanted to help spread the word: 

The popular helmet awareness campaign has partnered with generous sponsors to offer the largest ever giveaway of riding helmets with a combined value of over $6,500, in addition to a highly sought after iPad2. Visitors to the Rolex Kentucky 3DE (April 28-May 1) may visit the Riders4Helmets area in the “old” indoor arena to register for the giveaway, receive helmet safety literature, and, have the opportunity to participate in helmet fitting demonstrations (times available online). Equestrians who are unable to attend Rolex may register for the giveaway by visiting (see giveaway tab on website). The giveaway closes midnight on May 1st, 2011.

Riders4Helmets would like to offer sincere appreciation to all of the sponsors who have made this giveaway possible. The iPad2 giveaway is kindly sponsored by:,, Horseshoes by Design, Triple Try Farm, Rise Systems LLC, Equestrian Aid Foundation, Broadstone Equine Insurance, New York State Horse Council, Rancho Los Ecuestres, Evadi Farm. The helmet giveaway is kindly sponsored by: GPA, Samshield, Troxel, Charles Owen, International Riding Supply (IRH), Tipperary, Ovation, Devon-Aire, Pegasus and KEP Italia.

Riders4Helmets horse and rider logo wear will also be available for purchase at Rolex, the proceeds of which will be used to fund educational events such as helmet safety symposiums. The logo wear collection is sold exclusively online by who are donating 100% of all proceeds from sales of logo wear to the Riders4Helmets campaign, in support of their efforts to increase the use of helmets by the world-wide community of equestrians.

The Riders4Helmets campaign has rapidly gained the support of equestrians around the globe. In the United States it was the organizer of National Helmet Awareness Day in 2010 and hosted the Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium in January 2011. Plans are already in the works for International Helmet Awareness Day 2011, and the 2nd Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium, both to be held summer 2011. “We are delighted at the support the equestrian world has shown Riders4Helmets,” said White.

For more information on the Riders4Helmets campaign, visit or contact Lyndsey White at You can also follow the campaign at and

Riders4Helmets was founded in early 2010 after Olympic dressage rider Courtney King Dye was seriously injured in a riding accident. King Dye, who remained in a coma for a month following her accident, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and is currently undergoing rehabilitation. Jeri Bryant donated her helmet campaign t-shirts (featuring the slogan “Strap One On–Everyone’s Doing it”) to an eBay store set up to raise funds for King Dye, and a partnership was formed, resulting in the Riders4Helmets campaign.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Meredith Wears Brown Boots and Eric and Nina Claim Team Title in Le Saut Hermès...

Jumping Under the Dome in Le Grand Palais
First off, could there be a cooler place to ride than the Grand Palais in Paris?  New item on the bucket list -- watch a horse show there.  The dome is gorgeous, although I can imagine the changes in light could cause a few horses to have an unscripted moment or two.

As for the bit about Meredith Michaels Beerbaum in the title post, let me explain.  I've always loved brown tall boots, but was told (and apparently quite foolishly believed) by a previous trainer that only men could wear brown boots.  Call me gullible if you wish, you certainly wouldn't be the first to do so. 

Anyway, I was taking my afternoon "I'm tired of work and need a horse break" on the Chronicle of the Horse Forum and I came across a thread about Meredith and her brown boots.  The original post contained the video below, and of course, the first thing I noticed were her boots.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them, and the second I have a small fortune to blow (not bloody likely anytime soon) I'm gonna get a pair.  This should happen about the same time Halley's Comet comes back around (which should be in 2061, when I will be close to 100, and probably not riding, so yeah, the likelihood of me picking up a pair of these beauties is slim to none.)

Note: Right after I wrote this I got the latest Practical Horseman in the mail, and right there on the cover is eventer Laine Ashker wearing brown tall boots.  Guess it's time to come out from under my rock! Next someone will tell me it's okay to wear acid washed jeans again!

The other cool thing about this footage from Paris (aside from the opportunity to practice my French) is the actual class format.  I can't remember ever seeing a pairs jumping competition before.  Looks like a blast!  Eric Lamaze and Finland's Nina Fagerström, who train together in Belgium, won the class.  Beezie Madden, on Coral Reef Via Volo, and Richard Spooner, with Cristallo, took second.  Meredith, on her mare Kismet 50, and Marcus Ehning, riding 2010 World Cup partner Plot Blue, came in third.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Horse Show Woes...

My Version of Positive Thinking...
My barn buddy had her first horse show of the season last week.  She experienced her usual case of nerves, mild panic, and pre-show remorse, and I did the requisite good-friend things, providing a WORD document with pre-show checklist, appropriate verbal reinforcement when necessary, and occasional jokes to lighten the mood.

She is now providing me with the same support, as I have my first show in just a few days.  As soon as I committed to it the nausea started, followed quickly by an endless loop of mental movies showing one potential trauma after another.  I don't worry about falling off, or mild GPS issues.  I've done that, it doesn't bother me overmuch.  My mental pictures involve catastrophic falls and injuries to horse or rider.

Why do I put myself through this, you ask?  Hell if I know.  It's not like I live for the ribbons.  Truthfully, I don't get many of them.  I get more out of going in to the ring and proving I can pull up my Big Girl Pants, overcome these ridiculous fears, and do it.  My friend and I joke that coming out on the other side alive and having ridden well is more important than coming out alive and with a pretty piece of nylon to show for it. Though to be honest, I should point out that any ribbon I have managed to win with my mare is proudly displayed...

So, to prepare for the Big Day, I have:

1) Gotten in an extra pre-show lesson.

2) Re-watched the Jane Savoie segment of the 2011 George H. Morris Horsemastership Clinic.  I am the queen of negative thinking, and this lecture talks about how success depends on the right attitude and attitude is a choice.  She also talks about how to re-program your negative thinking with positive visualization and anchoring.

3) Re-watched some the 2011 FEI Rolex World Cup coverage online, paying specific attention to the course diagrams.  After they show the course, I pause it.  Then I try to break it down in segments, and then ultimately try to remember the entire course.  Yeah, feel free to call me a complete whackadoo, but GPS issues are common when you're my age and have what feels like early Alzheimer's symptoms.

4) I've taken the time to sit down in a quiet room and visualize how I want the day to go.  I see myself getting up on time, remembering everything I need, getting to the show on time and then having a successful warm up.  I envision a course, which my mare and I jump cleanly and in the correct order.  I see her listening to me and I see myself smiling at the end of the course.  I then see her enjoying multiple carrots while I enjoy a post-division bagel and mimosa.

5) Laundered all Sugar's sheets, wraps, pads, etc.  Laundered and set out my lucky breeches, shirt, and socks.  Boots are polished and gloves, extra pins, aspirin, Xanax (just kidding!) band-aids, spurs, USEF card, and checkbook are in my show bag.  GPS is programmed with address of showgrounds, and car is filled with gas. Have ordered bagels and spreads to be picked up tomorrow, and have mimosa fixings and thermos ready.

All I need to do is get there and put plan in action...Will let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

VINDICATION! (The Follow-Up to Unplanned Dismount)

My Problem, In a Nutshell. 
So, the other night I got dumped.  Quite vigorously.  I'm very lucky, as I thought I'd feel wretched and aside from a bum ankle and a few twinges here and there, I'm not nearly as gimpy as I thought I'd be, knock wood (banging head on nightstand.)

My biggest problem (and there are plenty who would argue that this is not my BIGGEST problem, that there are any NUMBER of others with greater magnitude) is my head.  If I could have a pre-frontal lobotomy before every riding session, my trainer and horse would both be thrilled.  I have what is often called a tendency to overthink things.  I also tend to try over-control or micromanage anything I possible can.  Hence, the argument with my horse that left me eating sand the other night.

I knew as soon as I hit the dirt that I'd be replaying the fall and possible outcomes in my head darn near without pause, and that I'd revert back to approaching each fence with the never-ending prayer "Oh God Oh God Oh God" going through my head all the while choking up on my mare's face til she was just about going in reverse. 

However, as I am blessed with either resilience, stupidity, what my father calls cussed pigheadedness, or a combination thereof, I wrapped the bum ankle and had a jumping lesson today.  My trainer went fairly easy on me at first, but soon turned to me and asked, "Ready to try the Liverpool?" Outwardly the response was "You bet!" Inwardly, the response was a good deal less positive. 

I'm not really sure how I silenced the negative talk in my head. I wish I did know what I did, because obviously that would be helpful knowledge going forward.  All I know is I jumped all the fences leading up to the Liverpool really well, then jumped the Liverpool with no problems, and made the rollback to the next bending line and jumped that well.

The lesson I'm taking from this is that stuff happens, and you just gotta move on.  Instead of focusing on the negative stuff that happened (the fall) I'm going to concentrate on the fact that I was able to walk away, and get back on. The mental movie I'm going to replay is not the one where I crashed, but rather, the one where I successfully jump the Liverpool and the rest of the course. 

I CAN do it, dammit! Now I'm going to go ice my ankle some more (positive thinking being one thing, aging joints and ligaments another...)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unplanned Dismount...

Praying to the Dirt God. Buying Real Estate.  Whatever euphemism you use, it all means falling off your horse.  Which I did.  Last night during my lesson.  I'm still annoyed about it, and keep replaying the whole sequence of events in my head to see what I could have done differently.  You know, kind of like when someone says something that bothers you, and you can't come up with a good response right away, but once you're home you think of 30 perfectly scathing rejoinders?

So, about my unplanned dismount...Sugar and I had a difference of opinion on the approach to a Liverpool that required a tight right turn afterwards.  I half-halted hard, then nagged at her some more; we argued to the base of the fence and she took a HUGE LEAP.  I landed badly and accidentally goosed her with the spur, adding insult to injury. She let me know her displeasure by uncorking a hellacious series of bucks while we were trying to turn, and off I went. I'm not sure if I landed and bounced into the wall, or landed on the wall, slid down, and then bounced. Either way, I can attest to the fact that we have damn fine footing -- VERY soft and cushy.  It doesn't taste too bad, either, though it's perhaps a bit gritty.

So you can imagine how perfect it was to find this post when
I visited EQUINE INK, one of my favorite blogs, this morning.  Apparently it did the rounds on Facebook and then the last stage was added on the Chronicle of the Horse Forum.  I darn near fell of my chair laughing -- hopefully you'll get a kick out of it as well.

The seven stages of aging on horseback, plus one

Stage 1: Fall off pony. Bounce. Laugh. Climb back on. Repeat.

Stage 2: Fall off horse. Run after horse, cussing. Climb back on by shimmying up horse’s neck. Ride until sundown.

Stage 3: Fall off horse. Use sleeve of shirt to stanch bleeding. Have friend help you get back on horse. Take two Advil and apply ice packs when you get home. Ride next day.

State 4: Fall off horse. Refuse advice to call ambulance; drive self to urgent care clinic. Entertain nursing staff with tales of previous daredevil stunts on horseback. Back to riding before cast comes off.

Stage 5: Fall off horse. Temporarily forget name of horse and name of husband. Flirt shamelessly with paramedics when they arrive. Spend week in hospital while titanium pins are screwed in place. Start riding again before doctor gives official okay.

Stage 6: Fall off horse. Fail to see any humor when hunky paramedic says, “You again?” Gain firsthand knowledge of advances in medical technology thanks to stint in ICU. Convince self that permanent limp isn’t that noticeable. Promise husband you’ll give up riding. One week later purchase older, slower, shorter horse.

Stage 7: Slip off horse. Relieved when artificial joints and implanted medical devices seem unaffected. Tell husband that scrapes and bruises are due to gardening accident. Pretend you don’t see husband roll his eyes and mutter as he walks away. Give apple to horse.

Stage 8: Go to see horse. Momentarily consider riding but remember arthritis won’t let you lift leg high enough to reach stirrup — even when on mounting block. Share beer with grateful horse & recall “good old days”.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Need of a Little Inspiration?

Robert Dover with Sharing Village members at their
2009 Human Spirit Award Luncheon

Have you ever come across someone or something that made you want to be a better person?  Something that inspired you, even if only for a minute, to raise your personal bar even higher?

If you're in need of a little inspiration, want to do something good for someone else, or if you just feel like you want to listen to an amazing story, you might want to tune in to dressage superstar Robert Dover's radio show on Dover's World tonight, April 12th, from 6-8PM EST.

Dover will be interviewing the founder and members of Sharing Village - Driving for Surviving, an amazing organization that pairs children with life threatening illnesses with driving ponies, and teaches them horsemanship and driving skills.  Anyone involved with horses knows how a bond with a horse can get you through some trying times.  These kids are facing some of the most devastating challenges life can throw at someone, and the bond they form with these ponies, as well as the confidence they gain from taking care of them and learning new skill sets as drivers, is what helps them deal with the ongoing challenges of their illnesses.

One of the most touching aspects of this story is how these kids, who have so much on their plates already and could harldy be blamed if they focused only on their own issues, take the help they are given from volunteers and in turn help their peers, not only in the arena, but with the day to day challenges of surviving a debilitating illness. 

Sharing Village Survivor Gary Johnson drives Sammy,
as Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward enjoys the ride

As horse people, many of us consider decorated equestrians such as Robert Dover, McLain Ward, Georgina Bloomberg, Nona Garson, Anne Kursinski, Hillary Dobbs, Robin Fairclough and Sharon Chesson our heroes.  These top equine professionals, all members of the Sharing Village - Driving for Surviving honorary board, consider these children their heroes.

You can learn more about this inspirational program by tuning in between 6-8PM EST, tonight, April 12, 2011.  If you'd like the opportunity to support these children and their efforts, call in to 561-844-6167 or toll-free  to 1-800-889-0267 to support Sharing Village - Driving for Surviving.  As an additional incentive, for every $20 donation, Robert will personally match it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Forget World Cup Cat Show Jumping, Now We're Jumping Cows...

Recently I wrote a post about my daughter trying to teach our cats to jump her Breyer jumps after being inspired by a video on You Tube.  Forget cats, they're yesterday's news.  Actually, since you've probably already seen the You Tube video of Luna, the Jumping Cow, this may be yesterday's news! However, in case you've been living under a rock, or on vacation like yours truly, here's the backstory: When Bavarian teenager Regina Mayer's parents told her what many parents tell their little girls (To my way of thinking, No, you may NOT have a horse sounds worse in a Sgt. Schultz-style German accent) she resourcefully did the next best thing and taught one of their cows how to act like a horse.  She grooms the cow, rides the cow, and even jumps the cow over fences made out of beer crates and logs.

There were those who were surprised that cows could jump.  Not me. I knew cows could jump.  I knew this because one day while I was hiking out with two friends who were on horseback, we inadvertently (I swear!) annoyed a very large cow who decided to teach the impudent young humans a lesson.  She let out a bellow, a pissed off snort and with about two steps cleared a three foot wire fence and set off after us.  My one friend's horse went straight up in the air, swapped ends while airborne, came down and lit out for home like his tail was on fire.  Thankfully the other horse was less nimble and much slower, which gave me enough time to do something I'd never done before and have not been able to manage since, mount a horse without aid of stirrup, mounting block, or leg up.  I think I got a hand on the saddle and foot on his hock, somehow dragged my terrified butt up behind my friend and held on for dear life as we took off for bovine-free environs.

So, I knew cows could jump, but not that they could be ridden.  Bull riding does not seem to count, as the bulls clearly object to the whole process and the riding rarely lasts more than the 8 seconds required for the ride to be official.  I'd thought Regina had a pretty darn unique idea.  I mean, heck, as a child I'd desperately wanted a horse, but despite being surrounded by farms full of dairy cows, never thought to saddle one up.  However, it seems quite a few folks have had similar notions, although none seem to have executed as well as Rachel and Luna.

This one seems a wee bit young to be backed...

Would You Believe A Rising Trot, No Less!

Bovine Barrel Racing
(I had to watch this one twice before I realized they were going around barrels
not just wandering around the ring.)

I think we should introduce Luna and Jackson.  We could start a whole new breed of riding cows.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Horse Jones...

OK, so I'm on vacation with the family.  This is a good thing.  I mean, I know I'm incredibly lucky to be able to afford to go on vacation with my family, incredibly lucky to be able to take them someplace fun and have this time with them.  Really, I DO get that.

So is it alright for me to say I really miss my horse?  Not just the riding time, but all the grooming, massaging, just hanging out with her time.

The kids miss the horses, too.  My friend just brought her daughter's pony down a week ago, and my daughter, although thrilled with all the fun here in Florida, is wishing she could be riding her.  My son had a wonderful lesson on my mare just before we left; we've been doing a lot of longe lessons and our trainer was very pleased with his improvement.  He's now worried that he's going to backslide.

My husband made a joke that next time we should just find a vacation that would allow us to bring the horses with us.  Judging by the way he started back-peddling immediately, I guess we looked too excited by that prospect.  A quick trip to Google and I was amazed to find that you can actually do that - there are loads of sites that offer BYOH (Bring Your Own Horse) options. 

Since the horses can't be with us, we have to get our pony fix where we can.  My daughter and I spent a lot of time on the carousel at Disney.  Granted, we got a few funny looks when we posted or chided each other to get our heels down, but so what, we were having fun!