OT – Sunday at the Barn


Today was the first Sunday lesson in ages.  M is out of town, so I wasn’t sure when I left this morning whether or not D would be there.  If he wasn’t, I was going to just brush Blondie and go back home.  When I arrived, I was happy to see most of the Sunday crew at the barn.

D said he wasn’t sure if I was going to come or not, and he had already worked Blondie.  After a few minutes, he told Kim to throw a saddle back on her, and we would work her again.  At first he said he didn’t want her trotting until he had her racking again, but when we got to the arena, we did the usual walk/trot/canter.   I was even able to get Blondie to canter both ways, on the correct lead, every time I asked.  When we were done, D said that it looks like I’m finally learning how to ride.  Then he reminded me that I couldn’t even walk a horse correctly when I first started riding there.  I’ve come a long way in a year.

After Blondie, Kim gave me an equitation lesson on Harley. I kept getting his canter leads wrong, and the really bad thing about it is that I still can’t tell whether I’m on the right or wrong one.  It’s so frustrating!

OT – Lesson 6, Block 5


Finally! Another riding lesson!  I was looking forward to riding Blondie all day (all week, actually), and working on forming that magical bond that we need to win a couple of horse shows next year. Imagine my dismay when Kim told me I would be riding her horse, Sammy.  Then she said that D would be riding my horse.  Then I asked why we all can’t just ride our own horses??

To top off the disappoints, Sammy was still stabled at the dreaded tent, which didn’t get picked up today like it was supposed to.  While this was a good thing for the farm, as they have suddenly run out of enough stalls to go around, I really wanted to work in the new, partially completed, barn.  Maybe on Sunday.

I am embarrassed to admit that when it was time to ask for the canter, I was a little afraid of Sammy.  He’s great at the trot, but he has been a total pig at the canter.  He snatches at his bridle and just takes off.  First way of the ring his was fine, though I was still a little nervous, which had me popping out of the saddle.  Second way of the ring, I just wanted to strangle him!

 First, he kept picking up the wrong lead.  I think he was doing it on purpose, so I would be quite flustered.  Then, finally taking the correct lead, he confused himself for a Thoroughbred.  He raced around the arena, ignoring my cues to slow down.  He kept dropping his shoulder on the corners, and picking up speed every time he did it.  M let me struggle to slow him down for about 10 circuits, and seeing that I wasn’t bright enough to figure out what to do, she helped me by telling me to lift my inside hand on the corners.  What a miracle!!  He started to slow down.

After the lesson, D brought Blondie out and worked on gaiting her.  While watching them, I was struck with a horrible thought – I probably won’t be able to ride her until he’s got her racking again.  Or as he likes to say, he has to fix her before he’ll let me break her again.  Argh!

It was dark by the time we were finished, and the electric is not hooked up in the barn, so I couldn’t check it out.  The bathroom isn’t complete yet, either – the toilet’s not even in.  So things are basically the way they were the last time I was there.  More about the new barn when I can see it.

Back from the World Championship Horse Show – 2006


He’s the Man heading over to collect his ribbons

I’m back from the horse show.  Since my laptop was locked in my parents’ car most of the time, and I was getting back from the show late, the only time I had to blog was first thing in the morning.  The show started at 9, and since I had to grab a shuttle over to Freedom Hall, that didn’t leave me much time to post!

I was able to meet the people that I purchased Blondie from.  I was hoping to see one of their yearlings, Bingo Night, but they sent her home on Thursday.  SOB!!  There was a picture of her in one of the show publications that was released every morning, so I at least have her picture.  Ann said she would send a picture and a video, and I hope she remembers.

 He’s the Man’s victory pass

The highlight of the Friday night classes was the Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship.  What an exciting class!  The judges called for two workouts, where they ask part of the class to show again, because they couldn’t decide on a winner.  I love the roadster classes to begin with, and to see horses of this quality compete was really fun!  Incidentally, William Shatner was driving one of the horses, and he came in second, for all of you Star Trek freaks out there. 

Saturday night, decked out in a dress and my tennis shoes (my dress shoes were in my camera bag, but I had developed a blister from all of the walking, and couldn’t wear them!), I watched He’s the Man take first place in the Five Gaited World’s Grand Championship.  There was no workout, which was disappointing, and though the winner looked good, I think Five O’Clock looked better.  He’s the Man had a few issues, and wasn’t what I would  consider the "perfect" horse.  He broke the first way of the ring, and I don’t think he deserved the championship.  He is a beautiful horse, though.  I think I liked his conformation the best.  I think Echo of Thunder was second, and Five O’Clock was third, but I was so tired from being out late and getting up early that I might have them reversed.  EDIT:  I do have them reversed.  Five O’Clock was second, and Echo of Thunder was third. 

I was able to see Along Came A Spider again, but she came in second!  I love this horse! I think she should have won.  I found that I often didn’t agree with the judges, but I’m sure that is mostly because I’m new to whole thing and don’t really understand what they are judging yet.  One thing that really bugged me, though, was the number of last year’s (and the year before, and before that, even!) that won again this year.  This sport reminds me of figure skating – there’s a lot of politics going on in the background.

I wasn’t able to enjoy food this trip.  I found myself stuck at the fairgrounds most of the time, which meant eating fair food.  Yuck! I am now thoroughly sick of corn dogs.  There is a restaurant in Freedom Hall, and I had  an expensive buffet lunch there, which I really enjoyed, but I didn’t discover it’s exsistance until the end of the week.  It was nice to sit in the air conditioning, and have people run over to fill my coffee cup every time it dipped below the halfway mark.  Next year I will probably eat there a couple days if I go again.

On Saturday, I went shopping at the Executive Inn with the barn people.  Since I had already been through the shops, there wasn’t anything new to look at.  I did purchase a dufflebag with a saddlebred embroidered on the front, and the day before I purchased a garment bag, some jods, and 2 lapel pins.  Most of the vendors were high-priced, exclusive shops, and their wares were a tad too rich for my humble means.

I only covered the most important stuff, so I don’t bore anyone.  If you want more details, I’ll fill you in  later!

World Championship Horse Show – Wednesday Night


This post has been edited to correctly report Along Came A Spider’s finish. 

Finally, we arrived at the State Fair!  We took the shuttle over, and after finding out where the barn area is located, I headed over to see if any of the horses were being worked.  I was in luck! There was one 5-gaited horse in the practice ring, but they were almost finished.  Boo.

Some of the tack stores have trailers set up for shopping opportunities, and I found some cute, totally geek shirts to spend my money on.  I also purchased the mondo huge show book, which is spiral bound and weighs about 5 pounds.  I bought one for Kim, too, since she can’t be here and begged me to pick one up for her.  That was 10 additional pounds that I had to drag around all night!

We headed, slowly (we do everything slowly!!) to our seats, and waited for the show to begin.  The first class as a HUGE 5-gaited mare class.  I can’t believe how many entries were in each class!  There were 19 in the first class, and that was about the norm all night.  There were 11 hackey ponies!  At most of the shows I have been to, there are, at most, 3.  It was really fun seeing all the ponies, though 2 had to be excused.  The fine harness class had about 10 entries.  Some of the classes were split because there were so many competing.

It was really exciting seeing some of the horses in person that I have been reading about in magazines.  Along Came A Spider was here, and what a beautiful mare she is!  She finished 1st in her class.  The quality of horses here is incredible.  Jenny Taylor was in 2 classes, including a 4th place finish on Beringer Red.  Until this show, I had never seen a horse as lovely as he is.  After seeing the other horses in last night’s performance, he doesn’t look quite so special.  I can hardly wait for the championships!

Churchill Downs


We went to Churchill Downs, and took the back track tour.  There’s a front track tour that’s included in the admission price, but to cause more money to depart from your wallet, they charge if you want a chance to get a look at the training stables.  


I thought this was pretty interesting.  They use 100,000 gallons of water, per day,  to water the track so the 3.5 inch top layer stays soft.  Under the sand is concrete, so they have to keep the top layer watered and groomed so the horses don’t ruin their legs.  (Not that it doesn’t happen anyway)  The regular winners circle and the press area where they display the horses before the races is lined with recycled tires, which again is a softer surface for the horses’ legs.  There are schooling stalls in the display area to get young horses accustomed to the noise and commotion. 


For the back track tour, we climbed into a van and headed through an underground tunnel to the inside of the track.  On Derby Day, they sell 100,000 $40 tickets, and have a huge party on the interior of the track!  Most of the people in there can’t even see the horses run!  They just go for the party.  Personally, I don’t want to pay 40 bucks to be packed like a sardine into a small area with 100,000 of my closest friends!


The barn area was interesting.  There is a school for anyone who wants to go that is staffed by volunteers for the people working on the track.  There are free dorm rooms, too.  Some of the barns have small apartments above them.  The trainers lease out the barns, and they charge an average of 3,000 per horse per month for training. (And I thought Blondie was expensive!!)   Some of the trainers have leased the same barns for decades!  During the racing season, there are about 1400 horses stabled at the tracks.  During the off season (now), there are only about 1000.  We missed the morning warm ups, which would have been interesting, and during race season, the tour group can see the races start from the stable area.  Missed out again!

Louisville – Here We Are!


After getting a late start, (and I thought Dean was bad in the morning!), we continued our journey to Louisville.   Due to heavy traffic in southern Ohio, and accidents in Kentucky, we didn’t get to the hotel until noon.  Since the morning session started at 9, I wasn’t sure if it was worth running across the street to catch the end of it.  Instead we went to Churchill Downs.

First impressions of the hotel are very favorable.  They are even running a shuttle to the fairgrounds, but the latest they pickup is 11pm.  I’ll have to get up early tomorrow and hope I can watch some of the morning workouts, or wait until M & Laurie get here, and beg a ride back to the hotel from them. 

Getting Ready to Go – Again!

I’m getting ready for a journey to another horse show.  This time just to watch.  I’m so lucky that Dean deals well with my obsessions; he hasn’t really complained once about me being out of town so much this summer (of course, I’m bribing him with a trip to Disney).

I am looking forward to attending my first state fair, as well.  Hopefully I’ll find some entertainment value in it, since I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time there, since I won’t have a car.  I really hope that the hotel is within walking distance, as their website proclaims.  Otherwise, I’m pretty much screwed since the rest of the barn people aren’t arriving until Friday afternoon, and they are staying somewhere else.  I really want to watch the late night training sessions, but I don’t know yet how practical that is going to be. 

M called the lady that I bought Blondie from, and told her that Laurie and I are attending the horse show.  Laurie bought her pony from her.  She invited us to come to their stabling area and meet them!  I was excited about this when M told me, and after watching the live video feed from the show last night, now I’m really looking forward to it.  They had three beautiful First Night Out yearlings in the yearling class, and they finished 1, 3 & 5.  I liked Bingo Night the best (she finished 3rd), and hope I can see her in person on Friday. 

I’ll update as time permits.  Without a car to get back and forth to the hotel, I might only be able to post in the mornings, though.  We are supposed to go to the Louisville Zoo, and maybe squeeze a trip to Churchhill Downs.  Tomorrow there are a ton of classes during the day that I want to see at the horse show, so finding the time to do everything that I want is going to be tough.


Bad News From the Barn

I called M today to arrange a ticket swap with her.  I was afraid that if I didn’t get the horse show tickets to her before I left, it would be difficult getting together on Friday.  I don’t know when they are leaving for Louisville, and I didn’t want to keep dragging them around with me.  I learned two things while speaking with her.

1.   Never purchase tickets in advance for anyone again!  Erin is not going now, even though the day I purchased the tickets, she was.  That’s three people that have backed out, after I made the ticket purchase!!  Lee said she would pay me back for her tickets, and she invited my parents to use them.  Since I was going to pay for Erin’s tickets, I am probably stuck with them.  Grrr!

2.    Sunday died over the weekend!!!  Sob!!! When I was there on Sunday, there was a tarp covered heap, but at the time, I didn’t want to know what (who) it was.  It was Sunday!  It’s too depressing to go into details.  This was the ultimate bomb-proof horse; you could ride her through a battlefield and she would just plod sedately forward.   Lunge line lessons will never be the same.  She was 28.  We’ll miss you, Sunday – you were the best lesson horse ever!