All Posts from November, 2010

November 29th, 2010

Gift Guide Part #1: Simon’s Choices for this Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season has descended and we’re not the only ones guiltily checking the calendar to see how many days we have left to cross everything off our list.  Simon’s on it too!  Below he lays out his gift recommendations from this season’s Canine Must-Have’s.

We talk a lot about waxed cotton jackets for us, but they’re a Must-Have for your dog too. Smart Pak’s Wax Cotton Coat is cozy and dry whether Simon’s crossing a dew-covered cross-country field on an early morning course walk or dashing from barn to car in a downpour.  With a detachable collar and pocket iteven offers style options.  Simon rather fancies the burgandy one.  Me too. $68.95-$88.95.

After walking the cross-country course with you and patrolling the barns Simon’s ready for a nap.  He’s been coveting this Orivs Double-High Bagel Dog Bed for months now.  As an epic snuggling and master of “the face-wedge” the dog nest offers serious cuddle capabilities. It even comes in different colors and patterns including tattersall which Simon figures is quite en vogue. $98.00-$179.00.

The thing about leashes is that they’re super for adding a pop of style or color. Simon’s leash is blue and green with whales.  Adorable and preppy, yes, but sometimes distracting if he’s going for more of a “British Country Gentleman” look. This Filson Leather Dog Leash is practical, durable, and stylish all at once.  Use it as your main stay as it goes with everything or on those “walking across the Moors days”. Looks great with the Smart Pak Waxed Cotton Coat. $46.00.

As an eventer you’re on the road quite a bit.  Keeping your dog hydrated while you’re off showjumping or hoknobbing with your favorite top riders is critically important (or when you’re throwing back a beer by the trailer after a successful cross-country round).  This Filson Tin Cloth Dog Bowl collapses for easy stowing to and from competition grounds. It also won’t knock out your friend when you chuck it in the truck and clock them in the head in a hurry to leave the barn at 4:00am. Plus it has that rugged stylish look Simon always goes for.  $29.50.

I’m not the only one who writes notes.  Simon is an avid writer and is always sending a flurry of correspondence after each competition.  He has these letterpress notecards from Felt & Wire bookmarked. They’re called “Seymour” but with a few letter swaps they’re named after Simon which he quite likes. $4.50/ card.

Happy holiday shopping!

By Courtney in Style | No Comments »
November 26th, 2010

Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend and Black Friday!  I have such a soft spot for lithographs with horses which makes Currier & Ives a source of delight for me.  Especially the winter scenes with (of course) horses.  I like to imagine my sweet Ellie pulling the sleigh and the wind whipping my cheeks into a pink flush. Can your horse pull a sleigh?  Ellie can’t (yet) and before we start to try we’ll be focusing on the holidays.  Though I’m taking the “curl up in the armchair and read a book approach” this year.  Which is sort of refreshing.  What about you?

Get your shopping engines started!

Stuff those Stockings

I have such a weakness for pony ornaments

Why Tankers Town won’t be at Badminton Horse Trials

Where design and eventing intersect: British event rider Gaby Cooke

This belt is on my Christmas list

So your daughter is horse crazy.  Now what?

Some Three Days Three Ways posts you may have missed given the Thanskgiving rush:

Adventures in Farm Ownership, Part 1.  By Emily Daily.

Adventures in Farm Ownership, Part 2. By Emily Daily.

Jennie Brannigan: One to Follow

November 25th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo by Payton Adams

Happy Thanksgiving my dearest dears!  What are you feeling thankful for this year? Does it have anything to do with a four-legged creature (or two?).  I’m thankful for my Ellie’s sweet nature and little Simon’s acute cross-country knowledge (as is typical for a tiny Cavalier King Charles Spaniel). What about you?

November 25th, 2010

Adventures in Farm Ownership Part 2

by Emily Daily

Like I mentioned in my first installment, there’s never a dull moment with farm ownership, and last week proved to be no exception.  My fiancé Josh and I tackled two very important jobs with all the gusto and strength, both emotional and physical, that we could muster.

Even though we only own four acres (a mere tiny parcel to most horse folks), keeping up with the daily maintenance can be exhausting.  Strong gloves and comfy boots are essential! Our latest and greatest venture involved extending a fenceline across the wooded portion of our back pasture–only about a distance of 300 feet or so. We would soon find out it was easier said than done!

After wrangling our Houdini ponies from the neighbors’ yard on numerous occasions during the past year, we scrimped and saved and planned out the new addition. We weighed costs, did some research, made way too many trips to Home Depot and Southern States to poke around, and finally brought home a trailer-full of lumber.

Ah, West Virginia terrain… we knew battling through the rock, clay, and tree roots would be a true test of our endurance and sanity, so we decided to splurge and rent an auger. We quickly found out the drill bit was too small, so Josh trotted back to swap out for a larger (manlier) model.  Yes, in the auger world…bigger is better.

Thankfully, we only wrestled (or ‘rassled’ if you’re our neighbors) through a few monster rocks and mounds of natural clay…and at the end of two days, ten plus hours, and who knows how many failed attempts, we had successfully sunk 35 half-rounds posts. Win! All that’s left is to pick out the type of boards/wire we want. I’ve heard good things about Centaur, but we may just end up going with the usual wooden planks. Either way will hopefully keep our escape artist ponies contained!

photo by Red Horse Media

And speaking of ponies…

This spring we were blessed with a goofy little imp of a colt named Amigo (born right after Rolex Kentucky, no less), who since late April has lived a plush life with Mama Cady, ruling over his itty bitty kingdom. But all good things must come to an end, and last weekend, we decided to finally wean Amigo.

Here’s the Weanling Survival Kit:

Ear plugs:

The shrill whinnying between the two parties is pitiful…should’ve bought a few more pairs for the neighbors!

Creepy Uncle Tobey:

Sweet but curmudgeonly gelding pal for Amigo to bond with.

Amigo (left) and Tobey

Goofy Awkward Marco:

The simpleton who always ends up on the bottom of the totem pole…perfect for Princess Cady to boss around when she’s stressed.

Marco (left) and Cady

Strong fences and sturdy gate latches:

Those nimble ponies will try and wiggle out of anything standing in their path – I “double-locked” everything last weekend…just in case. Our little beasts greet us in the yard at least once a month…no reason to give them an extra excuse for escape.

Bag of carrots:

To temporarily quell the stress for the ponies. And the dogs, who seemed worried about the noisy situation…they’re not picky, they’ll snatch up carrots, hoof clippings, cat food, leftover Halloween candy…


To temporarily quell the stress for the humans.

A hefty glass of wine:

To go with the chocolate, of course.

After a day or two of squalling and pouting, eventually Amigo and Cady gave up their attempts at reuniting and succumbed to their fates. Soon enough, Amigo was snuggling up to Tobey for some tough-love, while Cady had commandeered total control over Marco and was happily asserting her hierarchal role as Queen Bee.  All was well with the pony world…and, thankfully, quiet.

Until next time,


November 22nd, 2010

Eventing Radio: Boyd Martin and Jennie Brannigan

Boyd Martin is fresh from his mission in France, Jennie Brannigan is still celebrating her win at Galway Downs and Gill Rolton has a recap of the Australian International all right here.

Eventing Radio Episode 106 – Show Notes and Links:

Please visit our sponsors as they make this show possible:


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November 17th, 2010

Adventures in Farm Ownership: Part I

by Emily Daily

photo by Emily Daily

As I type this post, staring out the window at my ponies grazing happily in the brisk autumn weather, I realize that it’s been exactly a year since my fiancé, Josh Walker, and I have owned our tiny little farm here in West Virginia. A year filled with snow drifts, immense flooding, weekly trips to Home Depot, long commutes, helpful neighbors, and a bouncing, and often nippy, little imp of a colt.

Let me begin by saying that we had no intentions of buying this farm. None. We were simply hunting for a suitable little place in northern Virginia for us to have fun with our four-footed critters. Flushing a good chunk of change down the toilet every month in rent and board was something we could fathom, but we’d never realized we actually had options…long story short, the whole process was a complete nightmare and it makes me never want to buy another house again!

Of course, I’m glad we made the plunge, and here are a few reasons why:

1.) Nothing beats a real life pony wake-up call.

My Connemara mare Cady, the princess of the farm, is adamant about getting her breakfast on time. No sleeping in for us, or we have to listen to Crabby Cady trumpeting all morning…as do the neighbors! I don’t mind not sleeping in, though – I find getting up and seeing the ponies is more rewarding. Nothing like a good whiff of pony to get your day started–better than coffee (well…almost better).

photo by Emily Daily

2.) No more boarding!

Like most horse folks, I’m picky picky about my ponies and their well-being. Sure I’ve sacrificed certain things like having a ring, great ride-out, and someone on-site to hold for the farrier/vet, etc. But I always know where all my tack is (nothing wanders off, unless one of the dogs start gnawing on a curry comb), I know my horses and their habits better than I ever have, and I can monitor their feeding (Growth-Spurt Adolescent Pony needs one more flake, Fatty Pony needs one less). To me, that’s peace of mind. I know that Cady always poops in the same corner of the stall, Tobey is an alpha and needs his hay in a “special pile,” Marco will shimmy out of his blanket if it’s not fastened “properly,” and Amigo the Terrible will bite your fanny when your back’s turned.

3.) Privacy.

I love my horsey friends, I really do, but after hanging out with people all day, sometimes you just want to share your time with your ponies. It’s the reason we have horses, isn’t it? The good thing about having your own place is that if you want to go on a ride with your buddies, then trailer to their farm…but if you want your peace, it’s all yours.

photo by Emily Daily

Here are a few things that I didn’t expect….

1.) Farmsitters are super-expensive!

When you travel as much as we do, you have to budget quite a bit of money on farmsitters. And while they’re worth every penny, it can add up quickly…when I added up how much we’ve spent paying someone else to take care of our animals this past year, I was shocked.  But then again, we’re pretty frugal folks, and it’s worth it knowing that a trusted horseperson is holding down the fort for us while we’re travelling.

2.) Four acres is claustrophobic.

I knew our place was small, but I guess I didn’t realize HOW small it was until I had to keep horses in “eventing shape” …on a completely flat parcel of land, we had to get pretty creative in our training exercises. And even though we have a cute little riding ring (minus footing), it’s been turned into one of our “sacrifice paddocks” while I saved the footing in my back field.  I miss riding rings and hills!

photo by Emily Daily

3.) Scheduling your own farrier and vet visits is incredibly time-consuming.

Finding a good vet/farrier, getting them to call you back for an appointment, and then taking time off work for the call can take longer than one would think. Like a good farmsitter, a reliable and talented farrier is also worth their weight in gold.

4.) Parents and friends are amazing supporters.

Of course, I’ve always known this, but I had no idea how much help we’d be evoking from them in this new chapter of our lives. Whether it’s pestering my Dad with first-time homeowner woes, “Dad, the hot water heater’s leaking! There’s water squirting all over the place…” to speed-dialing Mom with animal emergencies: “Mom, I went to grab towels for the hot water heater and the dogs got into the Halloween candy! Should I be worried they ate an entire pound of Twizzlers?”

There are so many pros and cons to owning your own little farm, which I’ll explore in the next few weeks, but one thing is for certain… I’ve never been happier with our life here in wild West Virginia. Literally, wild–I discovered a massive flock of vultures likes to roost in the woods behind our back field. It’s a little eerie, I have to admit. But on the flipside, I’ve seen both a red fox and red-tailed hawk hunting back there, too, which is really neat.

photo by Emily Daily

All for now – stay tuned for more adventures! If nothing, there’s never a dull moment when you’re owning your place!

photo by Josh Walker of Red Horse Media

By Courtney in Guest Bloggers | 1 Comment »
November 9th, 2010

News from Over the Pond

(Nico Morgan is one of our guest bloggers. He is a professional photographer, based in the UK, who specializes in equestrian events. He works exclusively for several top British event riders and is a regular contributor to all the major equestrian publications in Britain and his eventing images have been featured here and on several other equestrian blogs in the US. He maintains his own blog where he recently shared some excellent tips on improving your equestrian photography. You may also enjoy perusing his eventing coverage from Mitsubishi Badminton CCI**** Horse Trials and Land Rover Burghley CCI**** Horse Trials earlier this year.)

News from Pau CCI****

Britain’s Ruth Edge (Two Thyme)  achieved top spot after the dressage, sharing a score of 41.8 with Belgium’s Karin Donckers (Lamicell Charizard), although she was a little disappointed with her mark, pointing out that she hasn’t scored in the 40s for some time! Boyd Martin (Remington XXV) lay in fourth on 43.2.

William Fox-Pitt (Navigator), who has 40 three-day event wins to date, was another who felt the dressage marking was harsh, but added that given the difficulty of the cross-country course he felt that this was no dressage competition.

As it was William could hardly have been more accurate about the cross-country phase. Denmark’s Peter Flarup and Silver Ray were the only combination to go clear inside time to remain on their dressage score of 66 and climb 22 places to sixth. Fox-Pitt and Navigator took two long routes and clocked 3.2 time-faults which put them into the lead overnight, a fence ahead of Karin Donckers and Lamicell Charizard.

Pau is the last of the 4* events which Fox-Pitt is still to win and unfortunately this was not to be the year he made history. Three fences down dropped Navigator to second, while one of only two clear rounds by Andreas Dibowski and FRH Fantasia gave them a well-deserved victory following second places at Badminton, Luhmuhlen and at Pau last year.

Fox-Pitt did enough to secure victory in the HSBC FEI Classics series and the $150,000 prizemoney.

Michael Jung to lose his WEG ride?

Rumours abound about the sale of a 60% share in World Champion Eventer La Biosthetique Sam to sponsors of the British Equestrian Team: The smart money seems to be on Zara Phillips: she desperately needs a 4* ride for the Olympics and her presence in the British team would bring much-needed media attention.

Quarter marks

Ever wondered how the pros get such brilliant quarter marks on their competition horses? Here’s a video in which Mark Todd’s head groom Charlie Gardener shows us how she does it.

London 2012

The choice of Greenwich park as the venue for the 2012 cross-country course has not been a popular on with local people but work has started nonetheless.

By Nicomorgan in Competitions | No Comments »
November 1st, 2010

Horses in Film: Did You Know?

Did you know that horses helped lead to the birth of film?  A wealthy man named Leyland Stanford wanted to know if all four feet come off the ground at once while a horse is galloping and financed Eadweard Muybridge to prove it one way or the other in 1878.  Muybridge lined up multiple cameras parallel to the horse’s track, and took a series of still photos of a horse named Sallie Gardner as it galloped by.  These photos were later strung together like frames in a video recording and of course proved that yes, horses do bring all four feet off the ground at one time when galloping.  Technically, this trick was really an example of animation, like drawing a cartoon in a notepad and flipping the page corners quickly to play the scene.  It was Thomas Edison who later borrowed the work of Muybridge and others, and together with his assistant, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, set about constructing devices to record and view movement on film.

Horses on the Big Screen:
1) Five horses played the part of Secretariat in the recent movie.
2) “The Horse Whisperer” was Kate Bosworth’s first movie.  She was chosen because they required an experienced rider to play Judith.
3) Viggo Mortensen purchased the horse who played the title character after the film “Hildalgo” was completed.

Courtney’s Favorite Horsey Films:
1) International Velvet
2) National Velvet
3) The Horse Whisperer
4) The Man From Snowy River
5) Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken

Leslie’s Favorite Horsey Films:
1) The Red Fury
2) Black Beauty (1994)
3) Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken
4) My Little Pony (1986)
5) Dark Horse

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken | Movie Trailer

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