Monday, February 24, 2014

Cosequin Presents The OTTB Showcase 
Showing Class, Patience, and Understanding
 The Paulick Report - Thoroughbred Horse Racing News

Class Always Shows

I began to think about a return to blogging sometime after the first of the year.  But, being that I live in Massachusetts and we're experiencing one of the most horrific winters seen here in years, The Adventures of Cathy Ann and Valie had turned into The Non-Adventures of Cathy Ann and Valie!  In other words, there wasn't any horsey news in our lives!

My wonderful best friend, Liz Morris and her private Dressage barn, Pinebrook Farm continues to be a home to Valie and I!  We are very happy boarders amidst all her dogs, horses, a pony and a mule, a rather large pig, numerous chickens, two cows and assorted other barnyard invaders but one little downside is that we don't have an indoor arena.  Alternatively, we do have an outdoor ring (not useable in this weather) and an indoor round pen and as nice as it is, it's even looks like a covered Carousel, it's cannot take the place of a standard sized indoor.  And frankly, even hoofs with borium shoes can barely maintain balance on the kind of ice we're seeing this year so what to write about when you can barely walk your horse from the barn to the paddock or the round pen, ahhhh, nothing! 

So, without even one interesting equine anecdote, I turned to searching the internet for new and interesting equine sites, to research, to view, to make me smile, to shop, anything to keep me apprised on what's happening in the equestrian world and along the way, I stumbled upon a very interesting young woman.  Her name is Jen Roytz and she is the Marketing and Communications Director at the famous Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky,  And, after communicating with one another for several days, she asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed for the Cosequin sponsored series she's writes for racing site, The Paulick Report,  This series, The OTTB Showcase, is all about ex-racers in their new lives with their new owners!  And as for Valie and I, she asked how we became a team, what we've experienced and where we're at in this moment in time and thereupon, she created what I happen to think is a wonderful story about our life together!

Monday, September 2, 2013


Here's a Hot, Humid, Summer's Day photo that depicts my boy, Valie, thoroughly enjoying a shower!
This photo does double duty - for one it shows you a horse that's truly enjoying himself while also reminding us that it's time to say, "Bye, Bye" to summer while simultaneously opening the door to the pleasure of  riding in New England in the Fall! 

And as for Liz, my friend and BO, the change of seasons is especially delightful because she no longer has to worry about hosing down all the horses.  And, since Valie is the only one that loves getting wet and the others give her a very hard time, that difficult aspect of horse care-taking is over until next year (unless, of course, we experience an Indian Summer!).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rest In Peace, Elena Asunta Yung

"'s been a long time since I've even visited my blog much less made an entry herein.  But, with so many changes in my life and a renewed devotion to riding, it's time to put the fingertips to the keyboard.  However, this post will not be related to horses and although I will return to blogging-all-things-equine in a day or two, I am devoting tonight's Blogger re-entry to the sudden death of Elena Asunta Young, a beautiful young woman that was about to become my daughter-in-law and whom, along with my son, had already given me the gift of three beautiful grandchildren.  I have chosen to copy a Mother's Day entry I made on Facebook because even though it's a few weeks old, it continues to mirror the very essence of how I am feeling and surviving.

"....on this Mother's Day, it is with a broken heart and unspeakable sadness that I write to let my Facebook friends know that my son, Ricky Dellacanonica, lost his fiancĂ©e, the love of his life, the beautiful and kind hearted, Elena "Lena" Yung, when she passed away on Wednesday, May 8th, of this past week.

In addition to leaving my son and myself, she leaves the children, Elijah Nieves, 8 years old, Isaiah Dellacanonica, 5 years old and Jordan Dellacanonica, 8 months old. She also leaves her wonderful parents, people I call friends and family, Ed and Kathy Yung, her brother Ryan Yung and many other family members and friends.

How are we supposed to accept a tragedy of this proportion? A 28 year old woman, so pretty, so talented and with so much to live for is suddenly and inextricably taken from everyone that loves her. And, in a split second of time, we are left to grieve a loss so monumental that words and expressions cannot even begin to describe how we feel."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Musings at Midnight

When I allow myself to think about the fact that I have not seen my Valentino for 6 weeks, I am saddened to the point of tears and to say that this pneumonia has "kicked my butt" is putting it mildly!  My most recent chest x-ray shows improvement but a nodule, albeit smaller, still remains in my lung and although I am better, the exhaustion continues to keep me from driving the distance to the barn.  I thank the heavens that he is at my best friend's private farm and had it not been for her and the excellent care she provides and the love she shows my horse, I would never have been able to concentrate on my recovery.  I am hoping that by this time next week that I will be on my way to the barn or at least planning a day when I can finally get there.  I can tell you that when I have a body that's actually up and running again, there will be no time wasted - all free time will be devoted to my grandkids, my dogs and my horse (and not always in that order).

Anyway, I thought I would devote today's posting to an old friend/trainer/instructor who was instrumental in getting me re-programmed back into horse ownership when Valie came into my life.  Her name is Liz Murphy and along with her husband, the wonderful Mike Murphy, they own and operate Legacy Stables in Mendon, Massachusetts.  Legacy is an incredible Morgan training and showing facility and to say that I think the world of them as it relates to the genuine "goodness" of these people along with their work ethic, their devotion to all the horses in their care, to the boarders and to the students is something that stays consistent and does not change with their ever-growing success as a stable and in the show ring, even on a National level.

I must admit that I was not one of Legacy's easiest students because as a woman in my early 50's, I constantly questioned my decision to become a horse owner again.  However, it was because of their faith and continued support in my endeavors or should I say my baby-steps, that when I finally moved on to a barn more fitting to Thoroughbreds and the Hunter/Jumper and then my discipline, Dressage, I was finally able to begin to recapture my former confidence and become the rider I used to be as a younger adult.  I can honestly say that this change came about because so much of the wisdom that Liz instilled in me during lessons, stayed with me, as I began anew elsewhere. 

So, without further delay, I bring you what I deem to be an incredible video (by JAS Equine Productions) of Liz in the show ring and with Liz's beauty, that of the horse she is riding, the dynamic music and the incredible performance that showcases her riding talent, this is one video that will make you stand up and pay attention!

Dragonsmeade Days Go On
And The Beat Goes On X HVK Noble Wine
Shown by
Elizabeth Murphy
Legacy Stables, Mendon, MA

BY JASEquine Productions

Saturday, December 15, 2012

From The Horse's Mouth - Dave Ribeiro

A Happy Patient!
*taken from America's Horse Daily

I have Bacterial Pneumonia and am now well into the beginning of my 3rd week of being so ill that's it's an effort to walk from the bed to the bathroom.  I wonder how someone, like myself, who always dresses carefully for all types of weather, could have picked up a cold that turned into this dreaded illness.  I realize that the flu is not the same as pneumonia but I can't help but wonder because after almost 15 years of NOT having a flu shot, I get one this year and in less than a month, I am hit with this debilitating sickness!  Is there any correlation?  The Doctor tells me a resounding, "No"; so, I continue to think about things like, "....was I close to anyone that was ill, did I notice anyone that was coughing, sneezing, etc.?  I just don't remember but I continue to dwell upon the fact that I haven't been sick like this in a gazillion years and I'm annoyed and impatient and missing my horse like crazy!

During this down time, I have taken to making lists, lists of things I have either put off  and/or neglected and I am ashamed to admit that the top item on said list is a dental appointment for Valie.  I figure if I say it out loud, I will commit to making it happen! 

Therefore, without further adieu, please allow me to introduce a man that I like to think of as "the" premiere equine dentist in New England........

I recently realized that Valie is overdue for his visit with the dentist and as such, I am about to send an email to his dentist, Dave Ribeiro of "From The Horse's Mouth", with a plea to come out as soon as possible!  Being in a thoughtful mode this evening, I found myself thinking back upon Valie's previous visits with Dave!  And then, I remembered Valie's past experiences, pre-Dave, and what a nightmare it was for him and for me too.   When I stumbled upon Dave (thanks to Mike and Liz Murphy of Legacy Stables , I found a practitioner that had honed his craft so well that my horse didn't need sedation, even on his very first visit with him.  However, the prior two visits, one with a Vet and the second was with another Equine Dentist, were horrific and gruesome.  The Vet, who had no business practicing dentistry, scared my horse to the point wherein he was literally backed up into the corner of the wall and shaking like crazy!  The second visit was someone who had been touted as a great dentist but he refused to work on my horse unless he was sedated and that would have been fine, had he not scared my horse with his overbearing body language upon just walking up to him and frankly, I too would have requested sedation for myself if that big ol, mean-spirited dentist had walked up to me!

The following is my own testimonial and it was taken directly from Dave's web page:
"Dave, you truly impressed me with your knowledge of....
of equine tooth care and I clearly remember that you took the time to explain what work was done in a manner in which I, as an owner, could easily understand. Moreover, the skill in which you worked on Valie was evident because from the outset, the fact that he didn't need sedation proved that your easygoing manner and the connection you made with him must have earned his trust and put him at ease and that is a gift to the horse and the horse's owner! You made such an impression on me that I felt as if I had to write this testimonial to let you know that your work caused me to stand up, take notice and hold a clear memory of what transpired! You can be certain that I have and will continue to highly recommend you to anyone that needs an "Equine Dentist".”
~Cathy Ann Savino-Kedzierski

From The Horse's Mouth
Dave Ribeiro, EqDT, IAED-Certified
Cell: 508-846-6065
Office: 508-622-0059

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Four Winds Farm - SmartPak's Barn of the Month

....back in late winter, while grieving over the loss of my Mom and trying to accept the finality of it all, I tried to divert my attention by writing a story about the barn where Valie and I had spent the last 2 years.  As I began to do some research for the story as well as conduct several interviews of the owner/trainer, my instructor and one of the boarders, I was pleasantly surprised to find that writing was very therapeutic and with every key stroke, I found that I was at the beginning of a return to emotional normalcy.

I wrote the story with the hope that it would be chosen for SmartPak's "Barn of the Month" feature and within one day of submission, I received an email from them stating that they had chosen my story for the March edition of said feature.  Now, as to why it took so long to insert it here in my blog; well, the truth is that other than career related tasks, many of my personal projects had taken back seats while I continued to struggle with so much loss and what-seemed-to-be-the-never-ending-chaos-of-my-life!

Oh well, enough said about the hows and whys and onto my story about Four Winds Farm!     

*this is how the post would have begun if I had posted it back in March of this year:

Please allow me to announce that the barn where Valie and I have been boarding for 2 years, Four Winds Farm in North Oxford, MA, a Hunter/Jumper stable, owned by Jamie Blash/Arseneault, was chosen to be SmartPak's Barn of the Month for March 2012.  I invite my readers and anyone else who happens along to read about a very special barn and the very special people and horses within!

 - Please visit the below captioned link to read about my experiences (and Valie's too) at Four Winds Farm:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Xtreme Stall Renovations

As I recently said, Valie and I are now happily ensconsed at my friend's stable, Pinebrook Farm, in North Scituate, Rhode Island and what with the excellent care bestowed upon my boy by Liz and her husband David, I never worry about him as I drive away from the barn. 

Now as for Valie's accommodations, he is in what I call "the perfect stall".  It's slightly to the right of the main barn door and has a square shaped opening where he can hang his head out to look at and communicate with his neighbors or gaze at the great outdoors and more specifically, several of the paddocks.  In other words, should a horse be on "stall rest", being in one of those "front row stalls' can easily abate boredom.  Also, his stall is one that can be converted into a foaling box and the slatted boards of said adjoining wall fits into metal rungs and should you want to convert it for foaling, you can manually slide the wooden slats up and out.  It's tedious work but when done it turns into the perfect foaling stall!

As the story goes, I believe that my wonderful horse was in need of some male bonding time with his "next stall neighbor", a beautiful T-Walking horse named Dell.  Apparently, hanging his head out of his stall door while Dell did the same just wasn't good enough.  And since I imagine that Valie had some secrets to share about another horse named Tank (but that's another story for another time), he strapped on his "thinking cap" and came up with a brilliant idea - "why don't I dismantle the wall between our stalls so that we can hang out together!".   

The next morning, when David went into the barn to begin feeding, he immediately discovered that Valie and Dell were in Dell's stall.  When he scrambled to look inside, he found that Valie had methodically grabbed each board slat with his teeth (we think!), pulled every one up the rungs and then threw the boards on the stall floor.  It was then that David called Liz (who was at work that morning) and when she heard what happened, she immediately thought injury, blood, an emergency vet visit, etc. but there was not a scratch on either horse so....what does that tell you?   Well, it tells me that Valie had made a well thought-out plan of action and then put said plan in motion!

This story, a cautionary tale, could have been a disaster!  And, as a surprised Mom, I felt that it was necessary to share Valie's newest adventure with you because should one of your boys or girls start showing an interest in their stall walls, you'll be prepared.  The truth is that we really don't know what goes on in those stables at night, there's probably a lot of gossip, tactical planning about how to break into the feed room and God knows what else!   But, being a practical thinker, I'm beginning to wonder if Valie should start his own demolition business and as such, if he is the success I think he'll be, I'm certain that when I reach retirement age, he will "take care" of me as I have done for him!

The vertical board is where the metal rungs (that hold the board slats) are located.

A view of the board slats on the stall floor.

This is a close-up look at the board slats and note the red salt block holder on one of the boards, it reminds me of what a miracle it was that one or both horses were not hurt!

....and finally, here's Valie, in Dell's stall, looking out the stall door opening as if to say, "what's all the fuss about?".