Saturday, December 15, 2012

From The Horse's Mouth - Dave Ribeiro

*photo credit to Equine Dental Services

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?".

Friday, September 28, 2012

I Give Thanks

Cent vom Nordenvalle a/k/a Luigi
"In Deep Thought"

Smooth's Boy a/k/a Romeo and I
"An early morning Quail hunt"

Class Always Shows a/k/a Valie or Valentino
"....soft eyes, a big heart and a gentle soul"
I Give Thanks

"....many years ago, when I was employed at a law firm as a person who prepared and facilitated real estate closings, I met a real estate broker that doubled as a "tarot card" reader!  She repeatedly asked me if I wanted a reading and I always declined (I was never really comfortable with this type of intangible); but, one day when my life was, yet again, in an utter state of havoc, I took her up on the offer. 

Well, the reading was long and complex but the ending was what stood out and was also what has proven to be true time-and-time-again.  She told me to prepare for a lifetime of chaos, a life that would have extreme highs and lows (but mostly lows), a life that would be dictated by others even though I was basically a free spirit, my problems would usually be the result of someone else's misfortune or need.  The truth is that I have experienced this type of life since that reading but there have been two constants that enabled me to be hopeful and........those two constants have always been my dogs and my horses.    When I'm with them, despite the intensity of my everyday life, there are no real ups and downs, everything is manageable and anything that's happened seems like a natural progression of life.  Now, tell me, how wonderful is that?

As a result of my crazzzzzzy life, I have come to depend on my  4-legged "kids" in many different ways.  They provde a safe haven for me, even if I am just "with" them, standing by my horse's head while he looks out his stall door, petting my dogs while I sit on the couch and watch television and any number of other scenarios that includes time spent with them!

So, this little tribute to my partners in life, dogs and horses, is just my way of returning to the blogging board with a message to other like-minded people - although my animals depend on me to make the right decisions for them, it so happens that, in a very tangible way, I depend on them to provide and fulfill similar needs for me".

"....keep your animals close, they will listen to you, they will provide comfort for you and if you believe in them, they will help you believe in yourself!" - Cathy Ann Savino-Kedzierski

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cathy & Liz - We're Together Again!

"....many moons ago, when I was a very young adult and boarding my Thoroughbred, Funny Girl (a/k/a Brandie), at Fred and Bev Pearson's Trailmare Farm in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, I met a young woman who would turn out to be a very pivotal force in my life.  One of my fellow boarders, Ruben Dawkins, appeared to ride one day when I was there and he brought a like-minded friend along to watch.  Her name was Liz Wool and somehow, by chance, we ended up getting introduced to one another and like magic, a friendship was forged!  However, I believe that we clicked immediately because both of us were non-stop talkers, we were able to hit equine topics with the speed of a lear jet, covering said topic from A - Z within seconds and most important, we shared a special affinity for the Thoroughbred.  And from there, that very first day, the bond deepened, we found that we had other people in common and the "Team of Liz and Cathy" was formed! 

I eventually moved Brandie to Ann Geoghegan's, Sunshine Farm, in Sherborn, MA and Liz brought a Thoroughbred along for the summer.  This Thoroughbred was named Eggroute (yup, you heard that right!) and Liz and Eggroute and Brandie and I hit the trails with reckless abandon.  Ohhhhh, how I remember those rides, ambling along and talking about millions of different things, the kind of talk that only good friends can have and then the fun of trail exploration, canters that turned into gallops and a tons of schooling under the tutelage of Ann.  The knowledge that Ann brought to us from her natural ability as a Trainer/Instructor and from her trips to Eventer Bruce Davidson's farm in PA; well, we shall never forget those days.  And finally, when I was 6 months pregnant with my son, Ricky, and still in the saddle, I remember one exciting trial ride!  My TB Brandie, although a very good mare and very bombproof, had a bit of a jolting, throw-you-out-of-the-saddle trot and as such, with my pregnancy in mind, Ann suggested that I take her horse, Dree, out on the trail as she was a smooth ride and Liz would ride Brandie.  Dree was just as promised, so smooth and a real pleasure to be on we passed over the railroad tracks to the first trail, I suddenly felt like something was not right.  I don't know, call it a sense of possible trouble ahead but I immediately dismounted and told Liz that she was going to ride Dree and I would get on my own horse!  Well, thank God I did because no sooner than we were mounted and underway again, Dree went into a bronco busting, bucking fit that would have surely unseated me and my prego-belly right out of the saddle.  But, as luck and skill would have, Liz sat those flying-high-in-the-air bucks better than any rodeo rider I had ever seen!  Ahhhh, what memories!

So, let's fast forward to several years ago and let me say that Liz and I lost touch over some issues that will remain between the two of us and approximately 20 years later, she found me on the New England website, Equinesite  Then, lo and behold, within seconds of meeting for dinner, we easily fell back into the very same level of friendship and with the very same "gift of non-stop gabbing" experienced so many years before.  The moral of this story is that very deep friendships never die, they may go on hiatus but they return as if no time had ever lapsed!  Lastly, the very special nature of this story is that Liz (BTW, she's Liz Morris now, married to the comedian, David Morris) has her very own horse farm and Valie and I have joined her herd.  He and I could not be happier or have better care.  We are looking forward to many new riding adventures together, Foxhunting, Ocean Rides, Dressage clinics; well, the list is endless and as we move forward with these plans, you will find me blogging about my adventures with Valie and with Liz and her horse Justin or Alex or Rosie or any of the other horse or farm animals on the property!" are a couple of photos of Liz at a Dressage show with Justin, thought you guys should get an introduction to her since you will be hearing so much about her as time goes on!  So without further adieu, heeeeeeere's Liz:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Water Cooler" Gossip & Lookin' Good

photo taken by Kyle Rao

"....a recent photo of Valie and his best bud, Marco, shown here gossiping at the "water cooler" (note how Valie is looking around to see if anyone else is listening)! 

Anyway, I am posting this photo to illustrate just how well SmartPak supplements work!  In other words, I am extemely thrilled that Valie's coat, for the first time in a long time, is actually "shiny"!  Moreover, I recently added a calming supplement (SmartCalm) and in my opinion, although a few others may not agree with me, I have found that he is no longer "spooky", not that he really ever was but he did have his moments.  And I, now being an official "older woman", do not need him to suddenly scoot, as fast as he can, across the arena to the right or the left (either direction is just as bad!) as my balance is not as great as it used to be.

You may have noticed that my recent two posts are very short and that's because I am easing gently into letting others into my life after so much grief and change.  While it feels good to blog again, it feels even better to take it slow while I continue to wind down from so many of life's changes!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where have I been, Where am I going?

Valie, like his Mom, is in "deep thought"!

"....i have not blogged a word since mid February and when I realized that fact I was shocked.  It's just amazing how fast time flies when you are just going through the motions of livin' your life.

The explanation is quite simple and if the question is "Where have I been", the answer is that I have spent a large part of my days adjusting to the fact that my Mom is really gone.  And to complicate
the grieving process, a decision was made to move and while it was one thing to lose my Mom, it was quite another thing to make the decision to leave the family home on a permanent basis.  So, then came the enormous task of breaking up said family home, relocating to the home at the kennel in Connecticut and splitting my time in two towns as I continue to take care of my Mom's elderly sister.  In the interim, I managed to tear my knee's meniscus but fortunately, I opted for cortisone shots rather than jumping into surgery and since that's working, the answer to "Where am I going" is that now, Spring and Summer riding, my truest form of therapy, is still a reality. 

Anyway, I have lots to report and will do so in the next several days as now that I'm blog-typing again, I just realized how much I miss it!  So, with that said, I will see you soon and also, want to thank all of you that continued to send words of hope and support - you guys are the best!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

From My Heart to Yours

"....mere words cannot describe the feelings I experienced when I read the responses to the post about my Mom's death.  I've said this before but it still continues to amaze me that a group of virtual buddies, here on blogspot, can actually come to care about each other just by reading about one another's life-on-blog!  I only wish that I could meet all of you to give hugs and thanks in-person, those people who commented publicly and those who sent private emails, all of you are so wonderful and all of you had so many kind, warm and comforting words for me and I give thanks to each and every one of you. 

I am still feeling the sudden and devastating loss of my best friend, my Mom and although I continue to hear that it will get better, it will take time, this too shall pass, etc., etc., etc., it just doesn't feel that way right now.  My solace comes from spending time with my dogs and my horse and one or two close family members and friends.  I don't mind feeling the grief as I know it's a natural process but envisioning the idea that I will never again see my Mom or talk with her is extremely hard to accept.

I will close for now and will return with more of "The Adventures of Cathy & Valie" in the near future."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Overwhelmed With Grief

"....just a short note to let my friends know that my Mom passed away on Monday evening, it was sudden and unexpected and I am overwhelmed with grief.  My Mom has always been my best friend, we never, ever went even one night without talking or seeing one another, she was always the biggest cheerleader in my life, she never let me down and her love for me, my son, our family and her friends could have easily filled all of space and time and....I only hope that I was as good a daughter as she was a Mother.  I cannot imagine my life without her and I pray, with all my heart, that she is in a beautiful place with my Dad and our other deceased family members because that is the only solace I have at this time.  And for those of you, my close friends, that have not heard from me personally, please know that I am barely able to speak right now and in this case, I am grateful for venues like Blogspot and Facebook and the ability of these sites to reach so many people at one time. Thanks for listening."

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 Aspirations + Actions = Success!

Cathy and Valie are dressed for success in the Hunter ring!

"....sorry, unable to give photo credit because I can't read the artist's name, ugh, that's fine print for ya!"

It never fails, every year at this very time, in the wee hours of the morning, a week or so after the ball has dropped in Times Square, I think of these words, spoken by some unknown author, "The opportunity of life is very special and it moves very quickly.".  And, just as fast as I think about the meaning behind those words, I promise myself that the year ahead won't be spent thinking about last year's missed opportunities or any unfulfilled goals that were left in my wake.  The promises I make to myself, my animals and my wonderful family and friends are important to me and there has to be a creative yet fundamental way to keep my word and still have a shot at meeting my own expectations! 

I often burden myself with the task of trying to do too much.  In other words, my goals, plans, aspirations, hopes, etc., would be impossible to reach even if I were "Wonder Woman" so; this time, I must approach achievement in a very different manner!  The first step is to make certain that I only
focus on one project at a time.  In other words, whatever it is I am planning to do, decide on a goal and reach for it, make a change and actually get it done, whatever, whatever, whatever, I will be wearing blinders and seeing only one task with only one outcome and only then will I go on to the next!  The is the very first baby step of not doing anything to sabotage or overwhelm myself - yeah me! 

So, in the interest of keeping with the premise of my blog, I will begin this new year by focusing on getting Valie and I to our first show, any show at all, in the Spring or the Summer!  So, where do I begin?  I shall begin with getting him groomed to perfection every time I am at the barn.  In the past, I typically used the cold, unfriendly Winter months as an excuse to ease up on the kind of grooming that gets him show-sheen clean!  But, even though it's a ground task, not mounted work, it's just as important to begin the process  of getting his coat ready to transition from Winter to Spring.  I shall pay close attention to his mane and his abundant, beautiful tail and with patient love, I will help him obtain a gleaming lustre so rich that come Spring and then throughout the Summer, his "blood" bay coat will cause people to stand up and take notice! 

After I fall into the routine of being in consistent grooming mode, I will get back to being consistent with lessons for me and training rides for Valie and........will do that with my talented and ever patient Instructor, Caitlin O'Neil.  She better be up for the task (lest she pass out when I begin with such a fervor) because I am diving headlong into doing whatever is necessary to help Valie and I continue to develop as a team of two!  So, while my hands, my back, my seat, my legs, etc. are being scrutinized and worked during lessons and schooling days on our own, my focus will become second nature!  And when I finally begin to feel that cadence, the feeling between him and I that whispers, "we are in synch with one another", I will then be able to get into the "fun stuff"!  What is the "fun stuff" you ask? Well, that's getting down to the business of re-vamping and adding to my show wardrobe!  And that my friends will consist of assessing what I already have and deciding what I will need and then....the shopping!  Oh boy, what fun I'll have while the wallet opens and closes.  My plan is to do as much comparative browsing in online and in-person tack shops before buying and........I will blog about my "finds" as they happen!

"....and lastly, tonight, I will fall asleep with "visions of Tailored Sportsmen Breeches" dancing in my wee little head or better yet, maybe I should dream about wearing the "riding habit" that's pictured above!  Ahhhh, what would George Morris say!"