Monday, February 10, 2020

50 MPH Winds & My Horse

So, sitting here tonight while listening to 50 mph winds, my mind wanders to the barn and as such I wonder how the horses are faring during this crazy New England weather!  But, I know that the barn owner is a wonderful caretaker and if anything at all was amiss, she would be contacting all of us via an instantaneous group text message.  And with that reminder to myself, my mind reverted to "at ease"!

Over the past couple of years, I've returned to blogging many times, a post here and a post there but  I was hardly doing so on a consistent basis  However now, with my new status as an Ambassador for ProChaps, I'm inspired to get their message out there but, the truth is that I really do love to write and what better way to do so than to blog about my life with horses!

Since I want to keep this official "back to blogging" post short and sweet, I give you two things  - one is a photograph of Valie and I after a Dressage clinic in Connecticut with International FEI Competitor, Luis Reteguiz-Denizard and two, I promise to return, very soon, with thoughts about Valie's "various moves into various barns" since the day he came into my life !"

Thursday, October 3, 2019
(logo taken from the ProChaps website)

"....they will fit every body, every single time!"

"....having stumbled upon this line of half chaps many years ago while perusing a copy of Practical Horsemen, I remember flipping pages when their ad caught my eye!  I was immediately smitten and set about on an adventure to track down these Canadian made half chaps and while it took a while because access to this product was not yet widely available in the USA, I did discover a pair at a local tack shop and I was hooked.  I then went on to snag a pair of their fringed half chaps (no longer produced) via an eBay auction and I can honestly say that these two purchases were the best "equestrian attire" discoveries that I've ever made!

I had tried several brand name chaps over the years and some were beautiful but didn't fit well or some fit well but were were not pleasing to the eye, many didn't seem as if they would hold up to consistent riding and the list goes on.  One of the most important things I discovered was that many of said big brand named chaps just didn't have a wide range of sizing and in my case, every pair I tried were just too tall and since they don't drop like tall boots do, I never felt secure in the saddle while wearing half chaps that were too long for me.  Well, with ProChaps, you will never have that problem - they offer a vast array of options to fit any calf size and length and in my own words, "they will fit every body - every single time!".

And then there's the leather soft, smooth and strong, the styles (of which there are two as well as one style of full chaps) and all three manage to deliver the combination of form and function - you have chaps that deliver a fashion statement while maintaining a "feel" of steady contact with your horse's sides, you have long wearing riding attire that is well made and to prove my point of the longevity of these chaps, I have a pair that were first used in daily riding, lessons, etc. and then they went on to trail riding adventures over various terrain and....that type of terrain often meant "bushwacking" along the way!  And, yet another claim I'll make is that these chaps are still in use and with a little leather cleaner and conditioning they have looked beautiful for the past 12 years and on almost every trail ride, these chaps still receive complements!

The "Fit" style is a great option for schooling and the "Competition II" can easily double as a show ring option for tall boots when paired with zip-up paddock boots.  If you love full chaps, there's the "Athletic" style and these seem very comfortable when compared to the olden days of suede or all leather full chaps.  I remember wearing my suede full chaps years ago and could barely walk without looking as if I was marching and don't even ask me about getting in the saddle (a total nightmare of which I would have been better off having a crane lift me onto the saddle)!  It's obvious that ProChap's "Athletic" style have a lot of give, more than enough to make mounting, riding and even walking very comfortable! *all pictures posted below

And last but certainly not least, not only was the shipping quick and the flat-rate charge of $10.00 for shipping from Canada reasonable but the impeccable way that they package their chaps is second-to-none.  They are carefully packed in a brand specific box (see below picture) and encased in tissue paper and then they are boxed in a cardboard shipping box that further insures their safe arrival!"

My newest pair of "Fit" ProChaps!

The packaging is incredible!
The "Fit" style of ProChaps (from the ProChaps website)
The "Competition II" style of ProChaps (from the ProChaps website)
The "Athletic" style of Full Chaps (from the ProChaps website)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Whippoorwill Farm

Boarding Farm Extraordinaire

"Whippoorwill Farm is a peaceful, beautiful farm wherein my boy Valentino Savino happily resides. We're surrounded with wonderful people, the incredible staff and finally the owner, Lisa Giberti, who has far surpassed my expectations and dreams by providing extraordinary care of my horse, the manner in which I'm treated and valued as a boarder and visually speaking, the charming barn that sits on this beautiful property. The farm has an enormous, well cared for Dressage ring, an amazing jump field, a 1/4 mile training track, all day grass and paddock turnouts
and of course a multitude of nearby trails! In closing, all of these amenities and then add the true friendship I've forged with Lisa (and Nick), makes for a home away from home, a safe haven and the best of times now and more adventures yet to come!"

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunset Hill Farm - Barn Extraordinaire

Sunset Hill Farm
Dayville, Connecticut in beautiful New England

Valie is relaxing and eating hay in his "in and out stall's" private paddock. 

The below captioned testimonial is an excerpt from our previous barn's website and I thought it would be perfect to describe our experience when we were there.  We had been there since November 1st, 2014; however, I'm saddened to say that the owner was in a position wherein it no longer made sense for her to retain the property so, it was sold.  Unfortunately the new owners were far from what I hoped for, there was no possible way for them to recreate what we had when Tammy Marino owned the farm and as such, Valie and I had to find a new home yet again.  I have always felt bad about moving my boy and in my humble estimation, it seemed to be too often.  But, as  it turns out and I know that you've heard me say this before, we have found the perfect home, a barn in Mendon, Massachusetts called Whippoorwill Farm and I will soon blog about our experiences from moving-in day to present.  But for now, let me say that we are incredibly happy in our new digs and we love the caring and knowledgeable owner, Lisa Giberti!

*as told by one of our boarders, Cathy Ann Savino-Kedzierski - 
The beauty of this property is evident as you begin to drive down the sloping road that leads to the Farm.  The sunrise and especially the sunsets here are magical.  As soon as your trailer arrives at Sunset Hill, you and your horse will immediately notice an extraordinary environment, one that is peaceful and hospitable and lends itself to relaxed rides that in turn makes for consistent progress.  I can attest to this because this is what my horse and I experienced when first we came!  

As a result of an accident and a very long commute, I was unable to be at our previous barn on a consistent basis.  And, as such, my horse was ignored and was also at the bottom of the pecking order.  However, within a month of our arrival here at SHF, he was gaining weight, his coat began to gleam and he went from unaffectionate and stressed to a loving horse with a calm, quiet demeanor.  This is a direct result of the experienced horse people, the owner/manager team of Julie Ann Marino and Tammy Marino.  They place a high priority on providing top notch, consistent care for every horse in their barn.  The result is that my boy, Valentino, is happy and healthy and as for us, I know that we finally found our permanent home.

Please enjoy the following photos of our farm!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Unmounted Accident - Head to Head

" this pic you can see part of my stitched-up incision and the beginning of my black eye!"
I like to think that I’m an intelligent woman and I know that I’m a proponent of helmet use when riding.  However, as bright as like to think I am, I never, ever thought to wear my helmet when in the stall with my horse, when I’m grooming him or just simply leading him in the aisle or even outside for hand grazing.  So, it's with great embarrassment that I bring you this cautionary tale of my weekend with my horse, the wonderfully kind, Valentino!

The horse-flys were bad, they were out in full force and they “seemed” to be the size of small birds!  I was in the stall with Valie, admiring his shiny coat and noticing that he had begun to gain weight while simultaneously talking with my friend, Liz Morris, who was standing outside of the stall.  I wasn't paying close attention and without warning, Valie violently shook his head to get rid of those annoying, hard biting, flys and.... at that precise moment, we collided, horse head to human head!  Then, in the blink of an eye, I was thrown into the other side of the stall’s wall in slow motion (or so it seemed) and couldn’t get up.  Valie, stayed where he was, without moving at all and while on the ground, the one and only thing I remember was how vulnerable I felt and it wasn't because my horse made an advance or spooked while I lay there, he was so very good, it was just because the fear of "what could've been" was like a blinking, neon sign - front and center!
In rescue mode, Liz and my friend/trainer/instructor Lindsey Canesi dragged me out of the stall and boy, did the blood ever flow, it was in my eyes, it was everywhere, I was disoriented, in horrific pain, nauseous and couldn’t focus.  The ambulance was called and after what seemed like forever with an additional scare in the ambulance when my blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level, I was in the hospital getting cat-scanned and stitched.  Despite a diagnosis of a concussion, I did not have a skull fracture, hematoma or brain bleed and after getting stitched up, it was then I realized just how lucky I was and how close I came to possible death.  ....dramatic you say?  In my humble opinion, I don't think I'm overreacting!

So, tell me, what's your reaction to this story?  Are any of you like me, a person that never gave a second thought to wearing a helmet unless you are just about to get in the saddle or are you someone that thought about wearing your helmet while doing any kind of ground work and just never got around to it or….are you one of the smart ones that wears a helmet from start to finish!

There it is, my story, and I've told it to as many people who will listen and to as many equine and and equestrian related social media sites that I can find.  Furthermore, I've made a firm decision to wear my helmet whenever I'm working with my horse because I just don't want to make the same mistake and expect a different result (they say that's the true meaning of insanity!).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunflower Meadows Equestrian - Lindsey M. Canesi

It's with great pleasure that I bring this announcement to my blog!  My boy Valie and I have entered "boot camp" for the next several months with my Friend and Trainer/Instructor extraordinaire, Lindsey Canesi of Sunflower Meadows Equestrian.  You can find information about Lindsey on her website and you can also find her on Facebook, where she details the daily happenings at the farm!

SME is located at the beautiful Spring Garden Farm, owned by Kerri Arruda and located in Rehoboth, Massachusetts

The following photos shown are of Lindsey in the irons as well as several pics of the beautiful farm!  We have the good fortune of being able to train in the incredible indoor arena or outside in the Dressage Ring or on any number of beautiful trails that begin right on the property.  Further still, the turnout is incredible and my boy gets to enjoy "grass" grazing!  And, he is one happy camper!  However, I must also tell you that the reason we entered said "boot camp" is because things slowly slipped out of my control while at my friend Liz's barn.  But, let it be noted that Valie's bad behavior is no reflection on the level of extraordinary care that Liz provided.  Apparently Valie seemed to think that he no longer had to and certainly no longer wanted to "work" anymore.  Hmmmm, somehow in that handsome head of his, he decided that he was retired and that meant, no rules applied to him.  The once docile horse I know and love became hard to handle, pushy and even somewhat dangerous.  I blame myself for this change in behavior because I was experiencing so many health and personal issues that I was no longer able to devote the same amount of time to him that I had for so many years but........things are already on the upswing and I have high hopes for a positive outcome!  Moreover, being that this beautiful farm is a very long drive for me, almost 1 hour/15 minutes from my house to the barn, being in "boot camp" is only temporary and when he "graduates" we will move him even closer to me than before!

November 1, 2014

Valie's days at boot camp have ended and while we did accomplish our goal, reverting "bad boy" behavior back to "good boy" behavior, other goals were not met and he did not fare well during his period of encampment.   Anyway, we are now in our new home, Sunset Hill Farm in Dayville Connecticut and I will blog about said move and our new barn very soon!

"Over Fences"
Lindsey and Luna


 "....presenting  a few pics of the beautiful Spring Garden Farm, located in Rehoboth, MA and owned by Kerri Arruda!"

....view of the pasture turnouts, the barn and the indoor from across the pond

 ....the incredible tack room

                                                                    ....the spacious indoor         

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cosequin presents the OTTB Showcase & "Class Always Shows"

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

Hot, Humid Days & The Sprinkler

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!).