Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pony shopping trip

Today we went to Illinois to look at the pony I posted about.  It's a 7yo 7/8 arab 1/8 shetland mare, dapple bay.  She has not had much handling and has some previous baggage from being started by a bad trainer but a local teen was able to get her going under saddle.

I found her to be skittish and wary at first, took me 5 minutes to catch her, but surprisingly she was very good with her ground work and not spooky at all.  After she had warmed up to me she followed me all over the area I was able to work her in.  She ended up being easy to catch and seemed quite sensible.  I took a couple videos to watch over and over to ponder my choices.

A few things for me to keep in mind:

1.  Can I fix this pony?
I think so.  She's been started, and while nervous, warmed up and didn't do anything stupid.  I felt comfortable around her and liked the way she responded.  I feel she would join up with a person and form a fierce bond.  I felt if I brought her home and I didn't hit any major snags I could be on her in a couple weeks.

2.  Does this pony have the conformation to be a lower level eventing horse?

Maybe.  She has longer pasterns and is straighter behind, both negatives, but no horse is perfect.  Would this things affect her ability to do dressage or her ability to jump high?  Yes.  Would this matter at the level I'm eventing at.  Probably not, but better conformation is always better.

3.  Could I resell this pony if it didn't like to jump?

Maybe.  I could probably give her away, especially if she were suitable for kids.  She has no value as a 1/2 arab because she isn't very typy, and she is small, but stout enough to carry an adult.

4.  Is this pony squishable?  YES!


On the road today to go see this pony.....

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Things that are purple


I have the standard black/black version of these which I ended up putting on my dressage saddle.  I found the wide track helped keep my feet in the stirrups while dealing with my "spastic leg" problem and I find that they are much more comfortable trail riding in than normal width english irons.

These are a must have for my jumping saddle.

Horseloverz carries them as well as a few other online shops.

Purple eventing reins!  In pony or horse size!

Lancaster Amish Goods is the original source for most of Bit of Britain's english leather goods.  See the exact same reins here.

Here's an interesting bell boot design by Roma.  The scalloped edge is supposed to prevent movement

Here's an interesting bell boot design by Roma.  The scalloped edge is supposed to prevent movement

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lame duck

Well, I had hoped that my next post would be about Tiffany's very first lesson.  Nope.  Tiffany heard about the reputation of my trainer, and the fact that she has an arena full of POLES, and brewed an abscess.

Now abscesses aren't usually a big deal, but I'm a bit abscess phobic ever since Nikki and this is Tiffany's second abscess since I started riding her.

Who probably had some sort of systemic issue in her feet that was worsened by riding.  Whenever the ground got soft she'd abscess, sometimes each foot in a row, and I'd lose every winter and spring until the ground either froze or thawed.  I think it was worsened by riding as I have not seen her put a foot wrong since I retired her due to bum hocks.  Stupid horses.  The only solution was front shoes and pads and rear shoes.  Which was expensive but kept her abscess free for two years solid.  However, I don't feel at this stage that Tiffany has justified shoes so I'm waiting to see how much of a continual problem this is going to be.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Trot video

Here's a video I took last week as a reference for Tiffany's current state of training and mind.  This video is taken as soon as I started trotting and shows everything good and bad.  My philosophy with a nervous horse is that I "free lunge" with rider aboard.  I minimally control direction and stay out of the way unless I feel like I'm in danger. I maintain light contact with her mouth just enough to take the slack out of the reins but I'm not trying to hold her head down, keep her straight, etc.

Everything you see with her head moving is of her own doing, you can see that she wants to go down to the contact (although it's really more posing at this point) but she's nervous and wants her head up.

I am not really using much if any leg at this point so she comes back to the walk a few times, but I'm ok with this for now as when I add leg she starts to run away.  You can see how eventually she calms down a bit and settles into a more relaxed way of going.  That's when I feel confident about starting to influence her a bit more.

Next week I'll start to add more influence, to see if I can ASK her to relax a bit and stay steadier in the contact.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I've been working on Tiffany a lot on the ground.  Her ground manners are decent but her trust in people is not as strong.  I've started on some basic despooking which I believe makes you safer in the saddle when faced with scary things you meet while out and about.

Here's Tiffany's first reaction to the tarp

I'm standing in one spot shaking the tarp.  I noticed how, although she ran as far away as possible, she made several passes right by me.  She was scared of the tarp, but not scared enough to keep her distance.

Here's Tiffany after a couple sessions with the tarp.  She's more concerned with the cookies in my pocket instead of the tarp, big difference huh?

Picture your horse's reaction at a show if a canopy blows over in the dressage ring, or you are riding past the stabling and someone shakes a blanket out.  Or people are climbing up and down bleachers.  A less reactive horse might just keep you in the saddle!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thinline and Higher Standards discounts

Here are a couple more Black Friday discount codes I missed from my first list, happy shopping!

Thinline  %15 off your entire purchase on Thinline saddle pads using the code CYBERSHOP, I love my thinline and so do my horses!

Higher Standards  %15 off using the code SHOPSMALL!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday, horse style!

Although I'll be working ALL DAY today and friday (boo retail) I'll be shopping online for some horsey deals and steals.  Not that I actually need anything at this time, so I decided to share my research with my followers!  Let me know what you get!

Riding Warehouse  %20 your entire order, including clearance.  Free shipping over $50

Smartpak  %15 off your entire order with code GIFTME14  Free shipping over $75

VTO saddlery  %20 orders over $100

Tropical Rider  %40 Leather seat %50 clarino

Action Rider Tack  %20 off entire order with code BF2014

Jeffers  %15 off with code TURKEY14

Old Navy  %50 off most items in the store plus an extra %15 off using code GRAVY.  Not horsey?  Pffft, I live in Old Navy fleece for winter riding/lessons/clinics.

Horze  %25 off your entire order

Five Star Tack  %25 off your order plus free shipping.

Bit of Britain  %20 off now through December 1 plus free shipping on orders over $50.00 with code BLACKFRIDAY

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Every horse that I've worked with has learned to stand in the aisleway before and/or after I ride without being tied.  Mostly because I'm lazy, but occasionally because I consider it a good training tool.  Can your horse stay put where put if he knows he isn't attached to anything?

This would be the aisle, absent of Tiffany who promptly hit the road the second I unclipped her and moved 6 inches to my trunk.  Oooops.  Obviously you couldn't put a bridle on her after you slip her halter off while she's tied to the trailer.

Round two.  Reinforcing WHOA and moving back to reposition her feet every time she moved them. I make my disapproving noise if she moves. It's hard with Tiffany who is used to being ridden but doesn't have any sort of a bond with people so there's really no reason for her to stand somewhere and just risk getting worked more.

A few minutes later.  I'm working on a reward/punishment method.  If I have to come and catch her I scold her gently and put her back where she was.  If she hasn't moved I give her a cookie.  She's very treat motivated so this had good results.  Needs more work though.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Hard to believe that anyone would think this horse was fit to race huh?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washed up and discarded

Malcolm has been enjoying the last several days at Horse and Hound vet clinic.  Today he had a detailed exam to determine the nature of his injuries and his future.

He was been diagnosed with a wing fracture in his pelvis, a not uncommon injury in race horses coming out of the starting gate, horses bolting out of stalls, and horses falling over backwards.  What is remarkable is his history

Think for a moment about all the things you do for your equine partner to keep him sound and happy.  Those little SmartPak wells.  Custom made and constantly flocked saddles.  Special shoes.  Ice boots.   Injections.  Chiropractic work and massage and realize that Malcolm was racing for his owners on a fractured pelvis for at least 6 months.

There is no question that he was lame, you can clearly notice the difference in the race videos.  Is this acceptable?  Is it then acceptable for a trainer to dump the horse at an auction instead of spending the money on euthanasia?

There are a few people who have suggested that if they were in the same position they would have left this horse at the auction and picked a better prospect instead of having a rescue waste their money on a lame duck.  I've made that choice many times, been to many auctions, and seen many horses meet their end on a truck to Canada or Mexico.  Horses who had owners like this horse had, more willing to spend the gas money to drop the horse off than to spend money on a vet bill for an animal that served them well.  Is it too much to ask that every now and then we save one horse?  Even if in the end he can't be saved at all?

Does this horse not deserve a proper diagnosis, a belly full of hay, and peppermints?

Someone else suggested that we do not know when this horse was injured, and it's possible nobody knew.  Race videos are a great historical record for your OTTB and these race videos are quite illuminating.  FOF volunteers have observed his race videos and believe they can pinpoint the time of his injury which corresponds with the rate of healing that has happened when he was examined.

From his race record, we suspect that his pelvis was broken at Gulfstream where he stumbled out of the gate 12/8/2013. He then was given some time off and raced again under the owner  / trainer  at Monmouth on 8/10/2014 and again on 8/29/2014, where he looks lame behind from the race videos. 
The trainer then became the owner and the horse was trained under another trainer where he was entered at Thistledown on 10-1-2014, also clearly lame behind in the video. 45 days later the horse was delivered to the IN auction in the morning and left a low body score, still wearing race plates. The rest... is history.

So what's in his future?  The vet is going to personally assist in his rehab at her own home and wants to give him 6 months of turnout (he is not a surgical candidate and surgery is not very effective at this type of injury) and then reevaluate him.  She believes he will at least have a future as a trail horse.  If he appears to be suffering, degrading, or anything besides being a happy pony she will make the right decision.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hip Tag 74

Yesterday a friend called me up and asked me if I wanted to go with her to the local auction, I had planned a lazy weekend but who can resist watching someone sell used halters one at a time?  We arrived at 4pm and expected to stay until 7ish.

I always like to look at the horses and tonight I noticed a special one.  He was big and bay and very obviously an OTTB.  He was hip tag 74.

 I decided to go ahead and post him on my Facebook page to see if anyone was interested. I didn't really expect anyone to jump at the chance to drive in the dark and snow to pick up a possibly lame TB with an unknown history and future.

When I took my friend back to look at him he was down in his stall.  He had slipped somehow and couldn't get up.  With aluminum shoes and a smooth concrete floor it wasn't a surprise.  He struggled for several minutes and I thought we were watching the end right there but eventually he righted himself.  I felt even more sorry for him.

I had a flury of people posting on my thread, networking to try to save him, and was quite surprised when someone from Friends of Ferdinand started posting.  First they were going to get him, then they couldn't afford it, finally they said damn it all and pull the horse, we'll figure it out later.  I got a little misty eyed.  

Then I had to drag a friend of mine out of bed to come with her trailer as we had obviously not planned on buying a horse.  She got out of her warm bed and into her cold truck and drove 45 minutes out of her way to pick up a horse she had never met before.  I think I owe her lots of chocolate.  At 10pm the horses ran through and hip tag 74 was first.  There was nobody to speak for him, he had been dropped off and left with no reserve.  The kill buyer bid first at $50.  Then we bid $75. Then the kill buyer bid $100.  We bid $110 and the gavel slammed down.  He was ours.  I got a little misty eyed again but maybe that was due to being at the salebarn for 6 hours.

He trailered well and as soon as he was home started to hoover his hay.

He was very thirsty, he probably hadn't had access to water in almost 24 hours

He got a blanket for the night

In the morning I came back out to access what we had done.  He stands 15.2 and 1/2 hands high.  He's a three year old and his registered name is Maybe My Way.  He's just 3 years old.  He's been to Florida, New York, Ohio, and Indiana

You can tell he has something going on with his right hip.  There is some muscle atrophy and an old injury or bedsore.

I took videos to record his current movement, soundness issues, etc.  You can tell he has an issue when he decides to canter and almost falls behind.

I decided to name him Malcolm, after one of my favorite TV shows Firefly.

So what's next for Malcolm?

In a few days he will be picked up and taken to a local vet clinic and they will conduct a full work up to determine his future.  Does he need rest and rehab?  Does he need a quick release instead of a slow truck to Canada?  We will know soon.  After that he will rehab and then eventually go into a foster program and go up for adoption.

Malcolm would love to have people donate to his name and help out a great organization.  If you feel like it, please donate money to Friends Of Ferdinand.  You can input his name so the funds go toward his care or just allow them to help out in general.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stories from the Saddle Blog Hop

Here I go again, trying to do another Blog Hop!

First, I wanna know: what is the ONE piece of tack (or clothing) that you simply cannot live without? Put function aside for a moment and try to decide which piece of your tack ho collection is your favorite. It can be anything for you, or for your horse. Second, I'd like to know what you're currently saving up for or lusting after. Basically, what item do you have your eyes set on right now? If someone handed you enough money, what would be the first thing to buy on your list? 

Hmmm, I have to think about that.  Right now I'm going to say my Thinline half pad.  I got it for a great price on Ebay as a "second" from Thinline which apparently means perfect except maybe an uneven edge?  I noticed an immediate difference in Annie's way of going when I added under my already well fitting saddle and an immediate and grumpy difference when I left it off one day (she literally would not move).  I'm not a trend person, or a gimmick person but I really believe that it makes a difference in my horse's way of going.  It's a must have for me.  

What I'm lusting after right now is a Synergist endurance saddle.  I'd love a comfortable and lightweight trail saddle and these are NICE saddles, custom made to your exact measurements and custom fit to your horse.  Enough leather to keep you comfortable and in the saddle but not enough leather to add weight.  Lovely saddles.  It's a lust because it's way out of my price range and I don't really trail ride enough to warrant owning one, but one can dream. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Interviewing horses

Horse shopping, does anyone really love it?

I've been doing what I call "interviewing" horses after the loss of Annie.  I hadn't planned on owning a horse for at least another year until I pay off some bills by being a responsible adult and my friends have been helping by chucking horses in my direction.

I've been riding this mare at my barn.  She's well "broke" and has a successful show life as a 6yo (nothing after and before is a mystery) but can she come out of semi retirement and be my partner?  Will she take to jumping?  What about cross country?  Will she like trail riding?  Herding Cattle?

What do you do when you interview a potential new partner?  What do you expect?  I'm finding it hard to not compare to Annie, who really was the perfect horse for me.  I want a no muss, no fuss horse.  I don't need a super star in a specific discipline, I want an all rounder in EVERY discipline.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Western auction score!

I decided to go to a local bimonthly horse and tack auction.  They sell new and used items, hay, trailers, junk, and horses.  Everything was of varying quality, although I think the 8 million used halters really could have been gone through A BIT FASTER!

I scored a full set of DMS brand (imported from Germany) jumping boots, known mostly as "Hampas"  Popular in the 80s they apparently wear like iron as these are in great shape.  6 bucks!  I have no idea if they'll fit anything I ride or even if I'll use them, but they're mine mine mine!

Have you gotten a great deal on something in an unexpected place?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I'd like to tell a little story about bravery, or at least pretending to be brave.

When I was in elementary school I was fearless (isn't any young person?), and a tomboy (surprise!).  At that young age nothing bad has happened to you and you view everything as an adventure that is inevitably bound to be positive.  At my school we had a large piece of playground equipment made out of telephone poles,  It had a bridge two telephone poles wide, steps, a slide, a pole, monkey bars, and one guard rail.  When I was a child it was popular to put one leg over a guardrail (or other similar equipment) cross your arms under your leg and push off with your leg to spin around the pole as fast and as long as you could.

One day in January when I was walking across the bridge someone spun and hit me, sending me flying through the air.  I came off the bridge and landed head first on the ice below.  Typical of 1980s schools I was sent him with nothing more than a note and a huge bump on my head and a woozy feeling in my tummy to parents that told me to shake it off.

Thus developed my fear of heights.  It eventually progressed to the point of being unable to stand on a single step stool without shaking in fear, even elevators bothered me.

For reasons I do not know, will probably never know, I'd had enough of my own fear.  It was crippling me and I wanted to stop being bound by things I could not do because I would not do them.  I was only in middle school at the time.

I decided that I would teach my family dog to cross the very same bridge I'd been sent tumbling off of.   A bridge I hadn't been back on since that January.  At that point in my life I fancied myself a dog trainer, perhaps foreshadowing my days to come as future rider of horses that shouldn't be ridden.  I don't remember why I decided to do what I did, and I don't remember the exact steps, but I do remember at least a few things.

I remember having to work up the courage to even climb the steps, putting on a brave face to teach my dog her new trick.

I remember being on the middle of the bridge a few weeks later, on my hands and knees, all alone in the evening sun except for my dog, tears streaming down my face and arms shaking in fear.  I looked at my dog and she was behind me on the bridge with her head cocked to the side and an inquisitive expression on her face. She wagged her tail slowly and whined a bit.  She was a good obedient dog but she was afraid.

What kind of person would I have been if I'd let her down?  If I had asked her to cross that bridge when I couldn't cross it myself.  I certainly didn't have the right to ask her to do something I myself wouldn't dream to do.  She looked at me for leadership and support.

I crossed the bridge that day.

Weeks later I could SKIP across the bridge, my dog bounding up the steps and leaping across it with me to go down the slide nose first.

That is how I am about bravery.  I'm not a brave person, I have a well founded sense of my own mortality.  I am afraid of things.  Yet I believe that things that we are afraid of must be met head on because we are afraid of them and we should never let fear prevent us from continuing on in our adventure.  I may be afraid of things in my riding.  I am not a brave rider. This jump looks big, that hill looks steep.  But I must suck it up and fake it for my horse who puts her trust in me.  I don't have the right to ask her to jump something or go by something if I'm scared of it.  I take lessons to help me get over my fears, and because I don't believe in fear getting in the way of something that I love to do.  Face your fears and even though you are afraid you are also brave and that is the best kind of bravery there is.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Results are in from Purdue, and although they are waiting for more lab results, it appears that Annie had Hemangiosarcoma.

It's a rapidly growing, highly invasive variety of cancer, almost exclusive to dogs, rarely in cats, and almost never in horses.  The tumor often appears on the spleen, right sided heart base, or liver.  It causes right sided heart failure.  It is most often diagnosed post mortem as it doesn't start causing problems until late in its development and those problems are catastrophic.  Aggressive and early treatment can extend life by a few  months, but it is a fast moving and %100 fatal cancer.

The above video and the video below are Annie EXACTLY one month before her death.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Yesterday I went on my first ACTHA ride.  I had a ton of fun.  The weather proved to be a "bit" of a challenge.  The horses were fresh, hot, and spooky and the trails in the woods were wet and leaf covered.

ACTHA, or the American Competitive Trail Horse Association, is a casual trail ride competition over 6 - 8 miles with judged obstacles along the way.  Each obstacle has its own judge and the obstacle is timed but the entire ride is not.  When you come to the obstacle and judge you perform the obstacle one at a time.  You can compete in ACTHA in one of several divisions

What are the divisions?
Our highest challenge of obstacles for the seasoned horse and rider team (Example:  Gate- side pass to gate, open & close gate).  Reap all of the membership benefits including event awards, retail discounts, and points towards the Medals program and the Yearend awards.  
Same great fun with less challenging obstacles for the horse and rider team (Example:  Gate- walk to gate, open, walk through gate).  Reap all of the membership benefits including event awards, retail discounts, and points towards the Medals program and the Yearend awards.  Not available once your horse has placed in the Open Division. 
Looking to try out the sport at a reduced cost?  Same FUN, less benefits! Enjoy retail discounts, no event awards, 1 participation point but no placement points towards the medals program or the yearend awards.  Challenge of the obstacles is the same as the Pleasure division.  Not available once your horse has placed in the Open/Pleasure Division.
Scout (non-member) 
Looking to try out the sport at a reduced cost and not have to be a member? Same FUN, no benefits!  Challenge of the obstacles is the same as the Pleasure division.  Not available once your horse has placed in the Open/Pleasure Division.
Open to riders 7-15 years of age.  Challenge of the obstacles is the same as the Pleasure division.   Reap all of the membership benefits including event awards, retail discounts, and points towards the Medals program and the Year-end awards.  Don’t forget! Helmet required.
Looking to just get out and ride the countryside?  Same FUN trail, no obstacles!  Reap the membership benefits including the retail discounts and 1 participation point while enjoying the trail!
Buddy (non-member) 
Looking to just get out and ride the countryside and not have to be a member? Same FUN trail, no obstacles, no benefits!

There are several different Obstacles that can be used, in your ride meeting you get a list of the obstacles.  

At this ride we had the

Dismount:  Pretty easy to do, but you had to do it one handed!  Not as easy as you think!

Downhill:  You and your horse's way of going down a steep hill are judged.  Easy right?  Maybe not if your horse is herd bound and realizes that her bestest friend is now at the top of the hill!  The trails were very wet so we slid down this hill.  

Spanish Pole:  Harder than you think as it requires lifting and dragging the scary pole and pivoting your horse around to put the pole back.  I ended up dropping this pole for safety reasons and took a "zero" here.  

Wildlife Box:  The "wounded wildlife" was a giant inflatable spider that moved and hissed while you walked a circle around it.  I did a good job at this one, it was close to my horse's best friend and she was so focused on the spider that we made a pretty circle around it.

Wagon Wheel:  Not spooky, but difficult to get your horse to not step on the spokes when she's used to stepping on all sorts of things on the trail.  

Slicker:  Ride up to a slicker blowing in the wind, touch your horse front and behind, declare the weather, and put slicker back on hook.  

Prizes!  We got both ribbons and a wrapped mystery prize.  Plus I got best obstacle for the wounded animal!  

I think that practicing some of the obstacles ahead of time would really benefit you as a competitive member, it's one of thing to have a good trail horse, it's another to ask them to do unusual things by themselves.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rule proposal email response

I got a response to the email I sent regarding the rule change proposal, here it is.

Dear Sabrina,

I am sorry for the delay in providing you with a response while I obtained the correct contact information.   The USEA Board of Governors is the proponent of this rule change and I have been advised that it would be most effective were you to send your comments to the following e-mail address and to assure you they will be considered: by the USEA.

This said, I am also happy to share your concerns with the Eventing Technical Committee.

I would like to add that that all proposed rule changes for the 2016 Competition year will not be reviewed for final approval until the USEF Annual Meeting in January of 2015.  There is a great deal of time for comments to be received and all comments will be reviewed.  The USEA Annual Meeting will provide many opportunities for open discussion of this rule and it is absolutely possible to revise PRCs right up until and during the USEF Annual meeting.

Best wishes,

Shealagh Costello

Monday, October 13, 2014

USEF proposed rule changes for lower levels

I wanted to share some news that could potentially affect quite a few lower level eventers.

There are two proposed rule changes that would change both the speed and difficulty at BN - Training, you can read about the rule proposals here.

Reasoning behind these changes is stated as

 The changes for the cross-country speeds is to better relate the speed required to the jumping effort required. It has been observed that horses moving
forward at a reasonable pace for these levels have either had to slow down and circle or have gained speed faults.The change of speed at which speed faults are calculated is to have one meaningful speed that competitors can learn and remember.The change of heights of two obstacles in the jumping test is to start to relate the standard of US jumping to the World standard at these levels.Note: The heights for spreads will proportionally increase by 5 cm (2") as the spreads are related to the heights.
To more clearly define the progression of difficulty in the cross-country and jumping tests as a horse/rider moves up through the levels. In particular, the changes are recommended in order to prepare horses and riders to make the step from Training to Preliminary.

Evention Nation also has a blog post up about this subject.

Anyone who feels like this would have a negative impact on our sport should feel free to write Sheila Costello of the USEF to voice your opinion.

I did, and my email is as follows...

Hello, it has recently come to my attention that there is a proposed rule change which will affect the speed and difficult of Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training.  

The proposed changes can be found here:  

The reasons for the proposed changes can be summarized in a few sentences.  
It has been observed that horses moving
forward at a reasonable pace for these levels have either had to slow down and circle or have gained speed faults.

The change of heights of two obstacles in the jumping test is to start to relate the standard of US jumping to the World standard at these levels.

As a lower level rider I strongly disagree with these proposed changes and the reasoning behind them.  There is no valid reason to make lower level eventing comparable at the world standard.  Lower level riders do not travel with their horses to other countries to compete, and international riders very rarely if ever import BN level horses to compete in Europe.  Many upper level riders whom have their eyes set on international competition start their horses at Training level and above and do not use a horse's capabilities at BN as a barometer for international eventing.  

Quite simply lower level eventing exists for lower level riders who will remain lower level riders or need a place to start, and lower level eventing is the backbone of eventing.  Without levels to attract beginning eventers, or eventers who have no interest at increased speed or difficulty there would be no eventing.  By increasing speed faults and difficulty at these levels you reduce the number of people who will enter into the sport and THAT is much more likely to affect the future of international eventing.  

In addition, raising the speed limit to accommodate riders who are unable to slow down sounds backwards and potentially dangerous.  Lower level riders should be learning how to regulate their speed on course, making sure it is neither too fast nor too slow.  Riders on bigger stridedhorses have the option of rating their canters, trotting, or circling, all important skills to learn.  Just because their horses CAN go fast doesn't mean they SHOULD go fast.  Raising the speed faults also makes it more difficult to give a dangerous riding penalty, a rule which is in place to not only make sure people are jumping safely but that everything in between goes safely as well.  

In summary, I believe that this proposed rule change is exactly what the sport does not need and I must voice my opinion against it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my opinions,

Sabrina Ashworth

Friday, October 10, 2014


Today we made the long trip up to Purdue with Annie on the trailer and the much longer trip home without her.

A good horse gone much too soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Good Horses (and bad stolen poetry)

Good horses go not go gentle into that good night,
old mares should leap and neigh at close of day;
neigh, neigh against the dying of the light.

Though wise mares at their end know dark is right,
because their hooves had jumped no coffin they
do not go gentle into that good night.

Good mares, the last fence past, crying how bright
their frail deeds might have jumped in green grass,
neigh, neigh against the dying of the light.

Wild mares who caught and sang the sun in flight,
and learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave mares, near death, who see with blinding sight
blind eyes could blaze like meteors and neigh,
rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my mare, there on the sad height,
curse, bless me now with your fierce ears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Annie progress

I wanted to let everyone know that I'm adding daily and sometimes twice daily photos of Annie's progress or lack of to the previous blog post.  That way I can clearly see if it gets worse or better and we have a log of sequential photos.  So if you want to monitor Annie keep checking back on the last post.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Annie the incredible swelling horse

On 9-12 Annie came in from the pasture with a strange swelling on the side of her right muzzle and a little swelling on the side of her right neck.  The swelling slowly started to get worse and spread downward over the next wee following the right side down into the right leg.  On Monday the vet visited.  By the following Saturday she was even more swollen and puffy.  She has been hit with dex, lasix, SMZ's, and bute.  The guess is it's either an allergy to something (we got new hay on 9-9) or a tumor on her lymph nodes.  Right now we are in a wait and see pattern.  She's currently confined to the arena and is on special hay from outside the barn.  Jingles for a good horse.

Wednesday 9 - 10 New hay arrives

Friday 9 - 12 swelling noticed on right side of muzzle and right side of neck/jaw

Monday 9 - 15 Swelling runs down into right leg vet visits, gives horse bute and SMZs runs bloodwork

Tuesday 9 - 16 bloodwork normal, vet gives horse dex and lasix

More dex and lasix in between here somewhere

Annie July 20 reference photo

Saturday 9 - 20 first PM feed of different Hay took horse off pasture


Tuesday vet gives Dex and Lasix, last day of SMZs

Wednesday 9-24 no dex or lasix




9-28 AM

9-28 PM

9-29 AM

9-29 PM

9-30 PM

10-2 PM

Friday 10 - 3

Sunday 10-5

Monday 10-7

Tuesday 10 - 8

Moving forward.

Hello faithful listeners, it's been a year since I've blogged so anyone reading now must actually be faithful, or have nothing bet...