Moving Up, what does it take anyway.

Off to Clayton Frederick's the night before we left.  To school some xc.

Off to Clayton Frederick’s the night before we left. To school some xc.

As misleading as it may seem, this isn’t a blog on how to decide to move up a level.  Nor is it a blog on what you should or shouldn’t know.  My best advice, be bored silly at the level you are at, and then be bored a little longer, and then, ask your horse if he is bored….then your trainer.  Then yourself.  But enough about that.

Codi Won.

Codi Won.

No, this is what it takes for us to move up a level.  For this weekend, for the first time in 3 years, Melissa rode intermediate.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I rode intermediate too.  By Sunday I had ridden 3 dressage tests, about 2o stadium rounds, and minimally 200 xc jumps.  You have seen us, the Mom’s who kick, pull, half-halt, on the sidelines.  Praying our kid gets around, and giving those signals.  There is a viral video of a man on the side of the ring as his kid rides a jumper round.  Funny thing is, we actually know John, and he is the son of the famed Henry.  But again, this is about our move up.

So many requirements today to move up.

So many requirements today to move up.

Anyone who shows can tell you that it is NEVER easy to get to a show.  But compared to a lot of our shows, this one was MAJOR easy.  If you discount the emergency coggins first thing Thursday or leaving 2 hours late. But no serious injuries, no serious car-malfunctions, no working students finking out at the last moment, no employee’s leaving at the 11th hour,  NOTHING…which in and of itself, is basically a MIRACLE.

We left in sun, hot and balmy, and headed north.  Missy in her truck.  Pulling the three horses.  I was in my car, about 4 hours behind, due to Codi having her awards ceremony at school, Jeremy riding with me.

Having someone we can trust at home...priceless.

Having someone we can trust at home…priceless.

We left behind Jenn, who started working for us a few weeks earlier, with instructions out the, you know where.  Phone numbers.  She is an amazing find, and we are SOOO excited to FINALLY have someone we can count on.  But it’s boring, being the one left behind, and most of the time a thankless job.  So I want to take a moment and say, without you, it wouldn’t have happened I could go.  So thank you and thank you and thank you.

Kevin 12 hours behind, because, well, he is a vet, and well, they have emergencies.

Bill, her Dad, the next day, from Illinois.  Melanie, her groom, anxiously awaiting a phone call she had arrived.  So, quiz, did you count how many cars headed to Chatt Hills for one rider showing a horse at Intermediate?  How many people need to be there anyway?

So I arrived in time to be somewhat useful and organize her tack stall.  YAY. For those who don’t know, my favorite thing in the world is organizing.  Events, tack rooms,

Groom Extraordinaire.

Groom Extraordinaire.

barns….laundry rooms.  So I felt useful, and helped to get her all set up for the three horses.  Not only was she going to do Open Intermediate, but had two horses doing training.  Plus she was signed up for bareback puissance.  Jumping as high as you can, while bareback.  And a mechanical bull-riding competition.  So it promised to be a fun-filled weekend.

First day of competition was dressage.  Melissa was a nervous wreck, I was a nervous wreck, the horse was a nervous wreck.  Poor Melanie and Kevin and Codi paid the higher price.  Anyone who is a backup for a rider,  be it mom, groom, kid, owner, or someone who just follows on Facebook.  Dealing with the nerves of the rider, the horse, and in this case, the MOM…tough.  And just know, we REALLY appreciate it!

We muddled thru the dressage.  Muddle would be a good term.  It wasn’t the worst and it wasn’t the best.  Lots of places we could have gained a few points.  Nice to know.  It will get better.

He always looks so good going OVER....

He always looks so good going OVER….

Stadium wasn’t much better.  It was a tricky course, and we have homework.

The next day, the fun begins.  We started off on XC.  Paddy was AMAZING on xc.  AMAZING.  He ran around that intermediate course like it was nothing.  Like he had done it all his life.  Meanwhile, the Mom, the Dad, the Brother, the Daughter, the Boyfriend, the Groom, the Coach, all stood with held breaths, and sweaty palms, and she proved the rider she is.  She took him around and was spot on, at all the questions.  I couldn’t have been prouder hearing the announcer say over and over that they were making it look easy.

Click below to watch video, just stare at the yellow log in distance.  Unfortunate how far that was, it was by far, the hardest jump he has ever done.

After is always the biggest high, and such jubilation.  From the support group, it is that they are safe.  From the rider, the rush of jumping jumps nearly 4′ tall, solid, and beating it.

What you can't see, is down, about 3 strides, is another log, set at an angle to this one, and then a STEEP hill to this one, on an angle.  I was worried walking....he made it easy.

What you can’t see, is down, about 3 strides, is another log, set at an angle to this one, and then a STEEP hill to this one, on an angle. I was worried walking….he made it easy.

There was more to the day.  Dressage to ride on the training horses.

IMG_2842

Ready to move up. Notice a lack of shirt….?

IMG_2846

Clearing 4’11”.

THAN….bareback puissance.  Oh was that fun fun fun.  There is nothing like watching 9 riders competing over a jump that quickly was over 4′, and just kept going.  Paddy was one of the last out.  His scope is incredible, especially given, he just ran intermediate 4 hours earlier.  How incredible is that.

So it was, a great show.  What does it take to move up?  Ask the Mom who drove 6 hours, or the Dad who drove 9, Or the Vet who took off for the weekend and drove all night, or the brother who sweated out 3 days in the heat.  Or the daughter who is just 10, and is always out on the course yelling “go mom”.  Or the groom who walks and walks and walks the horses, and keeps the rider organized.  Ask the Owner, whose horse is out on xc, and they LOVE them.  Ask the trainer, who had to sit in a dressage booth and judge, or couldn’t help.  Ask the coach who volunteered their time to warm her up for XC.

As you went in to jump, you were allowed to do a warm up jump.  This was his

As you went in to jump, you were allowed to do a warm up jump. This was his “warmup”.So, what does it take?  A team, a wonderful, loving, and giving team.  Now, to move on up….get the stadium to stay in the cups, the points to fall off for dressage, or pile up, whichever way you wanna look at it, and onward to some more xc questions

So, what does it take?  A team, a wonderful, loving, and giving team.  Now, to move on up….get the stadium to stay in the cups, the points to fall off for dressage, or pile up, whichever way you wanna look at it, and onward to some more xc questions

wonderful, loving, and giving team.  Now, to move on up….get the stadium to stay in the cups, the points to fall off for dressage, or pile up, whichever way you wanna look at it, and onward to some more xc questions

And may team MMC stay strong, and move on.

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Three Years

A true Prince.

A true Prince.

The trailer is sitting packed, and all that is left to do, is add water to the buckets, grab the horses, and head down the road.  Well, technically, up the road to Chattahoochee Hills just outside of Atlanta.  This event is in Area 3, and a facility we have made numerous trips to. Mostly, for AEC’s.

This weekend, however, is a bit more special.  Melissa’s OTTB, MMC Paddy Patterson, will be doing his first Intermediate.  It has been almost exactly 3 years since we attended another first there.  The first CIC**.  That one was on Flagmount’s Sterling Prince.  That was also Melissa’s first FEI event.  Then, you didn’t have to run a CIC* or a CCI*.  Now you do.

A lot can happen in 3 years.  June 9th will be 3 years my father passed away.  Yes, he died right after Melissa finished the CCI**, in Colorado, immediately following the CIC** at Chatt.  We said good-bye to him, still awake, and alert, before leaving for Atlanta, and then on to Colorado.  I never got to talk to him again.

My Dad....I really miss him.  It's hard to believe it's been 3 years.

My Dad….I really miss him. It’s hard to believe it’s been 3 years.

I miss him, every day.  Not many months later, we would sell the big gray Prince.  He would have a new rider/new owner in Sara Kozumplik.  As life would have it, a few months after that, he would die in a freak pasture accident.  This weekend, I will miss him, for he was about as safe a horse as you could find for this sport, with an uncanny jump, a great eye, and the heart of a lion.  This weekend, in his place, will be Paddy.  An amazing horse, one with a great eye, the heart of a lion,  and an uncanny jump.

It has taken 3 years to get back to this spot….3 years, 3 deaths, (Prince, Dad, and my Sister), and 3 moves. This is also the 3rd horse we have tried to move up.  Lot of 3’s.

 An amazing, and scopey jumper, I will still be holding my breath, for the 6 or so minutes she is out on xc.

An amazing, and scopey jumper, I will still be holding my breath, for the 6 or so minutes she is out on xc.

I have great faith in this amazing horse, that we have owned, you guessed it, 3 years.  I hope that this is the beginning of 3 great years, and in the next 3 years, we will watch him canter center line.

Come say hi to us at Chatt, if you are in the area, look for the old woman, with the gray hair, who has aged significantly in 3 years.  She will be the one chattering away, until Melissa is safely across the finish line.

My Family, when all were alive.  This weekend is dedicated to all the angels up in heaven, may all ride with Melissa!

My Family, when all were alive. This weekend is dedicated to all the angels up in heaven, may all ride with Melissa!

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Professional…..

Seems all those end of year ribbons makes her a pro.

Seems all those end of year ribbons makes her a pro.

Seems all it takes these days to be a “professional” is a horse out in the back yard.  USEF defines anyone who has ever accepted renumeration for lessons, or I dunno, just about anything, as a professional.  Unless you are under 18, then you can give all the lessons you like, charge what you will, and you are still an amateur.  HMMM, I know some of those kids, and let me tell ya, they give some of the pro’s here a big run for their money.

Sponsorships...surely that ought to scream pro....

Sponsorships…surely that ought to scream pro….

It’s not about dollars and sense.  HAHA, you like that play on words?  There is no defining line about what makes you a pro in dollars.  What is scarier, is there is no defining line of how much sense you have to have.

Saying goodbye.  It makes the job the hardest.  IT is what makes living the dream, more like living a nightmare.

Saying goodbye. It makes the job the hardest. IT is what makes living the dream, more like living a nightmare.

Many would consider my daughter and I both to be pro’s.  Me, personally, well, we are still awaiting to arrive.  I can pick horses….usually have a pretty good eye.  My daughter can teach them to jump.  Dressage is still a major work in progress, but by golly, she is darn good on xc.

Not bad for my second breeding.

Not bad for my second breeding.

It’s scary, the people that call themselves “pro’s”.  The kids who just open shop, the owner who shows pics of sale horses being ridden with no helmet.  Stallion owners, with riders in shorts, no helmet, no halter, in a field, sitting there.

What makes a pro?  When will we arrive.  Probably first step for me, not writing my blog.  I think a Pro plays the politics game way better than I do.  I see a need for change, and it’s something I can champion….I am ON IT.

When you are riding and winning on a horse, and the owner yanks a horse, it hurts.

When you are riding and winning on a horse, and the owner yanks a horse, it hurts.

Each horse leaves with a piece of my heart.  Every client horse that leaves, leaves with a piece of our heart.  Every injury, scratch, tug at a halter, tugs at my heart.  I think, being a Pro, you have to get more immune to that…otherwise your heart breaks.

We are still at the stage of, living hay load to hay load.  a few bags one day of grain, and a few bags the next day.  Surely that isn’t Pro like.

We spring out of bed early each day, in anticipation of how a horse does, only to be met with a swollen ankle, hives, a worker who didn’t bother to show…Pro’s, surely that doesn’t happen to them.

We worry about lawsuits, and negligence, and people keeping their word.  We worry about someone getting kicked, a horse getting sick….The pro’s have vets for all that and attorneys on speed dial.  Right…

is this not a beautiful site?

is this not a beautiful site?

We aren’t living any dream, where a pile of ribbons on the living room floor average over 500.00  a piece easy.  There’s a dream….  Oh, did I mention, most on our money.  Not some major owner.

SHOW SHOW SHOW it's off to work we must go.

SHOW SHOW SHOW it’s off to work we must go.

HAHAHA, did I get  you.  Think the Pro’s don’t have all this and more.  Yes. They dont’ always make the bills.  They are the ones who when the workers they pay more than they make don’t show up, that have to fit the chores and their schedule into one day.

What makes a pro?  It all depends on what your needs are.  While I would be wary of the person giving lessons, or letting someone try a horse without a helmet, or stay away from the kid who just opened up shop on Mom’s and Dad’s dime….the rest are a lot of what being a real pro is.

Living a dream?  For about 5:40 minutes, every other saturday, on one horse or another, as you fly xc.  At 6:35 a.m., when you watch the sun rise on a field full of two-year olds who are lying in the sand asleep.  When you get the dressage test back with a 9 for rider.  That happened this last big show….kinda cool.  When a baby is born, and is healthy, out of a shiny, gorgeous mare…..

When your newborn is this cute, and this healthy?  Does it make one a pro at breeding.

When your newborn is this cute, and this healthy? Does it make one a pro at breeding.

A pregnant mare,no she isn't wet, she is well cared for though.

A pregnant mare,no she isn’t wet, she is well cared for though.

There are a lot of Pro’s out there…with no real definition, other than the fact they make money.   Make sure the one you use, really is a pro.  There are good, and there are bad, there are honest, and there are some not so honest.  Until that day I quit writing my blog, hats off to those of you I consider pro’s….you work the longest, hardest, most difficult hours there can be…..

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“Where Do We Start?”

Living in Ocala has some advantages, that you might not think about.  You can keep pretty atop the buzz about eventing.  When nor-easter’s hit, and it’s 39 out to go feed, you keep saying in the jackets not mean for that kind of weather, it’s a balmy 39.  It’s not that cold, really.  FYI, someone could make a killing in Ocala, selling actual winter coats.

Grass past the knee's....

Grass past the knee’s….

What has this got to do with “Where Do We Start”?

Anyone who can read, has read, ad nauseum, about why the U.S. isn’t as competitive as it should be.  Denny Emerson touches on lots of issues.  Equitation, people not wanting to take the time….etc.  IF you read, you NEED to read his blogs.

Yesterday my Grandbaby completed her first 3-phase, since a fall at Florida Horse Park last summer.  If you count one where you actually had jumps you had to jump, and not 4×4’s on the ground.  Thankfully, Rocking Horse, and probably much to their surprise, put on one that was literally that.  And had 13 entries.  Codi, at that one, wouldn’t let her horse much out of a walk on xc, and barely got around the stadium, which was something you could walk over as well.

The ill fated show.  After this test, she was third.

The ill fated show. After this test, she was third.

The sad part, in dressage, after she was in 3rd.  That’s how bad her fall had her worried. And Georgie, bless his heart, was a jumper pony first and foremost, and the moment Codi learned to canter, it was bound to happen, he would go quick, and that would scare her. But her fall started it all.  And to understand, you must hear about her fall.  FHP schooling shows are probably the same as a small event, recognized, or maybe even medium sized event. Codi was going along fine, till someone popped off their horse, and said horse ran after Codi.  Which she stopped, waited for the horse to come up to her, grabbed the reins, and held the horse, still mounted on Georgie, for someone to come get.  She was 8 at the time.  After the horse was taken away, and everything all settled, she was allowed to start again…the issue, the first jump, unlike the inviting jumps to this point, was the biggest on course, and I DO NOT to this day think it was the 21 inches advertised….it was a log pile, three logs piled on each other.  Codi presented, he refused, she represented, and he slid to a stop.  She however, ended up on top of the log pile.  Face first. her face was a mess, thank the Lord for the eventing vest, or I am sure ribs would probably have broken.

Getting her back on, with Jen Holling, Charlie Hicks, Myself Begging, wasn’t going to happen.  The sad part was, and many can vouch, Codi has uber potential.  The first time she had an official lesson was with Jen Holling.  The ten minute lesson, at 5, turned into a true lesson.  Jen’s parting words, Young Rider.

I don’t care if she makes a Young Rider.  Really.  I just want her to be unafraid.  Yesterday, she gained a bit of confidence back, thanks to good friends, who gave her an older mustang mare, who will do just about anything.  Is tough enough she isn’t going to get bored in the first ride, and who is super sweet.

But it did get me to thinking.  For 4 years, I have searched for a pony/horse I could afford for my daughter, that was safer than Georgie.  I looked high and low.  ALMOST all the horses/ponies I looked at, weren’t even child safe, much less, packers.  And I went up to 10k looking.

Hard to have her out on a cross-country course...

Hard to have her out on a cross-country course…

There were a ton of greenies.  But a good pony/small horse.  They don’t sell, they change hands, in the same barns, year after year.  Till eventually, they pay their dues, and someone puts them in a field for retirement.  Here is the rub, you know where those ponies are?  NOT in the world of Eventing…..in the world of Hunters/jumpers.

Where the American children are going in nice little circles, in nice safe arenas, on nice/safe ponies, that cost more then most people make in a year, some in a lifetime.  With braids and bows, these children ride around, and pose on the back of a horse, get a ribbon, and go on to the next class at the same show.  For an entire weekend.

Those gutsy kids, the one’s who might actually ride eventing…

Where do they start?  The small event we went to yesterday, allowed us to help her, allowed us to yell when she got a bit lost in eventing.  They even allowed Missy to go on XC with her, on a different horse and let her know where to go, and coach over it.  THAT kind of event, according to USEA shouldn’t even exist.  There is no coach, there is no help.  The kid enters the ring, and is alone, entirely.  As a Grandmother, let me tell you, the hunter ring looks pretty appealing about now.  Because unlike Europe, and Ireland, and all those countries that are kicking our collective butts.  WE don’t have opportunities here for our kids to become eventers.  We don’t make it an affordable hobby at any level.  We don’t offer somewhere kids can go weekly and do this and afford to do this, we don’t have roads that go on for miles, that kids can get together and ride together and play on.  What we have is a society that wants urbanization, wants farm on top of farm, and wants to ask why we can’t do well.

There is talk about the breeding of event horses in the U.S.  I often wonder what it would be like, to have someone come up and say, Melissa,Dee, I want to take Melissa to Ireland and get a proper event horse, something going already, that has done hunts, gone over treacher grounds, and has the basic dressage training.   Or Germany.  Ireland would be a

He is for sale, for a pretty penny.  Most think I am nuts...but he has the movement, brain, and jump.  Can he make the times, and have the gallop, time will tell.

He is for sale, for a pretty penny. Most think I am nuts…but he has the movement, brain, and jump. Can he make the times, and have the gallop, time will tell.

go, Germany, I wouldn’t.  They aren’t going to let go of the nice ones, the really nice ones anyway.  Why bother going to buy the stuff they don’t want.  Thier castaways.  If you are looking for a Rolex horse, you won’t come to me, because, that’s what I am looking for too. IF you are looking for a training horse, prelim horse…sure, I have lots that are amateur friendly, athletic, nice horses….the ones I think might go to Rolex as priced accordingly. And most think I am nuts.

Lets talk about the breeding of U.S. Event horses.  I AM very fortunate, I have a daughter who already has, and can, bring horses up.  If I breed, there is a rider who isn’t going to cost me the arm, leg, and my dinner to bring it up for me.  That is an unique situation. One we are lucky to have…even if we do fight like cats and dogs at times.  Here is the problem though.  Other’s don’t.  Melissa is currently riding a horse named Buster.

THAT was standing in a field 6 months ago.

THAT was standing in a field 6 months ago.

Buster was sent by the breeder here, to see what he can do.  Buster can probably do Rolex.  She did a good job breeding him, sold him on to an Amateur,who for reasons not to be discussed in this article, never bothered to train him.  So at 9, he has begun a career.  HE is EAGER to go… wants to jump, loves xc.  His owner isn’t a millionaire, and so the search has begun to find some people to help syndicate him.  It’s not an easy task to be a breeder.  Even when one does have the potential.  Because most of the breeders I KNOW, do it for the love of this sport.  But if they have to spend, literally, thousands and thousands of dollars for a pro to ride them, and train them?  What’s in it for them?  Because face it, most won’t go pay 40k for something who has done almost nothing in the US.

Now two-Taylor as a baby.  She starts her round pen work this summer.  Just some light training.  Saddle, bridle, learning to lunge, and then back out till next summer, where someone will actually sit on her as a 3 year old.

Now two-Taylor as a baby. She starts her round pen work this summer. Just some light training. Saddle, bridle, learning to lunge, and then back out till next summer, where someone will actually sit on her as a 3 year old.

Then there is the whole finding the pro.  One who will take on babies and trains them. Those are rare too.  At least that aren’t beating them in the head with a fist when they refuse a jump.  Think it doesn’t happen, I have one of the most gorgeous horse we have ever been allowed to train.  His issues were being beat one too many times, by “trainers”.   This owner isn’t rich either, but wants what is best for her horse….And he isn’t for sale.

Where DO We Start?

American eventing needs more events like the one yesterday, just small events.  We need small events that aren’t expensive.  WE need to spend money that is out there, to develop small venues, where for 50.00 for the day you can go do a jumper course, and do some xc, get a judge in.  We talk about volunteerism.  That show yesterday, most were volunteers.   I don’t know for sure about the Judges, but I know the rest were entirely volunteers.  But get judges who don’t mind volunteering for a morning, wanna be judges, who you know that know their crap.  It’s not about the SCORES, it isn’t about the WINNING, it needs to be about the educational opportunity, the opportunity for a coach/and in Codi’s case yesterday, the jump judge saying, the next one is the black box….

It needs to be about breeding and bringing up horses in this country that CAN go and win. It needs to be about developing horsemanship.  We are so behind the 8 ball, in so many ways.  Breeding, where the kids are going who could make future riders, supporting the young pro’s who CAN and do bring up babies.

Just some thoughts…

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25

My guess, if you are reading this,  you probably have a good idea what it is about.  IF you don’t, enjoy the read, and become more enlightened.

Yes, yes that is my horse, and yes, that is an Olympian riding him, and yes, he looks amazing.  And we are blessed.

Yes, yes that is my horse, and yes, that is an Olympian riding him, and yes, he looks amazing. And we are blessed.

Several times a year our governing body in most things horse, the USEF (United States Equestrian Federation),  puts out lists of people who will receive additional funding, help going overseas to compete, instruction from instructors (free), help at shows, (free), etc.  This is a great thing.  It is to help find potential athletes, and help us get back to standing on the podium, i.e. earn a medal. There are a few lists.  They recently came up with a way of doing the UPPER LEVEL riders in such a way as who is competitive where, and of course, they get help,  as it should be. Then they have an under 18 list (Eventing 18)… and a 25 and under list.  These are called Developing Rider lists.  As the name implies, it is to help develop riders for the role, someday, of becoming future Olympians.

Hmm, she is under 18....course.... we are still doing the 2' jumps...

Hmm, she is under 18….course…. we are still doing the 2′ jumps…

My husband and I get into some major arguments… He is incredibly brilliant, and I have incredible common sense.  OFTEN, he thinks how to get a project done, while I am busy doing it.  Usually, if I wanted a mansion for my chickens, and can wait a year or three, that’s what I will have, after he tells me how to do it, exactly.  OR, I can have a mansion, using common sense, a hammer, few nails, and voila.  Obviously an over-simplification of a tough process… Speaking of course of the USEF and the search to get back to the podium… maybe about the chicken coop as well… that is yet to be determined.

Okay, it's not a chicken coop, but my daughter and I did it, and we both are way smarter with common sense.

Okay, it’s not a chicken coop, but my daughter and I did it, and we both are way smarter with common sense.

But the above, intellectually, makes a lot of sense.  Except… for a few missing factors.

Although this fence is an advanced fence, and the rider isn't an advanced rider, I didn't have a picture of an advanced rider that is on the list on my computer, so pick apart this horse and rider.  Actually, please don't.

Although this fence is an advanced fence, and the rider isn’t an advanced rider, I didn’t have a picture of an advanced rider that is on the list on my computer, so pick apart this horse and rider. Actually, please don’t.

The international lists are made up of those who have shown to have the ability to go out and do well at the highest levels of the sport.  At least most of them.  Or well, someone has a glass ball and see’s that.  ANYWAY, that is structured, I hope, properly.

Hmmm...that Eventing 18 list is looking better all the time.

Hmmm…that Eventing 18 list is looking better all the time.

But lets look at the Eventing 18 program.  I am not sure what need there is for this.  I was sort of under the impression that Pony Club, and the Young Rider’s program took care of this… Resources are being used for a select group of kids who are in high-school, whose parents are more than likely footing the bill for them to show, who later, more than likely, go to college, get married, have kids, and ride maybe. So from a common sense perspective….WHY bother? But I can also see, that maybe those are the families with finances, and as such, can help support the USEF because, lets face it, without finances, NO ONE is going to get overseas, much less on a podium. Then we have the Developing Riders list.  NOW, someone said, that the USEF isn’t developing riders, but looking for future Olympians.  Do you know where most 25 year and under kids are these days?  In College!  Some might be still doing the whole Young Rider program.  Some are still doing the whole Pony club program.  FEW are working 18 hour days running a farm, with the hope of getting on the podium. So we have three groups.  18 and under, 25 and under, and those who are already up there. NOW from a business/intellectual perspective, perhaps this makes sense.  I don’t know.  I don’t get to go to those meetings… BUT from my common sense perspective… I have two questions that just keep circling around in my head. First, when the 25 year old graduates out of the program, and still not really ready to go to the Olympics, because, remember, most of the Olympic riders from almost all countries are in the mid to late 40’s,  Uh, what happens then?

Guess What, I just graduated!!!

Guess What, I just graduated!!!

And a bigger question, where is the support for the rider who is 26, 32, 37, who COULD make it, is working hard TO make it, WHO puts in LONG LONG LONG LONG hours and is paying for it themselves, not Mom or Dad, or…. and if had some DIRECTION, might make it. Before this program, the developing riders list was comprised of ANYONE who the selectors thought, with some direction, would make a team.  Two examples would be Sharon White, and Lynn Symansky.  Neither are under 25. They are both 26.  Sorry girls, youngest I can make you…. We are, in my most common sense voice, with absolutely NO MALICE intended, leaving out the group who actually are COMMITTED, TRYING, WORKING their way there.  The young professional. Now, yes I know my daughter fits in that group, and we are SOOOO blessed because she already works with the Laws and Peter Grey, and while it costs me and her a FORTUNE to do so, she is lucky.  So lets leave her out, she isn’t high enough yet to even really be a part of that list…

Most of them off making their own jumps....

Most of them off making their own jumps….

BUT there are people WHO ARE in the right place, who if someone gave some direction, some clinics, some help, might make the next Olympian. I have heard people say that if you have the grit, determination, you get the idea, and skill, lets not forget skill, you will find your way there.  Daily, I remind myself of that, and trudge out with rods in my back, and help my daughter in any way I can, and offer what advice I can that she listens to.  That one day… we actually might watch her go around Rolex and wouldn’t it just be über sweet if she did it well. I applaud USEF.   I applaud they are trying.  I think that they have a lot of really smart people who are trying really hard to figure out this.  David O’Connor has tried super hard, and is trying to form a TEAM instead of a group of riders.  I just am NOT sure if there is common sense being used as well.  Because that question circles again, we are leaving out the over 25 for WHAT reason?  Is 25 a magic number that I need to know about, maybe I should ask for that number when I send entries in next time? Discussion welcome, as long as you don’t say, well with grit, determination, and skill you will get there anyway, because if that’s the truth, why have anything other than training for the people at the top…..

Post Script.  Last night, LATE last night, I had a conversation, and what I found out was…USEF, NOT USEA, is the one who make these lists, who make these recommendations.  It is NOT USEA that is making these rules…

I wasn’t aware, and as I told the person I was speaking with, I would be the first to apologize, and also to make sure others were aware.  SO as well yell at the USEA, the problem, in fact, lies with the USEF, AND the committee who decided this was a good call. NOW, here is part  of the rub, some of those on that committee, are Eventers.  Some are out there competing members.  I think, personally, that has conflict of interest written all over it, but maybe not….

Regardless.  As I was speaking with this individual, I came to the realization, that there are a lot of people, a lot of people WAY UP THERE in the important Muckity Mucks, who feel exactly the same as I do.

I also came to the conclusion, money talks.  I think the day is gone that if you don’t have a big bank account, big money behind you, you are probably NOT going to make a list.  And I think that we, as eventers, as a group, have about as much say as the mouse has with the cat in the cheese factory.  IE, Just try to get out of it alive.  Perhaps MONEY will eventually land us on the podium.  I mean right. IF you go buy the best 4* horse in the world, surely you will get a medal…provided you can buy that horse from Jung, WFP, you get the idea.

So instead of aiming for a list, for my daughter, I think I will aim for sitting with a big group of friends in the white tent at Rolex, and watch her ride center line.  While even that is a tough thing to do, it’s possible with hard work and dedication.  And to me, that is much more important, much more, then having all the funds in the world, and buying her a horse to get there.  I figured out today, it’s a whole lot more fun to watch her take a horse with fear issues, or hasn’t been trained, and go teach it, it’s okay to go over that thing that scares you, and won’t fall down….Yup, So see you all at Rolex, and if your goal is Olympics, and you aren’t so hugely funded, good luck.  I hope you make it.

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Getting out, What you put in.

Even as young as Codi was during football season.  I couldn't get enough food into her.

Even as young as Codi was during football season. I couldn’t get enough food into her.

Ever had to care for a human athlete?  One who ran track and field, and burned more calories in a day, then most do in a week?  What fuel you put in makes a HUGE difference. From the foods they eat, to the minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes, to amino acids, and joint care.  Did you know that when Melissa was on an athletic scholarship at Texas A&M, for Track, the athletes had their own cafeteria because there was a reason.

The same is true for horses.  And it doesn’t matter if you are a Barrel Racer, Dressage Star, Three-Day eventer, Hunter/Jumper or ride trails recreationally.  You have to put in the right fuel, to get the right results out.

Equine athletes are some of the hardest working animals on the planet.

Equine athletes are some of the hardest working animals on the planet.

Many of us have been told if we feed a good forage, and a well-balanced complete feed, our horses are getting their needs met.  Yet, how many of  you  look outside, just in time to watch your horse, who has very little shine, chewing on your wood fences, or licking the dirt off the ground?  Maybe they aren’t gaining weight at all.  You pour tons of money into more grain, more hay. Multiple supplements, that are breaking the bank.

Let me tell you a little story.  There are 50 states in our country.  And within each state, different climates, soils, and humidity conditions.  When making grains, or making hays…they can only be made with what THOSE conditions are.  When a company researches a feed to make, and the qualitative analysis of what is put in that feed, it’s been based on that soil, on that day.  And they create a formula.  SOME feed companies stick to that formula, and try to use the same products they did when they first came out with the feed.  You ever started a feed, and for about 6 months, your horse blooms, and just looks amazing, then all of a sudden, starts going downhill?  That’s because the formula changed, or the supplier changed.

Grass past the knee's....

Grass past the knee’s….

Do you live in the area that the feed was formulated for?  If you live in Florida, in Ocala, we are much richer in calcium in our soil than many areas of the country.  Some feeds, formulated for this area, won’t work in yours, and visa-versa.  You get the picture.  So while one feed MAY work in one area of the country, in another, it may or may not.  The same goes with hay.  You might buy the best looking alfalfa in the world, but if certain nutrients were missing in the ground, it’s not going to be in that hay.  Not to mention, if it was grown/cured/and baled correctly.

When you see a horse licking dirt, wood, eating dirt, they are looking for something that is missing in their diet.  And we haven’t even began to cover what could add to performance if you fed not just what they “need”, but what they need as an “athlete”.  I guarantee you, a football player doesn’t eat what I do.  Yet, what we both need to eat to stay alive…is basically the same.

MMC Eventing, and My Blog, “Eventing, MMC Style”, have been asked by a company called Wild Gold and, a company called,  MVP EnviroEquine to be the Florida representative for Eventing, Hunters, Jumpers and Dressage.  They have two products for equine use, and carry a similar product for dogs/cat and people.  One product, is a combination of electrolytes, bentonite clay, and amino acids.  It provides ALL the vitamins, natural salt, and trace elements you need.  Zinc, find that in most supplements.  so Important, yet, not easily found.  And the bentonite clay is one of the best things to help prevent and assist in the

Products formulated with the very best nature has to offer.

Products formulated with the very best nature has to offer.

treatment of ulcers on the market.  I started on this product about 3 months ago.  I chose a few random horses to see if the claims they made, were in fact true.  The other product, Wild Gold, is a vegetable based oil, Camelina, or called wild flax, that is EXTREMELY high in Omega 3.  It also has 6 and 9 in it, but what I like, what I find interesting is,  Omega 6, when not fed in equal or lesser parts than 3 will cause inflammation.  IE, joints, stocking up, restricted movement.  I had this problem taking fish oil.  Some supplements use fish oil.  Horses are not omnivores, they are herbivores.  For them to absorb animal material is unlikely, but they will absorb plant material.  Omega 6 is in LOTS of products, Omega 3, not so much, or not enough.  I was wondering why my horses stock up if I leave them in for longer than 6 hours.  Most people think of oil as a great way to make their horse shine….In this instance, you are affecting just about EVERY system your horse has.  The MVP EnviroEquine, affects hair condition, gut health, and mechanical/joint systems. Immune systems, and reproduction.

What did I think.  Let me tell you about Jack.  Jack was send down from Ohio.  He was 3 weeks off the track, and she was telling me she was having a bit of a rough time getting the weight on him she would like.  KNOWING her, I knew that here was a woman who would feed the moon, if she could get hold of it, so I KNEW she had been doing it right.  I put Jack on both products.  In 2 weeks, I sent her pictures, and posted a few on FB.  At 4 weeks, he looked like he belonged in a H/J barn.  Does the product work…

Here is what I feed most of my horses up till I did this little experiment.

Our feed room at cooking time.

Our feed room at cooking time.

Ultium or Seminole 14 Sweet, Beet Pulp, duly wetted, Raw Rice Bran (high in Omega 6 and Fat), salt, gro-strong minerals, salt, electrolytes, Diamatious Earth, Daily Wormer, Farriers Formula to those who need it, succeed to the horses I have a hard time with putting on weight gain, alfalfa, and gastro-tec to the horses prone to ulcers.  It’s true, I feed ALL of that.  AND I feed either a straight Alfalfa OR Alfalfa/orchard.  One would think my horses would be tanks…NOT so.  There would be days I would stand and scratch my head that they weren’t blimps.  Oh, did I mention, the grass this year was past the knees even as I tried to keep it cut and mowed.  Manure cleaned up or spread?

Jack quickly passed the rest of my horses in looks.  He received Seminole 14 Sweet, the beet pulp, and the MVP EnviroEquine and Wild Gold.  I moved on, and with trepidation, started Paddy on it.  Gunny, and a few other horses.  ALL of them started looking the same as Jack.  When we went to do body Clipping, Paddy, the hardest horse I have ever had to have a nice coat, had DAPPLES.  He was moving freer, his feet this last session, harder than ever. Gunny, there were no more clicks when he moved.  My horses don’t stock up in the stalls.

Paddy, my problem child with coat conditioning.  Yet, even he now has dapples...huge dapples.  A better picture is forthcoming.

Paddy, my problem child with coat conditioning. Yet, even he now has dapples…huge dapples. A better picture is forthcoming.

4 weeks into being fed these products.  Doesn't really resemble many OTTB's 8 weeks later.  Notice the fat?

4 weeks into being fed these products. Doesn’t really resemble many OTTB’s 8 weeks later. Notice the fat?

Buster is a fatty, and I have to be super careful WHAT I feed him, so I put him just on the MVP Minerals.  To ensure he gets what he needs.  This is at 4 weeks.

Buster is a fatty, and I have to be super careful WHAT I feed him, so I put him just on the MVP Minerals. To ensure he gets what he needs. This is at 4 weeks.

I have been asked, both as a blog, and Melissa as a rider to be a spokesperson for different supplement companies.  I have turned down all of them.  I haven’t felt that they have lived up to what they claim to do.  I have always been a skeptic.  So it is with great THANKS and believe in these products, we have indeed agreed for them to sponsor Melissa, and the blog, and for myself to be willing to sell the product.

There is a ton of literature, backing all of this up.  Hagyard Medical,  PHD Nutritionist for UC Davis.  Two household names are endorsing these products.

I have a plethora of information on both products.  Media websites, pamphlets, all are expected to be live come January 1.  Join our team, and support your horse thru a combination of modern research, old-fashion common sense, and a company that cares and wants to do it right.  Only available thru a rep…and do you know why?  So that the product you get is fresh, not sitting on a shelf for a year, before you get it.

Contact me with questions, pricing and orders.  You will find our booth at some of the major competitions this year:  FHP, RH, Red Hills, Carolina, WEF, and HITS.

Dee

A winning horse is a lot more than just a breed, traning, and riding....

A winning horse is a lot more than just a breed, traning, and riding….

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Appreciation

You know, really, grow up.  I passed an  old man the other day, living on the street.  His face was wrinkled beyond that of mortal man, his clothes were tattered, dirty.  His  hair hung dirty.  I wonder, what was his story.  Was he a banker when wall-street fell.  Does he have a mental-illness, that keeps him worried to stay in one place.

“There, but for the Grace of God, goes I”.

I dunno who said that…but if EVERYONE would just realize….

I am tired of spoiled, self-indulgent, selfish people.   I am tired of depression weighting the world down.  One of my favorite actors, and had he been just a tad cuter, my favorite, was Robin Williams.  Our country is so wrapped up in itself, we can’t see a person next to us, who needs a hug, a friend, acceptance.

I am obese.  I am the mother of a daughter who is thin as a rail, and a grand-daughter who will follow in those foot-steps.  Myself, I have had surgery, tried every diet known to man, and yet, still, am obese.  The glares when I eat out, the glares even filling up my car….  Sometimes, I just need a hug, sometimes I just need to count.  Yet,I don’t.  Do you know how many offers of backrubs, special meals, treats, just general conversations my daughter get’s daily?  How many accolades, respect, admiration….

“There but for the Grace of God, goes I”.  I try to remind myself daily, and her, and my grandbaby, not all are as lucky as us.

I get on Facebook and hear whiny, spoiled-rotten kids, who whine about the purse that didn’t come in the mail, or that it’s a bit cold to ride, or too hot to ride, or too tired.  I hear about how cleaning the mansion is SUCH a chore.  Or about how the tractor blew a tire.

I read about the kids whose parents left them in hot cars, freezing houses, beat them for days before they finally died.

PEOPLE.  ALL of you, yes, YOU.  Stop, Stop whatever you are doing….take three deep breaths.  And look around.  Find someone to say, I hope you have a good day, or you look nice, or that color becomes you.  Look around at what you HAVE.  Yes, maybe it isn’t always an easy day, or it comes with lots of responsibility, or maybe the better days are gone by, and right now the memories are most of what you have….BUT STOP feeling so sorry for yourself.

And remember, somewhere, someone has it much worse, somewhere a Mother is holding their child praying for a miracle, somewhere someone is going thru childbirth….with no one to hold their hand, and look at the people in your life, and instead of seeing what they don’t give, or can’t give, or haven’t give, see what they have.

Today, go “love thy neighbor’.   Please, for the sake of the children being born to a world that has become about “I”.

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