Any questions let us know- Call (518) 677-5148 or email: Hollie@ridingfarm.com
Oh, the things I could write about from the winter of 2015. Why bother? Did we not experience here at the farm exactly what everyone else experienced? Frankly, I haven’t wanted to blog since our first snow in November. I find blogging about the weather tedious and redundant and yet that’s all that comes to mind to even talk about. Can you imagine what my blog would say day after day: cold, snow, cold, snow, tractor problems, cold, snow, tractor problems, cold snow.
However, my blog does reach many people and there are those who wonder if we have survived. The answer is obvious. Yes, Riding Right Farm is still here. We are even making plans for Spring! I went on-line yesterday and spent gobs of money on fencing materials. Guess I could have blogged about the number of times the horses took down fencing this winter. There’s an impressive number of cob-jobs holding the fencing up at the moment. Thick blankets, deep snow and feisty, bored-to-tears- horses are a lethal combination to our fencing.
We’ve also set our first show of the year. Yes indeed, our annual Mother’s Day Dressage Show is back, and guess what day its on? That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s on Mother’s Day! See, even my sarcasm (for which I have received copious amounts of complaints about) is still (much like the farm) firmly intact. I have even hired a judge. Spit shine your show boots now, since you’re still in your winter Sorel’s and get ready for May 10th. With any luck at all, the snow will be gone, the sun will be shining, the fences will be fixed and my sarcasm will still be spewing forth.
The photo in this blog was taken about a week ago, when the temperatures were in the 70’s. What a difference a week can make. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has felt the bone chilling dampness this week. It’s been several days now of rain with temperatures around 45 degrees. You can bet we’ve been hauling out the rain sheets. Getting 40 or so horses dressed for the elements is a sure sign of the change of weather. How quickly the beauty of October can switch.
It’s official. Betty Osborne is now a member of the exclusive Century Club. Betty rode her Sammie in our show today and became a member of the select group of people who have achieved the goal of competing in a dressage show when their age and their horse’s age is 100 years or more.
What a thrill. What an achievement. Congrats to Betty.
Enjoy this wonderful youtube put together by Leon Barkley. Thanks Leon.
It’s a busy day, with dressage tests, Prix Caprilli’s and group Equitation classes. And don’t forget about Betty Osborne’s Century Club ride. That will be at approximately 11:15. Going to be a chilly but exciting day. Join us!
All summer long I’ve been making a serious effort to really keep up with the lawns, weed wacking and brush-hogging. Oh, the money and time I’ve spent. Just mowing the multitude of lawns around here takes six hours. Then there’s the trimming and hand mowing on top of that. Don’t even ask what my brush hogging bill was this year. But I did miss a few spots. Some things just got by me. I know, I know. I should have done better. I’ve been told in the past that if I just put a little more “elbow grease” into the place it would look so much better.
But there is a sweet side to missing a few spots. Look at the beautiful black-eyed susans that I found growing in a little growth of weeds that I never got to. I am so glad I missed this spot. If I had been as neat and tidy as I was making my effort to be I would have wacked these babies into oblivion. I LOVE black-eyed susans. My favorite flower. How cool is that?
And FYI- entries closed for our show yesterday (October 14th). However, we are still taking late entries. Get them in!
It was 2008 when my Dad passed away. He was very much a part of this farm. He insisted I come and see it when I told him it was for sale. It was a freezing cold February day back in 1996 when we visited the farm for the first time. The barn was empty, the house had stood empty for months. No heat, no life. Very much the feeling of an abandoned farm.
The rest of the story is pretty much self-explanatory. We bought the farm and Dad couldn’t have been more thrilled. He fixed tractors, he drove the dump truck after dump truck of gravel for preparing our site for the new indoor arena. He helped bring in hay. The list is endless.
The tree you see in the photo is a tree that I call Dad’s Tree. It was planted in memory of Dad by two people who I don’t see much any more, as time has passed and things have changed. The tree has also changed. It’s grown and this year it is particularly beautiful. It makes me both sad and happy when I see it. Sad about the loss and how life and the things that happen in it can seem so beyond our control. Yet, it can also bring a smile to my face as I remember Dad and the people who enriched the life of the farm.
Come see Dad’s Tree at our upcoming Fall Dressage Show. Entries close tomorrow. Fall Dressage Show 2014
Imagine a club that is so exclusive that in the whole country there are less than 170 members. What could be so special and so unique that only a handful of people ever qualify to be part of this club?
The club being described is the Dressage Foundation’s Century Club. The purpose of the club is to honor senior dressage riders and horses who are still actively riding and competing. In order to become a member of the Century Club, the ages of the rider and the horse must add up to 100 or more years. The team must also ride in a dressage test at a show and be scored by a judge. The Century Club is about to add a new member when our own, Elizabeth (Betty) Gambee Osborne completes her century ride at our Fall Dressage Show on October 19th. Betty and her lovely little Morgan mare, Sammie have been a team for more than 10 years. Betty jokes that you never ask a woman her age, so figuring the math of how Sammie and Betty hit the 100 mark is a bit of guess work, but its does add up.
Betty started riding when she was just a little girl while growing up on Long Island. It was before the war (WWII) and horses were still a prominent fixture in the lives of Americans. Her father was in the Horse Calvary National Guard in Brooklyn and was moved to Burlington, Vermont in 1940. As an officer he was entitled to a mount. He acquired a little Morgan type mare that the family named Bessie. She became Betty’s first horse and she and Bessie rode all around the army post at Fort Ethan Allen.
When the troops based in Burlington left for Europe the family was moved back to Long Island. Bessie was moved to a cousin’s farm in Warwick, New York. This separation from her beloved Bessie did not end Betty’s commitment to riding. It was a trek that included the Long Island Railroad, a subway and then a bus to Warwick, but Betty continued to ride her family’s horse. She never had a riding lesson, learning instead by reading C.W. Anderson’s “Heads Up Heels Down.” When Bessie was retired her uncle bought another bay mare and Betty enjoyed her for many years.
As is the story for so many young women, when marriage and family came along, the love affair with the horse got put on the back burner. Not for long however. Betty moved upstate in 1972 and became the Director of the local Head Start program. With her very first paycheck she bought a ¾ Morgan horse, ostensibly for her daughter. She’ll tell you that the horse was actually for her, but saying it was her daughter’s horse sounded better and made for a good cover. This mare lived for 32 years and she and her daughter enjoyed many wonderful rides on her.
Morgan mares have been a theme in Betty’s life and when she decided in 2003 that she was going to buy a horse she found a bay mare, named Sammie. This was going to be Betty’s very own horse, not her daughters,her fathers or her uncles. Sammie came to Riding Right Farm as a charged up and excitable mare. Certainly not necessarily what a woman in her 70’s should have been riding. Since that time Betty has been re-learning how to ride, taking lessons, and having Sammie in periodic training at the farm. She and Sammie have developed a true partnership. Even in her 80’s Betty is a dedicated student of dressage and a very active rider. She loves working to prefect the intricacies of 20 meter circles, with correct flexion and bend. In lessons she executes beautiful leg yields and transitions. When other students in her group are struggling with their canters, Betty is often the one riding Sammie in a lovely canter.
Betty has had back surgery, an artery stent and is now facing knee replacement surgery. But she continues to ride and enjoy her time in the saddle. On October 19th, Betty will celebrate her love of the horse and her inspiring devotion to living life to the fullest by becoming an honored member of the Century Club. Betty is a living example that riding is a sport and endeavor for a life time. All are invited to come celebrate this monumental occasion.
If you’re looking to join Betty in the show ring- here’s a pdf of our class list and entry form. Fall Dressage Show 2014
I had a woman from New Jersey arrive yesterday to pick up a horse. She’s been here before and commented on how pretty it was around here. Once again, she couldn’t help but remark about just how beautiful the landscape around here is. I looked around and realized that we can become so accustomed to the visual stimulation of our surroundings that we stop seeing it. I suppose like living in Hawaii. After a while we don’t even notice. It’s just another place to be.
Her comment made me stop and take a deep breath, look around, and let my eyes see the beauty of the fall like it was the first time. Wow. It can be intoxicating. The horses grazing in the green fields, the explosion of color from the trees, the sky with rolling clouds of gray, white and black. We’ve got more of the same today. Enjoy!
When you go to farm that breeds paint horses you expect to see horses that are all paints, or a Halflinger farm, you expect to see horses that are all chestnuts with flaxen manes and tails. On a farm like this one however, there is no breed, brand, or theme. We have horses of every shade and color.
Which leads me to ask, what are the chances that on cross ties one day, every single horses was black? I guess you’d just call it coincidence but there they were, Wing, Dunedin, Kanan and Vito. Its odd how that can happen. The same thing sometimes with the paints. I’ll have one right after the other. Or the Appaloosas. I’ll see Rocket, Okie, Lear, and Cris all on cross-ties at the same time. Maybe its something like that saying “birds of a feather, flock together.”
And since I’ve got your attention- spread the word- we have our Fall Dressage Show coming up shortly. October 19th! Here’s a pdf of the entry form. Fall Dressage Show 2014
I took a group of girls out yesterday for some schooling over the cross country fences. The horses were so excited to get out and so were the kids. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all perfect. I stated that I could almost guarantee that someone would come off. For better or for worse, I was right. Ah well, unscheduled dismounts at this farm means cookies (or any baked goods) at next week’s lesson.
Like to jump? Come to our Fall Dressage Show and enter our Prix Caprilli (jumping and dressage). Here’s the entry form. Fall Dressage Show 2014
While walking through the barn the other day I looked up and there she was, surveying her kingdom from on high. I’m sure there’s plenty to see from on top of the stalls. The comings and goings of people, horses, other cats, birds, and maybe even a mouse. Not that Tigerlily would ever consider capturing a mouse. Nope. Not a mouser. I know: what good is a barn cat if she’s not going to be a mouser? I think she’s too regal for such activities. That sort of behavior is for the peasants of the world. For those who have to work for their meals. Tigerlily simply opens her mouth with a tiny mew, (rarely does sound even come out) and people dash to her feed bowl and fill it with tasty morsels. She’s fed far too often really. Her belly doesn’t lie. But like King Henry VIII, what’s a wide girth if not a sign of your royal position in life.
Oh- and by the way- you can check out Tigerlily’s fiefdom at our Fall Dressage Show on October 19th! Here’s a pdf of the entry form. Fall Dressage Show 2014
There will also be a Silent Auction featuring all sorts of new and used horsey items. A great place to pick up boots for your kids who are growing way too fast, show coats for next season, saddle pads and other necessities.
Here’s a pdf of the show class list and entry form. Any questions- let us know.
Lindsey Johnson and her stunning Oldenburg mare, Berlin deserve serious bragging rights for their team effort at the New England Dressage Regionals held this past weekend at HITS in Saugerties.
This junior team was competing with serious high caliber horses and riders and did just super. Scores in the 60’s including a 65.89% and a second placed junior rider in her Training 2 test.
In a highly competitive Dressage Equitation Class Lindsey did an outstanding job and come home with a 5th place. Wow. This pair is off and running. Just wait till next year!
On any given day I can have one or two, maybe even three students trailer in their horse for a lesson. Usually those lessons are spread out over the course of the day and there’s very little overlap. Yesterday was a different story. My 8:30, 9:00 and 9:30 lessons were all trailer-in lessons, which obviously meant the parking lot was a bit like Grand Central Station. Good thing these ladies are all pretty handy with their trailering skills.
Who’s the most loved school horse in the barn? It’s a tough call but my guess would be our beloved Tonka. The horse who just keeps going and going and going- keeps busy giving our newest little students a thrill.
Tonka is just the best beginner guy there is. Ignore his pogo stick style trot and his desire to nip you when you are tightening his girth and he’s just pretty darn perfect.
A big congrats goes out to Nicole Wilbur for making the dressage team at Johnson and Wales University. Nicole just started her first semester at J&W. She joins Madison Keys (another RR Farm fantastic dressage rider) on the team at Johnson and Wales that competes in the IDA (Intercollegiate Dressage Association). Talk about reaping the rewards! Makes you think we might be doing a thing or two right around here. Riding Right? Yup. I do believe we do.
The blog is back- and with a bang! I’ll start my return to the world of blog with news that the Perkins’ sisters took the show at Stockade yesterday by storm. Both Hadley and Merritt came home with a blue ribbon in their hands. Hadley and our rising star, Lear won Training 1 and Merritt and our spunky but dear little Laura Lee won Intro C. Congrats to team Perkins.
It was the last show of the year for the great folks at the Stockade Polo show grounds. Anita and Stan really know how to put together a show. Lovely footing, atmosphere and these guys know how to play the good weather card. Perfect (as has been the case in all of the other shows that we’ve attended there this year).
News of our fall show coming soon. Stay tuned.
Here’s the link for the prize list and entry form. http://ridingfarm.com/shows
I’ve never been to any of the Nordic countries but when I looked at the side of the barn yesterday I immediately felt like I had been transplanted to that part of the world. The imagery of homes buried in snow and then holes cut out for door ways and windows struck me as very similar to our own little slice of winter paradise.
When we have these intense winters people grow concerned about snow on barn roofs, and with good reason. Several winters ago there were plenty of barns in the area that suffered from roof collapses. I even remember hearing about an indoor arena in Connecticut that collapsed under the weight of snow. Stories like these do keep me on edge. I feel pretty confident in the quality of the construction of both our barn and our indoor arena. That doesn’t mean I don’t take note of how much snow is on the roof.
I breath of sigh of relief when the snow has come off the roofs. Of course, no sooner after I relax about the snow on the roof, I grow concerned with what’s going to happen when all this snow melts and how the rain coming down could flood everything. This cycle of concern reminds me of a saying I heard the other day, which could be my wintertime mantra: Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best.
But sub zero temps do have a few plus sides. Have you noticed the frost on the trees in the morning? The glitter on the fluffy snow when the sun comes up? The crunch of the snow under your feet? A cold winter morning on the farm, with the horses happily munching on their hay, and the stark beauty all around them does offer one a chance to slow down and appreciate the beauty and peace.
When kids are involved in the riding scene, I get to see their Moms a lot. Every week the Moms cart them to the barn for the weekly lesson and take care of things like gloves, horse treats and of course, the check book.
Interesting for me on Saturday when I realized my three little girls in one class all had their Dads in tow. One Dad is not unusual, two Dads, yup that can happen, but three? That was a record.
Sign of the times? Coincidence? I’m not sure what cultural, social, modern times analysis might be drawn from this but I think its pretty cool to have such involved, supportive Dads.