Random Musings

Things Non-horsey People Have Said to Me

Non-horsey commentsI don't claim to know anything about football (American Football to my British readers) and have been known to ask questions when watching a game. It doesn't happen often as I would rather watch paint dry but that's another story altogether. One thing I would never do is comment or give my opinion or try to look like an expert on the subject but I'm sure I've asked a dumb question every now and then.

Here are some things non-horsey people have said to me over the years. I know this will resonate with my horsey friends.

  1. What do you do for exercise? - Because the horse does all the work you know and mucking stalls takes no effort at all.
  2. There's a dead horse in your field. - Yup, they lie down sometimes.
  3. Doesn't it hurt when he nails the shoe to his foot?
  4. You still take lessons? I thought you knew how to ride.
  5. I used to ride as a child so I won't need many lessons.
  6. Ewww he just pooped!
  7. Doesn't it hurt them when you kick them with your legs?
  8. What am I supposed to hold onto? - When I take away the reins for a lunge lesson.
  9. Why is there white stuff coming out of his mouth?
  10. Wow, that's expensive. - When I tell a non-horsey person how much I charge for board but don't explain all the other expenses like insurance, feed, hay, shavings, electricity, repairs, labor, and so on and so on…
  11. Have you ever fallen off?
  12. You have to feed them Christmas Day also?
  13. I don't mind getting up early, I'm usually awake by 9 a.m.
  14. Do you rent out your horses?
  15. I used to have a dog when I was a kid so I know how to look after a horse. - Yes, I did actually have someone say that to me.
  16. What are you feeding him, I thought they just ate apples and sugar cubes?
  17. How does the horse get out of the stall to use the bathroom?
  18. What's that mark on his leg is he injured? - The chestnut. I can't count how many time I've been asked this.
  19. Have you ever eaten horse meat?
  20. Why do you need a saddle?
  21. I once rode a cowboy horse. - I think they meant western horse.
  22. How long does it take a pony to grow into a horse?
  23. Aww, that's a cute foal. - Referring to a mini.
  24. Just pull on the reins. - Advice from a parent to a child who was learning to ride a 20-meter circle.
  25. Why are those horses wearing blindfolds in the field?
  26. You can't include horse riding as exercise. - This wasn't said to me but to the parent of one of my riders by the P.E. coach at her daughter's school. I told her to tell him to come and take a lesson so he could see how wrong he was. A P.E. coach of all people???

This blog isn't intended to offend non-horsey people. It's just light-hearted observations shared with other horsey friends. Feel free to add any comments and questions you have encountered over the years.

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The Things I've learned from Running a Lesson and Boarding Barn

This time last year, May 1st 2015, my husband and I rented a beautiful 125 acre property in Iron Station, just outside Charlotte North Carolina and officially launched White Rose Equestrian Center.

The property came with a 16 stall barn, indoor arena, outdoor arena, many secure fenced areas, and acres of amazing trails. It's a beautiful, unique piece of land and represented my 'field of dreams'. I knew it would be hard work but I also knew I could do it. I have loved the challenge, the fresh air, and of course the horses but it also came with a fair share of stress, sleepless nights, and 13 hour days.

White Rose Fandango at Tryon International Equestrian CenterThe decision to take the barn was scary and one I didn't rush into. I crunched the numbers every which way I could and stepped outside my comfort zone but knew it was something I just had to do. There were highs and lows. Getting a 70 at my first rated show with White Rose Fandango (Annie) was one of the highs. The biggest low was telling my riders that I wasn't going to renew the lease.

Renting isn't for us. We want to run a quality operation and expect things to be up to a certain standard and it's difficult putting money into a property that we will never own. So things are on hold for a while.

It's been a great adventure and we very much appreciate everyone who came along with us.

Here are the things, in no particular order, that I learned over the last 12 months while running a lesson and boarding barn.

  1. Staying in bed until 6:30 a.m. feels like a sleep in
  2. Going to bed after 9:30 p.m. is staying up late
  3. Some horses are crazy
  4. Some horse owners are crazy
  5. Horses can pee twice as much as they drink
  6. It never rains when you want it to
  7. Horses that like each other can, for no apparent reason, suddenly not like each other
  8. Male horses shouldn't be gelded until they've learned to poop in a corner
  9. Winter sucks
  10. I would be rich if I were paid every time I said, "Put your heels down"
  11. I would be rich if I were paid every time I changed the feed chart
  12. Bailing twine, duct tape, and WD40 are a barn girl's best friend
  13. You can't please everyone but it didn't stop me trying
  14. Working outside beats working inside
  15. Looking after a large lesson and boarding barn leaves little time to ride
  16. Tractor driving is fun
  17. Zero-turn driving is scary
  18. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton are great company when you're mucking stalls
  19. It's great to be up before the dickeries
  20. It's easy to get attached to horses even if they don't belong to you
  21. No-kink hoses don't exist
  22. Working 7 days a week makes it difficult to know what day it is
  23. You can not teach your own children… anything!
  24. Black coffee is better than no coffee
  25. Cold coffee is better than no coffee
  26. Any coffee is better than no coffee
  27. Barn chores produce awesome muscles affectionately known as poop muscles
  28. Growing up in a barn is great for kids of all ages
  29. Fresh shavings smell wonderful
  30. It's harder than you would think to get onto the People of Wal-Mart page
  31. The bite of a horse fly hurts, really hurts!
  32. You never stop learning
  33. I get as much pleasure when my riders do well as I do when I win a blue ribbon
  34. What people do is more telling about them than what they say they will do
  35. Barn swallows (and sandy colored cats) are a great desensitizing tool for horses riding in the indoor
  36. A 33 year old golf cart makes a great barn vehicleGolf Cart at White Rose Equestrian Center
  37. Some people are magnets to anything that bites, stings, stomps, or kicks
  38. Paperwork takes up way more time than you would expect
  39. Eating fast food at 9pm is sometimes the only way to not starve
  40. Good help is hard to come by. I am very grateful to those who were always there for me!!! You know who you are.
  41. The most expensive clothes you own are your show clothes
  42. There are never enough hours in the day
  43. Barn germs don't count
  44. A farmer's tan is a must-have summer fashion accessory
  45. Walking over 140,000 steps in a week is easy-peasy
  46. Hat hair is the only hair style anyone needs
  47. Thank goodness for baseball caps
  48. None of this would have been possible without the help and support of my wonderful husband
  49. It takes a village
  50. It's good to take chances

So as we move onto the next chapter in our lives I would like to thank our boarders, riders, helpers, and volunteers. The last 12 months have been some of the most trying, exciting, funny, tiring, exuberating, rewarding, and challenging of my life. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And as Dr. Seuss would say, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Stay tuned.

Seven Ideas of What to Buy Your Horse For Christmas

what to buy your horse for christmasChristmas is right around the corner and if you are anything like me you will have been procrastinating since the beginning of fall about when you were actually going to start your Christmas shopping.

Time is running out and I know one of the most important 'people' on your list is your horse. Yes, we buy stuff for him all year round but we HAVE to splash out on 'special stuff' at Christmas time. To help you decide, and also save you some money, here are seven simple ideas of what to buy your horse for Christmas. Some of them could also be used as gifts for your other horse crazy friends.

  1.  New brushes to replace the worn out ones in his grooming box.  Don't forget to make sure they are color coordinated with all his other important accessories
  2. A heated bucket to stop his water from freezing.  Not only does it make your life easier but a horse who drinks warmed water during cold weather is less likely to colic.
  3. A Jolly Ball for him to play with while he's stuck in his stall during inclement weather.
  4. Horses, just like people, can benefit enormously from a massage administered by a professional.  A Performance Equine Massage can alleviate stress, bring a sense of calm, and can also prevent minor injuries from becoming major problems.
  5. To show him how much you really care you could bake him some home-made treats.  Not only does it save money but you can be sure you know exactly what he is eating.
  6. You know how photogenic your horse is and how much you like to show him off to your friends.  Why not book a photo session for when the weather picks up?
  7. Another good idea would be to buy yourself some lessons. A balanced rider makes for a happy horse.

 I hope some of these ideas have helped you.  If you have any ideas to share, let us know on our Facebook page.

Happy Holidays!

Intercollegiate Dressage Coaching Here I Come!

IDA Logo Intercollegiate DressageBack in the summer on the way to one of the local shows I happened to car-pool with Bailey, the team captain of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte's Intercollegiate Hunt Seat Association team. Wow, that's a mouthful - UNCC IHSA for short. Anyway, we got to talking and I casually asked if they also had an intercollegiate dressage team. Turned out they didn't. So, in kind of a half serious, half joking manner I said, "I'll coach a dressage team for them."

Fast forward a few weeks and I'm told that they had formed a dressage team and that I was the coach. Awesome, nervous, excited… WHAT??? Were just a few thoughts that ran through my head.

Knowing absolutely nothing what-so-ever about Intercollegiate Dressage I attended the team meeting along with the hunt seat coach. I met some of the riders and was happy to know that Blair had ridden on an IDA team before. She had also volunteered to be the team captain. Things started to fall into place.

The team consisted of Blair, Iman, Taylor, Cody, and MacKenzie. Lessons started early September. My first task was deciding which level each rider should ride. Not being familiar with the running of an IDA team and not knowing what the competition was going to be like it was not an easy task but I knew the tests they would have to ride so I based it on that. Blair had ridden Introductory before and hadn't earned enough points to move up so that one was easy. Cody and MacKenzie were both competent riders but also riding on the hunt seat team which meant I would only teach them every other week. It's difficult undoing a forward seat in just sixty minute once a fortnight. So, Cody went into Intermediate with Blair and MacKenzie into Lower Training. Iman is originally from Germany and had ridden dressage before so she slotted nicely into Lower Training and so did Taylor. Our team was set… until Blair told me that we needed to have at least one Upper Training Level rider also. Taylor was the most 'aggressive' of my Lower Training riders so I bumped her up, without telling her I will add. She took the move very casually, thankfully.

Lessons consisted of a combination of basic equitation and riding position improvements and fine tuning the movements in the tests. We rotated between the horses available to us and developed a weekly routine. I saw huge improvements in no time at all. Blair and Taylor practiced at our own Introduction To Dressage Show and we began to get excited as the first show official Intercollegiate Dressage show drew closer.