Riding Club Points After the March Show

20180310_094540We have our first Fun Show of 2018 under our belt and it was a great success as usual. The weather was unseasonably very cold but we still had a very good turnout. Our established riders did well and our new riders learned what it's like to participate in a horse show.

All competitors who join our Riding Club are eligible to collect points at every show throughout the season. These points are tallied at the end of the year and the riders with the most points are recognized.

Riding Club Points for this Show are as Follows:

 Isabel Mejia / White Rose Rubydoo  46  1
 Abbygale Hamilton / Escapade Fancy Pants  34  2
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  29  3
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  28.5  4
 Kayleigh Beckemeyer / White Rose Sweet Sierra  24  5
 Isabella Hendricks / White Rose Sweet Sierra  22.5  6

Our next show is April 14th, please join us!

As always I must thank all the volunteers. It takes a great deal of time and effort to pull together, even a small, fun show and I couldn't do it without the help of a small, dedicated army. If you would like to volunteer at any of our events please let us know.

Click here to see more photos of the show.

Things Your Barn Manager Will Never Say

Horse in the snowI know most of my horsey friends in North Carolina are well and truly fed up with the winter weather. Especially those of us on the front lines who take care of the manual labor of looking after the horses.

The winter of 2017/18 has been one of the coldest on record for the southern United States. Our northern neighbors like to mock us when we complain about the weather but we just don't have the infrastructure to cope with it for days on end.

The extreme cold makes everyday chores take much longer than usual and require more physical strength. If you board your horse please take a few minutes to thank your barn manager and barn hands for their hard-work in all weather conditions.

So, as we patiently wait for a thaw from this frozen tundra here is a lighthearted look at some things your barn manager will never say, in winter.

  1. Oh good a snow day.
  2. I love freezing weather.
  3. Breaking ice off of water troughs is my most favorite thing to do.
  4. Mucking out twice, and sometimes three times, in a day is awesome.
  5. Going through twice as much hay because the horses are in all day makes me so happy.
  6. I love it when the ends of my fingers turn blue, it really sets off my perfectly manicured nails.
  7. Dragging water to the barn in coolers is so much fun.
  8. I wish it would snow again.
  9. Changing blankets every five minutes because the temps keep changing helps to tone my biceps.
  10. I can't wait to ride my bi-polar mare, who's been standing in her stall for days.
  11. I think I'll call in sick today.
  12. I wish the weather could stay like this forever.

Taking care of horses is a labor of love and looking forward to spring is what is currently keeping me going.

We'd love to hear from you. Let us know some of the things your barn manager never says in winter and follow us on Facebook.

White Rose Equestrian is a small, private, full-service equestrian facility located in Iron Station, NC. 

Riding Club Positions after our Fifth Show

fun showOn Saturday, October 28th, we had our fifth and final Fun Show of the season. We had a great turnout and we are very grateful to everyone who has supported our show series this year.

I normally post a list of points scored and who won the points for the show. I will not be doing that this time as I would like the overall points for the year to be a surprise at the end-of-season party (date, location, and time to be confirmed). I will say that Deana had the most points of the day and will be a big contender in next year's show season.

fun show costume classI would also like to say what a fantastic job everyone did in the costume class. We had an outstanding turnout and the costumes were well thought out and some, very unique.

We have a fantastic barn family here at White Rose Equestrian. The parents, family, and friends of our riders are always willing to help out on show days and we very much appreciate that.

Thank you for your support throughout the season. We look forward to a fun party and an amazing 2018 show season.

Riding Club Points as of August 5th, 2017

Fun Horse Show
Photo courtesy of Lola Cichocki

We had another fun, friendly show here today at White Rose Equestrian. Thank you to everyone who came out to help and compete.

I am so pleased with all our riders and the progress they have made over the summer while competing. Showing is an opportunity for them to put into practice what they learn in weekly lessons. It also gives them the freedom to explore their riding abilities and grow as equestrians in ways that lessons alone could never do.

The riding club points for this show are as follows:

 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  58.0  1
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  44.0  2
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Seirra  40.0  3
 Isabel Mejia / White Rose Rubydoo  39.5  4
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  36.5  5
 Deana Poteat / White Rose Rubydoo  34.0  6

After today's show, we have a change in the overall leaderboard. Everyone still has time to catch up at our Fall Fun Show on October 28th, 2017.

The overall championship riding club points so far are as follows:

 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  173.0  1
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  163.0  2
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  162.0  3
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  156.0  4
 Allison Guidi / DF Sergio  65.5  5
 Alida Leidy / Maddie  51.5  6

Our Fall Fun show will also have a costume class so start thinking about how you are going to dress up your horse.


Why I Host Horse Shows

18221981_10155530340448974_2094783583415863576_nHere at White Rose Equestrian, we host several fun, friendly horse shows a year. Our riders look forward to showing off their skills and winning ribbons. But there is much more to it than that. Our emphasis is on learning and improving and our motto is, "The most important thing about showing is having fun!"

Most of our students are beginner to intermediate riders. They ride once a week and do not own their own horses. They don't have an opportunity to travel to shows.

I know what that feels like.

I was bitten by the horse riding bug many years ago. I can't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with horses. I read every horse book I could get my hands on, tied a rope to the handlebars of my bicycle and pretended they were reins, and dreamed of owning my own horse one day. But, we weren't well off. We lived in a small apartment above a store with a yard the size of a pocket handkerchief and I knew I wouldn't be getting a horse anytime soon.

I was lucky enough to start riding lessons when I was eleven and used my weekly allowance to pay for them. I would ride the bus there early Saturday morning and stay all day. I did anything and everything the riding school owner asked of me just to be around the horses. And if I was lucky, I could ride William, my favorite, out to his field at the end of the day.

Once a year we would visit Ilkley for the day and sometimes there would be a horse show/gymkhana being held. I was so envious of those girls with their spotless ponies, fancy show clothes, and opportunities I thought I would never have.

My passion continued as I got older and eventually, as an adult, I bought my first horse. Finally, I had the chance to show. I participated, mainly, in jumpers but also did some cross country and dressage events. I also ran a small equestrian facility, Laneside Stables. At Laneside Stables we gave riding lessons, operated a pony club, manufactured show jumps, and ran small horse shows.

Life happened and I ended up in America and that brings us to present day and White Rose Equestrian. We have only been at our location for six months but we hit the ground running and have no intention of slowing down. We have many upgrades and improvements planned but our facility already had all the basics in place for us to grow and expand what we offer.

A fun horse show at White Rose Equestrian

One of the first things I was determined to do was to host some fun shows. They are hard work and take a great deal of time and effort to organize and pull together but they are so worthwhile. I get so much satisfaction when I see the riders improve and become more independent with each show we host.

There is no pressure on anyone to win, just to learn and have fun.

So why do I host horse shows? I do it because at heart I am still the same horse-mad little girl I always was. The one who never got to show as a child. The one who wanted for a pony more than anything in the world. I host horse shows so that kids can experience opportunities I never had. They are making memories. When they are all grown up they will be able to say, "I used to ride when I was younger. I even went to a few horse shows."

Come and join in the fun with us!

Riding Club Points as of July 15th, 2017

libby sqWe had another successful Fun Show here today at White Rose Equestrian. We are very grateful to everyone who comes out to support us. We have a wonderful barn family. Everyone is helpful and supportive of each other and we welcome horses and rider from other barns in the area.

We would like to give a big thank you to all our helpers and volunteers. We could not do this without you.

The riding club points for this show are as follows:

 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  48.0  1
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  42.0  2
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  41.0  3
 Carlee Goff / White Rose Rubydoo  39.0  4
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  38.0  5
 Allison Guidi / DF Sergio  36.5  6

I see progress with each show we have. Our riders are learning to become more independent and confident.

The overall championship riding club points so far are as follows:

 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  122.0  1
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  119.5  2
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  119.0  3
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  115.0  4
 Allison Guidi / DF Sergio  65.5  5
 Alida Leidy / Maddie  51.5  6

Our next Fun Show will be August 5th, come and join the fun.


Riding Club Points as of June 25th, 2017

Riding Club PointsWe have now had two very successful Fun Horse Shows here at White Rose Equestrian. All our riders, parents, helpers, and friends did a great job and made the show a memorable success. Our emphasis is on learning and having fun and our competitors take it very seriously. We are happy to welcome riders and horses from other barns and look forward to making new friends at future shows.

We are very grateful to everyone who comes out to help. It takes a lot of time, preparation, and manpower to put on a horse show. If you would like to volunteer please let us know.

The championship riding club points, so far.

 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  84.0  1
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  78.0  2
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  73.0  3
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  71.5  4
 Alida Leidy / Maddie  51.5  5
 Mekah Leidy / Oragon  42.0  6

Championship Riding Club Points are recognized at our end of season party. The date and location is yet to be decided.

Six Non-Riding Exercises to Improve your Seat in the Saddle

As a rider, you are always looking for ways to improve your seat and use the subtle changes in your balance and pressure to affect your horse. Many improvements come from riding regularly with an experienced trainer but you can also improve your balance, coordination, and flexibility when you aren't in the saddle.

Six Easy and Quick Exercises to Improve your Seat

1. Calf Extensions

The problem - How many times have you been told to, 'put your heels down'? Even experienced riders can overlook this very fundamental rule of riding. Forcing your heels down is not the answer as this causes tension in your legs and knees that will inadvertently transfer to your seat and cause your horse to tighten up his back and lose impulsion.

Improve your seat - calf extensions
Calf Extensions

The solution - Your whole leg needs to be relaxed and flexible while riding. To stretch the calf muscles stand on the edge of a step with just the balls of your feet on the step, facing upward. Very gently bounce your body weight a few times to stretch the muscles in your calves. You could build this into a daily workout or do it for a few seconds every now and then when you go upstairs.

The results
- When your hips, knees, and ankles are relaxed and your calf muscles sufficiently flexible, your heels with naturally hang down slightly lower than your toes. This will allow you to maintain a soft seat and stretch your entire leg, wrapping it softly around the barrel of your horse.

2. Ab Curls

The problem - I'm sure your trainer uses the term, 'use your core'. A strong but subtle core is invaluable for slowing and re-balancing your horse. If your core muscles are weak that can result in you feeling heavy and unbalanced to your horse which in turn makes him reluctant to move forward freely.

Improve your seat with ab curls
Ab Curls

The solution - Using a yoga mat, rug, or carpet, lay flat on the floor. Raise your knees slightly and part your feet. Place your hands behind your head with your palms upright. Contract your ab muscles and slowly raise your upper body until your shoulder blades are no longer touching the mat. To start with you will probably only be able to do a few but with regularity and practice, you will improve your core strength and gradually be able to add more repetitions.

The results
 - A strong core will help to make you a stronger more confident rider. You will have more control over your position and balance resulting in a safer and more effective seat.

3. Squats

The problem - Even though we are told to ride with a soft relaxed leg, we still need to be able to count on our leg muscles to respond within a nanosecond whenever we need them. Weak leg muscles make our leg aids ineffective and also cause unbalance in our seat and upper body.

Improve your seat with squats

The solution - Stand with your legs slightly apart. Keeping your back straight and your body weight over your feet, slowly bend your knees. You can hold onto the back of a chair if you need support. Go down as far as you feel comfortable. The ultimate goal is to get all the way down into a squatting position but this will come with practice.

The results
 - The extra strength in your legs will allow you to sit quietly but give you the ability to use your leg aid efficiently and effectively.

4. Lunges

The problem - Weak leg muscles make it difficult to apply sufficient pressure with your leg aids. Squats, as described above, will help but do not cover all your leg muscles.

improve your seat - lunges

The solution - Lunges exercise the muscles that squats miss. Keep your upper body straight with your shoulders relaxed, tighten your core and step forward with one leg. Lower your hips until both knees are bent. Bring your back leg forward and repeat by stepping with the opposite leg.

The results
 - Well-muscled legs will make it easier to apply leg aids without compromising your seat.

5. Bicep and Triceps Curls

The problem - Although most of your hand aids should be subtle you still need to have strength in your arms otherwise your horse could take advantage of you and lean on the bit making him heavy in your hands and on the forehand.

Improve your seat - bicep curls
Bicep Curls
Improve your seat - tricep curls
Tricep Curls

The solution - Bicep Curl - Stand with your upper body straight and a weight in each hand at arm's length. Bend your elbows and bring the weights up toward your shoulders. Hold them in position for a couple of seconds before slowly lowering them down again. Tricep Curls - Hold a weight in both hands and lift it above your head. Allow your hands to drop down behind your head until your arms are nearly straight. Bend your elbows allowing the weight to drop further down. Straighten your arms again and repeat.

The results - Strong, well-toned arms will make many chores around the barn easier but the will also help with upper-body strength and coordination. This will result in a stronger more confident seat.

6. Shoulder stretches

The problem - Another term that trainers like to use is, 'put your shoulders back'. Unless you walk a catwalk for a living I'm pretty sure you don't walk around with your shoulders back and chest extended. Hunched shoulders, while riding, cause you to tip forward, resulting in your upper body being out of balance with the horse.

Improve your seat - shoulder stretches
Shoulder Stretches

The solution - Stand in a doorway. Raise your arms out to the sides. Bend your elbows with your palms facing forward. Place the palms of your hands on the door frame and lean slightly forward putting gentle pressure onto your hands. You should feel a stretch in your chest muscles.

The results - Relaxed shoulder and an open chest result in a solid upper body position and more pleasing overall appearance. They also help to maintain a level, balanced posture.

All exercise routines take repetition and determination to implement but once in place will become part of your normal everyday habits.

 Consult a doctor before implementing any changes in your exercise routine.

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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.