Sup Georgetown?

According to Johnny Depp, “if you love two people at the same time choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.” Well, after being happy, free, confused, and lonely at the T-Swift concert in Lexington I fell in love with Georgetown College.

Just 15 minutes from my favorite city in Kentucky, Georgetown has a whopping  1,116 students and a killer Equine Scholars program. Perfect, right? YES! I’ll just have to start a UK basketball fan club.

I think Georgetown is trying to impress me with a free shirt and hoof pick... and it is working.

I think Georgetown is trying to impress me with the free shirt and a sweet hoof pick… it is working. Go Tigers!

I feel like I could be a number at UK and I am not okay with that. I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I really don’t want to go to college with any Mariemont grads… I am going to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to get away from it all. With 15,153 freshman I doubt I would ever see anyone, but it would be my luck to live the same floor as a Mariemont student.

Oh, and this guy was driving around campus Thursday night. He must be head of the deer hunting club, which Georgetown has.

Oh, and this guy was driving around campus Thursday night. He must be head of the deer hunting club, which Georgetown has.

Back to Georgetown, they have a great Greek life, cowboys :),  they have a newspaper, and it is cute! The campus is small and all the buildings are brick surrounded by mature maple tress. The library is sweet and you can check out any DVD you could ever possibly think of. They also have an adorable cafe off the library that smelled like hazelnut and caffeine (it was finals week). And they have the George H.W. Bush Center for Fitness with a putting green, Oliver.

Though the freshman’s dorms don’t have air conditioning, I really like Georgetown, but Friday morning I still have to visit Midway, the all girls college, and Transylvania with their D-III equestrian team (check out their website for some comic relief… I ride like George Morris compared to them).

 

… So you ride horses…

I am the first person to admit that horse people are weird, but society automatically makes us even more weird because we wear leather boots, “ride horses”, and use whips… kinky, I know. We really aren’t like that, but it is always fun going out in public in breeches and boots.

I was standing in line at 7 am on Saturday to get my scone and coffee from Sunrise bakery in Lex when some college kid asked me if I ride horses. What gave it away? The breaches, the boots, the fact I smelled like horse butt, or that Lexington is the horse capital of the world.

It always amazes me how the general public reacts to people wearing riding clothes. Gawking  is not appreciated or polite. People don’t stare at girls wearing soccer stuff into Kroger, but breaches throw up a huge red flag and EVERYONE asks about riding, but the best part is when they tell you about their riding experience.

The guy I meet at the bakery was telling me about how he rode a horse on vacation… that’s great. He then told me that the horse must have been seven feet tall. NO! Horses are not seven feet tall. He went on about how he wanted to gallop a black stallion breed of horse. Black is a color, not a breed, and you would not want to ride a stallion because it would try to kill you. The one-sided conversation went on for about fifteen minutes, my internal commentary was great, but I tried really hard to be polite and pretend like I cared… then I was late to the barn and my breakfast was cold.

Society is very awkward when it comes to equestrians and categorizes us as something we are not. So the next time you have a encounter an equestrian in full attire, don’t tell them about your pony ride on vacation, or stare. Just keep walking because they are probably going to make fun of you.

New barn, no problems

Have you ever wished you could have a new family? Well, the luxury of riding allows you to pick and choose which barn you ride with, but it is a huge decision to make.

After an extended period of time away from the hunter ring I have decided to get back in the swing of things. Now, I am picky… like I want all of the focus on me, but that comes with a pretty big price tag. After extensive research and a ton of Facebook stalking, I have found my new home. I have ridden at huge farms with over 20 showing clients and my dad and I have even owned our own farm, but the focus has never been on me. I was the owner’s daughter and had no fun doing what I love. It makes no sense, so it is time to change.

I found a small farm outside of Lexington that caters to the training and selling of young show horses, but their website didn’t say much about showing and boarding with clients. I took a leap of faith and visited the farm and I was home. One, they have a super cute red- headed gelding that I must have. Two, they didn’t refer to themselves as professional trainers, which I despise. Three, I haven’t even taken a lesson with them and I have already been invited to go clinic with George Morris…. GEORGE MORRIS!

A very young George Morris aboard Sinjon. (showjumpingnostalgia.com)

A very young George Morris aboard Sinjon. (showjumpingnostalgia.com)

George H. Morris is like the founding father of hunters and jumpers. He is one of the biggest names in all things horses. Morris began riding as a child. In 1952, at the age of fourteen, he won the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Finals and the American Horse Show Association Hunt Seat Equitation Medal Final at Madision Square Garden. Morris rode on eight winning Nations Cup teams between 1958 and 1960. He went on to train numerous riders at his Hunterdon  stables in New Jersey. This man is my idol. I have read all of his books and I read his column in Practical Horseman called Jumping Clinic. Riding with him would be an honor, but I am going to have to pass because I have to attend my favorite cousin’s wedding!

A simple invitation to this clinic made me feel so much better after my decision to start riding at a new barn. I am looking forward to many long days and great times with my new family! 🙂

Ham and eggs

My Dad (on the left in the ball cap) might not know how to play polo, but he is pretty good at telling weird stories. (SHF, LLC).

My dad (on the left in the ball cap) might not know how to ride, but he is pretty good at telling weird stories.

My dad and are don’t have the average relationship, quite to the contrary, we are sort of twins. Same morals, beliefs, humor, and thoughts. It is kind of cool, but most of the time it is creepy. Now, in seventh grade I was beginning to get burned out on riding and my dad knew it. So, about four in the morning at a horse show we had a talk about what we were going to have for breakfast.

“Summer, can you tell me the difference between dedication and commitment?”

“Well, not really… please explain.”

“It’s all perfunctory, hun, like having ham and eggs for breakfast. A hen can lay an egg every day for most of it’s life, right? So it’s easy, it doesn’t have to try or give that much effort. But, that pig gave half it’s ass to feed you. It worked all of it’s life to go to a slaughter house and end up on your plate for breakfast. That pig was committed. The chicken is dedicated. Now, which are you?”

I never gave it a second thought. I was all in, kind of like the pig.

Tack box necessities

Unfortunately I  had to clean out my tack box (horse locker) last night , but I didn’t realize how much stuff I actually had. My box had enough tack for at least three horses, so I wanted to share my favorite items.

Roma Softie Reversible Saddle Pad

I have one in blue/ green and another in black/ white.

I have one in blue/ green and another in black/ white (Dover).

This is my favorite saddle pad. I love the fact it comes in a square and wither relief. They are only thirty dollars at Dover’s and they are worth their weight in gold. They only bad thing is that they are bulky and aren’t easy to monogram.

Roeckl® Chester Riding Gloves

These gloves are light and breathable.

These gloves are light and breathable (Dover).

I always wear gloves when I ride and my hands are abnormally pale, but I don’t have ridiculous blisters. These gloves are expensive and I have to buy about four pairs a year because I use them so much. Unlike other black gloves they don’t dye your hands black. I honestly can’t live without these gloves, but at almost fifty dollars they are pricey.

Cowboy Magic™ Green Spot Remover

It's a bath in a bottle.

It’s a bath in a bottle (Dover).

This is magic in a bottle. It is perfect for emergency touch ups on light colored horses and for days when it is to cold to give a bath. Cowboy Magic has very nice products that are not harsh one the horse’s skin, but they get stains out. It also works on clothes. White breeches and white show shirts are just begging for trouble and Cowboy Magic saves the day! At only ten dollars a bottle it is perfect!

Slick ‘N Easy™ fiberglass grooming block

These are so handy.

These are so handy(Dover).

This is probably one of my favorite tools to groom with. It is easy, effective, and time efficient. They are good for horses that are shedding, or that are caked in dried mud. I didn’t realize that you could clean them until recently by grinding off one of the edges on a wall. They are also good for removing annoying pills from sweaters, coolers, and especially North Faces.

Eskadron Climatex Polo Wraps

These are the best wraps that I have ever used.

These are the best wraps that I have ever used (Dover).

I wrap everything when I ride… call me crazy, but I would rather be safe than sorry. These are the greatest polo wraps ever. They are thinner than fleece wraps, but I feel like they give more support and are more flexible. They are super expensive compared to the ten dollar Dover wraps, but I have had mine for well over two years and I only hand wash them, so they are well worth the seventy dollars.

Pharmaka Sporty Sit-Tite Spray

I couldn't live without this spray.

I couldn’t live without this spray.

Oh lord, this is my favorite product. I honestly could not live without it. I have never had any problems with it corroding leather. I spray it on my reigns, chaps, half- chaps, saddle, and tall boots. The aresol spray goes on evenly and lasts for about three rides. The spray is also good to put on the bottom of slippery shoes, like Toms. I love this spray, but you can not leave it in your tack box in the winter because it will freeze and get weird. I highly recommend keeping a bottle in your tack box for emergencies. I was showing at the Horse Park and it was raining and my reigns were slick, so I went to a vender to get another bottle and it was twenty two dollars. It is almost eighteen dollars at my local tack store, but you can order it from Dover’s for sixteen dollars… so order two.

Irish Knit Anti-Sweat Sheet

This blanket is really good for showing indoors.

This blanket is really good for showing indoors.

I have had my knit sheet forever and I love it. The color has faded after a few years, but it is perfect for clipped horses in the winter. You can catch them on sale at Dover’s for around fifty five dollars in the off season, but they run about sixty to seventy at local tack stores. The sheets keep the horses dry and warm. Plus they are lighter and more manageable than rectangle wool sheets. The knit sheet I have is navy blue and is monogrammed, but with washing and excessive use the monogram looks a little skewed. These sheets get caught on spurs and anything sharp very easily, but they are totally worth the investment.

Nunn Finer No-Slip Contour Ultra Pad

I never ride without my no slip pad.

I never ride without my no slip pad.

I have a thing for horses with huge withers, so I have tried every no-slip pad out there, but this one is the best so far. It has a very nice outer seam that prevents tearing and rubbing, but it is soft and supple, so I can keep it hidden under a show pad. They do, however, leave a huge sweat mark and they get really grimy. I clean mine with dish soap and then spray in with rubbing alcohol to prevent fungus form spreading. They are around thirty five dollars, but I caught mine on sale at a local tack shop when they first came out for eighteen dollars.

2013’s new kids on the block

The 2013 breeding shed must be opening soon. The cheesy Kay diamond commercials are on, I finally received my Blood-Horse’s 2013 stallion register, and my Hanoverian mare would lose her mind if she didn’t get her Depo.

Since this is my first year really getting to know more about the thoroughbred industry I’ve spent about a week combing the pages and looking at all of the gorgeous horse’s, but the boys from the 2012 race season really caught my interest.

Bodemeister ’09: Empire Maker – Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

Bodemeister at the Arkansas Derby in 2012 (Blood-Horse).

Bodemeister at the Arkansas Derby in 2012 (Blood-Horse).

Breeder: Audley Farm

Owner: Zavat Stables

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Bodemeister won the 2012 Arkansas Derby and came in second in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and the 2012 Preakness Stakes. He had six starts as a three-year-old with two wins and three second places. Bodemeister was retired to stud at Winstar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky for the 2013 breeding season due to an injury in his left shoulder after earning $1,304,800. His stud fee for 2013 is $30,000.

Personally, I loved watching Bodemeister run and I though it was sweet how he was named after Bode Baffert. I also got to see Bodemeister sell at the Keeneland September sales for $260,000 as a yearling.

Hansen ’09: tapit – Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

Hansen at the 2011 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (Blood- Horse).

Hansen at the 2011 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (Blood- Horse).

Breeder: Kendall E. Hansen

Owner: Kendall E. Hansen, Sky Chai Stables

Trainer: Michael J. Maker

How could you forget “The Great White Hope”. In his two-year-old season, Hansen was raced lightley. He had two wins at Turfway Park. He then went to Churchill Downs and won the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile  by a nose over Union Rags. He also won the Iowa Derby by ten lengths. Hansen’s nine starts, five wins, and two seconds earned him a total of $1,810,805. Hansen will stand at Ashford Stud in Versailles, kentucky with a 2013 stud fee of $12,500.

I think Hansen is well known from his owner’s stunt at the 2012 Blue Grass Stakes where his owner dyed the horse’s white tail blue. Track stewards seized the bottle of dye and his trainer washed the blue out of his tail. After all that hype Hansen placed second in the race behind Dullhan.

I’ll Have Another ’09: Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

I'll Have Another winning the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs).

I’ll Have Another winning the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs).

Breeder: Harvey Clarke

Owner: J. Paul Reddam

Trainer: Douglas F. O’Neill

I’ll Have Another is a very impressive horse with $2,693,600 in career earnings. He won four graded events, including the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Unfortunately, a few days before the Belmont Stakes, Doug O’Neill announced that I’ll Have Another was officially out of the race due to a tendon injury. Due to the risk of a bowed tendon, O’Neill and Reddam announced that I’ll Have Another was going to be retired. He was the is the third horse, behind Bold Venture ’36 and Burgoo King ’32,  to be scratched from the Belmont Stakes after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

I’ll Have Another was sold at the Keeneland Saled for $11,000 by Victor M. Davila. The exercise rider broke and trained the future Derby winner before selling him as a two-year-old to Reddam for $35,000 at the Ocala Breeder’s sale. After his very successful career he was sold to the Big Red Farm, located in Hokkaido, Japan, for the 2013 breeding season for $10 million. His 2013 stud fee is $34,504.96 or 3,200,000 JPY.

Shackleford ’08: Forestry – Oatsee, by Unbridled

Jesus Castanon aboard Shackleford. (Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer)  Photography

Jesus Castanon aboard Shackleford. (Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer) Photography

Breeder: Micheal Lauffer and
W.D. Cubbedge

Owner: Michael Lauffer and
W.D. Cubbedge

Trainer: Dale Romans

Shackleford had two starts as a two- year- old, winning the won a $59,000 maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs on dirt. His three- year- old season had ten starts, two wins, and four second places. His second place in the Florida Derby earned him enough to get into the 2011 Kentucky Derby. He also won the Preakness at the age of three and defeated Animal Kingdom.

His four- year- old season ended with a victory in the Grade 1, $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. He defeated Take Charge Indy and his career earnings totaled $2,824,047. Shackleford will stand at Darby Dan Farm with a 2013 stud fee of $20,000.

Union Rags ’09: Dixie Union – Tempo, by Gone West

Breeder: Phyllis Mills Wyeth

Owner: Chadds Ford Stable

Union Rags at Gulfstream Park (Blood-Horse).

Union Rags at Gulfstream Park (Blood-Horse).

Trainer: Micheal R.  Matz

Union Rags had eight starts, five wins, one second and third. He won the Belmont Stakes as a three- year- old. He came in second to Hansen at the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile in 2012. Union Rags did not run in the 2012 Preakness Stakes, but he did run in the Belmont Stakes and beat Paynter in the final strides of the race.

I thought Union Rags had Triple Crown potential and I loved the story about his breeder and her dream about owning Union Rags after she sold him the first time.

I think these new boys have big shoes to fill after the loss of Dynaformer, but they all have promising blood lines and should be pretty busy with their first breeding seasons.

Out to pasture

It takes a lifetime for a rider to find their type of horse, and when you ride that type of horse… well, you are unbeatable.

She was the most lovable and photogenic horse.

She was the most lovable and photogenic horse.

In Eighth grade I outgrew Murphy and the hunt for my new best friend was on. I tried fourteen different horses and it was overwhelming and frustrating. I am one of those people that knows what I want when I see it… and I don’t really take no for an answer, but I just hadn’t seen it yet .

I walked into the barn one cold January morning and I heard a truck come down the driveway and I was intrigued because we weren’t expecting any horses.

The transporter unloaded a red-headed mare. She got off the ramp, stretched her back leg straight out, and stuck out her tongue. And that, my friends, was the start of a beautiful relationship.

She always knew how to greet people.

She always knew how to greet people.

Her name was barn Rudy, because she tried to eat you when you put the saddle on, but other than that she was an angel. Her coat glistened in the sunshine and she had the most beautiful tail, so her show name was Scarlett.

Riding Rudy was like magic for me. She was fast, downhill, and had the worst right drift ever, but I made it look flawless. Trainers, judges, and even the parents of my competition complimented me. We were one and that show season was like flying on cloud nine.

This was our first blue ribbon.

This was our first blue ribbon.

I showed at least twice a month during the school year and every weekend in the summer. We were unbeatable in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Every weekend I came home with a champion or reserve champion and about half the time I won every class I was in. That was the greatest summer of my life.

Freshman year came around and it was really hard to keep showing as much. The girl who was behind me in state was home schooled and showed at everything. It came down to the last month in the show season and we were tied for first, but Rudy strained her suspencery tendon (Equivalent of tearing an ACL) and we were out.

I cried for days. I wanted to win state more than anything in the world, but fate chose a different path… we were second. I didn’t ride for a month.

We won everything that summer.

We won everything that summer.

The following show season we got our head back in the game, but Rudy’s tendon flared back up and eventually tore while we were on course… and we won that last class together.

Rudy’s career was over and it felt like mine was too, but she brought the best out in me and taught me how to ride. She passed away from natural causes two months later and I knew I would never find another horse like her.

I have ridden hundreds of horses, but none of them even come close to being as special as Rudy, but I am very thankful to have had her in my life.