Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Colonies and Amity Farm Stirrup Cup, Trail Ride and BBQ

What a great day! First a stirrup cup as the Amity Farm riders came to The Colonies. Then we rode with them back to Amity Farm, had a BBQ there and rode back home. What an incredible day. I'm so blessed to be at such an incredible barn with incredible people. Who else gets to ride to a picnic and ride back home? It was another memorable and wonderful day!  It was great to ride with Shayne, Shannon, Gina, Heather, Peggy, Jennifer, Cindy, Lauren and Vanessa (who rode for Amity).  Vanessa led the Amity riders to The Colonies where we had a stirrup cup and rode to Amity.  Anne and Vaughn had a BBQ setup for us to enjoy.  Our horses happily grazed in their beautiful, spacious paddocks while we ate.  Then we saddled up and came back home to The Colonies.  I LOVE THE COLONIES!!!!! <3

Please check out the photos in this link below, especially if we are not friends on Facebook.  This is the link to the album.  I only posted a few photos on this blog.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fun at The Colonies

We have so many activities here:  fox hunting, polocrosse, trail rides, jumping, cross country jumping, hunter paces---we have it all.  There are so many things to do with your horse.  This past weekend, I was finally able to join in the fun at Quiet Creek Farm for their hunter pace.  What fun!  I rode with Victoria and we came in 5th place in the novice division (only because we went too fast).  When I told Shannon how we did, she said, “I told you to go open!!!  Always ride open!”  Oh well, it is just for fun anyway!  Shayne and Howard came first in the open division.  Congratulations to them.  Some pictures from the day.  

Shayne and Smokey

Shayne and Victoria
Victoria and Chevy
LeeAnn and Sergio

Shayne and Howard
Howard and Noble

Victoria and Chevy

The Colonies is in the lead for the Battle of the Barns in the Windy Hollow Hunt Hunter Pace Series.  We are really in the lead.  Currently we have 78 points and the next barn behind us has 44 points.  How incredible is that?!?!?!   Let’s keep this momentum going and win the series!  But remember that winning isn’t everything.  Bragging rights are nice, but you want to be safe and have fun!  That is why we do this!!! 

Results from the past hunter paces.  Congratulations to everyone!!

Mother’s Day Pace--May 11th--Florida, NY
Open Division
2nd place Peggy Marzell and Valeria Carou-Jones
3rd place Shayne Haysom and Howard Millman

4th place Jennifer Mascia and Cindy Hansult

April 27th Pace
Shayne and Howard set the pace time

Open Division
1st Peggy Marzell and two friends from other barns which rode for our barn
2nd Valeria Carou-Jone and Geraint Jones
3rd Gina Reuvers and Shannon Darling

Shayne and Howard take off.  You can't see Howard and Noble, because Smokey is blocking them.

Ahh!  A better picture of Shayne and Howard!!

Valeria (riding her new horse Garcia) and her husband Geraint riding Armene.
Gina and Shannon


Peggy and Bandit
Gina and Shannon

Since this is still my first year at The Colonies, I am sure there is more fun to be had.  I only moved here at the very end of September and had surgery two weeks after and couldn’t ride until Thanksgiving (guess what I was grateful for), so I am still fairly new to the activities.  I remember after one of our first snow storms, Shayne organized a winter trail ride.  I thought we would just go slow and walk.  Nope!  It was like we were in a movie.  I started out with Peggy and we immediately started trotting and cantering as soon as we got out into the field.  I was shocked!  How many people are lucky enough to be able to ride through the snow with their horse?  Not many, I am sure!  Snow was flying up at me and it was such fun.  Then we got to the Pipe Line were we met up with everyone else, (Shayne, Vanessa, Shannon and Gina) and continued riding together.  What a great group of people.  Everyone checking on each other and slowing down if anyone needed to.  We had a great time.  I wish I had a video of it!  I do have a couple pictures of the event. 
Dashing through the snow!

LeeAnn and Sergio!!!

I enjoyed a ride with Heather and her horse Zephyr during the week.

Heather and her horse Zephyr after another snow storm.

Then after that LONG winter and only being able to get the trailer out a handful of times, spring arrived.  We had our first spring ride with our new friends and boarders Jennifer (Beo) and Cindy (Addy).  

Cindy and Jennifer

Shayne and Smokey

Shayne leading our ride.

The snow is finally melting!

The bottom line is: Get involved.  You will be glad you did.  Everyone is beyond nice.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

What horses give us

In the last blog I talked about how resilient we are as riders.  Our bodies might get injured, but after a good ride our minds are in a terrific place.  

We all know that we feel better after a good ride.  The exhilaration and euphoria.  My cousin talks about a "runner’s high" when he runs, but what about a "rider’s high"?  A bad day at work can be easily remedied by going to the barn and seeing our horses--even if you don't ride that day.  We forget about everything.  In the barn we are one with our horse.  Horses are very expensive and are not for everybody, but what do they give us?  Happiness, love, peace, tranquility, back to basics.  No phone, no email, no traumas of the world.  For those couple hours, everything is forgotten.  While I was recovering from my horse related injury, for what seemed forever, 3 months, I would still go to the barn a few days a week to check on my horse.  I would feel so happy after just seeing him.  I remember the first time I drove after my surgery, where did I go?  That’s right---to the barn.  

A friend of mine recently had thyroid surgery.  She was slowly getting better and looked forward to when she could ride again.  Last week (about three weeks after surgery) she called me and her first words to me were “I rode!!!  She was perfect!”  I was so happy for her--I knew exactly what she was feeling.  I could tell from that point on, she was on the right track to healing and getting better-faster.  

We find ourselves trying to rearrange our already packed schedules to get riding time in.  We give up many things to be able to ride.  Inevitably, we decline many invitations because we know we can ride that day.  I know I look ahead at the weather and try to arrange non-horsey activities for days that it will rain.  Do our non-horsey friends understand this?  Some do, but not like our horse friends.  We often say that we “needed” this ride.  Riding is a form of therapy.  Expensive therapy, but therapy indeed.    

Do our horses cause us stress?  Yes!  New shoes and then they pull one.  Abscesses, vet care, the heartbreak of illness and injury.  I am sure you have not had all perfect days in the saddle.  What disappointment we have when we have a bad ride.  Maybe our horse wasn’t in the mood for flatwork or jumping that day.  Maybe he wanted to play with his herd mates and relax in the sunshine.  I know when I have a bad ride, I am very upset.  I feel horrible--until I get up to the barn again.  Nervously, I go out to the field to get him, and he is back to himself and we had a terrific ride.  I am happily riding and driving home only to experience the “rider’s high” again. 

Recently many articles and studies have come out about the benefits of “equine therapy”.  Many things, that we as equestrians know already.  The article below briefly speaks of a study that stress and cortisol levels have gone down when teenagers work with horses for just 90 minutes a week.

Another related article did a very small study of patients with Alzheimer’s.  They brought some of the patients to a farm to work with horses.  They would bathe, brush and feed the horses as long as they were able to handle it.  They found that the patients were more agreeable, happier and not resistant to their other therapies later in the day.  The patients would even push their limits--some who don’t walk, asked to be helped up to stand and others who usually refused to walk would get up to be with the horses.  

My question to you is: What happens when you have a bad ride?  How do you change your mood around?  Do you go to the barn just to feel better?  Do you also feel the euphoria after a great ride?