MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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In the fall of this year it was announced that the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, would host the FEI World Equestrian Games, September 11-23 of 2018.  The Carolinas are lovely in late summer/early fall, why not book your travel now for a little horsing on the east coast?

 

 

Over the years, the FEI has expanded their competitive base to welcome additional events to their roster.  Expect to see the usual suspects, Jumping, Dressage and Endurance…

 

 

 

… as well as some newer kids on the block, like Para-Equestrian Dressage (the discipline practiced by athletes with physical disabilities), Driving Four-in-Hand, Reining and Vaulting.

 

    

 

The FEI World Equestrian Games serves as a qualifying event during Olympic years, so you’re guaranteed to see the absolute best in the individual disciplines and the world.  Tickets are on sale now.  Individual day passes are already sold out, but you can still purchase ticket packages for specific disciplines, week one or two, or an entire show pass, here:  https://tryon2018.com/directory/List/type/351  In addition to spectacular displays of horsemanship and athleticism, there will be vendors and special events throughout the games.

 

For more information, go to the official website:  http://inside.fei.org/fei/fei-weg/2018

 

 

 

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SADDLING UP WITH THE ROYALS

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It’s no secret that HRH Queen Elizabeth II loves a pleasant hack around the grounds of Windsor Castle on her favorite Fell Pony.  She was spotted recently, at the age of 91, accompanied by head groom Terry Pendry.  Being an equestrian is as natural to her as being a royal, and it runs in the family.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5144375/The-Queen-91-horse-riding-near-Windsor-Castle.html

 

 

Horses and riding is a family tradition, as well as a bit of an unwritten rules for those of royal blood.  Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip have been known for their love and riding and horses for as long as history has shown, and they clearly came by their passion from their families.  The tradition carried on through Prince Charles and Sister Anne, the Princess Royal.

 

 

Riding was an familiar activity for both Princess Diana, and Prince Charles’ current wife, The Duchess of Cornwall.  The don’t call it the sport of Kings for nothing.  Every well-bred young woman and man was taught at least the basics of horsemanship from an early age.

 

 

As generations were established, the accepted practice has been passed on in Prince Charles’ boys, William and Harry, as well as their cousin, Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara (Phillips) Tindall.  Both Anne and Zara are champion riders in eventing sports, where William and Harry have adopted a love of polo from their father.

 

 

The collective eye then turns to Duchess Kate, and Prince Harry’s new fiancee, Meghan Markle.  Two women who are well-bred, though not of royal birth, and weren’t raised in the saddle.  Is this where the buck stops?  Fortunately no.  George and Charlotte are already receiving riding lessons, Charlotte showing a passion for it, not unlike her Grandmother, whom she appears to be a miniature version of.  While Kate chooses not to ride, she supports her families desire.  Meghan has been quoted as having an interest in learning the sport of polo, and is often a spectator at Harry’s matches.

 

 

 

Perhaps in spite of their lack of horsey experience growing up, the two of them will take on the new skill together.  It’s always more fun to learn something new, with someone else who’s learning at the same level.

 

 

 

 

STOP TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

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I remember reading once, from famed photographer and lover of his famous Weimaraner dogs, William Wegman, about how as his dogs aged, he became  more intent on capturing their images.  I don’t recall his exact words, but he went on to describe how he tried to capture their expressions so that when they were gone, he would still be able to remember every sweet detail.  While I have many photos of my Buddy, I often wish I’d adopted the same attitude and taken more photos as he grew older, that I could cherish now.

 

 

If you have a horse person in your life, and you’re stuck for a Christmas gift idea, please consider a photo shoot with someone who specializes in equine photography.  There are countless professionals all over the world who can create amazing images of your loved ones with their loved one, and it’s a beautiful way to immortalize them.  Give them the gift of stopping time, so whenever they want to look back, they can in full color (or black & white!).

 

In a brief search, I was able to locate one where I live, http://www.certifiedimages.com photography by Kristin Martin.  Kristin was, and likely is still, a familiar face on the Ohio Quarter Horse Circuits, who took her love of horses and branched out into photography.

 

 

Another well-known Ohio equestiran and photographer, Sally Shaffer, of http://www.sallyshaffer.com and Autumn Lane Farm in Thornville, OH, creates stunning images of horses and people.  She’s largely known for her work on race tracks and in the Standardbred world, but she has all the talent needed to give you lifelong memories.

 

 

I got to meet Barbara Jenkins last year at Quarter Horse Congress, another life-long show gal.  She began http://www.barbwireproductions.com to help people capture their favorite equines and moments.  You’ve likely seen her work in publications like the Equine Chronicle or the Congress program.

 

 

If you or whoever you gift a session to isn’t sure where to start, I found a great article here offering a timeline of what to do and how to prepare, so you make the absolute best out of the opportunity, https://www.carlykadecreative.com/blog/equine-photo-prep-tips-for-you-your-horse

 

As much as we’d love them to stay with us forever, at least we can invest in photos that will stand the test of time.  Our memories will get fuzzy over time, but pictures always last.

DON’T JUST GIVE, BE

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Thanksgiving is about more than just posting what you’re thankful for on social media.  It’s the time of year we reflect on all that we’re given (and honestly, we should do this more than once a year, don’t you think?), to show and say “thank you” out loud to everyone and everything.

 

For us, we should be thankful for a full hayloft going into bad weather season.  The pungent aroma of fresh bales of alfalfa, timothy and grasses.  The memory of the sore muscles and long, sweaty days putting that hay up, so you wouldn’t have to worry about it later on.  The quiet contentment your horses now have, pushing it around in their stalls, picking out the very best blades one at a time, until all that remains is dust.

 

 

Be thankful for the solitude of a morning alone in the barn, after breakfast has been fed.  Every animal is licking feeders for remaining crumbs, snuffling around corners for their favorite bite of hay, lights buzzing in the morning dawn.  The stillness and peace that settles in, contentment, felt by all.

 

 

Walk into your tack room, be thankful for that smell.  The leather, the sweat, the matted horsehair.  All hard earned and well-loved.  The proof of work done, and the anticipation of more to come.

 

 

Be thankful for the bright sunny days, and any remaining warmth to be felt.  Be thankful for long, lazy trail rides, marveling at the colors of the leaves, the blue of the sky, and the feeling of your body moving in perfect sync with your horse.

 

 

When the day comes to a close, be thankful for every star in the dark night sky.  Find your favorite place, throw out a blanket, lie on your back, and gaze into the wonder of the universe.

 

 

This Thanksgiving, don’t just say thanks, be thankful.  Feel it in your heart, where nobody but you knows, that’s where it matters.  Let your actions be your voice.  I’m thankful for you, my readers, who look for my voice every week.

 

HUNTER SAFETY CLASS

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Looking at that photo, are you easily able to tell which is a horse and which is a deer (actually, I believe it’s a mule, but the idea is the same)?  Probably, but you’re probably also a horse person, that helps.  If you’re a trophy-hungry hunter, would you take the time to be sure before squeezing the trigger or releasing the arrow?  Every year domestic animals are killed during hunting seasons due to negligence.  I’m sad to say I found countless images of hunters with their horse “trophies” from hunting, which further confirms to me they’re still operating under the “shot first, ask questions later” mentality.

 

 

I don’t want to admonish hunting.  I’m not a hunter myself, but I appreciate and respect the sport, as well as those who participate.  My concern lies with those who are a little too trigger happy, those who aren’t careful, or simply don’t care at all.  They should be your concern as well.  Those are our horses standing in the fields, carrying us down tree-lined trails, those are our family members being mistaken for game.  The good news is, we can do something about it.

 

Most importantly, you need to have an awareness of what seasons are in, and any applicable laws.  Make sure your property lines are clearly marked with NO TRESPASSING signs, and know who you do permit to hunt on your property.  A brief conversation about expectations and guidelines before they go into the woods, can save a lot of heartache, vet bills, and longer more difficult conversations later.

 

Make yourself a little more familiar with hunting implements.  Do you know how far a bullet or arrow can travel beyond it’s intended target?  Consider things like this when turning out, or trail riding.  Dress both yourself and your horse in PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) like safety colors and reflective materials to make it clear that you are NOT game.

 

 

Consider reducing turn out time, or even changing turn out schedules for the duration of each season.  If your horse isn’t in their line of sight, they’re less likely to become an accidental target.

 

Hunting seasons don’t have to end badly for anyone but the wildlife they’re intended to thin out.  Stay alert, think about the bigger picture and make good choices to be sure you and your horses return home safely at the end of every day.

TRICKS AND TREATS

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My how things change in a year…  Still busy with a surprise appointment today, so a re-share because horses in costumes will never stop being hilarious!

 

It’s been a busy work week at the place that pays me… so here’s a link to my favorite horsey Halloween costumes ever!

Feel Good Sunday: Halloween is only an Excuse to Embarrass your Equine Companions

 

Hope you’re having a great week, cozy barns and quiet rides to all!