Friday, July 25, 2008

Ready for the show?

I am now home from our 3,600 mile vacation with the family. We headed first from Michigan to Fort Worth, TX where my husband spent 3 days in 100F standing at an equipment auction while I took the kids to the waterpark. Then we headed up to Durango, CO via New Mexico, then home with a quick stop in St. Louis to go up the Arch and tour Merameck Caverns. Luck has it that I missed out on the steaming hot muggy weather we had at home while I was enjoying 72F mountain air. And it was only 76F and dry when we got home, which was nice since our farm hand had wagons full of hay and straw for us to unload right away.

Now that I am home I am catching up on over due chores and hay. My main priority this week was to decide on who to bring to our inaugural U.S. Championship show in September and get my entries in. I decided to leave the mares and babies home since I do not want to induce too much stress on weaning them right before the show and then hauling them to a new place. I will bring Metman - who is entered in Ridden Class, Jumping, Dressage, in hand. Magantli - Costume class, and in hand. Daga - in hand only. I did enter the filly Azmele, if she handles the weaning well then she will come for in-hand class.

Entries are in. Hotel is booked. I had planned on camping in the trailer at the horse park but my husband has banned the stallions from the living quarter stock trailer after Salam put a little dent in the side, picky, picky.

I am working on putting a costume together now, I have bought a robe and a pretty head piece like the one I borrowed from Shirley at the 2006 conference. Now I need to work on a authentic looking bridle and I need to get a decorative collar.

Metman is still competing up in Travers City Michigan at the Horse Shows by the Bay Series. He will come home next week and then I will start riding him and work on our dressage. Magnatli is still at the trainers learning circus tricks, I am told that he is learning very quick, quicker then most horses. Magantli is the first Akhal-Teke that Serenity Stables has worked with and so far they really like him. He will have a very nice Circus Bow for us at the Conference and show in September have your cameras ready....

Bye for now... make sure to get your entries in before the deadline of August 1st and don't forget to send in your conference dues too.

Freedom Run Farm

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Babies sure are fun!

The weather here has been gorgeous, so the mares and their foals are out in the pasture. There are two mares and foals out there - Ria and her filly, Mahri, and Alav and her colt, Suyji. Ria and Alav aren't quite sure how they feel about each other yet, so the 'kids' are working on taking care of that. We have jumps in the pasture and today my oldest daughter, Alex, reported that Mahri was running an obstacle course around the pasture, including going over the jumps. Every time she'd do a lap, she'd get a little bit closer to Suyji, who was watching this with fascination. They never quite got together, as their mamas intervened before they could, but it will only be a day or so before they're 'best friends'.
There is some YouTube video of Mahri and Suyji up, some on my site and a friend just put some up too. If you're interested, you can go to check out these links; here is Mahri at 15 minutes old: and a nice one of her at 5 days old done by Monica Bretherton:
and then one of Suyji at 15 minutes old:

I'm still learning how to do these YouTube videos but it's pretty neat!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

More on Darkh Amber - again

Hope you all aren't getting too bored with these quotes from Amber's new owner, but I'm just a proud quasi-parent, and that's that! And I don't know how many of you are too familiar with the training to make a Polo Pony, but I find it interesting. So, a new quote:
"I can't tell you how much fun I am having with Amber. Yesterday I worked her just in the arena where we do "short work", i.e. figure eights to change leads, and stop and back up, and then move out on the hind end again. I am not a professional trainer by any means, but the ease with which this horse learns to do things is amazing to me. I'll give you an example. There is an advanced move called a "rollback" wherein you take the horse along the fence on the lead opposite to the fence, then stop and turn the horse back toward the fence so they have to turn very tight on their rear end and come out on the opposite lead. To teach a horse to do that, you just ride (at a walk), and stop, back up a few steps (if the green horse will do it) and ease it around hoping that the rear end will stay still and the front will come around to approximate the more advanced move. Then you do it at a trot, then at a canter. And with green ones you do it in a corner so that they are not jammed against the fence.
Amber got it at a canter in one try. All I had to do was carry a little whip (not even using it, just showing it to her), turn my head back and apply a little leg. She pivoted perfectly on her hind end, brought her front legs around in the air, and started around in the other direction on the new lead. Smooth as glass!"
You know that Darkh Amber is by Gindarkh 13. Do you suppose that some of his circus knowledge got imprinted on her brain???


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Excitement this morning!

When we went out to bring in horses this morning, none of them were waiting at their respective gates - which is, of course, the norm. Instead, they were all out in the middle of their pastures/paddocks, standing still and looking up. No hysteria or running around - just calmly standing there looking up. So we looked up . . . . . . and cruising overhead, quite low and moving very slowly (no wind), was a beautiful green & yellow striped balloon! I waved at it, and, lo and behold, it flashed a light signal back at me. I waved twice more, and twice more it flashed a signal back. What fun! The balloon cruised around our property and then headed Northeast, perhaps planning to go out over the ocean. I think the horses enjoyed it as much as I did!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More on Darkh Amber

Another quote from Amber's owner:
"I have to tell you how much fun I'm having with Amber. She is so smart and really handy already. Her biggest problem is that she is a bit of a bitch and when I practice riding off, wherein you come together with another horse parallel (which happens a lot in polo), she opens her mouth as wide as she can and tries to chomp on the other horse. I'm thinking I could put this to some use as a tactic :>)! I also rode her over my high sand pile and she was leery at first, but when she saw I meant business she went right over. Even with my 4-year old waving a shovel at her. She's sooooooo cool!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Celebrate the Horse Expo, July 5th and 6th, 2008

Whew! It was quite the weekend here in Seattle. We started our week off with Alav foaling a gorgeous, dark brown colt on Wednesday (thank goodness she cooperated with OUR schedule!), and then got everything packed up and ready to go for Friday morning. Our little caravan set off to Puyallup to the Puyallup Fairgrounds, where the Celebrate the Horse Expo was. We had me, my daughter Callie, my son Zach, our friends Margaret Pomeroy and her two daughters, Rachel and Tayler along. We got down to the Fairgrounds and got the horses all tucked in their stalls and unloaded most of the gear, exhibit stuff and feed. Galen was not at all happy in his stall (he lives outdoors year round, as he really HATES stalls), so we put he and Maz together in one stall. They were cozy, but Galen calmed down. We got the boys out into the big arena where we would be doing our exhibitions and got them a bit used to it. Everyone did well, especially Callie and Tayler, who both did absolutely fabulous jobs with their mounts. Later that evening, we watched fireworks at the campsite and celebrated Callie's 14th birthday with cake and sparklers (and a bit more for the adults!).

Saturday morning, we were up at 6 am, as we had a 7 am practice time in the big arena. The kids all did their morning chores without any fuss and we had another good practice session. I then signed up Galen and I as a demo horse for a few clinicians, figuring that the more exposure the better and hey, I was there anyway, might as well have fun! So, we got everything set up back at the barn, Zach demonstrated absolutely outstanding sales skills, talking to the people wandering the aisles and at 1:30 I went into the big arena with Galen for a demo with Steve Rother. This was to be a trail obstacles demo, but as I told Steve, the obstacles weren't a problem - it was being in the arena with it's totally non-natural obstacles that seemed to be the issue. So, he had us go out to the warm-up arena, trot circles for about 5-6 minutes and then come back into the arena and hang out. Our first time, Galen hung out for about 5 minutes and then got ancy again. Back outside, trot more circles, come back in. The arena was looking better each time we went out. By the end of the 40 or so minute demo, Galen was showing the other horses how to do obstacles - pushing a huge ball around, walking over (and thinking about dragging) a blue tarp, going between barrels, over poles etc. He was very pleased with himself, as he should have been. Our group went on at 3:30 and Callie, Tayler and I rode around the perimeter of the arena, while Monica Bretherton jumped Andy in the middle. Her husband, Bill Drescher, was our jump man and they all did a fabulous job. I have to also mention that Cindy and Larry Balogh, Andy's owners, where there helping with jumps and general stuff, my husband Larry and eldest daughter Alex came and helped out too. We'll have some video up soon. Our fifteen minute spot was up all too soon, and to enthusiastic applause, we exited the arena and swapped high fives and happy smiles. We did a bunch of posing for photos, as we were in our fantastic costumes, most of which Margaret did. I especially liked our helmet covers - I had told her I liked the traditional fuzzy hats, but wouldn't allow the kids (or myself) to ride without helmets, so she came up with authentic looking helmet covers! She also 'blinged' up the boy's bridles and came up with some non-authentic, but authentic LOOKING a-la-jas. Hurray for ingenuity!

Then, a bit later, Callie and I did the Warhorse Challenge! We had seen this last year at the Horse N Around Days and it looked like great fun. Callie and Ari did some practicing at home, knocking buckets off of jump standards and Ari really got into it, up to knocking the buckets over with his nose before she could. I hadn't practiced at all with Galen, but figured that if we can trot those winding trails in the woods and break off branches at the same time, we were fine. Callie and I went in together, starting with a spear each to spear through 4 rings hanging from standards. We both had to figure out how to hold the spear and not whack our horses. I did pretty well, getting all the rings, but Callie was having a hard time managing the heavy spear AND steering her horse. But, she preservered and we stuck the 'boar' (a bale of straw) and took up the sword to chop off the enemies 'heads' (pop bottles on standards). I chopped the head and got the other rings, but Callie was once again having trouble keeping everything balanced. We had practiced with light, plastic swords and these were heavy, wooden swords. But, she finished the course, and left the arena saying "I had better practice more for next year!" We also only trotted, instead of the full out gallop the veterans did - the announcer called it 'The saunter attack'. I figure we would have gotten the enemy stragglers. But, it was great fun and the horses enjoyed it.

So, we were done for the day and poor Andy had had enough. He started pacing his stall but happily calmed down enough that I felt safe leaving him. We finished up our day with card games, treats and stories back at the campsite. Sunday morning we skipped our 6 am practice time, as the kids were pretty tired from the day before. As soon as people started showing up, poor Andy was a basket case. I finally put Galen in the stall with him, which annoyed Galen to no end (Andy can be a bit of a butt), but calmed Andy down. Andy spent the rest of the day hanging out behind Galen, resting his head on Galen's back. We talked to the public and didn't have anything set up until 3:30, when we did our demo again. This one was even better than the day before, with us all knowing what to do and how to do it. Andy jumped higher and better, the girls did an even better job and Galen was super. Andy then was a demo horse for Barb Apple to demonstrate some ground training techniques and then was done. I then rode Galen in the Warhorse Challenge again, although I still didn't gallop, but got all the rings and cut the 'head' off. Our 'saunter attack' was excellent.

The kids got to see some of the other things going on, we had a good response from the public, and we started packing up and were home by 8 pm Sunday night. I couldn't have done this weekend without the help of Margaret Pomeroy and her girls, Tayler riding and Rachel being flag-girl and general helper; Cindy and Larry Balogh for letting me take Andy and taking loads of stuff to and from the fairgrounds; Monica Bretherton riding Andy and her husband Bill Drescher helping her; Callie for riding and Zach for his stellar salesmanship and flag-holding , and my husband Larry and my daughter Alex for taking care of the barn at home. It was a very good weekend, I'm sure we're all pretty pooped today, cause I sure am, but it was fun and we're already planning for next year's Expo!