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Humor

November 15, 2011

Half-Halts And Transitions: Dressage Terms For Life Lessons

Any time I've ever scribed for a dressage judge, the dressage test requires marks for “transitions to” various gaits. The judge is called on to award scores for the smoothness, energy and accuracy of the transition, whether from trot to canter, canter to trot, changes between collected and extended gaits or what-have-you.

September 13, 2011

Horsekeeping Around The World

No one in their right mind will tell you that the British, the Irish or the Arabs don’t know their horses.

So it came as no surprise to me when, in my travels in various parts of the world, I got to play with their horses and discovered well-muscled, alert beasts glowing with good health and energy. What struck me most noticeably, as I got older and presumably wiser, was the different kinds of care and attention these horses received and the fact that they responded so well to care that in other parts of the world would have been cause for alarm.

March 31, 2011

Boyd Martin Fancies A Feline

Cats: You either love them or hate them. Eventer Boyd Martin definitely falls into the former category.

When he describes his favorite two animals as “well bred, athletic and excellent movers,” Boyd Martin’s not talking about his newest upper-level prospects.

March 24, 2011

Life Lessons Learned Abroad

When I was in college, I spent a year in England as an exchange student. To help pay expenses, I worked as a combination au pair girl and stable manager for a woman who showed jumpers internationally. To say this was a learning experience would have been putting it mildly. The farm was five miles from the nearest village, and our closest neighbors were a mile down the lane. When I tell you that I grew up in some of the major capital cities of the world, you’ll realize the culture shock.

January 14, 2011

Lumber Scraps And Leftover Paint (Not To Mention The Pig) Created A Show To Remember

I boarded my first horse, Tory, on a 1000-acre cattle farm just outside a major city. The horse facilities, if you could call them that, at the farm consisted of a run-down barn with stalls cobbled together from old cattle pens, concrete cattle feed troughs and lots and lots of barbed wire-fenced pastures, which would have benefited from some serious fertilizer. The scant wooden fencing that existed was chewed halfway through by bored cows and horses, and then it was patched together with more barbed wire or baling twine.

December 21, 2010

What We Wanted For Christmas

What I really wanted for Christmas was to go skiing and have someone else cook dinner. Considering the size of our family, it was rare when someone suggested, "How would the nine of you like to come for the holiday?"

Living on a farm, in a roomy house to accommodate all the folks, fidos and felines, we were the natural magnet for the rest of the relatives to spend holidays, especially Christmas. Our tradition was to open gifts, enjoy the annual Yuletide hunt for a few hours, and return home to feed however many people lingered in our living room.

December 7, 2010

Love Leads A Reluctant Rider On An Irish Equestrian Adventure, Part 4

The Conclusion: The Foxhunt

...continued from Part 3

If you’ve kept up with this little saga, you’ve heard me tell people over and over that the last time I rode a horse, I was pretending to be Roy Rogers.

November 23, 2010

Love Leads A Reluctant Rider On An Irish Equestrian Adventure, Part 2

"Don't Let Me Buy Anything"

...continued from Part 1

By our second morning in Ireland, I’ve begun to accept the new world order: Living with horses. Everything good in life arrives accompanied by hay. Em’s nightly Lancombe is supplemented with that charming barnyard manure fragrance. OK, this is not what I expected, but what are vacations for?

November 16, 2010

Love Leads A Reluctant Rider On An Irish Equestrian Adventure, Part 1

Notice: All the places mentioned herein are real places. All the events described happened. As to the flow of narrative and specific details, all I can say is: This is how I remember it. If the story’s improved in the telling, I can’t help that. Or, as the Irish say, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Hello. My name is Ted, and I think horses are OK.

They’re big handsome animals, more personality than cows, less slobbery than dogs, and since they don’t come in the house much, you don’t have to worry about fur all over everything.

August 23, 2010

Ivy Colored Baling Twine: How I Graduated With A Degree In All Things Equine

The college I went to was elegant, expensive and academically ferocious. Did any of that factor into why I chose it? Of course not. It had a stable on campus and the Head of the Riding Program was kind enough to let me work off my riding fees.

“Head of the Riding Program” sounds a lot more glamorous than it was—she was the entire riding program, except for an elderly groom who’d been working at the stable since forever.

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