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She Rides, I Pay

March 22, 2010

Gearing Up for Show Season: Clothing the Kid

Part 1 of 5

The nicest March weather I’ve experienced in the 15 years I’ve lived in Vermont has me looking forward to horse show season. Of course, our horse show season is still two months away, but hey, it’s never too early to start preparing. Plus, I’m guessing that the majority of the horse show moms out there start their show season much earlier.

March 18, 2010

Barn Manners: Answering Nosy Questions

Question: I am a junior rider boarding at a show barn that has many junior and adult riders. I own two horses and show much of the year. I know that I am fortunate to have parents that can support my riding, but I often get asked questions by other riders—adults and juniors—that I’m not comfortable answering. I’ve been asked: “How do you afford to show so much?” “What do your parents do for a living that they can pay for two horses?” “How much did you pay for that horse?” and more. I think this is rude. How should I respond?

March 16, 2010

Foolish Man Pride

Having read over several of my recent posts, I realize I’ve become quite good at making fun of myself. No surprise really, as I have so much material to work with. However, today I’m going to turn the lens on someone else. It’s time to make fun of Dad. She rides, he pays too.

Have you ever noticed the phenomenon called foolish man pride? In some families, it’s hereditary. I’ve noticed that it’s a particularly strong trait in the Howell line. What is foolish man pride, you ask? Let me explain by example.

March 8, 2010

Sundays, Grand Prix, White Breeches and Underwear Disasters

Last Sunday, Feb. 28, in Ocala, I got to watch the $75,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix. With 20 participants and six horse-and-rider teams making it to the jump-off, it was an exciting afternoon.

March 4, 2010

Queen for a Day

Our trip to Ocala got even better for one 12-year-old girl when, as was last reported, Mom was struck by momentary insanity and decided it would be fun to rent a horse for the day and let the girl show. With no husband in sight, my financial sensibilities vanished. I was just about to write that our trainer Tara had suggested it, but that would be a bold-faced lie! It was my idea. And, obviously, I’ve already tried to convince myself otherwise.

February 28, 2010

More From Ocala

Ocala is fun, kids are happy and mom is pooped! On Thursday we waited all day for the rain, and it came just when Tara went into the ring with Gracie (show name: Good Gracious) in the baby green division. Gracie wasn’t loving the rain dripping into her ears and shook her head to let us all know it. She rallied in the second round and did us all proud. The hunter ring has two enormous trees (Willows? Still haven’t found out) that are just amazing.

February 25, 2010

First Day In Ocala

Boy, girl and mom have safely arrived in Ocala! Yesterday was beautiful—sunny and warm, until about 3 p.m. when it began to rain and didn’t stop. Today, it’s beautiful, sunny and cold. Thirty-eight degrees. Of course, we are so happy to be escaping the Vermont winter that you will hear no complaints from us.

February 22, 2010

Horses: Vow of Poverty or Stupidity?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been part of several conversations that reminded me of the inherent dangers of our sport. It’s not the physical danger; it’s the threat of complete financial ruin.

February 17, 2010

Barn Manners: When A Horse Dies

Question: A horse in our barn died this week, very unexpectedly. I’m not really close with the boarder, but I feel really bad and want to do or say something. Any suggestions?

Answer: Yikes. Many of us have lived through this one, including Jennie Brannigan, who recently lost her beloved mount Cooper. A lot of things fall into the “don’t” category—things not to do or say to someone who has lost or is in the process of losing a horse.

February 14, 2010

When Winter Kicks Your Butt

To my friends in the south—you’ve been hammered. Dumped on. Kicked. Slapped silly by Mother Nature. I know you’re not used to three feet of snow. The demands it suddenly creates in your life seem insurmountable. I’ve been reading the blog posts from Lauren Sprieser, Sara Lieser and Jennie Brannigan and truly, they have my sympathy. These ladies are working overtime to meet the basic needs of their equine charges.

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