Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways!

Today I simply wanted to express how much I truly love all the horses that have touched my life, both my own and those owned by clients. I feel so incredibly lucky to share my life with incredible horses on a daily basis, and that I am able to have the honor of presenting to the public some of the most fabulous equines I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

When we are happy, they always seem to revel in our happiness. When we are sad, they always seem to take the pain away. When we are angry or upset, they soothe our souls. When we are excited, they share in our anticipation. When we are nervous, they [sometimes] can calm us. When we are unsure, they steady and reassure us. When we hurt, they make it all better with nothing more than the rub of a soft, velvety nose against us.

I've got some very special stories about the horses that have graced my life, and I intend to do some blog posts in the future about them. Like Spook, the Quarter Horse mare who taught me all about what Western Pleasure was really supposed to be all about. Or Sugar, the most awesome Welsh Pony (and best friend) a child could ever ask for. Or Hadji, one of the first Arabian show horses I ever competed on who could have been one of the greatest jumpers of all time, had he not been ahead of his time. Or Southern, who gave me my first big win at an "A" rated Arabian horse show, in an English Pleasure class as a young teen against the BNT's and their six figure horses. There are so many more...

Tomorrow's post will venture into the arena (for lack of a better word at the moment) of judging in the Arabian show ring. Thursday I am going to tell a couple of very special rescue stories that are near and dear to my heart. Friday is going to be the day for a discussion of fire evacuation, because that is such a pertinent issue ~ especially in this Southern California wonderland that I happen to live in. And Saturday I'll report on how our show went, wish us good luck!

With great pleasure I would also like to announce that I have been asked to conduct an Arabian breed demonstration and a Showmanship Clinic this coming October at a local major equestrian event. This is an incredible honor and I am so flattered that I have been asked to participate!

Until tomorrow, go hug your horses. :)



  1. Congratulation STFS. You will do a beautiful job on the demo.

  2. Thanks Kaede!! We are planning to put together a really wonderful presentation with a number of horses showing the versatility of the breed. Plus, for my Showmanship clinic we'll be using a Purebred Arabian and a Half-Arabian. The kids are getting pretty excited, too! :)

  3. Congratulations SFTS. What an honor to be chosen. Maybe someone could shoot a video for the blog? I would love to see it.

  4. Thanks for the well wishes and the congrats! We are so excited.

    I'd love to have someone videotape our presentation and clinic, we're going to have to get that arranged!! :)

    Then I'll have to figure out how to embed the video on the blog. I admit to being a computer dummy about that sort of thing.

    After both the demo and the clinic we are going to be doing a question & answer session for attendees.

    Apparently there are a bunch of other trainers and other industry professionals who are already on board with this event, which will be in it's 2nd year. It's like a mini-Equine Affaire put on by a local town in our Valley. They started it last year and unfortunately we weren't able to attend.

    I'll be keeping the blog posted with any updates, and there should be a printable schedule ready soon outlining what presenters will be there.

  5. Hey STFS, could you write about "fashion" in the showring. I "good" on the huntseat side of things. Really their "fashion" doesn't change much.
    But what about western riding or saddleseat? I look at photos of Western Pleasure (an area I am not familiar with) at to my eye, it seems of over the top. Rhinestones? Shirts that went out of style after Disco imploded? I'm missing something here, or is this another Jackson Pollack moment for me; and I just haven't had enough education to appreciate WP outfits?
    Is saddleseat fashion different for Arabians and Saddlebreds? I look at all the candy colored brownbands an get told that "Saddlebred's wear red browbands, those Arabian folk can wear other colors". Do you try to match the color of the browband to the stable colors, the color of the horse, what is "cool" this year,the riders habit, what?
    How about saddleseat suits?

  6. Whew, too darn hot out there...just finally came back in from giving my last lesson of the morning.

    I actually do have some work written on fashion, what I'd like to do is re-write what I have and embellish them to be as pertinent to the out there right now in the show ring as possible.

    Funny you mention Hunter seat, because we had been seeing a trend of some really nontraditional Hunt attire in the Arabian show ring up until last Fall, when a Resolution was brought forth and voted in as a new rule to ban "bling" from the show ring. There were sparkly browbands, bits and spurs with crystals on them, shiny, satiny, metallic fabrics for Hunt coats and coats lighter than the breeches some exhibitors were wearing. Those rules were fairly dramatically changed, along with how our Arabian Hunter horses are supposed to carry themselves and move.

    For Western I really like the relatively understated, I can't stand the neon brights (like bright orange, lemon yellow, lime green ~ yuck) but I don't mind a bit of sparkle and shine. One of my students this year went with a Hobby Horse tunic top (this one) for riding her light bay and white Pinto mare, with sand (beige) hat, pants, boots and chaps; and my daughter's new Western outfit for her grey gelding includes a Hobby Horse tunic top, too (this one) to go with aubergine purple hat and chaps...her boots and pants will remain black. Not too "out there", but the girls will stand out while being elegant and classy. :) Best of all, it's just off the rack so not a small fortune was doled out on custom clothes.

    On Saddleseat suits, IMO the really nice suits never go out of style. Navy, dark grey, chocolate or darker chestnut and the deep olive greens are my favorite colors, and of course you really can't go wrong with black. There are some beautiful off the rack Saddlesuits, I like what Hartmeyers has, including the Reed Hill suits and coats ~ most of the colors are conservative, even the plum (which I really like for greys). But when I order my next suit, I'm going to splurge and go with Show Season for a beautiful custom design. :)

    I have always tried to color coordinate the brow cavessons for my English bridles with both the horse and whatever suit I'm wearing (or the client/student is wearing). I've got burgundy with black, red with black and blue with white, plus an all black with silver bead, an all black with gold bead and a plain burgundy ASB style. My favorite by far is the burgundy/black, which was originally purchased for a grey stallion. We silly Arabian folks tend not to follow the ASB trends and unwritten rules for both attire and brow cavessons, we like to be "different". :-D

    I'll try to put up a post next week on the fashion topic!! Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. I guess I watched too much "Death Valley Days", "The Virginian" and "Wagon Train" I want white shirts, a bandana, and jeans. I have only ever seen 1 stock saddle up close and in person. It was covered in mold.
    Way OT, but somewhere my dad has a photo of me and a group of us getting ready for a show. It had not rained for weeks (very rare occurrence here. We normally averaged 72 inches of rain a year) so it was dusty. Dad got all of us together and had us put on our show coats ("for a group photo" he said, "showing our hard work" he said. hah!)
    The developed photo (it took days to get your photo back from the developer)showed a bunch of identically dressed girls,(dressed for a formal hunt meet) with bandanas pulled up over their noses. Daddy got the photo blown up and entitled "The best dressed English bandiditos, preparing to do their job" as if were were a bunch of gentlemen highway men. Well "The Highwayman" is one of my dad's favorite poems.

  8. Your description of the photo is priceless, LOL!

    My daughter loves The Highwayman! She had a teacher in 7th grade who played the song for her class and they had to read it for Language Arts.

    It's definitely a different world in Western show attire. I have had students with outfits costing more than my old car!! Amazing. However, it unfortunately doesn't bode well to stand out from everyone else too much, which more conservative attire (white shirt, jeans ~ though most men can get away with that, along with a plain black hat and black chaps) would definitely do. Some of them are just over-the-top outrageous.

    There was a trend 15 or so years ago where sequins on Horsemanship jackets were all the rage. I thought they were gaudy, so I bought myself a beautiful black jacket that had a subtle paisley print done in metallic silver thread. Very understated, but it had some little bit of "splash" to it. I've still got it, and I still love it.

  9. Kaede, haha, "Shirts that went out of style after Disco imploded?"

    "The best dressed English bandiditos, preparing to do their job", even more--LOL!


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