Culpepper Equine Photography

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This weekend has been fabulous. Sunny and in the seventies, first horse show of the season, and we are all still in one piece! We brought four horses to the Red Bank Arena benefit horse show, three of which had never been to a show before. Crazy idea? Yes.

Despite one loose horse incident ( a first for me!) everything went well! I am so proud of how the horses handled themselves. Merlin, the old pro, did a fabulous job. Everyone was all over him at the show. Racey Falcolena did fabulous as well, taking a blue in her first horsemanship class. Jack was a little bit shell-shocked at the arena, but he rode well will no major incidents and trailered great. Our resident stallion, "Lethal Dose of Smoke" behaved well beyond our expectations. No spooking or silly behavior, just as well behaved and handsome as he always is at home! If I could implant his brain in to every horse I work with I would do it with no hesitations.

I could not be happier with how the weekend went. Great bonding time with our farm residents and horses, and now we have a better idea of what direction to take our show horses in. Now it's time to further enjoy this beautiful weather, recover from showing english yesterday, and give our horses some TLC.

My advice to everyone who shows: Never let the magic leave you. It's amazing that our horses let us clip them, load them in to a scary box that moves, go to strange places, ride them all day, and fuss over them without hating us. That they trust us to let us do all that is pure magic to me. And if your horse is not there yet, hang in there! Steady and gentle work will bring you there. Take your time and enjoy it.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Not On Our Time

The weather this weekend was beyond fabulous. It was magical ( over doing it, am I?  Nope!). Perfect temperature, about 68, and abundant sunshine. The horses were all lazy, basking in the sunshine and taking naps. I was recharged, and having a ton of fun showing our two sale horses to a few clients. I love schmoozing in the sunshine!

But, Columbia is a cruel mistress. Her lovely weather is only a tease.  I woke up to the cold drizzling rain this morning and remembered that spring is still a good two months away. But, regardless of the weather I pull myself out of bed like usual, put on my "Bogs" (If you don't have them you should get some!) and went on to the horses, feeding, pulling hay of the round bale and getting wet in the rain. 

While I was filling the fifth wheelbarrow full of hay, I noticed the nickering of the hungry horses staring at me forking hay, and the quiet peace of the farm. My horse, Denver, has particularly goofy looking bug-eyes when he is hungry... he always makes me laugh sticking his head as far as he can out of his stall and mouthing at thin air, bug -eyes bulging. There is always something to smile about, even on rainy days. 

 I am hardly ever in a hurry at the barn.That is partly because I have the luxury of that being my full time job, but I'd like to think that it is mostly because of the way the horses are. They are not on our schedule, and no matter how hard we try to get them to go by our watch, they won't. I love that. 

So here's my challenge to you. Next time you go to the barn take a minute to think about what drew you to horses in the first place. Be Silent, like they are. Meditate on that thought. Find joy in it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mix it up!

It's always good to learn new things, right? Well that goes for us trainers too! I am learning something new-- Barrel Racing. I've ridden a lot of horses in my lifetime but I have never ran barrels before. Time to learn!

Think about it : what if every single day you did the same exercise? You would not only get uneven muscle development but you would want to QUIT! What could you and your horse work on? Sometimes the daily routine can get a little boring for both of you. We need to keep our workouts varied in order to keep our horse interested. Be creative! Maybe your dressage horse wants to go out on the trails for a little while, or maybe your western pleasure mare would enjoy learning some reining maneuvers. Mix it up, work with a trainer you trust,  and have fun!

We want our horses to truly love what they do, and not get burnt out. Varying your exercises with your horse will not only be a lot of fun, but it will make both you and your horse a more well rounded team.