Sunday, January 8, 2012

What a beautiful day.

Today was one of those beautiful Florida winter days. Sammy had enjoyed most of the holidays off and now it was time to get back to work. We had the entire place to ourselves and we took full advantage of it. Not much of a post but do have pictures to share.

They really enjoy walking around the new pastures.  It was such a nice day to be out and about.

So many choices in where to ride.

But it was much too pretty of a day to stay indoors. They really enjoyed working outside of either ring.

But they did go into the outdoor ring for a bit so Allison could do some of her stretches.

Then they called it a day.

I'm sure this picture fits into the story somewhere but, it's mainly because his face is cute.

This picture would have been perfect if only Sammy had been yawning too.

He got a nice scrubby bath and went right back out to enjoy the sunshine.

It was a good day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

We'd rather dress up for Christmas than Halloween

It's been a tradition to get our barn Christmas pictures done early.  Coordinating schedules is always tricky so we are proud to say, we've gotten 2/3 of our shots done.  Noah is still left to do but that's a whole other story. I haven't quite figured out how I'll dress up Kate this year but I knew  I wanted some pretty sleigh bells for the boys.  I actually planned ahead and found a place that sent me the most perfect ones.  This is so not like me but...old age and everything I guess.  Sleigh bells were purchased and I do believe Sammy likes the jingle jangle.  He likes that noise a whole lot better than the sound of workers pressure washing the roof of the barn...but that is also another story.

We scouted out the trails and pastures and found a tree that would work for our planned decorations.  Sarah just knew we needed popcorn and cranberry strands in hope that the deer could then enjoy them. We use carrots and apples for the ornaments and gave up on any kind of edible tinsel.

Then end result:

Sammy was just not in the mood. I think he would rather of dressed up for Halloween and gone trick or treating.  Or maybe he feels like the rest of us....every year, the Christmas stuff just gets pulled out earlier and earlier. Or maybe he is just at that age where playing dress up is embarrassing. He is pretty good about letting you know how he feels about something.

But he came around once he figured out that the decorations were edible this year.

So of course he had to try to eat everything.  Or maybe he was just trying to straighten the bow. 

Yep, I'm sure that was it.  He was just trying to straighten it.  I'll keep his final picture a surprise.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Six Months Ago

Six months ago Anne Kenan was down for a long weekend. Allison had somehow managed to break her little toe and actually needed surgery to pin it back together.  Evidently little toes are not supposed to be at a right angle to the rest of your foot. Who does that?  And of course, she did this the very week Anne was coming and had booked her flight.  We were very lucky Keith was open to the idea of coming and riding Sammy with Anne. It was great seeing them work together to further Sammy's education.  On the last day she was here, they did this:

And then they did this:

He hasn't been jumped a lot since then but we do think he likes it, especially if I happen to be standing at the end of the line.

And now Anne will be back  down on Friday for another wonderful weekend.  We are so thankful we will not have the weather we had last weekend with non-stop rain and high winds. Allison and Keith will share some Sammy time.  I can't wait to see what they learn..  I'll be there with cameras in hand.

And I think Sammy says he's ready. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Year and a Half Later

Wow - Time has flown by and I have no idea how that happened.  I will try to keep this updated more regularly.  Sammy has really started to grow up with thanks to Team Sammy (Allison, Anne and Keith). Anne will be back down in a little over a week and it's been fun to see how far we have come.

This is Sammy now.

I can't believe he's 4 & 1/2  (do I really have to call him a rising 5 year old?).  Someone needs to come pick me up off the floor please. 

When we first started this backing process, this is what he looked like:

And does everyone remember this?

I look back at our first videos and see such progress. It is so hard to see it on a daily basis so I'm glad I have so many photos and videos to refer back to.  He has developed both in mind and muscle. Keith has done such a great job in both respects and Anne has been so instrumental in providing guidance and encouragement all along the way.  We are very fortunate to have such caring professionals in Sammy's life. I love the connection that Allison and Sammy are developing. They are really beginning to form a lasting partnership.

Here is what Sammy and Allison looked like last weekend.

And they do know how to canter:

Last weekend was such a nice weekend.  The weather is beginning to feel like there is a hope that fall is coming.  Allison took the opportunity to ride Sammy out in a field.  He has been turned out there but never actually been asked to work out there before.  It sure made for a great photo opportunity.

And of course there is video for that also.

I feel like he is really getting a solid foundation and now I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sammy went on a sleep-over adventure

The stars all aligned and Sammy had the chance to attend a local dressage show.  I thought it would be a perfect situation for his first adventure under saddle in a horse show environment.  A dressage show is so civilized with not so many people and they actually have ride times so the confusion in the warm up arena is kept to a minimum.  Keith was game, we were able to share a ride with Sarah, so off we went for a overnight sleep-over.  I like the whole horse show scene when we go as a non-competing entry.

He loaded with only a little hesitation which was very nice since he hadn't been in a trailer in over a year and  a half and we were off to the Clay County Ag Center.  We got the boys off the trailer, unpacked and boom, tacked up for Keith's big adventure.  He was a bit fresh but nothing Keith couldn't handle....right Keith?  Considering  that this was the first time he had been ridden away from home and  one of the few times he has actually been ridden in a ring with any company, he was a bit nervous.  He did settle in and ended up with some powerful trot and canter work of which I have no evidence of.  I was too busy watching and biting my nails to handle the camera.

Then he was introduced to the hissing, spitting hose at the wash rack.  What had we done to him?  He did get a bath without killing me in spite of the terrifying water hose but was glad to be back in his stall next to his Uncle Spenser.  Sarah and I went and grabbed a quick dinner then were back to check on them and tuck them in for the night.  We went for a long walk around the rings and then out to the big grass field where they both enjoyed the clover growing there.  We said good night after making sure they had full water buckets and plenty of hay.

It was nice to see them both upright and alert this morning.  Off we went for another walk a a bit of a longe and then back to wait on Keith.  Now we're getting to the part where I actually have some photographic proof. Keith made is way to walk around the covered arena first.  That was just like being at home but bigger.  And I had the wrong lens for pictures in there so, no evidence of that either.  But then they went outside to the warm up ring.  It had rained quite a bit over night and the footing was quite wet and sloppy.  Squishy and gross actually.  Sammy was horrified he was being asked to walk in such deplorable conditions.

And then....Keith expected him to trot in that slop. Really? He had been paying attention to the dressage people and tried to trot without actually touching the wet stuff.

But he did get over it and had some nice hunter style trots.  Sorry for the picture quality but you get the idea.

To complicate matters, there was also a BLM adoption taking place in the larger covered arena.  Sammy wanted to get them to come play with him. Goofy boy. Or maybe he was just encouraging them that being adopted could be a good thing. 

By this time, one of the rings was empty so they finished up by walking in the ring, calmly.

Sammy still doesn't understand why they had to mess with the alphabet but, he's learning to deal with it.

And then they were done.

He got a nice scrubby bath, the hose was not as frightening today, and back in his stall in front of his fan with plenty of hay and water.  It was a very positive experience for him and really fun day for all of us.  Thanks Keith for being there for us and for being exactly what Sammy needs.  You do good work. :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thanks to Sammy

I don't know how it happened that it has been so long since I posted on this blog.  I will go back and give details of our last year of progress however I first wanted to say something about the people I have met along the way.  There are a few people that I never would have met if it hadn't been for Sammy, and for this reason above all others, I am so very thankful I took a leap of blind faith and bred Lily to Escapade. A week ago, we lost one of those special people and it has left a huge hole in my life.  I don't know how someone that I saw just a handful of times but "talked" to  much more frequently electronically could come to be so special to both Allison and I,  but Jinx Springer sure did. We first met her when Sammy was in Ocala because of the fracture he had to his sesamoid bone. She came to meet Sammy (and us too I'm sure) and there began a fast friendship.  She was so encouraging and somehow managed to make us feel special, even though she was the special one.  She could tell a great story and loved to laugh and cut up and as my mom would say, she was good people.  We visited her several times and enjoyed meeting her horses and the babies as they came.  I have taken some of my favorite pictures there visiting her.  She had a beloved mare who was also named Lily.  She was no bigger than my Lily and maybe a little rounder, but she was a beautiful Connemara/TB cross.
I think her Lily enjoyed a joke as much as Jinx did.
Lily had a beautiful colt by Rio Grande.  He was not to be with her long but he was loved.

And probably one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken was of her Escudo II filly resting her head on the Rio Grande colt.  It was just a lucky shot of a lovely moment.

Jinx also had a Pablo gelding that was the same age as Sammy.  She loved him dearly.

 Jinx and her family (both 2 and 4 legged) moved away and we didn't see her except for last year we met in Charleston.  She had gone through a battle with breast cancer but had come out on the other side.  The three of us talked and laughed through 2 days and got caught up on each others lives.  What a great visit we had. Later that year, she found out the cancer had returned in unexpected ways. She fought hard and bravely but lost that fight last week.  She will be missed by both Allison and I for a long time to come.  We are thankful we had her in our lives and we are much better for having known her.  We will miss her and think of her often and raise a toast in her honor. I choose to picture her galloping through fields riding again and jumping those fences off her eye with those horses she has loved and who have gone before her. I have no doubt they were there to meet her at the bridge. Godspeed Jinx, until we meet again.  Would you give my Lily some extra kisses for me please? Thank you Sammy for introducing us.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


We are progressing slowly but surely.  Allison and I are doing this together so Sammy's ride times are limited to the times we can both be there. As a result, yesterday was her 6th ride on him in 2 weeks.  He seems to be getting stronger and straighter and they both are still getting used to each other.  Allison says he feels bigger, maybe all our walking is building muscle. Yesterday was our first  full day to be there together and it was a perfect day. We played with Remy first while the horses were being brought in and were eating. He has stolen the jolly ball as his own and will chase it and bring it back. 

He loves the pond and being in the water
And if he can chase something you've thrown in the water, even better


 He is a happy barn dog.  He turned 1 year old on Friday.  Hard to believe.  Happy Birthday Remy!

  Then it was Sammy's turn.  I ground drove him a little going from the covered arena out to the outdoor ring and Allison took a turn to see what he felt like. Then it was time to get on.  He still doesn't want to stand still mounting but we worked on that a little and hopefully he gets it now.  It was the day Allison was going to ride him from the covered arena to the outdoor ring if she felt comfortable doing it.  She knows by now how far she can push herself and still be productive and you never know until you feel the horse beneath you if the time is right.  She was nervous about it but felt it was time so out they went. I have spared you the video of the entire ride but here is the important part.  I'm still working on my video skills. It's very hard to watch and record at the same time and be steady about it.  Sorry.

But they did it.  And it was a good thing. And now we'll see what today brings.  Happy Easter to all.

And Happy Birthday to Sammy who will be 3 tomorrow. How did that happen?