Hiatus… Over!

 

If ever there was a theme of “It didn’t go as planned,”

Vegas practiced his modeling skills while we were on break...

Vegas practiced his modeling skills while we were on break…

 it would be this year.  Due to some personal health issues, I spent the vast majority of the year unable to work, let alone ride. By the time the ducks had mostly been rounded back up into the pond and everything fell into line,  it was time for Pumpkin Spice everything to descend, the leaves to change, and my favorite holiday to come; Halloween! While fall is absolutely spectacular around these parts, the beauty is tainted around the fringe with the knowledge that after that last leaf drops and the spectacular oranges, reds and yellows fade to brown, winter will soon descend and the fields will turn to cascades of white snow, or worse; churning torrents of mud. We equestrians are unable to properly enjoy winter with hungry horses to feed, after all. But, I digress. For more about that, check back in at the end of the blog post.

Keno shows off his rearing skills for the camera.

Keno shows off his rearing skills for the camera.

The horses seemed entirely unaffected by the reprieve, and went as far as to enjoy it, no doubt (said tongue in cheek, I’m fairly certain Rain gives me the side eye when I go in the barn to ensure there is no saddle in my arms).  There was one neat side effect of not being able to ride, and that was that Keno turned into such a neat little trick pony! He learned so many different things, including the Spanish Walk, lay down, rear, and improved his jumping as well. I’m working on some other things and he is getting better at his liberty work. He also has been driving some, but due to weather and work duties he’s been chilling in his field. It’s good weather to start playing again.

Atlas went back into professional training in April and will stay there until he sells or goes into a free lease with a qualified rider. I love him dearly, but at the moment we are not a good fit (which is no fault of his own) and he needs to have a rider who can utilize his talent. Hopefully he will find his match soon. If you are interested, shoot me an email.

(Please note, not me or my horse (though it is my photo)) One of the amazing horses showing at the Summer Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park.

(Please note, not me or my horse (though it is my photo) and not for sale) One of the amazing horses showing at the Summer Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Initially, when January 1st rolled over, the calendar was packed full of riding and events. After an injury, personal health issues, and then finding out there was no possibility I could ride until about August, there were two options: be miserable or find other things to do that involved horses but not riding. To combat this, I started focusing more on photography. By chance, one of the photographers at Shawn McMillan Photography was nice and let me shadow them one day at the Hunter/Jumper summer series. Another time, I sat with one of the photographers at the Kentucky Classique Horse Trial and learned more about what eventers are looking for. It gave me an opportunity to refine my technique and while there is still so very, very much to learn, I feel I grew quite a bit in the last few months with my camera. Since then, I’ve been doing shoots for friends.

Carleigh Fedorka and Nixon rock it at the New Vocations Hunter Pace.

Carleigh Fedorka and Nixon rock it at the New Vocations Hunter Pace.

The opportunity arose to volunteer as a photographer at the New Vocations Hunter Pace, where the proceeds were used to raise funds for retired thoroughbred race horses that are prepped for a second career. They also hold the Charity Thoroughbred Horse Show and there is also the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program in place to show and earn points. Yes, I realize this is a Mountain Horse farm, but Atlas is an off the track thoroughbred and this is very near to my heart. These horses give their all and have a lot of talent and potential to be successful in another career. This is hopefully the beginning of a wonderful volunteer experience with them – I’ve been invited back to help with photographing the horses that are ready to be placed up for adoption. (PSA over.)

The first two magazines I've ever been published in!

The first two magazines I’ve ever been published in!

Ever since I was young, I loved writing and wanted to be a published writer. That milestone has been met! The first article I’ve written was published in the Rocky Mountain Horse Association magazine, Spring 2016, “Equine Marketing”. It is a condensed version of the Equine Marketing 101 Article. In Summer 2016, two articles were published: “Competing on a Budget” and “Trail Obstacle for Pennies on the Dollar.” I’ve been renewed as a member of the board responsible for the magazine and will continue in to 2017 – there are already several great magazines by all the writers planned for this year and next! The next article that will be in the Fall issue may have something to do with my enormous dislike of winter and everything that accompanies it… They wouldn’t accept a 10 page diatribe on why I should give up and move to Florida or Arizona instead of just grumble about it, so instead it will be on how to survive winter when you despise it.

Hopefully, over time there will be other magazines I can publish my articles with, but I am very happy to write for the magazine responsible for the breed I love so dearly! In addition, when not running around like crazy I’ve been chipping away at the Equine Marketing 101 book as well as a separate novel. They are unfortunately regularly placed on the back burner as I other things have shorter deadlines that require completion first, but I try and grab a few pages here and there. I’m hoping to have them completed by mid-2017. (Maybe writing this down and putting it out into the universe will make it come true? Where are you accountability…)

These articles will be published on the blog over the next few weeks and will also be available on the website in the original form via PDF soon as well. It may take a bit, as it sure is pretty weather out there… 😉

Happy New Year from Singlefoot Farm!

It seems inconceivable that 2016 stretches before us, a clean slate with so many opportunities ahead. There are so many things in the works for the farm, some that cannot be shared yet. The horses are enjoying some time off before Vegas starts under saddle in a few weeks and Rain and I start conditioning to event next year.

The weather has been very strange – warm but quite wet. I felt like soon I was going to have to give water wings to the horses in the barn so they could swim if they needed! Now the deluge of rain has stopped and the cold has set in. The horses are blanketed up and happy.

IMG_0504I had several people ask about the clips I have done on my horses, some more negative than others. I have been working on a post on how and why I clip, and how to clip. It is an absolute personal decision and not one to be made lightly – it has a lot of work to keep the horse from staying too warm or getting too cold. But with show season running towards us, Rain and I both need to get in shape and that is difficult to do when she is sweaty and I spend hours cooling her out. More to come later!

The other fun thing that is in process is writing my first book. There has been so much support towards the Equine Marketing articles, it has spurred me to write a long version of it – Equine Marketing 101: How to Sell Your Horse is in the works. It’s expanded to over 10,000 words and will continue to grow over the next months.

IMG_1997Finally, I invested in a new camera to help with the blog, website, and the new publications I am working on. It’s been a dream to own a DSLR and now it has come to fruition! The camera comes with a steep learning curve but it has been a blast. I’ve already done several shots with Vegas, allowing me to actually get some good photos of the three year old who has not had updated pictures in quite a while. I’ve also used the opportunity to grab some photos of friends and their horses as well.

2015 was filled with several different emotions. Joy from starting a discipline I’ve always wanted Rain Bridleto participate in, pain as I not only had knee surgery in April that kept me out of riding for the first half of the year, and then when I received a concussion when Rain and I parted ways jumping. Elation from being able to achieve a dream I’ve wanted to do for years – participating in Breyerfest, sidesaddle no less!

Every year is an opportunity to grow and develop, and this year will be no different. I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and stay tuned for more news in the next couple of weeks!

Planning for 2015…

CJ at the Summer Celebration in 2012

I am sitting here, planning on what to do in the 2015 show season, and nostalgia has overtaken me! I realized the other day that none of my show results came over during the merge from the old website to the new one. So as I transferred it over, it was so nice to sit back and look at each placing and the memories that came with it. Times got busy and it was a transition over to a new job and less time for horses. The herd was thinned out, and all my show horses found new homes, leaving my three year old and the mare who started it all.

It’s been nearly two years since the horses on the farm have seen the inside of the show ring, and that is all about to change. And I am happy to rejoin the UMH circuit, especially after seeing what they are doing to help develop the youth program.

This past weekend, I was able to spend a bit of time at the United Mountain Horse Youth Clinic at Stoner Ridge Farm. The entire day was dedicated to coaching the next generation of the horse world, all at no cost to the participants. There were quality instructors and a judge there that donated their time to provide a foundation for the show ring, trail obstacle, and

Autumn and Silky at the UMH Youth Clinic

equitation classes. Then there was a fun show at the end where everyone got to show what they learned. It was a good time had for all and there were between 18-20 youth that brought horses and participated. It was a great thing to see!

I am happy to be a part of this circuit and I can’t wait for the 2015 season to start. Our first show should be at the UMH Fonzie Graham Memorial on May 29th and 30th, and the first ACTHA ride will hopefully be 6/5 at the Kentucky Equestrian Center AOC.

Happy Showing!

Bringing Rockies to Rolex – Mounted Stewards!

It’s the beginning of the year, and now is a time to reflect on all the things I was so thankful to be a part of. One thing I did not get a chance to write about was participating in Rolex as a Mounted Steward.

For those who don’t know what that is – they are also called outriders, the people who sit on horseback to gain a better vantage point and watch the horses go through the maze that is the cross country course. It is roped off so the horses can travel through undisturbed, but there is no possible way to keep spectators out completely so there are openings in the ropes that people can pass through. These are stationed throughout the course, making for a difficult time when there are well conditioned, extremely fast horses galloping through the lanes at spaced intervals and up and down hills that most people can’t see. When you add in people who have never touched a horse and don’t realize what a threat they can pose if they were to gallop down a hill and crash into a person, it can be a nail-biting thought. That is where the outriders come in.

Outriders see what people on foot cannot – the horse passing from one jump to another. They gain a very agile, mobile, vantage point and have loud whistles where they can alert the volunteers that run the gates to close it before the horse passes through. They also offer a contact point for people who may have never seen a horse up close or touched it. In years past, they also caught the horses when a rider and their mount parted ways during or after a fence, but that is not typically the role of the outrider any longer considering just how fit those horses are. They also help crowd control in case of an emergency.

I have been to Rolex for many years and always dreamed of being part of it. One year I was talking to a woman who was an outrider and asked how one would join. She directed me to a contact and we parted ways after a while watching the horses go through, one after another. Time passed and I forgot about it completely, swept back up into the horse world but all the while dreaming it would be part of my life one day.

Imagine my surprise when spring came about and it turned out I knew a contact in the outrider program! After being accepted, there we were – getting ready for Rolex. I took Rain to the bombproofing clinic, rode her continuously, and attempted to prepare for the crowd of nearly 50,000 spectators that would roll through the course throughout the day. I prepared her as best I could and continually added obstacles and interactions, still knowing that on the big day there would no doubt be things I could never adequately prep for. And I was right.

After settling in at the grounds at the Horse Park, I took Rain on a romp around the newly set up cross country course with a group of seasoned riders. We trotted (well, I gaited) and cantered the beautifully manicured fields with brightly decorated jumps. In years past, I had been on the jump crew and helped mulch those beautiful fences with clusters of delicate flowers adding to the decor. I knew just how much work went in to creating the course and had to take a moment to appreciate it. Rain seemed a little excited but settled down after working in circles and asking for her mind to engage and focus on me. I felt encouraged and knew that tomorrow would be the big day. If all went right, no one would truly notice our presence, besides the pretty chocolate mare I sat upon – they would be locked on to the gorgeous horses who soared over the fences like they were mere cross-rails, not immense obstacles that posed questions mere mortals would quake at. I left Rain to settle in her stall and hoped I would get some sleep.

It came fleetingly, but sleep did come and it was time. After braiding Rain and searching desperately for clippers (why is it always something??), we were in our morning briefing. I don’t believe time passed in seconds, more like minutes and hours in how quickly everything happened. Rain and I were swept into a group with hunt riders who had nearly lost count of how many times they had participated. I was lucky to be a rookie in such experienced company. My mare was good with them, but once they left to go to their posts, she was a bit overwhelmed. We were stationed at a place with an overhead camera that followed the horses from one jump to another on a long wire, making a loud whoosh as it passed. I’m pretty sure she thought we were experiencing the apocalypse and that the world would soon come crashing down around her.

She neighed and showed everyone her spectacular counting skills, not caring they were not much appreciated. Thankfully we had another horse come join us and she settled in with her new best friend. By the time the afternoon session came in, she had settled and even decided to take a nap! I do wish I had a photo of the surprise on my face as she laid down in the middle of the grass by the appropriately named hammock jump.
We came through unscathed and in a rush, it was over and my calm if not a bit exhausted mare was walking back to the barn with me. We were invited back the next year and I have some new arrows in my quiver to show her some new objects and ideas to better prepare her for next year. I have just filled out my application for volunteering this April and cannot wait for the whirlwind to commence again!

 

Spring Is Here! Time to Brush off the Cobwebs…

The name of the game this weekend is bombproofing!

We are at least in good shape if it rains!

The KY Mounted Police is holding a civilian bombproofing clinic at Masterson Station Park. With Rolex coming up (and the 50,000 spectators it draws on Saturday alone…) I figured the more I can expose Rain to, the merrier.

I am a firm believer in desensitizing my horses, especially my show mounts. I know people joke about horse eating plastic bags – but I have witnessed a white plastic bag swept by the wind, literally dive-bomb a horse like it was possessed at the North American Livestock Expo. The horse bolted sideways and thankfully the rider had a good seat and stayed on. The school horse I was holding pricked his ears but decided it was too much effort to move.

Rain has never been one to fall for the plastic bag trick – instead it was always something to be eaten. My favorite memory of her at a clinic was, as I sidepassed her down the rail at Grasslands II arena, she knocked everything down off the rail and then proceeded to pick up a pool ring toy and carry it in her mouth as she continued.

My second favorite memory at a different clinic... Who knew cones were so yummy??

I am nervous, but excited about the prospect of being a mounted steward. I have enormous faith in my mare or I wouldn’t do it at Rolex, but it’s all about prior preparation!

 

Lord help us all if people give her treats…

 

 

The Road to Rolex


Sure wish I could jump that high!

For years, I have been in the stands and on the course of Rolex, watching the horses jump fences taller than me. It was obvious that was never in my future (darn these short legs and inability to jump more than 2 feet!), but there was something else that fascinated me – the outriders. They spent all day on horseback with the largest crowd of people milling about, making sure the general public was safe when those horses came galloping through on the cross country course.

It was another of those things on my invisible bucket list. And this year, I will finally achieve it! A friend who lived across from the barn I trained at was a regular mounted steward at Rolex and there just so happened to be an opening for me to go.

So this year, Rain and I will be hitting that big stretch of turf from the start of the rides to the end, and I’m so excited! We will be representing the Rocky Mountain Horse. I’m not sure if we are the first, but I hope I can start a new, fun tradition!

 

 

Happy Birthday to Our Working Student!!!

I worked Autumn so hard the first day she was here, she crashed and fell asleep on Rain!

I just want to take a moment to share a little about our hardworking student, Autumn. She has come out to our farm since she was 11, and has soaked up any bit of information she can learn about them. She has a passion for them just as I do, and it was so nice to foster and help her develop that drive.

 

Autumn had so much she wanted to do and learn. You could not pull her off a horse, even if she was exhausted (as is seen in the photo on the left!). She helped me clean stalls and groom horses in exchange for as much ride time as she could get.

 

Fast forward 4 years and she’s just turned 15! I don’t know where the years have gone. She has matured into a wonderful young lady and, thanks to the generosity of the United Mountain Horse Association, will be able to show free all year in the 12-17 class! It is a wonderful program they have started to allow youth to show free all year. I am ecstatic to see this move.

Autumn’s first show was this past February, the UMH Youth Fun Show and Clinic. She was able to meet other youth her age who were in love with the breed as much as she was. Clinics were given by Wilda Derickson of Van Bert Farms, Jackie Clark, 3 time UMH World Champion Youth Showmanship winner, and Charlie DeAtley and Robert Lawson of Stoner Ridge Farm.

Autumn did well and it ignited a new fire in her to compete. I cannot wait to cheer her on in her first real class! Autumn and Frosty even made the UMH Youth Facebook Cover! To say I am proud of her is a complete and utter understatement.

So, cheers to Autumn and a happy birthday to her!

Long Overdue Update

Quite a bit of time has gone by since the last update, and there are many things to share!

Singlefoot Farms has Mini Mania!

First off, I would like to welcome the newest member of the herd – Nostalgia’s Keno. Keno is a miniature gelding who is just a complete ham. He has been driven extensively and later today we will be hitching him with my new cart! He’s a splash bay who is just absolutely precious. My eventual plan is to break Mac to drive and use them as a pair to do some basic farm work.

It has been a dream of mine since I was about 8 years old to have my own driving horse, but my old pony was retired by the time I got a cart. So it stayed a dream, until now. I finally decided to just go ahead and bit the bullet and purchased a nice harness from Comfyfit and a cart from GS Carts in Iowa. I am very pleased with the quality and cannot wait until we get to hitch him today!

I am so pleased to have my adorable pair of minis together now and I think they make a fine addition to the herd here at the farm.

 

Horse Sales

Zero Gravity and Mid-Summer’s Night sold last summer and fall, respectively. They are both doing fabulously in their new homes and I am still able to see Roxie at the shows. She has picked up a few blues with her fabulous rider, Zoni. I am so excited that I can keep an eye on that pair!

Bailey went home with Donna, who purchased Darby last year. He is growing and maturing and doing fantastically.

We are now at the herd we wish to be at for now, but we still have access to plenty of well trained horses for sale through our friend, Stoner Ridge Farm. I am more than happy to answer any questions as I have ridden nearly all of their sales horses extensively. Robert has an excellent training philosophy and consistently turns out beautifully trained, soft horses with a great gait. Please call me at 859.771.7555 if you have any questions!

Desert Sands and Warmth

In January, I was able to make the trek back to Arizona to visit my two favorite desert Rockies and their owner, Tamara. I was able to hit the trails on both horses and get to ride some gorgeous QH as well. It was a fabulous trip and wonderful reprieve in the midst of a disgusting and cold winter.

I have decided that one day, Singlefoot Farms will relocate to the warm sands of Arizona. The business plan will include a tack store (you can see our online tack store Spur Stop Tack for our sales now), and a boarding barn. I am very excited to work towards this goal and will provide more information when I can!

ACTHA Rides Are Coming Up!

We missed a few of the ACTHA rides in KY earlier this year, but we are planning on going back full force. Mid-Summer’s Night and Rising Wind will be competing – with myself (Lisa) on Mid-Summer’s Night, and my father on Rising Wind.

For anyone who has not competed in an ACTHA Ride, let me just say how much fun they are! We have been competing with ACTHA since 2009.

The ride is between 4-6 miles, with predetermined obstacles staged throughout the ride. They can be interspersed as the ride host desires – all at the beginning, at the end, or equally distributed throughout the miles. It generally takes a few hours. All riders, be it open, pleasure, junior, or buddy, can ride together as they please. Generally they are separated into small groups and are given ride times. Group 1 goes out at 11:00, group 2 at 11:30, etc to make sure that there is no backup. The rides are clearly marked and obstacles are given the morning of the ride.

It’s gorgeous out at the Kentucky Equestrian Center. Pilot Knob, a high point of the Mountain Range nearby, is clearly visible and provides a breathtaking backdrop to the show ring and trails. There are plenty of natural water obstacles on the course. Each obstacle is numbered 1-6, and a judge and scribe will be waiting for you at that point. All competitors go one at a time when they reach the designated obstacle. After everyone in your group goes, you can continue down the trail to the next point.

When everyone is done, there is a vet check to make sure your horse is sound and the heart rate is not abnormally elevated. Then, you get to hang out and wait for scores to be tabulated. It’s a great way to get to know quite a few people with the same passion! There are riders that compete for national high points as well as others who just love to trail ride. There will be different breeds and disciplines  – it is so neat to see everyone come together to enjoy the friendly competition and fun.

Anyone can compete – this is not just for upper level riders! There are different levels of obstacles for the different groups.

If you are interested, join www.actha.us and sign up for the ride! There are a few days left, and you can see some very gorgeous scenery the foothills of the Appalachians has to offer.

Congratulations Are in Order!

First off, it is time to welcome a new client, Donna Crocker and her new filly HBF Hidden Agenda! Darby is a four year old chocolate filly by Merry Go Blue and is a half sister to both Blue Note Jazz and Zero Gravity. She is a smart, smooth girl who was consigned by us for Nancy Copland and Stoner Ridge Farm. She now joins the herd at SFF to brush up on her training and to fine tune her trail riding skills before heading to South Carolina to her new home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, congratulations are in order to Blue Note Jazz, who captured the 2012 ACTHA Kentucky Pleasure High Point award! It is amazing to see what these Mountain Horses can do. As our first homebred gelding, it is great to see the product of our breeding program out there thriving. Many thanks to Stoner Ridge Farm for Robert’s excellent training, and to Dianne and Jeff Gotschall for allowing us to show this magnificent boy.

But wait… there’s more! Jazz also competed to his first major win – the 2012 UMH WC 4-gait class, with Charlie DeAtley as his rider. His smooth, rocking chair canter and Charlie’s great ride brought him to the championship, with Rising Wind as reserve WGC in the class.

Jazz is now back with his owner, Dianne, trail riding all over Ohio and Kentucky.

For those interested in a carbon copy of this boy, check out Zero Gravity, his full brother. He is also chocolate with some chrome. His temperament is outstanding and he will certainly be a looker going down the trail. He is listed at $2,500 and is pictured below.

There is a lot going on out at the farm. If you are interested in any of our horses for sale, don’t hesitate to call!