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To Be Honest..Winter Dressage Workshops in Upstate NY Not The Best Idea

Paul and I just finished up our first November weekday dressage workshop program here at Willowview Hill Farm, Stamford, NY.    The weather was temperamental this 'sticks' month of November. Temperatures ranging between 60 degrees and below freezing with snow, and the workshop program was subject to some flexibility on the schedule as a result. Perhaps starting at 8am at this time of year was a bit ambitious given the season. The weekday factor also was perhaps not such as good idea either as some clinic students told us they would love to have participated if it had been over weekends rather than weekdays. The majority of those pre-registered showed up but the numbers were lower than we anticipated overall. I think perhaps winter dressage workshops in Upstate NY are not the best idea. Having said that, the students that did participate seemed to enjoy a fun time and hopefully learned a lot. " It was a lot of fun as lessons with Paul and Nikki always are. My horse was a bi
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What's The Difference Between Boarding and Horse Training Board

Sometimes during the course of doing business you realize that there is an area of your endeavors that requires clarification. In this case, it is the difference between a barn that offers regular boarding and one that offers a specialist discipline training for horses.   Leave the trainer to do their job.. Horse owners, especially those newer to the horse training industry, seem to be confused on this topic. Not everyone has sent a horse out for training or realizes that there is a difference in how a public and private equestrian facility is utilized and services that are offered.  Hopefully this broad explanation will help. It is not 'cut and dried' as some business operators mix the two. Perhaps that is the reason for some of the misunderstanding. Regular Boarding If you choose a barn to board your horse, then it is likely the responsibility for its care, custody and control will be on the shoulders of the barn operator.  This boarding option usually allows you both access

Time To Dance Dressage Again

    2021 seems to have been a particularly long and difficult year thus far. Obviously Covid hasn't helped much. The loss of my father just before Christmas 2019 has taken its toll and even the passage of time barely dulls the feeling of loss. On top of that the July colic of our 2nd statesman Grand Prix horse Tigger that required the decision to euthanize him still has both hubbie and I reeling. Personal health issues, haymaking weather making the season inordinately long and the like, have all hampered attempts to get back on the horse.   I'm just reviewing Robert Dover's new book for Catskill Horse magazine," The Gates to Brilliance." I suppose in a way in dressage terms I grew up with Robert's influence. The 1980's to early 2000's were a time of international competition and travel for me. Horses were very much front and center of a busy working life and hubbie Paul and I enjoyed many adventures both together and separately throughout those decade

Online Expansion For Horse Trainers ~ Integrity & Intent

I was recently approached by a well-known dressage trainer to compile his articles on dressage training to formulate an online training course. Well at least I think that was the scope of work - it was all a bit airy fairy. One of our senior Grand Prix horses that we recently lost to colic. As many of my readers know, aside from dressage training I am also a professional content writer and PR/Marketing professional. I field many such calls from varietal trainers worldwide across many disciplines, equine and other industry manufacturers and service providers, all interested in capitalizing on the spend of the consumer through video content and instruction. This particular call was different to most, in that the trainer was totally uninterested in any writing help at all. It was almost impossible to get a word in edgewise during the conversation. He spoke partly to horses he was longing one after another, and partly in a dictatorial manner to me. A strange way to conduct a conversation.

Reflections on Losing A Grand Prix Partner

I knew I would have to write about the loss of Tiberio Lafite aka Tigger at some point, but didn't really expect it to take me 2 months.    Our beloved partner since buying him age 5, through to his elderly statesman years at 26, Tigger brought much joy to our lives and gamely adapted himself to all our human demands.   Many horse owners know that sinking feeling, when you find your horse laying down unable to get up. The moment when the world literally stops for a second, and everything seems to be happening in slow motion, as your brain fights to figure out what to do next to do the right thing. For us it was a sultry, humid day in July. Paul went out to the fields to do an a.m. check of the water troughs and see that the horses that had enjoyed the freedom of a night outside in the paddocks and were all AOK.  From the windows of our home and the security system we have in place, we had already seen the horses were all up and about doing just fine by all appearances earlier that

Should You Plan For A Hay Shortage This Season?

Fields of 2nd cut horse hay at Willowview Hill Farm, Stamford, NY     We have been producing organically grown hay for over 22 years, and 2021 has been by far our busiest ever. The hay has been flying out the door like never before. The expression, 'buy now or cry later' has become a regular post on our social media platform. There is simply an unprecedented demand for 1st cut this year, and like many farmers around, the yield this year was not the best. Our fellow farmers in CT and MA, saw a poor 1st cut due to the damage done to the grasses by last year's drought conditions. Meantime further north, NH, VT and ME saw drought conditions this Spring so yields were down there as well.  On our home turf here in the Catskill Mountains in NY, we check multiple weather forecast daily during hay season to hunt down those blocks of 3 good days of sunshine, that will be sufficient to cure our hay to our required 12-14% moisture by Mother Nature. It can be cured faster using applicat

When To Start Your Homebred Horse

Many horse owners embark on the journey of horse breeding and an inescapable fact is sooner or later the progeny of your beloved mares will need to be started under saddle. Keeping one of your homebreds to replace your aging personal horse is a common reason to hang on to a home bred horse. This photo is Tiberio Lafite aka Tigger, my husband's Grand Prix horse that he trained from start to finish. Tigger is now 28 years young, (sometimes he still believes he is 3), and in retirement. The plan to hold back a home-produced young performance prospect as a replacement was always in the cards.   Even if your business plan is set to market the foals rather than raise the young horses to adulthood, there are often issues such as injury, market changes or simply the temptation to wait and see if a particular horse is one you'd like to keep for yourself, that result in a homebred horse in your own backyard to start yourself. Over the decades as a horse breeder, first Hanoverians, then D