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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
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Sail A Big Yacht. Drive An F1 Car. Ride a Grand Prix Horse.

It's always fun to play with the 'big boys' in any sport. Who wouldn't like to try their hand at handling the best of the best. Many companies make a ton of money by offering folks the opportunity to do just that.   This Grand Prix horse with his GP rider Paul have worked together for over 22 years..still going strong.   For a considerable fee you can visit a racetrack and take a turn driving your dream Ferrari. Under supervision of course. Sailing the seas as part of an experienced crew for a few hours aboard a racing yacht that cuts through the waves like butter is also an expensive 'experience' that can be purchased if you have the right access. What about riding a Grand Prix dressage horse? Can you go out and do that, even if you can't afford to buy one for yourself? The answer of course is yes. It is entirely possible to work with a dressage trainer that has a suitable Grand Prix schoolmaster available for lessons. Naturally, this time will be spent und

Folks Are Going 'Mondo Bonkers' For Hay Supplies

  Organic Hay at Willowview Hill Farm, NY   It's been twenty years (or thereabouts, as Peter Wright would say in his Yorkshire accent on The Yorkshire Vet, my latest binge watch on Acorn), since we began proudly producing and marketing our organic hay . There have been years before now when supplies of hay were low in our region of the N.E. U.S.A. One year it was the awful slimy army worms that devoured much of the County's hay supply, drought, monsoon summer rains have all played their part in Mother Nature's symphony of the unexpected. A farmer's lot in life. One neighbor even had his second cut horse hayfields trampled and chowed down by a herd of wandering bison that had escaped their keeper for months.  But in 2020, along with everything else that went sideways, the year brought little rain and much drought to the N.E. Connecticut was as dry as the dust bowl, grasslands laid bare in MA, VT and NH. Here in Stamford, New York, in the micro-climate of heaviest rains i

Cantering Into 2021 at Willowview Hill Farm

  A Covid vaccine is just the jab needed to get the job of horse clinics and horse training back to person to person. Hopefully the vaccine roll out will speed up in time for Spring.   Ever the optimists, the team here at Willowview Hill Farm has made the decision to re-open for hay sales April 1st, along with some new horse training events from May 28th. These announcements were apparently eagerly anticipated by our clientele as video submissions for entering clinics were rapidly received and slots for riding opportunities quickly filled. Our weekend options for clinic giving in 2021 are almost full! If you are able to work on weekday dates we may be able to accommodate Spring and Summer 2 day clinics. Please ask. We are also hoping to attend shows in our coaching capacity as things get under way, and we thank our regular students for their patience over the last 12 months!   Here are details of our WVH Summer Series on Facebook ( please note 2/3 will be held off-site as noted): https

What's New In Dressage Dynamics

Tradition and classicism will always be front and center in the verbiage of dressage trainers but what does it all really mean. Sport versus art, art versus sport. The same difference?     The year of 2020 has heralded changes that almost no-one saw coming to the world of dressage. Cancellation of iconic events such as Hickstead, UK, currently being re-birthed; Olympics in Tokyo re-scheduled for 2021; the Paris 2014 announced location at the grand palace at Versailles; the USEF's decision to negate recognition of one of the largest U.S. equestrian facilities recently constructed in Ocala by denying recognized competition dates to the venue. The list is endless. Clinicians, coaches and competitors all found themselves in transition. Previously constantly on the move literally, whether it was riding or walking circles in an arena giving or receiving instruction, to flying the not so open skies, professionals found their income severely depleted with the inability to reach their clien

What Olympians Know That Maybe You Don't

    Like many professional trainers, I've spent a fair amount of time during my career both listening from chairs and taking direct instruction in the saddle with Olympic level clinicians. I've also been blessed to have friends that compete at this iconic level in other sports such as rowing and swimming. My time spent with these bright stars of international sport has always been highly educational and I have always been fascinated by how they manage to achieve their heady levels of success.   Whatever the sport, the answers are similar. I thought it might be helpful to share what I've learned here in my blog, as amazingly the attributes needed to achieve your goals are surprisingly simple to master once you have the keys. 1. Accept Mistakes This may be a bit harder for some folks than others. The ability to accept mistakes is hard for those that are perfectionists at heart. In my clinic giving role I have seen many riders that exhibit the signature of being over-achievers

When Your New Horse Goes Wrong

The arrival of your newly acquired horse is a special moment that you will never forget. How smoothly things go after your horse steps off the trailer is in large part up to you.                                       Akiko and Gambol's Genevieve It's typical for horses that have not had much exposure off the farm where they were born to exhibit much anxiety when they find themselves in the hands of new people at a strange and foreign location with different horses in the vicinity. Introducing a horse to anything new should be done slowly and with every effort to take things step by step so as not to heighten anxiety, and done in such a manner that encourages trust. Horses do not do bad things with intent, they do not plot and plan to be difficult. They are simply looking for guidance as to what they are supposed to do and seek ways to feel safe. Many people consider themselves more 'experienced' in training horses than they truly are when it comes to understanding the e