Tag Archives: Equitation

Famous Last Words: Equestrian Style

I thought to cheer you all up (and after that thrillingly long hiatus) I’d share a few funny possible equestrian ‘famous last words’:

  • “Oh he doesn’t need ear puffies, he was fine yesterday”
  • “I don’t think I’m going to lunge him today, I’m sure he’ll be fine after that month off!”
  • “It’s going to rain? Quick, open that umbrella!”
  • “Oh its fine, your boyfriend can ride him without a helmet, experience, or supervision. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
  • “Well I saw it work in this movie once, so I’m going to try it.”
  • “This guy at the dude ranch told me it worked with his horses, so I’m going to try it in my clinic with George Morris.”
  • “I’m sure you can text and ride, it’s not like that’s as unsafe as texting and driving.”

Got any great ‘last words’ to add? Tell me int the comments!

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The Name Game

Horses are named all kinds of things: some aim for the more classic names like “Spot” for an appaloosa, “Blaze” for a horse with a blaze, and so on. As times have changed, so have names. Like an opinionated horse woman, I have formed strong opinions about names use given to horses: some are cute, and some just aren’t. Here are kinds of names I adore, and three I truly hate:

Love:

  1. Famous People. Having ridden a ‘Anne Sullivan’, a ‘ Sammy David Jr.’, and a ‘Gandhi’, I will admit that there is something innately cute about horses named after famous people (given that they are not named after someone bad). Naming your horse after Barack Obama in my eyes is too cheesy, and naming your horse ‘OJ Simpson’ shows a lack of taste…but hearing horses named ‘Clark Kent’, ‘Jane Eyre’, and ‘John Wayne’ do make me smile. Naming your mare ‘Helen Keller’ isn’t recommended….just for superstitious reasons.
  2. Food. Admit it, when ponies are named after food, it can be hopelessly adorable. My own horse, Crackerjack fits his nam perfectly. I’ve sat on several horses named ‘Popcorn’, ‘Oreo’, ‘Spud’, and even a few ponies named ‘Hershey’. You can never really go wrong with food names: even ‘Figgy Pudding’ puts a smile on your face.
  3. Classic. When in doubt, the tried-and-true names are sometimes the best option. ‘Splash’, ‘Dancer’, and ‘Spot’ are all classic names that you can feel comfortable telling your kids. Especially with ponies, keeping it simple can be easier for kids to remember: try explaining to a 4-year-old that their pony’s name is ‘Corsair’ or ‘Chardonnay’ and see how that goes.
  4. Song titles / Lyrics. Admittedly, the most classic kid-friendly song titles and lyrics are the best to use. I’ve heard of a few very cute ‘Rocket Man’ ponies, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ jumpers, and ‘Sweet Carolina’ New England ponies. A good rule to go by, is if you can’t tell your grandmother your horse’s show name…don’t use it. An example? I’d steer clear of any song by ‘Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, 50 Cent, Steel Panther, or any song that involves the word ‘b-itches’ or ‘h-es’.

Hate:

  1. Rappers. Now before I go into this, I will concede that some names lend themselves well to horses: ‘Slim Shady’ is a good fit for a slim darker horse, and I would be impressed to compete against a horse named ‘Immortal Technique’ or ‘Idle Warship’….I might even take my hat off to a ‘Hopsin’ with two blue eyes. That being said, I cringe whenever I hear that someone has named their horse (showname, mind you) ‘Free Weezy’, ‘Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’, or ‘Birdman’. I can understand devotion to these artists….but at least with equitation horses, I feel like seeing ‘Free Weezy’ or ‘Gucci Gucci’ on the scoreboard during a prestigious competition kills the mood somewhat. But like I said, I’m split on this: if the name fits the horse, I am willing to endorse it. I can see ‘Teach Me How To Dougie” taking off….or even “Gangnam Style” becoming the next hot pony showname.
  2. Branded Alcohol. I genuinely don’t enjoy when horses come in with brand name liquor names. It just doesn’t feel classy….even ‘Grey Goose’ feels a bit forced. Similarly, I don’t think its in any way classy to name a pony after liquor when the kid on him is well under 21. Somehow, types of wine never seem that bad: ‘Chablis’ actually sounds pretty classy, as does ‘Merlot’: Somehow ‘Gin and Juice’ and ‘Jose Cuervo’ don’t have the same ring to it.
  3. Drugs. I have rarely heard of any horses with drug-influenced names. Very rarely. But as a warning, I sincerely hope no one starts by naming their mare ‘Have You Found Molly?’, ‘Heroin’, or ‘Opium’. Just don’t.
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Modern Pentathlon: What Did I Just Watch?

Perhaps its because I rode in the IHSA during college, and have witnessed similar “oh crap” moments when riders pull ‘that horse’ whose description reads something to the tune of “hold on and Jesus take the reins”, but after watching a clip sent to me by a friend of the 2012 riding portion for the Modern Pentathlon…I am genuinely curious to know why the riding is that horrifically bad.

Um….What…The….Shit? Image courtesy of VC Star.

If you are offended by pictures of terrible riding and some foul language….yea just keep reading anyway.

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HITS Day 2

Final Summation:

  1. Crackers jumped in a ring
  2. Crackers jumped out of a ring (don’t worry he was supposed to)
  3. Crackers had a smashing good time

Skye and Nina looked fabulous

The Powers sisters, no surprise to anyone, looked fabulous

Taxicab and Abby rocked it out

Troy and Anastasia guided George and Maaaaaavelous beautifully, as expected.

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Monsters In The Corner, And Other Horse-Eating Creatures

Anyone who rides has inevitably encountered the equine version of the ‘Bogeyman’

Image courtesy of Horse Junction

Whether its the shadowy corner of the indoor, the flapping plastic bag in the wind, or the wild animal running past the outdoor ring, horses can get scared pretty easily. Even the bravest of equines fall victim to the shadowy creatures of their fears inevitably, but there are some great ways to avoid falling on your butt when they turn tail and run. Here are some things to keep in mind when the evil creatures of the shadows descend upon your horse (or when you horse thinks they are):

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Rafalca Jokes Aside?

Ann Romney and her horse “Super Hit”. Image courtesy of Washington Post

In an article in the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, it was released that a recent ad featuring Rafalca was pulled from the air. The ad, which featured criticising remarks about Romney’s tax return statements also showed footage of Rafalca competing in dressage events. It’s no secret that horseback riding is an impressively expensive sport, but in a statement by President Barack Obama, it was mentioned that he considered the ad was in bad taste and said he was against personal attacks on family members. In an interview with Good Morning America, Mrs. Romney’s hurt reaction caused concern that the ad hit too close to home: Mrs. Romney uses dressage to combat her multiple sclerosis and has spoken about its benefits in public before. Have we had the last laugh about the Romneys?

Ann Romney and Rafalca, who will be competing in the London 2012 Olympics. Image courtesy of The New Yorker.

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The Humbling Sport of Riding

Horseback riding isn’t for the faint of heart.

In this world there are many sports that take charisma, athleticism, and a certain amount of humility to undertake. Horseback riding is certainly one of them. Whether you are having a gorgeous course or having the worst ride of your career, both should be approached as learning lessons. One minute you could be floating around a hunter course, flawless and fabulously making the entire class jealous; the next you could float face-first into an oxer and break a flower box. Horseback riding doesn’t care much who you are or how fantastic you think you are, because at the end of the day, personal victory generally outweighs the color ribbon you leave the show grounds with.

Today I had that heart-sinking moment of realization that I had cantered up to a distance, that in no known universe existed, and promptly crashed directly into a fence right in front of my trainer, my parents, several of my barn mates, and worst of all the barn owner Tim. It was a moment of public embarrassment, humiliation, and probably the best dose of character-building I’ve gotten in a while. Apparently karma wasn’t sure I’d gotten the message because I did it again in the next course.

What I learned today however, was that humbling oneself is the only true way to achieve anything in a sport where at a moments notice the wrong sound or movement could send your horse cartwheeling into deep space, and you into the dirt. Thankfully, I avoided the dirt today. It does not matter how fabulous your horse is or how magical a connection you have, at the end of the day, its how humble you can be about it that counts. Today I went in expecting perfection and had a moment of pure hubris and the result was a literal smack to the face. The full-kilter hand-gallop non-existent distance will not happen again, and I will remember to take my morning dose of realness before going in the ring.

Sincerely,

Chaz
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Taking On ‘The Week’

As an avid equestrian that reads The Week, I was insulted by an article written recently in the July 6-13 2012 issue on the ridicule of the Romney’s horse Rafalca. Admittedly, the buzz around the horse has been a bit much, but that wasn’t what pissed me off. The tab that caught my eye on the top of the page, depicted Rafalca performing with Jan Eberling with the caption, “Making fun of dancing horses”. Intrigued, I turned to page 16 to read what was the most irritating posts I’ve read slandering equestrianism in a while.

Just in case you missed this especially offensive article, feel free to ask me for a copy, I’m happy to scan it with my phone and send you a copy.

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Hello Heatwave

As some may have noticed the weather seems to get hotter and hotter this summer with each passing day. At least for Crackers and I, that means constant bathing and shorter and shorter rides.What are some things we use to cool down? Check it out!

CJ and I showing in the summer heat! Image courtesy of the ever-talented Roger Wang.

In this heat, you can expect a lot of sweating, tired muscles, and plenty of greenheads waiting to swarm you and your horse. Here are some things we use at Duncraven to help us through the blisteringly hot summer months:

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Healing Hooves 2012 Wins An Award

…And raises a little under $11,000 too!

The IHSA National Service Project Award cup that will be coming home with the team from nationals in Raleigh, NC. Image courtesy of Karli Postel ’13

Healing Hooves 2012, a fundraising initiative hosted by the equestrian team at Goucher College was nominated for and won the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association‘s (otherwise known as IHSA) National Service Project Award this May 5th at the IHSA National Championships in Raleigh, NC. To learn more about the event, please listen to the informative podcast below!

 

Editor’s Note: Though not mentioned in the podcast, the theme for this year’s event was ‘Beatlemania’ and the band playing is a local Beatle cover group named ‘Saving Sargent’.

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