Dressage Scribe – Less intimidating than you think

     Whenever I ask people if they’ll scribe, I get the same answer. “But I don’t know how”. This is usually followed by “What If I mess up someone’s test” or “What if I can’t understand the judge” or “no one can read my writing”. It’s crazy that what I DON’T hear is “Yes! Please let me sit with a very well qualified person who will dictate, movement for movement, what I should be working towards in my own dressage test” Many people pay to audit clinics, and now here we are BEGGING you to do it for the super value of 2-6 hours of your time. AND WE”LL GIVE YOU LUNCH AND VOUCHERS. What a deal!
Of all the reasons above, the last one is the silliest. Have you looked at your dressage tests lately? No one can read anyone’s handwriting. So as it stands, either the rider/trainer will be reading your chicken scratch or someone else’s. Plus you, as ascribe, don’t sign the tests, so you’re embarrassingly terrible handwriting is completely anonymous. As for not understanding the judge, we don’t import them from Germany, the Bahamas, France, and only rarely form Canada (Where they speak English, btw) If you have ears and all the little bones made for hearing, you should really be just fine.
As far as messing up someone’s test, you won’t. Not irreparably anyway. How do I know, because I’ve scribed a lot. Even if you do miss a box (which happens occasionally), the judges are VERY good at remembering their scores. It’s actually really impressive. Take a deep breath and remember you WILL NOT be able to write down EVERYTHING a judge says about a movement, unless it’s “ditto” marks obviously. If the judge says 6 things about a movement, it’s perfectly fine to write three of them if that’s all you have time (or more likely room) for. Or even two if you really need to. The score itself is the important part, the rest is to aid in the training for the rider and horse.
Lets wrap this up by talking about what a deal it is that you GET to scribe! To audit a clinic can run anywhere from $20-$100 (It may go higher, but that’s my experience) When you scribe, you are doing EXACTLY that at no cost to you. Actually opposite. We’re “paying” you to be there and learn by way of Lunch, vouchers, and now, an entry into this neat raffle we have. Why are ya’ll not fighting over this position?

Maine and back to reality

Can i please go back? Did I really have to leave? The simple answers to those two questions are: “Not right now” and “yes”.  Horses, dogs and a multiple jobs (this blogging thing isn’t paying, well, anything. Yet) The weather was AMAZING. One day, we had to wear JACKETS! In AUGUST!! It made me so happy. We went shopping in Freeport, We “hiked” Wolfs Neck and saw the ospreys.  The fam threw my sister (due in December) and I a baby shower. We ate lobster. It was my grandmothers 92nd birthday. And we stayed in about 4 different places with family members I usually see, but don’t ever stay with. All in all, it was a great, relaxing, fun trip.

I came back to picking up my dogs at the kennel, my horses look healthy & my house is clean (Thanks Carmen!) And it’s 10,000,865 degrees. augh. I still feel great. Hopefully it continues!

Olympic Thoughts

I pretty much have a running commentary in my head (Or out loud depending on company and intensity of the comment) I’m just going to compile them here. Unfortunately, I missed didn’t have wifi access for most of the eventing. Then I was so excited to have it, I didn’t get on the computer to voice my opinions, which would have been ,generally, “YAY! YAY! FINALLY! YES! MORE LEG! WELL DONE! OOH! YAY!”

Me explaining to family that Grand Prix Dressage is today: Horse dancing again, but these are the specialists, so it’s more difficult than the horse dancing from the eventers. *Slightly less puzzled faces from family*

Husband on Dressage horses v. eventers during jog up: Is there a different division for pregnant horses? Me: No (Where is this going?) Husband: Oh because these are all really fat.

On the 2nd rider (Italian): What is she doing with her reins? The curb is where you’d expect the snaffle to be, and the snaffle  is UNDER the pinky. I was taught snaffle goes where the snaffle goes, and the curb goes between the ring and middle fingers. Classical vs modern methods maybe?

3rd rider: Ooh that horse wings out a lot in front. That’s a NICE half pass! He’s doing the same weird thing with his reins. Maybe it’s my TB love or starting my horse love in hunters, but there are a LOT of knees going on.

General observation: Riders have all been internationally ranked (which I’m not) below 170, 240, 400, etc. How many horses are in this competition? You’s think if it were, say, 100, everyone would be in the top 200. Unless they just didn’t go. In which case I don’t blame them.

I lost count, but grey Brazil horse near the beginning: Look at that crest! His reins are not weird. That leg on the other hand… eee.

GB bay DiNero horse: I like the animation on this one.

And that’s all for horse dancing for today as it’s the last day of my vacation & I’m going to the old port.




In your third trimester, this is literally the WORST idea. OK, maybe not the worst if you’re going to the quaint little spa package at the mountain resort 2-3 hours from home. Probably really fun. Especially if you’ve had the easy-peasy pregnancy I have, have been staying active, & are generally healthy. In which case, please go for it. You’ll have a great time. I do not recommend, however, that you attempt to go 23+ hours in the car to visit your “good time” family in Maine.

The trip started in a less than desirable way. We planned on dropping the car off at the auto place @ 7ish AM for an oil change. Husband would pick me up and take me to the office where I would do payroll etc for the week, and we’d get on the road as soon as they were done. Say, 9:30 (generously) and drop off 2/3 dogs at the kennel on the way out of town. One, Two, Three, BREAK!   As in my car. The auto place calls me at 10:15 and gives me a laundry list of EXPENSIVE things that are wrong with my car. Not only that, but they haven’t touched the one thing I asked them to do (my oil). I say they call me, but in truth they call Husband. Husband doesn’t know a thing about a car. Pre-husband, I dated a few car guys (Hi Joel and Frank! You’re internet famous now!) and managed to sponge off some knowledge. So, Husband calls me a little freaked ($900+ will do that to a guy) and I call the tire place back & talk to the guy. My dear friend Ryan, who’s in the office,  hears me talking to the car people and solidifies my opinion on the matter. Frankly, fuck you do my oil and stop trying to up sell me services. Oh, and surely they’ve DONE my my oil while they’ve been waiting on me to talk to them, right? NO THEY HAVEN’T. WTF! They’ll get right on it. augh. At 12:30, I call them back and get the, “oh ya. just finished”. Wonderful.

We drop off 2/3 dogs at “camp” on the way out of town

Ale thinks he’s at camp. Beta is not so sure. 

, swing through the grocery to buy fruit and snacks for road food. We get on the road about 1400. This puts us in Atlanta traffic, as well as Columbia traffic. Plus trying to stop every few hours for me so I don’t get too swollen and miserable. And on these stops, trying to find non-road food because the salt REALLY aggravates me. EVERYTHING tastes salty. We get into my darling friend Ellie’s in VA about 2 AM. This poor girl has a fussy 3 month old & here we come with my 31 week self, 6’4″, 300 Lbs  husband, and talkative 65 Lbs Australian Shepherd. Sweet Ellie has set up a room upstairs and has a giant pregnancy pillow on the bed. I love my friends.

It’s here we make the best decision of the trip. We stay all day Tuesday and plan on leaving on Wed morning. This lets me see her for a WHOLE DAY (SMILES!), explore the winery where she keeps her horse, meet her horse  (Magic! the OTTB x-timber horse who I had yet
to m0803161101eet) , chill with her husband (who I’ve met once) play with the baby, extend the cat claws and mutter critique the girl graciously riding Magic while Ellie has been out with the baby. (Full disclosure: I’m REAL judgy watching people ride. However, my saving grace is I’m JUST as hard on myself if I ever see a video or picture.) We go to lunch at the Alley Light where I had a brilliant soup-sandwich (I’m very into soup these days) , TAKE A NAP (which I’m also very into these days) The whole day was magical and perfect. Including the scheming to see each other more.

The next day Husband and I found a cute breakfast place and headed on to Maine. I was MUCH more impatient this day, and MUCH more miserable. I can only imagine if we hadn’t spent a day walking around. I would have been an even more miserable pregnant lady.  We’ll definitely do the same going back home in a few days. We FINALLY made it to Maine from Virginia in 12 hours & lots of stopping & swolen feet. Seriously dreding the drive back as I’ll 2 extra weeks preggers by then. You know what though, worth it. One of my best vacations everywhere we’ve stopped and slept & visited. Juat this driving around thing…

Tired for good reason, finally.

Just like old times! My ankles and knees were (thanks to Ellie’s recipe) killing me and I’m so exhausted that  couldn’t fathom writing last night. It was a good feeling. One I’ve missed. When you’re exhausted regularly from growing a human and fighting with your (very much trying to deal with my crazy, and is being as successful as anyone can hope) husband about things like socks, you really miss being tired from just DOING all day. Ya, today I’m sore, but so worth it.

I met the fence contractor yesterday. My landowner has (Finally!) decided we need a fence. JOY!!!!! Yes this is a real thing. It’s a GREAT piece pr property. 20 years ago when it was purchased, he  cleared 7 acres, pulled stumps, leveled it out, built a land bridge over the creek so the whole thing was connected. It looks as nice as many polo bottoms I’ve seen.

Cracker and
Stacy and Cracker Jack the Haflinger. 

The first 10 years he had this land, he had 3 Belgians and a Haflinger that lived out there. There was also NO fence. Not a rope, not a wire, nothing. Everything was SO wooded all around it, why would they leave? The grass is good, and they got unlimited hay and were fed grain a few days a week. About 7 years ago, I started keeping my light horses (who don’t mind walking nearly as much. especially if there’s a feed plot a a mile away) out there, and rope braided with wire was placed. 2 years ago, I decided to do horses full time and there ended up being A LOT more horses out there. More TB’s and a couple Arabians. These sure didn’t mind traveling, especially with company and we’ve gone back to reinforce and put another electric box on the far end. But a real fence. I DREAM of a real fence. A fence a limb can fall on and not knock out my whole thing. A fence that will contain renegade Marco (as in Polo). A fence built by a contractor.


Buddy, who owns part of the property, came to me the other day and said a fence might be a good idea and he’s in a good place to make an investment. So I, 30 weeks pregnant, meet the contractor at Chattahoochee Fence Co out at the land. We takes out his little wheel, and off we walk. 3 acre paddock by the cabin, and 15ish acre paddock where the horses currently live. That’s A LOT of walking. Over terrain. I was a CHAMP! GO me! The contractor (From Maine, ya’ll. Based on that alone I see no reason to get other estimates) said he’d email me Monday with a quote and his guys would be there *2 MONTHS* if he gets the job. I was thinking 2 weeks. Jeez Louise. no wonder we haven’t done this earlier. Let me say now, I’m NOT walking that fence line again to compare rates. It was exhausting.

All that was done by 11AM. Go me. Horses fed, the whole shabang. Woo! Now to get the trailer, clean the trailer, clean the mats, put the mats back in, pick up cracker, drop him @ my folks, come back to town, pick up payroll for Edwards Electric (I can’t survive on horses alone.), pick up amazing shrimp taco’s for lunch, Eat in 15 min, Go back to pick up cracker,
pick up Kamilla from a nearby farm, take them IMG_20160722_180219to Poplar, give a lesson on Cracker, do some Social media for Poplar Place Farm Volunteers ( This is the best turn out for volunteers at a schooling show in a WHILE. Go me!), bring cracker back to the land, drop the trailer back at mom’s, finally think about eating (it’s 9:45), become elated that Zaxby’s is open until 11, get in the drive through at 10:00, get food from the window at 10:22 (yea really), some home, eat 1/3 of my GIANT salad, pass out. JUST LIKE OLD TIMES! Are you tired reading that? Now remember I’m 30 weeks pregnant and it’s 96 degrees with 85% humidity. And I’m 30 weeks pregnant. Yes I wrote it twice. I didn’t want you to forget.

Today was slightly less eventful, but I’m still tired and want my bed and literally 4 pillows. 3 of which are couch throw pillows which are the PERFECT thickness under my belly & wedged behind my back.  It’s a little cradle of bliss.


Quick JP update

Sophie David, who has JP, has text me with an update. She’s planning on skipping Beginner Novice with him and jump strait to Novice. He’s apparently SO bored. EXCITING! She’s wants to school another XC round of Novice/ Training fences before she makes a decision. Ya’ll, that’s HUGE. I tap out at Training level. I knew this horse was willing/talented (*Cough* for sale *cough*), and would move up the levels FAST (Part of the reason I didn’t push him his 3/4 y/o year) But he continues to impress me.

Also this makes me want to go school SO BAD. Lord, Earth Mother, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Deity of choice, Please let me recover quickly. I have <nesting/hormone/boredom induced> plans!

JP Schooling BN @ Poplar Place Farm

Update: Health and horses.

This pregnancy thing….. I’m still miraculously lucky to be having an easy time of it. However, I’ve gained 22Lbs and , according to my bloodsugar test, I’m in a wee bit of trouble with my doctor. Horses have been distributed, I’m pretty much done riding, I and baby shower invitations just went out. Shit is getting real, yo.

Seriously, i’m in good health. I started taking a prenatal yoga class at the Up!Factory. I like yoga. I always did better in a group fitness class, and I just always like the people in yoga + I get a killer workout. We talk about a lot of things in my prenatal class such as pain management, and being conscious of the muscles in your tummy and breathing with FULL breaths. Stuff like that. The teacher is also a doula, which is similar to a midwife. So she knows what she’s talking about, as opposed to being a crunchy lady with a lot of google.The moms in the group are all different; different backgrounds, different living situations, different pregnancies and different ideas about how they want their labor to go. And while there’s definitely a push for “natural” I don’t feel judged when I say (Loudly) “I want ALL THE DRUGS”. So ya, good group. As for the blood sugar, I think I messed up my test. I eat more healthy than MANY Americans, & I’m still reasonably active. Isn’t that the recipe for NOT having high blood-sugar? Guess not. I have a Dr. apt Monday to get me sorted out.

Why the hell do I have horses? (I told you I’d get to this point) They’re SO expensive and it’s ALWAYS something. Let me sum up the past few weeks: My super nice, 22 year old fox hunter quickly and mysteriously died. He was “meh” for a couple days, not looking serious, then died in the trailer on the way to Auburn University. I’d just come back from a horse show with a miserable “working” student. I was a wreck, and will be again if I keep on. Maybe in another blog post, but you knowing that is here for a point of reference, not a remembrance. A month, 6 weeks later, my AQHA gelding is acting weird. I’m NOT going through that again. Off to Auburn we go. Diagnosed as pneumonia from choke. He had NOT choked recently, but they found some stuff, so whatever. Maybe it was mild and I missed it (Doubtful). They recommend he stay for 2-3 nights because he may crash. Really?! He got off the trailer alert and looking around? But stay he did. While Oscar was at Auburn, Dragon started in with the same crud. WHAT in the fucking fuck. Dragon goes to Auburn. Pneumonia, but no choke symptoms (duh)  They want to keep him, but no. He’s big, useless, and expensive enough (especially for being useless) give me whatever meds and he’ll have to be tough. So, dragon comes home, and Oscar comes home a couple days early (he was there for 3, they wanted to keep him 2-3 more)  against vet recommendations. My wallet. Cannot. Handle it. Both are on antibiotics 3x a day for 10 days. Fun times! I should mention I DO NOT love on the farm. This is a 20 min drive each way. These two jokers are now fine, and despite coming off their antibiotics looking like rescue horses (one of the side effects to one of the antibiotics is anorexia). They’re on winter rations and are no longer an embarrassment to take places. Not that we go anywhere.

Onto my business: We all know my business is primarily the training of as well as buying/selling of horses + i teach a few lessons. The not riding, and not providing therapy to emotionally damaged horses really cuts into this. I am in a good place to clean hose though. Only one horse is deemed a little silly to ride, through no fault of his own. And not that he’s done anything to earn that stigma. However, he’s a 5 y/0 16.2h TB. Even something playful could be dangerous for me in in my current condition. He’s at a friend’s to continue his training. She’s as goo goo over him as I am. Bloody nice horse. The others are all over at Unbridled Faith. Kamilla the $100 Arabian is going to be running Novice in the fall, Hot Mama the OTTB/xpolo pony/surprise brood mare is loved daily by a 10 y/o girl, and Dotti just went over for a beginning, but ambitions 12 y/o. Self pat on the back for finding good matches to get them worked and off the feed/farrier bill. Buying would be better, but this is OK too. I’ve made future (Fall & Spring, respectively) for these ladies too. I think it’s part of my nesting to want everything, including the horses, in their place. Admittedly it’s making my ambition for getting back in the saddle a little high, but well see. Maybe my luck with having an easy time will continue.

My view from Dotti on Hound walk last week. 


On February 6, 2016 I realized I’m not Fat; I’m pregnant

No one, and I mean NO ONE was more surprised than I. YEARS of being off “the pill” and a lady who is comfortable with her sexuality, I’ve managed to keep this little life changing event at bay. But, married a year, and BAM, there you go.

I’ll be VERY honest: I NEVER wanted children. Have no pre-thought of names at my disposal. No thoughts on a nursery and the pony I bought a couple years ago was for me. All that said, I’ve done a fair bit of reading about child rearing over the years. From debates on breastfeeding (You should do that if you can. If you can’t, for whatever reason, you are no less a woman and we’re grateful we live in a time that there are alternate options to keep you and baby healthy) to allowing children to swear (GREAT article), but it was more of a behavior studies interest than a maternal one. I also read about the mating habits of ducks (VERY rapey and they have a cork-screw shaped penis) and genetics of breeding show lines v. working lines in dogs to politics (what’s going on really this year. people confuse me so much). None of that meant I wanted to be a Ornithologist, AKC spokesperson/denouncer or run for office any more than I wanted to be a mother. That is to say, NO thank you to all of the above.

But here we are. And while I’m rabidly pro-choice, it’s just that. A choice. Talking with my husband we decided to make the choice to take the plunge into parenthood. Talk about a life style change. Well, maybe not so much. Not yet anyway. I have been unnaturally lucky to have been ill ONE day, which I think was more due to bad chinese .My energy is good. There are honestly days I forget I’m pregnant.

Right now, I still have 9 horses and 4 lesson students in my care. I did a horse trial at the end of march with a great little sale pony and we improved from our September performance. Yes, I’m still riding. No, I don’t plan on stopping until I have to. I am, however, taking a couple precautions: No more showing over fences and the 5 y/0 OTTB is going to a friend’s farm for her to compete and bring along. He’s honestly one of the sanest, safest tings I’ve ever sat on, but I can’t bring him along like I should and I certainly can’t campaign him if I’m not jumping. Other than that, I’m still teaching with the ponies. I’m still doing flat work with everyone and rehabbing my AQHA & Selle Francais-x AWB geldings (does anyone want a sweet gelding? well trained, needs rehab. 2 available). As time goes by this will slow down I’m sure. I hear getting on/off gets challenging. I hear my balance will change, which I’m sure will get scary. When that time comes, I have great students  that can ride some stuff,and my seasoned stock I’m sure will enjoy the break. When that time comes I’ll take a break from riding. I’ll be sad. I’ll still have to waddle around and feed, but not ride which will make me question why I have these money/time pits. But I will bounce back. I will ride again. I will take a baby to the barn, or leave him with my mother who lives up the road. I will do yoga. I will teach my students and hopefully they will ride well enough to keep my guys going. I will do some hunt lunches and lust after chasing hounds until I can get my feet back in the saddle.

Hearts, and harnesses and new shoes, OH my!

It’s getting closer! The day we’ve been preparing for. Farrier is scheduled, mane roll is ordered (hopefully it gets here soon so I can practice!), harness is clean, bookings are filling up!

I’m not sure how much the horse community knows about draft shoeing, and I know the general public knows even less. Maximus wears a size 8 horse shoe. This is approximately the same size shoes as one would use playing a game of “horseshoes” His feet are that big. If you’ve never played horse shoes, take your hand an spread your fingers all the way out. your finger tips would touch the shoe. As you can imagine, this takes some extra considerations. Being that big, draft shoes don’t work well on a typical anvil. They also don’t shape as easily as a typical horse shoe. Then there’s the horse itself. Horses will sometimes lean a little on a farrier as they do their work. Usually this is no problem. However, a draft horse weighs over a ton, so a little leaning leads is a lot of extra work. Because of this, drafts are typically shod in stocks. We don’t have stocks (Sorry farrier!) so Max has to be, and is, extra good. Because of ALL this extra trouble, a fell set of draft shoes costs $250 +. They last 4-5 weeks depending on how much work the horse is doing. Asphalt will wear right through a shoe, so even if the foot growth is minimal, the shoe needs to be replaced.

Mane rolls are the term used for the fabric you braid into a draft horses mane. That takes some skill in itself. Here’s a great video from YouTube on how to do a Mane Role. I’ve ordered a red/white role, a Red tail bow with valentines themed ribbon and Red/Pink roses. 5 roses are typical for hitch horses and 7 for halter. Pulling mane and practice is definitely in order.

Finally the harness. What a job that is! It’s DISGUSTING. Because on a  typical night we get done close to midnight, and the final day of our season are in the dead of winter, we don’t hang around to clean tack. Granted, Max isn’t a sweaty mess when we’re done, but the grime still builds up. 98% of our harness is vinyl, which means Armor All and some elbow grease is the way to go. The only part that’s leather is the collar. I use the same stuff as i use on my riding tack. Generally,  Effax leather care products. I completely forgot to order Never Dull, but I remembered from my western pleasure days that we used to use toothpaste to shine the chrome on our saddles. It still works!

All this and I’m still doing hills and grooming almost daily. So much work for one special night! We’re pretty much all booked for Sunday, February 14. and have partnered with High Definition Media here in Columbus to capture everyone’s Valentines Day Experience. I’m excited!

On January 30, 2016, I realized I am fat

I say this not to fat shame. Girl (or Boy) if you feel good, than rock it sister (brother). This is also not to say “I’m beautiful in spite of/because I’m fat”, which I understand is a thing now. I say this because I look at this picture, and see pretty much the equivalent of a teen aged pony who likes too much grass and gets “opinionated” when she doesn’t get it. This horse is not an athlete. Suitable for lessons, some showing. maybe can pull out some piece of it’s old abilities on a good day, but not an athlete. My horses are athletes, I owe it to them to be closer to the part than I currently am.

So I had a little cry, and decided I ACTUALLY needed to get myself together. I ENJOY eating good food. The problem is I enjoy eating ALL food. Fruits and veggies? Sure. But also a greasy cheeseburger, loaded twice baked potatoes, taco’s, sushi, and much much more. My only saving grace is I’m not a soda or sweets person. Unless it’s a cookie. Or ice cream.

Another positive is that I cook REALLY well. This too is a double edged sword. I can roast carrots as easily as make home made alfredo sauce (1 wedge Parmesan cheese, one pint cream, one stick of butter. Done) Which feeds 6’4″ gym rat husband better, do you think? This is an excuse. I know it is. And one I’ve been using for almost 3 years now. I need a grazing muzzle.

Yesterday we started back on Whole30. Sort of. We’ve done it before and felt great at the end, but even then we made some of our own rules from the beginning. 1) a week before we will stop buying anything NOT approved. However, if it’s in the fridge when we start, we’re not about to waste food. I’m a horse trainer and he’s a full time college student. Quite frankly we can’t afford to be throwing away food. 2) If I bake bread, we can have it. I know. I know. That goes against everything. But when I say “bake bread” I mean I buy whole kernels of wheat and grind them. I guess what we’re actually saying is no commercial flour* or flour products. 3)Dairy on Whole30 is out. We decided to allow raw milk with ours.

Today I’m also walking. (My brain thinks, “Like you don’t walk enough at the farm Lady”) but obviously I do not. We’ll see how this goes.

*I highly recommend this to everyone. Look at a bag of flour, even “whole wheat” flour,  in the grocery store. There are at LEAST 12 ingredients. That’s because in the process of making light, fluffy flour commercial factories separate the bran from the germ. the germ has pretty much no nutritional value, but it’s light and fluffy. That’s the part we get at the store (livestock gets the bran). The factories re-add 7 vitamins and minerals that were initially stripped away (Wheat before the process has something close to 30). Even “whole wheat” has only limited amounts of bran added back in. No I can’t make light fluffy French bread with ONLY my grain, but I can use over 1/2 what the recipe calls for, and that’s a ton more nutrition than I’d otherwise get.