Tag: Horses

Plea from a volunteer coordinator

Horse shows NEED volunteers to function. I could end this right here with that simple statement. It’s true. It’s concise. But as a volunteer coordinator for one of the few farms in SW Georgia large enough to hold a horse trial almost every month (including a semi-annual 3* event) recognized dressage shows and a schooling show almost every other available weekend, I KNOW saying (begging, pleading, incentivizing) we NEED you is not enough. We are short on volunteers almost every show. This literally makes me cry a couple times a year. And i’m not a pretty crier.

Horse shows are expensive (“duh” statement #2) Not just to compete in, but to put on. NO ONE is getting rich off of this, guys. One way facilities and shows counter act their expenses is to ask (beg, plead, incentivize) for volunteers. Sure, the jobs that take a judges card , or training courses are paid positions, but EVERYONE ELSE YOU SEE is a volunteer.  Let me list them really quickly for you for a Horse Trial, since that’s the most encompassing:

  • Dressage warm-up steward
    • Do you want to check your watch every 2 min while warming up your dragon? I didn’t think so
  • Dressage in-gate
    • ‘Which ring am i in? It’s test “A”, right?’
  • Bit/spur/bonnet check
    • IDK why anyone wares a bonnet for dressage. There are no bugs in that ring and we’re just going to make you take it off
  • Scribes
    • Let me just tell you how sick I am of looking for scribes. I’m still not quite sure why there’s not a literal waiting list for this position. The ONLY good thing about no one wanting the job is that I GET to have that job.
  • Cross Country warm up steward
    • again with the watch checking, which you have set to your xc OT, so it’s not doing you much good in this department
  • Cross Country Start (have a great ride!)
  • Cross Country Finish (well done!)
  • Cross Country Jump Judges
    • We seriously need 12-18 people for this. Watching 3 fences simultaneously as the course loops back to a vantage point is only possible for someone who has harnessed their ADD powers for good. And when the course doesn’t lend itself to that, we chase you in the quad or gator. Because unless we’re implementing and following an honesty policy, we need to make sure you jump all the things.
  • Show jumping warm up steward
    • “So, I have 3 horses in this division and they’re placed 2nd,5th&6th. can I maybe go early with the first one and late with the last one so I can warm them up? You’ll keep track of all that an let me know when I’m 5 away and 2 away, right?”
  • Show jumping in-gate.
    • “In gate to announcer. I know your sheet says #86 is going at 2:45, but there’s a conflict and she’s going at noon. OK thanks.
  • Show jumping crew –  Options without these people:
    • start leaves their post to fix every fence the over-horsed person in front of you crashed, meaning we’re getting behind in the schedule, which means it’s now interfering with your xc ride on another horse or coaching a student or taking sale pictures for your friend in dressage
    • The judge is picking up poles. see above about how this delays the day, and it irritates the judge.
    • You get off and fix your own course before you start, because someone has to do it. Or not and you’re dodging “ground poles”
  • Score runner, because you want to see where you are before 7PM on Sunday, right?

This is for ONE WEEKEND. Can you imagine what your entry would be if we paid all these people? And you think horse showing is expensive now.

The final thing you may not realize, is that my hands as a coordinator are tied as to how much I can offer to make you want to do this (because the reasons above aren’t enough and you don’t want to help out your fellow competitors/sport – really need a sarcasm font here). We give vouchers. Vouchers you can use to pay an ENTIRE show entry with. Vouchers that let you come XC school for nothing.  We also give lunch, drinks and snacks. We give you all this, for a few hours of your time. Hours you’re at the facility anyway. We will absolutely work around ride times or cover for you. How an we cover you when want to run over and watch your kid jump the water complex instead of the train carts your stationed at. WE GET IT and will make that happen.

Guys, we understand volunteer fatigue. We understand you want a weekend for the beach or to show (I show too. I get it)  or to lay around and do nothing or go hiking or stand on your head. But if everyone (hell, if MORE people) would volunteer, we wouldn’t be so desperate and the shows would go that much more smoothly.

To wrap this up, I do want to say thank you to the teenagers and parents and kids and husbands and boyfriends who come almost every weekend and do these jobs. A few of which are very new at this this and have been stellar. Volunteers who get berated by competitors who are stressed about their rides then are too busy to come apologize later or volunteer themselves. You guys, there are about 12 of you (12! did the rest of you read how many people this takes?!), make this sport happen and ensure we can keep shows of all levels in our area. Thank you.


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.



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.


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.