Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dogs Rule

Barn mascots

I couldn't help swiping this photo from [Robyn DeVaney] via the Facebook page for her [new farm in South Carolina]. But, since she occasionally reads my blog, I'm hoping she won't mind so much. These two little guys are simply too stinkin' cute not to share! I've had a busy, busy week thus far, since school started on Monday. I met over 60 new students in less than 24 hours.....and I always endeavor to learn their names within the first week of class. Whew, this will be a challenge! Sorry for being quiet on the blog front lately, but once things settle, I'll have much more to write. 

For now, though, enjoy the pic of Robyn's dogs lovin' life. Oh, to be a barn dog.......

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I'm not really sure how I feel about [this]. Yes, I bought the one that was done here in the U.S. a few years ago, but in that one, almost everyone had on a fair amount of clothes.....or at least pants.....or a bikini. But the "nearly nude"-ness of this one is making my prim self a little squeamish. I don't WANT to see WFP in anything other than a top hat and tails. And, Oli Townend is quite handsome, but I prefer him in his Point Two and cross-country whites. And Mark Todd? He is an eventing god; however, I'd rather see him on the medal podium....not atop Pegasus soaring naked in the skies over Mt. Olympus. 

But, this is for a [very, very good and noble cause]. So, who knows, I may yet get the chance to catch a cheeky glimpse of Francy sans Pants. :-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gotta Love a Lab!


This beautiful, 2-year-old, male chocolate Lab has been at the shelter in Southwest VA (just outside of Abingdon) for over a week and he has not found a rescuer, adopter, or foster in all this time. He has been networked, emailed, shared, texted, posted, etc, but adult labs are hard to place since they require a home that can accommodate a high-energy, active dog (preferably a home with a big, fenced yard or farm). It would be a crying shame to let this gorgeous fellow be put-to-sleep when I know there is a good family for him out there, so please everybody....share his information far and wide. If you or someone you know would like to adopt him or to get more information, contact the networking rescue (Saving Furry Friends) at: savingfurryfriends@yahoo.com. Put the name "Jasper" in the subject line of any email and keep in mind that his case is getting very URGENT. Jasper needs a second chance to spread that unconditional Lab love!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Favorites: Mary Bess Sigman

Photo via Triple Creek Eventing

For those of us in USEA Area III, Mary Bess Sigman is a familiar name, face, and personality on the southern eventing scene. Riding out of Triple Creek Eventing in Mansfield, GA, Mary Bess is hugely supported by her family, including her father (FEI veterinarian, Dr. Michael Sigman). Mary Bess has a diverse history in the equestrian world, with a well-rounded foundation in Pony Club, experience in hunters, and even a turn in vaulting. For someone who is an incredibly accomplished eventer in her own right, her students are also very talented, successful, and hard-working -- a tribute to Mary Bess's positive impact on all of the horses and riders with whom she comes in contact.

Recently, I caught up with Mary Bess when she was at River Glen Horse Trials a few weeks ago, and she was competing a familiar-looking little chestnut horse. This "familiar-looking" little fellow is none other than Theodore al Coda, the brother to the much-beloved "Teddy." I've bugged Mary Bess to tell me more about him and she has enthusiastically agreed, so I can't wait to hear their story. Until then, here is this week's Friday Favorites.

1. Favorite name for a horse:  Moe (My first advanced horse)
2. Favorite drink:  Pina Colada
3. Favorite vacation destination:  Hawaii
4. Favorite book:  The Devil Wears Prada
5. Favorite reality t.v. show:  Jersey Shore
6. Favorite pair of shoes:   flip-flops
7. Favorite high school subject:  Biology
8. Favorite pizza topping:  ground beef
9. Favorite city that you've never lived in:  Charleston
10. Favorite motto:  "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Make Mine an Old Fashioned.

We all know that there is a multi-billion dollar industry out there these days to stalk, capture, and report on every minuscule and paltry detail of the lives of the rich and famous. To me, 99.9% of that crap is boring, trite, unbelievable, inaccurate, or just plain useless. Creating "celebrities" out of ordinary idiots who are stupid enough to put themselves out there in any and all ways possible, in order to be found "entertaining" and appealing to the masses, is ridiculous. So much of what is broadcast and published now is just trash! Am I getting old and cynical? Maybe.....

I've always been fascinated by the glamour days of Old Hollywood. The eras when stars were discovered based on talent and ability seem light years from the insanity that permeates the movie industry today.Think of William Powell and Myrna Loy; Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire; Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart; Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn; Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Vivian Leigh......the list goes on and on. Of course times and society have changed over the past 80 years, but I would still rather admire the icy appeal of Susan Hayward, or the smoldering charm of Robert Taylor.

We've all heard the old tales of the flawed escapades of Errol Flynn, the family dysfunction of Bing Crosby and almost all of the Hustons, and the tragic downward spirals of the likes of James Dean, Judy Garland, and -- of course -- Marilyn Monroe. The stories and revelations behind the old stars' true lives read today almost like part of the myth; whereas the news and gossip of current celebrities read more like an embarrassing tattle-tale of purposeful debauchery and inexcusable bad behavior. Not to say that the problems and foibles of the old regime are any more acceptable and appropriate than what goes on now, but it was just reported differently. These items were whispered in office hallways and tea room parlors, not blasted across cheaply printed glossies in the supermarket checkout aisle. Gossip is gossip, no matter how you look at it, but why do we love it and applaud it all the more now that it has become so base and common?  

In another life, I'll be the love child of Veronica Lake
and Robert Montgomery.

I've been reading (very sporadically and recreationally) a book titled The Truth and Nothing But by Hedda Hopper. It is an old garage sale find my mom picked up not long ago and it is a wonderful and juicy peek into the world of the Hollywood studio era and high society in the early-to-mid 20th Century. A lot of the information provided came from honest, legitimate star interviews......not cellphone photos snapped from city curbs or backstreet doorways. This isn't just tabloid fodder, but it's meant as a true-to-life glimpse into the world of the big screen stars, back in the day. Instead of something like: "GRACE and RAINIER RUDELY SNUB SEVERAL FAMOUS AUTHORS and WORLD PRESS CORPS at MONACO FILM PREMIER!!!!", Hedda's account reads: "At the top table, where [Grace and Rainier] sat among a gaggle of celebrities, there were three empty places. Noel Coward had come from the Riviera with Somerset Maugham, whom he'd been visiting. But Coward and Maugham found themselves consigned to sit alone at a side table, out of Her Serenity's range. Newsmen who'd been flown in for the opening fared worse than Noel. Not a one was asked into the palace for as much as a cup of tea or a handshake." Now, isn't that more compelling and civilized? 

I've really enjoyed reading this book and I have savored a lot of the narrative, the approachable style, and the fluidity of the details and reporting. Not only did they know how to live more glamorously back in Old Hollywood, but clearly they knew how to write more glamorously as well! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

River Glen Revisited

As I posted last week, this past Saturday and Sunday was the River Glen summer horse trials here in Knoxville....and, my BFF Kelsey brought her sweet Pirate up from NC to run the Intermediate division. I was busy as her groom on Saturday morning, and then as the trusty, friendly warm-up steward for XC on Sunday, so I didn't get a lot of pictures or video, but here's some of what I did get. With cloudy skies on Saturday and cloud-cover most of Sunday morning, we lucked out and had decent temperatures for what is usually a scorcher down here by the river. I think everyone had a great weekend and I saw lots of smiling faces. Looking forward to seeing everybody again soon at AECs next month!

Pretty, pretty Pirate!

Kelsey and Pirate's dressage test.

Kelsey and Pirate's show jumping round (one of 
the few with less than 10 faults in the Int. division).

Leila Cluff-Ryan and Blue Horse. This one is for my
Appy eventer friends!

Local Knoxville eventer and all-around fabulous chick, Erika Adams,
on Williston.

Erika and Williston.

Erika and Williston over the last!

An adorable terrier belonging to Knoxville MFHs and eventing family,
Grosvenor, Rosemarie, and Nicolette Merle-Smith.


Nope, not Eddie. Up close, it's clear that Eddie has never been this
well-groomed in his life!

Pirate ready to go home to Camp Ratcliff after show jumping
on Saturday morning.

The reward after a hard-working weekend: It's boat-time in Tennessee!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Favorites: Megan Moore

Megan and The Grasshopper
2010 Fair Hill CCI**

Photo by Josh Walker

So, I've decided to do a periodic blog post called "Friday Favorites" that presents a prominent eventer with a brief questionnaire and they provide their answers in less than 5 minutes. Kind of like a variation on the good old Proust questionnaire. These questions do not have anything really to do with eventing, so in reading their answers, we get to see a tiny peek into a professional eventer's personality in a more fun, impromptu way than would be in a more formal interview.

I will now get to our inaugural Friday Favorites that profiles Megan Moore. Megan is a top-level eventer who teaches and trains out of Team CEO Eventing in Georgetown, KY. She frequently competes at River Glen here in Knoxville and she is always a friendly face who has nice horses, nice students, her students have nice horses....you get the picture. It comes as no surprise to me, then, that she won the Sportsmanship Award at last year's Fair Hill CCI**! Since this weekend is River Glen weekend, I emailed Megan to see if she would like to be my first-ever "Friday Favorite" for today, and with typical politeness and good cheer she heartily agreed!

So, without further delay, here is this week's Friday Favorites:

1. Favorite name for a horse:  Dizzy
2. Favorite drink:  coffee, coffee, coffee
3. Favorite vacation destination:  I haven't taken a vacation in 6 years!  No idea! :)
4. Favorite book:  All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (A credo on how to have a positive outlook on life; it's not about kindergarten, I promise!)
5. Favorite reality t.v. show:  Wipeout
6. Favorite pair of shoes:   Waldies
7. Favorite high school subject:  Calculus
8. Favorite pizza topping:  pepperoni
9. Favorite city that you've never lived in:  St. Louis
10. Favorite motto:  "Half the world is fighting over a bowl of rice today mate..."   (Scotty Keach, to Boyd Martin, via Boyd Martin's blog, via Eventing Nation)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


....is about to happen. In less than 3 hours. I cannot wait! I love when my bestie comes to town for River Glen. See you soon, Kelsey and Pirate!!!

Self-portraits at Coldplay in Charlotte, 2009. Don't feel bad.....we often
struggle at life, but we have lots of fun along the way!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Feet

Usually on this blog, when I talk about shoes, I like to focus on MY shoes. But today, this entry is about some very, very important and especially wonderful shoes indeed: EDDIE'S SHOES.

Eddie had shoes on the front when I brought him home with me. I am all about the easy natural aspect of horse management (full turnout, basic nutrition regime, natural coat and hooves, tons of hacking, plenty of hay and grazing, etc.). My horses are free-range and laid back, which works well for me. With that being said, I tried to let Eddie transition into a shoe-free existence, but it just isn't possible for him. He has most likely had bad shoeing and some feet trouble in the past, before my friend Kelly found him and then he came along to me. Eddie without shoes is a disaster. Eddie with shoes is sound, comfortable, balanced, and smooth-moving. So, it's a no-brainer.

Typically, in the spring, I take Ed to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM) for a chiropractic work-up with Dr. Adair. Last spring, Eddie went for his work-up in March, then he went back (still stiff and creaky) in June. When I took him back in June, Dr. Adair had me trot him up and he also flexed him to see if we could tell exactly where Eddie's issue points were. His hocks were pretty much fine, so it wasn't really a lameness situation, but I'm always careful with his chiropractic condition and his hind-end, since he gets very stiff and ouchy behind a lot. After I pulled him off the trailer and we walked him outside the hospital, Dr. Adair looked at his hind feet and said "So, when is he due for a re-set?" To be honest, Eddie had just gotten a trim and re-set about 2 weeks before. Dr. Adair said, "His back feet are too long. Let's shorten his toe, get him breaking over more quickly, and pull his shoes back a bit more to support his heel while freeing up the front of his hoof." 

Eddie has slightly twisted back feet, which I worry will negatively affect his movement and his hocks, over time. That is probably from a combination of a sketch history/shoeing in Ed's past, and possibly a result of his QH-ey breeding. He just naturally wants to get his hind feet underneath and shuffle or "ski," as opposed to snapping at the breakover point and using his hips and getting lofty in his spine, choosing instead to scoot along on his back hooves (or, what I like to call "Easy Eddie-style." L-A-Z-Y). Over the past year, my farrier and I have gotten Eddie moving so much better -- just by changing the length, slope, and shape of his hoof -- and he has not needed any chiro this year, he is stronger and more fluid behind, and he moves very straight from the back for maybe the first time in his life! I am so thrilled that we were able to correct a couple of concerning issues with my horse by working naturally to improve his movement. No pharmaceuticals, no supplements, no injections.....just good, regular shoeing. 

Not only was I grateful to have a sports med vet at UT who could help me make some easy physical changes for Eddie, but I was very excited to be a part of a productive improvement for my horse that took time and care to develop. It wasn't a "quick fix" and it is a long-term solution. He is 16 this year and performing better under saddle than at any time that I've owned him! I know this isn't rocket science, but I love being able to employ a healthy change in Eddie's life that doesn't cost any money or discomfort for him that might have, perhaps in a different situation, been the road I would have ended up traveling down. Yay for Dr. Adair for always looking for a natural solution! 

A few weeks ago, one of my friends who is a technical writer/researcher for UTCVM looked up an article for me that I'd seen an excerpt from in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. I printed a copy of it for myself and for my farrier and we both read it from start to finish. It details a report from a clinical study of 77 horses and how the vets were resolving issues with gluteal pain by eliminating long hind-toes and targeting the correct breakover point for each horse. BINGO! According to this article, "These horses tend to 'stand under themselves' with their hind feet, meaning that at rest the foot is placed further forward than normal in relation to the vertical axis of the limb and the main mass of the hindquarter, giving the horse a 'sickle-hocked' appearance. This stance may provide a clue to the reason why many of these horses show a pain response on palpation of the gluteal region and why many are performing below the expectations of their owner and/or trainer" (RA Mansmann et al, 2010, 720). BINGO AGAIN! That described Eddie at this time, one year ago. The article does get into some of the nuts and bolts of the case studies, the diagnostic methods, the transitional approach to changing each horse on an individual basis, and the final result where in every single case the hind end pain was reduced, nearly eliminated, or not present at all any longer. Yep, sounds about right to me, too! Ultimately, they determined that a BD (breakover distance) for most normal, average-sized horses is <20 mm. This does not involve remedial shoeing, special shoes, wedges, pads, or anything other than a gradual and educated change to hoof shape and regular, responsible shoeing (or trimming, if your horse is lucky enough to maintain soundness and hoof shape without shoes). So, for anyone out there who is seeing soreness in the glutes/hips, short-strided movement, or creakiness in hind-end movement, check with your vet about toe length and breakover points. It could save you a lot in vet bills, meds, and injections.....you just never know!

R.A. Mansmann, VMD, PhD, hon. DACVIM-LA, S. James, DVM, A. T. Blikslager, DVM, PhD, DACVS, & K. vom Orde (2010). Long Toes in the Hind Feet and Pain in the Gluteal Region: An Observational Study of 77 Horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science30 (12) 720-726.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grrrrrr...... :-(

My good friend Kelly Wallace, who I recently blogged about in her comeback at Midsouth, has suffered the agonizing tragedy of the burglary of almost all of her tack from her private barn last night. Next to the loss of a horse, I fear the theft of my tack constantly (I'd be gutted over losing even a hoofpick, much less the items to the extent that Kelly has been robbed). I've reprinted below a full list of her missing tack. If everybody in the Tennessee/Kentucky/Georgia/Alabama area could please keep your eyes peeled, spread the word, and contact the officer given in her message if you come across anything, then perhaps Kelly can recover SOMETHING from this. I find it odd that they left her dressage saddle, but took a BoB bucket. I'm not sure where her gear will end up or who the culprit might be, but I hope maybe my Craigslist-obsessed friends might keep a watch there, as well. I'd love for Kelly to not just find her tack, but to also see the thief get his/her just deserts. There is a special place in the not-so-pleasant-hereafter for the person(s) responsible for this. 

From Kelly:

The following tack and horse equipment items were stolen from a private barn in Loudon County, TN likely in the early morning hours on 8/1/2011. Everything taken was english tack, all of high quality, all in very good to exceptional condition when it was stolen from my farm. These are items that I have worked for years to accumulate, and all of my competition gear was stolen. This is a partial list, as I am still discovering things missing. Please watch Craigslist in your area, classifed ads, and keep an eye open at local horse/tack sales and such. If you see or hear of someone selling high-end tack who clearly doesn’t know much about it, that may be an indicator that it is stolen. Any potential sightings please contact me, Kelly Wallace, at 865-368-4046 or LCSD Investigator Charlie Cosner at 865-986-482.

• Stubben Siegfried VSS jumping saddle, 17.5” seat, 32 cm tree (17.5 and 32 stamped under right flap), dark brown, made in Switzerland, late model with blue dots and smooth knee pads. When stolen had matching Stubben stirrup leathers with metal blue dots and traditional stainless steel stirrup irons with black gripper pads
• Harry Dabbs Euro (stamped in side of browband) figure-eight noseband bridle, dark brown, cob size, made in England, when stolen had a 5 ¾” three-ring French link elevator bit and rubber reins.
• Dover Showmark flash noseband bridle, dark brown, cob size, brass hardware, cob size, when stolen had a 5” Waterford bit and Stubben rubber reins.
• Courbette dressage bridle, flash noseband, black, cob size, red Courbette emblem on one side of browband, when stolen had 5 ½” baucher bit and laced reins.
• Dark brown bridle, plain raised noseband, cob size, no markings, when stolen had a 5 ¾” loose ring wonder bit and laced reins.
• Shires flash noseband bridle with reins, horse size, brand new in the package.
• Shires flash noseband bridle, cob size, brand new in the package
• Dark brown stirrup leathers, dark brown, made in England, new with tags, can’t recall maker.
• Nunn Finer traditional hunting breastplate, dark brown, cob size, brass hardware.
• Heritage rubber lined reins, dark brown, may be stamped Heritage or made in England.
• Barnsby leather split-end overlay girth, size 50, elastic on one end, medium brown, made in England.
• Professional’s Choice neoprene girth, elastic on both ends, brown, size 50”
• Professional’s Choice neoprene girth, elastic on both ends, black, size 48”
• Whitman leather overlay girth, dark brown, elastic one end, size 46”.
• Weaver leather chafeless girth, dark brown, elastic on one end, size 50”.
• Barnstable leather dressage girth, elastic on both ends, black, size 22”.
• Two (2) Wintec elastic girths, black neoprene, not sure of sizes but believe one was a 22” and one was a 24”.
• Myler MB02 comfort snaffle, loose ring, 5 ½”.
• Several miscellaneous bits, all some sort of snaffle mouthpiece (either single-jointed or French-link), probably a couple of two or three ring elevator bits, maybe a Dee ring.
• Three (3) Tipperary Sportage helmets of varying models, all carbon gray, all are either size small or extra small.
• International skull cap with custom Sipps Silks nylon cover, black with red chevrons, helmet size 6 7/8.
• Charles Owen Hampton black velvet helmet, tan Pittards leather harness, size 6 ¾. When stolen was in a Charles Owen helmet case, black nylon/cordura exterior with purple quilted satin lining.
• FTE open-front jumping boots, black leather, neoprene lining, size 2, made in Italy, four straps with buckles. Pair.
• N.E.W. Equine Wear Lightweight Competition boots (cross-country boots with the hard shell tendon guard), size medium, black cordura type exterior, green tags, orthopedic foam/neoprene lining. Pair.
• N.E.W. Equine Wear Lightweight Competition boots (cross-country boots with the hard shell tendon guard), size medium, black smooth nylon type exterior, green tags, orthopedic foam/neoprene lining. Pair. Probably a tad dirty from a recent x-c run.
• Woof Wear traditional brushing boots, black, four-strap model. Pair. Probably a tad dirty from a recent x-c run.
• All Sport Boots (like Dressage Sport Boots but with neoprene lining), black, probably have a bit of Kentucky Horse Park arena dust on them. One pair of large, were stolen, and only a single medium boot (they left the fourth boot).
• Woof Wear cross-country boots, black fuzzy exterior, wide straps, medium. Pair.
• Grand Prix open front boots, black leather, made in Italy. Pair.
• Crosby brown leather hind galloping boots, neoprene lined. Pair.
• Champion pillow wraps, white, 12” and 14”, flannel lined, set of three (they left one behind), a little dirty from a recent trip.
• Black standing wraps, set of four, not rolled, a little dirty from a recent trip.
• Two (2) Rambo Horsewear poly pad type saddle pads, both black, both were used on day of theft so one may have gray hair, one may have dark palomino hair, both may have light sweat marks.
• Equine Textiles (may not be marked as such) quilted dressage pad, faded navy blue.
• Dover Rider’s International fleece cooler, full tapered neck, navy with hunter and white binding.
• Horseware Ireland cotton cooler, light blue with grey trim and tail cord.
• Baker sheet (yes, the real deal, not a fake one), size 78-80”
• Pair of ground driving lines, off white thick nylon with rolled black ends, brass snaps, black buckle.
• Red lunge line with black leather hand stops, may have a tag that says Practical Choice.
• Red lunge line, plain red, snap end.
• Veterinary kit, small plastic tote with VET KIT written on top. Contains stethoscope, equine thermometer, injectable Banamine, syringes, bandaging supplies, etc.
• Flambeau step stool with internal compartment. Contained miscellaneous stabling supplies for travel such as bucket hooks, screw eyes, extra snaps, a hammer, duct tape, etc.
• White bucket with Bit of Britain Saddlery logo in blue, contains multiple horse bathing supplies such as Vetrolin Bath, Quic Silver, Quic Condition 1, Eqyss Survivor Detangler, Cowby Magin Green Spot Remover, etc.
• Red bucket that says something to the effect of “Bathing Only” and is labeled with either Schaffer or Wallace. At the time it was stolen it contained a partial gallon of Vetrolin liniment, a large sponge, and a sweat scraper.
• Bucket of tack cleaning supplies containing Lexol Wipes, bit wipes, Oakwood cleaner, Oakwood conditioner, and tack sponges. Items were in a Nicker Makers bucket.