Thank you @people.com for the wonderful article – sharing here:
Tack and Tweed Equestrian: The Love of Horses
Thank you @people.com for the wonderful article – sharing here:
Is it me, or has the horse sale market been insane lately? My sweet older Appendix Chance hasn’t been himself for over a year now, and about 8 months ago, I surrendered to the fact that it’s time to retire my handsome chestnut and find a new riding partner <see footnote below>.
It’s been a hot decade since I’ve looked at getting a new horse, and in my naivety, I thought my budget was pretty hefty for a buddy that can do lower level dressage, trail ride, maybe some low adult hunters, etc. I wasn’t looking for a fancy sport horse, just an all around youngish, sound horse with a good brain. No problem, right?? WRONG.
I started with word of mouth at local barns or with local trainers. Horses that were in my budget not 2 years ago are now 3 -4 times the cost. What happened? I heard that perhaps during COVID when people were not going into the city to work, or being forced to stay home and isolate, people either started riding or became more interested in their weekend warrior habit. I suppose riding is naturally socially distanced. Nearby horses and their board cost an arm and a leg, and perhaps a kidney too. Recently boarding fees total more than most people’s rents, and horses have price tags that have more zeroes than sports cars. As I cannot afford to raid the kid’s college fund, I would just have to be more creative in my search.
At today’s inflated market this leaves me with limited options in my area -either find an older statesman (but soon to be retired – I can’t have another one of those), a sour schoolie or find a baby and train it up. (That would most likely land me in the hospital, as I simply do not have those skills.)
I expanded my search parameters; I scanned every horse listing on every facebook horse group, every online horse sale page, every classified on Craigslist. Did I need to travel to Oregon to test out a new horse without my trainer, pay for an unknown vet for a PPE, and then ship it 3000 miles only to find it has kissing spine? I looked at every breed, every conformation, every size. You name it, I considered it. I looked at horse finding trip airfares to Florida, Ohio, Colorado and British Colombia. I Google-mapped routes to western Pennsylviania, Kentucky, Ontario. My poor trainer had to screen every listing I sent her prompting her to politely tell me “do not to buy without trying” about 5 times per week. My search consumed my evenings late into the night.
I took a step back and a deep breath. I’m a blessed person to have a horse in the first place, so I needed to recalibrate and count my lucky stars and thank God for everything I have. I will find my new partner, just not now, and just like that, my stress level went down, and a new opportunity opened up.
My friend rides at a show barn with an excellent reputation. One of their clients had her experienced, sweet and super solid chestnut gelding available for a partial lease. I jumped on the opportunity. He’s perfection and I’m so happy to have such a sweet horse to ride while my search goes on hiatus for now. I will enjoy what I have, ride Chance when he’s feeling ok, and hug my kids and doggies and be thankful that I have such a great family. If God trots another permanent partner my way, all the better.
What are your experiences? What the horse market look like around you? Where do you think the market is going?
<footnote: As soon as I said out loud I was going to get a new horse, Chance decided that he didn’t feel so lame and was somewhat ridable again. I think he knew I was looking. As soon as I decided to wait little longer until purchase, he immediately went lame again – so all I can do with him at this writing is tack walk. Funny how that works….:)>
Many years ago, a fellow mom friend and I founded a baby food company named Petite Palate (good press: https://people.com/parents/petite-palate-g/ ). I was making food for my newborn son, and started selling it to friends and family and small retailers. It grew pretty large; eventually selling on Amazon, Whole Foods and other regional retailers. We were all the vanguard of the frozen baby food frenzy along with Happy Baby and Plum Organics.
It wasn’t long before our competitors started offering shelf stable options, like pouches. We refused as we really believed that frozen retains more nutrients and is healthier for babies, being closer to homemade. This turned out to be our tragic error, as most retailers do not want to dedicate their prime real estate next to the frozen pizzas to something as novel as frozen baby food.
Next blow was the crash of 2008, and poof, all our funding dried up, sealing our fate. (Not-so-good press: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/business/smallbusiness/06sbiz.html).
After YEARS of healing and recovering financially and mentally (it was such a labor or love and we dedicated our lives for years to our endeavor), I think I can finally start another project. This time, however, slow growth and complete control over finances is my goal.
I have been selling my t-shirts and equestrian themed apparel (available here), and it’s been so much fun, but I am excited to incorporate my chef skills to my business. I’ve been cooking my own fresh marinara, basil pestos for years. I decided to start exploring how I can monetize my love of cooking and my yearning to start a food business again.
I found a great kitchen incubator named Hudson Valley Beta Kitchen (HVBK), in the adorable town of Croton on Hudson. I’m putting together my recipes, scaling them up for small batch production and will be selling them at local farm stores, farmers’ markets, and local summer festivals.
Starting with Fresh Marinara, Fresh Basil Pesto, and Spicy Thai Basil Pesto under the sub-brand, Cavallo Rosso, meaning Red Horse in Italian – same brand look at feel as Tack and Tweed, but food-related.
I’m hoping to be ready in time to launch at the Summer Fest in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, finger’s crossed I can secure all the necessary permits.
I’ll be posting recipes that can be made with the Marinara Sauce and ways to use the different Pestos, so stay tuned! If you are local to Northern Westchester County, NY and want samples, please email me at TackandTweed@gmail.com; in addition, any comments, please comment below as I need and appreciate any feedback!
I’m sure many of us have been there. You’re riding and something feels wrong. Are you pulling on the reins too much? Is your seat not right? Are you out of balance? I naturally go to what I’m doing wrong (which is the usual suspect), but this time, it was Chance’s leg that gave out.
Chance is my steady Eddie…the Golden Retriever of horses; forever an ambassador for the equine species to kids and adult beginners and husbands alike. To see him out of action breaks my heart. His gait was never completely even, but this seems different, like we won’t ever do that training level dressage class we were working towards.
Chance has a bad stifle (the rescue where I adopted him said it was because of an injury as a colt…we’ll never know for sure). There seems to be quite a bit of arthritis in the joint, and it’s basically taken all summer to for him to feel up to trotting at a good clip for more than 20 minutes; we’ve yet to canter.
I’m left wondering if he’ll ever be back to normal, but then I think will I? My back and neck have arthritis and hurt every other day. I’ve been feeling carpal tunnel start in my wrists of late, and I have to struggle to keep off that last 5 pounds these last few years. As we age together, I’m happy to fight for every canter, trot and trail ride we have left. With enough Advil for me and bute for him, there is definitely life after lame!
I’m so happy to finally get around to joining my love of horses and my love of food! I was a chef for over 15 years before I started my Tack and Tweed business. I was a Personal Chef and in addition to cooking for distinguished guests all over New York, The Hamptons, Westchester and Fairfield counties, I taught cooking classes – which I absolutely loved! While I was making baby food for my own children, I created a series of cooking videos, which I will link to below.
I know it’s been a while since my last video, so I will be creating and posting more, focusing on Fast Family Meals, that anyone can learn to do and cook for their families and pets (even horse treats) – especially when we are all locked down or cannot eat out during COVID-19.
In addition to the video series, I will be setting up some ZOOM cooking class sessions, so if you are interested, please email me directly email@example.com and we will get it going.
Please comment below and let me know if you have any special requests!
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/PetitePalateBaby/videos
Selected Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5hF_WXRkSw
Oatmeal and Pear Baby Food https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7YbVek7YBI
Rice Cereal Baby Food https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHrZVugnFRw
Christmas Dinner – Christmas Goose! (in 3 parts) Christmas Goose
Hermés craftsman, Monsieur Goblet, is featured in this documentary short.
I was mesmerized watching how much detail, work, time, perfection and ultimately love go into Hermés bespoke saddles. In fact, it was so beautiful, I felt the need to share it with my equestrian readers. Monsieur Goblet’s every hand movement is like watching a musician on their instrument. When he’s done, his masterpiece can be ridden in for generations.
Hermés has a wonderfully curated YouTube channel; definitely binge-worthy. The saddle above is the Hermés Arpege Dressage Saddle.
Just about time to put away your winter woolies and ski equipment and break out the T-shirts, lightweight sweatshirts and sunglasses. I’ve just updated my Spring and Summer 2020 shop :). I can customize any apparel for you, so please contact me with any special requests.
I also have exclusive lines for my retailers in and around Westchester and New York.
Spring countdown begins!!
I worked at New England Equine Practice, a large referral equine hospital in Putnam County New York for two years, and in that time, I met Dr. Matthew Eliott, one of their practicing equine veterinarians. I spent most of my days in the equine pharmacy, which gave me an opportunity to chat with most of the techs and doctors; his was always a friendly face when he came through the door. One day, he mentioned that he wrote a book, and being very gracious, gave me a signed copy.
I swore to myself that I would read it, and as soon as my schedule allowed, I grabbed the chance.
Stallside, My Life with Horses and Other Characters, is a really fun and interesting book. Dr. Eliott takes his readers all around the globe, following his life growing up in Jamaica and New York, his internship working with zoo animals in Ohio to working as an equine vet in California.
These memories are wonderfully entwined with vet stories from the Dr.’s point of view; all creatures big and bigger, of sorts. What I really found entertaining was not just his description of what vets do when they work up your horse, but WHY they do it with medical explanations (in ways the layman can understand).
When Dr. Eliott isn’t out on farm calls, he spends time riding his steeds and tending to his gorgeous Riverhorse Farm, in North Salem, NY.
Horse lovers, and animal lovers in general, will find this a fun, informative and great book to read anywhere, but I suggest it would be a refreshing summer read while sitting on a bale of hay next to your best four legged friend, eating carrots and sipping rose!
My son Dane has ridden horses for years, but only recently decided to start showing and get a little more serious. This past Sunday, we took him to his first show at Gardnertown Farms across the Hudson in Newburgh, NY. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me! He looked very dashing in his show coat and tie. I told him it would look better with a sparkle unicorn t-shirt (like the ones you can buy in my store) but he disagreed <wink>.
Dane has been training for showing with Angelo Danza at Three Phase Equestrian Center / AD Sporthorses, and it’s been amazing to watch him improve and ready himself for this level of intensity. I’ve always been proud of his ability to bond with horses, especially the very forward and sweet thoroughbred Greta (show name “Game Face”), he was riding today.
The first class out of three, was a crazy course with 14 jumps. I looked at the map and realized that this event was almost more about memory than equitation. The rain was varying from light to medium and was probably a blessing as it would have been very hot in the afternoon sun. The small crowd of watchers gathered under the trees by the event ring as the riders strenuously repeated the course in their heads, “red, red, outside, diagonal, oxer – no, brown!”
The first rider rode and cleared, though her horse was an unwilling participant, shying and fighting the whole way. I hoped Dane was paying close attention but I’m sure the first event butterflies were not helping him concentrate. After a couple more riders, it was his turn.
The whistle blew and he was off. One jump and then another went smoothly but Greta was excited and running super fast. Angelo was calling out instructions from ringside, mostly to “slow down!” but Dane was struggling to steady the pace.
Eventually around the twelfth jump he made a wrong turn and the beep-beep of the “rider off course” ended his first run. But for a first run it was great – fast (too fast!) and he had almost finished. To add to the excitement he knocked over a standard on the way out (still going fast) and Angelo went to pick it up for him.
Dane was clearly frustrated but we told him it was an amazing first run. The rain drizzled on and the riders cycled through the second round until it was Dane’s turn again. They had changed the jump order and he nearly got it except for a wrong turn right at the end. Beep-beep! So close, but Greta was feeling more confident, as was Dane.
As the last round got going my husband worked with Dane to memorize the jump order as they watched the other riders. Then it was time to run again. Dane made one jump after another . I heard Greta hit a pole in the middle but I didn’t see if it fell. A tight turn into the final jump (“let her see it!” called Angelo) and he had finished his first successful run! Great Father’s Day Gift!
The riders went to put the horses back in the trailer while we waited for the results. We knew he wouldn’t be placing in the first two incomplete rounds but then I heard them announce the third, “First Place, Dane Beels and Gameface”. A blue ribbon on his first competition! The other kids cleaned up as well! He makes me one proud horse Mom!
I have fun news for my local readers: some local and very popular tack stores have given me the opportunity to launch my line in their beautiful shops. We’ve collaborated and curated specific Tack and Tweed apparel and accessories for clients in and around the Hudson Valley, Westchester and Connecticut.
The first store to graciously feature my apparel is Saddle Manor in Patterson, NY, which serves Northern Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield Counties. Owner Donna Woods will be sure to take care of your every need with a smile and warm welcome. She has a wide variety of beautiful saddles, apparel, tack and anything else your horse or horse lover could possibly need! Stop in Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm. 2974 Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563 (845) 878-3881.
The Horse Connection is in Bedford – New York’s horsiest town. It was started by owner Natasha Tarasov in 1992 as a mobile tack store offering the best products at the best price with the best service. Her store is a popular staple in Bedford’s historic downtown. Treat yourself to lunch in town at Bedford 234 or the Bedford Post Inn after buying your horse-crazy girl one of my super soft sweatshirts ;).
Open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm. 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY (914) 234-2047
The next two stores are local famous farm markets and have taken on some of my more artsy apparel. We feature the stunning equestrian watercolors of the talented Lorisa Zorina. Please drop by and enjoy some cider donuts and their very own hard cider (yum!) at Harvest Moon Orchard in North Salem.
Open daily summer and fall 9am – 6pm. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY (914) 485-1210.
Also take some time and visit the stunning Rochambeau Farm in Mt. Kisco, NY. Your kids will love to feed their incredibly happy farm animals while you will enjoy munching on their own fresh produce and browsing local products, like my friend Susanne Nastasi’s line of homemade, all natural laundry wash, aptly branded The Farm Babe.
Open Wednesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. 214 West Patent Road Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 241-8090.
If you are in the area, please support these amazing local stores who are holding their own against the big online retailers. There is something so wonderful about going in to a real store, trying a pair of breeches on for a perfect fit, touching soft and luxurious garments, smelling leather tack and most importantly, creating a genuine relationship with local business owners who truly care and contribute to our communities.
We miss you terribly. I’m not a huge fan of award shows; personally, I feel they drag on and on, and are typically filled with self-congratulatory dribble, but at least we could count on your honest, no-holds-barred review of the red carpet. Worst dressed culprits strived on the next go-around to make it to your best dressed list, and your best-dressed celebs could be confident that they absolutely did look glamorous. Joan Rivers, you had great taste.
Last night, I could almost hear your post-carpet review on Fashion Police in my head while watching what looked like a bad high school prom.
Given, I’m not under the scrutiny of every camera and bitchy princess in Hollywood, and I’m not churning out multimillion dollar movies (or anythings for that matter), but I would hope I would make some better choices than what we all saw last night.
For example, I wonder what the Fabulous Mrs. Rivers would have to say about the taffeta tulle trend:
Honestly, the only one that pulled it off is Emmy Rossum in Monique Lhillier, but still don’t these dresses harken back to Pretty In Pink? I know this style all too well; I actually wore these types of dresses 4 years in row. The bigger the better. The only thing missing is the carnation and baby’s breath corsage (wrist or pin-on depends on neckline).
I love a good tuxedo on a woman, but these just didn’t cut it. Too big (like she got into daddy’s closet), too short (forgot pants?) or just confusing, the fit of these were off.
There were some beauties, however. I thought the following two took the Disney Princess theme, and made it look classic, grown up and posh – definitely winners for the night:
Did you guys watch the red carpet last night? What do you think? Am I being too harsh?
May your holiday be filled with love and happiness, and yes, maybe a horse or two :). We spent the days before Christmas with our buddies Chance and Ron, who didn’t complain that they got their presents a couple days early. A belly full of candy canes kept Ronnie from wanting to work ;). Today, after a big present-opening extravaganza, our tummies will be treated to a prime rib roast (Happy Christmas to me), some hot toddies and old-timey Christmas music. Nothing better.
Please share how you spend Christmas with your family (or post videos/pictures) in the comments – I love to hear different family traditions.
A couple years back, I met the artist Beatrice Bulteau at the Equus Film Festival in New York City, where her short, En Lusitaine (above) won Best Artistic Film. Born in the countryside of Loire France, she is currently based in Portugal and works in a number of mediums. Porcelain, print, watercolor, animation, illustration; there’s nothing she cannot do. I instantly fell in love with her simple but elegant aesthetic as she celebrates the clean beauty and noble nature of her frequent subject, the Lusitano Horse.
I will have to save some money to have one of her original watercolor pieces grace my humble home’s walls, however, I can adorn my body with either one of her new clothing pieces or leather handbags. I do recall a gorgeous maxi dress in one of her promotional ads, but I cannot find it to order (please comment below if anyone knows where to find it). I will be ordering one of her beautiful t-shirts (perfect for a night out or a ride in the ring). Her original handbags and silk scarves, as well as any of her artistic works can be purchased online at BeatriceBulteau.com.
Puppy of love
Apparently 5 chickens, 2 kids, a horse, 2 cats and a husband isn’t enough to have hanging around the house, so we adopted a puppy several months ago. Mocha (nickname MochaChochaLatte), rescued from Alabama, born on Christmas Day, is the newest member of our clan.
Introducing her to the family has been interesting; she successfully herds our chickens (she’s mainly border collie), tries to herd the horses (no success there), goes mountain biking with my husband (even wearing HIM out), and brings in all sorts of dirt and love to the house.
I have to start looking for Border Collie themed (or maybe just puppy) horse accessories. Stay posted, in the meanwhile, here are some gratuitous puppy shots/videos.
My sweet steed, Chance, is really shaping up. Minus an old stifle injury as a colt, he’s been sound. He’s not going to any grand prix competitions any time soon (neither would I, by the way), but he has gotten in shape enough to “compete” in some regional hunter paces. My son rode in last weekend’s Rombout Foxhounds Hunter Pace up by Hyde Park, NY.
The hunt club did a wonderful job setting up the jumps (all decorated beautifully), tabletops and food. Catering was delicious (pumpkin soup, chili and desserts too numerous to count)!
I love hunter paces. From beginners to super-competitive riders, all are welcome. Dane (my son) and Chance had lots of fun and Team Beech Hill (our group of three riders/horses) did great! Not in the ribbons, but there were many teams and their time was pretty darn good.
Have any of you done hunter paces? How do you like them? Post your pictures/videos here or on our Facebook page!