Hunter Paces….

Hunter Paces….

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!

xo

lb

IMG_1310

IMG_1311
…and they’re off!

IMG_1315IMG_1318IMG_1321

IMG_1323

 

The Ebony Horsewoman

The Ebony Horsewoman

EbonyHorsewomanLogoSince I’ve been around horses, I’ve known the wonderful things they can do for young people. Some of the most responsible, talented, polite and hardworking boys and girls I can think of, work around a barn for lessons, for themselves and for their ponies and horses. Horses, sometimes intimidating but always a mirror to ourselves, can also reach even the hardest to reach humans. I witnessed this myself when I worked at a small urban barn in Queens, NY (Lynne’s Riding School) whose gentle lesson horses participated in Gallop NYC, teaching autistic and children with downs syndrome the joy of riding.

Patricia E. Kelley, a top Western equestrian and former marine (wow), has known this since 1983 when she founded The Ebony Horsewoman. She has been working with inner city kids, teaching animal care and science (including Western and English riding) to over 300 Hartford, CT kids per year.

“We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing,” said Kelly, 66. “They learn that they have ability. They just have to unlock it.”

By exposing kids in Hartford to horsemanship, she hopes to give them an alternative to the hardships that they may endure every day. They can escape street stress and spend time and energy in her 693 acre park with 14 horses, a Shetland pony, and a number of other animal species, which are taken care of by her students.

Really innovative is her Jr. Mounted Patrol – a group of young riders charged with patrolling the park and reporting back with what is going on in the park. How wonderful is this??

I want to highlight her work and perhaps drum up some dinero for her efforts. As winter descends upon the farm, they could use some money for feed and hay, and I’m sure any number of other items for her non-profit.

Way to go Ms. Kelley! I’ll be on your donor list 🙂

All photos are from their web site – I just thought they were too cool not to feature.

http://www.cnn.com/video/api/embed.html#/video/topvideos/2014/12/05/natpkg-cnn-heroes-tribute-kelly.cnn

Ebony Horsewomen, Inc.
337 Vine Street | Hartford, CT 06112

Phone: (860) 293-2914
Fax:    (860) 293-0039

Email: info@ebonyhorsewomen.us
www.ebonyhorsewomen.us

xo

lb

Equus Film Festival NYC

Equus Film Festival NYC

FilmFestival2I’ve lived in and around NYC for almost 20 years now and I’m a little sad to say I’ve never participated or attended any film festivals. I’ve thought long and hard about getting my butt to the Tribeca Festival, but never actually made it. Last Thursday, when I heard (last minute) about the Equus Film Festival at MIST in Harlem Friday and Saturday, I called in a last minute babysitter, grabbed my notebook and jumped on Metro North. Quite clearly, hours of horsey films take priority over a DeNiro (my favorite actor, by the way) sighting ;).

It took me a couple minutes to find MIST, but once inside I felt very much at home. Three theaters playing equestrian cinema, world-renowned artists and horse activists all convening to share a drink and a bite at the delicious bar of Madiba, and the 7 or so obligatory protesters (anti-horse and carriage types as there was one short film being screened that defended NYC’s horse carriages) out front all conspired to make a wonderful and entertaining evening. I had a bite to eat at the bar, and I realized that this was of the same Madiba of Fort Greene Brooklyn fame, right down the street from where my husband and I lived years ago. It was one of our favorite haunts, so I was happy to see them thriving. Not to mention, the food was amazing. My little hand meat pie and truffle fries were perfect, as was my husbands dish of Chicken Durban Bunny Chow (spicy curry-like dish served in a hollowed out organic bread loaf). DELISH.

Okay, so I grabbed another glass of South African chardonnay, and sat through some evening flicks. First, some shorts. A short about Dr. Maria Katsamanis, who specializes in classical horsemanship, then a quickie about the Festival of the Horse and Drum, which looks to be a fun event scheduled for next August 15th and 16th in St. Charles, Illinois.  Sorry to report that the Asmar Equestrian (my regular readers know I love this brand) ad wasn’t aired at this point, but was seen on screens across the lobby and perhaps at another point in the festival. We then screened Free Rein, a glimpse into the life of a natural horsemanship trainer in Cananda named Jessica Fobert. She teaches us to listen to horses, and gives them a voice – they also happened to win the “Best Equestrian Series” award – congrats!  Next was the talented and artistic Riders of McCrae Farm. Specializing in French Classical Dressage, movements are given by, not forced from, the horse. Not the best cinematography, but a great performance and fun to see.

The next film was a treat. Animaglyphes, a labor of love by director and creator Manolo Bez, creative mind behind the Theatre du Centaur along with his wife, Camille. The film takes us on a journey of animals and man, so that we cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. They bring together a collage of hundreds of people, sheep, horses and onlookers as they undertake an epic journey across many miles through the south of France, ultimately parading though the un-barricaded streets of Marseilles. A piece of art, his objective was to demonstrate the oneness of man and animal while capturing different points of view, the most striking being one of birds as they witness hundreds of sheep being herded behind a female “centaur” (actually Manolo’s wife riding standing up on anywhere between 1 and 3 horses). When I asked what were some of his largest challenges making the film, besides securing the necessary bureaucratic permits, the largest challenge was the massive amounts of animal and human waste and how it was to be controlled and kept clean. Poo above all. 😉

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After this, I took a break to see what was happening in the lobby. I wasn’t disappointed as there were some protesters trying to cause a ruckus over the screening of a 10 minute movie named Save the Horse Carriages by Mary Haverstick (narrated by Liam Neeson). Eh, what’s a good event without some rabble rousers to bring in some media attention :)? I’m posting it here – reason for protest? I’ll let you decide.

Anyway, on the lighter side of life, I also met a wonderful artist named Beatrice Bulteau, who specializes in equestrian art and the celebration of movement and capturing the essence of the horse. She also happens to be the artist behind this year’s festival poster. As much as I wanted her beautiful watercolor mural (and everything else I saw), I only walked away with a signed festival poster and a beautiful iPhone 5 case. Hailing from Paris and now living in Portugal, Ms. Bulteau has been at her art for decades. I am sure that any piece of hers is a wise investment; tasteful art that will ad beauty and class to any room.

If I had more time and less children, I would have attended Saturday – all day. Alas, I had to call it quits after Friday. I’m anticipating next year, and will absolutely make time for the train ride back to the city to attend. Well worth it!

xo

lb

“My Pony”

“My Pony”

“I want a pony. I want a pony more than anything else in the world.” The artist and children’s book author and illustrator, Susan Jeffers opens her book, My Pony, with these words. What little (or big) child bit by the horse bug hasn’t uttered this phrase? This is a book about a little girl, who dreams of having her own pony. Her family cannot afford one, so she draws a beautiful dappled grey mare named Silver, who becomes her dreamy equine companion.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jeffers this past weekend at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival this past weekend, (the CCBF is one of the most notable of book festivals in the NYC area). A rider herself (in fact, she used to have a horse not too far from where my son and I ride), Jeffers’ love for horses and children’s imaginations shines through in her beautifully illustrated books.

Jeffers has been writing and illustrating picture books for over forty years. She received the Caldecott Honor for Three Jovial Huntsman and has been honored with many other awards, including the Golden Kite Award for Forest of Dreams. Susan says she realizes now that she has always done the same things. When Susan was little, her best moments were spent drawing pictures, reading stories with her parents, playing with friends and sitting by the Ramapo River dreaming of horses. This has not changed. Being a children’s book illustrator has combined all of these things.

I read it to my daughter, Annalise, yesterday and she, even at three years old, loved it; she keeps flipping through the pages, perhaps dreaming of her own pony. I’m excited to read the next pony installment, My Chincoteague Pony.

MyChPony

Susan signed a copy and made a pony sketch on the inside front page especially for Annalise. We’ll have to be careful not to beat it up too much, but it will be a book that she and I will cherish for years. Click here to see a list of her other selections available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JeffersProfilePic
Susan Jeffers with her now retired “pony”. 🙂

 

 

 

 

xo

lb

 

Report from the American Gold Cup

Report from the American Gold Cup

I had a lovely morning at the American Gold Cup at the pristine Old Salem Farm in Westchester County, NY. I arrived when the booths were just setting up, so I was able to catch some serious jumping before hitting boutique row for some shopping. Great performances from Brianne Goutal to Todd Minikus to Georgina Bloomberg; it was truly wonderful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Okay, on to the fashion!

There were so many stand out products, that it was difficult to edit, but here are some of my favorites:

I love, love, love DerDau, and at this show, I got to meet the wonderful Mr. Der. He introduced me to HIS favorite boots (at least for today) and they are truly a piece of art. Completely hand made out of beautiful ostrich and alligator skins, these were beauties. Western in style, Mr. Der assured me he can adapt them for a more English preference, if desired. He’ll put in zippers or change the heel, color or skins. Price on these babies is around $4500, so you better break out the visa black. Other styles and skin combinations are easier on the pocket book, but wow, amazing.

 

They have a fun line of men’s ties, I bought my husband this one:

If you haven’t heard of B+ (that’s “B Positive”), you will! It all began 7 years ago when founder Deb Gorman’s husband successfully underwent a stem cell transplant, changing his blood type from A+ to B+! Their first B+ necklace, a simple silver charm on a leather cord, reminded family and friends to BE POSITIVE. Along with Sari Seewald, they have created a line of beautiful, wearable jewelry lovingly named after influences and places they remember in their lives, like “Annie’s Cove”, “Dakota Sky” and “Moonstone”. I purchased a really cute charm bracelet with their signature B+ charm, a sterling silver stirrup and a pretty blue stone. It can worn casual or dressy. Check out their line here.

 

I want to shout out to Hunt Limited – they have a beautiful boutique filled with all the latest trends, styles and must-haves. They offer something for the rider to wear after show, and for the non-rider to wear TO the show. I was greeted by Gretchen and Ginny who showed me their favorites:

 

Currently, they sell to only the horsey set who follow the A Circuit, however, they are currently working on their website/facebook page so they can sell their wears online to the masses!

There were so many more, here were some other highlights:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I urge ANYONE who loves horses or equine fashion, to take the trip to beautiful Old Salem, NY for the festivities. They continue every day until Sunday evening, September the 14th.

I’ll be back Saturday – I have so much more to cover!

xo

lb

Grand Prix Sunday – Glamptons Classic

Grand Prix Sunday – Glamptons Classic

The last day of the Hampton Classic ends with the Longines Grand Prix. I’m watching it live, as I cannot be there today. I am sad, as I had a great time last year acting as a low-level paparazzi, capturing the celebs in the VIP tent, but I’m sure they will be strolling in their heels through the acres of shopping in the Boutique Garden.

Here are three of my favorite booths, all of whom give meaning to the word Glampton 😉

My first stop was the famed French fashion house Hermès. They were named the Official Technical Riding Apparel Supplier of the United States Equestrian Teams. Hermès has been became the Title Sponsor of the U.S. Show Jumping Team since February, and their designs did not disappoint.

James Sardelli, the equestrian account executive, let me try on the official show jacket, and let me say it was like butter. The fabric was stretchy, soft and breathable, with the added benefit of being machine washable. I’m not convinced that if I was lucky enough to have one of these babies that I would just throw it in the washing machine, but it is a nice option. The tailoring is impeccable and the buttons are made of palladium; they never skimp on quality.  Regular, but well-heeled, riders are able to buy the riding jacket in dark navy blue for a mere $1925 (men’s and women’s both available). The competition red jacket is only for the team members, darn. Absolutely gorgeous.

The breeches were beautiful, of course, and created with the same quality and craftsmanship. I love the tan and black, but are also available in white. $990. Men’s come in black and white.

Inside their award-winning booth, I was also drawn to their warm up jackets, belts and just about everything else they had. The saddles, of course are just a dream.

 

Across the boutique row, and hard to miss, was another favorite designer of mine, Missoni.

They had a gorgeous presentation of their famed chevron print, and set up a mini lounge where tired Classic-goers could kick back and put up their feet….like Dane. I met Roxane Mosleh, COO of Pomme, NY Inc and Christopher Philips, VP of Sales, Missoni The Americas. Mrs Mosleh said her husband is an avid rider so she thought it would be a great idea for Missoni to “show” at the Hampton Classic, I agree. I especially loved their bath towels and robes. Soft and plush, I can see Annalise and I fashionably exiting our evening bath for our evening drink (milk and wine, respectively).

 

Last stop of note (there were so many, I had to edit), was the Der Dau booth.

Known for their customization of just about everything, I was not only drawn to their impressive display of boots, but also their breeches. One particular style has real snake skin on the knee patches and detailing around the belt loops. Gorgeous, fun and funky, I loved them. The rep said that she was sure he would even design in fur, if requested. That would be cool. Back to the boot wall – every imaginable color and leather is available, only limited by one’s imagination. Price points are hard to calculate, as different details/customizations cost different amounts of money, but there is a “ready to wear” collection, which are gorgeous and more affordable.

Enjoy some other shots of cute and fashionable people items from the Glamptons Classic:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

xo

lb

Not Very Horsey? Don’t Worry! You’ll Fit in at the Hampton Classic

Not Very Horsey? Don’t Worry! You’ll Fit in at the Hampton Classic

My son (who is taking riding lessons) and I attended the opening day of the Hampton Classic this past Sunday. We were rewarded with a beautiful day, good food, lots of fun fashion and amazing riding. There was so much to feature, I wasn’t sure where to begin, but my son inspired me to feature the family-friendliness and diverse activities of the Classic. If anyone thinks that this show is just for the extremely horsey set, or that it would be too boring for kids, is simply wrong.

There was just so much to do. After a long drive, my son was hungry, so we grabbed a pizza at Pizza Luca by Stable Row. I’ll get into more detailed food reviews later, but we gobbled it up! Any kid can easily find something to eat, but I truly recommend the pizza (side note to Pizza  Luca: please add more of your delicious mozzarella and basil to the margherita!!!).

032
Pizza Luca – Margherita (Napolitano)

Off to the practice/warm up rings for an up close and personal with the competitors. The mounts were absolutely gorgeous, as were the riders; I was so jealous that I wasn’t competing or at least simply sitting on a horse. We also caught some of the short stirrup classes (soooo cute).

028
She did so well!

We then toured the swanky VIP tent, but my son was anxious to get to the kid’s area, so I was only allowed to pretend to be a VIP for 5 minutes. Long enough, however, for a quick glass of Wolffer Estate’s white – yum!

Dane - Too Cool for Schooling (VIP)
Dane – Too Cool for Schooling (VIP)

 

The kids area was (is) fabulous! There is a full size play ground, petting zoo (with very CLEAN and friendly animals), a cookie decorating station (thanks Citarella!), and an art station. The little kids can also join in the horse action with an adorable pony ride. We loved the gallery of children’s art – some was truly amazing. We can’t be there on Optimum Kids’ Day, but no matter, we had plenty to do anyway.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This takes me to the short walk over to the boutique gallery. Even if you don’t want to tack up and jump an oxer, you can find some amazing fashions, fun crafts, quality bags and farmer’s market specialties (I’ll get into the farmer’s market in my food review yet to come).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then watched the main event of the day, the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby. I love watching the hunters – I know many people love the thrill of the jumpers, but the smoothness and grace of the hunter horses really is something to see. Congrats to Patricia Griffith, on Black Label, who won the Derby!

Patricia Griffith on Black Label – Photo Courtesy of Chornicle of the Horse

Enjoy my pictures – fashion and food reviews to come!

xo

lb