My Kingdom for a Horse

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….:)>

Cavallo Rosso – Red Horse Sauces by Tack and Tweed

Fresh Marinara and Fresh Basil Pesto

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.

Our Organic Apple Pear Blend

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!

xo

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Hermés Craftsmanship

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.

Simply amazing.

xo

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Story of an exceptional saddle-maker at Hermès

My Fav Instagram Equestrian Influencers

I scroll through the equestrian posts on Instagram almost religiously. The following are my favorites and must-follows for horsey people of all disciplines :).

Heels Down Magazine (@heelsdownmag)

This is the Instagram page for the famous Heels Down Magazine and pod cast. Part Instagram photography and video feed and part online magazine, they link to their informative equestrian articles and podcasts. This is perfect for seasoned equestrians and newbies alike!

My Equestrian Style (@myequestrianstyle)

Overflowing with beautiful equestrian photography, gorgeous clothes and a super cute host, My Equestrian Style is a fun and informative feed. Keep up with Bethany for the latest in hunter/jumper style!

Fork to Fabulous (@forktofabulous)

New to the equestrian scene but not new to Instagram, Suzane’s lifestyle and health page is filled with gorgeous photography, inspirational healthy dishes and adorable animal and family pics. Follow her story for new motivational content daily!

xo

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Retail Therapy

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.

xo

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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

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Do you RIDE?

SaddleWallRecently I had the pleasure of meeting an accomplished young woman, equestrian, and owner of a unique new store for equestriennes aptly named, RIDE. Courtney Caverzasi’s newest venture is one part high-end boutique and one part high-end tack shop in Bedford, NY; centrally located for the horsey set in Westchester and Connecticut. RIDE carries riding and apres-riding apparel for men, women, children (and yes BOYS) and their equestrian and canine companions.

Her vision is to provide a lifestyle boutique containing everything the well-heeled rider could possibly need all the while, giving them a wonderful shopping experience. She fills a niche for riders looking for great shopping, personal attention and exclusive brands that cannot be found in any high street shop remotely close to this area.

When I walked in, I was amazed to see how beautiful and tasteful it was. A lifelong rider, Courtney shaped her vision through 12 years with Hermes, and it shows. Offering complementary coffee or tea (wine in the evenings), she personally escorts her clients through the different sections of her boutique. From the natural wood saddle rack wall, to the horse mural in the back of the store, everything is perfectly thought out, displayed well, easy to see, touch and try on.

She strives to provide highly desirable brands (many times sourcing items made in the USA) that are hard to find. For example, she nailed an exclusive with Antares, who typically only sells saddles direct. Not only does she sell these items, she understands them, and has used them herself. She has an in depth knowledge of everything she sells and will recommend the highest quality within each client’s budget.  She is constantly nurturing her vendor relationships, resulting in an amazing selection and value for her customers.

Here are some brands she features (but there are MANY more):

Smith Worthington

Samshield Helmets

Hermes Saddles

DeNiro Boots

Lorenzini Stirrups

Next time you are in the area, I HIGHLY recommend the trip to RIDE, and tell her Tack and Tweed sent you. You won’t walk away empty handed! 🙂

CourtneyOnHorse
Courtney astride her friend’s noble steed 🙂

 

RIDE

648 Old Post Road (Rt 22)

Bedford, NY 10506

914.234.RIDE

www.RideBedford.com

xo

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Etsy’s Equestrian Edge

 

Like thousands of others, I love Etsy.com. It’s given so many arisans an easy outlet to sell their wares. Etsy provides a wonderful opportunity to help people make a living at their passions; equestrian-artists are no exception.

Trolling through hundreds and hundreds of stores, I found many focused on equine-related goods, and thought it would be a fun idea to highlight some standouts. Just about everyone has an Etsy account, so log on and support these amazing artisans. You’ll receive a one of a kind item, while supporting small business. I am having a rough time attaching links to photos, so you will need to type in the name of the store (the beginning of the picture caption) in the Etsy search bar. We’ll fix this asap ;).

Most of these crafts can be customized, so remember to ask the artist!

Moxie Designs ATX

 Bows to the Show

 

 The Equestrian Shop

BF Equine

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 Some others – store names are in the description. 

Happy Hunting!

xo

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