Catch Rider – part 2

Catch Rider – part 2

CatchRiderCoverI ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lyne for Kindle last year, and hadn’t had a chance to read it. When I learned that Ms. Lyne was going got be signing her book at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (she currently lives in NYC) a couple weeks ago, I decided to break the virtual spine and start reading.  I couldn’t put it down. Sidney, the main character, has such an honest and strong voice. Her view of the world, as described by Jennifer Lyne, comes to life, in detail, drawing in even the most non-horsey of people into the world of a young woman struggling with class issues, personal tragedy and how to escape from her hometown by doing what she loves, riding.

While I didn’t grow up riding horses every day, after reading this book, I felt as though I had. Ms. Lyne’s attention to detail was a master class in equitation riding, the show world and how much effort it takes to succeed for someone who doesn’t have a fortune. Sidney won my heart; I instantly fell in love with her. As a mother, I wanted to take care of her, and couldn’t wait to read what she would do next. I felt as if I were there with Sidney and her uncle at the (spoiler alert) Maclay finals in NYC; found myself trying to calm my own nerves on her behalf.

Sidney’s perspective about her rural Virginia life, and her extreme brevity is compelling, and I will be sure to have both my children read Catch Rider when they are old enough. Kids don’t need to be in the horse world to learn from Ms. Lyne’s themes. Doing what you love, hard work and holding your head up high no matter what your background, are lessons we all need to learn.

Okay, now Ms. Lyne….time to write a sequel.

The Author, Jennifer Lyne
The Author, Jennifer Lyne

xo

lb

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Icy Ride, Safe Ride – Winter Riding Safety

Icy Ride, Safe Ride – Winter Riding Safety

Looking out the window at all the ice from this weekend, I’m again wishing for better riding weather.  Those of us who can’t ride in warmer climates (and especially without covered rings) are faced with making the decision to not ride at all or try to take short rides as safely as possible. I found this article in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, which has some great advice for we northern tundra riding folk ;).

I’m going to take her advice and try bareback with my little Cuervo – want to keep my butt warm!

xo

lb

Winter horseback riding can be fun, but special care is needed

Posted Nov. 18, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.
BangorDailyNewsHorse
Courtesy of Jesse Schwarcz | Schwarcz Photography Shadow, a 37-year-old Arabian owned by Heather Robbins, enjoys the snow at Wild Ivy Farm in Bangor.
Courtesy of Jesse Schwarcz | Schwarcz Photography
Shadow, a 37-year-old Arabian owned by Heather Robbins, enjoys the snow at Wild Ivy Farm in Bangor.

It is inevitable. There will be snow, cold and ice. For some horse owners, this means hanging up the saddle and giving the horse some time off. Others forge ahead. With careful preparation, riding in the winter can be enjoyable and safe.

Some riding stables have an indoor riding arena, which eliminates the concern of icy footing and biting wind. For those not so fortunate, riding can be done outside as long as there isn’t ice or deep, crusted-over snow. Horses are very capable in the snow, but when it gets that frozen layer over the top, it is difficult for the horses to break through and they may even lacerate their lower legs. It also impedes their movement which could result in a fall of both horse and rider.

For the winter months horses should either go barefoot, with no horseshoes, or have special snow-tire-like shoes with caulks and a pad between the hoof and shoe that keeps snow from balling up. Horses’ hoofs are cupped, so snow will pack in if horses wear typical metal shoes, which makes hooves like bowling balls and the horse very unsteady. Disaster is eminent.

With a barefoot horse, or one fitted with winter shoes, riding outside through snow-covered trails is a most enjoyable outdoor activity. Some considerations are important, however. In order to carry a rider through deep snow, a horse has to work extra hard, so be aware of horses’ fitness and exertion during an outside ride. If a horse has a full winter coat, it can quickly become very sweaty with the extra effort required to plow through snow, and care must be taken to keep that horse warm after a ride until its coat has dried. The drying process can take hours. It may be a better idea to limit physical work to avoid having a horse sweat a lot. They can’t shed layers if they get warm the way riders can.

For the rider, wearing appropriate gear can be a challenge. Riders can’t wear slippery snow pants or chunky boots to ride in. One will make it hard to stay on, and the other makes it hard to get your foot out of the stirrup should you not stay on. While a fall off a horse into the snow isn’t a bad way to land, it can be an awfully long walk home should that horse decide that he has urgent business to attend to back at the barn.

One of the more comfortable ways to ride in winter is going bareback — the horse’s back, not the rider’s. A horse with a broad enough back can be lovely to sit on in winter. They are natural seat warmers. A narrower horse, while still warm, isn’t as cushiony to sit upon.

Riding should never be attempted on ice. Horses do not handle ice well. Occasionally, there will be a horse that can figure out how to safely negotiate an icy patch, but the majority of them play out the Bambi scene from the Disney movie. Except in this case, Bambi weighs a thousand pounds or more and it isn’t cute when he comes crashing down, limbs all akimbo. Horses can easily fracture a leg falling on ice, so not only should ice be avoided when riding but if your paddocks are icy, horses may need to stay in the barn until there is sufficient snow to cover them or it melts. Some horse owners will outfit their horses with studded horseshoes just to avoid an accident at pasture. In general, horses will avoid ice naturally, but sometimes, they get goofing around and don’t pay attention to the footing.

Horses are quite adapted to cold weather and as long as they don’t get wet from rain, snow or sweat, they are very comfortable being outside. Wintertime in Maine has its challenges for keeping horses, but the opportunities for some spectacular riding should not be missed. If a horse — not a rider — is barefoot and bareback, riding amongst the snow covered pine trees is a dreamy way to get through the winter.

A “Shout Out” to the Schramms – Q & A

ImageAs a relative newcomer to riding, I find myself voraciously consuming anything equine-related to help me get to the next level. One of my newest go-to places is EventionTV.com. Originally on YouTube, founders Dom and Jimmie Schramm, professional three day event riders and owners of Schramm Equestrian in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, shared their endless knowledge of all things equestrian. It took off. After my first view, I too, was totally hooked. Now in their second season, the adorable Dom and Jimmie combine expert advice, real riding examples, humor and loveable personalities into digestible horsey segments on their very own newly-launched webTV channel EventionTV.com.

Their warmth, caring and expertise is a welcome addition to the equine airwaves. I especially love that every episode includes a “Schrammo’s Shoutout” where Dom and Jimmie bring much needed attention to equine-related charities around the globe. Consider EventionTV a horse treat for us humans.

I recently caught up with the super busy super couple to ask a few questions:

lb: What is your riding background? How did you guys meet?

dom: I grew up in outback Queensland Australia. I had the typical ‘bush’ start, tearing around on ponies and being a boy. My mum was the one who got me started competing in the show and dressage ring bit. It was when my father was on a military posting in the UK when I discovered eventing at age 11 and I never looked back. Since then I have ridden track-work, broken in lots of horses, and re-trained problem horses to fund my eventing habit.

jennie: I am originally from Dallas, TX and went through pony club which is where I learned about eventing. I rode with Chrissy Allison who also happens to.be where Tex aka Mellow Johnny came from. I went to college at Auburn University where I had the opportunity to work for Mike and Emma Winter who taught me the ins and outs of upper level eventing. I then spent a few months in California with Tamie Smith and that is where I found my current mount Bellamy and have been striving to make it the the top with him ever since. Dom and I met through our good friends Ryan Wood and Jennie Brannigan. We did the long distance thing for a little over a year and then got married and the rest is history.

lb:  What is EventionTV and who is your main audience/ who are you trying to reach?

d&j: EventionTV is a FREE web based how to tutorial series that presents practical information for horse enthusiasts in a fun, fresh and easy to digest way. We target any one who enjoys horses, wants to learn and likes to have a laugh!

lb: Why did you guys start this channel/ what prompted you to start making your show?

dom: To be honest it actually started as an idea to write a book, but I realized living in a digital age, online and visual made more sense. We try to answer simple questions people may have in the least condescending way possible as we thought a lot of what was out there was making people feel stupid. We also realized being broke ass event riders that we didn’t have mom and dad with the never ending checkbook that we were going to have to differentiate ourselves if we were ever going to get off the air mattress and pay the bills!

lb: What will be different about your second season? What is “new and improved”? Any spoilers to share with my readers?

d&j: We have put a tonne more effort and money into this season. Viewers can expect more in depth explanations. Visually it will be broadcast quality and revamped.  We will be trying out new technology to do things that have never been seen before in equestrian videos so it is a really exciting time. As far as spoilers, well, you can expect some more humorous segments as well as some special guest appearances!

lb: What is your favorite riding gear – what do you guys use on a regular basis (I know you use Stubben saddles…anything else)?

d&J: Really all of the Stubben gear is fantastic. Not just the saddles but the bridles and all the accessories as well are such great quality. My new favorite piece of tack is a Stubben jump bridle with fancy stitching. I like that sort of thing.

lb: What is your recommended show clothing? Hack clothing? Does it really matter?

j: For me it always matters, you want to look professional and put together. It obviously helps if you ride well too: ) I wear Pikeur breeches in competition and I have been searching for new competition jacket and tails and really like the Charles Ancona ,their stuff is beautiful. For every day in the summer the EIS sun.shirts are a staple. In the fall and winter I like polo shirts and rugbys. Ralph Lauren makes some really fun ones as well as Joules. As far as breeches go I like Pikeur and Cavallo. Yes they can be expensive but for someone that rides a lot of horses every day, they last.

lb: What is the best advice you have for an adult beginner rider? Is it worth their time working towards a show?

j: The best advice.I have for an adult beginner is to make yourself a realistic schedule and most importantly STICK to it. And by schedule I mean daily rides, lessons working up to possibly a competition. I also think it is worth aiming for a show because it gives you a goal you can work towards and a reason to improve your horse and your riding.

lb: What was/is your biggest challenge putting this show together?

d: Two things, finding the time on top of running a busy barn and second, paying for the production!

lb: Will we get to know some of your staff better in any upcoming episodes?

d: Steph, our barn manager/superwoman of all things is crucial to everything we do. I really want her to be more visible on the show but I know she will groan when I ask her. Hopefully you will get to see more of her.

lb: Where/when can fans come and cheer you on (your show schedule)?

d: Things are actually quieting down for us however we do have our biggest show of the year coming up in Fair Hill MD Oct 16-19. I will be in the CCI** on Cold Harbor and Jimmie will be contesting the CCI*** on her superstar Bellamy. We love seeing Evention fans at the shows so come out and say G’day!

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Personally, I would love to cheer them on in Maryland this October. I may need to use some of their horse loading tips to load my kids into the car for a road trip – so we’ll have to see 😉

Check out these pics – I wish I could do this!!!!

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xo

lb