Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friends and Family



I had a spectacular ride with my boy Ian and my friend Ulla today. The weather was perfect, a cool late summer day. There were a few midges in the woods but no deer flies. We rode trails all around my place, walk, trot and canter. Dozie the Morgan generally led the way, with AhD in the middle and Mister Man the QH taking up the rear. Other than biting Mister (a dominance thing) and Dozie (a sexy thing), AhD was just about perfect! He listened to me, kept up a nice pace, and best of all, not one single intentional "spook."Here we are taking a horse cookie and blackberry break on the power line. Look how good AhD is being, staying in place while I take the picture!
And this picture shows how awesome he is being to hang behind while Ian went up ahead with Mister! I was so pleased. I've saved my best news for last. Today, I galloped AhD - a wonderful in-hand controlled gallop. WOW! It was thrilling! It was so much fun, we all decided a do-over was necessary, so I thought to myself, ok, I don't want AhD to think we are going to gallop in this place every time, so I'm going to hold him back. Well, he listened without pitching a fit while the other horse took off...and he listened so well, that I eased him into a beautiful canter, the smoothest, well-balanced canter together we have ever had! So, we had a fantastic day, one to remember. Happy trails! -Susan and AhD


Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Little Bareback




My boy's bold attitude is really rubbing off on his ol' lady, because here she is riding her crazy Curly pony bareback. Ian reminds me how much fun it is to be young and fearless, and since AhD has been listening to me lately when I say, "no, don't go yet," and waits for my, "ok, now you can go" language, I feel more in control. After couple of days ago after our trail ride, we hopped back on bareback to ride down the lawn to the barn door, but ended up tooling around her and there on our ponies. Wow, was that fun, and it felt sooo good to wrap my legs around my Didder at the trot and canter. AhD isn't one of those smooth trotters, but I felt very comfortable and right at home, even at his fast trot. No worries! And, I swear AhD likes it. He needs to be all warmed up and listening to me before I'll even consider it. Like Angie's barrel racing, this is a thigh-buster! I should do it more often. :)
We are finishing up our rides in the dark. I just had to show the bling of my beautious saddle blanket in case Harold is looking.



Promoting til the end...

Hi all, your inspiring stories got me off my butt and heading to the Newberry Fair today. I entered Reese in halter only to get our feet wet again in the show mode. He was VERY well behaved. Erin, my equine buddy of 19 years old, joined me. We spent all friday night bathing, and grooming the horses for the morning classes. It was so much fun! Today, the weather was cold, rainy, windy and miserable but we are still smiling. I forgot how much fun talking curlies can be. One lady wanted to take Reese home. ;-) Sorry, he is a lifer!




Two more days for the August Mini Promo contest! Send your forms to me via email or fax to: 906.484.3799. denise.conroy@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chester - The Man!

Hello Curly Friends,

A quick note to share our "eventing" last night in Barrel Racing. Renegait Chesterfield and I went with a good friend, Leann, to a local arena, Wade Arena in Terrell, Texas that holds Barrel Racing on Tuesday evenings. It is a popular sport with the young ladies around here. I can see why - you gotta have bun muscles of steel and it doesn't hurt to have a deep seated saddle. 


Chester was wonderful. First, we took a shower and got all handsome; in case their were pretty mares there, and there was a gorgeous Paint named Cheyenne whom he spoke very gentlemanly to.....

Then, we loaded up in our friends three horse trailer like a champ. This was Chester's third trip in his almost five years of life and my friend, Leann, was amazed at how well he did. Once we arrived I tied him to the trailer and he smiled sweetly for the camera.
 
Next, we saddled him up in her Billy Cook barrel racing saddle. Yahoo, it was a a very comfortable saddle!  I brushed and groomed him while hearing the lyrics from our own Texan band, ZZ Top, ...."coz every girl crazy 'bout a sharped dressed man".

Chester and I walked right into the Arena like we had done it a hundred times before, past the 25 head of Texas Longhorns who were called out rather loudly for their dinner. Riders and their horses took a second look and we smiled sweetly. The owner of the arena, Jerry Wade, commented "I don't think I've ever seen a Curly....and he's a stud too! Yep, he is the Man!

First, we walked around the barrels, next time we trotted around the barrels and finally we trotted and came home in a 'lope". Chester was wonderful. We hope to visit the arena every Tuesday evening and, who knows, one day Chester may be to Texas Barrel Racing what George Strait is to Country Music....The Man!
Angie and her Man, Chester

Monday, August 24, 2009

Evening Rides

As the days grow noticeably shorter, Ian and I have been getting in a few evening rides on Mister and AhD. I haven't had many photo ops, but here are a couple. Sometimes we need to load our horses up with bug spray and a nice hemlock twig for good measure against the deeer flies. On our last couple of rides, we have about an hour until dark overtakes us, and we have taken a really nice loop that takes up every bit of that hour. Here is one of the streams we cross on this trail.It is always beautiful and clear and usually quite shallow. AhD never fails to stop as we cross, and he either drinks or splashes. Sometimes he does both. Ian's riding skills are improving, which means I am more comfortable with trotting and cantering our horses. Tonight, as we made the turn to go home and trotted fast up a fairly short and steep hill, Mister and Ian had the gall to pass us - at the canter! Well, AhD did not take kindly to that and gave a small crow hop and a kick or two. I spoke sharply to him but inside I was laughing at his "don't you DARE pass ME!" attitude. After that, we stayed in the lead on the narrow, winding trail up the hill towards home, cantering most of the way. AhD's canter has improved quite a bit with practice, and Ian's fearlessness is rubbing off on me or something, because I am definitely getting back some of my taste for speed. FUN!
Speaking of fun,my niece Layla must have inherited the horse lovers gene from my side of the family, because her face is the definition of fun as she sits on Mister. AhD's face is the definition of Jealous. He just HAD to get in on it, and he didn't like it whenever it was Layla's turn to sit on Mister instead of him. Layla said, "He has wild hair!" as she patted his face.
Looking forward to hearing from my fellow RACers about your latest escapades! -Susan and AhD

Cinnamon River's Gaited Extented Trot


Hello Curly Friends,

Cinnamon River and I were so lucky last week. My good friend and instructor at Equest Therapeutic Riding Center in Wylie, Texas, Cheryl Gray, came to visit Golden Curls Ranch and gave us a lesson in Extended Trot.  Cheryl had mentioned wanting to ride a gaited horse on FaceBook (oh, by the way, if your on Face Book look us up....it's great fun, Denise, Linda, Janice, and Annette are there and it's a fun way to touch basis with friends on a daily basis)

So naturally, I jumped at the chance to show her Cinnamon River who is a MFT Curly Cross. We are working with Mary Donald and Bunny Reveglia on our ICHO gaited evaluation and he is doing really well. Cinnamon's grandpa is Walker's Prince T on his mom's side and Rex's Golden Touch on his sire so he has lots of smooth gaits to live up too! 
Wednesday was a beautiful day for a ride. Cheryl has been experiencing some medical concerns and at one point was paralyzed on her left side so I was a little worried, OK major worried!. But, as my husband says; never counsel you're fears, The ride for Cheryl and Cinnamon River went wonderfully. She really thinks he has great potential and he is only five years old. She likes the gaited walk as it is less pounding on her back and she can get back into the saddle. She has been mainly a Dressage on Thoroughbreds.. 
Then, she dismounted and said,  "I've warmed him up, now, you take him to the next level". And, being the good student I quickly climbed up in her custom English Dressage saddle; which felt like a cloud under my seat bones! Wow, I walked Cinnamon River giving him leg but not so much that he would break into a bouncy trot. He started moving out so fast and smooth it was heaven. So, we are extending our beautiful trot. Wahoo! Was it a pleasure.
It was a great day, having my instructor pronounce Cinnamon River a wonderful gaited horse and getting to the next level with him on his extended trot....wishing everyday could be just like that day.
Hugs,
Angie

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finally - a Follow up on Susan's post !

After the big day here at the farm... I had to play catch-up with other chores. I am glad Susan is on the ball with quick posting.

Essentially- this promotion was for our Riding Center and also as a celebration of the accomplishments of all our riders. You can read all about the successful day on the Therapy with Curly Horses blog . In a round about way however, every time we promote our Riding Center, we have the opportunity to boast and toast about the Curlies-- especially ours ! :) Who are SO SPECIAL in their job at Dream On Curls Riding Center. Everyone is impressed with the Curlies- those who have never been around horses and those who have... they all appreciate the unique qualities of these therapy Curly horses.










Susan's photo was taken moments after the tent was taken down. Here are a few shots of the lawn, the cars, and the attendees. We had a super turn out-- and thanks to Susan for cheffing up at the grill !




We had shirts for sale - Here is Susan modeling one after the festivities were over, with OYY Salvadore- curly pony stallion.


The shirts came out great- thanks to Denise Conroy of



After the tent left- Susan and I just relaxed on the lawn-- and I asked if she wanted to try my treeless saddle. Susan -- like so many of us -- is not one to turn down a ride in the saddle... so we prepared Keri for a early evening test run.
They make a nice looking pair ! Susan is definitely one of those friends anyone would be LUCKY to have !



Enjoy your day ~

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Play Days in Texas

Hello Curly Friends,
I'm a Sand Hill Piedmont Carolina girl by birth and I grew up riding mostly English near Southern Pines; but, now that I call Texas home I am trying hard to learn Western riding and terminology. So when my girlfriend asked if I wanted to go to a Playday, I said sure.."sounds kinda elementary but I'm game". Well, folks, elementary it's not. I looked it up on the internet and Southern Texas Play Day website ( http://www.angelfire.com/tx/southerntexasplayday/) gives a good description.

What is a Playday? It is a combination of horse and rider timed events. There are usually four events at each playday: Poles, Cloverleaf Barrels, Straight-away Barrels, and an optional Jackpot Race. Riders can ride for fun or compete in the playday. Riders must compete in his/her age group/class to receive points. Points are awarded on the basis of the rider's finish/place. Riders accumulate points for each event that they compete in. At the end of each playday and Money/Saddle/Buckle series, winners in each age group will receive an ALL-AROUND award on the basis of his/her accumulated points.

Note...anything in Texas that involves a Belt Buckle is major competition. Now the folks there were real nice and their horse are really fast and big but I got a good chance to talk about our Curly Horses (no one knew about Curly Horses).

Still, I've decided to practice a wee bit more 'fore I venture out to compete in Playdays for one of those shiny Belt Buckles....
Your very elementary Curly Friend.,
Angie

Friday, August 21, 2009

“you can tell a true cowboy by the type of horse that he rides” Cowboy Proverb


Hello All,

We've been busy....ranching. Real ranching.....'cause we have 40 head of Longhorn cattle roaming around our little ranch deep in the heart of Texas.

The cows are so peaceful and calm. Our Curlies are still trying to decide if they might be eaten by those four legged creatures with horns.

Next year we will add this to our RAC Desensitizing Technique.

Best wishes to all.

Angie and Lokata "Kota"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dream On Curls Promotion

I had a wonderful time on Friday schmoozing around with the people at Betsy and Zoe Lirakis' open house for Dream on Curls theraputic riding center. We had beautiful weather, a true hot summer day in Vermont, and I met some of the nicest people on the planet. I thoroughly enjoyed Zoe's demo featuring the person Lily on the Curly Lilly and was very impressed with Lily's learned skills and Lilly's patience and obedience. These Curly horses we are all so obsessed with really are great horses, aren't they? After the demo and chatting up Curlies and the benefits of theraputic riding with the spectators, I went to work, grilling about 100 hotdogs and 100 hamburgers for the hungry crowd. Since I was Staff for a day, Betsy gave me a lovely lavender tee to wear which pictures a Curly on the back. (I love this comfy shirt so much that I wore it to work Monday!) There were lots of door prizes and a Chinese auction under a big tent. All the riders received a blue ribbon, so there were lots of smiling faces. I worked with some AWESOME volunteers, including two teenage girls who set to work painting faces and kept it up with good humor for hours. After the big To Do, the hostesses and a few volunteers relaxed under the big tent and enjoyed a small but cool breeze. WHAT A DAY! One which I would gladly repeat! That evening, I even had the great honor of riding Betsy's very, very favorite special Curly Keri. Not only is Keri gorgeous, but she was very responsive to my cues and moved right out with nice, ground-reaching even strides at the walk, trot and canter. I fell in love with Betsy's Barefoot treeless saddle, too, and if I ever have the $$$$ I will be sure to snap one up. I was too busy to take pictures, but I did manage to snap one of the tent site (above) the morning after, and ...
one of these two beautiful bays, Luna and Nimue greeting me over the fence just before I headed out.
I hope my fellow RAC'ers are having as much fun as I am promoting Curlies this month, but you all have your work cut out for you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

the month of august

Auuggh... I really need to get back in the saddle. I haven't been riding, and I can tell, because I'm getting grumpy. lol.
Despite that, I have been having fun promoting curlies. I do this anyway of course! I talked with some people at the state fair about them, and I've told several new aquaintances from school related things about my fun boys. Hopefully I'll soon have some pictures and stories to share. I'm so excited about working with Smokey- he's such a sweet boy!- and getting back into regular work with Koko and Sunny. :-) They are such a joy... its hard to imagine a life without horses!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dam That Trail

I did already post the photo's and news of our recent Monday trail ride through beaver country.. but here is the abridged version for the RAC'ers who might have missed my farm blog entry.

Zoe and I -- Teasel and Keri - headed out onto some new territory for an exploration. We crossed the mountain, trotted by Zoe's house, crossed the highway.. and found a series of trails at the end of Fletcher Road. It was our plan to circle up around the 'pink house' at Stellafane, the observatory site on Mount Ephraim. So- we had a general direction to aim for... now to get there.



There were so many options.. we will definitely trot back over here for an indepth trail expedition. We did take a few 'wrong' turns.. a couple of dead ends-- but eventually.. we followed a trail that would take us to Pleasant Valley Road- which we would have to cross in order to reach our destination.



Once we found ourselves behind this beaver pond, we knew where we were. We've been on the other far side many times.


And here we find those industrious beavers have been, indeed.. busy ! They are building a new dam across the trail. Unless you looked carefully.. the trail would be hidden from view, because of the newly forming pond-- but we could see the trail opening on the opposite side.




Today-- Keri was not truly feeling the enthusiasm for hopping the dam and wading through the pond... but she did anyway.. we found the trail.. trotted down Pleasant Valley Road to the turn into Mount Ephraim.





I have posted photo's of this farm and its view before.. but it's so pretty !







Trot and canter over the mountain..
We reach the site of the old observatory.





According to the 'clock' on the pink house-- it's time to trot home. The sun dial reads Noon, but it's really one o'clock, there is that little problem of setting the sun back for daylight savings.


We had a great time out.. and will absolutely head back over there soon !


Tuesday evening we went out with Keri and Elektra... the days are becoming noticeably shorter now.. and we repeated our night ride again-- this time with an almost full moon !

In person-- the moon was orange, quite large, low in the sky-- and you could see the old man's face perfectly. My camera did not properly catch all that.. but I think I would have had to had a tripod with a very slow shutter speed... and not be on horseback :) At any rate-- it was a really fun 'night out'. Today- Thursday- I think is the official full moon.. so maybe we'll go out again tonight.


A week ago Sunday.. Zoe and Elektra had a long day at Dressage Days at GMHA (Green Mountain Horse Ass'n). Many were competing for the big stakes. Zoe's ride times were 9, 11, 2, 5. They did well- large classes and stiff competition. Most of the riders and horses bring their trainers with them-- they get coaching while they are warming up in the exercise area... or for the high level riders and horses... they bring their grooms who ride and exercise the horses. Stacked up to the others-- we are like total country bumpkins :) with our farm bred, farm trained, farm ridden horse. At this show, they even measured the length of the crop !




I did already post the news of the show on my farm blog-- Zoe and Elektra did pretty well.. training level 1 and 2, large classes- Zoe earned a fourth in one. She rode the FEI test for 4 year olds and got great comments.. (once Elektra is on the bit consistently she'll get all 7's and better for scores).


The last ride was Equitation Dressage- for which Zoe won First place ! After your ride, the judges give you your critique, which is also written all out for studying later ! Pretty helpful and always nice to know when you do well too :)



I made Zoe hold up her prize so I could take a photo. As I mentioned on the farm blog...
this lovely award will make a perfect juice cup on a good day-- on a bad day.. perhaps a super big shot glass ! Anyway.. a long day but a good one.
We are on our third day of sun here !! WOW ~
Enjoy your day ~

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Its about blogging time!

Its about blogging time I got my act together! I have not blogged for what seems like forever, but that does not mean I have not been busy racking up the RAC points! Most of my work right now is " in hand" thank you SO much Denise for starting this catagory.....it is a blessing to us breeders who spend hours doing in hand work and now we have a place to share and to compete!

I am pictured here with C-C Heather ( on the left ) our smooth coat foal sired by our Ranch Stallion...*Shadow's Hawk Spirit...aka..."HeartBreaker" and Zigachtee's Fanci, and her 1/2 sister *C-C Hattie ( on the right ) out of *Penny's Isabella. Due to a lack of mothering skills on Izzy's part, we had to raise Hattie as an orphan, and though it may seem like the inhand work would be easier, it in fact was not! Hattie had a lot of rules to learn, rules her Dam would have taught her..but I got the job instead. 2 months now, we have a happy, well adjusted ( to horses and humans ) chunky monkey filly. Every evening I take the fillies out for some hand grazing and some leading lessons. Yesterday they got their first bath! There are just so many things a youngster can learn and I try and fit a good amount of learning in, before our raining fall weather hits. BTW...these fillies are both offered for sale..check our website for more info..www.creeksidecurlies.net

Monday, August 3, 2009

A new trick




This ol' dog learned a new trick from another ol' dog. When on the trail during those hot, muggy deerfly-filled August days, tuck a branch of hemlock under the bridle. It REALLY worked!!! My friend Ulla had a branch of poplar in there as well, but apparently it is the hemlock that truly repels those nasty biting flies. Oh, and yes, I am on the phone, on an emergency incoming call. "Mom, can I go over to Pat's house?"After trekking through the woods on some beautiful trails, we headed back out to one of my favorite fields.An excellent ride! And my beloved AhD was close to perfect in the new hackamore - very well behaved. No close-up pictures today because my thighs in those breeches would probably scare all of you, but as you can see in the field picture, my Curly and I are quite well matched with our ampleness. After this wonderfully refreshing, lovely ride, I get back to the house to get ready to go out to the store, and my middle teenage son says, "Mom, you're not going to WalMart in those tight thingys, are you?" I had to giggle and give him a hug. Ain't kids grand with their emergency calls and thoughtful comments?

The ulimate desensitization test - Our Curlies pass with an A+




Hello all,

Saturday, around
4:00 pm I was catnapping with Dixie Girl - our sweet little adopted, two month old, Manx mix, Kitty when it started raining. We have had showers off and on this week so it didn't really concern me that the horses and other animals were still out grazing. Until, I looked out and saw the loafing barn or the lack thereof. Chester and Lakota were just standing where it use to be dazed and almost in shock but not a scratch on them. I immediately ran out and let them out of pasture so that they could find another shelter, 'cause it was still raining, thundering and worst, lightning. They just stood there. They didn't want me to touch them. I cant blame them really; as I'm sure they were thinking (why didn't mama bring me in before the storm?)

Next, I went into Blossom and Golden Red's pasture and Blossom, my baby girl, immediately followed me back to the barn. Red had other ideas. Yes, she is in season right now so she thinks with a different part of her brain. She went over to see Chester . Well, he came back to life. So did Lakota! Oh poo I thought....not in the middle of the storm! So I walked back to the barn and amazingly Lakota came into the barn and went right into his stall. Chester was next and Golden Red had to smell everything before she decided it was OK to stay in the stall in the Middle of both of the guys (not where I would have chosen for her to be).

Then, I called out to Cinnamon River and Curly J to come. Galloping in the rain and
lightning bolts in the sky behind them they were a magestic sight to see. Following them were the soaked jennies and the very expressive, dripping wet, Llamas. Finally, everyone was in by 5:45 pm. Deep breathe.....

I cannot believe how calm our Curlies were under the circumstances. What wonderful horses we have at Golden Curls Ranch.Yes, I would say this was the ultimate desensitization test and our Curlies passed with an A+.

Today (Sunday), the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day. No loafing barn in pasture left, trees blown down, metal and tin blown over a 100 yards across the pasture, fence wire all tangled, gates smashed up but ....all the critters are fine.

That's what really counts. Hug your four legged loved one today,

Angie

Fun Ride in the Sun

When the sun decides to visit, this summer, it's such an oddity for us-- we are discombobulated with the alien yellow light !! Saturday, we had planned another river crossing to give Elektra a chance to prove herself in the river. However- a friend who lives near the floodplains called and warned us... DON'T GO NEAR THE RIVER TODAY ! Thursday we had nearly a foot of rain-- with rain all day Friday as well.. (what else is new ??? ) it would have been fun perhaps but also embarrassing if we had to have an emergency rescue team come get us. So-- we decided to just trot around the Flamstead/Cummings trail loop and come home on the highway. Elektra has never been out on the highway yet-- so that will be a great test.



Here's the view of Crow Hill Farm and beyond- just to visually illustrate the day's unusual bright sun. It was so nice to just casually trot and stroll in the golden warmth.. we took our time.







As we head down the hill toward the Cummings trail opening-- we decide, we are so close to Chester.. let's take a quick spin around town and see how Elektra likes the sidewalks !


You can by Keri's forward ears-- she's liking the idea.





We cross the wooden bridge into Chester, loop around and head down the sidewalk in town.








Chester Depot-- with the town hall, train station and local 'supermarket'.










Back on the sidewalk along Route 103 to get back to the trail opening.







Big change here from trotting in town ! The water is running down the middle like a little brook.





This trail comes out onto Cummings Road, which comes out onto the highway. Once we are on the highway-- we decide to stay on the 'wrong' side for Elektra's first highway experience. We can trot and canter on the grassy side and avoid the guardrails just in case. It's the guardrails that make the horses nervous I think.. being between the noisy rushing vehicles and the metal rails is what scares them -- if they are going to be bothered at all.


Elektra was perfect.. and it was a great trip out with exposure to all sorts of different 'obstacles'. As we came up the driveway.. we duck in the gate to try the brook.. to make up for not being able to do our water crossing. The horses were pretty sweaty and hot after the long trip, so they enjoyed splashing and playing in the water for a bit.





OYY Elektra- our lovely dressage horse who also loves road and trail treks, and now is a verified sidewalk trotter ! :) She likes going to town.
Enjoy your day ~

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