Thursday, January 19, 2017

Horse Shows in the Old Days

As we age, we all like to refer to the "good ole days" when everything was different - better, easier, cheaper - you know the drill.  But in the horse show world, I truly do believe that older was better.  I'm not talking about the 80's, the 90's but I am going back further, let's say to the 1950's, 1960's and possibly the 1970's.

Today we've "dumbed" down our horse shows offering every division known to man, starting at 18 inch jumps in some cases.  We have the 2'0 division, the 2'3 division, the 2'6 division (ad nauseum) in 10 different varieties.  There are few riders now in the 3'0, 3'3 or 3'6 hunter divisions. It is sad to me as people don't "ride" as much as they get on horse or pony that has been lunged forever, so it won't "peak" at a 2'0 jump and it goes around like a machine.  That is not riding to me.

When I learned to ride and started to show, we had a 3'0 division and a 3'6 division.  You rode in either or both.  If you had a large pony, no matter how green you jumped 3'0.  There were no "beginner" divisions.  You either rode well enough to conquer 3'0 feet or you stayed home. The horse shows were fun.  They didn't start at 7:30 am and go on until after dark to accommodate 50 classes.  The jumps were solid and they didn't move.  We jumped post and rails, chicken coops, outside courses (more akin to some of the eventing jumps today) and horses were judged also on their conformation (how they look).  There were no Warmbloods back then.  All the horses were Thoroughbreds.   There were far fewer shows and they were well attended.  Everyone came out to watch and made a day of it.

The names of the horses and riders/owners are printed in the program.

The classes were simple and straightforward.  Look at the options.  You did ponies, junior hunters, green, working, ladies, and open.  That's all folks!

Sometimes older really is better.  You stepped up to the plate or you stayed home - those were the options. No trophies for showing up.  You could either compete at "the level" or you found another sport. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Foal Fever

The babies are dropping and boy are they cute.  It's hard to believe that one of these leggy, adorable youngsters may someday win a Grade 1 race or even better the Derby, the Belmont, the Classic. 

(Winstar Farm)

Stay tuned.  It's only mid-January!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gown Season

Between inaugurations in Washington, the Golden Globes in LA and the upcoming Oscars, it's "gown season."  While I don't have the Rolodex to be included in any of these festivities, I always wonder if you did, "what would you wear?"  I really have no idea.  Wouldn't it be fun to imagine you received an invitation, to the Oscars, to a State Dinner at the White House, an inaugural ball in DC?  Here are my picks.

1) Jill Stuart Elderberry Dress
I love the simplicity of this dress. Less is definitely more.  This gown is stunning and would need only big earrings and a bracelet.

2) ML Monique Lhuillier Bordeaux Dress
This dress is stunning.  The color is unique and it would stand out, but in a good way.  

This dress is lovely, one of my favorites.  See the back.  

I love this dress. This one will hide a lot, unlike the pink dress above.

5) Herve Leger Mesh Panel Gown
If you have the figure to pull this one off, then why wouldn't you wear this?  Love this one.
This dress would definitely stand out.  

This dress may be difficult to pull off but it is lovely. 

This screams 70's to me.  If you could pull this one off why wouldn't you?  And this dress will certainly stand out in the crowd.

This is the kind of dress I love - simple, elegant, straight, silk, understated.  Send it over please.

This is one of my favorites, classic enough with a twist. You would stand out in the crowd in this gown but in a good way.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Living for the Long Weekend

When my late father retired he called me one day and told me that now "Every day is Saturday" and "Every night is Friday night."  I always remember that and at least for the next few days I'll have all Saturdays and Friday nights. So what's in store?
1) Treadmill Shopping
In keeping with staying in shape, working out more regularly, we are turning the basement of our cabin into a gym.  A treadmill for me (who only wants to run) and an elyptical trainer for hubby (who wishes he could still run but can't).  So off we go to find our workout equipment. Cannot wait to be able to run on those dreary cold days and dark weekday nights.

2) The Aussie Open
Play starts on Monday.  Thank you Tennis Channel. Federer's back.  Nadal's back.  It should be great tennis for the next two weeks!

3) Our First Horse Show of the Year
Alfie and I are very rusty but we have jumped around a bit and had a few lessons this week so we are going to jump back into the show season on Sunday.  Not thinking a tri-color is in our future this weekend but we need to get started.  This is the first year in many years Alfie has not had the winter off.  I can't say that he is too happy about it.  We are working hard to get back into our program after a year of not being in one.

5) A Visit to Luray
We are headed to near-by Luray Caverns this weekend, we've never been.  A visit to the town of Luray, Virginia is also in order. I'll report back.

6) Curling Up With a Good Book
I am reading Michael Lewis' new book and am loving it. Curling up with a good book for a few hours is one of the best ways to relax and unwind.

7) NFL Playoffs
Yes, the Steelers are still in it.  Cannot wait to watch this weekend's games.

Seahawks vs. Falcons
Texans vs. Patriots
Steelers vs. Chiefs
Packers vs. Cowboys

8) Soup's On
At hubby's request, I am cooking soup, from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook. It's Sweet Potato Soup but it doesn't taste at all like sweet potatoes. It's my favorite soup ever.  See the recipe here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Resort Minded

The sixty degree weather today makes me pine for resort weather and a trip south.  It's not in my future but these new arrivals from Tory Burch got me thinking "Palm Beach."  A girl can dream can't she?  I am loving Tory's new arrivals after a lackluster fall and winter collection. 

These are by far my favorite sandals.  I have one pair and wear them constantly in summer. Love the white.  They go with everything!

 These will sell out for sure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Simply Sega

Some people have kids, I have Sega.  She's now 23, older than many of my friends' children but I feel like she's been with me for a lifetime and I can't imagine life without her but am beginning to try to visualize the emptiness that will be left once she is gone.  She's starting to fade a bit now, her eyesight is not great and her hearing is getting a bit tired too.  But every now and then, she comes out in the morning and romps and bucks around for a few minutes, acting like she's two.  She's telling me, in her own way, that yes, a part of me still has it.

You sometimes don't know what you've got until it's gone, but I realize what I have and now relish the moments with Sega, ones that I'll never forget, well into my old age.  She gave me many memories, ones that I am more than lucky to have - like the weekend we beat the top three foot horse in the country, at a show, in that horse's back yard, in Ohio.  It was a prestigious show, a huge win for us and I have a photo of us both with that tricolor proudly displayed in my bathroom where I see it at least three times a day.  But it's not like I'll ever forget that weekend in July.

I wonder how many miles we drove together, all of those years, traveling to Florida, Vermont, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania for shows. Oddly, we never showed in my home state, not even once.  My two regrets are not taking her to New York, to the National Horse Show (we were "invited" the last year it was ever held in New York) and no horse would have been easier to take there than Sega.  And we never made it to Blowing Rock.  Oh well. There are only a few regrets.

And then there was the time my brake line broke on my truck en route to Culpepper, VA.  How lucky we were that the line broke immediately after we came down through the mountains. We spent the entire day at the truck dealership, while they repaired the line.  Sega and I hung out, walking, standing, waiting for five or six hours. What horse would do that?  Only Sega. 

She is such a special animal and everyone who worked with her, rode her, spent time with her in her prime knew how lucky we all were to have her in our lives.   She was a gift to me, and still is and I wonder what I ever did to deserve her. I hope she feels the same way.  Love the people and animals in your life.  Never ever take them for granted. Cherish the memories and make new ones.

Winter Skin Care

With the new year typically comes a renewed sense of improvement in eating and drinking habits, exercise routines and also skin care.  Everyone has their own routine, their favorite brands, rituals, labels.  I am a minimalist when it comes to skin care routines but I don't mind spending money on products that work for me.

1) Kate Somerville Products
I have tried some of these products and liked most of them.  Sephora is a good source for this brand.

I'd recommend the Goat Milk Moisturizer if you prefer a lighter cream.  I don't like thick and heavy creams for my face.

2) Tata Harper Products
These products get great reviews and I am trying a few in the coming weeks.  

3) Clarins
I have used some of the Clarins products over the years. Some are better than others.  If you use a neck cream this one is very good.

4) Ole Henriksen
I've never used any of these products that I did not like.  I have found these at TJ Maxx over the years.  Check there for some real deals. 

 5) Drunk Elephant
Would love to try this brand. 

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