Sometimes "bringing up the rear" can be a blessing. A warm October day about 15 years ago was one of those days. I was blessed to be on Winnie, who loved to hunt. She had been a real star in her prime, winning tri-colors at Madison Square Garden, Harrisburg and Washington for her owner who went on to become a successful professional rider. Her glory days behind her, I was the lucky one to be on a mare who was good at all of her jobs.
(Winnie in her prime with her owner/rider)
Some days the hunt just went wild and this was one of those days when you couldn't help but wish every day was this good. The hounds were running, the horses were galloping through the fields, it wasn't bitter cold yet. It was nirvana.
I'm not sure what happened next but I looked up and saw a horse go one way and the rider go the other way. The sound of her hitting ground like a "spat" will never escape me. Mary Ellen came off very hard and lay motionless. She was a large woman, an experienced rider and it all happened so fast. No one else saw the motionless woman laying on the ground in a heap.
Luckily, my SO was not too far away, and like the day Jimmy was taken out, he was called on to lead the medical corps. He rode back to where Mary Ellen was on the ground and Winnie and I took off to the nearest house, not far away, and the owner was a good friend. The Medvac was called and I timed it, eight minutes to arrive. Who says air travel is inefficient? That day it was spot on.
Things weren't looking good that day for Mary Ellen. She was bleeding from her ear and was having difficulty breathing but she did not seem to be paralyzed. Thank goodness! The good news is that Mary Ellen recovered from her badly broken back and she was able to ride again eventually. Her mother appeared at our door a few weeks later with a large bouquet of flowers, a huge smile on her face, thanking us for helping her daughter. We were very worried about her that day, extremely worried is more accurate, but someone was looking over her that October day in Maryland. It was the last time I hunted Winnie, the last time I went out with our beloved hunt and the last time I saw Mary Ellen ride. Mary Ellen rode again, Winnie found a "forever" home in California and the hunting gods took care of all of us that day.
If you love Asmar Equestrian clothes, but not the price, then you'll love their current sale going on. Some of their clothing is greatly reduced right now. This $138 shirt is now less than $30. See it here.
The $350 Town Coat is now less than $100. See it here.
The City Jacket, was $260 and now it is $78. It comes in many fun colors too. See it here.
The Del Mar Show Polo is now $30 (reduced from $128). See it here.
If you have fun party plans for the new year or if you just want to find a great new outfit for the dinner or cocktail party in your near future, then here are some ideas. I haven't seen a lot of clothes this season that I loved but these, well, it's never too late.....
This sweater is versatile enough to wear with black pants or a cute black skirt. See it here.
This black cotton top is great for the warm winter weather we are having. This would go well with many color pants: black, red, navy, green or even white. See it here.
This plaid dress is so versatile and can go formal or informal depending on selection of shoes or jewelry. And it's on sale here.
Love this little black number from Trina Turk if you plan to go festive. See it here.
This entire outfit is already picked out for you from Monkee's (one of my favorite places to shop). This one is from their store in Lexington, KY. Just call them!
Love this little number from Alice + Olivia. It's on sale too. See it here.
I love products that can be used for riders and non-riders alike. Made in Germany, Fior Da Liso shirts fall into this category. The shirts are absolutely gorgeous with small details rarely found on clothes today. Anyone can wear them.
The higher end tack shops sell these shirts but put one of these on with
a pair of jeans, a simple leather belt and you have a great look. Love
Maybe you've seen the old Disney movie about a horse named Nautical. His story is truly unique. In case you have never heard about this unlikely horse who went on to represent our nation in world show jumping competition. He was born in New Mexico in 1944, and was at one point owned
and trained by a Col. Anderson Norton. Otherwise,
his history is mostly unknown. Nautical was officially
registered as Peter De Oro, but was originally shown as Injun Joe.
American rider Hugh Wiley became a member of the USET in 1950 and he purchased Nautical in 1955 after seeing him at Harrisburg.
At first, Hugh thought Nautical was completely nuts. He’d been told
Nautical thrived on work, but when he worked him the horse exploded if
he saw a jump. On the ground though, Nautical was gentle. Hugh headed to New Jersey to meet up with Team coach, Bert De Nemethy.
They arrived in New Jersey, and Hugh thought Nautical would the worst
horse on the team. Once, the coach wanted to watch the horses jump a
water jump and bank jump. Nautical refused both, until someone stood
behind him with a whip. Then he jumped so high Hugh thought they’d never
Though everything else that day was a disaster, De Nemethy thought
Nautical had potential. Over several months, all Nautical did was
flatwork and he became easier to handle, but was still unpredictable. He’d
take off at a jump, ignoring the rider.
While training for the 1956 Olympics, Nautical developed a sand crack
on his left front hoof. The vet had to cut off most of the hoof so it’d
heal. De Nemethy worked with Nautical once his hoof grew back enough
and things were working out. Nautical was finally settling down.
Nautical showed at the international level from 1956 until 1960 and was a member of seven Nation's Cup teams. He would be worth millions of dollars today with the record he put together in the late 1950's.
Nautical retired at age 17 in 1960. He passed away six years later; his
retirement was spent just being a horse. He lived at the USET training
center in NJ then moved back to Hugh’s farm in Maryland. He was around
23 when he passed away.
For the procrastinator in all of us, here are some last minute Christmas finds. We all wait until the bitter end, right? It's simply not too late, ask me how I know......
1) Anything Baker
I've been a fan of Baker products for years and they make great gifts for riders, horse owners and those who love the look. The stuff holds up well too. My Baker duffle is an all-time favorite. You can buy these products at The Tack Room. See the Facebook page here.
You can't go wrong with candles. Who doesn't want a great smelling room? Nest, Lafco and Thyme are my favorite brands.
3) Stuff for the Bar
Juliska makes a stunning collection of barware.
4) Cocktail Napkins
I love buying paper cocktail napkins and giving them away 4-5 in a nice gift bag. Who can't use these? Monogrammed ones are superb if you can think that far ahead.