Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Advertise Your Horse

Ever wondered when you see a horse advertised for sale what the words in the ad really mean.....well here is what the verbage really means....

Big trot - can't canter

Nicely started - lunges but can't afford insurance to ride him

Top show horse - won a reserve championship 5 years ago at a show with low entries due to a hurricane.

Home bred - knows nothing except being raised on the front porch

Recently vetted - someone else found somthing terribly wrong 

Big boned - good thing he has a mane and tail otherwise would be mistaken for a cow or a draft

Doing courses - when tranqualized and lunged for 6 hours beforehand

Well-mannered - hasn't stepped on, bitten, dragged or kicked anyone for a week

Professionally trained - hasn't stepped on, bitten, dragged or kicked anyone for a month

Should mature to 16.hh - currently 15.hh and dam is 14.2hh, sire is 15.hh and every ancestor is under 15.hh but this horse will defy his DNA and grow

Bold - runaway

Athletic - runaway

Needs intermediate rider - runaway

Needs experienced rider-"dead" runaway

Dead quiet - when drugged and lunged (see above)

No vices - especially when he wears a muzzle

Excellent disposition - never been out of his stall

Good broodmare prospect -not a chance she is rideable

Good dressage prospect - tried him in hunter and he's a maniac over fences or hangs legs badly over the jumps

Good western prospect - only if you are into bucking broncos

Easy to catch - only if you are in a 10 by 10 stall

Loads well - after starving for three days and putting grain inside the trailer

Spirited - loves to run out all the time, even with a rider on its back

Good mother - awful at everything else

Easy breeder- a stallion that will mount everything that moves

Spectacularly marked - terrible conformation but pretty spots

Always in the ribbons -10th place out of 10 riders

Scopey - jumps out of every paddock

Wonderful halter prospect - bred for beauty, not brains

Ladies horse - loves women but will kill any man

Easily ridable in halter and lead - just don't put a saddle on her

Works well off of rear - because the front is usually off the ground

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Equestrian Quarterly

There's a grand new magazine out there, in case you have not seen it, Equestrian Quarterly.  Reminds me a lot of the old Spur but much better.   Seems to have a decidedly West Coast bent, but I still love it!

You can read the magazine online but I prefer to have it in my hands!  It is worth paying for.  My only complaint is that it does not come out every month.  There is a great article about Hermes in the recent issue:

Another article talks about building healthy barns:

Here is the link to the site.  Happy reading!

Salamander Resort and Spa

August 29th marks the long-awaited opening of the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, the brainchild of co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, Sheila Johnson.  Locals were surprised when the village of Middleburg agreed to rezoning of the former Pamela Harriman farm (she was the Ambassador to France) but the end result looks nothing less than spectacular. Ms. Johnson is a force and she has outdone herself.  She also owns or co-owns several professional sports teams and a few companies...

The $100 million plus resort will have 168 rooms and a world class spa set on some of the most beautiful land anywhere, 340 acres to be exact. Did I mention it will also have stables? You can bring your own horse or ride one of theirs!  The resort will employ 300 full-time and part-time workers.  The Resort was named by Forbes as one of the Top 20 Most Anticipated Hotel Openings in the world in 2013.   

The 260,000 square foot property includes a library, billiards room, wine bar, small retail shop, a grand ballroom, conference rooms, a signature dining room with a 42-foot peaked roof that will offer views of the horse arena outside.  This sounds wonderful!

 There is a 23,000 square foot spa with fountains and a 14-foot tiled glass and stone waterfall feature that drops into a whirlpool tub.  Rates will range from $425 to $575 per night during peak season.  Bigger rooms/suites will cost $775 to $3500 a night. Luxury does not come cheap, especially in Middleburg.

I picked this up from the Spa's web page:

Welcome Back,

A decade ago, I stepped onto 340 beautiful acres in the historic village of Middleburg, VA, and promptly fell in love. And, when Salamander Resort & Spa opens in August, I believe you will, too. Combining the authenticity of Virginia’s equestrian and wine country with luxurious accommodations and exceptional levels of anticipatory service, we pledge to deliver one of the world’s finest resort experiences.
I look forward to your visit.
Sheila C. Johnson
Sheila C. Johnson
Founder & CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts

We should all book a visit!

 Set on 340 acres in the picturesque countryside of Virginia’s Loudoun County (just an hour from Washington, D.C.), the Salamander Resort & Spa is slated to open in August 2013. The sprawling resort will include an equestrian center and 22-stall stable (for those who want to bring along their horses), a 23,000-square-foot spa with “treehouse” treatment rooms overlooking the woods and nearby stream, and indoor and outdoor event spaces, including a 100-year-old restored barn. An equestrian-themed restaurant with wine bar and terrace boasting views of Virginia’s wine country will serve Virginia Piedmont-influenced cuisine.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Good Summer Reads

I don't tend to get much summer reading done as all I do is mow during the summer months but realize that most don't have 40 acres to tend to.  But if you do make it to the beach or to Bath County and need some good summer reading here are a few picks:

This book is sitting beside my bed in my pile and I will eventually get to it.  I went to camp here but don't think the book is at all like the camp I went to, at least from first glance. But it is getting good reviews and once I read it I will review it.

I did finish this a few days ago. The writer is a friend and this is her second book.  It is very cleaver indeed and Lian is a good writer, entertaining and love her wit.  Where she came up with this story line I will never know.  Worth reading.....

 This is Lian's first book and I think I like it better but I was a classics major in undergrad and if you read this then you will know.  Very good, worth reading at least once!

I heard Connors being interviewed last week on NPR.  Not sure if I will read this but I might.  Loved Andre Agassi's book and also read McEnroe but not as big a fan of Connors.  But I admire his success...

I saw this and it looks interesting for a summer read for the beach and those of us who are addicts, well.......

So what are your recommendations????

Bath County Cottage Chic

Bath County, Virginia is one of the most beautiful places around IMHO.  It is remote, sophisticated, unpopulated, natural, and its elegance follows a "less is more mantra."  No McMansions here.  Subdued, understated, elegant and tasteful, the small colony surrounded by the famed Homestead Resort is just heaven on earth.  Bath County is almost to West Virginia, not easy to get to, but worth the trip is you like nature and getting away from it all, really.

If you want to get away from it all in casual elegance Natural Retreats  is getting in on the act.  The upscale management company is buying property all over the place in the county and is also renting out existing properties for owners who don't use their houses all of the time.  McClintic Cottage is one example.  You can rent this adorable abode by the day, week or probably month.

I love the green front door.

  Isn't it adorable?

You can see additional cottages here.

This would be the perfect place to spend the Fourth of July. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Momma April?

Baby April has been through the ringer the past few years and now at age 7 she may become "Momma April" sooner than we anticipated.  Her soundness issues have ended her brief competitive career (the photo above was taken at her second of only two horse shows in 2010) but now she may have a career as a broodmare.   There have been many blog posts about the Baby April saga.

This is Baby April at about 5 months. Was she not a doll?  She was big even then.  But today the vet came out for Alfie's insurance exam and we talked about breeding April.  Long story, we checked her out, she is maiden you know, and guess what, she was ready!  So either tomorrow or Saturday, we'll take the first step in the process and see what happens.  We may be having a baby!!!!  Here is April last summer when she was sound, briefly....

Here is Daddy, aka Empire's Power.

The great thing is that my vet is his vet, my farrier is his farrier and he lives about an hour north.  We should get a smaller (fingers crossed, but not too small) horse, we hope, and lots of chrome.  Probably will be bay but we could get chestnut.  We may go visit him in early July.  How exciting is this?  Stay tuned........

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Straw Man or Maybe Straw Woman

I always wondered what a "Straw Man" was; heard the phrase many times but finally I looked it up.

It's a noun and it means "dummy" or a sham argument set up to be defeated as in a "straw man" poll or election...

Well, I would love to know the provenance of that noun as it makes no sense to me as I love straw, as in straw handbags, especially for summer.....

Would love to own one of these adorable bags to use the rest of the summer. These are from Kate Spade and are currently on sale but still pricey..

I like white with straw..

This is too whimsical for me but how cute.....

The old J Crew stand-by....loving this too!


The clutches are also on sale at J Crew.  These are great for cocktails, weddings, a night out.  They go with everything!  Do you have straw bags in your future? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's Roanoke Horse Show Time!

Yesterday marked the first day of the Roanoke Valley Horse Show.  It's one of my favorite shows and I am sad that I won't be showing there this year. It was the venue for Sega's very last horse show, ever, last year, and I just felt like I needed to skip it this year.

The show has an amazing staff of volunteers that put it together. It's also a multi-breed show and there aren't that many of those left anymore.  The show donates all profits to area charities specifically ones that are  equine, environmental and conservancy causes.

The Roanoke Valley Horse Show was established in 1972 by the Roanoke Valley Horsemen's Association. It has since become the longest running professional sporting event in the Roanoke Valley and one of the top horse shows in the nation. Rated the highest level of competition in horse shows (AA) by the United States Equestrian Federation, the show awards more than $250,000 in total cash and prizes. The Roanoke Valley Horse Show has been honored with the United States Equestrian Federation’s designation as a USEF Heritage Competition, the highest honor currently held by any Federation horse show.

Every year, the RVHS features Hunter, Jumper, Racking, Roadster, Saddlebred,  & Western Divisions; Barrel Races, Children's Stick Horse Classic, Jack Russell Terrier Races, and the $50,000 Grand Prix.

Looks like there was some trouble with mother nature earlier this week!

The venue for the show is the Salem Civic Center just outside of Roanoke, Virginia, and they set up tents on the parking lot. You need lots of shavings here.  The rings are small but the show is just so well run.  They have parties, lunches, dinners for the riders.  They used to have a really nice dinner at a near-by country club.  The Grand Prix is amazing. It is held indoors and the ring is so small and the jumps are so big!  

If you are in the area it's worth the trip. The Grand Prix will be Saturday night starting at 8:30 pm. Sega and I will be there in spirit.  We have our photos and our memories of her last trip around the ring.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Count Can Paint

Some Horse Country Chic readers are really well-connected.  One such Nashville-based equestrian told me about her very famous riding instructor who just so happens to be a world-renowned painter and a Count. Queen Elizabeth is a fan. So is Ralph Lauren.  The painter is Bernard de Claviere and he now lives in Nashville.  The Wall Street Journal has called him "one of the leading animal painters of the century."  Not bad kudos.   He looks like a Count, don't you think?  Here he is giving a lesson to Missy on Friday, somewhere near Nashville.  Did I mention that he is an expert equestrian.  Clearly he loves horses but wait until you see his paintings.....

And the horses love him too..........

Count Bernard De Claviere was born in Lyons, France in 1934 but surprisingly did not begin painting seriously until he was 35.  He paints animals:  horses, cats, dogs, white bears, tigers, elephants, dolphins, whatever.  The French government commissioned him to paint Queen Elizabeth II's favorite horse, Burmese (a painting he had to complete in just four days). The painting was presented to the Queen as a gift by the French government and now hangs in her private collection.  The Count has also painted portraits of the Queen's prize Corgi, Smokey, and Alybar, Prince Charles' steeplechaser.  The Count has a wonderful web site here.  His work is stunning to say the least.

The Count has said in interviews that he was most influenced by the art of George Stubbs and Jean-Baptiste Oudry, both renowned animaliers.   When he first ventured to America, he was hired to paint the famous Alydar by the then owner of Calumet Farms, J.T. Lundy.  He ended up commuting between Nashville and Europe as he became close friends with Nashville's Guildford Dudley, a former ambassador to Denmark who lived in the area.  Many portraits were produced for the riding elite in Nashville. The Count moved to New York in the late 80's where he was discovered again.

In 2002 the Count moved back to Nashville with his wife where he could once again dabble in his loves: painting, fox hunting and skeet shooting.  A few years ago he was asked to paint interior friezes for the newly built royal arena in Qatar, a billion-dollar, world-class horse arena being constructed.  His paintings are now held by owners in 140 countries.  Apparently he has not been painting much lately but Missy has informed me that he is now willing to paint for people again and he may even be willing to be flexible on his pricing as well.  SO, if you are thinking about a portrait this might be a real opportunity for someone!  You could be in the same league with the Queen!

Isn't his work divine!  And what an interesting and kind person he appears to be.  Thank you Missy for sharing him with us!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Zenyatta is Expecting! Again!

 Great news from Kentucky, Zenyatta is in foal.  This time War Front is going to be the proud papa.  You can see the press release here:

You go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Patient Patio Style

Summer has arrived here in Virginia and the landscapers also paid a visit this week between the monsoons. My patio has finally arrived!  Maybe it still needs a little weeding here and there and a good blow with the leaf blower, but the bushes are all in, the gates have been painted and voila!  It has taken awhile.  Patience pays off...

 I bought these art deco pieces about 10 years ago in West Virginia.  I had wanted to use them somewhere.  They did not initially look like this but with a good wire brush, a lot of elbow grease, four coats of paint and a good welder, voila. They are very heavy, made of iron or something similar and my guess is they are from the 20's or 30's given their weight and design.

 Truman likes it!

The rocks came from the farm and fill in a large space.  We use them a lot and sit on them, the cats like them and they become a conversation piece.

 Eventually we will have a hedge around the area:

 All those visits to the Ivy Nursery...

 This is the view from the upstairs porch which looks down on the patio and up to the east side of the farm.
 Beyond that big tree is a hay field that needs cutting badly!

 I love ivy and boxwoods.  Can you tell?

 No patio is complete without at least one Jocko.  We have two.

 Here is the view looking northwest, towards the barn and paddocks.

We have beautiful weather today here in Virginia, thank you!  Can't wait to enjoy the patio this evening. Happy Friday!
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