Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Country Girl

 Are you trying to find that perfect gift for your mom?  Is she a country girl like me?  Does she love horses?  Animals?  Well, if so, here are a few ideas. The sign above I saw this week at a local antique mall.  And the vintage Royal Doulton plate was in the same booth. 

The pillow below was at the Ivy Nursery in Charlottesville, Virginia, you've seen me blog about this place many times.

 This pig is there too:

 And these pots. Do they have pots?  More than you can possibly imagine...

 Or what about a great plant or small tree?

And these Stubbs & Wooten shoes, well, they speak for themselves.... (they are available on their web site).
  Can't help you "city girls" out there....

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Cutest Derby Decor You've Ever Seen

My sister alerted me to this great site on  Too bad it's only a few days before the Derby but there's still time for a Preakness Party or a Belmont Bash. Who knows, maybe we'll finally get lucky and see a Triple Crown winner.  Now that would be worth having a party over.  There's always the Breeders' Cup.

This stuff is just too darn cute.  You don't have to live in Kentucky or Ocala or follow horse racing to love it. They are 16" high which makes them perfect to put inside a 22" wreath or just hang on the door. Either way, adorable.

I think this is my favorite.  You can customize them too.

The dishes and accessories are equally as cute.  

You can go directly to the site here.  Being creative has its rewards, doesn't it? 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Sad Story of Derby Winner Ferdinand

With Derby week upon us, it's a great time to celebrate all those famous horses who have won the most prestigious horse race in North America.  But not all winners end up living the life you'd expect on a famous stud farm with wonderful care and attention.

Ferdinand's story is one I hope will never be repeated.  Born in 1983, he won the 1986 Kentucky Derby and the 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic.  Bill Shoemaker rode him to the Derby win at age 54. He was the 1987 Horse of the Year and he entered stud in 1989.  He won eight of 29 starts and earned .$3.7M in his racing career. In 1994 Ferdinand was sold to a farm in Japan.

Much to the outrage of many horse racing enthusiasts, reports indicate that in 2002 Ferdinand was sent to slaughter in Japan with no fanfare or notice to previous owners. He likely became either pet food or steaks for human consumption.  According to some reports, efforts to place Ferdinand with a riding club failed.  Ferdinand is remembered by one stallion groom in Japan as "the gentlest horse you could imagine. He'd come over when I called to him in the pasture. And anyone could have led him with just a halter on him. ... He'd come over to me and press his head up against me. He was so sweet."

While domestic "kill markets" dried up when the last U.S. slaughterhouses closed in 2007, the lure of overseas slaughter money—not to mention the financial burden of maintaining a horse that's no longer profitable—still sends tens of thousands of horses to their death in foreign facilities each year.

"It is well-documented that many racehorses end up at slaughter auctions within a week of their last race, despite the fact that many tracks across the country have policies opposing this practice," said Nancy Perry, the senior vice president of ASPCA governmental relations.

Ferdinand's death was the catalyst for the Ferdinand Fee, an optional donation program to fund keeping old racehorses alive, and Friends of Ferdinand, a nonprofit group formed in 2005 with the goal of transitioning retired racehorses into second careers.  Rest in peace dear Ferdinand.  Let's hope we can do something to save our beloved animals.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Elvis and Horses

Elvis was a real horse lover and his ex-wife Priscilla carries on the tradition even today.  Not being a big Elvis fan, I knew little about his love for horses and have never been to Graceland.  There are four horses stabled today at Graceland and three are rescues.  You can take a stable tour there as well.

Elvis loved Tennessee Walking Horses and also owned Quarter Horses.  Priscilla Presley recounts a story about Elvis' love for equines.  He wanted a golden palomino and he'd get up at 3:00 am and go to certain farms and ask if they had golden palomino horses. He found one and named it Rising Sun and the barn was soon referred to as "House of the Rising Sun."  

(Rising Sun at Graceland, unknown provenance)

He bought Priscilla a black Quarter Horse for her birthday, Domino.

Elvis bought more horses including trucks and trailers for his friends and bodyguards.  But the herd outgrew the grounds and in February1967 Elvis purchased a 163-acre cattle ranch just across the state line in Mississippi. The ranch was named Circle-G in honor of Graceland.  Eight trailers were brought in to house friends and family while Elvis and Priscilla used a small brick house on the property.  The trailers are now gone but the brick house is still there, in very bad repair and a road has been put right in front of the house.

 (House at Circle-G Ranch)

(House at Circle-G Today)

The ranch was only 10-minutes from Graceland and Elvis only owned it until May 1968 but reportedly, some of his happiest times were spent there. His father was worried that Elvis was spending too much money on the ranch and eventually his interest in the place waned.  It was sold in May 1968 for $440,000 ($2.9M in today's dollars) and all of the items were auctioned. He kept horses at Graceland though.

 (BBQ Pit at Circle-G)

The farm is for sale for $1M and a foundation has been set up to raise funds to buy and restore the farm.  The Foundation has a Facebook site.

Here is a picture of Elvis and Priscilla by a bridge Elvis built on the farm.

Here's what it looks like now, or at least in more recent times as I am not sure when this was taken.

Another photo of the farm in more recent times:

It's funny how popular culture commercializes things.  Breyer made a jewel box with Elvis and Rising Sun on the outside.  How cool is that?

Let's hope that Circle-G is somehow saved.  Glad to see that even Elvis loved horses. He was "the King" after all.  Happy Sunday.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Arista - Clothes for the Equestrian

I'm finally convinced that equestrian fashion is headed in the right direction.  With the Italians making their move, Gucci, we aren't dominated by two or three mainstream brands anymore. Competition is good.  I love the EIS shirts, you can read about these here but have you seen these?  Arista makes these. You can see their other products here

Spring Picks - Channeling Tory Burch

Now that spring has finally arrived, it's time to do a little closet cleaning and shopping.  I am loving Tory Burch this season.  I'm a bit disappointed with some of my old haunts, Banana and J Crew.  J Crew's grunge look just doesn't do it for me.  And I BR is too plain, same old, same old.  But Tory is adding some great things to her line-up. I am channeling her this season. And everything is 25% off until Monday, use "friendly" at check out.

I love this little number, even the shoes.

 If you need a new suit, this one is divine and it covers up a lot!

 Another great dress, those shoes again.
 I just adore this bag.  French Riveria-esque for sure.
 The tunics never disappoint. 
 Another home run.
 This screams Palm Beach chic to me. How you could ever keep this clean? The inside is all white but I love it.
 The same bag in a luscious green.  Love it!
 I had to throw these in. These are some good looking rain boots.  Barn friendly? Probably, but I could not do that to these!

I'm loving this dress too and the shoes too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nike Equestrian?

Is it so far fetched?  With the new techo-look coming to equestrian clothing, why couldn't Nike or even Under Armour get into this market where many people spend thousands a year on riding clothes?

Well, it's happening. Nike, what took you so long? Nike recently announced sponsorship of young dressage rider, Ayden Uhlir.  She took the bold move of asking for sponsorships to fund her expensive sport and Nike stepped up to the plate.  Nike does not "fund" athletes but they have agreed to provide her with "logo wear" for promotion.  Uhlir met with Nike executives from her base in Kirkland, Washington where she's working with USEF Youth Coach Jeremy Steinberg.  \

 Nike has never sponsored an equestrian before. The company designed a riding boot for the 2008 Olympic athletes, but they never became available to the public for sale.

Nike's clothing could be so easily adapted to the deep-pocketed equestrians out there.  In fact, some of the current trends, EIS shirts, for example very closely resemble stuff Nike's been producing forever.  Just make it look equestrian Nike. It's that easy! Add a cute horse shoe wrapped around the Nike swoosh and there you go...

This Colt's shirt, well, just a few tweaks and voila......

And the advertising could be fantastic.  I can envision this ad.....

With a quote from George.....

Or instead of the venerable "Bo Knows" campaign.....

Maybe Bo knows but Beezie knows better....

I hope Nike will decide to Just Do It!

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