Friday, September 30, 2016

Pomegranate Special Offer - Horsey Linens

Thanks to Pomegranate for giving HCC readers a discount on their purchase. Use code HORSECOUNTRYCHIC at checkout for a ten percent discount starting immediately.

I picked out these placemats from Pier One, see them here, as they will go with most any of the napkin choices for fall and they are on sale.  You can see all of the equestrian collections at Pomegranate here.

I have to admit that I am partial to the Hunt Club pattern.  I have an older version, which I love and use all of the time. These will go with the placemats above, with some green quilted mats I have from Juliska for winter.  My kitchen is black and green so I have all kinds of green and black stuff, this will look great in that environment.  Pair these with red for the holidays.  Pair with the lime green for spring and summer.

 But I love the Tack Room pattern too which is full of colors in black and brown, also great for fall. I love the way this pattern looks with the herringbone napkins. I'd mix and match!

I would use these placemats with the Tack Room napkins. See them here.
Which patterns do you like the best?  It's so hard to pick isn't it?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Pomegranate Horsey Linens

Love, love, love this company and their products.  They aim not to disappoint any of us horse-lovers out there as they've added some new products to their already great list.  I can't decide which ones I like the most.......

I must say I am leaning towards the hunting pattern because there is more color and it may be more versatile, but the saddle and boots fabric is pretty darn cute.  You can shop the collection here and there is free shipping right now if you spend $100. I can vouch for the quality too.  I have been using their products for years and even after many visits to the washing machine the stuff still looks great. I can't wait to set a fall table!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Managing the Metabolic Horse

With all the talk these days about health, healthcare, expensive treatments, obesity, and Obamacare, I thought I'd wander off topic a bit and talk about horse care.  I realize many HCC readers don't  ride horses, own them or even take care of the ones they do own, but I'll bet that most people don't realize how difficult it can be to manage some of the health issues that can pop up in horses.

I bring this up because it's very likely that my horse, April, has foundered.  She's a big horse, very fat, an easy keeper, and she came in yesterday very lame.  We'll know what has happened, how bad it is or isn't. Founder can happen from too much lush green grass and some horses are prone to founder.  April has not foundered before but she is fat which can make her prone to the disease.  Others call this laminitis.  It is very painful for horses and many never fully recover and all have to be "managed".

Alfie is an "IR" horse which means he is insulin-resistant (just like in people) and we have to take special care of him too.  Alfie was diagnosed this spring when the grass came out and he had unusual fat deposits on his hind quarters.  A blood test verified our fears.  He too has to be well-managed. So what does that mean for the insulin-resistant horse?  Well, in reality, we take the same care of him as anyone should who has diabetes or pre-diabetes issues.  No drugs are needed and he's on a special diet.  Regular exercise and no sugar ever. No lush grass or hay (sugar). It's not rocket science and those who have IR-type issues could fix their own symptoms by eating a low-starch diet.  He gets hay that is low in sugar and we soak it in water to take out the sugar if we're not sure.  He gets ridden very regularly. No winter months off for him anymore.  We watch him like a hawk.  He does not go out on lush green pastures anymore and we muzzle him if we need to. Grass is not his friend.  He's old enough that the issues appeared and some horses are just prone to being IR.  IR horses are more prone to founder especially in the spring and fall months when the grass is lush.

With Alfie and possibly April having metabolic issues, my horse keeping days will be longer and more arduous going forward, just like for anyone who has friends and family with medical issues that need constant monitoring.  But I am committed to taking care of them both and will do whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy for the rest of their years.  Who knew horses could be so complicated?


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall Fundamentals

Fall is finally here.  There is a crispness in the air, the leaves are falling off the trees, the horses are now on day turnout...........

I love early fall, those days where you want to stay outside for ten to twelve hours or more.  I love to decorate for fall too.  There are some things you can go to every year.

Nest Pumpkin Candles. Nest are my favorites along with Lafco.  They smell divine. This one will keep that fall smell in your house for months. See it here.

Mums and pumpkins.  When the geraniums start to look tired it's time for mums.  Mums don't last a long time but they look so lovely as the leaves turn and fall and you can use many colors or just pick one.  I picked up my pumpkins on Sunday. Luckily we have many places locally that sell all kinds of them and they are inexpensive.  White, green, orange, gords, we have it all here.

Enjoy Autumn!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bellalino Napkins

I am in love with these linen napkins from Bellalino.  You can select from a huge number of monogram colors and at less than $100 for a set of four, well, these are very reasonably priced. See them here.

Here's another lovely combination.  See this one here.

These will make great wedding gifts, holiday gifts for someone very special.  Peruse the collection. You can also change the napkin color.  There are many colors from which to pick.

See the entire collection here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Julie Wear China

I am in love with the china made by Julie Wear.  If you haven't seen her collection, you can go to her website here.  In an age where everything is disposable, making time for beauty is passe and having a nice stash of hand-painted china, rare, well.......

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Great Ones - Osczar

There are some great hunters out there, but some are really great and I'd put Osczar in that category as would most people who follow the show hunter world.  If you ever saw him jump around, you'd see it immediately. He was a big horse but he jumped around effortlessly, reins looped, no martingale, he made it all look so easy.  He loved his job and it showed.

He was lucky in that he had good owners and trainers.  Rick Fancher (trainer) and Dawn Fogel (owner) didn't show him too much and because he was a big horse with a big jump, he could have easily broken down.  When Dawn showed him she won most of the time in the Amateurs.  I interviewed her once at Upperville for an article I was writing at the time and she told me that someone had given her a blank check for the horse, told her to fill it in but she politely declined.  If you get one that great it's a rare gift and no amount of money could have replaced this horse.

Osczar was the first horse ever to receive a perfect 100 score in a hunter class.  Some others have equaled his score since that day at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Maryland in 1997, but the list is small and the ceiling was shattered that day by one of the best of all time.

Fancher recalls sitting on the big chestnut at age 2 when he was 17 hands but he said he was as balanced at 2 years old as he was as a seasoned show horse.  I love this quote from Francher - "He wanted to cooperate every day of his life." How many horses do that?  Not many, I can tell you from experience.  Once the horse retired they took him to the shows with them because he loved it so much.  He was retired in 2002 and he died last year at age 26, now buried less than five miles where he was born in Kentucky.  I love stories like Osczar's.  He was a real pro, a special animal, a rare one, one that will remembered for a very long time.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Central Park Horse Show - This Weekend

If you happen to be in NYC this weekend or even later this week, put the Central Park Horse Show on your agenda.  It was a big hit last year and this year's version appears to be even better.  You can see the schedule of events here.

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro (gold medal winners, dressage, past two Olympics) and probably the best dressage duo ever, will perform a freestyle demonstration on Sept. 24th during the $50,000 U.S. Open Dressage CDI Freestyle.

Information on tickets can be found here.

Wish I had time to make the trip!  Sounds like a wonderful event to see in person. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Weekend Polo Match - What to Wear?

In Virginia, there's always so much going on, the problem is selecting what to do next.  We had out-of-town company this weekend and we wandered east, over the mountain and ended up at King Family Vineyards, one of the many fantastic vineyards within an hour's drive.  This one is probably the nicest one we've visited yet, (read about it here) and the wine is very good.  They also have an incredible farm and polo matches on Sundays, certain months of the year. We did not stay for polo, but we will return. So, the question begs, what to wear to a fall polo match?

First of all, you have to be sensible. You need to be able to walk across the grass fields, so high heels, unless wedges, are totally out.

I went to Net-a-Porter to see what I could find. Here's what I came up with. I love this dress by Anna Sui.  It's different, it will look great with flats or boots, it's elegant but casual.  Would also be great for my upcoming trip to Keeneland. See it here.

This cute blue dress from Michael Kors is a bit more versatile.  It could go lots of places. See it here.
Everything is blue!. This little number from Top Shop also could be worn lots of places and it's likely comfortable. See it here.

If it's chilly, I am loving this Tory Burch sweater.  I would not pair it with jeans for polo but love it with jeans for a casual outings.  See it here. Pair it with wool pants and brown boots and add an Hermes scarf around the neck.  Instant outfit.
This skirt is perfect.  Pair it with a navy wool or cotton turtleneck, tights and boots.  See it here. You can also put the cardigan above with it, in navy.

I saw this dress in New York and did not try it on but probably should have.  This is so versatile and with jewelry, the right shoes, boots, you can dress it up or down.  It's jean fabric.  See it here.  A great chunky necklace, tights if it is cold, boots, a cute scarf.

If you'd rather wear pants, try this silk top from Alice + Trixie. Pair it with wool or cotton pants and flat shoes for a great outfit that's comfortable too.  See it here.

Another option. See it here.

It's raining here in Virginia.  I can't remember when I was so happy to see it pour!  We need it so badly.  Have a great Monday!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Ahhhhh Alfie

Horse showing has not been a priority around here this season - a busy schedule, many other commitments, maybe a bit of lack of interest too.  But we dusted off the riding boots, cleaned the show bridle and off we went this past weekend for two days, two separate shows, both very close to the farm.  Alfie had been very fit this year but a little maintenance a few weeks ago took him out of work, a trip to New York and now busy at work again.....

Day one we dropped down and showed at a lower fence height since we haven't jumped a course in two long months; and not to mention that the ground is like concrete. We are in terrible need of rain with none in sight this week.  But my black boy did not disappoint and we found our way around the ring nicely. He took could care of his adult rider.

Day two, we upped the ante, back to the bigger jumps and bigger competition.  Those college girls always give you a run for the money.  Alfie was stellar.  A little rider error here and there but we came home with tricolor number two.

I love my black boy and he remains the bi-polar horse that he is, either good or bad, never in between.  We'll try it again in two more weeks.  We'll try and finish up the season on a stellar note this year!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

J Crew On Net-a-Porter

Net-a-Porter has a great selection of J Crew items for fall, many with a Breton vibe, many exclusives, and many have already sold out.  I love some of their picks, very different than what you are currently finding on their web site.  Here are some of my favorites and they are great transitional pieces.

Love this Thomas Mason dress which will look on you tall girls out there.  See it here.

This cotton twill jacket is very unique.  See it here.
The coat fetish continues. I'd love to add this one to my collection. See it here.
This pink and white sweater would look good with a chambray shirt underneath. See it here.
I like this one too and suspect it will sell out once it arrives. See it here.
Love this one too. Reminds me of the "old" J Crew.  See it here.

And this shirt is just lovely. See the detail on the trim.  Love, love this one.  See it here.

Happy Thursday!!
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