Friday, June 22, 2018

The Justification for Justify

I've been thinking a lot lately about the big chestnut colt that somehow managed to pull off the second Triple Crown in 40 years after being the most lightly raced champion ever.  There just doesn't seem to be the hype with him that you'd expect, possibly because we've become a bit jaded having two TC winners in such a short time period?  If you really look at this colt and what he's achieved it's mind boggling......

* He's the second undefeated TC winner. He and Seattle Slew are in their own stratosphere;
* He's the mostly lightly raced TC winner ever. His first race was February 18th.  He won another race in California before the Santa Anita Derby, then on to the TC - 6 races in all;
* He raced against more horses in the Belmont than any other TC winner. They were coming after him until the bitter end but it did not matter;
* His Preakness race was two seconds faster than American Pharoah's and it had rained in Baltimore for five days.  AP ran in the mud too but not five days of mud;
* The 2018 crop of three-year-olds was a very strong crop. There were many quality colts this year, many different winners of the Grade 1 and 2 prep races coming into the Derby, one of the strongest fields in generations.  This was not an easy year for any horse to win a major race;
* Other than the Preakness, Justify has not looked tested.  There's a second and third gear there that perhaps we have not seen yet, and maybe never will.

I loved a quote I read from D. Wayne Lukas, the Hall-of-Fame trainer, right before the Belmont Stakes: "What if Justify hates the mud?"  Enough said!

Horse Show Lessons

After a hiatus from the upper echelons of the horse show world for a few years, I decided to dive back in this year with my new horse Madison.  We've only been to three shows so far but my division in Virginia is one of the very toughest anywhere (the Older Adults) and I was weary about being back at this level in this company.  But I must admit I am having so much fun and the horse is holding her own despite being green and lacking experience at this level.  Every show we are improving and the consistency will come in time.  I'm chalking this up to rider "experience" and "been there done that" but after a while you really do learn.

So what I have learned about this humbling sport after all these years?

1) It's Only a Horse Show
This is a hobby. It's what we do when we have time off from work and it's a horribly expensive sport, but it's just a horse show.  The world won't end if you don't get a ribbon or if you chip a jump or fall off. Yes, I fell off the mare once already this year (rider error thank goodness) and I am still laughing about it. 

2) You Have Good Days and Bad Days
We are not professionals and we ride well some days and other days we don't.  If we were perfect all the time (although there are a few professional amateurs in my division, I'll admit) we'd be pros.  Even Michael Jordan and LeBron James had off games.  Learn to adjust and accept your own riding abilities.

3) There's Always Someone Out There Better Than You

4) Buy Lots of Photos
I regret not buying every photo that was worth buying of my older horses - Sega, Dandy, and Alfie.  You can never have enough memories to line your walls with.  I am buying every photo of Madison that is worth having.  I may need to find a bigger house!

 (My only Devon photo - should have bought them all)

5) You Are Only as Good as Your Horse
This lesson was learned about 20 years ago from my old trainers wise mother.  You need a good horse. You can't achieve much on a bad horse and it costs the same to own a good one as a bad one so get the good one.

(Alfie at Warrenton Horse Show)

6) Get a Good Trainer and Follow Their Advice
See #1, #2, #3 and #5.  I would not have Madison if it weren't for my very good and astute trainer.  She has taught me a lot as have most of the trainers I have worked with.  You can't do this sport well alone and a good trainer is a key ingredient at all levels.  And if you can't follow your trainer's advice then get a new trainer.

(Trainer Ashley)

7) Chasing Points is for Point Chasers
The years I showed Sega on the circuit we never chased points and we still managed to win some year end awards.  But she had a 12 year horse show career which is unheard of in this sport. Don't pound your horse to death, show every weekend,  just to own a cooler, a ribbon, an award that no one will remember next year. It's.Not.Worth.It unless you are a show manager.

8) Look the Part
It never hurts to look the part. This is the easiest part too.Buy a good fitting pair of boots, a decent hat, a well-fitting tailored coat in one of the new tech fabrics, a nice Essex shirt. Wear gloves, use a hair net, have a nice fitting saddle pad and nice leather girth. Your horse's tack should also be well-fitting. This part is SO easy.  

9) If You Don't Enjoy Don't Do It
See #1 above. This hobby is so expensive. If you don't love it find a new (read less expensive) sport. But it's always more fun when you have a good day.

10) Primary Colors are Always Best
At the end of the day we all want to win. I am trying to teach Madison to love blue, red and yellow the best. She is learning!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Raising Cane

 If you hold on to something long enough it may come back in style. Cane furniture is making a renaissance and I love the timeless and effortless style.   It is casual, easy to maintain, is not too "brown" and often has a nice price point.  Here are some of my current favorites....

I love the timeless style of this cane bed and nightstand both from Serena & Lily.  While much of their decor reminds me of the beach or California, these will go anywhere. 

If you have the right spot, this daybed would also be divine:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stitch in Middleburg, VA

The month of June has been quite busy and soon will be even busier!  Made a quick trip to Northern Virginia a few days ago and stopped in at Stitch, a lovely needlepoint shop right in the heart of Middleburg.  Here are a few canvases that I saw there and fell in love with.  Some you may have seen before...

This one is lovely and quite large. It would make a nice oversized pillow and it would take a while to stitch for sure. You can't tell how large it is here.

Foxes are big in this part of the world with so many hunts in the area.

The last one is a bell pull.  I have not seen one of these in a while.  If you have the right spot for this, it could be divine.  If you are interested in any of these contact Stitch directly at 540-687-5990.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Essex Shirts - You Don't Have to Ride to Wear or Love These

If you don't ride but love the "riding fashion" then you may want to consider Essex Shirts.  I've blogged about them before and the quality is very good.  The owner of the company rides and her family has been making shirts for a very long time. 

You can see the entire collection here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Justify's Breeding Rights are Sold to Coolmore

Want to know what a $75M horse looks like?  You can read the story here.

(WSJ photo)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Frances Valentine AKA Kate Spade - RIP

You've likely heard the distressing news of the death of beloved designer Kate Spade. What I did not realize was that she had started a new line called Frances Valentine, which is so reminiscent of the early Kate Spade bags which I love.

RIP Kate

Belmont Stakes Trivia

 With the Belmont only a few days away, and with the distinct possibility of yet another Triple Crown winner here's some Belmont trivia to take with you to the neighborhood Belmont Bash.

(Secretariat's Win at Belmont)

Did you know........
1) In the early years of the Belmont, the race was run clockwise (as races are run in England) over a fish hook-shaped course which included part of the current training track. The first counterclockwise Belmont Stakes was run in 1921.

2) Trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons saddled father and son Triple Crown winners -- Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935).

3) Five times the Belmont Stakes went off with only two horses in the field -- 1887, 1888, 1892, 1910 and 1920, when Man o' War won.

4) The largest field for the Belmont Stakes was 15 horses in 1983 when Caveat defeated Slew o' Gold.

5)  The white carnation is the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket of 300-400 carnations worn by the winner takes 10 hours to put together. The flowers are shipped in from either California or Bogota, Colombia.

6) Easy Goer's victory was the second-fastest (2:26) in Belmont history. Only Secretariat (2:24 in 1973) was faster.

The Cutest Straw Bags for Summer

It's straw time!  I love summer straw bags and these get my vote for the cutest this season.....






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