The holiday rush is on; we are busy decorating the barn and house. Bryan is busy with several projects. The last project of the year was to put up new three-board fencing around the riding ring. It was a promise he made that I am sure he regretted since the ground was either frozen or sopping wet for most of the month. With shear determination, however, he persevered and the fencing looks fabulous. All that is left is to install the gate. He completed most of the work single handedly as I was often busy working with several potential clients. Foot traffic on the sale horses has picked up as the show season ended and the holidays are approaching.
In addition, Terumi and I were hatching a plan to surprise Simone with a pony for Christmas. A past student of mine, Ashley Davis, offered to "loan" me her first pony, Sugar Bear, so Simone would have something to ride and show this next year.
I headed down to North Carolina to pick up Sugar Bear on Friday, December 23 rd. On the morning of the 24th, Terumi brought Simone out to give me my Christmas gift, or so she thought. As Simone entered the barn, not only did she see her whole family, but also a new pony with a big red bow. She was a speechless for about a millisecond, but quickly, the realization hit
her, and a huge smile came across her face and was stuck there for the rest of the day.
Simone stayed most the day, observing Sugar Bear in the pasture, grooming her, riding her for the first time, and grooming her some more. Much to her delight, she is now able to tack up all by herself. We were only able to get her to leave the barn by taking a trip The Tack Shoppe, in Saluda , VA.
I also gave Simone a newly released edition of "A Very Young Rider" by Ms. Krementz, which was originally published in 1977. It is a classic, and a book every young rider should have in their collection. The new edition is available direct
from DreamHouse Publishing. GM writes the foreword, where he encourages all riders, young and old to be well-rounded horsemen.
As the year nears the end, it is amazing to see how far we have all come. We are able to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and disappointments, learn from them and then look forward to what is ahead.
I would like to give special thanks to my wonderful husband, Bryan, without whom, I would not be able to live this dream, to my entire family, for their loving support, and to the Laguardia family, especially Terumi and Simone, for all their hard work, dedication and perseverance.
I am excited about what 2006 has in store for us all. Happy Holidays!
We headed up to EKG Stables, at Hill Valley Farm, in Spotsylvania, VA over the first weekend of November. It was a solo trip for Alley, since both Simone and I are now laid up. Simone accidentally fractured her left wrist, so no riding her for six weeks.
It was a beautiful day, but there wasn't a big turnout. The show ran quickly, but was very laid back and progressed smoothly. We showed inside, which was very nice and not too dusty. Terumi had a classic case of the show ring gitters and did not put in her most stellar performance. She received some low ribbons, but hung in there. After some schooling, she finished on a high over the outside course.
Terumi had a large support group. Her husband, Mark was able to come out and watch for a bit, as well as, my sister-in-law, Lisa and niece, Elizabeth. Elizabeth loves horses, and has attended horse camp the past two summers. She helped Simone and Terumi care for Alley the rest of the day.
Winter came a little early, and we got a few inches of snow at the farm. While it is beautiful, it reeks havoc on the horses' schedules. They were inside for several days, but as the snow melted, we were able to start turning them back out slowly.
As the Thanksgiving holiday got near, I was able to make a trip north to see my good friend, Jana Dicarlo of Anyplace Farm. She planned an excellent day for us… lunch at her place and then off to downtown DC to see Cavalia. It was FABULOUS!! The horses, the scenery, the music, the people…. I don't think there are words to describe it that could do it justice. If you get a chance, please go see Cavalia it when it comes to a location near you.
We had a stellar day at Misty Brae Farm on Saturday, October 1st. Terumi and Simone showed very successfully, both bringing home the Championship ribbon in their respective divisions.
We arrived a little late, and missed the afternoon schooling break in the main ring. However, Terumi was able to briefly school Wendy and Alley in the schooling ring on the flat and over a few small jumps
before showing. She showed Wendy in Pleasure first, and did very well. Afterwards, we were able to squeeze in a warm-up round with Alley so that Terumi could calm any last minute nerves. Terumi and Alley then showed in the Pre-Adult Division laying down two nice trips and hacking nicely.
Long Stirrup was canceled, so we quickly moved on to the Pre-Short Stirrup division.
Simone handled herself and Wendy beautifully in the ring, especially considering that it was the first time she had ever shown. In addition, it was the first time she had ever been in the ring with riders other then herself. I don't think Simone stopped smiling the whole way home. Both Terumi and Simone received lots of compliments from many of the riders, trainers, and
parents at the show on both of their and their horses' turnout. It was a beautiful day all the way around.
The following weekend, Terumi and I made a trek up to Westminster , MD to Persimmon Tree Farm to audit a George Morris Clinic. Unfortunately, they had received some snow and rain the week prior, so the clinic was moved inside. Due to a fairly small turnout, the clinic was quite intimate, which was great and made enduring the drive, the expense, and the bitter cold all worthwhile. The farm is absolutely breath taking, with large green pastures, rolling hills, beautiful barns, and large indoor and outdoor rings, with fabulous footing to boot.
GM was his usual self; teaching form is function, encouraging riders to be attentive, effective and all around horsemen through discipline and repetition. Watching him ride is like watching poetry in motion. I feel like a sponge at his clinics, soaking up every word, action, and inaction. This was Terumi's first time seeing GM, and she was riveted.
The Krome's of Persimmon Tree Farm were extremely hospitable and friendly, and supplied everyone with plenty to drink and eat during the day. I am definitely looking forward to attending another clinic there soon.
After the clinic, Terumi was eager to get home and put to use what she had learned and observed at the clinic. Both Simone and Terumi stayed busy the rest of the month riding, as I was still in physical training for my injured ankle and not able to ride much.
It seems that every time we are at Rosemount, we are blessed with fabulous weather. And over the Labor Day weekend, it wasn't any different. We arrived on Friday, got the horses settled in to their stalls, and checked in with Gegi. We let the "girls" stretch their legs and graze a bit, then we had some good schooling time in both rings. After eating their dinner, it was braiding time; Terumi
is really getting the hang of it. It isn't easy... but as GM says "Braiding shows respect for the horse. It's a horse sport and the horses come first."
Afterwards, we tucked them in and went to find dinner for ourselves. The horses always come first... people second. We had a good time, especially when we had the waiters come over and sing "Happy Birthday” to Simone. She went a few shades of red, but didn't seem to mind too much.
Terumi and Alley showed first thing Saturday morning in Pleasure. Because there were so many entries, the division was split into Adult and Junior. Unfortunately, though they were both relaxed and schooled well in the morning, they caught a big case of "Show Ring Jitters" on their way through the in gate. The jitters didn't let go until after the division was over. It was only their 3rd show together, so they are still figuring one another out, especially at shows.
We schooled again later in the day. They were their old selves again, pulled it together and definitely learned from their experience earlier in the day.
We took Wendy (aka Plum Precious) as well, just to hang out, school, and take in the sites and sounds. She handled it like a pro. She is just coming back from a minor back strain that occured after playing in the pasture with her favorite pasture mate. They rough house almost like dogs, it is funny until one of them hurts themselves. So, after a few weeks off, we are starting back slowly and she is doing fabulously.
The following weekend, Terumi was tied up with a prior engagement, so my mother was able to attend the SHSA show at Merry Oaks Stables in Suffolk with me. It has been several years since she has done the "horse show mom" thing, so we were both very excited to be able to spend the day together. And boy!, by the end of this day, I was glad I had my "mommy" with me.
The show had a very good turnout with over 300 entries. None the less, the show was kept running smoothly all day, and the gate never sat open for long. I brought Delilah and Wendy. They both looked gorgeous and didn't mind posing for the camera.
The day began extremely well. I schooled both Delilah and Wendy first thing and was very pleased. Wendy and I then showed first in the Open Pleasure and we were Champion. Unfortunately, that is were it starts to go downhill...
Shortly before heading into the ring with Delilah, I ended up “stepping” into a hole with my right foot when dismounting from Wendy outside the arena. I severly twisted my ankle. It stung badly and was hard to walk on, but I didn't think much of it because I needed to get on Delilah as her division was fast approaching. We went
back to the trailer and got Wendy settled. I then got on Delilah, but wasn't able to move my right foot, so I had my mom help it into the stirrup. I quickly realized that something was not right. Unfortunately, Delilah and I had to scratch. With my mom's quick thinking, and much pain, we got my boot off before the swelling got too bad. Things got worse on the trip home as the pain and swelling increase, so we headed to the ER once the horses were home and settled in.
It turns out, it wasn't broken, but severely sprained with torn ligaments. Unfortunately, the orthopedic specialist informed me that torn ligaments are actually worse than a break because they taken much longer to heal and tend to not heal as well.
So, I was laid up for several days, but am now back to walking and have starting physical therapy. Luckily for me, my husband, my mother, Terumi and her daughter have all pitched in and kept the farm running smoothly in my “absence”.
I am looking forward to getting back on a horse soon but in the meantime, Simone has been riding Wendy, as well as Alley. She is really becoming quite the little rider. I think she may be showing sooner rather than later...
I definitely experienced a first this month... On the first weekend of the month, I attended
the wedding of one of my long time students, at Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville, NC. I
was so proud to be able to have been a part of such an important and emotional day of Ashley
and Logan's lives. Memories of the first time I met Ashley and her wonderful, but occasionally
ornery pony, Sugar Bear, came flooding back. Those were good memories, that I cherish dearly. I will
now cherish the memory of seeing her all grown up on her wedding day. Since I don't have any
children of my own (besides my puppies of course), Ashley, as well Courtney, Caroline and Holly, all
have a very special place in my heart. These girls are like my "children", and seeing
one of them all grown up and married, is life-changing for me. Wow! I thought seeing them head off
to college was tough... I wish Ashley and Logan all my love and all the best for their future
In addition to seeing Ashley, I was also able to catch up with Courtney, Caroline, and their lovely mother, Mrs. Benita Culbertson. After the wedding reception, Bryan and I grabbed some dinner at P.F. Chang's in Raleigh, and then headed out to the Culbertson's farm, EquiTerra Farm, to catch up with Mr. Culbertson and, of course, the horses. The Culbertson's have come a long way since we first met many years ago, when they were living in the suburbs. Now, look at them, running a very successful boarding faculty, as well as, having
a nice start on a Hanoverian breeding operation.
Their beautiful farm is located on the very outskirts of Raleigh, close enough to be convenient
but far enough out, to have a gorgeous, country backdrop for their farm. As usual, we spent hours
talking, and we got on the road late, but it was worth it.
I am eager to put together individual web pages for the girls, so I can brag about
them some more. So stay tuned...
Unfortunately, our trip back and forth from North Carolina had to be made in a single day. Bryan's
grandmother had a stroke earlier in the week, and we wanted to be sure, if needed, we would be able
to head down to FL immediately. Fortunately, Grandma recovered quickly, with minimal permanent damage
and started outpatient rehabilitation the following week. We are looking forward to her moving to
VA in mid-September; she loves visiting the farm.
The following weekend, we headed up to Morven Park for one of Mark Wonderly's hunter shows. It was a very hot day, but Morven Park and the surrounding area of Northern Virginia is so lovely and beautiful that it was still a great day. There wasn't a huge turnout, but most of the classes had 4 or more riders in them. The show was very well organized, and ran fairly smoothly, except Mark had to occasionally become a human antenna. Mark had the rings set up perfectly with beautiful jumps and the fabulous footing.
Terumi and Alley showed in the Long Stirrup Equitation, and did very well. They were first in both flat classes and placed third and second over fences. With just a few minor green rider mistakes keeping them out of the blue over
fences, they brought home the reserve championship ribbon this weekend. Our game plan is KISS aka Keeping it Simple Silly, so they were trotting in and out of the lines. While this is supposed to be easier, I feel it is actually harder. As many of the riders of the Big EQ finals found out a year or so ago
when George Morris was judging. He even went on to write a whole article about it in Practical Horseman, but I digress... The course had a diagonal as well as a broken line, so it was a bit more challenging than the previous show that was just around the outside. Terumi and Alley rose to the challenge though, and handled themselves beautifully.
Terumi's daughter, Simone, made the trip to Morven Park with us. She is always such a
big help. She also helped Mark out some by handing out ribbons for a few classes. She has ambitions to show as well but we are taking things slowly so she has the confidence and ability to be competitive. I have no doubt that she will far supersede her own expectations and goals.
So, now we have a little bit of a breather, until our next show at Rosemount the first weekend of September. It will be our first overnighter this year, and it is going to be special, because we will be celebrating Simone's 10 th birthday on Saturday. She is excited about spending her birthday at a horse show; she has definitely been bitten by the horse bug!
Well, with some time off from showing over the past couple of months, we were itching to get out there this month. We started at the Greater Richmond Horse Show Association (GRHSA) show at Hunter Lane Stables in Richmond. There was a very nice turn out and the show ran very smoothly. We took Alley and Wendy, and both schooled nicely. Since this was the first time Terumi had Alley off of the farm, we kept things low key, and let them get some practice in the schooling ring. We all know how daunting that can be.
We had planned on attending the FRHSA show at Linmorland Farm the following Wednesday, but it had to be cancelled due to torrential downpours the previous night. Victoria Skelding had her farm in tiptop shape in preparation for the show, so the cancellation was quite unfortunate. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to go back later this month.
We did, however, make it to the VHSA Associate show at Carlton Farms in Williamsburg the following Saturday. Again, we took our time in order to school Alley and Wendy and let them take in the sights and sounds. This also allowed Terumi more experience jumping away from home and sticking to our game plan. Sissy was able to stay one step ahead of the bad weather by moving the jumps out of the big back ring, because it was almost completely under water. But the turnout was still low, I think primarily due to the stormy forecast and extreme heat. As usual though, Sissy took everything in stride, and was very upbeat and excited to have everyone there.
I got a great email update from one of my "old" students from North Carolina with news of her and her sister's successes at the recent show at Sedgefield in Greensboro. I am so thrilled for them and excited every time I hear from them. This most recent update started me thinking... With all the good times we had together and with all their continued success, I would love to create an addition to this web site to chronicle it all. Stay tuned for "Brydelle Farm Past and Present". More to come...
We finished up July with a BANG! Terumi and Alley were Grand Champion in the Long Stirrup Equitation Division at Cedar Run Horse Center in Woodbridge, VA on the 31st. It was a clean sweep
of the two flat classes as well as the two jumping classes. This was her first show with Alley as well as her first time jumping Alley at a show. Way to go, girls!
We had originally planned on attending the SHSA show at Upsan Down Farm on Saturday, but unfortunately, it was cancelled due to rain. Even more unfortunate, was the fact that we were already on our way to the show when we heard of the cancellation. So, we turned around, and tried to find out if any other VHSA Associate Shows in the area were still scheduled, but were unsuccessful. With both plans A and B exhausted, we decided to call it a day and try again tomorrow.
The third time was the charm, and it couldn't have worked
out any better, though we did have to leave Wendy behind.
She was exhausted from the previous day's antics, so
I felt it was best to let her rest. It was also good
to get Alley out alone and see how she did.
Sunday was a nice day for horse showing. The sky was slightly overcast, which keep the weather comfortable for horse, rider and trainer. The show in Woodbridge was wonderfully run by Gegi Winslett of The Winslett Advantage.
We had visited Rosemount the previous weekend, where Gegi ran
a beautiful show. After seeing the Rosemount show, we were
looking forward to having
an opportunity to show at one of her shows. The
show at Cedar
Run Horse Center was very
enjoyable and professionally run.
Terumi got a lot of practice braiding this weekend. It
had been some time since she last braided a horse for
showing. In addition, Alley likes to rub
the braids out as soon as you take your eyes off of her.
So, there was a lot of doing and re-doing between
Friday night and Sunday when we finally made it to the
show. All of Terumi's hard work paid off though, and
Alley looked great!!
June started off just right... at the 152nd Upperville Colt & Horse Show. Over the past few years (except two years ago, when it was “Mudville Colt & Horse Show”), I have had the pleasure of successfully showing several nice yearling VPBA ponies in their futurity, but this year I went strictly to watch, and enjoy... and shop! As usual, the show was beautiful, with all the trimmings that make it so special; like the Ladies Side Saddle, The Family Class, and The Piedmont Foxhounds Invitational Hack.
It was watching Ms. Ellie Wood Baxter ride so correctly and elegantly in the Invitational Hack that just made my day! She was also honored by being inducted to the Wall Of Honor at the Upperville,
Colt & Horse Show and received a standing ovation from the huge crowd. She definitely gave me renewed hope that I will be riding when I am in my “golden years”.
The great day continued as I was able to visit with a great friend, Jana DiCarlo of Anyplace Farm, on my way home. I caught up with Jana as she was finishing up a lesson with her students, Alley and Sarah on their very cute ponies, Merlin and Romeo, respectively. Jana is such a wonderful horsewoman
with an attention to detail to be envied. The day was full of inspirations...
Back to work on the farm... We have recently been adding new fencing to help better utilize our pasture space. The work was in preparation of our new arrivals that came towards the end of the month. In addition, summertime gardening and weeding continues along with the riding, exercising, and barn chores. All the horses are doing so well, and looking great.
Unfortunately, the June 11th FRSHA show was cancelled and
my schedule did not allow us to make the show on the 18th, so no show results to report this month but with the show season in full swing and the summer weather here to stay, there are plenty
While in NC, picking up Alley, I was also able to visit with an excellent client and friend, Karen Whitfield of Whitfield Farms in Chapel Hill. She is a fabulous horsewoman, and breeder of Quarter Horses and Appendix Quarter Horses. She was gracious enough to show me her weanlings, yearlings, 2 and 3 yr old hunter prospects. I am really excited about continuing our relationship with many of her herd. A huge congratulation goes out to her on the newest edition, “Emerson”, he definitely has an excellent show future ahead of him.
April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Recently, however, it
seems that April showers just bring more May showers.
The FRHSA show at Whippoorwill Farm on May 7th had to be cancelled
due to rain. It was rescheduled to the end of the month, but we were unable
to attend due to my husband having emergency surgery late the preceding
Though it was wet, we've been getting in a lot of schooling and
lesson time. All the horses, Delilah and Wendy in particular, are coming
along very well. Be sure to check out the sales page for show highlights,
new pictures, and video footage.
As June approaches, we are looking forward to being back in the show
ring and picking up Terumi's new horse.
With her first show under her belt, Terumi has the show bug and
has continued her success at both Five
Rivers Horse Association events this month.
Both shows ran smoothly and had a very nice turn out. Early in the
month, the show at Fox Ridge Farm had to be delayed one day
due to rain. Fortunately, the rings, the weather and attendance were
excellent. On the other hand, Carlton Farms didn't fair as well in the
weather department. That didn't keep attendance down though. Due to large
numbers, the Walk Trot division and Short Stirrup division had to be
At the end of the month, Terumi is third in the standings in the Walk
Trot division. Way to go, Terumi!!!
Due to the continued chilly weather, the show
season has gotten off to a slow start this month. None the less, it
has begun on a good note. Terumi and Delilah made a clean
sweep of the Walk-Trot and Walk-Trot Equitation divisions at the first
Tri-County Horse Show Association hosted event of the show season at Whippoorwill
It has been many years since Terumi has been in the show ring, but all her hard
work and practice this past winter have paid off beautifully.
Looking forward to spring more now than ever. We spent an enjoyable
morning at Topline
Horse Center in Yorktown, VA for the Anna Jane White-Mullin
Thanks to Pauline Creeden of Topline Horse Center for hosting
the clinic and Ms. Anna-Jane White-Mullin for a very informative
clinic, including the exceptional review of the USEF equitation
Well, the first of the year came and went very quickly. Luckily the winter was somewhat mild so the horses were worked regularly. We had great expectations of getting to show at the end of the month. Unfortunately, snowstorms and freezing temperatures have cause several shows to be cancelled and reschedule for later in the season.
Luckily there are quite a few trails surrounding the farm, and we got the horses out of the ring and into the wilderness, which was enjoyable for both horse and rider.
Terumi has become an integral part of the farm and the horses love her. We are having weekly lessons with one or both sale horses; JL Delilah and Plum Precious.