August - December 2007

Times definitely fly when you have horses. Unfortunately this leaves an inadequate amount of time to properly keep a website up to date. But I have carved out some time to get caught up, so here goes....

2007 ended with mostly judging. For my last date, I had the pleasure of judging in Maryland at Top Notch Farm. Our show season was light all year due to a heavy judging and clinic schedule, as well as some unforeseen family emergencies for my clients. However, we lessoned a lot, and made our annual trek to Maryland in October, for George Morris' clinic at Persimmon Tree Farm. A true highlight of the year was attending my younger brother’s wedding. It was amazing to be there, he has grown up to be such a wonderful man; I am very proud of him.

The year's end did not allow much time for reflection, as our 2008 schedule was looming heavy very early in the New Year. None the less, I there were definitely the many blessings this year, most notably, the continued determination of my wonderful husband to continue the constant renovations to our farm, my dogs and horses for their unwavering love, and my clients for their support and devotion to riding well.

July 2007

I spent most of July in the judge’s stand, some familiar venues and a few new ones. I also had the opportunity to visit my old stomping ground of Raleigh , NC to give two clinics.

One of the best things about judging is the traveling, it allows me to see different farms and venues, meet new people, observe new course designs, see various arena footings, and see new horse and rider combinations. At the beginning of the moth, I traveled up to Nokesville , VA to Hollow Oak Farm, Inc. and at the end of the month, I was in Berryville , VA at Locke Meadow, LLC, close to the West Virginia border. I am looking forward to continuing to travel further and further. I’ll be judging in Maryland in November and hope to be judging in North Carolina on the NCHJA “C” circuit next season.

When I wasn’t on the road for judging this month, I was heading to NC for lessons and training rides at EquiTerra Farm. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with several new riders and horses, as well as some that I have worked with in the past on many occasions. I also had a chance to catch up with Mr. And Mrs. Culbertson, but unfortunately, Courtney and Caroline were not home. I hope to see them both soon though. I am looking forward to returning again in August.

The month of July has also brought a new member to the Brydelle farm riding family. We would like to extend a very warm welcome to Caitlin and her family, particularly her mother, Tammy. Her family has a very long history in horses, and she has competed successfully in dressage for the last 7 yrs. She recently made the switch to hunters and we are very excited about their future with us.

This summer has been extremely dry and now the heat is here as well. We try to ride early in the day or very late at in the evening to keep it comfortable and safe for the horses as well as ourselves.

Despite the heat, we are looking forward to August, as we will be back in the show ring again. We will be taking Buttercup and Colby out as well. It is always exciting (and sometimes unpredictable) when the green beans come along.

June 2007

June sped by. I spent the first week of the month in Seattle at the annual ACVIM conference. This is the furthest west I have ever been. It was gorgeous and the weather couldn’t have been any better. It barely rained, and if it did, it was only a light sprinkle. I didn’t get to see very much of the city as I was very busy at the meeting. Since the conference was right in the downtown area, however, I did get to eat out at several local places and visit some great shops.

It was a great meeting; the biggest and best names in veterinary medicine, all coming together to share the latest and greatest information on infectious diseases, oncology, cardiology, internal medicine, radiology, nutrition and large animal medicine. I took in as much as humanly possible; I can be such a nerd when the opportunity arises. I am looking forward to attending again in Texas in 2008. I hope to be speaking again next year as well.

While it is great being away, I was happy to get home. I hit the ground running, as I judged the next two weekends in a row, first at Topline Horse Center and then at LinMorLand Farm. It would have been three weekends in a row, but we finally got some much needed rain the last weekend of June, so the show at Angel’s Watch Farm was canceled.
The weather has been dry but fairly cool for this time of the summer. I hope it continues throughout July and August.

May 2007

May started off with a long weekend in Tampa , FL for a family wedding as well as to celebrate my birthday. We had a wonderful time relaxing by the pool, shopping, visiting with friends and family, as well as spending one of the days at Busch Gardens , Tampa . I had never been to that one. It is similar to the one in Williamsburg , but a bit smaller and it has a safari theme.

The next week, I brought Buttercup up from NC to continue her training and gain her more exposure. She is a great addition to our farm and I am excited about getting her out and about for everyone to see. She made the trip easily and quickly settled into her routine at Brydelle Farm.

Unfortunately, we did tragically lose a beloved mare that same weekend. Sweet Girl was just as her name implied, whose life was way to short to fully realize her potential. Luckily, she left behind two lovely foals that will carry on her legacy. I know they both have a bright future in the show ring. Godspeed Sweet Girl!

The following weekend, I judged at Pole Green Farm for one of Carol Anne’s shows. It was great seeing her again. She is always up beat and runs such a great show. As usual, they had a great turn out for this area, with many classes having over a dozen competitors.

Back at the farm, we have been focusing on having quality time in the saddle. With the school year winding up, both Terumi and Simone were very busy. I was preparing a talk for an international veterinary conference the first week in June in Seattle , so we stayed home and got in as many lessons as possible. With the weather being so cooperative, we also took this opportunity to hack the horses off the property a number of times.

I did sneak away the next weekend to catch up with my good friend, Jana and to see a bit of the Kathy Kusner clinic at Fox Chase Farm in Middleburg. I caught the morning group, where they worked on getting their horses off the forehand, working off their haunches, producing an adjustable stride, and riding a short turn off the rail. I wasn’t able to stay all day, as I really need to get back to the farm; I was leaving in a few days for Seattle , I needed to work on my presentation, and the butterflies were already starting.

March-April 2007

The show season has gotten off to a slow start with the EHV-1 outbreak. Under recommendations from the state veterinarian and others, all organized horse activities around the state were canceled and/or postponed. Things were back on track by the middle of March, with a lot of relief that the virus had been contained.

I judged at Topline Horse Center in Yorktown the last weekend of March. It was a very nice day with a light turnout. I think many folks were still being cautious about leaving their respective farms. As always, Pauline and Jim were gracious hosts and ran a tight ship.

On April Fool’s day, we headed up to Fredericksburg , VA to attend an EKG Stables horse show. It was a family affair, as the whole LaGuardia clan made the trip as well. Simone would be making her
debut in Short Stirrup Eq on Alley. She did very well, but was quite nervous, and thus a little stiff. It was a very large class (12+), and she did a great job of maneuvering the ring with such a large mount for her size. She came away with three third place ribbons, not bad for your first time out.

We had a long wait for Terumi to show in the afternoon. Terumi schooled Alley beautifully in the morning, but sitting around for so long allowed her nerves to creep up on her.
They had a weak showing in the AA Huntersbut came back strong in the Adult Eq, coming away with the blue ribbon. That’s horse showing; you win some, you lose some!

Due to some scheduling conflicts, we spent the next couple of weeks practicing at home. It was also a great time to enjoy some wonderful spring weather with long hacks out and around the farm.

We were back out showing on April 21 st at LinMorLand Farm . We took Simone and Sugar Bear who would be showing in SS Hunter and SS Eq. They did very well; a little tight, but overall, a very nice showing. They came away with Reserve Champion for both divisions.

The next weekend, we (Terumi, Simone and I) headed to Laurel , MD for a clinic with Katie Monahan Prudent at the Columbia Horse Center. Katie is fabulous and a beautiful rider!! I wish she had ridden a few more of the horses. To learn more about the day, click here to see my summary along with the exercises she used and her take home messages.

The next day, we were at Pole Green for one of Carol Anne’s shows. It was a beautiful day, and we took Bayard along who was eager to help us take some time to relax. It was only Simone and Sugar Bear again this time. Terumi was nursing a pulled muscle, so she played “Show Mom Extraordinaire” all day. Simone schooled wonderfully in the morning over the full course of jumps, though she would only be showing around the outside for Short Stirrup.

They were even getting their flying changes off the diagonal lines.  At 15+ riders, their Short Stirrup classes were huge.  The flat class was held first, and with so many in the class, it was tricky navigating and finding a good place on the rail to be seen by the judge. They handled it beautifully though and were awarded the
blue ribbon.  A few bobbles and inconsistencies in pace, kept them low in the ribbons for the over fences classes. They came back strong in the pleasure division; however, showing their poise with
three relaxed, engaged gaits. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what the judge was looking for on this day, as they were out of the ribbons in all three large pleasure classes . I was so proud of both of them though! It had been a long day, and Simone hung tough and was a winner in my eyes!

February 2007

Virginia weather sure can be a pain this time of year! One day it can be 75deg, and and the next it's below freezing. Unfortunately, this is how it was for most of the month until we had a prolonged and painful cold snap.

In between the highs and lows of the weather, we continued to prepare our horses and ourselves for the upcoming season. Long hacks off the farm are part of our usual routine but due to the ring being either wet or frozen, the horses got a few more hacks than usual, which of course, they didn't mind.

I also got my first judging work of the season at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, VA; Hidden Haven Farm hosted the show. I had been speaking with Carol Anne for several months, so it was great finally meeting her. She did an excellent job, as did her support staff. Despite the bitter cold, there was a very nice turnout, with many of the divisions having 10 or more competitors. I am looking forward to returning to judge Hidden Haven Farm's May show.

The following Saturday, I judged at Whippoorwill Farm. It was the first TCHSA show of the season. We got off to a slightly rocky start when one of the farm's trailers got hit on the way to the show. Leigh immediately got several of her clients to head over with their trucks and trailers to pick up the horses and riders. Luckily, the horses were more shaken up than anything else, and many went on to show through the day.

The show finished fairly early, so I had Simone and Terumi meet me there with their girls for some lesson away from our farm. It was great to get the girls out, and over some jumps in an unfamiliar ring before we start showing again. Everyone did great, the girls were like old pros, and didn't seemed fazed in the least.

On Sunday, I was suppose to judge in Fredricksburg but it was canceled due the forecasted inclement weather. The show was also canceled as a precautionary measure to protect against the possible spread of EHV-1, as there had been an outbreak in Northern Virginia's EMC. Luckily, prompt action and level heads, were able to quickly limit the spread of the virus. Hopefully we will be able to resume our show season very soon, once all threats of the virus are gone.

January 2007

As I look forward to 2007, I definitely want to continue preparing to receive my judge's card. To help along the way, I attended VHSA's Judge's Clinic at Deep Run. Click here to see my notes. They had a stellar panel of judges and great rounds, both hunter and equitation, for our review and their comments.

In addition to attending VHSA's Judge's Clinic, I have also continued to book judging dates for this upcoming show season. I am excited that I have already booked several dates in Fredericksburg, Nokesville, Mechanicsville, as well as others in my "backyard". I am hoping to be approved to judge in NC and SC later this year.

I had planned to kick off my judging season this year at Whippoorwill Farm this month, but due to inclement weather, it was canceled. The following weekend, I headed south, to South Carolina, where I had arranged to "learner judge" with Missy Roades at Camden Equestrian Center for two days. I made a long weekend of it, and fit in as much as I possibly could.

I started the weekend by heading down a little early, to stay with a good friend in Georgia while learner judging with Missy. It was great to meet Missy. She is an extremely knowledge and experienced horsewoman. I greatly appreciate her sharing many words of wisdom with me. I hope to cross paths with her again soon. The show had a great turnout despite the cold and wet weather. It is a beautiful facility and a well-managed show thanks to Sherry Pace and her crew.

As always, I cannot go through NC without stopping and giving some lessons to the Culbertson's in Raleigh. Unfortunately, Courtney was unavailable, so I put a great training ride on their young mare, Cheina. She is a big, beautiful chestnut Hanoverian mare. I see great things in this mare's future. I worked with Cheina for about an hour. Afterward, Caroline got on, to get a feel for what I had worked on with the mare and to see how she could achieve the same results.

Then Caroline had a full lesson on Robin. We warmed up on the flat with some exercises focusing on making him more responsive to her leg, well balanced and more adjustable. As Caroline and Robin have made moved from the hunter ring to the jumper ring this past year, we then moved on to a great jumping exercise that incorporated the earlier points, as well as focusing on executing quick, but accurate turns.

Finally, I headed off to Chapel Hill to meet with Karen and her "crew". I hopped on two of her mares, Buttercup and Sweet (a big, lovely bay mare). Luckily, Karen has a large, covered and lighted ring, as it was very dark and cold at the time. I also got to see some of her 2 yr olds. Boy, does she breed beautiful horses!! I am excited about having more of her horses in my barn for years to come.

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