Friday, December 29, 2006

Winter has arrived! We woke up to 19 degrees, frozen water pipes and ice in the water buckets. I think the horses were the only ones that didn't mind. Needless to say, they were all very fresh.The riding arena was full of squealing horses that day. These Germans are a hearty group, the windows in the barn are still open and on the way into town I saw women pushing their baby carriages and elderly women walking to church inspite of the below 20 degree temperature. The blacksmith was out to shoe my horses for the second time since I have been here and I have to say that the shoeing style is much different than what we have at home. The balance of the foot is good, but the toe is shorter than we usually do it. The biggest difference is that the shoe is set extremely full and very far back to give maximum support. I have come to the conclusion that they can get away with that style of shoeing because these horses are not getting turned out and almost all wear bell boots. I am sure when we get back to FL and Donneur and Dolly get turned out in that FL sand, we will be calling the blacksmith pretty quickly to replace the shoes they pull off. The good part about standing them up with a short toe is that they don't slip and slide so much on the bricks (which are everywhere they walk except the indoor arena). I am sure you all have heard by now that FL is experiencing an Equine Herpes breakout and it has caused a ripple effect through the horse community. Originally, Dolly was going to quarantine for 21 days at Highlife Farm in Orlando, and we just got a call the day before yesterday that they couldn't take her because they had horses from Wellington quarantined in their isolation barn. Plan B was to take her to Ocala, 80 miles from our farm, which would make a great hardship to try to ride her and keep her fit for the shows . We are now frantically working on Plan C, that is to make our farm in Apopka a state approved CEM quarantine facility. Thank you Dr. Jones, Mary Anne Milleman and Caroline Ashton for jumping through the hoops for the next 10 days to get the farm approved! It will certainly make life easier to have Dolly on the farm, even if she has to be kept separate from everyone else. Both horses are going through their lessons very smoothly now and we are able to polish and fine tune the movements from the PSG and INT 1 tests now because the quality of the gaits is well established and maintained during all of the exercises. A long way from where we started three months ago. It was definitely worth it to stay the extra few weeks to give the horses the chance to solidify their new routine. I am really looking forward to test ride (literally) my new horses at the shows this winter. I think the judges will really have to sit up and take notice of both horses because they will definitely be in the hunt for the top placings. This trip has been a great bonding experience for the three of us, we have been together every day from take off in New York to touch down in Miami and have faced many new challenges and a lot of hard work over the last 90 days. That bond will serve us well as we face the new challenge of the Selection Trials this winter. Regardless of which horse wins the blue ribbon, we all three will be winners because we are part of the Equisential Team, whose mission statement is the pursuit of excellence!


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