23 October, 2013

Change is in the air

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. - Arnold Bennett 

Life has been rapidly changing around Penwick, we have welcomed many new clients and horses said goodbye to a few. One of the biggest changes is I have sold my longtime partner, Regal, to Susan so he can show her the ropes of dressage and do a little bit of jumping, hunter pacing. She has been greatly enjoying getting to know him and the only thing that makes it easier is that I know Regal now has an awesome home with her and will be a rock star for her needs. She spoils Regal’s now little brother Reagan like no other horse in the barn, though Leyla and Spiderman may be tied (hello hand cut apples and carrots). The other great part is he will stay in the barn and I get to keep him tuned up for her, look out for their dressage debut this weekend at Burgundy Hollow!

Our new school horses are settling in well, Bucks Co HT saw Chloe and Phoenix kick butt with a 32 on their dressage score and some awesome jumping. Natalia will now take her to Burgundy and starting in November lease the flashy red mare. Heidi and Rouge finished off their season with a move up to Beginner Novice and clenched 3rd place. Rouge really has the jumping thing down now and Heidi and Rouge will work on lots of dressage and gymnastics this winter to come out in the Spring in full swing. Amanda and Fiddy are schooling well at home and will try their hand at Novice this weekend. Fiddy while all TB, rides and goes like a WB, which has meant some tweaks in riding style. However, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with next year after some intense dressage work this winter. This horse jumps like a pogo stick, but is not so sure dressage is his favorite thing, he will learn! Stay tuned for an update on my own plans now that I only own 1 competition horse...

Farr is coming along really well and has even proved his chops as a husband/boyfriend horse. So if anyone is looking for a lovely big gelding who has a nice relaxed demeanor get in touch! We want to find this boy his own person soon!

20 August, 2013

Fusaichi, Fusaichi, Fusaichi

So life is chugging along at Penwick there can never be too much time, daylight or money when it comes to the horse world and that is how I feel recently. Penwick loaded up and took 7 riders to Bucks County Horse Park 2 weekends ago, it was our most mixed results horse show of the year, with 1 fall, 1 retire, 1 horse getting hurt in a silly accident by the trailers (thankfully not serious, but enough to cancel the day). Beth and Teddy continue to improve and place yet again after their move up to BN, Heidi and Rouge rocked around, Heidi just signed a 6 month lease on the big red mare, so look for great things to come. Rouge is trying to convince Heidi she is ready for 3’ and over, no matter what height the jump is actually set these days. She continues to make us laugh and is still the non-mariest mare I have ever met. Leigh Ann was a star with Valor at his first horse show, placing in the top 5, woohoo! Amanda and Noble rocked around novice and placed in the middle of the pack in a very large division, not too shabby for their second time at this level!

On my own personal front Regal had a week off, I pulled his shoes and his feet are looking be more in balance I am hoping that this may be a partial solution to our last rail slaughter. Fingers crossed. Regal is going to hit his first recognized dressage show at the end of the month at Second level. Cant hurt in case I do sell him as a dressage horse, he scored 65% at the level in an unrecognized setting a week ago.

Penwick also welcomed Kathleen to the team, she arrived from California just over a week ago and seems to be getting settled in. This week she gets the full shebang by helping Amanda with our last week of camp and 9 kids. Kathleen is looking to improve her riding skills, learn to retrain OTTBS and event at the Training level. Welcome to the team!

Lastly I acquired a 4yo TB called Fusaichi on Sunday. He is just my type, tall leggy and a little attitude. I am very excited about the lasted addition. Stay tuned more updates and I am trying to get him out in Sept to something unrecognized. 

22 July, 2013


Bad blogger checking in again. Promise to give a real long update soon but for now I leave you will a photo from this past weekend's show. 10 riders, 8 horses and a lot of fun. This was by far the largest group I have taken to a show, complete with the semi-tractor trailer. It was a lot of fun. Amanda's mom Jill made us a pasta party at my house (like real athletes - Emily) and it was a big sleepover.

The new barn is coming along well, we have 30 horses currently living on property and 25 stalls (how did that happen!?) We just welcomed a new training client Susan and her 5yo. Dave is shopping fort a second horse, Irina became Lucky's (now Lance) mom thanks to some wonderful people at the barn and Leigh Ann has purchased Zone. Lots of horse activity.

I am off to NJHP this weekend with Regal and back again on Sunday with Ceara and Rayo. I may or may not be coming home with a 3yo as my second horse...

05 June, 2013

Life in the fast lane

Yet again I have been completely lax on this blog. I have been in high gear building the barn, managing contractors and the like. Things are coming along, we moved all the horses over May 15th. Tomorrow the floors will be poured and the Amish are expected back on Friday to finish up the wood work.

Regal made his move to Training, with a great dressage test in the pouring rain on grass, his score was 27.7 and we scored mostly 8s with a couple of 9s. He was clean XC but unimpressed with stadium pulling 3 rails at all the easier fences, jumped the hard fences well, I can only hope that as he continues to move up and get move impressed with his job this habit will resolve itself. In the meantime I will continue to work on strength and developing the best possible uphill canter to make stadium as easy as possible.

Training horses is coming along well, right now my challenge is finding time to sleep and then ride everyone, but it is going well and all the horses and riders are making good progress. Lily is starting baby jumps. I am really focusing on her canter and head shyness right now. I think she will be slow to mature but, watch out for her when she does! i have enjoyed having some time to school Spiderman again and of course the baby OTTB parade has been fun!

Peri is going for her Pony Club rating this weekend and we will look to move her to Beginner Novice in July.  As the end of the school year rolls around I suspect my teenagers will get into the full swing of show season. Amanda is graduating *sniff* she grew up so fast and will be heading with scholarships to Monmouth in the fall. She will be missed but we are all happy that she will be close enough to come home frequently. 

About 3 runs from being done moving horses and everyone's stuff from the old barn to the new, my truck started making awful noises and I was barely able to drive. Thankfully I was not going fast and was able to pull over with Regal and Lily in tow and get some assistance from friends to get the horses home safe. Turns out my bearings were unhappy, so while in the shop with Kyle and Jim the truck got all new breaks. I hope she is happy as my purse was not...Now if I could only give her a bath we'd be good as new.

The barn has been busy we are welcoming many new boarders and students to the new location and I recently sold Top Position, but he will stay with us as a boarder. This of course means I was free to find another horse to bring in to train and compete. My lovely calm bay gelding was replaced with a red headed mare. She and I got along rather well on our meeting and I am looking forward to turning La Rouge into a top eventer. For those of you that don’t know me, my first horse was a little spitfire red mare called Scolly Square. So this is really just coming full circle just bigger and my training tool box has many more tools.

18 April, 2013

Looking for Working Student

Seeking hard working, eager working student to assist with running a busy newly built eventing barn for the summer (May-Sept with potential for longer). You will be expected to work 6 days a week, mucking, cleaning, grooming, show prepping, riding, assisting with starting young horses and going to shows. Need to be able to work independently and exercise reasonable judgment. The barn is newly built, there is a lot going on getting things running, building jumps etc on top of a heavy competition schedule. If you are up for a busy summer where you will learn a lot, this is for you.

In exchange you will have board for 1 horse and a room in the main house, meals included as well as 2 lessons a week. There will be riding available based on experience.  Potential for side money brading for clients, etc. Pool and lake on the property for your enjoyment. If you don't need housing we could talk about a cash component.

Please email with references and ideally a link to a video of your riding. Please include your riding experience, education, goals. Non-smokers only.


25 March, 2013

Barn and horse update

Dear Reader,

Life is busy. Construction has started on the new barn, very excited to see the area getting cleared, its funny how you look at piece of land and think “oh that won’t be too bad to clear” then you see it all on the ground in giant piles, it’s a lot. The guys at Aaron Excavating, http://www.aaronenviro.com have been great and  Roy has been nothing short of awesome in all steps of the process. I cannot say enough good things about them. Without further ado, photos of the destruction: 

I also signed off on the final barn plans this week, so as soon as the site is ready the barn builders will be coming in to get started, they assure me we should be done by the end of April, I can only hope winter finally goes away so they can get in and going. 

This past Sunday Ceara, Peri and I headed down to a dressage show at the NJ Horse Park, both girls rode well. We know that accuracy and a steadier connection to the bridle needs to be improved, but their efforts were rewarded with 1sts and 2nds and we had a really nice first outing. If only every show could be so low key and easy!

My own riding on Regal has been not as frequent, I have been enjoying getting Lilly going, we are having a bit of a set back as her teeth are in horrible shape and very sharp. It is causing her a lot of discomfort and some naughty behavior, so I am excited for her to get that taken care of on April 1st. She is really a lovely mare and I am so excited to be able to train her and watch Elizabeth enjoy her (when she is being a good girl!). Regal and I had a mini jump school in the snow the other weekend, it was a lot of fun to knock the rust off and I was so impressed with his adjustability to the fences. I am trying to sneak in a jump lesson on Easter Sunday so hopefully I will have more to report back on. Meanwhile I need to tackle his wild mane, which is currently detracting from his devilish good looks...bad mommy,

Other than being frazzled from living between 2 locations, managing the barn project, getting the horses ridden and organizing 2 breedings for the Spring life is really happy, feeling so energized and grateful for such a wonderful group of clients and sponsors that are helping me reach my goals.

More soon,


14 March, 2013

04 March, 2013

Keys are in hand, welcome to The UpperFarm, home of Penwick Eventing

So, farm shopping has been going on for nearly a year, with many ups and downs, one deal fell through a week before closing, but that is because we were meant to find this place...two of my long time clients, Elizabeth and Leyla have partnered with me to purchase this lovely property that we will turn into an eventing and dressage training facility for 26 lucky horses to call home.  I will be living in the house, which is going to allow me to focus more on my riding and training client horses. There is a lot of stuff in the works and now that I can actually talk about it, I will share as the weeks go on, but I am feeling very lucky and excited about the future, the first time in a long time.

Future cross country, will look to have through intermediate level

Top of driveway, rings will be behind fence on left, XC field front and to the left

Some of the plans...

Where I will live...

06 February, 2013

Tips on training event horses from DOC

David O'Connor:

  • Always use flags when training on skinny fences, horses recognize these and will hunt for the next fence once established.
  • Bad experiences with ditches can ruin a horse for eventing, more so than water complexes will.
  • Walk horses past things to familiarize them, rather than walk them towards it. (eg. ditches)
  • Use a low pole over a water tray when training, it encourages a proper jump and better shape over the fence. (particularly useful when used in a combination)
  • When training a combination jump the last element once or twice first to show the horse the exit. 
  • Move from your 'galloping position' to your 'preparing to jump position' 5-6 strides out (I always remember Andrew Hoy explaining he prepares about 10 strides out)
What are you thoughts on stirrup length?
It can depend a lot on your body type, taller people may need to ride longer, and ironically shorter people too in order to maintain balance, but generally you should be looking for a 90 degree bend in the knee.

- Read the full report here: http://blog.talkinghorse.net/2013/02/international-eventing-forum-2013-my.html

17 January, 2013

15 January, 2013

My favorite author and charity

Every year my favorite author, Patrick Rothfuss, runs a major fund raiser for 
Heifer InternationalHeifer helps people raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. Heifer promotes education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world. Patrick donates and gets tons of other cool authors to donate their goods to help motivate you to take part. For every $10 you give, you have the chance of winning something, there are literally thousands of prizes. Ends Jan 21st, can you give a little?

10 January, 2013


Let’s take my lack of writing as a sign that I have been super busy, because I have, there are a lot of big changes in the works (don’t worry all good things). My office job gave me a promotion and moved me to the European hours (10PM to 8AM) which is nice as it gives me more time at the barn on Sunday. But with the barn being busy and some other things in life dragging me in 3 different directions, Regal has been spending some time with my dressage trainer. This is allowing him to work more consistently than I can give him right now. I miss him like crazy in my day to day schedule but he seems happy and is coming along really well. Not to mention his new turnout buddies and he are having a competition on who can destroy their blankets the most, that new Amigo Bravo I got him, it looks like it went through a paper shredder. *sigh* On the home barn front I can confidently say Digger is making some real progress., we have gotten a new level of acceptance of the bit and his weekly treks up the trail seem to be helping in his muscle and over all happiness. As a result I got to see him jump with Ceara for the first time with no over jumping, that was awesome to see. Now if her ankle would only heal we can get back on track! Quest, who I am riding once a week is looking and going the best I have seen him. He is really coming into a higher connection that you see in an upper level horse. Lateral work is also really hitting new highs. Though as Elizabeth found out this past weekend if you are in a hurry that all goes to hell in a pretty hand basket J Lilly, Elizabeth’s new baby, who arrived from Timberridge Sporthorses in Canada a little over a month ago is coming along well, she is very smart and often reminds me of Regal when he was 3 years old. I Suspect I will be climbing on her back in Feb for the first time. Besame is also reaching new levels in her work, being in the indoor is really helping her balance more in the canter and she is loving her cavaletti work.

Looking ahead this year Besame and Noor will both be bred (I will do a post about the stallion once the contracts have been signed). Both mares will keep in work until they can’t anymore due to bellies. I am not putting any solid goals at them since they are both maiden mares but I would like to see them both get to a few local shows and XC schoolings. Rafiki will embark on his eventing career and either stick around or be sold. Regal will start the year off at Training level, I am looking at a few clinics in Feb and March in Maryland and VA to kick us off, and then I am aiming to end the season with a few prelims under our belt. Regal will also debut in some USDF shows with Marion this year, very exciting for the big boy. Lilly will go BN and maybe even Novice this year. Quest will be looking for a full time leassor or be sold this year. I would like to see Marbles partner with someone to show in dressage and eventing, he is way too nice to stay home.

On an semi-related front, someone wants to buy my trailer, so I am currently in talks with someone to buy a 4 horse trailer, very exciting!

Students, what are your goals for 2013? I have some in mind for all of you but I want to hear your own goals first. Times to road map our year…