Monday, August 23, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers, and a Long Ride Home

 It takes a team to create a great show season, and sometimes, it takes a team to just get home from a show.  Coming home from Dressage in the Park July 19, the brake petal went to the floor, and I pulled off the road and started calling for help.  Here is Linda Butz's recounting of that afternoon.  The EMT not only brought us food, she restored my humor, which was no mean feat that day!!!

The Kindness of Strangers
 by Linda Butz

Most of you who follow SFD on FB probably know that Ange had truck issues when we left NJ Horse Park last Sunday. We lost the brakes on the truck but Ange managed to safely roll off the road to a flat grassy shoulder that even had some shade. We opened up the trailer-thank goodness the wonderful, new trailer has individual fans-pulled out our chairs and sat down to wait.

We were overwhelmed and tremendously grateful for all the folks who stopped to see if we and the horses were OK. One woman who stopped was a vet and she took a peek at the horses and declared them to be fine-yeah, we knew that, but it was nice of her to care. Another woman who works at the Horse Park took me back to get water for the horses.

The EMT from the show on Sunday stopped to check on us. We assured her we were fine and Ange joked that if we had pizza and beer we’d be set. About 30 minutes later she returned with pizza and soda-refused our money-and said she’d been at the show all day and imagined that we were exhausted and still had a long night ahead.

One woman came by who said she had a farm down the road with horses and that if we needed to, she’d send her husband up with their truck to hitch to the trailer and we could stable the horses overnight with her. People driving everything from motorcycles, convertibles, and trucks stopped constantly to be certain everything was OK.

Our true hero was Cara who after having competed early in the day, taken her horse home, and fed dinner to all the horses at home, drove all the way back in her truck to take us home. At that point we had to unload the horses, who both (including the 4-yr-old) handled the whole thing like the champions they are (to us, at least).

It was a nerve-wracking experience, but it could have been much worse-we weren’t on the Turnpike!  It also reaffirms my belief that the vast majority of people in this world, especially horse people, are good, kind, caring, and will go out of their way to help other horsepeople in need.

Thank you all!

July and August Show Results

Results from most of the Recent Shows
For all of you who are "Fans of SFD" through our Facebook page, you know we've been our usual crazy-busy at the shows.  Not fan? Try this link.
To summarize our recent flurry of shows (and to sorta justify why I didn't get a newsletter out last month...) . I know I'm missing a couple, but these are the ones I had easily-accessible results.  To compile this list, I plagiarized, edited and elaborated on everyone's Facebook posts -
Aug 15 Fider Run
Cara/Ockie, Ange/Sling
Straight Forward Dressage Ockie won I-1 with a 62.632. She has become dang consistent at a show, both out of a stall and out of trailer.
Sling is growing up - won the 4-year-old test, and brought home red with a 62.8 in training level. Handled it all like a pro.
Aug 11 Recognized Show at Blue Goose
Cara/Ockie, Cara/Figi, Carol/Merrick, Ange/Secret, Ange/Sling
From  Cara - Had a great day today at Blue Goose. Figi was such a star! In her first ever first level class she was high score of first level with a 76%! Training 4 she had some mistakes and got a 68.8%. She gets better by the day. Ockie wasn't her best, but got a 61.3% at PSG which is respectable.
From Carol  - Merrick won Training 1 at Blue Goose's USDF with a blistering 65.2 Best score he's earned in a long time. He faded after that but one good class is terrific.
From Ange  - Secret earned a 63.095 at 2nd 4 and a 68.140 at 2nd 3. She really felt like a 2nd level horse yesterday, I'm really proud of her.

Sling acted like a very mature grown up, earning a 64.4 in the 4-year-old test and a 64.8 at training 3.
From Linda - AND Sling held it together when a horse spooked in warm-up and dumped his riding, bumping Sling in the process. What a good baby! Sun-burned shoulders aside, it was a great day! Bet the horses slept well last night.
July 18-19 show at NJ Horse Park:
Cara/Ockie, Carol/J'y suis, Ange/Secret, Ange/Sling 
From Carol - J'y suis won First 3, qualifying for BLMs
From Linda Secret put in a solid show with 3 reds and 1 blue (at Second 4). Ange finally convinced her that the R lead canter single loop in First 4 does not require a flying change and on Sunday she pulled her second qualifying score of 66.316 for regionals!
From Cara - Ockie got a 60.2% in both of her I-1 classes, only her second show at the level.
From Ange - Victoria and Pene started well, then Pene fell in love with Sling, and threw her under the bus. He spent the rest of his show ring time calling to his lover-boy. 
From Ange - This was Sling's first outing, and he brought home two blues from the 4-year-old tests. By the end of the weekend, could even handle the big-boy warm up with something that resembled steering :-).
July 7 Recognized show at Blue Goose
Cara/Ockie, Carol/Merrick, Cara/Figi, Ange/Eclipse and Victoria/Pene
Congrats to Cara/Figi, Victoria/Pene, and Carol/Merrick for outriding their teacher at Blue Goose on Wed! You guys make me proud.
Ockie's first time at I-1 for a 63.421 - yes, Cara, you've turned her into a show horse!
Victoria proves that warm-up is overrated by cutting herself too close on time for my comfort, but not for Pene's - 65.667 in First 1 for red, and 66.944 in First 2 for blue.

June 19-20 Crazy weekend
Heavenly Waters - Cara/Ockie, Anita/Dream and Ange/Secret  Practical Dressage and Eventing - Carol/Merrick
Recognized Arab show in NJ - Victoria/Pene
From Ange - Everyone brought home a blue!! How cool is that?
From Carol  -  Pene/Victoria also brought home a Blue. They blistered the competition at an Arab show in NJ.
From Linda - WOW! 5 horses competing and 5 blues. Go SFD!
More from Linda - Secret was her good girl--I love to pampered--self. She blew me away by winning in her first outing at Second level. Now if USDF would only rewrite First-4 to include a flying change we'd be golden. She still had two 67's in that test even with the error. Good luck fixing that one, Ange!
From Ange - O-bird has become such a solid citizen at shows, Cara had to jazz her up before her tests! But it worked, Ockie likes blue :-).
Also from Ange - I'm proud of Carol and Merrick, she has developed Mr. Spook at Shadows into a brave CT horse, she didn't even need a coach this weekend!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moving news

For all of you who are "Fans of SFD" through our facebook page, you know we've been our usual crazy-busy at the shows.  Not fan? Try this link.
As the gossip chain has correctly reported, yes, Straight Forward Dressage is leaving Red Bridge Farm.  Renee Gorman, Ted's widow, has decided to sell, and I can't say as I blame her -- it's a lot of property to manage, and a huge house for just one person. We are currently looking at several facilities.  I have large, elaborate pro-con lists for each place, and will be making a decision about which facility shortly.  I'll make sure everyone knows as soon as I sign a contract.
Now, to answer a few of the questions floating around.
No, we are not relocating out of state. 
No, we haven't been "kicked out," the Gormans and I have been on good terms for our whole stay at Red Bridge, and the parting will be sad. We have known of this for a while, and have been actively looking for a suitable property. 
No, I am not interested in staying on at Red Bridge under the new owners--the property is actually two real estate lots, and one of the lots will be developed, and the remaining parcel is a bit too light on turnout for our needs. 
Yes, this is lot of stress, but it's the flip side of being a renter.  As a renter, last winter when we had 70+ inches of snow, Red Bridge folks made sure the farm was accessible.  When the driveway needed repairs from all of the melt, Red Bridge folks had to track down a contractor and get it fixed. My responsibilities have stayed with running my business, not worrying about the property, which has been great. Those are the benefits of renting a facility.
The negative is I have to relocate from time to time.  Each relocation has resulted in better facilities and growth for SFD. I'm optimistic about our next home.