Friday, February 26, 2010

Paradise Farm Jumping Derby

Two days after our Horse Trials Paradise offers a Jumping Derby in the cross country field. A jumping derby consists of show jumps to start,I think to get the horses up in the air and after that,a mini cross country course with banks ditches and our great water jump,then a few more show jumps just to make sure everyone can come back in control.We discourage speed and use an optimum time as we would for a recognized competition.

These jumping derbies are great fun,but we never really know how long they will last or who's coming as most people enter on the day.So it's a bit of a hurry up and wait thing. It was a bit chilly and windy on our day , but after our FANTASTIC event weekend , I cannot complain about weather or luck for a little while longer.I owe the weather Gods a lot after the gift they gave us last weekend! THANKYOU WEATHER GODS!!!!!!!!I bow to you in humble appreciation.

There is no doubt in my mind that six inches and a little sunshine matter!

We had great tadpole,Beginner novice and novice turn out. Training and Prelim seemed a bit thin. I was sad as it is CRAZY moving all the jumps around. The staking of every cross country jump is a NIGHTMARE to pull up in prep for the derby,but on the whole it was worth it. Many thanks to all that showed up.

So the shortish day allowed me to ride my horses. A prep I needed for my first day of Dressage lessons on the following Thursday. I am incredibly excited about the devils this year. I am really looking forward to getting back out on the road. That's why we do the derby so close to the event.

I love organizing the event and the derby but it is 12 Weeks of 24-7 and something has to get shorted. So that usually ends up being my horses. Customers horses come first and hunting and the lessons to try and keep the farm rolling.

The agony really sets in at night when I have to do the office stuff,which I am TERRIBLE at! FORTUNATELY Karen Kelly comes to my aid and handles the WRETCHED computer while I usually weep on the floor.I made it through all of January and FEB without any alcohol or chocolate !

I did break my fast the night before the derby though. I did not drink anything stronger than my new favorite peppermint tea,but I did eat chocolate and even a few cookies. But I'm back on my new thing now. Stress can really drive one over the edge.My self help books,shrink and personal trainer say I am allowed to go nuts every now and then. So nuts I went. YUMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for updates on the devils. We are on GO!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Well,the event is now over. I can't believe it. WHEW we made it through another one.It was Magic. The weather was PERFECT. I may never ever be that lucky again but I will remember this weekend for a long time.

All the stresses and agonies of the pre-event leadup was worth it. It is hard to imagine the amount of hours that so many people put in to make a horse trials happen. Chris Owens worked steadily for three solid weeks building lots of new fences.They were perfecting. Everything rode just the way we wanted it to.

I was so pleased to see how well the courses rode. There was a lot of pre- cross country buzz at how big the riders thought the courses were.But from what I saw those riders were pretty pleased with themselves afterwards and knew they had some good horses under them when they were finished.

I was impressed by the quality of what I saw this weekend. The riders treated the event with respect. They knew when they came to Paradise that they had better be ready to play and play they did.The preliminary course allowed the riders to really have a crack at galloping and power jumping. Our three new combinations on the course rode very well.

The training,novice, and beginner novice course got everyone fired up as well.Owners and trainers were so happy to be able to stand up on the big hill and watch their horses gallop all the way round the course. The viewing at Paradise is truely amazing.

The dressage ran like clockwork. WE were done 310 rides exactly at 5 pm and then an amazing crew of people tore the dressage rings down and had the entire show jumping course up within and hour. We made it before dark. A new record!I am really having fun with my course designing. I look forward to attending more seminars . It is really fun to see ones plans come into fruition. Teaching so much and adjusting fences during the lessons has given me a great insight into course designing.The ring looked spectacular and the horses jumped really well.Saturday night we tore down the novice and beginner novice show jumping and added a few more jumps for the prelim and training course.

The USEA help a seminar for Technical delegates and used this course to analyze the show jumping phase of the event. YIKES I was nervous whipping up a course for the likes of two FEI officials!But they were kind and complimentary and had a few great suggestions which opened my eyes to a few things I didn't think about. I love it when someone teaches me new stuff!There's just never enough time to learn everything out there!

We had so many great people at the event.I was overwhelmed with appearances from a lot of people that are eventing celebrities from many different countries.It was magic for me. Paradise is an incredible piece of land and the courses really sparkled this time. The entire event did. It was magic.

I feel everyone had a great weekend. The moral was good this time. It is not easy to pull one of these crazy competitions off! A lot of people ask me why I don't do more events at the farm .NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!!!!Two a year is enough for me. I had a great time and this was very personally rewarding and we made several strong additions to the farm (which is the point of all this)but I am really looking forward to being able to put this to bed and get back to riding full time. The event is a solid 10 weeks of distraction from that.I have some very nice horses coming on for other people and the Devils are chomping at the bit.River has a sore foot right now but he'll be back soon.

There are far too many people to thank but Karen Kelly, Barbie Reeser,Nancy Russel,Mary Ringler,Bobby Stevenson and Mary Lewis,Antonio Hernandez, Nannie Ward,Chris Owens,Tremain Cooper ,these guys were outrageously helpful.

We all owe a huge THANKYOU to ARENUS for being our GENEROUS SPONSOR!And many thanx to all my other sponsors as well. We had great prizes for the riders. The winners left with bulging bags of serious goodies. That was another part of the magic. So many people came in at the last minute offering all kinds of fun things.

So a great THANKYOU to everyone. This was the best Horse Trials yet. We TRUELY were blessed this go round. I am very grateful.

Now it's time for bed.Tomorrow is another day!

Friday, February 12, 2010


On February 9-11 Paradise hosted an eventing clinic with Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks. Paradise was not the organizer just the host property. I was extremely dissapointed with the way this clinic was run . It was not the positive expeience I was looking for.

In trying to run a farm,one takes great care in the planning ,layout and general details of its day to day operation.This farm is about horses,their care and training.We welcome all that are interested to come watch,learn and participate. We host clinics and events and one schooling Jumping derby a year.Not only do we want to promote knowledge but also fun.This clinic was far from that for me.

For 3 days the organizer had over 50 horses here. They came in and out like clockwork. The riders had no idea of any schedual as there was not one. They were constantly in the dark as to what they were doing.I had no idea what was going on. I was never introduced to Clayton or Lucinda. The organizer never introduced herself to me either!I could not believe it.Riders never waived or said hi. It was a strange feeling to have all these people on the farm and have them act as if they owned the place.These acts of entitlement are foreign to me. I was definately brought up a different way.

The real kicker was when they felt they were entitled to just come and take my farm golf cart from the barn and use it all day without permission.I am 1 week from a hore trials with over 300 entries and they think that is ok to use a my vehicles that my help uses and stop farm operations?Outrageous!

When I saw the horses jumping cross country fences I specifically asked them not to jump,I finally called the organizer on the telephone and she denied any knowlege or responsibility of anything.Yet she was sitting on my golfcart along with 10 other people,watching the jumping and jumping those very fences herself!

I learned a lot from this clinic and I guess that's why it happened.I did not charge much money for this abuse . It is not always just about the money. It was meant to be about learning and the horses.I know the riders were happy with their lessons so thats a big positive.

I am very sad about this sense of entitlement that the riders seem to be showing these days.We are all trying hard to do the same thing.I am glad I was taught the things I know now . It is very sad to have all these riders on your farm and not be treated the way you want to treat them.

So another experience.I'm glad the riders were happy.Eventing is a luxury. Why don't these riders act like they are the least bit appreciative?HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two Weeks and Counting

We are two weeks out from the Feb 19-21 Paradise farm Horse Trials Sponsored by ARENUS. I feel fairly good about the way things are going. We have had huge amounts of rain that has prevented us from moving all the cross country jumps around. This year we are changing all 4 courses again completely. The new bank is finished and hopefully this rain will help pack it in. I am excited about the bank. This is something I have wanted to do for about 5 years. Hopefully I will be able to add a sunken road complex in the future. I am a big believer in getting the horses to move their feet.

I am also putting lots of big pipe down to help with growing water and erosion problems. This is the third time I have worked on my roads. A very costly process in more ways than one.

We've made it to the three hundred mark again with our entries . That is a huge relief that should mean we can keep everything on an upward swing.As always I wish to thank everyone openly for entering and supporting the farm.

I know I am not popular with many riders for having the cross country course closed for schooling and I apologize, but I feel it will offer the competetors and the horses a better opportunity to have a safe and "proper crack" at the course if the take offs and landings are not chewed up.The course wil be open for schooling after the event. Then, we have our Jumping Derby the Wednesday following the event.

We also have Clayton and Lucinda fredericks coming to teach for three days Feb 9-11. This should be fun to watch.So Paradise will be hopping for the next two weeks.

On a daily basis, we have about 14 horses in full work. The Devils are entered for their first run of 2010 down at Rocking Horse. I am looking forward to that.River is still working away at his dressage and is jumping so well I cannot stand it. If only I knew then what I know now...... Charlie Ferrari made his 2010 debut back into the hunt field today at age 20. It was his first go since last year as I have been hunting Spencer up till now. Charlie didn't miss a beat.I know he is still the fastest horse in Aiken and I just LOVE that horse.He is a total mind reader and goes COMPLETELY on AUTOPILOT! I have a really cute 5 year old TB geld named Ping Pong that I think will be a blast this year too.Norman is coming of age and Ann is screaming with delight that all the hours of torture are starting to pay off. Barbie is riding about 6-7 horse a day in her new Devoucoux! Peter Pan really tested her out last week in the pouring rain and she was a real trooper. Two times around the front field and one hundred fifty miles per hour and she made it to the other side! Peter Pan and Riverdance are both Seattle Slew decendants and they delight in testing out people in that field. No two ways about it ,if you want to ride out at Paradise ,you will learn how to ride,one way or the other.......

Went to the Whiskey Road FoxHounds hunt ball last night.Good news I can fit into all my nice old dresses.Had a blast.The dance floor was packed all night. It is always such a wonderful party.Aiken Hounds will be having their hunt ball next week.Tis the season!

Seem to be having some sort of ridiculous porno person now attached to this blog. Will have to sort that out.I wish they would go bother some other person as I think they are ridiculous.So thats the current scandal.Always something.

Lots happening around here. Stay tuned.