Horses & Life

Riding with your friends – four-legged and otherwise – create some of the best memories in life. Remember to check for ticks after every outing – your horse, your dogs, yourself.

The 16th annual Dressage4Kids Weekend Equestrian Program is Jan. 27 and Jan. 28, 2018. This annual program draws horse enthusiasts and equine professionals, both locally and from many surrounding states, to enjoy a weekend of activities to further their knowledge and get updates on the latest ideas from training to horse health. This is a wonderful opportunity, as it is sometimes difficult or people to learn from top experts on so many important subjects over one weekend. As before, Dressage4Kids is sponsoring this event, but it is open to all ages and all disciplines of riding, with presentations from experts bringing the latest information on subjects that affect horses. Note that due to construction at Nonnewaug High School, the popular weekend event will be held at Chase Collegiate School, Waterbury, CT (exit 18 off I-84).

An additional part of the new look are the ‘tracks’ being offered – some new and some returning. New this time, for those who would like to volunteer at shows, there is a great opportunity to attend a NEDA volunteer workshop, which offers training and insights into the various all important jobs that volunteers undertake. Remember, without the volunteers many of the competitions could not take place, so anyone interested should plan to attend – you really are needed to keep our equine sports alive.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, USEF “S” Judge Margaret Freeman will explain and discuss the new eventing Tests for 2018 – this is a not-to-be-missed seminar for anyone who will be competing next year. Saturday also sees a return of Lendon Gray’s intructors/trainers Track, which is an invaluable tool for professionals to exchange ideas and gather new insights into the best ways to help their students. On Sunday, Jan. 28, the annual Judges Forum will, again, be led by USEF “S” Judge Margaret Freeman. As in past years, this provides a great chance to discuss and observe finer points of judging and allocating correct marks. The Judges Forum is USDF accredited and counts towards
continuing education requirements for USDF L Graduates.

A new track on both days – “Kick up Your Knowledge – Horses 101” will cover many important basics of horse care and riding. A presentation, followed by a practical session, will be included in each segment. This is ideal for anyone wishing to brush up on important updates on horse care, including – but certainly not limited to – young audiences. Closer
More updates about the final schedule will be available online (www.dressage4kids.org) or contact Susan Sieber, event coordinator, at ssieber@interstatelumber.com; (203) 223-4261. Dressage4Kids, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated for the express purpose of “providing educational and competitive opportunities for youth riders and the adults who support them.”

Connecticut Barrel Horse (page is now titled Secret Whisper Farm) Facebook page, linked here. For additional information call Dave (203) 650-6123 or Helen (203) 650-3900. Story about the open practice at Old Bethany Airport, here (from 2016).

Find your own dream in or out of the saddle. Here are more than a few places, people and groups listed to help you connect to a horse or place that may take you places, help you learn more. (And there is always more to learn.)

Green Mountain Horse Association has posted listings of events by category online from pleasure rides to shows and eventing but also driving, dressage, and conditioning for endurance rides. The GMHA 65-acre facility in South Woodstock, Vermont, is home to this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1926. GMHA is also committed to education, offering a variety of clinics and camps for adults and young riders.

A farrier at work.

Rasping the hoof. If you have a good farrier, treasure the person, value the work. AGH/MDP

Bridle Path Conservancy is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and acquisition of multi-purpose, passive-use, recreational trails in Connecticut. For more information, contactus@BPConservancy.org.

The New England Horsemen’s Council is the six New England states joined together in a cooperative interest to encourage and promote all equestrian activities. For information call (603) 887-6342 or visit nehc.info.

Walk, ride, share the trail.

Walk, ride, share the trail.

CT Draft Horse Rescue Facebook page linked here for details plus contact information about the ongoing efforts for this non-profit organization.

Need a new place to explore? Links to state parks and horse trails in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, are listed on the Connecticut Horse Council Web site. The information is comprehensive and includes national areas to consider. Here is the link to get you there; the detailed information is more than halfway down the page.

Should long-distance rides your joy, the Vermont Equine Endurance Riding and Driving Association (VERDA) members host competitive trail rides and drives, endurance rides, and clinics to “better the performance and health of the trail horse and rider” – if you’re not ready to ride or drive yet, consider volunteering as they welcome people who want to help and learn. Contact is Jenny Kimberly, (802) 674-5384. Here’s a link to the American Endurance Ride Conference NorthEast Region calendar. While on the site, look over the Endurance Rider’s Handbook which includes a checklist in the proper care of the horse before, during and after long distance riding.

A new Appy. TW/MDP

There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience. – John Lyons

The Connecticut Valley Driving Club (CVDC) members promote the enjoyment of “all aspects of carriage and sleigh driving by providing historical context, offering educational and sporting opportunities, and encouraging safety” – and they welcome horse people and all equine breeds and sizes. “You do not have to know how to drive to belong, nor even own a horse. Our club is friendly and is a fun place to learn and meet others with the same interests. Drivers are the friendliest of horse people, always looking out for each other or lending a hand.” – from the CVDC site.

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will," said Buck Brannaman.

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will,” said Buck Brannaman.

Charted horses to knit.

To spread the word about your group’s event, news of interest, or seminars open to the public, send information to editorccb@gmail.com. Include a contact name and e-mail or phone number. Imaging queries should be sent to the attention of the publisher. For listings or press coverage, give at least two weeks in advance for consideration.

Remember, equines are good for human beings. Riding, driving, or simply working with an animal from ponies to mules, donkeys or horses – each can provide balance to life’s problems and dilemmas. Bring patience and kindness with you to share. No matter if you are learning how to pick a hoof with confidence, practicing basic skills or training to advance to the next level in any discipline – all you learn is beneficial for body, mind and soul.

Choose to share your knowledge to give back and that work will return to you tenfold.

Will never forget miles and miles of backwoods Florida backcountry trails – riding a willing Quarter horse mare, a faithful feist at our heels. Always. Nothing like it, exploring and seeing wildlife up close, swimming clear creeks (no saddle) with an equine and canine for company – hearing the loud plop of a snake falling off a tree limb and S-curving by on its way somewhere else.

Coiled lariats.

Coiled lariats.

Flow rider. AGH/MDP

Flow rider. AGH/MDP

“A lovely horse is always an experience…. It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words.” – Beryl Markham