Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aiken Cats!

Eventers may flock to Aiken for the horses, but 24 hours into our trip, and Aiken is all about cats!  My mom, Katchi, Schmoe (my cat!), and I made the 10 hour drive yesterday and we were all thrilled to arrive to 56 degrees (when we left Maryland it was a bitter 19 degrees!).  Phillip arranged for us to stay just down the road from his farm - but he failed to mention the horse farm is a cat farm!!!  The barn (which is beautiful!) must have more than 20 barn cats - and no detail has been overlooked for their comfort,  convenience, and care.  It's a barn cat dream come true!  

A short ladder lives next to the saddle rack - to let the kitties easily  arrive on the grooming rack divider rail.  Would hate for them to have to jump too high or risk falling trying to hop down!

What this fluffy orange cat has hidden behind his back, hanging from the ceiling,  is a mouse toy in a noose! 

After spending the morning getting Katchi adjusted to his vacation home, riding, cleaning tack, and playing with the kitties - my mom and I headed into historic Aiken.  Unfortunately, we forgot that Aiken sleeps on Sunday - except for one antique shop.  While they had some beautiful items, my favorite was the basket of "lucky horse shoes" for a mere $1.50 each.  I wonder what my farrier would say if I came home from Aiken with a "lucky horse shoe" for him as a gift?!?!

Digging through "antiques" I was relieved to discover this 5th place ribbon from Jumping Branch did not have a price tag.  Apparently it was store decoration.  Though the used nylon halter for $20... well, I didn't buy it.  
Though Aiken was sleeping, my mom and I had the best time checking out the Aiken Cats!  The Cats are all over the city, painted by artists, and to be sold to benefit the reconstruction of the Gaston Livery Stable.  We had so much fun walking along the closed store fronts, being surprised over and over again by a new cat!  Of all of them, my absolute favorite is the blue racing cat "9 Lives" - he's all decked out in a saddle and bridle!  If anyone would like buy this $5,000 little kitty for me, I promise to display him proudly as the chief barn cat in my new barn!!!  Check out the page of all the cats - they are awesome!

The Hunt Master

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Katchi on Off-Track Thoroughbreds

Those who follow my blog may remember the wonderful article Susan Salk at Off-Track Thoroughbreds wrote about Katchi at the end of 2011, just after his big 2nd place finish at the Hagyard Training Level Three Day Event.  Today, Susan posted an update on Katchi, and her writing again brought tears to my eyes.  It's one thing to keep my own blog and say things in my own words, but to read the kind words of someone else talking about by beloved Katchi... there's something special about that.  Thank you Susan!

Chauvin targets 3rd level; patience rewarded

A day in Kabul leads to racehorse, joyous life

Off-Track Thoroughbreds

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hey little girl, you want a blue ribbon?

Several weeks ago, following the NYT article on the hunter pony's death after receiving a shot, Denny Emerson made several posts to Facebook about the corruption of "buying a child's ribbon" by paying for access to the perfect pony.  About the same time, my mom flew to Maryland from California for 2 days for the closing of the new farm -- she flew Southwest which generously offers two free checked luggage bags for each ticket.  As my mom will be moving here in a little over a year after she retires, we wanted to take full advantage of baggage space to bring something to the farm.  But what to bring that my mom wouldn't need, the airlines wouldn't break, and the new farm wanted?!?!  And then it hit me... ribbons!  My mom had several boxes in her garage full of my old horse show ribbons!  So, my mom packed 2 suitcases full of ribbons.  Before I could move them into the new house, I drove them around in the trunk of my car a few days.  Then they stayed in the horse trailer a few days.  Then into the truck.  Meanwhile, I'm reading Denny's posts about the price of a ribbon, and I'm thinking, forget buying the ride on the pony.... I've got a blue ribbon right here in the trunk of my car, little girl!  How much you give me for it?!?!  I felt like I had a fake-Rolex pawn shop in my car!  When I finally moved the ribbons into the house and opened the suitcase, I found a TSA inspection card.  CAN YOU IMAGINE what they must have thought?????  I'm sure they've seen some pretty strange stuff in people's luggage, but 2 suitcases full of old horse show ribbons?!?!?  That must have been a first.  It was so much fun to dig through them and remember so many wonderful times with such wonderful horses (thankfully I'm very good about writing the details of the show on the back of each ribbon).  I'm working on a little project to display them in the new house, so I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out (and for those concerned, no, I definitely will not be cutting up the ribbons - I can't bring myself to do that - I love each one too much!).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Wishes

Despite the recent neglect of my blog, it is not retired!  In fact, it is soon to be flooded with several exciting announcements and adventures, the first of which comes, finally, today!

Christmas wishes and lifelong dreams do come true!

Mom celebrating her birthday with Katchi -
who is apparently quite talented at unwrapping gifts!
On December 21, my mom and I celebrated her birthday by signing a pile of papers for the future home of Golightly Sport Horses.  We have purchased the most beautiful 10 acres in Anne Arundel County (Maryland), and while there is so much work to do, I am so very excited to make it happen!  Currently, the property has only a small house and barbed wire fencing!  As soon as I can get a suitable pair of gloves and complete the requisite negotiations with the cow owners next door, the barbed wire fence will go far far away.  And in its place will come horse "proof" fencing, and a barn, and cross country jumps, and an arena, and I am so excited, I can hardly stand it!  In the meantime, I've moved out of my city condo and onto the farm.  As if the view of my future horse pastures and arena didn't make me happy beyond belief, the move has also taken the DC beltway essentially out of my life!  It feels a bit like breaking up with someone who you've known was no good for you for years, but you just couldn't tear yourself away.  Good bye DC beltway.  We are never ever ever getting back together.  Katchi now lives less than 5 miles from me.  It's like a little bit of heaven.  I can't even imagine how amazing it will be to have him 100 feet from my house!  As a kid, I never fully appreciated just how lucky I was.  And how many years I would spend trying to get myself back to the same life I was so ready to leave behind for the adventures of the world!

The driveway of Trevi Manor
View from house onto front fields.

Several years ago, my mom and I took a trip to Italy.  While in Rome, my mom insisted we visit the Trevi Fountain to throw in our coins and wish for true love.  With the purchase of this farm, we have decided to call it Trevi Manor, as it is our true love!  There's not much there yet, but it already has a website - I'll be keeping the site updated with our construction progress.  So check out the Trevi Manor website! 

Likely location of arena.

Future individual turnout paddocks.
A bovine neighbor.