Saturday, October 10, 2009

Last but Not Least...

Pictures of Mr KKoi From Nats

Lucky Number 13

The 2009 Sport Horse National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show was a show we here at Evergreen Farm, LLC will not soon forget. We brought three horses to this event at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Of the horses, one is our stallion, KKoi, and the other two are his daughters; EF LLameri (Meri) and EF Epona’s Shenanigans (Nani).

Meri and Nani are sisters by KKoi and share the same dam line. Meri’s dam is Nani’s grand-dam. Tiffany, a Quarter Horse mare my parents got me for Christmas when I was 11 started this common thread. She was a fabulous mare who really didn’t live long enough. When I showed her for the first time, I wore back number 13. The number 13 will prove itself to be the number for me for many, many shows to come!

This story is based mostly around Meri. She is the superstar no one saw coming. Tiffany, the foundation dam for this line was a wonderful all around QH mare who was a true “All-Arounder”. At seven she developed cancer in her eye as well as her hip joint but we wanted this line to stay alive. In an effort to recreate this wonderful mare before she was gone for good, she was bred to a friend’s Thoroughbred racehorse. Out came a beautiful black filly we named Bucephalus (Cephie). She was named after the Alexander the Great’s horse, Bucephalus in the “Black Stallion” movie. This little mare proved to be even more spectacular than her dam Tiffany. She did everything. She rode in every discipline and did it all well. We went to college together; we moved all over the country together and she gave my children their first pony rides. After we acquired our stallion KKoi, we decided to mate our two favorite horses. This was to be Cephie’s last job as she was getting on in years. All I was expecting was a replacement for my heart. I needed another Tiffany, another Cephie; I needed a companion to carry me into my golden years. Out came a beautiful bay filly we named EF LLameri. We decided to carry the tradition of the famous horse names from history and LLameri was the name of King Arthur’s favorite mare.

In February of 2009 we decided to put Meri under saddle to see what we had. I wanted to go trail riding and maybe do some western pleasure riding and this was to be my “All Around The Farm Filly”. She was maturing quite nicely and at 3 she was mentally and physically up for the challenge. The first ride was, well, magical. It was like she was born broke. She was easy and so incredibly willing. A local youth was interested in learning how to start a youngster so she decided to come over and give her a spin. Under careful instruction, Meri was really blossoming as a dressage horse. We decided to put them on the road together. We would, just for giggles mind you, show in some “A” shows. By the time we hit East Coast Champs she was on a roll and earned two Regional Top Fives and a Reserve Championship. We decided to haul her to Nationals just to see.

Meri was entered into 3 classes. AA/HA SHIH ATH where she was one of the youngest competitors. She held her own and ended up mid pack. She went into HA/AA Training Level Junior Horse where she was the YOUNGEST horse to compete. She fell just out of the ribbons in 13th place. Wow, 7 months under saddle and not only was she at Sport Horse Nationals but she was competently competing for the silks. Then we were in the HA/AA Sport Horse Under Saddle Junior Horse semi-finals. It was in the Indoor Coliseum. It was a very scary place, for both her and me but we went in and did our best. Meri did all that was asked of her and more. We lined up and anxiously awaited the call for the 8 of the 16 who were to move on. When our number was called I had to look at her bridle number because I was sure I was hearing things. We made it!! We made it through to the finals! We, my little three-year-old all around the farm filly and I, made it to the finals of The 2009 Arabian and Half Arabian Sport Horse Nationals! I really had a moment. I was crying so hard I couldn’t see to make my victory pass. It was like soaring through time and space back to being an 11-year-old little girl riding my very first horse ever, my Tiffany. I could have gone home at that moment. I am not the type of person who has to win the ribbon to win the class. Just making the cut was truly enough for me.

A quick check of the judges cards and we were astounded at what we found. She was ranked second in her semi final class. Second! Wow, she is three. She was the ONLY three year old in either of her under saddle classes thus far.

On to the finals we go. Meri was a bit apprehensive in the covered arena. She had been in there to school, but of course, there were not any people in the stands. Now the stands were very full. She was nervous. I chose to put her in the ring second so she could get around a few times before all the horses were in, the gate closed, and judging was underway. It was if she knew what was coming. As soon as they announced the gate had closed she put on her game face, lowered herself to the bit and went on. She had a beautiful round. She sparkled more in the finals then she had in the semis. The ride felt so beautiful, so cadenced, and so rhythmic. We did not make the top ten, but we made it on one of the judge’s cards. We ended up in 13th place. That’s right 13th. That would be the number I first put on all those years ago when I climbed upon her grand dam 30 years ago.

While we have complaints about the show and the grounds and like many of the competitors, we were disappointed with the condition of the barns we were in; I have to say we still left with a smile. No long, maroon ribbon, no neck roses, but a smile indeed. I think that is what so many competitors are missing. The smile. The genuine sense of accomplishment. The fulfillment from within. It should not always be about the ribbon. Was I disappointed about not getting a Top Ten? To a point. Do I wish I had gotten one so I could say she got it when she was three? Of course. However, am I completely fulfilled because of my/our accomplishment? Absolutely. I bred this mare. I bred this mare’s dam. Essentially, I am a beginner to the world of Arabians and certainly to dressage. I am a hunter/jumper by trade in the open world of TB’s and QH’s and took a shine to Arabians long ago after watching “The Black Stallion” movie. Nevertheless, look how much I have accomplished in such a short period with my homebred, home trained and home shown horses. I am on top of the world! Now will I have to go back in 2011 to claim the big prize, a neck full of roses! Of course just to see if it feels any different!

More Pictures!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sport Horse Nationals

Finally got the videos up from the show. Story and pictures to come!! Sarah tried to get KKoi through his "MOMENT" They were frying hamburgers right NEXT to the dressage arena and with all the smoke and sizzle KKoi was sure it was "horse burgers"! Something new to put in his field a hibachi running with burgers on fire for him. I'm still riding as a hunter, will I ever get over it? My turn and trying to get him over the Burger Boogies!! No, he did much better but he was still a bit inattentive. After 3 yers off I guess I was figuring he'd fall right back into show mode. I guess he will need more time on the road for his nerves to settle. My little Meri. Wow, what a wonderful filly. With only 6 or 7 months under saddle can you imagine in a few years from now? SHe had a slip up at her canter transition, but hey she was the youngest in the class and this was al very stressful for her. We didn't want to school the spunk 100% out of her cause she can get flat, and we didn't want to tire her out, it was a long trip. All in all, a Kodak Moment! Meri's SHUS Jr Horse. Once again the youngest horse in the class. I really wasn't sure they called my number. I had to look at the bridle tag. What a shocker!! I really balled after this one! The finals for SHUS with Meri. I didn't make the top ten, and some said I was robbed, but nonetheless, she was fantastic. I cannot wait to show this filly more next year and in the years to come. Thirteenth, come on that's been my lucky number all of my life! Meri was ok, but a little freaked out about the stuff on the mezzanine level. She got over it but didn't show to her true potential. No biggie we know she's a star. Nani, Meris younger sister. She wouldn't even get off the trailer when we got there. Now she was 5 days into the show and was not showing off at all. She was so tentative and scared. But overall she behaved. She too, went thirteenth!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sport Horse Nationals Here We Come!

So while we are away you can watch us ride! How exciting that that is an available option. Here is the link to Classic Video:

You have to register and then there is live streaming. Here are a list of dressage times and classes you may see us in:

Ring 3 4th Level
11:08 172 Sarah Duclos (KKoi's Pro Rider) riding her horse Count Down

Ring 1 3rd Level
4:13 172 Sarah Duclos on Count Down

Ring 3 Training Level
2:30 170 Sarah Duclos on KKoi

Ring 1 Training Level AAOTR
9:26 170 Pam Dors on KKoi

Ring 2 Training Level HA/AA Junior Horse
11:14 171 Pam Dors on EF LLameri

Ring 3 First Level
12:22 170 Sarah Duclos on KKoi

Covered Arena 1
Class 480 HA/AA SHIH ATH 171 Pam Dors on EF LLameri

Class 780 HA/AA SHUS Jr Horse 171 Pam Dors with EF LLameri


Annex Arena
Class 1074 HA/AA SHIH Jackpot 2 yo Fillies Christine Reed with 172 EF Epona's Shenanigans

So we will hopefully be smiling at the camera due to the overwhelming joy we will be feeling with our accomplishments. See you on the other side!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Catching Up

I am again running a bit behind on my posts. However as I sit here on Long Island on my holiday I am trying to catch up. Therefore, here is the first installment...

Achievement Award Ceremony a “Kodak Moment”

Pictures will be forth coming but for now I can give you the highlights and the speech as it was read to the wonderful mass of friends that showed up to offer their support. We had several come to us after the presentation to give us their take on it. “Goosebumps”, “The Best Presentation I Have Ever Attended”. After the ceremony, most followed us back to the stalls to share in the festivities. We had the cake decorated by artist, rider and show friend, Andrea Thornton who rode all the way down from PA to MD to meet up with Debra Peebles and Debbie Lomb who picked up Cathy Stark in VA. These ladies, the four of them, came all the way to Lexington, from points north just to show the support and love they have for Beauty and I. What a generous, loving group of friends I have. I cannot thank them enough for making the trip.

My entire family, including my parents was all on hand to share in my first and hopefully not last Achievement Award Ceremony. Here is the speech that I took months to create:

This dream started way back when, like it does for most little girls. I sat and watched the movie “The Black Stallion” and was mesmerized. For those of you who remember there was that little statue of Bucephalus. The Magic horse of Alexander The Great. The story of how Bucephalus was so crazy that King Philip couldn’t ride him, so he ordered the stallion to be killed. King Philip told Alexander the Great, who was just a boy at the time; if you can ride him, you can have him. Alexander rode Bucephalus, the two flew out of the arena over the crowd, and as they say, the rest is history. Five years later my QH mare had a foal that was a “black”. She wasn’t a stallion or an Arabian, but I named her Bucephalus anyway. The story of Bucephalus plagued my mind for many years after the movie came out. After graduating college, with a degree in Equine Science, I had the opportunity manage an Arabian breeding farm in White, Georgia. I met and worked for Cynthia Culbertson of El Miladi Arabian Stud. It was there that I fell in love personal level with Arabians. She owned a *Morafic son, Zedann, who was as completely captivating as he was mischievous. I was hooked for life. He still plagues my mind as I search for a daughter of his to incorporate into my breeding program.

Life marched on and I moved to VA, got married, and had a family. Arabians remained in the back of my mind even though I still had Bucephalus, my “black”. But that dream had to wait. We had to have a farm, my kids had to be a little older and things had to be just right. We finally purchased a small farm and the dream moved from a smoldering ember to a roaring fire. I was ready. We were ready.

After a series of unfortunate events, I met Quentin Naylor *Fairview Klassique’s owner. She gave me the opportunity of a lifetime; to start my own breeding program with a quality young stallion. With that, KKoi came into my life. With KKoi came lots and lots of new friends. He was such a fine young stallion that he brought attention to us wherever we went. We purchased a mare we thought would be good for him. She was mostly Polish and gorgeous in the face. The following year an absolutely stunning filly was born, (ENTER BEAUTY) EF KKlassique Beauty++.

This filly is the epitome of what an Arabian is supposed to be. “In your tent” personality—how about in your pocket? Big dark eyes on a wide set forehead—this filly has won many most classic head classes. A willingness to be a partner—how about being in the upper echelon of Arabian history in being one of the youngest horses to earn her Legion of Honor and Legion of Merit at the same time as reaching her 5th birthday. This feat Beauty has done with class, style and grace. She earned the final points she needed at the 2008 East Coast Championship show. In the past 4 years that she has been showing, Beauty has only shown 14 times. In 2005, she only showed once, where she was crowned with a top ten in the Sport Horse Two-year-old Fillies In Hand Jackpot class at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals. So in the remaining 3 years she only showed an average of 4 shows per year. At each of those shows she averaged only TWO classes per show. TWO classes per show. The average age of a Legion of Merit earner is 8.5 years. Beauty accomplished hers in ½ that time. This filly has a work ethic like no other. This filly has the determination to win as much as I do. This filly is what Arabian ownership is all about.

Our farm, Evergreen Farm, is a very small breeding farm. With an average of 2 or 3 foals born every other year we focus on quality not quantity. We do all our own breeding selection. We do all our own foaling and foal training. We start our own youngsters under saddle and we train and show our own horses. We do all of it. Beauty is a fine example of how with the right horses you can do anything you set your mind to. Beauty’s brothers and sisters carry the same willingness that she does. (ENTER MERI) EF LLameri is a fine example of how true Arabian Breeding can compliment another breed. This filly is just 3 this year and is the daughter of my “black”. She is out of my “Bucephalus”. Her dam’s dam was the fire that ignited my passion for horses.

The cornerstone of this breeding program is our stallion. The absolute love of my life, KKoi. (ENTER KKOI) KKoi has had a rough spot in life. On December 27 of 2005, while playing in his field with a gelding, KKoi fractured his coffin bone in two places. The diagnosis was not good. His pain was pretty substantial and it was suggested that we consider putting him down. After we managed the pain, his team of vets was not sure if he’d ever be sound again. When he was sound, ride ability was the question. Well as you can plainly see, he has made a full recovery. From the literal brink of death, this stallion has made a comeback. After three and a half years recovering from such a painful fracture, he is back in training, back in the ring, and headed to Lexington, KY for Sport Horse Nationals 2009. Once again this epitomizes the strength and heart of the Arabian breed.

This year we have placed KKoi in training with the wonderful Sarah Duclos of New Freedom Riding Academy in New Freedom, PA. As all of you know Arabians are truly the smartest breed and he has picked up the Dressage training so fast he has very quickly out paced me. So it was decided that he go to “Boarding School” to receive a higher education. Sarah says if he is in college, than “he is on the Dean’s List”. “He is bright, willing and so easy to get along with.” These are the characteristics that he passes on to his get. This is why Beauty is who she is.

Beauty is a “first” horse for me. She was the first get of KKoi’s get born. She is the first to have numerous class A wins, the first to win a Regional Top 3,and the first to have won a Regional Reserve Champion. She is the first of KKoi’s get to go Top Ten at Sport Horse Nationals. Two more have followed in her hoof prints. Beauty’s show record is pretty impressive considering her humble beginnings.

As a 6 year old with minimal showing this filly has countless class A wins, 11 regional titles and 1 national title. Not bad for a family run, (ENTER FAMILY) on a shoestring budget, breeding, training and showing and sales facility. Not bad at all.

We would like, at this time, to present EF KKlassique Beauty++ with her Legion of Honor and Legion of Merit.

We would also like to thank our biggest supporters who have been there from our very first walk into the show ring with our Arabians. Without whom we could never have accomplished this goal…our friends. (Enter FRIENDS)

We would like at this time to invite all of you back to our stalls for a small celebration in Beauty’s honor. We also invite you to come and get to know Beauty and her siblings; you never know she or one of them might be your next partner.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rain Again!

Region 15 horse show was an incredible success. Despite the rain. AGAIN. We are now 4 shows and 4 rains. This show was extra special as it was KKoi’s first Regional show doing Dressage. Or should I say qualifying and showing dressage. While he was well on his way in 2005, breaking his coffin bone sort of put a damper on things. So here we are 3.5 years later and we are setting the ring on fire. We came home with 3 Top Fives between the two horses. KKoi got a Top Five in SHIH stallions and Top Five in First Level Test 4. WOW! A performance Top Five. I have been waiting for this for a long time. The victory pass was so sweet. The ribbons and all the pomp and circumstance made me a bit weepy. As many of my show friends know this was a long time coming and it was truly a memorable occasion. He was not lame, he was not broken, he was perfect. It was a Kodak Moment for sure. Thank you Gary Hooghkirk and Rachel for sharing the ribbon photo with me!! And the biggest thanks to Sarah Duclos of New Freedom Riding Academy in New Freedom, PA for taking what I started in KKoi and making it all work right!

EF KKlassique Beauty++ also did me proud by earning a Top Five ribbon in SHIH Mares 2 and over. Unfortunately she had a rather large laceration in her mouth which caused us to scratch out of our performance classes, but that’s ok, her willingness to please still shone through! She is still an incredibly well put together mare and was duly rewarded for it! Next up is East Coast Championships and East Coast Youth Championships! With the way Rachel is cleaning up with Blossom she should do very well at East Coast. Meri is coming along as well. We shall see how the contingent does. We are all very excited!!

KKoi in New Jersey

Wow it was hard to see my boy being ridden by someone else!! Even though he and I both adore Sarah it was tough. He was not at all confused though. When I saw him in his stall for the first timer in 4 weeks at the New Jersey Horse Park he quietly nickered to me as if to say where have you been. When Sarah came over he looked at her a not wanting to be interrupted so she discretely stepped away so we could have our moment. Thank you Sarah!

All in all a great show was has, except for the cold rain. Again. KKoi rode in an open show and two Arab shows. He did very well all around. He got a 1st in Sport Horse Under Saddle, a 4th in First Level test 2 a 3rd in First Test 1, a 4th in First test 1 and a 2nd in First test 1. This was his first outing doing first Level. The extensions are coming along and this qualified him for Regional’s with Sarah in First Level as well as Nationals. I am very excited I hope I can keep it together enough to continue to WATCH someone else enjoy him. It’s almost as if he’s cheating!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Raining Ribbons!

We are back from another long weekend show. We left on Thursday to head down to Culpeper, VA for the VAHA Arabian Show and Futurity. Amongst the rain showers, the rigs began to arrive. It was, as per usual, a show filled with fun, excitement and friends, both old and new. We stalled with Wendy Spangler and Fireproof Number One, aka Gem, and met up with Dona Hoffman and Future Image while there. We had another jaw dropping performance from all of our horses and our stall drapes were filled with ribbons. We brought EF Llameri, our just turned three last week filly, EF KKlassique Beauty++ and East of Eden, aka Blossom.

We spent all of Thursday afternoon unpacking and getting the horses settled into their temporary living arrangements. Friday morning arrived and so did the in hand classes. Meri was a winner in her class with me at the end of the reins and Blossom won her class as well. Friday night was the SHUS classes. This would prove to be the best showing yet for all the girls, both equine and human. We rocked! We were going in and out of class after class; it was reminiscent of my old hunter days, standing around the ring, meeting the other competitors and making friends along the way. Quite frequently after each class, we were walking out with the top spots. If we weren’t first and second we were second and third. In one class, we took a clean sweep of Blossom-1st, Meri-2nd and Gem-3rd. Beauty could not show in these classes, as she was the only purebred of the bunch. She and I stepped in and out of the purebred classes with blues as well!

Saturday morning brought the first dressage classes of the show. It was a bit daunting for me as I was riding my first First Level test off the farm. While we are building a full size dressage arena on the farm, it is nowhere near completion so I have not had the opportunity to ride it in a full size arena yet. I managed my way through and got a second in the class. The score was a very respectable 60.6%. I’ll take it. I rode Meri in Training Level Test One for Junior Horses and got a first with a 64.8%. Once again, I’ll take that! Rachel, after the past year and a half of hard work and dedication to Blossom rode a beautiful Training One test to a score of 60.0%. Saturday night brought the Sport Horse Under Saddle Championship classes.

After a brief encounter with a suspected funnel cloud, the stage was set for the Championship classes. We entered four and brought home a third, two reserves and champion. We were very proud of the accomplishments of our young riders and young horses.

More rain and then finally a bit of sun ushered in Sunday morning’s dressage classes. We all had a repeat of Saturday’s line-up. We each had two classes. Once again the ribbons came. The horses were a bit tired as were most of the horses on the grounds that weekend. The storms were huge and the rain was plentiful. Overall, we had a fabulous time. We rekindled friendships with people we haven’t seen in a while and made a whole host of new ones. Christine commented that the people at Arab shows were all so friendly and the atmosphere was so relaxed and friendly. “It wasn’t even like being at an “A” show”. Welcome to the Arabian Sport Horse Show Arena, Christine, welcome!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Show Behind Us

Here at Evergreen Farm we are rockin’ and rollin’. We just came back from Bel Air, Maryland for the BRAHA spring show. The contingent wasn’t as big as in recent years but we were still a force to be reckoned with! We brought Rachel Dors to show her project pony, EF KKoi’s Braveheart, aka Ben, Kristen Thorpe to show EF She’s Our Legacy aka, Lacey, Emily Estep and her mount Tex, and Christine Reed brought her new horse, Rory Hills, aka Boris. Also in attendance was Ian Dors.

Ian, who was one of the very smallest competitors, rode Boris the largest horse on the property. Boris is a staggering 18hh and Ian decided to take him into the walk race. They won!

Rachel took Ben into four Halter Handling classes where she received a 1st, a 2nd, and two 3rd s and ended up Open Grand Champion High Scoring Horse of the day. Not bad for a not quite 2 year old pony and a 13 year old girl. Gotta love those KKoi genes!!

Christine pretty much got a blue ribbon in every class she entered. I would list them but there are too many!!

Kristen, this being her first show as was Lacey’s, pulled a 2nd and a 6th in classes that were 12 and 8 deep. Very impressive for a pair of first timers.

Emily, also a first timer, pulled a 2nd in halter handling and a 3rd in the Western Pleasure class.

All in all the kids had a great time and all went home with smiles abound. We were a bit soaked as it rained all day long but we were still in good spirits! Our 4-H club, the Rebel Riders, utilize the Spring BRAHA show as a fundraiser for future outings. We held a bake sale and Ian walked the grounds all day long selling the baked goods the kids had made. Once again even though the weather was down right ugly the good folks who attended the BRAHA show made our day with generous donations to the kids. Thanks to all who supported us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Emotions Run High

Emotionally charged, that is the best way to describe the Shenandoah Valley Spring Classic Show. Let me explain why this was such an incredible show. On December 27,2005 KKoi fractured his right rear coffin bone in two places. He was instantly lame and it was advised that we should strongly consider putting him down as this type of injury could render a horse in serious pain for the rest of its life. We were truly heartbroken. KKoi however was not going to give up. We found a vet who works almost solely in podiatry and we began our long journey into the unknown. Fast-forward three years, and three months to the day and we had a blue ribbon in hand! While we never thought he’d be sound again, then we thought we’d never be able ride him, then we thought he’d never be able to keep his mind clear after 3 years of only breeding mares, he proved us wrong on every count. Our first ride back was Training Level test 3, my least favorite of all the Training Level tests. I went in, under Marian Cunningham an “S” judge, and did the best I could. I asked KKoi for all he had and he gave it to me. Every ounce. My daughter came running up to me just after my next class with my score sheet. I read it over and wow; a 63.5% from this judge was an awesome score. It was a great feeling to be back in the ring and not totally tank. Then she pulled the ribbon out of her pocket. IT WAS BLUE!!!! I actually won the class. It began to rain and I began to cry. I was so overjoyed and full of emotion just to be there, but then to win, oh my gosh, I was beyond words. I am sure that the people standing around me that didn’t know my story were wondering about the middle aged lady sobbing in her horses neck, but those who knew me and my horse cheered with laughing voices for me. We made it back, back from the brink, back to a place where we can all be happy and now look to the future, the very, very bright future.

If that wasn’t enough of an emotional upswing, Rachel had been riding her heart out all weekend long coming to fourths and fifths. I tried to explain that it takes a lot more time to be a great dressage rider when you have already been a great hunter rider, but that she’d make it. Having faith in her pony and being grateful for the ribbons she did earn was important at this juncture. Well when she finally accepted that it would take more work and maybe she wasn’t as prepared as she thought she was, it came, the elusive blue ribbon. She finally had a blue ribbon from an “A” show. She was stoked now. She was ready to move on. It was another moment of sheer joy. Joy in the accomplishments of the younger ones coming down the line. Joy in the innocence of the kids just riding to get the ribbon and not worrying about who is in the ring or who they are competing against, just them and their pony reaching for greatness!

On a different emotional note, this time of pride in a breeding program and the loss of a beloved second generation broodmare for us…EF Llameri a coming 3yo filly by KKoi and out of our recently departed grand old TB/QH mare, Cephie, went to the show as well and was an amazing competitor. She did SHIH and ended up winning her class and then moving on to be the Reserve Champion high score for the HA/AA Mare division. How exciting for Christine her handler. Then she rode in several SHUS classes and behaved far better than any other coming 3yo should or could. She moved on to Dressage over the weekend and had amazing scores: 62%, 62.5%, and a 65%. For any horse those scores are, well qualifying, but for a coming 3yo, they are truly outstanding. Once again kudos to her rider/handler Christine for a job well done. It was a bit emotional as Meri’s dam, Cephie, was my show horse as a teenager and college student and the daughter of my first horse as a child and she had just recently passed away. She too would be proud of her last daughter in the ring.

All in all what a show, it had the feeling of a season wrap up not a season opener! We have a lot to live up to now, a blue ribbon for each of us at all shows, it’s tiring just thinking about it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

First Show of the Season Already Behind Us!

Well Evergreen Farm’s first show of the season is already behind us. It was an exhilarating show as the weather was perfect, 70 and breezy, and the show was very well attended. For us personally it was a bit of a milestone as well. KKoi was back in the show ring after three and a half years off. Back in December ’05 he fractured his right rear coffin bone in two places and we weren’t even sure if he’d make it out the other side. Well, he made it through, but we are starting all over again in the training process. Even though he was a strong contender in Training level back during the ’05 show season he has had so much time off that it was as if we were barely out of Intro. We decided to throw caution to the wind and try Training 3 and 4 at the show. He held his own in T4 and did remarkably well in T3. I am very excited for his return to the show ring and his complete comeback as a riding horse. It has been a slow and tedious process, but the vets feel like he is as good as new and we were given the green light to proceed at 100%. With a score of 62.8% right out of the gate in T3, we are hoping for Sport Horse National qualifying scores this season. Only time will tell.

Additionally a KKoi daughter, EF LLameri competed for the first time under saddle. Meri and Christine have been working very hard this winter to see if they have what it takes to be a dressage pair to be reckoned with. Well it seems as though they are a pair made in heaven. With Meri being a coming three-year-old and Christine never riding Dressage before this winter it was a surprise clean up. Starting with Intro A and a score of 61.5%, landing them in 6th place, the scores for these two just kept going up. Training 2 earned them a 64.64% and a 2nd place and in Training 1 they really shined with a 67.83% and the blue to go with it. What an amazing ride it was. The goal for this pair is the inaugural East Coast Youth Championships in August.

Rachel Dors on her ½ Arabian mare, east of Eden, aka Blossom, dished it out and brought in very nice ribbons as well. With a 62.61% in T1 earning a 5th place she went on to Intro A with a very nice score of 65% and the first place ribbon. Her eye is on East Coast Youth Championships as well. Looks like we will have a full trailer going to Lexington in August!!

It was a beautiful day all around. The weather was good, the company was good, the competition was excellent and the ribbons were fabulous. We could not have asked for a better start to show season.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Gallery and The Painter

The Gallery
It was a very hot August day. We were invited to a gallery in a small but very upscale city. This was Main Street, USA. Cobblestone streets and beautiful storefronts. This particular gallery was an equine only gallery owned by a friend of a friend. She had contacted me the previous spring about my stallion, KKoi coming to the gallery for “Arabian” day. She mentioned that she does different breeds as often as possible and likes to get the best representations of each breed there, in the flesh, for people (non-horsey mostly) to see and touch. She explained that finding an Arabian quiet enough to spend the day in a 12x12 pen in the parking lot all day with kids, cars and all sorts of commotion around was a very daunting task, and one that she had not yet completed. Then she heard of KKoi.

Rolling over and over in my mind were all the e-mail messages that we sent back and forth and the visit to the farm by the owner of the gallery and the surprise visit afterward by the painter who had wanted to photograph him for reference material. As we were driving in the 90+-degree weather with stallion in tow, I began to wonder if I had lost my mind. Could he do it? Could he sit there all day in the heat and deal with kids, and flash pictures, and cars and motorcycles and who knows what else? We brought a tent, one of those party tents that you sit under. Well it was only 10x10 and KKoi’s enclosure was 12x12, would he deal with that too? Only time would tell.

The day started with people streaming out to see KKoi, like he was a celebrity. Well he ate it up. He acted like this was something he does all the time. He stood with kids next to him for photo op after photo op. He would, every hour, as per our contract, come out of his enclosure and walk around for people to get really close. We had one toddler get away from her mom and run and wrap herself around his hind leg. He just stood. Never moving a muscle. After it was over, after what seemed like all of the 2000 invitees came and went KKoi and I trudged home. He now had a new fan base. He now had people outside of his family adoring him. He was on his way to fame.

The Painter
During the apex of the Gallery Day I was approached by the gallery owner and asked if Lesley Harrison, the painter could come out and see KKoi. Apparently Lesley is a close friend of the gallery owner and when I sent my promotional materials ahead for use in the invitation for the gallery, the owner sent them on to Lesley. Lesley was captivated by KKoi’s kind eye and soulful look. I am a bit na├»ve to the art world so unknowingly I said sure. When I told my friends what was happening, most of them looked at me and said,
“The Lesley Harrison is coming here to see KKoi?” I Googled her. I learned pretty quickly that this was a big deal and I needed to seize it with open arms. Lesley came out very early to catch the morning light and KKoi at his finest. He was bathed, clipped and crimped to the nth degree. He was gorgeous, and she agreed. Over 2000 pictures later she reminded me that this was just for reference work and she had over a year’s worth of commissioned work to complete before she could even think about doing something for herself.

Night after night she said she lay awake in bed thinking about KKoi and one particular picture she took. She dreamed it in her sleep. She just could not push him from her mind. So she began to paint and in less than six months from the time she took the pictures it was completed. This stunningly beautiful portrait of KKoi’s soul. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet a person like Lesley. She is an artist who, like no other I have ever seen, can take a photograph, make it into a pastel painting that looks like a photograph and include the soul of the animal she has painted. The icing on the cake is that I did not commission her to paint KKoi. She did it on her own fruition. AND she continues to do it. She is up to “Blue Halter #4”. Kkoi is in Lesley’s 2009 “Spirit of Horses” calendar, as well as a book jacket and I think there are negotiations for a wine label as well. I guess I really do have my own living art in the barn, and his name is KKoi.