Spicer Cub is famous…. again!

Was interviewed a few weeks ago by Liane Crossley of The Paulick Report in KY about Spicer Cub’s post racing career. Here is the link to the story, which includes the video of his famous Pimlico run! He is just such a cool all-around horse and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to work with him.

Lost And Found Presented By LubriSYNHA: Years After His Famous Bolt, Spicer Cub Has Learned To Lead — Sometimes

https://www.paulickreport.com/features/lost-and-found/lost-and-found-presented-by-lubrisyn-years-after-his-famous-bolt-spicer-cub-has-learned-to-lead-sometimes/

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Sales Horse Spotlight!

SharShar is an imported English Thoroughbred with Irish bloodlines. Here we call her Charlie and have shown her under the name “Call Sign Charlie.” She is registered with the Jockey Club as SharShar.

Charlie raced very successfully in England before being bought by an American syndicate as a three-year-old. Her US career was light but also fairly successful and she finished racing in November of her four-year-old year. I got her in January of her five-year-old year and she is now eight.

Charlie is a fantastic foxhunter and loves being out of the ring. She has extensive trail riding miles and also has done pretty much every hunter pace on the Maryland circuit for the past few seasons. My working student also did some starter events, derbies and jumper shows with her. Ideally, Charlie will go to a foxhunter/trail home as that is what she does best and likes to do the most.

I consider her very quiet for a TB and I have put kids on her for hacks around the farm. She has also been hunted by a junior rider. We took her to Gettysburg Battlefield with a friend riding her on the buckle the whole time. She cares less about traffic, people on bicycles, strollers, etc and was the babysitter of the group!

She does have a big jumping style so even though I feel safe putting a beginner on her for a walk hack, I would not put beginning to jump riders on her. She is bold to her fences both in the ring and out in the hunt field. She will lead or follow at hunter paces.

If you are looking for your next foxhunter or trails partner, come meet Charlie!

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COVID19 recovery period….

As Maryland begins to slowly re-open during this COVID19 pandemic, I want to thank all of you who stayed home, stayed safe and helped flatten the curve. I know it was hard to be away from your horses but saving lives is worth it and you all stepped up brilliantly.

Now, we can’t just stop and go back to normal! Yes barns are opening back up, yes there is talk of competitions starting back soon. But please, continue to stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you are out in public and lets stay smart and compassionate as we slowly get used to what is our new normal.

Thank you again to all the Forward Motion and WPC clients who have stuck with us during all this! We miss you and can’t wait to see everyone again in person… in small groups from 6′ apart with masks on 🙂

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Riding during the COVID-19 situation

First of all, I need to start this post with a disclaimer. What is expressed on this blog is my personal opinions, recommendations, etc and NOT the views of any of the organizations I work with.

As someone who lives on a farm, rides daily and teaches others almost daily, being told to stay home is frustrating. For me personally, it was frustrating enough three weeks ago when I injured my knee and was told I’d be off a horse for 3-4 weeks minimum but at least then I could still teach, hang out with friends, etc. Now the Governor is restricting “gatherings” to 10 people and USPC says no activities with two or more people.

And as much as it pains me not to be out there every day with my students and clients, I am choosing to temporarily shut down for at least this week, probably longer. Why? Because the SCIENCE shows that if more people just stay home in the next two weeks, then we will be back to “normal” at a much faster rate.

Some have predicted that with the current rate of infection across this country, we could be looking at restrictions through August! So I have to ask the question to my fellow trainers and barn owners… is shutting down for even one week worth the possibly of being forced to close for another six months?

And just now on the news, I heard a statistic that says even three weeks of self quarantine will get us back to “normal” in a month or two but at the rate the US population is ignoring recommendations, we are looking at a much long lasting impact with significantly more deaths. And I 100% understand that even a weeks worth of shutting down has a huge financial impact on people. There will be businesses that can not bonce back from this and I am just praying that our government is working on ways to help these businesses.

So why then do all us horse people feel the need to go on like nothing is happening around us?

Please understand, I am not judging anyone here. And I know that trainers, like myself only get paid for the hours we work. I am facing a personal huge loss in income as I know many others in the industry are facing too. But just because riding typically happens outdoors does not mean we can continue with business as usual.

Here at my farm I’ve already paired down the number of people on the property and have instructed each of them to spray down doorknobs and such before leaving. If my leg was not in a brace, I would just tell everyone to stay home and I’d do it all on my own, but for at least another week, I need the help of others to make sure the horses are being properly cared for.

In terms of teaching, as of Tuesday of this week, I’ve stopped all teaching and will re-evaluate this weekend. There are a lot of good tips coming out on how to give virtual lessons and such and I know there are those out there staying 6 feet apart and carrying on, and it may come to that for me as well. But then I ask this question too… how do we do safety checks from 6 feet apart? How do we help a younger kid adjust a stirrup or hold a pony while they mount up from 6 feet apart? And what happens if someone falls? Do we help them from 6 feet apart?

At some point I’m going to figure out how to be able to teach privates and protect myself and my students and I would love to hear how others are able to do so. But in the meantime, I am begging my fellow trainers and barn owners to just take a breath, stop operations for even just one week and lets all get ahead of this instead of feeling like we are 10 steps behind every time the latest statistics are released.

For those who are riding, and I can promise you as soon as I’m cleared to ride I will be riding again too (here at my private farm away from other people), the team from Event Entries sent out a great list of tips. Please, please, please… if as a rider you need your saddle time, which I know I do, follow these tips.

Dear Riders,

As worldwide concerns about COVID-19 continue to grow, the Event Clinics team is here to help you navigate this time as much as possible.  

Our number one priority is the safety of our equestrian community.   

If you participate in or hold equestrian activities in the next 45 days, we ask that you treat the CDC/WHO guidelines for COVID-19 social distancing with the same commitment you would give strangles prevention protocols.  That includes ensuring:

·A minimum space barrier of 6 feet between yourself and other people at all times
·No more than 10 people in an area or present at an activity at one time
·   Sanitization of all common surfaces/items handled by multiple people

COVID-19 person-to-person transmission primarily occurs when an infected person sends out respiratory droplets via either sneezing or coughing.  Please practice and enforce the 6 feet social distancing rule until it becomes second nature to you.That means no hacking out horse side-by-side, no casual chats with friends in the tack room, and no standing next to one another watching a clinic.

While less common, a person can also contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.    The team who cares for your horses will be under considerable strain to sanitize surfaces and limit your exposure risk.  Expect that shared barn items like pitch forks, pencils, wheelbarrows, hoses, etc, are off limits for the next 45 days.
Before You Visit The Barn or Schooling Venue

  • Monitor your own health.DO NOT go to the barn or take your horse schooling if you have any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, coughing, or unusual shortness of breath.
  • Feeling exhausted? Not sure if you “have something” or just a wine hangover? Take your own temperature and rule out a fever.
  • Do not go to the barn if you have been in an airport in the last 14 days.
  • Use the bathroom at your home, rather than the barn. The fewer areas you access around the barn, the easier it is on barn employees.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before you leave the house.
How To Visit Your Horse
If the facility that cares for your horse allows outside visitors, be considerate of the staff’s health risks and the 10 person rule. 

  • Do what you can to avoid showing up to ride at the same time as other boarders. Set up a group text and deconflict ride times. Remember that vets & farriers need to visit the facility too- and they count as part of 10 people.
  • Sanitize your hands upon arrival.
  • Avoid touching things such as door knobs, lockers, stall door latches and light switches unnecessarily. Limit your use of common barn tools such as pitchforks, etc. Limit your stall contact to just the one that contains your horse.
  • Avoid petting barn dogs and cats.
  • Ride your horse outside (in the sunlight) away from others as much as possible. While on horseback, practice the 6-foot separation rule.
  • Sanitize anything you’ve touched before you depart.
  • Smile at barn employees and thank them for their work. They are under a lot of stress right now and appreciate your support.
After You Leave
Keep in mind many equestrian businesses & service providers are struggling financially to cope with the pandemic’s impact.If a venue is graciously offering you distance lessons or schooling options, do what you can to pay it forward.

  • Post a nice note/facility photo on social media and tag the farm. Use #StrideForward on Instagram to help get the word out.
  • Pay schooling fees and board electronically, on time, as much as possible.
Thank your for your patience, support and understanding as the equestrian community collectively works to address these global health concerns.   If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us

Stay Safe & Hug Your Horse,

Team Event Clinics
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Bitsy’s Itsy update

So the 4 year old pony mare is progressing quickly! She’s spent the summer competing in the jumper and dressage rings and has started xc schooling. She’s bold out in the open and I’ve entered her in her first starter event for later this month. She’s cantering courses and loves it! Here are two of my pony clubbers jumping her 🙂

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Kudos to Cara

A little late with this post but big congratulations to Cara on the purchase of Piper! So excited to hear about all the adventures you two get to have.

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Jumper shows….

Now that it is hot all the time and the ground here in Maryland is hard… which is better than last year’s swamp… Forward Motion Training horses have switched to arena footing and have been out competing at jumper shows and heading into the dressage ring this month! Below are results so far this summer.

Piper – Won both the 2’9” classes at the McDonogh June show. Won at 3′ and 3’3” at Covered Bridge schooling jumper night.

Bitsy’s Itsy – Won in the ground poles and cross-rails classes at two Covered Bridge schooling jumper nights.

SharShar – Second and fourth at 2′ and 2’3” at Covered Bridge schooling jumper nights.

Next up is PVDA’s Morning Side dressage show!

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Piper update + more sales horses

Just wanted to give an update on the sales horse Piper…. she has placed in the ribbons in EVERYTHING she has done in 2019. Below is her 2019 record to date. Call today to come try her out!

  • May – Loch Moy Starter – 5th place at Training (33.3% in dressage, clean show jump, clean xc)
  • May – USDF/PVDA show – 1st place at Intro Test B (70.6% – missed high score of the weekend by a half a point!)
  • May – Loch Moy Twilight Combine Test- 1st at Training level (31.7% in dressage, one rail dropped in show jump)
  • April – USEA Loudoun Pony Club Horse Trials – 8th at Novice (37.1% in dressage, clean show jump, clean xc with 8.4 time faults)
  • April – Loch Moy Starter – 4th at Novice (29.3% in dressage, clean show jump, clean xc)
  • April – Marlborough Hunter Pace – 1st for Senior Flat team
  • March – Loch Moy Derby Cross – 1st at Training
  • February – Loch Moy Derby Cross – 4th at Novice

Also added two new horses to the sales page: Bitsy’s Itsy and SharShar. Check them out!

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Is it safe to ride in the bitter cold and snow?

I recently have been asked by several students two winter related questions. One – When is it too cold to ride? And two – Is it safe to ride in the snow? So I thought, might be a good blog post!

Please note my huge disclaimer here… this post is just advice based on what I’ve learned over the years from the various farm managers, barn owners and veterinarians I’ve worked with as well as personal experiences from running my own barn. These notes are also based on the weather here in central Maryland and I’m sure many of our northern and western friends think our winters are mild!

Question one – When is it too cold to ride?
Of course… there is no set in stone answer to this question and a lot has to do with the “feels like” temperature, wind conditions, amount of sunlight and if you have an indoor to ride in or not.

The advice I recently got from our vet is to use 20 degrees F as the cut off point. The reasoning he explained is that at that temperature and below, the horse is less likely to process oxygen efficiently. Say what? This is where all those pre-med classes I took in college come in handy and I find these things fascinating but many of you might just skip through all this.

Mammals need oxygen to function. The short version is that the horse breaths in oxygen and then this oxygen is absorbed by the blood stream, pumped through the body by the heart and then used by everything in the body to function. So, when its super cold, the horse physically can’t breath as well and thus they are not taking in as much oxygen to then pump around the body. Yes, I know there is a lot more to it than that but lets go with this simple version for now.

So how do we see this happening in the horse? The horse will be “out of breath” much more quickly than normal. In extreme cases, they could show signs of stiffness and even tie up as the muscles don’t get enough oxygen to function properly. They may also start to sweat much more quickly, even in the cold weather.

Now clearly, horses live outside in weather even colder than here in Maryland. But… if you watch them in the fields or study wild horses, in these low temps, you will see them huddled together more and finding shelter from the elements. They don’t tend to run around and if they do, it tends to be for short, quick periods.

Thus… when it comes to riding, if you do want to ride when the temps are below 20, ride indoors and keep things to a walk. In addition, you really just need to know your horse. Know what their at rest TPRs are and their typical work load TPRs and know when to recognize that they are working hard and need a rest.

But really, the best advice I can give is when the temps reach the teens is to just let them be! They are much happier and much warmer standing together eating hay.

Question two – Is it safe to ride in the snow?
Now this one is way more complicated as a lot plays into the answer. You really need to consider the following before heading out to play in the snow with your horse: How deep the snow is. What type of snow. What the footing under the snow is like. What your horse’s current workload, soundness and fitness is. What your horse’s skill level/experience is. What type of hardware they have on their hooves. And I’m sure I’m forgetting something more.

How deep the snow is plays a huge part in how easy it is for the horse to move around. Remember the blizzard a few years ago? Horses in the fields were struggling just to get to water and shelter and farm owners were plowing paths for them to get around in. Now the snow that is outside my window as I type is only about 5’’ and the horses are out in their pastures walking around just fine.

What type of snow really comes down to the difference between fluffy “powder” and wet “sticky” snow. The fluffy stuff is easy to move around in, the sticky stuff… not so much. The first big snow of the year we had here in central Maryland was nice fluffy power. It was deep here at the farm but soft. For the first two days after it stopped snowing, we were able to do flat work in our ring with no problems. Once however the snow started to melt and then compress and then melt and compress… that’s when we moved back to walking the paved driveway. The sticky compressed snow, well, it simply can break legs. I know lots of farm owners that if they have the option, won’t even turn horses out in that type of snow let alone try and ride them.

The footing under the snow is crazy important. As I said, we all rode in my ring after the first snow. My ring is a turf ring that drains very well. I knew that the footing under the snow had good traction and was ice-free. The more experienced horses we even cantered in the snow… on flat ground… in a ring… with good footing under it. We did not head out onto the trails because here at my farm, to get to any of the trails you have to go down hill or cross a small bridge over a stream that had been overflowing and iced over. Even without the snow, we’ve stayed clear of that trail entrance due to the ice. Imagine if you didn’t know what the footing was like under the snow and tried to canter across a patch of ice!

The horse’s current workload, soundness, fitness and experience are the most important things to me to take into consideration. Any horse of mine with a recent injury is not going out in it. Just not worth risking further damage. The more experienced horses (aka the seasoned foxhunter and upper level event horse) were super balanced and happy to walk/trot/canter in our snow-covered ring. The baby OTTB…. she only walked with a little trot to help her learn to build her balance. The oldie but goodie (we all know I’m talking about Jack here!)… he only walked the cleared driveway. Why? Because at 21 years old, he doesn’t need to be working hard in the snow no matter how much fun we humans might think it is. It didn’t matter which horse though, these snow workouts were short and no longer than 15 minutes. Even the super fit event horse was blowing after a few minutes of trotting.

Now we’ve all see the photos of foxhunters cantering through snow-covered fields and even snow polo matches, and those crazy skiers using the horses to pull them, where clearly the horses are galloping around. So why don’t those horses fall over or slip? Because those horses have special shoes designed to help them keep traction in snowy conditions. The foxhunter at my barn has stud holes drilled and I have a set of borium tipped studs that get put on for hunting days. But those studs will only help with traction, they aren’t going to prevent the balls of snow that build up under the shoe. Most of my die-hard foxhunting friends have snow pads added to their horses’ shoes for the winter. These pads are designed so that snow cannot build up under the shoe. You’ll have to ask your farrier to explain. The barefoot horses do seem to have better traction in the snow but even they can slip in slushy conditions.

So there you have it. Sorry if it sounds like I’m preaching! Just figured this was a good place to answer those questions. Have fun everyone and stay safe while doing it!

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Spicer Cub update

Spicer Cub scored an 81.2% at his last NEH competition! Ok, that was in August and I’m just getting around to post about it. So proud though! He’s now qualified for the NEH finale next month at Loch Moy. I’m putting us both in a serious boot camp program from now till then. lol. Lots of hacks up hilly trails, canter work over poles… basically everything I can do to keep him feeling strong, solid and rideable. He’s come a long way and just keeps getting better and better.

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