Recreation & Lifestyle
Welcome to Recreation & Lifestyle, which includes leisure riding and other aspects of the equestrian lifestyle for you and your horse loving friends and family.
Looking for the perfect present? See the Gifts & Jewelry section. Redecorating? Find a Painting, Photograph or Sculpture in the Artwork section. Need to check out a movie or crawl up with a good book or magazine? See our Entertainment section where you will find and Books, Movies, Games, and Magazines. And don't forget about Fine Art in some specialty Museums that might surprise you.
Looking for love or a trail buddy? Riding Partners is the spot to seek other riders who share your passion. Find a place to ride with that special person in our Trail Riding section and if you need more time away, take a look at Vacations. Want to know about the next horse show or special event? Don’t miss it! Dates and locations are included in the Calendar of Events for Recreation & Lifestyle.
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By Madison Seamans MS DVM
When I was a bright, young veterinarian just starting practice back in the eighties, I got a phone call from a man named Bob Gray who lived out of state. He asked me if I was available for a pre-purchase exam on a real good colt that he was thinking about buying. In those early days of my practice, this was like asking my cat if he was available for a can of tuna and a nap! I was so eager to practice medicine, I would have vaccinated his goldfish.
“When would you like me to look at this colt,” I asked while I thumbed through my nearly-empty appointment book. “I’ll try to work you into my schedule.” I took a deep breath and hoped that I had not violated some part of the veterinary oath.
“Any time would be okay with me,” he said. “I won’t be able to be there when you look at him, so just do it when it is convenient for you.” The voice came over the phone like a ray of hope, saving me from having to enroll in the Ace Truck Driving School to keep from starving. “The colt has some great bloodlines, and I am planning on using him as a foundation sire in my breeding program. If you find anything wrong with him, I need to know about it. This is a real expensive horse, and I don’t want any surprises. He’s just a yearling now, but I have a lot of hope for him.” Mr. Gray paused, then repeated: “He has great bloodlines.”
I had no idea that this last phrase would come to haunt me for years.
Bob gave me the name and phone number of the lady who owned the colt in question. I called Carla, and we made an appointment for later in the week. She was friendly enough but let me know clearly that there was nothing wrong with the colt. If Mr. Gray considered a prepurchase exam necessary, that was “all right with her.”
I have never considered myself a distrusting fellow, but I have been involved in enough horse trades over the years to realize their potential to bring out the scariest parts of human nature. In addition, I have purchased enough lame, crazy, crippled and just overall bad horses to become, well, “cautious” when dealing with the buying and selling of horses.
For example, when I was still a student, way back in the early seventies, one of the ways that I supported my college habit was by riding colts for people and trading a few horses myself. One time I bought a big, stout, red, four-year-old gelding that I called Red Man. I rode him for quite a while as he had about every bad habit a horse could have. When I finally sold him, he was about fifteen years old. I didn’t ride him that long, he just wasn’t that young! I took quite a beating physically and economically, as this old snide had crippled a couple of local cowboys before I got him, and he hadn’t seen his fourth birthday since LBJ was president.
Some of life’s best lessons are also its toughest, and I was lucky to have survived that one. It did motivate me to learn how to tell the age of a horse by looking at his teeth, and I got pretty good at it out of economic necessity.
Read more: “He Has Great Bloodlines” - Excerpt from "Never Trust a Sneaky Pony"
When you think of the Kentucky Derby you think of two things: big horses and big hats. Women’s hats. There are plenty of other big racing days, but none of them in the United States are associated with the millinery grandeur the same way as this longest consecutively running sporting event on the first Saturday in May and began in 1872. The first editorial mention of hats at the Derby was in a 1926 edition of Time Magazine. It wasn't much of a mention, and was stuck in the middle of an extremely long, convoluted sentence describing the start of the race. “… hats and parasols and a foam of faces…”
For those of you who are new to the sport, the Kentucky Oaks is run the day before the Derby. Unless otherwise stated, most other races including the Kentucky Derby are open to both genders. Although, the general public is probably not as familiar with it, it too is a “hat” affair.
The Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby were founded at the same time by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. in 1875. Thoroughbred racing, which started in Europe, set the trend as a fashionable event across the pond, and those attending adhered to the trendy styles of the day. However, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in America: in the beginning stages of American racing, women had a tendency to think the racetrack may not be the proper place for a lady. Meriwether, with the help of his wife, decided that they should present the experience as a picnic outing, which would require what is called “full morning dress” for both men and women. For women it was not overly formal, but respectively presentable. For men, it was job attire. Hats were more in the style of simple bonnets to keep the sun off women’s delicate white skin, as tanned skin was considered to be a lower class attribute, for those who worked in the fields.
... ‘art that makes you feel good’.
Newmarket racehorse trainer Ilka Gansera-Leveque will be adding a splash of colour to May’s Guineas weekend with an unusual art exhibition in her own Newmarket racing yard.
Ilka will be displaying work from 13 artists, including international names, alongside the thoroughbred racehorses in her Hamilton Road stables.
The ‘Art & Horse Racing’ exhibition will be open to the public free of charge at her picturesque Saint Wendred’s yard from 10am-6pm on Sunday May 7, 2023 - 1,000 Guineas Day.
It follows private viewings for racehorse owners, Vantage Point Racing Club members and invited guests during 2,000 Guineas Day on Saturday May 6, 2023.
Emily Johnson, artist in residence at Cheltenham racecourse, is one of the exhibitors and can be seen painting during the exhibition – plus she is donating a sketch for visitors / social media followers to win.
Read more: Artists Will Add Splash of Colour to Newmarket’s Guineas Weekend
By Nick Pernokas
The third grader sat on her Grannie’s daybed, reading. Her grandmother’s cottage was in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and the open window allowed in the ocean air and the sounds from an osprey nest in the tree outside. It was a Saturday and the girl and her sisters had just returned from Grannie’s weekly summer pilgrimage to the library. Now Letitia was engrossed in a world created by Walter Farley, in a book titled The Black Stallion.
“I remember thinking that I had to have horses in my life,” says Letitia Glenn, founding owner and saddle systems designer for Natural Horseman Saddles, as well as the newly christened company, Contour Saddlery.
Unfortunately, it would be many years before Letitia’s dream came true. At the age of 47, Letitia and her husband, Art Glenn, had become successful entrepreneurs. They had homes in Houston, and in Durango, Colorado. The Rocky Mountains called to them and they enjoyed the outdoor activities there, like skiing and back packing. Around 1990, they moved to Durango full time and purchased the O’Farrell Hat Company. Letitia felt that the time was right for a horse.
“I said, ‘Art, if I don’t have a horse before I die, I’m going to die!’” remembers Letitia.
Letitia had friends who were Paso Fino breeders and they gave her a well-bred two-year-old stallion. Her friends told her not to ride him until he was four. A corral was built in the backyard and Letitia began doing the groundwork on the colt. Within a year, Art became interested in horses as well and he purchased another Paso Fino for himself. When they were able to start riding the horses, the couple took them to a well-known saddletree maker to have their backs measured for custom trees.
Through Letitia’s involvement with the O’Farrell Hat Co., she met famed horse trainer Pat Parelli over the phone. Pat had called to order a custom beaver hat.
“He was absolutely lovely and didn’t request a discount, which impressed me.”
The Glenns, and hatmaker Kevin O’Farrell, soon took their hats to Germany for the Equitana trade show. Pat and Linda Parelli were also there conducting some horsemanship clinics. The couples became friends and eventually the Parellis stayed with the Glenns in Durango, while they searched for land in the area to build their first equine learning center. Letitia designed a logo for them and began to create custom clothing for the Parellis’ customers and fans. In 2000, Linda Parelli made a comment to Letitia that would alter her life.
“Linda said that saddles are all too often torture devices. “
Letitia thought to herself, “Luckily ours aren’t, because they were measured and built to fit our horses”.
Read more: Contour Saddlery: A New Way of Looking at an Old Art
by Robert Clark
Gem has become a fan favorite. For many people it was because of his long tenure at the track where I believe he became the first million dollar earner for West Point Thoroughbreds. Before his career was through he would claim his Grade 1 victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup - as portrayed in this painting of him.
Many others have become a fan of Gem when he arrived at Old Friends in Kentucky (which is just a couple miles from my house now). There, Gem greets hundreds of fans on a regular basis.
But for me - Awesome Gem was a different kind of special and that was because a very dear friend in the sport Clyde Haugen loved this horse. I think Clyde had a piece of more than 20 different horses through West Point Thoroughbreds, but GEM was the ONE that made Clyde light up every time he talked about him. Clyde was one of the most inspiring guys you'd ever meet. He was a former fighter jet pilot and had transitioned to being a business mentor to groups of people all over the world. As much as he loved horse racing, Awesome Gem was the horse that Clyde would travel the world to watch run. Clyde even had a carousel horse made of Awesome Gem!
By Van Hargis
Some of the most successful people I’ve met are the Henry Fords of the world. For a particular project in college, I studied Henry Ford, who is credited with the concept of the mass production of automobiles. Now, Henry Ford was not known as a “book smart” guy. He was very brilliant in understanding mechanics, engineering, and processes, even though his only formal education was in bookkeeping. However, when Ford was releasing a new product or making corporate changes or whatever the case may be, he would hold press conferences. Snide reporters would occasionally poke fun at Mr. Ford by asking questions to which they figured he probably wouldn’t know the answers. One day he put a stop to that practice when he said to one such rude reporter, “Young man, I don’t know the answer to that question, but I have over one hundred people that work for me that do. Next question.”
In my humble opinion, this was a brilliant response from Mr. Ford. It said that he was done with responding to petty, irrelevant questions. Most importantly it said that he understood the purpose of roles. It was not his role to know everything. He trusted others in his company to know things. Mr. Ford was smart enough to know his job and allow other people to do their jobs. Together they formed a stronger team. Of course, as the leader of the company he is ultimately accountable and responsible for every employee’s actions, failures, and successes. Leaders must have great commitment while also having great trust in those around them.
The same can be applied to horsemanship. In order for me to be a good horseman, I must know I can’t do the horse’s job. I’ve only got two legs. There’s no way for me to move around nearly as well, with as much strength and athleticism, as a horse can. I could never pull a plow as well or as efficiently as a horse. I could not carry a passenger as easily as a horse. I could not cut a cow from a herd as effectively as a horse. I could not go over the jumps that horses do. I could not run the races that horses run. These things and countless others are strengths of the horse. God blessed horses with size, speed, strength, stamina, and the intelligence to be trained.
So, what strengths do we have? Among many more, one of our best strengths is the ability to think and use logic, which we do much better than the horse. I frequently say that God blessed horses with a brain the size of our fist, but God blessed humans with a brain the size of both our fists. What that tells me is maybe we can use our strengths to teach the horse to use his strengths—and together we can achieve remarkable things as a team. To do so takes trust, courage, discipline, self-confidence, and faith.
Read more: Daring Your Horse to Be Good - a book excerpt from "The Horse Is My Teacher" by Van Hargis
There are certainly a number of riding disciplines, with some aiming to master a certain few for an amateur event and others needing to nail them all, given that they’re an aspiring professional horse person. Additionally, horse lovers tend to follow the latest news in the equestrian world and find out various aspects of a horse’s behavior and health. Essentially, whatever your link to horses is, there is a wealth of information available.
In the modern world in particular, horse enthusiasts certainly aren’t short on resources thanks to the rise of the internet. One notable area in the online environment where information is shared on a consistent basis is through the form of websites and blogs, with former riders offering an insight into a past life and horse enthusiasts sharing the latest developments on owning their first-ever horse. For some, horse racing is a particular favorite, too, with sites dedicated to horse racing tips providing a real insight into the sport in Australia ahead of placing a bet on one of the major events on the racing calendar. Put simply, whatever horse-related activity piques your interest, there is most definitely a website or a blog out there that will tickle your fancy.
In order to provide you with some additional content to help manage your horse or to become a professional rider in the future, let’s take a look at some of the must-read websites and blogs for horse lovers.
Featuring interesting articles for aspiring equestrians about the responsibilities of an owner around horse care, horse gear, and any equipment related to horse riding, HorseyCounsel provides an informative dive into modern-day equestrian news and views. Created by Louise Richards in 2020, the site offers fresh and intriguing takes on a comprehensive selection of subjects in this area.
Horse and Rider
For UK-based readers who enjoy horses, Horse and Rider is a go-to magazine. In fact, it’s officially the UK’s best-selling monthly publication that focuses on a variety of facets within this particular category, although most people subscribe to Horse and Rider for the fascinating interviews with top riders, trainers, vets, and behaviorists. For people who are passionate about horses, Horse and Rider is a solid choice.
We were so glad we attended the recent EQUINE AFFAIRE at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA, this past weekend.
Connecting with old friends, meeting new ones and finding all kinds of exciting new products and services kept us busy! As you can see from the photo gallery below, we were everywhere. It was beyond entertaining to be with so many like minded people who love horses and mingle with many of the foremost trainers, coaches, competitors, judges, and experts in the horse industry. There was real excitement in the air!
Do you like shopping? Whoa! It was a great experience, with a wealth of equine and equestrian products available in the largest horse-related trade shows in the nation.
Not only can you buy great equine products, but you can also actually buy a horse! Or, find the ideal stallion for your mare. Maybe you want recommendations about a good boarding or training facility. The Equine Affaire makes it all come together.
by HEIDI HATCH | KUTVFIELDING, Utah (KUTV) — A horse has returned home after eight years of being lost and running with wild mustangs.
Shane Adams lost his horse, Mongo, while camping in Utah’s West Desert. Just this week, the two were reunited. Early on a spring morning, when there was still snow on the ground, Mongo made a run for it. The horse was tied up outside Adams' tent, but not tight enough. A herd of wild mustangs ran past the camp and Mongo took off with his newfound friends. Adams scrambled out of his tent in a state of half undress and tried to stop the horse, but he was too late.
Impossible or not, Adams was not about to give up on Mongo and traveled from his home in northern Utah to the West Desert every weekend for three years in search of his trusty friend. He bought everything he could think of to scope out and safely get Mongo back home.
Read more: Lost horse returns home after running with wild mustangs for 8 years in northern Utah
The death of Queen Elizabeth II, September 8, 2022, encouraged me to collectivize my thoughts on my life. Born in 1935, I was the son of a father who believed violence was the answer to raising a child. The CAT Scan and the MRI in 1981 revealed a massive number of fractures which were identified as happening prior to the age of puberty.
While there was much violence in my life, I was fortunate to grow up in the presence of horses. There was no question in my mind that I was to be a competition rider of these wonderful animals and I was further fortunate enough to win 11 world championships from their backs.
A grammar schoolteacher knew my father and encouraged me to stop blaming him and to simply go forward with the goals of my life in a non-violent fashion. Sister Agnes Patricia, a Notre Dame nun, encouraged me to get the best education possible. She suggested that my major should be ‘behavioral sciences’ for which I now have two doctorates.
At the age of four, I won my first competition and was contracted to become a stunt child because at that time three out of five movies included a horse and a child. I grew to love my horses and I struck a horse for the last time in 1949. It was at the insistence of my father but never to be a training method after that incident.
As a teenager my work included time with American Mustangs, and it was those fragile flight animals that I discovered they could communicate with me, and I could communicate with them. The horses, along with wild deer, trained me to use this language and refrain from any violence in the training process. These concepts established my goals for life.
In 1965 a wealthy individual who came to California from New York decided that I should move my equine work to the world of Thoroughbred racing. I had completed my first university work in PTSD for returning Korean veterans. My racehorses took up these principles and earned dozens of championships in that discipline.
My wife, Patricia (Pat) helped immensely to raise our family, accept foster children, and assisted me with the design and operation of the Thoroughbred farm for more than 50 years. It was on that farm that an open house caused two articles to be published in US magazines. These articles explored my work of training racehorses in the absence of violence.
It was divine intervention that caused these articles to end up on the desk of Queen Elizabeth II, whom, along with me, believed that horses could be trained in the absence of violence. I had already made inroads in South America and in 2005, my daughter and I visited Shelbyville, Tennessee which was the home of Tennessee Walking horse.
Marty Irby was the manager of a massive Tennessee Walking horse operation there. He saw my work and brought an end of his acceptance of violence in the world of the Tennessee Walking horse. Marty moved to Washington, D.C. to influence legislation removing the violence from these wonderful horses and broadened his spectrum to include all disciplines.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II read the two articles and dispatched horse manager, Sir John Miller, to travel to California and view the non-violent work, I was responsible for. Sir John came to us and saw my training with untrained Thoroughbreds to report back to Her Majesty. A date was set, and Pat and I were to travel.
When we arrived at Windsor Castle there were 23 untrained horses waiting for us in the fields immediately in front of the Queen’s windows. I was admonished not to go near the horses and, Pat and I were to go with Sir John Miller to his home near Oxford. All of this was on Saturday afternoon and training was to start on Monday morning.
- Queen Elizabeth II Honors 17 Trainers and Animal Advocates for Their Efforts to Reduce Violence in the Training of Horses
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