Almost Wordless Wednesday – Phoenix’s Yearling Pictures!

Wasn’t he a cutie!!! Look at that sassy face! Phoenix is officially 6 years old this week so it is hard to belive that this pictures were taken almost 5 years ago! Oh…And why must every horse I love turn Grey!?!?!?!

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Courtney is offically out of the coma!!!!!! And check out the Facebook Fan page of A Horse And A Half!

Courtney Update First….

I copied and pasted the good news directly from Courtney’s web page. I am so excited!!! Kessler is a wonderful place and I cannot wait to hear all the good updates that are going to be coming from now on. I am just so excited that she is no longer classified as in a coma!! Here, you can read the full update yourself…

Courtney’s Updateby Jason Dye

Monday March 29, 9:30pm

Courtney has had a busy week, on Thursday she made the trip by Air Ambulance from West Palm Beach, FL to Teterboro New Jersey. She handled the seemless transition well and is now settled at Kessler Rehabilitation Institute in West Orange, NJ -which is widely regarded as one of the top in the Nation.

While Courtney is no longer in a Coma she still needs more time to fully emerge. The Head of the Brain Injury Department has described her current phase as being at the higher end of a “Minimally Conscious State”. She has some awareness of her surroundings and responds inconsistently to requests.

The recovery from a Brain Injury is much like training a Top Level Dressage Horse – both take patience, determination, a highly skilled team of people and time.

I would like to thank the Florida Emergency Response Teams and all the Staff at St Mary’s for the great care they took of Courtney after her initial injury.

I am very pleased with the advanced rehabilitation program at Kessler along with the professionalism, competence and care the staff have exhibited. I truly believe Courtney can and will make strong gains in this environment.

Thanks again for all the emails being sent to comebackcourt@gmail.com and all the great cards received , I can’t wait for the day Courtney can read them herself and feel the love and support the Dressage Community has showed.

I am just so happy at that good news!! Now onto Facebook, which is one of the many places I would look to get information about Courtney’s condition…

So last weekend a friend and I were joking that there is a Facebook fan page for EVERYTHING. This whole conversation came about because I was bitching about how SmartPak (my least favorite tack company) had an add to become a Facebook fan. My friend countered that everything in world had a Facebook group or a fan page. We were joking and searching random stuff until I finally gave in and agreed that yes, everything in the world does have a Facebook page. She joked back that my blog should have a fan page, we laughed and jokingly set one up.

The more I thought about it though the more I liked the idea of having a fan page for my blog. I had never originally intended to publish it, but the more I thought about it the more sense it made to me. I tend to write pretty long winded posts. I also tend to not mention cute little things because I can’t fit them into the post. A Facebook page would be a great way to share those one sentence or one thought ideas that happen at the barns everyday. It would also be a great way to post show results so that people don’t have to wait and read through 4 days worth of posts before they find out how a show went! I was even thinking that it would be a good place to post any deals on tack and such that I find.

So last night I hit the publish button. And now my blog has a fan page on Facebook…which I think is hysterical! I know it is totally crazy, but I also think that it will be totally good! If you want to find it all you have to do is log on to Facebook and search for “A Horse And A Half” and it will pop up. Just hit the “Become a Fan” button to join!

Changeable Browband’s…what a great idea!

So I was fantasy online shopping yesterday (you know…when you add everything you want into the online cart even though you know you can never afford it) at dressage extensions when I saw what I think is a really great invention. Changeable Browbands! They are called Simple Change Browbands It is a smart little invention where there is a browband that is speically shapped so that a string of beads can be clipped into it and look like a custom made piece. I mean think about it, a new browband can cost a lot of money and can be a royal pain to take on and off of a bridle. To be able to just change the chain…that is just genius! I wish I would have thought of it! At $80 for the leather and another $40 for the beading, it is way out of my price range, but it is still a really cool idea. When you think about how an average browband with beading is well over $100 it seems almost like a bargin. I am so buying a simple change browband…right after I win the lottery 😛 Am I the only dork in the world who thinks that this is a pretty cool idea? Does anyone out there have one? Is it really as easy to change as they say it is? Is there anyone else out there that wants one like me? I am a total browband junkie so I have a nice collection going, but I would be saving a lot of space if I had bought this instead!

I can already see all the differnt bead chains I want to Phoenix…

If I only had enough to be able to splurge on cool things like this! All well…A girl can dream right?

Katie Price and the power of the double bridle…

So it is Sunday and I needed a smile and I figured that you all did too. I have reported on here before about how British Nudie Model, Katie Price, wants to ride in the Olympics. She is an avid horse woman and, for a while there, was looking for someone to buy her an Olympic horse. I have not heard any news on her in a while, but I am guessing that no one took her up on her offer. I know that a lot of people don’t like her Olympic dreams, but I still have to give her a lot of credit for trying.

I thought I could put a smile on everyones face though with a little bit of video footage. It can be very frustrating for us normal dressage riders when we see someone go out and buy a fancy horse and fly through the levels. Here is a little reminder that the double bridle is a magical piece of tack…

The top video is her warm-up for a test at a show and the bottom video was her doing a demo during the HOY festivities. Notice that this is the SAME HORSE.  Thoughts?

USDF Announce Dues Increase for 2011 Membership Year

United States Dressage Federation has announced an increase in membership dues and horse registration fees for the 2011 membership year, which begins December 1, 2010.

March 14, 2010 — United States Dressage Federation (USDF) has announced a membership dues and horse registration fee increase for the 2011 membership year, which begins December 1, 2010. At the 2009 Adequan/USDF Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, the following dues and fees were approved by the Board of Governors (BOG); 1-year Participating Membership (PM) – $75, Youth PM – $60, 5-Year PM – $300, Life PM – $1500, Business Membership – $200, Group Member Organization (GMO) Membership – $20, GMO Supporting Family Membership – $10, Horse Identification Number (HID) – $25, and Lifetime Horse Registration (LHR) – $95.

This is the first dues increase the USDF membership has seen in seven years. Following a presentation before the Board of Governors (BOG) on December 3, 2009, by Ken Levy, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to Evaluate the Membership and Fee Structure, which was formed the previous year at the Board of Governors in Denver, Colo., the BOG passed all recommendations made by the committee. In his presentation, Ken stated: “Costs change, unfortunately they never go backwards. Things have gone up. We’re just trying to catch up cost wise. “

Sam Barish, former president of USDF, who presided over the 2009 BOG, was pleased with the passage of the dues increase, and the subsequent balanced budget that was also approved. Sam stated, “The new budget puts USDF on firm financial footing for the future.”

For more information on USDF membership and horse registrations, or to find out more about the annual convention and board of governors, visit http://www.usdf.org.

*To say that I am not thrilled about the fee increase is an understatement. I also have a problem with the fact that they state they have had not had any fee increases in a decade. They just increase the lifetime horse fee a few years ago. What is so frustrating is that the USDF seems to have lost touch with the needs of your average rider. I was on the fence about joining Phoenix and I this year, and I have been regretting doing it ever since. The shows are just so much more expensive than school schooling shows. Not only that but the number of shows you have to do to even qualify for an award is very high so you are just spending lots and lots of money with them and most likely not getting a whole lot back unless you are a 70% horse/rider combo. Clinics and other educational opportunities are often for the upper level or pro rider only. I am just frustrated with how expensive it is already so to hear about a rate increase just broke my heart. It would not be such a big deal if we were not required (by penalty of paying a fee for non-membership) to have a $75 USEF membership as well. That is $150 in memberships already not counting GMO memberships, which have also gone up this year and will likely go up again next year because USDF is likely to raise their dues to them as well. At what point does it not become worth it? For me, who was already on the fence about joining, breaking that $150 limit is most likely going to be my breaking point unless I have the show year to end all show years going USDF this year. I am also disappointed because George Williams seemed to understand the difficulties of being an adult amateur trying to compete in dressage…I guess not.  I have a lot of thoughts as to how USDF can save and make money which I will share in another post. For now I just wanted to share the news and my disappointment.*

Courtney King-Dye Coma Update – Day 22

Today, March 25th 2010 is going to be a big day for Courtney! She is scheduled to be leaving the hospital in Flordia and flying to a wonderful rehab facility. Courtney King-Dye is going to the Kessler Instatue in New Jersey! I have personal experiance with how wonderful Kessler is and so I was excited that is where they chose for her to go during this next stage in her recovery. It sounds like she is going to be there for a while so if you want to send a card they have a new address to send it to (The address is 1199 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ 07052). I am so happy that she is recovering everyday! If you live on the east coast keep your eyes on the sky today because you might have an Olympian flying over your head. I cannot wait for the offical “she is out of the coma” post someday. For now I am just happy to read that she is on the road to recovery. For full details check out Lendon’s blog post.

Horses Needed for the Para-Equestrian Riders for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

*When I read this story on Dressage Daily it broke my heart. I know two of these riders personally. Rebecca Heart I interviewed for my blog last year and Jon Wentz came to my area a few years ago for a clinic and needed help so my Therapeutic Riding Center at the time was able to help him find a horse and I was lucky enough to be assigned to help him out. He is a REALLY good rider. The mare he was lent was not so nice so on one of the clinic days we figured I would get on her to warm her up and really get after her so maybe she would be better for Jon. He gave me a mini lesson and he was great! He really knows his stuff. Plus his Mom works with and loves horses so I know that whatever horse they are lent will get TONS of TLC. I really wish that Phoenix could go WEGs, but even if he could I know that he is not the right horse for Jon. Jon is very tall (he was over 6 feet when I met him and that was years ago) and with his CP he needs a thinner horse also. If anyone knows of a horse that can be borrowed please contact these very deserving riders. Not only will you being a good deed, but think of how cool it will be to see a horse you know in all sorts of magazines as the winner of WEGs! I know that these riders have what it takes to win, we need to pull together as a horse community and help them out!*

Here is the full article from DressageDaily

Help three outstanding and inspiring, young American para-equestrians ride at this year’s Alltech 2010 World Equestrian Games.
Dressage legend Robert Dover has appealed for help, specifically for horses, for Becca Hart, Holly Bergay, and Jonathan Wenz. These three athletes are all in training for the World Equestrian Games, but their horses’ fitness is now in question, and they are searching for new mounts to make their dreams come true. Can you help them, and can they help you? Do you own a suitable dressage horse and have you always dreamed of watching it go at the World Equestrian Games? Becca, Holly or James could make that happen for you.
Robert Dover, who has competed in 6 consecutive Olympics for the US Dressage Team, as well as 4 World Championship Teams and earned more honors than any other US dressage rider, stepped in and wrote about Jonathan, Holly and Becca’s predicament on his website, Doversworld.com.

When Robert Dover recently met Jonathan Wentz, 19, he felt compelled to help him. Jonathan has cerebral palsy, and it is his dream to represent the USA at the 2010 Alltech WEG in Lexington, Kentucky. He combines being a full time student at SMU with working off his board at the barn. In May last year he competed in his first CPEDI 3*, para-equestrian international dressage competition and first Para-Equestrian National Championships where he ranked 7th nationally, and received qualifying scores from both tests, earning his certificate of capability for the Games. Last weekend Jonathan and his horse Richter Scale made the thirty-something hour trip from Texas to Del Mar, California to compete at Dressage Affaire, only to find that sadly, his horse was not sound upon arrival.

Becca HartBecca Hart, 25, was born with a rare genetic disease called Familial Spastic Paraplegia (FSP). As an adult, it primarily affects her muscles and joints from the waist down. Becca started riding at the age of 10, and has been the National Paralympic Champion in 2006, 2008, and 2009. In 2008, she was a member of the US Paralympic Equestrian Team competing in Hong Kong with her horse Norteassa, and took 4th place in the freestyle.

Becca is a full time student at Pennsylvania State and when she graduates hopes to become a forensic accountant. She is currently working for U.S. Para-Equestrian Team Coach Missy Ransehousen at Blue Hill Farm where she keeps her horse, as well as moonlighting as a barista at Starbucks.

Holly BergayHolly Bergay is just 17 years old, and was born without her left hand. Like Becca, she has competed through Prix St Georges level Dressage. She has also competed at the North American Young Riders’ Championships and now it is her dream to ride at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Holly trains in California with Debbie McDonald and Sarah Dodge and is also in need of a mount for the games..

The 2010 Radio show read about these riders’ predicament on Doversworld, and has dedicated this week’s show to them. Robert Dover, Canadian Dressage Team Coach, is our special guest, and we are joined by Becca, Holly and Jonathan. They deserve a chance to ride at the Games, and we would love to help them get there. They all need Dressage trained horses, so please rack your brains and put your heads together to see what you can do to help these three amazing young riders achieve their ambitions and represent the USA at the Alltech FEI 2010 World Equestrian Games.

If you have a horse, or know of a horse that might be suitable, please contact the 2010 Radio Show, Robert Dover, or one of the riders.

You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathanwentz.org, more about Holly at www.hollybergay.com, and you can email Becca at rth136@psu.com