Monday, January 30, 2012

Lights, Camera, AIKEN!

Well it was a week ago today that the first load of horses left PA to make the journey South. Now, all 17 horses have arrived safely and happily in Aiken, SC.

Robyn Weaver was kind enough to be my eyes and ears for the first week settling into the beautiful and hospitable Pine Ridge Stables.

"I was so blown away," Robyn said. "I wasn’t expecting it to be this nice… I mean I wasn’t expecting it to be crappy, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this nice."

She admitted it did take a couple of days for the horses to settle in. She assures no one was going crazy, but they were a little wound up after the long trip. Let's be honest, the Aiken veterans probably were just overjoyed to run around in the warm sun! Sabrina - we all know you are spending the majority of your day sprawled out, sunbathing.

So far, and this is a little difficult with more horses than stalls, the hardest part was figuring out how to switch turnout. Yes, when one learns how to juggle horses, she can conquer the world!

Now the routine is 7 horses are in all night, and 10 are out all night, this then switches during the day.

The first couple of days were full or walking out horses and hacks - the best way to acclimate especially with the beautiful, sandy hacking trails Pine Ridge has to offer. But when those seem outdated.. there's always Hitchcock Woods.

The Havarah crew has literally used and abused Hitchcock trails - they have been there four days in a row! Robyn described how they ride out on one long trail from where they park, but then end up on Ridge Mile Track. In the middle of the loop there is pretty much free cross-country schooling, complete with brush jumps.

Robyn said her leading man, Fabio, is doing really well. She was so excited because the first time she took him out on a hack, he was so calm and cool and didn’t jig the entire time on the way back. Furthermore, he was apparently phenomenal at Hitchcock woods

She and Fabio will make their Aiken debut on February 18th at Paradise Farm. She says she is just excited to learn how to relax when riding and competing - not over analyzing everything. Robyn's already basking in the relaxed, Southern mentality.

Relaxing? Horses? OK, yes I used those two words in the same sentence but really Aiken is relaxing. Don't get me wrong it's also A LOT of work - but that's just it, work doesn't feel like work - it's really all play!

OK ya, they start at 6:45 a.m., feed, muck, switch turnout - but then by 11 a.m. they get to trailer off to some new venue and ride till their hearts are content!

“It doesn’t really feel like work, even when you’re mucking stalls you’re not like God I can’t wait to just be done!” Robyn said. "I’m just so excited to be here, I was really actually kinda worried that I would get like homesick or something but I don’t even really think about home.”

Leto and Indie will start the show season off at Full Gallop this Wednesday at the novice level. Robyn admits it will be nice only having two horses going as she needs to get back in the swing of shows.

Yes, there are sure to be ups and downs, but everyone seems to be stepping up to the plate and just getting their work done. Robyn relates how easy it really was to transition, and how everyone just gets along so easily.

Stay tuned because you know that only one thing can come from four Havarah girls living under one roof.... LOADS OF FUN!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2 Trips Down, One to Go!

Well at 3 a.m. Kara and I began the routine wrapping and switching out blankets for coolers, and detailing out the horse's halters with fuzziness.

Then, we loaded 10 horses: Benny, Carson, Rivan, Smiley, Fabio, Zhen, Piney, Leto, Toulousse and Sabrina, on a van to Aiken. All the horses thank goodness were phenomenal to load (they must have sensed I am NOT a morning person so they best be on good behavior ;) ).

Then, a short 12 hours later or so, they arrived in Aiken! Molly says the pastures and stalls are magnificent - and as you will see in a photo shortly following - they girls seem to be happy in their new, sunny atmosphere.

Enjoy these photos and an Aiken update will be following shortly!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aiken or Bust!

So I think I'm standing alone when I say I'm a little upset right now.

Rob is excited because he won't have to muck as many stalls for two months.

Kara will have less horses stressing her out and she can re-grow the grass in the paddocks.

The girls are all hyped for a new adventure.

Molly is ready to get some more miles on the upper level horses and is excited to start the new ones.

And I'm sad why?

In about 10 hours Molly, Robyn, Hannah and Maddie will load up the first four horses and leave us here in PA for the warm, southern hospitality that is Aiken, SC.

I'm going to miss them! But enough of the boo-hoo. Aiken is such an exciting adventure and it seems like each year Molly's business grows and this year a whopping 18 horses are heading south!

They will leave at 4 a.m. with the first group and the destination is Pine Ridge Stables and the luxurious 10-stall barn. Yup, they upgraded this year.

The second load will leave in a van on Tuesday (10 horses) and the last trailer will leave Thursday.

The trailer is all packed and ready to roll, and Bubba (Molly's trooper of a truck) will have to just make it over one big hill and then it's smooth sailing to South Carolina.

It snowed this weekend, and we aren't expecting a blizzard like the one that made the trip a bit interesting last year, so hopefully the trip goes off without a hitch.

To my Havarah Team: Have the best time. Learn tons! Enjoy two months of shows, schoolings, lessons and hacks and we'll see you when you get back!

To our readers: No worries, I will be stalking the girls to be constantly in-the-know so ya'll will be continually updated on all the Southern fun!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

R.I.P. Brio

Unfortunately Havarah lost one of it's teammates today, and Kim Parisan lost a very dear friend.

Brio belonged to Kim Parisan, Maddie's mom, and they, together galloped around many cross country courses and shared many wonderful eventing memories.

Brio was a chestnut, quarter horse, gelding with a big old white blaze. Although dressage was always a little bit of a struggle, Kim and Brio could dominate in the jumper ring and galloped cross country with ease.

In fact, at the Cecil County Fair this past summer, Brio and Kim racked in the ribbons!

As horse-lovers, we all know that a time like this is more than losing a pet, it's losing a best friend. That being said our hearts go out to Kim and we all have you and Brio in our thoughts.

Brio passed away this afternoon. The cause is unknown but we believe it was quick and he didn't suffer. I've attached some photos of Kim and Brio's career so everyone could remember him fondly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Long Awaited Welcome

Towards the end of the summer we got a new working student here at Havarah. Her name is Robyn Weaver.

I don't know how Molly finds such amazing people to work at the barn - but I'm surely grateful she has such a keen eye because Robyn is the perfect addition to the Havarah clan.

At 18, Robyn recently graduated from High School and decided to put school on hold to further her knowledge and experience in horses.

Molly told me Robyn's first day would be on one of my working weekends, and I'm not going to lie - I was greatly impressed right off the bat.

Robyn stepped right up to the plate instantly and when I gave her the job of cob webbing... oh man she cobwebbed the barns spotless!

There was no explaining the necessity of scrubbing water buckets, or why we are as anal about the little things as we are - she just easily molded into the flow of how things work around here which was so great.

Robyn's relaxed, drama-free, can-do attitude it delightfully refreshing to be around. She really puts you at ease when working with her because she is so mellow and is just an absolutely sweet, kind-hearted person.

So, how did Robyn's role at Havarah come to be? Well we have to back up a few years for this....

The girl has been around horses her entire life. I know, most of us have, but literally her parents met while they were both working students at a farm when they were teenagers. Adorable.

The family tree in the eventing scene is pretty cool. Her dad was in pony club and evented up to intermediate while her mom evented up to prelim level. The family started a breeding farm in the 90's and operated it for about 10 years- this is the farm of which Robyn has always lived. Robyn's dad is one of our county's wonderful vets.. thus might be why Robyn is so smart!

Robyn hopped in the saddle as a toddler around 2 or 3 and rode with her mom at home until she was about 7. When she was 10, after a little break from riding, she got a job with Betsy and Ronnie Houghton at Sylmar Farm where she worked till age 15. She started galloping horses for them at 13, and got the opportunity to ride a pony, Ode for Joy, allowing her to win 3 out of 4 pony races! Thus her NEED FOR SPEED!!

When she was 16 she got another job at a breeding farm where she was she and another rider where in charge of all the under saddle work. THEN she came over to Havarah- there won't be another job title after this one, as we wont let her leave here!

Robyn's mom, who was her main trainer at the time, suggested Robyn start to take lessons from Molly. Robyn, who had only completed a phew starter trials having never been serious about eventing, wanted to know more about the sport. Mom's do seem to always know best.

It didn't take long for her to join the Havarah team after falling in love with Molly's very patient and excellent instruction.

Her mount Stare Daggers, or "Fabio", now resides at Havarah and Robyn hopes to take him training by the end of the year. Fabio was originally a re-sell project, but alas Robyn fell in love so now he has a permanent home with her.

In addition to her own horse, Robyn other current obsession is Rio, who is a Clydesdale, Thoroughbred, Connemara cross. She loves how intuitive he is and his willingness to learn.

Robyn will go down to Aiken with Molly, Hannah and Maddie where I'm sure she will have a blast and learn so much just as we all do in Aiken. So for all you eventers going South for the winter make sure to stop by the trailer and meet Robyn! I'm sure she will make you smile!



Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Cavalry Meets Havarah

Well this is an exciting, somewhat sad, but most of all interesting turn of affairs for one dedicated working student at Havarah.

As you all may remember, Hannah decided to lease Zhen and in turn sell her young mare, Anna's Band.

Anna sold today - which Hannah admits was exciting but was not an event void of tears - but to a true "first" kind of client of Havarah.

Anna will now spend her days as a Cavalry horse. Yup, I'm talking old school, Civil War, reenactment style.

She is trading in the fancy dressage braids and cross country courses for going to war, charging through rivers and standing in lines of noble horses ready to defend our country - or at least - help others reminisce in a pivotal moment in our country's history.

How this all came to be? I told Hannah she was a lucky girl because in horses, this happens once in a blue moon....

David Milly, saw Anna on and called Molly with major interest. He said he was looking for a horse to do Civil War reenactments on and Molly apparently said let's give it a go!

He came to look at Anna yesterday and Hannah said it was pretty hysterical watching Molly ride Anna around the ring, neck reining and doing all sorts of moves us eventing folk go to rodeos to see.

After countless "interesting" questions about Anna - like "has she been around many flags??" etc - it was apparent David was interested in this pretty, doe-eyed, gray mare.

He asked Molly to come by today, he wanted to bring his Captain to see this outstanding mare, but seemed to have already made up his mind seeing as he came with a truck and trailer attached.

He brought his old-school saddle to try on Anna, and she did not seem a bit phased. Hannah said she knew it was a deal when he went walking around the field, and came galloping back with a HUGE smile on his face.

So, the sale was set, and Miss Anna Banana was loaded on the trailer today and sent off to her new, and I must say rather exciting, home.

It was not without some sadness from Hannah. She sad it was sad to see her "baby girl go" but she is very excited to begin her eventing career with Zhen in Aiken (they plan to move up to novice at Pine Top!).

You may see this little girl if you visit the reenactments in Gettysburg - we are all sure she will be oh so happy with her new life and well-loved.

We'll miss you Anna's Band, enjoy your new home and we can't wait to see you staring in your new role!