It’s been a long road to the CCI*……..

This Thursday, Gus and I (along with Jeff, Kate, and Wade) will head to Virginia to compete in our first ever one star.  It has been a dream of mine to be able to compete with Gus at the FEI levels, but one that I was beginning to believe would never happen.   Before the packing frenzy begins, I would just like to take a minute to write down some of my thoughts…..

I decided this summer to “get on with it”.  Gus was sound and jumping better than ever.  I was turning 40, and I didn’t want to ever say “I wish I would have……”.  I headed to Young Riders’ Camp in Michigan where I spoke my hopes to do Intermediate out loud in public for the first time.  It was at the Young Riders’ Camp where I made the connections with Elissa.  After that, I was committed to the process.  I drove to Lexington every week for lessons.  We followed the strict training/conditioning schedule that Elissa gave us.  Gus and I galloped at Twin Towers every Friday morning, and we competed in shows to get us ready for competion.  I have spent thousands of dollars on FEI, — USEF, and — USEA memberships, vet bills, adequan injections,  lessons, dressage attire, entry fees, and a national passport for Gus.  The hours that I have spent in preparation for this one show is nearly unbelievable, and at times made me question whether or not any of this was worthwhile.   Looking back now, it has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life…..for so many reasons.

So before things get too crazy this week, I want to say thank you to some really important people for helping me and Gus get to this point.

To Jeff—for allowing me the chance to live out my dreams while he tries to live out his simultaneously.  I know it hasn’t been easy (or cheap!) to live here so that I could train and be a stay at home mom at the same time. Thank you for this farm (and especially for Gus).

To our parents….. for helping us with our kids whenever (and I mean, “whenever”) we have needed help.

To our Wetherbrooke Farm Barn Girls–Thank you for all of the extra time you have spent helping me out when I have been gone.  For taking fantastic care of Gus (and all of the others). And for all of the words of encouragement.  I am truly blessed to be surrounded by the greatest students/boarders/employees/ and friends.  I hope we make you proud this weekend !

God is good, and I thank Him for keeping Gus sound and me safe throughout this journey.


Octoberfest Horse Trials—-UPDATED


This weekend is going really well so far.  Elizabeth and Quinn put in a really nice dressage test which put them into 9th place after dressage.  She and Quinn have been working really hard on getting a true connection in the bridle, and it is starting to pay off in a big way.  Quinn  got some very good marks and was much more consistent throughout the entire test.  Elizabeth went on to do a very nice stadium round.  She ended with a double clear ride which put the pair into 8th place.    She will do xc tomorrow at 11:15.

Elizabeth and Quinn before dressage


Today Elizabeth did xc.  She and Quinn went double clear and ended up in 5th place.  CONGRATULATIONS, ELIZABETH!!!

Elizabeth and Quinn before XC


Kelli and Cavalier had the best dressage test they’ve ever had!  The pair received a 28.2, which put them into 1st place after dressage.  They have been working very hard on getting roundness without losing the impulsion, and they pulled it all together for this one.   They went on to do the best stadium jumping they have ever done—-all except for one minor glitch.  The pair was jumping fantastic when a huge garbage truck started dumping trash at the end of the arena where Kelli was riding.   Cavalier got so distracted and frightened by it that Kelli thought she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the jump.  She circled a couple of times in order to get him back together, and then jumped the rest of her course perfectly.  It was a great ride, and she did everything related to the jumps very well.  Due to the circling, she received 12 penalties and dropped to last place.  After some extreme heart to hearts about doing whatever it takes to get him to the fence even if he’s distracted, Kelli agreed that it was her best course to date.  A tough lesson learned, but it was a great time of year to learn it.

Kelli and Cavalier after their 1st place dressage ride


Gus put in a great ride last night and a great warm up today before our dressage test.  I was super excited about the prospect of going out and winning it, but as I came down the center line and his head shot straight up in the air, I knew my chances for a dream dressage test went down the tubes.  I looked up to see a big black friesian horse in a neon green body costume with what looked like wings attached to it.   Gus couldn’t think straight after that.  He put in a crazy few minutes of dressage, but still ended up with a 38.2….one point out of first place.  We should have been in first, but the constant staring at the costume wearing horse took away 99% of our relaxation.  I got comments about having a “tactful ride” on a “very sensitive horse” etc. etc.  All I could think about was kicking Gus’s butt for being so “sensitive”.  I felt a bit better, however, when I rode my best stadium ride to date.  Once again, however, Mr. Sensitivity knocked the first rail of the course.  He was brilliant the rest of the time.  I tried to beat myself up over it, but Elissa made me feel better when she said that sometimes horses just make mistakes.  She said it was a fantastic way to end my last jump school before Virginia.  I stayed in 2nd place, which made it feel even better.  Gus got to do his victory gallop to the tune of “Monster Mash”……and he was just that , a monster.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself, and he has a pretty red ribbon on his stall tonight.

Gus manages to stay in second after his rail


Today Gus and I did some xc schooling with Elissa.  Gus was great!   He felt strong, fast, and straight.  Elissa was extremely pleased with how we did, and I couldn’t have been any happier with the schooing.  Things are coming together, and I’m looking forward to the trip to Virginia on Thursday!




Murphy is fantastic.  I brought him here as a “non compete” horse this weekend since McKinley was sold last week.  He has not made a peep.  He has been enjoying himself and the chaos around him.  I have taken him for long walks around the horse park, and he has not been afraid of a single thing.  He has been a gentleman for Kate to lead, and I am going to try to ride him sometime tomorrow if I have time.  He reminds me  a little bit of Gus —without the neurotic tendencies.    I couldn’t have asked for him to be any better this weekend.


I didn’t have time to ride him today, but Murphy was a big boy on his long walk down to the dressage arena.  I have never had a horse be so calm at their first trip to the Kentucky Horse Park.  He is bold and brave, and I cannot wait to get the time to start riding him again after my show.

Kate and Murphy

This week at Wetherbrooke

This past weekend Kate and Wade both finished their soccer seasons.  Kate’s team played in the Beavercreek Classic and was knocked out of the final round by a really strong Lima team.  Wade played his heart out, like usual, but his little team lost 1-0 to the red team.  We are looking forward to having some of our evenings back!

Sunday afternoon we were able to take the kids to Kings Island for the last time of the season.  Wade finally got his 48″ wrist band!!!  We had an absolute blast riding the Beast, Italian Stunt Job, Flight Deck, the Racers and so many more!  He was so excited to finally be able to ride the big people rides.  He’s a dare devil just like his big sister!

Since McKinley was sold last week, I have decided to take on a new project horse for the winter.  Yesterday we went to see him at a nearby farm.  “Tucker” is a 9 year old draft cross that is currently jumping small fences and doing low level dressage.  He is absolutely adorable, and we are really excited about bringing him home this week or next.

This morning I took Gus to Lexington for my last official lesson with Elissa before the one star in Virginia.  I can’t say that I’m upset about not having to get up at 5am on Tuesdays anymore!  Everything went extremely well, and it was by far the best jumping lesson we have had.  Gus feels fit and is jumping very correctly.   We are down to just a week and a half before our show, and I am feeling ready.  This weekend I will be taking Gus, Cavalier, Quinn, and Murphy to the Octoberfest Horse Trials at the Kentucky Horse Park.  McKinley was supposed to compete in his first Beginner Novice, but due to the fact that he is sold,  he will be staying home.  Murphy will get the opportunity to hang out in a stall this weekend so that I can get him some exposure to a big venue.  I am hoping that my 4 year old is as brave as his 5 year old predecessor!  Gus will be doing the prelim combined test as his last chance to jump before our show.  We will school some xc fences with Elissa on Sunday to get Gus in the water before we head to Virginia.  Quinn and Elizabeth will do Beginner Novice while Kelli and Cavalier do the Starter combined test and the dressage show simultaneously.  I am really excited about seeing Elizabeth and Kelli put together all the skills they have been working on for the last few months.

Tonight I went to see the Dayton Christian girls varsity soccer team play in their 3rd game of the state tournament against Springfield Catholic.  Jessica’s girls played a great game,  but lost to Springfield Catholic 3-1.  It was an exciting game, and Kate and I were glad to get to see them play tonight.  Congratulations, Coach Orme, on a great season!



Our last official gallop……

This morning my alarm went off at 7am.  I wasn’t excited about getting out of bed that early on a rainy Saturday morning, but today was my last day to gallop.  I fed horses and put Gus in the trailer at 8am.   The rain stopped almost as soon as we pulled into Twin Towers, which made my next hour and a half so much more pleasant.

We did our long trotting warm up and then went immediately into our first 6 minute gallop.   Gus felt a little bit tired after our long trot.  He was a bit sluggish in the first 6.  The second 6 was fast and really uphill.  Over the last few months his gallop has gotten dramatically better.  The 3rd 6 was just as good as the 2nd 6.  Last week he was pretty tired for the 3rd gallop set, but today he felt great.

I hopped off after being on him for almost an hour.  It took just about 10 minutes for his body (respirations, temp, pulse) to recover.  I was really happy with how well he did today…….and what a blast!

I iced, mudded, and wrapped his legs when I got home.  I had about 5 minutes to change my clothes before heading to Wade’s soccer game.




Today, Meg purchased my thoroughbred gelding, McKinley!  I am doubly excited because he will get to stay in my barn!  They are going to be a fantastic team, and look to do their first event together in the spring.  CONGRATULATIONS, MEG!!!

Congratulations, Meg!
Meg and her new horse!



Been a looooooooong day…..

I rolled out of my bed this morning at 5:30am.  I pulled my weary horse out of his dark, cozy stall to get him cleaned up and loaded into my trailer.  I was almost to Dry Ridge, Kentucky before the sun came up on 75 South.  It was just one of MANY sunrises I have seen from my truck over the last several months.

I made it with just enough time to tack up, stud, and get Gus up the hill to the jump field by 9am.  We had another great lesson today, and I am continually amazed at how much I don’t know about jumping.  I have learned so much over the last few months with Elissa, and I will be such a better instructor because of it.

Gus was great today.  I put him back into the trailer at 10:30am and headed back up the highway toward home.

Dr. Yates was coming today to check out one of my boarder’s horses.  I was thrilled that he was coming because I just received my passport back in the mail from the — USEF with some items that needed to be corrected.  Dr. Yates had used the wrong color of ink—–yes, you read that correctly—-to mark Gus’s scars on his drawing.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDINGGGGGG!  Once again, I was amazed at the fact that anyone has ever made it through the paperwork in order to even show their horse at the one star level!  Poor Dr. Yates will rue the day that he ever stepped foot onto this property.  We got the last details of the passport taken care of, and it is now ready to be mailed to Kentucky……again.  Let’s hope it’s all “acceptable” this time.

After I taught my last few lessons,  I gathered up Wade’s soccer stuff and headed to my in-law’s house to pick him up.  His practice started at 5pm, and as usual, we were going to be a few minutes late.

I arrived at practice to find out that tonight was the “parents vs. kids”  game.  Nice.  Wade missed practice last Thursday, so we missed that important piece of information.  What was I wearing, you ask???  I had on breeches, under armour, a riding vest, blue and white stripey knee socks, and furry crocs.  The PERFECT soccer outfit!

After running for a few minutes with my furry crocs on, I decided to do the only smart thing and play in my socks.  I got stepped on just once, but luckily 6 year olds don’t weigh that much!

The parents won the game (due to some overzealous fathers trying to prove their manhood over a bunch of 6 year old little boys) and demanded that the little guys form a tunnel for us to run through for fun.  It was really funny, and slightly difficult, to lower ourselves to the height of the 6 year old tunnel.  I had a great time playing against Wade, and I think the kids had fun too.

Tonight I plan to watch the debate on TV.  Wade, in the spirit of the evening, chose “Duck For President” as his bedtime story.  Perhaps he’s on to something………

Barn Bash 2012——a great time had by all ( or at least some)

We had perfect weather last night for the 8th annual Wetherbrooke Farm Barn Bash.  We have no idea how many people were here, but there were enough cars to fill up Gus’s field.   We thoroughly enjoyed the hay rides in the dark.  It was really neat to look back across the hay field to see all of the Christmas lights on the bank barn.  The fishing derby went well, and my niece Clara won the prize for the largest fish at 15 inches!  The games and pinata, as usual, were a highlight for all the kids.  My mom went over the top with the prizes in the “General Store”, and every child’s bucket was brimming with loot!  Lakin performed her first (of many) Barn Bash pony ride sessions, and did a fantastic job.  Thank you, Elizabeth, Julie, Kelli, and Emily for being pony wranglers, gate keepers, and child organizers!  The food seemed better than ever, and although I barely got to eat anything, it looked like it would have tasted fantastic.  Jeff built a great fire beside the overhang, and we sat watching the kids run wild under the lights in my outdoor arena.   My favorite part of the evening was listening to my friend’s band, “The Back 40 Blues Band”, filling up the night air with great music.  Thanks, Gene and the gang!  We hope to have you back next year.Thanks again, to everyone who helped get the farm ready for the party.  Weed wacking, mowing, setting up tables, moving jumps out of the arena, setting up the hay wagon, cleaning, and preparing the meat….etc. etc. etc.

My two Barn Bash kids
The hay ride
Game central
Allison playing a game
Corinthia and Daniel—looking like real “cowboys/girls”!
Joy and Evelyn
The cars filled up Gus’s field
Fishing Derby at the pond
Julie and Elizabeth—–Lakin’s trial run for the night
Gene Jestice and “The Back 40 Blues Band”














Barn Bash 2012

Tomorrow we will host our 8th annual “BARN BASH”.  The party will start at 4pm with games, a fishing derby, and other fun activities.  After that will be pony rides, hay rides, and dinner.  At 7pm we will hang out by the bonfire while listening to “The Back 40 Blues Band”.   And of course……….the night wouldn’t be complete without the “stickhorse steeplechase”.

What to bring…… a dessert or side dish to share, your own drinks, chairs or blankets to sit on,  and your stickhorse

We hope to see you here!

What to wear…….western attire, of course


Random pictures from around the farm…………..

Fall Mums
Buttercup in her new blanket
the view through the north barn
One of the last roses
A pretty day on the farm
Murphy is ready for the cold night!
I think Armani is jealous of Murphy’s new threads
Does this blanket make my ears look big????????









My internet is back on!

Our house internet has been down since last week sometime.  Though I have learned a great deal about lava, history, antiques, and other wonders of the world while having PBS as my only TV channel, I was glad to get my Netflix back today.  It also means that I can once again enlighten all of you with a blog about what is going on at Wetherbrooke Farm…..ha ha ha.

Things are happening here.  We are in the middle of Party Planning Hell, as we like to call it.  The Barn Bash “Revisited” is upon us, and we are nowhere near ready.  We are really looking forward to having it, and I’m sure it will put itself together very shortly.

Gus is fantastic.  He galloped very well on Friday.  Recovered on Saturday.  Walked on Sunday.  Jumped in Lexington yesterday. Today we will do light dressage work.  Dr. Yates came out yesterday to fill out the final portion of his passport and gave him a flu-rhino booster for Virginia.  I am going to try to stick it back in the mail to the — USEF today for final approval.  What a pain in the rear.

Murphy has chilled out nicely.  Once I started riding him, I think he realized that he wasn’t at the track .  He has been a great deal more settled since he began his new job.

McKinley is doing very well.  I have been having some of my students ride him in lessons due to the fact that I have 3 others to ride every day in October.  The girls enjoy him, and it gives me a chance to watch him from the ground.  Someone is coming to look at him on Monday, and I hope that they are a good fit.  It saddens me to let him go, but Gus is costing me too much money.

Buttercup—–she is absolutely adorable.  Because she is so young and green, Elizabeth has been riding her before each lesson student gets on her.  Elizabeth is having as much fun with her as the lesson students!  I am pleased with how well she is doing, and her weight is much better already.

Octoberfest is just around the corner.  Gus is going to do the Prelim.  combined test.  McKinley (if he’s not sold) is going to move up to Beginner Novice.  Cavalier and Kelli are doing the Combined test.  Elizabeth and Quinn are doing Beginner Novice.  Elizabeth has a little bit of work to do on the canter, and if all goes well she will be moving to novice after this show.

Time to get outside and ride….