Tag Archives: Horses

Get Ready, Austin – Dover Saddlery Opens Soon!

Newspaper Taxi - Jenny Paisley Riding ClinicDover Saddlery is coming to Austin! The grand opening weekend is November 8-10, 2013. This is an exciting time for Austin equestrians.

Since I began riding again in 2005, Dover Saddlery’s been a favorite tack shop stop. I’ve not had the privilege of going to an actual Dover store because they are too far away. The internet, once again, levels the playing field. I love shopping at Dover’s online store. (Afriel and I have a wish list two miles long!)

What keeps Dover rockin’ with the equestrian scene is the tack store’s ability to warehouse and supply so damned many items. Everything from medication to supplements, saddles to barn equipment, and a plethora of equestrian attire. And more! Dover really has cornered the market with 1) inventory and 2) price.

I’ve heard a few people complain about Dover on Chronicle of the Horse forums, but I’ve Double Jeopardy - Blue Ribbon Summer Festival IInever had a problem. Twice, in all the years I’ve ordered from Dover, items went missing en route to my home. Not a problem, however. Dover’s excellent customer service team apologized and reshipped immediately. Now that’s how you handle customers you value.

Now Dover Saddlery has made its way to Central Texas. It’s great for us because I’d love to visit the storefront and meet the team running it. We also have very little competition with the few tiny tack stores, so this is good for business. I hope to see Dover trailers at the horse shows in Zone 7, too.

Dover, is that going to happen?

I’ve received my special invitation to the store’s private VIP reception. I’ve also received other literature compiling some grand opening specials. This Dover store will cater to the following disciplines: hunter/jumper, eventing, and dressage (no surprise). Check out the goodies! When you come for the grand opening weekend, you may win a $500 shopping spree. Every equestrian knows $500 won’t go too far – ha! – but this is a mighty generous prize from a great brand.

There will also be door prizes, samples, giveaways, and the opportunity to meet Dover Saddlery product advisors.

Thanks for a fantastic year of riding, Dover! You were a BIG part of the success I found with Newspaper Taxi and Double Jeopardy.

Double Jeopardy - Blue Ribbon Summer Festival II    Newspaper Taxi - Jenny Paisley Riding Clinic










Dover Saddlery is located at 8820 Burnet Road in Austin, Texas 78758. The phone number is 512-452-8100. Store hours are Monday thru Thursday, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.


Blue Ribbon Summer Festival II in Waco, Texas

Ribbon Summer Festival II.
Double Jeopardy and Laura Townshend, the 2’6″ Hunter Classic winners, with trainer Paige Erwin.

The life of showing horses can’t be summed up in one word. At least not from my perspective. We recently attended the Blue Ribbon Summer Festival II in Waco, Texas. I can put this particular show into three words: It was  GREAT!

David Morse, of Morse & Associates, is the mastermind behind the Blue Ribbon Show Series. The Blue Ribbon Summer Festival is held annually in June. The only downside of this circuit is the terrible Texas heat. The upside? This is the last USEF AA-rated and THJA A-rated show until September. You betcha riders and horses line up to be part of the action. This year’s shows served exhibitors from as far away as Florida.

I must give a personal shout-out to David Morse. When I originally sent in my entry forms, my daughter and I were both planning to show and we were each taking a horse. Within days of submitting our entries, we had my daughter’s show hunter seen by Cliff Honnas, DVM, of Texas Equine Hospital. Our beloved Newspaper Taxi was diagnosed with spinal issues, received back injections, and is awaiting surgery. I emailed David Morse to pull our horse from the show, and David made the process so simple. When we actually arrived at the show and checked in with the show management office, Newspaper Taxi’s entry form had been pulled by David. There was no need for me to present Dr. Honnas’ documentation or explain why our other horse wasn’t there. David, you rock! Thanks!

This was my first rated show with the horse I’m leasing, Double Jeopardy (Monte). He’s an eighteen year old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred cross, and an adult hunter champion. He’s owned by Caren Luckie and trained by Pam Hunt of Hunt Farm. Thanks for allowing me to love, ride, and show your amazing horse!

Double Jeopardy and Laura Townshend at the Blue Ribbon Summer Festival II 2013.

I’ve mentioned before that it takes a village to prepare a horse. I want to thank Jaime Zavala, professional show groom, for taking such good care of Monte while we were on the road. Without Jaime’s special care, we would not have achieved the success we found at this show. My daughter, Afriel, was instrumental in keeping me cool and calm between classes. Thanks for all the bottled water and wet towels!

Robin Burgess of Sunset Cliff Farms was also nice enough to give me tips about the ring we rode in. As we were schooling in the early morning on Tuesday, she rode up, said hello and told me the outside lines were a long five. Thanks, Robin!

We had a super show. Great food all week long (we will be posting our reviews shortly) and it was so good to see all my horsey friends.

These videos are Monte and me riding the 2’6″ Hunter Classic rounds. And, of course, our victory gallop!

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show 2013 in Katy, Texas

k Charity Horse Show 2013
Newspaper Taxi and me taking a stroll. Dig the coffee and my handsome horse!

In March 2013, a lifelong dream was realized. I was an exhibitor at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, Texas. I’ve been to many to Pin Oak shows as a youngster, but always as a spectator. You’d probably be surprised that my last Pin Oak show was in the 1970s, held at the original Pin Oak Stable. So visiting the Great Southwest Equestrian Center and being part of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was a total kick!




The morning of the first day of the show, following our trainer, Paige Erwin, to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.

At the show barn.

This video is of Newspaper Taxi with Paige Erwin in the first round of the Pre-Green 3′ Hunters on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Newspaper Taxi and Paige Erwin showing in their second round of the Pre-Green 3′ Hunters, Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

One of my Modified Adult Hunter rounds with Newspaper Taxi on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

One of my rounds with Newspaper Taxi showing in the Modified Adult Hunters on Thursday, March 28, 2013.

History of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

The original Pin Oak Stables, owned by Jim S. Abercrombie, had only one goal in mind: to help children. This began in 1945. Three years later, Pin Oak gave funding to develop the Texas Children’s Hospital, and later on, to Houston’s Ronald McDonald House and the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance. Since then, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has created art projects for patients at the Texas Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. This art contributes to the horse show by making equine-themed images that are used for promotions and as souvenirs. Pin Oak is currently contributing to the construction of a new hospital located off Interstate 10.

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show 2013
Walking back to the show barn stabling area.

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of a handful of horse shows that includes American Saddlebreds, Andalusians, roadsters, and Welsh ponies along with the hunter/jumper divisions. This type of show is a dying breed, unfortunately.

The original stable was destroyed in 2002 to build Pin Oak Middle School. The horse show facilities were relocated to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. However, the Pin Oak tradition rides strong as tens of thousands of people travel from around the world, every year, to attend and exhibit at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.



Coraggio Hunter/Jumper and the Pine Hill GHHJA Halloween Show

Lucy & Willow at the Pine Hill GHHJA Halloween Show
Lucy & Willow at the Pine Hill GHHJA Halloween Show

Every now and again a girl has to gush about her horse. In this case, I’m totally bragging on the big grey horse, Newspaper Taxi. We attended the Pine Hill GHHJA Halloween Show, October 17-18, 2012, with our new barn, Coraggio Hunter/Jumper. What a blast!

The barn had a highly successful show with Champions and Reserve Champions in multiple divisions. In spite of a rainy start on Friday, the weather cleared by Saturday morning. The cool, brisk days were amazing for both horses and riders. Coraggio’s annual trek to the Pine Hill Halloween show was well worth a few wet schooling days.

This video compilation showcases the special people and horses at Coraggio. The Pine Hill GHHJA Halloween Show is already on our personal list of shows to make in 2013!

Course, I have to show off my horse in his first round of the Low Hunter division. Paige Erwin, Coraggio’s trainer/barn owner, is riding. Newspaper Taxi (Chance) is coming back nicely after taking the summer off. More shows to come – soon.

What Writing and Riding Have in Common

The other day I received a tweet from Lynn Reardon (LopeTX). She had ridden three horses that day. It was one of the breezy, mild, autumn days we’ve had recently in Central Texas. Absolutely perfect for riding. Awesome for her…but I was totally jealous. In the past several months, I’ve struggled to ride my horse on regular basis.

It made me consider, however, how much writing and riding are alike. Luckily, I do both. (For the record, Lynn does, too.)

No matter your equestrian discipline, riding takes skill. It takes a lot of courage. Learning to ride and continuing to do so is a process, not an event. I’ve ridden all my life and I don’t think I will ever stop learning. You can master a particular riding discipline, level or horse. But it’s not the end. There are always new techniques, higher fences and a different horse to ride.

Horses require total focus. They are sensitive creatures that demand we leave our personal issues on the ground. Once you’re mounted, it’s about the partnership. If you’re tense, nervous, or in a tizzy, your horse will pick up on the negative vibes. It serves no one (and you won’t get a good ride) under these conditions.

So relaxation and allowing yourself to think while feeling is productive. Riding engages all the senses. It’s a beautiful sport and a wonderful activity. I’ve yet to find a similar pleasure.

However, it’s also hard work. Even if you’re a pleasure rider, you know the dedication and time it takes to prepare for and make the ride happen. It’s not just show ring riders and horses that undergo intense training. Horses respond to repetition and consistency. Often the best riders are not the “born horsemen and women” or the even most talented riders. The best riders are the ones who choose to ride no matter what. They hone their craft by riding even when they don’t want to, when they feel afraid or when the ride has gone poorly. They do it again and again until they get it right. These riders exercise patience with their horses as much as they do with themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses.

Writing, like riding, takes a lot of focus. Writing well means repeating the task in a variety of genres. It means stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. It also means putting yourself out there — taking the time to actually scribe what’s in your head. That can be extremely scary — just like mounting a 1,200 pound horse.

It’s common knowledge that like the great riders, great writers are often made, not born. Published writers will tell you they kept going even after multiple rejections. They were willing to listen to critiques, they were willing to hear “no, thanks,” and they certainly did not give up.

They kept writing.

Good writers want to improve. They know writing is a journey without an end. It’s a fantastic experience to see your words in print. It’s even better to know you’ve touched someone else’s heart, mind and soul with your words.

So keep writing!

What can you do to make your writing better?

Take the time to write. Even if you’re published, especially if you’re not a newbie. The more words you put on paper, the better you’ll be at wordsmithing. Plus, it’s fun to form sentences, tear them apart, and restructure. Once you’ve got groovy sentences that flow, do the same exercise with your paragraphs, and then with the entire page.

Study art. It’s important for writers to read about current events, history and important literature…but it’s also imperative that we experience life. Studying visual art is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. As you interpret the piece, your mind develops a story. As a little girl, a babysitter taught me to look at paintings and develop stories. It’s an excellent exercise that can take you in whatever direction you’re willing to go.

Observe everything. Getting back to nature is also a super way to recharge and refuel. If your nature is the city park, simply being a voyeur can also stimulate the brain. Watch the pigeons on your stoop, see the people walking on the street…clear your mind and open your eyes. Your mind will be flooded with words.

Repetition. The grind can be a drag, I admit. Sometimes we don’t want to write or create. Sometimes I don’t want to ride in a lesson. It’s hard work! However, I know that by showing up and doing what’s in front of me, I grow. More so, as I write and get into my pieces, something flips and suddenly I am pleased with the flow.

Riding and writing, for me, is like the chicken and the egg. I don’t know which came first because I love both so much. I do know that my horsemanship bleeds into what I call my regular life. Owning horses pertains to everything I do.

And it certainly has made me a better writer.