Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Course

We had enough rain last week to soften up the hard ground. That meant perfect conditions to go out and school over the cross-country jumps, including Rock and a Hard Place:
. . . and Jeff's Jump:
Unfortunately, it is difficult to coach the rider and photograph a jumping horse with a Blackberry simultaneously! I'll keep practicing and try to get some different obstacles in the pictures next time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Horsin' Around in the Old Dominion

Now just to be clear, technically, the photo above is not Easy Keeper Farm! It's Montpelier, the home of James Madison, author of our Constitution and fourth president. The equestrian community also knows the estate as the home of Mrs. Marion duPont Scott, an avid breeder and owner, who established the steeplechase races that still run at Montpelier every November. Not only did the late Mrs. Scott and her family leave Montpelier to be restored and open to the public, they also established the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. This charity, headquartered on the 2600-acre property, provides a safe, beautiful home for ex-racehorses when their days at the track are over.

David Bourke, the farrier, invited us to trailer over to his home, and we rode out for a guided three-hour trail ride. David knows everything about the horsey history of the farm, and even led us around the shedrows of the training barns -- where slender young Thoroughbreds took a second look at my pinto draft cross and Chubbs the cobby pony! The highlight was cantering up and down the dirt training track, though these guys look a little out of place:
A week before, we also enjoyed a fantastic hunter pace through the foothills of the Blue Ridge near Free Union, Virginia . . .
. . . as well as a stroll along Lake Anna State Park. Virginia is a terrific place for riding out with friends!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Early summer is time for many family and college class reunions. In this photo, two friends reunite after several years and an entire ocean apart! One of my former lesson students, who now lives in Germany, graduated this spring and came over to visit for a couple of weeks. In addition to reconnecting with her old buddy Henry, she's enjoyed a little local history and hospitality with me - music at Walton Park, lunch at Earlyhouse, the house and garden tour at Monticello - so we've been busy with fun excursions from the farm. She's also been a BIG help with new beginner riders through the Parks & Rec program, and she'll be jumping in to work with a group of Girl Scouts arriving next week. We're hoping for an opportunity to ride at Montpelier this weekend . . . I'll be sure to post photos next time if we do.