Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keeping Pace

Last weekend, Team EKF veterinarian Dr. Martha and her cousin (visiting from Canada) traded their dressage saddles and Dutch warmbloods for Shadow, Henry, and a little hunter pace fun near Earlysville. With our matching hunt bridles, breastplates, and purple fleece tops, we were quite a stunning trio. Belle and I set a forward speed, alas, about fifteen minutes too fast for the optimum time in our division. But since our plan was just to enjoy jumping logs, galloping across fields, and munching on the adorable horse-shaped, hand-decorated cookies at the lunch tent -- our day was a success.

The large photo at the top of the blog page features Buck Mountain in the background. Just a little beyond this point, we rode past Harry de Leyer's farm. His name might be familiar as the man who purchased an old gray gelding off of a trailer bound for the slaughterhouse. De Leyer said he bought the horse because its kind eyes suggested it would make a good lesson horse. The gelding, who still had rubs in his coat from working in harness, was trained and sold to a doctor down the road. But no matter how high the doctor built his pasture fences, the horse kept jumping them and trotting home to de Leyer's farm. Finally the doctor sold him back, Mr. de Leyer began to compete him, and "Snowman" went on to become one of the most famous grand prix showjumpers of the 1950's-60's. There's a new book out (and probably many old ones) about this amazing true story.