Friday, October 30, 2009

Love and Loss

It has been a difficult few weeks in our household, especially for Jordan. On October 16, 2009, Dolly crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and Jordan lost her best friend. Jordan has been riding Dolly since she was 7 years old, and that little pony taught Jordan how to be the rider that she is (of course Karin's instruction played a huge part in that too!). This was totally unexpected and came from out of the blue, and Jordan was just devastated. It has helped that Jordan has Allie to help ease the pain, but Dolly was a very special pony, and she took a big chunk of Jordan's heart with her. Below is the obituary we sent to the ASB publications.

What A Doll (“Dolly”) crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Friday, October 16, 2009. Foaled in the early 80’s at Windy Hill Farm in Frankfort, IL, Dolly was one of the last surviving foals by Carolyn Folkers’ stud Sparkling Supreme, sire of many world champion Saddlebreds, including many 3- and 5-gaited ponies.

Dolly was shown by so many children just starting their show career, and taught them how to ride a show horse. She was truly a pony who gave her all – and loved doing it. There was nothing “push button” about Dolly – she definitely made you ride. She was always in the top ribbons throughout her career, with wins at shows such as ASHAV, Roanoke, Tar Heel Classic, Bonnie Blue, KY Fall Classic, Morristown, and more. She was definitely a little pony with a big heart.

Dolly was brought out and shown in IL for many years by Lindsey Dillon and, after moving to Virginia, was shown with much success by Brittany Gordon, Tori & Polly Hunter, Emma Jefferies and, for the last 4 1/2 years, by Jordan Burks. During that time, Jordan and Dolly were ASHAV champion and reserve high point champions in 10 & under WTC equitation and English Pleasure Pony every year. Jordan is so grateful that Carolyn’s grandchildren, Justin & Katelyn Smith, shared Dolly with her and allowed her to show Dolly these past 4 1/2 years. She is thankful for the time she had with Dolly, and misses her deeply. Jordan, Katelyn, and many more will remember Dolly forever.

Dolly was buried at Windy Hill Farm in Monroe, VA, and we know she is in Heaven, trotting above level, with CH The Red Ferrari racking right beside her.

Godspeed Dolly, and thank you for making so many little girls so very happy.

Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen,
I know great horses live again.

~ Stanley Harrison ~

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We're So Excited!

Things have changed since our last post. While Hollywood taught Jordan a lot about riding a "big horse", he was not the right horse for her for the long-term. After much searching, Karin managed to find a wonderful 4 year-old mare for Jordan. Her name is All By Chance ("Allie"), and I think she is going to teach Jordan a lot. She had a really great start with her previous family, and just seems to get better and better every day. We told Jordan yesterday afternoon that she was her new horse, and she is so excited! They will most likely not show this year - need to make sure they partner well with each other - but will debut in Country Pleasure and Pleasure Equitation in 2010. I plan to keep this blog updated with their progress, both at home, and in the show ring!

In the meantime, Jordan will be showing Dolly at the Rockbridge Regional Fair Horse Show, The Old Dominion Futurity Summer Show and the West Virginia State Fair. Dolly is 23 years old this year, but still wants to go to a horse show! Rockbridge is next week, and Jordan is already counting down the days.

Logan has decided that he may want to start riding again. Since he is now in mens' shoe sizes (I miss buying boys' shoes - so much cheaper!), I am going to have to find him a new pair of riding boots and get him some new jods so he can start taking lessons again. I am glad he is showing an interest in horses again - not sure if it's related to horse show girls or what, but I'll take it! LOL

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's been a while....

It's been a while since I last updated this blog, and a lot has happened. We have been to the last of the winter tournaments, and Jordan was 3rd in Showmanship and 2nd in Equitation for the winter tournament high points. She and Dolly were 2008 reserve champions in the English Pleasure Pony division for ASHAV, and she was the 10 & under WTC Equitation champion for ASHAV. We had a great time at the ASHAV convention, and Jordan really enjoyed the first annual "Horseless Horse Show" (Breyer horse show).

We started show season at the Old Dominion Futurity Benefit horse show. Jordan showed a horse named Mountainview's Heir to Sultan ("Hollywood") in Juv. Show Pleasure and
17 & Under equitation. She was 5th in Juv. Pleasure and 1st in equitation. Our farm took out an ad with Show Ring Times after the Old Dominion Show, and we were really pleased with the results. The ad featured horses and riders who were successful at Old Dominion and were headed for Bonnie Blue. We had originally planned to show at BB, but our plans changed and we scratched our entry. Jordan was disappointed, but understood the reason for the change of plans and was very adult in the way she handled it. I am so proud of her. :) Not sure when our next show will be - we'll have to see. She is riding really well - confident and aggressive - she has really grown in her riding over the winter.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

UPHA Chapter 18 Winter Tournament - January 31, 2009

Last weekend was the 3rd of the 4 UPHA Chapter 18 Winter Tournaments, and we had a great time. Jordan showed in Advanced Equitation 11-13 and Advanced Showmanship 11-13, and took home a 3rd and a 2nd, respectively. She had a great time, and if she hadn't fallen out of the canter 1st way in the first class, could have probably gotten a better ribbon. Oh well, these tournaments are to work on your skills and find the areas you need to focus on for show season, and she learned a lot.

Afterwards, we ate dinner at Cracker Barrel, then she spent the night with her friends McKenzie and Janie. She loves spending time at Jenny's farm, because she gets to help take care of the horses. She's happy just being around horses, and doesn't even have to be riding to have a good time. This kid lives and breathes horses, and as long as it's not boys, I'm ok with that. :)

She and Dolly started working together again yesterday, preparing for this show season. She's not too big for Dolly yet, and was excited to hear that they have one more season together. Dolly is a very special pony, and Jordan has been so blessed to have Justin and Katie share Dolly with her.

Only 2 months and 9 days til the first show!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Little History.....

Our involvement with the American Saddlebred spans the course of the last 9 1/2 years. My oldest daughter, Morgan, begged me for years to take riding lessons, and one Sunday she found an ad in the paper advertising lessons at a farm close to our home. I called, we went, and the rest is history. Morgan was almost 11 at the time, and she fell in love with the sport. My son Logan was almost 3 and Jordan was just a baby at the time, but they went to every practice with Morgan.

Logan enjoyed riding for a while, but it was Jordan who grew to live, breathe, and sleep horses. She would sit, even at 18 months old, and listen to every word being said to Morgan, and by the time she was 3 1/2, she was asking to learn to ride. I held off letting her show in academy until she was 7, because I guess I'm just a "Nervous Nellie" and she was so small. She showed one season in Academy, and then moved to 10 & under WT with a very special pony named What a Doll. "Dolly" is probably the winningest pleasure pony on the east coast, and spent some time at Smith Lilly's barn before Carolyn bought her back for Karin's children, Justin & Katie. Justin & Katie have graciously shared Dolly with Jordan for the past 3 1/2 years, and Dolly has taught Jordan so much about horses and riding. Despite all appearances, Dolly is NOT a "pushbutton horse" - she has challenged Jordan in many ways, but has helped prepare her for her move to "the big horses".

Along the way, we have been to many great horse shows in Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. We have helped to organize and hold the Old Dominion Futurity Benefit Horse Show, which is entering its 8th year in 2009. We have witnessed the historical return of the Saddlebred to the Washington International Horse Show for the first time in 36 years on October 24, 2008, and we have been active members and supporters of the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia (ASHAV).

We will continue to support and promote this breed in whatever means we can, because we believe that the American Saddlebred is the perfect horse for families and children. We consider the Saddlebred one of America's "hidden treasures", and hope to help unearth that treasure so that it can be recognized for the true gem that it is.

Friday, January 9, 2009

UPHA Chapter 18 Winter Tournament - January 3, 2008

The second Winter Tournament was held this past Saturday at Hollins College in Roanoke, VA. Jordan was a little nervous because at the last tournament she had a little bit of a rough ride. She showed a horse that she had only ridden twice before, and couldn't get him to canter.

This time, she showed a horse that she had a little more experience with, and had two great rides. Our goal for this tournament was for her to just get in the ring, have a good ride, and get both her canters. She passed with flying colors! The first class she went in and was more relaxed than I've ever seen her. She rode the ring well, and won the Advanced Equitation 11-13 class over two older, more experienced riders who are super equitation riders.

She rode brilliantly in the second class as well - unfortunately, the horse was wrong behind at the first canter. She did manage to get 3rd out of 6 in this class, and was happy with both of her rides. I am glad that UPHA sponsors these winter tournaments - it's a great opportunity for riders to stay "legged up" for show season, and it provides the younger riders the opportunity to enter the ring with different horses and expand on their riding skills.