photo by
Tales of Taco the Wonder Horse and his ammy rider on their way to a Training Three Day

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Fun With Doc

Doc has had a busy month!  We went to Pine Top for the famous Thanksgiving Horse Trials. The weather was perfect all weekend and Carol, the dogs, Doc, and I enjoyed the beautiful venue.

Doc tried very, very hard in dressage.  We put in a steady test and got a 38.

Then he was really stellar in showjumping, jumping clean even though I didn't quite have the pace and balance right.

And he was super fun cross country!

We finished on our dressage score and had a truly enjoyable weekend.

Then, last weekend, friend of Team Taco Heather Gillette was in town for the USEA convention.  She was a finalist for the very prestigious Broussard International Grant.  And she consented to help out a few friends and me!  Here is some footage from our really fun jump lesson.

Unfortunately, less than a week after she left us, Heather was kicked by an ill horse back home in New Jersey... and her jaw is broken.  Team Taco is sending all of our get well wishes.  From what I understand, having a jaw wired shut is absolutely no fun at all.

Safe travels, Team Taco reader, and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Taco is back under saddle!

I've been sitting on Taco!  On November 2, I tacked up up and climbed on board.  We had a little bit of pharmaceutical help to make sure he stayed nice and mellow.  He was indeed very mellow, and he had a nice stroll up and down the driveway with Kate and Graham to keep us company.

Since then, we have been taking our little strolls without drugs, and he has been very calm and settled.  He is not in his true rehab workout stage yet, but the little bit of work keeps his mind occupied and helps him feel like he has a job again.  And I can't begin to say how good it feels to be on his back again!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Doc's Middle TN Pics

Several weeks ago, I took Doc (Standing Order) Novice at Middle TN Pony Club Horse Trials, held at the beautiful Percy Warner Park in Nashville.  After he was so good at Flying Cross at our joint debut, I thought he might really have fun with the Novice course at PWP.  And I was right!  He really showed what a special little horse he is!

Here is some video, taken by Carol:

And one more clip from Elizabeth:

Yesterday our photo CD from Nikkrody Creative & Photography arrived in the mail, so here are the pics!

Dressage was a substantial improvement over the last time, with a slightly more relaxed outline and bigger steps.

He was super bold cross country!  His gallop was so easy to ride and I just let him roll on-- which, I was astonished to discover, got us some speed faults.  I think I had better get in the habit of checking my watch for going too fast-- I am used to being a little too slow!  But he was simply phenomenal-- so much fun, and easy to ride.  He reminded me of why I love eventing so much.

Cute knees

That nice gallop of his!

Log before the water... the water...

... out of the water...

... and away!!  Of course, we did not need to make a quick getaway, but I was on the job!

Bench before the half-coffin, which he skipped over easily

Honestly, it didn't feel like we gave this table so much room.

We came back on Sunday to showjump, and he felt lovely in the warmup-- cracking his back and springing over all of the warmup fences.  We had a mostly lovely round in showjumping, except I overrrode him to an oxer on a turn, missed my turn to the next line, and got a rail because we were crooked.  But he was totally unfazed and trying to please me as he always does.

Too much fun!  And we even got a purple ribbon as a keepsake.  Next stop: Pine Top!!

Good Healing Progress

Taco went up to Kentucky for his checkup with Dr. Peters last weekend.  I'm pleased to report that healing is proceeding very well!  The outline of the lesion is still visible, but the tissue has continued to fill in with nice, aligned, uniform fibers.

Another grazing pic.  But this one was taken at the Kentucky Horse Park!

Rehab will begin around New Year's 2012.  I could sit on him if I wanted to now.  And I might.  But with the holidays and the end of the semester coming, that might not happen.  We shall see.  Dr. Peters did give me a little "chemical assistance" for the say that I do decide to get on.  Not for me, for him, silly!!

Dr. Peters examined Taco at his stall at the Kentucky Horse Park.  Since the Hagyard MidSouth Three Day Event and Team Challenge was happening, we decided to make a weekend of it.  Taco had his checkup, I did some news coverage for the event on the USEA website, some score running on Saturday's XC, and I got to be a part of Team SPF's Big Idea-- aka help Lauren and Brandy at their first T3D!  They looked wonderful and did great-- I'm so proud of them!  Amy, Megan, and Hub were there too.  It was an exhausting weekend but I sure did have fun.

The usual suspects, plus Supah!
Up next... Taco's baby brother Doc's superstar weekend at Middle Tennessee Pony Club Horse Trials!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pictures: August & September

All dressed up...
Several big deadlines at work have taken up much of my writing energy, but here is a photo diary of what we all have been up to.

Taco's leg on August 10.  Still thickened, but cool and tight. It got ultrasounded 10 days later and looked quite good... but I still have to wait until late October to get back on.

Doc won a ribbon.  He got a 68% in Training Test 3. 

Taco and Doc helped me celebrate my birthday!

So did Tidbit!
The leg on September 9.  Still cool and tight!

Doc in his big brother's cooler, waiting to go XC at Flying Cross. (Professional Pics Here - which ones should I order?) Doc was great at our first outing together.  A little tight in the dressage, a good one-rail round in stadium (rail was mine), and clear XC!
Taco's very favorite activity

Reading together

Monday, August 8, 2011

Volunteering, and Playing with Doc

I had a great time volunteering at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships on the last weekend in July, at the Kentucky Horse Park.  I have two main reasons for volunteering. First, it is of course my duty to help support the volunteer-driven sport that I participate in.  There would simply be no eventing if there was not someone to write down the judge's scores, or check bits, or sit in a field and watch horses jump a fence.  These people get up at all sorts of hours to help me do my sport, so I pay it foward.

But, really, it is not just a duty; it is a joy.  The second and more significant reason I volunteer is that I always, and I mean always, learn something. It might be big or small, disturbing or joyful, but it never fails to be educational.  I am not the only person who believes this; check out this post about the cheapest day-long lesson you'll ever have.

For the two star/ Young Rider level, my co-judge and I were at a very tall down bank that was immediately followed by a skinny brush.  I recall this bank being used on Rolex courses in past years.  To get a sense of it here is a picture of me with the bank, taken by the renowned photographer Brant Gamma.  I watched in amazement as the horses and their young jockeys jumped down off the mountain, sighted the skinny brush, jumped it, and then galloped on to the next question.  We did have one runout at the brush, and a couple of people took the option, but everyone took that leap of faith at the bank on the first try. I found it inspiring to watch pair after pair accomplish this feat.

For the one star/ Junior level, we were at a downhill combination of a coop to a skinny-ish brush table.  The combination was immediately preceded by a long gallop and then a 180-degree turn. What I learned here is that how the riders negotiated the turn determined their success at our combination.  Sure, everyone knows that-- but after watching a couple of dozen trips it becomes even more ingrained.  Those who rode the down transition from big gallop to hand-gallop backward, and thus had a horse on its forehand, had some scary jumps.  Those who whipped around the corner on the inside rein were scary also (although the turn itself did help slow and balance the horses).  Those who seamlessly brought their horses back and maintained their rhythm and energy around the corner made the task look easy.

It was a quick day and we were done before noon.  I was back in Nashville in time for supper!

This past weekend I took Doc to Percy Warner Park for a cross country school with the Panther Springs Farm gang.  He was just wonderful!  Someone is going to have a really awesome horse to play with.

PSF is in da house!

Here is a video of him being awesome:

From Standing Order (Doc)

Another entry soon-- Taco has an Ask Taco question to answer, and he's working on it as I write this!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Doc is For Sale

In a perfect world, I would have my own beautiful little farm, a faster metabolism, and a better memory.  And I would be able to keep two horses.  Alas, this is not the case.  I can only keep one horse at this point in my life: Taco.  Doc, who has charmed me beyond words, cannot stay forever.

Doc's owner Annika, however, is in a very intense program to become a Physician's Assistant, and she has no time for him. As much as both of us would like to keep him for ourselves, we realize that he needs a person who can give him the time he needs.  So he is for sale.

Here is his ad:
Standing Order: Uncomplicated and Fun, Ready to Go

"Doc" is a 10 year old 16.1 Bay Thoroughbred (lightly raced) gelding. Some mileage at Novice, but capable of much more. Doc is generous and athletic under saddle and a teddy bear on the ground. Beautiful jump and gaits. He will hack out on the buckle or eagerly gallop and jump on cross country. Easy to get on the bit, and easy to adjust between fences. Sane and safe-- suitable for an ammy or junior. Lack of time sadly forces sale. Asking $10K. Email acurwood at bellsouth dot net or call 617-312-6134.


All of these photos are by Leslie Vancil.  Thanks, Leslie!

Conformation shot

Such a fun guy

Trotting along on a loose rein

Dressage Doc

He's got a fabulous canter!

We're going somewhere!

Turning to a jump

Cute man!


Just stepping over this little oxer

And here is his video with music:

From Standing Order (Doc)