Monday, November 17, 2014

Fastest Fall Ever!

With Fall, came the end of show season for Team Sundance, and we enjoyed a few weeks of beautiful colors around the barn before the chill of an early winter settled in for a stay. Where our last post found us coming home from California, this one finds us longing to return, as Staff has spent the last week blowing out waters at night to keep the freeze from setting into the pipes. Ponies are fresh and enjoying lots of turn out time in the chilly, but beautiful, weather, and, hopefully, all our Sundancers are making good use of their Sundance Wear and layering up for lessons!

We had another busy, fun and successful show season in 2014. With horses and riders in divisions ranging from the 2' Hunters to the 1.40m Jumpers, our Trainers kept busy running from ring to ring at shows in Canada, Washington, Oregon and California. We visited old favorites - such as Thunderbird and Thermal, and added new shows as well, including the Sacramento International Horse Show, which featured the opportunity for Katherine and Toby to participate in the International Grand Prix as a fun way to wrap up the year. Cle Elum was a big favorite among our riders this year, as was Octoberfest, and both those shows look to be on the schedule for 2015.

With the end of the season for 2014, we are already looking toward the 2015 season, with plans underway for both Thermal and San Juan Capistrano starting the year. If you are interested in either one of these shows, make sure to let us know now as we are reserving hotels, grooms and lodging for horses on the way there/back and these arrangements have to be made far in advance. The same will be true for riders looking to do Thunderbird in 2015 - we will be sending in entries for all of the shows at the beginning of the year, so check your calendars now and start planning for another fun year of showing!

Things stayed busy at the home front as well. We brought in a bunch of new lessons students, who have kept our lesson horses (and trainers!) busy and we have truly enjoyed watching everyone improve over the year. We were especially delighted with how many of our riders participated in the Jay Duke clinic in November, and we so impressed by how well everyone rode. Jay, himself, commented on how well turned out everyone was, and how educated they were in terms of their riding. He said that we were the exception to the rule and your Trainers can't tell you how proud they were to hear that! We are hoping to have him return in December, so please make sure you let us know if you are available to ride with him again (12/13-14). For those of you who are interested in seeing our other favorite riding instructor, George Morris, in action, he will be holding his (infamous!) clinic at Rich Feller's place in Wilsonville, OR 12/3-5. As always, we strongly encourage you to come and watch - just remember your layers!

Chelsea stayed busy with Sales this year. We helped several riders in finding new homes for their horses, as well as new horses coming to our home! We have welcomed several new horses, and still have a few for sale. Please remember to mention our great Sales Horses to your horsey friends!

The Barn continued to work on improvements at home - including having the folks at Arena Rehab add more MAG to the arena this Fall, and replacing the arena lights. We also started offering credit card payment options, and, for those riders wanting to leave a card for regular monthly payments, we are offering a discount on the fees associated with the card. Outside of having a lovely facility, we are excited to make things more convenient for our clients as well!

A beautiful Fall day to go for a last walk

We did have some sad news this year, as we had to say Good-Bye to Danika's boy, Harry. Harry was diagnosed with a neurological disorder for which there was no cure, and we were left with the difficult choice to euthanize him this month. He was such a lovely boy, with a heart as big as his ears, and has been missed by us all. We have been very lucky to have had such longevity in our horses and it is always so hard to let them go. Our hearts go out to Danika and to everyone that was touched by Harry (aka: Rico), as we know he was loved by so many. We were deeply moved by the outpouring of support that we received, not only from our own Sundancers, but from the outlying horse community as well. It is always so uplifting to remember how much we all share at the end of the day.

We are looking forward to a break in the freeze this week, and will be back at body clipping some very furry horses. Please make sure to look for messages about blanket changes as we try to keep your ponies happy, healthy and warm.

Bundle up, stay warm and we will see you at the barn!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Could that be Spring in the air...?

What a beautiful day for a Blog!

The sun is out and shinning and reminding us all here at the barn that summer is coming - not winter! - and that it is time for Horse Show Season to get in full swing!

Sizing up the course at last year's show in Cle Elum
photo credit: Gigi White

We traveled down to Thermal for 4 weeks this winter - enjoying the sun and warm temperatures as Sundance Riders prepared for the show season in fine style over the always impressive HITS Jumps! Big classes, technical jumps and some really great food made for a fun trip for everyone - and a couple of nice ribbons just added to the excitement! We were very proud of our Sundance riders - both Gigi and Ella moved up on their rides during the show and are looking forward to continuing their win streak in 2014 this summer. Team Sundance is currently getting ready to spend a week out at Monroe for the Jumper Show next week and then heading off to Thunderbird in May. Hopefully everyone has had a chance to look at their schedules for the summer and has made sure to pencil in time for a few weeks of showing! We have some great shows on our list this year, so make sure you check it out!

At home, we welcomed Avi and Sophie back to the barn, along with a bunch of new riders and a new girl for Harry as well! Tessa will be leasing Harry this year and she and Sophie will be joining the ranks of the Working Students with Aidan and Joanne. We just finished up "Working Student Week" on Facebook and really enjoyed getting the chance to brag about all our Working Students - past and present - hopefully you've all had a chance to thank them for all their hard work out at the barn - we couldn't do it without them!

Horses spent the end of the winter getting updated on shots, teeth and wormer, as well as a visit from Sam to make sure all the bodies were in line and feeling great! We are excited for some warm weather and more shows, as well as our traditional "Dinner and a Horse Show" event coming up next weekend! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 19th at 4:30pm and meet us at the Red Robin in Monroe before heading over to the Evergreen Equestrian Park to watch the Child/Adult Jumper class followed by the Grand Prix. This is a great chance to get to hang out and watch some exciting show jumping, all in your very own backyard, so make sure you join us next weekend - family is welcome!!

At home, the tack room continues to be the "place to be" as a new coffee maker and water cooler have joined the team! We hope everyone has enjoyed being able to get a hot (or cold!) drink and appreciate all the donations to the cause down at the barn! Please remember to continue to save your cups or bring water bottles to refill and help us keep costs down and the environment pretty, all in one step!

The Sales Horses have been busy with lots of trails and we are excited for them to find new homes! If you know of someone shopping, you know how great our Sundance Horses are, so put in a good word so we can find great homes for our 4 legged friends!

We just finished a blanket rotation out at the barn and horses are enjoying some lighter weight clothes for the Spring. As always, this is a great time to take your pads and other horse clothing home for a good washing. Nothing is ickier than those sweaty saddle pads, so make sure you grab them the next time you are out at the barn and get them all cleaned up - your horse - and your Trainers! - thank you!!

Now, head back out into the beautiful sunshine and enjoy this Spring day while it lasts!

We will see you at the barn!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Well..... Howdy!

Boy, has it been awhile! We have been caught up in a whirlwind of busy around the barn in the last year, so it is now time to catch up online as well - welcome back to the Sundance Blog!

2013 was a fun and busy year. After 5 years working for Sundance, Danika was officially promoted to the ranks of Assistant Trainer, while Chelsea took over as Trainer/Sales & Barn Manager. Both Ladies continue to work hard and are incredible assets to Team Sundance. We also had fun training a bunch of new working students over the year - and have started 2014 with Ella, Joanne & Aidan helping out at home and on the road. We love our Working Students and couldn't do it without them - truly a Team Environment and we love it!

We brought in a bunch of new horses and portable stalls to house them all. We had a flurry of activity as we found new homes for all the horses - meeting new people and making some great connections in the Horse World. We were also lucky enough to get to go on some shopping sprees as well, and we brought home a new horse for Ella (Miss Lucy) and happily transferred our own Toby 2 from Emily's loving care to Aliyah's, as Larry found himself a new home. Sales kept us busy, along with another exciting show season, throughout most of the summer and the fall, but not so busy that we weren't able to continue to work on all sorts of projects at the home front.

2013 saw the completion of the upper fields - giving our horses 2 more turn outs and grass paddocks, as well as improvements to the parking area and the repairs to the drainage system - no more cars stuck in the parking lot or mysterious wet spots in the arena! Once the drainage repairs were all fixed, Sundance Trainers, working students and even a client or two, stepped up and completely re-hauled the arena. We took out several tons of old sand and rock, re-leveled and compacted the base, and brought in some beautiful new footing. Horses, Riders and Trainers alike all love the new surface! No dust, quiet and supportive for our favorite equines. It was a fantastic investment and well worth the time, energy and cost to do it right. We sincerely appreciate the folks over at Arena Rehab for all their amazing work! We had our feelings for our footing confirmed this Fall, when a visitor who had been to several barns looking at horses declared our's "our favorite footing by far" - and so it should be! We continue to enjoy it, with the only downside being no breaks or days off for the chilly weather. While other arenas are freezing, getting hard and clumping under the horses' hooves, our footing stays exactly the same. No excuse not to ride in some of those arctic days - brrrr!

Speaking of arctic, we, once again, made the trek down for the George Morris clinic at Whip n' Spur. Katherine had the opportunity to ride Toby in the 4'3"+ division with Rich and Shelly Fellers. It was another fun year, but incredibly cold. But no way would George Morris cancel for weather! So we bundled up - both on and off the horse - and, as always, learned lots! Kudos and extra credit to those Sundancers who made the trek down to watch - and shiver! You showed a great commitment to your sport!
The show season was, once again, a great ride. We had riders show in everything from the 2' Hunters to the 1.40 Jumpers and were delighted with the results. Our riders wound up with great year end placings in the WSHJA, and, even more importantly, continued to grow and learn. We are very proud of how seriously everyone takes the learning process out here - and has fun at the same time!

Chelsea & Toby enjoy some downtime between classes at Thunderbird

2014 has started off in a rush. We have 4 more horses for sale and are currently shopping for some new projects as well. We are heading down to Thermal to start our show season off - hopefully with some sun and fun! After that, we will head to the WSHJA Hunter show and possibly the Jumper show as well - hopefully everyone has had a chance to look at the upcoming show calendar and make their plans.
We are excited about new faces - both equine and human - at the barn, and are looking forward to another great year! Hold on tight, it's gunna be great!
See you at the barn!