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2013 USDF Convention

December 7, 2013

What a busy show season we had this year!  Haven’t had a chance to put things on the blog.

We made a pact that if Kari earned her Bronze Medal and I earned my Silver Medal that we would all (including Ed) go to the USDF convention to receive them!  Not only did we accomplish that, we have several more awards to pick up.  Apocalyptic CLL and I won the year end Purebred Arabian Training Level, Kari and Sofine Strait Man won the Purebred Arabian First and Second Level and Exkwizitt and I got 2nd in the Purebred First Level.  Safarr and I came in 2nd in the Arabian Fourth Level!  There’s a Vintage Cup award (for riders over 50 yrs old). I won the Training, First and Second Level in the Arabian division!!

Well,  after trying to get to the convention in Lexington, KY, I think winning the awards was the easy part. We left yesterday morning about 4:15 am.   Tickets were all fine but TSA only had 2 check points open at 5 am at MSP. We barely made our 6:20 flight. Then we started to taxi and it felt like our sharp left was going to be a u turn. It felt like we went in circles for 20 minutes when the captain came on and said they were having engine trouble. They stopped, restarted an engine and said we were good to go. We took off. Later the pilot came on and said we would arrive on time, which was good, we only had an hour between flights in Chicago, but really, did he find a short cut?

We arrived in Chicago and went right away to look for the gate number for our connecting flight. It was CANCELLED!  We were directed to “rebooking” phones. I picked it up, was told via a recording that it was a 40 minute wait. If I wanted them to call back, press 1. There was NO KEYPAD, therefore no number 1 to press. While I stood on hold, Kari got on her cell looking for alternate places to call. Then she stood on hold while I looked on my cell. Then I went around the corner from our phone and saw a screen with a number. Called that, wait time 1 hr 20 minutes. I did get to press 1 for a call back.  (And they did call back in an hour and twenty).

Kari finally got a live person. First option flight out next am 9:10.  Next options fly to Charlotte, NC. Only flight that could take us out of there was at 6:20 (it was now 10 am) but we took it. We got a flight out of Chicago at 11:15. We had a 15 minute hike to the terminal and managed only enough time to get a bite to eat from McDs because our plane was 20 minutes late due to a tire needing changing. 

Arrived in Charlotte about 2:30 and found out our 6:20 flight to Lexington was cancelled. Good thing we got off the plane and headed right over to the next gate, a 10 minute walk with the moving sidewalks. There was a flight out at 4:06 but it only had 3 seats (we aren’t even on the same airline we started out the day with). Since we were all booked as a group of 4, the gal had to separate us and try to get 3 of us in and one on stand by. Otherwise the next flight out was 10:46 and with the light to moderate rain in Lexington that could get cancelled too. We said to go for it. When the dust was settled and her typing done we got all of us on the plane and Ed and I rode 1st class.  Of course, that was providing they let the plane leave. 

We did take off. It was an hour or so flight and about that far in the captain came on and said we had been going around for 20 minutes or so waiting for clearance to land. If we didn’t get it soon we would be headed back to Charlotte or go to Cincinnati. After about 5 minutes he said we could land!  We got off the plane about 6 pm ET. Our original flight was to land at 11:25. 

We were sooooooo happy to be in our rooms at the hotel and get to eat. Not one of the flights even had a bag of nuts or cookies. And we spent so much time standing in line and on hold the McDs meal was all we had time for. Hopefully the rest of the trip goes smoother and everything goes better for everyone at home taking care of the animals.

First show of 2013

May 2, 2013

We must be crazy.  We left for a show in a snowstorm.  Of course, it’s May 2nd, who would think we’d get 6″ of snow and have the interstate shut down for 8 hrs on our way to the show.

We figured by May, south of where we live, it would be nice.  It worked for us last year.  The weather sounded a bit bad so we packed the trailer on Tues when it was nice.  We planned on leaving at 8 a.m. on Thursday for the Sorensen May I dressage show in East Troy, WI, a 300 mile drive.  We had 8 horses to get ready and two trailers so there was lots to do.

We left at 11 a.m. with Rick driving the Smart Start trailer with 6 horses inside and Sheri Fischer driving her trailer with their two horses.  Roads were not the best but they never got as bad as they were when we drove to Bismarck, ND in February to buy Ryon, mostly because the temperature was 33 degrees.  From about mile marker 35 near where the fatal semi accident  had happened until mile marker 98 the roads were not the best.  By mile marker 109 roads were clear and snow was gone!

OK, now for the show string info…..  Of course, Safarr is in the trailer.  Since the judge is only a large R classes only go to 4th level so he’ll be doing 3rd and 4th level.  Sara, (Desiderata Rose) owned by Cindy and ridden by Kari, is doing 1st & 2nd level, Tex (Sofine Strait Man) owned by Ella and ridden by Kari will be showing 1st and debuting at 2nd level.   That’s it for the “seasoned” Smart Start pairs in the trailers…Now for the newbies…

New to the barn since November is Mary Fischer, a junior rider.  She’s going to be showing Alfie (Stand and Deliver) a purebred Arab who’s 23 yrs old.  Mary just started some dressage last year and had Canadian Nationals as her second time trying dressage.  They will be showing 1st level to work on qualifying him for regionals and nationals this year.  She also has along Lucky (Sheiks Dee Bar) a Paint horse, her favorite horse of all.  She’ll be showing him training and first level.  It’s their first time doing dressage but she’s shown him in lots of stuff before.  They’re riding in her mom’s, Sheri, trailer nicknamed Myron.

Filling up the Smart Start trailer is Ryon (Starfires Orion) a half Arab gelding owned by Ella, our 8 yr old rider.  Ella is making her debut in training level this year!  No more walk/trot for this girl!

Making his appearance for the first time as a dressage horse and not a race horse is Pious Pete, Kari’s off the track TB.  They are going to do training and first level.

And last, but certainly not least, is Krystal.  She’s finally going to her first show!  She did her usual snorky/snorting once she was in the trailer and seems a bit wide eyed but she’s doing fine.

OK, back to the update.  We arrived at Sorensen’s at 5:30.  Unloaded everything, saddled up and worked some horses.    Ryon started out a bit uptight, Rick warmed him up.  By the time Ella rode and got done working him he was happy as a clam, as was Ella!  Mary rode both Alfie and Lucky and had good warm ups.  Pete was a bit excited to get out when starting ground work but settled in pretty good when Kari got on.  Tex and Kari had good warm up work too.  Didn’t get to Safarr, but Krystal got walked and then ridden.  She was a good girl but pretty uptight.  It started to lightning and rain, and oh, did I mention, it was getting dark?  Sara got a short ride but did a good job.  As we headed out of the arena back to the barn Krystal turned around to put her butt to the rain.  I turned her back to head out to A and she turned her butt to the rain again.  I turned her again and she figured out that she should just do as asked and then we’d get back to the barn.  So much is learned at the first show.

Got to have supper at Burger King!  Oh, did I mention, it started pouring rain while we were eating?  Don’t think the weather’s going to be so good tomorrow….

Show Day 1 at Sport Horse Nationals

September 19, 2012

Made it through the first show day.  No Top Ten but had a good go on Safarr.  It was the first time this year he went into a class and wasn’t going forward and pushing like he needed to be.  Can’t have a whip in championship classes so no back up there.  He did everything right and I got a 7 for rider!  in 4th level!  So, tomorrow we modify, adjust, don’t warm up so much,( and I thought I was being careful not to get him too warmed up already)….  That’s the game, it all hinges on that one ride.  No do-overs.

So, tomorrow Tex (Sofine Strait Man) and Kari ride their training level test at 10:26 (Mountain time) and Safarr rides at 1:47 in Prix St Georges.  Don’t forget that’s Mountain time, our ride times are one hour later CST.  So, 11:26 and 2:47 if you want to watch it on

Wish us luck as there’s always some of that required no matter how hard you work, practice and no matter how good you are.  The horses are always a factor in the ride as they are the ones doing the work!

Day 4 SHN Nampa, ID

September 18, 2012

Our last free day was today.  Had very good practice rides on both Tex and Safarr.  The footing is awesome.  Tex looked great and got one of the rings to himself to ride the whole training level test.  He and Kari don’t show tomorrow so they have another day to “not think too much about it or you’ll get too nervous”.  Safarr felt better and was improved from the day before.  The things we are figuring out are so fun to get.

Ride times are:  Safarr Wed at 2:26 in 4th level, Sofine Strait Man (Tex) and Kari on Thurs at 10:26 in Training Level and Safarr Thurs at  1:47 in Prix St Georges.  These rides are MOUNTAIN TIME  so one hour earlier than CST.  If the time says 2:26 you watch it at home at 3:26.  Those times will be double checked in the morning but they should be close.  There is a live video feed of the rides at if you all want to watch.  No jinxing us if you do though!

Today we decided to go to the zoo.  It was near the university and pretty close to downtown Boise.  We not only paid the $7 to get in per person, Kari and I each spent $3 to feed the giraffe!  It was worth every penny.  He was an amazing animal.

After the zoo we hunted down the nearest Chick-fil-as we had gone there in KY and liked it.  It was a mile from the zoo.  Next closest was 247 miles.  Unfortunately it was somewhere inside the University of Boise unless the Chick-fil-a website and map quest were wrong.  Ended up at Burger King (yay!!) which was awesome.   It was the best Whopper Jr I had had in a long time and Kari had a great salad she liked.  Rick didn’t seem as thrilled as I was or as happy as Kari was with his meal.  Too bad, so sad for him….Bummed we didn’t get the Chick-fil-a though.

Came back to the barn and hung around, walked horses, read, surfed the internet.  Talked to Lerry, a guy from the Idaho Horse Park.  He had been a trucker and told of us one time he was coming through the mountains and an huge owl flew off an electric pole and into his windshield.  Smashed the windshield. He was fine but the windshield was smashed and he had to drive back to unload in the cold with no windshield.  He kept the owl in the sleeper to show his boss as he knew his boss wouldn’t believe it.  He said the owl had a 6′ wingspan!  Things you don’t learn talking to people!  Lerry had also been a bull rider and his son had done bulldogging.  He also hunts, both bow and gun so he and Rick got to do lots of talking.

Well, so much for our vacation.  Tomorrow’s game day.  Nighty night everyone and wish Safarr and I luck tomorrow.

SHN Day 3 Nampa, ID

September 17, 2012

Had a great day both riding and exploring Idaho.  We waited until 10:45 to go out and ride.  It was a bit cool until then and it gets a bit warm in the afternoon so late morning is great.  The staff at the Idaho Horse Park are the friendliest hosts of any show facility we’ve been to, we’ve seen them helping people clean out their trailers, unload, find what they need.  They do a great job with the arena footing. They had the footing all worked and watered today by 10:45 so we got to ride in it.  It’s fabulous.  Not too deep, not too hard, not dry.  It may not stay that way all through show day, we’ll find out but it sure is nice to work horses in it.

Safarr felt great once we got the “old guy” stiffness out.  Took much less time than yesterday which I was pleased with.  We learned some new things the week before we left and it’s really coming along.  Probably won’t have it in our rides this week but by Scottsdale it should be part of our way of riding all the time?  Fingers crossed.  Always learning….

Tex and Kari looked fabulous.  They look even better than they did at Canada.  They’ve had more time to work together than they did for Canadian Nationals.  Kari said we have to be careful not to ride the “good” out of them as we have a couple more days of practice ;-))

We decided to be super daring and drive north of Boise about 45 min and try doing a Zip Line!  We discussed if we would really do it and decided not to make reservations just in case we chickened out or it looked like the Reptile Garden place in Canada which, if you recall, looked like, well, certainly not a tourist site.  We got to the Zip Line place and they were closed ;-((  I called and they said the guides had gone home but would be there tomorrow at 2, which is when we got there today.  Don’t think we’ll be doing that the day before showing, it’ll be time to start getting our head in the game tomorrow.

So we decided to drive up into the mountains further.  It is so strange to have it look like you are going downhill and not be.  Kari and I had Rick take his foot off the gas and we would slow down soooo fast and yet I’d have put a thousand dollars on it that we were going downhill.  After a bit we knew that if we did the loop we did 2 years ago it would take too long so we looked at Mapquest and decided to take the road less travelled.  We spent a long time driving about 20 mph on a gravel road through tight curves and mountainsides.  Mapquest on the phone isn’t as good as the Garmin on the laptop so there was a lot of guessing as to where the road would go, where to turn at a fork in the road.  If you zoom out those roads no longer show up on the map.  But we made it back to the main drag and then back to the barn!  It was a beautiful drive.  The air was hazy from all the fires and I got a few pics of the burned areas, there are many spots where fires had started, even ones we could see from the interstate on the way out here, that they had gotten out quickly.  It’s so dry here.

Kari took Tex out for another short ride when we got back to work on a couple things and he did great.

Back at the room, ready for bed.  Nighty night everyone!

P S  I paid $4.56/gal for the diesel fuel as we weren’t sure if we would have enough till we got back to a station.  Put 10 gal in just to be safe…


Day 3 SHN Nampa, ID

September 16, 2012

Had a good day today, like a vacation day for us.  Kari and I each rode one horse and Rick didn’t ride any!  We started the day feeding the horses and then headed off to church.  Went back to the hotel for the hotel breakfast and then back to the barn.  Walked the horses, cleaned their stalls, put up the stall curtains and then put a short ride on the horses to get them loosened up. Then we went on a little tourist trip.  We drove into Boise and went to see the old Idaho Penitentiary.  It was used from the 1800’s to 1973.  It was quite interesting but also very sad to think of all the prisoners who had been there over so many years.  The Rose Garden is where the prisoners sentenced to death were hanged.  Later on they built a gallows and hanged them inside.  We could go into the solitary confinement rooms and saw the different cells prisoners were kept in.  There was also an artillery museum which was interesting to see.

We fed the horses their supper (and walked them a bit) and decided on Little Caesar’s for supper (we did Jack in the Box our first night here, we hadn’t had that since last time we were here).  By the time we decided what 2 five dollar pizzas we wanted Rick had found the nearest liquor store on his phone to get a beer to go with the pizza.  (We don’t travel with any alcohol as we have our CDL licenses and it sounds like we can’t even transport closed containers of alcohol)  We did manage to find the liquor store but it was closed.  Next to it was a tobacco/liquor store.  When we went to leave we weren’t sure of the location of the Little Caesar’s we had gone too, not really even the name of the suburb town.  All the streets are on angles to each other in Boise/Nampa so it’s rather difficult to keep your bearings straight and know where you are, where you are going and how you’re going to get there.  Rick managed to drive right to it.  How stupid would we look going into the wrong Little Caesar’s for our pizza and not only be at the wrong one, also not know which one we wanted to be at.

Went back to the room, ate our pizza and then Kari and I went back to the barn to walk the horses and tuck them in while Rick watched football and anything else remote scannable.

Time for bed now, still tired by the end of the day from all the driving.

Nighty night everyone!

Day 2 Sport Horse Natls, Idaho

September 15, 2012

Made it safe and sound!  Tucked in our own beds by 9:15 pm Mountain time.  Left home 44 hours ago.

The horses overnighted well and were loaded up and heading down the driveway from the Box T Ranch in Billings, MT at 6:20 a.m  Nice thing about time zones is that when you go one direction it always means you get to sleep later and still be up early.  Always nice on the way TO the show.    We drove to Bozeman, MT and then headed south on Hwy 191, driving along the western side of Yellowstone Park.  It was absolutely beautiful.  It’s amazing how it looks like you’re going downhill and the river is running uphill and the Garmin GPS on the computer is reading elevation rising.  It does this for miles.  Weird, weird, weird….

When we got to Pocatello, ID we stopped for fuel.  Not the best place to stop price wise, diesel was $4.49/gal.  We put 15 gallons in and used the GasBuddy app to see what prices were down the road.  We stopped again just east of Twin Falls, ID in Wendell and saved 4 cents.  We did see fuel along the road by Yellowstone for $4.69.  Glad we had planned ahead as we remembered it was always highest on that stretch of road.  It’s $4.45/gal for diesel in Nampa where it is always highest every time we come here.

We were thinking all was going along without a hitch until we  had to go through the weigh station on the east side of Boise.  As we were heading into the office a trucker parked there said we needed a “fuel stamp” as Idaho collects an extra tax for fuel.  Turns out they wanted to see our health papers, Coggins, truck registration, Rick’s driver’s license as he was driving at the time (made me glad I had my CDL-Commercial Driver’s License- as it could have been me driving.  They questioned us about being a commercial carrier, asked a few more questions, and we got to leave.  Talked to another trucker who got a speeding ticket in CO when he sped up in that space b/w the 30 and 40 mph zone.  Patrol said the trucker was going 47 in a 30.  For an extra $150 he could keep the record of the ticket off his license if he didn’t get another speeding ticket in 90 days.  Doesn’t sound like something that should happen in the U.S.  Sounds a bit like bribery to me.  The trucker was an electrical engineer until 10 years ago.  He decided he couldn’t handle the stress of his job anymore and is now hauls across the U.S.  He said he loves his job!  Meet so many interesting people on the road, never know what they will surprise you with.

Arrived at the Idaho Horse Park at 5:20 pm with a total of 1547 mi on the trip.  The barn office was closed.  Yikes.  There was a sign outside with a phone number to call if the office was closed so I called and within 5 minutes security was there to show us where our stalls were, unlock them, get our $$ for early arrival and bedding.  They are so nice here.  Not many horses here yet so easy to get around, unload everything, etc.  It’s nice there’s a short water hose for every 2 stalls so no carrying water buckets and top of the line stalls with a good stall lock that works great!  Don’t find that at every show grounds that’s for sure.

Safarr & Tex are feeling good and are nice and perky.  They aren’t bothered that they are the only 2 horses in the coverall where our stalls are and there aren’t that many other horses here.  Neither of them drink much in the trailer even though Kari offers it every time we stop. They sure were ready to drink when the pails were in their stall.

Checked into our hotel.  It’s wonderful, has breakfast served everyday.  We stayed here 2 years ago and couldn’t have been happier.  So now it’s nighty night.  Hope all is well back home!

Day 1 Trip to Nampa, ID Arab Sport Horse Natls.

September 14, 2012

Up bright and early today, before the crack of dawn, 1:18 to be exact.  Alarm was set for 1:06 but I didn’t hear the radio until Ed told me it was going off.  Had Tex and Safarr in the trailer and the truck headed down the driveway at 2:10.

It was a fairly uneventful trip today!!  After all the quirks on our way to Canada it was a nice change.  The only blip was when I was driving and thinking of stopping at a rest area in Montana the “Check trailer wiring” light came on.  Pulled into the rest area and the cord had unplugged.  Our fuel prices ranged from the high of $4.24/gal to $3.95 we paid tonight in downtown Billings.  Ate breakfast at Subway, the first time we’ve tried it since one time in Albuquerque in 07 when the kid working had no idea how to make breakfast at Subway & it wasn’t much to talk about.  Was pretty good today.

Our horse hotel, Box T Ranch in Billings, is quite nice.  The stalls are huge and have running water in their waterers.  It was 87 degrees when we arrived 14 hours and 10 minutes after we left.  It had gotten down to 37 degrees before sunrise and for quite a while into the morning in North Dakota.  It was clear skies the whole time and with the sun at our back it was quite pleasant driving.

Staying at the War Bonnet Inn, one of the less expensive places in Billings.  On the upside we went to Olive Garden for the never-ending pasta bowl.  Still feeling bloated.  Kari and I dropped Rick off at the motel after eating and went back out to check horses and walked them.  They are filled back up, ate lots of hay, drank lots of water.  Safarr didn’t like the bug zapper much, he’s always been a bit over afraid of electric fence shorts that zap.  He was jumping like he touched it at first but was getting used to it after a half hour and would only look with his perky ears.  They shut it off for him even though I said he would be fine.  They are very nice at the Box T Ranch.

Well, it’s off to bed.  It’s 9:30 pm CST and we want to be on the road at 6 am.  Upside is it’s 7 am at home!

Another Reserve Championship!!

August 14, 2012

Safarr earned Reserve Champion in Prix St George today!  He rode an even better test than yesterday, his score going up even though PSG is harder than 4th level!

Kari and Kaluah had a good ride.  It started out a bit nervous but as the test went on it got better and better and by the canter work they were working great!  The early part of the ride kept them out of the top ten but for this to be Kaluah’s only class/show this year she sure did great!

Time to start packing up for the trip home.  Everyone’s tired but we are still over the top proud of Kari and Tex for the awesome 73.8% score in training level and winning the championship!  That stuff just doesn’t happen every day!  We’ll be flying high on this one for a long time!!!!

Canadian Championship & Reserve Championship for Smart Start!!!

August 13, 2012

Kari and Tex (Sofine Strait Man) WON the Canadian National Championship in Training Level Open with a whopping 73.8%!!!!  It was a fabulous ride!!!  They were the very first to go of the first day of the dressage, not usually the best of luck for anyone but maybe they rattled the competition?!  Not really.  They had a wonderful ride and deserved that super duper score.  There were 19 horses in the class and the reserve champion came in with a 71% and another horse got a 70% all in the last 5 horses to ride so it was a nail biter as they also had very nice rides.  But Tex and Kari’s score held out and they won it!!!

Safarr had a great ride and won the Reserve National Championship in 4th level!!     The judge scored him much lower than the champion and after reading the test we still don’t really know why.  Some of the comments don’t match what happened but that’s the game and in the end it all evens out so I can’t wait for the “gift” to make up for the “steal” ;-))

So, it’s 11 p.m. and we’re just getting in as the awards ceremony didn’t start until 9 pm when all the dressage was over and of course, we couldn’t go to bed without going to the awards room and picking up our trophies.  Tex and Kari also got a cooler and a goody bag of supplements.  Of course as to the tradition of the Canadian show, something was missing from the awards.  This year it’s the champion, reserve champion and one top ten ribbon.  Last year it was some ribbons, the year before it was plaques.  They’re pretty sure we’ll get our ribbons tomorrow.  Hope so, we’re leaving early Wed. as the dressage is done tomorrow.

Ride times for tomorrow are Kari and Kaluah in 1st level at 9:13 and Safarr in PSG at 12:12. He’s the last ride of the dressage show.

As a side note, Tex belongs to Ella Fruchterman, our 8 year old girl (well actually she’s Todd and Tara Fruchterman’s girl but we’ve kinda claimed her as ours as she’s such a good rider with the determination to perfect her riding and horsemanship the way we are – and a great girl too- and the goal is to have her doing training level on Tex next year and if it goes as we all plan, that she can ride him here next year.  Gotta have goals ;-))


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