Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Champion City, Guest Photo

“Champion City”
St. Matthew’s
Louisville KY Metro area
Photo by Courtney Huguley

Champion City
Gallopalooza 2009
SPONSOR: City of St. Matthews
ARTIST: Cean Martine
4600 Bowling Blvd, 40207 (Arthur K. Draut Park)
Google Maps

The City of St. Matthews Gallopalooza horse, dubbed “Champion”, a high stepping standardbred (Saddlebred RS) … blanketed with a map of St. Matthews that drapes the horse, this artistic piece details prominent street names and local markers, along with a random collection of vintage photos placed near appropriate locations on the map … local artist Cean Martine … is a printmaker and a believer in community and public art … is quoted as stating that she wanted the horse to be “bright, cheerful and festive”.

City of St. Matthews > Gallopalooza in St. Matthews

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Sunshine in San Diego, Guest Photos


As soon as you enter the hotel, you will see the famed horse, Sunshine. This paper-mache horse stood in front of the old Kahle Saddlery Shop for over 79 years, a store that Wyatt Earp himself frequented. When it was eventually demolished, the horse was stored till it found a new home in the lobby of the Horton Grand Hotel.
California Through My Lens – Horton Grand Hotel: A Haunted, Historic San Diego Hotel

Horton Grand Hotel: Our History
Downtown San Diego News – Horton Grand Hotel: Then and now
[Enlarged photo with more readable text of H.O.R.S.E. sign]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Road to the World Cup: First Team Practice. Guest Post

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Stepping Stone Farm rider Reagan Upton is on the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team. She is sharing her story. Welcome Reagan.

Part 1 Road to the World Cup: Have Saddle, Will Travel
Like any other team sport, the U.S. Saddle Seat Team has practice. Before I went to our first practice at Cascade Stables in New Orleans, LA, many people would ask me “what exactly do you practice?” That was a question I had asked myself. What would we practice? We all know how to ride, so exactly what would we be doing?

In my opinion, practice is more for the coaches because they have to learn each rider’s strengths and weaknesses. At the World Cup competition, the team will draw 6 horses and it is up to the coaches to decide which rider will ride which horse during the competition. The coaches will have to evaluate the horse and determine what rider’s strength would fit that horse best in order to get the best scores. So at our team practice, the coaches had us ride multiple horses to evaluate what type horses we look best on and which ones we get along with the most. I rode a total of 3 five-gaited horses and did a pattern on each.

The coaches also did individual interviews. I was asked what I believe my strengths are and if I would rather rider a lazy horse or a game horse. I explained that I am an aggressive rider (could be a strength or a weakness) and a lazy horse compliments my riding style more.

When I was a kid, Jennifer Fernambucq of Heathermoor Farm, was my trainer while she and my mom had a barn together. I also rode with Desiree Clausen of Cardinal Farm for a year. This is where I got my equitation training. Other than that, I’ve had my mom as my trainer. So I had to adjust to other coaches. I am obviously not as comfortable with them as I am with my mom. When I feel something is not perfect, I can stop and pick my mom’s brain on how to make it better. With the coaches, I have to figure out how to make it perfect on my own. I guess that is because that is how it will be at the World Cup Competition.

I am extremely comfortable on a new horse. I am confident (maybe a little cocky) that I can jump on anything and ride it well. It’s hard to show the coaches this since I don’t know them well. I guess this is something that was awkward for me and maybe a little internally frustrating. I don’t know how to tell two strangers to put me on anything and I promise you can count on me.

Practice also encouraged team bonding. Although the competition is individual, we all feed off of each other’s energy and need to build trust. They want us to encourage each other and give each other feedback on the horse we are riding because your teammate might end up competing on that horse. So if I tell someone a horse I practiced on likes steady hands versus busy hands then they will trust that information to help them succeed.

We definitely bonded! We would stay up together in someone’s hotel room talking and playing games. We played the game What Do You Meme, which was a fun way to learn everyone’s personalities. We have a group Snap Chat going and we all communicate every day with one another.

All of my teammates are younger than me. I am 6 years older than the next oldest; 9 years older than the average. Although I joke about being the grandmother of the team, I don’t feel an age difference when it comes to the competition and horses. I only feel the difference when we are all hanging out at the hotel and they start talking about school or boyfriends. Then I feel like an old married lady.

We also had play time. We played horse soccer. The objective of horse soccer is the same as regular soccer, get the ball in the goal and score the most points, except the ball we used was massive. We had to use the horse to kick the ball (we basically used their bodies to move the ball around the arena) and score goals. This was probably the most fun horse game I have ever played!

Reagan, center, displays her competitive drive while playing horse soccer.

Road to the World Cup: Have Saddle, Will Travel. Guest Post

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Coach Courtney’s daughter, Reagan Upton, is a (the!) leading saddle seat equation rider. She is the first adult to win the saddle seat triple crown: United Professional Horsemen’s Association Challenge Cup (Reagan won in 2015, 2016), USEF Saddle Seat Medal (2016, 2017), and the National Horse Show Good Hands Trophy (2017, held at The Mane Event for adults).

Her most recent adventure has been to qualify for the World Cup Team. In the spirit of the old Road To Rolex posts, I’ve asked her to share her story. Step one: getting there. Reagan and her mom flew to Missouri last December for team try-outs at William Woods University. The horse were supplied by the organizers. Usually when you need a saddle, you also need a horse. How do you ship a saddle when you aren’t taking a trailer?

Welcome Reagan.
Traveling with saddle:

I am 28 years old and have been riding for virtually my entire life, but have never encountered the issue of how to fly with a saddle.  I’ve never had my luggage lost before so I figured I was due for it and this would be the weekend it happened. I had my suit, hat, boots, gloves, and everything for horse show hair in that bag. Everything else that might get lost could be purchased at a Missouri Walmart.


I am a person that plans EVERYTHING in advance and had to make sure I had all the minor details worked out prior to getting to the airport.  I decided that I most certainly will be carrying on my saddle (by far my most precious cargo), but what would TSA think of me trying to get the chunky, bulky piece of leather through security?

So I Googled “how to carry on a saddle”. There were multiple forums on the subject that were very helpful.  A few people had experienced issues with the stirrups.  TSA had believed they could be used as “weapons” and required they be checked.  I decided to roll the dice and believed I could get them past security.

Once I got to the airport, I checked my luggage and descended upon the dreaded TSA checkpoint.  I had my saddle in a bag with the flaps fastened to each other to make the saddle appear smaller and to make it easier to roll through the security scanner.  I sat the saddle down on the conveyor belt and nervously watched it roll away.  I don’t know if I was just paranoid and expecting the worse, but it felt like the security guy stared at it for a lifetime.

At this point, I just knew they were going to search my saddlebag and begin arguing why I couldn’t carry it on. Another moment goes by and out pops my saddle. No questions asked or even any odd looks towards my direction. I picked up my saddle (with stirrups attached), placed it on my roller bag, and off I went to my plane.

We made it through with zero problems.

Fun fact: A saddle might not give you weird looks at the airport, but a whip case sure will!
Part 2 Road to the World Cup: First Team Practice

I’d Like Your Advice on Some Horse Buying Advice

My uncle, James Bunting, sent me a plan to approach buying a horse as a business project. He doesn’t know horses, but has built several business over the years. I have no doubt this advice is gold in the business world. However, I have doubts about how well this would apply to the horse world. I could go through the list point-by-point with counter-examples from the searches for Rodney & Milton.
This could be my discouragement talking. It is all too easy to say why something won’t work. So, I would like your help in taking this general business advice and translating it into horse-specific advice. Theories, personal experience, whatever ya got. I’d rather not have horror stories. The goal is to get me moving, not to send me hiding under the bed. Please forward/share the post with anyone who might have input on the subject. Thanks in advance. Welcome, Uncle Jim.

If I was going to buy a horse, here’s what I would do.

1. Decide if I want another horse. Make that definite decision which will clear my mind so I can proceed with certainty, or, not proceed. If yes, decide what I am going to do with the horses I currently have, and how I am going to it. After that you are ready to go.

2. If I’m going to proceed, I’d set a budget. If I’m going to buy a terrific horse, I’d budget for a terrific horse. It may take some time to learn what great horses cost.

3. Next, I’d assume I don’t know anything about buying a horse. I’ve found that whenever I start a new venture, and I don’t know anything about it, people think I am naive, foolish, and not very smart. But, I ask basic questions, gather information, and forge ahead and don’t pay any attention to the people who think I’m naïve. I don’t mind being perceived as stupid. This is a very important point, you have to be confident in yourself and your process, and willing to ask stupid/obvious questions, which other people may dismiss; the people who can help you are confident in their knowledge and will see your genuine interest and passion and will want to help you.

4. I would learn everything I can about buying a great horse. I’d ask people at shows, stables, etc. people who are the best at what they do, and have great horses.

5. I’d find the best horse buyers and talk with them. I’d find a person, an advisor, who would be willing to lead my horse buying project. I would probably have to pay the person. The key here is to find the best person who is honest and trustworthy and has a proven track record….too many posers out there. I’d check references and ask around about the person, which is just good business.

6. I would actively look for horses and visit the best horse candidates, which may mean travel for you and your advisor, and riding each good candidate.

7. Eventually I’d find a horse who I like and likes me, and it would be clear…this is the one. Patience will be important, and don’t accept an “almost the right one.” “Good” is the great enemy of excellent.

The overall theme here is to have enough confidence to say “I don’t know how to do this and I need help.” I think that is the key to success.

One more thought, which may or may not relate to this discussion. When I start and complete a project, I am very matter of fact about it, all business, nothing social; I’m not out to make friends. But, people respect my process, like the result and are glad they participated in the project and feel good about their contribution.
Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Starting Points

In August, my mother went to the 100th anniversary of her summer camp.

At the age of 7, my mother began attending Camp Nyoda, an all-girls summer camp. She acted in plays. She did arts & crafts. She took riding lessons, briefly. She stayed at the camp for thirteen years, eventually becoming a counselor. In college, she rode in her one and only horse show. She won a ribbon. She rode a handful of times on vacation or with relatives. She has not ridden in decades.

At the age of 7, I began attending Fireplace Lodge (now defunct), an all-girls summer camp. I acted in plays. I did arts & crafts. I took riding lessons, briefly. I rode in a camp show. I won a ribbon. I left the camp after three years to attend a horseback camp. I went to a dude ranch for one summer. At 15, I leased my first horse and disappeared into the horse world.

Same start; different paths.

At the age of 7, my mother began attending Camp Nyoda, an all-girls summer camp. She acted in plays. She did arts & crafts. She swam. She swam throughout camp, elementary school, junior high school, and high school. At college, taught swimming and was on the Water Ballet Team, now known as the Olympic sport of Synchronized Swimming. These days, she does water workout. One of her spirit animals is a seal. She gets cranky if she does not immerse herself in water on a regular basis.

At the age of 7, I began attending Fireplace Lodge, an all-girls summer camp. I acted in plays. I did arts & crafts. I swam. I passed the Red Cross Advanced Beginner swimming test. I went to a new camp. I passed the Red Cross Advanced Beginner swimming test. I went to college. I passed the two-lap swim test. Soaking in a bathtub makes me feel like a stewbeast marinating in its own gravy. Until recently [Spring Fitness], I had not been in a pool for decades.

Same start; different paths.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Driftwood Horse Art, Guest Photos

Rita Dee
Helmholz Fine Art
Manchester VT

Photos taken with permission of gallery.
Photos posted with permission of photographer.

Similar Statue
[Driftwood Disaster Statue]

Roaming Reader Photos
[Antique Horse Toys]
[Fall Colors in the Adirondacks]
[Summer in a New England Garden]
[Foto Friday: New England]
[Show Today: Winter Tournament, Rocking S] Snow Photo
[Fancy Ribbon]
[Mail-Order Horse] Gratuitous Balloon

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott