Friday, April 20, 2018

The Search for the Perfect Denim Dress

You'd think this would be an easy task, finding a cute, all-purpose, well-priced denim dress to span the seasons and take on a fall trip later this year. Yes?  You be the judge.....

This one meets the well-priced category and it's on sale now for less than $40. It may make me look like a potato sack but it can be returned so this one is a definite try it.  But the reviews say it's made of tencil and is not soft and comfortable.

This one is bland but likely will last years but it does not come in smaller sizes so I can't even go there, but it might work for someone else. Good price point too.

This one is cute from Lord & Taylor but it is very short. It's also on sale!  Many of these dresses are too wide to fit my frame as well. Will the bell sleeve be out of style in another year?

This dress is very cute, not that practical but adorable:

Another inexpensive and somewhat practical dress from H & M:

Another cute one that is already sold out in my size.  It is also made of tencil.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

RIP Giant's Causeway

Legendary stallion Giant's Causeway passed away unexpectedly earlier this week near Lexington, Kentucky.  He was 21.  After contracting an infection he died a few days later.  The striking chestnut horse was born at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, where he died.  He is out of the famous Storm Cat and who's fee climbed to its $500,000 peak after the success of his chestnut son.

He was sent to Europe where he was undefeated in his first four starts earning the nickname "The Iron Horse" after winning five consecutive G1 stakes in 11 weeks.  He was sent to Churchill Downs for the Breeder's Cup Class in 2000 where his stretch dual with Tiznow is one for the history books with Tiznow winning the first of his two Classic races.  He retired with a 9-4-0 record and he earned more than $3M. He retired to stud in Ireland but was sent back to the US after a year to Ashford (Coolmore) where he died.

He was the North American leading sire in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and was one of the top five for several years.

Giant's Causeway top runner as a broodmare sire is the famous Gun Runner who retired earlier this year. He will be well represented for years to come with horses like Derby entrant Free Drop Billy, a son of Union Rags.  Among his sons, Giant's Causeway has the most active sire-sons in 2018 among all Storm Cat stallions.  He was legendary and I am glad I was able to see him last year at Coolmore.  RIP.  You were one of the great ones.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Rags-to-Riches Story in Show Jumping

Everyone loves a rags to riches story especially when horses are involved.  Reminiscent of the Snowman story, an American entrant in the prestigious World Cup Finals in Paris is an $18,000 horse.  No, I did not leave out one or two zeros, the horse is an $18,000 mount.  He ended up finishing 29th overall but what a great story!  American Beezie Madden won her second title and McLain Ward finished fourth.  You can see the results here.  The rider is Andrew Kocher.

Chronicle of the Horse Photo


Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Darley Stallions - Part Two

Our recent trip to Lexington included a trip to Darley to see some of the nation's top TB stallions.  They have a beautiful lot and were able to see them up close and personal....

Frosted ran as a three-year old with American Pharoah so it was tough to win a race that year.  He is lovely to look at and was very quiet.  He is beautiful!  Frosted won the prestigious Met Mile by the biggest margin ever and he also won the Wood Memorial.  Overall, he earned just under $4M in 19 starts.  He's a relatively new stallion so I hope his babies will excel in a few years.

Medaglia D'Oro
This 19 year-old stallion has two babies in the Derby, the favored Bolt D'Oro and Enticed (who is a home bred from this very farm).  He also sired the famous Rachel Alexandra, Songbird, New Money Honey and many others. His stud fee is a staggering $250,000 but his babies get big prices these days.  He is the real deal.

Street Sense
Street Sense is a hot stallion right now and had several Derby prospects, noteably McKinzie (the Bob Baffert trained colt who recently pulled out with a leg injury).  Avery Island is also a son. He won the 2007 Derby and the Travers and was the top two-year-old in 2006 after winning the Breeder's Cup Juvenille.

Nyquist is a new stallion and he won the Derby in 2016.  Overall he's won $5M as a two and three year-old and he was the top two-year old in 2015.  His babies will hopefully run as fast as their daddy.

Bernardini won the Preakness and has been at stud for a few years now.  He did not race in the Derby or the Belmont Stakes but has been bred to some extraordinary mares.  He is so quiet you could probably ride him.  Very laid back.

Animal Kingdom
Another Derby winner, Animal Kingdom is very tell and pretty. He was the Eclipse Award winning three-year-old winning also the Dubai World Cup.

We saw some great horses.  They have a great tour! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Visit to Darley, Home of Champions, Part One

Last week we made the trek to Kentucky and made a stop at Darley, one of the farms owned by Skeikh Mohammed, who races under the name Godolphin.  The farm is gorgeous as you'd expect and home to many famous stallions.  This is one of the stallion barns.

The famous race horse, Affirmed, is buried here. He stood here before he died.  You may recall the rivalry in the mid 1970's between the famed Alydar and Affirmed.  Alydar stood at near-by Calumet when he retired.

 Street Cry, another famous stallion is also buried here. He died in 2014.  He is the sire of the famed Zenyatta, among others.  A monument is in the works for his grave.

The trophy room at Darley is full of silver.  See the replica of the Woodlawn Vase, the trophy from the Preakness which Bernardini won for Darley.

 This is the waiting room just outside the trophy room.  Keeneland was on the screen that day. 

Darley offers a wonderful tour and well worth the trip.  Stay tuned for more!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Equestrian Tablescapes

A visit to Lexington, KY over the weekend meant a visit to L.V. Harkness where the equestrian tablescapes were everywhere!  They had so many tables arranged with china, it was incredible! 

Enjoy your Monday!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Farm Favorites - Products I Love

Over the years you tend to get hooked on products and use them over and over again. They become part of your routine. Here are a few things that I simply could not do without today here on the farm. 

I recently switched to this brand of horse feed after hearing so many great things about it from my friends who keep their horses at home.  While my crew lives on air and doesn't get a lot of grain, I am happy to report that the quality of this feed is excellent, the price point good and the horses love it!

When I broke my arm a few years ago and had to find efficiencies in my barn chore routine, I bought a Newer Spreader. Life has not been the same since.  This little contraption has saved my arm, my back and my time.  If you have a small operation, this is the perfect tool for barn chores.  I can put 4-5 muck buckets in it and I empty it on the cow field (a pasture I don't ever use for the horses).  It is simple to use and it has been a life saver.  It can go in the barn easily and it's lightweight enough to be pulled by a riding lawn mower, a small tractor or a 4-wheeler.

In the winter months, I wear this little beauty every morning and every evening.  I'm sad to report that I have not retired it yet for spring as it's so darn cold right now that I still need to wrap myself in this baby.  Nothing is warmer than this. I won't win any Vogue fashion awards wearing it but sometimes warmth is more important.  Mine is wearing out, so next fall I'm on the hunt for a replacement.  You can always tuck an Hermes scarf around the neck to make it a little prettier.  Mine is hunter green.

A few years ago, after the arm incident, I worked on ways to make my barn chores easier.  We ended up buying a 4-wheeler, but one for "old people" - at least that is what the salesman told us.  This is another contraption that I could not do without today. Yes, they are expensive, but worth every penny. I use it to drag my ring, pull the spreaders, move hay and water, and I use it in the yard (with a cart) to pick up sticks, leaves, move bags of fertilizer, etc. It's an all-purpose vehicle for sure.  In winter it starts right up, no matter how cold it is.  

(Polaris ACE)

Farm life is fun, but it's a lot of work and you have to find ways to make it easier, more comfortable and efficient.  Any suggestions from your own experience?
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