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Happy Tail: A win at Ballyhigh horse show and a little me time

Peg Schaeffer enjoyed a rare day off from the dogcare regimen at Sugarfoot Farms last Sunday, June 29, 2014, to enjoy a visit to Ballyhigh Show Stables horse show in Versailles, KY, a victory there, and a restful time at Green River Lake
The next earlier Peg Shaeffer column: Happy Tail: Spanky, the red nose Pit Bull. Posted June 29, 2014

By Peg Schaeffer

Last Sunday I actually got to take a day off from the dogs. I went to Versailles to watch my mare, Garnet, in a horse show.

I raised Garnet from a foal. I had shown her Mom, Silver Etching, and when at a horse show in Ocala, FL, while watching the Grand Prix, I picked out her Dad. He was a handsome black horse named Graf Rossini S. He wasn't as big as the rest but his heart more than made up for it.

He was jumping the fences with ease. His rider was a small woman and when they were done she dismounted and he nudged her pocket. Inside was a peppermint which was his reward.

There when Garnet was born and was the first thing she saw

I was there when Garnet was born and was the first thing she saw. She gave me a big nicker. The next day when I turned her out with her Mom she cantered around the round pen jumping over ground poles. As she grew and was turned out in the riding ring she would jump the fences in the ring with ease.

Once she was weaned I would take her when I went to my riding lessons. I would load her in the trailer and leave her in a stall while I rode. Then I would load her back in the trailer and she'd come home. I would take her to horse shows and leave her at the trailer while I showed and lead her around the horse show grounds to get used to the activity.

Garnet's first training in Nancy, KY

When she was two I took her to a man in Nancy who worked her on the ground. He groomed her, taught her how to bend and flex with a rubber band, and taught her manners on the ground. The first day I rode her she never bucked and was so behaved. By the end of the ride I was jumping her over bales of hay and walking her over a blue tarp on the ground.

From there she went back to Connecticut to the Ethel Walker School in Granby. My friend, Kit, was a riding instructor there and Garnet became her project. She rode her six days a week, teaching her how to jump and letting the advanced students ride her. Garnet won a blue ribbon with Kit at her first horse show.

When Hocus Pocus died, Garnet was brought back to Kentucky

Kit continued riding Garnet for over a year but in 2011 my show mare, Hocus Pocus, died suddenly so when I went to Connecticut in September I brought Garnet back to Kentucky. I would ride her on the trails, practice jumping in the fields, and took her to a jumping clinic a few times. But Garnet has far more talent than I do. She can jump a 4'6" fence with ease but I'm not comfortable with that height. I can jump 3'6" but I'm not confident at any higher fences.

Garnet goes back to Connecticut to do higher jumps

So I sent Garnet to Ballyhigh Show Stables in Versailles to my trainer, Joyce Brinsfield. Joyce has a 19 year old college student, Allie, who has been riding and showing Garnet. So last Sunday I went to Ballyhigh to watch Allie show Garnet. They were entering their first class when I arrived. It was a class called "Gambler's Choice". In this class there are several jumps of different heights. The rider has an allotted time to jump certain jumps and then can choose additional fences to jump. The higher and more complicated the jump, the more points you earn. The horse and rider team with the highest number of points wins. Allie chose the most difficult jumps and she and Garnet ended up with the highest number of points to win the class.

Rider and horse compete as a team

When you compete in a horse show you and the horse are a team. You can be a great rider but without a good mount you won't be successful. The same with the horse. You can have the best horse in the world but unless you can earn its trust it won't perform to the best of its ability. The rider has to be confident that their horse will go over a jump - not stop or go around. The horse needs to trust the rider won't hurt their back when they land or jerk on their mouth. It's a team effort.

I didn't think it possible but Allie and Garnet got better in each class. Garnet could make the sharpest turns, which would save time, and Allie navigated her so the distance between the jumps was always the shortest. When showing in the Jumper Division the winner is the fastest horse without knocking any rails down. It's very exciting. They entered six classes and won all of them.

One class was called Horse and Dog Relay

There was one class called a "Horse and Dog Relay". It consisted of a horse and rider and a dog and handler. Once the horse and rider completed the jump course the dog and handler had an obstacle course to run which ended with a small jump. Allie's friend, Morgan, lead our dog, Kelsey, in the class. The team finished with the fastest time so this time not only Garnet and Allie won the blue ribbon but so did Kelsey and Morgan. It was a good day for everyone.

'Day off' continued at Green River Lake

After the horse show Joyce and I and some of the other riders went to eat together. On the way home I stopped at Green River Lake. Although it was a day away from the dogs I took my usual companions, Kelsey and Thumbelina, and now Diablo, the Chihuahua, joins us. So they got to relax at the lake too.

When I got home I was greeted by a mob of dogs all excited that I was back. You'd think I'd been gone for days by the reception I got. As far as they're concerned I should never leave them. But it's good for me to get away for a little while. I get to unwind and relax and then I'm refreshed and ready for another day. Every now and then we need a little "me" time and last Sunday was mine. - Peg Schaeffer

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY 42728 Telephone: home 270-378-4521 or cell 270-634-4675 email:

This story was posted on 2014-07-06 05:35:29
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Happy Tail: Ballyhigh winners, Allie, Morgan, Garnet, and Kelsey

2014-07-06 - Ballyhigh Show Stables, Versailles, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer.
The winners of the "Horse and Dog Relay". Allie riding Garnet and Morgan holding Kelsey. The horse show was held at Ballyhigh Show Stables in Versailles, KY on Sunday, June 29, 2014. - Peg Schaeffer

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