This is for Jason, one of the best show announcers in Welly World!


Out from behind the Mic.

So I have been giving it a lot of thought.  Now that I have started this Blog…I need help.  I want to cover Dressage, Hunter-Jumpers, Western, and Trail Riders.  BUT…I want to feature the local horses and their riders.

South Florida has it all and up until now we really don’t go outside of what and who we know when we could learn so much from each other.  Well nothing is going to change until someone sets something up…well…hopefully we have arrived.

Florida has issues that many other areas of the Country don’t.  Lets face it we are basically on an island.  We have vet issue that many of our Northern friends don’t have.  Anhidrosis for example, we all know someone that has had a horse battle it down here.  Thrush, muck itch, Florida sores, fire ant bites, sunburn and I could go on and…

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back to Callista….Yes!!!!


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Now that Callista is on the mend from various setbacks this winter, I’ve started to have lessons on her again! We’re concentrating on my seat. After my toss from Delhia a few weeks ago, I was struggling with fears and confidence issues. My mantra was : “This is temporary, this temporary!” I have been getting on Delhia but have I been missing Rafi and Callista!!!

Rafi, of course, was the ultimate confidence builder. It was always Callista that pushed my buttons. But with Rafi retired and about to be bred and Lhia making fetal position a part of our daily repertoire? Suddenly Callista needs to step up to schoolmaster role. After all, everything is relative!!! Alpha, opinionated, Madame Queen has suddenly become my easiest ride!!!

I’m sorting through some video excerpts for eventual posting. And I do have some stills that my trainer took today.

We worked on the seat. The lessons have to be short as she is not fully returned to work. We’ve just started asking her to be a tad more engaged. Up until now, we were posting and basically giving her a long rein to find her own balance. But for the last few days, we are asking  her to come through her back into engagement and to connect more. We also have begun asking for leg yields, shoulder in, and some reinback.

Me? I need to get my lower back relaxed and fluid as soon as I get on. My fall definitely gave me set back in the tension retention department. Fight the fetal is the goal just now. Fortunately, Callista is incredibly sensible. If the work is easy, she’s content to go about like a lesson pony while I turn my toes in, drop my leg more, keep an eye on whether said legs are forward or too far back……relax, drop shoulders, poll the highest point….

I’m happy on certain levels to go back to the beginning again! The seat. The seat! The seat!!!

a new career for my special girl…


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I deliberately saved my 100th post on my blog for some special news about Rafi! After a frustrating two years of trying to bring her back to work, this past year I decided to retire her. She had the winter off and on April 1st, we brought her back to Cathy’s Wellington Farm for a last attempt to get her back under tack. We are successfully walking her but she is done.

My various vets have often remarked that I ought to try to get a baby out of this very special schoolmistress. I always held back because of her over the knee conformation and subsequent degeneration of the collateral ligaments and arthritic changes in her front fetlocks. But three different vets said it wouldn’t stop them from breeding her! Between the advances in orthopedic shoe-ing of youngsters and picking a good stallion, it was felt I had a good opportunity to get a nice foal or two out of her.

After discussing it with everyone connected with Rafi, AND having the dearest husband on earth encourage me, I have decided to go for it! Rafi is a gift from the horse gods, having had an FEI career and has taught two amateurs, her former owner and myself, all the advanced movements through Grand Prix!!! She has the most sensible, kind, ideal, adult amateur temperament. She’s a beautiful, elegant mare with a great back and hind end. Lovely head and eye! And all that dressage ability….she could piaffe until the cows came home!

She has too much to share. I cannot bring myself to just retire her into a field as a pasture ornament.

I am taking the plunge.

Allow me to introduce you to:

WAMBERTO { Rousseau – Voltaire – Dutchboy} a 16.1 hand 2003 KWPN Stallion!

He’s gorgeous and I hope he will share his dressage talent, his shorter back, his gaits, his “GO” button {at least, slightly anyway!}. His babies are proving to be fairly easy to handle and train by all accounts. He received raves at his stallion testings for rideability and for character. Susanne Hassler, who recommended him to me, feels he is the most rideable stallion she has ever ridden.

And he’s beautiful! I have loved his sire Rousseau {Ferro – Roemer – Homerus} for years. Wamberto is just a smaller version throwing very trainable babies.

I have done all the pre-pregnancy exams on my beloved Raphaela. The green light came the other day. Yesterday, after days and days of researching stallions, I made my choice.

For the breeding enthusiasts who might be reading: Raphaela’s lineage: she’s a 16.3 hand 1994  Bavarian Warmblood mare by Piaster {Pik Bube} out of a Rasso {Ramiro} mare….

So feast your eyes on this great young stallion. I’ll get some videos up soon. And we’ll be breeding Rafi the next cycle!!!!

Callista!!!! The FEI debut photos….


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I finally have photos from Callista’s debut at Prix St. Georges!!! Jen Griger, our assistant trainer shared the moment by making her FEI debut as well. The tests went well. There were some green moments, which is only to be expected when taking this step. But I was so satisfied with the rides. Please note, one class was performed in the snaffle.

Introducing: Delhia AKA “Lhia”


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Wow!!! It’s been forever since I’ve posted here! I have a new horse, Callista has debuted at Prix St. Georges, I’m still battling the weight but exercising!!! 18 lbs. down since November…still a way to go!!!

Thought you would enjoy photos of Delhia! She’s a chestnut, 2003, just about 17 hand Oldenburg mare by Domiro {Donnerhall} out of a Wolkenstein II {Weltmeyer} mare. She’s already bucked me off! Mercifully, I am largely unhurt, although my confidence is certainly on the rocks. it was also lucky that the toss occurred AFTER I showed her for the first time…

Mare # 3…..


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The third ride went well on the prospect! So well, that an offer has been made and accepted. Details will follow once she passes the vet! Can’t believe that I’m buying another mare! I’m becoming a mare person. Would never have called it in a thousand years. But there it is!!!

Be back here with more to share very soon!

Ancora Imparo….life as I know it…


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Tomorrow, I will have a third ride on a potential new horse. The assistant trainer at our barn will hack her to our barn so that we can see how she behaves in a new place. We’ll pull blood for a drug test. If all goes well, I will make an offer on her.

Yeah, it’s been a while since last I blogged.  I’m in Florida and am relieved to find the holidays behind me! Highs and Lows have abounded and I’m longing to get life onto an even keel again!

It is with enormous regret and sadness that last month I decided that after a good fight and some mighty wicked vet bills, it was the right thing to retire my beloved Rafi. I had to face the fact that she simply isn’t coming back. I really had to scramble to find someplace local to place her. My other retiree, Charly, lives so far away that I never see him. I’m hoping to eventually have Rafi home once my barn is built. But that’s at least a year away. So for the high season, Rafi will have to live at another facility until the seasonal people leave my trainer’s barn. Then I can bring her back at a reduced rate for the off-season. I’m a little nervous about this working but we’ll see.

So I have been horse hunting. And after a near disastrous fall from a spooking prospect, I have found a 2003 mare who is a worthy candidate to my fantastic Raphaela! Unlike the Christmas horse saga, I’m staying quiet about this one until it’s a go! I will say that she fits most of the criteria that I spelled out on a long ago post here. But she’s maybe a year behind in her training. So far, she’s proved to be safe, sensible and rather sensitive. I’m hopeful….I will get back here with the outcome!

Callista will finally make her debut at Prix St. Georges this month. Jen has made terrific progress with her. She needs two scores at PSG to get her Silver Medal. I’m hoping she’ll get them between the next 2 or 3 shows. I’m happy to give her this opportunity but I’d like to think that this spring I’ll get out to a show myself with Callista! Probably I’ll take her out First Level.

After all these years of no interest in ribbons and score chasing, I’ve decided that I’d like to go for my USDF medals after all. I figure, between Callista and the new horse, I OUGHT to be able to get my Bronze before the end of the summer. Anyhow, that’s the goal!

So tomorrow is a BIG DAY! I am pulling for this mare to be my next horse. But I am totally prepared to walk if she is naughty or if she turns out positive for drugs.

Except for the blip of the holidays, I’m doing well with food and fitness. There’s a lot to be thankful right now. Next week I have a big birthday coming. Maybe a big red mare will be a really good gift!

Five days….


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Saturday, I leave for Florida! The horses went down right after Devon and I’ve been bored, eating too much, not keeping up with my cardio, and generally, moping about the house! It is time to go. This is the least horsey five months of my life and I don’t ever want it be without my horses this long, ever again!

Jen took Callista over to Jim Brandon this past Sunday and won their Fourth Level Test Two class! I’m very proud of them!

This, of course, is from the summer. But I love this photo and now have an excuse to publish it …again! Jen said she was rather “up” when she got to the show and felt like she had a bit of a “hump” in her back. But she settled and Jen was happy with her. Callista hasn’t had too many outings off the properties this year! Nice that she “kept all her marbles!”

I’m struggling a bit with my diet motivation just now! Usually the weeks leading up to going to Florida are my psyched up time. I think it must be not riding all summer…..I can’t wait to get there and yet it’s as if I don’t believe I’m going yet…ah yes, maturity in action!

Hopefully, there will be more activity on this blog once I get down to Bella Blu Farm. Yes, I decided that this is the name. I’ve even created a page on Facebook for it. I also nabbed it as an e-mail screen name for the future!

Well, not much else going on! Packing tonight and heading to the city tomorrow. We’ll leave from there….

Next post will be from Wellington, Florida…..

Rare photo! Me on Callista!


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Last day at Cathy’s Jersey farm! It was strange to know I wouldn’t be pointing my car towards Jersey anymore. Cathy competes at Devon this week. My girls get on a van Sunday and head for Florida….It’s the end of an era!!!

Today Rafi was actually the easier ride! She was pretty easy to keep forward despite the humidity and felt good. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Callista worked hard today with Jen. By the time I got on, she was a little tired although still game. But fun…we worked, as always, on keeping her relaxed, supple and up in the bridle.

Was lovely to ride both of them. Now have to wait three weeks until I see them again. I’m primed and ready to be in Florida and riding everyday…