Mearhbarrow | mbs: First steps (9/10)
Claire von Hohenfeld
captain europa is sooo gorgeous but I love all of them tbh
Thank you all for your comments!
@Jase-Sunshine Callista lives on in a total of four of our horses, each of them a champion! We've been very proud of this bloodline and I can guarantee you'll be seeing more of her legacy in the future : D
Horse's Name: Blue Time ("Marble")
Grade Type: Warmblood
Coat: Grey ( Silver Black Sabino Overo Leopard Appaloosa)
Breed Makeup (Percentages): Missouri Fox Trotter ( 42%) thoroughbred ( 33%) Pony of the Americas ( 25%)
Who would pass up an opportunity to spend a long weekend in the South Downs with minimum expense? Not Devon Bacerra and Balthazar Roche who'd decided to put their winnings from their latest dressage and show jumping shows and the well-deserved bonus given to them by yours truly into good use, or Tuisku Holt who tagged along in order to take her mind off her less than spectacular results. Beautiful countryside and beaches by the Seven Sisters, an outdoor pool, a tennis court - and trail riding. Because they simply don't do enough riding back at home, Devon for example has "only" five horses to worry about, and Tuisku's no different. But exploring the the South Downs on horseback sounded like a good way to spend a day, and since the way Balthazar played tennis was lethal and Tuisku had an allergic reaction from the swimming pool chlorine, they decided to give it a try.
The stable they'd chosen was a half an hour drive away, and upon arrival were given a brief tour around the stables while suitable horses were being readied for them. On the outside, they were satisfied if not impressed by the facilities, but the dark, dusty interiors had them all second-guess their decision. Their guide, a groom at the stables, showed them the long row of stalls where the horses needed for clients would be tethered for tacking up, their nights spent out in the field in a herd. Used to the spacious stables of their own equestrian centre as they were, Devon, Tuisku and Balthazar felt each conflicted about the whole thing. They knew they were lucky to keep their horses in a centre where hundreds of thousands of pounds were invested in the facilities and the care of the horses, and each of them knew that few had that luxury. The horses they'd seen so far all seemed to be in good health, and that was what mattered the most, after all. Even if the bedding was scarce and there was no telling exactly how long the horses would be standing in their windowless stalls.
Halfway through the tour Devon's attention was caught by a small mare standing alone between two empty stalls. "And here we have Marble", said their guide. "She's six years old, and as you can see she's got a very exotic coat! To be perfectly honest none of us has any idea what colour that is, we just call her coloured blue. She could be a skewbald, but who knows? She's usually quite popular on trails but she's got a splint on her left fore and so she's off work for now. Here's the tack and boot room, you can find your riding hats here--"
But the rest of the tour was lost to Devon whose head and heart were filled by a small, blue mare, and she could think of little else.
Two days passed and their holiday was coming to an end, but while Balthazar and Tuisku had entertained themselves with pampering and non-horse related sports back at the resort, Devon was nowhere to be found. After the trail ride she'd gone back to have a look at the lone mare they'd seen chewing on her leadrope, her ears back and her eyes passive. She had gone back every day since.
On their last day at the resort Balthazar and Tuisku were surprised to see Devon up and all her things packed long before either one of them as much as sat up on their beds. Uncharacteristically Devon also seemed nervous, and she was sitting on her luggage fiddling with her phone, refusing to meet their eyes. Balthazar was already about to shrug it off but Tuisku who recognised the symptoms pointed them out to him.
"I have one question, and one question only", she said, standing in front of Devon with her hands on her hips. The question was unnecessary as the answer was already written all over Devon's face in the way that she blushed and tried to act nonchalantly, all the while turning her phone into a fidget spinner. "Is this about that mare? And before you say 'what mare?', I mean the mare you've been talking about whenever we saw you this weekend, which, by the way, was hardly ever after you'd seen that mare. So is it?"
"You know, it's rude to assume."
"Don't tell me you made any arrangements."
"I may have bought her."
And buy her she did, the little broken mare she'd never ridden. Not even Millie Grey could persuade her to change her mind with the cautionary tale of her own Soshone whom she'd sold years before after deciding that Western wasn't for her after all. Devon had a bad habit of taking under her wing any and all horses in need of a caretaker or a rider, and the addiction had struck again. The week following their holiday, when the splint in Marble's leg had healed, Devon drove back to Sussex and returned with a full horsebox. Here horses come and go, but even for us bringing a horse as a souvenir was something that (thankfully) didn't happen every day, and so the welcome committee was quite a deal larger than usual as every one of us wanted to see the horse that had cost our top rider half of her savings while being worth maybe a third of that, as told by Tuisku and Balthazar. And when we did see her, well, she was definitely and eyecatcher. Even our most colourful horse Mosaik seemed ordinary in comparison. As she walked down the ramp Marble's long ears perked up, and the ear-piercing neigh that followed proved to us all that whatever she'd turn out to be, "quiet" would not make that list.
All of our horses go through genetic testing, and Marble was no exception. Fortunately for us all we've been blessed with new foals this spring and so we could throw her tests in with theirs instead of having to pay for an individual test. Her passport also only listed her conveniently as "Grade", which spoke directly to the detective in us. She looked like she could be gaited, but she was quite small, and the cacophony of markings in her in addition to her dark coat, dapples and white mane and tail suggested that she could be...everything.
And that's how her results got back as well. "Everything, more or less", were the news that Maura Broughton, the general manager of the centre told me when she opened the envelope containing the results. "She's a silver black -now that's lovely- and she's got the genes suggesting an overo and sabino, and she's also carrying grey. And she's a leopard as well!"
"Grey-silver-black-overo-leopard-sabino?" I asked in disbelief. Was that even possible? "What about the parentage testing?"
"Well, you were right about the gaited thing, we have Missouri Fox Trotter listed here. But she's also part thoroughbred-" "-Of course she is-" "-and an Appaloosa and a Connemara."
"What? How's that even possible? That has to be deliberate, there's no way she's got all those breeds in her by an accident!"
"Some of her parents could well be crossbreds. Like this pony cross here. The Appaloosa/Connemara percentages are really small so this one could be a sports pony or Pony of the Americas. I'll have someone look into that."
"Have someone arrange a doctor's appointment for Devon as well, please", I said as I eased into my chair. "This calls for an intervention. Horse Hoarders Anonymous will be meeting here every Tuesday at six starting next week."
In the morning twilight there's a period of time when the sun's low and the light takes a blue shade. It was during this time when Devon, lying awake in her hotel bed made her decision, and it was after this hour that she named her unexpected finding Blue Time.
Although to her and many others, in the stable she'll always be Marble.
This was our entry for the GGC. Devon must somehow have inherited my bad habit of falling in love with every little horse my sims encounter (there's quite a number of horses in my stables that weren't originally planned but I simply ended up liking too much) because while I was a bit dubious about this combination at first she has now completely won me over and I've been thinking about registering her as a show jumper because she's definitely got the show and she's got jump as well. I may have a problem.
We've once again been keeping a very low profile due to a busy autumn and a severe illness of yours truly, but as the year comes to an end things are slowly getting back to normal. We have a bunch of new horses that we've yet to introduce to you, and I apologize to the owners and breeders of these wonderful new members of our family for not having shown them off yet.
The people in our two yards have also gone through a change over the course of years. Change and loss have been constant companions in our lives, and while that keeps things fresh, we often find ourselves stopping and looking back at what now seems like simpler days. Of course, "simpler" doesn't always translate to "better".
Happy holidays from me and the rest of the gang, not the least from Tuisku and Mosaik featured in the picture. May the rest of the year pass peacefully, and may the new year bring you all joy!
Ponies! Ponies! Ponies!
Long overdue we'd like to introduce the Welsh B ponies we bought from @Claire-von-Hohenfeld about a year ago. During this time they've established themselves as a part of our extended family at the Fixstern equestrian centre. Our pony team overall has gone through some changes, but in this update we'll only be focusing on our newest additions as we feel that our older ponies, namely TLM Sky's The Limit and Dumbo Flies, deserve an update of their own, and for a good reason: both of these beauties are not competing on Open level 9, and true to her name Sky's The Limit has broken the limit of 400 points! We'll get back to you on these small wonders on hooves.
Featured above we have the lovely Itotia, a grey Welsh B mare we bought together with the Welsh B stallion Azazel. She has a lovely character, and in spite of coming to us at a relatively young age she's been wonderful with our two child riders who definitely needed reliable ponies to get them started. She can be a little careless with her legs while going over jumps, but she never refuses, and her rider Lily Landrum has already gained the title of a Regional Champion with here. Here they are featured in Niflheim's Pony Jumping Cup X, taking the 5th place.
Did I say something about reliable ponies? All right, so Azazel here isn't always the easiest to handle, but fortunately his rider Isabel Reynolds isn't easily scared. In spite of the difficulties they've advanced at commendable speed and are also now competing on Training level together with Lily and Itotia. Azazel started out as Lily's horse, but given that Azazel's a bit of a show-off and sometimes difficult to control, we made the decision to give Lily the more gentle Itotia. Isabel has been doing wonderful job with her stallion, although they do still sometimes need to have a good long chat about who's in charge.
fixstern Highest Hopes is one of our "older" ponies and the second one born at our stables, out of our own MBS Jupiter Rising by MSE My Sweet Casio (owned by @Aylet-Schrödinger). Here she's being ridden by Lily who wanted to gain more confidence by riding a more experienced pony during a jump training, but normally she's Kyra Campbell's (left, almost out of frame) trusted mount. Kyra used to be a groom at our main facilities Mearhbarrow, but after we opened Fixstern she made the decision to move and become a professional rider and a coach for our child riders, a decision that's paid off given that she has been able to take our kids to level 5 and her own ponies Hope and Jupiter to levels 7 and the respectable 9!
Last but not least, we'd like to introduce Quickilver, a 12-year-old Connemara gelding, owned by Janette Ledbetter, a member of our Fixstern team. Janette was supposed to be our main pony rider, but after she sold her two other Connemaras in order to ride our horses, only deciding to keep Quicksilver for sentimental reasons, here we are! Kyra has been coaching them both over fences, and we hope that soon we'll be seeing them both competing with the rest of our pony team. Quicksilver is a gentleman, like a pony of his age should be, and he was Janette's first-ever pony, teaching her everything there's to know about balance, correct seating, and getting back in the saddle (even a gentleman may occasionally buck after getting excited following an amazing jump).
Oh my god! This album is so amazing and creative! I can't believe I've gone this long without seeing it. You've spent a lot of time putting these together, and it shows. I absolutely love it.
Shore's End Show Hunter Trials entries
Vanessa Cole | fixstern Golden Girl IIWorking (6)
When does one stop being nervous about their performance? It had been six years and that had yet to happen. You put in your 10,000 hours, you do your mental exercise, you know your horse, and still there’s no escaping that tight bundle in your stomach. Vanessa adjusted her hold on Goldie’s reinsand drew a deep breath to calm her heartbeat while waiting for her turn on the ring. Six years she had been riding the horse, practically from the very beginning, and she knew her better than she knew her own pockets.
Perhaps it was because she knew her horse so well why every show was a new experience. Goldie was, after all, a mare with rather strict opinions and unyielding principles. She could sail through the jumping phase with the grace of a flagship, her bascule immaculate and her ears always perked up, but she might just as well decide that trot was not a suitable pace for jumping and refuse that particular fence altogether, or if Vanessa herself would judge a distance wrong. In the flatwork phase on the other hand, her part-Andalusian’s high knee-action tended to give the judges a minor heartburn.
Perhaps it was because Vanessa was the type to stress over small things.
A round of applause marked the end of the previous competitor’s round and the gate was opened for Vanessa and her mount to enter the ring. Goldie’s ears were perked up as always and Vanessa could feel her excitement, but while alert, she remained calm, eyeing the jumps with curiosity as if saying, “ah, this again?”. At the nudge of Vanessa’s legs she picked up an easygoing canter and headed for the first obstacle, a wide vertical with curved brush fillers. An easy jump to start with. A far less easy jump was fence #6, a robust log that was narrow enough to make Goldie raise her head and hesitate for a stride until Vanessa’s legs encouraged her to clear it. Turning to fence #8, a grey wall, it was Vanessa’s turn to be nervous.
“You look like you just realized that you left the kettle on”, Mary laughed, showing Vanessa the picture she’d taken of them clearing the wall. Vanessa, still feeling light-headed after their round, could only manage a weak huff. Beside her, Golden Girl shook her mane, her meticulous plats wobbling a bit.
“It looked so much bigger than when I was walking the course! I was sure that we’d take a rail down.”
“Well, you didn’t. You did so well, both of you! Let me take her for a bit and walk her off, you go get something to drink. There are still few riders left to go so we have plenty of time.”
Devon Bacerra | fixstern DebeladoraGreen (5)
There are several combinations in the world that simply don’t go together. Bright red and blue, for example. Or lemon and cream. Or baking soda and vinegar; when apart, both were rather innocent and common household items, but when put together what inevitably followed was a chemical chain reaction leading to a minor explosion. And like baking soda and vinegar, Devon Bacerra and a holiday were a dangerous combination.
Last time, she had ended up buying a horse. This time she was only visiting her equestrian centre’s sister stable in Wales where there was no risk of accidentally encountering a sweet pony in desperate need of a loving home so her team had felt confident leaving the impulsive 30-year-old unsupervised. Devon for her part was self-aware enough to know that her team did have a point. She was welcomed to Fixstern by Vanessa Cole who owned two offspring of Devon’s show hunter mare Daisy May, and they had both been eager to meet again to catch up. In the end, it was the chestnut mare Debeladora who Devon ended up gushing over.
“She looks so much like Daisy! Only not quite as red. And such a lovely head!”
“She’s lovely. She’s so good-natured, too. I’ve been thinking about showing her in dressage at some point, but then I always change my mind. We’ve been doing all right with her so far. There’s another show coming up in a couple of weeks, we’ve been training towards that with Goldie.”
“But not with this one?” Debeladora nudged Devon’s arm over her stable door.
“I would love to, but I don’t think I’ll be riding two horses this time. With her, I’d like someone more experienced to show her once or twice and give her that little boost of confidence, you know? It would help with our training as well. But no one here hunts, so that’s never happened.”
Having herself competed on multiple horses at one point, Devon couldn’t quite understand why only two horses for one single discipline would be too much, but in a way she could see where Vanessa was coming from. She looked at the mare, who looked back at her with gentle eyes. She really did look like her dam…
Devon stroked the mare’s velvet muzzle, her smile gradually growing into a grin.
“So when is this show, exactly?”
When the lorry finally came to a stop on the yard, lights sweeping over the white brick walls, it was dark already. It had been a long trip home from the Shore's End Equestrian hosted hunter trials. Devon and Mary had been taking turns driving whereas Vanessa had spent most of the drive snoring. Only the horses, arguably more fit than their owner, still had a spark of energy left in them, although even they were happy to hear the familiar sound of driveway gravel and to be taken back to their own stables for a well-earned rest.
Devon and Debeladora had their brief partnership rewarded with a grey ribbon and a brand-new saddlepad. A fourth place had satisfied them both, although perhaps more than the ribbon Devon had been pleased to find that "Debs" was indeed very much like her dam Daisy May - in terms of looks. Considering rideability, she had proclaimed, there was too much "Spanish" and not enough "sport" in this Spanish Sport Horse and that Debs is still thinking too much up and round when she should be thinking forwards and stretch. But that one day she would make, and in many ways already was, a fine horse.
Vanessa had taken the diplomatic approach and accepted the observation with a thanks, and what she thought of her two babies and their refined gait she kept to herself. In the tack compartment of the truck, under the saddles and the brand new bridle bought at one of the shops at the equestrian centre between classes, there was a blue trophy, the engraving hidden by the dark. The blue ribbon Vanessa had been holding in her hands for the first hour of the trip, and from time to time she had picked it up to look at it again. Adrenaline had turned her memories of the course fuzzy but she knew that they had behind them their best ride yet. She did remember clinging to Mary in a crushing hug after the announcement of their win, and she could still feel hands patting her back and she remembered well the overwhelming praise given to Golden Girl who hadn't understood what the fuss was about. As if there was any reason to expect any different, she had seemed to think, and the only thing clouding Vanessa's mind had been the fact that no matter how she tried she could never properly convey to her horse how proud she was of her. For Goldie, eating some hay and being able to lay down in her own stable with a satisfied sigh was the best reward. And Vanessa, when she was finally able to kick off her boots and fall onto her bed in her most comfortable t-shirt, could well see why.
OCN Oh, Lady Dahl has been one of the stars of our eventing team for years now. Bred by Emilee Teagrden, she came to us a temperamental 3-year old, out of our own MBS Carmina (NFE/HCS Callista x Attila) by Sovereign's Devil in Distress, she's now 13 years old and an eventing National Champion. The road has not been an easy one; she's a highly sensitive mare and often only relaxes on the second day of the competition, leading to tense dressage tests, until she reaches the cross-country phase starting gate. The very sight of the gate has her perk up her ears and dance excitedly under the saddle. The thoroughbred blood in her has her soar through the course like a bird, rejoicing in her strength and speed on every stride.
However, very recently she has discovered her true calling: motherhood. During her more active career she had one offspring via embryo transfer and thus had no actual contact with the resulting foal, but a couple of years ago she gave birth to her first own foal, a black filly MBS Florence (by MBS Ricasso), and we have never seen a horse so content. Happiness was radiating from her while nursing the foal, and we ended up changing our minds about her only having the one. Just a couple of months ago, she brought into the world another filly, MBS Miss Desiree ( by Meloso de Cortes VC, bred and sold to us by @Borja-Domecq), pictured above. There's no telling yet if this is truly a new chapter in Lady's life, but seeing how her bright her eyes shine these may well be the first steps taken in the second phase of her life, right alongside her foals when they're taking their first steps in the very first one.m
(OCN Oh, Lady Dahl x Meloso de Cortes VC)
Wilder M Bernardi
How did I not see this album sooner?! I loved scrolling through your blog, I gotta find the time to actually go through it in-depth and catch up with all the history with your place