Thursday, April 30, 2009

True Love

A friend of mine, Marion O'Connor, of Cocolalla Creek Sporthorses sent me these pictures this morning and I just had to share with everyone that I possibly know. These have to be some of the sweetest pictures I have ever seen. I cried tears of joy to see such tenderness and total contentment.

This is a newborn offspring of Taskin, a buttermilk buckskin Gypsy Stallion owned by Villa Vanners that was born in Oregon. These pictures were taken immediately after his birth on April 6. Apparently the mare laid down and then he trotted around and crawled right up into her lap.

I hope you enjoy these pictures and perusing the Villa Vanners' website as much as I did! If you want to see fabulous warmbloods, then make sure to visit Cocolalla's website, too!

I just love beautiful horses...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh, the scandel in Vegas!!!

We had so much fun in Vegas at the World Cup. Here we are, a bunch of dressage divas, dancing out booties off at Studio 54. From the left: Lindsey Anderson, Me, Jennifer Schreider-Williams & Kristin. Top photo is me and Siggi Wolff (or should it read "Siggi Wolff and I"?). I didn't post some of the more scandelous photos, cuz, you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? Right!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thank you, Karen Borne'!

I just wanted to extend a heartfelt "Thank You" to Karen Borne' of Borne' Saddlery for allowing me to display and sell some of my Riding Couture products in her beautiful booth at the World Cup. It was a huge success for me, and I just want Karen to know how much I appreciate her friendship and generosity. The Borne' Saddlery booth really stood out amoung all the vendors and we had a great time helping customers and showing off our cool stuff!!!

For those of you do not know who Borne's Saddlery is, well, they are the manufacturer of my elegant Duchess dressage saddle, as well as many other saddles under the Borne' brand. Please visit their website at and see the saddles for yourself!

Karen, cheers to you and our friendship! I love ya', Girl!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Steffen & Ravel Win The Freestyle!

You could have heard a pin drop tonight as Steffen and Ravel rode their freestyle tonight at the World Cup in Vegas! In true form, the two performed a near flawless ride, with an ending score of 84.6 (I think...I know it was 84. something) Steffen won two Rolex watches (one for he and Shannon) and $102,000. Wow, that's some nice spending money to go home with. Congratulations Steffen and Ravel... you have made your country so proud!

Here are some other highlights of the evening:

- Heath Ryan of Australia on Regordez MOI, 70.3. This jet black stallion reminds me of a shiny black seahorse, with a fabulous piaffe and even more fabulous all around profile. All the girl horses want him for their boyfriend, for sure!

- Jeanette Haazen of The Netherlands on Norton, 75.6. Here is a girl who is not afraid to add a little bling to her ensemble. She had gold piping around her orange collar and glitter on her saddle pad that glistened under all the lights. It was an elegant and tasteful use of sparkle. We approved!

- Hans Peter Minderhoud, 81.5 was riding a beautiful forward moving chestnut mare that just danced and floated across the arena to The Carpenters "Happy Together." It was a real feel good freestyle and the crowd loved it.

- Isabell and Satchmo (no need for a last know who I am talking about). The degree of difficulty in her test really stoood out to me. From the very beginning she passaged up the centerline and then piaffed right up to judges; then she did a very energetic (quite brilliant actually) extended trot right into a pirouette; then into a half-pass in passage and then up the center line in a one-handed passage. It was awesome to say the least!

- Anky and Painted Black were incredible to watch in both piaffe and passage and all trot work. The music was perfect for him and what can you say except they are brilliant to watch!

- Last but not least is Ashley Holzer of Canada on Poppy, 79.1. What an amazing team. They are truly poetry in motion and received a standing ovation for their fabulous piaffe work at the end!

This was my first World Cup experience and how lucky was I to witness Dressage history with the USA winning the actual "World Cup."

Farewell Brentina

It was definitely an emotional evening last night at the World Cup, as we were all in attendance to bid Brentina a bittersweet fairwell from such an amazing career as an International Dressage horse. The big screen tv's highlighted the phenominal career of Brentina and Debbie McDonald, as they rode into the arena, Debbie obviously emotional, as was every single person sitting in the stands. Brentina will now retire to I'm sure the best pasture on the farm and coach Felix and Wizard to International stardom, with Debbie right by her side coaching Adrienne. You did it, Girls, with class, style, grace and Fabulosity!

Also last night was the young horse classes, and look out world, there is a new Sheriff in town named "Big Tyme." This horse took my breath away and I can't wait to see more in the future. This horse is what dreams are made of. I need to do my research and find out who the sire and dam are of this fabulous horse. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Last but not least, us girls hit the town last night, painted the town red and danced until the morning hours. My feet hurt so bad that I could barely walk out of the dance club. Siggi and Sandy have pictures....Lord, I hope I get to approve anything that gets posted on the internet (eeks). My plan was to dress up for tonight's Freestyles, but, um, I went to put on the high heels that I was saving for tonight and my feet are so swollen that I can't get them on. Good job, Cinderella! The outfit just got downgraded to jeans and tennis shoes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Steffen & Ravel Win The GP!

Thursday, April 16, 2009.

It was a clear victory for Steffen Peters and Ravel in the GP today at the World Cup in Vegas, where they received a standing ovation for their winning ride. Man, oh man, was it exciting to watch. Steffen and Ravel were so in sync, so relaxed, such smooooooth operators! From the moment they entered the ring with that perfect halt at X, to the bold extensions, flawless half passes, you could just tell that they were destined to win. The grin on Steffen's face as they came up the final centerline was heartwarming to watch. The final score was a 77.9 and it was well deserved, as there was no doubt in ANYONE'S mind that it was the best ride of the day! Steffen had to do a little showing off in the winners' ceremony at the end, playfully performing a one-handed victory lap while riding one tempi changes! Congratulations Steffen and Ravel!

Some other fun highlights for me personally were, of course, Jan Brink and Briar. I have always loved this horse (I still have a straw of frozen semen in the freezer) and it was bittersweet finding out that this will be the last competition for the two, as Briar will be retiring at the age of 18! I am so happy that I was able to see the two in person.

Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, the Canadian team, were very exciting to watch. Pop Art is fondly referred to as "The Little Engine That Could," and you can see why. He just floats across the arena and seems to be saying "Yes, ma'am" the entire time. What a fun little horse to watch. The piaffe on this horse is dang near perfect! Their final score was 72.5.

I finally got to see Isabell and Anky live and in person. Wow! What amazing riders. Anky exhibited such control when Painted Black thought about getting a little feisty and Isabell received a 10 (yes, a 10) on one of her half passes on Satchmo! There's a reason these are two of the best dressage riders in the world!

On another note, my stock ties have been a hit at the show. I sold my new halter with fancy Riding Couture plate and charm before I could even hang it up in the Borne' Saddlery booth.

Well, until tomorrow...sweet dreams!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RC at The World Cup

Riding Couture will have a presence for the first time at the World Cup in Las Vegas! Borne' Saddlery will be carrying a nice selection of most of RC's products, to include stock ties, whips, t-shirts, browbands, and last but not least, The Duchess dressage saddle. Join us at Booth No. 514 for some fabulous shopping!

New Riding Couture whips will be unleashed at the World be the first to view and possibly purchase one of these colorful new whips. What colors you ask? Beautiful, glossy handles in red, navy, black and limited edition robin's egg blue, all with elegant brass caps.

Be there or be square!

Remember, Booth No. 514, Borne' Saddlery

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Interesting Facts About "The Duchess" Dressage Saddle

For those of you who don't know, Riding Couture designed a beautiful dressage saddle available for custom order called "The Duchess." My friend, Karen Borne', is the owner of Borne' Saddlery in Texas and is also the manufacturer of The Duchess. All Borne' saddles are manufactured in Scotland by master saddler, Andy Sankey. Karen just recently posted some very interesting information on her blog about different aspects of the saddles, so I thought I would share this information with my readers. Please enjoy!

"Borné Saddles . . . location, location, location!

"I know that sounds pretty funny coming from a saddle manufacturer, but location is key when it comes to the selection of materials used in our saddles.

"Did you know, for example, animals that live in hot climates such as Spain or India will tend to produce hides that are dry and become brittle, which can eventually lead to cracking? If I was in the business of manufacturing saddle soap this would sound wonderful, but I'm not.

"At Borné Saddlery we purchase animal hides from Europe, primarily Sweden, Scandinavia, and France, due to the more moderate climate. We want our leather to stay supple and offer more longevity to our consumer. The hides are imported from these countries in their original form and tanned to our specifications in the United Kingdom. For this reason we have more control over what happens to the hide once it is shipped to our manufacturing facility.

"Another interesting fact is that in these more moderate climates the animals are not subjected to as many bug bites and barbed wire is against the law, so our hides are not as prone to imperfection as other hides. Speak to one of our clients and the first comment usually made is one of praise about the quality and craftsmanship of our work. I attribute this in part to the choices we make in our material selection.

"Wool choice is just as key to Borné Saddlery as the hide. Obviously, the panel is the area that is designed to fit on your horse's back and what goes in that panel is critical. Any qualified flocking person can tell you stories about poorly-flocked panels that would raise the hair on the back of your neck.

"All Borné Saddles are flocked with 100% lambswool, but not just any lambswool. We purchase our wool from Pringle of Scotland Mills, which is one of the finest wool mills anywhere in the world. Pringle is known for luxury fashion knitwear such as cashmere (yes, your horse deserves the very best)! I would invite you to read more about the history of Pringle of Scotland at

"The reason our Saddler selected Scottish wool is, again, location. The wool is sheared from Scottish Highland Sheep and is not prewashed, so it stays in its purest form. Scotland is a very wet country due to the amount of rain and the wool is already moist (as opposed to a dryer climate where the wool holds no moisture). When your horse sweats into the panel, the additional moisture helps the wool to hold its form and not break down, which can lead to excessive balling and compression. When wool is dry, the sweat from the horse is absorbed more quickly, which leads to compressed panels and unhappy horses. All wool will shift and compress over time but, we look for wool that will hold its shape as long as possible. Our beautiful wool is also approved by The British Wool Society.

"Often we will send saddles to clients with several billeting options. Your horse's girth groove determines which billets must be used to avoid the saddle sliding forward or backward. The general idea on billets is that you want them parallel to your horse’s girth groove. If you are not sure which billets to use on your horse, I am always happy to make a recommendation.

Karen Borne
Owner, Borné Saddlery