Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Horse of the Year

Each autumn all the riders, volunteers and staff at MVRU get to cast their vote for the most wonderful, useful and well-loved horse in our programs. In 2009, as always, it was a close contest between the top 4 equines - Little Black, Buttons, Ginger, and Finesse. Rising to the top, Finesse, has been crowned Queen for this year! Last year's winner, Ginger, followed closely on the heels of her black friend.
Words can only begin to describe what is so unique about the character of these mares ... they are versatile, dependable, intelligent and generous. These traits combined with thoughtful, diligent training, physical soundness and athletic ability have produced two outstanding school horse who also excel outside the lesson 'arena'! Their combined skills include impeccable ground manners, leading and round pen work, long-lining for hippotherapy, lunging beautifully, excelling as bareback and beginner horses through first level dressage, jumping, Training level eventing, trail riding, cutting and working cattle.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An Equestrian Journey

When I first bought Bandit, my horse of 13 months, I knew that it was going to be a challenge. I had just recently grown out of my old pony, who had taught me so much over the years, and was feeling ready for a younger, bigger horse that could take me up through the levels. After five visits to Seattle, 34 horses, and countless disappointments, my mother and I decided to go out on a limb and look at a super green, just recently turned 6 year old horse. It was pretty much love at first sight. I think that I knew when I got on him an immediately started picturing us running around a prelim course, that he was the one for me.

For the first 5 months he probably had a total of 4 days off. I couldn't wait to go out and ride him. He is one of those horses that if you have a good ride it will make your day, but if you have a bad one your day is ruined. I love the feeling of the good days, it is what I ride for. Once school started it was hard to fit everything in. You had your homework and ski training, oh and also you wanted to go see that football game, but I would get up at 5:00 am and ride until my mom would come out on the porch and yell at me to get ready for school. I would arrive to class dirty, sweaty, and beaming(most of the time). Over the winter he went into training in Seattle with a really good rider who allowed me to persue my skiing goals. Not to say that I didn't lay awake often and wonder if he missed me. When spring came around I was thrilled to realize that over winter he had just gotten better, and more consistent. The later spring however was very difficult. I struggled with behavioral issues, and the idea of selling was brought up. This scared me so much that it then became vital in my mind to ride him with high quality and make it known to everyone with doubt that this horse was worth the wait. It was hard, but was worth working for.

Just last weekend we traveled to Whidby Island, and competed in our second sanctioned horse trial. We had our best dressage yet with 37 penalties. Also, I was awarded the honorary Raspberry Pie, by Annie for having such a good ride. He was fabulous out on the cross country course. We got into a good rhythm and it just felt as if all the loose ends were coming together. I don’t know if there is a better feeling than a good cross country round. You don’t want it to ever end! He refused nothing, but unfortunately was too fast. Due to “Intentional Delay” at the end of the course, my bright idea to add some time on the clock, we received 20 penalties. I didn’t mind, it just told me that I should move up a level to where the you can go faster and still be in the optimum time. We had yet another great ride on the last day, show jumping. It was a cold and rainy morning and I was worried in the warm up that he would be a little stressed. The second we passed through the start flags however, we both got it together to ride a clean show jump round!

Bandit and I have had a very difficult/rewarding relationship so far. By no means are we even near perfect, but I have tasted the potential he has and the pure joy that comes from knowing that you have had so much influence on one horses training. I can see myself loving this sport forever. It is probably one of the most rewarding things I have been a part of and hope to be a part of for a long time. Building not only knowledge but a bond and growing together has so far been wonderful!
by Jacqueline O'Keefe, 15, Winthrop ... product of MVRU horsemanship programs and Sport Rider

More Summer Horsemanship Camp!

In mid-July a dozen lucky 8-10 year olds had fun and gained skills in our third summer horse camp. Practicing skills of grooming, tacking up and riding English, Western and bareback, they got to ride up to Moccasin Lake for a swim !

Monday, July 27, 2009

Little Star Horse Camps

Twenty-six young folks, ages 5 to 8 years old, got to come 'horse around' for 6 days in July during the Little Star Summer Horse Camps hosted by Methow Valley Riding Unlimited at Moccasin Lake Ranch. They groomed horses, brushed tails, tried vaulting, riding in English saddles and Western saddles, learnd about ranch chores, feeding and turnout and ALL about their favorite ponies and horses. They walked, trotted and cantered, rode through sprinklers to keep cool, gave ponies baths and celebrated Marley's 10th birthday. What a terrific group of young horse enthusiasts! Many thanks to all our great helpers, instructors and horses, who made it all happen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spring Eventing Clinics

Event riders Tulie and Annie B and Johnnie Duguay had the opportunity to attend great clinic in May. Johnnie and her wonderful Thoroughbred gelding, Chino, participated in a clinic with Californian trainer, David Acord, at the beautiful Deep Creek Farm in Deep Creek, Washington. Tulie and Annie attended a clinic with Olympic Gold Medalist, Leslie Law, at Tulipsprings in Kennewick. MVRU school horse, Finesse, and Tulie wowed everyone with their technique and athleticism! We all felt fortunate to have these great schooling oppotunities in Washington State.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Let 'Em Ride !

Over a dozen lucky kids from the Methow Valley School District spent 5 afternoons at Moccasin Lake Ranch in April and May, honing their horsemanship skills, building self-confidence and making connections with community members. This program, for qualified students, has been funded by the Methow Valley Public School Funding Alliance since September of 2005. Students learn to care for the horses and do ranch chores, while also learning more sophisticated horsemanship skills including how to halter, lead, groom and tack up their horses prior to riding. They are exposed to bareback, English and Western riding, and 'vaulting', balance and gymnastic exercises performed on the back of a moving horse. A collaborative effort by MVRU, the MV schools, Moccasin Lake Ranch and community volunteers is what makes this program work.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring Session

Wow, Spring Session has almost come and gone. For 6 weeks we have had dozens of riders of all shapes and sizes walking, trotting, cantering, jumping, cleaning hooves, cleaning tack, vaulting and trail riding. Lots of progress, lots of fun. Great horses, great folks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Young Riders Clinic

Four young riders from the Methow Valley spent Spring Break honing their equestrian skills at an inspiring eventing clinic in Kennewick . Johnnie Duguay, Jacqueline O'Keefe, Tulie Budiselich and Kameron Smith all began their dressage and jumping training in MVRU horsemanship lessons and now train for the sport of eventing with coach Annie Budiselich at Moccasin Lake Ranch.
Thirteen Young Riders from around the state, ages 10-17, attended the 3 day clinic hosted by Area VII Young Riders at Tulipsprings Eventing Facility. Clinic instructors Lexi Lind of Redmond and Jean Moyer of Fox Island focused on improving dressage and jumping techniques. Annie B was allowed to have some fun, too ...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring is HERE ... finally.

Winter has surrendered to spring, bringing warmer days and nights. All the school horse 'team' is now getting tuned up for Spring Session. If you haven't signed up yet, check out the info on the Enrollment page of our website.

We LOVE our Crumb Rubber !

In October of 2007 Moccasin Lake Ranch purchased and installed 44,000 pounds of crumb rubber footing in the riding arena. This upgrade took place, primarily, for the benefit of our wonderful equine friends and teachers ... think of it as Nikes for horses! The new surface reduces joint stress, extending and improving the useful years of our horses. In additon, we have found that it extends our riding season by about a month in the late fall and allows us to start earlier in the spring. Look at this photo taken on the first day of Spring!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring is Coming !!

Welcome to the MVRU Blog! We are excited to use this BLOG to keep everyone up to speed on what's happening at Moccasin Lake Ranch. A few eager, hardy souls have been riding since February first, on those days when the arena is neither a skating rink nor a swimming pool! We are lookiong forward to getting all the horses in shape for spring riding classes. Moccasin Lake Ranch will open for private lessons on March 1st. MVRU Spring Session begins in April. Check the Enrollment page on our website for Spring Session sign-up info.