December 2012

Safri has had a good year.  He trotted out just slightly off in the spring, so a summer project started:  resocialization after a year of hanging out! I handwalked him for a month or two, and when he showed no signs of soreness we moved on to the next step. Our friend PJ took over, working with him starting on the ground three times a week.  He fairly quickly remembered all his manners and really enjoyed going farther and farther afield.  Finally, on went a saddle and they progressed to short hacks at the walk by the time the summer was done.  He certainly hasn't gotten smaller, and PJ isn't tall (but she's mighty!).

No ill effects, so back to rest and relaxation for the winter.  He's enjoying periodic walks - and very prepared, as you can see.  This is December 2012.

  Part appaloosa??!?

Handsome boy. 

We'll keep walking!

Noble Spirit.

Once again, connections land us in the perfect situation -- seems to be a pattern with Saf and me!  When the time came to stop riding dressage we were offered the chance to hang out with Chris, David, Snick and Smooch at Noble Spirit Farm.  Smooch is a Foxwood baby, and Chris and Snick were at Foxwood over the winter -- Eliza served as matchmaker, and how lucky are we?  Saf settled in there with "his girls" in March 2010 and lives like a prince.

January 2011

At leisure!

Thank you, Gunnar & Birgit.....

The beginning of the journey.

I met Gunnar and Birgit Ostergaard when they travelled to Windswept for Gunnar to give a clinic.  Tee and I found ourselves encouraged and impressed, and we travelled back and forth to Chester to work with them - Tee even got to be a Deerwood Farm horse for a month or two when finances permitted (they were good sports).  In 2006 they imported Safri, a 4 yo DeNiro X Ibikus Danish warmblood and I was hooked.  We worked out a training package, and he became part of the family in August of 2006 - a big step, but so much fun.

I learned a tremendous amount in the time I spent with them both in Vermont and in Florida.  Both are excellent instructors; between that and working on basics with Tee & Mike at home my riding really improved; there is nothing like being able to ride a horse that is correctly trained when you are an amateur rider, and nothing like being able to watch upper level lessons again and again and just absorb the information.  It was like going to school - perfect for me, and a great escape from the pressures of work, too.  Also got to meet GREAT people - like Roseanna DeMaria.  Check out Roseanna's account of her experience under publications ("Training with the Ostergaards") at; also, check out her writing on leadership while you are there!

Click to visit the Ostergaards...

The beginning of the journey.

Deerwood fun!

Time to move to Vermont for good.....

One worried owner and one adventurous horse!  When it came time to relocate Saf and I were lucky to get reaquainted with Eliza Rutherford, a friend from UVM days who runs Foxwood Farm.  It was a perfect place for us to try out the transition from Florida dressage horse to Vermont-for-good.  Lots of lessons to learn -- primarily, all day pasture, pasturemates, and grass!  It turned out to be the perfect recipe for lots of things, including great friends.  Eliza is both professional and kind, and eased us through the transition without a hitch.  Check out Eliza's foals and breeding program:

Foxwood... heaven for horses.

The end of a career...

Safri has taught me more than I ever wanted to know about horse health and nutrition.  After import he had intermittent mild colic episodes, nothing major but a little odd for a four year old.  Ultimately he was evaluated by Aric Adams DVM and diagnosed with an intermittent epiploic foramen entrapment.  A quick laparotomy, no bowel resection, and he was up banging for food within hours!  No more issues after that, and back to work.  Unfortunately in June of 2008 he had a routine impaction colic - and because of his previous surgery, was incredibly high risk.  This time he was in Vermont, where Dr. Phil and Dr. Bill at VLAC gave us the choice of operation, but it had to be early.  A tough decision - but back to the OR.  Again, a lucky break with no bowel resection but a LONNNNGGGGG recovery because of the risk of hernia.  Recovery at Windswept -- and pretty much the end of a competition career but alive and happy.  During rehab in Florida the following winter he developed a tendon problem in his left foot (a variant of navicular disease) and came home to Vermont in June 2009 for good.  In the process I learned all about horse nutrition and Safri learned to be a pasture pony - free range with pals and even snow like a champ!  No more GI issues after that and he's living large in leisure.  We'll see if that tendon likes a year off!

Visit Dr. Adams, life saver #1.

Visit VLAC; life savers #2.