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Bits and Tales    

February 2014
- Some horses are available for lease at Blackhorse for those who want to build a partnership but aren't ready to purchase.   Our featured Pony Without a Partner for Valentine's Day is Sporty, an experienced and talented show horse with the alabaster Arabian looks of a young girl's dream - 
See Melissa for details.
Don't forget - we love to hear from you, and will include your show results or news whenever we can, so drop us a line at Blackhorseequestriancenter@ .  More information on Blackhorse Equestrian Center is available on our website at   or by visiting us!
On the Road: with Hope and Crosby   
February's horse of the month is our favorite gentle giant, Crosby - formally known as Bay Rhythm.  
Crosby's traveled a long road, mostly with Hope, the human partner he's had since he was three.  Born in NY State, this Selle Francais is a copy (we can't say "miniature" - Crosby is 18 hands tall!) of his sire, the well-known Obscur II.
When they met, Hope had been searching for a mature, trained horse - maybe 15 years old and ready to show.  She didn't find a suitable partner, so began looking for a 10 year old, not so finished.  Then Hope began shopping for a 6 year old.  When the three and a half year old Crosby was recommended to Hope, she laughed, but she also looked at the handsome youth.  While Hope was still considering Crosby, who was at the barn where she was riding, he let her know that he had already picked her.  Like a boy courting his crush, Crosby watched Hope whenever she was near and nudged her whenever she was within reach.
Finally, Hope committed and, with the help of professional trainers, Crosby and Hope became a team and began a long career in show jumping, earning several CHJA (Connecticut Hunter & Jumper Association) year-end awards, including Reserve Champion for Modified Adult Hunter in 2003, Champion in Modified Adult Equitation and High Point Adult Amateur Champion in 2003.
A few years ago, Crosby developed a bad quarter crack that went all the way to the coronet band.  Although they both loved to jump, Hope decided a sound dressage horse was preferable to a lame jumper.  In 2010, they began showing in the dressage ring.  
This second career kept Crosby in the show ring, which he enjoys, so switching disciplines was good for them both.  In 2012, they racked up more accomplishments:
- qualified for the USDF (United States Dressage Federation) Regional Championships
- won a 6th place NEDA (New England Dressage Association) year-end award for Training Level Adult Amateur
- 6th place for schooling shows, Training Level Adult Amateur in Connecticut Dressage Association  (CDA) year-end awards 
- Reserve Champion for recognized shows, Training Level Adult Amateur in CDA year-end awards
In 2013, just four years into their new show career, Hope and Crosby took 8th place for NEDA in Training Level Adult Amateur and again won two CDA year-end awards:  3rd place for schooling shows - and Champion for recognized shows in the Training Level Adult Amateur division!
But it's not all work for these two.  Crosby plays as hard as he works, and he started early.  Shortly after Hope bought Crosby, she came to the barn and found Crosby had learned to pluck his halter from its hook, which was just within reach from his stall, and fling it to the ground.  A human passing by would pick it up, pat him and give him a treat.  He'd found a great game - training humans!
This is a pair that works and plays well together.  Pull up a stool in the viewing room, if you get a chance, and enjoy watching the team of Hope and Crosby!
Show Season Coming: Meet and Plan for 2014
On Friday, March 7, at 7 pm we're holding a meeting in the viewing room to get ready for the upcoming show season.  If you're interested in Dressage 4 Kids or other competitions in 2014, let's start preparing!
Sign up in the viewing room or just show up.
 Summer Program: Register Now! 
It will be warm and sunny before we know it - and that means now is the time to register for the Summer Program!  More information is available in the viewing room and on the website - or by responding to this email.
Joke of the Month
The Unwritten Rules Of Dressage
A dressage test is a test of your skill against another competitor's luck.

Dressage is about achieving a harmonious working relationship with your horse, whose only idea of harmony is eating grass in a field.

If you want to end a drought or dry spell, wear a new jacket and brand new white breeches to an outdoor arena.

Untalented, difficult, aggressive horses have robust health and long lives.

Talented tractable horses are accident prone.

You will ride the best test of your entire life just prior to being disqualified for your horse jumping out of the dressage ring.

Horses do not improve their gaits because you are wearing expensive German breeches.
If you are considering the services of a horse clairvoyant to help you with training, then you have reached the point of total desperation - try the German breeches instead.

If you chose a rap theme for your dressage freestyle music, the judge will not be less than 90 years of age.

The less skilled the rider, the more likely they are to share their ideas and advice on riding.

 If you fall off your horse in the arena you will have paid to have the test videoed or have invited every member of your family to watch.

If you are feeling confident before a show then three ex-Olympians and one leading eventer will turn up to give their young horses some "experience."

Your horse will perform its best piaffe ever when you ask for a freewalk.  (If you don't know what a "piaffe" is, go to Maestoso II Catrina - Piaffe & Levade (Jan 2009)).

No one cheats at dressage because no one has figured out how.

It is surprisingly easy to end a test with a perfect square halt once you have scored a four for every other movement.
Blackhorse Equestrian Center | 325 Amity Road | Bethany | CT | 06524