Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Girl Power

What can I say? A filly won the Preakness Stakes! It was the first time since 1924 when a filly named Nellie Morse won.

I was somewhat disappointed Mine That Bird didn't come in first because I was looking for a Triple Crown winner. But the fact he was beat by a girl tickled me pink.

Rachel Alexandra is probably one of the most powerful fillys I've seen in years. The "girls" usually break down during a race because they can't keep up with the power and stamina of the stallions. But Rachel is a powerhouse.

A filly's heart and indominable spirit is what keeps her going. She gives 150% until she can't go on. That's why I have a special place in my heart for mares. They embrace you with their spirit once they learn to trust you. It takes time to earn that trust.

What is really interesting about this Preakness; a filly won the race and a gelding came in second. So much for testoserone.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Let Your Horses Be Horses

Equines need to be outside at least 8 hours a day or more. They need to socialize with pasture mates, graze, and breath fresh air, even when the weather isn't what we think is ideal. Horses need to be horses.

If they're outside all day, their chances for going lame are slim to none, they are much more conducive to working for you, and they're happy. Turning your equine pals outside for the day makes barn management much easier. The longer they stay outside, the easier it is to keep their stalls clean. As you know, shavings are expensive.

Bottom line...turn the horses out first thing in the morning and let them be horses. This saves you tons of money on many levels. Less feed is used because they're eating nutritional grasses instead of processed food. There are less calls to the vet because of better nutrition, and fewer lameness problems because horses are constantly on the move. You'll enjoy a safer ride because horses have gotten their "ya-ya"s out while playing with their pasture pals.

Happy riding!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Who Woulda Thought

Never in a million years, did I ever think a 50-1 shot would win the Kentucky Derby! Mine That Bird proved most people wrong with a stunning upset in the "Run for the Roses".

Calvin Borel's love for the horses and brilliant riding proved you need a good jockey with a can-do horse under you to make it the perfect run. Congratulations to both horse and rider in one of the best horse races I've ever seen.

Most important, I'm glad the field of 20 horses and jockeys made it around the mile and a quarter, clean with no injuries. My prayers are answered.

Now for the Preakness on May 16th! I'd love to see a Triple Crown winner. The world needs a hero.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to Make a Mint Julep

The mint julep has been the traditional drink at the Kentucky Derby for 100 years. I won't be going to Kentucky to see the races, but I thought I'd be a good sport and share Churchill Downs' mint julep recipe with you.

Early Times Mint Julep
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Ideally, a mint julep should be served in a silver cup.

Sounds a little fancy to me, and too much like work.

Personally, I'd rather have a couple of shots of Jack Daniels in a paper cup with some ice, and a lemon wedge. I'll even bypass the mint. Jack Daniels is good Tenessee sipping whiskey. None of that Early Times stuff for me.

I don't even have to fight the crowds. After an early morning gallop on my own two horses and a nice hot shower, I can enjoy all the preliminary Derby horse stories and then watch the race on TV with my feet propped up and my two shots of "Jack". I think I like the idea of being an afternoon armchair jockey...just for today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Run for the Roses

Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby. In 1904 the red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby, dubbed the "Run for the Roses" by sports columnist Bill Corum in 1925, who later became president of Churchill Downs.

Each year 400 red roses are sewn into a satin backing to be draped over the shoulders of the horse who wins this pretigious race.

Each garland is also adorned with a "Crown" of roses, green fern and ribbon. The "Crown," a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizes the struggle and heart necessary to reach the winners' circle.

My two thoroughbred mares, Silver Lining, and Silver City Sadie will be hand galloped tomorrow, not on a track, but over fields of lush green grass, which they will later graze on.

On Derby Day I have my own tradition. Each of my horses gets one long stemmed red rose in a plastic vial attached to their stall door. They're both winners in my book, but for different yet similar reasons. They each have an indomitable spirit and a big heart.

My "girls" have carried me over all sorts of terrain, and protected me from barn prowlers, fire pits, and coyotes. They each get only one rose, but they also get a five pound bag of carrots apiece and two boxes of sugar cubes...and a bubble bath if the weather is warm. I'm not sure the Kentucky Derby winner gets that.