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Horse Illustrated editorial staff
The Near Side - Dispatches from Horse Illustrated HQ

The Horse Illustrated staff works hard to bring you the best of the horse world each month. But when we're not in the office we're usually at the barn, or any place that’s horsey! In addition to living equestrian lives, we’re always finding fascinating horsey stuff that we think you might enjoy beyond the magazine. The Near Side is our place to share what goes on  in between issues at Horse Illustrated. Join us for the ride!

For more info on the Horse Illustrated team, read on >>

 

Friday, July 25, 2014
This Week in Horses – July 25, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Royal horse doped, buying breeches in the supermarket, a pair of Cinderella stories and more in this week's news roundup.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Carriage Driving with Martha
By Leslie Potter

I just returned from a fantastic week of vacation. I have a pretty sweet gig here at Horse Illustrated, but I have to say, it was really nice to not look at a computer for a week and just enjoy some summer downtime in my home state of Maine.
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Friday, July 11, 2014
This Week in Horses – July 11, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Happy Friday, equestrians! Here's this week's horse-world news roundup.
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Friday, July 4, 2014
The Near Side: This Week in Horses – July 4, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Happy Independence Day to our American readers, and happy Friday to everyone else! Here's what's been in the horse-world news this week.
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Monday, June 30, 2014
Horses in Advertising: Historic Fail Edition
By Leslie Potter

You may have seen old-timey ads where a brand of cigarettes touted that it was the most recommended by doctors, or other dubious claims. But this vintage piece of advertising from 1930 takes the cake. Feast your eyes on this.
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Friday, June 27, 2014
This Week in Horses — June 27, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Hope you all enjoyed the first official week of summer! Here’s the horse-world news roundup for this week.
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Friday, June 20, 2014
This Week in Horses — June 20, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Welcome to this week's horse-news round-up, summer solstice edition. Actually, tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice, which means you have the most daylight you'll have all year to get out there and ride. So do it. But first, catch up on the news.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
If it's not football, it's horseball
By Leslie Potter

One theory suggests that the "foot" in "football" isn't referring to the method by which the ball is moved around the field, but the mode of transportation used by the players — by foot instead of horse. So what are those horse sports that "football" is distinguishing itself from?
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Friday, June 13, 2014
This Week in Horses — June 13, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Here's what was happening in the horse world this week while you were working on your FIFA World Cup bracket. Do people do brackets for the World Cup? I don't know.
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Friday, June 6, 2014
This Week in Horses — June 6, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Here's the horse-world news you may have missed while you were getting your nasal strips ready for Saturday.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2014
Skechers Signs Endorsement Deal with…California Chrome?
By Leslie Potter

Here at Horse Illustrated HQ, I spend my days at a sort of standing desk that I assembled for myself a few years ago. Remember how all the experts were telling us about how our desk jobs were killing us? Well, I bought into it. And it's fine, for the most part, but when I was standing all day, my legs would get tired and my feet would hurt.
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Friday, May 30, 2014
This Week in Horses – May 30, 2014
By Leslie Potter

I missed last week's horse-news roundup, so this is really more like "this fortnight in horses," which doesn't roll off the tongue quite as easily. Oh well. Here's your horse-world news update for approximately the last 14 days.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Saturday Night Dressage
By Leslie Potter

Last year, the Kentucky Dressage Association introduced a 5K run to raise money for the Markey Cancer Center. My dog and I ran it last year and I was happy to find out this year that it would be an annual event. This year's race was held at the Kentucky Horse Park just before the Saturday evening Grand Prix Musical Freestyle.
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Friday, May 16, 2014
This Week in Horses – May 16, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Here's some fodder for your weekend conversation with your barn buddies.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Pony Ride
By Leslie Potter

There's an annual arts fair that takes place at a little park near my neighborhood each year on Mother's Day weekend. It's a very family-oriented event with kids' activities like a petting zoo and pony rides taking place amongst the artists' booths. As I wandered over to the fair last weekend, the pony ride was the first thing I noticed, and no, not because I contemplated getting in line to take my turn.
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Friday, May 9, 2014
This Week in Horses – May 9, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Here's the horse-world news you may have missed while you were out riding this week.
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Friday, May 2, 2014
This Week in Horses – May 2, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Impress the guests at your Kentucky Derby party with the latest news from the horse world. Here's what is going on this week.
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Friday, April 25, 2014
This Week in Horses – April 25, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Here's the horse-world news you may have missed this week while watching the Rolex live feed.
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Friday, April 18, 2014
This Week in Horses – April 18, 2014
By Leslie Potter

Here's the news you may have missed while you were shoveling late-season snow off the barn walkway this week.
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Friday, April 14, 2014
Stop Being So Dramatic
By Leslie Potter

As you may have heard, the Wall Street Journal saw fit to cover our little equestrian world this week. Did they talk about how horses help veterans cope with PTSD? Or how equestrian events raise money for charities in the communities that host them? Or how learning to ride can boost confidence and improve health at any age? Not this time. This time they decided to publish a piece on barn drama.
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Friday, April 11, 2014
This Week in Horses
By Leslie Potter

Impress all of your barn friends during your weekend rides by being on top of the latest horse-world news. Here's what happened this week.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Why Are You Not Trail Riding Right Now?
By Leslie Potter

Seriously. Why are you not outside, enjoying a spring day in the forest or fields with your favorite horse right now? Yeah, yeah, I know. You've got work to do. Family obligations. You're sitting in class reading this on your phone and you don't get out for another three hours. These are not good enough excuses. Your health and well-being depend on you going on a trail ride. And what's more important than your health?
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Friday, March 28, 2014
Blanketing Drama
By Leslie Potter

I like to think that I’m not a worrier when it comes to my horse. He lives a pretty simple life with 24-hour turnout in a field with a shelter and a couple of buddies. He doesn't wear shoes, which means I don't have to worry about him losing one in the mud. He's semi-retired, which means if he seems a little off one day, I can give him all the downtime he needs without the pressure of getting him ready for a show. Snoopy's golden years have been pretty relaxed for both of us.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Put a Swoosh on Your Shadbelly
By Leslie Potter

Here's some interesting news from the world of equestrian sports. Nike has officially sponsored its first American equestrian athlete. Yes, the very same Nike that sponsors household names like Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and LeBron James. So who is this new star?
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Friday, March 7, 2014
The Not-So-Secret Equestrian Society
By Leslie Potter

I'm proud to be an equestrian and I certainly never try to hide the fact that I am a horseperson through and through. But I don't necessarily try to flaunt it, either. There's a time and a place for dirty muck boots, and it's not Saturday night at a nice restaurant, you know? But sometimes it doesn't matter if you're waving your equestrian flag intentionally or not. Your fellow horsepeople know who you are.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Ice Dancing, Dressage, and Subjective Judging
By Leslie Potter

I almost never watch sports on TV. I've never been able to get into the professional sports that dominate American culture, or even the college basketball that is like a universal religion here in Lexington. But every two years, the Olympics take over primetime and I'm hooked. Skiing, swimming, speed skating or any of those other sports that get zero airtime when the Olympics aren't happening? I can't resist. I even stayed up past my bedtime to watch curling the other night.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Appy Trails
By Leslie Potter

This week, a new show jumping game was released for iPhone and iPad, titled "Jumpy Horse Show Jumping." It's billed as "realistic," which seems like a funny term. How realistic could an iPhonified experience be? But maybe it's fun. You can compete over pre-made courses or create your own. You can pick one of seven breeds, from the traditional Hanoverian or Thoroughbred to some more, um, interesting choices for jumping, including a Shire or zebra.
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Monday, January 27, 2014
Making the Most of Winter
By Leslie Potter

This winter has been crazy, hasn't it? You have to expect a certain amount of cold and snow at this time of year, sure, but it seems like it's been relentless. I'm usually a cold-weather complainer, but weirdly, I haven't been as bothered by this year's abnormally bitter weather as I usually am by normal winter weather. I got a great new winter coat for Christmas along with some snow cleats for my boots, and I feel kind of invincible with them. Plus, I like having an excuse to drink a lot of hot chocolate. But this winter has been rough for riding.
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Complex Carriage Horse Question
By Leslie Potter

We're three weeks in to 2014 and here in the U.S. we've already had major events take place on some of the hottest hot-button issues in the horse industry. One is the recent passage of a budget that places a de facto ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. This is the same ban that was in place from 2006 through 2011, and since no horse slaughterhouses opened up since the ban was lifted, nothing has really changed yet. It's an important issue, sure, but honestly? I don't want to write about slaughter today.
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Friday, January 10, 2014
Rewards for Riding
By Leslie Potter

I don't have to tell you this, because you already know, but riding is its own reward. I like doing the whole horse show thing, but I can say without a doubt that if I had to choose between competing and riding just for fun, fun takes a decisive victory. But, as I've probably said a few dozen times on this blog, trail riding around the farm on ol' reliable Snoopy can get a little stale.
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Friday, January 3, 2014
My Stupid Mistake
By Leslie Potter

During the winter, I occasionally take my dog, Brit, over to a nearby park that has a fenced-in baseball field where she can run around. It's not quite as good as the dog park, but when daylight hours are scarce, it's an adequate replacement and is a little more fun than the same old on-leash walk around the neighborhood.
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Monday, December 9, 2013
Repurposing Horse Show Ribbons: Holiday Edition
By Leslie Potter

When people talk about showing horses, they'll often say something like, "I don't do it for the $1.00 ribbon." And it's true. If we only cared about those satiny prizes, we'd just buy ribbons. But for me, ribbons represent memories of different moments in my equestrian life. Some of them are proud victories. Some of them are from small classes in which I only got a ribbon because there were more ribbons than riders. But they're all mementos of time spent with horses, and that's something I cherish.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Horsey Finds on Etsy
By Leslie Potter

It's December, and if you celebrate Christmas, you've got less than three weeks to do all your shopping, wrapping, fretting, and otherwise stressing out for this year's holiday. I try not to get swept up in the madness—you'll never catch me at a black Friday sale—but gift-giving is always stressful. I want to pick out something thoughtful and unique for everyone rather than just buying a gift for a gift's sake and contributing to the future clutter of my friends and family. But it's not easy.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Is your tail light out?
By Leslie Potter

A couple of months ago, we ran a news item here on HorseChannel about rider safety at night. A survey of riders conducted in the UK found that neon clothing and even reflective tape on tack or riding clothes did not reduce the risk of having a close encounter with a car when riding along public roads. Wearing lights, however, did.
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Monday, November 11, 2013
No-Stirrups November
By Leslie Potter

I'm sure I've said it before, but having a senior horse is a mixed bag. At his advanced age and with more than two decades under saddle, there isn't much that Snoopy hasn't experienced before. He's not above spooking, mind you, but I don’t really have to worry about him. I can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
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Thursday, October 31, 2013
Rider Versatility at the Alltech National Horse Show
By Leslie Potter

A while ago, I had a conversation with some friends about the relative difficulty of different disciplines. They were of the mind that if you can ride saddle seat, you can ride any discipline. My riding instructor in high school used to say the same thing, and I can kind of see why you might think that. The saddles are flat, so it's up to you to keep yourself in the right place. You've got to manage two sets of reins. The horses tend to be pretty high-powered.
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Friday, September 27, 2013
Twilight Polo in Downtown Lexington
By Leslie Potter

Last night, my operating plan for the evening to get home in time to catch the season premiere of Parks and Recreation. But when I got back to my car after my riding lesson, I had an intriguing text message with a better offer.
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Monday, September 16, 2013
Tack Shop Euphoria
By Leslie Potter

My beloved schoolie, Dreamer, is as honest as they come. He goes wherever I point him. He'll jump out of whatever terrible spot I put him in. He's just an all-around good guy. But he isn't super-motivated to move forward. Like many seasoned school horses, I suspect he's learned that the consequences for taking his sweet time with an inexperienced rider are minimal, and the work considerably less. So if he's having a particularly lazy day, he might just put 78 strides in a five-stride line.
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Monday, July 29, 2013
Riding the Mangalarga Marchador
By Leslie Potter

A few weeks ago, I shared some photos from my trip to Brazil where I was introduced to the Mangalarga Marchador breed. While I was there, I also had several opportunities to ride some of these horses.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Helmet Cam — Jester View
By Holly Caccamise

As we reach the midway point of the summer, horse show season is in full swing. Back in December, I got a helmet cam as a Christmas present, but being somewhat technologically challenged, it took me until summer to get it up and running.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Meeting the Mangalarga Marchador
By Leslie Potter

A few years ago, I was window shopping online for a new horse. I wasn't in the market, but who doesn't like to look and see what's out there? While scrolling through the breed menu to select "Morgan," I noticed a breed I'd never heard of: Mangalarga Marchador.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013
Summer Solstice Sunset Ride (one day early)
By Leslie Potter

June is my favorite time of year, and that is in no small part due to the daylight that stretches well into the evening. Here in the Horse Capital of the World, we're pretty far west in the Eastern time zone, which makes our sunsets artificially later. Today, the day of the summer solstice, our sunset is officially at 9:03 p.m. Blissful.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The horse world's disappearing act
By Leslie Potter

When I first moved to Lexington, one of the many local horse events I was excited to attend was the semi-annual Saddlebred auction at the Tattersalls sales pavilion. These sales were sort of the flea market of the American Saddlebred industry. There would always be a handful of big price tags for high-profile performance horses, but the real treasures were the diamonds in the rough.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
What is my horse thinking?
By Leslie Potter

"Horse stuck in ravine rescued through 'telepathy.'"

That headline stood out as I perused today's horse-world news. It came from a Seattle Times article about a young Fjord mare who wandered off and, well, you can figure out the rest from the headline. Fortunately, the story did have a happy ending, which apparently can be attributed—at least in part—to a horse psychic.
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Friday, May 24, 2013
Fifteen Weekends of Summer
By Leslie Potter

Summer doesn't officially arrive until the solstice on June 21, and technically it keeps on going until the autumnal equinox on September 22. But in practice, the summer season is generally agreed to be the wonderful, beautiful months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
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Friday, May 17, 2013
These Boots Were Made for Riding…But Now They Just Sit There
By Leslie Potter

When it comes to maintaining a collection of worldly possessions there are three types of people. There are the DIY types who have the mental wherewithal to keep things in good working order and fix them if they do break. Then there are those who use things up, and once they're broken or worn out or just plain unwanted, they toss them out and buy a replacement.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Riding the Rolex Course
By Holly Caccamise

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to tour the famous Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country course on horseback. I am nowhere near brave enough to actually jump those jumps, so thankfully that wasn't the plan.
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Friday, May 3, 2013
Rolex Also-Rans, Cross-Country Edition
By Leslie Potter

It's no secret that cross-country day is THE day to go to Rolex. Whether or not you're an eventing fan, it's worth the trip just to stand near those cross-country jumps and try to wrap your head around how a 1,300-pound animal could possibly propel himself over them. Then when you actually watch them do it, well, it'll make you rethink what you knew about equine abilities.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Rolex Also-Rans
By Leslie Potter

Here at Horse Illustrated HQ, the week of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of our favorite times of year. The horse community descends upon our fair city of Lexington, Kentucky, and we get to see the world's top event horses and riders compete on one of the world's legendary courses right at our own Kentucky Horse Park.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2013
Running for Donkeys
By Leslie Potter

Last weekend was the famous London Marathon, which went off without a hitch under the long shadow cast by the attack on the previous week's Boston Marathon. After the emotional week in Massachusetts, it was a bit of a relief to see some positivity come out of London.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Stifling Stock Ties
By Holly Caccamise

As eventers, a lot of our show dress originates from foxhunting: the button-down wool coat, light-colored breeches, black leather boots, a velvet cap (now helmet), and stock ties. The supposed purpose of the stock tie was to serve as a bandage or tourniquet for an injured rider out in the field. Yikes! I would hate to be that guy.
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Monday, April 1, 2013
Running with Thoroughbreds
By Leslie Potter

Last weekend, I ran a race at Keeneland Race Course here in Lexington. No, I did not have to go up against Thoroughbreds, but rather 4,000 other human runners and 13.1 miles of rolling hills in the Run the Bluegrass Half-Marathon.
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Friday, March 29, 2013
Why can't we stop soring?
By Leslie Potter

No one in the horse world would come out in favor of soring. In that respect, it's not exactly controversial; everyone is against it, at least publicly. But it's still happening. We're still discussing it more than 40 years after the passage of the Horse Protection Act, which made soring illegal. The court of public opinion (and federal law) are unambiguous in their condemnation of this practice, but there are still trainers who think that it's somehow okay to abuse horses in this way to get a desired result, as long as they don't get caught.
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Monday, March 18, 2013
Is it still a show if no one is watching?
By Leslie Potter

Over the weekend, the Horse Illustrated/HorseChannel editorial team spent some time at Road to the Horse. For the uninitiated, this is a competition amongst horsemanship trainers—mostly top level clinicians—in which each competitor starts a colt from the ground up and is judged on his or her progress at the end of three days.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
It's almost 2014 (if you work on a magazine)
By Leslie Potter

The year 2013 is still in its early days, but here at Horse Illustrated HQ, we're already planning our editorial calendar for 2014. You're right, it is crazy, but that's the way the magazine biz goes.
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Monday, March 11, 2013
Mine That Box Office
By Leslie Potter

Can you take another feel-good movie about a racehorse who overcomes the odds to become a champion on the track? Is it too early for a nostalgia feature about a race that took place just four years ago? View Blog >>


Friday, March 8, 2013
Hoarders (Tack Room Edition)
By Leslie Potter

The other day, a local horse rescue announced on their facebook page that they were looking for a cutback saddle to borrow to use on a horse that they currently have at their facility. I happen to have a cutback saddle sitting in my house, neglected and unused, so I offered to loan it to them. Then I thought, "Maybe I should just donate it. I don't really need it anymore." View Blog >>


Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Who's your mama?
By Leslie Potter

When my sister and I were in high school, we once horse-sat for an elderly American Quarter Horse named Chubby who lived in the boarding stable up the road from our house. Chubby's human called the house one day and identified herself as "Chubby's mom." My sister had answered the phone, and was briefly confused. View Blog >>


Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Springtime Countdown
By Leslie Potter

How's your winter riding going? Have you managed to keep up your training, or has the weather and lack of daylight taken a toll on your schedule? I'm ashamed to admit that I have not been riding as much as I should have. I've managed to get out to ride some, but not the three times a week I pledged to stick with all winter. View Blog >>


Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Through the Ears, through the Year
By Leslie Potter

Horses are popular subjects for photography and other works of art, even when the artists aren't horse people. It's not hard to understand why. What's not to love about those universal symbols of beauty and power? Since we live in a time when everyone walks around with a camera on the phone in their pocket and Instagram filters can disguise a mundane image as a thought-provoking bit of modern art, there are more horse photos floating around than ever.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Adorable Clydesdale Foal...and Beer
By Leslie Potter

In our current video of the week, we featured a viral hit showing some behind-the-scenes footage from the Budweiser commercial sets featuring the legendary Clydesdales. The dashing drafts will again make an appearance during this year's Super Bowl, which is good news, in my opinion.
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Monday, January 28, 2013
Who said that? Probably not Winston Churchill
By Leslie Potter

There are a handful of inspiring quotes that circulate around the equestrian community on bumper stickers, T-shirts and Facebook posts. Surely you've heard many of them. How about, "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears." Or, "God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses." Or my favorite: "A canter is a cure for every evil."
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Horse Illustrated Special Effects Department
By Liz Moyer

At last, my dedicated viewing of the zombie apocalypse hit TV series The Walking Dead has paid off. I haven't had any encounters with flesh-eating zombies, but the show inspired me to illustrate the first aid article in the March issue of Horse Illustrated with some original special effects. For anyone curious or concerned about the bleeding wound pictured in the article, here's a behind the scenes look.
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Friday, January 4, 2013
Snow Ride
By Holly Caccamise

In central Kentucky, it's pretty rare to have a good coating of snow on the ground. If we get one, it's usually gone within a day or two. Mostly winter is a cold, muddy, miserable mess.
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Friday, December 21, 2012
Seven Tips for Surviving the End of the World
By Leslie Potter

So, how'd the end of the world go in your neck of the woods? Pretty low-key? Here in central Kentucky we had rain, sleet, snow and severe wind, and it almost did feel like the world was ending.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2012
Equine Capital of the World
By Leslie Potter

One of my non-equestrian hobbies is running. In this case, by "hobby” I mean, "a thing I force myself to do on a regular basis because I know it's good for me.” Despite being awarded the dubious title of "America's Most Sedentary City” by the misinformed editorial staff of Men's Health Magazine a couple of years ago, my adopted home city of Lexington, Kentucky has quite an active running community and a lot of fabulous places to put in some miles.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Holiday Wish List
By Leslie Potter

Gift giving is a challenge on both ends of the equation. It can be tough to find something thoughtful (and affordable) for each person on your list. It can also be tough to offer ideas when your family or significant other ask that annual question, "What do you want for [Christmas Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, et cetera]?”
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Monday, December 10, 2012
Definitely Don't Stop Riding
By Leslie Potter

Despite the fact that I am originally from the frozen northlands of New England, I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to winter weather. If I had my way, I'd spend the winter under about twelve blankets with a hot chocolate delivery service making scheduled visits every morning.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Equestrian Sports around the World
By Leslie Potter

I've said it before and I'll say it again: We're pretty spoiled here in the Horse Capital of the World. Since Horse Illustrated HQ is mere miles from the Kentucky Horse Park, we have the opportunity to see top-level competition in just about every equestrian sport and plenty of different horse breeds.
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Friday, November 9, 2012
The Horses of Fieracavalli
By Leslie Potter

The sheer variety of horse breeds and types represented at Italy’s Fieracavalli distinguishes it from most other horse fairs. No matter what kind of horses suit your fancy, you’re bound to find them here, and probably some new types you didn’t know about.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Italy's Horse Fair
By Leslie Potter

This week, I packed up my bags, gave Snoopy a farewell carrot, and—after doing my civic duty by casting my vote in exchange for a sticker—hopped on a plane to Italy. I’m writing this blog post from the city of Verona, home of a 118-year-old horse fair called Fieracavalli.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Thoughts on 60 years in the saddle
By Leslie Potter

I took my first riding lesson at age 8. While I’ve never seen a statistical analysis of when American kids start riding horses, I’d say that’s probably around average, if you factor out those lucky individuals born into horsey families and rode before they can remember. What’s unusual about me—and those of you reading this, too—is that I didn’t stop riding.
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Monday, October 1, 2012
Movin’ on Up
By Holly Caccamise

After taking Jester to three events at Beginner Novice level, I decided he was ready to move up to Novice. The jumps are only 4” higher, but that can seem like a mile sometimes. But he had been progressing well in all three phases, so it was time to take the plunge.
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Friday, September 28, 2012
How to Afford Your Horse Habit
By Leslie Potter

We all know the feeling of wanting something we can’t have. I know many of you spent your childhoods in the same boat as me, the one in which your parents wouldn’t let you have a horse. Even if you do have a horse, and you love that horse, who hasn’t coveted a top prospect in their chosen equestrian sport, or some exotic breed to stir up the mix of horses in the back field?
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Close Encounters on the Trail
By Leslie Potter

The weather has cooled down quite a bit here in central Kentucky, which makes for ideal trail riding. Since our abbreviated show season is long over, Snoopy and I are enjoying some relaxing meandering on the paths around our boarding farm. It’s usually relaxing, anyway.
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Friday, September 21, 2012
The making of a barn dog
By Leslie Potter

Brit, my Black Lab/Pointer mix, entered my life just over a year ago. I’d been toying with the idea of adopting a dog for some time, but money and time were always tight, so I held off, occasionally browsing the kennels at the shelter, just in case my canine soul mate showed up. And then one day she did. Life hasn’t been the same since.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Paralympic Inspiration
By Leslie Potter

The equestrian events at the 2012 London Paralympics have just ended. Did you manage to watch any of the competition? If you did, you’re ahead of me because I couldn’t figure out how or where to do it.
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Saturday, August 25, 2012
Tradition vs. Innovation
By Leslie Potter

What if soccer players showed up for a game wearing khakis and blazers? Or football teams took to the field in top hats and three-piece suits? In most athletic endeavors, competitors wear clothes designed to keep them cool, prevent muscle fatigue, reduce wind resistance, etc. But in equestrian sports, the primary attire concern seems to be adhering to tradition, even when those traditions are archaic.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Seniors in the Show Ring
By Leslie Potter

"I thought you retired your horse.” I’ve been getting this a lot lately. Just about every time I mention that Snoopy and I competed last weekend, this is the reply I hear. However, this show was held at the farm where I board, and thanks to this blog I have written proof that Snoopy’s retirement was from traveling, not competing. So there.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Eye of the Storm
By Holly Caccamise

In June, I took my still-relatively-new horse Jester to his first recognized Beginner Novice horse trial. I thought his dressage test was alright, certainly the best he was capable of at that point as a green 4-year-old. He kept his cool, which is more than I can say for some horses I’ve shown in the dressage ring!
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Thursday, July 12, 2012
Watching the Olympics…or not.
By Leslie Potter

I’ve previously mentioned that I’m an Olympics junkie. I’m exactly the kind of viewer NBC wants to have. I’ll watch whatever sports they put on the screen (and interrupt with Olympic-themed commercials for Coke and McDonald’s and other stuff that Olympic athletes wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.) But I’m feeling a little bitter about the plans for this year’s broadcast.
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Monday, June 18, 2012
Summer of Dressage Part II
By Leslie Potter

Whether it was his intention or not, Stephen Colbert's opening bit about Mitt Romney's indirect connection to dressage has led to quite a bit of mainstream publicity for this relatively insular sport.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Ann Romney and the Summer of Dressage
By Leslie Potter

Big news for the world of equestrian sport. Television personality Stephen Colbert has declared dressage the Official Sport of Summer. Of course, as with just about anything that comes from Colbert, this declaration came with a healthy dose of mockery.
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Friday, May 11, 2012
Summer Pony
By Liz Moyer

Like most horse crazy kids deprived of actual horse ownership, I read voraciously to fill the time in between riding lessons and summer horse camp sessions—every horse book the library had, I read several times over.
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Monday, May 7, 2012
I ride the Rolex cross-country course
By Leslie Potter

Once, in college, I jumped a couple of logs on the cross-country course on campus. A while back, the arena at the hunter/jumper barn where I rode was being dragged during my scheduled lesson, so we went out and practiced over some coops and brush fences, each measuring about 2’. Why, just last summer, Snoopy and I encountered a very small jump just sitting in the middle of the field at our boarding farm, so we trotted over it a few times. And that, friends, pretty much sums up my cross-country riding experience.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2012
Spotty Updates
By Holly Caccamise

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last blog … so much has happened since then. First was the trip to Aiken, S.C., for a week with my trainer and people from the barn. This was definitely an "opportunity of a lifetime" type of trip for me. They've been going to Aiken every year since I moved to the barn, and I'd always wanted to go. So I decided last year to save money no matter what to make it happen!
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Monday, March 5 2012
Spotted: New Horse
By Holly Caccamise

Two years after buying Dexter, an experienced Novice eventer, I came to the realization that he wasn't the horse that was going to get me to my competitive goals. We spent two wonderful years at Novice, and he was always well-behaved and took good care of me. It was very hard to reconcile that what made him so wonderful was also what made him unsuitable for tearing up the turf with blazing speed over imposing obstacles of ever-increasing size.
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Friday, March 2, 2012
Horse nerds and grammar geeks, unite!
By Leslie Potter

Get excited, friends. March 4 is National Grammar Day. If you’ve ever found yourself grumbling about a misplaced apostrophe on a store’s marquee or incorrect homophone usage in a friend’s Facebook status update, this is the holiday for you.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
News Update: Down with Diving Horses
By Leslie Potter

As many of you probably heard, the owner of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, N.J. recently announced that the old diving horse act (you know, the one from Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken) was going to be revived this summer. In the show, which was popular in the early 20th century, horses went up a ramp to a 40-foot platform where, in most cases, they picked up a rider, and then the pair would dive together into the pool below.
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Friday, February 10, 2012
Cowboys on the Run
By Leslie Potter

I took up running a few years ago because I felt like I needed to improve my fitness out of the saddle. Riding has its benefits, but it doesn’t quite qualify as cardio. I picked running because once you have the shoes, running is free, and that’s a nice contrast to the expense of equestrian sports. I know lots of other riders who incorporate running into their lives in one way or another, so I imagine there’s a lot of crossover between the two sports.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Heavyweight Horses
By Leslie Potter

Imagine you’re a horse dealer. You specialize in finding people just the right horse for their needs, be it a reliable "husband horse” for easy-going trail rides or a spunky pony for an ambitious kid starting her riding career. One day, you get a call asking for something very specific.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Name That Horse
By Leslie Potter

When I worked as a riding instructor at a summer camp, nearly half of the kids who came to ride were named either "Emma” or "Emily.” Okay, yes, that’s an exaggeration, but it seemed that way. We recently compiled a list of the top names for mares, geldings and stallions based on Club Horse profiles. Apparently, the equine equivalent of "Emma" is "Buddy".
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Monday, December 19, 2011
Once an equestrian, always an equestrian
By Leslie Potter

I came across this gem in my daily perusal of horse world news. A 98-year-old great-grandmother in Montana mentioned to her granddaughter that she’d like to go for a ride. Gladys McLarnon had ridden throughout her entire life, but it had been 15 years since her last ride. Her granddaughter passed the request along to a hospice worker, who contacted a nearby therapeutic riding center.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Don't Drink and Ride
By Leslie Potter

During a family road trip as a kid, I remember driving past an ice cream shop where a group of riders had stopped for a snack. This blew my mind at the time. I’d never thought about people still using horses for transportation like that, and the idea of being able to ride a horse down to the store to get some ice cream seemed like the ideal summer afternoon to me. Frankly, it still does.
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Friday, December 9, 2011
Armchair pole bending
By Leslie Potter

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of helmet cams. Since it’s a safe bet that I will never ride the Rolex cross-country course or race a Thoroughbred, getting a rider’s-eye view of those experiences is a fair replacement.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Horse Illustrated Covers 2011
By Liz Moyer

Here at the Horse Illustrated offices, a lot of effort goes into creating the cover each month. We sift through hundreds of thousands of images from top equestrian photographers, looking for the perfect shot of the perfect horse to represent the issue. The image of the cover horse is what you see first on the newsstands, or when you open your mailbox. We want it to catch your eye and make an instant connection.
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Friday, December 2, 2011
Course walking to the beat
By Leslie Potter

Everyone knows that hunt seat riders, especially equitation riders, are very serious. Clad in conservative, traditional beige breeches and navy coats, these riders demand perfection from their horses, their grooms, and themselves. Horse shows are a place for hard work, discipline and concentration, not for self-expression.
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Friday, November 23, 2011
Know Your Tack Shop
By Leslie Potter

Now that Black Friday is here and Christmas shopping season is officially open, you’re probably making your list and checking it twice, unless you’re one of those overachievers who gets it done by the end of October. For the rest of us, it’s time to decide on a shopping plan of attack.
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Friday, November 18, 2011
Another horse movie
By Leslie Potter

I’ve been reading a lot about War Horse lately. People who follow the movie industry seem to think it’s got a shot at an Oscar nomination. The highly-anticipated screen adaptation of the stage adaptation of the novel will be out on Christmas. If you can’t wait ‘til then to get your new-horse-movie fix, there is another film that was released in limited markets last week.
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Friday, November 11, 2011
Another cute horse video
By Leslie Potter

There’s nothing quite as moving as inter-species friendship, is there? I came across this video this week, and it’s one of my favorites. A French Bulldog meets a stately police horse in New York City, and initial timidness (on the dog’s part) eventually turns into unabashed canine joy.
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Friday, October 28, 2011
Snoopy’s Swan Song
By Leslie Potter

Last weekend, Snoopy had a retirement party. We went to our first, last and only off-the-farm show of the season, and I had decided it would be our last hurrah. When I told friends and family members of my plans to retire him, the nearly universal response was, "Again?”
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Friday, October 14, 2011
No foxes were harmed
By Leslie Potter

Fall always makes me a little sad, as it means that summer has ended and we're moving into the dreary days of winter. It's too bad, because fall itself is a nice season with perfect temperatures for enjoying long trail rides. The crisp air and smell of dried leaves always triggers the memory of the first—and so far, only—time I tried fox hunting.
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Monday, July 25, 2011
Cute horse video of the day
By Leslie Potter

I'm not one to complain about the heat, but it has been a bit too much lately, hasn't it? I've spent much of my time at the barn just hosing Snoopy down with cold water and leaving him in his stall with the fan on for the hottest afternoon hours. I've scrubbed and refilled his water bucket to make sure he has access to cool, clean water (which he invariably snubs and instead waits until he's back outdoors where he can enjoy the earthy flavor of the shared pasture trough.)
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Friday, July 22, 2011
Why is there a horse in my basement?
By Leslie Potter

I read a lot of horse-related news here at Horse Illustrated HQ, and after a few years of doing this, I've noticed trends. For example, several times throughout the winter I will read stories about horses that have fallen through an iced-over pond in or near their pasture. Surprisingly, these tend to have happy endings after an edge-of-your-seat tale that usually involves volunteer fire departments. This trend helps me to appreciate the importance of secure fences and safe turnout areas.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Dressage for everybody
By Leslie Potter

They say dressage is good for every horse and rider. It's just correct training, right? So when the announcement for my boarding stable's annual dressage and combined test show series came up, I said, "Why not?" and signed Snoopy up for Intro Test A.
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Friday, July 8, 2011
Celebrities, horses and hypocrisy
By Leslie Potter

Singer Sheryl Crow recently announced that she would be donating part of the proceeds from an upcoming concert to The Cloud Foundation. Crow has long been a supporter of the Mustang advocacy group and she's putting her money where her mouth is to help the cause of blocking a large-scale BLM roundup in Nevada. So why are other animal welfare advocates angry with her?
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The Junkyard Horse
By Leslie Potter

If you're plugged into equestrian social media, you may have heard about Sugar, a 33- or 34-year-old (reports vary) horse in the town of Mattawan, Michigan. She is known to locals and her facebook fans as The Mattawan Junkyard Horse because, well, she lives in a junkyard.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Spielberg and Horses
By Leslie Potter

By now you have probably heard of War Horse, the young adult novel turned London/Broadway stage sensation. The play recently cleaned up at the Tony Awards, winning the big award for "Best Play" along with five other awards. The production is noted for its use of lifesize horse puppets to portray the equine characters. While the puppets are highly stylized, the trained puppeteers control their every movement and mannerism, creating a convincing equine portrayal.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Celebration at Old Friends
By Leslie Potter

Recently we posted a news item about Old Friends, a Thoroughbred retirement center here in Kentucky. Due to a clerical error at the bank, the charity found itself in dire need of a pretty substantial amount of money to pay the mortgage. The good news: They were able to raise the funds and negotiate with the bank to get everything resolved. The better news: They posted this video of their mascot, Little Silver Charm, playing soccer, and it is ridiculously cute.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The Olympics: do you still watch?
By Leslie Potter

It seems like just yesterday we were trying to follow the equestrian events across the globe at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and yet, we're now about a year away from the 2012 London games. Where has the time gone? And moreover, does anyone still care?
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Friday, June 3, 2011
My Day as a Dressage Scribe
By Holly Werner Caccamise

For a long while, I've been interested in learning to scribe for a dressage judge. As a rider who competes, I spend long hours pouring over the scores and comments on my tests, so what could be better than sitting with the judge as she evaluates dozens of riders right in front of you?
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Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

5/23/2013 11:14:16 PM

Fun.

larry boy    hut, IA

2/17/2013 2:08:37 PM

lotta great info...

h    h, HI

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h

wendy    Roseville, DE

1/20/2013 6:44:59 AM

any one care for grits and jowl?

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