Pony Club San Miguel, March 2008

Pony Club San Miguel, March 2008
l. to r. Fernanda, Carolita, Sean, Nicole, Apple, Carla, Isabel, Iza

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Horse and Clay Camp, July 14-18, 2008

At last week´s camp, a highlight was the scavenger hunt, as was sculpting with clay in Lucinda´s ceramic and tile studio.

Classes from a Master

Former representative of the Mexican Dressage Team at the 1996 Olympics Joaquin Orth gave a clinic in San Miguel the weekend of July 12-13. Carla and Fernanda were the lucky ones to have private classes with Joaquin, who emphasized bending the horse´s neck in the direction of his trajectory, something, both pony clubbers, ahem, have heard before.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Horse Camp July 7 - 11, 2008

Despite days of heavy rain, kids at Horse Camp at Las Animas groomed the horses, learned to put on tack, rode and at week´s end, painted the horses. Campers were Bennett, William, Joseph and Reagor and the counselors were Carla, Fernanda and Sean.

The summer camp was unique. Early on, I asked Reagor did he like the camp so far and he just told me ¨I believe so, I just cant wait till it stops raining and we can ride!!!¨Anyway, the best part was the scavenger hunt. Nicole and I hung cups of candy in bags from trees and bushes. We led the kids on horses but they completely told us what to do to find the bags. I think the kids liked the freedom to tell us where to go and they loved the idea of having their own horse to take care of. Friday, the best day of the week, sunny, clear, fun and the best thing was that (not to brag or anything...)I taught my first class ever to Bennett, a cute, energetic 8 year old, on Lucky. Let's just say this is a big deal for me cause Lucky´s reputation isn´t very good when it comes to kids...but that´s another story. - Carla

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Cisco Kid Was A Friend of Mine

There are two things Nicole can´t resist: rescuing puppies and buying good ponies. Cisco is a five year old gelding who came from the campo. Nicole got excited about his gaits when she tried him out in charro tack. Charro refers to the Mexican rodeo tradition.
Once at Rancho Las Animas, Cisco tried out the sand in the arena, and got to know Banderilla, Nicole´s filly who just turned two in June.
Banderilla decided Cisco was a stud, or at least a good playmate. Meantime, Nicole has Cisco under dressage saddle. She is excited about his performance and predicts a stellar future. She`ll continue training him in dressage, and thinks he will soon be a fantastic dressage pony for a lucky youngster.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Trail Ride, June 21, 2008

Carolita is in Texas for the summer already and Jen is going soon, but the Pony Club had somebody new this past week - visiting French dressage trainer Dany Bert, by way of California. Nicole (left, crossing the Rio Laja on Vaquero with Sean on Retta and Carla on Lucky) invited him on one of the group's fabulous Saturday trail rides into the Cieneguita area. Dany rode Carolita´s Savanah.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Why Shouldn´t You Stand On Your Horse?

Nicole likes to start beginners with some vaulting - exercises with a surcingle instead of a saddle, that is, so she wanted to warm the horses up for vaulting for July´s summer camp. Sean, Carolita and Carla volunteered to help this past week, and next thing you know, they were flipping around on their horses as if they were in the Olympics or the circus or a Western.

For summer camp info, don´t forget to go to see http://www.animatile.com/HorsesClay/IndividualPages/PonyClub1.htm
or email Nicole at ponyclublasanimas@yahoo.com.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Naked Lucky

Carla has been working with Lucky on their relationship. The result is what you see in the photos...he will walk, trot, canter and jump when she asks using only her seat.

Trail Ride through Los Lopez

The Pony Club´s trail ride on Saturday May 17 took Fernanda, Carla, Carolita, Sean and Nicole through the pueblo of Los Lopez, which was right in the middle of its four-day festival honoring San Isidro, the saint of good crops and rain. Firecrackers boomed over the town from Thursday through the weekend, and on Sunday there were country horse races in the adjoining fields. On Saturday, celebrating niños welcomed the Pony Clubbers as they rode through town.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Jack is from New York and has been in San Miguel for almost five months. His dad went back to the States to work on a TV episode, and his mom and he leave next week. Jack´s last class is Tuesday. Jack started on the longe line and is now riding Retta around the arena very capably himself. Good luck back in New York, Jack! Jack´s blog about his time in Mexico is

http://seisojos.typepad.com/my_weblog/ The photos are fabulous and Jack´s comments about being transplanted to Mexico are wonderful. Check it out.

Summer Camp

Summer plans for a Riding and Ceramics Camp are set! Nicole and Lucinda, whose business besides horses is making fine tiles in her ceramics studio, will host several weeks of horsemanship, including basic or advanced riding with lots of individual attention, horse care and clay techniques. The camp runs Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and includes lunch. The dates are from June 30 through July 25, then Nicole goes to Holland to see her family and then to France! The camp resumes August 18 and runs through August 29. Some of the year round Pony Clubbers will be helping Nicole. Look for a helping hand from Sean, Carla, Fernanda and others. For more information, see http://www.animatile.com/HorsesClay/IndividualPages/PonyClub1.htm
or email Nicole at ponyclublasanimas@yahoo.com.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Andale has been losing some of the good training Nicole gave him - throwing his head up like when he came to us as a country/charro horse a year and a half ago. He´d become a bit of a handful for Sean. It was time for retraining. Nicole this week put Andale through flatwork, lateral work, extended trots, reminding him he is capable of majestic work.

Nicole is also training Lucky and Carla to do Dressage Level 3 work. Lucky is adjusting well to working with a double bridle for the advanced movements. Carla has ambitions to be as good a rider as Cutch Olympic champion Anky Van Grunsven some day.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Retta Under the Mexican Sun

Cece, who part-owns Retta and rides her when she comes to Mexico, sent a drawing of her horse in the red halter she still uses. Hurry back to San Miguel, Cece!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Trail Ride

Today I rode the donkey Lupita. She is a stubborn girl. We tried to go over a creek and she just wouldn't go over it. Finally I got off to try to pull her across, but she decided she was going to pull me. So I saved myself from falling in. I got on again and Nicole and Vaquero get behind us to push her across and finally Lupita crossed the one foot wide creek. -Sean

Last week I was riding Muneca and she was a little hyper. So I stayed walking in the front part of the arena. I knew she didn't want to go to the back. Then I felt her relax and I followed Dumbum (Dumburi). When I got to the corner, out of nowhere Muneca spooked and started running. She stopped when she got to the other side of the arena.
Today I rode Carolita's horse Savanah on the trail ride and she behaved well. -Fernanda

I left our business (a spa) to my husband today and went out with Nicole and the girls on tiny little Retta. They call Lupita La Burra 'the couch' because her back is so wide. Sean rode Lupita bareback with a halter and a rope - for the comfy ride, but then the pair looked like something out of an I Love Lucy episode - Sean trying to get Lupita across a foot-wide creek. Vaquero used to be nuts on the trail - jumpy and hot. But suddenly about five riders are using him during the week, so, with lots of exercise, he was very calm today. Nicole rode with a double bridle just in case he wanted to race every campesino horse we passed, like he used to. -Sue

We were going to divide the whole group which is Lucinda-Cimarron, Nicole-Vaquero, Janice-Chico, Doc-Tesora, Sean-Lupita, Fernanda-Savanah, My mom-Retta and Me-Lucky in two groups. Group #1 - the gallopers: Lucinda, Doc, Janice and me. Group #2-The enjoyers: Nicole, Sean, Mom and Fernanda. The gallopers were gonna leave 20 minutes before the enjoyers so the horses woldn't act up. While I was warming Lucky up, and we were all ready to hit it, Benito (caballerango) says to us Lucinda and the others already LEFT.
And to make a long story short, Lucky and I didn't get to run. But hey, there is always a brand new day!!!!!!!!!!!!! -Carla

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Show Day

Like Nicole says, schooling shows are practice for bigger events. Practice waking up with nerves, grooming and braiding the horses and then, performing. - Sue

This 29th of March was our schooling show. I got a little nervous because I thought my horse Andale was
going to get jumpy with all the extra people. Once I got on him to practice, he had turned into a whole
new horse who was calm as ever. When it was our turn, Andale did a wonderful test. -Sean, age 11

The main reazon I am proud of myself is that I didn't have a nervous attack the whole way to the three tests that Tesora, Cimarron, Lucky and I were about to do. Back when we were boarding at Centro Ecuestre Canales, Lucky and I won three first places in dressage shows and schooling shows. JA JA! I'm just bragging about my LUCK. I was a nervous little warm blood combined with an Arabian stallion back then. I wasn't ever going to be satisfied with that!! But on Saturday/29/2008 Lucky and I decided we'd had ENOUGH worries and it was time to have some fun. HIP HIP HURRRRRAY! -Carla, age 13

Friday, 28 March 2008

Philly Girls, Retta as Billboard, Show Tomorrow

The Schweitzer family is in San Miguel from Philadelphia for a few weeks. Avital, age 10, Danielle, 8, and Lindsey, 6, are taking their first riding classes with Nicole. Lindsey was so frightened of animals, she wouldn't get out of the cab on the day of their first class. She finally decided Brandy was nice enough to get on. Now she is riding with a confidence nobody would have ever predicted.

Retta gets really furry in the winter and has a hard time shedding all her hair in the spring. It was time for a shave. Nicole and Apple, who has been riding Retta every day since late January, shaved Retta's legs, then Apple's name in Retta's side. Then the electric shaver gave out. So Retta will bear Apple's name until a replacement can be found.

Tomorrow is the schooling show! Some have been been practicing all week, and some of the participants are only arriving in San Miguel today from Easter vacation travels in the United States. We're trying to be relaxed about everything! Carla will ride three horses at Level Two - her Lucky and Lucinda's Cimarron and Tesora. Sean practiced on a jumpy Andale today. Apple and Isobel will ride at Level Debuntantes before they go back to Maine next week.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

My Horse Is 3,000 Miles Away!

I’m Cece and I’m a one third owner of the sweet old mare Retta. I’ve been riding with
Nicole since I was five years old. I live in the United States and only get to ride in Mexico once a year. Even though I’m 3,000 miles away I really love Retta. But I know Apple is riding and
taking great care of her. I am so happy to be part of the San Miguel Pony Club.-Cece

Sean and Andale, March 2008

Sean noted there were no photos of her horse up yet, so there is one below. Andale is a fourteen year old gelding with the energy of a four year old. Legend says that when a horse´s blaze slides straight down his face then over one nostril, like Andale´s, it means he is so speedy that his stripe has been blown by the wind as he gallops.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Pole Painting

Nicole put twelve short poles around her water cistern for Pony Club members to decorate, like personal totem poles. After today's trail ride, under a canopy of jacaranda trees by the Rio Laja, which is finally dry enough to ride alongside, Carla, Sean, Carolita, Iza, Apple, Sofia and Rosendo, Ana Karla and Ariadna painted their poles.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Update March 8, 2008

Today Savanna was being rather bratty. She rarely picks up the left lead.
I hope she will improve for the show.-Carolita

This week my horse Andale has been improving on getting on the bit
so I think he will be good in the show.-Sean

Today Muneca didn't look so lame. I was walking her when she started bucking. I decided to let her go so she didn't kick me. She looked beautiful running all over the place. We finally got her when she trotted into a corral.-Fernanda

Today's trail ride was the coolest because we got to go through the river and we went through beautiful trails. Lucky was steady as always. -Carla

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Lame horse, baby horse

Fernanda's Muneca turned up limping at the beginning of this week and an abcess was feared. But an X-ray showed her front right leg only bruised. The vet thinks she kicks herself when she trots and canters, and boots seem to be the answer. She'll be resting for another week. Fernanda meanwhile is practicing on Vaquero. She'll decide to ride Vaquero or Muneca in the March 29th show once Muneca improves.

A new baby appeared in the field next to Nicole and Lucinda's property. She's light dusty brown with a perfect white blaze down her nose. She ran off when Lucinda, Carla and I approached, then snuggled next to her mom once we walked away. Her mom eats the leftovers of a corn crop. We think the baby is only a couple of days old.
Sue, Carla and Sean's mom

Sunday, 2 March 2008

March brings a schooling show

February was a big month. The girls did a lot of jumping bareback. They rode in pajamas and with balls.

Apple comes for the winter months. She and her sister Isobel, instead of going to school, go to the Pony Club and ride with Nicole in the mornings. They go back to regular school in Maine in April.

Nicole has organized a schooling show at her place for the end of March. Sean, Fernanda and Carolita will ride Dressage in Level Debutantes. Carla and Iza will ride Level Two for the first time. This is an unregistered show as the girls are not signed up with the Mexican Equestrian Federation at this time. But they will take the show seriously. They will dress formally and be judged as if it were for season points. Everyone will be practicing diligently this month!
Sue, Carla and Sean´s mom