Sunday, January 11, 2015

Florida Horse Show

This seems to be my year of animal appreciation. I've blogged before about the traumatic dog bite I received on my face when I was five years old. After that I didn't have much use for animals in my life. But recently, opportunities have come my way that have allowed me to take a closer look at animals and learn about the joy they bring to people.

First of all, last May my friend Anita invited me to drive with her to her former home to attend her daughter's baby shower. Her two dogs, Bogo and Lenny, were very well behaved while they rode in the back seat of the truck 12 hours each way. I learned about their personalities and observed how important they were to Anita.

Then, my daughter Ashleigh purchased a rescue dog and named her Tangerine. I must admit it didn't take long to fall in love with Tangy because she is adorable, loveable, and makes Ashleigh shine. Besides that, she is my granddog.

And finally, last week my friend Melissa invited me to fly to Venice, Florida with her to attend a horse show. Her horse, Nate, would be competing with other horses in English riding classes. Here is Melissa with her beautiful Nate. She was very happy to see him as he had been boarding with a fabulous group of trainers who are located a distance away from her. Look at the beautiful January sky! Needless to say, it was wonderful enjoying the fabulous weather while the folks back home in Indiana were trudging through 7 inches of snow!

Nate, a quarter horse, is called a bay horse since he is brown with a black mane and tail.

I learned all kinds of things about the horse show world. For example, the gorgeous thick tail on the horse has been enhanced with a hair extension. Hair extensions are woven into a horse's tail. 

Also, their manes are trimmed and braided by specially trained horse mane braiders.

It was interesting to observe the special care the horses received.

Clockwise top left: horses have coats with their names on them that are applied at night; their hair gets trimmed and they are washed regularly; Melissa and Brandon saddle up Nate for riding. During my stay, Nate saw the farrier (horse shoe guy) and was injected with a steroid for his sore back in the sports medicine department.  

I learned the difference between English and Western riding. I didn't get a photo of the Western riders but you can see Melissa and Nate here during the English riding class.

It appears that horse people are also dog people as shown by the dogs that I saw everywhere.

Pretty prize ribbons were awarded and proudly displayed on the barns.

Melissa's horse trainers hung this horse wreath on the front of their barn. The wreath was cleverly made into a horse shape with greenery.

On our first evening there, we ate at Pops Sunset Grill. There was a fire pit in the middle of the tables. It was neat to sit outdoors on January 3rd and see the Florida Christmas decorations!

One evening we drove to St. Armand Circle and explored the lovely shopping area and ate at an excellent restaurant called Columbia.

Another day we shopped and had a barbecue lunch in historic Venice.

Here are a few more photos from the horse show.

Clockwise top left: Nate waiting for his next move; Fox Lea Farms in Venice Florida was where the show was held; a shot of the stables; horse people travel in style.

I made vintage journals for Melissa and me to keep track of our daily events. 

My new friend Nate and me.

What a great time I had with Melissa and an incredible experience at the horse show!


  1. Hello from Spain: Venice is a great trip. The climate is warmer than in America. I like horses. Nice pictures. I read that you adore dogs again. Great !. Keep in touch

  2. Patty, I love that you had a wonderful time. I love those beautiful horses. I too was bitten by a dog when I was almost scared me, and made me almost hate dogs. But I have loved some since then. My favorite kind of dog in the world is one that doesn't bark all the time...that is so un- nerving for me. :):) No one really wants to hear that. Glad your daughter is paying attention to her new dog....that helps. Blessings to you, xoxo,Susie

  3. I am glad you are getting to know dogs in a better way than your horrid experience. They are such a pleasure.

    We visited friends at their horse ranch in November and we were surprised to watch the horses run to the gate, just like dogs, when Joan appeared near their paddock. It was obvious that the horses love their owner.

    Can't wait to see what crazy adventure you get up to next.

  4. How lucky to get a dose of sunshine to break up the winter. The world of showing horses looks interesting...mane extensions and tail braiders! Who knew?

  5. What a wonderful trip! I've always loved horses, though I didn't have one growing up (my father didn't want me to have one) and don't know much about their care. They are beautiful animals. And I am totally a cat person, though I adore dogs, too. Tangy is adorable!!

  6. It's always fun to learn something new on trips, and I'm lucky to learn too from reading your post! So glad you had a great time dear. I was a victim of a dog bite too at a young age, but still was able to grow up with dogs, someday, hopefully I will be able to care for one again, maybe when Sophia grows bigger. ;-)

  7. Tangerine is so cute!!!! And yes, horse people are definitely dog people….we always take Finlay to the shows with us!

    Nate is so good looking, and I love bays. My favorite of my daughter's horses was an 18 hand Saddlebred named Clown. LOVED him, and I miss him very much.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!


  8. How cute you look in the winter! We've had fabulous weather so far and it looks perfect for the horse show. I'm so glad you got to go! Hugs, Diane


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