Sunday, February 16, 2014

Horse Trials "Nighhtmares" Start Early this Year

No this is not the kind of night mare where you wake up because you can't remember your dressage test or you forgot to pack your medical arm band or some other necessary piece of equipment; it's the kind of nightmare that all Event organizers experience before, during or even after their event is over.  In any case I had one of those nightmares the other night.  Maybe it's just my mind's way of telling me that spring is right around the corner.  But in reality it was probably because I was at the Ocala Horse Trials when it poured rain on Sat and turned Show Jumping arena into a lake!!  Or maybe it's because only a couple of days after leaving Aiken the disastrous ice storm hit just days two before the Paradise Horse Trials who somehow managed to pull off the event!! Oh how I empathize with the organizers and all the many people who are a part of running an event.

Lake Ocala
Aiken Ice Storm followed by and Earthquake!!

Interestingly enough this particular nightmare wasn't weather related; it was lack of help related.  I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say when you don't have any of the show jumping course set up and you only have TWO fence judges and the event has already started; that is a nightmare that wakes you abruptly from a sound sleep to find yourself in a cold sweat!  I tried to tell myself that it's just the middle of February and not to worry but then the "Upcoming Events" on our website up popped with the 'opening date' for Winona coming before the last day of the Winter Lesson Series !!

It's not time to panic yet, but definitely time to get started.  So here's my first plea for volunteers for Winona and all the other competitions we have scheduled for the year.  Please take a few minutes to check out the calendar and see if anything might fit into your schedule this season.  Then go to the volunteer page on the website and see what you might be interested in doing.  If you're ready to take the plunge then fill out the  Volunteer form This does not commit you to anything, but it puts you on the volunteer list for future communications.

Riders, please remember that we cannot have competitions without volunteers and without competitions you have nowhere to compete.  So please consider helping out when you can. You will have the undying appreciation of the organizer and I guarantee you will never get the 8:00 ride!!! Keep in mind that 90% of the work is BEFORE the event. For those of you who will be busy riding, consider coming down with a few friends before the event.  As my mother always told me 'many hands make light work' and who knows ... a little fun too.  One of the perks about helping before the event is that you can get a sneak peek at the cross country & show jumping courses while setting courses, flagging and decorating the courses.

OK... end of the guilt trip; blame it on my nightmare. To my regular volunteers, and you know who you are, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your support over the years and I'm hoping you will be able to join us again this year.  Thank you in advance to all who will be helping us to provide the opportunity for riders to ride, compete and hopefully fun for all.


The New Website & Blog

Three years ago I started the Stone Gate Farm 'blogs' as a supplement to the SGF website since I wasn't tech savvy enough to make updates on the website myself. It became increasingly difficult to keep the website up to date with the ever increasing additions and / or changes to the SGF schedule and activities and it was my hope that the blogs would bridge that gap.  Unfortunately it was a little confusing to have one thing on the website and something else on the blog.  It was very apparent that ALL the information need to be in ONE place & that place was the website.  As a result I decided it was time to get a website that I could maintain myself.  With the help of Emma Knight I now have that capability.  Many thanks to Jennifer Milliner who developed and maintained the original website for years.  Jennifer will continue to do the artwork for our horse trials program covers and other graphic art work that we may need.  For those of you who don't know, Jennifer has done the farm logo and the recent revision, the Area VIII logo and she has designed and maintains the NEOMTA website.  Be sure to check out the Milliner Concepts  for any of you graphics, website needs and much more.

The new SGF website is currently being updated but there is a lot of information to check out.  All the information regarding competition, clinic, and volunteer schedules etc will now be posted directly on the website.  You will also note on the Home page, in the right had column, the following: Upcoming Events: Latest News and Latest Blog.  This way you will have the latest information on the Home page to keep you up to speed.  You will note the there will still be blogs, but now the blogs will be used for the purpose of blogging about activities at the farm.  There will no longer be separate blogs for clinics & camp, volunteers or competitors; all the blogs will be on the SGF blog page and linked directly to the website. You will still be able to access the old blogs in case you're really bored some day and would like to check out some of the archived blogs ;).  Stay tuned as I will be blogging a little later today.

That's it for now ....THINK SPRING!!!!