Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Blue Hill vacation

I'm not a dressage rider. Oh, I've taken lessons here and there. I even spent a little time as a working student at a dressage stable in high school. Still, I am a hunter girl at heart.

My friend Trish is the exact opposite. She'll shorten up her stirrups every now and then and go pop over a few jumps, but mostly she's all about dressage.

We both live in Colorado now, but back in 1994 we were busy chasing our equestrian dreams in other parts of the country. I was doing the Hunter/Jumper thing in Tennessee and she was working at Jessica Ransehousen's Blue Hill Farm in Unionville, Pennsylvania. I missed my friend and wanted to see her new workplace, so as soon as I got some vacation time, I packed my car and headed north.
Jessica is a three time Olympic dressage rider. This picture shows Trish holding Orpheus, who was Jessica's partner at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea where he was second highest scoring US horse.
Orpheus was also the USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year in 1988. Trish called him "Snorty."
Jessica's daughter, Missy, is also a prominent equestrian. Here she is on Pacific Lion who would be her mount for the Buenos Aires Pan Am Games in 1995. They won a team silver medal and placed fifth individually.
Missy has also gone on to serve as the coach for the US Paralympic Equestrian Team at The 2000 Sydney Games, the 2004 Athens Games and the 2008 Bei Jing Games.
There were a lot of cool horses living at Blue Hill in 1994, and this young Dutch Warmblood was one of my favorites. Infinity was sired by the famous stallion Roemer and eventually competed at the FEI levels with Todd Flettrich.
Trish called him "Infant" which cracked me up. It seemed like a funny nickname for such a big horse!

A very young Abbie accompanied me on this trip. Here she is being introduced to Crystal and Zee.Trish wasn't able to take the entire week off, so I spent several days tagging along after her...
as she worked.
I also spent a lot of time wandering around and trying to take artsy pictures.
Pacific Lion again, chilling in his stall.

And of course I watched all the riding I could! This is Trish on her beloved dressage Arab, Zhrat al-Shara (Zee).
Trish and Zee travelled thousands of miles together, literally showing from coast to coast. Zee died in 2008 and is still greatly missed.
Trish on Crystal.
Abbie watching Trish schooling Crystal. Doesn't she look like she's trying to absorb the subtleties of dressage? What a smart dog!
I did get to ride, too, but have only this one silly picture to show for it.
This is such a classic pose! I think every rider probably has an "ears up!" picture like this. Here's the unmounted version with Trish and Crystal.
Trish and Crystal heading out into the woods. I loved the trails in Pennsylvania--so completely different than what I was used to in California and Colorado!
More pictues (not all horse related) from this trip on can be found here and here on my family blog.


  1. Thank you for sharing these special memories of your trip and life - what a fun time with some lovely horses and friends!

  2. Beautiful pictures! I am a not-yet-a-model-tack-collector lurker, but loved these photos too much not to comment :)

  3. I've come to the conculsion that no one in my family will ever have any interest in my old horse pictures, so I'm glad that there are other people I can share them with. Thanks so much for your comments. I will definitely post more pictures like these in the months to come.

  4. Lovely place! What an awesome group of horses.

  5. Wonderful photos and horses! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. That's awesome. I had a friend who was a working student and later a truly employed worker for Phyllis Dawson, whose Olympic mount Albany II was also at Seoul (the only American horse to go clean cross country). On my second or third visit, I actually got to ride him out, totally by myself. Sure he was a bit older, but what a feeling!

    I worked for a time for a former Olympian myself, and is was great to sit and absorb as much as you could when they were giving lessons. You'd think after working 12+ hour days, 6 days a week, I wouldn't just sit at the farm and watch other people's lesson on my one day off, but there was (is!) just so much to learn, and it was so much fun.

    Thanks for sending me on a stroll down my own memory lane =)


  7. Lovely pictures! Particularly the headshot of Pacific Lion. It made me oh so nostalgic and I spent the morning thinking about and looking for some horses from my past. You too might be interested in this super cool website for finding horses you used to know and love:

  8. Love looking through these old pictures of people and their real-life horse adventures. I have plenty of recent pictures of myself riding (oh, do I love the age of the digital camera!), but I've been riding since I was 7 (the time of film cameras), and I have precious few pictures from those early years.

    Maybe it's for the best, considering some old pictures have me riding in suede leather fringe jackets, leggings, what may have been a pair of snow boots...

    Yes, I think it's for the best. :D