Monday, August 31, 2009

Stable Spotlight: Stargate Sport Horses

Stargate Sport Horses, the Texas premier dressage and breeding facility, is located just north of the Dallas, Fort Worth Metroplex in Bartonville Texas.
Main Barn
The premier Show Horse and Stallion Barn has 20 stalls, two climate-controlled tack rooms, two large tiled wash racks, laundry room/kitchen and conference room as well as bathroom facilities complete with a shower. Each stall measures 13' x 14' and has its own owner's grooming closet/tack locker. The facility is well-ventilated and has cross ventilation North to South and East to West with industrial fans in each stall that automatically turn on when the temperature in the barn reaches 80 degrees. Each stall has an outside door and over-hanging porches encircling the barn deflect direct sunlight from the stalls. This state-of-the-art building is well equipped with modern features such as an industrial fire suppression system, an overhead fly-control system, security cameras, security motion sensors and commercial washer and dryer.

Training Barn
The Training Barn has 20 stalls measuring 12 X 12 with each having its own owner's grooming closet/tack locker. The training barn is also equipped with industrial fans in each stall as well as a fire suppression system, overhead fly-control system and a security camera. Designed with canopy roof, the overhead cross ventilation keeps stalls at a comfortable temperature even on the hottest Texas days. The large outdoor wash bay will service four horses at a time. For comfort and convenience, the training barn tack room/break room is air-conditioned and has a bathroom/shower as well as a commercial washer and dryer.

Indoor Arena & Viewing Area
For year round comfort, the indoor arena is climate-controlled with central air. The riding area measures 200' X 100' of custom cushion footing. Both the rear and front arena walls have mirrored panels across the entire width of the arena. For training and event purposes, the arena is also equipped with a sound and P.A. system. The custom viewing area, complete with kitchen and bar, can also function as an entertainment and conference room as well as a library and area for viewing videos. Event officials can enjoy the comfort of an office and a guest room located within the viewing area.

Outdoor Arena
The outdoor arena measures an amazing 450' X 500' of all-weather cushion footing. An in-ground watering system maintains consistent footing, and this area is more than large enough for both the large Dressage arena as well as a large jumping area.

Jumping Arena complete with Jumping Chute
Adjacent to the indoor arena is a jumping arena. The jumping chute located in this arena allows for free-jumping of horses…an excellent training tool to build jumping confidence. Stargate's own custom cushion footing is used in this area as well.

Covered Round Pen & Uncovered Round Pen
The round pens provide an excellent controlled environment in which to exercise horses or practice ground-work of young horses. Clients also enjoy lunge line lessons in the confines of the round pens.

Covered Walker
The Euro-Walker provides for horses to be walked freely and without restraint in all kinds of weather.

Thirty fenced paddocks, from a quarter-acre to 20 acres, surround the main barn and provide for each horse to be turned out separately on a daily rotational basis. The pine fences, coated with a special preservative formula, are comprised of sturdy 2" X 6" boards.

Breeding Barn and Lab
Stargate has an on-site breeding and collection facility. The state of the art breeding program insures semen is collected, processed and shipped to customers as fresh as possible.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Los Angeles Wildfire Rages On

Fire above JPL

When I walked out of the house this morning I knew the fire was getting much worse. I could barely even see the houses across the street because the air was so thick with smoke. The heat-driven fire nearly doubled in size overnight and has now burned burned 35,000 acres of bone-dry brush in the mountains above five towns, a 10-mile stretch from La Crescenta to Pasadena, the California Fire Department said. The La Canada Flintridge fire is only 5 percent contained. Mandatory evacuations are in effect in La CaƱada Flintridge, Pasadena, La Crescenta, Altadena, Glendale and Big Tujunga Canyon.

A massive plume of smoke can be seen for miles and bits of ash descended on cars as far away as downtown Los Angeles. The air quality for cities surrounding the San Gabriel Mountains is deemed unhealthful by the regional air-quality agency. I went out this morning to check on the horses and felt like I smoked a pack of cigarettes by the time I got there. I hosed them off and they seem content, but I'm sure their eyes are burning because mine sure are! I always worry about all the animals effected by these fires. They are helpless.

No matter where you drive there are people pulled over everywhere checking out the fire at all times of the day and night. Some less intelligent people even pull over right on the freeway and get out to take a look! Any road that has a view is congested with spectators. The massive mushroom cloud of smoke looks like a volcano erupted!

On our way home last night you could see the flames.

God Bless the firefighters and all of their hard work in these grueling conditions!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blog Carnival - My Favorite Food

Thanks to Stormy Designs for hosting the EtsyBloggers August 28th Blog Carnival!

I would have to say sushi is my favorite food, at Katsu-ya in particular. I don't go there very often, it is a bit far, it is always packed to the gills with a long wait, the parking situation is terrible and there about 100 sushi restaurants between my house and Katsu-ya, but on special occasions, that is the place. It is by far my favorite. I am going there next week and I am am so looking forward to it!

They have some unique concoctions. Here are some of my favorites....

Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice with Jalapeno - Hands down the best sushi creation ever made! Honestly it is a celebration in your mouth!

Baked Crab Hand Roll - Baked snow crab lightly kissed with Chef’s signature sauce wrapped with rice in soy paper... One taste will leave you wanting more.

Honey Hand Roll. Baked crab, spicy tuna, creamy avocado wrapped in a black sesame-flecked soy paper. Luscious.

Spicy Albacore with Crispy Onion. Packed full of flavor, the textures meld together well.

Crispy Sesame Tuna. Spicy tuna and creamy avocado on a crispy wonton.
Seared Tuna With Japanese Salsa - Seared tuna sashimi served with fresh tomatoes, cilantro and avocado
The weird thing is I don't think I've ever ordered traditional sushi here, thier specials are so delicious I never have room for sushi I can get anywhere else.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fire, fire everywhere! Thursday Evening

Four major wildfires are buring in southern California. Hemet, Azusa, Rancho Palos Verdes, La Canada Flintridge are all getting smoke in their eyes, several homes lost, more threatened. Most of the fires began yesterday. The Station fire (La Canada), burning in the Angeles National Forest is picking up in intensity and spreading fast. We went out driving around tonight to check it out because you can see the flames from around where we live. It is not too close to us, but the flames are high and what a sight to see when I was driving home from the barn tonight. They announced that 500 acres had already burned in the Station Fire and that five buildings and 500 homes were possibly at risk, evacuations have begun. We were not the only ones out tonight checking it out, there was a full parking lot at a lookout with a view of the fire. People even brought chairs to sit watch the flames!

We stopped for some gelato at Bulgarini Gelato in Altadena on the way home from checking out the fire. I get the small size. You pick three flavors and get scoops the size of a melon baller - perect size for me and I love trying different flavors. My choices tonight were Hazelnut, Goat Milk with cocoa beans, and Yogurt with Olive Oil. Very unusual flavors, but all very delicious. Hazelnut - Ground hazelnuts studded throughout the creamiest base. The goat's milk is rich and pleasantly tangy. The yogurt with Olive Oil was tart and delicious, a traditional Roman flavor. Sounds weird, but it was really good! Can't get too sick of any of the flavors because there is only about two bites of each.

I cannot figure out how to take night shots on my camera, but this was a view of the La Canada Fire overlooking the JET Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

View out my car window on the way home.

The Morris Fire (Azusa), the one near the barn, has scorched more than 2000 acres and is only about 60 percent contained. It is not threatening the barn anymore, it is burning in the other direction. There is still no electricity at the barn, but they have a generator running, so at least the automatic waterers are working. The road to the barn remains closed based on the status of the Morris Dam fire, but the highway patrol officers have been very nice and let me through every night. The entrance to the ranch is not too far past the road block they have set up and now they recognize me and don't ask too many questions.

The horses got a beauty session tonight but no riding. Besides that fact that it was 100 degrees at 6pm, I was worried about the air quality.

Day three - Morris Fire Update

An air tanker drops retardant during the Morris Fire up highway 39

The fire continues to burn out of control in steep inaccessible terrain above Azusa, and has grown to 1750 acres.
The fire remains at 10 percent containment.

Air quality officials issued a smoke advisory Wednesday for areas of the Southland impacted by smoke from the wildfire. The photo above was taken at the barn in the early afternoon, but last night by the time I got there after work, it seemed the winds had blown much of the smoke away. I didn't even smell the smoke in the air and I could see blue sky, which I was glad about for the horses sake.

The forecast for today is another hot, dry day with 10-20 mph winds out of the west, very low humidity and temperatures as high as 104 degrees at low elevations. Ugh! Thankfully, the forecast did not call for any strong Santa Ana winds that typically stoke the worst Southern California wildfires.

Late Wednesday, a new fire erupted in the Los Angeles suburb of La Canada Flintridge. At least 20 acres had burned by evening with 20 percent containment, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Bruce Quintelier said.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update on the Morris Fire

Since yesterday at 4:30 when the fire started, it has spread to over 750-acres as of this morning and is only 10% contained with no estimate on containment. The weather conditions are not in our favor. The National Weather Service issued a red flag alert for low humidity and extreme fire danger. Weather officials expect temperatures to reach into the triple digits in the valleys today. I believe the fire is burning in the opposite direction from the barn, but fires are never very predictable. It's a tough battle for firefighters because of the difficult steep and rocky terrain.

The smell of fire is very heavy in the air. I can smell it very strongly at my house and I am about 15 miles away from it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fire in the canyon

On my way from work to the barn tonight I noticed a large plume of smoke in the sky. Unfortunately, not too rare of an occurrence here in southern California. As I drove along the freeway I started wondering where the fire was burning, and as I drove further along I started worrying that it was burning in the area where I keep my horses. After a couple of phone calls it was indeed burning very close the the barn! I couldn't get there any faster than the heavy traffic would allow, and it seemed like it was taking forever! As I got closer and closer the smoke cloud grew. The sky was filled with helicopters and planes. Six air tankers and five water-dropping helicopters were trying to halt the flames at a ridge top not far from the barn. Chad and I were ready to load up the horses at a moments notice, but as the sun set the fire seemed to lay down. At a press conference tonight, officials said we should be safe for the night because the fire was burning in the opposite direction.

The fire has grown to at least 250 acres, with no estimate on containment, authorities said tonight. More than 600 firefighters are battling the blaze near Morris Dam, the U.S. Forest Service said. But air operations have been suspended during the nighttime hours, officials said. The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

I am on notification duty...the electricity at the barn is shut off so no TVs or computers to get updates. If I get any updated information, I will call them and inform via cell phone. There are people that live on the property, so I am not too worried right now. We have been through this before and had to evacuate ALL 80 or so horses. I am hoping we do not have to evacuate this time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stable Spotlight: Grand Central Stables

I am going to continue on with another drool-worth facility. 300 acre Grand Central Show Stables in Brewster, NY, home to some of the finest show ponies in the country.The main barn has 20 stalls and includes poured-rubber floors, two foaling stalls with cameras and heat lamps. In the barn, special features include wash stalls with radiant heat in the floors and grooming stalls that have horizontal lights in the walls for the blacksmith and when clipping. There is an elaborate fire prevention “deluge” system that, in the event of a fire, will dump 900 gallons of water per minute onto the fire.The barn attaches to a large indoor arena, which features radiant heaters that can warm the indoor to 45 degrees, and a luxurious viewing lounge. The laminated timber arch spans of the indoor arena rise 55 feet into the air giving the 180 x 120 foot arena the feel of a modern cathedral.For the ponies that live outside, there are eight large run-in sheds with a stall in each.

Standing British Riding Pony Stallion ROMANY RIVER TALISMAN

Friday, August 21, 2009

Enjoy Life

Because there is a big difference between living and merely existing…

1. Appreciate Beauty with all your senses. Take a moment to notice the smell of fresh air, a soaring bird, a budding tree, water trickling down a stream, an elderly couple holding hands, feel the warmth of the sun.

2. Connect With Nature. Nature is an amazing healer for the stresses and strains of modern life. It is a truly grand and awesome force. If you can tear yourself away from the cities, deadlines, cellular phones and microwave meals, you'll quickly realize that none of these worries we concern ourselves with really matter in the infinite pattern and diversity of nature.

3. Laugh. E. E. Cummings once said “the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” How very true. Never be too busy to laugh, or too serious to smile.

4. Have Simple Pleasures. Sleeping In on a Rainy Day. Cooking a nice meal in the evening. People Watching. The Feeling After a Good Workout. Making Someone Smile. Fresh, Clean Bed Sheets. Reminiscing About Old Times with my Closest Friends. When my dog snuggles next to me. The last bright rays of a sunset. These may not seem terribly exciting, but they are some of the simple pleasures I enjoy in life. They bring me joy. If you slow down for just a moment and take the time to appreciate these ordinary events, life becomes instantly more enjoyable."You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one.

Each day is a different one,
each day brings a miracle of its own.
It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle."
~ Paulo Coelho, Brazilian novelist

5. Connect With People. In so many ways, it is our relationships with people that give us the most happiness in life.

6. Learn. There is a strong link between learning and happiness. Given this, there is no excuse not to be stimulating your brain and learning something new each day.

7. Celebrate Your Successes. Lingering in the afterglow of your success, regardless of its size, is almost as important as accomplishing your goal.

8. Know the true meaning of passion. Passions make life real. Whether it is in your career or your personal life, it is important to do something you are passionate about. The enthusiasm you feel when engaged in an activity you are passionate about is powerful. That’s the feeling that makes you want to rise up early in the morning and leaves you feelings satisfied when going to bed at night.

9. Express your creativity. Just create something - don't wait for the laundry to be done, for the mail to be opened, for the dishes to be washed - Just Create!!! Expressing your creativity is a gift you can give yourself each and every day (whether you draw or paint, cook or garden, write or dance). You are a creative vehicle and, in expressing that creative well-spring, you are tapping into a place of unlimited joy.

10. Eliminate energy drains. Have you ever noticed how much energy it takes to stew about something? Stress is your body’s response to an undesirable situation. Identifying Stressors in Your Life and get rid of them! Cluttered surroundings. Negative co-workers. Unproductive relationships. Unhealthy eating. Keeping Details In Your Head, Instead Of In A System. Your brain, like a computer, only has so much RAM (random access memory). And RAM is mental energy.

11. Try to improve 1% each day: this doesn’t seem like much, but imagine how much you will have changed after just one month. So try being 1% happier, healthier, and productive than yesterday and see what happens.

Wishing you all a very happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Depeche Mode

We got last minute tickets (the day of) to see Depeche Mode at the Hollywood Bowl. We really lucked out with great seats in the terrace section. They put on a fantastic show for a sold out crowd!!! Peter Bjorn and John opened the evening for this legendary British band. The band played many of their popular hits, such as “Personal Jesus,” "Enjoy The Silence," “Question of Time,” and “Walking in My Shoes.” David Gahan sounded great!!!

Depeche Mode also played their newer songs, with people standing and dancing to “Wrong.” Keyboardist/guitarist/songwriter Martin Gore (dressed in a flashy silver sequin suit) also sang lead on a handful of tunes, including the new song 'Jezebel' and a moving rendition of 'Somebody', which the band saved for their first encore.
The Bowl was packed and the audience sang along with every lyric, danced with every beat.
The two did a duet on the appropriately-named closer "Waiting for the Night," sending us off into the dark. Awesome show!

Depeche Mode set list:
'In Chains'
'Hole To Feed'
'Walking In My Shoes'
'It's No Good'
'A Question Of Time'
'Fly On The Windscreen'
'Come Back'
'Policy Of Truth'
'In Your Room'
'I Feel You'
'Enjoy The Silence'
'Never Let Me Down Again'
'Personal Jesus'
'Waiting For The Night'

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lots and lots of stables

Ok, this turned out to be so much longer than I originally planned!!! I wanted to spotlight a few beautiful stables and I found so many! I really could continue on and on. There really are some spectacular facilities out there.

I will start off with an absolutely over the top amazing facility...
Providence Hill Farm, Jackson, Mississippi. The centerpiece of the several thousand-acre property is a two-story barn made of Kentucky limestone with cypress beams and windows and a standing seam metal bronze roof. The barn has 36 (14’ by 12’) stalls, indoor and outdoor wash racks, grooming stalls and heated and air conditioned tack rooms, an office and a lounge, a Grand Prix jumping field with a bank, water jump, natural log jumps and over 35 other jumps; a 280’ by 180’ all-weather footing outdoor ring; a 250’ by 100’ covered arena; two grass footing arenas; and a covered European Walker with enclosed round pen. There are tons of beautiful pictures on their website under tour facility. Board is only $550.00 per month (includes feeding, stall cleaning AND turnout). Are you kidding me??? The board at my barn is higher than that and it looks like a pack mule station in comparison. I'd consider moving to Mississippi just to ride here!

Hamilton Farm - USET Headquarters, Gladstone, NJ
Flag Is Up Farms, Solvang, CA

Sagamore Farm, Glyndon, Maryland (Originally home to Native Dancer)
Tidewater Farm, New Hampshire
Oakhaven Farm, Austin, Texas

Hilltop Farm, Colora, MD

The Fork Farm & Stables, Norwood, NC. 14'x14' stalls with automatic waterers and ceiling fans, Cross-country course, designed by Captain Mark Phillips. Two all-weather arenas by Equestrian Surfaces Inc. The footing is a combination of Eurofelt, stone dust, sand, and RX rubber footing. "The Large Grande" is 80 x 110 meters (262 x 360 feet) Total sq ft = 94,320 "The Small Grande" is 50 x 90 meters (164 x 295 feet) Total sq ft = 48,380. There is also a sand arena in front of the main barn that is 105' x 238' as well as a grass arena which is 180'x 285'. Board is only $525/month! Another place that is cheaper than my barn and there is NO comparison. I will loose sleep over this!

Market Street Farm, Frenchtown,NJ (Anne Kursinski's place)

Lionshare Farm. Greenwich, CT (Peter Leone's place). The barn has 36 stalls as well as a 100 x 240 foot indoor ring complete with a four story ceiling, a beautifully appointed viewing lounge and glass enclosure on three sides. In the summer months the glass doors open for a delightful “covered outdoor” environment. Grand Prix Field with permanent Natural Obstacles, Cross-Country Field, 14 Very Large Grass Paddocks, etc.

Ravens wood in Bedminster, NJ

Pamela Graham Show Stables at Scion Farms, Croton, OH
Beacon Hill Show Stables, Colts Neck, NJ
Red Tail Farm, Bedminster, NJ

River's Edge Flemington, NJ (Ken Berkley and Scott Stewart). A four-sided barn around a center courtyard, 48 custom Euro-style stalls with mahogany fronts and brushed brass finials, 4 wash stalls and 4 grooming stalls with custom dividers to match the stall fronts, 2 mahogany tack rooms with full view doors to the aisle, 2 bathrooms, 1 with a shower, Large office with mahogany wainscot, Grain/tool room, Laundry/storage room, Mechanical rooms, Blanket storage room, The heating system in the barn (tack rooms, office, laundry, utility and bathrooms) is radiant floor heat (all zoned), Ring with felt footing by Equestrian Services International...

Springcreek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY with an 80 ft. x 220 ft. heated indoor riding arena

Stonehenge Stables at Five Star Equestrian Center Colts Neck, NJ
Wellspring Farm Colts Neck, NJ
Revolution Farms, Long Valley, NJ

Los Cedros, Scottsdale, AZ. Very unique barn designed to stay cool in the hot Arizona climate.
Three Chimneys, Midway, KY

Ashford Stud, Versailles, Kentucky

Donamire Farm, Lexington, KY

Manchester Farm, Lexington, KY
Calumet Farm is a 762 acre breeding and training farm established in 1924 in Lexington. Calumet has produced 2 Triple Crown winners, and eight Kentucky Derby winners, more than any other operation in US racing history. Final resting place of greats Citation, Whirlaway and Alydar.
Oldenburg Farm - This state-of-the-art facility is located on 215 acres in Mequon, Wisconsin.

Hummingbird Nest Ranch is a world class equestrian facility located just 30 minutes north of West Los Angeles. The property has a truly unique atmosphere, sweeping mountain views and beautiful landscaping. The 140 acre property is surrounded by thousands of acres of land which is part of the Simi Valley Parks District.

International grand prix arena (600’x300’), rubber & sand mixed ring (300’x250’), derby grass field (650’x250’), large main barn (app 20,000 sqft) with 37 stalls (14’x14’), 6 grooming stalls, 2 wash stalls, vet office, farrier’s workshop & quarters. Mare barn, (app 3700 sqft) with 5 oversized stalls (12’x 20’), 1 grooming stall & 1 wash stall. Quarantine barn, (app 7000 sqft) with 15 stalls (12’x12’), 2 grooming stalls & 2 wash stalls. All for the bargain price of $75,000,000

Reportedly the largest post-and-beam structure built in North America in the 20th century, Pinnacle Farm has set the standard by which all horse facilities should be measured. Pinnacle Farms in Cornwall, Connecticut is one of the most lavish. It's got nearly everything in a a 65,000 square-foot facility on an over 140 acre spread. The facility includes a massive rotunda with a 40-foot ceiling, an event kitchen and dining area, a large exposition hall, executive offices and a grand foyer that includes a stone fireplace. Just in case you have some extra cash to burn it is offered at $35,000,000.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” ~ William A. Foster

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