Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Hi all!  While we are enjoying a lovely Holiday break (our horses too!) we thought we’d put a little bug in your ear.  While it seems so far away, the beginning of our horse show season is actually fast approaching.  More so, the entry deadlines are fast approaching and nobody wants those pesky late fees or the possibility of being on a wait list! 

To start our 2014 FCF Show Season, we’re heading south to 2 wonderful venues from mid-February to mid-March.  Our first stop will be at the HITS Arizona Winter Circuit, located in Tucson.  Our plan will be to compete in the Sahuaro Classic Feb 19-23 and the Arizona Winter Festival Feb 26- March 2, better known as weeks 4 and 5 of the Circuit.  Now this is what we’re hoping to be a good, confidence-building start to our year.  The Circuit in Arizona, while being a quality venue with good footing, large arenas, top-notch course designers and great prizes, is perhaps a little more relaxed than the Thermal circuit.  Smaller class counts, shorter days and quieter atmosphere make for a less intense experience and a great way to get back into the swing of competition without being overwhelmed.  Also, while being a little further, the show is in general less expensive.  Cheaper stalls, quality lodging at lesser prices and reduced class prices make for an easier time on the wallet.  We love this show as a start to the year, as our horses and riders have always returned confident, sharper and ready win, all while having a blast.

After our little warm-up in Arizona, we will be heading for the big leagues at the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit.  We intend on loading up and heading directly over to Thermal from AZ for DC VI March 4-9 and DCII March 11-16.  This is truly a fantastic show, located just outside of the gorgeous Palm Springs, it has everything one could want in quality competition.  The best footing, the best course designers, the best jumps, large arenas, it’s a horsey playland.  The quality of the show and location is reflected in the prices, such has more expensive stalls and lodging option.  Although, to mediate costs, a favorite thing for people to do is band together and rent a house in the area.  Also, being so close to Palm Springs, it’s a great destination spot for the whole family.  The weeks we are planning on offer many prize money classes for all divisions and the spectating can’t be beat.  A $1,000,000 Grand Prix and a $50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge make this a special show and super fun to watch!  This is a great place to challenge oneself and compete in one of the best venues with the best competition the west coast has to offer.  We’ve been traveling to Thermal for many years now and our well-prepared horses and riders always excel and have one of the most enjoyable showing experiences of the year.

Both Horse Shows are suitable and recommended for all our riders and horses at FCF.  Each venue offers classes for all level of rider in the hunter, jumper, pony or equitation arenas.  The trips can be catered to your schedule as well.  You can only do 1 week?  No problem.  We will arrange shipping for anywhere, anytime.  Have to fly back and forth?  Totally cool.  FCF Professionals will be on hand to care for and manage your equine partner.  There are many options and we encourage all of our customers to consider these incredible horse shows.  Not only is it fun to travel, but competing in new arenas with new course designers against new competition can only lend to improvement.  We will leave schedules and entry forms for all 4 weeks in the main client tack room for everyone to look over.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to find your nearest FCF Pro!  Looking for more info on the shows or lodging?  Check out the HITS website: http://hitsshows.com/

Looking forward to a fantastic and exciting 2014 Show Season!!!

FCF Pro Chelsea and Hugo in Thermal last year

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


It was the trip that almost didn’t happen.  The Dallas/Fort Worth airport had apparently become our nemesis with ice storms making for delayed and cancelled flights.  We arrived at SFO on Saturday, with a late morning flight booked to Dallas and then an evening connecting flight to Queretaro.  Upon arrival (after a police escort to our parking spot… no joke!), we found out our flight to Dallas was delayed by 3 hours and our flight to Queretaro cancelled.  Well shoot.  It was either fly to Dallas and wait or stay in SF and wait, bottom line: no horse show on Sunday for us.  Ok, lets stay here and try again tomorrow.
Told you we had a police escort!

And try we did, arriving at the SFO airport at 5:30 am hoping for good news.  We were quickly disappointed.  No go through Dallas.  We were thankfully re-routed through Houston, although our flight didn’t leave til 10:30 am, it was now only 6:15 am. Ugh.  After a lovely meander through the airport and a lengthy breakfast, we were finally on our way, a day late.

When we finally arrived at our final destination of Queretaro, we were met with a little bit of good news:  The horse show had been rained out on the weekend so they were holding the Grand Prix and the Open Classic on Monday, which was now tomorrow.  Perfect!  We would now get to watch several horses we were interested in.  After a night of rest, we were up early, ready to get a few trials in before the Grand Prix started at 9.  Our business partner in this sales venture, Antonio Maurer, had several quality horses lined up and waiting when we walked into the warm up arena.  After a bit of riding and videoing, we enjoyed breakfast while watching an incredible Grand Prix at a beautiful venue.  Balvanera has an enormous grass field, beautiful jumps and a great atmosphere.  So fun!  After that, it was time for more riding and videoing, then time for the Classic.  Much to everyone’s delight, Antonio brought home the blue ribbon on a horse we intend to bring up.  Yay!  Check his round out:

We enjoyed a quick dinner, then hopped in the car for the 2 hour trip to Leon, where Antonio’s new facility is located.  We’d never been here before so it was exciting to check out the new digs.  Boy they didn’t disappoint either!  After a night of rest in preparation for an extremely busy day, we were at the stables by 6 am.  While waiting for the sun to rise enough for us to ride, we checked things out. A beautiful 40 stall barn with many organized tack rooms sits behind 2 massive outdoor arenas, a huge clubhouse and an indoor ring, used mainly to keep out of the hot sun.  With plans to expand and create a Grass Jumping field, the place is pretty close to perfection.  6:30 am rolled around, and it was light enough for us to ride, and ride we did!  With time on the mind (we had to be at the airport in Guadalajara at 2:30 pm) we quickly went through our list, trying beautiful horse after beautiful horse.  Here are a couple of our favorites:
-Precioso: Precioso Jumping
-Taxco de la Nutria: Taxco Jumping

The handsome Precioso

Outside Antonio's barn

Looking down the barn aisle, hi horsies!

Talia, the adorable dog we want!

Upon completion of our list of available horses at this facility, we jumped into the car and took of on another 2 hour journey to Guadalajara with 15 more horses waiting to be tried. Yikes!  We arrived in good time and got to work, quickly trying and videoing more gorgeous horses.  Here are another couple of our faves from Guadalajara:
-Corita: Corita Jumping
-Rio Negro: Rio Negro Jumping
-Quidance: Quidance Jumping

One of the pretty rings in Guadalajara

The barn

Another ring

A quick change and wash and off again, this time to the airport, which we arrived at right on time! Success!  We always have such an incredible time on our shopping trips, and encourage anyone interested to join us on our next adventures!  See anything you like on the videos?  Email us and we can give you all the info you might need J  We’re very excited to hopefully bring a few of these talented, wonderful horses home to CA!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

What do you do when you have 2 quality horses and 2 trainers look to end their show season with a bang?  Head to Vegas baby!!  Our FCF Pro’s Chelsea and Giana rounded up a horse trailer (thanks Dina!) loaded up and made the 10 hr drive to the Nevada desert for a week of the best horse showing on the west coast.

Our epic lunch spot during the drive

The drive was smooth and uneventful (yay), and the arrival was intense.  With only 1 way in and 1 way out through the indoor stables, you have to wait in line until you can pull through and then you have 30 minutes on the clock to get your horses/stuff unloaded and get outta there... or else!  So as soon as we pulled in, the race was on and we’re proud to say we clocked in at 23 minutes (go us!).   Now, this show is very unique in that it is hosted inside of a huge hotel just off the Vegas strip.  You literally walk down the hotel hall to the indoor arena and exit through a door in the side to the stabling.  If it wasn’t for the one outdoor hacking arena (beside the freeway I might add) you would never see the light of day.  Very reminiscent of Indoor Finals.  Although, it’s truly interesting, and fun to be able to go throw some money down at the roulette table, eat lunch at fantastic restaurants or visit the spa between rounds!  Other perks: food delivery to your stalls, a live feed of the ring to your hotel room tv and the best footing, jumps, course designers and competition a show can offer.

Vegas Main Show Arena

The tiny Warm Up!

Vegas Baby!

Our week of showing was one to remember.  Dusty Z and Giana competed throughout the week in the open classes, executing beautiful clean rounds over challenging courses.  Dusty Z proved to everyone what a brave and bold horse he is by walking off the trailer Monday night and straight into a class Tuesday morning with no preparation and immediately going clear.  Good boy! We love that horse.  It was also a big week for our boy Peter and Chelsea.  They started the week with a warm up class on Tuesday, rest day Wednesday and the FEI Welcome Grand Prix on Thursday night.  Peter jumped so well in the Thursday Grand Prix (watch his round here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY85roHRuqE ) that the decision was made: it was time for his first World Cup Qualifier!  Saturday night came around and the course was HUGE for the $54,000 Grand Prix of Las Vegas.  Peter proved that while inexperienced, he is a man of heart.  A few of the wider oxers proved difficult and maybe a little surprising (this class being by far the largest Peter as ever jumped) but he jumped around with class and style, even clearing the last vertical which clocked in at a towering 1.65m!  We’re so proud of Peter and know that with a little more experience, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Giana in the outdoor Hacking Ring
FEI Jog Order

Peter resting up for his Jog!
Jogging in the middle of Vegas

One thing I forgot to mention: with only 2 horses competing, we made the decision to do our own grooming.  It was busy, sticking to feed schedules, mucking, grooming, bathing, wrapping, the whole nine yards, but it is something we enjoy doing when we have the opportunity,  Majority of us started this sport purely based on our love of these gorgeous creatures and with this whirlwind lifestyle, it can be easy to feel as if we lose our connection with these animals.  By being their caretakers, we had the opportunity to reconnect with our horses and spend a little quality time getting to know them on a deeper level.  Sometimes that can make all the difference inside the arena.  Also, special thank you and shout out to our helping hand and Groom Extraordinaire, Skyler Brittner, for helping us to take top notch care of our boys.  From hand walking, to mucking, to bathing, he was there to help us out!
Skyler and Dusty Z returning from the show arena

After all that, and on 4 hours sleep, we loaded our boys and equipment back up and drove on home.  It was sad to see the sights of Vegas recede into the distance, but one thought comforted us: Next Year!