Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Love, Trust, Family, Horses #westwindsorVT #VT #redhorseandco


West Windsor, VT
For The Vermont Standard
Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

If  Sheikh Mohammed's niece asked you to ride in a 90 Km horse race in the desert sands of Abu Dhabi, would you say yes?

For Krista Alderdice, from Brownsville, the answer was an easy YES in 2015. Krista's mom Melody Blittersdorf  had been invited to ride in the prestigious HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on her horse, Frankie Thunderheart.  Melody, who lives in Hartland,  was one of three Americans (Heather Reynolds and Willemina De Boer-the other two) and 23 other foreigners invited to the race, with a total of 172 starters.

Krista along with her dad, Jeff,  and sister, Karrie,  had planned to crew for Melody but Krista got a call asking if shed' like to ride Hot Lion (Sheikha Madiya Al-Maktoum’s horse) in the 90 Km ladies race the day before her mom's 100 mile race. After running it by her mom, her answer was a resounding yes. Krista recalled that day in the desert when she experienced a surreal moment. "I was racing across the desert sands on Hot Lion and I really wished I had my camera with me. I passed a herd of camels-is that what you call a group of camels? I really wanted to bring one of those (camels) home, I'm an animal girl." Krista came in 14th out of 50 riders that day. It would be her last horse race for sometime. Krista, her dad and her sister crewed for Melody the day after Krista's desert race.

Krista's life was about to drastically change. She lives at this beautiful farm just outside of the village of Brownsville in West Windsor, Vermont with her high school sweetheart, Guy, their two sons Justin 14 and Jase 11, a rescued Chihuahua, Alba from California, two mini-donkeys-Sweepy and Barniska and two "red" Arabian horses-Egalite and Empiric. Krista and Guy grew up in Jericho VT. It was love at first sight for Krista "I was running track back then and I saw Guy and said, hmmm I really like the look of that guy. I had to ask him out because he was so shy." They have been together ever since, and moved to Brownsville when their boys were 3 and 1.

Krista grew up around horses. Her mom and dad owned a horse farm in Jericho called Maple Corner Farm, where Krista taught riding lessons along side her mother. When her parents moved to Jeffersonville, Krista brought her students with her to a smaller farm. Before leaving West Wind Farm, the farm she and Guy owned in Jericho, Krista taught English riding to about 30 girls. "I was one of the few (riding) farms that got the girls out of the ring and out onto trails."

"Horses are in my blood. I've been riding since I was 7. We did the (GMHA) three day 100 all through when I was in high school. It was the BIG highlight of the summer. Sometimes I'd have to miss the first couple days of school, that was our giant highlight of the year-the three day 100."  Until 2000, Krista was mostly involved with Competitive Trail Riding (CTR) where points are awarded for your horse's fitness during the race, but she fell in love with Endurance Riding.

A career highlight for her was winning the Vermont 100 in 2004 on her Morgan Horse Manyone Praise Song Furka- Song for short. She was pregnant with Jase and had to keep stopping to go to the bathroom but she and Song still won. If one can have a soul mate horse, Song was Krista's. Song is also the only Morgan to every win this endurance ride (usually Arabians win-like her Mom, Melody did this year on Synthetic in 14:14:00)

In March of 2015, Krista's life was about to be shattered. Krista had planned a 25 mile conditioning ride with a friend to train for an upcoming 50 mile endurance ride. She was dropped off at her friend's barn by Guy and the boys and tacked up. Same old, same old. The women led their horses out of barn towards the gate. Then, in a blink of an eye, her elbow was shattered in 10 places by a horse kick, as she shielded her face with her forearm. As she cradled her arm next to her body, she could feel and hear the bones crunching. Her friend and her friend's mom, raced her to the emergency room. She was in so much pain the doctors heavily medicated her. "I've had two kids, the pain of childbirth was nothing compared to the pain in my arm." Krista thought-broken bones equal a cast-right, but she was informed that she have to have surgery. The surgery, performed at Dartmouth Hitchcock left her with 16 screws and two metal plates holding her shattered bones together. She spent hours, upon hours in physical and occupational therapy during the Spring and Summer of 2015. Since that initial surgery she has had two more surgeries and has piled up thousands in medical bills.

She had so many plans that involved endurance riding-she even bought a "big girl" trailer with living quarters so her whole family could accompany her at races around the country, it was big enough  "so we could actually shower at a ride and have all the comforts." She recently sold her "big girl truck" and has her spacious trailer up for sale.

What hurt more than her shattered bones was her shattered confidence around horses. "I was very petrified to even be around a horse, um for fear that I was going to get run over." She has put competitive and endurance riding on the shelf for now while she heals physically and most importantly mentally. "I've been through some pretty dark times but luckily I have the most amazing support from my husband and my kids." Even the mini-donkeys have helped get her back on track. "They are always there for a hug when I needed it."

She is so grateful for the care she has received at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. She is still amazed that her surgeon could "piece me back together." And she speaks fondly about her physical therapy nurse who helped heal her physically as well as mentally. Her second surgery involved removing scar tissue, "capsule release", and removing the plates and pins. This was November 2015. One month later, Krista notice that her arm wasn't functioning properly. She couldn't brush her teeth,  it was limp by her side. She went in for an x-ray and found that she had somehow re-fractured her elbow, perhaps from wearing one of her night braces. Her third surgery happened within a few days of that x-ray, but this time it included a bone graft from her hip.  She still hasn't completely regained her full range of motion.

Once her doctor gave her the OK, Krista fell back on running. She started training as soon as she could. Eight weeks post surgery, in May 2016, she ran the Pinelands 25 Km race in Maine with her sons, Justin and Jase. Running has become a physical release for her.



She also takes solace in her business Red Horse and Co.. "Making my mala bracelets can be very calming, centering. I try to put positive energy into everything I create." In 2013, she started a cottage industry making whipped body butters and quickly expanded to soaps, candles, lotions, lip balms and most recently mala bracelets. "Red horses just come to me, so I named my company Red Horse and Co.." She sells them on her website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/redhorseandco. She currently lists 28 items for sale. And she's creating a rub for runners to relieve sore muscles.


She hunts for the right beads and charms and is constantly trying different combinations making mala bracelets that reflect different mood and feelings. In the future, she'd like to take a class in casting so she can create her own beads and charms. Her creativity seems to be inherited from her grandfather, Harold Blittersdorf who has painted many views of Ascutney Mountain.

Krista decorates her products' labels and even has a line of decorative note cards. She recently purchased a camera and after seeing some of her photos, she'll be enhancing her website and product lines with beautiful images.

A few weeks ago, Krista was crewing and pacing for Guy as he attempted to complete his fifth Vermont 100 Endurance run. Unfortunately his stomach got to him at mile 76.  The whole family runs together. Krista and Guy are training now for the Vermont 50 to be held on Sunday, September 25 at Ascutney Mountain and the boys will be running in the Vermont 50 Kids FREE Fun Race on Saturday, September 24. Krista is hoping to finish the 50 to qualify so she can run the Vermont 100 next summer.


Krista has been on a horse a few times and is looking to her beautiful chestnut colored, Egalite to help her overcome her fear but she won't rush it. Horses are in her blood and always will be. "I'm learning to love riding again."

More images: https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/VermontStandard/August-2016/Red-Horse-and-Co/

Red Horse and Co./Krista Alderdice
Brownsville,  VT, July 28, 2016
Copyright ©2016 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy