Truckee goes cross country!

The warm weather hit and we all were feeling the need to get out cross country. We did a little free jump session on Friday just for the fun of it. They were awesome. Truckee moves so nice and boy can he jump. That was nothing for him. I just didn’t want to jack it up to big on the first time through the jump chute.

We took two trailers and did one group first. I rode Junior and let me tell you that was the ultimate fun. He was awesome and was so game. It was nice to be back out there again. Amanda rode her horse Elusive Sky and Becca rode her horse Necessary. They all did super well.

We brought Rockin Fun along as company for Truckee. Rocky is so calm that I figured he would be a good partner for Truckee. Junior is also calm but not out xc. Junior isn’t keen on waiting while other horses jump :) Oldehope was in the process of having a well drilled right near the warmup so there was a lot of commotion. Truckee didn’t care a little bit. He looked at it but that was it.

He started out a bit looky but as you can see in the video the progression was quite fast as he soon started locking on the jumps and taking her to them. He was so brave with everything asked of him and by the end was jumping some of the Novice size jumps. Good boy Truckee! He just had so much fun.

We got high compliments from Jane upon arrival. She said she has seen a lot of horses looking very rough…they shouldn’t be in public just yet. She said our horses are the best kept horses she has seen all year! I have to say that I am pretty darn good at transforming these horses in terms of weight and muscle. Look at how he has changed in 3 months!

You can see he likes the xc!

We all can’t wait to do it again! I can’t believe Truckee doesn’t have more interest considering he is sound, no vices, good mover, good jumper and is barefoot with awesome feet! I am sure his person will come along.

Yesterday, I moved the CANTER horses to the new farm. They all loaded and unloaded great. They settled in well. I am off on Friday so I think I shall go pull some manes and get on all of them. They will start in work and hopefully all be for sale shortly. Some lovely horses!!!!!!!!!!!!

Big Progress!

I am sorry that I haven’t kept up with the blog but life has changed quite a bit for me. I spend more time at the boyfriends house in the evenings than at home and he doesn’t have internet service..or tv for that matter. He has a big farm that is on this lovely country road with just wide open land all around. It is only 20 min from me but very rural in nature. I do catch up on a lot of reading which is good!

Is everybody else feeling a bit better now that the weather has improved? I swear it is like instant motivation when it finally starts to get warm and the sun is shining. I have been dragging and seeding all my pastures. My grass is looking good. There are so many farm projects that are now in progress. Keeping me busy but nothing new there.

I missed the lovely Thoroughbred show at Winter Place Park over the weekend when I woke up with either the stomach flu or food poisoning. That was no fun. I heard great reports and Tami and her crew always do an amazing job. CANTER Mid Atlantic really appreciates the support.

Truckee continues to improve in leaps and bounds. Amanda and I are sort of tag teaming the riding on him but she is doing most of it with me supervising. She is doing a great job. Sometimes the only way somebody learns is by being allowed to have a shot at it. I know that is how I learned! I really love teaching people how to understand ottb’s and all the secrets that I have learned over the years. It is a very rewarding process.

She felt like Truckee was hitting a bit of a wall in the flatwork especially to the right. I got on him and I felt that really going right he just needed more outside leg/rein so it’s more of a left rein issue than a right side issue. He wants to cock his head right and fall through the left shoulder. He wasn’t super happy about me pushing his body straight with the outside aids but he started to come along. One thing that I am constantly harping on the girls about is use LEG..more leg..and not hand. My riding ring has grass sides and they can’t manage to keep the horses in the ring :) That is the homework that I gave. Outside aids to ride the horse straighter in the body to control the outside shoulder.

Truckee has a great canter but upon arrival it was more like a gallop. You really have to sit up and half halt and use your leg and body to encourage him to come under himself and lift in his back but not bearn down on the bridle. You will see me give him a little whoa half halt and then he balances up. I want to be able to soften the reins and relax without the horse running faster. You do that by teaching them to balance themselves by using your seat and legs for your half halts. Don’t let them balance on the reins..nor can you balance on the reins. You want contact but you also need to have the contact be a giving contact. You should be able to let it go forward with no change.

I have to say that this horse is really one of the nicer horses that I have ridden. I know that he is just under the magic 16h and he doesn’t have a lot of white on him but there truly is something very special about him. His uphill nature feels fantastic to ride, he is soft in the bridle, moves well off the leg and just has lovely gaits. He is barefoot and still gaining muscle and he feels this good. I think this horse could go upper levels with the right rider. He just gives me that feeling and I’m not often wrong about those sort of things. He likes a program but that isn’t a bad thing. He just has such great work ethic and is willing to please. I really enjoy him and so does Amanda. We both remarked how you just want to keep going with him because he is a fun ride.

Anyway here is the flat from yesterday:

Compare this to his first ride about three months ago! Looks like a different horse for sure.

His jumping is also coming along. He jumps anything and everything and is adorable. Here is Amanda jumping him last week or so.

Rockin Fun will soon be leaving. He continues to be a farm favorite. He is going like a million bucks and his new owner is going to have a blast with him! I have been riding Junior again and hope to get him to some events this spring. He had some kind of reaction on his knee and was out for a few weeks. He is trying hard to avoid work :)

I also bought a new resale horse that will be coming from Oklahoma. His name is Cherokee Paint.

He has some cow

I may also have another former CANTER owned horse coming in for either training or sale. Not sure which yet but we will see.

The CANTER horses move to the new location on the 15th. Amanda and I will be putting them all in work so we should soon have five total for sale including Truckee. Stay posted!





Updated Count Truckee pics

The weather has still been hit or miss. Can’t believe we got snow last week and I hate even writing it but I hear there is a possibility of more for next week. We keep plugging along at the barn trying to get horses ridden regardless of weather.

Rockin Fun is still with me in training and is doing great. He is a really cool horse and his new owner is going to love him. She had asked me to make her a video of him on a normal day. It had snowed and the ring was a mess so I took a video of us taking a journey down the driveway..walking past scary stuff..dealing with traffic  and then..oh boy..we encountered an Amish buggy. I have never been on a horse during a close encounter with a buggy but I think this is about as good as a horse can possibly deal with it. 

I was more worried than he was but mainly because the horses tend to freak out when they come by just when they are in the field let alone when you are up close and personal. He has such a great brain!

I have friends mare in training for the month and she is learning some good dressage work. She is a cool horse and will be headed to the TB show at Winterplace park the first weekend in April.

Elusive Sky and Ridge Amour are both still boarded with me and doing very well. Elusive Sky was a resale horse of mine. Ridge Amour was a CANTER owned horse. I also got a new boarder with an awesome TB that I trained and sold. His name is Necessary and he is a cool TB that ran 50+ races and is more like a dog than a horse. I’m happy to have him back at the farm and his owners are great. I love my boarders and we all have such a good time together.

Truckee has just absolutely blossomed. I am saying it here…this horse is very talented. I think he has what it takes to be an upper level event horse. Really really nice horse! Good mover, good jumper, forward thinking, brave and just smart as can be. He is cheeky without being mean so he won’t fit everybody but those who like a really talented athletic horse will love him. He is so uphill and balanced. I imagine with consistent riding he is going to be amazing. He jumped the brick wall on his first try last night!!!!!!!!!!! 3rd time jumping.

Here are some updated pics of him.

I will get even more pics and video this weekend. Half the battle is just getting them clean enough to get the pics and video. We clipped more off of Truckee now so he is looking good!

There will be some changes coming for the CANTER horses that are local to me. The amazing farm they are at is getting out of boarding so we are relocating to a farm that is even closer to me. It has a huge roundpen that is wood with tall sides and also a covered riding ring! Since it is only 15 min away I plan on just keeping the horses there and riding them off that farm. Amanda and I are going to work together and we should be able to restart a greater number of horses. We will be starting with four horses (all that are moving from the other farm). That means Yesterdays Story, Stormy Horizon, Money for Love and Davids Little Boy will all get started in work next month. It should help us retrain and rehome a great number of horses. I think that it will all work out so we shall see.

I plan on doing one personal resale at a time. I don’t want to get overloaded. I have Rocky and Slippers in for training so possibly next month I will start looking for one to buy. I plan on doing some eventing with Junior. Just lower levels and see how his knee holds up to it but he has always been sound (knocking on wood!). The goal is to get Truckee sold by next month. The weather has to allow us to get consistent but he is ready to be marketed!

My divorce is final at the end of this month. That is a chapter that I am looking forward to putting behind me. It’s sad in some ways but there has been so much good that has come out of it that sometimes I look at it like a favor. I have met a certain someone who I have been dating for four months and it gives some perspective on things. I didn’t really intend to get into a relationship so soon but life has a funny way of throwing curveballs at you. New guy doesn’t have horses but he does have a big farm locally that he farms and he enjoys the same type of lifestyle that I do. I have been able to move on relatively easy and just pick right up again. Now I am working to perfect that work to life balance we all struggle with :) I struggle to say no to work but I really do need to slow down. I sold 16 horses last year of my own and 6 CANTER horses on top of my full-time job! That is just crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I find I am less stressed now that I have taken a major step back.

I am working to refinance my farm and once that happens I will have a better picture of how I will go forward into the future. For now it is just one step at a time.

March is almost here

I still have a case of the winter blahs. make it all go away. We are all still giving a go at riding as much as possible. It seems like we get a few days on and then several days off. Makes it hard to do anything consistent but we do our best.

Truckee is coming along well with his riding/lunging. I was able to video a lunge session yesterday. He has put on weight and grown a bit. He is starting to stretch and also starting to find some balance in that canter. I adore him!

I thought I had Rockin Fun sold. He was going to a lady out in California and he was vetted and passed the vet check. She passed on him at the last-minute due to shipping costs..etc. I’m not at all upset because I am having a blast and truthfully I wanted to ask a bit more money for him anyway. He is an awesome horse. He is an ammy’s dream horse. Good flatwork, good jumper, trail rides alone and in company and so much more. Just tons of miles on him and a personality to die that makes you laugh every day.

We may get some warm weather this week and I think we are all looking forward to giving some baths and getting the horses smelling better. We went on a trail ride this weekend and when the horses heated up they all smelled terrible!

I have been busy teaching lessons. I will get Rocky and Truckee advertised here shortly. I have a training horse coming in for March. Lots to do! Life is good and no complaints. It’s all about keeping a positive outlook and I have been able to do that.


Why the groundwork is so important at this time of year

I talked about how riding has been inconsistent at best due to weather. It seems we get a day or so of riding and then several days off. Fields are all mud. Horses aren’t moving around. Horses get fed premium alfalfa and good food. They tend to feel good!

I would say that I am a confident rider but I have developed a sense for self-preservation over the years. The reality is that it’s important to not get hurt. I never think my horses would want to hurt me but lack of preparation, lack of training and lack of common sense on my part will put you in a stupid situation. I used to be a rider who never lunged horses. Never really focused much on ground work. I knew it was important but it took time and time was better spent riding.

I think that is the younger version of thinking on my part! Over time I began to see how ground work mostly lunging made riding so much easier. I like to think about it in terms of a really high horse. If this horse come out and it’s high as a kite but has no concept of contact, how to engage, how to go forward and how to be ridden into contact then you end up feeling like holy crap this is going to be bad. You take that same high as a kite horse and teach it about contact, going forward, how to connect from front to back and all of a sudden you have a horse who is feeling high as a kite but suddenly you have a place to ride it to. You have the tools to be able to put it to work. Work=engaging the brain. You can’t take a high as a kite horse and try to “teach” it while it’s high as a kite. You need to have the basics installed first so you aren’t overwhelming this extremely fresh horse with new concepts while it’s going boing..boing..boing around the ring. They have to know what you are asking them.

I sort of get down on myself a bit for lunging when I could be riding but Truckee needed to learn some groundwork. Truckee is NOT a bad horse at all but he is extremely athletic, forward thinking and talented. He needed to learn how to use his parts in an efficient manner. I wanted all those buttons installed so that I could use them to influence good behavior while riding. I first started lunging in side reins, then vienna reins and then the pessoa. He understands voice commands, he has learned about contact, he can stretch down into the contact and he has learned a bit about not panicking when feeling trapped (this is often important). He has gotten to understand that the contact is there and he must engage from behind and round his back. He looks like a different horse.

I knew it was all paying off but I really felt it last night. I sort of debated getting on because it was a crazy night. I had a new boarder ship in. It was cold. They hadn’t been ridden the day before and then spent the day up in their dry paddocks. They were fresh. There were four of us in the ring going every which way. This was going to be a lot for his brain to process. However, I really did think all my homework was going to allow me to have a rideable horse. I needed to test out my tools.

He stood perfectly for me to get on. Good boy! We did a little bit of baby leg yielding at the walk and he was great in the contact. It got busy in the ring and I could feel him getting anxious so we went right to the trot. Remember forward is your friend! Allow them to go forward. We just picked a half the ring circle and I focused on riding him forward and up into the contact. With a horse who wants to be silly this is often your saving grace! They need to have a place to go. They like to feel the contact and they like you to give them direction. I was just working on encouraging him to stay steady in the bridle and around the turns we would practice a little half halt and then some baby steps sideways to introduce some bending. He is just so good! He had moments of oh boy but just came to little head shakes and nothing more.

He is a narrow type of horse so it’s very important to have all this work done so that you can control his straightness!!! He could easily drop his shoulder if I didn’t have the ability to ride him up into the contact which is why I feel like it’s important for horses like him to learn about contact ASAP. It’s not that I’m holding onto his face or pulling him into a frame but I am asking him to make the correct shape with his body. He does understand that me putting some pressure on the reins and adding leg means to step under and soften his topline. This allows me to have a softer back so that I can manipulate him and it also encourages relaxation.

I am telling you he felt amazing!!! I was so proud of him because he had never been in such a busy situation but he was just so good. I was so impressed with how he felt. Wish I had video…I know…but I have more people to help with that now so we will work harder at getting video. I just walked and trotted but he is now ready to start working on the canter under tack.

It really is a ride like that just seems to make everything right in the world. I love what I do and it’s just so much fun to see horses that may have been a bit difficult starting out all of a sudden figuring it all out. His personality is emerging and he is starting to trust me as a rider. I was so proud of him!

Now I can’t wait to ride him again and of course we are getting poured on today and potentially more snow for the weekend. Uh!

I hate winter

Those of us in the mid atlantic are cussing winter on a daily basis. It has made riding difficult at best and frankly us horse women are just not happy when we aren’t riding. I am in good shape from dealing with frozen everything, carrying hot water, pushing hay through snow and just having to fight with every piece of equipment on the farm. The boyfriend was watching me throw around some alfalfa bales the other day and was impressed. Those suckers are a good 50+ lbs and I can now lift them easily! I think all of us are really going through our hay supply to keep the horses warm and happy. My thoroughbreds can put down some alfalfa!

My ring has been frozen for the most part. I have ridden or lunged when the weather is at all cooperating. Truckee continues to improve daily. He is gaining weight and I see his shape starting to change. I really really like him and find him to be freaky smart. I have a good eye for a horse and he is a horse that might not strike you as anything special standing there but I think he has talent to go right up the levels in eventing. There is just a certain feel and athletic ability about him that really makes me think he has what it takes. I love the way his brain works. He also moves across the ground so light. He is very uphill and light in the bridle. Contact is still a work in progress but it’s coming along. I have spent some time lunging him in the pessoa system here lately to encourage him to come from behind and push into the bridle.

I have to say that watching him get adjusted to the feel of the butt rope was about the funniest thing I had ever seen. I laughed until I cried (which is hard to do while lunging a horse) because he just has the most interesting reactions to things. I put the surcingle on in the barn and it has the system all set up. I went to the ring and gently slid the butt rope into place and didn’t attach any of the front peices knowing he likely would have some sort of reaction on the butt rope. OMG!!!!!!!!!! He took one step forward and went WHAT THE HECK and then it was boing…boing..boing..boing all around the circle. He bucked until the rope went all the way under his tail. I was dying laughing. I got him pulled up and repositioned and started again and he was totally fine. Then I hooked up the front part (basically like vienna reins) and he was excellent at the walk and the trot. I thought I would try a smidge of canter. Oh lord…it was bucking bronco all over again. Stopped to adjust the butt rope and did the canter again and he was fine. He really cantered well with the pessoa. I love watching them react. His reaction is OMG..I’m dying..get it off..oh big deal..back to work. Totally cracks me up. Wish I had it all on video!

He is very professional to ride but installing all the good basics on the lunge line helps a ton. He is built uphill so he needs to learn to stretch over his back and relax his back and topline. It all comes in time.

Our one difficulty is getting pics and video. We have found it’s easier for Amanda to ride and for me to do the video/pics although we need to practice the other way. This was middle of January video of Truckee. He’s going even better now but you can see the progress in just this piece. This was his first time jumping.

I think that I mentioned I bought a new horse. Yes, I jumped back into the resale game. I admit to being a bit nervous about it all since I am still going through the divorce (final at end of March!) but I can’t put my life on hold.

A friend emailed me that she was going to sell her horse. It’s a long story but basically Rockin Fun was a CANTER horse that was donated and I retrained. I started him on the flat, over fences, trail rode him and took him xc. Then he was sold locally and did some trail riding and paper chasing. He was sold once more to a friend who has done a bit of everything with him but mainly trail riding. He rides out western and the cool thing is that she could just hop on once a month and go and he was always great. He is just a really quiet TB with a great brain and a can do attitude. He’s 10yrs old and 16.1 h..and chunky! I had to giggle when I saw him because he is so darn round. I always loved him so I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with him again. I just thought he would be a good project to get back into shape and resale. He rides english, western, jumps, trail rides, paper chases, goes xc, rides out solo, rides in groups and more. Everybody needs one like him!

He really hadn’t done much of anything so he is out of shape and lacking muscle. We rode him in the ring and then I trail rode him. He was awesome on the trail and happily lead or followed and jumped logs in lovely style. Amanda hopped on again for some pics/vid this weekend.

He hadn’t done any real flatwork in a long time and hadn’t jumped in over a year if not more but he was so game!

This week isn’t looking much better in terms of weather. I think we will all get rides in tonight but supposed ice storm coming in later in the evening and then they are talking about more snow later in the week. Oh well, you just have to ride when you can and keep muttering spring is around the corner :)

It will be nothing but mud everywhere for a bit but such is life at this time of year. It will all I tell myself when I am trying to remain positive. I have a lot of good things happening in my life at the moment so apparently the positive thinking is working in my favor.

I need to get some updated truckee pics and video here shortly. I have a barn full of fun horses to ride. Now if we can get the weather to cooperate, life will be even better.




Finding the groove again

I have a feeling that I am going to be very thankful for Count Truckee coming into my life at this moment. When all hell broke loose in my life, I was left with a few horses and the one that I had to ride was Crazy as Can Be. Crazy loved trail riding but the ring stuff wasn’t his thing. I was pretty miserable and not feeling like dealing with his attitude. He wasn’t fun for me to ride and we made the best decision to move him into another job.  He has been hunting with his new owner in Georgia and is doing really well!

I really wanted to bring a horse over that enjoyed ring work because during the winter you don’t get as much opportunity to get out of the ring due to hunting at all of our local trail spots.

The weather has made riding tough and Truckee and I have been experiencing some ups and downs. It would be easy to be frustrated with him but I always remember that basically this horse lived in a field untouched for a year! He is feral in some ways and I have to remember it is an adjustment. One of his issues is that he is a bit attached and it causes him to forget that he has a job to do.

I am often alone on the farm and riding a young green horse alone isn’t wise. I pick my moments to ride when people are around. Sunday he got a nice lunging session with the vienna reins and he was excellent. Monday I brought him out and he was geared up. I could barely hook up the lunge equipment. I had him tacked up intending to ride but it was clear that wasn’t going to be in the cards. He was doing VERY impressive moves that looked like a rodeo horse coming out of the chute. He just wanted to run to the gate and couldn’t focus. Amanda brought her horse out and things went downhill from there. It was clear that Truckee and I needed to have a bit of a pow wow.

I took him over to the small lunge ring and worked on a small circle and he was wild. Absolutely wild not listening to a thing but I just patiently waited him out. Worked on introducing the voice commands and some transitions. Just walking and trotting but getting him to listen. It is a bit of tough love a times when he isn’t listening but he has to learn that I am the boss. I lunged him all over that ring. Then when he was nice and quiet I took him back to the big ring and lunged him all over that ring as well. Just making a point that he will come out and go to work and we won’t continue to play around.

I was bummed when I got rained out the next day..this is the issue because the weather keeps blocking my progress. Wednesday was a gorgeous night so I tacked him up and hoped somebody would show up at the barn but I was sure I was riding anyway. He started out lunging in the big ring very quietly with his vienna reins on. He remembered the transitions. He still is a bit of a bronc at the canter but that is just lack of balance. He was really soft and stretching into the contact. His back was relaxed and his brain was focused. Thankfully, just as I was going to get on Amanda came in so I had her hold him for a second and up I went. I could immediately tell he was relaxed. We walked around for a good 10 min just working on some simple moving off the leg and bending exercises. Wow, what a difference in the way he felt in the contact already!

He felt great at the trot and while a bit fussy when I was asking for him to take a bit of the contact he still felt amazing. He is a lovely mover and just has a great hind leg. He was so rideable and soft in the body. I was just beaming. I had forgotten just how much I LOVED what I do. I mean I know that I love it but I hadn’t been loving it for a while. Even before the drama in my life, I had taken on too much and gotten too busy. It takes the fun out of riding. I have a better plan on moving forward but I just couldn’t stop smiling during this ride on Truckee. I kept thinking to myself that this is why I do this and how rewarding it truly is to work with these horses. I finished up with him and just hung out a bit in the ring while Amanda rode. Truckee and I jumped some jumps in hand and he thought that was pretty cool. Can’t wait to do some jumping this weekend!

I then brought Junior out and had a great ride. I have been riding him a few days a week and having a blast. He is a pretty cool horse :) I mean duh..I trained him and he’s awesome but talk about how nice it is to go from green to made. It’s like all the buttons are installed. Fun stuff!

Truckee and I had a light lunge session yesterday and I hope to get a ride in today. I also know that I am returning to my former self when I found myself buying a horse :) More details to come on that but it is actually a CANTER horse that I retrained and sold. He is 9yrs old and mainly has been a western trail horse but he is the quiet all around type that everybody is looking for and his owner just finds herself focusing on other things in life at the moment. I’m excited about getting him. He should be an easy sale.

I really can’t wait to get more pics and video of Truckee this weekend to show off. The difference is amazing! I now need to clip him..uh my least favorite task.

I have been doing some dating and have been seeing somebody for a bit who is pretty awesome. He came to fix the pipes in the barn during the cold and get the tractor running. He is going with me to go pick up the new horse and while he isn’t a horse person, he knows farm equipment and farms which is pretty cool :) It was fun to hear that he found one of my most attractive qualities to be the passion that I have for what I do. With or without a man in my life, I am just happy. It has taken a while to get back on track but I feel my old self starting to come back in full force. Please hide my checkbook…we all know the old self likes to buy horses at the drop of a hat :)

Allie and I also talked about me bringing over Money for Love (the cool grey horse) so I just need to see how much I can fit into my schedule. I am feeling energized but I am going to try to do better at work vs personal life balance. I might hold off one more month just to get through the worst of winter.

The journey has been rough but I find myself constantly smiling and laughing. I laugh more now than I have in a very long time. I can’t wait to get out to the barn to ride. I think that horses have always had the ability to heal if you let them. It took some time for me to find my way back but now every time I work with a horse it truly feels like it is healing me from the inside out.