Monthly Archives: November 2009

Opening hunt for Wicomico

The weather was cooperating for our opening hunt and we all had such a great time. It was a bit above 60 degrees and sunny and I would guess maybe 80 riders turned out. I think when we counted there were 39 of us in second field. I had convinced my hubby to try it again and also brought out two friends. Amanda, my lesson student, on her TB and her mom riding their older QH. They had come to the mock hunt and had a good time and hunting is a great way to keep the horses in shape over the winter. Amanda went with me once last year riding Dixie and really enjoyed herself so I was happy to get her back out again.

Kurt was riding Junior and I was on Charlie. It is interesting to see how much Junior has changed in the past few hunts. They were both super relaxed and more worried about eating grass than anything while we tacked up. We got on and had to stand for quite some time before we did the blessing of the hunts and all of our horses where just standing there so relaxed. Ha, I was sure that wouldn’t last to long but glad they were standing.

Some pics we took as we walked around warming up.
[image]
[image]
[image]  

Kurt was pleasantly suprised to see Junior so quiet but that is how he was the last hunt. Still a bit jiggy but no bucking, rearing or other behavior that you would rather not deal with. I really do think the saddle was bothering him because out of all the years I have owned him I have never seen him want to be ignorant and try to get the rider off. That is just not his nature at all so a good lesson in being a bit more proactive about getting the saddle fitter out quicker!

We all started out in the back of second field just in case we had any issues we didn’t want to disturb anyone but all of our horses were fairly relaxed. Charlie still likes to give a few bucks but they aren’t mean just weeee…this is fun type of stuff. No big deal and expected out of a young horse on his second hunt. Kurt was just beaming with happiness and having a blast on Junior. He was jumping all the little jumps and said he just put his hands down and let Junior do his thing. Amanda’s horse started out really quietly but then geared up. He did well when we were moving but wasn’t keen on standing for to long. At one point, he ran backwards at a high speed clearing out everyone. It was kind of funny but I tried not to laugh 🙂 Overall, he was excellent for his first hunt! Doris’s horse stormy is a big palomino QH who is quite strong so he was pulling her arms out a bit but seemed to be enjoying himself. Finding the right bit out in the hunt field is very important. You need to be able to stop and rate your horse. She was riding in a pelham but I think a gag would be more helpful as he pulls down so you want to be able to lift up a bit.

We had a couple good canters but mostly walking with some trot mixed in. The horses seemed to have a great time and we all enjoyed ourself. The food afterwards was yummy and you always work up a good appetite. I was slightly sore but poor Kurt was dying last night 🙂 Someone needs to ride more than once a week if he wants to foxhunt!


[image]
[image]

I can’t wait to go out again. I just got word that my other personal horse is returning from his lease due to financial issues. THE BOPPUS is the coolest big tb you will ever find and I am excited to have him back. He looks like a big Irish horse and has the coolest personality. I hunted him 5-6 times last year and he was a blast. Not looking forward to having 4 personal horses…oh lord. I realize I am going to have to sell my horse but I really really really don’t want to. Still searching for that money tree!

Advertisements

Check out Sea Flip!

I went for a lesson today and Mogie rode Sea Flip for us so we could see him go. He really looks fantastic and she said he has learned everything so quickly. One little incident with him being a bit wild on the Purina Ultima grain which doesn’t suprise me. You have to watch the sugar content with these guys. I took some pics and video of him but someone didn’t have the record on for his jumping which made me so angry. Still angry because lord he can jump! Oh well such it was just great to see him.

I forgot to add that what is really cool about Flip is how brave he is. Mogie told me she was heading toward his first panel jump yesterday and she expected him to back off but he didn’t even blink at it. Today, we set up the flower box and let’s just say he wasn’t scared. Instead he came out of the corner got his eye on it and totally took Mogie to it. I think she was a bit in the back seat for that one 🙂 He is extremely smart and seems to have all the things we want in an eventer. It was fun to watch him hunt the jumps down today!

DSC_8594
DSC_8599
DSC_8598
DSC_8614
DSC_8686
DSC_8685
DSC_8697

A new education

Since I don’t have any CANTER horses in the barn at the moment I am going to write about some general things that I am learning while foxhunting. I don’t claim to be an expert at anything let alone foxhunting but I have learned so much over the past two years.

I find foxhunting a challenge because you can’t train a horse for it. All my horses trail ride and do group trail rides but it is not the same thing at all. You can’t replicate the experience of foxhunting in my opinion so I am learning to train my horses while in the field and it has already taught me a lot. Due to my inexperience with hunting I ask a lot of questions of the members and they have been very helpful. Cindy Wood, a joint master, is also an event rider and an excellent horseman. She is probably tired of me asking questions of her at this point but always takes the time to answer. I would say 99% of my questions are focused on how to deal with the hotter horses I am riding this season.

I am currently hunting my lovely conn/tb named Talk of the Town aka Junior. Junior’s breeding  http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/talk+of+the+town13 One thing that I know about Junior’s family is that they are all a bit on the hot side 🙂 His sire was owned by the founder of my ponyclub and had competed in advanced driving, prelim eventing and even 100 day endurance riding. His dam was a hot chestnut tb that was quite difficult to ride. I bought Junior for $1k as a 3 yr from someone who was doing a very bad job of breaking him and had labeled him crazy. Let’s just say he is far from crazy but he is the smartest horse that I have ever ridden and quite athletic. One of those horses who feels the need to challenge you but once you develop the partnership he would do anything you asked of him.

Junior has some half brothers that compete in advanced driving. I have gotten to see Thor’s Toy Truck in action the past few years competing at the advanced singles and he is super neat. Looks a lot like my guy maybe a bit smaller. I have read some articles where his owner have talked about how difficult he was to train and how he didn’t mature until the age of 7. I was told that this particular line matures really late and I have found that to be true.

Anyway…Junior was my event horse. If you took ditches out of the equation he was the best damn event horse around. Brave, bold and just easy. He was always a joy to ride in the jumping phases. The dressage was a bit harder because he does have a bit of a shorter stride but if you could get him steady he would score really well. Some pictures of him.

junior fairhill 8

Junior over logs

DSC_8801

DSC_8795

Junior fence 5

The challenge in dealing with a horse like Junior is figuring out how to keep them busy. His mind tends to work very much like a TB but almost in a more difficult manner because he thinks he is invisible. Let’s just say he must have gotten a good dose of connemara in him to make him think like a pony but ride like a Tb.  When I moved the horses home in September of last year he came up slightly lame but overall I wasn’t to worried. It didn’t resolve itself so we took some x-rays and found that he had a palmar radiocarpal fracture on his left knee. There was also a chip behind the fracture. My vet was sure this was the cause of the lameness but when he went to New Bolton for his bone scan and to have the injury further investigated the surgeon was positive that fracture was old. It did light up on the scan but so did the front of the knee. Because that fracture is at the back of the knee surgery was not recommended because it is highly complicated to go through all the ligaments and tendons at the back of the knee. He also thought that we had not even seen all the damage yet that is the result of the bone remodeling. Sure enough the spurs showed up as a result of whatever tramau he did..I am sure it was in the trailer (let’s not even talk about that subject).

So I figured he was done for as a riding horse and his prognosis really wasn’t great. He had 3-4 months of stall rest and then back to light riding. The funny thing is that he has stayed sound through all of it. I am talking not even a lame day. I had competed/ridden him hard on that old fracture he had and he never took an off step. We just kept playing it by ear but he continued to stay sound.  I am actually not surprised that he came through all of it sound because he is just that tough. He is built to last and has an incredible work ethic. I truly think he is happiest when having a job.

He got drafted into foxhunting because I had nobody else. Now I didn’t think it was going to be easy because in some ways he is much hotter than most of the tb’s. He can go and go and then go some more and almost never tires. He has an excellent brain and is super brave but also is aggressive in nature and always wants to be in front. Getting left behind is the kiss of death..I swear he thinks he was a racehorse.

First foxhunt- head out with Wicomico and ride in the first flight. My thinking behind that decision was that he is best if I keep him moving. It was a fast hunt with lots of action and the hounds were working well. He was unfazed by the hounds coming around him and the other sights and sounds. The staff coming by him got him a wee bit upset but nothing to drastic. This fixture has quite a few jumps ranging from logs to about 3’3″ coops. I decided to do some of the smaller ones but nothing to big. I quickly abandoned that idea as everyone else was jumping and holding him back to go around a big jump pissed him off and was resulting in me dealing with a horse that felt like he wanted to explode. So we jumped 🙂  About an hour in he started to melt down. Now this horse is hot but he doesn’t normally buck and he was having a fit. I went to go find second field but they were no where to be found. I rode around looking for them for about 10 min before deciding to follow the noise of the hounds and join first field again. This seemed to be enough to let him cool his jets and he was relaxed by the time we rejoined the first field and he finished out his day. All and all I thought he was very good. A few bucks but nothing really bad.

Second hunt- We are having a joint meet with another small hunt that my friend Alison belongs to. Kurt decides he wants to ride Junior so I take Charlie who has never hunted. Charlie is noise reactive and bucks just to buck. They are not to bad and I don’t mind it. He was about what I expect but lord oh lord Junior was a monster. He got off the trailer ready to go. Kurt had to fling himself in the saddle and standing was not in the cards. He was rearing and spinning before we even started?? No clue really not typical of him. We go second field and it was stop/start and we were in the woods and he was getting more anxious. He was bucking something horrible for no apparent reasont that I could tell. Instead of settling down he got worse..much worse and we headed in. The minute we left the group he was back to his relaxed self again.

Mock hunt- Wicomico was having a mock hunt so Kurt and I headed down to see if we could work out the kinks and get some advice on what to do. We warmed out together just trotting and cantering around the whole farm and once again Junior was fired up. Now it was just us but he was all sort of silly. Bucking, squealing, some hops and mini rears. Not typical behavior at all for him so I was puzzled. We just kept trotting and cantering until he settled. When the mock hunt started he was very well behaved. I made kurt put him right on my horses butt and that worked quite well. The only incidents when horses around him jumped the jumps. He is quite offended by other horses jumping when he can’t and lets out monster bucks.

Hunt three- head to hunt with my friend. The group is small about seven of us only one field. He again got off the trailer in a panic. He was bucking and spinning just standing there. I tried walking and he was really getting worse. Group issues! When I would walk away from the group and I am not talking far away just a few hundred feet he would want to rear and spin back. We would just keep circling and circling very calm and relaxed riding from me. When I would turn to walk back and he would start rushing and getting anxious then I would circle. I just kept working at that the 15 min while we waited to get started. We do a bit of trotting and one canter but it is 3.5 hours of standing and walking because the hounds were in the woods running the waterline and we couldn’t get in. He was quite behaved minus one monster buck coming down a hill which almost unseated me. Whew, the years of riding bad buckers always pays off!

Have the saddle fitter out which was planned and she confirmed the saddle was tight. I knew it was because I had it fitted to Dixie last hunt season and Junior is much wider. She thought it was snug so could be contributing to the bucking so I was hopeful that could be the cause as it was new behavior.

Hunt four- we headed out yesterday for T-day. He just had an overall sense of calm when I got him off the trailer which was a change. I walked and trotted up and down the drive by myself and he was on a loose rein and relaxed. Mmm..liking this. Cindy and I had done a lot of talking and she thought for a horse like him first field was the place to be because he mentally can’t handle not moving and second field just doesn’t move enough for his liking. We started off a bit slow but Cindy does an excellent job of trying to keep us going. We got a few trots and canters which always lets them settle a bit. It was very warm so we thought we might not have a good day. It was just about then that the hounds really hit! Let me just tell you in the moment it is the most beautiful sound you will ever hear. We navigated some very tricky ditches where you basically slide down and go straight up the other side. The first one was tough but the second one was  real challenge. It was filled with about 2ft of water so the horse really had to trust you to go down and then back up into what was a batch of vines and tree. I just let him do his job because and he picked his way through. Then we were off and I mean really off. Galloping along almost flat out down the paths and then out on the dirt road. What is really cool is going around the turns and doing your lead changes and just trying to navigate the terrain. I couldn’t have asked for him to be any better. He didn’t buck once during the whole time and he was just much more responsive. Holly, another eventer, let me use her horse as a guide which was very nice. The one thing about Junior is that he comes with a set of sound effects which can drive the most sane horse crazy. People scrabble to get away from me because he sounds like a 1000lbs of fire coming up their butt. We have squealing, racehorse breathing and noises that I can’t even describe coming from him. It makes me giggle but not so funny to others who are dealing with horses that also want to go! He stood very nicely at checks and for the first time I could actually let go and relax without him trying to run over the horse in front of him or do the bronco act.

I am not ruling out that the saddle fitter made a difference but I think just the experience has helped. He is an anxious horse and the first time I think he didn’t know what was going on. The next two hunts he knew exactly what was going on and was way to wired. Yesterday, he seemed to understand but overall just felt like he had taken a deep breathe and relaxed.

Our opening hunt is on Sunday and Kurt is going to try him again and I am riding Charlie. It is going to be a really fun day and I want Kurt to have a good time so if the day starts to go downhill we shall just go in and have a few drinks until the rest of the hunt comes back.

Some things I have learned or heard from others:

-It can take a whole season for a horse to settle in so don’t get discouraged.

-Make sure to have enough bit..trust me on this one!

-try not to take it personally when others give you the look of evil. Hunting green horses is a challenge and it can disturb everyone else around you when your horse misbehaves. I was given the advise to ride up in the 1st field as we are less likely to offend people when our horses are having issues. I have found this to be true.

– make sure your horse is fit as well as yourself. Hunting is physically demanding on your horse. You go 2+ hrs and you really have no idea how hard you will go. You don’t want to be jumping big jumps on a tired horse. Nor do you want to be so out of shape that you are using your horses mouth to hold yourself up.

– practice makes perfect- everyone advises hunting the wednesday hunts as well as the crowd is smaller and going two days a week will really help the horse to figure it out quicker. That is hard for those of us who work but I can see the benefit for sure. Think my boss will understand 🙂

– correct fitting tack is important- I am super aware of how my tack fits. A good fitting saddle, girth and bridle ensures the horse will be comfortable. If you are having behavioral issues check your tack.

– know your horse and what works for them. For example, Dixie could hunt anywhere first or second field without a care in the world. Junior has no patience and seems to wind up if he doesn’t get to go a bit and empty the tank. Everyone has told me that some horses just can’t handle themselves whether a horse who mentally can’t handle going fast or one who can’t handle going slow.

This is a long post but I am bored and have nothing better to do right now. One thing that I have realized about myself is that I am not a happy person when I don’t get to ride. This rainy weather is really messing up my riding schedule and I can’t start building my riding ring until it stops raining. Hunting makes everything a happier place for me.
DSCN6464
DSCN6460

Escape by Sea aka Bella is sold

Bella had left to go on trial right before that last little tropical storm hit us and we got over 6″ of rain. Her new owner had emailed to let me know they loved her and wanted to buy her but I got the chance to catch up with her at today’s mock hunt to confirm that she is truly happy with her. She had really nice things to say about her both undersaddle and to work around. I feel a huge void in my barn right now with no CANTER horses at the moment. Now, that is sure to change but for the moment I only have one TB!! Yes, there is just something not right about that. I am boarding a lovely mare who came from delaware park and will be moving to Canada to be a broodmare. The plan is that she will have lovely babies that hopefully grow up to be big time event horses.

I will know a bit more about Sea Flip later in the week but I have gotten really great reports on him as well. I feel like my kid’s have grown up and went off to school or something..not that I would know anything about having kids but to me horses are my kids 🙂

My hubby and I went to a mock foxhunt sponsored by Wicomico Hunt Club (who I ride with) and it was so much fun. Our horses were much better behaved today and it was a wonderful way to learn about foxhunting without having to much environment to deal with. I will be foxhunting my conn/tb tomorrow to see if he will improve as we go along. I also plan on hunting on Thanksgiving morning as well. I really want him to like hunting but the jury is still out. He likes it a bit to much right now 🙂

Everyone talks about how hot ottb’s can be and how they don’t do well in group situations. I always try to remind people that I could say that about any breed of horse and therefore try to keep an open mind. I hunted three young green tb’s last year who all took to hunting with ease. My two well trained show horses are proving to me much more difficult this season. I am always one for a challenge so let’s hope I stay aboard and show them hunting is fun not a race 🙂

Appreciation

Last year, was my first experience with foxhunting. I had always wanted to try foxhunting but always had horses that I could have told you would have killed me. I do not exaggerate on that either. My older horse who I have owned practically my whole life was the world’s slowest Tb’s but group trail rides turned him into a nut job who invented things to set him off. OMG that leaf moved..different color on the ground and ghosts lived inside his head. It was never relaxing to say the least. He sure did teach me everything I know about riding a tough horse and how to ride a horse that could make a rodeo bronc envious. It earned me a reputation as someone who could do a good job with a really tough horse but I would have liked a more reliable animal. I was young and I loved that horse with all my heart and still do. He proved the point to me that some horses just never are comfortable out of the ring. You can make them but it will never be easy. Choose your battles wisely 🙂

Then Dixie entered my life and although he was a green TB he was so sensible and just struck me as a horse that could handle himself in the hunt field. I started out slowly hunting with my friend’s group who has a very small pack and then worked our way up to hunting in a larger group. He was just so calm about it all that I hunted mostly first flight with no issues and sometimes second if I had a guest with me. He also took out my friend and one of my junior lesson students. I have never actually been able to just relax and have fun on a horse in big group situations but with him hunting was a pleasure. I also hunted Indy’s Wolf and The Boppus (he is leased right now) and they were also both very good mounts.

This season I have been trying to hunt but my horses that I am hunting are both quite handfuls. My conn/tb is hotter than any TB I have ever ridden. He is an incredible horse in many respects. Will go anywhere, jump anything, super brave, athletic and for the most part has a lot of sense. He just seems to think hunting is all about galloping and was quite bad his last outing. My other horse always likes to throw a few bucks in group situations so no surprise with him. He actually did well bucking but settled as he went. I will keep trying them both but they might not either work out as hunt horse which is fine by me. Lots of horses aren’t good foxhunters. I can tell you just how hard it is but until you are actually out there doing it you would just not understand. Just a few things that happened on our Sunday hunt- chased by a big buck as we crested a hill, buzzed multiple times by a crop dusting plane, tons of canter/stop/canter, sliding up and down hills, jumping water filled ditches and the list goes on. It can be so much fun on the right horse but on the wrong horse you find yourself praying to god most of your ride 🙂

Catherine- if you are reading this please send him back for hunt season 🙂 Just kidding but he really did make me look forward to hunting. Now I just hope I stay on and don’t make an ass out of myself.

 

I have no horses

Right now both Flip and Bella are out on trial which makes me nervous but that is sometimes the only way to get business done. I know both of the people who have them out so I am comfortable with the situation. I personally hate trials with a passion. I always had really bad luck with them in the past but it seems like with the CANTER horses I have had good luck so I might be a bit more relaxed now. The trick is making sure you know the people who are taking the horse, putting a good contract in place and praying 🙂

I dropped Flip off  to Mogie who is an upper level event rider that I lesson with. She had seen me ride him but had not ridden him herself so I was really hoping she liked him as much as I did. I took a lesson on her ex 3* horse which was so much fun! Boy, you forget what it is like to just concentrate on yourself. Riding the greenies gives me lots of bad habits so I just worked on me. We did a bunch on the flat and then some work over fences and I think I giggled the whole ride. He obviously had his own opinions about everything and figuring out his buttons was a comedy act. If I touched him in a way he didn’t like he would give me a little buck to let me know that was not appropriate but sometimes it was him that needed to remember the rules. He cracks me up because he walked out of the barn like an old man (I think he was 20+) but the minute you got him really working it was like you were on a different horse. He made me really work for everything because he was pretty slow but she said I did a good job of making him really work and not just fake it 🙂 He got quite excited about the jumping and we did a few courses with me trying to figure out his buttons. Keeping him uphill and packaged together was the theme because he liked to get a bit strung out and flatten his jump. What a fun ride it was and something I should do more often.

After I finished up my lesson Mogie brought Flip in to ride. Now he hadn’t been ridden all week due to the rain and he had been mostly standing inside. I wasn’t sure what he would think of her ring as it is a big ring with no fence around it on a very open property but of course he showed off. Allie and I thought he was going to be the type that showed off and so far I think that is the case because he is always better when he goes places. It was the first time I had seen him really being ridden seriously but someone else and it was almost like I didn’t recognize him. Before and after footage is an amazing thing because he has transformed himself into a different animal. His first few rides were like riding a horse who had his head in my face, no concept of forward and almost like a board. No bending, hated contact, angry about leg and just sort of confused about the whole process. He left me wondering how the heck they race them.

I really didn’t have that many rides under him because he needed time off. He moved very body sore and mentally just wasn’t ready unlike some other horses who come in. He needed to just relax so he got lightly evaluated but mostly just turned out. It was only in the past 2-3 wks that I started to put him in a 3 day a week work program. He is a 3 yr but also one that looks like he has a lot of growing to do so a light program seemed to work best for him. I changed the bit to the duo, added a running martingale and showed him a bit about how to use his body by stretching and going forward. He seemed to really be getting it more and more each ride.

I am mad that I didn’t get any footage of his last two rides because if I showed it to you I swear you would think it was a different horse. He was beautiful. When Mogie was riding him she had a big smile. She gave me the highest compliment saying I had done a great job of starting him. He was soft in the bridle, lightly stretching to the hand, forward, moving off the leg and she said he had three really nice gaits but especially his canter. She loved how balanced and uphill it was. She said she could feel him really pushing with his inside hind leg in both directions using it underneath his body. He sure didn’t start out that way! He was also so focused and behaved. He really didn’t look at anything and was so agreeable about going to work. Quite the change in attitude from his arrival.

He is a great example of treating every horse like an individual. I get the itch to ride them all but he clearly told me what his program should be. When he arrived in August he needed more time physically and mentally and that time really made the different along with the chiropractor getting him all happy in his body again. I also had his teeth done before he went on trial and they really needed it! He had a cap so loose that the dentist reached right in and pulled it out. He got two more taken out and two other loose teeth. He had some very sharp edges as well.

I should have had that done sooner but it is hard to call the dentist in for just one or two horses and nobody else was due.

Bella left in the middle of the huge rain storm so not sure how it is going with her but I did get a report that she settled in like she had been there forever and was super nice to handle and work around.

Donate and Bid in the CANTER MA Auction!

For those who may not know each year CANTER Mid Atlantic does an online auction where people donate items and then we all fight to the death for them 🙂 Well it goes something like that.

Each year CANTER Mid Atlantic has an online auction. We are now getting ready to start this year’s online auction, and are accepting donations/listings through November 11, with bidding running from the 12th through 19th.  Perfect timing for the holidays!  As usual we are featuring everything from baked goods to lessons with top professionals, with new items coming in quickly.

We solict donations of all kind which are then bid upon to raise money for CANTER.  It could be tack, services, food or something you got from Christmas last year but didn’t really like 🙂 Examples/ideas from previous auctions- lessons, tack, food packages, resume services, horse training, x-c schooling certificates, paintings, apparel, halters from famous horses, grooming services, tack cleaning services, horse trailer organization, jewelry, capping at the hunt club, books, photography and the list goes on.  

You can stipulate how far you will travel and set a minimum bid on items. You can also set a shipping fee for any items to cover your costs.

If you would like to list items, head on over to http://cantermafallauction.proboards.com to add your items.  Registration with the BB is required to list and bid this year.  Instructions on how to list items here- http://cantermafallauction.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=178

All donated items and services are tax-deductible, and go directly to the care, housing, and training of the off-track Thoroughbreds in our rehoming program. 

 

If you would like me to list an item for you please email me directly and I would be more than happy to. Feel free to send this on to anybody you know that might be interested in donating something for our auction or bidding! This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year to support all the CANTER owned horses.