Monthly Archives: March 2010

Former CANTER horse updates and current horses

Over the weekend, I went to visit the two horses that had almost made the no return trip to Canada. First post here- They are hanging out on a gorgeous farm in Centreville, Md loving life.

They have had a complete change in personality which is just wonderful to see. When they arrived you could not catch the bay horse nor get a blanket on him. Now they both wouldn’t leave us alone in the field and were so happy to get attention. We are hoping to find new homes for them. The bay has some large ankles but is sound on them. He will need a trail home. The grey is a bit sore in the knee so we are going to take a look at that and figure out what is going on. I truly think horses appreciate being saved from bad situations and these guys prove my theory!

A former CANTER owned horse is currently up for sale due to job loss. Go take a look at him here-

I also got to go x-c schooling with my mom on her CANTER horses. Flint hill and General Forrest (above link) were the first two CANTER horses that I worked with and I will always be linked to them. They came in to my farm in bad shape due to a bad boarding situation. Flint had the worst of it and was very poor, hair falling out, no muscle and not attractive. He was weak all over but his mind was always so good and he tried so hard. Someone was going to buy him but passed on him due to weak stifles. I convinced my mom to come and see him because in my opinion he was going to be the ultimate ammy horse.

I am rarely wrong 🙂 He has turned out to be an incredible horse for my mom and watching him take her around makes me want to steal him back. She used to be afraid to jump but riding Flint gives her all the confidence in the world.

I got a lovely report from Top Punch’s new owner and he is coming along really nicely. He had an injury to his check ligament possibly from stepping in a hole and had time off during the winter. He has been on stall rest and she has been riding him while on stall rest. She tells me that despite being stuck in a stall he is almost always perfectly behaved to ride. We went on a trail ride the other day and I have to say I was a bit in awe over how quiet he was heading off the farm for a walk trail ride while he has been on stall rest for 4+ months! There is always something to be said for a TB with a great brain.

At the local show I ran into the new owners of Total Wildcat. He is the cute little guy who was bought as a western prospect. He has been doing great and I see his owners all the times at the local shows. She told me he had his first experience with cows this week and did great. She was riding him in with the cows and will be teaching him to cut and some other know what western stuff which I have no clue about 🙂

There is a ton of work that goes into finding homes for the CANTER horses but it is so worth it. There is nothing that makes me happier than getting reports of former horses doing well in their new homes.

Parker and Dee rocked this weekend!

Sitting down to write up a little weekend report while I still have the energy for it. Saturday there was a hunter show locally so I decided to take Dee over to experience the atmosphere and figured I would take Parker as well just because I thought it would be interesting to see how he handled the chaos.

People were very dressed up so I threw on my jacket but my tall boots are getting fixed so we weren’t really very formal!

Dee got off the trailer with eyes as wide as can be and was sure she was at the racetrack. Tacking her up was quite funny as she wanted to stand still but couldn’t quite manage it and did some bunny hops up and down. Kurt and I were thinking it could be interesting. I took her to the outdoor ring which the racetrack goes around and she still wasn’t convinced we were not actually going to race. I walked her a few laps around and she could feel that she finally had relaxed. I don’t get nervous at all (well so I say :)) so it was not a big deal and I know my horses so I know what I can and can’t get away with. Many people were lunging but I don’t think my horses need lunging.

I got on and she was perfectly fine! She actually went to work and was very relaxed about it all. Her lips were clapping together a bit but that is her nervous habit.

They were having a little schooling break in the indoor so we went in there and this is where she really impressed me! There were tons of horses and ponies going every which way and lots of jumps crammed in there. There is an observation room along one wall and lots of people on the other side. She wasn’t bothered by any of it nor was she bothered by horses being silly around her.

I decided to pop over a few jumps and although she has only jumped plain x-rails a few times she happily jumped around a little course of x-rails decorated with flowers. Nothing seems to bother her which is so nice. She then stood very nicely on the trailer while it was Parker’s turn.

I didn’t actually show her in any classes because I thought she had enough for the day. Part of training the young horses is knowing how much is enough and not pushing to far past that limit. She got to see a lot and she was very good so best to end while you are ahead.

Parker hadn’t been ridden in a week so he came out a little fresh but fresh for him is a big trot. He was a bit stiff going to the right and I need to do a better job yielding him over. I am still really riding him forward up to the connection and I know it isn’t smooth yet but we are getting there. When he gets truly over his back it feels incredible. He enjoyed himself which was fun to see.

Today, Parker went out x-c for the first time in over a year I believe. I think Allie had taken him when he first started under saddle but it had been a long time. The interesting thing about Parker is that he is always very quiet. Doesn’t care whether he is in the front or the back of the group or if he is alone while others go jump. That makes life much easier!

He started out jumping so green it was quite a challenge for me to get it together. He was almost stopping and then jumping straight up and down partially landing in the middle of stuff. I was using my stick but he was going huh?? Just not getting it but trying hard to understand. We eventually got it worked out and he was super good. He didn’t really stop at anything but keeping his feet moving was a challenge. He loved the water and dropping down and going up the banks was really nice on him. He took his time and just popped up and down instead of launching like some of them do.

I prefer to introduce it all slowly and we didn’t jump anything to big because he was a bit cautious which is normal for a first outing. I bet next time he will come out much better. We just need to practice jumping a lot more which the weather has now allowed!


Um, look at the cute horse not a rider who got caught suprised by a huge launch!

He’s mad now

Parker has been giving me evil looks each time he is fed with his soup breakfast and dinner. He stands there looking around hollering like I didn’t feed him. Then when he does attempt to eat he paws the ground and bangs around on the walls letting out his frustration at the water in his food. It is really quite funny to watch him.

He is a very food motivated horse which is working to my advantage right now. Kurt wasn’t feeling well last night so I had to give him all his meds by myself. I just stuck him on the crossties hoping he would stand fairly still but he is great for needles. He gets 30cc of one antibodics in the vein and then another 20cc with another antibodic in the muscle. Then a half of tub of paste probiotics. After each shot I give him a treat and that seems to do the trick. I think I could easily teach him to roll over and beg for a treat! He doesn’t seem to be to mad at me for the shots..just the watered down food 🙂

I am getting ready to put some ad’s up for Dee on the internet today as she is ready to move on to a new home. There is a little local show this weekend so maybe she can go for a trip over there. I will have to look and see how that all works out.

I put another clip of my lesson on youtube if anyone is interested. We were working on footwork using this really hard pole exercise. Charlie was really really good at it! My mom’s boy was really struggling to keep the canter through it. Looks easy but trying to ride it was way hard. My jumping is so rusty having all winter off. I am going nuts not having my ring but they are coming today and the weather looks like it is going to stay good so let’s hope it is finished within the next week or two.

Charlie has a very interesting story. He is not a full Tb or maybe he is but the breeder told me is is an oldenburg cross. His father is Sam Huff, a son of unbridled. I bought him as a 3yr to resell but got busy and decided to send him off to a sales barn. That didn’t go so well and he came back pretty messed up. It took a year to get him back to the horse he used to be and I have been having so much fun with him I have just kept going. He has mentally grown up so much over the past year that riding him has finally become enjoyable not a battle of the wills 🙂 He used to be terrified of contact to the point he either put his head on his chest, would go sky high with his head or rear up. When you asked him to jump he jumped with his head in the air almost in your lap and it was just not a pleasant experience. Just goes to show how quick a nice horse can be screwed up.

I blamed myself and vowed to restore his confidence and I think that has been accomplished. It has been a long journey but it is pretty cool seeing the difference in a horse when you know where you started. He used to tremble at the sight of a x-rail and we just came down and jumped the line of x-rail to oxer with him not even thinking. He jumped around BN last year cleanly which was a major accomplishment. He now loves trail riding and is happy in the contact. I always tend to learn the most from bringing along horses that have issues and my instructors have also enjoyed watching him progress. We all knew he was a good horse but just needed time to forget. He has the best personality and I just adore him. I really do need to sell one or both of my horses to pay for all these farm improvements but the hardest thing to do is sell them when you finally have them past the green stage. It is so nice to get on something that isn’t green or at least as green.

I love my lessons with Mogie and can’t wait until Parker is going again so she can see how far he has come along.

Well that sucked

After a great Friday filled with fantastic rides on both horses I was truly looking forward to the rest of the weekend. My saturday started off pretty good teaching a lesson for the first time since November! My boarder traded horses with another one of my friend’s and it has worked out super well. She had a lovely older qh cross who wasn’t a fan of the dressage and my friend had a lovely quiet tb who wasn’t a fan of jumping. They traded horses and I think both got what they were looking for which is pretty darn cool. All of us are pretty excited to actually have 2 wks where we have been able to ride consistently. The horses are all a bit out of shape and the riders too 🙂 I love teaching and it is so much fun to watch the progress of horse and rider.

It was my turn to head off to a lesson with my horse. My instructor was down for the weekend from Aiken which is exciting. She is excellent and always gets me on track. My horses are the least fit of the bunch since I always tend to focus on the sales horses/paid to ride horses. I do get on mine a few days a week and that should improve now that we have more daylight. We had a fantastic lesson really working on getting him straight and coming forward across his back. He is not fit enough to come much more uphill at the moment and he is the type that needs the stretchy work. He has come so far in his training and is just a true pleasure to ride. Hard to believe he is a 6 yr this year. He is a sales horse…or so I say but I just love riding him. Here is a bit of my lesson if anyone wants to see.

A great lesson was overshadowed by our truck failing once again. On the way to the lesson, the transmission was shifting in and out. We got there and the fluid was empty. Luckily, Mogie’s husband brought us some transmission fluid and we eased home. Looks like the line is broken so Kurt will have to fix that. That meant no x-c schooling on Sunday. I was bummed but no big deal.

We got Charlie settled in and fed some dinner. We were cleaning paddocks when I heard that noise that almost always means choke. Hoping I was just imagining it I cleaned for another minute or so but then heard it again. Went off to investigate and saw Parker standing in the corner of his stall with snot coming out his nose. Gave him Ace and banamine right away but could tell it wasn’t going to resolve itself so we called the vet. It took the vet quite some time to get it dislodged (choked on wet senior feed) and it looks like he will now be off for 2wks while he gets soaked hay, soup for dinner and lots of antibiotics.

Parker is the sweetest horse and I feel so bad for him. He is so good for all his needles and this probodics paste he gets at night. I think he will be just fine but from now on it will be soup for breakfast and dinner. He is an easy keeper only eating about 4lbs of day (combo of ration balancer and TC senior) but he does need some calories besides hay when in work.

I did go to a jumping lesson with my horse on Sunday since my mom offered me a ride. I had a fantastic lesson but was a bit down in the dumps over Parker so didn’t do much else on Sunday. Just cleaned some tack and relaxed a bit which is nice. The horses are all happy to be out on grass although today I pulled them back into the paddocks since we are supposed to get rain. I am trying to protect the grass if I can. Parker is getting turned out on the big grass field so he is a happy camper 🙂

I love mares!

I get a bit frustrated that it is so darn hard to resale mares especially smaller mares. Everytime I get on Dee I think how smart, willing and quiet she is. Yesterday, we hauled her off the farm over to my mom’s house.

She always starts off a tiny bit nervous but her form of nervous is a quick walk. She did that for about 2 min before she took a big breath and relaxed. All winter we have just been trail riding her to build condition and muscle. She is still way thinner than I would like but it takes time. She has built a lot of muscle and can now carry herself. Her hind end is still weak but again it just takes time..good old time does wonders for hind ends along with trail rides, small jumps, hills and raised caveletti’s. Of course nothing beats some good stretchy flatwork.

Dee has only been in the ring twice before so this was her 3rd official ring ring ride and look at her go! She was figuring out how to stretch into the bridle and move forward. It is a bit over tempo right now but I am allowing her to go a bit more forward so she can push into the contact. She isn’t strong enough to collect yet. After I rode her then Tara got on and she was just as good for Tara and we were suprised how she just went into the contact for Tara who is not that experienced with that. She loves to jump and although the steering is lacking she is more than willing to do anything you ask of her.

Loving life!


I have been away since Sunday for work and made a long trip to Morgantown, WV. It was a long but pretty drive. Thankfully, my training finished up early and I hurried home today to get some rides in.

I took my horse out with my mom who brings her CANTER horses over to trail ride. Then my friend rode Dee and I rode Parker. I am trying to teach Parker that trails are fun but we also have to work a tiny little bit over the back. He HATES that and swears trail riding means loose rein and no real dressage work. Both Parker and Dee are just totally easy on the trails. Brave, not spooky, could care less about front or back, loose rein, happy to go whatever speed you ask and just plain fun to ride.

This weekend looks like it will be busy. I am taking Parker to the schooling at St. Augustine Pony club and may do a lesson with him as well. I am going to try to take Dee to my mom’s farm to take some pics and video for her sales ad. It is time to get her advertised and into a new home. She is very simply and should be easy for someone else to take and get going.

I hope to get on the new horse as well. I will also have another horse coming in training early April. I donated a month of training to the CANTER auction and have been so excited to meet a new horse and owner. It only gets busier from here on out but I love it.

Hope to have lots more pics and videos of Parker and Dee soon. It is just to muddy here and my ring isn’t finished yet…~

He’s a changed man

I don’t know what the difference has been- saddle, bit, riding, chiro, feed or a program but Parker has become a different horse. It is so hard to describe how different he is to ride. He was like riding something that always was looking for a fight but waiting for you to pick it with him. He was on edge and unable to just enjoy the ride. Now he is a total pleasure horse both in the ring and out on the trails.

My mom wanted to come trail riding tonight and warned me her horse was going to be up so I picked Boppus (my horse) and Parker for my friend to ride. My friend hadn’t been on Parker before but Parker has been so perfect that I knew it would be fine. Sure enough my mom’s guy was feeling good and letting out some bucks (kicks maybe) and little spooks. Parker was happy to just trot and canter along in the back on a loose rein. He is totally unphased by other horses being silly around him.

At one point, my mom decided she needed to go for a good gallop so we just hung back and walked along happy to be riding such lovely horses. It is always a bit frustrating to me when people talk about “crazy” tb’s because I sure own a bunch that would defy that sterotype. Parker and Boppus were both decent racehorses with a lot of starts on the track and both are just relaxed and happy on the trails. I wish I could say mine had as soft as mouth as Parker but he just didn’t come that way.

My friend is out of shape and did some bouncing around on Parker but he just plugged along. My instructions were to just let him do his thing which seems to work best for Parker. We all had a wonderful ride and it was so nice to enjoy the beautiful weather. Parker needs a lot of these long trot/canter trail rides to get some better muscling and fitness. There is nothing better than good trot sets to build fitness.

He is also self loading on and off the trailer and has become much better mannered. He loves people and I love him. What a cool horse and I am really happy he is in my barn.

Well that was easy

I came home to a ring that had finally started construction. They were taking off the top layer. They take the dirt out via dump truck as they scrape it off which is good or else we would have huge dirt piles all over the property. We do have one really big dirt pile but that is going to be used to do some work around the pond to build up the sides.

I had someone who wanted to stop by and meet me and the CANTER horses so I showed her around a bit. She lives right around the corner from me and is a nice person looking for a good all around horse to trail ride, jump and maybe do local shows. She liked the looks of Parker and I told her about Archie and she thought she might like to see him as well.

I went and put up two jumps in the small arena. It is very small but what I have right now while the big ring is getting worked on. I wanted to see what Dee thought of jumping. I made a little x-rail and put some barrels out for later jumping dates.

Dee could have cared less about the trucks coming in and out although her buddy screaming was quite distracting. The good thing is Dee does not holler to her buddy but the buddy does keep Dee from being as focused as she could be. I didn’t do much flatwork as I wanted to ride some other horses so I just trotted around a bit and then had Kurt make a pile of poles. That was pretty uneventful.
One side up
She just sprawled over the x-rail a bit but was very willing
Off the other direction

She was not even remotely phased by the jumps and I bet she would have jumped the barrels without a second glance. I didn’t have a lot of steering though so keep it simple for now. I have just been trail riding her to build muscle so she has no real ringwork installed. I need to get to work on that ASAP! I love her attitude and how quietly she cantered away after each jump.

A ring!!!

Not a diamond ring but something way more valuable to me 🙂 They are starting my riding ring today and I can not even contain my excitement. I want to drive home on my lunch break just to watch them work.

Having a 100×200 foot riding ring with footing where I can set up a full course of jumps is going to make all the difference in the world in terms of getting horses worked on a schedule. We are also putting up lights but I need to do a bit more research on that. I think one on each end and one on each side maybe? We ran the electric out to the ring when we did the paddocks so now we need to get the poles put up but the contractor will get that all done.

These farm projects are expensive to finance but I think they will all pay off in the long run for us in terms of training and sales. Not to mention my boarder, lesson students and friends who ride at the barn who are all excited and hopefully will take a lot more lessons to keep me from going broke 🙂

I was looking at the calendar and next weekend is the first x-c schooling. Am I crazy to think that Parker and Charlie might be ready to go out and about? I think cross country is just what Parker needs to get his lazy butt in gear. I intend to get on Dee today and see what she thinks of jumping. Hopefully, Kurt will be around to get a few pics of her. She is starting to look really good and getting sassy 🙂

Spring is coming?

The weather this weekend has put me in a great mood! Not to mention the horses are on their best behavior.

It has been super busy this week. Sea Flip left for his new home and the same day I brought another horse home that was going to be vetted for a client. Now that he has passed the vetting I am happy to show him off. His name is Meadow Mobster, a 4 yr tb gelding, who will be here for retraining and then eventually be resold.

I was relieved when he passed the extensive vetting because I had already fallen in love with him. I had met him at the track earlier in the year but he was to keep racing a bit. His trainer is one of the truly great trainers who always puts her horses first. All her horses get the best treatment and lots of time on the farm. This guy is totally sweet and laidback about everything. He has been so easy and I am looking forward to getting him going.

Parker and I have been having amazing trail rides and had a great lesson but I am going to talk about Indy’s Chic first. As someone who sells a lot of horses it is always a bit frustrating to me when people overlook truly good horses because they aren’t tall enough or maybe they are mares. I already know it will be a challenge to get Dee sold which is a shame because she is going to be awesome. Kurt and I headed out for a trail ride. Now, I am riding her once or twice a week right now simply because things have been busy but my schedule will free up here soon. The last ride was a trail ride as she was slightly nervous on the trailer and tacking up but was good. This time she marched herself right on the trailer. Unloaded with just a gentle pull on the tail. Stood perfectly quiet to be tacked up. She lead the whole trail both trotting and cantering on a loopy rein. She isn’t bothered by a thing. You just smooch to her if you want her to go a little faster and just a gentle whoa and she slows right now. She has an incredible attitude about everything and is so very smart. We got back and wouldn’t you know the mare who had stood and shook at the sight of the trailer self loaded right on! She figures things out incredible quickly and just tries her heart out for you. I want to get her going a bit more before doing a full scale advertisement but if someone is looking for a really nice partner she is by far the sweetest and most willing mount you could ask for.

Parker is always progressing although he is not quite as easy as Dee. He is getting much better but he still has a lot of I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT attitude. I packed him up for a lesson with Jen (local h/j trainer). She had met Parker the day after he had bucked me off . She had gotten on him because she thought he was so cool watching him go around on the lunge line. She really liked him but expressed that I had a lot of work ahead of me 🙂

I have been working but the weather had gotten in the way and Parker needed a bit of an unconventional approach. I believe the major issue is that he is defensive in his mouth and he is slow with not a lot of self initive to stay in front of the leg. I have just been trotting and cantering on the trails on a loose rein to get the forward part installed first. We have made a ton of progress in that area!
The nicest thing about Parker is that he is an old soul. He is never bothered by new places and is not a spooky horse. I believe that he trust me now as he never seems to be nervous about things and doesn’t have that worried feel anymore which is most excellent. We began with a bit of flatwork and he was his normal fussy self starting out. It is difficult to push him forward w/o running him off his feet and getting him to take a feel is a challenge. He gets behind the leg and inverts or if you half halt he again drops behind the leg and inverts. He uses any excuse to slow down and take a break 🙂 We worked on forward and back to get him a bit more adjustable and got glimpses of good work. Of course I can always be steadier with my hands and elbows so I am part of the equation that needs work. It is much easier to be steadier on a horse that is not going up, down and all over with his head just because he feels like it 🙂
Then we worked on the canter which is improving drastically. He is struggling to get into the canter because he is so so so lazy and wants to run into it and then gets totally offended when you sit and kick him. I am working really hard to keep him in the canter and keep the canter uphill and balanced. It is a lot of hold, push, half halt, hold and push. Jen was very suprised at how good it is looking and how is overall attitude has improved.

I think that Parker really hasn’t found his balance yet and he seems to lack steering on his own as well. I am the type of rider that gives direction but I don’t want to hold the horses up or steer them every second. They need to develop a sense of independence and he seems to lack that. He almost ran into a standard a few times cantering as he just falls all over the place if you let him. That will come along with more work and fitness.

Parker is not a TB who maintains fitness either! He hangs in front of the hay feeder all day eating and doesn’t walk around much. He was pooped by the end of the flatwork and I am very aware of his attitude and not pushing beyond the point of where he can physically and mentally handle. We did a bit of jumping which was again hilarious! I have only jumped outside of the ring over small logs so I knew nothing about what he would do. Jen thought he would see the jump and run a bit and then rush on the landing. I bet her that he would see the jump, slow down and then go dead on the landing. Watch the video and see who won that bet 🙂

He seems to jump the front part of the jump and they just die in the air and on the landing. She had me using my stick on take off to get some more energy out of him. We did a little grid and the wheels fell off there. I had him pefectly straight each time going to the first jump but upon landing we had severe left driftage to the point me knee was almost taking out the standard. I could feel he was getting tired so we got it right and then quit while we were ahead. He needs a lot of work on straightness and thinking for himself. He also needs to learn to finish the jump not just jump straight up and then die in the air and on the landing.
He seemed to enjoy himself and I love the feel of him over a jump. He just needs more fitness to really show his true talent. He stood nicely on the trailer while I rode my other horse and then went home and took a nap 🙂