Monthly Archives: August 2010

Shuffling horses

Houndy is just not quite ready to start in work yet. Some horses just need more time to get over the rigors of racing before getting started. Not fair to ride them when you can just look at them as see their bodies still hurt. I’m going to take him over to the Centreville farm and bring back another horse who is ready to get going.

I had a fascinating day with Gina Perilla from County saddles. I think we now own four county saddles and they just fit my body and work well for the typical Tb body shape. I try to have Gina come down every six months just to take a peek and fit the horses that I am riding the most. Make sure I’m not overlooking any glaring issues. I recently saw a county conquest on ebay in a 19″ wide with a long flap and bought it for Kurt/Junior. Junior went from a medium to a medium wide and now a wide. As the only non-Tb in the barn he had to have his own saddle. Kurt is excited to not have to share my saddles and I guess we will now borrow his saddle when we ride Junior even if it is going to be way to big in the seat for us. Gina suggested just using a seat cover to take up some of the extra space.

It is possible that I may have lights in the ring by the end of the week which will be wonderful! We continue with all of our farm projects. Recently, we upgraded our fencing in our small paddocks to the diamond mesh no climb with a flex board on top. Excellent fencing for the Tb’s coming right from the track and the layups.

Can’t wait to see what the new guys is all about. Keep checking in to see who I bring back 🙂

That 3 horse trailer does fit 4 horses

Super busy day yesterday which is the norm around here. We headed up to the track with the trailer as we had planned on picking up one horse at the track that had been donated. We didn’t have enough time to make a full track visit but we did get half of the barns. We were so happy to hear trainers giving CANTER the highest praise. One trainer said they are so happy to have CANTER there and that we provide a great service. The other trainer had been to my barn to drop off a donated horse and he was very complimentary of our process. Another trainer simply said thank you for being here at Delaware Park. We have such a great group of volunteers at Delaware Park that are dedicated to helping and it always feels good to be appreciated. The difference in our second year at Delaware Park has been interesting. We have earned the trust of the trainers and shown them that the process does work. Not only have we listed almost double the number of horses but we have gotten absolutely lovely horses on donation. The trainers are willing to donate them to ensure their good homes are guaranteed.

While doing the rounds we got a call from a trainer who wanted to donate two lovely fillies. I had planned on picking up another horse on the way back so that would put me one over in the trailer. MMMMMM…my box is quite large so I thought I could make it work so we did 🙂

We loaded up the three from the track and then headed to a farm to pick up the other. It was an interesting process and we didn’t do it the best way but live and learn. We should have loaded the back first and then the box but didn’t so the last horse got on the back and I had to slide out past him to get out of the trailer. Stupid but still alive if that counts.

Quickly called the farm to tell them I’m bringing 4 horses instead of 2. They are awesome and have so much acreage it doesn’t matter how many we bring. Whew, onto the farm.

The farm has several huge pastures that look like this.

The dark bay is Wise Gold

Malabar Daisy

Their pictures at the track- wise gold

Malabar Daisy

This is Allaboutmack and his picture at the track

He was so happy to get turned out!

Cool Casey

Everyone settled in really well and I headed back home to get some riding done. Kiss a Monster is doing really well. He got his teeth done and already felt better. I introduced him to trotting some cavalettis which you will see on the video. He tried really hard and was a good boy!

Spa day

Yesterday, I took the day off work as always to take care of horse/cat appointments. The barn kitties went off to the local SPCA and the horse dentist was coming in the afternoon.

After I dropped the BOY cats off I headed into the barn to start riding before the dentist showed up. I wanted to see how Houndy was looking so I took him out to free lunge him around. Houndy has what I call the funk. You don’t even know where the soreness is coming from because he is just plain funky. The good news is that he has really improved and is almost sound. I think everything is just hurting him and his feet got pretty bruised up which contributes to the whole body ouch he is feeling. I pulled his mane, clipped him up and gave him a quick bath. He loves the attention and is just such a friendly horse. I was trying to take video of him trotting around and he kept coming right back to me. Crazy person waving a lunge whip at him didn’t seem to matter to much. He wanted to say hi instead of being chased around.

I finished up with him and my mom showed up with her two horses so we could ride together. I tacked up Kiss a Monster. He has improved each ride and his steering is somewhat normal. His attitude has also improved greatly so he is no longer balking or trying to wave his legs around in the air when I ask him to PLEASE not go the direction opposite of where I am telling you to go. He is really nice off the leg, soft in the hand and fun to ride. In the middle of the ride the dentist shows up so I take him in and crosstie him with his halter on pointing out horses to the dentist.

My mom wanted to take him for a spin so she took him back out and rode him around a bit. He was a good boy after she figured out how to steer him. You have to think early with him. If he gets it in his head he can go to the gate have fun getting him away from it. She started turning him earlier and he stopped thinking he could make it to the gate.

Houndy, Ring Dancer, Monster and one of my horses were all schedule for the dentist. Houndy was declared good in the teeth department which is most excellent. Monster had one remaining cap that was just lightly flicked out and Ring Dancer had a few caps that came out.

I hope to get some updated video of Monster this weekend for everyone. He is such a cutie! Tomorrow I’m headed to the track to make the rounds and also pick up a few horses. We have one donated from the track and another that has went to the farm already and is now being donated. We have been very busy with donations from Delaware Park this year! Lovely quality horses who are going to be filtering into our program over time.

Kurt went to pick up the cats at the SPCA and apparently the BOY cat was really a girl 🙂 I hadn’t checked but Kurt had promised me he checked and it was a boy so I just made the appt. and didn’t think anymore about it. Glad he was the one who picked them up. He was very red in the face when he told us and we all got a good laugh.

I will be posting pictures of the new donations over the weekend so keeping checking in!

Getting on the same page

I’ve been keeping Monsters aka Spike’s workload fairly light. He was a bit sassy about having to have a job again which isn’t that surprising especially for a 3yr. For the 3yrs, I like to do 20 min max. Short and sweet before they get cranky 🙂

I would describe him as very quiet but defiant at the same time. We have arguments about steering and the go buttons. He says hey we are going over there and I’m saying look that is not acceptable. Then he does a prop and a tiny rear. I go tap, tap and more taps on his button letting him know what is not acceptable and we repeat until I’m satisfied the lesson has been learned.

Tonight I thought it could be interesting because he had a few days off and the temperature had dropped drastically. Not to mention it was 8pm when I was getting on and I had moved all the jumps and changed the ring around. He was perfect! He is not spooky which is always nice but tonight he had a very good attitude about everything and his steering was much improved. Perhaps he just needed a few days to let the lessons sink in.

We all noticed that he is starting to get fat! He looks fantastic and is only going to look better with more time and muscle. I think he is going to be quite fancy. He shows a lot of potential and I enjoy working with him. We will hit the trails if the weather stays this nice. No fun trying to fight the big bomber bugs we have here when it is hot and humid.

5 leave and three arrive

Wow, what a busy weekend as always. I had taken off work on Friday to attend an evening horse trial over at Oldehope Farm. I have been competing there ever since I was young and it just has such a nice family feel. A great place for young horses and Jane is so accommodating.

I was riding Meadow Mobster at BN and the difference between the first event and this event was night and day. This horse is so quiet and relaxed but at the first event he couldn’t concentrate on the jumps as he was to busy looking around. This time he had a lovely dressage test and came out of the trailer the second time understanding he still had to jump. He was so keen in stadium hunting down his fences and just plain happy. He came out of the start box x-c once again hunting for the jumps and was just so nice to ride. He wasn’t worried about leaving the crowd at all this time! He even went right in the water which was a huge deal. There is nothing better than sitting on a horse who truly loves cross country. This guy is really something special!

Saturday turned out to be way busier than expected. I headed up to Delaware Park to make the rounds for trainer listings. I met up with three other volunteers so we could divide and conquer. I was supposed to leave early and go meet the shipper who was coming to the Centreville farm to pick up horses. She ended up getting to the farm earlier than expected so I didn’t have to hurry.

I saw a lovely 2yr that the trainer/owner wanted to donate. I agreed to take him and then quickly thought oh lord perhaps I should run that by our director first 🙂 Allie and I are normally on the same wave length about these things so she did agree..whew thank god!

The first load of horses were picked up- Escabar, Rock and King Remda. Sonrea and Lady Wheaton were also getting picked up by a second shipper. They were all headed down to North Carolina where the market is booming for lovely Tb’s at reasonable prices.

I left the track and headed out to Warwick, Md to make a farm visit. Took some pictures of horses there and talked with them about a horse they want to donate. He was a lovely horse so hopefully he will end up with CANTER.

I was planning on heading to C-ville but then decided we better go to the track and pick up the horses. I headed back home and met Kurt so we could travel up together. We picked up the 2yr and also a lovely 4 yr filly that had been donated. We then drove them out to the C-ville farm as I have zero room on my farm. We turned them out and checked all the horses at the farm. The farm owner’s both left for vacation and like typical horse people they are worried about new horses and making sure everyone is okay when they are gone. We unloaded the new horses and stuck around for a while making sure everyone was okay and visiting with all the horses.

This is the 2yr that had arrived earlier in the week:

The 2yr that I had picked up

This is the 4yr filly. She is just so cute and a lovely mover!

Indy’s Chic already has her buddy so they went off the other way not even looking at the new mare. Mares..just like girls 🙂

The geldings are a bit more laid back about new arrivals. Diamond H is the chestnut, shine my shoes is the lighter bay and track’s protegĂ© hiding behind them.

Everyone was happy when we left. We headed back to the farm on Sunday morning to check everyone and of course they had taken down the fence that was separating the mares gate from the geldings field. They were all standing by the mares gate proud of themselves.

I called them and look who came up 🙂 New 2yr is friendly!

We repaired the fence and told the mares to stop tormenting the boys and go eat in the lovely fields of grass. Nope, they would rather plaster their butts up on the gate.

Headed back home to get some riding done. Kiss a Monster was finally sound so we first dragged him out for the before shots. Gotta love these before photos.

Our contractor was there working on a Sunday to bury the pipes for our electric to the ring. Our lights should be going up soon. He was riding around on the very loud ditch digging machine and Monster was totally like whatever I’m a 3yr but scary loud vibrating machines don’t faze me. He was super duper quiet but he doesn’t steer. Really doesn’t steer at all which was quite hilarious as I had to keep stopping him, turning around and then kicking him like a pony club kid. He was not really impressed by my kicking or giving him taps with the whip. Geez lady really what is your deal??? We had a short w/t/c session and called it a good first ride. Isn’t he adorable!

I rode a few more horses and called it a day. Whew, what a busy weekend. It has been very busy with a lot of horses coming in on donation. Almost all are sound or have very minor issues that just need rest. The 2y’rs will get turned out until they turn three and are ready to be ridden. The rest will get a few months of rest before starting into the retraining program.

Reading a picture

Looking at that pictures, I see a horse who at the moment looks pretty rough. Bleached coat, thin and a bit sore all over. If I look past the initial things that catch my eye then I see a different picture. I see a horse with a very keen expression and smart eye. Good shoulder, nice length of neck and an overall conformation that matches. I can picture him with weight and muscle and then I start to get pretty excited. He has a big personality and just seems smart. Right now he is still sore on his feet. He has shoes on but that transition from track shoes, no shoes and then back to steel shoes can be a hard one. I’m sure he will be fine in a few days and then I will get on him and see what I have got.

I’m going to get Monster out tonight and see if he is sound now that the abscess has drained. He is walking very comfortably so fingers crossed.

Both of them have really settled in and no longer thing they will die if they leave each other. They have gotten used to eating beet pulp and their appetites have increased greatly! I love watching the horses learn the routine and finally having them perk up when I come in at night to feed. Nothing better than a barn full of talking horses..well except for my horse Junior who has a scream instead of a whinny and makes me want to take out his vocal cords 🙂

Poor Monster

We all stood and looked at his leg last night almost amazed that an abscess can make a leg swell up so big. It has to be about triple the normal size and he is so very sore. The abscess is draining both out of the heel and the very front of the coronary band. The farrier was there and we poked and prodded a bit but of course there is nothing better than time, animalintex and forced turnout. I am a believer that you have to make them walk if they can so he is going out a bit at night just to walk around. I take pity on him during the day so he can come in and lay down if he wants. He was walking better yesterday than on Sunday so hopefully he will continue to improve.

It’s easy to forget he is only a 3yr. He is such a sweetie to work around and seems like he has a really good mind. I am looking forward to him getting sound so I can ride him.

Houndy got shoes on and will be ready to go. I’m hoping to get on him tonight. He has a huge personality and is quite the goofball. He also likes to put his feet in the water trough and dig holes 🙂 I promise to get some pictures..but I haven’t even pulled his mane yet. So many things to do and so little time.

Abscess can be good

When I picked up Houndy and Kiss a Monster from the farm they were pretty footsore but Monster looked a bit lame. He has been in that sort of lame category since he arrived but without shoes it is hard to tell what is what. The farrier couldn’t make it until today so I had put some hoof boots on them in the meantime to get them comfy.

Tara called yesterday and said Monster is unable to walk and his right leg is swollen but no signs of injury or anything so she thought it could be an abscess. She knew I was going to be home soon so she just put him in with some hay and water. We got home and he was laying down and not willing to get up. I finished unpacking the trailer and getting other horses arranged and then went in with him. I sat with him for a minute and then he decided he could get up. I was sure it was abscess as the leg had that nice stovepipe look. Kurt came in and we pulled that hoof boot off and almost died right there in the stall. Holy stinking rotting pus filled abscess smell. Man, that will bring your dinner right back up. We push him down the aisle into the wash stall..yes literally pushing him along he was that bad off. I start hosing to put some pressure on the back of the heel and the fluid is coming out. Yuck totally on my hands and unable to get that smell off. We push as much out as we can and then wrap in animalintex and get him settled back in for the night. Poor guy is absolutely miserable!

Abscesses fascinate me not with the smell but how they tend to brew around in the foot and then pick a place to blow out. I’m always glad when I find an abscess and then the horse is sound again. I’m sure he will be feeling relief soon and maybe we can get some shoes on him today if he is feeling better. The animalintex pads do wonders for helping the drainage and reducing inflammation.

He wanted to bury his head in my arms last night he was so hurty. He is a sweetie to work around.

Wouldn’t take him if he was free

All is quiet in the world of CANTER horses so I’m going to talk a bit about the thought process that goes into how I chose horses. My client had asked me to keep an eye out for a horse for her. I was to retrain it and later on we would sell it. I tend to look for the type of horse that anybody can ride. Yes, they need to be talented but they have to be sound, pretty, have a good mind and be amateur friendly.

We had started the CANTER program at Delaware Park and were making the rounds. One of my favorite trainers tells me she has a really quiet 3 yr who is super smart and friendly. He was all tacked up to go out to the racetrack but when brought out for pictures he was falling asleep!

He started to run better and was off the market. Later in the winter she called and said he was available again and that is when my client had asked me to find her something. I went over to look at him and he was very racing fit but quiet, sound and seemed like the right type.

He passed an extensive vetting and settled in nicely. His first ride was an off the farm trip to my mom’s farm (our footing was to slick for 1st rides!). He so relaxed it was kind of freaking me out. Both my mom and I rode him and he was in the ring with other horses just going around doing his job. Cool!

He had continued to be this quiet each and every place he went. We had started trail riding, going for lessons and introducing some poles and the concept of contact. About two months into his retraining someone wanted to come see him on recommendation of my vet who said he was quite lovely. This person was not at all impressed and said they wouldn’t take him even if he was free. His conformation wasn’t perfect, didn’t canter well enough and just not a good enough mover. Not to mention he really hadn’t jumped at that point so when I tried to trot poles and x-rails he was like WHAT the heck. I laughed it off because I’m a believer that you have to have the vision when it comes to green horses. What you see at the moment is not what you are going to have a few months from that point.
It was pretty funny because he only had one speed at the canter which was more or less a gallop. If you touched the reins he stopped so it was quite the experience. His jumping form was pretty darn ugly. Can you say holy hanging knees?

The good thing was that he learned super super fast and he was dead honest and brave. He might not have been jumping pretty but he sure as heck was trying anything you asked of him. His flatwork improved every single ride and his balance started to change. When they aren’t real good over the poles in the ring I find it very important to find some solid obstacles so we just start going x-c.

He learned to push off a bit better and slowly but surely the big picture was starting to come together. I was taking him various places to school new jumps and he was always excited with his ears up and looking for the next fence.

He went to his first event and was so quiet in the crazy warmup that again I was a bit amazed. He put in a good test for his first time ever inside a dressage ring. He even got the right lead.. a bit late but hey we got it 🙂 Now going to x-c he had to go through the water which he is simply not a fan of and he didn’t wanna. I waited for someone to come by and he got right on their butt and went which was good. He was a bit overwhelmed which in some ways was unexpected because he had always been foot perfect but the atmosphere at fairhill is so busy. He had one refusal in stadium because he was convinced he was going to die if he went all alone down the scary hill. Overall, I was thrilled with stadium. He loved x-c so I figured this will be fun but a tad bit nervous because the intro course looked like BN and was highly decorated with straw spread in front of 1/2 of the fences. Wasn’t I a bit suprised when he pulled the I don’t wanna move for the first 2 fences 🙂 We had a lot of protest and I had to give him a bit of a spanking but then we got going and he was jumping the heck out of everything and galloping off looking for that next fence. Wouldn’t you know he jumped all the bigger scarier stuff the best.

He got a bit of time to relax after the show and then for the next 2 x-c schooling I practiced going away from the crowd and he quickly realized it was no big deal.

This weekend we headed down to Va to meet up with his owner who was getting to see him go for the first time. He trailered down quietly and walked into his stall like he owned it. A few hours later we threw him back on the trailer to go school some x-c. The best thing about his horse is that he is just so darn sensible. He is 4yrs old and acts like he has already seen it all. He is never nervous or silly and doesn’t seem to be bothered by anything. Another rider was galloping around just flying past Mobster and he was totally chill like he didn’t even know it was happening.

We hadn’t cantered many fences yet but it was as good as time as any so off we went.

Then she told me to go canter up the hill and jump the one with the big bed under it. I was so thrilled with how brave he was there never even peeking as he jumped the log with the big wide flower bed under it.

He gave it more room on they way back down

We cantered straight down the hill and I was going OMG as he flew down quite out of balance. A couple alternating rein lifts got the balance up a bit and he had a good jump.

We then were supposed to canter a coop to a red box on a related distance which was a big question for him. The first time we were long to the first and really long to the second. Looked a bit like this 🙂

She wanted me to come down and not help him just let him pat the ground with his feet and put in a shuffle step if needed. Hardest thing to do is not help them but of course it’s absolutely the right thing to do and resulted in a much shorter distance.

He is not fond of putting his feet into things that may be questionable so the water causes him a bit of anxiety. He didn’t want to go and he does a little spin move left which is really not a big deal. I only give him the right turn as an answer. She really wanted me to loop the reins and just let him go down on the buckle so he didn’t feel any reason to think I was holding him back making is scarier. Look at his face jumping this log going into the water. Hilarious!

We ended with that and made a plan to go school another water the next day. Poor guy as super tired but once again came out like a superstar! We worked in the ring first using the fence and a bit of counterbend into the fence to produce a right lead canter. Then just canter off the fence on the diagonal to the x-rail and keep turning to stay on the right lead.

She wanted this done on a long rein to make his neck longer and for him to get used to balancing himself. I have to make the canter bigger and more forward thinking before collecting it. He was so good about cantering on the diagonal basically with a huge loop in the rein. We met the fence on all sorts of distances and he just worked it out so nicely.

The story of the flatwork was more right bend..and even more right bend.

We walked down to the water jump and for the first time we had no spinning away. He stood quietly and took a look and then walked right in! What a good smart boy.

It is always nice when a horse shows off for his owner 🙂 I have been in serious love with him from the day I bought him simply because he tries so hard. This weekend he was loaded and unloaded and 3 different farms and was so relaxed and happy about the whole process. He gets better with each ride and he just tries so hard to do what you are asking of him. Not to mention he has to be the sweetest horse. He would curl up in your lap if he could!

I am always nervous when I pick out horses for other people especially when they have never even seen the horse and just buy it on my word. It is exciting to see him living up to his potential. He is the ultimate ammy horse but I will continue to take my time and introduce everything the right way. It’s easy to just start jumping bigger and bigger because they are that honest and brave but I want him to be happy and comfortable in his work. It is my job to build his confidence with each experience and so far that has been the case.

I was in a constant state of awe this weekend at the amazing countryside. Her farm in Delplane but all around. Absolutely incredible horse farms and almost every farm had coops in every field for the hunt to jump in and out. The barns, rings and x-c courses were breath-taking. What an awesome weekend it was!

Busy weekend

It was one of those weekends that make me happy to come back to work so I could take a break. Saturday, was a day full of moving horses around. I dropped off Diamond H at the Centreville farm and made the long trip up to Long Lane Farm to bring home two new horses. I now have Houndy and Kiss a Monster at my farm. Both loaded right up and were excited to eat my yummy alfalfa hay. They were very patient while we made a stop to pick up some jumps in Annapolis. They unloaded and got some dinner before heading out to check out their new digs. They seemed pretty chill about everything just walking around sniffing but clearly bonded over their experience. I didn’t get to watch them for long as we were late to get to the fair for the Jason Aldean concert. It’s always nice to spend a bit of time off the fair and eat kettle corn 🙂

Sunday, I was up early again this time to head off to a little cross country schooling at Oldehope Farm. A few of us got together and just enjoyed riding at such a beautiful farm. I was thrilled with my horse who is owned by a client. He had 2 wks off due to an abscess so I wasn’t sure if I was being totally dumb taking him without any rides but he is normally just so quiet and he was absolutely perfect for me. He is such a lovely 4yr with one of those brains we all want. He loves cross country and is just a pleasure to ride. He happily jumps anything I point him at and seems to enjoy himself. He shares the same sire as Kiss a Monster. They are both by Meadow Monster who apparently sires very quiet horses.

I was looking at Kiss a Monster’s pedigree and also noticed he is out of a mare named Kiss me Cat by Forest Wildcat. Forest Wildcat, was the sire of Total Wildcat, another CANTER horse we had. Total Wildcat, was hands down one of the quietest Tb’s we have had. He is now competing in western classes and everyone mistakes him for a quarterhorse.

Needless to say, I’m thinking Kiss a Monster is going to be a quiet horse based on what I know about offspring of those two sires.

Stealing pictures from Kelly’s blog. This is Kiss a Monster


Both of them will need to get some shoes on before I get on them but they need to just settle in any way. I hope to give them baths, pull manes and trim them up today.

Sonrea and Track’s Protege still aren’t real keen on humans at this point which means they need some more time. Sonrea (he is the gray) is way more friendly than Protege is but they are a bit skiddish. Allie has always told me that you know when they are ready to get restarted when they walk up to you in the field and demand attention. These two would rather run away from me at the moment so not ready! It took me 20 min to get a halter on Protege but that horse showed me how smart he is. I was slowly walking and just countering his moves by controlling his shoulder. He was silently judging me to figure out if I was smart enough to catch him. I was patient and slowly he began to figure out that I was just quietly controlling his movement and he stopped and let me walk up to him. I saw that at Long Lane they use a chain around the neck which is a great idea. I don’t like halters in the field so I might look into neck collars. Kiss a Monster had a chain on his neck so I think he was hard to catch. Now he is almost in your lap wanting attention so time really does make a difference.

I will try to get some pictures of them this week so we can document the change the go through as they get put into work.