Houndy has a new home

One of my favorite parts of being a volunteer for CANTER is all the cool people who I meet along the way. I love talking Tb’s to anyone who will listen and it’s so fun to be out and about and run into people who have never met me but read the blog or have seen pictures of our horses.

Karen had seen my friend and I riding at the Retired Racehorse Symposium that Steuart Pittman had set up in Maryland. I was riding a 3yr who was in her first month of retraining (Escape by Sea) and my friend was riding her newly acquired CANTER horse (Top Punch) who had just finished a 10yr racing career. Both horses were absolutely outstanding considering this huge crowd in a small indoor. Karen said she watched Top Punch go and thought she wanted something just like him.

In a small world sort of way, I decided to donate a month of training to the CANTER auction last year and Karen bid and won the training services. Meeting her the first time, I remember thinking she was super cool and I wished she lived closer so we could ride together. She brought down her lovely horse to begin his retraining and although he was a nice horse he wasn’t well suited for her lifestyle and he wasn’t a fan of riding outside of the ring.

Karen is the typical adult ammy who rides several times a week but doesn’t have a ring or real set place to ride. She is a good rider but doesn’t want something that needs a six-day a week riding program 🙂 She wants to go out with friends, go to shows and just have that all around horse who can do a bit of everything. She said it has to be a horse with a loving personality!

She had been emailing me off and on about various horse but just casually shopping. She was looking at some of the trainer listings and I suggested perhaps she look for something that had been off the track for a bit so she could better gauge their personality and make sure she found the right horse this time.

She had emailed again a few weeks ago and I said I think I have your horse here. Ha, I tend to do this and scare people but when I know someone and how they ride and what their goals are then I can almost predict a match 95% of the time. Sometimes people don’t truly know what they want and sometimes it is because they think they need this super fancy horse that can fulfill the teenage version of themselves (not saying this was the case with Karen but it happens a lot when people are horse shopping). I sent Karen a video and I am sure she thought I was really nuts.

See when horses are getting back into work after that let down period then look sort of funky. Most of us who bring along Tb’s understand this stage and can see past it but someone who isn’t as used to looking at horse in this funky stage will be thinking that horse moves like crap and omg is it lame..can I even tell what is wrong with it?? I think it’s off but where is it off?? Are they really off or just body sore?? I think of it like a person who suddenly goes from the couch to starting up a running program. You start to use all new muscles and then you are sore and that causes you to move funny. It takes a few months for the fitness to build up before your gait becomes smooth. More often than not it is their feet. Our guys are barefoot and that can be a super hard transition for some of them and it takes time after you get those shoes back on them for the feet to get comfortable again. When your feet hurt then everything else hurts so it can be hard to tell what you are looking at.

In just the 3 wks that I had Houndy at my farm again he had begun to pick up weight and muscle, move more forward and get more comfortable in his body. The chiropractor worked on him and that made a huge difference! He still needed to learn to go more forward under saddle. Yes, there are Tb’s that have truly not learned to go forward and he is one of them. I easily overlooked his lack of forward motion because his brain was top-notch and the type of brain that is super trainable.

Karen rode him around and found him to be slow but liked his canter and loved how he was going around on a loose rein despite crazy winds blowing all the jump decorations around and the corn blowing. We headed out on a trail ride and he just poked along without a care in the world despite being in a huge open corn field. We did a bit of trotting and then picked up a canter. Of course my horse decided to throw in his typical on the way home happy buck twisting right towards Houndy but Houndy never moved and kept right on going.

Karen said she would have bought him even if she had fallen off 🙂 She was having a great time and was actually relaxed and not worried despite being on a strange horse doing his 3rd trail ride. He just has the right brain. He knows where home is but never gets in a hurry. We rode right down the road and traffic doesn’t cause him to blink an eye. She expressed to me that she was convinced she was going to have to buy a draft cross to find this kind of temperament in a horse but she loved the Tb’s and really wanted another one.

I have had several Tb’s with this kind of super quiet brain so I think they are out there but it does take the time to find the right one. She sent me an email that he settled in without any issues and how nice that was to see. I am eager to hear about their new adventures together. I think even her daughter and husband can ride him although I think she said she might sell her mare in which case I have the perfect hubby horse for her..Karen if your reading I think you will need two really nice quiet geldings so you can get your hubby out on the trails with you 🙂 I think Diamond H would be perfect for your hubby and of course I will send along a cat for your daughter 🙂


6 responses to “Houndy has a new home

  1. Awesome! She’s got herself one gorgeous cool guy.

  2. You just inspired me to email you instead of just commenting on the blog and photos!

  3. Jess
    I loved this post and sent it to my “horse shopping friend”, Traci. She knows all OTTB’s are not the same, but as MJ (Yellow Tavern) is one she is exposed to on a fairly regular basis…and, as special (and wonderful!) as he is…he is not her ride…she has some concerns. She is a very good rider, just lacks some confidence, and takes excellent care of her horses. I have encouraged her to read your blog, and if a horse interests her, to contact you.

    • jessicamorthole

      Ha, you know that you and I talked quite a bit about Tavern when he was for sale and I said he was talented but the type that needed a program 🙂 He was the type that everyone wants to buy because he is gorgeous and talented but also the type that takes a dedicated and talented rider. You are doing a great job with him! Tell Traci to email me 🙂

  4. I’m finally getting around to posting a comment…get ready it will be a long one! First of all I can’t say thank you enough, Jessica, for telling me about Houndy and for your insight, knowing what I was looking for even if I myself wasn’t even sure. 🙂 I will always remember that trail ride we went on…I was giddy! I have never cantered a horse towards home with a loop in the rein not to mention his trail mate throwing in a nice buck for fun. Houndy just looked at Jr and said “Oh I better move over a tad”. I finally understood everything my friends were trying to tell me but I just didn’t know any better to understand…and I have a very hard head. I have had some great horses but nothing I could really just enjoy…Houndy is a horse I am enjoying every day. And did I say he is beautiful too! Yes, he’s green, but he has a great brain and is just such a good guy… I LOVE this horse! He really is good for me as I do have some anxiety issues…especially when it comes to trailering. Like many horse people, I had a bad trailering experience but just haven’t been able to totally get over. I was perfectly comfortable hauling Houndy because of his confidence. I even took him over the scary Bay Bridge! Of course he didn’t know he was going over a bridge but I sure did. The fact that I drove over it with a horse trailer says how determined I was to see this horse and hopefully take him home. I’m hoping to show him this spring and have come up with the show name, with the help of my wonderful friends, “Sight Unseen” as I knew I was going to DE to pick him up even though I had never even met him. Last weekend was Houndy’s first trip in the trailer after arriving to my home. I didn’t have help to load him so wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I had a few treats and just kinda walked up the empty side of the trailer…he took the treat then went in. I was so shocked it took a minute for me to register that he went in. Best of all he just stood there while I went to the back to close the butt bar. I then went to my friends house to ride in her arena. I knew this would be a test for him as her field connects to the arena and she has two mares who love to run and buck when visitors arrive. Houndy did not care that they were showing off…he was perfect! When we were done he walked back on the trailer and we went home. Houndy seems really happy living with his new friend, a 18 yo retired TB jumper named Harley in a 10 acre field full of grass. Did I say I am so in love with this horse? 🙂

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