Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cute overload

I truly intended to go hunting yesterday but my horse has a minor cough and I didn’t think it would be wise to go galloping around for several hours in the really warm weather when he was already a bit not quite right. Knowing Junior he would have went full blast regardless of how he felt so I have to protect him from his own self 🙂

Instead, I actually slept in and then had breakfast with the hubby. The horses were all way down in the field hanging out so I didn’t feel the need to hurry outside. We had mapped out the day to get pictures and video of the new horses, go buy paint and make a trip to the indoor with one of the greenies in preparation for her first show in the indoor.

It was such a warm sunny day and perfect for getting pictures of the new horses. First up was Jacob. Jacob is an interesting character and we are working on figuring each other out. He has decided he loves coming in his stall to eat but otherwise he isn’t coming into the barn. The first day I brought him into the actual barn he didn’t want to come out of his stall door into the barn aisle. I got him out after a few minutes of just talking to him about how silly he was being. Then I did something stupid…yep totally my fault and I SHOULD know better but without thinking twice I put him in the crossties. Wham, backwards he went and the breakaway crossties broke (I have the velcro kind that just separate). He was quite scared and not sure he wanted to come back in at all 🙂

I went and got a shank and we spent some time marching up and down the barn, sniffing all the ‘scary’ stuff and just letting him see there were no monsters. He is smart and figured it out pretty quickly. He got his shoes on this Saturday and was ready for business. I pulled his mane and trimmed him all up. He really liked all the attention and quietly stood on one crosstie (ha, yes I’m a bit wiser now :))

My cats are very helpful 🙂

I had ridden Jacob at the layup farm but I was pretty casual about it and had basically just gotten up and did a bit of w/t/c on a loose rein without asking him for anything. This ride I wanted to see if he knew anything about contact or lateral work and suprisingly he had a pretty good understanding. He knew that when I closed the leg and pushed him into the contact that he could round his back. He is another one of these horses who is quite slow and not in a hurry to get anywhere which is fantastic for those who don’t want the hotter version of the Tb’s.

He has a really comfortable and balanced canter but he was a bit grumpy about having to get into the canter. He isn’t fit so I’m not worried about all of that right now. He will do some nice walk/trot trail rides to slowly build up his muscle again.

He has quite a thick coat on him so he got a bath and then went out and rolled right away..of course! He will get clipped here soon to make it easier on him to work and not get so overheated.

Next up was Shine My Shoes. I find it impossible not to look at him and smile. He has the cutest mischievous face on him. He was one that crashed really hard after the track and went from being a beefy type of guy to an ugly skinny horse with a cute face. He limped around and was just depressed. When I saw the light starting to come back into his eyes I knew it was time for him to have a job again and he is truly loving life..perhaps a bit too much 🙂

Shoes has a HUGE personality and is the silliest horse in the barn. He is always getting into stuff and he is always the one in the field instigating all the rough play. He has packed on a lot of weight in a short period of time and is feeling so good.

He is a horse that hasn’t at all learned to use his body and needs a bit of work on the lunge line but I’m not thinking I want to do that just yet. He has about 30 days of good tendon building walk/trot  work but you don’t want to have him playing on a small circle just yet.

He is an alert type of horse and not real focused on work yet but we will get there. It looks a lot like this at the moment 🙂

Yes, this is the scary side of the ring

It was the first time I had cantered him and he has a really nice canter but is not quite strong enough to hold it and was switching off his lead and displaying a bit of excitement.

I had a fantastic ride on my last horse of the day who is owned by a client. She is a lovely 3 yr cleveland bay/tb cross that I have had since August. It is just amazing how far she has come in her training and her ability to handle new situations. We headed to the local indoor to let her get used to the indoor before she went to the show next weekend. She was so amazing it almost freaked me out a bit 🙂 She got off the trailer and walked into the indoor where there were two horny pigeons that were flapping all about and making so much noise. She had every excuse to be silly but instead went right to work and felt absolutely incredible. It is just so exciting to watch them progress especially when you know how they first started out.

I look forward to bringing another ride on Jacob and Shoes today.

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New homes and being silly

Ring Dancer was the first horse we took in on donation from Delaware Park this meet. She is an absolutely lovely 3yr 16.1 h filly who is as sweet as they come especially considering she did a very long period of stall rest for a fractured sesamoid. She found an awesome home where she will be a sport horse broodmare making pretty warmblood babies.

It has been a hectic week on the farm with lots of riding and farm projects. I had intended to get new pics and video of Mack, Shoes and Jacob J but so far that hasn’t happened. Tomorrow, I promise 🙂

It just gets dark so early now that I basically run home and feed and before I even get on one horse it is getting dark. So very thankful for my lights! I did get to spend Thur/Fri working with Shoes and Mack. Jacob J got his shoes on today so I’m so eager for tomorrow to come so I can get on him. I pulled all three horses manes and clipped them up. I think they will all need actual clip jobs but dragging my feet on that one still.

I figured it was a good time to get Mack started over the fillers that are under the jumps so we practiced in hand first which doubles as my exercise program. I trotted him in hand over all the little gates, flowers and straw boxes. At first he was totally confused and not sure he could possibly follow me over but being the super smart horse that he is within a jump or two he had it figured out. Then I got on him and trotted over all of them and he went right over. Good boy!

I had 10 min to spare last night so I brought Jacob out for the same routine. He was quite game and was really jumping right over them not just trotting. That was interesting because I couldn’t quite trot fast enough for him. I am thinking jumping with me on his back is going to be super easy.

Do you ever introduce your horse to new jumps in hand first? I find that it is a great way to explain scary concepts so that they seem simple. Horses are pretty trusting so if you can develop that trust jumping all the scary stuff becomes easy. I like to make everything scary but small enough to step over.

Speaking of jumps, I had order some new fillers about four months ago and finally went to pick them up tonight. I have rolltops, brush boxes, arch walls, a regular wall and planks. Now I just have to paint them all which I dread but since I still have the excitement factor going I should perhaps let that motivate me 🙂

I have some big news coming in the next few days. So EXCITING!

The proof is in the pictures

I have known that Mack was feeling better under me and starting to look different. Sometimes when you see them on a daily basis you can’t quite tell if they are gaining weight and muscle or if you just want to imagine they are 🙂

We always try to take pictures of them when they arrive so we can look back and be shocked. I find that sometimes it is really hard for people to look at a horse at their worst and imagine what they will look like but I have a lot of practice at it.

Mack on Sept 21

Yesterday

I remember our first ride was when Allie was down visiting and I went to pick up the trot and it felt like a creaky old man who couldn’t quite move his legs. He was less than 2 months into his layup and still a bit body sore and one of those horse who hadn’t learned to trot at all. He had this sort of trot/canter mix going on.

Oct 16

I have just started to teach him about contact but with horses who tend not to be the most naturally forward horses it can be challenging. I am really having to push him forward and say keep using that hind end. It can be super confusing to them at first to have someone taking contact because they think it means slow down so you have to show them that it can mean something different than slow down. He is just so extremely smart and willing to learn.

Some pictures we took of him yesterday as he started to figure out how to use his body.

Once again he demonstrated his amazing brain in the high whipping winds and cold temps. At one point, my fake christmas tree brush jump actually blew across the ring but he was not phased.

I wasn’t able to get the farrier out to get Jacob J’s shoe back on but hopefully soon. I also didn’t get pictures of Shoes as Kurt was busy when I was riding him. I will get them this week.

Feeling the difference

I had been away for work the past several days so the boys had a bit of a rest. I finally got my fields arranged so that I now have a FAT horse side who just eat timothy and a skinny horse side who eats the alfalfa. This will make life much easier. Mack, Casey, Shoes and Jacob J are now all together on one side.

Speaking of Jacob J, he just arrived here last night. Kurt took a shipment of mares (canes palace, indy’s chic and Fabulous Jada) to our buckeystown, Md farm and brought Jacob back here. I am trying very hard to get back to 8 horses before winter arrives.

As I am writing this they are all out there playing with sticks….I know I should probably not allow this to happen but it is SO funny. Mack, the 7yr, is the silliest of the bunch but Shoes is the instigator. He has spent the past two days playing halter tag and rearing up and trying to get everyone to play with him.

I rode Mack this morning and boy does he feel fantastic. He is finally comfortable enough in his body and his feet feel good enough that he can move forward. He was stretching down in the walk, trot and canter and I starting to teach him the lateral work. He is super smart and what a brain he has.

I mention his brain because as I was riding down the long side approaching the telephone pole we scared one of the cats who ran up the telephone pole and the hurdled over the fence down into the tax ditch and then into the corn. Mack never even blinked at the damn crazy cat.

I’m off to do some grocery shopping but will be back home to ride the rest of the crew. I will get some pics and video of Shoes this weekend. He has been left off the picture list and we all need to see pictures of his cute face.

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 🙂