Monthly Archives: December 2010

Hanging out on the farm

I had the past two days off and have just been hanging out with the horses. I had to wait until noon or after for the ring to thaw but once it did I was able to get some riding in.

I have been slowly introducing Acclimate into the crowd of horses. I am sure because he was a stallion he never went out with other horses and he probably hadn’t been turned out in a while. I started him out solo, then had Casey as a buddy and on Tuesday I introduced him to the full crowd (Jacob, Casey and Shoes). He was terrified and ran to the far corner of the field and stayed there most of the morning. If anybody dared to come near his hiding spot he kicked the crap out of them. They were all like what????? Dude we just wanna be friends.

Yesterday, he slowly started to make his way near the other horses and when I went outside I grabbed the camera to take some pictures. I took this one from the house because I spotted the rest of the crew all sleeping way down in the back but you can see shoes, jacob and casey standing up sleeping and acclimate closer to the front of the picture eating out of a hay feeder.

Acclimate loves his alfalfa.

Walking around with the camera it was hard to actually get pictures because the horses were mugging me and then I was joined by all the cats who insisted in coming in and seeing what the world I was doing.

Casey loves cats and follows the around. Here he is with Spic.

Following Butters

Casey and Butters are quite friendly. Butters is a huge pain in my butt because she shows no fear of the 1500lb horses!

Shoes and Jacob can share

Have I mentioned how cute this horse is?? Love him!

It was such a gorgeous day yesterday but I got hit with that darn cold that was going around. I was supposed to go hunting but our truck broke on Tuesday (more on that later). I was determined to ride so I got Jacob out. I spent a lot of time grooming him and convincing him the apple n oats treats were yummy. He loves food so he eventually figured out they were pretty good but watching him eat one is hilarious. He bites a tiny piece. Then chews it a bit. Spits some out and then licks his lips and wants another piece.

I tried to get him to pose with the five star tack bridle but he really wasn’t much into it and kept trying to eat the hay bits that were on the ground in front of him.

He went so nicely on the flat and got his left lead twice. I jumped a few little jumps and then thought I would try a solo trail ride. Phone in my pocket and off we went. I opened up the gate from his back and we rode down the driveway, out the road and into the fields near the house. I was feeling pretty crappy so I just made one big loop and did some trot and canter and came back home. We got passed by a school bus on the ride back and that didn’t bother him which is nice to know.

I asked the neighbor kid to hand me the mail and he was so excited he gets the mail and comes running right at Jacob. Oh lord…Jacob was fine but I thought for a moment that was not going to be a pleasant experience. I think Jacob was surprised so didn’t think about turning around and running away.

It really takes a good horse to do a solo trail ride away from the barn as nicely as he did so I was super proud of him. He got stuffed full of treats for being such a good boy.

My poor hubby was livid about the truck. He was driving it to work on Tuesday when it just lost power and he coasted into the parking lot and called me to come and get him. I got it towed home and he was thinking the fuel pump went again. He was all miserable as was I since that is $$ to fix. Kurt is excellent at fixing everything and anything so he was trouble shooting all possible calls. He called around and realized perhaps it was out of gas. The fuel gauge said we had 1/4 tank but that was a possibility. Yeah running a diesel truck out of gas sucks and is hard to fix but Kurt is awesome and sure enough that was the problem. So we have an issue with the fuel gauge but that is a lot easier to fix that the fuel pump! I missed hunting but the truck is fixed and it didn’t cost any money. Turned out to be a good day after all.

Stopping to enjoy it all and previous horse updates

I’m off work today and tomorrow and this morning I spent some time out with the horses just loving on them. Shoes has the best personality and he just loves to snuggle. He is also so curious and whatever I am doing he is following me around like a dog. He is the one always getting into everything. I catch him and Jacob out there playing with sticks and getting into the pond. They are so funny to watch.

Jacob wasn’t very personable upon arrival but he has come around and now he comes up and wants his scratches too and will push Shoes right out of the way. I was out there this morning with a warm towel scrubbing goop out of his eyes as they are always running.

On my way back into the house, I stopped in the front field to take off the halter that Casey broke last night. Acclimate came right up to see what I was doing so I had to give him some love. I need to bring him in a little bit and scrub up his private parts. Those two boys are just so cute. Casey is the funniest horse with the loudest groans you will ever hear. He groans when he does anything but especially when he rolls or lays down. He had us running outside at 10pm one night thinking he was down colicking or something. Nope, just laying flat out groaning or snoring?

I have been getting lots of awesome reports recently on horses that have been sold in the past. Dixie Rumble is getting an eventing refresher as his new owner wants to give eventing a try in the spring.

My mom still is having a blast on the first CANTER horses I worked with and sold, Flint Hill. He is the coolest.

My friend Alison is having an absolute blast hunting Top Punch. He was the awesome big grey who retired from racing at 12yrs old! He went right to foxhunting and she is now learning to whip off him.

I have gotten amazing reports from Karen on how much fun she is having with Houndy. Her friends are all so impressed with him that they are fighting over who will get him if she ever sells him which is probably not going to happen 🙂

We got a cool email about City by the Sea who was only with me for a short period of time. We called him Dewey and I thought he would be impossible to sell. He was a 15.2 h 3yr that not only cribbed but also paddled. He was however the quietest horse you could ask for he and he sold right away. His new owners are hunting him and having a blast.

I also love following the progress of horses that have come through Delaware Park either on donation or the track listing program. We work super hard to help all the trainers there and there is nothing better than getting to see horses in new careers. Recently Sonrea and King Remda found homes in NC with Suzanne and Allie’s help. They were two of my favorites!

I hear that fortheloveofrita, Track’s Protege and Lady Wheaton are all amazing and should find homes very shortly. It is really fun being able to go back and give awesome reports to their former connections on how well the horses are doing and tell them when they get new homes.

I’m also super excited to read about Canes Palace on Kelly’s blog as she has moved to Southwind and started in work. She is a favorite of mine so it is nice to follow her progress. We are working hard to move horses into new homes so we can take more into the program come spring time.

Pushing my luck?

I really am hard-headed because once again I flew home hoping to get enough time with the ring thawed to ride at least one horse. My hubby is the best (or he is just really tired of me being cranky) because he had the horses fed and chores done so I could get right to riding.

I suppose I was pushing my luck getting on another horse that had been off for a week w/o lunging but Jacob J is a true professional and was perfect 🙂 Love Jacob! I was thinking tonight how much Jacob reminds me of Dixie Rumble in his personality. Dixie arrived with not much of a personality and some weird barn claustrophobic issues. Dixie grew out of it and darned if Jacob isn’t as well. He came in and stood perfect today like he was rushing me to get going because he wanted something to do. He was nuzzling around in my pockets and quite interested in what I was doing which is cool to see because when he first arrived it was OMG must flee the barn aisle 🙂

I was a tiny bit smarter and hand walked one lap around just to let him see everything but he was like really lady is this necessary? Ha, yeah so it wasn’t but it made me feel better cause my ass still hurts 🙂 He is sort of like a grumpy old man who you have to tell to get to work because as always he started off a bit cranky and wanting to go towards the gate. I gave him a few pony club kicks and he was like yeah okay..enough kicking me already.

I was able to get a bit of a grip into the riding surface so we w/t/c around enjoying ourselves. The thought crossed my mind that I am off this Wednesday and we are hunting at a really nice sandy fixture and perhaps I should take Jacob. He has not been out hunting but this fixture is a good intro fixture. I’m still thinking about it. See, I really am pushing my luck aren’t I. I haven’t been hunting yet this season due to a crazy schedule so it would be nice to get out.

This is how you know that you have it bad

Last week the weather was awful and with the rain and then the snow the riding ring was officially frozen solid. Kurt drug it a few times to get the snow off and we hoped it might warm up enough to be ridable. Did I mention I become a serious crazy person when I don’t get to ride??? Kurt is basically pushing me out of the house saying just go get on the damn horse already 🙂

We had made a trip up to Bartville tack on Saturday morning to do a bit of Christmas shopping but somehow Kurt ended up buying more than I did…really this could be bad for me! He bought our dog a fancy leather harness and he bought two new pair of gloves. I bought some cob cheek pieces  for my bridles and two more neck straps (ha, how appropriate for the rest of this story).

We got home around 2pm and I piddled around in the barn. I had to put together the lovely bridle that I won from the CANTER auction. It is a five star tack flash noseband bridle and it is so yummy. I have a bridle addiction and this bridle makes me drool. I set it up with the herm sprenger duo bit as I wanted to try Shoes in that bit so I figured I would ride him first.

Now the ring was still frozen solid so my thought process was that I would just get on and do some walk work and work on some lateral work. I put on my new quarter sheet (Christmas present to myself) and the pretty new bridle which fit nicely. I had fifty million layers of clothes on and my saddles was frozen solid. He stood perfect as I tried to swing my leg up and around with all the layers on. I get settled into the saddle and am trying to get myself organized when I turned the corner and he caught site of the barrels that I stacked behind the telephone pole to keep them from blowing away.

I wish I could say it was slow motion but truly it happened pretty damn fast and I didn’t have a shot in hell of staying on. He spun so fast one way that I just slid off right where I had been sitting in the saddle. I didn’t even think about how bad this fall was going to hurt but I did think about my brand NEW bridle and I let go of the reins so they didn’t get drug over his head and I let go…big moment for me as I am normally the dumbass that proceeds to hold on while they drag me. I think letting go made me fall a lot faster and harder because that concrete riding ring really hurt.

Kurt was working on the truck and had left the main gate open and of course the darn horse runs straight for it. I’m yelling to Kurt who looks up and then starts running towards the gate waving his arms and then I’m yelling at him to stop scaring the horse because I don’t want him to run more breaking my bridle. Priorities ya know 🙂

Shoes felt sorry for his silly behavior but I wasn’t feeling particularly generous so I went and got the lunge line and proceeded to lunge him all around the ring until he was convinced nothing was going to jump out and get him. In hindsight, I know I was stupid and should have lunged him because I hadn’t ridden all week and he is not the one to just get up and go with. I really hate winter and all the hassles it creates. This week of weather doesn’t look much better. If I do decide to get on and ride I think I will lunge first 🙂

I have to say that bridle really is gorgeous. I keep going to look at the website but I know I do not need anymore tack.

Random ramblings

Acclimate is feeling much better and we have normal size horse parts. I have to say he is absolutely the best patient you could ask for. I’m sticking him with needles at least once a day and then he gets a paste of stuff to help his stomach deal with all the antibodics. I also have to hose and scrub his private parts daily and he is very kind to me.

Kurt and I finally went to watch Secretariat last night. Movie tickets are $4.50 on base which is totally awesome cause we are cheap like that 🙂 It was supposed to be a wash out weather wise today but when I looked at radar the rain wasn’t coming until later so we hit the trails. Kurt was on Junior aka Sham and I was on Jacob J aka Secretariat. We raced down the trails like little kids which was so much fun. Jacob J was much more relaxed for his second outing and was happy to be out and about. He is such a blast to ride! He will lead or follow which is nice. When we got into our first good gallop and Kurt passed him he was not quite sure what the appropriate response was but I asked him to just chill and he was happy to do so and then when I let him go he was even more happy to do that. Can I just tell you how much it is to have a hubby that ride? I admit it was a chore getting him off the couch but once he was out there he has as much fun riding as I do. Junior is an awesome horse and Kurt just gets along perfectly with him which is fantastic for me. We jumped some logs and then practiced our dressage on the way home with some long and low stretch work. Kurt even knows how to get Junior to do dressage which is too cute.

I haven’t had any interest in Jacob J which is a bit suprising. I thought people would like the 16 h stocky chestnut with white who is sound with no vices???? 7yrs old is still young and he has a super brain. I’m sure the right person will come along.

In other news, Cool Casey is really coming around and I rode him for the first time since his arrival. He will be fine with a bit more time but he suffers from horribly neglected feet and we all know that just takes time to correct. The quality of his foot is quite good it was just the angles that were really bad making him sore. We are drastically bringing the toe back (guided by x-rays) and he is responding really well. He was so excited to have something to do and he is a big boy! I haven’t sticked him yet but he reminds me a lot of my horse Boppus. He was all puffed up when I got out to the ring doing the typical chestnut snorts. I thought..maybe this is a stupid idea but Casey is a pro and once I was on him he was just fine.

I had given Shoes a little time to rest after his chiropractic adjustment and I just put four shoes on him to help him reach under himself and develop a bit more strength. He is coming along nicely. He is really starting to stretch into the contact and move more forward. He threw a bit of a fit about cantering but gave it up once I laid into him a bit with a couple of swift kicks and a raised voice. He is a teenager that just needs some boundaries and I have to give him some tough love to get him focused.

So not a horse picture but these little guys make me smile each day. Love them!

Super gross

One of the complications with gelding an older horse is infection. In laymen terms, their balls are bigger and they tend to bled a lot when you do the procedure so the vets tie them off which leads to a greater risk of infection (at least I think that is what my vet said). They also swell up a lot more than normal horses.

When Acclimate arrived I thought things didn’t quite look normal up under there but I don’t geld a lot of horses so I admit I wasn’t 100% sure. I went ahead and scrubbed all the parts with some warm water and nolvasan and started him on Smz’s and bute.

I have been checking him daily but yesterday morning I leaned over and saw this..if you don’t like gross pictures beware!

I hadn’t yet snapped this pictures but went inside to email Allie and tell her I was thinking a vet visit was necessary. Then I figured ya know just go outside and take some pictures so they can see what you are talking about.  It’s 6am and I leaning down under a horse with a camera in my work clothes.

My vet rocks and must have been checking her email right then because she instantly replied see you at 8am 🙂 Allie always tells me to do whatever I feel is necessary so I was planning on calling the vet but the vet thankfully got to see the pictures.

The poor guy had to have all of that reopened up and flushed out. It was freezing cold so the vets scrubbing tray and bedadine had froze up as soon as she sat it out. We were defrosting everything with warm water. Big guy was not going down nicely on minimal drugs so he had to have an extra dose of tranq so she could safely work under him. It was all opened back up and cleaned out super well. He is on a very strong course of antibiotics, cold hosing and forced exercise.

Last night, I had to chase him around and make him trot and canter to keep everything stretched out and then cold hose him (I did cut it a bit with warm water) but he was PISSED. He had been an angel to hose but now that it was a fresh wound again it hurt him. I feel so bad for him. He is such a classy and willing animal. I am lucky he is so behaved because clearing up this infection requires a lot of shots and unpleasant procedures.

I had forgotten to bring the bottle of abx to the barn so on the way out to the pasture Kurt walked him up under the porch light (yeah it was 6am) so I could see well enough to give him the IV shot. He stood perfectly just waiting for me to get done so he could go out. He is also up in my front paddock away from the other horses but never offers to run around and doesn’t even get upset when we come home and feed time is arrived. Most horses are pacing the gate and then acting like goofs on the walk down to the barn. I just walk him in with a plain cotton rope but I think he would walk in by himself. I really like him but he is hating me right now.

Paddocks full of bling

I am finally getting around to writing about our latest arrival. His name is Acclimate and he is a 9yr who made over $400k on the track and is retiring sound. I don’t know the full details of how/why he ended up with CANTER besides the fact that he had caring owners and trainers who wanted to ensure a good home for him. I looked at his racing record and he sure has had a lot of different trainers and owners over time.

Allie took him in memory of It’s a Monster aka Cecil- who was also a tough campaigner who got a chance at a second career via CANTER.

Up until a week ago he had been a stallion but CANTER does not take stallions so he was gelded and shipped to my farm where he can slowly be let down and introduced to other horses. I wasn’t sure what to expect but got a bit of a glimpse into his personality when the van driver said he had to change vans during the trip due to a headlight issue and this guy was a perfect gentleman. The van drive told me he was a classy old horse.

He sure is a lovely horse with perfect manners and just that wise look of a horse who has been there and done it all. He is a complete professional about everything which is why I love the Tb’s. He is still healing from his gelding procedure and I am hosing and lightly cleaning and he doesn’t even offer to lift a leg.

I turned him out a bit to take some pictures and video for Allie and could barely get him trotting. He was just happy to be out but like most horses who haven’t been turned out with other horses he was terrified of the other horses. He is out alone but next them and when they approach the fence he runs the other way 🙂

We have some really nice movers at CANTER but when this guy picked up the trot my jaw dropped. WOW!

He will just get to hang out for a few months and be a horse. Right now he goes out half a day alone but this weekend I will slowly introduce him to the other horses once all his parts heal up 🙂

He got his shoes pulled tonight and I feel like he knows he is on a different path in life. He is so smart and has such a personality. Nope, not getting spoiled at my place….I just wouldn’t do that 🙂

Right now I have Jacob J, Cool Casey, Shoes and Acclimate on one side of the barn. Lots of chestnuts with bling! Everyone already thinks Casey and Jacob are not Tb’s so I am sure Acclimate will get fat and sassy and join that crew.

Damn nice horse!

My week had been absolutely nuts and I didn’t have a chance to ride Shoes or Jacob. It was super cold and windy yesterday and when I say windy I mean blowing things around the farm kind of windy. I brought Jacob out and no doubt he was a bit more forward but he didn’t put one foot wrong even when the huge wind gusts were blowing across right up his tail or when the jump with fabric on it was flapping right as we went by. He is a really brave and smart type of horse who truly has a great brain. I haven’t done that much with him but each time I get on him he just feels better. He still has a bit of gate sourness but really isn’t only a pin of the ears and he is working on that left lead canter but it’s coming along.

Those are his first jumps! I figured what the heck he is doing great let’s trot a few little jumps. He was a good boy to trot right over the gate with brush on both sides and the straw bales!

New Arrivals

I was off work on Friday but of course off work means I’m just doing something else horse related 🙂 I went and picked up two from Delaware Park. We are so full so we really are now done taking horses in until we get a lot more placed. Gotta watch the bills!

Jester is a lovely 16.2 h 5 yr gelding who they said is just as well behaved and lovely to ride and work around as they come. We have gotten Shoes, Diamond H and Bushy from this particular trainer and all his horses are lovely. Jester was so well behaved especially since we were trying to snap pictures the minute he stepped off the trainer and it was super cold.

Ranger was also donated as the trainer/owner really wanted him to have an easier lifestyle than being a track pony. They are great people and know that being a pony can be hard on him and would rather rehome him now so he can go on to have a new family. He has barrel raced, roped, trail ridden and is just a true all around big quarter horse. He is 14yrs old and 16h and wide 🙂 She said their grandson rode him and she would ride him bareback with a halter around the neighborhood.

Last night, I got a call around 9:30 that I had a horse arriving in an hour. I haven’t taken any pictures so I will talk about him later but he is a super cool dude. He is hanging at my place for a bit because he was a 9yr stallion up until a week ago and isn’t quite ready to go to the layup farms with herds of horses.

Sweet Relief

I was recently reading a thread on the chronicle of the horse when someone posted a video of a horse recently off the track that moved very funky in behind. Most people said something was wrong with the horse but a few people said ottb’s tend to take a lot of time to become normal in the hind end after racing is over. I thought the horse looked like a typical racehorse who was letting down from the track but was going to be quite awesome with some time to remuscle and good old trot work to rebuild the hind end.

I have always said it takes a special person to look at an ottb and envision what it can and will become. Horses at the track don’t do a lot of work in the trot so their hind end muscles tend to support cantering and galloping. They aren’t taught to work over their backs or how to travel with the hind end underneath themselves. Often the shoeing leads a lot to be desired as well so their feet are out of balance.

You bring them home and they go through a phase where they lose all the muscle they had and then they just plain look yucky and the hind end really lacks muscle. They tend to be very weak in the stifles because of the way they were ridden and muscled and when you start to build the new muscle they can get very sore and you often find the compensation from the muscle soreness makes the rest of the body a bit out of whack.

Houndy’s new owner had posted a picture of him on facebook (totally stalk former CANTER horses on facebook 🙂 ) and he looks fantastic. Someone remarked how much better he looked so I had to post the picture of him when he arrived at my farm. Holy moly he looked awful. Pencil thin neck, every rib showing, non existent hind end and other than his color he was not an attractive horse. He had about 2 months to let down at that point so he had lost all his racing muscle. I find that they tend to look worse at month 2 and month 3 than any other time.  I had to look back at that picture just to remind myself once again how drastically they can change.

The same thing happened to Shoes and he was so ugly we all joked we wanted to hide him in the furthest field. Let’s do a little photo review.

Very end of June after his arrival from the track

Sept 21

Nov 15th

Now he is looking even better but his body is going through the OMG I am using new muscles and it hurts phase. I had made this video of my ride the other night and I have debated posting it because I know he is not 100% sound in this video and I don’t want people to think he is not sound. I know he is sound but I’m always reminded that sometimes my version of off the track sound and a show persons version is not the same thing 🙂 However, this blog is about the good, bad and ugly side of retraining Tb’s and we really don’t hide anything. I’m always very upfront about my horses. Matter of fact when I sent the video of Houndy to his new owner I said you are probably going to think I am nuts but I promise he will be just fine. He moved a lot like Shoes in this video..very body sore, lack of forward and just a funky gait. You don’t quite know what to think but at liberty I watch them in the field and know what they will become.

Here is Shoes

He was being so good..I pulled up in that last canter because the cats were running up the telephone pole 🙂 Ignore that canter bucking stuff it will all go away here shortly as he gets more comfortable in his body and stronger in behind. He also thinks being bad gets him off the hook so we cantered until he behaved and then stopped..well stopped before we approached the telephone pole that cats were running up. My horses will be bomproof to chaos and crazy cats.

I showed it to Allie and said what do you think and she asked if he had seen the chiropractor. He had when he arrived but he wasn’t in work yet and I was already on that wave of thinking so the chiropractor was scheduled yesterday. It’s neat to not really say anything to them and see what is discovered. She starts working on him and said oh boy his muscles are pretty sore and showed me some of his areas that were causing discomfort. Bingo! His whole left side was sore especially near the rib area and his left hind. She always goes over the whole body and we jog them before and after (she is a vet) so it really helps to have her eyes and hands on the horses. She agreed it is all just muscular and he looked sound so just keep slowly increasing the work. I figure as I started to work on the lunge line and teach him how to stretch it worked a lot of new muscles just like a person who is just starting to work out after sitting on the couch.

It’s easy to panic when you see them moving short and looking funky but you have to gently push through the discomfort with lots of trot work on straight lines continuing to build the muscles as you go. I always feel like it’s okay to help them out with a bit of bute because we take some ibuprofen when we use our new muscles and are increasing our work load. I’m not for masking pain at all just helping the horse get comfortable as you recondition.

We also did chiro on Jacob J who was also quite uncomfortable. I’ve never seen a horse shake and lick their lips but he was doing it out of enjoyment after his adjustment. He almost seemed suprised he could look to the right and we all got a good laugh out of that. She adjusts them and then asks them to bring their head around and when he did the right stretch he just stayed in that position like OMG I can bend to the right. He is such a cutie and I will get some more recent video of him. He is going really well and looks cute with his new clip job. He has the advantage of having been off the track for a lot longer so he isn’t muscle sore but his body needed some adjusting. He was ponying horses at the track and I imagine you get slammed around quite a bit doing that job!