Monthly Archives: August 2011

Having passion for what you do

I have to say that it’s been a great few months for me in terms of selling horses. We have been finding horses new homes fairly quickly and I have made some great new contacts.

Last night, I showed horses to a buyer who was supposed to arrive around 5ish but got held up in a work meeting. She called and asked was it still okay to come much later and I was totally game. We ended up riding the horses under the lights and having a bunch of fun. I got a lovely email from her today that said

I didn’t realize I kept you out there so late….sorry for that, and thanks for your hospitality. Your husband, kitties, horses, and yourself are the tops. CANTER is fortunate.

That really makes me feel great and I felt the same about her. I always do my best to be honest about the horses and make the shopping process easy. I really enjoy meeting new people and trying to make the right matches between horses and riders. I LOVE what I do and I really love my horses. I want nothing more to have everyone be happy and I have no qualms in saying it’s not a good match or steering a person another direction if needed. We are never in a hurry to sell a horse just to get it sold. I think that gives me great freedom to really figure out just what a horse wants to do in it’s life and find the right home for the horse the first time around.

Allie and I have been doing some brainstorming recently and we want to do a blog on buyers shopping experiences with CANTER and highlight some of our success stories. I don’t think that Allie or I are the types of people who toot our own horn very often so we shall let other people do it for us 🙂

Many people don’t even realize that CANTER Mid Atlantic owns horses and when they hear that, sometimes they think we are a rescue. I don’t think of us as a rescue at all because the horses that are donated to us are well cared for and I would say 80% are sound with no issues at all.  We want to get the word out that we are a great source for those shopping for well started Tb’s from sellers who are easy to work with.

If you would like to share your any of your experiences working with CANTER please feel free to email me. I have asked everyone who as bought a horse from me to share their experiences. I already got one that totally made me cry. I will post the stories here on my blog but we are going to do a new blog specifically for sales horses and testimonials.

Who did we piss off?

Earthquakes and Hurricanes are not normal occurences for Delaware. When I listened to the news earlier in the week and they kept saying Delaware would get a direct hit from the Hurricane we went into prepare for the worst and hope for the best mode.

Kurt had some buddies come out to help us move everything inside. We keep our property pretty tidy but moving a jump course, jump chute and all other farm implements inside is a lot of work. Our contractor had delivered a load of stonedust just in time and we shored up the riding ring, patched up our dry paddocks and did all that we could to prepare.

When we moved to our farm it was super dry and we didn’t realize just how low it was. We had gotten some heavy rains and realized we had a lot of work to do in grading. Over the past two years, we have graded the fields to slope towards the tax ditch. We installed a big tile well in the front of the barn with a pipe to the tax ditch, installed gutters that run into the tile well, put a tile well in the corner of the lowest pasture with a pipe that runs to the tax ditch and a few other drainage measure. This spring we replanted all the fields with max q fescue and orchard grass which have heavy roots and hold up well to both drought and flooding.

We got about 13″ of rain between Friday-Sunday and while our fields are very wet they are draining well. Our riding ring looks awesome! It’s wet but in great shape and will probably be rideable today. Our sacrifice paddocks which are right off the barn are wet but not at all muddy (stone dust footing) so the horses have somewhere to be turned out on while the paddocks dry.

The horses all seemed pretty relaxed and happy even in the high winds that we got. I think we had some gusts up to around  50 mph maybe a bit more and they were scary. I can tell you if we ever get more than that I would not want to leave my horses in the barn. My concern was  the trees that line all sides of our property and also our neighbors who have junk everywhere. I didn’t want their junk flying around and risk hitting the horses so I left them in.

I had an added stress during the storm because Rusty had left to go on trial with a potential new owner 🙂 She came the day of the earthquake to try him and fell in love. She is a local rider who was looking for a TB but it had to be one of the super quiet confidence building types. She got on and you could instantly see her start to smile. They came back to pick Rusty up that same night and had him just a few days before the hurricane was the arrive. He passed his vet check and settled right in. She told me he was super relaxed and even laying down sleeping in his stall during the hurricane. The farm staff said he was one of the quietest horses in the barn. No surprise there! She assured me she was 100% sure she was buying him but she just wanted to have her husband watch her ride him because he will be part of their family. She had ridden him but her hubby hadn’t gotten to see him go because of the hurricane. They enjoy horses together and it’s a lifetime decision so everybody has to be on the same page. It makes me so happy that Rusty will be spoiled rotten. Happy endings really rejuvenate me and keep me eager to keep finding awesome homes for all of our horses.

I have some people interested in Auto Pilot so I hope he is the next to find a home. I will be bringing a CANTER horses or two back to the farm soon. Keep checking back to see who the new arrival will be.

Rusty gains another fan

Amanda, a long time student of mine, is headed off to college this weekend. Her horse pulled a shoe and she wanted to come down and ride one last time. She got on Rusty and declared him a horse that her mom would love. He is just so agreeable and willing to please. She had a nice w/t/c in which he got both leads!!!

He had his second ever jumping session and although is form is not yet perfect you can not beat his willing nature. He is not at all scared of the fillers and gives it his all.

She took her lesson on Auto Pilot and she was stunned that it was only his second time ever jumping and he has had sporatic riding at best due to being gelded. I could gush on and on about this horse because he is just that cool but I think the pictures speak for themselves. I have advertised him for $2500 and I was talking to Allie this morning and she said maybe it’s too cheap and people think there is something wrong with him. I think maybe it’s because he is a 10yr but he is so athletic and naturally talented. There isn’t at thing wrong with him and anybody would have a blast on him. I wanted to see how he went with somebody else riding and he was super.

We had a great time hanging out and playing with all the horses last night.

First jumping sessions galore

Weee I love teaching the horses how to jump. It’s kind of scary, funny and thrilling all in one. Scary because they are just so darn clueless and you hope it goes well. Funny because they feel like a drunk version of gumby weaving down to the jumps. Thrilling because is there anything better than sitting on a horse who you know just totally figured it out? They go from duh to got it all in one session. I also love those who are super brave and just happy to jump whatever you point them at.

I spent friday making an awesome jump course bringing out all the fillers and then got rained out. Seems like we get almost an inch of rain a day right now. Nothing like getting it all at once after super dry weather for so long. I like leaving the fillers but modifying them for the babies.

Pilot is a super cool horse and pretty game about it all. He has such a good feel to his canter but for now we shall just trot the jumps because he needs to learn his footwork first. He started out very confused by it all. I just asked him to walk over the little x-rail and he sort of walked over and then went OMG now what and came backwards taking some poles with him. No worries as this is totally normal. We broke the jump down even more to a pile of poles and gradually raised it up and then he had it figured out!

He wasn’t quite sure about this tarp so he wanted to sniff it  and then he stepped right over. Good boy!

He was pretty bored with the the height by the end but that is okay.

Little video

If you watch closely you can see him land over the last little yellow gate and swap his lead. He is very naturally balanced and smart about his leads. I adore this horse and need to ramp up his marketing as nobody has even came to see him yet. You can’t help but to fall in love with him. I find myself just beaming after I get off.

I got up bright and early this morning to get the horses ridden before the next round of storms came in. Rusty was slotted for his first jumping session and in typical Rusty format he was overly chill about it all. Didn’t even hesitate at any of the jumps but didn’t find it necessary to really pick his feet up either. No interest in cantering away from the jumps and at this stage I didn’t push for it.

Flowers = boring

Didn’t even glance at the horse eating tarp

The crazy cat ran right by him and he didn’t even flick an ear. He is the perfect horse for the rider who just wants to have fun and not worry about their horse being silly. You just get on him and go..well hope that he wants to go because he is slow 🙂

A little Auto Pilot video

I talked about Auto Pilot in a previous post but I’m amazed at how far along he has come in such a short time especially considered he has gotten gelded and is still pretty ouchy back there. You always sort of wonder why they stopped racing and in his case why he was in the kill pen. With an unknown history you just have to start them out and see what you have. When he arrived he was super thin and lacking in any sort of muscle. He had no fitness at all and wasn’t even strong enough to canter. I doubt he was getting any turnout based on the lack of muscle that he had.

He is a really comfortable horse to ride and I just love his canter. I am sure his gaits will improve even more as he builds up muscle and strength. He is just so willing to please, like all Tb’s 🙂

The cutest thing is that he buddied up with the big 3yr (Bratty Buck) who was the outcast and they play like babies. Being a stallion, I am sure he didn’t have much of a childhood so he is reliving it in full force. They rear up at each other, play fight, groom each other and just hang out. They are best of buds and it makes me smile seeing them so happy together. Letterman and Rusty are best of buds and tend to go off and do their own thing leaving the big red horses together.

Anyway…here is a little video. You know you need another horse! 16.2, sound, no vices, quiet and really pretty.

Flooded but happy

Wow, we really did need the rain but perhaps not all at once. We have gotten about 5″ but lots of people around us have had more than that. Our grass is super happy and the horses have enjoyed rolling in the mud.

I have a bunch to catch up in terms of horses. I will start with Rusty because he deserves to go first. He has been an absolute super star and just tries so hard. It’s always a challenge figuring out how much to do with these guys in the beginning because they don’t have any muscle. I have just been very lightly riding him, went on a trail ride and this weekend we did a little intro to jumps. He takes everything in and gives it his all.

A little video of him. You can just ride on the buckle and he is very happy to just go along. He is sweet, quiet and suitable for any rider. He is just such a nice horse!

Letterman had a light stretch day on friday/saturday and felt super! He is really doing well.

I can’t recall if I have talked about this other horse that I took in as a favor? His name is Auto Pilot and he is a really cool 10yr that is now gelded but previously had been a breeding stallion. He is now being marketed in hopes to find him a great home. Isn’t he gorgeous!

The poor guy got gelded and two weeks into it developed a little infection despite my best care. The measure of a truly kind horse is one who allows you to scrub, cold hose and squirt stuff up into his private parts without even lifting a leg. He also endured the nasty penicillin shots like a total gentleman. I just can’t say enough good things about how kind and sweet he is. He is super well broke, nice mover and just plain fun.

Letterman, Rusty and Pilot are three nice horses if anybody is looking.

Over the weekend, I finally got my client’s big 3yr out to his first xc school. We met up with my mom who is riding Hold that Halo who is another CANTER MA owned horse that she working towards buying. They both were absolutely awesome even in a steady pouring rain. Halo jumped everything and was giving my horse leads! How about that for a 3yr! We were both giddy with excitement until I went back and opened the trailer door to move my horse. I had planned schooling him but it was raining good and I didn’t want to damage the ground or risk him slipping (hard ground + fresh rain = slick).

He made that decision easy for me with a nice cut above his eye that required a trip to the vet clinic on the way home. Horses..always doing something to themselves. He will be just fine but darn if I am not going to give his smart butt a bit of extra work. He is such a goober. Ya know it’s really my fault though so next time I will either take him alone or just take 3 horses so he isn’t left alone. I thought he would be safe in the box with nothing to hurt himself on. Well if you use your head as a battering ram it does tend to hurt.

We are pretty flooded out right now with more rain on the way. I am not going to complain as our grass needed it and the dust was just horrible. I am loving this cooler weather. I am just eager to get back out there riding. Hopefully, it will be dry enough to ride tomorrow.



Walking proud

Over the weekend, Amy and I both rode Letterman and we both couldn’t get over the improvement that we are feeling. He is stretching over his back and his really excited about his work. We had introduced him to a little free jump last week just a x-rail and a vertical so I thought today would be a good follow-up session since he worked hard on the flat over the weekend.

The last session he just trotted the fences and was a bit guarded but today he came out and jumped two fences from the trot and then went OMG so fun and was flying around. I had to throw down the pole to make him pay attention. It’s nice to see them confident. He found the 3’6″ oxer very easy no matter what distance he met it at. He walked out of the jumping session bouncing like a boxer. He was just so proud of himself and I swear he had a swagger going on and went back into the field thinking he was a total bad ass.

You can see by his carriage that he prefers to go in a very uphill frame but once he does learn to stretch over his back he will use himself even more. It’s a gradual process but I am thrilled with his progress. He is very much ready for a new home with a rider who has patience and realizes that it will pay off.

I also rode Rustyshouldrun for the first time tonight. Rusty is one cool dude and I have heard his trainers bragging about him so it was cool to finally get on him. He is a 7yr and 16.1 h. He has the best personality and such kind eyes. He has been at the farm for a while now and it’s been over a year since his last race. He was pretty ouchy on his feet when he arrived and he got shoes on last wednesday. He is still a bit foot sore but that will improve. He was just excellent for his first ride and has such a good feel in the bridle. Very soft in his body and well balanced. He is going to be a lovely mover.

He is another one of those nice all around anybody can ride types. You can just tell right away and I look forward to getting him going.

I like puzzles

Letterman has been a bit of a puzzle to figure out but that is always right up my alley. I wouldn’t say anything is wrong just that based on the way he is built it should be better if that makes sense?

I think there are many things that are making progress slow- his teeth were bad, he raced a long time, his body was sore and he didn’t have any trust. He isn’t sure he want he wants to do with his life. No biggie that will all fall into place.

Just these past two weeks he has really started to get with the program. He love to trail ride out and is very brave. We started him over fences and he thought it was cool. Today he got to play in the jump chute and darn if he didn’t jump as good as I thought he would with his knees nice and square.

I think the progress is increasing because we have taken our time and very much let it be about him and when he was ready. He is pretty clear with his progression and lets you know when he is ready to move on to something more interesting than what you have been doing 🙂 He is slow to trust but seems to really like Amy and I. She has ridden him a few times in between my rides and keeps reminding me that he is way better so to stop worrying. I need that reminder!

It’s so fun to watch horses in the jump chute. Kurt wasn’t around so no video but we will play again soon. He first started and his eyes were popping with just two poles on the ground. I walked him down over the poles and he was like..oh duh this is simple. From there we did a simple little x-rail with a placing pole and then finished with a vertical with a placing pole. He ended up with a cute little canter and big jump and we told him that he was brillant and stuffed him full of treats. I’m telling you this horse is going to be a super star! He has a swagger about him that just oozes athlete.

Here he is the other day with Amy up. Look at his muscling coming in!

He likes to “fake” a frame and is very tight in his neck and back but it’s coming. I’m not worrying about his head right now just forward and happy is the goal. It will all come in good time.