I’m just catching back up with work and home life after being in Kentucky for the past week. CANTER was having their national meeting around the Breeders’ Cup races and Allie invited me along.
It was really beneficial to sit down with all the other branches of CANTER across the country and share ideas. We discussed what is working, not working, how to grow our brand, how to fundraise and how to promote our horses.
There was a lot of talk about the CANTER business model and how do we operate on a limited budget. Some branches of CANTER only have a track listing program and some have both track listings and take donated horses. Those of us who take donated horses talked a lot about how to make the program work. How do you decide which horses to take? How do you find farms to board the horses? How do you find trainers to do the retraining? How do you pay the farms and the trainers? What should our sales contract look like? How long can you realistically track the horses for?
It seems like we are the model in terms of our retraining program. We take in upward of 50 horses a year on donation and have a ton of success at retraining and selling the horses into new homes. Allie and I talked about how retraining adds value to the horses and ensures that they end up in the right homes the first time. When horses have retraining they have much better odds and landing in a good home even if they are resold down the road . The retraining program also works as a marketing tool for us because everybody who buys a CANTER horse tells their friends, trainers and everybody else where they got their horse. Horses are sold for decent prices because we are putting a quality foundation on them and when they are sold that money returns right back to the program. I would never say we make money in the long run but we do return money to the program which is very important. As passionate as I am about retraining it is also clear that track listings are very successful!
Now on to the racing!
If you have never seen a big race in person then add it to your bucket list. Wow, talk about thrilling! Not to mention the horse-flesh. Every horse was nicer than the last. All of us would sit there and watch the post parade and pick out our favorites. I love looking at the breeding and thinking about which CANTER horses had similar breeding to the horses that were racing.
Of course now that I own a horse sired by Distorted Humor I had to check out all the other Distorted Humor horses. More on that later….
We had amazing seats right near the winners circle on the rail. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than that! You could just feel the horses thundering down the track. Absolutely amazing. We were there both Friday and Saturday. The track was really crowded on Saturday and there was just a different feeling. It was neat to see the famous horses in person and not just on tv.
I was rooting for Goldikova and Havre de Grace just because they had this swagger about them. In the final race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, there was a horse by Distorted Humor. I watched him in the paddock and he just had a tough look about him. Looked like a runner. I should have bet him as he was a 14-1 shot but I am not much on gambling. Wouldn’t you know Drosselmeyer came flying by the rest of the field and won the Classic. Wow, it was just an amazing race.
On Sunday, we went to Lane’s End Breeding farm. I had been out to Lexington, KY for Pony Club stuff years ago but never got to go and do all the fun stuff because we had to stay with the horses. What a treat to walk through the amazing barns and see all the stallions. They brought many of them out so you could look at their conformation which I enjoyed. Rock Hard Ten and Quality Road were my two favorites. Absolutely gorgeous!
We drove around to see all the farms in the area and then went to the horse park to watch some of the Maclay Finals. Gorgeous horses and amazing riders but slightly boring to watch. We finished off the day with a pedicure and Ravens vs. Steelers game 🙂 Ravens rule!
Now it’s back to work and riding in the dark under the lights. It was gorgeous to ride in the warm weather under the full moon last night. I took some video of Burgiss but didn’t look to see how it turned out. It’s hard to video even when the ring is lighted. He has some special people flying in to see him so I am crossing my fingers it goes well.