Monthly Archives: July 2012

XC day for Love and Bling

We packed up Bling, Love and my new horse (just going to hang out) on the trailer and headed over to Oldehope. There was a nice size group but I believe 5 of us started out together and more joined in later.

Love went alone to his first xc schooling and this time he was a bit upset that his buddies were on the trailer. I took him out to the xc field and away for the trailer to make him realize that he was there to work and stop thinking about his friends. I stuck him on the lunge line for 5 min and he just trotted around figuring out that life wasn’t so bad. The rest of the group made it over and off we went.

I would say that Love was slightly more forward today but not in a bad way just more of the I know what I am here to do type of thinking. I really like that in a xc horse! He wanted to go to the jumps and was very brave. He jumped much bigger over everything and I added in some bigger stuff and he jumped it with ease. We even cantered our first jumps. He hung out nicely in the group in between jumps and was happy to go anywhere I asked. I truly believe this horse is going to be a xc machine. He is just eager to please and wants to jump the jumps. He is still developing his form over fences but he is green and that will come. I admit to not putting a lot of time working on it lately b/c it has been so hot these past few weeks.

We took Love back to get cooled off and he went back in the trailer and off Bling came. I was so thankful to have some great help. Kurt went off to video another one of the CANTER horses that was there so it was a bit of a shuffle getting it all organized.

This was Bling’s first off the farm trip and he was mr. cool. I walked him out the xc field figuring I would just lead him around a bit in case he got nervous. Nope, he was not nervous at all. I did lead him over two jumps and up and down the bank to show him the ropes.

My friend Whitney was there riding her green ottb (a CANTER PA mare) and we rode around together just letting Bling see the sights. He was very relaxed and happy. He checked a few things out but was calm. Thought a few of the jumps standards were weird but on the 2nd pass he didn’t give them a look.

He was happy to lead or follow

Some video of his adventure. He seemed to really like the banks and he walked right over the ditch without even a glance. We had walked over to the next field just to do the ditch and do the banks in/out of the water jump.

My mom was there schooling her awesome horse, CMA Hold that Halo.

CMA Rustyshouldrun was also there with his owner Michelle.

I missed Mikaela’s ride on CMA Wonderful Wise as I switched out horses. Mikaela is fostering CMA Wonderful Wise and she is now going up for sale. She was fantastic for her first xc schooling! What a good girl.

I also got to see another friend who was there riding a horse they got from Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue named Long Chase. He was also excellent.

It was a great outing full of awesome Tb’s.

Bling- now one month into his retraining

I say one month of riding but some of that has been hit or miss due to extremely hot weather. He has went from a horse that was terrified of other horses in the field to now bossing my new horse around in the field. A horse that couldn’t walk over a ground pole to now jumping around little courses with confidence. A horse who couldn’t figure out how to steer and canter at the same time..that is still a bit of a work in progress but look at the canter! Remember when he curled up like a pretzel and didn’t go forward anywhere? What a difference!

I admit to being a bit disappointed on that very first ride. I was so excited after seeing him that I was prepared for him to blow my socks off. Heck, I didn’t even take him to the lay up farm because I just had to ride him right then 🙂 He had been off for 8 months so he was let down in terms of not being racing fit but he really had no muscle.  I shouldn’t have been disappointed because I really did know that what you see based on conformation will eventually reveal itself eventually. Be patient and don’t rush it.

Here he is now.

Just wait until he gets more muscle! Right now I’m still just riding him a bit over tempo so that he seeks out the contact instead of curling up.

I look at this picture and think just wait until he develops his neck. How stunning will he be then!

The other day he stepped on his shoe and bent the heel. Yep, he is learning how to use his parts..bell boots required!

I’m taking him out xc tomorrow and I’m so excited. He has been out trail riding and he was excellent. Can’t wait to see if the confidence we have built in the ring pays off out xc.

Speaking of change, look at Love! Isn’t he gorgeous!

We attempted pictures/video of him but quit when it started raining. I won’t complain about the rain because it is much needed. He will be going xc tomorrow so hopefully more pics/video then. It’s hard to tell from those pictures but he is much higher in behind right now. He is growing and it makes his balance a bit wonky. I have faith that it will all sort itself out 🙂

Both horses will have their sales ads put up this week. If you are interested send me an email-

Love watching horses in storms

Lately, I think all of us that ride at my farm have been almost a bit shocked at just how non-reactive these ottb’s can be. Whitney, Jess and I were riding the other night when my neighbor decided to start shooting off his black powder rifle. Whitney was on Bling, Jess was riding Junior and I was on Love. Believe me when I say this gun is LOUD and comes out of nowhere. The horses didn’t even flinch. Now Whitney is a cop and it was pretty hilarious because she was ducking and starting to panic. Ha, her gun was in the car and she was thinking somebody was shooting at us. Nope, just another day in the redneck nation 🙂

They shot the gun off many times and sometimes repeatedly and not once did the horses even look around. I don’t make this stuff up. They really are that sensible. I do know that not all horses are that behaved but I think most of the CANTER horses that have come in here are that sane.

I was once again reminded last night at their sanity. I had Dr. Mende out here working her chiropractic magic on almost all the horses in the barn. A wicked storm has rolled in with thunder, lightning, wind and down pouring rain. I have a metal barn with a metal roof and it sounds like all hell is breaking loose when it storms. Not one horse was even nervous.

She finished up and I went to open Bling’s back stall door and he thought he would just go outside. I figured with the lightning they would be safer out. Bling went right out to his hay feeder and as the skies unleashed he stood there just eating his hay. Didn’t even turn his butt to the pounding rain. Just mmmm….alfalfa..yum. The thunder was so loud and even when it would make me jump he just stood there eating. Love was out playing in the rain. Digging in the water puddles and rolling. So hilarious! That horse is all event horse. He sees water and obstacles as a challenge he needs to conquer.

I have a new horse…oh wait I haven’t talked about him yet 🙂 I bought myself an absolutely lovely resale project for myself. I haven’t done a personal resale in several years (building the farm and taking a risk doing resale didn’t really go together) but this guy struck me as something fun. He is a 16 h 3yr grey gelding named Senor Chili. I bought him from Midatlantic Horse Rescue. He is just a few weeks off the track so he is getting some R&R. He was quite prissy about the rain. Let me in..please…it’s raining on me. Ha, nope time to learn so I let him stay out and after a few minutes he was also joining Love with the puddle playing.

It was quite a relief from this oppressive heat we have had. Just when I get the horses going we get heat that makes riding unbearable. Due to my work schedule, I can only ride in the evening and with the heat sometimes even at 8-9pm it’s too hot.

The horses have been going so great. I have let Whitney ride Bling a few times and she fell in love with him. He is doing great over the jumps! I think Love might have gotten himself out of whack which was confirmed by the chiropractor. With the hot + bugs, I think he might have just twisted his back. He got a lot of adjustments yesterday so I think he will be feeling way better. I cantered the first jumps on him the other day and he was so good. He has a lovely canter! The trot is a work in progress but it is often the last thing to come.

I promise to finish the sales pictures/video this week and get them both advertised. It appears the weather will cooperate.

Round 2 of learning to jump

Tonight I just wanted to focus on asking him to canter away. It is way to early to canter in but cantering away is important in letting him know that forward is the answer. It’s neat to see the difference from day 1 of learning to jump to the 2nd day. He was quite good. I really don’t worry about leads at this point. I just want him to canter away. This horse is very naturally balanced so it will all come together.

I rode Love as well but truthfully it just wasn’t our best ride. I want to try my other saddle on him tomorrow because I think the narrow is now too narrow and might have been pinching him. I didn’t jump him because he seemed pissy and that is not normal for him.

I love his canter!

The trot is coming. Right now he feels like he puts his head on the ground when on the buckle but leans when I pick up the reins. I need to sort that out.

I think that Love is growing right now as well. He has filled out so much.


Bling’s first jumps

Well consider me impressed. I need to kick myself in the butt because I was sure this would be a failure. I have been taking my time building up Bling’s confidence with poles and cavaletti’s. He was not afraid of the actual jump but more the mechanics of how to go over it. It was pretty funny to watch because he would get right to it and then just stop like omg now me…omg. It was all very calm but he really was confused. I had to get off and walk him over a ground pole..yes really. So I had been trotting poles…poles and more poles..

We put up a different course and I figured today was as good as day as any to introduce him to some small jumps. He started out pretty worried so we made them all low but he wasn’t really saying no just thinking really hard. I sort of cowboy him around just making him march. He has to go forward and just think positive. When he slows down you can feel that he is thinking to hard. I just kick him around telling him you got big deal…up and over. He doesn’t really pick up but over one of them but that is okay!

Riding a green horse like this is sort of ugly. I just try to stay in the middle and allow him to figure out his feet. You don’t need to do any big throwing of the body or releasing with jumps this small.

I actually think he looked really happy about it. Confused but not over faced. He is going so much more forward and is much straighter. People have asked about him and sort of think he looks tough. I know that is the risk of posting “early” videos of any horse that comes here because you can get the wrong impression. I think that he is a horse that has to learn a new skill set. There is not a mean bone in his body. He sometimes shakes himself around but not in a scary way. I am really getting after him at times to steer so I’m kicking him with my outside leg and he might shake his head. No big deal. He is like a big puppy dog. He needs some confidence but boy oh boy when he gets it he will be amazing.

He seriously impressed me today with how willing he was to try out the jumps. I have a lot of filler around them and he was really good with it all. He was so tired (15 min ride) that he just stood there ground tied while I put away the tack. He has now learned to eat some of the mrs. pastures cookies. I had to force them at first but now he thinks they are tasty.

I had a super ride on Love this morning but no video. Will get some of him jumping this week.


What the first few rides can look like-video progression

They say that bad things come in three and it has been a bit of a bad streak for me. Gavilan choking, Love sliced his foot, horse with two gushing arteries on both sides of his foot and Letterman getting cast. That is enough to drive you to drink. Thankfully, all horses are okay and sanity has been restored.

Sometimes the best way to feel better is to just get out and ride. However, this weather makes riding darn near impossible unless you can get up super early to beat the heat. I have had a few days off so I have been able to do just that so I can get some rides in.

I wanted to illustrate a video series of the first few rides on Bling. When I picked him up he had been off the track for about 8 months but basically living in a stall with an hour of solo turnout a day.

This was the first ride:

All new horses are sort of a mystery that you unfold as you get going. The first ride told me a bunch of things. He had been galloped very deep and curled. He didn’t really seem to love metal bits. He was all over weak in his body. He didn’t steer. He didn’t go forward. He wasn’t spooky. He wasn’t hot. He wasn’t mean. He is big and I look stupid on him. Making him go where he was supposed to go was quite the challenge. He got pissy when having to turn away from the barn or go straight. He had not a clue what leg meant. Both legs caused him confusion and he reacted with little humps of his back. He could have been really bad but he wasn’t.

I took all the above thoughts and decided to give him some more time. Transition him to turnout first. Then spend some time doing groundwork and installing a forward button.

Now this is the ride #2 but a month after the first ride.

Notice how much forward he is and that he just looks stronger. I wasn’t quite quick enough to figure out that perhaps I should change bits so I’m still in the metal bit. Although he is still very curled at the canter he is going forward and I can kick him out in front of me which improves the steering. Once again you can tell he isn’t sure but he isn’t mean. He is trying super hard to please. I believe I was riding him with a whip in each hand to help me control his shoulders for the steering. This works super well just a little tap here and there on the shoulder to keep them straight.

Here is the 4th ride from yesterday.

Now in the herm sprenger duo. I have him forward..yes I’m kicking a lot and using my dressage whip but he is lazy. He will get stronger but right now he takes a ton of leg to keep going forward. It’s essential that he goes forward and you don’t try to mess with the reins because of his past history of curling. I want him to think go..go..go. Ride him a bit over paced for now. Normal canter transitions!!!!! A bit snarky in the one going to the right but immediately picked his head up and out and cantered like a normal horse. Steering is much improved. I can make turns, circles and keep him off the rail. I try not to ride the rail on any horse but this horse absolutely is not allowed to stay on the rail or many straight lines at that. His muscles are in the process of changing. It’s hard to visually see but he has lost some of the thickness. He will begin to shape his neck differently and will become more uphill.

He is another one of those horses that I think people would snap right up. Big, beautiful and quiet. However, he does need somebody that knows how to fix these few minor issues or I think you could get in over your head with him. It can be a bit intimidating to really lift, kick and use your whip to send them forward when they are trying to put their head down between their knees. You have to have faith that it will all work out in your favor. If you didn’t kick him up and out perhaps he would buck. Now, I don’t feel a mean bone in this horse at all. That is probably just how they rode him. He doesn’t understand what I’m asking him to do but look how quickly he has figured it out. He is about as sweet as they come. I have no doubts that he is going to be amazing in a few more rides. I just thought this was a very cool video series to show you just how these guys can look to be restarted. The good, bad and ugly.

Ideally, we would ride him out of the ring to get him really forward, strong and up and out but it is so hot and the bugs are in attack mode. Hopefully the weather breaks soon and I can get him out. He is just so chill about everything. I adore him. He loves people and will just put his head right in your chest and let you snuggle with him. He now allows me to fly spray him so we have got that figured out.

Love has been off with his bad heel grab. He grabbed the back of the heel and put a nice slice right above the hoof wall into the coronary band. He was very ouchy. He seemed happy to be back in work. He wasn’t as steady in the bridle as he had been when I left off but I think way better than the last video that I showed of him. It just takes time but he is on the right track.

I also picked up two new horses this week from Delaware Park. Both are absolutely lovely and I’m excited to see what they will become. My two should be sold just as they are ready to get started.

I would like to get Love out to another xc school but I’m going to advertise him soon. If this weather ever breaks I feel like I could get a lot more done with the horses.