Lack of daylight results in no pictures and video

I am finding it hard to document my training progress with the horses during this time of year when it gets dark so early. I am lucky to have lights in my ring but taking video under the lights results in some really poor quality that makes the horses look awful. Weekends are always so jammed packed of a million farm projects that we need to do because we actually have daylight! This working full-time in addition to riding/training/sales stuff keeps me busy.

The good news is that Ridge is really coming along in his flatwork. While it is not yet consistent he is starting to soften to the contact and come across his back. He is not a horse that is tough in the mouth but he could not quite figure out how to soften to the pressure from the reins. It took him a little but he is a smart guy so once he realized oh this is what you want then it all became much easier.

I always find it amazing how their stride stretches once they start to come across their back. There are times when he is coming under so much that he actually makes me fear that he is going to grab his shoes right off. That is actually something that can happen frequently as these guys start to figure out the balance. The one part that he still needs work on his that left bend. However, he is really starting to yield off both legs so the left bend is improving.

Lately, I find that I have been taking things a bit too personally and maybe I offended somebody even if I didn’t mean it. I try not to be too sensitive and god knows I should have thick skin by now but I still take a lot of pride in my horses and even when they aren’t perfect I love each of them. A horse shopper really liked Ridge and was impressed by his brain, willingness, jump and more but didn’t like his neck. Now I totally get that because right now he has lost weight and he in some ways looks worse than when he arrived. It is not lack of feeding but has a lot to do with changing of the muscles. He has grown and is close to 16.1 h but as he went up it seems like he streamlined and when he lost muscle/weight his topline went to the crappers if it wasn’t already there 🙂 I get that sometimes it is super hard to look at these horses and see what they will become but I referred her to my before and after section in the blog to show her that sometimes it is really important to look past what they are at the moment and instead envision what they will become. You totally can build necks!!!! I swear you can and the proof is in the pictures 🙂 Then I got a call from somebody that wanted to buy him outright but in the first minute of the conversation they told me that he was thin, he lacked muscle, they would totally back up his training and undo everything that I have done. Deep breathe and I didn’t respond to the comments but did remark that I absolutely have been doing nothing but flatwork with him for the past month and that he is changing shape so he is is lacking muscle/weight but it isn’t because of lack of feeding. Yes, we did take him to a few horse shows right away while he was still really green but I wouldn’t have done that if he didn’t have the type of brain that could totally handle that. Geez, you can’t win either way. People want mileage but then they think you go too fast. Such is the way of life in the horse world 🙂

He isn’t show hunter fat but he isn’t thin either. I would like for him to eat more because he does have  24/7 via slow feeders filled with gorgeous alfalfa. However, he is the type that will stroll around the pasture for hours just picking at the grass regardless of what his buddies are doing.  All of mine get the best quality concentrates that are high protein/fat/low sugar with additional fat added as needed. I personally believe that horses change shape and that some take longer to do it than others. You can’t panic and I promise you that all of them come around in time. I have started to close them into their stalls at night to force him to eat his hay. He is just such a casual horse that I think he prefers to be outside roaming the pasture instead of eating that yummy (well I think it would be yummy) pile of alfalfa.

I laughed so hard that I almost cried yesterday watching Ridge and Estrella in the pasture. It had been rainy nasty for a few days and although they are turned out in their stonedust paddocks they are small and prevent a ton of running around. Ridge went out and was ripping the biggest bucks and with every buck he would grunt as loud as he could. Buck/grunt/buck/grunt. He ran and bucked for a good 10 min and I mean really ran! Then he would just stand in place and buck and grunt. I was dying watching all of this. This from the horse that I could have gotten on and ridden despite no turnout without thinking twice because undersaddle he knows it is time to behave. He was still galloping around and Estrella was standing there eating hay totally over it. Hope he didn’t hurt himself but at some point you gotta let them out and cross your fingers.

When he was done he settled down and went to eating his hay and last night he must have passed out in his stall passed on the manure covering him and his blanket!

Estrella is doing good but I found that he needed some more basics installed before I went much further. Sometimes we just assume that ottb’s know how to go forward but all to often that is just not the case. He had a serious lack of respect for forward on the lunge line and a bit of a screw you type of attitude so I have been doing attitude adjustment. When I say move, you move. Not move in 2 minutes, move NOW! You will not kick out at me when I ask you to move forward. You will not pull the lunge line out of my hand. He has a bit of the 3yr I don’t wanna attitude but he gives it up real easy and in no time at all he was all yes it please don’t yell at me again. I promise I will be good. It is worth taking the time to do it right. Allie has talked about trying to get me a round pen and that would be a welcome addition. I will keep my eye out for one. It would be so beneficial for doing the ground work with these guys.

In other news, I went a bit crazy and bought myself three horses. I have been working my way back towards more resale horses of my own and I found some really lovely horses in NY and had them shipped down. I will be super busy but I am looking forward to it. I am not sure if I can write about my personal horses here or not. Need to chat with Allie. I have tried to keep this blog dedicated to CANTER horses but I would love to journal the progress of the Tb’s that I will be working with as well. One of these days I will do a website for my farm and all that stuff.  



9 responses to “Lack of daylight results in no pictures and video

  1. rebecca macchione

    Jess, you do not need to defend your training, your feeding, your horsekeeping, your good will in any way. You do an amazing job with so many horses and such a variety of horses. We all know that people can be such putzes. If you want a fat, shiney, trained up fancy warmblood with a cranky attitude, for godssakes pony up the money for all that and go get one. And good luck with it!
    I need to send you some new pix of Fergus. His shape has changed completely, he is approaching downright fancy and one year ago his neck, back, belly and table top flat rump gave him a very, shall we say, “intriguing” shape. Now if I could just get him to use his hind end and back more consistently…ooh la la. It will come.
    You and Kurt are the best, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

    • Thanks Rebecca! I truly don’t think people are picking at me or the horses necessarily. Sometimes it is just a true lack of education of what the let down and rebuilding process of the ottb’s can look like. I would LOVE to see new pics of Fergus aka Burgiss (Burg Hill) so that I can add him to the before/after page. He had the funniest shape but underneath it all you could tell there was a really nice horse waiting to come out. I always say buy the brain and you can fix the rest 🙂

  2. rebecca macchione

    Exactly, his brain is worth a bazillion bucks! Although he was channeling his inner red race horse in his lesson Friday night and gaily ran off with me over a silly little cross rail. He enjoyed it immensely and then returned to his normal self.

    • Ha, he was just letting you know that he still has it in there 🙂 Probably like my guys who don’t jump much during the winter and then when they do they are WILD 🙂

  3. Wondering if you find many of these recent OTTB’s have ulcers and if so, how you have handled them?

  4. You know, sometimes people just have to run their mouths because they think they know more than you – and they’re just dumb.

  5. It’s so hard when they’re growing! London shot up two inches last spring and lost his manly figure in the process. For a while, I had a bleached-out, downhill, stick figure of a horse. Luckily, he’s evened out again and is looking very handsome (and maybe even a little bit round) with his winter coat. The other day someone asked me if he was an Oldenburg. I’m glad you knew there was such a good brain under all his 3 year old silliness 🙂

  6. I’d like to hear about your “Personal” horses here too for what it is worth… I learn so much from you and when I get discouraged with my TB, I read your understanding comments and it really puts me in a better frame of mind to start with a better attitude the next day!

  7. please let us know if you setup another site for the personal horses.
    You have such an upbeat way of expressing the challenges we face with OTTB’s. Thank you for all your energy and time to help them

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