It is Christmas at my farm :)

I will be the first to admit that the holidays tend to make me down in the dumps. I do not tend to get in the holiday spirit but the rest of my family sure as heck does. Kurt loves Christmas music, Christmas trees, decorations and all things Christmas. I would rather hide out with a book and wait until it is all over 🙂

I had started joking with him that I wanted a donkey or a mule for Christmas. I love donkey’s and mules are awesome too. We had been shopping for another resale project but hadn’t come across anything that I liked enough to buy so a donkey or a mule would have worked nicely.

I was browsing facebook when I saw a post in one of the groups “Horses for Sale” from a farm in NY that had a bunch of ottb’s for sale. I went to their farm facebook page and started browsing the albums and immediately this horse caught my eye.

His name is Hope for Spring and he is a 16.1 1/2 h 4yr Tb gelding. I am not even a huge fan of chestnuts but he just struck me as athletic and the type of horse that I like to ride. Right size, age, sex and he was sound with no vices. The type of horse that everybody is looking for which make him a good candidate for my resale plan. I emailed the seller and asked her what else she had and told her what I was looking for in a horse. She called me and went down the list of the horses she had. I could tell by talking to her that she knew her stuff and I just had a good feeling. I am the type of person that is comfortable with risk but buying from somebody I have never met and just having a short video and a few pictures of each horse makes it tough to know whether it is a good decision or just something that I would live to regret. As we talked more I decided this was going to work out just fine. She sent me a short video clip of Hope for Spring being ridden and I knew I had to have him. I asked her what else she had as I might as well buy a seriously I have no idea what makes me decide these things but that is my thought process. Might as well fill the trailer is what I was thinking so she told me of another that she thought would fit my criteria.

I got these two pictures of the other horse she recommended and I thought that I really liked the angles. His name was Strike up the Jazz and he was a 3yr 16.2 1/2 h TB gelding that had just come from the track. When I saw a short video clip of him being turned out for the first time I told her he was also SOLD. He covered the ground like he was on springs and just looked so athletic.

We negotiated price and during the discussion she said she felt like she should make it worth my time for buying the two and did I want another horse thrown in? Um, sure why not. So that is how I ended up with The Faz. Fazzie is an unraced model who sticks right at 15.2 h as a 3yr. She said he was dealing with abscesses and she knew going into winter it was only going to get worse. I had seen this picture of him and thought he looked cute enough.

Kurt and I discussed this crazy business adventure and although we knew it would be a lot more work on the both of us we thought it was worth the risk. We used to do a lot of resale before we bought our farm but when we bought the farm we knew we couldn’t take on any risk so we stopped for the past five years. Now that we were feeling a bit more comfortable it was a good time to start back up the business. These horses all seemed like they would fit the model of horses that people would want to buy. We sent the money off and they shipped out two days later.

When they arrived I will honestly say I breathed a big sigh of relief as they were exactly as described. Faz was foot sore but oh so adorable. Jazz..well he is absolutely incredible. My jaw hit the ground watching him in turnout. Hope needs a barn name that doesn’t make him sound like a girl because he is anything but feminine. He was sweet with big bone and a soft eye. There was something about him that just drew me to him and again I am not a fan of chestnuts so it was weird. He also got turned out and I was impressed. Big mover and although he is a bit body sore (a little more than a month off the track) you can see how it will all come together.

They all saw the chiropractor, dentist and farrier as did Estrella Corredor who I am calling Corey. The four boys are turned out together and they quickly divided themselves up. Corey and Faz are buddies and Jazz and Hope are buddies. They sort of interact but they aren’t quite sure just yet.

I had a bunch of friends out this weekend so we could all get to play with the new horses and see what they were all about. We got some pictures as well.

Jazz looks much better in person!

He moves like this

and this

We did not ride him because he is just off the track and I prefer to give them some time. He is super sweet and I did lunge him a tiny bit yesterday just to see what he was all about. Love him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Estrella Corredor is my only CANTER horse at the moment and boy has he grown up here in the last few weeks. I had talked about how I was giving him the lunging 101 basics on going forward, voice commands and all that good stuff. We established that he was not retired and he couldn’t just sit around and eat all day. He wasn’t super convinced so it took a little bit 🙂

He is super duper quiet which is good but sometimes that can translate into a horse who doesn’t respect the must go forward when I say so button. We had to use the good old lunge whip in the corner trick to get Corey to go past the gate. He would just go backwards and nothing was working to get him going forward.  A good trick for this is to have a person man the corner with a lunge whip and when the horse starts to stop or go backwards you give them some encouragement to get moving. When a horse tolerates being tapped on the butt with a lunge whip you can sort of figure out that they are going to be really quiet horses 🙂 The last horse that we had that required a lunge whip to get them out of the corner with the gate was Mort Robbins who is now up for sale for $35,000!!

It took him one session with Mr. Lunge whip and he was happy to go past the gate without backing up and getting stuck. He never once did anything scary or bad but again early training is all about making them recognize that you are boss and he has to listen to the forward cues. Fixing this now will result in a really nice horse later. If they get away with it than they learn they have won and you will continue to have a fight.

I rode him yesterday in a crowded ring and he was such a good boy! He is a bit footsore and lacking muscle but he is going to be a lovely horse. He is so quiet, brave and sweet. Nothing seems to bother him which is great. He is 16h at 3yr and obviously has some growing to do. Clean legs and no vices. I think he is going to be a lovely horse.

We rode Faz both days and although very weak in his muscling (due to abscesses he has been laying down quite a bit) he will be lovely. He feels much better with shoes on and I am giving him some bute to help him get past the aches and pains of new muscles. We only did a tiny little bit with him just basically enough to see what he was all about. He had come off the track in May and I am not sure if he had been ridden or not but he was perfect here.

Hope for Spring is everything that I thought he would be and more. My friend was the first to hop up on him and she said out of all the horses she has ridden at my farm he is one of her favorites (she said Dixie Rumble and Calabria Rose were her other fav’s). Hope was just naturally balanced and soft in the bridle. He has only had one ride since coming off the track but he felts like an educated horse. Very excited about him!

His poor tail had huge pieces out of it so I had to bang it. It is so short but it will grow.

We have been really busy with the addition of new horses but it has been a lot of fun getting to know all of them. I will do my best to chronicle the training process as we go forward. I know have three 3yrs that are getting ready to turn 4. That right there is a challenge! Thank god it hasn’t been that cold yet because riding babies in the middle of winter is not always what I would call fun 🙂




6 responses to “It is Christmas at my farm :)

  1. Wow, those are 3 really nice horses! Looking forward to watching your progress with them. Will you reveal the name of the NY farm where you got them?

  2. Holy moly, I want to come to your house for Xmas (I hate holidays, bleh). Jazz is already amazing and Hope reminds me so much of Encore! All three are really lovely and I envy the fun you are going to have with them!!!

  3. Jess, they all look great, including Corey. You are going to have a fun winter. I want to come for Xmas too. Let’s not forget how awesome Kurt is to help you in your mission.
    Good to hear about Mort, he was such an awesome horse. Shoes sends you a giant Xmas kiss.

  4. Ok, wise and knowledgeable “teach horses to respect you” master…. What do you do if a horse simply doesn’t GET that the longe whip means something? A few days after my filly got here a friend wanted to see her move, and I went in her pen with longe whip. Cracked it right behind her and she got big eyes like “that’s a new sound!” I was flipping it so the ends were touching it and she stood there watching me like “I’m supposed to let you do whatever you want to me, but this is strange.” Waved it around, tried to look intimidating, and she just stood there “let me know when you want me to go to you for more pats.”
    What she does understand is the bag-on-whip, which I’m not a big fan of. I’ve been following the theory of teach her body language with that, and hope she gets it when I switch to just a longe whip. Have any other ideas?

    • I’m not the one you’re looking for an answer from 🙂 but I just wanted to put out my thoughts for you to consider. Be sure that when you want her to go forward you always give the same command – one way is to point in the direction you want her to go and cluck, then if she doesn’t go, then raise the whip, then move the whip, then crack the whip, then land the rope lightly on her behind. I would have her closer so that you can give her the idea of going forward by leading her by a bit, waving the whip a bit and then tapping her gently. Then the nanosecond she makes a step forward, drop everything to reward her, and let her go. Only raise your pointer finger and cluck if she slows down to a crawl. The next time you ask, start at the beginning with just the pointer, then incrementally adding pressure if she doesn’t respond. Teach her by releasing the pressure. And you always want to strive for the lightest aid so you always give her that option that first. She’s not disobeying, just not understanding, so you have to be crystal clear and consistent. Have just been going through this with my new OTTB. They are so smart they pick this stuff up really quickly as long as you’re consistent.

  5. Hey I know where those guys came from! Yes the seller does know her stuff, and I have several friends who have gotten horses from her and been quite happy with them. Hope you enjoy these three, looking forward to following their progress…. I love your blog!

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