Finding the groove again

I have a feeling that I am going to be very thankful for Count Truckee coming into my life at this moment. When all hell broke loose in my life, I was left with a few horses and the one that I had to ride was Crazy as Can Be. Crazy loved trail riding but the ring stuff wasn’t his thing. I was pretty miserable and not feeling like dealing with his attitude. He wasn’t fun for me to ride and we made the best decision to move him into another job.  He has been hunting with his new owner in Georgia and is doing really well!

I really wanted to bring a horse over that enjoyed ring work because during the winter you don’t get as much opportunity to get out of the ring due to hunting at all of our local trail spots.

The weather has made riding tough and Truckee and I have been experiencing some ups and downs. It would be easy to be frustrated with him but I always remember that basically this horse lived in a field untouched for a year! He is feral in some ways and I have to remember it is an adjustment. One of his issues is that he is a bit attached and it causes him to forget that he has a job to do.

I am often alone on the farm and riding a young green horse alone isn’t wise. I pick my moments to ride when people are around. Sunday he got a nice lunging session with the vienna reins and he was excellent. Monday I brought him out and he was geared up. I could barely hook up the lunge equipment. I had him tacked up intending to ride but it was clear that wasn’t going to be in the cards. He was doing VERY impressive moves that looked like a rodeo horse coming out of the chute. He just wanted to run to the gate and couldn’t focus. Amanda brought her horse out and things went downhill from there. It was clear that Truckee and I needed to have a bit of a pow wow.

I took him over to the small lunge ring and worked on a small circle and he was wild. Absolutely wild not listening to a thing but I just patiently waited him out. Worked on introducing the voice commands and some transitions. Just walking and trotting but getting him to listen. It is a bit of tough love a times when he isn’t listening but he has to learn that I am the boss. I lunged him all over that ring. Then when he was nice and quiet I took him back to the big ring and lunged him all over that ring as well. Just making a point that he will come out and go to work and we won’t continue to play around.

I was bummed when I got rained out the next day..this is the issue because the weather keeps blocking my progress. Wednesday was a gorgeous night so I tacked him up and hoped somebody would show up at the barn but I was sure I was riding anyway. He started out lunging in the big ring very quietly with his vienna reins on. He remembered the transitions. He still is a bit of a bronc at the canter but that is just lack of balance. He was really soft and stretching into the contact. His back was relaxed and his brain was focused. Thankfully, just as I was going to get on Amanda came in so I had her hold him for a second and up I went. I could immediately tell he was relaxed. We walked around for a good 10 min just working on some simple moving off the leg and bending exercises. Wow, what a difference in the way he felt in the contact already!

He felt great at the trot and while a bit fussy when I was asking for him to take a bit of the contact he still felt amazing. He is a lovely mover and just has a great hind leg. He was so rideable and soft in the body. I was just beaming. I had forgotten just how much I LOVED what I do. I mean I know that I love it but I hadn’t been loving it for a while. Even before the drama in my life, I had taken on too much and gotten too busy. It takes the fun out of riding. I have a better plan on moving forward but I just couldn’t stop smiling during this ride on Truckee. I kept thinking to myself that this is why I do this and how rewarding it truly is to work with these horses. I finished up with him and just hung out a bit in the ring while Amanda rode. Truckee and I jumped some jumps in hand and he thought that was pretty cool. Can’t wait to do some jumping this weekend!

I then brought Junior out and had a great ride. I have been riding him a few days a week and having a blast. He is a pretty cool horse 🙂 I mean duh..I trained him and he’s awesome but talk about how nice it is to go from green to made. It’s like all the buttons are installed. Fun stuff!

Truckee and I had a light lunge session yesterday and I hope to get a ride in today. I also know that I am returning to my former self when I found myself buying a horse 🙂 More details to come on that but it is actually a CANTER horse that I retrained and sold. He is 9yrs old and mainly has been a western trail horse but he is the quiet all around type that everybody is looking for and his owner just finds herself focusing on other things in life at the moment. I’m excited about getting him. He should be an easy sale.

I really can’t wait to get more pics and video of Truckee this weekend to show off. The difference is amazing! I now need to clip him..uh my least favorite task.

I have been doing some dating and have been seeing somebody for a bit who is pretty awesome. He came to fix the pipes in the barn during the cold and get the tractor running. He is going with me to go pick up the new horse and while he isn’t a horse person, he knows farm equipment and farms which is pretty cool 🙂 It was fun to hear that he found one of my most attractive qualities to be the passion that I have for what I do. With or without a man in my life, I am just happy. It has taken a while to get back on track but I feel my old self starting to come back in full force. Please hide my checkbook…we all know the old self likes to buy horses at the drop of a hat 🙂

Allie and I also talked about me bringing over Money for Love (the cool grey horse) so I just need to see how much I can fit into my schedule. I am feeling energized but I am going to try to do better at work vs personal life balance. I might hold off one more month just to get through the worst of winter.

The journey has been rough but I find myself constantly smiling and laughing. I laugh more now than I have in a very long time. I can’t wait to get out to the barn to ride. I think that horses have always had the ability to heal if you let them. It took some time for me to find my way back but now every time I work with a horse it truly feels like it is healing me from the inside out.

Teeth done and lunging started

It’s so important to address the teeth before you really get started. I find it fixes most of the issues that they have in the mouth. You can really tell when a horse needs his teeth done and Truckee had no steering and was just overall fussy so I didn’t want to do much until we got his mouth comfortable . His mouth was pretty rough and he had two baby teeth pulled out. He got a day to recover from his dental work and then his lunging program started.

I think with a horse like him lunging will be important. He is very confident when you are on him but on the ground he tends to lack respect and focus. Ground work will help me establish some boundaries, establish trust and teach him how to use his body correctly without worrying so much.

Truckee is ultra smart! He picks everything up super quick. I had only lunged him once before but he remembered everything. I had a surcingle on him with vienna reins. I attached them very long to start just to let him get used to them. Then as we went along I gradually shortened them until there was still some room but enough for slight contact. Right now I just want him to get a feel of contact without feeling restricted. He is so smart that he was picking it up very quickly.

This horse is pure athlete! He moves across the ground so light with barely any effort. I just really love the look of him. I love the way his neck comes out of his shoulder and he is going to be super fancy. I just know this guy is going to be special. He is a wee bit athletic…hence the lunging yesterday since the weather hasn’t been kind to us. He can do some very interesting airs above ground so hopefully we keep that to a minimum under tack 🙂

I find on these really athletic horses it’s important to be able to ride them over their back into some contact because it will keep you in the tack. So I’m going to spend some good time installing those buttons along with the riding. He’s not spooky but having him able to be ridden into the contact will allow you to ride his body and help him relax. I think it also tends to give them a place to go when they are being naughty. Nothing worse than a horse with its head in the air being really naughty. I want to be able to bend them and get them over the back so that I can ride out the silly stuff! Now he might continue to be perfect but these tools are good regardless.

He is a bit thin right now. I think just the moving him to a different barn and all that stuff took a bit of a toll. He will come around here shortly. He is so sweet and he loves treats! I’m enjoying my time with him.

Weather delay

Okay, so who else is grumpy and eating everything in the house??? I had lost a bunch of weight..damn this weather 🙂

So Truckee was coming right along. It’s fun when you can get videos to compare so I happen to have one of his first ride and 3rd ride.

Amanda did his first ride since I was about as sick as can be and could barely see straight. We thought he would be a bit nervous because at this point he was still very nervous in the barn. I brought him out and walked him around the ring and he just casually glanced at everything. I lunged him for a few minutes just to let him get used to all the tack and gauge his reaction. He was forward but behaved. He still doesn’t really know how to lunge so I have work to do there.

I attached a regular lead rope to him and walked him to the mounting block. Amanda slowly climbed up and just got him comfortable but he was very relaxed. We both were quite happy since we have dealt with several in the past few months that were absolutely horrid about the mounting block and neither of us felt like dealing with another one in the middle of winter. She put her foot in the stirrup and just laid over him a bit. He was very relaxed so she swung lightly into the saddle. I walked her around a few laps and he was very relaxed. He is much more relaxed with somebody in the saddle than he is on the ground. I always like these types! They generally have good work ethic.

Now keep in mind this horse has been sitting in the field for a year just being a horse so it was a lot to throw at him but he was excellent. Steering..well that is questionable 🙂 I had a little bit of a feeling the canter might prove to be exciting. I always tend to do the riding myself on these horses that I think might be a bit hot because it’s hard not to panic when they shoot off into the canter and I had a feeling he would. Yep, he leapt into the canter and for a minute or so he was getting around the ring at a pretty good clip. I’m trying to talk to her a bit about just giving and taking on the reins so she doesn’t hold and just keeps breathing. She said she was scared and could hear I was slightly worried. Ha, I was a wee bit worried he might take off take off faster but he didn’t. Then he came back to a nice canter. She handled it well. She has come a long way in her riding and I’m thankful for her help!

I rode him several times as well and this is the last ride we have on video. He needs his teeth done and is quite fussy about being asked for steering and regulation of his pace. I asked him not to fly into the canter and he thinks that is silly. You can see that canter is a bit of a work in progress but it is a darn nice canter in there. He did well in the ring with other horses. He happily goes right over ground poles and a small little x-rail.

This past week we haven’t been able to ride due to the frozen tundra. I’m worried about his feet bruising up on this hard ground but not much we can do about it. I will be back to work with him today with some lunging. I want to get him a bit more confident on the ground and start to introduce some side reins.

I also plan on clipping him here sometime soon. He is going to be a lovely event horse! I love his feel and natural balance. I am excited to get back to work with him.

 

Horses on the farm

I love love the trips out to the farm. We pulled in the drive and the first horse we could see was our only grey horse named Money for Love. Love is a very cool older stakes horse out of the popular stallion Not for Love. You just look at Love and he speaks of class. He ran a bunch of races (upward of 70) and made over $100k. He has clean legs, big bone, nice feet and just a conformation that leads you to believe it is not a shock he held up so well to racing.

We walked into the other field and I had to stand there for a minute trying to sort out who was who. Pat, the awesome farm owner, came out and helped me 🙂 Hey, they are all various shades of bay.

Sweeter than Fudge and Mr. P.B. were familiar to me and they started mugging us. They were playing with the camera bag and just being goons.

Mr. P.B.- unraced (owner didn’t pay bills) and totally clean.

Sweeter than Fudge also unraced and a 4yr. Had a tiny tiny tendon strain as a 2yr and has just been sitting. He is next on the list! Poor guy is bored.

Just Bearable didn’t want to be caught for his pics. He is such a lovely guy. He was actually the one I intended to take home but I was sick and trying to catch him wasn’t high on my list of things I felt like doing.

Yesterday’s Story is one of the newer arrivals and he arrived in thin shape. His trainer was very upfront that he was just going to need some R&R. He is gaining but it takes time.

This guy was also a new arrival and he is very cool. Big boy with big bone! He looks like he will be ready come spring. His name is Stormy Horizon.

I ended up with Count Truckee. Very athletic!

New homes and new adventures

Hi everyone! I know..long time without writing. Not typical of me but sometimes it  can be a bit scary what is in your own head. Let’s just say I am in a great place right now. Good things are happening and I am back to riding again. I am not 100% back but I feel it coming. I have lost so much weight none of my clothes fit..um even the way smaller clothes I did have  (yay for shopping!). I have been getting out quite a bit,  found a lot of fun things to get involved in and met some great people along the way. The farm work kicks my butt in a good way. Sometimes I throw a pity party..I mean winter can bite it but I think we all do that. I never thought I would run my farm solo but I like challenges.

I was working with Crazy and I decided Crazy simply hated ring work and needed more time before he was going to be sellable. He LOVED trail riding but he kept bucking going into that canter and it puts people off. We were going to just kick him back out when a friend came along and said she wanted him to foxhunt/trail ride. I think he will be perfect at that job so he went off to Georgia (lucky him!) and I hope he works out. He is adorable and sweet but as is the case with most horses they sort of have their preferred jobs. It doesn’t make sense to push them to hard to fast to do something they aren’t ready for and in his case he needed more time to learn to love riding in the ring. I think he will with time.

I was VERY VERY excited about picking out a new horse to work with at the farm. I managed to catch the cold/sinus infection from hell but we still went over there. I took a lot of pictures and haven’t uploaded them yet. Amanda went along and we shopped the CANTER farm fields.

I will do a little chronicle of that later with pictures because it is fun to see them all and talk about what I see when I look underneath the winter coats, long manes and out of shape horses to what they can become.

I had one horse in mind but he didn’t want to  be caught so I came home with Count Truckee. He looks like pure athlete. Um, the plan is to get on him today so wish me luck 🙂 I mean the way my luck is going I likely will get tossed on my butt but I will just laugh and get back on again. Bring it on..at this point I laugh at it all. Nothing can be as worse as what I have made it through 🙂 Truckee and I bonded while I spent 1/2 hr getting all the burrs out of his mane, tail and forelock. OMG that was a mess. The  boys in that field were getting into the burr bushes. They looked like they all had fancy dreadlocks. He seems worried but sweet. He is smaller..maybe 15.3 ish guessing but compact, uphill, nice conformation and just looks athletic. Nice mover as well. He needed some time to settle in and the weather was crappy. I worked with him a bit in hand but that has been in. I haven’t had anybody at the farm to help me due to the holidays but I will have some help here soon.

I also have been riding a former CANTER MA horse, Southern Review, that was out our NC facility and sold to a local foxhunter. I got to hunt him at Wye Island last week (I was so sick and it wasn’t smart but who cares!) and he was awesome. Galloping down the road just smiling the biggest smile ever. What a cool horse. I love what I do! It took me a while to get back to it but I am happiest when I am in the saddle. His owner was thrilled to see him go. He was slightly worried about the hounds coming in and out of the woods but nothing more than a little scoot here and there. He listened and watched the hounds the whole time. I love how light he is in the bridle and i can just ride him with one hand. He is a total blast to ride. I was supposed to hunt him again tomorrow but I truthfully still feel like crap. I need to get healthy.

So anyway..more pics and all that good stuff later. I should be writing a lot more and keeping up with the blog.

 

Protected: Crazy as can be

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22 days later

I finally am in a place where I can write a bit about where I am at right now. A lot happened since my last post.  Yes, my friend who had been riding at my farm for ever a year for free using nice horses, tack and being hauled to trail rides, paper chases and shows for free is now living with my husband. I guess I have a bad people radar but darn I thought I had sharpened it over the years of selling horses 🙂 She had a really nice boyfriend of 3yrs and they had just moved across the street from us. Not long after he left, did she leave the boyfriend to go move in with him. She could have went anywhere but there. Why would somebody even want him as a friend knowing how badly he had hurt me unless they helped him out the door? That kind of betrayal adds so many layers of pain into the situation. You know they talked each other into it and supported each other. He has her as a support system so he isn’t missing what he had at home. I do believe that karma is a real bitch. I love my husband and this whole situation is just so confusing to me. Even if not physical emotional affairs are just as bad.

I have had a lot of chance for self reflection which is what I guess you do during this situations. I am a dork and have been reading all sorts of books about relationships. Quite the education although all a bit too late. I loved my husband and frankly thought we had a good marriage. I knew I wasn’t perfect (who is?) but I thought we loved each other and made each other stronger. He feels as though I was a bad wife who didn’t emotionally support him and give him what he needed. It is hurtful to hear and some of it may be true. I admit that we had gotten very busy and things had drifted apart. I am an epic failure in the kitchen (I hate cooking!) and while I heard him I really didn’t hear him about how important it was. Maybe I just didn’t tell him how much he was appreciated and loved. I thought I did but maybe not clearly enough. I think I could have made a lot of changes if I really knew what he needed and if we had come up with a more solid plan. I think often talking about it just doesn’t work because I wasn’t hearing him in a way that made sense. Now he says he doesn’t love me or like me and basically feels like our whole marriage was terrible. It just hurts in a way that you really can’t describe.  I do see many ways past this and ways to work through the issues but it does take two people. I can’t make him try but I have expressed that I am owning up to my shortcomings and the changes I would make. That is all that I can do. He sees it as he tried to talk to me and I just dismissed his concerns because I never thought he would do this. Honestly, I know that isn’t the case but I think I didn’t realize the extent of what he needed and only he could have made that clear.

I have had to regroup with the farm. Sold the resale horses which was good. I am keeping Junior for lessons and to ride. I have two boarders and I am still working with Crazy as can be who is going really good. Letterman is leased out. I cried and cried over him. You all know my love for Letterman. Why am I the one giving everything up? It really sucks. I plan on keeping the farm and will hope to find ways to generate income and make it work. The farm is different without him. I always thought this was our dream together and it isn’t the same without him involved. It feels very empty and lonely without my partner but I am strong and I will get through it. I still have my cats and dog to keep me company. I have no clue how I will do the farm work myself but I guess I will find a way. I am pretty darn good at finding ways to make things happen.

I went a got a haircut today and got highlights for the first time ever. I have lost about 20 or more lbs so far. I know that I needed to do that for a long time and that was a big issue for him. I am disappointed that I let it slide the way that I did. The mountains of regret are very high. I know that I am not all to blame but sometimes I just feel like it is all a bit too late and that is the saddest part of it all. I love him so much that I would have done anything to make him happy and it would have just taken really sitting down and having honest conversation. Leaving me the way that he did has left scars that will likely never heal. They compare it to a death. It is actually a real thing called sudden spousal abandonment. One minute things are fine and the next they are gone. I am left dealing with all the responsibility of the farm, animals and trying to make the finances work. He gets to be happy in his apartment with no stress playing house with her. Overall, I just miss my best friend. He and I were partners, friends and husband and wife. We spent most of our time together and he was my rock.

I do hope he gives it a shot with me because I really do love him. I keep moving forward with my life and putting one foot in front of another. Some days are better than others. I always thought I was the strongest person but this has broken me in a way that I didn’t even know I was capable of being broken. I love hard and I am loyal. I would have given it my all and I don’t even get a chance. I still would love for you all to continue to call and email (info in the below post). It really has gotten me through it all. He isn’t a bad guy but I am having a hard time figuring out who the person is that is doing this to me. Especially in the way that he did it. I may never really understand. I try to stop blaming myself but that is hard as well. I should be angry at him but I feel more like the person who failed from all the things he told me that he held inside that led to where we are currently at. I wish I could see a way back but he has to reach to me and so far he isn’t willing to do that.

This is a lot of rambling. Yes, I am getting counseling. I know it wasn’t all me. I do really know that. It just doesn’t make it hurt any less. It would have been much easier if I knew something was wrong or knew he wasn’t happy. Heck even if I knew we had issues that were marriage ending. I must be really stupid.

I promise to come back and talk about horses very soon.

When life gives you lemons

You may notice the lack of posts leading up to the symposium. On Monday, which was my birthday, my amazing husband walked out on me. Put the cake down on the counter and packed his bag. I thought I had a great marriage and we had built a wonderful life together. We had been married 10 yrs. Everybody who knew us is totally shocked. It makes you feel like you lived a lie. I honestly can’t say I even know what happened. He gave reasons, the main being he doesn’t love me and he doesn’t like the person that I am. Hard to believe that you still have a very close emotional and physical relationship with somebody and manage to miss all the signs. Heck, our business had never been better. We were achieving all of our goals that we had set and looking forward to the future. I always did my best to treat him great. We didn’t argue. We had no issues. There just weren’t any signs. Maybe lack of communication as he wasn’t ever much of a talker so I place some blame there.

I always thought my husband to be a wonderful man. He was always very supportive of the horses but he never needed to be as involved if he didn’t want to be. I always tried to put our marriage first. We both had good jobs outside of the farm/horses and easily could have done things differently if needed. He left without even a shot at counseling. I am a fixer so that is most frustrating because I would do anything to make things work.

Right now my world is turned upside down. I have a 11 acre farm with 8 horses, 16 cats (lots of barn cats and some house cats) and a dog. It all seems overwhelming to the point of being crippling. You just don’t know which way to go or how you will make it through the day.

I did take Katzimo to the symposium but I didn’t ride. Allie Knowles rode him and it was so cool to see. He was amazing and showed off what a cool horse that he really is. He is sold and will leave tomorrow. I am selling all my personal horses. Letterman, Junior, Legend, Blue Desert and Tin Star. I need to regroup and find which direction I will go.

Honestly, I do need support right now. It has been most helpful just to have people to talk to, email with or just hear that it will be okay. I suppose some people want to hide but I am lonely in my house. jessicamorthole@yahoo.com or 302-598-6129.

Katzimo gets some new photos

A much delayed photo session of my gorgeous boy. Uh, do I have to sell him. I just love riding and working with this horse but yes he does have to move onto a new home after the symposium. It is fun to do a conformation comparison. Can you believe this is only two months difference? Wow, imagine six months of training. Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!

Late July

Middle of September

Big difference in his weight and muscling. He stayed in the stall during the day (the bugs were bad) with a fly sheet with a neck on to help improve his coat and keep his color dark. He feels quite different when you sit on him. Much wider and uphill. I have been writing a lot of posts on my thoroughbred makeover page so check them out here http://www.retiredracehorsetraining.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=97:jessica-morthole&layout=blog&Itemid=396&layout=default

Katzimo has been slow to catch on to the jumping but I always knew it was simply a lack of fitness/muscling. It takes time to get them strong enough to even push off and he is just a casual type of horse so he wasn’t quite sure it required effort. I have been doing quite a bit of groundwork to help him figure out the jumping. It has paid off because last night he was finally picking up his feet!



Ha, no clue about this pic but he tried very hard.


He is for sale for $3500. 16.1 h 5 yr and pure class 🙂 I love this horse and everybody who has ridden him instantly falls in love.

Catching up

Wow, it has been so busy that I am neglecting the blog. The good news is the horses are going amazing. Crazy..oh lord how cute is crazy! He has gotten fitter and is holding his canter now. Getting him into it is still a bit of a challenge but it is coming. He is also learning to jump and is killing me with just how hard he is trying. He is just such a good boy.

Amanda and Crazy making the best face evah 🙂

No clue where his parts go but he is trying so hard. The lower lip is so funny.

video of him

Katzimo continues to be amazing. He went to his first show last weekend and was very good! Dressage he tried his heart out but tripped a few times. He has grabbed a heel on his shoe and that could have been the issue but also he simply struggles to canter and cantering + circles is still tough. It takes time when they have been in the field for 7 months to develop the strength. It is coming along and he is so nice to ride. Love him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He did so good jumping around at the show. He had never seen a xc fence or when alone but he was excellent.

He found to dressage to be very hard. He needed a nap and a snack 🙂 This is his signature off the farm post ride routine. His new owner must keep up with this!

We took these this weekend. My gosh he is gorgeous!

I had bought this helmet (because it fit well!) but the built in sunglasses have brought some humor to our group. Robocop helmet. Seriously, it rocks and you all are jealous. You know you want one!

Elusive Sky (my former resale project) went to his first show. His owner comes and helps me ride horses on the weekend but she only gets the weekends to ride while she is in school. He has battled with thoroughbred feet issues this summer. It was just amazing to see him out doing so well. They had a blast! He and Katzimo are both by Sky Mesa.

Sky is a bit of an overachiever 🙂 He will learn to relax and use his back instead of just rocket launching.

Jess helps me out with riding some of the horses (keeping Junior fit!) and she was competing Junior who hasn’t been out in a long time. She also hadn’t shown in a long time but they did great!!!!!!!!!!!

With the darn bugs and hot weather I gave the new boys a bit of a break but this weekend we are back to work.

I really am enjoying Tin Star. Amanda rode him and was amazed at the difference. He has relaxed and is starting to soften. This guy is going to be an eventing maching!

This was his first time jumping!

He still needs to relax and allow his back to soften and shoulder to come forward in the trot but it will come.

Blue Desert is now just over 2 wks off the track and boy is this one nice! He is just a 3yr and a bit over 16h. Such a cutie with good movement and a willing attitude. Nice jumper and I think he is going to go right up the levels.

Such a nice group of horses right now! All are for sale so pass them along. my email is jessicamorthole@yahoo.com if you know anybody looking. Katzimo can head off to his new home after the symposium.