Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowmageddon the Second

We are snowed in...again. For the umpteenth time this year. Had my first "real" snow day however, took the whole day for homework. Naturally, about halfway the day I decided I really needed to go check on Fader. So right when the blizzard started to really pick up, my bundled up self headed out to the barn. Luckily the barn is incredibly warm and cozy, even on nights like this...Fader had just gotten a mountain of hay and was pigging out. Nice and warm under her two light layers. Decided to throw her on the lunge to give her some exercise after our less than purposeful ride yesterday. Borrowed a lunge whip and worked on keeping her on the end of line and not falling in on the circle. She warmed up nicely and is really doing well with her voice commands. Needed the exercise...I am pretty sure she is using her turnout time for eating, not playing...so I let her get a little bit silly as long as she continued to go forward. It was fun being down at the barn with just me and the horses...after she cooled out I gave her a little extra snack (Calf Manna and alfalfa cubes) and she chowed down. I'm hoping the three meals a day will help her add the weight she recently lost (due to work increase). She is getting 1 scoop of 12% sweet feed in the morning and again in the evening, with about 2 flakes of hay in the morning and 3-4 flakes at night, and now a lunch/late night (depending on my schedule) of Calf Manna (protein) and alfalfa cubes.

Whoever adopts this horse is going to learn quickly that she thrives on consistency. Her mind loves a challenge but she needs to understand the purpose behind everything. Days off equal lack of consistency which equal a backtracking process to remind her of what we're doing. Most of the time she's quick to remember, other times her excess energy blocks out the learning process ;) I think from now on we will be incorporating lunging into our rides as much as possible, just to get her warmed up and forward before I get on and start asking for more advanced stuff.

So tomorrow looks like another snow day, but we will see...I only have one class, though, so even if we're not snowed in, I should have plenty of time to ride. Hopefully we can work more on the canter tomorrow! It's getting there!

God Bless,

Thursday, February 4, 2010


So we have found another home for another deserving OTTB. Donovan will be leaving tomorrow with his new owner, Toniann, who plans on doing hunters and maybe a little eventing with him. Similar to Aldebutante's situation, this horse knew his owner as soon as he saw her. They are the perfect size for each other and with his easy-going temperment, I know he'll be a great project for her. And the best part...he's just going to Shelbyville, not too far away.

However, in this "journey" with Donovan, we've touched more lives than just this loveable bay gelding's. There are several others horses on the property that have been clearly neglected, as well as several goats and chickens. When Donovan leaves, we will be reporting the owners of this farm to the ASPCA. In a way, Donovan brought us to these helpless animals, and hopefully they will be rescued, too...and given a new chance at life.

We feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to save lives, better lives, and enrich our own lives. This "job" is so rewarding, especially when you can place horses in incredible homes where they will have the best of everything. It's so deserving...they give us everything on the track and are so loyal and so trusting.

Hopefully Donovan will thrive in his new home and with his new mom...can't wait to get him on that trailer tomorrow and at the same time, we will be shedding tears like we always do. <3

God Bless,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sometimes, the public's understanding of OTTB's amazes me.

First and foremost, if you are getting a horse directly off the track, and you ask how they are undersaddle, you're most likely going to get the scoop on how they GALLOP. More than likely by someone who never learned how to RIDE but can hold a horse. So please, don't expect some enlightening information there. Observe them on the ground and in the stall, but their under-saddle work is basically completely different from anything and everything you're going to do with them.

Secondly, the issue of trials. If the horse is free, do not ask me to take him on a trial. Do not even think about asking me. The answer is NO. If the horse hasn't been lame for 6 years, the chances of him going lame in a week or two is slim to none...unless something happens while he is in your care, in which case it becomes MY problem. Accept that he is FREE and either take him or don't. This is especially annoying since each of our horses comes with a buy-back contract, explicitly saying that we get first right of refusal when/if you decide to sell down the line.

Do a PPE!!! I can only tell you the horse's history to my knowledge and tell you what his legs look like RIGHT NOW. I can't tell you if he has unknown chips, or anything else that's going on inside. I'm as honest as I can be with the information I have, so if you buy a horse from me without having a PPE or x-rays done, don't blame anyone but yourself.

I understand a lot of the legitimate questions...soundness history, reason for retiring, temperament, movement, etc...then sometimes I get an email asking me if I'd like to trade Fader for a TWH broodmare.

Uh...no thanks.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Bit" of a change...

Fader has been through a variety of bits since we got her. Today I decided to actually find one that she liked. We ended up with a loose ring french link, which not only fits her mouth but makes her more comfortable. Rode her in the covered outdoor today, and had a very constructive ride. Her canter tracking left has improved so much...she is now straight and relaxed and rhythmic. The right lead will come with more time and work.

Due to the snowstorm, Amanda from CANTER KY was not able to make it on Saturday. We have an appointment with her on Friday afternoon to list Miss Fader. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this time!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Despite the 18 degree weather we had this morning, it is quite warm inside the barn and in the indoor, so Fader got to work today. I have been having some problems with her moving forward so I decided to work her on the lunge today. She has learned how to lunge *so* quickly...she is so smart! Already knows voice commands and is quite a lady. We w/t/c both directions first just to loosen her up and get her attention on me. She started out a little unsure but with encouragement began to move out a little bit and stretch down. After putting the side reins on, we w/t both ways...she was unsure about going forward but once she learned that resistance equaled tight reins and relaxation equaled floppy reins, she gave in. A little more resistant to give tracking left, which actually mirrors her under saddle. Tracking left she will usually bulge her outside shoulder and get "stuck"...tracking right she tends to overflex and loses her shoulder to the inside. After the side reins, she got to trot around for a few minutes without them on...to reinforce that forward and relaxed are key. Very good lesson and she was so great.

Would like to take a minute to talk about how incredibly patient this mare is. She follows me through whatever I point her at. On Wednesday, we decided to explore the farm a little bit...she walked through the mud and several gates to a pond, which she crossed, and then through the outdoor arena where horses were in turnout...never batted an eye. She is just so sane and so smart. I've never met a horse like her...she's like a person sometimes.

Today was her first day of turnout with other horses at the new barn! Her turnout buddies are Dahli, a black/white Paint mare, and Flash, a gray TB mare. I kept an eye on them for several minutes to make sure they wouldn't get into a fight...naturally, I was being overprotective because Fader simply found the nearest bit of hay and started munching. :-D

Tomorrow is a big day for Fader. Amanda, the Executive Director for CANTER KY, will be coming out to take pictures and put together an ad for her to be listed. Amanda is wonderful. She listed Aldebutante and has been nothing but great and rewarding to work with. We are very excited for Fader to be listed and hopefully this will generate more interest in her!

On a less happy note, Donovan is still looking for a home. His situation is desperate and he must be moved as soon as possible! If you can provide a home for this big guy or know someone who can, please contact us!

'Til next time--

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Settling in

Fader had her first ride today at the new facility. She seems to have adjusted quite well and has made herself at home. Was happy to see me and all she wanted was treats! Tacked her up and started out by longing her and introducing her to side-reins. She wasn't so sure about them and had convinced herself that she couldn't go faster than a walk. However, she did stretch down into them nicely. I will start incorporating them into our sessions so that she starts to develop those essential topline muscles!

The ride, albeit short, went very well. Just rode in the indoor today. Walked and trotted both directions with lots of transitions and changes of direction. She had a few "Fader moments" but was great considering the week off!

She is such a sweet mare. She loves to just be brushed and loved on...and she was so patient as I fumbled around with the side reins.

The barn is just wonderful...all of the horses are so fat, shiny and happy! And the people are so kind and friendly. I am very satisfied with the decision to move our operation here!

'Til next time--

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Horse for Sale!

Meet Donovan!!

Registered name is Belle of Ores. Donovan is a 6 y/o 16 hh bay OTTB gelding located in Louisville. He is recently retired because he was too slow and he retired sound. Very clean legs, clean xrays, wonderful personality. Easy to work around. Beautiful mover, is a fantastic prospect for eventing or the dressage arena. Asking price is $1000 but that is negotiable for a good home. If interested, please contact us at 502.550.5934 or riverbendfarmottb@gmail.com. Videos are at: http://www.youtube.com/user/riverbendfarmottb