Pennsylvania

Jun
2012
17

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

AKA Miss Ten Oaks

I spent the day in PA at After The Races. The lovely farm I adopted my adorable filly from. It was really nice to hang out with them, they are good folks doing good things with rehabbing and re-homing Thoroughbreds. They have a slew of great horses all in different stages. Some recovering from injuries, some just getting started under saddle and some being let down and getting used to being horses again. It was great to see “Oakley” being worked in the round pen avoiding obstacles and making good decisions. She was the ex racer I originally went to check out way back in Feb. At that time she had been on the farm just a couple weeks and wasn’t ready to go to anyone and I fell in love with Jezebel anyways. Oakley was very shy and cautious and a touch nervous back in Feb. Fast forward to the other day and wow, she has really come out of her shell, shes a totally different horse. Shes a real sweet mare with much potential. She tacks up without complaint, likes her face rubbed, and nuzzled my neck like she was trying to tell me secrets. She is going to make someone a really nice horse! If I could have smuggled her home in the back of my SUV I would have.

Up against the wall!

It really helped me to spend the day out there. I got to see that some of my fillies habits are just race horse things and its not uncommon for them to want to get as close to one wall as possible when getting washed or to dance around when being tacked up. Both things my girl does. I’m sure eventually  I can change those behaviors and I will try to, step by step and day by day. It’s just good sometimes to connect with people who love horses the way you do and who have similar mindsets. It was a really lovely day and I hope to take the drive up there again sometime soon.

Bonus: It was Chelsea’s birthday so there were cupcakes!

 

Its hot!

Jun
2012
11

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

No, I will not pose for photos..is that a carrot!?

This east coast weather thing is crazy. I come from southern California I’m used to hot, I can handle hot. I am however having trouble with this humidity thing. Egads this isn’t hot, this is torture! It’s hot enough that the horses are in during the day and out at night now. My filly has her fan so I’m hoping that helps to keep her cool. Our 20 minute lunge routine has been cut in half because its too damn hot to work her hard. I’m not sure how I’m going to get her in shape with only 10 minutes a day of serious work. Sometimes its hard for me to believe she actually was a racehorse (and one that won!) with how lazy and slow she can be sometimes. Shes been great on the lunge and I’ve starting to lunge her with her bridle on (still no saddle) and shes been doing great. She knows  the voice command “Trot” and will gladly get right into for me. She still holds her head pretty high but its slowly coming down the more shes gets into lunging. She does think “Ho” means stop, turn to look at me and then walk over to me. I swear I only did that like 3 times and somehow it stuck and that’s what she thinks it means.  I always send her right back out but secretly I’m thrilled at how smart she is and how quickly  she picks stuff up. I have to remember that and adjust accordingly to her very big brain.

Softies ...for horses who rub!

The scrape on her withers is healed but still no hair has grown over it. I’m putting vitamin E oil on it in hopes that it wont scar up to bad. So that means I can call the Dover folks and try to reschedule them to come out for a saddle fitting. Cross your fingers for me, I really would like to get a saddle and actually ride my horse. Though we are bonding with the ground work and it was a rough start ,with her being a super brat and me being  horse rusty. We’ve gotten into a nice grove and really are getting along well. Her being laid up facilitated our bonding, not that I wanted her laid up but it did have a nice side effect.  She nickers to me when I arrive, nuzzles me and lets me hug her (and secretly loves it). About  90% of the time she behaves, only 10% does she test me by pushing my boundaries and being crazy. Things are pretty calm right now and I’m pretty happy with her and my progress to this point. We still have work to do including the whole wash her with soap thing. It takes too long for her to tolerate that much time in the the scary wash stall but I’m getting faster and shes learning to deal. We are finding our groove.

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Like magic, it just appeared!

I’ve been take a little break from writing as I sliced open my hand pretty bad getting into a fight with the food processor and subsequent infection and course of antibiotics (ack!) Nine finger typing makes things a little more difficult.  Jezebel is much better though, her hoof seems to be healed and I am taking steps to harden it so this abscess thing doesn’t become chronic. If it wasn’t for the 8 inch mystery scrape on her withers we could resume our saddle hunt. Le sigh, if its not one thing its another. I’m hoping my hand and her withers will heal in sink and then we can get on with the business her retraining. Until then, back to the lunge routine we started before her abscess took her out of commission for a while.She was doing really good with that, i hope she didn’t forget all the progress we made.

The weathers heating up quite a bit and the horses are being kept in on the really hot days and let out at night when it cooler. I ordered her a fan for her stall so hopefully that will help cool my pretty girl down and I’m going to have to either start going to the barn super early before it heats up or later in the afternoon or early evening when its cooling down. I haven’t really decided whats going to work best for us both. I suppose i will figure it out in due time.

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

This is what 600+ bucks looks like

I am learning more about hoof abscess then I ever thought I would. My filly is still laid up with hers. I called in the vet last week to check her out since her abscess wants popping and she was pretty ouchy. My vet was able to find the track and pop it. Yay! however there are now concerns about her back left hind hoof. The infection was on the same track as the last abscess though my vet feels its a different infection and not a re0infection due to the amount of time that had passed. So in order to address her susceptibility to the abscess we’ve done a couple of two day wet wraps to draw out her infection and put her on stall rest (which she hates.. a lot)

This is your horse on drugs...

Bonus.. my filly has become increasingly fussy with regards to her hoof so in order to wrap her hoof or remove a wrap for that matter she needs to be sedated. Which means I have to have the vet down every time this needs to be done. I’ve had them down 3 times over the last week. Lucky me. Jezebel gets looped up on sedation and her foot wrapped for two days and I get a nice big fat bill to pay. Such is the joy of having a horse in your life, they often come with unforeseen expenses.

What bored horses on stall rest do

Preventative action will be taken with her left hind hoof to insure that this does not become a chronic problem. In a couple more days i’m going to Keratex putty the hole in her toe and begin the process of hardening her hoof  in hopes that will help this hoof to get stronger and avoid another recurrence. I’ll be happy when i can put this hoof thing behind me and Jezebel will be thrilled to go out with the herd again. Cross you fingers for us

Its back!

May
2012
04

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Getting checked out

When I went to get my pretty filly out of the back field the other day she was slow and sluggish. usually shes bouncy and happy the other day… not so much. At first I figured it was the heat. The sun was shinning hot and the humidity was high. I took her to the field trough and let her drink before I took her in for our daily lunge work out. Standing at the trough she was holding her left hind awkward. She didn’t seem to be limping at all but on the sharp turns to get her out of the filed gate she was definitely having trouble with the back left. I had one of the trainers at my barn look her over with me and  it looked like it might be an abscess. Not Again! I called my barn manager and we were all in consensus that it was likely an abscess. Lucky for me my awesome farrier was going to be there in an hour to work on a bunch of horses and when she showed up she looked over my girl. Yup its abscess and in the same hoof as 2 an a half months ago only this time it’s deeper and we couldn’t get it poked to drain. Looks like I was going to have to call the Dover people and cancel the saddle fitting appointment I made for this coming Sat. The fitting it took me 3 weeks to schedule since they are in VA and I’m in MD. Can’t do a saddle fitting with a lame horse. Ugh!

I began the ritual abscess care starting with soaking her foot, which she doesn’t like for several reasons.

1. she is not happy in the wash stall

2. she doesn’t like to stand sill in cross ties that long

3. she is not happy in the wash stall

Youre soaking in it

Worse then soaking her foot, which I can accomplish is wrapping her hoof. Yeah she pretty much hates it and has no issues letting that be known. Last time I went though it  she cow kicked me. This time I’m more prepared (and faster).

Day one of wrapping went really well! I was so pleased, she let me pack it and wrap it. It wasn’t pretty but it was on and I was relieved. My farrier said to just let her go out with the herd in the field, that this one looked like it was probably going to come out the coronary band and not the toe like last time, it was pretty deep and that walking around will help the process. The next day, she was in the field with her wrap on and in pretty good spirits and happy to see me and not really favoring the left hind too much. I started the process again. Soak, walk around, soak again and wrap. We did really good until “wrap” She was having none of it. I got as far as packing the hoof and getting the vet wrap on. The duct tape pad? Yeah that wasn’t going to happen. I got it part way on then the fight really started. My monster horse was back, kicking, unhappy, uncomfortable and 1100 lbs of protesting. The hoof wrap was a mess but it was on.. sorta. It was misaligned and looked terrible. She wouldn’t put her foot down, she was holding it high and tight. I began to second guess myself. Was it on too tight, did I do something wrong, why wont she put her foot down. I got my scissors and cut it off. I was defeated and I also threw my back out. Awesome. So instead of fighting with her I put her in her stall and told her she was going to have to pretend she was in the wild tonight where horses don’t get their hooves wrapped for abscess.

I resigned myself to coming back the next day and starting all over. Every day is an opportunity for a fresh start. This is going to be a long and ouchy process for her and it looks like its going to be one for me too.

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Pretty filly

Ground work, ground work , ground work, that’s my new theme. Since I have no saddle at the moment I’m focusing on lunging my filly. I’ve taken to lunging her for 20 minutes a day trying to get her into a routine. I bring her in from the field, groom her, put on her splint boots and caveson and we do 10 minutes in each direction walk to trot, trot to walk, and back again. Our circles are looking less and less like D’s and more and more like circles, which I’m pretty pleased about. She is picking up the voice commands but doesn’t have them entirely yet. Her trot is often calm and collected which makes me happy, when shes in a groove shes really in the groove. When shes not, she’s stubborn forgetting she knows English, extra speedy at the trot and carries her head very high in the air. Which doesn’t make me happy. We don’t canter yet, when I have tried to get her to canter on the line its pretty clear she doesn’t know what I’m asking her to do,  the few times she did canter on the line she got very wound up and turned from being my sweet lovely filly to my not so sweet wound up racehorse. As a result I’m working more on the walk trot and not trying to get her to canter every session. I’m just throwing that in periodically. I know eventually we will get there. I’m in no rush.

Jezebel settles right into her lunging now, that is once I get her to the ring to work. Before I get her to the ring though can be trying. She now understands that the caveson means work and therefore is putting up a real fight when its time to put it on her. Shes never been real good at bridling or haltering it’s something that i know needs a lot of work. This new temper tantrum she throws with the caveson on a whole different level. I’ve tried positive reinforcement and  treat tricking to some small measure of success and I never let her win the fight I always get the caveson on and we get to work but man it’s a struggle.

Not quite sure how I’m going to solve this new challenge other then always win until she just gives up and realizes that I will in fact always win. The caveson will go on and we will go to work…every…single…time. Shes a smart girl but shes also a strong willed and stubborn girl. So it could be the next session when the light bulb goes off in her brain or it could be months. Time will tell.

 

posted by on Book Review, OTTB, Training

Step one... read

After my really disappointing day a few weeks ago with my filly I decided to read some books. Its something I do a lot. When I get stuck anywhere in life I find a book on the subject, often I find many books on the subject and read and absorb and read and absorb. It’s a habit I picked up as a very little girl which also is why I think I can learn and do anything but that’s a tale for another day.

I bought Beyond The Track by Anna Ford. I couldn’t wait for it to get here cursing myself for not paying expedited shipping. When it did arrive I read it immediately, ignoring everything else. I was taking a horse break so I didn’t need to be at the barn, I just read and absorbed and thought about what I was reading and how it applied to me and my ex racer. My first thought was, wow I wish I had gotten this book before or right when my filly first arrived. Its helpful but it’s basic. It’s more about horses right off the track not horses that have been let down for months like mine was. I think if I had read it right off the bat I would have gotten much more out of it, being a couple months in I already trial and erred much of what the book talks about. It’s a good fast read and the author has much experience with OTTBs since she is the driving force behind New Vocations Horse Rescue. If your looking for a training program, ways to approach flat work, exercises you can try, ways to teach your OTTB to bend, this book doesn’t really give it to you,  you will have to devise that yourself. If you’re looking for answers as to why your OTTB might be hard to handle on the ground, If you want to know how racehorses are trained at the track and get some insight into how your OTTB might think this book might have the answers your looking for. The author does a good job and is generous sharing her experiences with many OTTBs and some issues that are specific to horses off the track but its a good start but its not the bible of OTTB I was looking for. I’m not sure if the book I want exists I’ll just have to read them all to find out.

 

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Saddles and tack

HDR All Purpose Saddle

This saddle hunt is making me insane and that’s putting it mildly. My girl is hard to fit which is making this process harder. I’m not made of money which is making it doubley as frustrating. Of course everything over a few grand fits her and fits her well, everything under.. nope. The boyfriend took a day off of work so we could drive to VA ( cuz VA is for saddles not lovers) to pick up a saddle from good ole Dover. After sitting on the barrel in a few different makes and models the best i came up with was a Henry De Rivel all purpose. This HDR was also on super sale, which is to say it was not over a thousand bucks. It was my best bet in there that day and i took it home with me after a drive back to MD though Friday rush hour traffic.. yeah i miscalculated that, doh!

I was excited and hopeful that this HDR would fit my girl or that it could be made to fit her with some re-flocking. The next day I went to the barn and enlisted the most experienced hose trainer there to give it a look  with me and give me her thoughts. Her basic attitude was “well it didn’t suck” okay so this one didn’t fit ether. why I expected or hope for it to I dunno. It wasn’t terrible but it bridged slightly and the angle to the withers was slightly narrow. the question i sent off to my saddle fitter along with pictures, video if the saddle girthed unpadded, video of the saddle padded and girthed with my girl on the lunge line at a walk and a trot was… can you make it fit!?! I only had a few days to make the decision on this saddle before i had to return it or buy it… so yeah I’m still waiting to hear back from my saddle fitter and today I’m about to drive my happy ass back up to nowhere VA to give this saddle back. Another disappointment for sure.

While I was at Dover the women helping me who btw was pretty awesome and helpful. She wanted me to get the right saddle not just any saddle told me that Dover will come out to me with 5/6 saddles and do a free fitting and they do it with you in motion on the horse. Oh and its a FREE service they offer. This was the first I heard of this and when I go back there today to return what i hoped would be my saddle for years, I’m going to take them up on it and get the wheels working. I totally liked my saddle fitter he was nice, seemed to know what he was doing and came very highly recommended but this process isn’t working for me and I need to find another one. I’m going to try to over lady and get as good a fitting saddle as I can then see about getting it flocked to perfection for my girl. Even if I have to spend a little more to do it on a saddle in the end. This back and forth and hurry up and wait is not a process I flourish in and its already frustrating to me because its very slow going and I’m way out of my element.

So i drive back to nowhere VA today … wish me luck.

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Work you say?

Since I do not have a saddle that fits my girl yet, we are going back to square one. The lunge line. I’m going to be very aggressive with the ground work with my filly. She needs it and I think I do to. So after about a week off from horse land, a landslide of work and out of town holiday guests made that pretty easy, it was time to put my new ground work plan into action. I hiked to the back field and got my girl ready for some ground work in the indoor ring. It was the first time I put her splint boots on her and being a race horse she didn’t bat an eye to them and lucky me they fit. (Cuz nothing ever seems to fit my girl) Next up her cavason, my gloves, a dressage whip and off to the ring we went. It was a quiet afternoon at the barn which helps keep her focused. Though my barn is a boarders only barn with no lesson program, it can be a very active place. Today was calm and quiet…score!

My first command to her was “Out” we’ve worked on this before and she readily complied with walking in a circle on the line as today she didn’t forget she spoke English, which she sometimes does when shes being stubborn. We walked to warm up then we went right into trot. “Trot” is another command we’ve been working on. I’m pretty sure she has no idea what this voice command mean yet but she did trot. Trot, trot, trot, zoom, zoom, zoom after a few minutes she slowed down to a really pretty relaxed easy collected trot. She was beautiful, this girl is a really pretty mover.  Now her bending leaves a lot to be desired and by that I mean she well doesn’t bend. She also is still working on making an actual circle. Her circles are more in the shape of a capital D but with practice and patience I’m sure we will get there. We did some transitions from trot to walk from walk to trot and she was really doing well. She wanted to work, I think she must have been bored during her week off. After about 10 minutes we worked the other direction and my girl did great. She again got into the grove of that collected slow trot with her neck extended and low looking mighty fine.

Our 20 minutes of work was up and I couldn’t have been happier with her trying so hard for me. Before we left the indoor arena I took her to the other end where someone had left  couple of ground poles down on the ground. I decided to trot her over the poles to see how she reacted to them. We did a couple of trot circles to warm up then I eased her to trot over the poles and hot damn if my girl didn’t trot over the first one then jump over the second. We went again and this time she jumped over them both as if it was a baby bounce! Boing boing! I brought her in from the line and gave her a giant hug…. seems I got me jumper.

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Saddles and tack

Im sure this one wont fit either

I like all job titles with the word “master” in them. Master Of Whiskey being my favorite, though this time my brush with a “master” title, was a master saddler.  When my saddler asked me “what is the plan” I told him we were starting from scratch. So we started off with him examining my filly and yes shes got a couple of sore spots. Shes more developed on the left (hello racehorse), a longer back, high withers and it seems as if she will need a medium tree. I should have long flaps and a 18 inch seat because lets face it I’m a tall, leggy girl. He then took a look at my Lovatts and Rickkets saddle and like I thought there’s no way that will fit her, its not adjustable for her. Well now I really am starting from scratch. Next we tried on a few saddles my saddler had with him and of course the super expensive ones looked and fit her awesome. Lucky for me my saddler gave me some ideas of the kinds and brands of saddles he think might work for my pretty girl ranging from what I could find used to stuff that is not even in my realm of possibilities.  Basically I now have some choices.

Now I have to pull some saddles both new and used and see how they fit my girl. Since my saddler is in VA and I’m in MD I’ll shot pictures of her girthed up (no pad) in the saddles I pull. Front, side and back and my saddler will let me know which once are possibilities and which once are not. Then I have to bring him back to check her out in motion with the narrowed down saddle choices. Hopefully then I will have a saddle. Oh another little bonus, my girl being only 4 means shes going to grow and change so it was suggested I not buy my dream saddle just yet and if i do get a new one, get one with an adjustable tree. Yeah, this is going to be a long and involved process. In the end though it will be worth it, to have a well fitting saddle for my pretty pretty pony.