Magic

Jul
2014
17

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Vet

Lead rope fun waiting on the Doc

Lead rope fun waiting on the Doc

Since Miss Jezebel is back in work 4 days a week i wanted to have Dr Jim come out and give her the once over. Hes the chiro, acupuncture, vet, bio-mechanic guy i had come out and and who diagnosed her with the ulcers and all that jazz back in March. The idea is I want to be sure that any tude i get from Jez is in the mind and not the body. Its not fair to get after a horse too hard who’s in pain. So i had Dr Jim come out. I was lucky he has other clients at my facility (of course he does its a high performance barn and hes the best) So I was able to split the barn call with someone from the upper barn. Yay!

I got there early and dusted off the dirty Jez. I like to try to have her presentable for people who are going to have to put their hands all over her. She was happy to come out of her box suite and hang out with me on the cross ties. In fact she was down right cheerful. Dr Jim sowed up and i gave him the low down on what has happened over the last few months. The move (twice), her treatment, her work schedule and attitude. He gave her the once over and was really happy that she didn’t present with ulcers! Score one for Jezebel. He also was really please there there was none as in ZERO issue with her neck and asked me if id been doing the stretches with her. I had and the results are showing. He then went over her hind end where she presented with a little pain nothing higher then a 3+ though. So its the engine that needs some work. He remarked at how nice it was to come see a horse that wasn’t in crisis and how clam and easy Jez was. I was thrilled hearing that, it wasn’t that long ago i was sobbing in my car in the mall parking lot because my horse was broken and i didn’t know how to fix her. He then showed me a laser treatment for miss Jez and how to apply the laser/light to address some of the hind end pain and then went back to where she had pain and palpated her… and she didn’t react! It was seriously like magic! That nerve point goes up to the spine and it took away her pain just like that. Jr Jim  gave me some things to do with Jez including a new myofascial release that i’m to do 2 times a day. He adjusted her ribs and did some acupuncture and then we had a nice chat about books.

It was great news and a good visit. A little work on her engine, some work on her mind and i’m well on the way to getting my horse back. I’m having him come back in a month or so to work on Circe.

posted by on Off Farm, OTTB

Blue ribbon winner in hand Geldings

First place in hand geldings

It was going to be hot out but i was determined to go watch the Totally Thoroughbred horse show which is in its 3rd year and held at Plimlico Racetrack. Hundreds of OTTB’s in classes from lead-line to jumpers held at a race track. What could go wrong? Heh. First off this is a big show with lots of entries, so many that they have to split the classes and they are still huge. Novice hunters over fences at 2’6″ went on for 2 hours at least just to get though all the horses entered. Lots of really great looking OTTBs in all stages of retirement from the horses in their teens who have been in new careers for over 10 years, to some that have only been off track a few months. It was great to see. I was really surprised there were not more spectators though. It seems that almost everyone watching was somehow connected to a show participant. Which i find really odd because the publicity on this thoroughbred only show is pretty good. Only a handful of people (like myself) had no connection to anyone showing.

Judging the jog

Judging the jog

They had 4 rings and 2 schooling areas. A show of this size needs to be very organized and when i arrived i was impressed at the ring crews with their walki-talki’s keeping everyone on schedule that was until it went of the freaking rails and became one giant train-wreck. It seemed to start early with the in hand classes. The geldings class was so huge that it was split up and still had like 25+ horses in each class. Add to that the show judge was about 150 years old took a very long time to go down the line giving each horse the once over before and after they were jogged. It was getting hotter out by the second as it was predicted to be the hottest day of the sumer so far. They started calling for the open hunters 2’6″ and 3″ in ring 4 but no one was showing up to check in. They seriously called that class for over an hour with not one horse checking in. When i finally left after noon (I got there at 8am) they were just getting that ring under way over 2 hours late! I’m assuming its because of all the geldings in the in hand class but who knows really. I’m surprised they didn’t just scratch the class when people didn’t show up for it on time.

A boy and his OTTB

A boy and his OTTB

They class I enjoyed watching the most was the under 10 years old lead line class because they encouraged the kids to wear racing silks and many of them did. They were so cute all dressed up kids and horses alike that i could barely stand the cuteness overload. Sadly in these classes it was the same judge who took forever judging the in hand classes from earlier in the morning and backed up the whole schedule. The lead line kids under 10 class was splint into two classes but had only about 1o or so entries for each class, it really should have moved along.. oh wait Methuselah was the judge, i forgot. It took again forever for these classes to finish. I mean tiny people on racehorses, at the track, wearing silks, as the sun blazes down hotter and hotter every second? Thats not dangerous at all. The horses did really well though it all. I was impressed at how well many of them took care of the tiny riders on top of them.  It was clear as time passed that a few could lose their shit at any second, I held my breath the whole time. My fears were unfounded it was long but it when smoothly.

Green is for winners!

Love the blinkers!

Finally it was too hot for me and the better half and i bailed. As much as I wanted to watch Gamblers choice, 40 seconds, to jump as many jumps each one being worth points and the higher the jump the higher the points. They were so far behind at this point i knew it would be hours before they got to it and i was dusted and hungry. After home and a nap i downloaded my camera and i got some really adorable pictures of the kids in the silks in the lead line class. So i sent some off to the Equiery (my local horse trade paper) so maybe they can use them. That would be nice. The totally thoroughbred show is a great idea and it was fun to see all the OTTBs being put though their paces.  I love that the proceeds go to different OTTB charities every year but they need to get their logistics in order, big time!

See more photos from the Totally TB show in my horse photography site

Jumping beans!

Jul
2014
12

posted by on Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Jump!

Jump!

Jump training has started. Circe was up first with Michelle on board. After her normal flat work, Michelle decided to take Circe over a few cross rails and a couple of little jumps to see how she did. Circe loves to jump! Who knew!? Shes a careful jumper with scope to go higher then the little baby jumps shes going over now and she tucks her front legs up underneath her. Every single time her ears were perked forward and she never refused anything. It looked like she was having a good time. I really didn’t expect to be able to start this work with her this quickly, so of course i’m tickled pink. Especially because she really seems to be having fun. I’m consistently amazed at how well Circe is doing in the new place.

The in and out

The in and out

Sammy was next up to jump Circe. She put the whole jump course down to Circe’s level and when i asked her she though maybe they were 18 inches. though to me the looked bigger cuz i don’t know squat about squat. After a flat warm up she took Circe over a few jumps and hot damn if she didn’t look great going over them. Again ears perked forward every time and the tucked front legs. She pushes off evenly with both hinds and really seems to get up under herself! She took her over cross rails then a couple verticals and then took her though her first combination and Circe did it all with out complaint. She wasn’t sure about the combination the first time and showed some confusion and i thought for a second she was going to refuse the second jump but Sammy pushed her though and Circe Jumped it like a champ. After that she new what a combination was and took it like it was old hat. She even jumped Circe over the coup and out of the ring and up the bank when they were done. Awesome! Sammy thinks shes my event horse which is a surprise to me because i always thought of her as a dressage prospect.

Out over the coup!

Out over the coup!

I’ve been riding Circe alone few times now and i feel confident and not nervous. Shes been a real doll baby and taken very good care of me. I’ve been riding on my own up to the upper ring and back and have ridden her in the indoor as well. I’m woefully out of shape so our rides are easy as i slowly try to get myself back into horse riding shape. I also have been dealing with a lower back issue (getting old sucks y’all) so trotting too much hurts but i’m trying push myself a little and Advil is my friend right now. Id like to get into shape enough to start taking lessons on Circe soon. But i have to be in better shape to be able to do that.

bending in the indoor

bending in the indoor

Then Jez was up. Michelle has been doing really great work with her on the flat and Jez is being really responsive. She was so good the other day that i decided to get on her after her work out with Michelle. We were in the indoor and i just walked and i was nervous as hell (wtf is wrong with me) but i got on her and walked while Michelle from the ground reminded me to breathe. All the work Jez has been doing has changed how she feels in my hands shes much lighter. Ive always used a fair amount of contact with her but shes accustomed to a much lighter touch now. It felt more like riding the sensitive Circe then the headstrong Jezebel. I was happy that i got on her and i will do it again on the days after her work with Michelle as long as its not a crazy Jez day.

Weee!

Weee!

The next day Sammy got on Jezebel and Jez was in a mood. Shes been testing Sammy a lot and getting angry when Sammy doesn’t let her just do whatever she wants. Sammy has been taking it all in stride. Jez was very up as well and there was a lesson going on in the ring so she was distracted and quite the bossy pants. Jez really was making motions to the jumps so Sammy decided to jump her and Jez loved it. She really wanted to run through the jumps but Sammy made her jump them controlled and she begrudgingly complied most of the time. Ears perked forward the whole time, when she wasn’t rushing them or running though them. She looked great. Shes quite out of shape and it was hot out so she didn’t push her too much. After Jez was a little less wild pony and a little more settled. I think she really just wanted to jump. We talked long term plans for Jezebel before and she can do too much jump work she needs to be in better shape. Her fitness is the number one priority. Though i think its okay to let her jump once in a while and maybe some pole as well.

Both Michelle’s and Sammy’s schedule over the next couple weeks is going to be tight so i will be on my own a lot… hopefully riding Circe a fair amount. Were also expecting a rare summer polar vortex (can it really be a polar vortex in July?) next week so if the temps drop 20 degrees im going to try to ride as much as i can before the heat spikes up again. id saw this was a good week.. for sure.

One month in

Jul
2014
01

posted by on Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Pink Hat!

Pink Hat!

Everything is coming together. The horses are loving the new place and so am I. Its quiet and beautiful and even though there are quite a few horses on the property, because its so big it feels much more quiet. A month in and they are both really doing well. Both ponies are being ridden in the upper ring, the lower ring and the indoor as well as out into the woods and on the bridle paths around the 100 acre property. I think the only ring we haven’t used yet is the dressage ring. Circe even has a new friend, trainer number two’s 8 year old daughter. Her and Circe are total pals and have a thing going. The 8 year old even gave Circe a bath the other day all by herself, easy peasy. Ive spied her sneaking onto Circe’s stall and giving her lots of pets and smooches. They love each other,  Its really lovely to see. Every horse should be loved by a little girl once in their life.

Jez and Sammy

Jez and Sammy

Jez has had little snits but she hasn’t gone up on two legs with either trainer. Shes being ridden 4 times a week and this is the most shes been asked to work in a very long time. She seems happy and a little body sore. Which isn’t a surprise. She’s not fit and overweight though some of the weight is starting to come off and shes looking a little less tubby, were working on her fitness and its just going to be a process to getting her back into shape. I’m putting together some cash for the chiropractor to come out and in doing stretches with her as well. I want to make sure she has the best possible set up to over come her issues. I want to be 100% sure that its attitude and not body when she acts up so i’m saving my pennies once again for Dr Jim!

All in all its been a good month for the girls. Progress is being made every day which makes me really happy. Even if its wicked hot a lot of the time. Which i will try not to complain about too much because the opposite of hot is cold and after last winter ive had enough cold to last me a very long time.

posted by on Off Farm

Lookin for the nest jump

Lookin’ for the next jump

I went to the Maryland Open Horse Show. Not to ride but to cheer on E and her pony Austin. E also works with Michelle and since Michelle had to be out of town i was the stand in. I also went to shoot the show and pass out some of my cards (always hustling yo). I wasn’t the official photographer they had one of those but i tried to get a good sampling of the riders. Its a nice little schooling show and i’m familiar with the ring so I know the good angles.

E did great and came home in the ribbons. Though experience was the goal, the ribbons will help boost her confidence. I was really impressed with what a great horse Austin was off property. He took everything in stride.

To see all the photos from the June MOHS go to my photography site PhotosByLola

E and Austin in the ribbons

E and Austin in the ribbons

posted by on Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Dusty and hot

Dusty and hot

The text I got was glowing Sammy (new trainer) rode both girls and they both did great. Circe’s didn’t call out to the other horses (a habit were working on to stop) and after her work in the indoor arena she was ridden around the property. That means around the pond, to the upper barn and back to her own barn. Miss Jezebel was taken into the woods for a hack and behaved! Yes, Jez has been on the trail before but never alone and its been a really long time. I was so thrilled to hear of their progress i could barely contain myself.

Happy pony

Happy pony

Next up Michelle. Since Sammy is pushing the pony envelope a little Michelle decided to take both girls to the upper ring. Circe had been ridden by it the day before but Jez had never seen it. Jez was up first and after i tacked her up Michelle mounted at home base and rode her up the long drive and hill to the upper barn ring. This ring is good sized with stadium jumps set up. You have a really great view of the farm from up there. Jez did really well and though she was a bit distracted by all the new things to look at she did listen and was ridden for about 30 minutes, her longest ride yet. Walk and trot with transitions and direction changes. She did have a bit of a hissy fit at one point after i had  come in the ring to swat a fly that was attached to her belly that she kept trying to kick. Nasty biting flys! Jez thought that after i gave her fly relief that she could just follow me out and that she was done for the day.. wrong! Back to work. She was worked out of her mini fit in no time flat then when back to work. When she was done Michelle rode her back to the barn and the brave girl didn’t even flinch. It was a very successful ride.

Nice trot

Nice trot

The redhead!

The redhead!

Circe also was ridden up the the upper barn and didn’t even bat a spooky eyelash. Once working she was very well behaved. Even when the ring got busy with a young girl on a adorable grey pony came in to ride bareback and another trainer was using the ring for a saddle fitting. The saddle fitter BTW was the saddle fitter i use who is amazing. I chatted with her a minute and told her she was on my list of things i needed to get done. Circe was ridden walk, trot and canter. Her trot work is really coming along nicely and her canter work getting there shes getting more balanced with every ride. Once she was done working i hopped on to cool her out. This is no loose rein cool out, im to keep her working walking. Its almost like i have to learn to ride all over again because of how sensitive she is. Riding Circe is not like riding any other horse ive ever been on. My hands which have never been that smart need to get smarter in a hurry. Every movement needs to be careful and calculated with the redhead. I then rode her back down the hill to her barn. She did great and every time i get on her i feel more and more comfortable back on a horse. Maybe next time i’ll get on Jez… we will see.

Wild mane!

Wild mane!

 

 

How it all works

Jun
2014
16

posted by on Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

View from the road

View from the road

The girls are being ridden all the time now. They have an actual schedule. It has only been half a month and 2 little weeks into the move the girls are digging in and getting to work.

Sunday: Michelle – Monday: Me – Tuesday: Sammy – Wednesday: Michelle  – Thursday: Me – Friday: Sammy – Saturday: Me

Only I’m not really riding both yet. Ground work… yes but getting back in the saddle will be a little bit of a work up to it thing for me. I am cooling out Circe after her rides with Michelle and riding her back to the barn this week and then next i’ll start riding her on my own. Jez is being re-started really slowly and because of the rearing i’m not getting on her …yet.

Riding in here is fun and dust free

Riding in here is fun and dust free

They have both been ridden in the indoor and the gymnastic ring. Jez is definitely testing Sammy being headstrong and bratty but Sammy is in charge and Jez is learning to accept that. She hasn’t gone up on two legs yet at the new place, threated to yes, acted out some yes, but so far all fours are on the ground. Jez was really good for Michelle yesterday. Walk, trot, halt with lots of direction changes and transitions. Jezebel actually looked like she was happy being ridden for the first time in a long time. She hasn’t been asked to do anything hard yet but just remember that she is actually a riding horse for about 20 minutes.

Circe’s been really good, walk trot and canter. Her trot work is really coming along and her canter work is getting balanced though she still has a ways to go. Getting on her felt weird but good. Its funny how being dismounted for 3 months (yeah, i counted) can screw with ones confidence. I however have decided to employee the fake it till you make it technique. I’m am beyond thrilled to see the light at the i can actually ride my own horses tunnel.

So far I’m really enjoying the new place. The facilities amaze me every time i use them (hello equi-cush footing!), my barn is calm and happy and my horses are too. I just like being there which is a big step forward from the crazy town and bad juju i vacated.

 

No steps backwards

Jun
2014
07

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Showing Jez the pace

Showing Jez the pace

I put the girls to work only after a few days off to get settled. They have both been ridden by Michelle and now Sammy the new trainer and they both did great. Jez did try to rear with Sammy but she gives enough warning that she rode her though it and Sammy doesn’t think that her rearing is anything that cant be fixed and i shouldn’t worry about it too much. I almost cried when i heard that. Circe is close to calm being ridden in the indoor so its likely i’ll start riding her next week. I’ll cool her out at first then when that goes well i’ll just start riding her. Sammy rode Circe back from the indoor after her ride and hot damn if she didn’t give a flying you know what about it. Calm loose rein walking back to her own barn. Who is this horse! Were also going to be trying some new bits on Circe something easier and smaller for the sensitive mare. Her mouth is small and with the new set of eyes some discussion was had that she wants to go into the contact then head tosses and it might be because of the bit. Experimentation is on the way!

S and J

S and J

I decided that they both just didn’t like the other place. They were good in the field but something about that ring just wigged them out, especially Circe. Shes very much at home here in the new place. So with a week in i feel at home, but more importantly the horses do. I’m really digging the new trainer and her and Michelle got along like peas in a pod right away. Score! We have the days divided up for riding and my ponies are going into 6 days of work as of right now. Its a bit of a longer drive for me but my better half and i are discussing moving closer to the farm. So that might happen and cut down on my daily drive a little. Woot!

New things

Jun
2014
05

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Walking around

Walking around

It was both horses first day working with Michelle at the new place. The new trainer was going to be there as well so her and Michelle could get on the same page and all that jazz. I was both nervous and excited. We moved in last Sat i gave the girls Sunday off and Monday i started to get them used to the new place. Taking them for walks around the property bridle paths, getting them into the wash stall and used to their new cross ties. Everything is going really well. They are settled into the routine and their stall suites. Those stalls are freaking huge!

Michelle arrived and we started with Jezebel and went down to the indoor arena. One other person was working her drop dead gorgeous German imported warmblood. She was very friendly and welcomed me to the new place. Jez all tack up got lunged. She did well, she was a little bit of a lookie loo but Jezebel and i have experience in an indoor. She did as she was told, moved nicely  and loved looking at herself in the mirrors (of course she did) it went so well that Michelle decided to hop on. Bonus! she walked to the left ( her current good side) in a few circles then hopped off. Jez got lots of praise then Michelle got back on and went to the left again. Jez was being really very good so Michelle went to the right. The right is the side she usually rears on. Only she didn’t. Even when she was asked to stand still she didn’t rear. After a few circles jez was done for the day. It was a A+ day for miss Jezebel. The idea here is ground work then short successful rides, very slowly increasing them. If she rears ten she will get worked very hard. If she doesn’t then its going to be easy peasy.

On to Circe. Circe walked down to the right like a champ. She looked a little bit but really didnt care and was calm and relaxed. Once in the indoor it wasnt so easy. I have no idea of Circe has ever been in an indoor before or not. There were two people working their warmblood in the ring this time (see a pattern here?) One dud was cantering his horse and though he was controlled the sound of his hooves hitting the equicush footing was disturbing the ever sensitive Circe. The other rider had a bad habit of getting very close to your horse when she was riding by. Circe also was upset by this but eventually she got into lunging and then calmed down enough for Michelle to get on her after the cantering dude rider left. Michelle did some nice trot work with Circe and it took a long time for her to settle in. The mirrors scared her and when the last rider (too close girl) left Circe almost had a melt down being left alone working in the indoor. However even with all that she did really good, she eventually relaxed and did some good work. For her first ride in a new place in possibly her first time in an indoor.. she rocked.

Michelle and the new trainer had a chat about how to move forward and Friday is the new trainers first day on Circe. Im pretty excited because there wasn’t a huge step backwards. Both girls did well and we can keep moving forward and it looks like i will be able to get n Circe in the near future. Jez wont be far behind but her i’ll be working with on the ground. So far the new place is working out well.

New home

Jun
2014
03

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Just settling in to the new place

Grazing in the new field

Grazing in the new field

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking out the boys next door

Checking out the boys next door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field 16

Field 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridle path

Bridle path