posted by on Life with Jezebel, Off Farm, OTTB

Yum, Grass

The opportunity came up to take my girl off farm. A new girl at my barn is a show rider. By girl I mean shes 12. She;s my new buddy at the barn, we hang out, compare our taste in bright pink tack and talk horses and school. She reminds me of my sister who I miss as they are almost exactly the same age. She’s a talented hunter/jumper with an adorable 14.2 black pony named Beauty. She goes to shows about once a month and her mother who is at the barn with her every afternoon offered to let us tag along to a show so Jezebel could gain some experience going off farm. My girl being an ex racer trailered I’m sure but this was different. Its been 6 months since shes stepped foot on a trailer and that was her trip to come to me.

I was up before the sun and on the road to the farm. My 12 year old friend was going to be riding in some early classes so we needed to be on the road by 7am. The trailer was hooked up when I got there and the horses were just fed. We let them eat and I packed the trailer with  items I thought I might need. Her training halter, lead, treats Gatorade (in case she wouldn’t drink) her rain slicker in case of rain and I pulled out my brand new shipping boots for the ride. Getting the shipping boots on was interesting, they are not labeled front or back and of course I got them on wrong. Jez wasn’t thrilled with them either. They are supposed to be easier then wraps but I’m not sure about that, they didn’t seem easy.

Everything is so exciting!

After Beauty loaded it was my pony’s turn she was a little unsure about the ramp but she tentatively got on the trailer and voila loaded and ready to go on our first off farm adventure. We drive to pick up the rest of the family (dad, grandpa, grandma and of course my new 12 year old friend) and off to a horse show in Virgina we went. It was a shot ride maybe 30 minutes and we were pulling into a grassy field with trailers and trucks and horses everywhere. We got our spot and it was time to unload. Beauty (and old pro at trailering) walked right off backwards down the ramp with ease. Jezebel well she kinda went off nervous and a little crooked. she was very excited, so excited in fact that she was shaking. I mean really shaking, id never seen her act like that before,  head in the air higher then I’ve seen her lift it taking in all the sights, sounds and dancing at the end of her lead. I was worried that this was going to be too much for her. Did she think she was racing that day is that why she was shaking? I talked to her in hushed tones and made it clear I expected her to listen and behave. She bent her head down for some grass and grazed a little. She would do that in between moments of raised head and nervous calling out to other horses. The shaking stopped after about 10 minutes and she started to settle in. My 12 year old friend was getting ready for her first class, her whole family was in on getting Beauty and her ready, Jezebel was slowing winding down and I felt first the first time since we arrived that we would be able to handle the day and I was relieved.

Peas in a pod

The day progressed and Jezebel got comfortable with the little paddock area we carved out for ourselves next to the trailer. She would graze at the end of the lead and generally was pretty good. My 12 year old friend rode in her morning classes and ribboned in each one. We broke for lunch and decided it might be a good time to try to tie Jezebel to the trailer with a hay bag and see how that went. It wasn’t the best thing we did all day, she didn’t want to eat from the hay bag she wanted to graze. She had begun pawing at the ground. That’s not a habit she normally has, I think it was nerves. Pawing at the ground is fine but she also started pawing at the trailer when she was tied to it, umm yeah not fine. That’s something were going to have to work on. I think I will get her a hay bag for her stall and use that once in a while so she gets used to eating from it quietly and calmly. After lunch and before my 12 year old friends afternoon classes Jez was as settled in as she was going to get. My 12 year old friend was hugging her and loving on her and she was a happy pony, she likes my 12 year old friend quite a bit and was reveling in the attention. That’s when her mom suggested we pop her up on Jez and well we did. All of a sudden everything was normal. Jez had a job and was thrilled to lunge around in a circle at the end of the lead with this little girl on her back, with no tack as she spread her arms out and sang “i believe i can fly”  We were all amazed at how good they looked together and the moment melted my heart.

Ready to go home

When it was time to go Jezebel loaded like a champ walked right up the ramp and was ready to get on the road. Back at the farm she unloaded with out incident a little crooked down the ramp but not as crooked as before. She was excited to be back home! I put her in her stall while I unpacked an then put her out in the filed with her herd. It was a very long but super exciting day for both her and me. We need more trips, she’s very clever girl, it wont take long before she understands that going out doesn’t mean going to a race. I’m truck shopping right now and will get one before the end of the year, then next spring its time for our own trailer. Oh the adventures we will have.

Big Boned


posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

looking for food, no doubt

My horse is fat! First my barn manager mentions she thinks shes getting fat, then another boarder who is also a vet said and I quote “wow she sure lost her race horse physique” so yeah shes off the hay stretcher now, cuz yanno… fat.

Fat and happy though… she’s a very happy horse.

The Verdict Is In


posted by on Life with Jezebel

My hand has skin on it

It’s official I have a tear in my distal IP joint ligament, let me rephrase that I have a tear in THREE of my distal IP joint ligaments. Or as it’s more commonly known, a finger sprain. Only I have three finger sprains. It happened when I got pitched into the fence  off my pony. I dont remember falling on my hand or anything (only my ass) but it might have gotten caught up in my reins. It;s been about two weeks and though its getting better its still quite painful, especially if try to write using a pen. My first second and third fingers on my right hand hurt and they hurt a lot. Good news… my pinkie is fine! It seems to be about a grade two and since I didn’t know it was sprained i wasn’t exactly taking it easy on my hand, so normally its a 2-6 week recovery. Its been two weeks already and its not close to better so I’m thinking at least another month. I’ll try to be careful of it but I’m not going to curtail any of my horse activities, I’ll wear gloves when I ride or lunge, ice it at night and take a lot of Advil.

And here I thought i got away pretty unscathed with just a bruise and some road rash. Silly me.

Man Down!


posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

My little pony

It started out like any other day, my pony was a little more excitable then normal. In fact she was a lot more excitable then normal. One of the guys that works on my farm told me that my girl was acting “different” I asked him what did he mean different? He responded “well that’s better then saying weird” Okay so my girl was acting more weird then normal. She was more agitated,  she was talking a whole lot and i was told that on turn out two days in a row my normally calm girl tried to break away from her handler and run to the field. Yikes. I thought i would just keep my eye on her see if i could figure out why she was acting up.

I saddled up and decided to ride on the outdoor ring it was fine for a while, we did a little walk trot and my girl was very distracted. I kept trying to get her to focus but i was having little luck when out of no where she spooked. I mean really spooked, I’m not sure what she thought she saw but she was at a full gallop, full speed ahead! I of course lost my outside stirrup and tried to get my balance, I was out of luck I tried to get her under control and as we came around the back side of the ring I thought for sure she she was going to jump it. I must have anticipated that and shifted my wight and she followed suit and shifted hers and pitched my one stirrup ass off and into the fence. Bam! down i went. I landed on my left hip, my left arm scrapped the fence. There I was on the ground and my pony stopped dead. She didn’t run over me, she didn’t run away, she stopped and looked at me. What a good girl, she was concerned because I was on the ground. I just sat there for a second and did a mental assessment of my body. I was fine, no major injuries, unless my pride counts.  If I’m going to get pitched off my horse, landing on my ass is the way to go. I wish I could have avoided the fence because i have a pretty good case of road rash up one arm. I got up looked around no one was around to watch my fall. Phew!  I led my girl over to the mounting block and got right back on and walked around for a while. I knew my confidence wasn’t shaken, its not the first time i got pitched off a horse, it wont be the last but i wanted to make sure my girl didn’t get too upset by the situation.  As we walked around i thought about what just happened and what led up to it and I’m pretty sure my girl is in heat. Which would explain her being super distracted anxious and yes spooky. On retrospect i probably should have ridden in the inside right where there are less distractions. Oh well live and learn and i did learn a lot, i learned my girl is fast, i learned not to ride in the outside when my girl is in the throws of PMS, i learned that if I’m on the ground  shes concerned and wont run away or worse run over me. All good lessons even if I had to be pitched on the ground to learn them.


Body Snatcher


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

Who replaced my horse!

I swear my horse has been replaced by aliens. Shes a body snatcher horse. Ive been riding her every day for 45 minutes plus and she been awesome. Shes being thinking and trying real hard to do everything I ask of her. Also after our first training session with my new trainer shes been very good about going in the wash stall and even letting me  rinse her down with out complaint. Now I don’t cross tie her in there but so far I don’t have to. We go in, I have her stand and rinse her down after our ride. Huge step forward.

When riding her, shes been very good at the walk and trot. Her halts well they still need a ton of work and by that I mean sometimes she forgets she knows halt however her up down transitions under saddle are improving. I’m improving too though I’m far from being fit. I’m finding my balance and I’m checking my diagonal less and less. I’m hoping all that will come back to me, and it looks like it might. I’ve ridden my girl both inside and outside, alone and with another horse and shes not phased by any of it, shes taking it all in stride. I’ve even taken her over a few little jumps. She’s very brave and honest to the fences! Goes right for them and right over them without even thinking twice. It’s been a great week under saddle with Miss Jezebel.

I did notice that her right hind (yes, the dreaded abscess hoof) looked a little puffy to me. She’s totally sound not even a hint of being lame. I asked my farrier who was there working on another horse if it was my imagination or if it was in fact slightly puffy. She agreed she thought it looked a touch thick in the back just about and slightly above the fetlock. She put a thermometer on it and its not hot, in fact its cooler then the other ankle. So I gave her two days off and have been cold hosing it and putting on a clay poultice to see if i can bring that thickness out. Maybe its an old race injury, or it could have happened when she was a bucking bronco in the wash stall the other week or maybe she was out running in the filed all night with her horsey pals, really it could be anything.

Pretty in pink

As a result decided to get her some SMB boots. I know there are lots of competing ideas on boots. I think in this case a little extra support for her when I’m ridding her and were both getting into shape is a good idea. I don’t want her to come to rely on them but I am asking a lot more of her and I want to do right by her and if I can give her a little extra support in this process, I’m going to do it. Jezebel now has some hot pink SMB 3 boots front and hind for a little extra support  and she looks awesome in them! It’s been a really great week, I’m looking forward to the next.

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Work you say

It’s been 2 days now of serious ridding for me and Jezebel. Lots of rising trot and many, many circles. The Barn has been very quiet in the afternoons and I’ve been taking advantage of it and getting down to actual work. Jezebel is doing amazingly well for a horse that has had limited time under saddle. She’s listening to me, trying to understand what I’m asking of her and keeping her cool though she is not foot sure all the time and trips a little more then I would like. I couldn’t really ask for more then that from her. She wants to work and shes a much happier horse right now im sure because were working.

As for me? I need some work. I’m not exactly balanced in my saddle. Some of that is my horse is still getting her balance, some of that is totally on me. It seems taking years off of riding means I now can no longer feel when I’m on the correct diagonal or not. Which infuriates me! I haven’t had to look down to check since I was 10 years old! I’m also strangely back sore. Not typically the kind saddle sore you would expect after taking time off from ridding but back and hip sore. I’m chalking it up to not being relaxed enough in the saddle and holding my body too tight. Seems I don’t just have to work on getting my horse supple, I have to work on getting me supple too. In any event I’m having so much fun actually riding my horse after all the set backs we’ve had and I’m hoping to keep up a fairly vigorous schedule of ridding to get both me and my pretty, lovely, filly into shape.

I’m still going to be working on her groundwork on the lunge line. We’re only walking and trotting under saddle right now but I am of the mind that lots of ground work can only help. I also start working with a John Lyons Certified horse trainer today on some of our outstanding issues. Like her unease in the wash stall, her dancing around when trying to tack her up and to help me work with her to get her to canter on the line and understand the cue to canter. Though I have a long list of things i’d like to work on I figure those 3 things will be a good start for me, for Jezebel and to see if this new trainer and I are a good fit. He works with a few other women at my barn and was recommended by my awesome farrier, so let the games begin!


Whos horse is this?


posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

The girls

The rain rot is getting better and it doesn’t hurt to touch her in her ichy spots so I started to work her again. It’s Africa hot these days so “working” my horse consists of 20 minutes of lunging and yet another attempt to get my girl comfortable in the was stall (which is super scary it appears) I get my girl all ready with her cavason and lunge line, gloves on and we go into the indoor ring for some up down transitions. To my utter delight she does everything I ask. Walk, trot, halt, trot, walk, trot, halt, walk. I try to mix it up and she gets it. Shes always been shaky on  “walk” confusing it with “halt” but on this day the light bulb went off in her head. I was jumping for joy, telling her what a wonderful girl she was with lots of praise and scratches.Then on to the wash stall for some work just going in and being calm. Which we did, she went in, didn’t spook, didn’t fret, I gave her her head and let her just explore it on her own. Let her stand in there for a few minutes, then we left.

Next on to the outdoor ring. It was a bright and hot sunny Maryland day and several ladies from my barn were in the shade of the communal table area we call the “tiki hut” to escape the sun. It’s got a perfect view of the outdoor ring and we often sit and watch each other work our ponies. I head off to the ring where I thought I would just see how Jez reacted with all the new distractions. Again she just did as I asked of her, lunging in both directions in a cool, clam, collected trot. Someone had left some poles on the ground so I decide to trot her over them. Yep, she did that with out a bat of her pretty horse eyelashes. As she came around the ground poles there was a small jump set up, my intention was to take her around on the inside of the jump but her intention was to jump over it. So that’s what we did. She went right for it and Wham! right over it! All the ladies at the tiki hut were clapping and laughing and one shouted out where do you think you are England! My response “Were practicing for the Olympics!” I couldn’t have been more happy with my girl, her bravery and ability to bounce back  from her hissy fit the other day and transition back into my sweet, brave, willing to please, super clever, girl.

We repeated this lunge lesson the next day but instead of the outdoor ring and ground poles I took her into one of the empty  fields to lunge her. She did amazingly well for a second day in a row, paying attention with all the distractions. Being worked in a new place didn’t faze her at all. Shes a whole different horse from last weeks crazy mare. Maybe she just needed to have temper tantrum to blow off some horse steam or maybe just maybe she somehow knows I just hired a horse trainer to help me work on some of her outstanding issues and decided to show me much how she loves it when I waste my money on her!

Hissy Fit


posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Hanging out in my box

She’s got rain rot, or rain scald or whatever you want to call it. I’m going with rain rot because its rotten to deal with. She’s not the only one in my barn with it there are several. This weather isn’t making it easy to deal with. The patches on her back and hips are clearing up with my betadine and MTG 1 hour long every single day with out waver treatment. The rain rot on her legs is slow going. My girl hates and I mean hates it when you have to fuss with her back legs, its always a struggle between scraping off the rain rot scabs as quickly and efficiently as i can before she gets too dancey and kicky. I’ve got it down pretty good but this is a process I don’t enjoy. After some trusted advice and some research I decided that a vinegar bath was in order to change the pH on her skin and make it an inhospitable place for the rain rot, in hopes it would help me quash the spread.

I prepared. The day before I sprayed her down with apple cider vinegar from a spray bottle, she didn’t bat an eye, stood for it and didn’t have any adverse reactions to it. She smelled like an Easter egg but that bothered me more then her in fact it didn’t bother her at all. The next day when my barn was quiet and empty in the hot afternoon after attaching a sprayer to my hose so the vinegar bath would be deluded, getting the water temp perfect so the princess wouldn’t complain it was too cold and after turning off the fans because the noise of them in the dreaded  wash stall bothers her I lead my girl into the wash stall. To my surprise she did well. It’s always a crap shoot with the wash stall, it echo’s in there, she doesn’t like it and though I’ve been working with her trying to make it a non scary place we still have a long way to go. She stood for her bath at first. I hosed her down and every thing was going good, after a couple minutes she started to dance a little. Lucky for me a friend at the barn showed up and helped me by distracting her. I could tell after a bit she she was reaching her limit, the dancing got more intense, so the bath bath time was over.  She got some treats as I pulled out my new sweat scraper. That’s when she lost her mind.

The worst temper tantrum I have ever seen from her. Snorting, dancing, attempting  to rear in the cross ties. When she realised she couldn’t really rear she decided she should use both back legs and kick the wash stall wall like a bucking bronco. Dangerous for her and for me. I tried to calm her enough to get her out of the stall in a calm manner. Nope wasnt going to happen. She did her bronco act a few more times. A quick decision needed to be made, she was going to hurt herself if i didn’t get her out of there. I was able to get one cross tie off and get her lead rope on her. She swung her body out into the isle as I got the other tie off her. I was thinking she was going to bolt but she didn’t, she danced and pranced in a racehorse fashion but she didn’t bolt. I got her into her stall where her temper tantrum continued. Snorting, pacing in circles, pawing at the ground. It was like a switch flipped in her head. I’ve only seen her like this a couple times. Once when she saw an unfamiliar white dog running around the barn (must be a white dog in her past that freaked her out) and the first time I tried to take her on the trail in reaction to the mud hole. You cant get her to come back down from whatever horse tantrum planet shes on and pay attention to you. I tried to distract her so see if that would work and it of course didn’t, so I walked away and let her have her teen aged girl tantrum (but mom all the other kids are going!). Though she did eventually cam down, she was still wound up and anxious when I left the barn that day.

Of course the next day she was my super sweet lovable horse again who stood calmly for her rain rot treatment. It was a bad moment for her and for me. The last thing I want to do is let her think she can get her way by throwing a tantrum. I also don’t want her to hurt herself or me. So I’m on the hunt for some training help. I dont want that to happen again and though i’m thinking she had just hit the wall that day and it was just a bad moment for her, it wouldn’t hurt to get a little help with some of this stuff. Shes a wonderful lovable horse, shes also headstrong, clever, bratty and still very much a baby girl. A few tips and tricks in how to deal with some of this stuff wouldn’t hurt me, if even if to just reinforce I’m doing something correctly… every day is a new lesson.

At Long Last


posted by on OTTB, Saddles and tack

I can haz saddle?

It finally happened, I finally got a saddle that fits my pretty filly! Okay it was during a power outage for all of my regain and me, the boyfriend and the dog were all living in a hotel with AC until our (and hundreds of thousands of others) power was restored. It was also in the middle of a terrible heat wave and my barn was running on generators, so no water (as to reserve the well pump) and no fans for the herd. However the truly awesome people over at Dover decided that they could in fact make the drive from VA to MD for my fitting. (Thanks Melanie you totally rock!) So I met Dover at my barn and tried on three selected choices. A Pessoa and two different Marcel Toulouses’. One a foam flocked combo and one fully flocked. The Pessoa is usually out of my price range and generally the flaps are too far forward for my long legs but this one was on super sale so we gave it a shot cuz ya never know. It fit my girl but when I rode in it it didn’t fit me at all the flaps were to forward and i felt cramped in it. Scratch that one and on to Toulouse number one, Mr fully flocked. It fit my girl really nicely and when I rode in it it fit me too, I was balanced and comfortable. Yay! Saddle three, Toulouse foam flock combo. I thought this saddle looked awesome. from the color of the leather to the styling this is the one I really liked the best looks wise. To my joy it fit my girl but when I rode in it I only needed a handful of steps to know it didn’t fit her in motion and it really didn’t fit me at all. So I picked bachelor number two! I am now the proud owner of a Marcel Toulouse, fully flocked,  beautiful brand new saddle in chocolate brown.  Courtesy of my fabulous boyfriend who bought it for me as a birthday gift. Yeah, my birthday was months back  that’s how long I’ve been looking for a saddle! Oh  yeah it is chocolate brown,  that means I need a whole bunch of new things since all my current tack is black. Doh! so I’m making a list, leathers, girth, bridle,  and slowly I will get the all new things i need so I match.When the saddle settles after I’ve ridden in it for a few months I’ll have it custom fit and maybe have the custom pad lady out and see how that goes as well. My girl is only 4 years old, and like most race horses developed more on one side then the other plus shes not exactly in shape yet so her body will be  changing so i will mold and adjust this saddle with her as she changes. So happy to cross saddle hunting off my list of things to do!

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

Say cheese..err clay

A saddle may soon be in my future. I have an appointment next weekend with Dover to come on down to my barn and try saddles on my pretty filly. I have very high hopes that this will be it, that I will get a good fitting saddle and actually begin to ride my horse. These last couple months of ground work and a few injuries have bonded me and my girl, she tests me less and less and behaves more and more. But it will be nice to actually start her under saddle properly.  Now don’t get me wrong, Jezebel is chocked full of personality and I like that about her, she’s also headstrong and very curious. Also qualities I really like that about her so “not testing me” and “behaving” should be taken with a grain of salt. So if all goes well, next week I will be well on my way to riding. That is IF all goes well I’m crossing my fingers and holding my breath.

Close up!

Of course today when I went to check on my girl I found that she has a bit of a swollen knee, Yesterday I found a cut on her right front just above her knee. Every day another ding, the perils of turnout. As my barn manager says “they are all just accidents waiting to happen”.  Today I noticed the knee was puffy, just a touch swollen. She’s not lame and it doesn’t seem to be bothering her but its a little swollen none the less. So I decided to put a clay poultice on her knee to see if it would help reduce the swelling. I also elected to not lunge her today at all. However I did tack her up and she didn’t dance around much. I figure I better start tacking her up every day until my saddle fitting so that she remembers that shes actually a riding horse, gets used to being tacked up with out dancing around much  and doesn’t humiliate me too badly in front of strangers. Yes, a girl can dream.