Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sanctuary


We had a couple days of decent weather so I took advantage of that by giving everyone a bath and getting Klein and Wes' clips started.  I clip them in increments as it warms up.  Mochs has had an Irish clip for a while and when it gets warm enough I will take the rest of her hair off too, unless it sheds out first.  Normally they would all already be fully clipped, but since Spring is taking the slow boat from China this year, we're a little behind schedule on the Spring clean up.

Relaxing after a bath.

Mochs coming to keep him company, and check to make sure he wasn't getting any treats that she wasn't of course.

 She has to hang out in her stall for a bit and start drying before I trust her to go back out.  She'll ruin all my hard work in about 15 seconds if I let her. If she was the size of Mochs it wouldn't be so bad, or if she wasn't a grey.


The Handsome looking as handsome as ever!

Drying in the breeze, and yes, still picking up branches from the storms we have had.


Watching over his girls.

I am really happy with what I see under Wes' yak coat again this year.  It looks like he is in for another shiny, dappley summer coat with good weight on him still.  

On nice evenings like this I like to just put a chair out in the pasture and sit there and watch them, while enjoying an adult beverage or three.  This little six acres is my sanctuary.  There really isn't any other place I'd rather be than home on a gorgeous evening with my babies.  I prefer to just be left alone most times anyway so it is nice to just sit there on a perfect, warm, breezy, evening, and not be bothered by anything or anyone.  Soon enough The Other Half will be here with us and life will be complete again.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The OTTB That Made Me a Liar

Miss Benburb

It's no secret that I am an anti-TB person whether they come off the track or not, I have never ridden one that I would ever want to own.  I don't MIND riding them, they just have never had the mind or physical longevity for me to want to have one (there ALWAYS seems to be something wrong with their legs or feet, if they're not lame they have a swollen leg, etc...).  They just always seemed to do dumb, pointless things mostly because they don't know how to horse and haven't been allowed to live like a normal horse prior to coming off the track.  That is not their fault by any means and I don't hold that against them, but doing things like spooking at the same thing every single day, or even their own shadow, just gets old.

For years and years and years I have been like this, because of these experiences with TBs.  Some of them that never had a track life have been just as nutty as those that did.  Needless to say I never once considered owning one and swore up and down no one could even pay me to own one.

...Enter Miss Benburb.  Open mouth, insert foot.

After all those years I found that there IS an exception!  She exists, and she found me.  She was a sale horse I was riding and had last raced in October of last year.  She had been let down for a couple months, living outside, having friends and being a horse for.  She is 8, so she waited quite a while for the normal horse life.  I first started getting on her in the middle of January and it didn't take but maybe three rides before I was like...I kinda LIKE her.  Three rides of which were basically nothing because she was starting from square one.  Physically I liked her, both looking at her build and riding her.  There is something about her that just feels like she is the perfect fit, size-wise, for me.

When I first told The Other Half that I genuinely REALLY liked her, his response was, "Lmao."  He is still out of the country, so 98% of our conversations right now are texts.  My OTTB friends are super smug right now.  Yeah, yeah, laugh it up.

Yeah, I had to buy one.

Here is the race that photo came from:




Physically she is built more solid than a typical TB (more bone).  After I looked her up I found that she has a lot of European blood and her dam is Irish.  Someone even asked me what breed she was because they didn't think she was a TB.  She has yet to have any issue, not even so much as throwing a shoe.

She was a bit jumpy on the ground and I chalked that up to most likely being handled somewhat rough in her former life.  She would flinch and pull away like she was expecting to be smacked.  She started to warm up though.  She can still make some pretty mean mare glares but they are all empty threats.  Really she loves having her face rubbed and her ears pet, especially when it is quiet.  I quickly found that she acts tough, but that is all it is, an act.


See, not so tough.

She is a very quick learner and always seems interested in what we're doing.  She's not off in La La land watching every other thing going on around her.  The fourth or fifth ride I got on her bareback and went for a walk on the track.  She is just happy to stroll along.  One day I had my trailer there so I tacked her up at the trailer and got on her from the fender of my trailer, she was quiet as could be.  Yes, I know these are very tiny non-significant things but normally, TBs make huge, stupid deals out of dumb things, the bar was set low, ok?  Stuff like that doesn't scare or worry me, I just remain aware of the potential for it, but she displayed no interest in shenanigans.  She actually has yet to spook at anything.

She had no clue what I wanted when I put her on the lunge line.  It took her 5 whole minutes to figure it out.  The next time I put her on it, she needed no reminder of what to do.  She went right to work.

One OTTB I used to work with would turn in and just rear for no reason, that is the kind of dumb stuff I am talking about.  And here we have Ms. B., real wild on the lunge line.

As I kept spending more time with her she kept trusting me more and more by being a little more willing each time.  I enjoy riding every horse, but she just kept growing on me.  Every ride we did something new I would hope she'd do something that would make me say "Ha!  I knew it was in there somewhere, what was I thinking?!  You're not THAT cool."  Well, here we are almost three months later and that day has never happened.

Making new friends.

I took her off the property to a place she had never been, alone, and she was as quiet as could be.  That I would expect since she is 8 and has traveled the whole east coast during her racing career.  But, again, the bar was set low, so while I would like to THINK a well traveled horse wouldn't be phased by this stuff, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if she acted like she left her marbles back in her pasture at home.  But, of course she didn't act like that.  She was on her very best behavior.  I can't tell you how many times that day I said "Why are you so awesome?" or "Damn it B, why are you so good????"

Oh don't mind me.  Just over here proving you wrong one thing at a time.

That first time off the property was also to a xc course.  That place has a small xc course with trails that go around the whole 100 acre property.  I love riding there, the footing is nice, it's a beautiful facility, and it's quiet.  Ms. B was happy to get in the water, and go right off the bank.  Again, I was so impressed with her.  I galloped her around it and had her go up and down a steep hill, all of which she went really nicely for.


More from that day:

I have been letting B tell me what she is up for. I am figuring out if she has a limit or mentally can’t wrap her head around something. This helps me get a gauge for what she is or is not ready for and how to move her along in training. So far, I haven’t found her governor. She is ridiculous. Not only does she jump whatever silly things I point her at, she maintains a consistent pace and looks to me for guidance. I have her trust, and that means a lot to me. After this weekend’s school...it is time to raise the fences and start getting a little more serious. She is going to make an AMAZING event horse. The very best things that have happened to me in my life have always come around when I wasn’t looking for, or expecting them 🤔 #missbenburbsyourwinner #OTTB #mare #theottbthatmademealiar #maresrock #horsesofinstagram #thoroughbred #retiredracehorse #eventer #eventing #talented #BisforBadass #jumping #jumpingpercheron #blog #grateful #helmetcam #GoPro #dieliving #dieliving♠️
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Yesterday I took her back to the same place:

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Ready to work on BN A.

She has taken a little bit to figure out her balance.  Some of them find it quicker than others, and she is somewhat of a big bodied girl so that made sense to me that it may take her a little longer.  I wasn't about to rush her into anything.  I could tell that once she built some strength up that is different than what she is used to, she'd come right along, and she has.



Learning where to put her feet.

Some more balance found.

I have just enjoyed working with her A LOT.  She's a mare's mare, likes her quiet time, and is serious about her work.  That has me written all over it.  There has yet to be anything she won't do. I also galloped her for real one night on the track and had way too much fun.  Even after letting her gallop like that, which was probably the fastest gallop I have experienced, when we came back down to a walk after trotting to cool down for a few, she walked along quietly while we enjoyed the sunset.

Part of that gallop:


Enjoying the sunset after our gallop.

Another lure to her is the fact that she has no limits.  She is injury free from racing too.  I have told The Other Half over and over when I still wanted to breed Klein how her baby was going to be that no limit horse.  Then I decided not to breed her because I would never forgive myself if anything went wrong in the process.  After that I decided my next one would be some Holsteiner filly since they have repeatedly caught my eye at events over the past year and a half.  If that is what I went for, it would also have no limits.


So...my long-winded point is, she's not going anywhere as of right now.  She'll be staying with me for now.  What did I tell you people?  I said someone needs to buy her before I keep liking her more and more.  Well, you all missed the boat.  I'll be posting a lot about her training and all the adventures we are about to have.  Look for her at a horse trials near you :)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mochi Update: Injections, Round 2

Mochs after working on some dressage tests. 

Our vet that does Mochs' injections told me that the first round of injections would wear off fairly quickly (a couple months) and that next time they should last longer.  Obviously it still differs from horse to horse just exactly how long but there is only one way to find out. 

Mochs has been going extremely well and even started consistently improving her attention to half halts, resulting in finding the correct distances.  It CLICKED one ride that if she'd listen to half halts instead of seeing red and going full blast to fences, things would get a bit easier for her and she wouldn't waste so much energy.  I appreciate her enthusiasm, but...she does have to listen at least a little bit when she locks onto a fence.  She was getting a BEAUTIFUL jump when she gets the correct distance.  Very powerful and balanced. 

A couple weeks ago she started to feel just slightly short up front.  I wanted to be sure so I rode her on a couple different surfaces.  All were the same so I made an appointment to get her the next round of injections.

She went in an Dr. Smith and her team at NJ Equine once again took unbelievable care of her while she was there.  I just always appreciate how quiet and kind they are with her because she is such a sensitive little horse that internalizes stress.  The jogged her and she was slightly off with her bad foot. I decided to have both feet injected (Navicular Bursa) to keep things even.

Home after injections, and ready for a nap.

Mochs got her rest while she was kept in for two days and is now looking and feeling great.  She has even lost a little weight since she's been back in work and looks fit right now.  Dr. Smith commented that she looks great right now.  I upped her feed a bit recently with this work increase and she's staying in a really good spot right now, which will help with her bad foot.  She doesn't need any extra weight right now.

 

The Other Half recently got her two sets of Back on Track boots.  The Royal Flatwork boots, and the open front jumping boots/fetlock boots.  The Back on Track obsession continues.  I have yet to find anything, any little thing, that I don't like about every Back on Track product I own.  These boots are gorgeous. I couldn't be happier with them.  I wish they made them in Klein's size.  Now Mochs will be armored up in Back on Track while she's at work and at rest. 

Royal Work Boots (Flatwork Boots), and their performance bell boots.

I mentioned in my last post that our first show of the year was supposed to be this Saturday, but was cancelled due to weather.  I was going to put her in another one this month but I think I am going to hold off for a bit, get her a bit stronger, and then go from there.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

January 74th 2018


It's been slow on the blog mostly because I've been busy getting my ass kicked with a lot of things.  The storms that hit us for a few weeks in a row did some significant damage.  That all started off with a storm that flooded the property, to include the basement.  It was so bad our road flooded and the cops came and barricaded the road.  It was awesome.

Just when I didn't know how much more awesome I could handle, I got to find out with another storm that ripped our internet line and power line out of the side of the house.  If there is anything good about having a live wire down in your front yard, it is when there are tens of thousands without power, the live wire thing bumps you up the priority list.

The ponies are all doing well, though Mochs is kind of over it.  Klein and Wes will stand out in the crappy weather, Mochs stands under the over hang of the barn with a disappointed look.

I'm extremely lucky and grateful that I have somewhere else to ride so all this rain/snow has not put a dent in my riding, except for that one time when for the first time EVER since we have lived here, I got my truck and trailer stuck in the mud.  That is how much water we had.  I also got the riding mower that I drag with stuck in the mud so bad I had to pull it out with my truck.  Of course, all of this happens while The Other Half is gone.  He's been gone a couple months and we have a couple more to go, so...his chore list just keeps piling up!  JK!  ...kinda.

Needless to say, blogging kind of fell down the priority list again because in the middle of that I completed two classes in my Master's program.  Aside from what happened with Manny, these are all first world problems, and believe me I know that.  I never, ever take for granted that I can see my horses from our front window, no matter how crappy the weather gets, or how many inconveniences happen.  Because that is really what all these things are, inconveniences, not problems.

The flood...there is a stream that runs around the property and normally it is so small you can easily jump across it on foot...

The point where I started to get nervous because it just kept rising hour after hour.

Why I was getting nervous.  To the right you can see some of my jumps, that is how far the water went, into the ring.  This picture is from the same spot a couple hours later.

Here it is shortly after, dried out and dragged.  The barrels are in the same place as the first pic to give you an idea.

Beyond ridiculous.

Something else I am extremely thankful for is the way this place is, the barn is on higher ground.  Even with the massive amount of water in the form of snow or rain, my ponies NEVER had to stand in water or mud.  That would have just been fuel on the fire with me.  

Also some higher ground so they don't have to stay in the barn, that also would have been fuel on the fire with me.


Here is part of one pasture, flooded.  And here is also a PERFECT example of "Complacency Kills." 

Bathing Beauty.

Exhibit A, Klein LAYING down in the water.  I have owned her for over 10 years now.  Not once EVER in those 10+ years have I EVER witnessed her even THINKING about doing something like this!  We have went to the beach and been in the ocean countless times, as well as rivers.  Never had she ever even acted like the thought came within 10 miles of her head.  Never say a horse will never do something.

There have been a few really nice days here and there.  On those days I stay out of the house because the last thing I want to do is waste those days.  I really don't like being stuck in the house, so any day I can take full advantage of being outside in beautiful weather right now, I'm staying out there all day.

One of those days I took Leo to the state forest that is close by.  He was PERFECT.  It was the first time I took him anywhere.  I took him alone because he has never given me any reason to think he would do anything other than be on his best behavior.  I was right.  He could not have been any better.  He was happy to stroll along on a loose rein or on contact.  He got right in the water at the edge of the river.  He didn't care about kids yelling out of car windows at him, or dirt bikes, or people popping out of random places on foot or on bikes.  He had a great time galloping through the forest.  He was amazing.  I already trusted him 98%, but after that I have 101% trust in him.  He just LOVES being out somewhere with his person.  I am happy to say he found his person last week too, we'll talk about that later.  They are an amazing match and I am excited to see them grow together.

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Leo on the flat, showcasing one of his many natural talents.

My #marecrush, Ms. B, continues to improve daily, and continues to impress me with everything we do.  If you follow me on IG...spoiler alert, you know how that story is going to end.  We'll talk about that later too.

#stunner

Mochs was doing well in regular work until about two weeks ago when I started to feel her stride shorten.  We knew the injections would wear off fairly quickly, so that was no surprise.  I made her an appt last week and she got the second round, this time with Hyaluronic Acid in addition to the steroids.  She should be feeling like twinkle toes by the end of the week.  She did go back to work this week and is feeling and looking great, more on that later as well.

Mochs, happy after her first short jump school the other week.  It was a bit of a test run and she did great, and felt great!

The only good thing I could find in what happened with Manny was the fact that we could go to the shelter and show two kitties what it means to have a forever home.  You can follow them on IG as well @snickers_and_woody

 Sweet babies, all settled in like they pay the bills around here.

Mochs was set to show this weekend at a local dressage show.  But, what a surprise, more crappy weather inbound and I just got the call tonight that the show is cancelled.  That is a completely fair decision.  The forecast has been all over the place from significant snowfall to significant rainfall and everything in between.  No one needs to be out hauling in the mysterious thing that is our weather right now.  I am cautiously optimistic that the end may be in sight though.  Next week we see a warming trend that seems like it is going to come in and stay.  I can't wait, because having so many grey days, rain/snow, wind, and 35 degree temperature fluctuations are just depressing.  Sometimes being a person with an outdoor hobby sucks.  Of course I still love every ride and make riding happen because I'm not going to get beat by this bs, but I'll be happy when we can ride around on sunny days in a t-shirt. 

On another note, this weather improvement is what I have been waiting on to get Klein back in shape.  She is such an easy tune up that I have put my energy into the horses that actually need some consistent training in order to improve.  Klein?  Ha.  I could go out there right now, get on her bareback and ride a second level dressage test or jump a 3'3" course and not think twice.  She retains everything and she bounces back into fitness easy because of the base I put on her when she was young.  All of that time I obsessed over our conditioning schedule has payed off immensely.  So, anytime now warm weather...aaaaaaaannnnnyyyyytime.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

More Ponies = More Learning


Recently I have had the opportunity to take on some horses from a barn in the area that is owned by a lady I have always had a lot of respect for.  She runs an awesome program at her barn and takes immaculate care of every horse on the property.  No expense is spared and if someone needs something whether it be the vet/chiro/dentist, etc...  The appointment is made instantly.  The group of people that board and lesson at the barn are all wonderful too, which is rare, because normally there is always some kind of barn drama going on.  Not at this place! 

I was happy to be offered the opportunity to ride some of the sale horses and some of the horses on the property that need tune ups for the lesson program, or just for their owner in general.  I love riding other horses because I learn something from every single one of them and they only improve you while you improve them. 

As the horses are in training I will be taking them to shows, xc schools, and other places to get them out.  There will be posts here about each of them and what they are up to as well.  I'm also going to add a "For Sale" page to the blog so you can always check there to see what is available. 

Currently there are two OTTBs for sale that have completely redefined my expectations of OTTBs.  It's no secret I'm not a fan of them.  I will ride them (obviously) and actually it is from riding them in the past that caused my general dislike of them.  The two I'm riding right now have set the bar way higher than it ever has been. 



Leo is a 15.3 9 year old gelding that last raced in October.  He is an in your pocket puppy dog with springs in his feet.  This guy is sound, sane, with no vices.  I have yet to find anything that seems to bother him much at all.  He is going to make someone an AMAZING event horse.  He has the athleticism and the brain for it.  He is super willing and loves having a person. 




Ms. B is a 16.3 8 year old mare that last raced in November I believe, I'd have to double check that.  She is a straight up stunner.  Her parents are Irish and I think that is why she is built so solid.  I will tell you she is one that would make me consider breaking my own rule about owning an OTTB.  I just love her.  She also has the ability to do whatever you want her to.  Same brain as Leo.  I really haven't found anything that bothers her too much.



Luna is a big Appendix mare (height and age I'd have to verify).  She is as comfortable to ride as a couch and is currently learning to be independent and that she has more gears than she thinks.  She is a bit opinionated but with consistency and a rider that isn't timid she could pretty much do whatever you wanted her to as well.

I will make individual posts about these horses with more info, pics, and video.  If anyone is interested you can email me at jumpingpercheron@hotmail.com, or message The Jumping Percheron FB page for more info.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Return of the Sea Pony


It's been a couple years since Mochs has went to the beach.  The last time she was at the beach is before we got on the Navicular roller coaster.  The last time I took her was to Fernandina Beach in Florida.  In other words, she has been overdue for a while now on a beach trip.

I fixed that this past week.  Mochs and I went to the beach with a friend.  The weather was perfect for a beach ride, and after keeping a close eye on the waves for a bit, Mochs then started to follow the water back out when the waves would recede.  It was pretty adorable.




Mochs and Indian.






I honestly questioned if I would ever see this day again with her before we had our recent soundness break through.  Beach riding is always a good time, but having Mochs out there again made it even better.