As you may know Tinkerbelle has been out of the show ring for quite sometime. At the end of July we took her to her first show again. She did great though she was only ridden in one class. It was a great way to get her back in the ring.
Lucy went to her second show and improved from the first time. We took her down to one class. Zia on the other hand was a hollering mess having Tink back at a show with her again. Needless to say we've had much better rides but she'll get over it again.
We were excited to see that there has been a fix a test schooling show. Even better was the judge that was listed. We can't wait to be able to take some horses in October.
Well the boys have settled in and are ready to start their retraining process. They get along great and love their runs around the field. Now that they can go out again. We gave barefoot a shot but it just isn't going to work for Diablo at this point. We expected a little soreness for a few days unfortunately it didn't go away for him. So we ordered him the Cloud boot by EasyBoot. Which helped a lot. So we had to wait for our wonderful farrier to come out and put shoes back on him. When I called to let him know that we would definitely be putting shoes on all four his response was "I'll bring extra glue." We ended up not needing the glue this time around. Linus got front shoes on again as an effort to ensure that as he starts doing more his feet don't break up. If you haven't noticed they both have typical "thoroughbred feet". We can deal with that though. My farrier was having trouble remembering their names and which was which (we'll cut him some slack. He'd only done them one time previously) she he gave himself a way to remember them. Are you ready? We know you'll laugh, we did. Diablo=Taco Bell Hot Sauce; Linus =Charlie Brown.
The horse I was told was a "picky eater" is anything but. He loves his food and has eaten anything I've added to it. Which now consists of Biotin twice a day for Diablo and once a day for Linus, Aloe Juice four times a day for Diablo and three for Linus, and cornoil four times a day for Diablo. Yes, you read that right Diablo is being fed a full two pound scoop of Ultium four times a day. He's put on quite a bit of weight but is still in need of more. While they both have hay in front of them nonstop Diablo isn't a big hay eater. He still prefers turnout in the indoor arena over outside but we're making progress. We're up to a whopping 2.5-3 hours outside. That may not seem like much particularly when you consider that our other horses are outside 8+ hours a day weather permitting but for the horse that would throw a fit after ten minutes when he came home it's a big step.
We've started doing some light ground work. Both boys have had their teeth checked. Diablo had his floated and Linus still has some baby caps that he needs to loose before we really start doing a lot with him in a bridle. We finally got him a bridle since we didn't have a cob size to fit him. Yes, you read that right. He's roughly 15.1 hands and still growing a little and has a small head, compared to all of our other horses. Diablo is able to wear Hunny's bridle we just got him a different bit to go on it as hers was a little big for him. She has no complaints about giving up her bridle as she hasn't worn it in probably close to two years now.
Stay tuned and check back often and follow the progress of our two new guys. We still aren't doing much with either of them but they have had their shoes pulled. Which meant that they were able to be turned out together. They enjoyed a good run around the field.
Linus was extremely happy to be out and have a friend even if they were only able to stay out for a little while. Diablo isn't used to the grass and we have to build him up to it. Not to mention that he HATES bugs so he really isn't willing to stay out for a long period of time. That will come though. He'll be convinced that he likes to go out. Until then we improvise. He goes out for about an hour and then gets to go in the indoor arena for a few hours. Linus has to split roundpen time with Laverne and Shirley until they can both stay out longer.
Last week we brought home two new horses, thoroughbreds off the track. As you know these two additions aren't our first off track thoroughbreds, we have Hunny as well. June Storm aka "Linus" is a four year old gelding that trained to race however he never raced. He is a sweet, quiet boy. So far he even seems to be a little on the lazy side. Mount Diablo aka "Diablo" is a nine year old gelding who raced as recently as April. He remained in race training until last week. He's a talker always happy to see people and easy going.
I went to Fairmount Race Track with Canter Illinois to help take pictures for horses to be listed through them. I decided to take a look at some of the listings that were already up and found four horses to look at. Linus's trainer was kind enough to bring him back to the track for us to see. Diablo was not listed, yet. I saw him for the first time when taking pictures for his listing. After finishing up with the remaining horses to list I went back to talk to his owner more. Two days and one vet check later we loaded up the boys and brought them home.
The last week they have been taking it easy, lunging a little and getting some turn out. They've also been waiting for our farrier to come out and pull their shoes. We're hoping to leave them barefoot for a little bit but of course we'll let the farrier decide if they can go barefoot.
They'll both get a little more "down time" before fully starting their training as dressage horses. Part of that down time is going to be getting to be turned out together after their racing shoes are off. They seem to get along well enough through the stall. They are always standing by each other.
Heartthrob, aka Lucy, had her first off the farm adventure yesterday. We trailered over to DD Trakehners for a few hours and let her hang out and get to see all the sight. I'm a big fan of taking things slow with the youngsters and making every new experience as positive as possible. The first few outings need to be stress and pressure free. I don't like to make our first time off the farm a show as you always feel the pressure to make it into the ring.
A common issue that plagues horses across all disciplines and lifestyles. Some horses may only show slight signs others will show more severe signs. The only true way to diagnose gastric ulcers is to scope a horse. However this will only show if there are ulcers in the front gut not the hind gut. More often than not people treat first and see if that makes a difference. Ulcers are common in race horses and show horses in particular. Changes in diet, environment, routine and stress can all cause gastric ulcers or cause a "flare up" in horses with ulcers.
There's a number of daily preventives for ulcers out there. Not every horses will respond to them the same so there might be some trial and error involved in finding what works best for your horse(s). Hunny for example gets U-Guard pellets daily while we've decided to try Buck on Aloe Juice. We keep either GastroGuard or UlcerGuard on hand. When Hunny has a flare up she becomes a little colicky. We give her UlcerGuard for a few days and she's fine.
Buck our newest training horse came to us with issues. Issues that we have since decided were brought on by pain. He was fine grooming, a little cranky to be saddled but not bad. When you would get on him however he would refuse to go forward, and turn to bite your legs when you added a little pressure. Putting it nicely he was absolutely awful. We first has his teeth done, they were horrible. That helped a little bit, but something was definitely hurting him. So we decided to treat for Ulcers with the thought that it might not help and but certainly couldn't hurt and would allow us to rule one thing out. Good news for everyone it helped. We're now able to make progress with his training. A lot of which right now is working through the "bad behavior" that was brought on by pain and not being treated. We're getting there though. We can get him to go forward (a huge step) but we're aren't exactly following things conventionally. We ditched the saddle for a couple of days and rode bareback (we know a slightly crazy idea given his poor behavior under saddle). We got rid of the bridle and went with a hackamore. Finally we took away any pressure from a rider for cues to go forward. We had someone lunge him with a rider on him who was literally just along for the ride and was not allowed to give any cues.
We're getting there slowly. Now he's a little more willing to go forward without trying to bite us first. He's even starting to put his ears up a little. Shh.. don't tell him that he's showing signs of liking working.
Buck joined us yesterday. His new mom and dad have only had him three weeks now and he has a few holes in his training. After visiting him at his new home we decided he needed to go to "boot camp". He wouldn't accept the bit and didn't want to move his feet. When asked to go his ears go flat back and he would even turn and try to bit the riders leg.
Before heading to MVSH we suggested he see the vet and chiropractor to make sure there is no physical reason for this behavior. His teeth were in horrible shape, poor guy. Hooks, points and even a dead incisor. The more we learn about his past the more you realize why he behaves this way. His previous owner rode him in a curb bit with either a twisted wire or a chain mouth piece as well as pretty decent spurs. Between is dental issues and these barbaric piece of equipment no wonder he is so defensive while being ridden. It is our belief that every horse should be able to be ridden in a simple snaffle, if not something is missing. That doesn't mean that as the horse progresses in it's training that different tack can't be utilized to aid in refinement of the aids.
Now that he is physically sorted out his retaining can begin. We are certain that with patience this guy can be sorted out. He is sweet as can be to handle on the ground and nothing seems to bother him. Back to basics with his under saddle training and he'll be good as new. Oh and did we mention, he is just the cutest thing with his buckskin coloring, white markings and sticking at only 14.1.
Stay turned for updates on his progress.
Many people don't believe in the healing power of horses. We disagree. As I think most riders would. Just being around horses is comforting. People often think of therapy animals as dogs, but there are also some miniature horses being used as well. Shirley seems to have a knack for it. We've seen it twice now with her. The first time was a few months ago when a boy with both Autism and Diabetes came out to visit. She was extremely attentive to him. She let him take his time to come to her, patiently waited while he picked grass for her and gently took it from him. She didn't have much interest in staying around for the other kids when they began getting louder and running around, but as long he wanted her attention she was willing to stay there.
The second time was a couple of weeks ago. Our cousin came out to visit. She is in a wheelchair and can't fully straighten her hands. The horses were all great to stand at the doors of their stalls for her to see and pet them. We brought Shirley out to see her. At first she was a little unsure of the wheelchair but warmed up quickly. She stood basically pressed against the wheelchair to be petted and didn't move. Our cousin was actually trying to extend her fingers more than normal to pet everyone. This might seem like a small feet to most of us but for her it was huge.
It's been awhile since we talked about Valerie Ashker and her two OTTBs riding across the country. If you're like us you followed them on their journey. If you didn't no worries. We are happy to report that they completed the trip successfully. From everything we saw the horses handled the trip well. They completed 3500 miles on their trip. I can only make assumptions about how much awareness they raised for OTTBs. We'd be lying if we said we weren't slightly jealous of such an amazing opportunity. We look forward to seeing future adventures of Valerie and her horses. The Facebook page is still up if you want to catch up on the trip https://www.facebook.com/2ndMakesThruStartingGates/ If you were inspired by their trip and would like to help support OTTBs you can make a donation to the Thoroughbred After Care Alliance
We had an adorable visitor show up Friday morning that has taken up residence in our barn, at least for the time being. We're currently calling her Lilly and tentatively looking for a home for her. We haven't had any lucky finding her owners. She's pretty good around the horses, though she hates to be separated from people. She's a complete sweetheart, loves people, enjoys chasing cats and seems to do alright with other dogs, though we haven't had her around our dogs yet... Tonight she thought that laying under Hunny was safer than the storm. Luckily she it was Hunny out and not one of the others. Hun was a little confused and didn't budge until I moved Lilly.
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