A Late Bit of Thanks-Giving

I know Turkey Day was last week, but I’ve been so super busy it’s been hard to find time to post.  Before continuing with the updates, I thought I’d do that cheesy thing where I give thanks for the stuff that helps us do what we do.  So:

  • Thank you to the many potential adopters who are willing to work with our wacky schedules and time constraints, and who understand horses and what to expect when looking at off track thoroughbreds.  Even those of you who did not find the right match have been a joy to meet and spend time with.  Trying to find homes for horses and sell them is sort of exhausting and stressful, so it’s a real treat to have met many realistic and very nice people in the course of doing this.  Yay adopters! Or potential adopters! Or potential adopters turned volunteeers!  And volunteers turned adopters!!!
  • Thank you to everyone who made our fall fundraising auction so successful.  It was a serious haul this year, and not only was the amount “pledged” higher than any year before, the payments have been rolling in faster and everything is much more organized.  We had contributors from EVERY level of the horse world – Olympic Gold Medalist Beezie Madden, Eventing Guru Jimmy Wofford, a whole slew of top level professionals, veterinarians, as well as folks making brownies and hats/scarves.  Since I had so little time this year, the fact that this all came together successfully is just overwhelming – so to those of you who made it possible (Director Allie, Board Member Deidra, Volunteer Marit, and all the contributors) thank you thank you thank you! Yay!  Warm Fuzzies!
  • Thanks to all the other volunteers – this year has been awesome – there are track visits nearly every weekend to Charles Town, volunteers taking on Laurel and MD tracks, volunteers who show up to help with horses (and not just to ride and have fun but do all the dirty work – waiting for farriers and vets, soaking abscesses, and putting goo in eyeballs). 
  • And of course thanks to the horses themselves just for being awesome 🙂

In other news, I suppose I should update as to what’s been going on lately.  The bulk of my work the last few weeks has been auction related.  This last week especially – tracking payments and emailing everyone to tell them to ship, or how to contact their lesson giver, gets sort of exhausting!  I don’t have interwebs at home so I’ve been spending a fair amount of time at the local library, giving my death stare to the kids who are on facebook while I’m waiting for a station to open up.  Things have slowed down a bit, though, and looks like the vast majority of people are paid up and all of those people have been hooked up with their sellers, so I can take a breath 🙂

Of course the horses are still doing horse things, like poking their eyeballs out and getting abscesses and needing shoes.  Kat has been trying to find interesting ways to hurt herself for the last month or so – scratching her cornea  on burrs, or pulling a muscle in her butt.  Otherwise she is doing well and volunteer Laura has been taking dressage lessons with her for about the last month.  I keep trying to get video, because she goes seriously fancy in these lessons, but it’s hard to get decent quality indoors.  Frustration!

Over the weekend I went out to the fat farm to visit and ride some horses.  I hopped on Truckee to see how he was feeling, and he pretty much felt OK but a little stiff behind.  He had some minor objections to the idea of moving, but eventually we got that worked out.  He’s one like Klondike – nice round wide back, so I’m not sure my saddle makes him super happy.  If I ride him again I’ll need to try something with straighter panels, I think.  I also rode Archie in the ring, to see how he feels.  He is such an interesting horse – he was looking around a little more than I expected, as my experience with him has been that he is super quiet, but he was very well behaved and I discovered he has a pretty good go button.  He’s not fast or super-forward without some work, but he will canter from a walk, which is unusual with these guys, at least the ones I’ve been on.  I kind of like getting on the ones that Jess initially re-started, I think!

IN addition to those two clowns I also got on Leo and had a very nice ride.  He was a little worried about being separated from his new turnout buddies, and called to them a lot, but was otherwise very well behaved.  We walked around a little bit and practiced turning, stopping, and going, then moved up into the trot and did some circles and figure eights.  He felt a little bit wonky at first, like his legs were going in weird directions, but the more we trotted around the more comfortable he got.  I asked him to canter and was delighted to find that it was extremely comfortable.  It felt slow and rocky, like being in a la-z-boy rocking recliner or something.  On a whim I pointed him across the diagonal and found that he will change his lead on his own, without me doing anything. 

He was, though, hard to keep going, and I was substantially more winded after the ride than he was.  Even so, I finished up grinning ear to ear and pretty pleased with him.  He does travel in a sort of head-up-and-hollow manner, which will probably be a difficult thing to improve, but essentially he’s straightforward and easy.  He has a great whoa, and though he’s sort of slow he does understand leg.  He doesn’t get bending quite so much, but did start to figure out how to move sideways off my leg a little bit, so it shouldn’t take him long to figure that out either.

I kind of can’t help just loving the tar out of this horse.  He’s just so good – and the change in his personality is just great to watch.  It’s almost like he’s smiling now, and just a few short months ago he looked like the most miserable horse I’d ever seen.  I find myself wishing I had the means for a second horse of my own (I know I say that every time I get on a new one, right?).  But seriously, there’s just something about him.  He’s like Whisper, but without the pretty, and I have such a soft spot for the sort of dopey looking ones.

That’s about it – we have some people working out a schedule to come look at horses over the next few weeks, which is exciting.  I have about 34875639785693 cookies to make for the auction (thanks to the folks at John Madden Sales – not only did they contribute a lesson but also won the bidding war for my bucket of chocolate-tastic cookies!!!).  Parker and Kat are both being shod this week.  I’m also going into crazy mode over finding all our blankets – I know where some are but we seem to be missing a few, which likely means I put them somewhere last spring so that they’d be easy to find, and now I don’t know where that somewhere is.

And lastly, this isn’t really related to us, but there’s a new book out from the director of LOPE in Texas – a program like ours that also includes racing Quarter Horses.  Lynn was actually one of the first volunteers for CANTER Mid-Atlantic before she moved to Texas, so I thought I’d give her a shout-out and point people over to Amazon if they’re interested in her book, which by all accounts is a fun and inspirational read.

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