How Is It Mid July Already?

Really, where on earth is the time going?  Somehow the last several weeks have slipped by and I wasn’t aware of it happening – they say as you get older time goes by faster, if that’s true, I’ve gotten a lot older in the last few months!

In any case, Mikey is doing very well though we have not really gotten him going yet.  I got his teeth done last week and was pleased to find out there was nothing unusual or crazy going on in there.  So like it or not Mikey will be meeting my  happy mouth full cheek this week.  I suspect he will be opinionated about that, but it’s about time our golden boy had a job.

In the meantime, Mikey’s antics include:

 – downing a whole box of raspberries

– following cars up and down the driveway

– whinnying back anytime you yell  his name across the field

– and generally looking adorable. 

He is due for a foot trimming next week, and then we should REALLY be good to go.

In other CANTER news we did a lot of site updates this week.  I added 13 new horses to the Charles Town section of the site, marked three sold, and added updated pictures to a few others.  We marked two sold off of the Laurel section and added several horses there (horses located in Carroll County, MD).  It appears we’re going to have to do another round of phone calling for updates as the Charles Town Section has almost 80 horses on there.

As for the CANTER – owned program, several horses from our MD layup farm made the trip to NC where they will start their retraining.  That includes that stunning chestnut 3 year old filly that I think has the same brain as Rosey (I can’t *wait* to see how she does under saddle!).  Already down in NC is Palmer, who has started under saddle and looks AWESOME!  I am so happy to see him looking happy, I can’t even explain.  Once I actually got my hands on that horse I knew he’d be great, and it looks like he’s on his way to turnout out that way!

Someone is Happy To Be Starting Work!

I love his expression.  I love him!

In other news we have two new horses in at the MD layup farm, one who only very recently became a gelding.  He seems very sweet so far though and seemed to be handling his solitary confinement quite well when I was there over the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I didn’t have much time, as we were running all over the place celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday (which involved some time at the beach – poor me!  and learning how to make roti for the celebratory beef curry – I’m so well rounded!).  Somehow in between I did manage a stop out to the funny farm to meet a woman coming over to look at Lily (the now three year old filly who came off the track as an “urgent” situation over the winter). 

Lucky me, I got there and the mares were NOWHERE to be seen.  Nowhere.  Which meant that I was going to have to walk the mare field.  I’ve seriously thought about selling tickets to the mare field as some sort of weight loss get rich quick scheme, it is that big.  I also was wearing my muck shoes, with the very wrong socks, so about halfway across had developed a giant heel blister that may not heal for months.  When I got to the other side of the field, and found the mares, I was really excited to see that out of the whole group, the thoroughbreds were nowhere to  be seen.  So I started trucking up the hill, thinking they were at the top of it.  Within minutes it was clear I am in horrible, horrible shape.  And for no particular reason, I turned around, only to realize the TBs were not at the top of the hill at all, but hiding around the corner, where I hadn’t seen them because of the field configuration.

I’m pretty sure they were all laughing at me. 

I had decided to get not only Lily, but also Niner, so that I could get some photos and video of her for an interested party.  I might have overestimated my horse whispering capabilities.  As Niner has only recently started allowing us to catch and handle her, I thought it would be best if I haltered her first and then grabbed Lily, who is normally an attention hound.  I did not foresee that Lily, once haltered, would run around me in circles for ten minutes, scattering the rest of the group. Once I finally got her settled and reassured her that really, everything was FINE, I went to grab Lily and was faced with a new problem.  Lily tried to play “keep away,” staying juuuust out of reach, while Niner would refuse to follow me on the lead rope. 

Somehow I managed, and got both mares in hand, only to face a walk across the giant field that was rather like being caught in quicksand.  Not wanting to leave the group, either one or the other (or both) mares would periodically plant her feet and stop moving.  Sometimes I felt like I was pulling them both, which was somewhat exhausting and I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.  On their own, this sort of thing is easier to deal with, but with both of them (and especially with Lily being so large and prone to rambunctiousness), it was a challenge.

Once I was about halfway back the other mares saved me, by charging up behind us and running in to the shelter area.  From there, my two walked with much more energy and with fairly good behavior.  I got Lily out of the field just fine, and she turned her attention to the lush grass on the other side of the gate.  Meanwhile, Niner decided that going out of the field was definitely NOT in her best interest.  She looked at that gate like it was the devil, and planted those feet.  She didn’t run or panic, just looked at me with that super cute face and said, “nope.”

Of course, I had Lily in my other hand, and then the other mares started coming up – the gate was open! They wanted to see! What’s going on? Can we come too?

I honestly have no clue how I got them both out, but I managed eventually.  After that everything was fairly easy, except when Lily decided leading in a straight line for a potential owner was too much for her and it was WAY more fun to jump around over my head.  And I had to get help to get them back out in the field.  I’m not sure how much is just them – they were bred by the same people and probably had the same kind of early handling.  Both need some really major groundwork but in different ways – Lily needs to be brought in line in a very serious way, while Niner needs a lot of confidence and reassurance.  But all the other horses on the property right now don’t have any kind of issues like this whatsoever, and the TBs are generally very polite and easy to handle, for the most part (the mares are always more likely to be herd bound, but usually still behave when asked to).

Anyhow… got some pics of Niner, and have been playing some phone tag with someone interested in her.  I’m hoping this all works out, because it can be hard to place a short mare with a big ugly brand on her neck (even though the rest of her is QUITE lovely).

Sunbleached, and Standing Downhill... Still Purty!

As we have room and are moving some horses, I’ve also been trying to keep my ears and eyes open for horses that can come into the program.  I’m finding that harder than it sounds.  My first attempt was a horse that I thought had a great prognosis with a knee chip.  That horse found a home, but on our end there was a lot of discussion about why he wouldn’t be a good prospect for the program.

More recently, we got an email about a young horse who was coming up sore.  Of course, “sore” can mean any number of things, some more serious than others, so at first I thought it could be a possibility.  When asked about details and temperament, the owners referred me to the trainer, as they don’t actually have a lot of contact with the horse.  Later, in a conversation with the horse’s trainer, I would find out the horse came to WV with injuries in one of his knees, and that he was injected and raced several times.  In addition, he’s been working and exercising with the help of anti inflammatory drugs.  That of course means there could be further damage.

It took me a while to compose an email to the owners.  I wanted to explain why we likely wouldn’t be able to take him, but also wanted to make sure they understood not just that the horse was injured, but that he was probably made worse by the effort to keep him racing.  I don’t know if they will realize some level of responsibility there or not – I’m not sure they had any idea of the actual situation brewing in the horse’s knee or whether they just got a bill for an injection.  This is a big issue with racing so hopefully educating owners will help- but seeing the horses that were raced on compromised limbs with the help of painkillers gets very frustrating. I wish more trainers would say no to that sort of thing – but there’s so much pressure on them to start and win that it can be difficult to rest a horse that needs it. It can be really hard to watch at times. And it can also make our job difficult too, as we have to weigh all this and try to make the best decisions to help as many horses as we can.

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