Things at CANTER just keep rolling along – it took a lot of work on the part of our amazing shippers, who had to battle some seriously bad traffic over the weekend, but six more horses are now calling North Carolina Home. Meanwhile, Jess has gotten Kiss a Monster started under saddle (while simultanously handling helping getting horses loaded, and a track visit Saturday). Crazy people!
On my end, the weekend started with a drive from Baltimore to Charles Town for a track listing visit. For the first time in a long while, I actually went on my own, which is something I maybe missed a little bit. It gives me time to think, and also to really observe the goings ons on the backside. I realized about halfway through my visit that I am becoming a bit wiser about things, and a bit more aware. At first, I felt like a kid in a candy shop – surrounded by beautiful and glossy beasts, it was like being in heaven. Now that I’ve been around a little more, and seen more (or read more, as the case may be), the gloss may be wearing thin in spots. I certainly saw a lot of wonderful horses and I was able to have some really great conversations with some owners and trainers. At the same time, I now understand things like post-joint-injection protective wraps when I see them – and that is becoming a sore spot with me. I also was forced to note one of my favorite old friends, a large-headed horse I’d nicknamed Jughead, was missing from his row of stalls, after recently being brought back to the track and then being scratched by the vet. The last time I was there, he was looking depressed and sore, and so seeing a different horse in the stall put me in a bit of a funk.
Luckily my mood was raised quickly, between some nice horses I got to meet, and some great people. One trainer listing a horse impressed me (and always has, actually) with his level of honesty about the horse. Many trainers know what people want – quiet, sound, non cribbers. He knows it too, but will also tell you as much as he knows about the horse to make sure people are happy with the sale in the end. That turned into a conversation about horse placement in general, and how mis-representing horses can put those horses into bad situations. We also talked about pricing horses – he’s the kind of guy for whom a good home really is a must, but he’s learned that giving away horses either brings out the crazies or the liars. I’m glad to talk to trainers like this because sometimes I forget that there really are a LOT of good people in racing who pay attention and are as concerned for their horses as any of us might be. He also mentioned a horse he recently gave to a relative of a friend, who is now turning into a very promising hunter. He’s pretty proud of his horses and I think could name where all of his past runners have gone (whether it’s to a Kentucky rescue, or to top level event riders, or currently for sale for a steep price as a show hunter).
I also re-took a couple pictures for horses who have been listed for a while and remained unsold, as well as getting in touch with some folks who may be listing a lot of horses in the near future, and a couple others with questions about donations.
All in all, a pretty productive morning even though I only took three new listings.
(sorry, the above does make me laugh a bit – if nothing else, the racetrack has a lot of colorful characters.)
Some lovely faces:
After getting all that out of the way, it was on to Green Acres to check on everybody and also to take a look at a new gelding that had just come in the day before. Bolt raced just a few days before coming to us, and came in fourth, but hasn’t shown a whole lot in any of his starts (though he scraped a third once!). When I went to check him out, he was in the isolation stall/paddock, and seemed inclined to stay in the stall no matter what. That doesn’t help with photos and checking horses out, so I had to run back and grab a halter. By contrast, the dark bay mare with the ankle, and Houndy both were immediately out of the stall to check me out when I came to meet them.
That said, this horse perked up considerably once I started fussing over him. I’m guessing he’s one who was very used to a certain amount of daily attention, and to the track atmosphere – I don’t think he had realized yet that he had found his way to horse paradise. I gave him some scritches, flyspray, and some antibiotic ointment on a few scrapes he had on a hind like. While he didn’t like the spray, he handled everything like a gentleman. I suspect he has some body soreness to work out, and he will definitely benefit from all the grass out there, but overall he seems to be quite a nice horse. He’s tall, over sixteen hands, with a long and classically Thoroughbred kind of build. He actually strikes me as the kind of horse I would enjoy very much – his personality reminded me a lot of Whisper (cue the “awwwwwww”) but his body type reminds me more of a few TB hunters I used to know from way back when, including one we had in the riding program while I was at Goucher.
After I was done with him, it was back home to see my horse and Mikey. Of course, after months of non-productive riding with my horse (in need of injections, then recovering/coming back slowly from injections, then developing an allergy), I had one good, long, reasonably active ride where I felt like I got some exercise, when he pulled off a shoe spooking. Sigh.
Mikey was a star – he’s getting more fit and balanced, though this last week he did not get the exercise I had planned for him. But he’s capable now of staying in the canter on circles in the small outdoor ring and is getting much better with transitions and neck reining. Hopefully some of this stormy weather will clear out this week (and the trails are clear) so I can get him out for some slow hillwork this week.