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Fundraiser Fun!

Two quickies for you all!

First: There is a fantastic ebay auction happening RIGHT NOW for a Haskell Invitational Saddle Cloth, to benefit Hey Byrn!  Bidding is currently at $98 and you know it goes to a good cause!  Only about 5 hours left so head over and bid away for a nice piece of racing memorabilia! 

Second:  We are in the late planning stages for a really cool new event starting this year, a motorcycle poker run on September 10.  The ride will be about 100 miles, and riders collect cards along the way and win prizes for the best poker hand when they arrive at the end.  Start is in Charles Town, WV, and ends up in beautiful Virginia.  More information and registration will be on our website soon!  Kind of thinking “Harleys for Horses” has a nice ring to it!  This event is being planned by one of our AMAZING Charles Town volunteers, Trina.  Thanks, Trina! Yay!

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Hey Byrn

If anyone hasn’t read CANTER’s other blogs on the subject, please do, now:

The Difference Between 35 and 36 Starts (from Allie, via Chronicle of the Horse)

More Than Just a Listing Service (from Jess’s blog)

Hey Byrn is not our usual intake horse.  Frankly, we don’t have the funding to take many cases of very limited soundness like this, it’s just not a responsible use of funds when there are so many horses needing a place to go.  But every once in a while, we’re just called to – it has to be done, and we comfort ourselves by thinking that in the worst case scenario, we can make a horse comfortable and happy for a little while before considering euthanasia and an easy passing.

Like Jess, I’m not above schilling for money.  Hey Byrn’s stall rest (and our potential ability to provide the same care to future horses) is more expensive than the field board most of our horses get.  His care will take work and extra vet bills.  In the future, when we are called about other horses like this (be they well known or not), maybe some reserves will allow us to be in a position to help, rather than the far-more-common (and heartbreaking) place we’re usually in, of having to say no.  Click the button. Even $5 helps.  Funds can be sent to allie@canterusa.org:

If you prefer snail mail, donations can also be sent to:

CANTER Mid Atlantic

C/O D. Darsa
13709 Arctic Avenue
Rockville, MD  20853
 
We’ve talked about this issue before – joint injections on horses who have compromised or painful joints, solely for the purpose of racing them one or two more times (instead of rest or retirement), has GOT to stop.  I wish people who do these things would stop and really understand what they are doing.  Too many of them just pass on the horse and give it no further thought.  I wish it was a minor problem, but any time I go to the track I am likely to pass by and notice dozens (if not more) horses wearing bandages from their joint injections that day.  Horses in many jurisdictions can get these injections within 24 hours of racing – making many a lame/injured horse appear sound in the paddock when they show up to race.
 
Perhaps such things should be reported in the racing form.  Can you imagine how you’d bet if you found out half the horses in a given race had received joint injections the day before?
 
 

Why Yes, I Am Alive!

Really!  I think since I’ve last posted I’ve been in a bit of a funk, so haven’t written here much even though things are (as always) going on and life is pretty busy. 

Not having to worry about keeping a horse ridden/shod/fed means that I’ve been able to spend time doing things like… organizing donations!  Hooray! I have a whole room full of stuff (I wish I was kidding) that has been donated to us in years past, some of which we can use and needs to go to the appropriate people, and some of which we can’t (and needs to go on ebay).  I’m just about done putting everything in the appropriate piles, and should have an ebay list soon! 

Keeping up with the listings has been quite a thing lately – two farms are having reduction/dispersal sales, and while one is largely taken care of (most sold quickly), the second has a large number of broodmares and young unregistered stock.  If you’re looking for a good deal (especially if you don’t care about papers!) head over to the Charles Town section of our listing pages – there are bunches of horses available for $600 and under.  🙂

Of course, I still have about eight horses to add, and have to make some serious time this week to call trainers for updates.  We have well over 100 horses listed from Charles Town right now, so I’m sure there are some! Well, I’m hoping, at least.  With so many horses on there, if you are looking, make sure to check pages 2 and 3 of that section – the large number of horses recently added has pushed a lot of others onto those other pages, and there’s plenty of good horses there that I know are still available!

In other news, trying to get organized for our fundraising teams to get rolling as well – if you’re waiting for an email or further info on that, please sit tight! I’m getting to it, really! *grin*

I’ve even managed to make a few trips out to Happy Horse Acres to visit everybody, spending some quality time with Rainbow, who learned how to lunge despite being utterly distracted because she couldn’t see her favorite buddy from the ring, and with The Dude, who is slowly but surely making some progress, and is about the sweetest horse ever.  He’s also showing a lot more curiousity about stuff now – trying to investigate the whole farm and check everything out when I bring him out.  At some point this week, I might have those pictures up and everything (though don’t count on it, we have a hugely busy week ahead!)

I’m still missing a certain redhead mare quite a bit.  It feels strange to come up the driveway and not see her in the field, or walk out to hear her nicker at me.  All for the best, I know.  And it seems like she’s doing quite nicely – today Allie posted a video on youtube of her and Hurry schooling XC:

(link if you need it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYPpNPLg0VQ – hoping I got that URL right!)

I miss her so much. :/

But back on track, with other news… This Sunday, Southwind Farm in Damascus is hosting its first ever Combined Test, and we are expecting a decent turnout.  Somehow, CANTER got put in charge of the food (they know we have a lot of good cooks on board, I guess!), so that means that later this week will be spent getting supplies and griddles and everything all in order, and hopefully we’ll be able to pump out a few tasty breakfast sandwiches 🙂  Even if you’re not riding, feel free to stop by, we love to chat! Unfortunately, we will not have horses available to show/tell about, but I will have some listings with me for folks to look through, and maybe some of the “ebay pile” stuff for sale 🙂

 

Last Rides

Yesterday morning I got Cadence from her field, gave her an early breakfast, and about an hour and a half of hand grazing before bundling her onto the trailer for her trip to North Carolina.  I am still feeling a little sorry for myself, and anxious about her being so far away,  even though I know she’s in the most amazing hands possible.

The Most Beautiful Girl In The World

Yes, I see those ribs, they have been a constant source of frustration, and another reason we decided on a change of venue.  But all in all, she has slicked out, matured, and put on tons of muscle.  I can’t wait to see her in another few weeks with riding from Suzanney and some more weight on.  But damn, driving into the farm and not seeing her there is a little bit of a kick in the gut!

I promise to stop whining about this, but not until tomorrow 🙂

Prior to her leaving, we had some great last rides.  Saturday we worked largely on lateral work and transitions within the trot (trot normal! trot reeeeally slooooow! big trot!) which was surprisingly hard work.  But working in the indoor and using the mirrors, it’s very educational to work on that stuff and watch different muscle groups engage.  She still puts on a bit of an act about contact and lateral work… I caaaan’t!  It’s haaaaard!  That makes me laugh a little bit, especially because I know she can do it.   And of course, when I giggle, say, “come on, you know how to do this, nerd,” and sat up a bit, suddenly everything got easier. 

Sunday we didn’t really work very hard – I let her stretch out, and roll forward at a very nice forward trot and canter (even enjoying something that almost felt like a hand gallop, though the rhythm of her feet on the ground never changed.. man I love that about her!).  Then we jumped a little jump (three trot poles to a vertical).  She was perfectly willing, eager, and forward, and for about the first time I had no sense of rightward drift on the approach or landing (though perhaps, just perhaps, I was sitting straight? haha).

I’m going to miss riding her a ton – she’s just one of those horses that feels like a perfect fit.  Those of you down in NC – GO CHECK HER OUT! she is the best possible horse in the whole world, you won’t regret it. 🙂

In other news, I am going to be keeping busy by refocusing on things like fundraising and such – YAY!  I will also be visiting the funny farm to give updates on that 🙂  So there’s lots to do still, even without a riding project.

I have posted to our volunteer list that we are looking for volunteers to join and run fundraising teams – each team responsible for a fundraising effort or event, that they are totally in control of.  If you have ANY interest in that at all, or applicable skills, please email cmafundraising@gmail.com

 

The Most Perfect

The last couple rides I’ve had on Miss Cadence have been so wonderful I’m not really sure where to begin.  They haven’t necessarily been easy – but they’ve been wonderful.  One of the things I’ve come to notice is that the horses are typically very easy to start with.  90% of any given ride is usually about going forward at first.  Then comes contact, and then comes nuance.  Cadence is getting to that nuance phase, where we work more laterally (particularly to strengthen her right side) to get her more engaged back to front.  As she slides from “basic” to “nuanced” ride, things get a little more difficult.  I have to be even more correct, I have to be even more steady with my hands (and she has to learn to accept a little more contact, as nice as the feather-light thing is!), and I have to pay a lot more attention to staying centered in the saddle (among other things).

It’s a weird thing to think that as a horse gets more trained, she can become a little harder to ride, but I think it’s true.  Also in Cadence’s case, she has discovered her “go” button a little bit, fitness and confidence have endowed her with the ability to think more for herself, which can either be a blessing or a curse.  So far it’s been a blessing, with a little bit of “hee! someone has a go button now!” thrown in for good measure.  Mostly, though, I think a little more energy and attentiveness makes her much more fun and interesting to ride.

One of the things we worked on last night was some canter poles.  There was a single pole on one side of the ring, and a set on the other, set like two bounces.  We worked over the single pole a bit, and one of the things that impresses me is how she figures out how to adjust herself.  Provided I don’t mess with her at all other than to keep her straight and in front of my leg, if we biffed a distance to the pole and went over it awkwardly, invariably the next time through, I could feel her thinking and adjusting to try and make it comfortable.  The same thing happened when we tried the other poles.  She figured out quickly that she had to stay quiet and not “jump” the poles to get through comfortably, and all I really had to do was sit there.

As for the other work we did – she is getting much more balanced on the left lead, is getting some very nice walk-canter transitions (the canter-walk, not so much, but baby steps!), and getting much more responsive when I ask for a leg yield or shoulder in.  At the trot, the lateral work is harder than at the walk (natch), because she wants to speed up sometimes instead of staying balanced and using herself properly – but again, that’s a baby physical thing, and totally normal.  When I was done working on that stuff, I encouraged her to trot around a few times and really stretch out, and go long and low, which she quite enjoys. 

After that, we went for a walk with a friend down the long driveway, and on the way back we popped over a couple little logs and the ditch.  I don’t jump her very much, and the last time she went over anything was on our free jump day, but she was great.  About all I had to do was sit up and grab mane 🙂  She still has a bit of right drift, so that needs to  be managed (and more getting that right side stronger!), but she was so fun!  She takes off and lands so lightly it almost feels like flying.

All in all, a perfect ride on a lovely evening, capped off with a nice bowl of soup and watching the sun set with my horse up on the hill.

In other, more bittersweet news, Cadence will be heading down to our director and friends in North Carolina early next week.  Obviously, I have mixed feelings on this – I’m not getting lots of bites from people up here, and the market seems better down there, plus I know Suzanne will do a bang-up job of bringing her to the next level. 

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little heartbroken.  Back in mid-April, I was one day away from getting a paycheck I thought I might make an offer with.  I was (and am) that in love with this horse.  I had a plan, my big grey with all his foot problems would happily transition to field board, and I would have a horse that I could take eventing and such (plus, the grey horse even likes her, and he’s picky!).  I was adding up numbers and enabling myself on making a fantastically bad equine-related financial decision, and really very close to calling Allie, when something else that had been niggling at me reared its ugly (depending on your perspective) head.

I hadn’t been feeling quite right for about a week at that point, and had begun to suspect that I had a little problem.  Three EPT sticks later, and it was clear that, as suddenly as I had gotten up the nerve to consider buying her, I had to dismiss that thought to prepare for something else, a different kind of critter entirely.

I’m not sure what this means for my involvement with CANTER.  I know I am in a tailspin, trying to redefine who I am, as everything I define myself with will be put on a back burner for a while.  I probably shouldn’t be jumping, and my high risk doctor is quite leery of riding at all, so it makes sense to send the greenbean girl to people who can take her to the next level.  But when I think of her leaving, I feel this dull sort of ache deep inside, along with an almost frantic feeling, like I need to stand in front of the trailer to stop it from happening.  Seeing her go is going to be like losing a piece of myself. 

I know it will work out for the best, she will find a perfect home, and in the meantime get excellent care and training from really awesome people.  But I’m sad anyway. 

Coming soon… pictures of one of my favorite success stories, and an update on The Dude.

Behold, I am the Horse Whisperer!

“We just can’t get our hands on him, we’ve tried herding the group into the small paddock and letting the others out, but he just won’t let us catch him…”

I love a challenge.  Especially a challenge that lets me indulge my inner 12 year old, who can magically tame wild horses with only the power of my love.  This guy, I knew, would be a challenge.  He is an very tall 6 year old bay gelding, who unfortunately had a bit of what we call a “crash” after coming to Happy Horse Acres.  Most of the horses go through a phase where they lose some muscle, they might have skin problems, and they look a little rough around the edges for a while as they adjust to the “wilderness” and waist high grass, but this guy went through it a bit worse than normal, losing more weight than we’d like to see and throwing us into a bit of worry.  At the same time, he was not allowing anyone to catch him, so it was difficult to accurately assess how he was doing, give him de-wormer, etc.

On Sunday I spent a half-hearted ten minutes with a friend trying to see if we could lay hands on him.  No go.  I touched him once, but he wanted nothing to do with it.  He never ran away, but always kept just out of reach, looking somewhat stressed about the process at the same time.

So I decided to go back on my own last night, when I had a fair amount of time to work with, and didn’t have to worry about keeping anyone else waiting.  I figured if it took three hours, that would be fine (but it wouldn’t, I knew it, because I am confident in my powers, and the love oozing from my pores would win him over, just like all the horse books I used to read said!!!).

I am nothing, if not optimistic.

I was also lucky – my target, who I will be calling The Dude from here on out, was in the big run in shed with three other horses when I walked out.  And the three other horses happened to be some of the friendliest horses you will ever meet.  So as long as I was there, they were not going anywhere.  And as long as they were there, The Dude wasn’t going to go off too far on his own.  Score!

I’ve long since learned that the art of catching horses who don’t want to be caught is mostly based in… not trying too hard.  Don’t push it.  As soon as he saw me, he gave me the hairy eyeball, and went on immediate high alert.  I didn’t go near him right away, instead stopping to say hi to Tuck and the two new horses.  They all wanted rubbins and scratchins, so I obliged.  I spent about five minutes visiting before even shifting my weight in The Dude’s direction, giving him a chance to assess the situation.

When I did turn my attention on him… he was off and walking.  He knew what I wanted, and wanted no part of it, so he left the shed and started walking up the hill.  No problem.  I never got any closer to him, nor did I alter my speed from his.  We walked up the hill about 15 feet apart, him slightly ahead, and I only altered my speed and direction when he did.  The other three goonies followed. 

Eventually he stopped, grabbing a bite of grass.  I stopped too.  Then I was immediately swarmed by the other three.  We played a little game for about ten minutes – me taking a step towards him, and him walking away at speed, me following until he stopped, then going back to play with the other horses.

Then something changed about the dynamic.  With Tuck in front of me, the newbies on my left and behind me, suddenly The Dude was only about 6 feet away from me, the closest he’d ever allowed.  And seriously, it was one of those moments – everything gets sort of quiet, and I knew I was just about “there” with him.  The light from the setting sun was behind him, making his eyes glow, and he had lowered his head, relaxing a little bit, just watching me (and judging me a bit, I’m sure).  I kept scratching Tuck, but watched him right back.

I didn’t move, even to shift my weight towards him, just watched him.  “I’m here to make you feel better, you know,” I said.  Corny, but bear with me.  I talk to horses as if they understand, all the time.  And it works, too.  I don’t think they really understand, but they get tone and intent, and saying things out loud makes them more “true” – your body language follows, and for sure horses understand that too.  “You don’t feel so great, do you, love?”

He stood there looking at me, and I saw him shift his weight back and forth a few times.  Then the really big moment, a half step forward, in my direction.  He let out a deep breath, and I knew we were good.  I reached out my hand and held it to his nose, and within the space of a heartbeat, he pushed his nose into my hand.

We stood there a few moments, out in the setting sun, the other horses no longer interrupting or asking for attention.  I began rubbing his head, first with one hand and then with both – big, sweeping motions up over his forehead, and down over his eyes and jaws.  He closed those pretty eyes, and dropped his head some more.  I actually waited a few minutes before even raising the halter – just stroked his face while he relaxed, and told him what a wonderful, beautiful boy he was.

Once I had the halter on, he was initially quite hesitant to come with me – yet again I started chattering, “it’s OK my big love, I’m going to try and make you feel better.  You don’t have to do anything except be your big handsome self.”  And soon we were on our way, and out in one of the grooming areas. 

He enjoyed a good curry, which removed the nasty looking remains of winter fuzz from his back and butt, he stood extremely quietly for fly spray, and for skin-goo application, and enjoyed a few bites of grain to reward him for trusting me a little bit.

The farm manager walked by and said, “wait, who’s that?”

“It’s the big skinny horse.”

“How did you do that so fast?”

“Duh!  I’m a horse whisperer.”

The good news is that The Dude is actually not doing too bad – his height (around 17 hands), and a pronounced hunter bump, along with lack of topline (and let’s be fair, he did lose some weight), made him look a bit rougher than he actually is.  He has good, squishable flesh over his shoulders and stifles, his weight has picked up just since I saw him over the weekend, and even though he did have some rainrot, the active infection is gone and everything is healing.  He got some dewormer, some nolvasan on the few little cuts he had, and I checked his feet – all in all, he’s a really nice guy who I think is going to turn out just fine.

The Dude Abides

A Fun New Game

Cadence has been getting a little touch of the spring fever as of late (nothing horrible, she just seems to have discovered her “extra energy” button – which is actually quite nice in a way, seeing as she is, by nature, somewhat lazy), so I thought I needed to do some things to keep it more interesting.

As luck would have it, the barn was empty last night, AND the weather was lovely (post thunderstorm).  These two things rarely happen simultaneously, so it seemed like a good day to try a little free jumping.  Though she’s hopped over a few jumps and little gymnastics, I think free jumping is good just for mixing things up, and keeping things fun for the horses.  It’s got its practical applications as well – teaching horses how to rate and get themselves through the jumps without the interference of a rider, building confidence, etc, but having watched other horses being free jumped and doing it a little bit, it seems like they enjoy it and come to think of it as a game.  For her I figured it would break up the boredom of ring work a bit (for real, every time I actually have time for a trail ride, the weather doesn’t cooperate! This is getting old!)

I started with piles of poles, set at one stride apart.  She immediately trotted through, leaping over the poles a little bit.  I asked her to go through another time and she trotted them much more normally.

While I reset the poles to make a little crossrail, she patiently waited for her next set of instructions.

Hey, whatcha doin’ over there?

Once I set up the crossrail, she had no trouble with that either, trotting over it like it was no big deal, then hopping over the poles on the other side.  Except, then she stopped, really wanting to go the other direction.  She showed no desire to try to get out of work, she just wanted to go the other way, so through she went, and when she landed from the crossrail she threw in a couple celebratory bucks and squealed a little bit.  OK, now we’re having a good time!

 
I set up a second crossrail, then later raised it to a small vertical.  She never showed any hesitation though she gave it a look the first time.  And again, she reversed herself a couple times and went through the chute backwards.  I’m ashamed to admit I had really built it pretty much one-way, and there were no guide rails if she came in backwards.  But she didn’t care, and jumped right in.
 
After only a few passes she figured out exactly what pace she needed to jump from to get through comfortably.  Only one time was needed to convince her that jumping out of a huge canter was unnecessary, and indeed difficult.  After that, she self-adjusted, cantering around the ring (sometimes throwing in a big goofy buck), then coming back to a very nice trot coming in, and going through the little chute like a pro.  Her form needs some work, but she’s a beginner!
 
I also have to dig out a pair of boots before we do anything bigger (we didn’t go any higher than 2′ this time, though she’s jumped that under saddle.  The name of the game is confidence building!)
 

Seriously, she’s giving that little jump about three feet of clearance, I think.

And just because she’s purty:

I haz a big trot!

 

And, nice to see someone packing on some weight! Yay!

I also managed to get out to the the funny farm and visit all the horses on Sunday, and I had an extra hand so we were able to even hop on one of the geldings who’s been hanging out for a while and is about ready to head to retraining.  His name is Bolt, he is an ADORABLE chestnut with a big white blaze and endearing personality.  I’m thinking he’ll be headed down to CANTER South, but don’t quote me on that 🙂

Bolt doesn’t really live up to his name, and true to my first-ride experience, the biggest issue was getting him going.  But once he did, he looked to have a nice way of going, good sized stride, and pleasant demeanor.  Hopefully he’ll be shipping out and popping up on our “available now” list shortly!

Finally Found Something To Upset Her

OK, her shoes are back on, and it’s been over two weeks since I’d last hopped on Miss Fillyface, so as you can probably imagine, I was itching to get on her last night.  Practically jumping out of my skin to ride!  I’d ridden my horse a few times, to be fair, but I do love this girl and I couldn’t wait to swing up there and get some positive work done.

Of course, after I got her into the barn and started tacking up, rain started hitting the roof.  Then there was a low rumble of thunder. 

Hmmmmm.  I’m not big on riding during storms, but I knew she’d been in the indoor during very bad weather before, so it probably wouldn’t phase her too much. 

By the time I got on, it was starting to pour.  You couldn’t hear much of anything in the ring, but she seemed to be OK with the whole thing and was calm, so I went ahead and got started.  She felt a bit stiff, actually, so I spent a lot of time at the walk and trot doing some lateral work and inviting her to stretch out a bit, which she did, despite the increasing severity of the storm raging outside.

I dropped back to the walk frequently, and asked her to do some spiral-in/spiral-out, and really start using her back end properly.  Of course this is hard for her, so after about ten minutes of working on that, I decided to call it quits so we could finish on a good note.

At pretty much that exact moment, the hail started.  My feet hit the dirt and I had one stirrup run up when the hail REALLY started.  If you thought heavy rain was thunderous on a metal-roofed indoor, it has NOTHING on hail.  It was coming down so hard you couldn’t see the trailer parking from the ring – the air appeared almost solidly white.  The sound in the ring was like nothing I’ve really heard before, and I couldn’t even hear myself think.

Naturally, I was upset.  And even  more naturally, Cadence was really upset.  So for the first time, I got to see what Cadence’s “really upset” looks like.  Her eyes got wide, she looked scared, and she commenced to trot in circles around me.  She looked scared out of her mind, but that was it.  No bolting, no pulling, nothing bad, just trotting circles.  She was too freaked to stand still, but trusted my hands on the reins nonetheless, and settled as I walked with her, so that she could move forward instead of going in a tight circle.

I talked to her, but couldn’t hear my own voice over the endless crashing on the roof.  She settled before the cacophony actually stopped, which was good.  I’m glad I didn’t try to hold her still, I think that would have just panicked her – getting to move and getting reassurance seemed to be all she needed (and it’s a lot easier on my arms, and my nerves, as well!)

I’m actually pretty impressed – I’m pretty sure my own horse would have lost his gourd in there!  That she handled a pretty terrifying (heck, seriously, I was skeered, I can’t imagine how a horse would feel about all that!) situation pretty easily strikes me as a very good thing.  I think if I had still be on her, it would have been fine too. 🙂  She’s such a good girl – you just don’t get a brain like this all that often. 

And I’m also pleased to report she is packing on some weight (yay!!!!).  Her topline has chunked out, and her width has increased (as measured by how high I can get the girth, heh).  Now I just need to get the rest of that winter hair off and she will be stunning soon!

Sometimes This Gig Makes Me Laugh

I got involved with CANTER largely because of a chronic inability to say “no,” coupled with a deep love of the Thoroughbred horse.  I knew Allie, and loved her organization, and any time she asked me for a favor I was happy to get involved, until I found myself going to the track all the time, riding the program horses, blogging, on the board, doing random video interviews for a local newspaper website, going to Congress, Safety and Welfare summits, and all kinds of other things that sometimes feel a bit surreal.

In much the same way I found myself in the DC studios of the NPR affiliate WAMU yesterday, talking (or trying to) about CANTER for the weekend pet call-in show.

This actually started out as one of my random surges of activity- every now and then, I find some extra energy somewhere and go on a tear of emailing and investigating things for publicity or grants or what have you, and this time NPR was on my list because I’d been listening to “The Animal House” the day before.  Oh why not?  I rattled off an email about the upcoming Triple Crown season, and how we work to find racehorses new homes, and wouldn’t that be a great topic for the show?

And this is how I found myself sitting in a radio control room, listening to another guest talking about how he invented a hand-held scanner that reads Zebras like bar codes.

I will say this – you can know a topic inside and out, backwards and forwards, and have planned out all kinds of awesome things to say, and still have your brain freeze.  Fortunately the host got me back on topic with a question about why horses like beer – he’s a smart guy! Beer I can talk about, even sort of knowledgably!  I will let go of the fact that I somehow skipped over the actual process we use to retrain the horses, and also that I let fly with memorable lines like, “some horses I would put my grandmother on. Some I would advise no one get on.”  Shame there’s no rewind button on life!

My segment should only be about 7-8 total minutes, and I’m hoping they edit my less than glorious response to the first question.  The whole way home, I was kicking myself!  So many amazing things to talk about regarding racehorse safety initiatives and statistics, and all my brain came up with was… well, it was pretty lame. 

In any case, you can listen this Saturday at noon on 88.5 in the Washington, D.C. area, or online here: http://wamuanimalhouse.org/  Feel free to taunt, laugh, giggle, or tell me I should never speak in public EVER again!

Next time, I think a nice bottle of Newcastle beforehand might help!

(on the horse front: Cadence is doing just fine but we are still waiting for our farrier.  In the meantime she is quite enjoying her new field along with the new neighbors!)

Grumble.

I gave Cadence all last week off.  Partly it was the post-Rolex funk, but as I’ve also been having a little bit of a hard time putting some good weight and bloom on her, I figured I’d just give her some time to not do any work, eat, and also get a nice little Powerpak. 

So Saturday I left the track, looking forward to riding, since I pretty much hadn’t all week (save one rather not-fun ride on my horse, who was convinced the ladder on the ground next to the shavings shed was going to eat him each time we went around the ring).  My schedule had unfortunately not stayed on track, so I missed my trip to the layup farm completely, but the sun was shining, the weather perfect, and I had just enough time to get in a good ride before the Derby.

Then, I got home.  All seemed well, till I went to get her out of the field and noticed her limping.  Hmmm.  Really?  It wasn’t the drastic, crazy sort of limp that has me saying, “oh, abscess!”  It was a little less obvious, so it took me a second to realize she had shifted one of her shoes and stepped on the clip. 

Yayyy…..

Being a fairly fresh, new shoe, there was really no getting it off by hand, and I didn’t want to make her walk all the way up the driveway on it, so I stood there like a simpleton for a few minutes, holding her mud-drenched foot with one hand, and texting the barn owner with the other.  Luckily she was able to bring down some adequate tools for the job.  Not so luckily, she was clean and dressed for a Derby party, and I did not have the proper strength/leverage to get the shoe off.  We ended up with me holding her foot up with one hand, her head with the other, while she pried at the shoe and loosened the nails while standing as far away as possible.

Once that was done, my beautiful, gorgeous riding day ended with me scrubbing and soaking, and packing and wrapping that pesky foot.

Fortunately she’s not too sore on it, so I think she’s just fine.  And as an added bonus, she moved fields, so now she has a little boyfriend on the other side of the fence.  And by little, I mean 18.2 hands of blond beefcake.  The thought of that big huge Belgian prancing to impress his new neighbor is something that will keep me giggling for a while.

In other news, have some nice track listings that just went up on the Charles Town section 🙂  Go check them out!