Thursday, December 31, 2009

Highlights of 2009

Getting to know Jett more

Getting Jazz from the track

Getting Montana from the track even though we didn't have the money, time, or room

Finding Gunny a new home
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Riding Major in his first eventing clinic

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I can't remember the last time we had this much snow on the ground before Christmas! Around here, 6-8 inches is a blizzard! Here's the barn after the storm passed:

Kevin "busts" the snow off the round bales of hay we place in the paddocks for the horses to snack on in between meals of their regular hay and grain. This is especially important for my two skinnies, Jazz and Montana, who have been struggling with their weight recently. I don't know why, but every one of the horses from the track has gone through a period of weight loss to one degree or another, usually about two months into being off the track. It is usually accompanied by depression, or as in Montana's and Gunny's case, some aggression. It usually lasts a month or two, and they come out of it. The weight loss disturbs me, though. I baby them and fret alot during these "episodes." I call it the "Slippery Slope", and I feel like I I just trudge away up the slippery slope, pulling them behind me, till we reach the top and breathe a sigh of relief!
Jazz is pulling out of it; gaining back weight - but Montana still looks thin and ribby. I think I will de worm them again, and keep on with the rice bran and high fat feed. That seems to do the trick. It is just a slow process.

Montana looking a little stunned; like, "How come you turned us out in this?!" I did; I hate to keep them cooped up day after day. They're ok with blankets.

Blankeys drying in the barn isle.....
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Friday, December 11, 2009


It finally got seriously cold here in Virginia. We had been enjoying very mild weather; albeit rainy and chilly up until now. Last night we had a good freeze.
I blanketed the horses and left them turned out; they seem to enjoy this more than being cooped up in their stalls all the time.
I decided to leave them blanketed all day today, as it is going to stay cold, and with the windchill, feel colder.
I had to break ice off the horse's water and add fresh water to their slush.

Jett in his cheery red balnkey


Water drops on Jett's muzzle

There was a hawk in the barn this morning; he soared out of the door in front of me and landed on a fence post; looking at me.
Once I rescued an owl and took it to a rehab center for raptors. Several weeks later, they contacted me and gave me the option of releasing her back into the wild myself. I was overjoyed and picked her up from the center. I released her into the woods at my parent's horse farm.
Ever since, I have loved raptors, and think they are so magnificent and noble. I am not into Native American folklore, myths; etc. But I have always thought that if the "spirit guide" thing were something I believed in, the hawk would be my "guide".
So when I saw the hawk in the barn this morning, and then on my fence; I liked to think it was "message" of sorts. I've been feeling cruddy recently about my whole equine predicament; depressed about the death of my dog and my lack of good riding time, and my two skinnies struggling with their weight. The hawk inspired me this morning and I just thought I'd spread the experience! Hope everyone is having a great Holiday season so far!
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Sunday, December 6, 2009


My heart goes out to the family members of the two men who died, and the owners of the 43 horses that were burned alive in a fairgrounds barn fire in Ohio yesterday. They were harness racing horses, from what I understand.

I cannot imagine loosing my horses in this way.

This is terrible, and tragic.

Please, don't smoke or allow any kind of space heaters in your horse barns..... especially where hay is stored. I do not know if this is what caused the fire, but I think we can all assume it had something to do with heaters, this time of the year.
I have a wall heater in my tack room and bathroom, and I don't even feel comfortable leaving them on when I am not right there at the barn. It scares me so bad.
I have a brother who was a firefighter, so fire prevention and safety is a strong point with me.

Ok. O think I will run to the barn and love on my horses for a bit, and just relish the fact that I have them safe and sound.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Living the Dream


I confess, I have been a little down in the dumps when it comes to my horses recently. We have had soooo much grody, wet weather; and I have been so consumed with work, remodeling, Thanksgiving, etc. etc.

I think it boils down to the fact that I just generally hate this time of the year; period. I know there is obviously nothing I can do about it; it just is.

After working, there is little or no daylight left for me to ride. Or it is raining cats and dogs. Or, everything is muddy and messy. So I feel like all I do is feed the horses, and get a little bit of brushing done, and a few barn chores.
When I was instructing all the time, my students helped me out with a lot of the brushing and horse care things. Now that I am not teaching, I don't have that luxury.

So anyway, this past week before Thanksgiving, I was just completely down in the dumps about it. Every day, I found myself at the barn after work, feeding, mucking, blanketing, etc. etc. all by myself, in the dark, and cold rain, and mud, and I was just vexed about it.

"All I ever get to do is the work," I complained to myself while I wheeled yet another load of stall mess out to the ever growing muck pile. "I never get to do the fun parts - like riding!!!!"
"Is is EVER going to clear up so I can ride at least one day this week?"

And then when I discovered two broken fence rails in the paddock, I was really annoyed, and complained dome more.
"All I do is fix things and then you guys just break it again! Come on, guys. Can we NOT break anything tonight?"

And then it struck me; at some point, when I was trudging hay bales through the mud to a dry spot in the turnout paddock for my freshet two OTTTBs that are struggling with their weight.

This is what I have always wanted. This was my childhood dream. This is what I swore I would do if my parents just let me have a pony. This is it.

That realisation suddenly put it all into perspective for me. It's what I tell people - students; kids; all the time. If you get a horse, it is not all going to be frolicking in the meadow and going to horse shows and peaches and cream.

And I realised how spoiled I have become; yeah, spoiled. Me. Here I am, with this palatial 6 stall barn from heaven, straight out of a horse magazine. I have a kitchen in my barn nicer than the one in my house, for Pete's sake. I have everything I ever wanted in a barn. And I am complaining?!

Ever since I first took a hunter jumper lesson on a 17 hand OTTTB when I was 15, I was hooked on TBs, and dreamed of getting one one day for my own. Yes, I had horses all my life; mostly QH schooling horses as I was an instructor and needed steady ones. But I always put off getting my dream gelding - off the track - young - training him myself - and now I have FOUR?! (I have four otttbs. I have 12 horses all together.) And more if I want them? And I am complaining?!

So I am ashamed of myself. I am resolved to stop my complaining. I may hate this time of year and not be able to ride as much a I would like to; but I am going to stop complaining about it.

OH and the photo above? That's me at 8 years old, next to the first horse I ever loved, Red's, mom Cookie. This was before braces. (LOL) This was when I started my love affair with horses and dreaming this dream that I am now living.....
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