Saturday, November 29, 2008

Current Equine Partners

Koolaid summer 2008, 8 years old

Silver summer 2008, 13 years old

Sonny summer 2008, 4 years old

Link off the track fall 2008

Link at the track 2008, 4 years old

Link's Secret a.k.a. Link
2004 dark bay Thoroughbred gelding. I met Link on the track in 2007 when he was a 3yo running for $25,000. The 2008 season however he ran poorly and therefore dropped to bottoms. He would run in amongst the pack making no bid whatsoever for the lead and return to the barn - after a race(!!) - with not a drop of sweat and hardly breathing above normal. His owner was looking to run him in Lethbridge (a B-track where we send all our poorly-running horses), however I made an offer on him. This horse, a part of my string of horses to groom at the track, was one of my favourites for his boisterous and mischievous personality despite the challenges he also presented (ie. he always had to be heavily sedated to have his feet trimmed and shod on the track). We purchased Link August 2008 and brought him home September 2nd 2008. After a lengthy bout of ringworm where he was forced to live in isolation while he mended, Link is finally his healthy, mischievous self. Turns out too that the likely reason he had refused to run was that he was in too much pain to do so with his pelvis severely misaligned. He is feeling great now though and I have started "re-training" him in Parelli Natural Horsemanship with the ultimate goal of using him as a jumper or eventer. We may choose to race him next year in a couple of races, however only if we find it can be done naturally. Link is your classic classic Left-Brain Extrovert though he has right-brain tendencies at times yet. I absolutely love working with this horse though he is certainly challenging my savvy and teaching me so much more!! I love his extrovert personality with the boldness and fearlessness of the thinking left-brain'er!!

Devil's Little Dipper a.k.a. Sonny
2004 chestnut Thoroughbred gelding. I also met Sonny at the track in 2007 and though he was in my string of horses I had not really taken much notice of him at the time. At the end of the season though his trainer called me up and told me he was being auctioned off if I was interested. I contacted his owners to hear that they could no longer afford to feed a poorly-running horse and that, although they had raised him since a foal, they were to auction him off September 15 and he would likely end up in the meat pen. If we wanted him, we had to pick him up before the designated auction date. Sonny is so completely quiet, from the track life, that I felt he would make the perfect match for my mom. I convinced her to come out and see him and although he was no longer the sleek-looking racehorse I had left on the track, my mom fell in love with the thin-ish, ragged-looking gelding charging around his pasture. Since then she has been working with him a bit however I have been primarily teaching him PNH as well. He is a GREAT little horse who collects himself easily and readily and is very soft and supple. He is a little bit of a mischievous colt still but overall he is fairly honest. I absolutely love his short short back and all that power he's got tucked up in that hind! He's got a great deal of talent that I look forward to bringing out :) Sonny is definitely a Right-Brain Extrovert.

Silver Bonanza Bar a.k.a. Silver
1995 grey Quarter Horse (3/4) x Arabian gelding who is out of our Quarter Horse (1/2) x Arabian mare Lady. His running Quarter Horse lines provide him with his love of the wind in his mane!! Silver was originally bred and raised to be my dad's ranch horse however when we moved off the ranch and I needed a new horse to move up on, he became it! I was 12 at the time and he was 4 so we had Russel Dreger, a local trainer, put a couple months on the un-started Silver. However he was unable to finish full training when Silver injured himself pawing at a fence so we took him home and I tended his injured fetlock daily...and a bond grew. He is my cow-pony, my been-there-done-that horse who is also my highest level horse (level 3+) whom I can ride at full liberty! He is also an Right-Brain Extrovert and is so highly sensitive I have to be careful how I even shift my weight on his back (particularly when bareback) lol. Silver has worked cattle (his personal favourite), jumped, done a little dressage and gymkhana, and has taken me through 4H and Pony Club. He has also patiently suffered through my learning over the years as I learned how to communicate more effectively with him and become a greater leader for him. I would love to get into some team penning and reining with him however it's all about finding the time!!

Formaat's Kool Renegade a.k.a. Koolaid
2000 grey Dutch Warmblood (1/2) x Quarter Horse (1/4) x Arabian gelding, out of our Quarab mare Lady and the late Holland-import stallion Formaat. At the time of Koolaid's birth we had leased Lady back to her original owner for breeding purposes as we had hit upon some hard financial times. Lady was eventually bred to the Dutch Warmblood Formaat in the attempts of producing a filly to carry on her line, however a colt was born. Koolaid was born out on the range; when the owners found the foal was a colt, they offered him to us for sale and we consented. I worked with Koolaid from that first day forward, teaching him all his basics. Right from a foal though he was the picture of a little rebellion; he once injured himself and required 13 stitches at the vet. Drugged up with both the vet and I holding him against the wall he struggled and fought us to no end lol. Koolaid is a Left-Brain Introvert and so starting him under-saddle as a 3yo was challenging. He refused to work under-saddle and would sull up if forced in any way/shape/form. If he so much as spotted a crop or spurs he would refuse to move forward and would even buck if pushed. His fastest pace was a walk - a jog if you were really lucky, and if he decided at any time that he did not feel like working, he would simply sull up and stand. This horse deserves all the credit for forcing me to really check out other methods (though I had been immersed in various methods such as John Lyons throughout my life and had always been open to other methods), which led me to the Parelli Natural Horsemanship. I watched Pat working his stallion Casper in amongst mares, at full liberty at times, and imagined where Koolaid and I could be one day. Seeing that demo that weekend completely and dramatically changed my view of working with horses!! Well Koolaid turned out not to be as candid at trying these new "games". In fact, he downright despised what he viewed as my attempts at unsurping him from his little throne and set out to put me back in my "place". He trapped me against stalls when I had him tied for grooming, trapped between a decision of which was worse: slashing teeth and striking front feet or cocked-and-ready-to-pound hind hooves. He carried his ears in a permanent scowl, pinned against his head, and challenged my authority at every chance possible. He reared and struck out with his front legs whenever the mood struck him and he dove in during the Circle Game to tag me with either teeth or hooves. Slowly though his attitude of spite turned to one of respect and partnership...those ears previously laid flat against his skull started to prick forward more and more often. It was an upward battle, but it was worth it!! Koolaid really taught me perseverance (ie. continuing to go out and work with a horse I hated lol), patience, and assertiveness without aggressiveness. Today he is the picture of willingness and partnership; just looking for the time to increase our levels further! He still occasionally tests my leadership but after a little Driving Game to re-establish my authority he is great, particularly if I am playing with him on a regular basis. Under-saddle he is soft and supple and collects nicely! We have worked on a bit of dressage over the past couple of years as well as jumping; the jumping he seems to love, often trying to drag me over jumps in the jumping ring lol. He has a lot of scope too, particularly for being such a small (15.3hh) horse - he easily clears 5' oxers at the Circle Game and so far I have tested him at 4' oxers under-saddle, which he clears with ease :)

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