Saturday, August 21, 2010

Welcome to: Lala Boom!

Well unfortunately it did not work out vehicle-wise (the truck I was to use became unavailable and friends either did not own pickups or were already busy with theirs!) to make it to the Kestrel Ridge dressage shows, which was actually pretty disappointing :S So, next spring we will find a way to make things happen, even if it means trading in my current truck for something bigger, that can pull all 4,000 fricken pounds of horse trailer (plus horse weight!). In the mean time, I am now back to work full-scale, so not enough riding and training happening to make any shows happen or to make any real solid progress. My goal however is to attain further fitness so that by the time we hit next spring, I am ready to go! In the mean time, I will work hard on my time off to bring Link along in both dressage and jumping (new jumps at our arena finally!!).

Link continues to do phenomenal and is really making a lot of steady progress in the dressage direction. I usually have to 'surprise' him into his right canter lead, but it works and he is learning to relax throughout it all. I have a friend at the barn who has expressed interest in riding him over the winter, which is great! I like how she works with her horses and how she has brought along her own OTQH, so I am excited for Link to stay in work throughout the winter, with someone competent.

Onyx of course continues to do well also and is currently being started over poles and cavellettis. Just small stuff she can step over, but I want her used to adjusting and balancing herself over and between jumps. She needs some confidence building yet going over things however has taken to other activities, such as working in the outdoor ring, like a duck to water. No troubles! She is listed for sale now as well.

Cody has unfortunately not had any work done on him; I would like to ride him at minimum once or twice next week during my time off - I will update afterward!

Silver was leased out - lease fee paid and everything, however the new lessee has only been out maybe once and is overdue for paying board already, so I am not overly impressed! She seemed to click well with him and had wanted to finish his reining training and run barrels on him - I was pretty excited about his having a job and was even more excited that he could do what he loved - run - but with someone who was going to use good horsemanship (esp with barrel racers, I am picky).

Koolaid is looking fat and happy at his new lessees' home!! Ok, well maybe not fat, haha, but he is no longer skinny! His lessees would like to see another 50lbs or so on him and I agree, however even if he stayed where he is currently at, I would be happy :) There is a nice covering over his ribs, his neck is no longer accentuated, he has a nice hind, and neither his hipbones nor the top of his pelvis are protruding (he is a horse whose hips are naturally angular, but there are no dips around them now and they are not sticking out enough to hang a coat off of!). I am very happy with his progress and he is doing very well for his lessees!!

Soraya continues to do well and after speaking with the vet, I have a better understanding of how and why she did not catch. He says she is reproductively very sound; I am considering breeding her either next spring or spring 2012. We'll see! Hopefully I will get some photos of her soon from the people I purchased her from and where she is staying, so that I can post them here; I will be bringing her home probably come November now. It was really funny though to hear the vet try to really really nicely put it that she was a rude b!tch at his clinic, lmao!! He tells me she needed 'careful, firm handling' and was sort of warning me about her behaviour, pussyfooting around it. So I came up and told him I had handled her before and knew how snarky she was and thanked him for all his work with her, knowing full well she was a little disrespectful brat for him. It was really funny though, listening to him try to tell me how poorly she behaved, trying not to offend me (as if! I know she's a little twit on the ground yet, you're not going to offend me telling me as such lol!!), then sounding relieved when he realised I already was fully aware of the challenge ahead of me and that I wasn't going to be offended that she was a little disaster. Very very amusing!!!!

Sonny continues to do well with his novice riders, including starting to jump some now as well :)

Lastly, we have a new addition!! My steadfast rule now is: NO MORE HORSES, at least not until I have got property (and even then, I just do not need any more horses really unless for a very specific purpose such as up-and-coming prospects, long-term project horses, etc), however this is a horse I have been interested in for the past couple of years and whom I have been trying to purchase for the past year (ever since I knew he was still alive!). So, welcome to:

Phoenix! Registered as Lala Boom, he is a 16.1hh 2002 chesnut Thoroughbred gelding off the track. He has 50 career starts and has won over $40,000. Bred in Kentucky, he was sold as a yearling for over $90,000 and is a half-brother to Smarty Jones, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. As such, he has been virtually run into the ground (bowed tendons, bruised heels, and all throughout his career) and did not finish running until late July of this year. I purchased him and had him delivered 3 days after his last race and was home to feed him his first blueberry muffin 2 days after that! I groomed him on the track when he came up from Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008. At the time, it was the dead of winter - February, and he was the sleekest horse in the barn! It was funny, because though he was blanketed and never on the walker long on a day off (both due to the frigid temperatures and his lack of a coat), I would get his stall done as fast as I humanely could and he would meanwhile be pleading at me to get him off - whenever I passed by him on the walker to grab new or dump old shavings, he would whinny pleadingly at me. In the mornings, I couldn't come in late and sneak in as if I had been working all along and just no one had seen me, because the minute he saw me walk down the barn aisle, he would be watching for me and would whinny. I used to have blueberry muffins every time I worked; one day I was eating a blueberry muffin in front of is stall, visiting with him, and he starts reaching out and wiggling his little lips at me. I look at him, eyebrow cocked. Surely, he doesn't want my blueberry muffin. He continues. I shrug and cave, offering him a piece. Sure enough, he gobbles it up! I feed him another piece, same result. Until the entire muffin is gone. Henceforth, I always had to bring to work two blueberry muffins. One for him, one for me. There was no way he was letting me eat one of those delicious muffins by myself! While in my care, he bruised both his front heels as well as bowed both front tendons (though minor and the one even less so than the other), so 15-20min of cold-water hosing each day meant lots of bonding time! I lost track of him after moving on from the track and his passing on to other owners and eventually stopped even asking about him. I didn't want to know that he had finally met the meat truck. Then one day I decided to brace myself and just look up his race record. And lo and behold, he was still running! I had to track him through quite a few owners this past year, but it was well worth it and eventually resulted in his purchase. He was home 3 days and it was less than a week yet since his last race when I got the bright idea of trying him under-saddle. Typically I just do not do that - I re-start everything from the ground and in doing so fill in any gaps. He knew a little bit of groundwork from what I had taken the time to teach him on the track, so we did maybe 10 minutes of groundwork before I finally swung my leg over. I was pretty nervous. He is a powerhouse of a horse and fitter than a fiddle - it wouldn't take much to get me off and if he did, it was going to hurt. A storm was rolling in - high winds, the threat of rain and hail (and tornadoes, as it turns out), and thunder booming close-by. He was in a western saddle, probably for the first time ever, and a simple D-ring snaffle (shaped mouthpiece, sweet iron, low 3/4" port for tongue relief). And he had raced only 6 days prior. Though I was more than a little nervous, he seemed unperturbed. We walked around the arena. Relaxed. He obviously did not know anything about leg aids (why would he?), but already started catching on within the first ten minutes - he was very responsive to my weight shifts and simply turning my shoulders, etc. Okay, what about trot? I clucked and gently squeezed. The squeeze did nothing, but he caught my drift with the cluck, and ahead he jogged! Quietly! As if he was an old WP horse!!! Next day, we did some of the same and even walked in the fields! Despite the bugs being terrible and literally eating him alive (even with flyspray), he was relaxed and responsive. What a sweetheart!! So it looks like I have got my next pleasure horse!!! SO STOKED! I can't believe this horse. We will still do groundwork and all other sorts of fun stuff to fill in the gaps in his training, but I am beyond impressed with him and excited to use him as my pleasure/trail horse. Unfortunately he did feel slightly off, so only light riding. I was thinking possible chiro issue? He had been off at the track for that reason (very bad shape chiropractic-wise when he first came up to Calgary), so it was possible. I also had his shoes removed, so he could have been a bit sensitive yet to that (though he was not really ouchy on the gravel, just hesitant on it). Then, a few days later, I went out to ride him and noticed he was dragging his front left toe. I checked him out thoroughly and noticed a pronounced swelling on that shoulder - a good 8" long and maybe 4" wide. Weird. There was an open wound at the top with a little dried puss and blood, as if an abscess had burst. Still, plenty of heat and swelling, and he was obviously uncomfortable. I left him alone to play it out and came back the next day, this time to a much-improved shoulder! It continued to improve over the next couple of days, so I am excited to get home and see what it looks like now (should be fully healed) and hopefully get back to riding him!! This boy handles everything like a pro with such a sweet, willing, and calm mind, so I can't wait to go on some adventures with him throughout the winter :)