Deanie raced 4 times before coming home to the farm this summer. Here she was given a chance to hang out and relax a bit, while going for hacks and playing around in the arena. Nothing too serious. It also gave her a chance to physically mature and now stand at 16 hands. Being 3 years old, she has a couple more years to grow, but I already can see she is going to be a natural talent either in Jumping or Eventing.
Today while working on the flat, it just felt right to me that I could trot her down the long-side and quietly approach the barrels. Without second guessing, Deanie found her take off spot and lifted herself casually up and over the fence. I know what it felt like. I recall seeing her knees below my field of vision. And it just felt really high up in the air.
My husband Greg sorta made a giggling noise and then I chimed in. Looking at the camera he said, “Honey you’re going to love this.”
I’ve taken my time with the prospects this season because they’re 3 years old and were very green broke. Each day I work with them whether it’s halting, mounting, standing, hacking out, trotting poles, leg yielding, rein backing and canter leads. And in time they’ve developed muscle and a more mature personality. It’s all a sort of building blocks where you need a solid foundation to work from.
In time, it’s the horse who tells me when they’re ready to jump, otherwise I don’t push it and I wait. Today Deanie said, “Let’s GO!”. . . . and so we did.
GO Deanie! GO Thoroughbred!
It’s interesting to imagine where Lou and I are today, compared to September 2014. We’ve done our homework, stayed the course and did fairly well competing. In 2014, I struggled to imagine ‘The Elephant’ ever being capable of jumping or being elegant in Dressage. Horses his size have to work harder in being ballerinas.
Each time we saddled up, there was always a tad bit of promise and I could feel myself getting excited about the future. Louis is so quiet and laid back, that it finally gave me a chance to exhale and enjoy myself at competitions.
I’ve worked hard getting this square peg to fit into round holes, and Louis never ever stops trying to get it right. I do recall that steering was optional in the beginning and we had to work on it, as he took me down the side of an embankment one day at full speed. My husband was amused as he was taping it. . . I could have done without The Man From Snowy River impersonation.
So what’s this all about and where do we go from here? Well, I continue to do my homework and stay the course, but with the outlook of moving up to Training Level. Not a big deal for some, but it’s a milestone for Lou and I. There’s plenty to work on and I think a horse with his size struggles with fitness as they go up the levels. In many ways Louis is more Warmblood than Thoroughbred.
It’s also very important for me to keep his gentleness and quiet temperament. I’ve seen many professionals and amateurs ruin perfectly quiet and talented horses simply because they’re in a rush and think they have to have a horse running Preliminary by age 5. That’s complete and utter nonsense to me.
Louis is figuring this Eventing stuff out. He is becoming more keen at the idea of running cross country. I’ve changed pieces of tack as he’s become stronger . . .but not his bit. He goes in a full cheek snaffle and I’m keeping him in a snaffle. I’ve changed the reins though, using racing reins that are heavier and stronger and knotted at the bit. I’m also working closely with my show jumping friend Karen Kerby of Pleasanthill Farm who is quite frankly very ‘old school’ and is a master horseman and lover of Thoroughbreds. There are no short-cuts with Karen.
There’s a lot to look forward to for 2017.
Stall opening for full board, consignment, long-short term training. Price starts at $600 to $1200. Discounted rate for full board in exchange for occasional barn help.
We are so pleased with the steady progress of the new girls (who we’ve dubbed as the Cheerleading Squad). Since leaving their racing careers, they’ve changed quiet a bit and are developing new muscles, growing taller and having fun experiencing new things.
They’re worked each day in short bursts lasting about 30 minutes, and always ending on a positive and relaxed attitude.
Go to the HORSES FOR SALE page to see all the new photos and the listings of available Thoroughbreds.
This week we got to work with photographer Aly Rattazzi of Jasper, GA. Aly specializes in Equine photography and pretty much anything else she can put in front of her lens. She is a horseman herself, which is an added benefit because she understands movement and timing and catches each horse at their best.
Aly has also been published in many magazines, including the Quarter Horse Journal and United States Eventing Association publication. To contact Aly for a scheduled shoot, call 678-654-3628.
All of the farm’s Thoroughbreds are registered with the Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program (also known as T.I.P.)
When my young prospects leave the track behind them and begin a new life as a show horse, there are many things I take into account for each individual horse. Their physical make-up and their level of intelligence tells me where to begin their training transformation and how much I can challenge them. If it’s too much, we slow things down a bit and back off and then gradually build up to more interesting and difficult tasks.
The photo above was taken the Fall of 2014 of Eor The Terrific (Louis) when he was a few days away from the track. He was 3 years old, 17.3 hands and one of the biggest Thoroughbreds I’ve had the pleasure to own with size 3 feet. I had and still have A LOT OF HORSE to work with. Due to his size and body development, I work a lot on stamina, flexibility and learning how to lengthen and shorten his gaits with half-halts. It takes work and repetition, and we are starting to see the pay offs.
Now at 5 years of age, he’s really been one of the nicest horses I’ve ever had the honor to ride. He’s getting better and better, sometimes by inches and sometimes by miles.
When I talk to people about my prospects to purchase, I always remind them that the payoff isn’t overnight. It take works. It take time. It takes money. It takes dedication. It takes love. It’s totally worth it. . . I swear.
GO Lou! GO Thoroughbred!
The jackets and caps have been really popular with Thoroughbred lovers. Caps are one size fits all and the soft-shell jackets are a lady’s fit. Whatever size you normally wear, order one size up because the cut of the jacket is form fitting. Jackets $75, Caps $25. Email the farm with your order at firstname.lastname@example.org