The cold weather caused us to do a switch in our normal Tuesday routine. The very first thing this morning I received a phone call from Erin informing me of a rescue that had a cut on his leg. Erin had taken a picture with her cell phone and sent it to our vet and we were told that the area injured was very hard to stitch and if he could get them in the stitches more than likely would not hold. Erin cleaned up the wound which we determined was from ice or frozen ground and then the real problem came to light. Where to put him as all of the rescue stalls are full? The stalls should not be full but the two rescues we picked up yesterday and one of the New Year’s Treasures have shaved ears. In this winter cold the three horses HAVE to be in stalls. With some creative turnout schedules we came up with a stall for Tuck the Treasure that injured his leg. It is nice to have Erin as Trainer at SBR as she is also a nurse and really gets the whole treatment side of SBR. Good for the Treasures good for SBR.
As many of you know Pat and I headed to the sale and picked up two new horses. The sale was VERY light and it did not appear to have any Saddlebreds, that is a good thing. The new horses we picked up both had their ears shaved. That makes me wonder if anyone gets more money at a sale for a used up Amish horse with trimmed ears? I would guess not, but you would think someone MIGHT NOTICE it is winter and it is *^%$^& cold outside! I guess these two horses (now Treasures) were lucky it was SBR getting them or at least their ears were lucky. Tuesday is usually the “Test the New Rescue Day” but with the cold and frozen ring I was not sure we would get to that…….. but we did!
Here is the scoop on the newbies. The first horse we picked up was a black reg. mare that is 12ish. Before I go any further I want to say how small the world is. This mare is a daughter of a mare I used to train in Illinois. I was shocked to see that but I was not surprised when this newbie thought so well and was easy to deal with. I did not however think she would ride very well as she appeared to have been in the Amish world her whole life. This mare came with a note and Pat contacted the people and they were thrilled this mare ended up with us and not the butcher. I can imagine how hard it is to not have the room to keep every horse but also need to have a horse that can do the trips. In my world that would be like having a truck that I could not drive out of my driveway. Many of the Amish people do not live on huge farms so it would be impossible to keep every horse they had in their lives. It is good that there are places like SBR to give these horses a chance at a new life. The black mare surprised me big time when she stayed to the rail and did three gaits. The Amish family called her Sudzy so since we have not had a Sudzy before we kept that name. Sudzy does need a little work on her canter cues and collection but her canter was smooth and not too fast. The second horse we picked up was an old gelding around 16ish by his teeth. This gelding scored high on his ground manners as did Sudzy but under saddle he was very slow. I am going to have the vet do blood work on him to make sure he is not low Thyro, or low RBC. It could be he was just timid in the ring and he may step it up more after he has been here a while. Erin named him Tardy and even though he was not fast he did do three gaits. Erin and I were both happy with the new TREASURES! Other than being cold all is good at SBR.
This will be my weekend wrap-up! How many people would get out in this cold, brave the weather and help ride the Treasures at SBR? Well I will tell you HORSE CRAZY people. We will start with Brianne who was the first in the door this morning. She has enough volunteer time under her belt that she is more than capable of going out to one of the pastures and getting the Treasure she is going to pamper next. Brianne has her own string of special horses. The first Treasure Brianne brought in is her Mom’s favorite Freckles. (Get better Marybeth!). Freckles is an older horse that has bounced around a bit from one forever home to the next. None of it was his fault. Freckles is always a perfect gentleman on the crossties and loves the attention he gets from Brianne and her Mom Marybeth. Brianne has been working on getting Freckles relaxed while being mounted, even though he stands he thinks he needs to walk off as soon as the ride achieves touchdown in the saddle. This does not bother the people at SBR but many perspective forever homes want and need a horse to stand still for a certain amount of time after the rider has mounted. Freckles is improving but Brianne continues to work towards perfect. I noticed after her ride Brianne always reaches down and hugs the horse and the way she does it is as if each horse that she rides is her favorite. The next horse on her list was Mr. D. He has improved so much in is ground manners and has stopped being a bit too pushy. I commented to Brianne how nice his head set was improving and she looked at me with her calm look and said “I know I have been working on that.” Am I watching another horse trainer in the making? The odd thing about Mr. D is when we first got him his tail had little to no movement and today I noticed he was lifting it and it appeared to be normal. Make a mental note “ask vet to look at it”. Brianne’s last horse for the day was Tuck. I was afraid Tuck would be a horse that was not going to get better with his lameness but I was wrong. YEAH!!!! I saw Brianne work on him for a beginner rider, by swinging her arms around, then patting him and then doing other exercises that an instructor might have a new student do. WOW! I thought I had asked Brianne to do that just one time and without asking her she continued working with Tuck on these exercises with positive results. Not many riders of Brianne’s age would be helping us work the Treasures instead of just riding them.
Erin G. was also a surprise today showing up on a very cold day with ice in the forecast but she was at the barn bright and early. The first horse on Erin’s list was 2B, who is by now a favorite with my more experienced riders. Because it was so cold we did not work the Treasures that live outside very long as I did not want them to get wet and chill in any way when they were turned back out. 2B continues to impress me as do my riders. I have to say he is very showy and well mannered. I will be getting a new video soon to post. Erin G loves the gamer horses and she really does a nice job getting them comfortable and relaxed. Kitty is another one of Erin’s favs so that Treasure was next on her list. Kitty was also worked lightly but is really getting happy with her work and relaxing. Erin has been able to get her cantering fairly collected and no more switching leads. Kitty is so fat she will need to be saved from the rescue, but it does make her comfy to ride. The last horse on Erin’s list was Jemma. This has become a popular horse around North Wind students so it was no surprise when Erin went out and brought her in. I overheard one of my younger students tell her Mom that she loved it when I gave her a lesson on Jemma. She hoped she could have another lesson on her soon. It makes me really happy to see the progress not only of our Treasures but also with my students as I know these horses teach all my riders how to be a well-rounded horseperson. Jemma did not disappoint. I have decided she is happier with shoes on so this week she will get her shoes back on as our farrier comes in early this week. We try and keep expenses down by allowing the Treasures to go barefoot but sometimes when the ground is frozen we have to bite the big one and spend the money. We do give each horse the farrier work it needs. It takes a lot of work to tailor a program for each horse that is special to each Treasures need but because we have a great barn staff and wonderful volunteers we have been able to get the job done.
Until next week on Tuesday. Monday is our only day off and we regularly go to the auction in New Holland on Monday’s. Signing out.
It sure was cold today but I guess by Chicago standards it was not so bad. Since our temp was 0 this morning and later warmed up to maybe 20 degrees, I thought we would have no customers out today. I was wrong. Jessica K came out with her Dad and Theresa came out with her Mom, Laura. I have to say those are two dedicated parents. Jessica started off her day on SBR Muse. It’s one of the rescues I adopted. She rode the mare and really got aggressive which showed me she is ready to show. SBR Party Hat was getting a vet exam about the same time as Jessica was riding Muse because he has a person on the west coast who wants to adopt him. Since Party Hat was already in the barn and ready to go I asked Jessica to ride him as well. All I can say was what a great ride they had. SBR Party Hat has been here since June and he gets work a little each week, but since he is not on a regular schedule his progress has been slower than our show horses that are worked regularly. This rescue while here at the rehab has been worked by the SBR Trainer Erin M, then Erin G, Joelle and Theresa. I must say that line up of riders did a fantastic job of teaching Party Hat to canter slow and collected. Jessica had no problem getting the gelding to canter or canter collected! I will be sorry to see him leave but of course I am always happy to see the Treasures get their forever homes. Party Hat will be going to California. For Jessica’s third ride this morning I challenged her with SBR Copper. Let me say that SBR Copper is very nice to ride BUT Jessica was riding Copper at the same time Theresa was riding one of my show horses Callaway’s Royal Request. I wanted Jessica to get Copper, the rescue, as showy as Royal so needless to say the dual was on. It is never easy to take on my riders who have been riding with North Wind for years but Jessica K. stepped Copper up and got the gelding to get rather showy. SBR Copper is a great horse to teach on but the rider has to step up and think! Oh how I wish Copper would be as good at shows as he is at home. From experience I know he is not. He is what he is. After an aggressive ride Jessica rode another SBR Drummer Boy to a very quiet precise ride. To me that is a feat in itself to be able to gear up one horse and then relax with another. She rode with a softness that helped the rescue program teach the horse to be happy in the ring. SBR Drummer Boy is the kindest horse I have been around for a while. He has a gentle way of being that is easy for me to see and also for all the riders who have ridden him. They all say they have felt it too. I am happy to report he is putting on weight nicely and it will not be long before he will be strong enough to have a full ride on him instead of short rides he does now for exercise. At the end of the day I asked Jessica which horse she liked the best today and her answer surprised me when she said Party Hat. Why I asked? Jessica’s answer was, “The last time I rode him he cantered really fast…… today his canter was so comfortable and I was in control!” YEAH BOY that is what we want to achieve with the Treasures!!!!!!!!!!
There is never a dull moment at SBR, part of that is the fact that we deal with horses and as everyone knows animals keep you hopping. The second reason is we also deal with all kinds of people from all over the US. The people who know me (Nealia) and really know how I care for horses YOU know that the rescues are treated the same as any other horse we have at North Wind. However there are people who think they know better than anyone else.
Several months ago a person came out to try rescues. This person put on an application excellent rider, had experience with horses and owned their own place. First of all we found out that this person was not a vet but only called the vet out when something needed to be put down. In other words shots were given to horses by a non vet and apparently none of their horses were ever lame or had injuries. (red flag in my book) The surprise came when this person came out to ride and “test out the horses” We always have every person ride our most beginner horse to access the riding skills as we found out a long time ago what we think are good riders may not be the same as how other people really ride. I watch how they get on, how they hold their reins and if they can ask a horse to move forward and control the horse with any skills and can they stop the horse. It is from there Erin and I decided what horses may be suitable for that rider. Picture this, the rider starts to get on our wonderful Brandy (who is 26 years old) never picks up the reins, plops down on the saddle and before Erin or I can say a word kicks the horse in ribs and off they, goes hands in the air, heals in the horse, NO guiding what so ever and by now Brandy is cantering very quickly through the middle of the ring and nowhere close to the rail. I thought Brandy’s eyes were going to pop out of his head and I know I saw the horse look at me and mouth the words “help me”. Thank God Brandy is a saint as most other horses may not have been as kind and forgiving as Brandy was. (another red flag) I also found out that this person had never had any kind of lesson at all on or about horses, but that was OK, in this persons opinion mind knowing all about cattle was the same as knowledge about horses.
Needless to say Erin and I were sure that no horse we had would tolerate a rider such as this so we only had a couple of horses we were willing to try. Well fast forward, one horse tolerated this rider fairly well much to my surprise and for this story I will call her Jewel. Jewel did not seem to get upset with the heavy hand rider or the hard pulls on her mouth, she just tuned out the heals in her side and did not run wildly around the arena. That day Jewel was a saint in my eyes and Erin’s. My suggestion of lessons fell on a surprised look and deaf ears. (red flag # 3) Erin and I had no words to describe how we felt about Jewel going to that home. A few days later we received a phone call telling us this party did not want to sign an adoption contract as “the contract was not in their favor”, Erin told the person the adoption contact was in the horses’ favor and we would not allow any horse to go to a new home without a signed contract. In our minds the problem was solved.
Fast forward a few months the same people let us they want Jewel and they will sign an adoption contract BUT they were going on vacation and had no one to watch the animals (Big red flag) so they wanted to wait a month or so but did not want to pay board on the horse at all while they were on vacation. About one month later Erin received and email telling us that their farrier told them that “Saddle Breeds were not quiet and would not be good for them”. That was it for me this for me these people wanted a Saddlebred, followed us on the internet, emailed us, talked about our horses for months and did not even know the breed is SADDLEBRED not Saddle Breeds. My comment to Erin was “That’s IT!! NONE of SBR horses will go to those people”
Today it is cold, we had blowing snow and wind chills below zero so Erin and I are worried about the horses that are outside, even though they have blankets and sheds. I ask Erin to have the men bring in EVERY single horse take it’s temperature, remove the blankets, groom the horses and if any one of the Treasures look stressed to put them in a stall. This is an all day job and not an easy one but we do whatever we need to do to keep the horses happy and healthy. Erin has received and email from our old friend wanting to BUY Jewel since she was old and no one wanted her, I told Erin what to put in the email back but what I said was a non “filtered” version, and Erin sent them a “Filtered” email telling them we do NOT sell any rescues, and this rescue (Jewel) had a home at SBR for life if necessary. We thought that would be the end of this conversation but NO!! This person writes back and tells us what a shame this horse has to live at SBR when if we would sell her (with no strings attached) she could have a wonderful life (I highly doubt that).
Well here is what I have to say about that. Jewel has learned so much, has always been a great, willing horse, Jewel is the best trail horse and while she may not be as pretty as some, this mare will only go to the BEST HOME available and that is not you my friend, you are now on our “do not” adopt to list.
Jewel as most of you have figured out is not this mare’s real name but I may change it to Jewel as she is THE Jewel of Saddlebred Rescue.
The rehab at SBR got off to a good start with two extra volunteers to help today. Joelle B. came out on her last day before heading back to Vet school in St. Kits. Erin G. was also able to come out quite frequently as she is also in college and on a winter break. Both girls are very capable riders and really help our SBR Trainer Erin Mc. with the horses that need more work. I have about four riders that are good enough to assist in the training type of work needed on some of our Treasures.
Joelle worked, 2B and loved the horse and his go forward attitude. While he has a gaited canter Joelle found it very manageable. With Joelle as the pilot I could see this horse in the show ring and doing well. The next horse on her list was Party Hat (which rumor has it he may have a home). After watching Joelle ride this darling horse I have decided he needs to be in our lesson program this winter. I must say Party Hat’s canter has improved so much. Noel was next up for Joelle and since the abscess opened up in her hoof Noel has been very showy and cute. This black mare will be going to GA soon and have her own girl to love her. I will miss Joelle while she is away at school but I know before long she will be a top notch Vet.
Erin G has been out almost every day since her winter break and I like to put her on some of the game horses as her horse has a big motor. One of Erin G's favs is Kitty. Kitty could be a clone of Erin G’s mare Angel so it is a great fit for Erin. Kitty had a great day today and even surprised Erin Mc on how well Kitty is cantering. (I like to surprise Erin Mc with horses that we have been working on that she has not seen us work lately). Erin G and Kitty cantered around both ways semi relaxed and not switching leads! This pair was even able to pass other horses around the arena. Today gave me hope that Kitty will find her forever home. Next on Erin G’s list was Jemma. Jemma is a kind mare that always does her job and always tries to please her rider. Why Jemma is still her is beyond me but I like teaching on her, and I know she may not be the showiest horse but her heart is pure gold. Jemma does three gaits well and trail rides the best (we did not trail ride today). Last but not least Erin G rode Broomer. Broomer is a kind horse that just needs a little work to be a wonderful academy horse. This gelding is necky and wears his head well and is tall enough to carry a taller rider. Erin G worked on basics today such as traveling straight, going into corners and not wandering. Broomer is getting better and better at cantering with every ride. He was never bad but now he is better.
That was all I have to report on the Treasures today so stay tuned until tomorrow. I will have more to share.
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