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Blog Date Entry 3-9-14

In case you have not noticed the blog has been asleep! It is easy for me to go somewhere for a few days and get out of the habit of blogging. I always wonder if these blogs are boring so let me know yeah or nay!

We recently bought five new horses at New Holland and that was after we had nine go to new homes. So we were down in numbers but we are working our way back up. We named the five after the Olympics so our new horses were Sochi, Gracie Gold, Half Pipe, Bob Sled & Soyna Henning. Sonya and Bob are older Amish horses and the other three have not been on the road. The first horse we tested out was Sochi as he has to be kept in a stall as his ears have been clipped. Sochi has papers, is 14 years old and is about 16 hands tall (may not be that size but I do not have the “book of rescues” in front of me). This gelding has been shown quite a bit but when we did our homework we heard from two different people he could be tricky but there was nothing bad or evil about him. What I saw was a horse that was worked to be a REALLY good horse but the horse himself only wanted to be just a good horse. We have had several of our better riders on him and he makes a rider think but if he is not pushed and he is allowed to have a quiet ride he is pretty good. I think we will take him to a show and see what other surprises he has up his sleeves. Hopefully he will not be tricky and be a star. Right now this horse maybe a lease horse but time will tell. The next horse we tested was Gracie Gold, there is a funny story about this horse. At the sale Pat runs around checking on papers, connecting with the vet and just gathering info when she can and I stay at the sale ring. Pat came up and told me one of the “broodmares” that were being put through the sale had been shown one time as a gaited horse. There were two broodmares so we talked about who was who, and made a plan. Sochi went through first and I bought him. Pat went back after he went through to make sure he was put away and get the vet to draw blood.  This was just to make sure everything that needed to happen did before we went home.  Several horses went through the sale and in walked this very pretty big mare that had a long neck and I thought to myself there is the gaited mare so I went to bidding on her. She stayed in my price range so we got her! The mare has papers, is 14 to 16 years old and stands around 16 hands.  So far so good.  Several horses go through the sale and I see Pat walking up to me so I tell her “Hey I just bought the gaited mare!” Pat looks at me and said “no you did not because the gaited mare is in the ring now and just sold!” I turned around and sure enough there went a small saddlebred horse leaving the ring.   At the time this last mare went through our trailer was full so I had to pass. (that is hard  to do!) Before I bought the reg. horses I bought two older horses that were Amish horses a mare in her teens Sonya Henning and a long in the tooth (no really he has long teeth) bay gelding we named Bob Sled. The two year old baby we picked up had been a horse that went through on a Friday sale and received no bids. Joe called me and asked us to buy the colt so he would have a chance to be something, so we bought him before the Monday sale.

It is always hard to leave any horses behind but there comes a time when there is just no room. I was happy to save what we did and I will be writing about these new Treasures as well as the other Treasures tomorrow after a bust day in the barn.

 

Blog Date Entry 1-25-14

Heat wave today in the 20s, with snow of course! The snow may have stopped some of the people from coming out to the barn today but it did not stop Jessica C and Brianne! I am sure if you ask the girls they would say BEST DAY EVER! The two girls got to ride all day and only had to split the 40 some odd rescues in half, 20 horses a piece, or as many as they had time to ride before 3pm. These girls did a wonderful job not only in their lessons but also helping us work the Treasures plus keep their form which is not always an easy thing to do. Brianne has her own string of Treasures that consists of Tony Romo, Mr. D, Freckles, and Tuck but today she also road SBR Garrett for her lesson and Jemma just because I like to watch this mare. I am happiest when I feel I can blur out the background (in my mind) and put my riders in the show ring (in my mind) and it look like they are trying to win a class. Brianne also rode Bess today and I ask her to act like a beginner rider. I think it is funny when the riders have no clue how to do that and I have to instruct them on some bad habits, and better yet how hard it is for the riders to do some of the things they used to do years earlier. After a rider has become a really good rider it is hard to be a really bad rider and apparently really funny too!

Jessica C rode Copper for her lesson with me and her goal today was to ride as well and showy as Erin M but NOT race or look like she was chasing her. Copper challenged her as he was ready to get showy and step right down the rail at a quick pace. Then Jessica worked on how to canter collected and calm after you have just ask the horse to trot like a show horse. With a little bit of “encouragement” from me! Jessica also rode Pirate, Royal, Elvis, Mocha just to round out her day. We are in the process of deciding which horse she will be show for the 2015 show season.

Greg started out his day driving Ken who was by the way a star, then rode Herman for a video which will be up soon. I think Greg starring ride was with Kitty as he was able to keep her cool calm and collect at the canter. Kitty has gotten so much better at the canter with Greg’s help we need to do a new video. I hope Sudzy can learn her canter lessons as well as Kitty only Sudzy is not nervous about cantering just does know how to canter collected. Greg reported to me the Party Favor was much more relaxed that last week and that is a good thing if she is to get a new home. Tardy is not only getting ridden but he also has Greg giving him massages on his back after the ride. Tardy is a little humpy and fussy with his tail when ask to canter so Greg has been trying to get him happier. The big news today is Kitty finally ate a treat from Greg’s hand.

 B-day is starting to look and act like a different horse and the change in this horse makes me positive that training the rescues is the way to go in order to help place them. The SBR trainers have made such a difference in these horse’s lives that sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Saving the horse is one thing but watching them change into happy useable horses is even a better feeling to me. This process I think helps ensure the horses will find the forever homes.

Erin had her hands full today with several horses ready for her to ride. Halle has learned to canter and ready for the lessons in a show bridle, Dinah trotted today BOTH ways of the ring without lunging first, that is HUGE!  After that Erin was on to Toasty who was sure he was in a show ring and was cute, cute, cute but a little game, we did get a short video of him trotting. Champagne was brought out next and not only do I love him but I am proud of him as his cantering was sooo much improved it was like night and day! This gelding is big and wears his head right wear it needs to be to show, soon we will be trying him in a full bridle and will try and get a video soon.

Even though it was cold and snowy it was Hot! Hot! Hot! in the arena today!

 

Blog Date Entry 1-24-14

Another cold day resulting in doggie limo service by Dad.  All over weight, middle aged ( yes I am going to live to be over 100 years old) women had to walk to the barn that would be me.   Erin worked at the hospital so you would think that would leave us short-handed but not today!  Thanks to the North Wind Stables program I have several riders who have worked their way up into the Rescue Riders and lucky for SBR two of the Rescue Riders came in today to help.   Erin G. was out early so that meant after her lesson on Royal next she rode a horse for North Wind and then she rode her own SBR horse Angel.   Erin was then ready to ride the Treasures and 4 to be exact.  Erin’s first ride was on SBR 2B and of course 2B is one of her favorites.  Erin likes the gamer horses and she has gotten so good at riding these horses that I am able to have her work some of the ones that the trainers usually work.   2B is game but needs work on his canter.  Several of my riders can ride him and love him most of the riders only work him at a walk and trot.  Erin had such a good ride today that I had her canter him and although 2B canters more like a gaited horse I could see improvement from when we first started working him.  Great Job Erin G ! The second horse for Erin G was SBR Jemma and as you have read in other posts this horse is a favorite of the North Wind riders so Erin was thrilled to catch this horse to ride. Jemma has come such a long way from knowing nothing but pulling a carriage on the roads to doing three gaits well and with ease. You have to love a horse that tries so hard to learn new things and to do them with many riders. I do not understand why she is still at SBR but as long as she is she will be teach North Wind riders.   Erin no sooner got off of Jemma and SBR Kitty was ready for her to ride. I think Kitty’s biggest fan is Erin G so it was just plain fun to watch this team work around the chaos that is North Wind/ Saddlebred Rescue in the ring at the same time.  We will be making a new video as Kitty’s canter is soooo much improved it is hard to believe. Kitty’s improvement is from the very quiet, calm work from our trainers as well as Erin G.  Kitty no longer looks like a nervous wreck flying around the arena at a canter/run. Last but not least was SBR Leader, the only horse that lives at SBR.  Leader is gaited, 20 years old and very quirky. We have learned what makes Leader tick and he is a favorite around here but he also teaches some people who visit SBR what it is like to ride a gaited horse. This wonderful gelding has been a first for several trainers. No one gets off of Leader without a smile.  Erin G.’s riding style has gaited written all over her so of course Leader is always a top pick of Erin’s to ride.


Early school dismissal for those few riders that live near North Wind Stables that are also Rescue Riders means a couple of hours at the barn to ride one or two Treasures.   Brianne is like a Marine, the few, the proud and the brave (to brave the cold) and she had a special treat for her today when I ask her to get SBR Mocha.  Erin M (our rescue trainer)and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this horse!!!!! Brianne has also joined the Mocha lovers club. I could see this team showing (in my mind) next show season. This big gelding may stay around here for a while.  Who knows as after all I did adopt out my SBR school horse SBR Eiffel Tower.  Brianne is such a calm quiet rider that she is frequently one of the first students to ride the newer Treasures.  Brianne is also out at the barn as often as she can get here, plus she volunteer’s every year to work at Louisville at the UPHA Meet and Greet petting booth.  Brianne spent quite a bit of time today working with Freckles (one of my favs).  Freckles, seems to be a little worried about people getting on him. Brianne not only rode him but then got on and off several times after the ride. I know this was hard for her because when we work a horse on mounting we always give them treats and Brianne hates giving the Treasures treats.  NOT just kidding everyone loves giving the Treasures treats.
I want to give Greg a shout out for a job well done on Herman!! Tomorrow we will be videoing the pair.

   

Blog Date Entry 1-22-14

I am back from the UPHA convention and ready to write. First I have to start out by saying how proud I am of the trainers that work at North Wind Stables and Saddlebred Rescue for all of the work you did while I was gone. The horses are looking great and the barn looks brand new. Yesterday was catch-up day for me and it seems as if there were a million new faces but there were really only two. Just as I was leaving for the convention I received a call from our broker Bruce telling me he had purchased two Saddlebreds at the Monday New Holland sale. Since I was just about to walk out the door I could not pick up these horses so I called my son Jason (on his day off) and it was kind of a “tag your it!” Jason came home from running errands and hooked up the trailer and off he went on a nice 6 hour round trip to pick up SBR’s new “Treasures”. Thank you Jason!! The next day Erin, Greg and Jason did their “Thing” and did evals on the horses and took the body shots and the beauty shots for the SBR website. The evals where  spot on to what I saw when I returned to the barn on Tuesday the following week. After the evals I did a lameness check on the horses in rehab for soundness and again all horses were better than the prior week. Great job Greg and Erin! It amazes me on how much our trainers can teach the horses as many of them are older and have been on the road for years and some have never been in an arena until now. When you watch our trainers work the horses it is all very quiet and calm and the horses thrive in this type of program.


Today was a snow day for the kids so as always we opened the barn for lessons and rescue work. Brianne and Abby  were out and they did not even seem to notice how cold it was. My dogs on the other hand decided it was best to stay around the heater. Abby and Brianne, besides their lessons, helped us evaluate possible beginner horses. Greg and Erin make these horses look so easy to ride but that is what happens when trainers are riding. Brianne and Abby proved to me that all of their hard work riding SBR horses as well as North Wind Academy horses has paid off.  It will not be long until we have another string of school horses ready to go to new homes.

 

Blog Date Entry 1-11-14

The weather is driving me nuts!  Today it was raining and there was ice everywhere in our valley. The pastures get so slick the rescue horses are afraid to move. That means every day we spread the manure lightly over the pastures so the horses have some grip and do not fall down. That in itself is not too hard but the manure spread is broken which means EVERY day the guys must empty the spreader by hand and throw it out evenly over the fields in pull up and do it again, kind of a pitch, spread, stop back on tractor move up, stop tractor, pitch, spread and repeat……. Like shampoo, only waaayyy harder and way more repeating.


The three new rescue horses with clipped ears are in stalls. We are short stalls in the Rescue Village for the Treasures.   We use portable Amish stall barns.  This means there is a juggling act that is performed everyday with horses going out for a while and other rescues in their stalls while they are out.  Then rotate and repeat.   Today however we could not do that so we had to work around three other rescue horses loose in the arena. We put hay in the end and the three quiet horses (we call the skinnys) just stand and eat hay and do not move or get bothered by the other horses working in the arena. Sometimes you just have to be creative and go with it.  We did get all of the rescues in stalls worked. The outside horses get checked in the field to make sure they are ok. Today they found Freckles with a sore hind leg and brought him in. It turned out to be an abscess so that only required that he get soaked daily and kept in a stall. OMG another stall! Thank goodness Party Hat just left and we had that stall he was in.


Greg rode the Treasures and Jason worked the NWS horses along with Lalo and everything went smoothly.  It was Erin’s day to be working at the hospital.  It was a little like a traffic cop at a busy intersection but we managed.  By late afternoon the weather had warmed up enough (almost 60 degrees), the rain started melting the ice instead of making more ice and things were back to a more normal state.


My project for today was SBR Tardy. We figured out Tardy has poll pressure issues and this may have something to do with his fearfulness.  Greg and I spent time just working on ways to groom him to reduce the stress he feels. There is something about this horse that makes me love him and want to do better by him.  It seems to me sometime in the past he lost his identity and his individual needs were not cared for by the people around him.  What I am trying to say is he reacts to us like he thinks he is  just an object and not a living being and a horse with his own personality.   You know the more time I spend around my Treasures the better horse person I become.  I keep saying that but it’s true.  Who would have ever thought these horses that were and are down on their luck can give so much.  Horses like Tardy require us to come up with a plan for his care that is really outside the box.  We really have to figure out why this horse reacts what he does.  Somewhere he has learned that people cause him stress and I want him to trust us and let us learn how to reduce his anxiety.   If we can learn how to help this horse just imagine how many more tools we have not only to help all the Treasures but also my show horses.   So who really is helping who in this SBR/Nealia relationship?   I think the Treasures at my North Wind Stables  help me become a better and more effective horse trainer. I learn something EVERYDAY!

   

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