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Saddlebred Rescue

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!


Blog Date Entry 1-10-14

Today will be short and sweet.   Party Hat was loaded this morning to go to his new forever home in California. This gelding leaving was bitter sweet really more sweet than bitter.  I will miss him as I liked to challenge some of my riders on him and for some of the riders he was a reward and just plain fun. Safe travels birthday boy!  

Just when I think we can get caught up something else pops up and today it was the new footing for the arena.  Every year I ask for new footing in the arena as my Christmas present and this year I was surprised when I got it again. (not really)   Only a weird horse person would get excited over footing.  As wonderful and needed as the footing is it takes all day to get it in the arena and evenly distributed. This is one reason we do not go on vacation and the horses get worked year round.   I am never behind trying to catch up.

On a different note the way our property is set up I can look out any window in my house and see the Treasures at SBR.   Right now many of the Treasures have new blankets and they look so happy eating their hay and waiting for the evening meal.   The Treasures have many friends at the morning and evening feedings.   Turkey and deer like to come up and eat the grain that the Treasures drop on the ground.  If it continues the turkeys will push the horses away from their dinners, not really just kidding.
Given the challenging weather lately many horse shippers are behind schedule and that means one of our Treasures will be going to its new home a little later than planned.   SBR Co-Star is on the trailer going to Oklahoma and some of the other horses that were supposed to be on that trip got cancelled. Co-Star will have a box stall all the way home. Tomorrow will be a busy day so there will be a lot more for me to write about.

p.s.  Since I wrote this entry Co-Star did make it to his new home safe and sound.


Blog Date Entry 1-9-14

All I can say is heat wave today.  No wind and 18 degrees and I was amazed at how “warm” it felt.  I have been reading  about people saying they felt like it was warm out and I secretly thought they were just saying that but when I was walking to the barn this morning my first thought was “Damn the Facebook people were not kidding .  It does feel warm”.  Today was a series of small things on our schedule that made the day feel like we did not get anything done.  First, we checked the temps on the outside horses.  I can report all were normal.   Next we had to prepare SBR Co Star for his ride home.  He got electro-lites and ulcer guard.   We want him to drink and we want to avoid the risk of ulcers.   It took us 30 minutes to find a blanket in the rescue inventory (not turn out) to fit him as he would be the only one in the trailer until Ohio.  After that we groomed him up so he would look pretty getting on the trailer.  I think Pat took pictures of that event.

Just when I thought we were ready to go back to the daily work a guest trainer came in to look at our western horses.  That visit was planned and I had a good time catching up with Anne.   During that time I put a halt to working Treasures so the ring would be quiet.

We did manage to get Spiffy worked. This horse always makes me glad.   I listened to Greg and give Spiffy a time to learn what every horse at his age should have known.   Spiffy was his usual loving self and worked like he had been ridden everyday this week (which he had not).  I will be making a video of Spiffy turned loose in the arena for the sport horse people to watch as they say that is very important for them to pick out a horse.  I, on the other hand, worry about how a horse thinks and how he learns.    Even a great moving horse with a rotten attitude can make a trainers life really hard. This gelding loves his work, loves people and loves his life.   Considering his condition when he came to the rescue, life for him now is a piece of cake.

In two more days SBR Noel will be on her way home (Forever Home) but for now she is in a stall and gets worked every day.  Noel is a kind happy mare that just likes to do her job.  So far she has been very consistent to work.   I wish I could tell this mare how lucky she is and that the cold weather will be a rare occurrence in a few days.  I wish I could live in the south in the winter.
SBR Sudzy is in a stall so she was on our “to do” list today.  Every time I watch this mare work indoors I am always pleased at how well she stays to the rail and acts like she has worked in the ring every day of her life.  I know she has not!   Sudzy seems to be telling me she wants a great home and is willing to work hard to get a new home.  I will say at this point she does not set her head the greatest but in time I am sure she will be a cutie.   This mare is a point and go kind of horse.   I so wish her ears had not been shaved down to the skin.   Pat is looking into getting some sort of ear mask made that is water proof, and warm so she can be turned out and play.

The Treasures continue to amaze me, creep into my thoughts and my heart.   Most of the rescues we work with have given so much during their lives on the road and after a brush with the risk of slaughter they have more to give and work so hard to learn or remember the ring work that most of them need to do to get a new forever home.   I think about how people might react to drastic changes in their lives and I wonder if people would be as willing to work and change as these horses do.   It speaks volumes about the characteristics of this breed.  I am so lucky to have horses in my life! I am also blessed by these horses for teaching me new things every day.  Some things I learn are huge (how much and how long horses remember things) and some are small (how most horses smell the treats before they taste them).   I feel as long as I can help these horses, they will be helping me become not only a better trainer but a better person.


Blog Entry Date 1-8-14

Another cold day here in New Jersey but it was warmer than yesterday and every day from now on will be warmer.   Yeah!   The crew at North Wind has the ring back in order and all of the horses at North Wind and all of the inside horses at SBR were worked today.   SBR Broomer left today to go to Millstone Riding Club.   Broomer is on foster until one of the other Treasures is ready to go.   It pays to be Anne and Doug as not only are they close to SBR distance wise, they a close to SBR personally and professionally.   It will be interesting to see how Broomer does.  Will he stay there or will he be readied for a new home in a month or so?  

Erin was busy this morning taking care of the treatments on the Treasures, making sure everyone outside was weathering the cold ok and working the Treasures that are in stalls and could be worked. Usually the guys get the Treasures ready for Erin but since there was so much work to do because of the cold Erin “Pampered” several Treasures herself.   Her reports were as follows on Sudzy and Tardy.
Sudzy is very receptive to learning new things and is such a kind mare it was no wonder her people loved her so much.  The report on Tardy had a different tone.  Tardy appears to be quite fearful of people. For example Erin said when standing cross-tied he stood very still but was shaking from fear it seemed. When Erin said “whoa” to him he stopped and stood locked up and afraid to even breathe.    It took several minutes for this horse to relax and stop worrying about Erin around him.  Of course he was afraid to even look at her hands for treats. I am sure that first thing on our volunteers list will be to get Tardy eating treats and learning people are not so bad. Erin stated Tardy never did anything wrong but he worried the whole time she was around him, add to that he seemed very head shy.  My thought on this is not every person who wants to own a horse should. It will not be long before Tardy will come to love the people at SBR and North Wind.  SBR is also lucky to have such a kind hearted person as trainer for the Treasures.   I also would like to say that while the Treasures are not the most glamorous horses they do fill your heart with joy seeing them respond to training and kindness.  It is funny with the two new horses we got one was loved and cherished and it shows and the other must have lacked kindness in his life.

Speaking of two new horses we received a $1000 donation today with specific instructions to use the money to save horses from slaughter.  I have to say that will kill me to have to buy more Treasures.  NOT!!!!!!  When we place a few more Treasures in new homes I will be out lickety-split to save new ones. Watch for updates on when we will be spending that donation.  (Thank you Julee for helping with this donation.)

Here is an update on Tuck.   Tuck is happy to be in a stall and likes his treatments for his cut. Tuck is being a good boy and leaving his bandages on. He is however looking forward to Brianne coming out to give him his “Brianne” pampering!


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