Monday, June 30, 2014

Keeping in touch

"Thanks for the hat Auntie Amy!"
(don't look so thrilled, Soon)
I keep Soon's race trainer informed on how he's doing by sending him a couple of pictures from time to time.  We talked today for the first time in a couple of months.  He listed another one of his horses on the Canter Illinois site, and texted me to see how Soon was doing, nearly a year from leaving the track.  I told him about the big move to the east coast, how Soonie was loving life in a grass field, and how well he was doing overall.  We don't have to go out of our way to send or ask for the occasional update, but he seems genuinely interested in knowing that his former horse is thriving, that we're happy, and I am very happy to oblige him.  This gentleman did right by Soon, I'm sure he does right by all his horses when they come to the end of their racing career, and it makes me feel good knowing that a few kind words and pictures are enough to remind him of that. 

In other news, it's supposed to be 95+ degrees this week, I am sick and cannot breathe, my face is trying to explode, so I don't think I'm going to ride the next couple of days.  No one's happy when it's hot out.  So to those people whom I made fun of for not riding when it was 36 degrees this winter in Florida because you thought that was "too cold"....touche.  Well played, weather.

If you want your 95 degrees back, I'll swap you for your 36 degrees and I'll just wear a long sleeve shirt.

Also, I guess there's a World Cup going on.  Now I know how my non-hockey fan friends feel whenever I talk about hockey.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Trail Exploration #1

Soon and I headed out today with a barnmate in what will become our weekly Sunday trail ride (hooray!).  It is so nice to have someone else that is interested in going on regular hacks for a change, so that Soonie and I don't have to go out alone all the time.  The weather was great, the trail was quiet, the horses were perfect, and we got some good exploration of the area done in one direction.  We'll have a look in the other direction next week (I hear there are some XC jumps to play over, so I'm looking forward to that too).  Nice conversation too, I'm really enjoying the new barn!

I love being able to just enjoy lovely rides like that, to enjoy having such a wonderful horse who is impressing everyone with his temperament and attitude.  I was all smiles today between the good hacking and Soonie's unbelievable cuteness.  Holy cuddliness, Batman.  :)

Crossing "the desert" we found

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jump Field Fun

Today was our first jump session out in the field, and Soonie was great.  The goal was just to hop over each fence and do a light school.  I was interested to see how he'd do jumping out in a wide open area versus an enclosed ring, which he is used to.  With the exception of one "WHEE!" moment after the line up the hill, he was exceptionally well behaved and didn't bat an eye at a single thing.  The only new thing out there was a rail covered in tires, and he didn't look at all.  He was a little more forward/on the bridle than normal, but that's to be expected out in a big old field for the first time and over new stuff he hasn't seen before.  He was still very rideable, and showed plenty of patience when I asked him to wait for the quiet distance.  He did well going around with the variance in terrain too.  Overall, a lovely ride and I'm very proud of my boy!

Once we have his weight back to normal I will start jumping lessons with the event trainer, and am looking forward to some challenges.  We started him on rice bran today, that will be added to his existing ration of Ultium (high fat/high fiber concentrate).  Hopefully that will help speed up the process combined with his 12+ hours of grass turnout.  With the heat of the summer here, and his tendency to drop some weight with weather changes, he may end up staying on it, we'll see.  Fingers crossed that will be enough, otherwise we may do another round of omeprazole in case he developed an ulcer on the trip.  

So far I'm loving the atmosphere at the new barn.  It's a mix of different disciplines, though mostly dressage riders with a couple of us jumper/event folk mixed in.  Everyone seems super friendly and supportive; there isn't a competitive nature to this place.  I spent the afternoon just hanging out and BSing with the other boarders and the barn owner, playing with the kitten and just enjoying the nice weather.  Soonie and I are going trail riding with one of the other boarders tomorrow morning; how nice it is to be part of a community! :)


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Big Move

The move back to the east coast went well! I’ve been without internet for awhile so thus the lack of updates recently.  I got packed up and moved relatively uneventfully; it seemed within a day my stuff was boxed up and whisked away, leaving me to eat off paper plates and live off an inflatable mattress for four days.  Whee.

Soonie had a good trip from what I hear.  I hired Brook Ledge to do the shipment, and was very pleased with the service.  Bubba may not have been a Triple Crown contender in his race days, but he sure is going to travel like one now!  He got on a truck at the old farm in the Midwest and overnighted in Lexington, KY.  I had hoped that maybe our cross country excursions would line up so I could visit him in Lexington, but I was a couple days ahead of him due to my own schedule and obligations.  I visited a wonderful college friend of mine who was showing at the Kentucky Horse Park that weekend.  It was such a great feeling to catch up and spend a few hours together before heading back to the hotel to plan for the next day’s final leg.

I rolled into town on Sunday night, and Soonie arrived first thing on Wednesday morning (right when all my household goods AND my new washer/dryer and couch showed up…three shipments to receive at the same time made me freak out for about 30 minutes!).  I had hoped to be there to receive him myself, be the overly sentimental owner and take pictures, but I was about 20 minutes too late for that.  Oh well.  I saw the Brook Ledge shuttle on the road back as I was headed to the farm (delayed due to the other shipments).  Apparently Soonie shipped on the big rigs to the general area (got a free upgrade to a box stall too thanks to available space!), walked off the rig and onto the smaller trailer which took him to the new farm.  The shuttle driver relayed to the barn owner that Soonie did very well on the trip, was a gentleman to handle and didn’t have any issues over his three day ordeal.  I got my beloved horse in safely, with a Brook Ledge hat and a pen for good measure. Obviously the first thing is most important, but everyone loves free swag.  Thank you Brook Ledge!!

Soon settled into the new farm very quickly.  He had just arrived by the time I rolled in and he was happily eating hay (and cribbing) in his new 12x14’ suite.  He was eating, drinking, and had good looking manure (only a horse owner can be happy about poo), and didn’t look any worse for wear from the excursion.  I had to leave and return to the unpacking, but came back to check on him later that afternoon, and he was doing well, even was turned out for a little bit in one of the paddocks.

We also have GRASS TURNOUT.  This is such a big deal for me because I think it’s such a wonderful thing for horses to be out in large areas with grass to graze naturally.  I also think it’s a big deal because I don’t know if Soon was ever turned out on grass, or how long it has been if he was.  We didn’t have any at the old farm; daily all day turnout, sure, but in a dirt field with 30+ other horses and four round bales.  The turnout here is a serious upgrade.  He started in the small paddocks behind the barn, where people could keep an eye on him, and he could test out the little grass nubs.  He graduated this week to the grass pasture on the offside edge of the track, where he’s got an acre or two of great grazing to himself.  Next week I expect he’ll be out in the bigger grass fields with company. I think he misses having others around him, but he’s not complaining and hasn’t made a scene.  He’s taking everything in stride, including the all night turnout now that it’s hot during the day.  I’m hoping he finds a good spot in one of the other fields and has some friends to romp around with. 

We’re working on putting some weight back on him that he lost, mostly due to the unseasonably hot weather we had before we left.  He’s starting to look much better, I hope the 12+ hours of grazing will help him put it back on.  We’ve gone undersaddle four times now (he had five days to settle in), and every time out he’s been absolutely perfect.  His attitude is good, he seems very happy and relaxed to be back in a program, and he has taken the new surroundings in stride.  No spooks, no snorts, no drama at all, he just brings his lunch pail to work and does his job! J  One of the boarders watched our very first ride and remarked how quiet and relaxed he was; when I mentioned to her that it was his first time out at the farm, and that he hadn’t been ridden in probably two weeks, she was pretty surprised!  And of course I didn’t lunge him, he doesn’t require prep.  

We’ve kept the rides pretty short and easy, mainly just focus on stretching and have only cantered the last two rides.  I don’t want to push him now that I’m trying to put some weight back on, I don’t need extra calories spent on trucking my sorry butt around.  We did do some flatwork in the jump field though as a change of pace, and it was very fun.  It was cool to feel him a little more naturally forward out there.  That will be a great area to work in, because part of it is on a slope, which is great to help build up muscle and balance.

I’m so excited to be in horse country, particularly Thoroughbred central.  There will be lots of great opportunities for Soonie and I just around the corner.  And in the meantime, I’m more than happy to spend quiet days and evenings hanging out on the farm, working with him and watching him graze and just be a horse.