Saturday, December 27, 2014

Warhorse Spotlight #1

It's true that I have a huge soft spot for the Thoroughbred "warhorses" - the racehorses who have made a lot of starts with many years of racing under their belts.  These horses are often wise beyond their years, having spent many years on the track seeing and doing it all.  Soon is an excellent example of the Thoroughbred warhorse: calm, quiet, outstanding work ethic, willing attitude, kind, and loyal.  Those attributes are why I made the decision to look at older ex-racehorses.

Many prospective buyers shy away from horses with a lot of miles on the track, because they fear the wear and tear on the animal's body, or they think the horse would not be as easy to train into a new sport.  Also, younger horses are more marketable for those looking to retrain and sell the horses into other disciplines.  Some truly wonderful "older" horses (6+ years) get overlooked because of the above reasons.

The reality is, any horse that has made it through 40+ starts and is SOUND is going to hold up for whatever other discipline we could possibly think of as a second career.  Some may be clean-legged, others may have track "jewelry" (osselets, bowed tendons, pinfiring marks, etc), but if truly sound after a long racing career, that horse is an excellent candidate for retraining as a sport horse.

I'm not sure how many people really look at this blog, but I figured the least I could do would be to spotlight a few of these horses as I come across them online.  Tonight's batch comes from CANTER Mid-Atlantic's Mountaineer listings.

Canoe In A Slew
Canoe In A Slew (photo
This 9 year old gelding looks like such a wonderful old soul.  He's not the biggest (15.3hh) or the flashiest (plain brown wrapper), but I believe you can tell a lot about a horse by his eye.  This horse has a lovely, soft eye and clearly has a huge heart - 59 starts and hit the board (first, second, or third) 29 times!  Video

He's not a big mover, but that because he's either a little sore for some reason, or just being careful on the pavement (Soonie didn't have a big trot in his listing video either).  I doubt he'd have a Grand Prix trot extension, but if you're looking for a solid, kind, and quiet partner to do lower level anything with, who cares?  I wish I could afford two horses, because this guy looks like he'd be a very careful and fun hunt mount.  I admit - he reminds me a lot of Soonie.  Something about this horse really speaks to me and I'm compelled to write about him.  I hope someone gives this guy a great home, because I'd be willing to bet that he will make an incredible partner.

One Vote
One Vote (photo
This guy strikes me the same way that the above horse did.  One Vote is an 8 year old with 89 starts under his belt, and earned over $120K. He's just over 15.3hh and as seen in his video, isn't interesting in getting anywhere fast these days!

He seems like an excellent amateur horse or even a kid's mount.  I could totally see him packing someone around the 2'6" hunters, going on hunter paces, doing some dressage, or being a kickass trail horse.  He looks very sweet and kind, hopefully a person matching that description comes along and scoops him up!

Parker's Love
Parker's Love (photo
Tall, dark, and handsome!!  This 7 year old, 16.1hh gelding had 45 starts and hit the board 11 times with 4 wins.  He's very leggy as you can see in his trot video - lots of potential there as a sport horse, tons of power and range.  He does seem to have an osselet on the right front, but if set properly that is not likely to be an issue in a second career.  This horse appears to have a nice, uphill build to him, and I'd imagine he'd be successful in a number of potential disciplines.  Nice prospect!

Blues In The Night
This one comes to us from the CANTER Mid-Atlantic Charles Town listings.  I've had my eye on this guy for quite awhile (not that I'm looking to buy!), mostly because he's stunning to look at thanks to his dappling.  He was originally priced much higher, and I've seen his price slowly come down, so I do not know if there's any issue with him, or if people just weren't biting at the higher prices.  The ad does not mention soundness or the state of his legs, but IF he is sound and on clean legs (or even if he has old injuries that aren't going to affect him), he would be quite the looker in a new career.

According to Equibase, Blues In The Night had 68 starts and was a stakes winner, earning over $330K in his career.   I think it goes without saying that this horse is probably a real trier, one that wants to please and work hard for his people.  I'd imagine that the lucky person who gets him will have not only a beautiful sport horse, but also a fun and successful one at that. 

So if you're in the market for an off the track Thoroughbred and you want one who has proven its mettle, has a confirmed work ethic, has seen and done it all and will not be impressed by whatever you throw at it, please consider a warhorse.  It's been my experience that they come off the track and settle into the quieter, slower routine extremely well, and make incredible riding horses.  Even though considered "older" by track standards, an 8 year old horse is still very young and has many great years to give to you. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Horse Therapy

This horse...

Was foot-perfect today outside in the jump field, doing a jump school in company.  I am so thankful for our discovery with the uber short reins and how completely consistent and wonderful he has been over fences (outside) since.  Soonie got some lovely compliments about his rhythm and form from the folks that were out watching. 

I'm even more thankful that a great ride on him and just being around him can really make my whole day.  Sometimes when real life makes you crazy, the best therapy is horse therapy.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Massive Middleburg Hunt Review Post and I love my horsey

In short, I went to Middleburg last weekend for the annual Hunt Review and Christmas Parade with a wonderful friend and had a fantastic day!  We did some shopping, I picked up those oh-so-"fashionable" wax coats (which was immediately useful thanks to the heavy rain that day) and managed to come home with yet another potentially unnecessary, but  beautiful show coat.  So there's that.  We're not allowed to go shopping together anymore because this always seems to happen.  Problem is shopping is so fun.  So. Fun.  And even though I lived in the area for a couple of years, Middleburg never gets old.  Ever.

Photos from the Middleburg Hunt Review:

I was so distracted by the horses that I forgot to take a picture of Santa

And then I had a crazy week, where my back decided to check out completely and I didn't get to the barn for four straight days.  I knew Soonie would be fine; he's blessed with the ability to be the same undersaddle if he's ridden every day, or once a month.  I finally made it out to ride today, and suffice it to say, Soon makes my heart happy.  So, so happy.  Like, I can't believe I stayed the fuck home on nights where I could have at least gone to the barn for cuddles.  Would have saved on the crankiness on Thursday and Friday, I'm sure. 

I can't thank my barn ladies enough for checking in on him while I was absent, I love you all!  Soonie and I had a great flat school today outside on the track (walk/trot/canter).  He just felt awesome and I felt good in the saddle.  I didn't do anything super complicated given that my back is being a bitch and Bubba had most of the week off, but the leg yields were good in all gaits, he was forward and soft, and great both in the shorter outline and in the stretch.  All in all, a super productive ride and there was a lot of cuddle time before and after.  I needed that big time.  I missed this boy.

Looking good!


Soonie loves stretching.  He just disappears down there

So handsome...

...and noble.

Four days away and I honestly freaked out and took about 25 pictures

I just love this horse

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

REAL Stories of Abuse (Warning: disturbing photos and video)

I saw some things today, horrific horse abuse cases that truly sickened me and made me sad for these amazing animals.  It's also maddening to me that New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio is actually introducing a bill to ban NYC carriage horses by 2016, animal rights activists and ignorant public are calling working horses "abused," when there is REAL abuse taking place not far away.  There is no comparison to what you're about to see...

Monica Thors is a harness trainer in New Jersey who has been brought up on two counts of animal abuse for allegedly repeatedly filing her horse's feet down so severely that they bled.  Three horses have been put down due to hoof infections, some were missing entire hoof walls.  The "Stop Monica Thors" Facebook page has extremely graphic photos of these horses' feet, the deranged woman standing over them with Dremel and rasp in hand, smiling.  Those familiar with the case say that she purposefully files or Dremels the hoof walls down until they bleed, and then launches into extreme efforts to save them.  She seems clearly mentally ill.  Other allegations state that Thors cuts her cats' claws and whiskers off.  Her Facebook page is almost entirely shots of her under her horses, destroying their feet, and her with a smile on her face.  Her horses were recently seized and those that were not lame were described as overweight. She claims those horses were in "race training."  I have never seen a horse in any kind of race training that fat; not Thoroughbreds, and not the Standardbreds I see every week here on the training track.  Full of lies.

The other case I came across today was a story out of Copiah County, Mississippi, where approximately 80 horses were discovered in various stages of starvation and neglect.  About 20 corpses were discovered laying uncovered in open areas, likely where the horses collapsed and died.  One mare was stuck in a concrete trough; she bloodied herself in the struggle to get out, and died there.  Click through the photos of dead horses and wounded/starving horses on that Facebook page; be forewarned, the photos are also extremely graphic.

Ladies and gentlemen, the above stories are TRUE examples of equine abuse and neglect.  Death.  Destruction.  Pain.  Suffering.  Animals who endure silently while they're being tortured, or starve slowly out in fields until they drop dead, and are left to rot.

Please, if you're a horse owner and horse enthusiast of any kind, I urge to you please support your local ANIMAL WELFARE groups; groups and local shelters that have a direct impact on cases such as these.  Groups who will use your money and donations to good use for animals.  Please DO NOT support animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  These groups seek to pad their bottom line and their ultimate goal as animal rights groups (NOT animal welfare groups) is the complete elimination of all animal use.  That's right....companion animals too.  No more pet cats, dogs, fish, birds, no eating beef or fish or poultry, no using horses for anything at all....don't support their agenda.

And yet, these propaganda monsters are attacking the NYC Carriage horses, calling the practice of working animals "abusive."  Check out my previous post about supporting NYC Carriage Horses, why I know first hand that these animals impeccably well kept (because they have to be!), and the difference between "animal welfare" (good) and "animal rights" (bad).

Please support the Carriage Horses and their drivers!  I hope the bill is just a symbolic effort on DeBlasio's part to please his real estate mogul buddies who funded his campaign (they want the property the horse stables currently occupy.  But if it isn't, and it gets passed, the ban on carriage horses in NYC would set a horrible precedence that the animal rights agenda would use to ban carriage horses in other cities.  After carriage horses, it could be show horses, or race horses, or pleasure horses....the slippery slope would eventually lead to the end of all horse use and ownership. 

Healthy, content working animals are not abused.  Using horses appropriately, and caring for them with strict standards is not abuse.  It makes me SO ANGRY that ignorant general public who have NO idea about ANYTHING relating to animal husbandry, let alone livestock care, are smearing the tightly-regulated carriage horse industry in NYC and convincing other ignorant people that the practice is horrid.  I hate, hate, hate that these assholes who haven't spent any time on a farm other than some stupid little petting zoo they went to once, are somehow anointing themselves "experts" in horse care.

NYC Carriage Horses are not abused.  See the first two stories above for REAL cases of abuse.  If you're in NYC and care at all about horses, please call your Councilmen and urge them not to approve this bill.  Remind them what real abuse looks like.