Thursday, July 8, 2010

I haven't melted yet!

But I have neglected this blog for a while now...just no time or energy to write. Especially no energy. The heat has been absolutely brutal and leaves me sleeping most of the day...which I hate, but alas.

Not too much has been going on, just the same old daily routine. Stormy has recently decided that he IS a good boy after all, and has been a pure joy to gallop. We make sure we start off with no other horses around us, he picks up a nice easy gallop on a loose rein, and I just have to close my fingers a bit if he gets tough and he comes right back to me. Then he pulls up like a gentleman and walks home on a loose rein. Quite a difference from the plunging, bucking horse from two weeks ago. Whatever made the change, I'm grateful for it.

Blue came out of his race in great shape and tugged me around today as we jogged a mile. No more jog days for him, he gets too antsy and just wants to run through the bridle..not easy to prevent on a seventeen hand monster with no mouth ;) I think with more time he's going to be a decent racehorse. He definitely has the heart.

Kazzie finally had a good day today. I try to keep the bit in her mouth the ENTIRE gallop (much to my arms' dismay) and keep steady contact on BOTH reins, keeping her head straight and focused on where she's going rather than on who is beside her. It worked really well today and she actually galloped like a racehorse, using her hind end and trying to focus. I was really proud of her...she has a lovely, powerful stride when she is actually trying. I was ready to hand her over to the freelance rider who will be taking S's place for the next week but now I think I'm going to stick with her and see how much better she can get.

Big weekend for the barn coming up. Lion runs tomorrow night in Indiana, and then Ella, Diva and Butters run at Ellis on Saturday. Hopefully we will have some good luck and get a win...or four. :) Jingles for all of the kiddos. God Bless!

Friday, June 4, 2010

When you have a Bad Day...

...then the vet comes and injects blood into a shin and things are all smiley again :)

I knew it would be a Bad Day before I even woke up. Had this absolutely terrifying dream that I won't type out for fear it comes to the barn exhausted and not prepared to face the (long) day ahead. We went from having maybe ten horses go to the track (with all of the others walking because they had run) to only having 3 walkers and 18 horses going to the track. Not to mention it's humid and gross all morning and I was grumpy because I left my bandanna at home.

Soooo...Diva was extra tough today and will be getting the joy of a figure-8 on tomorrow. This may make her tougher, but at least it will keep her mouth closed so I have SOME shot of getting her to relax and gallop *ahem* normally. She wears me OUT. Then Butters had to jog again (more on this subject in a minute) and he was a complete one point he launched himself and kicked out at a poor innocent horse standing out and almost hit her. Way to go, Mr. Dressage Pony. You can do levades. Next was Orange, who galloped beautifully and then decided to make a right-hand turn right into another galloping horse when I was pulling up. He has done this to me twice's almost like he doesn't see the horses galloping to his inside and it scares him...but I have to find a way to anticipate it, because that behavior is NOT okay.

Then came Blackie, who was her usual bubbly self and bucked around beside Jack, who just happened to take off on the turn for absolutely no reason. This would be the first of several bad incidents involving Jack. Next was Stormy...thank the good Lord that he is running tomorrow and I won't have to get on him for at least four days. He is over the top right now...I can barely get him out of the barn without him jumping around. Then he gallops like it's the funniest thing in the world to bound around out of control, then I have to hold my breath until he's back in the barn because he's ready to explode at any second. He is sitting on a huge race though, I can feel it.

Flash was next, and he was actually fairly decent today...he pulled me around but finally relaxed and galloped well. This ride was marred by some jerk who thinks asking me out while galloping is appropriate. I try to be nice to people, I smile....and it gets me into situations like the above. Give me a break. Thank goodness Flash turned around and jogged away quickly.

After break, the real "fun" began. First with Ella, we are just pulling up when a loose horse runs straight at us. I whipped Jack around and the horse missed us by inches....way too close a call for me. Now Jack's all riled up for Lion, the worst POSSIBLE horse to be riled up for. She was bloody insane today...she hasn't done anything in two days and she let me know it. Naturally Jack fed off of her energy and tried to take off on the turn....then coming off the gap she jumped up and away from me and Jack bucked and took off the other way. Thank Heavens I kept a hold of her but then proceeded to get after Jack the entire walk home...which made me feel horrible because it really isn't his fault. Darn it.

Luckily, the morning began to turn around with Kazzie, who is my light. :) She is learning SO fast. She backs up calmly and professionally and stands out as long as I want her to. She's not above playing around a little bit but she really tries and is galloping so much better....switching her leads and everything. She even managed to keep up with Sought today! Tomorrow will be a huge test for her, she has to go by herself AND before break! She can do it, though. Ahhh, I just love her. :)

So after Jack was bathed and linimented up, I held Stormy for a much needed sheath cleaning and then held Butters while his shin was shock-waved and then some version of IRAP therapy was done to him. It was neat, I had never seen it done before. He now has to jog for another 10 days...which makes me want to hide in a corner somewhere, but hopefully we can prepare a wee little cocktail for him every morning.

A new baby came in today around lunchtime, and we are all set to claim a filly tonight! Keep your fingers crossed! Long day tomorrow, as most Saturdays tend to be....a million horses to get out (and a bunch of breezers) and then Storm runs in the last race. Jingles for the big horse! He deserves it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So, it's been awhile. Things have been hectic and insane and, well, hot and humid too. The good news is, all of the horses are doing great.

Nugget had his first start on Monday and ran a courageous 3rd. We are tickled pink with him and will look for a turf start next. He has been nominated to the Cradle!! Hopefully things will continue progressing with him. He did lose a bit of weight but he ran his hiney off.

BoldBold is now my favorite boy in the barn, hands down. He has put on SO much weight and has an apple bottom, which I tease him about frequently. He is galloping like a stakes horse and is generally just playful and happy all day long. He runs SUNDAY (eeek!!) and I cannot WAIT.

Butters was recently involved in a legal dispute and today we got word that he is indeed staying with us. The Lord has been so gracious to us through this process and I'm so blessed to get to continue riding this big nerd every day.

And last but not least, Kazzie has been improving by leaps and bounds. She goes right to work and focuses for MOST of the ride, and today finally started to gallop up into the bridle a little bit despite the heat and the beachy track. She is just a stunning looking filly, although she hasn't appeared to shed any pounds yet. I have faith in her, though!

Jingles for Stormy on Saturday and BoldBold and Flash on Sunday! Should be a really fun weekend!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cheap Drunk

Kazzie, that is. Between the heat and the tranq, she had a difficult time making it around the eeeennnntttiiiireeee racetrack. However, she still managed to throw in a few well-timed bucks and spooks, and also refused to walk home without the aid of a patient observer who led us over the horse-eating mats. She did start off really nicely today, which was encouraging...she stands until she simply can't stand anymore, and then she just wants to GO...but once I ask her to go, she decides she's fat and lazy and would rather stop and just go home. She wore me out today...managed to pull a hamstring on the pony earlier in the morning so by the time I got off of her...PHEW. She stood like an angel for her bath, though...and got to move over to the Big Kid barn today, which she seems to really like. She has a jolly ball and a hay net and, as of 7 p.m. had managed to keep her bandages on. This means I'm not going to get to rub her anymore but I definitely enjoyed the last few days. We'll see how she is on Monday, after her day off tomorrow...hopefully she'll remember what she's learned!

Orangeman continues to win me over...although he was a little naughty to gallop today (wanting to pull himself up) he is just such a sweet horse. We would have had an incident-free morning if not for Asmussen's white pony galloping pell-mell for us, which resulted in Orange freezing up and backing to the inside rail...and then snorting and sweating the entire way home...but we will work on his relaxation in the future. He is a joy to ride and to be around.

Ella ran her heart out tonight to finish 4th...she went to the lead today and showed a lot of heart and class and refused to give up.

Day off tomorrow..I will miss the kiddos but I could use the time to worship and also to ride my own horse. And then we'll be gearing up for a super busy week/weekend with at least one horse in almost EVERY day until Memorial Day. Should be fun!!

And to close, a couple of Kazzie pictures from today:
"Helloooo there! Hi! I'm Kaz! Can I give you kisses? Please?"
Doing what she does best, licking her feed tub completely clean:God Bless!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gold star for Kazzie!

First thing this morning, after I set the tack, I went down to the barn where Kazzie is to check on her and see if her bandages had survived the night. Well, they hadn't. She was laying on one of them and the other was buried somewhere deep. Sigh. She was still least until I had to pull the bandage out from underneath her, which woke her right up. Goofy girl. Ran back to the main barn to get the morning started...all the horses were lovely today, especially Butters. Finally it was time to go back over and get on the Freight Train. We decided to send her in the loose ring snaffle today, as the ring bit was a bit strong for her little baby mouth. It was a good decision. Everything was SO much BETTER today! She did have a little blooper backing up, and decided that the trash cans lined up by the first turn were simply too scary to continue...she backed up and then did a 180, almost getting me off over her shoulder, but I hung on. Finally got back to the wire. SHE STOOD OUT! Yay, Kaz! At least until she decided she was ready to go...then there was no arguing with her. So off we went, slightly ahead of Sought. I felt a little more solid on her, so I stood up on her right away and just focused on staying behind her motion, keeping my leg on and keeping a feel of her mouth. Sought caught up and passed us, and Kaz let out several big bucks...and then promptly realized she was exhausted. So from the 3/8th's pole on, I had to really urge the buffalo on....she instantly regretted her fast start! We made it back around, though, and she stood and turned around perfectly. What a good girl! Got back to the barn, untacked her and then gave her a bath. She wasn't keen on standing on the mats, so I just bathed her on the gravel. She was very good for her bath, didn't move a muscle and wasn't touchy or anything. She walked, got some down time, and then I headed over to her barn to do her up and give her lunch.

She isn't shy about food, that's for sure. Gave her lunch and she was content to stand like an angel while I brushed her and put her bandages on....WITH WrapLast this time. I coated them in it, so hopefully they will still be on her in the morning. With a kiss and a goodbye, I left her to finish munching.

Also wanted to mention Orange to ride him for the first time and I think I might be in love with him. He has this huge fuzzy ears that are lopsided the entire time he gallops. He makes me smile.

:) Then again, they all do.

God Bless!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stop? Go? Left? Right? WHA?

I could just hear these questions being screamed by our newest addition, Kazzie, as we attempted to gallop around the daunting track this morning. Actually I could hear them long before we even left the barn. She is a beast of a filly, built like a brick s*** house, and easily 300 lbs overweight at this point. She questions everything, has to stop and look, and is generally just a big goober about life. We went out with S and Sought, somehow managed to back up...naturally when we got to the wire, someone starting banging around in the grandstand, which put us on the inside rail staring up at the stands with the biggest eyes in the world. Sigh. Managed to turn around and got going into a little gallop, which quickly turned into a slam-on-brakes stop, then a gallop towards the inside fence, then another stop, then a really fast gallop to catch up with Sought, then another duck inside, then some nice jolting bucks...weeeeee. She made it past the gate at a jog, then back to a gallop, and by the end I was at least "posting the canter", not quite trusting her enough to actually stand up on her. Made it to the 5/8th's pole, pulled her up...EEEERRRKKKK....tried to turn her around, she froze up in the middle of the track, then decided she didn't want to leave just yet....spun around and took off the other way...finally got her back to Nat who caught her and led her enormous prancing self back to the barn. Phew, made it.

Impossible to get mad at her though. Not a mean bone in her body, ears never went back, and although she constantly hesitated she DID make it around in one piece. Obviously tomorrow will be a telltale day of whether or not she learned anything. Since she's an extra horse and our grooms are all booked, I get to rub her for a couple of days...which makes me happy, because I like to have everything to do with her, so I can get inside her head a little bit. She happily munched on lunch while I brushed her and did her up, stood very well for everything (except for hoof picking, which she will need work on). Hopefully she will remember the track tomorrow and be a bit more willing to gallop on and listen to me. We shall see!

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ups and Downs

Churchill has been nice and sloppy for the last few days, thanks to the seemingly never-ending rainfall we have been experiencing. On one level, rain is a good thing...on another level, it's depressing, cold, and makes cleaning tack much less fun. The good news? The track crew have actually been doing a good job maintaining the slop, and the horses have been traveling well over it.

Storm has been relishing his training lately and is eager to go out every morning. We have started going off the upper Romans gap, which seems to control his explosive nature on particularly busy mornings. At this gap, he is off the horse path quicker and therefore has less time to react to pounding hooves behind him, and then we have a nice leisurely walk back home. He has been a perfect gentleman. Naturally, he managed to hurt himself in his stall this morning...nothing major, thank God, but a freak thing that only he could manage to do. ;)

Flash has been training like a true beast. After his fast work last week, he has been tugging me around and prancing and acting silly whenever he finds the opportunity. Very excited about his attitude change and how solid he feels while galloping. He WANTS to train, which is a big difference from a month ago.

Diva is one work away from her first race, and she has been very aggressive in her training, wanting to go straight down to the rail and go as fast as she can. Naturally, that isn't the goal, so I've been working extra hard to keep her in the "slow part" of the track, giving and taking on her mouth and saying "No ma'am, no ma'am, no ma'am" every time she wants to fight with me. You can see her little ears flicking back towards me constantly, and for the most part she will relax with time and gallop around quite nicely. D. Wayne Lukas himself gave her a hard glance this morning and seemed to like what he saw. She is really blooming at the right time and keeping it together mentally..I'm quite excited about her.

Butters continues to maintain a very high level of professionalism for such a high-spirited young horse. Yesterday, a horse flipped over right beside us and was loose, and Butters calmly waited for me to stop him and check on the rider...I can always count on him to keep his cool. And he's learning to relax galloping, although it's a day-by-day process. Will have his first work under a jockey as soon as this weather clears up.

Nugget is in on Thursday! I just have to get him through ONE more day of training! It's always nerve-wracking the last couple of days coming up to a race, especially an important one. This horse is a home-bred and the owners are so excited about him, as are we. This race will really be a crucial one for him, potentially dictating the rest of his 2 y/o career, which we obviously hope is a lucrative one. Keep your fingers crossed for him! Also please keep BoldBold in your thoughts and prayers as he continues to battle whatever kind of infection/sickness is bugging him.

And on a parting note, we have two new kids in the barn! Kaz is a half-sister to Ali and Blackie, and looks JUST like them, a big fat bay. We also have Orange, who is way too cute for words and seems to be a sweet boy. Look for updates on these two as we start taking them to the track on Thursday!

God Bless!