Pippa has continued to flourish under our new direction with her. After three weeks with only one rider she's calmed down immensely and really relaxes under saddle and lunging. She's becoming a real treat to watch. She's so affectionate and kind. She just needed a strong leader to bond with and really start trusting. We are so happy!
While Leila was freaking out and spooking at everything the first half of the week due to the wind, Pippa was calm and relaxed and I filmed this video of her on the windiest day of the week! She didn't hesitate to do everything she was asked in a reasonable and relaxed manner with absolutly no spooking!
She is going to be great for someone that can dedicate their time and and give lots of love to her. Her body is looking wonderful and she's keeping weight and muscle. She's responding to leg and really learning to relax and respond to her rider's desires. We are so happy with our progress and really are proud of her. Her rider has been VERY dedicated to her and gets her out and works with her 4-5 days a week every week.
We have not done a whole lot with her this week due to a couple of things.
1. She's having some problems with her hind feet. They're sore because they are so short. We are going to have the farrier try and put some shoes on her and maybe some pads. Her hoof wall is very thin due to over-rasping at the racetrack.
2. It was REALLY windy the first half of the week. She is still very "up" from the track and gets spooked easily. We had a rough time with her at the beginning of the week due to massive wind. She scared herself several times grabbing dried up grass while I was hand grazing her. She was not herself the first half of the week.
3. The last half of the week was REALLY hot and human and horse didn't feel like doing much.
4. Kim has been dealing with a massive injury in one of her other horses that is taking up a large portion of her time. If you're curious to read about it feel free to read my blog on it (warning there are some pretty graphic images). It's pretty amazing and this horses' will to live and cooperation has been inspiring.
Leila's traing has been light this week. She is learning to be less spooky and trust us more when we tell her it's ok. Any extra time off the track is good for calming her more. She's started to put on weigh slowly. It seems her metabolism is still so crazy from the track she is pretty much eatting constantly. We are hoping to get her hind feet situation remedied quickly so that she's not in discomfort any longer.
She's got such a lovely bounce and float when she trots she looks like one a Saddleseat show horse. She's really going to be a nice one between her looks, movement and personality (She'll be nicer than Luke)!
WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES OF WOUND
Colonel is a 13 year old Quarter Horse gelding who we retired last year due to arthritis in his neck. He's a wild ride and we found it best to retire him and let him live out his life in pasture where he can relax and not put stress on that neck. He has been happy and sound ever since he was turned out.
Colonel was living out his life in pasture until one day a couple of weeks ago, Linnea woke up and saw him outside her window completely lame. She went out to check on him and this is what she saw. Needless to say she had to take a moment to calm herself down.
She immediatly called Kim and the vet on call Melissa Keiltey. She immobilized him and waited for Kim and Melissa to arrive. After an evaluation, Melissa let us know that he'd completely sliced through his tendon, muscle and flesh down to the bone. She said that most vets would put him down, but she'd delt with this kind of injury before successfully and wanted to give it a try if Kim was willing. Because we all love the horse so much and he wasn't acting out, it was decided to try and save him. Melissa cleaned him off and stitched him up beautifully.
There was a big hunk of skin missing, so it wasn't a total success as some of the wound was left uncovered. She told us that the skin would start growing over on it's own to cover up the wound and the tendon would heal itself and grow back together.
After 1 week there was still some doubt as to his survival, though the tissue looked great and there was plenty of bloodflow to the area so the flesh didn't start to decay. He was having issues walking due to the tendon and was in pain. It was hard for us to continue at this point and we thought about putting him down, however Melissa was convinced we should keep up treatment, so we went with her expert advice.
We had to come up with a solution for his antibiotics. At twice a day, giving them intravenously was not an option. They had to be given orally. They tasted awful (I tried them...ugh!) and Colonel was choaking on the fluid. We felt horrible for the guy. We had to find another solution. Kim created a mixture of peanut butter, apricot jelly, antibiotics and bute which we give to him in a paste. He likes it so much he'll lick it out of the bowl we mix it in! It has solved our problems and makes him look forward to his dose of meds!
Colonel has been such a good sport about his treatment that we've really had no choice but to continue. After 3 weeks of steady treatment, changing wraps every other day and two times a day dosing of antibiotics Colonel has made a huge turn around. His fiesty attitude is back, he's moving around quite well, his pain is greatly reduced. He is REALLY enjoying being back at the barn and being the center of attention and is shiny, happy and healthy. We are expecting a full recovery for him so that he's able to go back to his happy retirement (with a few fencing modifications so that he doesn't do this again)!
Update: Colonel had to have some necrotic tissue removed from the injury site. The wound is healing well. He's a smart horse and taking care of himself. A week after the tissue removal, the wound is looking great.
Thanks to Melissa Keiltey and her skilled hands for giving Colonel another chance at life!
12 weeks after the injury, Colonel is doing great! He's trotting mostly sound on his leg even with the severed tendon. The wound is still not 100%, but we expect in another month he'll be almost perfect.
While Pippa is incredibly gentle on the ground (I’d trust her with the smallest child leading her) and VERY sweet and affectionate, she’s put up some fight under saddle when asking her to do things she doesn’t want to do (more fight than we would have expected). She’s been a challenge for us in a way we didn’t really expect. We knew we needed to rethink the situation so that she continued to progress nicely, and so two weeks ago we decided to take a new route with Pippa. She was fighting us more than we wanted and we knew another horse with a similar personality that we had trained differently, and knew we needed to readjust our plan.
Pippa is under the singular care of one rider right now (she is the only one training/riding her, under guidance from Kim). The theory is, that she will bond with her one person and then she will be more receptive to new things asked of her. So far, it’s working like a charm and she’s not fought us a bit since we switched to this new method.
Pippa is doing a lot of lunging to work on her commands and to use up some energy. She’s a very energetic girl! She’s learned the meaning of the words walk, trot, stop, woah and responding really nicely to them lunging. She’s also being regularly ridden at walk/trot. She’s very good at collecting at the walk and learning at the trot (some days are better than others). She’s not mentally or physically ready for cantering yet. She’s learning to respond to leg (but not over-respond). Our main goal at this time is to get her to relax under saddle.
We are not taking her up the trail right now as she’s not mentally ready for it yet. She’s still a little nervous under saddle.
Pippa has calmed right down in turn outs (she still likes to run), but she’s not as wild as she used to be. As mentioned before, she’s really good on the ground and walks on a loose line and follows your lead. Pippa grooms up, bathes and saddles fine and picks up her feet nicely for you.
She is looking for her special person (and she REALLY wants to be loved and to love her human).
Leila is continuing to wind down and become more relaxed. She’s put on some weight since she arrived (though she needs to put on a little more). She’s very ladylike and delicate. She’s calm on the ground and leads on a very loose line and affectionate and sweet, though a little spooky. She’s great with grooming and picks up her feet nicely for you. She is getting really calm in turn out (she was always pretty calm, but now you have to run after her to get her to move!). It's great to see her relax so much. She loves people and will nicker for you when you come to visit her and talk to her.
The last few weeks we have been driving her on long lines and riding her in the arena a lot. She’s doing really well. She’s learning how to collect, she’s responsive to leg and is learning her word ques of walk, trot and woah. She is very responsive to body language and click/kiss verbals. You can really feel her energy under you when she rides and it feels great! She’s not as smooth as Luke was, but she’s a really nice ride and gives you a lot of movement and energy. She’s really learning to work with the bit and collect and round her back. We have so far only done walk/trot with her as she’s not mentally or physically prepared for cantering.
We have taken her up the trail a couple of times but have deemed her not mentally ready for this challenge yet. She’s still learning to relax and trust under saddle and we don’t want to push her too far too soon.
She has reared a couple of times on us when spooking (however the rears are minimal and she never stays up or goes up high). It’s just her reaction when she’s scared sometimes (for instance a dead squirrel falling off the top of the arena...which I don’t particularly blame her for...falling dead squirrels? What?!? ). With a minor correction she calms right down and moves on. She doesn’t have a lot of fight, it’s just a fear based reaction. Most of the time she just spooks in place.
This girl is going to be a really nice one. She’s got nice, short cannon bones and her legs are clean, so she might be a good jumper for someone. She’s still pretty fresh off her last race (we’re only 6 weeks off her last race at Golden Gate), and for her being so race fit, she’s doing an AMAZING job. We really like her.
Pippa's doing really well. It's been just over 1 month since we got her at Franklin Canyon and almost 4 months since she joined Neigh Savers. She's looking for a home and someone to love her! She's got one interested party currently, but if you were even considering it, come look at her. She's truely a beauty with a heart of gold.
Pippa has continued to progress and be awesome in the arena. Her fracture is fully healed and she should have no issues going on to any type of career (dressage, jumping, barrel racing, English or Western Pleasure). She is however dubious on the trail. She doesn't particularly like it and is pretty spooky on the trail (where as she's fine when working in an arena space).
We didn't realize Pippa had any fight in her until we tried taking her on the trail this week. She put up a fight like you wouldn't believe. It wasn't pretty, and it shocked us. It was much worse than any shinnanigans the brilliant Luke would pull. She really doesn't like it. She was perfectly content to go down and work in the arena however. Strange girl!
In the arena she's really starting to give to the bit. I'll try and have more photos/videos of her in the arena next week.
Pippa really understands that turn out time as her "whooooohooooo yipppppeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" time. You don't need to chase her at all and she just runs. She loves it. She was a winner on the track and obviously still enjoys her speed. She's very easy to catch when you decide she's done.
We love her confirmation and agility for many equine sports. She's put on some weight (and also eats a ton of food) and is looking much more filled out. She's a bit "quarter horsey" in her confirmation with a sizeable bottom!
She continues to be an absolute sweetie on the ground and has good ground manners. She loves being pet, scratched, groomed, kissed, cuddled, loved and anything else that brings humans in front of her. She really bonds with people.
Leila's time with us continues to go fairly smoothly. She's been a great girl this week. We've had good response from ground manner work (other than 1 explosion of overexcitement) and she's very responsive to body language for stopping and backing. She does it willingly. She respects space and understands that she needs to go with you, rather than on top of you.
Under saddle she continues to get better. She still doesn't understand giving to the bit, and it will probably be several more weeks until we get some more consistant response from her on that. She's very calm and behaves well under saddle thus far.
I did a lot of turn outs with her this week and she's fantastic. While we leave her halter on for the time being (as the first time she was very hard to catch), she has been easy to catch since then. She's a little head shy from her previous life (which we're working on) so any quick movements to put a halter on her in a big arena could equal her peeling out.
In her turn outs she's actually very well behaved for a horse that raced 1 month ago (or any horse for that matter). She doesn't get overly excited and you actually have to push her to get her to do much. She has nice movement and it's lovely to watch her. There's a video below, but it's kinda shakey due to me having to kinda chase and push her a little bit to do more than stand in one place.
Yesterday in her turn out she was lovely. She was really paying attention to me and staying down on one half of the turnout doing a large circle around me like in a round pen at a trot. The moment I shifted my weight and direction she'd speed up or slow down appropriatly. When I stopped my movement and stepped back she immediatly turned inwards to me and stopped. Either someone did this with her before when she was a baby, or she's just very in tune with humans. Awesome.
Leila is a bit on the light side and we are feeding her as much as she can eat. She's not really much of an eater, so it may take some creativity to get some weight on her! Dont' fear, we'll do it!
She continues to be a big sweetheart and she continues to progress. She's still very green and new at 3 weeks off the track and we're looking forward to working with her more!
Leila has had a quick and eventful couple of weeks. She's only been with us a little over two weeks and we're already riding her and working on long lines. She's pretty well behaved on the ground with only a few overly excited moments (what can you expect of a horse who last raced less than 1 month ago!). She's been receptive to everything we've thrown at her so far.
The long lines were a shock to her and she did decide that kicking out at them was the appropriate thing to do the first time they touched her legs. She's now completely fine with them. She was fine under saddle. Giving to the bit is a TOTALLY new concept to her and it's going to be a lot of work to get her there. Luke quickly picked it up (possibly due to past training) and Pippa is working her way there, however Leila is fresh off of racing and thinks that bit pressure means that she should go faster. With lots of lunging in side reins and some rewarding for giving to pressure, she should figure it out in a few more weeks.
She is sweet, even tempered and friendly. She's still very "up" from the track and should mellow out even more. She is very lithe and sleek due to her being in heavy racing training up until two weeks ago. She should fill out once she's more settled in. She's one of the long and lean type TBs and is very beautiful.
Leila was hot shoed on her front this week and was very well behaved. She sat there quietly while the steam and smoke swirled around her pretty face. The most action we got out of her was when she was done and we walked her off. It was very clear that she has probably never been shoed in anything but racing plates as she was picking her front feet up like she was a Tennessee Walker show horse! Hilarious. She quickly got used to the new weight and went back to her stall to rest.
She's already got an interested party and we'll keep you in the loop on that.
When we last left you with Pippa several weeks ago she was waiting for the dentist to come and help her out. Her teeth were in pretty bad shape and she needed a lot of assistance with that. She has put on nice weight in the last three weeks and is eating constantly. We are happy to say that the teeth work made all the difference for her. She's no longer uncomfortable eating or with a bit and we have been able to proceed working with her.
We've been working with her both riding and lunging with long lines. She's much further along than Luke was at this stage due to her being naturally more calm. She is a bit spooky, however she's very reasonable. She has been great in hand since we got her and doesn't croud your space or misbehave. She is working towards understanding giving to the bit and does drop her head and lengthen her neck from time to time and we reward her with lots of pats and praise. She is nice under saddle, but for now we are working primarily on lunging her with long lines to work on her understanding of giving to the bit, changing directions and understanding how to stop.
She continues to be very sweet and mellow around humans and horses. She absolutly adores having her neck scratched and is more than happy to stand there for hours and get patted/scratched. She's very affectionate and lovable! She's not at all dominant and was being bossed around pretty soundly by a grouchy pony stabled next to her. We are all very fond of her and rather sad/happy that she's already got someone interested in her.
She is getting a visit from the farrier this week and we will see how she handles that. She's also being visited by a perspective adopter. Please enjoy some updated photos from her work the last couple of weeks and an adorable video.
Leila (Party in Excess) has come to us from the same trainer at Golden Gate as Luke (Dancing Prince). She is a 4 year old bay filly with a white star and no other markings. She comes to us sound from the track with 0 wins, 1 second and 1 third in 8 starts and $10,165 in earnings. She raced in the maiden claiming ranks at Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, and Golden Gate Fields. She raced 4 times in 2013 and her last race was less than a month ago on April 19th at Golden Gate Fields.
Leila is a California bred out of a listed stakes winning mare named Getthepartystarted. Her sire is In Excess (IRE) a successful racehorse in both Europe and the United States. He won the San Gabriel Handicap and the San Fernando Stakes in California. He also won the big older male races in New York (Metropolitan Handicap, Suburban Handicap, Whitney Handicap and the Woodward Stakes). He has been a successful sire in California with two leading sire titles in 2002 and 2003. He was California’s all time sire of money earners as of 2008. His notable progeny are Indian Charlie (sire of Champions Indian Blessing and Uncle Mo), Romance Is Diane and Notional.
Other US racing notables in her pedigree are Danzig, Northern Dancer, Alydar, Buckpasser, Raise a Native, and Swaps. She has quite a bit of European blood which makes her a nice outcrossed horse. Leila has a total absence of inbreeding or line-breeding in her first 5 generations (which is rare for an OTTB). She’s got a nice pedigree overall and I’m surprised she wasn’t sold as a broodmare prospect and she probably would have been if not for the poor breeding economy (but I’m sure glad she made it to us)!
Leila is sound but proved herself too slow for racing at California tracks. She is solid (but not as quiet as Pippa). She is very sweet. She's also larger than Pippa at about 15.3 but with the more lean and long race horse body style. She has had minimal exposure to any training except at the track and will be a different kind of challenge (unlike Pippa who came with almost 1 year off in pasture on the farm and Luke who had a mysterious 1.5 year break from racing and appeared to have already been given some under saddle training). She is much more reasonable than Luke was coming straight off the track.
We have had a truely wonderful time getting to know Luke (Dancing Prince). He went from hyperactive racehorse to mellow and happy dude. We are so happy to know that he's going to such a wonderful home and that he won't be too far away.
Since his first week with us he experienced a whole range of new things. He became a champion on the trail, chased cows, rolled A LOT, learned to start collecting and using himself like a real dressage horse, practiced barrels, experience a chicken and llama and the most crazy contraptions humans could come up with, had someone crawling and jumping all over him, participated in riding lessons and learned that other horses running around doesn't mean he needs to act crazy and competitive. We are so proud of him and will miss him greatly. I have included in this post photos and videos of some of my favorite moments of our time with Luke.
- Super special Thanks to Kim Bredehoft (Trainer) for taking this project on with such enthusiasm and gumption.
- Special thanks to Grace Hull (Jr. Trainer/rider) for her time and dedication to working with Luke. You two are GREAT!
- Thanks to Karin Wagner from Neigh Savers for putting her trust in us to take on a horse for her. We look forward to many more and love being a part of Neigh Savers.
- Thanks to Jedd Josephson (his race trainer) and Eagle Oak Ranch (racing owner and breeder) for retiring Luke sound and healthy. This is truely appreciated!!
- Thanks to James Bredehoft (trailering and support) and Linnea Wren (Assistant Trainer) for all of their support and assistance.
- Thanks to Linda W for her sponsorship and support.
- Happiest thanks to Katie Sue G. - Luke's new owner!
To all his potential adoptors that were on the wait list, don't be saddened. We have more coming soon.
See you next time! Thank you all for following Luke's story. I will post updates from Katie Sue from time to time if she feels like sharing with me.
- Rachel Masen (volunteer trainer and blogger)
Pippa has had a good first week with us. Due to her not being straight off the track we are not having the same challenges we had with Luke. Pippa is already calm, ties well, is used to being ridden, likes attention, leads well, and doesn't have any bad habits.
The biggest steps we need to take with her immediatly are get her teeth done and put some weight on her. She's a very small mare (as you can see from the photos of her near Luke), but at that she's thinner than we prefer. Her back is short for a Thoroughbred but her legs are very long and lean. It gives her a very striking appearance. She has a beautiful face and is quite expressive.
She proved herself to us on her first night here. We brought her out of the stall to feel her out with blanketing, cross tying, picking up feet, etc (she does all of that fine btw). We are sitting around messing with her when we hear a kid yell "LOOSE HORSE" and we see this giant paint galloping down the trail. We grabbed the horse and tied him up to check for injuries (he was fine) and took care of him while others went and checked to see if the rider was ok (he was). The horse was wild and rearing and sliding around on the gravel right behind Pippa. It was a very stressful situation and Pippa did nothing but shift herself out of the way and watch the crazy horse. The rider came down and got his horse and they left us to finish with Pippa. Needless to say, we were very impressed with Pippa's attitude about the whole thing. She is very mellow and very sweet.
She is a little nervous, which showed itself very clearly on her first trail ride. She will take some extra work to get to be a steady girl on the trail. Dont' worry, we're up for the challenge.
Grace has already taken her on and ridden her several days and is very fond of her. There's no wind-down turn outs and lunging like were needed with Luke. We're already up on her and she's proven very safe, but of course very green. Because of her build, we think she will probably be able to do just about anything (jumping, barrels, pleasure). I haven't personally ridden her yet, so I cannot vouch for her gaits, but I hear she is just as smooth as Luke.
We're looking forward to working with this one. She's already a star.
What is your name? My name is Strawberry.
What is your breed? I am an Appaloosa.
What color are you? I am a Strawberry Roan.
How old are you? I am 35 years old and I am lovin' it!
How tall are you? I am 15.2 hands.
What is your favorite color? I like purple but my absolute favorite color is pink.
What is your favorite treat? I love grain. Especially when the humans mix pellets with grain. It's really yummy.
What is your favorite time of year? The summer because I don't get worked as much.
What is your favorite discipline? I like barrels because everyone tells me I am really good at them.
Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? No, I am not much of a lover. I do love food though.
Do you prefer English or Western? I like Western.
What are a few of your favorite things? I like eating and being groomed and did I mention eating?
What are your least favorite things? Being scolded when I am talking because I don't see what I am doing wrong!
What do you like best about your humans? I don't like it when they don't give me food. I love them when they give me food.
Have you ever won any awards? Yes, Natalie and I won Best Costume for the Halloween Costume Contest.
Name: Natalie Wehrer
How long have you been riding? 1 year
How long have you been riding with Kim? 1 year
What is your riding history? My friend first started coming to ride and take lessons at Franklin Canyon and she told me to come check it out and I did. I havent ridden anywhere else before.
Tell a little about your current mount: Strawberry is an Appaloosa who is perfect on the trail and in the arena.
What is your favorite discipline(s)? I like riding Western or bareback in the arena or on the trail.
What is your favorite thing to do at the barn (other than riding)? I like hanging out with all of my friends and washing horses.
What is your favorite 2012 memory? When Strawberry and I won the Halloween costumen contest!
What are your 2013 riding goals? To become a better rider.
What are your long term riding goals? To be good enough to own a horse.
What do you get out of spending time at Franklin Canyon Stables? You get to have a bond with other people and have a ton of fun.
What do you get out of spending time with horses? You get to have a bond with your horse.
Have you ever won any riding awards? If so, what? I have won the Halloween Costume Contest.
Pippa (Upsized) has come to us from another Neigh Savers barn. She's been a Neigh Savers horse for a couple of months now. She is a small 15.2hh dark bay mare with three socks and a nice blaze. She will be 6 years old on May 26th.
She is by Capsized out of a Prized mare. She is a decendant of Secretariat through Weekend Surprise (dam of Summer Squall and AP Indy). You can find Northern Dancer, Summer Squall, Buckpasser (inbred to Buckpasser), Majestic Prince, Roberto, Dark Star, Swaps and the outstanding broodmare Flower Bowl. She's got royal blood running in her veins.
Pippa raced 17 times and made just under 23K in total earnings. She raced all but one of her races at Golden Gate Fields and spent most of her time in the claiming ranks. She won twice, placed once, and showed twice. She was a tough little closer and almost always came flying at the end.
She sustained a hairline fracture in her last start in her knee and was turned in pasture for a year. She is now sound.
She has been under saddle and has been jumped a few times (free jumped at 2'3") at the other Neigh Savers facility. We are going to proceed with her with a slightly different approach than Luke (since they are very different personalities), but I cannot wait to see what she becomes. She is very mellow, affectionate and sweet and is already pretty safe with children. She appears to have decent ground manners with a few minor issues we will work out. She doesn't appear to have any bad habits either. We will be working with her to find out what she is best at and are looking forward to it!
This week I am pleased to let everyone know (that's missed it) that Luke has a new owner. Katie Sue! We are so excited that he is going to such a lovely and amazing lady. We are going to miss him (but more about that later). He's actually staying with us until the end of the month, so we still have a couple more weeks to enjoy him.
On Monday night, Luke got to meet the love of his life. After a very relaxing trail ride, Katie Sue got to experience Luke's awesome trot and canter in the arena. She rode him beautifully and they really clicked.
On Friday, Luke got a good bath so he would look pretty for Hossmoor (you have to look good when you go to a barn like Hossmoor). He was a very good boy and greatly enjoyed himself.
On Saturday, a big group of us went to Hossmoor for a "bombproofing" clinic. There were a TON of horses and people there. After some initial excitement over the amount of horses and people around (I think he thought he was at the track again), he calmed right down and was a champ. We rode him right through many scary things (wooden platforms, hanging balls, balloons, flags, a baby stroller, a bike with a crazy horn, a chicken, smoke, a tunnel of streamers and a llama. He truely is amazing. The scariest thing was this odd spinning pole with silvery streamers. He was a little worried about it, but ended up pushing it around and trying to eat the streamers. There were many non-TBs there that had massive issues with several of the obstacles. Not going to name names, but he was one of the most solid horses there. He was in the "good" group from our barn and we had no problems with getting him through any of it. Awesome. I'm a little sad we're not keeping him!
First off, I want to say sorry for no blog last week. It was a very busy week for me and I didn’t get to it!
Luke has continued to be awesome. We’ve been doing a lot of trail work to get him out and get him past some scary objects. We’ve been doing a lot of slow walk/trot arena work to work on his leg yielding and thought we’d throw a little neck reining in there as well (as this can be useful doing jumping courses). He’s responding well to everything.
While working on leg yielding in the arena on Monday night, Luke and I both were curious about all the gymkhana equipment left up by the kids after practice. We decided to have a go at a barrel pattern and some pole bending at the trot. He did quite well for his first time seeing these crazy objects. I had a friend do some video while we were playing around. Funniest part, Luke wanted to go over to the barrels, knock them down, and push them around. I guess he thought they were just a new sort of ball toy!
On Saturday, Luke had a potential adopter come for a visit and a ride. Luke was of course a very good boy and made a new friend. He showed off in the arena and on the trail. He was particularly solid on the trail. At one point of our very long ride, there was an incident with a broken girth buckle and a bucking/loose horse (horse, rider and saddle are fine!). It took awhile to catch the horse and Luke was patient and quiet through the whole ordeal. He had minimal response to the excitement and behaved like a solid trail mount should.
His nibbling/chewing has significantly improved, he only tries 1 out of every 10 opportunites now (big improvement!). He’s leading very quietly and for the most part behaves himself. He has a TB moment every once in awhile and you just need to ignore it, correct him and move on.
While still green, he’s already a fine mount and will make someone very happy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a sweetheart. He’s found several new admirers in the last couple of weeks at Franklin Canyon. If Linda decides to pass on Luke, there’s still a line around the corner of interested parties.
If he’s still in our care, we’ll be taking him to a de-spooking clinic at Hossmoor in a couple of weeks (they’ve promised goats!).
This week Luke has had all kinds of adventures!
He went on several trail rides, took naps in the arena during his turnout, was ridden bareback in his halter, participated in a group lesson and worked on despooking with scary objects.
On Monday he had a trail ride and then we had a despooking lesson. He encountered a giant ball, a tarp and an umbrella without batting an eye. He was pushing the ball with his face and body within 2 minutes of introducing him to it. He loved it! We moved on to a tarp. He walked right up to it and grabbed it in his mouth and started dragging it around. We laid it on the ground and within 1 minute had him walking across it and soon after had him trotting across it. What about an umbrella (very scary..right?!?!)? Luke said nope! Kim stood on his back - he didn't care. She got on the wrong side and off the right side and vice-versa over and over and slid off his butt backwards - he didn’t care. We are all very proud of him. I think everyone is falling in love a little bit!
On Tuesday night he participated in a large group ride on the trail and then moved into the arena to participate in a lesson. He was ridden by a total of 5 people ranging from Kim - with decades of experience - to a gentleman who has only been riding for 6 months. Luke enjoyed himself and worked hard. As you’ll see in the video, he’s in various states of collection - from correct collection to over-collection depending on his rider. He takes mistakes and doesn’t get worried and moves forward and tries hard.
Kim thought it would be a fun experiment to ride him from his stall across the property to the tack room bareback and with nothing but his halter and a lead rope as a rein. He collected immediately and and was very well behaved and relaxed.
He did another despooking session on Thursday night and was ridden by other people and handled it all beautifully. A very experienced horsewoman rode him and she said, “Oh he’s nice. He’s got a great trot and will be awesome for Dressage.”
On Saturday we set up a despooking class for many people at the barn. Luke was one of the first to go in and experience the craziness. See the video clips of him facing down the ball, several small balls, cones, umbrellas, a bike, a tarp, a mattress covered in a tarp, frisbees, a hoola-hooping girl, flags and a fan blowing plastic bags. As you can see, he’s very unconcerned about the whole situation.
This week Kim called Luke "exceptional" and “the best kind of horse”. He will be the best horse a person could ask for if his adopter keeps up the training with him. He’s turned a big corner and is becoming a very happy, confident and work-minded horse who seems to enjoy anything he’s asked to do.
For week 11, we are hoping to work on him with trailering (though we’re sure he’ll be a champ) and perhaps do a little jumping to see if he has any skill or desire in that area.
Luke has had a pretty quiet week this week due to preparations for our first big show of the year. We've been doing a lot of turn outs for excersise and less riding (which he's perfectly contented with). He really enjoys his turn outs. He still loves to roll more than anything else in the world and will roll for minutes straight while grunting the whole time. He also enjoys standing by the fence and watching horses being worked in the arena, walking alongside cars and trucks when they walk by and poking his head around corners to watch people grooming their horses. He's a pretty curious guy.
We've been working on his grooming and leading habits as well as continuing to work with him on his mouthy behavior. He continues to improve with all of these things.
This coming week, we are going to work with him in the arena with some spooky objects (tarps, giant horse-sized balls, flags, umbrellas and whatnot. We are confident he will be fine with all of these and will enjoy the ball. We should have some fun video and photos to show you.
Please enjoy some photos from a photoshoot I did with him and Natalie this week.
I think he may have some visitors soon! He's very excited to meet some new friends.
To celebrate Luke’s 2nd month with us I wanted to do something a little different this week. I want to give tribute to all the great things he can do now! He’s had not only the attention of Kim and I but also two wonderful girls - Grace and McKayla.
I can personally say that he’s a joy on the trail and obviously really likes it. I took him up alone this week and trotted and cantered with him soon after leaving the barn. There was no freshness or trouble doing that. It was fantastic! He is greatly improving in his arena work and is staying much more focused now. I take back my earlier comments on him being too immature for dressage. With training time and a good teacher I think he’ll be a nice dressage horse. He’s got a very comfortable and lovely trot and a wonderful canter. Though he’s far from being a finished horse, he’s turning into a very nice one! Someone will be very lucky to get him. Please enjoy the video montage of Luke on the trail this week and even "experience" cantering on him!
- Cross ties and single ties
- Good for baths. In fact he really loves having his face washed!
- Stands quiet for feet cleaning and farrier
- Doesn’t particularly love being groomed but will sit there while you do it (fine with soft or bristle brushes, doesn’t like curry comb)
- Can be moved from stall to stall and take it like a champ and adapts quickly to his new environment and different sized stalls
- He has never kicked out or tried to bite another horse or human when walking by him tied or under saddle. Non aggressive
- Can stand quietly tied for several hours in a very busy barn aisle
- Is quickly becoming very good when leading on the ground and getting used to not having a stud chain to rely on for corrections
- Turns out alone quietly and reasonably. Usually has a couple of bucks and some intense rolling sessions
- Easy to catch after turn outs
- Works on the driving lines and lunge line
- Has never bucked, bolted or reared under saddle or in hand
- Works equally well in English and Western (with back cinch)
- He does not weave or crib
- Walks, trots and canters on the trail with composure
- Can be taken on the trail safely without prior turn out or lunging
- Very little spook (and only the first time he sees something odd). It just takes a little correction for him to move on. He’s very brave.
- No problem with hikers, dogs, cows, or other horses he meets on the trail.
- Can go off trail and handle hills with composure
- Very non-competitive
- Can walk or stand quietly while a horse trots or canters off in front of him
- Is not phased by having horses riding short or long distances in front of him.
- Is great on the trail by himself with no other riders around
- Is great on the trail in a group of other horses
- He can be in front, in the back, in the middle or walking right alongside other horses
- Goes through gates without hesitating
- We’ve trusted him taking a 13 year old up the trail by herself!
- Walks, trots and canters to the left and the right. Though he’s much better bending while circling left.
- Is responding very nicely to the idea of collection
- Is responding nicely to leg yielding. Is better one direction than the other (typical!)
- Will stand at a mounting block both in an arena and outside to be mounted (which is almost necessary at his height!
- Grooming. He doesn’t appreciate being curried. We are currently working with him on his dislike of curry combs and he is much improved from Week 1.
- Leading. Sometimes he gets very excited (and misbehaves) when seeing another horse galloping around in turnout. He is getting much better about this every day. He’s about 80% better at leading than when we got him.
- Mouthy. He is a mouthy horse (and he was obviously allowed to behave that way with his groom). Hand feeding is a no no. We are working on this with him every day. He’s about 70% better than when he arrived. He does do well with stall toys.