We have waited a long time for this.
We like to take our time with horses. Or to be more specific, we like to take the time that each individual horse requires to achieve goals. Luke was a special case. We could push him every time we took him out of his stall. He was always ready for something new...but also easily bored.
Leila is our princess. She really is a darling mare and we've all enjoyed having her so much. We have taken our time with her to build her up slowly. Teaching her as slowly as she asked us too. Building up her muscle. Building up her confidence and self awareness. Letting her body mature before asking her to do more than she was ready to do.
Today was the payoff. Today we lunged her over a jump for the first time. She took to it immediatly. I will say that I've never seen a horse more happy and more proud of herself. She puffed up and paraded around when we stopped her and was just so happy she put her head on our arm and sighed. Then she wanted to go again. She was so relaxed and happy, it was beautiful to experience. Please enjoy a few clips.
Leila had several other big moments the last two weeks. She finally went into season for the first time (very late...I know). Other than being entirely confused as to what was happening to her, she was just as wonderful and well behaved as ever. Her attitude towards other horses has not changed. She still doesn't nip or kick at other horses or lay her ears back.
She's really bonded with Kris our volunteer and they work together several days a week. She really bonds nicely with people and does very well when she trusts you and respects you. She'll do whatever you ask. She loves her person. Right now Kris is her person. We really hope that she finds her real person soon.
Another huge moment for her is she's now a trail horse! She has recently been taken back up the trail and she is doing wondeful with it. She's really relaxed and enjoying herself. We are so proud of her. We have been varying our locations riding her so that she is used to being ridden outside, in a covered arena, in a small arena and on the trail. Nothing is bothering her, inside or outside.
We also recently moved her to a different stall as she was getting overly bonded to her neighbor. She took that with grace and quickly moved on.
She has grown quite a fuzzy winter coat and continues to slowly put on weight. Here's a side by side of her first week with us and her now. As you can see, her breast bone was incredibly prominant, as well as her ribs, hips and spine the first week. She's really filled in, and while still a smaller horse, she's filled in the weight where she needed it.
Are you her person? Do you have an interest in jumping/hunters/eventing? Are you an intermediate/advanced rider? Do you plan on putting a horse with a professional trainer? Do you want a horse that absolutly loves you? Do you want a horse that loves to be loved on and pampered? If you're her person, we'd love to meet you!
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.
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.
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.