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Leila's Lessons - Week 29 - A Happy Goodbye

Leila's time with Franklin Canyon Stables is drawing to a close.  We are enjoying our last few days with her.  She will be moving down to a Jumping trainer in Southern California.  After several meetings, we've decided it's in her best interest to move to another location.  Franklin Canyon Stables has a lot of great things, but one thing it lacks is an arena that's big enough to do much jump work. We feel we've developed her as far as we can towards her new career with the facilities that we have.  We look forward to seeing her develop further with her new trainer over the next few months.  She may even pop up in a horse show or two over the next few months.  Keep a lookout for more updates on her from our Facebook page.

Kris took a long 4 mile trail ride with her last week and was really able to let loose and just have a wonderful time cantering around the hills.  She said it was the best goodbye she could have asked for.

Karin has come to say goodbye and gave her lots of pats and a few treats. 

The kids will be saying their goodbyes and helping me (Rachel) get her ready for shipping tomorrow.

I haven't said my goodbyes, but will handle that tomorrow by grooming her up and getting her packaged up nicely to ship for her new home.

She will be missed. 

We cannot wait to see where you go next Leila!

Please enjoy some of my favorite photos of Leila over the last several months.  I have updated by adding some preship and a post shipping photo of Leila from yesterday.  She has settled in happily already in Los Angeles.

Leila's Lessons - Week 21

It has been quite a long time since we had a Leila update (2 months!).  She is doing smashing.  She has gained around 100lbs and is really starting to fill out.  Please enjoy this video of her turned out and free lunging.  Please enjoy the video extravaganza below.

Leila has continued to impress and develop under saddle and we now have a super rider Kris, riding her 4 days a week (as well as her other work by other Neigh Savers volunteers).   Leila has endless energy and work ethic and will keep trucking through whatever you ask her to do for as long as you ask her to do it.  Want to work on her trot for an hour and a half? No problem.  Want to lunge her or drive her for an extended period of time?  She is perfectly willing to do whatever you ask her to do.  She's really started to mature physically and mentally and is using herself much better and figuring out what to do with her body.  We've also noticed from her turn out time that she is becoming extremely agile.   Please enjoy the video of her working with Kris yesterday.

Due to requests from several potential adoptors, we have started trotting her over poles in preparation for jumping.  We are not comfortable as a training barn just jumping this mare as she is and would like to build her up to it.  We prefer a more steady training method and don't want to throw her in too deep too fast since she is just now really starting to use her body well and mature mentally and physically.  Remember that in the 21 weeks since we recieved her she grew at least 1" and has put on about 150 lbs.  She was very physically and mentally immature coming into the program and wasn't ready for much of anything.  We've been working with her slowly to ensure that we don't screw her up!  She's got too much promise.

We did a pole lesson with her yesterday for about 25-30 minutes and she was a champ.  You can see from the video below that she went from worried about what the heck those things are the ground were -  to doing it like an old pro.  She is obviously very aware and concerned about where she puts her feet (unlike my lazy old TB that will just hit ever pole and not care a bit about picking up his feet).  We were very proud of her and can't wait to see how much she retains from this lesson when we try next.

Thank you all!  She's still looking for her right person.  She's had a ton of interest but none of them were the right person for her (for reasons varying from riding skill level to financial limitations).  We really look forward to meeting her future partner.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Leila's Lessons - Week 13

Leila is doing great.  She's really progressing under saddle and learning how to use her self.  She's a good girl and is continuing to impress us.  She's got real promise.  She still has that whole supermodel thing going on, however she's gaining weight slowly and steadily. 

Last week Anne Corder came out and did a photoshoot of both of the girls.  Leila got a beauty treatment and then proceeded to roll in her turnout later at the end of the shoot!  Figures! :D  She also had to wear a halter way too big for her.  Poor girl.  Our one leather halter belongs to a gigantic old guy. 

Please enjoy these lovely photos of Leila by Anne Corder.  Thank you Anne!  You have done a fantastic job.

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Leila's Lessons - Week 11

Leila is figuring things out.

With some time and training this horse will really blossom into a champion (at whatever she does).  She's really going to be something!  She's young, sound and willing to learn. She can be goofy when bored (look at that tongue in the video), hasn't got a full understanding of her body yet, is a bit of a lookie-loo.  These are all things that will be cured in time.  Other thand those things, she's perfect.  She has no bad behaviors and is really a charm to be around.

Leila is brave (she looks at everything and wants to go check it out).  She doesn't really spook (and when she does it's just a stop) and she's very curious.  Because of this curiousity she will probably be a very nice jumper.  She's got a nice big trot and could really turn some heads in a dressage ring as well once she starts using herself more correctly (and she can really use herself better than is shown in the below video...the rider just wasn't asking her for it.  I hope to show some more polished riding next week).

Leila is still thin as she has the metabolism of a hummingbird right now.  We are feeding her an additional 4-5 flakes of hay every time she is worked on top of her normal feed to get weight on her and she is starting to respond by putting on more flesh.  Given a few more weeks and she will probably start looking like Luke with a little hay belly and we can back off to normal feeding.

Leila is very sweet and likes being around people.  She leads well and is reasonably well behaved with all ground things (baths, grooming, shoeing, etc).  She acts up from time to time like a fresh OTTB will, but she's easily corrected and just needs to feel confident that you are doing something that will not hurt her.  She dosn't put up big fights and cause big scenes.  She just needs to be confident in your ability to take care of her.  She's similar under saddle.  She is young and lacking confidence in her body, so she needs someone to really hold her together and give her that confidence.  She does not act up under saddle at all.

She's been regularly ridden in the arena for the last several weeks and ponied up the trail on a regular basis.  She should have no issues with trail riding when we do decide to go that way with her.  We think she's too nice to be just a trail horse for someone though.

Leila should be ready for adoption soon. I'm not certain what the adoption fee is, but be on the lookout for that. If you are intersted in Leila, please contact [email protected] and fill out an adoption application.  Leila is ready to meet you!

Leila's Lessons - Week 8

This week Leila had a few new adventures. 

She had a beauty treatment and had her wiskers and bridle path clipped.  She also had her hair braided.  She was a good girl and stood fairly quiet for us.  Her lips are evidently very ticklish and she kept trying to push the clippers away with her lips (or nibble on them).  It was cute and we'd much prefer this kind of behavior than some others we've seen clipping other horses.  She enjoyed all the attention from Kim and Grace and we had a good time being a little silly. 

This week we also took Leila and Pippa up on the trail to be ponied.  It was a very windy day and Leila took it like a champ.  While she did spook at a few things (namely another horse sneezing...haha), she was well behaved. She's not aggressive at all with other horses and wanted to play with Champ more than anything.  It was good for her to get out and experience new things and new places.

Leila continues her turnouts, driving and arena rides on a regular basis.  She continues to slowly progress.  We've hit a weight plateau with her and are hoping that she hops over it soon and starts gaining again.  She's literally eatting as much as she can and still not gaining weight.  Her teeth checked out fine and she's been wormed, so we're just waiting for that race horse metabolism to wear down.

I will be out of town until July 6th, so you probably won't get another update until after that date.

Leila's Lessons - Week 7

This week Leila met the ball!  It's hard not to compare the horses, and I think I should here.  We waited until Week 10 to introduce Luke to the Ball, but we decided that it would be great for Leila mentally to do this in Week 7.  Remember that Luke was already 1 month off a race when we got him and 3 1/2 months from a race at the track when we introduced him to the despooking objects. Leila last raced just two months ago!  We think she's doing fantastic!

This was good brain work for Leila.  She's very mentally immature and has a hard time focusing.  This gave her something to really focus on and other than a couple of ADHD moments...she really focused hard!  She was a little worried about the ball at first glance, but walked right up to it and sniffed.  She proceeded to get really interested and started pushing the ball around with her nose, trying to bite it and kicking it with her knees.  She still needs someone to stand next to her to keep the ball rolling back and hitting her body.  She's not too keen on that idea yet, but she'll get there.  I have no doubt this one will be pushing the ball around all by herself soon.  Enjoy the video!

She's slowly putting on weight.  She's quite the hay burner for now, but we're hoping once her track metabolism slows down, she'll need less feed to keep her at weight.  We had rear shoes put on her and it really has helped her soreness.  We were able to work with her much more this week because of it.  The really great thing about her (and Pippa as well) is they are not human or horse aggressive AT ALL.  There's not even a bit of mare attitude in there.  It's really a blessing. 

As a little bonus, below is a video of Leila's first time driving with long lines.  This was actually from Week 2 and I somehow overlooked it!  She's obviously very new to it, very thin, and very uncertain.  She has come such a long way since that second week, it's amazing to think it wasn't that long ago.  These horses are amazing.

Leila's Lessons - Week 6

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)!

Leila's Lessons - Week 5

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's Lessons - Week 3

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!