• Winter 2013 Trail Ride

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Luke - A Fond Farewell


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.

I want to thank everyone who's had a part to play in Luke's retirement, retraining and rehoming.

- 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)

Luke's New Life - Week 14

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!

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Luke's New Life - Week 12

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!).

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Luke's New Life - Week 10

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.

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Luke's New Life - Week 9

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.

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Luke's New Life - Week 8

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!

Ground and General Skills

- Cross ties and single ties
- Clips
- Good for baths.  In fact he really loves having his face washed!
- Blankets
- Trailers
- 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

Trail Skills

- 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!

Arena Skills

- 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!

The things to work on

- 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.

Tags: Luke

Luke's New Life - Week 7

There's not a lot to report this week other than Luke is progressing nicely.  There was no need for a farrier or a vet or anyone else to come visit him this week (which is great!). 

Since Luke is already a good boy under saddle, we have decided to focus on ground manners, driving and general de-spooking for his current training as we think those are the most important at this point for finding him a good forever home.

This week we have all focused on driving Luke to work on him getting a feel of sublte rein control as well as building up his muscle to balance him out.  He tries very hard to please and you can see him working it out on his face.  He's a bright guy. His excitement around other horses is decreasing and his ground manners are improving.  He was mostly worked by Rachel this week, however McKayla and Grace did a great job working him alone one night and with Rachel on Saturday. 

I don't have any new photos - I apologize.  It was a busy week for me and it just slipped my mind.  I have included a slide show of his life since the day I visited him at the track.

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Luke's New Life - Week 6

Luke had hind shoes put on at the end of this week.  So much for never needing them!  You just never know.  He was very good for the farrier.  He stood very quiet while other horses were running around their stalls in anxiety.  Several cowboys were right behind our barn trying to corral a bull into a trailer.  They had two horses, two dogs, two trailers and 3 cowboys.  It was very amusing to watch and took hours (the bull wanted nothing of the situation), but had many of the horses very worried and stressed out.  Luke didn't bat an eye!

We have continued riding him (up until the hind feet incident) and he's progressing really nicely.  Grace, one of our young riders, has been confidently taking him up the trail (see below photo).  His riding is progressing faster than anything else and it's clear he enjoys the work.  We took it easy on him the last half of the week due to the hind shoes and worked on ground manners. 

He's put on and holding good weight and isn't requiring any extra feed from his work.  He's gotten really calm in turn outs and still REALLY loves to roll.  He can roll for 5 minutes straight!  He likes to bury his head in the footing when he rolls.  Adorable.

At the end of this week Luke moved to a new stall as he was getting very attached to the one he was in and the horses around him.  He handled the move like a champ and wasn't at all bothered.  He will get a new view with a lot horses to look at and a lot more activity

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Luke's New Life - Week 5

This week Luke has continued to work in the arena with several of the ladies and kids at Franklin Canyon Stable.  He's doing great going to the left, but still needs quite a bit more work going to the right (not odd).   He has started to quiet down and become much more comfortable.

We were able to give him some freedom this week with a few turnouts in our large arena.  The first one for 1 hour and the second for 30 minutes.  The first turnout he was very excited and energetic, but really enjoyed stopping and watching the horses in their stalls or working in the arena.  By his second turnout he seemed to have figured it out.  He walked, trotted, cantered, bucked, rolled, reared and played...but mostly he just walked around and watched the goings-on at the barn (see the video below).   He is very responsive and coming when called.

Luke's biggest even this week was his first time riding on the trail.  He was a CHAMP!  We walked, trotted, cantered, went through gates and went by plenty of spooky things.  He had Titan with him as support.  He only spooked once at the trailhead sign (in his defense it was large, abnormal and quite scary!).  He got over it quickly once checking it out.  He rode in the front, back and right alongside another horse.  He did great with everything.  He seemed to really enjoy his outing.  He will be a solid trail horse for someone, but we have high hopes he'll be nice in the arena too.  Once we can balance him out a bit, we'll try some jumping.  He may be a bit mentally immature for Dressage right now, but jumping should be right up his alley. 

He proved himself very well-minded when we washed him off.  We were able to spray all over his head, face and ears and he wasn't a bit bothered.  In fact, he wanted to drink the water out of the sprayer (see the video below). 

Luke is going to make someone a very solid horse and we are really enjoying getting to know him.

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Luke's New Life - Week 4

This week Luke got a new nickname from the kids.  BFG (Big Friendly Giant) which is a reference to some book that several of them are reading.  Cute.

Luke has continued to improve on his ground manners.  He had his mane pulled and his muzzle, bridle path, legs and ears clipped and was a good boy.  He looks fabulous now!  He is cross tying without a care in the world.  Blankets quietly and enjoys human attention.

He continued with his ground training in the arena and his work under saddle and is progressing.  Several of the kids rode him this week along with Kim and Rachel.  He tried hard for everyone and was quick to pick up the idea of cantering.  He has a very smooth trot and does not feel like a large horse when you're on him.  He's actually very quiet under saddle and very managable.  We are impressed!  Check out the video montage below of him being ridden by several riders (pardon the poor video quality on a few of them).

Bonus video!  We discovered Luke's scratch spot!  Watch him dance for Teresa. :D

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Luke's New Life - Week 3

Luke continues to improve and we are enjoying all of our time with him.  

The farrier came this week and gave Luke new “tires.”  The farrier was amazed at how good Luke’s feet are and he said that he’s got the thickest walls he’s ever seen in a Thoroughbred!  He told us that he should never need rear shoes.  Luke was a gentleman for trimming and shoeing (and was quiet with the farrier hot shoeing his front feet).  

He got a new shiny red blanket this week (see the video) and he looks awesome in it!  He also got a toy for his stall.  He is a horse that needs toys not to get bored.

As you can see below, he got turned out this week.  It was his first turn out since his arrival and probably his last for a while.  He had a VERY good time but was just a little too rambunctious.  We are going to wait a while before doing it again rather than risk he do something silly to himself.  I can say he’s very agile and athletic!

His swelling is down from his infections and he’s looking much better.  He has reached a body condition that we think is appropriate for his size and we have been able to reduce his feed from the first two weeks.  He is holding the gained weight and is actually a very easy keeper.

Luke has been doing some moving around this week.  One of our immediate goals is to get him socialized with other horses and getting used to new places.  We plan on moving him through a series of stalls so that he can get used to different environments while having the rest of his routine remain the same.  He’s handling it like a champ and making many buddies (except for a particular paint horse who he did not get along with - granted that paint horse isn’t very friendly so we don’t blame Luke at all).  We have noticed that he is not inclined to kick or be aggressive with other horses, however he does want to play!

He’s continued his lunging and driving work.  He does pick up the proper lead cantering but cannot hold it for long.  He’s figuring it out pretty quickly though and gaining some strength and balance.

The biggest news this week is that Kim rode him.  She put a big western saddle on him (with a back cinch).  It didn’t really phase him.  She said he was very reasonable under saddle and she was very pleased.  We were hoping to have some video of a ride for you, however we couldn’t get our schedules synched this week.  Hopefully we can have some video next week. 

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Luke's New Life - Week 2

The second full week of Luke’s new life is now behind him.  He is working hard and listening closely.  He is still a little concerned about his environment and hasn’t quite gotten used to the train yet.  

He had a visit from the Vet this week.  He checked out Luke’s teeth and told him that he had nice, pretty teeth and was good to go for a while. He’ll just need another checkup in 6 months or so.  The Vet also looked at his hind legs to check out the swelling from his infection (and his swelling from his new boo boo in the opposite leg).  The Vet said he wasn’t worried and told Luke to keep it clean, get outside and exercise, and not to do stupid stuff in his stall to hurt himself anymore.  

Luke got to go up on the trail with Titan and Kim.  It was very exciting and Luke was acting like a fool that’s never seen trees, grass, rocks and cow poop (Oh wait he actually hasn’t seen those things before!).  It was a good experience for him.  He was lunged a few times and has really figured out how to watch and stop when signaled.  He also got to get ponied by Titan in the arena and enjoyed himself quite a bit.  Titan is a bit tired of dealing with the whipper-snapper and will probably be taking a week or so off of baby-sitting duty.  

Luke also got introduced to cross-tying.  He was really good and smart headed about it and stood quiet for a long time while Kim did some other work.  He cross ties WAY better than Titan.  He bridles very easily and is picking up his feet like a champ.

Luke has also made friends with James (Kim’s husband).  On Tuesday night, James held him for an hour or so while we washed Luke’s legs and wrapped them.  Luke just sat there with his face in James’ sweatshirt while James rubbed his face and his eyes.  He loved the attention!

The farrier will be coming this week to take off Luke’s racing plates, give him a trim and get him some suitable shoes!  Luke actually has pretty good feet.  He’s also gained some weight and looking really good.  He’s getting access to as much food as he wants and is happy munching on his hay all day. 

Funny note - Two weeks in, several kids are still mistaking him for Titan.

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Luke's New Life - Week 1

Luke has had a smooth transition into working barn life.  He has made several buddies (he's very friendly with other horses) and he's greatly enjoying his outdoor paddock and being able to socialize normally.   He is having a little trouble adjusting to his new style of hay net (hehe).  Having to work to get hay is keeping him occupied.  He is also enjoying the large amount of horse toys tied around his paddock.  He's just like a little boy, always playing.  He has made friends with several of the ladies and girls at the barn and is quite popular (though passers-by are still mistaking him for Titan).

Luke has experienced plenty of horse, bicycle and loud hiker activity in front and behind his paddock (we are right on a public trail head).  While still a little nervous about loud noises, he's transitioning well to all the activity.

From the human end of things, Luke has been introduced to hand walking without a stud chain (Oh My!), blanketing, lunging, lunging in a bit, being sat on by a normal-sized human, being tied to get tacked/bathed/wrapped.  He's also been ponied around by our other (much more mature) OTTB - Titan.

Luke has had his feed kicked up from our normal feeding schedule to put some weight on him.  He is a large boy and is a little thin coming from the track.  He has had one incident this week, he scratched up his right hind below his hock sometime during the night. We are bandaging and cleaning his ouchies regularly so that he doesn’t risk another infection (like the one that sent him off the track).

Luke is taking everything in stride and he is showing himself to be a very quick learner.  He has found out that it's not OK to lay on top of the person that is leading you while chewing on their sweatshirt.  He still tries the sweatshirt, however he is now walking on a loose lead with his head behind our shoulder like a well behaved horse.

Looking forward to next week’s adventures!


Tags: Luke