• Winter 2013 Trail Ride

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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 26

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'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]

Pippa's Progress - Week 15

This week the girls had a photo shoot with Anne Corder.  This blog will mostly consist of photos from that shoot.  Thank you Anne for such wonderful photography of our beautiful girls! 

Pippa was PERFECT for her bath and we spent a long time making her gorgeous.  She is continuing to progress nicely under saddle with walk/trot and has even done some cantering lately.  She's learning to use her body better and really coming along.  Such a cuddle bug!


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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Pippa's Progress - Week 13

Pippa has really started to shine in the last couple of weeks.  Since she had her visit from the chiropractor, she's really started to cooporate under saddle. 

Several weeks ago the chiropractor found some areas in her back and her neck that needed to be adjusted.  She also found that she had tender feet and that she possibly had some ulcer problems.  She had adjustments made to her neck and spine.

We had her feet re-trimmed with instructions from the vet and are trying to grow a little more heel.  She will probably be assisted by back shoes when she has solid wall to nail to. We are also treating her for her possible ulcers.  That should make her much more comfortable and happy.

As of Thursday, she had a 2nd appointment with the chiropractor.  She found that Pippa had kept the adjustments she'd made three weeks ago and that she needed no further adjusting.  She noted that her movement had greatly improved and it was obvious that she was much more comfortable.  She said she most likely will not need regular adjustments and that she didn't expect  to need to come out again. 

This is what we had expected to hear as she has has been wonderful to work with over the last several weeks since her first adjustment.  She's really started to put it together in the arena and is coming along in her training.  She's a very small and compact mare, so she doensn't have a big bouncy gate.  We really think she has a future in dressage or hunters.  As you can see, she's not carrying a tiny rider.  She carries a normal adult well and there will be no limitations with that.

She has also been ponied regularly up the trail over the last several weeks to get her used to being out in the world.

She continues to be a doll on the ground and does everything we ask of her.  She's very calm and well behaved for grooming, walking, bathing, shoeing and everything else we throw at her.  She's incredibly well built with lots of bone in her legs.  She is sturdy and can carry more weight for her size.  She's got very lovely and sweet face and it's regularly been said by several people at the barn that she's one of the prettiest horses they've ever seen.  You must meet her and see for yourself.

Pippa is looking for someone to really love her.  She really values human attention.  She's more willing to learn now that her issues are being resolved.  She is sound for most disciplines.  She is really in a good place in her training now and we feel she's ready to go to a new home.  She needs a home with a single rider who can make her feel secure and at ease.  Her adoption fee is $1,000.  That's a real steal for a mare this kind and lovely.  If you are considering adopting Pippa, please contact [email protected] and fill out an adoption form.

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!

Pippa's Progress - Week 10

Pippa has had a light week as we are waiting for the chiropractor to come and look at her.  She has an appointment on Tuesday.  We are hoping a series of treatments really help her under saddle.  She's so well behaved with everything else that I think that this will make all the difference in the world for her. 

Pippa was extremely well behaved on her trip up the trail being ponied.  She was quiet, not spooky at all, and very calm around all the other horses.  She looked around at things, but never jumped or acted like a former race horse at all.  Her attitude is more 25 year old quarter horse lesson horse with all these things we're throwing at her.  She takes everything in stride and trusts we are not going to take her anywhere that's unsafe or do anything to her that's going to hurt her.

We'll let you know how the appointment goes this week and what the chiropractor says about her.

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 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.

Pippa's Progress - Week 9

This week Pippa continued her slow, relaxed rides.  She also participated in a large group lesson with many other horses and riders.  She doesn't act a bit mare-ish.  She's very calm, relaxed and content sitting in the big group and fine moving around in the arena as well with tons of horses around.  There's no ear pinning, kicking or squeeling with this girl.  We're very happy with her.

We also introduced her to the Ball this week, but Kim managed to somehow not get any photos of her while I was pushing the ball around.  She was more than great about it just being led around with the ball.  In fact, she didnt' really care about the ball much at all and would just shove her face into it and stand there.  She wasn't worried, spooked or even all that intrigued by it. We did not ride her with the ball because her back is a bit sore and the kids had put the wrong saddle on her.

Pippa is waiting for a visit from a chiropractor as soon as we can get them out.  We think her back is sore and that is a reason for some of her resistance from time to time under saddle (she offers NO resistance on the ground to anything) and why sometimes she appears off with no obvious location lameness.  We have figured out that a few of our saddles are not working for her and have moved her to some cushier English styles she goes in better until someone comes to look at her.  It's a pity we can't have a custom saddle for every OTTB we get (though at least we have about 40 to choose from at Kim's barn to try her in). :D

She is holding weight well now and her coat is covered in dapples.  Several people have told me that she is the most beautiful TB they've ever seen.  She's got sturdy legs, big feet, and lots of muscle and compactness.  She has beautiful, sweet face. 

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.

Pippa's Progress - Week 8

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. 

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)!

Pippa's Progress - Week 7

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'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.

Pippa's Progress - Week 5

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 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!

Leila's Lessons - Week 2

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.

Pippa's Progress - Week 4

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.

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)