Saturday, February 5, 2011

Those Thundering Thoroughbreds

Win for alliteration!

I have come to a conclusion today. I life altering decision. It came to me sitting in lecture today and I swear, it was like a lightbulb, not only went off, but exploded in my head. I want to work with Thoroughbreds. And not just any Thoroughbreds, but ones off the track.

At first, my huge dream (besides Rolex) was to own and maintain and international sporthorse breeding farm. I dreamed of it all day. Rolling pastures, sleek stallions, gleaming mares, bounding foals, several barns...ah it was gonna be fabulous. But then, I went to college and it hit me. Life is hard. And expensive.

I have worked on several breeding farms in the past, since I had the interest, including New Springs Farm, where I currently work. I came to realize foals are dicks. They kick you, bite you, get sick at very inconvenient times, born at the worst times, and are a real hassle. So cute though. Now, I don't hate on foals at all, I just realized they aren't my cup of tea, especially having bred my own pony, Zephyr (see Yankee's sister, above, in pages). Breeders are my hero's. Never again do I want to hand breed 2 me...

I see it now even more with Cheryl and Windfall. Yes Windfall. EEEEEE-can't blieve I have touched him, even LED him to a pasture....EEEEE! Anyways. Cheryl is a god I think. She has to keep track of so much, raises them, cares for them, trains them. That equals big dough. I DO NOT have money to but a farm, a couple stallions and a mare herd and hope I get somewhere with it. I just don't. So there is 2 things against me, against others.

I have also discovered I have fallen deeply in love with the TB breed. They are so unique compared to QH's or Arabs or Warmbloods. I love their fire. I love their speed, Their grace, their prowess, their sweetness, their willingness to please. I love their beauty, their craziness. I love everything about this breed and I am hooked and obsessed. Thanks a heap Yankee :P

I like to think of myself as a good rider (who needs a bit more work) and an OK trainer. I have never bought a finished horse and I have always worked with my horses myself. I have learned so much in the past 10 years owning my own horses and I feel I have a pretty good base to go by, and I YEARN to learn more. I mean, Yankee is a damn fine horse, if I do say so myself. As with all horses, he can use improvements in many areas, but to take a crazy ass racehorse and transform him into a galloping, dressaging, jumping eventer is.....awesome. I would love to do it again.

As some of you might know, I adopted Yankee from New Vocations in Ohio. This mighty fine young buck is another I have my eye on. I. Want. I think I would give my left arm right now to take him in. Same as with Yankee, I see something in him. His trot is so beautiful and he has the most natural rocking horse canter I have ever seen. I can only imagine what he'd look like with training.

Who couldn't love that face?

I'm hooked...

I also looked at this guy in the summer...even went to ride him. He is massive at 17.1 and I had the checkbook in my hand, but with no trailer and no barn I just couldnt've...

What I would give to have this filly in my hands...

Or this gorgeous grey....

I drooled over this guy for months too...

But I realize SO sadly, that I am poor. And in college. And work a minimum wage job. And already have a horse & pony.

I am serious about wanting to work with OTTBs for life. I would like to try to adopt from New Vocations (Anna Ford, Dot Morgan) since I have had the most wonderful experience with them. They try so hard to place their guys (and girls) in the best of homes and really do follow up checks. They truly care about their horses and have an amazing facility. I even stopped by at their booth at the WEGs to give an update on Yanks. Anna always remembers Yankee when she sees him at shows and she tells me she never forgets a horse. That, my people is dedication. We recently made a full page appearance in their newsletter magazine :D We are also on their website under success stories.

I know what I want to do, ride, train and compete OTTBs. I would love to take more TBs through the eventing levels. I would adore to train them to compete and rehome them to amazing eventers.... but I don't have the means yet. Meaning moo-lah. Money. Denero.

My big awesome-fantastic-plan-of-a-lifetime is A) Graduate college (may 2012...whoopwhoop) B) Become a working student at a very prestigious barn and bring 2 horses, Yankee and another OTTB C) Get awesome-r C.2) learn shit D) Score rides on wicked nice horses E) Become famous, lol E.2) Try to get my ICP intructor thing F) Score more rides G) Gets some monies H) buy a farm...and thats where I stop for now.

The price of an OTTB isn't what gets me. I could buy that beautiful bay right's the upkeep and show bills that kills me. You know, The $____(insert here) board , farrier bills, vet bills, tack money, blanket repairs, for showing- the $160 entry fee, the $170 stall fee, the $120 in gas to get there, the hotel (if I stay in one. I rarely did last year, Slept in barns or the trailer. Its not as fun as I'd hoped), the food, etc etc etc etc..does it ever end? I am realizing how spoiled I was to have parents who owned land...paying board sucks...

I seriously do plan on getting a working student job after college, and I am only applying to really nice barns. My dream would be to work with the O'Conners, since I have loved them for like, ever, but its wicked hard to get into their program. I am hoping that with the working student program and the resume I already have with working with top horses and riders will help shoot me to the top. And if I do it on other rich people's horses I don't have to stress over more than 2 show horses upkeep and bills.

Solid plan, yeah?

Bet thats about as clear as purple crayon, that was quite the ramble.


  1. You can do this. You have to drive to do it, I think you'll go far :)

    "Foals are dicks" ahahahahahahahaha, you're right though.

    I eventually want to own a sport specific equine conditioning program. I'm using the Air Force to set me up for that later down the road. I would LOVE to have a business of conditioning, it's just so fun and interesting and rewarding when they are on the right program.

  2. Go for it. You're going to have to work your arse off, but hey, you do already.

    Good luck! (And maybe by the time you get set up, I can buy some fancy dancy retrained OTTB from you. LOVE THEM.)

  3. Don't let things get in your way from what you want to do. I learned that it's about meeting the "right" people in the horse industry to get you where you want to go. There are organizations out there for helping unwanted OTTBs finding homes, maybe you could volunteer or start your own to work with the TBs? And maybe as you progress with your riding you could get sponsors or meet people who want you to show their horse? I am a broke college student too, but I'm looking forward to the day I can get back in the saddle regularly and buy my own horse too. One of my favorite quotes is "Life isn't about having all the good cards, it is playing the cards you have well."

  4. Sounds great to me! It sounds like you've got the drive and you're willing to work your ass off, so I think you should go for it.

    Maybe it would be easier to start at a middle-name barn, work really hard, make connections, and then with your work experience and recommendation etc move up to a bigger-name barn, and just keep working it until you have the kind of experience and networking that the O'Connors would be like "Oh, sure, please come work for me!" :)

    Good luck! I'm planning to spend a couple years as a WS after I graduate as well, and I'm really looking forward to it.

  5. Have you checked out Steuart Pittman??

  6. They certainly are a beautiful breed.

  7. Everyone of those pictured TB's are heart yankers!! Love em all!

  8. Not playing favs here I swear, just addressing/asking questions..
    @ Stacey, do you mean equine riders or equine horses?

    @ S. Lauren, that is exactly what I want to do! I wish there was a rescue near my college, but I might have to wait till I move back to Ohio.

    @Albigears, I just googled him. UM, talk about being exactly what I need! I will have to look into him for sure!

    @ Kristen, ya think?! I want them ALL! To wish upon a star

    @sprinklerbandit, I'll offer you one at discount :)

    Everyone else, thank you for the encouragement! I know I already work as hard as I can being a college student and I try to do my research and train my horse well. What I really need is a trainer on the ground to help me and a truck and trailer...
    I have no qualms with working very hard for what I want. I don;t believe in handouts. People who get everything because their parents are rich make me a little sick. Most have NO clue how lucky they are. Besides, I'd rather work for it anyways!

  9. GO FOR IT!!! The horse industry needs more people like you who have faith in OTTBs!! I get a little tired of people saying, "Oh, it's a OTTB (or a TB in general) they must be crazy."

    I would love to train up potentially-talented (or not) rescues and adopt them out to people. People would much rather get something that's already trained than pay for it and go through it themselves. I've never owned a "made" horse (Greta was partly-made, but it's been a lot of re-training from her former polo job).

    Probably would want to do that through a larger organization who already has the funds and property, like LOPE here in TX or MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (both are BIG OTTB programs, very nice!).

    I don't know if I even want to do training for a full job. I'm going to become a working student at the HJ/Dressage barn that Greta will move to once I go to university and see if it's something I REALLY want to do. Otherwise being a mortician/medical illustrator sounds like fun :)))

    That was a lot. But seriously, go for it.

  10. I took a XC clinic with Steuart this spring, it was our second time on a cross country course ever and he was EXCELLENT. He's really into the OTTBs and has done a lot to raise awareness for them. You can friend him on Facebook. :)