Saturday, June 7, 2014

Motherfakers

recently I read an article that Eventing A Gogo shared on Facebook about the demise of the "Super Stallion, Totilas" and it got me thinking...

I have never actually thought that Totilas was super star-more like a super fake. Gal, like may Europeans trained him with rollkur and fancy front leg movement which adds that "spark and flourish" the judges sadly like to see these days. They reward gimmicky training for proper training and its very apparent in the breakdown and eventual end of Totilas's super career. I always found it rather sad that his neck was so cranked in that he could barely breathe and his front end movement was so exaggerated that he looked like a walking horse, while his back was flat and his hind end trailed out. I will never understand how the judges always scored him so high. Perhaps they were blinded by his front end whipping around like something out of a big lick show.

I started to notice it more after that article (I wish I could find it, very good read) the horrible epidemic of incorrect training that this world seems to be revolving around, especially prevalent on social media. DO NOT get me started on the teenagers giving "advice" to each other on Instagram (so comical, really, I don't know why I even troll there anymore) on how to train their dressage and event horses. Twitter is no better and there is even talk of "head-sets" on my beloved OTTB Connect page on Facebook.

WAKE UP PEOPLE GET A CLUE

A "headset" is a term in the HUNTER WAND WESTERN WORLD. It might be "acceptable" to see the hunter and pleasure queens yank yank yanking their horses heads down with pelhams and harsh hands but that is NOT what dressage is about (DISCLAIMER: I showed on the Hunter circuit for 7 years-I HAVE SEEN this first hand. Sure, there are soft, kind, correct hunter riders, but they are few and far between. Do not try to argue this. Its ridiculous and thats why I gave up hunters). If you want to get super picky and technical, I GUESS you could call when a horse is on the bit and soft and engaging their whole body and brain to the rider and where they carry their head a "headset", but no, not really.

A horse reaches the point in training when they accept the bit and have the appearance of a bent neck ("headset) at the POLL. The key term being "reaches". It takes TIME to train a horse to accept the bit and it not reached in a few weeks. In fact, dressage means TRAINING. It is a continuous, lifelong process. It takes a soft hand correctly training from the inside leg to a connecting but giving outside rein, with the supporting inside rein and outside leg to ask the horse to come through the bridle. ASK. Not force.

Too often do I see the dressage and eventers yank yanking their horses into a false frame  and getting rewarded for it in the ring! WHERE IS THE TRAINING? WHY ARE THE JUDGES DISREGARDING PROPER ENGAGEMENT? WHY ARE HORSES PLACING SO HIGH WITH FLAT BACKS AND TRAILING ENDS?

Am I the only one frustrated here?

Its scary, coming from the event world, to hop on a horse trained in western or hunt seat and feel them traipse along the most crooked and flat. Like, I can't even.

I went and tried out a horse the other day for my good friend and HOO BOY is she a western  horse. Crooked as can be and so downhill I wanted to slap skis on and take a ride.

Oh hay downhill
This was me and her fighting for about ten minutes before I realized she has no idea what I'm asking her (western trained, WUT ARE SNAFFLE BIT) and I just dropped contact and sat like my old hunter days.


She's actually a really nice mare. Very quiet and willing, just oh my god crooked and maj upside down.

He's buying her and is putting her in training with me to re-learn how to carry herself and accept contact.



I am just happy I'll have another project and that I can perhaps un-do all the yank yank training done on her.

So grateful for my dressage background. I will never regret switching from hunters to eventing. While there is bad in every sport I truly believe eventers (most of them. THOSE HUNTER QUEENS ARE INVADING) have their heads screwed on right and take the time to condition and train their horses properly. And they're just plain nice.

Have a good ride! ;)



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Digging

 I JUST REALIZED THIS IS MY 400th POST!!

A few of you asked for a pedigree/racing post on the red man, and I actually did all of this before I bought him. Because obsessed. 

But getting all of this together took a good chunk of time SO YOU BETTER READ IT AND LIKE IT DAMMIT.

His old owner actually had a race pic, which i think is WICKED cool because I have zero of Yankee and it makes me a sad girl. Sidenote if anyone knows how to track down 9 year old racing pics, it'd be chill if you let me know.

Bacardi's race name is truly abhorrent and I'm changing it immediately. I already have one picked out and its not registered with USEA but I'm not sharing yet... Hint-it has to do with alcohol, HA.

HERE is a link to his pedigree.


I'm also pretty positive this is picture of him at his old racing stable. Came up in google search and it looks a hell of a lot like him....



So thats neat. I dug through his pedigree quite extensively and minus his immediate sire and dam he has some very impressive bloodlines.

On his sire's side the most notable;
-->Storm Cat-Northern Dancer-Secretariat-Bold Ruler-Man O War and on his dam's side;  Secretariat-Bold Ruler-Nasrullah-Man O War. War Admiral and Seattle Slew are in there somewhere too.
In case you didn't know me at all, I am ABSOLUTELY obsessed with Man O War and almost peed my pants when I saw that he was related (granted about 10/11 gen's back BUT STILL) TWICE. I guess that's where he gets his red color ;) And its pretty bitchin that he has Secretariat on Gen 5 and 6, BOTH sides. HOW COOL.

I will forever believe that Man O War is the greatest racehorse to ever live and if you want to debate with me, Please-try me ;) 

For those of you not interested at all/you already know about the background of some of his grandsire's I give you permission to stop reading now.

For others, here's a brief synopsis of a few of them and a pic of I could find one. (copied from Wiki-not sorry)

--> -->
Storm Cat-February 27, 1983 – April 24, 2013) was an American Thoroughbred stallion whose breeding fee during the peak of his stud career was $500,000, one of the highest in the world, Grandsire SECRETARIAT


Northern Dancer-(May 27, 1961 – November 16, 1990) was a Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and became the most successful sire of the 20th century.[1] The National Thoroughbred Racing Association calls him "one of the most influential sires in Thoroughbred history".[2] In the 1980s, Northern Dancer's stud fee reached $1 million. Although he has been dead for almost 20 years, more Northern Dancer-line horses are Breeder's Cup winners than from any other horse.


SECRETARIAT-(March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse that in 1973 became the first U.S. Triple Crown winner in 25 years. He set race records in all three events in the series – the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), the Preakness Stakes (1:53), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24) – records that still stand today. He ranked second behind Man o' War in The Blood-Horse's List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century.



Seattle Slew (February 15, 1974 – May 7, 2002) was an American Thoroughbred race horse who won the Triple Crown in 1977—the tenth of eleven horses to accomplish the feat. He remains as the only horse to win the Triple Crown while undefeated (I ACTUALLY HAD MET SEATTLE SLEW :D)

  
Bold Ruler- April 6, 1954 – July 11, 1971) was an American Thoroughbred Hall of Fame racehorse who won the 1957 Preakness Stakes. He was the sire of two other Hall of Famers, Secretariat and Gamely. Bold Ruler is also the grandsire of Bold Forbes, Foolish Pleasure, Hall of Fame fillies Ruffian and Bold 'n Determined, as well as Spectacular Bid. He is great-grandsire of Seattle Slew. He was the Leading sire in North America for seven straight years between 1963 and 1969

Nasrullah- March 2, 1940 – May 26, 1959) was a Thoroughbred racehorse that was bred in Ireland and trained in the United Kingdom before becoming a champion sire in both Europe and North America.


War Admiral- (May 2, 1934 – October 30, 1959) was an American thoroughbred racehorse, the offspring of Man o' War and Brushup.War Admiral won 21 of his 26 starts, including the Pimlico Special and the U.S. Triple Crown in 1937. War Admiral was voted 1937 American Horse of the Year, beating his nephew, Seabiscuit


MAN O WAR-Lexington, Kentucky, March 29, 1917 – Faraway Farm, November 1, 1947) is considered one of the greatest Thoroughbred racehorses of all time.[4] During his career just after World War I, he won 20 of 21 races and $249,465 in purses. In easily winning the 1-mile Preakness Stakes, Man o' War set a new Pimlico track record of 1:38-3/5 for a mile, then was eased up for the final eighth of a mile to finish in a time of 1:51-3/5.[13] The horse was next sent to Elmont, New York, for the Belmont Stakes. Man o' War won the then-1-mile race by 20 lengths, setting another American record with a time of 2:14.20, beating Sir Barton's record set the previous year by over three seconds. That year, he also won the Dwyer Stakes, the Travers Stakes, the Stuyvesant Handicap, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. As the racing season wound down, no one wanted to race against the seemingly invincible Man o' War, who had easily won every race he entered. In the Lawrence Realization Stakes, no other horse was willing to go up against him until Mrs. Riddle's niece, Sarah Jeffords entered Hoodwink. Man o' War won by more than 100 lengths while setting a new world record of 2:40-4/5 for a mile and five-eighths, besting the previous record by six seconds in a track record that still stands.The final start of Man o' War's career came in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup (the first race to be filmed in its entirety). For this 1¼-mile match race, Man o' War ran against Sir Barton but easily drew away in the first furlong and was slowed to win by seven lengths. Over his two-year career, Man o' War won 20 of 21 races, setting three world records, two American records and three track records.

I wish I could find better pics of Man O War galloping, he was a boss ass bitch. 

All in all, Bacardi has some sweet lineage. Kinda cool to own a horse with so much history. I've done one on Yankee before, but I am not sure exactly where that post is...

HERE is Yankee's pedigree. He also has Northern Dancer a ways back and Bold Ruler, Nasrullah, Native Dancer AND Man O War 8 gen's back!!














 

Monday, June 2, 2014

HOLY SORE

When you have something nice, DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED.

Take for example, a horse that loads nicely. Or even, self loads. Like Yankee Pants.

I have forgotten how much of a pain in the asscheeks a horse who doesn't load can be.

My first eventer, Spirit, was terrified of trailers and when we went to go get him it took 6 hours to get loaded. HORRIFIC.

I worked with him for 2 years, combining feeding him in the trailer and a negative/positive response training method I learned from my first event coach (will explain in a bit). Eventually though he became comfortable with all trailers and would actually self load. HUGE accomplishment and many hours of turmoil with that beast.

That was a solid 6 years ago though and I have never had issues with Yankee loading. He shoots out pretty fast if you're not careful (learned that the hard way with several broken halters) BUT thats manageable.

Bacardi on the other hand....just awful in the worst kind of way. I'm almost positive he's not scared of it, just refuses. I've seen scaredeypants and I've seen assholes and he's definitely the latter. Who rears. Violently. AND KICKS WHEN PISSED. EVEN MORE VIOLENTLY.


Yesterday, Mom and I wanted to meet some peeps and go for a trail ride and planned to spend 30 minutes loading B for the 7 minute trailer ride to the trails. He's terrified of whips (learned that  lunging him) so I figured instead of tapping him with it, we would stand far away, because kicks, and just show him the lunge whip. Worked pretty immediately and he hopped in after 10 minutes of deliberation.

Mildly good boy.

Getting him off the fucking thing was a different story. I had no problem unloading him the first night he arrived so I was very confused.

He was terrified. Shaking, sweating, nervously scraping his teeth along the metal...I was like what the actual. After 30 minutes of trying to get him to back out we literally tried pushing him. Which was silly because we are humans and weigh like a 10th that he does but I ran out of ideas.

Finally, I just opened up the divider as wide as it could go (was hella nervous to even try to let him him turn around...he's massive) and got out of the trailer and just left him alone.

The second I was out of his sight he curled his big body up, turned around and bolted out. Okay cool.

Great. Now I have a loose horse, who if didn't mention before ISNT THE GREATEST AT BEING CAUGHT.


Finally I caught him 10 minutes later and after that stupid fuckery he was so chill I thought he was a frat guy at a pool. Totally in his element, looking like the Big Dawg on Campus.

Our ride was amazing. For a baby he sure is a rockstar. He was chill when we tacked up (brand new place, lots of smells and horses), gem on the trail- was happy to be in the back, traipsed through mud and water, jumped ditches and logs and cantered in open fields.

You would never know he just turned 5 and was a narrow minded racehorse just a few months ago.


UNTIL WE TRIED TO LOAD HIM AGAIN.

We did exactly what we did before, loaded Yankee first, gently coaxed him near the trailer and showed him the lunge whip.

Yeah that didn't work.

Add a second person and a second whip. Still no touching.

Cue Bacardi violence. Kicking, rearing, the works.

Awesome.

35 minutes in, getting pissed now.

He gets so close, with his butt all scooted up like he's gonna jump in so I start picking up a foot and putting it in the trailer, then repeating the coaxing. He repeats rearing and dragging my ass around the park.

Women next to us wants to try putting a rope around his belly and running it under his halter. I say ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NO. I know in my heart this will not work. I've only owned him 3 days but I KNOW this will be bad. NO no no.

My mom is at her wits end and asks me to try it once just because nothing else is working. Okay fine ONE TIME.

Yeah he flips over backwards twice after flailing about and breaking the lunge line.. I about die of a heart attack and start bawling and have to chase after my fucking runaway horse AGAIN. This time I unload Yankee and hop on bareback with just his halter and go galloping after him. GOD THAT HORSE IS A SAINT.

B comes right to him thankfully and we pony him back to the trailer.

This time we keep Yankee out and make the trailer as open as possible.

I decide to try my method I trained Spirit with. It takes time but I swear to the horse gods it WORKS.

I do not recommend this to someone who is green with horses. You have to read their body language and know exactly when to apply negative and positive pressure. I'm no expert but it has worked on several horses of mine who were absolutely impossible to load. What you do is lead them up to the trailer, if and when they take even a baby step backwards you come at them will loaded hell fire. Whatever it takes to make them get out of your space and MARCH backwards, you do it. It seems violent, but they understand it. You want to make going back uncomfortable for them. Backwards, BAD. For B, all this took was a shake of the lead rope and me walking at him all pissed. And I asked him to back up for about a minute every damn time. Very tiring and uncomfortable for both parties involved. Then you release "pressure" and walk forward, praising the absolute shit out of them. Forward, GOOD. I also crouch down a little and patted him, and give a thousand good boys as we head to the trailer. It helps of horse is clicker trained. It was about an hour long dance but everytime he decided he was going to refuse and take a step back we just kept going backwards. He got more and more relaxed each time and a little closer to getting in everytime.
At one point he got his front feet in and just stopped. For good. No forward or back. SO FRUSTRATING. You cant ask them to back up, because they have to take that step themselves, so we were in gridlock.

This was almost 2 hours now and I was sweaty, sunburned and exhausted and my poor horse was sweaty and tired too.

We opted to try and force him in. Something nearly impossible and not recommended. I pulled and pulled for a good 20 minutes until my arms were quivering with exhaustion. My mom and R pushed from behind with a lunge line...and finally it was like he decided, Okay, I think I will get in now, and calmly stepped up with his back feet.

JESUS CHRIST WHAT A MESS.

Most of our actions I do not condone on a regular basis but it was so hot and we were desperate.

Once we got home, AGAIN, getting him off was a chore. I don't understand this horse.

We have MUCH work to do trailering. We WILL figure this out over time but DAMN do not take your good loading horses for granted. It sucks!

Luckily, when it comes to Bacardi, trailering is the only problem, but it comes loaded (haha trailering  humor) with rearing and kicking. I will not tolerate a horse who is so dangerous with those actions. MUCH WORK TO DO.





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