Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chasing the Dream

I DO apologize for the cliffhanger, but I had to make ya'll wait for it.

It was SUPER hard keeping this a secret and has been in the works for a few weeks now.

As most of us know, this year has been a whirlwind and not quite gone where I intended, but I am NOT complaining. I moved, got a real adult person job, started a savings account, bought a beautiful baby horse, got badly injured, learned a few things, catch rode at a USEA show on another awesome OTTB, and got to see my OTTB baby improve and grow.

In January, another year had arrived and I was determined, yet again, to make it to shows and move up a level, or even JUST qualify for Championships. I KNEW Yankee had the potential and I knew with work we could do it. We had 2 very early season shows and ROCKEd out. I knew we had it in the bag.


I was delusional in thinking I could do it on my own, having a continuos, but not yet determined fear of large fences and competitions. Also blindly and stubbornly pushing aside the fact that I was a college graduate, with REAL bills to pay and 3 meager part time jobs that ate all of my free time.

The hardest part of this year was finally accepting that I was NOT doing okay enough financially to compete, and take lessons, and clinic and do all the things. I simply was not. No amount of shifts would make this possible. Also. I finally admitted to myself that I was scared. Really truly, scared, to jump. WHAT? I was? no. Yes. I've been denying that for years, literally. And refused to believe it. But it was true. All our problems came from my fear of crashing and burning and ultimately dying.

I had never been afraid until Yankee and I slid through a fence during a stadium round, due to some terrible footing, in 2010 and were eliminated. It was horrifying. I had never failed like that before and it ate me up inside. From that day on, I changed. Then I fell at a show in 2012. HARD. On XC no less, and again elimiated. I was done for after that. I ignored the feelings of fear and pushed through but Yankee knew, and he started refusing jumps. I knew deep down, but didnt want to admit it. It was too hard.

Where is all of this going you say?

If you stalk my FB at all, you know the answer...but for the rest of us, I would like to announce that this fine ass,

.....Is going back West

Before everyone gets their panties is a is with great excitement, hope, and gratitude, as I write this, that Yankee will be joining Paradox Farm in KS on November 23, for an undefined period of time. The Stiver sisters will be leasing Yankee in the hopes of taking him into the upper levels of eventing and will begin winter training in December in preparation for the 2015 Spring season. They have 2 insanely amazing coaches and he will be ridden weekly in lessons. Both sisters have qualified and goen to the AECs numerous times and their record is impeccable. Both have OTTBs of their own, past and present and are currently in full time working student positions.

This was truly a stroke of luck and randomness, as I was not planing to lease Yankee out for another year or so.

I knew eventually he would have to move on, with the addition of Baby B joining the crew, but I did not expect all the puzzle peices to fall into my lap and fit so wonderfully.

Its going to be hard, but I am eternally grateful that my boy will be getting trainiend regualry and shown! Its even harder because our TEN year anniversary is coming up.

Such adorable baby nuggets we were
Its insane to think how long I've had him, and all the trials, tribulations and wonderful experiences we've had together.
Our first USEA show together in 2007
We've made it so far! From little weenie fences and horrible dressage tests, to winning jumper rounds and seriously good scores.
Our first training together in 2009

XC love
He's been my heart, my comfort, my angel and my horse form

But I know that I can take him no farther. As much as I dreamed to take him 1* when I was younger, my adult brain is too cautious and self preserving to dream or rocketing around those massive XC courses with him. His adventure is to continue, with someone else.

USDF Team Champs
Its going to kill me not seeing him everyday, but it will mae me SO happy knowing hes out doing what he loves, instead of sitting around my pasture, getting ridden every once in a while when I have time.

I dont want anyone to think Bacardi replaced him either. It was my intention to work with both of them. I dreamed for YEARS to have two OTTBs under my wing and it finally happened! PRoblem being, I can only do so much and go so far. I cant make Yankee any better! BUut I sure can work with greenie B. I think thats my calling to be honest.

Maybe someday I will run around Prelim, but for now, I am OK at the lower levels, bringing up babies. Its truly gratifying!

5ft is too easy for Yanks
The decision was easy once I had all the facts. My baby will be in the best hands and I will get him back someday. I cant wait to see where else this truly astonishing horse can go and I hope you all will stick with his journey too!

I'm gonna miss this face, but he will be running around XC living and chasing the  dream!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Weight Walk

Lets talk a walk. A walk through Bacardi's rollercoaster weight gains and losses and gaiiinz.

His first off the track owner got him straight off the track and he was in mediocre racing shape. I think it was around September. I really cannot remember.

This first picture set is the day before she picked him up and 2 months after she had him in her care. I heard a few horror stories about his days at the racetrack, involving small stalls and many hours jammed into said small stall. Might explain his fear of small spaces. Like trailers.

Crazy huh? He looks SO good in that second picture in comparison. In every aspect, it looks like his body lengthens out and he gains muscles in new places. Plus, he's blooming! I of course, had seen these pictures all over facebook and drooled over him from afar. I still can't believe he's  mine now!

This next picture was right in the beginning of winter, a few months after she took ownership, and he looks FABULOUS.

 I can't get over how freaking chunky, and muscley and adorable he is. I mean, look at dat ASS. For an OTTB, thats impressive. Not to mention his overall conformation in general. *swoons* Can you see why I stalked him for months (literally almost a year).

His owner then leased him, is my understanding, and moved him to a different barn to be closer to his rider. The following picture is 3 months after the one above and the difference is DRASTIC and scary...

Seriously, how terrifying. His whole spine, hips, withers and ribs are clearly showing. Not to mention his coat is no longer lustrous.  His owner had trusted his care to someone else and his lessee didn't notice that THIS horse was basically starving. Even through winter, this is unacceptable. She was furious and moved him again.

He steadily gained weight under her care again, but as we ALL know, getting a skinny OTTB fat (or any horse really) can be painfully slow and painstaking and EXPENSIVE.

I then bought him from her several months out of winter, around May. The grass was starting to come in really well and he was slowly gaining weight at his current barn.

When I moved him, he did well on the grain Yankee was on, in addition to long and low workouts and a LOT of hacking out. He muscled up again and gained weigth ever so slowly. It KILLED me. I just wanted him fat!! It took a few months to find the perfect balance of grain rations, hay and fat supplement but the "end" result was amazing!

Picture below is June- September.

Look at dat neck! I love it. He is such a stunner, always has been!

I sadly did terrible job remembering to take an October photo so there was no comparison from sept-october.... Probably for the better considering I MAYBE rode him 3 times in October and he spent the majority of the time mud bathing. I think he lost most of his topline again, but he did develop an impressive hay belly.

Here  are some pics from today.

Looking past the HORRENDOUS clip job (please someone give me clippers or blades to borrow), he's still looking pretty shiny even with a winter coat. His hay belly game is strong and I love it. He's lost a bit of his topline, but overall appears in good weight and I'm happy with him. Some long hacks and good flatwork training will build that muscle all winter long.

Hopefully with blanketing and all the hay he's eating he will maintain his good health!

We will make an eventer outta him one day!

BIG MASSIVE insane news. Stay tuned for the latest happening...coming soon. (if you stalk me on Fb or insta it will most likely pop up there first)