Last year was the first year I had done the thoroughbred makeover put on by the Retired Racehorse Project. I had a couple options. A 7 year old mare by Deputy Commander out of Safe Harbor named Harborton, also known as Evie, was my first choice. Unfortunately she did not pan out. At the end of January, January 29th to be exact, Evie passed away from a sand colic that wasn't fixable. Another option was a 4 yr old named Hope at Last by Partners Hero out of Last Puff, whom was nicknamed Gaston. He was to immature for what I wanted to do so I made the decision to find a place where he could mature a bit more and then start really working. My last option was a 9 yr old thoroughbred by Repriced out of Deep Discount named Family Foundation. I nicknamed him Sven and we got started. I got him in November of 2015 and we started training January 1st when the 15 ride ban was lifted.
In December of 2016 I picked up a filly from Gulfstream Park by Concord Point out of Lady Madonna. Her name is Lady is Privat and she is nicknamed Wendy around the barn. The other horse came to the farm in April. He was from Dodon Training Farm in Maryland. He is by Court Vision out of Full Circle. His name is First Around and he is known as Bruce around the barn. I got Bruce four months after we were allowed to start riding our horses.
When I got Sven and the ride "ban" had been lifted I was putting him in full work. He had hit the cross country course in just a couple months. Within two months of being under saddle we were at our first schooling show. We continued cross country schooling once a week. We had issues at sharks teeth and anything where the footing changed colors. So we started taking lessons with Tik Maynard several months before the makeover. I was consistently taking lessons and riding with people to help improve the horses ability. We ended up placing 30th in Eventing and the third place junior! In the freestyle I did I was 15th and the top placing junior rider.
This year is a bit different. I started working with Wendy in December when I was able to start working with her. We took it super slowly. We worked on slowly building her up and because she is young, only three years old, I didn't want to push her. In February we headed out to a local hunter show to do some flat classes to see what we were working with. We ended up coming home with a few ribbons which wasn't the main goal.we popped over some teeny tiny cross rails to see if she was ready to head to the march schooling show in cross rails. The show went really well and we ended up coming home with the a reserve champion in the cross rails! (Such a big accomplishment for my baby horse!!).
In April Bruce came and he got straight into work. We ended up taking them both to a local schooling show at the beginning of May. Unfortunately after that we had the bad wildfires all around me so the horses were out of work for two weeks. As soon as the wildfires chilled I got them back into work. At this point I did not know who would be going to the makeover, so I had both of them in training, but I hadn't taken a lesson with anyone on either of them. The week I got them back into work it decided to start pouring. It was raining so badly that I didn't work for another two weeks. So now we are almost through June. There was a local schooling show that had cross country schooling the day before and I took Bruce so that he would be able to see a cross country course as I was beginning to look towards him being my makeover mount. Bruce is older and more mature. Since I was moving to Pennsylvania I had to make my pick and I chose Bruce.
That first picture of the orange and red jump is his first time jumping. The other jumping picture of him is his fifth time jumping. He improved over just a few times. Bruce hasn't hit a single show since that one hunter show just a few weeks after I first got him. I currently work for Waylon Roberts so it is a huge help constantly having eyes on the ground helping me out. When I first got up to Waylon, we discussed my horses and he asked about RRP when I was out to dinner with him and Jenny Caras. It was a fun experience and they were very interested in it and talked about doing it in the future. I then realized he was at True Prospect Farm which is home of TB Makeover Winner in 2014 Icabad Crane. It is pretty neat to train at a farm which has a horse who won the Americas Most Wanted Thoroughbred award. Maybe I could do the same here.
A few days ago I had a cross country lesson with Waylon. All was going well as we jumped around the smaller course. Then Waylon said, "Okay, go jump that". As that was said Waylon pointed to a log and to a small up bank, one stride, to a down bank. This horse had jumped a few houses, roll tops, and small things like that but we hadn't approached a bank. So we trotted over the log, cantered towards the banked. He dramatically stopped and then stepped up the bank. Trotted across the bank and launched down. We did it back and then this time we actually trotted up and down.
Finally we cantered up and down the bank. He is so smart and learns so quickly. So we headed over to the water jump. Bruce can still be iffy about water so when Waylon told me to do the up bank out of the water I just had to be confident. That is what we did.. Then he said what I hoped he wouldn't say. "Now jump down the bank into the water." We trotted up, he stopped, and then launched. We did it again and Bruce went right down the bank this time. While I am not where I was last year for the makeover, I am in a pretty good place I like to think! Even if we don't do to hot at the makeover, we will have valuable experience.
We would love to have your vote as the RRP TB Ambassador award. Click the link below and vote today. It would mean the world to me. I believe in these animals. Thoroughbreds have the heart of ten of any other horse. I highly encourage finding your OTTB today. You won't regret joining and getting an RRP membership as well!!
Growing up I have had a total of one horse who was push button. He told me what he needed to do and that is what we did. But I find that riding the tougher horses and creating your own horses helps further your ability as a trainer.
Surprise was my push button pony. And since then I don't even know if I have sat on a horse that I can just think do this and it happens. But I am not complaining about that in the slightest. The next horse after Surprise. A 12.3 welsh/tb cross bought to be a hunter pony. Anyone who knows her is probably laughing right now at the fact that we bought her to be a hunter pony. Two years of falling off of her and I finally figured it out. But we switched to the jumpers. Even at 11 years old I knew what was best for my horse. I am eternally grateful as I have grown up in a family that helps me learn from an early age what to do in situations like that.
I evented Joules until I was to tall for her and she was never push button. She is 16 and still lives with me. She did her fair share in my life. After Joules I rode my grandmothers thoroughbred Fly By. While Fly isn't push button and you do have to work to ride him he was still a great ride to have as I learned a lot in the 6 months that I ended up riding him.
After riding him I got the ride on my current mount, EZ. EZ was a special case. While I am riding a made horse, he is by far the least push button horse I have ever ridden. He has buttons but I have to ask precisely or I am totally wrong and he lets everyone know I screwed up. This ex 3* horse whom I aquired for free (It is possible!) has taught me so much! I have gone from being nervous about anything over 3'3 to confidently competing 3'11 eventing. We had a set back this past weekend but we are working over that now.When we had a stop on cross country, which is abnormal of him, my hand went up and we retired. I don't need to push him around a course. He has nothing left to prove to me or to anyone else. When he decides he wants to retire, he will retire happily on my place because without him and Joules, I would never be the rider I am today. He has taught me to be a better rider. Because I have grown up creating horses and riding tough horses, I have fantastic young horses to ride while I create them.
I got three OTTB's for my 16th birthday. All free. One older, one gorgeous chestnut filly, and a 4 yr old with a knee chip. I entered the Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover and was ready to sell two and take the filly. Sadly my filly passed away from colic at the end of January in 2016. At that point I hadn't realized that the older horse, Sven, was eligible. So I got to work with the 4 yr old who just was not mentally mature enough. So we sold him and he is happy with a lady doing lower level dressage.
Sven taught me so much and I like to think I taught him a good bit as well. He did like to remind me what the ground felt like. I guess I wasn't reminded enough... But through that all I stuck it out with him. I got to learn how to give a horse a solid flat foundation, learned to keep my body back going to a fence, and learn how to really begin restarting OTTB's. We made it to Kentucky and conquered the Makeover. We came back home and he never felt comfortable on a cross country course. So I made a tough decision to sell him to a jumper home where he would be more comfortable. Tough decisions, but what the horse wants is most important. He is happy, safe, with a good person, and enjoying life!
Now I have two young horses. I have a 3 yr old filly "Lady is Privat" who is by Concord Point out of Lady Madonna. Her pedigree is fabulous for sport and she has a phenomenal mind. While I am away in Pennsylvania she is getting ridden a few times a week by my mother, and she will gradually start working into eventing next year. Initially she was supposed to be the horse I took to the Makeover this year, until I bought First Around. First Around (Bruce) by Court Vision out of First Circle is a phenomenal 4 year old whom I bought a few months ago. I decided letting Wendy mature and waiting until next year is what was best for her to have her move far in life. In these few months I have realized the phenomenal brain this horse has. As I say I am to create my own horse for the top, just like Jennie Brannigan and Lainey Ashker, I feel like these two horses could be the key. They are not made horses right now that I can hop on and win. But in time I will work with them to the point where we can go and win. Bruce and I head to the RRP TB Makeover in just over 30 days. While we are not specifically focusing on having him ready for this specific show, it is more of a stepping stone into the future of this horse. Wendy will just be a horse for right now.
So while I may not be winning I will definitely be advocating my thoroughbreds! I will be creating my two young horses and bringing them to the best they can possibly be. It might be a few years, but one day these horses could be the next Anthony Patch, Donner, Captain Jack, or Blackfoot Mystery. All these fantastic thoroughbreds that I strive to be half as much as. Right now I am on a journey. I don't know where it will lead. But I know I am enjoying it and learning just as much as my horses.
I would love to have your help in this. At 17 years old I am really striving to show what great horses these make. I would love to have your vote for the 2017 TB Ambassador award! I will continue to work with these young horses and this is how I look to start my professional career. Restarting and retraining OTTB's. This is the start of a long, fun journey!