With the upcoming storm, I figured a "How to Hurricane Prep the Horse" would be a great idea. We have been through several hurricanes here and unfortunately (fortunately?) have this prep thing down. I have almost gone to the RRP TB Makeover with my phone number spray painted on the horse. Looks like we may be heading that way again!
1. Outside!! - All of our horses stay outside during storms. Due to the wind possibilities, barns are not the best structures for the horses to hang out in unless it is a concrete, hurricane proof barn. With the horses being outside they can freely move away from any debris that is out and about. It is 100% ideal? No. But it is better than a barn roof collapsing. I would rather search 30 miles for my horses then know they are under the collapsed barn.
2. Halters and Fly Masks- All horses are turned out in breakaway halters. I turn them out in them for two reasons. One, it is an extra way to add contact information. Second, in the event they get loose, it is much easier to catch them. Breakaway halters can get caught on stuff too, but I know they will break. They are also turned out in fly masks to protect eyes from debris. (I'm talking to you Bruce!!)
3. Phone Numbers On Body - This is how we ended up with a phone number on the body at the makeover, almost.. Last few times we have used spray paint or the magnum sharpie markers. The goal of this is to make your phone number as visible as possible on the horses sides. Huge thanks to amazon prime, we bought this livestock marker this time around. The makeover is earlier this year so not enough body clipping time! Hopefully this works, or I am back to fluorescent spray paint!
4. Feet Phone Numbers - In the event that both your halter and your body paint have disappeared, we also write contact information on all four feet. So every horse has a sharpied on phone number as an added contact info. It is all about making sure you can identify your horses!
5. Tags - We also have tags that we braid tightly in to the mane with contact information and address of where the horses live. Make sure they are braided tightly. We have used ones where we bought tags at staples, you can buy the dog tags at Walmart with your info, or you can write on cards and laminate it. We are doing brightly colored laminated cards this year to add the horses names.
If your horses are microchipped, make sure you have access to the numbers. Bruce, Gray, and Bosa are microchipped and I still have to do the rest of mine. Make sure you have pictures of your horses. Both sides, front, and make sure any small markings (Like EZ's cannon bone scarring) are visible. In the event that lots of horses get loose, this makes it much easier to identify. Stock up on water troughs etc. Fill buckets, extra containers to make sure you have enough water. Lay all the jumps down. I already have a call in to my vet for health certificates on the chance we end up evacuating. While you may be able to bypass Agricultural Check on the way out, it doesn't mean you won't hit it on the way back in.
While all of these are great tips. Most of all, use your judgement. Stay safe. Have extra grain and hay. Just be prepared!
If you had asked this time last year the next time that I would compete prelim, I would tell you I have absolutely no clue. At this point last year, EZ has torn his Deep Digital Flexor Tendon, I had lost Wendy to EEE, Bruce was running training hesitantly and we were focusing on the Young Event Horse Championships, and Buzz was abscessing like crazy and I couldn’t keep him sound. If you would have told me I would have a prelim horse running, a horse stepping up to prelim at his next show, and a horse who was prepping for Fair Hill and confidently schooling training and ready to school Prelim I would have told you that you were insane!
I was convinced I was on a downhill spiral last year, but I now realize that I really wasn’t. It’s all part of a plan. I decided to head over to Full Gallop Farm in Aiken, SC for a working student position. I got the ability to run some phenomenal horses through training level. Bruce ran around his first prelim. Buzz and Gray did their first training level events.
I can’t thank Lara Anderson and the FGF team enough for this past year. We are in the process of aiming for a Fall 2* now. I have my first true sponsorship. Finish Line Horse is the best you will find to help your horses in anyway you can! Buzz will finish the year at YEH-5 championships and come out fighting at a winter prelim!
I suppose the point of this blog is to say it will all go forward. You might go through tough phases, but trust me. It will all look up! I am thankful for all the opportunities and I can’t wait to see how we progress through the next year!
Roeckl gloves are my go to choice for gloves while riding! I often wear through gloves in only a month or two while riding everyday, but my Roeckls are long standing.
The gloces have a super grip, even in wet weather and they are super comfortable to wear.
I currently ride in the Roeck-Grip gloves for all 3 phases and they stay cool during the summer. However I just found out a few weeks ago that Roeckl has a glove called the Mendon which has the same amazing grip as all Roeckl gloves, but the backs are mesh! So you stay extra cool which is always helpful in Florida! I’m also going to have to pick up the new Maryland gloves which come with a USA flag on the Velcro!
Go check out Roeckl and pick out your new favorite gloves!
All KH Eventing horses are fed Seminole Feed which is a locally milled feed out of Ocala, FL. Seminole feed is milled at a plant that has no medications. While they do make a handful of livestock feeds, they are made with the same ingredients as the equine feeds. It poses no risk of contamination!
All of our horses eat Seminole Dynasport. Dynasport is a 12% protein, 14% fat, and 18% fiber feed. Seminole has been manufacturing feed since 1968.
Everyone knows that keeping weight on a TB, especially a fit one, can be a challenge. But all horses are happy and healthy on this feed and I couldn’t ask for a better product! Thank you so much Seminole for making the Worlds Best Equine Feed.
Finish Lines mission can be summed up with the word Passion. With over 43 products, they have a passion to keep the best selling quality healthcare products for your equines!
We are going to start a Spotlight Sunday every Sunday, focusing on some of the favorite products that we use on a daily basis at KH Eventing.
Finish Line is a company I found about a year ago and I quickly fell in love with their products. With several different types of supplements all in a super affordable range I quickly switched all of my horses to Finish Line and they are now happily powered by Finish Line products.
One of my favorite products is the Total Control which focuses on 5 supplements in one, giving the horses everything they need without a bunch of buckets and so much cheaper! A joint supplement, iron supplement for healthy blood, gastric support, electrolytes, and hoof and coat! Having all these aids in keeping horses in top shape! Bruce, Buzz, and Grey all benefit from the total control!
All the other horses get the Apple-A-Day electrolytes which keeps them hydrated in the Florida heat with a super taste. The newest product we have started using is the Performance Builder. It’s butterscotch flavor keeps the horses eating and loving it. It takes as little as two weeks to start working and aids to increase the muscle development and function. The best part is that it’s totally legal! All horses in work are on this and it helps keep everyone in top shape!
I highly recommend all Finish Line Products and I won’t use anything else for my horses!
The past few weeks have been incredibly busy. At the beginning of April I moved back to Florida to get KH Eventing back in full swing. I am now available for lessons and training in the Northeast Florida area.
The horses have settled in quite happily. Grey and EZ have teamed up to be best friends. Aside from when EZ and Buzz decide they are playing stallion. Bruce is happy go lucky and hangs out with whoever.
Buzz and I headed off to the Ocala International last weekend and we have a lot to work on. Our dressage needs more swing and engagement, which is hard when you’re a 5 year old growing giraffe.. It will get there. He impressed us all in the chaotic warm up to keep his cool and go in and jump a double clear round. Cross country started a bit sticky, where he flashed back to his YEH courses after 4b. We took a gallop and need to work a bit more on adjustability so we can come back for the 5th fence.
The rest of the course flowed well and he made easy work of some tricky combinations. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that he has been in Eventing training since August and he’s already done his second training.
Grey and Bruce will most likely start doing trot sets together now as they start to gear up for big things this fall! It’s much easier to keep grey loose and relaxed. He can get very tense on trot sets and I need him loosening his body and swinging through so we will try this for a little while and see how it works. More enjoyable for all of us.
We also got our 2019 TB Makeover horse in Tuesday. Everyone meet Bosa Flow. He’s a 5 year old gelding, who I am very excited to start working with. He seems to have the mentality of Bruce! We leave for Kentucky Monday to atten LRK3DE. Maybe I’ll start being a better blogger...
We had a great weekend at the Rocking Horse Winter II.
Bruce improved in his dressage, minus one baby moment, to score a 35.2 in the Training Horse division to put him in 5th. Dressage has never been my strong suit so placing 5th out of 21 after dressage was huge improvement for us.
Q1: How did you start riding? What was your first horse? What horse made you the rider you are today?
I started riding before I could walk. My grandmother was eventing when she was in her teens. She started at a parks and Rec center and got into riding there. My mother started riding when she was younger and grew up on the hunter jumper circuit. It’s easy to see that I grew up in a horsey family.
My mom held me on the back of a horse when I was only six months old and since then, i was hooked. I was riding independently by the time I was three and got my first pony for my 6th birthday. He was a little white plod-along welsh that packed me around. Known as Surprise, he was amazing, dealing with all my kid shenanigans without blinking an eye.
As perfect as Surprise was, the pony that taught me the most was my second one, named Society Girl. She was a real diva and this pony taught me everything. I got bucked off, reared, spun, thrown over (and through) fences, and so much more but she truly made me the rider I am today.
Q2: How did you first learn about the RRP and decided to become involved?
I learned about the RRP and the thoroughbred makeover from a lady I had been working with for a few months. We had missed the cut off with that horse, but after reading more into it, I was super interested and applied the next year. I got accepted in 2016 and have been attending it yearly. The RRP Makeover has truly been quite the experience.
To me, a training competition for thoroughbreds sounded really entertaining. I had just acquired two thoroughbreds for my 16th birthday and thought it would be fun to apply. My mom convinced me to try even though I was a junior and still green to retraining OTTBS!!
Q3: You entered the 2017 final in eventing - was it hard being a junior and competing against seasoned pros?
I entered the finale in 2017 in 2nd place. As a junior, going against a bunch of pros, it was slightly nerve wracking. However, I had a great support system behind me and a great horse underneath me. Unfortunately, Bruce had nicked himself on the up bank the day before and, being the big wuss that he is, wasn’t quite sound on the day of the finale. It was very upsetting, but he is back out and successfully completing all training events with his prelim move up in view. Bruce also managed to snatch the 6th place ribbon in Show Hunters that year to boost!
Q4: What are your goals for the RRP this year?
Ideally, this year I would like to be in the top 5. That’s wishful thinking for sure and who knows if it will actually happen. My main goal though, is to give whatever horse I end up taking to Kentucky a very good educational experience. I want to expose them to a big show atmosphere and prep them for their future careers in whatever direction they may go. At the end of the day, as trainers, it’s our job to make sure our pupils succeed in the long run.
Q5: Do you have any advice to give young riders or first-time RRP trainers that you wish you had known first time around?
Don’t stress!! Everyone keeps saying this and I can’t say it enough.
Don’t compare yourself or your progress to other people by what they post. Most people only post the good, few share their drawbacks and struggles. With Bruce (RRP 2017), I had a fall on cross country two days prior. I jammed my knee so badly I wasn’t sure I would be able to compete. Last year, I didn’t start my horse until August. He was lame May through July with reoccurring abscesses. My 2016 partner was the “most prepared”. I started in him in January but he was my biggest struggle. Every horse is different, so please don’t worry about where others are.
Make sure you thank everyone who volunteers and puts this event on. Kirsten is amazing and puts up with us year after year for whatever reason.
Finally, #makeoverfriendsarethebestfriends. I have met so many people through the makeover and I don’t know what I would do without them. Especially when they take your horse for a few weeks when your truck breaks down, trying to get a horse for them!
Let’s just forget about Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled”. I think we decided to take the path with all the Road Closed signs and Bridge washed out signs... A few months ago I had a goal of ribboning at the YEH 5 Year Old Championships. Now the goal is to just complete. Though a ribbon would be very nice as well!
3 months ago I moved to Aiken, South Carolina for an amazing opportunity. I had the chance to train many nice young horses and bring both Bruce and Buzz along on the trip. But I can’t go anywhere without having some sort of issue. 24 hours prior to leaving my vet came out to do the health certificate for the boys. Both boys were in perfect health and ready to make the move. I was somewhat packed and the next day we were getting ready to head out. Until I heard that questioning sound that you can just hear and be concerned about in moms voice. Bruce had managed, in 24 hours, to develop a MASSIVE eye ulcer. We were encouraged when the vet checked on him and it didn’t hold any dye, so we were cautiously optimistic that it would clear pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be improving. So while my boss had the vet out, I went ahead and got his eye checked again. Unfortunately we got some pretty bad news.. His eye took up a lot of dye, she had debried the eye, and his cornea was starting to melt. Banamine twice a day, 4 different types of drugs in his eye about 8 times during the day and another 4 or so times during the night if at all possible. At that point we were at risk of losing the eye and I was just convinced that all our goals were shot. I remember just sitting in his stall and bawling my eyes out.
By the next check up, our vet was cautiously optimistic about it picking up a little less dye and looking slightly better. Still the same amount of eye meds, cut back the banamine, and he could start hacking. So towards the end of August we started hacking.
His eye continued to get better, we cut back drastically on the meds, and he was finally approved to come off the atropine and go back outside. That also meant he could go back into full work. We had been lightly flatting by this point, but we got cleared to do jumping, gallops, and everything else needed to be ready for Fair Hill. It was looking super promising that we would still be heading to Fair Hill and even with the extra time off we were going to go for the ribbons.
I turned Bruce out in the field and I took a quick trip back to Florida to visit my family and friends. About a day into the trip I get a call that Bruce sliced his leg open. I started freaking out because I’m 4 hours away and I have no clue what’s really going on. The Barn Owner is doing her best to keep me updated but I’m still paranoid. We brought him in and wrapped it so it didn’t get infected and I got home on Thursday night. On Friday the vet came out to check his eye again and thankfully by this time the swelling in his leg had gone down enough so that we could actually stitch his leg up. He was back on complete stall rest for 10 days until the stitches came out.
The stitches were the only chance at even having a chance of him being ready for Fair Hill. But after the stitches came off he still had to be off until after the TB Makeover, which was the first weekend of October. 2 weeks to prep for the 5 year old championships is not a lot of time... I got back late Sunday, rode him early Monday morning and he felt super. Flatted again on Tuesday and popped him over some small fences Wednesday. He still felt super so we flatted again on Thursday and Friday and I gave him a bigger jump school on Saturday. After 6 days of work he got Sunday off and we flatted on Monday. Yesterday we took him for a cross country school off property to make sure he was set and would jump bigger things when asked and he didn’t put a foot wrong. (Aside from the water jump, but that’s always been an issue..)
So here I am, blogging on my way to Fair Hill, just feeling lucky to be on my way up here, because two weeks ago we weren’t sure this would even be happening... Fingers crossed for a good experience if nothing else.
Thrilled to announce that KH Eventing is now partnered with Millbrook Leathers. The stability and support of the wider leather keeps my foot in a much better position, which in turn puts my entire body in a better position. I have been riding in the same pair for several years and I am still able to use them as they barely stretch! When you order, make sure you use the code kheventing for 10% off your purchase!! These stirrups barely even twist due to the width, which means no rubbing!! www.millbrookleathers.com