What a day...
I think I'll go in order of the day.
First was the phone call from Canoodler's racing trainer. She's a good friend and has a HUGE heart. I just adore her. But when I saw her number I had a sinking feeling. Canoodler. Canoodler along with another lovely fun mare from the trainers barn went to a gorgeous hunter/jumper barn in the Chicago area. They had the horses on a trial basis which is something my friend does not like to do. But after a month (maybe longer) and no word on the horses and no money for purchasing them, she sent her son (who is an expert equestrian himself) to check on them. He said he didn't recognize Canoodler because he was so thin. Her mare was another story where she had been injured and wasn't being properly treated and they had not been told about the injury. So today, the two horses were picked up and brought back home to my friend. She doesn't have the room or money to keep them so she called me for help. Of course she asked if I was still interested in the big goofy teddy bear - Canoodler. I can't even begin to say how much it breaks my heart to hear those words now. I don't have the means to take him. I feel like he's mine even though he's not and I want to help him find a good home. For some inexplicable reason I'm attached to the big peppermint loving lug. Thankfully, I have a great big network of good people and I hope to get him to a good place where he can thrive at a 2nd career which I firmly believe would be dressage. He's not the bravest guy in the world which is probably part of the reason he didn't make it as a racehorse. Dressage is so methodical and is also a great confidence builder for horses. And with a patient trainer who spells things out using capital letters in crayon, I believe he would do well. He's only 5 and just growing into his large 17+ hand stature. I wish I could take him and have Betsy work him. She's doing so GREAT with Hola and Canoodler has a similar personality but perhaps a less nervous temperment than Hola. He'd thrive with her. Please email me if you have anyone interested in him - firstname.lastname@example.org
So I was crying with frustration and stress over Canoodler when I drove to the barn to get Hola ready for his lesson. Toby has this week off now that show season is over and my funds are, to speak frankly, tight.
Hola was so cute. He stood in the cross ties like a pro and I groomed him and tacked him up. He's suffering from really itchy skin especially around his hind end. Everytime I curry his hind end he literally throws his butt at me to brush harder. I'm almost thrown to the walls when he does it. So I made a concoction that one of you mentioned with witch hazel, baby oil and coconut smelling creme rinse. I mixed equal amounts in a spray bottle and applied it first to his tail. Then it seemed to make it to his entire body. He seemed so relieved from his itchy skin!
Then Betsy arrived to work him. Today we decided to just get right on him - no longeing. Betsy was able to mount him and he was quiet with nobody holding him. Good boy! Then she walked him around and he was calm right from the get go. He had a nice relaxed movement and a huge walk - which is just part of who he is and I adore! Then Betsy asked him to trot. He was trotting like he was either 1) drunk or 2) trying to do weave poles. His front legs were crossing over each other and he was all over the place. Betsy was laughing when she said "OMG! He's so crooked!" He did a few passes around the arena doing haunches in (not being asked to do so) in both directions. He seemed to keep wanting to break into a canter too. He has no problem with "go." Finally, he relaxed. He really falls to the right side and Betsy had to support him big time when they went to the right. So to help him, she counter bent him. It worked like a charm. But what happened next was amazing! She asked him to go on the bit and he did! He WAS GORGEOUS!! I was there sitting next to a young girl who is learning to train from Betsy and the two of us had our jaws on the ground. He went about 3/4 around the arena in perfect form. That ended the lesson! We were all so proud of him! Betsy walked him around and I have to tell you that his walk was killer. He overtracks BIG TIME! In fact, for a horse that is not so big, he has HUGE movement. Dressage is his calling! I'm so excited!
So today had a big down and a big up. I do hope to help Canoodler and I'm so happy to have Hola!
And on one final note - I worked as the photographer at the Lope For Hope Classic horse show which benefited Breast Cancer Research this past Saturday. I hope you enjoy my photos in this slide show. Be sure to click on specific photos to read about the people behind the show. Many of them have amazing stories.