Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trotting, Racing and Cool Books

Spring grass is giving my horses the "trotsky's."  Poor guys both have loose poops from the very rich spring time grass on their 55 acre heavenly pasture.  I've never had to deal with this kind of problem before.  Thanks to the internet I read up on ways to handle the spring grass season, so now I'm bringing them in during the prime grass growing hours (late morning until sunset) and turning them out at night.  Fortunately, it's also been very warm so both guys seem to be relieved to get out of the sunshine for a while.  Unfortunately for Ollie, he's developed some diaper rash.  His poops are so loose that I have to wash his hind end (legs and all) when I see him twice a day.  Tonight I'm going to give him some pepto bismol to help him out.  His poops were so good not that long ago!  It's tough when you have a sensitive tummy...  Getting him off this rich grass will be good for his tummy but he doesn't agree.  He thinks it's super yummy!

Now that I'm on a different work schedule, I've been able to work with my guys more often.  Unfortunately, Ollie and I have been having riding issues lately.  He's the epitome of the "crazy thoroughbred" and lately I come home from seeing him and ask myself "why do I have this horse?!"  He's not easy.  I'm hoping I get an instructor out to help me soon.  Now I have the time to work with him closely.   I just need a coach!  I have done well with small things, such as standing at the mounting block.  He's like a rock lately which gives me confidence that I CAN teach him.  But then when we start marching around the arena all he wants to do is "GO!"  He brakes into a trot then goes sideways and then he starts to lose his brain cells.  Yesterday we nearly took out all the jumps that are in the middle of our very large arena.  He just lost it!  He bunny hopped all over the place - baby rears, baby bucks.  I hung on and I spun him around in a circle while giving him leg to go forward.  He stopped with the bunny hops.  It was a total tantrum.  I'm thinking he's not happy about doing serious work and it irritates me to no end that he doesn't respect me when I'm in the saddle.   I don't want to lose my patience with him and I want to be sure to have a sure and steady hand with him.  Again, I think a coach will help me out alot.  I also believe that he'll be worth the effort.  When he goes, he goes beautifully! 

Enough of my ranting - I just needed to get my frustrations out to you guys - my friends.  Working with a hot horse is no easy task but I feel strongly that the rewards will be great.

This past weekend was opening weekend at Keeneland.  Matt and I have been over in the mornings to catch some nice shots of key horses in upcoming races.  This is Kathmanblu who ran in the Ashland yesterday and will most likely be running in the Kentucky Oaks:


Keeneland is so pretty in spring!

The horse that won the Ashland Stakes was Lilacs And Lace. Her sire is Flower Alley...


She was a big time longshot and a $2 win bet paid out $99!! Crazy! Matt and I had just met her the morning we shot Kathmanblu. We were messing around taking pictures of Lilac's And Lace's trainer's dog - a big yellow lab. We've gotten to know several trainers at the track and their dogs... I'm thinking I need to photograph the dogs of the race horse trainers. LOL!

One of our favorite trainers and crew is the Herringswell Stables bunch.  Everyone there is so friendly and nice!  One of the workers there is Marshall Blevins, she's a photography enthusiast and a first rate horseman.  She works for Herringswell in the mornings before she goes to her classes in equestrian studies at the University of Kentucky. 

Marshall Blevins hot walking Let's Do It at Keeneland for Herringswell Stables

Here she is hotwalking a horse called Let's Do It who is owned by former Kentucky governor, Brereton C. Jones. He ended up winning his allowance race on Saturday!


and he seemed pretty proud of his win as he walked back to his barn after the race


Saturday was crazy busy for me. It started out by taking my good friend, Alex Brown over to Keeneland and help him set up for his book signing during "Breakfast with the Works." From 7am - 8:30am, Keeneland offers a very nice buffet breakfast where you can watch the horses during their morning workouts. They have an announcer to help you identify the horses and the saddle clothes of the different barns. It's great fun and huge crowds attend the festivities!

Here is a photo of Alex

Alex Brown at his book signing during Keeneland's "Breakfast With the Works"
 You never know who you'll run into at Keeneland.  Alex and I ran into Alexa King, the sculptor for the Barbaro Statue at Churchill Downs.  Not only is Alexa a super talented sculptor, but she's a fun person too.  I'm hoping to get the chance to photograph her super cute and big Burmese Mountain Dog puppy.

Alexa King checking out Alex Brown's book on Barbaro.
Matt has a wonderful photo of the Barbaro Statue on the back of Alex's book...  Not only do Matt and I have a ton of photos in Alex's book, but the book itself is wonderful.  Alex's book - Greatness and Goodness:  Barbaro and His Legacy gives an amazing insight into the people in Barbaro's life as well as the people who were affected by the events in Barbaro's life - both good and bad.  I realize that I'm a friend of the author so you may feel the need to discount my opinion but I must say that it's a fantastic and insightful read into the events surrounding Barbaro's short and tragic life.  You can check out more info on the book at

Tomorrow Matt and I will be heading over to Keeneland for the 2 yr olds in training sale.  Busy time of year for us!

More later! 


  1. I sympathize with your Ollie trials, and you're correct; it will all be worth it in the end! Today I visited a young Morgan I would really like to have; he'll be hot, too, but in a totally different way. If I could wave my magic wand and keep Russell sound for the rest of his life, that would be my preference, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards....

  2. Michelle - I feel so badly for you and for Russell... Good luck with the morgan!

  3. You sure had your hands full with Ollie and handled it extremely well. As someone who's horse often isn't nearly forward enough, I can tell you that when you do get him listening, he'll be soooo nice. In the meantime, I'm sure you know all this, but can you start very small circles as soon as you're mounted, and do them as long as necessary, moving along the sides of the arena/ring, both ways. On those occasions when my horse is much too forward (they're rare) this works for us - it keeps him from breaking to a trot right away and then almost instantly a bolt. After awhile we go onto bigger circles until eventually we can work on a 20 m circle. Mostly on those days we can't do any straight aways :)
    Good luck. I'm sure the coach will help and you'll have an amazing horse.

  4. Hopefully your boys and their sensitive stomachs are better soon. Having so much grass is such a novelty for most horse owners!

    I hope you can find a coach for you and Ollie - I'm sure a bit of guidance will help alot. Kudos to you for working with a hot horse - I don't have the skills to even contemplate it!

    I love your photos - you guys have the neatest connections at the tracks! How cool would it be to go to a morning buffet at Keeneland and watch the horses? I think I need a trip down to KY some spring to check out all of that neat stuff!