Friday, September 14, 2012

Sales In Action

The Yearling Sales are unbelievable!  So many people from all over the world coming to one place to look at the Thoroughbred yearlings.  All with the hope of a magic touch in their selections.

At Warrendale Sales, we've had many big name owners, trainers, bloodstock agents and pinhookers come through and look at our horses.  Adele Dilschneider, who owns many horses in conjunction with Claiborne Farm such as the Breeders Cup Classic winner and only horse to beat the great Zenyatta (Blame), came through several times as she narrowed down her list.  We've had Barclay Tagg, Gretchen and Roy Jackson (Barbaro's owner), Doug Cauthen (brother to Steve Cauthen who rode Affirmed in his triple crown conquest), Todd Pletcher, the list goes on and on. 

My job is to greet the people who come in to view the horses, let our grooms and handlers know which horses to get out for them and find a spot to view the horses.  Sometimes it can get really crazy with a lot of people coming to see our horses and a lack of room and timing things so we have enough showmen to walk the horses.  While this is going on, we may have vets coming in to perform a vet check on a horse for a potential buyer.  So we're juggling people and horses all day long.  I come home exhausted every night! 

Adele Dilschneider and her bloodstock agent, Jane Dunn, view one of our horses.

Kitty Taylor, the principle owner of Warrendale Sales keeps her eyes on the action as several groups are out viewing their selected horses.

One of our showmen stand a horse for a potential buyer.
I've been amazed at the people who come through.  We've had many Japanese and Russians come through.  I even had Jaguar Hope's owner/trainer come through one day!!  I was so excited about seeing him and being able to tell him face to face how Jag was involved in the War Horse movie.  That totally made my day!

While we are showing, we also have horses that are preparing to go into the ring.  They get the royal beauty parlor treatment so they are spit shining spectacular.  We use all the horse show tricks to whiten up any white markings and shine up their mane and tails.  They have been brushed so often that their dapples gleam in the light. 

A Bernardini/Caroni filly gets shined up before she heads to the sales pavilion.
All of the staff work very hard and very long hours at the sales.  We still work and show horses while the sales are going on but we keep 1/2 an eye on the television monitors as one of our horses goes through the ring.  At one point, one of our horses was the subject of a bidding war.  This Big Brown colt brought the gavel down at $825,000.  He was the 2nd highest bid for the day.  We all watched as he went through the ring on our tv monitor in the barn.

The barn crew watching the action in the sales pavilion as one of our horses goes through the ring.

Big Brown/Cold Awakening colt that sold for $825,000 and was the 2nd highest price at the sales that day.  He was bought by Demi O'Byrne and will probably be trained by Todd Pletcher.
We were pretty proud that our horse brought so much money! 

Well I have to head back to the sales which continues through the 21st.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Keeneland Sales

An empty Keeneland Sales Pavilion

For the next 10 days or so I will be working for Warrendale Sales  as a card person.  I'm not so sure I can explain it very well until I actually do this job. As I've been told,  potential buyers come to the barn and fill out a card and check the boxes for the horses they would like to see.  They hand the card back to me and I coordinate the viewing of the horses with the handlers and other card people doing the same for other potential buyers.   I get so nervous with new things but I think I can handle this and survive.  LOL! 

In the meantime, here are some photos we took today at Keeneland where horses were arriving for the sales and things were busy with last minute spruce ups! 

My boss at Warrendale Sales - Kitty Taylor

Horse people are dog people too.  Sometimes a reminder needs to be placed on where your dogs can and cannot go...

A nice looking Dynaformer filly arrives to the Warrendale Sales barn.  She's hip #935.

Inside the sales pavilion, the seats are all assigned to those who will be in attendance.  Besilu had purchased Royal Delta for quite a bit of money last fall...

Vinery's barn is well decorated and ready for the horses to arrive.

Worker for Hill N Dale Farm do some primping on one of their yearling sales horses.
This will be a new experience for me and a whole other side of the thoroughbred industry that I know very little about.  Should be fun and a great learning experience!!  Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Busy.  That's where I've been.  Very busy.  Life as a small business owner is very different from life working for a large sports organization.  I have to be my own marketing department, IT department, Accounting department, etc.  It takes up a lot of my extracurricular time such as blogging about my horses and even working them.

Matt and I have other blogs like this one, this one and this one which help us get our business names out there and on top of each of those blogs are corresponding websites which we are always keeping them current and setting them up best for google searches.  It's a lot of our time. 

So in prioritizing my life, my small photography businesses have to take precedence over my own "for fun" blogging. 

Another reason I haven't blogged is because of an experience I had with a trainer who happened to stop coming to Lexington and notified us in a very poor manner - like not at all.   And the organizer, whom the trainer dropped, was left with the dirty work of notifying all of us and being a very good sport in a not so good situation.  The organizer gets my kudos, the trainer...  not so much.  I didn't want to blog immediately about this situation because I was so let down but after some time, I realized I was still annoyed by it all.  So I'm writing about it here to get it out of my system.   Phew.  I'm done with it.

Toby and Ollie are doing very well.  Toby is sassy and dappled out.  Ollie is F-A-T and mellowing out. 

I don't have too many photos of me riding because Matt hasn't been out to photograph us in a long while.  But Ollie has been good when I'm working him consistently.  This past month, I haven't been working him at all due to other things (see first paragraph).  I did take a lesson with Julie Congleton, who is infinitely patient with us.  She helped me with some drills I can use to help Ollie learn to leg yield.   Ollie is a very insecure horse and he tries to anticipate what you're going to ask him.  But after awhile, the novelty of the leg yield wore off and he would relax into the movement.  Anything new for him gets him jazzed up but when you repeat, repeat, repeat he gets better and better and better!

Oddly, the biggest novelty for me with Ollie this summer is taking him on walkabouts the property.  The farm where he lives is over 100 acres so there are lots of fields for us to cruise around in.  He's familiar with the fields so he's not worried when we are out of sight of the barn.  In fact, Ollie is much better on these mini trail rides than Toby!  Ollie relaxes, takes a really nice walking stride which makes my hips move like we're keeping a hoola hoop up.  I love it when he gets all relaxed like that!  One of the other girls at the barn will go on rides with us.  She hops on Toby for me and we can go for a couple of miles around the property.  I turn on my GPS pedometer and can see how far we have traveled.  It's very cool!

Ollie isn't perfect by a long shot and we are moving at a snails pace with his training.  That's ok with me.  He's my for fun project and we don't have huge expectations and goals.  He is moving in the right direction and I've been super proud of him and his behavior lately.  He's a good horse and a trier!  I just have to be ok with the fact that when I don't work him, we have to start over again from the beginning and work our way back to where we were.  Sometimes, I think this helps him to reinforce things and builds his confidence.

Toby, on the other hand, has been getting friskier and friskier lately.  He can be a total handful to bring up to the barn in the mornings for feeding.  He jigs the whole way up and pins his ears at Ollie and tries to take a swipe at him.  He has entered remedial training lately to get him out of this bad habit.  Ollie has been the saint.

Toby had one incident from heat this summer.  He started to act agitated in his stall, wouldn't eat his hay and was calling for Ollie who was visible to him in the stall right next to his.  I brought Toby out of his stall and hosed him down.  He was fine after that.  I immediately went out to Home Depot and bought a 2nd box fan for his stall and hung it on his door.  It's his favorite fan.  He stands with his head right into it most of the day (we bring the horses in during the day due to heat and to get them off the grass for awhile).  He's been fine ever since.

Toby has to wear shoes on his front feet.  He has very weak hooves and stomping on hard dry ground for flies is just too much for his feet.  So he gets his shoes and we like to photograph our farrier in action especially when they are new shoes and not a reset.  The sparks flying when filing down the new shoes makes for fun photos! 

So there we are!  They are doing well.   I'm not going as quickly as I'd like with Ollie but we are continuing to move forward.  Once in awhile I think about bringing in a professional trainer for him but I just can't have him go to another barn.  He'll have total melt down and the trainer probably won't get too far with him because he'll be so worried and stressed out.  If only I could find a regular rider to come to our place...  :)  Secretly, I wish Erin Hamer was nearby because I'd put her on my ADHD pony in a minute for training.  :)