Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Stepping Stone Horse Show

I haven't posted in a bit because I've been having a streak of bad luck lately. The worst of it was Palmer, my aging golden. He had a bad fall and it's been touch and go this past week but today he could finally get up on his own. I think we are over the worse of it.

But onto life with an ex race horse!

This weekend, Toby and I went to a local horse show. It was a show geared for beginner people in the horse show world. This doesn't mean we are beginner riders, just that we are not experienced at showing. I hadn't been to a big show in probably 18 years. And my horse, Toby, hadn't been to a show in 8 years. So this was a great opportunity for us to get back into the swing of things. And it was a dressage show which Toby has only been working at for 2 months.

I must also divulge that Toby has had issues with trailering. Particularly with slant trailers. So I planned to use my farrier's stock trailer, had another horse from our barn go with us and everything worked like a charm! The stock trailer has a middle divider so we essentially had two box stalls for the horses. We didn't tie them up either. This made for a very happy Toby.

Getting him to the show was my number one goal and we did it! To be able to compete was another goal and to win anything was icing on the cake.

Toby and I competed at the Introductory level and we had a blast. I didn't have anyone there to shoot photos of us when we rode but I did get this one of us afterwards:

what horses are all about

And you can see just how actually lazy Toby was in the ring! He wasn't listening to my aids that well but overall, in the scheme of things, he was great:

Toby and I were awarded 2 blue ribbons and then a LOVELY saddle pad from Bad Pony for being the best horse going into dressage as a new career.

Isn't he fetching in it?!

toby is a bad pony

bad pony

As I've told him - He won the roses!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Post Preakness Odds and Ends

I'm still recovering from The Preakness. What a great race and what a great time I had.

I got to know Dominic Terry a little bit better this past week.

He's an exercise rider for Steve Asmussen and was rooming with my good friend Alex Brown this past fall and winter. I met Dominic when I made a road trip to Woodbine last October. Dominic is the lucky guy who has the privilege to exercise and work Rachel Alexandra! So of course I shot photos of him throughout the week. I'm hoping they will make it to Belmont. I was told that she was feeling VERY good out on the track for her gallop yesterday. She is scheduled to work on Monday afterwhich they will make a decision if she will head to Belmont. We will see!

Slightly off-topic: Yesterday was like Christmas for me! I received a used saddle I purchased on ebay. I purchased an Albion "Style" saddle which is now called their SLK model. It's lovely!

Best of all, it fits Toby beautifully! I think he'll be very happy with this saddle. The leather feels like butter. I know I am happy with it!

Canoodler update: He raced on Sunday at Arlington on their synthetic track. He kept up with the leaders until the last 1/8 mile where he tired. He finished last. I sent an email to his trainer (my friend) and she said the owners want to try him on the turf and she'll let me know when they are ready to let him go. I'm actually quite hopeful from her email. I know he's in good hands as long as he's with her, which thankfully he still is!

And finally, as if I'm not crazy enough, I'm heading to Woodbine to visit my friends there such as Alex, Jen Morrison and Keith McCalmont! It'll be a very fun Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Preakness

Congrats to Rachel Alexandra!!

RAC: MAY 16-09 Preakness Stakes

I spent my entire day at the track starting at 5am when I was told Rachel Alexandra would walk the shedrow. It's nice to have an "in" with my friends who work for Steve Asmussen!

Here are my photos from the morning - Preakness morning.

My favorite is of Chip Woolley's belt buckle - the trainer for Mine That Bird:

the belt buckle

As you can imagine I got a lot of teasing for pointing the large lens of my camera on his belt buckle by Chip Woolley and the other connections of Mine That Bird.

And here is a link to the photos of the post parade from the Stakes Barn and the race.

Preakness Race

Inbetween shooting photos, I was blogging what was going on throughout the day on the Alex Brown Racing website. I was sending updates from my iphone!

Now I'm off to have brunch with some friends who work at Fair Hill.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hello From Pimlico

Today was my first day shooting here. What a blast! We had the Alibi Breakfast, a bit of rain, cool horses, great people.

Here are my shots which I have put on Flickr.

The day before I visited friends at Herringswell Stables. While I shot photos of some of the horses working, I seemed to have been roped into shooting photos of many of the employees pooches! I don't have all the photos up here that I want but I will soon! But I LOVE how the photos of the English Bull Dog and Russian Borzoi's turned out! Cool dogs/cool breeds! Enjoy!

Go Rachel!

Rachel Alexandra

Monday, May 11, 2009

Off To Baltimore

I had a busy weekend this past weekend. I went to the "Spring Into Fun" horse show which was actually a pre horse show horse show. Did that make sense? It was a dress rehearsal for the horse show season. I had intentions of taking Jaguar Hope here for his first show to see how he would handle things. That would have been the sole purpose of bringing him. Just to see how he would handle the show situation. But alas, he's not around to trot around. Toby, I know, is experienced in the show arena. It's where he spent most of his life. So I have few worries with him in a show situation.

I went just to introduce people to my photography and try to start up my small business shooting photos. The show consisted of many kids at their very first show. I love that! And I did drum up some business which is all good!

Then Sunday I took Toby on a trail ride. For some inexplicable reason, I rode him in his eggbutt snaffle bit when I have always used a pelham for him on trail. I usually need the "emergency brake" option the pelham provides. But he's been so good under saddle lately that I trusted him with a kinder bit. And he was a good guy with it! I was so pleased!

Tonight (Monday night) the chiropractor came out to give Toby an adjustment. The small of his back seemed a little tender to me. He needed a bit of adjusting in the hip area but overall, the chiropractor was impressed with how Toby is muscling up and filling out. We figured the soreness is probably due to me asking him to carry himself differently (engaging the hind end) than how he normally likes to (on the forehand). I likened it to me learning how to walk with good posture rather than slouching. Sure I'll have some sore muscling if I need to walk with perfect posture all the time! I think that's just what Toby is going through. I'm just going to keep an eye on him and get him adjusted as needed.

Tomorrow I'm off to Baltimore and the Preakness race. I don't know how often I will be able to blog but I'm sure I'll be putting photos up on Flickr. Please be sure to check over there:

And for fun, I shot photos of the latest addition to the barn owner's family. Her name is Sadie, she's most likely about 3 years old and she was found through the Springer Dog Rescue in Michigan. She is joined by Shelby and Shyanne - also Springer Spaniels. The Girls

This particular photo makes me laugh out loud! This is the happiest/luckiest dog alive:

floppy lips

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tripping All Over Himself

It was the most gorgeous day - bright sunshine, perfect temperatures, light breeze. A few of the horses were sun bathing in their paddocks.

Toby is loving the attention he is getting from me. He runs to greet me at the gate to his paddock. He bullies the other horses away from me. Then once we walk back to the barn, he will stop for a pick of grass in the lane, stop in front of his stall door, stop at the first set of cross ties, stop at the second set of cross ties, reluctantly walk up to and stop at the third set of cross ties which are near the tack room and next to the wash rack. Once he's there he's fine it's getting him there that can be amusing.

We tacked up and rode outside again. Toby has been a bit clumsy, moreso than usual lately. He's been tripping and stumbling particularly when we are warming up but then again when we circle. At one point I was cracking up because I had him "put together" and in a great frame moving smoothly along when we would start a 20 meter circle. That's when he would trip over his front legs and stumble along. He tripped on both his front legs. Typically, his stumbling happens when his feet get long but he had his feet done about 2 weeks ago and had steel shoes with clips put on. Hmmm - the shoes... Toby had been barefoot all winter long so the shoes were new.

After my lesson, I called my farrier to tell him what's been going on with Toby. He suggested that the weight of the steel shoes could be the issue. So our plan is to put him in aluminum shoes when he is due to be done next.

Toby, at 19 years of age, is also on joint supplements to help him out. He's been taking this product:Which has it all going on. I do this because both of his stifles seem to give him trouble as he ages. I'm very aware of his weaknesses and do what I can to help him. The supplements help a lot. And just for informational purposes, this is what Toby gets in his supplement packet each day:

Toby's Supplement Regime

Biotin 100 - for his hooves which had been shelly and brittle. The vets at MSU had turned me on to this when Toby had to regrow his outer hoofwall after it was resected due to white line disease. I swear by this product!

Grand H.A. Synergy - for his joint health. See what I wrote above

Vitamin E and Selenium - because the soil in Michigan lacks these nutrients and horses need them.

Flax Seed - for his coat and hooves. I do this mostly for his coat. I'm vain, he's beautiful and it's cheap :)

Paprika - for his coat to keep it dark and minimize sun bleaching. Again, I'm vain, he's beautiful and when bought in bulk it's not expensive. It sure is a heck of alot less expensive than "Black as Knight." I started with the paprika for Jag but since I still have it, I'm continuing to give it to Toby to see how we do throughout this summer. Some people say it's not good for the horse but I've noticed absolutely no ill effects. Of course I am always monitoring my guys health.

So that is his current regime. It's always subject to change as I pay attention to Toby's needs but the flax seed and Vitamin E and Selenium are staples.

Finally for your entertainment, I shot photos of Heather's horses with the black background.




Monday, May 4, 2009

My Derby Weekend

I had a great weekend. My pick for the Derby came in 3rd, the weather was gorgeous and I shot some cool photos of Toby.

I rode Toby Saturday morning where he seemed tired with no "zip on his doodah." He worked nicely for me but he seemed like he needed a break from all the riding I was doing. I cooled him out, put him back with his buddies outside and I found him later on snoozing in the sunshine - standing up this time.

I went home to watch the Kentucky Derby and cheer for my longshot Musket Man. I just had a good feeling about him. And darn if he didn't put in a great run to come in 3rd when Pioneerof The Nile bobbed his nose in front of him. I was excited and I'm hopeful I can see him at The Preakness in a couple weeks.

Sunday was spa day with Toby. I had to wake him up from his afternoon siesta (he was flat out on his sand patch snoring away) and he just eye-balled me like a teenager that doesn't want to get up in the morning. Eventually he got up and came in with me. I decided to give him a warm bath along with a bigeloil treatment just to get his muscles relaxed. He's always a fidget during a bath but he was feeling VERY good afterwards. Then I lassoed Chrissy, who just arrived to clean stalls at the barn, to hold Toby for me while I experimented with lighting and exposure with my camera. I'm thrilled with how his shots turned out!!

Toby portrait

Toby portrait

Toby portrait

and this is what Toby had to say about it all:
Toby and tongue

Tonight I'll see how the old guy is doing. I have visions of him being a mudball and sticking his tongue out at me. I'm happy as long as he is. :)