Thursday, February 25, 2010

Missing Home and the University of Arizona's Survey

What do you do when you're away from home for a long time and missing your 4-legged family? You watch videos of them of course!

This is the last video I have of Ollie which tells me I need to make another one this coming month!!

And then after watching this one again, I realized that I've even improved in my riding abilities! Sometimes I can be so hard on myself...

I can't wait to get home to see my boys this weekend... I miss them tons!

I recently read some information about a study being conducted by the University of Arizona regarding Off-Track Thoroughbreds and off track Standardbreds. U of A needs people who own these types of horses to fill out their survey. According to one of the students working on the project, the objectives of the study are the following:

1. Where are retired racehorses going after leaving racetrack training? Can these horses find satisfied owners and success in competition in careers in a variety of sports in America after racing on the flat track?

2. Are there particular American sires whose offspring are especially successful in second careers?

3. How are non flat racing thoroughbred owners obtaining their off the track horses?

I think the results will be interesting. I'm particularly interested in seeing what sires may show up to be good at breeding thoroughbreds for other sports. Since Jag had such a great mind and was NEVER spooked by ANYTHING including chunks of ice falling from the roof just a few feet from him (all the humans jumped but Jag didn't even flinch), and I've heard that other horses from the Alydar line are similar in disposition, that I hope to see Alydar horses excelling in off track activities.

Please take a couple minutes (doesn't take long at all) and fill out the survey!

University of Arizona survey

Friday, February 19, 2010

Peetu Piiroinen Wins Silver!

I'm still out of town but wanted to post a quick CONGRATS! to Peetu Piiroinen for his awesome olympic silver medal winning ride in the snowboard 1/2 pipe competition! Matt and I were cheering for him and I'm fairly certain we were one of the few people in the U.S. cheering for him... I had hoped to find a video of his run but couldn't find anything yet. In the meantime, here is a cool vid of his snowboarding tricks thanks to TTR World Tour:

Congrats again to Peetu!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meet Peetu Piiroinen

Ok, I know, this is a blog about my horses and their retraining efforts. However, my work as a golf administrator for the USGA has me doing a bit of traveling this month so I won't be writing much about the boys and their extended vacation with their hooligan gang of geldings.

However, since the Winter Olympic games are about to begin, I thought everyone would like read about a little road trip I made to nearby Gaylord, MI. Home of the Otsego Club who has one of the few Olympic size snowboard 1/2 pipes around. This attracted many olympic teams.

Of course this presented me with a very cool photography opportunity. My problem is that I didn't know too much about snowboarding and who the "in" snowboarders were. The only guy I had heard of was the Flying Tomato, Shaun White.

I did some research and found out what teams were going to be around when I went out. Finland was one of them. Turns out that Shaun White's toughest competitor is a young man named Peetu Piiroinen.


Peetu is currently ranked #1 on the SWATCH TTR World Snowboard Tour.

So off I went (actually "we" went since Matt was with me) for a little photography adventure.


We found Peetu with no problem.


Matt spoke with the Finnish coach who was very nice to us and put up with some of our questions.


Peetu was practicing again and again while Matt and I were shooting...


That last photo became this photo from Matt's camera:

It was a great time and Matt and I will be cheering for our new friends, the Fins! Go Peetu!

If you are interested in seeing more of our photos of Peetu, the Fins and even some of the Spanish Team members you can see them here (mine) and here (Matt's).

I swear those guys can fly!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Child is Full Grace


Today started out a rocky morning for my trainer, Betsy. A few weeks ago she got herself a lovely TB broodmare from a woman who is going out of the country for the next 3 years. Betsy is planning on breeding her to a warmblood and getting a baby out of her. This broodmare was already bred to another warmblood and came to Betsy's barn with about 8 weeks to go in the pregnancy.

This morning Betsy found the mare with her baby aborted. While it may be nature's way of dealing with things when it's not quite right, it's still sad to handle. The mare was protecting her stillborn filly and Betsy had to get some help to take care of things. Just not a good way to begin a day.

Needless to say, Betsy arrived for my lesson a little out of sorts. I had her work only Ollie today. I was desperate to get some work into the boy who has been hanging out for too long. Ollie was wound up a little tight and after a whole lot of walking he began to take the hump out of his back and relax. Both Betsy and I thought he might even throw out a buck from his boundless energy but he didn't! I'm so proud of him! Once we got him focused on doing some work, he tried hard. I think he was fighting his enthusiasm and had a tough time controlling his hind end to work with his front end. It's as if his hind end has a mind of its own and kept wanting to pass his front end. He was a total wiggle worm, traveling like a crooked drunken fool but trying very hard to listen to Betsy. I laughed out loud when Betsy rewarded him for going straight by allowing him to trot. Boy did he have a lot of energy in his trot!

His mouth was foaming and his ears were flicking back and forth the entire time. He really enjoys his work. He wasn't perfect but he did do pretty darn well considering the lack of work he has had and for all his energy.

Toby was our wildcard today. I brought him in from the paddock when I got Ollie. Toby was soaking wet with sweat. I imagine he had a good time running around before I got out to the barn. I took off his wet blanket, put it in the tack room (heated) to dry out, put a cooler on him and let him relax in his stall. He was exhausted. So Betsy and I decided no lesson for him. I'm a little low on funds, he worked himself and I knew that if I rode him I'd be riding a tired out old man. A joint decision which was good by all of us involved!

Betsy was happy to ride and get her mind off her morning. Ollie was happy to be ridden and tried his enthusiastic best. It's really hard to get upset with him when he tries so hard and seems so happy to be put to task, even when he doesn't get it right. I love my gray guy!

Ollie shot with new Canon 1D Mark IV