Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things to Try With Your New OTTB - #1

Let's discuss blanketing. I'm not talking brands, types, fill, clipping vs not, factoring in temperature/sun/wind/rain to decide whether to use the 200 gram or the 220 gram fill blanket. No no, first things first.

How To Put The Blanket On
Usually, "official" instructions for putting on a blanket tell you to have someone hold the horse while you carefully fold the blanket and gently lay it over the horse's back. Then you unfold it quietly so as not to spook the horse. Do up the buckles, blah blah blah.

My Way
1. Take a freshly O the T TB that you've known for 2 days out of his paddock and lock him in a stall. Make sure he's nervously checking for his friends in between taking bites of grain.
2. While he's eating, leave and come back with a rumpled mess of a blanket.
3. Throw the blanket around while trying to figure out which part is what.
4. When you've got it, grab either side of the neck opening, pick up the blanket, and throw it over the horse's back.
5. Be sure to do it quickly so everything untangles and makes it to the other side. Pretend you're making a king size bed all by yourself and you're trying to get the blankets to cover the whole bed without having to walk over to the other side. That's the kind of oomph you want to put into it.
6. Crawl around him making sure everything is where it belongs and everything is buckled.
7. Laugh at how crazy your OTTB is... actually, don't bother, he's too busy eating to pay attention to you.

River + Mud = *sigh*

We're just getting to know each other, so let's fall back on a classic staple of idle conversation: the weather.

It's been a lovely November here in Western New York. Thanksgiving weekend, it was great--temps in the high 40s-50s, no rain, just nice weather. The day we went to look at River it got up to 60! River comes home and within 5 minutes the rain starts. Now we're back to 30s/40s and RAIN. Why is that? Mother Nature, what is your problem? I can't have a few days of decent weather to enjoy my new horse?

River, however, thinks the mud is just dandy. Well of course, he's a boy, he likes mud. I curried off a couple pounds of mud last night. I suppose if I'd left it, I could have started a garden on him. [On a completely different note, when I was little my Grandma had a book about this girl who refused to take a bath. She got so dirty that her parents stuck radish seeds on her and they started to grow. In the end, she takes a bath and they eat the radishes.]

Anyway, back to River... I outsmarted him this time. He can try to get filthy all he wants, but he won't succeed.

Ha ha! I'm not sure purple is his color. I was thinking maybe pink because I'm mean and it's fun to embarrass him ;).

I played My Little Pony with him last night... his mane is a nightmare. It desperately needs pulling, and I desperately don't want to do it. It's going to be a very long job.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How it all started.

A group of wonderful volunteers goes to the Finger Lakes Racetrack regularly during the season to talk to trainers and get information on horses they'd like to sell. Those horses are listed online, you can contact the trainer if you're interested.

River Mountain Rd caught my eye but was out of my price range.... which is to say, he had a price. My barn owner was looking for horses to get as resale projects. I looked through the horses listed and sent her my thoughts. This was one of them: "River Mountain Rd, HELLO HANDSOME! What a beefcake with that shoulder and that ass and that face!"
He's 11 years old and the definition of a war horse. River has raced 90 times and won over $400,000. He was exactly what I would want if I was going to buy (another) horse. Thankfully, his price made it impossible. I already own two horses, why on earth would I get another one? The day after Thanksgiving, my barn owner called to say River's price was reduced, he was now free. Crap! Crapcrapcrap!

I called his trainer Saturday, he was still available. By the time we got to the track Sunday morning, trailers in tow, I knew that if River was there and sound he would be coming home with me. I met River and his trainer and asked to see him jog. It only took a couple steps for me to know I wanted him. I gave his trainer my contact information, signed that I wouldn't let him go for meat, and took him home.

River has been home for 2 days and is loving life. For now he's in a paddock attached to a stall; soon he'll switch to 24/7 turnout with a run in and friends. He needs a good bit of weight, but now that he's settling in he's eating well. He already loves being out and did not appreciate being shut in his stall this evening so I could groom him!

But it's okay, to catch him all you have to do is crinkle a peppermint wrapper.

He'd rather stay outside, but he'll come in for food.

You might not have picked up on this, but River rather likes peppermints.

After a long time on the track, he's enjoying his new life. Also, mud. He likes mud.

Eventually River will be my lower-level, little-bit-of-everything English riding horse. For now, he's on vacation. Sometime early next year we'll start riding. Until then we'll get to know each other and get him fattened up.