I think most of my “regulars” know about the new-new horses (that would be newer horses than the last new horses… confusing? possibly… let me e’splain).
So first there was Noorah (Heavenly Pursuit)
Which lead to Bridget (Bridget’s Sequel)
Which lead to Razen (Brazen Action)
Which lead to Paris (Perserverance)
And then I found out about the Fingerlakes Trainer Listings.
Which lead to….
Fame (Out for Fame)
And Lucy (LucyLucy was not on the Fingerlakes listing, but was owned by the same trainer as Fame)
And Diva (Dance for Fashion)
And Jen (Regally Jen)
And ??? (Sugar Crane)
In a nut shell, I’m all horsed out… but loving it 🙂
Building on our excellent experience with Heather down in Georgia at A Pinch of Luck, we decided to try our hand at a “for real” OTTB. So my quest for 1 horse (for myself) turned into 2 horses when Fame’s trainer sent me pics of Lucy (she’s my gamble… more on her later) and I knew that even if she didn’t work out for me she could possibly be a broodmare for a couple different friends. Then M found Diva, then Jen and her pony-clubber good lucks found a spot on the trailer and then at literally the very last moment Sugar Crane jumped on board too.
Wow! I was a little overwhelmed trying to coordinate 3 different teams of people (that I don’t really know) from nearly 900 miles away… but it was almost fun watching it all come together! I think it took about a week of coordinating to get everything ready and suddenly we had horses on the road!! And the shipper calling to tell us that the horses would be delivered at 1am on Monday morning! 1am!! WOW! I have to say I was a nervous wreck from the time I found out that they were on the road… We were having gusting winds, the temps had plummeted down to the upper teens and when I checked the weather at 12:45am (15 mins before the horses arrived) we were 10 degrees colder than the racetrack in NY! EEK!
But then the truck arrived and all my nervousness melted away as the driver was professional and friendly, even though we are very much an atypical farm (no big barn) and prepared to unload the horses. The horses came off the truck, bright eyed and curious, sniffing and blowing at all the new sounds and smells. There were a few squeals as Jen was lead away from Diva, but the handler (I’m so sorry I can’t remember his name) was calm and assertive with her and she settled right back down. The driver (Mert? Bert? Oh I wish I could remember his name!) was quick to talk about how each horse had traveled, pointing out that Fame had been a bit of a bully and that Sugar Crane had been blanketed at her home farm. He also revealed that he had worked with Sugar Crane in the past and told me about her racing career and some of her personality. It was obvious that she was fond of him as she laid her big head against his chest and closed her eyes as he rubbed her ears. It was almost a surreal moment, standing in my driveway at 1:30 in the morning with new horses and listening to him talk to Sugar Crane about her racing career while we waited on Jim to fetch her blanket from in the house. Very nice moment really.
So anyway, the horses were settled into their new digs quickly and the drivers were back on the road in less than an hour! I was entirely too keyed up to think about sleeping and had to brave the freezing weather to go out and look at the new horses about 10 times before I finally started fading around 3:45am!
And then after the briefest power nap, I was back up at 7 to go check on how the girls and Fame had fared through the night. And happily they were all still there and all still happily munching on hay. The morning light gave us an opportunity to really look at everybody and I have to say I continue to be pleased with them 🙂
Fame is more of a tank in person than I ever could’ve imagined from his pics! He has birdcatcher spots along his shoulders and on his face and has a bit of roaning across his back and neck… even a bit of “skunking” in his forelock but not his tail. His last race was on December 4th so he’s still very much on track time. Every morning, between 6 and 7, he does a few exercise laps around his pen and then waits for his breakfast. He is very routine oriented and it is taking a little patience to let him decompress from track life. He’s a fairly affectionate boy and I think he’ll be a snuggler once he’s brain slows down. He is a little uncertain about all this rubbing and scratching and treat feeding but is willing to give it a go… for at least 5 or 10 minutes 🙂
Lucy is my sad girl, a fair bit underweight, but eager to please… She has pretty notable hoof problems that will begin the road to recovery on Monday when my farrier comes out. She evidently also has some issues with her off fetlock (ankle) that we are dealing with as well and she is currently sporting standing wraps while hanging out in her paddock (trying to keep her up in a stall was a nightmare, although I did get to see her do a levade and a she trotted in place very nicely). Lucy is my secret favorite of this bunch simply because she tries so hard but is still so uncertain. She has an incredible OMG! face that is hard to resist and even when she gets herself in a pickle (like jumping into the chicken paddock) she trusts her humans enough to safely get her out.
Diva is M’s favorite… and M hates that we’ve dubbed the little grey mare “Diva” so that may well change in the future as M finds a more suitable name for her. Yet Diva is pretty much the best description for her! She is boss mare and doesn’t tolerate any miss-steps from her herd mates. Poor Lucy found out quickly that you don’t mess with the boss mare. Ever. I think Diva is all talk really though. She’s quite found of chin scratches and ear rubs. She loves peppermints and is pretty much the first one to the gate when she sees a person. She is very expressive with her ears, flicking them at the other mares, or outright penning them when she doesn’t like the way things are going. In the few days that she’s been here, we’ve seen her go from being constantly on edge (ears and teeth galore) to a much calmer mare that only occasionally feels the need to bring one of the “lesser mares” in line. I get the impression that she wants a job to channel her energy and stave off boredom so as soon as the weather clears we’re hoping to see how she does!
Jen is Diva’s henchman as they came from the same trainer and were herd mates at his farm. She isn’t nearly as bossy as Diva, and has impeccable manners in hand. I have found her to be a bit of sweetheart though, as she will stand all day long at the gate so long as someone will rub her ears or chin or scratch along her shoulder. She’s a good girl too and very sane on a lead. I lead her from one paddock to another and had to go past a bunch of scary things (baa-ing sheep, heat pump fan that came on, donkeys and poultry) and she never flicked an ear… she rolled an eye over at me to check out my reaction and once she saw that I wasn’t worried about the mayhem she just walked right on through! I think she’s going to be awesome!
And that leaves Sugar Crane. We haven’t come up with a barn name for her yet. She’s an interesting horse, very inquisitive and very fond of people. When we moved the horses from the side paddock to the back paddock we simply let her follow along and she was so funny! She walked ahead of us and then cut Jim off, sniffed the heat pumps as the fan blew in her face, investigated the basement door and an old bicycle, nosed around a bit everywhere and then quietly walked through the back paddock gate to munch a bit of hay. She’s just never very fired up about much, although we have seen her trot prettily around the paddock with the other horses, but she’s pretty much level headed and at ease wherever she’s located. Today she helped me wrap Lucy’s legs by keeping her nose two inches from where I was working the whole time. She was very opinionated about my lack of wrapping skills… she made me rewrap the one leg twice… I couldn’t leave it with her giving me the “you’re not going to leave it that way are you?” look. She’s definitely a very sweet girl and will be joining Jen and Diva in the riding rotation if all goes well.
So that’s the run down of the new-new horses. Lucy and Fame are going to take a while to come down from living at the track. Lucy will need time to heal and gain weight. Fame just needs time to reset his thinking as he’s still on track time. His last race was on December 4th in which he placed dead last… he was just letting them know he was ready for a new job 🙂
So anyway, I’ll be doing more updates as we progress along and if anybody has questions about getting a Fingerlakes horse please feel free to email me and I’ll put you in contact with all the right people 🙂
I highly recommend our shipper, Jody. As I said above, the horses arrived exactly when they specified and in excellent condition. I asked for the driver to call when they left the Interstate so I could make sure everything was ready for their arrival and they did, which was very nice considering the late hour. The driver (Seriously, I’m going to have to email to find out his name, again) was excellent at handling the horses and was eager to tell me bits about them (who was a bully, who had on blankets, etc)… all little tidbits that I, for one, greatly appreciated. And I seriously appreciated that neither of Jody’s drivers ever lit a cigarette the whole time they were here. I know that’s a weird thing to like, but I’m pretty tired of having a horse professional come out that thinks it’s perfectly ok to flick his/her butts wherever he/she pleases.
Working with Gaye (the volunteer who maintains the Fingerlakes listings) was pretty awesome. She fielded at least 50 calls just from me (I think, it may have been more!) and was ever calm and patient and helpful when I had a bizzillion questions. Thank you so much for putting your whole world on hold to help those of us so far away as well as those who were able to walk the backside and touch all the pretty noses. Maybe the birds will forgive us for keeping you from refilling their feeders… or maybe I owe you a bag of sunflower seeds for the turkeys 😉
So anyway… that’s it for now. Look for more posts nearer the weekend 🙂