Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not Much Happening in Ben's World

Sorry this blog has been a bit quiet. Ben is going through (another) growing phase - so I've been letting him be a horse out in the pasture with my girls. He does get occasional ground work and longeing session. Nothing really new to announce. He's doing well. He's sound. He's big. He's shiny. He's a total love bug.

Yesterday I took him out because he was giving me the "Laser Eyes" as I took each horse out and worked them. Ok Fine, Ben, you can have a session too. He proudly stood in the grooming bay, got all prettied up including getting his ears and bridle path clipped again, then I took him out on the longe. I was surprised to see his canter developed since the last time we tried, which was a few weeks ago, I think.  Its still not pretty- but he will pick it up, and keep it, and not get all nervous about it. His balance is improving. Good boy.

I don't have any new plans for him as it stands- just letting him grow up and physically mature. I will take him for rides here and there, but nothing strenuous or serious.We'll leave all of that for when his body has finally evened out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


 Why do horses end up at the auction?

Here is a little hint for you- it is not because they are broken, useless, no-good/crazy animals. Simply put, it is because their owners do not do the right thing by these horses.

A little story for you:

As a general course, I frequent Chronicle of the Horse Forums. There has been an ongoing thread about retired Standardbreds and where they go once their racing days are over. I posted about Ben, and found out some really shocking details.

I found out that Ben sold for a fairly high dollar at the yearling sale - so much so that the lady who was interested in him thought he was way out of her price range (I don't know the final $, but we're researching that).

I found out that Ben was expected to have HUGE potential.

I found out that in BC last year, there was some kerfuffel regarding standardbred racing, and a bunch of old-boys in that scene sold out and left for greener pastures, or just retired from racing entirely. Ben's owner also has a bunch of horses in Cali, and was headed down that way with a bunch of his stock. Ben did not make the cut, apparently, and was dumped.

<insert angry face>

I can only assume why Ben found himself at the auction. He had/has 2 old popped splints that are up high near his knee- one of which was freeze fired. Who knows how he got them- worked too hard too soon, perhaps? maybe he wacked himself with his opposite leg? who knows. Was injury the reason he didn't make it on the Cali-bound roster? Or maybe the owner didn't have the money to get him to Cali with the others? Its all speculation - but one thing we know for sure, Ben got a one-way ticket to the auction house.

But a little time off, tlc, and a chance to grow up - and he could've been given another go. Or he could've found a home. But instead, he went to auction, where he was damn lucky to get purchased by J & M Acres Rescue.

Ultimately he did find a home with me, and I found out that I got an amazing naturally talented gelding out of the deal. But what if J & M hadn't chosen him? What if they hadn't been there? 

Ben is a clear example that perfectly fine, even VALUABLE horses can land in the auction pen.

Lucky for Ben, he has a bright, shiny future ahead of him. He's the minority. So many of these horses don't get that chance.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ooo Ooo Pick Me! Pick Meeeee!!

When I got to the barn last night, the horses had already been turned in. I went down the aisle intended to get to the tack room to gather my things for Piper so I could tack up and take my lesson. Ben, though, put on a show! He was so intent on my picking him- doing everything in his power to get my attention in his direction.

If he had a voice, I'm sure it would've sounded something like this!

Ultimately I did not pick him, much to his dismay. My hip still needs Piper. But never fear, dear Ben, Saturday is all you and me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Official Measure

One thing is quite constant with Ben- his ability to hoover down food like he hasn't eaten in years. I know this is not true- but knowing how much he eats, you'd think he has a problem.

Well yesterday, I found that "problem".... Ben, as I suspected, is growing. He goes through these really awkward stages of looking lanky and young, then bulks up and begins to look like a mature horse. Well, we've been in one of those lanky stages. He's been getting so much food- I only had to assume he's using it some how.

Yesterday I brought out my measuring stick...and boy has been grown. When Ben came home, he was 15.2 hh(the 62" mark on the stick). Now, as you can see, he is just under 16- only 1/2" to go. 11/2 inches in height is pretty significant for a 3 year old.

In addition, I found someone on a local message board who knows standardbreds, particularly Ben's line, and was told they are late to mature and usually stop at around 5 or 6.

Ben is 3. We have a few years to go :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Onward We Go!

Deep breath- huge sigh of relief.

I've been blogging almost constantly about my achy hip and the fact that Ben's shape seems to oppose mine, thus causing great pain. This pain also causes me to ride like a complete greenhorn- no balance, no ability to actually move with the horse. Ugh, so frustrating.

And Alarming. Last week I discovered that the pain was 200 million times worse on Ben and virtually non existent when riding my mare. I thought that perhaps he and I just weren't a good match in body type. I decided to give us a little break, focus on just hanging out and doing light ground work in conjunction with me getting to my massage therapist to see what could be done.

Let me tell you first off- true massage therapy is really painful. Like it makes you want to puke and die kind of painful. Or maybe that is just me because my body is so out of whack.

The good news is that with pain, comes healing. After 2 sessions, I was able to ride my horses yesterday, including Ben. And the best part, is that he hardly hurt. I was able to trot. I could rise. I could sit, I could move. And all the while, Ben was a great sport.

It renewed my hopes that he and I will be good partners for life. I almost cried up there - just out of relief. I have my body back, and i can enjoy my horse. I have a long way to go in terms of healing, but I am now hopeful that it can and will happen.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Naughty Boy!

When the cat is away the mice will play, so they say.


Hubby and I went on a 4 day trip to Canada this weekend. Upon my return, I was told that Ben was naughty!

How so, you might ask?

Why...pawing at the fencing and ripping the tape down, and cutting his leg in the process.

Naughty Ben!

The cut isnt bad- very minor thing. But what a naughty boy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reality Check

So, as you all know from my more recent posts- I've been struggling with my left hip joint. It has been getting progressively worse. The past few rides have been nothing more than walking around the arena, no stirrups, hanging my leg trying to stretch it out, using Ben's movement to gently push the stretch.

I also bought a neck strap, actually, a racing yoke, to use on Ben, for the time being. Basically, his trot is very jarring. With my hip in so much pain, i can't hardly follow him. So I bought this tool so i have something to steady my hands on while i try to sort my leg out.

So last night, I tried using this - and boy what a difference it made for me. It also gave my hip an opportunity to pop - something popped during one of our trot sets, and WOW, did my hip feel much better after that!

I was able to ride a bit more, and it was really relieving. I could still feel pain, but it wasn't debilitating.

When I was done with Ben, I got on my mare, Piper. I've had Piper for just under a year- and I remember when riding her I thought she was incredibly bouncy and hard to ride- and was confirmed by other riders. Let me tell you, Ben makes Piper feel like a Cadillac! Not only that, I had no pain in my hip when riding her.

Of course, this served as a huge reality check for me. Ben is young, his stride is huge, and he's still quite unbalanced. I think my body cannot flow with his really well yet. So I am going to change my plan for his training to focus on balancing him out first. Because there is really no point in trying to trot around when we can't do it right.