Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dallas Roses to Ribbons

The Paddock Foundation held our third Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair at Lone Star Park on July 15.  As I am the coordinator of the event, I explained to Silk and Eliot they would both be getting some time off so I could help their friends at the race track.  As Silk has turned into Eliot's chew toy, the timing of this vacation for them couldn't have been better.  Silk is sporting several bites, courtesy of Eliot all in the saddle area.

The Dallas Roses to Ribbons is generally the largest of the three events and we were hoping for a good turnout for this year's Lone Star horse fair.  The success is largely dependent on good weather.  I watched the forecast with an anxious eye.  Rain appeared to be on the way.

I arrived early at the track and did a quick walk through the barns answering last minute questions from the trainers. Everything seemed on go.  I had two volunteers to check horses in and assign hip numbers in the stable area and an additional volunteers to keep track of the horses as they left the paddock to keep track of who sold and who didn't.

The vendors arrived for the event and started unpacking in the saddling paddock.  The more unpacking that happened the thicker the clouds became.  We decided to move all the vendors under a covered area just in case the rain came.

The rain did come, just as the horses came into the paddock area.  Fortunately, it wasn't too heavy and we had a good number of prospective buyers come despite the wet weather.

I have personally purchased two horses now through Roses to Ribbons.  As I currently have one empty stall left at home, it was with some difficulty that I restrained myself from picking up one more.  As we all know, an empty stall needs to be filled.

By the end of the day, half the horses presented had found new homes and new careers.  Twelve sales that day were completed and there was one more pending.  Roses to Ribbons has now lead to the re-homing of nearly 100 thoroughbred race horses.  Those are the kind of numbers that make the volunteer hours all worthwhile.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Back in the Saddle - Part 2

After almost three weeks off due to oral surgery and vacation, I went to pick up Silk and Eliot and bring them back home.

I decided to ride Silk there before we brought him home so I could enjoy the luxury of a round pen.  Silk was his usual pleasant self when I got him out to tack him up.  I warmed him up on the lunge line before climbing on.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable ride.  Within the confines of the round pen he was very relaxed and we were able to work on developing and maintaining a consistent pace as well as some walk trot transitions.  I was very pleased with how he went.

We packed up both horses and brought them home.  They seemed to be glad to be back in their home pasture and back to their usual home routine.  I wondered how much of my round pen ride would translate into riding in my open arena.

For the next ride, I spent plenty of time lunging him and he went very well.  I got on and was very happy with the ride.  For the first time, I felt comfortable using the whole arena.  He was relaxed and much steadier with his head.  We could work on staying straight on the sides of the arena and across the diagonal.  I was even able to sneak in a little work going to the right (his much stiffer direction) without it worrying him.

The next two rides were good as well.  Still occasional head rooting but not as much as before.   Silk will not walk quietly and patiently when I first get on with no anticipation of faster work.  This seems like a big breakthrough.  Each ride I am able to add a little more work to the right.

It seems like maybe he is figuring out that I am not going to ask him to run.  Although he says he is still very willing to run if I were to ask him.  He is starting to ride more like a green horse rather than a racehorse.  His personality is outstanding.  He has never tried to do anything mean or dirty.  He is somewhat reactive but that seems to be improving as well.  He is getting easier to ride every time.

It looks like Silk will have a bit of a break again.  I will be going to Dallas to put on the Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair at Lone Star Park.  I will be home for a few days then off to Corpus Christi for a friends birthday party.  So Silk will have more days off than on in the next two weeks.

The next blog update will be on the Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair.  I hope to help lots of horses on to their next career.