Description: Nazrullah- Experienced 2 ** Thoroughbred Gelding,12 years old standing 16.1HH that has been shown Canada /USA at the Intermediate and Two Star Level. He is a brave, uncomplicated horse to show and he truly loves his job. Watch his cross country technique and you can see he is confident, super tight formation, doesn’t pull his rider and safe with no-stop in him. His jumping is very good with easy changes as well as his dressage is lovely, easy lateral work and smooth to sit the transitions.
Nazrullah is destined to be a young rider horse or is suitable for an amateur that is looking for a superb horse to move up the ranks with ,that is safe ,sane and sound.
March 2011- Poplar Place –placed 13 out of 31 riders-CC2**
April 2011-Ocala Florida –placed 16 out of 33 riders-CC2**
Due to financial owner constraints he is showing in Canada only in 2012
Full video footage can be seen on www.premierhorseconnection.com
Price: $60,000 CDN Location: Alberta,Canada Contact: Call Maryian Moore for further details at 1-780-405-6110
Ruth Armstrong, owner of VDL Ulando H, was kind enough to share the personal side of Ulando with us. I cannot imagine how awful it must be to go through this heartbreak of losing a horse so close to you. Ruth, of Armstrong Farm in Mono, Ontario, is a warmblood breeder for sport disciplines. Originally from the UK, she has been in Canada for 18 years, and has over 30 years experience with horses in Europe and North America. She has competed internationally in show jumping and FEI 2* level eventing. Her husband Morley Armstrong, an active Lt Colonel in the Canadian forces, works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the busy farm on track. Ruth's daughter Tiffany (age 12) has started her eventing career and is becoming a big help around the family run farm. Ruth is also the Ontario president of the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association and a National Managing Director. A busy woman: mom,coach, competitor, wife AND a breeding farm....
Armstrong Farm stands several stallions, including Frenchman, Ilian de Taute, VDL Ulando H, Holburg, and frozen semen by Beau Regarde and Tango Selune. Michael Pollard's exciting new stallion Querdolan Vitarel (currently in the UK with Bettina Hoy) will be a new addition. Ruth also bred and produced the stallion P.S. I Love You, top Canadian stallion and now a top west coast derby hunter star.
Thank you so much for your touching tributes of Ulando. My heartfelt condolences to Michael and the Pollard team on their loss of Icarus and Jude. Also hats off to Katie who like the trooper she is handled this horrendous situation long distance for me with tact and compassion. Thank You.
You all know the talents of this horse but I thought I would share a little bit of the "person" he was.
VDL Ulando H was my special boy coming to me with some confidence issues. I spent a few years re-starting him and teaching him to believe in himself and to trust me. At first I often wanted to take him in my arms and say "Let's have a watch TV and chill day" ...my daughter Tiffany would have had no problem but my husband Morley..... not so keen having Ulando parked next to us on the sofa!
From the white eyed, white sweaty creature that did not want to play...you and I, my boy, came along way in these last 6 years.
It took at few years of patience and lots of in hand work for Ulando to go to a fence without a stop or a wriggle, and then he suddenly started to blossom and the ribbons mounted. He had the most enormous jump, it was like being launched...you never felt lift off but you always knew you were in flight and then--boom--the back end bascules... and he would do dressage all day as he loved it, and he owned the dressage ring.
I have so many wonderful and hilarious memories to draw on: John Holling in a dressage lesson asking me for more, more, more till I could barely breathe with exhaustion; and he would be sipping his drink...cool as cucumber, and I ...a soaking wet chewed string, and he would say, "Not bad, he's straight now!" With Garry Roque jump schooling me while he pinged me to the top of the standards, and he would take a puff on his cigarette with a huge grin and in his slow drawl would say, "Well, honey your still on and he's happy...come around again."
I fractured my back a few years ago for the second time and his athletic jump was a bit hard on the painkillers; so when the jumps got higher and so did Ulando keep getting higher, I asked my friend and horseman Robin Walker to take him for a spin around HITS. I had complete faith that Robin would listen to me in how Ulando needed to be ridden and still remain in the tack! Fingers and legs were oh so crossed! As I pulled Ulando off my trailer I was telling Robin that he is a bit explosive over the fences...I laughed till it hurt watching Robin in the ring clear everything by an extra three feet and the look I got when he came out of the ring said several thousand words, in only the way Robin can say them... I almost died laughing and I still see that face to this day.
Ulando was both loving and mischievous . He would not keep his blankets on, he'd tip over his buckets and poop in his water buckets, pull my hair elastics out, and steal your drinks: he could drink out of a pop can or a beer can....though I do think he preferred beer. My 12-year-old daughter Tiffany could lead him around like a puppy and yet with me he could have a day where he would be a fire-breathing, piaffing dragon to his paddock and you would shout at him and he would say, "But I was only playing"..and give you his tongue. On more than one occasion I had turned him loose in his paddock, closed the gate, and I was almost at the house gate to find him behind me…laughing as only he could do. Ulando was all about knowing him as a person , gaining his trust and love that was his key, all the talent was there naturally and he never forgot anything good or bad.
The last event he won with me I lost my stirrups coming to a coffin and he put in a trot step to a brush and an invisible ditch and picked his own way all the way through, and for the very first time was flag hunting. Then he started to drag me around the courses ,that brought tears to my eyes knowing he was now a true and very real competitor. Last year, June 2011, I made the decision that he was indeed ready to be an international horse and gave Karl Slezak the ride. I was stressed because he was picking at his food and when I went to see him he just put his head in my arms and breathed a big sigh…as if to say "OK mom you still have me and love me, all is cool." His voracious appetite returned and Karl and I were happy. Karl loved riding Ulando and we had a dream to try for the Canadian team and he did a fantastic job in the 8 months that he rode him with many accolades to their names, including winning their first Advanced in a very strong field and thus proving my belief in Ulando, but the gods were against us and he sustained a minor injury.
Ulando's legacy have proven to be winners from free jumping classes, cup classes, and are just making their debut successfully in the event and jumper & dressage rings. I have two particularly spectacular young ones with a Burggraaf dam line which I hope to see Michael up on. Luckily I have a solid bank of frozen semen which is of excellent quality so business will be as usual for breeding. Info at www.armstrongfarm.com.
Michael had always admired Ulando and an exciting business partnership was struck. Michael loved Ulando and he was the one horse in the barn that he personally did up from start to finish, he knew and understood the key to Ulando was to have him love you back,to be his security blanket. Once you had that he would give you his all and more. That meant a lot to me. It is particularly devastating to us both that we did not get the opportunity to see them develop together. With all my heart I believe they would have been a dominating force.
Thank You to everyone who new and loved or had Ulando in their lives , and another huge thank you to the eventing community.Your support has helped me through this black time it truly means much. Ulando will rest forever at Michaels but we will remember him here with love and pleasure.We must all look to the horizon and pray for a fairer weather future.
R.I.P VDL Ulando H I was proud to be your person xox
Candian Warmblood approved Dutch bred stallion by Corland /Fanietta /Ahorn
Ulando, photo by Andrew Bailini
Ulando loves dressage in the mud
Ulando and Ruth
Ulando and Robin Walker, photo used with permission
In what seems like a very long time ago, we introduced a monthly series of reader-submitted training tips presented by SmartPak. We got a bit busy with Rolex, #FantasyBadminton, Jersey Fresh, and other recent events. But never fear, we are back to bring the best advice for you, by you, Eventing Nation. This month's featured tip comes from Emily Mungovan, who will receive a $150 gift certificate to SmartPak.
My trainer always encourages us to sit down at the canter rather than stand in equitation on the flat. She forces us to do this by competition in group lessons. She will give me and a friend each one of her gloves. We have to sit on the gloves at the sitting trot and the canter, seeing who can hold the glove between our butt and the saddle for longer. This works especially well on rainy days when my trainer tells us we'd better not get her gloves all muddy by letting them drop to the ground! These pictures show how beneficial this activity is for making you stronger and better at sitting to the canter.
If you have a training tip, exercise, or advice to share, write it down and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "SmartPak" in the title. Diagrams, photos, and/or video are encouraged! We will select at least one entry each month from our pool of emails to feature on the site and each month's winning author will receive a $150 SmartPak gift certificate.
Not only is Suzie Harrison a local Advanced event rider, she's also an Elementary School Teacher, a wife and teaches pony club, and having been friends with her on facebook, and a fan of her blog for some time I was intrigued and delighted to finally meet her in person last weekend at May-Daze. Yes, she is as energetic and positive as I'd imagined, and with as much as she fits into her days she needs to be! Yes, she is one determined individual - against the advice of her coach,mother, husband and just about everyone else, she bought Frankie (above), at the time, a just turned five year old OTTB hot chestnut mare with uveitis and impaired vision in her left eye.
Fast forward seven years and Lets Be Frank (the mare's show name) has taken Suzie round her first CCI*, CCI** and Advanced tracks, and she's making plans for some summer training with Jan Byyny, Richland CIC Horse Trials, and the Fair Hill CCI*** this autumn. Their journey is by no means without it's bumps in the road, but Suzie has learnt from her mistakes and continues to steadily improve, and most importantly to enjoy her eventing, and luckily for us, chronicle the ups and downs so we can ride along with her. Honest and funny, she's the perfect teacher turned pupil, analysing her competitions and then putting them behind her and moving on.
Suzie keeps her horse at the breathtaking Donamire Farm (if you've seen Dreamer or Sympatico you'll know how lucky she is!) and trains alongside fellow eventer Maggie Sharp who attends UK. With an all- weather and a turf track, an arena and full set of jumps, miles of hacking, a hill gallop as well as access to a pool, small wonder that Suzie told me with a laugh that she arrived at her first CCI** last year with almost too much horse, "She got a 79 in the dressage, and it was that moment where I really felt like she was about to jump out! That's the fittest I'd ever had her, and I feel like at that point in time she didn't really know what to do with herself. We let her down in the winter a little and then re-conditioned her again for Pine Top, and she's been much easier to manage this time around." For the record they were one of only five double clears cross country in the CCI**, and Suzie told me with a wry smile that Frankie felt and jumped great on Sunday too.
The back of the Team Frankie T-Shirts
Frankie, who was sold as a yearling at Keeneland and raced until she turned four, started about 17 times and even won a couple of races before finding her niche with Suzie. To help fund her summer and autumn campaign Suzie has designed and is selling these Team Frankie T-shirts (above), and we have four to give away in a competition. Suzie will pick the funniest of your captions submitted after the closing date, next Monday,4th June at midnight - we have one small, two mediums and one large, please state which size you would prefer if you win.
To win one of the T-Shirts, please submit, in the comments section below, your own "Let's Be Frank" Rule or Saying, similar in style to the ten on the back of the t-shirt above, or one applicable to any horse, or horse that you have loved! Sorry not to have made that clearer initially, Go Frankie and Go Eventing!
"She definitely has been the horse of a lifetime"
You can hear my interview with Suzie on this week's episode of the Eventing Radio Show. Many thanks to Suzie for her time, and wishing her the very best of luck during the rest of the season. Go Team Frankie and Go Eventing!
Check out this great course walk video of the Tattersalls CCI3* course courtesy of our friends Mike and Trish Ryan of Donegan Ryan Eventing. In this video Mike and Trish are aided with guest appearances by New Zeland's Mark Todd (perhaps you have heard of him) and Ireland's Mark Kyle.
Held just north of Dublin, Tattersalls is one of Ireland's premier events. The Tattersalls website is kind enough to point out that Tattersalls is located at Latitude 53 degrees, 29'05.2" North and Longitude 6 degrees, 28'40.2" West. Ruth Edge of Great Britain leads the CCI3* after the dressage with Rogersdale. William is second with Bay My Hero.
Description: Oskar is a 7 yr. old, 17.3hh Hanoverian/ Holstein gelding. He's coming along very well in his training, still green, but shows tons of potential & always aims to please! He is brave, athletic and extremely sound. His flatwork is coming along nicely and he's very eager to learn! He's been out XC schooling BN/N level quite a bit and absolutely loves it, water, ditches & banks.
He is very kind & quiet, hacks out alone or in company. Would be suitable for an experienced rider willing to give him the time & attention he needs to reach his true potential. Owner is going off to college, so a good home is a must!
Oskar will start showing this summer & price will increase with more training & show experience.
Adjectives: Athletic, Honest, Willing
Price: $10,000 Location: Mt. Airy, MD Contact: Taylor @ email@example.com or Kristen @ KPEventing@aol.com
My inspiration, Penny (not a photoshopped belly, I swear)
As somebody who spends a lot of time on trot sets, hours of walking fitness, and general boredom by myself in the barn, I've become a podcast devotee. I will gladly talk your ear off about how I nerd out with NPR shows like This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and Fresh Air. I listen to TED, which if you aren't familiar, seriously, get with the program. In my daily iPod adventures, I stumbled across a really fascinating piece by Malcolm Gladwell about the dog whisperer, Cesar Milan. You know, the guy with the TV show about taming uncontrollable mutts (and also their equally ridiculous owners) with a simple gesture and seemingly apparent fairy dust. He can take dogs who kill other dogs, or dogs who bite humans, and rehabilitate them effortlessly. He just seems to have "the touch", and holds a deeper understanding of the canine communication system than your average human.
Of course, in the horse world, we are all familiar with the idea of horse whispering. Robert Redford brought the romanticized notion into every American living room with his movie, Monty Roberts visited the Queen of England, and recently the movie Buck was released (ironically Buck Brannaman was the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer). All of these people have been touted as having magical and untouchable powers to communicate with horses. They see things that we can't see, and somehow fix them in a shockingly short amount of time. They throw a wild horse in a round pen, and within an hour they've got it cantering around with a man on it's back like it's no big deal. So, what's the secret? How do people like Cesar Milan and Buck Brannaman have "the touch" and the rest of us just can't seem to grasp what our horses are telling us?
I discovered something called Laban Movement Analysis through the podcast about the dog whisperer because they brought in a specialist to watch videos of him interacting with dogs with the sound off. They found that his body language was unconsciously conveying calmness and obedience to the dogs through simple movements. The analysts were unbelievably impressed with Cesar's fluidity and stability, and mentioned that he seemed to be dancing with the dogs, instead of moving out of sync as most of us do.
LMA is a system that provides a framework for observing and understanding human movement most commonly used by dancers, actors, athletes, physical and occupational therapists. In general, we understand that the vast majority of signals that we send to each other during interactions are nonverbal. Our facial expressions are obviously highly important to conveying emotions, but also our gestures and our body language can express so much more than our words. If it is so important to humans, when we fill the space with sounds and words and still find so much information in body language, can you imagine how many signals we are unconsciously sending to our horses?
That's the smirk of a very satisfied child, having successfully tamed the wild beast
When I was three, I got a shetland pony named Penny. My mom had two other horses on the farm, and although Penny was clearly the boss of me, she was second in the pecking order out in the field. After putting up with a few years of being trampled, dragged about, and generally ignored by this fat little thing, I decided no more! I did my own five-year-old version of movement analysis, and went and sat in the field and observed the horses interacting with each other. I knew that my mom's mare, Lady, was the absolute boss. Lady got to the water first, she decided where they went in the field, and she definitely didn't take any guff from Penny. I discovered that Lady wasn't a brute or a bully though, she simply had certain ways of asserting her domination through gestures and postures. Although I couldn't go and pin my ears back and make a nasty horse face, I could certainly learn something from these basic body language cues. I figured out simple things, like poofing up my chest and stamping my feet could convey my serious intentions, and how approaching a pony sideways while looking elsewhere could trick them into being caught.
I am by no means claiming to be a horse whisperer myself, but I never forgot the lesson that first pony taught me. When baffled by behavior, first observe, then use their language as best you can. Sometimes our interactions with our animals are akin to shouting at a person who doesn't speak English: a little ridiculous. We forget to pause our normal reactions and think about how many unconscious signals we are sending with our bodies, and I think this is a great shame. The vast majority of "misbehaviors" that we find in our horses are truly just miscommunications.
When we find people who understand this, and have "the touch," what do we do? We give them a TV show, like Cesar, or a movie, like Buck. We fly them out to our farms and make them teach clinics, watch their every move and try to figure out what it is that makes them so much better at understanding. So, Eventing Nation, next time you find yourself in a pickle, and you're facing your horse with a clear block in the road, take time to try to figure out what they are saying before you bombard them with your usual repertoire of tricks. What does their body say to you? What can you say back to them? Channel your inner Cesar, your inner horse whisperer, and you'll find a whole new realm of comprehension.
Good Morning Eventing Nation! I hope your week has been going well so far, whatever it may have entailed! Well, with Memorial Day now past us, we can all finally put on our white shorts and get the summer of 2012 started! It feels like this spring has already gone by so quickly, before we know it, it'll be time for the Olympics! With all the talk, excitement, and speculation surrounding the Olympics in our sport, we can't forget about all the other sports coming together at the Summer Games. My favorites to watch have always been Synchronized Swimming and Diving, and then of course all the Gymnastics. What are your favorite Olympic sports to watch? It's always fun to cheer on your own players in your sport of choice, but it's also fun and patriotic to catch a glimpse of what the rest of the world is cheering for!
So let's get started with the news this morning, the most important of which being the 'Saving UNH' article on the USEA website written by Suzanne Adams. So if you are even the slightest bit involved in the horsey blogosphere, you'll know that in the past month or so, there has been a pretty substantial outcry from the horse community regarding the Agricultural part of the University of New Hampshire and a potential plan of the school to sell some of the land designated for equine use. The loss of the land would be a huge hit to the equestrian community in New Hampshire and greater New England, as the school hosts two yearly horse trials and a variety of other equine events. It's a complicated situation and I'm not doing a great job of describing it in the best of detail but Suzanne wrote a very good Cliff's Notes version which I have quoted below:
"The Problem - NH State budget cuts reduced funding to the University by $48 million. UNH developed a Campus Master Plan (CMP) which originally planned to lease out lands used by the Agriculture/Equine/Life Sciences programs for commercial development to bridge some of the shortfall. That means RETAIL stores - think Big Box Stores.
The Outcry - Two public meetings were held. Over 600 people attended and the support against this development was astounding. As a result of this outcry, the Master Plan Steering Committee changed the language to "limit" potential development in these areas. "Limit" does not mean no commercial development
More of the Problem - The public meetings were contentious and the Master Plan Steering Committee along with the Consultants were caught unprepared for such a reaction from the community. Now, they meet quietly until the next public release. There are Plans to move the Equine program in order to make way for commercial/business development eliminating the current facilities (parts of the cross-country course, stabling, paddocks, farm buildings, indoor and stadium jumping course)."
So in short, if you have a few minutes in your day and the kindness in your heart to help out the New Hampshire event community, Suzanne has listed the names of several key people to email, asking them kindly to revise their plans of Big Box Store-dom. [SAVING UNH]
The Tattersall Horse Trials in Ireland are set to begin today, with some key names of European eventing to take part. Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, William Fox-Pitt, and a whole host of British heavy hitters will be making the trip to contest the CIC*** course. The article uses the term 'Fringe riders', saying they will be in plentiful supply this weekend and meaning those riders that are at the brink of selection for the Olympics should something go wrong with one of the more veteran pairs, with the idea being that they need to keep impressing the selectors with good results during this crucial time. [Stuff NZ]
Speaking of Olympic Dreams, sadly young British phenomenon Laura Collett is realizing hers probably won't come true this year. After a dissapointing weekend at Saumur two weekends ago with a stop and fall at the 25th fence with veteran Rayef, Collett conceded on hr blog that the timing for this year's Games just hasn't been quite right and she will now look towards the 2016 Games in Rio as the goal. [Wiltshire Times]
British Event rider Ruth Edge, is saying goodbye to her home and stable of eleven years and moving 200 miles south to her own yard. She's been based with long standing owners Ann and Hugh Lawson, but feels it's now time to venture off on her own. Congratulations to Ruth on her new purchase, but I certainly don't envy the amount of heavy labor they will be doing to fix up the yard and add a few additions before being able to truly call it home! [Horse and Hound]
The Chronicle is celebrating it's 75th Anniversary this year, so each week staffers will take a look back in history to remember some of the key highlights of each decade. This week looked back at the Fifties, where the big subjects of interest and debate were things like the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki-- it was to be the first Games where the US sent a Civilian team instead of a Military one, which was a subject that came under much debate and criticism and debate. [COTH]
It's time to check in with USEA blogger Katie Wherley! She has a great weekend at Jersey Fresh and is looking forward to the rest of what the season may bring. [Katie Blog]
Description: Uliza Jane is a turning 8 year old Holsteiner mare that has competed very successfully through Training. She has been 1st once and 2nd 3 times in the 8 trainings (with 2 others being in the top 4) she has done and is being geared towards the AECs and moving up to Preliminary. She has been with me since she was a 3 year old and its time to sell her with two more of her siblings coming along and I cant ride 5 horses and complete vet school! She is very consistent on the flat with her scores ranging from low 20s through the 30s. She is super brave XC and nothing phases her- ditches, full coffins, water, banks, skinny fences- but she also remains rideable throughout the course. She is careful, listens in SJ, and she is fun to ride- her trot is quite comfortable and her canter is powerful and balanced. She needs to go to a home that wants to succeed and show, but still wants a pet because she has been one her entire life- the home is a huge consideration with her. She has been with me down in Auburn where I do everything by myself and she is fine to be done by a family or adult amateur that has little help on the ground (she self loads, clips, pulls mane, eats treats really well). We love this mare, but it is time she finds her own person~
Adjectives: Powerful, Careful, Scopey
Price: $50,000 Location: Nicholasville, Kentucky Contact: Marty Whitehouse (859)361-7434 firstname.lastname@example.org (*After July 1 only by email as will be out of country for a month*)
Youtube: type in mtwhit4 in the search for all of her videos for the last 2 years (will be titled with Uliza)
Flower Alley, above, has seen his popularity as a sire sky rocket as his most famous son heads towards a possible historic Triple Crown next weekend; already "one of the best racehorces" of his year when he retired he'd been attracting a nice book of mares, but now with his offspring I'll Have Another winning this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and a couple of other high profile runners doing well, his schedule has become jam-packed, and his book for next year is filling up quickly. Lucky then that a) he's an out and out workaholic, and b) he happens to be retired at Three Chimneys Farm where everything is conducive to the happy horse.
The stallions at Three Chimneys typically spend about 15-17 hours a day outside in their lush paddocks, just being horses, but unlike most other top class TB breeding farms, they are also ridden daily by Brian Van Steenberg, an exceptional eventer turned track rider who found his spot here about a dozen years ago and never left. Compact and strong, but with soft hands, a sympathetic mind and gentle heart you couldn't find anyone better suited to ride these unbelievably valuable, fit, strong, independent individuals! Brian very kindly talked to us in between sitting on War Chant and Flower Alley; he had a short break because Flower Alley was squeezing in a quick breeding before his ride, such is his popularity these days!
Brian on War Chant (as someone who grew up never even schooling without carrying a whip "just in case" I was very impressed that Brian doesn't feel the need to have one on any of his rides), and LOOK at his face! He hummed and chatted to the stallions constantly and had a real connection and rapport with each one. Brian admitted that Big Brown was the most athletic horse he's ever ridden, "I have never, ever been carried through space as effortlessly as on this horse, he makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. He's like a Ferarri, you just push the button, he's incredible." Jen Roytz, marketing and communications director told me some stallions already have a reputation in the show world, "We try to keep up with a lot of our stallions' offspring after the track in their second careers and we have a gallery on our facebook page dedicated to them. War Chant is a really pretty mover, and he's got suspension which can sometimes be harder to come by in Thoroughbreds fresh off the track so we get people calling all the time asking if we have any sons or daughters of War Chant that are ready for second careers, or if we could help them find one. The same thing with Point Given, he's very popular too for eventing or the hunter/jumper circuit." It's no secret that Eventing Nation is a big fan of the OTTB as event horse, and I am definitely a fully paid up member of that club. At this year's Rolex CCI**** 21 of the horses competing were ex-racehorses including the winner Parklane Hawk who ran in New Zealand, and indeed at the 2010 Alltech FEI WEG held at the Kentucky Horse Park Caroline Powell's mount Mac MacDonald had direct ties to Three Chimneys Farm
With some 400 horses on Three Chimneys obviously not everyone can be at the Belmont, but there will be a big party at the farm to watch the race and celebrate no matter the outcome. A win, no doubt, would be fantastic, not just for all of I'll Have Another's extended connections, but for the sport in general.
Three Chimneys must be applauded for their thoroughbred after-care programme; they are very open about trying to place any horse connected to the farm in a second career or long term home once it has been retired from racing. Jen Roytz, who is charged with co-ordinating the efforts, explained what it entails:
"We try to keep our eyes out for any horse that has passed through our gates as they're coming to the end of their racing career. When they're by our stallions it's actually easier then you'd expect because we get auto-generated reports of where every offspring of each stallion is running on any given day. We'll just start keeping our eyes on the ones at the lower levels, maybe making a call or two to trainers, and in a lot of cases if they're thinking about retiring the horse and don't have options in mind, it's as simple as providing them with a list of reputable after-care associations, or people who are looking for horses that fit that description - it's often that easy. Also we have a really good network of equine advocates around the country so when horses end up in an at-risk situation, like for example New Holland or Sugar Creek or one of these livestock auctions in a kill pen, we'll get a call to let us know and then we work very quickly and quietly behind the scenes to make sure we get that horse out of that situation and into a better one; every horse's situation is a little bit different so we just help to facilitate it in the best way possible. Social media, like facebook and twitter, has also helped us tremendously"
Unfortunately, Three Chimneys has been susceptible to people trying to take advantage of their generosity, which is perhaps why some other farms are less open about their own advocacy, "If it's a horse that was bred by Three Chimneys or owned by Three Chimneys at one time, maybe that means we pay the bail to get that horse out and into a safe long-term home. If it's a horse that's by one of our stallions but we didn't breed or own it, then we contact the breeder or the horse's previous connections and help them facilitate getting that horse out and basically do all the legwork for them. The bottom line is we're quick to react and in these situations, many times it's 'save the horse and figure out the logistics later. We're really lucky that the clients we have here at Three Chimneys share the same mindset that we do which is really lucky for us - they feel the same way. If a horse that they've ever been connected to ends up in a bad situation they won't stop at anything to help, but sometimes all they need is a little bit of guidance, someone to walk them through the process."
Jen modestly explains that many people are very intimidated by the prospect of re-homing racehorses and assume that it will become a long term expense and liability but often that's not the case; in a lot of instances, she says, it's just a matter of making phone calls and connecting the dots.
I couldn't have been more impressed with every single aspect of the farm - from the immaculate barns and presentation, to the personal touches - there's a picture drawn by Hope, the little girl who's become I'll Have Another's good luck mascot via the Make a Wish Foundation, pinned outside Flower Alley's stable; she'll be going to the Belmont and hopefully be celebrating for a third time next weekend. An enormous thank you to Jen for extending the invitation and showing me round, to Brian for chatting, and to Three Chimneys for their unparalleled excellence, but especially for showing the world the caring face of horse-racing. Go I'll Have Another, all the way to the Triple Crown, and Go OTTBs Eventing!