For 673 accepted trainers, the journey to the Retired Racehorse Project‘s 2019 RPP Thoroughbred Makeover is underway! Between now and the Makeover, to take place Oct. 2-5 at the Kentucky Horse Park, four of those trainers will blog their journeys, including their triumphs and their heartbreaks, successes and failures, for Eventing Nation readers. Read more from EN’s 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Bloggers: Lindsey Burns, Hillary McMichael, Clare Mansmann, Jennifer Reisenbichler.
Not sure where to start, so many miles have been traveled since my last rambling post. While some of those have been the internal miles of mental growth, I mostly just mean actual pavement traversed. The first week in May saw me, my dad, my cat, my 2016 Makeover horse (Slide Away), my 2018 Makeover horse (Shefightslikeagirl), and my 2019 Makeover hopeful (Midnight Caller) all pile in my rig and drive the over-1,800 miles from Phoenix, Arizona, to Georgia. Last year, the trip saw us lose an entire tire and wheel in the first three hours of driving, which caused a delay making us get to our overnight spot in Amarillo, Texas after 1 a.m. This year was thankfully smooth sailing.
Something about a new-to-me beautiful trailer. In case any of you reading this worry about your equine induced decision making skills, maybe don’t stop worrying, but know you’re not alone. That beautiful trailer, and my husband’s beautiful truck and trailer, were bought when we sold our house last year. Now if we have guests we can just ask them if they’d like the Exiss or the Four Star suite. Insert the laughing crying emoji.
The horses all traveled well, though it took desert raised Crash a couple weeks to realize that the lush green grass under his feet was good for eating. We arrived on a Tuesday and that Saturday saw me loading Crash back into the trailer for a quick trip to Stable View for some cross country schooling. He was unsurprisingly perfect. We started out in hand so that he could learn about all the things without any of my bad habits making it confusing. He stepped right over logs, up banks, down banks, and across ditches like an absolute champ. It took him a moment to figure out the water, though he may have just wanted to see me get my new tall boots soaking wet. After he had seen everything I climbed aboard and we did it all again.
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Two super stars two years in a row! I'm so thankful for #shefightslikeagirl helping me find my confidence again (and can't wait to get back to flying with her), it allowed me to give Crash a great first day on the xc field. He was so calm, brave, and sensible, I had trouble believing he just ran in his last race on March 23rd! We started in hand so that I could show him all the obstacles and then I climbed aboard and we did banks, ditches, and water! Other horses were galloping all around and Crash didn't even blink an eye. #ottb #midnightcaller #babytiz #tizbud #liveyourfairytale #retiredracehorseproject #tbmakeover2019 #airlineottb #fieldtripfriday #thankfulforeverything #doubleshothorses #dontletthemtameyou #ateliercg #darkjeweldesigns #thermotex #pulseequine #eventingnation #majykequipe
The course was packed with riders galloping in every direction and my little guy wandered around on the buckle like an old school horse. Then a week later, in classic horse fashion we made it onto #eventerfailfriday for an intense feat of uncoordination over ground poles. Oh baby horses.
I realize you might be wondering where Albert (Alpine Gathering) is in all of this. He was continuing to make progress in Phoenix, but I had hesitations about the pressures of getting ready for the makeover and of becoming a show horse not being the correct path for him. He was calming down and loosening up, but I just didn’t feel in my gut that it was the perfect direction for him. I decided to send him home to our farm in Idaho for some R&R, if ever a horse had earned unlimited time in grass pastures with mountains for a backdrop, it was him.
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The always handsome Alpine Gathering is headed home to Idaho for some well earned time just being a horse, eating grass at our farm. I will either bring him back into work in the autumn or we will find him the perfect family to live out his days with. This horse gave so much to so many people as a racehorse, I am thankful for the privilege of giving him the retirement be deserves. Love you Albert, have fun stretching your legs in a field instead of on the track. #ottb #alpinegathering #chestnutandfabulous #retiredracehorseproject #putthehorsefirst #relaxandeatgrass #liveyourfairytale #neverstoplearning #dontletthemtameyou #ateliercg #darkjeweldesigns #thermotex #eventingnation #doubleshothorses pc: MarcieD
Then, in that way that things seem to work out as they should, we found out a friend of my father-in-law’s was looking to get back into horses. She had loads of experience and chill goals like trail riding and light arena work, as well as teenage daughters ready with curry combs and treats. They went to the farm to meet Albert and immediately fell in love, seriously though how could you not!? So, Albert is living his best life, which is what I promised him, and our farm is always there for him to come back to when needed.
You also might be wondering how Slider, my 2016 Makeover horse, ended up in my trailer. I’ll tell you.
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Regardless of our score or placing Slider and I had a pretty fabulous time. Thank you for all of the love and support. Not only do I have wonderful memories from this amazing adventure, but I am even more aware of the amazing people I am surrounded by! #ottb #slideaway #rrp #thoroughbredmakeover #dressagehorse #ogilvyequestrian #antares #horzecresendo #onekhelmet #thebrownpony #pikeur #livethelifeyoulove #dream
I sold him after he competed at the Makeover to a great family — the daughter rode him in dressage, on trails, and over a few jumps. He had pony friends and was generally doted on and spoiled, lucky guy! Well his girl is off to college this fall and they contacted me to help find him his next amazing home. So we sorted out travel papers over the phone, and after pulling out of Phoenix before 4 a.m. I pulled into the farm Slider was at just after sunrise. We got him in the trailer and continued down the highway to Amarillo.
This was another one of those possibly equine induced decisions that seems to lack logic to the outside world, but to me it made perfect sense. Slider was a little shell shocked to get picked up by someone he hadn’t seen in well over two years and then make a three day trip with said person, but we got it done and he is turning back into the lovely dancing partner I remember. His sale ad will go live soon; keep your fingers crossed for me that the crazies stay in the woodwork and I just get to meet some awesome horse people in the process.
While we are playing horse catch up here, Hope (Here’s the Thing) is truly turning into an amazing trail horse. She looks great in western tack with that New Mexico backdrop, maybe I’ll take her for a spin in the mountains when I head west again in the autumn.
Are you also wondering how this west coast girl ends up summering (or is that simmering) in Georgia? Well that’s a long convoluted story, but condensed down it’s a matter of dreaming, believing, toiling, more believing, more toiling, and dreams coming true. And, most importantly, I have a best friend who also makes horse induced decisions, as well as a husband that believes in going after dreams as much as I do.