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Learning to Jump

As Oso learns to jump, I have made it my goal to challenge and help him progress while keeping him feeling confident and successful about his ‘job’. Some horses take to jumping easily and quickly, others take a bit longer to figure out how to jump. Oso is careful for the most part to keep his feet out of the way of the jump, and when we are able to maintain a good canter coming to the jump, he is simple to ride! Our biggest challenge is to continue to improve the consistency of balance and rhythm in Oso’s canter. We have worked on a few different exercises so far: trot poles for strength and coordination, canter poles on the ground to improve adjustability and jumps on the circle to improve suppleness. In the next week I am planning on working on Oso’s canter on the flat, (getting him to accept my leg and allow me to sit a little more deeply in the saddle) and hopefully start jumping through small grids!

 

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Making Progress…

June 4 2016 – I have tried to take a picture of Oso every few weeks or so to keep track of how he is developing. It is so much fun to see OTTBs go from race horse to performance/riding horse!

Oso March 11 2016Oso June 3 2016

The last few weeks with Oso have been filled with developing strength (and steering) in the canter and preparing for our first ‘field trip’ off the ranch. I am planning to take Oso over to our local show venue (Woodside Horse Park) in the next week or so. In preparation, we incorporated some new things into our daily rides. When starting a young OTTB, I like to develop a routine that stays relatively the same until the horse is comfortable with the basic requirements of being a riding horse. Horses appreciate a certain amount of predictability in their training. Since Oso now comfortably walks, trots, and canters quietly with focus, I have begun altering our rides slightly to introduce some new factors. I find the more new circumstances a young horse is exposed to, the calmer and more easily they handle new situations. We have started riding in the bigger, spookier ring, at different times of day, and have both started and ended on the trail during our rides. I am looking forward to seeing how Oso will handle trailering for a ride at a different location–stay tuned for our next update!

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Volunteers Attend Equine Symposium at UC Davis

Sophia-Katelyn UC DavisWe are extremely excited that two of our volunteers, Katelyn R. and Sophia C. were recently able to represent us at the Equine Symposium put on by UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. They spent a long, but extremely informative day, attending lectures on Disaster Preparedness, Equine Disease Prevention, Colic Prevention and Treatment, and an excellent presentation on Lameness – Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment. They will be sharing the materials received with the rest of the Bear Creek Stables team in Los Gatos, CA..

They were also fortunate enough to attend the afternoon lab session on Lower Limb Dissection working with a deceased horse with Wobblers
Sophia-Katelyn UC Davis3Syndrome. This was a very profound moment for these two young ladies, who plan to study animal science and equine medicine at college. Even with all the many detailed anatomy textbooks that are available trying to understand the dynamics of horse musculoskeletal systems, nothing can compare to spending an hour in a lab environment with an equine surgeon. They commented on the high caliber of teaching staff and senior level DVM students leading the presentations.
The day also included a tour of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and barns, spending time with the new born
foals that are part of the UC Davis breeding program, and meeting with VMTH Director, David Sophia-Katelyn UC Davis2Wilson.

We are happy we were able to provide these young ladies with this opportunity as it is a great learning experience for them working hands-on with the horses in our program.

Volunteers are the Heart of Neigh Savers Horse Rescue

BCS HS Vol2 GroupIt’s 8:30am on a Wednesday morning, typically a pretty quiet time of the day at Bear Creek Stables. But on this midweek morning, the silence is broken by a myriad of questions “How do I put the halter on?” “Can you show us different breeds of horses?” Where are the brushes kept?”

Students from Los Gatos High School are with us, learning basic horsemanship skills, and helping out with the daily care of the rescue horses in the Neigh Savers program at Bear Creek Stables. Most of these Freshman have never been this close to any horse, never mind a 1300 pound, retired racehorse, her back so tall, few in the group can see over it.

But Carabella helps out. She lowers her head so Ben can fasten the halter, and stands patiently while another student cleans her hooves. Nicknamed “Marilyn Monroe” Carabella loves the attention, and gladly poses for photos with the group. Then we work on some ground manners in a small arena. The students lead Carabella, taking turns, learning that the further the horse is away from you, the more control you have. Carabella’s ears swivel back and forth – she is listening closely, and does not take her eyes off her new handlers. Program Manager, Jenny Whitman, demonstrates natural horsemanship “games” with the young Thoroughbred. Working without a bridle or lead line, Carabella moves away quietly, trots perfect circles around Jenny, then comes back to “join up” or connect with her, with subtle cues.

BCS HS Vol1 - GrahamThree hours pass quickly. The students practiced a safe framework for volunteering with horses, and learned about horse nutrition, grooming and daily care. Through one-on-one interaction with the horses, they learn that it is not about size, but leadership that results in a well-behaved and compliant horse.

Which is time well spent, because next week we are practicing manure management!

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The Jockey Club: Microchips Mandated with Foal Registration

The Jockey Club announced today that as of 2017 they are mandating that foals be microchipped when they are registered:

Microchips are being introduced as part of the registration process for Thoroughbreds. Microchipping is voluntary and free for foals of 2016 and later. An implanted microchip will be required for the registration of foals in 2017.

For foals of 2016, microchips may be requested on the Live Foal Report and will be mailed with the Registration Application and DNA kit. The microchips that will be distributed are the “Slim Microchip T-SL” model manufactured by DATAMARS.

Microchips should be implanted by an equine veterinarian or under the supervision of a veterinarian before or at the same time the DNA hair sample is collected, markings are recorded, and photos are taken. The horse identifier should scan the microchip and record the number along with the markings when identifying the horse.

Oftentimes, it is very difficult or nearly impossible to identify an untattooed Thoroughbred. As of 2017, all foals will be microchipped. This will simplify the identification process.

At Neigh Savers, we are thrilled with this recent change.

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8 Horses Saved!

November 2015 Auction Horses

Meet the 8 lives YOU HELPED SAVE!!!!

Because of you and your ongoing support of our program, 8 horses were saved from November Mike’s Auction. The first week after auction is busy. Intake, evaluations, quarantine, veterinary care, farrier care, and updating the website. The horses are our first priority, but then we want to keep you, our supporters updated on the status of each of the horses. It really does take a bit of time to evaluate everyone.

So, here it is! Introducing November 2015 Auction Horses:

Royal Rhythm (Queenie): Hip 136, Very sweet. She is tired, worn out. It is clear that she sustained a slab fracture at some point in her career as her RF knee is permanently altered. Her feet are long and misshapen. She has a Body Condition Score (BCS) of 3+.

Bobby, formerly known as Hip # 136, was rescued from November 2015 Mike’s Auction. This sweet and petite boy was ridden through the auction ring. He appeared quite broke. He has a BCS of 5, teeth had sharp points. Shod on all four and appears sound upon exam.

Jake, formerly known as Hip # 113, was rescued from November 2015 Mike’s Auction. This sweet, sweet boy was ridden through the ring and rode well. He is clearly very broke. His rider was quite rough on him, despite this, after showing off Jake’s moves, he dropped the reins and Jake walked away quietly and calmly. Jake presented with a BCS of 4. He has a very enlarged LF knee and upon radiograph was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the radial carpal joint. The knee has minimal flexion. There is significant amount of bone spurs. Circles and adult weight on his back are big no-no’s for him.

Carrot, formerly known as Hip #120 at November 2015 Mike’s Auction. Sommer reports that Carrot was a little pushy coming off the trailer. She ran towards her stall. She settled in quickly. Carrot is an Arab X and is ~18 yo. She is off on the LH. She presented with a BCS of 3.25 and had sharp points on her teeth. She had significant ulcerations in her mouth.

Lady Chatterly formerly known as Hip #121 from November 2015 Mike’s Auction. She is very friendly wants to be groomed on. Lady Chatterly’s feet need farrier care and she needs food. She is minimally eating the soaked feed that is being provided to her and is unable to eat hay. Upon exam, it was noted that she was minimally weight bearing on the LH and that she had foundered with significant rotation on the RF. BCS of 2.

Bella was formerly identified as Hip #119 from the November 2015 Mike’s Auction. She is an older lady who is a bit thin. She has a horrible front end. Dr. Heaton has diagnosed her with DSLD and she is compensating by being so over at knee. Despite this, she is a very kind mare who is very smart. BCS of 3.

Bijou was formerly identified as Hip #122 at the November 2015 Mike’s Auction. She is a dun mare who appears vision damaged in the left eye with significant corneal scarring. She came to auction with deep cuts over her eye, on left side barrel, and stifle. She is carrying decent weight. Bijou seems friendly but is a bit head shy. She is not comfortable with being touched on her left side likely due to the recent trauma she has endured. She has a BCS of 5. She is quite nervous with very bad teeth and significant ulcerations in her mouth.

Ella was one of two horses rejected from Mike’s Auction in November 2015. She was turned away because she had a gaping wound that had been left untreated for some time as it had developed a foul odor. It looked as if she had been skewered in the shoulder by a T-Post. Mike’s Auction insisted that this mare be surrendered to Forgotten Horses Rescue, Inc.. In turn, FHR asked Neigh Savers to take over her care. There she was, injured, starving and surrendered in a parking lot at Mike’s Auction. She has a BCS of 2.5 and is in need of feet and teeth being done.

If one of these lucky horses speaks to you, please let us know. We are always looking for incredible adopters to give a horse a wonderful home.

Sponsor a horse, donate to save a life, honor a loved one with a gift in their name. This is truly a gift of life. The November 2015 Auction horses thank you!

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Some Exciting News!

After a unanimous vote from our Board Directors, Neigh Savers is proud to announce we are now working with all breeds of at-risk horses.

Our organization has always prided itself on the love, care, retraining, and rehoming we bring these horses. Neigh Savers is thrilled that we will be helping all breeds now.

We have and always will be very active in the Thoroughbred Industry. These horses are very near and dear to our heart.

Last month, over 60% of the horses that went through Mike’s Auction were loaded on the “wrong trailer”. Neigh Savers decided it was time to take action. From the discarded child’s horse to the forgotten trail horse, old and young, we will do our part in providing them with a safe landing and new home.

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