Taxi’s First Rated Show!

Taxi First Recognized Show

Taxi has been a real star as of late! He went to his first rated show and did a really good job!! Mind you we had to travel all the way to Temecula for this one. He finished with 3 firsts and 1 second. Blue certainly looks amazing on him.

Taxi First Recognized Show

We still have a lot of work to do but it was certainly nice to see his scores improve every time he went down centerline. I think our biggest obstacle at this point is getting Taxi to relax a bit more in show ring. I certainly can’t blame him for getting anxious in a new environment. Let’s not forget this handsome fella has had less than 90 days of retraining. However, I also know the more we travel and the more places we go he will soon have the confidence to face whatever is thrown his direction. So we are doing just that.

Taxi First Recognized Show

I plan on taking him to as many different facilities as I can in the next two months and hopefully hit another horse show or two come September. I am just so proud of the horse and everything he has accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Taxi First Recognized Show

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Zack’s Journey – Thoroughbred Hooves

Zack and Jenny Whitman at EponaShoe in Paso Robles.

Zack and Jenny Whitman at EponaShoe in Paso Robles.

 

Karen Read is a long-time Neigh Savers volunteer. She is chronicling Zack’s journey with EponaShoe as well as two other horses we feel would benefit from this program. EponaShoe has generously donated their services to us and we are most appreciative for the friendship and generosity they have extended us.

Somebody forgot to tell Zack (aka Sarazua) that he is a Thoroughbred – this gentle giant stands over 16.3 hands, and is built like a classical European Warmblood.  His chill personality belies his OTTB roots, but when he has the occasional “youngster” moment, you can see the magnificent racehorse he was.

In his brief but successful race career at Golden Gate Fields, Zack bowed not one, but both front tendons.  And when he came into the Neigh Savers program last year, it was discovered that he also had Ringbone, a type of arthritis, in both hind fetlocks.

Farrier Gene Lelm, prepares Zack's hoof for the two-part hoof packing.

Farrier Gene Lelm, prepares Zack’s hoof for the two-part hoof packing.

Zack was immediately transferred to Eclipse Equine Sports Therapy in Paso Robles where Angie and Mike Scully and their team, rehabbed his tendons with laser therapy, cold saltwater spa and underwater treadmill treatments. When he was ready to go back to work, Zack came to Bear Creek Stables, in the rugged Los Gatos Mountains.

Initially, the Neigh Savers volunteers hand-walked Zack for 45 minutes per day. At the racetrack, Zack had spent most of his life in a 12’ by 12’ box stall, and he needed a lot of conditioning to build muscle and grow into his lanky body.  Though his mind said “I want to go back to work” his legs were not so sure.  Some days he was stiff, or he stumbled on the uneven terrain.  Was there something more we could do to make Zack comfortable?

The composite-material shoe is sized and beveled to fit Zack's hooves.

The composite-material shoe is sized and beveled to fit Zack’s hooves.

We called Monique Craig, founder of EponaShoe, in Paso Robles.  She had helped Neigh Savers’ horses Achak and Blame Rome with their challenging hooves – what did she think we could do for Zack?  Monique and her head farrier, Gene Lelm, noted that Zack had pretty good hoof wall quality and hoof size, but his feet were not balanced.  In particular, the heel height at the back of his hooves varied considerably.  Within an hour of balancing the hooves and gluing on the Epona composite-material shoes, the tendons in Zack’s left front leg were more defined – as if the tendon was not constantly in the “on” position anymore.  The flexible hoof packing developed by Monique supports the frog and allows it to connect with the ground.  For Zack, that means – no more stumbling!

Zack has Ringbone in his hind fetlocks. Other than NSAIDS to reduce inflammation, there are not a lot of treatment options for arthritic changes in the fetlock region, an all-too common condition in athletic horses like racehorses, dressage and jumping horses. If the horse experiences discomfort bearing weight on the arthritic leg – the other legs take on a disproportionate amount of the load, leading to hoof wall flares and changes to the other hooves.  Composite material horseshoes reduce impact concussion – and allow the hoof to flex, and bear weight more evenly.

Zack and Montana taking a play break at EponaShoe.

Zack and Montana taking a play break at EponaShoe.

After a full year of rehab, Zack is under saddle and starting to log miles on the extensive trails in the Bear Creek Redwoods. His racing days may be over, but we can’t wait to see where this handsome young boy’s path will take him!

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Taxi and Ava are BFFs

Taxi and Ava

Taxi is doing terrific!!! As always he is exceeding expectations and going above and beyond the call of duty. This horse is a perfect gentleman. He is truly one of the kindest, sweetest souls I’ve ever met.

Taxi and I are busy preparing for his first rated horse show. He is set to compete in both traditional dressage as well as western dressage. He is so versatile and it’s truly an amazing feat to see him so easily cross over into different disciplines. Taxi has quite the journey ahead of him this week. But, I know he’ll succeed with all of the love and support that surrounds him. Once again, I am asking nothing from him. He has had less than 90 days of retraining and owes me nothing. I simply want to set a solid foundation for him. I think traveling out of state and going to a horse show is a great way to do so. We really don’t have a lot of time until it’s time to hit the road for Kentucky, so every experience I can give him beforehand will greatly benefit us in the long run. Especially, when the time comes that I ask him to give me everything. Timing is so imperative when it comes to training or retraining horses. You can never ask more than what they can give at the moment. Right now I know where I stand with this horse. Our relationship is strong but he is still very green. Overwhelming him and pushing him isn’t an option. He’s the one who makes the decisions. I’m simply here to listen and guide him in the right direction.

Taxi has developed a bond with not only me but my soon to be three year old daughter as well. It sounds crazy to think that I would trust an OTTB with her but I do. Taxi let’s Ava Lin lead him around and certainly enjoys her kisses. He is so happy with his current circumstances and my heart bursts with joy and sheer happiness when I see the two of them together. Ava Lin’s birthday is coming up and I wanted pictures of the two of them for her invitations. He was a perfect gentleman for her photoshoot. He knew he had a job and that was to take care of the most precious package I have. He stood proudly by her side and was so gentle and kind. That, my friends is more than any horse trainer or parent could ask for. He’s one in a million and has a very bright future ahead of him. I’m so happy I could a lend a hand in that.

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Taxi’s First Show!

Taxi's First Show

Taxi is on his way and getting prepped for the big Retired Racehorse Project Makeover in Lexington, KY, the first week in October. Taxi/Mr. E. is a graduate of the CARMA Placement Program and originates from the Golden Gate Fields based barn of trainer Billy Morey. He is sponsored by Estolia’s Salsa for charity. Please enjoy this update from trainer Lindy Christensen.

Well he did it!!! Taxi went to his first horse show and did a wonderful job for his first time out. I was really proud of him and couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. Mind you our test was far from perfect and we certainly have room for improvement but all things considered he was calm and cool and was actually very fun to take off property. No crazy horse moments!!! He had a few baby moments where he was tense and didn’t necessarily understand that walking on the bit is kind of a big deal in the show ring. But first and foremost it was more important to me to give him some positive experience in a show setting. Hopefully we can find a few more to hit before his big venture to Kentucky!!

Speaking of Kentucky, I’ve finalized our plans and we will be competing in dressage as well as the freestyle completion. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s going to be spectacular. Our music is finished and matches him perfectly. I’m so excited to see how his freestyle turns out.

Taxi is one of a kind. He is extremely sweet and down to earth. This horse isn’t one that can sit around for days on end. He needs and wants a job. He puts everything he has into his daily workouts. Just the other day we decided to try a new event “Don’t Squish the Goat.” Back story… we recently acquired a baby goat. Side note… cutest thing EVER!! Anyhow, every time Taxi and I would canter down the long side, Daisy had the brilliant idea to jump right in front of him. Taxi handled her shenanigans like a pro and politely stepped out of her way and went back to work. It’s the little things like this that create a willing and capable partner. It was so nice to see him handle this on his terms and in a very polite way for both myself and Daisy. We love having him in our barn. Can’t wait to see how much further we’ve progressed to in the coming weeks.

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Rose’s Journey – Thoroughbred Hooves

Blame Rome AKA Rosie
Karen Read is a long-time Neigh Savers volunteer. She is chronicling Rose’s journey with EponaShoe as well as two other horses we feel would benefit from this program. EponaShoe has generously donated their services to us and we are most appreciative for the friendship and generosity they have extended us.

Blame Rome (aka Rose) had a respectable race career.  A true athlete, she loved to gallop and had that winning attitude to get her across the finish line first.  Now retired from racing, she spends her days on trail rides, or standing patiently, teaching youth the “language of horse”.

Life was good, really good, for Rose until she developed a deep, bleeding hoof crack.  Heavy rains and wet footing created the perfect storm for Rose’s not-so-great hooves.  Never had the saying “no hoof, no horse” struck home more; this injury was potentially career ending.  Despite veterinarian and farrier intervention, we could not get Rose’s damaged hoof to hold a metal horseshoe, or keep the protective filling in the deep quarter crack.

Rose is part of a big family, she is a graduate of the Neigh Savers horse rescue program, and she helps out in their equine therapy program.  Could we give Rose the exercise and people interaction she loves – while keeping her comfortable, and allowing her hoof to heal?  A former volunteer and Neigh Savers horse adopter, Brooke Azcuy, had a suggestion.  The Epona Institute in Paso Robles has developed polyurethane horseshoes that can be glued onto damaged hoof walls.  If we could keep the hoof from getting infected, Rose had a better chance of recovery.

I contacted Monique and John Craig, the founders of EponaShoe.  Rose’s hoof was not good, but Monique thought it could be helped, if we could bring her to Paso Robles for assessment. Once again, the Neigh Savers family stepped up to help – volunteers Jenny Whitman and Diane Azevedo trailered Rose and I three hours to the Epona facility, where we met with Monique and her team.  Monique is passionate about helping horses overcome hoof problems, through understanding the biomechanics of the hoof, correct trimming and the use of composite material horseshoes that can flex with the hoof.  She is a brilliant farrier, horsewoman, and treated Rose like she was one of her own.  This is Rose, before and after, rehabbing in her new EponaShoes.

 Hoof with deep quarter crack extending from the coronet band. March 2017.

Hoof with deep quarter crack extending from the coronet band. March 2017.

 

 Quarter crack has been cleaned and stabilized. The 360 degree shoe design will provide flexible support as the crack grows out.

Quarter crack has been cleaned and stabilized. The 360 degree shoe design will provide flexible support as the crack grows out.

 

 EponaShoe after packing the hoof and glue-on application.

EponaShoe after packing the hoof and glue-on application.

 

 New hoof wall growth after 10 weeks in EponaShoes. Crack has stabilized and under run heel height is improving.

New hoof wall growth after 10 weeks in EponaShoes. Crack has stabilized and under run heel height is improving.

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Taxi – getting ready to be a star!

Taxi Update

Intaxication (Taxi/Mr E.) is a graduate of the CARMA Placement Program and is partially sponsored by Estolia’s salsa products that donate 100% of their profits to charity.  Here’s another update from trainer Lindy Christensen, LC Equestrian, Las Vegas, NV.

Intaxication is really showing us that the RRP is still in our future.  This guy is so eager to learn and is progressing in his training at an astonishing rate.  Since our last post we’ve nixed lunging and have gone to work exclusively under saddle. Taxi maintains himself in a beautiful frame at not only the walk and trot but the canter as well. I am so proud of this horse and what he has accomplished in such a short amount of time. He is actually picking up on some lateral movements. Taxi can leg yield and even does a bit of shoulder in. He is doing a fantastic job lengthening his stride at not only the trot but the canter as well. He is so balanced and is just a joy to ride. He hasn’t put a hoof out of place. This horse is truly going to be an amateur’s dream. His ground manners are superb and he is so easy to be around. Taxi took a field trip to the vet last week and was a perfect gentleman.  He loaded right in the trailer and was as sane as could be once we arrived. Might I add nothing is wrong with our boy.  He just needed to get a Coggins test because Taxi is set to compete in his first horse show this weekend!! I’m super excited to take him down centerline for the first time. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if Taxi can hold his composure on a new property and in a totally different setting than at home. I have no reason to doubt him and I am certain this will be a great learning experience for him. I will be sure to post lots of pictures and updates of Taxi’s first horse show.

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Welcome our new RRP Candidate – Intaxication

After I said goodbye to our sweet Squishy I was totally devastated. I was so excited to take that trip down centerline in Kentucky with him. With a heavy heart and tears in my eyes I was feeling really down and out. So, I did what any 30 year old girl would do and gave my dad a phone call. A little background on this… my dad is amazing. He has always pushed me to succeed, especially when it came to horses. I’ll never forget the day, many years ago, when I fell off. I angrily stomped towards the arena gate. I was done, I never wanted to sit on the back of a horse again.  That day my dad taught me an oh so important lesson in life. He looked me square in the eye and said “you’re getting back on that horse, I pay way too much money for this and quitting isn’t an option.” Less than five minutes after falling off I was back in the saddle. So, after explaining to my dad what had happened with Salsa and how heartbroken I was, he responded with “well, I guess you better find another one. It doesn’t sound like you have a lot of time so stop crying and get to work.” As always, dad was right and I needed to get back to work. This was certainly going to be a challenge now. With Salsa I felt like I was so far ahead of the game and starting over with something new would likely set me extremely far back. But, I happened to know of a horse that I thought would be up to the challenge. I called Karin that same night and requested he get sent my way as soon as possible. In less than a week “Intaxication” aka Taxi, aka Mr. E. (courtesy of Estolia’s who is helping sponsor with the sale of their salsa) was delivered to my barn.

I am so happy to introduce this awesome guy now. There are so many wonderful things to be said about this horse. As time continues I’m sure you’ll hear them all. Taxi has an incredible work ethic, he thrives on having a job and aims to please. He has progressed so much in the short amount of time I’ve had him. He does have an old bowed tendon but it is solid and cold and he is moving out wonderfully. We are being very cautious and Taxi is always put to work with polo wraps or boots. Afterwards his legs are iced and closely monitored for any heat or swelling. So far so good as he grows stronger and stronger and the muscle is really coming in. This guy is a looker!!! He is going to make a lovely dressage horse, as he carries himself in an upper level frame. But, I think he would a super jumper as well. Time will tell on that one. Taxi’s program mainly consists of lunging in side reins but where we are low on time I try to ride him for at least 10 minutes after a lunge session. Primarily at the walk and trot but we’ve already progressed to a little canter work. I really feel like Taxi and I will still make the RRP but I am not the sort of trainer that will push a horse past their limits. If we make it to Kentucky that’s just going to be awesome. But I’m leaving that decision up to Taxi. Taxi owes us nothing and I know Salsa would have wanted me to give my heart and time to another.

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A heartbreaking goodbye: Salsa (Secret Room)

It’s with heartfelt sadness that I am writing this update. The other day I was forced to make a decision no trainer ever wants to make. Goodbyes are always hard but this one was mind blowing.  A couple of weeks ago as I started progressing Salsa (Secret Room)  into canter work I could tell he was extremely uncomfortable. In the beginning I thought he had a rib out and quickly called the chiropractor for an adjustment. He was adjusted and we were sent on our way. I thought for sure this was the issue and things were going to be smooth sailing from here on out. I was sadly mistaken. After a few days off I got back in saddle and could tell there was a serious issue. Something was wrong with our sweet boy’s back and he needed medical intervention ASAP. I loaded Salsa into the trailer and took him to a see a surgeon at Desert Pines Equine Center. She examined him and quickly agreed that his back was very concerning. He was brought back for X-rays and it was determined he had a very severe case of “Kissing Spine”. In all Salsa had 7 vertebrae kissing. He had already developed scoliosis in 4 of those. His back was quickly deteriorating and there was nothing we could do to stop it. The surgeon explained trying to fix this would be completely and totally unethical and he should never have a saddle on his back again. It was uncertain as to how comfortable he would be even living in a pasture for the remainder of his days. The amount of deterioration in his bones as a 4 year old was unreal. In all of my years, including the vets, we had never seen anything like this. The decision was made to lay our sweet boy to rest. Salsa was humanely euthanized with all the love and compassion in the world. I stayed by his side until his final breath. My heart is broken for this sweet boy. He had so much talent and so much potential. Letting this one go was really hard. I know he was only with me for 3 short months but the bond and partnership we developed together was truly an unforgettable experience. He will forever hold a special place in my heart. If we can take anything away from this and if I can change the life of just one horse it was time well spent. Listen to your horse, if he is showing signs of discomfort STOP and evaluate the situation.   Rest In Peace Salsa AKA Squishy. You will never be forgotten.

All my love,
Lindy

 

 

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Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show

Board Director Maureen Sowell and Volunteer Annie Eitman just spent a great weekend at the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show in Temecula March 25-26, 2017.  Here is a recap of their adventure:
Thankfully the rain which had been forecast did not materialize and the weather was beautiful.  Natalie Reitkirk from CARMA said that it was the biggest turnout out that they have had with over 90 entries. 
The main reason we went was to see Jennifer Osborne from Fire & Ice Horse Rescue in Las Vegas compete with Pharrell, one of the horses from the Lockwood Valley rescue.  We could not believe it was the same horse, especially Annie, who had been involved in getting these 12 horses out two days before Christmas 2014.  Jennifer has done an amazing job with him.  He is super sweet, gorgeous, has loads of talent and has the potential to go a long way with the right person.
We also got the opportunity to meet Clover!  Oh, what a beautiful girl and again, JoJo Zumwalt has done a wonderful job in getting her started.  For a young, inexperienced horse to handle a 10 hour trailer ride down from Sacramento and back, being in a new place and all the commotion of a horse show around her, she handled it all like a superstar!!  She was featured in the Showcase on Sunday which is a new element that TCHS is bringing to feature horses are for sale or adoption.  There was some interest in her and I handed out cards and adoption applications. Natalie also took some professional photos of her.
All in all, it was a great weekend and we were glad to make connections with everyone.  It was also a good workout!!!  Annie and I checked our health apps on our IPhones and between the two days we walked over 8 miles!!!! 
Our little boy Pharrell has grown up! Rescued from starvation three years ago and so un-handled we called him by the name of “Feral” initially, he landed in the amazing hands of Jennifer Osborne of Fire and Ice Horses. Competing in only his second show he excelled in dressage, show jumping and cross country winning two first and two second ribbons in his events. Under patient and loving training, Jennifer has brought out the talent and potential in this once forgotten, neglected horse.
We were lucky enough to be able to show Cloverinahaystack (Clover) in the Showcase event. Even though this was her first “sleepover” in a strange place and after a 10-hour long round trip trailer ride, nothing phased her! This four year old beauty handled everything like an old pro. She is going to make some lucky person very happy! Many thanks to JoJo Zumwalt and Claudia Booth for transporting her all that way and back! You guys are troopers! Also, a big thank you to Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show for allowing us the opportunity to show her off!
The Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show improves with each show and Neigh Savers is very proud to continue our support of all TB horse shows.

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Bikers and Runners and Strollers, Oh My!

As always, Salsa is doing wonderful!!  I can’t say enough good things about him.  He has shown some great progress on the ground with his canter so we’ve finally started doing a little canter work under saddle.  At the moment I’m not asking for any collection.  He still needs a little more balance and strength before that can happen but it will come quickly.  He gave me a few collected strides the other day (on his terms) so that’s a small victory!!

Salsa has a new found love for trail riding.  It’s been great to get his brain out of the arena and focusing on something a tad different.  He has been a perfect gentleman every time I’ve taken him out.  There’s always something go on at the park.  Even with all of the commotion (bikers, runners, strollers, dogs… to name a few) he’s been fantastic.  All of these things are great for him to see. I strongly believe in the importance of trail riding.  It truly makes them more rounded and much more focused when they begin a show career.  Salsa is truly remarkable and we are so lucky to have him.

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Salsa’s New Friend

Salsa is doing wonderful. Everyday he grows a little stronger. We are still working on establishing some more balance at the canter. So as of right now he is still only getting ridden at the walk and trot. However, I think we will attempt some canter work under saddle in the coming weeks. He just had his teeth done so he is enjoying a little downtime.

This handsome man has quickly become a barn favorite. With his wonderful disposition it’s not hard to see why. The kids at the barn all love him. (He likes them to… kids = treats and hugs!!). One of my students, 11 year old Gabi is head over heels for him and spent a good majority of her week helping me out with him. She even rode him at the trot in the round pen. Although he is green, he is a patient teacher and certainly has Gabi pretty fluent when it comes to lunging horses and working with them on the ground.

This horse has an amazing future ahead of him. I’m so happy to be apart of his story!! A special thank you to Enviro Equine for recently sponsoring Salsa and supporting us on our journey. It’s been really rewarding to see how many people have come together for one special horse.

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Salsa 30 Day Update

I’ve officially had Secret Room AKA Salsa AKA Squishy for 30 days. So far it has been a spectacular experience and I couldn’t be more impressed. I can recall driving to the barn to meet with the shippers on January 15th. My brain was racing and I was thinking to myself…”Oh boy here we go, what was I thinking?” The moment he stepped off the trailer I felt a sense of joy and excitement. All of the worries I had about this endeavor quickly faded away. With one look in his eyes I knew he was special and together we were going to make this thing happen.

Squishy has proven to me time and time again that he has the talent and the heart of champion. What we’ve accomplished in our first 30 days together is quite the feat. I honestly never expected to even be riding this horse in the first few weeks, let alone taking him to a horse show.

I wanted to take the time to give you guys a little more in depth look at the process I’ve been using. Thus far its proving to work out really well. The first couple of weeks all of his work was done on the ground. Free lunging and just exploring different things around the barn. Shortly after we added side reins and a dressage saddle to his lunging program. He instantly accepted the bit and connected on his terms. At that point I said why not and began lightly working him under saddle. He has been a pleasure to ride. With the natural impulsion and suspension he is going to be a dressage star. At this time we are only doing walk and trot under saddle. He still needs to find just a tad more balance. Especially to the right (hmm.. I wonder why? LOL!!). Once Squishy is able to comfortably canter on his right lead on the lunge line we will move to canter under saddle. I really hope to achieve this in the next few weeks or so. Stay tuned for updates on that.

I’ve included a short video and some pictures of our boy so you can all see how he is going. I will be sure to continue with monthly video so you can share in his progress with me. Thank you to all who have supported us and our journey thus far.

 

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