2018 RRP Candidate: Sassy Ashley

We are excited to announce that we have accepted another CARMA Placement Program Graduate into the Neigh Savers program that will be aiming for the Retired Racehorse Project!  Sassy Ashley is a five year old mare with impeccable pedigree credentials, a blue-blood from the esteemed Calumet Farm in Lexington, KY.  Sassy raced 21 times in the California circuit and was letting down from the track at San Luis Downs when the December tragic fire broke out that took the lives of so many fine race horses.  She is a survivor of that fire and afterwards her connections retired her for good, as they were already thinking about it after her last race in October 2017.

Now, in partnership with Kalley Krickeberg Balanced Horse Training, we are once again paving the road to Kentucky and the Retired Racehorse Project for the third consecutive year and for the third time with a CARMA horse. We would like to thank CARMA Project Manager Natalie Reitkirk for her help in this placement. We look forward to many updates from Kalley as she begins prepping Sassy for Kentucky.  Ashley has been adopted by Kalley and is officially off the market.

You can keep an eye on Ashley on her dedicated video update page!

 

 

 

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Bear Creek Programs Update

Los Gatos High School Freshman spent a muddy weekend learning how to communicate safely and effectively with retired thoroughbreds. They learned how to apply and release pressure to begin a dialogue and how to read the horses facial expressions and body language. Each student practiced round pen skills to gain trust and understanding of the horse. Later, the group hand walked the horse on the trail practicing quieting skills.  The students also mucked stalls, groomed horses, cleaned tack and then hugged plenty of OTTBs.  The students were required to complete 10 hours of community service and will present their projects in an open forum.  We are pleased that we could offer this service to the community at large.
A special thanks to Bear Creek Creek Stables’ NS volunteers, Team Leader, Jenny Whitman and to Diane Azevedo and Karen Read for providing rain gear and refreshments to all the participants.
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8th Annual Holiday Turf Club Party Wrap Up

Our 8th Annual Holiday Turf Club Party at Golden Gate Fields on December 2, 2017 was a huge success! It was a beautiful day in the Bay Area and everyone who attended enjoyed a day of racing, great food and wonderful company. There were some amazing items in our Silent Auction and raffle and we were able to end the day with almost everything being sold! Of course, we could not do this without the help, support and compassion of all our dedicated volunteers and donors and a big high five to Karin Wagner, our intrepid leader, who always puts so much effort into making this event our biggest fundraiser of the year! Thanks to all for supporting our program and helping make a difference in our beloved OTTB’s lives!!

Just a small sampling of the over 30 volunteers that came out for us on the day of to volunteer. It truly takes a village!!! From L to R back row, Fred, Amy, Minjae, Maureen & Karen. From L to R front row, Grace, Becca, JoJo, Luna, Caroline, jockey Rocco Bowen, Karin, Gina, Diane, Alisha A. & Alisha L.

 

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Race for the Rescues 2017

Race for the Rescues 2017

Another successful Race for the Rescues is in the bag! Thanks to our team we raised over $13K to help animals in need! Great job everyone involved including our couch potato racers, our team mascots Blaze and Kai, and huge thanks to all of you who supported us!!

Race for the Rescues 2017

A big thanks to all who participated!
Maureen Sowell, Team Captain
Karin Wagner
Bryan Miccolis
Barbara Dutra
Ingrid Nuernberg
Helen Pollack
Victoria Brentwood
Dharinne Perera-Myers
Jenn Collins
Race for the Rescues 2017
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Thanks to all of our RRP Sponsors!

It takes a village to get a horse to the Retired Racehorse Project!  We want to thank everyone that has helped Taxi along the way and especially his sponsors!

A big thank you to KC Horse Transport for donating haluling and getting Taxi to Kentucky safely!  There is not a better hauling company out there!

A big thank you also to Estolia’s for sponsoring Intaxication AKA Taxi AKA Mr. E!  Head over to their website to buy some of their yummy salsa and support other non-profit projects!

Thank you to Dr. Shawn Frehner, DVM (his vet), Tony Steele (his chiropractor), and David Brough (his farrier) for keeping Intaxication healthy!

Big thanks to trainer Lindy Christensen for doing a wonderful retraining job and keeping him happy, healthy and showing him beautifully in Kentucky!

Thank you also to Claire Painter of Clever With Leather for donating a beautiful hand made halter for Taxi at the show!

Intaxication came from the barn of Billy Morey at Golden Gate Fields and was a CARMA Placement Program graduate.

Thank you everyone that expressed interested, gave support, and cheered us on!

 

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RRP Wrap Up – Intaxication

A Neigh Savers horse attended the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky for the 2nd year in a row. Last year Neigh Savers was represented by Oso Smart, a horse taken from the CARMA Placement Program. This year Neigh Savers took another CARMA Placement Program horse, but this time it was Intaxication.

With the Makeover being moved up 3 weeks, the trainer timeline was even tighter than ever! This year had more horses enter, more horses show up and some really top quality talent (both trainer and horse). The Polo winner (trained by Junior rider Charlie Caldwell) won America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred, a small chestnut roan with big presence (Woodford Channel) won both the Freestyle and Field Hunter events and the Dressage winner, a horse fittingly named Chapter Two, almost pulled off a double as well taking 2nd place in Eventing.

Because of Taxi being a little late to the retraining game this year, trainer Lindy Christensen wasn’t sure he’d be ready in time for RRP, but he showed her good signs in their last show before RRP and she decided to take him anyways with only 5 months of retraining off his injury. She didn’t expect to win, but she did expect solid tests and good relaxation from him. He did a fantastic job on so little time and really impressed with his chill attitude in the big scary indoor arena that caused more than a handful of meltdowns from others.

In Dressage, Intaxication placed 35th out of 78 (a much-improved placing over last years CARMA grad Oso Smart). Lindy and Taxi earned a 60.58% on their regular test and a 42 on their demo ride (they placed 22nd in the scoring for the demo ride after Taxi noticeably relaxed in the second test out).

In Freestyle, Intaxication placed 23rd out of around 40 entrants. They performed a lovely Western Dressage test and may have helped inspire a promised addition of Western Dressage for next year’s RRP! It wasn’t the flashiest Freestyle, but he was certainly one of the most relaxed horses in the arena and Western Dressage may just be his calling.

We are so proud of Taxi and thankful to Lindy for doing such a wonderful retraining job with him.  We are already looking forward to next year!

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Tack Sale Wrap Up

Bear Creek Tack Sale

Our tack sale held on Sunday, September 24th was a huge success and we raised nearly $1,400!

Bear Creek Tack Sale

Thanks to our coordinator Barbara Dutra and everyone who cleaned tack, organized the layouts, baked goods and helped with fitting horses and giving advice to our shoppers.  Shout out to Friends of Bear Creek Stables member Melany who drove down to deliver cupcakes and help haul stuff from the trailers to the set up area.  Other shout outs go to Scott Williams and Gary Ashford who did more hauling both before and after the event.

Bear Creek Tack Sale

Executive Director Karin Wagner was with us all day long showcasing our beautiful NS swag and our own Sunday junior volunteer Maddie was the ringleader along with Emma and Evie (Scott’s girls) who decided to lure customers off of Bear Creek Road for some of our baked goods- they delivered and made a wonderful contribution!

Bear Creek Tack Sale

Great team-work!  Diane Azevedo & Karen Read were there all day long with Barbara and it was a solid group effort!  The Race for the Rescue’s event is in a few weeks-proceeds go towards a wonderful cause!

Bear Creek Tack Sale

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Final update before RRP

Taxi's Final Update

Alas, here we are. My final update before Taxi takes his long journey to Kentucky. I can’t believe how quickly time has past. It seems like just yesterday that Taxi found his place in my arms. He’s been such a good boy from the start. It’s very impressive to see how much he has accomplished in a short amount of time. The sky is the limit for this sweet boy. Everyday he impresses me more and more. He is so mellow, so kind and oh so talented. Everyone has been very impressed with his temperament. Just the other day the landscapers were doing there thing right by the arena where we were working, we had leaf blowers and lawn mowers on either side and it didn’t phase him in the least bit. He remained focused and attentive on me and got the job done. Those who witnessed this phenomenon were quite impressed with him.

His dressage work has really excelled in the past month. He is successfully doing first level movements and even a couple of second level movements. He is just a blast to ride and to be around.

With Taxi moving along so nicely I’ve had numerous people ask how I could let something so talented and amazing go. Here are the facts, Taxi has all of the tools to succeed no matter where he goes. With his quite disposition and talent he has a bright future. I look at him and say to myself “Wow!!” I can’t believe that I played such an imperative role to this horses life and future. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I wish I had all the money and time in the world to keep every horse that comes through my barn, but I don’t.  Just like Taxi needed me there are so many others that could use my help. Saying goodbye to him won’t be the end, just another start to lend my talents and time to another in need.

I’m really looking forward to taking that trip down centerline in the coming weeks. We’ve had mountains to climb to get to this point and no matter the outcome Taxi is a winner. I never pushed this horse. The decision to go Kentucky was his. He’s proven that he is more than ready for the journey. Wish us luck and we’ll be sure to post lost of updates once we reach our destination.

Here is the link to Taxi’s latest video. I hope you all enjoy watching how much the boy has blossomed!

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10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

IT’S A WRAP!!  Neigh Savers Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Gala was a huge success.   Board Directors Paul & Caroline Nathan opened their beautiful home for the event which could not have been more perfect!  Stunning views, gorgeous weather, amazing food and drink all combined to make this a spectacular occasion and, most importantly, gave us the opportunity to show our appreciation for so many of our loyal and committed supporters, including donors, adopters, sponsors and volunteers who were in attendance.    None of this would be possible without these compassionate and dedicated people who believe in the work we do and continue to do so.  We are so very grateful and look forward to the next ten years of making a difference in horses’ lives!!!

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala   Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

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Stepping Back to Step Forward

Taxi August 2017

 

I can’t believe it!! Time has really flown by on this one. In just a little over a month Taxi and I will be taking our journey to Lexington KY. I’m amazed at what this horse has accomplished in such a short amount of time. I think he knew the odds were against us going into this and really wanted to show just how good of a boy he really was. I am so grateful he was the horse to take Salsa’s place in this endeavor. Taxi has been game since the very beginning and it’s really starting to show.

Taxi August 2017

Over the past month we’ve taken a little step back. I wanted to take the time to find the gaps in his training and re address them. As they say… sometimes to take a step forward you have to take a few steps back. We’ve done just that. Taxi is still a little unstable in his trot to canter transitions (which is to be expected, let’s not forget he didn’t start his re-training until mid April!!) so we’ve gone back to work on the ground, focusing on those transitions. It’s imperative that he finds the balance and confidence on his own. I’m happy to say they are finally getting better and he is really showing what he is made of.

Taxi is one of kind. He is a true athlete and aims to please. He puts his best hoof forward everyday. This boy is a star!!! Someone is going to be so lucky to have this horse in their barn. Those of you that are interested in adopting him should get their applications in ASAP!! This sweet boy won’t last long.

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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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