It’s only February…

…but Salsa has already competed in a schooling show! Our latest update from Lindy has us really excited for Salsa’s chances this fall!
“We’ve started doing a little work under saddle. Salsa has been such a gem to work with. He’s even more fun under saddle. He has really taken well to connection and is doing an awesome job keeping himself on the bit at the walk and trot (I haven’t attempted any canter yet… he still needs to develop a little more muscle and balance for that to be a success).  He has been so good, the 4 times I’ve ridden him at least… that I decided to take him to a local schooling show just to get him out and comfortable with the idea of going to new places. Well, he was such a SAINT I decided to enter Salsa in an Intro Western Dressage class. Today was the very first time I put my Western saddle on him and nothing about today phased him. He was a super super good boy.  And, he even placed 2nd!!”
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Meet our 2017 RRP entry Secret Room!

Salsa (officially nick-named Mr. Squishy) is being retrained to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project Makeover to be held in Lexington, KY October 2017.  He comes from the CARMA Placement Program and is currently in full training with Lindy Christensen at LC Equestrian in Las Vegas, NV.  We will be reporting on Salsa’s progress bi-monthly.  He was delivered to Lindy on January 15, 2017.
Salsa and Penelope
Lindy writes:  Salsa  has such a good head on shoulders. From the moment he stepped off the trailer he was level headed and extremely down to earth. He’s made friends with our barn pig Penelope and certainly enjoys his time in the grass pastures. We’ve been going nice and slow but nothing seems to phase him. All of our work has been on the ground. Lots of lunging to help establish balance and rhythm. I put a dressage saddle on him last week and he did really well with the irons knocking around on his sides. I’ll introduce the bridle this week as well as some side reins so he can slowly get comfortable with the idea of connection, on his terms. Jenny Valley of Valley Equine Massage has agreed to donate her time and services to Salsa. Salsa will be receiving biweekly massages to keep his muscles nice and loose and to insure we aren’t pushing him any further than what he is physically ready for. This one has heart and aims to please. He has shown some spectacular movement and I’m so excited develop him. We are waiting to see if Salsa will be sponsored for his supplements but in the meantime he is getting MSM and U-Guard mixed with some rice bran and beet pulp. He loves his bucket! Overall I’m very impressed with him and can’t get over how mellow and sweet he is. I haven’t seen a single vice.  He really is a spectacular horse.
To help Salsa please donate to his page here: http://neighsavers.org/portfolio-items/secret-room/
And/Or purchase some delicious Estolia’s Salsa:  http://www.estolias.com/salsa-that-saves-lives

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CARMA Newsletter Feature

CARMA featured our very own Oso Smart in their latest newsletter! We’re so proud of our boy for his performances in the Thoroughbred Makeover 2016 and cannot wait to see what he does next.

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Placement Program Graduates

We have helped more than 100 Thoroughbreds transition from the racetrack into the next stage of their life.  Below are three “success stories” we are proud to share.

oso-jumping-rrp-2Oso Smart

This bay son of Curlin participated in the Retired Racehorse Project 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover.  Under the care of CARMA Aftercare Partner Neighsavers, Oso Smart showed in dressage and jumpers classes. He was one of the lucky Thoroughbreds to find a forever home at the show. He and his new owner have dreams of competing in the Paralympics.

21edae19-97b1-4ccd-8ee1-f30ac5ba6971Utopian

Our Graded Stakes Winner, Utopian, was saved by the generosity of his veterinarian who donated a live-saving surgery and CARMA taking a special interest in his unique circumstances. While he recovered well, this nine-year-old decided he would much rather enjoy life as a permanent retiree with our Aftercare Partner Humanity For Horses.

e99adf45-7896-4cc6-a9c2-064d271efe4aUluckydevil

With his incredibly sweet personality and unique appearance, our lovable one-eyed wonder has a second career as a therapy horse at CARMA Aftercare Partner – Square Peg Foundation. He helps children and adults with special challenges find their strengths by giving every visitor a hug when he meets them.

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7th Annual Day at the Races Wrap Up

We want to thank everyone that attended our 7th Annual Day at the Races and Holiday Party at Golden Gate Fields!  This year’s event one was for the record books with a full house of sold out seats, a huge and successful silent auction and our ever popular raffle.  It was a great day filled with new friends, old friends, good food and some spectacular racing.   We could not do it without you and we feel incredibly blessed to have had so many dedicated friends, volunteers and supporters join us for this fun day.

We were all treated to a rare dead heat in the first race of the day and to an exciting blanket finish in the Neigh Savers named race where a local jockey picked up her 500th career win.  Bear Creek junior volunteer Katelyn Read was honored with a winner’s circle check presentation for her award winning essay for the TCA.  After the last race as many of us were leaving, we were treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets over the San Francisco Bay.

This event goes a long way in supporting our mission to help re-home retired and endangered horses and we cannot thank you enough for your support.   We cannot wait to see you next year!

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RRP Thoroughbred Makeover 2016

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I was lucky enough to go along for the ride this year with Neigh Savers Foundation to the Retired Racehorse Project‘s Thoroughbred Makeover at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.  This event brought together hundreds of OTTBs, their owners, trainers and fans from all over the country to compete for $100,000 in prize money.  Each horse had less than a year of under saddle training and competed in a number of disciplines: barrel racing, competitive trails, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunters, show jumpers, and working ranch.  Vendors, seminars, and training demonstrations filled in any time not spent watching the OTTBs compete in their individual events.  It is a large and ambitious show for an event that has only been run since 2013.  We cannot wait to see what it becomes in another 5 years time…

To read the rest of the story and see more photos, click through to the article on Decidedly Equestrian.

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Race for the Rescues 2016

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Neigh Savers Foundation had a blast at Race for the Rescues 2016! Thousands of people came together to raise money to help save animals lives. The event raised almost $400K and out of approximately 80 teams Neigh Savers was placed 8th in fundraising efforts. We could not have done this without your help and we are so grateful to those of you who donated to this cause! Special thanks also goes to Jane Lytle who donated shirts, totes and caps and made our booth look so beautiful!!

It was also our pleasure to meet Jennifer Osborne of Fire and Ice Horses Rescue from Las Vegas who ran the 5k in her full fire fighting gear!!! We are fortunate to be able to reach out to Jennifer if we have a horse that needs special attention.

Once again, thank you to all the participants, donors, friends and family that made this our biggest Southern California fundraising event of the year!

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4th Annual TCA Youth Essay Contest Winner: Katelyn Read of Los Gatos, CA – Neigh Savers Volunteer

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It is our pleasure to announce that junior volunteer Katelyn Anne Read is the WINNER of the 4th TCA (Thoroughbred Charities of America) Youth Contest and Neigh Savers will be awarded the $1000 prize.  The essay needed to be less than 500 words and it is found below for your reading enjoyment.  Katelyn’s essay has been nationally published and she has been recognized in the Blood Horse Magazine.   Congratulations to the entire Bear Creek Stables team! 

“Life has always been three things to me – constant changes, diverging paths and unexpected goodbyes. In the first 17 years of my life, I have lived in Switzerland, England, Canada, and now California, always relocating from place to place. I’ve lived in countless different houses and gone to countless different schools. The word “home” never meant much to me, up until I first visited a small rustic ranch in the Los Gatos Mountains.

In early 2014, I was introduced to the Neigh Savers program by complete accident. I knew little about horses, and for some reason, I desperately wanted to learn more. Following my first visit, I was coached and mentored by Jenny Whitman, Neigh Savers Program Manager, who helped me learn the ropes and showed me the power of the bond between horse and human. Nothing has taught me more about trust and second chances than volunteering with these thoughtful yet energetic thoroughbreds, who will give their all and never stop trying for you. Soon after I began volunteering, my mom Karen Read, a lifelong horsewomen, adopted a lanky 16hh bay mare called Blame Rome. We decided on the barn name Rose, although she was soon pegged with the name “princess” for her love of pristine pine shavings and full-time stall cleaners. She wasn’t exactly a big winner at the track, but it definitely didn’t take long for her to win over my heart.

Rose fell severely lame in the winter of 2014. Old racing injuries flared up, maybe from navigating the rocky mountain footing. She was unrideable for almost three months, and needed daily hand-walking and icing. My mom and I spent hours at the barn each day, tending to her and giving her lots of love. I think that Rose understood how we were helping her, and in those long, rainy months, she came to realize that we were her family. Her nickers and her nuzzles have never ceased since the day we adopted her, and our bond has only grown stronger. She has taught me so much about partnership, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like if Neigh Savers hadn’t introduced us to each other.

As I fill out my university applications and wonder where my adventure will carry me next, I can’t help but think about how much these incredible thoroughbreds have impacted me. Volunteering with these amazing horses has given me memories that will last me a lifetime, no matter where in the world I am. Because of them, I have made lifelong friends, helped educate others, and most importantly, I have learned that no act of kindness is too small. Neigh Savers has taken hold of my heart and pulled me into something endlessly rewarding, and I feel so grateful to be apart of an organization that has helped not only revive thoroughbred’s lives, but humans too.”  – Katelyn Read

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Putting it All Together…

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks with Oso, who is really starting to put the pieces together on the flat and over jumps. We are now doing grids, coursing at 2’6″ and our flat work is becoming very steady and relaxed. We have started developing a bit of collected and stretching trot. Oso’s canter both directions is feeling great, and he seems to really enjoy jumping. Point him at anything in the arena–flowers, gates, panels–and over he goes! Someone is going to get a fabulous prospect for any discipline with this boy!

Oso Oct 1 Oso Oct 1

 

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Oso’s First Show!

Oso went to his first show last weekend, a combined test (dressage and show jumping) schooling show at the Woodside horse park. It was a great first show experience for him! He stabled overnight with no problems, was easy to handle on the show grounds, and entered a real dressage court for the first time. He was great in the warmup area (sometimes the scariest place at a show!) even when a horse took off with his rider at full speed. While our dressage test had a few tense ‘baby’ moments, Oso received some excellent comments–“Elegant horse” and “nicely on bit”! He will definitely settle as he gets a few more show experiences under his belt. I was very proud of him during our jumping round, as it was definitely more jumps than we had ever done in a row (a total of 8) and even included a bending line. I am fairly certain Oso now considers himself a ‘grown up’ and very important show horse now, as he has been more focused and wants to get right to work in our rides at home since the show!
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Harry and Snowman Screening

Neigh Savers had the pleasure of presenting an advance screening of this film last night – September 17th, 2016! We had a great turnout and everyone loved it! Special thanks to Gina and her staff at Brightstar Saddlery for providing the venue and all their assistance.  Great job by the SoCal Neigh Savers Team: Board Director Maureen Sowell, volunteers Victoria Brentwood, Nenah Mikuska and Annie Eitman.
Help get this film the exposure it deserves by calling your local theater and ask them to bring it to your town!

 

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Oso Schooling at Woodside

Another great trailering and training session with Oso at the horse park. After a nice hack around the cross country course, we headed up to the arena to pop over a few show jumps. In the last few weeks, I have focused on developing Oso’s strength and adjustability in the canter through work in the lunge. Lunging Oso in side reins and Pessoa system (not something I use on every horse, but Oso seems to like the support it provides) has helped him develop confidence in his canter and steadiness in the bridle. It has definitely paid off, as he trotted and cantered small cross rails and verticals in good rhythm, even throwing in a flying lead change when we changed direction. We ended by going up and down the banks in the arena–Oso’s first introduction to this element! Looks like we might be off to our first show on Sunday, stay tuned!

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Oso’s First Cross Country Jump!

Oso and I had a great ‘field trip’ to the Woodside horse park yesterday! He trailered like a gentleman, and was calm and confident as we rode out to the cross country course. Despite horses galloping in the distance, he was focused and listening. Once again, he went right into the water without hesitation, and we were able to quietly trot and canter around with other horses (something he used to find very exciting when we would attempt this in the ring). Oso even jumped his first cross
country log! I am very proud of him, he was a pleasure to ride and seemed to enjoy himself!

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