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!

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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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Building a Few New Skills

In the last week or so, I started working Oso in hand from the ground with the intention of increasing his suppleness under saddle, developing his focus, and teaching him more extensive lateral work. I stand next to Oso on the ground and use taps with a long whip to direct his hind end and the reins to keep him soft and round through the poll and the neck. As expected, Oso was smart and willing as we tackled something new. He also really enjoyed the cookies I fed him throughout the training process! He quickly picked up shoulder in, haunches in, and a bit of turn on the haunches. I am looking forward to putting these new skills to work under saddle!

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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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Learning Some New Things

July 5th 2016 – I am so proud of Oso, he is becoming accustomed to handling trailering to other locations to ride with no issues. I have made an effort in the last week to get him over to the Woodside Horse Park a couple times within the span of a few days, as it sometimes helps young horses figure out that trailering is part of their program and not a big deal. Today was our best ride yet, we hacked all over the cross country course, up hills, around jumps, and through the water! He walked right into the water with no problems. We also went in the arena where the A circuit Hunter/jumper show was being held and schooled over a couple of jumps! He did not blink an eye at the brightly colored poles, plants and gates. Oso is brave to the jumps without being hot, I think he likes to jump! Jumping training has also helped his canter develop. Having a jump or pole in front of him makes him balance from his hind end. I am looking forward to seeing how Oso does cross country schooling!

 

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