May 8, 2015

Lexington Bound (again!)

I wasn't planning on being back in Lexington until next month when I passed through to get to and from Michigan for Birthday/4th of July week. There's two people there though that had different plans for me. 

My friends have their homebred filly selling at the Fasig-Tipton 2 year old sale in Maryland. They want to either go watch her work or sell so I'm going up to be there in case they can get away (as long as a mare doesn't have to be bred or something like that) and I can take care of the animals. 
So I'm driving up on Monday, and staying until the 21st. 

Lots of time around MareFace!!! Can't wait to see her and my Kentucky family.

Look at those giant ears!
She should be getting checked to see if she's in foal in next couple of days.

May 4, 2015

Blanket Washing

Holy blankets! 

I brought back Echo's blankets from Lexington so I had double blanket duty. 

All the blanket washes I've used, they tell you to use 1-2 ounces and give us no good way to actually measure. Frustrating right? So I had bought some of the squeeze bottles liquid supplements use. It was thick and kind of difficult to get through the bottle but it worked great overall and I'm going to keep using it for now.

This was first time I've used the EQyss MicroTek wash on the blankets. I've used it and loved it on wraps, saddle blankets, etc. It did a good job and I like the whole fact of it killing stuff in the process of washing.

However I'm not sure I like it better than Saddler's. Saddler's is all I've used in the past since it took me forever to get through my supply. EQyss removed stains well and smelled a whole lot better after, but there were a few spots I wish it had cleaned slightly better. Downside to the Saddler's is it is way thicker and no way would it go through the squeeze bottle. That thing definitely made my life a lot easier and slightly cleaner than using the cap to measure out the soap. If anyone else has any blanket wash suggestions, I'd love to hear them, always a daunting task so anything to use that works better or makes the job easier, lets hear them!

Congrats to now Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah. The day had been filled with upsets so things weren't looking as positive for 'Pharoah but he pulled it off. I think for the first time ever, I had the top three, actually four in my picks. If only I had bet! Top three look like they're going to the Preakness in two weeks. Read for more and race replay on the BloodHorse article.

April 30, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015

Kentucky Oaks
Not going to break down The Oaks like I am The Derby, but here are my two picks. Forever Unbridled is sadly by Unbridled's Song... which I despise. But now he's dead and again, sadly become a hell of a broodmare sire. The thing I really like about this filly is the dam. She's by Lemons Forever who won the 2006 Kentucky Oaks herself. Second pick would be Birdatthewire at 6-1. Opposite of Forever Unbridled, Birdatthewire is in my selections for her sire. Summer Bird, winner of the 2009 Belmont Stakes, has two crops of foals before he died prematurely. One of his two crops of foals in Japan so this is basically his only shot. Neither are the favorite but both are well respected. 

Kentucky Derby
I won't lie... I'm not as into this year's Derby as I have been in the past. I normally start following them as they begin racing at two and usually have strong feelings toward 2-3 horses by the First Saturday in May. However... anyone who has worked for a racing stable or a farm that races, you get pulled into following those horses only. So last fall when two year olds are already making their case for May, I was in Louisiana racing land. Then this spring with moving and all kinds of chaos, I just haven't been able to follow the preps as usual. Have no fear, I still have all kinds of strong opinions about the runners! Horses have two links... one for Equibase (shudder) and BloodHorse so check out both.

Friday - Kentucky Oaks 5:45pm EST TV: NBC Sports Network 3pm
Saturday - Kentucky Derby 6:25pm EST TV: NBC 4pm

Thoughts on the Horses - Post Position Order:
1- Ocho Ocho Ocho - I have to admit, his name is fun to say. He was unbeaten in his three starts as a two-year-old but is win-less in 2015. Winning the 2014 Delta Downs Jackpot is still his biggest accomplishment but we can't forget his third place finish most recently in the Bluegrass StakesCertainly bred to get the 1 1/4 mile distance, his sire Street Sense won the 2007 Kentucky DerbyOcho Ocho Ocho's biggest advantage is that he's a closer. With there being a lot of up front speed, it could set him up big when they turn for home. 

2- Carpe Diem - This might be the highest regarded horse that I least care for. He's with a trainer I can't stand, by a stallion I just feel 'meh' about and the only thing I feel Carpe Diem has going for him having Unbridled's Song as a broodmare sire. He was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year in his only career loss. Carpe Diem won the Bluegrass Stakes in his final prep and with a record of 5-4-1-0 I'll probably be eating my words come Saturday with how open the field is.

3- Materiality - This one pains me. He's trained by Todd Pletcher, who a lot of you know, I highly dislike. However, Materiality is undefeated and taking the Florida Derby in just his third start, you can't ignore him. Afleet Alex should be a Triple Crown winner. Lets face it, his terrible trip and ride in the 2005 Derby cost him. I still don't know of a more agile animal and his Preakness still gives me goosebumps. Afleet Alex was supposed to be the have the likely favorite for the Derby, Texas Red. Unfortunately the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner was sidelined with an injury and slow recovery. Materiality's timing for his sire could not have better timing to give his sire a new hopeful. 

Visiting Afleet Alex, sire of Materiality.
4- Tencendur - A New York bred that's only won once and never raced outside of New York. Actually he's never left Aqueduct. No telling how Tencendur will handle the surface as he's never been on one that even resembles Churchill, and how he'll handle being outside New York. I'm calling a good horse, but for New York bred races. Biggest feat is finishing second in the Wood Memorial to Frosted.

5- Danzig Moon - This guy might have the cutest face of all the runners. All the pictures I see of him, I just want to hug him. Danzig Moon is sired by Malibu Moon who also sired Orb, winner of the 2013 Derby. This Canadian bred colt has only one once at Tampa Bay Downs but ran second to Carpe Diem in his last prep in the Bluegrass Stakes. He finished second in his only previous start at Churchill.

6- Mubtaahij (IRE) - I've never been so on board with a foreign bred and based horse in the Kentucky Derby as I am with Mubtaahij (IRE). I think he's the real deal if he can handle that intercontinental flight that so many horses have problems with post-Dubai World Cup. His UAE Derby was effortless and is there a hotter sire in the world than Dubawi? He's carrying on the legacy his sire was supposed to have. Plus there's the fact I stepped on his owner at Keeneland once and survived the glares of his posse. 

7- El Kabeir - Calvin Borel. Two words to never take lightly in the Kentucky Derby or at Churchill in general. Whoever Calvin rides, has to be looked at, and if they win, there's no shock. A jockey that has been leading rider at Churchill and a horse that has already won over the surface last fall in a Grade 2. Despite winning the Gotham Stakes earlier this spring, he was third in the Wood Memorial. I want to like El Kabeir, I really do. I respect his owners, his trainer is ok and I love Borel. I'll blame his breeding for not being fully on board with him. Scat Daddy never did anything for me as a racehorse and there's more of that Unbridled's Song broodmare sire thing going on (still trying to ignore him as a brilliant broodmare sire). I'd throw him out 100% if it wasn't for Calvin but I really don't see him getting the distance.

May not like him, but still went to see him and others - Scat Daddy, sire of El Kabeir.
8- Dortmund - Undefeated. Undefeated going into The Derby but will he join the exclusive undefeated post Derby club? It's happened three times recently, Smarty Jones, Barbaro and Big Brown, but before that it was Seattle Slew in 1978. Of course 'Slew is in a league of his own as a Triple Crown winner but then there's the fact Dortmund's sire is the aforementioned, Big Brown. I believe Dortmund is Big Brown's one hit, unless he really succeeds as a regional stallion in New York. Lets not take away from the fact however, Dortmund is a beast. He's a tall redhead that has a final kick in his stride that might be unmatched. Bob Baffert trains him and has been repeatedly compared to the horse who hooked me at 12 years old, Point Given. If he can get a clean break and rate off the likely speed war up front, he could easily power home like he did in the Santa Anita Derby. Oh, did I mention he's already won at Churchill in his second start?

9- Bolo - I honestly don't know much about this horse other than he has a very strong following. Every time this spring I've seen his name, I've followed it with the same confused brain search of who the heck this horse is. The fact is though, Bolo deserves more credit than what my brain gives him. He has won twice, his maiden and a ungraded stakes. However, he ran third behind Dortmund both times in the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. He should have no problems with the distance of the race. He's by Temple City (by Dynaformer). Dynaformer = stamina and Derby success with the late Barbaro. Finally trainer, Carla Gaines could become the first woman to train a Derby winner. 

10- Firing Line - I like this guy. He's never been worse than second and looks to be the next Mine That Bird coming out of the Sunland Derby in New Mexico. Firing Line is by young sire Line of David who has a bright future as a stallion. He's run second to Dortmund twice so maybe third time is the charm and he can reverse the tables. Gary Stevens is riding him and well... <3

11- Stanford - Like Bolo, this has been another who? horse. Unlike Bolo, I don't give Stanford much credit. Least favorite trainer and owners and a jockey that's never rode in the Derby. He has a Derby producing sire and a Derby producing dam-sire so he's bred for it. He's won twice in his career, a maiden and optional claiming. He ran second in the Louisiana Derby which is still a race I don't see as a legit prep. We'll add him to my list of disappointments if he were to win.

12- International Star - Wait what? A New York bred horse by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and owned by the Ramsey's? I'm so use to Ken and Sarah Ramsey owning a Kentucky homebred by Kittens Joy that I always forget they own International Star. Usually not a big fan of the horse coming out of the Louisiana prep races but breaking his maiden at Belmont Park and racing (not winning) before at Churchill I think are huge pluses for him. Also just going to say, hes a bay and raced before at Belmont, a check for two superstitions and the Triple Crown if he were to somehow win the Derby and Preakness. 

13- Itsaknockout -  Another Pletcher horse, so another I feel nothing for. I like Lemon Drop Kid as a sire, so it's nice to see him represented in the race. Itsaknockout has won twice in his four career starts, a maiden and an optional claiming race. Really he ran second in the Fountain of Youth but was placed first after Upstart was disqualified. He was fourth in the Florida Derby in his final Derby prep. 

14- Keen Ice - His only lifetime win comes at Churchill Downs. Sired by 2007 Preakness winner Curlin, I think this colt could have a bright future, I just don't see him breaking the ice in the Derby. His best showing was third against International Star and War Story in the Risen Star. Wouldn't be disappointed if Keen Ice won, just don't foresee it happening.

15- Frosted - I wonder if Tapit will be able to break the sorta curse of the expensive stallions? Storm Cat, AP Indy, etc never sired a Derby winner despite their success to land them in the $100,000+ stud fee club. Frosted won the Wood Memorial beating other contenders. Kentucky native Kiaran McLaughlin trains and if the Derby Gods have anything to say about the outcome of the race (they always do right?), it just might be Kiaran's time.

16- War Story - I wish this gelding was by War Front like I always think he is. I would like him more. Instead his sire is Northern Afleet who I don't mind, just don't love. War Story, the only gelding in the field, is another that has only won a maiden and optional claiming race. At least one of those wins comes at Churchill Downs last fall as a two-year-old. He ran against International Star in all three Louisiana prep races, finishing 3-0-2-1 in those preps. I just don't see him being a horse to turn the tables on International Star.

17- Mr. Z Malibu Moon is officially the best represented stallion in the race. Mr. Z gives him three starters in the race along with Danzig Moon and Stanford. Trained by the legend, D. Wayne Lukas I can't help but root for this guy every time he runs. There has to be something said for experience. With 12 starts, he's raced more than the other contenders by three races. In those 12 however, he's only managed to win once. His record is 12-1-4-4. Usually I'd be annoyed at a horse like him who run's in all the right spots and can't win, but he always shows up and runs a race. Just a matter of his race being enough to put him in the winners circle.

18- American Pharoah - No I didn't mispell his name. Pharaoh is spelled Pharoah at least when it comes to the horse. Unless he's named for Jay Pharoah from SNL I'm kind of thinking it was a typo when his registration was electronically submitted. Nonetheless American Pharoah deserves all the hype surrounding him. He may have lost his first start, but went on to win a Grade 1 in just his second outing. Homebred for the Zayat Stables, they're great owners and would love for this guy to get Bob Baffert another Kentucky Derby win. His Arkansas Derby win was perfect.

19- Upstart - Favorite part of this horse? His sire. Flatter stands at Claiborne Farm and is by A.P. Indy. Flatter's dam is Praise, also produced successful stallion Congrats, and is a Claiborne bred and raised horse. Upstart the only other bay in the race to race at Belmont... just saying its down to two for the Triple Crown superstitions to be satisfied this year. He won the Holy Bull at the beginning of 2015 and followed it up with a win in the Fountain of Youth but was disqualified and placed second. The Florida Derby was supposed to be his, but Materiality had different plans and entered the racing scene. 

20- Far Right - Starting from the far right is, Far Right. The most experienced at Churchill, his record at the track is 3-1-1-1 - surface nothing to worry about. Most recently second in the Arkansas Derby, he won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes prior. Mike Smith is riding and like Gary Stevens... <3 We'll see if they can overcome the 20 spot. Being a closer, he should be less affected by the 20 than some but it will take a special performance from him to pull it off. 

My Picks:
I think American Pharoah is going to show us all that he's the real deal. I would love to see Firing Line or Materiality pull it off because of their respective sires. International Star might surprise us. Frosted for his trainer and starting a betting pool of what Tapit's stud fee would be next year could be fun. Mubtaahij (IRE) is the best international shot we'll see in a long time. Finally... Dortmund, the beast.

April 29, 2015

Finding a Farrier - NC Edition

I won't lie. I definitely get a bad horse owner award for this one. When I first got here, I found  vet, chiro and dentist numbers for Dakota, but not farrier. Mostly because I dread going through the cycle of finding one that will work for Mr Sensitive Toes. 

He's been in NC for 6 weeks now. With being trimmed right before he left, I haven't felt too terrible, especially seeing the way he's been running around. But of course we've had insane amounts of rain... aka hoof growing weather. Now they're splitting. Yay for procrastination. Of course hoof growth = not 100% sound because now we're too long but not sore enough to keep someone from galloping around.

I was never a fan of how he was trimmed in Louisiana to be honest, but I was never able to be there when he got done and somehow... he stayed sound.

My neighbor gave me the number to her farrier who never called me back a few weeks ago. I wasn't too keen on trying her anyways so not overly upset. Is it me or unless you really specialize in barefoot (which I'll get into in a second), is it odd for someone to just trim and not shoe? I feel like that's half learning to become a farrier and just being like, nah I'm good. 

Que the internet searching for a farrier. Contacted three farriers, the one I like best on paper called me back. Says he has experience with foundered horses and the pain in the ass sensitive ones. We'll find out soon because he's coming this afternoon. 

If he doesn't workout, and really even if he does, I have another plan thankfully. In the same internet searching, I went on the HGS Forums that I browse on occasion and asked someone I've always respected their knowledge on forum if she knew any farriers in the area. Never met this person but knew she was in NC. She recommended someone that does the natural barefoot trimming. I came across her website on my own before asking, and just assumed she looked too good to be true. This person on HGS assured me she really is good and is worth every bit of her expensive trims. I've already called the person and left a message, which I know she got. I was warned shes busy and backed up but once I can get her out for the first time it shouldn't be as big of a problem. If I can't get her out, fingers crossed the guy today works!

April 28, 2015

Visiting Miss Echo (and Lexington)!

So I've been back from Lexington for two weeks - really late posting this! Lots of boring grown up stuff and working outside delaying me soooo... here it goes.

Safe to say someone remembers me. She heard me talking upon arriving to the farm (where I also stayed with my friends) and perked the ears up and talked to me when I approached her stall. 

She's still a spaz. Since she's not on all the herbs and stuff she needed to be a sporthorse she's a lot more 'echo-y'. A new mare had arrived to farm a few days prior to me getting there and was put in stall and paddock next to Echo. They became fast friends before ever together in a field. Me trying to bring MareFace in for a bath without her friend also coming in? Disastrous.  We finally got her bathed, though it was more of a team effort than any bath ever warrants. 
Can't leave her friend...
She was bred last week so fingers crossed she checks in foal!

The trip was just what I needed. A reminder Lexington is where I belong and what I need to work towards (again). I have a sort of plan now of what I want to do, and what I need to do to get there. Just going to take some time but I need to be patient and just work at it all. 

March 19, 2015

Basketball Anyone?

I know there have been a few games played Tuesday and yesterday, but bulk of games are today and tomorrow. Which really means I'm not leaving the TV. If there's a sport I'd have to pick over anything horse racing / equestrian to watch/play it'd be basketball. Or tennis... I think I've revealed my tennis love before?

Anyways here's my bracket. I love Kentucky basketball. Like, love. So all this hype about the team scares crap out of me that I'll be heartbroken over the stupid sport!

I've done office pools and bracket leauge stuff in the past but this year I'm sitting it out just crossing my fingers in silence I don't curse my team by picking them in my bracket. 

March 18, 2015

The Miles They've Traveled

Yesterday I started thinking about all the miles both my horses have on them, literally. Not in the riding sense, but how many miles I've hauled them across the country. I was somewhat surprised Dakota's wasn't higher. Echo's is since I've had her, no idea where she may have gone, if anywhere, for weanling/yearling training. I didn't include any individual farm moves in Kentucky when Dakota and I first started out, there were a lot before we settled. So this is just pure long distance interstate miles, and of course approximate since I don't know the exact route shippers took to get them around.

October 2012 - Lexington KY to Michigan
June 2013 - Michigan to Lexington
October 2013 - Lexington to Texas
January 2014 - Texas to Lexington

Total: 2,520 Miles (4,055 Km)

August 2006 - Michigan to Lexington KY
December 2010 - Lexington to Michigan
June 2012 - Michigan to Lexington
December 2014 - Lexington to Louisiana
March 2015 - Louisiana to North Carolina

Total: 2,940 Miles (4,731 Km)

March 17, 2015

NC Arrival

Dakota is here! 

48+ hour trailer ride and Mr. D has arrived. I swear I hate moving and I hate uprooting him as well. Thankfully the shipper kept telling me he wished they were all behaved like Dakota and that he was a champion hauler. Ate / drank / slept like a pro on the road. It took longer to get here since I opted for a shipper that would stop and let the horses out of trailer at night (in stalls) at a horsey hotel. I hadn't done this before. I think Dakota is in better shape overall from it but he still looked exhausted last night.

After a final midnight check I actually got sleep... aka adrenaline rush of waiting for his arrival. I got up at 6 this morning to check on him and his attitude was much better. He had ate majority of his hay and drank even more water - good pony. Since he was looking good, I gave him literally a handful of grain with a 'bigger' breakfast later in the morning. He needs to gain weight. With a new grain, environment, hay and him being Mr. Sensitive to what I eat, it's going to be a slow process I think. He also needs a bath. Badly. However since I'm brilliant and left all my bathing supplies, grooming sprays, fly sprays, etc in Kentucky with Echo... he gets to wait that out. I'm not about to go buy all new shampoos, sweat scrapers, etc when I'm planning a trip to Lexington in the next month. I can retrieve a majority of what is in Echo's trunk since she's living the broodmare life and doesn't need half of whats there. 

Pre Groom - Aka gross.
Post Groom - Still needs another good grooming.

Finally heard back from the small animal vet clinic I interviewed with and now I'm waiting to set up a working interview so that they can see me hands on with the animals. 

Saturday I'm going to the Carolina International for the CIC 1-3* cross country day. Meeting up with a friend from Kentucky that now lives in NC as well. Really excited for the day. Also meeting up with her in a few weeks for the world premier of Harry & Snowman which of all places, is here in NC.

March 10, 2015

Updates Updates - North Carolina?

So I've moved... to North Carolina. Not exactly something that was on the radar when I first lost my job. I moved in with my mom, step-dad and 11yr half sister. Something I never thought I'd do. But here I am, 10 days post move.When I was applying to entry level, any type of job really, I had a moment of if you're going to be doing something non horse related, you can do this work anywhere and where would you rather be located moment - goodbye Louisiana. Here's some pics of the last things I did there. I'll miss it, and will visit again one day but happy to be farther north again.

Went to Houston for a night to of course visit the racetrack.
Alligator Searching = success
Snake Hunting = Unexpected

Holly Beach - Gulf of Mexico
I think this building has survived a hurricane or two.

Avery Island and Tabasco sauce tours. Mini Tabasco sauce bottles = love.

Cypremort Point State Park - bay off the gulf

I really wasn't thrilled with the thought of going back to Michigan so I narrowed it down to KY and NC. I was applying for jobs in both states, KY more than NC, but I kept getting more bites in NC. So I came here and am now living in a house with 7 cats and a dog. Thankfully? that 7 includes my 2 who have taken over the ruling of the cat world. Also most of my moms cats are outside except to sleep at night. Could be worse I suppose. 

Holly making sure she wasn't forgotten in packing.
I've had one interview, but they're not in a rush to hire anyone so I still haven't heard back. I've been applying to anything and everything so hopefully it wont take too much longer.

The biggest perk of moving here is my moms house is on a large enough lot I'm going to be keeping Dakota here. He'll have about an acre fenced in, leaving some yard still for the humans and other creatures to use. He arrives March 15, so much to do still but I'll be ready for him. His paddock is split in two so I can have a sacrifice area and easily keep him off high amounts of grass to keep him from exploding and being constantly on the verge of founder. 

The next task will be building him a run-in shed. I'd love for this to be done before he gets here but time and unemployment funds only go so far. Goal is to build something large enough half can be for him and the other half can be used for me to keep his grain / tack / hay / supplies. The run in part will have a gate / door of some sort so if he needs to be locked up he can be. Also the neighbor has 4 mini donkeys and a horse all in sight so he won't be completely alone. They have more land and some trails so heres to hoping they'll let Dakota and I explore some. If he gets too lonely, maybe I'll have to find a mini to lease for company.

February 4, 2015

Celebrate, Regroup and Proceed

I guess now is just as good of a time as any for updates.

Echo is no longer being leased by the girl that was riding her. I had made the difficult decision to sell her. Lauren went to go check in on her, ride her and see how she was doing to proceed with selling her for me. However, what she found was an underweight mare with some new bad under saddle habits. Nothing terrible under saddle, all correctable, but the weight bothered Lauren and wasn't comfortable riding her in that condition. We decided it would take 6-8 weeks to get her to a comfortable weight to have her riding again and another 6-8 weeks to likely correct a few things under saddle. With that, I found an alternative route to take with her. I still own her, but she is now living with friends who are going to breed her this year for a foal to race. She knows them and if anyone else is going to have my horse for nearly two years, there's no one I'd rather have her with. No one.

As for Dakota and I... we will probably be moving. Again. Last Wednesday I lost my job. Something I'm completely ok with. About three weeks ago I had a reality check about the job and some health issues possibly going on so two weeks ago I had already started searching for new jobs here in Louisiana. If I decide to move of substantial distance, the job I had here will at least pay for Dakota and I to move. I'm relieved I had the Echo situation figured out before this hit, one less thing to organize. My lease is up on my apartment the end of March so if I can't find anything job wise here or elsewhere I guess I'll be moving back to Kentucky or Michigan (ugh). Kentucky is far more likely because well... I can actually find a job there.