So, remember last week when I said that Patrick misjudged his stopping distance and had a bit of a run-in with the fence, scalping himself in the process? I wasn’t kidding. He basically removed his whole star.
There’s no media of the actual incident, but ya know, just imagine that you’re the fence, and these were the last things you saw before he went boom.
He has yet to make the same mistake again, so I think he’s learned his lesson. Plus he’s figured out his legs a lot better, so his sudden stops no longer involve sliding on his bottom. He might be 100% colt but he’s definitely not dumb.
And somehow, despite the fact that he has a giant hole in his face, he somehow still manages to have a ton of presence. He’s a supermodel for sure.
From a distance you can’t really tell so much that his star is missing. Poor little bald spot. Hopefully it grows back before he starts requiring sun screen on it. The other kids (Pippa, I mean Pippa, 110%) would tease him relentlessly.
Which, they might anyway because he’s a little bit of a momma’s boy. Pippa is over there going 900 miles an hour and bossing her poor mother around (after super well-behaved Remi last year, Peyton still seems a little shell-shocked sometimes at this extra fiery filly of hers), but Patrick is all about the cuddles. Lark might not be his mother by DNA but clearly they don’t know or care. He’s 100% her boy in every way that matters.
That’s not to say that Patticakes isn’t spunky and rowdy sometimes too, because he definitely is. It’s funny to see the differences in the eventer foal vs the jumper foal… Pippa is a big fan of galloping all over the place, whereas Patrick is pretty much always airborne. He’s like a little bouncy ball, boing boing boinging his way around. Constantly. And he can get some serious air, too, for a little dude.
One thing he and Pippa definitely have in common though: hay is clearly meant to be jumped.
He always ends up back with mom in between all the bouncing, though.
Pippa and Patrick were finally scheduled to be turned out together early this week after these pics were taken but then it started raining out in West Texas and hasn’t stopped since. Everybody’s been stuck inside for the past several days instead. As soon as the mud dries up a bit and things aren’t so slippery they can fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally meet. Patrick has been getting bolder and more confident about the neighbor horses, so I think he’s ready to meet Hurricane Pippa. As ready as he’ll ever be, anyway.
In the meantime, Chanel is hopefully not too far away from releasing Patrick’s full brother or sister. She’s at 336 days today and looking as big as a dang house. Stormie is only about a week and a half behind her, with Ginger a few days after that. Let’s get this show on the road already girls, I’m ready for more babies!
Ya know how sometimes you can’t help but get involved in big social media “debates”, but other times you’re like oh boy here we go, grab your popcorn, and settle in to read? This week I’ve been the latter.
It really started on Sunday, as everyone began posting their opinion of the LRK3DE cross country courses. Although no one was injured, there were more horse falls that we’re used to seeing from a Derek di Grazia course for sure, and then of course there was the fact that only a little over half the 4* field actually made it through cross country (and with only 14 clear rounds out of 40 starters). Everybody had opinions, and that’s fair. But then some people had opinions about everybody having opinions, and ya know how that always goes on social media. It devolved into bickering pretty quickly – the age old debate of “if you’ve never ridden at this level then you have no right to criticize” y’all know how much I love that one.
Amidst all the drama there was one post that generated some useful and interesting conversation though, and that was Kyle Carter’s. The comments were actually good to read through, and I thought his observations were fair and useful to hear. Worth a read through if you haven’t already done so (there’s also some really interesting pics of the different stud setups that people were using, which is always fascinating to me).
I do agree that there were too many horse falls in the 5*, although I admit that the only jump that really bothered me initially from what I could see of the course was the upright gates (where Favian fell and the MIPS clip did not break because of how he hit it – a scenario we saw over and over again with that exact same type of jump at Burghley in 2019. I HATE upright gates on courses like this can we please stop using them?). I think we’re so used to DdG’s courses being very horse-friendly that this many falls was a bit unexpected… more like shades of Mark Phillips. I also have no doubt though that he will analyze and reanalyze this until the cows come home, learn a lot from it, and make changes accordingly.
The other big thing happening on social media this week has been watching the eyepopping racism of some USEF officials and judges come to light. Like wow. Imagine being this triggered when told that the organization you work under is requiring everyone to complete a Diversity and Inclusion course.
People who think that racism doesn’t exist in equestrian sports need to take a wide-eyed tour through those comments and take note of who’s saying what. My god. Imagine thinking that Diversity and Inclusion training is “violating” the “safe haven” of your sport. Holy Christ Peggy that’s a lot to unpack. She’s not the only one who feels that way, though. Seems to be a loooot of the anti-Safe Sport crowd. Huh. Curious. I think if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few years it’s that maybe we’re past due for a bit of a changing of the guard, so to speak.
And then of course there’s the continuing drama between WEC Ocala and USEF and NSBA.
I admittedly haven’t really even begun trying to wrap my head around that one, because my brain is already at capacity. It doesn’t really effect my world yet, but damn it’s interesting to see this go down.
Have y’all been watching or joining in on any of the drama in the horse world this week? Opinions on any of the above topics? It’s a lot for a Thursday…
It’s been a couple weeks since I updated on Henry! I think last we left off he was just coming back from his two week mystery lameness that I suspected was due to a bruise or abscess but never had any actual evidence to back up or confirm either guess.
The farrier was coming out that week for his regular appointment, and as soon as he pulled that shoe off it was very clear what the cause was. There was a big gross currently draining abscess under the shoe near the toe. Like… absolutely oozing black stuff. Barf. Fair enough, Henry, you hadn’t been lying.
The farrier dug it out a little bit more to help it finish draining, but obviously it was not in a great spot and covering it back up with a shoe didn’t seem ideal. I needed to be able to clean the hole out and it needed to be able to continue to drain freely. The farrier pulled down an aluminum eggbar from his trailer, cut a chunk out of it where the abscess hole was, and tada!
Looks weird as hell but it’s worked like a charm. I’ve been able to easily clean out and medicate that hole, it finished draining, and now it’s filling back in nicely, which I can see for myself every day when I pick his feet. I was a little skeptical that he’d keep that shoe on, given how he likes to step on himself behind, but knock on wood it’s been okay so far. Next cycle we should be able to put a regular shoe back on, so he’s just gotta make it a few more weeks.
Henry got that shoe a few days before I left for Ocala and then once I left he ended up getting 5 days off, but he’s felt super since I’ve been back and he’s returned to normal work again.
As soon as I got back from Ocala the dressage horses came back from their winter in Wellington, which… Henry took that life change about as well as he takes any other. Ie not well. For the first few days after their return he flailed around the crossties while I was tacking him up and spent the entire ride screaming bloody murder, jigging, prancing, and being far fancier than he really is. I think he was convinced that they were going to steal away his BFF Quinnie, and as soon as I took him away from her he devolved into a complete mess. Luckily that behavior has slowly eased up, and while he does still watch her while he’s in the crossties, he’s not flailing and screaming anymore. Next level needy, I swear. 14 going on 4.
Now that he’s back in action (knock on wood again) and the other horses are back, I did enter him in a couple jumper classes at a local show next weekend. If I’m remembering right I think I just picked the 3′, something relatively easy for him. I was able to jump him yesterday for the first time in like a month and he was normal Jompies Henry so hopefully it’ll just be a fun and easy day for him. The next thing I need to figure out is when we can get back out XC schooling again… it’s been far too long!
I’ve been back from Ocala for 6 days and I’m just now getting around to talking about Presto. What a terrible mother. He’s even had more adventures since then! We’ll get to that.
The main goals for our Presto-centric parts of the Ocala trip were 1) boop that snoot 2) see how he was doing 3) get more video for his next Futurity vlog 4) sit down and have a chat with Megan regarding how she was feeling about where he’s at, and what the plan should be for him going forward. As I mentioned before, I officially handed over the Futurity reins to Megan for as long as he’s “in the hunt” so to speak, and his next vlog update is due in May. Considering the only videos I had of him were from March when she’d only done a handful of rides and a couple weeks ago when he XC schooled, we needed something else to fill out the footage a bit. Naturally Ocala decided that the weekend of my trip would be the perfect time to absolutely piss rain like nobody’s business, so what started off as a plan to take him offsite morphed into a plan to just jump a few things at home which morphed again into a “well it’s not lightning right now, lets see if we can hack around the totally waterlogged grass arena at the top of the hill”.
I think it kinda worked out though really because the footage of him flatting in the rain (by himself, not another horse in sight) showed that he’s definitely matured a bit from his time in Ocala. When he got there just hacking up to that ring (which was a really long way from his barn) was so exciting that he wanted to do it at mach 5 and/or bouncing in place and/or sideways. And that was with quiet horses in tow to show him the way. So for him to hack up there quietly all by himself in the pouring rain after not having been ridden for 2 days and do it with zero shenanigans… that’s definitely progress. He had a very mini “NO I DON’T WANNA” in the canter one direction where she was asking him to bend around her inside leg and he really wanted to stare off into the distance instead, but he got over it pretty quickly and went back to work. Very reasonable for a 4yo kiddo with major ADHD, given the conditions. He didn’t bat an eye at the standing water or mud or rain.
That evening we went to dinner with Megan and chatted about how he’s coming along, and looked at the show calendar and YEH calendar. I have a massive chip on my shoulder about the YEH calendar in general in regards to Area 5 – the only two qualifiers we have here are at the end of March and beginning of April. How does that make sense for age-restricted classes? Granted we don’t have any recognized shows from June through August so the pickins are slim to get the qualifiers done here before the Sept 14 Championships cutoff, but still. Why not one of the May shows? Can we lobby for that? Alas, by having a 4yo ready to tackle a qualifier by the end of April, which seems pretty freakin early to me, we had already missed every opportunity within a 15 hour haul of us. Delightful.
The other two best options were Chatt in July – they have two weeks of back to back shows and back to back qualifiers – or, there are two in California a couple weeks apart in June/July. Megan is doing Rebecca Farm in July with her upper level horses anyway, so it would make more sense to look at things on the west coast that could be more “on the way” rather than heading 16 hours east to Chatt, coming home to Texas, and then immediately heading 27 hours northwest toward Rebecca. Instead they could go the 18 hours west to Cali, spend a few weeks out there, head up to Rebecca, and then come home. Plus she was based on the west coast for a while, so she’s familiar with everything out there. We’ve penciled the California qualifiers in as the tentative plan for now.
But, YAY, she thinks the kiddo is ready for his first show now, and there’s no need to wait until June or July for the qualifiers to kick things off. All the jumping stuff is very easy for him, the flatwork is a little harder, but mostly it’s his focus and keeping his mind on task and a lid on his enthusiasm. Those things will only come with time and miles, so we may as well get started. Naturally there is only one (ONE) event left on the calendar in Area 5 between now and September, that being Texas Rose in the middle of May. Texas Rose wouldn’t really be my first choice of venues for a horse’s first show – it can have a lot of atmosphere, a lot to look at, a lot going on, etc. Definitely tends to be the busiest and most impressive of the Area V venues. But again, ya know… beggars can’t be choosers.
Megan didn’t seem worried about it at all (she never seems particularly worried about much, how do I get some of that?), and I don’t give a crap about his USEA record, so if he gets there and his brain can’t handle the atmosphere and he has to scratch, or circle on course, or trot all the jumps, or his dressage is super tense… that’s fine. Hopefully he can contain himself but if not we’ll deal with it as it comes, and really there’s only one way to find out.
Megan did the 4* (or as some are calling it, the 5* Short lol) at Kentucky last weekend with her Advanced horse, so instead of going to Kentucky and then back to Ocala and then back to Texas, all of her Ocala horses made the trek to the Horse Park. Yup, that’s right, Presto was right there at Kentucky on LRK3DE weekend.
I mean, he was over in the non-compete stabling pouting about being bored, but still.
He did have a rough journey from Ocala to Kentucky, not hauling well at all and getting a bit banged up in the process, so he’s gonna spend some time working with Megan’s husband Reed (who very conveniently is a groundwork/colt starter guy) in the trailer and rehashing some of those patience lessons. Presto got a bit of chemical assistance for the trip home from Kentucky to Texas, to make sure he didn’t hurt himself or get in a bad situation. I suspect that (knowing him and having watched him on camera every time I’ve hauled him) his noodle self may have tried to turn around in the trailer and got stuck, scaring himself in the process. That would be pretty on-brand. Hopefully it will be simple for Reed to fix, once Presto gets some confidence back about the situation. These things are all part of learning how to be a real grown up horse, there will inevitably be hiccups.
Presto is looking pretty good though, condition-wise, especially considering all the travel. He’s put on a little bit of weight and some muscle (and possibly height but we’re pretending not) and while he still definitely looks gangly and babyish you can tell that he’s maturing a bit too. He seems to really thrive off the work and enjoys having a job, so I’ve got no reservations with continuing on with pro training/the Futurity at this point. We’ll keep re-evaluating as we go along and I’m sure some plans will change, but that’s all our current thoughts at least!
You’re now fully debriefed on the life and times of Presto. Sorry for the novel.
With everything happening last week I kind of ran out of time to finish my “In the Blood” post before Kentucky, so I decided to turn it into a post-show version instead. Plus, like, if y’all thought you were gonna escape me gushing about Presto’s “brother from another mother” Mama’s Magic Way (Mason) and his spectacular performance in his first 5*, you were sorely mistaken. I’ve been a Mason stan for a while now and this weekend just put it on like level 10.
With his LRK3DE completion Mason also becomes his sire Mighty Magic’s first 5* offspring, and I highly doubt it will be his last. MM’s oldest crop was born in 2007, and for the first few years of his stud career he was bred to quite heavy/cold mares in the thought that, since he was 88% TB and very typey, he would really refine them and blood them up. Once those initial offspring started to mature a bit it was clear that MM actually does best with a mare that has some blood herself and isn’t too heavy, so breeders switched tactics on the type of mares they bred him to. Those offspring are just starting to “come of age” and there are quite a few currently ticking up the levels, so I’m excited to see what happens over the next few years! Mason himself is out of a mare by Star Regent xx out of a Hano mare (making him 80% blood) so he’s a good example of using MM on a mare who has some blood herself. I was cheering like crazy for him and he made easy work of a tough Kentucky, still looking full of run when he crossed the finish on Saturday and bright and fresh on Sunday. Really really exciting horse for the future, and no of course I’m not biased at all.
Yes you’re right, they should hire me to his PR team. ANYWAY, on to the rest of the field I suppose.
Two stallions had two offspring each in the field – eventing stallion Windfall and showjumping stallion Diarado. The Diarado’s won that particular head to head battle in the final placings, with Diachello finishing 11th and QC Diamantaire finishing 19th. Showjumper Stakkato was the sire’s sire of two horses, Superstition and FE Stormtrooper. Other stallions did show up multiple times across the pedigrees of different horses, names you should probably be familiar with by now if you’ve read any of these posts before – Cavalier Royale, Clover Hill (ISH), Contender, Heraldik xx, Indoctro, Landadel, Capitol, Voltaire, and Master Imp xx. Basically TB and showjumping lines with a dash of Irish (which is pretty much all you see if you look at any of the Irish Sporthorse pedigrees).
The blood percentages across the field ranged anywhere from 27% (Bolytair B) to 100%. If you discard all the full thoroughbreds and the full Anglo-Arabian, the highest blood percentage was a whopping 99.8% from German-bred Hanoverian (lol) FRH Butt’s Avondale.
The Butt’s breeding program has produced a lot of good eventers, always with very very high blood, and it was fun to see one competing on this side of the pond. Super nice horse and really fun to watch, another good one for the future I think!
If we dig into the pedigrees of the top 10 finishers (as much as we can anyway, Ballaghmor Class is at least 50% but his pedigree has large chunks missing and I don’t like using inaccurate numbers in my stats, thus he’s excluded) the average blood percentage of those horses is 61.25%, a bit higher than average for a 5*. We’re used to seeing more like 53-56% from the European 5*’s.
If we look at the top 10 fastest clear rounds on cross country, the average blood percentage of those horses rises to a whopping 74.5%. Alternatively, if we look at just the horses who turned in clear showjumping rounds, the average blood percentage is 57.3%. Read from that what you will, if anything.
On the American Thoroughbred side of things we again see the lines we’ve gotten accustomed to seeing at these top levels – Danzig xx, AP Indy xx, Deputy Minister xx, Count Ivor xx, and Affirmed xx just to name a few.
If that’s not enough to convince you of the thoroughbred influence, 16 of the horses who started cross country have at least one full TB parent, and it was just as common to see the TB parent on the bottom of the pedigree (the dam) as it was on the top (the sire). As we’ve seen over and over again by now, the old adage of “blood on top” doesn’t seem to apply to event horses. They just need blood period.
Out of all of the Irish Sporthorse entrants, none of the ones that completed this year were of Traditional Irish breeding – all had some Continental (ie European warmblood) mixed in there as well. It’s proven to be an extremely successful formula for Ireland when it comes to creating modern event horses.
While it’s most common to see sires that were showjumpers (there are very few stallions that compete at the top levels of eventing) five of the entrants were by stallions who competed at upper level eventing themselves – Oratorio by Oslo Biats, FE Lifestyle by Leo von Faelz, Mama’s Magic Way by Mighty Magic, and of course the aforementioned Vandiver and Tsetserleg by Windfall. It used to be thought that you can’t really breed eventers, which is obviously quite false!
On a more personal note, I think my favorite horses of the weekend aside from Mason were FE Lifestyle and Jakobi (by Ustinov, who has sired a lot of good event horses), who both looked extremely genuine and honest on the cross country. My type! Who were your personal favorites of the weekend? Did any stand out to you as ones to watch for the future?
Circumstances (weather plus breeding schedule – the mares are cycling fast and furious now, lots and lots of lab work to be done!) have prevented Pippa and Patrick from being turned out together yet, so we don’t have any super cute baby duo photos to share this week. Hooooopefully next week! But we do still have some super cute pictures of each foal, so how’s that for a consolation prize?
Luckily these pics were taken before Patrick had a slight miscalculation in his stopping distance with relation to the fence… he’s now missing a huge chunk out of his star. Whoops. Those darn legs are still hard to figure out sometimes.
He’s gonna have an adorable face I think though. Well, uh… when his star grows back anyway. Y’all will see what I mean next week.
His ears remain super entertaining and floppy though, which really just add to his extreme adorableness.
You know you want to just stuff him in your pocket and take him home, and honestly he’d probably like that. He’s a momma’s boy type, for sure, and seems like he’ll be a bit of a squishable attention hound like his sire.
Pippa, on the other hand, is… not anything like that. She is a fiery little thing, very confident and sure that she knows everything already, Peyton’s opinion be damned. She might be right.
She’s got all 3 phases of eventing down pat already I think. No assistance required, Pippa’s a pro.
While her personality might be nothing like Patty’s, she’s still just as cute as he is. He’s got that “put him in your pocket” cuteness, while she’s got that elegant filly -lots-of-TB-blood typiness going for her.
Not to say that she’s elegant and beautiful all the time, though. I mean… she’s still a baby horse.
She’s also very curious about new or interesting things. She must know what everything is and how it works. Like her discovery of the sprinkler, for instance.
When in doubt, try to eat it. Not a bad life motto to have, really.
Chanel is also waddling around looking like a beached whale, she’s 329 days today and looks like she might legit pop. Hopefully not too much longer til baby #3! In the meantime, we’ll work on a playdate for Pippa and Patticakes so that we can get the ultimate cute factor happening with their powers combined. Stay tuned!
Boy did we ever do it. Bobby and I definitely covered a wide range of everything the area has to offer during our long weekend. Originally the recap was gonna be split up into multiple posts with a lot more detail but this week has gotten completely insane and then we got home a day later because of airplane issues so my whole life is a bit backed up at the moment, thus… we’re gonna shove pretty much all of it into one post. Buckle up.
We flew into Gainesville on Monday, arriving mid-afternoon. We grabbed our rental car and immediately headed over to say hi to Presto at Ocala Jockey Club. Everyone was still over at the Horse Park for the show but it was very easy to tell which stall he was in – he had his head over the top of his stall (which he can barely do on his tiptoes, because the stalls are not meant for them to get their heads over) so you could see his goofy white nose from a mile away. We gave him cookies, got him out to say hi, and hung out for a few minutes. Bobby hasn’t seen Presto in a while, and he was a lot smaller back then. Not so much anymore.
He definitely looks like he’s filling out a little bit, and he’s nice and dark and shiny again with his summer coat. Florida seemed to agree with him.
After we left Presto we headed to WEC – had to see what all the fuss was about, of course. And yeah… I get it. It’s pretty freakin nice.
The view at the grand outdoor is impressive, and then as you keep walking further in the sheer size of the whole facility is something else. Tons of barns, tons of rings, restaurants, tack shops, the hotel… it’s definitely covering all the bases. Once it’s totally finished it’s gonna be hard to beat. We poked around some of the empty barns to take a closer look at the stabling and it’s top notch. The only complaint I could come up with was that it would have been cooler if the pavers around the barn and from the barns to the arenas had been rubber instead of cement, but… that’s being super super picky. The stalls are big, airy, each with their own fan, stall mattress, lots of washracks everywhere with hot and cold water, tons of restrooms, etc. I did a little video tour so you can see what the barns look like.
By the time we got there it was getting late and there were only a couple vendors still open but we did poke around the shops we could, and then grabbed some dinner and headed over to catch some of the Grand Prix Freestyle at the dressage show. Originally the class was supposed to be in the grand outdoor arena but got moved inside due to weather… kind of a bummer because a freestyle would have been really fun to watch in that stadium!
The next day it was suuuuper rainy (why you gotta do that to us, Ocala?) and the entire goal of the day was getting more video of Presto, so… that was super timing. We did locate and load up on some OCP’s before we headed out
which Presto was pretty excited about. The forecast called for rain basically all day, so we tried to just time it to where it at least wasn’t lightning or it wasn’t pouring SUPER hard. Megan rode Presto and I got video, so mission accomplished even if all of us ended up completely soaked.
Naturally, not long after that it cleared up and stopped raining. These weather people, I swear. 90% chance of thunderstorms all afternoon ends up just being mostly cloudy… sure. Thanks.
I’m not complaining too much though, because our afternoon objective was tack shops. Bobby wanted some stuff for his new horse, so we had plans to hit pretty much every place we could find. We headed back to WEC so we could go to all the places that had already been closed the evening before, and we found plenty of trouble.
The Romatelli store was extraordinarily dangerous for me, but I did escape unscathed. Mostly because the navy boots I liked so much weren’t in my size. Thank goodness for small miracles. I did pick up a few little things at other shops though… a new pinney holder, some soap, a couple WEC shirts, and some peanut butter fudge. I got the full WEC experience.
Then we headed over to Tack Shack, which was just as overstimulating to me this time as it was last time I was there. Too many things I want to touch all at once, my brain shorts out. My main goal for Tack Shack was actually getting my hands and eyes on an Ikonic saddle… I’ve been really interested in this brand for Presto because they have interchangeable gullets and wool flocking, and Ikonic is a Belgian company so I was hoping they’d have the kind of leather I’m used to from my French brands. They didn’t have the monoflap jump saddle I really want, but I could at least see and touch the other jump saddles and the dressage saddle (and I sat in the dressage saddle too). They were nice. Reminded me a lot of CWD. They’re all under 4k too, so the leather plus the price plus the adjustability factor makes it a SUPER interesting brand to me. The only bummer is that it’s just about freaking impossible to find one to take on trial. That’s… problematic.
While a new saddle definitely wasn’t in the budget for the day, I did grab a new pair of gloves (RSL Rider’s Touch – I hadn’t seen that brand before but they were nice and thin and super comfy so I figured I’d give them a try), a couple pairs of glittery boot socks, and a Fair Play show shirt with lace sleeves and sparkly buttons that was very reasonably priced. Really I was hoping to pick up a couple new sunshirts but apparently every brand now thinks that hideous patterns are what we want and I legit couldn’t find a single shirt I liked. Ok that’s a lie, I really liked the Dada Sport ones but the only color they had in my size was baby pink and that’s a no for me. I swear I looked at sunshirts at every single shop we went in the whole weekend (which was like… 10+ by the time all was said and done?) and didn’t find a single one. I tried.
After we were done shopping we met Megan for dinner and talked about a plan for Presto before wrapping things up and heading back to the hotel for the night.
The next day we got up and hit a couple more tack shops, including the consignment shop. I tried really hard to find something in there to buy but either it just wasn’t quite right or I didn’t think the price was good enough. The other thing I wanted aside from sunshirts was a leather monoflap jump girth for Henry, and they actually had a couple I really liked (Forestier and Voltaire) but they were too expensive for their condition, IMO. We did have a lot of fun wandering through all the rooms looking at everything though!
After that we headed to downtown Ocala for lunch, walking around the square to see the painted horses of course
then we headed out to my friend AJ’s place to see her horses. She has a thoroughbred stallion that I had yet to see in person, Saketini, and lots of foals to pet. My kind of activity! I was really impressed with Saketini, he’s a big very correct horse with lots of bone, athleticism, and a super temperament – nice blood option for sporthorse breeders, for sure.
Last year someone with a Mighty Magic mare contacted me to ask if I knew of any good TB stallions that might work for her and I suggested Saketini, and wouldn’t you know it – guess who was at the farm? The resulting filly from that cross!
She was the one horse I saw all weekend that I was tempted to steal. SO cute, definitely has a Mighty Magic look to her but more elegance than the mare and lovely movement. Excellent cross, for sure. We got to see some other Saketini offspring too, from foal to 3 years old, as well as their race-bred foals from this year. I was in heaven.
She also took us over to a farm down to street to see a couple of their stallions that she thought were interesting – in particular Long on Value and Gunnevera. Both definitely super handsome, I’d keep an eye out for their offspring for sure. It was fun to see Gunnevera since he was such a successful racehorse, and boy did he look every inch an athlete. That horse is super well put together, still on clean legs even after the career he had, and has a ton of presence and swagger. I’m not usually drawn to anything with Storm Cat, or chestnuts, but that was a super nice horse.
We got to see some of their other stallions too: Bucchero, Breaking Lucky, Handsome Mike, Sweetontheladies, and another couple bay ones that I forget which was which. Kid in a candy store, I got over-excited again.
After that we drove around scoping out some horse properties for a friend, which… Ocala is literally horse farm after horse farm after horse farm and a lot of them are for sale, so that’s also a bit mind-boggling too. Of course, most of them are also mega expensive now with WEC there. We were able to tour one of the ones on the list and get lots of video/eyeballs on it to send back and discuss with my friend, so it was a fruitful adventure.
We rounded out the day with some fish and chips at Horse and Hound, and honestly it was one of those days where you started out with a loose idea of plans but nothing really firmed up, yet it ended up being just the best day ever. Most fun day of the trip for sure, and we got to see and do a little of everything. Even Bobby was happy, despite having to spend a couple hours enduring the chatter of breeding nerds (he liked petting the babies, it worked out).
We headed back to Gainesville the next morning, hit one more tack shop, had lunch, and went to the airport… only to end up sitting there for hours and hours and hours. Turns out our plane had damage to the fuselage and they had to figure out whether or not they could repair it. By the time they even got the crew out there, we’d missed every possible connecting flight from Atlanta back to Austin, so we just ended up rebooking everything for the next morning instead. We made an evening of Gainesville (thanks for the nice hotel, Delta!) and were up bright and early for the first flight out. We definitely didn’t have good seats heading back since we were at the “beggars can’t be choosers” stage, and that Atlanta to Austin leg got a little rough especially at the back of the plane. Crossing through that big cold front and then coming out the other side to super gusty winds made for a lot of green-faced people on that plane, myself included. I took hours for me to stop feeling motion sick. But hey, we made it, only a day late, and it was a fun trip even if getting home was an ordeal.
Now I have a lot of work to catch up on though, as well as some other stuff going on, so… it might take me a while to get myself caught back up. More to come about Presto at some point!
Yay, another new baby! I gave y’all a couple sneak peek pictures this week because he’s just too cute to keep under wraps for 5 whole days, but now he finally gets his official introductory post. Say hello to Patrick WTW!
If you didn’t squee at him already then you need to check yourself. This is high quality, top end squee material, this colt. Obviously he will go gray, and his little gray eyeliner and gray nose are just too much.
As a reminder in case it’s hard to keep track (because it is hard to keep track) this cutie is by Faustino de Tili (1.60m showjumper) out of Chanel Z (1.40m showjumper), and born to surrogate mare Lark. She’s settling into the mom life and doing a good job, and it’s exciting to have the first WTW embryo transfer foal on the ground. Patrick is definitely a stunning colt and looks like he’s going to grow into a really nice horse – he’s got a gorgeous face and now that he’s starting to unfold a bit you can tell that he’s nicely put together.
Patrick (who has already picked up the nickname Pattycakes) hasn’t been out in the big pasture yet (hopefully next week once the rain clears up!) but Michelle was at least able to snap some pics of him hanging out in his paddock before the rain hit so we could get a good look at him. He’s definitely not as next-level spunky as Pippa (few are), but as he’s gotten more comfortable with his legs and steadier on his feet he’s looking really athletic for sure. He’s got super quick reflexes and can already ping off the ground pretty well, even in this smaller space.
What he’s particularly good at so far, though, is posing. I think he’s going to be this foal crop’s supermodel – he really knows where the camera is and knows how to work it. It’s pretty clear that he’s fully aware of how cute he is and isn’t shy about making sure it’s well captured on film. He’s gotta make sure we get every angle, since they’re all adorable. I mean, he is REALLY cute, he’s not wrong.
He’s also already starting to show some of his personality. The foals really do hit the ground with their own distinct personalities, and they become even more apparent over the first few days. Where Pippa is fiery, confident, and independent, Patrick is a little more sweet and cuddly, although still pretty darn confident. He’s definitely more of a “dude”, pretty typical for the colts, with a little more goofiness showing.
Of course, since he’s a colt he will be available for sale. I think Michelle is really crossing her fingers that the full sibling (that Chanel is carrying) will be a filly. We’ll see in a couple weeks! They’ll be fun to compare, either way.
For those wondering what Pippa is up to, we’ll have more pics of her next week, but of course she did have to make her presence known while Patrick was having his first glamour shots taken. Michelle looked over her shoulder and saw this.
She’s hilarious. Never a dull moment with that little firecracker, that’s for sure. Can’t wait to see how the dynamic unfolds once Pippa and Patrick meet! I have a feeling he’ll have his little hooves full with that one…
I don’t even think I can express how excited I am to go to Ocala. Partly because I want to see Presto and partly because my ass just hasn’t been anywhere since August 2019 and I am legit dying for a change of scenery. The wanderlust is intense. It’s just Florida, but… I will 100% take what I can get.
Of course the big reason for Bobby coming along with me was so that he could try horses. He’s been shopping for a while, and after some vetting issues and just plain old mismatches, he wasn’t having a ton of luck locally. We found some promising looking horses in Ocala so we booked the trip accordingly, started making plans, and lining up horses to try. Then… a twist. He looked at a horse a few weeks ago locally, absolutely loved it, vetted it, and made an appropriate offer according to the results and how the vet felt about it. The owners declined the offer, which was a bummer but okay totally fair. Then last week they came back and accepted Bobby’s offer, to his great delight, and a few days later – tada new horse! And it does seem like the perfect horse for him, he loves him, they’re off to a promising start.
But now of course there’s no need to look at horses in Ocala, since he just got one (and for some reason refuses to buy me one with all the leftover budget he had? Rude AF.). Okay, let’s pivot. What he doesn’t have is a lot of equipment for the new horse, and while Ocala isn’t dripping with tack shops they certainly have more than we do (we’ve got… Dover. Period.) AND there’s a dressage show going on at WEC this weekend, which should draw some vendors too. We can get all the stuff he needs in one fell swoop and have more variety than we do here, so it works. Plus, like, if I have one single talent in the entire world, it’s spending other people’s money. I was born for this job.
And I needed to hit some tack shops too, because I’d really like to find a new girth for my jump saddle for Henry but I’m so picky that buying them online hasn’t worked well for me. I settled on a synthetic memory foam girth for him last year and felt really meh about it, and it’s already looking worn and frayed at the edges.
I’d really like to find him a good soft, well-padded leather one if I can. I’m also starting to think about things like show pads for Presto, so if I found any good deals I could go for those too. We shall see. I also really wanted to get my eyeballs and hands on the Ikonic saddles that Tack Shack is carrying now, since I’ve never seen one in person yet. They might be an option for Presto’s next saddle (probably next year) if I like them. So, now we have a big priority to hit any and all tack shops, which is not exactly a hardship for me.
The original reason for the Ocala trip was to see Presto of course, and get a bit more video for his May futurity vlog. Right now all we’ve got is the video from early March, before he left for Ocala, and the video from his XC school last week. Plus I obviously really want to see him, especially in a big boy environment like Ocala. We’ve got lots of Presto plans for Sunday, and I’m pumped. We’ve also got to sit down and iron out the plan for him as far as YEH and the Futurity and figure out some events he can do. The schedule is kind of shit (there is only one recognized event in Texas after he gets home, and then no more until September, and no more YEH classes within a 12 hour drive either. Don’t get me started on the YEH schedule, it’s a rant you really don’t want.) so it’s gonna depend on how we can work out the traveling and coordinate with her schedule for her other horses.
In a slight change of plan for him though – he’s going to Kentucky next wee!. Megan is showing her 4* horse at Kentucky, and rather than drive 12 hours up to Kentucky with him, be gone for a week, and then drive back to Ocala, load all the horses up, and drive 17 hours back to Texas, it makes more sense to just take them all (there’s only 3-4, not that many) to Kentucky and then make the drive back to Texas from there. He’ll be staying at a farm near the horse park for the week, and I’m happy for him to continue his world tour. It’s extremely good for him to learn how to travel well and unload in new places and be able to settle and work, so I think it’s good experience. Plus, like… who wouldn’t want to go to Kentucky at the end of April? I’m jealous.
We have a couple more exciting things in our plan for Ocala, and I think I’m weaseling in a trip to see a stallion and some babies (because I always try to squeeze that in wherever we go) so I don’t think we’ll be short on things to do even though we’re no longer horse shopping. I’m ready… someone let me on the plane.
Y’all, I have some very important breaking midweek news that I think you need to see ASAP.
Patrick (the newest foal) has a serious ear situation. (or maybe a sEARious situation? ba dum tss I’m here all week)
Look at those things. He could take flight. They need their own zip code. And better yet, they’re pretty darn floppy and set wide to the sides. Absolute masterpiece ears, if you ask me. You’ll see them in their full glory on Friday but man… I didn’t think the world could go another day without seeing these things. Big floppy ears are my favorite accessory.
In other news, I’ve ridden Henry twice now this week and he’s felt great both times. Like… really great. Like… too great. If you’re into dolphins, boy do I have the theme park experience for you. It’s hot and humid enough to take a tiny bit of the wind out of his sails so he hasn’t been super spooky, but as soon as we start cantering he plants his nose between his knees and away we go to the dolphin rodeo. I find it endlessly hilarious, although yesterday he came awfully close to an actual buck before he changed his mind and tried to run off with me instead. Bless his heart, none of it is particularly athletic but he gets an A for effort and bonus points for making me laugh so hard I can’t breathe.
I’m definitely glad that his owwie foot seems to be resolved, I missed riding this ridiculous animal every day. Two weeks was too long, although I was really worried that we’d have another 2 month situation like last time and that would have sucked a whole lot more. The rest of the horses will be back from their winter in Florida next week, which means I’ll be able to start taking Henry places again (with only 2 horses on the property right now, leaving one behind alone isn’t really feasible), although we’ve only got another month or so before it gets so hot that he’ll start struggling. Maybe we can fit a few fun things in before it gets too bad.
I did leave the Magic Cushion packed in there for a little extra protection, and the farrier comes tomorrow.
I will say that don’t think having two weeks off has done any favors for his fitness or his fatness. Once I handed Presto off to Megan I had more time to ride Henry, so he’d finally been getting back up to a more normal routine and a little more strength and conditioning before this happened. Two weeks seems to have definitely taken a few steps back on his progress. It also might be time to slightly cut his food back again. It’s funny because every single winter I had this horse at a boarding barn, no matter which barn it was, he got ulcery and lost a lot of weight every winter. Both of the winters he’s been out here, he’s gained weight and had zero ulcer issues. It’s kind of hammered into me from all those years of boarding to be a little leery of backing off his feed too much, lest he suddenly drop weight again, but… after all the time he’s spent here I think it’s safe to say that isn’t going to happen. Even when the pasture is dried up and crispy, he’s stayed round. When he moved here I cut his grain in half, and now I think we can back down a bit more. At least until some of his food baby is gone. You have to admit it does kind of complete his overall mare look though…