I am absolutely head over heels in love with this mare!! Eva has been very receptive to the ground work that I've done with her this week. She is becoming so soft, yields nicely, and seems to really enjoy the work.
It was such a joy to get Roue's bridle (my beloved former Advanced level Event horse) out of the tack trunk for Eva to wear and boy did she look the part of a sport horse!
Although I haven't done a lot of "lunge work" per say, I have worked her on the ground and in new places enough to feel comfortable that getting on and taking her for a short ride would pose no problem for her at all. Sure enough, she stood quietly when I got on and we just walked and trotted around on a light contact for about 15 min.
She actually seemed to have a very good understanding of the leg and hand aides and was very quiet, soft, and responsive about everything I asked of her.
She was an absolute dream to sit on and just gave the best feeling! Eva seems so happy in her new life and I feel so lucky to have this lovely girl as my partner!
We were extremely happy to discover that Eva's goody of choice are carrots! Her pony neighbors are helping her learn that cookies, pears, and apples are also quite delicious, but Eva still has her doubts. Eva has been settling in much better than what I expected, she is extremely aware of herself and where her body is which is helpful in knowing that she will do her best to take care of herself in her new, much more vast surroundings compared to her living arrangements at the track (large stall and small attached paddock). She is also proving to be very quiet with meeting her new friends over the fence and has yet to squeal or make any kind of fuss during their interactions.
She loves to be outside soaking up the sunshine and only enters her stall to drink. Unfortunately she is so intent on staying outside and watching the other horses wander in the neighboring pastures that she hasn't been very interested in her hay and grain. We were careful to move all of her food outside (her hay net, grain bucket, and loose flakes of hay on the ground) and this certainly has not gone unnoticed by the ponies who are simply besides themselves watching flakes of hay piling up and a full grain bucket go untouched. Maybe Eva will succumb to the peer pressure from all of her pony friends and begin to hold food to the same standard as they do! We have been taking her on walks and doing some ground work in the arena (we are still waiting on shoes) about 4 times a day which does help her focus on her food when she returns from her "outings".
Much to my relief, on Saturday morning I arrived to find an EMPTY grain bucket! We are going to start her on a course of Gastroguard just to help in transitioning to her new life, but it's a great sign that she is finally showing interest in her food. Interestingly, although she ate from a hay net at the track, she certainly prefers to eat her hay from the ground.
The Connemara breeding farm that Eva now calls home is located adjacent to the local Fire/Police/EMT training center. Although it is generally quiet for much of the day, they do the high speed driving training and other activities for short periods throughout the day. Much to my surprise, the horses actually seem to enjoy the "entertainment" of people zooming around and occasionally setting things on fire and putting them out. On our second day of ground work in the arena, the driving training was in full session. Not surprisingly, Eva was still much more mesmerized by the big grass pasture and really could care less about the goings on next door. It is so fun how desensitized these horses are to what we would normally consider "scary", and yet it is nature that they find so new and intoxicating.
KO Eventing is pleased to introduce our newest team horse, "Eva" (Momentum x Electric Fable) a 6 year old 16.2hh mare (JC name Jumpin Janet), who has retired sound from a full racing career. We brought her home from the track on Thursday evening, November 14th. She was definitely a barn favorite and adored by her trainer and groom. Although she's excited and "ready to go" seems fairly well mannered and extremely sensible. I hope to use this blog to chronicle her progress and unique challenges taking a horse from the track and transitioning to life as a sport horse.
Eva travelled quietly in the trailer and after a few minutes understood that we wanted her to back out of the step down trailer. We'll definitely have to practice a bit more but she was very willing. We put her into the big stall with a small attached paddock and she was so happy to meet all of her Connemara neighbors at Rosewood Farm in Windsor, CA. She is proving to be a very sweet and friendly girl. We made sure she had a full hay net and bucket of grain, but for now she seemed more interested in taking in the view. I can't wait to see the progress she makes in the next few weeks and months!