Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

News

Equine Emergency Management Plan

Officer Paul from Collier County’s Domestic Animal Services came out to discuss ways to prepare and deal with emergencies in requires to our horses.  The following is a list of what he discussed and my personal notes, along w links to outside sources. This information is specific to our county and area of Golden Gate Estates, but can be applied anywhere, taking into account your own local situation.

HAVE A PLAN- WHERE WILL YOU GO, HOW TO GET THERE, WHAT YOU NEED
Establish local and out of area, out of state evacuation sites

1. Establish Phone Tree- have at least 3 people on your phone tree that can offer assistance w a trailer ride or a place to evacuate your horses.  Take into account your location– have people in different areas set up as fires,  flooding, or downed trees/power lines can make areas inaccessible.

2. Horse Identification-
Paperwork: Collier County requires proof of a  negative Coggins test as well as Rabies shots.  Have your paperwork current and with you.  You can even laminate the Coggins to protect it during storms. This is a way to identify your horse and your ownership.  You also need a current Coggins to legally transport your horse.  Boarding facilities may also require horses have certain vaccines, check your local facilities to see what is required for them to accept your horse. f you have recently acquired a horse, have a copy of your bill of sale in your paperwork. Current close up photos of your horse can help too, especially to post on social media should your horse get loose

Physically mark your horse:

-ID cards for your breakaway halter
-ID bands that go on neck, or coronet
-Grease pencils can be used to write your number on your horses side ( as can spray paint but that washes off easier)  or on the horses hooves
-main and/or tail braids
-Microchip

3. Evacuation Kit
– Paperwork mentioned above
-Feed for at least 5 days
-Any medications needed
-First Aid Kit
-Vet and/or Emergency Vet number

PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY
Here are some things you can do to prepare

-Keep fencing in good condition

-In case of hurricane, put away as much as you can that will be picked up by the wind and store in a secure location. Flying objects can seriously injure your horse.

-Dead or dying trees should be removed, branches trimmed, they can come down and injure a horse, damage a fence or in the case of fire, add to the problem.  Down trees can also block access to trailers and vet vehicles that may need to access your property.

-Water – if you are out here on well water be aware that if you loose power you will loose access to  water – portable generators or a simple hand pump added to your well will ensure that you have clean fresh water.  Remember in the summer here water goes bad quickly, access to FRESH water is necessary.

LETTING YOUR HORSE GO
Here it is common to hear people talk of  letting their horses “go” in case of a major hurricane coming in, with the thought that the horses are safer out of the barn, where they may be trapped.  Ability to be in a large area can be beneficial without a hurricane proof barn, but they also can be punctured by flying objects, stepping on all sorts of things (boards with nails and are at risk of running out onto a street.  Your best plan of attack if you feel your barn is not a safe structure is to have a large pasture, free of debris, with a solid fence.  Remember that hurricanes often spawn tornadoes  As always, make the best decision for your horse and your situation.  In fire conditions, Never leave horses trapped in a barn.  Ever.

LOST AND FOUND HORSES
– Call Sheriff’s AG Unit 239-252-9300 (if your horse is missing, call AG unit first!
– Domestic Animal Services 239-252-7387
-Golden Gate Estates Horse Owners FB page
-Lost Pets of Collier County FB Page
-Microchip company if chip is found

Think about – if you find a horse, it may be sick or have parasites, keep it at least 30 feet away from your horses.  If you use your halter and lead line to catch an unknown horse, sanitize it before using it on your horse.  Same for feed and water buckets

SUPPLIES:
With hurricanes feed and hay supplies can be destroyed, both at your home, boarding facility and local stores. Supply chains can be disrupted throughout the state .  You may consider storing feed and hay cubes inside your home or garage.  Hay cubes are a substitute for hay, a complete forage. Hay pellets are not, and do not meet the horses need for fiber.  Cubes are an easy way to stockpile for an emergency.  In any evacuation situation, as horses are moved, people are often needing to buy more hay and feed as theirs has been left behind or destroyed, so local feed stores may run out of supplies.  Its a good idea to have extra food even if you are not in the evacuation area.  the same with vet supplies and medications, your vet is going to be busy and  may run out of supplies,  keep a supply medication that you might need.

 

To bit or not to bit, that is the question

Trail riding your OTTB
Bits. Out of site out of mind. Not all bits are bad and there are in fact many skilled riders out there. But for those who are unskilled, they can cause a lot of physical and emotional pain to the horse.

I worked w a local horse some years ago. Not an OTTB, but its very relevant to what we do.  He would bolt and throw his rider. Anxious, and no brakes.  Her friend that was “expert” took the horse on a trail ride and said she would “sort him out”. End result was that the rider had to “see saw” w the bit, on his face the entire time. Pulling back harshly on one side, then the other.  The ENTIRE ride.  She could hardly lift her arms up afterwards she was so exhausted. But she was proud. She had controlled the horse and he had not bolted and thrown her. She showed everyone what a great rider she was.  Or so she thought.  What did the horse think of the rider’s technique?

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Eventually the owner was injured so badly she was in three months bed rest.
She asked me to work w him and I did. But it started out with getting to know him, working on anxiety issues that he had and showing him the trail was a place to look forward to, not be anxious about, and it was so much better than sitting in his stall.  Which he did a lot of.

Some horses are what people call great trail horses. They can sit in a barn, day in and day out, have a rider show up and go out for a ride.  No Problem.  But for some horses, that is a problem. No regular work, they become barn sour or buddy sour, maybe have ill fitting tack, pain from a bad saddle fit, perhaps even an abusive home in the past.  These horses, they don’t make great trail horses. Not for people who expect them to be more like a vehicle than a live animal.  If you really want to show up once in a while and pop on that horse, lease them out, hire a trainer to work with them, find a kid to ride them, give them some way of coping w being cooped up.

Better yet find a pasture where your horse can have buddies, play, nap, and sometimes even squabble, but where he  has buddies.  Not only will your horse be happier, you will be safer if he is mentally not a train wreck. The best way to have a great trail horse is to ride your horse.  Frequently, if need be in short sessions until they get comfortable w the trail.  We deal mainly w OTTB’s here, who have for the most part never ever been in the woods, smelled panther or bear, had to duck under palm trees, and watch their footing w cypress knees.  So we start all the horses by taking them into the woods, on a lead line, and getting them used to the sights and smells first BEFORE their first trail ride.  If they are cool and casual about it, then they start their rides sooner, if they are anxious, we work on that BEFORE getting in the saddle.
So what does this have to do with my original story about the bolting horse?  Even though both owner and “rider” had many, many years in the saddle,  using a more severe bit to solve an issue, instead of looking at the underlying cause, shows lack of skill.  It doesn’t mean they were bad people, but just that they lacked the ability to problem solve, probably both doing what they had been taught.  They didn’t know, or believe, in any other way.

I never put a bit in his mouth. We rode out w a rope halter and loose reins.  And this story, it is not so much about me, the owner or the other rider, it is about the horse and how there are different ways to deal with behavioral problems.

The horse was barn sour, so we worked on that. He was anxious about the woods, we worked on that. He hated the bit, I took that away, he had a bad fitting saddle that caused pain, and I got rid of that. Once I got rid of everything that bothered him, we had nice trail rides with zero issues.  Eventually the owner was able to ride again. She told everyone what a difference their was in the horse and she enjoyed a few nice trail rides.  Then he was back to old behavior.  Why? Because while I could work with him and he was open to change, she was not.  Her ways brought him right back to their previous situation.  I don’t think they ride anymore. Horses are easy to work with, humans are not.  We all have our ways of doing things, our fears, our biases, and our learned behavior that is much harder to change.  Even when it clearly benefits us.  Perhaps that is just part of being human.  But its worth consideration if you are having issues w your horse and your safety.

This is a great video that explains how a bit works.  And yes, we can’t see it, so often it is out of mind.  When I train a new student, I never let them use a bit.  Not until they have soft hands and a good seat.  A bit can be a wonderful tool, in the right hands w the right horse. It can be a very bad idea for an anxious horse and a heavy handed rider long term creates so many problems, that take a long time to resolve.

I am also not suggesting everyone toss their bits and ride bitless.  Work with your horse on the ground, can you control speed and direction?  Will your horse stop when you ask him too? If not, you will not control speed and direction from the saddle. Start slow and work your way up.  But it is worth the time you will put into it. Trail riding should be fun AND safe for human and equine.

Happy Trails!

Western style bitless options

Equine/Human Wellness Classes

Equine/ Human Wellness series

As we strive to bring horses and horse owners together, and introduce new people to horses, we are starting a wellness series, each month a different topic  $30 per person no previous experience required. REGISTER ONLINE or call 239-963-7296

Feb 12th yoga and balanced riding– led by Darlene Casey bring your yoga mat!
In this session we will explore how Yoga can benefit us while in the saddle. We will explore the transition of basic yoga concepts from the mat and onto our saddles. In this session we will be exploring a Yoga Flow series of postures designed to open our hearts and hips, and stabilize our core (Please bring a mat or towel with you to practice on).

Yoga principles of alignment, symmetry, and rhythm are all essential components along with flexibility, balance, core strength and breath. These principles will allow us to bring balance, flexibility, awareness, and focus to our riding. We learn to develop a conscious awareness of our bodies and our minds which allows us to communicate and move in harmony with our equine partners. A rider who is balanced and confidently in control of her body, mind and spirit will instill confidence, symmetry and focus in her horse.

March 12th  Stretches for you and your horse followed by massage: led by Darlene Casey
In this session we will learn several easy everyday stretches that you can do with your horse. We will also explore some basic horse massage techniques that every horse owner should know.

Did you know that the muscular system makes up over half (60%) of a horse’s total body weight? So it is easy to understand why most motion problems originate within the horse’s muscular system.

It is well known that many horses (and riders) can benefit from a massage. A massage helps to increasing circulation, relaxing muscle spasms, relieving tension, enhancing muscle tone, and increasing range of motion in horses. It is important to note that massage benefits not only an ailing animal but provides a means of preventative maintenance for all of our animal companions.
March 19th Reiki circle led by Amy Poss

April 8th Guided Intention Meditation by Dimitra  

May 13th  Using Essential Oils and Flower Essences: Led by Darlene Casey
In this session we will learn the basic uses for Oils and Flower Essences with our Horses. We will discuss how to properly use essential oils and the many ways that oils and essences can benefit the horse (and rider!) Even though Essential oils are Natural and considered Safe – there are many precautions you should be aware of before administering essential oils to yourself or your horse.

Before horses were kept in stables, they roamed free and were able to keep themselves healthy by grazing on a large variety of plants. Horses were able to use their deeply ingrained instincts to seek out the plants they needed to maintain their own health. The animals would seek out certain plants at different times according to their needs. Thousands of years of herbal tradition tell us that herbs work.

No experience required! $30 per class – and it goes to the feeding and care of the horses here!
Events page https://horserescueflorida.com/events/

Instructor  Bios
Darlene Casey

Darlene Casey has been an avid horseperson since she was old enough to walk, owning and managing several barns, teaching lessons, leading workshops, and generally being a student of all things Equine. Darlene has such passion and love for these amazing animals. It was her relationship with her own two beloved “boyz” that inspired Darlene to seek out additional avenues to broaden and deepen her own experience. She became a certified Yoga Instructor, Reiki Practitioner, and Equine Massage Therapist. Additionally, she poured countless hours of study and research into other complimentary modalities such as Essential Oils, Dowsing and the study or Equine Chiropractic Techniques.

Now her goal is to share what she has learned and to help others in caring for themselves and their animal companions. By incorporating tools such as Centered Riding Techniques, Yoga, Reiki, Dowsing, Animal Communication, Equine Massage, Natural Horsemanship, Essential Oils and Flower Remedies; she helps her students to foster a positive, healthy relationship with their equine friends based on understanding, love and compassion.

Dimitra

Amy Poss

VOLUNTEER SUE W CYPRESS
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Hunter Pace Sat Feb 25, 2017

Join us for a day of riding and FUN! Our 2017 Hunter Pace
It is a 78,000 acre forest, with 22 miles of riding trails.  In addition this is also a TIP sanctioned event, which has special awards and ribbons for OTTB’s.

Any breed can compete.The TIP program is “in addition to”  — Learn more about the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, down below

Where? Details?
Picayune Strand State Forest
2121 52nd Ave SE
Naples FL

Sat, Feb 25th, registration starts at 8:30
Cost is $30 per horse/rider combo
Split is 50/50!
We will have a non competitive class w a shorter 2 mile ride, and a longer, competitive 6 mile ride.
Call to register 239-963-7296 or go to Paypal and send funds to tracktotrailthoroughbreds@gmail.com

There are stalls and camping available if you would like to come the night before or stay after and enjoy the rest of the park.

All horses must have proof of coggins. Riders under 16 must wear helmets

What is a Hunter Pace?
This is the definition per Wikipedia.

A hunter pace is a form of competition involving horses and riders. In a hunter pace a trail is marked for horse and rider to follow. On the day of the competition, early in the morning, the hosts of the event send an experienced horse and rider to ride the trail as fast as it is safely possible to do so. This morning ride is called “the dead body run”, and it establishes two things:

1. that the trail is clear and safe for the competitors
2. The “pace time”
The pace time is the ideal time to safely but quickly ride the set trail. When the competitors arrive they send out teams of three or four to ride the trail. Checkpoints set along the ride ensure that the riders are staying on course and are not overworking their horses. Each group of riders is timed. Riders are penalized for either riding too fast and beating the pace time, or too slow and taking longer than the pace time. The group to come closest to the pace time wins the competition, whether over or under the “pace” time.

Who should compete?
Anyone!  Just want to come for fun?  Please do, want to compete?  Please do.
We will have a non competitive class w a shorter 2 mile ride, and a longer, competitive 6 mile ride.

What if my horse and I don’t jump?  No problem.  Points will be added for jumping, but you do not have anything deducted for not jumping.  They are just a bonus. You can also try the non competitive 2 mile loop

LEARN ABOUT THE TIP AND GET YOUR NUMBER

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Hunter Pace Sat Feb 25th 2017

Join us for a day of riding and FUN!  Our 2017 Hunter Pace
It is a 78,000 acre forest, with 22 miles of riding trails

Picayune Strand State Forest
2121 52nd Ave SE
Naples FL

Sat, Feb 25th, registration starts at 8:30
Cost is $30 per horse/rider combo
Split is 50/50!
Call to register 239-963-7296 or go to Paypal and send funds to tracktotrailthoroughbreds@gmail.com

There are stalls and camping available if you would like to come the night before or stay after and enjoy the rest of the park.

All horses must have proof of coggins. Riders under 16 must wear helmets

 What is a Hunter Pace is ?  This is the definition per Wikipedia.

A hunter pace is a form of competition involving horses and riders. In a hunter pace a trail is marked for horse and rider to follow. On the day of the competition, early in the morning, the hosts of the event send an experienced horse and rider to ride the trail as fast as it is safely possible to do so. This morning ride is called “the dead body run”, and it establishes two things:

1. that the trail is clear and safe for the competitors
2. The “pace time”
The pace time is the ideal time to safely but quickly ride the set trail. When the competitors arrive they send out teams of three or four to ride the trail. Checkpoints set along the ride ensure that the riders are staying on course and are not overworking their horses. Each group of riders is timed. Riders are penalized for either riding too fast and beating the pace time, or too slow and taking longer than the pace time. The group to come closest to the pace time wins the competition, whether over or under the “pace” time.
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2017 April Fool’s Equestrian Games

Join Track to Trail Thoroughbreds for another exiting round of games!

Located in the beautiful Picayune Strand State Forest,
Mounted archery,  scavenger hunt, flag relay, . Plus  some of our old favorites like ride a buck and bobbing for apples and musical chairs! Fun for the whole family. It’s about enjoying time w your horse and meeting new friends.

REGISTER

There is also camping available at the park, you are responsible for paying your own camping and stall fees, we will have lunch available after the games for $10

Rural King Sat Nov 26th 2017

Come meet some ex racehorses and see if adopting, volunteering, or donating supplies is something you might want to do!t2truralnov26jpeg

Vino’s Picasso FUNraiser April 2, 2017

Support our horses by drinking wine, listening to Brazilian Jazz, and painting, Last time we did this, we sold out!

Really easy, the staff provides all the materials and instruction.

Join us for an afternoon of painting and wine all while raising some hay
Click here to go to the Vino’s site and get registered!

April 2nd 2017
Painting begins right at 2, please show up a few minutes early!
2-4pm
Cost $40

Vino’s Picasso – 2367 Vanderbilt Beach Road, #805, Naples, Florida

link to the event on the Vino Site
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Volunteer Orientation Nov 13th 2016

Our next orientation is Sunday, Nov 13th from 1-2pm.
Check out what it is like, and let us know if you would like to attend

VOLUNTEER

Riding the OTTB

ReaganLooking for a new horse?  A  local rehoming facility is a great place to start. It helps that horse get a new family and makes a space for the next one waiting to come in.  Well you want to go visit potential horses and go for a ride! Right?

A hurdle we find,  with potential adopters, is  when a person comes out that wants to “test out” the horse by going for a ride, that they all have different styles of riding. The horses when they first arrive here have race training, the potential adopters do not. If a horse has been here for a while, we have taught them some of the basics, but your style may still vary greatly from what the horse knows.

(If the horse is very fresh off the track, they should be given enough down time to decompress before retraining and riding starts, and that varies from horse to horse. )

So this horse that you are excited about adopting, and you, probably speak different languages.  Let that sink in – Two different languages.

All hope is not lost, but it is really important to understand.

I was reading a recent article in Practical Horseman, a list of 15 common mistakes that riders make, and exercises to correct them.  It got me thinking about how smart and savvy a horse needs to be in order to figure this all out.

They try and do the right thing even when:

  1. You are making the riding mistakes
  2. When you are practicing and trying to correct your riding mistakes
  3. When you have improved immensely but still sometimes default to old habits

So all sorts of confusing cues and signals are actually trying to communicate to the horse to do one thing, and those signals and cues change over time, and the horse is supposed to understand that, even thru all of these changes.  Isn’t it amazing that sometimes they do?

So when you come here to see a horse, and after a visit or two its time to try a short ride, please remember that this horse has one set of training and you may have another, and the person that visited them the week before, they probably have yet a different style of riding. And the person who comes the following week, they will be different too.

Be patient.  The most common comment we get is about how calm and well behaved the horses are.  But again, remember that they may not know the exact same things that you do. So there is an adjustment period, and that can’t be determined on a ride here in a matter of minutes, it will happen thru consistent training

OTTBs  can easily be taught to ride the way you do.  But it does take training.  The horses are young and smart and learn easily.  If you are a kind consistent person and give them time to learn, they will flourish .  But they do need the time and they do need the retraining.

So adopt your OTTB, love on your OTTB and give him or her the retraining that they need to have happy and safe rides!

If you need help retraining your OTTB, we can help to some extent with that, and also make connections w great local trainers of any discipline.  If you have experience retraining OTTB’s and want to be added to our list of approved trainers, please send an email to tbredrescue@gmail.com