Horse Professionals and Customer Service

I read an article a few months ago, Is My Relationship with My Trainer Normal? It annoyed me greatly at the time, and I thought about it again recently as I’ve been searching for a new trainer, and customer service has been on my mind a lot. 

To me, this article basically amounts to a trainer saying, “Stop talking and give me money.” Trainers don’t have to be responsive, they don’t have to give you the attention you are paying for, and you are expected to foot the bill for them to show your horse without complaint. If you don’t think you are improving, well, that’s just because you don’t understand the subtle intricacies of horse training, and aren’t qualified enough to look beyond A+B is still equaling C. 

I may not be “Expert Horseperson, knower of all things equine,” but I am still moderately knowledgeable Courtney, and even if I don’t know everything horses, I know how I’m expected to behave in a professional environment. I know that I can’t push off my boss’s requests, ignore clients for other clients, and charge them for things not previously agreed upon. Why do trainers get away with this behavior? Poor customer service is rampant. People fall into this business because they like horses, and rank people low on the priority list. 

In my years of working with horse professionals, I have been annoyed by many things that I kept my mouth shut about. I showed up for a scheduled lesson, started riding, but when my trainer came in, she started reworking her footing instead of teaching me. 45 minutes went by before my husband took over working with her footing so I could get my lesson. One big name trainer, who I was so excited to work with that I bought 8 lessons up front, ended up being on her cell phone the entire time. I have a video of her staring at her phone while still telling me I was doing a great job. I never finished out the lesson package. There’s the chronic lateness. I show up on time, trainer doesn’t show up until 15 minutes later. Lesson still ends at scheduled time. Or, changing my private lesson to a group lesson without consulting me, and still charging me the same private rate. 

One of my favorite stories is when I paid for a lesson for my mother in law. I was a working student with this trainer, and therefore, I guess she thought I had “sucker” written across my forehead. She gave my MIL a 10-minute lesson, barely did anything, and asked my MIL if she felt sore. My MIL said she did feel a little sore (as expected of a brand new rider taking their first lesson), so my trainer had her get off and tried to charge me for a full half hour. Sorry, that’s not happening. I was so enraged, I fought that one. 

Most recently, I took a trial lesson with a new trainer, and I really liked him. After specifically asking him the best way to reach him, I emailed him to schedule a follow-up lesson. No answer. I messaged on facebook, no answer. He saw the message, I could see that. But still, no answer. 3 weeks later, he finally replies that he just saw the message, so sorry! But nothing else. Do you not want my business then? I find that hard to believe based on your Facebook advertising. So why are you putting so little effort into customer service? 

Customer service can make or break other businesses. Look at Yelp reviews of any random store or cafe. Uber drivers go above and beyond to get a good rating. Social media users are inflamed by anything they think is low-quality customer service. Yet, horse professionals get away with it because “that’s how it is.”

I know good horse people are worth their weight in gold. They help us understand our horse’s brain, they help us achieve our riding goals. But I think the true marker of a professional is someone who has the complementary skills of business sense and customer service. Yes, this is a horse business, but in the end, it’s a people business. The horses don’t pay the bills, the people pay the bills. 

This means, my horse doesn’t care if you’re 15 minutes later. But I, who has a meeting after this lesson, and needs to allow for enough time to get my horse and I cleaned up so I can get there on time, do care. I care a great deal. That meeting is what makes me able to afford this hobby, and it is (sadly) a higher priority than the lesson. 

It means that if I’m paying $60 for a lesson, I want your full (or if a group, divided) attention for the duration of it. Sure, you can take a breather (ideally when I take one too) or if something literally takes only a minute, go for it, but do you really think there is any situation that I would be happy to pay for you to play on your cell phone for the majority of my lesson?

It means communicating with me where you think my riding is going. If you can’t offer up the plan of my riding progression, I will assume you don’t have one. If you can’t tell me why I’m doing something in a lesson, I’ll assume you don’t know. If you don’t know, I certainly don’t know. Teachers and professors are expected to have a syllabus, do you have one? I wouldn’t expect an actual paper, divided up by semester (or lesson, haha) but I know trainers follow a basic formula/progression of the steps of building a rider, and if you can share your plan, I’ll know I’m on the right course with you. 

In that same vein, it means a two-way conversation about our roles training the horse. If you toss out that you should show my horse for me, yeah, I’m going to be a bit annoyed. First off, I pay for lessons so that I can ride my horse. It’s my horse, it’s my dreams, it’s my goals. If my goal to take my horse into a 3’9″ hunter derby, why would I pay you to do it? I don’t care if it’s the first time the horse does it, again, it’s my goal to take my horse into a hunter derby. What have I accomplished by having you show my horse? Yes, I get it, it needs “miles” or whatever. How about, I’ll pay the show fees to ride my own horse for miles, because that’s the point of buying my own horse. For me to ride. If the trainer thinks that I’m not ready for the derby, well, that’s the entire point of being in a training program, isn’t it? For me and horse to prepare for things like that? If I’m not actually ready, why would I go to the show in the first place, let alone pay all the fees for someone else to do it?

I know not all horse professionals rank customer service as a low priority. I’ve talked with some trainers that make my heart sing at how much they do care about providing excellent customer service. In that group, even some of the Big Name Trainers I contacted consider customer service a priority. I reached out to one BNT about lessons, she emailed me back within 10 hours with her cell phone number so we could talk directly. My friend recently reached out to (author of a recent amateur article) about a lesson. She didn’t have the contact information so she just contacted the sales page. It wasn’t her, but they brought the message all the way to her, and then her secretary reached out with information. It was maybe a three days total response time, and they provided updates of where the message was along the way. These are two both highly talented riders and trainers, but they understood the importance of customer service. 

Making customer service a priority would not be difficult. The trainers themselves need to set a new standard and decide to respond to all messages within a timeframe or at a set time, lessons will be on time, they will not be on their cell phones, and they will give all paying clients the attention they pay for. Basic things. But right now there’s no incentive for them to do this. Amateurs allow customer service to be a low priority because “that’s how it’s always been done,” and articles are published telling them they should just expect this kind of treatment. I think we should set the standard and insist on good customer service. I’ve personally decided I’m sick of putting up with bad customer service, and I will not patronize any barn that makes it a low priority. In the future, I plan to call out bad customer service as I see it. Not publicly, and not in an attempt to embarrass, but to tell them how it affects me personally, and why I need to be at a barn that puts a priority on good customer service. I will give my money to trainers and professionals who view our relationship with professional respect. 

I’m not being difficult, I just want a respectful relationship with my trainer. I will do my part to respect their time, not bother them with unneeded messages, make sure my expectations are clear and pay on time. 

I hope others will join me in insisting upon good customer service, and maybe we can change the industry for the better. 

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Stu’s First Trim

I, unfortunately, wasn’t there for it. Luckily his breeder was happy to pass along photos. What a little cutie!

I commented that he seemed to be taking it well… she said yes, he’s sedated. Well, that explains it! 

In Stu related news, it seems his hernia is getting bigger. I could wait to see if it fixes itself, but I’ve decided just to get it fixed when he’s gelded. I’ll be making the appointment for sometime in September/October. The vet was talking to me about the easiest/quickest way to do it. It basically amounts to banding up the hole. Literally taking a super tight band, pushing up the intestines, and popping the band over the excess skin. The band holds the intestines up, and eventually, the little bit of skin dies and falls off. I knew of banding use from when my family had sheep. Their tails and testicles would be banded, and eventually, fall off. Sheep are born with tails, if you didn’t know. 

Otherwise, nothing new to report on the Stu front!

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The Long Term

I took a talent assessment test a few months ago through my work. It was to identify my skills so I could best leverage them at work. My strongest skill was “Futuristic.” I’m a planner. I think ahead. I can’t just think of what the next step is, I need to think of what the next 5 steps are. 

It translates into my non-work life. Most recently, it was expressed through the purchase of Stu. I’m sure I confused many people as to why I wanted yet another horse as I’ve got a few already. But I’m not thinking of the now. I’m thinking that in 10 years, I want an ultra competitive horse to take to big shows up and down the east coast. Will that happen? I’m not quite sure, but I know I can stack the odds in my favor.

chestnut colt
Future champion hunter? Or future broken limb causer? Only time will tell.

I didn’t end at just buying the horse. For starters, I started looking for a new trainer. I did a test lesson. Although that one did not work out for reasons I’ll put in another post, I’ve talked to multiple trainers in this area, getting a feel for their training programs. I talked to big name trainers who show all over the country, and I talked to “boutique” trainers, up and comers who only take very select people into their programs. After my trailer broke down I slowed down my looking (and had to cancel several test lessons), but soon I’ll have my new trailer and I’ll be back in full swing. 

I’m upgrading the property. In addition to all the clearing we have been doing, we’ll be extending the barn soon, making for a much more efficient riding experience. Right now, it’s demotivating to ride at my property because it’s hard to tack up, there’s no real protection for tack I leave at the barn, and I have to navigate a pony every time I exit the barn with a horse. It’s inefficient and frustrating, but I’m going to change it. 

Doesn’t look like this now. Looks like a big muddy mess.

I’m extending my arena. The arena has ended up being The Project That Will Never End and I have to force myself out there. But I need it to be wider to fit more jumps, and different jump set ups. If I can’t practice efficiently, I’m not going to progress. 

I neither enjoy nor hate doing these things, but they are just things that need to happen for me to reach the end goal. I know that an end goal of 10 years feels extremely far, but I’m being realistic. It’s going to take lots of lessons and practice to get that good, and doing the set-up is just step 1. Maybe it will take less than 10 years, I really don’t know. I’m basically throwing out an arbitrary number, accounting for the fact that I also have a job, and I have other goals life I need to fulfill. 

It is the base goal, but there are supporting pillars to this goal. If it was really just about big shows, I could board out at a barn, get several lessons a week, buy an expensive horse. But my other life goals shape and share this. I wanted to live on a farm and gave up the thought of boarding with that mortgage check. I have to have money, therefore, a job. I need to do well at my job, I need to advance in my career to make my life as pleasant and easy as possible. I dream of having a complete teleworking job, and staying at home, maybe sitting on my deck, looking out over my pasture with my laptop on my knees, spending every evening riding. 

I have a husband, I want a family. Maybe one day I’ll be driving Pony to a club rally, a little girl sitting in the backseat of the truck. It takes time out of riding to raise a child, but I’m accounting for missed riding time and to still come back and be able to compete.

And I have myself to take care of – I need to be healthy so I can do all of this. I won’t be able to support myself and reach my own goals if I can’t function. To me, that means putting a focus on eating well, and working out. I’ve been getting more and more into this, and I truly have never felt better. 

I have other goals too, ones that have nothing to do with horses. I want to travel. I want to renovate my house. I want to have a picture perfect house to live in. These things all take time, too. I’m accounting for this in my estimate. 

So yes, I am thinking of the very long term. But time goes by quicker every single year, and I want to be prepared. I’m plugging away at it, content in the knowledge that in 10 years from now, when I’m entering a international hunter derby ring on Stu, my life will be set up the way I want it to be. Not perfect, perhaps a bit messy, but the major building blocks will be in place. 

How far out do you plan the future? How do you envision your life in 10 years? Share below, or if you have a lot to say, make a post, and link it! Let’s make it a blog hop!

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Stu the Model

I feel like I only talk about one thing these days…and I have good news, I’m not going to write a lengthy post about him! Instead, here’s a post made up mostly by some of the dozens of photos of Stu during his recent inspection. I feel like they will go to waste if I don’t post them.  

You’ve been warned!

westfalen na
He’s got the look! (because he has eyes and can see out of them)
inspection
I wish I looked this good when I ran.
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Hello, ladies.
“My favorite activity is gazing handsomely off into the distance.”
Practicing the end of the runway look and turn.
He’s way too cool to show any interest in the camera.

The rest of the photos are mild variations of what I’ve already posted. It seemed excessive to post them as well. 

Now it’s time for another Stu dry spell. No idea when I’m going to go visit him again. It’s sad, but I know he’s in good hands for now. Due to some alternate commitments, his pickup date moved back to December, which is hard to endure but gives us more time to prep the pasture. Hurrah! 

Now hopefully the next post will be about the horses that live with me and I see on a daily basis!

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Westfalen NA Inspection

Sharpie’s inspection was going to be today, July 28, 2017, but due to likely all-day thunderstorms, it was moved to yesterday. This meant I was already at work, working, when I received the notice that Sharpie was going to be inspected, and did I want to come watch. I did, but I had a meeting at work that prevented me from immediately leaving and enjoying a day of foal inspections. Instead, I got there late enough that I saw 5 foals go, including mine and D’Arcy’s. 

Side note: I decided I don’t like the name “Sharpie” anymore, and am testing out a new name, “Stu.” This is Stu. Stu is awesome. Everyone likes Stu. From now on, he will be referred to as Stu, unless I decide I don’t like Stu anymore, in which case, stay tuned for the next name. 

All the inspections follow a basic format. First, the foals are brought in and examined at a standstill. There were two inspectors, which included longtime RPSI inspector of North America and German, Otto. He will be traveling nonstop until October to see all the horses on the North American tour. 

westfalen
This colt got the comment, “Very muscular.” Not a surprise since he looks like a weight lifter!

After being inspected at the halt, the mother is lead around the arena and the foal follows. This one was very energetic…he decided the best action was to attack his mother while being led. 

westfalen
“MAAAHMMM, play with me!”

Then he ran around like a barrel horse.

Serpentine Babou!

It was fun to watch the foals come out, and speculate on what their futures may be. One foal, Oh Henry, seems destined for the hunter ring. I was a little envious of his clear hunter ability, and also of the other fabulously talented foals, but I really only need the one. And need is a strong word anyway…I really only want the one. Even if I want every one of them. 

Olivet and Stu were the last to go. Olivet is having a weird growth stage right now, and has earned the nickname, “Carpet Mule.”

We are pretty sure her father was a horse…but maybe a DNA test to be sure?

They clipped off her baby hair, but she’s looking very splotchy right now. Poor thing, it stinks she had to go through inspection at this awkward stage. Otto did acknowledge that she’s clearly going through a growth phase right now in his remarks. 

Carpet Mule canters placidly. 

Stu was the final horse to go. He came in very casually with his surrogate mom, and quietly hung out. His mom is definitely a calming influence in his life. 

foal

As he trotted with his mother, he suddenly had a burst of energy and raced down the long side!

westfalen inspection

It only lasted a moment though, and then he was back to trotting docilely along. 

foal trot

Otto’s comments, which were luckily recorded for posterity:

Long legs, showed good movement, good stride at canter, nice balance, easy flying changes. Good trot, with nice swing, and good rhythm. A promising prospect here, interesting cross with long legs.  

Possibly vague, but sounds good enough. He did not get premium, which if I’m honest with myself, I am disappointed, but they look for dressage quality when they decide on those features. I assumed he wasn’t going to move out well due to his placid mother, but I’m also not looking for a dressage prospect. I saw two premiums inspected before Stu, and now that I’ve seen both premium and not, the premiums truly are a sight to behold. They have a little bit extra something going on, but I’m not educated enough to put it into words. I’m considering going to Germany for the Westfalen event in November to both see all the horses, and examine more closely what they look for in a foal. But we will see, I’m not made of money here!

After the inspection, the foals get hair plucked, microchiped, and branded. Some of them took it better than others – I wasn’t able to get photos, but one of them reared straight up. Most of them twist around for a moment at the least. None of them notice what’s going on until the deed is already done. Stu shuffled around for a moment but didn’t react otherwise. 

Westfalen North American tour
Olivet being branded.
westfalen brand
Stu’s new brand.

After branding, we hung around for a few minutes to take pictures and pet our oversized pets. Stu posed for me for several minutes and while this isn’t a quality they look for in foal inspections, this is a quality I greatly appreciate!

foal
We are really into deep, meaningful staring.

Stu was very interested in the decorations. 

“hmm, what is this? I better paw it to check.”
“It’s attacking! Run for your lives!”

Right before we left, they announced the site champions. The filly champion, which may not be a surprise to any readers who liked her before, was the black beauty look-alike, who is now named Delta. I sadly missed her inspection, but D’Arcy said she was spectacular. I’m very sad I missed it. She currently has a three people waiting list, so if you’re interested, better get in line!

site champion
Despite being sunbleached, her expression says she still knows that she is the best.

After everything was done, I talked to Otto for a bit about the foals, and the inspection. He’s a very interesting man. I asked him if he could elaborate on Stu’s potential for hunters. They don’t have hunters in Germany, it’s a very American sport, but he did offer some great perspective. He said they don’t judge the foals on their suitability for hunters (due to the previous sentence) but he personally thought Stu would be great for hunters. He thought Stu was great at being elastic in his movement, and he emphasized how important that is. 

This is very much making me want to go to Germany for the November stallion inspections, but we’ll see how the pieces fall. Overall, it was a very cool experience to see the foals inspected!

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The Bloodlines of F#

warmblood horse breeders

So basically, Sharpie is all I have on my mind these days. Even as I’m scratching Pony, all I can think is, Wow, Pony, you sure are fatter than Sharpie. And he is. And he’s going to be getting the muzzle of shame because he’s gotten so fat. Seriously, that Pony needs to be on a diet. But that’s another story… one that was basically summed up in the previous two sentences. 

Moving on, now that Sharpie is mine, I want to share a little bit about the effort that brought him here. The breeders themselves have been breeding for over 20 years, and I think they have an excellent grasp of bloodlines, registries, breeding, and horses in general. I’m still going to be clinging on to them until I retrieve Sharpie in November, but I might cling again later. Like if I decide I want another foal. At this point, I don’t know why I would breed my horses when I can buy one of theirs at an extremely reasonable price. And they are just such nice people. Like super nice! I want to just gush and gush over how wonderful I think them and their breeding program is. If you want to stalk or admire from afar, follow them on Facebook to see all their adorable little foals pop out. I think this year’s season is done, but I’m already excited to see next years babies start popping… I do know someone who has 3 of their babies, and I admit, it’s easy to see why…

Dam Line 

The dam line was super important to me, as I think in the end the foal will be mostly mother. When I first saw Alala, I fell in love with her. She’s exactly what I was looking for in a big hunter horse. Later, I looked her up and discovered she had bloodlines to support this, and I gave myself a big pat on the back for knowing this just from looking at her in a pasture and wildly guessing at her potential.

Again, Sharpie was an embryo transplant, so he’s not going to know her like a mother… he thinks Jeff, the champagne Oldenburg, is his mother. Which is fine, Jeff is extremely calm, therefore, Sharpie is extremely calm. 

The Dam – Alala

warmblood dam

This mare was bred by Silver Creek Farm in Oklahoma, former owners of her sire.

Grand- Dam: Thoroughbred mare, looks like she competed in the 3’6″ hunters. I’m not clear of the exacts because not a lot of information exists on her and I can only base it on one picture of her jumping a big huntery oxer. It has a huge watermark on it so I don’t think they want it shared.  But here’s a conformation shot!

I think it’s easy to see Alala is a mash of her dam, and the sire below. 

Grand-Sire: Apiro

Marabet Farm

The amazing Apiro! Formerly owned by Silver Creek Farm, now owned by Marabet Farm. One of the top hunter stallions in 2010 and 2013. His page above tells more. If Sharpie ends up exactly like this horse, that would be ideal and amazing! He is such a beautiful animal! Also, I’m liking the music selection they picked for the videos of this stallion! 

I make no apologies, I love this song. Really thought that was Oasis, but turns out it’s The Bravery. I learned something new today.

Because it’s the final countdoooooown! Sharpie is totally going to be a fan of 80’s music, just like his grandsire and now adopted human father.

Rh, this music is okay I guess. Wouldn’t have been my choice, but mainly because it starts so slow and takes too long to pick up. 

Ugh, this video was muted! How am I going to know what music should be the theme song of his life?!

Overall, I would give Apiro’s music selection an 7/10. I gave him significant points because I liked the first song so much, but I did take off a point since the last video has no music at all. Maybe they can pick something else to put on that. 

Sire Line

Sire: Flint GSF

Flint is owned and was bred by the same breeder I bought Sharpie from. He’s gone through the stallion testing and is approved for Oldenburg and Westfalen NA for stud book 1. 

And one time I saw him and he carried around a weed in his mouth for several minutes. Unfortunately, this is the best photo I have of him. I guess it sums him up well.

bay stallion

But here he is actually moving!

I’ll approve of the music choice in an angsty teenager type way. Also, he looks so excited to jump! I love it. 

Sire’s Sire: Weltstern

I don’t know very much about Weltstern, but googling him brings up many results of people who like him. This is what the breeder says about him:

Weltstern was born in Cloppenburg Germany in 1982 and imported to the US after his approval as an Oldenburg stallion through the 100 Day Test in Muenster Germany in 1985 with a very respectable score of 111.35 points. Weltstern is an exceptional stallion with extraordinary bloodlines. Weltstern carries the blood of such influential stallions as Welt As, Ferdinanad, Don Carlos, Furioso II and Absatz. The dam lines in his pedigree are remarkable as well. At least seven of the mares in his pedigree are State Premium mares and many of these mares also carry the coveted title of DLG winner as well, a very prestigious honor. He is the half brother of Bonfire, ridden by Anky von Grunsven to numerous wins in dressage, including the Olympics and the World Cup .

Weltstern’s show career started at the age of 14 where he started at third level and competed to Intemediare I with scores in the 60s. Weltstern has sired three stallions approved for breeding through the 100 day test. All three stallions scored over one hundred at their testing. One more son of Weltstern’s is gaining his approval through performance records and has already been awarded a breeding license through Rheinland Pfalz Saar.

My thought… well, he looks pretty handsome! If I find out more in the future, I will update this.

That sums up Sharpie’s bloodlines! I’m hoping for the best out of him – and also that if he is super amazing, I actually manage to keep up with him. Fingers crossed!!

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Vet Inspection of F#

Yesterday the vet checked out Sharpie, and he officially became mine. I basically already announced him before due to excitement, but now he’s truly and officially mine! Which means I can tell way more about his bloodlines without feeling like a weirdo stalker of breeders.

But first, his vet inspection!

This is the first time I’ve bought a youngster with a vet check – when I bought Pony, I just kind of winged it. I mean, he worked out great, but still… probably not going to do that again. 

So, we showed up, and the breeders went to retrieve our lovely babies from the field. 

playing foal
Olivet is super interested in the lead rope.
playing foals
They frolicked and played while walking, unfortunately, the camera missed the best parts!

The vet was running a little bit late, so we sat with the foals for a bit, waiting. It did result in some pretty cute photos!

westfalen na foal

I also found out that Sharpie is now super friendly, despite having no interaction with anyone since the last time I saw him. He has become a sweet little gentleman that loves getting itches. Naturally, he requested lots of itches from everyone. 

foal face
“GIVE ME ALL THE ITCHES!!”

He’s basically Pony, in chestnut horse form. Super friendly, and wants everyone to love him. Including Olivet, who has higher standards than that. 

“Hello, fellow foal! I would like to be friends, please!”

I’m sure eventually they will get along. 

The interesting things learned today:

  • Sharpie has a teeny hernia, which may fix itself, or it may require minor surgery. We will watch it, and see if it goes away. If not, he’ll get surgery for it when he’s castrated in the fall. 
  • Sharpie walks on the outside of his front hooves. This means his feet will wear unevenly, and if left alone, would eventually result in injury due to the unbalance. The vet emphasized that Sharpie is currently like molding clay, and if I stay on top of it, I can keep the hooves even, and potentially get them to wear evenly again. But, I should count on never missing a trim, running a file over it between trims, and likely having front shoes on him when he goes into work to preserve the levelness. 

Despite these terrible issues, I signed the papers and wrote the check. He’s 100% mine. 

foal scratches

foal canter

The next time I could possibly see him is at his inspection for Westfalen NA. I haven’t quite worked out the logistics as I’m working that day, but hopefully I’ll be able to attend. I’m not counting on a great score, though. His mother is extremely relaxed and does not like to move out. Sharpie likes to hang out directly next to his mother and do the tiniest of little trots to keep pace with her. He’s an expert at the teeny tiny little trot. But… maybe he’ll surprise me? Maybe someone will light off fireworks and they will finally react? 

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F#

westfalen foal

Luckily the disappointment of last weekend has faded away, and I’m feeling much better about this last weekend. I picked out my baby!

This is F#, which is pronounced “F Sharp,” not “F Hastag.” Hopefully, I won’t have to repeat this over and over, but I anticipate a lifetime of telling people that. He shall be called the very dignified name of “Sharpie,” just like the marker. He may look familiar, and that is because I looked at him before. I felt like we had a super connection then, as we gazed into each others eyes, and planned out our futures together. I didn’t decide on him outright at the time because… well… I wanted a bay. And he’s chestnut! I’ve never owned a chestnut! This is so weird!

Even though he’s older now, I would say he’s even more suspicious of me. He found it very weird that I wanted to touch him. 

“Ack, weird human! Remove your hand from my side!”

But he did start to realize how good scratches felt – although he showed his appreciation to his mother and not me. 

warmblood foal
“Oh yes, that’s the spot!”

While checking him out, I checked out my other option – another colt out of the same mare. He was cute as a button, but it seemed riskier to pick him – his sire just started training whereas Sharpie’s sire is approved and confirmed as being a super talented jumper. But the other colt came in a package with Sharpie’s genetic mother, and damn she is fabulous!

Me and the big mare, “Alala.” We are anticipating Sharpie will look pretty similar to her.
Alala and Dave have a serious discussion. After seeing this picture, it makes me reconsider how big she is… With Dave, she looks small. 

After checking them out, we went to visit D’Arcy’s pick and the rest of the older foals. And being surrounded by tons of friendly foals gave me hope. They may be shy when they are younger, but they get friendly fast!

D’Arcy and her new foal, Olivet.
Dave and foal who is super into him.
Little filly getting her nose into everything!

There is hope! Sharpie will be friendlier next time I see him, and be super into me, that way our relationship isn’t one sided. 

Seeing all these foals…. omg I love them all! I wish I lived on a breeding farm so I could be surrounded by foals all day, every day. Note, I would not be able to have my own breeding farm, as I would never be able to sell the foals. I’d be way too attached. Maybe I’ll work out a deal one day where I just show up to random breeding farms and run free with the foals. I could be the official Foalertertainer. Call me, I’ll come entertain your foals. 

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Yucky Weekend

Yucky is a bit of an understatement. There’s no way to polish this up, so I’ll be blunt. The foal I wanted, the one that was just born this week, has died. My second choice foal was still born. Such is life I suppose. Nothing is ever a guarantee. 

Completely overshadowing this though, and putting things in perspective, I spent the weekend at the hospital with a loved one. It was devastating, traumatic, and horrible, and I’m not sure if I’ll bring it up again, or just leave it to this one reference. Part of me wants to talk about it, and part of me wants to never talk about it again. 

Life goes on… and while we can’t control the past, we can control the future. We will see what the future brings.

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New Arena Footing

Guys. GUYS! I am so excited because I got new arena footing! This is the best day ever! I didn’t even have to pay for it! D’Arcy traveled to an exotic beach, and since she didn’t ask me what she should bring me back, I offered to her that she should bring back some sand for me… and she DID! Two varieties! 

Variety 1 is so smooth!
Variety 2 is slightly coarser.

I put it in my arena so my horses could benefit from the wondrous beach sand. 

This sand is going to change our lives. It will be amazing to ride on!

Yup, this is definitely going to make a big difference in my riding.
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