Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Birthday George!

Today Independent George turns 10! It's sad that he isn't here to celebrate. But when he gets here I'll make sure to shove his little face full of peppermints!

One of the cool things about George is there is information and pictures of him out on the internets.

And here is an article about him here. and another one here.

And here he has a photo gallery of pictures from 2009 here.

And there are pictures of him in people's flickr galleries here.

The funny thing is that while there are a lot of pictures of him training, there are almost just as many of him eating grass. I've heard a few times that training him was a challenge because if he decided he didn't want to train...he wouldn't. You had to wait for him to decide when he wanted to train. I've also heard that he has quite the personality and that he is a character. I am excited to get to know him better and see his personality first hand.

I just want him home! only a few more weeks of waiting!! grrr!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Independent George.

Okay, so here is the story of Independent George! As I mentioned before I had been in contact with the ranch that I got Piney from. I had asked if they had any gray geldings and Dr. B thought that one of his gray geldings would be a good match for me because he had a similar personality as Piney. So I called up Dr. B. and asked him about this horse. He told me his name was ‘Independent George’ and that he had a pretty successful race career. He said that he was a really nice looking horse with a pretty little head and a sweet personality. Easy to work with and be around. He told me to look George up and then get back to him when I decided.

So first thing I did was search for the horse and one of the first things I see was this post by Wendy over at From Racehorse to Showhorse. I couldn’t even believe it. One of my favorite equine photographers knew this horse and she had even said she had a horse crush on him! So next I sent her a message on Facebook and asked her about George. She was happy to tell me a little bit about him. That was basically what sealed the deal for me. But of course I went on to do more research on him. Because I am a HUGE nerd when it comes to this sort of thing.

Independent George had 44 starts, with 8 firsts, 9 seconds, and 4 thirds. He earned $395,464 in his career and is a multiple stakes winner. He raced in Gr. 1 stakes races but never finished higher than 4th. He raced all over the east coast and was training with Graham H. Motion at Herringswell Stables durring the beginning of his career. Herringswell Stables is where the 2013 Dubai Cup Winner ‘Animal Kingdom’ is training out of.  So cool! He was sold at Keenland as a yearling for $60,000, and then for $160,000 as a 2 year old in training. This is the most expensive horse I’ve ever been around LOL! And to think…I’m getting this horse for free!  After I posted on Facebook pictures of George, Wendy tagged a friend of hers that works at Herringswell Stables. Which is so cool because she has been giving me little stories about George’s past. She said that he loves peppermints and that a jumping trainer had eventually wanted to purchase him. She also said that during one of his races he went straight on at the turn, into the woods, and then came out running the wrong way after ditching his rider someplace in the woods. She also said that “If one day he decided not to train you had to wait for him to decide!” So this could be quite the interesting journey!! They just loved him and were worried about what happened to him. his previous owners also worried about him. They are digging out some of his old stuff to send to me! How awesome is that? I just love trainers and owners that care for a horse its whole life, not just when he is racing. They also said that if for whatever reason it doesn’t work out with George that I should let them know, and they will do whatever it takes to help him out. It is just so neat to be connected to his past and that they will help him out if we ever get in a bind.

Here are a few other cool things about George’s are past. I was scanning over his race records at equibase.com and noticed that not one, but two Jockey’s that I’ve heard of have ridden him. Cory Nakatani and hall of fame jockey Mike Smith! Below is a picture of George training with 'Icabad Crane' who came in 3rd at the 2008 Preakness.

Photo from the Herringswell Stables website

And here is George training with 'Better Talk Now' who is a multiple graded stakes winner including a 1st in the Breeder’s Cup Turf.

photo by Allison L. Janezic

George was named after a Seinfeld bit. As a big Seinfeld fan this is awesome to me!


I am pretty excited about this horse. But to be completely honest here…I wasn’t super excited when I actually saw him for the first time. He looked pretty rough. Which will happen to any horse after a long North Dakota winter on the plains. The horses are given enough hay, but some just don’t fight hard enough to get theirs. Dr. B had to buy alfalfa from Canada and have it shipped down because of the shortage of hay around here. The horses were getting some nice alfalfa. Heck I even wanted to eat some of it, it looked so good! He is separated from the rest of the herd in a pen with Dr. B’s personal horse until I can arrange to have him delivered. They won’t have to fight for hay and I’m sure he will plump right back up by the time I need to go get him.

When we took George out of his pen to look at him better I realized that he was a very nice horse. He is a big horse though. We sticked him at 16.2hh. I think Piney was 16, but more than likely he was smaller than that! George has nice thick, strong legs, although he was a bit stocked up on his back legs. But more than likely it was because he had planted himself in front of that bale and hadn’t moved since. After a little walking around he started to look better. He wasn’t even the slightest bit lame. Dr. B had done a pretty through checkout before I got there to make sure there wasn’t anything that would surprise me when we got there. Hubby wanted to see if he would let us look at his feet and I think George was the easiest horse I’ve seen to let someone pick his feet. After the first one he offered his other 3 easily. I usually have the horse that you have to fight with to get one foot, and then they snatch it away before you are done. OH and one more great thing…He has GREAT feet! The girl working there said that she didn’t think he had his feet done in the year he had been there, and they still looked like they didn’t need a trim. He had had his teeth recently done and had coggins pulled. Again…this is a free horse I am getting.

I am pretty excited about George. He needs a bath, and a good long grooming session. He was a little grumpy when I was grooming him. He was itchy and it made sense. But he is a sweet horse. He is lazy like Piney. (So far…we might have a different horse on our hands when it comes time to saddle up!) But I just really like him. Lets see if I am singing the same tune in a few months ;-)
And now for a TON of pictures!!!


Me and my boy.

Hey let's get the girl who hates grooming an almost competely white horse!

This is my "Oh George!" look.
scratch. scratch. scratch.

He loved having his forehead scratched.

Ahhh that's the spot!
look at me walking so nice.

"Iz a cuteeee"

LOVE that little pink spot on his nose. It's perfect for kissing.

Hi! I'm a great big monster!

Desperate need of a good grooming session!!


Sunday, April 28, 2013


My new pony...

Independent George!!!!

(I promise to have a full post on him soon!!)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Quick update.

I am at my inlaws house in Bismarck, North Dakota which is about halfway to our destination.
I talked with Dr. B again tonight and he said that he just really thinks I will like the horse he has picked out for me. He said the horse has a pretty little head and just a really great personality.
We are waking up bright and early tomorrow an hitting the road to go and meet my potential new pony.

If I wasn't so fricken tired already, I don know if I would be able to sleep. I am very excited!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

getting closer.

I had left a message to Dr. B a few days ago, about coming out to visit his ranch and see the horse he had suggested for me. He called me back today and said that even though he won't be out there, the girl that works for him can be out there to help us. He also said that he would pull the horse from the herd and put it in a seperate corral so that I can just go right up to him and not have to wade through a herd of 55 other horses to get to the horse. I am getting excited.

So if everything goes the way I hope it does....It will be...

The Summer of George!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

excitement is building.

I have made some more phone calls. And there are tentative plans to head out west on Friday night. So that means... I can meet potential new pony on Saturday! They are still holding him for me.
I am beyond excited! I have been scouring the Internet and it is so cool to see potential new pony training with some pretty big named horses. I even watched his old race videos this afternoon. He is absolutely beautiful! I just wish I could fast forward to the day when he is living in my pasture.
Even though I am extremely excited...I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. Piney was just so easy. I will never forget my second ride on him, when I was in tears because all he would do was stand still. No matter how much I asked him to walk he wouldn't. He had brakes. In fact his favorite part of Dressage was the halt at X. What if this new pony doesn't have brakes? When I first got Piney I had an arena. Our arena is not up yet.
I am a good rider. I need to keep telling myself that. I just seem to forget most of the time. I think my new vest and helmet will work as a bit of a security blanket. But I am still nervous. Obviously not the best feeling to have when getting on a new thoroughbred. I am being silly. I just need to tell myself that I am a good rider. Because I am. My riding instructor put me on a young thoroughbred at my old barn. He was known as being a bit of a handful, but she said that I rode him beautifully and that I have really, nice, soft, quiet hands which he really responded to.

It's just nerves and excitement I am sure!

This is the pony wining his race by a few lengths.

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Monday, April 22, 2013

don't want to jinx it but...

I have been in contact with the ranch where Piney came from...

For those of you who haven't been following the entire time, Piney my first OTTB, came from a ranch in western North Dakota for retired race horses. The ranch has about 4,000 acres of pasture and when horses are retired for whatever reason they are sent out to be horses for a year before they can be adopted. An equine dentist and track vet has been taking the retired horses from the track out to his ranch for the last 20 years. If the horses for whatever reason aren't adopted they can stay forever. It's just such a nice place for retired horses because there is plenty of kindness for them. And that year off just really does wonders for racehorses.

Anyways I have contacted the ranch's facebook page and had asked if they had any gray geldings that were available for adoption. They wrote me back saying that they had one that the owner of the ranch thought might be a good match for me. I asked a few more questions but the person running the fb page couldn't answer them so she had me call the owner of the ranch.

I contacted him and asked a few questions. He remembered me and Piney which was why he thought the gelding would be a good match for me. He said that the horse was just a really nice horse, with a nice personality, has never been lame a day in his life, and was just a nice all around horse.

So thought about it, and then let them know to hold the horse for me. Sooooooo that's where I am sitting.

We are working on pinning down a time to bring him home to me.

I am excited.

I am terrified.

I just have a lot of feelings right now...LOL.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Equestrian fashion question.

So once upon a time a was a bit of a fashionista. I knew what to wear for every occasion and I stayed current with the trends. I was even going to school for fashion marketing and management. Well then I moved to a farm and forgot everything I ever knew about what to wear. As far as what to wear on horseback it's always been to wear what is comfortable as I've never really been in the show ring.
My question is what is fashionable in the show ring? For the dressage schooling shows at my last barn we could wear either a plain polo, clean breeches in whatever color we had, tall boots or paddock boots and half chaps OR we could wear a black show coat, stock tie, white breeches, and tall boots if we had them. The first show I wore a black polo and my slightly off white breeches (that are apparently magic breeches because I bought them when I lived in Sweden over 13 years ago and they still fit even though I am NOT the same size!). The second show I had been given a full show ensemble and wore that. If I were to show dressage again I would wear that obviously. But what is fashionable when you aren't showing dressage?
I was going through my show clothes the other day and found a fabulous light grey with pink piping show coat by Equine Couture that I am I love with. When on earth would I wear it? I'm sure it's not even fashionable anymore, but it sure is pretty... Can I wear it when showing a walk trot class? For jumping classes? What are people wearing these days? Are dark colors like black and navy blue more fashionable than lighter colors? Obviously I am putting the cart way before the horse here as I don't even know if I am gonna show or have a horse I can show...I'm just sort of wondering what to wear IF I do make it to the show ring this year...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

enter sadness.

Okay so that is a pretty EMO title. I'm doing better than I thought.
My best friend posted a picture on my facebook and instantly tears started streaming. But I quickly dried them up because I was at work and no one wants to deal with me like that!

Here is the culprit.
ps. I edited this picture. In the one she posted. I looked like an albino.
That sweet, sweet boy.
As a photographer I am behind the lens more than I am infront of it. There actually aren't that many pictures of us together, which makes me really, really sad. But it seems that all of the pictures we do have together. He is doing this to me. His nose was usually glued to my face. (damnit here come the tears again!!) I remember the first time he nuzzled me like that. But sadly I don't remember the last time he did.
When I lost Yellow, and got Piney I made a promise to myself that I would have more pictures of me and my horse taken. But it was one of those things that I kept saying "oh we will do it tomorrow" "Hmm I look weird today, maybe lets take pictures next week". Putting it off, and putting it off until it was too late. And now I no longer have any photography opportunities.
I miss that nose.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Who needs spring?

Apparently not us.

Friday, April 12, 2013

the never ending winter.

These are photos I took today, April 12th. Spring time in the Red River Valley.

We will never have spring. So if you are having a beautiful spring consider how lucky you are.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I am back at home again. I got home last night and was completely exhausted. I still am completely exhausted. I’m kind of walking around like a zombie.

The good news is that my little brother will be moving out of the ICU. When we went to visit him yesterday the nurses had him sitting up and he was watching The Price is Right. We were chatting with him and he is able to remember some things but he still has no idea what happened to lead up to him seizing. It’s terrifying to think what would have happened if he didn’t have home care come and check on him. He is still scared and confused though, as he should be. I can’t even imagine waking up in the ICU with tubes coming out from all over my body after losing TWO DAYS from being unconscious.  My mom asked him if he wanted to go home and he said no over and over again. We figure he is scared of my parents town house because there are so many stairs. My parents had been trying to find him an assisted living home but he wasn’t qualified for any that they had looked in to. Maybe now, since things have changed they will be able to find him something where he can receive care 24/7. The next few weeks will be challenging. The doctors are going to be running tests and try to find out if there is permanent damage. After seizing on and off for 48 hours I can’t imagine there isn’t any damage. More than likely he will be in the hospital for the next six weeks.

Multiple Sclerosis is a terrifying disease.  My brother is 28. He graduated with honors from University.  While not the case for all people with multiple sclerosis, his independence has been robbed. He can no longer live on his own (and hasn’t for a few years), and he can’t work. His balance is impaired and more than once he has fallen down and hurt himself. He’s been through chemo and he spends a big chunk of his week going in to see specialists at the hospital. It’s been heartbreaking to watch how it has progressed. And this last weekend was the absolute worst. It was worse than any of my nightmares. Doctors are still trying to figure out why he is the way he is. One of my best friends from high school has MS but you’d never know. She is an accountant and works for my dad. It just varies for everyone.

So thank you for those of you who said a prayer for my family. Although I’ve never met any of ya’ll It does mean a lot to me.

On a little side note that is actually horse related. I wanted to do some retail therapy on Monday and knew that there is a great tack shop in Winnipeg. My dad took me there and obviously this is not his type of store, but suprisingly enough, he knew exactly how to get there. I had told him that I needed a new helmet since mine is about 5 years old and it’s time to be replaced. He liked that I was wanting to protect my head, especially with my history of concussions.  I had my eye on the Tipperary Sportage 8500 for awhile, so I tried it on in the store, and I liked the fit. I also feel like it covers a bit more of my head than my old Troxel did. I then tried on the Tipperary Adult Ride-Lite. I have a couple protective vests but I was never sure if they fit right. So the girls at the store helped me fit this one and showed me how they were supposed to fit. I took it off and put it back on the hanger and my dad asked why I did that. I said I was going to think about it. He then told me that he would buy it for me because he'd rather me be safe when I ride. Dad's are always looking out for their little girls even when they are all grown up. If I knew he was going to pick up the tab I maybe would have gone for the more expensive vest...I'm kidding!! But he scooted me out of that store pretty quickly. He knows me too well...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

life is hard sometimes.

I am currently sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house in my 'home and native land'. (Canada) I got a message yesterday from my mother that instantly made my heart break and brought me to tears.

"just a quick note. We got a call from J. and he found Chris laying on the floor at the condo seizuring. They took him by ambulance to the hospital. I am just about to board a plane for Winnipeg and dad and buddy are driving down. I will keep in touch. Mom"

A little back story: my little brother is Chris. He is two years younger than me and he has Multiple Sclerosis and numerous other medical conditions. He is unable to work because of the severity of his ms. He is also unable to live on his own. With healthcare costing what it does in America and his in ability to take care if himself my parents decided it was best for him to move back in with them in Canada. This way he could receive free health care and they could help him out.
J. Is my brothers home care helper. Originally everyone thought that maybe with help he could re learn some basic tasks that you an I take for granted. Things like going to the store, remembering to brush your teeth, riding the bus. J. Comes and visits with my little brother twice a day. My parents happened to be back in the town I grew up in and we are all so very thankful for J. He had called my little brother to check on him and when he didn't answer he decided to swing over. He found my little brother seizing on the floor by the front door. No idea how Lon he had been there. He called an ambulance and they rushed him in. My mom caught the first flight home on a tiny little puddle jumper ( I grew up in Northern Manitoba) and then got to the hospital as soon as she could. My dad drove the 6 hours down to Winnipeg with the dog through icy crappy conditions. I got to Winnipeg this morning with my older brother.
As I sit here its been over 30 hours and my little brother still hasn't woken up. Doctors aren't sure exactly why he hasn't woken up. He looks like he is trying to open his eyes but he just can't seem to. He is in the intensive care unit at the Health Science Center. The same hospital we spent hours upon hours in when I was a child for his medical procedures he had back then. None of them were nearly a serious as this. Seeing your baby brother in a bed with tubes coming out from all over his body is heartbreaking. Seeing all those monitors they are hooked up to those tubes that are real and not something you see on tv is just a weird feeling I can't even explain. When going in to see him we had to dress in paper gowns, gloves, masks, and googles.
We talked to him and my mom held his hand. When we said certain things he would squeeze her hand. And when I said his favorite quote from Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols he squeezed my moms hand tighter, opened his eye for a split second, and then raised his other hand, the way he did when you were telling a story and e wanted to add something to it. I wish the doctor would play some of his favorite music and see what would happen. I mean it couldn't hurt and they are trying everything else. He really is getting top notch care.
When my other brother and I were waiting outside his room we were dealing with the pain the best way we knew how. With humor. We talked about how if we saw just one person rolled in with a zombie bite on the neck we were out of there.

So that's all I have right now. I am exhausted. And know we have a long, long road ahead. So please keep us in your prayers if you are the praying type.

Friday, April 5, 2013

revisiting old pictures.

There hasn’t been much happening in my world, hence the silence. Not a whole lot to really talk about these days in regards to the horses. (If you are my Facebook friend, you will read my often hilarious social commentary on how I see the world and  you will know I am still in fact alive.)

I was going through my computer when I found some old pictures and I decided to re edit them. They were taken last June 16th. Pistol was still pretty new and didn’t really trust me yet, Duke was still, well Duke, and Piney was alive. I remember it was a nice quiet June night. And for some reason I kept taking pictures of all of Piney’s physical characteristics, like his pin/freeze fire marks.

So you may remember some of these pictures, but some of them have never before been seen. In fact I forgot I even took some of these pictures, but I am glad I have them.

Little race horse.

That forelock! That pathetic, whispy forelock!!

"imma pretend to eat here so it lookz lik we don have any fud ever"

"I love you!"
"Pleaze love me or I'll bite ya!!"
Horse pile up.

"thiz iz how I do mah stretchez so I stay limber"

Nom, Nom, Nom

I almost forget what Pistol looks like when he isn't a hairy Yak.

That kissable nose.

His deformed foot. Look at it! LOOK AT IT!!! lol

Lookin ribby. He was always great at making me look like a horse abuser.

" HEY!! Move along YOU!"

This horse seriously makes me laugh. I was taking pictures and he just popped his head out of the window. If only I could get my client's kids to pose like this!

"thiz iz mah seniur piture!"

don't judge my barn...

"I'z a fanzy artzy fartzy horse"

Freeze fire marks.

Pinfire marks.

"yeah those jumps back there? not gonna jump them."

*le sigh* "I'z dreamin of a world without fences"


'hi! mah name iz Duke"

Emo horse.

Pistol is a really pretty horse, he doesn't have the best conformation out there, but he is pretty.

Duke is built like a tank. A big fat tank. Any thoughts on his conformation?
I miss you buddy.