Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thank you Barbaro

Here's a touching article from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation about Barbaro that I wanted to share on my blog:

Barbaro: Thanks For All You Did Barbaro's death has deeply saddened not only those of us at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, but, it seems, everyone. The support the public has shown this horse throughout his heroic battle has been a central part of the Barbaro story. People have cheered on the days when the news was good and wept on the days when the news was bad. Grief was everywhere Jan. 29, the day he was euthanized.

We thank Barbaro, and not just for what he did on the racetrack or for the memories, but for how he brought out the horse lover in so many of us. After this gripping story, never again can it be said that people don't care about the welfare of horses, be they famous Thoroughbreds or just an anonymous horse out in a field somewhere.

True to form, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, the remarkable couple that owned this horse, wanted to stress the positives Monday when addressing the media after it was announced that Barbaro had been put down. Horse lovers themselves, they understood that much good can come from the Barbaro story.

"Certainly, grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson said. "I am sure there are a lot of grieving people out there. A lot of them have contacted me and I am so very appreciative of that. I hope we can turn our love into an energy that supports horses throughout the world. Not just in our own country and not just the thoroughbred we love so dearly, but all horses. Each of us might find a certain path that interests us. Whatever it is, I just pray that you will follow that path in support of the horse."

Said Roy Jackson: "An awful lot of positives came out of this. Veterinary medicine has learned a great deal by this and the general public has been educated about veterinary medicine. There have been a whole host of subjects that have come to light because of this, like the anti-slaughter bill and helping people on the backstretch. Our hope is that some of these issues won't die and will continue be brought up and acted upon in a positive way."

We share those sentiments. As an organization that has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years on behalf of retired race horses and has saved thousands from going to slaughter, we have always known how much people care about horses, but have sometimes been frustrated by how the problem of caring for retired thoroughbreds has not gotten the attention we feel it deserves.

We ask now that people who are saddened by Barbaro's death do just what Gretchen Jackson suggested and do something on behalf of these beautiful creatures. That can include a donation to our organization. We need your help to care for the more than 1,300 horses living at our numerous farms and satellite facilities and to rescue even more horses from slaughter. But it doesn't have to be a donation to the TRF. Please pick any equine related charity. They all need help. Or adopt a retired Thoroughbred. Many make excellent show horses or just great pets. Or just write a letter to Dr. Dean Richardson at the New Bolton hospital and thank him for his heroic efforts to save Barbaro.

Our condolences go out to everyone involved with Barbaro at this sad time and we thank them for their efforts on his behalf and, quite simply, for how much they cared.
We will do our small part Feb. 2 in Wellington, Florida. We had previously planned a fundraiser for that night in which Barbaro was to be honored along with his trainer, Michael Matz. The event will still go on as planned. For more information about the TRF or the party, you can contact us in our Saratoga offices at 518-226-0028.

Source: Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation- TRF

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Carriage Driving Update

Carriage Driving is one of the activities I plan to focus lots of my own attention on this year. Even though I still enjoy riding, I don't have any desire to compete. Guess I've been there done that. But, I've been "bit" by the comptetitive driving bug! I plan on competing again this year at some local and out of town rated driving shows/events.

It's pretty cold out now and my little mini driving buddy, Domino is so furry, he looks more like a grizzly bear than a horse! The weather has been so wet and cold, that we haven't been driving often. He's enjoying a winter "siesta!" Never fear little buddy, as soon as spring rolls around, it's back to mini boot camp- poor fella.

Actually, Dimo has a new fancy Zilco harness along with a super sweet and fancy pleasure gig- one seater just for me! I hooked him up to the new gig the other evening and it fit him like a glove. What an awesome ride- Dimo was "strutting his stuff" It's lighter than the cart he's been driving, and it sits up higher- so it's a new feel. It's really smooth and makes no noise- kind of like moving up from a buick to a cadillac. Can't wait to use it in the cones and dressage driving tests this year!

Anyway, I'm trying to get more familarized with ADS forms, handbooks, and basic dressage driving tests. Here's a helpful link to a variety of ADS forms and tests for interested driving enthusiasts.

For those interested in learning more about driving in the Memphis, TN area, The Nashoba Carriage Club is a great local driving club. Unfortunately, there's no website currently. Leave a comment if interested in more info about the club and I'll pass on contact info.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Reintroduced in Congress

Legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses for foreign dinner plates was introduced right out of the gate in the 110th Congress.

In the Senate, the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S. 311, was launched Jan. 17 by Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and John Ensign, R-Nev., with 11 original cosponsors. In the House, Reps. Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., John Spratt, D-S.C., and Nick Rahall, D-W.V., introduced a companion bill, H.R. 503, the same day with 61 original cosponsors.
The measure received tremendous bipartisan support in the 109th Congress, winning a vote of 263 to 146 in the House. It stalled in the Senate in late 2006, however, and was not brought up for a vote before Congress adjourned, even though a similar effort had been overwhelmingly approved by the Senate in 2005.

Help Save Horses Right Out of the Gate!
Contact your lawmakers in Washington today, and ask them to put an end to the slaughter of American horses for human consumption overseas. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100,800 American horses were slaughtered in three foreign-owned slaughter houses in 2006. Opponents of the slaughter ban argue that the practice constitutes a humane way to kill old animals, but investigations by The HSUS show cruelty and abuse throughout the process. Horses are sometimes transported for days without food, water or rest, and once on the killing floor they can be subjected to multiple blows by a bolt gun to the brain before being rendered unconscious. The HSUS also recently documented barbaric treatment of American horses at a slaughter plant in Juarez, Mexico, where the animals were stabbed with short knives, leaving them paralyzed and unable to breathe but still sensible to pain as they were hoisted up by a chain to have their throats slit.

At least 33,400 horses were exported to Mexico, Canada and Japan for slaughter in 2006, according to the USDA. In addition to banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would ban the export of horses for slaughter in other countries.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Too Blanket or Not to Blanket... How to Decide

Okay, there are those who whip out the blanket arsenal at the first sight of cooler weather, some who only blanket when really cold, and some who swear by never blanketing a horse. So when and how do you decide to blanket a horse? Click here to read an interesting article with tips about when to blanket horses in Winter.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Goodbye 2006, Hello 2007! A Personal Look Back

I can't believe 2006 has come and gone. This was quite an exciting and busy year for me. It began with a new horse, Gage, for my baby sister Lauren. We have both had a BLAST with our big baby. Geez, we've come a long way in his and our training since this time last year! All three of us began Dressage training- something that I've never "officially" done in all of my years of riding. What an eye-opening experience this has been! With Gage being so green, and with Lauren and myself learning Dressage for the first time, I've realized how much there will always be to learn with horses no matter how long you've been riding! Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks... I'm the proof!

Lauren and I are looking forward to our
continued training with Gage and are super excited to begin his jump training soon. Hopefully by this time next year, we'll all be able to canter around jumper type courses with ease. We both plan to continue our Dressage training, and perhaps this year you'll catch a glimpse of us at our first Dressage/Event/Jumper shows in the Memphis area with Gage!

I also began another new horse venture this year- something I've always wanted to do, Driving. What fun this has been! I went to my very first rated carriage shows with my buddy, Domino, a 38" macho miniature! We did well and had great fun at the shows we attended (The Cannon Classic in Woodbury, TN and Nashoba Classic in Germantown, TN) placing out of the Novice divisions. I look forward to continuing my driving adventures with Domino this year and hope to focus our efforts onto the CDE realm of driving- can't wait! I feel the need for speed!!!

This year also helped me to realize one of my life dreams and goals with horses. I want to one day have my own horse rescue farm- dedicated to OTTB's. This year, it really hit home with me how many horses there are out there that need good, caring, loving homes and kind-hearted owners. My eyes were open to horse neglect and the attrocities of slaugter, and it has changed my life forever. I am passionately dedicated towards making a difference for all those beloved horses out there who've been forgotten and discarded. I've been truly blessed in my lifetime to have encountered and learned invaluable life lessons from so many special horses. Starting with my first horse, Sam, a discarded OTTB who truly blessed my life for seventeen years. Looking back, I now realize that his time with me is the driving motivation behind my passion to help horses like himself, who deserve a second chance to shine. Hopefully by this time next year, I'll be a little closer to making my dream of helping horses in need a reality.

In summary of this past year: I got a new green horse, started two new disciplines- dressage and driving, attended my first driving shows, made some fabulous new "horsey" friends, rode some walking horses for the first time, became an Aunt for the first time, and bought myself my first home. Whew, it's been a busy year. Looking forward to 2007!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy One Year Anniversary Gage and Lauren!

Happy One Year Anniversary Gage and Lauren!
This year has flown by, and it's hard to believe that on January 2, 2006, I officially bought Gage for my youngest sister Lauren. I delivered on my promise to buy her an AWESOME horse one day.... now she's got to deliver on buying me my dream horse farm estate ;)

Big baby will officially turn a whopping 6 on January 12. Lauren and Gage have come a long way this year together and we will begin hard core jump training soon.