I am a videographer in Portland, Oregon with a love for all things horses. Originally from Minnesota, my childhood was spent on racetracks across the Midwest. I am currently training my dream horse with hopes of excelling at dressage and Parelli. I have a Cairn Terrier, Ellie, and an old cat named Winston. I am fortunate to have a pretty nice boyfriend who understands and supports my love of horses. My blog helps keep a record of my successes and failures and helps friends and family enjoy the journey with me.
I recieved some photos of the first Smoken Now baby of 2007. Smoken Now is Maddy's sire and lives down in Northern California. The new baby is a cute little girl that looks just like Maddy. The owner, Laura, thinks she will be a grulla, but I think she will lighten up and look just like my girl. Look at those tiger bars on the legs! Just adorable.
You gotta love the Italians! They do great coffee, great food, and they came up with "Cavalletti." Cavalletti is the schooling of horse and rider over ground poles. It enhances their rhythm, loosens their muscles, and tests their ability to learn. Maddy started going over ground poles at the walk and the trot. I had the closest 3 poles at my trot lengths and the farthest poles on my walk lenghts. I first walked both directions with her and exaggerated my step. She was fine, so we move on to lunging near the poles at the walk, then over the poles, reverse directions. All seemed well, so we went on to the trot. Wow! I have been waiting for her to lower her head, maintain her gait, and stay relaxed and the cavalletti exercises we worked on today did the trick. Her stride was so long and she looked just beautiful. I think she even impressed Michelle Merkin, my trainer. I am still giddy about our work today. So cool.
I think I have to do a Maddy update. It has been awhile. Things are going extremely well. Since getting back from vacation, she is just so calm and ready to work. For the first time, she is stretching out in her stride on the lunge line and she is starting to look like a dressage horse:-) I have been riding. By that I mean I am on her back getting her to bend left and right and doing our stops with a hackamore. I have been doing hikes out on the trail with her. She is starting to enjoy our trips and is not spooking at anything...even the ducks. Earlier this week I got a call from her previous owner wondering if I wanted to sell her. She says a guy in Texas wants her bad after seeing her on the Rockin Maddy Ranch website and he is willing to pay lots of money to have her. I have to be honest and say I was curious to know what "lots of money" means, but if it came down to it, I know I would never sell her. I emailed her back, but I still have no answer as to what he wanted to use her for and what is "lots of money." I am pretty content with her. I have seen amazing progress and I look forward to seeing her in the dressage ring. I don't think I could put a price tag on that.
For those of you that have seen the new Bond movie, "Casino Royale," you may recognize "Max." He is the horse that gallops down the beach with Caterina Murino on his back. He is very memorable in the movie because he is just gorgeous and it is shot just beautifully. I was fortunate to meet him while down in the Bahamas. He is an 18 year old Holstiener gelding from Germany. Sue Smith owns and manages the Windsor Equestrian Center where he lives along with thirty some horses. She says that "Max is so well trained, he is the type of horse that takes care of his riders." He had a regal presence and would just rest his head in your hands. For those of you who board...just when you get depressed about how much you pay, think of this: In the Bahamas, hay is $39 a bale! The boarders at Windsor pay about $1200 a month on average. Can you say ouch! Everything has to be imported so the cost goes up. Most of the horses at Windsor are rescued or donated from people in the States. Some of the horses have pretty amazing resumes. There are Grand Prix jumpers and horses with track careers. If you get to the Bahamas, they do beach rides and it is great just to walk around and meet the horses.
So I made it back on Thursday and actually happy to be home. Sometimes you go on long trips and after awhile you just get tired of spending money. For someone like me who is pretty frugal, spending $40 a cab ride to go 3 miles makes me uncomfortable. I prefer to go to less "touristy" places, off the beaten path. So while the Bahamas were nice and the sun felt great, I would much prefer a simple beach in Mexico. We went because my boyfriend had a business trip there and I just decided to find things for me to enjoy and that is when I stumbled across the Abaco Barbs. There are eight left and they are on the brink of extinction. I wanted to learn more about them, because I don't know what the solutions are. On one hand, it is a very romantic idea to have a wild herd preserved and roaming free in their on their allotted land, left to natural selection with human intervention when needed. On the other hand, I see horses that would be healthier and have a better quality of life with some domestication and care. By care I mean floating teeth, supplementaion, and hoof care. The horses were in excellent condition, there is no doubt. I can't see their teeth and saw little of their feet, but they were healthy, happy horses. I don't know if they will have anymore offspring. Nobody knows. They were exposed to citrus farm chemicals after hurricane Floyd and I don't know if that has had an impact on their reproductive organs. There is no way to know if the stallion, Mimosa will inbreed. It is hard to tell how they are related and I hear differing opinions on wild horses and how they breed. Mimi is optimistic. She has had horse friends visit the island and watch for changes in the mares. There are puckers and belly changes. She has had blips on her sonogram machine...so maybe as I type, there are babies on the way. That would be just wonderful! They are very beautiful horses and they have such depth in their eyes, almost like they are "old souls." I loved Bellatrix, the little Pinto mare, who couldn't get enough scratches. The banana leaves have rubbed her hair off her pink nose and she has a sunburn on her face. They have overcome so much and they hold an amazing place in history. I don't have the answers, but I have a lot of tapes and a lot of interviews about them and I am hoping to put a film out there that gets people thinking about these eight horses struggling for survival out in the pine forests of Abaco.
I am still in the Bahamas and can't wait to post video and photos of the Abaco Barbs I met here. They really are stunning and a young mare named Bellatrix stole my heart. She is a gorgeous brown and white pinto with stunning blue eyes. She just loved to get stratched around her ears. I was able to see 5 of the remaining eight and they are all in good condition and it really looks like one may be pregnant. I am spent one whole day working on interviewing locals about the horses and everyone said "Oh, those are Mimi horses, you need to talk to her." Mimi is the woman in charge of Arkwild. It is as if they want nothing to do with them and have completely absolved themselves from any type of responsibility. It was hard to leave the horses on Friday. I feel pretty grim about their future and crossing my fingers for at least one foal this summer.