The idea behind The Trakehner Files

Do you ever do something/ create something or volunteer to do something without knowing why? As in, you have the curious notion afterwards that you just did something silly but also important?

For me: That is what I feel when I blog.

I created this blog on a whim. The Trakehner Files what a weird name for a blog. It reminds me a bit of the early ’90’s show the X-files. Cue the weird/ eerie music. As I was driving home from the barn this morning I had an epiphany and now, I realize what I want to do with this blog.

I want to make it a website where I write about my Trakehners and how I’ve worked with them/trained them. I also want to have my horses “write” guest posts on here. A bit like the Dear Murray facebook group. Not quite the same, but something similar.

While driving, I also realized that I want to write about developing my line of Trakehners and why I chose the bloodlines I did. I am beginning to toss around the idea of traveling across the country to visit various Trakehner breeding farms (there is a mare I want, she’s located on the West Coast and I’m on the East Coast.)  Furthermore, once I’ve developed my farm and breeding stock I’d like to travel internationally and visit Trakehner breeding facilities around the world. Which will help me get a better understanding of the breed and what breeders as a whole, hope to achieve.

Why am I so specific on breed? Well, I love the breed- it is a very pure breed and it isn’t popular. Of all of the breeds I’ve worked with, I like this one the most. Trakehners are smart, sensitive, intuitive and they are particular. They are very loyal. The breed isn’t quick to spook or bolt. They are hardy and versatile. Their history is fraught with suffering and uncertainty and there were times when the breed almost disappeared. Despite all of those difficulties, this breed has survived. They have remained. The breed has had over three hundred years of careful breeding and the result is an athletic sport horse that is used to refine other warmblood breeds.

Over the past three years I’ve felt I should be a successful writer. I’ve jumped around and I’ve given up multiple times. During the past week or so, I realized that writing takes a long time to mature. Just as the breed has go through many changes and adjustments (but still stayed true to its ideal) so have I, as a writer. I’ve changed my focus with horses. I’m no longer fixated on riding in the Olympics. Now, I realize that I’d rather help shape and keep Trakehners from slipping into oblivion.

My creation of this blog, The Trakehner Files, is my acknowledgement of what my long term goals are. 

American Trakehner Brand

American Trakehner Brand

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The New Year

Greetings, one and all.

On the first of January all Thoroughbreds celebrated their birthday. Some received cakes and beer as well as treats and for others, it was just another day. It’s quite an interesting tradition we have and it’s a bit outdated. Did you know that because we traditionally have Thoroughbreds’ birthdays on the first of the year breeders of all breeds are fixated on making sure foals are born as close to the new year as possible. When we think about that it is a bit silly, especially in the northern hemisphere where temperatures are below freezing and newborn foals need heavy blankets and heating lamps. I’m thankful that Fae was born in August, she was able to spend her first few months warm and running in the sun. Truth be told how I’ve raised her has been outside the normal breeders’ standards.

For this first post of the new year I would like to give you two tips on how to keep horses on a shoestring budget, because believe me, if I can keep horses on my budget you’ll be able to keep horses on yours.

Tip #1:

The various news outlets are filled with neglect, abuse and horrible stories about how horse owners let their horses starve and the images of those poor horses are dreadful. However, those stories don’t have to be the norm. My first tip is to assess what your budget is. If you are truly a horse person you will give up fast food, starbucks and that shiny new cellphone. The money from those things will be enough to buy food for your horses. In addition to that, contact your local rescue. There are many in every state and most have some kind of food bank. Honestly, most rescues would rather you keep your horses and are willing to help you out in a pinch. The caveat is that you also have to make financial changes which leads me to tip number two.

Tip #2:

When you bought your horse everything was going fine, you had a good job and you were paying the bills. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way your expenses increased while your pay stagnated or went down. It happened to me and it has happened to scores of other horse owners. As mentioned above when times get tough, a smart horse owner will get tough on their budget. Too many horse people (myself included) ignore proper budgeting practices and instead they think “everything will pay itself…” that mindset is destructive to your health as well as your horses’ health. It is based on the notion that you have no control over your expenses but you do. The other thing to remember that your expenses increase by one and a half times for every additional horse that you have.

How do I know this? I have owned one horse for over six years. I was able to pay my bills and pay hers it was tough but I did it. Then I had the brilliant idea to breed her. I knew my expenses would increase, but instead of being smart and saving up, I bought a third horse from auction. The goal, of course, was to train and resell her. When I bought the third horse I realized that I wouldn’t be able to sell her as she had been abused and had lumps on her girth area (two very unmarketable traits). Most people would have turned around and dumped her back into the auction. I didn’t, I did end up spending a lot of money on her and most days I wonder why I did.

The moral of the story is: don’t buy an additional horse if you are already strapped for cash, yes, you could turn around and make a quick buck; but the more likely outcome is that you will have an additional horse to feed and you will bury yourself in debt. Owning one horse is relatively easy, but if you don’t have a barn in your backyard and your income is less than ideal adding additional horses isn’t a smart move.

I eventually surrendered that third horse to a rescue. Unfortunately, I made that decision way after I buried myself into debt. Sometimes be nice and doing the right thing is actually detrimental to your long term health. Remember that before you purchase that fixer upper horse.

Stallion Prospect Alert

My goals for my breeding program: breed high quality, colorful Trakehners. I’d also like to line breed for the Matador line. I like the way this colt moves. His hind end is a bit hitchy but he has a good shoulder.

Ideally, I’d buy both him and his dam (really dreaming right now).

I also want to buy an arabian mare for refinement and some older broodmares to keep the older look. I love big bodied, big joined warmbloods that float above the ground.

New Year- New Focus

As 2014 winds down I have to say I am thankful that this year is done. It has been one of change, frustration and growth. I watched my filly grow from a foal into a yearling. I had the opportunity to develop new friendships with other horse people. I moved back home and reestablished stagnant relationships.

I’ve also lost things. I’ve lost pride and the sense that my worth is defined by being famous or recognized or important. I’ve grown more humble and more aware of the struggles of others. I’ve lost the feeling that I have to be perfect. In 2014, I lost a lot but I gain a whole lot more.

In 2014, I learned to reach out. To make crazy leaps and to be who I want to be. I learned that I can’t wait for someone to say “yup, now you are ready to be x,y or z.” I graduated college two years ago and I finally realized that being educated is great but being certain of who you are and of what you want to be is infinitely more important. This year, I ranted, raved and had several emotional break downs. This year I was stretched and pretty certain I was going insane. Growth often hurts (I remember growing pains and how much they hurt) but after that pain is the realization that you’ve changed and become something different and new.

The feeling of New is something we all strive to feel. We want to create new products, new ideas and new innovations. We believe that New will solve all of our problems. That isn’t always the case because New becomes old if we forget what we learned while we were growing. I vow to remember what I learned while growing. I vow to be fiscally responsible, to stay stubborn and to hold onto my dreams even when I’d rather let them go. I also vow to accept that I’m not perfect and that sometimes dreams need to shift in order for you to be the best possible version of yourself.

When I was younger I wanted to be the best; I wanted to compete in the Olympics and I convinced myself if I didn’t make it there then I was worthless. For me, competing in the Olympics isn’t likely; I have Narcolepsy which means that I am unable to compete at international levels. Why? because I don’t have the drive nor the dedication to devote my life to being the best rider. I used to chide myself on that but now, I realize that there are other ways I can contribute to the horse world.

I bred for my first foal in 2012. She was born in 2013 and I have to say she is amazing. She has surpassed all of my expectations and she is beautiful. I didn’t expect her to be what she is but I am so happy that I have to opportunity to own her. Raising her and teaching her to be a good baby has given me so much joy. I know now that I want to be a Trakehner breeder. I want to help the breed grow and I want to promote high quality, sane and good moving horses. I want to help others learn to be responsible horse owners and I want to teach others how important it is to keep the welfare of the horse first when caring for them. Sure, I could be a famous rider but that wouldn’t be as rewarding as seeing the next generation of competitors be horse savvy and focused on the betterment of the horse world.

In 2015 I will be rolling out interviews with horse breeders, competitors and the greats. I already have a couple of interviews set up. My focus isn’t on what I think but on what will be the most beneficial for all to learn. As I work on creating a place where thoughtful, intelligent and innovative horse people can collaborate I hope you join me in building an environment of positive growth.

Stay tuned and see what the new year will bring.

The Budding Equestrian Writing Professional

“I was paired with the five best teammates I could imagine, a phenomenal coach and a horse-of-a-lifetime, seemed a recipe for success. But a comment made by veteran teammate Phillip Dutton stood out in my head at a pre-game chat.

He said, “Be ready for things to not go according to plan; be ready to compete and fight through things not being perfect.” –From Sinead Halpin

Well, That quote from Phillip Dutton seems to be a good starting point for this blog post. I was elated when I was asked to be on the ATA publishing committee. Thrilled, over the moon and then I just received the latest ATA magazine. It looks great but my breeder profile is choppy and unrefined. I want to email Karen Stopek and tell her that she should pull my breeder profile and I want to email Carol Poulin-Taylor and apologize for the profile being so poorly written. Karen asked me to write the next breeder profile and I originally said yes but now I want to email her and tell her I came up with a case of… well, I don’t really know.

I feel like I’m trying to swim in an ocean when I’m used to a kiddie pool.

I want to make headway. I want to place my stamp on the equestrian world. The more I dream about doing that the more I want to take down everything I’ve written and back my bags and disappear. Writing about horses seems logical. I love writing and I love horses- so why wouldn’t I marry the two and do what I’m most passionate about.

Because I’m scared that I will succeed and I’m scared that I won’t succeed. I go through these fits of I can do this and thinking I’m insane for doing this. I’ve lived the safe life for so many years that I’ve forgotten that I have wings. I want to be a writer but I’ve convinced myself that I’ll never make it in the horse world. Which is a bit silly. I have to keep trying. I have to keep on attempting to fly because only then will my wings begin to work. I have to be like that little girl in the tutu and I have to believe that I can and will do this. I need to have the eyes and faith of a child.

Forget the baggage you have.

Instead, believe that you will succeed. I made the attempt to reach out and I now have the platform to grow as a writer and become more than a girl who dreams of impacting the horse world. I can and will be someone who helps shape the next generation of horse professionals. I have to remember that we learn from more than one teacher and we are the better for it. I have to get over my belief that I need to be the sensei or nothing. That is just illogical thinking and if there was only one authority on riding horses then a lot of people would be out of a job. I don’t need to be the expert on the whole of the equestrian industry. However, I can be an expert on a small piece.

In development is an ebook titled How to keep Horses on a Shoestring Budget. I need to work on it but I know that it will help other people. It will help empower people to keep their hope instead of lose it. 


Creating Confident Riders

Horseback riding is a sport like no other. Predator and Prey unite to become one. If you’ve ridden long enough you’ve had a bad fall or two. You’ve had your doubts and your uncertainties.

I know the feeling and I know how to overcome those feelings. As I push my life forward I am also developing my business plan for Creating Confident Riders. There is a huge market for trainers who work to help riders become the best versions of themselves.

Check back for more info.

Facebook Helps Save Horse from Being “Eaten by Lions”

I may ruffle a few feathers by posting this. A few years ago I would have been enraged that the owner was considering send the horse to the lions.
Now, as I’ve gotten older and I’ve seen multiple people neglect and starve their horses I think that sometimes donating a horse to a program like this is the best thing for all parties involved.
Would I ever sell my horses for meat? No. I wouldn’t. They are pets and they are worth more to me than my health. I have sacrificed my honor and my name and my reputation to keep my horses. At the end of the day I don’t care what people say about me. My primary goal is to do what is best for my horses.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to care for two lovely horses. I had a third which I fought to keep safe. I bought her from auction (she wasn’t taken care of); if I was a more dramatic person I would say I rescued her from certain death.
Did I?
I’m not sure. This past year I lost a lot of things. I lost my honor, my hope and my faith in a high power. I fought to keep my horses fed. I often went without food. I struggled to work enough to pay the bills. I apologize for this tangent.
My story won’t be told as I’m not one to proclaim from the rooftops about how great I am for struggling. We all struggle.
Lexy, the mare I bought from auction, had cancer. I networked out and was able to give her up to a rescue- they were able to send her to get cancer treatment. Lexy is going to help in the fight to destroy cancer. Having to struggle as I did is worth it because she deserved to have someone fight for her.
This story is one about people giving up and not knowing where to turn. That is the truth. Horse people need to come together and build each other up so that horse owners don’t have to make the heart wrenching decision of sending their horses off to become meat.

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Sonja Haller, The Republic | azcentral.com

“They can be food for the cats, and it’s better than putting (the horses) in a landfill,”

Jim Gath, the owner and chief operator at Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary, interacts with his horses daily and makes sure they always have enough attention and human interaction. (Photo: Dominic Valente/The Republic, Dominic Valente/The Republic) Jim Gath, the owner and chief operator at Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary, interacts with his horses daily and makes sure they always have enough attention and human interaction. (Photo: Dominic Valente/The Republic, Dominic Valente/The Republic)

The headline over the Facebook story could have read: Old, arthritic horse fed to the lions.

The true story, however, has more shades of gray and no-clear cut antagonist. But it did have a happy ending for the hero, a 20-year-old gelding named Spencer.

Spencer was a family horse boarded in Sedona. Once ridden by the family’s children, who had scattered, Spencer had been without a rider for three years. His owner, who lived in Utah, wanted to find him a new home.

“He needed a job. He needed a…

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On the State of Things

Well,

Things have definitely moved towards the creation of Connecticut Trakehners.

I have a long ways to go before I am fiscally sound and mentally prepared to start a breeding operation but one hurdle seems to be clearing itself out.  I have a location to start my farm.

Now, I just need to take care of my debt and figure out how my marketing plan is going to work. I also need to acquire some broodmares and I need a stallion. I already have some prospects in mind.

My goal is to create a successful colorful Trakehner breeding program.

http://www.blazingcoloursfarm.com sells colorful warmbloods. She doesn’t focus on one breed but on several different german breeds. My focus is to develop, maintain and promote the American Trakehner horse.

There are several options that I could pursue to gain the capital I need. I could crowdfund or I could apply for loans but those routes are dead ends. I do not want to beg for money because no one has the cash flow to hand out the money I need to get things cooking.

Oh the tag line I’m thinking of is something like: Connecticut Trakehners the place to go for class and color. Conn Trakehners will be a full service facility where we can help horse people find their next Trakehner through breeding, referral or importation. We will also offer young horse training, rehab training and show prep training. My goal is to compete (to make a name for myself) and to breed amazing youngstock. There is a need for young and dedicated horse breeders. Luckily, I am both of those things.

Note: When registering a stallion for Trakehner approval he must pass an inspection and must be considered an asset to the breed. It costs a lot of money to register a horse and stallions are expected to compete and to prove that they have the talent and athleticism that are trademarks of the Trakehner breed.

American Trakehner Brand

American Trakehner Brand

The Vicious Cycle of:

I’ve written about many different things on many different blogs. I have about six blogs and I try to keep up with three of them. It’s been hard. I don’t want to sound like I am whining because I’m not. I’m just at a point where I’m beyond exhausted. I can see several paths ahead of me and I’m not sure which one I should take.

I recently started full time working in retail. Which is great because it means more money and benefits. I actually secured the position and I’ve been working with that company for less than six months. I like to move fast. I like promotions and I like to be rewarded. Oh, how I love rewards.

However, with each reward I still seem to fall short of where I need to be. I just cannot seem to figure out how to make it so things work together easily. Full time means more money but it also means less time. Less time to write, less time to dream and less time to work with my horses.

My horses- I love them dearly and I really don’t want to give up on them but I’m tired of fighting a losing battle. I keep talking about how I’m going to start a breeding program. I’ve started making contacts within the horse industry and I’ve started laying down the flagstones for that path. All great things but I don’t know if I’ll go down that path. I’m losing hope that I’ll be able to make something of myself. I’m starting to slip into being a glassy eyed person who keeps her head down and avoids all opportunities at becoming something more.

I’ve had to make a lot of concessions. I’m a better person because of my experience but I’m really tired of suffering. That is where I’m at. Exhausted and hoping that I don’t have to give up but I’m pretty sure I do. What do I have to give up? I’m not sure yet.

Things are moving forward but they feel like they are moving backwards. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever be financially sound and if I’ll ever have a place to call my own.

Centaur

There is an undercurrent in the horse world that sends all horse riders towards one dream and goal. To be one with the horse. The idea is that you and your horse are of one mind and one spirit. Many toss away that notion without really thinking about it. Others never meet the horse that will show them the way.

I rode my mare bareback last weekend. She is ridiculously out of shape and her hind legs are stiff. She still floats when she moves. I haven’t really ridden her in over two years. School then working full time then breeding her made it so that I didn’t want to ride. I’ve popped on her a few times but I never really focused on riding her to become one.

So, I know she sensitive and listens to all of my aids. I had a light bulb moment so to speak. The ride was amazing. She knew I wanted to do more and tried oh, how she tried. I asked her to trot through the corners and she was all off balance. I realized that she wasn’t fit enough to do that. Once I stopped asking her to do what hurt her she responded by following every little thing I asked her.

At the end of the ride I had her stop. She stopped at an angle. I literally just thought “Please move your hind quarters to the left and square up”. She did exactly that.

That is the ultimate goal of riding- to be able to think and the horse does. In return the horse responds and you accept. It is a constant exchange of energy. One that is balanced and true. I’m not sure if that makes sense to you but it makes sense to me. I’ve been blessed with the ability to work with and be the human to several horses. I am so thankful for that opportunity.

It is easy for me to forget how blessed I am when my muscles ache and I’m running well past empty. It is easy to forget how blessed I am when I just want to curl up in a ball and not move. My horses remind me that they need me as much as I need them.