Sunday, February 25, 2018

Meet Sabrina

Sabrina is a black, Oldenburg mare who joined us for retirement not quite two years ago. Sabrina's story started in Michigan where she was born in 1997. Sabrina was bred for dressage and sired by the well known Holsteiner stallion Cor Noir. At her foal inspection Sabrina was awarded Premium Foal by the International Sport Horse Registry/Oldenburg North America registry when she was presented, scoring an impressive 8 out of 10 points.


Sabrina and her mom

Not a lot is known about Sabrina's early years. As a young horse she was sold to someone in Ohio, and lived with this person for about eight years. During that time she was lightly ridden but mostly just loved and treated like a pet. After eight years with this loving owner Sabrina was sold to a trainer in Ohio in 2009. From what Sabrina's mom has learned, Sabrina's owner was devastated to have to sell her after  years, and sold her with the repeated warning that Sabrina was never to be placed in cross ties. More on that later.

Sabrina and her mom

In June of 2009 Sabrina found herself with a new owner and had a job in a lesson program. Being in a lesson program turned out to be a terrible job description for Sabrina. Some horses are excellent lesson horses, and others need the consistency of the same rider and a consistent program. Sabrina needed her own person and quickly became sour, and at times uncooperative, in the lesson program. Several months later in 2010 Sabrina was for sale again.

Sabrina and her mom

Sabrina showing off her ribbon after she and her mom won their first dressage test together

For various reasons Sabrina didn't sell, and she continued in the lesson program. It was fate that Sabrina remained in the lesson program. In June of 2011 Sabrina's future mom and forever home decided to start taking riding lessons. Sabrina's mom had loved horses for as long as she could remember but she never had the opportunity to take riding lessons. After the passing of her father in 2011 she decided it was time to do something for herself and pursue her lifelong dream, so she signed herself up for riding lessons.

Sabrina and Griselle

Sabrina and Bonnie

When Sabrina's mom started her lessons she was paired up with Sabrina as her lesson horse. Sabrina was unhappy in her role as a lesson horse while her future mom was thrilled to finally be pursuing her lifelong dream. She would arrive early for her lessons to spend extra time grooming and being with Sabrina. After a few weeks of her future mom spending a lot of extra time with her Sabrina started to blossom and was much more cooperative for her future mom than for other people.

Sabrina and Dolly

Sabrina and Lily

After a few months of taking lessons life forced Sabrina's mom to stop the lessons for a few months. When she was able to start taking lessons again Sabrina's mom wasn't sure that she was going to ride at the same barn again. However, the trainer at the barn happened to get in touch with her and invited her to come audit a clinic she was hosting. She audited the clinic, visited with Sabrina, and started taking riding lessons on Sabrina again.

Sabrina, Norman and Cuffie

Sabrina, Timbit and Bonnie

Sabrina's mom was so happy to be taking lessons and spending time with Sabrina that she started thinking about the fact that Sabrina was for sale. At the end of 2011 Sabrina's mom began to think about purchasing Sabrina. It was a lot to think about given that she was just learning how to ride, had never owned a horse, and hadn't intended to buy a horse. However, she worried about where Sabrina would ultimately end up as her dislike of being a lesson horse continued and she continued to get more uncooperative in the lesson program. In April of 2012 Sabrina's mom decided to fulfill her dream of not only riding but having her own horse, and she purchased Sabrina. Sabrina had found her permanent home.

Sabrina's mom wanted to learn about dressage and began working with a dressage instructor.  At their very first dressage show together Sabrina and her mom won a blue ribbon. Although Sabrina tried hard to please under saddle, after only a few months it became apparent that Sabrina had some discomfort and physical limitations. Sabrina's mom began digging into her past, and learned about a terrible incident that Sabrina had at the lesson barn. Despite the fact that Sabrina came with the warning to never be put on the cross ties, she was put in them anyway. One day she flipped over in the cross ties and fell on her back on the concrete floor. Sabrina's mom was never told of this accident prior to purchasing her.

Sabrina and Sparky

Sabrina grooming Sparky

Sabrina's mom worked with her vet to discover why Sabrina often seemed uncomfortable under saddle. They found that Sabrina had a misaligned and arthritic cervical spine undoubtedly from the cross tie incident. She also had some arthritis in one hock and one knee, possibly secondary to the cervical arthritis and misalignment. Sabrina's mom did everything she could to make sure Sabrina was comfortable including injections, anti-inflammatories, shockwave and massage. When reasonable steps failed to keep Sabrina comfortable under saddle Sabrina's mom decided to push her dreams of learning dressage aside and just spend time with Sabrina.  She simply enjoyed spending time with Sabrina and they did ground work and natural horsemanship together.

Sabrina, Sparky and Bonnie

Eventually Sabrina's mom realized that Sabrina would be happiest and most comfortable in an environment where she could be out of her stall more than three or four hours per day. She knew some people who had horses retired with us, and in the spring of 2016 Sabrina joined us for retirement.

Sabrina, Sparky and Timbit made a beautiful sunrise picture

Sabrina and Timbit

Sabrina (front left) and friends enjoying retirement

When describing Sabrina I always say that she was born to be retired. Group living with friends is the perfect environment for Sabrina. Within a couple of months of her arrival we were able to wean Sabrina off her ulcer medication. Her soundness improved dramatically, to the point where it is typically hard to tell why she was retired in the first place.

Sabrina and Sparky

Sparky, Sabrina and Bonnie

Sabrina would tell you that the best part of retirement has been Sparky the donkey. Over the years Sparky has had a long list of admirers who have been obsessed with him. Apollo, Leo and Faune are a few horses that became obsessed with Sparky. Sabrina is the latest in a long line of Sparky admirers. Sabrina now spends her days eating, hanging out, and obsessing over Sparky and directing his every move. She thinks that life could not be more perfect or fulfilling while she fawns over Sparky and does her best to keep other horses away from him. Sabrina definitely thinks she has the perfect life.

Sabrina enjoying retirement

We hope you enjoyed meeting Sabrina!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

February is always my least favorite month of the year. It is a strange mixture of kind of winter and kind of spring, where the temperature fluctuates up and down even more than usual. That's not the part that makes me want to cry frequently. I'm not complaining about the 70 degree days of February. What makes me want to cry frequently is that February is also one of the wettest months of the year. This February has gone overboard in the wet department with rain and rain and more rain. Since the grass is just starting to think about coming to life that makes February mud season. I get tired of the mud. Muddy areas in the pastures. Muddy horses. Mud covered blankets. Mud covered me.

I know I should appreciate the rain, the replenishing of the water table, the natural cycles of the season, but I don't.  It just gives me a mild form of seasonal depression. Although I detest cold weather I seem to be able to maintain my usual positive outlook on life until February. At the beginning of February I'm looking at the pastures thinking, "this winter hasn't been so bad." By the end of February I'm looking at the spongy ground and the muddy areas thinking, "it's hopeless. The pastures are done. We'll never have grass again." And then I look down at my mud splattered pants and question all of my life choices.

Thanks to Jason's expert level farming skills he makes timely use of fertilizer and grass seed in the spring and brings things back to life. If you want to watch a grown man cry, be a spectator when Jason is watching the horses running around the pastures in February. To a normal person it is delightful to watch the horses galloping, rearing, playing and doing sliding stops. To a farmer it makes you weep as you watch the horses wantonly damaging the ground with every playful step they take.  Every year we threaten to cut them off from most of the pasture for a few weeks. Some years we make good on our threat.

All in all, February is not the most wonderful time of year for me. The horses, on the other hand, seem to enjoy it. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Alfie, Hesse and Merlin

Nemo and Sebastian

Roho and Ripley; Ripley seemed to be particularly enjoying the hay

Art and Baner


Digby, Quigly, Happy and Mick

Sam and Miel playing

Alfie and Taylor

Toledo, Wilson and Johnny

Magic and Ripley on the run . . . 

. . . so they could play in the new "water feature in their pasture

Silver and Gibson playing

Renzo and Flyer playing

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Stills

Charlotte (Maisie in the background)


Squirrel and Gus being wild

Cisco and Thomas being wild

Romeo and Donneur

Asterik and Lotus

Baner, Havana and Cino

King and Apollo

Grand, Rip and Revy

Cinnamon and Maisie

Renatta, Lily and Traveller

Dawn and Cuffie