Sunday, April 11, 2010

Everything Happens for a Reason...It still Sucks!

First I must start by apologizing for the tardiness of this blog. I have spent the last week putting allot of information together.

Allow me to digress for a moment or two. When I purchased Vaunted as a 4 y.o. OTTB, he had a few chips in his ankle as most race horses do. He then went on to compete at the CCI**** level with these chips and proved to be the machine that I only dreamed about. After much deliberation with my vet, farrier, and coach I made the decision last fall to skip the Fair Hill CCI*** and have Vautned's chips taken out to only aid in his future career. All went very, very well and he was back in action and looking better than ever this spring. I followed all the recommendation and did everything that the vet's and farrier suggested. Anyone who knows me, knows that when it comes to this horse, I would rather skip meals then let him go a day without what he needs.

After he got a few good runs in this spring he came up a bit foot sore and through some diagnostic work I found that the shoes that I had him in were affecting a few of his angles which in turn could make his ankle sore. Therefore I allowed him the time to cool everything down while still doing his conditioning work as I knew from chatting with my team I was not facing any possible long term damage. I knew this because of all the diagnostic work that I had done just to make sure that everything was in top shape structurally. I changed his shoeing and made the decision not to run him at 2 events. Well on Thursday just 2 weeks before Rolex, Vaunted came up a bit sore again. If you are a regular visitor to this blog, I first thank you, and second I am sure that you are aware of the uncanny relationship that Vautned and I have. That being said, on Thursday I made the decision not to take my wonderful horse to Rolex this year. He just needs a bit more time to let that ankle calm down after surgery.

This is the first season that this horse will miss in the nearly 8 years of competition. After talking to Dr. Brady, I could run him and see what happened and have some amount of confidence that nothing serious would happen. For me that was, in no way an option. I was joking with Bonnie that she should really be paying Vaunted for me to work for her and not me. He is the reason that I am where I am and he is, as corny as it is, my best friend. It was not even a question for me when I found out that after his next to last "hard" gallop, he was not 100% happy, to take him or not. This horse is an athlete and a competitor just like us riders. Therefore I knew that if I placed those jumps in front of him he would do everything in his power to make that a good run. I also knew that I may be compromising something else in him by placing those jumps in front of him. There is just no need for that.

I think that, for me, the hardest thing about missing Rolex this year is that Vautned will be missing it. That horse deserves to be out there on that course getting the recognition that he deserves. It also makes me a bit mad at myself for putting a bit more thought into his recovery back in Sept/Oct. The standard protocol for this fairly common surgery is a month stall rest. Vaunted has never been on stall rest in his life with me. For that I am lucky, one, and two, should have put that into consideration. His body is not used to being in a stall for that long. In hindsight, which is always 20/20, Dr. Brady says that maybe he should have started being ridden sooner and had more turnout a bit quicker. Well you live and learn right...and then get Loves...what a great commercial.
Vaunted is just going to have a couple weeks off and then start up again (without the 8 min. gallops) and he will be back this fall. It is very upsetting to me as this is my only horse and he is my world. However I must say that I am so lucky to have gone this far without a glitch in the time table. Not to mention that this is really very fixable and very much so just bad timing. Everyone says that the key to a good relationship is communication and well here you go! I am lucky to have several other horses to ride and compete and with Bonnie getting ready for Rolex I have been working with her as well as helping all of the working students get ready for there three days. Vaunted is a bit confused and now kind of a pain in the you know what. As he is rather fit and does not really understand why he is not getting messed with 24/7. That is kind of my thing, to bother him all the time. :)
I find myself suddenly able to eat large quantities and I have also become rather laid back...ha go figure, the Rolex diet is over and the stress level just plummeted. I however am fumbling with a few questions. We all have seen the change in the sport and it goes without saying that there are allot more competitors of my generation that find themselves in perhaps another tax bracket than the rest of us. Ok fine, that saying "keeping up with the Jones' " had to come from somewhere right. So the game is how does someone that has limited funds, a couple horses to compete, and a smaller resource pool to pull from, play this game now. Well this is what I have come up with. You put your head down, work harder, market, and sell the knowledge that you have that those others will never have. They will never have that knowledge because somethings you just cant buy. Again with the corny saying but I swear it's true! I have got some wonderful sale horses that are going to be going training/prelim this spring and summer and you never know what tomorrow will bring. In my case last week, it brought some bad news, but this is a new week and that is horses! Vaunted has given me allot of his time to work on furthering my knowledge and skills, and now I am going to give him, in comparison, a small amount of my time so he can get back to 200%. In the meantime I am going to pick up all the extra work I can find in order to get these pesky three day bills paid for!

My next competition is going to be Plantation Field with a 2 training horses that are for sale. "Isbond", who is another OTTB and Bonnie owns, and "Vinny", who is a new sale addition to our farm and is proving to be a very fancy high jumper! I added a picture of Isbond from CDCTA that Brant Gamma took. Vinny is also pictured with his owner. I am also hoping to get my little "Pixie" to here first show this summer. It's funny how when I cant make Vaunted work hard these other guys get to step up to the plate! We do have several openings for sales horses or training horses right now and welcome any inquires.

I would like to close this rather long thought process with a few very, very, very, large THANK YOUS. First to you the reader, second to FITS and Sheryl Rudolph, thank you so much for your support and great product. Third to Beyond Indigo Equine. Kelly and her team and Beyond Indigo have been generous enough to sponsor a web site for me that you will be seeing soon. Check them out at I would also like to send a big thank you to Mike J. Mcnally. You can find him at He has some the of the best photos that you can ever hope for! Also to all my friends that have listen to me, supported me, and understand how important this great horse is to me. I know that everyone will be cheering him on in a few months time.

There is going to be allot "going down" here at Point Above Farm in the next couple of weeks. Bonnie told me that now that I will be the calm one for the next few weeks, I get to keep everyone on the right track...oh great....cause I am so good at not getting distracted by shinny things. Just kidding, I only get distracted by things that spin.


  1. You are still an inspiring horseperson. Good on you for doing what is best for your horse. I wish there were more like you in the upper echelons of the sport.

  2. Ashley, you are the epitome of a true horseman. I admire and respect that you have chosen to put your best friend's welfare ahead of your dreams. I wish you all good things and many blessings. You and Vaunted have a very special future ahead. God bless.

  3. We have always been inspired by your dedication to Vaunted. I love that you haven't let up on that true partnership. This is a decision that reveals the true nature of someone who understands the privilege of the gift of these remarkable partners. This will be just a little more time to perfect that great gameface and letting that wonderful laugh ring through the barn. Does Vaun need to borrow Ever's hoofpick for you to carry in your backpocket?

  4. Wow, Isbond is quite a stylish jumper. Just lovely!

  5. Thanks everyone for all the positive comments! It is so nice to hear! The isbond horse is one of my favorites. He is sale horse of bonnies. He is going to be very cool!