Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can there be a non-sore big lick horse?

When I attended the Sound Horse Conference in November, a big lick trainer, Winky Groover, talked to us about how he wanted to help changed the show world of the padded big lick horse. After he talked I asked him if you really could have a big lick horse that wasn't sored using chemicals around his ankles or using pressure shoeing. He assured me that one could. He stated that he had wanted to bring one of his sound, not sored, horses to the conference so folks could see, feel and even ride the horse. He was denied.

This brings me to my point of the day. I am against animal/horse abuses in any form, especially in training show horses. I explain my feelings and experiences about sored Tennessee Walking Horses in my book: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot. There is one group of Tennessee Walking Horse people who are against the padded/big lick horse PERIOD.

Now a group of big lick trainers would like/are trying to develope/show/train a horse that isn't sore, but is still on big stacks or pads and still wears a 6 oz chain. Is it feasible to expect the big lick horse to go away? I say it probably is not. I would like to see more support for those trainers who want to show a big lick horse that is not sore. It is simply a fact that folks like pizazz whether in race cars, race horses or show horses.

The purists do not want horses locked up in a stall 24/7. Granted, that is not the best of horse worlds, however, in the walking horse department, if a show horse can be stalled and not be groaning and moaning in pain from soring and pressure shoeing, that is a HUGE improvement.

Perhaps a next step/option would be a smaller pad and then no action device such as chains. Slow improvements are better than none.

here is a big lick horse that is owned by a friend and I trust and believe her that the horse is not and never has been "fixed" by soring.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdu1cQBlsGg note the small bit, the pleasant attitude of the horse.

here is a clip of another big lick horse in training  taken from the internet. There are several things to note here: long shanked bit, blinders (I do not see a reason for this at all!) unhappy horse in many ways, but most importantly, the squatting exagerated step of the back end. A horse will do this when the front hurts as in SORED, so he shifts his weight to the back. In my opinion, there is nothing pretty about this picture:

Here is video of the 2010 Trainers show. This points out the problem. Note all horses are squatting and the front end is very exaggerated. These horses passed the preliminary inspections. Are any of the sore? (my guess is yes). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRR2AzTKUms&feature=related

Most of the horse loving public abhor this look (with the exception of the walking horse fans) Keith Dane of HSUS suggested that a video be made using a sound horse and that would be given as the "Standard" for judging. That way horses doing "too much" as in the video, would be out. Trainers would be encouraged to train sound as the exaggerated movements caused by soring would not be rewarded.

Here is a video of Saddlebreds showing. These are fancy show horses and the "cousin" of the walking horse. By looking at this, one can see why the trainers started copying the showy gait, but have gone too far.

Soring and other abusive training must stop. If the Tennessee Walking Horse world wishes to keep their big lick horses, another standard must be adoped...in my opinion.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Enjoy your youth. Here is some info for the older riders!

Here are some RIDING RULES for Old Horse Women and Men:

• We DO NOT need to show up with our hair combed, make up on and wearing a clean shirt.

• Moaning, groaning and complaining about aching muscles is perfectly acceptable, as is taking Motrin (or something stronger) prior to a ride.

• Helping someone on or off the horse does not mean the rider is an invalid. It only means the horse got taller overnight.

• No one will comment about how big someone's butt looks in a saddle.

• When a horse is acting up we will accept that the horse is just having a bad hair day and it is not the rider's fault.

• Mentioning it is too hot, too dry, too humid, too wet, too buggy, etc., is considered self expression, not whining.

• We will acknowledge that horses are very strange animals and sometimes for no reason at all we fall off of them. If this happens to any rider the other riders will ascertain that the person is okay and then not mention the incident to another living soul, especially husbands and significant others.

• We will acknowledge, without apology, that riding more than 6 hours increases our grumpy level far more than any ego benefits we may get from riding longer.

• Looking at my bouncing fat is NOT an acceptable way of determining if I have a good seat. My fat always bounces, thank you. It is cushion I carry in case I fall off.

• No OTD (Older Than Dirt) rider shall be asked "What's your discipline?", "Are you showing next weekend?" or "What level are you"? Answers like "I am totally undisciplined", "I showed up today; isn't that enough?", and "Actually I tend to list a bit to the left" will be acceptable should anyone younger than dirt ask those ridiculous questions.

by Joanne Friedmann, author of Horses in the Yard

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NEW MULE BOOK now available

"Mules, Mules and More Mules: The Adventures and Misadventures of a First Time Mule Owner" is now available. It is the story about a horsewoman of 40 years (me) and how she becomes enamored with mules after taking the Grand Canyon mule ride to the bottom and back up. Thinking that all mules are as safe as the Grand Canyon mules, Rose Miller starts buying mules to find that special "forever" longeared companion. To see how that all works out check out: http://www.rosemiller.net/  to purchase your autographed copy and read a synopsis.  Also available on Amazon

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 FOSH Sound Horse Conference



My friend Sara and I arrived in Louisville, KY in time to join the pre-conference workshops, and chose to attend the one for judges. Dr. Jim Heird, who officiated, was raised in TN, but currently is active in the Quarter Horse world as Chairman of the AQHA Show Committee. Because he knew all about TWH and the QH industry, his thoughts on judging were of interest. We have a saying that “Judges could put an end to the soring, if they would not place the sore ones.” He took exception to that saying that it isn’t the judges’ job, and a judge cannot tell for sure if one is sore. A lot of us took some exception to THAT, as a creepy crawly pleasure or big lick horse is sore. However, he had a valid point, and stated that QH are not to have their tails deadened,(so they cannot swish them while showing) but a judge cannot tell for sure one that carries his tail flat to his butt, is deadened. The gist to me was that all involved have to end the soring; it cannot all be placed on the judges. To be honest, fair and hopeful, I do believe in many cases the walking horse classes are better, and hopefully/perhaps it is harder to tell, and a judge could get in hot water if he were wrong. That brought the issue to the judges’ governing body. Would they stand behind a judges’ decision? My personal belief is that a judge can make a difference, and certainly could have stopped soring in early years of TWH showing when it began, but then as now, they would have all had to stand together in their opinions.

On Saturday another speaker who was a trainer and judge, Chris Messick, pointed out that the spectators are a big issue, and had us listen to a tape where a big lick horse was excused from this year’s celebration because the judges (GOOD FOR THEM) thought the horse was “bad image.” The crowd cheered loudly as the horse left the ring…and NOT because they were glad to see him go! So there are lots of folks responsible for soring and many will have to pull together to get rid of it. Spectators who are appalled at the big lick classes leave if they even go, so the ones left are the supporters.

A big deal for me personally at the Conference was the opportunity to gift several of my books: The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot (http://www.rosemiller.net/ )to some notable people. Senator Tydings and his quietly elegant and gracious companion Helen attended the Judging workshop. It was told to me that Senator Tydings was incensed when told that soring was continuing. “It is against the LAW!” he responded. (The law that he was responsible for getting passed was 40 years ago.) Ah yes….

After the Thursday evening work shop ended, I had my chance to give Helen one of my books, as she noticed me waiting while the Senator was talking to someone else. I thought I would simply give it to her and she would later give it to him, but she tugged on his arm and he turned to me! So, I was able to thank him personally for the 1970 Horse Protection Act he sponsored and got into law, to help both the wild horses and the Tennessee Walking Horses. I could tell the fact the horses were still being abused weighed heavily on him, as he asked me, “Do you think it is better?” I am no expert, but I told him I thought it is better, but certainly not gone. As the seminar went along, I know he got his answer because I saw him later and he commented, “It is better…” Friday morning, the first day of the actual Seminar, I again saw Helen. She gave me a big smile and said she hadn’t quite finished reading the book. Since it is a woman’s story, she might enjoy it more than Senator Tydings if he ever has time to read it. I found Helen a most gracious lady.

The next morning I grabbed the opportunity to give a book to Rick Lamb who was the Master of Ceremonies. Rick is a popular horse education and has earned national awards and fans from his radio and television appearances. I hope he has time to read it.

Of course, the “Main Event” for me was Madeleine Pickens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_A._Pickens (wife of T. Boone Pickens http://www.boonepickens.com/ ) who was the Friday luncheon keynote speaker. She was introduced by Senator Tydings and had been accompanied by T. Boone. She told about her effort to save the mustangs and give them a permanent home on their personal acreage. http://www.madeleinepickens.com/sanctuary-qa/ Please check out her site and note how you can also help the wild horses.

It was clear to see that Madeleine and T. Boone were very much a loving couple and supported the betterment of animals. During Katrina Hurricane she was instrumental in helping many deserted and desperate cats and dogs. They were very involved with ending horse slaughter and now are working on forbidding transportation of the horses to Mexico for slaughter. Yeah!! Now, of course, you know I sure wanted to give HER a copy of my book, but I was a little daunted by the idea of getting close enough to do it. I had asked Lori Northrup, FOSH President who put on the Sound Horse Conference, if it would be ok to give the books, and got the go ahead. During a quick break before Madeleine spoke, Lori’s husband Bill escorted me over to where Madeleine was speaking to Helen. Wow! I stood there for a couple of minutes and then Madeleine looked at me. I found my voice and said that I would like to give her my book which was my small effort to help horses, to thank her for all her work for the horses. She said, “There are no small efforts, everything counts.” Then she asked me if I had autographed it, and you can bet that I had! I would rather meet her than any movie star. (Well, maybe Harrison Ford…) By that time on Friday I had given 3 of my 4 books, and was content. I could have gone home then and been happy. But more good stuff was on the way.

We heard more from various trainers, veterinarians, farriers, and judges on the good and the bad still happening. One of the very bad is still the pressure shoeing. It is the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s front hooves in order to achieve an accentuated gait for the show ring. It is said to be on the rise since it is more difficult to detect. This is one of the awful things I encountered when I showed Praise Hallelujah in the late 90s. It is worse because unlike painting the ankle area with a caustic material, the pressure pain never lets up. I take my hat off to Tommy Hall and the International Horse Show (the one I used to love in the 90s, but quit because of all the sored pleasure horses). They had exhibitors sign a release that the show could pull off the shoes of any winner if they desired, to check for illegal pressure shoeing. Some left (good riddance). Events such as this give me hope that indeed something can be done to stop this abuse. It comes down to determined people.

Friday evening we all were treated to another good dinner buffet and horse demonstrations in the Louisville Equestrian Center. Suzanne De Laurentis demonstrated horses doing tricks at liberty. Sheryl Crow donated her trained horse, Lady C, to FOSH for demonstrations, and Lady C performed for us. http://www.twhbea.com/voice/Features/LAdyC.htm The horses stood on platforms, some small, some larger, side passed or turned around on them. I think I would love to do that (with a SMALL platform). Mary Ann Kennedy is a Grammy-nominated hit songwriter from Nashville who creates music that celebrates the horse. She sang some of her songs (Iive!) while we watched the horses. She was the other person I wanted to gift one of my books to, and the next day had my chance. She generously gave me 2 of her music CDs. http://www.maryannkennedy.com/ She is very concerned and involved with horse/animal rescue. Here is another link to see the evening performance (Compliments of Lori and FOSH!) http://www.nashvillenewzine.com

Other clinicians (Larry Whitesell, Diane Sept and Buddy Brewer) gave demonstrations of sound happy training practices insuring contented horses. Ivory Pal, a beautiful Palomino Tennessee Walking Horse stallion and Rafael Valle gave a riding exhibition.

The next day was Saturday and a lot of talk was about ZENYETTA!!!! We hoped we would get to see her final race on television (we were finished by then and did). We shared our Holiday Inn Hotel with many race fans that had flown into town to see her in person. She is a splendid lady. Now that she is retired, maybe she will present all her followers and adoring fans with a colt that might just win the Triple Crown…who know? Then maybe a movie will be made about this magnificent mare!

It was plain to see that the speakers were passionately against soring and other abuses and the fact that even when caught, seldom is there a significant punishment. Gary Lane, a former Kentucky State Police officer, author of Training the Gaited Horse, and clinician, stated adamantly that when he was an officer he never pulled over a speeder and gave him a blue ribbon! http://www.windsweptstables.net/Book-and-DVD-sales.html

The conclusion of the weekend’s events (next to Madeleine Pickens talk) was a high point of the Conference for me. It was: A Story of Change, and Winky Groover was the speaker. Anyone knowing Tennessee Walkers, trainers and shows would know of Winky (and his dad, Wink Groover). I was most interested to hear what this big lick trainer would have to say. Winky began his speech with the disclaimer that he was not a public speaker and was scared to death to be there. He said he didn’t know how his presence would be received, but wanted to come anyway. He said he was going to read his speech, and began by saying, “During my life I have done about everything wrong that one could as a trainer and a person. Yes, I have served suspensions for those acts. I am sorry for the hurt I have caused horses as a trainer and I’m sorry for the grief that I caused family members, customers, and friends as a person. I have a past that I am not proud of, but with the help of many, I made a decision to change my life and training techniques.”It was a good talk from the soul. When finished, he received a standing ovation for his honesty and yes, bravery, to come before a group of SOUND horse folks who detest the sore/abusive horse training, and stand and be counted as “one of us.”
Next time we had a break and I hustled over to him. “Can you really have a big lick show horse and not sore it?” I asked. He answered that one could indeed. It takes a really talented horse, but it can be done. Trying to make not so talented horses into world champions is part of the “why” of soring. Winky is president of the Walking Horse Trainers Association and before I left home I had received a phone call from another member asking me if I would donate a copy of The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot to their Annual Banquet and Convention auction in December. I had a good laugh. Did this person KNOW what my book was about???? I told Winky about the call and told him the book was about my life with Walking Horses, but it was against soring, as I had seen it as I showed my horses in the 90s. I mentioned that I had waited until ‘09 Celebration to publish my book so I could say “all is well, soring is on its way out,” but I couldn’t say that. I could say it was somewhat improved, however. Did he still want a copy? “Yes, Ma’m I would,” he replied. And would he like a personal copy? “Yes, Ma’m, I would.” Well ok then, off I went to get 2 autographed copies. I hope he indeed reads his. I had been told by several folks in the know that some trainers really would love to stop soring, or abusive training. He surely sounded like one of them.

The final speaker was Keith Dane, Director of Equine Protection for the Humane Society of the United States who oversees the domestic horse welfare programs for the nation’s largest animal welfare organization. He spoke about the future of the Walking Horse, and among other statements noted that the Saddlebred horses do not invoke the kind of intense dislike and disgust (although they are not without problems either) that the big lick Tennessee Walking Horses do. Perhaps smaller pads, no action devices (chains) around the ankles and a horse performing to a lesser degree would be a start. Films could be made of horses such as these and the trainers told to limit their gaits to this standard. It sounded like a hopeful idea to me at least.

I applaud Lori Northrup and FOSH for the Sound Horse Conferences. I missed the first one, went to the second in FL with friend Ann because I wanted the latest on the soring issue for the final pages of The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot. There I met Pat and Linda Parelli, and Dr. Robert Miller, the vet who has written so many horse books, most famous for the foal imprinting books. Dr. Miller also endorsed The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot and Mules, Mules and More Mules www.rosemiller.net which will shortly be available for purchase. Naturally, that makes Dr. Miller very special to me.

With this third Conference I can see the forward movement in the anti-soring debate. It is encouraging, but only a good beginning. Still only a few shows can be attended by the USDA inspectors, the show inspectors can be lax or good. They still do a better job if the USDA inspectors are in attendance. If very good, exhibitors with sored horses pack up and go to one that is more lax, or even “wildcat/outlaw” or open breed shows with no inspectors at all. Not all want to stop soring horses. You can help by writing your legislators asking them to support more money for USDA inspections. After all, IT IS against the law!

There were 2 other things that stood out in my mind. One of the speakers said there were 2 things wrong with the Conference. One was that it should have been presented in front of thousands instead of the group present. I totally agree, and with that in mind, please feel free to share these thoughts with your friends.

Also, Winky Groover mentioned that both animals and people learn best by positive re-enforcement. With that in mind, I certainly wish to applaud and thank Mr. Groover and any other trainers (of which I sincerely hope there are many) that are willing to change their training methods for the betterment of the Tennessee Walking Horse!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

USEF UNANIMOUSLY approves NWHA as National Affiliate Association

This is great news for those who want to show the Naturally Gaited Walking Horse. NWHA affiliated shows have zero tolerance for abuse and horses must pass tough inspections. I am a life time member of NWHA and donate a portion of all my book sales of "The Horse That Wouldn't Trot"  ( http://www.rosemiller.net/ )

USEF UNANIMOUSLY approves NWHA as National Affiliate Association

At the August 2, 2010 Board of Directors Meeting, the United States Equestrian Federation Inc. “unanimously” approved the National Walking Horse Association’s application for “National” affiliation membership.
“National” affiliation membership is just one “category” of the different affiliation memberships offered by the Federation where equestrian-related groups or individuals have formed a national association or organization (USEF Rule GR204.1.c). Note: This should not be confused with a USEF “Recognized” Association membership where the organization’s rules have been included in the Federation’s rule book and where that affiliate’s horse shows are governed by USEF.
The Federation’s approval of the National Walking Horse Association as a National Association creates a joint business relationship and international platform for NWHA to further their mission of promoting the sound, “Naturally Gaited” Walking Horse while providing a fair and level playing field for all exhibitors.
NWHA is proud to partner with USEF which leads the industry as the National Governing Body for Equestrian Sport. Both organizations exhibit only the highest integrity, passion, dedication, and commitment to excellence with the welfare of horse and rider above all else.
This high honor sets the stage for the many and exciting upcoming NWHA events. The National Walking Horse Association’s National Championship horse show (the largest flatshod competition in the country) will be held September 27 through October 2 at Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, TN. Simultaneously, NWHA will be the sole representative of the Tennessee Walking Horse at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky. Live horse demonstrations will take place Sept. 29 through Oct. 2 while our promotional booth will be on site throughout the entire length of the games. The NWHA Annual Membership Meeting and High Point Award Celebration will be held at the Cincinnati, Ohio Airport Marriott hotel November 12-14.

It is indeed an exciting time for the National Walking Horse Association! For more information, contact our office at (859) 252-6942 or visit our web site at www.nwha.com.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kentucky Horse Park and World Equestrian Games

The Gift Shop in the Kentucky Horse Park just ordered 12 copies of The Horse That Wouldn't Trot: A Life with Tennessee Walking Horses, Lessons Learned and Memories Shared, by Rose Miller (Me!)

They will be available during the World Equestrian Games. Several talented and trained "sound" (versus sored as is done to some show Tennessee Walking Horses) will give demonstrations. Some will be demonstrating the gait and some will show their versatility as they do other activities.

check out the book for yourself. http://www.rosemiller.net/

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Horse Quencher...make your horse drink!

Have you ever gone on a trail ride, horse show or worried about your horse not drinking? Here is a product that helps allieviate the problem! Horse Quencher:  I haven't personally used it, but am going to order some to have on hand. Their website tells it all. Available from: http://www.horsequencher.com/home.asp , Valley Vet Supply http://www.valleyvet.com/, Jeffers Vet Supply: http://www.jeffersequine.com/ssc/ . You just never know when you might need something like this.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dr. Bob Womack, a grand Tennessee Gentleman and Tennessee Walking Horse lover

you might enjoy this blog by Rhonda Lane. There are comments also of interest. I used Dr. Womack's book "Echo of Hoofbeats" for a lot of Tennessee Walking Horse history, and also history of soring in my book: "The Horse That Wouldn't Trot.

I talked to Dr. Womack while I was writing my book and got permission to use his information. Soring is still a very "sore subject" in the walking horse world, and so far efforts to STOP it have failed, but many keep working.  My memoir book is my effort to help by telling true stories, but not dwelling at nauseum about the subject.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Horse That Wouldn't Trot book review by Heidi Thomas

please check out the fabulous review (fab because it really shares what the book is about, as well as the fact she liked it!)

I met Heidi through the Equinest


where an interview with me about the book was posted. She is an editor and edited my second book: "Mules, Mules and More Mules: The Adventures and Misadventures of a First Time Mule Owner"

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/the-horse-that-wouldnt-trot/trackback.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Riding Helmets Can Save Your Head!

Ever since I had a bad fall from my horse in 2004, I have worn a riding helmet...except for one time, and wouldn't you know it, I had a fall from my horse that did hurt my head. I read that after a fall you should replace your helmet, but this following article shows why. PLEASE everyone, wear a riding helmet!

Oliver Townend's Champion helmet did its job by absorbing the force from his fall at Rolex.

After Oliver Townend’s fall at Rolex, his inflatable vest was widely attributed for saving him from more serious injury.
Now it seems like his helmet should be getting the credit for protecting him. According to an article on the U.K. website Horsemart:
Oliver sent the Champion Ventair helmet that he was wearing at Kentucky back to the Champion factory in Cardiff, so that their technical experts could evaluate the extent of the damage. While the internal damage was described as ‘extensive’, on the outside the only evidence of damage to the helmet is a slight scuff mark. When the hat was stripped apart at the Champion factory, however, the shock absorbing polystyrene liner of Oliver’s damaged helmet was shown to have been crushed at the front left side down to 11mm, while the pictures taken of the stripped helmet also clearly show a crack on the opposite side where the liner has been crushed to 17mm. A new undamaged liner is approx 21mm at these points, a difference of up to 10mm. Further examination of the helmet also showed a large indent in the rear left lower side of the liner, which technical experts believe was made by the impact with the log, with measurements showing the liner had been crushed at this point to 13mm, which compares again to the 21mm thickness of a new liner.

If you needed a reason why you should replace your helmet after a fall where you hit your head, this should convince you. Perhaps all top riders should have their helmets tested and let the results be published. It might convince a few skeptics that it’s better to have your helmet absorb the force of a fall than your head.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Cowboy Poetry

Jake, the rancher, went one day

To fix a distant fence.

The wind was cold and gusty

And the clouds rolled gray and dense.

As he pounded the last staples in

And gathered tools to go,

The temperature had fallen,

The wind and snow began to blow.

When he finally reached his pickup,

He felt a heavy heart.

From the sound of that ignition

He knew it wouldn't start.

So Jake did what most of us

Would do if we had been there.

He humbly bowed his balding head

And sent aloft a prayer.

As he turned the key for the last time,

He softly cursed his luck

They found him three days later,

Frozen stiff in that old truck.

Now Jake had been around in life

And done his share of roaming.

But when he saw Heaven, he was shocked --

It looked just like Wyoming !

Of all the saints in Heaven,

His favorite was St. Peter.

So they sat and talked a minute or two,

Or maybe it was three.

Nobody was keeping' score --

In Heaven, time is free.

'I've always heard,' Jake said to Pete,

'that God will answer prayer,

But one time I asked for help,

Well, he just plain wasn't there.'

'Does God answer prayers of some,

And ignore the prayers of others?

That don't seem exactly square --

I know all men are brothers.'

'Or does he randomly reply,

Without good rhyme or reason?

Maybe, it's the time of day,

The weather or the season.'

'Now I ain't trying to act smart,

It's just the way I feel.

And I was wondering', could you tell me --

What the heck's the deal?!'

Peter listened very patiently

And when Jake was done,

There were smiles of recognition,

And he said, 'So, you're the one!!'

That day your truck, it wouldn't start,

And you sent your prayer a flying,

You gave us all a real bad time,

With hundreds of us trying.'

'A thousand angels rushed,

To check the status of your file,

But you know, Jake, we hadn't heard

From you in quite a long while.'

'And though all prayers are answered,

And God ain't got no quota,

He didn't recognize your voice,

And started a truck in Minnesota '

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ESKENDEREYA retired from racing

The interesting thing to ME is that they did the best for the horse, and according to this article, they are trying to breed for stronger horses. Hopefully, the losses of Barbaro and Eight Belles has caused much more public awareness and also owner/trainer concern. Horse welfare and ending abuses is close to my heart, as I write about the Tennessee Walking Horses in my book: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot. http://www.rosemiller.net/

Zayat Stables' Eskendereya, runaway winner of the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and overwhelming early favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), has been retired due to a soft tissue injury.

Owner Ahmed Zayat will retain a significant ownership stake in partnership with Jess Jackson of Kendall Jackson Wine Estates and the owner of Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. Together, Zayat said, they "will work to develop the best progeny for American racing."

No decision has been made where Eskendereya will stand. Zayat said the decision to retire the colt was made after "exhausting all possible options."

The son of Giant's Causeway-Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew, whom Zayat purchased for $250,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, had been withdrawn from the Kentucky Derby six days before the race after a filling was discovered in his left front leg.

"We sent him to two clinics for diagnostics and I wanted to send him to one more to get a third opinion, because I wasn't willing to give up," Zayat said. "But with a soft tissue injury, we pretty much knew he was done. The horse was sound as could be and had been training extremely well at Palm Meadows. Everything was ideal until it started going downhill when he went to Churchill.

"I cannot tell you how heartbroken I am and how hard it was for my whole family every time they showed the Wood Memorial on TV. We were all tearing up watching such a breathtaking performance. I can't express my sadness, but there is also joy to have been so close to a horse like this and picking him out at the sale. I broke the news to my son Justin and he is totally crushed."

An early favorite for the Kentucky Derby, Eskendereya holds a special significance for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his first Derby this year.

"Eskendereya is as good a horse as I've ever brought to the Triple Crown races," Pletcher said. "Mr. Zayat and I investigated every possible avenue to get him back into racing form at the level that his fans expect, but after leaving no stone unturned, it became clear that this was the best decision to make for Eskendereya. His Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial victories were the most impressive prep races that we have ever had and we had tremendous confidence in his ability to excel at the distances of a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half. We look forward to this next stage of his career as a sire and creating the next generation of racing stars."

Zayat said Eskendereya helped him bond with trainer Todd Pletcher.

I feel Todd and I developed an emotional touch, with our baby, Eskendereya, the common bond," Zayat said. "He thought the world of him and he expressed his feelings about how he could be a Triple Crown winner. The affection he had for the horse and the dreams he had for him, it was like we had lost a family member, God forbid. It was very painful. I kept text messaging Todd to keep his chin up. He said he knew he had to focus on the Derby, but it wasn't going to be the same. He sent me a text after the Derby and said, 'Sorry, I couldn't win it for you.'

"The scary part is that the horse was getting better. He is a once-in-a-lifetime horse. Todd and I discussed every other possibility before concluding that retirement was the only option and the right decision to protect Eskendereya's health. This will probably take me a very long time to get over, but I am comforted by the fact that I will have the chance to see his offspring follow in his racing footsteps.

"We are excited about the future and are confident that he will continue to thrill the racing world by siring the best future progeny. Mr. Jackson is the perfect partner for such a beloved horse and I look forward to working with him as he has proven to be a true sportsman and a credit to our industry. He has tried to create the best breed and bring back the legacy of American racing. He has over 100 broodmares and I have 50, all top broodmares. Between us we are trying to bring stamina back in racing, not just speed. It's very important that I'm staying in, both emotionally and financially."

Jackson said: "I am extremely pleased to partner with Zayat Stables in ownership of this magnificent Thoroughbred. Eskendereya is best of class and his progeny will only add to his legacy and that of American racing."

Zayat pointed out that Eskendereya has run the fastest Beyer (109) as a 3-year-old, with a Ragozin speed figure of 2½ and a Thoro-graph number of negative 3. Eskendereya dominated the Fountain of Youth Stakes by 8½ lengths. No horse has won the Fountain of Youth by such a distance since Spectacular Bid's 8½ length win in 1979.

Eskendereya, which is Arabic for the city Alexandria, was bred in Kentucky by Sanford R. Robertson. He retires with four victories from six starts, with one second, for earnings of $725,700.
(This article first appeared on Bloodhorse.com.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New York City police horse honored


New York Police Horse Honored for Role in Foiling Bomb Plot

by: Tracy Gantz  THE HORSE

May 06 2010, Article # 16306

Miggs, the 15-year-old police horse who was one of the first responders to the failed bombing of New York's Times Square, on May 5 received carrots, apples, and cupcakes for his heroic efforts, according to the website dnainfo.com.
Miggs and his New York Police Department human partner, Officer Wayne Rhatigan, responded to street vendors about the suspicious Nissan Pathfinder parked in Times Square May 1. Rhatigan noticed smoke coming from the car, called for backup, and helped keep people out of the area.
New York City officials honored many for their efforts in the incident, including Rhatigan; his NYPD partner, Pam Duffy; NYPD's Bomb Squad; and their bomb-sniffing dogs.
"Usually horses are afraid and run where there's smoke," Rhatigan told dnainfo.com. "But Miggs did what he was supposed to do. He's proven to be a bomb-proof horse."
The horse has been part of the NYPD mounted unit for five years, and Rhatigan has partnered him the entire time. Miggs is named for a fallen Staten Island police officer

Friday, May 7, 2010

AMAZING DOG (but for horse lovers!)

This is amazing. Dressage lovers will especially appreciate this. Enjoy!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Facing Fear from Jane Savoie

I am sure as humans and especially as horse back riders, we have faced fear. The question is: how, and what to do. Here is a letter from a reader of Jane Savoie's email newsletter that I found especially helpful. I have had some rather bad falls in the last 3 years, and lost a lot of my early confidence. Yes, I am 70, and still think I am 50, but I had been surely acting like an old lady. What helped me a lot was discovering what I have heard called: the Jockey strap. I am not sure what it is exactly, but one day I discovered my "seat belt" for riding.

As my hand hung down by my side, it touched the latigo strap. I was riding with one hand..the only way this works. I had an epiphany: hang on to that latigo strap close to the saddle, and I had an anchor. When my horse spooked, I went with it, and got it stopped, and regrouped. It is that first splurge of energy that  unseats us in most cases. Try it, you might love it as I do. On my dressage saddle, I attached some soft latigo straps and had one for there also. It is a marvelous feeling to have that stability that I once has as a much younger and, yes, stronger person. For me it must hang where my arm naturally hangs, or it is uncomfortable and puts me off center. Putting a strap in front of the english saddles or using the saddle horn is not the same feeling.

Here is the letter from Jane's

Hey Jane,

I just listened to the last CD in your Freedom from Fear set. And I have finally figured it out! My biggest fear is the fear itself! I kept thinking that I "shouldn't" be afraid, reinforced by other people asking why I was afraid in that condescending tone. But the fear is not only normal, I should honor it, as you said. It is totally ok.

So when Mini Me comes and says "What if you fall off again? You'll never recover. You're gonna DIE!" I can thank it and consider what I'm going to do that day such as I am going to trot around the round-pen today. Hmm, am I capable of doing that? Yes. Is my horse ok to do that today? Yes. Ok thank you fear, good point but not justified, please go sit on the fence and I'll call you if I need you. Or if the answer is that no, as a matter of fact now that I think about it my horse is not ok to trot around the round pen today, I can say good point, thank you, we'll have this discussion again after another 20 minutes of ground-work.

What a relief! It takes so much energy to run from the fear and avoid it. How much better to turn and look it in the face and even dance with it and then send it to the sidelines.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tennessee Walking Horse soring update March 2010

More efforts to control the soring of Walking Horses. If you are interested in more information, check out my website: http://www.rosemiller.net/, and read my book: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot about my life with these wonderful horses.

New Soring Investigation Procedures Announced by USDA

by: Pat Raia

March 24 2010, Article # 16053

Exhibitors at gaited horse shows will be subject to additional Horse Protection Act (HPA) compliance procedures this season under new USDA inspection rules for Horse Industry Organizations.

The USDA requires organizations conducting horse shows to provide USDA-licensed inspectors to examine horses for signs of soring--the deliberate injury to a horse's legs to achieve an exaggerated gait.

The agency annually establishes new compliance procedures based on federal inspectors' observations during the previous year.

The new rules require horses found noncompliant with HPA regulations in pre-class inspection to be dismissed from the class and prohibited from participating in any remaining portion of the event. Previously, noncompliant horses were dismissed only from individual classes. Also, horses dismissed from the show arena must be brought directly to the inspection area for follow-up examination.

The new regulations also allow USDA inspectors to use digital imaging to determine if a horse is noncompliant.

Application of HPA compliance procedures has been contentious in recent years, especially at Tennessee Walking Horse shows. Stan Butt, executive director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association, did not respond to a request for comment

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rollkur/hyperflexion in dressage horses

Edition XII


Some time ago this youtube video of a horse being ridden aggressively using hyperflexion or "rollkur" was viewed by many, including myself. I think it would be wonderful if the national Tennessee Walking Association (TWHBEA) who is the recoginzed organization which registers the Walking Horses, would be brave enough to do this same thing: show a big lick horse that had been sored on YouTube to get the practice to stop. Of course they wouldn't. Two of the stores in Shelbyville which sell Walking Horse supplies won't even carry my book: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot. (my youtube book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tygLsb9qHaE   I discuss soring in this book, as well as sharing touching horse and horse/human relationship stories, and some history of the Walking Horse breed. I didn't bother to ask the third supply company in Shelbyville. My goal was to tell the story about soring these magnificient horses as well as entertain. The industry says it wants to clean up, but still hasn't. It still takes the government inspectors to appear on the show grounds to have "cleaner" horses, others pack up and leave.

anyway, here is what FEI has done about this abuse. Why cannot we do the same for the Walking Horses?

Welcome to this month's HorseConscious Newsletterhttp://www.horseconscious.com/guest/newsletter-xii (please see the whole newsletter if you wish, and you can subscribe to it. It is based in Europe)

Well, the big news story of the month has been the meeting of the FEI and their subsequent announcement on the subject of rollkur/hyperflexion.

If you've not heard the news, here is the official statement:

Following constructive debate at the FEI round-table conference at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne today (9 February), the consensus of the group was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable. The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horse's neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable. The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable.
The group unanimously agreed that any form of aggressive riding must be sanctioned. The FEI will establish a working group, headed by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman, to expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of this policy. The group agreed that no changes are required to the current FEI Rules.

The FEI Management is currently studying a range of additional measures, including the use of closed circuit television for warm-up arenas at selected shows
The group also emphasised that the main responsibility for the welfare of the horse rests with the rider. ABSOLUTELY! INCLUDING TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE RIDERS AND OWNERS

The FEI President HRH Princess Haya accepted a petition of 41,000 signatories against Rollkur presented by Dr Gerd Heuschman.
Let me paraphrase a section of that again: hyperflexion/Rollkur has been defined as flexion of the horse's neck achieved through aggressive force and is unacceptable.
It remains to be seen what guidelines they will give to the stewards and how exactly they intend to fully police this although the use of video cameras will certainly help.

  I think the real policing (and power) does not lie with officialdom at all but the people who love horses and follow the sport. It is their presence in the warm-up arena and elsewhere that will safeguard the health and safety of the horses in the future. Bold print mine! this is what the Walking Horse Industry needs also. It IS the people who can and will change/stop the soring problem also!!

The people have spoken and now know that they have a platform and a voice that perhaps they have never had before. I was actually interviewed earlier in the week for a forthcoming documentary on the subject and made the comment that with the internet and the power of social media, we are now seeing democracy in action. No longer can public figures, such as the riders, and those in authority, the FEI in this instance, consider themselves untouchable and beyond reproach.
Did you notice the number of signatories? 41,000!! Here are some other numbers to underline the public support for this campaign:
The original Blue Tongue video on YouTube (and wherever else it has been posted) has been seen nearly 200,000 times

The site I set up http://www.dressagedisgrace.com/ had over 23,000 visits and 500 comments in the 2 months following it's launch

So you do have a voice and through you, the horses now have too. If we can bring about this change, what else can we achieve? This month's newsletter features a couple of articles giving you the chance to show your support for the other issue that needs it - saving America's wild horses.

Before we leave the Rollkur debate for this issue, if you are interested in taking the measure even further, Nevzorov Haute Ecole have started a petition to ban equestrian sport altogether. Their statement said the following:
"Whether or not to take part is only up to you to decide. Some will simply not be able to close the window, others will look through and quickly forget it, meanwhile others still, terrified, will watch the development of affairs. We do not call for anyone. We just give you an opportunity, here and now, to become a part of history. But - it is up to you to decide."

You can read more and sign the petition at:



Monday, February 22, 2010

Inspirational horse story

In "The Horse That Wouldn't Trot," I write about Galahad, one of my stallions. I eventually sold his as a top notch trail gelding. Eventually he was purchased by one of the former boarders in my barn. This is her and Galahad's story of his later days. It gives us faith that our beloved animals go to a better place.

A fellow walking horse enthusiast who just began working for the company I also work for,  told me about the book you had written: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot. I ordered a copy and so enjoyed reading about the early years of the boarding barn and seeing the pictures of Classy, Xanadu, and the others. I will always remember those years as some of the most special of my life.
Because you are such a believer in the spiritual bonds between animals and humans, as I also am, I thought I would tell you about Galahad's final message to me.... I spent quite a few very pleasurable years trail riding him around our country roads and at Potato Creek and Tippecanoe. He had mellowed in his later years and was always a perfect gentlemen. Once I learned to quit trying so hard to make all my poor horses set up and look like your show horses, and just relax and go with the flow, my riding skills improved and we got along great. I also had a very spooky Walker and a Peruvian Paso who kept me on my toes and it was a matter of learn to ride them or endanger my life! My Peruvian was low man in the herd and had no self confidence and he decided that Galahad was going to be his friend and protector, whether he wanted to or not! Galahad was a good sport about it, and I would frequently find the Peruvian in Galahad's stall with him, standing behind him and away from the other two horses. I always left all their stall doors open so they could come in from the pasture when they felt like it, and these two were always together.

During the last two years, I had to quit riding him, his arthritis was making him too stiff and he started stumbling on his left front. He had an arthritic shoulder and eventually refused to back up. He would lean backwards and then drag the leg if asked to back. I regretfully quit riding him, as I never knew if he would fall with me or not. Uneven terrain was very difficult for him with the weight of a rider on his back. His supplements worked for awhile and he did fine in the field, frequently cantered with the herd and held his own until a year ago in January. I came home to find him laying in the field and unable to get up. He had fallen on the wrong side and was unable to use the shoulder to push himself up. I flipped him over on his good side, and he got right up. He seemed fine at first, and my vet could find no injuries,but then he started laying down more frequently and needed to be turned over to rise. After several calls to accomodating neighbors and an emergency call to the vet over a two week period, I began to face the inevitable. He seemed to be losing his spark, as well, and I knew it was time. On his last day, his head also became stuck down as it used to and he seemed unable to recover from it. I found him that way the next morning. This had only happened once before in all the years I had him. I made the call and my female vet, a true horse lover as well, came and we put him down on a beautiful quiet morning, with a light snow softly falling around us.

The truly wonderful end to this story is that I had a Christmas cactus that I had rescued from a male coworker about six or seven years ago and it resided on the sill of my kitchen window. The darn thing never had more than one or two blooms on it in all the years I had it, and I saw it a million times a day. When I walked in the house after the vet left, crying my eyes out, I looked at that cactus and it had exploded in blooms! There were so many that it was hard to see any greenery of the plant. If it had had that many buds on it, I would have noticed something like that immediately! I know that Galahad was telling me that I had made the right decision and he had been reborn into a beautiful life. Those blooms remained on that plant for a full month! This year, we were back to our same two blooms.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wild Horses vs open grazing range

This is from Richard Beal's blog, who incidently, did a super nice review of my book: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot http://www.rosemiller.net/ on one of his February blogs. Feb. 9 blog had an interesting viewpoint about the "war" between ranchers who want grazing rights on Federal land, and the wild horses which are being taken off in one way or another.


Retire Grazing Permits And End Range War

Posted: 09 Feb 2010 01:00 AM PST

Another view on the wild horse issue

By John Horning

Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians in Santa Fe

Momentum is building for the Department of the Interior to address one of the longest-standing conflicts on the open range of the American West: the one between free-roaming horse and burro advocates and Western ranchers and their sheep and cattle. We’d like to see this conflict resolved in a way that also advances protection of the West’s endangered wildlife like sage-grouse, native cutthroat trout and songbirds.

In your (Santa Fe New Mexican) Jan. 25 editorial, “New attention to wild horses,” you commented on efforts by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to begin to resolve this conflict, asserting that “there’s nothing quite like the sight of a rumbling herd of mustangs to stir an environmentalist’s passion for the beauty of the West.”

Not true. In fact, knowledgeable scientists and conservationists wince at the sight of horses and burros trampling and degrading Western ecosystems, just as we do at meandering herds of cattle and sheep, gangs of unruly off-road vehicle users, and hordes of avaricious energy developers tapping into our public domain.

Although beautiful animals, free-roaming horses and burros damage fragile streams and upland habitat, and steal forage from native wildlife, much like domestic cattle, sheep and goats. The only difference — and it’s a big one — is that millions of livestock are permitted to graze on public lands, compared to 37,000 free-roaming horses and burros.

Resolving conflicts between horses and burros and domestic livestock, while allowing native wildlife to flourish, will require removing either one or the other of these introduced animals from the landscape. The public has vociferously stated its preference for horses and burros on public lands. Why not offer to compensate ranchers to remove their domestic livestock instead?

Voluntary grazing-permit retirement is an increasingly popular way to resolve conflicts between domestic livestock and other values on public lands. Congress enacted legislation as recently as last year allowing ranchers to permanently retire their grazing permits on select public lands in Oregon and Idaho in exchange for compensation. Importantly, a recent survey of public land ranchers in Nevada — the state with the most free-roaming horses and burros — indicates that as many as half are interested in retiring their grazing permits for compensation.

Secretary Salazar is to be commended for confronting the management quagmire that is free-roaming horses and burros. The current program administered by the Bureau of Land Management has put more than 30,000 horses and burros in captivity, allowed for overgrazing on public lands, and costs $60 million per year. However, the solutions the secretary has considered to date would only perpetuate horse and burro conflicts on public lands — both between ranchers and the needs of native fish and wildlife. Voluntary grazing-permit retirement is an ecologically imperative, economically rational, and politically pragmatic way to solve this problem.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More Information on Equine Colic Relief

I contacted the seller and asked more information about usage of ECR and veterinarian treatments here is her reply:

This product works so much better than the oil method, there is no need to do it. I don’t think the oil would interfere with ECR as much as the pain killers would. Although banamine has been given with ECR and ECR still works. Some vet give a lot of muscle relaxer type pain killers and this stop the muscles from working (muscle relaxant), thus interfering with ECR. ECR gets the muscles in the intestines moving, therefore you would not want to give a lot of pain killers.

Apparently this can work as soon as 10 minutes to hear gut sounds and would definitely be something that could be used while the vet is coming, and sometimes they are not available right away. There is a You Tube video about this too if you google Equine Colic Relief that shows a horse with colic and having ECR administered to it.

I am excited about this product, but hope I never have to use it, even though I have ordered it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is information I just found in a magazine that I think every horse owner should know about. It is a product made from natural ingredients. According to the ad, EQUINE COLIC RELIEF/ECR  helps dissipate gas in the bowel, assists gut rehydration, balances electrolytes and softens any impacted or hardened fecal matter so the hors's gut can do what it does best. It can go with you anywhere, has a 13 year shelf life and is stable in all temperatures. It is a 4 oz liquid that is administered orally via syringe which is included towards the back of the horse"s mouth. It does not interfere with anything the vet might do, although vet treatments will slow the effect of the product. I personally have lost horses to colic, and would use the product and call the vet, however, what if you were out trail riding alone, or at a show? This could be a marvelous product to have on hand. Please check out the website for much more infomation and how to order. Equine Colic Relief    http://www.equinecolicreliefusa.com/Home_Page.html

Monday, February 1, 2010


Only Horse People.

- believe in an 11th commandment: inside leg to outside rein.

- know that all topical medications come in either indelible blue or neon yellow.

- think nothing of eating a sandwich while mucking out a stall.

- know why a thermometer has a yard of yarn attached to the end of it.

- are banned from Laundromats.

- fail to associate whips, chains and leather with sexual deviancy.

- can magically lower their voices five octaves to bellow at a pawing horse.

- will end relationships over their hobby.

- cluck to their cars to help them up hills.

- insure their horses for more than their cars.

- know (and care) more about their horse's nutrition than their own.

- have no problem speaking of semen, abscesses and colic surgery at the dinner table.

- have a smaller wardrobe than their horse.

- engage in a hobby that is more work than their day job.

- know that a good ride is better than Zoloft any day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I want to share a great review for my book: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot  ( http://www.rosemiller.net/ )by Connie Fenner who owns the Paper Horse Magazin http://www.thepaperhorse.com/  

"You don't have to have a Tennessee Walking Horse in your barn to become engrossed in The Horse That Wouldn't Trot, a memoir of one woman's journey to success from the show ring to the breeding shed.

Success usually comes with a price, and the author paid that price with sleepless nights, countless tears, and heart-wrenching decisions. When you operate a sizeable boarding, breeding and show barn, and you truly love the horses, it seems heartache is always lurking just around the corner, but likewise, the joy.

The narrative dares to discuss the breed's abusive practices to produce the controversial exaggeration of the Walking Horse's original smooth gait. Rose Miller bred her horses for excellence through natural talent and training, yet was forced to compete against those who used illegal practices.

The well-written narrative is both revealing and inspirational as the author struggles with her daughter's brave battle with breast caner, and the stillbirth of her first grandchild. She turns to prayer seeking answers and direction...for her family, her animals and herself.

The Horse That Wouldn't Trot is suited for horse lovers from 12 to 100, and is full of charming anecdotes of the author's horses and their personalities. You'll meet "Nugget," a successful show mare who wanted nothing more than to be a mother (yes, the author regularly uses an animal communicator), but could not seem to put healthy foals on the ground.

You'll follow her journey with "Praise Hallelujah," her nationally-known stallion, and soul mate, who was awesome in the show ring and produced many champions to carry his name. Learn why the author decided to geld him.

Rose Miller's message is this: follow where you are led, go through doors that open, and trust that even in adversity, you can be blessed."

Review also shared on Amazon

Autographed copy of the book is 14.95 plus 3.00 economy shipping. check website for details:  http://www.rosemiller.net/

Monday, January 18, 2010

Zenyetta to run again in 2010

by: Jack Shinar   http://www.bloodhorse.com/

After conferring with owners Jerry and Ann Moss, a decision has been made to run the champion mare Zenyatta in 2010 rather than breed her, trainer John Shirreffs said Jan. 16.

The undefeated Zenyatta, a finalist for 2009 Horse of the Year, had been working weekly at her Hollywood Park base since becoming the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic in electrifying style Nov. 7. She has posted three half-mile workouts at Hollywood recently.

"She's just been training so well since the Breeders' Cup. You know Mr. Moss is such a great sportsman and he really wanted to see her run again," an overjoyed Shirreffs said while confirming Zenyatta's un-retirement, first reported by Daily Racing Form.

Of a possible meeting with the other 2009 Horse of the Year finalist, Rachel Alexandra, Shirreffs responded, "Obviously, that's something everyone would like to see."

He said a plan for the 6-year-old Zenyatta, who has won all 14 of her lifetime starts and was the Eclipse Award-winning champion older mare of 2009, "has not been discussed." He said the schedule would likely be quite different than the one the strapping mare experienced during the prior two years, when she mostly stayed in California.

"Like last year, we would want to take it one race a time," Shirreffs said. "But she's a lot farther along right now than she was at this time last year. A lot of options are open to us."

The Mosses said Zenyatta was only keeping busy at Hollywood while they waited for the weather in Kentucky to improve before transferring her to be bred. But the temptation to bring her back to the track was apparently too much.

Jerry Moss told HRTV, "That's just it. Annie and I just watched her jog on the track this morning. She's so radiant. She seems to still be growing, if that's possible.

"She's a real star. We love to watch her run. So we said, What are we doing? Listen, let's run her."

Moss said Shirreffs was fully supportive of the decision.

The Dubai World Cup, worth $10 million, will be run on a synthetic track for the first time March 27. But Moss said he was unsure if that would be Zenyatta's next major goal.

"We're open to all sorts of races," he said. "She needs to get into a little bit better shape and John will let us know when she's ready to run."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Women and Their Horses: I Ride

Subject: I ride

I did not write this, but I wish I had.....

I Ride....

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women

who ride know... it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with


and empowerment; being able to do things you might once have considered

out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill


barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery,


a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out


getting down to the business of drinking a cold drink after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At


I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'a sickness.' It's a

nice sickness

I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my plastic model horses and


of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with


that meaning of 'the sickness.' It's not a sport. It's not a hobby. It's

what we

do and-- in some ways-- who we are as women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some nice


somewhere, unload, saddle up, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in


air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of

my horse.

My shoulders relax.

A smile spreads across my weathered face. I pull

my floppy hat down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse

leaves in the sand.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding


his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume

to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of his walk and the movement of the

leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand

softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement: I ride. I think of all I do because I

ride. Climb

rocky slopes, wade into a lily-pad lake, race a friend across the

hayfield... all

the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest.. Other days just the

act of

mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no


how tired or how much my sitter bones or any of my other acquired


injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel a lot better for doing so.

I think of the people, mostly women, that I've met. I consider how competent

they all are. Not a weenie in the bunch. We haul 40 ft. rigs, we back 'em


into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp, tend the horses.


cook and keep our camp neat. We understand and love our companion--, our

horses. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know

that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, bathe, wait and

doctor. Your

hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel. You do


to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a small girl, you

bounced a

little model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.

"My treasures do not chink or glitter, they gleam in the sun and neigh in

the night."