Posted by: newvocationsmi | April 20, 2009

Learning the Ropes!

The past few weeks have been very busy for me.  I was able to attend the “Celebration of the Horse” held at Adrian College in Adrian MI.  Gary Stevens, KY Derby winning Jockey gave a great speech on his life and on horse racing and Anna Ford, Program Director for New Vocations, (also my little sister!) spoke on her book, “Beyond The Track” and  featured some of the TB’s that have gone through our program.  There was also a wonderful lunch and silent auction held for New Vocations and the Adrian College Equestrian Team.  In Michigan style the weather was very cold, but having lunch with my sister and Gary Stevens was awesome! Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who worked hard to make this event a success!

I have a great volunteer and horsewoman, Maria, who rides and helps me with our Standardbreds.  She has been working really hard the past two weeks in teaching our two older STB we got in, the ropes of being a trail horse! I am proud to say both Willie & Maui have been on 4+ miles of road riding along our dirt roads, filled with dogs, kids, and cows and have mastered it very well.  In addition, they had a great time swimming in our flooded fields on a very warm friday.  Maria was able to get both geldings in for some fun in the water.  They both had past swimming experience so they were pretty game for getting in the water.  I took pics along with my very helpful daughter, who also enjoyed playing in the water.  After swimming, we worked both horses in the arena. Both are learning to canter and do patterns. Pics will be posted soon as these two guys are about ready to find their new homes.

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Posted by: newvocationsmi | April 1, 2009

Getting Busy!

This past weekend was very busy.  We placed two wonderful Standardbreds into their new homes.  Big Time Macho, a horse that raced 444 times left with his new family to become a “husband” horse! Macho raced more than any other Standardbred we have ever had.  He got a wonderful home!! We also placed DNA, a nine year old mare with a wonderful woman who will be her new trail partner.  She and her friends trail ride every weekend and she specifically wanted a gaited mare.  DNA fit the request well and I look forward to seeing her photos doing her new job! I am so thankful to the many people that open their hearts each week to the horses in our program!

After getting two horses placed, I then made room for our two new geldings who were arriving.  We have made a special exception for two “war horses” needing homes.  Normally we do not take horses over 19 years of age, but the circumstances were so that we needed to take these two special horses.  The owners are very large supporters of our program and  we sincerely thank them for their support.   So now our goal is to take Willie & Maui, who raced 314 times and 293 times, broke to ride and train them for their new careers.  Willie is 24 and Maui is 20 years old.  They both are in excellent condition and look and act like they are 12!  These guys are beautiful and we look forward to getting them out on the trails in the next few weeks.  Both have spent time swimming when younger, so they should love the water!  Being that these horses are older, we are putting extra training time on them to insure that they are ready and over qualified to be well broke trail horses.  They also are very suitable as driving horses due to their extensive careers and lovely driving manners!

This upcoming weekend, we will have our New Vocations booth at Equine Affiaire in Columbus, OH.  Please stop by if you get the chance to say hello and see what nice horses we have available for adoption.  We update our website daily and this time of year horses are coming and going at all facilities every day!

Posted by: newvocationsmi | March 23, 2009

Our Horses

This week and last week we have been getting our current selection of Standardbreds ridden and photographed. I have one new “war horse” which I will be posting today named “Big Time Macho”. He gets the record here as the horse with the most starts. He raced over 400 times!!! What a special horse and one deserving a great home!

We had a very successful weekend at the Michigan Horse Expo last weekend. It was so rewarding to hear the many stories of people so happy with their Standardbreds.  They make such nice riding horses for families and turn in to the type of horse that almost anyone can get along with and enjoy.

Both Dot and I have a very nice selection of Standardbreds that have all been ridden and most are ready to go down the trail. A few of them are also suitable for pleasure driving as well.  This is another very nice attribute of the Standardbred.  Majority have been driven at least for one year. This means they were driving at least 2-3 miles a day, 6 days a week,  12 months out of the year.  That type of training is really hard to put a price on!  Anyone at all interested in driving should consider a Standardbred!!

In April, Adrian College, in Adrian MI, will be hosting a fundraiser evernt for New Vocations and the Adrian Equestrian Team.  Gary Stevens, who is a world famous jockey, Kentucky Derby winner, and actor on the movie Sea Biscuit will be there speaking. In addition, Anna Ford, who is the Program Director for New Vocations and also just released her book, “Beyond The Track” will be speaking on what we do at New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program.  For more details on this event, please visit our website.

Posted by: newvocationsmi | March 11, 2009

Spring?

Thankfully today the sun is shining and the horses are enjoying the warmth.  For the past four days we have had flooding rains, so I know they are really enjoying being in the sun.  We have some really nice horses available for adoption and they can be seen on our site.  DNA, Stampetuous, and Shark The Star are all currently looking for that special someone.  You can learn more about them by visiting are website: www.horseadoption.com

Hopefully spring is thinking about coming soon! Yesterday, I was able to find a new home for a real “war horse”. Flamable Al raced over 300 times and earned $119,000. Al was retried in November at the age of 13. Standardbreds can only race through their 14th year and then must retire. Al is in exceptional condition and is a beautiful horse! His owner and trainer took great care of him and thought the world of him.  Al is going to be a trail horse and when spring arrives, will be hitting the trails with his new owner. Thanks to his many years at the track he doesn’t seem to mind anything! He jogged with an open bridle, which means he could see behind, to the side and in front while he is driving, and was not bothered by things like other horses, tractors, etc. This makes for an excellent riding horse!  I love getting horses in like Al as they have earned a wonderful retirement, yet have many years left to offer their new owners.

Posted by: newvocationsmi | March 10, 2009

For The Love of The Standardbred

I wanted to start a daily blog of the many things that happen at New Vocations in making sure our retired Standardbreds get into the right homes to start the next chapter of their lives.  Many of the horses I get come to me for a variety of reasons.  Just a few examples are:  they are no longer competitive as a racehorse, had a minor injury making them non competitive, or have  been used as a broodmare and the owner no longer wants to breed them and or they could not get in foal.  Currently with the economy and the state that racing is in in Michigan, some people  are leaving and going out east to race, for example,  where the purses are much larger.   Due to these many reasons, we are here to help theses horses find new homes where they can go on and continue to to be used and loved by their new owners.

 I have been around Standarbreds since before I could walk.  I have pictures of myself  as an infant, in the barn, at the track sitting in a  baby bouncer! The first horse I ever  sat on at age 1 was a Standardbred.  I am the daughter of a fifth generation Standardbred trainer and driver.  Racing horses has been my family’s  only income for a long, long time.  It is what my dad does every day, and my grandpa did every day, and his dad did, and so on.   These great horses are a huge part of me and I am very blessed to be able to be around them every day. I often think when I am feeding the horses in the morning that this is what my relatives were also doing over 100 years ago!  Just today I reminded myself of this as I was feeding in the cold rain and slopping through ankle deep mud, trying to catch one of my new horses. He, however, was having too much fun in the mud and was not wanting any part of me, so I let him stay out with his three new friends, who also are retired from racing. 

These horses still amaze me. It is always so fullfilling to see someone else get so much out of them in their new career as a riding horse or a pleasure driving horse.  What someone else has no use for is another person’s treasure.  Thankfully the horses have the talent, mind, grace and beauty to transition easily into their new vocation!

This weekend we will be at the Michigan Horse Expo promoting all of our racehorses. This large event is held at the MSU Pavillion in East Lansing,  Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Please stop by and say “Hello”!

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