The Wise and Powerful Athena


In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom and courage and so very much more! It is appropriate then that on my farm the daughter of Allez Tam is named Athena. Athena is the half-sister to Achilles and Rocko and Aiden, as all four of them have the same sire, an American Warmblood stallion who is the son of Song (who also lives where I do). Athena takes after her father in coat color, but not much else in terms of build and looks and personality.

Athena was born on June 14, making her birthday very close to my human’s day. Outside of me, I think Athena is my human’s favorite horse at the farm I live on. Athena may be the smallest of the four American Warmbloods who were born on the farm where I live, but don’t let that full you. That girl is in charge! When she was very young, she looked like a pure Thoroughbred baby (her mother Allez Tam who you’ve met is a pure TB) tearing up the field and being mostly independent from her mother early on. She had a few stumbles during wet days in the paddock, but she was always up and off to the races again in short order.

Athena does like to be the head of her herd, but she is not as pushy as some of the other mares on the farm. She and Sapphire were good friends when they were in the field together and tended to rule together, but when Code Red (Song’s daughter) came on the scene, things became strained between Athena and Code Red. Code Red is definitely more pushy. For the sake of all, the mare fields were split up. Nowadays, Athena lives with her dam, Allez Tam, North Kerry Lass and Satin. These four get along fairly well though Athena does like to be the first to get treats and food.

Athena is only about 15.2 hands high, but her potential should be unlimited in the right hands. She likes to work and mostly GO! She’s still working out things under saddle. She’s definitely a solid, well-built girl with a firecracker mind. I like Athena most days, just not when she’s getting too many of my mints or is eating in a stall next to me and making ugly faces because she thinks I might steal her food. Like me she does crib. She learned that from her dam, Allez Tam.

It’s good to be back introducing my friends on the farm to all of you!


Profiles in Horses – Achilles: No Weakness Here!

Achilles was born on the farm where I live very near to my human’s birthday the year I came to live here. His dam is Tessa a mixed-breed horse who is a real black beauty with a white star. His sire is a HUGE American Warmblood stallion known who is also the sire of Athena, Rocko and Aiden. Their sire’s dam, Song, also lives at the farm where I live. American Warmblood’s names start with the same letter as their sire. Rocko’s full name is Alacazam’s Rockin Whiz, so his too is an A name.

Achilles started out being a dark almost black color like his dam but then became almost a grey color before becoming once again a dark color like his dam. He has one blue eye that most likely came from Tessa’s lines, but neither his dam or sire have any blue eyes. He also has lots of “chrome” or white markings on his body. Achilles got his sire and damsire’s height as he is one big boy.

But, as is often the case, he is a gentle giant. Achilles is rather like a big puppy dog to horse and human alike. Thankfully, he does understand horse behavior, so he might follow you around, but he won’t get in your face. With humans, he is very easy going, which is good I hear because he is so big. Like any of us, he can have his moments where he doesn’t want to do something a human is asking and might get a little naughty, but still he is one of the best of us in getting along.

He is in training under saddle and great things are expected of him. I could really see him doing well in the dressage ring, as he’s so flashy the judges are sure to have their eye on him. It remains to be seen if he will take to the dressage ring or jumping or eventing or maybe something completely different. One thing is for certain though, Achilles has no weaknesses and is a fantastic horse who will go the extra mile to please.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Achilles. He’s one of the buddies I hang with during the “non-hay” months of the year in the big field. You can see more pictures of him at my Facebook Page ( in the other horses folder.


Profiles in Horses: The Princess

Princess Tonka Tu

Princess Tonka Tu may just go by Tonka, but she’s true royalty! Tonka is a mostly sweet buckskin pony who is respected by nearly all of the mares who she has been in a field with. Even the infamous Sapphire steps in line when Tonka is around.

Tonka is an old soul, not sure how old, who was not born at the farm I live at. She came here with a mission and a job – to teach young (and young at heart) humans to ride. That’s right, Tonka is a teacher. She teaches more than just riding though. She is sure to test humans when it comes to grooming and tack-up. She will do little things like trying to take a hoof away when a human is picking them or walking away when a human is putting the bridle on. She doesn’t do it to be mean, but she really is giving humans a solid foundation for learning to deal with any horse and to always be on their toes.

In the ring, Tonka might one day show a stubborn streak to teach humans how to make a horse go, and the next day, she might be full of vim and vigor, ready to go, just not always going where the human might want. It’s quite comical to watch this expert teacher do her thing because the human on her back can get frustrated. Eventually though, Tonka knows she has done her job when her human rider graduates on to a new mount.

Tonka may be getting up in years, but she is still as playful as she was when she was a much younger filly. She likes to flirt with the boys, even sometimes outdoing the much younger girls and tear up the field like she was a yearling.

She has had a few babies while at the farm, but now her days of motherhood are behind her. She continues to be a valuable teacher and all around great and wise elder to all of the horses who live here. She also never met a treat or feed she didn’t like. She does have to watch her diet a little because of her weight, no one wants to see her founder.

Mt Hope Horse Rescue 2012 FALL BULB FUNDRAISER!

Great place that needs help!


Dear friends:

Fall is nearly here and it is time to start thinking about planting your fall bulbs! Your order is greatly appreciated and all proceeds earned by my barn through your support will help to support Mt Hope Horse Rescue! The horses need your support now more than ever as we will be closing our doors on November 1st. So please share with your family and friends so that we can help the barn babees!

Though we still plan on closing on November 1st, until that time we still have bills that need paid and to care for the remaining horses until they find homes.

The fundraiser will start on Mon. Sept 17th and run through Oct. 15th. Our goal is to make at least $2000!! We made $1500 last year. We should be able to double that this year if everyone who has a Facebook/MySpace/Blog, etc posts this…

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Feeding a Superstar Equine: Whey Better than It Looks!

Most of you know that I am a special horse. In 2006, I was afflicted with a horrible string of colic episodes, lost a bunch of weight and was finally diagnosed as having a malabsorption disorder. My disorder is similar to what a human with Crohn’s might experience. I was only supposed to live 1-2 years, but here I am in 2012, alive and well! The big key to keeping me alive and happy has been the help of Dr. Stratton-Phelps of All Creatures in California . She is a very talented and wise nutritional vet. Through her guidance, we have created a diet that keeps me going. I wanted to let you know a little more about all the ingredients that go into my special diet.

First up is whey! It truly is way better than it looks and sounds! Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. After the milk has been curdled and strained, there is a liquid that is leftover. That can then be processed into a powder that is especially popular with bodybuilders, as it is high in protein. Sounds yummy, right?! No, I didn’t think so either and didn’t like the look of it on my food when I first started on my new diet. In fact, I pretty much said “No Whey!” When my food kept coming with it though, eventually I had no choice. Now, I eat my food right up, unless I’m not feeling well. I’ve even come to rather like the mix of the ingredients, including the whey.

Why whey? Well, for the same reason the bodybuilders love it–all that protein. A side effect of my disorder is that I will have periods where my protein levels can become low. That can lead to weight loss as my body tries to find other protein sources, usually muscle mass! I need extra and easy-to-digest sources of protein, and whey is the answer.

So it may not look appetizing, may smell a little funny and have a rather disgusting origin, but I am keeping whey as part of my diet!Image

Profiles in Horses: Trooper

ImageThis week’s horse is Trooper! Trooper is an Arab horse who is around twenty years of age. We don’t know as much about Trooper as we do about horses like Allez Tam and I. While Arab’s lineage can be traced back even farther than Thoroughbreds (!), Trooper came to his current owner without all the backstory. He certainly is a handsome grey these days with the regal Arab look and quick mind.

When Trooper came to his current owner, he was a chestnut like me. Looking at him now, that is so very hard to believe. He is truly a roan horse. I would have liked to have seen Trooper in all his chestnut glory. Nowadays, he’s mostly grey with a few flecks of red.

Trooper is an excellent riding horse, but requires a rider who can be in charge and who is unafraid of moving out. Like more hot-blooded horses, Trooper likes to go fast. He also is pretty patient, too, as he will allow the farm dogs to ride on his back! I’m not sure I’d ever want a dog on my back, but Trooper will let them up with or without a human rider and take them around as well.

Trooper loves his treats, and for him, he’s not too discriminating. He will eat mints, carrots, apples and anything sweet and yummy. He’s a smart guy, too, because Trooper knows some tricks. His favorite, and the one that always gets him treats, is his bow. Trooper will cross one front leg over the other and lower his head. You know he gets a ton of treats for that one! I’ve seen him do it to an unsuspecting human in the field, and it’s always a hit.

Trooper gets along with most everyone. I’ve only ever seen Grafton have a problem with him. Once, Grafton, Trooper and I were all in a paddock together. Grafton just would not leave poor Trooper alone. He often chased after Trooper and ripped up his blanket. I tried to be friends with Trooper, but Grafton would always chase us apart. Out in the field with all the geldings, there’s enough space and buddies that Grafton doesn’t go after him.

Trooper is truly a gentleman and a dashing horse! I think he’s a great friend to horses, humans, and I guess dogs, too!


Profiles in Horses : Meet Allez Tam

Hello, friends! It has been far too long since I put hoof to paper. I wanted to start a new series on my blog. Each week I will share a profile of a horse at the barn. I want to let you know more details about who lives at my barn. Maybe one day you’ll get to meet them, too, if you come meet me. I figured we should do ladies first, since I am a southern gentlman, so I’m starting with my dear friend, Allez Tam.

Allez Tam is a registered Thoroughbred just like me! She was born in Pennsylvania, where so many of my dear human friends live. Her birthday is April 7, 1993, so she is six years older than me. She is by Every Intent and out of Bold Tam Tam (by Lemigrant). Some of the famous names she features in her pedigree are Pleasant Colony, The Minstrel, Bold Ruler and Ribot, just to name a few! She gets asked quite often by those how know racehorses if she has Tim Tam, but she does not. Around the barn she is typically called “Allez”.

She started her racing career on October 19, 1997 in a maiden special weight at Mountaineer in West Virginia. She finished seventh that day. Although she would go on to race 32 times over her four year career and finish some game seconds and thirds, Allez would never break her maiden. She likely would have broke her maiden on June 28, 2000 in a maiden claiming at Penn National. Unfortunately, she would break bones in her leg that day, but showing her Thoroughbred heart and soul, she held on for third. She finished her career with six seconds and five thirds for total earnings of $14,915. Amazingly, she finished her career racing for the same couple who bred her: Mr. & Mrs. Edward L. Springer.

The break in her leg meant her racing career was finished. She went on to become a broodmare, first for Thoroughbreds. We don’t know for certain how many babies she had. Eventually, she was purchased by the owners of the farm I live at. They used her as a broodmare for Paints and Warmbloods. She had several babies. I only met two of them: Robin’s Painted Night AKA Colt (whose sire is Buddy who also lives on the farm) and Athena, who was her last baby, five years ago. Nowadays, Allez is used sometimes for beginnger riders. She still enjoys being first when on a ride. My human rode her on a trail ride one day. They were at the rear of the line, but once everyone broke into a nice trot, Allez took off at a canter for the lead! 🙂

Allez’s only real bad habit is that she cribs like me. It can make her lose weight, as she’ll sometimes spend more time cribbing than grazing. She loves peppermints, a friendly voice and love pats. She’s a beautiful dark bay/brown who usually looks more black than bay.


I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know one of the horses where I live a little more. 🙂

On the Outside Looking In – Gemologist

The Kentucky Derby 2012 is less than 2 months away and while Union Rags, El Padrino and Creative Cause are topping most lists for Kentucky Derby favorite, there is still time for other horses to make an impression. One such horse is Gemologist.

Unfortunately, as the Kentucky Derby graded stakes earnings rules go, Gemologist is one of the many horses on the outside looking in. Gemologist currently has $103,855 in graded earnings. Typically, it takes $200,000 to be assured a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. While he hastn’ made it in yet, there is still time for him to earn enough to get into the gate.

Gemologist has the classic pedigree to make him a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. By the amazing sire, Tiznow, only horse to win the Breeder’s Cup Classic twice and out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Crystal Shard. Although his dam was unraced, she features solid racehorses from quite a ways back – Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer. He sports a respectable 2.73 dosage index with a distribution falling heavily in the classic distance.

Gemologist has been flawless in his four career starts, three as a two year old and just one as a three year old. His debut saw him win by five lengths in a Maiden Special Weight. In his next start, an allowance at a mile and 1/16th, he again set the pace and won by 2 lengths. In his last start as a two year old, he made his stakes debut in the mile and 1/16th Jockeky Club Stakes. That field featured other well thought of foes in Optimizer and Secret Circle and Ever So Lucky. This time, Gemologist waited off the pace and dueled with Ever So Lucky for the win. The appearance of both  Currency Swap and Gemologist in a one mile Allowance race at Gulfstream on March 16, brought excitement to what would have been just another race on the card. In his three year old debut, Gemologist did not disappoint. He handled the field and the talented Currency Swap en route to a seven length win. Again, he returned to the role of the pacesetter and wired the field. Impressive!

Impressive, but will he be ready for the Kentucky Derby field should he make it in? Pletcher states his next start will likely be the Wood and then the Kentucky Derby. While it is possible for a lightly raced horse to come away with the roses, they usually have been tested much more. The Kentucky Derby with its large field and super-pressure requires a horse who has been in a “fight” or two and has not backed now. It will be interesting to see what kind of field shows up for the Wood if that is indeed where Gemologist next goes and see how he handles such a field. For now, he’s on the outside looking in, but he’s certainly an exciting prospect to watch.

I’m turning for home and will talk with you later,

Blue Blue Sea

Can I get an ALLOWANCE?

If you read my previous article Claim Is the Name of the Game (, you have an understanding of what most races being run each day in the USA. Allowance races are another common race that you will see at tracks each day in the USA.

I never ran in an allowance race during my career, but famous Rapid Redux ( has made his streak and name from running in a particular kind of allowance race, so I’ll refer to some of his races to give you an idea.

The first thing to understand is that there is no ability to make a claim in an allowance race, so none of the horses in an allowance are going to be for sale. In an allowance race, the racing secretary will set conditions that determine how much weight each horse will carry in the race. The theory behind assigning weights is to level the playing field – better horses carry more weight to give the other horses a better chance at winning, so theier is better competition. Allowances are based on things like the age of the horses, the gender of the horses, how many races the horses have won and when those wins came, among others.

When you look at the racing form, it will state that the race is an Allowance and you might see something like this:

Three Year Olds    119 lbs.  Older    124 lbs.  Non-winners of a race other than Claiming since March 16   2 lbs.

These are the allowances – how much weight a horse can subtract from the standard depending on age. In this example, all 3 year olds would start at 119 lbs and those over 3 would start at 124 lbs. If a 3 year old entered that had won a claiming race since March 16, would only need to carry 117 lbs. If a 5 year old was entered who had won a Stakes race, the horse would not get any allowance and would carry the full 124 lbs.

Now, a special Allowance race is a Starter Allowance, and this is where Rapid Redux found his niche. Generally, you will find the best of the Claiming runners in a Starter Allowance. To enter a starter allowance, a horse must have run at a certain claiming level according to the conditions of the race during a specified time period.

So, there you have it, Allowance races. Hope you will find reading the form easier now that you understand these two races better.

Allow yourself some time, and you’ll be a pro in no time. 🙂

Blue Blue Sea

Banana-mine–uh what was that???

I was sick today, and I mentioned “banamine”. I know that many of my human friends own horses or have owned or worked with horses in the past and are familiar with just what banamine is. But there may be some of my human friends who are not so familiar and may wonder just what the heck I am talking about.

Banamine is a trade name used in the United States for the drug – flunixin. The drug is in the class of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. The first part is pretty easy to understand, flunixin is not a steroid. The second part is pretty easy to read, too. Flunixin works against inflammation. Usually, flunixin is used for colic, muscle pain, to lower fevers and for certain joint diseases.

Flunixin can be adminstered via a needle in the muscle or the vein or as a paste in the mouth. Generally the quickest way to have the horse receive the benefits of the drug is via an injection in the vein. That is usually how I receive flunixin when having a colic episode. I will start to get relief within about 15-20 minutes if it will work for my pain. If I don’t have relife by then, banamine alone will usually not work for my cases.

So there you have it. It’s a funny name, but it’s a medicine that has proven very useful for me, since “Bute” the other typical painkiller is not one that I can use, as it worsens my GI issues or causes GI issues if I take it for something else.

Blue Blue Sea


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