Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Snappy's Final Pics - Area I SHT Champs

First, let me say thank you for all of your support and love.  It is not easy to make the decision to end a horse's life, and even though I know it was the right thing to do, it still hurts so much.  Snappy was also well loved in the Maine harness racing community, so her death affected many others beyond me.  So many people remember Snappy as the "little mare with the big heart" because she was a scrappy and gutsy mare on the track.  Snappy's little Facebook page is full of kind words and memories from those folks.

I messaged Snappy's former harness trainer's wife the morning it happened, because I wanted them both to know directly from me.  I also messaged her previous owner's wife, Cindy, who I have never met, and she has been so kind.  She's not a horse person, but she shared with me that she is the one who named Snap Dancer when she was born.  Her husband, Bruce, who gave Snappy to me, is now suffering from dementia/Alzheimer's from what I understand, so I cannot reach out to him directly.  I sent her several photos of Snappy from her life with me, which she showed her husband and she said while he cannot speak any longer, the photos did hold his attention.  I hope they all know how much I loved this old mare.  

I am very fortunate to have had my friend Rachel with me at Championships, as I knew I would want photos of our last event together.  She did a great job capturing each phase.  This was also one of the only events I have done with Snappy that had a professional photographer, and so of course, I am a sucker and bought all of the pics she took!  It was worth it!  All the pics with the Spotted Vision watermark in the corner are used here with purchase, while all other pics are by Rachel. 

You can read about our final event here and my tribute to this great mare here.

Our comment here on the free walk was "not enough stretch".  Welp, that's fine, but for Intro Freaking A, I think it looks acceptable!

You can see she was sore. :-(

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth Review and Giveaway

Olivia at DIY Horsemanship is holding a cool contest to win a new girth from Total Saddle Fit!  Click here to read her blog post about it.  You might also consider following along on her adventures, as her blog is fun and well written!  :-)

Photo courtesy of Olivia's blog

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Snap Dancer ~ May 23, 2000 - August 25, 2017

"You were a great champion. When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened, and mere mortals parted. Parted the way to victory, where you'll meet me in the winner's circle, where I'll put a blanket of flowers on your back."

A recipe for happiness and heartache: Take one cranky, plain brown mare who needs a new career and putter around with her, teach her dressage basics and how to jump, stay calm despite her occasional FREQUENT hissy fits and tantrums.  Bond with her and watch her sweet personality blossom as she accepts her new career, set a few goals for her first year of showing in 2016, and then easily meet those goals.  Continue to work hard and set a new goal of qualifying for Area 1 Schooling Championships in 2017.  Qualify handily by winning five straight events (we only needed to win one!), compete in the championships, and conquer the day!

Sadly, there can also be intense heartache with horses.  As I wrote about here, Area I Championships was Snap Dancer’s final event, as she was no longer sound enough for more jumping and riding.   She was "ok" for the day at Championships, but I could tell by the end that she was sore. Her hocks, stifles, and pelvis joints were worn out, perhaps from her many years of racing (160 starts and 38 wins!), but also because her hind end conformation exacerbated the issue.  

In the end, no amount of supplements, injections, or chiropractic work helped enough, though I really thought we could get her comfortable to just retire as a pasture pet. It's been a super rough week after championships, yet she was incredibly stoic and sweet. I could see on Friday morning it was time to let her go. Her body was failing despite large amounts of medication (bute, banamine, previcox....amounts that were NOT sustainable long term and were not showing any impact on her pain level at all). :-(

All I can think about is I never got a chance to fox hunt her, I never got a chance to do a Training level or higher dressage test, I never got a chance to gallop a BN level cross country course, I never took her to an overnight show, I never this, I never that.  She’s only seventeen years old and she’s not supposed to be gone yet!

But that is selfish of me.  She’s already given me so much!  She got a chance to have a soft place to land when she needed it years ago.  She allowed me to teach her how to go under saddle, and she helped me earn my USTA Racing Under Saddle license and we even won our first race.  She was able to shine in a new career (although briefly) and was a safe and reliable mount for me.  She gave me two fun filled summers of low level eventing/dressage memories, ribbons, and championships.  I'd like to think I gave her a good last five years of her life while I owned her and let her go gently when she told me it was time.  She was one of the most generous horses I have ever met, so full of try and she gave me what she could.  

This mare could do no wrong in my eyes and will forever have a special place in my heart for coming into my life when she did in 2012, becoming mine a few months later, and teaching me many things throughout our time together. She may not have been the best racehorse or show horse of all time, but she had the most heart and she was the best in my mind (and to many others who loved her before I did).  I loved this mare fiercely while she was in my care and always will. My heart is shattered and that empty stall is almost too much to bear.

"A very sad merit badge earned by a true horsewoman is the one where she puts the horse before herself.  The most gracious final reward any horse can hope for, and lucky are those horses who receive it."

"To place your horse's need to leave her failing body above your need to keep her with you, that is the greatest and purest love."  - C.Garrett

I am just going to add all of my most favorite photos of my girl. I know many have already been posted on this blog, but I can't help it. I just keep looking at them all, missing her so much. Go hug your horse(s). They give us so much and take a huge piece of our hearts when they leave.

Our 2017 ribbons - her last photo :-(

Winning at Green Acres 2017

Stadium at Esprit Equestrian Center 2-phase 2016

That time we were famous hahaha!

Summer 2016

RUS race 2013 - second place
RUS race 2012 - winning!

Back to the Track at Scarborough Downs 2013

She was the BEST horse to drive!  This was the summer of 2013 and that is my grandfather with us

Summer 2013

Riding on Old Orchard Beach 2013 or 2014?

Snappy in her heyday as a racehorse with her trainer

Practicing a training mile at Cumberland Fairground in 2012

The first time I ever met Snappy and sat on her back 2012

RUS race 2012

Summer 2014 
Our first dressage show and first dressage ribbon 2016

Winning our first 2-phase at Green Acres 2016
Summer 2016