Evaluating and getting to know Saint Croix and Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy, Jovi and Saint Croix

VG Midnight Cowboy, VG Ben Jovi and Saint Croix

Midnight Cowboy and Saint Croix

VG Midnight Cowboy and Saint Croix. These two have really bonded.

VG Ben Jovi

Jovi hanging out on the trailer showing the other two how it is done.

VG Midnight Cowboy

Cowboy didn’t care that he was the last horse left out and went right back to eating. He is a foodie like his older cousin Jovi.

I’ve been getting to know the two new horses and evaluate what they know and how they react. They are both settling in and getting more comfortable in their surroundings. Saint Croix can sometimes be hard to catch but once you do he is easy to handle. He is getting better each day and is overall quite friendly.

Last night they were turned out with Jovi and all three horses got along and did well together. Jovi has let them know that the middle stall in the barn is his and they are being totally respectful of that. There doesn’t seem to be anybody trying to be dominate and Saint Croix and Cowboy are both happy to share their hay and mashes, often eating nose to nose.

I have been managing to get fly masks on them each day. I haven’t yet tried to fly spray them but they have let me wipe some spray on them with a cloth.

Today I put Jovi and Cowboy on the hi-ties on the trailer and tied Saint Croix up to the hitching post with a tie blocker ring. So basically none of the horse are hard tied as the velcro on the hi-ties will come undone if a horse pulls hard enough. Cowboy did test it once but didn’t pull hard and quickly went forward and realized his limitation. Eventually once I know they both lead and tie well with halters we’ll begin training them to go in neck collars.

I think it always helps a new horse learn by watching the older more experienced horses. Jovi is easy because if you put food in front of him he is going to eat and not be bothered by anything.

Each of the new horses did spend a little time learning the limitations of being tied. They also both are quite interested in eating so dove into their hay bags that I had full of hay for them.

The next thing was to pick up each of their feet and pick them out then see how they would do if I used a rasp. I have previously been picking up a foot here and there, and also have tried on boots to see what size they would take. Both horses were great about letting me pick out their feet and Saint Croix even let me nip out a bit of overhanging frog on a hind foot. They both let me rasp each of their feet for a minute and that went well. I don’t want to ask for too much yet so we’ll just do some repetition each day with handling and getting them comfortable.

After that session I put each horse away one at a time to see how the others would react. Cowboy was the last one and he just put his head in the hay bag and kept eating, he wasn’t bothered at all.

For now I’m not going to leave anybody tied up unless I am out there with them.

Horse sun protection

A few years ago I bought a tub of zinc oxide powde and have been using it ever since. I think this tub will last me a lifetime so ultimately the cost per application is very small. Of course, the price has nearly doubled, but what hasn’t?

The nice thing with the powder is that it can easily be mixed with something like vaseline so that it can be applied like Desitin. I have been using it with a beauty brush and tapping it on Jovi’s nose where his skin is pink under his white blaze. Now that I have two chestnuts they are both getting a daily beauty treatment when it is sunny!

I will also dab some zinc oxide powder on their pasterns if I see any pink skin. This really does work to keep the sun from cause sensitivity and so far (knocking on wood) Jovi has not had any sign of scratches in the two years that I have owned him.

I also use fly masks with the longer nose covers on them to help provide more sun protection. Jovi is used to his daily beauty treatments. Today was the first day that Cowboy had his nose powder puffed. He wasn’t quite sure about it but handled it well and I am sure in another week it will be old hat for him.

The tub that I am using is from Earthborn and it is a non-nao particle powder. It is currently on sale for 20% off at Amazon.

Introductions: Saint Croix

I had a hard time deciding between these two endurance prospects – VG Midnight Cowboy, and Saint Croix. So I got them both! Let me tell you guys about Saint Croix.

Saint Croix is an 8 year old grey gelding that is line bred Raffles that I was told about from my friend Robbi Pruitt. Robbi is a breeder in Oregon of CMK horses and had one of the mares in SC’s pedigree.

Saint Croix has not had much done with him because he was so small (around 14 hh), which was fine with me because I was looking for a smaller horse. He was allowed to grow up on a lot of acreage turned out. His feet are a little long but are overall in really great shape. I think he is probably a little under 14 hh but has more than enough spunk and athleticism that I think he’ll work well for me.

Once I saw his pedigree I knew I would like him as he has so many horses in his pedigree that were also in my horse Granite Chief+/’s pedigree. I love both the CMK and the Spanish (and also has some of the same Polish lines that Bo had), it is a fantastic combination! This horse reminds me of Chief in so many ways it is uncanny. Something inside was telling me that I shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to get this horse, even though I knew that VG Midnight Cowboy was my dream horse. Now I had two to choose from!

I imagine that I’ll come up with a barn name for Saint Croix once I get to know him. I’ve already been able to put him and Cowboy together and they are getting along famously. They became bonded during their long trailer here from Oregon yesterday.

I’ll add some video at the bottom of this post. I’ll get more once I can get these new boys turned out into a larger area. For now they are still settling in. Looks like I am going to have my hands full for awhile.

Introductions: VG Midnight Cowboy

This is my new horse VG Midnight Cowboy. He just turned 4 in June 2023 and is from Van Gilder Arabians. I’m fortunate enough now to have two “VG” horses. Cowboy has three white socks while Jovi has four so even my husband can tell them apart!

Cowboy will still grow for another 4 years, at least through his 7th year. I expect that he will fully mature in the 14.2 to .3 range. I think that his name suits him quite well. He was born in the middle of the night and he arrived here last night in the middle of the night. I wanted a clean slate to train and start myself for my next endurance horse prospect. I love these CMK bred horses they have such wonderful dispositions and are so athletic. They are truly special and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find them as there are not as many being bred these days.

I’m really impressed with how calm and laid back this horse is. So far he has been taking everything in stride and staying totally cool and collected. He has been watching the llams with curiosity though they are timid and still haven’t come over to the fenceline. He is quite the foodie, and has a lovely floating trot.

I’m looking forward to getting to know Cowboy and start working with him. I will keep this album on FB updated with photos and videos so we can chronicle our progress:  VG Midnight Cowboy.

Introductions: VG Ben Jovi

VG Ben Jovi
I’ve had Jovi for two years now.He is a nice little 14.2 hh Arabian gelding. We got off to a slow start as he grew a huge sarcoid in his groin soon after I got him. It took a few months of treatment and then a few more months to completely heal and then we started to work slowly.

I worked through a lot of training issues with Jovi – for those that have followed me already know some of the ups and downs. One of the bigger issues was trailer loading. He would load great at home, but then would refuse to go in the trailer to come home when we trailered out. It was so frustrating. I know many thought we just had to force or beat him to go in the trailer but I knew that wasn’t working, and that the end result would be having him get worse and worse each time, and a completely shut down horse.

I was fortuantely given some advice from a very experienced endurance rider that worked beautifully on how to get him in the trailer. Jovi has been loading and unloading like a pro for the last 9 months with just a neck collar.

For awhile I felt like Jovi was difficult because he was stubborn, or holding a grudge due to the sarcoid treatments. I nearly gave up a couple of times. I came to learn that he really wasn’t being stubborn at all but rather he was just shut down. I had never worked with a horse before that was like this, refusing to budge, not giving to pressure and not willing to even try. I read a lot of books, watched a lot of videos and tried to educate myself on ways to work through this.

The most important lesson that I have learned from Jovi is that we were going to be doing this on his schedule, not mine. I thougth my other horses had taught me patience. It just goes to show that you never stop learning with horses. Jovi has taught me so much and is such a joy to work with. He definitely hasn’t held a grudge, if that is such a thing as he wants to be my partner and tries really hard. He also isn’t stubborn, he just needs to figure things out HIS way, and needs a patient and calm hand.

Now I feel comfortable trailering Jovi anywhere by myself, riding him and then loading up to come home. He is now happily going along well in a braided noseband hackamore or a rope halter. I have taken him on one AERC 25 mile ride along with several other rides from other groups like NEDA and Cal/Neva. We have done the Nevada Day and Sparks Christmas parades, a trail trials and are currently training to do a Ride and Tie next month. I also feel that he is ready to do a 50 so will be looking forward to that.

Jovi is of CMK breeding, here is a link to his pedigree. I’ll post some additional photos and video of him below. In the coming months I’ll go over some of the training issues that we have had, and how we worked through them.

endurance horse training

Starting over with new horses

I’m going to be posting about how the training is going with my new endurance horses. What is working, what isn’t. This blog will be my way of keeping a journal of our progress. In the coming week I’ll do introductions of my horses and where they are starting from. I am looking forward to all of the future adventures and experiences. Starting over with new horses isn’t easy after riding Granite Chief+/ and Pro Bono D (“Bo”) for so long.