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Thoroughbred | OTTB Success Stories | Ex Race horses

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Heather's Best was purchased in September 2007  by Jennifer DeGier of New Jersey.

Heather's Best was purchased in September 2007 by Jennifer DeGier of New Jersey.

 

OTTB - Heather's Best score of 62 in a dressage show. July 22, 2008

OTTB Heather's Best score of 62 in a dressage show. July 22, 2008

 

OTTB and former steeplechaser - Heather's Best goes to his first combined training event and finished second out of 26 horses!

Heather's Best goes to his first combined training event and finished second out of 26 horses!

 

 

 

Heather's Best and Elizabeth take a large coop while cross country schooling.

Heather's Best and Elizabeth take a large coop while cross country schooling back in November 2005

 

 

 

 

Heather's Best was a horse For Sale at Bits & Bytes Farm.

Click here to see photos of Heather's Best when he was a horse For Sale at Bits & Bytes Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTTB Heather's Best is training in dressage and jumping.

Heather's Best is training in dressage and jumping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth leads her special boy Heather's Best to the van taking him to his new mom in New Jersey. September 28, 2007

Elizabeth leads her special boy Heather's Best to the van taking him to his new mom in New Jersey. September 28, 2007

Elizabeth leads her special boy Heather's Best to the van taking him to his new mom in New Jersey. September 28, 2007

Heather's Best leaves on a large van for New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bits & Bytes Farm Success Stories

Our horses > success stories > Heather's Best

Heather's Best

OTTB - Heather's Best score of 62 in a dressage show. July 22, 2008

September 2, 2008 - Heather wins another ribbon!

Hi Everyone!
I took Heather to a 3 phase event on Sunday, we did beginner novice and ended up getting 5th place! It was his 4th show, and only his second event, and I am so thrilled that he got a ribbon!!

The day started out a little rough, I arrived early, parked the trailer and went to go walk the cross country course. Well, when I got back 30 minutes or so later, Heather was so upset! I felt so bad because evidently he got very worried when I left him. Even though there were plenty of other horses and trailers parked all around us, he had a major panic attack and was calling out and sweating terribly when I got back. I've never seen him so upset. So, instead of relaxing, reviewing my dressage test, eating, etc, I ended up hand walking Heather around the fields for 45 minutes, talking to him and trying to convince him that everything was going to be fine.

He finally calmed down and relaxed enough to graze a little bit and look everything over. Once I got him tacked up and sat on him he was much better, but still not convinced that he was ok. So of course Dressage was a bit tense to say the least-there were so many distractions, and Heather was still worried. There was no warm up arena, so horses and riders were just going all over the place next to the dressage arena, and the jumping warm up was in view also, so there was just so much for him to look at! Luckily we made it through the test and had an hour to relax before xc.

By the time we got onto the course he was much more settled and I had the time of my life! Heather flew around the course as if he had been doing it for years. He was perfect! He never gave anything a second look-just galloped and jumped everything like a pro. Half way through, the course went into the woods with a downhill brush jump and along a shady trail with a trakhener. I thought that area might be a little spooky, and I was a little spooked by the trakhener since we had never schooled one. Well, Heather is just the bravest horse! He galloped straight into the woods and we were just flying down the trail. He was completely focused and literally soared over the jumps! He loved the open gallops, but never got too strong,and came right back whenever I asked. When we galloped over the last jump I think I was laughing and crying at the same time because I was so incredibly proud of my horse. I was giving him the biggest hug as we crossed the finish!!

Things just got better from there, with a perfect stadium round (including his first flying change!) I have the stadium jumping on video, so I will get that to you soon, and I'm hoping the photographer got some good shots of cross country. I'm waiting for his e mail. So, we got a nice 5th place ribbon (out of 31 competitors) for our first horse trials together, and that means that Heather has gotten a ribbon at every show he has done so far! But most importantly, we are having a great time, and have formed an amazing bond-I love this horse so much, and whenever we are out schooling, people always tell me how much my horse loves me-which I think is amazing.

I feel so blessed that I found my perfect partner, and I can't wait until our next competition! I'll send photos soon!

Take care,
Jennifer

August 17, 2008

Hi Everyone!
Just a quick update...Heather and I did another dressage show today, it was at a very posh dressage barn. We got a ribbon though! 6th place, and I was so proud of Heather because he handled himself like a star. I have to say though that I thought we deserved a better score, since a couple of the horses in our class went off course and the 3rd place winner wouldn't even go forward to the judges stand-he freaked! But then I realized that it was a "warmblood only" type of barn, and I hate to say it, but it seemed as if the only way to get a good score was to be on a $150,000 imported Dutch, Danish or German horse ha ha!

Anyway, I thought Heather went really well, and he was the ONLY horse in my class that didn't look at anything, didn't spook at the cat walking around, and trotted right up towards the judges stand like it wasn't even there. He cocked a leg and quietly watched the other horses spook and go off course during their tests, and then he marched right in like he was the king of dressage. So I am really proud of him!! I'll send more pics soon. Next up is a 3 phase event on the 31st-I'll keep you posted!

Take care,
Jennifer

July 24, 2008

Elizabeth,
We had a blast schooling xc...Heather has really settled when we go schooling and doesn't mind if the other horses gallop off to to do a course. He just stands quietly and watches now. He used to get anxious and wouldn't stand, but now he knows that everyone gets a chance and he happily waits his turn. He is so good-just completely focused and listening and he gives me that great feeling that he is ready to jump anything that we encounter. He has never looked twice at anything-not even the ditches, he is such a brave horse!

Let me know when you might be in the area!
Jennifer

July 23, 2008 - Heather's Best Gets a 62 at the Dressage Show!

Hi Elizabeth and Barry!

Hope all is well at Bits and Bytes...Heather is great, we went to a dressage show yesterday, and had a great time. Heather was a little bit excited when we first arrived. The show was held at the same horse park as the last horse trials, so I think Heather looked around and thought he was going to get to gallop cross country! -- as you know he is very competitive, and super fit right now, so the atmosphere of a show gets him a bit wound up! I hopped on him up by the trailer parking, thinking I would take a nice walk around and work my way down to the warm up, but as soon as I sat in the saddle Heather was ready to go! I don't think he knew exactly where he wanted to go-it was pretty much every direction except forward ha ha! So we blocked traffic for a few moments and had a little display of running backwards and spinning around in circles, and then he was like, "Oh, you want to walk down there? OK,. and he was perfect after that.

The warm up was fabulous, and I wish I had video of that as well as the test because we were definitely better in warm up. I think I left too much time to warm up, I'm learning that Heather needs less time in the warm up than I think he does.

I'm also learning that if I get a little nervous and tense entering the arena, he immediately senses it and gets tense also! Then I tend to over-ride and Heather is like, "What is wrong with you??". Anyway we ended up with a score of 62, and I am pretty happy with that. He saw something and had a little speed up and head tossing at the canter that took a few seconds to work out. He is such a smart horse. We only practiced the test three times and I swear he had it memorized! The judge commented on our nice canter depart, and the funny thing is that I hadn't asked for it yet!

As I was waiting a girl came up and asked me, is that Heather's Best? She recognized him from the website!

We has a fun time though, and are going xc schooling this afternoon. (Heather's favorite activity!) The pictures aren't great-my friend evidently doesn't know how to use the zoom on the camera. I'll let you know when I have some video ready.

Take care!
Jennifer

Elizabeth's Note: Thoroughbreds really bond with their owners. They are very sensitive and can tell if you are worried. The hardest thing about competiting with these horses is controlling your fears. If you, their herd leader, is frightened, they are ready to run as that is how horses protect themselves as prey animals. If you are confident, your horse will be. If you do not have a brave horse - look at your own fears before looking for a new horse. Heather's Best and Jennifer are both brave and confident and it shows in their results. We are proud of both of them.

OTTB - Heather's Best score of 62 in a dressage show. July 22, 2008

May 19, 2008 - Heather's Best goes to his first combined training event and finished second out of 26 horses!

Heather's Best goes to his first combined training event and finished second out of 26 horses!

Hi Guys,
We took Heather to his first horse trials yesterday at the Bucks County horse park in Pennsylvania, and guess what? He ended up getting SECOND PLACE!

Since this was Heather's first experience at a horse show, Doug Payne competed him for me in the beginner novice class. I wanted to make sure that Heather was in good hands and would have a good ride even if he got nervous. He threw a couple of bucks (complete with his signature squealing sound effect) in the dressage warm up, and got some looks from the other riders-oops!), but overall he handled himself really well, and I am so proud of him! There were 26 horses competing in his division, and Heather was 4th after dressage, then had perfect cross country and stadium jumping rounds. (Doug's other ride took first place!)

There were 26 horses competing in his division, and Heather was 4th after dressage, then had perfect cross country and stadium jumping rounds. (Doug's other ride took first place!)
Doug Payne rode Heather's Best in his first combined training event. May 18, 2008

Needless to say, I am so excited! I'll be riding him in his next competition in June. I'm not sure that I can do quite so well with the dressage-it is a bit tricky for me to keep it all together on the flat since Heather is very fit and full of energy, but I feel really confident that we will still end up doing well. And, as we all suspected, Heather seems to love going cross country and jumps everything bravely and happily.

I have video which I will put together for you-it started raining during cross country and was pouring for stadium-poor Heather was shivering in the rain as I got him ready! It was a really big day for him, since the horse park is over an hour away, and the whole scene was alot for him to deal with-his eyes were huge! But he doesn't seem tired at all today-I can see him out the window running and playing with Radar.

Overall the day was a huge success, and I couldn't be happier. I could really see Heather's competitive side come out at the xc warm up-he was definitely checking out the other horses, but as you know he is pretty self confident!

I'll keep you posted on our progress and let you know how the next competition goes! Hope all is well at Bits & Bytes...

Take care,
Jennifer

Heather's Best's first day schooling cross country fences - ever!
This was Heather's Best's first day schooling cross country fences - ever! May 2005

Elizabeth's Note: Heather's Best loved jumping cross country fences the first time he ever saw one. He gave me confidence to jump 3'6" very wide coops and ditches. Ex-steeplechase horses make great event horses.

Heather's Best is a confidence builder. He loves to jump!
Heather's Best is a confidence builder. He loves to jump and why not? He is an ex-steeplechase race horse who is now retrained as a sport horse!

May 14, 2008

Hi Elizabeth, just wanted to give you a quick Heather update...he is doing great, the vet was out a couple of days ago and Heather had a full checkup and spring vacs. The vet measured his weight at 1111 lbs, and said that Heather is at the perfect weight right now, (and mentioned how fit he was also!) Heather looks amazing, he is happy and bright and his coat is really nice and shiny. Radar, on the other hand has been instructed to loose about 100 lbs-oops-guess he put on a little weight also!

We went xc schooling last Wed. evening, and Heather was perfect. I had so much fun. We went out with 2 other horses, and I thought Heather might be a little bit excited in the huge horse park with other horses jumping around, but he was great, and seemed to be really enjoying himself. I wish I had pics. He jumped all sorts of novice jumps, and a couple of training level cross country jumps as well, and he never got strong or silly, he was happy to quietly walk around and ready to trot or canter any jump I went to. I was so happy with him!!

We are planning to do a schooling horse trial this weekend- I will let you know how it goes!

Take care,
Jennifer

April 14, 2008

OK, I finally have learned how to use the movie maker program! I posted a video of Heather on you tube, since I'm not exactly sure how to send the link, I think you can find it under my login name, jcdflyer, or search under "Heather's Best". Let me know if you can find it!!

Also, please excuse the editing, etc...this is my first attempt, but now I'm hooked on making movies, so there will be more to come!

Jennifer

April 12, 2008

Hi Elizabeth and Barry!

Heather is doing great! I took him to Doug Payne's farm (about 1 hour away) for a clinic last weekend. We worked on our dressage, and Heather did so well. We got lots of compliments. He is looking really good-I think the Buckeye Ultimate Finish really agrees with him.

I got the chance to go xc schooling with Doug Payne a couple of days ago at my sister in law's farm. He rode Jeremy (a 3 -star event horse) and I rode Heather, but we had to switch horses for a few minutes in the beginning because Heather got VERY excited at the thought of jumping cross country.

I think Jeremy gives off a bit of a competitive vibe as well. For some reason, Jeremy would make Heather jig and buck every time he got too close! I have no problem just going in front, but Doug was encouraging me to try to get Heather to walk quietly along side Jeremy out to the jump hill -yeah right! Mission accomplished if you can count jigging from side to side with the occasional crow hop in between as walking lol :)

I've discovered that Heather is a true competitor, and he is really in top condition physically right now, so knowing how athletic he is, you can imagine the "horsepower" we have now!

That was the second time I have taken him to our jump hill, and each time as soon as he sees the jumps he can't contain himself! He gets so excited that he starts jumping up and down and bucking! He actually makes noises as well, like little squeals and grunts-it's hilarious! But once he gets to gallop around he is better.

By the way-Doug did not want to switch back! He LOVES Heather. But eventually he gave me my horse back and I got to jump around and had a great time. Heather is so athletic and comfortable, that going up and down the banks I felt like I was riding on air-he loves banks-and he just launches out off of them, but it is so smooth that I barely know we landed. I think what we have to do now is just get outside on the trails and on the xc schooling area every day so that it is not quite so exciting. Or I have to just start bringing my fox hunting flask and have a few shots before we head out to the jumps!!

We have entered a few competitions coming up in May and June-I'll keep you posted! Hope all is well at B&B!

Love,
Jennifer

Heather's Best was a steeplechase race horse in his former career.

March 9, 2008

Hi Elizabeth and Barry!
I just read on the website about the hunter pace you guys did-it looked like so much fun! I do wish that Georgia and New Jersey were closer sometimes so Heather and I could join all of his old friends for fun outings like that.

Meanwhile, we had a great time at the clinic this weekend. The weather was horrendous, with gale force winds and heavy rain, so it was held in the big indoor. We were soaked just getting in and out of the trailer. The rain was so loud yesterday that we could hardly hear, but Heather wasn't bothered. He got a little bit excited on the first day, being in a new place with strange horses, and got a bit jiggy and bucky in the warm up, but once I just got him to move forward (as opposed to up and down lol!) and got him focused on doing a 20m trot circle with ground poles he had to think about what he was doing, and he calmed right down.

Overall, Heather was such a good boy, and a beautiful jumper! There were all kinds of strange looking jumps with trees and flowers and brick walls...he didn't give anything a second look. Of course we had our share of mistakes, but I have to take full responsibility for those-I am learning to be more clear and direct. If I get a bit indecisive, Heather is like, what are we doing??? When my aids are correct, even the most technical bending lines with s turns and tough combinations just feel so effortless and smooth. I can't even describe how great it felt when we were completely in sync. I wish I could get it right every time, ....but like they say, it's the journey that counts and I am really loving every minute of my journey with Heather!

By the way, our boy got so many compliments! Everyone commented on how handsome he is, and a couple of people told me he was so fancy. I'm not embellishing either! Every single person there complimented Heather. Doug Payne said, "wow, he is a really cool horse" and that is a direct quote! In fact, Doug liked him so much that he asked me to send him Heather's breeding! He was very curious about where Heather came from, what he has done, etc. I was unbelievably proud. (and I was thinking, don't get any ideas buddy!!)

Also, Heather is now getting the Buckeye Ultimate Finish, and I have been giving him generic gastro guard since we spoke. Well, after just a week, he seems really relaxed and happy-he hasn't been grouchy at all. He is gobbling up his grain--no more slow eating! Even though I thought he was a little bit on the thin side, everyone else seems to think he looks really fit. He definitely seems to be very happy and judging from his performance at the clinic, I think he is feeling really good now!

I am putting together video on a CD for you-I finally have enlisted the help of a professional-so bear with me...pictures coming soon, I promise!!

Take care,
Love from Jennifer and Heather

Elizabeth's Note: If your horse is slow to eat or acting grouchy when doing up his girth, he may have the start of an ulcer. A horse can get ulcers from the stress of going to a new place or show. The faster you give him something to neutrualize the acid in his stomach the better. There are many over the counter options that you can discuss with your vet. If your vet diagnoses ulcers there are also several medications available by prescription. Some of them are more affordable than others, so take the time to ask your vet for all options.

February 28, 2008

Hi Elizabeth!

Just thought I'd send a quick note...Heather is doing great, I am trying to figure out how to put video into my computer so that I can put it on you tube...I have some good video of jumping and dressage, so bear with me!!

The weather here has been a bit crazy, but we have still been able to ride 4-5 times a week. I have now had Heather out in rain, snow, 25 degree weather and 30 mph wind and he isn't bothered by any of it! He definitely prefers jumping to dressage at the moment, but I think that jumping is just easier and more fun for him. All the horses are getting sick of the indoor as well, which is where we usually do dressage so that may be part of it.

I think I might have to watch how much more fit he gets because recently he thinks it is fun to throw a few bucks and put his head down and play! he's like, it's winter and I have too much energy! The chiropractor checked him recently, so I don't think he is sore, just fresh!

I feel like I learn something from him every ride, and what it really interesting is that as Heather has learned how to really get on the bit and look for that support, he has become much more sensitive to rider position. Or maybe he always was, but now we are really communicating. And, as a result he really demands a correct ride. Which, I guess is only fair, considering that I am asking him to work hard, I have to keep up my end of the deal and make sure that my position is steady and supportive. If I get frustrated or tense, he will start to jig, and if I exhale and relax, he puts his head down and relaxes and goes forward. It is amazing to me that he can feel exactly what I am thinking!

We are doing a cross country clinic with Doug Payne at the Horse Park of New Jersey on March 8 and 9. I am trying to recruit a videographer or at least get some good photos for you.

I hope everyone down there is well, and I'll be in touch again soon!

Take care!
Jennifer

Elizabeth's Note: Thoroughbreds are very sensitive horses and that is why they are not always the best choices for beginners. They are fantastic teachers as Jennifer noted. If you are correct with your seat and aids - they get it. If you are sloppy and out of balanced they get uptight. Relax and they relax. What wonderful teachers. You don't have to work hard (like some other breeds) to communicate with them -- all you have to do is be correct. Riding Thoroughbreds will make you a better rider.

January 9, 2008

Hi Elizabeth,
I hope you all had a good holiday season-It looks as if everyone got into the spirit and had a good time down there!

Heather continues to be wonderful. Over Christmas between the holidays and the weather I went for 5 days without riding him. Well, I was ready for him to be pretty fresh, and he was pretty fresh on the crossties, but as soon as he was tacked up, he was like, oh OK we're going to work. I hopped on, and he was perfect. If I didn't know better I would have thought he had done flatwork the day before. In fact, it was almost as if his mini-break made him refreshed and ready to go back to work. I was so happy about that.

You wouldn't believe how steady and gorgeous his trot is now, and he has gotten so much stronger behind-he feels like a different horse. His front end is so light when we canter! He definitely finds the bigger jumps fun-I swear he glances back at me about 3 strides out and says, (with a slight smirk of course) "hold on tight now because wooo hoo we're flying!!" I can't help but smile ear to ear when we jump. I finally allowed our trainer to ride him over some jumps, and she LOVED riding him! She was smiling the whole time too! (I personally think Heather was showing off a bit knowing he had a professional on board) But I was also so proud of him! I thought it was so great that this woman who competes internationally at the 4 star level on top horses really enjoyed riding Heather.

He had the chiropractor the other day-just routine, but she did pick up a couple of points and gave him some adjustments. I figured that after 3 months of pretty steady work it was time for a little "sports massage" and adjustment. She found some stiffness in his neck and poll and adjusted that, and also found a couple of sacro-iliac points near his hips. That did not surprise me since he is working more from behind now, but as you know, the stronger he gets the less he will need adjustments. His hocks and everything else looked great.

He and Radar have become best friends. They love hanging out together, but they are both secure enough that I can ride them off the property individually without any problems. I did a secret test, because sometimes Heather will cry a little bit if he sees me leaving on Radar, so I rode off and 10 minutes later had my friend come out and check on Heather. He was totally fine, just grazing away quietly, so I'm really happy about that as well.

The weather was really nice in Jersey this week, and I finally got the 2 of them out on a nice trail ride together again. Well, Heather was very happy and excited to go out hacking. A little too excited, because as soon as we picked up a nice trot, YeeHaw! the rodeo started! I was actually laughing, but Heather just started dancing around and took off up the hill jumping around and bucking! But not in a nasty way, he was just playing and felt good! Radar was looking at him like he was crazy. Luckily they were very rideable bucks and he walked quietly after that. I was thinking that what he really needed that day was a nice outdoor gallop, but the footing and the trail where we were really weren't good for that. I can't wait for spring!

Anyway, I promise I will get some good pictures soon and I really want to send you a little video too!

Love from Jennifer and Heather

OTTB - Heather's Best x-country riding with his new mom Jennifer DeGier.

December 9, 2007

Hi!

I just wanted to check in and say hello....Heather is doing great! I am having such a good time with him. I had a great jumping lesson the other day, and I brought someone to take pictures. Guess what-not one single picture turned out! I attached the best one-but my "photographer" managed to miss every single jump. I think my camera is not great either-too slow. but anyway. I'm still trying to get you some good shots. He is jumping beautifully! What fun. We had some really cold weather this past week, so we had to bundle up and trailer over to the indoor arena. We got a little bit of snow, and the horses loved it!

I hope all is well down there! I'll send better pictures soon!

Take care,
Jennifer

OTTB Heather's Best is now a Thorougbred sport horse.

November 16, 2007

Hi Elizabeth!

Heather is doing so great-I just can't tell you how happy I am with
him! I don't really have any super exciting news, but we have just been riding alot, and every day he feels better and better. Wendy (my instructor) loves how he is jumping, and of course, so do I. He is really listening to my leg now, and has gotten much stronger behind-you can really feel the power in his canter now-it's great. I promise I will get you some pictures next week!! I have increased his grain and flax, and he got a nice haircut since he will be in work all winter. He looks so great clipped, you won't believe it when you see pictures. He looks really fancy. I had him out at the hunt kennels last week just for a trail ride, and he got so many compliments-even from a hunter/jumper show barn trainer!

The hunt sponsored a hunter pace last sunday, so instead of competing a few of us rode the course and picked up all the markers. It took a while, and it was even starting to get dark on the trail, and Heather was perfect. He led the way, jumped all the logs and a little coop, stood nicely every time I had to pull a streamer off a tree, and did not get worried at all even though it got late. I think he really enjoys his trail rides. I have been trying to take him for a good trail ride in the woods at least once a week.

Other than that, everyone is great. Heather and Radar really like each other, and love to play. They have private little conversations out there sometimes, where they just stand with their noses together for the longest time. Then they will both decide to get silly and run away from the neighbors sheep and buck and play(even though they see the sheep every day) I love just watching them.

I hope everything is good down there...and I really will send pictures next time!!!

Jennifer

November 2, 2007

Hi Elizabeth!
Sorry it has taken me a while to e mail you back-I just have been so busy! But Heather is doing great. He has really settled in, and is enjoying some nice fall pasture grass with Radar right now. Unfortunately we had a spell of bad weather and heavy rain, so cubbing was cancelled last Wednesday, and so was our xc schooling trip. I was very disappointed, because I can't wait to go out and do some xc with Heather. I can't make the rain date this weekend either because I have to work.

I got a job flying part time for a company that does charter and instruction nearby. Of course, work is already getting in the way of my daily riding plans, but it is also paying for lessons, nice winter coolers and blankets(it's getting cold here!) , a fancy new bridle for Heather, treats, toys etc...... Actually the schedule is really flexible-I pretty much just tell them when I can work, so it's not too bad.

Meanwhile, Heather and I have been continuing our lessons with Wendy Lewis, and it is going so well. We are putting together courses, and jumping more challenging combinations, bounces, and are able to stay perfectly straight to jump a VERY narrow vertical! Heather seems happy to jump around the courses, and always tries to do the right thing.

I have never had a horse that is as honest and willing as he is. I feel like we are really developing a partnership, when we ride, sometimes I'm the one taking care of him and really directing and reassuring him, and sometimes he is the one (particularly in the jump combinations) who makes me feel like he has everything under control, even if I'm not sure about a distance, or how to ride something- I can always trust him to take care of us.

He is moving beautifully on the flat-in just a few weeks he has really increased his flexibility, and is much stronger behind than he was. I can feel the difference in the power, and his canter is a lot more uphill-so nice to ride. I feel like I could sit his canter with no stirrups all day-he is so smooth! He is doing perfect trot-canter transitions as well. He just steps into a lovely canter without missing a beat.

Take care,
Jennifer

October 23, 2007

Hi Elizabeth!
Heather is doing great-I just love him! He is such a pleasure to ride! We have been getting out and doing some trail rides, jumping logs, and are doing our dressage and jumping lessons as well. He is just getting better and better. He has beautiful transitions now from the trot to canter, he just steps into a lovely canter the instant I ask, and we are putting together little combinations and gymnastics for him to jump, which he does really well. He seems to enjoy the work-he looks and feels great, and as soon as I get on he settles in and really listens and we have a good ride every time. Today, the wind is really gusting-I was getting sandblasted in the face with arena sand-and Heather couldn't care less-he just went about our lesson and did not worry about a thing. He is such a good boy!

I am going xc schooling on Saturday-I promise to get some good pictures for you. The attached pics are of us out in our local woods where I go fox hunting, and of Radar and Heather enjoying a nice fall day.

I hope all is well there...I gave your info to a girl I met fox hunting who is looking for an OTTB - so you may hear from her.

Take care,
Jennifer

Heather's Best and Radar enjoying a beautiful Fall day in the Northeast.


October 16, 2007

Hi!
Heather and I had a great jumping lesson today with Wendy Lewis! Now that I've gotten to know him better, I can see why he was your favorite jumper! We did some gymnastics today-what fun! Heather jumped through everything beautifully. I think he enjoyed it-I certainly did. We are going with a group of people to the New Jersey Horse Park on Oct 27th for open xc schooling. That should be really fun, and I will be sure to get some pictures.

He seems much more settled here now, and just very relaxed. He loves to sunbathe in the nice fall weather we have been getting, and will take a nap with his head against Radar-I have to get a picture of them together-so cute.

Talk to you soon,
Jennifer

October 14, 2007

Hi Elizabeth,

Well, I told Heather that I had to call you about getting in the trailer, and wouldn't you know, the next day he walked right on quietly! He did not even think about it! I think maybe he was just worried about where he was going. It has only been a couple of weeks, I think he is really just now starting to feel secure here and truly trusting me. We had a great, relaxing trail ride yesterday. It was a perfect fall day here. I just love riding Heather-he is going so well! I'm so impressed by how bright and sensible he is. We are planning to do a lesson again on Wedensday.

Sean is not sure about the hunter pace, so I think that for today we will just take both horses on a nice local walk, although I think Heather might prefer some more action! I am thinking about taking him cubbing on Wedensday morning. It's going to be a small group of people that I know, so it should be relaxing.

I'll send picutres soon- I promise!

Jennifer

October 4, 2007

Hi!

I took Heather for a fun outing today, and he was great! We trailered over to Golden Gait farm, which is only about 10 minutes away, and had a wonderful lesson with Wendy Lewis. Check out her website, www.lewisevent.com. I brought Radar along in the trailer for the ride, so that Heather wouldn't be worried about going somewhere alone. He loaded and unloaded perfectly. He got a little bit worried when we went into the barn without his friend, and we worked in their giant indoor arena, so was looking out the windows at first, but he settled down pretty quickly.

Heather's Best is a OTTB with a new career.

Wendy is an amazing teacher, and she loved Heather! She thought he was really handsome and loved his personality. We worked on the flat today-more dressage basics, moving forward , working from behind, accepting contact, etc. Heather did a little head tossing, just testing me a bit still, but he figured it out and boy did we make some serious progress today! No silly stuff at all. I am so proud of him, and so happy with how he went today!! We are doing a jumping lesson with Wendy on Saturday-can't wait. She suggested switching to just a plain snaffle bit instead of the french link, so I'll give that a try, and let you know how it goes.

Anyway, your boy was a star today-everyone that saw him really liked him and commented on how kind and sensible he is-we had a blast!. Now back to cleaning tack, cleaning the trailer, etc. I'll talk to you soon, and I'll try to get some pictures next time too!

Jennifer

October 2, 2007

Hi Elizabeth,

Heather is doing really well. He and Radar are getting along great. I turned them out together today for the first time, and I was nervous of course, but they were great! There were literally two squeals and that was it. No nasty faces, no bites, nothing. They were hanging out together grazing like old pals. I was so relieved that they like each other! They even drank out of the water trough at the same time. Heather is still a little bit clingy, he tends to stay within five feet of Radar, but he is getting better.

Heather's Best enjoys his new home in New Jersey.
Heather's Best enjoys his new home in New Jersey.

I just spent the past hour in the barn with him, working on standing still when I tell him. At first he was nervous, and fidgety, but we just kept at it, and I think it really relaxed him! After a while he started chewing, and we got to where I could walk all the way out of the barn into the darkness and he stood perfectly. Radar got jealous and tried to bite be when I passed his stall, he was making big alligator faces!
I just love Heather.he is so bright! It was great to see the expression in his eyes as we worked tonight. And it made him so calm, I was really happy to see that it reassured him to know that I was in charge. By the time I put him back into his stall he was completely relaxed.

It's interesting to have a TB and a warmblood in the barn together. I have to say, Heather does make Radar look a bit like a big dufus. We didn't ride today, the vet came and did Fall vaccines, but I'm looking forward to a nice ride in the morning! Just wanted you to know that everything is going really well!

Take care,
Jennifer

October 1, 2007

Hi Elizabeth and all,

I just finished riding Heather-his first ride here! We had a great time. We did a good amount of flat work with my dressage instructor, Heather was quite good. He had a couple bouts of silly behavior going from the trot to the canter, but after a few transitions everything smoothed out nicely. He had to show off a bit when we rode past Radar-I saw that coming! : ) Honestly I was kind of ready for him to be a bit rambunctious after the long trip, being in a new place, and it is kind of cool today, so all in all he was really good.

My instructor brought her Dobie over(she brings her dog everywhere)- I think Heather liked to see a familiar looking dog. Kate, my dressage instructor was very pleasantly surprised by Heather. She thinks we are a great match, and with a little work this winter will be having a great time eventing next season. She took a couple of pictures-I think Heather looks very smart in his dressage gear!

Heather's Best looks very smart in his dressage gear!
Heather's Best looks very smart in his dressage gear!

Overall, he is so much more relaxed today, and I think he enjoyed getting a good workout. He gets nervous when Radar is too far away, and prefers to have Radar in the barn while he is in the cross ties getting ready, then he is totally fine. I think he will get over that insecurity as he feels more settled here. Otherwise Sean will have to "cowboy up" and go fox hunting on Radar and I can ride Heather!!

Talk to you soon!
Jennifer

September 30, 2007

Heather's Best was introduced to his new friend Radar while hand grazing, but Radar was more interested in eating the lawn than in Heather!
Heather's Best was introduced to his new friend Radar while hand grazing, but Radar was more interested in eating the lawn than in Heather!

Good morning...
Heather seems to have had a good night, he was covered in shavings this morning, so I think he rested well in his stall. He was cute this morning, stretching and blinking his eyes. He got a little bit worried when I took Radar out of the barn first, he is feeling a bit insecure, so I have been trying to reassure him. As long as Radar is near and within sight he is better. We introduced them while hand grazing, but Radar was more interested in eating the lawn than in Heather!
The pics are from yesterday after his bath.
I'll call you later...
Jennnifer

Heather's Best arrives in New Jersey and takes a walk after his bath.
Heather's Best arrives in New Jersey and takes a walk after his bath.

Heather's Best was a Horse For Sale at Bits & Bytes Farm. Click here to see the horse for sale photos of Heather's Best.


Heather's Best was a horse For Sale at Bits & Bytes Farm.

"Heather" was one of Elizabeth's Special Reserve Horses.

Heather's Best and Elizabeth cross country schooling. November 6, 2005.
OTTB - Heather's Best and Elizabeth cross country schooling. November 6, 2005.

Heather's Best says good-bye to his best buddy and cousin Joe Bear.September 28, 2007
Heather's Best says good-bye to his best buddy and cousin Joe Bear. September 28, 2007


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