Knight Villain -
was a Christmas present in December 2006
July 9, 2008
Hope all is well at B&B and Happy Fourth of July!
Knight is doing great! He is in training for Western Pleasure/Trail
and learning quickly. This boy can do anything, he is so talented.
I made the decision to refocus him away from English training due
to a vet visit that revealed changes in his stifle and hock, and
into a discipline that is less demanding on his physique (ie: no
jumping at all). So far we have started with basic reining and
patterns, and hopefully we will school a beginner trail class next
Knight is ridden in a Big Horn Endurance saddle, (with gaited
horse bars for high withers, these seem to fit the thoroughbred
build the best). Its often difficult to tell with western saddles
because the sizing can differ from brand to brand. I highly recommend
the DVD"Western Saddles - How to Fit: Pain-Free" by
Dr Joyce Harman to anyone BEFORE buying a western saddle. There's
a lot that needs to be taken into account to maximize the horse's
comfort and performance. I'll send a pic of him in his new tack
when I get a chance.
With all the threats of our beautiful polo barn being sold for
development, I moved Knight to an exclusive farm not 5 minutes
from my house, so I can literally ride the trails to my own front
door! Knight is a hit with the boarders and owners and has earned
a nickname from our 5 year old resident equestrienne, who calls
him Big Brown because he runs so fast.
Knight loves his new buddies, especially a bay mare called Ellie,
whom he adores. She nickers and laughs at him every time we walk
by her stall, and she'll follow us along the fence line when we
ride along the road. Knight loves the attention and curls his head,
picks up his knees and prances to show off, rumbling and holding
his tail like a flag! He has his own pasture and likes to visit
his friends over the fence. They run and play quite a bit (of course
Knight wins every race every time).
We made some changes to his shoeing, going with a squared toe
behind to avoid pulling shoes. Knight keeps his shoes on without
any problems since we started this last October, and his gaits
are smoother since his breakover changed. The addition of a rolled
toe in all four shoes aids this. Front left is in a heartbar to
engage the frog and increase circulation, he has some mechanical
tension on the deep digital flexor that is putting pressure on
P3. This can be remedied with check ligament surgery or corrective
shoeing, and I've chosen the latter. The balance and alignment
of his legs and feet are ideal now and you really can tell the
difference! Its amazing what good shoeing can accomplish!
You might be interested to hear that Knight's taste in treats
has expanded! He likes Whinny's Cookies, oatmeal creme pies, carrot
flavored oat cookies, and of course his baby cut carrots. He's
also taken a liking to sugar cubes, but we limit those only for
VERY special occasions. He's also discovered that clownish antics
get more treats, so now we have head twisting and nodding when
the treat bag is in sight. (Kinda like when Sing would turn his
head on the side, as if to say "Pleeeeease!"). Knight
also gives kisses, which of course everyone takes advantage of!
I love being able to ride so often (every day except when we lunge
or hang out) and really enjoy working on all the new stuff we have
to learn. I have a training contact helping us refine our techniques
in western riding and its so much fun!
Check out the pics of Knight's first day at his new house! More
to follow of us on the trails.
Say hi to all the horses and Barry!
Elizabeth's Note: Knight
Villain hurt his stifle after leaving the track sound.
He was running in the pasture and caught his stifle on a hay rack.
He was rushed to the University of Georgia where they told us he
would only be pasture sound (no riding) IF we did a $5000 joint
flushing. Two vets wanted to put him down. He walked into the hospital
sound after a two hour trailer ride. I did not agree with the diagnosis
and finally got a third vet to suggest an alternative method of
treatment. Unfortunately, they sent Knight home without putting
antibiotic beads in the wound and with directions for too low a
dose of antibiotics. For five days Knight did well and on the sixth
day his leg swelled and he became lame for the first time since
being injured. At that point God provided an angel named Dr. Jennifer
Dunlap. She is a surgeon and she came to test ride Wise
Guy's Out for herself. When I could not get a local
vet to come to the farm, she was able to pull together the resources
of Dr. Murray at Coosa
Valley Equine Center and reopened the wound so it could
drain. She then implanted the antibiotic beads, that should have
been done at UGA.
Dr. Jennifer Dunlap vetted out Wise
Guy's Out for herself and he passed with
flying colors. She decided to purchase him to train for competition.
She made us an offer of taking Knight home to her farm, where
she could treat him, if we would keep Wise Guy's Out at
our farm for her sister to start his training. Dr. Jennifer worked
around the clock keeping Knight's wounds flushed and open. As
a result, he returned to the farm and training and learned to
jump! Now as he is getting older the wear and tear of such a
serious injury has slowed him down to a less strenuous career.
We placed him with Tammy because she had promised to keep him
at our farm where we could monitor him. She has since moved him
closer to her home and she is continuing his education to be
a sport horse. Knight retired sound and was injured in a freak
accident on the farm. Many horses do not retire as sound as Knight
but they can still enjoy a less stressful career. Please keep
this story in mind when you see one of our Prospect
Horses For Sale or Bargain Barn horses that are less than perfect. They
may not have a jumping career but they can still provide a great
ride and lots of love!
P. S. What happened to Wise Guy's Out? Read Wise
Guy's Out's Success Stories. He has gone on to excel
in hunter/jumpers and dressage. He has gotten so good that Dr.
Jennifer Dunlap wants to find him a competition partner to take
him to the top! Be sure to read his Success Stories. If
you are looking for a "made" horse that is already
showing and winning - check out Wise
January 21, 2007
Dec 25th was our one year anniversary. Knight is still doing great.
We are looking forward to many happy trail rides, as well as some
little schooling shows in the near future. Here are some pics from
Christmas day and this month, as you can see, Knight is just as
charming as ever.
Tammy & Knight Villain
August 19, 2007
Mamie and Queen's
Rowdy Lad get by with a little help from their friends, Tammy
Villain. August 19, 2007
Seven OTTBs from Bits & Bytes Farm went
on a trail ride on August 19, 2007
August 4, 2007 - Cross Country Schooling at
On August 4th Knight Villain and I had the pleasure of accompanying
Paula Gunnels and Joe Bear down to Pine Mountain - Big Bear for
some cross-country schooling. This was Knight's first REAL cross
country course and he loved every minute! We warmed up in the dressage
arena, then walked down the road to the cross country course.
Knight went into the start box readily and watched as Joe and Paula
jumped their first fence. He would slow down to look at the jumps
as we rode past, but when I asked, he cantered gamely up to them
and sailed over. He loved the wide open space and did quite a few "Happy
Knight Rumbles" throughout the day.
David and his folks followed us around the course in a golf cart
taking pictures. A wonderful picnic supplied by Mr and Mrs Gunnels
ended the day while the horses rested beside our gazebo. Knight
was an absolute treasure, his usual confident self, and this experience
has shown me how far we've come as a team. We're looking forward
to our next big adventure!
Tammy Gullett and Knight Villain
Knight and the Cross Country Challenge!
Saturday morning dawned bright and clear as I arrived at the barn
to meet Paula and David. Knight was already munching on his breakfast
as we hurried to pack the last few little items for our big day
at Pine Mountain’s cross country course. After a quick brushing
(Knight was thoroughly groomed the night before and kept in overnight),
we grabbed our bag of carrots and advanced toward the waiting trailer.
Knight was only slightly hesitant about the smaller trailer, but
loaded calmly within minutes with a little encouragement. Joe Bear
walked on and we were ready to depart!. The drive down to Big Bear
was filled with chatter and laughter, and we arrived at the farm
despite having some minor navigation issues (AKA no directions/road
signs!). Big Bear is beautifully spread out, with lovely views
of the surrounding country. Knight and Joe looked all around and
called out to the horses they saw up on the hill. We were tacked
up and warming up in the nearby dressage arena when David’s
parents arrived armed with picnic supplies and a golf cart! They
were prepared to follow Paula and I around the course to watch,
encourage, and take pictures.
The cross country course has five
flagged levels, from Amoeba to Training. We started off schooling
over some warm up fences near the gate and then moved down to the
start box. Knight pricked up his ears and focused on jump number
one (amoeba), a small log. He took a good look and stepped over
it the first time, then we picked up the pace and trotted neatly
over. From that moment it was game on! We jumped the entire Amoeba
course, tires and gates included, and even ventured over a couple
Tadpole fences. Knight got so excited that he overreached at the
walk, and within five minutes pulled off both front shoes! (there’s
something to be said for bell boots). Fortunately the ground was
forgiving, so we were able to continue.
This was Knight’s first cross country course, but you’d
never have known it! He took everything in stride, even the weird
black tire thingy’s that we had to circle, sniff, and paw.
They were no match for the brave Knight Villain, who coasted up
to them at a bouncy trot and launched right on over! Bank jumps
and hanging logs were a cinch, and we even walked through the (dry)
water obstacle to get the feel for the different terrain. It even
got to the point where Knight would pick out the jumps and head
toward them on a loose rein! He LOVES this stuff! The wonderful
open space was a blessing too, as there was lots of room to canter
in big circles up and down the hills.
Despite the warmth of the day, we had a marvelous time! Knight
is so bold, and so careful with his feet! He lifts and tucks them
right up out of the way to clear the fences, then arches his neck
and rumbles after each jump, as if to say “Yeah! I’m
the MAN!” He flew over the last log with as much gusto as
the first and cantered smoothly through the finish posts on a left
lead (we’ve been having some trouble picking this up at home)
with ears pricked up and happy as can be! Afterwards, everyone
got a nice cool shower and a bag of hay to munch while the humans
enjoyed the wonderful fried chicken and potato salad provided by
Mr. and Mrs. Gunnels. David was a fabulous chauffeur, always careful
and thoughtful behind the wheel.
Knight and I had such a great
time riding with Paula and Joe Bear – it was wonderful to
see them clearing everything with ease! I’m sure they’ll
do great at their X-country shows! Thanks for a great adventure!
All our love,
Knight Villain & Tammy G
March 28, 2007
Its been three months since Knight became my official "Partner
in Crime" and I could not wish for anything better. From the
beginning I decided to use Natural Horsemanship Techniques I had
picked up watching RTV and documentaries on Native American Horse
Only three months later, I have a horse who loads quietly
and calmly onto a trailer (this used to be a scary, drawn-out
ordeal including lunge lines, take-two's, and much frustration
from what I've heard). Knight also takes in stride my various short-comings
as a first time OTTB owner with little more than a raised eyebrow
and a patient sigh as I figure it out. I've learned to give him
time to figure out what I'm asking for without rushing him or
getting frustrated, and he pays me back with respect, love, and
Knight helped Political Pull gain the confidence to cross
Our training started out with 15 minute lunging sessions alternating
with short, pleasurable rides in the woods or arena six days a
week, with Friday's off to be a horse and play. We've extended
these sessions by five minute increments and tried to incorporate
lots of transition work and changes of direction.
Most of the time I aim to have Knight "Tune In" to my
body language by being consistent in my signals and not relying
on pressure from rein or whip to get a response. I know its working
when that inside ear locks on to me, he licks and chews, and drops
his nose toward the ground. This sign of respect and acceptance
of my leadership is an automatic que for me to stop the work (This
is straight from a Monty Roberts training book). By answering Knight's
signal, I'm reinforcing the communication between us - so that
now he free lunges at all gaits, changing direction and speed simply
by reading my body language. I now have a rather large, hairy shadow
that follows me around wherever I go ;)
Brew This, Joe Bear and Knight Villain enjoy a trail ride at Dawson
Forest. March 4, 2007
Knight is progressing steadily in his physical conditioning, even
to the point of showing no stiffness after the most grueling of
groundpole exercises. We've popped over a couple logs on the trail
at the farm without incident, Knight looks where he's going and
tucks his legs up cleanly, sailing over without any hesitation.
He loves new challenges, and jumping is just one more skill he'll
add to his already impressive list of accomplishments.
Knight Villain trusts Tammy enough to let her ride over a wooden
trestle bridge 30 feet above a river.
Every day with this horse is a joy and an adventure. He fills
a place in my soul long held by a Shadow-Horse called Apache Fyre
(my first beloved). His quirks and personality make me smile every
time I think of him, and my heartfelt thanks go out to everyone
who helped shape this horse into my perfect match. You don't know
the joy you wrought!
All our love - Knight and Tammy
January 24, 2007
Knight put on a fashion show in the barn last night - trying on
his new rug and sports medicine boots, and checking out his new
bridle to make sure it fitted properly. Everything works wonderfully,
and the whole barn got to see Knight fully decked out in his new
regalia as he trotted up and down the barn aisle.
Mom took lots of pictures and even a video or two, so hopefully
I'll be able to send those to you pretty soon.
The chiropractic visit has made a huge difference in Knight's
movement. He crosses under freely on both sides now, and is less
reluctant to canter on the left lead during our lunging sessions.
I'm really pleased with how he's muscling up - hopefully we'll
get him fit enough to start working on low poles by the end of
the summer. I'm confident he'll eventually show at local events
here in Atlanta.
See you soon!
~Tammy and Knight
Tammy Gullet has been a "Friend of Bits & Bytes Farm" and Knight Villain has
been her special horse. Tammy's parents surprised Tammy on Christmas
day by purchasing Knight for her. They knew that Knight and Tammy
were a "Perfect Match".
Knight Villain got a "Little Girl" for his Christmas present! "Friend of Bits & Bytes Farm" Tammy Gullet was surprised by her mom and dad with a new pony for Christmas.
December 29, 2006
Hi Elizabeth and Barry!
Well, yesterday was our first official ride as "Partners in Crime". Knight was an absolute gentleman - so quiet and laid back I didn't even feel the need to lunge him first! We worked in the arena, doing spirals and serpentine loops at the walk and trot and he felt like a Cadillac! He yields beautifully to the leg on both sides, and accepts the bit with little urging.
Knight Villain and "Friend of Bits & Bytes Farm" Tamarin Gullett. October 7, 2006
We're a little competitive when other horses are sharing the arena. Knight tends to come off the bit and speed up whenever someone else is traveling faster than he is... any ideas to help him stay focussed? Apparently the "Racehorse Mode" is still in effect sometimes!
We went on a mini trail ride with Mom (Melody) walking beside Knight... He kept looking down at her with a smile as if to say "Where'd you hide those sweet baby carrots?" Seeing Barbo at the fence made him curl his neck while muttering under his breath (something about wanting to play, I think). We then pranced sideways all the way back up to the driveway - a perfect Passage! What a showoff!
Your Success Stories make our day! Knight and his new mom Tammy. December 25, 2006
I'm still not sure its sunk in all the way that he's a part of our family now - it seems so surreal! I couldn't have wished for a more honest and trustworthy horse and I know that Knight has the talent and patience to help me gain even more confidence in my riding.
I can't thank you enough for bringing this kind and loving soul into my life!
See you soon!
PS: Knight wanted me to ask when the next trail ride is... he hopes its soon!
Knight Villain - at Bits & Bytes Farm - November 25, 2006
Knight Villain was a stakes race winner.