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Thoroughbred | OTTB Success Stories | Ex Race horses

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Knight Villain - Bits & Bytes Farm Horses for sale

Many years ago, a man named John Taintor Foote wrote a story called "The Look of Eagles".

"About the head of
a truly great horse
there is an air
of freedom unconquerable. The eyes seem
to look on
heights beyond our gaze.
It is the look of a spirit
that can soar.
It is the birthright of eagles."

 

Knight Villain has moved to another new barn.

Knight Villain has moved to another new barn. July 2008

 

Former race horse, Knight Villain is loved by everyone who has ever met him. July 2008

Former race horse, Knight Villain is loved by everyone who has ever met him. July 2008

Knight Villain was saved by an angel.

Knight Villain was saved by an angel.

Off-the-track-Thorougbred Knight Villain lunging. January 2008

Knight Villain lunging and lounging (below). January 2008

OTTB - Knight Villain lounging. January 2008

 

Ex-race horse, Knight Villain schools at Big Bear with him mom Tammy Gullet. August 4, 2007

Ex-race horse, Knight Villain schools at Big Bear with him mom Tammy Gullet. August 4, 2007

Tammy Gullet and OTTB Knight Villain cross water without hesitation.

Tammy Gullet and OTTB Knight Villain cross water without hesitation

Knight Villain and Tammy enjoy a trail ride in Dawson Forest. March 4, 2007

Knight Villain and Tammy enjoy a trail ride in Dawson Forest. March 4, 2007

Knight Villain and Tammy enjoy a trail ride in Dawson Forest. March 4, 2007

 

Click here to see photos of Knight Villain when he was a Horse for Sale at Bits & Bytes Farm.

Bits & Bytes Farm Success Stories

Our horses > success stories > Knight Villain

Knight Villain -
Knight Villain was a Christmas present in December 2006

Thoroughbred Knight Villian in pasture.

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 season.

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 meets new horses.

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).

OTTB Knight Villain & friend. July 2008

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!

Kind regards,
Tammy

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 Guy's Out.

January 21, 2007

Knight Villain and his mom Tammy.

Hi there

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.

Kind regards,
Tammy & Knight Villain

Ex-racer, Knight Villain and his mom Tammy Gullet. January 2008.

August 19, 2007

Mamie and Queen's Rowdy Lad get by with a little help from their friends, Tammy and Knight Villain. August 19, 2007
Mamie and Queen's Rowdy Lad get by with a little help from their friends, Tammy and Knight Villain. August 19, 2007

Seven OTTBs from Bits & Bytes Farm went on a trail ride last Sunday. August 19, 2007
Seven OTTBs from Bits & Bytes Farm went on a trail ride on August 19, 2007

See more photos on the Training Notes from Elizabeth page.

August 4, 2007 - Cross Country Schooling at Big Bear

Knight Villain and Tammy Gullet schooling cross country fences at Big Bear in Pine Mountain, GA.

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!

Happy trails
Tammy Gullett and Knight Villain

Former race horse, Knight Villain loves to gallop x_country.

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.

Joe Bear and Knight relax during schooling at Big Bear in Pine Mountain, GA.

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.

Knight Villain and Tammy Gullet check out the dressage arena at Big Bear in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

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 Training.

Tammy and Knight crossing "Cadillac Creek" at Dawson Forest. March 3, 2007

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 endless patience.

Knight helped Political Pull gain the confidence to cross the creek.

Knight helped Political Pull gain the confidence to cross the creek.

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
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.
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

Knight Villain and Tammy Gullet enjoy a ride in the forest. March 4, 2007

 

January 24, 2007

Hey Elizabeth

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 Chrismtas present! "Friend of Bits & Bytes Farm" Tammy Gullet was surprised by her mom and dad with a new pony for Christmas.
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
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
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!
~Tammy

PS: Knight wanted me to ask when the next trail ride is... he hopes its soon!

Knight Villain - Bits & Bytes Farm Thoroughbred for sale - November 25, 2006
Knight Villain - at Bits & Bytes Farm - November 25, 2006

Knight Villain was a stakes race winner.
Knight Villain was a stakes race winner.


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