A “Normal” Week

After the polar curve balls that Mother Nature had thrown us in weeks one and two, and the full court press slam dunk third week dominated by the the Duchess and David events, we were due a week of normalcy at the MMSC.

Fortunately, that’s what we got! Now, keep in mind that a week of normalcy at the MMSC is anything but normal. That’s because horses will be horses. They are not static entities. They move around; injure themselves or their herd mates; get sick, get tired, get stiff; get confused, get exuberant, progress, regress, and everything in between DAY TO DAY. It makes working with them interesting.

Human beings are not static entities, either. They oversleep. Get hurt (by horses usually). Get headaches and colds. Get busy. Get captious. Get off track or stuck in traffic. All of which can derange the best laid day’s schedule if they work at the MMSC.

And then there are the human beings who wander in our door because we are located on the premises of a state park who want to know what we do and how we do it, see what horses we have for adoption, and tell us about the horses they have or have owned. And, of course, there are the human beings whom we have scheduled to come talk to us about all of these things. 

Add to that day to day chores in the barn and office, and what you’ll get is a very busy, NORMAL, albeit unpredictably normal, week at the MMSC.  

Let me give you an overview:

It started out with a tour of our facility for Auburn University students. About 20 equine students traveled to Lexington for a tour of the Horse Capital of the World, and we happily showed them our corner of the Kentucky Horse Park, walking them through our barn, introducing them to a few of the horses, and explaining our Horse-Centered Reschooling Program. Many of the students were interested in our internship program, so we hope to see them again in the future!

As always, we had our beginning of the week staff meeting when Lori, MMSC Office Manager, Catherine, our Program Coordinator, Lilly, our interim Barn Manager, any interns or riders who wish, and I convene, share what we have been working on, what roadblocks we may have met, and discuss upcoming events, plans, and needs. We usually meet over lunch. Chocolate is always involved. Laughter, too. Staff meetings are a weekly MMSC highlight.

Our summer internship program has become very popular, even with people who are not of age, and this week, we had an interview with a young lady who came as a prospective intern with her mother and sister from Cleveland to look at the MMSC and to discuss the requirements and demands of our program. They stayed for several hours, toured, and asked a lot of questions. I told them as I tell everyone: You will work very, very hard. No bad attitudes tolerated. Endless questions are not only permissible, they are expected. You will learn a ton and have the time of your life. The young lady seemed smitten. 

The farrier came this week (Harlan twisted a shoe). The vet too. Poor Angel, who was supposed to meet the Duchess last week but couldn’t because she was lame, was diagnosed with an ugly, deep, and infected abscess that will take a few months to heal. We had to send her back to her foster farm. Too bad. Angel has the build and temperament of Mrs. Doubtfire and surely would have found in no time a family to join and care for. Oh well, it  always works out as it is supposed to. Perhaps this happened because her people are not due to come for her until summer?

Beachview Two was slightly lame, too. We had him re-x-rayed. Even though he had surgery last year to have chips removed, the cartilage atrophy is too significant. He is not going to hold up for the kinds of jobs our adopters want. I am heart broken. I had so much hope for this bright little otter-minded horse. (Is there anyone out there who would like a pasture BFF and an occasional trail horse to lightly ride? )

Street Art was the first adoptee of 2015 and left with his new family, Anne and Harry Weber from Missouri. Anne is a professional jumper trainer and has entered Artie in the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in October. Harry is a sculptor. Ever keen to extract a “pound of flesh” wherever I can find it,  I asked Harry if he would consider sculpting a statue of Bucephalus, Alexander the Great’s black stallion, to place in our Bucephalus Training Library (and maybe to make replicas to sell for the benefit of the MMSC??). He said he would get right to the drawing board! 

I looked at a bunch of horses this week, always in search of ones that might work for our program. Catherine picked up our 2015 order of polos and T-shirts (check out our online store). Melissa took Shooter to a show at the Kentucky Horse Park this weekend. The environment was much more overwhelming to him than the last one. It was outdoors, with multiple surrounding rings, lots of horses, and lots of commotion.  Shooter got frazzled but made it through his two dressage tests as dutifully as could be expected of a frazzled horse.  We were all very proud of our little meteor. Thank you, Melissa!

We worked on our mailing list to send out our “SIPS 'N SADDLES SAVE THE DATE” cards. Mark your calendars now for your summer kickoff bash and barbecue on June 19! (By the way, we are looking for sponsors for this party so that all the proceeds can go directly to the horses’ needs. Please contact us at mmsecretariatcenter@gmail.org if you would like to help). 

For the first time since the horses came back on campus, we put in a steady week of training. Horses got ridden by our riders Molly and Carolyn. Others were bombproofed or lunged.  Some were put in the Hitchcock pen. We treated bumps, scrapes, and rain rot. We did alternative therapies. Interns applied a lot of daily elbow grease currying out dead hair from shaggy coats. We switched horses to new paddocks to rest the ones downtrodden in the first three weeks. 

And we ended the week with a Family Activity Day for the Run the Bluegrass Marathon participants’ families. Planned by all of us, and put into play by our amazing communications interns Sharon and Maggie, the Family Activity Day was an opportunity to educate the public about off-track Thoroughbreds and to advocate for them in a way that was educational and fun. To see the joy in the children's faces when horses greeted them with a warm puff of their nostrils and the parents’ eyes light up with understanding when I explained to them the need for programs such as ours were handsome rewards for all of us.  And we made money, too! Doing something we all believe in and love and making money! Now, that’s not just a normal week, that’s an IDEAL WEEK!
Visitors learned about Thoroughbreds' tattoos.

Jay Z enjoyed meeting all the kids.
Everyone who wanted got to paint a racing plate.
Parents and children joined in our obstacle course races.
Bordeaux our off track warrior (he’s 10 and raced until last year) 
showed off his softer“feminine side to the children.

Cheery bye,

Why is captious highlighted?

Because it is  the Blog Word of the Day:

 Help us reach our goal of 112,000 total blog visitors this year! Join our Word of the Day contest and you could be entered in a grand prize drawing to win a $500 horse credit at the MMSC or a Breyer model of Secretariat signed by Secretariat’s jockey Ron Turcotte! Simply read the blog every Sunday and find the highlighted Word of the Day. Then write a sentence using the word and submit it to mmsc04@gmail.com for a chance to be entered to win! Please read the full contest details below before submitting an entry.
  • Blogs will be posted on Sundays. A chosen word will be highlighted within each blog post.
  • Sentences using the highlighted word must be emailed to mmsc04@gmail.com with the subject line “Word of the Day Contest”.
  • Entries may be submitted each week following a blog post from the posted time through Thursday at 5:00 pm.
  • Winners will be posted on the MMSC Facebook page each Friday following a blog post.
  • Entries must include the highlighted word of the day. The word of the day may be used in other parts of speech other than the one used in the blog, i.e. the highlighted word in the blog may be "malleability" but entrants may use the more common form "malleable" in their sentences.
  • Entries must also include the entrant’s full name (first and last) and email address.
  • Entrants may submit more than one sentence for consideration.
  • Sentences will be judged based on correct use of the word of the day, grammar and sentence structure, and creativity. 
  • Sentences will be judged by the MMSC staff, including MMSC Director Susanna Thomas, MMSC Barn and Media Manager Catherine Flowers, and MMSC Office Manager Lori Tobin.
  • Winners of each word of the day contest throughout the year will be entered in a grand prize drawing to win their choice of either a $500 horse credit toward an MMSC horse available for adoption or a Breyer model of Secretariat signed by Ron Turcotte. To use the $500 horse credit, the winner must become an approved adopter with the MMSC and follow all adoption policies and procedures.
  • The grand prize drawing will be held at the end of the year after Christmas and prior to New Year’s Eve.
  • Disclaimer: This contest does not have a connection with Blogspot or Facebook in any way and is not sponsored, supported, or organized by Blogspot or Facebook. The recipient of the information provided by you is not Blogspot or Facebook but the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center.