Meet the thoroughbreds

My big goal for 2017 is to take two horses to the 2017 thoroughbred makeover competition in Kentucky.  I’m going to be blogging about the process as a fun way to document the kinds of things I like doing with the horses I have in training.

So who are these two horses I want to take to Kentucky?  Meet full brothers Olympic Blue (b. 2010) and Olympic Maize (b. 2012). 

Aren’t they adorable?  They belong to Mark and Ann Janlois.  The couple purchased Blue as their first horse and raced him for three years.  They liked him so much that they purchased his full brother in hopes that he would be just as fast.

Olympic Blue had a solid career on the track, and while I don’t know much about racing yet, his owners have been educating me.  Some stats I’ve heard are that he won 9 times in 38 starts, making about $200,000.  He was a grade two stakes horse ranked 22nd in the nation out of 28,000 horses.  I might have said some of that wrong, but you get the idea.  Olympic Blue was a serious racehorse.

Little brother, Olympic Maize, wasn’t  so fast.  He raced once or twice, but would give up after four furlongs.  He didn’t win anything.

When their racing careers ended, the brothers headed back to the farm where they were born.  Mark and Ann had decided to keep them as pets.  Some of the gals at the farm played with them a little bit while they were there, maybe doing some Parelli training.  They didn’t get ridden much at all, which is good for me.  In order to be eligible for the thoroughbred makeover, candidate horses need to have 15 or fewer post tack rides before January 1, 2017.

Mark and Ann enjoyed visiting their pets, but they were struggling with the 70 miles commute to see them.  They started looking for a place to board the brothers closer to their home.  One of the gals who had been playing with the brothers at the farm had met the Parelli trainer at the barn I work out of, and sent them this way.  Mark and Ann loved Indian Hills, but found that my program was more what they were looking for.

Mark and Ann want their retired racers to be happy.  They understand that for horses, that means having a job.  They were attracted  to my varied program as an opportunity for the brothers to pick their own discipline.  As Santa Clara University alumni, they were excited that their horses might get to be part of the dressage team I coach one day.

So that’s how the brothers got from the track to my barn.  

A New Goal

Recently, I obtained a sponsorship from Custom Saddlery.  As part of the deal, I had to provide a photo of me riding in a Custom along with a short biography.  The photo part was no problem, thanks to my friendship with up and coming equine photographer, Kathy Colman. The short biography, however, was proving to be more difficult.

I consulted my Custom Saddlery representative, Robyn Drake, and she gave me some advice.  She said the bio should be anything I wanted people to know about me.  It could be about the horse I’m riding, where I’m based, or my goals.  

So my immediate reaction to that was more confusion.  In following the criteria listed my biography looked something like this,

“Ali is based in the hills above silicon valley. She’s pictured on Lafitte. He had a fantastic career as a four year old, but everything got tenser and more explosive after that. Ali’s current goals are to learn how to get horses to come to her, figure out a two rein hold with a bosalita and bit, and get better at teaching horses flying changes”
Yeah, not exactly worthy of continued sponsorship from a major dressage saddle company. Luckily for me, and my excessive facebook habit, an algorithm put an ad for the Retired Racehorse Projecf on my feed.  I thought to myself, I’ve got two thoroughbreds in training who are eligible for their Thoroughbred Makeover competition…. After a brief chat with their excited owners, I have a new goal for 2017, and inspiration for a suitable bio!

With some help from Sarah Senn, this is the bio I ended up submitting, “Ali Kermeen is a USDF silver and bronze medalist, multiple all-breeds awards winner, and L graduate with distinction. She has been certified as a US eventing association instructor, and CHA Master instructor

Based in Milpitas, CA, the tip of the silicon valley, Ali enjoys teaching clients of all ages and abilities in a cross section of disciplines. She coaches the Santa Clara University dressage team and is also very involved with pony club.

Ali’s ongoing goal is to continue to improve communication with all her horses through meaningful and mindful interactions. In 2017, she is hoping to take two horses to Kentucky for the Retired Race Horse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover competition.”

That looks better, right?  So I’m serious about this competition (I sure hope my application is selected) , and I’ve seen enough makeover shows to know that documentation of the process is important.  I’m going to get serious about posting to this blog.  Janet Sturgill has set me up with a cool way of integrating it on my website, so here we go!