From Lauren Floyd, WVS club member:
It’s been a little over a month since I claimed Sevilla Sangria (now nicknamed “Ria”) out of her last race at Timonium. She spent about a week at DeNovo Farm in Maryland before shipping down to a small farm in Mason Neck, Virginia. Ria was on high alert the first few days at DeNovo but never offered to spook. She was just intensely curious about her new environment. She absolutely loves turnout and getting to graze regularly. I knew she was a real sweetheart at the track, thanks to several WVS barn visits. It seems that she’s gotten even kinder and more laid back since her retirement.
Moving to Virginia
Ria has already proven herself to be a very playful, curious horse. She loves to nibble on her lead rope or my t-shirts and has to inspect everything new. I’ve been letting her explore just about everything at her new home in the hopes that things won’t distract her later on when we start more serious work. I also bought her a jolly ball to hang up in her stall for her to play with. Within the first 24 hours, she had played with it so vigorously that she ended up ripping it off the wall and flinging it out of the back window of her stall! Since then, the jolly ball has been hung more securely.
In general, I’ve taken things very slowly with her, but Ria has handled everything like a champ. It took almost no time at all for her to get used to being cross-tied, or for her to learn how to walk at my shoulder on a loose lead rope. (She was a little forward and didn’t follow my lead as much when I first got her).
Ria had her first hot shoeing experience about a week and a half into her retirement and did a great job. She got a little bored at times when the farrier wasn’t working on her directly, but she tried her best. The farrier was very happy with how she handled it. More recently, I’ve been working on teaching her how to lunge properly. After a few sessions, she’s really starting to get the hang of it and isn’t constantly stopping to look at me like “What the heck are you asking me to do?!”
Lots to learn
Ria has also done a really spectacular job with being introduced to new or scary things. At one point, I let her loose in the indoor arena at the farm and did some desensitization work with her and a giant green exercise ball. She couldn’t stop staring at it but only spooked the slightest bit when it rolled towards her the first time. By the end of the night, she was happily eating peppermints off of it and kicking it around the arena. Another night, I was hand grazing her and two separate dogs came up at various points to bark at her. She didn’t bat an eye. Since then, I’ve learned from a previous handler that she has had experience with dogs in the past, but not with barking ones.
We did have a little setback where Ria’s hind pasterns and fetlocks swelled up for a little while and was intermittently lame. I backed off any new groundwork with her while we worked on treating the problems. The vet determined was due to a combination of scratches, rain rot, and some minor foot bruising. The farrier had pulled her back shoes during his initial visit, so it sounds like that probably made her more tender-footed. She does also still need to gain some more weight. I’m working on a feeding regimen that should help bulk her back up.
Later this week, Ria will ship out to Kimberly Godwin Clark’s Leighton Farm in Upper Marlboro for a few weeks to be professionally restarted.
Overall, I’m just so proud of how she’s handled everything. I can’t wait to see how she does with Kim!