OTTB Krazy Koffee brings gift of sanity – Part 2

Krazy Koffee cross-country schooling

Canadian, Robyn Zimmer, shares her story about Krazy Koffee, a Canadian bred, big-winning OTTB, that joined her life when she needed him most. 

OTTB Krazy Koffee brings gift of sanity – Part 1

 

September 2010 – Krazy Koffee retires from racing.
Krazy Koffee had started to slow down in his 5-year-old, year of racing so it was decided to retire him sound and with his dignity intact.  In 2008, he was named British Columbia Horse of the Year and was given a full retirement ceremony at Hastings Park racetrack, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

His retirement ceremony 

From racetrack to dressage barn
Krazy Koffee was given to Canadian Olympic dressage rider Leslie Reid.  Leslie is based out of her own stable, Top Fox Equestrian Center in Langley, BC, Canada.  As Koffee was fresh off the track and ‘race track high’ Leslie had her working student, Chelsea, work with Koffee.  Chelsea told me that Koffee was so ‘up’ that she could only work with him in the round pen for a quite a long time.

It was soon decided that Koffee was not a horse for Leslie and she generously gave him to Chelsea.  Leslie was very grateful to have been given Koffee.  Chelsea was and still is a very good friend of the Goertzen family. Therefore the decision for Koffee to go to Chelsea was a smooth transition.  Chelsea moved from Leslie’s barn to a different barn with Koffee.  Chelsea put in those slow, patient, countless hours that thoroughbreds need when they come directly off of the track.  Chelsea had Koffee for over a year and then an opportunity go to Spain for missionary work presented itself.  She could not keep Koffee and needed to sell him.  She contacted my mom to let her know that Koffee had to be sold.

 

Koffee during his racing days.

Koffee during his racing days.

 

Not a ‘boring’ purchase
In November 2011, I went and sat on Koffee for the first time.  I reported back to my mom that he was beautiful and that Chelsea had done a lovely job with his dressage, yet I felt he was a bit ‘boring’.  I said this because he was so quiet and nice.  I had grown up training wild horses (I preferred them), and I was always the one called to ride the horse that bucked or bolted. I felt that Koffee was slightly boring, so because of this I agreed to help Chelsea sell him.  My mom and I also felt that this could NOT possibly be ‘the horse’ since I had just made a list of what I wanted in a horse and he did not seem to check off all of the boxes. We thought it would be wise for to help Chelsea sell him while she was away.

Chelsea shipped him to my farm in Armstrong, BC in the beginning of December with the intention that Koffee was for sale.  Once Koffee was at my place I soon found out that indeed Koffee was not boring at all and that what I was feeling were traits of kindness, willingness, rideability, and an honest soul.  I fell in love in less than two weeks.  I purchased Koffee in December 2011.

Meet the breeder
My mom and I met Chelsea and Butch Goertzen (Koffee’s breeder & past owner) at Butch’s farm in Chilliwack, BC.  I was able to see where Koffee was born and raised. Butch had built a huge building on the farm for gatherings with much of the money that Koffee won to entertainr family, friends, and his church. High up on the front of the building there was a sign that read “Koffee’s Gym”.  Butch told me about how Koffee got his name and how he would have anxiety in the barns before the race but when they lead him out to the track he would always have to stop and stand for about two to five minutes to just look around.  Not just once but every time he raced.  It was something that Koffee did.

It was a special experience to be able to meet and spend time with the owner of an OTTB.  To really get to know the history of the thoroughbred racehorse gives one extra insight into the horse you are working with.  It is clear that Koffee was very much loved and was part of the Goertzen family and not ‘just another horse’.

First time cross country – Koffee definitely is ‘not boring’
As I pulled into the cross-country schooling field for the first time my trailer was rocking and banging sounds were echoing for miles, thanks to Koffee. He was very anxious.

I unloaded the soaked in sweat Thoroughbred from my trailer.  Super.  Starting off with a sweaty horse.  Oh well.  I will tied him up to the trailer and let him relax a bit so he could dry off.  Yeah right.  Of course he would not stand still.  He was ‘being a fish’, like when a fish is caught and it is up on shore flailing about, tail flopping from one side to the other side. With my mom in front of him trying to stop the fish movements, I had to tack him up as he wiggled around. Tacking up a horse in motion is very tricky, try getting the girth on as your saddle is slipping off…  Making matters worse is I am 5’3” and Koffee is 17 hh.

Of course I was calling out in a deep voice, “Koffee, stand still.  Koffffeee, sttaaaannndd!!  Kofffffeee, you don’t need to have anxiety – you are going cross country – I think you will love it – so stand still, pleeeeeaaaseee. ”   He mustered up the focus to stand still for roughly two seconds and off he went again.  My mom saying, “Hurry up, just get the tack on!”

I was sweating, dripping with it as if I was running a marathon.  Both Koffee and I were now drenched in sweat.   At this point I did not care – I had the tack on – challenge complete.  Then I was thinking, to lunge or not to lunge him? I had a strange feeling to just get on. I climbed on. He stood still and took a HUGE breath. He did not move. Most wild horses are a volcano ready to erupt, if this one erupted, I’m likely dead. He calmly took a look around, taking in all of his surroundings in the cross country field, scanning the field as though it was his.

 

Cross-country is natural for Koffee.

Cross-country is natural for Koffee.

The actual cross-country school was brilliant.  Water, banks, ditches, logs were all very easy to him.  He loved the water jump.  This horse is not boring.  Natural balance, huge gallop, jumps out of stride, and an over all affinity for cross-country.  All of this is the exact opposite of boring.

After returning from schooling, I untacked and he stood quietly at the trailer, appearing content with himself; calm, quiet and proud. I put my hand on his neck and quietly said to him, “What do you think Koffee?  That was cross-country.  Do you want to be an event horse?”

My mom and I packed up, loaded Koffee, and headed home, horse trailer rocking and banging all of the way.  I felt refueled and inspired for the future. Reflecting back on the day I sh00k my head and said to myself (and to my mom), “Wow what a wonderful horse I have.  He is an incredible athlete on cross-country but he also has quirks and his quirks don’t bother me.   We just work it out. We fit. That is when you know you have the right horse. And oh yes – definitely not boring!”

krazy koffee cross country schooling first bank jump

 

Check back as Robyn will be sharing her progress with Krazy Koffee on a regular basis…

 

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