Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

Extreme makeover Thoroughbred edition

  I love OTTBs– getting a new one is like getting a package under the Christmas tree. You’re filled with hope, excitement, and anticipation of what could be in that mystery box. Such is how I feel when turning over rocks, poking into corners, and stumbling upon what *could be* a future nice horse. Of course, when that new horse steps off the racetrack, there may be some doubts. The skinny, scrawny, awkward animal is a long way from the average image of a dream horse. You squint, close one eye (or both), to try to imagine what that rack…

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Friday’s Five – Tips to help riders of all levels find horse owners

  You do not need to have an Olympic appearance on your record to seek out ownership support. There are many individuals who would be interested in joining your team and supporting your riding journey even if you are not targeting a four-star in the near future. But when you head out looking for owners you need to forget the traditional model of ownership – a wealthy individual already steeped in Eventing culture – and broaden your horizons to bring new people into the sport. People who would get satisfaction and enjoyment from being part of a sports team and watching a…

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Struggling to master the Monster – Retraining a tough OTTB

  Meet the Monster Earlier this year, I began training a 6yo OTTB gelding who shows a lot of talent. As with most “fresh meat” off the track, he has a lot of habits to unlearn and develop a new way of going. However, he’s turned out to be one of my most challenging restarts… waist-deep into the process, I’m starting to see glimmers of hope; but there have definitely been days when I wonder if he will EVER get better! Standing 17.1 and weighing about 1400lbs, he is, as I call him, a “Monster.” He has huge bone, a…

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The story of Shezagreatgal – A calculated risk to breed top eventers

  As most of you loyal readers know, I’m a TB freak. I go to the sales for my own entertainment and data collection, trying to hone my eye and get a feel for what pedigrees look like in the flesh. Years of working and riding TBs, gathering information and dedicated study has led me to form some theories, and I’ve definitely zeroed in on “my type” of horse, and the bloodlines that might produce it. Still, it’s one thing to postulate, and another thing entirely to back it up with proof. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when…

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Do you have what it takes to compete through the winter without heading South?

  As the holiday season approaches, and with oncoming cold weather, the northern eventing population reaches a divide:  Those who go south, and those who stay north. Generally, it is the professionals and high-level competitors who pack up the barn and make the trip south seeking warmer weather and the early-bird show season.  If your goal is a spring CCI, it’s pretty much mandatory that you begin your preparation in February or March, with a choice of qualifying competitions ranging from South Carolina, to Georgia, to Florida.  Eventers with the time and financial ability base themselves out of Aiken or Ocala…

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Seven step guide to plan next year’s competition season like a pro – from Goresbridge Go For Gold

  The Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale of pre-selected event horses has been the success story of recent years. Now heading into its ninth renewal, the sale has truly achieved its aim of bringing together Ireland’s best young event horses to one venue for one sale. Goresbridge Go For Sold Sale (November 12-13th) : [Website] [Catalogue] [Performance footage]   For most of us in North America, the 2018 eventing season has wrapped up.  Our horses are enjoying a little down time– some longer than others, depending on your winter climate.  Still, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next season.  Since I’m…

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It’s time… Brace yourself for body clipping season – from Goresbridge Go For Gold

  The Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale of pre-selected event horses has been the success story of recent years. Now heading into its ninth renewal, the sale has truly achieved its aim of bringing together Ireland’s best young event horses to one venue for one sale. Goresbridge Go For Sold Sale (November 12-13th) : [Website] [Catalogue] [Performance footage]   It’s that time of year. Actually, it’s a little early for that time of year. Nonetheless, it has to be done. What am I talking about? The dreaded chore of body clipping. If you have a horse competing at fall events…

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Six things you better know before riding your new OTTB

  Each year, lots of racing thoroughbreds find their way into new homes and new careers. There are two schools of thought when a horse steps off the racetrack: turn ’em out, or get on with riding Prior to my experience in the Thoroughbred industry, I was a member of the “turn ’em out” crowd. I figured it would be best for the horse to “detox” and enjoy a month or more of turnout, relaxing and just being a horse. I assumed all the horse knew was running, and I wanted to put some distance (time) between that association before…

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The unofficial guide for bringing your dog to horse shows

  See those lovely labradors in the photo?  You might think they belong to me.  They don’t.  They belong to the trailer parked next to me at a horse trial, and were tied up on a cable about 25 feet long.  Tied to the bumper of the truck, parked about 25 feet from my trailer.  Most of the morning, I didn’t see them (though I certainly heard the barking).  However, right as I was tacking up for show jumping, the dogs ran out past the rear of my horse trailer as another leashed dog walked by, stretching the cable to…

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Are Thoroughbreds becoming better sport horses?

  If you’re a Thoroughbred aficionado like me, you get more than a little irritated at the often-repeated line that “the modern Thoroughbred is not built for sport… they’re all downhill…they don’t make them like they used to… the breed has CHANGED!…” and so on and so forth. Usually spouted by someone with a warmblood import, looking down their nose at you as you’re browsing CANTER. Tamping down my anger, I’ve given up trying to change their minds because it’s no use… but I wish I could share with them some of my knowledge and first-hand experience. While I’m a…

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