Read More About: Bucky B Lucky

Lucky is Making Friends at White Birch Farm

Lucky is ready for his second ride at WBF!

Lucky is ready for his second ride at WBF!

After taking a little break from fostering for us over the winter, we were thrilled when Melonie agreed to take Lucky on as her next project. So far, he’s fit right in at White Birch Farm and Melonie reports that she loves working with him If you haven’t yet, go “like” her page on Facebook. You can follow along with Lucky and all the goings on at her farm. A huge thanks to Melonie for donating her training time to keep this guy going!

About his arrival:

“Lucky has arrived!  He is safe and sound.  Came out of the trailer a little wide eyed and bushy tailed, but we marched him straight to his stall, as it was bring-in time anyway.  Sunday morning, he was the first to go out.  He pranced around his new pasture (wow, how fancy!) then settled in nicely for the day.  His pasture is right next to Penny and the goats, so he will have lots to talk about du…ring the day.  The chickens and peacocks even visit his pasture frequently. When I brought him in, he got a little excited, not knowing where everyone was going, without him!  Even in his excitement, he listened to me, didn’t try to run me over.  This is an important character in a horse, especially a large horse like Lucky.  We walked quietly to his stall. The thing that has struck me about this horse so far, as I haven’t had the opportunity to ride yet or spend a lot of time with him, is the kindness in his eyes.  There’s just a gentleness there that’s hard to explain.  Something you can see, but really you can feel it even more. The story shall continue…”

Getting to know his work-ethic:

Had my first session with Lucky last night!  I didn’t ride him, as it was blowing and dusk, but he lunged beautifully.  What a gorgeous mover that boy is.  My plan is to ride today.  Totally excited!”

Basically the ride was uneventful.…which is great!  He did everything I asked, with a good attitude, and was so much fun to ride.  He pretty much opened his mouth and told me to put the bit in!  Then away we went.  Now it’s time for Ride No. 2!”

Three great rides on Lucky this week.  Each day we’re getting to know each other better and better.  What a fun horse.”

Here’s what Melonie had to say about Lucky after Sunday’s ride:

What a nice, nice horse.  He really hasn’t given me a bit of trouble.  I sat down into the canter today, really hugged him but good with my legs, touched him with my spur, it was alllll good, even better for it!  He has a big canter.  But he’s balanced for such a big horse.  Still in the getting-to-know-you phase.  I left him in the cross-tie tonight while I prepped the hay, perfect gentleman.  Stood there like a Rock Star.  Perfect manners in the barn. ”


Training Update for Bucky B Lucky!

Lucky has had a recent change of scenery, moving from Dutch Mills Farm up to White Birch Farm, where he will continue his under saddle work with trainer Melonie Rainey. We would like to thank Helga Roberts at Dutch Mills for everything she’s done for Lucky during his stay there. She’s been his trainer, his advocate, and his friend, and we know that she will miss him a lot. We’re also grateful to Melonie for once again offering to help a SAFE horse and we hope that he will find a permanent home soon.

Helga gave us this update on Lucky after his recent move:
Lucky is continuing his education as a dressage horse. He is a wonderful mover who has gaits that will definitely get you noticed in the dressage ring. At this stage in his training, he is definitely ready for a confident rider who is looking for a super fun horse to take to shows, clinics and maybe a trail or two! He is a perfect gentleman in the barn and outside, easy to handle, bathe, clip and groom. Walk/trot/canter both directions, leg yields and has started some lateral movements. 

Lucky enjoys daily turn-out and I think this is very important for any horse to have the ability to spend several hours a day outside. Like many other OTTBs I have worked with, Lucky is a breeze to deal with, as long as he is worked regularly and fairly. Truthfully even when he had several weeks off (through no fault of his own!) he didn’t change one bit as far as handling goes. I lunged him one day and got back on the next day, without having lost any training. He is really a joy to be around!

If you like them tall dark and handsome, this might be your man!

Bucky B Lucky day at the races

Emerald Downs invited members of SAFE to come down to the track today and set up a table. We asked and were granted permission to bring Sunny and Shasta along for the day as well. It was the mini’s first visit to a race track, but they decided to try their luck at handicapping the races and even printed up their Hot-To-Trot pick sheet to share with other racegoers. I ponied up $10 for them to use to place their bets, and after a slow start, they managed to pick 2 winners out of 9 races and end the day with $9.20, which they promptly donated to SAFE.

Sunny, in particular, was fascinated by the race horses, and watched them closely as they came down the stretch. He even nickered and whinnied at them as they went by. Jet captured this adorable moment on video where he actually tried to take off and follow them to the finish line!

Jeannette and I were interviewed by Comcast SportNet in the paddock between races, giving us the opportunity to fill people in on Bucky B Lucky’s current training status, and also to tell everyone about Portland and the other Thoroughbreds that SAFE has helped along the way. The interview was broadcast live between race 3 and 4, and we hope to have a tape of it that we can share with those of you who weren’t watching.

A big thank you to Shelby, Anna, and Denise for helping deliver and take care of the mini horses today. The girls braided and brushed the minis and then led them around to meet their new fans. Thank you also to Lynn Mazer for spending the day with us talking about horses and taking photos for us! The visit was cut short by thunder, lightening, and a downpour of cold rain, but we enjoyed our time at the track nonetheless. Thank you to Emerald Downs for inviting us out and for supporting Bucky B Lucky!

Where Are They Now” starring Bucky B Lucky

Lucky at the SAFE Benefit Horse Show!

Lucky came to the SAFE Horse Show with Helga Roberts and the team from Dutch Mills Farm. Upon his arrival, he found the show environment to be somewhat electrifying, but after about an hour of handwalking to give him the opportunity to look at all the activity, he calmed down enough for Helga to ride him. He did two dressage tests — one in the Indoor arena in front of judge Paige Ruehl, the other in the outdoor court in front of judge Sonja Vracko. He scored 65% on his Intro C test — good enough for 3rd place — and a 61.667 on Training Level 1, which got him 4th place in the class. All in all it was a good outing for our Lucky.

At the show, Lucky was reunited with his former owners from Emerald Downs, Jan and Keith Swaggerty of SWAG Stables. The Swaggertys lost Bucky B Lucky to a claim, but played an instrumental part in helping Jet Parrett get him out of the auction where he landed and into the hands of SAFE. It was a touching reunion. The Swaggertys will be joining us in September when Emerald Downs debuts their feature video “Where Are They Now” about Bucky B Lucky, stay tuned for more information about that upcoming event.

Here are some photos from the show, taken by photographer Bobbie Climer:

Lucky Training Update

Lucky loves Allison

Lucky loves Allison

Lucky continues to do well in his work with Helga Roberts at Dutch Mills Farm. Recently she had this to say about his behavior and his attitude:

“Lucky has been at my barn since the beginning of June and has not shown ANY bad barn behavior. He gets turned out every day, from 7am until about 3pm, he is super friendly with the other horses, respects the hot wire and has been nothing but a good boy to lead from the barn to pastures and back. He has stood like a champ in the cross-ties and has been good for bathing, he was better than several other horses in the barn for the shoer! I can go in his stall to put a blanket on if I want, I can even turn my back on him and never, not once has he tried to bite me or kick me. I will never say any one horse will absolutely NOT bite — never say never — but Lucky has not shown ANY dangerous behavior. He is a super boy in his stall: cleaning it is a breeze as he poops on one pile and pees right next to it, LOVE it! While in the arena, he is still green, doesn’t always do exactly what was asked (might try to turn when not asked) he might put his head up (think giraffe!) and sometimes he doesn’t move off my leg. Is that really all that bad? Most days at least one horse that I ride will try one of these behaviors, and then just you explain that that is NOT what you are looking for. That is what TRAINING a horse means: you explain, they ask questions, you explain again, they will test to make sure that is what you mean, you explain again. Simple as that. Is Lucky a saint? NO, I am sure that if left bored he would find something to do, but even when he had a week off he didn’t turn into a devil!”

AT Sunday’s Open House, we had the pleasure of meeting a couple of Helga’s students, one of who told us that whenever Helga rides Lucky, everyone in the barn just stops and stares, his movement is so beautiful! We can’t wait to see Lucky & Helga in action at the SAFE show!!

Lucky training update

Bucky B Lucky was moved into foster care with Helga Roberts at Dutch Mills Farm to continue his dressage training. We just got this wonderful update from Helga and we’re really pleased that he’s doing so well for her! SAFE is so fortunate to have Helga working with our horses and we know that Lucky will benefit immensely from working with her.

Lucky has been here now for just a little over 2 weeks, the first week he just got to hang out in the turnout and eats lots of grass! He immediately bonded with his neighbor, Auburn Express, who is also a bay OTTB, but a bit smaller than Lucky, and about the same age. Who knows, maybe they knew each other from the track! Lucky settled right in, he has been nothing but friendly in his stall, loves to be groomed and even though sometimes he doesn’t always pay perfect attention, leads well. He stands in the cross-ties like a champ and had his farrier appointment today; he stood perfect and was a pleasure for the farrier the whole time! He has been super good on the lunge line, never pulling, always picking up the correct leads.

Under saddle he did check to make sure that I REALLY wanted him to go forward (tried to stop a few times) but after some persuasive kicks he has been a willing partner. He is not spooky at all, doesn’t look at the horses next to the arena and even though he feels green as far as steering goes he is perfectly ok with trying anything! His canter needs some work, as he wants to break out of it on occasion, but that too, I am sure, will come along quickly. He has not once offered to rear or buck, he really hasn’t done anything naughty besides the usual “test-period.” So far, everyone in the barn quite likes the tall dark guy! I am hoping to bring him to the SAFE show to ride him in some dressage tests!

Before leaving SAFE Harbor Stables, Lucky was ridden a few times by Marita E who is a dressage rider and a friend of SAFE trainer Brittney Stewart. Marita had this to say about Lucky:

I had the pleasure of helping Brittney ride him for a short time and I have to say that I am so envious of whoever winds up with Lucky! He is such a special, talented horse and a good guy all around.

Lucky and Kat Go on a Trail Ride

Lucky and Kat enjoyed a trail ride today at the Redmond Watershed. Lucky might not have been out on the trails before, but he handled the 2 hour ride like a pro. Brittney shot this video while riding him on a completely loose rein.

Lucky and Kat crossed at least 6 different bridges and took turns leading the way. Lucky was a good boy who did not balk at one bridge, but did look at a few fallen logs with a skeptical eye, but Brittney had him on the buckle for a majority of the ride.

Bucky B Lucky Videos

Assessing Bucky B Lucky

Bucky B Lucky

Bucky B Lucky was returned to SAFE nearly two months ago. His previous adopter had many ups and downs with him, but in the end, returned him to us citing behavioral problems including rearing under saddle and striking on the ground. From the information we were able to gather about his time as an adopted horse, it seemed that for the most part, he was well behaved while in steady training and work, and problematic when allowed too much free time and not enough discipline. These observations have held up with the behaviors we’ve seen from him since he arrived at SAFE Harbor. When he’s good, he’s very good, but he’s bad, he can be pretty naughty.

Lucky has some very bad habits that he likes to pull on the ground. He bit our trainer, Brittney, when she turned her back on him in his stall, and he’s shown a real talent for cow kicking in the cross ties on more than one occasion. He’s been quickly and strongly reprimanded for these behaviors, but the last time he tried to cow kick Brittney he let out a little TB squeal as he did it, like he was playing gelding games with another horse. Again, it was quickly made very clear to him that that was NOT acceptable, but we all know that he’s going to continue to test and challenge the people who handle him because that is what some young, lively Thoroughbreds do. Lesson learned: don’t turn your back on him, and don’t let your guard down around him.

Under saddle, Lucky has quite a bit of talent, and has the potential to be successful in the dressage arena. But he’s not an easy ride, especially if his rider wants to correct him or adjust his preferred way of going. For example, Brittney rode him today and at the beginning of the ride, he was moving crookedly with his haunches to right, popping his right shoulder and trying to root at the reins. When Brittney made a few tweaks to get him into a straighter frame, he threw a big fuss about it. She stood up to him and told him no a few times, and then he relented…ending his temper tantrum and allowing her to readjust him little by little until he was moving straighter and using his body more correctly. By the end of the ride, he was swinging out and starting to lift his back. Brittney ended up with better movement from him than she was expecting, and they ended the ride with Lucky moving like a lovely, enjoyable dressage horse.

Brittney is an experienced rider, and she’s known many dressage horses who require a “discussion” before submitting to their rider’s direction and giving their best under saddle. Sometimes this means a sweaty, exhausting ride or lesson, but in the end, horses learn what they can and can’t get away with. Lucky’s ride today was a challenge but Brittney will ride him three more times this week and she predicts that things will be better each time. The mistake would be letting him get away with bad behavior. She feels pretty certain that if she did, he’d be back to trying to rear in no time. He’s a horse that needs a strong and confident rider, someone who can make things very clear to him and set him up for success under saddle.

We’ll be making a decision soon about offering Lucky up for adoption, and we’ll likely be looking for an experienced rider who is willing and able to keep this horse in training and keep him on the straight and narrow. For the right person, Bucky B Lucky will make a great mount and a great friend. He’s a Thoroughbred, after all, with the heart of a champion and the body of an athlete. He’s also a lot of horse!

We’ve gotten the word today that Emerald Downs, where Bucky B Lucky raced, wants to feature him in an upcoming segment called “Where are they now?” If you’re not already familiar with Lucky’s story, there is a very moving account of his rescue from the auction Kill Pen written by Jeannette Parrett called Super (Horse) Saver. He was also the subject of an article in the Seattle Times called Rescue Groups Save Racehorses from Slaughterhouses and a KCTS-TV9 feature called “Stable to Table.”