Melissa Cavan loves her OTTB Bato Loco aka "Tux". Click on this image to see more Bato Loco photos in his photo gallery.

December was full of new experiences for Tux (aka Bato Loco) and me.

We went on our first field trip to another farm to ride. He loaded beautifully; however, he whinnied the entire drive. I wonder if he thought I was sending him back to the track! We were both nervous, but I think we did very well for our maiden getaway.

The first trip off-the-farm can be very upsetting for an off-the-track Thoroughbred. He has just begun to settle in to his new career and he is being loaded back into a trailer. To him, that means moving to another track. Do lots of short fun trips until your OTTB learns that he is not ever going back to the track again. – Elizabeth

Tux became quite a sourpuss for about a week after our adventure. He was cranky in the pasture, in his stall, and even when I rode him. I checked his temperature, watched him eat, looked for lameness, and (luckily) couldn’t find anything wrong. Winter blues?

I decided he needed something to relax him, but also perk up his interest. Trail ride! Following a trusted friend, Tux happily crossed ditches, stepped over logs, and walked through creeks. I love this horse. He is ready for anything! Bye bye sourpuss.

One day, we trotted crossrails. With flower boxes! Tux loved it. His ears were pricked up, so attentive. I love his enthusiasm.

Another day, close to the end of a hard workout, Tux decided now was the time to get back to the barn. Cantering towards the fence, he fought me, trying to go left. I was doing all I could to continue right. Neither of us giving in, we continued somewhat straight and Tux put on the brakes at the very last second. My brakes didn’t work as well as his & I came off. Ouch! Not seriously hurt, this was a good reminder to ALWAYS wear a helmet and carry a phone with you. I walked him to the roundpen and finished up with an exceptional groundwork session. Needless to say, we will continue working on “listening to aids” in 2009!

I love my horse!

Here’s looking to a great year!

Melissa Cavan
Athletic Wear for the Athletic Horse
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Always wear a helmet when riding and it is good to have a cell phone on you – especially when trail riding. Most cell phones can have the 911 emergency locator feature set so that it is always available or just when 911 is dialed. I always keep mine on in case I fall off and I am unable to call for help.