Tebogo Training Journal Blog

Join the Tebogo Sport Horses team and our extra-special off track thoroughbreds as we train them for second careers in eventing, hunters and jumpers, or even as trail horses and then find them great new owners. Subscribe to the blog to to follow our horses’ progress in training and as they compete at horse trials, recognized events, and shows.

The Final Batch

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Training Journal |

IMAG0106_1Perhaps you’ve heard that Tebogo Sport Horses as we know it is coming to an end. This is true. And to some extent we are as surprised as anyone else. We’ve enjoyed our most successful year to date. We have a barn full of exceptional prospects. Things were humming along and there was even talk of making some capital investments (the dream four-horse trailer!). But then – what’s the old cliche – life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

An unexpected opportunity – a truly remarkable one – presented itself to my husband David Vos. The genius tribe at Google tracked Dave down to the barn here at Tebogo and requested he come out retirement to lead an exciting new program out of their Google [x] division. Project Wing is nothing short of a dream challenge for Dave and one that the rest of us can get excited about as well. It’s a cool project on its own but the implication of Google’s involvement in the unmanned air vehicle arena gives the project vast and far reaching promise. Think – the Jetsons! Okay, maybe that’s just my non-engineering interpretation –  but still! It’s very cool. So, go Dave! Go Project Wing!

The catch (there’s always a catch) is the job requires him to be in California, ie the other side of our fair country. While today’s technologies allow him to do some of the work from our home farm in Virginia the fact is he needs to be there – a lot. And while I’m the fairly independent type of wife, who after nearly 25 years of marriage to a go-getter, on the move type of guy, has gotten fairly used to life on my own, running a business like Tebogo on my own seemed…less fun. Dave doesn’t do much in terms of the day to day operations of Tebogo. And yet he is key. Not to mention, I would really like to go join him in California when possible – as in, ALL of winter.

I was going to attempt to power through and do some east coast-west coast commuting while keeping the Tebogo ship afloat. But it soon became clear that it’s a ship that needs 24/7/365 management. Horses, being horses, do not take well to being anything but a top priority. We have always believed in doing everything at the 110 percent level here at Tebogo. Fifty percent was not even going to come close.

team tebogoWhile it was not a decision we took lightly, the more we moved forward with the plan to dissolve Tebogo the more it became clear it was the right decision. The crew here are all landing well –  not just on their feet but nailing those landings in a 10.0 fashion. Paige Cade will be going to work for Kitty and John Barker of Eight Oaks Farm so she’ll be heading to Wellington this winter then back to their Unison, Virginia headquarters in the spring. Martin Douzant will be opening his own training and sales barn right here in The Plains, VA. He’ll specialize in breaking and training young horses for show jumping and eventing. Seeing their incredible successes here at Tebogo, watching them work on a daily basis, and knowing well their impressive work-ethic and capacity for cheerful hard work, I predict that both Paige and Martin are destined for great things in the horse world. I was lucky to tap into their youthful, unjaded love of horses and their pure natural talent. And now I’m proud to see them go on to honestly bigger and better things.

But no one leaves until the horses do!! We have eight wonderful prospects in our barn now and just about all of them are ready to rock and roll with their new people. We are working hard to make sure they are all sold by December 1 which is when Paige and Martin both depart on their new adventures. We have every intention of selling this final batch by that date. Whatever is not sold by then will be sent out to be sold at which time their prices will go up. Arumagon right confo

We’ve been updating our website as quickly as possible as these boys progress. Nearly all of them have been started over fences, most have gone on field trips, and the ones we think have “eventer” written on them have all tackled the eventer trifecta (ditch, bank, water).  Have a look. Be sure to check our Tebogo YouTube Page. Let us know if you have any questions. Come have a try. We look forward to visiting with you – our final customers!

I promise one more sappy, goodbye blog once all is said and done. I have a long, long list of people to thank before I leave. After all, don’t forget that Tebogo means “we are grateful.” And indeed, I am very, very grateful.


Winter is Over

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Training Journal |

This winter was trying. It was long. It was cold. It was snowy (and icy and windy.) It was hard. But now, winter is over and we are celebrating.

Unlike our friends and associates who head to Ocala and Aiken this winter, the gang at Tebogo (foolishly) decided to power through here in Virginia. How bad could it be, we figured. We’re in Virginia. We have an indoor.


Paige with Sherrill’s Hero (Stuart) schooling at Morningside.

And good thing too for that indoor since we got to know the details of the inside of that indoor really really well. We made the most of it. We built grids that were fun and interesting and educational for our horses. We got out every single moment possible – heading with trailers full to the horse shows at the Virginia Horse Center. As soon as Morningside Training Farm was open we were there – to school and to compete. As a testament to the force of will that we see in Paige and Martin we kept the whole thing going.

And as a testament to people’s will to buy horses in the face of such weather-related nonsense we sold a number of our prospects this winter – Signify, Ball Park World, Lift, Chris’s Symphony, Misty Galaxy and Legendary Bravery all left for their fantastic new homes in Virginia Beach, Maryland, Colorado and Ohio.

nolo confo right2

Nolo, one of our beautiful new prospects

Filling those shoes was not easy but we searched and found some bloody nice horses if I say so myself – Nolo, Jeep, Dillon, and Stuart got some time off to relax after their time at the track and now, fortunately coinciding with this beautiful spring – they are ready to rock.

In other words, we powered through. And after months of all that – we are no worse for wear. And we are very ready to move on.

What next? We’ve already started the event season with a bang with Martin and his own horse. Uno de Moulinet, winning their first American horse trial. Some of our more made prospects are ready for their big move ups – Matintrumps (Avery) will move up to Training Level at Fair Hill. Nine Links, who also spent a lot of time winning this winter at the 1.10m level jumpers, will move up as we point him to the 5-year old young jumper development classes this spring and summer. And the younger, fresher, greener prospects will start heading out for field trips, unrecognized events, local schooling shows and the like as we introduce them to their new lives.

So next week look for Paige at Culpeper HITS and Martin at Fair Hill and then all of us for a fun outing at Loudoun Pony Club Horse Trials as we round out April and start looking toward the next steps, the next shows, the next horses. Like the seasons, we’ll keep rolling along.

A Quick Word about Pricing

Posted by on Jan 25, 2014 in Training Journal |

You may notice that, like many other sport horse websites, we do not list prices on our sale horses.Bandini Tebogo planl

There are many reasons for not doing so, the most relevant one being that prices on green but quickly maturing horses tend to change rather quickly. Horses who come here know next to nothing, but with the right attitude and basic abilities (and we chose them to come so equipped) they advance rapidly. A green horse costs one thing. A horse who knows a thing or two costs a bit more. A horse who has gone and successfully competed, that much more. And these milestones are sometimes met in a timeframe that doesn’t always allow for timely updating of a website.

That being said we do have a average sale price so as a guideline for those searching our site we thought it would be worthwhile mentioning it. The vast majority of horses here at Tebogo are offered for sale between $15,000 and $25,000. Occasionally a horse here sells for more or less than that range but those are mostly the exceptions rather than the rule.

There is a range of factors that go into pricing a horse and certainly the sport horse market employs a particularly fickle and somewhat unpredictable meter for measuring worth. But in the end, the market is a fairly good reckoner and like most horse sellers we are students of that market.

If you are coming to Tebogo to shop for your next prospect you will be shown horses that have been meticulously chosen for our program. As we’ve written here before – the process is almost extreme in its nature. We see and try dozens of horses for each one we decide to vet. And of the ones that we vet only about a third to a quarter pass our rigorous vetting process. We seek specific bloodlines that we have had good experiences with. We avoid conformational faults. If they have stable vices we disclose them.

By the time a Tebogo prospect makes the big move on our website from the “Coming Soon”  to the “For Sale” section we have made the determination that the horse is a legitimate prospect for whatever its chosen discipline. If we’re marketing an event horse we’re confident it is happy cantering across terrain and jumping solid obstacles. Ditches, banks and water have all been checked off. Dressage is not a nightmare of ill matched expectations (some horses are deeply offended by life in the little white box.) If we’re marketing a show jumper or hunter we have at the very least gone to a schooling show to test affinity and scope. More often than not there are ribbons at rated shows for further proof of suitability.

We pride ourselves in selling horses who will not just get the job done but that will be competitive in their chosen arena.

Please feel free to contact us directly for specific pricing information. Or for any other information on our prospects for that matter. We are always happy to talk endlessly about our horses!

Our 2014 Winter/Spring Competition Plan

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Training Journal |

The new year always brings with it lots of talk of goals. Writing them down, making them actionable and realistic, all those good goal-setting techniques that are meant to get us closer to whatever we’re striving for.

However, traditional goal setting is a little bit tough in our sale horse world. Typically horse people are adept at setting goals for themselves and their horses, be it moving up the levels or getting better scores at their current level. This gets a tougher when all your horses are for sale and could at any moment be ripped out from underneath you.

This sounds harsher than it is. Of course we want our horses to be sold – as we mentioned in yesterday’s post it is our overriding goal, our raison d’etre. But how do you create lofty, inspiring, worthwhile goals like “compete Misty Galaxy at the fall Training 3-Day” when in all likelihood he will sell while going Novice in the spring?

We overcome this small issue by focusing on our system rather than our goals. We have a system, one that we’re constantly working on and developing further but one that at its core works for us and, more importantly, works for our horses and for their future owners. Since focusing on goals is problematic, we focus on this system.

We’re not the only ones that believe in a system over a goal. This article by James Clear was going around our Facebook pages recently and we took note. And creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams, wrote this lengthy piece, which was republished and passed around the web quite a bit late last year. Clearly we’re not the only ones who find consistently better outcomes working outside the traditional goal-setting paradigm.

Even within this system, or perhaps I should say, most importantly within this system, is a schedule. We start with the mandatory time off given to all our fresh off the track horses. Two months is what we shoot for, though sometimes a horse demands more or less and then we go from there – time learning basic “manners” both under saddle and on the ground, time learning basic flatwork, then jumping, time spent going on “adventures off the farm”, time spent cross country schooling, time spent hacking, time spent (intelligently, thoughtfully) lunging. And then of course, time spent competing.

It is a goal of sorts but for us more importantly it is part of the system that creates solid sporthorse competitors that are good potential candidates for our customers. So for us competing is a means to an end rather than an end to itself.

We have number of horses that are currently or will very soon be far enough along in their re-education to go forth and compete. Watch for Avery, Niles, Fenway, Jack, Chris, Grover, and Signify to be out there soon. Young Misty Galaxy and Legendary Bravery will follow soon after. Our schedule to get these horses out in the next few months is as follows:

January 16-19 Stonewall Country Horse Show 1, Lexington, VA

January 31 – Feb 2  Stonewall Country Horse Show 2, Lexington, VA

February 26 – March 2 Hollins Spring Welcome, Lexington, VA

March 7-9 Southern Pines I Horse Trials, Southern Pines, NC

March 14-16 Thoroughbred Celebration, Lexington, VA

March 29-30 Morven Park Horse Trials, Leesburg, VA

April 6 CDCTA, Culpeper, VA

April 16-20 HITS, Culpeper, VA

April 18-20 Fairhill International, Elkton, MD

April 23-27 Lexington Spring Premiere, Lexington, VA

April 26 Loudoun Horse Trials, Leesburg, VA

April 30-May 3 Lexington Spring Encore, Lexington, VA

That’s as far as it goes – for now. In the past we have divided up our schedule between eventers and hunter/jumpers. But lately our beloved system has evolved a bit in that we are cross training more and more of the prospects. As such, you’ll be seeing more of our event horses out at horse shows and a few brave hunter and jumper prospects at the events. It’ll be fun! Certainly “fun” is an acceptable goal no matter what.




A New Year Full of Promise

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Training Journal |

We will get to the details of our Winter/Spring 2014 competition plans in a post soon enough (tomorrow?) but noticing the long lapse since posting here last, updates are required first. How will it make sense to list all the events Martin plans to take Misty Galaxy and Sherrill’s Hero to if we haven’t properly introduced our new rider Martin nor our new horses!

Change in our string of horses is both frequent and expected. From the time we excitedly bring our new prospects home to Tebogo to the time we tearily wave  goodbye to them as they leave with their excited new owners is an average of eight months. In 2013 ten horses graduated through the program which meant of course that ten new ones appeared during the course of the year. We grow attached – it’s impossible not to. But we understand the nature of the game and brace ourselves for the inevitable departure.

There is far less change in our roster of riders so when one leaves it’s more of a shock to the system! Last year our Katie Adams got married! And became Katie van der Rest! And was honored to become a happy step mom in the process. With those huge changes in her life came the eventual decision to find work in an environment that allowed more family time, less time on the road with baby horses and just, generally speaking, a more normal life. As we all know, life with horses tends towards – not normal.

Katie produced dozens of horses here at Tebogo during her three year tenure as our event horse trainer and in that time she also brought her own OTTB mare Pandora’s First Avatar from green as grass, jumping poles on the ground to a CIC2*. It was an impressive run and of course we were sad to see her (and Pandora!) go even as we wished her and her new family well. And once we did we faced the somewhat daunting task of finding a new rider.VF1B3712

This sounds easier than it is. Yes, we were humbled by the shear number of applicants for the job. And yes, many were not only great riders and experienced competitors but really nice people to boot. However, finding the exactly right person for this job was still just not easy.

As we said to many of the applicants who seemed just a little too excited to work here – it’s not a dream job. It may seem like a dream job to lovers of thoroughbreds in that you get to ride thoroughbreds all day long – and still, it is not. First of all there is the obvious non-dream-job-like aspect of it in that you spend most of your time on totally unbroke (for the job) fresh off the track thoroughbreds. If you’re lucky, one prospect sticks around long enough to be, not only totally broke for the job, but brilliant at it and in the short time he’s here works his way up to Training level eventing, or maybe the Level 2s in the jumpers. That’s it. Then they’re sold, because THAT is our goal here at Tebogo. We can’t have goals of going to the upper levels and becoming superstars with our prospects because that conflicts with our overriding goal of finding perfect, happy lifelong matches for all our beloved prospects.  So sell we must. Which means most of the time, if you work here – you’re rocking the Beginner Novice. On a horse with a little bit of steering. And you’re staying calm and happy in the tack – all day long. And you have a plan, and a schedule, and some basic background, on how to get that done.

We searched and we interviewed and we watched dozens upon dozens of rider videos and we kept coming back to Martin Douzant who had sent his video from France. We were intrigued. He not only had ridden to the upper levels but he apparently (per the video) could ride young, green horses with what seemed to be unbelievable softness and a quiet confidence. By the time Martin got here for his in-person riding interview we were almost certain he was the right match and meeting him made us certain. And to make matters even better for us Martin has an amazing wife, Ashley DeBoer of Michigan, whom we cherish already.

New year, new rider, new horses! We’ve prattled on long enough so we’ll save the new horse introductions for a (near) future post. Have a look at our “Coming Soon” section to see our promising new prospects that we’ll be spending the winter developing. And watch for an even sooner post with our big competition plans for 2014, starting next week (!!) at the Stonewall Country Horse Show at the Virginia Horse center.




Tebogo Sport Horses Owner to Represent For-Profit Thoroughbred Retraining and Rehoming at Retired Racehorse Symposium

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Training Journal |

Patricia Vos Invited to Discuss Unique Perspective as For-Profit Business Campaigning and Selling Select OTTB’s for Sport Horse Careers

RetiredRacehorseTrainingSymposium(Delaplane, Virginia) Sept. 26, 2013 – Tebogo Sport Horses owner Patricia Vos will be speaking on a panel about Business Models for transitioning racehorses into second careers at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico racetrack on October 5 at 9am. She will be discussing the for-profit business aspect alongside representatives from the non-profit thoroughbred adoption agencies CANTER Midatlantic and New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program.

“I am honored to participate in this event because it reflects both the growing interest and appreciation for the near-endless possibilities offered to us by retired racehorses as well as the enduring love for these majestic creatures,” says Vos. “Unique aspects of our business I will discuss include how we go about choosing prospects, our approach to retraining, including how we decide which direction to take their careers next, and a bit on our marketing and sales process.”

There are many agencies working to find new forever homes and careers for horses off the track, but Tebogo is unique in that it is a for-profit business selling thoroughbreds in a largely non-profit landscape. Vos is highly selective when choosing thoroughbreds for the Tebogo program. The vetting process includes extensive pre-purchase exams and searching for horses with the best minds, great conformation, and complete soundness. The horses are given several months out to pasture to relax before entering Tebogo’s training and competition program. They are trained on the flat, over fences, and on cross country and then given competition experience at horse trials and in the hunter jumper ring. Vos doesn’t make any of her thoroughbreds available for sale until she is confident in their riding and competitive abilities, as well as their proclivity towards certain sport horse disciplines.

“The way we campaign these horses is unique because we are set up to keep it fun for the horses in a low pressure environment as we experiment with what we think they enjoy doing most,” Vos explains. “This works well for the horses and their buyers because we can say with some degree of certainty that our horses not only have experience at something but that they in fact enjoy it and therefore show some real promise in their chosen discipline. A horse that is forced to do something he either doesn’t enjoy doing or is not very good at is fun for no one.”

About the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium

The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is an annual event of the Retired Racehorse Training Project, whose mission is to increase demand for thoroughbreds off the track. The weekend event runs Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6, 2013 at Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland. It will feature seminars each morning and performances and demonstrations with OTTBs and their trainers each afternoon. Tickets for the full weekend event are $50, or $35 per day.

About Tebogo Sport Horses

Tebogo was founded in 2009 by Patricia and Dave Vos to retrain and sell select off track thoroughbreds as sport horses. Based in Delaplane, Virginia, Tebogo competes these thoroughbreds throughout the Virginia, Maryland, and New York area, and will be heading to Ocala, Florida for the winter season this year. Learn more about Tebogo at http://www.tebogosporthorses.com and see the thoroughbreds currently for sale at http://www.tebogosporthorses.com/category/horses-for-sale.


Not Ready Not Ready Not Ready. Ready.

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Training Journal |

Winter was strangely busy here at Tebogo. Our normal “down” time was filled with helping customers with their search for perfect partners. We sold Alley, Snowy, Bandini, Roadie, Big Jim, Forest and George. They are all, we’re thrilled to hear and now to report, doing amazingly well. Alley (now “Come Fly with Me”) and Phillip won their first Novice outing at Virginia Horse Trials. Roadie and his new mom Deb came in second at their first starter horse trial. We just ran into Sara and George at the Loudoun Benefit show and were there to witness his ribbon winning round. Can you imagine how happy this makes us?IMG_20130612_123905_960

We take that feeling and bring it to the barn with us as we face the daily task of getting on horses that are nowhere near ready to win ribbons with anybody – not even Phillip. They are green as the Virginia grass relentlessly growing around us this wet and verdant spring. Each horse in the current Tebogo string holds oh so much promise – we look at them and think, so many options for them! The sky’s the limit! But today, not quite there. Just not ready.

Retraining OTTB’s for the Show Ring

One prospect has a huge step, lofty gaits, and is brave beyond measure – but sometimes his left lead canter depart disappears. Not ready for customers if you can’t canter on your left lead buddy. Another looks every bit the part of upper level event horse – but his hind end hasn’t finished developing (appearances not withstanding) so his front end says, no worries, I got it! No, Mr. Front End – you really don’t play a large part in an event horse’s life. So, not an event horse yet.  Yet another has the canter that is to die for and a nonchalance about jumps that is breathtaking. Now if  this young horse would just ease into that spectacular canter rather than hop or scramble, that would make transitions in those tiny dressage rings a possibility. Not quite ready for a horse trial.

You get the idea. One day, maybe even quite soon, all these young prospects will be ready – ready for horse shows, ready to go eventing, ready for customers of all sorts – amateurs, pros, even kids. But today, not ready.

At Tebogo it’s all About Measurable Progress

IMG_20130612_121842_797 (2)Each day there is some measurable progress. A horse that wouldn’t stand at the mounting block now does. Another who thought fly spray was the work of the devil stands quietly and patiently for its application. Almost none of them actually go to their first horse show and take in the chaos of the warm up ring without having something to say about it, even if it is just a babyish cry as he leaves his buddies. Then, one day, they stand quietly at the in-gate, reins at the buckle.

Not ready. Not ready. Not ready. Ready. Frankly, it sneaks up on us. Since most of the progress comes in such dreary little drips (really, who gets excited to have a horse that has a left lead canter depart, other than someone who had that horse when he didn’t have a left lead canter depart) we mostly don’t see it coming. The pieces start coming together – sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, depending on the individual. The horses one day have a less blatantly confused look on their face and more of an “I got it” look in their eye. We start to get excited. Then one day, we get a call from someone who has looked at our website and seen a horse that catches their fancy on the ‘Coming Soon’ section. They call or email to find out if they’re, well, ready. And we’ll suddenly think, actually, yes, they’re ready!

Right now, we look around the barn and think, we are just that close to having a barn full of horses that are ready. Any day now, maybe even tomorrow. In the meantime we come in and do the work needed to bring them ever closer to that point. And we take endless comfort in knowing that once they get there, they won’t just be ready, they’ll be awesome.

What a Week – Happy Sales, Successful Shows, Educational Clinics & Major Milestones

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in Training Journal |

We realize we’ve just posted a blog a week ago but so much has happened in the past week that it actually warrants an unplanned quick entry.

Horses Sold – Bandini and Roadie

Bandini Ace is one of those extraordinary young horses that we could see excelling in just about any discipline. Brave enough to event, quiet and good moving enough to do the hunters, scopey and athletic enough for the jumpers. He is equally mentally flexible so no matter who was riding him – professional, amateur, kid – Bandini could suss out what was needed for the ride and deliver the goods. Tomorrow he goes to his new home, thank goodness right here in Virginia so we’ll get to watch him bloom and progress with his new owner, lucky 14-year old Kenleigh who will show him in the hunters. Congratulations Kenleigh and Bandini!

Roadie (My Road Scholar) is another young horse that has us absolutely marveling at his quiet brain and endless athletic potential – with his sweet temperament he really is the whole package! We are thrilled that Roadie is Deborah Olson’s new event partner and we look forward to seeing them eventing out in Area 2. Many thanks to Skyeler Voss (who Deb trains with) for helping us put together this perfect match.

Competition Time – Pele, Jack, Corey  & Pandora

First Paige Cade headed out with Pele, Jack and Corey for Culpeper HITS. This was Pele’s (Molten Lava) first official rated show and he pretty much hit it out of the park. Last week you’ll recall Paige took him to a local combined test and he jumped like a rock star so after some wavering over whether to show him in the hunters or the jumpers (he’s another multi-talented prospect) Paige decided on the jumpers. The first day the show opened there was MAYHEM in the warm up rings. But Pele took it all in stride – in fact, he was one of the quietest horses there. Remember – first rated show for this guy! On Wednesday he rocked a double clear round in the Level 0’s (seemed the fair place to start him out) and he ended up 8th in this typically large division. The following day Paige moved him up to the Level 1’s where he showed even better and ended up fourth. Good boy Pele! He was rightfully proud of himself and we’re sure he’ll continue to do good work this coming week at Lexington Spring Premiere.

Beautiful Pele

Beautiful Pele

Corey (CFF Keystone, JC Name Corey’s Court) is Paige’s personal horse and their work this winter all came together for them at HITS. Corey showed in the level 1s and 2s and horse and rider cemented their growing partnership.

Jack (Stonecrest) is new to the string so Paige took him along for the ride – nothing like taking the young prospects to the shows for full immersion-style education! Jack was initially alert to all possible dangers presented by a busy schooling ring – but with each new day he took another breath. By week’s end jumping and flatting in a busy show ring was old hat. Mission accomplished! Jack is a great jumping horse and we’re excited to match that raw talent with his growing education and see where it takes him.

That was all a lot of education for those three horses but Paige wasn’t finished for the week. Joe Fargis was holding a clinic at Middleburg’s Fox Chase farm and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to learn from one of this country’s most illustrious show jumpers (and winner of Olympic Gold  – on an American thoroughbred!) On Saturday it was Corey in the high section and Pele in the low section. On Sunday, Paige opted to move Pele up to the high section and bring Jack along for the low section. All three boys were stellar examples of good-minded, willing participants. They made us proud.

In the meantime, the eventing crew headed north to Fair Hill Horse Trials. Katie Adams has steadily brought along her own mare, Pandora’s First Avatar (JC name Sassy Cat) from scratch, now all the way to her first CIC 2*. Pandora is little but mighty and watching her jump around the 2* course was sheer delight. She is simply all heart mixed with mad jumps and she made us all (Katie most of all) very proud.

So there you have it. Seven days of happy sales, successful shows, educational clinics and major milestones achieved. Not a bad week in Tebogo history! Today was laundry and paperwork day for the humans. And major nap time for the horses! Tomorrow – off to the Virginia Spring Premier at Lexington Horse Center for the hunters and jumpers. Then this weekend Loudoun Pony Club Horse Trials for the eventers. The fun just never stops!


A Time of Transition at Tebogo

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Training Journal |

This week here in Virginia we swung from winter (23 degrees and howling winds) to summer (record breaking 91 degrees) and back to spring (of course including lovely April showers). All in the course of a week. It was enough to keep any concerned horseman on their toes as we always worry about our delicate charges in times of sudden weather changes. But even as we worried and kept a watchful eye, we also sighed a collective sigh of relief. Winter is the cruelest season for horsemen (who don’t go to Florida) and now it’s over.

Horses Come, Horses Go

IMG_20130402_161450_968 (1)This time of transition in the outside world reflects all the transitions we’re undergoing here inside our little Tebogo operation. In the past few months, several of our prospects have sold and moved on to their exciting new lives with new owners. It is the object of the exercise here at Tebogo – and as thrilled as we are for our horses and our customers, we are always a little sad to see them go.

This winter, after a successful show at Lexington, our beloved Snowbird went home to Virginia Beach with his new owner Laurie Reilly. We already have happy reports of successful shows and he has in short order collected his first championship ribbon in the baby greens at his new home.

In the meantime, our other sure to be future show hunter champion Big Jim S was sold to Chris Wynn. Jim is just three, so we’ll have to wait patiently for his show ring conquests but in the meantime his new people are thrilled with his sweet and quiet demeanor. He was an easy horse to have in the barn!

And speaking of easy horses to have in the barn – possibly the winner in that division here was always Mirkwood Forest. Forest came to us late last summer and for the entire time he spent with us he was nothing but perfect. Easy on the ground, easy in the saddle, easy in turnout, easy in the barn. Now his easy-going self is Tricia Stewart’s latest event partner and we certainly look forward to hearing about their exploits.

New Additions to the Tebogo Family

Knowing that these prospects were getting close to the end of their time here at Tebogo, we worked hard to fill the pipeline. I’ve gone on and on about the epic nature of our searches for prospects so will try and refrain from doing so again but for the record – our searches are epic! We search for size, temperament, conformation, temperament, movement, temperament, soundness, temperament. You get the picture. Everyone wants a fancy horse but no one (and I mean no one, not even Olympians) want to get on something that’s not fun to ride.

In an unusual and unplanned manner Paige managed to find two “perfect” prospects while away at the Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Show. I say “perfect” but when she called to tell me about her finds I was very skeptical. Jack (JC Name Stonecrest) she reported was a fabulous jumper and had a 10 brain. Then she slipped in that he’s seven (much older than our usual prospects). And cribs (not a problem for us but not a favorite amongst all customers). When I got to the showgrounds to pick him up I saw why she was so able to look past that. He is simply a class horse with an incredible eye. Yes, he’s big, and he’s handsome, and he’s sound, and he pa-pows off the ground. But there is something in his demeanor that is more than just icing on that athletic cake. Jack is smart, interactive, and a treat to have in the barn.

IMG_20130405_105718_721Paige’s other find was Signify. Stunning, black, with liquid movement and movie star good looks – this horse was no-brainer. When we got him home he seemed like a horse that could enjoy some downtime. So over he went to Simon’s View to get turned out with the other two newbies – Silver and Avery.

Silver Coated came to us from our very trusted (and appreciated) source – Jenn Johnston and Leslie Molinari. Jenn and Leslie are developing a well-earned reputation for choosing top quality ex-racers off the Pennsylvania tracks. We have bought over a half dozen prospects from them over the years and each one is more delectable than the next. Silver joins that string of successful buys.

Avery (NZ JC Name Matintrumps) has a most unusual background. He was bred in New Zealand, raced in Hong Kong, did a brief stint training to be a police horse in New York then ended up with Darby Smith in Middleburg along with her string of other ex-Hong Kong racers. Avery carries his life experiences with him in the most dignified manner. He is quiet, intelligent, yet not aloof. He is also loving his down time over at Simon’s View.

The Tebogo “A-Team”

In the meantime, the crew at Tebogo, the A-Team as it were, is hitting their stride.

PelePele, who we took our time with, is thanking us for that extra compensation, and paying us back in spades. He went to his first combined test this past weekend and hit it out of the park. Not only did he score well in his dressage test, but the judge awarded him an 8 for gaits. Then he cantered around his stadium course without touching a rail. His form is so neat and tidy we can easily see him doing well as a hunter. But his jump is so big and scopey – perhaps jumper life would suit him. Let’s not forget how brave he’s been his last times out cross country schooling and then you think, maybe eventer. Most of our prospects shout out for a particular discipline. But Pele so far looks like he could be happy and successful in many different disciplines. This week he and Paige go to Culpeper HITS and the experimenting will begin in earnest.

So the transitions continue. Horse come, horses go. But each day we come to the barn with the same  basic plan – putting new tools in our horses toolbox. Today steering, tomorrow connection, the next day some jumping, always forward, and at the end of every day, gooooood boooooy.

The 2013 Season Starts to Take Shape

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Training Journal |

As a horseman one is supposed to, at the very least, set some goals and make a plan. Horses will do what they will to  those plans (go along peacefully and cooperatively or tear them asunder) but without them you’re lost. So every year around this time we sit down with the omnibus and a pile of prizelists , take a look around at who we have in the barn, and make a plan!

Here’s where to look for the Tebogo crew for the next few months at least.

First we have Paige Cade and her crew of hunter/jumper prospects. Right now that’s Bandini Ace, Big Jim S, Molten Lava, Snowbird, and her horse Corey. The plans also included Representative (George) but as we happily reported on our Facebook page this week, he sold to the wonderful Sara Gibbs, further evidence that our plans are fluid to say the least. In any case, look for Paige and some mix of these horses at the following:

March 1-3 Virginia Intermont Classic, Virginia Horse Center, Lexington, VA

March 15-17 Thoroughbred Celebration, Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA

March 23 Combined Test at Mornignside Training Farm

April 13 Combined Test at Morningside Training Farm

April 17-19 HITS Commonwealth National, Culpeper, VA

April 20-21 Joe Fargis clinic at Fox Chase (we’re HUGE fans of Mr. Fargis and we’re super excited about this.)

April 24-26 Lexington Spring Premiere, Virginia Horse Center, Lexington VA

May 4 Combined Test at Morningside

May 25 Combined Test at Morningside


Paige gave me a schedule that reached all the way out to November but I won’t tempt fate by writing it all down. We promise to do our summer/fall schedule announcement sometime in mid-June.

In the meantime Katie Adams will be taking her eventer crew, which includes Mirkwood Forest, Grubby Soldier, My Road Scholar, and her mare Pandora, to the following (again, look for some mix of these horses and Katie at these events):

February 23-24 Pine Top, Aiken, SC

March 8-10 Either Red Hills in Florida OR Full Gallop in Aiken, SC (final plan to be determined next week)

March 30-31 Morven Park, Leesburg, VA

April 19-21 Fair Hill, Elkton, MD

April 27-28 Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Horse Trial at Morven Park, Leesburg, VA

May 23-26 Virginia Horse Trial at Virginia Horse Center, Lexington, VA

June 1-2 Waredaca Horse Trial, Maryland

June 6-9 BROMONT CCI Three Day Event!

Right now, God willing and if the creeks don’t rise, the plan is for Katie and Pandora to compete in the 2* at Bromont and for Dave to compete in the 1* there. Once again, planning beyond that is tough. We’ll sit down at that time, assess who we have in the barn, what they need to do, and put together a summer and fall schedule from there.

So that’s it! Looks exciting, fun, a bit exhausting, but totally doable. Having a barn that goes to both horse trials and horse shows does take some coordinating but we’ve always found it possible, which is good because we’ve also always found it necessary. The key to our program is allowing horses to shine by doing what they like to do best, and doing what they’re best suited to. So far this has worked well for us all at Tebogo, horses and humans, because when the horses are happy, their humans are equally, if not more, happy as well!