Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here´s Annelies Gullbarr. He´s a "Nordsvensk" trotter wich is similar to a lighter drafttype percheron or belgium. The breed was the prefered choice for farmers all over scandinavia in the 19-20th century. Small and manouverable enough to work in the forrest and plowing the fields, they also served as transportation to and from church on sunday´s. A race againts the neighbour heading home from church or with the sleds on the lokal ice-covered lake, had the old timers breeding for speed and good gate aswell. Later they devided the breed in a work type and a race type.

This guy was a pretty decent race horse in his day earning apr. $36.000. Annelie trained and raced him in his latter years before giving him away as a riding horse after Ida was born and there was not enough time for him. He was a really pleasant horse to be around, you could use him for justabout anything. I rode him some, packed with him and drove of course.

One pretty funny moment in retrospect, was a Midsummers eve, we were invited to a dinner with my folks and as alway´s running late. I had changed in to nice linnen pants, clean white shirt and some pretty fancy Italian shoes. We were set to go and only had to get a few horses stalled up for the night. Everything went great until it was time for Gullbarr. The darn horse wouldn´t be caught and to make matters worse, he didn´t want me to catch any of his buddies either! He kept chasing them away just as I was about to get the halter on. He had a ton of fun and was just being obnoxious as hell.
Looking at my watch I realised we were running more than a little late and I just lost it. Ran in to the barn, got my rope and headed out in the pasture. Now, summer in Sweden means LOTS of green, plenty of bush and a bunch of Stinging Nettles (brännässlor)!! There´s also a whole lotta manuer in a pasture as I was about to find out.

Anyway, steaming, I head out there swinging my rope, letting it fly and catching the delinquent!! I hadn´t really thought any further than that, so when the happy fellow, fullofbeans gets caught, he just takes off, charging through brush, Nettles and manuer. Me, the nimwhit holding the rope, won´t let go. Now, there´s a limit to how fast you can run in Italian shoes, and we reached that point pretty quick! I tried to dig my heels in and just lean back on that sucker, with the result of him pulling me like a waterskier on the end of that rope. Finally we hit a bald spot on the ground where nothin grew and I got pulled out of my now not so shiny shoes. I tumble to the ground and come to a not so graceful stop in a patch of nettles. I got up, looked down and saw I now had on a linnen camoflage outfit and no shoes! (This was a few years ago, but I think that horse is running around with my rope around his neck still. I think he´s still laughing too.)

Did I learn anything from this incident? Appearantly not as I´ve done the same thing a couple of times after that. Usually I let go though, when I realise my mistake...

He is a darn cool horse though, and we liked him very much.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This guy was a very special horse with the odds stacked against him from the start. I´ll leave you with a bunch of pictures as he ment a lot to us and still do.

Standardbred trotter born in 2002.
Sire: Tap In dam: Rosatrollet.

We got him from his breeder as a yearling in the summer of 2003. He´d fell over and hit his head during the winter as a weanling and had been held in a boxstall for 6 months. His owner was a kind, elderly gentleman but with a disoriented colt full of energy he couldn´t handle, so he just kept him stalled up. His coordination was off, his head tilted to the left and as you can see in the picture his "hat" was on crooked.

The first thing we did was have his neck, head and back x-rayed to make sure there was no structual damage to the skelleton. That was one condition for us taking him and the breeder complied.

After the x-rays came back clean we concluded that the damage was probably neurological. We hoped that by letting him use his body and muscles the damaged nerve-ends would be stimulated and hopefully heal some. We let him out in a paddock and boy did the little horse run. After the first wobbly, disoriented steps, he soon got to trust his body again and just went tearing upp that paddock!! Both me and Annelie had tears in our eyes when we saw just how happy the little bugger was to be let out again!

Trolle let out for the first time in 6 months

After a few weeks he was stedy enough to be let out with the other colts and that did him even more good. He got to play like the rest of them and by the following winter the only thing wrong with him was that tilt of the head and his stooped ears.

One pretty funny moment was when I was out in the pasture one morning with the camera, trying to get some pics of the horses with the sun rising in the background. All of a sudden I hear Trolltapp coming, full throttel, on a ridge heading right to the spot I wanted them. When I raised my camera to take a wonderful picture of a horse flying with the rising sun as a backdrop, he stumbled and fell and came crashing down, sliding to a stop in a cloud of snow right smack in the middle of that sun! He got up, shook of the snow and took of again. That was Trolltapp in a nutshell!

By early spring it was time to break him to drive. He was a high energy, possitive horse but a bit studdy, if you just took your time with him and was deliberate he was fine though. Everything was going good and on schedule. He was in the speedcart and had been jogging for a month or two when tragedy struck again.

We had a pretty bad storm early that summer. A bunch of big trees fell all over the place. One of them in the colts pasture. Before we had time to cut it up and remove it, the little horse got his foot caught way up in the rootsystem of the fallen down tree. None of us were at the stables when it happened and a neighbour saw the horse stuck and called Annelie right away. When she got there the horse had fallen down with his hoof still stuck way over his head. Another neighbour showed up with a chainsaw and they were able to cut him loose. The vet was called emediately but it took a few hours to get to our remote location. In the meantime he was put in his stall and given some painkillers to relieve him somewhat.

When the doc got there and started looking at him he quit his examination after finding his elbow broken in three places, not much use continuing...

He was put down then and there.

Still makes us sad thinking of that brave little horse...

Friday, March 19, 2010

A lookback...

Thought I´d pass the time `till the snows gone and we can get to more fun things around here with a look back at some of the horses we´ve had here over the years.

Not in any particular order of importance, height or number of bitemarks left, I´ll start this odyssée with Laritz Fighter.

I bought Fighter from a family friend for an astounding 10 sek ($1.50 ) in 2000. He was a 5 yo standardbred trotter who had pretty much failed on the racetrack. He´d never won a race and been to 2 different trainers. He had some problems with cross-firing (hitting his backlegs with front) and didn´t really want to be a racehorse. He was pretty frail mentally to begin with too.

At that time I worked alot with trotters (the main equine event here in Sweden) helping trainers with problemhorses and such at the track here in Stockholm. I broke Fighter to ride and didn´t really have any goals with him other than to make a decent saddle horse out of him. He stood 16.2 or there abouts and was pretty stout for a standardbred. He came along pretty nicely from the get go, and we got over some of his kinks, spookiness, trail freight and stuff.
working him in the indoor at Solvalla racetrack.

Later we moved the horses to a new farm were we had an abundance of pastureland and we let him out over the summer with the mares. Boy did he get beat up that first week! Gelded at 4, he was your typical boring gelding without any attitude or much personality. After that summer with the mares, he was back to being a stud again! He was full of life, alert and had developed a possitive attitude towards everything.


Moving the horses to another pasture.

I started working the cows alittle, some roping and wrangling the other horses. He really liked it and that fall I started working him alittle with an eye on the track. We had a great, sandy stretch of ranchroad about a mile long ending in a cul de sac. We started loping intervals with him there twice a week. And mixed with a lot of trailriding and jogging he got in great shape. Annelie did a great job of shoing him to keep him from cross-firing. She flipped the front shoes and put them with the opening forward and cut of some of the toe. This helped him and gave him a quicker rollover in front and thus clearing the back legs.

Early 2002 he was ready for a comeback on the track. We started him in a comeback race at a smaller track. They looked at me kinda funny when we showed up wearing boots, spurs and chinks. And just shook their heds in disbelief when we warmed him up with some loping and flexing exercises on the speed track, next to the racetrack in a stocksaddle and hackamore.

We had a catchdriver drive him in the race for us and I think he thought we were kinda exotic.
The horse did really good and though it was a handicap, Fighter starting 20 meters behind the others as he had won some money before, he managed to go clear around the field and win the race by a quarter of a length. He hadn´t raced for almost 2 years and I just couldn´t believe it! He won!

Laritz Fighter´s win!(nr 10)

We started him 12 times in all that year and though he didn´t win any more races, he set a new record and placed in 8 of the 12 races! The last two starts though he showed he didn´t want to race anymore so we retired him permanently from the track. In total he made 36 starts (12 for us) and placed: 1-0-6 he earned 108.150 sek ($15.000).
After a race at Eskilstuna (that´s Ida in Annelies harness)

He stayed with us as my saddlehorse for awhile and then I gave him away to a good home on the condition he was never to race again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lasse R.I.P.

Just got home from Lasses funeral last night. It was a very nice and dignified cermon and a bunch of friends, co workers and of course family showed their respect.

Annelie will stay at her mother´s for a few day´s while I´m at home holding down the fort with the kids and animals. Will try to get horseback some, time permitting. We really need to put in some hours me and Brady to get this season headed were we want to go.

Have been looking at some smaller ranches for sale again but they´re either to run down or to pricy or a combo of both. Have found a place with a wonderful setting and great, great pastureland. Could be made in to something really special with some time, effort and funds. It´s about 120 kilometers, or some 75 miles, from town and the office though so we´ll see...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Along for the ride

Annelie had a freeloader yesterday when we went for a ride. One of the cats, Tiger, descided to tag along. He loves sitting like a parrot on your shoulder and while sitting in a tree outside the barn, he promptly climbed aboard when Annelie passed.

Our week

Just realized I havn´t posted in a week, so this is what we´ve been up to.

WORK, that´s what!

Had a hole bunch of appointments and stuff last week. Ben´s school, some photo shoots of construction sites of all things! I climbed on roofs down town and took pics wearing a hard hat and vests and what not, looking like a pro up there. Pretty cool views of the city also...

Rooftop view of Stockholm, looking south

City Hall sits right by the water

Then on Wednesday while working at the racetrack there was a wreck where one of our most celebrated trainers got hurt really bad. His horse stumbled and fell and he flew over his head and hit the ground hard. He´s still in a coma and we don´t know what his status will be once out of it, but it doesn´t look good. Our prayers are with him and his family.

Jim Frick airborn in the background

Also been finishing of what the carpenters started, renovating our bathroom and Ben´s new room. Painting windows, doorframes and alike.

Havn´t been able to work Brady much, just some trail trips around the place, some roping and yesterday I tried to drag the arena with him! I couldn´t get my car up there as there´s way too much snow, even borrowed a neighbours Landrover but it got stuck and I had to winch it out of there. So I took Brady and roped the homemade arena harrow, dallied and had him drag it around. Only thing I got accomplished was a heavy breathing horse and some really pretty stripes on the crust!
Mares with "Fat mama brown" (Peppy) on left, Mexicali and Athena


Loaded the fillies in the trailer for the first time yesterday. They walked right in as if they´d done nothing but. Pretty levelheaded horses those two.
Cat & Molly

Molly´s on the left and Helene´s warmblood, diva on the right. (She´s 155cm (15.2) allready! Not even 1 yearold yet!)


Molly in a hurry (lunch hay)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Today´s action

Saddled up and headed out to play with my hairy friends today. I wasn´t sure it was a good idea today as it was pretty deep and crusty out there, but what the heck...

Annelie brought the camera as you can see, and as allway´s making me look bad as the familys photographer

Circled a little...

and some cutting in the snow.

Brady brought his A-game again and though it was tough sledding out there today he delivered. Tried hard, listened good and let me use him. An allaround good performance though it cost him one front shoe, two shin and bell-boots and a couple of minor nicks.