Fox Point Farm

By Charlotte Cannon
Fox Point Farm
 
Life here has been crazy busy, but wonderful!
 
First our Fox Point Farm/Showing Naturally Demo Team is going great guns right now! We have had 5 or 6 Demos this winter/spring and the requests for us to perform keep pouring in! The girls have really improved and added so much fun stuff to their routines, I'm always amazed at their new ideas! If you are having and event, we would love to come perform! 
 
demo team
Dance with the Demo Team at the Pee Dee Horse Festival
 
Right now our demo team has grown from 6 to 17 riders. This is wonderful bc it gives us a deep pool of talent from which to pull. We have some new breeds that have really added some spice and interest as well. I'm super pumped for the future! I'd love to see us perform at the Tryon Friday Night Lights this summer. 
 
Second our retired racehorses (OTTBS) for this year's TB Makeover are developing well. I'm super excited to see how far they can go by October. 
 
Tommy's Twitch continues to improve in his dressage work. Twitch arrived with only a left lead, and it was a very tense, balled up left lead. Through consistent riding by Tommy and regular lessons with Nancy Tans from Camden, Twitch has relaxed quite a bit and developed a good right lead now. After a fun weekend at the Fork with Tik Maynard, Tommy and Twitch really started working on sending Twitch forward to relaxation. They have successfully done two little hunter shows in flat classes for experience. Their first dressage show will be the first Sunday in June in Camden. 
 
My Fame continues to improve and amaze me. We just had another big step forward this weekend with my first walk/trot/canter bridleless ride. I had had a lovely flatwork session working especially on keeping him going forward responsive to and consistently in front of my leg. At the end I just leaned forward and took off his bridle sitting on his back. We proceeded to w/t/c all around the ring, safely and calmly. Tommy even said Fame was stretching better without the bridle. Our steering could use some work, but I was thrilled! 
 
Fame 1
Charlotte's niece, Chapin, with Fame!
 
Fame has also been doing a bit of cool liberty work. I need to dedicate more time to it, bc he is deeply connected and talented at it. He is quite good at the 'Stick to Me' game, and we are working to get him to the point he can easily switch sides and be equally good on both sides. Our breakthrough thing we have now done on 3 occasions is the 'Circling Game' with me in neutral. I've had horses before that would circle, even trot and canter, around me if I was turning with them. Never have I had one that would stay connected without me turning. At our last clinic with Tik, he set that goal for me, and Fame has now started doing it. We are still on baby steps, one or two circles at the walk or trot, it's a tremendous milestone for me and I'm thrilled! 
 
Fame and Bill
 
We did take him to his first bigger hunter show with 'real color'. Bill Calvert that comes and helps me every week with Fame showed him in his first 2'3" and 2'6" courses. Bill has really helped push me to stay progressive. If it were up to me, I would likely have stuck with the local schooling shows and done cross rails, slowly building up to 'real jumps and real color'. They did well, jumped all the jumps, even got a few lead changes and nice ribbons in big classes. Ribbons were not my goal, a positive, safe experience was, and Fame and Bill delivered that in spades. My boy is really coming along well and I couldn't be more thrilled! 
 
The last OTTB we got is our gorgeous Dance. He is the boy that makes jaws drop everywhere we go. He was just far more tight, tense and racy than the other two boys. I started with some solid groundwork that really helped Dance relax and learn to stretch his head and neck down. I brought that over into his riding and it helped him learn to trust and let go of all his tight baggage. Bill started riding him once a week to keep me accountable and motivated, but it wasn't until my student and friend Savanna started riding him that the biggest improvements were made. 
 
Savanna had sold her horse and was without a mount to enjoy. I trusted her, she has been with me over 10 years and is quite a hand, so I offered for her to ride Dance. They had a dicey moment or two at the beginning, but once he connected with her, they have catapulted forward. She was out here riding the night before our big benefit when the music started for demo team practice. She stayed that night and practiced with the team. She actually participated the next day in the demo, and has done two demos now away from home. I'm amazed that this huge, formerly spooky, tight, tense horse who has only been off the track for 4 months, is out there, with no Ace or drugs on board, totally relaxed leading the choreography! She even does liberty in the shows with him! I must say it's the fastest, greatest transformation I've seen! I think even Bill is impressed with her progress! It's amazing what trust and connection can do for a horse! 
 
Lessons are going well. Summer camp is full. Life is great at Fox Point Farm! 
By Charlotte Cannon
Fox Point Farm
 
The summer sizzle has run way past when it was expected and we haven't slowed down for even a second yet. The farm is a dust cloud of activity every day and I think everyone, including the horses, are praying for rain. 
 
The recent chill in the air signals the start of foxhunting season and I know we had a crowd ready! The MHI Opening Meet was especially grand this year with parties, music, guests and loads of fabulous food! It is MHI's 60th year anniversary and Masters Jeanine Devaney, Jay Thomas and Maria Stine really went all out to make it super special! The day was sunny and perfect for the huge crowd that gathered at Joe and Missy Hinson's Larkspur Ranch to enjoy a day of riding to the hounds followed by a magnificent feast and much banter about the foxes and coyote viewed during the ride. 
 
The term foxhunting is a bit of a misnomer today, since the goal is to find and chase the fox, leaving him safe to chase another day. If you are interested in joining us to try out this sport steeped in tradition, contact me or MHI directly. We would love to introduce you to our passion! 
 
We have seen a couple big projects really blossom this fall and I'd love to share those with you. 
 
The first was the conclusion of the 2016 Retired Racehorse Project's $100,000 TB Makeover. The Makeover is an event designed to attract the finest trainers from all over the world, to compete in their choice of 1 or 2 of the 10 disciplines offered. The top three horses from each discipline returned to compete in a final round to choose the champion of the discipline, and ultimately "America's Most Wanted TB", winning cash and prizes along the way. The disciplines offered were Show Hunters, Field Hunters, Jumpers, Dressage, Eventing, Polo, Competitive Trail, Working Ranch and Freestyle, there was truly something for everyone. 
 
In addition to the competition, there were loads of clinics and learning opportunities as well as TONS of cool vendors and activities. The venue was the beautiful Kentucky Horsepark in Lexington, Ky. There was so much to do that we never got a chance to get out to see any of the Horse Park's attractions. 
 
I started my journey in January and after submitting my application, I was selected as one of the 20 Highlighted Trainer amongst the 465 trainers accepted for 550 total horse spots. Sadly my horse didn't make it to the event bc of some injuries undisclosed to me at the time of purchase from the track. Of the 550 spots available, 300 horses arrived to compete, with some being sold prior to coming, some riders not making it, and others, like my Paragon, just not holding up for the 10 month training schedule. 
 
Tommy and I decided to go watch so we would know whether to apply this coming year to do it again. We were amazed at the well orchestrated, well run event, full of great horseman, who left their egos at home, and came out to enjoy and celebrate the TB. Each discipline had a 'big star' make a presentation to introduce you to what they do and how they retrain their horses. We were riveted to our seats for each demo and especially enjoyed Lance Graves' Barrel Racing  Demo, and Buck Shot's Polo Demo, both things we didn't expect to want to watch. The event featured all sorts of TBs in all shapes and sizes, with lovely riders, young and old, professionals, amateurs and juniors, all peacefully working together to develop each and every horse to its potential. 
 
We have 2 new horses, maybe soon to be 3, that are eligible and pointed to go to Kentucky next October if everything works out well. Maybe you'd like to learn more and go too?! Contact me! 
 
The second big project I've been working on is our Fox Point Farm Showing Naturally Demo Team. We have a group of about 15 girls ranging from 10-22, some riding their own horses, others riding my lesson horses, that make up our fabulous group. 
 
We do a combination of choreography, music and fun, both on and off the horse, culminating in a song at Liberty and finally Bareback and Bridleless! It's a great show and we love to get out and inspire others to develop a deeper relationship with their horse, use natural techniques and concepts instead of fear and intimidation, to create stunning displays of horsemanship that audiences of all ages can enjoy. 
 
If you run an event that has space for music and fun, we would love to come and perform! Our Demo Team is open to our most advanced students of all ages. Come out and support us at a demo near you! 
 
We are blessed to have a fulfilling life full of amazing horses and even more amazing people! We have a few spots for lessons available during the week, why don't you come out and find out how spectacular you can be! 
By Charlotte Cannon
Fox Point Farm
 
It has been a super busy time here! With no rain, it's dry and dusty, but we have been going full force! 
 
We have a couple super exciting things going on right now! The first being our Demo Team. In 2008 Pat Parelli approached me about developing a global natural horsemanship kid's program. We discussed it and I set out to create a model which included an educational Parelli Kids Demo Team that traveled all over performing at rodeos, Parades of Breed, conferences and special events. It was a tremendous hit and our girls were invited to many cool places. Sadly the Parelli organization decided a kid's program had too much liability and they dropped the idea. Even without their backing, we continued to travel to many states on the east coast performing and inspiring others. As time passed our original girls got older, graduated and went to college, younger ones took their place, but when I lost my partner of 16 years, Skip, a few years ago we stopped. My heart just wasn't in it anymore. 
 
This summer my counselors during summer camp were doing some great things and they got me excited about doing the the Demo Team again. We have been practicing and our debut will be here on Sunday, 10/2, 3-5pm. We will host a little party for the kids, cool hot dogs and just have fun! We would love for everyone to join us! Our next performance will be 10/9 at the Union County Saddle Club grounds in Alton/Monroe, NC at the Parade of Breeds. We hope there will be a big crowd! 
 
The next exciting thing we have had happen, was George Morris was in town for 3 day clinic in Camden hosted by Sherry Pace.  It was fabulous!!!! It just lit me up from the inside and got me super motivated! I grew up on the master George, and wore my 'Hunter Seat Equitation' out, reading and rereading it over and over. I loved the equitation and the hunters and gave them my heart and soul. When I was 15, one of George's students, Teddi Ismond, asked me to come live with and work for her at her farm in Keswick, VA. It was a different time, and although we didn't know her (she had judged me in shows for many years), my mom loaded me, my saddle and my clothes in the car and dropped me off. I loved it and hated to return to school the following fall. That next spring I got invited to ride for Diane Fiore, another R judge and student of George's. I went for the weekend and never came back home from her Middleburg, VA farm. For the next 5 years I lived with and worked for Diane riding and showing sales horses. Both Teddi and Diane were tough teachers and great horsemen. It was certainly my college and graduate school. Watching and listening to George brought me back and made me want to push even harder in my own teaching and horse management program. 
 
The sad thing that has happened is that I decided not to take my sweet Paragon to KY for the TB Makeover. We found out 3 months into his training that he had injuries so severe, he may never be suitable for regular riding again. Although he could still go compete in the Freestyle Division without being ridden, I noticed that some days, although he never limps, he would get hesitant to go forward and want to check out. I did not want to push him if he was experiencing pain, so Tommy and I will just go to watch and learn. Paragon has enjoyed doing a little groundwork and Liberty with our demo team. He will have a place there to do as much or as little as he can.
 
sept 1 w500 h500
 
The final update is I did get another OTTB! I was really scared after my experience with Paragon's totally dishonest seller, but I gathered what I had learned there, #1 do a prepurchase exam with full xrays before buying no matter how kind, nice, trustworthy or knowledgeable the seller seems. I have a huge list of things I look for that allows me to scan 20-50 horses in an evening to try to find that unicorn, that needle in the haystack of size, athletic ability, soundness and good mind. I won't compromise and I went through hundreds of ads and videos before we found 'Seeking Fame'. Fame is a 4yr, 16.1h, bay gelding who won $50,000 at the track and last raced 7/23/16. We bought him from his trainer and he was shipped here a week following his last race. He is a truly special horse! He is so quiet and sensible, you'd never guess he was an OTTB or raced recently. I'm taking it super slow so he has time to let down properly and relax. If I can keep myself from riding more than 15 times before 1/1/17, he will be eligible for next year's TB Makeover. We haven't decided whether to apply again or not. Time will tell. I'm just thrilled to have a new boy with totally clean xrays and the best mind ever!!!!