Meet Full Gallop Farm’s Swing Fa the Stars

For weeks, even months, now, I’ve been thinking I should resume the blog and chronicle this OTTB retraining journey. But, this morning, I truly felt compelled to share.

Meet Chip: Full Gallop Farm’s Swing Fa the Stars (2010 Gelding, Grand Slam x Forrest Lullaby)

Back in June, I partnered with Lara Anderson of Full Gallop Farms to take on Chip as a retraining project. When I got Chip, he’d already had some post-track training, but he was missing a lot of basics.
Chip Right Conformation

But, he had those knees we all want, and he made jumping look effortless.
Chip Jump

Unfortunately, he’s “not that great a mover,” and he thinks bending is a form of torture. Our dressage scores hover in the mid to upper 30s. What he lacks in flourish, though, he makes up for with try.

This past weekend, Chip moved up to Novice at the Full Gallop November Horse Trials. Thursday afternoon prior, he showed up with this: IMG_8174

My first thought was abscess, but he’d shown no indication of lameness except being a bit sluggish. We finally decided it was a laceration, so I medicated it and wrapped it. Saturday morning, we rode a dressage test in preparation for the 1 day trial. We actually shaved a couple points off our previous score, so I was fairly happy. Pony was nicely relaxed. But, he just wasn’t himself. Sunday morning, we had a horrible dressage test with a score of 40. He was counterbent on the left lead–looking back, that was a pretty good clue. I toyed with the idea of scratching him. I probably told everyone I saw that I was contemplating scratching him. He wasn’t lame, but he just wasn’t himself. I finally decided that we’d head to stadium warm up, and if he was even slightly hesitant about jumping, I’d scratch.
Not only was he bold in warmup, he probably gave me one of my most flawless trips around a stadium course ever. And, 10 minutes later, he flew around cross-country like a seasoned veteran.

We came away with 5th place, finishing on our dressage score.

The next day, since the vet was going to be out anyway, I had him examine Chip’s ‘laceration.’ It didn’t take long for the vet to decide it warranted a closer look before we made a diagnosis. Radiographs revealed a tract from sole all the way up to the coronary band, so Dr. Myran pulled his shoe and cut away enough sole to offer a way out for the infection. A prescription for soaking, poulticing, and antibiotics, and that was that. An abscess. Not only an abscess, but a mother of an abscess. Big and bad enough that it blew out the bottom overnight. IMG_8212

They say geldings don’t have heart. They say only mares and stallions will give you their all. But Chip says they’re wrong. This horse is worth his weight in gold. Stay tuned for more on Chip’s journey…



  1. redheadlins · November 3, 2015

    Wow what a champ he is, total beast mode in that video!

  2. MaryS · November 4, 2015

    You would never know he had an owie! What a good boy!

  3. draftmare · January 23, 2016

    Wow, what a champ! My first horse had chronic abscess issues and he would act like his leg was going to fall off when he got one.

    • justjump3day · January 23, 2016

      This one is lingering, but he never tells me about it. It’s hard not to put him in work when he trots around the pasture sound. Sigh.

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