Read the Success Stories for these former Bits & Bytes Farm horses.


The newest Success Stories have been moved to their own site:


* Horses with asterisk in front of their name were purchased as Prospect Horses directly from the track.

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"Brett" at a recent show where he won 3rd place!

"Brett" at a recent show where he won 3rd place! march 24, 2007


Brett won a ribbon at his first  recognized horse show!

"Brett" won a ribbon at his first recognized horse show! January 2007

walked on a loose rein, and then, even in the company of 15, trotted softly and round on a loose rein. He sure felt pleasurable!
- Judi

Brett won a ribbon at his first  recognized horse show!

"Brett" won sixth place out of 15 riders in the English Pleasure class.


Brett is learning to jump by walking over ground poles.

Brett is learning to jump by walking over ground poles. December 2006




Brett and his mom Judi. - December 2006

Brett and his mom Judi. - December 2006




Brett and his new mom Judi Edwards

Brett and his new mom Judi Edwards - September 18, 2006





Elizabeth fell in love with Brett in February at his breeder's farm.

Elizabeth fell in love with Brett in February at his breeder's farm.




Brett was just a little three year old when we found him at his breeder's farm

Brett was just a little three year old when we found him at his breeder's farm - November 2005.

See Brett's original Prospect Horse for sale photos.

See Brett's Horses for Sale photos.

Bits & Bytes Farm Success Stories

Our horses > success stories > Finder's Reward aka "Brett"

Finder's Reward aka "Brett" - Happy 1st Anniversary!

OTTB - Brett has filled out and become a gorgeous horse.
Brett has filled out and become a gorgeous horse.


As Brett and I approach our one year anniversary, I wanted to send you both some conformation shots to let you see how beautifully he has matured.  He is an eye catching boy!

I remain hopelessly crazy over him. It's been an interesting year, but after climbing some steep hills in our relationship, he has ended up the exact horse I fell in love with--calm, gentle, brave--and very, very quiet. 

I've kept a diary of our first few in a nutshell, here's what he has learned: mom is in charge, stand to be mounted, stand quietly in cross ties, flyspray does not kill redheads, showers are good, clippers don't hurt, mom is boss, strangers are nice too, mom is boss, forward means forward, puddles do not swallow horses, flymasks are nice, gnat ears are nice too, trailers are fun, horseshows are fun (and I get to make new horse friends!), and, I am happy to say, he's had plenty of opportunities at his shows to learn that ribbons don't bite!  He's also learned to cross hollow sounding wooden bridges, to trail ride alone, to cross water, geese are not scarey (and fun to chase when they land in his field), deer are boring, etc etc etc.

He is all I could ever hope for, and thank you both for giving me the opportunity to own him.


PS: Joe, there's not a competitive bone in his body--despite his nearly perfect conformation, he shows no competitive drive when we canter in company out on the trails, or in the show ring when he's with a crowd of cantering horses.

Elizabeth's Note: Brett was one of our 25 Special Horses. Joe Borg is his breeder.

Brett has filled out and become a gorgeous horse.
Brett has filled out and become a gorgeous horse.

March 24, 2007

"Brett" got a third place in the w-t-c class! A huge class too!
"Brett" got a third place in the w-t-c class! It was his first public canter and it was a huge class too!


It's been awhile, and I thought it time to send new photos and an update. Brett has had a full and fun winter.

After his successful first show (you have photos and a note), we packed up for a 'camping trip' to the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va. We were not entered, simply went to school. The horse center is huge, beautiful, with multiple indoor arenas. With the EHV-1 virus in Fla, many in the region had not gone to Florida, so the Lexington show (A rated) was packed. Brett was a trooper on his longest trailer ride since the move to VA..

It was cold and dark when we arrived, and Mr Brave walked right into the big, busy, well lit, loud barn and settled into his stall. Big drink, a roll, and he found his hay. After I got my stuff (or is it his stuff???) moved in, I saddled up and he had his first schooling session indoors. He was wonderful--perky at first, then alert but relaxed.

We then went to another indoor arena, which required walking outside, at night, 15 degrees & windy, with lots of shadows. Brett was the calming influence on a friend's equally young and green horse. This arena was much bigger, and very busy with small children on fast ponies. He and I both kept it together, he found his long relaxed trot, remembered to listen to me, and was just wonderful. Off to bed (for him--we all assist each other at shows {no paid grooms}, so I stayed up to help my barnmates prepare to school, and put their horses up when finished).

"Brett" at a recent show where he debuted his canter and finished in third place!

Next morning we schooled again, this time adding a canter--his first public canter! It was tense and stiff, but he was trying. Then, cool him off and drive him home. GOOD BOY!

Since then we've not travelled except for today, off to a mini show. Again, just the pleasure horse division--as Joan pointed out, our biggest concern with Brett is that we take advantage of his incredible attitude and push him too fast. So, we schooled over a fence (he was wonderful), but we are going to wait a while to show over fences. After all, he just jumped his first line this week (and was completely cool with it!). We did take his canter out to be seen--and he got a third place in the w-t-c class! A huge class too! But, even better....the rider in front of me was bucked off (bad buck-ouch) while we were cantering. They were literally right in front of us. Did Brett the wonderpony act up too? No, so we began to steer around, then I saw she was coming off so we quietly halted. Then, "Mr. Third HOrse Show", when asked by me, politely walked up to the loose horse and stood like a stone as I reached forwards, pulled the reins over the loose horse's head, and held it. The rider was fine and, after the commotion was over, the class went on. He acted as though this was just part of what he knew how to do. The third place really added to the special-ness of that class.

The third place really added to the special-ness of that class.

I could go on for pages...but I won't! He is more than I could have dreamed for. His trail riding is coming along beautifully, his ground manners are nearly flawless, and best of all, our relationship is very solid. He trusts me, I'm thoughtful in what I ask, and we always get the job done--eventually, and not necessarily the way we planned! He is asked to stretch his little envelope every time I ride, and he does so willingly, if carefully. He has the most amazing attitude of any horse I've ever known. That he is sweet, beautiful, and very talented are just icing on a wonderful cake.


Elizabeth's Note: Brett was one of our 25 Special Horses. He had never been registered so he did not race. He was extremely green when he came to Bits & Bytes Farm having only done a few months race training at the track. Judi was the first to take him over a cross-country fence when she was "test" riding him. His attitude and willingness won her heart and it looks like "Brett" and Judi are a "Perfect Match" - the kind we hope and pray for with each horse we place. Thank you Judi for taking it slow and never scaring your young Thoroughbred. That is the "secret" of training these horses. Time and patience and never overface them. They will give you their heart and soul in return. Job well done! We look forward to many more success with this match!

January 8, 2007

Brett wins a ribbon at his first  recognized horse show!
Brett wins a ribbon at his first recognized horse show!


What a fabulous weekend! The slow, consistent, steady route is paying off. Brett and I went to our first horse show Sunday. It was a locally recognized show (points were accumulated) so Joan entered us under Brett's show name. Since casual dress was allowed, and I was there simply to school and let him get some show miles, I was not dressed for the party, wearing chaps and paddock boots. We entered three classes--an adult eq class which was held in the small indoor arena (we only entered the walk-trot class), and two pleasure horse classes, one walk trot, one walk, go as you please (trot for us). Those were in the big outdoor ring.

Brett found the indoor ring scary, but got comfort from his 'new best friend' Smokey. When Smokey left, he learned that any horse in the ring could be his 'new best friend,' so he settled in better that I could ever have hoped for. He was good in his class--a little bobble when we reversed and there was no horse in front of him cause a spook and stop--but then he regained his confidence and went on well. I was SO proud of him.

There were 15 horses in Brett's pleasure class.
There were 15 horses in Brett's pleasure class. The arrow points to Brett.

We then went outside for the pleasure class. I'd hoped it would be small...but no such luck, 15 horses, many of them very, very fancy. Most of the riders were there to compete, and were appropriately dressed. Brett walked on a loose rein, and then, even in the company of 15, trotted softly and round on a loose rein. He sure felt pleasurable! We lined up, and I wish you could have seen my face when they announced, "Sixth place, Finders Reward." I was shocked, and so very happy (Ok, I cried). Last class-he and I both started off a little tense when most everyone cantered for 'go as you please' and we trotted, but we settled in and by the end of the class he was listening to me and relaxed as others whizzed by.

Brett wins a ribbon at his first  recognized horse show!

What a great day! He is still learning to balance at the canter while carrying a human, so we won't take his canter out in public until he gets it. We want him to be confident before he has to perform!

We are going to an indoor show at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va at the end of the month. We are not entering, just going for schooling opportunities and more mileage.

I am so very proud of Brett, and I'm sure you are too.


Elizabeth's Training Note: Slow and steady and take your time with training. Brett and Judi show that it pays off - especially with a young horse. We are extremely proud of Finder's Reward aka "Brett" and we know he and Judi are a "Perfect Match". Keep up the good work!

January 2, 2007

Hi Elizabeth,

Hope the new year finds you, Barry, all the horses and dogs doing well. Brett is making delightful progress. He remains a bit strong willed, but I'm stronger! He's incredibly smart, which I've decided is not always a good thing!

We've recently been working on trail riding (alone....I know). He has an interesting aversion to stepping down off anything he perceives as a drop--even as little as 4 inches. I find a way around the drop, then we do figure 8s back up to it, moving closer each time, until he is stepping off the scary drop circling in both directions. Then we try it straight on several times, and move on.

He refused to cross a dirt bridge over a creek...I got off, lead him back and forth several times, then remounted and asked him to go across. He refused...and I yelled at him. Funny, cause it's the first I've yelled. He took immediate notice and trotted across! Of course, I wanted a walk, so we did it a few more times (no yelling needed), until he relaxed and walked on. I'm keeping the yelling up my sleeve for when I need it, now that i've learned he's quite impressed by it!

Weather permitting, he and I are going to a mini show on Saturday, entering the walk-trot classes. Clint is coming with camera, so hopefully I'll have photos to send on.


Brett and his mom Judi.

December 4, 2006


As you will see in the attached photos, we are doing well. He's quieted down, and is mostly trusting my leadership. When he resists, it's rather half-hearted, and he gives in quickly. Thursday, he learned to cross a wooden bridge--following Luke, leading Luke, then on his own. He did not feel he needed to do it alone...but quickly reconsidered after we spun, and he marched back and forth across it twice. Joan's been helping with clippers--we can now do his muzzle, and today graduated to bridle path. He does not like his ears handled--he's ok with me, but no one else. So, Joan's handling his ears, and, sometime this winter, we'll clip them. No hurry, and no twitch.


PS: included a photo with Joan (on the ground) since you'll be hearing her name a lot....

Joan is the "ground support" for Brett and Judi.
Joan is the "ground support" for Brett and Judi.

November 26, 2006

Hi Elizabeth,

It's been a couple of weeks, so wanted to send an update. Brett has turned his first corner and is wonderful! We've had a rocky two months (as you might have been able to tell) as he and I worked out the concept of basic obedience: No Brett, we are not done when you say, No Brett, we WILL walk past your pasture to go to the upper ring, No Brett, you will NOT walk over me to get out of your stall, yes Brett, you WILL get on the trailer, yes Brett, you CAN stand still to be mounted (walking off once I'm on is OK--backing up when one foot enters the stirrup is not...),yes Brett, cows are scary, and they might eat you. None the less, we will work through it, first at a distance, then gradually closer. No Brett, you may not follow every horse who rides through the property when we are working. Whew. Virtually every ride had an argument--even when I did my darndest to have it not be so. Have not gotten mad, have ridden them out, calmly and quietly, until he saw the world through my eyes. And, the sun is shining! He takes the trip to Joan's barn once a week (great footing, even when wet). He's quiet, relaxed, head down, opening his shoulder. He's even sweeter now that he has a leader (me!).

Brett and his mom Judi.

I know our steps forward will be followed by a step backwards. He's tested me a couple of times since he caved, and quickly submits (usually with a sigh...). That said, I think this was our first big mountain, and we've made huge strides in establishing the solid foundation of willing obedience I so want. Yesterday, the cow/calf combo (Hamburger anyone?!) came trotting down the hill. Huge muscle groups on his left side (the escape side) contracted...but he trotted on. Of course, once he was that good, I let him work further away, then we came back, and he ignored them. It was the obedience when I could feel his muscles ready to bolt, but he stayed between my legs and my hands, that gave me the thrill. He's getting it--I'm in charge, and I CAN be trusted! Yipee!


Elizabeth's Training Tip: Patience is the secret to success with these horses. Brett never raced so he did not have the "work ethic" of an OTTB.
You cannot loose your temper or force an issue with a Thoroughbred. You have to make the horse have confidence in you as the "herd leader". Take charge and never put your horse in a position that really scares him or hurts him. He will then learn to trust you in more difficult and scary situations. Wild horses depend on the alpha (lead) horse to protect the herd. Other horses will challenge the alpha horse for the leadership role. If the alpha horse shows weakness - another horse will become the leader. Brett has been challenging Judi's leadership but it seems that Judi has proven herself to be the herd leader. This will make Brett feel safe and secure in her company. If you are timid you will transmit your fear to the horse and convince him that there is something to be afraid of. He will then be on guard and act spooky. Judi is the alpha horse in Brett's herd. Job well done Judi!

Brett has made it to his new home in Virginia! - September 28, 2006
Brett has made it to his new home in Virginia! - September 28, 2006

October 28, 2006


I've been using Clinton Anderson's desensitization stuff with Brett, and we are all amazed at the results. He does plenty of stuff that does not require round pen training. I've actually been taught how to do round pen work, and determined it to be very helpful, but far more involved than it looks. I found there to be a real risk of just scaring the horse unless you are very attuned to some significant sublties in equine behavior.

That said, Anderson's stuff uses pressure and release with rope halter and lead. Horse is allowed to 'escape' the pressure, but the pressure continues until he chooses to stand still. The redhead now gets 'sacked out' before every ride with his saddle pad, his lead rope, a plastic bag, my arms waving, and anything else I can think of. He's very sensitive about his ears (esp his left one......uh huh), so they get sacked out with a plastic bag on a stick. He has also learned to back up if I step towards him and ask, to yield his hindquarters, and to move forward over foreign objects (towel, plastic bag--tarp is coming). It's great stuff, but I can must warn, it's not for the impatient, or those who feel sorry for the horse when he's alarmed.

The first sacking out with the saddle pad took several minutes, and multiple poops, before he decided to try standing and facing me. Thus, not sure this is good for the site (I hate to think of people just scaring their horse). The payoff is however, significant. He stands politely, untied, to be tacked up, or to have his sheet put on (he was terrified of his sheet when it first came near him). He stands quietly to be groomed, again, untied. He stands quietly for a shower. And, I think he is more attentive when I'm riding him.

Off to study, then out to the barn. Going to ask Halley (9 yo daughter of family who owns boarding barn) to photograph Brett loading.


Elizabeth's Training Notes: Judi has outlined a great training method we have used with many of the more timid horses. As she mentioned , it is very important NOT TO SCARE THE HORSE EVER! Take it slow and be patient. A rope halter is a great training tool. Many of the natural horsemen trainers have books and do seminars. Keep you mind open for new training techniques. If one method does not solve your problem, try another. Click here for a link to Clinton Anderson's Web site.

October 27, 2006 - The Trailer Loading Technique Works!

Hi Elizabeth,

Just for the record....I won on the patience with the trailer! Joan and I set an entire day aside. First load took a full 10 minutes, doing it pretty much as you suggested. Only additional rule was, backing up means you WILL back up. He decided forward was much less work....second attempt took~2 minutes, and after that he walked on multiple times with ease. We took him for a short ride, and after that he was still willing to walk on. We've practiced one day since, and he walked on. Tomorrow he and I are traveling to a pony club clinic just for the ride, I'll hack him around the grounds during the clinic, then he rides home in trailer. Sunday, he takes a ride to Joan's barn for a lesson--another short trip.

He's not nearly as quiet as we thought now that the weather is cold. Not bad, just up--more than I anticipated. He's much better at giving to pressure, and I've done a lot of desensitizing with him just to make his life easier. He now stands quietly to be tacked up and mounted. He's an opinionated young man, who will give a little buck if he's not allowed to go quit when his buddy (read that, any horse in the area) is done. He seems to be figuring out his opinion on matters like that don't impress me. He has a great work ethic, but again, a rather fixed opinion of exactly how long he should work. I keep him guessing with 10 minutes of school, trail ride, 5 minutes of school, desensitize and done....or any of a 100 variations of that!

He's bending nicely in both directions, canter transition to the left is lovely, to the right a bit sloppy...but improving steadily. Getting more strides of big forward trot every time I ride. Trying hard to help him find an easy flat footed walk--he wants to anticipate what comes next so tends to 'mall walk' rather than just relax.

He and Chance (the mini donkey) are best of pals, recently napping back to back in their pasture. Sundance the QH gelding has moved in with them in hopes that he and Luke become slightly less attached.

Aiming for photos this weekend!


October 16, 2006

Hi Elizabeth,

Brett is doing great. I've ridden most days since he's been here. He's had some 'up' days with the cold weather, but remains a sane, reasonable horse. We had our first lesson with Joan, and she really liked him. He's been on two long trail rides--water isn't his forte, but to his credit, if I lead him across, he does not jump on my head! He went to a horse show Saturday, which he found very exciting. That said, I got off and we stood at the rail watching the horses showing. It was though he was watching TV--he studied it all, especially the hack classes ("mom, they aren't going very fast...."), then got bored and took a nap. I got back on, he stayed quiet, so we quit. Loading into the trailer is a BIG problem--we can get it if someone places each foreleg on the ramp, and repeats that until his front end is in the trailer...then he calmly walks on. He'll get it, I'm sure.

He has a surprising stubborn streak--he can lock up all four legs as well as Chance the donkey. He does NOT like leaving his buddies in the pasture when it's time to work (although he comes when called to get caught...go figure). His rope halter is coming, and he and I have agreed that if necessary, we will back all the way out of the field (back up, turn and give him a chance to go the easy way, he refuses, we back up again...repeat until he prefers forward--not emotional, but no choice).

Everyone who meets him is amazed at his brain, and his good looks! High on the 'repair list' is resistance--at this point he is a 'normal horse' who resists pressure. The goal is to start working on that today, as I think that will help both the stubborn streak and the loading issue.


Elizabeth's Training Notes:

As for the trailer loading issue. . .

Walk Brett towards the trailer.

When you feel he might be starting to resist, back him away from the trailer.

Lead him back towards the trailer again. When you feel he might be starting to resist, back him away from the trailer. You can use a stick to tap, tap, tap him to move forward. Use it only to annoy him and get his feet moving.





Each time he will be getting closer to the trailer.

When Brett gets close enough to the ramp, do not let him go all the way in. At this point only let him put one foot on the ramp and then back him away again. You can lift a foot and place it on the ramp if necessary.

Each time let him walk only one step further into the trailer and then back him out.

This will take maybe a half hour (or an hour and a half).

Be patient and do not rush him. Eventually, Brett will try to pull you on the trailer.

When he is all the way on the trailer, back him out and do it again.

Always encourage him with your voice and do not get angry. This will only prove to him that there is something to be scared of.

Patience is all you need. I watched a seminar of this technique and the horse really tried hard to get on the trailer but the handler would not let him. Eventually, after Brett has been on and off the trailer a few times, feed him in the trailer.

Let me know who's patience wins on this one . . . ;--)

A rope halter is a good training tool. We use them to lunge horses with at the beginning of their training and to teach them to lead forward quietly.

September 29, 2006

Hi, I wanted to fill you both in on Brett's first day in Virginia.

I got up this AM, hand walked him around the farm--he was Brett--he'd stop and look, then calmly move on. I fed him a bran mash, and left him out in a small paddock with plenty of hay. He was making friends with the cat when I left for work.

When I returned, I spent an hour or so primping him--tail washed and combed out, thorough grooming, then we hand walked out to watch a friend school her OTTTB (his pasture mate). He was bored, so he grazed and said hello to the dogs.

Later we introduced him to his other pasture mate, Chance the mini donkey. Chance chased him (small paddock-safe), Brett went under a tree and pouted...and then it occurred to him--he is BIGGER than the donkey. He strutted over, and chased Chance. Chance was SHOCKED! Within an hour, they were sharing a flake of hay.

Elizabeth's Note: Finder's Chance was Brett's buddy at Bits & Bytes Farm. When Brett's new mom, Judi, told him he would be turned out with "Chance" he thought it would be his brother Finder's Chance. Surprise!

Brett's buddy Chance.
Brett's new pasture buddy is Chance the mini donkey!

Finally, this evening, I turned him out with Chance and Luke (the TB). It's a 10 acre pasture. Brett walked calmly up to the top of the hill, looked around, said, "wow" and took off cantering--with Luke and Chance behind (you gotta see the 37 inch donkey trying to keep up with these two race bred TBs!). After about 2-3 minutes of play, both boys settled down, head to head, to graze.

Chance, Luke and Brett enjoying a large pasture together.
Chance, Luke and Brett enjoying a large pasture together.

Other than a bit of diarrhea from the trip, he's handled it all incredibly well. Both my trainer, and the farm's owner, were amazed at how calmly he handled a very hectic day at the farm. And everyone is amazed at how friendly he is--if you walk up to the fence, Brett comes to say hi.

Thank you both of you for this wonderful horse. I'm letting him settle in (actually, I'm on 24 hr call I'll sleep on Saturday), and I plan to take him on a trail ride on Sunday. He will spend the fall and winter doing flat work, building muscle and learning the basics. We'll go to some shows to hang out and get used to the environment (I won't even be dressed to show). Come spring, we will start jumping--if the foundation is solid. Photos will come regularly!

Judi Edwards

Congratulations to Judi Edwards of Richmond, Virginia on the purchase of Brett!
Congratulations to Judi Edwards of Richmond, Virginia on the purchase of Brett!
- September 18, 2006

Brett learned to jump in his short time at Bits & Bytes Farm.
Brett learned to jump in his short time at Bits & Bytes Farm. This is Judi teaching him to jump.

Brett at Bits & Bytes Farm - July 2006
Brett at Bits & Bytes Farm - July 2006

Brett was one of our 25 Special Horses back in November 2005. He was listed first on our Prospect Horses for Sale page. Elizabeth went and checked him out in February when she picked up Suzie Maewon. She fell in love and knew she had to bring him to Bits & Bytes Farm to be in training. Brett was brought to the farm in July 2006 where he was listed on our Horses for Sale page.

Brett at his breeder's farm in November 2005
Brett at his breeder's farm in November 2005

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