From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pics from Ride, Shots, Ride

Jet got his shots yesterday as well as the strangles vaccine and coggins. We had the vet do the shots in his bum instead of his neck to see if he has the same reaction. I woke up today and there was only a small bump (like a mosquito bite size) on his bum where they gave the shots! The vet suggested going for "a light hack" today so he doesn't get stiff and sore. It was a nice and cool day so Mom and I trucked the horses down to Hobby Horse for a trail ride. We went around in the ring a bit to get a feeling of how stiff the horses were. Elsa was very stiff in the neck, but Jet was just fine! I did maybe 3 or 4 laps of trot in each direction to see how he felt. The rest of the day was basically walking. We went all around the fields just letting the horses have a nice walk. We did a short trot here and there but nothing to work up a sweat. All in all, he was very good and I think it was nice to get him out and about just relaxing.

Before the vet came yesterday, I lunged Jet since I didn't think I would have enough time to ride and because we haven't lunged in a while. I had to remind him that I was directing him where to go, he wasn't jsut going to gallop around. We did lots of walk and trot and a fair amount of canter too! I set up two ground poles so that he could trot in, pick up a cnater over the first one, then have a bounce to the second one. He handled it very well! I moved them closer at the end so he could trot over them so that he knew groundpoles didn't mean jump. It took him a few times to get the striding but he got it at the end and I was pleased!

Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day so we will go for a ride. Still not going to go full out but we are going to do more than today.

Here are pics from the ride with M-k and Abby:

He usually follows me to the mounting block but he stopped and I was trying to call him over. I failed!


I love my horse!

Double Bareback!

Jet, 7/27/10

I got artistic! Katie is in the background

Jet with his friend

-Em and Jet

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Long Ride

Yesterday Mary-Kate, Abby, and I rode at my house. We did a lot of ring work first. Probably a good hour or so. But most of the time it was just one person on the rail at a time and two people video taping/taking pictures so it really wasn't that much work. Abby and I went over the cross rail a few times and Mary-Kate did both of the jumps I set up. They all were really good! Elsa and Katie refused or almsot refused the crossrail a few times but Jet didn't. What a good boy! We ware done for jumping until probably next Wednesday when we will pop over a new crossrail (I took the other one down) to practice for the Rehoboth Fair (8 days left!!) Then Mary-Kate hopped on Jet and I hopped on Katie. M-k did a little bit of trotting and popped over the cross rail once. I did w/t/c with Katie and did both jumps. We then switched back and headed out for the trails!

We got back there, walked around for a while, then Mary-Kate and I decided to canter down the straightaway. Jet cantered down it nicely a few times, and then we galloped down it! He was FLYING! Then M-k and I had a race and I won even though I lost my stirrups! (: Josh, my little brother, walked out with us to take videos (my Mom did aswell) so he got blisters on his feet. He decided that he wanted to ride Jet back with me (he feels safest on Jet) so Mom offered to carry the saddle back if I let Josh ride bareback with me. Ofcourse that was fine so we untacked Jet and hopped on bareback. He was an angel with both of us on there! I love my horse!

We got back, hosed them off, I sponged Jet with linament, and then we turned Katie and Jet out together in the ring. We don't know when the last time Katie was turned out with other horses (she has goat friends at home) so we weren't sure how things were going to work out. Amazingly, they got along PERFECTLY! A few mare squeels at first but then they were basically attatched at the hip! It was adorable! I'll put pictures up later.

I'm planning on just hopping on Jet bareback today and walking him around to stretch out his muscles so he doesn't get stiff and sore. I'll post later!

-Em and Jet

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Awesome Ride Today!

Trotting some more!
Trotting Out Bad Direction
Jumping a Crossrail- Bad direction
He gets excited and sticks his nose in the air! A habit we will have to stop. You can also see our sometimes sideways-ness in this video
Jumping- Good direction
He cross-cantered after the first two times but after that he picked up the lead completely! We will have to work on balnce to the jump and his take off so the cross-cantering doesn't continue
Cantering the Crossrail!
His first time doing it in almost two months! And he has only done it a few times before anyways. I need to keep him out more but I was still proud that he cantered it (:

He was a very good boy all in all. TEN DAYS until the Rehoboth Fair!!

Tomorrow I am riding with Mary-kate and my sister in the early AM to beat the heat! We will tkaes pics and videos!

-Em and Jet

Monday, July 26, 2010

Haskins results

It was an interesting day at Haskins yesterday. It was HOT! I was sweating while I was tacking up! We got there early and I took him out for some grass, walked him all around, then let him look around while I brushed him. I tacked him up for a quick warmup in the outdoor arena (which was incredibly disguisting with mud since it has been raining on and off all week). He was really good in the warm up. I was thinking calm and he was calm! The first time we walked around he was a little spooky but I just worked through it. After a few laps of walking, I picked up the trot. He was being a superstar! Moving around several horses no problem, going through puddles, and going slow! I went each direction for a little bit. Then I felt that we had accomplished what I wanted for warm up so we went back to the trailer.

Our first class (equitation) was called and we went into the ring. Four horses entered and I felt that was a good number since the indoor is small. Then someone said, "We have another one coming!" and three more entered. It was a little crowded but not too bad. We had enough room for our own spot at the walk. He was great at the walk, not spooking, going straight, listening...but as soon as the trot was called...forget about it. "Straight? Waht do you mean Mom?" His nose was up in the air, his trot was a little fast (but not bad for him) so we had to move around a lot of horses. Then he broke....then he broke again...and again...and again...and then once more. Yep. He broke FIVE times in that class. I didn't have a crop, and I don't own spurs. The worst part was that he would go nice a fast so I would only have my leg on him to try to get him to stay straight inbetween them and then BAM! He would stop. Right infront of the judge every single time. Oh boy. There were 6 in that class so we placed 6th. (One person left in the middle of the class because she felt sick). The judge came up to me when we were exiting the ring and told me that if he hadn't broke, we would have placed high, but I worked through it well.

Then we went over to get our trail done. It was a simple course but I didn't study it long enough. We weaved around 3 cones, then had to circle around the last one, trot over 4 ground poles, back through the modified-L, the halt on the raised platform for 5 seconds. That is what I remembered. What I didn't remember is how to get to each of them. grr! We went around the cones just fine (Honestly, I was surprised about that) then we made a bigger circle than other people were doing but he didn't break from the trot with is what I was most proud about. Out past experiences with the poles and trotting was always bolt off to the side, then when we went back for a second try, he would trot the first, walk the second, trot the third, and hop over the fourth. This time it was a bit different. He didn't refuse them at all (YAY!) but he jumped the first two xD Gotta love him. Then he didn't know where his feet were and I didn't want him to hurt himself (he has stepped on poles several times and almost hit himself with thatm) so I pulled him out of the last two since he was already towards one side of them. Then we walked over to the back-through, I lined him up and asked him to back. It was a fight for a while to get him to take one step. So once he tooka  step, I rewarded him. Then He got the idea and listened. We did the rest of the back through easily (only took one step out of it I think, but it was my fault.) Then he was standing there and I couldn't remember what I was supposed to do next. I knew it was the raised platform, but I had no idea how to get there. So I walked back through the back-through then walked on the platform sideways, tried to halt him on it (ofcourse he couldn't, it was too skinny) so I took him off, and went the right way and he had no problem. He went on no problem and got all four feet on and halted for the 5 seconds. I hadn't seen any other horse do it so far so I was proud (: I walked out and looked at the course again and saw that I was supposed to keep backing out of the back through the just  walk over the platform. Woops. Oh well. I was still proud and the judge told me I did a great job! We placed 5th out of 7.

We took him back to the trailer after ever class, untacked him, sponged him off, gave him some water, then cooled him out by walking him around. We put him on the trailer when there were long periods between classes to let him chill there and he was happy to relax.

Pleasure was crowded! 8 people! I had a crop this time and I was determined not to let him break. So what does he do? He breaks. Right infront of the judge again. So I tapped him with the crop and for the rest of the class, he was pretty speedy. But, he broke again! I was not a happy camper. It wasn't because we didn't place, it was because he completely ignored all of my aids. Seat, legs, hands, everything! We forgot how to turn, go straight, and keep going. So after that class, I took him to an empty ring and let him know that I was the boss, not him. I did a lot fo transitions to get his focus. Trot, walk, halt, trot, etc. He broke and I gave him a tap behind my leg this time and he bolted. He was on the virge of cantering. I worked through it, and kept working on the transitions. He bolted a few more times from the halt to trot but we eventually got to the point where he would halt, then pick up the trot without bolting or racing into it. By the end of our five or so minute fight, he was going on the bit for a few steps at a time. We brought him back to the trailer (which was right next to this ring) and did the cool down.

Discipline rail was next. There was an unexpected lunch break the class before ours so I was already tacked up and up by the ring. It was empty so I went in there to work him a bit and make sure that he would not break in there either. I only trotted a bit, then worked on the transitions, then brought him back to the trailer for water. By then, there was only 10 minutes left in the lunch break so I just walked him around. We finally went in for our class and he was perfect! I think all the sudden and frequent transitions kept him focused on me. We didn't break at all in this class! YAY! There were seven people in this class so it was a bit crowded. His transitions were perfect. He never took a bad step or moved form the halt when he wasn't supposed to, or get ansy, or anything. I pretended that we were the only ones in the ring and nobody was watching. It was just me and him. And it paid off! We WON that class! I was so proud!! He got spoiled with treats, got another sponge down, and off we went back home.

-Get there early and let him calm down. Don't rush anything

                     Achieved. Got there around 8:10 and kept it slow and steady.

-In the classes, don't worry about getting him round. That will come with more experience.
                     Definately achieved. I was more focused on keeping him going! lol
-Get him straight in the classes
                    Not achieved. That will come with time.
-Keep my hands UP!
                    Hmm...not really sure. Again, I was more focused on him than me.
-Go through the trail course without any problems
                    Besides me forgetting the course, then him jumping the ground pole, then me pulling him out, achieved!
-Place third or higher in one class
                   Achieved! We won the discipline rail class!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Haskins Show tomorrow!

We didn't thinkl we would be able to go to this show since his coggins reached the year mark at the end of May. However, I contacted the show commitee and they said that since it isn't too outdated, I can still show! So we did some balancing and flexing work today. The ride was maybe 30 min long. It was short, nice, and he was perfect! Which means tomorrow probably won't be good since after he is perfect, he usually bombs for a day or two. Tomorrow I have some goals I want to accomplish:
-Get there early and let him calm down. Don't rush anything
-In the classes, don't worry about getting him round. That will come with more experience.
-Get him straight in the classes
-Keep my hands UP!
-Go through the trail course without any problems
-Place third or higher in one class

I may think of some more and I'll add them to the list tomorrow when I tell you how we did.

The man is all braided and tomorrow I will hose off his legs since he is heel high in mud right now. I'll probably have to redo some of his braids tomorrow morning since he always rubs a few out. 6:00am wake up call!

Wish us luck!

-Em and Jet

Friday, July 23, 2010

100th post! Updates..

This is officially my 100th post! yay!

Yesterday I rode at home and worked on what I did during my lesson on Monday. It is hard to remember to keep my left hand up when nobody is there reminding me. Overall, good ride. He listened, had more wait than go but he tried. I was proud of him and ended it on a good note.

"Jet! Put your ears up!!"

Today I went to Mary-Kate's house to ride (her blog is!). When we were tacking up, Jet saw the horse-eatting chickens. He didn't spook but he made sure he knew where they were at all times. After we tacked up, we started off in the ring. We did a lot of walking and some trotting. Enough to get them all warmed up and ready to go. I really worked on keeping him straight, keeping his chin centered and keeping an even, slow pace.
Going straight!

Going round for a little bit

Then we  went out to her field (right next to the ring) to do some more trotting, a bit of cantering, and jumping! We set up one crossrail, a half crossrail, and she already set up a haybale jump. I did the crossrail twice in each direction and then the half crossrail three times. He was such a good boy! His ears were up the entire time and he was having fun! I didn't want to over do it so I was happy with the little we did. I got him to trot in and canter out instead of his usually trot over then stop! Yay!

Ears up, knees tucked! He was loving it!

Again, I was so proud!

Katie and Mary-Kate over the crossrail!

My awesome photgraphy skills! Over the haybale!

We then went for a ride around the cranberry bogs. We got toa  straightaway of grass and decided that Mary-Kate and Katie would gallop down first, stop halfway, then I would catch up with them on Jet. as soon as they took off, Jet got all upset and wanted to go. So we went but we had a nice slow canter going behind them! Katie then got scared that Jet was right behind her and took off! I have never seen her gallop so fast! I was waiting for them to slow down to slow Jet down and Mary-Kate was waiting for me to slow down so Katie could slow down. Neither of us knew this because I jsut thought they were galloping so I followed. We ended up going all the way down the straightaway, down a gravel path, then Marykate turned Katie into the tree and we both stopped. We walked them out and went back to her house. We set up some cones as "barrels" and practiced the pattern for the barrel race at Rehoboth Fair. I walked the course once or twice then trotted them and cantered home a few times. He is getting it more and more each time we do it. I really have to balance him around the turns and really slow him down before them to pick him up. It will get better with time. Exacly two weeks until the Rehoboth Fair! I can't wait!

-Em and Jet

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two very different rides

Yesterday, Mom and I went to HHF for a ride. We only went in two of the fields since it was getting dark and the bugs were out. We did a lot of "ring work" in the first field...circles, bending, moving off my leg, half halts, etc. He kept the trot really well and kept a nice tempo. He usually starts off slow, breaks, the goes fast, and so on for the majority of our ride. He actually listened to my seat and legs better than usual. After a while, we went to the seond field and picked up a canter. It was a nice surprise when he kept it the entire long side of the field and most of the way up the hill! We are getting closer and closer to the top of the hill each time we go! We cantered a bit in each direction then did a bit more trot work. He was sweaty so we had a nice gentle walk to cool him out.

Today was my lesson with my aunt. It was really an eye-opener. We worked on lengthening his stride and keeping him straight. I never realized how crooked he moved until he was actually going straight! He leans a lot on my left rein and I, unknowingkly, encourage it and support it by lowering my hand and making it dead weight for him to lean on when he gets unbalanced. This explains why he falls through his corners and turns his head to the outside going to the right. I really have to focus on lifting my left hand and keeping it even with my right hand so I can give him even pressure on both sides of my body. We worked on half-halts and having him wait for my cues. We brought him down to nearly a walk and then pushed his hind end to the front of his body and making him stretch more undreneath himself. This lengthened his stride. Now I have to put it all together at once! We did A LOT of trotting. Pretty much non-stop for 20-30 minutes! He was definately sweating so I cooled him out by walking him around the street then hosing him down. He was sucha  good boy!

Tomorrow the family and I are going to water country! I want to hop on him for a quick ride when we get back so he doesn't get stiff after a hard workout.

-Em and Jet

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back In Work

On Friday, Jet's neck was finally looking almost back to normal. I poked it and he wasn't flinching so I decided to hop on for a ride. I basically got what I expected.

We started out with lots of walking, moving off my leg, and re-establishing what we worked on before. He wanted more rein than usual so I let him stretch out a few more laps than we would do on a normal day. We did lots of circles and changing of directions so we could stretch out both sides of his body. I tightened up my rein and he fought me for a little bit. I would have him connected through the bit for a while but we'd lose it often. I completely exppected this since it was his first ride in a week and his neck was probably still a bit sore. As time went on, he offered to take up more contact and keep it for longer.

Once I was satisfied with the walk, we trotted. It was another fight to get him to trot. He would pick it up, then break, pick it up, then break, and it went on until I got serious with him. It was hot, and he was an idiot when we turned him out earlier, so I knew he wasn't going to be energetic. To the left, he picked it up more easily and collected more. To the was a battle the entire time. He was counterbending, not listening to my aids, and he kept breaking. After a 10 minute battle, we went around the ring a few times when he was actually listening and on the bit. I walked him out and ended it on that. Now that he is going to be ridden regularly again, hopefully these battles will become few and far apart or even nonexistant.

Mom and I are going for a trail ride today at Hobby Horse. I'll probably write more tomorrow!

-Emily and Jet

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ride 7/10/10

On Saturday, Mom and I went for a ride. We tacked up quickly to try to beat the rain. We got on and headed out into the jumping field when we heard thunder. Uggh. So we worked in the jumping field for a while. We did circles, serpetines, etc. He was doing REALLY well! The thunder stopped so we continued onto the trails. We only went in the fields and not out into the woods incase it did start to thunder again (so that way we could just canter back). We did lots of trotting! Elsa was sweaty and Jet was jsut a little warm. We went back to the first field and Mom called it quits. She stood in the middle on Elsa while I cantered around. His canter was AMAZING! We picked it up on a turn but did most of it down the long side of the field. He was sooo good! He was even in a frame! I am not sure how or why but I just let him be where he was most comfortable (I was just happy he was cantering lol!). We went a little bit in each direction before I walked him a bit and gave him lots and lots of praise. Then it happened. The skys opened up on us and the rain came. Oh joy..."Mom, let's go back now." "No! It is fun to ride in the rain!" So we stayed out in the rain and got SOAKED! We did a little bit more cantering then finally went back to the barn, soaking wet. Mom took Elsa in the barn to wash her off. I wanted to see if I could still have Jet focus on me if Elsa left him so I continued to ride. We did a lot of walking, then a little trotting, and then I asked for a canter. Going the the left, he would NOT pick it up. So going the right, his good direction, I told him that if he did a few strides, he would be all done and he would get cookies! He must have understood me because after I said that (we had a few failed attempts before) he picked it up! Was the transition pretty? No. Did we keep it for long? No. But was I proud? You betcha!

Lesson tomorrow! Can't wait to finally get one on him :D

-Emily and Jet

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Amazing Day

Today we had an amazing ride! Yesterday too!

Let's start with yesterday...we did A LOT of walking work. I got him to the point where he was collected, round, and moving off my leg for a few strides at a time. I was really proud that we got that since we were doing a lot of trail and hill work and very little work on this recently. We moved up to the trot and I got the same results for a few strides at a time. I had set up a cross rail before and I had promised myself and Jet that if I wanted to jump it, I would have my Mom watch at all times and if she said that something was wrong, I would stop. I called her out and had her watch a few minutes of flat work and then I asked if I could jump. She said, "Sure, I don't see why not!" We popped over it three times in each direction then went on a walk around the street.

Today was even better! We did a lot of walking and circle work again. I think this really helps him get into the grove of things. We wrok for a few minutes then have a break of loose rein stretching, then more work, etc. so he has a breather inbetween. We got going really well today at the trot especially after we....cantered! We went around about twce in each direction and he wanted to go more! He was just so unbalanced that I needed to bring him back. He got all hyped up after the cantering so I had to really bring him back down. He enjoyed it and was a good boy but man...he was really unbalanced. My ring is tiny so he has a hard time in there... I will just stick with bigger rings and trails for cantering right now until he can balance himself. And.... we jumped once each direction over the crossrail. We actually trotted over it like a cavaletti but I wanted him to wait and not rush towards it then throw himself over it. I was very pleased (: We went for another walk around the street then I hosed him off. GREAT day!

Hopefulyl riding with my aunt tomorrow. I'm going to give her a call tomorrow morning and ask if she can help me. *fingers crossed*

I'll post tomorrow after my ride!

-Emily and Jet

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Be safe and have fun!

I will post later about my amazing ride earlier today!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

After Pics!
Front Hooves Before

They are different shapes and sizes =/
Front Hooves, side view, before. He has no heel and too much toe!
Back Hooves, side view, before
Back Hooves, front view, before. You can see how he is toed out...


Jet is getting his feet done today! FINALLY! We will also Thrushbust him today and then again tomorrow. The farrier is coming in an hour so I am going to lunge him a bit now because I don't want to work him with his new feet. He needs some time to adjust since he is overdue and will get alot taken off. We will see how he is feeling tomorrow. I am also going to ask the farrier and see what she thinks about his kicking. It is officially July 1st and I completed my goal of not jumping him for the rest of June. I am probably going to lunge him over some cross rails Sunday and see how he does. IF he is ok, I will try a few with him. I have decided that we are going to stay at cross rails. I have also promised myself and him that I will only jump once or twice a week with my Mom's supervision at all times. If she feelsm, or if I do, that he is in any pain, I will stop immediately.

On a happy note, I went for a ride Tuesday night in the ring. We did walk, trot, and even some canter! Once I asked for the canter the first time, he was eager to go. So I let him! He made it halfway around each direction two times. the first time I held him up and the second time I gave him his head. I was waiting for him to buck since his head was low, but he didn't! Not once! I was so proud (:

Yesterday I went for a ride with Mom and HHF. We worked on slow trots. I collected him on the trails a few strides at a time. He LOVES the trails. He really does. He wanted to go but listened to me. When he got to the field befre the bridge, we came across my not-so-good friend. The coyote(we were attacked while camping there by coyotes). So we just walked around it and it just stood there watching. We went over the bridge and cantered! It was the best canter he has ever done!! I was so extremely proud! It was not a "I can't hold myself up so I am going to go really fast," but it was a nice, slow, collected canter. Even my Mom was in shock! When we went to go do it again, he was a bit more eager to go so when I asked him for it, he bucked. It wasn't one of his kick-outs, it was a "YAY LET'S GO!" buck. This canter wasn't nearly as nice but it was controllable and we were slow enough to stay behind or next to Elsa. Since we cantered twice in one direction, we had to canter atleast once in the other direction. So we went across the bridge, made sure the coyote left, then cantered the other way. The transition took longer than I hoped so by the time we reached the end of the straightaway, we only got 5 or so strides in. We walked back to the first field patting our ponies. We got to the hill and I asked Mom if I could canter up it. She went to the top and I trotted around. He picked up the canter as soon as I asked and it was as perfect as the first one! What a nice way to end the ride! I was sooo happy!

I'll post before and after pics of his hooves later!

-Emily and Jet