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

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Last weekend was the Fall Fest Show. Mary-Kate also went with her Standardbred Katie ( Jet warmed up perfectly all by himself and then with several other horses in the ring going in a billion different directions. Then Katie came and Jet completely lost his brain.

If Katie was out of his sight, he has temper tantrums. Luckily, our first class was In-Hand with Katie. Jet was awesome and we placed 2nd out of 6.

Next were our undersaddle classes. We went to go warmup without Katie and Jet was bucking, kciking, rearing, bolting...basically everything bad you can think of. I never fell off but he was being a pill. Our classes went horribly. We placed third in equitation out of 5(which is good because he spooked right infront of the judge), then 5th in pleasure, and 5th in horsemanship in the Adult Walk Trot Division. He either went to fast or refused to move. I was done with him. I never got mad or upset, I was just extremely embarrassed and disappointed that my horse was doing this. MY horse, not a lesson horse. The judge referred to him as "a three year old thoroughbred off of the track." Greaaat.

So we put him on the trailer for an hour or so until our next classes. When he came out, he had his brain again! YAY! We could work without Katie insight and he was fine. Our second set of classes (Open Walk Trot) were soooo much better than the first. We were no longer a 3 y/o TB, but back to the horse I know and love. We ended up not placing in pleasure because he had to stop and poop, but we placed 2nd in Showmanship out of 6!

Next we had jumping. Jumping was...interesting...He jumped them like they were 4' tall. Way to go Jet. Then he managed to knock one over in the class. The course was a set of 4 jumps and we had to go around them twice. He ring steward person walked over to fix the jump and was still infront of it as I was trotting to it. I didn't want to go over it and didn't set Jet up, so he refused. No fault of his own, it was the other person's fault and mine. We placed 2nd out of 2.

I didn't want to end on a bad note so I decided to do the 2' warmup. I only wanted to do one, then leave. I went to the jump I picked. It was a wide jump with a single pole and haybales under it. He refused it once but then went over. I didn't want to end on a refused jump again so i kept going. The second and third jumps were just plain and simple single bars with groundlines and he went right over them!! The last one (I wasn't planning to go over it at all btu it was in a line and came up on my quick) was another haybale jump but it was much skinnier. He refused it three times, btu then went over. I didn't want to work him into the ground so I stopped there. I didn't want to do the class so I didn't.

Then there were the games! Mary-Kate and Katie left before the games started because their ride had to get hay before the grain store closed. So it was just me and Jet and he was not freaking out at all!

The first game was a candy race. Get a piece of candy, drop it in the bucket and gallop back. Fastest time wins. I missed the bucket and got us disqualified, but Jet was fast!
Next was the barrel race. The barrels were wayyyyy too close to the rail so I accidentally turned him too early at the first fence and we walked a few steps. We booked the rest of the course and pulled a 2nd out of 10+!

Obstacle course was next. The sun was setting and it was shadows galore. The first obstacle was a maze of haybales. Jet was freaed out by the haybales at first but did go through it with some encouragement. Next were groundpoles. He was unsure about those to so we walked over them. Then we had to take an apple off of a barrel then place it on the next barrel. I overshot the first barrel and we had to go back but he was good. Next we had to go over a half cross rail and he was perfect. Then we had to go in a box and do a 360 turn, again he was fine. Finally we had to weave in and out of cones and he was awesome! We actually got 4th out of 10+ in that!

Finally was the costume class. We were bumble bees! It took forever to get ready but it was worth it. We ended up getting 2nd out of about 10! Woo!

I'm relazing that this post is getting really long so I'll do a seperate one for Haskins tomorrow (:

-Emily and Jet

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ring Work. Trails. Jumps.

Between the seemingly never-ending bouts of rain we have had, Jet and I have been up to a lot. We have been doing some ring work to work on getting him straight, balanced, connected throughout my body, and slowly starting to round. He is doing fantastic and I am more and more impressed everyday!

We have also done a BUNCH of trail riding. He has been quite full of himself ever since his massage. He is like a totally different horse! I'm sure the cooler weather has something to do with it aswell. We have gone a few times to the back field, a few times to Hobby Horse, and most recently we went to Mary-Kate's house. I have been practicing picking a point infront of me and keeping him straight to get there. That means keeping his ears, shoulders, and point of hip all aligned and keeping everything in that box. He has been doing really well with it!

We have also been working on his canter. In the fields, he is nailing it! He has a pretty big strides and every ride results in a slightly slower and more balanced canter. In the ring, he certainly tries his hardest but our tiny ring isn't helping him whatsoever. So instead of trying to keep the canter and just stressing the both of us out, I have been working on just getting the transitions (from trot AND walk now!), taking a few strides, then bringing him back down.

We have been playing arund with some jumps here or there. Nothing really set up in the ring, basically whatever I find. We have jumped a 22"-ish branch at Hobby Horse last weekend! We only went over it once, though. After he went over it the first time (without refusing too!) he wouldn't go back over it. Oh well... I also took some of the not-yet chopped logs and set them out and jumped them. It was only 18" or so but it was something new and fun.

We have been doing a lot of groundpoles lately. Raised and on the ground. It just helps him remember where his feet are and that he needs to pick them up lol. It adds some excitement to out boring ring rides.

Today we went to Mary-Kate's house and did tons of stuff! I started him out in a running martingale and did some w/t work. He did absolutely fantastic! Straight, slow, and starting to get a connection in the bit! Then I took the running martingale off, did some more w/t work, then practiced our canter. We were able to go once around in each direction without stopping (huge improvement from the one long side we accomplished last time!) and got transitions from the trot and walk!

After that, Maey-Kate had some jumps set up and I decided to try them. First was just a plain ordinary crossrail. He didn't look twice at it and went right over!

Then we had a 2' hedge. Orginally, I wasn't planning on even attempting it. Eventually Mary-Kate persuaded me to give it a go. What's the worst that could happen? He refuses? Well, the first time he sorta just ducked out. I came at it from a weird angle and he just kept going by it. The second time I aimed him at it I made sure we were straight, he was forward and in between my legs, and that he was paying attention to where we were going. And... he went over it! After that one time, he had no problems with it and we went over it a few mroe times from both directions.

The last jump that was set up was a haybale fence. It was two haybales upright nest to eachother. It has a lime green and blue spray painted piece of plastic on it so I was thinking it might spook him. And boy was I wrong. He went right over it! Didn't even think of refusing!

We walked them on the raods and then on the cranberry bogs. We rode for nearly 2 hours. They were pretty sweaty but I made sure I walked Jet as much as I could. I curried the heck out of huim and threw the cooler on him. He is fine now. He sure surprised me today! I absolutely love my horse! (:

We have a sshow this Sunday at Rehboth Fair grounds (Fall Fest Open Horse Show). I was going to show Jet at my school in 2 in-hand classes and 1 flat class on Saturday but I think it is too much for now. Maybe next year!

I'll let everyone know how I do (:

-Em and Jet