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

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Looking Back

Overall, 2010 was a good year for me. It was the last part of my freshman year in high school, the year I got my first horse back, the year of ups and downs, friendships and heartbreaks, and oh so much more. Here is how my horsey year went:

January: I started the year off with my old Standardbred, Blue. He was an amazing horse to me, but to nobody or anything else. He wasn't fond of other people and was quite dangerous around other horses, especially our other horses. He continually charged at the fence to try to get at Elsa. One time, he broke through, pinned her in a corner, and whaled on her and didn't stop until we got the hose to break them up. I loved him, and even though I only had him for six months, we formed a bond and I brought him a long quite well. Blue is now in a new home and we visit him every now and then. One of my best friends lives next door to him and gives him carrots for me (: Ironically, he is now named Jet!

January ended with me getting Jet, who is the reason this blog was made. (Almost one year on blogger AND with Jet!!) The last day in January I had my first ride back on Jet. I was great to get back on him.

February: February was a bonding month for us. We spent a lot of time lunging, joining up, grooming, and short rides. I figured out where he was in his training developed a plan of what I wanted to do with him. I...unfortunately....pulled his mane in February. His long beautiful mane was gone. I hated doing it but now, I couldn't picture him having such a long mane. We took him off property for the first time as well. We took him to Hobby Horse with Mary-Kate and her Standardbred mare, Katie.
It was a great time just to figure each other out again. We learned a lot about each other in February.
March: March was a great month. Not only was it Jet's birthday, it was our first show! We prepared by going to Hobby Horse a LOT. We also cantered for the first time. We were in the back field and he actually picked up a nice canter for a few strides! It was one of the best moments of my life at the time.
We also "jumped" for the first time. LOL!
During out adventures there, I did something I always wanted to do...race someone across a field. And we won!
We also had our first show. It went alright. I was super proud of him! We ended up placing 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd! The month ended with Jet's 9th birthday on the 30th. We had a cake ;)
April: April was a quiet month. We did a lot of trail riding at home. It got really warm for a while so the riding was kept to a minimum for a while. But, we had our first show at a completely new place for him.

Our first Haskins Show was a mixed bag. It was rainy, cool, and had a LOT of horses in a small area. Jet was quick and a bit spooky but we did alright. We placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

May: May was busyyyy! We actually started to pursue jumping quite a bit. At the time, Jet was super uncoordinated and looking back, I should have waited longer to start jumping. But, no harm was done and a good time was had by all.
We also had two shows in May. We had a Hobby Horse Show and a Haskins Show. First was Haskins. He was less spooky this time and the classes were in the much larger outdoor arena. Thank gosh! He was however completely ignoring me in some of the classes so we didn't place well in those. We placed 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 7th.
Not Listening:
Our Hobby Horse show was MUCH better! He was so well behaved! I was so proud and I actually cried. We won our first ever blue ribbon together! We were also champion in our division (we weren't the only ones in the division either! There were 4 of us!)
June: June was the end of the school year. WOO! It was also another quiet month. We had no shows, nothing on our schedule, so we spent a lot of time playing around. I decided that I would not jump him in June because I felt like I over did it in May. I didn't want to ruin it for him. So, we spent our time trail riding with friends and family. It was also the first time we went swimming with the horses! Both Jet and I loved going swimming and we did it several times.
July: In July we got back to our work. We did a lot of ring work and slowly started jumping cross rails again. We went to Hobby Horse a LOT. I actually got a really nice canter out of him there a few times! One time, we got stuck out on the trails in a rain storm and instead of running back to the indoor to ride, we just stayed out and rode in the rain :)
We also had our first lesson with my Aunt. She helped me straightening him out and keep an even tempo. To this day, that lesson has helped us miles and miles! I owe my Aunt the world for helping me with him.
Jet and I went to Mary-Kate's house a few times and rode with her and Katie. We did a little bit of jumping and we had a lot of fun on the cranberry bogs!
We had another Haskins show in July. It was another mixed bag show but...we won another blue ribbon! Jet owns at discipline rail classes ;) Jet decided he forgot how to go straight so I blew my equitation class to get him listening again. Surprisingly, I guess I didn't look too bad but Jet broke from the we placed 6th out of 6. But the judge came up to me after the class and told me that if he didn't break, we would have placed much higher. Trail was ok...he was being a selective listener. We placed 5th of 7. In pleasure he was a complete lazy bum. He broke multiple times (five times I believe?). Once I got him good with the crop and for the rest of the class he was speedy Gonzales. Out of 8, we didn't place. Oh well. disciple rail, we owned! He was PERFECT. We won :)
Mary-Kate came to my house and we had a long ride in the ring and on the trail. We did some flat work, jumping, and galloping!
August: August was another busy month. It was the end of summer/get ready to go back to school month. We also had a few shows. Starting with Rehoboth fair...
Rehoboth fair was amazing! We had a great time, but everyone complained that the judge was not an experienced judge. She placed all over. The classes were pretty big as well! It was our first jumping show and games show too. Jet blew me away throughout the day! He was a true superstar! He was perfect in the flat classes, didn't refuse in the jumping classes, and was great in the games! We also won two blue ribbons :)
Open Horse or Pony In-Hand- 3rd out of 14
Jr. Walk-Trot Equitation- 5th out of 9
Jr. Walk-Trot Pleasure- Did not place
Jr. Walk-Trot Cross rails- 4th out of 7
Jr. Walk Trot Horsemanship- 3rd out of 9
Mint Julep Class- 3rd out of 15-20
Cloverleaf Race- 3rd out of over 20
Izzy Dizzy Race- 1st out of about 15
Boots and Saddle Race- 1st out of 8

Decked out in Farm colors!

We had another Haskins show in August. Jet was AMAZING considering there were 10 horses in the classes. I was extremely surprised when we were called 4th for equitation and 5th for pleasure out of some amazing riders and horses that were definitely not green training wise, but still fit the bill for showing less than two years. I was SO happy with those placings and I felt they were fair. Discipline rail was crazy. The judge had us trotting with one hand behind our back...etc. The pleasure class was full of spooking horses but the judge still had us having only one hand on the move. Horses were spooking everywhere but Jet was a steady eddy and we placed 5th :) Not sure how we placed in trail, 4th I believe, but he was good during trail. It was an interesting course but he was very good!

Jet and I participated in our first ever jumper show too! We went to Clover Valley and did two classes of ground pole jumpers. Jet was really good! Didn't refuse at all but we did get a lot of "Oooo"'s and "Ahhh"'s from the spectators because our jumping was...colorful :) Let's just say these pics explains our jumping quite well. Let me remind you..this is a GROUND POLES class.

We did have some great moments of beautiful distances and jumps and these were just a few bad moments.

We ended up placing 4th and 6th out of 12 riders! Yay Jet!

Between our shows, we had a few VERY useful lessons from my Aunt, had some riding time at Mary-Kate's house, shared trail rides with my mom, went swimming with the horses again, and went to Hobby Horse a few times. We also ground drove Jet for the first time! He LOVED it!

September: September was the start of the school year. The beginning of September was filled with trail rides because I wanted to cram as many in as I could before school started because I knew I wouldn't get out as much. We had some long rides on the Hobby Horse trails and at our own trails.

Dad rode Jet for the first time too! He wanted to go for a trail ride with my Mom at Hobby Horse but before we let him on the trails, we gave him the 101 in the ring. He has ridden before, just not frequently. He knows the basics and can sit and hold on if need be. One of our old standies bolted with him and ran around the ring, complete with sliding stops almost into the fences and my Dad stayed on and eventually got her back to a walk. Gotta love mares :)

Dad did take Jet to Hobby Horse and he was a superstar! He took great care of my Dad and they had a blast :)

I thought I was going to go to a dressage show at Flatlands at the end of September. I entered and everything but apparently, my entry never got to them (we mailed it). But, I didn't know that until the Thursday before the show. So, we were preparing away and took quite a few amazing lessons with my Aunt. We practiced the test and worked on anything and everything in between.  After one of my lessons, my Aunt generously paid for a massage for Jet! After that massage, we saw dramatic changed in Jet's way of moving. It made a 180 for the better! He was so much more balanced, free moving, and coordinated! His gaits improved and he seemed more willing to canter without kicking out. It was definitely something that we have done and will do again!

October: October we did a lot! We went to Mary-Kate's house a few times and for the first time ever...we jumped 2'!


It was definitely the highlight of my riding at the time! I have jumped 3'+ with other horses but this was my highest with Jet and he was perfect :)

We had the Fall Fest Horse Show. It was basically a disaster. Mary-Kate and Katie came and if Katie was out of Jet's sight or 20' away from him, he had a meltdown. Squealing, bucking, rearing, bolting, name it. I was really disappointed in him but we got through it. We did the jumping and games classes just like Rehoboth Fair but during the jumping, he was having meltdowns so he jumped horribly. We ended up placing..
Rehoboth Fair Fall Fest Horse Show Results:

October 17th, 2010
Open In-Hand- 2nd
Adult Walk Trot Equitation- 3rd
Adult Walk Trot Pleasure- 5th
Adult Walk Trot Horsemanship- 5th
Open Walk Trot Pleasure- Did Not Place
Open Walk Trot Showmanship- 2nd
Senior Cross rails- 2nd
Candy Race- Did not Place
Barrel Race- 2nd
Obstacle Course- 4th
Costume Class- 2nd

We had out final Haskins show too! It was the best one for us of the year. He was great! Straight and listening :) Not spooking or breaking either. He did get a little fast on one long side because the footing was really deep. We placed 2nd in all four classes and we got reserve champion!

We also went on our FIRST hunter pace! I LOVE HUNTER PACES! Jet loved it too! He cantered so well and he jumped everything and anything I pointed him at! We jumped up to 2'3" over logs, coops, etc. His ears were up the entire time too. Mary-Kate and I went together and Katie was awesome too! We will definitely try to do at least one hunter pace next year!

I didn't get any jumping pics though :( He was GREAT though! He jumped them better than he has ever jumped any type of show jumping jump. He loves cross country :) We placed 7th out of 30+ teams!

November: November was  my birthday :) Woo! Besides was a really quite month for us. We only rode a few times a week because I had drill team practice 3x a week. The days grew shorter and the school work increased. I didn't have a lot of time on my hands to ride. I did have an amazing bareback ride on him the night of the blue moon though! We did wtc bareback for the second time ever! It was an amazing feeling!

December: The beginning of December was very boring. Almost NO riding! I lunged him when I could and hopped on him during the weekends but it was impossible to ride during the week. During school break and the week before, we managed to get some good bareback riding time in!

We also hooked a sled up to Jet and he took us for a ride! It was the first time ever we have put something behind Jet since his racing days! He was a saint :) Nice and slow and listening

What a year! What's in store for next year? Shows? Goals? All that can wait until another post because this one is DEFINITELY lengthy enough on it's own!

Happy New Year!

From Emily and Jet


  1. You and Jet are so great together :)

  2. Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me :)