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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stb People I'd Like to Meet

I follow a lot of people on Blogger and there are a few people I would love to meet in the Standardbred world. I don't follow that many people on here that are Standardbred people, but the people that I do follow are great role models that I look up to. Each of them is devoted to the Standardbred and are excellent riders. I hope to one day be as much of a horse-knowledgeable person and great rider. In no particular order, they are:

First there is the most active blogger out of the three, Dom. "A Collection of Madcap Escapades" ( follows the journey of Ozzy (her Standardbred), Herbie (the famous barn dog), Dom and her crazy adventures, and oh so much more. Dom is part of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation which helps place Standardbreds in pleasure or companion homes after they retired from the track. She gets to play around with Stanadrdbreds all day long and I am extremely jealous. She is also an endurance rider and competes around New England (her most recent adventure was in Maine!). Unfortunately, she is not using Ozzy right now due to him being in a bit of a funk. I look up to Dom in many ways. She is a helpful person who is always willing to lend out a hand to those in need, but she doesn't take crap from anyone. She definitely stands up for herself. She is true to herself and others and has quite the sense of humor. If you could describe her riding in a few words, it would be 'non-stop adventure.' She is constantly galloping across fields,sinking her horse in mud, trail riding, skijourning, riding bridleless, and just plain ol' having a good time. Everyone should be like that! She writes extremelyyyy well and reading her blog is like reading a story and it is complete with pictures! She is a fantastic photographer as well. I hope to one day be as great of a photographer as her aswell as the amazing rider, trainer, and all around horse person that she is.

Next is Dom's partner in crime, Erin. "Now THAT's A Trot" ( follows the training and lives of Erin's TWO Standardbreds: Willie and Jabby. Willie is a bit older and is slowing down but her new horse Jabby is filling in for the lack of work on Willie's behalf. Erin is also part of SRF which is just a bag of jealously for me right there. Getting to play around with Standardbreds on a beautiful facility WITH your best friend? I'd take that any day. Erin is an extremely nice person and knows how to have a good time. I am truely amazed at how far her horses come in just a few short months. Jabby is now already jumping! Her great riding abilities are shown in the progress of her horses and the in the pictures Dom occasionally snap of her. I wish I could be able to have two Stanadardbreds and ride and love them like she does. Erin used to show more in the past but with Willie slowing down and Jabby speeding up, she isn't all that active in it right now. I love reading her blog and seeing her 'Wordless Wednesday' pictures! She tells everything from riding logs, feeding schedules, etc. and I have learned a lot from reading it. Willie's story has really touched me. He raced over 200 times under the name "From One to Sixty." After his racing career, he was able to become a successful riding and showing horse just like I want Jet to be. Erin has made him the wonderful horse is today and I hope I can have a bond with my horses like she does with hers. She truly loves and cares about them so much. Just like Dom, I hope to one day be as great of a horse person and rider as she is.

And last but not least, I would like to meet Elizabeth. "Standardbred Excellence" ( follows the training and showing of Elizabeth's two Standardbred mares Dreamy Starlet and Revenue Stream. Dreamy is a well known Standardbred and I actually knew of her before I even found the blog! To be quite honest, seeing Dreamy's dressage capabilities gave me hope and drive to get Jet to where she is. Her story is amazing. After being started undersaddle so later in her life, she has come so far. Reva is her younger mare that has just gotten her showing career started this year. She is sweeping up in the shows in Maine right as we speak! I hope that someday Jet will be able to be as calm as Reva in new places. Elizabeth is a teacher, mother, and yet still finds time to ride, train, and show her horses. When I grow up, I want to be able to be successful in my career, be a mother, and still ride and show horses just like she does. Her amazing riding is shown through her horses. They are as close to ideal Standardbreds as I can find. I wish I could become as active in the show world (and as successful) as she is. I admire Elizabeth's desire to showcase the Standardbred as a riding and pleasure horse. She has done everything from showing, to clinics, to marshaling at the racetracks, to being part of the World Equestrian Games! She is also part of both the SPHO (in many states) and the SPS (Standardbred Performance Society). I hope I can be able to juggle my life and still be doing what I love just like she is when I am an adult.

These people are my role models because they are living, breathing examples of who I want to be when I grow up. I want to be true to myself and other and be part of the Standardbred showing and pleasure world. I want to be able to get Standardbreds after their racing career and convert them into the wonderful riding horses that they are. I hope that someday I get to meet all three of these people, but honestly, I don't even know what I would say to them. I'd be in plain and utter shock and overwhelmed at the moment. It would be like meeting Taylor Swift. They are people I look up to and will continue to look up to. I read their blogs every single day, even if they didn't post anything. I have read the majority of their blogs from start to current and watched the horses progress over time. If you are questioning getting a Standardbred, look at what these girls have been able to do with theirs. You will want more than one after you read their blogs!

SPHO of Massachusetts

To all of my fellow Standardbred owners, I have news! The SPHO in MA is quite inactive as of now. I connected with the vice president today and I am hopefully going to try to get it back up in running. As of now, I am putting together a Year End Awards Program. Details should be posted within the next few days at

For those of you who have been part of other SPHO's, what do you think are the most important awards to give? Considering there are few members in the SPHO of MA now, I don't think having a bunch of different divisions to have to buy ribbons and awards for would be economically smart. As of now, I have the following categories:

  • Two Gait
  • Three Gait
  • Eventing/Combined Training
  • Dressage
  • Trail/Hunter Paces/Fox Hunts
  • Driving
  • Gymkhana/Games
  • Hunter/Jumper
  • Pleasure Horse
  • High Point Junior Rider
  • High Point Senior Rider
  • High Point Standardbred (based on points)
  • Standardbred of the Year (horse that shows the most versatility and showcases the breed the best throughout the year)
Any comments, tips, ideas?

It would also be fantastic if you joined! Membership for the SPHO of MA is completely free for 2011, so why not? You have nothing to loose. I am asking a $10 donation (optional ofcourse) if you would like to be part of the awards program to help pay for the award fees at the end of the year. Membership info is currently up on the website ( and the awards program info will be up in a few days.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Concussions, Lameness, and Run Aways. What Fun!

This past month has been quite interesting to say the least. Where to start...

The week after the show, Jet had some time off. I rode him Wednesday, then decided to hop on bareback on Thursday. He was perfect Wednesday and was willing to do anything I asked of him. Thursday went the same way....mostly. I did walk/trot over ground poles and he was doing great! We cantered the poles bareback to work on picking spots and lining up for jumps, etc. All was wonderful. He listened to me, waited when I told him to wait, went when I told him to go. 

After we did that, I decided to work on transitions. Jet started anticipating and got ahead of himself. In one corner, I asked for a walk to canter transition. Instead of going straight and engaging his hind end, he booked it to the side, leaving me hanging on to him sideways. After going around a quarter of the ring, I let go and ended up landing on my head and back apparantly. How? I'm not sure. 

I cracked my helmet pretty good and had a huge gash on my back. I was out for a few seconds and didn't move for a while I was told. My sister watched the whole thing. Instead of coming to see if I was even breathing, she sat there for about a minute and just watched me laying there...then she got my mom. About 5 minutes later, my mom came out to check on me and I was back on him...bareback....cantering...over ground the sun was going down. I don't remember the fall, all I know is from what my sister told me.

I got a concussion and a nice battle scar. I had a headache for several days, even weeks, afterwards, but I'm no worse for the wear. I rode a horse at school the next day and was in excruciating pain afterwards. Since I have no commonsense, I went home then rode Jet at Hobby Horse with Mom. Yet again, I was in serious pain. Did I learn? Nope. I rode again the next day. Finally, after riding three times and being in serious pain and on the verge of passing out at the end of each ride, I took a week off from riding at home, and two weeks off from riding at school.

This was the cut a few days after the fall. I couldn't wear jeans for over a week because it is right where my pants lie on me.

So after that fiasco, I rode Jet a few times. His feet were getting long, and I brought that to the attention of my mother. Our usual farrier was unable to do their hooves due to family reasons, so mother decided to try a new farrier. Abby had a show with Elsa that weekend and Elsa was in desperate need of her feet being trimmed. Well, the man came and talked to mother and brother. He talked about how each of the horses move and how this and that could do blah and blah. I wish I was there to hear what this guy said, but unfortunately I was at school. He did all of the horses feet. I got home that day to ride, got tacked up, hopped on, and was sadly surprised to see my never-been-lame-in-his-life horse gimping around with me on him. It wasn't obvious from the ground so I didn't take much notice to it. However, when I was picking his feet, I noticed a HUGE change in them. Every thing was extremely different. His feet were all different shapes, different angles, not level, and his toe was filled down at an angle leaving his sole hitting the ground instead of the hoof wall. 

Poor Jet was extremely uncomfortable. Elsa was also lame in her right front. We called out farrier a few days later and she came as soon as she could to see what she could do to fix them up a bit now that her family issues were a bit more settled down. Mr. Farrier took soo much off in all of the wrong places, that she didn't have much to work with. She managed to fix Elsa up a bit, though. With Jet, she decided to put shoes on with a leather cushion. This took the pressure off of the sole of his foot and placed it more on the wall where it should be. He instantly looked more comfortable, but not quite sound.

Three days later, he was sound enough for me to put around on in the trails. We kept it slow for a few days just to make sure he was ok. We are still working him back up to where he should be right now, but atleast he is ride-able.

A few days ago, I decided to go for a bareback trail ride. He was being an angel like usual, We walked and trotted around a bit. We were trotting around when all of a sudden, he stopped, squealed like a little filly, did a 180, bucked, and took off. He put his head in between his legs and had the bit clenched. I tried doing a one rein stop...didn't work. Circles? Nope. trying to atleast bring him to a reasonable canter or trot? Nope. Run him into a tree? Nope. So there I was...useless on my runaway horse. I let him have his head for 2 strides, then with all of my effort I sat back as far as I could and just yanked back. I am quite aware, this is not an appropriate thing to do, but when I am picking between staying on the horse or falling again and risking another concussion, I chose the act of desperation. He threw his head up and finally started to trot. We trotted all the way home through the trails. He jumped every log that was fallen, wove through all the little trees, and was still being a brat. So I got home, and worked him in the ring bareback. 20 minutes later, I got off....then lunged him. By this time, I expected a tired, sweaty horse but nooo. He was still full of energy and not even warm. I ended things on a good note and put him away.

I have had work after school so I haven't been able to get back on, but I am planning to if the weather allows it tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

-Em and Jet

Oh, by the way, please follow me on Youtube! I post new videos frequently and I have recently discovered the powers of windows movie maker! Here is my most recent video of me and some of the other students at my school riding in class: