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

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Lame Game.

So Mr. Jet decided to bang up his knee on Monday. At first, I didn't really think much of it. All I saw was a small cut (not even a cut, just the hair was removed) on his right front knee. I trotted him out and he looked fine to me. Tuesday rolls around and the knee is swollen, with no heat. I trotted him out on a straightaway and again, he looked sound. Wednesday the knee is still swollen, no heat and he is still sound.

Thursday, a little less swollen, no heat. I lunged him a bit to see him go both directions in the morning. To the right (his bad way) he was completely fine. To the left, he looked slightly off on him...left front...what the heck Jet?! I felt that leg up and down and there is no heat, swelling, or anything.

Throughout all of this, I have been hosing his leg ATLEAST 2x a day for 20-25 min each time then putting Like Ice on it. Thursday I hosed both legs a few times during the day then lunged him again at night. He looked almost perfectly sound in both directions and only showed a shortness of stride around sharp turns in his left front. There has been no head bobbing, ouchiness on any types of terrain, lack of putting weight on it or anything like that. I attempted to give him a bit of bute but the fella can smell it from a mile away and won't eat anything with bute in it. I tried mixing it with grain, apples, carrots, maple syrup....nothing worked.

I am praying he will be fine tomorrow. We have a show *planned* for Sunday but if he isn't better by tomorrow, I will call it off. It isn't a big show anyways (just a few w/t classes) so its not much to fret over. If he is sound tomorrow, I will let him have that day off because the heat index will be around 110 degrees (he has had since Monday off but is the type of horse that doesn't have to be worked every. single. day.) then ride him Saturday and see how he feels undersaddle. If all is good, we will go to the show. If not, I won't be too upset over it.

I'll post again tomorrow with an update and a video if I can find the dang camera charger.

Friday, July 15, 2011

SPHO Awards Program

If you own a Standardbred, please consider joining  the SPHO of MA and participating in our Awards Program. Joining the SPHO of MA is free and the Awards Program is free unless you would like to send a donation to help get it started (but it is completely optional). Whether you show or not, there is an award for you! Please consider!

Please visit for the forms and more info

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Riding updates!

Jet and I have been working hard while dodging raindrops and the heat. We have taken a few lessons lately with my Aunt and there has been lots of improvement.

The first thing she picked up on was that he is constantly bending to the left. He braces and balances on my left rein. He uses it to hold himself up in both directions. So how are we fixing it? I'm basically riding without it. I have more contact with my right rein so I can send energy from my left leg and catch in in his right jaw. Now, I can feel him moving much straighter in both directions! Instead of holding the left rein when I turn him, I apply pressure on it, then give, then more pressure if needed, and then give again. I keep the contact with my right rein and leg therefore keeping his neck and head centered.

We then did an exercise where I changed my diagonal several times down the long side of the area we were working in. At first we did the exercise going left.,I could easily tell that I was on the incorrect diagonal. Why? He was bending to the left so it when I changed my diagonal as if I was going to the right, it felt weird. He isn't straight going to the right but since we were going left, it just made everything feel so off balance. As we kept doing the exercise and worked on getting him straight, I felt that both diagonals felt correct. Why? We were moving straight! 

Next, we noticed that he anticipates things. For example: when we are going to turn. The solution? Change things up. Turn earlier, turn later, surprise him, keep him waiting, etc. Basically getting his attention on me. He would start bending to the left before we would turn going left so we brought him slightly to the right before asking him to go around the corner. It worked really well.

He got a massage this past lesson and the masseuse noted that his left side was tight and his right hind leg was weak. Everything made sense. He isn't engaging his hind right since I had been blocking him in his left jaw. His left side is tight because he is always contracting it when he bends to the left and doesn't extend it since he has a hard time bending to the right. We are working on loosening his left side and now we have his hind right getting engaged. I am pushing him forward, asking him to come underneath himself with my right leg. I constantly have to keep asking him or he gives up. But he is improving!

On a different note, I pulled him mane today! I will have pics soon! And for those of you that do not know, I have a little Hackney pony named Biscuit. This little rescue has spent his recent days doing nothing. I have tried lunging him before but all he would do is swing his haunches around and keep his head facing me at all times. I tried several times but I gave up. Well I have been determined to fix this and I have! He now lunges w/t/c and over ground poles! It is extremely cute. Maybe I will have someone video it for me soon! 

That's it for now!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Long Mane vs. Short Mane?

I will have a riding update tomorrow! For now, which do you like better:

Short Mane:
Means hunter braids for shows or I could leave it down and not braid at all.

Long mane:
I can do running braids for shows, gives me a handle when I ride bareback but it gets in the way sometimes and gets caught underneath the saddle pad.

Your opinions?