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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Comedian

Jet has now decided that he is a comedian and is obviously the most hilarious thing that has ever walked on this planet. He even laughs at himself because he believes he is so funny. When I decide to go for a nice relaxing trail ride, he likes to amuse himself by playing a game. He thinks of it as "I don't want to be ridden so let's play 'You can't catch me!' instead." I, however, am not as amused. While he perks up his ears and leaps and bucks around, I grow more and more annoyed because the past few days I have only been able to ride about an hour before the sunsets so he wastes minutes that could be put to good work on playing games. When he does this, I free lunge him until he is willing to join up.

After that, I brush him - that goes well. Then I go get the saddle pad and place it on him, turn around to get the saddle, turn back around to place it on Jet and the saddle pad that I placed on his back is now in his mouth being flung around in little circles. I try it again and he tries to remove the saddle pad again but I was quicker than he was and succeeded in putting it on! I do up the girth - no problem. I grab the bridle and warm the bit, the go to put it in his mouth. My 16hh horse magically turns into the world's tallest giraffe. However, being 5'8" has it's advantages and I still manage to put the bit in his mouth and bridle him.

When I ride him he is perfectly fine. We have been going on trail rides for the past few days while I have the time during my school vacation. He absolutely loves the trails and he has been going really well! The slightly overgrown grass helps him engage his hind end and the hills are great to work on too. Today he went REALLY well going to the right (his bad way) at the trot and going to the left at the canter. I got an awesome canter out of him and ended it on that good note.

We go back to the ring where I get off and untack. I don't have cross ties so Jet has learned to ground tie. Today, he decided it would be fun to play peg-Mother-with-the-lead-rope. He took it in his mouth and swong it around and manage to clonk me one in the noggin. Silly horse.

I have been working on his "Smile" trick but he prefers to use the trick to laugh at me. I'll have to get a video of it to show you guys, it's hilarious!

Here are some pictures I took at my friend's house with my new camera!


Mary-Kate's dog Boston, one of the models in this set!

Boston and Beverly playing

Mary-Kate and her Standardbred Katie having a good time!

CLICK READ MORE for more awesome pictures! Don't miss out!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Today was a great day. It started at the mere time of 5:30am when my little brother woke me up so we could open presents. I love watching little kids open presents on Christmas; it's like the energy and spirit of Christmas lives within the younger kids. Everything that my brother opened was "UNBELIEVABLE!" "Are you SERIOUS?!" "Where did you find this?!" It was heart warming to see how happy he was (:

I was lost for words when I opened up one of the presents and saw my wildest Christmas wishes coming true right in my hands. I opened a Nikon d3100 DSLR camera complete with 2 different lenses, a carrying case, this that and everything in between. I was shocked. I felt like I was a kid again! I was acting just like my little brother was, basically jumping up and down with joy. I immediately opened everything up, looked at it, read the manuals, and plugged the battery into the charger so I could start taking pictures. 

While it was charging, I went back to sleep. Hours later, I grabbed the camera and went outside to take some pictures. I was further amazed to see what seemed to be a Christmas Miracle. Despite all weather forecasts, it was snowing! There was no snow predicted and everyone was a bit bummed that it would not be a white Christmas but surely enough, it was! Unfortunately, the snow left just as quickly as it came. It only left a light covering that vanished back into the earth a few hours later. 

I am still getting used to everything so the pictures will only get better from here! Prepare for photo spam 
Click Read more to see more pictures!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Goals

To keep myself motivated to ride in the bitter cold New England winters, I have decided to make a list of things I would like to do or achieve. So far, the list consists of:

  1. Work him at least 3x a week even if its just walking around the street
  2. Work on his new smiling trick and master it 
  3. Have him bow while I ride him
  4. Bareback and Bridle-less riding at least 3 times
  5. Stand on him as he walks around
  6. Modified skijourning at least twice
More to some as I think of them...any ideas on tricks I could teach him? It's important to keep his mind as well as him body moving in the winter!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blast from the past

Here are some pictures of Jet when we had him as a three year old!

The day we brought him home:

Trail Rides:


At home:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Battling Thrush

Let's back track to the summer...There were some really rainy times, especially when the hurricane hit. Where we are, our turnouts are dirt and geniusly placed at the lowest point of the property. What does rain and dirt make? Mud. And lots of it. Jet stays down in the muddy area over night and goes up in the sand ring for turnout from about 9am to 5pm every day but he still managed to get a nasty case of thrush.

I have tried many thrush products to fight it including the never-failing Thrush Buster. Now I relate Thrush Buster to the Titanic. The unsinkable that sank and the never-failing that failed. We had the farrier look at him and she is very concerned. Right now, I have to be extremely careful with him, especially on little rocks, because he is a prime case of an abscess waiting to happen. His frog and heel are extremely squishy and on two of his hooves, the median of the balls of his heel has rotten open. Even though this is extremely bad, it allows me to use a much stronger method of tackling the thrush.

Right now, I am using a sugar-dine cotton ball mix and legitimately shoving it as far as I can into the rotting area (this is all under farrier orders and it is being closely monitored). The sugar-dine will help draw the bacteria and infection out of the frog and thus ending the thrush. The cotton balls are soaked in the mix and separated into small sections so that they will stay in the frog. For the first few days I also diapered the front two feet so nothing could get in and nothing could get out. Now, I am not diapering but I am putting the cotton balls in the frog, and removing the ones that are there from the previous packing, twice a day. All throughout this time, Jet has been locked in a stall ( we have run-ins) overnight so he has a much slimmer chance of getting moisture in his feet at all. He is in dry areas 24/7 and hopefully this will help kick the thrush.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do over the winter...snow is just moisture which is what the thrush bacteria thrive in. I can't keep him locked in a stall all day and night. That  isn't fair to him nor is it healthy for him. I think he is just going to be turned out in the snow in the day and locked in the stall at night. We will see when the time comes.

As far as riding goes... I have been keeping it pretty low right now because of his feet. I do not want him to abscess at all. So when I do ride him, I only ride in our ring where I know the rocks are picked from daily. I would love to go out on the trails a few more times before it snows but I don't want to hurt him. We will see how his feet are in two weeks and take it from there.

He got a little break from riding after the hunter pace but he is back in work now. I am riding at least four times a week and every now and then I will ground drive or lunge him just to do something different. Ideally, I will be able to keep him fit and working throughout the winter by using indoors nearby. If that doesn't happen, he will at least be walked multiple times a week just to get his body moving.

I have also started a written Riding Log so at the end of each month I will post it here for you guys to see!